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Axelrod, Kerry Defend UN Ambassador as GOP Chairman Calls for Rice’s Resignation

Sunday, September 30th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama’s senior campaign adviser defended UN Ambassador Susan Rice as “one of the most remarkable, splendid public servants we have,” deflecting calls from the House Homeland Security Committee chairman for her to step down.

“I can see why if they wanted to say it’s too early to say it’s definitively terrorism, but to rule out terrorism, to say it was not terrorism at that time was a — to me a terrible mistake to make, whether it was done intentionally or unintentionally, and to show the significance of that, I believe she should resign, yes,” Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Friday on CNN.

David Axelrod said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday that he was “shocked” to hear King advocate Rice’s resignation.

“As you know, the president called it an act of terror the day after it happened. But when you’re the responsible party, when you’re the administration, then you have a responsibility to act on what you know and what the intelligence community believes. This was — this is being thoroughly investigated,” he said.

“As the director of national intelligence said on Friday, that was the original information that that was given to us. What we don’t need is a president or an administration that shoots first and asks questions later,” Axelrod continued. “And, you know, Governor Romney leaped out on this Libya issue on the first day, and was terribly mistaken about what he said.”

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.), whose panel is also proving the Benghazi attack, issued a statement in defense of Rice on Friday night.

“I’m deeply disturbed by efforts to find the politics instead of finding the facts in this debate. Everyone who cares about the four fallen Americans in Benghazi would do well to take a deep breath about what happened and allow Secretary Clinton’s proactive, independent investigation to proceed,” Kerry said.

“I’m particularly troubled by calls for Ambassador Rice’s resignation,” he added. “…Our Committee in the Senate has unanimously asked that some highly detailed, highly specific questions be answered as part of the current investigation. Congress will have plenty of time to examine those answers, and to discern what happened in Benghazi once the investigation is fully underway and the facts become clear.”

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WE ARE THE 91%: Only 9% of Americans Cooperate with Pollsters

Sunday, September 30th, 2012 - by Zombie

One of the most amazing — and significant — statistics of this election season has gone almost completely unnoticed:

Only 9% of sampled households gave an answer to pollsters in 2012:

It has become increasingly difficult to contact potential respondents and to persuade them to participate. The percentage of households in a sample that are successfully interviewed – the response rate – has fallen dramatically. At Pew Research, the response rate of a typical telephone survey was 36% in 1997 and is just 9% today.

The general decline in response rates is evident across nearly all types of surveys, in the United States and abroad. At the same time, greater effort and expense are required to achieve even the diminished response rates of today. These challenges have led many to question whether surveys are still providing accurate and unbiased information.

You read that correctly: In any attempted poll or survey, only 9% of attempted contacts come back with an actual response.

That means 91% of sampled households are NOT having their opinions recorded by pollsters.

Breaking down the numbers a bit, we can see that this is due to two reasons: 38% of the households contacted were unreachable in the first place, leaving only a 62% “contact rate.” But among that 62%, only 14% “cooperated” with the pollsters; the remaining 86% of contactees presumably slammed down the phone or simply refused to answer. Since 86% of 62% of the population are non-cooperators, that leaves us with the astonishing conclusion that…

53% of Americans actively refuse to answer poll questions.

The real breakdown chart should look like this:

38% could not be reached
53% were contacted but actively refused to answer
9% cooperated and answered the polling questions

Or, put another way:

Out of every 7 people contacted by pollsters, only 1 will answer the polling question, while the remaining 6 refuse to answer.

Six to one, people; six to one. Think about that for a second.

What are those 53% thinking — and why would they purposely refuse to cooperate with pollsters?

Furthermore, where are those unreachable 38%? At work? On drugs? Curled up in a fetal position under the couch?

Pew goes on to claim that, despite the appallingly low cooperation rate in 2012, they think their estimates of public opinion are fairly accurate in any case.

That may have been true in past years, but we won’t know this year until after the election how accurate the polls were.

But now also consider these newly released stats showing that distrust of the media has hit an all-time high, and most importantly that Republicans and independents are twice as likely to distrust the media as Democrats:

There’s only one possible conclusion to reach: That the non-cooperating 86% of contactees are twice as likely to be Republicans and independents as they are to be Democrats.

This imputes a HUGE skew into all poll results, a skew that is rarely acknowledged.

Who are the 91%???

Are you one of them?

Did you miss a call from a pollster because you were at work?

Did you refuse to answer a question from a pollster, once contacted?

If so, why did you refuse?

Even if you don’t answer poll calls, do they record your non-response as support for Obama anyway?

We have the stats. Now let’s flesh them out with some anecdotes.


UPDATE:

Here’s a summary of some of the anecdotes and reasons for non-response from the comments section below; the number preceding each line is the number of commenters who cited that rationale:

28 – I do answer, but I often lie and give false answers, just to screw with them.

24 – I have caller ID and never answer any call from any number that is either unknown or blocked.

17 – I do not respond because I suspect that callers identifying themselves as “pollsters” are more likely telemarketers, fraudsters or deceptive political operatives engaged in “push-polling.”

16 – I do not respond because of potential privacy violation, that pollsters can correlate my answers with my identity; “I fear that they will use my political beliefs against my family.”

14 – I do not cooperate because I consider the polling industry an arm of the biased media, trying to influence the electorate.

13 – I only answer calls from people I already know; if I accidentally answer a robo-call or a call from a stranger, I just hang up.

11 – I refuse to divulge any personal opinions or data to an anonymous stranger, who could be ill-intentioned for all I know.

10 – “Why should I waste my time talking to these people who will skew the results anyway?”

7 – I’m among the 38% “unreachable” because I do not have a landline.

5 – I’d only cooperate with pollsters if they compensated me for helping them.

4 – It’s just a waste of time; I have better things to do with my life.

4 – I would answer calls from any pollster which I recognize from caller ID as being unbiased, but otherwise I don’t.

3 – I suspect that if I answer once, my number will be added to lists of positive respondents, precipitating more calls.

2 – After I burst out laughing when questioned if I supported Obama, the pollster hung up on me.

2 – I never used to answer pollsters, but recently I have started answering, to counter the inaccuracies in earlier polls.

1 – I hang up if I “don’t like the questions.”

1 – I decline to answer because if I say I’m not voting for Obama they will sneer at me as a racist.

1 – I don’t answer because I think that polls are a corrupting influence on public policy, that political decisions are based on poll results, not on what is actually best for the country.

1 – A pollster questioned me once. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

6 – I refuse to cooperate with pollsters for all of the reasons above.

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Christie: Debate to ‘Restart’ Romney Campaign

Sunday, September 30th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

Christ Christie was on Meet the Press this morning and had some interesting thoughts about the campaign:

While both Democrats and Republicans have downplayed the importance of the first presidential debate in recent days, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie raised the stakes on Sunday, predicting this week’s duel in Denver will be a game changer for Mitt Romney.

“Wednesday night’s the restart of this campaign,” Christie told David Gregory on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “Come Thursday morning, the entire narrative of this race is going to change.”

Christie dismissed the recent polls that have President Obama leading Romney in nine battleground states.

“You saw the change in those polls happen very quickly,” Christie said. “And I’m here to tell you this morning, it can happen very quickly back the other way. And I think the beginning of that is Wednesday night when Governor Romney for the first time gets on the same stage with the president of the United States and people can make a direct comparison about them and their visions for the future.

“You’re going to have tens of millions of people for the very first time, David, really tuning in and paying attention to this race,” he continued. “And also, for the first time, you’re going to have them be able to make a direct, side-by-side comparison. Remember, at the end of the day, campaigns are about the candidates. And they’re going to be able to see these two candidates next to each other, debating each other. And Governor Romney I know is going to do a great job on Wednesday night laying out his vision for America’s future and making the contrast between he and the president of the United States.”

Christie also dismissed criticism of Romney from fellow Republicans.

“Folks like us obsess about this stuff,” Christie said. “But I’ve got to tell you something: The general public that I speak to in New Jersey and elsewhere are just beginning to really tune into this race. And so they’re going to start tuning in on Wednesday night, and when they do, Governor Romney’s lay out his vision for a better and greater America, for greater opportunity for all of our citizens. And I think that’s when you’re going to see this race really start to tighten and then move in Governor Romney’s direction.”

Romney might not need a “restart” but he needs to refocus. The negative drumbeat against him is taking a toll — if not on his poll numbers then certainly on the perception that he can win. That’s not entirely his fault, although his campaign has shown itself to be sluggish in responding to Obama’s attacks at times.

