Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"But I voted for Obama!"

A few houses down from mine there's a sweet old man who lives with his son and daughter-in-law. Every day I walk my dog past his house and he comes out and talks to me. I'm pretty sure he has no idea what my name is. The truth is, I have no clue what his name is either. I just refer to him as the old man.
In spite of our lack of familiarity, we have a nice chat every morning. His son (who is closer to my father in age than he is to me) and I like to chat about politics regularly. He and I are both Romney fans. The old man voted for Obama.
On occasion the old man will ask me for help with something if no one else is at home with him. A few days ago he came out of the house in a huff, holding a letter. His son was getting in the car to leave and warned me his dad was in a mood because he just got a letter about his Social Security. After the son left, the old man and I had a chat.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Va Governor's Race Just Got Interesting



Virginia state politics just got interesting.
Actually, the commonwealth's governor race was already pretty interesting. (Read why here.) But this week Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling dropped out of the 2013 Republican race, giving  current Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli a wide open path to securing that nomination.
Bolling announced his decision via email on Wednesday morning. Not surprisingly he cited the switch from a statewide primary to an “exclusive” party convention as one of the reasons. Ever since the switch in June, state party members have openly discussed how the switch favored Cuccinelli and would hurt Bolling.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Don't believe everything you read on Facebook

Another great reason to not believe most internet/Facebook memes!
This meme is making the rounds on Facebook today courtesy of a Facebook page called "We Survived Bush. You will survive Obama."
It makes some big claims that seem pretty outrageous, even if you do buy into the idea that all CEOs are evil and greedy.
So I did my own research.

Here are the facts (and unbiased facts at that. I don't like Twinkies or Wonder Bread. But I do love Hohos.)-
1. Yes, in January of 2012, several of the execs asked for pay raises, including then CEO Brian Driscoll, who asked for a $1.5 million raise.
2. The motion (to the board) DID NOT PASS.
3. Brian Driscoll left the company in March.
4. The current CEO is Greg Rayburn. He makes $100,000/month.
5. In September, during the bankruptcy proceedings, the Teamsters agreed to major concessions, including cuts in wages and company contributions to health care. As part of the deal, all of the company’s unions were to receive a 25 percent share of the company’s stock and a $100 million claim in bankruptcy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Benghazi-Petraeus-Broadwell-Allen-Kelley Scandal

With the elections over it almost seemed like I was going to run out of material for this blog. But that is not the case! This Benghazi-Petraeus-Broadwell-Allen-Kelley scandal is too crazy to not talk about.

Let's do a really simple recap of what promises to quickly not be a simple situation.

General David Petraeus-
Former top dog in Afghanistan
Former General
Was the CIA director until a few days ago
Knows a lot of dirt on Benghazi
Had an affair with Paula Broadwell (his biographer)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Did Romney and Republicans Go Wrong?

I’m just starting to come out of my cocoon of disavowal of Tuesday’s outcomes. I’m still a little behind and don’t know full facts and figures. (And I continue to like it that way.) But these two articles got me to thinking-

Why Romney was surprised to lose
Inside Orca: How the Romney Campaign Suppressed Its Own Vote

I admit there is a part of me that is still a little bitter over Team Orca. I was a part of it. I spent 13 hours working at the polls (freezing my butt off) on Tuesday.  I had a small glitch around noon, and a longer glitch around 6 pm. I had no trouble calling into the national number and getting assistance.

If the campaign knew full well that their system wasn’t working, why did they allow thousands of workers to stand out there and work? I worked for 13 hours and they weren’t getting any data from me? If the system wasn’t working and they had all those boots on the ground, why didn’t they call us in to the field offices to work the phones? Does any of that make sense to you that they would mismanage the usefulness of nearly 30,000 active volunteers? Something just doesn’t add up there.

Not to mention how it just doesn’t add up that Romney would have allowed something so crucial  as this web app to not get beta tested and proven first. I’m the last person ever to become a conspiracy theorist, but this really just doesn’t add up for me. None of it does.

Why would a campaign in the final minutes not throw a hail mary, redirect 20-30,000 volunteers, and do something?? If the app suddenly failed and you have all those dedicated volunteers, why didn't they correct course or change directions? Even if the command didn't come down from the headquarters, why didn't thousands of field offices (who supposedly may have known the apps were failing) not make the call?

Supposedly fewer people came out to vote for Romney than voted for McCain. How is that possible? I am very confused over this. Again, I’m not a conspiracy type, but it just doesn’t add up. It either means the numbers just have to be wrong, or there are a lot of people who really didn’t want to vote for the Mormon. They didn’t want to vote for Obama, but in the end they just couldn’t vote for the Mormon? Or that many people came out specifically to vote against Romney? Honestly, that feeling sickens me to the point of not knowing which one I would rather it not be- a rigged election or that much bigotry?

I am admittedly not a die-hard Republican. I’m far too libertarian on foreign policies. And I have wanted to see a stronger third party emerge for a while. I think the Tea Party ruined the GOP, and forced it to go too conservative. I also think the primaries are too focused on social issues, driven by the evangelical vote that is not effective in the national elections.

I want to see the party get divided. I want to see a liberal party, a moderate party, and the freak show conservative Tea Party. And I will admittedly be right in the middle of the moderates. I don’t like extremism either way and I believe in compromise, and neither party offers that. I really, really want social issues to get kicked to the states, and left out of the federal government. I think a third party could sell that better than the Republicans have so far. And I think a third more central party could bring a better sense of compromise to energy issues.

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Will Keep the Faith. I Still Believe.

In my column for Meridian Magazine yesterday (Elections, Facebook, and the Throne of Thoughtless Stupor) I quoted Elder Neal A. Maxwell.   (For my non-Mormon friends, he was a much beloved leader in the Mormon Church who was known for not only his incredible knowledge and understanding of the scriptures, but his beautiful way with words. Check out this YouTube clip of him talking about Jesus Christ and the Universe. It's wonderful.)

 “The same God that placed that star in a precise orbit millennia before it appeared over Bethlehem in celebration of the birth of the Babe has given at least equal attention to placement of each of us in precise human orbits so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others but warm them as well.”

I have often turned to this quote when I question what is the point of my life and why I have had to suffer through two bad economies and long periods of under/unemployment (the first after 2001 and again now). I said yesterday in my column, and I will try to say it again in my heart again today, that if the Lord can place a star over a stable, and that the placement of my life in this humanly orbit is no mistake, then I have no choice but to believe that something and someone as important as the President of the United States is not just the will of the people (because I must believe that all those people are here at this time and place as purposefully as my existence is), but who the POTUS is is the will of the Lord as well.

And so even though I am heartbroken and sad, and felt that much of my personal opportunities and happiness were tied up in the results of this election, I will accept the results and move on. And I will not cave in to the tendencies of so many to become a “doomsday prepper,” or moan and groan about what might happen next. I will wake up each day and remind myself that this is what the Lord has allowed, and continue on with the belief that He will never leave me without opportunities and choice.

