These are my links for November 1st through November 2nd:
The Mystery Election — and Its Uncertain Aftermath– The presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is so close that pollsters and political analysts can’t predict the outcome. But an equivalent mystery is how the winner will confront the nation’s on-rushing potential fiscal calamity.After three presidential debates we still have few clues about how either Obama or Romney would prevent a plunge off what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke calls “the fiscal cliff” at year’s end. That’s when across-the-board income tax cuts enacted during the George W. Bush presidency will expire, as will a “holiday” on payroll withholding taxes.These tax increases would coincide with previously approved federal budget cuts of more than a trillion dollars and the end of extended unemployment insurance. Combined, these actions would subtract roughly 5 percent from the U.S. economy, almost certainly plunging the nation into recession.It’s widely assumed in Washington and on Wall Street that Obama and the lame-duck Congress will find a way to avoid such a devastating outcome. But neither presidential candidate has hinted at compromise, and the solutions floated in the media by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators would require concessions that neither side appears willing to make.
Obama insists firmly on raising taxes on the rich, and Romney is equally adamant about retaining all Bush-era tax cuts. It seems unlikely that Obama would abandon his most frequent campaign promise before a second term even begins and perhaps even less likely that a Republican-controlled House would approve a tax increase. If Romney wins, the lame-duck Congress might kick the can down the road until he takes office, but a new Republican president who agreed to a tax boost could soon be anathema to his party.
Stuart K. Spencer, a key political strategist for Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, is pessimistic about post-election compromise. He notes that the race has been both personal and ideological and believes the losing side is more likely to be confrontational than conciliatory. “It’s not just the politicians either,” Spencer said. “The American people are evenly divided and have strong feelings”
On Polling Models, Skewed & Unskewed – Obama is Still Toast– We can’t know until Election Day who is right. I stand by my view that Obama is losing independent voters decisively, because the national and state polls both support that thesis. I stand by my view that Republican turnout will be up significantly from recent-historic lows in 2008 in the key swing states (Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado) and nationally, because the post-2008 elections, the party registration data, the early-voting and absentee-ballot numbers, and the Rasmussen and Gallup national party-ID surveys (both of which have solid track records) all point to this conclusion. I stand by my view that no countervailing evidence outside of poll samples shows a similar surge above 2008 levels in Democratic voter turnout, as would be needed to offset Romney’s advantage with independents and increased GOP voter turnout. And I stand by the view that a mechanical reading of polling averages is an inadequate basis to project an event unprecedented in American history: the re-election of a sitting president without a clear-cut victory in the national popular vote.Perhaps, despite the paucity of evidence to the contrary, these assumptions are wrong. But if they are correct, no mathematical model can provide a convincing explanation of how Obama is going to win re-election. He remains toast.
In Shift, Romney Campaign Makes Push in Pennsylvania– In a striking last-minute shift, the Romney campaign has decided to invest its most precious resource — the candidate’s time — in a serious play to win Pennsylvania.Mr. Romney’s appearance here on Sunday could be a crafty political move to seriously undercut President Obama, or it could be a sign of desperation. Either way, his visit represents the biggest jolt yet in a state that was until recently largely ignored in the race for the White House.Over the last several days, with polls showing Mr. Obama’s edge in the state narrowing, Republicans have sprung into action and forced the Democrats to spend resources here that could have gone toward more competitive battleground states.
President 2012: Iowa State of the Race– The thrill is gone. And in Iowa, the Obama firewall is burning. Today’s headline on Politico said it all: Obama to End Campaign In Iowa.Mitt Romney is going to win Iowa on Tuesday, and the state that launched Barack Obama’s historic run for the White House will politely ask to have its vote back.With a clean sweep of major newspaper endorsements, Iowans woke up this past week to an unexpected unanimity among editorial boards. And while two of the four newspapers switched from Barack Obama, they’re not alone. Thousands upon thousands of voters have switched their votes as well. It shows up in polling, early-voting metrics, and enthusiasm on the ground.And although polling shows a tight race in Iowa, it’s important to note that, in 2008, Obama held a 14-point lead in the final Des Moines Register Iowa Poll published the Sunday before the election. He won by fewer than 10 points. He will again under-perform his Iowa polling, where he has yet to come close to the 50 percent mark in any survey of polling averages.