This Politico article wonders whether Romney needs a “defining moment”:

But as Romney tries to reignite his campaign following a slew of polling showing him trailing President Barack Obama, some Republican strategists argue that he should stage a dramatic campaign trail moment designed to break through the clutter and move the needle.

GOP strategists point to the campaign equivalent of Ronald Reagan’s 1987 declaration before the Berlin wall, where he challenged the Russian leader: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Suggestions include a Romney appearance at the Keystone XL pipeline to pound his energy strategy, and to do more unscheduled stops in diners or other local haunts like the Florida Obama visit that resulted in the president being lifted off the ground in a bear hug.

“Go to a location where the Keystone pipeline was to be built, and with unemployed workers as part of the event, look into the camera and say, ‘Mr. Obama, build this pipeline,’” said Republican strategist Greg Mueller said. “This hits the jobs issue and directly connects Obama to blocking jobs, preventing economic growth and holding back energy independence.”

There are some advantages to staged, even slightly dull campaign rallies. The campaign doesn’t want to make any mistakes, and Romney — not the most polished candidate on the stump — certainly doesn’t want to put his foot in his mouth, which he has done on more than one occasion. Pulling off gaffe-free events that energize supporters and look good on television is no small feat.

A spontaneous moment like Reagan’s outburst at the GOP debate before the New Hampshire primary in 1980 — “I’m paying for this microphone, Mr. Breen…” — is what is needed not some staged bit of outrage at a Keystone site. Perhaps it will occur in the debate if Romney can goad the thin skinned Obama into going off script. But such a “defining moment” is rarely planned (Hillary breaking into tears talking about how hard it is for women) and would probably look hokey if it was.

With a large majority of voters already having made up their minds, Romney’s challenge is to reach enough of the fence sitters and those whose support for Obama is soft. This is eminently doable with a solid debate performance by the candidate. And it can be done without relying on gimmicks or “defining moments” either.

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Mr. President, Can I Hitch a Ride to Freedom?

Sunday, September 30th, 2012 - by Banafsheh Zand

An Iranian cameraman who entered the US as Ahmadinejad’s media crew requested political asylum from America.

Hassan Golkhandan, a veteran cameraman for the Iranian regime’s TV and Radio Seda o Sima. This was the second time Golkhandan had accompanied A’jad to NY. His family are said to have left Iran a while back and are safe, in Turkey.

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Pitched Battle Between US and Afghan Soldiers: 5 dead

Sunday, September 30th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

The Afghans say the Americans attacked by mistake. The Americans say the Afghan soldiers attacked them first.

All I can say is: What a clusterfark Afghanistan has become.

New York Times:

Afghan officials said that the clash on Saturday was a misunderstanding and that the Americans apparently attacked an Afghan National Army unit in error. A top coalition officer said the Americans were attacked first in what might possibly have been an insurgent attack. Nonetheless, he expressed regret for what ensued.

An initial statement from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, commonly referred to as ISAF, on Sunday described the episode as “a suspected insider attack,” which killed a foreign soldier and a civilian contractor. If so, that would bring to 53 the number of coalition forces killed in the so-called insider attacks this year.

Whatever happened, the episode clearly was another in a series of setbacks this year, and particularly in the last month, in relations between the American and Afghan militaries. It comes at a delicate moment, when all of the American surge reinforcements have only recently left the country, and NATO has been trying to transfer ever greater responsibility to a growing Afghan military.

[...]

The Wardak provincial police chief, Abdul Qayoum Baqizoi, said the fight broke out when an Afghan soldier among seven soldiers at the checkpoint opened fire on the Americans; in the ensuing gun battle, three Afghan soldiers were killed, including the one who fired first. “We still don’t have a clear picture of what happened,” Mr. Baqizoi said. He quoted the lone Afghan soldier who was unhurt as saying, “ ‘I heard some noise and verbal argument and suddenly heard the shooting and then one of the coalition soldiers threw a hand grenade so I fled from the checkpost and hid myself behind our Humvee.’ ”

Significantly, according to Afghan officials, the American unit, which was relatively small in size and manning a temporary checkpoint in the Sayid Abad district, was not partnered with Afghan forces. The unit was conducting a biometric survey, in which details like fingerprints and eye scans are gathered from the local population, often at temporary checkpoints, in an effort to screen for insurgents.

When American soldiers are almost in as much danger from supposed “allies” as they are from the enemy, some kind of basic re-assessment of what we are doing assisting these people must be done. Afghan soldiers have killed more Americans since the beginning of the year than al-Qaeda. Why should we continue this charade?

The war in Afghanistan has slipped so far off the radar that the incompetence with which it is being conducted is lost on the voting public. This letter from a soldier serving in Afghanistan to his father on Michael Yon’s site should be in a Romney campaign commercial:

I am fed up. I cannot believe the lack of attention the recent changes in this war is receiving by the media or the country. I think I saw one thing on CNN about the following subject, but I had to dig extensively to find it. The purpose of this letter is to let you know of the garbage that our soldiers are going through right now. With this knowledge, I hope that you take action by writing your congressmen.

First, because of the recent green on blue incidents or “insider threats” as the new buzz phrase dictates, all coalition forces in Afghanistan have completely stopped partnering with the ANA (Afghan national army), AUP (Afghan uniform police), and ALP (Afghan local police) in order to prevent the death of anymore CF (coalition forces) casualties by ANSF (Afghan national security forces) or Taliban disguised as them. This is also greatly spurred by President Karzi’s indifferent attitude and lack of action to take measures to prevent further insider attacks.

Second, because of this massive change in policy (and complete change in mission) all U.S. forces are forbidden to actively patrol their AO (area of operations) and are to remain on their respective COPs/FOBs (combat outpost/forward operating base). There are only a few exceptions to this rule and they all pertain to “hardening” highway 1 in our AO. We have received orders that clearly state that all CF will no longer be allowed to drop air to ground munitions within the country of Afghanistan. This preempts Karzi’s announcement that will be made shortly that states the above mentioned order, making it a tactical directive that he is ordering.

[...]

I don’t think that the American citizens would be happy if they knew that their soldiers were being prohibited from defending themselves in any way because of politically driven orders, but that is precisely what is happening in this war right now even as I write this letter. The soldiers of the U.S. never engage the enemy unless we know that we have will always have the tactical advantage in defending ourselves, that advantage is the use of close air support and air weapons team. To take those weapons away from us is to level the playing field for the enemy and thus exposing our soldiers to more danger. In the school house they teach us that the minimum ratio that we are to engage the enemy with, is a 3:1 ratio. In other words, we have the highest probability of winning because we don’t fight fair. The sound tactical principles behind this teaching have saved lives. The very presence of aircraft over our foot patrols has also saved lives and now our chain of command is being told by our political leadership that this is now not allowed. If we are not partnering with the ANSF and we are not actively patrolling to prevent our enemies from massing their attacks on our COP and we can’t drop a bomb on the enemy that we have positively identified, than what the hell are we doing here?

A good question, brave soldier. A good question.

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On Libya, Team Obama Is Now a House Divided Against Itself

Sunday, September 30th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

The Weekly Standard captured a couple of significant quotes from this morning’s talking head shows.

Obama political adviser David Plouffe offered support for U.S .Ambassador Susan Rice despite the fact that she riffed all five Sunday talk shows with bad misstatements about what happened in Benghazi, Libya, on 9-11-12. Rice blamed the sacking of the U.S. consulate there, and the murders of four Americans, on a “spontaneous protest.” Plouffe appeared on Meet the Press today and backed Rice: ““Well, this is an event of great interest, obviously, to the public, to the news media. Information was being provided in real-time. Obviously, you’re going to know more two weeks after an event than a week after an event. And as Ambassador Rice was– that was the information from the intelligence community. It was the same information provided for Congress. The reason obviously we now have stipulated this is a terrorist attack is that came from the intelligence agencies. So as information has become available, as this investigation has continued, we’re obviously making that information known.”

We now know that the intelligence community was looking at the sacking as a pre-planned terrorist attack from the very first day.

But Obama adviser David Axelrod showed up on CNN and seemed to toss Ambassador Rice into the ample space underneath the Obama bus: “Well, first of all, Candy, as you know, the president called it an act of terror the day after it happened. But when you’re the responsible party, when you’re the administration and you have a responsibility to act on what you know and what the intelligence community believes. This is being thoroughly investigated because we need to bring to justice.”

