MJMJ 04   -- Journal 4: Obama As Anti - Christ Left - Wing Media Claims


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Journal

 

By Michael Johnathan McDonald

 


Jounral Entries April 2010

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  April 20 , 2010. Gaining Scientific Knowledge by Watching the Animals’ Ignorance’s.

Tuesday 20 April 2010.

Michael J McDonald ( updated on 21 April 2010)

Michael J McDonald ( updated on 22 April 2010)

After Goldman Sacks’ financial contributions to the Obama campaign in which he is poised to pass a Congressional Bill to pay-off his supporters with bail-out money, a proper communist – a bribe-ploy into which a connecting of ones constituents to a support group allows a president to keep in power, the University of California was number – two on the most campaign contribution list in total amount of campaign contributions given to the Obama campaign. The Republicans charge, and rightly so , that the first installment of the massive Economic Stimulus package went mainly to Obama campaign donors, big corporations that supported Obama’s election and his friends in Chicago. In fact, many of Goldman Sacks’ former employers or representatives now work for the Obama administration. In addition, Obama has named a few faculty members of Cal to his administration. Obama reflects the standard leftwing academic outlook in that the public sector is for the government and against the private sector, as the private sector is the enemy of the state. However, anyone can turn this idea around and claim that the government is the private sector of a state and the public are the ones not controlled by the government. Obama is to introduce a new Backing Measure bill to regulate the U.S. banking industry. Therefore, the U.S. banks must pay-off Obama or the Democrats before the government allows them to make decisions. This is part of the state control of the private sector – then transferred over to the government sector. Mao Tse-tung’s first state regulatory actions were to nationalize the banks, of course under his direction. In this manner he was able to fund his citizens of the cities and kill his peasantry and blame it on capitalists as a ploy to cover up the truth that he was to remain in power over his narcissism.

Hugo Chaves of Venezuela is forcing the agriculture sector of his population to starve to death to pay-off his corporate business partners too --- to make it ‘seem’ to the world that capitalism of the west is forcing the peasants to die. This was the same ploy of Mao Tse-tung, who engineered massive farmer deaths in order to make capitalist profits and support his inner city supporters. Communism and Mafias are similar in this fashion. Both rely on paying-off their supporters and working on their behalves to damage their enemies. In fact, bribes are rampant in Venezuela. The Wall Street Journal reported 7 September 2004 that two Venezuelan academics claim to have found statistical evidence of fraud in the last month’s referendum on President Hugo Chavez, fueling the opposition’s claims of a rigged vote. These claims were made by Ricardo Hausmann, a professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and former chief economist at the Inter-American Development Bank, and Roberto Rigobon, a professor of applied economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. President Hugo Chavez also placed in the election an attempt to make himself dictator for life, which it was soundly defeated. The honesty of Venezuelan democracy is a rather tempered question. Luckily, Americans will have a chance in 2012 to vote out Barak Hussein Obama. Bill Sims reported on a Gallop Poll of 8 December 2009 in which it revealed that Obama’s 47 percent approval rating was the lowest of any president in the history of the United States of America at this point in his term. Continuing into April 2010 his approval rate is even lower in March of 2010 at 43 percent and it snuck back to the 47 percent in April of 2010.

What could this be and why when he is so popular? Obama campaigned on transparency and three major goals among other goals. Two of those have been met. He campaigned on the Stimulus and HealthCare both which were passed in secret and without bi- partisanship. Both the Stimulus and HealthCare were hidden from the public (the actual bills!, the stimulus revision bill the one that actually passed was never allowed by be seen by the public for those sticklers of history out there! ) until they were passed. Both Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House and Barak Hussein Obama made it clear that no-one would know what was in the HealthCare bill until it passed. This angered many Americans, seen as a dictatorial move on part of the Administration and also reflecting in the lowest Congressional approval ratings in history also – the U.S. Senate. In my opinion, this is not democracy at all, regardless whatever the president assumes is thus! Most people have wondered what happened to the stimulus monies? Well, first they are issued in increments’; the largest comes in 2011 and 2012 to prop up the economy to get Obama looking good in the polls for his reelection. This is rather politicizing the economy and not an honest and general welfare of the community of America. The first installment, nearly a trillion dollars went to Obama’s campaign contributors, including banks such as Goldman Sacks. Also, ACORN, and many Wall Street Friends were recipients of this American tax-payer money that went to the largest bonuses in the history of the United States of America. Hussein then told the American people when six-million jobs were lost that it was the republican’s fault and that he had fixed the economy. The media reported that Obama did (never said claimed!) fix the economy, but that the recession would be jobless and last for years to come. Thus each state was hit with state and public cuts to education and city services. Obama repeatedly refused to acknowledged these empiricals and just went around the world judging America’s past and then playing golf and basketball –oblivious to the American economic hurt. It was more important to Hussein to go around the world explaining to each country how America was a bad place and a bad country until he took control. He was going to fix its image, he was the savior which was the implication. However, the illusion of a messiah was not solely born of Obama’s making, in fact he was rushed into office to allow the public institutions to get the monies he promised by his guaranteed economic stimulus. Hussein campaigned on the grounds that funding education was one of his top priorities. Schools all over the United States of America were going to get money once he was elected. That is where my school came into the fold. It contributed the second highest amount – mostly in small and numerous donations – to the Obama Democratic Campaign. In fact, there was a euphoria surrounding his election-bid and then his victory broke all rationality. Money was suddenly here; supposedly this illusion tricked them, as money was to rain down from heaven per say. What happened when just the opposite took place?

The sad part of the University of California was the empirical shock that after Calbears worshipped their savior the money was cut-off (almost all the students and faculty are extreme left-wing); the state ran out of money to fund the University of California system. This led to massive protests, property damages on campuses, an attempted murder of the Chancellor and his family, and arson of the U.C. Berkeley Chancellor’s home, and massive disruption of classes – the occupation of buildings, and of an interstate –highway,  all resulting in massive financial cut-backs in all departments. This included shutting down the libraries on certain days and limiting access to programs, including the halting of periodicals used for research purposes. The class sizes soared, and the curriculum choices severely cut.  The faculties have been trying to figure out what happened. From what I see these persons have glazed-eyes, as if the expression ‘deer in the headlights’ is too real. After they had voted in their Messiah, they figured manna would rain down from heaven, and money would start growing on trees. In fact the opposite happened, and a fierce shock has made the stunned ‘deer-look’ as if they have no idea what has hit them. What happen was they started to attack themselves. They attack first the lefty administration, and then the lefty controlled state but yet has focused on the massive pay-offs of Obama to and focus on the Obama regime. First it was the evil republicans and proposition 13. However, statistics showed that it was evenly split between republicans and democrats over property taxes to fund inner city public institutions. Then it was the evil state legislator – the evil republican minority. If the California Constitution could be changed to a majority vote instead of the normative two-thirds majority when dealing with large financial issues such as state –budgets, the U.C. funding problems would disappear. Then I pointed out that forty-three states have State Constitutional laws that have this majority rule clause and that did not necessarily mean an increase in taxes for the public sector. In fact, it meant the opposite. Those states actually voted in senate majority to lower taxes in all cases. However, these facts do not seem to register in the mind of these radical mob-rules crowed. In retrospect, they see the tyranny of the minority in the Sacramento Legislator – that’s the republican minority. It has been that way for thirty-years. These leftist radicals intend that Democrats had no power for the last thirty-years because of the two-thirds majority clause. Yet, even if the California Constatution was changed, it will not necessarily mean an increase in funding to the California University system. Sacramento is broke, and it has been broke because the Democrats have spent all the funds and reserve funds and put California into major debt in which it has to pay other states it has borrowed from –off. When the Democrats in power in California placed severe taxes on business, the business got up and left the state and thus the tax base dwindled. Therefore they needed Hussein to federally fund the California University system. Hussein cried, ‘give me money, and I will make education my number-one priority and fund it with federal tax dollars and every American that wants to get an education can and will get it cheap.’ The California University System then in faith and then in awe inspiring eyes, all because of the Democrat hypnotical- symbolism of the Party logo, emptied their bank accounts into the DNC. Hope and Change were promised and it was real. The result was Obama paid-off his Chicago buddies and his Wall Street buddies and left the educational systems to fend for them. Emotionalism erupted into radical attacking radical and with no real republican to blame, the race issue became the next blame-platform ( called most often as scapegoating!).  So what happened next?

