Saturday, October 13, 2012

MSNBC Guest: Protecting Ambassador Stevens Could Have Stopped Him From Doing His Job!

NewsBusters ^

This could be the lamest defense yet for the lapses that led to the murder of US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. According to a former diplomat appointed by Bill Clinton, providing tighter security for Ambassador Stevens might have prevented him from carrying out his diplomatic duties.
Daniel Serwer, the Clinton diplomat in question, offered his excuse for the Benghazi debacle on MSNBC's Up With Chris Hayes this morning.
You'll note that Hayes makes reference to a HuffPo article in which some US diplomats claim diplomatic security is too tight. The main source for that article is Barbara Bodine, the woman who as Clinton's ambassador to Yemen notoriously thwarted the FBI's investigation into the bombing of the USS Cole. Some security expert.
Watch the liberal diplomatic community circle the wagons around President Obama and his egregious failure to protect his ambassador to a violent and chaotic land.
NOTE: Particularly notable and outrageous was this passsive-voice formulation from Serwer: "It's not surprising that failure comes in a situation like this." Yes, "failure comes" on little cat feet. No one really responsible for it. Such a "complicated, confusing situation," don't you know?
CHRIS HAYES: Daniel, you wrote about this, and there was a really good piece of reporting from Josh Hersh, at the Huffington Post, talking to some diplomats, who were talking about their fear that in the wake of this, what we're going to see is increased security, increased barricading of American embassies. And that those, the increased security, comes at the cost of doing effective diplomacy. How have you experienced that as a diplomat yourself? How have you experienced that trade-off on the ground?
DANIEL SERWER: Well, especially in Iraq we see very clearly that the American diplomats are incarcerated and warehoused in an embassy. They're not out talking to the population; they're not meeting people as frequently as they should. They're not giving speeches, cutting ribbons, doing all the things that need to be done if you're to develop a rapport not only with the host government but also with the host population, and that's what diplomacy is all about, that comprehensive understanding of a society.

Obama's refusal to deport illegal aliens unconstitutional, say law professors!

Fox News ^ | October 13, 2012 | Perry Chiaramonte

Two law professors, including one who served in the Bush Justice Department, have published a paper charging that President Obama violated the Constitution with his directive to law enforcement not to deport illegal aliens.
In the paper entitled, “The Obama Administration, the Dream Act and the Take Care Clause,” authors Robert Delahunty of the University of St. Thomas [Minnesota] and John Yoo, a law professor at University of California at Berkeley and former U.S. deputy assistant attorney general, blast Obama's moratorium on deporting certain illegal immigrants. The professors dismissed the idea that the decision on whether to deport illegal immigrants who are arrested for minor infractions is a matter of prosecutorial discretion.
“If there’s one case and it’s left to the prosecutor well that’s fine, but what Obama did was take a million cases and leave it up to prosecutorial discretion, “John Yoo said to “The only reason it’s under [Department of Homeland Security Secretary] Janet Napolitano’s discretion is because Obama had made his decision. If she’s doing it under her own, she would have to be fired.”
An abstract for the paper debunks the claim that the president has the Constitutional to not enforce civil laws crafted and passed by Congress...
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama Provides Chevy Volts For War-Torn Vienna, Nothing For Benghazi!

True Conservatives on Twitter ^ | October 13, 2012

Priorities: While our consulate in Benghazi was guarded by unarmed Libyan contractors making $4 an hour, our embassy in Vienna received an expensive charging station for its new electric cars to help fight climate change.

Even MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell says Vice President Joe Biden lied during Thursday's debate when he said twice that no one in the Obama administration knew that requests for extra security had been made by our Libyan ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and other members of our consulate in Benghazi. The State Department knew "in real time," as Mitchell put it in her post-debate analysis, that requests had been made.

The requests were denied, despite 230 security incidents in Libya between June 2011 and July 2012. With 48 taking place in Benghazi, two at the U.S. diplomatic compound where Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans were murdered on Sept. 11, 2012, a date that by itself should have prompted enhanced security.
What Biden was denying was pointed out by Eric Nordstrom during his testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform last Wednesday. Nordstrom, a regional security officer of the U.S. Mission to Libya from September 2011 to July 2012, said that, among other things, he was told in a phone call in July that the deployment of the site security team, a 16-member American military unit based in Tripoli, could not be prolonged.
According to Nordstrom, the State Department not only refused his requests for greater security, but also actually reduced the number of Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agents assigned to foreign service officers based in Libya. Security was left to one DSS agent, four armed members of the 17th of February Martyrs Brigade and unarmed Libyan contractors employed by the British-based Blue Mountain Group.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Paul Ryan and the Tax Man (Fact Checking the Claims of Joe Biden)

Hotair ^ | 10/13/2012 | Jazz Shaw

In a way, it's probably good that Joe Wilson wasn't sitting up front at the Vice Presidential debate this week nor, more importantly, at the various political roundtables analyzing it ever since. Had he been, the congressman would probably have gone hoarse by now from all of the opportunities to stand up and shout, "You lie!" And that has certainly been the overriding theme since the opening moments of the battle between Paul Ryan and Joe Biden. Both sides are claiming that the candidates' performances were overshadowed by the "fact" that each of them were lying over and over and over. But among all the bones of contention, one of the most fiercely fought has been the exchange surrounding the proposed GOP tax plan put forward by Mitt Romney.