Yes, President Obama did call it an act of terror on 9-12. Then he backtracked and, ever since, has refused to call it an act of terror. He has also consistently linked the Innocence of Muslims YouTube movie with the attacks despite the fact that the movie is at most an excuse to riot. His federal law enforcement apparatus found the man who allegedly made that film, rousted him out for “questioning” in the middle of the night, and now has that man in custody on alleged probation violations. But Obama is not calling Benghazi what it was, a terrorist attack by an al-Qaeda that may be resurgent thanks to the Muslim Brotherhood’s newfound power and influence.

The inconsistency about Benghazi is not limited to Susan Rice. It starts at the top, because Barack Obama is still trying to decide which way to land. He’ll land wherever he thinks the political advantage lies, not where the truth leads.

By the way, Axelrod stole a second base in that quote above. He claimed that Benghazi is being “thoroughly investigated.” How is that possible when the FBI still isn’t on the ground where the attack took place?

Also read:

Ambassador Chris Stevens Is Dead; Al-Qaeda Is Alive

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A’jad’s NY Meeting of Ideological Mob Bosses

Sunday, September 30th, 2012 - by Banafsheh Zand

Left to right: One Rev. Dr. Elyas D. Mallon, Louis Farrakhan, Iranian regime's UN Rep. Mohammad Khazaei, A'jad, A'jad's bossom buddy Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei (who has had so many jobs in the cabinet, it's hard to keep up with what his title is now!), Former US Attorney General under Lyndon Johnson and defender of all murderers and fascists, Ramsey Clark, A mullah I have not yet identified, a non-Iranian man I have also not as of yet identified and finally, the A'jad's foreign minister, Salehi.

It’s a scene out of the Simpsons: A boardroom meeting of all the show’s meanies and bloodsuckers, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the role of Montgomery Plantagenet Shicklegruber Burns.

As you see in Ahmadinejad’s own pwesidential website, the photos and the article about this meeting of the mob-minds, shows a room full of reporters, yet I don’t recall seeing any of these photos in the major international media outlets.  Gateway Pundit and Daily Caller wrote about it but nothing much else was reported. Isn’t this newsworthy stuff?!

Anyhow, glad Mr. Ahmadinejad deemed it necessary to boast about this event and offer us these clear photos. I will underline one little point though: notice how the names of his esteemed panel members are not included in the item. Search for yourself, you will not see the names of a single one of the panelists mentioned.

Agenda for this show of complicity, you ask? A new world order overseen by none other than the Iranian regime. Let’s face it, that regime has bolstered plenty of thugs; case in point, the Muslim Brotherhood. If it wasn’t for the Khomeinists throwing wads of cash at them in the early years of the revolution, the MB would have probably been nothing more than a flash in the pan. It was that regime’s bolstering of the MB that afforded them such longevity. Anyhow, I digress.

 

 

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Islamists Burn Buddhist Temples

Sunday, September 30th, 2012 - by Robert Wargas

A key element of the “Islamophobia” narrative is the idea that Muslims are, and have been, continually oppressed by white Western males. This is your standard academic Marxist, third-worldist party line. This narrative is enforced by the rigorous avoidance of discussing how frequently Islamists attack non-Western, non-white people, including Buddhists and other Muslims in the subcontinent, the Caucasus, the Palestinian territories, and elsewhere. To admit this would be to demonstrate that the standard justification for Islamist violence – reacting to the the imperial West – is absurdly false. Therefore, stories such as the following from Reuters will never enter into the mainstream discussion of why Islamist violence is not simply “blowback” from Western geopolitics:

Hundreds of Muslims in Bangladesh burned at least four Buddhist temples and 15 homes of Buddhists on Sunday after complaining that a Buddhist man had insulted Islam, police and residents said.

Members of the Buddhist minority in the Cox’s Bazar area in the southeast of the country said unidentified people were bent on upsetting peaceful relations between Muslims and Buddhists.

Muslims took to the streets in the area late on Saturday to protest against what they said was a photograph posted on Facebook that insulted Islam.

The protesters said the picture had been posted by a Buddhist and they marched to Buddhist villages and set fire to temples and houses.

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Absentee Ballot Data from Ohio not Good for Dems

Sunday, September 30th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

Americans are voting already in several states and the Democrats are counting on a big boost from absentee ballots which would give them a similar advantage they had in 2008′s contest.

But if the data from Ohio is any indication, such might not be the case this year:

Some early numbers are in on absentee ballot requests, so how is that working our for the Democrats so far? Not so good.

In 2008, total early votes cast in Ohio totaled 1,023,330. 34% of those were Democrats, 20% were Republicans, and the rest were independents or other parties. Democrats had a 14-point advantage.

So far this year, there have been 528,197 applications sent in for absentee ballots. The party breakdown at this point is 29% Democrats and 23% Repulicans. The difference is down to 6 points. For the Ohio Democratic Party who was counting on matching their early voting performance from 4 years ago, that’s very bad news.

Let’s look at the three largest counties.

In Cuyahoga, the dropoff isn’t so bad for them. Their 2008 advantage of 37 points is down to 30. But the news is really bad in Franklin County. Their 5-point advantage from 2008 has actually reversed. So far, Republicans ballot apps outnumber Dems by 5. And in Hamilton County, the Republican advantage of 7 points from 2008 has increased to 14 points.

The 2008 numbers also include in-person early voting, which has not yet begun yet for 2012. Will this trend continue as October rolls on? Only time will tell. But these initial numbers must be discouraging for Ohio Dems.

With Democratic registration down across the country, it is likely that President Obama will not receive the same kind of lift off to his campaign that early voting gave him in 2008.

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Big Jump in Student Loan Default Rates

Sunday, September 30th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

Part of the jump in student loan defaults is certainly due to the economy. But the way defaults are reported is also a factor, as this Bloomberg article notes:

The Education Department has revamped the way it reports student-loan defaults, which the government said had reached the highest level in 14 years. Previously, the agency reported the rate only for the first two years payments are required. Congress demanded a more comprehensive measure because of concern that colleges counsel students to defer payments to make default rates appear low.

“Default rates are the tip of the iceberg of borrower distress,” said Pauline Abernathy, vice president of The Institute for College Access & Success, a nonprofit based in Oakland, California.

The data follows complaints that commission-driven debt collectors the government hires aren’t telling students about affordable options to repay their debt, especially a plan that lets them make payments tied to their incomes. Students have borrowed $1 trillion to pay for higher education, surpassing credit-card debt.

Congress is also examining the often deceptive letters that college financial-aid offices send to admitted students that play down the cost of attendance by making government loans seem like grants. Barack Obama’s administration, as well as Republicans and Democrats in Congress, are calling for more disclosure about college costs and student outcomes.

On the stump, President Obama has touted an executive order that eases the process for applying for a loan program that lets students make lower payments tied to their income — easing their burden and making it less likely they will default.

Republican challenger Mitt Romney said that initiative encourages students to take on more debt. Romney advocates cutting education regulation and encouraging colleges to become more efficient, lowering costs partly through the use of online instruction.

Student loan debt now exceeds credit card debt. And with a default rate for the first three years at 13.4%, it’s clear something must be done to not only address the burden placed on students just entering the workforce, but also government guarantees of many of those loans that is costing taxpayers billions.

Some Democrats want to address the problem by increasing the number of grants. It would certainly reduce defaults but at a massive cost to the taxpayer. Some Republicans want to drastically reduce or eliminate the loan guarantee programs all together. It’s not clear that this would necessarily reduce the cost of a college education which is beyond the ability of most Middle Class families to afford, and would certainly increase borrowing costs.

The problem is worse if one looks at where the defaults are occurring. More than one in five come from students who attend for-profit colleges. Some default rates at these proprietary schools are 40%. A recent regulation pulls federal financial aid from colleges that show default rates of 30% or more for 3 years and 40% in one year. This will help in forcing proprietary schools to refrain from urging students to defer payments in the early years, thus hiding their true default rate.

On the other hand, the for-profit college industry claims the problem is demographics; they take on students in poverty and less than ideal financial circumstances. While true to a certain extent, the less than above-board way that these proprietary institutions seek to keep their default rates low only exacerbates the problem. Better to tailor an aid package to the actual income of a student so that the lower payments will help prevent default, than play around with deferred payments that only make it harder for a student to pay what they owe.

If the goal is to protect the taxpayer’s investment while helping students with their higher education costs, then the current default rate is totally unacceptable. Forgiving student loan debt is not the answer. More intelligent use of resources is what’s needed.

