Sunday, November 11, 2012

Election Numbers

The November 6th, 2012 election seems to be portrayed as an upset for the Republicans, but an "upset" is usually defined as an unexpected result.  Most polls indicated the election was going to come out the way it did, so how was it an upset?  It was only an upset if you relied on Rasmussen, Gallup, and Republican operatives at the polls as sources of information.

The below graph indicates how Rassmusen and Gallup polling was reading the American public up to a week prior to the election.
(The Blue line represents voters for Obama, The Red line is for Romney.)

It was revealing that extreme king pins of the Republican Party such as Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove were under the impression Romney was way ahead in the election, and publicly announced that their inside information indicated Romney was going to win, especially in Ohio.  Karl Rove actually made an appearance on Fox News during election night to attempt to reverse the decision that their staff made regarding Ohio going to Obama.  It was surprising that Fox News allowed this challenge to be on the air, let alone to resist Karl Rove's influence on the station in the end.  Rush Limbaugh claimed that according to his information Romney was going to win by over 300 electoral votes.  Romney only received 206 electoral votes indicating that Rush Limbaugh's data has over a 30% error?  I doubt that a professional polling agency would tolerate such results in their office, and it makes me wonder how Rush Limbaugh tolerates his data to have such error rates.  It seems obvious to me at least that Rove, Rush, Gallup, and Rassmusen were up to their old tricks of exaggerating issues for their socioeconomic interests.

The power that the rich and powerful have over our air waves and elections was revealed that night by how much their own employees and agents were deceiving them.  The yes men came out of the woodwork and into the lime lite.  This is a clear example of how greedy among us attract the company they deserve.  It also shows how propaganda can be used to whip up voter confidence, and possibly to encourage donations to a party.

I am sure there will be a shake up of the current framework, and people will be fired, and demoted, and others promoted and hired.  In two years there may be a more accurate accounting of polls.  However, it is most likely that the same tactics will be used in some fashion when we have another election in the United States, and it is unfortunate that credibility and honesty is not expected by the extreme right's audience.

*Note 11/20/12: According to allegations by individuals claiming to be associated with Anonymous, the hacktivist group, Karl Rove and associates were attempting to hack election devices in various key states during the election, and were stopped by hackers in the group Anonymous.  These individuals also allege to have proof of tampering by Karl Rove and will release the proof if any further tampering is performed in future elections.  If true, this would explain why Karl Rove was so convinced that the Republicans had Ohio, when they really lost it.  On the other hand, this may be totally untrue.  -link

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Clear Skies

I walked my dog today, and paused when I reached the street. It has been a while since I have seen the mountains in the distance, and clear skies above. The rain last night, and the wind today, has washed away the smoggy atmosphere to reveal just how beautiful the world is around Southern California, but for only a moment.

Within a day or two of diesel trucks and trains lacing the air with cancer causing chemicals, things will be back to how they were. The Air Quality Management District has reported that diesel emissions are still the highest carcinogen in the air where I live. They say it briefly in their annual reports, and then dismiss it by saying,
"Although there are uncertainties in the ambient estimates, diesel particulate continues to be the dominant toxic air pollutant based on cancer risk. This finding holds up regardless of methodology used. The study findings therefore clearly call for a step-up in reducing diesel emissions as early as practicable and as aggressively as feasible."

The definition of practical:
prac·ti·cal  [prak-ti-kuhl]
...3. of, pertaining to, or concerned with ordinary activities, business, or work: practical affairs.
4. adapted or designed for actual use; useful: practical instructions.
5. engaged or experienced in actual practice or work: a practical politician.

The definition of feasible:
fea·si·ble   [fee-zuh-buhl]
1. capable of being done, effected, or accomplished: a feasible plan.
2. probable; likely: a feasible theory.

The "practicality" of implementing change, and the "feasibility" of expecting corporations to comply if no regulations compel them to, is unrealistic, and a poor choice of words for the AQMD. In the absence of regulations prohibiting diesel trucks and trains from transporting goods, we are relying on the good will of the corporations to make the change for us. The corporations have no "practical" reason to invest money any time soon into cleaner vehicles, since increased costs would mean their profit margins would lower, and so it isn't accurate to expect corporations to change without government imposed regulations forcing them.

