I think the defeat in Massachusetts last night can be summed up thusly: Democrats largely did it to themselves.
It should come as no shock to most people that one reason the print version of the corporate media is failing so spectacularly is that journalistic integrity has been sorely lacking for the better part of a generation. I make it a point to write about the corporate media a couple of times a week to point out the most blatant examples of the sorry state of “professional journalism”.
Once you know what to look for, it’s easy to pick out examples of when writers had someone do their job for them. Today’s case in point: Michael Riley of the Denver Post in an article this past Thursday about Colorado Representative Betsy Markey’s vote for the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. Despite the foreknowledge that if she voted for the bill, some of the right-wing’s craziest crazies would do their darndest to smear her for the next year and a half, Rep. Markey voted for the bill.
Riley does a fairly decent job of describing the right-wing’s plans to target Rep. Markey, based on an NRCC spokeswoman’s quote. What followed is a sickening example of journalistic stenography.
The telephone ads blast the so-called cap-and-trade provision of the bill as “the largest tax in American history” because of some studies that suggest it could cost the average family several thousand dollars a year.
Because of “some studies”, Riley?!?! Are you freaking serious? What studies would those be? Does he even know what they were? I seriously doubt he does, because if he read the studies, or even knew about their general findings, he wouldn’t have included this thoroughly debunked right-wing talking point from his “news article”.
In reality, the study that Riley’s dictators are referring to was done by the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change back in 2007. It examined a number of different cap-and-trade proposals. Cons, being the duplicitous, immoral actors they are, intentionally misrepresented one of the results of the study – fitting the study’s findings around their talking points, as they often do.
One of the authors spoke with a representative of a senior Con legislators, John Boehner, on March 20 of this year. He did so to make clear that they were misrepresenting MIT’s work and to stop doing so immediately. Needless to say, this has not happened. The Cons were claiming that the cap-and-trade proposal would cost families up to $3,100 per year in additional energy costs. The MIT study actually found that MIT’s correct estimate was closer to $340 per year. It seems the Cons tacked on an extra zero to prop up their talking point. More than that, however, the author – John Reilly – publicly made the point that lower- and middle-income households could almost certainly have those costs completely offset by returing allowance revenue to those households. In other words, most American families have the potential to pay nothing more for energy as a result of implementing a cap-and-trade proposal than they do without it today.
The role of the media is to inform the American citizenry of pertinent information they need to help make decisions. By acting as a stenographer instead of a journalist, that role has been compromised. The best thing to have done was to not include this ridiculous talking point in the article. The next best thing would have been to inform the public that the NRCC’s use of this figure was incorrect, as the study’s author has vehemently argued for months.
Indeed, the article presents the reader in the very next paragraph a figure from the CBO – a nonpartisan group – of costs being less than $200 per year, less than what the MIT study estimated. Oh, that $200 per year wouldn’t kick in until after 2020 – a far cry from the Con’s claim. The NRCC’s political motivation of using several thousand dollars per year is directly contradicted by the unmotivated CBO’s figure, yet both are presented to the reader as being equal. That is immoral.
I don’t wonder why the print media is failing. The evidence pointing to that failure is in front of us every day.
[Update 11:50p]: Likely my last update tonight. I have another all-day meeting tomorrow that will be brutal to sit through if I stay up any longer. I’m watching a couple of numbers: IN, OH, VA, NC, FL Presidential numbers. The vote differential in these states (O-M) at this time stand at: 23,000 (IN), 160,000 (OH w/ 83% precincts reporting), 121,000 (VA), 12,000 (NC), 200,000 (FL). If these differentials don’t change, that’s an additional 25 electoral votes (IN & NC); OH, VA, FL have been called already. But these are small vote differentials. The fact that these five states have likely voted for Obama is amazing. A whole lot of blue has been painted over the country tonight.
A clear trend has emerged: Coloradans don’t want to amend their Constitution.
A46: 50%-49% (N-Y)
A47: 55%-44% (N-Y)
A48: 73%-26% (N-Y)
A49: 60%-39% (N-Y)
A50: 58%-41% (N-Y)
A51: 62%-37% (N-Y)
A52: 63%-36% (N-Y)
A54: 48%-51% (N-Y) the only one so far
A58: 57%-42% (N-Y)
A59: 55%-44% (N-Y)
[Update 11:15P]: The b.s. spin by Cons has begun on CNN. This election did not bring in a new set of conservative Democrats to Congress. It brought in a set of Democrats that are proud of being Democrats; proud of being liberal. America is a more liberal country than it is a conservative country. The corporate media has, unfortunately, spun a very different story to the American people for too long. Americans want solutions to the climate crisis, the occupation of Iraq, the economic crisis, the health care crisis, etc. Americans tonight quite clearly rejected the failed Con policies of the past 30 years. They want to move in a very different direction. That means that Obama doesn’t need to cater to the right-wing extremists that have taken over the Republican party. He should interact honestly with moderate and liberal Republicans, because they more accurately represent more Americans. The pundits will try their darndest to move Obama to the right over the next four years. It is up to the 3 million+ donors to Obama’s campaign and his 55 million voters (so far) to ensure he stays true to what he ran on during this election.