I first figured that these endless parades would take place on campus, early in Obama’s term and often too. However, I have not seen one celebration except for these violent and property damaged revelries. There was dancing on the night of the election, but also destruction of campus property, and some massive flash-mobs of angst and joy roaming the city after it was announced Obama had won the election caught fire. The violence, the property damage, and the parades now are not parades but massive protests over funding shortages, teacher’s furloughs, closed access to school facilities and  financial denial of school materials. The University had to hire a firm to help it organize a plan for the next several years as it funding has been cut-off from the state that is nearly bankrupted by all these years of nonsensical social programs. Usually the kill bush signs, the kill republicans’ signs that decorated the radical Berkeley scenery were gone, and then these attacks became directed back to the White Democrats that rule the school. The minorities on campus who also take part in these violent protests had a need to blame someone – the blame-game --scapegoating. No longer are the republicans to blame the realized since they are out of office, it had to be someone else! But who? If it was the Democratic Party members, then they cannot attack that ideology, so they must attack the individual’s color of the skin. Again, the White man was suppressing the minorities – a minority privileged group that pays the lowest Tier I tuition in the world. If there is a lesson it is that racism will never end as I constantly see racism as the barometer of the social logic of entitlement.

The university has quieted down recently. The University has a policy of quickly giving trials and faculty decisions to students who are accused of something to do with the school. But the plan this time is to delay these protesters their hearings and postpone them for a long periods of time so these students do not act out again. This also sends out a message to others who would think about acting out against the school’s budget shortfall decisions and blaming the whites in control. But the school should plan on a long forecast of revision to its Plan. It cannot sustain an idea to educate everyone in the world on public funds, it is nearly impossible economically and naturally unfeasible do to historical trends.

In the 1950s when the United States of America had its massive industrial complex churning out good and services – commodities—building materials for the world it bombed into an oblivion, it was filthy rich. That filthy rich economy helped make the University of California the envy of the world. In part hat filthy rich income led to aggressive civil rights and equal job opportunities to the migrants flooding into the United States of America.   The state, on a new ideological projectile funded the young university system with its majority of budget. It sought an education for all who wanted to come to its campus.  For example, in the 1950s, the University of California, Berkeley received over 50% of the funding for public universities in the state of California. Today, it is at a measly 14-17% of this budget. For the last thirty-years the Democratic majority in Sacramento have passed slews of legislation making it harder for business to operate industrial complexes. This was the influx of foreigners who decried capitalism, most bring their upbringing in socialism to the United States of America.  This affected the Sacramento and local elections. It also led to massive socialistic and environmentalism which affected job opportunities by restricting job access because business fled the state. This led to a dwindling tax-base in which the state government then had to borrow money before ending that stipulation it could borrow money because it was so far into the ‘red’ ( massive debt it would have to pay-off and place on the next generation of Californians). These circumstances paralleled the ideological change during the 1960s.

During the Free Speech Movement, and admits the civil rights’ movements’, mainly to get the migrant black population which came to California in the 1940s and 1950s some representation in the California workforce, capitalism became a dirty word. Mao Tse-tung’s little Red Book was being distributed by the Black Panthers and the white rich kids bought them up like sticks of candy. Over the course of decades, anti-capitalism become the preferred ideology which led to the massive migration of capitalistic business from California. This eventually led to today, in which the state is mainly broke, and the radical leftist anti-capitalists protesters are marching demanding their financial hand-outs and still blaming the capitalistic corporations. When they cannot blame them, they blame the white heritage of the United States of America. This leads to compromises and policies within the University, some faculty calling on the ousting of the White Majority.

Ultimately this led to a shift in the institution. During the 1950s and continuing into the 1960s, the University was the best in the world, turning out the best undergraduate in the entire world. Today, undergraduates mainly learn on their own, and most cannot get a faculty member to speak to them about their schooling. The faculties are sequestered to research and only get promoted in pay and in tenure by the amount of research they produce. The suffering of the undergraduate is the result. It led to the ‘sink of swim’ scenario, a common explanatory to incoming freshmen or transfer students. Unanimously, theses students get perplex by the bureaucracy and the non-attention in the classroom. Many leave after getting their degrees in a state of delusion. What was it all about, they ponder?

Many of the older faculties, however, still here and as tenured, have romanticism about the old days. They seek to bring back the funding and the spirit of teaching. However, more and more the school has lost its purpose because it is not a freedom – thought school, but a single ideology school. In the 1950s, many papers by professors professed that single ideologies wreak havoc on states in general – they used past historical circumstances to prop-up their cases. Today, the communism, extreme leftist ideology is the only ideology allowed a free speech here. There was a short span of the Republican Club that only affected the emotionalism after 9/11/ That lasted but a few years and basically the group is sparse and made up of non-republicans or persons that do not want to be associated to the Democratic mainstream party.

The astronomy, the physics department and the mathematical fields are still really strong colleges and fields at Cal.  However, most of the other disciplines, at least the graduates and undergrads I have spoken with are not doing too well. Besides rot memorization, a little critical thinking is evidently void here at Cal. Some persons have called for the ending of the Social Sciences department. Maybe they see the inevitable. For over 100 years, the goal was to correct the past. First on the agenda was to get rid of ‘essentialism.’ essentialism was basically a Socratic search for a universal truth, and this thought and scientific discipline was related to us through Plato’s works. Essentialism can be thought of as anti-Post Modernism. Not only Socrates used essentialism, but also other heavyweights in critical thinking. Albert Einstein used essentialism when trying to make a unified theory of the universe. He came up with an essentialism called the theory of relativity. However, the social scientists deemed this essentialism as ‘framing,’ a way to dominate human beings. In order to make the world less of a place of hatred and of vice, getting rid of essentialism was first on their agenda.

Things took to the worse very quickly. Vladimir Lenin figured out that framing was a propagandist tool. You could get people to do what you wanted by brain washing them by essentialism and claiming you’re against essentialism. Propaganda came to an art form in the U.S.S.R.  The same thing began to happen during the 1960s in California schools. White men were evil. That was the new essentialism. Thus an eternal truth became the standard bearer of the New Left Movement that crept into academia and today is the majority of discoursed. The United States of American founding Fathers are deemed ‘extreme right-wing fanatics.” They are no longer popular and are mainly despised as backward thinking humans. They are deemed Neanderthals or brain-dead animals. These propagandas are now laws taught in the grade-schools to mainly a new foreign population where many have come from other countries seeking an escape from their communist/socialist and repressive regimes. However, they have not lost the fabric of the propaganda of their home – country’s discourse on anti-capitalism. They do indeed promote these communist/socialist and repressive regimes as responsible government. The government’s role in humanity is to provide a home, jobs, food and entertainment monies. There should be no responsibility of the individual because in America capitalist provide for free the monies for the government to take care of the people. What the communist people have to do is to vote in a leader and leaders that will distribute the money from the capitalists to the non-capitalist entities. This is how Jimmy Carter,  Bill Clinton and now Barak Hussein Obama became leaders of the United States of America.

The second largest group, again, that provided for the election of Obama to the presidency of the United States of America was of course the California University system. The paradox remains that the professors are paid through capitalism, they hold their jobs because of their capitalist proclivities, and the students have no idea that this is the case at all. They believe that the state pays for them out of non-capitalist tax collections. Yet, professors at night by themselves ponder deeply about leaving Cal to other brighter pastures where private schools would pay them more monies. In communism, a elevator operator should make the same money as a professor or a doctor. So there is a dishonesty to the system which is a scientific project that I look into and it reveals to me. What it reveals is that the state pays for these teachers’ upper-class salaries and they must vote in the Democratic Party leaders that campaign on public funding for their survival. In order for them to keep a public face, they have to write bad things about the private sector and capitalism.  This is job security. I deem this as non-freedom of expression, but that is from my perspective. To them it is freedom of expression, but actually and from my perspective it is job security. It is most difficult to be a Republican in a school like this that is solely born of the ideology of the public institution.

So when the professors have to write their screeds on anti-capitalism and as pro-public, they have to use essentialism to propagandize their messages to their constituents, these are the young prodigy undergraduates and new charges of ideology mind-bending. The undergraduates are subsidized by the state and therefore the undergraduates pay for the professor’s salaries. They are called investments. They are dehumanized and treated as cows. This is a standard communistic ‘essentialism.’ Essentialism at Cal and other Tier I institutions comes from the axiom-propogandi as Republicans and/or conservatives are all capitalist and racists. It does not matter what color of ones skin is or ones economic outlook. Most Republicans I know would never overturn Social Security or welfare. As far as I know, they have never advocated a free-market as a laisser-faire policy. It has always been a manageable capitalism, with checks and balances and prudent administration. For instance, the United States of America had numerous oil reserves – enough to fund its entire oil consumption without ever relying on foreign oil-aid. Yet, the Democrats campaign on policies of environmentalism and have no qualms about destroying foreign land’s environments. They see oil companies as the enemies, and always right-wing but always complain about rising energy costs.

