Monthly Archives: October 2012

What’s Up: October 31, 2012?

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

· Axelrod: Romney camp won’t be saved by a bad jobs report – President Obama’s top campaign strategist, David Axelrod, told reporters that the Romney campaign would not be buoyed by a bad jobs report on Friday, the weekend before Election Day.

Romney’s various reasons for confidence include the belief that “bad jobs number Friday could give final lift,” as Politico’s Mike Allen noted in the Playbook.

“That is kind of a perverse sentiment,” Axelrod said in response on a conference call today. “I think they’re going to be disappointed.”

It may be a moot question. The Department of Labor may delay the release of the jobs numbers. “A Labor official said the agency will assess the schedule for all its data releases this week when the ‘weather emergency’ is over,” The Wall Street Journal reported today. Story Continued:

· Oliver Stone’s new book rips President Obama – A new book from filmmaker Oliver Stone offers a scathing critique of President Barack Obama’s time in office.

Stone, who wrote “The Untold History of the United States” with historian Peter Kuznick, puts forth a liberal interpretation of American history from the turn of the last century to present day. The 618-page book, slated for release Tuesday – a week before Election Day – from Gallery Books, slams Republicans and Democrats alike, and the authors’ assessment of Obama’s presidency is tinged with disappointment.

“The country Obama inherited was indeed in shambles, but Obama took a bad situation and, in certain ways, made it worse,” Stone and Kuznick wrote. “…[R]ather than repudiating the policies of Bush and his predecessors, Obama has perpetuated them.”

Obama’s election “felt like a kind of expiation for the sins of a nation whose reputation had been sullied, as we have shown throughout this book, by racism, imperialism, militarism, nuclearism, environmental degradation and unbridled avarice,” they wrote.

But on subjects from Wall Street reform to health care to Afghanistan, Stone and Kuznick rip Obama for breaking campaign promises and continuing the policies of President George W. Bush — who’s roundly condemned throughout the book. In some instances, they write, Obama went further than Bush’s White House toward anti-progressive policies.

“Obama asserted presidential power in ways that must have made Dick Cheney jealous,” they wrote.

“In 2011, Obama defied his own top lawyers, insisting that he did not need congressional approval under the War Powers Resolution to continue military activities in Libya,” they continued, in their write-up of Obama’s handling of intervention in that country.

On health care: “Obama’s failure to articulate a progressive vision was also apparent in the fight over health reform, which was to have been his signature initiative…Obama’s health care reform effort, marked by the inability to even refute Republican charges of death panels, was so unpopular that it became an albatross around the necks of Democrats in the 2010 election.”

On a troop surge in Afghanistan: “When it finally came down to decision time, Obama didn’t have the courage or integrity of a post-Cuban Missile Crisis John F. Kennedy. He settled on a 30,000-troop increase, giving the military leaders almost everything they wanted and more than they expected.”

On civil liberties: “Among the greatest disappointments to his followers was Obama’s refusal to roll back the expanding national security state that so egregiously encroached on American civil liberties.”

On ‘imperialism’: “[He] was not offering a decisive break with over a century of imperial conquest. His was a centrist approach to better managing the American empire rather than advancing a positive role for the United States in a rapidly evolving world.”

On defense spending: “While cutting defense spending, pulling combat forces out of Iraq and beginning the drawdown in Afghanistan represented a welcome retreat from the hyper-militarism of the Bush-Cheney years, they did not represent the sharp and definitive break with empire that the world needed to see from the United States.” Story Continued:

· DEMOCRATS CAN’T STOMACH THIS GOP ROCK STAR – Nancy Pelosi puts tea-party champion in crosshairs.

clip_image001

She’s a gutsy, pro-life fiscal conservative who dared to vote against raising the debt ceiling.

She’s a God-fearing, gun-loving advocate of tax cuts and domestic oil drilling – and one of Obamacare’s worst nightmares.

And Democrats have painted a target on her back.

Some Democrat leaders believe the party has a chance of winning a majority in the House this November – and they look forward to the prospect of bringing back the days of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“Nancy Pelosi thinks that she can pick my seat up,” Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., told WND after she had been placed on Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red-to-Blue” list, a coveted roster of candidates they believe can unseat Republican lawmakers this election.

Because the race has made the Democrat list, the DCCC has opened up a portion of its war chest to her opponent.

‘Most important election of our lifetime’

Bachmann, a three-term congresswoman and chairwoman of the Tea Party Caucus, is fighting to keep her seat in what she said is the “the most important election of our lifetime” for a number of reasons.

“We can’t get out of the drag-down welfare state if we continue with Obamacare,” she warned. “This is an extremely important election for that reason, but it’s also very important for the United States and our relationship with Israel.”

Bachmann added, “We’re about to lose our status as the economic superpower of the world, and we very well could lose our status as the military superpower of the world as well. Indicators are that China will assume that position. The world will be different if China is the economic and military superpower. I don’t think that should happen, and that’s why this is the most important election of our lifetime.” Story Continued:

· OBAMA ADMIN’S ‘LOOSE LIPS’ UNDER INVESTIGATION – Grand jury to review use of classified information for political gain.

Members of a “citizens’ grand jury” will meet next week in Ocala, Fla., to look at allegations that the “loose lips” of the Obama administration led to the deaths of dozens of members of the U.S. military and the imprisonment of a Pakistan physician who helped locate Osama bin Laden – all to “bolster” the “political agendas” of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

A proposed indictment prepared by attorney Larry Klayman, a former Justice Department prosecutor, alleges actions by the current White House – such as Biden’s decision to reveal the identity of the military team whose members ultimately eliminated bin Laden – violated the best interests and security of the nation.

It quotes Kurt Tidd, vice admiral in the U.S. Navy, who said in a sworn Freedom of Information Act statement denying access to military information, “Although it is known that [Department of Defense] conducts military and intelligence operations in foreign nations, publicly disclosing a particular military or intelligence activity could cause the foreign government to respond in ways that would damage U.S. national interests.”

Klayman pointed out to WND that by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the grand jury is not a branch of the judicial, executive or legislative branches of government, but an entity to itself.

“Loose lips” is part of the World War II advisory to Americans that “loose lips sink ships,” a warning against releasing any information that could be used against the U.S. by its enemies under any circumstances.

According to the 1990s ruling in U.S. v. Williams, the Supreme Court determined the federal courts lack the authority to require a prosecutor to present specific information to a grand jury.

The opinion rejected the argument that the concept of “checks and balances” allows a court to “exercise supervisory power over grand jury proceedings.” Therefore, Klayman told WND, it is the ideal vehicle to bypass all of the political attachments of the judiciary and cut to the chase in evaluating a president’s actions.

“Justice Antonin Scalia held … that the grand jury’s functional independence from the judicial branch is evident both in the scope of its power to investigate criminal wrongdoing and in the manner in which that power is exercised. Unlike [a] court, whose jurisdiction is predicated upon a specific case or controversy, the grand jury can investigate merely on suspicion that the law is being violated, or even because it wants assurance that it is not,” he wrote.

In the same commentary, Klayman explained, the Founders of the country established the grand jury as an alternative to “violent revolution.”

It is a process by which “Americans themselves can enforce the law. This is our only recourse to hold the president and his accomplices truly accountable for their actions.”

On a website set up in support of the citizens’ grand jury, he writes, “With government corruption and treasonous acts running rampant, particularly with regard to President Obama and his administration, many have asked what ordinary American citizens can do to legally mete out justice. … There is only one strong legal mechanism that can be invoked. That is the so-called ‘citizens grand jury.’”

Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch and later, FreedomWatch, has throughout his career identified and prosecuted government corruption, taking on powerful politicians on both sides of the aisle, up to and including Bill Clinton. Story Continued:

· Obama and the Economy – Robert KuttnerCo-founder and co-editor, ‘The American Prospect’

If you want to understand why the presidential race is basically tied, take a good look at Friday’s report from the Commerce Department on the state of the economy. The headline is not too bad from President Obama’s point of view. The economy grew at the rate of 2 percent in the third quarter, up a bit from the 1.3 percent in the second quarter.

But look below the headlines and it’s a dismal story for the middle class families to which both candidates are appealing.

Nearly a third of the growth came from a one-time spike in military spending that is not likely to be repeated.

Much of the uptick resulted from increased household borrowing, not from an increase in consumer incomes.

Business investment was basically flat.

Exports were down slightly.

Shrinking state and local spending continued to be a drag on the recovery.

The only good news was that the housing collapse has apparently bottomed out, and home-buying and home construction are both increasing.

But this is not a strong enough recovery to either raise wages, create the 10 million jobs that the economy needs, or increase living standards. In fact, it is the weakest recovery of all the postwar recessions, especially measured against the depth of the collapse.

There have been 13 quarters — just over four years — since the official end of the recession. At this point in the typical postwar recovery, total growth had averaged 16.8 percent — 4 percent a year. In the current recovery, total expansion has been just 7.2 percent — under 2 percent per year.

The improbable hero of the story is that radical, Ben Bernanke. By keeping interest rates rock bottom, the Fed Chairman at least assures that for those consumers and businesses who can get credit, it is dirt cheap. This puts more purchasing power in consumers’ pockets.

But the homeowners who most need refinancing can’t get it, because their homes are still underwater. And as the lousy business investment numbers demonstrate, too few businesses see reasons to expand (and by the way, tax cuts for small businesses won’t solve that problem any more than low interest rates do — businesses need to see customers with money to spend before they will expand.)

And as Bernanke is the first to point out, cheap money by itself can’t solve the problem. That takes fiscal policy. And though he dares not say it out loud, he doesn’t mean less government spending, he means more.

Bernanke has been courted by the deficit hawks to insist on the kind of deal that his predecessor Alan Greenspan imposed on Bill Clinton — lower interest rates in exchange for deficit reduction. But Bernanke is a good enough economist to appreciate that in a serious slump we need both monetary and fiscal stimulus. He is conspicuously absent from the ranks of those elites promoting budget cuts. But I digress.

The long term source of all this misery is of course right-wing economic policies. But by failing to clean out and restructure the financial system, and to at least fight for much stronger recovery measures despite Republican obstruction, our president has given his opponent an opening to make the continuing slump Obama’s fault.

All of which explains the following apparent paradox: Mitt Romney can have a dismal convention, a series of gaffes, the contempt of much of his own party’s base, as well as the highest disapproval rating of any recent major party nominee — and still fight Obama to a draw based on one better-than-expected debate performance.

The reason is that when Romney declares that the economy is lousy, it resonates with people’s lived experience.

This bulletproofs him against two fine performances by Obama in the final two debates, which only gained Obama back a point or two. Romney can even survive one appalling pronouncement after another by the Republican rape patrol and still make gains among women.

Why? Because many women tell pollsters that they don’t like Romney’s views on reproductive rights but they are inclined to vote for him based on the economy. Why would you vote for Romney based on the economy? Because he’s not Obama. Not enough voters, male or female, look at Romney’s blarney in any detail; they just know that Obama hasn’t solved a prolonged slump.

In the parlance of economists, the economy is stuck in what the economist Irving Fisher called a debt-deflation, where the continuing damage from a financial collapse acts as a lead weight on the recovery. The only entity that can blast the economy out of a debt deflation is more public spending — which of course cycles right back into the private economy.

So what is our president doing to shore up his support by reassuring voters that things will pick up in the next four years? More public investment, more jobs, more overhaul of the financial system, more relief for the mortgage mess, right?

Well, not exactly. While he gives lip service to these goals, Obama is preparing to do a major deal for deficit reduction, which will only add to the drag on the recovery. His administration has bought into the argument that the business elite and the money markets expect deficit reduction, and that it will also play well with the voters.

In his recent off-the-record conversation with the editors and publisher of Iowa’s largest paper, the Des Moines Register, which was made public under pressure from that newspaper, Obama had this to say about deficit reduction:

I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I’ve been offering to the Republicans for a very long time, which is $2.50 worth of cuts for every dollar in spending, and work to reduce the costs of our health care programs.

And we can easily meet — “easily” is the wrong word — we can credibly meet the target that the Bowles-Simpson Commission established of $4 trillion in deficit reduction, and even more in the out-years, and we can stabilize our deficit-to-GDP ratio in a way that is really going to be a good foundation for long-term growth. Now, once we get that done, that takes a huge piece of business off the table.

Say what? Four trillion dollars of deficit-reduction, otherwise known as economic contraction. Really? If Obama strikes such a deal, it guarantees that a sluggish economy will continue.

Oh, and I almost forgot. The Register was so appreciative of Obama for releasing the transcript and so persuaded by his economic logic that they endorsed Mitt Romney.

Thanks to his exceptional luck in drawing Romney as his opponent, Obama will probably win a narrow re-election despite the dismal recovery. But on Wednesday morning, a struggle begins within the Democratic Party to save him (and us) from himself — to keep him from agreeing to a budget deal that will only slow growth, needlessly sacrifice Social Security and Medicare, and make the next four years much like the last four years.

What a waste, what a pity. Progressive Democrats should be resisting the economic lunacy and political sway of an extremist Republican Party. Instead, they will be working to keep their own president from capitulating to fiscal folly. Story Continued:

· Romney Willing to Win Without Honor – Leo W. Gerard, International President, United Steelworkers.

Mitt Romney kept quiet last week when the subject was rape and God’s will. He remained silent the week before when the news was all about Illinois factory workers pleading with him to stop his alma mater Bain Capital from offshoring their jobs.

At no time this year did Mitt denounce Republican employers who threatened their workers if President Obama is re-elected or condemn repeated Republican legislative attempts to suppress Democratic votes.

Throughout the campaign, Mitt Romney confronted numerous George Washington moments — opportunities to establish an aura of honor. It takes moxie to tell fellow Republicans that voter suppression is un-American. Only a guy with strongly held principles would stand up to the firm he founded and insist they stop the morally bankrupt practice of offshoring jobs from profit-making American factories. At every turn, Romney chose the ignoble path. He kept his mouth shut rather than speak up for what’s right.

Just last week, an opportunity for righteousness landed in Romney’s lap. It happened when the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Indiana, Richard E. Mourdock, said he opposed all abortions, even in cases of rape, and suggested that God intends rape to happen. Here’s what Mourdock said:

Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, it is something that God intended to happen.

Romney could have specifically renounced this view — that God intends women to be raped and become pregnant as a result. And he could have underscored that position by ending television ads in which he endorses Mourdock.

But he didn’t. A campaign spokeswoman said Mitt “disagreed” with Mourdock on that rape thing, but still supports him. Since then, Mitt has refused to answer questions about Mourdock. And he’s kept airing his Mourdock endorsement ads.

Clearly, Mitt values a Republican-controlled U.S. Senate over a decent stand on rape.

Just the week before, heightened news coverage of the plight of workers at the Sensata factory in Freeport, Ill. gave Romney another opportunity to do the right thing.

He chose to do nothing.

The 170 workers at Sensata will lose their jobs at year’s end when Bain Capital finishes shipping the car sensor factory lock, stock and machinery to China. The workers have repeatedly petitioned Romney to intervene with Bain, a firm he created and still profits from, to stop the offshoring.

Romney stiffed them. The candidate who claims he would create 12 million jobs if elected president failed to make an attempt to save the jobs of these 170 workers at a successful, money-making American factory. He didn’t send the workers his condolences for personally profiting from their calamity. He has never even acknowledged the Sensata workers’ existence.

At virtually any moment as he ran for president over the past two years, Romney could have very publically deplored Republican attempts to suppress Democratic votes. That’s because virtually continuously over that time, Republican-controlled legislatures, Republican governors and other GOP officials have concocted a variety of measures to wrest from Democrats their right to vote. These include passing onerous photo ID requirements, limiting early balloting and aggressively purging voter rolls.

These measures disproportionately affect minority, poor, disabled, elderly and women voters, all of whom tend to vote Democrat. Among the most egregious examples occurred in Ohio where the secretary of state tried to limit poll hours in Democratic-dominated counties and extend them in Republican-controlled counties.

At any time during the massive publicity over any one of these incidents across the country — from Maine to Montana and Florida to Arizona — Romney could have stood up and spoken for fairness. He never did — not even after the Republican National Committee was forced to fire a shady voter registration firm that was caught in September submitting hundreds of fraudulent registration forms in Florida or after a Republican operative in Virginia was criminally charged in October with throwing completed voter registration forms in a Dumpster.

A simple statement from Romney would have sufficed: winning by means of voter suppression and registration fraud is craven and beneath the dignity of anyone seeking public office. But he said nothing.

Similar to voter suppression is the attempt at voter coercion that has been made by numerous employers this year. Just this past week, Mike White, owner of Rite-Hite, a Milwaukee industrial equipment manufacturer, threatened his workers with “personal consequences” if President Obama is re-elected. Earlier this month, timeshare mogul David Siegel, who is building himself a 90,000-square-foot, $100 million home, threatened to lay off his workers if President Obama is re-elected. Arthur Allen of ASG Software Solutions and the Koch brothers of Georgia Pacific, told their tens of thousands of workers they’d suffer fallout if Romney loses.

Romney could have acted as a shield for workers by condemning this intimidation. Instead, in a June conference call with business owners, Romney encouraged bullying. He told the business owners:

I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. Story Continued:

clip_image002

· The Art Of Sleeping With The Enemy – Dr. Peggy DrexlerAuthor, research psychologist, and gender scholar.

I have good friends. Call them Ed and Paula. They are in a mixed marriage: she’s a Republican, he’s a Democrat. Both take their respective affiliations seriously.

They’ve always made their union of political opposites work. But this season, there is coolness in the political air. They find themselves avoiding dangerous territory.

“It’s funny,” Paula told me. It’s just harder to talk about things in this race.”

Maybe they just reflect the country as a whole — the feeling that it’s a zero-sum game. From the left: Republicans are for the rich, and against just about everybody else. From the right: Obama will preside over America’s financial ruin.

Both those positions have likely been hardened by the current climate of Congressional polarization: “I’m OK. You’re the anti-Christ.”

Evidence of a hardening of positions is visible in a paper published in Public Opinion Quarterly. Stanford University professor Shanto Iyengar points to a 1960s study that found 5 percent of couples would be upset if their child married outside their political party. A study in 2010 put that figure at 40 percent. For the record, Republicans would be more upset — 50 percent to 30 percent.

How do couples cope? There are some visible examples that say it can work.

Mary Matalin and James Carville have not only crafted a 20 year marriage out of political opposition, they’ve turned it into a lucrative traveling show. The current odd couple is vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan and his wife, Janna. He: impeccable Republican credentials. She: from a prominent Democratic family and a former high-profile D.C. lobbyist.

Mrs. Ryan was described by friends in a recent New York Times article as a liberal- leaning Democrat turned political conservative — with some reader posts calling her apparent conversion nothing less than an ideological betrayal. Ah — the things we do for love.

We might assume that the political issue would be addressed at the beginning — during dating. Political opposites would be eliminated the way a PETA member would write off a dove hunter.

The much-quoted Match.com survey, “Singles in America”, says: not necessarily. Only 17 percent of men and 20 percent of women said that someone of the same party was a “must have.” Compare that to 65 percent who said they must have respect, trust and the ability to confide in each other.

Overall, 57 percent of singles said they would marry someone with dramatically different political beliefs. That seems to make it more of a consideration than a deal breaker — perhaps on the order of your significant other’s position on reality shows.

Surveys do find one interesting political difference. Conservative Republicans are more likely to want someone who shares their values. But they are more likely than Democrats to cross party lines to find romance — something James Carville attributes to the fact that “Democrats are hotter.”

