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GOP Senators to UN Ambassador: Explain Your ‘Implausible’ Benghazi Assertions

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

A group of GOP senators are pressing U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice over her statements that the Benghazi attack was the result of a “spontaneous reaction.”

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) wrote Rice, telling her that she made “several troubling statements that are inconsistent with the facts and require explanation.”

On Meet the Press on Sept. 16, Rice said, “What happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video.” Speaking on Fox News Sunday, she said, “We are of the view that this is not an expression of hostility in the broader sense toward the United States or U.S. policy. It’s approximately a reaction to this video…”

On Sept. 14, Libyan President Mohamed Yousef el Magariaf said the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was “preplanned.”  When she followed the Libyan leader two days later on Face the Nation, Rice again described the attacks as “spontaneous” and said the attacks were not “preplanned.”

“You repeatedly asserted the implausible explanation that the attack in Benghazi was a spontaneous reaction to the video despite growing evidence to the contrary,” the senators wrote.

“You were surely aware of these facts on September 16 when you made your remarks. Yet, these facts, including the unlikely coincidence that the attack was conducted on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, did not prevent you from making confident and counterintuitive assertions to the contrary.”

The Republicans demanded a response from Rice explaining “how the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations could characterize an attack on a U.S. consulate so inaccurately five days after a terrorist attack that killed four Americans.”

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Quinnipiac Pollster Admits that Polls Oversampling Democrats Just Might Not Accurately Predict the Election

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Yeah.

Interviewed last month by conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt, Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac polling operation was particularly squeamish about sampling under tough questioning from Hewitt about a poll which Quinnipiac had released showing Democrats with a 9 percentage point advantage in the state of Florida.

In the conversation, Brown defended Quinnipiac’s sampling techniques but admitted that he did not believe that Democrats would outnumber Republicans to that degree in Florida come November. Pressed by Hewitt, the pollster said he believed that was a “probably unlikely” scenario. Instead, Brown kept saying that he thought his poll was an accurate snapshot of reality at the time.

Polls are bullets fired at a moving cloud. They can impact that cloud and change the flow within it, just by passing through.

Polls also can be used as distractions from other, actual events that are taking place in the real world. What I mean by that is this: The past two weeks have been packed with serious news. Chock full. US embassies attacked, US personnel murdered, the American flag desecrated, the Obama administration playing games over meeting with world leaders, and then intentionally misleading both Congress and the American public about what’s going on. It’s legitimate news that the President of the United States decided that it was more important to do softball entertainment interviews with Letterman, People En Espanol and The View than meet with world leaders during a moment of global crisis. That’s legitimate news, but the media hasn’t grilled him about his choices or polled what Americans think of Obama’s actions. That decision not to poll is a decision that the media has consistently made whenever this president takes unusual or highly questionable actions. That decision not to poll is almost surely impacting the public’s understanding of what’s going on.

Side stories to the above include the Democrats in Congress complaining about none of the administration’s antics or questioning its approach to anything, out of the obvious fear that raising any real issues now could impact the election, and we just can’t have that. Prior to these news-filled weeks, the Democrats booed both God and Jerusalem at their convention, the economy stayed in the toilet and nothing improved. The media hasn’t touted polls about any of that, either.

That’s an awful lot of news to distract from, but the media has done its best to distract, and has largely succeeded, by pushing poll after poll about the horse race, not the actual issues or the hard news stories noted above.

Polls may represent, more, the choices of a given polling outfit or their paying customers than they represent the reality on the ground. Not just the weighting and sampling, but the decision to poll, or not, at all, and in what sequence to ask questions. For instance, the media could have at any point over the past five years run the kind of poll that illuminates American voters’ reactions to Barack Obama’s stances and votes on any number of issues. But the polls have tended to stay out of the weeds and details, and helped mainstream Obama in ways that his own principles and political past could not. And the media isn’t polling the voting public’s reaction to events to any great or interesting detail now.

I’m not saying, in all this, that I think Unskewedpolls has the answer or that Romney is really winning despite what the polls say. My take is that some of the fundamentals favor Obama and some of the fundamentals point to Obama losing, but neither necessarily point to Romney winning. He hasn’t made the sale and he’s running out of time. The polls are more the fog of war at this point than any light on the state of the campaign.

Democratic pollsters Doug Schoen and Pat Cadell said on Fox the other day even they don’t really believe the current polls, and that polling is as much art as it is science. Polling is also a reflection of the choices made by the pollsters, as to what to poll in the first place.

Don’t get bent out of shape about the daily polls. Just get to work.

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PJ Media contributors featured in 2-part The Blaze documentary beginning tonight

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Patrick Poole

Just a tip that Andrew McCarthy and myself will be featured in the 2-part documentary “The Project” airing tonight and tomorrow on The Blaze TV.

Here’s a short description and a trailer:

In 2001, an inconspicuous manifesto now known as “The Project” was recovered during a raid in Switzerland: A manifesto that turned out to be a Muslim roadmap for infiltrating and defeating the West. Today, files containing evidence from the largest terror financing trial in U.S. history, which include details about “The Project”, are being withheld by the Department of Justice.

In an explosive two-part mini-series, TheBlaze documentary unit investigates how the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the American government and exposes how our nation’s safety is in jeopardy as a result of this dangerous government cover up.

Part I will premiere tonight, Wednesday, September 26th at 8pm ET, followed by Part II tomorrow evening, Thursday, September 27th at 8pm ET.

It airs on TheBlaze TV, which is available on Dish Network channel 212 or online at TheBlaze.com/TV, on devices like Roku, iPhone, iPod and iPad. If you’re not an online subscriber already, you can sign up for a free 14-day trial at http://www.theblaze.com/tv/.

There is more information about The Project available at http://www.theblaze.com/theproject/.

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[VIDEO] Ahamadinejad Spokesman Gets Behind Kicked on NY Street by Iranians

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

Ramin Mehmanparast, spokesman for Ahmadinejad, gets attacked by refugee Iranians on streets of New York.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ew1voX0wnew

h/t Banafsheh Zand

Also read:

The Obama Take on Iran and Yom Kippur: Too Little, Too Late

Update: We have video from inside the group of people around the Iranian spokesman.

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Romney Rumor: Ryan Calls Romney “The Stench”

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

Okay, Rick and Michael have already pretty well covered this (that’s what I get for going out to lunch) but this has to get in the Romney Rumors.

When Roger Simon wrote in Politico Wednesday that Paul Ryan’s new nickname for Mitt Romney is “Stench,” a number of news outlets — from MSNBC to Mediaite — took it seriously.