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$450 Million in Aid to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Government Blocked

Sunday, September 30th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

Americans aren’t safe in Egypt, but that’s no reason we shouldn’t shovel money their way, right?

Wait one. Representative Kay Granger (R-TX), chairwoman of the Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations, has put her foot down and blocked $450 million in aid to the Egyptian government.

Times of Israel:

“This proposal comes to Congress at a point when the US-Egypt relationship has never been under more scrutiny, and rightly so,” the chairwoman of the Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, said in a statement. “I am not convinced of the urgent need for this assistance and I cannot support it at this time. … I have placed a hold on these funds.”

The relationship between the United States and Egypt has been rocky since the overthrow of US ally President Hosni Mubarak last year. The Egyptian government angered Washington when it cracked down on numerous democracy advocates and groups, including three US-funded nongovernmental organizations, earlier this year.

More recently, demonstrators breached the US Embassy in Cairo to protest an anti-Islam video, and some in Congress have called for cutting off aid. The United States provides Egypt with $1.55 billion annually — $250 million in economic aid and $1.3 billion in military aid.

The question that should concern Congress is does economic and military aid help keep the peace between Israel and Egypt? One might normally see the Egyptian military as a restraining influence on the Muslim Brotherhood government headed up by Mohammad Morsi. But Morsi has purged the Egyptian army of most of the pro-Western, anti-Islamist officers, leaving the US with a critical decision; do we continue to back a regime that has as it’s number one foreign policy goal the destruction of Israel?

PJ Media columnist David Goldman (AKA Spengler) “Egypt is an Adversary, Not a Neutral”:

The Obama administration has presided over a collapse of a system of alliances which sustained America’s position in the region for sixty years. And if you want to know what’s happening, ignore the self-consoling spin in the mainstream media, and listen to what our adversaries are saying. They have the ball.

The $450 million was intended to bail out the Egyptian economy, which, as Goldman points out, is a basket case. Is this wise? Would it be better for the Egyptian economy to collapse with the blame placed on the Muslim Brotherhood government?

This strategy would presuppose that the Brotherhood would allow free elections where there was a possibility that they would be voted out. Even if you believe that, we might get something worse. The Salafis are the second largest party in Egypt and have clashed with the Muslim Brotherhood on the issue of how fast to remake Egypt by implementing full Sharia law.

The block placed on the economic aid by Rep. Granger is probably temporary. The State Department is already negotiating with Congress to have the funds released. But last December, Congress made aid to Egypt conditional on whether the government “is supporting the transition to civilian government including holding free and fair elections; implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association and religion and due process of law.”

Egypt may have a civilian government, but it certainly not implementing policies “to protect freedom of expression, association and religion and due process of law.” On that basis alone, Congress can and should deny Egypt the cash, even though it’s already been appropriated. Recent events demand that before any aid from the US is forthcoming, Egypt show by its actions that it is a partner for peace and not a deadly threat to Israel and US interests in the region.

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Ancient Market Ablaze as Rebels Battle Assad’s Troops in Aleppo

Saturday, September 29th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

One of Syria’s landmark historic sites is on fire as rebels battle loyalist troops in the heart of Old Aleppo.

Wall Street Journal:

Fires sparked by clashes between government troops and rebels raged through the medieval marketplace of Aleppo on Saturday, destroying hundreds of shops lining the vaulted passageways where foods, fabrics, perfumes and spices have been sold for centuries, activists said.

Some described the overnight blaze as the worst blow yet to a historic district that helped make the heart of Syria’s largest city and commercial hub a Unesco world heritage site.

The souk, a labyrinth of narrow alleys lined with shops, was once a major tourist attraction, but has been the scene of near-daily firefights and shelling in recent weeks after rebels who fought their way into the city two months ago pushed toward its center. Activists say regime troops and snipers have taken up positions in the citadel that dominates the city.

Amateur footage posted online by activists showed flames raging through the stone passageways, the wooden doors of shops crackling in the heat as rebels struggled to put out the blaze with a garden hose. Other videos showed a pall of smoke hanging over the city’s skyline.

The fire started late Friday amid heavy government shelling, and was still burning Saturday morning, activists said. One, who is based in the city, estimated that the majority of the neighborhood’s hundreds of shops were destroyed.

“It’s a disaster,” said Ahmad al-Halabi, speaking from the site by telephone. “The fire is threatening to spread to remaining shops.” Syrian authorities had cut the city’s water supply, he added, making it more difficult to put out the flames. He said rebels and civilians were working together to control the blaze with a limited number of fire extinguishers.

“It is a very difficult and tragic situation there,” he said. “There are narrow, hard to reach streets where the fire is still burning.”

Syria is disintegrating. Eyewitnesses call Aleppo a “dead city”:

A paralysed UN, an enraged and merciless regime, regional proxy war players and an increasingly radicalised rebel force have reduced Syria’s cultural and business capital, location of a Unesco World Heritage Site and once a favourite haunt of tourists, to a scene of free-falling desolation. It is a city where a horrified civilian population are dying in droves, a place that knows neither hope or mercy.

“We are taking in on average a hundred wounded here a day,” said Abul Barra, an exhausted anesthetist in a small emergency hospital north-east of the medina.

“And that’s just this hospital. On a bad day we get so many at once that we have to step on their bodies just to get into the emergency room.

“About 40 per cent of those that manage to reach us are either dead on arrival or die as we treat them.”

Behind him a 10-year-old girl, Leyla, lay crying on a stretcher having her face stitched up. Her home had just been hit by a shell.

Outside, just beyond the blood- spattered admission steps, three huge craters from a MiG’s air strike pitted the street on each side of the hospital, clothes from victims still hanging in a tree.

It was deliberate targeting, and distraught doctors begged me not to identify the hospital by name for fear that the next strike would finish them for good.

The number of civilian deaths in Aleppo is now impossible to verify, accelerating beyond the reach of any viable method of record. Some apartments collapsed by air strikes still stink of unrecovered bodies.

In a street near the citadel, rebels said five of their own men and 23 civilians lay dead and rotting in the rubble, out of reach because of snipers on the citadel walls.

Russia and Iran are resupplying President Assad with impunity — no worries about being sanctioned or even called out for their enabling the murder of civilians.

What do you suppose the reaction would be if a US ally was cracking down on civilians like Assad and we were resupplying his forces? The question answers itself. And the lethal hypocrisy of the UN and much of the world is the reason Syria continues to burn.

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Will Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. Ever Return to Congress?

Saturday, September 29th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

It’s been more than 3 months since Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. took a leave of absence from Congress to deal with depression and related physical ailments. Now, with the election 5 weeks away, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the Congressman may never return to his seat, even if he wins re-election, as he is expected to with ease.

Associated Press:

His home in Washington is for sale. His wife says he’ll come back to work only when a doctor approves. He vowed to return to the campaign by Labor Day, and then didn’t.

Election Day is five weeks away, and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. remains out of sight.

It’s an absence, both from his job in Congress and his campaign, that’s starting to test patience in his Chicago hometown.

More than three months have passed since Jackson, a 47-year-old Democrat first elected in 1995, dropped out public sight. It was later revealed that he was hospitalized for severe depression and gastrointestinal problems. There have been few updates on his condition and no hard answers to questions about his future.

Jackson’s name remains on the ballot, even though he’s yet to make a campaign appearance since last spring’s primary. His wife, Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson, insists she won’t step in to take his place.

“You ask anyone in this district, which one of them could take 90 days off of work?” said Jackson’s Republican opponent, Brian Woodworth. The college professor is running in a mostly South Side district that’s heavily Democratic.

“Voters should be paying attention to this,” Woodworth said. “For the last three months, almost four, he’s ignored them. He’s hidden from the press. He’s ignored the people. He’s neglected his job.”

The criticism isn’t only coming from the GOP. Editorial writers who urged patience weeks ago now are urging Jackson to explain his intentions. In his district, constituents who have expressed a range of reactions to his absence are growing more anxious to hear from him.

Jacques Whatley, a 39-year-old mother, said she’s voted for Jackson in the past but her views have turned as weeks have gone by without any word from the congressman.

“When there are situations like this, we need to know,” Whatley said. “If he has some medical issues, then he should step down. If you’re in a situation where you’re not healthy, then you need time off.”

Even with medication, depression isn’t something you simply snap out of. A return to normal requires time and most importantly, counseling.

But Jackson is a congressman and owes his constituents proper representation. He also owes them the courtesy of telling them whether he will serve if re-elected. The fact that he is trying to sell his house in Washington, D.C. would indicate that he doesn’t plan on coming back. He must know that this is the impression he is leaving. Why not make a statement about his intentions?