When dating progresses to marriage, there is research evidence that opinions tend to blend over time. Husbands used to dominate the shift. More recent surveys show a more mutual convergence.

Still, there are limits. Our political persuasion is a potent combination of genetics, family and where we grew up. The Match.com survey found that almost half hadn’t changed a political view in the last ten years; and almost 95 percent had never changed a political belief because of a relationship.

The majority who are willing to cross party lines for love must also confront a fact of 21st century life. In everything from choice of TV news to favorite Internet sites to living in a red or blue state, it’s very easy to insulate ourselves from all opinions that are contrary to our own. That hermetic seal is harder to maintain within the walls of a two-party home.

There are some common sense considerations for peaceful co-existence.

First: don’t try to the win the argument. You won’t, and it will never end. Agree to accept — even celebrate — your perpetual state of counter opinions. Don’t plaster the refrigerator with the latest win for your side or setback for the other. Don’t inject politics into family issues: neither Democrats nor Republicans are to blame for a tight budget or rocky relationship. Never try to win the kids to your side. One more: if your spouse puts a campaign sign on the lawn, don’t steal it in the middle of the night.

The most important thing in an age when we tend to argue positions with fingers stuck in both ears is, simply, take them out. Listen. Somewhere in the opinions from the supposed dark side there may be an idea or two to consider. That one is as useful on the other side of the aisle, as it is from the other side of the bed. Story Continued:

· Bernard-Henri Lévy on Barack Obama’s Three Revolutions Oct 30, 2012 4:45 AM EDT, In health care, the economy, and foreign policy, Barack Obama has achieved great things. Bernard-Henri Lévy on why he deserves to win a second term.

With Election Day just around the corner and the world awash in idle banter about “Obama’s broken dream,” his “vanished charm,” and even, while we’re at it, “the assassination of hope,” it is not idle to point out what should be obvious: that in four years the 44th president of the United States has pulled off no fewer than three revolutions.

First came his reform of health care—an effort no less major for being incomplete. And in the heat of the battle waged against him by the Republicans, unanimously arrayed and aided by a handful of Democrats, he was forced to retreat from many details of his plan. But he saw it through. It was a colossal struggle, but he won. And whatever the nitpickers, faultfinders, and defeatists might say, he has something to show for his trouble: 50 million people previously dispossessed by the American dream will now enjoy—thanks to a president who watched his young mother fight cancer along with a health system that denied her access to care—the right to get sick, to age, and to die with dignity. This revolution, this basic and noble expansion of human rights, others—including Truman, Kennedy, and Clinton—had tried without success to realize. History will remember Obamacare as a considerable triumph.

Next, Obama revolutionized an economic landscape in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. That revolution, too, was insufficient. Obama took to it in his own way, as a pragmatist, a centrist, a man who believes in compromise. And he did so, remember, in the midst of a storm that, we quickly forget, had the world’s leaders paralyzed with fear, forcing them to steer their ships by instinct, without the aid of instruments, knowing that each and every decision might lead to disaster. But Obama navigated well. He began to bring Wall Street into step. Cautiously but firmly, he tested some initial mechanisms of financial regulation. And through the $800 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, followed by the $447 billion Jobs Act of September 2011, he implemented the largest recovery plan of all time. We all know that history does not generally record disasters avoided. But is it so hard to imagine what the rate of unemployment in the United States might be today in the absence of Obama’s decisions? Without the de facto (if temporary) nationalization of part of the automobile industry, without massive loans for sustainable energy development, without Keynesian reinvestment in infrastructure neglected since the 1930s—in short, without this new New Deal—what would be the state of the country, and thus of the world? The name of Franklin D. Roosevelt, architect of the first New Deal, comes readily to mind, along with that of Lyndon Johnson, author of the Great Society. For a man widely depicted as disappointing, hesitant, and even cowardly, that’s not too bad.

Last but not least, Obama profoundly altered the course of American diplomacy and, through it, his country’s image around the world. Here again his achievement was not complete. He did not have the political means necessary to allow him to carry out his decision to close Guantánamo. Moreover, no one acting alone could have toppled—no one acting alone ever will—the idol of anti-Americanism. But ponder the sequence of events that began with his speech in Cairo and the hand that he held out that day to moderate Muslims. Consider the withdrawal from Iraq and the simultaneous intensification of the war against the Taliban. And then, before taking bin Laden out of action, and making that step possible, the reconsideration of the absurd (one might even say unnatural) alliance that his predecessors had forged with the gangster state of Pakistan. Barack Obama broke with the Jacksonian impulse to fight terrorism by firing blindly into the crowd: West against the rest! America versus Islam! On with the clash of civilizations! He chose a more deliberate strategy, a targeted approach in which the concept of just war was allied with a resolute defense of enlightened Islam against barbaric Islam. Obama’s America fights only the neo-Fascist enemies of the people of the world, particularly the enemies of Arabs and Muslims who thirst for freedom.

For the most part, then, Barack Obama has kept his promises. To allow him to keep them fully, Americans need only offer him a second term—the second term that, from the first, he said he would need to carry out his program.

I do not regret having sensed, in 2004, four years before his election, the tremendous destiny of the man whom I called the black Kennedy. There is no reason to be disappointed. The hope is still there, stronger than ever. And the struggle continues. Story Continued:

There is some question about how accurate this impression is. This author is a fan of Obama and still thinks that the Hope and Change Mantra is ongoing. PdC

· Michael Tomasky on Mitt Romney’s Closing Con Gameby Michael Tomasky Oct 30, 2012 4:45 AM EDT, Mitt Romney’s latest political ad makes it clear that he’s trying to portray himself as a uniter who will heal the divisions of the Obama years. Don’t believe it for a second.

So one of Mitt Romney’s closing plays is that he’s the great conciliator. He released an ad several days ago and has been hitting the theme ever since, arguing that we need (as Romney said in the first debate, quoted in the ad) “leadership that … could not care less if it’s a Republican or a Democrat” that said leader is working with. With this, Romney makes the full leap into Orwell-land, but with signs that some folks actually buy or at the very least want very much to believe this, it’s important to point out to those voters the precise nature of this con game.

Presidential candidates always promise that they’re going to change the tone in Washington. They have to. The media demand it. Polls show them that independent and swing voters (two different things, really; the latter is a subset of the former) yearn for it. Their advisers tell them that’s how they win over the undecideds. Also, and crucially, they come equipped with egos that permit them to convince themselves that they are unique among men, and they can indeed change this “tone.”

Barack Obama ventured further than most down this boulevard of broken dreams. He had an analysis, you see: The right hated the Clintons because of certain things the Clintons represented about the ’60s because the Clintons were products of that generation. Since Obama wasn’t a product of that generation, it wouldn’t be so bad for him. He believed it. I believed it too. In a career sprinkled with its share of shoddy predictions, I think that one may have been my worst.

While Obama and I were believing—on Inauguration Day 2009, say—that things would be different, key Republicans were meeting in a restaurant not far from the very mall where the celebrations had taken place that day. They agreed, wrote Robert Draper in his book Do Not Ask What Good We Do, that very night to oppose Obama with all they had. Within the month, the Tea Party movement was born, and compromise with Obama became the moral equivalent of shaking hands with the devil.

The particulars of the ongoing opposition are well-known enough that I needn’t rehearse them all. Suffice it to say that the GOP of this Congress set records on Senate filibusters real and threatened, and en bloc (or almost en bloc) no votes. There’s never been a Congress like these past two, especially since the GOP took over the House.

Obama has tried from the start. The stimulus bill was about 38 percent tax cuts. You’d think Republicans might have gone for that. The individual mandate came from the Heritage Foundation. He cut payroll taxes (Republicans did end support for that, but only after the ludicrousness of their initial opposition to a tax cut became too much to endure). And more. But they said no every step of the way—even breaking from the precedent of Congress raising the debt limit more than 70 times since the 1940s. Now it was deemed acceptable to tie that increase to other matters and even, for the first time in history, to filibuster it.

No, no, no, no, no. And then, come 2012, they turn around and say, “See? Obama failed to unite this country.” They say it’s because he pursued a hard-left agenda, but that’s not true and they know it’s not true. What they know to be true is that most centrist voters will believe them, because the mood in Washington is still toxic and the president promised to fix that, by cracky.

Hostage-taking is one of the oldest tricks in the ideological book, and our system of government permits it.

All of that, we’ve known. But now comes the new twist. Now Romney gets to come in and say, “I will be a conciliator.” Perversely, there is a potential grain of truth to the claim, but only because Democrats in opposition don’t behave in the Leninist fashion that Republicans do. (I have demonstrated this numerically—41 percent of congressional Democrats supported George W. Bush on his four major legislative initiatives, while 6 percent of Republicans backed Obama on his top four). But bear in mind it’s going to be a very strange definition of “conciliation.” What Republicans generally mean by “working across the aisle” is terrifying just enough Democrats from red states and districts into supporting their initiatives and destroying them if they fail to, like the old ads from 2002 that impugned the patriotism of Georgia Sen. Max Cleland, who left three limbs in Vietnam but opposed Bush’s war in Iraq.

And the final note that takes us into full surrealism. Republicans know very well that Obama can’t say any of this during election time because he’d sound “whiny” and will be admitting “failure” at the task of uniting the country. This is really the Ministry of Reality Suppression at work, and why I wish Mr. Orwell were around to see it.

He’d know it well, because it is, in fact, a very communist (small c) mindset, about which Orwell wrote in the Spanish context if not others: act obstreperously and disruptively, create conditions that make it impossible for the bourgeois or reformist party to succeed, and then turn around and blame the reformist party for the resulting failures. And then sit back and laugh if the reformists try to point this out and attack them as weak. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the ideological book, and it’s hostage-taking, basically, and our system of government—especially the rules of the Senate, where a minority of 40 has the power of a majority—permits it.

It must infuriate Obama that all this is true, and it must infuriate him further that, if he does win, he will still have to extend olive branches, because he will be the president and that is what people expect of the president. In the future, I hope no Democrat ever again promises to change the tone in Washington. “I’ll try,” Democrats should say. “But it takes two to tango on this.” Then at least the public might fix the blame for this problem where it so richly belongs. Story Continued:

clip_image003

Advertisements

Leave a comment

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

What’s Up: October 29, 2012?

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

clip_image001

· CIA operators were denied request for help during Benghazi attack, sources say

Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command — who also told the CIA operators twice to “stand down” rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to “stand down,” according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to “stand down.”

Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.

At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights. The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours — enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators. Story Continued:

· NBA’s David Stern: Obama always goes left – For all the buzz about President Barack Obama’s skills on the basketball court, the NBA’s commissioner, David Stern, thinks the hype is overblown.

“He’s not that good,” Stern, who announced Thursday he is retiring in 2014, said in an interview with Reuters. “He’s a lefty, he goes the same way every time.”

Stern’s critique, good-natured as it was, wasn’t simply some partisan swipe.

“I’m a loyal Democrat, a passionate Democrat. He’s not as good as he thinks he is.”

More seriously, Stern explained the effect of having a hoops fan in the White House.

“He relates well to our players. He’s got a lot of people around him who are b-ball fans. I think the politics of it is the players appreciate him for who he is and what he’s accomplished and those that support him, support him because of that.” Story Continued:

· Spending on White House dinners soars under Obama – President Obama has spent far more lavishly on White House state dinners than previous chief executives, including nearly $1 million on a 2010 dinner for Mexico’s president, according to documents obtained by The Washington Examiner.

Presidents have long used formal dinners to court foreign heads of state and to dish out fine food and wine to reward political, financial and show business celebrities and supporters.

But current and former government officials said the documents obtained by The Examiner point to an unprecedented upsurge in White House spending on such events.

The Obama extravaganza two years ago for Mexican President Felipe Calderon, which included a performance by pop star Beyonce, cost $969,793, or more than $4,700 per attendee, the documents show.

The Calderon dinner was held on the South Lawn in a massive tent adorned with decorated walls, hanging chandeliers, carpeting and a stage for Beyonce’s performance.

Guests rode private trolley cars from the White House to the tent. Celebrity guest chef Rick Bayless from Chicago’s Topolobampo restaurant was imported to prepare Oaxacan black mole, black bean tamalon and grilled green beans.

The dinner for the prime minister of India — which was famously crashed by Virginia couple Michaele and Tareq Salahi — cost nearly half a million dollars. Dinners for Chinese President Hu Jintao and British Prime Minister David Cameron were of the same level of extravagance.

A knowledgeable government official who made the documents available to The Examiner said the extravagant spending seemed unfair with so many Americans out of work.

“It just kind of takes your breath away to see the expenditure of money that has occurred since 2009,” the official said.

Gary Walters, who ran presidential household operations for 21 years during Democratic and Republican administrations, before retiring in 2007, told The Examiner the costs reflected in the documents were “excessive. They are high.”

The chief usher of the White House from the Reagan to George W. Bush presidencies, Walters consulted a former White House colleague and said neither of them could recall entertainment costs anywhere near those revealed in the documents provided to The Examiner.

“The highest [cost] event we could remember was $190,000 to $200,000 range, and that was for a very large dinner outside that was probably somewhere in the vicinity of 500 people with two different tents,” Walters said, noting that the event was held under President Clinton. Story Continued:

· Petraeus Throws Obama Under the Bus – Breaking news on Benghazi: the CIA spokesman, presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus, has put out this statement: “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. ”

So who in the government did tell “anybody” not to help those in need? Someone decided not to send in military assets to help those Agency operators. Would the secretary of defense make such a decision on his own? No.

It would have been a presidential decision. There was presumably a rationale for such a decision. What was it? When and why—and based on whose counsel obtained in what meetings or conversations—did President Obama decide against sending in military assets to help the Americans in need? Story Continued:

· clip_image002

· President Obama Begs Off Answering Whether Americans in Benghazi Were Denied Requests for Help – In an interview with a Denver TV reporter Friday, President Obama twice refused to answer questions as to whether the Americans under siege in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012, were denied requests for help, saying he’s waiting for the results of investigations before making any conclusions about what went wrong.

After being asked about possible denials of requests for aid, and whether it’s fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and won’t be released until after the election, the president said, “the election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened. These are folks who served under me who I had sent to some very dangerous places. Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do.”

President Obama told KUSA-TV’s Kyle Clarke large that “we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I have made a commitment to the families impacted as well as to the American people, we’re going to bring those folks to justice. So, we’re going to gather all the facts, find out exactly what happened, and make sure that it doesn’t happen again but we’re also going to make sure that we bring to justice those who carried out these attacks.”

Clark pressed again.

“Were they denied requests for help during the attack?” he asked.

“Well, we are finding out exactly what happened,” the president again said. “I can tell you, as I’ve said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we’re going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we’re going to find out exactly what happened, but what we’re also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.”

Earlier today, Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin reported that CIA agents in the second U.S. compound in Benghazi were denied requests for help.

In response, CIA spokesperson Jennifer Youngblood said, “We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi. Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night-and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades.” Story Continued:

· Biden visit to cheese shop irritates woman – KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — A word of advice to candidates campaigning in Wisconsin: Don’t get between voters and their cheese.

Vice President Joe Biden seemed to irritate a shopper at the Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha on Friday when he caused a disruption with a quick visit at the famous landmark just off Interstate 94.

As Biden cheerily greeted customers, a 30-something woman tried to explain what was happening to her young daughter. The woman said — quote — “This is a battleground state. They’re trying to win it. I just need some limburger cheese.”

Biden was shown such delicacies as chocolate cheese and 13-year-old cheddar.

Biden commented to general manager Tyson Whermeister, “That’s great, man.” Story Continued:

· Gallup: Obama’s Job Approval Drops 7 Points in 3 Days – In the most precipitous decline it has seen in more than a year, President Barack Obama’s job approval rating has dropped 7 points in three days, according to Gallup.

In the three-day period ending on Oct. 23, says Gallup, 53 percent said they approved of the job Obama was doing and 42 percent said they did not.

On Oct. 24, that dropped to 51 percent who said they approved and 44 percent who said they do not.

On Oct. 25, it dropped again to 48 percent who said they approved and 47 percent who said they do not.

On Oct. 26, it dropped yet again to 46 percent who said they approved and 49 percent who said they did not.

In May 2011, Obama’s approval dropped 7 points in four days, sliding from 53 percent on May 24 to 46 percent on May 28. Story Continued:

· House elections spell a Republican story and victory

By Paul Kane and Ed O’Keefe, Published: October 27

clip_image003

President Obama remains at least an even bet to win reelection. Democrats are favored to hold on to the Senate — an outcome few prognosticators envisioned at the beginning of the year. And yet, with a little more than a week to go, the party holds almost no chance of winning back the House.

“They called the fight. It’s over. We’re going to have a House next year that’s going to look an awful lot like the last House,” Stuart Rothenberg, the independent analyst who runs the Rothenberg Political Report, said.

The outlines of a comeback for Democrats seemed possible. From its opening act, the 112th Congress was dominated by a raucous class of House freshmen who pushed Washington to the brink of several government shutdowns and almost prompted a first-ever default on the federal debt. It became the most unpopular Congress in the history of polling and, by some measures, the least productive.

Analysts cite several factors why the Democrats haven’t been able to take advantage. First was a redistricting process that made some Republicans virtually impervious to a challenge and re-election more difficult for about 10 Democrats. A few Democratic incumbents have stumbled in their first competitive races in years. And Republicans have leveraged their majority into a fund-raising operation that has out-muscled the Democrats.

That means that regardless of who wins the White House, the Republican caucus of Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio) will remain a critical player in the coming showdowns over tax and spending cuts. Such a result will have defied the chorus of prognosticators who saw so many of these inexperienced freshmen as beneficiaries of blind political luck — swept up in the 2010 wave of sentiment against Obama and presumably poised to be swept back to sea when the tide went out this November.

First among those critics was Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), labeled the “face of defeat” after overseeing the loss of 63 seats two years ago. Defying recent precedent, Pelosi gave up the speaker’s gavel but stayed on as party leader. She vowed that “the tea party Congress” was so unpopular that Democrats would ride Obama’s coattails back to the majority.

Now, with a second straight election about to leave Democrats in the minority, Pelosi, 72, has not signaled whether she will remain in office. She delayed her leadership elections until after Thanksgiving, prompting more speculation about her future than about next year’s House majority.

Rothenberg predicted modest gains for Democrats of about a handful of seats, a symbolic victory but well short of Pelosi’s “Drive to 25” for the net gain needed for the majority. Privately, Democrats do not dispute those estimates but contend the gains will set the stakes for a 2014 campaign in which they will shoot for the majority, particularly if Mitt Romney wins the presidency and is facing his first midterm election.

Republicans, however, believe they have used congressional redistricting to shore up enough of their seats to remain in power for years to come. Rather than aggressively seek more seats, Boehner’s leadership team counseled Republican-led state legislatures to fortify those Republicans already serving on Capitol Hill.

The result has been that House Republicans start off with 190 districts that have a historic performance safely in their corner, while Democrats begin with just 146 such districts, according to an analysis by the independent Cook Political Report.

That leaves just 99 districts viewed as regularly competitive, an all-time low. Democrats will likely have to carry 72 of those 99 seats to reach the bare majority of 218.

“That’s a really bad omen for Democrats, not just this year but in future years,” said David Wasserman, the House editor for the Cook report.

Though more than 80 GOP freshmen are standing for reelection, just two dozen are facing tough challenges and only 15 are in significant danger of losing. Take Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), whose 2010 victory over a Hispanic Democratic incumbent defied the odds because the district was nearly 75 percent Latino. Legislators drew him into a new district running north of Corpus Christi along the Gulf of Mexico, which tilts 60 percent toward Republicans.