Simon told BuzzFeed: “Some people always don’t get something, but I figured describing PowerPoint as having been invented to euthanize cattle would make the satire clear. I guess people hate PowerPoint more than I thought.”

As Buzzfeed points out, the list of people who fell for it is long and extinguished distinguished:

I think I’m going to create an official Sheep Award for people who fall for these things.

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Could Attention to Social Issues Push Romney Over the Top?

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

A new poll suggests that social issues could hurt Obama in the swing states.

President Obama’s support for abortion and taxpayer funded birth control could kill his chances to win swing voters in Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and Florida, and possibly his reelection, according to a new poll.

Likely voters by a 49 percent to 25 percent margin, or two-to-one, say they are less likely to vote for Obama because he included taxpayer funding of abortion in Obamacare. A whopping 54 percent are less likely to back him due to his vote against a law to give equal treatment to babies born alive after a failed abortion. And 69 percent reject the administration’s mandate that forces faith-based institutions to provide insurance that covers birth control.

“This survey shows that a few straightforward, specific facts about President Obama and abortion shock the collective conscience of swing voters in battleground states,” said pollster Kellyanne Conway. “His support for taxpayer-funded abortion, opposition to Born-Alive Infant protections and ‘intimidation through regulation’ foisted upon religious organizations draws the ire of between one-half and two-thirds of the voters surveyed,” she said.

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Media Gets Pwnd by ‘Stench’ Satire

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

This is rich. Michael Walsh reported earlier on Tatler about the column written by Politico’s Roger Simon regarding Paul Ryan’s supposed “stench” nickname for Mitt Romney.

Paul Ryan has gone rogue. He is unleashed, unchained, off the hook.

“I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him,” Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa, told The New York Times on Sunday.

Coming from a resident of Iowa, a state where people are polite even to soybeans, this was a powerful condemnation of the Republican nominee.

Though Ryan had already decided to distance himself from the floundering Romney campaign, he now feels totally uninhibited. Reportedly, he has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, “If Stench calls, take a message” and “Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.”

The media immediately picked up on the “scoop.”

Except for one, small detail: Simon was pulling everyone’s leg.

Buzzfeed:

Simon told BuzzFeed: “Some people always don’t get something, but I figured describing PowerPoint as having been invented to euthanize cattle would make the satire clear. I guess people hate PowerPoint more than I thought.”

Buzzfeed also compiled some media outlets who fell for Simon’s ill-written satire.

Lawrence O’Donnell:

“Yes, the Stench! That is what Paul Ryan is actually calling Mitt Romney, according to Politico.”

You can get back on your chair now, Larry.

Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:

Simon’s anecdote has the recognizable (to the Beltway crowd) ring of truth that renders it canonical in political circles.”

Ah, Tommy — “the ring of truth.” Is that better than the, like, you know…real truth?

Gawker:

“Rather than decry Robinson’s comments or reaffirm his commitment to the Romney ticket since the Times story broke, Ryan has been running with the nickname, according to Politico, telling campaign staffers things like, ‘If Stench calls, take a message’ and ‘Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.’” (Gawker has since updated their post, saying of Simon: “We’re a bit confused by his interpretation of satire, as he’s referring to a single false fact (concocted by him?) in an otherwise mostly accurate piece.”)

Nick Denton doesn’t care as long as a Republican gets bashed.

Comedy Central:

“You can just feel the affection the two men have for each other pulsating through your computer screen, can’t you?”

Bottom rail on top now, eh John?

Last but not least, Paul Kurgman:

“Can I say that even though I’m not exactly a fan of Mitt Romney’s, this is just bad behavior? You’re supposed to wait until it’s actually over before you do this kind of thing.” (Krugman has since updated his post: “the word is that this was really clumsy satire.”)

I was confused when I read it this morning also. I was wondering why the emphasis on Powerpoint presentations? Simon is no Rabelais, that’s for certain and perhaps he should stick with his horribly biased, laughably inept political commentary rather than try to elevate his writing into something it could never be.

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How ‘Religious Defamation’ Laws Would Ban Islam

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Raymond Ibrahim

As the Islamic world, in the guise of the 57-member state Organization of Islamic Cooperation, continues to push for the enforcement of “religious defamation” laws in the international arena—theoretically developed to protect all religions from insult, but in reality made for Islam—one great irony is lost, especially on Muslims: if such laws would ban movies and cartoons that defame Islam, they would also, by logical extension, have to ban the religion of Islam itself—the only religion whose core texts actively defame other religions.

 

  If films and cartoons defame Islam, the Quran itself defames other religions.

 

To understand this, consider what “defamation” means. Typical dictionary-definitions include “to blacken another’s reputation” and “false or unjustified injury of the good reputation of another, as by slander or libel.” In Muslim usage, defamation simply means anything that insults or offends Islamic sensibilities.

However, to gain traction among the international community, the OIC maintains that such laws should protect all religions from defamation, not just Islam. Accordingly, the OIC is agreeing that any expression that “slanders” the religious sentiments of others should be banned.

What, then, do we do with Islam’s core religious texts—beginning with the Quran itself, which slanders, denigrates and blackens the reputation of other religions? Consider Christianity alone: Quran 5:73 declares that “Infidels are they who say Allah is one of three,” a reference to the Christian Trinity; Quran 5:73 says “Infidels are they who say Allah is the Christ, [Jesus] son of Mary”; and Quran 9:30 complains that “the Christians say the Christ is the son of Allah … may Allah’s curse be upon them!”

Considering that the word “infidel” (or kafir) is one of Islam’s most derogatory terms, what if a Christian book or Western movie appeared declaring that “Infidels are they who say Muhammad is the prophet of God—may God’s curse be upon them“? If Muslims would consider that a great defamation against Islam—and they would, with the attendant rioting, murders, etc.—then by the same standard it must be admitted that the Quran defames Christians and Christianity.

Similarly, consider how the Christian Cross, venerated among millions, is depicted—is defamed—in Islam: according to canonical hadiths, when he returns, Jesus supposedly will destroy all crosses; and Muhammad, who never allowed the cross in his presence, ordered someone wearing a cross to “take off that piece of idolatry.”

What if Christian books or Western movies declared that the sacred things of Islam—say the Black Stone in the Ka’ba of Mecca—are “idolatry” and that Muhammad himself will return and destroy them? If Muslims would consider that defamation against Islam—and they would, with all the attendant rioting, murders, etc.—then by the same standard it must be admitted that the hadith defames the Christian Cross.

