Wednesday, October 10, 2012


It sad to think that things have become so polarized that I feel I must carefully chose my word and craft a post that will, hopefully, not offend anyone.

It’s sad that our country has come to a point where we have become nearly mute about being able to talk rationally with each other, because we hold opposite viewpoints and yet, we expect our leaders to be able to do so.

We are about 4 weeks out until we elect a President in the United States. My hope is that I can throw light on a deepening discord I see happening without too much division.

To me the upcoming Presidential election is one of monumental importance. This will be my 10th time voting for a President.In my first election I voted for (and hate to admit this) Jimmy Carter in 1976. His Presidency is not highly regarded.But coming off  the Watergate (my first ever interest in politics) scandal and the way Gerald Ford was portrayed in the media (he was ‘portrayed' as a buffoon, and he wasn‘t), it was a time where an outsider (like Carter) seemed welcomed in Washington. History has judged how that Presidency fared, but everyone has their own opinion, and is welcomed to it.

I have voted in each of the following Presidential elections except 2008. I couldn’t support either John McCain or Barack Obama. Again I understood that someone different, younger, more energized and with a promise of hope and change captured the imagination of the Country. The Country seemed ready to embrace a new beginning.

Even though I stayed on the sidelines of the 2008 elections I kept an interest in what was happening. We’ve had a tumultuous 4 years since that election and we are again at the precipice of  the 2012 election.

But this one is being overshadowed by a third entity.
The media.

The media is distorting facts. In fact, in polling (another thing I have little faith in) the media is faring far worse than politicians in believability.

Politics operatives and the media know that most Americans don’t have the time or perhaps even the inclination to check and double check behind them. They repeatedly distort, twist and bend facts into narratives, and I know many may find this hard to believe but the political operatives send out their narratives to the likes of the main political reporters of all the major networks.

In 2008 there was a mini scandal called "Journogate" where an email list was created of “main stream”  reporters who were seen collaborating on stories and deciding which ones needed to be elevated and which ones needed to be hidden or simply killed off.

The Jeremiah Wright story was one in which they “killed”.
Reverend Wright intends to write his own story after the 2012 election. It’s too bad he holding off, because his story is one we should know before the election.

During this election cycle one publication filed FOIA requests for some Department of Justice emails and found that MMfa (Media Matters a “non profit” 501c  organization-- but they are a highly political entity) has been orchestrating story lines with the DOJ to influence us. Really? I know I shouldn't be surprised.

I know that the main media never covered that story. Because I’m sure you’ve never heard about it, I have the stories on file if you need to see my sources.

In fact, there a lot of stories we all should know more about before the elections and ones you won’t hear much about. Not unless you dig for them, and then verify them with more than one source.

The age of the internet has at least given us the ability to do our own research. To make informed decisions, not decisions based on simple biased information that they want to you know.

My point is that I encourage everyone to take the time. It’s too important not to. I encourage you to look past the 30 second story on TV that glides over issues. Don’t take one reporters story as gospel, they are telling you a story based on their presumptions and their bias. Do understand that many reporters have close relations with those in power. They have reasons to report things as they do.

This isn’t just a slap at one specific side, because both sides do it and politicians make things as complicated as they can to make it as difficult to understand  in what should be simple issues.

Again they know that is one way to keep their constituents in the dark.

I know a great many Americans are disenchanted, and guess what, they want you to be that way too. They want you to be disenfranchised. It means you won’t pay close attention to what they are doing, and  say “I can’t do anything” but you can.

They work for us.
We hire them.
And we can fire them.

Things are so important this time.
I know that’s probably something you’ve heard during each election cycle. This time it’s the truth. We are at that proverbial fork in the road. Which way, right or left?

Issues, it’s all about the issues, isn’t it?
Well, then it’s time to learn as much as we can about them, isn’t it?
Decide for ourselves, right?

