These are my links for November 17th through November 18th:
Poll: Romney, Gingrich in statistical dead heat in N.H. – Two things are true about New Hampshire Republican primary voters. They vote for people they know. And they love an underdog with a comeback story.Four years ago it was the weathered but feisty veteran John McCain who revived his once hanging-by-a-thread campaign to win the nation’s leadoff primary.And so it seems almost fated that after political observers have scratched their heads for months wondering who will emerge as the non-Romney candidate in the Granite State, the voters’ eyes should turn to Newt Gingrich, a man who was Speaker of the House during the previous century and whose own campaign was left for dead last summer.
The latest NH Journal poll of likely Republican primary voters conducted by Magellan Strategies shows Romney and Gingrich in a statistical dead heat for the January 10th primary. If the election were held today, Romney would earn 29% of the vote and Gingrich would earn 27%. Texas Congressman Ron Paul continues to show resolve by earning 16%. Herman Cain gets 10%. No other candidate is in double digits.
Big Labor shells out for GOP friends – For House Republicans, it pays to be a friend of Big Labor.Major unions are giving a heftier slice of campaign donations than usual to pro-labor Republicans this election cycle, even as overall union contributions to members of Congress lags.Labor insiders say there’s extra incentive to support their GOP friends this cycle as unions look to reward lawmakers who rebuff their leadership on key votes, ingratiate themselves to freshman Republicans and ward off primary challengers as many tea party candidates campaign on anti-union platforms.
Overall this cycle, about 13 percent of labor groups’ political action committee contributions — just over $2 million — have gone toward GOP candidates, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s still dwarfed by the nearly $14 million in union cash that’s gone to Democrats this cycle, but the GOP appears to be gaining ground with union donors after receiving only 6 percent of total contributions in 2010 and 8 percent in the 2008 cycle.
Occupy Wall Street: Anne Hathaway joins protesters but surely she’s in the 1%? – She is one of Hollywood’s highest paid actresses and lives a very privileged lifestyle that 99 per cent of people can only dream of.Still, Anne Hathaway acted as an average Joe and accompanied hundreds of protestors as she joined the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Manhattan’s Union Square.The 29-year-old, who is worth a reported $58 million, was pictured marching with protesters and sticking it to the man yesterday in The Big Apple.
Sarah Palin: How Congress Occupied Wall Street – Mark Twain famously wrote, “There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” Peter Schweizer’s new book, “Throw Them All Out,” reveals this permanent political class in all its arrogant glory. (Full disclosure: Mr. Schweizer is employed by my political action committee as a foreign-policy adviser.)Mr. Schweizer answers the questions so many of us have asked. I addressed this in a speech in Iowa last Labor Day weekend. How do politicians who arrive in Washington, D.C. as men and women of modest means leave as millionaires? How do they miraculously accumulate wealth at a rate faster than the rest of us? How do politicians’ stock portfolios outperform even the best hedge-fund managers’? I answered the question in that speech: Politicians derive power from the authority of their office and their access to our tax dollars, and they use that power to enrich and shield themselves.
Ventura County Official Announces Bid in New California District – Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett (D) announced on Wednesday that he will seek California’s new 26th district seat.“I am running for Congress because Ventura County residents deserve common sense leadership that is not locked into rigid ideology at the expense of the common good,” Bennett said in a statement. “I have demonstrated that leadership for Ventura County residents here at the county level for 10 years. We have made major improvements in the fiscal health of Ventura County.”The Ventura-based district race is not expected to feature a current incumbent next year, as Rep. Elton Gallegly (R) was drawn into the neighboring 25th district and has yet to say where or whether he will run.
No Republicans have announced for the seat yet, but two other Democrats have: Moorpark City Councilman David Pollock and former professional tennis player David Cruz Thayne.
26th District Democratic Town Hall – The first Congressional Candidates Town Hall meeting is being held tonight for the new 26th district.The Ventura City Democratic Club is hosting the event at the E.P. Foster Library at 7pm.The declared candidates include businessman David Cruz Thayne, Moorpark City Councilman David Pollock and Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett.
