Monthly Archives: September 2012

What’s Up: September 28, 2012?

To read the entire article click on the title or Story Continued. Enjoy as the world turns.

· Politico’s Paul Ryan Satire: The Joke’s on Them – A report this morning by Politico chief political correspondent Roger Simon includes this bombshell about Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan: Though Ryan had already decided to distance himself from the floundering Romney campaign, he now feels totally uninhibited. Reportedly, he has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, “If Stench calls, take a message” and “Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.” The “stench” reference comes from a quote that Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Iowa Republican Party gave to the New York Times over the weekend: “I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him.” Needless to say, the political press and blogosphere have jumped on the story:

Times columnist Paul Krugman: Can I say that even though I’m not exactly a fan of Mitt Romney’s, this is just bad behavior? You’re supposed to wait until it’s actually over before you do this kind of thing. Anyway, I like how Ryan is declaring independence: by using PowerPoint!

Tommy Christopher of press-gossip site Mediaite: Simon’s anecdote has the recognizable (to the Beltway crowd) ring of truth that renders it canonical in political circles … Simon’s anecdote demonstrates that the Romney campaign’s toxic press is in Ryan’s head. In this electoral game of chicken, Ryan is already unbuckling his seatbelt and visualizing his roll onto the shoulder. Story Continued:

· 55 percent of small business owners would not start company today, blame Obama – Fifty-five percent of small business owners and manufacturers would not have started their businesses in today’s economy, according to a new poll that also reports 69 percent say President Obama’s regulatory policies have hurt their businesses. “There is far too much uncertainty, too many burdensome regulations and too few policymakers willing to put aside their egos and fulfill their responsibilities to the American people,” said Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, which commissioned the poll along with the National Federation of Independent Businesses. “To fix this problem, we need immediate action on pro-growth tax and regulatory policies that put manufacturers in the United States in a position to compete and succeed in an ever-more competitive global economy.” The poll reports another ominous statistic for job creation: “67 percent say there is too much uncertainty in the market today to expand, grow or hire new workers.” Why? Because “President Obama’s Executive Branch and regulatory policies have hurt American small businesses and manufacturers,” according to 69 percent of the business owners surveyed. Story Continued:

· Clinton Sees Link to Qaeda Offshoot in Deadly Libya Attack

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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton indicated for the first time on Wednesday that there was an explicit link between the Qaeda franchise in North Africa and the attack at the American diplomatic mission in Libya that killed four Americans, including the ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens. She also said American intelligence and law enforcement agencies were working not only with Libya but also with other nations in the region to investigate the attack in Benghazi on Sept. 11. That indicated that the attack’s planning and execution might not have been the local, spontaneous eruption of violence that the administration had initially described.

Mrs. Clinton made her remarks at a special United Nations meeting on the political and security crisis in the swath of North Africa known as the Maghreb and the Sahel, a crisis that is particularly affecting northern Mali, which has been overrun by Islamic extremists since a military coup divided that country earlier this year. She said Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which originated in Algeria, was now using the region as a haven to support extremism and terrorist violence in countries like Libya. Story Continued:

· Romney Pulls Ahead – By Dick Morris on September 25, 2012: The published polling in this year’s presidential race is unusually inaccurate because this is the first election in which who votes determines how they vote. Obama’s massive leads among blacks, Latinos, young people, and single women vie with Romney’s margin among the elderly, married white women, and white men. Tell me your demographic and I’ll tell you who you’re voting for and I’ll be right at least two times out of three! Most pollsters are weighting their data on the assumption that the 2012 electorate will turn out in the same proportion as the 2008 voters did. But polling indicates a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the president among his core constituency. He’ll still carry them by heavy margins, but the turnout will likely lag behind the 2008 stats. (The 2008 turnout was totally unlike that in other years with all-time historic high turnouts among Obama’s main demographic groups). Specifically, most pollsters are using 2008 party preferences to weight their 2012 survey samples, reflecting a much larger Democratic preference than is now really the case. In my own polling, I found a lurch to the Democrats right after their convention, but subsequent research indicates that it has since petered out. Indeed, when one compares party identification in the August and September polls of this year in swing states, the Democratic Party identification is flat while the ranks of Republicans rose by an average of two points per state. Story Continued:

· Obama Voter Says Vote for Obama because he gives a free PhoneStory Continued See the Video:

· Durable goods drop worst since recession – New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods in August fell by the most in 3-1/2 years, pointing to a sharp slowdown in factory activity even as a gauge of planned business spending rebounded. The Commerce Department said on Thursday durable goods orders dived 13.2 percent, the largest drop since January 2009, when the economy was in the throes of a recession. Orders for July were revised down to show a 3.3 percent increase instead of the previously reported 4.1 percent gain. Economists polled by Reuters had expected orders for durable goods — items from toasters to aircraft that are meant to last at least three years — to fall 5 percent. Last month, the drop in orders reflected weak aircraft and automobiles demand. Boeing received only one aircraft order in August, down from 260 in July, according to information posted on the plane maker’s website. Transportation equipment tumbled 34.9 percent after racing ahead 13.1 percent in July. Excluding transportation, orders fell 1.6 percent after dropping 1.3 percent the prior month. Economists had expected this category to rise 0.3 percent after a previously reported 0.6 percent fall. Non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, rose 1.1 percent, halting two straight months of hefty declines. That was above economists’ expectations for 0.5 percent gain. But shipments of these goods, which are used to calculate equipment and software spending in the gross domestic product report, fell 0.9 percent after declining 1.1 percent in July. The weakness suggested third-quarter economic growth would probably not improve much from the April-June’s 1.3 percent annual pace. Story Continued:

· Barney Frank: Pot brownie made me sleepy – Retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said he once tried a pot-infused brownie — and it made him sleepy. Frank is an advocate of legalizing and taxing marijuana, but he said Wednesday night that he does not regularly use the illegal drug. “No, I don’t,” Frank told CNN when asked if he smoked marijuana. “I smoke a cigar or two a day. I did have a brownie once. It made me sleepy.” Frank went on to say that he thought the drug should be legalized as an issue of fairness, pointing out the effects of marijuana paled relative to other activities, some of which were legal. “I think, frankly, it contributes a good deal to the sense of unfairness among young people who are told they shouldn’t do this because it’s got all these negative effects, but then see older people engaging in all kinds of things that probably have greater impact on people,” Frank said. And Frank railed against disproportionate law enforcement on drug crimes, likening it to New York City’s “stop and frisk” practice. “One of the best things we can do to reduce state expenditures in a way that does not hurt the quality of life is to stop going after people who use marijuana,” Frank said. Story Continued:

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· Obama calls for a ‘new economic patriotism’ – As Mitt Romney and aides attacked President Obama over gloomy new economic statistics, Obama touted a new campaign theme Thursday: A “new economic patriotism” emphasizing the middle class. “During campaign season, you always hear a lot about patriotism,” Obama told supporters at an outdoor amphitheater near the Virginia coast. “Well, you know what, it’s time for a new economic patriotism — and economic patriotism rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong and thriving middle class.” The term is also the theme of a new Obama ad airing in battleground states, including Virginia. Aides to Romney — who also campaigned in the swing state of Virginia on Thursday — challenged Obama’s conduct of the economy by citing a new government report saying the economy grew by only 1.3% in the second quarter of this year. “Our economy needs to be reinvigorated,” Romney said in Springfield, Va. “And the president has laid out his plan — it’s a continuation of the old plan. We can’t afford four more years of the last four years.” Story Continued:

· U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates – Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya. Story Continued and to watch the video:

· Michael Tomasky on the GOP’s Self-Delusion Syndrome – With Obama’s lead in several swing states becoming insurmountable, the right has begun to panic—by denying reality altogether. What a fantastic last two weeks these have been. I don’t even mean Barack Obama solidifying his lead over Mitt Romney, although that’s perfectly fine. No, I mean the near-mathematically perfect joy of watching these smug and contemptible creatures of the right dodge and swerve and make excuses and, most of all, whine. There is no joy in the kingdom of man so great as the joy of seeing bullies and hucksters laid low, and watching people who have arrogantly spent years assuming they were right about the world living to see all those haughty assumptions die before their eyes. Watching them squirm is more fun than watching Romney and Paul Ryan flail away. Story Continued and to watch the video:

· Feds Arrest Producer Of Controversial Anti-Islam Film On Probation Violation Charge – The producer of the controversial anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” has been arrested for violating terms of his probation and is set for an appearance this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, is scheduled for an initial appearance before Judge Christina Snyder, who sentenced him in June 2010 following a bank fraud conviction. Investigators have not yet provided details about how Nakoula allegedly violated probation, but it seems clear that his involvement in the “Innocence of Muslim” production is central to the government’s new charge.

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Nakoula (seen above) was sentenced to 21 months in prison to be followed by six months in a halfway house. Upon completion of the custodial term, he was placed on probation for five years. Included in his probation terms were prohibitions on his use of the Internet, unless he secured prior approval from his probation officer. Additionally, he was not to “use, for any purpose or in any manner, any name other than his/her true legal name or names without the prior written approval of the Probation Officer.” While producing “Innocence of Muslims,” Nakoula repeatedly used the alias “Sam Bacile” (and other variants) in communications, online postings, and dealings with cast and crew working on the film. As TSG reported earlier this month, Nakoula began cooperating with federal investigators following his arrest in the check-kiting scheme (during which he used a variety of aliases). In return for Nakoula’s cooperation, Department of Justice prosecutors provided Judge Snyder with a letter noting that his substantial assistance to authorities warranted a sentence reduction. Story Continued:

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· New poll: Romney overtakes Obama on Terrorism – The foreign-policy results of the new Bloomberg National Poll haven’t gotten much attention yet, but the survey contains some bad news for the Obama campaign. According to the poll, Mitt Romney has a 48-42 advantage over Barack Obama on the question of which candidate would be tougher on terrorism. Romney, in other words, has encroached on one of Obama’s signature strengths. What makes this result so surprising is that the president has consistently trounced Romney when it comes to counterterrorism. A Fox News poll earlier this month found that 49 percent of respondents trusted Obama to do a better job than Romney in protecting the United States from terrorist attacks, compared with 41 percent who put their faith in the Republican candidate. The president had a 51-40 advantage on handling terrorism in an ABC News/Washington Post poll around the same time, and a 50-35 edge on carrying out the war on terror in an Ipsos/Reuters poll in August. The Democrats’ rare national-security muscle was on full display at their convention, where speakers boasted about the administration’s successful raid against Osama bin Laden and targeted killings of al Qaeda leaders. The Bloomberg poll contains other grim findings for Obama — such as declining approval of the president’s diplomacy and a neck-and-neck battle between Obama and Romney on flashpoint campaign issues such as energy independence, Chinese trade practices, relations with Israel, and Iran’s nuclear program (61 percent of respondents were skeptical about Obama’s pledge to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon). There are also bright spots for the president, like healthy skepticism about Romney’s promise to designate China a currency manipulator and Obama’s continued advantage over Romney on the question of which candidate would be better suited to handle a Mideast crisis. Significantly, Bloomberg’s survey, which was conducted from Sept. 21-24, is one of the first polls to come out since the wave of anti-American protests in the Middle East. The key question: Is Romney’s terrorism advantage an anomaly, or a sign that Obama is more vulnerable on national security after the unrest in the Middle East and the administration’s shifting account of the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi? Given that a separate poll this weeks shows Obama besting Romney on national security among likely voters in swing states, it may be too early to answer that question. Story Continued:

· Leno: ‘We Wasted Four Years Waiting For Obama To Do Something About The Economy’ – “I love how the politicians capitalize on this kind of thing,” teased Leno. “Like the minute the replacement refs were fired, President Obama said, ‘See, sometimes losing jobs can be a good thing. It’s a good thing.'” When the laughter subsided, Leno continued, “A new survey out today shows how much time we waste every day in our lives. For example, we waste seven minutes in line every time we go to get coffee, 28 minutes getting through airport security, four years waiting for Obama to do something about the economy. Every year, we waste a lot. We wasted a lot of time.” Yes we did. It’s about time media members began telling the nation that. Story Continued and watch the video:

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What’s Up: September 26, 2012?

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· Republican poll analysis: Romney winning with middle-class families – In early August, with our Republican analysis of the POLITICO-George Washington University Battleground Poll, we wrote “… this election will remain close until the final weeks of the campaign. There will be ups and downs for both campaigns throughout the next 13 weeks, but the basic dynamics that are driving this electorate and framing this election remain well in place.” Two conventions, and tens of millions of campaign dollars later, we continue to hold that belief. While there have been dozens of polls released during the past six weeks that have had Mitt Romney up by as much as 4 points and Barack Obama up by as much 8 or 9, those variations have had more to do with sampling variations than with real movement in the campaign. Yes, there have been gaffes on both sides that have been the focus of both the news media and opposing campaigns, but the dynamics that have been the real drivers of the campaign, the economy and deeply negative feelings about the direction of the country, have not changed. There have also been negative stories about the internal operations, messaging and strategy of both presidential campaigns. In August, leading into the Republican convention, there were multiple stories about the Obama campaign operation and internal fights about both message and strategic direction that led one to believe the wheels were coming off. Now it is the Romney campaign’s turn. Story Continued:

· Obama cancels election-season meeting with Egyptian Islamist Morsi – President Barack Obama has quietly cancelled a politically risky plan to meet this week with Egypt’s new Islamist president. The plan was cancelled amid a wave of riots and attacks in Arab countries that have damaged Obama’s campaign-trail claim to foreign policy competence. In 2011, Obama had “bilateral” meetings with 13 Arab and world leaders during the annual U.S. summit. This year, amid the foreign policy meltdown, his schedule shows no so-called “bilats” with any foreign leaders. The cancelled visit with Morsi was mentioned in a Sept. 23 New York Times article about Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist who now governs the Arab region’s most important country. Despite critical 2011 support from Obama for the revolt that removed Hosni Mubarak, Morsi is now demanding restrictions on U.S. free speech that is critical of Islam, demanding more U.S. support for the anti-Israeli Islamist governments in Gaza and the West Bank, and more financial aid to help the cash-strapped Egyptian government buy food and fuel for its population of 82 million people. These Islamist demands clash with Obama’s promise of good U.S.-Arab relations made in his June 2009 “New Beginning “ speech in Cairo. That controversial speech reversed President George W. Bush’s policy of opposition to Islamists’ demands for theocratic governments in Egypt and other Muslim-majority states. To emphasize the reversal, Obama even invited some members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement to his Cairo speech. Following elections in 2011 and 2012, that Islamist movement now controls Egypt, and is taking steps to end the 1979 peace deal between Egypt and Israel. Morsi complimented Obama, telling the New York Times that Obama had “decisively and quickly” supported Egypt’s Islamist and smaller secular parties by helping remove Egypt’s autocratic, pro-Western government. The article downplayed the proposed Obama-Morsi meeting, which was highlighted by the Egyptian press in July. Morsi’s request to meet with Obama “received a cool reception … [from the White House, and] mindful of the complicated election-year politics of a visit with Egypt’s Islamist leader, M. Morsi dropped his request,” claimed the New York Times. However, the cancelled meeting reflects the recent schism between Obama and Morsi. Story Continued:

· Romney Gave 1,000 Times as Much to Charity in a Year as Biden Gave in a Decade – The release of Mitt Romney’s 2011 tax returns shows that he freely gave away more than $4 million to charity last year (about 30 percent of his income). In comparison, when Joe Biden was first running for vice president, his tax returns showed that he had given away just $3,690 to charity over the previous ten years (about 0.2 percent of his income). In other words, Romney gave away a thousand times as much to charity in one year as Biden gave in a decade. That’s despite the fact that the Bidens earned well over $2 million over that decade. In fact, their income was $320,000 in 2008, thereby putting them comfortably over the $250,000-a-year line that marks the entry point for “millionaires and billionaires” in Obama-speak. Last year, Romney freely gave away more than $10,000 a day to charity — an impressive sum by nearly any standard. Of course, it’s not too hard to beat Biden’s tally. Over the span of that decade, or 3,650 days, he gave away $3,690 — an average of $1.01 a day. Story Continued:

· Romney: Obama misleading voters on auto bailout – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said President Barack Obama is trying to mislead voters about his position on the $85 billion bailout and other issues. Romney told reporters on Sunday aboard his campaign plane that Obama is “trying to fool people into thinking that I think things I don’t.” “I think that the president’s campaign has focused its advertising in many cases on very inaccurate portrayals of my positions,” he said, according to accounts by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. “They’ve been very aggressive in their attacks, both on a personal basis and on a policy basis. I think as time goes on, people will realize that those attacks are not accurate.” Romney criticized the series of attacks by the Obama campaign on his position on the auto bailout. “When he says I was in favor of liquidating the automobile industry, nothing could be further from the truth,” Romney said. “My plan was to rebuild the auto industry and take it through bankruptcy so that could happen, and by the way, he doesn’t mention he took them through bankruptcy.” The Obama campaign rejected Romney’s comments. “It’s odd that Mitt Romney, a former CEO, won’t take personal responsibility for his campaign’s troubles. And it certainly takes a lot of chutzpah for him — after his campaign bragged that it wouldn’t be dictated by fact checkers — to shed crocodile tears over a legitimate discussion of his record and policies,” spokeswoman Lis Smith said. “Here are the facts: If Mitt Romney had had his way and we’d let Detroit go bankrupt, GM and Chrysler would no longer be in business today.” Story Continued:

· In New York, defiant Ahmadinejad says Israel will be “eliminated” – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday disregarded a U.N. warning to avoid incendiary rhetoric and declared ahead of the annual General Assembly session that Israel has no roots in the Middle East and would be “eliminated.” Ahmadinejad also said he did not take seriously the threat that Israel could launch a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, denied sending arms to Syria, and alluded to Iran’s threats to the life of British author Salman Rushdie. The United States quickly dismissed the Iranian president’s comments as “disgusting, offensive and outrageous.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted Israel could strike Iran’s nuclear sites and criticized U.S. President Barack Obama’s position that sanctions and diplomacy should be given more time to stop Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Iran denies it is seeking nuclear arms and says its atomic work is peaceful and aimed at generating electricity. “Fundamentally we do not take seriously the threats of the Zionists,” Ahmadinejad, in New York for this week’s U.N. General Assembly, told reporters. “We have all the defensive means at our disposal and we are ready to defend ourselves.” On Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Ahmadinejad and warned him of the dangers of incendiary rhetoric in the Middle East. Ahmadinejad, who has used previous U.N. sessions to question the Holocaust and the U.S. account of the 9/11 attacks, did not heed the warning and instead alluded to his previous rejection of Israel’s right to exist. “Iran has been around for the last seven, 10 thousand years. They (the Israelis) have been occupying those territories for the last 60 to 70 years, with the support and force of the Westerners. They have no roots there in history,” he said, referring to the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948. “We do believe that they have found themselves at a dead end and they are seeking new adventures in order to escape this dead end. Iran will not be damaged with foreign bombs,” Ahmadinejad said, speaking through an interpreter at his Manhattan hotel. Story Continued:-

· Living (and Dying) Under Drones – Last week, the Obama Administration argued in front of the First Circuit Court of Appeals that there is no official evidence we are waging drone warfare in northern Pakistan. The ACLU has sued under the Freedom of Information Act for details of the widely reported drone strikes and in response, the CIA simply stated that it could neither confirm nor deny that they were happening at all. The government has of course released lots of information about the strikes, but always in the form of leaks, anonymous and self-serving. According to the leakers, the strikes are a miracle of precision, waged with a concern for the protection of innocent bystanders that would have done credit to Mahatma Gandhi. To a considerable extent the media has taken this story as given, dwelling instead on the political consequences of the strikes on our relationship with Pakistan, or other subsidiary issues. The actual effects of an escalating eight year bombardment of Hellfire missiles on a society living in mud houses on an average per capita income of $250 has attracted less scrutiny. Living Under Drones, an exhaustively researched and documented study by the New York University Law School Global Justice Clinic and Stanford Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic released today, does much to explain the government’s reluctance to come clean. The report makes it clear that there have indeed been many undeniably innocent civilian casualties — presenting an upper figure of almost 900 killed, many of them children. On March 17, 2011, for example, village elders and other local notables, including several officials appointed by the Pakistani government, were meeting in the bus depot at the town of Datta Khel in North Waziristan when a missile, presaged only by a brief hissing noise, slammed in their midst, killing at least 40 people, of whom four may have been low level members of the Taliban. An October 6, 2006 strike on a religious school in Bajaur killed over 80 people, including 69 children. The authors note that not only do we not know the precise figure, even close neighbors of a targeted compound may not know. In this extremely conservative society, the number, let alone the names, of females living in a compound may be unknown to outsiders. Given that the missiles explode at temperatures high enough to utterly dismember or even vaporise bodies, it is often literally impossible to count the dead. Story Continued:

· Can America Be Great Again? – by Alec Baldwin: When I attended college, a long time ago, I studied the American Presidency. At George Washington University in 1976, the student government, the GWU Student Association, had reconvened after being disbanded by the school at the request of the CIA during the height of anti-Vietnam protests on campuses across the country. Or some such folklore. Everyone was politicized. Volunteering for Carter. Bussing out to D.C. suburbs to canvass for votes. We all wanted internships at law firms, government agencies, or on The Hill. (Why not all three?) The most popular course in the poli-sci department was Stephen J .Wayne’s “The American Presidency.” Dr. Wayne, now of Georgetown University, lectured on James David Barber’s The Presidential Character, Charles Beard’s The Economic Interpretation of the Constitution and George Reedy’s The Twilight of the Presidency. Wayne’s classes were packed to the rafters and Wayne was a gifted speaker and educator who held his students spellbound, knowing that some percentage of them were dreaming of living a few blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue, to begin with. George Reedy’s book reportedly shook up his old boss, LBJ, with its assessments of the Presidency. One essayist I found explains why: Reedy’s general concern is quite simple. He believed darkness was falling on the office of the president because the modern presidency had become an institution that, by its nature, kept a president out of touch with the country he must lead and the real problems he must solve. The modern president, Reedy explained, is cut off from those who will tell him the truth, and surrounded instead by “yes men” who tell him only what he wants to hear. As a one-time insider, Reedy found that the presidency had become a uniquely American monarchy, an institution never contemplated by our founders. There are few checks on the man (or perhaps in the future, woman) elected to this office, other than his (or her) own character. The office is, in effect, a stage — a focal place that magnifies a president’s strengths, and often ignores his weaknesses. With good reason, Reedy is not at all certain that the checks and balances of the Constitution, along with the powers of the media, are sufficient to assure that the executive branch is really properly serving the American people. To a remarkable extent, he explains, the president can do what he wishes, independent of what the people want, and what is in their interest. Story Continued:

· Breasts: The Real Reason Men Love Them

clip_image001 Jokes about breasts, and men looking at breasts, are such a comedy staple they’ve become a kind of go-to cliché. How many times have we seen a man talking to a curvaceous woman only to have her point to her own eyes and say “Hey, buddy, up here!”? It’s funny — or, at least, it was funny the first dozen times we saw it — because it’s true. The male eye does have a way of drifting south. But why? Why are heterosexual men so fascinated by women’s breasts that we sometimes act as if the breasts are the seat of the soul? Well, we happen to be heterosexual men. We also happen to be men interested in biology — one of us, Larry, is one of the world’s leading experts in the neuroscience of social bonding. So we’ve been thinking about this, and, in our new book, The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction, we propose an answer. Biologically speaking, this human male breast obsession is pretty weird. Men are the only male mammals fascinated by breasts in a sexual context. Women are the only female mammals whose breasts become enlarged at puberty, independent of pregnancy. We are also the only species in which males caress, massage and even orally stimulate the female breasts during foreplay and sex. Women do seem to enjoy the attention, at least at the right moments. When Roy Levin, of the University of Sheffield, and Cindy Meston, of the University of Texas, polled 301 people — including 153 women — they found that stimulating the breasts or nipples enhanced sexual arousal in about 82 percent of the women. Nearly 60 percent explicitly asked to have their nipples touched. Men are generally pretty happy to oblige. As the success of Hooters, “men’s” magazines, a kajillion websites, and about 10,000 years of art tell us, men are extremely drawn to breasts, and not because boys learn on the playground that breasts are something that they should be interested in. It’s biological and deeply engrained in our brain. In fact, research indicates that when we’re confronted with breasts, or even breast-related stimuli, like bras, we’ll start making bad decisions (and not just to eat at Hooters). For example, in one study, men were offered money payouts. They could have a few Euros right away, or, if they agreed to wait a few days, more Euros later. In this version of a classic “delayed gratification” (also called intertemporal choice by behavioral economists) experiment, some men watched videos of pastoral scenes while others watched videos of attractive women with lots of skin exposed running in slo-mo, “Baywatch” style. The men who watched the women’s breasts doing what women’s breasts do opted for the smaller-sooner payouts significantly more often then men who watched the pastoral scene. Story Continued:

· U.S. President Speaks to U.N. About YouTube Video Posted in June – In an address to the United Nations General Assembly today, President Barack Obama dedicated several long passages to discussing and condemning what the New York Times has described as a 14-minute “amateurish video” that was posted on YouTube in June. Obama also told the United Nations that with modern technology efforts to control the flow of information have become “obsolete.” The Obama administration had originally suggested that the video in question—which the New York Times said was a trailer for a movie entitled “The Innocence of Muslims”—may have been responsible for inspiring a mob to attack the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11 and to kill U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. However, the Libyan prime minister said last week that the attack on the U.S. consulate was pre-planned. Also, the chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee said on Sunday that not only was the attack planned but also that there was reason to believe it had been carried out by al Qaeda or an al Qaeda-affiliated group and that he had seen no evidence that there had even been a demonstration outside the consulate before the attack. “In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask themselves how much they are willing to tolerate freedom for others,” Obama told the United Nations. “That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world,” he said. “I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity,” said Obama. “It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well–for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and every faith. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion–we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them. “I know there are some who ask why we don’t just ban such a video,” said Obama. “The answer is enshrined in our laws: our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech. Story Continued:

· Lang Says Players Could Take Action If NFL Refs Issue Continues – On the long flight back for the Green Bay Packers following the team’s 14-12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, players debated going on strike or taking a knee on every play in upcoming games if the replacement referee issue isn’t solved. That’s according to Packers guard TJ Lang, a Royal Oak native who issued an infamous anti-NFL Tweet after the game that said “** It NFL. Fine me and use the money to pay the regular refs.” Many believe the Packers loss was caused by the worst referee decision in NFL history, and players got down to the nuts and bolts of what to do next on the plane, Lang said. Lang said incensed players decided they’re willing to go to great lengths to show their displeasure about the replacement ref situation. “Whatever it takes, it’s just a total embarrassment to everybody watching the game, the players in the game, it’s not fun to be part of something like that … If it keeps going on, it’s going to get ugly,” Lang said during a Tuesday afternoon interview on the Valenti & Foster show on 97.1 The Ticket. He added: “Going into a game worrying about the refs more than the other team, it’s a problem. The NFL, the commissioners, if they don’t take action after last night … That should be the last straw.” Story Continued:

· Senators to Clinton: Show us the ambassador’s cables – Two top senators on the Foreign Relations Committee don’t want to wait for the State Department to do its own investigation into the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens; they want Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to show them Stevens’s diplomatic cables and other correspondence now. “While we appreciate the sensitivities associated with this ongoing investigation, we must insist on more timely information regarding the attacks and the events leading up to the attacks,” wrote Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Johnny Isaakson (R-GA) in a letter to Clinton Tuesday. They acknowledged that Clinton is in the process of setting up an Accountability Review Board, although its chairman former Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Pickering said Monday that the panel hasn’t started it work yet. But the senators don’t want to wait for the board to finish its report, which might not be transmitted to Congress until next spring. “To that end, we request that you transmit to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee all communications between the U.S. Mission to Libya and the State Department relevant to the security situation in Benghazi in the period leading up to the attacks, including, but not limited to, cables sent from Ambassador Stevens,” they wrote. Story Continued:

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· Romney in Ohio: ‘My heart aches’ for struggling Americans – Mitt Romney kicked off a day of campaigning in this battleground state by insisting his “heart aches” for struggling Americans and that he is better prepared than President Barack Obama to help those who are “hurting” under the tough economy. Speaking at a rally located in a swing district just outside Columbus, Romney kept repeating his empathy for people out of work and trying to pay their bills—insisting that he will do his “very best to help” those in need “when I am president.” “I’ve been across this country, and my heart aches for the people I’ve seen,” Romney told a crowd of several hundred people here. “There are so many in our country that are hurting right now. I want to help them.” Relating the story of an unemployed woman he met at a rally on Tuesday, Romney insisted over and over that he has “what it takes to get the economy going again.” “I care about the people in America,” he said. “And the difference between me and President Obama is I know what to do, and I will do what it takes to get this economy going.” Story Continued:

· Libyan president: Benghazi attack was a ‘preplanned act of terrorism’ – Libyan President Mohammed Magarief said the controversial film that mocked Islam’s Prophet Muhammad and ignited protests throughout the Muslim world had “nothing to do” with the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, and that he has “no doubt” it was an act of terrorism. “It’s a preplanned act of terrorism directed at American citizens,” Magarief told NBC’s Ann Curry in an interview that aired Wednesday. “Reaction should have been, if it was genuine, should have been six months earlier. So it was postponed until the 11th of September. They chose this date, 11th of September, to carry a certain message.” Magareif said the “high degree of accuracy” in which the attack was executed—with rocket-propelled grenades and mortar shells—is proof that the assault was preplanned, and not carried out by inexperienced protesters. He said he believes “al-Qaida elements” were involved but stopped short of directly accusing the terrorist group of planning it. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was among those killed in the attack, but Magareif said he did not know if Stevens was specifically targeted. The Libyan leader said more than 40 people have been questioned in connection with the killings, but that it is too early to reveal the details of the ongoing investigation. Story Continued and to watch the video:

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Filed under Left - Off Base, Politics from Just Right of Center - I want Balance!, Right - too Religous for me

What’s Up: September 24, 2012?

To read the entire article click on the title or Story Continued. Enjoy as the world turns.

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· Ann Romney’s plane makes emergency landing – A campaign plane carrying Ann Romney had to make an emergency landing in Colorado after the cabin filled with smoke, the Romney campaign said. “All OK. Thank goodness,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said on Twitter. The Republican presidential nominee’s wife was headed to Los Angeles, but landed in Denver where emergency vehicles met the plane. Saul tweeted that an electrical fire was the cause. She said Ann and Mitt Romney, who was in Las Vegas for a campaign event, spoke by phone after the plane landed. Mrs. Romney was in Omaha earlier in the day. During a radio interview in Iowa yesterday, Romney lashed out at her husband’s conservative critics, telling them to “stop it” for sniping about the GOP presidential nominee’s recent travails, including remarks caught secretly on videotape. Story Continued:

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· Endeavour lands in L.A.: ‘Back home to stay’

clip_image007After celebratory low passes over Tucson, Houston and other points to the east, NASA’s retired space shuttle Endeavour arrived on its final flight here today, swooping over hordes of crowds looking for a last glimpse of the space icon. Thousands watched Friday from nearby rooftop buildings and along a bridge as the shuttle, strapped to the back of a modified jumbo jet, circled the city. Crowds also lined dozens of piers in San Francisco to get a look at the craft’s final aerial tour. Hitching a ride on top of a jumbo jet, the pair soared over the state Capitol, Golden Gate Bridge, Hollywood Sign and other icons en route to an afternoon landing at the Los Angeles International Airport where it is now being prepped for a slow-speed journey to its museum home next month. At the Santa Monica Pier, spectators pointed their cameras skyward and some chanted, “USA! USA!” as Endeavour swooped along the coast. “Even though it was a few seconds, it was a unique experience to witness history,” said Andrew Lerner, 23, of Santa Monica. Endeavour, the newest spacecraft in the mothballed space shuttle fleet, is destined for a final home as an exhibit at the California Science Center. There it will be a reminder not only of the nation’s space program but also of the prominent role aerospace forged in driving development of Southern California in the latter half of the 20th century. Story Continued:

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· Ryan gets boos at AARP conference – Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan received boos as he addressed the AARP convention here on Friday — perhaps his most unfriendly welcome on the 2012 campaign trail. Several members of the “Life@50+” Annual Convention crowd booed loudly as Ryan began remarks proclaiming, “Seniors are threatened by Obamacare.” “The first step to a stronger Medicare is to repeal Obamacare, because it represents the worst of both worlds,” Ryan went on as members continued to shout. “It weakens Medicare for today’s seniors and puts it at risk for the next generation. First, it funnels $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for. Second, it puts 15 unelected bureaucrats in charge of Medicare’s future.” Throughout the Wisconsin congressman’s nearly 30-minute speech, he rarely received applause and instead heard people yell “You lie!” and “No!” to many of his claims of what he and his running mate, Mitt Romney, would do if they make it to the White House. Story Continued:

· Barack Obama Knocks Mitt Romney Over 47 Percent Comments At Virginia Campaign Event – President Barack Obama is stepping up his attack on Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s controversial 47 percent comments, taking his opponent to task over the issue in his first appearance on the stump since the video of Romney’s remarks at a private fundraiser was uncovered earlier this week. “I don’t believe we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims, who think that they’re not interested in taking responsibility for their own lives,” Obama said at a campaign rally in Woodbridge, Va. “I don’t see a lot of victims in this crowd today. I see a lot of hard-working Virginians,” he added to loud cheers. Just a day before, Obama knocked Romney for his remarks at a forum with Spanish-language news network Univision and looped them into the narrative of the GOP nominee being out of touch with the American people. Story Continued:

· Mitt Romney PwC Letter Is Meaningless, Reid Fires Back – Mitt Romney on Friday released a letter from his tax accountant, PricewaterhouseCoopers, promising that Romney paid an “average annual effective federal rate” of 20.2 percent over 20 years. The number is being released instead of the tax returns themselves, and is being used to rebuff Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s charge that Romney didn’t pay taxes over a 10-year period. But it is a meaningless figure. According to the letter from PwC avowing the number, it is based on Romney’s adjusted gross income. That means that, for instance, if Romney made investment profit of $20 million, but had losses of, say, $19.9 million, his adjusted gross income would only be $100,000. Paying 20.2 percent of $100,000 would cost Romney just over $20,000. If Reid’s comment is interpreted strictly — that Romney paid literally $0 in taxes over 10 years — then the PwC letter undermines that charge. But if Romney paid only a very small amount — say, $20,000 on $20 million — it would be hard to award Reid many Pinocchios for calling that nothing. Story Continued:

· Rush Limbaugh Blames ‘Feminazis’ For Study Finding About Shrinkage In Male Genitalia – For whatever reason, Rush Limbaugh decided to discuss a study about male genitalia on his Friday radio show. According to Rush, the study, completed by researchers in Italy, found that the size of male genitalia has decreased over the past fifty years. “The study’s leaders claim to have bonafide research that says the average size of a penis is roughly 10 percent smaller than it was 50 years ago. And the researchers say air pollution is why,” Limbaugh said. Limbaugh said that he did not believe that air pollution and global warming could have such an impact. “I don’t buy this. I think it’s feminism. I think if it’s tied to the last fifty years, the average size of a member is ten percent smaller…it has to be the feminazis,” Limbaugh said. Story Continued:

· Why You’re a Lot Poorer Than You Thought You Were – You’re a lot poorer than you thought you were. According to a report by Sentier Research “real median annual household income… has fallen by 4.8 percent since the ‘economic recovery’ began in June 2009.” That’s worse than the 2.6 percent decline that took place during the recession itself. (between July 2007 to June 2009) All told–from the beginning of the slump in 2007 until today–median household income has dropped an eye watering 7.2 percent. (“Changes in Household Income During the Economic Recovery: June 2009 to June 2012″, Sentier Research) Like I said, you’re a lot poorer than you thought you were. The Sentier Research report comes on the heels of a similar report from the Fed which was released in June showing that middle class families saw a nearly 40 percent decline in their net worth between the years 2007 to 2010. The Fed’s 80-page tri-annual Survey of Consumer Finances, points to the Great Recession as the putative cause of the overall decline in wealth, but the Fed’s lopsided policies could be as easily blamed. Low interest rates, lax lending standards and outright fraud generated asset-price bubbles that wiped out 2 decades of economic gains for working people in the US. Story Continued:

· NUMBERS DON’T LIE: THE REAL OBAMANOMICS – Unemployment, jobs numbers, pay, home ownership raise alarms — Twenty years ago, when Democrats tried to oust an incumbent Republican president from office, they questioned his economic stewardship. Vice presidential candidate Al Gore famously bellowed: “Everything that ought to be down is up, and everything that should be up is down!” Republicans are trying to fire an incumbent Democrat president amid the worst economic recovery since the Depression. And the economic news is not getting better for Barack Obama as the race heads into the final lap. This was not the case on the eve of the 1992 election, when economic reports revealed both GDP and payrolls were in fact growing at a robust clip following a comparably mild recession. Still, Gore indicted the record of President George H.W. Bush with stat after stat – stale as they were – showing lackluster economic performance. He zeroed in jobs and incomes to show indicators that were wrongly down, and unemployment and the federal deficit to highlight what was errantly up. Applying Gore’s test to Obama’s economic record produces far worse results. Here’s a breakdown: When Obama entered office in January 2009, total nonfarm payroll employment stood at 133.56 million, according to the Labor Department. Last month it totaled 133.30 million – a net decrease of more than 260,000 jobs. Considering the recession ended more than three years ago, any employment shortfall is unusual; but economists call the Obama jobs gap downright shocking. In 2009, real median household income was $52,195, according to the Census Bureau’s annual survey. Last year it dropped to $50,054 – the lowest level since 1989. When it comes to pay raises, those Americans who are working aren’t just running in place, they’re going backwards – by decades. When Obama stepped into the Oval Office in January 2009, consumer confidence was 61.2 percent. In August, the index stood at 60.6 percent. At this point in a recovery, economists say confidence should be soaring. But consumers remain unusually glum about the economic outlook. In January 2009, the jobless rate was 7.8 percent. Last month, unemployment stood at an even higher 8.1 percent, marking the 43rd consecutive month above 8 percent – the longest stretch since the Depression. In Obama’s first year in office, the share of impoverished Americans stood at 14.3 percent, the Census says. In 2011, the poverty rate climbed to 15.0 percent – the highest in almost two decades. The share of African-Americans in poverty was nearly double that level. In January 2009, the federal budget gap was reported to be $485 billion.

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· Why The Polls Understate Romney Vote – Republicans are getting depressed under an avalanche of polling suggesting that an Obama victory is in the offing. They, in fact, suggest no such thing! Here’s why: 1. All of the polling out there uses some variant of the 2008 election turnout as its model for weighting respondents and this overstates the Democratic vote by a huge margin. In English, this means that when you do a poll you ask people if they are likely to vote. But any telephone survey always has too few blacks, Latinos, and young people and too many elderly in its sample. That’s because some don’t have landlines or are rarely at home or don’t speak English well enough to be interviewed or don’t have time to talk. Elderly are overstated because they tend to be home and to have time. So you need to increase the weight given to interviews with young people, blacks and Latinos and count those with seniors a bit less. Normally, this task is not difficult. Over the years, the black, Latino, young, and elderly proportion of the electorate has been fairly constant from election to election, except for a gradual increase in the Hispanic vote. You just need to look back at the last election to weight your polling numbers for this one. But 2008 was no ordinary election. Blacks, for example, usually cast only 11% of the vote, but, in 2008, they made up 14% of the vote. Latinos increased their share of the vote by 1.5% and college kids almost doubled their vote share. Almost all pollsters are using the 2008 turnout models in weighting their samples. Rasmussen, more accurately, uses a mixture of 2008 and 2004 turnouts in determining his sample. That’s why his data usually is better for Romney. But polling indicates a widespread lack of enthusiasm among Obama’s core demographic support due to high unemployment, disappointment with his policies and performance, and the lack of novelty in voting for a black candidate now that he has already served as president. If you adjust virtually any of the published polls to reflect the 2004 vote, not the 2008 vote, they show the race either tied or Romney ahead, a view much closer to reality. 2. Almost all of the published polls show Obama getting less than 50% of the vote and less than 50% job approval. A majority of the voters either support Romney or are undecided in almost every poll. But the fact is that the undecided vote always goes against the incumbent. In 1980 (the last time an incumbent Democrat was beaten), for example, the Gallup Poll of October 27th had Carter ahead by 45-39. Their survey on November 2nd showed Reagan catching up and leading by three points. In the actual voting, the Republican won by nine. The undecided vote broke sharply — and unanimously — for the challenger. An undecided voter has really decided not to back the incumbent. He just won’t focus on the race until later in the game. So, when the published poll shows Obama ahead by, say, 48-45, he’s really probably losing by 52-48! Add these two factors together and the polls that are out there are all misleading. Any professional pollster (those consultants hired by candidates not by media outlets) would publish two findings for each poll — one using 2004 turnout modeling and the other using 2008 modeling. This would indicate just how dependent on an unusually high turnout of his base the Obama camp really is. Story Continued:

· Paulson: Why Did The White House Take So Long To Admit Libya Attack Was Terrorism? – After the deadly attack on the United States Embassy in Libya, it was apparent to many that the attack was premeditated and designed to kill Americans – not to protest an amateur-made movie that mocked Islam and disrespected Mohammad. The militant 9-11 attackers totally achieved their goal by leaving the United States Embassy in shambles with charred and blood-stained walls as well as a trail of death. Yet the current administration in the United States government insisted otherwise. President Barack Obama, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney led the way by denouncing those who dared state the obvious version of what had happened in Benghazi, Libya – that it was about terrorism and not about the anti-Mohammad film. Finally, a week later, the obvious has been addressed by Jay Carney at the White House and Mathew Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, who both now admit that the deadly acts against United States Ambassador to Libya Christopher Steven and three other Americans were indeed an act of terrorism, obviously committed on 9-11. With Americans watching the nearing of the date September 11, 2012 on the calendar for weeks – if not months – and dreading the stark reality that something disastrous may happen to innocent Americans again, the president and his political cronies refused to believe what happened. Story Continued:

· Obama’s Shaky Libya Narrative – Sources say the attack on the Libyan ambassador was pre-meditated, with the possible collaboration of a Libyan politician. Eli Lake on the continuing collapse of the official U.S. line. Ten days after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the White House’s official story about the incident appears to be falling apart. In the days following the killing of the U.S. ambassador and two ex-Navy SEALs, President Obama and top State Department officials portrayed the attack as a spontaneous reaction to an Internet video depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad as a lascivious brute. The protests, White House spokesman Jay Carney said last week, were “in response to a video—a film—that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.” Now there is mounting evidence that the White House’s initial portrayal of the attacks as a mere outgrowth of protest was incorrect—or, at the very least, incomplete. The administration’s story itself has recently begun to shift, with Matthew Olsen, the director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center, telling Congress on Wednesday that the attackers may have had links to al Qaeda and Carney characterizing the incident as a “terrorist attack.” (Hillary Clinton announced on Thursday that she was putting together a panel to look into the incident.) But other indications that the White House’s early narrative was faulty are also beginning to emerge. One current U.S. intelligence officer working on the investigation into the incident told The Daily Beast that the attackers had staked out and monitored the U.S. consulate in Benghazi before the attack, a move that suggests pre-planning. Story Continued:

· Permanent Spin – For nine days, the Obama administration made a case that virtually everyone understood was untrue: that the killing of our ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, was a random, spontaneous act of individuals upset about an online video—an unpredictable attack on a well-protected compound that had nothing do to with the eleventh anniversary of 9/11.