Here is a particularly odious form of defamation against Christian sentiment, especially to the millions of Catholic and Orthodox Christians. According to Islam’s most authoritative Quranic exegetes, including the revered Ibn Kathir, Muhammad is in paradise married to and having sex with the Virgin Mary….

Continue reading.

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President Obama to Campaign with Confirmed Lawbreaker

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Doesn’t a president’s oath of office require him to faithfully execute the nation’s laws? Well, perhaps President Obama regards that oath as “just words.”

MANCHESTER — President Barack Obama’s campaign will bring Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to the state on Friday and Saturday to speak at grassroots events in Durham, Portsmouth, Laconia, Concord, Nashua, Derry and Keene.

Back on September 12, while his administration was busy spinning the terrorist attacks in Egypt and Libya as spontaneous demonstrations in reaction to a YouTube movie, President Obama’s very own Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, was found to have violated the federal law known as the Hatch Act. That violation should have cost her her job in the administration.

Not only will that not happen, Sebelius headlines campaign appearances with the president. They’re both scofflaws now.

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Obama Campaign Email Brags About Raising Money from the Injured and Unemployed

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

In its latest fundraising email, the Obama campaign is passing this note around as if it’s legit.

Dear President Obama,

I’m writing to tell you about the $15 my family just donated to your 2012 campaign.

It was $15. That’s really all we could give.

My husband Steve is currently a student at Temple University. Since starting his degree, three years ago, we’ve been living considerably below the poverty level (I keep forgetting which percent … does it matter?). But we aren’t complaining. Two healthy daughters; dusty, well-travelled backpacks in the basement; a house full of memories — a future full of hope. We’re the lucky ones.

So — we’re currently “poor on money — rich in life” (as we like to say). It hasn’t always been like this. My husband spent most of his life doing what he loved — playing or coaching basketball. Born in SE Iowa, he was an Academic All-American and once-upon-two-good-knees-ago, the “local town hero” of his small town — after bringing home the State Championship during high school, followed by NJCAA National Championship years later as a coach. He’s a big a fan of yours by the way … as a player, father and president … not necessarily in that order.

But this really wasn’t supposed to be a letter about him.

It’s about this year’s campaign. It’s about wanting to say that $15 means something these days and deserves a moment of pause (and some words on paper) for this girl and her family of Obama fans.

– $15 is a special pizza dinner at our local pizza stop (Poppi’s in Wynnewood).
– It’s 1 1/2 tickets to see the newest film at the old-school cinema we walk our daughters to.
– It’s getting fresh fruit, instead of frozen; fresh veg, instead of canned.
– It’s tickets to the Franklin Institute in the heart of Philly. (We’ve never been.)

It’s all these things to a family like ours.

I’ve listened with curiosity, mostly frustration, as the nation debates Citizens’ United and the string of new laws that now allow the bellowing voices of private interest to drown out the sounds of tiny voices (like ours/mine). Our pebble-in-the-ocean support feels almost pointless. “Leave the campaigns to the rich,” I think to myself, “Get your daughters a pizza instead.”

But I refuse to allow new laws to stop us/me from being A PART of this campaign. After all, I will never be a “player” (in the political sense), but I still want to believe I can play a part.

Then, out of the blue, there you are — shooting a jumpshot on my (Facebook) wall — and asking for “players” to join you on your home court. I had to smile, and then I couldn’t resist. And so, I have relinquished those $15.

Please know that they count. To us. Please stay in Washington. Do, in this second term, what you were not assisted/supported to do during your first term. Get this country moving/working/hoping again.

Please continue being a champion for the middle class — I’m hoping the next pizza will be on you.

Wishes to your brave wife and beautiful daughters from another brave wife with two beautiful daughters.

All good things,

Sandy & Family, PA

Does that email read like an ordinary person, or a campaign copywriter, wrote it? They just happen to live in a swing state, and they just happen to be this happy huddling little family of Obamabots, when even his most ardent supporters from last election have soured on him now. The author just happened to break her contribution down against other costs to show that gee, contributing to O’s campaign isn’t so painful after all.

I’m not buying it. I’m calling shenanigans on it. This thing is a fake, designed to guilt even the poorest Americans into giving another ounce of their blood to the Obama campaign that is making it nearly impossible for them to find work. Its writing style is a dead giveaway — it reads like nearly every other campaign email that the Obama team has sent out this year.

Obama ought to be ashamed, but having already accused Mitt Romney of murder and having spent the last two weeks pretending the terror attack in Libya happened because of a YouTube movie, it was obvious a while ago that shame is not in this president’s or his campaign’s emotional vocabulary.

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How to Save Your Country

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

This should strike fear into the armchair Republican: New polls show that both Florida and Ohio may be slipping away from Mitt Romney.

The New York Times, in collaboration with Quinnipiac University and CBS News, is tracking the presidential race with recurring polls in six states. In Ohio — which no Republican has won the presidency without — Mr. Obama is leading Mr. Romney 53 percent to 43 percent in the poll. In Florida, the president leads Mr. Romney 53 to 44 percent in the poll.

The surveys, which had margins of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for each candidate, also included a Pennsylvania poll, where Mr. Obama is leading Mr. Romney by 12 percentage points.

We can question the source — the New York Times — and dispute the accuracy of these polls all day. I question all of that myself. We can surmise that the president is reaching a high-water mark heading into the first presidential debate next week. We can gripe about the Romney campaign, question its messaging, even go into a Peggy Noonan cocoon. Or we can get into the game and play like we’re behind and that our country is depending on us.

The question is, what can the average person, who has a busy life and may or may not live in a swing state, do?

You can join the digital campaign. You would be joining a massive effort to save your country from four more years of the most radical, most out-of-touch president our country has ever had.

I reached out to some of my contacts on the Romney campaign this week, and asked them how the mostly invisible parts of the campaign are going. According to them, the GOP ground game is going very strong. It’s far stronger than the Republicans’ efforts four years ago.

Nationally, more than 75,000 volunteers have knocked on more than 4 million doors for Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and the down-ticket GOP team, which is 16 times more than at this point in 2008. Volunteers have made nearly 6 times as many phone calls so far than at this point in 2008. The difference is even greater in the swing states. In Florida, volunteers have knocked on 67 times more doors than at this time in 2008. In Iowa, the GOP has already broken a personal record for voter outreach. In North Carolina, volunteers have knocked on 130 times more doors than at this point in 2008, and Ohio has seen over 30 times more. Virginia? Eleven times more. Wisconsin is 66 times more, Pennsylvania is 44 times more, New Hampshire is 8 times more, Nevada is 10 times more. They’re playing like they’re behind, which is good.

