Kevin Beck Melbourne Australia

Observations of the United States of America Presidential Candidates and the 2106 Election



Election Day in the United States of America is the Tuesday following the first Monday in November. These include national, state and local government representatives at all levels up to the President.

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Antics, theatrics and games
in the capital of the free world
stirring stuff. I am
thrilled by it all.


There are a number of Republican and Democratic candidates hoping to win the White House in 2016. Here is a list which we try to update as each candidate’s status changes. Click the candidate’s name for detailed information including websites, social media links, and pictures.

The 2016 Presidential primary schedule is currently being assembled. The dates are subject to change as states make their final decisions regarding which day to hold their primary contests. Please
use our contact form if you see incorrect information and can provide a link to accurate information. This page will be updated as the calendar is finalized.



Hilary Clinton
Wants Democratic Party

Jeb Bush
Wants Republican Party

Marco Rubio
Wants Republican Party


Let’s Be Serious About Ted Cruz From The Start: He’s Too Extreme And Too Disliked To Win, By Harry Enten, March 23, 2015

Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s newly minted presidential campaign is the media equivalent of a juicy rib-eye that robbers use to distract a guard dog during a heist. He’ll get a ton of media attention, and he’ll get to spread his message — which may be all that Cruz is after — but Cruz almost certainly has no shot of winning the nomination, according to every indicator that predicts success in presidential primaries.

First, Cruz doesn’t have enough support from party bigwigs. To win the Republican or Democratic nomination, you need the backing of at least some of the party apparatus. At a minimum, your fellow party members shouldn’t hate you. Otherwise, you end up getting the Newt Gingrich 2012 treatment. That is, you get pounced on the moment you’re seen as a threat to win the nomination."

(Source of opinion:
Five Thirty Eight Politics

Governor of the State of New Jersey, Chris Christie is indeed colourful. The editorial board of New Jersey’s most important and largest newspaper, The Star Ledger, is questioning whether Christie will cause World War III if he’s elected president.

Here’s a sample of the editorial: Gov Chris Christie says that if he were president, he’d be blunt with Russia and Iran. He told this to a room of more than 150 Iowa Republicans last Thursday. If he decides to run, and wins, he said, the “bluntness and directness, and straightforwardness” he’s known for would steer foreign relations. This is a scary picture.

Can’t you just hear him telling Vladimir Putin to “sit down and shut up”? Calling the Ayatollah “numb nuts?” The idea that all America really needs is a Jersey guy who tells it like it is — or, some might say, a chest pounder — could very well put us on the brink of nuclear war.

Christie is currently New Jersey’s governor, so this is pretty rough coming from the home crowd. While other Republicans are formally announcing their entry into the presidential race on a daily basis, Christie hasn’t formally announced anything yet. He’s said he’ll make a decision about running for president sometime in June. (Source: Chris Christie's local newspaper says he'll start World War III if he's president JAY YAROW JUN 16 2015, 9:13 PM, Business Insider Australia),/font>

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I have followed the antics, and bubble thoughts of the man with the brilliant hair. The extraordinarily entertaining Donald Trump. The erudite, well structured propositions and prepositions.

Neil Young isn't too happy with Donald Trump. He may Trump them all. I predict he will end up campaigning agaonst Hillary Clinton. He will galvanise the disgruntled, the disenchanted. He is not from the establishment or the elites.


The New York real estate mogul arrived on stage at his campaign kickoff announcement Tuesday as the sounds of Young's "Rockin' In The Free World" blared through the atrium at Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan. The only problem? Young blasted the Republican candidate following his announcement, with the rocker claiming Trump didn't have permission to use the music. "Donald Trump was not authorized to use 'Rockin' In The Free World' in his presidential candidacy announcement," a statement from Young's team released late Tuesday read. "Neil Young, a Canadian citizen, is a supporter of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States of America." However, when FOX411 reached Trump's campaign manager for comment, he sang a very different tune.

“Through a licensing agreement with ASCAP, Mr. Trump’s campaign paid for and obtained the legal right to use Neil Young’s recording of ‘Rockin' In The Free World,'" Trump's Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski told us. "Nevertheless, there are plenty of other songs to choose from. Despite Neil’s differing political views, Mr. Trump likes him very much.”

It's not the first time -- or even the first time this year -- a candidate has been chastised by a musician for use of a tune. When Marco Rubio played the electronic hit "Something New" at a rally, the duo behind the song spoke out almost immediately, declaring Rubio hadn't obtained permission to use the song and they "don't want to be affiliated with a particular party during the upcoming presidential race."

"Yes, I believe that we will end up in a war with Iran because I think Obama views that as politically good for him. (Source Donald Trump campaign fires back: We paid to use Neil Young's song Published June 17, 2015 Fox

It's not the Democrats that Donald Trump has worried OPINION, THE DRUM ABC Australia, By ABC USA based John Barron

Trump declared the American Dream dead, but vowed to bring it back. PHOTO: Trump declared the American Dream dead, but vowed to bring it back. (Reuters: Brendan McDermid) The Republicans now face a difficult choice: take Donald Trump seriously and risk turning their party into a joke, or freeze him out and risk the tycoon running a damaging third-party campaign instead, writes John Barron.