Two-thirds of jobs go to immigrants during Obama’s four years– Two-thirds of those who have found employment under President Obama are immigrants, both legal and illegal, according to an analysis that suggests immigration has soaked up a large portion of what little job growth there has been over the past three years.The Center for Immigration Studies is releasing the study Thursday morning, a day ahead of the final Labor Department unemployment report of the campaign season, which is expected to show a sluggish job market more than three years into the economic recovery.That slow market, combined with the immigration numbers, could explain why Mr. Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney have struggled to find a winning jobs message in some of the country’s hardest-hit postindustrial regions.“It’s extraordinary that most of the employment growth in the last four years has gone to the foreign-born, but what’s even more extraordinary is the issue has not even come up during a presidential election that is so focused on jobs,” said Steven A. Camarota, the center’s research director, who wrote the report along with demographer Karen Zeigle
His numbers are stark: Since the first quarter of 2009, the number of immigrants of working age (16 to 65) who are employed has risen 2 million, from 21.2 million to 23.2 million. During the same time, native-born employment has risen just 1 million, to reach 119.9 million.
These are my links for October 25th through October 30th:
Gallup: Obama’s Early Vote Advantage Collapses 22-Points Over 2008 – My pal Guy Benson found a juicy nugget that helps to bring more clarity to the news from Gallup yesterday that shows Romney leading Obama in the early vote by a full seven points, 52-45%. Almost exactly four years ago (October 28, 2008), according to Gallup, Obama was massacring John McCain among early voters with a fifteen-point lead, 55-40%. That means, at least according to Gallup, that Obama’s early vote advantage has dropped 22 points when compared to ’08.
NPR: 8-point swing puts Romney in front– A new National Public Radio poll, which had President Obama leading Mitt Romney 51 percent to 44 percent four weeks ago, now has Mitt Romney on top, 48 percent to 47 percent, with the Republican benefiting from his debate performances.The poll found that among likely voters, 34 percent said Romney’s debate performances made them more likely to vote for the challenger while 28 percent said they now are more likely to vote for the president. Among critical independent voters, though, Romney won big, with 37 percent saying they are now more likely to chose him compared to 21 percent for Obama.
AUTO BAILOUT BOMBSHELL: Fiat Says Chrysler, Jeep Production May Move to Italy– Coming hot on the heels of speculation that some Jeep production may be moved to China comes a bombshell from a Bloomberg report. Fiat is now considering moving Chrysler and Jeep production to Italy.According to the piece, “To counter the severe slump in European sales, (Fiat CEO Sergio) Marchionne is considering building Chrysler models in Italy, including Jeeps, for export to North America. The Italian government is evaluating tax rebates on export goods to help Fiat. Marchionne may announce details of his plan as soon as Oct. 30, the people said.”So, let’s be real clear here, we are talking about vehicles that will be built in Italy and exported to America. The evidence is clear that Fiat is looking at ways to move production of vehicles from the US to elsewhere, whether it be China or Italy, costing American jobs. This is becoming indisputable, despite outcries from certain parties to the contrary.
Barack Obama and Other Has-Beens –– And so to Barack Obama.When the history of this administration is written, maybe someone will note the dissonance between the president’s hip persona and his retro ideology. Here was a man who promised a “transformative” presidency. Yet when transformation came, it amounted to a two-pronged attempt to impose, from one side, a version of European social democracy by way of ObamaCare, and from the other side a version of Chinese state-directed “capitalism” by way of the stimulus.As a political matter it may have been Mr. Obama’s good luck that the bankruptcy of both models became obvious only after he had gotten his way legislatively on both. Yet the president’s sagging fortunes have everything to do with his buying into an ideological enthusiasm too late. In a different age, Mr. Obama would have been the guy who went out and bought an Edsel. In this age, Mr. Obama is the guy demanding that you buy an Edsel, too. That car is today called the Volt.Mr. Obama might still squeak by. He has, in addition to incumbency and a vestige of likability, the benefit of a challenger who only found his stride very late in the campaign. But a second term will mean four years of spent ideas packaged in shopworn rhetoric, to be shoved down the national throat by a president with nothing politically to lose.