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The Obama Take on Iran and Yom Kippur: Too Little, Too Late

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Claudia Rosett

When President Obama spoke Tuesday to the United Nations, he made a point of denouncing, yet again, as “an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well” the “crude and disgusting video” — a.k.a. the brief clip produced by a private individual exercising the right to free speech. But Obama made no mention whatsoever of the gross official insult to all decent people involved  in the UN not only welcoming Iran’s anti-semitic pro-genocide President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yet again to the UN General Assembly in New York, but scheduling Ahmadinejad’s speech on the Jewish high holy day of Yom Kippur.

On Yom Kippur itself, the U.S. Mission to the UN finally got around to mentioning the matter, putting out a two-sentence statement noting that Ahmadinejad has once again been using his trip to the UN to “spout paranoid theories and repulsive slurs against Israel.” The U.S. statement goes on to say “It’s particularly unfortunate that Mr. Ahmadinejad will have the platform of the UN General Assembly on Yom Kippur, which is why the United States has decided not to attend.”

Talk about too little, too late. What a pity that Obama couldn’t have shoehorned that statement into his UN address, or at least wedged it into his chat with Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Walters et al, while bringing his White House gift basket of napkins and golf balls to The View.

 

 

 

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Survey Says: Majority of Small Business Owners Would Not Start Their Businesses Today

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

The survey, conducted by the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, says quite a bit about why America’s economy is so stagnant.

The poll, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies (POS), surveyed 800 small business owners, manufacturers and decision-makers at small and medium-sized companies, with a majority (55 percent) saying the national economy is in a worse position compared to three years ago. Among the chief factors survey respondents cited were federal regulations, taxes, government spending and the cost of health insurance and energy.

Key survey findings include the following:

  • 67 percent say there is too much uncertainty in the market today to expand, grow or hire new workers.
  • 69 percent of small business owners and manufacturers say President Obama’s Executive Branch and regulatory policies have hurt American small businesses and manufacturers.
  • 55 percent say they would not start a business today given what they know now and in the current environment.
  • 54 percent say other countries like China and India are more supportive of their small businesses and manufacturers than the United States.

“Manufacturers have told policymakers in Washington time and again that uncertainty and a negative business environment is turning the American Dream into a nightmare,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The findings of this survey show that manufacturers and other small businesses have a starkly negative outlook for their future—with good reason. There is far too much uncertainty, too many burdensome regulations and too few policymakers willing to put aside their egos and fulfill their responsibilities to the American people. To fix this problem, we need immediate action on pro-growth tax and regulatory policies that put manufacturers in the United States in a position to compete and succeed in an ever-more competitive global economy.”

Business owners recognize that Obama’s policies are strangling them and the larger economy. But it’s not evident that the rest of the country gets this, or cares.

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Obama’s Claim that Bush is Responsible for 90 Percent of the Deficit Earns Four Pinocchios

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

On 60 Minutes Sunday, President Obama made a pair of startling claims regarding his stewardship of the country. Well, he made more than two, but WaPo fact-checker Glenn Kessler focused on the two embedded in this Obama answer:

Over the last four years, the deficit has gone up, but 90 percent of that is as a consequence of two wars that weren’t paid for, as a consequence of tax cuts that weren’t paid for, a prescription drug plan that was not paid for, and then the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Now we took some emergency actions, but that accounts for about 10 percent of this increase in the deficit, and we have actually seen the federal government grow at a slower pace than at any time since Dwight Eisenhower, in fact, substantially lower than the federal government grew under either Ronald Reagan or George Bush.

According to Obama, the deficit that has ballooned under his watch is not his fault, and his government is growing at a 1950s pace. Glenn Kessler ran the numbers, which you can read here, and found them to be big giant lies.

We are not trying to make excuses for the fiscal excesses of the Bush administration — and Congress — in the last decade. But at some point, a president has to take ownership of his own actions.

Obama certainly inherited an economic mess, and that accounts for a large part of the deficit. But Obama pushed for spending increases and tax cuts that also have contributed in important ways to the nation’s fiscal deterioration. He certainly could argue that these were necessary and important steps to take, but he can’t blithely suggest that 90 percent of the current deficit “is as a consequence” of his predecessor’s policies — and not his own.

As for the citing of the discredited MarketWatch column, we have repeatedly urged the administration to rely on estimates from official government agencies, such as the White House budget office. It is astonishing to see the president repeat this faulty claim once again, as if it were an established fact.

It’s not astonishing. It’s the Obama MO. He either cherry picks from friendly press, or when there is none, he invents his own friendly press in the form of “neutral” studies written by people who used to work for him.

     

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Obama’s Version of ‘Getting Tough on China’ Hurts American Consumers, Retailers

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

You can generally tell when a campaign knows it’s vulnerable on an issue by the increase or decrease in the ads it’s running on the subject. The Obama campaign clearly knows that it is vulnerable on the subject of China. The Obama campaign’s latest attempt to repel accurate criticism from Romney that Obama is weak on China, is that Obama imposed a tariff on tire imports, to help U.S. manufacturers.

But the tariff, quite predictably, didn’t help American manufacturers or consumers.

Instead of the tariff reducing imports and boosting domestic manufacturing, we got a rise in prices at home, and an increase in imports from other Asian markets like South Korea. This is what Obama points to as his proof that Obama is “tough” on China? Tough on the American economy, perhaps.

It’s just a fact that despite election-season gimmicks and hot campaign rhetoric, President Obama has repeatedly refused to stand up to China on the one economic issue where it really counts – labeling China a currency manipulator. Instead, he has relied on half-hearted, misinformed policy prescriptions like his counterproductive tariff on imports from China.

Meanwhile, China’s pegged currency has costs hundreds of thousands of lost jobs here at home, it destabilizes their foreign currency reserves, and allows them to get away with flouting international trade laws. This isn’t a partisan issue – Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown (OH), Chuck Schumer (NY), and Bob Casey (PA) have all criticized Obama’s weak-armed China policy, because they all realize that Ohioans, Pennsylvanians, and Americans across the board cannot afford four more years of Obama’s refusal to stand up to China where it really counts.

China is also not just an economic issue. As China gains traction in the world economy, it continues to rise militarily. This week, China commissioned its first aircraft carrier. The ship still has a long way to go before it rivals any American aircraft carrier, but it already represents a clear statement of China’s intent to become a blue water military power for the first time in centuries. That carrier’s commissioning may lead to an arms race in Asia, particularly if the United States continues to be such an unreliable ally. The Obama administration has yet to react, even to reassure our allies that we are still the big dog. In fact, it would be easy to read the events of the past couple of weeks as strong signs that America is now a big old dog with very little bite, and possibly blind as well.