Over at The Corner, Avik Roy digs into a variety of You Lie themes, but highlights the following when it comes to the tax question.
Biden repeated the long-debunked claim that Romney seeks a “$5 trillion tax cut,” when in fact Romney’s tax proposal is designed to be revenue-neutral. Furthermore, Biden claimed that there is a study from AEI supporting his claims. “The American Enterprise Institute study [says that] taxes will go up on the middle class,” claimed Biden. There is no such study. Two AEI scholars, Matt Jensen and Alex Brill, have in fact made the opposite case.
Unfortunately, it’s exactly these sorts of arguments which invite analysts involved in the debate, such as Bloomber’s Josh Barrow, to dive in with their own reading of the tea leaves.
Mitt Romney’s campaign says I’m full of it. I said Romney’s tax plan is mathematically impossible: he can’t simultaneously keep his pledges to cut tax rates 20 percent and repeal the estate tax and alternative minimum tax; broaden the tax base enough to avoid growing the deficit; and not raise taxes on the middle class. They say they have six independent studies — six! — that “have confirmed the soundness of the Governor’s tax plan,” and so I should stop whining. Let’s take a tour of those studies and see how they measure up.
The Romney campaign sent over a list of the studies, but they are perhaps more accurately described as “analyses,” since four of them are blog posts or op-eds. I’m not hating — I blog for a living — but I don’t generally describe my posts as “studies.”
None of the analyses do what Romney’s campaign says: show that his tax plan is sound.
Being one of those annoying people who actually follows the links in stories like these to try to understand the underlying facts, I was only able to conclude that this entire argument is one big, hot mess. Going through the sources provided in Avik Roy’s piece wasn’t exactly a fool proof plan. Matt Jensen’s article doesn’t actually come out and say that the math works on Romney’s plan, but rather envisions a different set of analytical criteria where it might work. These include redefining “the wealthy” down in income by 25% for starters. Alex Brill’s piece is more strident in claiming that the math could work, but the lion’s share of the argument rests on what is effectively the trickle-down theory; when the taxes are cut, the economy is stimulated to to the point where increased revenue from growing economic activity offsets the cuts. He also makes the valid point that the study under discussion didn’t include the taxes in Obamacare as part of the baseline, which tilts the scales in Romney’s direction.
Barrow’s defense acknowledges the latter while mostly ignoring the former, but there may be a reason for that. It seems that many of the people seeking answers on this issue are looking for the cold, hard math: revenues in one column and costs in the other. Basing answers on projections which rely on our ability to predict how hundreds of millions of people will react to any given set of stimuli muddies the waters before we get out of the gate.
I think both sides are missing one important aspect, however, which still relies on behavioral prediction, but should act as a far better argument in favor of the Romney – Ryan argument. Asking us to accept what will happen under a Romney tax plan relies on said tax plan actually being enacted. And a President Romney could not put such a plan in place quickly nor single handed. Congress will have control of that process, and we all know how lightning fast and efficiently that crack team works.
No, the one thing which could make this math work even before any changes are made to the tax code is the simple fact of Mitt Romney being declared the winner of the election next month. Yes, I understand that this argument sounds just like claims that the election of Barack Obama would slow the rise of the oceans, etc. etc. etc. But there’s a difference here. The relative sea level of the planet doesn’t have access to the internet or cable news and acts independently of current events. But businesses around the country have, beyond question, been holding their collective breath in response to the advent of regulatory burdens and the coming toll of Obamacare, leading to stagnation in employment and economic growth. Taking away that threat – which will be the implication of changing White House occupants – could absolutely bring a bunch of capital in off the sideline. And the energy industry – which has been effectively stymied in some sectors – could, by most projections, start putting millions of more people to work in a matter of months once work on the pipeline gets into full gear and the issuing of more exploration permits is on the horizon. Those two factors alone could produce the type of economic growth which would already be more quickly filing government coffers before the tax reform debate even begins.
That’s the sort of change which will make enacting these types of comprehensive tax reform possible. If you’re arguing from a position of strength, with unemployment falling and more cash coming in to the treasury, it’s a heck of a lot easier than if you have to rely on murky projections of what “might happen” later. Paul Ryan didn’t do himself any favors when he told a reporter that he didn’t have time to go through the math of the tax plan. But I think his argument could be clarified and strengthened by highlighting the effect on the economy described here. That’s why this is the argument which I believe the pundits should be having this weekend, rather than tidying up sums in columns off the AEI study.

Reminder: Oil and gas production just keep falling under Obama

Hotair ^ | OCTOBER 12, 2012 | ERIKA JOHNSEN

President Obama certainly knows how to talk a good game when it comes to energy policy; to the low-information layman, “all of the above” sounds like a superficially excellent plan. Work on green energy development, but keep the traditional fuel production comin’ — it’s the best of both worlds, right?

Except that that’s not what the Obama administration has done at all. While the feds have poured billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars into picking economic winners and losers in the clean-energy field, Obama’s EPA/Energy/Interior team have waged a regulatory war on the coal industry and only allowed for relatively scant permitting for drilling projects.
Obama & Co. are big fans of taking credit for the increase in oil production that’s taking place on the domestic scene right now, but the credit is actually due to permits issued under President Bush (one of the few things he’s unwilling to credit to the “previous administration,” heh) and increased production on private and state lands. As Daniel Kish detailed in USNews yesterday, the Energy Information Administration recently released its Annual Energy Review 2011, and it demonstrates just how much Obama’s policy isn’t so much “all of the above” as “nothing from below”:
In reality, data shows that oil and gas production is actually falling on federal lands. Offshore oil production was the lowest since 2008, and natural gas production on federal lands was the lowest since 2003. Coal production on federal lands has fallen as well. Coal production was the lowest since 2006. Energy Information Administration also reports that 2011 had the highest average price for gasoline in U.S. history, and 2009-2011 has seen the highest average real electricity prices since the early 1990s.
What the record shows is that energy production is happening in spite of the president’s polices, not because...
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

The Intellect

Biden's 10 Worst Lies in Debate

12 Oct 20122

Once again, Joe Biden lied his way through a Vice Presidential debate--just as he did in his contest with Sarah Palin in 2008. This time, the media caught a few of Biden's worst "malarkey" moments--as did his opponent, Paul Ryan, when he could get a word in edgewise.