The AQMD reports should read:
"Although there are uncertainties in the ambient estimates, diesel particulate continues to be the dominant toxic air pollutant based on cancer risk. This finding holds up regardless of methodology used. The study findings therefore clearly call for a drastic step-up in reducing diesel emissions as early as next year and aggressive regulations need to be implemented to force compliance."

It is expected, and quite obvious, that just like many government organizations, AQMD has to word it's publications in a hollow and non-direct way so that when a politician or citizen reads it, they do not react in a negative manner. Most proposed laws, or regulations, that have any real meaningful impact are usually voted down by the board members who vote on them due to the economic impact calculations to their main campaign supporters (i.e. Corporations.) They even get repealed once put into law, just like how President Obama halted the EPA regulations being put into place at the end of last year -LINK. This is why we need government subsidies, regulations, and more education on these topics to compel citizens to work together to decrease the levels of green-house and cancer causing chemicals in the air, and to vote for politicians willing to implement these policies.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Playing With Fire

The headlines in America may read, "The last American comes home!" but it isn't true. In fact, there are tens of thousands of Americans still in Iraq, and they are being paid by the tax payer's dollars. When I heard the news that the Obama administration was finally ordering the Pentagon to get our military forces out of Iraq, I thought to myself, "Finally, Obama is doing what I elected him to do." About a second or two later I then thought, "Wait a minute, we aren't just leaving Iraq. Who is staying behind and dodging the American media radar?" With little investigation, and an open ear to some local progressive radio stations, I confirmed I was right. We are still in Iraq, and in more ways than one.

One of the first military objectives in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was to secure the oil wells. As a result, it isn't that surprising that Exxon and Shell have been in Iraq since 2003 establishing corporate bases of operation and increasing production of oil. Oil companies around the world have been itching to get their foot in the door of Iraq for decades, and thanks to the U.S. invasion into Iraq which changed the anti-corporate oil policy of Sadam Hussein through bombs and assassination, they are there to stay now. In addition to our corporate entities with their independent security forces, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and several consulates, still have 15,000 workers, and an army of 5,000 security contractors carrying automatic weapons, and flying helicopters. An additional support team of 4,500 contractors will perform menial tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and general pampering the security contractors are used to. Modern wars that America has engaged in has relied more, and more, on contractors, and not on volunteer military. For example, in Afghanistan 105,000 troops are supported by 101,000 civilian contractors.

In addition to the U.S. contractors stationed in Iraq to oversee the government in Iraq, the Obama administration recently has gave the nod to the United States Embassy in Iraq to tell the Office of Security Cooperation to purchase over $10 billion worth of F-16 fighter jets, M1A1 Tanks, cannons, APCs, and SUVs from American firms such as Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon. These devices are the same devices we had in Iraq before we pulled out, although the difference is that they are new. Many of us who keep our eye on the Military Industrial Complex in the United States, always say, "It's all about the money stupid", and this is why. The firms that produce these war machines need constant money coming in to maintain their operations, and coincidentally the American government always finds a new country to bomb, and invade, to satisfy their demand. This will be the fourth large flood of cash to the American war machine since our invasions started into Iraq more than two decades ago. The obvious conclusion one would draw from this decision is, "why did Obama do this?"

The reason why the weapons were sold was primarily about fueling the Military Industrial Complex, but it will also give Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki a weapon to prevent several Sunni provinces from declaring autonomy. Not long after the American troops pulled out of Iraq, Maliki clamped down on the Sunnis and stated that the country would be turned into "rivers of blood" if the Sunni provinces wanted autonomy. Giving him these weapons now is only going to embolden him to make good on his rhetoric. Another aspect of this arms sale is that it will solidify Iraq as a geo-political ally that depends on the United States, and will aid it in any local military conflicts it becomes involved in, i.e. Iran and Afghanistan. The end game with Iran is still unknown, but the indications are at the moment not positive.