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Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 07:40 PM PST

Krugman: Paul Ryan is a Con Man

by VTGenie

Paul Krugman's last two posts from his The Conscience of a Liberal blog are great. From yesterday we have the short but sweet, A Public Servie Reminder: Paul Ryan is a Con Man. In it, Krugman laments the "return" of Ryan-- as Joan McCarter notes-- as go-to-guy on the budget. Krugman is having none of it:

The fact is that Ryan is and always was a fraud. His plan never added up; it was never, contrary to what people who should know better asserted, “scored” by the CBO. What he actually offered was a plan to hurt the poor and reward the rich, actually increasing the deficit along the way, plus magic asterisks that supposedly reduced the debt by means unspecified.
That pretty much sums it up. Why the hell is this lying fraud going to be involved in negotiations over the so-called fiscal cliff?

Krugman's post today, The New Republicans, cuts through the bullshit about a party that is "soul searching":

There has been a lot of talk since the election about the possible emergence of a new faction within the Republican party, or at least among the conservative intelligentsia. These new Republicans, we’re told, are willing to be more open-minded on cultural issues, more understanding of immigrants, and more skeptical that trickle-down economics is enough; they’ll favor direct measures to help working families.
Gee, that sounds swell!
So what should we call these new Republicans? I have a suggestion: why not call them “Democrats”?
Again, Krugman's having none of it:
[T]oday’s Republican party is an alliance between the plutocrats and the preachers, plus some opportunists along for the ride — full stop. The whole party is about low taxes at the top (and low benefits for the rest), plus conservative social values and putting religion in the schools; it has no other reason for being.
So what should we make of Republicans who appear to be on a self-examination path? Not much:
[I]t’s true that there are some Republican intellectuals and pundits who seem to be truly open-minded about both economic and social issues. But I worded that carefully: they “seem to be” open-minded; indeed, they’re professional seemers.
Yes, folks: meet the new party, same as the old party. Just more defeated.

*Thanks for the REC List! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!*

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Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 11:41 AM PST

FAIR: When is a Mandate Not a Mandate?

by VTGenie

The media bias group Fairness in Accuracy and Reporting (FAIR) has put together a terrific answer to the "mandate question." In their brief but damning article, When is a Mandate Not a Mandate: Different standards for different elections-- and parties (11/9/2012), they make plain how reporting about whether Obama has a mandate to govern is following a twisted story line that is less about what a mandate is (and what Obama and the Democrats would do with it) and more about reaffirming preconceived (and pre-election) notions about Obama, his supporters, and about Big Media's need to control the narrative. Continue past the curlycue for a summary and highlights.

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Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 07:06 PM PST

A look back to September 1st

by VTGenie

This makes me laugh. Back on September 1st I had some fun creating a chart (shown below) that counted Obama's paths to 270 Electoral Votes. My strategy was simple: using Nate Silver's numbers I assumed Obama would win any state for which he had at least a 90% chance, and that he would lose any state with under a 50% chance. I then counted all the paths that used the eight states in the middle. As the chart shows, at the time he had 193 ways to get to 270.

Chart showing paths to 270 evs for Obama, using data from 538.com (Nate Silver) 9/1/12
Meanwhile, the situation for Romney was grim: using the same scheme, he had zero paths-- in fact, his only state between 50 and 90% was North Carolina.

Here's the funny part: at the time I had pretty much discounted the bulk of Obama's routes to victory, the ones along the the top row. After all, Florida was his least likely win, and the only one below a 60% chance. As it turns out, he used all 127 paths!

And here's the even funnier part: Romney not only ended up (duh) with zero paths to victory, he ended up winning only that single state for which Silver gave him between 50 and 90%.

So even way back on September 1st, Nate Silver had it spot on!

Of course, it's purely by chance that I happened to make the chart at this particular moment. But life can be funny like that.

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Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 06:01 PM PST

Top-ticket Clean Sweep in VT

by VTGenie

No surprises but still great! With 23% reported, the breakdown is
Obama 67%
Sanders 71%
Welch 72%
Shumlin 58% (Governor)

There is a down-ticket race for Treasurer that also looks promising:
Pearce (D) 51%, Wilton (R) 42%. Among other downsides, Wendy Wilton has been campaigning against Vermont's landmark healthcare law.

Things are updating pretty quickly, but I wanted to spread the good news about my wonderful little state.

We in Vermont are going to lead this nation in making sure that healthcare is a right.
--Bernie Sanders, Nov. 6 victory speech
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Mon Nov 05, 2012 at 07:02 PM PST

538: 91.4% chance Obama wins election

by VTGenie

Obama's Battleground %s:
CO: 80
FL: 52
IA:85
NH:85
VA:80

314 EVs predicted

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Along with other good news in today's Pew Poll (LV:O50, R47; RV: O49, R42!) there is a revealing question about voter intent:

If the presidential election were being held TODAY, would you vote for for the Republican ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, for the Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, for the Libertarian Party ticket headed by Gary Johnson or the Green Party ticket headed by Jill Stein?