It is too late to remove his name from the ballot. Because of that, Jackson may be hiding his intent, keeping his options open by allowing his constituents to believe if they vote for him, he would return to Washington. Instead of voting for the Republican challenger Brian Woodward, or independent candidate Marcus Lewis, a Jackson re-election will allow more time for his recovery and possible return. Then, if he can’t serve, he can resign and ask Governor Pat Quinn to name his replacement. This way, he can serve if he recovers, and the Democrats are safe if he doesn’t.

But the Chicago media may not be as patient as Jackson wishes. They may begin demanding answers before election day, in which case Jackson may be in trouble. His wife, a Chicago alderman, says he has finally regained the ability to speak in complete sentences again. This sounds like his depression was more debilitating than we were allowed to believe. If so, the writing may be on the wall that it will be many more months before the congressman is fit to serve.

If that is the case, he is unlikely to serve even if he is re-elected.

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Ohio ‘Obama Phone’ Use has ‘Exploded’ In the Last Year

Saturday, September 29th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Swing state. People getting government subsidized cell phones, which they call “Obama Phones” and explicitly connect to their vote in November. A million of these “Obama Phones” are on the streets in Ohio alone, double last year’s number.

All coincidental, I’m sure.

The program in Ohio cost $26.9 million in the first quarter of 2012, the most recent data available, versus $15.6 million in the same timeframe in 2011. Compared to the first quarter of 2011, the number of people in the program nearly doubled to more than a million.

Growth could cost everyone who owns a phone. The program is funded through the “Universal Service Fund” charge on phone bills — usually a dollar or two per bill — and the amount of the fee is determined by the cost of this and other programs.

A growth of $100 million in this program could result in an increased fee of a few cents on the average bill, according to officials from the agency that administers the program. The total cost of the program nationwide was $1.5 billion in 2011, up from $1.1 billion in 2010.

Growth in the program is fed by the 2008 decision to extend it to prepaid cellphone companies, which get up to $10 every month that someone is subscribed. The number of cellphone companies offering the service in Ohio grew from four in 2011 to nine currently, with seven more awaiting approval from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Obama’s just redistributing cell phone service, from people who are paying for it, to people who aren’t.

Obama’s policies have cost thousands of coal miners their jobs in Ohio. But Obama’s policies have also put nearly a million “free” phones into the hands of Ohioans.

You do the math.

This is how you buy an election despite espousing policies that have killed jobs in a vulnerable industry in a swing state. Romney can pose for photos with all the laid off coal miners in the state every day from now to November 6. There are just more Obama Phone users than there are laid off coal miners in Ohio.

The Obama Phone users need the coal miners to keep mining, to power their “free” phones. But what are the chances that they’ll make that connection on their own?

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Last Western Detainee Leaves Gitmo

Saturday, September 29th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

Omar Khadr only killed one American — SFC Christopher Speer — and to the left, that means he had no business being imprisoned at Guantanamo for all these years. Now President Obama has made terrorist sympathizers the world over very happy by releasing Khadr and returning him to Canada.

The mythology that has been built up around Khadr is worthy of that created for other radical heroes, including Che Guevera, cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, and AIM activist Leonard Peltier who murdered two FBI agents. The truth, however, is a little more prosaic.

Thomas Josceylyn of the Weekly Standard:

Khadr killed Sergeant First Class (SFC) Christopher Speer. Khadr’s advocates said this wasn’t true because Khadr was incapacitated during al Qaeda’s firefight with American troops. But they were wrong. Khadr ultimately admitted that he killed SFC Speer.

While Khadr killed one American medic, his life was saved by others. Khadr would not be alive today if U.S. medics had not saved him from extensive wounds.

Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) considered Khadr a “high intelligence value” detainee because he provided “valuable information” about al Qaeda and the Taliban. Khadr’s father was a top al Qaeda figure. Khadr knew his father’s associates well, and spilled the beans on them.

Khadr served as a translator and a minion to a top al Qaeda operative in Afghanistan.

A videotape recovered in Afghanistan showed Khadr assembling improvised explosive devices (IEDs) for al Qaeda.

[...]

Omar Khadr was not abused during a routine weigh-in session at Guantanamo. Khadr and his lawyers claimed that he was roughed up while being weighed. Unfortunately for the defense, the session was recorded. “The videotape of the accused being weighed…clearly shows the accused was not abused or mistreated in any way by any of the guards,” Judge Parrish found.

[...]

Finally, Omar Khadr was not a “child soldier,” as he has been widely labeled. He worked for al Qaeda – a global terrorist organization. His was a teenager when his life was saved by American medics after an extended firefight. Teenagers are tried as adults in North America regularly. And Khadr clearly did not think of himself as a child when fighting American forces. According to the stipulation of fact agreed upon by both parties during Khadr’s military trial, Khadr refused to flee the firefight even after American soldiers asked for all women and children to evacuate the premises.

Khadr decided to stay and fight that day in Afghanistan. SFC Speer paid the price for Khadr’s choice with his life.

The suspected mastermind of the attack in Benghazi assassinating our ambassador is a former Gitmo detainee. Several high profile attacks in Afghanistan have been carried out by former inmates as well. The recidivism rate for terrorists who end up carrying on with jihad is 27% with at least 161 terrorists rejoining the fight. I guess a one in four chance of releasing a stone cold killer so that he can murder more Americans seems reasonable to our government.

The release of Khadr may score Obama points with those who don’t care what the terrorists did or what they are capable of. But as a practical matter, we have probably released another terrorist who will end up rejoining al-Qaeda and killing Americans.

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Univision Uncovers More Fast and Furious Deaths

Saturday, September 29th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Spanish-language network Univision will unleash a pair of bombshells on the Obama administration this weekend. According to the Daily Caller, Univision’s investigative unit is about to expose more Fast and Furious violence.

“The consequences of the controversial ‘Fast and Furious’ undercover operation put in place by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 2009 have been deadlier than what has been made public to date,” the network said. “The exclusive, in-depth investigation by Univision News’ award-winning Investigative Unit — Univision Investiga — has found that the guns that crossed the border as part of Operation Fast and Furious caused dozens of deaths inside Mexico.”

Among other groups of Fast and Furious victim stories Univision says it will tell in the special to air Sunday evening at 7 p.m., is one about how “16 young people attending a party in a residential area of Ciudad Juárez in January of 2010″ were gunned down with weapons the Obama administration gave to drug cartel criminals through Fast and Furious.

“Univision News’ Investigative Unit was also able to identify additional guns that escaped the control of ATF agents and were used in different types of crimes throughout Mexico,” the network added. “Furthermore, some of these guns — none of which were reported by congressional investigators — were put in the hands of drug traffickers in Honduras, Puerto Rico, and Colombia. A person familiar with the recent congressional hearings called Univision’s findings ‘the holy grail’ that Congress had been searching for.”

To date, Univision is one of the few television networks to aggressively cover Fast and Furious. Univision’s anchors grilled President Obama about Fast and Furious during a town hall meeting on the network earlier in September, suggesting that Attorney General Eric Holder ought to be fired over the deadly scandal. Univision’s prominence among Spanish-speakers could have a big impact. Fast and Furious victims have mostly been Mexican citizens caught up in the drug war.

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Administration Seeks to Buy-Off Defense Contractors on Sequestration Layoffs

Saturday, September 29th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

It’s not exactly bribery and extortion. Let’s call it, “the carrot and the stick.”

The Obama administration is getting serious about preventing defense contractors from issuing layoff notices when their government contracts are cancelled due to budget cuts occurring when sequestration happens on January 1, 2013. For the second time in the last couple of months, they have issued “guidance” for contractors regarding layoffs.

The “guidance” is worthy of The Godfather; they are making the contractors an offer they can’t refuse.

The Hill:

The Obama administration issued new guidance intended for defense contractors Friday afternoon, reiterating the administration’s position that the companies should not be issuing layoff notices over sequestration.

The Labor Department issued guidance in July saying it would be “inappropriate” for contractors to issue notices of potential layoffs tied to sequestration cuts. But a few contractors, most notably Lockheed Martin, said they still were considering whether to issue the notices — which would be sent out just days before the November election.

But the Friday guidance from the Office of Management and Budget raised the stakes in the dispute, telling contractors that they would be compensated for legal costs if layoffs occur due to contract cancellations under sequestration — but only if the contractors follow the Labor guidance.

