Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Diagram Ezra Klein's Brain!

WAPO bloggers Ezra Klein and Dylan Matthews have a cute little interactive piece entitled 'Make Mitt Romney’s tax plan add up!'

Go there, and they have pre-selected draconian cuts or hikes in taxes Romney 'will have to make' in order to meet their goal of $480 billion in revenues needed.

There's no way to get there without clicking on new, heavy taxes or eliminating major tax deductions.

Ahh, such loyal soldiers for Barack Obama!

You'll notice that Ezra and Dylan's cute little cartoon doesn't include increased revenues from taxes collected on the increased economic activity that results from lowering tax rates, or decreasing the amount of revenue needed by cutting spending and waste.

Horrors! We can't have any of that, can we?

Lefties never like to talk about such things, simply because steps like these diminish government control, something so dear to their little hearts and increases economic freedom.

Nothing like stacking the game beforehand to get your desired answer, is there, Journolistas?

Can you diagram Ezra Klein's brain? Can you spell 'socialism'?

A Romney Landslide?

Dick Morris has a column out today predicting a landslide victory for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan with well over 300 electoral votes.

Is he right?

Predictably, the angry left is all over this. Apparently President Clinton getting kinky with a 19-year-old intern was OK, while Dick Morris' escapades with a professional..not so much. But they seem to have forgotten that Dick Morris used to make his living as President Clinton's personal pollster. He does know politics.

So how accurate is he?

Reasonable voters saw that the voice of hope and optimism and positivism was Romney while the president was only a nitpicking, quarrelsome, negative figure. The contrast does not work in Obama’s favor.

His erosion began shortly after the conventions when Indiana (10 votes) and North Carolina (15) moved to Romney (in addition to the 179 votes that states that McCain carried cast this year).

Then, in October, Obama lost the Southern swing states of Florida (29) and Virginia (13). He also lost Colorado (10)*, bringing his total to 255 votes.

And now, he faces the erosion of the northern swing states: Ohio (18), New Hampshire (4) and Iowa (6). Only in the union-anchored state of Nevada (9) does Obama still cling to a lead.

In the next few days, the battle will move to Pennsylvania (20), Michigan (15), Wisconsin (10) and Minnesota (16). Ahead in Pennsylvania, tied in Michigan and Wisconsin, and slightly behind in Minnesota, these new swing states look to be the battleground.

Or will the Romney momentum grow and wash into formerly safe Democratic territory in New Jersey and Oregon?

Once everyone discovers that the emperor has no clothes (or that Obama has no argument after the negative ads stopped working), the vote shift could be of historic proportions.

*(Yes, I know, Colorado only has 9 electoral votes. Complain to Morris)

As I've written before, I think Mitt Romney has probably won North Carolina and Florida pretty handily, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him take Virginia, especially after Obama dissed the Navy and shipbuilding in the last debate. That would bring him up to 248 electoral votes, 257 if you include Colorado, another state where Romney is running ahead.

All Romeny would need to win if he takes Virginia and Colorado is one of the following: Ohio (18 electoral votes), Pennsylvania, (20 electoral votes) or Michigan (16 electoral votes), all of which are in play at the moment.Or he'd have to take Wisconsin( 10 electoral votes) and one of the following: New Hampshire (4 EVs), Iowa, or Nevada (6 electoral votes each).

On the other hand, if it goes down this way the only one of the big four President Obama could afford to lose and still win would be Wisconsin.

And if Romney does take Wisconsin and either Iowa or New Hampshire, both states where he's also ahead in the polls, it's over.

I personally see that as a more likely scenario, with Romney perhaps topping 300 if he happens to win either Ohio, Pennsylvania or Michigan.

I went into a few details in the earlier linked article on why each of these states are either problematical or likely pickups by Romney. As always, turnout is going to be the key.

I see a decent victory for Mitt Romney, not a landslide. And I'll narrow things down for you with a final prediction before the election.

Hang On, Abigail, The Election's Almost Over

I think Abigail speaks for a lot of us. We want this thing over and done with. Actually, NPR actually apologized after someone (mom, probably) let them know that one of their reports made the little girl cry.

Don't worry sweetie. G-d willing, not just the election but 'bronco bamma' will be over soon too and NPR will have to start paying its own way instead of adding to the $180,000 worth of debt you were saddled with that you had nothing to say about.

The Muslim Brotherhood Has Its Own School For Training France's Imams


The Muslim Brotherhood has come up with a unique solution to the quest for indoctrinating and training home grown Islamists in France.

They have their own posh institute that specializes in training local French Muslims to be Islamist imams:

Early in the morning, some 200 students from across the country stream into the European Institute of Human Sciences de Saint-Leger-de-Fougeret, where they learn to chant the Koran and study Islamic theology and Arabic literature.

Estimates of France’s Muslim population vary widely, from between 3.5 million and 6 million, though there is little hard evidence as to how many are practising. In any event, France’s Muslim community is the largest in Western Europe.

The initiative goes back 20 years when the Union of Islamic Organizations in France, which has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, converted a former children’s holiday centre into the institute. Its stated aim is to train imams equipped “with a solid knowledge of Islam and the socio-cultural realities of Europe.” The idea was to provide an alternative to the recruitment of foreign imams, who often spoke no French and had little or no knowledge of French lifestyles.

“The training of imams who are products of French society is vital: Today 70 percent of the faithful don’t speak Arabic,” said the institute’s director Zuhair Mahmood.

Initially financed by the Gulf States, the school depends heavily on fees of about 3,400 euros a year, board and lodging included.

What better way to control France's Muslims than to provide their Imams, all well versed in the Muslim Brotherhood's version of Islam? And to indoctrinate young Muslims in madrassahs? Le plan parfait, n'est pa?

The Muslims failed to conquer France by force of arms at Poitiers, but they seem to be doing quite well at it using these sort of stealth tactics.

The French had better wake up, and soon.

Zut alors!

E-mails Contradict Obama On Involvement With Yet Another Green Energy Failure

In his latest campaign swing in Colorado on October 27th,President Obama claimed, to local Denver TV reporter Kyle Clark that the decision to give millions in taxpayer dollars to Abound Solar, a now bankrupt company “was made by the Department of Energy,” and had “nothing to do with politics.”