There is a common belief in the firearms industry that firearms sell better under a democrat president. When people are afraid of losing their guns, they buy more of them. And you know what? Maybe the same holds true about many things in life. If people are afraid of where our country will go under this president, maybe they will fight harder to prevent those things from happening? Would they fight as hard under a Romney presidency? (Probably not.) Heed the battle call and join the fight. After all, it is no mistake that you were placed here in this orbit now.

It is my job to be happy and keep the faith no matter my circumstance. And if there is anything I have worked hard on these last 3 years it is finding joy in spite of difficulties. I will soldier on in God’s Army and choose to find joy, no matter what, and keep up my faith that the Lord will provide.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Live Blogging Election Returns

(I'm adding thoughts at the bottom this time, instead of the top)

9 pm
After a very long day of volunteering as a poll watcher I am almost too exhausted to blog tonight. And yet I am so overly revved up that there is no way I can relax either. I'm close to spontaneous self-combustion.
I think the reality of a Mormon being in the White House has just hit me. It's here. It is finally happening. I can only imagine this is how African Americans felt 4 years ago.

I really want Virginia to go to Romney. Waiting on my own home state is going to kill me!!!
The first SWING STATE is in! Michigan goes to Obama. A bit disappointing, and not what I had predicted, but alas, it is done.

The House goes GOP majority.
I have some rude in your face things in my head that I will not vocalize to Nancy Pelosi right now.

Crap Pennsylvania looks like it is going to Obama. That's not good.

Senate is sitting at 41/41
The nightmare scenario where the electoral ties, and it goes to the house and senate, is actually feeling REAL.

Anyone else think it is hilarious that they haven't just called Utah for Romney already?

I'm going to freaking lose my mind. This is too much pressure and stress for someone so exhausted!!!!!!

10:04pET Romney 158 vs. Obama 147

John King is teasing a GOP surprise in Wisconsin!
Part of me is so sure it will be Romney. And yet... I just don't know. It's coming down to VA, NC, FL, OH. And apparently Wisconsin.
It's a good thing no one is here to see me singing "On Wisconsin" all by myself.

And now CNN is starting to say that without some huge surprises, they don't see how Romney can win. But "the Romney strategy to 270 is still in play."

My gut says VA goes to Romney. Why? Because 8 of 11 House races have gone to the Republican so far.  The Senate race is holding strong at 50/50 (between 2 former governors). Romney has a tiny lead, but my gut says he holds on to it.

I'm starting to take it personally that CNN (and no one on twitter) hasn't commented on Team Orca and Romney turn out in swing states. But I can promise you it was Team Orca making the difference in Wisconsin!!

Crap. Kaine beat Allen.

Crap, Iowa goes to Obama.
It's starting to look like 4 more years of Obama.
To someone underemployed and at times unemployed as I am, this is incredibly depressing. There is no hope.

Completely and in every way depressing.
I don't see how the economy ever recovers. And I don't see how I ever get real employment again. I really don't.

It looks like this will probably come down to 10-20 electoral votes difference. There's some degree of hope in knowing that a few states could be contested, but not a lot of it. Oh well. What can you do?

Just some thoughts/facts-

Bush won with 47.9% of popular vote- 50,456,002
Gore lost with 48.4%, or 50,999,897
Or a 543, 895 votes.

Some thoughts from a sad loser-
I'm looking over the results state by state. I'm noticing an interesting trend. But first, let me say, I'm a fan of the electoral college. I like the weighted state system because it speaks to the original intent of the country- a union of states or colonies. We were meant to be individual units, that united together, but operated independently. And so the weighted electoral system made sense.
But take a look at these figures- (note I did not include VA, FL, OH, HI, and AK in these numbers)

Romney wins 23 states, and of those 23, he won 10 with a lead of 21% or higher. He only has 2 states in the single digits. In other words, when he won, HE WON.
Georgia 8%
Kentucky 23%
Indiana 9%
South Carolina 14%
North Carolina 2%
West Virginia 27%
Alabama 22%
Missouri 11%
Tennessee 29%
Mississippi 13%
Oklahoma 24%
Arkansas 23%
Arizona 13%
Kansas 20%
Nebraska 23%
South Dakota 20%
Louisiana 20%
North Dakota 20%
Texas  18%
Wyoming 40%
Montana 10%
Utah 45%
Idaho 43%

Obama won 20 states. And of those he has 6 states with less than a 10% lead. In other words, he didn't have overwhelming wins (except in DC and Vermont).

Vermont 36%
Delaware 18%
Maine 20%
Massachussetts 20%
New Jersey 17%
Pennsylvania 6%
Connecticut 12%
DC 84%
Illinois 17%
Maryland 23%
New Hampshire 6%
Rhode Island 27%
Colorado 3%
Minnesota 3%
New Mexico 9%
Michigan 6%
New York 20%
Wisconsin 14%
California 14%
Oregon 9%

As of right now (12:45 am), Romney still has the lead in the popular vote, albeit, a razor thin lead.

I still believe in the electoral system because I am definitely pro-state. I believe in the state system. However, I am definitely more in favor of a proportional electoral college. We have a few states going to that method this year. And I do think we will see more states go to it by the next presidential campaign. Why? Well, look at these numbers.

NOTE: I'm doing this math completely exhausted and without a calculator at 1 am. It is very rough math, but I have applied it equally. And I always rounded up.
(NOTE: by the time I started these numbers there were a few more results in from VA, OH, FL)

Georgia 8%  R8, O8
Kentucky 23% R5, O3
Indiana 9% R6, O5
South Carolina 14% R5, O4
North Carolina 2% R8, O7
West Virginia 27% R3, O2
Alabama 22% R6, O3
Missouri 11% R6, O4
Tennessee 29% R7, O4
Mississippi 13% R4, O2
Oklahoma 24% R4, O3
Arkansas 23% R4, O2
Arizona 13% R6, O5
Kansas 20% R4, O2
Nebraska 23% R3, O2
South Dakota 20% R2, O1
Louisiana 20% R5, O3
North Dakota 20% R2, O1
Texas  18% R22, O16
Wyoming 40% R2, O1
Montana 10% R2, O1
Utah 45% R4, O2
Idaho 43% R3, O1
 TOTAL= 121 Romney
82 Obama

Vermont 36%  O2, R1
Delaware 18% O2, R1
Maine 20% O3, R1
Massachussetts 20% O6, R5
New Jersey 17% O8, R6
Pennsylvania 6% O11, R10
Connecticut 12% O4, R3
DC 84% O3
Illinois 17% O11, R9
Maryland 23% O6, R4
New Hampshire 6% O2, R2
Rhode Island 27% o3, R1
Colorado 3% O5, R4
Minnesota 3% O5, R5
New Mexico 9% O3, R2
Michigan 6% o8, R8
New York 20% o20, R9
Wisconsin 6% O5, R5
California 14% O23, R22
Oregon 9% O4, R3
Washington 13% O7, R5
Virginia 1% O7, R6
Ohio 1% O9, R9

Obama 157
Romney 121

Obama 229
Romney  242

Florida still outstanding, but will be about 49% for both people, bringing results to –
Obama 233
Romney 256

Alaska and Hawaii still outstanding for 7 electoral votes. Even if all 7 go to Obama, he still can't catch up.