Donald Trump has publically flirted with the idea of running for president for years. He came closest to becoming a candidate in 1999 for the Reform Party founded by another idiosyncratic billionaire, H Ross Perot. Trump thinks big, as his gaudy skyscrapers and golf resorts show, and he is a world-class self-promoter, so it seems entirely natural that he would want to be the most powerful politician on Earth as well. Despite what you might have heard, money isn't everything in politics, but it does buy a lot of TV ads, bumper stickers and campaign workers - and those things do tend to attract a few votes. Just as Perot and multimillionaire media baron Steve Forbes effectively bought their way into presidential campaigns in the 1990s, Trump can afford to be in this for the long haul.

While most candidates drop out of the race for the presidency when the money dries up because the voters aren't supporting them, voters or not, Trump won't run out of money. Like Perot, Trump could happily spend $50 million just for the heck of it."

Appearing somewhat incredulous at his sentiment, Van Susteren said, "You're saying that the president is really thinking about doing the unthinkable for political advantage for himself, taking us to war. I think most people would say that's beyond, that's beyond fair." Trump responded, "I don't think it's beyond. That's my opinion, and let's see what happens. I hope that doesn't happen." "What should happen is Iran has to be-despite their bravado-they have to be scared stiff right now because, I mean, they've just looked at what's happened to other countries because we are the most powerful, and what we've done to others, whether we should have been there or shouldn't have been there, is unbelievable. So what should happen is the right person should negotiate a phenomenal deal. Everything. We should get 100 percent of everything. I have predicted that I think it's not going to go that way. We don't negotiate. We don't know how to negotiate." (Source: WND: TRUMP: OBAMA WILL START IRAN WAR TO WIN ELECTION "We don't negotiate. We don't know how to negotiate" July 2012)

"Like a shooting star, you'll come and go, but you had imprinted yourself in my heart from the very first moment I have seen you", (picture and quote: 2011 M. BALANDIS 11 D., PIRMADIENIS, euphoriangle blog spot)

Some time back, I fell heavily for the disarming and lovely Alaskan Governor, Ms Sarah Palin and the very comely Ms Michele Bachmann.

The list of candidates interviewing for this short term vacancy (a 2x4 year appointment and then on your bike with a library named after you), is both extensive and impressive. The the horde vying for every other publically elected position, across the United States, boggles the mind.



There is Alexander, Gary, Gingrich (Newt), Romney (Mitt), Harris, Johnson, Karger, Lane, Martin, McMillan, Obama (Mr. President), Miller, Paul, Person, Roemer, Santorum (Rick), Snyder, Terry, Woodring, Wrights and Wuensche.

I was devastated when Sarah and Michele withdrew, Cain and Huntsman left also, McCotter, Pawlenty, Perry, all had gone.

Then there are the potentials that galvanise the imagination, Scott Brown, Republican, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Robert Burck, Independent, the 'Naked Cowboy', Charlie Crist, Independent, Former Governor of Florida, Rudy Giuliani, Republican, Former Mayor of New York City, Lindsey Graham , Republican, U.S. Senator from South Carolina, Charles Harvey , Independent, Retired described as a "Middle Class American", Roy Moore , Republican, Former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Wayne Allyn Root , Libertarian, Entrepreneur, author and political commentator, Becky Rusher , Independent, Computer Technician, Joe Scarborough , Republican, U.S. Representative from Florida, Allen West , Republican, U.S. Representative from Florida. Who would have "thunk it" that the field could be so eclectic?

I began to tweet things about the campiagns and picked up some followers, and I identified Rick santorum as a danger to Mitt's domination several months back. My logic was that he was an evangelical (former catholic) hard line conservative candidate, whereas Mr. Mitt comes from the Mormon faith. I pondered how many American Republicans would embrace a Mormon candidate over a Christian? Mitt to my mind may be seeking to oscillate between the two? The Mormons leader wrote their bible sometime in the recent past. The other bible has been around long before AOL, Yahoo, Google and Facebook!

What happens to potential candidates and how do they raise the zillion, squillions, of dollars of campaign funds needed to have a tilt at the US Presidency?

What sort of power networks underpin the march to glory and the key to the Oval Office? What type of flotilla ferries the Presidential winner up the Potomac River?

What challenges face the incumbents of the separate bed bunk rooms at Camp David? It must be a buzz to be accompanied by Clint Eastwood trotting next to the limo or Kevin Costner standing against the wall!