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These claims were wrong. Every one of them. But the White House pushed them hard. Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, appeared on five Sunday talk shows on September 16. A “hateful video” triggered a “spontaneous protest outside of our consulate in Benghazi” that “spun from there into something much, much more violent,” she said on Face the Nation. “We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.” On This Week, Rice said the consulate was well secured. “The security personnel that the State Department thought were required were in place,” she said, adding: “We had substantial presence with our personnel and the consulate in Benghazi. Tragically two of the four Americans who were killed were there providing security. That was their function, and indeed there were many other colleagues who were doing the same with them.” White House press secretary Jay Carney not only denied that the attacks had anything to do with the anniversary of 9/11 but scolded reporters who, citing the administration’s own pre-9/11 boasts about its security preparations for the anniversary, made the connection. “I think that you’re conveniently conflating two things,” Carney snapped, “which is the anniversary of 9/11 and the incidents that took place, which are under investigation.” Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong. Intelligence officials understood immediately that the attacks took place on 9/11 for a reason. The ambassador, in a country that faces a growing al Qaeda threat, had virtually no security. The two contractors killed in the attacks were not part of the ambassador’s security detail, and there were not, in fact, “many other colleagues” working security with them. The nature of the attack itself, a four-hour battle that took place in two waves, indicated some level of planning. “The idea that this criminal and cowardly act was a spontaneous protest that just spun out of control is completely unfounded and preposterous,” Libyan president Mohammad el-Megarif told National Public Radio. When a reporter asked Senator Carl Levin, one of the most partisan Democrats in the upper chamber, if the attack was planned, Levin said it was. “I think there’s evidence of that. There’s been evidence of that,” he responded, adding: “The attack looked like it was planned and premeditated, sure.” Levin made his comments after a briefing from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Story Continued:

· Romney Can Still Overcome Obama’s Dishonest, Divisive Campaign – He can get by his ’47 percent’ problem and beat Obama by outlining how he will get America back to work. The problem for Mitt Romney right now is that he has put his entire candidacy at risk to the point where he may not even qualify for the dismissive equation of Barack Obama that Marco Rubio formulated for the Republican faithful: “Our problem is not that he’s a bad person. Our problem is that he’s a bad president.” Is Romney also “not a bad person, just a bad candidate”? With his “47 percent” remarks at a Republican fundraiser in May, he has given his opponent evidence to initiate a new line of attack. Voters can forgive a candidate who stumbles in the heat of an election, trapped by “gotcha” questions from journalists, being quoted out of context in cunning TV attack commercials, and in the Twitter age, failing to appreciate that nothing that is said is secret anymore. We all know the game, and Romney has demonstrated that he is not perfect at this game. The same can be said of President Obama. As a candidate, he ran a brilliantly smooth and targeted campaign four years ago, but even he misspoke, as they say, in what he thought was a private meeting of San Francisco liberals. When the polls suggested he wasn’t appealing to rural voters, his response was to blame them for not seeing how different he was from the likes of Bill Clinton and George Bush, who had let them down. “You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them,” he said. “It’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustration.” This week, Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, dismissed the condescension as something from the mythic past, not to be compared to the furor over Romney’s “47 percent” remark. Yet even now, fully armored and protected by four years of 24/7 press scrutiny and an army of verbal bodyguards, the president stumbles. “You didn’t build that” still rankles the millions of taxpayers who have concluded that in making their way they’ve not had much help from the government and a lot of hindrance. Story Continued:

· Chris Wallace Asks Obama Adviser ‘President Has Time for Whoopi Goldberg But Not World Leaders?’ Fox News’s Chris Wallace on Sunday asked senior Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs an absolutely delicious question about the current White House resident’s schedule. During a Fox News Sunday interview, the host said, “The President has blocked out time to appear on The View on Tuesday. So, he has time for Whoopi Goldberg but he doesn’t have time for world leaders?” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for commentary) Story Continued with the video:

· CNN finds, returns journal belonging to late U.S. ambassador – Three days after he was killed, CNN found a journal belonging to late U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. The journal was found on the floor of the largely unsecured consulate compound where he was fatally wounded. CNN notified Stevens’ family about the journal within hours after it was discovered and at the family’s request provided it to them via a third party. The journal consists of just seven pages of handwriting in a hard-bound book. CORRECTION An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated when CNN found the journal belonging to late Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. The journal was found three days after the fatal attack on the Benghazi consulate. For CNN, the ambassador’s writings served as tips about the situation in Libya, and in Benghazi in particular. CNN took the newsworthy tips and corroborated them with other sources. A source familiar with Stevens’ thinking told CNN earlier this week that, in the months leading up to his death, the late ambassador worried about what he called the security threats in Benghazi and a rise in Islamic extremism. Stevens died on September 11, along with three other Americans, when the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi came under attack amid a large protest about a U.S.-made film that mocked the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. The California-born Stevens joined the Peace Corps and attended law school before joining the Foreign Service, the career diplomatic corps, in 1991, according to his State Department biography. He spent most of his career in the Middle East and North Africa, including postings to Israel, Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia, in addition to serving as the deputy chief of the U.S. mission to Libya from 2007 to 2009, during the rule of Moammar Gadhafi, according to the State Department. In May, one year after arriving aboard a cargo ship to work with those involved in the upstart rebellion, Stevens was appointed U.S. ambassador to Libya. Story Continued with the video:

· Messina: Forget The Tied National Polls, We’re Winning – Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters on Saturday that despite national tracking polls showing the president and Romney tied, Obama is still winning. “In all the battleground states, we continue to see all our pathways there,” he told the White House pool at an Obama fundraiser in Milwaukee. “We’re either tied or in the lead in every battleground state 45 days out.” Messina, who drove from Chicago to Wisconsin to be with Obama on his first trip to a state that appears to have come into play when Paul Ryan was selected to be Romney’s running mate, predicted that the national polling will get even closer, but that the president’s lead will hold in key swing states. “I think you will see a tightening in the national polls going forward,” he said. “What I care way more about it Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, Wisconsin, etc. In those states, I feel our pathways to victory are there. There are two different campaigns, one in the battlegrounds and one everywhere else. That’s why the national polls aren’t relevant to this campaign.” In Wisconsin, Messina said the GOP is stronger than they are nationally, but maintained that the Obama campaign still has an edge:

“This is one where … because of the recall election, they test drove their car whereas in other states they haven’t. It would make sense they’re strong here, as are we. They are stronger than McCain was in ’08, no question, on the ground. But we continue to have a strategic advantage” because of more field offices and infrastructure. Story Continued:

· At Black Caucus dinner, Michelle Obama urges members to get out the vote – Michelle Obama used a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation on Saturday night to urge delegates to register voters and encourage African Americans to turn out in November’s election. Speaking in Washington at the foundation’s annual Phoenix dinner, the first lady likened turning out the vote to the civil rights struggles of previous eras. “Make no mistake about it, this is the march of our time,” Obama told the audience at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. “Marching door-to-door registering people to vote, marching everyone you know to the polls every single election.” That effort, she said, “is the movement of our era — protecting that fundamental right, not just for this election but for the next generation and generations to come.” Obama did not refer explicitly to voter-ID laws that that have been passed or proposed in states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, but she warned against being dissuaded from voting. “We cannot let anyone discourage us from casting our ballots,” she said. “We cannot let anyone make us feel unwelcome in the voting booth. It is up to us to make sure that in every election, every voice is heard and every vote is counted. That means making sure our laws preserve that right.” Story Continued:

· Biden on cheerleaders: ‘The stuff they do on hard wood, it blows my mind.’Vice President Joe Biden may have stuck his foot in his mouth again on Friday, using an awkward off-the-cuff phrase to compliment high school cheerleaders during a campaign stop. According to a pool report from Biden’s stop at Newport High School in Newport, N.H., the vice president arrived to talk to “about 100 students in their sports uniforms waiting for him in a semi-circle.” “He cradled a football under his arm as he spoke,” the pool report, written by The New York Times’ Trip Gabriel, reads. “He began by asking which teams were represented — football, soccer, lacrosse and cross-country. Any others? He asked. ‘Cheerleaders,’ a group of girls shouted.” “Guess what, the cheerleaders in college are the best athletes in college,” Biden said. “You think, I’m joking, they’re almost all gymnasts, the stuff they do on hard wood, it blows my mind.” Story Continued:

· For Obama, pushing ‘change’ is tougher this time around – Change, President Obama’s most basic rationale for reelection, remains his toughest sell. Throughout the campaign, in high-profile speeches and private remarks, Obama has sought to maintain the theme that powered his 2008 bid for the White House, arguing that a vote for him is a vote for a new day in Washington. He has said his reelection will “break the fever” of partisanship in Washington. He’s told voters that “only you can break the stalemate” that has crippled the divided government. On Saturday, he raised the idea by pointing out that members of Congress had just left town for the campaign season without resolving many disputed issues of taxes and government spending. Story Continued:

· Is that where the deficit’s hiding? Obama whips out massive wad of cash to pay for sausages at deli

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Wherever Barack Obama goes, he is accompanied by a huge entourage of aides, Secret Service and campaign staff. But when the President goes shopping, he still has to handle his own cash, as he showed on Saturday when he bought sausages from a Wisconsin store following a campaign stop in key swing state. Mr Obama pulled out a wad of bills that looked almost large enough to make a dent in the national debt as he browsed for pork treats alongside Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett.

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After his visit to Usinger’s Famous Sausage, the President was given a bratwurst hot dog in a pretzel roll with spicy mustard by a local deli worker. The commander-in-chief appeared to enjoy his meaty snack, giving an emphatic thumbs-up to supporters and photographers as he chowed down on the delicacy. Story Continued:

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· MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD ‘INFILTRATED’ U.S. GOV’T – Lt. Gen. Boykin: Radical Islamist group deep inside defense, national security. The Muslim Brotherhood is a radical Islamist organization that has successfully penetrated both political parties and the delicate areas of defense and national security. Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council, told WND’s Greg Corombos that people with connections to the Muslim Brotherhood are in vital positions within every significant area of the U.S. government. He specifically cited high security clearances for such people in the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security. Boykin said Republicans proved their weakness on the issue by roundly condemning Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., for sounding the alarm on this issue and specifically wondering about the Brotherhood ties of Huma Abedin, a top assistant to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He also slammed the sequestration plan that has the military on course for an additional $500 billion in cuts over the next decade, saying that will weaken every branch of the service and that a naive rationale is behind it all. Gen. Boykin said President Obama and other leftists have a vision where the U.S. takes a smaller role on the world stage so they think our military will not need to maintain its current size and won’t be pumping money into the Middle East. The general said that’s nonsense, pointing out that as long as oil and Israel are in the Middle East we’ll need to maintain a presence there. Story Continued:

· IRAN: WE MAY LAUNCH PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE ON ISRAEL – It could turn into a World War Three.’ Iran could launch a pre-emptive strike on Israel if it was sure the Jewish state were preparing to attack it, a senior commander of its elite Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying on Sunday. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a brigadier general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, made the comments to Iran’s state-run Arabic language Al-Alam television, according to a report on the network’s website. “Iran will not start any war but it could launch a pre-emptive attack if it was sure that the enemies are putting the final touches to attack it,” Al-Alam said, paraphrasing the military commander. Hajizadeh said any attack on Iranian soil could trigger “World War Three.” Story Continued:

· David Brooks: Mitt Romney Is ‘The Least Popular Candidate In History’ – After a rocky week that saw plenty of conservatives break away from Mitt Romney, New York Times columnist David Brooks summed up the state of affairs on Sunday. Brooks was one of several panelists on NBC’s “Meet The Press” roundtable, which dove into some data surrounding Romney’s popularity. “Look at his high unfavorable ratings,” host David Gregory said. “At 50%. The highest of any candidate running in recent memory. This is an image problem that his philosophical statements in this speech in May to fundraisers only exacerbates.” Brooks did not mince words, calling Romney “the least popular candidate in history.” “He has to look at what the president’s weakness is,” Brooks said. “He’s never gonna win a popularity contest.” Brooks added that Romney “does not have the passion for the stuff he’s talking about.” “He’s a problem solver,” Brooks said. “I think he’s a non-ideological person running in an extremely ideological age, and he’s faking it.” Polls have brought grim results surrounding Romney’s favorability, with a late August ABC News/Washington Post survey drawing a 35 percent likability rating. Romney’s 47 percent comments added fuel to that fire. After his comments were leaked on Monday, Brooks conceded that he sees the GOP presidential hopeful as a “kind, decent man” running a “depressingly inept presidential campaign.” Story Continued with the video:

· Paul Ryan On Conservative Criticism Of Mitt Romney: It’s In Their Nature To Complain – GOP vice-presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) hit back against conservative critics of the GOP ticket in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Saturday night. “A, we still have a ways to go. We still have a lot left that we’re planning on doing,” he said. “B, I think that’s just what conservatives do by nature. I think that’s just the nature of conservative punditry is to do that — to kind of complain — about any imperfection they might see.” It was a less harsh rebuke than that by Ann Romney, who told critics to “stop it,” but the criticism was still striking for the Wisconsin congressman, who has cultivated strong relationships with conservative pundits. The Romney-Ryan ticket has come under criticism from conservative pundits as the campaign tries to get past the damage done by the former Massachusetts governor’s leaked comments at a May fundraiser, where he said that 47 percent of Americans are “dependent on government” and see themselves as “victims” because they don’t pay income tax. Peggy Noonan, from her perch at the Wall Street Journal, has called for an “intervention.” Michael Gerson of the Washington Post said the Republican ideology of the “makers” versus “takers” — a phrase Ryan coined — “offers nothing.” Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard called Romney’s remarks “arrogant and stupid.” Ryan said that Romney’s selection of himself for vice presidential nominee refuted the charge that Romney’s campaign has been too vague. Ryan described himself as “the guy with all the specifics, who’s put out all these solutions on the table. It shows you very clearly Mitt Romney’s not afraid of making big decisions, making tough decisions, putting specifics out there.” On criticism from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who said more of Ryan needs to “rub off” on Romney, Ryan said, “Look, Scott’s my friend. He’s just an advocate. He’s just always going to be going to bat for me like that.” Story Continued:

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Filed under Left - Off Base, Politics from Just Right of Center - I want Balance!, Right - too Religous for me

What’s Up: September 21, 2012

To read the entire article click on the title or Story Continued. Enjoy as the world turns.

· Swedish magazine publishes 11 topless Kate pictures as French police raid Closer’s Paris office – A Swedish celebrity magazine has printed 11 topless photos of Kate Middleton spread over three pages of its latest issue while its sister publication in Denmark has threatened to use between 60 and 70 of the offensive shots later this week. Carina Loefkvist, editor-in-chief of Se og Hør (See and Hear), said her magazine, which has a weekly circulation of more than 100,000, bought the pictures last Friday ‘from photographers and photo agencies’. Ms Loefkvist, said: ‘It is nothing new to us to publish nude photos of celebrities on holiday. She said actresses Demi Moore and Sharon Stone as well as model Kate Moss have previously appeared half-naked in the magazine. ‘No one complains when they do and we print the photos,’ Lofkvist added. Police today raided the Paris headquarters of Closer magazine in the hunt for the photographer who captured Kate Middleton sunbathing topless while on holiday in the south of France. Story Continued:

· France to close embassies in fear of cartoon backlash – France announced Wednesday it will close 20 embassies across the Muslim world on Friday after French weekly Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed naked, amid growing unrest over an anti-Islamic film that has left dozens dead. The French foreign ministry announced Wednesday that France will close 20 of its embassies in Muslim countries this Friday following the publication of controversial Prophet Mohammed cartoons by satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Major protests in the Muslim world generally take place after Friday prayers. The illustrations, which show the Prophet Mohammed naked and refer to the incendiary US-made film which has been fueling deadly unrest among Muslim communities for over a week, hit newsstands across France on Wednesday. Story Continued:

– The Muslims have the civilized world fearing their retaliations just showing a prophet in humor. Is there something wrong with this picture?

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· Investigation finds no evidence AG Eric Holder knew of ‘Fast and Furious’ gun-running sting – A long-awaited report on the U.S. government’s controversial gun-trafficking operation known as “Fast and Furious” released Wednesday found no evidence that Attorney General Eric Holder knew of the botched effort to trace the flow of guns to Mexico’s drug cartels prior to its public unraveling in January 2011. The report by the Justice Department’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz said there is “no evidence that … Holder was informed about Operation Fast and Furious, or learned about the tactics employed by ATF in the investigation” before Congress began pressing him for information about it in early 2011. Story Continued:

· Obama leads in two Wisconsin polls, with third on the way – Two polls out Wednesday show President Barack Obama on top of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in the swing state of Wisconsin. Obama leads, 54 percent to 40 percent, in a Marquette University Law poll released Wednesday afternoon. The same poll found Obama with a narrower, 49 to 46 percent, lead over Romney before both party conventions, and shortly after the Republican candidate named Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate. A separate poll of Wisconsin voters conducted by Quinnipiac University, the New York Times and CBS News also found Obama with an advantage in the Badger State. Obama led by six points, 51 to 45 percent, in that poll released this morning. Story Continued:

· JUSTICE OFFICIAL RESIGNS OVER ‘FAST AND FURIOUS – Probe finds no evidence Holder knew of botched operation. (FOX NEWS) A major report released Wednesday on the Operation Fast and Furious scandal faulted a range of federal agencies for the failed anti-gunrunning program — and has resulted in the resignation of one Justice Department official. Jason Weinstein, the deputy assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division, is resigning in the wake of the Justice Department inspector general report on Fast and Furious. The report essentially concludes that he is the most senior department official who was in a position to stop Fast and Furious. The nearly 500-page report was completed after investigators reviewed 100,000 documents and interviewed 130 people.