Rather than a one-hit wonder, Farenthold, 50, could now serve in Congress for decades to come.

Similarly, the Philadelphia suburbs have served as political ground zero for past House majority battles. In 2006, the National Republican Congressional Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent a combined $5 million battling over the 7th Congressional District to the west of Philadelphia, followed by another $1.3 million in 2010.

Now, that district snakes across five suburban counties, encompassing the most Republican-leaning sectors of each, allowing freshman GOP Rep. Patrick Meehan to cruise to re-election.

Neither party committee is devoting resources to the Philadelphia media market for the first time in more than 20 years. With a delegation that boasted a dozen Democrats two years ago, Pennsylvania will send five or six Democrats to the House next year depending on Democratic Rep. Mark Critz’s tight battle outside Pittsburgh.

Democrats have put a few high profile tea-party lawmakers on the defensive. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), whose confrontational style made him a YouTube sensation and a regular on Fox News, is running behind in his suburban Chicago district.

In Florida, Rep. Allen West (R), a former Army lieutenant colonel, moved north of his previous Palm Beach-based district but still faces stiff competition, even as he declines to tone down his rhetoric.

“It’s about two different ideologies going forward. It’s the opportunity society against the dependency society. It’s the constitutional republic against a socialist egalitarian nanny state,” the conservative icon, one of just two black Republicans in Congress, said in an interview in St. Lucie.

Beyond the freshmen, Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and Steve King (Iowa) are fighting for their political lives. Bachmann’s Quixotic presidential campaign left her open to charges of ignoring her district. King is facing Christie Vilsack, the wife of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a still-popular former governor. She is also focusing on local issues rather than King’s national conservative platform.

“If you’re truly focused on the people of your district, if you’re making it local, you should be concerned about the 750,000 not about the ideology that my opponent is talking about,” Vilsack said in a recent interview.

Democrats believe that such high-profile victories could send a signal that hyper-partisanship is not the route to reelection, giving hope for more bipartisan work in 2013. Story Continued:

· After Bush v. Gore, Obama, Clinton wanted Electoral College scrapped – President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are among the politicians whose past criticisms of the Electoral College system would draw new scrutiny if there is a split verdict in this year’s presidential election.

National and swing state polls suggest it’s possible Republican Mitt Romney could win this year’s popular vote while Obama triumphs in the Electoral College — potentially marking the second time the rare split in outcomes has occurred in the last 12 years.

The last time it happened was in 2000, when Democratic candidate Al Gore won the popular vote but lost where it mattered. George W. Bush won Florida’s disputed recount, propelling him to 271 electoral votes — one more than he needed to take the White House.

The outcome triggered an intense — if short lived — debate over reforming the Electoral College. Today, lawmakers in Washington are no closer to agreeing on whether to change the rules of how someone wins the presidency.

Here’s a snapshot of where top lawmakers have come down on a controversial issue that’s once again in the political spotlight.

SUPPORT REFORM

President Obama — Obama said he supported eliminating the Electoral College as a Senate candidate during a WTTW television debate against Republican Alan Keyes in 2004.

When asked, “Yes or no, eliminate the Electoral College?” Obama responded, “Yes … I think, at this point, this is breaking down.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — Shortly after the 2000 election, as a newly-minted Senator-elect, Clinton called for direct elections of the president. She argued the country has changed since the Electoral College was put in place.

“We are a very different country than we were 200 years ago,” Clinton said at a news conference.

“I believe strongly that in a democracy, we should respect the will of the people and to me, that means it’s time to do away with the Electoral College and move to the popular election of our president.”

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) — Five days after the 2000 election, Schumer called the U.S. voting system “antediluvian” and called for a study of simplified procedures. He, too, favored scrapping the Electoral College but said three-fourths of the states would never ratify an amendment.

“It won’t happen,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) — The minority whip acted as soothsayer for the split-ticket election results in 2000.

A week before the Nov. 7 election that year, Durbin announced his plan to introduce legislation to do away with the Electoral College process, calling it a “dinosaur.”

“Our current system disenfranchises millions of voters who happen to vote for the losing presidential candidate in their state,” Durbin said. “The electoral college is an 18th century invention that never should have survived to the 21st century.”

He announced the proposal with then-Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), who is now Obama’s Secretary of Transportation.

Former Vice President Al Gore — After the 2000 election, Gore continued to support the current system. But Gore reversed course during this year’s Democratic National Convention, criticizing the process that ignores voters outside of swing states and cost him the election.

“I’ve seen how these states are written off and ignored, and people are effectively disenfranchised in the presidential race. And I really do now think it is time to change that,” Gore said on Current TV, an independent cable network that he co-founded.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) and 29 Democratic cosponsors signed on to a bill during the current Congress that calls for the direct election of the president and vice president.

“The Electoral College is a relic, a throwback largely due to the slave-owners who dominated the politics of our new nation at its beginning,” Jackson wrote in a 2008 editorial.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y), the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, this week proposed a constitutional amendment that would give 29 extra electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote.

AGAINST REFORM

Vice President Biden — A 36-year veteran of the Senate, Biden voted against a resolution in 1979 providing for “the direct popular election of the president.” The resolution fell short of the two-thirds majority needed.

It was the last resolution of its kind to make it to the floor.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) also voted against the 1979 resolution while a number of current Democratic Senators voted for it — including Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

During prior years, the Senate and House had both approved separate proposals, but never in the same Congress. Story Continued:

Leave a comment

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

Sums It Up

The Obama campaign has this picture at the following URL: http://barackobama.tumblr.com/post/34165736532/sums-it-up Claiming that this pictures sums up what Romney is about. What it actually does is to show that Obama is so desperate that he has resorted to childlike tactics to prove his point.

clip_image002

The Des Moines Register printed the following front page.

clip_image004

Now which picture actually sums it up more accurately?

Leave a comment

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

What’s Up: October 26, 2012?

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

· Emails detail unfolding Benghazi attack on Sept. 11 – It was six weeks ago on Tuesday that terrorists attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Now, CBS News has obtained email alerts that were put out by the State Department as the attack unfolded. Four Americans were killed in the attack, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

These emails contain the earliest description so far of what happened at Benghazi the night of the attack.

At 4:05 p.m. Eastern time, on September 11, an alert from the State Department Operations Center was issued to a number government and intelligence agencies. Included were the White House Situation Room, the office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the FBI.

“US Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack” — “approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well. Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four COM (Chief of Mission/embassy) personnel are in the compound safe haven.”

Clinton on email: “Not in and of itself evidence”

At 4:54 p.m., less than an hour later, another alert: “the firing… in Benghazi…has stopped…A response team is on site attempting to locate COM (embassy) personnel.”

Then, at 6:07 p.m., State sent out another alert saying the embassy in Tripoli reported the Islamic military group “Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibilty for Benghazi Attack”… “on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli.”

The emails are just a few in what are likely a large number traded throughout the night. They are likely to become part of the ongoing political debate over whether the administration attempted to mislead in saying the assault was an outgrowth of a protest, rather than a planned attack by terrorists.

Fourteen hours after the attack, President Obama sat down with Steve Kroft of “60 Minutes” for a previously scheduled interview and said he did not believe it was simply due to mob violence.

“You’re right that this is not a situation that was — exactly the same as what happened in Egypt and my suspicion is that there are folks involved in this who were looking to target Americans from the start,” Mr. Obama said.

The White House and State Department declined comment on the email alerts. The House Oversight Committee told CBS News the information in the emails will be part of their ongoing investigation into the Benghazi attack. Story Continued and to read the emails via pdf file:

· New Undercover Video: Did Congressman’s Son Commit Voter Fraud? -James O’Keefe has struck again. O’Keefe is the guy who broke the big ACORN scandal with his undercover video reporting.

Now, he’s out with a video that may land a Congressman’s son in trouble for voter fraud. Watch below as Patrick Moran, the son of Virginia Rep. Jim Moran (and the Field Director for his father’s campaign), is caught on tape talking to an undercover reporter about how to allegedly cast ballots deceitfully for registered voters.

Stay in the know. Get The Brody File Weekly

Folks, this is the new wave of reporting in this viral, social media world.

O’Keefe may be controversial in some circles and his tactics have been criticized by some, but you can’t argue with the fact that he gets people’s attention.

With the liberal mainstream media lacking when it comes to true investigative journalism, these type of videos will become the norm sooner rather than later.

Here’s part of the transcript below:

Undercover Reporter: There are 100 people who don’t vote. He’s looking for two guys to help him with. …

Patrick Moran: Crank it out?

Undercover Reporter: Yes. He’s got a van and he and me were going to go around. …

Patrick Moran: Rally these people up and get them to the polls.

Undercover Reporter: Well, he was actually going to get in a van and vote for them.

Patrick Moran: Ohhhh

Undercover Reporter: I know, but –

Undercover Reporter: It’s scary, but I’m not. … I don’t want to lose, and I’m frightened.

Patrick Moran: Yeah.

Then later in the video there’s talk about creating fake utility bills to serve as voter identification.

Patrick Moran: So, if they just have the utility bill or bank statement – bank statement would obviously be tough … but faking a utility bill would be easy enough.

Undercover Reporter: How would you do that?

Patrick Moran: I mean, I would just find, I don’t know, I guess. …

Undercover Reporter: Microsoft Word and type it up.

Patrick Moran: Yeah, something like that. Story Continued and to watch the video:

· Guilford Co. voters say ballot cast for Romney came up Obama on machine – GREENSBORO, N.C. –The presidential election is just around the corner and voting issues have already become a problem in Guilford County.

On Monday, several voters complained that their electronic ballot machine cast the wrong vote. All the complaints were made by people who voted at the Bur-Mil Park polling location.

One of the voters, Sher Coromalis, says she cast her ballot for Governor Mitt Romney, but every time she entered her vote the machine defaulted to President Obama.

“I was so upset that this could happen,” said Coromalis.

Guilford County Board of Elections Director George Gilbert says the problem arises every election. It can be resolved after the machine is re-calibrated by poll workers.

“It’s not a conspiracy it’s just a machine that needs to be corrected,” Gilbert said.

After the third try, Coromalis says she was able to get her vote counted for Gov. Romney but was still annoyed.

“I should have just mailed it in,” Coromalis said.

Marie Haydock, who also voted at the Bur-Mil Park polling location, had the same problem.

“The frustration is… every vote counts,” said Haydock.

Elections officials say the machines have been fixed as of Tuesday, and no problems have been reported since.

Early voting ends November 3. Story Continued and to watch the video:

clip_image001

· Obama: Romney’s a ‘Bulls—–‘ – President Barack Obama told Rolling Stone that Mitt Romney is a “bullshitter.” Mike Allen reports:

FIRST LOOK – Rolling Stone cover, “Obama and the Road Ahead: The Rolling Stone Interview,” by Douglas Brinkley: “We arrived at the Oval Office for our 45-minute interview … on the morning of October 11th. … As we left the Oval Office, executive editor Eric Bates told Obama that he had asked his six-year-old if there was anything she wanted him to say to the president. … [S]he said, ‘Tell him: You can do it.’ Obama grinned. … ‘You know, kids have good instincts,’ Obama offered. ‘They look at the other guy and say, “Well, that’s a bullshitter, I can tell.”’” Story Continued:

· AP poll: Romney erases Obama advantage among women – WASHINGTON (AP) — What gender gap?

Less than two weeks out from Election Day, Republican Mitt Romney has erased President Barack Obama’s 16-point advantage among women, a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows. And the president, in turn, has largely eliminated Romney’s edge among men.

Those churning gender dynamics leave the presidential race still a virtual dead heat, with Romney favored by 47 percent of likely voters and Obama by 45 percent, a result within the poll’s margin of sampling error, the survey shows.

After a commanding first debate performance and a generally good month, Romney has gained ground with Americans on a number of important fronts, including their confidence in how he would handle the economy and their impressions of his ability to understand their problems.

At the same time, expectations that Obama will be re-elected have slipped: Half of voters now expect the president to win a second term, down from 55 percent a month earlier.

For all of the good news for Republicans, however, what matters most in the election endgame is Romney’s standing in the handful of states whose electoral votes still are up for grabs. And polls in a number of those battleground states still appear to favor Obama.

As the election nears, Romney has been playing down social issues and trying to project a more moderate stance on matters such as abortion in an effort to court female voters. The AP-GfK poll, taken Friday through Tuesday, shows Romney pulling even with Obama among women at 47-47 after lagging by 16 points a month earlier.

But now his campaign is grappling with the fallout from a comment by a Romney-endorsed Senate candidate in Indiana, who said that when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape “that’s something God intended.”

Romney quickly distanced himself from the remark by Republican Richard Mourdock. But Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the incident was “a reminder that a Republican Congress working with a Republican President Mitt Romney would feel that women should not be able to make choices about their own health care.”

A renewed focus on social issues would be an unwelcome development for Romney: Among female likely voters, 55 percent say Obama would make the right decisions on women’s issues, compared with 41 percent who think Romney would.

Romney’s pitch to women has been focused squarely on the economy, making the case that what women want most is to ensure their families and their country are on a solid financial footing. The poll shows that message appears to be taking root.

A month ago, women favored Obama over Romney on the economy 56 percent to 40 percent. Now, the split has shifted to 49 percent for Romney and 45 percent for Obama.

Similarly, Obama’s lead among women as the candidate who better understands the people’s problems has narrowed considerably, from a 58-36 Obama advantage last month to a 50-43 Obama edge now.

Monica Jensen, a 55-year-old independent from Mobile, Ala., says she voted for Obama in 2008 but will shift her vote to Romney this time, largely because of the economy.

“I’m ready for a change,” she said. “I want to see the economy go in a different direction.”

Ginny Lewis, a Democrat and 72-year-old retired district attorney from Princeton, Ky., says she’ll vote for Romney because “I’m tired of the Republicans blaming all the debt on Democrats, so let them take over and see what they do.” Story Continued:

· Romney raises $111.8 million in October – Mitt Romney’s campaign announced this morning that the GOP ticket and the Republican National Committee raised $111.8 million between Oct. 1 and Oct. 17.

It’s an impressive number, especially given how many months they’ve now broken the $100 million number. This period includes all three presidential debates and the VP debate, when Romney’s strong performance in the first debate especially helped bring in a flurry of donations.

The campaign still has just more than $169 million on hand as of Oct. 17, which is a big war chest for the final few weeks of the campaign and enough to really flood the airwaves with ads now through Nov. 6. Story Continued:

· Awesome pic: Des Moines Register dings Obama with dramatic front page contrast

clip_image003

· Oops! Obama Says He Wants Wind Turbines ‘Manufactured Here in China’ – President Barack Obama spoke in Colorado today as part of a nearly around-the-clock campaigning tour.

The President goofed up when talking about the desire for wind turbines being manufactured in America, saying he wanted them manufactured “here in China.”

He quickly corrected himself by saying, “I don’t want them manufactured in China.”

“I want to build on the progress we’ve made, doubling clean energy. I want fuel efficient cars and long-lasting batteries and wind turbines manufactured here in China! I don’t want them manufactured in China, I want them manufactured here in the United States!” Story Continued:

clip_image004

· Poll: An Obama comeback, but a Romney edge on debates – Despite Obama’s damage control, when Americans were asked to think more broadly about the three debates as a whole, Romney scored a narrow advantage, 46%-44%.

USA TODAY poll shows Obama easily winning the third presidential debate

But Romney edges him when voters assess the impact of the three debates overall

More Americans report watching or listening to the debates than in 2008

1:32PM EDT October 25. 2012 – WASHINGTON — President Obama was the runaway winner of the presidential debate on foreign policy this week, a nationwide USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds. But rival Mitt Romney edges him when voters assess which candidate did a better job in their three debates overall.

The survey shows Obama staging a dramatic comeback in the debates after a disastrous start. He trailed Romney by 52 percentage points when Americans were asked who did a better job at the first debate in Denver, but then was seen as besting his opponent by 13 points in the town hall-style debate on Long Island that followed. In the third debate, held Monday in Florida, Obama was seen as the winner by 23 points, 56%-33%.

But when Americans were asked to think more broadly about the three debates as a whole, Romney scored a narrow advantage, 46%-44%, as having done a better job.

“What we find in our research is that debates don’t work in a cumulative fashion in a sense of adding up the pluses and minuses per candidate per debate,” says Mitchell McKinney of the University of Missouri. “On several levels, the first debate really has the greatest effect; it’s the first impression. That’s the first time we see them together, and we size them up in terms of comparison shopping.”

While Obama managed to do damage control by replacing a disengaged manner in the first debate for a much more confrontational one, McKinney says, the initial encounter had a lasting impact.

More Americans tuned into the debates than four years ago.

Nearly seven in 10, 69%, say they watched or listened to the third debate. Even more, 76%, saw or heard the second debate; 67% tuned in to the first one.

Those results are higher than in 2008, when Obama debated Republican John McCain. Then, 63% to 66% said they watched or listened.

The new survey of just over 1,000 adults was taken in the two days following each of the three debates. The margin of error is +/- 4 points. Story Continued:

clip_image005

· Why Voters Should Turn From the Pseudoconservative Party of the Great Recession PART II – Louis M. Guenin, Lecturer on Ethics in Science, Harvard University

To repair its economy, the U.S. urgently needs finely-tuned macroeconomic policies and institutional changes. For this challenge, a rational voter would not rely on a political stance that, after helping to bring about the Great Recession, has foundered in self-contradiction. Such is the fate, as recounted in Part I, of Republican pseudoconservatism.

Whereupon attention turns to the alternative. It happens that the opposing Democratic view draws on conservatism in manifesting esteem for government and its history, a forgiving attitude toward government’s failings, and a cautious disposition toward incremental change. But conservatism is brought up short by a standard criticism: it does not generate substantive policies for all the challenges presented in a modern economy. As conservatism bids us esteem an established order, and to change gradually, it does not decide whether one established order is better than others, or what we should change.

The Need for Expertise in Economics

For macroeconomic problems, one needs economists’ rigorous analysis and policy prescriptions. Such a contribution lies beyond the capabilities of politicians, M.B.A.’s, and pundits (including those who imagine themselves economists but are unable to read the journals in this highly mathematical field). Because economic conditions change rapidly, expertise must be continuously relied upon to monitor performance and finely tune responses.

We observe an asymmetry in willingness to listen to economists. Since at least the work of Keynes, the leading lights of the economics profession have advised Democratic administrations. The affinity between this profession and that party arose from mutual commitment to economic growth and full employment of resources. Republicans have assigned greater importance to minimizing inflation. For long, a Republican economist was as rare as a camera-shy politician. Now there are some. But they are decidedly a minority. Meanwhile pseudoconservative anti-intellectualism and the “Republican War on Science” (recounted in Chris Mooney’s book by that name) scorn economics. Among familiar modes of attack on the natural sciences have been revisions by political operatives of government scientists’ reports, and claims that global warming is a “fraud.” Pseudoconservatives have declared that because economists’ predictions do not always come true, and because economists do not always agree with one another, we should ignore them.

Like the earth’s atmosphere, a national economy is a complex chaotic system. We should no more regard failures of macroeconomic predictions as impugning the singular knowledge of economists than we should regard failures of weather predictions as impugning the singular knowledge of meteorologists. A purported science whose investigators did not routinely disagree about hypotheses and theories would not be a science.

We should care greatly whether an administration or party heeds economic advice, and, if so, whether the advice is mainstream or of some other ilk.