I wonder how is it that the richest, and most powerful, technological nation on earth, cannot design, build and operate a decent electoral system where everyone eligible gets to vote? How can a partisan political apparatchik also be the electoral manager? Why is it that America cannot provide free, or at least reasonable cost, health care to its people? How is that education comes at such an expensive price? In this democracy the bulk of the wealth is held in the hands of a very small number of people. Why is that poverty is the essence of a grinding life in many of the states. How is it that poverty, and slavery, are alive in the working wage and the structure of many businesses? I wonder why it is the right of anyone to rip off anyone else in pursuit of the market objective? Why is the
"corporation" held in higher regard than the ordinary person? Taking that ethos to the world, like a badge of honour, the hegemony delivered the world a global financial crisis. Perceptions may be that corruption flows across the landscape of America. Is this a reasonable and fair assumption? Who's in charge?

Why is the right to carry a very bad gun enshrined in the US Constitution? Is fear of government, and each other, the underpinning dread of every person in every neighbourhood and they are prepared to stoically wear the misery of gun violence? Are these issues in the election or is it just about the economy and nothing else in America? (Kevin Beck, "Down Under Views of US Politics", 2012)




On the campaign trail




The 57th quadrennial United States Presidential Election will be held on November 6, 2012.... click


She Rocks!


She Rocks Too!



IT takes years to build the folowing, the profile and the war chest. Credible candidates do not do not simply roll up unannounced to have a go.



November 2012: And so it has come to pass, and my predictions are reasonably accurate. I ponder why someone on the other side of the world could see what the Republicans, Mr Romney, Republican supporters and partisan media, could not? But what does it all mean and foretell?

The most pressing issue is for Congress to gets its collective good graces together for the American people. They must take a bi-partisan stance on some very key, and pressing, issues. The most obvious one is the euphemistically named "fiscal cliff". To reach a band aid solution is folly. To try and keep tax benefits to the rich at the expense of the poor is also folly. The rejective stance on their (hybrid medicare) universal health, on spurious ideology of free choice, freemarket, is to leave healthcare in the hands of immoral, unconscienable, unethical and greedy insurance company executives and boards The executives, and board members, in some of these companies appear to be in need of a good prosecution for callous indifference.

The Republicans, and Democrats, must return to a previous era of negotiation where mutual positions were reached on significant issues for the good of the country. Government and parliament is elected to function, not fight on special interest agendas and self interested incumbents. The Republican Party, like many others in the developed world, is populated by white male (older) Americans,with a msattering of women, whereas the demographic reality is far more blended. Power not only corrupts it isolates the incumbents from reality. It is not likely the Republicans will disappear, it is more likely they will have to jettison many power brokers and reform themselves, dramatically, very quickly in make up and policy ideology. This is not business as usual until the next time.

Foreign policy, and the outsourcing of US delivery, is a very significant and crucial matter. If Hillary Clinton leaves this portfolio then the US will have a lot of soul searching to do on who can ably replace her. She did the heavy lifting on the Libya US embassy attack. She is highly regarded inside, and outside of, the US. America may well see itself as the protector of the free world but some might say it is often smoke and mirrors. Watch the movie "Whistleblower" starring Rachel Wiess to gain a perception of what happens when a country outsources its foreign affairs management, and delivery, to what is predominantly a private para military organisation. This is but one of the many examples floating around the world of US outsourcing. The US "private sector model" needs a serious rethink not only for military, overseas operations but also for the transfer of public policy and monies to a 'for profit - big profits" enterprise. They should have learnt the lessons of the GFC. I think the US administration, and the private sector, is not good at learning lessons. The private sector has, in many ways apparently, taken over policy delivery changing it to their benefit.

The indebtedness of the working person in the US has to be addressed. Big corporates got a bail out, at tax paper expense. The ordinary person on struggle street got nothing but a stick in the eye. The debt has to be written down, or off, for every person whose life has been ruined by the greed, excesses and lies, of the rich and powerful. (Kevin beck, Melbourne Australia)



NOVEMBER 2012: The election day dawns and US voters go the polls. The Republicans must prepare for a rude awakening. Will there be soul searching and wil they understand?

The swing states of Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, among others, appear to have the call. I think Mr Obama has them.

The sleeper in this election, I also think, are the provisional votes. In the previous election there were about 200,000? These are votes cast by people with an address, or identity, that is unverifiable at the centre where they cast their vote. This is not a system like Australia where there is a central register and a central independent electoral commission and electoral role running the ballot. There are fifty one different systems and within those states there can be hundreds more variables at the local level in counties and other jurisdictions. This is a dog's breakfast system. Those votes cannot be counted for ten days and given the current impasse in America's government they may well be way more than 200,000, perhaps even 500,000. They will flow to Mr Obama increasing his percentage. This is cliff hanger impact. And what if the electorate turns on the two major candidates and votes for one of the other 28 candidates for the Presidency? Unlikely yes, but what if?

The electoral college seems to hold the fate, with the popular vote, of the Presidency. The candidates require 270 votes to win that ballot and the Presidency. The polls are claiming equal line between Mr Obama and Mr Romney. I do not think this is as accurate as the pollsters and commentators would have the audience of watchers and the American public believe. I assess Mr Obama to be 3% in front and he appears to have the majority of the electoral college as at November 6, 2012.