The guidance said that if plant closings or mass layoffs occur under sequestration, then “employee compensation costs for [Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification] WARN act liability as determined by a court” would be paid for covered by the contracting federal agency.

Senate Republicans, who accused the White House of trying to hide job losses after the first guidance, said Friday that the new OMB statement “puts politics ahead of American workers.”

“The Obama Administration is cynically trying to skirt the WARN Act to keep the American people in the dark about this looming national security and fiscal crisis,” Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said in a statement. “The president should insist that companies act in accordance with the clearly stated law and move forward with the layoff notices.”

The fight over WARN Act notices began in June when Lockheed Martin CEO Bob Stevens said his company might send the notices to all 123,000 of its employees.

Some companies were hesitant to follow Lockheed, but several others told McCain in letters earlier this month they might send the notices, too, despite the Labor Department guidance.

But the new guidance would appear to address one of the chief concerns from the companies — that they could be liable to compensate employees who were laid off if the companies don’t issue the notices.

The GOP senators complained, however, that this tactic would push the cost of the layoffs onto taxpayers.

Apparently, if sequestration goes through and workers lose their jobs without getting a layoff notice, the company is liable to pay them anyway. The Obama administration has volunteered the tax payer to take care of that little political problem by bribing the companies and paying any wages owed to workers – as long as they don’t send layoff notices that would cause the unemployment rate to spike.

Speaking for myself, I would like the government to unvolunteer the taxpayer and put the burden back where it belongs; on companies who should be following the law, not helping Barack Obama get re-elected.

If anything, it is one more example of the huge power of incumbency and how a sitting president has the ability to shape events in his favor.

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[VIDEO] The Obama Administration’s Benghazi Cover-Up

Saturday, September 29th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Fox New Channel’s Special Report ran this piece on the Obama administration’s Benghazi Boogaloo, its real time, evolving cover-up in the two weeks after terrorists murdered four Americans at the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya. This segment is a must-see. If you have any swing voters or persuadable Democrats in your life, make sure that they see this. It’s devastating.


We’re now 18 days past the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on Benghazi. The FBI still has no investigators on the ground there. The Obama administration has done nothing, other than threaten Americans’ free speech rights, to deal with the terrorists who murdered four Americans in that unprotected consulate. They did nothing to secure the compound beforehand. There had been no threat assessment done for the consulate which was located in a known terrorist hotbed. The president had been skipping out on his daily intelligence briefings. He was not doing his job, Secretary of State was not doing her job, and after the attack the Obama team has waged a campaign of disinformation to delay and distract. They knew that it was terrorism within 24 hours, but pretended that it wasn’t for political reasons. The attack undermined the Obama campaign narrative that al Qaeda is on the ropes after the death of Osama bin Laden. The Libya and Cairo attacks suggest that al Qaeda may be resurgent under the leadership of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood alum Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Obama’s hard core supporters won’t care that he has not been doing his job, or that he flew off to a Vegas fundraiser the day of the attack, or that he and his administration are stonewalling and lying about it now. But persuadable voters are out there, and they might care.

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White House Readies $450 Million in Aid Tribute to Egypt

Saturday, September 29th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Whatever we call the cash that the Obama administration is prepping to send to the new Egypt, we should not call it aid.

The Obama administration notified Congress on Friday that it would provide Egypt’s new government an emergency cash infusion of $450 million, but the aid immediately encountered resistance from a prominent lawmaker wary of foreign aid and Egypt’s new course under the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood.

An influential Republican lawmaker, Representative Kay Granger of Texas, immediately announced that she would use her position as chairwoman of the House appropriations subcommittee overseeing foreign aid to block the distribution of the money. She said the American relationship with Egypt “has never been under more scrutiny” than it is in the wake of the election of President Mohamed Morsi, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“I am not convinced of the urgent need for this assistance and I cannot support it at this time,” Ms. Granger said in a statement that her office issued even before the administration announced the package.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking at a meeting of the Group of 8 nations in New York, said on Friday that the world needed to do more to support the governments that have emerged from the Arab Spring uprisings, including those in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.

Haven’t we maxed out the credit card yet?

Shortly after a Cairo mob, egged on by the Muslim Brotherhood and assorted other Islamists, stormed the US embassy there and desecrated the American flag, the Muslim Brotherhood tweeted its approval for the action. In Arabic, the Brotherhood tweeted “Egyptians revolt for the Prophet’s victory in front of U.S. embassy.” That “victory” was an attack on American soil and personnel. The US response thus far appears to be: Send more money.

Ahead of his UN address, Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi — the Muslim Brotherhood’s man — threatened Coptic Christians if they dared speak out against him. The Muslim Brotherhood government has threatened the peace with Israel, made an overture to Iran, and used the YouTube video to push for sharia speech restrictions on the entire world. Morsi is behaving as what he is, a man hailing from a group that is the fountainhead for international Islamic terrorism.

Against all this backdrop, and our own massively out of control national deficit, we’re considering paying Egypt “aid?” What are American taxpayers getting in return for this “aid?”

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[VIDEO] New Broken Down and Properly Explained Version of the Video of the Incident Surrounding Ahmadinejad’s Spokesman

Saturday, September 29th, 2012 - by Banafsheh Zand

In the last few days some shameful media outlets (Reuters for one) have decided to take the lies of the Iranian regime and propagandize the situation, as always, by claiming that it was in fact the MEK that chased after Ramin Mehmanparast in NY, on Wednesday. As you will see, the video explains that there were many people, the ones with the gold-yellow balloons and vests were indeed MEK but there were 3 of them; the rest were average Iranians who were at the rally and who felt the need to give this monster a taste of his own medicine.

I have received a few emails and seen on Facebook comments, arguments that this was unacceptable and that it should never have happened. With all due respect to those critics who have the right to their opinions and whose right I respect, if they do not agree, they do not have to either promote the videos or participate in any such incident but allow others to express themselves. Nothing violent happened and the man got a real taste of the horror that the regime he chooses to work for, inflicts on people in Iran and elsewhere around the world, on a daily, no hourly basis. Iranians have fought valiantly and have never so much as allowed a single guard on the street to be harmed, so fairness and proportionality when weighing the circumstances, would be greatly appreciated and apropos.

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Small Edits To The Daily Obama Campaign Email

Saturday, September 29th, 2012 - by Myra Adams

Hey Tatler Readers:

For some Saturday fun, here is the daily email from Team Obama with some teeny-tiny edits.

Louise –   (my alias)

I want to thank you for all you’re doing (to undermine) this campaign.

If we get to (dis)-continue this work, it’s going to be because of you.

Next week I’m meeting up with President Clinton on the campaign trail, and we both want to (spank-you) in person.

Donate $5 or whatever you can today to be automatically entered to fly out to join us.

This Sunday is the biggest fundraising deadline of this campaign so far.

(Besides all the other “biggest fundraising deadlines” I receive emails about on a daily basis.)

There’s no billionaire donor or lobbyist waiting around to write a $10 million check.  (Just half of Hollywood and George Soros with his $1.5 million donation to Obama groups.)

How you respond right now determines if we move into the final stretch of this election with the resources we need, ready to close this out, or if we’re struggling (STRUGGLING? SERIOUSLY?) to keep up with the other side.

And that’s the way it’s been from the beginning. (Oh the struggle!)

If we had listened to the pundits and the critics and the powers that be inside Washington whenever they tried to stand in our way, (Team Clinton?) we would have given up a long time ago. (Given up? Given up? What are these people smoking?)

You’ve played a valuable role (sabotaging) this campaign forward — now, I hope you’ll help make sure we finish September stronger (in debt) than we’ve ever been. Donate $5 or whatever you can (steal from some rich Republican) today.

https://donate.barackobama.com/Meet-Us-on-the-Trail

Thanks,

Barack

P.S. — If there’s one person who knows (about being hard) in these final weeks, it’s President Clinton. I’m grateful he’ll be (joined with the cheerleaders, interns, etc) and me on the trail. You should be there, too.    

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Can You Be a Good Muslim and a Good American?

Saturday, September 29th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

There are many Muslims in the US who are both good Muslims and good Americans. They “get it” when it comes to free speech and the separation of church and state. It doesn’t mean they don’t hate the Innocence of Muslims film and won’t protest against it in a similar way Christians protested against the Andrew Serrano photo “Piss Christ.” But it does mean that they have successfully assimilated and adopted the American reverence for freedom of thought and expression.

But for some Muslims activists who don’t “get it,” there is advocacy for international anti-blasphemy laws that would make our First Amendment a hollow shell.