History Illuminating the Predicament

Fiscal policy guided by mainstream economic advice succeeded splendidly during the Clinton administration (1993–2001) as the U. S. achieved a record-setting combination of strong growth in GDP, low unemployment, budget surpluses, and low inflation. Then the succeeding Republican administration (2001–2009) insisted on improvidently reducing taxes and on commencing war against Iraq. By dint of the resulting lower revenues and increased expenditures, the national debt jumped from $5.7 to $10.6 trillion. On top of this fiscal profligacy, the effects of a pseudoconservative favorite, deregulation, contributed to a financial catastrophe that began the Great Recession in 2007. In 2008 IV, GDP fell by an annualized rate of 8.9%, the largest such rate of decline since 1958.

For a needed boost in aggregate demand, the present administration’s immediate response was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. But in order to gain pseudoconservative votes in Congress, the amount of stimulus was set too low. The Act did boost national income and employment sufficiently that the Great Recession officially ended in 2009. But it has been observed that when financial crises initiate recessions, the lingering effects lengthen recovery. When Recovery Act funds were exhausted, state and local governments reduced their budgets and workforces, and there has not been any subsequent stimulus.

The legacy of the prior administration includes tax rates so low, and incomes so diminished by the Great Recession, that federal tax revenues have since been depressed at historical lows. Even though expenditures have been sharply reduced, the result of the depressed revenue stream has been to increase the debt to $16.2 trillion.

Ever since the midterm elections of 2010, fiscal policy has not been controlled by the administration, but instead dictated by the pseudoconservative-controlled House of Representatives (which, under Article I, § 7 of the Constitution, originates revenue bills). There rests responsibility for the recent effects of fiscal policy, including the refusal to reduce debt by a tax increase on taxpayers who, by virtue of wealth, would not in that event reduce their spending.

Prudent Fiscal Policy

Because members of Congress consistently vote in party blocks on major issues of economic policy, the coming election presents voters with two alternatives. The following compares them. It reveals the present administration following economic advice to strike a balance between expansionary fiscal policy and deficit reduction, and the Republicans following an anti-government strategy not reliably grounded in economic reasoning.

Expenditures. When growth is slow, unemployment high, the conventional macroeconomic reasoning says that government should increase expenditures so as to boost aggregate demand for goods and services, and thereby induce growth in GDP. Presently when the rate of inflation and interest rates are low, this could be done with little inflationary or interest rate risk.

But the recent history has left us in a dilemma. On the one hand, increasing expenditures to boost GDP is rendered worrisome by the magnitude of the national debt. On the other hand, reducing expenditures so as to reduce debt will reduce GDP, and by a multiplier that may exceed 1.

Observing how these circumstances “make deficit reduction a crucial but delicate endeavor,” the current administration’s proposed fiscal policy (Report of the Council of Economic Advisers 2012, which bears reading to illustrate subtle and practical macroeconomic reasoning) provides for deficit reduction by (1) additional revenue from higher taxes on the wealthy without dampening demand (of which more below), (2) expenditure reductions (but not gutting of social programs as pseudoconservatives propose), and (3) budgeting for programs enhancing productivity and international competitiveness, including education, training for fields in which the U. S. holds a comparative advantage, research and development, clean domestic energy, and infrastructure (“roads, rails, and runways”).

Inasmuch as increases in the national debt will not affect Main Street in the short run—interest rates are low—it may cogently be argued that we ought not panic by reducing expenditures too drastically in the short run. The administration’s policy wisely provides that reductions will be “phased in gradually to avoid disrupting the economic recovery.” Reliable projections also show the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act reducing Medicare costs, and hence the deficit.

The pseudoconservatives’ fiscal policy, radical and unwavering, is to “starve the beast” (as described in Part I). Having deprived the government of nutrition (tax revenue), they will not pass up any opportunity to slash expenditures. “We want to shrink it down,” says one of their advocates, “to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” They persist no matter how much anyone warns that reducing expenditures reduces GDP, no matter what the disruption or hardships.

For the psychological gratification that largely motivates this, the scheme seems futile. The federal government will always be enormous. The Department of Defense alone guarantees that. What, one may ask, would be satisfying about lesser enormity?

To defend their radical attack, pseudoconservatives suggest that shrinking the government will help the economy. This is a canard. It ignores that by definition, GDP = C + I + G + E, where C is consumption, I is investment, G is government consumption expenditures and gross investment, and E is net exports. Any reduction in G is an immediate reduction in GDP. Because the reduction will diminish demand for goods and services, the eventual multiplied effect may exceed the amount of the reduction. Any dismissed government employees are consumers sent into unemployment. As for secondary effects, declaring that a smaller government is better for the economy does not make it so. It seem unlikely that businesses will order new equipment, or that consumers will buy more groceries, if they hear that the enormous government is smaller than it once was.

When pseudoconservatives train their sights on regulation even after a near meltdown, they romanticize markets and free enterprise in offering an exaggerated version of liberalism before the industrial age. Deregulation recently implemented that version, and we have the Great Recession and near collapse of the financial system to show for it. Of course regulatory improvements can improve productivity. The current administration pursues “smart regulations,” regulations tested by whether incremental benefit is greater than or equal to incremental cost. But regulatory improvement is a far cry from contriving to “hack” the government “in pieces,” to use Burke’s words for the starvationists’ program.

The pseudoconservatives also claim that the federal government should balance its budget just as profit-maximizing firms and state governments do. Here they fail to apprehend the role of fiscal policy as a tool of economic regulation. Sometimes the federal government should (or should not) spend money not merely for programmatic reasons, but because the economy needs higher (or lower) federal expenditures to boost (or dampen) demand. Balancing the budget now could plunge the country into a depression. One does not learn macroeconomics by running a firm.

Government, they add, does not create jobs. On the contrary, government employs millions of people. Government expenditures contribute greatly to aggregate demand for goods and services, and their cascading effects through the economy induce employment in many industries.

Taxation. Wealthy taxpayers do not much increase or decrease their purchases of consumer goods because their April 15 check to the IRS is lower or higher. Their marginal propensity to consume is low. Should they realize any tax savings, most of it will be left in their investment accounts. Hence reducing their taxes will not result in much of an increase in consumer spending; it will increase the deficit by the amount of the revenue loss. Raising taxes on the wealthy will not much diminish consumer spending; it will decrease the deficit by the amount of the revenue gain. On the other hand, most working people exhibit a high marginal propensity to consume. Reducing their taxes will significantly boost consumer spending, and promote fairness in easing their burden.

For the foregoing reasons, the administration’s proposed fiscal policy provides for both tax increases and tax reductions tailored according to marginal propensities. Rates for wealthy taxpayers (presently at historic lows) would rise so as to reduce the deficit and moderate expenditure reductions. Because “the nation needs to raise demand for its goods and services in the short run to strengthen and sustain the economic recovery and put more people back to work” (Report of the Council of Economic Advisers 2012), taxes would be reduced as effected by the Recovery Act, taxes would be reduced on incomes below $250,000, and the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits would be extended.

The pseudoconservatives stick consistently to the panacea “Always reduce taxes.” They do not tailor reductions and increases for effectiveness according to marginal propensities. They profess to be supporting a uniform rate of reduction across brackets. Almost all Republican members of Congress have executed a written pledge, composed by a lobbyist leader of the “starve the beast” scheme, that they will never vote for any tax increase.

The pseudoconservatives are apt to mention the “supply side” prediction that lowering taxes will so greatly stimulate the economy that tax revenues will increase. When economists doubt whether such effect will occur, that suits the starvationists just fine. They do not want tax revenues to rise anyway. Story Continued:

– This is from Huffington Post and is included to allow both sides inclusive perspective. It will be interesting to see what is done about the economy after the election. PdC

· Glass Half Full, America – Imogen Lloyd Webber, Author and Broadcaster. A native Brit, I have lived my whole life in admiration and awe of the way Americans view the glass as half full. Your can-do attitude helped make your nation the leader of the free world.

Since the financial crisis, Americans have seen some incredibly tough times. However, to the rest of the world, America is still exceptional. From your military might to your Silicon Valley visionaries, many of us foreigners would love to have your level of decline right now.

In 1969 the United States’ share of world GDP was around 25 percent. It still is. America has a total GDP of more than $15 trillion. China’s is around $7 trillion. The United States is very much still world number one.

Since 2008, of the G7 countries, only Canada has debatably done better. This is in no small part down to Canada being the only G7 country to survive the financial crisis without a state bailout for its financial sector. Something to do with regulations.

We live in a globalized, interlinked, economy — and compared to everywhere else at the moment, America is a good place to be.

At present, Europeans feel like passengers on the Titanic. Those not in the Eurozone are ensconced in first-class. In the middle there are Eurozone countries such as Germany and France (the latter encountering some pesky “pigeons” on deck), while those PIIGS are stuck in steerage.

What of the once much vaunted BRICs? Brazil has manufacturing issues, growth is not what it was and in August it launched a $66 billion stimulus plan. Putin has a glowering demeanor for a good reason. Unless oil is around $117 a barrel Russia can’t break even, meanwhile the shale gas revolution is causing the country all sorts of potential problems since it is lowering the global price of gas. Added to which, the Russian middle class is rumbling. India’s politicians make America’s look functional and the power cut crisis this summer was a timely reminder of the structural problems it faces. Chinese growth has just slowed for a seventh consecutive quarter, as seven of the nine men who rule China prepare to hand over power.

America has a bad unemployment rate? Yes. But in a recent report, of the 34 main industrialized countries, only Estonia and Iceland’s unemployment rates are expected to fall faster, with rates increasing in most countries.

America’s jobless claims have hit a four-year low. The U.S. is industrially competitive — unit production costs are down 11 percent over the past decade, while costs have risen in almost every other advanced nation. The U.S. still invests more than anywhere else on innovation. A survey released in May by Accenture found that 40 percent of companies moving manufacturing operations in the past two years had moved them to the U.S., compared with 28 percent that moved facilities to China.

Home foreclosure rates in the U.S. are at a five-year low and housing starts are at a four-year high. American families have cut their debts to pre-recession levels, making faster economic growth a realistic possibility as long as America’s politicians don’t completely mess up the “fiscal cliff.”

Owing in large part to issues with global demand, the stock market may have been wobbling over the past few days — but since Obama took office, the Dow Jones has gained around 67 percent. Only four American Presidents since 1900 have had better results in a similar timeframe.

Small wonder that the latest Brookings Institution-Financial Times tracking index labeled the U.S. as “the brightest spot in the world economy.” Surely some credit has to go to the man currently occupying the Oval Office for that?

Obama is under fire for not being specific enough for what he’d do in a second term. But Romney’s plans are arguably vaguer and his figures full of holes. The president is at least running with a commitment to deal with the deficit fairly and a track record that currently compares favorably to every other world leader’s.

America’s glass is still half full. However November 6th will come down to whether Americans believe that it is. Story Continued:

· Donald Trump, Gloria Allred: 2012 Presidential Race Turns Into Clown Campaign – by Howard Kurtz Oct 25, 2012 4:45 AM EDT

Ann Coulter calls Obama a ‘retard.’ Then there’s Gloria Allred, TMZ, and a divorce. They and others are turning the race into a circus. Howard Kurtz on the nuttiness factor.

clip_image006

It’s the last two weeks of a presidential campaign: a time for suspense, for intrigue, for plot twists and…well, a whole lot of silliness.

We’re not just talking horses and bayonets here.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Donald Trump is back. Surely you missed the days when he was demanding Barack Obama’s birth certificate and threatening to run for president—that is, before re-upping on Celebrity Apprentice.

With a vaguely menacing expression topped by unusually orange hair, The Donald declared Wednesday in a YouTube video that if Obama releases his college and passport records, “I will give immediately a check for five million dollars” to a charity of the president’s choice.

Why does he want these records? Trump doesn’t say. A secret plan to expose that Obama was a lousy student secretly wiring money to his Kenyan masters? Trump proclaims that such a document dump “will end the question and indeed the anger of many Americans.” Um, angry about what? That they don’t know whether the president aced freshman English? According to Trump, they will be overjoyed that “their president will become transparent.”

But it’s Trump, the shrewd businessman, who seems transparent, pulling this stunt knowing full well he’ll never have to get out the checkbook. I will say this for the MSM crowd: they have largely shrugged off the Romney supporter’s bit of theater, with folks like CNBC’s John Harwood tweeting that Trump is “a very big clown.”

What, then, should we call Ann Coulter, who tweeted after the third debate that the president of the United States is a “retard”? An attention-obsessed bomb-thrower, perhaps? Enough said.

For a few brief moments it seemed the flap of the day would revolve around Mitt Romney, a divorce, Gloria Allred and TMZ. (I know, the very thought is enough to make you dizzy.) The gossip site says that Romney testified years ago in a divorce case and “screwed the friend’s wife out of a lot of money.” Notice the delicate wording.

In the case, involving Staples founder Tom Stemberg—Staples was one of Bain Capital’s success stories—Romney is said to have testified that the company’s stock was overvalued, which would mean a smaller settlement for the ex. You will not be stunned to hear that Allred, the celebrity lawyer, represents the ex-wife. Stemberg spoke on Romney’s behalf at the Republican convention, though you might have blinked and missed it.

That story, in turn, led to this breathless headline: “EXCLUSIVE: Gloria Allred Met with Obama Before ‘October Surprise.’” This appeared on Fox Nation, which is kind of like Fox on steroids.

Turns out Allred, a Democratic convention delegate, went to a fundraiser in L.A. and told a Fox producer that she “had a few words with the president” backstage. Leading Fox Nation to this conspiratorial whisper: “Many are wondering if there is any coordination between the Obama campaign and Gloria Allred, considering the relationship involved…” No proof, just a sneaky formulation, many are wondering. Many at Fox, I suppose.

But that’s a mere sideshow compared to this BuzzFeed report that threatens to blow the lid off the Romney campaign:

“The Republican nominee has made a habit of spray tanning before major speeches, debates, interviews, and other events that have a chance of getting wide TV coverage.”

Wow. If a man can’t be honest about his skin tone, how can America trust him? On the other hand, he did tell us he liked Snooki.

Every time the campaign debate threatens to focus on something like Libya or Afghanistan, bizarre events have a way of intervening. That’s what happened when Richard Mourdock, the GOP Senate candidate in Indiana, said during a debate: “I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.” (What is it, after the Todd Akin uproar, about Republicans and rape this year?) Romney put out a statement saying he disagreed with the comments but has not withdrawn his support for Mourdock, kicking the Democratic outrage machine into high gear. Story Continued:

· Romney’s Surge – by Douglas E. Schoen , Jessica Tarlov Oct 25, 2012 4:45 AM EDT. The election is a dead heat, but Mitt has the momentum, say Douglas E. Schoen and Jessica Tarlov.

With just two weeks to go until Election Day, the popular vote is, as everyone knows, effectively a dead heat. The Real Clear Politics average has Romney enjoying a 0.9-point advantage. And while the latest Rasmussen numbers give Romney a 4-point edge and he is ahead 5 in Gallup, there are other polls that have Obama leading. In the latest IBD/TIPP poll, for instance, the president is up by 2.

clip_image007

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney greets supporters at an election campaign rally at the Reno Event Center in Reno, Nev., Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012. (Charles Dharapak / AP Photo)

But there are two other crucial indicators that show momentum for Mitt. The first is the trend in the Electoral College—and one state in particular.

At this point, many of the states in the Real Clear Politics “toss ups” category appear likely to go one way or the other. Florida and Virginia will probably go for Romney, while Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan will most likely be won by the president.

And so, as we’ve argued before, that leaves Ohio as the state that will likely decide the election. The polls from Ohio currently show a dead heat, but they also show momentum for Romney. Just two weeks ago, Obama was up 10 points in the state. Today, that margin has closed to 3 in the latest SurveyUSA poll. Meanwhile, the latest Suffolk (PDF) poll has Ohio tied (at 47) and Rasmussen also has a tie (at 48). All of this is clearly good news for Mitt.

What’s more, there were other pieces of good news for Romney hidden in the aftermath of the third debate. In the CNN/ORC snap poll, which asked voters whether Romney could handle being commander-in-chief, 60 percent answered in the affirmative as compared to 38 percent against. Further, the two candidates were tied on likability—a big change from the 20-point lead the president held in this area a couple of months ago. While Obama won the debate on substance, it may not have mattered because Romney was still competent, for the most part presidential, and apparently far more likable than he once was.

Taken together, Romney’s improving image and the changing polls in Ohio do not paint a good picture for Obama. Time is running out for the president to counter Mitt’s surge. It’s still a tie, but things seem to be trending Romney’s way. Story Continued:

· Ground Game: Romney Campaign Targets Low-Propensity Early Voters, Banks on Strong Election Day Turnout – by Rich Galen Oct 25, 2012 4:45 AM EDT. Romney’s political director says his team is more focused on getting people less inclined to vote to send in absentee ballots or go to the polls—and is successfully cutting the president’s lead among early voters.

Rich Beeson, political director of the Romney campaign, is not moved by reports of a huge “ground game” advantage on the part of the Obama campaign.

clip_image008

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives at Reno-Tahoe International airport in Reno, Nevada, Oct. 24, 2012. (Emmanuel Dunand / AFP / Getty Images)

“The only metric anyone has seen is the number of offices and the number of staff on the ground,” Beeson said. “In Virginia, Obama has 80 offices, we have 26,” he said by way of example. “In Florida the Obama campaign has 100 offices; we have 41.”

As the old saying goes, generals and political operatives are always fighting the last war. Beeson said if the Romney team wanted more offices—or thought they would provide a measurable difference in the vote, they would have opened more offices.

Beeson is a seasoned political hand, having been the political director at the Republican National Committee, among other high-profile posts.

“This isn’t 2008 when we were restricted by funds,” he said. “We didn’t have the money four years ago, but that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten how to organize and turn out our voters.”

Speaking from the Romney campaign offices in Boston, Beeson was asked about reports of large leads for Obama among early voters.

“We have a completely different strategy. They are voting their high-propensity voters first,” he said, adding that the Obama campaign want their base vote in the bank as soon as possible. “We know our high-propensity voters will vote; we’re focusing our early voting operation on the lower-propensity voters. We want them to get to the polls or to send in their absentee ballots before Election Day.”

He said he was confident about Election Day voters. “Our turnout will be far stronger.”

Beeson said that on the first day of early voting in Iowa, the Obama campaign “had a 29 percent partisan advantage. Now that’s down to 14 percent. We’ve cut it in half and our early-voting operation is functioning at full steam.”

He added that he is more than satisfied at the campaign’s canvassing operation: “We are at parity or ahead of the Obama campaign in every target state in the number of people contacted.”

The Washington Times recently reported that in Virginia the Republican National Committee and the Romney campaign have “surpassed 4 million voter contacts, which includes seven times the number of phone calls and 11 times as many door knocks as at this point in 2008.”

Early voting began as a little-used tactic by states to drive up the number of people participating in the electoral process. In 2008, nearly a third of the ballots cast for president were early votes. In fact, two states—Washington and Oregon—don’t have any polling places. Citizens can only vote by mail.

Early voting changes the nature of the final push as we used to know it. A late attack ad is not as effective if large percentages of voters have already cast their ballots than it would be if everyone had to wait for Election Day.

Early-voting operations can have a significant impact on the outcome of an election. Add to that modern campaigns being largely carried out on Twitter and other social media, as well as in on-line political news sites that are updated constantly, and the effects of “bragging rights” to early-voting success can help turn perceived momentum into real votes as those low-propensity voters want to jump on a winner’s bandwagon.

In the end, though, the size of the field staff, the number of offices, and the number of early voters might be illusory. A ground game is important, just as good advertisements and a well-organized finance operation are important.

But none of these trumps a good candidate, a person who can make the case for why he or she should be the next president of the United States, or the next city council member from Ward 3.