KYLE CLARK: In a national address, you touted the stimulus money going to Abound Solar – a Colorado company connected to one of your billionaire fundraisers. Now, as you may know, Abound Solar is out of business and under criminal investigation. The jobs are gone and taxpayers are out about 60 million dollars. How do you answer critics who see Abound Solar as Colorado’s Solyndra – a politically connected clean energy company that went under and took our money with it?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (Laughs) Well, Kyle, I think that if you look at our record that these loans that are given out by the Department of Energy for clean energy have created jobs all across the country and only about four percent of these loans were going to some very cutting-edge industries that are going to allow us to figure out how to produce energy in a clean, renewable way in the future and create jobs in Colorado and all around the country. And some of them have failed but the vast majority of them are pushing us forward into a clean energy direction. And that’s good for Colorado and good for the country. And these are decisions, by the way, that are made by the Department of Energy, they have nothing to do with politics.

Abound Solar was the baby of major Obama bundler Pat Stryker and is now under criminal investigation for misleading investors. It went bankrupt in mid-2012 after running through through $70 million of a federal loan guarantee worth $400 million.

And of course, as it turns out, giving Abound the money had everything to do with politics, as we now know thanks to  e-mails published by Colorado reporter Todd Shepherd that reveal Department of Energy officials pushing the loan hard to Abound Solar because of pressure from the White House:

DOE loan executive Jonathan Silver tells DOE credit advisor Jim McCrea, “You better let him know the WH wants to move Abound forward.” It appears to be a mild scolding to a Treasury advisor, Ian Samuels, who is not moving fast enough to schedule calls regarding Abound.
The second page of the email thread makes mention of “…transaction pressure under which we are all now operating…” This entire email thread happened just a few days before President Obama would hail the government-backed loans as a job creator for Colorado.

Other DOE e-mails unearthed in October reveal just how risky some officials thought these loans were:

“l really cannot fathom how one figures out whether a loan to a PV manufacturer is being made to one that will survive. Everything about the business argues for the failure of many if not most of the suppliers.”
The “PV” reference is to photovoltaic solar panel manufacturing technology. Solyndra and Abound Solar both used PV technology.

The above was written by a high level DOE official in a sort of quasi-confessional.

Rep. Darrel Issa was all over this one, pointing out that Abound at the time it was funded by the DOE had a junk credit rating of B, even lower that another of President Obama's green energy failures, Solyndra.

Abound still got their loan pushed through, and here's an insight into why.

To Barack Obama and the people he brought with him from Chicago, this is business as usual. It's how things are routinely done in that political culture. You reward your backers with taxpayer money and you never look back,because you know you'll be getting some of it returned to you on the rebound, whether it's a high level donor or a public employee union.

If Tony Rezco doesn't receive a presidential pardon and an independent prosecutor were to dangle immunity and a reduced sentence in front of him, we'd hear all sorts of stories about how he and Saddam Hussein's bagman Nadhni Auchi were assisted by an Illinois State legislator named Barack Obama in getting contracts to put up large tracts of public housing that later turned out to be substandard, shoddily constructed and falling apart.

It's the Chicago way.

Like Benghazi, I doubt you're going to hear much about this one from the media, but the funneling of DOE loans to the companies of prominent Obama donors and bundlers is an absolute disgrace, and hopefully Congress will continue to work at exposing it.

Watcher's Council Nominations - Scary Monsters Edition

Smart kid...he knows that with Obama, it's all tricks and no treats for him! Especially not with $180,000 worth of debt to pay off he had no say in incurring.

Welcome to the Watcher's Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the 'sphere, and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday.

Council News:

First off, our condolences to those of our readers who got hit hard by Sandy.Some of our esteemed Council were caught in the storm as well, and here's hoping for a swift return to normal and a speedy recovery for everyone.

This week, Ask Marion, The Pirate's Cove, and Maggie's Notebook took advantage of my generous offer of link whorage and earned honorable mention status with some great pieces they submitted.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

Simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address ( which won't be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out Wednesday morning.

It's a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members. while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let's see what we have this week....

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter..'cause we're cool like that!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Israel's Two Major Parties On The Right Sign Unity Deal

Israel's two major parties on the right, Likud and Israel Beiteinu have agreed to a merger for the coming January elections:

The Likud Central Committee on Monday officially approved by a large majority the merger with Yisrael Beiteinu ahead of the coming Knesset election.

Before the open vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the committee delegates, who had gathered at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds.

In his speech, Netanyahu referred to recent assertions that Yisrael Beiteinu head and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman had come to Likud to take Netanyahu's place in the future.

"I've heard all sorts of talk in recent days about heirs. I have news for you. I intend to lead for many more years," Netanyahu said. "I believe that at this time it is essential that the nationalist camp unite forces, and that is the reason that I asked Avigdor Lieberman to run on a single joint list with us. I want to be clear. The Likud will remain an independent party and will continue to be a nationalist and liberal party. It will continue to be a movement for all of Israel's citizens. The unity will not change Likud, but it will change the State of Israel."

The two parties will now sit down together and configure their joint lists to see which seats will be reserved for which party's candidates.

Natanyahu is setting up his governing coalition in advance because he wants a strong majority to confront Iran and other challenges in the region and to deal put Israel's new budget in place to avoid the country mimicking Europe.

It makes what was a probable win for what Netanyahu aptly called the nationalist camp victory into a certainty.

Gallup: Romney Leads In Early Voters 52-45

Remember all the Obama Media tooting about how the president was leading among early voters?

Ummm, no.

Gallup says that around 15% of all likely voters have already cast their ballots, and out of those voters, guess what? Mitt Romney is leading 52% to 45%, a full 7 points.

Or to quote Gallup, 'that is comparable to Romney's 51% to 46% lead among all likely voters in Gallup's Oct. 22-28 tracking polling.'

That is a 22 point drop from where President Obama stood at this point in the election back in 2008.

It's also worth recalling that Gallup's 2008 survey of early voters interviewed only 1,010 registered voters. Yesterday's early voter poll interviewed a huge survey of over 3,300, which makes the 2012 poll a lot more accurate.

Sandy Ain't No Nice Girl; 30 Dead,7 Million Without Power

Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc throughout a major portion of the East coast, with New York City being particularly hard hit.

The Big Apple was hit with a record 13-foot wall of water that flooded lower Manhattan. The subways were flooded, including the Queens Midtown and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel pictured above, and heavy rains and 90 mph winds took a toll on the city's power grid. A fifty foot strip was ripped out of Atlantic City's famous Boardwalk.In Maryland, at least 100 feet of a fishing pier at the beach resort of Ocean City was destroyed.

At least half a million people along the East Coast have been ordered to evacuate, including 375,000 from parts of New York City.

Might I add that if you've been ordered to evacuate, take it seriously and be safe.