[Update 10:45P]: President-elect Obama had another outstanding speech. America did not vote for fear or anger this year. America voted for opportunity and equality. I didn’t keep good track of the state-by-state electoral vote calculations, but Obama has 338 to McCain’s 156 right now. Again, Obama has garnered more electoral college votes than Bush did the past two elections. Obama has also taken the lead in Indiana, which has 11 electoral college votes as well as North Carolina, which has 15 electoral college votes. Obama is behind in Missouri currently, which also has 11 electoral votes. I don’t expect final results from Missouri for quite some time – tomorrow at the earliest. They have some repressive voting rules, unfortunately. Obama currently leads in Montana, which only has 3 votes, but would represent a major political coup if he can win there.
Senator-elect Udall’s lead is 53%-43%.
Polis’ lead is 60%-36%.
Markey’s lead is 56%-43%. Post calls it for Markey.
Republican’s ceilings in Colorado seems to be 43-45%.
Unfortunately, Amendment 58 didn’t get passed. If it passed, oil and gas corporations would have paid the taxes they owe to the state, instead of using a loophole to avoid doing so.
[Update 9:00P]: CNN just called the race for Obama nationally. I cannot believe what I’m hearing. I’ve waited 8 long years to see a Democratic President elected. I hope this result holds. CNN has projected 297 electoral votes for Obama, 139 for McCain. Those 297 are more than Bush received in 2004 or 2000. Let’s start talking about mandates, shall we?
[Update 8:25P]: Obama is up in Colorado 55%-42% with 16% of precincts reporting. Mark Udall is up by a similar margin: 55%-40%.
[Update 7:45P]: Dropping down into Colorado, Mark Udall is performing well in early returns versus Bob Schaffer: Udall is up 50%-39% with 8% of precincts reporting. Betsy Markey is ahead of Marilyn Musgrave 61%-39% with 31% of precincts reporting for CO-04. So far, it’s about 93,989 votes to 61,041 votes. In CO-02, a race I worked on this year, Democrat Jared Polis is leading his wing-nut Republican opponent 67%-30% with 9% of precincts reporting. So far, the vote totals are 36,554-16,117. Jared is going to make an awesome Representative.
CNN has called LA and KS for McCain. No surprises. Still no path toward success with PA and OH being called for Obama.
[Update 7:15P MST]: A number of states have been called. I’ve been tooling around on interactive sites so far tonight while watching CNN, which is doing a pretty good job overall. A couple of early calls, in my opinion, which I’ll get into later. I’ll start with states called for each candidate. Obama has: ME, NH, VT, RI, CT, MA, NJ, MD, DE, NY, NJ, IL and PA. I can’t believe they’ve called PA already. I expect Obama to win it eventually, but I’d like more actual votes to come in. Oh well. McCain has: SC, KY, TN, OK. That’s it.
Obama has had some additional states called: MI, WI, MN, and DC. No surprises there. McCain got some more also: AL, AK, and WY. Right now, Obama’s electoral vote lead is 175-52. Obama needs 95 more votes.
CNN gave McCain ND. I wouldn’t have done that. Obama was polling very well in ND for a Democrat, coming up with right around 50% of the vote in a traditionally deep-red state. It’s not going to make much difference in the electoral collage, but it’s a big swath of red that could change blue. We won’t know until all the votes are counted.
I’ll update this as the afternoon shifts to evening. Polls likely just closed in portions of IN & KY. A number of states’ polls could close within the hour. I haven’t yet heard of any news reports of polls being ordered to stay open later. I’m also not aware of any long lines in the eastern states. If you haven’t voted yet, get out there and get it done! Nothing is set in stone until you make your own voice heard. I voted early.
Marilyn Musgrave’s attempts to change her stripes the past two years doesn’t seem to be working out well. Thankfully, the good folks in CO-04 have a good choice this year in Betsy Markey. Markey has run a good campaign, keeping the heat on Marilyn from the beginning. I wrote a post back in May about the first poll that Markey’s campaign made public. That poll showed Markey leading Musgrave 43-36. At the time, I acknowledged that November was a long ways off and things could change. Things haven’t gotten better for Musgrave, which is her own doing, really.