The press has very few data points to point to: money, polling, and a quantifiable ground game. But in the end, it is the candidate who will, or won’t, close the sale. Story Continued:

· Former Joe Biden aide writes angry tell-all – By JONATHAN MARTIN | 10/25/12 4:55 PM EDT

Adding another wild-card to the 2012 campaign’s final days, a former aide to Vice President Joe Biden has written a tell-all Washington memoir in which he lacerates the former Delaware senator as an “egomaniacal autocrat” who was “determined to manage his staff through fear.”

The book is hardly an objective study of the vice president, however. Author Jeff Connaughton, a Biden Senate staffer turned lobbyist, is by his own admission deeply disillusioned with the capital and embittered about his experience with the man who inspired him to enter politics.

Connaughton wrote “The Payoff,” which came out last month, in the fashion of guilt-racked whistle-blower: he was a party to a corrupt system and now wants to blow the lid off the game.

“I came to D.C. a Democrat and left a plutocrat,” he confesses.

As chief of staff to former Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), Biden’s successor, Connaughton was radicalized by his unsuccessful experience trying to get an amendment to the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill that would have broken up the country’s largest banks. So he left Washington politics and wrote what he believes is the unvarnished truth about the country’s political system. The big reveal: Big banks control both parties.

“It’s time people understand why – and how – Wall Street always wins,” Connaughton writes at the outset of his book.

He is harshly critical of his own party and the Obama administration, arguing that the president is no different than most other Washington Democrats in his willingness to kowtow to Wall Street.

President Obama and Biden, he writes, are “both financially illiterate.”

“The Payoff” is every bit the cri de coeur of a man who, as he writes, is “willing to burn every bridge” in order to indict the transactional Washington lobbying and political culture. (After Kaufman’s term ended, Connaughton fled D.C. and moved to Savannah, Ga.)

But the book is also a reprise of the familiar cautionary tale about an idealistic young politico who came to Washington to make a difference but went native – and was let down by the powerful man he looked up to.

Time and again, over the course of decades, Connaughton tells of being disappointed in Biden or not receiving the treatment he felt he was due. He doesn’t hide his sour grapes – he’s up front about his unhappiness and that he never gained the full trust of the former Delaware senator.

“Only a handful of people ever made it into his inner circle,” he writes, adding: “I simply wasn’t one of the chosen.”

What’s remarkable about the book is the lengths that Connaughton goes to portray his former boss and political idol in a bad light, piling up embarrassing anecdotes and examples of when Biden couldn’t be bothered to help one of his own aides. Story Continued:

· Wisconsin company announces layoffs ahead of Biden arrival – Alan Blinder

Staff Reporter, D.C. City Hall. Bad news will greet Vice President Joe Biden when he arrives in Wisconsin Thursday night. Hours earlier, Oshkosh’s largest employer announced that it will lay off 450 employees in January.

Oshkosh Corp., a truck manufacturer with Pentagon contracts, blamed the “difficult decisions” on looming cuts to the nation’s defense budget.

“As Oshkosh and others in the defense industry have discussed on numerous occasions, domestic military vehicle production volumes will decline significantly in 2013 due to the reduction in U.S. defense budgets and the fact that military spending is returning to peacetime levels,” the company said in a statement. “Unfortunately, these economic factors require Oshkosh to rebalance its defense production workforce starting in January 2013.”

The company said the layoffs were not tied to the looming budget cuts set to take effect in January. And it will still have about 3,500 employees in its Oshkosh-based defense division after the job cuts.

The news came hours ahead of Biden’s campaign appearance in the city on Friday morning. President Obama carried Winnebago County in 2008, but area Republicans said they believe Mitt Romney will be competitive here on Election Day.

Statewide tracking polls show that while Obama’s lead has slipped, he maintains a slight advantage over Romney in Wisconsin. Story Continued:

Leave a comment

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

What’s Up: October 24, 2012?

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

· Wal-Mart heir funding Obama big time – Can we stop pretending that Barack Obama’s candidacy is some grass-roots uprising?

Obama’s campaign has outspent Romney’s campaign. The Democratic National Committee has outspent the Republican National Committee. While Romney’s SuperPAC (Restore our Future), has outspent Obama’s SuperPAC (Priorities USA), that $40 million Romney SuperPAC edge doesn’t come close to making up for the Obama campaign’s $180 million edge.

There is legally undisclosed spending going on here, and there’s reason to believe Romney benefits from more of it than Obama, but that’s not conclusive, and we don’t know how big Romney’s edge is in that category.

Obama argues that his fundraising success comes from small donors, but that’s not really true. One out of every five Obama dollars comes from the campaign’s biggest bundlers, the Center for Pubic Integrity reports. Those bundlers include the likes of Pfizer lobbying chief Sally Susman and financier Michael Kempner of the MWW group.

A full 85 percent of Obama’s SuperPAC money comes from his 20 largest donors (compared to 70 percent of the money raised by Romney’s SuperPAC), according to Russ Choma at the Center for Responsive Politics.

My favorite detail, though, is this Washington Times report by data hound Luke Rosiak: Wal-Mart Chairman Sam Walton has apparently given big to Obama’s SuperPAC.

This is at first surprising for a couple of reasons. First, the Waltons tend to be Republican. Second, the conventional wisdom is that megacorps like Wal-Mart are a Republican thing.

But Sam Walton gave the maximum $30,800 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008, and $40,000 to the OVF this election.

Policy-wise, there’s plenty of reason for Sam Walton to like Barack Obama:

Wal-Mart endorsed the employer mandate in ObamaCare, which gives Wal-Mart an advantage by crushing smaller competitors.

Wal-Mart has profited from Dodd-Frank, which fixes the price Wal-Mart has to pay banks for processing debit cards.

Wal-Mart has lobbied for and profits from higher minimum wage.

Wal-Mart is a top beneficiary of eminent domain takings, a government power protected by the types of judges Obama appoints.

Big Business generally benefits from Big Government. Story Continued:

· Image of Romney crops up in Iowa farm field

clip_image001

More crop artists have been at work in Iowa. This declaration of presidential preference is on Jim and Nancy Pellett’s land and is visible from Interstate 80 eastbound near Atlantic. Mitt Romney supporter Jim Kurtenbach of Nevada went up in a small plane with photographer Charlie Lloyd, another Romney backer, to snap photos. The word “Romney” in the top left corner of the photo can be seen from eastbound lanes on I-80. Story Continued:

· Florida Republican, 71, Arrested For Penny Attack On Democratic Party Office

clip_image003

A Florida man is facing a misdemeanor charge after he went to a Democratic Party headquarters and threw a penny at workers there, claiming that the change was “all he has left after being taxed by Obama,” cops report.

The protest Friday evening ended with the arrest of Gary Root, a 71-year-old Naples man (and registered Republican). Root, seen in the adjacent mug shot, was charged with trespassing at the Collier County office where he offered his impromptu donation.

According to a Collier County Sheriff’s Office report, Root explained to deputies that he “tossed in a penny as a contribution as that’s all he has left after being taxed by Obama.”

Root, who bonded out of jail yesterday after posting $1000 bond, had received a trespass warning in mid-May following an incident at the same Naples club. Two Democratic workers there described Root as an “ongoing problem.”

The campaign police blotter also includes the bust of a man, 63, who allegedly went on an anti-Obama graffiti spree in New York’s tony East Hampton, and the defacement (“Muslim Lier”) of a large banner at the Des Moines headquarters of the president’s reelection effort. Story Continued:

clip_image004

· OBAMA, ROMNEY PUMPED FOR DASH TO THE FINISH – With just two weeks until Election Day, President Barack Obama on Tuesday began a cross-country rush to hold onto office in tough economic times with a new booklet outlining his second-term agenda and a closing argument that the choice comes down to trust.

The president emerged from the last of his debates with Republican Mitt Romney fueled by a rush of adrenaline matched by thousands of boisterous supporters who filled the outdoor Delray Tennis Center to hear him speak. The crowd repeatedly interrupted Obama’s 22-minute speech with applause and chants of “four more years” that drowned out his remarks.

Obama, with sleeves rolled up, held up a copy of the full-color, 20-page “Blueprint for America’s Future” that his campaign planned to distribute across the country – a booklet that offered a repackaging of his ideas in response to GOP criticism that he hasn’t clearly articulated a plan for the next four years. He argued that voters want to know what a presidential candidate will fight for and said Romney isn’t offering a clear vision.

“We joke about Romnesia,” Obama said, a reference to his joke that his challenger has a habit of vacillating positions. “But you know what? This actually is something important. This is about trust. There is no more serious issue in a presidential campaign than trust.”

Neither side can claim the lead at this late stage with polls showing a neck-and-neck race nationally and in some of the key swing states. Obama’s challenge is to convince voters who may be hurting financially that he is better qualified to lead the country back to economic prosperity than Romney, who made a fortune as a successful businessman.

“Florida, you know me,” Obama said. “You can trust that I say what I mean and I mean what I say. And yes, we’ve been through tough times. But you’ve never seen me quit.”

Both campaigns predicted victory, trying to ward off worries among the supporters they need to get to the polls. “In two weeks, a majority of Americans will choose Gov. Romney’s positive agenda over President Obama’s increasingly desperate attacks,” said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams in a statement responding to the president’s Florida rally.

Obama senior strategist David Axelrod said he was confident Obama would win and that Americans soon will know who’s been bluffing in their dueling declarations of victory. “We have the ball, we have the lead,” Axelrod told reporters on a conference call.

Axelrod said the campaign was printing 3.5 million copies of his second-term agenda to reach the “small universe” of voters who haven’t made up their minds. The booklet, which they plan to distribute at events and campaign offices across the country, outlines the president’s plans to improve education, boost manufacturing jobs, enhance U.S.-made energy, reduce the federal deficit and raise taxes on the wealthy.

Romney policy director Lanhee Chen responded that Obama was trying to fool people into thinking he has new ideas when all he’s offering is more of the same plans that Chen said have been ineffective. “A glossy pamphlet two weeks before an election is no substitute for a real agenda for America. As much as President Obama might try, you can’t gloss over four years like the last four,” Chen wrote in a memo.

Obama also touted economic gains in a new 60-second television advertisement in which he speaks directly to the camera about his plans for a second term. The ad will air in the nine states whose electoral votes are still considered up for grabs – New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada and Colorado. Story Continued:

· Obama Escalates ‘Romnesia’ Attack by Referencing Stage Three Cancer – President Barack Obama escalated his “Romnesia” attack against Republican Mitt Romney by referencing stage three cancer at a campaign event in Florida today:

Obama: Now, we’ve come up with a name for this condition. It’s called Romnesia. (Applause.)

Audience: Romnesia! Romnesia! Romnesia!

Obama: We had a severe outbreak last night. (Applause.) It was at least stage three Romnesia. (Laughter and applause.) And I just want to go over with you some of the symptoms, Delray, because I want to make sure nobody in the surrounding area catches it. (Laughter.) If you say that you love American cars during a debate, but you wrote an article titled, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” you might have Romnesia. (Applause.)

“Romnesia” is Obama’s phrase he uses when alleging Romney once stood for something different than what the Republican now stands for. Story Continued and to watch the video:

· Obama hammers Romney after Florida debate – The morning after Monday’s showdown—the third and final between the candidates—President Barack Obama spent a postdebate rally here accusing Mitt Romney of switching positions on foreign policy and called his ideas “wrong and reckless.”

“Last night [former Gov. Romney] was all over the map. Did you notice that?” Obama asked the crowd. “During the debate, he said he didn’t want more troops in Iraq. But he was caught on video saying it was unthinkable not to leave 20,000 troops in Iraq.”

Obama delivered his speech in a packed tennis stadium where he was introduced by West Palm Beach pizza shop owner Scott Van Duzer, who famously wrapped his arms around the president and lifted him off his feet in a bear hug last month. When Obama walked onstage, he and Van Duzer high-fived with both hands and briefly embraced, although the president’s feet never left the ground.

Obama said that over the course of the campaign, Romney had switched his positions on keeping troops in Afghanistan, America’s relationship with Israel, and the decision to kill Osama bin Laden. Obama reiterated the word he coined last week—”Romnesia”—which he has been using repeatedly when accusing the GOP challenger of switching positions.

Launching into a Jeff Foxworthy-style routine that replaced the word “redneck” with “Romnesia,” Obama said: “If you say that you love American cars during a debate, but you wrote an article entitled ‘Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,’ you might have Romnesia!

“If you talk about how much you love teachers during a debate, but said just a few weeks ago that we shouldn’t hire any more because it won’t grow the economy, what do you have?”

“Romnesia!” the crowd shouted.

The president also took time to promote a new campaign booklet, “The New Economic Patriotism,” which outlines an economic plan that increases federal government spending and raises taxes on the wealthy. Obama held up the magazine-style pamphlet and told the audience to read it to find out more about what he would do in a second term.

The campaign on Tuesday also released an ad, “Determination,” to promote the blueprint, which Obama called his “plan for the next four years.” The video basically introduces the topics in the booklet and shows the president speaking directly to the camera, urging viewers to compare his plan to Romney’s.

“We’re not there yet, but we’ve made real progress,” Obama says in the ad. “And the last thing we should do is turn back now.”

With two weeks left before Election Day, Obama has a full schedule of swing state campaigning ahead. Immediately following his address here, Obama traveled to Dayton, Ohio, for the second of several rallies this week. Story Continued:

– It seems like the president’s desperation is trying to gain what he has lost. PdC

clip_image005

·

· Obama: ‘Michelle and I Will Be Fine No Matter What Happens’ in the Election – In his latest fundraising email to supporters, President Barack Obama says, “Michelle and I will be fine no matter what happens” in the election. Instead, Obama’s trying to win the contest “for our country and middle-class families.”

Here’s the full pitch:

I don’t want to lose this election.

Not because of what losing would mean for me — Michelle and I will be fine no matter what happens.

But because of what it would mean for our country and middle-class families.

This race is very close.

I’m not willing to watch the progress you and I worked so hard to achieve be undone.

Time is running out to make an impact — please don’t wait any longer. Donate $5 or more today:

https://donate.barackobama.com/Two-Weeks

I believe in you. If you stick with me, and if we fight harder than ever for the next two weeks, I truly believe we can’t lose.

Thank you,

Barack

P.S. — I don’t know what Election Night will hold, but I’d like you to be a part of the event here in Chicago. Any donation you make today automatically enters you for a chance to meet me — airfare and hotel for you and a guest are covered. Story Continued:

· Chicago Store-Owner Labeled ‘Racist’ For Anti-Obama Business Sign

clip_image006

CHICAGO (CBS) — An outspoken and controversial shopkeeper who has been a fixture in Lincoln Square for the past dozen years has been targeted by a vandal.

75-year-old Sam Wolfson owns String a Strand bead shop.

And he wears his heart on his sleeve. His political leanings – anti-Obama – are posted on his store window.

Like his handwritten signs that say: “Romney, if you want to be president, you have to say this: ‘If I’m elected, I will not bow down to the king of Saudi Arabia” and “Obama, I built this business working 7 days a week, you didn’t.”

“I walked in,” he said. “I was coming to work and in lipstick it had a sign, ‘Racist.’ I’m not a racist. My wife is Spanish. Come on.”

The photo with the lipstick was posted on EveryBlock.com.

He has since cleaned up the graffiti.

WBBM Newsradio spoke with some passersby on Lincoln Avenue.

“I don’t necessarily disagree with the sentiments by the lipstick vandal,” one person said. “But I don’t condone such actions.”

Wolfson says it’s just symptomatic of a contentious election year. Story Continued:

· Bob Woodward: Obama ‘mistaken’ on sequester

clip_image007

Bob Woodward says President Barack Obama got some of his facts wrong on sequester at Monday night’s debate.

Woodward’s book, “The Price of Politics,” has been the go-to fact check source for the president’s answer, in which he claimed the idea of using deep, automatic, across-the-board domestic and defense spending cuts to force Congress to address the nation’s burgeoning federal deficit originated from Congress, not from the White House.

“What the president said is not correct,” Woodward told POLITICO Tuesday. “He’s mistaken. And it’s refuted by the people who work for him.”

Woodward, a Washington Post journalist who was a key reporter on the initial coverage of the Watergate scandal, said he stands behind his reporting in the book, which drew upon sources involved in last year’s deficit talks and detailed notes taken in the meetings.

Woodward reports in his book that White House Office of Management Director Jack Lew and Legislative Affairs Director Rob Nabors took the proposal for sequestration to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and then it was presented to congressional Republicans.

During the debate, however, Obama said the idea originated on Capitol Hill.

“First of all, the sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed,” Obama said, adding his strongest pronouncement to date on its future: “It will not happen.”

Woodward said there’s a possibility the president was unaware of how the idea came about.

“It’s a complicated process — and in fairness to the president — maybe he didn’t know that they were doing this because it’s kind of technical budget jargon,” Woodward said.

“What I wrote — it’s specific date, time, place, participants,” he said. “What I’ve reported is totally accurate. Call Nabors and Lew. Or ask the White House. I mean, they know that’s accurate.”

Still, briefing reporters Tuesday aboard Air Force One, White House press secretary Jay Carney continued to blame sequestration on Congress.

“What the president said last night was a reiteration of what his position has long been,” Carney said. “The sequester that was designed and passed by Congress was never meant to become policy, it was never meant to be implemented.”

Woodward agreed that sequestration wasn’t intended to actually happen.

(PHOTOS: Scenes from the Boca Raton debate)

“No one thought it would happen. The idea was to design something … that was so onerous that no one would ever let it happen. Of course, it did, because they couldn’t reach agreement,” he said. “They all believed that the supercommittee was going to come up with a $1.2 trillion deficit-reduction plan, so there would be no sequestration. Of course, the supercommittee failed and so the trigger went off, which has all of these very Draconian cuts.” Story Continued:

· Is Anna Wintour pressuring designers to steer clear of Ann Romney? –

clip_image009

“Honored to see First Lady Michelle Obama wearing our Spring 2013 dress at the final presidential debate,” boasted the Twitter account of fashion label Thom Browne soon after Monday night’s debate. Yet over at the Twitter account of OscarPRGirl, the official publicist for Oscar de la Renta, not a word was uttered about the fact that Ann Romney had donned a dark teal dress from the designer’s collection.

But that’s nothing new.

Designers, stylists and fashion industry publicists routinely clamor to outfit First Lady Michelle Obama, with press releases flying out the door any time she sports a certain brand. Fashion publications praise her designer selections and several books have been published that are solely devoted to analyzing her style and taste.

However, the fashion world has remained particularly quiet on the Ann Romney fashion front, with many questioning whether or not outspoken Obama supporter Anna Wintour is keeping stylists and designers away, silently threatening their standing should they endeavor to promote their outfitting of the wife of a Republican presidential hopeful.

Over the past year, the Vogue matriarch – who many say has enough power to make or break fashion careers – has become one of President Obama’s leading financiers. Wintour has raised over half a million dollars for the incumbent, hosted numerous lavish dinners in his name and even enlisted designer pals like Marc Jacobs and Thakoon Panichgul to design pro-Obama products.

“Wintour’s connections and influence in Hollywood, fashion, and society aren’t merely pretty, shiny things to have around; they have become vital to the financial success of the campaign,” wrote Noreen Malone in the November edition of The New Republic. “She is in search of something more than a victory in November; she wants politics to take fashion seriously.”

And according to fashion industry pros we talked to, no one wants to risk annoying Wintour.