All public transit has been shut down in most of the New York metro area and much of New Jersey, the schools and the NYSE are closed and damage is estimated to be as much as $20 billion.

Fires in New York City were also a problem in spite of the wet weather because firemen were unable to get to fire areas due to the unprecedented flooding. More than 50 homes were destroyed in Breezy Point, Queens.

The storm is now gradually lessening and moving inland.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Obama Agonistes: The Fiction Cracks On Benghazi

"The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good." - Psalms, 36:3

More and more of what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton farcically referred to as ' the fog of war' over the Benghazi debacle has dispersed...and what it reveals is sheer ugliness.

Even some of President Obama's loyal media lackeys aren't quite able to swallow what he's doling out, as this video clip from an MSNBC interview shows.

Here's a transcript, that mercifully leaves out the president's stammers, er-ahs and stutters:

MB: Why has it been so easy for critics to say the administration does not have its story straight on Benghazi?

BO: Well look, the fact of the matter is that this is a tragedy. There’s all kinds of legitimate questions to ask, because any time a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans who are serving our country get killed, you know, we’ve got to figure out what happened and fix it. And most importantly, we’ve got to bring those folks who carried that out to justice. That’s exactly what we’re going to do. But I do take offense, as I’ve said during one of the debates, with some suggestion that you know, in any way we haven’t tried to make sure that the American people knew as information was coming in what we believed happened. And…

JS: Was it the intel community giving you bad information early on, because that’s…the stories keep changing.

BO: Well, that’s what we’re going to find out from the investigation. But the truth is that you know, across the board, when this happened, my number one priority was secure Americans, figure out what happened, bring those folks to justice. We are in the process of doing that right now Congress has been getting the flow of information continuously from day one, and what my attitude on this is, is if we find out that there was a big breakdown and somebody didn’t do their job, they’ll be held accountable. Ultimately, as commander-in-chief, I’m responsible, and I don’t shy away from that responsibility. My number one responsibility is to go after folks who did this, and we’re going to make sure that we get them. I’ve got a pretty good track record in doing that.

Meanwhile, a number of members of Congress have been quite vocal over the fact that the administration hasn't told them anything or complied with even the most basic requests for information.

As Senator John McCain (R-AZ), the ranking Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee revealed today in an interview, not only are the recordings from the surveillance cameras that were all over the Benghazi compound now classified top secret so no one can view them, but repeated requests for information to James Clapper, the director of the National Intelligence, General Petraeus, the head of the CIA, or John Brennan, who is the White House head of counterterrorism.

I'll add to that by telling you that according to my sources, the videos sent from the drones overhead directly to the White House situation room in real time and the phone recordings of calls from the Benghazi consulate and the Benghazi CIA annex have suffered the same fate as the surveillance camera tapes. They're classified top secret so no one can get to them.A number of the e-mails that have been leaked were as well,but this president's wholesale blaming of the intelligence community for his own malfeasance has not gone without some blowback.

As for the information given to the American people, what we heard for days from this president, the Secretary of State, the White House spokesperson and our UN ambassador for days were outright lies about a video and a 'spontaneous protest' that got out of control. Because of the leaked e-mails, we know know that the State Department and the White House knew within hours that this was a planned terrorist attack by an al-Qaeda affiliate.

The other, unmistakeable fact that's leaked out is that there was no attempt made to save the trapped Americans in the consulate. When the men in the CIA annex in Benghazi, including two ex-Navy SEALS repeatedly asked for permission to put together an ad-hoc force to rescue the Ambassador and the other men trapped in the consulate, they were told to stand down three times.

There were helicopter gunships within easy range of the consulate, and F-18 fighters less than an hour away. One of those ex-Seals in the annex had a laser range finder and was actually radioing in coordinates of enemy targets. No U.S. aircraft were sent to attack.

There was even a Special OPs unit already deployed and ready to go at our airbase in Sigonella, Sicily, a little over a two-hour plane ride away from Benghazi.

This force, known as the Commander's In-extremis Force (CIF) is specifically designated and trained for exactly these kinds of missions, where Americans are endangered and quick, decisive action is called for. The CIF forces are designed to go in with a minimum of information and hit the ground running, and every military theater commander has access to one.

They never got the orders to move.

Instead, the fight was simply observed in real time for seven hours, by which time four Americans had been murdered - including the two heroic ex-SEALS who decided to disobey orders and do what their government lacked the stones to do, saddle up an ride out to try and save their fellow Americans.

Once all this intel leaked, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta had an astounding response to media inquiries on this. After accusing people who were justifiably angry at being lied to for weeks and were critical of the administration of 'Monday Morning quarterbacking', he said, on October 25th that this was somehow just business as usual.

“A basic principle,” he said, “is you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on — without having some real-time information about what’s taking place.”

Let's look at that. You have drones overhead showing you what's going on in real time, you have phone contact with the consulate, and you have a Navy SEAL feeding you precise coordinates on enemy targets from less than a mile away. And this excuse for a Secretary of Defense has the nerve and the contempt for people with far more combat experience than he'll ever have to try to lie his way out of this by saying they lacked sufficient information?

Those of you who've had combat experience, tell me - how many times have you been given a mission to perform with a lot less intel than that going in? It happens all the time. Even police officers often go in to hairy situations with nothing more than a message like 'shots fired' or 'burglary in progress' and an address.

Leon Panetta obviously was told to walk the plank with the media to try and defuse this. It's amazing that the media didn't excoriate him for such a cynical, dishonest statement.

And President Obama? All of sudden, his story has changed.

On the campaign trail in Denver on October 26, he said, “The minute I found out what was happening . . . I gave the directive,” he said, “to make sure we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to do. I guarantee you everybody in the CIA and military knew the number-one priority was making sure our people are safe.”

According to the White House calender, President Obama met with his entire security team on September 11th,2012 5 PM DC time,including Secretary Panetta. By then the Benghazi attack had been going on for just under an hour.

The decision to send in the CIF or indeed any military forces would have been referred to the president as commander-in-chief.If the president gave that order, as he says, than either somebody countermanded it without telling him or the president never gave the order in the first place and he's simply lying again. He needs to clear the record by releasing the directive publicly.

Someone gave the orders to the men in the CIA annex to stand down, and knowing our military as I do, somebody specifically instructed them not to deploy when they checked back in and requested permission to go in and save American lives.

Who was it?

If SecDef Panetta or Commander of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey countermanded the president's direct orders, they would have informed him directly.General David Petraeus, the head of the CIA has stated unequivocally that no such orders to stand down came from him.