Presidential Race Dead Even; Romney Maintains Turnout Edge– As the presidential campaign enters its final week, Barack Obama has failed to regain much of the support he lost in the days following the first presidential debate and the race is now even among likely voters: 47% favor Obama while an identical percentage supports Mitt Romney.The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 24-28 among 1,678 registered voters, including 1,495 likely voters, finds Obama holding a statistically insignificant two-point edge among registered voters: 47% to 45%. This is little different from the 46% to 46% standoff among registered voters observed in early October, in the days following the first debate.When the sample is narrowed to likely voters, the balance of opinion shifts slightly in Romney’s direction, as it did in early October. This reflects Romney’s turnout advantage over Obama, which could loom larger as Election Day approaches. In both October surveys, more Republicans and Republican leaners than Democrats and Democratic leaners are predicted to be likely voters. In September, the gap was more modest.
Poll: Romney, Obama locked in 49-49 tie– President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney are tied with only a week left before election day, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News daily tracking poll.The new poll finds each candidate receiving support from 49 percent of likely voters. That represents a 1-point bump for the president who trailed Romney 49-48 in Sunday’s numbers.Romney also has the edge among independent voters who back him 53 to 43 for the president.
Early voting 2012: Poll: Neither has edge – Fifteen percent of registered voters have already cast their ballots, according to a poll released Tuesday.
Neither candidate has an edge among early voters nationally, the Gallup survey found. One-third of Barack Obama backers plan to vote early, as do 34 percent of Romney supporters. So far, 15 percent of Obama voters have shown up at the polls, compared to 17 percent of Romney voters.
House elections spell a Republican story and victory– President Obama remains at least an even bet to win reelection. Democrats are favored to hold on to the Senate — an outcome few prognosticators envisioned at the beginning of the year. And yet, with a little more than a week to go, the party holds almost no chance of winning back the House.“They called the fight. It’s over. We’re going to have a House next year that’s going to look an awful lot like the last House,” Stuart Rothenberg, the independent analyst who runs the Rothenberg Political Report, said.The outlines of a comeback for Democrats seemed possible. From its opening act, the 112th Congress was dominated by a raucous class of House freshmen who pushed Washington to the brink of several government shutdowns and almost prompted a first-ever default on the federal debt. It became the most unpopular Congress in the history of polling and, by some measures, the least productive.
Changing Demographics Won’t Mean the End of Republican Party– When reading one of the endless stories about a just-released poll Thursday night, a pair of numbers struck my eye: 60 and 37.Those were the percentages of white voters supporting Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in the ABC/Washington Post tracking poll. Overall, the poll showed Romney leading Obama 50 to 47 percent.The reason those two numbers struck my eye is that they are identical to the percentages of white voters supporting Republicans and Democrats in elections for the House of Representatives in the 2010 exit poll. Overall, Republicans won the House popular vote by a margin of 52 to 45 percent, tied with 1994 for the best Republican showing since 1946.In fact, it’s the Republicans’ biggest margin among white voters in House elections ever since the party was formed in 1854. Republican presidential candidates have won by bigger margins among whites only in 1920, 1972 and 1984.
Some will ascribe this to racism. But Barack Obama won enough votes from whites to win with 53 percent in 2008, more than any other Democratic nominee except Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.
Why are whites more one-sidedly partisan than just about ever before? Maybe because they’re constantly being told that they’re headed toward becoming a minority of the electorate. Self-conscious minorities tend to vote more cohesively.