Hayley Phelan of Fashionista.com pointed out that during last month’s political conventions, the site received several notices pertaining to Michelle Obama’s wardrobe, while not a single word was uttered from Oscar de la Renta’s PR team when Ann wore one of the American designer’s gowns. And after Romney sported a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress, the DVF team went as far as to distance themselves from Romney by reportedly claiming that they were unsure how she obtained the dress. Clearly, it wasn’t sent to her in a nicely-wrapped package with a note of gratitude.

According to Women’s Wear Daily, 53.9 percent of fashion industry campaign donations went to Obama, while only 45.9 percent went to Republicans. “The fashion industry is predominantly on the left,” said fashion publicist Lee Everett of LaunchPad PR, noting that many brands and designers fear being associated with the GOP. “It’s such a disservice to so many brands who could benefit, to the other ’50 percent’ of the country. For the sake of the fashion industry, it should remain apolitical.”

Yet others doubt Romney is getting the cold shoulder from the predominantly liberal fashion world, or that Wintour’s own political preferences have instilled fear in any designer who dares dress the GOP nominee’s wife.

“It is just that Michelle brings such a unique, vibrant and youthful style and the average woman can see herself wearing many of her outfits, so designers want everyone to know that she is wearing their clothes,” explained entertainment/lifestyle commentator Valerie Greenberg. “And even though Anna Wintour has a reputation for being tough, I don’t think she would let her political views dictate the designers she chooses to feature in the pages of Vogue.”

Emmy-winning stylist and author David Zyla, who has previously outfitted political figures including Hillary Clinton, said that is simply hard for anyone to measure up to Michelle Obama, who roused the industry after the eight years of the simple style preferred by former First Lady Laura Bush. Story Continued:

– It seems that the liberals will find anything to put down the other side. It amazes me that people think Michelle Obama as a fashion leader. I have seen clothes that she wears and wonder why her husband allowed her to lead the White House. PdC

· Post-debate, MSNBC’s Matthews claims Romney supporters fueled by racial hatred of Obama – Presidential Debate III was more like “Rocky” Round 16, an afterthought where neither boxer really lands a clean punch on the other and where the crowd has dozed off or gone to bed. Only in the land of MSNBC were sparks flying.

Famously tingly MSNBC host Chris Matthews decided the whole race came down to, well, race. In one of the more outlandish rants of an outlandish career, Matthews said the right hates Obama more than they want to destroy Al Qaeda, according to The Hill. The rant is too priceless to edit:

“I think they hate Obama. They want him out of the White House more than they want to destroy Al Qaeda. Their No. 1 enemy in the world right now, on the right, is their hatred, hatred for Obama. And we can go into that about the white working class in the South and looking at these numbers we’re getting the last couple days about racial hatred in many cases … this isn’t about being a better president, they want to get rid of this president,’ he said.”

Other than that bout of inanity/insanity, the night was pretty mellow. The sleepy debate was made even sleepier by longtime CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer, who brought his long questions and mellow tone to a viewing public already worn out by a 24-7 campaign.

MSNBC host Chris Matthews decided that the whole 2012 presidential race came down to, well, race.

The result was one where both sides get to claim victory and where few major points will jump from the transcript into the popular conversation. Obama scored with a bogus quip about bayonets, something our Marines still rely on. But he also had to fend off a lot of discussion about economics – something his lefty supporters took offense over.

The Huffington Post, a major prObama operation, criticized the economic focus and the moderator’s inability to change that. “Schieffer seemed to be unwilling or unable to move the conversation back to international issues for some minutes,” wrote HuffPo.

One key point that might haunt the president came about the issue of “sequestration,” where a compromise budget was OK’d that would gut defense spending. Obama, fending off repeated attacks on the issue finally responded. “First of all, the sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen.”

White House senior adviser and 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe backed off that almost immediately after the debate. “No one thinks it should happen,” Politico reported him saying.

The CNN team summed up the debate in a few succinct ways, with anchor Wolf Blitzer calling it “much more civilized” and Chief National Correspondent John King saying the “president won on points.”

As CNN’s now-much-more-famous Candy Crowley put it, “the president came to rough up Mitt Romney.” GOP candidate Romney, on the other hand, “approached this like a physician: ‘first do no harm’”

Neither entirely failed or succeeded.

Two NBC staffers noted a key difference between the candidates. “Meet The Press” host David Gregory agreed with Crowley. “Romney seemed more interested in coming across as a sober and careful commander in chief than a bellicose alt to President,” he commented on Twitter.

NBC Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd seemed surprised by Obama’s aggressive tone. “POTUS is consistently trying to draw Romney into a more contentious debate. It’s what challengers do who think they are behind,” he wrote on Twitter.

Supporters on the right and the left saw what they wanted to see. Lefty MSNBC analyst Jonathan Alter naturally felt even a peace-supporting Romney was bad. “By reversing his views on war and peace, Romney has raised a character issue about his ability to be trusted as a steadfast defender of U.S.,” he argued.

Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, took the exactly opposite view. “Oh, the debate. Romney wants peace, trade, a growing economy, American strength. Obama wants to keep spending and running up debt,” he wrote.

Brent Bozell, head of the Media Research Center, credited the job Schieffer did. “Whatever his biases, and he has biases, Bob Schieffer didn’t show them tonight. Unlike Candy Crowley and Martha Raddatz, Schieffer managed to moderate this debate without revealing his own positions. Well done.”

Early on in the debate, Ben Smith of Buzzfeed summarized the view that filtered through much of Twitter later: “Calling it for zzzzzzzzzzzz.”

The debate was not without its Schieffer-isms. To end a discussion of education, Schieffer added: “I think we all love teachers.” And, of course, he began the first debate question with a reference to liberal icon John F. Kennedy.

Schieffer has a long record of liberal positions, but they didn’t play a major role. However, he never called Obama on the closure of Guantanamo, something that Schieffer had called a “cancer.”

And yes, Obama once again had more time than Romney, though only 35 extra seconds. That made the Democrats 4-for-4 in debates, garnering an extra 9 minutes and 27 seconds.

But zzzzzzzzzz or race-baiting, one thing’s certain, the last debate will be analyzed to death between now and the election. Story Continued:

Leave a comment

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

What’s Up: October 22, 2012?

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

clip_image001

· Whistle-blower audio: Sen. Claire McCaskill’s husband cut business deals in Senate Dining Room

clip_image002

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill’s husband used the U.S. Senate Dining Room to cut business deals selling tax credits tied to stimulus money, a whistle-blowing executive inside his company alleged on an audio recording exclusively obtained “The thing that irritated me about this was he [McCaskill’s husband Joseph Shepard] entertained these outside investors in the Senate Dining Room,” the whistle-blower said. “That’s where he closed the deal.”

The whistle-blower, Craig Woods, was a longtime high-ranking official within Shepard’s business empire, serving first as chief financial officer and then as vice president and chief underwriter for Missouri Equity Investors LLC and JA Shepard Companies.

His LinkedIn page indicates he left the company in January 2011, a few months before debriefing a Republican operative who made the recording.

According to the McCaskill campaign, Woods pled guilty in the 1990s in two different cases of felony larceny and spent some time in prison after that.

The campaign also said that Woods lied to McCaskill’s husband about his past on his job application, and submitted a resume detailing “jobs” he held when he was actually in prison.

“Craig Woods is a twice-convicted felon and a disgruntled former employee who lied repeatedly to Claire’s husband about his criminal past of fraud and embezzlement,” McCaskill spokeswoman Caitlin Legacki said in an email to TheDC in response to the allegations. “There is absolutely no merit to these claims. It is shocking that Todd Akin would pin the hopes of his campaign on a twice-convicted felon and a proven liar, but I guess Todd Akin is incredibly desperate at this point. This is a despicable new low, especially for Todd Akin, and he should be ashamed of himself.”

Several Republican sources, including those who conducted the interview, confirmed the identity of the whistle-blower and the details surrounding their meeting. TheDC is protecting the identity of those GOP sources because they were not authorized to speak on the record. TheDC has also disguised the voice of the lone GOP operative whose voice is heard on the recording.

“He [McCaskill’s husband] did four projects — these were rural development deals where he came in and stole from a guy and he did the federal credits and he got Enterprise Bank to invest in those four deals and those have been really iffy,” Woods said on the tape.

Woods said those four projects — housing developments — were “all here in Missouri.” He explained how Shepard brokered deals with investors who counted on high returns in the form of federal and state tax credits that came with these projects. In return for the deals, Woods said, the investors gave Shepard cash he could use elsewhere in his business.

“The reason these [specific projects] were so attractive to him, the reason he wanted to do them, was they got ARRA funds, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds,” Woods said, referring to how some programs were tied to President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus package.

Woods said one such project, in Clinton, Missouri, got “$5.5 million in stimulus funds. They didn’t have to borrow a dollar.” Story Continued:

· ‘If four Americans get killed, it’s not OPTIMAL’: Obama’s extraordinary response to Comedy Central question about shifting story after Benghazi attack – President Barack Obama, during an interview shown on Comedy Central, has responded to a question about his administration’s confused communication after the Benghazi attack, by saying: ‘If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.’

Obama was speaking to Jon Stewart of The Daily Show for a programme that was broadcast last night. Stewart, a liberal whose young audience is full of potential voters prized by the Obama campaign, asked the president about his handling of the aftermath of the Benghazi attack.

But Obama’s response sparked outrage among Republican commentators including the website Breitbart and prompted a vicious backlash from the Twitter community.

Not optimal: President Barack Obama, pictured left, discussed the killing of four men in Benghazi while speaking to Jon Stewart, right, on The Daily Show

Ambassador Chris Stevens, diplomat Sean Smith and security men and former U.S. Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed by terrorists on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 – an attack that the White House initially blamed on a spontaneous protest about an anti-Islam movie made in California.

More…

‘I wanted to take a swing at him’: Mitt Romney’s son says he wanted to PUNCH Obama after he called his father a ‘liar’ as rivals’ bad blood boils over

‘I’m pro-life and I’m happy to say that’: Ann Romney stands up to the ladies of The View as she discusses her stance on abortion

‘I was well rested after the long nap I had in the first debate’: Wise-cracking Obama talks up his performance in second bout with Romney as pair trade jokes at charity dinner

Stewart asked: ‘Is part of the investigation helping the communication between these divisions? ‘Not just what happened in Benghazi, but what happened within.

‘Because I would say, even you would admit, it was not the optimal response, at least to the American people, as far as all of us being on the same page.’

Obama responded: ‘Here’s what I’ll say. If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.’

He continued: ‘We’re going to fix it. All of it. And what happens, during the course of a presidency, is that the government is a big operation and any given time something screws up. Story Continued and to watch the video:

clip_image003

· Romney Receives Endorsement of Orlando Sentinel – ORLANDO, Fla. – Mitt Romney, who often grouses that he is simultaneously running against President Obama and the mainstream media, will be greeted upon his arrival in Florida on Friday by a headline with which he cannot quarrel: The Orlando Sentinel is endorsing him.

Four years after The Sentinel, central Florida’s largest newspaper, endorsed Barack Obama’s candidacy for president, the newspaper’s editorial page said Mr. Romney is the better choice this time.

“We have little confidence that Obama would be more successful managing the economy and the budget in the next four years,” the editorial in Friday’s edition said. “For that reason, though we endorsed him in 2008, we are recommending Romney in this race.”

A little more than two weeks before the election, newspaper endorsements are steadily trickling in across the country. Both campaigns have spent considerable time trying to win endorsements, particularly from newspapers in battleground states, like The Sentinel.

The Obama campaign has assigned top advisers to talk with editorial boards, trying to win endorsements from the newspapers that supported his candidacy in 2008. Mr. Romney has also been meeting with some editorial boards during campaign trips. The campaigns are bracing this weekend for several newspaper endorsements to be released in key states.

The recommendation of Mr. Romney by The Sentinel, whose readers live in a battleground area within a battleground state, stopped short of being a ringing endorsement. But the editorial page firmly declared that it was time for a change in the White House, arguing that Mr. Romney’s business experience and record of leadership prepared him for the Oval Office.

“Romney is not our ideal candidate for president,” the editorial said. “We’ve been turned off by his appeals to social conservatives and immigration extremists. Like most presidential hopefuls, including Obama four years ago, Romney faces a steep learning curve on foreign policy.”

He is expected to tout the endorsement on Friday when he arrives for a campaign visit in Daytona Beach. He will stay in Florida until Monday, when he meets Mr. Obama for the third presidential debate in Boca Raton.

Florida, with its 29 electoral votes, is the biggest battleground state in the nation. The editorial made clear that its endorsement was for one campaign cycle at a time.

“This is Romney’s time to lead, again,” the editorial said. “If he doesn’t produce results — even with a hostile Senate — we’ll be ready in 2016 to get behind someone else who will.” Story Continued:

· Ahead of Election, Obama Stops Releasing ‘Stimulus’ Reports – The $831,000,000,000 economic “stimulus” that President Obama spearheaded and signed into law requires his administration to release quarterly reports on its effects. But “the most transparent administration in the history of our country” is now four reports behind schedule and has so far not released any reports whatsoever in 2012. Its most recent quarterly report is for the quarter than ended on June 30, 2011.

One wonders how the administration would treat a private citizen who acted like such a scofflaw in response to one of Obama’s principal legislative initiatives. It certainly appears that this administration, which is so very fond of regulating Americans’ lives — witness the 13,000 pages of Obamacare regulations it has already penned — doesn’t hold itself accountable to the same set of rules that it’s so eager to compel the American people to obey. Story Continued:

· Obama Campaign Borrows $15M from Bank of America – Warren Buffett invested $5B in BofA last year – Obama For America took out a $15 million loan from Bank of America last month, according to the campaign’s October monthly FEC report. The loan was incurred on September 4 and is due November 14, eight days after the election. OFA received an interest rate of 2.5% plus the current Libor rate.

Warren Buffett, Obama donor and namesake of the infamous “Buffett Rule,” invested $5 billion in Bank of America last year in an effort to help the ailing financial institution. Last month, two weeks after OFA took out the loan, Bank of America announced a plan that would lay off 16,000 workers by the end of the year.

Obama has a complicated relationship with Bank of America. The bank contributed $20 million toward the cost of the Democrat National Convention earlier this year. Bank of America stadium, home to the Carolina Panthers, was supposed to host Obama’s acceptance speech. At the last moment, the campaign switched to a significantly smaller venue. The campaign claimed that an impending storm would not allow the President to deliver his address. Many questioned whether move was made because the campaign was having trouble filling such a large stadium.

It is unclear why the first $1 billion campaign needed an extra $15 million for the final two months of the campaign. Story Continued:

· New poll: Egyptians turning toward Iran, want nuclear weapons – A poll of Egyptians conducted last month shows that they have increasingly positive views of Iran, believe that both Iran and Egypt should obtain nuclear weapons, and still trust their own military more than any other institution in Egypt.

The poll of 812 Egyptians, half of them women, was conducted in a series of in-person interviews by the firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and sponsored by the Israel Project, a pro-Israel advocacy organization with offices in Washington and Jerusalem. According to the poll, Iran is viewed favorably in Egypt, with 65 percent of those surveyed expressing support of the decision to renew Egypt-Iran relations and 61 percent expressing support of the Iranian nuclear project, versus 41 percent in August 2009.

Sixty-two percent of those polled agreed that “Iran and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are friends of Egypt,” though 68 percent held unfavorable views of Shiite Muslims.

Iran’s deputy defense minister said recently that the Iranian regime is seeking more military cooperation with Egypt. “We are ready to help Egypt to build nuclear reactors and satellites,” he said on the occasion or Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy’s meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last month. Morsy’s office has said the two didn’t discuss military cooperation.

Eighty-seven percent of respondents want Egypt to have its own nuclear bomb.

Israel Project CEO Josh Block told The Cable that the statistics show the effect of Morsy’s outreach to Iran and the danger of regional proliferation of nuclear weapons if Iran is successful in obtaining a nuclear bomb.

“Very scary to people opposed to proliferation of nuclear weapons, let alone to unstable countries in the world’s most turbulent part of the world, is the 87 percent who want Egypt to build nuclear weapons,” he said. “Morsy’s dangerous embrace of Iran is leading a surprising shift in favor support for Tehran, which has for decades been seen by Egyptians as their top threat, as well as for their work on nuclear weapons.”

Egyptians are overwhelmingly focused on the dire state of their domestic economy. Only 2 percent of those polled said that “strengthening relations with other Muslim countries” should be one of Morsy’s top two priorities, and 45 percent agreed with the statement that “Egypt needs to focus on things at home and should be less involved in regional politics.”

Nevertheless, 74 percent of those polled said that disapprove of Egypt having diplomatic relations with Israel — an increase from 26 percent in August 2009 — and support for a two-state solution to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at only 30 percent. Seventy-seven percent agreed that “The peace treaty with Israel is no longer useful and should be dissolved.”

Block blamed that result at least partially on the stance of leading Egyptian politicians like President Morsy, who has indicated recently he does not plan to abrogate the Israel-Egypt peace treaty but whose Muslim Brotherhood party identifies Israel as a racist and expansionist state.

“The fact that Morsy and other leading politicians in Egypt regularly express disdain for the peace treaty leads to such decay in public attitudes,” Block said. “Then again, nearly half the public voted for a presidential candidate who openly declared his intent to travel to Israel and support for the Camp David accords.”

Block was referring to retired Air Force general Ahmed Shafiq, who served as prime minister under Hosni Mubarak and was defeated narrowly in a runoff election earlier this year.

The poll found that 64 percent of Egyptians still feel warmly about the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which ran Egypt in the interim period before Morsy was elected, and 81 percent approve of the job they are doing. Forty-nine percent of Egyptians polled felt warmly about Morsi, and 43 percent felt warmly about the Muslim Brotherhood.

Forty percent felt warmly about the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, but only 11 percent felt warmly about the Salafist Nour Party, a hard-line Islamist party that fared well in the parliamentary elections.

American politicians fared poorly in the poll, but among them Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the most popular at 25 percent favorability. President Barack Obama scored 16 percent and Republican nominee Mitt Romney only 8 percent, although only half of Egyptians polled knew who Romney was. (Ahmadinejad’s favorability rating? Forty-three percent.) Story Continued:

· Obama: Romney Suffering From Case Of ‘Romnesia’ – FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — President Barack Obama has a diagnosis for what he considers rival Mitt Romney’s shifting positions: Call it a case of “Romnesia.”

Making a direct gender-pitch in hotly contested Virginia, Obama tells a college crowd that when it comes to issues important to women’s health and jobs, Romney has conveniently overlooked his past stands.

“He’s forgetting what his own positions are — and he’s betting that you will too,” Obama told an audience of 9,000 at George Mason University. “I mean he’s changing up so much and backtracking and sidestepping. We’ve got to name this condition that he’s going through. I think it’s called Romnesia.”

Obama, a broad grin on his face, borrowed heavily from the style of comedian Jeff Foxworthy, known for his “you might be a redneck” standup routines.

“If you say you’ll protect a woman’s right to choose, but you stand up at a primary debate and said that you’d be ‘delighted’ to sign a law outlawing that right to choose in all cases, man, you’ve definitely got Romnesia,” he said.

Riffing as if he was still delivering one liners at Thursday night’s Catholic charity dinner in New York, Obama said he had good news for anyone who suffers from Romnesia. “Obamacare covers pre-existing conditions,” he bellowed. “We can fix you up. We’ve got a cure! We can make you well, Virginia.”

Obama renewed his criticism of Romney’s economic plan, quoting a line in a New York Times column by economist Paul Krugman. “There’s no jobs plan. There’s just a snow job on the American people.”