So, if you need to know what is going on with jobs, you need to check out the BLS yourself. They come out the first Friday each month. (September’s results were published October 5th) Do you know that every month since 2009 they figures released are always changed? In other words, the first figures reported are wrong, it’s normally worse than they report.

The current BLS has brought down the unemployment rate to 7.8 %. But there is some, no there is a lot of confusion about this. You see there are two portions to the labor report dealing with the unemployment figures. They are the Establishment (or payrolls) survey and the household survey. The household survey is where the Government office calls and asks each household about their employment. You could be selling on Etsy and be counted as “employed” by this standard. OK, the household survey for September’s report is that an additional 873,000 people are working. The strangeness is it would take a roaring economy to produce that much of a boost  to account for this number. In contrast, the Establishment survey (which again is based on payrolls) is 114,000 jobs. That figure would be great for 1962 but for our monthly economy just to keep up needs 2-3 times that number of jobs.

If you don’t think I’ve interpreted this correctly please feel free to check this out yourself. In fact I would love you to do that. I really would.

You also need to know that within the past year or so the Government changed the way they figure the Unemployment rates. They used to have all 50 states send in the data, but no more.

But if you look at past Presidential elections (pick your century) you will find all kinds of shenanigans. It isn’t endemic to just this one.

The entire point of my essay is to get you into this and educate yourself on these things, so you’ll know if the spin masters are telling you the truth or spinning.

Oh and by the way, I suspect we’ll have a correction in the numbers next month or even more to the point after the election. I do not believe that anyone is conspiring to make things look better for one politician or another. But I do think it is very bizarre.

If you need to know how the economy you need to check out the reports in the CBO.
These are some of the best indicators of how things are going.

Did you know that last month we had the third QE3 from the Federal Reserve? The Fed just sent out $40 billion of dollars to the banks that they simply printed out of thin air. Do you know why that’s important to each and every American?  Because it devalues the dollar. It makes our currency worth less. But it puts more money into the Banks so hopefully they will lend more and that will stimulate the economy. It hasn’t really worked too well so far. Again this is the third time Bernanke has done this in four years. It is ruining our Dollar. I have to agree with Ron Paul, it’s time to get rid of the Fed.

Do we really want our economy to be propped up by gimmicks?

Our GDP is has been downgraded from a measly 1.7% to 1.3%  for 2012. This is awful. We aren’t producing and then the New orders(Manufacturing) have been downgraded by 13%. So all of this goes hand in hand. If you simply look at the numbers without anyone telling you anything you can see things are dire.

Economists will tell you that the deeper the recession, the stronger the rebound. Folks we were told that the summer of 2009 this “recession” was over. Really?
In a country where 23 million people are unemployed or underemployed, and employed has been over 8% for 44 months (and dropped .3 of percent to go under the magic 7% line in September), with middle class incomes dropping and that GDP inching downward, we’re out of a recession? Really?

But so far the big media in this country has been nearly mum on the subject or at best sugar coating it.

I apologize for rambling but if you’ve stuck with me to this point, please know that all I am imploring is that you look past the false narratives that are being painted. Don’t let them be smug in their Washington intellect. We are smarter than they give us credit for. Take the time, it’s important, right now and understand the issues before us.

Make your  choice of President based not on who you like, but based on who would best serve our Country at this time. We are in bad times, really bad.

Going back to my first election. I was spurred on by my interest from Watergate, and Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein reporting. Bob Woodward has a new book out called “The Price of Politics”. Mr. Woodward is a current editor of the Washington Post, one of the many papers I read each day.

He said that in February of 2013 whoever the President is,  he is going to have to go to  the Congress and say “I need 2 trillion dollars to run the Government”, and that is really scary. So there will be another round of deficit talks between whoever the President is and the Congress. Mr. Woodward’s current book is about the behind the scenes 2011 debt talks between President Obama and the Congress that nearly brought us to our knees. He reveals that the “bank” of the US had only 2 billion dollars in it’s account. That sounds like a lot of money (and it is) but it would only run the country for about ½ a day. We were broke and we were nearly out, until that deft defying balance act where they again “kicked the can” down the road and agreed to a compromised that kept the Government going. We were at that fiscal cliff and we didn’t even know it.