A couple of polls since then have come out – one in August and one in September. It is worth noting that the September poll was done prior to the economic meltdown we’re still experiencing. But let me start with the August poll. Conducted by SurveyUSA (a very reputable firm), it showed Markey beating Musgrave 50-43 with 7% undecided. The poll had a =/-4% MoE. There are a couple of details in the poll I want to bring up here. Men were evenly split, while women preferred Markey 53-38%. Markey did better in every age group except 65+. That’s all fine and good. It’s the racial breakdown that confuses me. “Whites” made up 100% of the respondents. I know that CO-04 has a substantial Hispanic population. It makes no sense why they weren’t included. How hard did SUSA work to include Hispanics? My thinking is the results would have looked even better for Markey had Hispanics been included. Top issues identified in this poll were Iraq, Health Care, the Economy and Education.
The September poll was conducted by Grove Insight for EMILY’s List. It showed Markey beating Musgrave by a 47-38 margin. I couldn’t find poll internals, unfortunately. Regardless, that’s three polls across a number of months that have showed a dintinct Markey lead. It is bad news indeed for Marilyn Musgrave to poll no better than 43% by an independent polling firm, and generally around 40%. Meanwhile, Betsy Markey’s numbers look to be in the high 40s.
Here is pollster’s tracking for CO-04.
Marilyn Musgrave has responded in the past month by trying to drag Betsy Markey into the mud. Her ads have been filled with lies and attacks. This from the same candidate who tried very hard for two years to convince voters she was as sweet as sugar and shared their values. I don’t think Musgrave’s negativity is going to work in an election year in which the economy has tanked and she hasn’t produced any solutions. Betsy Markey needs to stay positive and keep her grassroots active. I would love to wake up on Nov. 5th knowing Colorado was going to send 5 Democrats to the House that were able and willing to work for Coloradans. The time of socially divisive legislation is over.
[Update 11/2/08]: For those looking for additional polling on this race, there hasn’t been a poll publicly released since the September one showing Betsy Markey leading by 9. I know both campaigns have conducted their own polling since then, but they haven’t released those numbers. I think that means the numbers haven’t changed. If Musgrave were ahead, she would talk about nothing else. Instead, she’s unleashed a number of negative ads. By the same token, Markey hasn’t released any additional information and has responded to Musgrave’s rumor-based ads. I expect Betsy Markey to win this race.
The last Presidential debate of the 2008 cycle is tonight. I expect John McCain to come out aggressively – he’s losing the race quite handily right now and so has nothing to lose. Opponents are dangerous when they have nothing to lose. Barack Obama will do fine in the debate as long as he continues to project his presidential demeanor to America. That’s a big reason he won the first two. I don’t think he’ll get run off of his successful approach. Folks who are looking for excitement or passion will likely be disappointed tonight. One thing I’m looking for is how this debate is moderated. Will Obama and McCain be allowed to engage each other to any degree?
John McCain is up to 133 lies. Heroes don’t lie.
Want a decent return on your investments? Elect Democrats. Seriously. If you had invested $10,000 under Democratic presidents only since 1929 (Ds & Rs have held the post for 40 years each since 1929), your investment would have grown to $300,671. If you had invested $10,000 under Republican presidents only since 1929, your investment would have grown to only $11,733. That’s pretty sad. Okay, so Herbert Hoover was included in the Republicans and he screwed up the economy almost as bad as George Bush has. So if Hoover is thrown out, your $10,000 investment would have grown to … $51,211. That’s a crappy return for 36 years’ investment. The average annualized return under Republican presidencies: 0.4% including Hoover, 4.7% not including Hoover. The average annualized return under Democratic presidencies: 8.9%. Don’t ever let a Republican get away with saying they’re better for capitalism. It just isn’t true.
A new solar research facility will open in Aurora, Colorado. SolarTAC, or Solar Technology Acceleration Center, is the second facility created by the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory. The Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels opened July 1. The U.S. needs to end its use of fossil fuels in the near term. R&D is important – getting technologies into the market is just as important.
The economic downturn took drilling away as a CONservative weapon in this year’s election. Just remember: they won’t let up next year.
Mark Udall issued a warning to the Bush administration over oil shale drilling. Due to the incredible resources such drilling require, it’s obviously not viable in the short-term. With a global recession and damped demand for fossil fuels, it’s not viable any time soon.
