February 20, 2011

©2011 jbjd

A brief article entitled, “Flake says:  “Get off this Kick”” appeared on the blog, Seeing Red AZ, whose byline reads, “political views from a red state.”  This blurb about Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ) was taken from a longer article that appeared in The Hill, citing an interview conducted by CNN, who asked the candidate for U.S. Senate to comment on the results of a recent Public Policy Polling poll showing a majority of R primary voters do not believe Barack Obama was born in the U.S.A.  His reply?  People need to “accept reality.”  (The article on The Hill goes on to say, “Flake said the notion that Obama isn’t a U.S. citizen needs to be put to rest.”  Now, I cannot tell whether this line I quoted came from Flake or, The Hill, or CNN but, I have to tell you, having become an expert purser of Obama-speak, hearing the word “notion” in relation to anything about the man signals to me, ‘be on the alert for incoming lies.’)

Anyway, I saw the article on SRA because I was getting hits on my blog from that site and checked it out.  Well, I should have guessed, azgo had posted a great comment that included a link to “jbjd.”  He agreed I could re-print it here (with my editorial revisions).

Memo to Rep. Flake:  ‘Fight the Smears’ is Paid Political Advertising

The “Fight the Smears” web page with the image of a birth document is a paid political advertisement and conforms with TITLE 2 > CHAPTER 14 > of the U.S. Code, § 441d. Publication and distribution of statements and solicitations. This section deals with campaign funding, reporting, and other parameters.  Nothing in this law requires the advertising content to be true. And that only makes sense.  Because as the Supreme Court has ruled, when it comes to the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, political advertising is legal even if the advertiser does not tell the truth. “…the general rule is that the speaker and the audience, not the government, assess the value of the information presented.”  Edenfield v. Fane (91-1594), 507 U.S. 761 (1993).

The Obama campaign threw up an eye-catching wizardry of a political advertisement they named, “Fight the Smears,” on which they displayed graphics for visual impact, and ad copy with terms of art like ‘native born’ and ‘citizenship conferred by the 14th Amendment’ cleverly conflating these terms with the one they never mentioned, “natural born.” But this is the term emblazoned in Article II, section 1 of the Constitution.  And, consistent with section 441d, they solicited the public to ‘donate now’ and tell others, all so as to spread their truth about the candidate. Even though it was all a lie.

In truth, the state of Hawaii has never claimed responsibility as the “issuing authority” – this term of art is defined right there in the Code – of that online image of a COLB on the advertising platform entitled FTS.  They never confirmed this was a genuine “identification document,” consistent with the Code.  Even the ad failed to claim, this ‘document’ came from the HI Department of Health, Vital Records.  Or to include any identifying information that would allow anyone to trace back the mock-up to its hinted origins.  And all of the venues reporting that, having seen the image, they could confirm its authenticity – L.A. Times, Daily Kos, Annenberg Political FactCheck, Politifact – also stated publicly, they had received this image directly from the Obama campaign.

In other words, when it comes to providing documentary evidence as to where Obama was born, the only thing available in the public record, that online image of the birth document, means absolutely nothing…

…except that many Americans, including not just the media but worse, our state and national public officials can be duped into believing an image is real which was only created as the focal point of an on-line political advertising campaign to combat rumors a Presidential candidate is Constitutionally ineligible for the job!


Not surprisingly, in 2007, gearing up for the political campaign of Barack Obama, the circumstances of whose birth, if uncovered, they believed would derail his bid to lead the free world; APFC posted this homage to the First Amendment license to print paid political lies.

Seems to me, a sitting U.S. Representative who is a candidate for U.S. Senate should be at least as well informed about the difference between protected false speech in paid political advertising, and the truth; as ordinary citizens who collaborated via email in their spare time to put together this post on a blog.


January 11, 2010

UPDATE FRIDAY, 01.14.10: A just issued Suffolk University poll now puts MA State Senator Scott Brown at 50% v. 47% for MA AG Martha Coakley in their bid to become the next U.S. Senator from the Bay State. The margin of error is + or – 4.38%. (Note: check out the cross tabs. You will see, this poll groups Independents together with Unenrolled’s, producing a far more accurate prediction as to how independent minded voters, both registered Independents and registered Unenrolled’s, will vote. This contrasts with previous polls mentioned below, which find Ms. Coakley besting Mr. Brown by separating Independents from Unenrolled’s and then excluding the voting preferences of these Unenrolled’s from the totals.)