Here are the top ten worst lies told by Biden during the debate:
Update - Honorable Mention: "There's not one Democrat who endorsed his...plan." Biden lied--as Ryan pointed out, amidst the Vice President's interruptions--about the fact that Ryan had worked with both Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and former Clinton budget director Alice Rivlin in developing his entitlement reforms. While it's true that neither have endorsed the Romney-Ryan ticket's separate plan--which is different--Ryan's own plans, to which Biden referred, were endorsed by Democrats, and Biden knows it.
10. "With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey....not a single thing he said is accurate." At the outset of the debate, Biden tried to paint Ryan as a liar--when Biden, in fact, was the one lying. Ryan had pointed out: 1) that the White House had distanced itself from the Cairo embassy's apologies on 9/11; 2) that Obama had failed to speak up for Iranian protestors in 2009; 3) that the Obama administration called Syria's dictator a "reformer"; 4) and that the Obama administration is imposing defense cuts and projecting weakness. All of that is true.
9. "The president has met with Bibi [Netanyahu] a dozen times....This is a bunch of stuff." While they have met several times--not a dozen--that includes a meeting at which Obama made the Israeli prime minister enter the White House through a back entrance, refused to take a picture with him, and left him on his own for dinner. Specifically, Ryan had criticized Obama's refusal to meet Netanyahu in New York last month, and to tape talk show interviews instead--a clear snub that sent the wrong signal, again, to Israel's enemies.
8. "Just let the taxes expire like they’re supposed to on those millionaires." Biden's "millionaires" are actually households earning more than $250,000 a year, which includes many middle-class families with two earners, and small business owners in particular who report business earnings as personal income. Biden and Obama have repeatedly labeled those earning over $250,000 as "millionaires and billionaires," distorting the actual impact of their tax plan on the non-millionaires it would hit hardest, who create a vast proportion of small business jobs.
7. "You know, I heard that death panel argument from Sarah Palin. It seems that every vice presidential debate, I hear this kind of stuff about panels." Biden's cheap shot against Palin was an attempt to diminish both her and the man sitting across from him. But Palin never talked about "death panels" in her debate with Biden, for the simple reason that Obamacare had not yet been proposed. Nor did Ryan mention "death panels"--he had addressed the undeniable fact that Obamacare proposes a board to impose cost controls.
6. "The congressman here cut embassy security in his budget by $300 million below what we asked for." Biden's lie about Ryan's budget was an attempt to dodge responsibility for lax embassy security--and to cover up that the Obama administration called for new cuts to embassy security just days after the 9/11 attacks. Ryan's proposal, which called for a 19% overall decrease in non-defense discretionary spending, does not even mention embassy security--the Obama campaign merely made up that number by applying 19% across the board.
5. "No, they are not four years closer to a nuclear weapon." Biden's attempt to lie about the glaring reality of the Iranian nuclear program fell flat. Iran is indeed four years closer to a nuclear weapon, and the Obama administration--believing it knew better than its predecessors--tried to reinvent the wheel on talks with Iran, causing frustration to our allies in Europe and the Middle East. Meeting after meeting this year has failed to produce results, and the loophole-filled sanctions, while hurting Iran somewhat, are not stopping its nuclear program.
4. "No religious institution, Catholic or otherwise...has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact." No, it is not a fact--it is the opposite of a fact, and saying "that is a fact" does not make it any less a blatant lie. The Obama administration is forcing religious institutions to provide contraceptive and abortion drugs through their insurance policies. That is the reason several dozen religious institutions are suing the administration to defend their First Amendment freedom of religion.
3. "It came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card...I was there. I voted against him." Biden voted for both the Iraq war and the Afghanistan war. He did not vote for George W. Bush's plan to extend coverage of Medicare to prescription drugs (though he voted for an earlier, similar proposal), nor did he vote for the Bush tax cuts. But he voted for both of the wars he derided last night. To quote Bill Clinton's speech to the Democratic National Convention: "It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did."
2. "What we did is we saved $716 billion and put it back -- applied it to Medicare." Biden repeated the lie the Obama administration has been telling since before Obamacare passed in 2010: that cuts to Medicare today were savings that extend the life of the program. They would be--if the same $716 billion wasn't also being used to pay for Obamacare. As Ryan pointed out in 2010, and again last night, you can't double-count the same cuts. Taking $716 billion out of Medicare means exactly that--and hurts, not helps, the program's solvency.
1. "Well, we weren’t told they wanted more security again." Biden lied through his teeth about the fact that the administration--specifically, the State Department--had been told again and again that security on the ground in Libya, and in Benghazi in particular, was inadequate. The day before, in Congressional hearings on the Libya attacks, former regional security director Eric Nordstrom described his frustration with having those requests turned down by the government bureaucracy: "For me the Taliban is on the inside of the building."

How bad will Obama’s loss really be?