Hussein’s Role In Greece Bankruptcy?  Securities and Exchange Commission spends all days downloading Porn on tax-payer expense.

Goldman Sacks was the number one contributor to Hussein’s  campaign ( perhaps $5 million dollars, although NYTimes reports it a little under $1 million, they have been known to make of facts and figures to support their candidates!), and Goldman created the Trojan Horse securities, a 'special -purpose vehicle,' called Titlos PLC, because Greece was willing to pay to dress up the books to make European Union bean counters happy by understanding its debt, reported Allen Sloan, Fortune Magazine, 22 March 2010. In fact, Goldman Sacks is being investigated by the Hussein Administration because of securities fraud.  Goldman Sacks took money from Greece so that they would not have to show the European Union they were in default because they had default insurance which was covered by a complex system called 'default swaps.' This assured that Greece could tell the EU that it was totally covered for their debt payments, even though they knew they were covering up the truth and that they were buying time until these default swaps in fact defaulted. It was not illegal because it was focused on another country and not the USA. New York Times and AP had to admit this! However, the question remains ethical. On Hussein’s administration sit many former Goldman Sack employees and heads of this bank.  These were positions granted by Hussein for their financial campaign contributions.  Apparently the Associated Press just reported that Goldman Sack visited the White House recently to discuss matters of importance. To what? Hussein then told the left-wing media today that he or his administration have no spoken to them at all. Then what did they do at the White House? When asked if Hussein would return the Goldman Sacks contributions, the 44th President of the United States said no! and that he would not return the financial contributions. Michelle Malkin made a biography list of all the Goldman Sacks members currently serving under Hussein’s administration.  It appears that something is quite wrong about what is happening to the banks. Hussein did campaign on this message, giving a speech in Cooperstown, New York in 2007 on the issue of reforming Wall Street. What Hussein did not tell everyone was when he was in college he would escape to go listen at the Great Hall to lectures by his mentor  noted Communist Frank Marshall Davis who used to give Communist meetings and lectures. In thanks to his communistic roots, it was at this Great Hall ( where Hussein spoke today 22 April 2010) that he began understanding one of the first operations of a tyrant to change a democracy into a communist dystopia was to regulate all the private sector banks. This is what Mao Tse-tung did, one of his first operations besides taking all the guns away from the peasantry and the citizens. All totalitarian governments, despite their titles of socialists, communists or democrats, take over all the private sector economic forces and nationalize them. This is what Hussein is doing.  What is very disturbing is that Hussein will not tell the American pubic what is in this bank overhaul bill. Just as he did not tell the public  what was in the healthcare bill nor the second attempt at the stimulus bill, the non-transparency contradicts his statements at Cooperstown.  This has led to an understanding by the general American public that the 44th President of the United States of America is a habitual liar and does not represent democracy but a more away from democracy. With all of Hussein’s connections to Goldman, he not knowing about the Titlos PLC and Wall Street’s hand in bankrupting Greece is suspicious. Hussien has not been strait up and honest with the people of the United States of America. That is the number one reason why the Tea-Parties exist. The Democrats are the new rich party and that is why they are fighting this new grassroots campaign of the poor – that is the poor republicans.  The horrific plan of Hussein is to monitor all Americans bank accounts and credit cards. This way he can track each and every citizen of the United States in order to politicize and consolidate his power or the next generation of anti-Democrats who parasite on the Democratic Party ticket.

Dianiel Wagner of the Associated Press on 22 April 2010 in her report, “SEC staffers watched porn as economy crashed” stated, “ Senior staffers at the Securities and Exchange Commission spent hours surfing pornographic websites on government-issued computers while they were being paid to police the financial system, an agency watchdog says.The SEC's inspector general conducted 33 probes of employees looking at explicit images in the past five years, according to a memo obtained late Thursday by The Associated Press.The memo says 31 of those probes occurred in the 2 1/2 years since the financial system teetered and nearly crashed.It was written by SEC Inspector General David Kotz in response to a request from Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.”

Pornographic and sex internet sites were accessed 16,000 times in a month audits of the government computers and this took place for two and half years. “A senior attorney at the SEC's Washington headquarters spent up to eight hours a day looking at and downloading pornography. When he ran out of hard drive space, he burned the files to CDs or DVDs, which he kept in boxes around his office.”  “Seventeen of the employees were "at a senior level," earning salaries of up to $222,418. The number of cases jumped from two in 2007 to 16 in 2008. The cracks in the financial system emerged in mid-2007 and spread into full-blown panic by the fall of 2008.” Hussein has sent his former White House lawyer to represent the SEC in the public securities fraud case. Hussein’s case for government take over of banks is his argument that government is much more proficient and responsible than the private sector. According to the leftists the government should private one with a house, a permanent job in which one cannot get fired, free healthcare for their lives, vacations, automobiles, entertainment monies, and a general policy of government intervention from the cradle to the grave. The private sector is evil and should be taken over for these arguments. However, the republicans argue that government waste is set upon a theory that once everything is provided to an individual, and their life is set including all aspects of financial living and amenities, they cease to work hard or in this SEC case fumble around the pornographic internet while America’s economy crumbles.

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/04/21/92637/goldmans-connections-to-white.html#ixzz0lskIfdxR

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Two UC Berkeley reviews from Internet:

At UC Berkeley, your tuition will be low, but you will pay a high price for a substandard education in numerous other ways. Your required classes will be oversubscribed or not offered; the professors will not want to meet with you; and the administration will be an endless source of aggravation. Nevertheless, UC Berkeley consistently tops the college rankings. What is going on?

In the 1960?s, Berkeley was one of the best funded universities across the globe. Tuition was free, and it attracted the best faculty in the world. Starting in the 1970s, state funding for public higher education steadily eroded. California?s voters chose to provide welfare to corporations (Proposition 13) over support for higher education. The decline in funding has forced UC Berkeley to turn itself into a research center for hire. Lucrative research contracts pay professors? salaries and help maintain the libraries. Teaching does not bring in money like research, so it is all but neglected. Students are forced to teach themselves. UC Berkeley cannot afford to have good teaching.

To exacerbate matters, budget cuts in Fall 2009 forced the administration to shut the main library one day per week. Course offerings were reduced; class sizes increased; and faculty and staff were forced to take unpaid furlough. Since then, a parents group has funded the re-opening of the library, but the financial situation has not improved.

If you can afford to go to a private school, then you will probably get a much better education there. But if you insist on attending UC Berkeley, you will be better off knowing the following: life at Berkeley is a matter of survival. Professors know that their tenure guarantees them lifelong employment. Their next increase in salary depends mainly on their research as measured by the number of academic publications that they churn out. As a result, research is their focus, and teaching is neglected. Students waste their time in classes because professors do not want to teach them. They are poorly taught and painful to endure.

Professors play tricks to minimize their teaching workload. In the Mechanical Engineering Department, one professor decided that he did not want to answer questions about homework during his office hours, so when students stopped by, he later publicly humiliated them in class. That set the tone for the semester. After the midterm exam, he called his students his ?worst ever?. At the end of the semester, this same professor decided that he did not want to correct final exams, so he signaled his intention to fail half the class, causing a mass exodus to drop the course. Another professor shirked his teaching responsibilities by giving everybody A?s. He did not correct any homework, projects, or reports. He never even returned one assignment. Students who came to Berkeley to be taught by experts at the top of their fields were shortchanged. The truth is: professors cannot be bothered to do their jobs. They care only about their research, and not one bit about their students who distract them from their research contracts.

Graduate students endure the worst abuse at UC Berkeley. Often in the sciences and in engineering, students are admitted with promises of financial support, but when they arrive, the support disappears. This bait and switch is only too common. Then you are stuck. You are on your own without funding, and you must wait a year to transfer to another university. They have got you! Unfortunately, this happens regularly. You will need several additional semesters or even years to complete your degree because you will be working as an indentured servant (graduate student instructor) in order to support yourself.

