Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The New Independents Explain Polling Paradox

Rush Limbaugh has mentioned the paradox of the overall statistical tie (in most polls) for the Presidential race  even though Mitt Romney is leading among independents.   Limbaugh suggests that this is evidence that most pollsters are oversampling Democrats relative to Republicans.  His reasoning is that if Republicans and Democrats existed in about equal numbers, and independents lean Romney, then Romney ought to be winning.   Only two polls show this result.  Most show a dead heat.

Well, I have an alternative explanation that leads to a disturbing conclusion for Romney supporters.    I don't think the independents now are all the same group that were independents in 2008.   I think a lot of people who considered themselves "Republican" in 2008 now call themselves "Independent."    They are independents now not because the GOP is too conservative, but because it is too much like the big-government Democrats.    They will hold their nose and support Romney, but they don't imagine he will implement the changes they want.   I am doing a lot of door to door campaigning, and this is what I am finding.

Why does this bode ill for Romney?  Well, it would mean the polls showing him ahead by seven are wrong and the ones showing that this race could go either way are correct.   Imagine the electorate in three roughly even sized groups- Democrats, Republicans and Independents.    If that represents the sampling they use in the polls, then Romney winning the R's and the I's and Obama winning among the D's would mean that Romney would have the lead (if they were winning their base by the same amount).  

But now imagine that one of every five Republicans was so disgusted by the corporate-financed tilt away from limited government in the Republican party that they started IDing as independents.   In that case, instead of being 33% of the total pool, Republicans would be only 27%.  Independents would be under-represented, 33% when they were actually closer to 39%.   That pool would be shown as moving right, but what really happened was a bunch of existing right-leaning votes simply changed designations.   That 33% did not get more conservative, rather 6% of the right-leaning voters changed their label.

If the pollsters still think the Republicans are 33% of the vote when they are only 27%, then instead of the Democrats being over-sampled, it would be the Republicans who were over sampled.     If this is correct then the polls that say the election is very close would be correct.   They may be correct for the wrong reasons (they may over-sample Democrat turnout rather than catch that more former Republicans are calling themselves independents) but the bottom line is the same- a very close election.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Please Don't Call Me Too Conservative

It seems that my opponent has been endorsed by the pseudo-local paper, the Benton County Daily Record. Of course a big media conglomerate has merged these papers into a Borg style collective, so even though people might still see it as the local paper, that's not the way it works editorially.

I am an independent running against a Republican in a district which leans heavily Republican.    The reason the paper gave when deciding against endorsing me was that I was "too conservative" as evidenced by this blog.  

Please don't throw me into that Briar Patch!      If you have to lose an endorsement in Benton County, let me tell you friends, that is the best possible way to loose it!  While I may be too conservative, I am not too Republican, and old-style Democrats should know that I do not share Mitt Romney's view that corporations are people, nor do I consider taxing working people to fund what amounts to crony-capitalism as being "pro-business."

Of course the Daily Record did not provide a link to this blog so that you, dear reader, could decide for yourself that I was "too conservative" to represent the citizens of one of the most conservative (though not all Republican) districts in this state.   No, they simply told you that this was the case, and their opinion about it was apparently that all you needed to know.

Let me share a truism with you- it is almost impossible to vote for someone who is "too conservative."   Even moderates should vote for someone far, far to the right of where they are.    The reason is simple.   The nature of government is to grow, to consume more of your earnings and restrict more of your freedoms.   This happens automatically.     To counteract this built-in tendency, you need someone who is a determined limited-government conservative just to keep things about where they are.

I'm telling you if you elected wild-eyed conservative cave men who wanted to smash government spending with a stone ax, all it means is that you might get the next tax increase delayed for another two years.   Even moderates should vote for conservatives.  If they vote for someone moderate, they will get much bigger government even if they wanted to keep things about where they are.