Or because they’re the objects of racial discrimination in, among other things, university admissions, as documented by Richard Sandler and Stuart Taylor in their recent book, “Mismatch.”
Obama’s Independent Problem– President Obama has a problem with independents. And it’s not a small problem.In the last three releases of the tracking poll conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News, Obama has trailed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney among independent voters by between 16 and 20 percentage points.That’s a striking reversal from 2008, when Obama won independent voters, who made up 29 percent of the electorate, by eight points over Sen. John McCain of Arizona.And if Romney’s large margin among independents holds, it will be a break not just from 2008 but also from 2000 and 2004. In 2000, Texas Gov. George W. Bush won independents by 47 percent to 45 percent over Vice President Al Gore. Four years later, Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts essentially split unaffiliated voters, according to exit polls — 48 percent for Bush to 49 percent for Kerry. (Independents made up 27 percent of the vote in 2000 and 26 percent in 2004.)
GOP surprise? Party says Pennsylvania in play– The Republican campaign bus roared into the party headquarters parking lot in this northwestern Pennsylvania town on a chilly afternoon for a rally that had all the trappings of a close contest.Hundreds of people, wearing Romney/Ryan buttons and hats plus one man carrying a “NObama” sign crammed inside the headquarters and cheered loudly as party officials blasted President Barack Obama. Volunteers busily manned telephone banks imploring people to vote.Why the Republican hubbub in a state that’s voted Democratic in presidential elections for two decades? They think it might be in play. Obama leads Romney in Pennsylvania polls by an average of 4.8 percentage points, according to the nonpartisan Web site RealClearPolitics.com. He led by as much as 12 points earlier this year. And he led by 10.8 points at this stage four years ago.
Gallup daily: Romney leads Obama 50-46 among likely voters– Mitt Romney leads President Obama by 4 points, according to the latest Gallup daily tracking poll, released Sunday.The survey finds Romney at 50 percent support among likely voters to Obama’s 46. The numbers show a 1-point drop over Saturday’s 51 to 46 lead for the GOP nominee.The poll finds Obama up among registered voters, though, with a 48-47 advantage. That figure reflects a 1-point loss for Romney from Saturday, where the two presidential contenders were tied at 48 percent.Gallup’s poll is a rolling seven-day average through Saturday Oct. 27 and includes 5 days of survey data after the third and final presidential debate held last Monday in Boca Raton, Fla.
The Gallup survey has shown larger leads for Romney compared to other polls of likely voters, with surveys putting Romney ahead by 5 to 7 points for much of last week.
The Real Clear Politics Average of polls on Sunday showed Romney ahead, but by a slimmer 47.9 percent to 47 margin.
Food labeling initiative Proposition 37 sliding in the polls– Proposition 37, which asks voters to require labels on genetically engineered food sold in California, is dropping in the polls as the well-funded opposition campaign pounds airwaves and mailboxes with arguments against the measure.A USC Dornsife / Los Angeles Times poll released today shows 44 percent of surveyed voters support the initiative, down from 61 percent in September. The same poll shows those opposing it growing from 25 percent to 42 percent.Those results are similar to recent polls released by Pepperdine University and the California Business Round Table, which showed support this month at 48 percent, down from 67 percent in September.The No on 37 campaign has raised $35.6 million, according to MapLight, while the Yes campaign has raised $7.7 million. The opposition is funded largely by companies that make pesticides and genetically modified seeds that contain pesticides. They are running multiple television ads arguing that Proposition 37 would raise grocery prices and that genetically engineered food is safe.
In response to the polls, the No campaign sent a press release saying, “the more voters know about what Prop 37 would really do, the more they take a dim view of it.”