Doctoral students also have to deal with the qualifying exams, which would be okay if the faculty would act like adults. They really do not want to give up a half day of their time to spend on your qualifying exam, so they play games to get out of it. For example, they may not give you an appointment to discuss the qualifying exam. Alternately, they may indicate their intention to sacrifice you during the exam if you ask them to be on your qualifying exam committee. Even if a professor agrees to serve on your committee, there is no guarantee that the faculty member will actually show up despite months advance notice and numerous reminders in person and by email. Professors at UC Berkeley are simply not penalized for their unprofessional behavior.

If you are a graduate student who already has a Masters Degree and you want to do a PhD at UC Berkeley, then you are sadly mistaken if you think that you will finish up in a few years. Depending on the department, UC Berkeley may not even recognize your Masters Degree. Figure this out before you matriculate! UC Berkeley does not advertise its academic arrogance in any brochure or online. You may be permitted to transfer in one or two classes from elsewhere, but it takes 7 or 8 classes for a Masters, so transferring midstream to UC Berkeley adds one or two more years to your PhD. Students with a Masters who want a PhD should just finish the PhD elsewhere. If you really want to come to Berkeley, then do a postdoc. But really, you'll be better off elsewhere.

UC Berkeley does not have a big enough budget to keep its main library open, much less retain its best professors. The top talent receives offers to go teach elsewhere such as Stanford., who can afford to pay the best people a top salary. Those professors left at UC Berkeley are ?well?not the best. And they know it. And they are not happy.

"US News and World Report" consistently ranks UC Berkeley among the top universities, yet it does not include teaching as a criterion. Rather, the opinion of other university presidents, provosts, and deans are the most heavily weighted factor. In other words, it is a popularity contest. This ranking system allows UC Berkeley to hide its poor teaching and perpetuate the high rankings.

The UC Berkeley Administration goes to great lengths to hide how poor the teaching is. Teaching evaluation results are withheld from students in order to suppress how bad the teaching is. This practice clearly violates the California Public Records Act, which authorizes public access to them, but the university is largely immune from lawsuits. Knowing this, UC abuses its legal right to police itself.

How is it possible that the teaching is so bad? Only competent students are admitted, and they manage to survive. It may, however, require many years longer than anticipated to graduate. Often students get flushed away due to the poor teaching and are never heard from again. Students are no match for faculty apathy, infighting, and numerous mistakes on exams. Whenever issues arise, the student?s career will always be sacrificed so that the faculty members do not have to confront one another. Due to the tenure system, professors cannot be fired. Since they are stuck with each other for life, incompetence flourishes because they would rather not challenge each other. Students pay the price for this system. Undergraduates have no idea how bad the teaching is at UC Berkeley relative to other institutions because they lack a reference for comparison. The graduate students, on the other hand, have figured it out, and they are treated as disposable servants.

In summary, at UC Berkeley one can only expect a substandard education. You get what you pay for. The tuition would be as expensive as any private university if frustration were a currency. Don't be fooled by the nice weather and pretty campus [because] in your fight for survival, you won't spend that much time enjoying it. If you can afford to attend college elsewhere, you will likely get a much better education there. Studying at UC Berkeley may just be the biggest that you ever make.

Oct 28 2009  Mechanical Engineering 

 

This review mentions the drug culture which is rather true.

What else can I say. Berkeley is a shining example of a research institution, but it isn't much of a university. You'll go to school with far too many undergraduate and graduate losers who smoke weed or use meth all day. This is the MOST racist school in the country. My undergrad, Auburn University was in the deep south, and the number of black engineers graduated was quite large (#15 in the country in that statistic). No, race relations are not perfect in the south, but I've only seen one black engineering student and one black engineering alumnus (who got hired at Auburn on the faculty, so I met him before I went out here). If you have the chance to go somewhere else, even if to a consideraly less "prestigious" school, go there. Berkeley sucks. You'll lose your motivation and your edge.

There is a bright side. Living in Berkeey will make you mature very quickly as you are going to have to deal with the crap that the administration and the idiots in the city government allow. The most valuable lessons I have learned did not come in the classroom. 

Apr 25 2005  Civil Engineering 

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7 April 2010

A Harris Poll Recently claimed that 24 % of Republicans Polled believes Barack Hussein Obama is the Anti – Christ.

 

According to my calculations, 557 Republicans took part in this poll. This meant that overwhelmingly many more independent and standard Democratic Party members took a part in this poll.  24% believe Obama is the Anti-Christ or about 134 of these Republicans out of a total pool of 2,320 persons polled on-line, who have to me members of the Harris Interactive Research. The Benefits are web-points in which participants can collect and receive free products or money. The user can sign up anomalously. Although other companies do such procedures, the famed accurate expensive polls that are credible would never rely on these features.  According to Gallop Presidential Polling Methodology, the most historically accurate and the rare one only done once before the election which costs over $1,000,000, the Simple Random Sample (SRS) is so stringent that they chase persons around the globe without moving-on to the next random phone number which would skew the results and increase the margin of error. Gallop spends millions to research and test questions before presenting them to a committee for election for the use in these mostly accurate polls. Gallop also spends considerable amount on defining the geographical locations for their phone calls so not to skew the party representations.  This Harris poll is perhaps the furthest away from a proper SRS, thus statistically it margined of error is probably 50%, where as Gallop aims for 2% or 3% margins of error. However, this is not the only concern, but a more relevant concern is that the mainstream media jumped all over this poll and claimed it must be true – thus framing Republicans as crazy nutcases. The lefty-academics then use these fraud-polls and the mainstreamed media’s reporting to record history. Therefore, your child learns that one-quarter of the Republican Party are mentally insane.  This politically driven agenda is aimed to secure your child’s mind to form it into a robot that regards what the central authority Party’s believes is true and to mold your child’s wants and desires – to form the future generation to its subjectivity and compliance to their ‘advisory’ guidance.  This was standard U.S.S.R. propagandic tactics, used successfully on Mao Tse-tung, before he realized what had happened many years later and threw the Russians out of China. Reporting fraud polls as this one as factual, the central authority party seeks to control knowledge propagation and control human emotions, the key energy in which the human runs their lives on a daily basis.

The entire major News mainstream and blogs reported this finding as factual. Only a few blogs and a few academics not wanting to be eternally embarrassed decried the sham-poll.  Misrepresentative of truth, we will eventually find this Harris Poll in American history books written by radical left-wing professors and writers. It fits the political narrative of the new rich-class of controllers, the Democratic Party. The Democrats now are the party of the rich.[1] They are the ‘New Money!’

The media reported it as “one-quarter of all U.S.A. Republicans believe Obama ‘is’ the Anti-Christ. There are some major points to be made. First, here is the online question: “He may be the Anti-Christ?” The irregular verb ‘may’ is not actively definitive expression but contains a fallacy of doubt, in its passive use of the to-be verb ‘be.’  Second, I have not met anyone who knows what an Anti –Christ is. There are only a few historical writers who have a clue and these writings are solely academic.  The conceptual definitions are verbose. It is impossibly that these persons who were polled world have a clue to what is an Anti- Christ. Thirdly, according to the Poll, some Democratic Party members, and some independent party members of different views also said ‘yes’ to the question. However, the lefty-media did not report that fact. Thirdly, out of all affiliated party members, Democrats, independents and then the lesser number polled of Republicans, 14% believed that Obama may be the Anti- Christ. It is understandable that throughout the history of Christianity, beginning certainly about one-hundred years or so after Christ, the term Anti-Christ framed to any such individual that did not coincide with ones cherished beliefs were then contained under the constellation of multi- descriptions of what could be considered an Anti-Christ. Finally, the left-wing academics that will record this poll as proof in their historical screeds that a large portion of the Republican party of the early twenty-first century were mentally insane is a dark-spot moniker on our Republic that runs a representational Constitutional Republic ( no where does the Constitution mention Democracy! However, under the Communist Chinese Constitution, at least the four promulgated ones, Democracy is the forth most used term to describe the totalitarian dictatorship turned after de facto leader Deng Xiaoping to an oligarchy or nine supreme rulers). The glaring fault of our system resides in foreigners views of our achievements in academia in recent memory.

The world now outshines the total American educational system. While certain Tire I colleges in the U.S.A. are still ranked in the top twenty around the world, most of the colleges and lower grade schools are considered failures to other world academic systems. Most of the fault here is that education in general spends too much time lauding and discussing fraudulent polls like these and propagating mythos, just created for the next generation to fall into the pit of ignorance – in which the communist writings all say is the key to controlling the masses. Vladimir Lenin, the first extreme dictator-murder and communist of the U.S.S.R. called this concept ‘the useful idiots.’