Look at this sales tax increase on the ballot.   It is absurd that the state's top Republican office holders have endorsed this tax increase- Boozman, Womack (editor's note, it seems I got this mixed up with his crusade to federalize and collect sales taxes on internet purchases, I cannot find where he has taken a position on this one), Darr.     And of course Democratic Governor Mike Beebe has endorsed the sales tax increase, regressive though it is.    So who do citizens vote for if they want tax rates to stay where they are?   Why, me.  And for that, the paper calls me "too conservative."

Gosh, that's terrible that you would say such things about me.   If I had enough cash left, I'd run your editorial again as a paid ad!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Shell Game on Highways, Obamacare, and Issue One

Our state highway system is broken.   The massive congestion in northwest Arkansas (to name one place) is either evidence that 1) we are not putting enough money into the system, or 2) our system is not putting those dollars in the right places and therefore needs to be changed, or 3) both.   Since we are already from 12th to 17th (depending on how you count it) among states in highway miles but 34th among states in our tax base (GDP) to pay for highway miles and 29th in area, I'd say number two is the most likely possibility, with number three the next most likely.  The taxpayers of this state have already paid for plenty of highway miles, they just aren't where the cars are.  Obviously, our system of allocating highway dollars is broken and ought to be fixed before pouring any more money into the system.

Advocates of the current system have often floated the excuse that the reason for our excess highway miles was a one-time bill that allowed county judges to turn over a dozen miles of county road over to the state.   They claim this artificially inflates our state highway numbers.  You should be insulted, as I have been, when an advocate for the current good-ole-boy system tries this fun fact on you.  Seventy-five counties times twelve miles equals 900 extra miles.   This is less than one half of one percent of our total highway miles. If you took those miles off it would not drop us even one spot on the rankings of states by number of highway miles that I linked to above.  

Now with ballot issue one, highway commission advocates (as opposed to highway or taxpayer advocates) are asking for a half cent sales tax increase on most items written into our constitution for the next decade.  It would of course, be used to fund a bond issue because we could not possibly have a tax increase without the bond dealers and holders getting a piece of the taxpayer action. is a group of activists, officeholders, and candidates who have come together to oppose the tax increase on the November ballot.

The thing is, the state already has a standing Blue Ribbon Commission on highway funding, and not even they  recommended a tax increase to pay for needed improvements.   They advised using existing general revenues to pay for the job.   This commission was as bi-partisan (not the same thing as non-partisan I am afraid) as they come.   It was chaired by El-Dorado Republicrat John Lowery Jr.   Seriously, the guy was chairman of the Republican County Committee before he ran for the state legislature as a Democrat.  That ought to give true believers on both sides a bit of pause and some insight on how things really work in this state, but that's another article.   The point is, they saw that the state currently had the money.  Sales taxes for vehicle sales for example, could very properly have been sent from general revenues to highways.   They looked at the numbers and saw that the state could afford it.

But Governor Beebe did not want to do it that way.  Apparently Beebe has other plans for what appears to be another surplus in revenues.   You may recall that when he got in office he very quickly blew through hundreds of millions of dollars of surplus.   Now let's see.....what other big ticket items might the Governor be saving that surplus for?    Could it be, Obamacare?   Why yes, that would make sense.   Governor Mike Beebe disregarded the bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission's advice to use existing revenues on highways because he wants to spend the money implementing Obamacare in Arkansas.   That's a theory that fits perfectly with the facts.  There is also a history of state government, even pre-Beebe, demanding more from the taxpayers for something when they had the money for it all along.

Now some of our more gullible readers might protest "but the federal government has promised to pay for all of the expansion of Medicaid for three years and 90% of the cost after that."    Sure they have, but Washington has gone mad and the ruling class is delusional.  They have no money with which they can pay for these outlandish promises.  You should ask a Native American what a Potomac Promise is worth because we are all Amerindians now.