These are my links for October 18th through October 19th:
Barack Obama on Benghazi: ‘If four Americans get killed, it’s not OPTIMAL': Obama’s extraordinary response to security fiasco after Benghazi massacre– President Barack Obama, during an interview to be shown on Comedy Central, has responded to a question about his administration’s confused communication after the Benghazi attack, by saying: ‘If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.’Obama was speaking to Jon Stewart of The Daily Show for a programme to be broadcast tonight.Stewart, a liberal whose young audience is full of potential voters prized by the Obama campaign, asked the president about his handling of the aftermath of the Benghazi attack.Ambassador Chris Stevens, diplomat Sean Smith and security men and former U.S. Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed by terrorists on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 – an attack that the White House initially blamed on a spontaneous protest about an anti-Islam movie made in California.
Stewart asked: ‘Is part of the investigation helping the communication between these divisions? ‘Not just what happened in Benghazi, but what happened within.
‘Because I would say, even you would admit, it was not the optimal response, at least to the American people, as far as all of us being on the same page.’
Obama responded: ‘Here’s what I’ll say. If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.’
He continued: ‘We’re going to fix it. All of it. And what happens, during the course of a presidency, is that the government is a big operation and any given time something screws up.
‘And you make sure that you find out what’s broken and you fix it.
‘Whatever else I have done throughout the course of my presidency the one thing that I’ve been absolutely clear about is that America’s security comes, and the American people need to know exactly how I make decisions when it comes to war, peace, security, and protecting Americans.
‘And they will continue to get that over the next four years of my presidency.’
The word ‘optimal’ was first used by Stewart in the question. But Obama’s use of it in a sound bite that could be used to portray him as somewhat casual about the deaths, lit up conservatives on twitter after it was first reported in a White House pool report by Mike Memoli of the ‘Los AngelesTimes’.
Obama’s slip could help Mitt Romney recover from an awkward moment in the presidential debate in Long Island, New York on Tuesday when he challenged Obama over whether he had initially characterised the Benghazi attack as terrorism.
‘Hating Breitbart’ to open this weekend– After a protracted battle with Hollywood censors over the politically-motivated “R” rating imposed on it by ex-Democrat Senator Chris Dodd’s MPAA that delayed its release, the long-awaited documentary film, “Hating Breitbart” opens at a limited number of movie theaters this weekend. The film chronicles the life and very strange times of crusading arch-conservative activist, web journalist, and new media promoter Andrew Breitbart who died suddenly and unexpectedly this past spring at the age of 43. DC area screenings will initially take place exclusively at the Regal Cinema in Ballston Commons Mall in Arlington.Like Dinesh D’Souza’s runaway documentary hit, “2016,” the Breitbart documentary will begin its rollout in limited release, gradually opening greater numbers of theaters on successive weekends. The limited release idea, as with the D’Souza film on the background of Barack Obama, is meant to thwart the usual preplanned barrage of negative reviews typically prepared in advance by left-wing critics who have yet to actually see the film in pre-screenings. Such coordinated attacks are routinely deployed to torpedo opening weekend box office receipts of newly released conservative films.
The Great Gaffe at Hofstra – – Krauthammer– Fight night at Hofstra. The two boxers, confined within a ring of spectators —circling, feinting, taunting, staring each other down — come several times, by my reckoning, no more than one provocation away from actual fisticuffs, of the kind that on occasion so delightfully break out in the Taiwanese parliament. Think of it: The Secret Service storming the ring, pinning Mitt Romney to the canvas as Candy Crowley administers the ten count.The actual outcome was somewhat more pedestrian. President Obama gained a narrow victory on points, as borne out by several flash polls. The margin was small, paling in comparison to Romney’s 52-point victory in the first debate.At Hofstra, Obama emerged from his previous coma to score enough jabs to outweigh Romney’s haymaker, his dazzling takedown of the Obama record when answering a disappointed 2008 Obama voter.That one answer might account for the fact that in two early flash polls Romney beat Obama on the economy by 18 points in one poll, 31 in the other. That being the overriding issue, the debate is likely to have minimal effect on the dynamics of the race.
