Obama is winning but its close and reversible – the average of recent polls puts Obama ahead
Cook, 10/4/12 – editor and publisher of the Cook Political Report for National Journal (Charlie, “Mitt Romney Breaks His Losing Streak” http://www.nationaljournal.com/columns/cook-report/the-cook-report-romney-breaks-his-losing-streak-20121004?mrefid=mostViewed)
Too many political observers see politics in an entirely binary way: Everything has to be either a “0” or a “1”; a race is either tied or it’s over; every election is either won or stolen. Some people never want to admit that their side lost. And some people think that a poll either tells them what they want to hear or is methodologically flawed—or crooked. It’s like an obnoxious sports fan (often found in Philadelphia) who views a ruling by a referee or umpire as either favorable or a bad call. Denial and simplicity reign.
The presidential election is neither tied nor over. Of the 16 most recent national polls using live telephone interviewers calling both respondents with landlines and those with cell phones (between 30 and 40 percent of voters do not have landlines and cannot legally be called by robo-pollsters), one has the race even, two have Obama with a narrow 2-point edge, five have 3-point Obama margins, two have 5-point Obama advantages, another pair have 6-point Obama leads, two have 7-point leads, and one has an 8-point Obama lead. This would strongly suggest that the Obama lead is between 3 and 6 percentage points; such brand-name polls as those by CNN, Fox News, and NBC News/Wall Street Journal are among those in that 3- to 6-point range.
Conversations with Democratic and Republican pollsters and strategists suggest that Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia are the most competitive swing states. Some high-quality private polling shows Romney with very narrow leads in both North Carolina and Virginia, but a few other equally sophisticated surveys show Obama with narrow advantages in those two states. At least one private survey shows Florida even, but most show the Sunshine State and Colorado with narrow Obama leads, in the small- to mid-single-digit range. Just a hair or two better for Obama but still quite close are Nevada and Wisconsin, followed by Iowa. Things really get ugly for Romney in Ohio and Michigan, and, finally, in Pennsylvania, which is no longer competitive. Ohio shows a 5- to 8-point lead for Obama in private polling. In Michigan, Obama’s lead is slightly wider, and in Pennsylvania, Romney faces close to a 10-point deficit. It is mathematically possible for Romney to reach 270 electoral votes without Michigan, Ohio, or Pennsylvania, but it is in reality exceedingly unlikely.
It would take a very consequential event to change the trajectory of this race. Time will tell whether Romney’s strong debate performance on Wednesday night was the event that he needed—particularly in swing states such as Ohio. But at least he energized his supporters and sent a clear message that the race is not over.
Solar power is unpopular - not seen as cost competitive and perceived as trading off with other sources
Lifsher, 5 - LA Times Staff Writer
(Marc, June 27, “Governor's Solar Plan Is Generating Opposition,” http://articles.latimes.com/2005/jun/27/business/fi-solar27, d/a 7-20-12
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to spend billions of dollars to put electricity-producing solar panels on a million California rooftops could be running into stormy weather. For the second year running, the governor is sponsoring legislation that would put photovoltaic solar systems at the head of the line for the bulk of state alternative energy funding. For Schwarzenegger and his backers in the environmental community and the solar industry, a massive push to use abundant "free power" from the sun is an easy call. "Today, in California, where we are famous for the sun, we are going to put the positive benefits of that sun to good use," Schwarzenegger said in February, announcing his personal support for SB 1, the solar power bill. Schwarzenegger is thinking big: He wants to increase the state's total solar output from about 101 megawatts to 3,000 megawatts by 2018. That's enough nonpolluting power to run about 2.25 million homes and eliminate the need to build six large natural gas-fired generating plants. The governor isn't the only Hollywood star backing sun power. Actors Edward Norton and Ed Begley Jr., both well-known environmental activists, spoke at a recent media event in South Central Los Angeles in support of SB 1. But the bill, despite such high-profile backing and a bipartisan 30-5 vote in the state Senate, is facing potential difficulties in the Assembly. Opposition from business lobbies, utilities, unions and even consumer groups is setting the stage for what could be a close vote. The first hint of how the bill will fare in the Assembly is expected to come today when it faces its first hearing in the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee. Most of the complaints about the governor's solar program center on its estimated 10-year, $2-billion-to-$3-billion price tag. Much of that would be paid by power users in the form of surcharges imposed by the California Public Utilities Commission. Proponents estimate that the annual rate hike would be about $15 per residential customer. But business groups -- usually among Schwarzenegger's staunchest supporters -- complain that increases for large power users such as big-box retailers and industrial operations would be much higher -- a key point in a state that already has the highest electricity rates in the continental United States. The governor's solar plan is "so expensive that it's not cost-effective," said Joseph Lyons, an energy lobbyist for the California Manufacturers and Technology Assn. "Our members need rate relief, and this goes in the other direction," Lyons said. Southern California Edison Co., the state's second-largest investor-owned utility, is also skeptical, saying the governor's bill favors rooftop solar systems over what it says are more cost-effective centralized solar generating stations. Even fans of solar power -- who view photovoltaic panels as a crucial part of the state's alternative energy mix -- question the wisdom of earmarking the bulk of funding for one source, to the detriment of less-glamorous energy efficiency and conservation programs. "Solar is not even close to competitive," said Severin Borenstein, director of the University of California Energy Institute in Berkeley. He noted that solar power's long-run, average production cost of 25 cents to 30 cents per kilowatt hour, not including government subsidies or tax credits, is much higher than the 5 cents to 9 cents for wind power and 6 cents to 7 cents for modern, natural-gas-fired generation plants. Even a leading energy consumer advocate, the Utility Reform Network, is critical of the governor's solar dream, contending it would drive up utility bills for some lower-income residential ratepayers. "It singles out one technology ... it's not giving us the biggest bang for the buck," said Michael Florio, an attorney for the group. Meanwhile, enthusiasm among home builders is lukewarm at best. They fear that a requirement that solar be offered as an option on most new homes beginning in 2010 would be unpopular with buyers.
