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

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