As I finish typing this, and get ready to finally fall asleep after a very long day, President Obama has taken the lead in the popular vote by a scant margin (400,000 votes). My guess is that number will easily change again and go back in favor of Romney. After all, there's nearly 8 million people in Florida alone who aren't included in that number.

But let's say Obama takes the popular vote, it will only be by 1 or 2%, just like Romney's current (or was current) lead. This is the beauty of the electoral college- the states still have weight.
Like I said, I do believe in the idea of weighted states. But I like it because I like power belonging to the states and operating individually from each other. And even with a proportional electoral college, the states still have the power. The voice of the people is better heard, and the states are still strong.
Again, if my math is completely crazy, I blame the late hour and exhaustion. But I doubt it is too far off. I'm am sure it is slightly off though.
Just a few things to think about.
And maybe someday, when I have free time again, and I'm all caught up on sleep, I'll write out a little discourse on the call for smaller states, or mandated state sizes. And at the same time, give a compelling reason for Puerto Rico and DC statehood, and a very good argument against it (the answer to all of the above: natural resources). But there is something to be said for 90% of FL being forced to follow the political ideals of one metropolis. Same with California. Oh but see, this will bring me right back around to a proportional electoral college.
And yes, before you go there, I do realize that a proportional college would also require changing the 270 requirement.

Election Day is finally here!


Go vote!
Good luck!
And may all Americans win!

I'll be out with "Team Orca" starting at 5:30 am! Gotta go do my duty!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

49/49 Polls, polls and more polls

A last minute look at the polls released today-

CNN/ORC International poll shows a dead heat in the race for the White House, but also on almost every major indicator of President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney that was tested in the poll. That's HUGE. Not that a 49/49  result is what anyone wants...

A new Michigan poll shows Romney eeking ahead 46.86% to President Obama's 46.24%. That would swing Michigan (which in the map I posted yesterday had MI in blue) pink, with its 16 EVs. 

A new Rasmussen poll released Sunday also shows the 49/49 split. The Rasmussen Reports Electoral College projections now show the president with 237 Electoral Votes and Romney 206. Eight states with 95 Electoral College votes remain Toss-ups: Colorado,   Florida, Iowa, NevadaNew HampshireOhio,Virginia and Wisconsin. Note that they did not pull MI out of the O column. I'm going to take MI out of Obama's number and stick it in toss-up, giving us Obama 221, Romney 206, with 111 toss-ups. 

And now there's 49 percent support for Obama among likely voters, 48 percent for Romney in the latest ABC News/Washington Post daily tracking poll.

And last but not least, USA Today is also showing a 48/48. Unreal.

Using the latest RCP polls, I filled out the CNN do it yourself map. I kept with the RCP numbers except on Michigan, where I used the latest polls that only came out a few hours ago. 

That gives us 274 Obama, 264 Romney. 
You know what I think? I think it is impossible to call. Except I think Team Orca just might make the difference in the too close to call states. 
What's Team Orca? We'll discuss that on Tuesday. 

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Possible Election Outcomes and What Happens if there is a Tie??

Tuesday is coming! Tuesday is coming!
And finally all of the political ads and polling calls will end!! YEAH!!!

Real Clear Politics (and several other outlets) have some useful tools for creating your own electoral results map. My best guess for the electoral college is below.I scrolled my page so that I couldn't see the electoral count total at the top, so I wouldn't be tempted to swing a state one way or the other to make my candidate win.  I was very surprised by the total number in the end. I didn't realize a tie was a possibility in the electoral college!

(I created my own electoral map on Real Clear Politics.)
Any time there was a 2 or 3 point spread, I gave it to the higher party. If there was only a 0-2 point spread I gave it to the underdog, IF and only if the chart shows an upward trend in recent weeks for the underdog. The only 2 states I really don't think anyone can call are Virginia and Colorado. I gave both to Romney using my underdog trending upward theory. And because you don't see a lot of Obama supporters in my town. I also called Nevada for Romney based on the fact that in the past it has gone Republican, except in 2008.

So what happens if there is a tie at the electoral college? Some fascinating stuff I tell you. And a strong scenario for a Romney-Biden administration.
Say what?
Oh yes.
Time for a lesson on the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, the Electoral College, and the calendar that will blow your mind.
We vote on November 6.
Sometime between Nov 6 and Dec 11 the electoral representatives gather with their states to formally declare that their state will be voting a certain way.
(Ahem, people are already raising the Ron Paul disruption flag here. I have no desire to address that right now. Maybe I will if and when there really is a tie.)
The electoral college will be held on December 17th. The votes are cast, but not counted.
The votes are formally counted on January 6.
NOTE- The new 113th Congress will swear-in on January 3rd!
Therefore it is the NEW House of Representatives that counts the votes for president. The new Senate counts the votes for VP. If there is a tie, the 12th Amendment declares that the House then gets to vote and decide who will be the president. And the Senate will vote on who gets the VP seat.
SIGNIFICANT DETAIL- The new House is expected to go overwhelmingly GOP. But the Senate is still a toss up!
And because our Founding Fathers never really cared for a majority of the popular vote of anything, the winner must win with a 2/3rds majority! And the Senate will most likely be 50/50!
Who casts the deciding vote when the Senate is all tied up?
The vice president!
You know, VP Biden.
Yes, it is possible that he would then have to cast the deciding vote for the VP. Does he vote for himself or Paul Ryan in that scenario??
Another interesting conundrum- if you are the newly elected congressperson, and you are a Republican, but your district voted for Obama for president, who do you vote for in your first ever chance to vote in the House? Your party or your people???

(Source: An Electoral College Tie Would Be an Hilarious Disaster, Huffington Post)

Now, another suggestion from my polluted late-night mind-

Sadly, we all know that New York has been suffered a lot of devastation from Hurricane Sandy. Much of the 5 boroughs are still under water and without electricity. This is likely to effect voter turnout. They are already talking about consolidating precincts (and when people don't know where to go vote they don't turn out), and how many precincts have no power.
New York is firmly in the blue right now. Obama has a 26% lead over Romney.
BUT! If voter turnout is low in the boroughs, could the rest of the state sway the overall vote?
Take a look at these older maps-

The top map is Bush/Kerry, the bottom is Obama/McCain. Both times the state went for the Democrat. But look at how much of the state is actually red! Personally I feel that the Bush/Kerry models are more accurate than the Obama/McCain models because McCain never had the support that Romney does now.
In my humble opinion, without the boroughs New York is in play. The overall vote is more important than the county results. And if few people turn out to vote in the boroughs, that can really sway things.