The 10 states that will determine control of the House in 2012 – 2. California: The nation’s biggest state has been an electoral afterthought for some time, going a nearly a decade with only one congressional seat changing hands between 2002 and 2010. That won’t happen again. At least three GOP-held seats are likely to go Democratic in the newly reshuffled map crafted by the state’s new citizen’s redistricting commission. But Democrats think they can run up the score even more, while the GOP strategists believe they can win Democratic-held seats elsewhere to even the score. We could see the results spanning from a total wash to Democrats gaining eight seats. Anything on the top end of that scale would be a major Democratic win.
House Leaders Plan Facebook Hackathon – While House Republican and Democratic leaders are finding it difficult to agree on spending cuts, they are coming together next month for Capitol Hill’s first-ever Facebook Hackathon. The goal is to find new ways to use the social network to make information about the legislative process more transparent and to help members of the public more easily engage with lawmakers.Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the Republican leader, and Representative Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland and his party’s whip, are co-hosting the event, scheduled for Dec. 7 in the U.S. Capitol, which will include Facebook engineers, independent software developers, advocates for the open data movement and members of Congress.Hackathon is a term used to describe an event where programmers come together to build applications in a collaborative process.
“There is a lot of opportunity to improve the process,” said Matt Lira, digital director for Mr. Cantor. “We are going to sit down in a bipartisan way and look at how we can tackle some of these problems. We are hoping to get as many engineers as possible. They will have a unique opportunity to help make democracy work better.”
In Debates, Newt Gingrich’s Real Target Is Obama – It’s an open question whether Gingrich can defeat Obama in 2012. It’s taken as a truism that he has “too much baggage.” Well, some of the baggage is lighter than it appears. He was cleared by the Clinton-era Internal Revenue Service of wrongdoing in alleged ethics violations stemming from a college course he taught in the 1990s. The charge that he surprised his cancer-stricken first wife with divorce papers has been, at the least, exaggerated.
Cain Catches Flak, but Will It Shoot Down His Candidacy?- Washington was all a-Twitter (literally) Monday over Politico’s story about the sexual-harassment charges against Herman Cain — and about Cain’s serial self-contradictions.Faithful Fox News viewers saw him in the afternoon saying he didn’t know the terms of a settlement reached with the complainants and then saw him tell Greta Van Susteren in the 10 p.m. hour that he did.
The Politico story, quoting no named sources, described Cain’s alleged misconduct as “conversations allegedly filled with innuendo or personal questions of a sexually suggestive nature” and “physical gestures that were not overtly sexual.”
Ron Paul Fever at Zuccotti Park- I hear many names bandied about in Zuccotti Park, and not just at the fringes. Among the most popular are Karl Marx, Hugo Chávez, Michael Moore, Paul Ehrlich, and Dennis Kucinich. But today I heard a less predictable one spoken more widely: Ron Paul.There are three key reasons for this, I think. The first is a good old marriage of convenience, the same sort of unholy alliance as arose in the early 20th century when Baptists and bootleggers came together to argue for the prohibition of alcohol in America. You see, Ron Paul is angry, too, and he wants to “restore” America to its old ways. The majority of Paul’s policy positions may be radically different, but much of his rhetoric is in line with Occupy Wall Street’s, particularly his anti-Hamiltonian conviction that the banks have callously denatured the United States. For many, this alone is enough to make him an ally.
The protesters I spoke to today were predominantly appalled when I told them of Paul’s attitude towards Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the federal government in general, not to mention of his deregulatory zeal and staunch pro-life commitment. But, ultimately, this didn’t matter as much as the fact that he wants “change,” too. Revolution first, details later — we’ll just leave the specifics to Working Group 48.