 

[1] Democrats have battled Republicans for 40 years over money and now are the party of the Rich. They control the media, the land, the job markets, and the big corporations. Bill Gates,  once the richest man in the world is a leading Democratic spokesman.  Most of the wealthy Rich professional sports players are registered Democrats, and vocal advocates.  The top-News media on TV and Cable TV News all are owned and operated by Democrats (except Fox, the lone contender). The Entertainment Instructor who makes the most corporate money for California – their market is global, about 95% of them are registered democrats.  Therefore, it is easy for the Democratic Party to now slime, propagate, lie, slander and libel their enemies – the Republicans. Recently, a Harris Poll, one of the touted responsible polls ( uses failed SRSs, therefore the margins of error are about 50%, despite their lies and prostrations of claiming the use of correct statistical sampling) intends a quarter of the U.S. population believes Obama is the Anti-Christ.

 

 

+++

 

Sources:

http://news.harrisinteractive.com/profiles/investor/ResLibraryView.asp?BzID=1963&ResLibraryID=37050&Category=1777

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,320 adults surveyed online between March 1 and 8, 2010 by Harris Interactive. 

++++++++++

Mar 24, 2010 "Wingnuts" and President Obama

A socialist? A Muslim? Anti-American? The Anti-Christ? Large minorities of Americans hold some remarkable opinions

A new book, Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America by John Avlon describes the large numbers of Americans who hold extreme views of President Obama. This Harris Poll seeks to measure how many people are involved. It finds that 40% of adults believe he is a socialist. More than 30% think he wants to take away Americans' right to own guns and that he is a Muslim. More than 25% believe he wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a world government, has done many things that are unconstitutional, that he resents America's heritage, and that he does what Wall Street tells him to do.

More than 20% believe he was not born in the United States, that he is "the domestic enemy the U.S. Constitution speaks of," that he is racist and anti-American, and that he "wants to use an economic collapse or terrorist attack as an excuse to take dictatorial powers." Fully 20% think he is "doing many of the things that Hitler did," while 14% believe "he may be the anti-Christ" and 13% think "he wants the terrorists to win."

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,320 adults surveyed online between March 1 and 8, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

The actual percentages of adults who believe these things are true are as follows:

  • He is a socialist (40%)
  • He wants to take away Americans' right to own guns (38%)
  • He is a Muslim (32%)
  • He wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a one world government (29%)
  • He has done many things that are unconstitutional (29%)
  • He resents America's heritage (27%)
  • He does what Wall Street and the bankers tell him to do (27%)
  • He was not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president (25%)
  • He is a domestic enemy that the U.S. Constitutions speaks of (25%)
  • He is a racist (23%)
  • He is anti-American (23%)
  • He wants to use an economic collapse or terrorist attack as an excuse to take dictatorial powers (23%)
  • He is doing many of the things that Hitler did (20%)
  • He may be the Anti-Christ (14%)
  • He wants the terrorists to win (13%)

What Republicans, Democrats and Independents think

There are – no surprise here – huge differences between what Republicans and Democrats believe. Majorities of Republicans believe that President Obama:

  • Is a socialist (67%)
  • Wants to take away Americans' right to own guns (61%)
  • Is a Muslim (57%)
  • Wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a one world government (51%); and
  • Has done many things that are unconstitutional (55%).

Also large numbers of Republicans also believe that President Obama:

  • Resents America's heritage (47%)
  • Does what Wall Street and the bankers tell him to do (40%)
  • Was not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president (45%)
  • Is the "domestic enemy that the U.S. Constitution speaks of" (45%)
  • Is a racist (42%)
  • Want to use an economic collapse or terrorist attack as an excuse to take dictatorial powers (41%)
  • Is doing many of the things that Hitler did (38%).

Even more remarkable perhaps, fully 24% of Republicans believe that "he may be the Anti-Christ" and 22% believe "he wants the terrorists to win."

While few Democrats believe any of these things, the proportions of Independents who do so are close to the national averages.

One big surprise is that many more Republicans (40%) than Democrats (15%) believe the president does what Wall Street and the bankers tell him to do.

Differences by education

These replies are also strongly correlated with education. The less education people have had the more likely they are to believe all of these statements. Consider these differences between those with no college education and those with post-graduate education:

  • He is a socialist (45% and 20%)
  • He wants to take away Americans' right to own guns (45% and 19%)
  • He is a Muslim (43% and 9%)
  • He was not born in the United States so is not eligible to be president (32% and 7%)
  • He is a racist (28% and 9%)
  • He is anti-American (27% and 9%)
  • He is doing many of the things Hitler did (24% and 10%).

After reviewing these findings, John Avlon comments, "These new numbers are shocking but not surprising – they detail the extent to which Wingnuts are hijacking our politics. This poll should be a wake-up call to all Americans about the real costs of using fear and hate to pump up hyper-partisanship. We are playing with dynamite by demonizing our president and dividing our country in the process. Americans need to remember the perspective that Wingnuts always forget – patriotism is more important than partisanship."

So what?

So what indeed! These responses recall a favorite saying of our founder Lou Harris that "when you don't want to publish a poll finding you dislike, you should get out of the business." The very large numbers of people who believe all these things of President Obama help to explain the size and strength of the Tea Party Movement, a topic that will be addressed in another Harris Poll in a few days time.

 

TABLE 1

PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE VARIOUS STATEMENTS ABOUT PRESIDENT OBAMA ARE TRUE

"On another subject, here are some things people have said about President Obama. Please indicate for each whether you
believe it is true or false."

Summary of True

 

Base: All adults

 

 

Total

 

Education

 

Political Philosophy

 

Political Party

 

 

H.S. or
less

 

Some
College

 

College
Grad

 

Post
Grad

 

Cons.

 

Mod.

 

Lib.

 

Rep.

 

Dem.

 

Ind.

 

%

 

%

 

%

 

%

 

%

 

%

 

%

 

%

 

%

 

%

 

%

He is a socialist

 

40

 

45

 

38

 

42

 

20

 

67

 

30

 

15

 

67

 

14

 

42

He wants to take away
Americans' right to own guns

 

38

 

45

 

37

 

32

 

19

 

63

 

28

 

15

 

61

 

17

 

39

He is a Muslim

 

32

 

43

 

30

 

24

 

9

 

51

 

26

 

16

 

57

 

15

 

29

He wants to turn over the
sovereignty of the United States
to a one world government

 

29

 

37

 

28

 

21

 

12

 

52

 

20

 

13

 

51

 

12

 

28

He has done many things that
are unconstitutional

 

29

 

35

 

28

 

26

 

13

 

53

 

20

 

10

 

55

 

9

 

27

He resents America's heritage

 

27

 

31

 

26

 

25

 

18

 

49

 

19

 

9

 

47

 

12

 

27

He does what Wall Street and
the bankers tell him to do

 

27

 

35

 

24

 

20

 

11

 

38

 

23

 

17

 

40

 

15

 

27

He was not born in the United
States and so is not eligible to
be president

 

25

 

32

 

22

 

21

 

7

 

41

 

19

 

10

 

45

 

8

 

24

He is a domestic enemy that the
U.S. Constitutions speaks of

 

25

 

32

 

23

 

17

 

10

 

45

 

16

 

9

 

45

 

8

 

24

He is a racist

 

23

 

28

 

22

 

20

 

9

 

42

 

15

 

7

 

42

 

7

 

22

He is anti-American

 

23

 

27

 

22

 

20

 

9

 

43

 

14

 

8

 

41

 

7

 

22

He wants to use an economic
collapse or terrorist attack as an
excuse to take dictatorial
powers

 

23

 

28

 

21

 

18

 

11

 

40

 

14

 

12

 

41

 

8

 

21

He is doing many of the things
that Hitler did

 

20

 

24

 

20

 

18

 

10

 

36

 

13

 

9

 

38

 

6

 

19

He may be the Anti-Christ

 

14

 

18

 

13

 

9

 

4

 

24

 

9

 

8

 

24

 

6

 

13

He wants the terrorists to win

 

13

 

16

 

11

 

11

 

6

 

23

 

9

 

6

 

22

 

5

 

12

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States March 1 and 8, 2010 among 2,320 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

J37772
Q976

The Harris Poll®#42, March 23, 2010
By Humphrey Taylor, Chairman, The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

©2010 Harris Interactive. All rights reserved.

Harris Interactive
Alyssa Hall, 212-539-9600
ahall@harrisinteractive.com

SRS:

 

One has to be a member:

One has to hide behind a computer, so therefore abnormity is key.