UPDATED ANALYSIS: October 2012 - "Still the One"

The fateful day approaches, mere weeks away. There has been another debate. Well not really a debate, more a show of who can be the most aggressive and who can spin the story better whilst pulling faces and looking superior. There is much play on words, manipuating what was said previously to mean something differnt today.

I have a new interest, it is Glenn Kessler's
Fact Checker at the Washington Post. Glenn goes back over speeches and statements and looks for porkies and reinterpretations, or simple fibs. He ahs checked the second debate. We ordinary people know that politicians across the world all bend the truth or vary it according to need at the time. It is political expediency. In Australia I call it the Department of Smokey Mirrors. What do you call it in America?

Another interesting bog is Blogmocracy. Your US political blogs are so much more inventive, colourful, better looking, content filled and, heaven forbid, radical, than my poor efforts and that of other Australian political crooners on the web.

Our media here in Australia is absorbed by trivia and stupidity. The Prime Minister Julia Gillard, falls over in India, and the newspapers do a two page spread of the pictures with glib headlines and rubbish like "fall from grace" "matching the polls" and so on. No wonder we turn to international media on the web.

However back to Barak and Mitt. It seems to me that neither has the solution to America's deepening crisis of the have and have nots. is there a crisis? Well not if the big companies and banks are making record profits. All is okay. Mitt is going to create 12,000,000 jobs. That is a big number but it seems remarkably similar to a report that says if the economy chugs along as it is now, 12,000,000 jobs will be created over four years at 3,000,000 per year. Real people know statistics are whatever you want them to be and economists like multipliers. Neither the Democrats, nor Republicans, know what to do because the the free market, small government, limited regulation model with monetary policy and tax jiggling is broke. The US economy is sliced, and diced, just like the schemes in the global financial crisis.

The pursuit of irrelevancy. In teh second Obama Romney debate there was a strident focus on whether or not President Obama said it was a terrorist attack in Libya and the time lapse of two weeks. Why this should be of great import is probably only known to the political minders and the micro specialists who read minutae for a hobby and interpret the ambience, a look, a frown, a blink, a smirk. Nothing much oratorial or rivetting here.


September 23rd, 2012: The Democrat Convention opened with similar fanfare and the spouse of candidate Obama took centre stage. America obviously puts great stock in family values and imagery. Ms Obama is a compelling personality with a grass roots feel. For her homilies and motherhood statements are not grist to the mill and her primary weapon. She is a plain talker. Looking at Ms Obama one might wonder why the political parties do not run female tickets? I think that America believes, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, demonstrable every day by the global financial crisis, by the Federal Reserve, by the analysts, that private enterprise will be the saviour of the nation. It will not be. This may well have been true in older days when ethics and public service imbued the American community but I would hazard it is not so today. The Fed is printing money, not to pay for investment in public goods and infrastructure, but to prop up a small segment of the community (20%) who have the bulk of wealth. In Europe similarly the ECB is printing money to buy bonds. t is investing in wothless nation debt. The American Federal Reserve does QE purportedly to stimulate consumption. Their actions prove Einstein's theory of stupidity.

In amongst all of the rhetoric about privet enterprise we can see why there are cracks in the American way. The CEO of Oracle earns close on US100 million per year. This is not abnormal. It is somewhat obscene when many are grindignly poor and the nation's infratsructure is crumbling. Republican candidate Mitt Romney does not care much for the very poor and likes to fire people. Mrs Romney drives a couple of caddies and Mitt, according to himself, is unemployed. These among many others signs are pointers to a quabdary that external people, such as I, observe.

The Economist thinks that America's woes lie in its moral decline, Luce argues that it is the failure of institutions, others think Christianity is on the decline. All avoid the simplest of propositions, untramelled pursuit of wealth, as the primary objective, of a nation ultimately has its price.

Neither candidate for President has the solution or the magic wand, despite their claims. Both talk in broad sweeping grandiose statements, President Obama declared in his State of the union, "America is Back". Back from where and what? This is glib nonsense. The solution lies at the heart of what America is and wants to be. A nation riven by greed and pursuit of the almighty dollar or a nation that balances personal endeavour with public administration, investment and good. If the American model of private enterprise is so good then how is this truth below explained? In the late sixties America measured around thirty - fourty percent of world income referenced by the IMF. At the start of 2000 it was around thirty percent and is now probably about 22%. In 2000 China measured under ten percent in comparison to the US economy, and at 2012 it is over fourty percent. If China floats their currency as some want done China will be valued even higher than under current accounts. What is Obama's and Romney's recipe for that?

There is much written on the role of political parties and the nature of today's politics in America. It sill holds that political parties are the most open method by which individuals can participate in their democracy. The problem occurs, however, when one applies the American ethos of everything is about money (its the economy stupid) and the rights of the upper 20% to rule, are paramount, under the theory of trickle down, to own the system. The rich , and influential rent seekers, dominate the Congress and big business calls the shots. There is one exception. The American Rifle Association has enormous power, and influence, and excuse the pun, it often calls the shots.