FACT CHECK- I am fairly certain that I am right about overall vote versus county results. I have heard that this is not the case in all states. I can't find any information to indicate I am wrong about New York.

If you pull New York out of the "strong Obama" category and move it to "leaning Romney" you really have a toss up scenario.

One more detail to note- New York has a little known law that allows them to hold a second voting day in case of a natural disaster!

(In all fairness, I applied this same logic to New Jersey which was also hard hit by the storm. However, the state overall is fairly split blue and red, but no one side of the state is more red or blue.) 

Here are a few more maps and the way these major publications are calling it-

CNN electoral map with toss-ups Obama 237, Romney 206. 

NY Times with toss-ups., Obama 243, Romney 206. The major difference between NYT and CNN is NYT is calling Nevada for Obama. 

Real Clear Politics with no toss-ups. Obama 290, Romney 248. 

All 3 publications are calling Nevada for Obama. I personally think this is a mistake. Nevada is currently Obama 50, Romney 47.3. Romney has never had the lead in Nevada, but he is on an upward trend there. I think that is a good sign he could catch up and win. And I have a hard time believing that in the end the Mormons won't come out and really win it for him. That is the only state I truly disagree with the polls on. I really do thing the rest of the toss up states are unpredictable at this point.

And more than anything, I think there is little to no chance of this election actually getting settled and answered on Tuesday night.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Are We Controlled by History and Weather?

Are we a country trapped and held back by its own history?
Be patient with me as I work my thoughts out here. I'm learning as I type. 
The most powerful and largest cities in the world are also some of the oldest. The worldwide centers of power continue to reside in their historic birthplaces. And as I look over pictures of of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Washington, DC and New York City, I can't help but wonder if it is unwise for such important businesses and agencies to be housed in geographically precipitous areas? 
Centers of power are located not in the area most protected or beneficial. They are located where history grew them- which means they are centered around archaic trade routes, usually based on ocean or maritime trade. (New York, London, Hong Kong, Chicago, etc.) Most major cities were built around rivers and wind trade routes. As the major ports of commerce, it made sense back then. No major cities were built in their locations because they were centrally located to the nation, in a well-protected (easy to defend) spot, or in an "elementally" wise area (unlikely to be hit by hurricanes, earthquakes, and crippling snowstorms). In fact, most major cities, because of their maritime roots, were built in the worst locations possible for weather problems. 
Why haven't any major countries moved their center of power to a more modern, wiser location? I realize it would require a massive and costly change of infrastructure, not to mention overcoming public sentiment and attachment. But with all of our modern technologies and abilities it seems strange to me we have not relocated seats of government and centers of economic strength to more prudent location. 

The New York Stock Exchange has been closed for two days. Think about the fiscal impact that has around the world. Weather is controlling the economy. Wouldn't it be smarter to locate such an important financial institution in a more habitable clime? 

To me it seems strange that since we have the ability to relocate the most important parts of our infrastructure to more reasonable, safer locations, that we have not yet begun to do so. 
Not to mention the national security factors! Wouldn't the seat of government be safer not on a seaboard and instead in the center of the country? Or shouldn't the government and financial headquarters be in areas less likely to be affected by severe weather? 
We have NORAD, and most data happens online, and is (in theory) appropriately backed up so as to prevent irreversible losses. But it still just seems to me that it would be wise to move power centers to more modern and technologically wise locations that aren't historically rooted in maritime trade. 
As I think it through though, I'm not even really sure where in the U.S. more prudent locations would be. The center of the country- St Louis, Kansas City - comes to mind, but they are very prone to severe weather. San Diego and Phoenix seem to be two of the least weather affected locations in the U.S.. But then, San Diego is also a beneficiary of maritime winds and trade. (Ooh, but more food for thought- how different would the war on drugs be if the government were located that close to the border??) Also, it isn't central enough or secure enough (earthquakes). The more I think about it there is only one state that really comes to mind for not having severe weather. It isn't incredibly central, but it is landlocked, and would have good natural defenses for security purposes. I've never heard of major snowstorms, earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes affecting this region. It has no existing infrastructure though. 
So my question to you is this- if you were given the terra firma of the United States, with natural resources intact, as a blank slate to build from the ground up, where would you put your government, military, and financial seats of power? 
(I'll put my spots in the comments below.)

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Future Fallouts

The election is finally less than two weeks away. The “fiscal cliff” is only about two months away. The federal fiscal year has just begun, and many companies and agencies are feeling good.  The jobs report next month will look great with many companies getting in some quick hiring now that the federal fiscal year has turned over and new budgets are out.
But will it all hold up? Will the presidential election change things? And how will the fiscal cliff impact you and your portfolio?
Here’s some food for thought: Democrats like to create jobs within the federal government. Republicans like to create jobs with military spending (the jobs come both within the military and in civilian contracts with the military). There is a well defined line between federal and military jobs. The biggest difference is that federal jobs don’t directly help the overall economy (but they do help the government and community), and it only creates a finite number of jobs.
Military sector jobs not only help the military, they help foster research, inventions, development, and improvements from the commercial sector, and help the economy. Not all military spending goes to bullets and bombs. Much of it goes to create new technology that starts out as a need for the military, and gets adapted for civilian use. Case in point- the internet (regardless of what Al Gore may have told you), microwaves, cargo pants, and duct tape. U.S. defense contractors are concerned about future and on-going operations due to uncertainty over military budget cuts promised by President Obama in his campaign, and federal spending cuts under the sequestration (“fiscal cliff”).
The largest defense contractor is Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT). The company researches, designs, develops, manufactures, integrates, operates and sustains advanced technology systems, products and services. It serves customers in domestic and international defense and civil markets. Lockheed will be vulnerable to cuts because of its role in large projects such as the Joint Strike Fighter. The company employs over 100,000 people worldwide.
Lockheed’s CEO, Bob Stevens, said in a call with reporters about the company’s third quarter earnings that the Pentagon had indicated no impact on contracts was expected on Jan. 2 when the cuts would come into force, unless Congress drops the move during its lame duck session. The government advises that contracts would likely not be affected for at least three months (or one fiscal quarter) after that.
Joining the club of CEO’s concerned about sequestration is W. James McNerney of Boeing (NYSE: BA). In September he said that the threat of tax increases and spending cuts “throw cold water on long term planning.” Considering the contractor employs more than 150,000 people across the United States and in 70 countries, it is not good news to hear it is hesitant to hire.
Like all other CEO’s, Northrop Grumman’s Wes Bush is against sequestration. However, on an earnings call in July he told investors, “I want to be clear that we will be ready to address the environment should [sequestration cuts] occur ... we’re going to be ready.”