· FOOD STAMPS EXPAND BY LEAPS, Number of able-bodied adults on program doubles after Obama suspends work requirement – Obama administration officials have insisted that their decision to grant states waivers to redefine work requirements for welfare recipients would not “gut” the landmark 1996 welfare reform law. But a new report from the Congressional Research Service obtained by the Washington Examiner suggests that the administration’s suspension of a separate welfare work requirement has already helped explode the number of able-bodied Americans on food stamps. In addition to the broader work requirement that has become a contentious issue in the presidential race, the 1996 welfare reform law included a separate rule encouraging able-bodied adults without dependents to work by limiting the amount of time they could receive food stamps. President Obama suspended that rule when he signed his economic stimulus legislation into law, and the number of these adults on food stamps doubled, from 1.9 million in 2008 to 3.9 million in 2010, according to the CRS report, issued in the form of a memo to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va. “This report once again confirms that President Obama has severely gutted the welfare work requirements that Americans have overwhelmingly supported since President Clinton signed them into law,” Cantor said in an emailed statement. “It’s time to reinstate these common-sense measures, and focus on creating job growth for those in need.” Story Continued:

· Pa. high court wants review of voter ID access – Pennsylvania’s highest court on Tuesday told a lower court judge to stop a tough new law requiring voters to show photo identification from taking effect in this year’s presidential election if he finds voters cannot get easy access to ID cards or if he thinks voters will be disenfranchised. The 4-2 decision by the state Supreme Court sends the case back to a Commonwealth Court judge who initially rejected a request to stop the divisive law from going forward. The high court asked the judge, Robert Simpson, for his opinion by Oct. 2. If Simpson finds there will be no voter disenfranchisement and that IDs are easily obtained, then the law can stand, the Supreme Court said. “It’s certainly a very positive step in the right direction in that the court recognizes that the state does not make adequate provision for people to get the ID that they would need to vote,” said David Gersch, the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs challenging the law’s constitutionality. “In addition, there is a practical problem with getting the ID to people in the short time available.” Story Continued:

· FEDERAL RESERVE ACCUSED OF SETTING U.S. UP FOR ‘CRASH’ Rep. Ron Paul schedules hearing on ‘manipulation of interest rates – The Federal Reserve, that private organization that determines interest rates and the availability of money in America, is going to be examined by a congressional committee whose chairman is worried it is setting the nation up “for a much larger crash in future.” The plans for a review of Fed actions were announced today by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, who heads the Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology Subcommittee. “The Federal Reserve is relentless in pursuing a policy of zero interest rates, as manifest by their decision last week to engage in another round of quantitative easing and keep the federal funds rate at zero for another three years,” Paul said. Story Continued:

· TOP MARKET PREDICTOR SAYS, ‘WATCH OUT FOR GOLD!’ Mark Leibovit, ‘No. 1 gold market timer,’ offers essential advice –

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Although relatively few people are still around who lived through the Great Depression, something ominously similar – and perhaps even worse – is staring today’s Americans in the face, regardless of who wins the U.S. presidency in November. Whether you look at Greece, Italy and the rest of Europe – or the United States of America, where the Federal Reserve just announced another massive and open-ended round of money creation dubbed “QE3″ – there’s no denying what’s coming: Thanks to the wildly irresponsible spending practices of most governments, the world’s economic, financial and monetary system is disintegrating. And as this great fall occurs – as currencies lose their value, as un-payable debt leads to austerity and increasing unrest, and as the savings of the great American middle class is progressively wiped out – one commodity class is growing in importance: gold and silver. Story Continued:

· Teacher suspended after posting student’s work on Facebook – A North Gaston High teacher has been suspended after posting her student’s work on a social media site. English teacher Shanna Sigmon-Moore posted three photos of her students’ writing on Facebook Wednesday, highlighting their grammar gaffes and misspellings. “See what I go through every day,” Sigmon-Moore wrote after friends made comments about a student’s spelling mistakes. Sigmon-Moore’s posts weren’t shared publicly on the social media site, but a customized group of her Facebook friends could see the photos. Someone who thought her posts were inappropriate for a school teacher contacted The Gazette about the photos and comments. Sigmon-Moore was suspended with pay Thursday pending a complete investigation, which is standard procedure, said Gaston County Schools spokeswoman Bonnie Reidy. It will take several days to complete the investigation, Reidy said. Story Continued:

· Is Sleep Deprivation the Reason the Romney Campaign Is Blowing It? – We may be a politically polarized country, but there seems to be a growing consensus on at least one thing: Mitt Romney’s campaign is blowing it. Even before the leaked tape, the sentiment was so widespread that the pre-mortems and jockeying to avert blame have already begun, led by a long front-page piece in Politico titled “Inside the campaign: How Mitt Romney stumbled.” Note the use of the past tense. The day before, in The Hill, it was, “Republican lawmakers say Romney campaign needs to change course.” And then there was Saturday Night Live, which opened its new season with a sketch in which President Obama acknowledges that “things aren’t great, the economy’s in the tank” and that “the job market is horrible” but says he’s not worried because his campaign has a “secret weapon” to guarantee a win: cut to Mitt Romney. When the satirists think that the idea that your campaign is tanking has been sufficiently internalized to use it as a premise, you know you’re in trouble. The question is: why? As the AP’s Kasie Hunt wrote in a piece about the dissatisfaction at this past weekend’s Value Voters Summit, “Republican activists are incredulous: Why can’t Republican Mitt Romney seem to break open a tight race with President Barack Obama given the nation’s sluggish economy and conservative enthusiasm to beat the Democrat?” Why, indeed? As SNL’s President Obama said, things aren’t great. Unemployment is still above 8 percent. There are still more than 20 million people unemployed or under-employed. And, yet, in four major polls, the real President Obama has moved into a tie with Romney over the question of who would handle the economy better. And the New York Times’ Nate Silver has Obama at a 73 percent chance of winning. So what’s the reason for Romney’s problems? His campaign includes plenty of seasoned professionals. And the answer certainly isn’t the lack of money. Between the campaign, the RNC, and outside super PACs, Romney supporters have raised more than half a billion dollars. Some conservatives are already grumbling about “media bias,” but that’s not the answer, either — whatever the personal leanings of those in the mainstream media, what they love above all else is changing the narrative. The media would love nothing more than to flip the narrative and have a week or two of “Obama has been ahead, but watch out — here comes Romney!” stories. Who knows, it might still happen, but the Romney campaign isn’t giving them a lot to work with. Story Continued:

· A Field Guide to the Middle East Mess, Part I – Shocked and confused are the two words that sum up the collective reaction of Middle East analysts to the nahkba (catastrophe) gripping the region and the broader Muslim world since news leaked out over the dastardly Innocence of Muslims video. Trying to sort through the rampant anti-Americanism that has been unleashed when news broke of the video’s content has become a psycho-errant errand into the unknown for most of us… so perhaps it is best to go back to the drawing board and try to make some sense of these events: Was This So-Called “Arab Spring” a Misnomer? Absolutely! Of the 22 members of the Arab League (19 actually in the Middle East; three in Africa (Somalia, Djibouti and Comoros), there have been only four actual “top-down” revolutions: two have been bloody revolts involving military conflicts (Libya and Yemen) and two have been “soft, people power” revolts (Egypt and Tunisia). A fifth (in Syria) is proving to be the bloodiest and the most protracted with no end in sight. The existing Arab monarchs in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Bahrain are still on their thrones and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future). Those in the know no longer dare refer to these transitions as “spring-like.” No one has come up with a more appropriate moniker to capture the essence of the titanic shifts that have many more acts to follow. Story Continued:

· CBO raises estimate of those hit by Obama health care tax – Six million Americans will pay the health care tax rather than obtain coverage under President Obama’s health care law, according to a new Congressional Budget Office estimate Wednesday — a 50 percent increase over CBO’s estimate of just two years ago. CBO also said there will be 30 million people without insurance, though all but the 6 million will be exempt from the tax. The exempt Americans are a combination of illegal immigrants and those with incomes too low to pay income taxes. The agency said the government will collect about $7 billion from the tax in 2016, and $8 billion a year thereafter. The projections apply to 2016, the point at which most of President Obama’s health care law will be implemented and the penalty for failing to buy coverage will have risen to its full amount of $695 per person or 2.5 percent of household income, whichever is greater. The agency gave several reasons for revising its projections. For one thing, Congress has passed legislation requiring Americans to pay back more health insurance subsidies if they’re overpaid, making buying coverage less attractive. The economy is also improving more slowly than expected, leading to lower wages and salaries that could make it harder to buy coverage. And some low-income Americans may have less access to expanded Medicaid programs than originally expected. Several states are expected to opt out of expanding Medicaid, after the Supreme Court ruled in June that the government can’t respond by stripping away all their funding for the program. The six million expected to pay the penalty is a relatively small percentage of the 30 million non-elderly residents who will be uninsured in 2016. Story Continued:

· Obama’s Foreign Policy Approval Rating Drops After Mideast Turmoil – The first opinion poll to be conducted after last week’s deadly attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya and a spate of anti-American protests across the Muslim world has recorded a five-point drop in approval for President Obama’s handling of foreign policy. The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday found the president’s foreign policy approval among registered voters at 49 percent, down from 54 percent one month earlier. “The fall was steeper among independents, going from 53 percent in August to 41 percent,” NBC reported. Across 18 NBC/WSJ polls that have tracked the issue since April 2009, the five-point drop is the second biggest recorded over a one-month period. (The biggest – seven points – came in June 2011, following a record-high approval bump the previous month which was likely linked to the killing of Osama bin Laden.) Obama’s 49 percent foreign policy approval rating this week is the second lowest in the 18 polls. Only November 2010 was slightly lower – 48 percent – possibly reflecting the national mood after the Democrats’ poor showing in midterm elections, and/or a 10-day presidential trip to Asia not generally viewed as successful. Story Continued:

· Wildly out of touch media complain Romney not regular guy -Only our totally unbiased watchdog media could turn the burning of U.S. embassies in countries where Barack Obama had recently supported mob revolts into Mitt Romney’s blunder. Journalists couldn’t risk having Obama’s campaign slogan “Osama is dead” being amended with “and so is our ambassador.” After our ambassador to Libya was murdered in a preplanned, coordinated attack on our embassy last week, preceded by an attack on our embassy in Egypt (and followed by attacks on our embassies in Yemen, Indonesia, Tunisia and Lebanon), Romney criticized the Obama administration for “sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt.” He was referring to a statement put out by our Cairo embassy before the ambassador’s murder, criticizing an American filmmaker whose YouTube trailer was the alleged provocation for the attacks. Attacks that happened to occur on the anniversary of 9/11. The NFM (Non-Fox Media) uniformly denounced Romney’s criticism and pronounced his campaign finished. Story Continued:

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· Pakistan hit by anti-Islam video protests US embassy in Islamabad is latest target of around 5,000 demonstrators angry at anti-Islam video made in US. The US embassy in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, has become the latest target of protesters angry at an anti-Islam video that triggered protests in the Arab and Muslim world. The total number of protesters reached around 5,000 later on Thursday with the arrival of protesters carrying the flags of hardline Islamist groups. At least 50 people were injured as police fired tear gas and live rounds towards the crowds. Hundreds of students from various colleges and educational institutions in Islamabad had begun clashing with police as security forces tried to block them from reaching the embassy compound, which also includes the British and French diplomatic missions. The students responded by pelting the police with stones, and the police retaliated by firing tear gas shells. Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said the situation was eventually brought under “control” by police and the military. Story Continued:

· Study: Only 15 Percent Of Democrats Believe Economic News Is Bad – With just 47 days before the general election and Mitt Romney attempting to pivot the focus of the election back on the state of the economy, citizens with Democratic leanings are actually doing an about-face on the economy compared to their Republican counterparts, according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center. New data found that just 15 percent of Democrats believe that recent economic news is mostly poor, a percentage that took a significant drop from the 31 percent of Democrats polled last month who did think that economic news was mostly bad. According to the study, the 15-percent clip is among the lowest percentages during President Barack Obama’s nearly four years in office. Story Continued:

· Actress Jessica Alba asks voters to pledge allegiance to Obama – The Obama campaign has launched its “For All” campaign, encouraging supporters to take pictures of themselves with their hands on their hearts and a note explaining why they support President Obama. Actress Jessica Alba uses the Pledge of Allegiance as an example of the campaign in an email to supporters. “Growing up, my classmates and I started every day with a ritual: We’d stand up, put our right hand over our hearts, and say the Pledge of Allegiance,” explains Alba. “To me, that gesture was a promise. A promise to be involved and engaged in this country’s future. A promise to work for liberty and justice — and for affordable education, health care, and equality — for all.” Alba joins Hollywood actresses Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson by photographing herself with her hand on her heart pledging to vote for Obama. “That’s why all across the country, people like you and I are proudly writing down our reasons for getting involved, and then taking the pledge — to vote.” Obama campaign staffers have also begun posting photos of themselves with the pledge. “Make sure you’re ready to vote this fall,” Alba writes. “Putting your hand over your heart is making a promise. Casting your ballot is keeping it.” Story Continued:

· UMass Lowell/Herald poll: Scott Brown in slight lead vs. Warren – U.S. Sen. Scott Brown has moved into a narrow lead over rival Elizabeth Warren while his standing among Massachusetts voters has improved despite a year-long Democratic assault, a new UMass Lowell/Boston Herald poll shows. The GOP incumbent is beating Warren by a 50-44 percent margin among registered Bay State voters, a turnaround from the last University of Massachusetts Lowell/Herald poll nine months ago that had the Democratic challenger leading by seven points. Among likely voters, Brown is leading the Harvard Law professor by a 49-45 percent margin, just within the poll’s 5.5 percent margin of error. “I wasn’t too sure of him at first, but he’s been very independent,” said Jo Ann Dunnigan, a longtime Democrat and President Obama supporter from Fall River who participated in the poll, conducted Sept. 13-17. Brown and Warren face off Oct. 1 in a debate sponsored by the Herald and UMass Lowell. The poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates, shows nearly one in three Brown backers say they could change their mind before Election Day, compared to just 19 percent for Warren. But the poll, which started a week after the Democratic National Convention, finds no evidence of a “bounce” for Warren. There also is some troubling news for the well-financed Warren campaign. Despite spending millions of dollars to tarnish Brown’s image, the GOP incumbent’s popularity has actually increased in the past nine months. Story Continued:

– Ironically enough, I listened to a treatise Thursday morning on NPR that claims that Ms. Warren has a slight lead based upon her speech on a national stage at the Democratic Convention. This is a race that we will have to watch to see who is not being truthful to the people. PdC

· Obama: ‘You Can’t Change Washington from the Inside’

clip_image006 President Obama has learned something during his presidency: You can’t change Washington from the inside. “The most important lesson I’ve learned is that you can’t change Washington from the inside,” he told a Univision forum Thursday. “You can only change it from the outside.” The remark immediately set off the political media on Twitter. “(This) is perhaps Obama’s worst gaffe since he met Joe the Plumber?” BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith asked on Twitter Thursday afternoon. Story Continued:

· Romney Ads Target Seniors, Women – The Romney campaign, aiming to regain its footing after a tough start to the week, is rolling out a pair of television ads that appear designed to build support from two key voting groups: seniors and women. On Thursday, the campaign released its newest ad, “Least We Can Do,” which argues that leaving Medicare as it is will force the health-insurance plan for the elderly and disabled to go broke. The television ad also states that current retirees won’t be affected – and suggests that any changes to Medicare won’t happen for 30 years. Together, the statements appear designed to lay the groundwork for support when Vice Presidential pick Rep. Paul Ryan (R, Wis.) addresses AARP, the influential seniors group, on Friday. Mr. Ryan is considered the architect of the so-called premium support plan, which would give seniors a subsidy for either private insurance or traditional Medicare. Democrats have said that the plan would shift health care costs onto seniors since health care costs would rise faster than the government subsidies. “Medicare is going broke,” says Sen. Marco Rubio (R, Fla.) in the advertisement, as the Romney campaign puts its message in the mouth of a Republican star that is especially prominent in Florida, the biggest swing state, with a high concentration of older people. “That’s not politics. It’s math. Anyone who wants to leave Medicare like it is is for letting it go bankrupt. My mother’s 81 and depends on Medicare.” Story Continued:

· The Waning of the Modern Ages – La longue durée —the long run—was an expression made popular by the Annales School of French historians led by Fernand Braudel, who coined the phrase in 1958. The basic argument of this school is that the proper concern of historians should be the analysis of structures that lie at the base of contemporary events. Underneath short-term events such as individual cycles of economic boom and bust, said Braudel, we can discern the persistence of “old attitudes of thought and action, resistant frameworks dying hard, at times against all logic.” An important derivative of the Annales research is the work of the World Systems Analysis school, including Immanuel Wallerstein and Christopher Chase-Dunn, which similarly focuses on long-term structures: capitalism, in particular. The “arc” of capitalism, according to this school, is about 600 years long, from 1500 to 2100. It is our particular (mis)fortune to be living through the beginning of the end, the disintegration of capitalism as a world system. It was mostly commercial capital in the sixteenth century, evolving into industrial capital in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and then moving on to financial capital—money created by money itself, and by speculation in currency—in the twentieth and twenty-first. In dialectical fashion, it will be the very success of the system that eventually does it in. The last time a change of this magnitude occurred was during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, during which time the medieval world began to come apart and be replaced by the modern one. In his classic study of the period, The Waning of the Middle Ages, the Dutch historian Johan Huizinga depicted the time as one of depression and cultural exhaustion—like our own age, not much fun to live through. One reason for this is that the world is literally perched over an abyss. What lies ahead is largely unknown, and to have to hover over an abyss for a long time is, to put it colloquially, a bit of a drag. The same thing was true at the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire as well, on the ruins of which the feudal system slowly arose. Story Continued:

· The Secret History of Pussy Riot – Universally admired, Pussy Riot (or PR for short) have been promoted as superstars. But what are they? A rock or punk group they are not. A British journalist marvelled: they produce no music, no song, no painting, nada, rien, nothing. How can they be described as “artists”? This was a severe test for their supporters, but they passed it with flying honours: that famous lover-of-art, the US State Department, paid for their first ever single being produced by The Guardian out of some images and sounds. We are able to stomach obscenity and blasphemy; I am a great admirer of Notre Dame de Fleurs by Jean Genet, who combined both. However, the PR never wrote, composed or painted anything of value at all. Chris Randolph defended them in Counterpunch by comparing them with “the controversial Yegor Letov”. What a misleading comparison! Letov wrote poetry, full of obscenity but it still was poetry, while the PR have nothing but Public Relations. Hell-bent on publicity, but artistically challenged, three young women from Russia decided – well, it sounds like a limerick. They stole a frozen chicken from a supermarket and used it as dildo; they filmed the act, called it “art” and placed it on the web. (It is still there) Their other artistic achievements were an orgy in a museum and a crude presentation of an erect prick. Story Continued:

· Linda Lingle Joins Other GOP Senate Candidates In Distancing Themselves From Mitt Romney

clip_image007Nevada Sen. Dean Heller on Wednesday became the latest Republican Senate candidate locked in a competitive race to distance himself from GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” remarks, which came to light after the wide release of a hidden camera video that documented Romney’s appearance at a Boca Raton fundraiser. Heller joined Connecticut Senate aspirant Linda McMahon and Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown in disowning Romney’s take on the portion of the electorate he deemed to be “victims” who could not be convinced to forego government assistance. Well, Hawaii Senate candidate Linda Lingle lingered a little longer without making a comment on Romney’s lapsus linguae, but now she, too, has parted ways with him over the “victims” flap. The Honolulu Star Advertiser has the story: ‘I am not a rubber stamp for the national party and I am not responsible for the statements of Mitt Romney,’ Lingle said in an email. ‘With that said, I do not agree with his characterization of all individuals who are receiving government assistance, as I know many of them are driven, hard-working individuals who are actively working to better the situation of their ‘ohana. It is not fair to place these individuals into any one category. The people of Hawaii know I don’t believe in labels and I know they don’t either.’ Story Continued:

· Romney rescue plan: More Mitt – After taking a beating for comments he privately wishes he never made and from conservative critics he wishes he could muzzle, Mitt Romney and his campaign are settling on a rescue plan to show more of him — in ads, speeches and campaign appearances. A big focus, according to campaign officials, will be on Romney talking a lot more about how his ideas will help regular Americans who remain deeply suspicious of him. The aim: Switch the emphasis from Washington policies to personal pocketbooks. Look for a heavy emphasis on jobs and specific ways to cut government spending. “He has to own his message for people, especially women, to buy the messenger,” one top adviser said. A campaign official said: “In a lot of the current survey data, there’s a desire among the electorate to know more about Mitt in terms of how he would lead. Over the next six weeks, the campaign is going to provide a lot more of that.” Aides also expect more joint appearances by Romney and running mate Paul Ryan – most likely in the swing states of Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. Story Continued:

· Senate Republicans Shaft the Vets – The young men and women who serve in our military return from fighting in the longest wars in American history to the worst jobs market in generations. They suffer higher unemployment rates than the general population: over one in ten is officially counted as unemployed — and that does not include those who have stopped looking for work or are forced to work part-time. So yesterday, in one final vile act before adjournment for the elections, Senate Republicans used a point of order to block passage of the Veterans Jobs Corps proposal that would have provided a modest $1 billion to hire veterans to tend federal lands or gain priority in hiring at police and fire departments. The bill was crafted with bipartisan support. 58 Senators supported the bill, but Republicans put together the 40 votes needed to block its passage. Why shaft the very veterans whose service politicians sanctimoniously celebrate at every occasion? Is it because unemployed veterans are part of Mitt Romney’s scorned 47 percent? Unemployed, they pay no taxes. They may feel they are “entitled” to the health care benefits they are guaranteed. Many take advantage of training and education benefits. Perhaps Republican senators simply didn’t want to help these “victims” feel entitled to a job in addition. (Of course, contrary to Mitt’s idiotic election strategy, like seniors, these “victims” tend to vote more Republican than Democratic) Or is it because Senate Republicans remain committed to block any action that will produce jobs in their monomaniacal effort to make Barack Obama a one-term president. In the midst of the worst recession in generations, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell famously announced at the beginning of the term that “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Story Continued:

· The Disappearance Of Mitt Romney: Campaign’s Push To Humanize Him Evaporates – Mitt Romney’s campaign produced a 10-minute documentary film about the candidate that forced even liberal Democrats, when it was shown at the Republican National Convention, to admit that it was a moving portrayal of Romney’s life and values. The problem is not very many people have seen the video, and the Romney campaign appears to have made little effort to change that. Romney revealed to donors in Atlanta on Wednesday that he himself had not seen the entire thing until it was shown before his remarks at a fundraiser. Romney said the footage of his deceased father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, “brought a tear to my eye.” “It touched my heart,” Romney said. But the Romney campaign has done little to highlight the film. It’s not featured on the campaign’s website or YouTube page. It has a decent number of views on YouTube — 145,000 as of Thursday morning — but there are 25 other Romney campaign videos that have been seen more times, including a few that have over 1 million views. To find it online takes far more effort than it should. It’s the clearest example of how a promised push by the Republican nominee’s campaign to better introduce their candidate to the nation, and to counter the image of him as a heartless corporate raider, has not materialized. The Romney campaign said the Republican convention at the end of August would kick off a more aggressive telling of the Romney story. In fact, up until now, it appears that the convention was the beginning and the end of that effort. Senior Romney adviser Ed Gillespie said Monday that at the convention “voters learned a lot about Romney as a person,” and that now “they’re eager to hear more details about policies to turn our economy around.” In other words, the campaign has already checked the bio box. But Republican insiders have been encouraging the campaign to get back to talking up Mitt, and who he is, so far with little luck. Story Continued:

· Mitt Romney: Closeted Redistributionist – Four years ago yesterday, John McCain and Sarah Palin were 1.9 percentage points behind then-Senator Barack Obama in the RCP poll-of-polls. Today, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are 2.8 percentage points behind President Obama in the RCP poll-of-polls. Romney is currently doing worse than McCain’s ill-fated attempt at the presidency. And there’s nothing on the horizon that could really change the dismal course of events in Romney’s favor, shy of a major presidential gaffe or an out-of-the-blue scandal of some sort. (Though I hasten to warn: this thing is far from over and any number of factors could dramatically shift the outcome of the election.) So knowing all of this, it’s astonishing to me that Mitt Romney would rewind back to the failed McCain/Palin campaign and, specifically, its big bad red-scare “redistributionist” attack against Obama. It’s not surprising given how Romney has an impulsive habit saying whatever pops into his bulbous head no matter how ludicrous, contradictory or inaccurate — anything to get him through the day, anything that might work. Why not resurrect McCain’s failed attack, too? In fact, why not indiscriminately leap onto something that right-wing propagandist Matt Drudge posted on his site: a 14-year-old piece of video in which the president said, “I actually believe in redistribution at least at a certain level…” Story Continued:

· Obama pressed on failures at Univision forum – President Barack Obama on Thursday faced some of the toughest questioning of his reelection campaign to date, pressed repeatedly on his failures to achieve comprehensive immigration reform and other unmet promises from his 2008 run. The Univision presidential forum at the University of Miami here kicked off with grilling on another topic which brought mounting criticism from Republicans Thursday: The government’s decision to label as a terrorist attack the violence at the consulate in Benghazi which killed American Christopher Stevens. Asked why the United States was not better prepared, with better security at its embassies on the Sept. 11 anniversary, Obama responded by repeating the admonitions about not tolerating violence, but continued to discuss the incident in the context of the controversial video depicting scenes from the life of Mohammed. “This is obviously something that is used as excuse by some to carry out inexcusable violent acts on westerners or Americans,” Obama said, “and my number one priority is to keep our diplomats safe and our embassies safe.” Story Continued:

· Tax Credit in Doubt, Wind Power Industry Is Withering

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Last month, Gamesa, a major maker of wind turbines, completed the first significant order of its latest innovation: a camper-size box that can capture the energy of slow winds, potentially opening up new parts of the country to wind power. “We are all really sad,” said Miguel Orobiyi, 34, who worked as a mechanical assembler at the Gamesa plant for nearly five years. “I hope they call us back because they are really, really good jobs.” Similar cutbacks are happening throughout the American wind sector, which includes hundreds of manufacturers, from multinationals that make giant windmills to smaller local manufacturers that supply specialty steel or bolts. In recent months, companies have announced almost 1,700 layoffs. At its peak in 2008 and 2009, the industry employed about 85,000 people, according to the American Wind Energy Association, the industry’s principal trade group. Story Continued:

· Republican senators decry ‘useless, worthless’ Clinton briefing on Libya Attack – Several high-level GOP senators emerged from Thursday afternoon’s classified briefing with top administration officials incensed that Obama team had offered them no new information and answered none of their questions about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the death of four Americans. “That was the most useless, worthless briefing that I have attended in a long time. Believe me, there is more written in every major and minor publication in America about what happened.” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Bob Corker (R-TN), emerging from the all-senators briefing that included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Adm. Sandy Winnefeld. “It was like a one-hour filibuster with absolutely not one single bit of new information being brought forth… very disappointing.” Corker said that the briefing was so poorly received by senators that it would spur Congress to push for more independent investigations about the causes of the attack, the perpetrators, the security at the consulate, and the personal security of Amb. Chris Stevens, who died in the attack. “[The briefing], if anything, built far greater distrust about what’s happening than just answering questions. It was pretty unbelievable,” said Corker. “In every event, when a serious question was asked, the answer was, ‘It’s under investigation.’ If I were them I would not have come to the Hill … I think it is going to cause folks to push for something different, because it was received so poorly.” Senate Armed Services Committee ranking Republican John McCain (R-AZ) agreed and said the briefing was indicative of the administration’s pattern of not sharing information with Congress about important national security matters. He also said the administration is maintaining its argument that the Benghazi attack was the result of militants taking advantage of protests spurred by an anti-Islam video on the Internet. Story Continued:

· Chavez Reelection in Jeopardy Because of Spending and Crime in Venezuela

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After 14 years in power, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez faces his toughest election yet, as he deals with a strong opposition candidate and national doubts about his health. Chavez’s biggest obstacle in his re-election campaign, however, may be his own record in office. A soaring crime rate and doubts over whether the populist leader could have done more with the country’s vast oil wealth continue to hound him in the final weeks of his campaign. “It’s overwhelmingly clear that Venezuela has wasted the windfall,” said Francisco Monaldi, an economist and director of the International Center of Energy and the Environment at Caracas’ IESA business school, according to the Associated Press. “You should have had much greater economic growth, much greater reduction of poverty.”  Supporters of Chavez, however, argue that there has been progress since he took office in 1998. The infusion of around one trillion ‘petrodollars’ has allowed him to secure his support among the country’s poor through cash handouts, social programs and a number of state-run grocery stores. Story Continued:

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What’s Up: September 19, 2012?

To read the entire article click on the title on Story Continued. Enjoy as the world turns.

· Details of bin Laden raid leaked first by Obama aides – The Obama administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to publicize details of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, even as it threatens to file criminal charges against a former Navy SEAL because he provided the same type of mission rundown in his recently published book. An examination by The Washington Times shows that several details in the book “No Easy Day” already have appeared in print based on interviews with administration officials and likely will be included in an upcoming movie and another book. Perhaps the most detailed account of the raid appeared in a 2011 New Yorker article based on authorized interviews with White House officials. A source close to SEAL Team 6, which carried out the May 2011 mission, said unit members were told after the article was published that it was based, in part, on an authorized interview with a mission planner. Internal administration emails released last month in a Freedom of Information lawsuit show extraordinary cooperation between filmmakers working on a movie about the bin Laden raid and Obama political appointees. At least one person who took part in the raid was made available to the movie’s director and screenwriter, the emails show. Story continued:

· Obama: If GOP Wants Me ‘To Walk the Dog or Wash Their Car, I’m Happy to Do It’ – President Barack Obama, on the stump in the swing state of Ohio on Monday, said that in working with Republicans to reduce the deficit, he was willing to show “more love” and even “wash their car” to get the job done. While speaking in Cincinnati on Monday, Obama said, “The only thing they [Republicans] can do is keep trying to bluff their way through until November, and hope that you won’t call them on it. But understand Cincinnati, look, I want to work with them to reduce the deficit. I’ve said if the Republicans need more love, if they want me to walk the dog or wash their car, I’m happy to do it.” “You know, I genuinely believe that most Americans, Democrats or Republicans, they just want us to solve problems,” said Obama. “So I’m ready and willing to work. But I refuse to ask middle-class families to pay over $2,000 more so that millionaires and billionaires can pay less.” Obama has a 4.2 percent lead over his Republican opponent Mitt Romney in Ohio, according to the RealClearPolitics average of all the presidential polls in the state. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has Obama up by 7 points, while a Rasmussen poll has the president up by just 1 point. Story continued:

· Iran Tensions Loom Over Israelis on Jewish New Year – Jews around the world are observing Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. In Israel, the mood is sober.

· Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Jewish High Holy Days and is a time of reflection and prayer. Israelis ushered in the New Year with a sense of uncertainty amid tensions with Iran that have heightened fears of war. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had this message for Jews in Israel and around the world. “I want to wish you all a happy New Year, a happy New Year in your personal lives, a happy New Year for the Jewish people and the Jewish state. The Jewish state and the Jewish people are facing great challenges. Iran is racing to develop nuclear weapons. A rising tide of militancy is sweeping our region,” he said. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. But it sees Israel as a Zionist enemy. Story continued:

· For Every $1 Added to the Economy, Obama Added More Than $3 in Debt – For every $1 added to the economy, we’ve added more than $3 in debt. –> added $5.23 trillion in debt vs. $1.68 trillion to the economy –> 50% increase in debt vs. 12% increase in economic output. Total Public Debt: $10,626T [Jan 20, 2009] $15,856T [Jun 30, 2012] – –> $5.23 trillion increase in debt. [source: Treasury Dept] Story continued:

· Obama’s Security Breach In Libya Is Ignored By American Media – ­ As the liberal American press and ultra-liberal bloggers inundate the Internet and newsprints with criticisms of what Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential challenger to President Barack Obama, said about Obama during the Libyan attacks and murders, throngs of foreign press and few American outlets tell the real story involved with the White House’s role in the incidents that we now know could have been prevented. After the American media grabbed and held the pro-Obama headlines against Romney’s comments and took Obama’s “Romney shoots first and aims second” quote to iconic proportions, the rest of the world is reporting that the Obama administration knew about the planned-attack on the Benghazi, Libya Embassy where four Americans, including United States Ambassador Christopher Steven was murdered. That strong allegation needs to be “the story”, not the political-trouncing of Mitt Romney, a man who has nothing to do with the White House, the U.S. Embassy, or the deadly and non-deadly attacks on our United States Embassy’s around the world. “The story” obviously involves the White House and the president within – Barack Obama – not the Massachusetts challenger. Story continued:

· Obama’s wistful GM exit strategyThe Treasury Department is resisting General Motors’ push for the government to sell off its stake in the automobile maker, The Wall Street Journal reports. Following a $50 billion bailout in 2009, the U.S. taxpayers now own almost 27% of the company. But the newspaper said GM executives are now chafing at that, saying it hurts the company’s reputation and its ability to attract top talent due to pay restrictions. Earlier this year, GM GM -1.41% presented a plan to repurchase 200 million of the 500 million shares the U.S. holds with the balance being sold via a public offering. But officials at the Treasury Department were not interested, as selling now would lead to a multibillion-dollar loss for the government, the newspaper noted. Story continued:

· ROMNEY: NEARLY HALF ‘BELIEVE THEY ARE VICTIMS’Already scrambling to steady a struggling campaign, Republican Mitt Romney confronted a new headache Monday after a video surfaced showing him telling wealthy donors that almost half of all Americans “believe they are victims” entitled to extensive government support and adding that as a candidate for the White House, “my job is not to worry about those people.” President Barack Obama’s campaign quickly seized on the video, obtained by the magazine Mother Jones and made public on a day that Romney’s campaign conceded it needed a change in campaign strategy to gain momentum in the presidential race. “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” Romney is shown saying in a video published by the magazine. “There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.” Story continued:

· ‘I ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN REDISTRIBUTION’ – At an October 19, 1998 conference at Loyola University, Barack Obama spoke against “propaganda” that said government doesn’t work and the need to “pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution because I actually believe in redistribution.” Watch the Video.

· In Video Clip, Romney Calls 47% ‘Dependent’ and Feeling Entitled – During a private reception with wealthy donors this year, Mitt Romney described almost half of Americans as “people who pay no income tax” and are “dependent upon government.” Those voters, he said, would probably support President Obama because they believe they are “victims” who are “entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.” In a brief and hastily called news conference Monday just after 10 p.m., Mr. Romney acknowledged having made the blunt political and cultural assessment, saying it was “not elegantly stated,” but he stood by the substance of the remarks, insisting that he had made similar observations in public without generating controversy. The video of Mr. Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, was made in May, offering a rare glimpse of his personal views. Mr. Romney told reporters that he had been “speaking off the cuff in response to a question” at the fund-raiser, and said he wanted “to help all Americans — all Americans — have a bright, prosperous future.” Story continued:

· How Jimmy Carter’s Grandson Helped Leak the Secret Romney Fund-raiser Video – The damning video of Mitt Romney telling a room of wealthy donors how he really feels about the freeloading 47 percent of Americans “who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it,” among other candid things, has been floating around online in bits and pieces for three months, but didn’t hit the big time until it was published by David Corn at Mother Jones today. Credited as a “research assistant” on the story is James Carter IV, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, who has been toiling online as an opposition researcher and is “currently looking for work,” according to his Twitter bio. “I’ve been searching for clips on Republicans for a long time, almost every day,” said Carter this evening. “I just do it for fun.” But by connecting Corn with the mysterious uploader of the clip, Carter has uncovered his biggest story yet, one that could potentially affect the outcome of the election. (And get him a job.) Carter told Daily Intel that he first noticed a portion of the video in which Romney discusses using Chinese labor while working at Bain Capital. That clip, uploaded by a YouTube user named “RomneyExposed” in late May, and then again in late August by an account called “Rachel Maddow” that has since been deleted, eventually made it to Buzzfeed and Daily Kos.* Additional pieces of the tape were then added to a YouTube account called “Anne Onymous” starting three weeks ago. “There was a minor uproar about it on Twitter when I found [the first clip], so I kept doing research on it and that eventually led me to be able to narrow down who it originated from,” said Carter. Via Twitter, he contacted the person who claimed to have secretly taped and uploaded the video, and then sought to help publicize the remarks. “That seemed to be the purpose of [the filming] — to get it to a larger audience,” Carter said. Story continued:

· U.S. military suspends joint patrols with Afghans – The strategy for getting U.S. forces out of Afghanistan depends on training Afghan soldiers and police to protect the country themselves, but on Monday the U.S. military suspended most joint field operations with Afghan forces because so many Americans are being killed by the men they are training. Afghan government troops — our allies — have turned their guns on NATO forces 36 times this year, killing 51, most of them Americans. That is more attacks than the last two years combined. The order effectively suspends “until further notice” most of the operations which U.S. and Afghan troops conduct side by side. At higher headquarters, Afghans and Americans will still work together, but in the field small unit operations putting Afghan soldiers alongside Americans — the guts of the U.S. strategy to turn the fighting over to Afghans — will be suspended unless an exception is granted by a commanding general. The order was issued after a long weekend in which four American and two British troops were killed by so-called “insider attacks” — Afghans turning their guns on their supposed allies. After spate of “insider attacks,” NATO lessens Afghan partnership. Anti-U.S. protests linger after deadly weekend of “insider attacks” in Afghanistan. 4 U.S. troops killed in Afghan “insider attack” Story continued:

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· France bans further publication of topless pictures of Duchess – A French court has ordered the publisher of a gossip magazine to hand over all digital copies of topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge and blocked the further publication of the images. Under the ruling, the magazine Closer cannot publish the images of an intimate moment in the south of France any further, including on its website and tablet application. The magazine published 14 photos of a partially clad Kate in its pages on Friday. However the ruling will not block international publication. The ruling only affects the French publisher. The court’s decision comes as a French prosecutor opened a preliminary criminal investigation into the pictures. The inquiry, which could take months, will allow the prosecutor to decide whether to proceed with a full investigation into whether taking and publishing the pictures breached the couple’s right to privacy under French law. Story continued:

· Reporters haven’t asked about Sebelius breaking law in W.H. Briefings – Reporters covering the White House don’t seem to have many questions about Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who was last week found in violation of federal law against engaging in political activity while on the job. A review of transcripts by The Daily Caller indicate that no questions have been asked by the reporters who cover the president about Sebelius during official White House briefings or gaggles since Sept. 12, when the U.S. Office of Special Counsel said in a report that the cabinet secretary violated the Hatch Act earlier this year. Story continued:

· US Republican presidential candidate says Palestinians “have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace.”US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney questioned the feasibility of the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, according to video footage published Tuesday by US magazine Mother Jones. “I’m torn by two perspectives in this regard,” Romney said at a $50,000-per-plate fundraising dinner on May 17. “One is the one which I’ve had for some time, which is that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.” Story continued:

· Obama’s Security Breach In Libya Is Ignored By American Media – As the liberal American press and ultra-liberal bloggers inundate the Internet and newsprints with criticisms of what Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential challenger to President Barack Obama, said about Obama during the Libyan attacks and murders, throngs of foreign press and few American outlets tell the real story involved with the White House’s role in the incidents that we now know could have been prevented. After the American media grabbed and held the pro-Obama headlines against Romney’s comments and took Obama’s “Romney shoots first and aims second” quote to iconic proportions, the rest of the world is reporting that the Obama administration knew about the planned-attack on the Benghazi, Libya Embassy where four Americans, including United States Ambassador Christopher Steven was murdered. That strong allegation needs to be “the story”, not the political-trouncing of Mitt Romney, a man who has nothing to do with the White House, the U.S. Embassy, or the deadly and non-deadly attacks on our United States Embassy’s around the world. “The story” obviously involves the White House and the president within – Barack Obama – not the Massachusetts challenger. Story continued:

· French Mag to Publish Cartoons of Prophet Mohammed – A French satirical magazine is set to publish several cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed on Wednesday, a move that is likely to inflame the Islamic faithful and militants who have already rioted in more than 20 countries over a movie mocking the prophet. Depictions of the prophet are strictly prohibited and considered blasphemous by Muslims. Cartoons of Muhammad published in Denmark in 2005 and then reproduced in newspapers across Europe triggered riots throughout the Mideast and Africa. Churches and embassies were torched and at least 100 people died in the outbreaks and police crackdowns. The magazine “Charlie Hebdo” has confirmed that it will publish the cartoons, but has not revealed what they will depict. French newspaper “Le Monde” reports that some of the cartoons show the prophet in “particularly explicit poses,” without providing any further detail. The move comes as Muslims are still simmering after riots in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and nearly 20 other countries over the move “Innocence of Muslims.” U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died during an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. French government ministers have criticized the magazine’s decision and police in Paris have stepped up security around its offices. France is home to Europe’s largest Muslim population, and the senior cleric at Paris’ biggest mosque has appealed for followers to remain calm, according to the French news agency AFP. Story continued:

· America basher’s backfire: Killed by flag smoke – Old Glory strikes back. In an apparent case of red, white and blue revenge, a Pakistani protester died yesterday after inhaling smoke from a burning American flag during an anti-US rally. Abdullah Ismail succumbed at Mayo Hospital in Lahore a day after attending the fierce protest at the city’s Mall Road, where an estimated 10,000 people rallied. Witnesses said Ismail had complained of feeling ill after breathing fumes from burning flags, Pakistan’s Express Tribune reported. Story continued:

· Faded Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’ Wife – A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School has identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains a phrase never seen in any piece of Scripture: “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife …’ ” Story continued:

· Feds ignore rules and use stimulus cash to buy Chinese solar panels – Government officials blame unfair competition from China for the collapse of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, but such concerns didn’t stop the federal government from breaking stimulus program rules to use Chinese solar panels atop a federal building housing the offices of a senator, congressman and several agencies. Even the contractor questioned whether Chinese-made panels could be used under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stimulus program that mandated use of U.S.-made products. His query in early 2010 was dismissed and the General Services Administration moved forward with using the Chinese panels on the Sen. Paul Simon Federal Building in Carbondale, Ill., records show. Questions about the panels, which were assembled overseas, were raised in a four-page advisory memo sent by the inspector general to the GSA in the summer of 2011, but the findings take on added significance as government officials increasingly place blame on Chinese subsidies for troubles in the U.S. solar market. Story continued:

· Scalia was ‘furious’ at Roberts vote on healthcare law, says Toobin book – Jeffrey Toobin’s latest book portrays Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as increasingly cranky and partisan — and infuriated with Chief Justice John Roberts over the court’s recent decisions on healthcare and immigration. Toobin, who writes for The New Yorker and also covers the court for CNN, credits Scalia for a sea change in how both sides of the political spectrum think about the law. But he says the justice’s bombast has become off-putting to more even-tempered colleagues. Story continued:

· Islamophobia, Left and Right – ‘Koran discovered with coffee cup stain on the front cover, US marines deployed to all Starbucks franchises.’ The quip, retweeted by celebrity atheist Richard Dawkins, exemplifies the belligerent incomprehension with which so many, including self-proclaimed liberals have responded to protests against the film The Innocence of Muslims. Rioting over a YouTube clip that offends the Muslim sky fairy? How tremendously foolish! How childish; how superstitious; how very, very silly! Well, we’ve certainly seen ignorance paraded over the last few days but it’s as much by smug progressives as anyone else. Consider a historical analogy. In 1857, Bengali soldiers (known as ‘sepoys’) shot their British officers and marched upon Delhi. The Great Indian Rebellion became very violent, very quickly. The rebels massacred prisoners, including women and children; the British put down the revolt with a slaughter of unprecedented proportions. Now, that rebellion began when the troops learned that their cartridges, designed to be torn open with their teeth, would be greased with beef and pork fat, an offence to the religious sensibilities of Hindus and Muslims alike. Had Twitter been an invention of the Victorian era, London sophisticates would, no doubt, have LOLed to each other (#sepoyrage!) about the credulity of dusky savages so worked up about a little beef tallow. Certainly, that was how the mouthpieces of the East India Company spun events: in impeccably Dawkinesque terms, they blamed ‘Hindoo prejudice’ for the descent of otherwise perfectly contented natives into rapine and slaughter. Story continued:

· Romney Dooms His Candidacy by Doing the Full Murray – Charles Murray’s newest book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, proves two classic truths. First, it is impossible to compete with self-parody. Second, be careful what you ask for; for you may receive it. Charles Murray asked right-wing plutocrats (he dismissed left-wing plutocrats as disloyal to their class and to capitalism) to drop what he derided as “political correctness” and denounce Americans who received governmental support as immoral failures. Murray is a vigorous supporter and flatterer of Mitt Romney, claiming that the fact that he became wealthy at Bain should make him a “slam dunk” for the presidency. Murray’s reasoning is so crude that he announces a new doctrine — the divine right of CEOs to govern America. “Who better to be president of the greatest of all capitalist nations than a man who got rich by being a brilliant capitalist?” No need to hold elections; simply make whoever tops the Forbes list of wealthiest people the president. Think of the competitive incentives that rule would create. Romney and Paul Ryan answered both aspects of Murray’s call of right wing plutocrats to arms. They embraced social Darwinism and the view that anyone who received governmental assistance was morally inferior and needed to be denounced. They agreed with the need to remove the safety net to destroy a “culture of dependency” so that the working class and the poor would be forced to assume personal responsibility and stop being freeloaders. Story continued:

· Obama vs. Romney: A Clear Choice – by Barbara Streisand, In this election, the people of America have to make a choice between two candidates with very different values, visions and solutions to the most pressing problems facing our country. The question voters need to ask themselves when they walk into the voting booth on November 6th is: “Will the country be better off returning to the policies of George W. Bush’s Administration?” Like Bush, Governor Romney believes we need more tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% and fewer rules for Wall Street. He wants to roll back financial reform and set Wall Street free to write its own rules again. He wants to repeal health care reform and leave 30 million people without a safety net. And the trillions in tax cuts he wants to give to millionaires and billionaires will only force more devastating cuts to critical programs that serve the middle-class. It’s hard to believe that Mitt Romney would campaign on policies that nearly destroyed the country and virtually eliminated so much of America’s middle-class. With stagnant wages, escalating medical costs, foreclosures, rampant unemployment, loss of good paying jobs and the disappearance of retirement savings due to deregulation and manipulation by Wall Street, Mitt Romney and the Republican narrative fail to address the key concerns of everyday Americans. Story Continued: – I still have yet to think of Barbara capable of logical thinking. She has a great voice and at this stage in life she has more money that she has intellect. PdC

· Arizona Immigration Law’s Most Contentious Section Can Now Be Enforced By Police, Judge Says

clip_image005 A judge has ruled that police in Arizona can immediately start enforcing the most contentious section of the state’s immigration law, marking the first time officers can carry out a requirement that officers, while enforcing other laws, question the immigration status of those suspected of being in the country illegally. The decision on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton is the latest milestone in a two-year legal battle over the requirement. It culminated in a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that upheld the provision on the grounds that it doesn’t conflict with federal law. Opponents who call the requirement the “show me your papers” provision responded to the Supreme Court decision by asking Bolton to block the requirement on different grounds, arguing that it would lead to systematic racial profiling and unreasonably long detentions of Latinos if it’s enforced. Story Continued:

· What if Jesus Had a Wife? – What if Jesus had a wife? This is the question that Christianity confronts today after a fragment of papyrus has been presented at a conference of scholars in Rome. The ancient Coptic document includes the phrase “Jesus said to them, my wife” using a term that undoubtedly references a woman who was his spouse and not some metaphorical partner. Harvard scholar Karen L. King, who announced the discovery of the papyrus at the International Congress of Coptic Studies, believes it is from the latter half of the Second Century. The fragment was authenticated by experts in New York and Jerusalem, but it awaits chemical testing to confirm its age more definitively. As professor King points out, the passage doesn’t prove that Jesus was married. However it casts doubt on the traditional belief that he never had a wife. “Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was not married, even though no reliable historical evidence exists to support that claim,” King said today. “This new gospel doesn’t prove that Jesus was married, but it tells us that the whole question only came up as part of vociferous debates about sexuality and marriage. From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better not to marry, but it was over a century after Jesus’s death before they began appealing to Jesus’ marital status to support their positions.” Story Continued:

· Cartoons in French weekly fuel Mohammad furor – A French magazine ridiculed the Prophet Mohammad on Wednesday by portraying him naked in cartoons, threatening to fuel the anger of Muslims around the world who are already incensed by a video depicting him as a lecherous fool. The drawings in the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo risked exacerbating a crisis that has seen the storming of U.S. and other Western embassies, the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and a deadly suicide bombing in Afghanistan. Riot police were deployed to protect the paper’s Paris offices after it hit newsstands. It featured several caricatures of the Prophet showing him naked in what the publishers said was an attempt to poke fun at the furor over the film. One, entitled “Mohammad: a star is born”, depicted a bearded figure crouching over to display his buttocks and genitals. The French government, which had urged the weekly not to print the cartoons, said it was shutting embassies and schools in 20 countries as a precaution on Friday, when protests sometimes break out after Muslim prayers. Story continued:

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What’s Up: September 17, 2012

To read the entire article click on the title? Enjoy as the world turns.

· US Credit Rating Cut by Egan-Jones … Again – Ratings firm Egan-Jones cut its credit rating on the U.S. government to “AA-” from “AA,” citing its opinion that quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve would hurt the U.S. economy and the country’s credit quality.

clip_image001The Fed on Thursday said it would pump $40 billion into the U.S. economy each month until it saw a sustained upturn in the weak jobs market. (Read more: Fed’s ‘QE Infinity’ — Four Things That Could Go Wrong) In its downgrade, the firm said that issuing more currency and depressing interest rates through purchasing mortgage-backed securities does little to raise the U.S.’s real gross domestic product, but reduces the value of the dollar. In turn, this increases the cost of commodities, which will pressure the profitability of businesses and increase the costs of consumers thereby reducing consumer purchasing power, the firm said. In April, Egan-Jones cuts the U.S. credit rating to “AA” from “AA+” with a negative watch, citing a lack of progress in cutting the mounting federal debt. Moody’s Investors Service currently rates the United States Aaa, Fitch rates the country AAA, and Standard & Poor’s rates the country AA-plus. All three of those ratings have a negative outlook.

· The Video Didn’t Do It – It was bad enough, two years ago, that Defense Secretary Robert Gates called fringe Florida pastor Terry Jones to ask him not to burn copies of the Koran, or last week, that chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey took his turn to call Jones to ask him to stop publicizing a YouTube video, The Innocence of Muslims. But then on Friday, White House spokesman Jay Carney told the world that the violent protests in Cairo and Ben­ghazi and elsewhere were a “response not to United States policy, and not obviously the administration or the American people,” but were “in response to a video, a film we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.” Carney repeated the point for emphasis: “This is not a case of protests directed at the United States at large or at U.S. policy, but in response to a video that is offensive to Muslims.” Carney’s comments lie outside the range of plausible spin, even by Obama administration standards, and if his bosses believe them—as we fear they do—are simply delusional. But they are not without consequence. Nor are Gates’ and Dempsey’s phone calls. They all send the message to America’s enemies that if you kill our diplomats and lay siege to the our embassies, the first move the American government will make is to denounce. Americans. Our leaders apparently believe that the way to protect Americans from extremists and terrorists abroad is to tell other Americans to shut up. What’s next? Where does it go from here? There are more than 300 million ways in which Americans expressing themselves might give offense to those who make it their business to be offended. Maybe it’s some other film, maybe it’s a book or even just a tossed-off phrase that our enemies might seize on to galvanize support for their causes. Is the White House going to put every American crank on speed-dial so it can tell them to shut up whenever a mob gathers outside a U.S. embassy or consulate?

· LA SHERIFF: FEDS INTERVIEW CALIF. FILMMAKER – A Southern California filmmaker linked to an anti-Islamic movie inflaming protests across the Middle East was interviewed by federal probation officers at a Los Angeles sheriff’s station but was not arrested or detained, authorities said early Saturday. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, was interviewed at the station in his hometown of Cerritos, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Don Walker said. Federal officials have said they were investigating the activities of Nakoula, who has been convicted of financial crimes. If the probation department determines Nakoula violated terms of his release, a judge could send him back to prison. Walker said Nakoula traveled voluntarily in a squad car with deputies. “He went to the Cerritos station to talk with probation officers. He’s not under any arrest,” Walker said.

· ANTI-ISLAM FILMMAKER DONATED MILLION DOLLARS TO OBAMA CAMPAIGN – Blame the movie. Even though “the movie” was on YouTube for months prior to the collective indignation of thousands of Middle Eastern Islamists all coming together on the eleventh anniversary of September 11th (through wild coincidence, no doubt), we are being told by our government and our media overlords that we must blame the movie. You see, if we blame the movie for the burning of our foreign outposts and the brutal murders of four Americans (including our Libyan ambassador who was reportedly raped), we won’t blame the burners and the looters and the murderers and the rapists. You see, if we blame the movie for the Middle East burning, we won’t blames the Islamists who are doing the burning and looting and raping and murdering. Which means we won’t further connect the dots and blame Obama’s failed Middle East policy; the Obama Doctrine of backing away from the region and allowing events to unfold as America stands idly by — as the Islamists in the Muslim Brotherhood grab hold of power in Egypt, a country that was once our largest and closest ally. Blame the filmmaker. Hunt him. Out him. Demonize him. Burn the straw man! And all at the direction of a president of the United States who has sworn to uphold the Constitution, you know, the same Constitution that treasures the right of free expression and speech above all else. But no one asks … What about Bill Maher? Bill Maher? Bill Maher made a comedy/documentary called “Religulous” that’s most famous for mercilessly mocking Christianity. But what people forget is that the last twenty-minutes or so of the film make a damning case against Islam. Bill Maher made a film that mocked Islam. Oh, yes, he did. Bill Maher also contributed $1 million to a pro-Obama super PAC. And I’m sure that upon being reminded of this, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will tremble with self-righteous indignation and demand Maher take his money back. After all, if movies create the terrorists who in turn create the terrorism, what about Bill Maher?

· Carney: Protests not directed at the United States – White House press secretary Jay Carney said Friday the violent protests throughout the Middle East are not directed at the United States or U.S. policy but are a response to a YouTube video: CARNEY: We also need to understand that this is a fairly volatile situation and it is in response not to United States policy, and not to, obviously, the administration, or the American people, but it is in response to a video, a film that we have judged to be be reprehensible and disgusting. That in no way justifies any violent reaction to it, but this is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large or at U.S. policy, this is in response to a video that is offensive to Muslims. Again, this is not in any way justifying violence, and we have spoken very clearly out against that and condemned it. And the president is making sure in his conversations with leaders around the region that they are committed as hosts to diplomatic facilities to protect both personnel and buildings and other facilities that are part of the U.S. representation in those countries. The protests which began earlier this week have expanded rapidly across the Middle East on Friday. Protesters attacked the U.S. Embassies in Tunis and Sudan; Tunisian protesters smashed windows and lit fires inside the embassy compound, while gunfire could be heard. Images of a dark column of smoke over the Tunisian site have circulated on the Internet Friday. According to a page on the State Department’s website describing what an embassy is, an attack on an embassy is considered an attack on that country. “Because an embassy represents a sovereign state, any attack on an embassy is considered an attack on the country it represents,” the page reads.

· WH: ‘We’re very proud of the president’s record on foreign policy’ – White House Press Secretary Jay Carney opted not to respond to the suggestion that the embassy attacks throughout the Middle East suggest that extremists view the United States under President Obama as weak on foreign policy. “We are happy to debate — and there is certainly ample time and appropriate time to debate foreign policy approaches, this president’s record on foreign policy,” Carney told reporters during the press briefing when asked if the attacks stemmed from “perceived American weakness” that stems from Obama’s leadership. “We’re very proud of the president’s record on foreign policy and are happy to make the case at the appropriate time.” Carney emphasized instead the tragedy in Libya. “This is a time when it’s in the best interests of the country to focus on the four personnel, the four Americans that we lost in Libya and who are returning home today, and on the measures that we need to take as a nation to deal with the [ongoing unrest],” he said.

· President Obama’s ‘proud’ statements on improving US image might boomerang – President Obama has said that elevating the image of the United States around the world was one of his proudest foreign policy accomplishments, but those remarks could boomerang and hamper his re-election bid. The violence and anti-American protests throughout the Middle East are bringing fresh attacks on the president’s foreign policies as Muslim rage is intensifying in the region. The protests that have spread could undercut one of the key tenants of Obama’s foreign policy argument that he has restored the U.S. image in the Middle East. In February, Obama said, “One of the proudest things of my three years in office is helping to restore a sense of respect for America around the world, a belief that we are not just defined by the size of our military.” Three years ago in Cairo, Obama stressed his leadership would be dramatically different than former President George W. Bush’s: “I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition.”

· The Reality Behind the “Free Speech” Argument America and the Muslims – Thousands of angry Muslims demonstrated in front of American embassies and consulates in Egypt and Libya because of a newly released film that deliberately insulted and mockingly falsified the life of the prophet of Islam. The protests soon spread to Yemen, Tunisia, Sudan, Morocco, the Palestinian territories, Iraq, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iran, and elsewhere. Taking advantage of the chaos outside the American consulate in Benghazi, it appears that Al-Qaeda affiliates infiltrated the protesters, then attacked and firebombed the consulate building. Clearly there was no justification whatsoever for such reprehensible acts. Tragically, several innocent American officials including the U.S. ambassador in Libya died in the senseless violence that ensued. Experts believe that the violent attack was in response to the direct call by the head of Al-Qaeda, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, to avenge the killing of his deputy Abu Yahya Al-Libi who was killed by a U.S. drone attack last June. Yet, every few years the world gets tired from watching the same old inflammatory scene play out again and again. From Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses in 1989 and the Danish cartoons in 2005, to the burning of the Qur’an by a nutty Florida pastor in 2010 and the release of this highly offensive movie just days ago. According to the most credible reports, this repulsive film was written, produced, and directed by Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an extremist anti-Muslim Egyptian-American Coptic Christian in his mid-fifties. Nakoula is a felon convicted in California on bank fraud charges, for which he received a suspended 21-month sentence and was fined $790,000. According to press reports the low budget movie was filmed last year and starred sixty actors who recently released a statement stating that they were never told that the movie was about the prophet Muhammad. They also maintained that most of the offensive language was later dubbed over their images. Screened last June in a Hollywood theatre the movie was a flop that barely registered on anyone’s radar. The producer then contacted another Egyptian-American extremist Copt, Morris Sadek, 70, who for decades has led an anti-Muslim campaign in the U.S. Nakoula asked for his help in promoting and distributing the film. According to the Associated Press Sadek then contacted his friend, Florida Pastor Terry Jones, who is infamous for his calls to publicly burn the Qur’an. Even though Jones promoted the film on his website and announced that he would screen it on the anniversary of Sept. 11 as well as conduct a mock trial against the prophet Muhammad, his announcements drew very little attention from the public or the media. By early September less than 50 people had actually viewed the film’s 14-minute trailer on YouTube. Sadek, who has an extensive email list that included many Egyptian media outlets and journalists, then started promoting the Arabic version of…

· Is Washington Deaf As Well as Criminal? Stumbling Towards Nuclear War? – The morons who rule the American sheeple are not only dumb and blind, they are deaf as well. The ears of the American “superpower” only work when the Israeli Prime Minister, the crazed Netanyahu, speaks. Then Washington hears everything and rushes to comply. Israel is a tiny insignificant state, created by the careless British and the stupid Americans. It has no power except what its American protector provides. Yet, despite Israel’s insignificance, it rules Washington. When a resolution introduced by the Israel Lobby is delivered to Congress, it passes unanimously. If Israel wants war, Israel gets its wish. When Israel commits war crimes against Palestinians and Lebanon and is damned by the hundred plus UN resolutions passed against Israel’s criminal actions, the US bails Israel out of trouble with its veto. The power that tiny Israel exercises over the “world’s only superpower” is unique in history. Tens of millions of “Christians” bow down to this power, reinforcing it, moved by the exhortations of their “Christian” ministers. Netanyahu lusts for war against Iran. He strikes out against all who oppose his war lust. Recently, he called Israel’s top generals “pussies” for warning against a war with Iran. He regards former Israeli prime ministers and former heads of the Israeli intelligence service as traitors for opposing his determination to attack Iran. He has denounced America’s servile president Obama and America’s top military leader for being “soft on Iran.” The latest poll in Israel shows that a solid majority of the Israelis are opposed to an Israeli attack on Iran. But Netanyahu is uninterested in the opinion of Israeli citizens. He has Washington watching his back, so he is war mad. It is a mystery why Israelis put Netanyahu in public office instead of in an insane asylum. Netanyahu is not alone. He has the American neoconservatives in his corner. The American neoconservatives are as crazed as Netanyahu. They believe in nuclear war and are itching to nuke some Muslim country and then get on to nuking Russia and China. It is amazing that no more than two or three dozen people have the fate of the entire world in their hands. The Democratic Party is helpless before them. The Republican Party is their vehicle. The Russians, watching Netanyahu push Washington toward dangerous confrontations keep raising their voices about the danger of nuclear war. On May 17 Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned the West against launching “hasty wars,” which could result “although I do not want to scare anyone” in “the use of a nuclear weapon.” On November 30 of last year the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia warned of nuclear war with NATO. General Nikolai Makarov said that NATO’s eastward expansion meant that the risk of Russia coming into conflict with NATO had “risen sharply.” General Makarov said, “I do not rule out local and regional armed conflicts developing into a large-scale war, including using nuclear weapons.” Here is Russian president Medvedev (currently the prime minister) describing the steps toward nuclear war that Russia has taken pushed by the crazed warmongers in Washington wallowing in their insane hubris: With regard to the American missile bases on Russia’s borders, “I have made the following decisions. First, I am instructing the Defense Ministry to immediately put the missile attack early warning radar station in Kaliningrad on combat alert. Second, protective cover of Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons will be reinforced as a priority measure under the program to develop our air and space defenses. Third, the new strategic ballistic missiles commissioned by the Strategic Missile Forces and the Navy will be equipped with advanced missile defense penetration systems and new highly-effective warheads. Fourth, I have instructed the Armed Forces to draw up measures for disabling missile defense system data and guidance systems. These measures will be adequate, effective, and low-cost. Fifth, if the above measures prove insufficient, the Russian Federation will deploy modern offensive weapon systems in the west and south of the country, ensuring our ability to take out any part of the US missile defense system in Europe. One step in this process will be to deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad Region. Other measures to counter the European missile defense system will be drawn up and implemented as necessary. Furthermore, if the situation continues to develop not to Russia’s favor, we reserve the right to discontinue further disarmament and arms control measures.” Russian president Vladimir Putin has said, as politely as possible, that the US seeks to enslave the world, that the US seeks vassals, not allies, that the US seeks to rule the world and that the US is a parasite on the world economy. It would be difficult for an informed person to take exception with Putin’s statements. Putin told the politicians in Washington and Western and Eastern European capitals that surrounding Russia with anti-ballistic missiles “raises the specter of nuclear war in Europe.” Putin said that the Russian response is to point nuclear armed cruise missiles, which cannot be intercepted by anti-ballistic missiles, at the US missile bases and at European capitals. The American move, Putin said, “could trigger nuclear war.” Putin has been trying to wake up the American puppet states in Europe at least since February 13, 2007. At the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy, Putin said that the unipolar world that Washington was striving to achieve under its banner, “is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.”

· Why Bondholders Can’t – and Shouldn’t – be Paid Wall Street’s War on the Cities – The pace of Wall Street’s war against the 99% is quickening in preparation for the kill. Having demonized public employees for being scheduled to receive pensions on their lifetime employment service, bondholders are insisting on getting the money instead. It is the same austerity philosophy that has been forced on Greece and Spain – and the same that is prompting President Obama and Mitt Romney to urge scaling back Social Security and Medicare. Unlike the U.S. federal government, most states and cities have constitutions that prevent them from running budget deficits. This means that when they cut property taxes, they either must borrow from the wealthy, or cut back employment and public services. For many years they borrowed, paying tax-exempt interest to wealthy bondholders. But carrying charges on these have mounted to a point where they now look risky as the economy sinks into debt deflation. Cities are defaulting from California to Alabama. They cannot reverse course and restore taxes on property owners without causing more mortgage defaults and abandonments. Something has to give – so cities are scaling back public spending, downsizing their school systems and police forces, and selling off their assets to pay bondholders. This has become the main cause of America’s rising unemployment, helping drive down consumer demand in a Keynesian nightmare. Less obvious are the devastating cuts occurring in health care, job training and other services, while tuition rates for public colleges and “participation fees” at high schools are soaring. School systems are crumbling like our roads as teachers are jettisoned on a scale not seen since the Great Depression. Yet Wall Street strategists view this state and local budget squeeze as a godsend. As Rahm Emanuel has put matters, a crisis is too good an opportunity to waste – and the fiscal crisis gives creditors financial leverage to push through anti-labor policies and privatization grabs. The ground is being prepared for a neoliberal “cure”: cutting back pensions and health care, defaulting on pension promises to labor, and selling off the public sector, letting the new proprietors to put up tollbooths on everything from roads to schools. The new term of the moment is “rent extraction.”

· A Nationwide Epidemic The Big Lie About Police Brutality – Police brutality is in the news, thanks to the widespread availability of amateur video and the omnipresence of security cameras. We’ve seen scene after scene of police beating the crap out of, and even shooting and killing unarmed or minimally dangerous students, women, old men and crazy people, many of them after they have been handcuffed and checked for weapons. The police brass, and leading politicians who oversee the departments involved, nearly always have the same answer: This is not the norm, these are isolated incidents, police violence is not on the rise. Rarely is an abusive or murderous officer punished or even administratively disciplined for documented crimes. The thing is, of course, it is on the rise. Just as the exonerations of supposed murders and rapists are only those where there was DNA available to prove their innocence, while many more are also clearly wrongly facing death or long prison sentences, the scenes of brutality we’re seeing on the videos are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg too. What is different is that we’re seeing these things at all. It used to be that getting videos of police brutality was very rare — like the taping of the notorious police assault on the prone body of Rodney King by Los Angeles cops during a traffic stop. It just happened that someone with a video camera was at the scene when it occurred. Nowadays everyone with a cellphone is a potential videographer, so we’re seeing more of what really goes on when police make their arrests. Just check out the latest video of LAPD officers body slamming a 5’4″ nurse (two times!) who had the audacity to get out of her car when they stopped her for talking on her cell phone while driving (this particular video was taken by a surveillance camera at a store focused on the parking lot where police had followed the woman’s car). Note that one of the burly cops slamming this small handcuffed woman to the ground and later fist-bumping to celebrate with his younger partner holds the rank of commander — he’s a 20-year veteran of the LAPD.