HillBuzz ^ | October 12, 2012 | Kevin DuJan

You can create a map like the one above for yourself, by using the tool over at RealClearPolitics.
I think this is how the election is going to shake out, with a Romney win of between 70-100 EVs.
Pennsylvania, the “Zac Efron of states”, has been a perpetual tease for years…always threatening to come out and be who it really is at heart, but then chickening out and doing what its publicist wants it to keep doing. I think if Pennsylvania would ever finally to go Republicans it would be this year…but I still don’t know if the War on Coal in western PA is going to be enough to counteract the lefty voting tendencies in the parts of the state that are included in the Boston to DC “Megalopolis Corridor”. I know that Democrats are going to have to spend money to keep Pennsylvania in Obama’s column and that this (and Michigan) are the new Democrat firewalls…but I’d love to hear more ground reports from people knowledgable in Pennsylvania politics to tell me if Romney really could end up doing what would have been impossible just four years ago: taking the Keystone State.
Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida are now officially lost to Obama. Suffolk has pulled its pollsters from those states because they are no longer “battlegrounds”. I think Ohio’s also going to be solidly in the Romney column in 25 days as well. Don’t believe what the Ministry of Truth (Minitru, for short) is telling you on the tee-vee about Ohio still being “too close to call”. That’s nonsense. I was born and raised in the Buckeye State and the biggest thing you need to know about it is that Ohio votes with who’s going to win the national election. Ohioans want desperately to be right and be the winners in things. The lottery is HUGE in Ohio, folks, and instead of people dreaming of their kids growing up to be doctors or even famous actors or athletes Ohioans dream of their kids winning the lottery some day. In the Cleveland area, where I am from, this is a city-wide obsession. Remember that Ohio is a state plagued by sports teams that rarely make the big games or win the titles…so when Ohioans vote and have a chance to pick the winner for once, they tend to do that. I’m not aware of Ohio siding against the winning presidential candidate in any modern election and it’s not going to do that this time either. If you want more than just instinct on this, take a look at the early voting numbers in Ohio. Democrats are depressed and unenthused about this election because Barack Obama ended up not being the man Minitru convinced many he was four years ago. Ohioans are people who would have probably been handing Hillary Clinton her reelection on a silver platter this year…but they are booting Democrats from office because Obama was just too far to the Left for them in the Oval Office. Ohio is going to Romney and it’s not going to be close.
I think the damage Barack Obama did to Nevada early in his presidency when he ruined their tourism and convention industry will come back to haunt him in November. A few nasty remarks from him back in 2009 directed at people who hold convention in Vegas did massive economic damage to the state. While it’s true that Harry Reid manage to hang onto his Senate seat in 2010, he probably would have lost it if a better candidate had run against him. I don’t think there’s any real love for Reid even in the Ritz-Carlton where he lives, let alone his entire state. I like to follow the casino projects in Vegas because my boyfriend is an architect and I like the fanciful buildings they used to build down there…but there are ZERO big projects planned and many others long-in-development being canceled because of the damage Barack Obama did to the state. I see that tipping things to Romney, although it’s going to probably be close.
I kept New Mexico in Obama’s column because more often than not this state votes Democrat in presidential elections. But, if Pennsylvania really does go to Romney then I bet New Mexico will too and his win will be an absolute landslide at that point. Heck, this would include Michigan as well, most likely.
Democrats would be back to being a coastal party with just Minnesota and Illinois in the middle…and it would be a devastating loss for the Left which Minitru would be forced to admit was due to Americans rejecting socialism with a very loud and clear voice.
THAT is an exciting prospect to think of that you’ll never hear Minitru even consider. Remember, most of the people who work in the media are in their 20s and 30s and they don’t remember a sitting president being booted from office in their adult lifetimes. They operate under the assumption that the incumbent always wins, because they wanted Bush to lose so badly back in 2004 (and he didn’t) that they’ve convinced themselves that incumbents must just have some magic that keeps them in the White House no matter what. No, dummies, Bush won because John Kerry was a lousy candidate to run against him. That’s also why John McCain lost…he was a lousy candidate that few people liked.
I have to say that Mitt Romney has really surprised me. I kind of love this guy at this point. He is doing everything right and not making any mistakes. His responses are RAPID and hit HARD every day, no matter what Minitru attempts to help Obama. Everything Romney did to his opponents in the GOP primaries he is now doing to Obama. I didn’t like Romney for the longest time because I just assumed he would be like John McCain and would never challenge Obama. Boy, was I wrong about him. This guy is brutal and unrelenting and it’s fantastic. He is not playing around and Obama doesn’t know how to combat that. He’s used to white people just giving up and letting him have whatever he wants in life without being challenged…and Romney is challenging him every day.
The Left is in complete, apoplectic, disarray. They are melting down daily. Even the Tokyo Roses in conservative ranks who normally try to demoralize and depress Republicans are being forced to admit that, yes, Romney is winning. Have you looked at the polls? They’re still being rigged to oversample Democrats to ridiculous degrees…but even then Obama is losing. The polls can no longer be rigged enough to show Obama leading.
It is THAT big of a disaster for Democrats.
This is why it’s more important than ever to get the word out that voting for Romney is so critical. We are going to win, but let’s try to make it a crushing epic defeat of Obama and the Left. Let’s try to make this election a polar opposite of 2008 and swing the pendulum so far to the right that formerly “safely Democrat” states now go to Romney the way Obama flipped Virginia, North Carolina, and Indiana last time. Wouldn’t it be epic if we could flip Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Oregon and take those from the Democrats?
I really think Romney/Ryan is going to win Wisconsin, too, by the way. Justin and I have now gone there twice in the election and the energy on the ground is pure excitement to make history by voting a Wisconsinite into the Naval Observatory for the first time. It’s amusing to me that Wisconsin was the state in which Michelle Obama made her infamous “I’m proud of my country for the first time in my adult life” remarks four years ago…since many Americans will be saying how proud they are of Wisconsin for helping boot the Obamas out of the White House on November 6th.
What’s your take on the electoral map?
How big do you think Romney’s win will be?
What are YOU doing in your own way to make it as big a win as possible?
UPDATE: Someone asked me what that absolute worst result for Democrats COULD be. As in, if this is the worst loss even humanly possible for Democrats, what would THAT map look like. This is called a candidate’s “floor”, where it’s the absolute bottom of his support and the lowest number of states he could carry.
I think Obama’s “floor” looks like this:

NOTE: This is a fanciful situation, where everything possible breaks against Obama on election day. This is like the movie version of a dream that’s been animated into a cartoon. It is not real, but sure is fun to look at. Don’t think for a second that this will happen though…but it is the very worst case scenario for Democrats that I can imagine.
There are some states I just don’t see even Obama losing, like Minnesota. I think he could actually lose Illinois if the voter fraud in Cook County is thwarted (and efforts are underway to do that) and if Democrats don’t turn out to vote like they have in the past because there are no street money bribes for voting this time around (as Obama doesn’t have the funds to pay those this year). But for some reason there are a lot of cuckoo birds up in Minnesota and voter fraud seems to be rampant there as well.
What do you think of Obama’s “floor”?
Are there any states I’m missing or I shouldn’t have up there?

Read more

Democrats On The Edge of Panic!

Ricochet ^ | October 12, 2012 | Rick Wilson

Last night's performance by Biden – capering, giggling, near-maniacal opera buffa – was targeted in one place: a dispirited, demoralized Democratic base on the edge of panic.

Paul Ryan was businesslike, steady, and on-point. He hit solid doubles all night, and that's all he needed to do. If he'd been as amped and manic as Biden, it would have been a political and imaging disaster.
Biden aimed to throw the Obama base a lifeline. He fed the Kos Kidz desperate need to see some fight, but at the cost of his remaining (and mostly notional) dignity. If you want a gibbering, snorting, mumbling clown with a rictus-grin locked on his mug a heartbeat away from controlling America's nuclear arsenal, Joe Biden's your guy.
Ryan aimed to meet the standard of gravitas and presence, to demonstrate to the fabled female/suburban/swing/moderate voters that he's not a scary granny-killing Terminator sent from the future to throw seniors into the snowbank. He had to demonstrate steadiness, stature and knowledge. Done and done.
The conventional wisdom this morning is that the debate was a tie. That conventional wisdom is (as is so often the case) dead wrong. Biden played to his base, trying to dig Obama out of the hole he's been trapped in since last week's debate trainwreck. Ryan played to the center, to the swing and to the late-engagers. The post-hoc coverage won't factor into their decisions: the pictures and Biden's mugging, drunk-uncle affect will. (Also, Biden opened several new, Costco-scale cans of worms for the Administration on the Libya scandal.)
In short, Biden did nothing to reset the race, and the edge of panic is still there in the Obama campaign.
When edifices – particularly political edifices built around the myth and personality of one man – collapse, they collapse suddenly. The center does not hold. The man dragged from the spider hole isn't a dictator, he's a prisoner. The Master of the Universe hedge fund manager who's really just a Ponzi schemer gets booked at Rikers like the rest of 'em. The spell cast by power, once broken, is hard to restore.
(And no, I'm not comparing Obama to infamous war criminals. I'm examining the way people view organizations centered on a leader, not on an idea, and why they're ultimately fragile.)
In the case of the Obama Personality Cult, we believed the Maximum Leader was more brilliant, more charismatic and more skillful than our own candidate. Sure, he was wrong on the issues, a disaster from start to finish, but we still felt a sense of intimidation. That changed last week, as I outlined here.
In the 2012 election, as long as Obama was inevitable, he was inevitable. Beyond the pundits, there was the emerging belief that the macro polling models of guys like Nate Silver could not be wrong. The basic message was, “Obama's certainty of reelection is so large entirely new domains of mathematics are required to state it properly.”
The arguments for Romney's election were always framed as, “Well, IF he wins Florida and IF he wins Virginia and IF Hillary is an Al Qaida sleeper agent and IF Biden is caught in a Delaware hotel room with a Guatemalan pan flute band and a non-consenting farm animal...then maybe there's a fraction of a chance.”
The political media declared Mitt Romney dead for thirty long days between the end of the convention and the debate. But somewhere in those thirty days, Mitt Romney was born again. Hard.
You can see the fear in the Obama campaign now, as they careen from message to message, flailing, desperate for something – anything – to stick.
You can see their gyros tumbling as they slew from Big Bird to abortion to “Mitt Romney is a lying liar liarpants McLiar” to the walking disaster that is Stephanie Cutter every time she opens her mouth to the remarkable, bizarre interview the Three Divas (Axelrod, Plouffe and Messina, obviously) gave Mark Halperin this week. Their campaign is out of control, and they know it.
They know how much they lost after the last debate. They know how many millions of television advertising dollars were flushed down the drain as Obama broke down in the last debate and as Mitt Romney introduced himself to the country. They know how, after the debate, Romney surged to a lead or a tie in the swing states. They know that there are a handful of states now that were solidly in Obama's camp that are wavering, teetering and suddenly uncertain.
Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Michigan have moved in the RCP averages from “Leans Obama” to “Toss-up”... today's polls are about to move a number of other states into the “Lean Romney” column. Florida will likely move there in the coming days. It's not just the swing states, and they know it.
The swing states matter, but when any of the states of Obama's “Blue Wall” flips in the polls to “Lean Romney,” the cascade effect will be psychologically devastating. For months, there were two underlying predicates for an Obama victory: first, that Obama was inevitable, and second, that Mitt Romney's path to 270 electoral votes was narrow and highly constrained.
Today, it's Obama's path that seems to be narrowing.
Their panic tastes delicious.

Krauthammer: 'Biden’s Debate Prep Was Watching The Shining'!

Newsbusters ^ | October 12, 2012 | Noel Sheppard

Full title: Krauthammer: 'Biden’s Debate Prep Was Watching The Shining' - 'Excellent Imitation of Jack Nicholson'

"One would think that Biden’s debate preparation was watching repeatedly 'The Shining,' and I think he did an excellent imitation of Jack Nicholson."

