My Prediction: Obama Wins

November 6, 2012

- See all 763 of my articles


Election day has finally arrived.  For those of us in the battleground states, it will signal the end of political ads and the returns of ads for Ruffles, Charmin, and Tide.  Hooray for Charmin!

The mainstream media likes to talk about the national polls, but as I have said in the past, these polls are completely worthless.  There’s no prize for the candidate who wins the national popular vote.

Most of the polls have had President Obama maintaining a lead in the electoral college (based on his performance in various state polls) for several months now.  While it’s true that Obama’s leads are within the margin of error in many states, he will most likely win most of those states.  As long as the polling errors are not matter of systemic bias (unintentional or intentional) and are simply independent errors, these polls should be erring on the side of Obama roughly half the time and on the side of Romney half the time.  The fact that the margin is within the poll’s margin of error does not necessarily mean that the trailing candidate is the one getting the short end of the stick – the poll could also be understating the lead of a candidate.

There has been much talk about Ohio.  Without it, Romney has a nearly impossible task in front of him.  I see Obama winning Ohio, due in part to election day weather.  There is very little chance of rain on Tuesday in Cleveland and Cincinnati, and this helps Obama.  Every inch of rain on election days boosts Republicans by 2.5%?  Why?  This is simply a bus vs. car issue.  Taking a bus somewhere in the rain is a worse experience that driving a car, because of how wet you get walking to and from bus stops.  Two demographics that use public transit more than others are the poor and inner city dwellers (poor and non-poor alike).  Both of these groups skew to the left.

Election Fraud

There has been much talk about voter fraud and the possibility of requiring IDs to vote.  I really think people are missing the forest for the trees.  Studies have shown that in-person voter fraud is very rare.  Absentee fraud is far more common.

The real danger, though, is people who are being disenfranchised.  There are shenanigans every year.  Among the tricks this year and notifying voters of alternative voting methods (phone and email) that are not actually legitimate, throwing away voter registration forms for a particular party, and sending in a fraudulent absentee ballot for a vote, so that when the voter appears at the poll in person, they will not be allowed to vote.

At this point, I would suggest that you never trust anyone to help with your registration – handle it yourself.  Even taking the precaution of waiting for the registration card in the mail isn’t good enough, as it would be very easy for the perpetrators to send out counterfeit cards (which, of course, would be worthless when trying to prove you are registered).

Some international observers recently have been critical about the US election process.  With some of the tricks that get pulled by partisans, and the outright lies in many campaign commercials, I do think our election process falls well short of the standards we should strive for.  Today’s voters may have more information than at any time in the past, but in many cases, they aren’t more informed – they are misinformed.  Take a few minutes to find the context for quotes and “facts” and you’ll be a more educated voter.  We should strive for a future when voters are correctly informed and when every eligible voter is allowed to cast a vote – even when their party differs from yours.

What Should The Role Of Government Be?

September 3, 2012

- See all 164 of my articles

1 Comment

There have been many comments on the President’s statement about businesses, that “you didn’t build that, someone else did.” The right wing talking heads claim that this is obviously a socialist statement that all is owned the collective. The left wing talking heads will defend the statement by rephrasing the lead up comments, that without the aid of government, the roads, electric, internet, educated workers would not be available for the success of the business. Both are correct and both are wrong.

Business of any kind is the action of human beings on raw materials to increase the value of a product and provide it to others for the benefit of the business. The raw material can be ideas, services or actual physical resources. Can you actually say that the government provided someone with the cleaning business that they have built up? Most would claim that the government has done almost the reverse with regulations. But again, could that business exist without the guarantees of property, the enforcement of laws and the security provide by the armed forces?

The government only took over the maintenance and building of roads in the last 100 years. Government education is also about 100 years old. Before that, individuals and businesses built the road that they needed and educated themselves through apprenticeships or the world of hard knocks. What about the raw materials? Most people do not understand that the ownership of resources has only been sure for about 300 years. Prior to the British commonwealth, the strongest person or group owned the resources, usually obtaining them through force and violence or the threat of violence.