· Libyans See al Qaeda Hand in Embassy Attack – The head of Libya’s new national congress has blamed al Qaeda-linked militants for planning Tuesday’s deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, raising further questions about the motive behind the mayhem that killed four Americans. U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal on Friday that they are investigating indications that a local group of Libyan militants, Ansar al Sharia, held a series of conversations Tuesday with al Qaeda extremists about the assault that day on the consulate, in the first sign of possible coordination in the attack between local fighters and the global terrorist movement. The statement from Mohamed Al-Magarief, broadcast Friday during an interview the Arabic broadcaster al-Jazeera, is the first time that a Libyan official has implicated the global terrorist organization in the chaotic events that raised tensions throughout the Middle East. Mr. Magarief didn’t say how far in advance the attack had been planned. He said, however, that he believes the militants went to the consulate with violence in mind.

· Israeli Foreign Ministry: U.S. ignored Arab radicalization – Foreign Ministry official on signs of ‘radicalization’ in Arab world: ‘We knew what was happening, but the Americans preferred to find excuses.’ For months before the most recent attacks on U.S. embassies in North African states, Foreign Ministry and U.S. State Department officials had been arguing over developments in these countries. Senior figures in Jerusalem claimed that Washington was burying its head in the sand and ignoring the increasing radicalization in states such as Tunisia and Egypt. The Obama administration, which since the beginning of the Arab Spring has aided, directly or indirectly, the forces that brought down the dictatorial regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Lybia, now finds itself in a position of helplessness. The attack on the consulate in Benghazi, in which the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed, and the storming of the U.S. embassies in Tunis, Sanaa and Cairo, proved the great hostility to the United States and the unwillingness of these country’s new leaders to challenge domestic public opinion. Senior Foreign Ministry officials say their conversations with their Washington counterparts have focused on what Jerusalem terms “radicalizing trends” against not only Israel but also against the United States and the West in general. One of the most recent such meetings took place a week ago, during a visit to Jerusalem by the acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, A. Elizabeth Jones. “The Americans were constantly trying to supply explanations and excuses for events in the post-revolution Arab states, and simply ignored the problems,” one senior Israeli official said, adding, “In practice the administration’s ability to affect events in the Arab world has decreased immensely.”

· Armada of British naval power massing in the Gulf as Israel prepares an Iran strike – An armada of US and British naval power is massing in the Persian Gulf in the belief that Israel is considering a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s covert nuclear weapons program. Battleships, aircraft carriers, minesweepers and submarines from 25 nations are converging on the strategically important Strait of Hormuz in an unprecedented show of force as Israel and Iran move towards the brink of war. Western leaders are convinced that Iran will retaliate to any attack by attempting to mine or blockade the shipping lane through which passes around 18 million barrels of oil every day, approximately 35 per cent of the world’s petroleum traded by sea. A blockade would have a catastrophic effect on the fragile economies of Britain, Europe the United States and Japan, all of which rely heavily on oil and gas supplies from the Gulf. The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most congested international waterways. It is only 21 miles wide at its narrowest point and is bordered by the Iranian coast to the north and the United Arab Emirates to the south. In preparation for any pre-emptive or retaliatory action by Iran, warships from more than 25 countries, including the United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, will today begin an annual 12-day exercise.

· Loveland school seizes rosary beads from student, says they’re ‘gang symbol’ – A student is questioning whether his faith or his fashion is under fire at his high school in Loveland. Thompson Valley High School officials have confiscated his rosary beads twice since school started three weeks ago. And he says they never told him, or his family, why. “They tell me I can’t wear them,” says Manuel Vigil, showing us an identical rosary to the one seized by his school. The junior says he wears rosary beads to protect himself from harm. But his school district thinks the religious necklace will harm students. “That’s typically not what we want for a safe environment for school,” says Thompson Valley School District spokesperson Margaret Crespo. The district says they can be affiliated with gangs, and disrupt learning. “Are you in a gang? I ask Vigil. ‘No. I’m not in a gang,’ he says. You’re a good student? ‘I’m a good student,’” he says. The 16-year-old says he and his family are strong Catholics. “I use them for prayer. I feel safe when I have them on.” The district says it gave Vigil options before seizing the beads. “We’ve given you two opportunities to take it off or to put it inside your shirt. That’s not something you’re interested in doing. You’re not giving us an alternative than to remove it,” Crespo says Vigil was told. But Vigil says he only got a demand. “If he would have given me that option, I would have put it in my shirt,” he says. Vigil’s classmates agree putting a bad label on a good symbol is wrong. “If it’s for religious reasons he should be allowed to wear it. We have religious tolerance in this country,” says a freshman student Jack. “It’s a necklace. Girls wear necklaces all the time and they never get them taken away,” says junior Rachel.

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What’s Up: September 14, 2012

If you want to read the entire article click on the title. Enjoy as the world turns.

· Cleverest Remark on DNC and Clinton – Yesterday, the DNC had to pretend it had a 2/3 vote to assert that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and for the inclusion of the phrase, “God-given gifts” into their national platform, because three attempts to vote couldn’t bring it. Whether it was the “God” language or the “Jerusalem” language they resisted more is hard to say. But the nays seem to have it it. And then, of course, the mob boo’ed, jeered and hissed. Later, Bill Clinton came out and did what Bill Clinton does better than almost anyone. This morning, appeared on my Facebook wall the cleverest remark about it all: “So, after they denied God three times, the cock crowed; what next?”

· Obama the demigod comes down to Earth – It began, like the Obama presidency itself, with the loftiest of hopes and the greatest of expectations. The Democratic National Convention was to have opened here Monday with a festival at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, where, convention officials said, some 100,000 people would participate in a Labor Day festival that demonstrated the party’s openness and inclusion. After a couple of nights at the Time Warner Cable Arena, the convention was to have closed with President Obama’s acceptance speech at the Bank of America Stadium, where convention officials were planning to squeeze nearly 6,000 seats onto the field to expand the stadium’s capacity beyond its usual 74,000. But the speedway event was canceled — ostensibly because of logistical problems but more likely because convention fundraising was running low. Then the Democrats canceled the stadium event in favor of the smaller arena — ostensibly because of “severe thunderstorm” concerns but more likely because they couldn’t be sure enough people would come to fill the stadium. In fact, the forecast hadn’t called for severe weather, and conditions were fine Thursday night. The change caused thousands to be turned away, and the crush of crowds at the arena led authorities at one point to lock down the building for a second straight night – leaving some delegates on the street while lobbyists enjoyed the proceedings inside. It was quite a comedown from that heady night in Denver four years ago when Obama accepted the nomination in front of about 80,000 at Invesco Field. The candidate, on a stage set resembling a Greek temple, spoke about remaking the nation and the world.

· Obama: ‘You’ll Love Me Even More’ – AUDIENCE MEMBER: “We love you, Obama!”

THE PRESIDENT: “I love you back. But let me tell you the fourth thing — you’ll love me even more. (Laughter.) “Fourth, my plan would reduce our deficit without sticking it to the middle class. Independent analysis has shown that my plan would cut deficits by $4 trillion. And I’ve already worked with the Republicans in Congress to cut a trillion dollars’ worth of spending, because those of us who care about what government can do to help people give them a ladder up. “

· Gun Sales Surge: An Obama Bounce? – The gun business is booming. The question is, why? Smith & Wesson stock Friday was zooming, thanks to a stellar earnings report. The firearms maker also boosted its outlook for the rest of the year. Because of the strong business, its backlog of orders more than doubled from the same quarter last year, the company is concentrating on boosting production and building inventory.

“We are underserving the market at this moment, we all know that, and that’s a great opportunity going forward for us,” CEO James Debney said in a conference call with analysts. And another gun maker, Sturm, Ruger & Co., also hit a milestone of sorts in terms of meeting consumer demand. It produced its one-millionth gun of the year…well ahead of last year’s pace. “It took us nearly all of 2011 to build one million firearms, but in 2012 we accomplished it on August 15th,” said Ruger President and CEO Mike Fifer in a statement. What’s driving the demand that has gun makers cranking up production? Speculation has focused on fears of a coming regulatory crackdown on gun ownership. Liberal administrations tend to be anti-gun and so, the thinking goes, an Obama re-election would set the stage for stricter gun purchasing requirements. Hence, people are buying now in anticipation of difficulty later.

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· Pelosi denies muting Obama on phone call – House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is denying one of the juiciest stories in Bob Woodward’s new book — that she once muted President Obama during a conference call. In “The Price of Politics,” Woodward reports that Pelosi pressed the mute button on a speakerphone as Obama spoke to congressional allies about efforts to pass the 2009 stimulus. The book, which hits bookstores Tuesday, also says that Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have often been impatient with Obama (and vice-versa). Woodward writes about the 2009 conference call: “Warming to his subject, he (Obama) continued with an uplifting speech. Pelosi reached over and pressed the mute button. They could hear Obama, but now he couldn’t hear them. The president continued speaking, his disembodied voice filling the room, and the two leaders got back to the hard numbers.”

· Ohio Dem accuses Jewish Republican of being “candidate of the big lie” – Senator Sherrod Brown’s campaign issued a new attack ad Friday against his rival, Republican Josh Mandel. In it, the Ohio Democrat accuses Mandel of using the “big lie” strategy in his campaign. The term “big lie” was coined by Adolf Hitler and is commonly associated with Nazi propaganda. Mandel is Jewish. The ad states: “Josh Mandel: He has become the candidate of the big lie.” It cites a Columbus Dispatch columnist as the source for the quote. It argues that Mandel has made numerous false statements about his career as state treasurer, among other distortions. Brown’s ad does not specifically mention Nazis, but the term “big lie” is still closely identified with them. Earlier this week, John Burton, chairman of the California delegation to the Democrats’ Charlotte convention, was criticized when he compared Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan to the Nazis and referenced the “big lie.”

· White House draft cyber order promotes voluntary critical infrastructure protections – The White House so far has failed to get a bill passed by both houses of Congress to improve the cybersecurity of the nation’s critical infrastructure, so they want to take an alternative approach. The administration has created a draft executive order detailing how, within its authority, it would improve the information assurance of the nation’s critical infrastructure, such as the power grid and financial industries. The draft EO includes eight sections, including the requirement to develop a way for industry to submit threat and vulnerability data to the government. The draft EO, which Federal News Radio viewed a draft copy of, closely follows the second version of comprehensive cyber legislation introduced by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in July. The draft order gives agencies several deadlines to meet, either by writing reports or creating and implementing frameworks. For instance, 90 days after the EO is signed by President Barack Obama, the cybersecurity council — led by the Homeland Security Department secretary — must develop a report to determine which agencies should regulate which parts of the critical infrastructure. The creation of the council is in section 2 of the draft EO. Under earlier cyber bills, DHS would take the lead in regulation and that concerned some lawmakers and experts. It was a major sticking point in moving forward with a vote on a comprehensive bill. “An executive order is one of a number of measures we’re considering as we look to implement the President’s direction to do absolutely everything we can to better protect our nation against today’s cyber threats,” said a National Security Council spokeswoman in an email statement. “We are not going to comment on ongoing internal deliberations.”

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· Chicago teachers strike for first time in 25 years – Striking teachers marched across the city on Monday as some parents chafed at the disruption and school officials scrambled to find places for displaced students to spend their day. About 26,000 teachers and support staff went on strike — the Chicago’s first since 1987 — after contract talks broke down late Sunday. The key issues: salaries and benefits, job security and teacher evaluation systems. Talks resumed Monday. “I do believe that we are down to the last few issues,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday at Maranatha Church, which is offering activities to students. “This is, in my view, a strike of choice, and it’s the wrong choice for our children.” The remaining issues, he said, are teacher evaluations and job security. “Stay at the table, finish it for our children,” he said. Emily Lee, 31, a mother of two public school students, had a message for striking teachers: “Get back to work. The city is broke, children are getting murdered in the streets and education is the answer.”

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· Gallup, Rasmussen: Obama up by 5 points – A pair of daily tracking polls Monday give President Obama 5-point advantages over Mitt Romney, maintaining leads in the wake of last week’s Democratic convention. Gallup has Obama up 49%-44%. The Rasmussen daily tracking poll puts Obama ahead, 50%-45%.

· Bike-lane Cultural Revolution pokes along in some cities – Portland, Ore., can seem like paradise to bikers in other parts of the country with less well-developed cycling infrastructure. Though American cities are slowly making way for bicycles, the battle in many areas is hard-fought on both sides. Many drivers feel bikes take precious space on already bursting streets. Cyclists say they are subject to abuse and even attack when they claim their equal right to the roads. Andrea Trabelsi, 29, of Newark, Del., commutes by bicycle a few times a month to her job north of Wilmington, Del. It takes her about an hour to ride 10 miles, mostly on congested roads. She doesn’t recommend it to the faint of heart. “There are some jerks out there that will get right up behind you and show their annoyance at you,” Trabelsi says. It’s an attitude Matt Holloway, 43, owner of Henry’s Bicycle Shop near Newark, Del., is familiar with. “Some people don’t think bikes should be on the roads, they should be on the sidewalks,” Holloway says. “They need to educate our younger drivers.”

· FBI’s Sinister New $1 Billion Project Will Track Everyone By Their Face – How would you feel if the government could easily track your movements by automatically identifying your face on images captured by the ever-growing network of CCTV of cameras in America? The FBI is will be able to do just that soon, with its one-billion-dollar Next Generation Identification program. The FBI has been pursuing their new people identification project for years now, working with both Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions and IBM. The Bureau argues that the project’s goal “is to reduce terrorist and criminal activities by improving and expanding biometric identification and criminal history information services through research, evaluation, and implementation of advanced technology.” That’s all good in my book, although I have my doubts about its actual efficacy for new criminals. But, while modernizing the networking between local, state and federal agencies to speed up the identification of criminals through new fingerprint analysis and databases is great, there are other biometric parameters that may be easily abused. Chief among them: facial identification. With this system, the FBI and its collaborating administrations would be able to apply facial identification to any image source. Using a much more sophisticated version of the technology found in Facebook or iPhoto, law enforcement agents would be able to quickly go through catalogs of mug shots, images of tattoos or even street photos in search of specific individuals. And of course, that includes an expansive network of CCTV cameras that dot landscapes and street corners across the country.

· Soft on Wall Street, Dems weak on corporate crime – Among the many falsehoods pushed at last week’s Democratic Convention is that this is the party of the people, unafraid to hold Corporate America responsible for its many ills. Judging by the records of the last two Democratic administrations, just the opposite appears to be true. Certainly, President Obama and, to some extent, Bill Clinton like to talk a good game in terms of class warfare, but under both men, real corporate crime-fighting has been at best a side issue — despite the immense amounts of white-collar fraud their administrations faced. In fact, neither Obama nor Clinton can hold a candle to the corporate crime-fighting record of George W. Bush, that supposed lapdog for large corporate interests. Consider: As we near the four-year anniversary of the financial crisis, not a single Wall Street fat cat has been charged with violations of securities laws in connection with the 2008 collapse. Then we have the outlandish case of MF Global, the brokerage firm run into the ground nearly a year ago by Obama’s pal and campaign-cash bundler, Jon Corzine. It isn’t just that the former Goldman Sachs CEO and New Jersey governor took outsized trading risks that destroyed the firm; his firm appears to have misused and lost $1.6 billion in customer funds in the process. Under securities laws, those customer funds were supposed to be kept sacrosanct — yet not a single MF Global employee, much less Corzine, has been charged in the matter by the Obama Justice Department or the Securities and Exchange Commission. For obvious reasons, Clinton’s putrid record on corporate crime went unmentioned as he rewrote history during his speech.

· Brad Pitt: Why my mother is wrong about Barack Obama and gay marriage – Brad Pitt’s mother, Jane, threw her support behind Mitt Romney earlier this year, criticizing Barack Obama for his liberal views on same-sex marriage. However, the Hollywood star tells Mandrake that the American president retains his vote. “I am an Obama supporter and I’m backing his election campaign,” Pitt says at a screening of his forthcoming film Killing Them Softly, at the Mayfair Hotel in London. “Gay marriage is inevitable. The next generation, they get it. It is just a matter of time before it becomes a reality.” Jane Pitt called on Christian voters to accept the Republican Romney, who is a Mormon. She said she would be happy to vote for a “family man with high morals” who shares “Christian conviction” on homosexuality over the likes of Obama. The star of Ocean’s Eleven said in 2006 said that he would not marry Angelina Jolie until America allowed same-sex unions. Pitt and Jolie announced their engagement in April. The following month, Obama declared his support for homosexual marriage.

· Inside story of Obama’s struggle to keep Congress from controlling outcome of debt ceiling crisis – President Obama summoned the top four congressional leaders to the White House on Saturday morning, July 23, 2011. The night before, House Speaker John A. Boehner had withdrawn from negotiations to raise the $14 trillion federal debt limit and save the government from a catastrophic default. “Nobody wanted to be there,” Boehner later recalled. “The president’s still pissed.” They had about 10 days left before the government would run out of money. Given the global importance of U.S. Treasury securities, failing to extend the debt limit could trigger a worldwide economic meltdown. Boehner said he believed that he and the others — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — had a plan. He told Obama: We think we can work this out. Give us a little more time. We’ll come back to you. We are not going to negotiate this with you. Obama objected, saying that he couldn’t be left out of the process. “I’ve got to sign this bill,” he reminded the leaders as they sat in the Cabinet Room off the Oval Office. “Mr. President,” Boehner challenged, “as I read the Constitution, the Congress writes the laws. You get to decide if you want to sign them.” Reid, the most powerful Democrat on Capitol Hill, spoke up. The congressional leaders want to speak privately, he said. Give us some time. This was it. Congress was taking over. The leaders were asking the president to leave the meeting he had called in the White House. Fine, Obama said. Talk. Knock yourselves out. There is no pride of authorship here, just do it — if you can. How did it feel, I asked the president in an interview on July 11, 2012, to be voted off the island in his own house? “I’m not concerned about protocol,” he said. His concern was “an end run around the White House.” Before the meeting, without telling Obama, the four leaders had tentatively agreed on the framework of a deal. The congressional plan guaranteed that the debt limit would have to be revisited during the 2012 presidential campaign, and Obama was insisting that any agreement would have to take the country through the election. Around 10 p.m., Obama called Boehner, who was at dinner with friends. I am not going to sign a bill that requires me to deal with the debt ceiling a second time before the election, the president told him. He was furious. Listen,” Boehner said he told Obama, “I understand it. All right? But you’re not going to have a choice. We’ve got an agreement.”

· Why is Obama skipping more than half of his daily intelligence meetings? – President Obama is touting his foreign policy experience on the campaign trail, but startling new statistics suggest that national security has not necessarily been the personal priority the president makes it out to be. It turns out that more than half the time, the commander in chief does not attend his daily intelligence meeting. The Government Accountability Institute, a new conservative investigative research organization, examined President Obama’s schedule from the day he took office until mid-June 2012, to see how often he attended his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) — the meeting at which he is briefed on the most critical intelligence threats to the country. During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his PDB just 536 times — or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent — falling to just over 38 percent. By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting. The speaker recalled, “He was moaning and groaning and whining and demanding. threatening. . . . He was pretty desperate.” Obama again said he would veto such a bill. We’re too close to default to reopen the talks, Boehner said. Congress is going to move forward on its own.

· Panetta: Navy SEAL writer should be punished – Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is suggesting some kind of punishment for the retired Navy SEAL who wrote a book about the Osama bin Laden military operation. “I think we have to take steps to make clear to him and to the American people that we’re not going to accept this kind of behavior,” Panetta said today on CBS This Morning. Panetta said that “people who are part of that operation — who commit themselves to the promise that they will not reveal the sensitive operations and not publish anything without bringing it through the Pentagon, so that we can ensure that it doesn’t reveal sensitive information — when they fail to do that, we have got to make sure that they stand by the promise they made to this country.” Written under the pseudonym Mark Owen, the book details the nighttime raid into Pakistan that killed bin Laden in May 2011. Panetta said people do have a right to know about this operation, and that’s why “the president spoke to the American people when that operation happened. And, yes, you know, they have a right to know that there were those that put their lives on the line in order to conduct that operation.’

· Cairo protesters scale U.S. Embassy wall, remove flag

clip_image009 Egyptian demonstrators climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo today and pulled down the American flag to protest a film they say is insulting to the prophet Mohammad. CNN reports that U.S. security guards fired a volley of warning shots as the crowd gathered outside the embassy walls. CNN adds that the embassy had been expecting a demonstration and cleared all diplomatic personnel earlier from the facility.

· The Deafness Before the Storm – IT was perhaps the most famous presidential briefing in history. On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal. On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief — and only that daily brief — in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack. Administration officials dismissed the document’s significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda’s history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity.

· German Court Won’t Delay Bailout Fund Ruling – Germany’s Constitutional Court said on Tuesday it would not postpone its long-awaited ruling on the legality of the euro zone’s bailout fund, despite a last-minute legal challenge by a Eurosceptic lawmaker. The court said it would go ahead with Wednesday’s ruling on the legality of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the fiscal compact for budget discipline, whose implementation has been delayed for months by the German judges. The Constitutional Court issued a brief statement saying the ruling at 10 am on Wednesday “will go ahead as scheduled”, meaning conservative lawmaker Peter Gauweiler’s last-minute challenge would not cause further delays.

clip_image010The court in Karlsruhe did not go into the merits of his complaint, lodged at the weekend after the European Central Bank announced its plans for unlimited purchases of bonds of crisis-hit euro states to reduce their borrowing costs. He argues that Germany should not ratify the ESM until the ECB rows back on the bond-buying plan which he sees as a threat to the German budget. The constitutional court should therefore possibly postpone its decision on the fund, he said.