Retail sales plunged to the lowest level in three years as consumers cut way back in September. The Federal Reserve noted that economic activity was depressed across the country. The markets responded by shedding over 700 points again. The thing to glean from all of this is the system has to work out the kinks. Credit availability has been yanked. Consumers have been forced to spend less because their incomes haven’t risen in real terms in decades. They’re up to their eyeballs in credit card debt and their home equity has been tapped. The solution to this crisis is rooted in making new jobs available to Americans and paying them better to do what they’re already doing. Invest in the people and their infrastructure and the economy will be righted quite nicely. It took a lot to get into this mess. It’s going to take a lot to really get out of it.
Personal incomes fell in July by 0.7%. Remember, inflation in June was over 9%. Americans had 10% less buying power than they did before. Republican economics at work!
FAA computer practices leave quite a bit to be desired. Two computer centers are supposed to operate for the entire country?! Similar systems in different industries require multiple redundancies. The FAA has also had many problems with adequately staffing properly trained air traffic controllers. That’s a trend that started under St. Ronnie Reagan’s union busting days. Republicans argue that investing in new technologies would require (gasp!) raising taxes. Because crashing planes and a crippled air system are so much more desirable.
Union members make more and have better health insurance. Their wages and benefits are part of the reason why corporations and their Republican lackeys have always attacked unions so viciously.
The Arctic becomes an island. For the first time in recorded history, the Arctic ice sheet can be circumnavigated. This year’s 2nd lowest ice extent (so far) on record means it will take quite different conditions to build the pack back up to the 1979-2000 average. What’s left is thinner and weaker than before.
EPA emission limits are rejected by a federal appeals court. It is absurd to think that the EPA should be able to limit what emission targets states can set for themselves, as long as they aren’t higher than the federal standard. This decision is yet another slap in the face to the Bush-friendly EPA managerial appointments. Not that that will stop them from continuing to act like a-holes for the next 120 days.
Marilyn Musgrave wants more debate time with challenger Betsy Markey, who has led in polls since May for the CO-04 seat. This is a direct reversal of the 2006 race when Musgrave refused to debate challenger Angie Paccione as she led in polls all the way to election day. Don’t give her any chance, Betsy!
The Space Shuttle program could be extended past the currently planned retirement date of 2010. NASA is rightfully concerned that the U.S. would then have no platform to get astronauts to the ISS and Low Earth Orbit until the Orion capsule’s planned 2015 service entry. One of the things Iraq has shown us is that projects and policies aren’t about available money, they’re about political will. There is no reason for NASA to be beholden to an increasingly contentious Russia for passage to a space station that American taxpayers mostly paid for.
Oil prices down and this is the money quote:
Stocks slumped more than $7 a barrel Tuesday morning as investors bet that the damage from Gustav was not as bad as had been feared. Prices also dropped due to the stronger dollar, which makes dollar-traded commodities cheaper for overseas investors. Additionally, investors continued to bet that global demand for oil is waning.
Isn’t it nice to know that we’re getting gouged at the pump while Wall Streeters bet on this and that and the other thing? Also note that oil prices have fallen 25% off their high of $147.20 on July 11. Has American demand fallen by 25% this year? Has American supply risen by 25% this year? Nope. More importantly, global demand has in no way fallen this year. Neither has global supply. Republicans keep talking about the “free market” and how it will lower oil prices. Those prices weren’t supported by market fundamentals. They were propped up by speculators that have been scared off by the threat of regulation introduction by the Democratic Congress. The lesson: Republicans cause oil and gas prices to rise; Democrats cause oil and gas prices to fall.
Will future Gulf landfalling hurricanes weaken like Katrina & Gustav? Joe Romm argues that with much warmer future oceans (based on a business as usual approach), hurricanes moving across the Gulf may not have to contend with cooler sea surface temperatures closer to land. That would mean more devastating storm damage as storms would maintain some or much of their open-water potency. Also of concern: warmer Mississippi waters and warmer delta waters that would allow stronger hurricanes to affect more areas inland from the Gulf.
Betsy Markey leads Marilyn Musgrave in the most recent polling done on Colorado’s 4th Congressional District. I place some faith in this poll results because of two factors. First, Markey has performed well in polling to date. Second, the NRCC has announced a $1 million time reservation for ad buy. This action is also in response to the DCCC’s $667,000 previously announced ad buy.
The CO-04 race has been high on the target list of Democrats all this cycle. Republicans recognize one of their most extreme Representatives is in real danger of losing her seat. So they’re pouring everything they can into the race to try and drag Markey down and squeak through another win this November. Musgrave’s 51% unfavorable rating won’t help her chances any.
Does John McCain want Arizona and California to have more access to Colorado River water, leaving other western states without? He’ll have to contend with millions of Colorado voters to get anywhere near such a policy. My hunch is Coloradans won’t like the idea too much.