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Bombshell: US Knew that Benghazi Attack was Terrorism Within 24 Hours

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Eli Lake breaks the story:

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

That is not the story that the Obama administration told to the American people. US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice went on five news shows the weekend following the attack to argue that it was a spontaneous response to a YouTube video. Here is one of those five appearances, on ABC’s This Week.

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Rice claims that the attack was not premeditated, as did WH spokesman Jay Carney. We now know that that was not true, and we also know that Rice’s assertion that the FBI was already on the ground investigating the attack was not accurate. CNN was able to get into the compound days after the attack, reporting that it remained unsecured and evidence — Ambassador Stevens’ journal — was lying in the ruins. Obama continues to refuse to label the attack as a terrorist attack, as recently as yesterday’s address to the UN. Obama has shown himself to be more interested in the NFL’s Fail Mary play than in the attacks on Americans and American soil overseas.

It’s at this point that the phrase “cover up” gains currency, but it was obvious on the day of the attacks in Libya and Egypt that terrorists were behind both. The administration was never going to be able to cover this up. But it did attempt to mischaracterize the attack to mislead the American people. The most obvious motive is political — the attacks occurred on American soil, on 9-11, just weeks before the presidential election, leaving four patriots dead, the American flag desecrated, and the United States reeling and humiliated across the Islamic world.

That’s a campaign issue, and it should be. The 3 AM crisis call came in while the whole world was watching, and the Obama administration let the phone ring far too long and then lied to the American people about the substance of the call.

 

 

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DeMint, Santorum Back Akin

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), head of the Tea Party kingmaking Senate Conservatives Fund, and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) just threw their public support behind Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.).

“If Republicans are to win back the Senate and stop President Obama’s liberal agenda, we must defeat Senator Claire McCaskill in Missouri. Her support of President Obama’s job-killing, big-spending policies are sending our country into an economic abyss. And her passionate support of ObamaCare is ensuring healthcare costs go up while quality of care goes down. Simply put, we cannot afford six more years of Senator McCaskill,” DeMint and Santorum said in a statement.

“Todd Akin is a principled conservative who is committed to winning and fighting for freedom in the U.S. Senate. Todd will work to stop reckless spending, stop the out of control debt, repeal the government takeover of healthcare, support our military and defend life at every stage.”

McCaskill greeted Akin’s news yesterday that he would stay in the race with a couple of tweets. “Today in St Louis Newt said Todd reminded him of Harry Truman!?! I believe Harry would have a few choice words for Newt Gingrich,” she tweeted, followed by: “He’s in. Let’s win.”

Akin embarked on a cross-state bus tour yesterday after his press conference. The Missouri Republican Party said it would work for Akin’s election and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who a month ago was calling for Akin to step aside, said in a statement last night that he’d work for the congressman’s Senate campaign because “he and I agree the Senate majority must change.”

The Republican National Committee has shown no signs of reversing its decision to drop support for Akin in the wake of his “legitimate rape” comments.

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Gallup: Americans Trust SCOTUS Most, Congress Least

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

A new Gallup poll today found that Americans trust the judicial branch the most and the legislative branch the least.

Trust in all three branches of government rose slightly this year, but Congress has lost the most cred over the past decade.

Sixty-seven percent of those polled said they have a “great deal/fair amount” of trust and confidence in the judicial branch, 56 percent have this trust in the executive branch and just 34 percent feel that way about the legislative branch.

The lowest point of executive-branch trust since Gallup began asking the question was during the heart of the Watergate scandal in 1974, when confidence plunged to 40 percent.

Confidence in Congress was as high as 67 percent in 2002, but hit an all-time low of 31 percent last year.

When divided by party, 17 percent of Republicans have trust in the executive branch while 90 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents express this view. Number are about even when it comes to the judicial branch, but independents trust Congress the least — just 26 percent.

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The ‘Stench’?

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Michael Walsh

Well, this stinks.

You’re not going to like this much (or maybe you will), but here’s what Politico is pushing:

Paul Ryan has gone rogue. He is unleashed, unchained, off the hook.

“I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him,” Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa, told The New York Times on Sunday…

Though Ryan had already decided to distance himself from the floundering Romney campaign, he now feels totally uninhibited. Reportedly, he has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, “If Stench calls, take a message” and “Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.”

Even before the stench article appeared, there was a strong sign that Ryan was freeing himself from the grips of the Romney campaign. It began after his disastrous appearance on Friday before AARP in New Orleans. Ryan delivered his remarks in the style dictated by his Romney handlers: Stand behind the lectern, read the speech as written and don’t stray from the script.

If true, can’t say I’m terribly surprised. Ryan’s a fighter.  Mitt… not so much. On the other hand, Ryan could simply be making a joke at the Times‘s expense — after all, it’s not like the media has a sense of humor or anything.

 

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Romney Rumor: Romney Pays Lower Tax Rate Than Middle-Class

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

Obama’s campaign is now running this video:

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Is it true? In a word, no, and several groups have pointed it out.  FactCheck.org for example:

According to Romney’s 2010 tax return, he had an adjusted gross income of about $21.7 million in 2010 and paid about $3 million in taxes. That comes to an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent. That’s considerably less than the amount paid by most people with that high of an income, but in Romney’s case most of his income comes from dividends and capital gains — which are taxed at 15 percent rather than the highest marginal rate of 35 percent. Romney dipped below the 15 percent threshold because he donated about 14 percent of his income to charity.

The question, though, is whether Romney paying 14 percent is “probably less than you.”

It’s not if you look strictly at the income tax paid to the IRS. Scott Hodge, president of the business-backed Tax Foundation, released a report based on 2009 IRS tax data that found 97 percent of American tax filers paid a lower rate of income tax than Romney did. The bottom 40 percent of tax filers pay no income tax at all, or receive a refund, Hodge told us in a phone interview, and so “by definition, those people are paying less than Mitt Romney.” On average, Hodge said, people making between $100,000 and $200,000 paid about 12 percent in federal income taxes. That’s less than Romney’s 13.9 percent, and people making less than $200,000 represent more than 97 percent of all tax filers.

In fact, at 14 percent, according to the Tax Policy Center, Romney pays a higher rate than 97 percent of Americans.

Of course, that considers income tax only.  What about with payroll taxes? Then it edges up.  Again from FactCheck.org:

But there’s another way to look at this, and that is to include payroll taxes, those often unnoticed taxes that are usually withheld from an employee’s paycheck to pay for such things as Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance. The employer also pays payroll taxes for each employee, money that arguably would go to an employee if the company didn’t have to pay it. Together, those payroll taxes actually account for the lion’s share of federal taxes most people pay.