Who Dropped the Dime on Cain? – Fred Thompson- In a case of an untimely death, the first thing the cops do when they arrive at the home of the deceased is to try to determine whether the death was the result of a self-inflicted wound and, if it wasn’t, whether a member of the family did it. Statistics show that these are good places to start looking. If the recent events surrounding sexual-harassment allegations against Herman Cain sink his campaign, the same postmortem may be appropriate.First, Cain’s self-inflicted wounds. When the allegations became public, he started defending himself with an unloaded gun. Even an admirably unconventional campaign cannot defy certain principles. One would be never to eat at a place with an “Eats” sign in the window. Another is that when it hits the fan, you should get your recollection and your facts as straight as you can before you start talking. You can’t outwit the media at their own game if you don’t know the game they’re playing. Now it’s not just about whether he was overly friendly with Miss Molly at the Fourth of July picnic — it’s also about catching him in inconsistencies.
If Cain sinks, will Gingrich benefit? – In the early summer of 2007, an over-the-hill John McCain, his campaign in shambles, was given up for dead in his race for the Republican presidential nomination. He wouldn’t give up, though, and by sheer force of will managed to grab his party’s spot on the ticket — and lead it to a crushing defeat.
In the early summer of 2011, an over-the-hill Newt Gingrich, his campaign in shambles, was given up for dead in his race for the Republican presidential nomination. He wouldn’t give up, though, and by sheer force of will has managed to talk himself back into contention for his party’s spot on the ticket. But do Republican voters really want to be led to another crushing defeat?
That, alas, is almost sure to happen if Gingrich is the Republican standard bearer. Like McCain, he’s quite old by any non-Reagan presidential standards (indeed, if inaugurated he would be just four months younger than Reagan was on his Inauguration Day). Like McCain, he has a nasty temper (although, to be fair, it’s nowhere near as nasty as McCain’s). Like McCain, he has a sordid history with, uh, relationships, although his is more well known than McCain’s and does not enjoy the excuse of a “pass” to re-sow wild oats due to brutal years in captivity.Short answer is: MAYBE.
Poll Watch: Voters Evenly Divided As to Whether Allegations Against Cain Are Serious and True- Two-thirds of America’s voters recognize that Herman Cain is the Republican candidate who has been accused of sexual harassment. Voters are evenly divided about the allegations and most Republicans believe the public airing of the charges suggest Cain is considered a serious threat to win the nomination.The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 39% believe the allegations against Cain are at least somewhat likely to be serious and true. Thirty-eight percent (38%) disagree and 23% are not sure. Those figures include 17% who believe it’s Very Likely and 11% who say Not at All Likely.
The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election- In the last four national elections, generational differences have mattered more than they have in decades. According to the exit polls, younger people have voted substantially more Democratic than other age groups in each election since 2004, while older voters have cast more ballots for Republican candidates in each election since 2006.The latest national polls suggest this pattern may well continue in 2012. Millennial generation voters are inclined to back Barack Obama for reelection by a wide margin in a matchup against Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate who has run the strongest against Obama in many polls. By contrast, Silent generation voters are solidly behind Romney.
In between the youngest and the oldest voters are the Baby Boom generation and Generation X. Both groups are less supportive of Obama than they were in 2008 and are now on the fence with respect to a second term for the president.
These are my links for November 2nd through November 3rd:
Cain Harassment Issue: Who Said What To Whom?- As questions multiply over the nature of sexual harassment claims made against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, finger-pointing and denials among top rivals are widening.Meanwhile, one of the accuser’s attorneys is seeking his client’s release from her confidentiality agreement despite the accuser’s reluctance to go public.
The campaigns of Rick Perry and Mitt Romney — Cain’s top challengers in the 2012 GOP race — are denying charges they were the source of the story that broke Sunday claiming two women had received financial settlements in a dispute over alleged inappropriate behavior by Cain, the former head of the National Restaurant Association.
On Wednesday, Cain’s top aide accused Perry’s campaign of being behind the release of the stories.
“This is one of the actions in America that is the reason why people don’t get involved in politics,” Mark Block, Cain’s campaign chief of staff, said in an exclusive interview with Fox News’ “Special Report.” “The actions of the Perry campaign are despicable.”