After all of that who is going to win the Presidency? I think it is still Mr Obama. I expect that nothing will change in his second term and America will still find that the solution to its woes is anathema to the Republicans and the upper middle class. Someone has to take the losses and the poor have nothing left to give.

The Republican Convention has opened. Much of the focus is on the sppech by Ann Romney. The tenor of American campiagn poliitics appears to be a proposition of "absolute belief and hope". It is as if, in the absence of acceptance of reality, many turn to hope, faith and the American way. Ann Romney, apprpriately did not enter into the policy sphere since that is not the accepted role of the wife of the politician. Maybe she should have. The essence of her speech was a folksy story line about love, family and overcomimg adversity. The message was "he will not let the nation down" because he has never let me down. For many outsiders this tendency for caramel essence comes as a mystery or a turn off. In Australia, if a spouse gave this speech in the campaign ther would be much derisiion. It seems absurd that the election of one of the most powerful leaders would come down to a woman telling a nation to trust her husband.

Chris Schristy the popular Governor of New Jersey continued the nostalgia theme with stories of his mother's influence. The American Century, a bygone era to whihc many yearn to retur. The were references to economy near the end. But the question I ask is: whose economy? Is it the economy of Wall Street, the economy of the rich and the powerful, the economy of the middle class or the economy of the mass of underprivileged dwelling in trailer parks? There are many economies in America and all of them are personal ones. The proposition that Mitt Romney alone will lead the nation and return it to greatness, another American Century is nothing if not fantasy and wishful thinking. Mr Christy stated that America had the world's best health system. Again this is more a general statement of questionable fundation than a fact. There are brilliant surgeons and brilliant researchers and many talented people and institutions. Yet the model that supposes the private sector, user pays system is the best is broken. The American principle of free market creates good paying jobs generally is also broken. The divided politicas can never as Christy proposd be bipartisan. That bipartisan Democrat - Republican (negotiating) system which operated in the time of his mother is gone. Now there is only stark reality and political knives. There is no coming American Century.

My prediction of an Obama win still remains but in the final outcome I have no particular favourite or disposition. I have too many good Republican and Democrat friends. The indeterminate factor seems to be what level of corruption of the electoral system will impact the result. Here is Australia we have an independet Electoral Commission backed up with the power of a regulator with teeth. America has no such system. It has no common electoral machinery and its electoral officers are in many instances conflicted. Absentee ballots are sold openly. Duplicated voting occurs. Deliberate removal of voters by partisan interests occurs as large segments are disenfranchised. This is the reason that the election is difficult to call. It is not the polls that speak to the reality on the ground.

If the Republicans win I, and many others who interact, will have to start over and make contacts again in the White House and elswewhere but that is no different to the changing of governments, and administration, here in Australia or elsewhere in the world. Networks have to be rebuilt and replenished. I merely observe, analyse and comment, publishing my observations. I apologise in advance if I offend, please
tell me through my interactive Forum if I do.

August 9, 2012: Candidate Mitt Romney has chosen his running mate for Vice President, Congressman Paul Ryan. This is a clear separation from the Democrats and a high risk one from my perspective. A young representative and some say a "darling of the Tea Party". Looking from the outside this is an interesting choice for what it says. It speaks volumes about the realisation of American politics, economy and society, by the political class. Particularly the Republicans. The choice of Mr Ryan has clearly delineated the Republicans from the Democrats. The Republicans have given a smiling youthful look to their main men but behind it may lurk a dark image of severity, and budget cuts, small government, lower taxes, entrenchment of disadvantage, the theory of trickle down from rich (who by this create employment) to the under privileged. This is a face that, to my mind, clearly defines what some Republicans stand for and believe in. Is it America in its fullest sense? The world watches the United States.

Paul Ryan, some may opine, stands squarely in the glare of the "Twilight of the Elites". On the other hand there were other choices, Mr Romney might have made. For example Republican Rob Portman, in Ohio. His record shows that he is pragmatic, prepared to negotiate, and bargain, to get important legislation through the House. I have long thought that the role of Vice President is a bridge between the President and the Congress, which Portman would seem to fulfill. Maybe I am wrong but Mr. Ryan seems to offer no such bridge. Is this a flaw in Mr Romney's understanding of the role of Vice President and that of President and Congress interaction or is it a deliberate choice?

There was a flirtation, by some, with the proposition of Condoleeza Rice being chosen. This would bring a Foreign Affairs expertise, and ethnic, and female voter, advantage into the campaign. This choice too has been eschewed or did Ms Rice decline?

In the final analysis I also see a situation where Mitt Romney has chosen someone who is opposing his own published stance on medicare. Mr Ryan argues against it Mr Romney argues for it. Those over 65 years of age no doubt value medicare benefits and might have some antipathy for Mr Ryan's views. How will Mr Romney balance this anomaly? Yet Mr Obama is not without questions. In 2008 he berated John McCain over medicare, Mr Obama's stance appears to be the opposite now?