Detroit News:

Led by a newspaper publisher, Muslim activists will call for putting limits on American free speech at a Dearborn rally this evening. You can’t make this stuff up.

Nearly a decade after Dearborn’s streets celebrated America for bringing down Saddam Hussein and opening a door to democracy in the Mideast, the same city will be the epicenter today of calls to squelch free speech. Protesting the film, “Innocence of Muslims,” that has sparked protests in the Mideast, rally organizer Tarek Baydoun says that so-called blasphemy laws are necessary to prevent speech that hurts the “the religious feelings of Muslims.”

This assault on the First Amendment in the name of the prophet Mohammed is a sad day in America – and confirms fears that Muslim-American activists do not understand the fundamental separation of church and state in the American Constitution.

“There is a need for deterrent legal measures against those individuals or groups that want to damage relations between people, spread hate and incite violence,” said Arab-American News publisher Osama Siblani, a self-proclaimed “moderate” who is apparently oblivious to how gutting the First Amendment would affect his own business.

The Dearborn organizers seek an international law banning what they define as anti-Mohammed speech that would supersede American law. The rally comes just days after President Obama reaffirmed America’s commitment to free speech in a U.N. address.

But the rally also comes as Fox News reports that the Obama Administration knowingly lied about the deadly attack on the Libyan embassy. Contrary to claims that “Benghazi-gate” was a spontaneous rally protecting the anti-Mohammed film, officials now admit that the rally was a pre-panned terrorist attack. Siblani & Co. say they condemn the violence – which ABC News now says had nothing to do with the film – but are using the film to advance their anti-free speech agenda.

Advocating for anti-blasphemy laws may make you a good Muslim in some sense but a lousy American. That newspaper editor is oblivious. Suppose another pressure group got together and advocated that all Muslim media be silenced? What moral leg would he have to stand on if someone came after his free speech rights?

I have no idea how broad the support is for anti-blasphemy laws among US Muslims. I suspect it’s significant — perhaps even a plurality. But second and third generation Muslim immigrants are far more secular oriented and, like every other immigrant group who has come to our shores, eventually sloughs off old habits and old beliefs to adapt to their new home.

You can be a good Muslim and a good American. All it takes is a recognition that the rights Muslims enjoy as Americans are for everyone and are there to guarantee our freedom.

Sadly, some Dearborn Muslims have failed this basic citizenship test.

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Now Up on the PJ Media Homepage

Saturday, September 29th, 2012 - by Ed Driscoll

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After Two Weeks of Cover-Up, Romney Says Obama Has the ‘Responsibility for Candor’

Friday, September 28th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

The “responsibility for candor.” That’s a bloodless way of saying that the man needs to tell the truth.

There was a great deal of confusion about that from the very beginning on the part of the administration, and whether that was something that they were trying to paper over or whether it was just confusion given the uncertain intelligence reports — time will tell.”

He added that he believed the Obama administration “has responsibility for candor.”

During the news briefing on the plane and during the earlier rally in Wayne, however, Romney did not back away from his criticism that the president has led from behind.

“The Middle East and the world longs for American leadership,” Romney said on the plane. “Leading from behind is not the right course for America. We are increasingly being seen as being at the mercy of events, rather than shaping those events. And that comment is consistent with what’s developed in Iran, in Syria, Libya, Egypt. We can play a more meaningful role in shaping world events.”

Here’s one of Mitt Romney’s problems. He speaks in the passive voice almost all of the time. “Responsibility for candor.” “We are increasingly being seen as being at the mercy…” “We can play a more meaningful role…”

Mitt needs a speech coach, stat. One reason that Obama hasn’t entirely blown the race yet is that he speaks in active voice. We’re wired to trust active voice. This passive voice of Romney’s makes him seem weaselly even when he’s saying true things.

Obama doesn’t have a “responsibility for candor.” Barack Obama is our employee and “responsibility for candor” sounds like some kind of perfume. Romney needs to say clearly that President Obama owes America the truth about Benghazi. Now, not November 13. Romney needs to keep saying that every day until he forces Obama to answer. Romney needs to say that Obama has shown that he either can’t or won’t lead, and either way it’s time to replace him.

No more weasel words. No more passive voice. Put some blood on your tongue and free your inner hooligan if you have one. Subject verb colorful adverb exclamation point. Speak clearly. Win this thing.

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[VIDEO] ‘The media have become an enemy of the American people’

Friday, September 28th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Pat Caddell addressed Accuracy in Media’s conference on Obama and the media this week. Caddell used the moment to expose the media for covering up a) an Obama adviser taking what looks like a payoff from the Iranians and b) the Obama administration’s Benghazi cover-up. He concludes that media bias has become so extreme that it now endangers the republic.

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CADDELL: “I think we’re at the most dangerous time in our political history in terms of the balance of power in the role that the media plays in whether or not we maintain a free democracy.

“Nowhere was this more evident than during the tragic death of a U.S. ambassador in Libya that was lied about for nine days, because the press and the administration did not want to admit it was a terrorist attack.

“We’ve had nine days of lies over what happened because they can’t dare say it’s a terrorist attack, and the press won’t push this,” said Caddell. “Yesterday there was not a single piece in The New York Times over the question of Libya. Twenty American embassies, yesterday, are under attack. None of that is on the national news. None of it is being pressed in the papers.”

Caddell added that it is one thing for the news to have a biased view, but “It is another thing to specifically decide that you will not tell the American people information they have a right to know.”

Pat Caddell is a lifelong Democrat, and was Jimmy Carter’s pollster.

h/t MelissaTweets

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@BarackObama’s Disgusting, Repulsive, Dishonest Tweet

Friday, September 28th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

This was posted this afternoon on the Twitter feed of the President of the United States. It’s disgusting. I’d go into more detail, but it would be unprintable.

Obama’s Twitter minions really think that Mitt Romney included American combat troops among those whose votes Obama intends to buy with taxpayer money?

Obama’s Twitter minions really tweeted the above, as we’re all learning that he and his secretary of state’s failure to do their jobs ended up getting four Americans killed, and then the whole Obama team lied about their failure to cover it up?

By the way, as the bodies of those four Americans were being offloaded back on American soil, the president’s Twitter feed hawked campaign swag. The very same moment.

 

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‘No One Aspires to be a Defeated Presidential Candidate’

Friday, September 28th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

Former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kansas) reflected on life after losing the presidential election in an op-ed published by the Washington Post this afternoon, noting that “no one aspires to be a defeated presidential candidate.”

“In Washington, losing an election is viewed as a sort of death,” Dole wrote. “But instead of bringing food to the house, a few neighbors and some in the media stick a microphone in your face and ask, ‘Did you cost Ford the White House?’”

His loss to Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale as Gerald Ford’s VP pick would be followed 20 years later by Dole’s unsuccessful attempt to oust incumbent Bill Clinton.

“I was the one pointing fingers — at myself,” he said. “Then, for a long time after my loss to Bill Clinton in 1996, I would lie awake nights wondering what I could have done to change the outcome. Did we rely too much on the Republican base, letting cultural issues define us in a harsh light and driving away independents and suburban voters?”

Dole’s what-it’s-like-to-lose op-ed was accompanied by one from George McGovern on his loss to Richard Nixon in 1972.

“Almost all my experience up to that point had convinced that me anything was possible. I had a capable team and dedicated supporters. The crowds at campaign events were large and enthusiastic. I didn’t pay undue attention to the polls, and I wasn’t overly concerned that there would be no face-to-face debates with Nixon,” McGovern wrote. “But when election night came and the early returns revealed one of the most lopsided victories in U.S. history, I was genuinely stunned.”

“I was left with the knowledge that I had been in the political race of my life but didn’t achieve victory, and so it was hard to accept that the presidency was not going to be mine to serve and that the plans I had hoped to implement were lost, too. Yet that is what I came to accept — had to accept — also acknowledging that after getting that close, I couldn’t try for the presidency again,” he added.

McGovern, now 90 years old, would team up with his old Senate colleague Dole in recent years to battle child hunger worldwide.

Dole, now 89, noted “the discovery by others that I had a sense of humor led to an improbable career pitching Visa, Dunkin’ Donuts and Viagra.”

“Sure, losing an election hurts, but I’ve experienced worse. And at an age when every day is precious, brooding over what might have been is self-defeating. In conceding the 1996 election, I remarked that ‘tomorrow will be the first time in my life I don’t have anything to do,’” Dole wrote. “I was wrong. Seventy-two hours after conceding the election, I was swapping wisecracks with David Letterman on his late-night show.”