In February, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center released an analysis that found that when you include income tax and payroll taxes paid both by the employee and employer, people in the middle 20 percent paid an effective rate of 15.5 percent. That’s a higher percentage than Romney (who paid no payroll taxes because he declared no wages or salary in 2010).

I’ll just note in passing that if the Obama campaign is making that argument, it would be the first time in living memory that a Democrat has admitted the employer’s share of FICA was a tax on the employee.  Romney, being retired as far as the tax law goes — no wages, living entirely on investment income — doesn’t pay employment taxes.

But what about all those people in the Obama video who say they’re paying much more?  The problem is that most people confuse their actual tax rate and their marginal rate.  Your actual tax rate is easily calculated: take how much tax you paid over your total income.  The marginal rate is what you pay on your next dollar of income at your current, basically what the tax tables tell you when you do your taxes.  But because we have a progressive tax system, that’s not your total tax rate.  Say you make $50,000 — the first $20,000 or so has a tax rate of zero.  The next maybe $25,000 is taxed at, say, 12 percent. Then, in this admittedly contrived example, you get to that last $5000, and it’s taxed at your marginal rate, say 20 percent.  But you remember your marginal rate and think your actual tax rate is 20 percent.

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Voter Fraud Uncovered in Florida, New York

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

But…voter fraud doesn’t exist.

True the Vote, a group that focuses on voter fraud, said it turned over 31 cases to state and federal election authorities in which individuals cast their votes in two states in the same federal election — which is a felony.

Logan Churchwell, a spokesman for the group, told FoxNews.com that the organization accessed Florida’s complete voter registration roll and cross-referenced it against 10 percent of New York’s list. It identified more than 1,700 people with voter registrations in both states. Of that number, 31 people allegedly voted in both states during the same federal election cycle.

Both Florida and New York require voters to cast ballots that correspond with their permanent home addresses. Under federal law, voters are prohibited from casting more than one ballot in the same election.

“This is further evidence of just how susceptible our election system is to voter fraud,” the group’s president, Catherine Engelbrecht, said in a statement.

The group said it has alerted the Office of Florida Secretary of State, the New York State Board of Elections and the U.S. Department of Justice of its finding.

True the Vote’s finding follows news that a Maryland Democratic candidate for Congress had to drop out of her race after admitting that she had voted both in Maryland and Florida.

True the Vote only sampled the voter rolls in its study, and only bumped New York up against Florida. How many other voters are there out there like the Maryland Democrat? We can’t ask the Department of Justice. Its response to Florida’s attempt to clean up its voter rolls was to sue Florida to stop cleaning up its voter rolls.

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Now Up on the PJ Media Homepage

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 - by Ed Driscoll

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Quote of the day: The Devil and Judge Davis

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 - by Patrick Poole

Today’s quote of the day comes from this article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Here’s the set-up:

With a week to go before his trial, Somali terror suspect Mahamud Said Omar asked Monday to be transferred from jail to a relative’s house for as much as 90 days so a Somali healer and Muslim imam can dispel his visions of ghosts and stop the pain that induces seizures.

Omar made the personal plea to Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis in Minneapolis, saying Anoka County Sheriff’s deputies have placed his life in jeopardy by telling other inmates that he’s suspected of supplying material support to Al-Shabab, a U.S.-designated terrorism organization active in Somalia.

And the response from Judge Davis gives us the quote of the day:

“I’ve been aware of your history of seeing ghosts and spirits and it has been difficult for you to sleep at night because of that. … The court is aware that you have had other seizures while you were in custody, and you are now taking your medicine.

“As to your request to have your cultural spiritual men assist you to help you get rid of the devil, the court is going to deny that,” Davis said.

Certainly better than Obama’s, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

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NY State Sen Avella Walks Out on Islamofascists

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 - by Roger L Simon

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Honest Movie Trailer: The Avengers

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

I loved The Avengers. But this…I may love it more.

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Foreign Affairs Leader Slams Brazilian President for ‘Disconcerting’ Castro Support

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

The House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman slammed Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff for backing the Castro regime and criticizing the U.S. embargo at the United Nations General Assembly today.

“It is disconcerting that Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff, a self-proclaimed human rights advocate, decided to use her speech at the United Nations General Assembly to support the Cuban dictatorship while ignoring the plight of the Cuban people and attacking U.S. policy toward the Castro regime,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who came to America from Cuba when she was 7 years old.

“It is time to end this anachronism, condemned by the immense majority of U.N. member countries,” Rousseff said today of the decades-long embargo.

“The Brazilian president should stand in solidarity with the brave human rights activists in Cuba who have courageously put their own lives at risk in order to bring attention to the tyranny’s gross human rights abuses and the Cuban people’s struggle for freedom and justice. Reports indicate that just a few days ago, dozens of members of the Ladies in White, an organization comprised of the mothers, wives, and sisters of many of those unjustly imprisoned by the Castro regime, were again detained without cause by Cuban state security agents,” Ros-Lehtinen said.

“Leaders of democratic nations, such as Brazil, should use international forums to condemn the actions and systematic abuses of the Castro regime, not praise this brutal dictatorship. Their focus should be on supporting the democratic aspirations of the Cuban people and urging the Castro brothers to unleash their iron grip on the island.”

Rousseff opened the General Assembly today, speaking before President Obama.

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It’s a Dirty Job, but Mike Rowe Campaigns with Mitt Romney in Ohio

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

The Romney campaign just sent out the following note.

Boston, MA – On Wednesday, Mitt Romney will continue the “Romney Plan For A Stronger Middle Class” bus tour where he will discuss his plan for a real recovery. He will begin by attending a Victory Rally at Westerville South High School in Westerville, Ohio, where he will be joined by Jack Nicklaus. He will then hold a manufacturing roundtable with Mike Rowe and business leaders at American Spring Wire in Bedford Heights, Ohio and attend a Victory Rally at the SeaGate Convention Centre in Toledo, Ohio. The following events are open to the press.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Event:                        Governor Romney Attends Westerville Victory Rally with Jack Nicklaus

Location:                  Westerville South High School

303 S Otterbein Avenue

Westerville, Ohio     

Pre-Set Time:          3:00 AM – 4:00 AM EDT

Sweep Time:           4:00 AM – 6:00 AM EDT

Doors Open:            6:00 AM EDT

Invite Time:              8:00 AM EDT

Program Time:        8:30 AM EDT

***

Event:                        Governor Romney Holds Manufacturing Roundtable with Mike Rowe and Business Leaders

Location:                  American Spring Wire

26300 Miles Road

Bedford Heights, Ohio

Pre-Set Time:          7:15 AM – 8:15 AM EDT

Sweep Time:           8:15 AM – 10:15 AM EDT

Doors Open:            10:15 AM EDT

Invite Time:              12:15 PM EDT

Program Time:        1:05 PM EDT

I generally disregard celebrity endorsements, but Mike Rowe is a bit different from your average celebrity. He isn’t one to demand Dom Perignon in his dressing room or lord his fame over his production staff or anybody else. He gets dirty and celebrates working hard. He seems to get the American work ethic in a way that very few do, certainly very few in Washington. Rowe is basically the most famous blue collar guy on TV. He’ll be a good asset for the Romney team.