Additionally some might say that the younger Ryan is more deft of political foot than his senior political partner. Then there are Mr Ryan's hard stances against women's choice, life and abortion and gay marriage which also tend to polarise. Does Mr Romney actually want to win or does he have a view of the whole psyche of the American electorate, in all of its disparate parts, that appears to challenge logic? Maybe logic does not play a role in the end result. A Mormon and a Catholic, where is the traditional Protestant on the Republican ticket? Hark back to Harry Truman. Interesting indeed.

"In an engrossing passage from Twilight of the Elites, a new book about the American meritocracy and its failures, author Chris Hayes directs our attention to an all but forgotten moment in 2009, when debate raged about who President Obama should appoint to a Supreme Court vacancy. Sonia Sotomayor was widely thought to be on his short list. But various liberal commentators, including The New Republic's Jeffrey Rosen and Harvard's Laurence Tribe, argued that she should be passed over for alternative candidates who they regarded as observably smarter. "Keep in mind the person under discussion is someone who, from humble beginnings in the Bronx, had gained entry to Princeton, graduated summa cum laude, and gone on to Yale Law, where she edited the Yale Law Journal," Hayes observed. "She had checked off every box on the to-do list of meritocratic achievement. Apparently it wasn't enough."

In his telling, that's one example of the "Cult of Smartness" that has taken hold in American life, a pathology characterized by the mistaken assumption that intelligence is an ordinal quality -- that it is possible for observers to accurately rank intelligent people in order from most to least smart, and that the right person for a job is always the one deemed smartest. "While smartness is necessary for competent elites," Hayes retorts, "it is far from sufficient: wisdom, judgment, empathy, and ethical rigor are all as important, even if those traits are far less valued." (Source: The Atlantic, The Cult of Smartness: How Meritocracy Is Failing America, 9 JUN 14 2012)

"Amidst a series of recent scandals that have rocked the global banking system, journalist Chris Hayes joins us to discuss his new book, "Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy." The book examines how Wall Street and other major institutions, from Congress to the Catholic Church to Major League Baseball, have been crippled by corruption and incompetence. Hayes is host of the MSNBC weekend show, "Up with Chris Hayes," and is editor-at-large of The Nation magazine. "One of the most insidious aspects of the current distribution of resources in this country and the current inequality we have isn't just that it's bad for people on the bottom of the social pyramid but that it makes people at the top worse," Hayes says. "It conditions them to be incompetent and corrupt." (Source: Democracy NOW: TUESDAY, JULY 17, 2012, "Twilight of the Elites: Chris Hayes on How the Powerful Rig the System, from Penn State to Wall St.")

As I sit here in Australialand, to me America appears in a crisis but do the politicians in the federal houses know this? There is little publicised evidence to suggest they do. "Over the past decade, Americans watched in bafflement and rage as one institution after another – from Wall Street to Congress, the Catholic Church to corporate America, even Major League Baseball – imploded under the weight of corruption and incompetence. In the wake of the Fail Decade, Americans have historically low levels of trust in their institutions; the social contract between ordinary citizens and elites lies in tatters." (Amazon description for "Twilight of the Elites, America After Meritocracy", Christopher Hayes)

I ponder - when will fear grip the hearts of the rich, and privileged, in the USA? When will they realise that the disadvantaged, marginalised and impoverished far outnumber them? Do they all the privileged, and well off, live in "gated enclaves" protected by law and order, armed private security and police? The institutions that once protected their way of life are crumbling.

To be fair, on the other side of the coin the Democrats have offered no significant plan to deal with the huge range of issues facing the American economy and the people. It was once "about the economy stupid" as President Clinton famously said but that economy, under the scandals of GFC, has taken on a different paradigm and meaning. What is the plan for the growing poor? Cheap jobs and continuation of the old ways, or
a real heartfelt offering of better lifestyle and increased opportunity?

The country looms on the edge of a food crisis also that will ripple into the world. It will complement the impacts of the GFC. using corn for biofuel to meet some "climate change - carbon lessening objective" seems to be impacting the starving nations elsewhere and the subsidy bill for everyone up and down the US food chain must be equivalent to some countries GDP.

How many times can the Fed offer quantitative easing, printing money? When will a change of guard occur? Will it be when some banks lose their licences instead of paying fines? A budget supplement activity.

As the Democrats step up their negative campaign, across US media, the Republican candidate Mitt Romney, continues to raise questions about his corporate life. Refusal to release previous tax returns maybe makes him look a bit evasive and leads to a conclusion that there is something to hide. Does he have any other tax returns? However for all of this the Presidential campaign on both sides seems to lack passion and intensity. The candidates are going through the motions and the some of the supporters appear to have overdosed on valium.

There are no real, compared to the past,
conviction politics, and politicians, on display across the breadth of candidacy. This may explain why the polls appear to be so close. One of the parties will have to address this. It will be the Republicans I think with their choice of Vice President.