“Rick Perry and his campaign owe Herman Cain and his family an apology,” Block added.
The Cain campaign suggested the source for that story was longtime GOP consultant Curt Anderson, who worked for Cain’s failed 2004 U.S. Senate bid and had been debriefed on the harassment allegations by Cain himself. Anderson now works for Perry.
“I’ve known Herman Cain for about seven years. I was one of several consultants on his Senate race in 2004 and was proud to help him,” Anderson said. “I’d never heard any of these allegations until I read them in Politico, nor does anything I read in the press change my opinion that Herman is an upstanding man and a gentleman.”
“I have great respect for Herman and his character and I would never speak ill of him, on the record or off the record,” he added. “That’s true today and it’s not going to change.”
The Perry campaign also disavowed any connection to the story, calling Block’s charge “reckless and false.”
“For a candidate and campaign that claim to be the victims of unfounded and unproven accusations, they are awfully quick to hurl unfounded accusations themselves,” Perry campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan said in email. “Contrary to the Cain campaign’s false accusations, there is not one shred of evidence that any member of the Perry team had anything to do with the recent stories regarding Herman Cain — because it isn’t true.”
Sullivan also noted that backers of Mitt Romney’s campaign are connected to the National Restaurant Association, though the Romney campaign responded simply that any suggestion it pushed the Cain story is “not true.”
One of the women, who lives in Maryland and has served as a spokeswoman for several federal agencies, refuses to let her attorney reveal her identity though attorney Joel P. Bennett claims she wants to contest Cain’s version of events.
Bennett said he’s trying to get the National Restaurant Association, which Cain led at the time of the accusations, to release her from a confidentiality agreement so he can provide details on Thursday.
The second woman — first described in a Politico story which sent ripples through the Cain campaign — is a registered lobbyist in New Jersey, according to a former pollster at the NRA.
Pollster Chris Wilson told KTOK radio in Oklahoma that at the time the woman was a “lower level staffer” probably two years out of college. But her experiences with Cain were witnessed by him and others attending an event at a restaurant in Crystal City, Va., right across the river from Washington, D.C.
“Everybody was aware of it,” he told the radio station. “It was only a matter of time because so many people were aware of what took place, so many people were aware of her situation, the fact she left after this. Everybody knew … with the campaign that this would eventually come up.”
The two women left the NRA with financial settlements and an agreement to never speak of the details. The New York Times reported Wednesday that the woman now in New Jersey received $35,000 in her settlement, representing a year’s salary.
Wilson, who wouldn’t describe the alleged confrontation because of “legal issues,” said the woman wants to talk, and speculated the NRA is going to have no choice but to release her from her confidentiality agreement.
Cain Says Perry Camp Behind Sex Harassment Leak- Was the recent attack on Herman Cain’s presidential campaign a professional hit job? Absolutely, says Herman Cain. And he says he knows just where to look for the guy who did it: At 815 Slaters Lane in Alexandria, Virginia, a low-slung former warehouse in the shadow of a coal plant.There, beside rusting rail lines, is the home of OnMessage Inc., a Republican-leaning consulting firm recently hired to bolster Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign.
Poll Watch: Three in Four Americans Back Obama on Iraq Withdrawal- Americans widely support President Obama’s recent decision to withdraw nearly all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year, with 75% approving. That includes the vast majority of Democrats and independents. Republicans, however, are slightly more likely to disapprove than approve.hese results are based on an Oct. 29-30 Gallup poll. On Oct. 21, Obama announced that U.S. troops would be out of Iraq by the end of the year. Only a small U.S. force would remain to guard the U.S. embassy, among other responsibilities.The U.S. ended combat operations in Iraq in August 2010.
These findings are consistent with Americans’ long-standing desire to leave Iraq. Last August, as the drawdown in U.S. forces was underway, 6 in 10 Americans were opposed to renewing combat operations in Iraq even if Iraqi forces were unable to maintain security in that country.