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Bill: We can’t live in shame-based world; Hillary: We must use peer pressure and shaming of Islamophobes

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 - by Patrick Poole

Bill and Hillary Clinton are apparently working from different scripts.

As Bridget Johnson just reported, earlier today Bill said in taped interview with CBS News in response to the Muslim world’s response to the 14 minute movie trailer that has them in a rage that “you cannot live in a shame-based world. You won’t make it in the 21st century.”

Except, of course, when shaming suits your agenda.

In July 2011, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was meeting with the leaders of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istabul, she promised to put the full resources of the U.S. government to work against “Islamophobia” as part of the joint Obama administration/OIC “Istanbul Process” to criminalize defamation of religion.

In her speech, Hillary cited the use of “old fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming” to combat Islamophobia:

The Human Rights Council has given us a comprehensive framework for addressing this issue on the international level. But at the same time, we each have to work to do more to promote respect for religious differences in our own countries. In the United States, I will admit, there are people who still feel vulnerable or marginalized as a result of their religious beliefs. And we have seen how the incendiary actions of just a very few people, a handful in a country of nearly 300 million, can create wide ripples of intolerance. We also understand that, for 235 years, freedom of expression has been a universal right at the core of our democracy. So we are focused on promoting interfaith education and collaboration, enforcing antidiscrimination laws, protecting the rights of all people to worship as they choose, and to use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming, so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Clinton.

 

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Clinton on Muhammad Video: ‘You Cannot Live in a Shame-Based World’

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

Former President Bill Clinton, in an interview taped Monday yet aired today on CBS, countered outcry over the anti-Muhammad film by stressing that one can’t live in a “shame-based society.”

“We weren’t disrespecting Islam by not squelching a film trailer that nobody in authority knew anything about, that 99 percent think was crude and disrespectful and awful; but that we have learned the hard way over more than 200 years that in order to preserve freedom and liberty, including the freedom of religion, you have to allow people to say and do things that you find abhorrent, and you can’t react every time you’re insulted,” Clinton said.

“The point is, if you live in a shame-based society where you think nothing good’s going to happen, the temptation is to wait for somebody to say something you find offensive and then you can lash out against it.”

Clinton acknowledged that “Americans don’t understand all Muslim countries as well as we should.”

“But they need to understand us and themselves. You cannot live in a shame-based world. You won’t make it in the 21st century,” he said.

“You’ve got to be able to say, if you believe in Islam that I believe in a God and a prophet strong enough to withstand the criticisms of petty, narrow-minded, mean-spirited people, I believe that the cultural crassness I abhor will, in the end, fall before the values that I exalt.”

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3 GOPs, 3 Dems Tell Leaders They’re Willing to Work to Stop Sequestration

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

A group of three Republicans and three Democrats told Senate leaders that they are willing to lead the charge against the budget sequestration set to go into effect in early January.

“We believe it is imperative to enact a bipartisan deficit reduction package to avoid the severe economic damage that would result from the implementation of sequestration,” Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) wrote to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “Any deficit reduction package should be long term and should provide as much certainty as possible for businesses and consumers.”

The Senate left for the campaign recess without addressing the sequestration, leaving for the lame-duck session resolution of the deep cuts put into action by failure of the deficit-reduction supercommittee to reach agreement.

The Congressional Budget Office has warned sequestration in combination with the expiration of current tax policy could send the economy back into a recession and raise unemployment above 9 percent. About 2 million jobs in defense and other sectors are in jeopardy because of the cuts.

“Based on this, we are committed to working together to help forge a balanced bipartisan deficit reduction package to avoid damage to our national security, important domestic priorities, and our economy,” the senators wrote.

“Sequestration will endanger the lives of America’s service members, threaten our national security, and impact vital domestic programs and services. Meeting this challenge will require real compromise, and we do not believe that Congress and the president can afford to wait until January to begin to develop a short term or long term sequestration alternative. All ideas should be put on the table and considered. Accordingly, we urge you to press between now and November the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation to score any bipartisan proposals forwarded to them so that Congress may evaluate these plans.”

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Of Course Obama Has an Opinion on the ‘Inaccurate Reception’

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Give the guy a break, it’s not like he’s got a lot on his plate.

Wait, President Obama’s spokesman said he does have a lot on his plate when it turned out that he hadn’t met with his jobs council in six months. Now it’s been 7.5 months going on 8, and it looks like the Sports Fan in Chief has cleared his plate enough to weigh in on the refs issue.

The blown call that flipped the outcome of a Monday night football game was so bad that even President Barack Obama is hoping for change.

NFL football owners need to settle their contract dispute and “get the permanent refs back,” Obama told The Des Moines Register in a telephone interview from the White House this afternoon.

“And I say this as a Bears fan, who obviously is never heartbroken when the Packers lose, but it’s not just this game,” Obama said. “We’ve seen that over the last several months. We need to go ahead and get this resolved and I think that is a bipartisan position.”

The NFL season is only three weeks old, but I guess he’s talking about the preseason. That would make it seven weeks, which don’t make up “several months,” but whatever. It’s just words.

I’m just glad that we have a president who thinks to flip on Sports Center before heading off to the UN to declare that Americans weren’t killed by terrorists and that the future belongs to those who most violently object to anyone who defames their preferred religious figure. As a Cowboys fan, I’m pondering a jihad on the anniversary of Dwight Clark’s infamous “Catch.” Tom Landry was the football god and Roger Staubach was his prophet and Joe Montana was an infidel.

The Preezy of the United Steezy should be cool with that.

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Senators ‘Insist on More Timely Information’ About Attacks from Clinton

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

Two Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today demanded more details about the Sept. 11 attack on the Benghazi consulate that left four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens dead.