On the other hand, if the president is simply lying and he never gave any such 'directive' then they were simply carrying out his orders while he rested up for his campaign fundraiser and celeb appearances in Las Vegas.

What Benghazi became for this president and his administration ultimately was a political problem that had to be handled to cover up far deeper questions that might be asked about his entire handling of foreign policy...especially his intervention in Libya and his insistence that al-Qaeda was 'on the run' after bin-Laden's assassination. So they lied. Repeatedly.

And the president's belated insistence that he 'gave a directive' which would have been transmitted directly to AFRICOM, the Defense Department, the CIA, and the State Department is either true or false. If it's true, it's in his interest to release and declassify the directive, the video recordings and everything else connected with this debacle so we can find out who disobeyed his orders. The fact that he isn't doing so tells us a great deal.

And as a signal as to where this might be going, I note that General Ham, the theater commander of AFRICOM whose responsibilities included Libya has suddenly been relieved of command. Is he being set up as yet another possible fall guy? We'll see.

After all the lies and the heavy handed attempt at a coverup, here's what's certain. Four Americans were left to die when they could have been saved, and all of the nonsense by the President and Secretary Clinton about how close Ambassador Stevens was to them while they were attending his funeral was some of the most cynical and self serving horse manure it's ever been my misfortune to observe.The fact they that could know what they knew, say those things and face these men's families beggars the imagination.

Either this president is either guilty of gross incompetence or he willfully deceived the American people.There's no other way to see this.

You pick whichever one you want, but either one shows why this president is unworthy of serving in any position of public responsibility, let alone as commander-in-chief.

This is not going to go away, in spite of the efforts of the president's lackeys in the media to bury it.

Giants Win Series As Tigers Fall Victim To The Obama Curse


The San Francisco Giants swept the World Series four straight to become World Champions, with the Detroit Tigers at the losing end, 4-3.

My pal Bookworm points out why. Barack Obama let the world know on Leno's show that he was rooting for Detroit:

On Wednesday night, Obama appeared on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show.  There, in response to Jay’s question about the World Series, Obama turned his back on the Golden State that has filled his campaign coffers and told America that he was rooting for Detroit’s team (keeping in mind that Michigan’s electoral votes are up for grabs):
I will say, I’ve spent a lot of time in Detroit lately, and I didn’t want to let Detroit go bankrupt. So in this particular World Series, I might be a little partial.

You know, it seems like most of what President Barack Obama touches turns into a substance very different from gold - Fast and Furious, Egypt, a stimulus, green energy jobs, an Olympics bid, you name it.

Could it be that President Obama actually figured this out and had a side bet going on the Giants to win?

Reactions To Sandy Point Out A Key Difference Between Romney And Obama


Hurricane Sandy points out yet another key difference between President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.

With the huge storm coming in, both candidates have suspended campaign events for the next few days.But that's where the similarity ends.

Unlike his reaction to the Benghazi debacle, President Obama has said he's canceled campaign appearances and is going to 'monitor the situation'.

Mitt Romney? He's not 'monitoring' anything. He's filled his campaign bus up with emergency supplies and having them delivered to storm relief centers for those in the path of the hurricane.And knowing his past performance in these kinds of circumstances, I'm sure it's more than one bus.

Barack Obama 'monitors' things, waits and calculates what's to his political advantage before doing anything. He's a talker, always concerned with saying what's right..for his political agenda.

Mitt Romney sees what's needed and makes it happen. He's a doer, more concerned with doing what's right.

A small thing, but it reveals a lot.

I know which  kind of neighbor I'd rather have living next door to me if I needed help. And what kind of man I'd rather have in the White House.

Forum: Is DOMA Unconstitutional?

Last week, the New York State Appeals Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional.

The ruling itself was based on a very narrow  criteria, since there was a plaintiff that obviously  suffered financial damages because of a spousal deduction she would otherwise have received on the estate tax on her deceased partner's estate as a result. But with the Supreme Court set to rule on the Constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, this week the Council addresses the question: Is DOMA unconstitutional? How will the recent ruling affect coming Supreme Court ruling on Same Sex Marriage?:

The Independent Sentinel: I don't want the federal government involved in this at all. I prefer it be a states rights issue. I feel the same way about abortion. I am opposed to big government and I am against changing the constitution for social issues.

I think DOMA will be found unconstitutional but I think it should be found Constitutional on the basis of states rights and the right of people to choose.

I will become concerned about this issue if it begins to affect freedom of religion. Religions that only marry one man and one woman must be allowed to do so or I don't think we can call ourselves free any longer.

I believe the only civil rights issue in this country is the abuse of African-Americans through slavery and decades of oppression. No other issue, not even an important social choice issue, should take away from that.

 The Colossus of Rhodey: It seems the main problem the recent court ruling against DOMA has is with the law's Section 3 which defines marriage *federally* as between a man and a woman. The ruling invoked "equal protection;" if the SCOTUS rules as the circuit court did, it will enshrine a right to collect benefits (from the feds) for legally married gay couples. BUT -- it wouldn't necessarily mean that the rest of DOMA would be stricken. The Act allows states to decide whether they want to recognize gay marriages (and those performed in other states), and a cursory reading of the Constitution's Article IV shows that this part of the law *should be* constitutional re: the Full Faith and Credit Clause. The Clause notes that "And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof." In other words, those in favor of striking the entire law would have to demonstrate how Congress does *not* have the right to prescribe how its laws are enacted, or, in this case, why another state would *not* have the right to refuse to recognize a gay marriage performed in another state.

It will be difficult to guess what the SCOTUS will rule. If the states still get to decide the question of marriage, then could a gay couple still be able to collect federal benefits from a non-gay marriage state (if they were "married," in a state which allowed such, but they didn't actually *reside* in such a state)? If so, how and why? Or, can only those who were [gay] married in a state which allowed such unions be permitted to collect such benefits?

The Glittering Eye: There are two ways of answering that question. The answer in law is absolutely,
positively not. But the practical answer is different. The practical answer is that
whatever the currently sitting Supreme Court justices say is unconstitutional is

I'm guessing that, considering that there's a majority of sexual libertarians on the court,the present Court will strike down the DOMA.

The Noisy Room:Yes, DOMA is unconstitutional for the simple reason that its foundation premise, that government has any business moderating marriage, is fundamentally broken. DOMA falls into that broader fascist category of "good ideas enforced at gun point." If a constitutional foundation can be found and established for the concept that government is somehow the appropriate arbiter of the act of marriage at all, then a case can be made for DOMA because to the degree that government brokers marriage, government must then define it. However, the constitution offers no support for what was at the time a cultural and religious construct which more modernly, has been annexed as one of the "proper functions" of government.