If you had only accessed the Boston Herald for their report of this Suffolk University poll, you could have ended up as confused as the reporter, Jessica Van Sack. She writes, “Unenrolled long-shot Joseph L. Kennedy, an information technology executive with no relation to the famous family, gets 3 percent of the vote. Only 1 percent of voters were undecided.” See what she did? She called Joe Kennedy the “Unenrolled” candidate. He is not. Joe Kennedy, while often referred to in the press as an Independent Libertarian, is listed on the MA ballot as representing the Liberty Party.
(Just to confuse you even more, when the Suffolk University poll asks voters for which candidate they intend to vote, it correctly refers to Mr. Kennedy as the Liberty candidate. But when it asks voters for favorability ratings, it calls him the Independent candidate.)

Contrary to the designation ascribed to Mr. Kennedy in the Boston Herald report on this just-released poll, there is no Unenrolled Party. In Massachusetts, there is only a category of registered voters not aligned with any party; these voters are registered Unenrolled. Yes, Unenrolled voters tend to be independent minded; but this does not make them members of either the Liberty Party or the Independent Party.

Read the Suffolk University summary. They got it right, even if the Boston Herald did not.

I think I might have ‘figured out’ ‘what’s up’ with the apparent disparity in 2 (two) of the recent polls for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts.

Results of the latest Boston Globe poll put MA AG Martha Coakley up by 15 points in the race for U.S. Senate against State Senator Scott Brown. This hit me as really odd. The PPP poll just out put SB up by 1! So, I investigated further. I saw, the Globe poll ran from January 2-6 and has a margin of error of 4.2 whereas the PPP poll ran from January 7-9 and has a margin of error of 3.6. (Generally, the larger the sample, the smaller the margin of error.)

(The Globe runs liberal and PPP is paid for by the D Corporation, so I discounted the political bias as effecting these skewed results. And they both used likely voters, which tends to make the poll more reliable.)

In other words, in order to figure out what the skewed results in these 2 polls mean, I considered factors such as who paid for the poll; what was the sample used; whether this was a one-shot poll or a rolling poll, taken over a few days (and look at those days); and what was the margin of error.

But questions posted on the blogosphere point to another problem with accurately interpreting these polls as an indicator of voter preference.

Texasdarlin writes,

I am confused by the party affiliations cited in the Globe poll. I’ve seen on various blogs and news sites that the percentage of independents included in the Globe poll was very low (around 18%), but that’s not how I read their tables.
Can anyone double-check this and figure it out? Here is the survey:

And Hot Air writes,

The new Boston Globe poll showing Democrat Martha Coakley beating Republican Scott Brown by 15-points in the race for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, when contrasted with Public Policy Polling showing a dead heat, has people scratching their heads. So what’s up with that?

I think I figured out what happened to MA Independents in these polls, too.

The Globe poll asks this question (p.3): ‘Are you registered D, I, R, or something else?’ How would you answer if you were registered as “Unenrolled”?

Massachusetts has a category of voter Registration called “Unenrolled.” The biggest difference in these categories is this: Independent voters may vote only in elections but Unenrolled voters may vote in primaries, too. They declare which ballot they want; vote; and leave the voting booth an Unenrolled voter, the same registration status they held when they went in.

When pollsters asked Unenrolled voters who participated in the Boston Globe poll, ‘Are you registered as D, I, R, or something else,’ these voters would have answered, ‘something else,’ right? However, the answer categories to this question are D; I/Unaffiliated; R; and Other. Did you catch that? The “I” in the answer category includes a designation “Unaffiliated,” but the I in the question does not include this word. So, when pollsters polled Unenrolled voters who answered “something else,” these responses likely were recorded in the category that reads, “Other.” This means that, the “I/Unaffiliated” answer category would only count those voters who answered that they were registered “I’s” but it would not count those independent-minded registered Unenrolled voters who answered “something else.”

And more than 50% of registered voters in Massachusetts are Unenrolled.

Looks like perhaps the Globe undercounted those independent minded voters who are registered as Unenrolled.

On the other hand, the PPP poll specifically categorized Independent/Other as a single grouping. Thus, “Independents” in the PPP poll would include all of those voters registered as both “Independent” and as “Unenrolled.”

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