Active duty military personnel will be exempt from many of the budget cuts, and the Department of Defense will be able to move funds in order to keep critical readiness activities running. However, the cuts do not exempt new equipment and facilities, such as the ones contractors like Boeing and Northrop Grumman provide. Sequestration would mean the layoff of more than 100,000 Defense employees. The Pentagon’s ability to award new contracts will also be seriously limited and reduced, which will effect contractors down the road (3-4 years).

The fiscal cliff would hurt many businesses and put thousands of people out of work. Can the upcoming elections prevent this disaster?
Here are some scenarios-
First, Congress has to be able to work together, and much of the Congress will be “lame duck.” Motivation should be high regardless of re-election, one would hope, but even the most motivated of employees and/or elected officials have trouble with productivity around the holidays. And much of the required work will happen around the holidays.
If President Obama is re-elected, he will have to contend with re-elected Republicans who will be out to make a very strong point. The possibility of unity and cooperation will be a pipe dream, as Republicans set out to send a clear message to the president.
If President Obama is not re-elected the situation is still muddy and complicated. First, a lame duck administration has nothing to lose. Historically, previous administrations have included the incoming administration on important events. This administration has yet to show a penchant for following previous examples. Will a lame duck administration and a lame duck Congress pull together? Or leave the mess for the new party to deal with?
If the fiscal cliff is not averted and President Obama is re-elected, there will be massive cutbacks, layoffs, and much higher taxes. And all the money men on Wall Street will see it coming, and pull back their money in advance, leading us down the path to a massive crash. And that's before the crushing taxes hit! This is the “taxmageddon” scenario so many people have feared. (My recommendation- withdraw all your savings, move to a tropical island, and live off of $3 a day. It may be your only hope.) Also say goodbye to dividend stocks  in the defense industry for several years.
The Washington, DC area will specifically be very hard hit with no turnover in political jobs, while thousands in the defense sector become unemployed. Expect the DC area housing market to take a very hard hit.
If the fiscal cliff is not averted and Governor Romney is elected, there is slightly more hope. There will still be higher taxes, cutbacks, and layoffs due to sequestration. However, Romney promises to make several changes on “Day One” that would alleviate tax burdens on many individuals. The defense sector will also be able to breathe easier, knowing that Romney intends to increase spending, and not make cutbacks on them.
The Washington, DC area will see the typical election turnover in political jobs, and under Romney, not as many defense employees will face long-term unemployment.
If sequestration is avoided and Romney is elected, the defense sector can throw a party. More spending, more jobs, and more contracts mean better stocks. And Washington, DC will suddenly be a great place to find a job with lowered taxes, more spending, and less fear of layoffs.
There is one positive note if sequestration occurs- federal income taxes will likely get delayed a few weeks as the IRS and lawmakers work to quickly rewrite and disseminate the changes to the tax code.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ruminations on the FINAL Presidential Debate (can I get an amen?)!

I love the body language and presence in this picture!

Here's a little secret for you-
When it comes to foreign policy, I am not a Republican. Nor am I a Democrat.  My personal foreign policies have never found a good political home and probably never will, unless Mother Theresa and General Schwartzkopf ever decide to form a party together.

I'm sure you want to know what my foreign policies are, so I'm going to tell you, in my roundabout sort of way. Have you ever read the book, The Ugly American? Well, to put it mildly, this 1960's novel had a profound effect on my political views. But it wasn't just the novel, it was traveling and volunteering in places like Haiti, Romania, and Cambodia and seeing scenes from the book play out in real life.

My political views on international affairs begin with humanitarian aid, and education. I give just as much weight and importance to issues such as sex trafficking and education in low-income countries as I do to sanctions against Iran. Educate and feed the poverty stricken countries now, and you'll improve the world economy and have more peaceful allies in the future. Putting a higher emphasis on bringing clean water and education to countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, and large portions of Africa, can help prevent regimes like Gaddafi's in the future. 

Want to create more American jobs? Send Americans overseas to work in third world countries!

Now, back to the debates-

One man had a record to prove and defend; the other had an opinion to defend. And the one with the opinion often had no choice but to give his opinion to journalists before he ever had all of the facts. Of course I say this assuming that a sitting president has far more intel and details about world affairs than a former governor who until recently got his information from the media.

In short, the debate could be summed up as such- Governor Mitt Romney wants the U.S. to play a stronger role in international and peacekeeping conflicts, and would spend more money on the military. President Barack Obama believes the U.S. plays a strong role in the world theater, and tried to show that his leadership is working, and that Romney’s ideas would not work. The problem is that the two men want the same outcome, but their plans to get there are barely different from the other’s.

Shh! I can hear all of you Romney supporters screaming at me from here! I know you hate to hear anyone suggest such a thing, but it’s the truth. Romney and Obama are not that different when it comes to foreign policy. I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I kind of missed Ron Paul tonight. He would have at least brought some color and a different opinion to the table.
Both candidates are firmly against Iran getting a nuclear weapon. (But then, is there any candidate, other than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who wants Iran to have an nuke?) Both favor sanctions against Iran, and want to form better allies in the fight against Iran. Romney tried to set himself apart by saying he would take a harder line than Obama, and would indict Iran’s president for inciting “genocide.” Whether or not that is actually a feasible or possible plan, I do not know. It sounds exciting and strong, but may not actually play out well at the United Nations.

The facts of the matter are that we only have so many options in dealing with Iran- turn a blind eye and hope for the best, or military actions, sanctions, and strategic alliances. To the best of my knowledge only Ron Paul favors the blind eye approach.

On the subject of Libya, President Obama said he has taken a leadership role in the changing Middle East, including the ousting of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from power.
"I and Americans took leadership in organizing an international coalition that made sure that we were able to—without putting troops on the ground, at the cost of less than what we spent in two weeks in Iraq—liberate a country that had been under the yoke of dictatorship for 40 years, got rid of a despot who had killed Americans," he said. (And English teachers everywhere cringed.)

For some reason Romney didn’t take that opportunity to attack the President on the Benghazi assassination. He has not been shy about criticizing Obama on the issue in recent weeks. It was surprising that he didn’t do it in this debate. In my opinion, this was a big mistake.

The one place the two candidates differ significantly is on defense spending, and these differences aren’t just their differences, they are deep down to the core party differences. Democrats don’t like to put money into the military, Republicans do. It is that simple.

Here’s some food for thought: Democrats like to “create jobs” within the federal government. Republicans like to create jobs with military spending (the jobs come both within the military and in civilian contracts with the military). There is a well defined line between federal and military jobs. The biggest difference is that federal jobs don’t help the overall economy, they help the government. And it creates a finite number of jobs. Military sector jobs not only help the military, they help foster research, inventions, development, and improvements from the commercial sector, and help the economy. Not all military spending goes to bullets and bombs. Much of it goes to create new technology that starts out as a need for the military, and gets adapted for civilian use. Case in point- the internet (regardless of what Al Gore may have told you), microwaves, cargo pants, and duct tape.