“Harris Interactive measuring public opinion and is highly regarded throughout the world…”

To become a member of the Harris Poll Online and be invited to participate in future online surveys, visit www.harrispollonline.com.

 

+++++++++++

New Harris Poll: 24% Of Republicans Polled Think Obama Is The Anti-Christ

by Tommy Christopher | 5:58 pm, March 25th, 2010

» 5 comments

 

he media has squeezed every last eyeball from the year of frenzied interest in health care reform,  it appears that Crazy Republicans are, at the very least, the interim replacement. A supporting player in the health care drama, it looks like they have become the story now.

On the heels of racial and sexual slurs, spit and brick attacks,  and death threats, a new Harris poll that’s making the cable news rounds cements the notion of the scary conservative who believes that President Obama is, among other things, a Nazi-esque Muslim Antichrist. 

The poll has been fairly ubiquitous on cable news shows the past few days. The numbers are scary, indeed. 67% believe the President is a socialist, although Harris didn’t do anything to verify that respondents knew what that word meant.

The real sizzler, though, is the 45% who believe he wasn’t born in the US, and the 24% who say he “may be the Antichrist.” There’s no way to tell if there’s any overlap, so it could be that up to 69% of Republicans believe the President was either born in another country, or that he was born here, but of a jackal.

My first instinct was that the cablers were paraphrasing, and cooking the numbers by including “not sure” responses. Nope, these were straight true/false questions, no “unsure” responses.

The poll’s methodology is not rock solid. While the sample size is more than adequate at 2,320 (scientific pollsters frequently use samples in the 500 range), the poll is an interactive survey, as ABC’s Gary Langer points out, “done among people who sign up to click through questionnaires via the Internet in exchange for points redeemable for cash and gifts – not a probability sample.”

Others have attacked the way the questions were asked, and they have a point. For example, if you believe in an Antichrist, end-times theology states that it could be pretty much anyone. Hell, I’d probably score higher than 24% on this poll.

As for “doing many of the things Hitler did,” aside from slaughtering millions and admiring his ball, who doesn’t? Taken literally, it’s a tough statement to disagree with, especially when you’ve got Bonus Web Bucks riding on it.

This is not to say that Harris’ survey is necessarily weaker than others of its kind. This kind of interactive polling is relied upon all the time for market research and the  like. It’s just not as solid as other, more expensive polling methods. Zogby International, for example, uses similar methods.

Even if you grant a pretty wide margin of error, though, people will assume that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. The Republican leadership’s willingness to flirt with ideas like the birth certificate conspiracy, or their insistence that health care reform is an “apocalypse,” will appear to be bearing fruit.

Methodology aside, the battle to paint Republicans as unhinged loons has already been won, as this poll has been splashed across TV and computer screens as a series of bullets, straight to the heart of conservative credibility. The next stop? Gun rights rallies scheduled for April 19, the anniversary of both the end of the 1993 siege in Waco, and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Liberal cable hosts like Rachel Maddow are already raising an eyebrow, if not an alarm.

How can conservatives combat the new narrative? That’s a tough question. Once people start looking at you like you’re crazy, it’s tough to shake that impression. The louder you protest your sanity, the crazier you look. Their best bet may be to lay low until someone overreacts, and that becomes the new story.

http://www.mediaite.com/online/new-harris-poll-the-gops-must-be-crazy/

 

++++++++++

 

CJR: Harris poll on GOP extremism not credible

Hot Air - 8 days ago

1

The Columbia Journalism Review isn’t known for its stirring defenses of conservatives, so their analysis of the Harris poll that suggested that 45% of Republicans are Birthers and 24% believe Obama to be the Antichrist is remarkable for its conclusion.

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/03/30/cjr-harris-poll-on-gop-extremism-not-credible/

 

CJR: Harris poll on GOP extremism not credible

posted at 2:55 pm on March 30, 2010 by Ed Morrissey
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The Columbia Journalism Review isn’t known for its stirring defenses of conservatives, so their analysis of the Harris poll that suggested that 45% of Republicans are Birthers and 24% believe Obama to be the Antichrist is remarkable for its conclusion.  Greg Marx pegs his analysis on a deconstruction by ABC News polling director Gary Langer and wonders why the national media was so credulous in reporting a poll obviously aimed to help author John Avlon sell his book:

But in order both to be credible and to be perceived as credible, that undertaking has to come from a place of open inquiry, not from an expectation that the results will boost book sales, create a news cycle, or confirm a political narrative. The whole appeal of polling is its promise (sometimes oversold) to produce objective, almost scientific data that tells us something about the state of our politics. When that enterprise itself becomes an exercise in political gamesmanship, it may foster cynicism about the utility and quality of any effort to collect information. If any given piece of news is valuable only insofar as it advances a particular political view, then they are all in a sense equivalent, which is to say worthless.

That’s not to say that political perspectives don’t have a place in journalism (they do) or that our political views won’t shape the way we understand information (they will). But we still need to protect a place for facts and evidence in our political debate, and to do that we need to push back against rhetorical opportunism and statistical sloppiness on all sides. Journalists can do this by not cutting corners when reporting and compiling data—but also by making the case for why methodological rigor is valuable, and by providing readers with the tools to evaluate information themselves.

This, in the end, is the real value in Langer’s post—it explains why the Harris poll is flawed in a way that will hopefully prompt closer scrutiny of storyline it perpetuated. While this type of direct engagement between media outlets is somewhat unusual, Langer has a clear incentive here: as a pollster, he needs to uphold the integrity, credibility, and rigor of his profession. It’s a lesson for other members of the press to keep in mind.

Langer ripped Harris for its methodology, starting with its interactive model based on incentivizing through cash and gifts, but that was just to start:

The problems are fundamental. “Some people have said” is a biasing introductory phrase; it imbues the subsequent statements with an air of credibility – particularly when you don’t note that others say something else. (That approach can have problems of its own; the “some people” vs. “other people” format implies equivalence.)

The subsequent statements, for their part, are classically unbalanced – there’s no alternative proposition to consider. A wealth of academic literature, neatly summarized here, demonstrates that questions constructed in this fashion – true/false, agree/disagree – carry a heavy dose of what’s known as acquiescence bias. They overstate agreement with whatever’s been posited, often by a very substantial margin. (This reflects avoidance of cognitive burden, which tends to happen disproportionately with less-educated respondents, as is reflected in Harris’ results.)

Using all negative statements, rather than a mix of negative and positive ones, reflects another non-standard approach, one that can further bias responses. (The ordering of  items, unclear in the Harris release, can be troublesome as well.)

Another problem, which I discuss here, is the challenge of over-literalism in evaluating survey results of this type. Rather than answering disparaging poll questions literally, people who are ill-disposed toward the subject may simply use these questions as an opportunity to express their general antipathy – not as a thought-out endorsement of the specific posit. And the use of hot-button invective is ill-advised in its own right; respondents may just blow it back.

Langer also compares the result to more traditional polls taken by Pew during and just after the election by linking to an observation by Time’s Michael Scherer.  Instead of 57% of Republicans believing that Obama is a secret Muslim, Pew found only 17% of Republicans believing that, clearly a fringe view in the GOP even when those sentiments burned most hotly.

The big question here isn’t that Harris did a push poll, or that Avlon exploited it to sell his books.  Push polls have been around for a very long time.  CJR’s point is that the media apparently fell for it, spreading misinformation, rather than doing some routine fact-checking to determine the poll’s credibility.  I’d say that indicates another age-old trend of accepting data points without confirmation when they fit an accepted worldview — and in the national media, a poll declaring Republicans to mainly be lunatics would certainly fit that explanation.

Update: Kathy Shaidle has more thoughts.

++++

http://www.cjr.org/campaign_desk/out_on_a_limb.php?page=all

Columbia Political Review:

Campaign Desk — March 29, 2010 06:00 AM

Out on a Limb

The problems with that ‘wingnuts’ poll

By Greg Marx

In the course of surfing the Web last week, you may have come across some polling data showing that large numbers of Republicans believe some pretty scary things about the president. The figures, provided by Harris Interactive, seem to have been first reported by Daily Beast contributor John Avlon in an item posted at midnight Tuesday. The story, titled “Scary New GOP Poll,” cited details including:

45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was “not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president”

38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is “doing many of the things that Hitler did”

Scariest of all, 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama “may be the Antichrist.”