Republicans at that time also expressed some willingness to remain in Iraq, depending on the stability of the situation there, while Democrats and independents were largely opposed to a change in the policy.
Prior to the end of combat operations, Republicans generally opposed, while Democrats largely favored, setting a timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
Thus, Republicans’ disapproval of Obama’s withdrawal policy may partly be influenced by their more general opposition to setting hard deadlines for withdrawing troops, rather than an actual desire to keep U.S. troops in Iraq. Their opposition to his policy may also be related to their broader disapproval of Obama — 9% of Republicans have approved of the job Obama is doing in each of the last three months
VEEP SPECULATION IS JUST THAT- There really is no need to talk about vice-presidential selection right now, but in recent weeks discussion of the subject has filled pages, airwaves and cyberspace as a number of knowledgeable observers have approached the subject from imaginable (and unimaginable) angles. Pundits have declared Vice President Joe Biden dumped and have anointed any number of Republican running mates. And one of the nation’s leading political writers has called for a new procedure to select vice-presidential candidates.To paraphrase Dan Quayle during the 1992 vice-presidential debate, it’s time to take a deep breath. It’s much ado about very little. The vice presidency matters, but the Democratic vice-presidential nomination is a done deal, the Republican choice is too contingent to even speculate about and both choices will, and should, be made as they normally are, by the presidential candidates.
Riot police fire tear gas and stun grenades to try and regain control
Two protesters hospitalised after they were struck by a car
Protesters went on rampage vandalising banks and storefronts
Chase and Wells Fargo branches attacked and Whole Foods store
Occupy Oakland protesters claimed victory after they shut down one of the nation’s busiest shipping ports – escalating a movement whose tactics had largely been limited to marches, rallies and camps.
In a five-hour stand-off protesters vandalised businesses and smashed bank windows, as they tried to shut down the city – and police appeared to respond using tear gas and flash bang grenades.
The California demonstrators blocked operations at the city’s port and stopped traffic on Wednesday in protests against economic inequality and police brutality, marred by scattered vandalism.
Occupy Oakland Protesters Tear Gased by Police- Police have used tear gas and “flash bang” grenades on a large crowd of demonstrators that lit a massive bonfire in the streets of downtown Oakland, Calif., in a conflict following a day of action that saw the city’s port closed after demonstrators. blocked itDozens of police in riot gear advanced on protesters who had pushed together several large metal and plastic trash bins to start a fire that reached 15 feet in the air, according to The Associated Press. Police reportedly warned protesters to clear out before firing several rounds of tear gas and “flash bang” grenades.
Several protesters, many of whom wore gas masks, chanted “We Are Scott Olson” as the police fired at them early Wednesday. Olson is the Iraq War veteran who suffered a fractured skull last month after he was hit in the head by a projectile during a conflict with police.
The conflict came hours after thousands of Occupy Oakland protesters marched on the Port of Oakland, disrupting operations at the nation’s fifth largest port and causing all maritime operations in the city to be shut down.
Peaceful Occupy protests degenerate into chaos- A day of demonstrations in Oakland that began as a significant step toward expanding the political and economic influence of the Occupy Wall Street movement, ended with police in riot gear arresting dozens of protesters who had marched through downtown to break into a vacant building, shattering windows, spraying graffiti and setting fires along the way.”We go from having a peaceful movement to now just chaos,” said protester Monique Agnew, 40.
The far-flung movement of protesters challenging the world’s economic systems and distribution of wealth has gained momentum in recent weeks, capturing the world’s attention by shutting down one of the nation’s busiest shipping ports toward the end of a daylong “general strike” that prompted solidarity rallies across the U.S.
About 3,000 people converged on the Port of Oakland, the nation’s fifth-busiest harbor, in a nearly five-hour protest Wednesday, swarming the area and blocking exits and streets with illegally parked vehicles and hastily-erected, chain-link fences.