· Chicago Teachers Challenge Emanuel With Walkout – Chicago teachers struck today, closing classrooms for about 400,000 students and prompting Mayor Rahm Emanuel to stop raising money for President Barack Obama’s re-election so he may devote time to settling the city’s first walkout in 25 years. Months of tension erupted into open hostility last night when Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, called the work stoppage in the nation’s third-largest district. The teachers’ contract expired in June, and negotiations broke down over health benefits and job security. About 5 p.m., thousands of strike supporters gathered at school headquarters in the Loop business district waving placards and chanting; talks with the union, which represents 26,000 teachers and other workers, continued.

· Teachers Union Boss: ‘We’re Still Kilometers Apart’ – With negotiators for the Chicago Teachers Union and the Chicago Public Schools focusing almost entirely on a new teacher evaluation system on Tuesday, CTU President Karen Lewis sounded doubtful that a deal to end the ongoing teachers’ strike would be done within the next day. “We have been working hard on evaluations all day. There has not been as much movement as we would hope,” Lewis said shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday. “There’s been – let’s put it this way, centimeters, and we’re still kilometers apart.” CTU teachers have been on strike since Monday, and have been negotiating with the Emanuel administration on a daily basis, with no deal in sight.

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· President Obama’s Campaign Trashes ‘2016: Obama’s America’ – Perhaps the president was hoping 2016: Obama’s America would come and go unnoticed like so many other political documentaries. But seven weeks after its opening, the film is still going strong, prompting Barack Obama to finally respond, which he has done through a lengthy entry at his campaign’s website that calls the movie “a deliberate distortion” of his “record and world view.” The entry at BarackObama.com quotes from several negative reviews of the film and claims Dinesh D’Souza, who stars in the film based on his book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage, has a “long history of attempting to add a veneer of intellectual respectability to fringe theories, conspiratorial fear-mongering and flat-out falsehoods.” The entry is dated Sept. 5, just ahead of the weekend in which 2016: Obama’s America became the second-highest-grossing political documentary in history, behind only Fahrenheit 9/11, and the sixth-biggest documentary of any kind. The movie has earned $26 million domestically since opening July 13.

· White House Got Some Say Over Journalist’s Obama Story – Vanity Fair writer Michael Lewis agreed to allow the White House to approve the quotations he used from President Barack Obama in his story about the president in this month’s magazine. “Like other journalists who write about Washington and presidential politics, Mr. Lewis said that he had to submit to the widespread but rarely disclosed practice of quote approval,” reports the New York Times. During a discussion at Lincoln Center on Monday night with Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair, Mr. Lewis volunteered to the audience that as a condition of cooperating with his story, the White House insisted on signing off on the quotes that would appear. Mr. Lewis said that ultimately the White House disallowed very little of what he asked to use. And he described having access to the president that was unusually unfettered. About 95 percent of what he witnessed was on the record, he said.

· MSNBC host: ‘Who’s More Dangerous, the Supreme Leader in Tehran or Netanyahu?’ – “Morning Joe” host Mike Barnicle asked Joe Klein if Ayatollah Ali Khamenei or Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is more dangerous Wednesday morning. MIKE BARNICLE: Who is the more dangerous player on the world stage right now, the supreme leader in Tehran or Bibi Netanyahu? (UNCLEAR): Don’t answer that. JOE KLEIN: It’s not Netanyahu. the supreme leader is a fascist. and he right now is causing great pain to his people in a way that Bibi Netanyahu never would. DONNY DEUTSCH: I understand the point of your question, but that was a silly question. SCARBOROUGH: That was a clown question, bro. LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: One point we know with Netanyahu, as Joe can tell you, anybody’s who’s been in the room with Netanyahu, you don’t have to be with him long to know that there’s only one way, only one way, to get along with him and that is to agree with every single word he says, which Mitt Romney apparently does.

· US ambassador to Libya killed in Benghazi attack – The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three embassy staff were killed in an attack on the Benghazi consulate and a safe house refuge, stormed by Islamist gunmen blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad. Gunmen attacked and set fire to the U.S. consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, the cradle of last year’s U.S.-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule. Another assault was mounted on the U.S. embassy in Cairo. U.S. President Barack Obama branded it an “outrageous attack” and ordered increased security at U.S. diplomatic posts worldwide. Violence also threatened to spread to other Muslim countries. By nightfall on Wednesday, 24 hours after the attacks in Egypt and Libya, police were firing teargas at angry demonstrators outside the U.S. embassy in Tunisia. The attacks could alter U.S. attitudes towards the wave of revolutions across the Arab world, which toppled secularist authoritarian leaders in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, bringing Islamists to power. The violence could influence a close-fought U.S. presidential election, in which Obama’s challenger Mitt Romney has accused him of not defending U.S. interests robustly enough.

· How the media turned Obama’s foreign policy bungle into a Romney gaffe – We’re still learning more details about the events leading up to and surrounding the attacks by Islamic radicals on the U.S. consulate in Libya and embassy in Egypt, but the media has already agreed on one thing: Mitt Romney is the political loser. “Unless the Romney campaign has gamed this crisis out in some manner completely invisible to the Gang of 500, his doubling down on criticism of the President for the statement coming out of Cairo is likely to be seen as one of the most craven and ill-advised tactical moves in this entire campaign,” opined Time’s Mark Halperin. That instant conventional wisdom is a pretty fortunate turn of events for Obama, given that it diverted focus from his administration’s bungled handling of the entire situation and the failure of his broader foreign policy posture. When President Obama came into his office, he vowed to repair the damage to the U.S. image abroad that was done by the Bush administration. In April 2009, less than three months into his presidency, he boasted to the Turkish government of having ordered the closure of Guantanamo Bay and prohibited the use of torture. “The United States is still working through some of our own darker periods in our history,” he went on, referring to the legacies of slavery, segregation and the treatment of Native Americans. In June, Obama delivered a speech in Cairo in which he called for “a new beginning” between the U.S. and the Muslim world. Taken together, such instances became known in conservative circles as the “apology tour.” Though fact checkers have pointed out that Obama never literally issued an apology, it’s clear that Obama was trying to make a break with the past. Especially in the Middle East, he wanted to send the signal that his approach would be more conciliatory and sensitive to Islamic values than what preceded it. Yet, on Tuesday, the breach of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Sept. 11 and replacement of the American flag with one resembling the flag of al Qaeda represented an example of the type of anti-American sentiment that Obama’s more conciliatory posture was meant to quell. Later, we learned that an American ambassador had been killed in an attack in Libya, along with three other diplomats.

· Egypt to take legal action in US against Prophet film makers – Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi asked the Egyptian embassy in Washington to take legal action in the United States against makers of a film attacking the Muslim Prophet Mohammad, the official state news agency said on Wednesday. Morsi had requested the mission take “all legal measures”, the MENA agency said, without giving further details on what that might involve. (Reuters)

· Libya commemorates 9/11 – When President Obama intervened in Libya last year, he claimed that “it’s in our national interest to act” to remove a tyrant who — in response to Bush’s invasion of Iraq — had just given up his weapons of mass destruction and pledged to be America’s BFF. Apparently Gadhafi neglected to also tell Obama, “I’ve got your back.” Obama said: “We must stand alongside those who believe in the same core principles that have guided us through many storms … our support for a set of universal rights, including the freedom for people to express themselves and choose their leaders; our support for the governments that are ultimately responsive to the aspirations of the people.” The Libyan mob was the equivalent of our founding fathers! (If you overlook the part about it being a murderous Islamic mob.) Meanwhile, Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit, said: “The people we are fighting for in Libya, the backbone of that movement, are former mujahedeen from around the world.” We are “enabling people who may not be formally aligned with al-Qaida but who want the same things to grasp ever closer to power.”

· Humiliation and Rage in Libya – Al-Nass (The People), and other television channels of “Satellite Salafism,” broadcast news of a year old mediocre film trailer about the life of the Prophet Mohammad, made by an Israeli-Californian and championed by a Florida-based Christian pastor. Across the waters, radicals spurred each other on. The reactions in Cairo and Benghazi were swift. Crowds formed in front of the US embassy in Egypt and the US consulate in Libya, storming them, and, in Benghazi, a rocket-fired grenade – it seems – killed four US officials, including the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens. The crowds in both Cairo and Benghazi included not only radical Islamists, but also groups such as Egypt’s Ultras, the soccer fan club that played an important role in the 2011 revolution. The media has concentrated on the presence of bearded men and black flags to paint these protests as the work of Salafis, and to point the finger at Ansar al-Shariah and other fringe groups. The black flag (the banner of the eagle) does not, of course, belong solely to al-Qaeda or even to Islamic radicalism. It has become a commonplace symbol used by those who want a more robust Islamic presence in the public sphere as well as by those who want to live under an Islamic theocracy. Both claim the flag, so its presence is not conclusive about the currents that took part in this, and other such events. It will take time to fully understand the roots of such violent acts, after careful forensic reporting on those who came to the protests. Nevertheless, some preliminary observations can be made regarding the ongoing social convulsions, at least in the Libyan case.

· White House clarifies Obama’s statement that Egypt is not an ‘ally’ – President Barack Obama didn’t intend to signal any change in the U.S.-Egypt relationship last night when he said Egypt is not an “ally,” the White House told The Cable today. In an interview with Telemundo Wednesday night, Obama said that the U.S. relationship with the new Egyptian government was a “work in progress,” and emphasized that the United States is counting on the government of Egypt to better protect the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, which was attacked by protesters on Sept. 11. “I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy,” Obama said. “They’re a new government that is trying to find its way. They were democratically elected. I think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident.” That comment had Egypt watchers scratching their heads, especially since technically, Egypt was designated as a Major Non-NATO Ally in 1989 when Congress first passed the law creating that status, which gives them special privileges in cooperating with the United States, especially in the security and technology arenas. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told The Cable Thursday that the administration is not signaling a change in that status. “I think folks are reading way too much into this,” Vietor said. “‘Ally’ is a legal term of art. We don’t have a mutual defense treaty with Egypt like we do with our NATO allies. But as the president has said, Egypt is longstanding and close partner of the United States, and we have built on that foundation by supporting Egypt’s transition to democracy and working with the new government.” Vietor referred to Obama’s Wednesday phone call with Mohamed Morsy, during which Obama pressed the Egyptian president to ensure the safety and protection of U.S. personnel and facilities in Egypt. Morsy agreed to do so, according to a White House statement on the phone call. “The President said that he rejects efforts to denigrate Islam, but underscored that there is never any justification for violence against innocents and acts that endanger American personnel and facilities,” the statement said. “President Morsi expressed his condolences for the tragic loss of American life in Libya and emphasized that Egypt would honor its obligation to ensure the safety of American personnel.”

· Fed Pulls Trigger, to Buy Mortgages in Effort to Lower Rates

clip_image013 The Federal Reserve fulfilled expectations of more stimulus for the faltering economy, taking aim now at driving down mortgage rates until an improvement in unemployment that the central bank says will be a problem for several years. The Fed said it will buy $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities per month in an attempt to foster a nascent recovery in the real estate market. The purchases will be open-ended, meaning that they will continue until the Fed is satisfied that economic conditions, primarily in unemployment, improve. “There’s strong hints that they’ll do Treasury is next,” Joe LaVorgna, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Advisors, said in a phone interview from London. “They’re pulling out all the stops to try to get this economy to gain some traction and, most important, to get unemployment down.” The stock market, which had been slightly positive prior to the decision, shortly after 12:30 p.m., surged while bond yields, particularly farther out on the curve, jumped higher. Gold and other metals gained at least 1 percent across the board while the dollar slid against most global currencies. Enacting the third leg of quantitative easing, or QE3, will take the Fed’s money creation past the $3 trillion level since it began the process in 2008.

· Man behind anti-Islam film reportedly is Egyptian-born ex-con – Federal authorities have concluded that a 55-year-old Egypt-born Coptic Christian man living in the Los Angeles area was the key figure behind the anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims,” blamed for sparking riots and protests in the Middle East, the Associated Press reported Thursday, quoting an unidentified U.S. law enforcement official. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who the AP said is on probation after being convicted of financial crimes, also was twice sentenced to jail after being found guilty of intent to manufacture methamphetamine in the late 1990s, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office told NBC News. Court records show that Nakoula also was convicted on federal fraud charges in Los Angeles in 2010. As part of the conditions of his probation, Nakoula was barred from using “any online service at any location” without the prior approval of his probation officer, according to a copy of court records in the case. Federal law enforcement officials are investigating whether Nakoula violated his probation on federal fraud charges in his efforts to promote the movie, an official has confirmed to NBC News.

· Jimmy Carter Corrects Obama – President Carter spoke to Drake University in Des Moines and was asked if he agrees with what Obama said about Egypt: Carter: “Egypt is an ally of the US, we know Egypt well.” President Obama had earlier stated during an interview: Obama: ‘You know, I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we do not consider them an enemy.‘ Carter went on to talk about Egypt’s new President, Carter says he knows him well and has met with him. Carter said Egypt’s president is dedicated to peace and truly a democratic government.

· Social Security and Disability Payments Hit Annual Records—With Month Left in FY – By the end of August, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Treasury, the federal government had already paid out record annual amounts in both Social Security and disability benefits during fiscal 2012—even though there was still a month left in the year. In fiscal 2011–which ended on Sept. 30, 2011—the federal government paid a total of $591.492 billion in benefits from the Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement (MTS) for September 2011. Through just the end of August of this year, according to the MTS, the federal government had paid $594.643 in benefits from the Old Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund. That means the government had paid $3.151 billion more in Social Security benefits in just the first eleven months of this fiscal year than it paid in all of fiscal 2011. The $591.492 billion in Social Security benefits the government paid out last year was, up until then, the most the most the government had ever been paid in Social Security benefits in any fiscal year since the Social Security program started paying benefits in 1940.

· ‘Whose Democratic Party?’ – A new advertisement scheduled to run in Florida makes the case that President Obama has pushed the Democratic Party to embrace anti-Israel policies, according to a copy of the ad obtained by the Free Beacon. In the coming days, the Emergency Committee for Israel, a pro-Israel advocacy organization, will release an ad entitled, “Whose Democratic Party?” The spot, which will air during Sunday’s football game between the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders in what is being described as a “significant ad buy,” accuses Obama of leading his party to weaken the U.S.-Israel alliance. Coming on the heels of the Democrat’s controversial omission and contentious reinsertion of language in the party platform declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the ECI ad asks voters: “Is this still your Democratic Party?” Following footage of DNC delegates vociferously booing the pro-Israel declaration, the ad reminds viewers in the critical swing state that the Obama administration has on multiple occasions refused to state that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. ECI Executive Director Noah Pollak told the Free Beacon that ECI wants Democratic voters to ask themselves if they are comfortable with the party’s direction under Obama.

· Revealed: inside story of US envoy’s assassination – The killings of the US ambassador to Libya and three of his staff were likely to have been the result of a serious and continuing security breach, The Independent can reveal. American officials believe the attack was planned, but Chris Stevens had been back in the country only a short while and the details of his visit to Benghazi, where he and his staff died, were meant to be confidential. The US administration is now facing a crisis in Libya. Sensitive documents have gone missing from the consulate in Benghazi and the supposedly secret location of the “safe house” in the city, where the staff had retreated, came under sustained mortar attack. Other such refuges across the country are no longer deemed “safe”. Some of the missing papers from the consulate are said to list names of Libyans who are working with Americans, putting them potentially at risk from extremist groups, while some of the other documents are said to relate to oil contracts. According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and “lockdown”, under which movement is severely restricted. Mr. Stevens had been on a visit to Germany, Austria and Sweden and had just returned to Libya when the Benghazi trip took place with the US embassy’s security staff deciding that the trip could be undertaken safely. Eight Americans, some from the military, were wounded in the attack which claimed the lives of Mr. Stevens, Sean Smith, an information officer, and two US Marines. All staff from Benghazi have now been moved to the capital, Tripoli, and those whose work is deemed to be non-essential may be flown out of Libya.

· Teamsters leader compares GOP to Cambodian dictator – Teamsters President James Hoffa on Thursday compared the Republican Party to genocidal Cambodian leader Pol Pot and likened the tea party to the John Birch Society. In remarks before the National Press Club, the fiery Detroit-born leader in his fourth term of running the 1.4-million member union also said the future of organized labor is at stake. He said the GOP at its national convention in Tampa, Fla., two weeks ago didn’t talk about “what they really believe in” or highlight former leaders like President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. “The Republicans are rewriting history,” Hoffa said, saying the party is ignoring Bush’s eight years in office. “There is no eight years. There was no recession. There were no wars. Nothing ever happened during those eight years.” The GOP wants to suggest “history began” with President Barack Obama and ignores all of the problems before 2009. “We’re starting from Day One. It’s like Pol Pot — basically starts the Day One, the new calendars.” Pol Pot led the Khmer Rouge which was responsible for the deaths of about 2 million people in Cambodia. Hoffa said the GOP has become “the far, far right.”

· Why You’re a Lot Poorer Than You Thought You Were – You’re a lot poorer than you thought you were. According to a report by Sentier Research “real median annual household income… has fallen by 4.8 percent since the ‘economic recovery’ began in June 2009.” That’s worse than the 2.6 percent decline that took place during the recession itself. (between July 2007 to June 2009) All told–from the beginning of the slump in 2007 until today–median household income has dropped an eye watering 7.2 percent. (“Changes in Household Income During the Economic Recovery: June 2009 to June 2012″, Sentier Research) Like I said, you’re a lot poorer than you thought you were. The Sentier Research report comes on the heels of a similar report from the Fed which was released in June showing that middle class families saw a nearly 40 percent decline in their net worth between the years 2007 to 2010. The Fed’s 80-page tri-annual Survey of Consumer Finances, points to the Great Recession as the putative cause of the overall decline in wealth, but the Fed’s lopsided policies could be as easily blamed. Low interest rates, lax lending standards and outright fraud generated asset-price bubbles that wiped out 2 decades of economic gains for working people in the US.

· How Mitt Dodged the Draft – May 1966. Mitt Romney is just finishing his first—and only—year at Stanford. I’m a 32-year-old ex-Strategic Air Command navigator and intelligence officer, now an associate professor in Stanford’s English Department and something of an anti-Vietnam War activist. About a quarter of a million young American men are already being abducted each year to fight the rapidly-escalating Vietnam War. Many college students, however, are protected by their 2S student deferments, which blatantly discriminate against all those millions of other young men unable to afford college. As if this privileging of the relatively privileged were not sufficient, an outcry about “inequity” arises from administrations of some elite universities. Since the 2S deferment is contingent on relatively high class rank (meaning, of course, academic class rank), they argue that this unfairly discriminates against some of the “best” students, i. e., all those attending schools like Stanford. A man in the bottom quarter at an elite university might end up being drafted, even though he might be more “intelligent” than a man in the top quarter of some state college. To address such claims of injustice, the Selective Service was rolling out that month the College Qualification Test, a.k.a. the Selective Service Examination, an “objective” assessment of each test taker’s verbal and mathematical skills, to be used by local draft boards, together with college grades and class rank, to determine who was entitled to that precious 2S deferment and who should be shipped off to Vietnam. But this deferment test actually spotlighted the true inequities of the draft. It also offered an opportunity for direct action against the war itself, right on the college campus.

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· State Department sets up 24-hour monitoring team for embassy crisis – The State Department has gone into full-blown crisis mode, organizing a round-the-clock effort to coordinate the U.S. government’s response to the expanding attacks on U.S. embassies in the Middle East and North Africa. “The State Department has stood up a 24-hr. monitoring team to insure appropriate coordination of information and our response. In addition, our consular team is working with missions around the world to protect American citizens and issue appropriate public warden information,” a senior State Department official told reporters Friday afternoon. “We have been monitoring events in the Middle East and North Africa intensively today, and working with our personnel and missions overseas and host governments to strengthen security in all locations and to respond effectively where protests have turned violent,” the official said. The official noted that U.S. embassies in Libya and Yemen have been reinforced with Marine FAST teams and noted that other unspecified measures are being taken to strengthen embassy security around the region. The State Department is working with the governments in Tunisia and Sudan to increase security at the U.S. embassies there as well, the official said. The U.S. Embassy in Tunis was breached by rioters who replaced the American flag with the black banner of al Qaeda. According to Tunisian state television, at least three Tunisians died when security forces open fire in an effort to disperse the crowd; another rioter was killed in Sudan, Reuters reported. “The secretary, other department principals, and our ambassadors and charges in the field have been in constant contact with regional leaders, and we appreciate the many public statements that leaders have made in recent days condemning the attack in Benghazi, denouncing violence and calling for calm,” the official said. The White House said in a memorandum to Congress Friday that the Marine FAST teams will be there are long as they are needed but will be limited to the mission of protecting U.S. assets and personnel. “Although these security forces are equipped for combat, these movements have been undertaken solely for the purpose of protecting American citizens and property. These security forces will remain in Libya and in Yemen until the security situation becomes such that they are no longer needed,” the White House memorandum stated.

· Mob Gathers Outside U.S. Embassy in London – Photos and video from the Twitter feed of Phil Han, a reporter and producer in CNN, who is outside the U.S. embassy in London where a mob has gathered and burned the American flag:

· Stephanie Cutter Uses Communist Propaganda Outlet to Hit Romney (Updated: DNC Too) – Must read:China’s Xinhua slams Romney for making his money off Chinese companies before running for pres. China’s Xinhua is the state’s Communist propaganda outlet. “Xinhua is subordinate to the State Council and reports to the Communist Party of China’s Propaganda and Public Information Departments,” according to Wikipedia.

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