So marvelously said syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer on Friday's Special Report on Fox.

Read more:

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

US deficit tops $1 trillion for fourth year!

Yahoo! News ^ | 10/12/12 | Martin Crutsinger - ap

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. budget deficit has topped $1 trillion for a fourth straight year, but a modest improvement in economic growth helped narrow the gap by $207 billion compared with last year.

The Treasury Department said Friday the deficit for the 2012 budget year totaled $1.1 trillion. Tax revenue rose 6.4 percent from last year to more than $2.4 trillion, helping contain the deficit.
The government's revenue rose as more people got jobs and received income. Corporations also contributed more tax revenue than in 2011.
Government spending fell 1.7 percent to $3.5 trillion. The decline reflected, in part, less defense spending as U.S. military involvement in Iraq was winding down.
Barack Obama's presidency has now coincided with four straight $1 trillion-plus annual budget deficits — the first in history and an issue in an election campaign that ends in Nov. 6.
Obama's Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, contends that Obama failed to achieve a pledge to halve the deficit he inherited by the end of his first term.
When Obama took office in January 2009, the Congressional Budget Office forecast that the deficit for that year would total $1.2 trillion. It ended up at a record $1.41 trillion.
The increase was due, in part, to higher government spending to fight the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan contributed to the deficits.
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Will The Election Results Cause Massive Riots To Erupt All Over America?

    The Economic Collapse Blog ^ | 10/12/12

    The election is nearly four weeks away, and many Obama supporters are already threatening to riot if Obama loses. The following are some very disturbing messages that were posted on Twitter recently that have been reposted on

    "If Romney wins I'm Starting a Riot....Who's WIT ME???"
    "I Hope The USA Is Well Aware That If In The Event This Character Romney Wins The Election, The People Will Start A Country Wide Riot! #Power"
    "If Romney is elected president, its gon be a riot its gon be a riot."
    "If Romney became President and took away welfare Downtown Cincinnati would become a riot"
    "If Romney takes away food stamps 2 Chainzz in this bit IMMA START A RIOT"
    "If Romney wins. (which i highly doubt) THERE WILL BE A RIOT—"

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Liberalism, Manic & Depressive

Weekly Standard ^ | October 22, 2012 vol | WIlliam Kristol

The dreams of liberalism’s fathers don’t move today’s liberals. Whether in manic or depressed mode, they know liberalism’s been mugged by reality—though they dare not acknowledge it. Has Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech been overtaken, to say the least, by facts on the ground in 2012 in Benghazi? Don’t acknowledge the facts. Does all the talk about a green energy future seem empty and ridiculous? Keep talking the talk—while also taking credit for increases in oil and gas production you did nothing to make possible and that you, deep down, find distasteful. Is there a need for real tax reform? Ignore it, and just let the Bush tax cuts expire. Do decades-old programs like Social Security and Medicare need to be changed? Just attack the reforms Romney and Ryan have proposed. Roe v. Wade? Sacred scripture.

In the first presidential debate of 2012, we saw, up close and personal, what Harvey Mansfield called in last week’s issue the ennui of Barack Obama. Obama’s ennui is related to his dislike for the real challenges of governing. More fundamentally, his ennui reflects his declinism. What’s exciting about governing for the next four years if it’s just going to involve managing austerity at home and decline abroad? It’s a depressing prospect.
Obama is depressed because today’s liberalism is depressing. Obama is world-weary because modern liberalism is world-weary. Hope and change was just campaign talk. The real existing liberal president lives in an atmosphere of reduced hope and hostility to needed change. As Mansfield puts it, “Obama’s air of ennui in the debate arises not just from his personal character of cool but more from his thoughts about the future. He sees America in decline. He does not say it, but he sees it, and it determines his politics as well as his demeanor.”
In the vice presidential debate Thursday, we saw, up close and personal (too up close and personal), what we might charitably call the excitability of Joe Biden. If Obama is cool, Biden is hyper-caffeinated. But Obama’s ennui and Biden’s excitability are flip sides of the same liberal coin.
What gets Biden excited aren’t any particular plans for the future. Biden spent almost no time in his debate explaining how things would get better in a second term of an Obama-Biden administration. Democratic spinners tried to explain Biden’s maniacal smiles and smirks as evidence he’s a happy warrior. But the spirit of Biden is altogether different from the truly happy warrior of the -liberalism of another era, Hubert Humphrey. Humphrey bubbled over with enthusiasm for the future. Biden was agitated rather than enthusiastic, and his energy was entirely channeled into demagoguing a Romney-Ryan future. Nor was there any Bobby Kennedy in Biden. Kennedy used to claim, “Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were and say, ‘Why not?’ ” Joe Biden didn’t do a lot of dreaming Thursday night. He spent most of the debate arguing excitably against change at home and explaining exasperatedly why we can’t accomplish anything abroad.
The dreams of liberalism’s fathers don’t move today’s liberals. Whether in manic or depressed mode, they know liberalism’s been mugged by reality—though they dare not acknowledge it. Has Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech been overtaken, to say the least, by facts on the ground in 2012 in Benghazi? Don’t acknowledge the facts. Does all the talk about a green energy future seem empty and ridiculous? Keep talking the talk—while also taking credit for increases in oil and gas production you did nothing to make possible and that you, deep down, find distasteful. Is there a need for real tax reform? Ignore it, and just let the Bush tax cuts expire. Do decades-old programs like Social Security and Medicare need to be changed? Just attack the reforms Romney and Ryan have proposed. Roe v. Wade? Sacred scripture.
To watch Obama and Biden on stage is to watch a liberalism that has lost its nerve, a liberalism that is the enervated and excitable residue of an earlier, energetic doctrine. Mansfield saw it coming over three decades ago: “From having been the aggressive doctrine of vigorous, spirited men, liberalism has become hardly more than a trembling in the presence of illiberalism. .  .  . Who today is called a liberal for strength and confidence in defense of liberty?”
But a decadent liberalism can do real and lasting damage. The United States can survive—the United States has survived—four years of weakness and drift. Four more years would be another matter. Obamacare institutionalized, defeat in Afghanistan, the Middle East in chaos, a Supreme Court unmoored from the Constitution—these would be the wages of four more years of Obama and Biden. The historic task of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan is to bring home to Americans just how much damage could be done by another four years of a decadent liberalism—and to make the case for a conservatism neither enervated by an acceptance of decline nor made excitable by a fear of change, a conservatism that shows strength and confidence in defense of liberty.