I don't see any constitutional support for it and in fact, it plays into the concept that government can replace religion. And this is one of the greasier slopes on which one can embark. This goes further to a broader premise that government somehow owns "citizens," or as the British prefer to call them, "subjects." As the premise broadens, it encroaches on education (all your kids are belong to us) and "health and welfare." We have to keep you healthy so you are productive, our revenue depends on it. This, then, "logically" flows into mandated morality, and while actual crime is a province of government, what you eat for breakfast, how you iron your shirts and with whom you spend your nights is not. See Atlas Shrugged.

So, although this is a blatant attempt to pander to the gay community by Obama, DOMA is not constitutional in my viewpoint. Marriage is a personal (or religious) act, not a government province.

 Bookworm Room: Yes, I do believe that DOMA is unconstitutional.  The Constitution does not contemplate marriage at a federal level.  For that reason, it is a matter that, technically speaking, should be left to the states.  Having said that, let's get to the modern wrinkles.  When the Constitution was ratified, the Founders could not have imagined same-sex marriage.  It did not exist at the time.  Had the notion existed, the Founders might have chosen to address marriage in the Constitution for one very specific reason:  The full faith and credit clause, which obligates each state to recognize the duly passed laws of the other states.  The problem with laws that provide fundamentally different definitions of marriage (such as those allowing polygamy or same sex marriage) is that, as people move from one state to another, they may be legally married in State A, but not in State B.  Any subsequent property, child custody, or third party contract disputes become a nightmare.

With new definitions of marriage never imagined by the Founders, the correct way to deal with the issue is through a Constitutional amendment.  If I could draft the amendment, I would remove "marriage" from government control and leave it solely to religious institutions to "marry" people.  Government should have power over "civil unions," and that power should be exercised in whatever way is most beneficial to advance state goals of economic stability, generational property transfers, and the overall best situation for children.  Civil unions could certainly encompass same sex couples.  I would be loath to extend civil unions to polygamy, though, because of the problems with economic stability and generational property transfers.  (England, which legally recognizes polygamous marriages from Muslim countries, demonstrates that, in a Western culture, it's hard for a single man to support multiple women.  These polygamous families end up using welfare disproportionately.)

I'm deeply concerned that, if same sex "marriage" becomes a constitutional right, we'll have a major constitutional clash between church and state, one that makes the current fight over funding abortion look like a kindergarten party.  Think of it:  In the Catholic faith, marriage is a sacrament.  Can you imagine what will happen to the First Amendment freedom of religion if it crashes headlong into some new amendment mandating gay "marriage."  If, however, the state passes an amendment recognizing civil unions, churches can continue to marry whomever their doctrine recognizes.

Well, there you have it.

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Iran Has Almost Finished Its Underground Fordo Nuclear Plant

Iran has reportedly almost finished moving most of its enrichment facilities to its underground Fordo facility, situated under a mountain near Qom.

The site now 3,000 of Iran's most advanced centrifuges, the IR-2's and IR-4's. The Iranians are reformatting the centrifuges to refine uranium up to the 60 percent level, a short step before the weapons grade of 90 percent:

Iran’s progress at Fordo was disclosed by officials familiar with the findings of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency who have been to the site recently as part of their regular visits. The officials included some from European governments who have opposed taking military action to slow the Iranian program, arguing that sanctions — with a mix of covert action — are far preferable.

The Fordo plant was a secret until September 2009.when the Obama Administration outed it with the bright idea that revealing its existence would somehow get the Iranians to stop building it,or at least ewliminate its use as a secret facility.

Surprise surprise...what it actually did was to cause them to rush to complete it so as to make their illegal nuclear weapons program as secure from possible military attacks as possible.

The Fordo plant is just within the edge of vulnerability to Israel's top of the line current bunker busters, the Israeli built 500-pound MPR-500. The MPR-5000 is not only capable of penetrating four reinforced concrete walls but has relatively low weight. This increases its utility for air strikes in contrast to the 5,000-pound U.S. made GBU-28, which the Israelis also have some of on hand.

The Israelis also have lots of U.S. made U.S. Mk82's, which can use JDAM kits or Paveway for target guidance, thus making multiple hits on the same area possible.

The Israelis also have ballistic missiles capable of being fired from land, drones. or its Dolphin class submarines, and they could even take the ultimate step of using tactical nukes and making the area around Fordo uninhabitable for quite some time.

The American GBU-28's and the new 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP)could certainly do the job much easier and cleaner, but the Obama Administration has so far held off.

White House spokeshole Jay Carney said President Obama is "open to considering bilateral talks with Iran" .

"The president made clear the window of opportunity here will not remain open forever, and he will not tolerate -- if we get to the point of negotiation with Iran -- endless negotiations or negotiations that serve merely as a stall tactic," Carney said.

Well, that remains to be seen.So far, the Iranians have managed to do that quite nicely.

Fordo is expected to be fully up and running by late January, early February at the latest. This is yet another red line Iran has crossed far earlier than expected.

Father of Murdered SEAL: 'Who Made the Decision Not to Save My Son' ?

That's a question Charles Woods, the father of Tyrone Woods, who was killed in the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi wants an answer to.

Now that the full, sordid story about what happened in Benghazi and the White House's response to it is coming, we now know that not only were they in phone contact with the Americans trapped in the consulate, but they were watching what was occurring in real time thanks to an overhead drone.Yet they did nothing. And Charles Woods wants some answers, just like the rest of us. Particularly after his meeting with the president and Hillary Clinton at the memorial service for his son and the other three slain Americans:

“When [Obama] came over to our little area” at Andrew Air Force Base, says Woods, “he kind of just mumbled, you know, ‘I’m sorry.’ His face was looking at me, but his eyes were looking over my shoulder like he could not look me in the eye. And it was not a sincere, ‘I’m really sorry, you know, that your son died,’ but it was totally insincere, more of whining type, ‘I’m sorry.’”

Woods says that shaking President Obama’s hands at his son’s memorial service was “like shaking hands with a dead fish.”

“It just didn’t feel right,” he says of his encounter with the commander in chief. “And now that it’s coming out that apparently the White House situation room was watching our people die in real time, as this was happening,” Woods says, he wants answers on what happened—and why there was no apparent effort to save his son’s life.