Ok, maybe that last line is not meant to be taken seriously, but still, pretty crazy, right? And Avlon wrote that “the full results of the poll… are even more frightening.” But those results wouldn’t be available until Wednesday, meaning there was no way for readers to see them—and, more importantly, no way for skeptics to examine the poll’s methodology—as the early numbers filtered through the media.

But soon enough, the results did come out, and they were promptly and persuasively skewered by, among others, Gary Langer, the polling director for ABC News. Langer’s post clearly summarizes various shortcomings of the poll, from its approach to sampling to the way it persistently pushed respondents toward more extreme positions through “a highly manipulative approach to questionnaire design.” The obvious response is that, whatever the design, 14 percent of respondents really did say that Obama “may be the Antichrist.” But as Langer writes near his conclusion, good polling involves more than simply asking a question:

Unless carefully crafted, with balance and an approach that encourages due consideration and probes for meaning, simply asking the question can turn into little more than the old reporter’s trick of piping quotes. It’s a shopworn use of true/false and agree/disagree questions, one long overdue for retirement.

Langer’s post doubles as a helpful primer on polling methodology, but even for those not interested in the arcane, there were plenty of red flags here. As Avlon wrote in his item, the poll was “inspired in part by my new book Wingnuts.” (The full title is Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America.) While Avlon apparently did not pay for the poll, the opening of the Harris press release cited his book by name, and stipulated that the purpose of the poll was “to measure how many people are involved” with right-wing extremism.

It sounds not so different from a similar poll commissioned by Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas earlier this year, which, he wrote on his blog, was meant to provide support for “certain claims about Republicans” he was making in his book, American Taliban. (That poll, too, came under scrutiny from experts in the field: see here, here, and here.) Most inquiries begin with propositions to test, of course, but in these cases there seem to be clear incentives for all involved are to generate as many scary-sounding responses as possible. (Harris has responded to criticisms of its poll’s methodology, and the motivations behind it, in a Q&A at its site.)

What are the consequences of this? Well, for one thing it seems likely to, if anything, entrench the environment of “fear and hate” these writers are decrying: even as Avlon worries over “hyper-partisanship,” he’s feeding his readers tenuous numbers that give them permission to believe their worst fears about conservatives.

From a media perspective, meanwhile, the existence of these polls makes it harder to communicate good information. That’s partly because any storyline can be hard to dispel once it’s accepted, but there’s something more going on. In this case, we really are in a period in which conservative elites—both elected officials and members of the media—have been using inflammatory rhetoric. It’s reasonable to conclude that this rhetoric has contributed to the incidents of harassment and vandalism we’ve seen in the wake of the health-care vote. For a number of reasons, it would be journalistically valuable to try to deduce the broader state of opinion among conservative voters, and both polling and old-fashioned reporting can play a role in that process.

But in order both to be credible and to be perceived as credible, that undertaking has to come from a place of open inquiry, not from an expectation that the results will boost book sales, create a news cycle, or confirm a political narrative. The whole appeal of polling is its promise (sometimes oversold) to produce objective, almost scientific data that tells us something about the state of our politics. When that enterprise itself becomes an exercise in political gamesmanship, it may foster cynicism about the utility and quality of any effort to collect information. If any given piece of news is valuable only insofar as it advances a particular political view, then they are all in a sense equivalent, which is to say worthless.

That’s not to say that political perspectives don’t have a place in journalism (they do) or that our political views won’t shape the way we understand information (they will). But we still need to protect a place for facts and evidence in our political debate, and to do that we need to push back against rhetorical opportunism and statistical sloppiness on all sides. Journalists can do this by not cutting corners when reporting and compiling data—but also by making the case for why methodological rigor is valuable, and by providing readers with the tools to evaluate information themselves.

This, in the end, is the real value in Langer’s post—it explains why the Harris poll is flawed in a way that will hopefully prompt closer scrutiny of storyline it perpetuated. While this type of direct engagement between media outlets is somewhat unusual, Langer has a clear incentive here: as a pollster, he needs to uphold the integrity, credibility, and rigor of his profession. It’s a lesson for other members of the press to keep in mind.

Update: For another close look at the Harris poll featuring thoughts on how to design a more valid survey, see Mark Blumenthal’s “Mystery Pollster” column for National Journal.

Update 2, 3/30: James Taranto’s Wall Street Journal piece last Thursday also raises good questions about the sampling and survey design.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

MYSTERY POLLSTER

True Or False: This Poll Is Out There

What's The Most Reasonable Way To Poll The Fringes?

Monday, March 29, 2010
by Mark Blumenthal

Last week, I got a generous dare via Twitter from Markos Moulitsas, founder and publisher of the liberal Web site Daily Kos: "I'll do this for you, @MysteryPollster -- design a 'wingnut' poll that would be valid in your eyes, and I will run it."

Read more and comment on this column at Pollster.com.

That's a hard offer to pass up, but it needs some explanation.

Last week, Harris Interactive released an online survey showing that "large minorities" of Americans hold "some remarkable opinions" of President Obama. Some 40 percent of adults are said to believe "he is a socialist." More than 30 percent think "he wants to take away Americans' right to own guns" and "he is a Muslim." And 20 percent or more are willing to agree that Obama is "racist," "anti-American" and "doing many of the things that Hitler did."

"Hot words, those," wrote ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer, who took to the Internet within hours to attack the survey for taking a "highly manipulative approach to questionnaire design." While many Americans might believe "profoundly negative things" about Obama, Langer wrote, the Harris poll "demonstrates splendidly how not to measure them."

Harris' online methodology came in for some criticism too. Harris solicits respondents from a panel of individuals who have agreed to participate in its surveys. The panel is not representative of the U.S population, so Harris weights the completed interviews to "bring them into line" demographically. The American Association for Public Opinion Research questioned the representativeness of such "non-probability online panels" last week in a task force report (sure to stir up controversy in its own right), and I reviewed the online polling controversy in two columns last fall.

Even so, Langer is right to imply that measurement is a bigger worry in this case than sampling. The survey consisted of 15 negative statements about Obama that respondents were asked to evaluate as true or false. Langer's complaints are that:

• Introducing the statements as "things people have said about Obama" gives them added credibility.

• True-false questions take an "unbalanced" approach that academic research has shown to "overstate agreement with whatever's been posited."

• The statements were all "unrelentingly negative," rather than a mix of positive and negative.

• Respondents may have been using the questions to "to express their general antipathy toward Obama" rather than endorsing the truthfulness of each statement.

I e-mailed Humphrey Taylor, the chairman of the Harris Poll, for comment. "I feel good about our data," he replied, and pointed me to a blog post in which he expresses pride in having "stimulated a great deal of interesting discussion and made a valuable contribution to the debate." However, even Taylor concedes that their questions may have exaggerated agreement. "It is possible," he writes, "if we had included both positive and negative statements, fewer people would have said the negative statements were true."

What does all of this have to do with Markos Moulitsas? Shortly after Harris released its survey, Republican pollster Alex Lundry warned his Twitter followers that the survey shared some of the "same problems" as a similar poll sponsored by Daily Kos in February. I tweeted my agreement, pointing to a blog post that summarized some of the early academic research on the problems of unbalanced questions. Moulitsas responded with the dare at the top of this column.

So, how would I do such a poll?

First and foremost, it would be important to ask about both positive and negative statements on Obama, and even better, to try to measure reactions to "extreme" statements emanating from both the left and right wings of American politics.

One valid concern about the Harris survey is that many Obama supporters may have taken offense to the statements and stopped completing the survey. Keeping a politically representative sample on the phone would require both balance in the questions and a careful introduction to explain the purpose of the unusual questions to follow.

Second, it would be far better to ask respondents to choose between balanced alternatives, rather than rating each statement as true or false. The best example, flagged by Time's Michael Scherer, has already been asked by the Pew Research Center in surveys conducted in 2008 and 2009: "Now, thinking about Barack Obama's religious beliefs, do you happen to know what Barack Obama's religion is? Is he Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, agnostic or something else?"

When Pew Research asked that question in March 2009, 11 percent of respondents -- and just 17 percent of Republicans -- identified Obama's religion as Muslim. Compare that to 32 percent of adults and 57 percent of Republicans on the Harris survey. As Scherer notes, it is hard to explain why belief that Obama is a Muslim would have tripled in the last year.

That same format could be adapted to some of the other extreme beliefs tested by Harris. For example: "As far as you know, was Barack Obama born in Hawaii, Illinois or Kenya?"