Who Really Cares About the Poor? ^ | October 15, 2012 | John C. Goodman

Capitalism favors the rich. Socialism helps the poor. These are core beliefs of almost everybody on the left, including our president. Ah, but it turns out that this worldview is completely wrong.

Economists associated with the Fraser Institute and the Cato Institute have actually found a way to measure "economic freedom" and investigate what difference it makes in 141 countries around the world. This work has been in progress for several decades now and the evidence is stark. Economies that rely on private property, free markets and free trade, and avoid high taxes, regulation and inflation, grow more rapidly than those with less economic freedom. Higher growth leads to higher incomes. Among the nations in the top fifth of the economic freedom index in 2011, average income was almost 7 times as great as for those countries in the bottom 20 percent (per capita gross domestic product of $31,501versus $4,545).
What about the effects on the poorest citizens? In the 2011 report, the average income of the poorest tenth of the population in the least free countries was around $1,061. By contrast, the poorest tenth of the freest countries' populations earned about $8,735. If you are poor, it pays to live where capitalism is less hobbled.
What about equality of incomes? As it turns out there is almost no global relationship between the distribution of income and the degree of economic freedom. But in a way, that's good news. It means that the rich don't get richer and the poor poorer under capitalism. Everybody becomes better off.
There are also non-economic benefits to living in a free society. Comparing the bottom fifth to the top fifth, more economic freedom adds about 20 years to life expectancy and lowers infant mortality to just over one-tenth of its level in the least free countries.
What about within the United States? Some years back the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) calculated a "predicted poverty rate" based on economic growth alone. In other words, economic growth by itself lifts people out of poverty, even if nothing else is happening. The CEA results suggest that if there had never been a welfare state (no Aid to Families with Dependent Children, no food stamps, no Medicaid, etc.) the poverty rate would be lower today than it actually is! This adds to a wealth of evidence that the welfare state is subsidizing poverty, not eliminating it.
I don't like to get into partisan politics, because, like Milton Friedman, I believe in ideas and not politicians. But The New York Times editorial page is becoming increasingly partisan. The unsigned editorials these days are almost indistinguishable from the Obama campaign's talking points. Far from being thoughtful, they are vehicles for White House propaganda. Many of Paul Krugman's editorials read pretty much the same way.
So let's consider the two political parties. Think of Democrats as being primarily responsible for the structure of the welfare state (social insurance programs) and Republicans as being primarily responsible for tax policy (including the Earned Income Tax Credit [EITC] — the embodiment of Milton Friedman's negative income tax). Which policies have been better for poor people? If you buy the CEA analysis and the work of Charles Murray, George Gilder and a host of other scholars, the welfare state has led to more poverty, not less of it. On the other hand, almost every Republican tax change has made the tax code more progressive. That is, almost every time the Republicans change the tax law, the burden of the federal income tax is shifted from low-income people to high-income people! That's why almost half the population doesn't pay any income tax at all.
[As an aside, Democrats have been very reluctant to give money to poor people through means-tested social insurance programs. Whether it's food, housing, education or medical care, almost all the cash goes to a constituency that is definitely not poor. That's why it's hard to know how much anyone benefits from these programs. On the other hand, when the Republican-designed EITC delivers $1 to a poor family, the family gets $1 worth of benefit. Of course, the EITC may do other harm through its implicit high marginal tax rate, however.]
I'm not endorsing everything the Republicans have done. Rather, I simply note that under Republican policies we are likely to have less poverty.
All in all, the welfare state probably isn't the primary reason poor people are poor. The main obstacles to success are (1) bad schools and (2) barriers to good jobs in the labor market.
What is the biggest challenge in making bad schools better? The teachers' unions. They are dedicated to the idea that the school system is foremost a jobs program and only secondarily a place for children to learn. Teachers' unions have steadfastly opposed almost every reform idea that has any promise whatsoever in every city and town throughout the country. As for barriers to entry into the labor market, who is the foremost backer of minimum wage laws, Davis Bacon Act restrictions, medieval-guild-type occupational licensing laws and labor union monopolies everywhere? You guessed it: the labor unions themselves.
Yet who forms the backbone of the Democratic Party? The very same organizations that are most responsible for keeping poor people poor and closing off their opportunities to succeed in life. Further, their perverse political influence disproportionately affects minorities. That is one reason why the black teenage unemployment rate is almost 40% — double that of white teenagers! It is one of the reasons for the very large student achievement gap: black student test scores are 70% to 80% of the scores of white students.