Obama added, “If he offered you that deal when he was in corporate finance, you wouldn’t give him a dime.” So why, Obama asked, would voters cast their ballots for him.

Obama’s message was aimed at suburban women who form a formidable voting bloc in northern Virginia. The president raised once more Romney’s comment during the second debate that he received “binders full of women” when he sought to diversify his cabinet as Massachusetts governor. “You don’t want somebody who needs to ask for binders full of women. You don’t want that guy,” Obama said. Story Continued:

· Romney has cash-on-hand deficit compared to Obama – Campaign balance sheets show both presidential contenders spending huge sums in their effort to capture the White House.

5:58PM EDT October 20. 2012 – WASHINGTON — Republican Mitt Romney ended September with $63.1 million in his principal campaign account to spend on the final push to Election Day — considerably less than the nearly $100 million President Obama had in the bank at the same time, campaign reports filed Saturday show.

Still, the campaign balance sheets show both presidential contenders spending huge sums in their effort to capture the White House. Obama, who used an early fundraising advantage to hire staffers in key battleground states, had 974 people on his campaign payroll last month, compared to 434 for Romney.

Obama also swamped Romney in spending on advertising, direct mail and postage last month, spending $94.8 million to Romney’s $42.4 million, according to a USA TODAY analysis of campaign expenditures. A month earlier, Obama’s advertising bill totaled $71.2 million, while Romney had spent far less, $35 million.

One of Romney’s largest single expenses last month: Repaying $10 million of a $20 million bank loan he took out in August to remain competitive with Obama. He still owed $5 million at the end of September.

Reports show Obama also borrowed money, taking out a $15 million loan from the Bank of America last month.

Romney paid out more than $217,000 in bonuses to top aides in September, including $37,500 to political director Rich Beeson, records show. Communications director Gail Gitcho and digital director Zac Moffatt each received $25,000.

Top aides previously received $207,000 in bonuses in August for helping Romney win the primary.

Overall, Romney and the Republican Party and joint committees had more cash in the bank than Obama and Democrats at the end of last month. The filings with the Federal Election Committee also indicate that Obama had a greater share of Democrats’ resources in his direct control to craft his advertising message and drive his get-out-the-vote efforts in recent weeks. Roughly two-thirds of the cash available to Obama and the Democratic Party at the end of September sat in Obama’s campaign account.

Romney’s available money accounted for about a third of the money Republicans reported having in their campaign coffers. He was boosted by the big fundraising success of the Republican National Committee, which ended the month with $82.6 million in the bank. Federal rules, however, limit how much candidates can coordinate their spending with political parties.

Romney’s campaign aides say they operate as a closely aligned unit with Republican Party officials. “Our campaign has the resources and organization to win,” campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in an e-mail Saturday.

The totals disclosed Saturday do not reflect any additional fundraising surge from Romney’s strong performance in the first of three debates with Obama. Campaign officials said Romney raised $27 million online during the first two weeks of October — more than he has collected over the Internet during any single month of the campaign.

Of the money Romney collected in September, $41.9 million came from individuals, and $12.4 million of that amount came in donations of $200 or less. By comparison, $96.4 million of Obama’s September haul came from individuals. Donations of $200 or less accounted for $33 million of the total, giving Obama a bigger pool of donors to ask for more money before they hit contribution limits. Story Continued:

clip_image005

· Fluke takes center stage in Reno

clip_image006

Sandra Fluke, the woman at the center of a media firestorm earlier this year after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut,” spoke Saturday in front of about 10 people at the Sak ‘N Save in north Reno.

The speech was part of a daylong effort by Democrats to get Northern Nevadans to the polls on the first day of early voting.

“I’m trying to do everything I can for an election that I feel is very important. I have a unique opportunity for how I get to do that,” said Fluke, who is coming off recent campaign trips to Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Florida as a surrogate for Democratic President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

Fluke emerged on the national spotlight in February when she was denied to speak before the U.S. House committee on Oversight and Government Reform on whether insurance plans should have a mandate to cover contraceptives. She eventually spoke to House Democrats.

Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” and “prostitute” on his show based on her comments on contraception for women. He later apologized, saying it was an “attempt to be humorous.”

Fluke doesn’t take the jabs too seriously. When asked about her previous year and how people have treated her in the press, Fluke smiled and laughed.

“It’s been not quite the 2012 that I’ve expected,” she said.

Fluke has embraced the spotlight, though. She spoke at the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina and has enjoyed talks with people on the campaign trail — especially those concerning women’s issues.

“A lot of women come to me and tell me stories individually about their lives about what access to healthcare has meant to them; what the Affordable Care Act is going to mean to them,” she said. “A lot of young people tell me how important it was to stay on their parents plan until they were 26. Folks tell me what a difference it made to be able to rely on Planned Parenthood when they needed it and what it would mean if Mr. Romney gets his way to defund Planned Parenthood.”

Fluke also spoke in Carson City on Saturday. Story Continued:

· Obama campaign accepted foreign Web donation — and may be hiding more – The Obama re-election campaign has accepted at least one foreign donation in violation of the law — and does nothing to check on the provenance of millions of dollars in other contributions, a watchdog group alleges.

Chris Walker, a British citizen who lives outside London, told The Post he was able to make two $5 donations to President Obama’s campaign this month through its Web site while a similar attempt to give Mitt Romney cash was rejected. It is illegal to knowingly solicit or accept money from foreign citizens.

Walker said he used his actual street address in England but entered Arkansas as his state with the Schenectady, NY, ZIP code of 12345.

clip_image007

’NET PROFIT: President Obama and Hillary Clinton are joined at a 2011 state dinner by Robert Roche (to Clinton’s right), who registered the site Obama.com, which directs visitors to a donation page.

“When I did Romney’s, the payment got rejected on the grounds that the address on the card did not match the address that I entered,” he said. “Romney’s Web site wanted the code from the back of card. Barack Obama’s didn’t.”

In September, Obama’s campaign took in more than $2 million from donors who provided no ZIP code or incomplete ZIP codes, according to data posted on the Federal Election Commission Web site.

The Obama campaign said the FEC data was the result of “a minor technical error.”

“All the ZIP codes and numbers are real and can be verified,” spokesman Michael Czin said.

The Obama campaign’s apparent lack of safeguards makes it possible to violate the law, says a report released by the Government Accountability Institute, a Florida-based watchdog group.

The report found that one Obama site — Obama.com — gets almost half of its traffic from foreign computer addresses. The site directs users to an Obama donation page.

“We are not suggesting that just foreign traffic by itself is a problem,” said Peter Schweizer, president of the GAI. “But for a campaign that is very sophisticated in its fund-raising capabilities, they do not make one effort to try to even see or ask somebody to check a box that says they are a US citizen.”

Obama’s re-election campaign took in $130,867 from donors who provided no ZIP codes and $2 million from those with incomplete ZIPs in September.

That same month, Romney’s campaign recorded $2,450 from donors without ZIP codes and $2,500 from those with incomplete ZIPs.

Walker said it should have been clear to the Obama campaign’s computers that his donations came from a computer with a foreign IP address.

The Obama campaign says it “screens all credit-card contributions that originate from a foreign IP address” and requests proof of citizenship if questions arise.

But not only did Walker’s Obama donations go through, but he said he began receiving two to three e-mail solicitations a day to give more. The e-mails asked for $188 or more.

If Walker gave $188, his total contribution to Obama would be $198 — less than the $200 threshold at which campaigns have to identify the donor to the FEC.

“I have not had any e-mails asking for proof of identity,” Walker said.

The GAI report found the Obama campaign Web sites do not ask donors to provide their three-digit card-verification value, or CVV, numbers to ensure they are the legitimate holders of the card. Romney’s campaign asks for such information, which is considered a standard security measure.

One conduit for Obama donations is Obama.com, which was registered in 2008 to Robert Roche, an American who lives and works in China, where he owns an infomercial company.

Roche is also a bundler for the Obama campaign and was given a seat at the head table for a 2011 state dinner with the Chinese president

The GAI report said that the site registration was changed in 2010 to make it anonymous and that it was unclear whether Roche still owns it.

Roche’s mother in Chicago referred calls to the Obama campaign. The campaign declined to comment. Story Continued:

· US ‘too slow’ to act as drone’s cam captured Libya Horror The United States had an unmanned Predator drone over its consulate in Benghazi during the attack that slaughtered four Americans — which should have led to a quicker military response, it was revealed yesterday.

“They stood, and they watched, and our people died,” former CIA commander Gary Berntsen told CBS News.

The network reported that the drone and other reconnaissance aircraft observed the final hours of the hours-long siege on Sept. 11 — obtaining information that should have spurred swift action.

But as Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three colleagues were killed by terrorists armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, Defense Department officials were too slow to send in the troops, Berntsen said.

“They made zero adjustments in this. You find a way to make this happen,” he fumed.

“There isn’t a plan for every single engagement. Sometimes you have to be able to make adjustments.”

The Pentagon said it moved a team of special operators from Central Europe to Sigonella, Italy — about an hour flight from Libya — but gave no other details.

Fighter jets and Specter AC-130 gunships — which could have been used to help disperse the bloodthirsty mob — were also stationed at three nearby bases, sources told the network.

When the attack began, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “looked at available options, and the ones we exercised had our military forces arrive in less than 24 hours, well ahead of timelines laid out in established policies,” a White House official told the network.

Even as the administration continues to vow that the perpetrators will be brought to justice, the man identified by witnesses as a ringleader in the attack continues to walk the streets of Libya without fear of arrest.

Ahmad Abu Khattala has admitted being at the consulate during the horrific attack but has yet to be questioned by any Libyan authorities.

Abu Khattala spoke to a New York Times reporter Thursday from a hotel patio as he sipped a strawberry frappe and mocked the US and Libyan governments.

“These reports say that no one knows where I am and that I am hiding,” he boasted. “But here I am in the open, sitting in a hotel with you. I’m even going to pick up my sister’s kids from school soon.”

Lax security at the consulate was an open secret.

Stevens wrote a cable in June that there wasn’t enough security at the consulate, and he noted there had been a recent spike in attacks against “international organizations and foreign interests,” ABC News said.

The ambassador wrote another cable in August that read, “A series of violent incidents has dominated the political landscape during the Ramadan holiday.”

Stevens said that the incidents were “organized” and that the Libyan security force had “not coalesced into a stabilizing force and [provided] little deterrence.”

Several requests for additional security in Benghazi were made to the State Department prior to the attack. They were all rejected.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton tried to deflect blame from President Obama last week, saying the decision not to beef up guards was her responsibility.

“I’m in charge of the State Department’s 60,000-plus people all over the world [at] 275 posts,” she told CNN.

“The president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”

The attack has become a major issue in the presidential campaign, with Mitt Romney saying Obama’s failure to safeguard the consulate highlights his failure in foreign policy.

Romney has also hammered Obama for failing to immediately label it a terror attack and the administration for changing its story about whether the attack was a protest over an anti-Islamic movie or a coordinated strike.

The tragedy — and alleged security lapses leading up to the attack — will likely be brought up at tomorrow’s final presidential debate.

The 90-minute debate will be moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News. Schieffer has listed five subject areas, with more time devoted to the Middle East and terrorism than any other topic. Story Continued:

· US denies Iran nuclear talks New York Times report – The White House has denied a report in the New York Times saying that Iran had agreed to one-on-one negotiations over its nuclear programme with the US.

The report, quoting unnamed officials, said Iran had agreed to the talks for the first time but would not hold them until after US elections on 6 November.

The White House said it was prepared to meet Iran bilaterally, but that there was no plan to do so.

Western states think Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, something it denies.

Iran has been a key foreign policy topic in the US election campaign.

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will hold their third and final campaign debate on Monday, on the subject of foreign policy.

‘Crippling sanctions’

The New York Times report said the US and Iran had agreed to one-on-one negotiations “in principle”.

But US National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement that it was untrue the US and Iran had “agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections”.

“We continue to work… on a diplomatic solution and have said from the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally,” he added.

Negotiations between Iran and the the P5+1 negotiation group – which includes the UK, US, France, China, Russia and Germany – have stalled.

Western nations have used increasingly harsh sanctions in an effort to pressure Iran over its nuclear programme.

Mr Romney has accused Mr Obama of being too soft on Iran.

Mr Obama opposes a near-term military strike by the US or Israel on Iran’s nuclear facilities, but says he is determined to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb.

“The president has made clear that he will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and we will do what we must to achieve that,” Mr Vietor said.

“The onus is on the Iranians to do so, otherwise they will continue to face crippling sanctions and increased pressure.” Story Continued:

Leave a comment

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

What’s Up: October 19, 2012?

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

· Bizarre Coincidence: Democrats Get More Time in all Three Debates – If you want more time to get your message out in debates, it’s good to be a Democrat.

According to the CNN debate clock, President Obama spoke at greater length than Mitt Romney during both debates, as did Vice President Biden during his debate with Paul Ryan. In the first debate, Obama spoke for 3 minutes, 14 seconds more than Romney — which means he got 8 percent more talking time than Romney. In last night’s debate, Obama spoke for 4 minutes and 18 seconds longer than Romney, giving him 11 percent more talking time. Obama talked for 52 percent of the time when either man had the floor, while Romney talked for 47 percent.

During the vice presidential debate, the gap wasn’t as wide: Biden spoke for 1 minute, 22 seconds more than Ryan. Still, that gave Biden 3 percent more speaking time than Ryan. Story Continued:

clip_image001

· Study: Black Americans Feel Less Empowered Under Obama Than They Once Did

clip_image002

Four years after Barack Obama was elected president, this is not exactly a “post-racial” America.

A new study from Washington University in St. Louis finds that under Obama, many black Americans feel less free than whites when it comes to political participation.

From 2005 to 2011, only 45 percent of blacks said they believed the government would allow them to make a public speech, while 67 percent of whites believed they could, the study found.

The study found that while the election of Obama initially boosted feelings of political empowerment among black Americans, those sentiments significantly faded in the years that followed—especially among conservative and religious blacks.

These two groups make up a large segment of the black population, with 56 percent of blacks identifying as “born again,” and 39 percent of blacks as “somewhat conservative,” according to the study.

“First we saw the ’empowerment effect,’ the boost that happens when a member of your group gets elected to an important political position,” says study author James L. Gibson, a professor of government and African-American studies at Washington University. Gibson’s findings are based on national surveys conducted between 2005 and 2011.

In 2009, the year after Obama was elected, 71 percent of blacks reported feeling as free to speak one’s mind as they used to.

clip_image003 “But then perceptions of political freedom deteriorated among conservative and religious blacks,” says Gibson. By 2011, the percentage of blacks who felt as free to speak their mind had dropped to 56 percent, back to pre-Obama levels. (White Americans also reported feeling less free to speak one’s mind under Obama, but the decline was far less than among blacks).

In part, says Gibson, this can be attributed to “ideological polarization.” That split may have begun when Obama dismissed Pennsylvania voters in 2008 who “cling to guns or religion.” But Gibson says many conservative and religions blacks likely believed when Obama was first elected that he would protect their interests as president. “Race produces a level of trust and confidence that one is on your side,” he says. Story Continued:

clip_image005

· MITT’S ‘BINDERS OF WOMEN CALLED ‘SISTER-WIVES’ – Mitt Romney’s remark about “binders full of women” in Tuesday night’s debate is taking on a life of its own today, even being seized upon by anti-Mormon bigots on Twitter who suggest his comment refers to having multiple wives. Story Continued:

· Obama Is Back – He’s back.

Tuesday night our president was articulate and forceful — in sharp contrast to his performance in the first presidential debate. He stated his beliefs. He defended his record. He told America where he wanted to take the nation in his second term.

And he explained where Romney wanted to take us.

For example:

Romney says he’s got a five-point plan. Governor Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan; he has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules. That’s been his philosophy in the private sector; that’s been his philosophy as governor; that’s been his philosophy as a presidential candidate. You can make a lot of money and pay lower tax rates than somebody who makes a lot less. You can ship jobs overseas and get tax breaks for it. You can invest in a company, bankrupt it, lay off the workers, strip away their pensions, and you still make money.

And:

Governor Romney… was on 60 Minutes just two weeks ago, and he was asked, is it fair for somebody like you, making $20 million a year, to pay a lower tax rate than a nurse or a bus driver, somebody making $50,000 a year? And he said, yes, I think that’s fair. Not only that, he said, I think that’s what grows the economy. Well, I fundamentally disagree with that.

Obama told voters what Romney’s plan was for women (take away their freedom of choice), and for Hispanics (allow police to stop them and demand proof of citizenship, as in the Arizona law “that’s his [Romney’s] policy, and it’s bad policy.”)

He took responsibility for the security lapse in Libya, but made sure Americans understood the danger in Romney’s shoot-from-the-hip, rush to judgment approach to foreign policy.

And the president explained why the way to create more jobs and to get the economy back on track is to strengthen the middle class, in sharp contrast to Romney’s trickle-down redux.

Romney was as combative as in the first debate, but our newly-invigorated president made Romney’s combativeness look like that of a child in a tantrum rather than a principled adult with facts and detailed proposals to support his position.

Romney was also an automaton — moving robot-like across the stage, repeating the same scripted paragraphs in answers to different questions as if he had been programmed with a limited number of options.

Obama, by contrast, seemed steady and relaxed.

The debate left me relieved — the president’s performance will almost certainly stop Romney’s momentum, and may turn the tide — but also left me perplexed. Where was this Barack Obama in the last presidential debate? Was it the altitude in Denver, a failure of preparation, exhaustion, a temporary emotional glitch?

Mostly, though, I’m glad Barack is back.

ROBERT B. REICH, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock” and “The Work of Nations.” His latest is an e-book, “Beyond Outrage,” now available in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. Story Continued:

There is some concern if there was an actual winner of this debate. Each side is claiming their man won. How is that possible? They all spin. The author of this article is a Democrat and is promoting his agenda. PdC

· Empty Suit – Robert L. Borosage, President, Institute for America’s Future

“Well of course they add up. I was- I was someone who ran businesses for 25 years and balanced the budget.” — Mitt Romney.

This was the debate that finally exposed Mitt Romney as an empty suit running a campaign that is disingenuous at its core. The president exposed to millions of Americans just how hollow Romney’s claims are.

On the Budget

Romney wants voters to believe that he can lower tax rates for all, cut taxes on the middle class, raise spending on the military and bring the budget into balance. He can do this by closing unspecified loopholes and cutting unspecified spending — but without damaging anything Americans care about — the mortgage deduction, the child’s tax credit or spending on Pell grants and student loans, education and research and development. Nothing, as the president said, except Planned Parenthood and big bird. As a successful investor, said the president, Romney wouldn’t buy this kind of “sketchy deal.”

Romney’s flim flam was finally exposed. How can he do this? Because he is the master. “Of course” the figures add up. “I was a businessman.” He decides what adds up by assertion, not addition.

On Jobs

Romney claims a five-point plan (a retread, as Mike Konzcal has pointed out, of the same five points peddled by George W. Bush and by Republicans since Reagan) that “gets America 12 million new jobs in four years and rising take-home pay.” There is no study in the reality-based world — not even the lone study the Romney campaign refers to — that can divine that result from Romney’s plan. How does he get there?

He gets there by assertion; “I know what it takes to create good jobs again.” In the debate, this became his mantra. “I want to help small businesses grow and thrive. I know how to make that happen. I spent my life in the private sector. I know why jobs come and why they go.” And again on equal pay: “I know what it takes to make an economy work. And I know what a working economy looks like.”