“Well, this is what Hillary did,” Woods continues. “She came over and, you know, did the same thing—separately came over and talked with me. I gave her a hug, shook her hand. And she did not appear to be one bit sincere—at all. And you know, she mentioned that the thing about, we’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video. That was the first time I had even heard about anything like that.”

“Apparently even the State Department had a live stream and was aware of their calls for help. My son wasn’t even there. He was at a safe house about a mile away. He got the distress call; he heard them crying for help; that’s why he and Glen risked their lives to go that extra mile just to take care of the situation. And I’m sure that wasn’t the only one received that distress call—you know, come save our lives … I’m sure that other people in the military, in the State Department, in the White House, received that same call that he would receive. And I’m sure that most military people would jump at the chance … to protect that life [and] not leave anyone behind.”

Just for the record, The president could have ordered F-18s to fly overhead on afterburners and even fire into the mob, something that's worked in the past when it comes to dispersing attackers. They could have been there in an hour. We also had available a full contingent of Special Operations Forces to fly in from the U.S. military base in Sigonella, Sicily who could have been on the ground in Benghazi in less than three hours.

Even an urgent request from the CIA annex in Benghazi for military backup to save the besieged Americans in the consulate was denied:

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

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

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

That decision on whether to order our forces in would have been left to President Obama, the commander in chief.

Instead, he apparently voted present. A force of 22 men was eventually sent 6 hours later from the Tripoli which time the attack was over and all four men were dead.

It would have been one thing if President Obama had gone on national television, addressed what had actually happened and explained his decision. Instead, he, Secretary Clinton and his advisers saw this not as a national security issue but as a political problem in an election year that had to dealt with. No one wanted it to come to light that Ambassador Stevens' request for additional security had been denied, or that the State Department had actually removed security teams from the area in spite of incidents that pointed out how dangerous Benghazi was. No one wanted to reveal that al-Qaeda was very much alive and well, in spite of President Obama's chest thumping. So they concocted a cock and bull story about a video, and kept repeating it to the nation for eight days.

And when that collapsed, the president and the White House rushed to blame the State Department and the intelligence community,claiming they were never informed. That final, obscene falsehood has now collapsed as well.

Will we get some answers from President Obama? Doubtful, especially since the Obama Media isn't going to make this a firestorm like they did Watergate.

But this morally disgraceful episode is going to resonate far beyond the current election season. If nothing else, it gives to lie to the notion of President Obama as 'strong on foreign policy'.

The Council Has Spoken!! This Week's Watchers Council Winners

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast, and the results are in for this week's Watcher's Council match up.

What did President Obama know about what happened in Benghazi and when did he know it?" The old Watergate question surfaces again.

This week's winner, Joshuapundit's Heart Of Darkness - The Real Benghazi Coverup   was written  before a new slew of e-mails leaked that  showed the White House knew that Benghazi was a terrorist attack launched by an al-Qaeda affiliated militia within 2 hours, before it was known that the staff in the besieged Benghazi consulate communicated with the White House directly by phone as soon as the attack was launched and that  the attack was watched in real time by the White House with a video signal relayed by an overhead drone. And as this week's Non-Council winner reveals, that the trapped men could very possibly have been rescued. 

Nevertheless, this week's winner takes a look at the unanswered questions about Benghazi and the rotten heart of the cover up, the real reasons the Obama Administration chose to essentially lie to the American people about what happened that night in Libya and what it means. Here's a slice:

The CIA is apparently not willing to fall on its sword to protect President Obama, Secretary Clinton , Ambassador Rice, and the rest of the Obama Administration.

It's now been leaked by officials within the Obama Administration that the CIA Head of Station in Libya reported within 24 hours that the attack on Benghazi that left four Americans dead was carried out by al-Qaeda and associated groups, that it was a planned operation, and that it had nothing to do with any protest or unrest over a video.

The linked story, which is essentially an AP rewrite says 'It is unclear who, if anyone, saw the cable outside the CIA at that point and how high up in the agency the information went.'

'Unclear'? It obviously went to various places - to the head of the CIA General Petraeus, to Obama's NSC Tom Donilon, and to Hillary Clinton as head of the State Department at the very least. That's how these things are routinely handled. Are we to believe Joe Biden and President Obama that nobody told them, and the entire attempt to spin this for nine days as a 'protest' over a video was due to misinformation and intelligence failure?

Or Hillary Clinton's claim that she didn't know either and that the obscene spin put on this was due to ' the fog of war'?

The AP does their best to shield the Administration, like always. They even repeated the falsehood Obama told at the last debate (with an assist from 'moderator' Candy Crowley) that he referred to Benghazi as a terrorist attack during his speech the day after in the Rose Garden, something I debunked previously.

But even if one takes a large leap in logic to assume that no one in the administration knew for certain what had happened, how does that explain the certainty with which the president and his minions declared for 8 days that what happened in Benghazi was a protest over a poorly made video on YouTube that turned violent?

How does it explain the deliberate removal of special forces security teams from Libya and the denials of Ambassador Stevens' own repeated requests for more of it? Even his request for a barbed wire fence around the Benghazi consulate was denied.

How does it explain situating an unprotected consulate and staff in Benghazi, known to be a hotbed of al-Qaeda and associated militias? Even the International Red Cross pulled out months before the attack because of the security situation. If the Red Cross knew, if most European intelligence bureaus like Britain's M15 knew, why didn't our own intel?

The answer of course, is fairly simple. None of it adds up.

What does add up is an attempt at a political coverup, and it possibly goes even deeper than just shielding the president and his administration from charges of gross incompetence during an election year when President Obama is chest pounding over his supposed foreign policy expertise.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Bing West  with First, Aid the Living submitted by Joshuapundit. It details not only what happened in Benghazi  but  the Obama Administration's failure to send in Special forces troops to rescue the men trapped in the Benghazi compound when they knew the attack was going on and  it could easily have been done. And it shows plainly why Barack Obama is unfit to be commander-in -chief . Do read it.

 OK, here are this week’s full results. The Razor, The Political Commentator and The Colossus of Rhodey were unable to vote this week, but none of them were subject to the mandatory  2/3  vote penalty for not voting :

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don't forget to tune in on Monday AM for this week's Watcher's Forum, as the Council takes apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weighs in...don't you dare miss it. And don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..'cause we're cool like that!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Britain Refuses US Request to Use UK Bases In Any Conflict With Iran

Britain's far left Guardian is reporting that the UK government has refused a request by the US to allow the Americans to use any British bases either for a buildup of forces in the Persian Gulf or to participate in a pre-emptive strike on Iran's illeagal nuclear facilities.