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State Dept Did No Threat Assessment in Benghazi Before Ambassador’s Arrival

Friday, September 28th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Fox reports.

An intelligence source on the ground in Libya told Fox News that no threat assessment was conducted before U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team began “taking up residence” at the Benghazi compound — describing the security lapses as a “total failure.”

The claim comes more than two weeks after Stevens and three other Americans were killed in what is now being described officially as a terror attack possibly tied to Al Qaeda.

The source told Fox News that there was no real security equipment installed in the villas on the compound except for a few video cameras.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst, the intelligence source said the security lapses were a 10 — a “total failure” because Benghazi was known to be a major area for extremist activity.

The US State Department failed to assess the threat to its personnel in a terrorist hotbed. President Barack Obama was not even attending his daily intelligence briefings in the days leading up to the attacks. Four Americans are dead. The presidential election is mere weeks away.

That’s enough of a motivation to engineer a cover-up.

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MSNBC Caught Doctoring Video to Attack Romney

Friday, September 28th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Hat tips to The Blaze and Townhall for this catch.

A clip from a recent Romney/Ryan rally has recently been played over and over at MSNBC highlighting what appears to be an embarrassing moment on the campaign trail for Governor Romney. Originally aired on Wednesday’s “Morning Joe,” the clip shows Paul Ryan introducing Romney as the MSNBC-added text appears on the screen proclaiming that the crowd is shouting “Ryan!” Romney gets the mic and asks the crowd to say “Romney/Ryan!” Joe Scarborough covers his face and grumbles out the words, “Sweet Jesus.”

Then the Blaze received a call from one of the rally attendees:

During Thursday‘s edition of TheBlaze TV’s “Pat & Stu,” one caller gives her account of the campaign rally.

“The crowd was yelling,” caller Sherry recounts, “the crowd was screaming ‘Romney! Romney!’ and Romney, being the gentleman [he is], we can‘t get in his head because he’s so stinking nice, he stopped us to add ‘Romney-Ryan.’”

Townhall’s Greg Hengler stitched the videos together so that you can see what MSNBC has done.

This hatchet job marks the second time that MSNBC has created a problem for Romney by doctoring video. The first happend in June, when Andrea Mitchell aired deceptively edited video made to depict Romney as out of touch about WaWa convenience stores.

Last week, Mitchell refused to air video of Barack Obama stating clearly that he supports “redistribution” of wealth. Mitchell and her network’s excuse was that the video had not been “verified.” The network eventually aired the video, but only after obtaining a longer version of the clip that they claimed helped put Obama’s comments into “context.”

Earlier this year, MSNBC’s parent NBC repeatedly aired deceptively edited clips of George Zimmerman’s 911 call, to make him appear to have racial motives in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The network’s latest deception shows that there is some serious rot at NBC.

Video:

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Also see:  [VIDEO] The Obama Administration’s Benghazi Cover-Up

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Two Men. A Country in Crisis. You Decide.

Friday, September 28th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

I’m not Allen West, but I heartily approve of this message.

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I would approve of a similarly high contrast message coming from another Republican campaign.

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Fox Shows Car Chase Suspect’s Suicide on Live TV

Friday, September 28th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Car chases are not, generally, national news. Showing car chases almost never serves any safety purpose. Local TV and cable nets show them, though. Fox News Channel was showing one this afternoon from the Phoenix, AZ area.

The suspect drove out away from the population center and parked the Dodge Caliber that he had allegedly carjacked on a dirt road.

He got out of the car and Fox stayed with the video feed. He appeared to retrieve something from a bag and then ran erratically down the road, as if someone was chasing him. Anchor Sheppard Smith said that what he was seeing made him “nervous.”

A few seconds later, the suspect pulled a gun out and ended his life on live TV.

Fox went to break, then returned and anchor Sheppard Smith explained that Fox had put the chase on a five-second delay, but that did not prevent the live feed from going out over the air. Smith apologized to the audience and segued into the next story.

Within a few minutes, a clip of the suicide had been uploaded to YouTube and was spreading on Twitter.

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White House: Netanyahu ‘Welcomed Obama’s Commitment’ to Stop Iran

Friday, September 28th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a day after Bibi’s memorable red-line speech at the United Nations. The White House released this readout of that call:

President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke today as part of their regular consultations, and to follow up on Secretary Clinton’s meeting with the Prime Minister.  The two leaders discussed a range of security issues, and the President reaffirmed his and our country’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security.  The two leaders underscored that they are in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.  The Prime Minister welcomed President Obama’s commitment before the United Nations General Assembly to do what we must to achieve that goal.  The two leaders took note of the close cooperation and coordination between the Governments of the United States and Israel regarding the threat posed by Iran – its nuclear program, proliferation, and support for terrorism – and agreed to continue their regular consultations on this issue going forward.

Obama had a few campaign events today in Washington and headed over to the Democratic National Committee at 1:30 p.m. for debate prep.

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UAE Financing Matt Damon’s Anti-Fracking Flic

Friday, September 28th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

That’s the way it looks:

A new film starring Matt Damon presents American oil and natural gas producers as money-grubbing villains purportedly poisoning rural American towns. It is therefore of particular note that it is financed in part by the royal family of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates.

The creators of Promised Land have gone to absurd lengths to vilify oil and gas companies, as Scribe’s Michael Sandoval noted Wednesday. Since recent events have demonstrated the relative environmental soundness of hydraulic fracturing – a technique for extracting oil and gas from shale formations – Promised Land’s script has been altered to make doom-saying environmentalists the tools of oil companies attempting to discredit legitimate “fracking” concerns.

While left-leaning Hollywood often targets supposed environmental evildoers, Promised Land was also produced “in association with” Image Media Abu Dhabi, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media, according to the preview’s list of credits. A spokesperson with DDA Public Relations, which is running PR for the film, confirmed that AD Media is a financier. The company is wholly owned by the government of the UAE.

It is, of course, completely accidental that fracking is one of the technologies bringing energy production back to the US.

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Romney Rumor: Did Romney Force His Name Into a ‘Ryan’ Chant?

Friday, September 28th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

MSNBC wants you to think so:

On Wednesday, MSNBC aired a clip of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney leading what looks like a failed “Romney-Ryan” chant at a campaign stop in Ohio on Tuesday, prompting an embarrassed Joe Scarborough to mutter “Oh, sweet Jesus” and a purse-lipped Mika Brzezinski to ask “What’s wrong with those people?” You can see our coverage of Scarborough’s outburst here, but we’ve included the clip as a refresher:

Blaze readers who were there didn’t agree:

“I … [was] near the front of the crowd and Paul Ryan had just finished speaking,” Michele Jewett of Carlisle, Ohio, told TheBlaze in an email.

“He introduced Governor Romney and handed the microphone to him. Gov. Romney said, ‘What about that Paul Ryan’ and the crowd immediately started chanting, ‘Romney, Romney‘ not ’Ryan, Ryan’ like the closed captioning on the MSNBC video stated,” she adds.

Indeed, the MSNBC closed captions claims the was crowd chanting “Ryan!“ when attendees say they were actually chanting ”Romney!” Obviously, this changes a lot about the situation. Instead of awkwardly inserting his name into what sounds like a failed chant, Gov. Romney was actually including his running mate in a crowd chant of his own name.

“Mitt said, ‘Let’s try this, Romney/Ryan, Romney/Ryan, I like that better!‘ Jewett’s email continues. “I thought to myself ‘what a humble guy to include Ryan in our chant.’”

And C-SPAN lets you decide for yourself.

Remember: they think you’re sheep.

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Romney Pulls Ahead in Two Key Polls

Friday, September 28th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Mitt Romney has pulled ahead of Barack Obama on two key measures of the voters’ opinions of both men, just days before the first presidential debate. Both issues are expected to be key issues in the election.

Rasmussen polled voters to find out which candidate is trusted more to handle the US economy. Mitt Romney leads Obama by seven points, 51-44.

Bloomberg polled the question of which candidate do Americans trust more on terrorism. The Obama administration is rapidly becoming engulfed in charges that it has attempted a cover-up after the terrorist attacks in Libya and Egypt left four Americans dead. President Obama had expected, prior to the attacks, that authorizing the mission that ultimately killed Osama bin Laden would allow him a cushion on foreign policy and especially on terrorism. Bloomberg found that there is no such cushion. In fact, Mitt Romney leads Obama on trust on terrorism by six points, 48-42.

Update: In light of that second poll, the president’s spokespeople may need to come up with a new catch phrase.

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