Third, open-ended questions might provide an even better measure in some cases. For example, if we are looking for belief that Obama is not a natural-born citizen, it might be better to simply ask, "To the best of your knowledge, where was Barack Obama born?" and record those who volunteer a location outside the United States.

Finally, we all need to take seriously Langer's admonition about "over-literalism" in interpreting this sort of survey. Consider the context of labels tested on the Harris poll like "socialism" or doing "many things that are unconstitutional": During the 2008 campaign, John McCain and prominent Republicans used the word "socialist" to describe Obama's policies; and right now, more than a dozen state attorneys general are challenging the constitutionality of the health care law. So how extreme is it for many ordinary Americans to apply these labels to Obama?

http://www.nationaljournal.com/njonline/print_friendly.php?ID=po_20100329_2710

 

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Wingnuts': An Autobiography?

The curious case of John Avlon and the "scary new GOP poll.

By JAMES TARANTO

Suppose you're walking down the street and some wide-eyed guy comes up to you and says: "Barack Obama is doing many of the things Hitler did. Do you agree?"

That's roughly what the Harris Interactive polling company, inspired by a book called "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America," has done. And they think they've proved you're crazy.

"Scary New GOP Poll," reads the headline at The Daily Beast. In the article, "Wingnuts" author John Avlon declares that "Obama Derangement Syndrome--pathological hatred of the president posing as patriotism--has infected the Republican Party." The poll, he claims, "demonstrates the cost of the campaign of fear and hate that has been pumped up in the service of hyper-partisanship over the past 15 months. We are playing with dynamite by demonizing our president and dividing the United States in the process."

In truth, the poll is so deeply flawed that it demonstrates nothing. We already knew that there are people on the fringes of the right who believe crazy things about President Obama, just as there are people on the fringes of the left who believe crazy things about George W. Bush. Harris and Avlon vastly exaggerate the influence of the former group in what appears to be an effort to demonize dissenters. And in this effort, Avlon himself has shown an increasing willingness to employ extreme rhetoric. The self-proclaimed scourge of "wingnuts" is in danger of turning into one himself.

Let's begin with the poll, whose results are detailed in a Harris press release. It prefaced a series of statements with the following question: "On another subject, here are some things people have said about President Obama. Please indicate for each whether you believe it is true or false." Of the 15 statements listed, only two--"He is a Muslim" and "He was not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president"--are straightforward (and false) factual assertions.

The other 13 are matters of opinion ("He is a socialist," "He may be the Anti-Christ") or speculation about his motives ("He resents America's heritage," "He wants the terrorists to win"), most of which almost anyone would agree cast the president in a harshly unfavorable light. The central finding--that Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to offer assent to truculent statements about Obama--is not exactly stop-the-presses material.

There are two problems with this survey: the methodology and the questions. Call them the science and art, respectively, of public-opinion research. First the science: When you think of a public-opinion poll, you probably imagine a series of phone calls. But Harris Interactive doesn't use the phone. Here is how the press release described the methodology:

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States March 1 and 8, 2010 among 2,320 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

This approach has its defenders, including (naturally) the folks at Harris. But it is controversial in the polling world. We asked our friend Kellyanne Conway, CEO of The Polling Co., a GOP-leaning firm, for her professional opinion, and she replied via email:

This type of methodology is useful for certain research endeavors, like with a highly technical audience or when a finite population exists, e.g., conference attendees or teachers within a school district. It is far more limited than a probability sample survey, which respects the pillars of randomness and universality critical to ensuring a survey is scientific and representative of the population its data purports to reflect. When sample is based on a self-selected population and not a probability sample (in which everyone in the population has the same nonzero chance of being selected), no conclusions can be drawn with respect to sampling error. Like any other traditional telephone survey, online polls are subject to many types of error. Calculating a margin of error is not easily achievable, since interactive research such as this lacks a probability sample.

Online, opt-in surveys such as this tend to produce higher numbers of interviews (better response rates), so some folks imbue them with greater credibility because of the sheer numbers alone. This is a mistake. Although an adequate sample is essential to the legitimacy of a poll, the scientific focus should remain on who is and is not in the survey as well as how they were selected.

The better way to classify these results is: "a survey of 2,320 adults nationwide. While these weighted data may be demographically proportionate to the nation's adult population, they are not representative of the nation as a whole, but reflective of these respondents' viewpoints." It can never "become" a true probability sample because not everyone has the same non-zero chance of being selected. Harris admits this in its methodology section on the final page of the press release. They state they choose not to talk in terms of margins of error, but the fact is they have no way to do so, given their choice of methodology.

There's another methodological problem, which points to the nexus between the science and the art of polling. The survey includes only people who actually answer the crazy questions asked. So if your reaction to the guy on the street at the top of this column was to step up your pace and get away from him (which corresponds to saying "this is nuts" and closing your browser window), your opinion would not affect the outcome--but if you happen to be a Republican, Harris's methodology imputes to you a likelihood of holding crazy views.

It's hard to avoid the conclusion that the survey was designed to make Republicans, and only Republicans, look unhinged. The press release states: "The very large numbers of people who believe all these things of President Obama help to explain the size and strength of the Tea Party Movement." This presupposes that the tea-party movement centers on crazy beliefs about Obama, a view that the poll provides no evidence to support.

For balance, such a poll might have included a series of crazy statements about polarizing Republican figures like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney or Sarah Palin. This would at least give some indication of whether Republicans have a greater propensity than Democrats to believe "scary" things.

Further, this is a test not of belief but of assent, which is to say that these are leading questions. Those of us whose jobs require that we be knowledgeable about politics are well aware of the crazy ideas that bubble around on the fringes, and we typically know enough to reject them. Avlon, who has written a whole book on the subject, is deeply aware of them. But how much thought does the average American give to such questions as whether President Obama "is a domestic enemy that the U.S. Constitution speaks of" or whether he "wants to turn over the sovereignty of the United States to a one world government"?

In other words, a poll that purports to be measuring the prevalence of these beliefs likely is propagating them instead. If the first time you hear of an idea is when a respectable polling firm informs you that "some people" believe it, that lends it some air of credibility, especially if it is an idea that reinforces your unfavorable feelings toward a prominent politician.

In his Daily Beast piece on the "scary" survey, Avlon writes: "This poll is the latest and most detailed evidence of the extent to which Wingnuts are hijacking our politics." In a way, perhaps that's true--but inasmuch as the poll is magnifying the importance of "wingnut" ideas, it is an example, rather than a reflection, of such hijacking.

And for whose benefit? The Democratic Congress has just enacted legislation vastly expanding government, in a manner so ugly and so heedless of public opinion that critics are arguing that it lacks political legitimacy. In response to that criticism, Democrats have sought to delegitimize Republicans by suggesting that they are racists, that they support political violence--and that they believe crazy things about President Obama.

Avlon does not identify himself as a Democrat. He worked for Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign, and his first book was called "Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics." But for a political moderate who presents himself as the leading critic of "wingnuts," Avlon has engaged in some remarkably intemperate rhetoric in his demonization of dissenters.

Consider these facts, reported by the Washington Post:

The pitched battle over health care has unleashed a rash of vandalism and attacks directed at politicians, with at least 10 House Democrats reporting death threats or incidents of harassment or vandalism at their district offices over the past week.

Here is the reaction of blogger Josh Marshall:

I'm not sure it's hyperbole any more to say that we've now got a small scale domestic terror campaign going on against members of Congress who voted for Health Care Reform.

Marshall is a very partisan Democrat, but he is careful to hedge his words ("I'm not sure . . . small scale"), implicitly acknowledging that what he is saying is inflammatory and speculative. Here, by contrast, is Avlon, in The Daily Beast:

The parallels, intentional or not, to the Nazis' heinous 1938 kristallnacht, or "Night of Broken Glass," so-named for the 7,000 storefront windows that were smashed, are hard to ignore.

This Avlon article has been edited since it was posted yesterday. Originally the very first sentence read: "In a disturbing parallel to the Nazi's [sic] kristallnacht, windows are shattering in Democratic offices nationwide." Kristallnacht was a nationwide pogrom carried out under the direction of a totalitarian state. It is in no way "parallel" to small-scale acts of vandalism spurred by impotent rage against the party in power.

Political crime is intolerable. Avlon's comparison is obscene. Unlike the hapless 20% of Harris poll participants who answered "true" when asked if Obama "is doing many of the things that Hitler did," Avlon issued this comparison unbidden. Delve too deeply into the world of wingnuts, it seems, and you risk turning into one yourself.

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