“While we appreciate your participation in the briefing to the U.S. Senate last week, we are extremely concerned about conflicting reports over the events leading up to the attacks,” Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today. “Specifically, we are concerned over the apparent lack of security preparations made despite a demonstrable increase in risks to U.S. officials and facilities in Benghazi in the period leading up to the attacks.”

The senators noted June and August attacks on Westerners in Benghazi that should have served as warning.

“Libyan officials claim that that they met with U.S. officials regarding rising threats against Western officials in the days leading up to the attacks, and CNN reports that Ambassador Stevens was increasingly concerned over the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi and rising levels of Islamist extremism,” Isakson and Corker wrote. “Despite these warnings, the State Department sought and received a waiver from the standard security requirements for the consulate.”

The State Department’s Accountability Review Board investigating the attacks and the U.S. security posture is expected to deliver its report later this year.

“While we appreciate the sensitivities associated with this ongoing investigation, we must insist on more timely information regarding the attacks and the events leading up to the attacks,” the senators wrote. “To that end, we request that you transmit to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee all communications between the U.S. Mission to Libya and the State Department relevant to the security situation in Benghazi in the period leading up to the attacks, including, but not limited to, cables sent from Ambassador Stevens.”

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Akin Staying in Missouri Senate Race

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

On the last day for him to be able to drop out of the Missouri Senate race, Rep. Todd Akin (R) said that he has “one purpose going into November, and that’s replacing Claire McCaskill.”

Akin’s support from the GOP establishment was derailed by comments about rape and pregnancy he made last month. Some conservative groups are reconsidering decisions about funding the congressman’s campaign, though, with Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) Senate Conservatives Fund sending out feelers to supporters today asking if Akin should get cash now that he’s staying on the ballot.

“I believe that the positions that I’ve taken, as I’ve traveled the state, the citizens I’ve talked to say, ‘You’re mainstream Missouri; We want you, Congressman Akin, as our senator, and particularly we want you now because we know that people can’t buy you and that you’re going to stand up for this state and this country, and not be part of any special interest group,’” Akin told a press conference today hours before the 5 p.m. withdrawal deadline.

“In 1940, Harry Truman was pitched overboard by the Democrat Party in St. Louis and Kansas City. But he decided that he was going to challenge those particular leaders and let the public decide in the state of Missouri. The rest is history. We’re going to do it again,” Akin said.

“A lot of people in politics specialize in asking this question: Can we win? But there’s another — but there’s another question that’s more fundamental, and that is: What’s the right thing to do? There is an amazing correlation. When you do the right thing, you end up winning anyway,” he added.

The race is ranked by Real Clear Politics as leaning Dem, with McCaskill ahead of Akin by a 5.3 average in recent polls.

“We’re not going to play in Missouri with Todd Akin, I can tell you that,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Sunday on ABC’s This Week. “…I’m very confident we can take the Senate.”

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Obama Promised Health Care Costs Would Drop, But They’re Still Going Up

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

As a candidate, Barack Obama put a dollar figure on how much he and his ideas would reduce health care insurance costs.

During his first run for president, Barack Obama made one very specific promise to voters: He would cut health insurance premiums for families by $2,500, and do so in his first term.

But it turns out that family premiums have increased by more than $3,000 since Obama’s vow, according to the latest annual Kaiser Family Foundation employee health benefits survey.

Premiums for employer-provided family coverage rose $3,065 — 24% — from 2008 to 2012, the Kaiser survey found. Even if you start counting in 2009, premiums have climbed $2,370.

What’s more, premiums climbed faster in Obama’s four years than they did in the previous four under President Bush, the survey data show.

That’s a pretty glaring failure there, with simple enough numbers that the mainstream media could write sexy, simple stories about it. Cool graphs could show the promise — column going down below zero — to the reality — column going up past zero.

The mainstream media could even explain some of the cost increases simply enough — new mandates to cover things for “free” that weren’t covered for “free” before have driven other costs up, plus the stubborn high unemployment rate keeps millions over in the expensive, emergency room model instead of moving them onto true insurance.

That in turn could be explained in part by the uncertainty that employers, particularly small business owners, face when deciding whether to take on new hires. That uncertainty regarding liabilities leaves many small businesses deciding not to hire at all. Mainstream reporters could get a nice pair of sidebars out of this, one from the point of view of a business owner who isn’t hiring, and one from a displaced worker who can’t find a job and has picked up an illness costing her a fortune.

The problem with all of that reporting is that it lays blame both for increasing insurance costs and the stagnant economy at the feet of one Barack Obama. So it’s a story that the mainstream media will not tell. They have an election to win.

h/t Breitbart

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Romney Rumor: Romney Thinks Airplane Windows Should Open

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 - by Charlie Martin

Oh, my, this was popular yesterday.  See, eg, the LA Times:

“I appreciate the fact that she is on the ground, safe and sound. And I don’t think she knows just how worried some of us were,” Romney said. “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she’s safe and sound.”

Huffington Post:

Making post-fundraiser comments this weekend, presidential candidate Mitt Romney revealed a tenuous grip on the science of aviation, despite the fact that he and his wife, Ann, have been flying around the country this summer on the campaign trail.

After his wife’s plane was forced to make an emergency landing this weekend,Romney told the Los Angeles Times, he was worried for her safety. The candidate then continued on a bizarre tangent that showed just how little the Republican nominee understands about flight.

“I appreciate the fact that she is on the ground, safe and sound. And I don’t think she knows just how worried some of us were,” Romney told the paper. “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly.”

HuffPo added an update to the same article:

UPDATE: He was for rolling down airplane windows before he was against it.

Mitt Romney gave the Internet – and Rachel Maddow – a chuckle Monday after post-fundraiser comments that appeared to show the candidate has a tenuous grasp on the physics of flight.

But after Mitt Romney was quoted as saying that airplane windows “don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that,” a campaign pool reporter says the candidate was joking.

Ashley Parker, a New York Times reporter who filed on the comments, tells New Yorkmagazine that “it was clear from the context that he was not being serious.”

Dan Amira at New York magazine did a little fact checking and found (emphasis mine):

The Los Angeles Times story that relayed Romney’s airplane remark to the world was based off a pool report written by the New York Times‘s Ashley Parker. When we asked Parker this morning whether it seemed as if Romney made the mark in jest, she left no doubt. “Romney was joking,” she e-mailed. Parker told us that while the pool report didn’t explicitly indicate that Romney was joking, it was self-evident that he was. ”The pool report provided the full transcript of his comments on Ann’s plane scare,” she said, “and it was clear from the context that he was not being serious.”

 

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