Let’s look at the simplest form of a business, the small farm. The farmer claims some land, by his own strength, he plants seeds, raises animals and gathers his harvest. He can live off of his produce and trade is excess for goods he cannot make himself, such as better plows, stronger horses, etc. It all looks like the perfect growth plan. But he has to defend his land from predators, not all of them wild animals. If he is not well enough prepared, someone else will take what he has, and if he is fortunate enough to escape with his life, he may start the process all over again.

So both camps are right in that each can point to points that support their argument, but both are also wrong in stating it is an either/or argument. Without government programs, no business can succeed very long without becoming a government of their own (see the Mexican drug cartels or the British East India company). Claiming that the government has come claim over a business beyond the taxes paid to fund the services that make running the business easier and those government functions that allow the business to exist, is statism (whether you call if fascism, communism, socialism, despotism, does not really matter).

Now no part of this essay suggests that government has no part in business. Government is essential in providing security and restraint on business. If a business becomes too powerful, excesses can result that are harmful to the community that the government is expected to protect. In the United States, the government has stepped in to support the rights of workers from abuse. The government has also intervened when one business becomes too powerful within an industry, resulting in artificial increase in cost for what could be considered an essential product or service.

Recently (within the last 50 years), the effort to protect workers has migrated at times to punitive actions against businesses that are not for the good of the worker, but for the good of the individual political office holder or the organizational hierarchy of the labor organization. Also (within the last 25 years) the government has started to protect businesses that are “too big to fail” rather than harnessing those businesses into manageable sizes.

As examples, in the early 1900s, intervened to help workers including assisting in establishing work weeks and holidays. Now the emphasis is on increasing the minimum wage. The stated goal is to get people more money to spend, but the minimum wage is for entry level jobs, not full time careers. The result of increases in the minimum wage is the loss of entry level jobs until the market can adjust to absorb the increased costs. So the net result is a loss of opportunity, not an increase. But, there is a side effect. Most union contracts have a wage clause that pushes up the cost when the minimum wage is raised. The biggest effect is on contracts with government agencies resulting in a positive feedback.

Also in the early 1900s and as late as the 1970s, the government broke up large businesses. Standard Oil became 7 separate companies, Bell telephone was broken up, and railway crossings were regulated so that one company could not block common roads with trains to prevent their competitors from getting their raw materials. In 2010, the government was bailing out car companies and financial institutions.

As with any political action, there is some good and some bad for everyone involved. With unions, workers are protected, but now have to pay heavy dues to fund a top heavy highly paid administration. With unions, businesses cannot set the wages across and industry and have to provide certain benefits to lure skilled workers to their doors. With government interference, large businesses have been broken into smaller pieces for some short term pain for their customers, but overall better climate for all concerned. With government interference, large businesses have been “saved” to continue along flawed business plans that can only result in additional bailouts in the future.

The point of this essay is not to suggest that we return to the 1800s. The point is to expose that both the left and the right are both correct and incorrect in their interpretation of the role of government and business. We must have government protection of workers, communities, and other businesses. We must also avoid the idea of a collective. Each worker and business should be rewarded for the value of the work they do. It does not matter what you perceive the value of your effort is, only what the community determines the value is. If you have spent a lot of money on a college degree that will not get you a job, then you have prepared poorly. It is not the responsibility of the government or anyone else to assure that you effort is rewarded. If on the other hand, you build up a business that fills a need in the community, you should not be penalized. Restraint should only be applied if you are harming someone in the process of you effort.

2012 Republican Race

January 5, 2012

- See all 31 of my articles

1 Comment

Here we are 5 days into the New Year. I’m still struggling with hangover #1 for the year. This New Year I had the joy of discovering a new scotch. I actually discovered scotch last fall on a business trip, but have been “acquiring” the taste for it. I now have fully bought and paid for that appreciation for scotch. This New Year I appreciated Highland Park 15 year old which every scotch drinker will enjoy.


Iowa caucus results were Romney #1, Santorum #2 down by a mere 8 votes and then the whack job Ron Paul came in at #3. I understand the votes for Romney and Santorum as they both have qualities that make them electable and they are both on the conservative side of Obama. Ron Paul though? That really causes me to question the rationale of 26,129 Iowa voters. Let me just say…WHACK JOB.