That includes the use of British bases in Cyprus and even US bases on Ascension Island in the Atlantic and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, both of which are British territories:

"The UK would be in breach of international law if it facilitated what amounted to a pre-emptive strike on Iran," said a senior Whitehall source. "It is explicit. The government has been using this to push back against the Americans." {...}

"But I think the US has been surprised that ministers have been reluctant to provide assurances about this kind of upfront assistance," said one source. "They'd expect resistance from senior Liberal Democrats, but it's Tories as well. That has come as a bit of a surprise."

The situation reflects the lack of appetite within Whitehall for the UK to be drawn into any conflict, though the Royal Navy has a large presence in the Gulf in case the ongoing diplomatic efforts fail.

The navy has up to 10 ships in the region, including a nuclear-powered submarine. Its counter-mine vessels are on permanent rotation to help ensure that the strategically important shipping lanes through the Strait of Hormuz remain open.

The article also implies that the Americans are the tools of those crazy warmongering Jews, which is not an untypical stance at all for the Guardian:

"It is quite likely that if the Israelis decided to attack Iran, or the Americans felt they had to do it for the Israelis or in support of them, the UK would not be told beforehand," said the source. "In some respects, the UK government would prefer it that way." {...}

The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, warned at the UN general assembly last month that Iran's nuclear programme would reach Israel's "red line" by "next spring, at most by next summer", implying that Israel might then take military action in an attempt to destroy nuclear sites and set back the programme.

That red line, which Netanyahu illustrated at the UN with a marker pen on a picture of a bomb, is defined by Iranian progress in making uranium enriched to 20%, which would be much easier than uranium enriched to 5% to turn into weapons-grade material, should Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, take the strategic decision to abandon Iran's observance of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and try to make a weapon. Tehran insists it has no such intention.

In August, the most senior US military officer, General Martin Dempsey, distanced himself from any Israeli plan to bomb Iran. He said such an attack would "clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran's nuclear programme".

He added: "I don't want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it."

If the Guardian has it right, and they likely do, I guarantee that Britain's reluctance to stand with its ally has nothing to do with 'international law'. For that matter, rather than observing the non-proliferation treaty as this piece suggests, Iran has broken it with impunity.

No, Britain's reluctance comes from a very different source, its restive Muslim population. The UK already has enough turmoil and unrest on its hands from this group just for remaining in Afghanistan. No British politician wants to alienate them by participating in or assisting in any way an attack on a Muslim nation, no matter how justified.

Especially if it could be seen as 'aiding the Zionists'.

The British Government, in so many words, is scared witless of the monster it so willingly imported. And that fear trumps any alliance, special relationship, or even self preservation.Are they all as stupid as the people who run the Guardian, to think it's going to stop with Israel and the Jews?

The UK has already made sharia mandatory equivalent to British common law when it comes to family law and civil matters for Muslims, and has now been reduced to arresting anyone on trumped up charges who objects to the trend of appeasing Islam in the UK at all costs. And they've taken to gratuitously insulting our leaders in a way no British politician has ever been treated in America.

It doesn't seem like they have much further to go before they become just another semi-hostile Muslim country.

Again,m if this is true, it's not exactly a surprise. This isn't the first time Britain has dialed out on America when it came to its responsibilities as an ally. As far as I'm concerned, if the UK feels its relationship with America isn't of primary importance any more, well and good.

I hope they're aware it can work two ways.

State Of The Race, Two Weeks Out

We're less than two weeks away from the elections, and it may be of interest (not to mention fun) to take a snapshot of where I see things at right now.

It's pretty obvious to me that President Obama has lost most if not all of the traditionally Red states he picked up in 2008 due to his novelty value as the first black president, the weakness of the candidate he was facing and the unpopularity of his predecessor.

In addition to the above, there are three factors that have changed since then...enthusiasm for him among Democrats is not what it was in 2008, he now has a record to run on (or away from) and Republicans are a lot more enthusiastic about voting for Mitt Romney than they were for John McCain.

Also, Governor Romney has erased the gender gap according to most polls, with women now split more or less evenly between the two candidates. At one time, Barack Obama led in that category by 18 points.

I mention the above poll, from AP/GfK only because comes from a news source whose polls and news coverage have been fairly skewed toward the Democrats and President Obama.

But I'll repeat the obvious. Remember, this is fifty individual elections, not one so head to head polls are meaningless.It all comes down to the electoral college, and getting the magic number of 270 to win.

President Obama started out with a huge advantage here. He was always certain to take the Blue states of California, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, The District of Columbia, Delaware, New Jersey,New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Vermont. That gave him a starting total of 186 electoral votes, more than half of what he needs to win.

Governor Romney was able to count on the traditional Red states in the South, the prairie states like Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska, Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas, Texas, Utah and Arizona in the West and the border states of West Virginia and Kentucky. He started out with 170 electoral votes and had the task of not only reclaiming the traditional Red states Obama won in 2008 but picking up some of the battleground states Obama won in that election.

At this point, President Obama has added only one state for sure to his column, New Mexico with 5 electoral votes, giving him 191 votes. He also may have added Minnesota, a traditionally Blue state to his tally, although some sources say that state is in play. For the sake of argument, let's say it isn't. That brings the president up to 201, which is exactly where Real Clear Politics has him.

On the other hand, the president has almost certainly lost Florida,Missouri, Indiana and North Carolina, all Red States he carried in 2008 with the exception of Missouri. That brings Mitt Romney's total up to 235.

There remain nine states that can be regarded as tossups and up for grabs, with 102 electoral votes between them. What would each candidate need to do to win?

Mitt Romney has several paths to victory. He would have to add Virginia (13 electoral votes) and Colorado (9 electoral votes) to his total, two states that trend Republican but went for Obama in 2008. He's comfortably ahead in Colorado and ahead in Virginia, and I would not be surprised to see his lead increase in the Old Dominion after President Obama's remarks on the Navy in the last debate.

Assuming he takes both states, he's at 257. To win, he only needs to take one of the following: Ohio ( 18 electoral votes), Pennsylvania, (20 electoral votes) or Michigan (16 electoral votes), all of which are in play at the moment.Or he'd have to take Wisconsin( 10 electoral votes) and one of the following: New Hampshire (4 EVs), Iowa, or Nevada (6 electoral votes each).

President Obama's scenario is a bit different, and more limited. The president, if he can't hold Colorado or Virginia, is going to have to take Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan plus either Iowa or Nevada to win. If he manages to hold on to Virginia, the only one of the Big Four he can afford to lose is Wisconsin. And he would still need to take either Iowa, Nevada or New Hampshire to get to the magic number of 270.