The aspirants must separate themselves for the voters are not galvanised and enthused. Why bother to turn out and vote? One of the candidates has to break free and show us
who is the best? Engage the voters and create a vision of the future.

June 2012: Many years ago the Democrats, and the Republicans, were made up of a mix of liberals, conservatives, free thinkers and people of left and right leanings. Thus they could debate and accommodate many views and reach concensus in some form of bipartisan agreement. Senators and their families lived in Washington and whilst they came from respective political camps they had to socialise with each other because their families interacted and often their kids went to same schools. Then Newt Gingrich arrived and he put an end to this. The Senators could stay in their home states and commute to Washington on Tuesday and back home on Thursday. They no longer interacted socially in town. The die was cast and the camps became entrenched in their rigidity. The US people today despair the combative, no holds barred, politics of modern America. Yet there is no end in sight. This is not what America or the world needs.

Given this unsatisfactory situation and the impasse, we have a new paradigm. The key to winning a US Presidential election, I think, now lies in having the conservative religious vote. The religious vote tends towards the mainstream churches, solid bible mandate. Mr Romney, coming from a Mormon religious background, though he would claim conversion to the mainstream religious right conviction, does not carry such an imprimatur.

The Republicans I think are inexorably tied to the Global Financial Crisis. It was unbridled, and unregulated, free market capitalism that brought America to its economic knees. Mr Bernanke prints money and quantitative easing is a nice way of saying "the only solution we have is to eat our lunch over and over until there is no more." The financial power collective, in the US, seems to have learnt no lessons from the GFC, evidenced by the massive losses occurred recently in derivate trading. What happens if Euro collapses?

Added to the GCF is the debilitating cost of wars measured in trillions and many lives. This is the legacy of a past administrations. It could be claimed that the Obama administration has staved off the collapse of the US economy.

The two aspirants will look closely at the Defence industry as the state of the latter may be precarious. Many states swing on defence contracts.

The great danger in this campaign is the extent of negativity. When asked, voters say they do not like it but privately the reverse is true. Negative advertising bites home. Every Western Nation uses it in their campaigns. It has to be controlled. The Democrats appear to be going in hard on negativity now to get it out of the way to soften later perhaps?. The negativity serves the converted supporters of Obama and locks them in. The object then is to go after the swinging voters. They may not respond to negativity.

"The surprise here is we live in serious times with huge issues hanging over us, and the country is working desperately for a solution," said David Gergen, veteran of four administrations. "And to wake up and see these antics does discourage people. It dampens people’s confidence that we’ll be able to have someone who can solve problems when this is over. I don’t understand it; I don’t understand why [campaigns] decide this is funny." The low-level tit-for-tats represent the latest derivation of the negative campaign, forever a staple of American politics. But never before the Twitter era have two camps fought so quickly for so little. Both sides, of course, claim they would rather be addressing more important issues, but instead, they’ve been trading insults and demands for apologies, defending their own tactics and incessantly mocking each other for insisting on holding to standards." (source: Campaign 2012 turns into a nasty school yard brawl, Politico, 2012)

Under the US system the Electoral College decides who will be the President, Mr Obama or Mr Romney need 270 votes. It is here that the swinging state college members have impact.

The likely arguments the Democrats will put to the nation are:

Increased taxes on the wealthy, retrenchment of defence and a reform agenda of entitlements

Avoidance of further war, particularly with Iran and North Korea, keeping in mind that it was President Obama who sent in the Seal 6 team, to prove his and the US determination, into Somalia. Osama Bin Laden was captured, and killed, on President Obama's watch.

Healthcare that guarantees insurance to a larger group in the community than currently.

The US economy will not turn around any time soon. Waiting for Mr Romney to falter is not an option. The Obama campaigners have to keep it on song, through local campaigning and pork barrel and the hope of something popping out beyond the rainbow.

As at early July 2012 Mr Romney had claimed time and time again a superior business credential but at no time has he unleashed an attack on Mr Obama's economic credentials. Was it not Mr Clinton who said "it is about the economy stupid"? Mr Romney has not played on political partisanship arising under the period of the Obama Presidency.

" Obama's Year Three average 68-percentage-point partisan gap is tied for the fourth highest in Gallup records dating back to the Eisenhower administration. Only George W. Bush's fourth, fifth, and sixth years in office showed higher degrees of political polarization. Together, Bush and Obama account for the 7 most polarized years, and 8 of the top 10..... Americans likely view a president seeking re-election in more sharply partisan terms as they decide whether he is deserving of a second term in office. Thus, it would be expected that Obama's already highly polarized ratings may become more so over the next 12 months.
2011 Is Most Polarized Third Year by a Wide Margin
The 68-point gap between partisans' approval ratings of Obama last year is nine points higher than that for any other president's third year. George W. Bush had the previous high for a third year. The list of third-year averages underscores the point that the highly polarized ratings are a more recent phenomenon, with four of the last five presidents at the top of the list. " (Source: January 27, 2012, Obama Ratings Historically Polarized Job approval 80% among Democrats, 12% among Republicans, by Jeffrey M. Jones, PRINCETON, NJ)

Study President Obama's job approval

The rush to gather campaign funds is underway. Apparently the two teams will spend $USD3 billion. Donors use third party institutions to funnel cash to their preferred candidates. However donations tend not to affect the chances of the Presidential nominee but impact further down the electoral ticket into Congress and Senate. It is here donations impact outcomes and election results.