What is going to happen with the GOP?

Romney is an excellent debater and has a great chance of beating Obama. He’s the most liberal of the GOP candidates and conservatives are left feeling funny endorsing Romney with many of the views that he has had. It’s difficult for people to go along with candidates that flip flop. It’s difficult for conservatives to endorse a candidate that has voted against the 2nd amendment, endorse homosexual unions and put through a state health care plan similar to Obamacare. Romney will probably pull more TRUE centrists though. His experience with business/economy and limited time in government is his greatest assets. In a debate, he’ll eat Obama for lunch.

Ron Paul is a serious whack job that will not be strong enough on defense for conservatives. There is no way he can walk away with the Republican candidacy. If Paul were to debate Obama I think he’d struggle. I only hope that Ron Paul doesn’t try a 3rd party run, the only thing he will do is be a spoiler.

Santorum is a core conservative that will excite the conservative base. He’s strong on defense, 2nd amendment rights, Christian values and family. He is not a strong debater and I question if he’ll gain the endorsement of TRUE centrists. I think we’ll see Santorum gain momentum as more caucuses and elections take place. I believe he has a chance of stealing the nomination from Romney although Santorum is the underdog with limited funding compared to Romney. I don’t believe that Santorum’s chances of taking the nomination are great though.

  • Gingrich says he’s still in the race, but I don’t think that will last long.
  • Cain was my favorite candidate, but has become unelectable after thinking too much with his little head.
  • Bachmann has suspended her campaign after disappointing results.
  • Perry is going back to Texas to consider his next move.

Other news

In other significant headlines, Iran is threatening to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, a much needed path to ship oil through. The US has an aircraft carrier in the area and Iran went on to threaten that if the aircraft carrier moves into that region, they will attack. My thoughts on this:

  1. The military won’t be pushed around by Iran
  2. We need to eliminate this need for oil from the Middle East.

Meanwhile, CBS is reporting that $5 gallon gas can be expected this summer due to all the problems happening with Iran. Need more reasons to expand US drilling on and off shore?


How could I neglect to include one of the most earth shattering news stories of the year! A Mexican “Grand Warlock”…pardon me, THE Mexican Grand Warlock (Brujo Mayor) has made a very pleasing prediction for 2012. He has announced that Obama will lose the election this year. I have a few questions that I’d love to run past the Warlock, I wonder if he’s available.

Have a Happy New Year and if I didn’t have the chance to tell you earlier, Merry Christmas!


JOBS – The Four Letter Word of the Obama Administration

September 16, 2011

- See all 35 of my articles


I’m convinced that “jobs” is a four letter word in the Obama Administration. I can see it now. Barack stubs his toe on an end table and yells, “Oh jobs!” *giggles*

But in all seriousness, I find it interesting that he’s been the President for TWO AND A HALF YEARS already and JUST realized that jobs is an issue. Either that or he “hoped” that things would “change” without him having to do anything.

And yet, he did have to do something. So he did what he does best….the only thing he ever does. He gave another speech.

Now, those who voted for Obama who are upset with him and his performance, I don’t feel sorry for you. You elected a man because he gave good speeches….are you at all surprised that it is all he’s done thus far?

Back to the jobs bill. During the speech Obama kept saying “pass it” and to be honest, it had a little bit of an Obamacare feel to it. Do we need to pass this bill to before we can know what is in it? I don’t like it. Not one bit.

Here’s what I know. The Government can’t mandate that people hire. Only the people can hire. When people have more funds to hire, they hire. And that’s where this “income adjustment” aka taxes comes in to play. Keep taxes low, people have more of their own money, with more money they can hire more people, more people working means more money in the economy…it just makes common sense.

Then again, common sense is something this Administration is severely lacking.

I love watching the Liberals start freaking out about 2012. Unless Obama does something big–and I mean really, really big, he’s not going to win. America has had enough and, like I said unless something really big changes, we’ll have moving trucks in front of the White House in January 2013. But hey, that’d be a few jobs Obama could take credit for creating!

I hope you all enjoyed my live tweeting of the straw poll and the GOP debates. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, be sure to follow @SoapBoxersLive on twitter.