Romney would support an Israeli strike on Iran
Robert W. Merry 8-1-2012; editor of The National Interest and the author of books on American history and foreign policyRomney Edges U.S. toward War with Iran http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/romney-edges-us-toward-war-iran-7275
The major newspapers all understood that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s expressions in Jerusalem last weekend were important, which is why they played the story on page one. But only the New York Times captured the subtle significance of what he said. The paper’s coverage, by Jodi Rudoren and Ashley Parker, reported that Romney sought to adhere to the code that says candidates shouldn’t criticize the president on foreign soil. “But,” they added, “there were subtle differences between what he said—and how he said it—and the positions of his opponent.” Most significantly, while Obama talks about stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, Israel insists Tehran should be prevented from having even the capacity to develop nuclear weapons. This means no nuclear development even for peaceful purposes. Romney embraced the Israeli language. In doing so, he nudged his nation closer to war with Iran. Based on Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s oft-repeated expressions, he clearly seems bent on attacking Iran to destroy or delay its nuclear program and, if possible, undermine the Iranian regime. And he wants America at his side when he does it. Obama has been seeking to dissuade Israel from contemplating such an assault in order to give the president’s austere sanctions regimen a chance to work. But what does he mean by “a chance to work?” If he means a complete capitulation by Iran, he’s dreaming, of course. History tells us that nations don’t respond to this kind of pressure by accepting humiliation. That’s the lesson of Pearl Harbor, as described in my commentary in these spaces. Many close observers of the Iran drama believe there may be an opportunity for a negotiated outcome that allows Iran to enrich uranium to a limited extent—say, 5 percent—for peaceful purposes. Iran insists, and most experts agree, that the Non-Proliferation Treaty allows such enrichment for energy production. In any event, numerous signatories to the NPT do in fact maintain limited enrichment programs for peaceful ends. Obama seems torn between pursuing such an outcome and embracing the Israeli position, which demands that Iran foreswear all enrichment and any peaceful nuclear development. In last spring’s Istanbul meeting between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany), there seemed to be a genuine interest on the part of those six nations to explore an outcome that would allow for some enrichment by Iran. Five weeks later in Baghdad, the P5+1 group seemed to backtrack and insist upon zero enrichment. Talks are ongoing but only among low-level technical people; any serious negotiations are on hold pending the election. Thus Obama has managed to maintain his flexibility during the delicate campaign period. But now we have Romney in Israel essentially telling the people there that they need fear no ambivalence on his part. If elected, he will embrace the Netanyahu position, which is designed to ensure the collapse of any negotiations attending anti-Iran sanctions, which Netanyahu already has labeled a failure. “We have to be honest,” he said over the weekend, during Romney’s visit, “and say that the sanctions and diplomacy so far have not set back the Iranian program by one iota.” That’s the view that Romney subtly embraced in Jerusalem.
Great power war
Trabanco 2009 – Independent researcher of geopolitical and military affairs (1/13/09, José Miguel Alonso Trabanco, “The Middle Eastern Powder Keg Can Explode at Anytime,” http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=11762)
In case of an Israeli and/or American attack against Iran, Ahmadinejad's government will certainly respond. A possible countermeasure would be to fire Persian ballistic missiles against Israel and maybe even against American military bases in the regions. Teheran will unquestionably resort to its proxies like Hamas or Hezbollah (or even some of its Shiite allies it has in Lebanon or Saudi Arabia) to carry out attacks against Israel, America and their allies, effectively setting in flames a large portion of the Middle East. The ultimate weapon at Iranian disposal is to block the Strait of Hormuz. If such chokepoint is indeed asphyxiated, that would dramatically increase the price of oil, this a very threatening retaliation because it will bring intense financial and economic havoc upon the West, which is already facing significant trouble in those respects. In short, the necessary conditions for a major war in the Middle East are given. Such conflict could rapidly spiral out of control and thus a relatively minor clash could quickly and dangerously escalate by engulfing the whole region and perhaps even beyond. There are many key players: the Israelis, the Palestinians, the Arabs, the Persians and their respective allies and some great powers could become involved in one way or another (America, Russia, Europe, China). Therefore, any miscalculation by any of the main protagonists can trigger something no one can stop. Taking into consideration that the stakes are too high, perhaps it is not wise to be playing with fire right in the middle of a powder keg.