So the big question is, how are these toss up states likely to shake out?

I'm going to resist making hard predictions at this point since things can change, although I'll be doing it closer to the election. But I think we can see some general trends, bearing in mind that turnout is always a factor.

The economy is the big issue this election, and all the polls except a few partisan outliers agree that most Americans trust Mitt Romney more than Barack Obama to deal with it.Another factor is demographics.

Ohio represents a challenge for Romney. Rasmussen and Suffolk currently show the race tied, while a TIME and a Survey USA poll show Obama sightly ahead.

Ohio is traditionally a Republican state, and it went for Obama by 3 points under the national average in 2008.

The problem for Mitt Romney is that Ohio has a capable Republican governor in John Kasich who has done a lot to balance the budget, reduce regulations and cut spending, so the state's unemployment level is well below the national average. Ohio also has a strong union movement that defeated Kasich's attempt to implement laws curbing bargaining rights for public employee unions similar to the ones Governor Scott Walker successfully put in place in Wisconsin.

However, Republicans have an advantage in registration, and Romney has a strong champion here in the person of Senator Rob Portman.

Ohio could go either way.

Pennsylvania might actually be more fertile ground for a Romney pickup. Democrat strategist James Carville famously described the state as Pittsburgh at one end,Philadelphia at the other and Alabama in between.

Pittsburgh is trending fairly Republican along with the more rural parts of the state, while Philadelphia is traditionally a Democrat stronghold. Again, turnout, but what might help Mitt Romney here is outrage over Obama's policies towards coal and a generally poor economic climate and high unemployment statewide.

Pennsylvania traditionally flirts with Republican presidential candidates before going Democrat, but this year could be different. The race here has tightened up considerably, and remember, this is the state that recently elected a very conservative Republican Senator in Pat Toomey.

Which way Wisconsin goes will depend on several factors. The state is trending Republican, but there is a strong and very energized left wing movement centered in Madison and Dane County, AKA 'Berkeley North'. The public employee unions are also heavily involved.

Again, Scott Walker has done much to mitigate the economic trauma, which hurts Romney. But Republicans are also energized here, and Paul Ryan's presence as a favorite son might be enough to swing it Romney's way.There's also a large Catholic population, which could figure heavily in a Romney win here.

Michigan is going to be a story of which weighs heavier...demographics or the economy. The state's traditionally Blue, has a large union contingent and features a large black population in Detroit and the largest Muslim population in America on Detroit's outskirts, all demographics that favor the president. Yet the latest poll, by partisan Democrat pollster Baydoun-Foster, shows the race all tied up.

Michigan elected Republican governor Rick Snyder handily in 2010 in spite of polls and predictions to the contrary, and the State legislature, traditionally Democrat is now Republican in both Houses.

Michigan also has a living example of the Obama economy in Detroit, the state's economy is awful with record unemployment above the national average, Mitt Romney's father was a popular governor who is still well thought of here and Paul Ryan is from right next door in Wisconsin.

Michigan could be a big surprise election night.

It's not surprising to me that President Obama is spending so much time in Iowa. It might make the difference in a tight race.

The state has trended Blue lately, but both Rasmussen and Democrat pollster PPP show it all tied up. Iowa's economy has been slightly better than the national average, and there's also a strong Catholic contingent here, all of which could come into play. In the end, this one will come down to turnout, which could be said of most of these tossup races.

Nevada, like Michigan, is a case of demographics versus the economy. Nevada has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, but it also has an increased Hispanic population, a group President Obama is likely to win by a majority. The Democrats are relying on Harry Reid's vaunted political machine to get out the vote, but it's worth noting that Reid himself is not exactly all that popular in Nevada. He barely won re-election only because he imported a lot of out-of-state operatives into Nevada and because Sharron Angle was inexperienced in running a state-wide race and received no assistance or financial help from RNC chairman Michael Steele in constructed the ground game she needed to compete.

Neither of these is a factor this time out. Obama is currently ahead in the polls, but not by much, and Nevada is still rated a toss up state.

New Hampshire is the maverick state in New England. largely because unlike Connecticut and Rhode Island, it's not in easy commuting distance to New York City or Boston and thus missed out on left leaning progressives from those areas fleeing the mess they made.

Mitt Romney is well known and well thought of here, and owns a home in the state. The polls currently show him ahead, and New Hampshire's economic climate leans in his favor. Also, Senator Kelly Ayotte is a popular Romney surrogate here.

That's my current analysis of the toss up states, and we'll see how things go and take another look closer to Election Day.

Racism, Anyone? Colin Powell Endorses Obama


I note with some interest that former chairman of the Joint Chiefs and former secretary of state Colin Powell has endorsed President Obama for a second term.

What a surprise.

Summarizing the past four years under Obama, Powell said “Generally we’ve come out of the dive and we’re starting to gain altitude.” He acknowledged that problems remain, saying “The unemployment rate is too high, people are still hurting in housing but I see that we’re starting to rise up.”

Turning to foreign policy, Powell said he saw “the president get us of one war, start to get us out of a second war and did not get us into any new wars. And finally I think that the actions he has taken with respect to protecting us from terrorism have been very very solid. And so, I think we ought to keep on the track that we are on.”

All very amusing coming from the man whom, along with Clinton holdover George Tenet was chiefly responsible for selling President Bush on the Iraq War and 'nation building'. I could say quite a bit, were I so inclined, about the hypocrisy of General Powell blaming President Bush, the man whom promoted him for policies he was instrumental in promoting just as soon as they went sour.

I suppose to Colin Powell, Libya doesn't count as a war and Little Rock, Fort Hood and Benghazi don't count as terrorist attacks.And a stagnant economy counts as 'starting to rise up'.

In another part of his charming little stand up routine, General Powell said: "I think I'm a Republican of a more moderate mold. That's something of a dying breed I'm sorry to say."

Now that's odd. We have a relatively moderate Republican running this year, and an extremely moderate Republican whom ran in 2008. And guess what? Colin Powell didn't endorse either of them and what they have in common is that they're both white and both ran against Barack Obama.

The truth of the matter is that Colin Powell rose to prominence as an affirmative action general under Republican presidents and found it convenient to proclaim himself a Republican back then. He did quite well out of it.

But at this point, he's retired and no longer needs to wear that facade anymore. So he's free to endorse someone who amounts to an affirmative action president based on racial solidarity.

He's certainly well within his rights to do so, but I'd much rather he take Samuel L. Jackson's stance and was honest about it.

It would be a refreshing change for him.