Mr Romney has been hit hard by the Obama Democrats over his offshore commercial activity in Switzerland, Bahamas and Cayman Islands, he counters that trustees make these decisions not him, but this is may be viewed as a lack lustre response. He can draw upon his business acumen but he needs to make an effort. In 1968 Mr Romney's father declared six years of tax returns whereas the son (Mitt) has only put out one year. This is not a good look.

In the past it has been Republicans who have taken the attacks down market to real negative nasty territory but it seems the Democrats may have learnt the errors of the their ways. Mr Obama seems to be able to switch from placid nice guy to negative attacker in a twinkle.
(Kevin Beck, Melbourne Australia)

Register to Vote and more..




I am going where most should never venture, particularly an Australian, into the heartland of Republicanism, Democratism and Hank the Cat. I am looking for a Tea Party, one with sour mash bourbon, a blues music band and some hooters.

I am armed with garlic, holy water, silver, a stake or two, a catalogue of things one can use when venturing into Deliverance, drawn from observing the cable show, "American Horror Story".

I carry an autographed picture of Raylan Givens and I am
Justified (click).



On the very big, wide and thrilling campaign trail.


"One person, one vote. All sorts of Americans will tell you that this lapidary formula is how democracy works. If only it were so simple. Who qualifies as a "person" and what constitutes a "vote"? Each state answers the question differently. In some states former felons qualify; in others they don't. Some voting machines are harder to use or more prone to error. Absentee ballots may be delayed in the mail and arrive too late to be counted, or they may arrive in time only to be mislaid by incompetent or malicious officials. Pundits and policy experts agree that our vote-counting system is flawed, even badly flawed, but they disagree about how to fix it. The division is neatly captured in two books: "Who's Counting?" by John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky and "The Voting Wars" by Richard Hasen. Mr. Fund, a veteran political journalist and a former member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial-page staff, and Mr. von Spakovsky, a Heritage Foundation fellow who was a lawyer in the voting-rights division of the George W. Bush administration, argue that the big problem is fraud. Our system, they say, makes it relatively easy to steal elections." (Source: A Better Way To Cast a Ballot Hanging chads, balky machines, engineered recounts, bogus voter names. Is this any way to run an election? Wall Street Journal, August 13, 2012)

"Absentee-ballot fraud made easy in Miami-Dade. Thanks GOP
Psst! Wanna commit absentee-ballot fraud?
Well, all you need is a computer, a telephone and a dummy address. Armed with that, there's a good chance you can request and vote another person's absentee ballot. It's a felony. It's not a guaranteed method to cast a fraudulent vote that counts. And its unlikely it could happen in big enough numbers to change an election. But chances are you won't get caught because it can be done anonymously." (Source: Miami Herald, August 2012)

"Among the people arrested was the Madison County Supervisor of Elections, who appears to have known about all of this. The list of arrests is actually pretty striking:

Abra "Tina" Hill Johnson, 43, was charged with 10 counts of fraud in connection with casting a vote, and two counts of absentee ballots and voting violations.
Her husband Ernest Sinclair Johnson, Jr., 45, was charged with 11 counts of fraud in connection with casting votes, one count of corruptly influencing voting, and one count of perjury by false written declaration.
Jada Woods Williams, 34, Madison County Supervisor of Elections, was charged with 17 counts of neglect of duty and corrupt practices for allowing the distribution of these absentee ballots, contrary to Florida state statute.
Judy Ann Crumitie, 51, charged with four counts of fraud in connection with casting a vote, and one count of providing a false report to law enforcement authorities.
Laverne V. Haynes, 57, charged with two counts of fraud in connection with casting a vote, two counts of perjury by false written declaration, and one count of providing a false report to law enforcement authorities.
Ora Bell Rivers, 41, charged with seven counts of fraud in connection with casting a vote, three counts of perjury by false written declaration, and one count of providing a false report to law enforcement authorities.
Raven Simona Williams, 20, charged with two counts of fraud in connection with casting a vote, two counts of perjury by false written declaration, and one count of providing a false report to law enforcement authorities
Shalonda Michaelle Brinson, 36, charged with nine counts of fraud in connection with casting a vote, and one count of provided a false report to law enforcement authorities.
(Source: Red State, FBI arrests 8 in Florida for absentee ballot fraud, Posted by Soren Dayton (Diary), Tuesday, November 1st at 9:53PM EDT)