The Democrats in the Legislature would not let SB709 pass.   It was a bill that would have forced the state executive to calculate how much it would cost to implement Obamacare in the state before any such implementation could proceed.   Like fish headed for bait, the Democrats rejected the idea of examining what costs might be hidden in this "free money".   Lucky for us, the Heritage Foundation has done some rough calculations for all states.    The costs of implementing Obamacare vary depending on the degree to which Washington breaks its promises, but even if it keeps them Beebe is going to have to come up with over 140 million extra dollars.   The figure is more likely to be over $500 million.

I view this as just another reason to vote against ballot issue one, the sales tax increase.    We already have the money for highways within current taxpayer revenues.   The Governor and the Blue Ribbon Commission on highways already knows that we have the money, the Governor just wants to spend it on something else.   I suspect the biggest part of that something else is implementing Obamacare in Arkansas.    So voting "no" on this tax is, in an indirect way, a vote against funding Obamacare in Arkansas.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

We Are All Amerindians Now

"They made us many promises.  More than I can remember.  But they only kept one.  They promised to take our land, and they took it." - Red Cloud, Chief of the Sioux. 

As I go door to door on the campaign trail, I meet people who are losing their homes or worried about losing them.   The media spin about a "housing recovery" is not what it seems.   It turns out that the gains in housing sales are not from people looking for a primary residence, but rather institutional investors who are buying up mortgages in bulk.  

And where are these institutions getting the money?  From the Federal Reserve's ZIRP and QE policies.  That's right.   The Federal Reserve is creating money out of thin air, which it says is a debt that we owe, and using it to buy (at above-market prices) the big bank's mistakes.  These are in the form of Mortgage Backed Securities (which are largely made up of mortgages that are not paying).     Those big banks are then using all the easy money which they (but not us) have access to in order to scoop up depressed homes around the nation.

Main Street is starving for capital, but the biggest players on Wall Street have been given access to trillions of dollars of basically interest free cash so they can buy up what is left of our assets at bargain prices.    What has happened is that the banks got bailed out, we didn't.   Because we didn't, many of us are losing our homes and losing them to agents of the very banks that got bailed out.    They wind up with the money for the home, and they get the home too.

The real cost for this will fall on not only those who lost their homes, but even those of us who kept them- because all that debt created to allow the banks to do this is, under our present fraudulent financial system, "our" debt.     When its time to pay for it the ruling class won't come after the poor to get money to back that debt- they don't have any money.   They will come after what is left of the middle and upper middle class.   The "barely rich" will be looted the most.

I can see the day coming when almost no Americans own property.   We will be like so many third world countries with a few super rich and a vast population of landless and impoverished serfs.   Even the children of many who consider themselves "winners" at present will be among the latter.

Our present financial system is fraudulent   It's criminal.  It is designed to systematically loot Americans of their wealth and it is accomplishing that goal.   And if it is not altered it will, as Thomas Jefferson predicted, end in the destruction of our Republic.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Quarantine on Truth from State Health Department?

I live in Pea Ridge, and there were reports here recently about a middle school student who was displaying meningitis-like symptoms. The school cooperated fully and reported what they knew. Of course, parents were concerned. Now we are getting media reports that the meningitis theory was incorrect, the child's symptoms were the result of a non-contagious autoimmune system dysfunction. But a reliable source reports that the state health department will not clear the school to release the findings! 

I consider this to be an outrageous way to behave. Here we have parents who are worried that their children may have been exposed to a very dangerous and contagious disease, and the school knows that this is a false alarm, but are being banned by state health officials from making public this knowledge. I believe at the heart of the matter is a bureaucratic over-zealous interpretation of Federal HIPPA laws. 

These laws are designed to protect the confidentiality of medical information. That is well and good, but this case shows how blanket rules can backfire and do more harm than good. I believe a statement like the following is well within HIPPA, and that state officials should clear the school to make such a statement....

"We are not aware of any case of meningitis in our school system. We cannot comment on the health record of any individual, but every suspected case we are aware of has turned out to be a false alarm that did not involve any contagious disease."