Both men declared their support for Israel when asked what the U.S. should do if Israel were attacked by Iran. Obama said, “I will stand with Israel if Israel is attacked.” Moments later Romney declared, “If Israel is attacked, we have their back.” But again I ask, is there anyone who plans to turn their back on Israel?

Both candidates also oppose U.S. military involvement in Syria. Obama did try and make some points on his leadership efforts in Syria. However, most of these points failed to hit home, and will not resonate with anyone. The U.S. population overall has remained disconnected to the Syrian conflict, with most of the major news outlets (excluding CNN) largely ignoring it.

A CNN poll released right after the debate showed no clear “winner” for the night. An MSNBC poll showed 59% of viewers were more likely to vote for Obama after the debate (no surprise there). The ABC poll showed the candidates in a virtual tie on international affairs. And a CBS poll showed 53% of the people feeling Obama “won” the debate, 23% felt Romney won, and 25% felt it was a tie. As of midnight, there was not a Fox News report on who “won” the night. But I'm pretty sure we can all predict what their poll will inevitably say. 

It is unfortunate that international affairs and foreign policy will continue to stay the American people’s shortcoming. Equal or adequate time is rarely given in classrooms or the media when it comes to the subjects. There are enough domestic issues to fill newspapers and news reports, without needing to invest much in conflicts and stories in faraway lands. And so we are often misinformed and under-informed. We are naively guided by biases, rumors, and third hand ideas, rather than facts and figures. We build opinions on what another country needs having never been to that country, met someone from that country, or listened to the voice of the people in that country. All too often we assume that what they need is a little dose of our American medicine and trample our military in to give it to them. I am happy that both presidential candidates shy away from this approach, and instead lean to negotiations and sanctions first.

All this talk about Iran has me thinking of one of my favorite Saturday Night Live digital shorts- 

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

President Obama at the Al Smith Dinner (or Obama Embraced by Catholics/Romney Dines with Rich People)

President Obama had a few good jokes at the Al Smith dinner too. But only a few, not a lot. His delivery wasn't quite as good as Romney's, and he joked about himself a little too much. But, to be fair, he was funny too.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mitt Romney Jokes at Al Smith dinner with President Barack Obama

My only regret is that we can't see the President's reactions!

This is one time where real life actually did it better than the "West Wing."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thoughts on the Second Presidential Debate

First, I think President Obama decided to listen during his debate prep sessions finally. He must have figured out that "hope" isn't an actual debate strategy.

That's not to see Governor Romney didn't bring is A game. I believe he did. But the match was more evenly balanced this time. 

The big hot topics that emerged from the debate-

1. "Binders full of women."
I admit I did not hear this line the first time around. I was listening as I drove in the car, and missed this entire segment. I was surprised when I got online later that this statement, "binders full of women," was such a big deal. I was very curious what it could be about, because all I could find were people mocking the phrase, but no one saying what it meant, or what was wrong with it. I imagined it to be some horrible thing. I was actually incredibly disappointed to find what a benign statement it really was.

To be honest, it was awkward phrasing, but really, what was so wrong with it?? I don't get it.

2. Libya
Oy vey.
I never have liked Candy Crowley, in spite of my love for CNN. She just really likes to tell people they are wrong and to be critical. I honestly don't think she is more Obama than Romney. She just really likes to correct people, and in this case, she picked poorly. But I actually put the blame for this little moment of confusion on Romney for not fully explaining things. "Act of terror." He should have better explained that calling it an "act of terror," and yet, not terrorism, were not the same thing. But shame on Candy Crowley for not being a better moderator and asking him to explain himself, rather than cutting things off. Even Obama looks a little confused as to what went down.

And the correction admission

3. President Obama's speaking style.
I bet everyone else with ADD like me is incapable of listening to him for more than a minute. There's so much dead air I lose focus and move on to shiny objects reflecting off the stage lights or counting freckles on the back of my hand. For the love, Mr. President, SPIT IT OUT!
You may want to complain that Obama got 3 more minutes of time than Romney did. But really, he just took up time. It wasn't speaking time. He likes to (pause) speak in (pause) short (pause) staccato (pause) phrases followed by a quick jumbled line altogether when he (pause) doesn't (pause) have a teleprompter to keep him together. (Pause..........................)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Voting with my lady parts?

President Obama (and others) have encouraged women to "vote with their lady parts."
Yes, I get the point. He wants women to vote for him, the candidate, who has more open and liberal women's rights pertaining to contraception and "women's health.*"
But here's the thing, when did thinking with a sex organ ever lead to a smart choice?
Oh, that's right.
In fact, don't we actually spend a lot of time trying to convince our friends not to think down south and use their heads instead??
And why would anyone want to ever vote one-note? One cause voting? It's the liberal equivalent of voting strictly on gun rights! Can you even imagine the outcry if the other candidate launched a campaign that said, "vote with your trigger finger?"
You also want to know why "voting with your lady parts" is just plain stupid? The POTUS has very little influence over such things. Congress, the Supreme Court, and state legislators have a lot more influence. Oh and so do doctors. If you are concerned about your lady parts, see a doctor, not a politician.

*I hate the term "women's health." No one is against women having good health. Just like no one is against men's health. This is one of the stupidest terms in recent history. How about we call it what it really is? Reproductive and sexual health would be a better term for it.

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Debates- do they matter?

Debates- do they matter?

I live in a swing state (obviously). I like politics (obviously). I can't go 30 minutes without somehow being bombarded by a political ad (TV, radio, internet, road signs, and/or phone calls). So I admit it is hard for me to fathom that there are undecided voters out there. How can anyone not know at this point?!

The "presidential debates" will start tomorrow night. President Barack Obama versus Former Governor Mitt Romney.

Is there possibly even one thing that could happen in these debates that could sway a voter? Is it wrong of me to assume that the undecideds are also the uninformed? And are they the type likely to watch a debate?

I can't say I don't want to see the two candidates pitted against each other. But only because I want to see my candidate win. It isn't because I want to be taught. Don't get me wrong, there is that tiny modicum of a possibility that maybe President Obama could do something so outrageously unexpected (for instance, admit he sucks at the economy and is a crappy leader) that could make me like him (not the same as sway my vote). Really, I only watch these things in hopes of another Newt Gingrich, "No I would not!" moment.

Which brings me back to my question.

Debates- do they matter?

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Getting the Handshake

A little too fun not to share.

My uncle, Dane McBride, gets a handshake from Gov Romney at the RNC just before Romney's acceptance speech. Thanks to Michael Bush, from Mitt the Man, for the clip!