Bob Schaffer, perpetually trailing Rep. Mark Udall in polling throughout the cycle, continues to desperately search for anything that might decrease Udall’s chances. The latest charge: Udall wants to increase the gas tax by 50 cents per gallon. It’s untrue, of course, but when you’re behind, you attack your opponent.
Bob Schaffer had the gall to tell reporters after their 2nd debate that oil corporations have a small margin of profit. Raise your hand if you think they should get a larger margin becuase Schaffer is arguing that $11.68 billion in just three months is too small.
Mark Udall, in contrast, wants to stop the corporate welfare going to Exxon and others and instead provide money for renewable energy ventures so we can end our dependence on fossil fuels. Which is only one reason why Udall continues to hold a lead in the Colorado Senate race.
Marilyn Musgrave thinks her record and efforts to lower the price of gas for families in Colorado should help get her reelected this year. That’s a novel approach because since her first election, gas prices have increased from $1.50 per gallon to over $4.00 per gallon this year. What exactly has she down to lower prices? Billions of dollars in corporate welfare to oil corporations didn’t work. Invading and occupying a major oil supplier didn’t work. Voting against every pro-renewable energy bill and amendment didn’t work. Enough already, Marilyn. You haven’t represented your constituents for years. It’s time for Betsy Markey.
Marilyn Musgrave‘s (R, CO-04) support of fossil fuels (and their support in return) and her lock-step voting according to White House wishes isn’t in dispute. To take just a small example, how did Marilyn vote on clean, alternative energy sources in this most recent session of Congress?
She voted against the repeal of oil subsidies in Jan. 2007. She voted against an amendment that would require utilities to produce at least 15% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 in Aug. 2007, despite the fact that Coloradans overwhelmingly passed a similar measure just the year before. She voted against amending the IRS code to provide tax incentives for renewable energy and energy conservation in Aug. 2007, Dec. 2007 and then a third time in May of 2008. Those votes came a few years after she voted to give oil and gas corporations billions in tax breaks. Marilyn has one major love: Big Energy.
In 2006, Marilyn got the biggest scare of her political life by narrowly defeating Angie Paccione to maintain her seat in the House. During that political cycle, energy costs to her constituents were going up. They’ve gone up even faster since that election. Has Marilyn changed her voting pattern since then, as her public relations team would have us believe? Of course not. Her love for big donations and Bush’s wrong-headed energy policies is just too strong. It’s those policies that have caused our record energy prices this year. It’s those policies that have helped lead our economy to recession.
That’s it, plain and simple. Marilyn hasn’t voted to help develop our renewable energy resources at all during this Congress.
That’s some of the bad news. Here is the good news: Betsy Markey is running against Marilyn Musgrave. If elected, Betsy would more ably represent the 4th Congressional District of Colorado. Those folks are more impacted by record energy prices (while Exxon and others enjoy record profits) than they are by a Federal Marriage Amendment (to the Constitution!), as Marilyn has introduced every Congress.
As I said before, Marilyn nearly lost her seat in 2006. If national Democratic organizations had helped like they said they would, the story might have been different. But that’s water under the bridge. This year, Betsy Markey is getting help from those organizations. It’s Marilyn that is without assistance, a far cry from 2006 when she had major financial support from national Republican organizations. Democrats have also been hard at work organizing themselves in CO-04 for a number of years. Betsy Markey is going to benefit greatly from the motivated grassroots of eastern Colorado. Here are some resources to help Betsy out:
Imagine the chances: energy companies contaminated water in wells by Parachute, CO and made someone sick. At the same time, the companies are heavily lobbying the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to not adopt rules that would include environmental controls. Now, why would they fight against those kinds of rules, I wonder…
The EPA released a Global Warming and Health report. I’ll give you one guess who stymied its release. That’s correct: the Bush “administration”, which has worked hard to deny and delay such information from being relayed properly to Americans.
“Risk (to human health, society and the environment) increases with increases in both the rate and magnitude of climate change,” scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency said. Global warming, they wrote, is “unequivocal” and humans are to blame.
Betsy Markey and Marilyn Musgrave debated recently. Betsy isn’t letting Marilyn get away with any b.s. charges. It’s probably part of the reason why Betsy is doing a better job of fundraising than Marilyn. That and Marilyn is a hate-monger who refuses to accomplish much for her district.
Xcel estimates that about 47,000 of its customers will have their power cut off due to missed payments. Let’s see, the price of energy hasn’t gone down in what, seven years. Our take home pay hasn’t gone up in the same time-frame. And Republicans think folks like this are just a bunch of whiners. Being unable to pay for your electricity is a result of immoral conservative economic policies. Which is why they’re losing elections these days.