The Romney campaign is placing ads across the country showing Romney looking into the camera and ticking off how many jobs come from each element of his five-point plan. All of it supported by pure assertion. This takes both savvy and gall. He appears so confident in the knowledge he touts that the press finds it easy to bring the hammer down on a misstated fact, but is hesitant about exposing the big lie.

Obama did a good job in the debate at exposing the sham. Romney doesn’t have a five point plan, he said, he’s got a “one point plan,” which basically is to favor the wealthy.

The Final Exposure

The answers to the last question — the closing arguments — were revealing for both candidates.

Asked what misperception about him he most wanted to correct, Romney exposed his glass jaw, bringing up implicitly his disdainful words about the 47 percent who “don’t take responsibility for their lives,” and consider themselves “victims.” Trust me, he said:

I care about a hundred percent of the American people. I want a hundred percent of the American people to have a bright and prosperous future. I care about our kids. I understand what it takes to — to make a bright and prosperous future for America again. I — I spent my life in the private sector, not in government. I’m a guy who wants to help, with the experience I have, the American people. Story Continued:

· The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy to Lie About Climate Change Has Worked – A new study shows that Americans are more skeptical about human-caused climate change than they were ten years ago, despite virtually unanimous scientific consensus on the matter. Jay Michaelson shakes his head.

Upton Sinclair once said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand a thing when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

This is the best way to summarize the mind-bending results of the climate change study the Pew Research Center released on Monday, which found that more than one in two conservative Republicans—and more than a third of moderate Republicans—refuse to believe that the planet is getting warmer.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: It is a measured, observable fact that the Earth’s average temperature has been rising for the last several decades. Indeed, eleven of the twelve hottest years on record occurred between 2001 and 2011. This is not a theory about why this is happening; it is a measurable—and measured—fact that it is happening.

Yet disconcertingly large numbers of people on the right seem unable to accept it: the Pew study found that only 63 percent of moderate Republicans and 49 percent of conservative Republicans believe the climate is changing, while 93 percent of those who identify as liberals (and 90 percent of moderate Democrats) believe it. What is going on?

Another statistic from the Pew poll helps answer that question:

Only 45% of Americans (58% of Democrats, 30% of Republicans) believe that there is scientific consensus that human activities (e.g., burning fossil fuels) are causing the climate to change. This partisan confusion over why the Earth is warming has now led to confusion as to whether it’s happening at all.

So let’s now be clear about a second fact: there is a scientific consensus on this issue. All reputable climatologists agree that human-caused (“anthrogenic”) climate change is real. Our popular confusion is the result not of an honest difference of opinion, but, to quote our Secretary of State, of a vast right-wing conspiracy.

It’s no secret that for nearly as long as scientists have spoken about climate change, energy companies have been funding conservative think tanks—CTTs in Beltway-speak—to create the impression that there is no scientific consensus on the topic. They have blitzed the airwaves and the bookshelves with pseudo-scientific fact-muddling written by non-specialists. For example, according to a 2008 study, of the 141 books denying the seriousness of environmental problems that have been published since 1972, 130 were published by CTTs or written by authors affiliated with them. Story Continued:

– This is a hotly debated issue that is quoted as Science by the liberals that want to have global warming. Yet is you do a statistical analysis with significance the science does not show any significance. Thus the claim of the science is there is not valid. This is an example of populist views being reported at fact without significant science supporting the claim. If you stay it enough then it must be true is the mantra that is used to support the erroneous claim. PdC

· Demographic Dead End? Barack Obama’s Single Nation – President Obama brought up Planned Parenthood three separate times at Tuesday’s town hall debate. It was an appeal aimed directly at a key part of his base: If he is reelected, it will be because of the Single Nation.

Democrats have woken up to the huge political rifts that have emerged over the past 30 years—between married and single people, and people with kids and those who don’t have them. And save African Americans, there may be no constituency more loyal to the president and his party than the growing ranks of childless and single Americans.

In the short term at least, the president and his party are seizing a huge opportunity. Since 1960, the percentage of the population that is over age 15 and unmarried increased by nearly half, 45 percent from 32 percent. Since 1976, the percentage of American women who did not have children by the time they reached their 40s doubled, to nearly 20 percent.

And even as the president has slipped in the polls, the fast-growing Single Nation has stayed behind him. Unmarried women prefer Obama by nearly 20 points (56 to 39 percent), according to Gallup, while those who are married prefer Romney by a similarly large margin.

Unmarried women (along with ethnic minorities, the poor and the workers in the public bureaucracy) are rapidly becoming a core constituency of the Democratic party, in a sense replacing the ethnic white working class.

And while single women have long been ignored (or at least not courted directly) by national politicians, Democrats are now taking direct aim—as in the Life of Julia campaign, where every milestone in her life is marked by the government benefit she’d receive under President Obama’s hubby state. Democratic strategists such as Stanley Greenberg also urge targeting singles, particularly “single women,” whom he calls “the largest progressive voting bloc in the country.”

Even among the married, children have become less of a priority. A 2007 Pew Research Center survey found that the number of adults who said that children are very important for a successful marriage had dropped by a third, from 65 percent in 1990 to 41 percent in 2010. Over that same span, financial considerations, and the willingness of a spouse to share chores and even political beliefs all became important to a greater share of adults.

The rise in both childlessness and singlehood parallels developments already evident in other cultures, notably in East Asia and Europe. Many of these countries have experienced declining marriage and birth rates for decades. In Germany and Japan, the demographic results of this—fewer workers to support more retired people—has led to difficult tax hikes to allow the remaining young workers to maintain the funding for a growing number of aging boomers. This is the Europe’s screwed generation: “the victims of expansive welfare states and the massive structural debt charged by their parents.”

In America, by contrast, birth rates rose somewhat over the past two decades. But since the recession, the number of new children has plummeted, and it’s dropped the most precipitously for new mothers. The number of households with children today is 38 million, about the same as a decade ago, even as the total number of households has shot up by nearly 10 million.

There are now more houses with dogs than houses with children. Story Continued:

· Hillary Clinton trashes whiners

clip_image006

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says in a new interview that she can’t stand “whining” by women who are unhappy with the work and family choices they’ve made in life and complain that they have no options.

Clinton, in the interview with Marie Claire, was discussing Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former director of policy planning at the State Department who left in 2011. This summer, Slaughter wrote a much-discussed cover story in the Atlantic – “Why Women Still Can’t Have It all” – about leaving her job because of the difficulty of balancing her work at State with the needs of her two teenage boys.

“I can’t stand whining,” Clinton told Marie Claire. “I can’t stand the kind of paralysis that some people fall into because they’re not happy with the choices they’ve made. You live in a time when there are endless choices … Money certainly helps, and having that kind of financial privilege goes a long way, but you don’t even have to have money for it. But you have to work on yourself … Do something!”

Clinton added, “Some women are not comfortable working at the pace and intensity you have to work at in these jobs … Other women don’t break a sweat…They have four or five, six kids. They’re highly organized, they have very supportive networks.”

Slaughter, who is now a professor at Princeton University, is traveling and couldn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Clinton wasn’t totally unsympathetic toward issues raised her former employee. “It’s important for our workplaces … to be more flexible and creative in enabling women to continue to do high-stress jobs while caring for not only children, but [also] aging parents,” Clinton said.

In the Marie Claire interview, Clinton also said once again that she has no desire to run for president in 2016. Story Continued:

· The second presidential debate – Town-hall brawl – Barack Obama does better, but Mitt Romney does no worse

clip_image007

“THE American people saw their leader tonight—a strong, steady and decisive president,” crowed Jim Messina, the manager of Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, after the testy second debate between the candidates on Long Island on October 16th. He was right: Mr Obama had a good night. But the statement was also a tacit admission that at the previous debate, two weeks before, Mr Obama had seemed disengaged and unpersuasive. On that occasion, it was Mitt Romney who was on good form—so good that he erased his long-standing deficit in the polls. And unfortunately for the president, the self-possessed, reasonable and yet forceful version of Mr Romney who had shown up at their first encounter appeared again at their second, blunting the impact of Mr Obama’s resuscitation.

In the week after the first debate, Mr Romney rose from a 3.1 point deficit in the average of national polls compiled by RealClearPolitics, a website, to a 1.5% lead—his first this year. His numbers have since fallen back somewhat—RCP’s average now shows a near tie—and were never quite as strong in polls of swing states. Nonetheless, Mr Romney has transformed the race into a dead heat.

The challenger’s authoritative performance achieved two things in that first debate. First, he energised his supporters, prompting pollsters to bump up their projections of Republican turnout on election day. Second, several polls showed that women, who had previously preferred Mr Obama by large margins, decided that Mr Romney was a more likeable and moderate figure. In one poll, from the Pew Research Centre, he leapt by 18 points among female voters to a tie with the president.

In the second debate, Mr Romney naturally tried to protect these gains and Mr Obama tried to reverse them. The president was combative from the outset, insinuating that Mr Romney paid too little tax, had abetted the outsourcing of American jobs, had deliberately destroyed livelihoods to make a quick buck during his time as a private-equity investor, and had no plans in the White House beyond cosseting the rich at the expense of the middle class—all in response to the first question. Perhaps his best moment came when Mr Romney accused him of playing politics with the deaths of four American diplomats in Libya last month. Summoning a convincing blast of righteous indignation, he declared the charge “offensive”, making Mr Romney look like the opportunist.

But Mr Romney responded to Mr Obama’s assertiveness in kind, with plenty of interruptions, finger-pointing and denunciations of his own. He produced a devastating list of all the promises that the president has made, and failed to keep, about improving the economy. He repeated time and again that 23m Americans were looking for work, that the middle class was being “crushed”, that 47m Americans were on food stamps, and so on. He made a piercing refrain of the phrase, “We don’t have to settle.”

Both men made deliberate appeals to women voters. Mr Romney shied away from the view his running-mate, Paul Ryan, had espoused in the vice-presidential debate the week before, that certain employers should have a say over whether the health insurance they offered their workers covered contraception. He explained that as governor of Massachusetts he had not only hired a woman as his chief-of-staff, but also allowed her to work child-friendly flexible hours.

Mr Obama, too, eagerly pointed out that the first bill he had signed into law was one making it easier for women to sue for wage discrimination. He said Mr Romney’s hostility to Planned Parenthood, which runs a network of women’s clinics, would restrict access to cancer screenings as well as contraception. He also spoke at length of the obstacles faced by women of his mother’s and grandmother’s generation, which he hoped to remove for the sake of his two daughters.

Although several “instant” polls suggested a narrow win for Mr Obama, Mr Romney said nothing that would undo his new-found appeal among moderates. There has been a curious symmetry to the events of the past few weeks, one Republican operative notes. On the one hand, improving economic data have taken some of the sting out of Republicans’ chief criticism of the president. On the other, Mr Romney’s poise in the debates has undermined the Democrats’ main line of attack, that he is too rich and callous to understand ordinary Americans. That leaves the race about where it has been since the spring: extremely close, with perhaps the narrowest of advantages for Mr Obama. Story Continued:

clip_image008

· Secret Service ‘Aware’ of Threats Against Romney – Twitchy reports that “Post-presidential debate, Obama supporters renew vows to murder Mitt Romney.” The threats are numerous–and explicit and graphic. Many call for Romney’s murder or assassination.

The Secret Service confirms it is “aware” of the threats against Romney, a spokesman for the federal agency confirms.

“The Secret Service is aware of this and will conduct appropriate follow up if necessary,” Brian Leary, a spokesman for the United States Secret Service, says in an email. Story Continued:

· Clinton: I Thought Obama ‘Was Going to Cry’ – At a campaign event for Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, Bill Clinton said that Mitt Romney’s argument “is true, we’re not fixed”:

“Governor Romney’s argument is, we’re not fixed, so fire him and put me in,” said Clinton. “It is true we’re not fixed. When President Obama looked into the eyes of that man who said in the debate, I had so much hope four years ago and I don’t now, I thought he was going to cry. Because he knows that it’s not fixed.”

UPDATE: A Romney spokesman comments: “We agree with former President Bill Clinton. The economy has not been fixed under President Barack Obama. Today, more than 23 million Americans are struggling for work, poverty has increased and food stamps are at record levels. Mitt Romney believes we can do better by creating 12 million new jobs with higher take-home pay, cutting spending to put our nation on course for a balanced budget, and actually fixing our economy.” Story Continued and to watch the video:

· Obama at Hofstra: relatively alert, therefore big winner

By: Ann Coulter, 10/17/2012 03:42 PM

The best question at the second presidential debate came from Michael Jones, an African-American who said: “Mr. President, I voted for you in 2008. What have you done or accomplished to earn my vote in 2012? I’m not that optimistic, as I was in 2008. Most things I need for everyday living are very expensive.”

To which Obama said: “Are you my half-brother?”

Actually, all Obama could say was that he had ended the war in Iraq (while pointlessly escalating the war in Afghanistan) and that Osama bin Laden is dead (and so is our ambassador). Both of which must be a great comfort to Mr. Jones as he tries to pay his bills every month.

Jones was right: Since Obama has been president, everything you own — your home, pension, savings accounts, weekly paychecks — are all worth less.

Meanwhile, everything you need — gas, food, and anything else that requires fuel to be transported to you — costs more.

Obama can’t talk his way out of his record. As Romney said in response to the president’s allegation that he is gung-ho about drilling for oil to lower fuel prices: “But that’s not what you’ve done in the last four years. That’s the problem.”

Obama also suddenly announced: “I’m all for pipelines. I’m all for oil production.” But he vetoed the Keystone pipeline.

He explained that the price of gasoline was $1.80 when he took office because the economy was in the toilet. Apparently, prices have spiked to more than $4 a gallon because all Americans are back at work now and making big bucks!

Obama said the “most important thing we can do is to make sure that we are creating jobs in this country.”

So now he’s going to create jobs? Because, nearly four years into his presidency, 23 million Americans are out of work and more than half of recent college graduates can’t find a job.

He claimed to believe that we should reward “self-reliance,” “individual initiative” and “risk-takers.” And yet, a few months ago, he ridiculed these self-reliant risk-takers for thinking they were “just so smart,” sneering “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Obama said we have to be “serious about reducing the deficit,” calling it “a moral obligation to the next generation.” But he’s increased the deficit by $5 trillion — more in four years than President Bush did in eight.

He also said he supported cutting corporate taxes. But only in odd-numbered years that don’t start with “2.”

The media will lie and say Obama won the debate — he has stopped the bleeding, he’s drawing huge crowds, the momentum is back! But as Romney said in response to many of Obama’s promises Tuesday night, “I don’t think the American people believe that.”

The trend is set and Obama’s voters are moving away from him in droves. People can see that Obama has to go to college campuses, the David Letterman show and “The Daily Show” to get a friendly audience these days. Even Lindsay Lohan is for Romney. Story Continued:

· Fact Check: Top Ten Worst Lies of the Second Presidential Debate – The Second Presidential Debate featured repeated claims by each candidate that the other was not telling the truth–as well as at least one claim of fact by the moderator that turned out to be false. There were even questionable claims by the audience itself. Here are the top ten worst lies told during the Second Debate:

10. “I told you I would cut taxes for middle-class families, and I did. I told you I’d cut taxes for small businesses, and I have.” President Barack Obama has made this claim repeatedly during the campaign, but it is not true, as even the liberal Huffington Post acknowledges. The few tax cuts that Obama did enact–such as the temporary payroll tax holiday–were short-term, or conditional. Furthermore, as the Romney campaign has often pointed out, Obama has raised many taxes on the middle class, including the infamous Obamacare “penalty,” and his taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” would hit small businesses.

9. “…[H]e was asked, is it fair for somebody like you, making $20 million a year, to pay a lower tax rate than a nurse or a bus driver….And he said, yes, I think that’s fair.” Obama was referring to Romney’s recent 60 Minutes interview. But the transcript reveals Obama was not telling the truth. Romney was not saying it was fair that higher income should be taxed at a lower rate. He was referring specifically to the principle that capital gains should be taxed lower than other income because it has been taxed once already–a principle, incidentally, that Obama agrees with in his own tax policy.

8. “He called the Arizona law a model for the nation.” Obama tried to knock Romney’s immigration policy while at the same time accusing him of flip-flopping on the issue. But as Romney pointed out, he was referring specifically to the e-Verify part of the law–the requirement of instant verification of workers’ legal status. That provision is even favored by unions. Obama made it seem Romney praised the law as a whole–which he had not. He went on to say that he himself objected to the provision that allowed police to check suspected illegal immigrants’ documentation–but that provision survived a challenge at the Supreme Court.

7. “I want to make sure our timekeepers are working here.” For the third debate in a row, the Democratic candidate complained that he was not receiving as much time to speak as the Republican. And for the third debate in a row, the Obama/Biden ticket actually spoke for longer–much longer–than the Romney/Ryan ticket, a testament to the ability of the incumbents to pressure the moderators, and the susceptibility of the left-leaning moderators to such pressure. Obama received a full three minutes more time in last night’s debate–and the percentage difference was even higher at one point in the proceedings.

6. “They rely on it for mammograms.” Obama attacked Romney’s proposal to cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood by claiming that the organization provides mammograms to women to help prevent breast cancer. It’s been a repeated claim made by the left for months. The problem is that it’s just untrue–and even left-leaning mainstream media fact-checkers have acknowledged that. What is perhaps worse than Obama’s misleading claim about mammograms is the unsupported implication that Romney wants to deny life-saving health care to women–a cheap shot to which Romney was given no chance to respond.

5. “You can ship jobs overseas and get tax breaks for it.” We have heard the same lie for eight years from Obama. In 2004, he ran for U.S. Senate from Illinois on a promise to end such tax breaks. He did it again when he ran for President of the United States in 2008. And yet he has never done anything about it–because there are no such tax breaks. There is merely a deduction that companies can take for moving, even within the U.S.–and which helps offset the double taxation of U.S. businesses abroad, which would make American companies less competitive. Repealing it would ship jobs overseas, actually.

4. “And the production is up….What you’re saying is just not true.” Obama contested a claim by Romney that production of oil and gas is down on federal lands. He even accused Romney of not telling the truth. But Romney was right–exactly right, down to the percentage decline. Furthermore, Obama’s claim that he has been increasing oil and gas production on federal lands flies in the face of recent policy decisions, such as closing off a large part of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska to further development. Obama has tried to take credit for expansion on private lands, while opposing expansion wherever possible.

3. “In what new ways do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?” The false premise from a member of the audience was especially egregious because her question had been selected in advance by the moderator. The supposed wage gap between men and women for the same work is largely a myth. As Diana Furchtgott-Roth pointed out: “Women make about 95 percent of what their male counterparts earn, if the male counterparts are in the same job with the same experience.”

2. “He wanted to take them into bankruptcy without providing them any way to stay open.” After Obama accused Romney of wanting American auto manufacturers to go bankrupt, Romney pointed out that Obama had, in fact, taken the auto companies through bankruptcy. Obama’s retort was to accuse Romney of wanting to take the companies bankrupt in order to put them out of business–a blatant lie. Romney actually suggested in his famous 2008 op-ed: “In a managed bankruptcy, the federal government would propel newly competitive and viable automakers, rather than seal their fate with a bailout check.”

1. “He did call it an act of terror.” The worst untruth told by a moderator in presidential history. Candy Crowley’s intervention in favor of Obama caused the president’s cheering section to burst into applause, in violation of the rules, and there was little that Romney could say in response. But she was wrong–Obama’s reference to “acts of terror” in his Sep. 12 statement was in a general, abstract sense, and came long after he had described the 9/11 attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions as demonstrations against an anti-Islamic video. Even Crowley seemed to realize what she had done: it wasn’t long before she walked back her own comment. Story Continued:

Leave a comment

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