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dishonorable Disclosures

Jim Davies, the brother of Ann Romney, sent this message and video out today. 

When you have 22 minutes to spare, this is an absolutely must-see video!  These people are professionals and know whereof they speak.Please watch this, share it, post to social media, etc. Every voter needs to understand the significance of the security leaks that have come from the Obama administration. It is time to put an end to the arrogance of these people who either do not understand the implications of their decisions, or are intentionally weakening and endangering our military and intelligence heroes.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Food Stamp Recipients Rise, 100 Days Until Taxmageddon

It was the side by side headlines on Drudge that caught my attention. 
Together those two headlines can really make you think. 
We're about to get taxed to death and 265,000 people were added to food stamps last month. (And only 200,000 jobs were created.)
Here's the thing, folks. Taxmageddon doesn't include how we're going to pay for that many people to be on welfare. 
I'm not criticizing anyone for needing food stamps. I just wonder how we're going to handle being able to support ourselves and pay that much in taxes. Not being able to feed and house yourself when employed because taxes are so burdensome does not qualify someone for food stamps. 

Taxmageddon is still avoidable. But I hope people understand Taxmageddon is in the hands of Congress and the Senate. It has little to do with the ongoing presidential battle. 
If Congress doesn't figure out how to fix things, this stuff really will happen. These aren't worthless political ad threats. It is a real thing. 
Personal income tax rates will rise on January 1, 2013. All tax brackets will move. Everyone poor, middle, or rich, will have their income taxes go up. The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6% (same rate most small business profits are taxed).  The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15%.  Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates.  The full list of marginal rate hikes is below:
-The 10% bracket rises to a new and expanded 15%
-The 25% bracket rises to 28%
-The 28% bracket rises to 31%
-The 33% bracket rises to 36%
-The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%
Itemized deductions and personal exemptions? What are they? How about your mortgage deduction or child tax credit? Think I'm making empty threats? I'm not.
Higher taxes on marriage and family coming on January 1, 2013.  The “marriage penalty” (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of taxable income.  The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child.  The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level.

This is getting scary. As someone who doesn't have a full-time job or full-time wages, this is more than scary. I have to pay taxes, but I don't have reliable income. And I don't qualify for any sort of assistance. I really don't know how I am going to both pay those taxes and support myself.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mitt Romney and the "taker class"

I'll let the national media and sensationalist bloggers hash out Gov Romney's statements about the "taker class." But just so we're all on the same page, here is what he said-
“These are people who pay no income tax,” but they are people “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.” 

I'm going to jump right ahead to where this argument will inevitably lead (once the mainstream media has finished their attack and decided to actually discuss the issue) (also known as when MSNBC and Fox News have found something else to talk about). 

The real question at the bottom of all this will be whether or not you think/feel/believe that someone who is on welfare should have to pay taxes.

On one hand there is the argument that if they are on welfare that obviously they cannot afford to pay taxes. 
Counterargument to that is could they get by if they didn't have to pay taxes and the welfare was removed? Or what if the precise dollar amount of the owed taxes was subtracted from the welfare payment? Could they get by then? 

There is also the argument of the free lunch. If taxes were removed and the welfare given, exactly what incentive is there ever for the recipient to find work? Why would they want to end the free lunch?

I admit that when I first lost my job a few years back that it came as a very rude awakening that I would be taxed for my unemployment benefits/insurance (UI). After all, I had paid taxes for years that entitled me to the UI. After all those years of paying taxes I was barely getting enough in UI to get by. And now they expected me to pay the same amount of taxes on the UI? It seemed contradictory to me to say the least. Take money from the government just to give money to the government? Senseless!

Except I never felt I was "taking" money from the government. The real answer comes just before that statement. "All those years of paying taxes." I had earned my UI. Every year since I was 14 years old I have had to pay taxes on my income. I've paid state and federal taxes for a very long time. The way I saw it, I was cashing out what I had put in to the system. I had helped contribute to the safety net. 

It still makes little sense to me to have to pay taxes on what is essentially the pay out of my taxes. But there is a big difference between welfare and unemployment insurance. I never qualified for welfare. (After all I am an able-bodied, single, adult, Caucasian female, with no dependents. They don't provide welfare to that category.) I only qualified for the part of the system I contributed to. But the welfare system is for those people who haven't contributed, who don't collect unemployment. 

Should those people be taxed? Should the poorer class be taxed? Or should the working or upper classes have to pay taxes to support them?

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Taxmageddon and Fiscal Cliffs- how much do you know?

So the question of the day is, how many of you know what "Taxmageddon" or the "fiscal cliff" really means? It is a word that has been tossed about in the news media for nearly 6 months now. Has it just sounded like a scary word about taxes? Or do you know what it actually means? 
In my new novel, "You Heard It Here First," the main character, Haley, finds herself in the middle of a political scandal regarding taxes. When I wrote it- more than 6 months ago- I had never heard the terms "fiscal cliff" or  "taxmageddon." You can only imagine my surprise when I began to research those terms a few weeks ago, and discovered that the completely fictitious storyline in my book, is actually a real life scenario right now (minus the political subterfuge and bad guys plot). 
Just like my character in the book, I'm starting to see a need more and more for women to learn and understand financial responsibility. I wrote a blog piece for the Motley Fool ("5 Ways to Protect Yourself from the Looming Fiscal Cliff") that hopefully explains what is going on right now, and why it is so important. And hopefully I wrote it in plain enough language that anyone could follow along.
Normally I just post pieces and say, hey, go check out my latest article! But today I'm going to ask you to check it out because I really do believe it is important to understand. The "fiscal cliff" or "taxmageddon" (which, btw, are the same thing) is not only very real, it is a very real threat to you personally, and to the economy. And once you understand the reality and severity of the situation, you'll see why those 2 names are not just for dramatic effect. The potential fallout of the current situation really would be a financial Armageddon!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

DNC boos putting God into the platform

Something fascinating happened off peak hours, and was therefore largely unseen, at the Democratic National Committee today.  The DNC suspended the rules of the convention and inserted language back into the platform.
It was called to a voice vote. Representatives there have made it clear that they did not have a quorum present to do so, and even then, the new language was not voted in favor of. In fact, it was booed.
The language in question- putting the word "God" back into the statement "we need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential."
" Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths."
Yes, that was booed.
Need more proof?

Both statements were in the 2008 party platform. The DNC had approved a platform the night before. Restoring the mention of Jerusalem goes along with what advisers said was the president's personal view, if not the policy of his administration. The administration has long said determining Jerusalem's status was an issue that should be decided by Israelis and Palestinians in peace talks, but has been careful not to state that Jerusalem is Israel's capital.
There is no question about it though. What happened around 5 pm ET today did not reflect the views of the majority of delegates at the convention. The vote had to be taken 3 times and even then, it is something of a stretch to say it passed with a majority (if they even had a 2/3 quorum present). After it passed it was loudly booed in the convention hall. 
Only time will tell if we will get an answer as to why these two defining and religious changes were made. Only time will tell why they were left out in the first place. 
But one thing is for sure, the reaction by the delegates may be the most telling part of the entire thing.