We should all care about the deficit. Our deficit is over 16 trillion dollars (and growing each moment). In the past four years it has grown from 10 to 16 trillion. It is 105% of GDP and it‘s costing $141,000 per person in this country.  It is destroying our economic strength. We are borrowing .40 cents on each dollar. How long would your household hold up if you were borrowing at that rate?

Right now a bit of spin is going on about PBS. People are up in arms about Big Bird. Did you know it costs $17 million dollars to produce Sesame Street but it earns $50 Million in proceeds off of it’s products. We are paying for this. Tell me if you had to chose, would you cut off Big Bird (who I think would be fine) to save Social Security, Medicare, Medicad, or Defense? I mean, seriously don’t we have to make personal choices about what we can afford in our own budgets? Do you find it hard to chose? If I had to chose between going to a movie or eating, I think I would chose food.

This is just one silly thing, but we are going to have to start making choices.

Now here is something not quite so silly, Social Security.
The CBO reports that for FY 2012 SS spent $773 Billion which is equal to 5% of GDP and 1/5th of total federal spending. As baby boomers retire, SS outlays are expected to grow rapidly. Over the next 10 years SS will out pace tax revenues by 10%, and that gap will grow wider in 2020’s and in 2030’s it will be 6% of GDP and exceeded dedicated tax revenues by 20%. As a result, under current law, SS will not be able to pay benefits in 20 years. So whether we like it or not, our Government has to reform SS.

Nope not silly stuff at all.

2013 is going to be a year of reckoning.

Too many things are coming due.

Taxes and lots of them. If Congress and the President can’t agree so many of the things that they “kicked down the road” will simply expire.
Taxes that will impact every American.
They are calling it “taxageddon”

Things that have been pushed off and pushed back. It’s time to pay the piper.
Times may get very hard, if they can’t come to some agreement.

It’s been a decades since America has faced such tough times. But we need to get our fiscal house in order before we lose our way.

We need our Country strong. But another hit that is coming in January 2013 is to our Defense budget by way of Sequestration. 500 billion dollars will be taken from our Military (and non military contracts) and to anyone working for or with the Department of Defense, or any of it‘s contractors -- here‘s looking at you Lockheed. Oh and by the way, the Government has mandated that the normal 60 day layoff notification Contractors are required to received, nope not gonna happen. Those notices aren’t going to go out prior to the election. They’d rather pay the fine, or rather let us taxpayers pay the fine. So people whose jobs may be on the line may not be aware of it prior to voting for a President. That’s crap. I live in a military town, it will have a dramatic impact here.

Is the national media talking about that?
Not so much. Have you heard much about this?

Thank you for listening, I appreciate that you let me vent. I just hope that everyone can look beyond the rhetoric and make decisions on what they find to be true. Not what is hidden behind smoke screens. Because if the media and the politicians can hide, believe me, they will. If they can spin, they will. If they can misrepresent, that too. I have seen it repeatedly.

You know what I find even sadder, is when someone does tell they truth, they are labeled a liar.

It is going to continue to. Sadly enough.
And it’s going to get very ugly over the next month.
I have never seen anything quite like this.
I don’t think there is anyone who likes the way all of this mud slinging is being tossed around nor the way the media machine handles it.

So even after we make the choice on whether we want to go with a choice of more or less government (the choice is crystal clear in this election -- you can pick one or the other that’s up to you) base your decision on the facts and then you will know you made the right conclusion.

So there’s that fork in the road, it’s time to chose.
Chose wisely.
Chose informed.
The American way of life may be in the balance.

**comments off**
*this is only my opinion*

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