Remember When Bush's College Records Were a Big Deal?

 by Puddleglum

I know it would wound Romney to make a big deal out of college records at this point because it would stigmatize him as a "birther," but I can't help but reflect upon when the media made a big deal about Bush's college transcripts a few elections ago. The hypocrisy is astounding. We have so much more to learn from Obama's records than we did from Bush's.
With Bush the questions basically were "Was he a drunken frat boy who barely squeaked by?" "Did Daddy pull strings to get you into school?" "Will his grades help us prove he was/is dumber than Mensa-level Al Gore?"
With Obama the questions are "How did you get into Columbia?" "How did you get into Harvard?" "Can we please have objective, third-party confirmation of your vitae?" "Can we have something other than your ghost-written memoirs to let us know what shaped you and whether the man you present yourself as now has changed (or has not changed) radically from the man you were in college, and if so, what motivated the change?"
I know Obama meant nothing by the transparency "malarky" (vocabulary hat tip to Uncle Joe) that he spouted four years ago, but the man is unvetted.
I cannot figure out how or who should ask the question "Where's the college records?" Romney had the chance to do so with a little ju-jitsu when he was dogged about the tax returns, but that has passed.

Trickle-Down Government Is All Wet! ^ | October 13, 2012 | Brian Darling

President Obama’s economic ideas hold that government spending on construction, alternative energy sources welfare will inspire long term growth. But this theory has a big problem: Government is a terrible allocator of resources. Spending borrowed money on public infrastructure and even more state employees creates jobs wholly dependent on… government spending. Expanding the welfare state also increases dependency and does nothing to expand economic growth in the long term.
This “demand-side” philosophy rests on the claim that some 70 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) is consumption. Hence boosting consumption—by pouring borrowed money into more food stamps, Obama-phones and extended unemployment benefits—will prime the economic pump.
In fact, however, sustained growth comes from the force underlying consumption: increased productivity. Productivity feeds on private-sector investment. Money spent on government programs is money taken from the private sector. Hence, the best way to spark private sector investment and growth is to reduce government. Less government spending is a pro-growth policy.
Last year I labeled the President’s economic philosophy “Trickle-Down Obamanomics.” In last Wednesday’s debate, Governor Mitt Romney rechristened it as “trickle-down government,” which he characterized as the view that “bigger government, spending more, taxing more, regulating more… would work.”
During the debate, the President doubled down on his trickle-down approach. “[W]e've got to invest in education and training,” he said, by hiring “another 100,000 new math and science teachers, and create 2 million more slots in our community colleges so that people can get trained for the jobs that are out there right now.” He also recommitted to “investing” in “the energy sources of the future, like wind and solar and biofuels.” These are expensive ideas paid for by tax hikes and borrowed cash.
Romney argued that borrowing more to expand government more is are not merely “an economic issue, … it's a moral issue. I think it's, frankly, not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation and they're going to be paying the interest and the principal all their lives.”
President Obama seems to believe that money spent by government winds up benefiting the middle-class and the poor. But the more government taxes private sector job creators, the fewer resources they have to employ middle-class and poor people. More government bureaucrats and union-controlled projects will not be good for the long term growth of the economy.
The President’s proposed American Jobs Act offers an excellent case study in Trickle-Down Obamanomics. This bill would hikes taxes on individuals making more than $200,000 a year and families making more than $250,000 a year, and impose other tax hikes totaling $450 billion over 10 years. The government would then plow those funds into a $10 billion infrastructure slush fund, and spend $50 billion on union-wage road projects, $30 billion on “greening” schools, and $35 billion on teachers/first responders.

It’s the same philosophy employed throughout the President’s term. What has it accomplished? Unemployment was 7.8% when he entered the Oval Office; it’s 7.8% now. More than 22 million Americans are unemployed or under-employed. The percentage of able-bodied Americans participating in the job market is at the lowest level in the 30 years.
What’s at the highest level ever is the national debt. Trickle-down Obamanomics has run up deficits in excess of $1 trillion annually.
The left mocks Romney’s statement that he would reduce federal funding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which totaled approximately $1.7 billion over the last four years. It is hard to imagine how the United States will ever balance the budget if even Big Bird—emblem the fabulously successful and lucrative Children’s Television Workshop—is seen as a sacred cow.
Instead, Washington should chart a tested and true path. Cut taxes; slash government spending, and stop borrowing massive amounts from our kids and grand-kids. The only way to transform our nation back into what Ronald Reagan called that “shining city upon the hill” is to follow the Reagan Revolution pathway of reduced regulations, lower tax rates and limits to government spending.

Obama's Libyan Debacle

Washington Post ^ | 10/12/2012 | Jennifer Rubin

The Libya debacle is not merely a case of inadequate security. It is a case of willful blindness to the progress of al-Qaeda in a locale that the Obama team had boasted was a grand success for its “leading from behind” strategy. The administration despite every available bit of evidence continued to cling to a false narrative, and repeat that narrative to the public, because it refused to recognize that Libya was a terrorist victory, not a U.S. success story.

In August 2012, the United States knew that Libya had become a terrorist hell hole. In a Library of Congress report, we then knew:

Al-Qaeda has tried to exploit the “Arab Awakening” in North Africa for its own purposes during the past year. Al-Qaeda Senior Leadership (AQSL), based in Pakistan, is likely seeking to build a clandestine network in Libya as it pursues its strategy of reinforcing its presence in North Africa and the Middle East, taking advantage of the “Arab Awakening” that has disrupted existing counterterrorism capabilities. Although AQSL’s previous attempt to co-opt the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) was inconclusive, the Libyan Revolution may have created an environment conducive to jihad and empowered the large and active community of Libyan jihadists, which is known to be well connected to international jihad.
As many opponents of U.S. involvement in Libya had warned, al-qaeda was flourishing in Libya. (“[A] few hundred” jihadists were operating there, according to the report.) The report noted, “Al-Qaeda’s clandestine network is likely recruiting local militiamen in order to infiltrate and manipulate militias, which are expected, at least for a while, to maintain their armed capabilities and political clout.”
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