Obama’s Jobs Speech

September 12, 2011

- See all 164 of my articles


The President of the United States was involved in two major events over the last week.  Most recently, he was the guest of honor at the 9/11 remembrance in New York City.  The president along with all of the other dignitaries and special guests did a phenomenal job of participation without ostentation, but with dignity and reverence.  The right wing fears of exclusion of first responders and prayer were just simply wrong.  The memories of those who lost their lives on that September morning 10 years ago, and those who have lost their lives in the defense of our nation since then, were honored.  The poems, letters and scriptures read, the musical performances, the reading of the names, and the personal testimonies, all added to the somber yet hopeful atmosphere of the entire day.

The second event, was a speech before a joint session of congress, advertised as the solution for the joblessness being experienced in the United States.  This event was not nearly as mature, dignified, or effective as the 9/11 anniversary.  This speech, which was supposed to be a new message, was in fact a restatement of some fifty previous speeches that he president has given.  The immaturity of the event was exposed in the political squabbling that went on before the actual speech accrued.  First, the president asked for the joint session on the same night that a previously scheduled debate of the Republican presidential candidates.  The speaker of the house, a republican, refused.  His refusal was not well taken by the White House, both sides acting like children.  The President eventually asked for the joint session on the following night.

The content of this speech in no way required a joint session of congress.  The speech promised a proposed piece of legislation that he insisted must be passed quickly.  He had already promised to have legislation ready when they returned from their summer vacations.  There was no legislation, that is the prevue of the congress anyway, there was just another promise to get it to them.  Now there were some ideas presented that are good, but not new.  Training for the long term unemployed is a great idea, a democratic congress with Ronald Reagan had a program for the same purpose back in the 1980’s.  Preferential employment of veterans is another good idea, but it has been in place for federal employment, post office and contractors to the government since World War II.

The most frightening part of the speech was not the repetitiveness of the ideas for jobs, but the repetitiveness of the exorbitant cost and methods of payment. Yet again the suggestion is hundreds of billions of dollars spent.  Once again there is a call for taxing the “more fortunate” members of society, as if earning is a gift that is not fair.  And again, we here of a rich man who does not think it is fair that he pays less in income tax than his secretary (Mr. Buffet, you do not have to claim all of your deductions if you think you should pay more).  Although there are plenty of things wrong with the tax code (the complexity alone is mind boggling), increasing taxes is not the solution.

The only way to get the economy going again is to have actual work for people to do.  Not shifting of payment of projects from states to the federal government, not addressing an unreported surplus of unemployed teachers, and definitely not another hand out to some bankrupt entity be it an car company, a bank or a union.  This country needs to spend within its budget and reduce the burden of taxes and regulation on everyone.  It worked for Kennedy and Reagan.  When we spend beyond our means and broaden the scope of government, the economy goes into the tank, as happened under Johnson and prolonged by the “price freezes” of Nixon and Carter and is now happening from the spending frenzy of Bush and Obama.  In each case, we identify the president, but the blame is equally if not more the responsibility of the congress at the time.

The last issue with the speech was the return to blaming the previous president for the problems being faced today.  There is always a lingering effect of the previous administration, but up until now, the president has remained above the blame game.  It is one thing if a partisan group blames Clinton for 9/11, it would have been quite another if the Bush had gotten on front of congress and blamed him.  Yet again, President Obama is blaming Bush.  Since he took office, the deficit has gotten bigger, unemployment has gotten worse, and up until eight months ago, he had gotten everything he wanted.  Eventually, the president and especially congress will have to start acting like adults.  We cannot expect the partisans or the press to mature, but we should expect it from our elected officials.  It will not be possible to create jobs until at least one thing happens – Congress must do its job and actually pass a budget.  Nothing that the president suggests or sends to congress to consider will have any meaning until a budget is in place.

Osama Bin Laden: Repercussions

May 5, 2011

- See all 31 of my articles


I originally thought that I would write something about gas prices and how ridiculous they have gotten. How my family and friends, coworkers and neighbors have all vowed to change their driving habits, forego some vacations for “staycations” and even stick a “drill baby drill” bumper sticker on their car.