ASK IF CHOOSE ROMNEY: Would you say that your choice is more a vote FOR Mitt Romney or more a vote AGAINST Barack Obama?

ASK IF CHOOSE OBAMA:Would you say that your choice is more a vote FOR Barack Obama or more a vote AGAINST Mitt Romney?

The answers are a perfect response to the question Romeny poses in recent ads condemning Obama's "revenge" remarks: What is your reason for voting?

Turns out, we've got the positive edge by a wide margin:

78% of Obama supporters said they are voting more for him, than against Romney; 20% say the reverse.

On the other hand, just 60% of Romney supporters said they were voting more for him; 38% say their vote is more against Obama.

But it's even more interesting ...

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Romney's Bipartisan:

Editorial Cartoon, Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 30, 2012
The cartoon refers to a radio spot Voinovich recorded earlier this month in which he praises Romney's supposed bipartisanship and attacks Obama for his "deeply partisan vision."  In this brief article the Plain Dealer says the ad has been airing for perhaps the past three weeks in Ohio. They also skewer the notion that Romney "reached across the aisle" to get things done.

Upgrade the Senate! You know you want to.

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I've mapped out Romney's paths to 270 electoral votes that exclude Ohio. My assumptions are that he wins all states for which Nate Silver gives him a 90% chance or better, and that he loses any state with a 10% chance or less. That gets him to 191 electoral votes and leaves 8 states in play, listed here:

State/EVs/chance

FL   29/63%
NC  15/82%
VA  13/46%
WI  10/14%
CO   9/43%
IA    6/28%
NV   6/21%
NH   4/30%

To get 79 more EVs, there are 12 "possible" paths, all of which include FL and NC, and at least two of VA, WI, and CO.

I've put possible in quotes because 11 such paths use Wisconsin, which, at 14%, is ludicrous. That leaves one remaining route, which requires Romney to win every other state on the list. Can he do that? Maybe. Will he? No way.

As always, there's still work to do. So let's do it!

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Mon Oct 22, 2012 at 08:09 PM PDT

Mitt's faux empathy makes me sick

by VTGenie

Sorry, short diary-- this little tidbit went by pretty fast, but I can't get it out of my head. During the debate segment on China, Romney declared:

I've watched year in and year out as companies have shut down and people have lost their jobs because China has not played by the same rules, in part by holding down artificially the value of their currency.
So, Mitt, apparently it's okay if companies shut down and people lose their jobs as long as you can make millions? What "rules", exactly, were you playing by? The ones where you can suck a company dry of assets and take the profits for yourself? Or the rules where you walk away with millions after getting a company to take on massive debt until they go under? Oh, and need I mention-- after the jobs get shipped to China?

Poor old Mitt has a sad when China manipulates it currency and people lose their jobs.

Here's an idea: why don't you give back some of your millions to the folks you screwed over? Who knows? Maybe then you can thread that needle and end up in heaven after all.

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Wyoming Senator John Barrasso gave the Republican response to Obama's weekly address on Saturday. It is, as you would expect, a long list of the same lies they've been spewing throughout this campaign. If you can stand it though, it's worth a peek to see how they've repackaged some of the messages. If anything, it's a snapshot of what's coming in the next two months.

One example deserves particular attention, for how he misuses President Kennedy's words.

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As Rolandz notes, Nate Silver has had some steadily encouraging numbers for Obama: his current forecast for Nov. 6, up even from yesterday, is a 73.1% chance of winning, and a healthy 305.5 estimated Electoral Vote total. I decided to drill down a bit to the state level, and discovered a really interesting fact: using the probabilities given for winning each state (or district, in Maine and Nebraska), Obama has 193 ways to get to 270 electoral votes by winning states for which his chances are at least 50%. The number of such routes to 270 for Romney? Zero.

To see why, follow me over the squiggley speed bump.

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House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) listens to testimony during a hearing on
Hmmm. What will I lie about next?
Way back in 2008, after the Janesville GM plant closed, Paul Ryan earned this dubious distinction in an end-of-year review of Wisconsin politics entitled THE POLITICS OF '08: FROM FANTASY TO DELUSION (The Cap Times, December 31, 2008, John Nicols):
Rankest HYPOCRISY: Janesville Congressman Paul Ryan, who paid no attention to the troubles of his hometown's essential employer until General Motors announced it would close the plant. Ryan has been a steady advocate for free-trade deals since his election to Congress in 1998. Yet, after those deals devastated his district, Ryan poured a mil-lion dollars into an ad campaign claiming he was working in Congress to defend American jobs. Ryan was lying. He's still a free-trader, and plants are still closing in his district.
So Ryan's been at it for a long time. No surprise. Now he just has a much bigger stage, and with it, a lot more scrutiny.
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