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Bain Capital's Tax Dodge- How David Callahan Gets it Completely Wrong

Far be it for me to take on a supposed expert such as David Callahan, senior fellow at Demos. He presumably has an education that I clearly do not have. But his piece today, "Bain Capital's Tax Dodge", in the Huffington Post is wrong. Plain and simple, wrong. 
His facts are right, as far as I know, but he comes to the absolutely wrong conclusion based entirely on his own anti-Romney bias. 
And so, because I have never been one to keep my mouth shut, I must address just how wrong he is. His text is "normal" below, my insertions in red. 

It's not often that we get a detailed look inside the tax strategies of a private equity firm, so Gawker's publication of a trove of documents related to Bain Capital is a welcome event.
Meh. They are private for a reason. Why should we get to look at the tax strategies of a business that doesn't have our money or interests?

The documents show -- once again -- how sophisticated business people have myriad ways to avoid taxes and, in the case of Bain anyway, will readily skirt or break the law.
Oops, your bias is showing.

The main revelation so far is that Bain seems to have pushed the envelope and misrepresented some of its income -- saying that management fees, which would be taxable as regular income, were actually capital gains, which are taxed at a much lower rate thanks to the infamous "carried-interest" loophole.
About that loophole. Hedge funds and private equity firms make their big money by taking a cut of the returns on client money they invest. So if I invest $10 million with a hedge fund or private equity firm, and they make a 30 percent return on that money next year -- or $3 million -- they would typically take 20 percent of that return, or $600,000. In addition, they would charge me an annual management fee of probably 2 percent, or $200,000. Thanks to the carried-interest loophole, the $3 million cut is treated as capital gains earnings by the firm, and taxed at a mere 15 percent, and only the management fee is taxed as regular income.
The reason the carried-interest loophole is so outrageous is that, of course, that $3 million cut is not capital gains made by the firm. It is the firm's cut of somebody else's capital gains -- the investor who actually took the risk. The theory behind low taxes on capital gains is that it incentivizes risk-taking investment by people who might otherwise stash their wealth in safer but less productive places. But hedge funds and private equity firms are not risking their own money; they are risking somebody else's and their cut simply is not a capital gain. It is regular income and should be taxed as such.
I don't disagree with any of that. In fact, this is one of the best explanations of capital gains taxes I have read yet. Good work, Callahan. I agree completely, it is regular income and should be taxes as such. 

All this is bad enough. One reason that private equity types like Mitt Romney have such large fortunes is because their taxes are so low, leaving other taxpayers to pay more.
Wait, no. Not true. That's a popular twist of the facts. They have large fortunes because they earned the money. Not because they have lower taxes. They have lower taxes because government taxes them less. You earn what you earn. 
And just because he pays what he is taxed, does not leave other taxpayers to pay more. They pay more, because that is how much the government taxes them. 
Those are the facts. 
Is it fair? No. But it doesn't become fair by twisting the facts. Romney made more money than you. He also paid a lot more in taxes than you even earned. (You're a fellow at a small name think tank, I can just assume you make in a year what he makes in a speaking fee.) Because he has a great deal of experience understanding wealth, laws, and taxes (see: Harvard MBA, law school, and being a Governor), he pays a smaller percentage of his money to the government. The percentage he pays has no bearing on the percentage of your wealth that you pay. 
If you think he should have to pay a larger percentage than you, take it up with your Congressional representative.  

But the Bain documents show something worse. Apparently, Bain's partners resented paying regular income taxes on their management fees, and so maneuvered to represent those fees as capital gains and pay a lower rate. 
Are you suggesting that Bain's partners are somehow unique in resenting paying taxes? I thought pretty much every American ever resented paying taxes? Maybe you are different? You like giving Uncle Sam your money?
Also, let's say you really did have $10 million to invest. Who would you rather invest it with- the private equity firm that knows the laws so well as to be able to take advantage of loop-holes? Or the firm that is paying millions more in fees because they don't know the laws? 
Again, if you have a problem with the tax code (and I'm not arguing that there isn't one) your issue shouldn't be with the people paying the taxes. It should be with the people who pass taxes (ahem, the Democrats).  

As reported in the New York Times:
Bain private equity funds in which the Romney family's trusts are invested appear to have used an aggressive tax approach, which some tax lawyers believe is not legal, to save Bain partners more than $200 million in income taxes and more than $20 million in Medicare taxes.

Annual reports for four Bain Capital funds indicate that the funds converted $1.05 billion in accumulated fees that otherwise would have been ordinary income for Bain partners into capital gains, which are taxed at a much lower rate. Although some tax experts have criticized the approach, the Internal Revenue Service is not known to have challenged any such arrangements.
In a blog post Thursday, Victor Fleischer, a law professor at the University of Colorado, said that there was some disagreement among lawyers, but that he believed: "If challenged in court, Bain would lose. The Bain partners, in my opinion, misreported their income if they reported these converted fees as capital gain instead of ordinary income."
You would think that the super wealthy might shrug at paying taxes they can easily afford, but here the opposite appears to be the case: Bain's wealthy partners have been hyper-aggressive about lowering their tax bill.
Good for Bain! Did you really think people who know how to make millions, billions actually, would want to readily hand over their money? No, they want to make more. That is what they do! They are an equity firm!

The Medicare dodge is especially notable, given how conservatives endlessly trumpet the financial troubles of that program. Capital gains are not subject to payroll taxes, which means that one effect of the carried-interest loophole -- which the right defends -- is that it weakens the financial situation of Medicare and Social Security.
Again, your problem here should be with the law, not Bain. Also, "how conservatives endlessly trumpet"- gag me. You are so biased here you don't even see how ridiculous you sound. 

Also notable in this story is that the IRS has not moved more aggressively to crack down on tax cheats who misrepresent management fees as capital gains. Presumably that is because the IRS doesn't have firepower to go up against some of the best tax attorneys in the nation in legal disputes that could take years.
I am surprised that as a Democrat you don't suggest that the best tax attorneys should HAVE to work for the IRS. And again, your problem here isn't with Bain, it is with the IRS. You really have some misdirected anger issues. You really ought to get that checked out. 

All in all, the revelations about Bain's taxes confirm what New York Times tax reporter David Cay Johnston told us eight years ago in his book Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super-Rich-and Cheat Everybody Else.
Only in this case, it's not clear that what Bain did was, in fact, perfectly legal.

Do you really think they would release all of their paperwork if they weren't confident that they know the laws, considering, as you put it, they are the best tax attorneys in the nation? 

Don't miss my new novel, "You Heard It Here First!" on Amazon, Nook, and Kindle!