Port officials said they were forced to cease maritime operations, citing concerns for workers’ safety. They said in a statement they hope to resume operations Thursday “and that Port workers will be allowed to get to their jobs without incident. Continued missed shifts represent economic hardship for maritime workers, truckers, and their families, as well as lost jobs and lost tax revenue for our region.”
Supporters in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and elsewhere staged smaller-scale demonstrations; each group saying its protest was a show of support for the Oakland movement, which became a rallying point when an Iraq War veteran was seriously injured in a clash with police last week.
The larger Occupy movement has yet to coalesce into an organized association and until the port shut down had largely been limited scattershot marches, rallies and tent encampments since it began in September.
Organizers in Oakland had viewed the day as a significant victory. Police said that about 7,000 people participated in demonstrations throughout the day that were peaceful except for a few incidents of vandalism.
These are my links for November 1st from 13:51 to 14:56:
Satire on Occupy Wall Street Trips Up Rick Perry- Last Friday, at the swanky Barley House tavern in Concord, N.H., Mr. Perry took a little jab at the Occupy Wall Street crowd, referencing an amusing quote his son had sent him from a protester occupying Toronto.“I don’t know if it can be proved up or not,” Mr. Perry conceded, “the young man’s name was Jeremy and he was 38 years old. But he said, ‘We got here at 9 o’clock, and those people, this was in Toronto, I think Bay Street is their comparable [Wall Street], he said those bankers that we came to insult, they’d already been at work for two hours when we got here at 9 o’clock, and when we get ready to leave, you know, they’re still in there working. I guess greed just makes you work hard.”
Democracy Versus Mob Rule – Thomas Sowell- In various cities across the country, mobs of mostly young, mostly incoherent, often noisy, and sometimes violent demonstrators are making themselves a major nuisance.Meanwhile, many in the media are practically gushing over these “protesters,” and giving them the free publicity they crave for themselves and their cause — whatever that is, beyond venting their emotions on television.
Lawyer: Cain accuser wants to talk but is barred by agreement- One of the women who accused GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual harassment wants to tell her side of the story but is barred by a confidentiality agreement, her attorney in Washington said Tuesday.Lawyer Joel P. Bennett called on the National Restaurant Association, where the woman and Cain worked in the late 1990s, to release the woman from her written promise not to talk about the allegations or disparage the trade group.
Who Are the 1 Percent? – There is a real and potentially fatal problem with the “Us vs. Them” narrative that Occupy Wall Street has made the focal point of its campaign — most famously with the “99 percent against the 1 percent” rhetoric — and that is that it does not transmute smoothly into the more intimate “Me vs. You.” It is one thing haphazardly to generalize about “the 1 percent,” or “the rich,” or “Nazi bankers” and “fascist policemen,” and quite another to get down to cases. When I interviewed a lady who labeled the bankers and the police “Nazis,” she was notably reluctant to describe any one of those to whom I pointed in such extreme terms — “Well, maybe not him personally . . .” Put a face on an epithet, and the vitriol soon dwindles; indeed, the targets who retain their “miscreant” sticker even when named tend to be a long, long way away — far enough removed to be usefully employed as abstractions. This was something I noticed particularly keenly on Friday, at Occupy Wall Street’s march on the banks.
The Gingrich revival- Just a few months ago, Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign looked like it was in its death throes. His poll ratings were in free fall after his criticism of fellow Republican Paul Ryan’s plan to reform Medicare as “right-wing social engineering”, and his top staff had quit en masse. But somehow, Gingrich has managed to gradually rebuild his campaign and rehabilitate himself in the eyes of Republican voters.The chart below shows how Republican’s views of Gingrich have changed over the course of the campaign. You can clearly see his ratings sliding in May-June, but then recovering slowly since July. Although they’ve levelled off in the last couple of weeks, they’re now almost back up to the very strong numbers he enjoyed when he launched his campaign and put him just about on a par with Mitt Romney.
More than likely, the only anti-Romney candidate left.