Having said that, this week the entire world was turned upside down with the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Having not yet beaten the horse to death, I thought I would cover yet another angle to this story: Repercussions.

First of all, let me say that this week was a repercussion of what happened in the United States nearly 10 years ago. It took a very long time for that justice to be served, but thanks to our intelligence teams and military teams the citizens of the United States can now feel that some sliver of justice was carried out following that tragic day that changed all of our lives forever.

On Monday as I slowly drove down the street of my quiet Fort Collins, CO neighborhood I was thrilled at the number of US flags that my neighbors had put up. My next door neighbor is a retired marine and he had his marine flag accompanying the US flag. There was obviously a great deal of pride that my neighbors felt with the news of Bin Laden’s death. For a moment it reminded me a little of the sentiment that filled our streets and hallways on September 12, 2001.

The media lit up following news of Bin Laden’s death and hasn’t slowed down much. Each day a few more details are spoon fed to us through the media as we try to digest what it must have been like for the team of Navy Seals to raid the Bin Laden compound. We have learned about their entry, the resistance (or lack of resistance) they encountered and we’ve even seen some pictures of the rooms where people there were found. One of the most prolific to date is the one of the bedroom showing the blood stains on the rug next to the bed. (You’ll have to scroll through a few pix)

I heard in at least one news outlet this afternoon (May 4, 2011) that the photo of the deceased Osama would not be released. However, if the photo of a dead Osama Bin Laden is released, can you imagine the traffic and discussion that it will generate? We’ve already seen viruses on the web exploiting people’s morbid curiosity to see what Bin Laden looked like following his demise. People clicking on alleged videos and pictures have found their computers infected with viruses, yet another repercussion.

Members of Seal Team 6 will have lasting repercussions as well. For the individual that took the shot and killed Bin Laden I imagine he will be filled with pride and likely wish that he could stand on the rooftop and shout, “I did it!” The other members of the team will also share the pride and enthusiasm of having taken down the most wanted terrorist in the United States history. They will all probably wish that they could have been the one to pull the trigger that night.

Now for the negative.

  • We have already heard from an Imam that there will be revenge taken on the “western dogs” for killing Bin Laden.
  • The media now has interviews with Bin Laden’s daughter that Osama was taken into custody alive then killed.
  • Politicians are being mocked for expressing joy over Bin Laden’s death. (I will shout my joy of Osama’s death from a roof top)
  • Individuals now believe that killing one person has virtually ended the Afghan war on terror and Al Qaeda.
  • Airports have increased security following the death of Bin Laden.
  • Terroristic threats against the US may increase
  • Finally, Obama’s actions to support the military in this action do not undo his past wrongs. For example, the situation where a wanted terrorist was captured in Iraq. Three SEALs were court martialed for allegedly giving this detainee a fat lip. Actually, one for punching the detainee and the other two for not protecting the detainee. That shouldn’t have ever happened.

We haven’t been told of any new plots on the US following Sunday, (but in the UK) five men were arrested (two days after Bin Laden’s death) when they were caught sitting in a car very close to a nuclear processing facility.

The fact that US forces went in to a country that we are not at war with (and didn’t advise the country upfront) in order to carry out the plot has caused some grief and likely will continue to cause grief. That being said, based on the limited information I have, I believe that it was the right call and I applaud Obama for having the stones to make the decision.

As the American people, I hope everyone stands behind our troops for the flawless execution of this mission. While today we revel in this victory, we need to remember that there will likely be repercussions in the future from Al Qaeda. We know that we may have delivered a blow to these terrorists, they have not been defeated and they will not simply give up now. Americans be strong and show your resolve no matter what we face next.

I’d like to take a moment to welcome home a friend of mine from Afghanistan. Corporal James “OJ” Alvarado will be returning back to the US in the next week. He’s spent a long tour in the sticks and hills of Afghanistan away from his beautiful wife and baby girl. His family will be happy to have him home and I’m sure OJ will be the happiest one in the group. Now your Mom and Sister can sleep again, thank God! None of us can imagine what your tour was like. MRE’s all the time, no running water, brutal weather and being away from your family. I appreciate all you’ve done for us, for our country and for the war on terror.

Welcome home OJ!