Obama spinning toward a loss– President Obama is losing. So says the latest Gallup poll, and so do those swelling numbers in key states like Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia and Ohio.Democrats say wait, he won the second debate. They are holding their breath, hoping polls next week will show that this week’s debate brought the herky-jerk of the campaign back full swing, with Obama back to his September lead in the swing states and poised to win. But with two weeks to go, a sudden surge in voter support for a president as unpopular as this one, in an economy this weak, is simply hard to believe. Conservatives like Karl Rove note that this late in October, no candidate with support higher than 50 percent (see Mitt Romney: Gallup) has ever gone on to lose.Perhaps Obama lost the presidency weeks ago, on Oct. 3, when he sleepwalked and scribbled through the first debate and helped make Romney a new candidate overnight. It was Obama’s night to finish Romney off; behind in the polls, even Romney likely woke up that morning thinking it was over. But Obama underestimated the task, the challenger and the electorate — all in 90 minutes. So a win this week was critical but perhaps not decisive. There is no obvious reason for Obama’s performance to reverse the course of the campaign and blunt Romney now. And though there is one final debate next week, a back-and-forth on national security and foreign policy isn’t likely to make the sale for anyone who still cannot make up his or her mind.Romney is arguing Obama has still failed to articulate a reason, plan or purpose for a second term. He is correct. But Obama has indeed, late in the game, come up with a more forceful defense of his first term, and an argument about the economy growing from the middle out instead of the top down.
Obama on Benghazi attack: ‘When four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal’– President Obama vowed Thursday to fix any problems that contributed to the deaths of four American foreign service personnel during last month’s attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, saying that “when four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.”Obama’s comments, referring to the Sept. 11 terror attack, came during an interview with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central. The interview, first reported in a White House media pool report, airs Thursday night.Stewart asked Obama whether the investigation would address communication problems that contributed to confusion about the circumstances of the attack in Benghazi.”Because I would say, even you would admit, it was not the optimal response, at least to the American people, as far as all of us being on the same page,” Stewart said.
“Here’s what I’ll say. When four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal. We’re going to fix it. All of it,” Obama replied.
“The government is a big operation and any given time something screws up. And you make sure that you find out what’s broken and you fix it.
“Whatever else I have done throughout the course of my presidency, the one thing that I’ve been absolutely clear about is that America’s security comes first, and the American people need to know exactly how I make decisions when it comes to war, peace, security, and protecting Americans. And they will continue to get that over the next four years of my presidency.”
Since the attack, Republicans have accused the Obama administration of hiding key details such as how and why the attack started. The GOP has also questioned whether a failure to address security concerns at the consulate contributed its vulnerability.
GOP Points to Early Vote Gains in Ohio– They got smoked in the early voting game in 2008, but this time around Republicans are closing the gap with Democrats.Most observers here expect the early vote to tilt toward President Barack Obama, as it did in 2008. The Obama campaign has worked overtime to get their supporters to vote early and successfully sued the Ohio secretary of state to keep early voting locations open through the weekend preceding Election Day.Since early and absentee voting began on October 2, more than 1.4 million Ohio voters have voted or requested an absentee ballot. Almost a third of Ohio voted early in 2008, and Democrats expect that number to be even higher in 2012.But Republicans have polished their early vote operation since 2008.
Four years ago, Democrats made up about 42% of the early and absentee vote while Republicans made up 22% — a dismal 20-point deficit that contributed to Sen. John McCain’s defeat in Ohio.
Through Wednesday, however, the margin has narrowed: Democrats account for 36% of the early and absentee vote while Republicans make up for 29%.
Republicans are outperforming their voter registration in several of the state’s biggest counties.
LAPD probing Manson family link to 12 unsolved homicides– The Los Angeles Police Department disclosed Thursday that it has open investigations on a dozen unsolved homicides that occurred near places where the Manson family operated during its slew of murders four decades ago.The Police Department made the revelation amid a legal battle to obtain hours of audio tapes recorded in 1969 between Charles Manson follower Charles “Tex” Watson and his attorney. The LAPD has said detectives believe tapes could shed more light on the activities of Manson’s group.Watson has been fighting to limit the LAPD’s access to the tapes. This month, a federal judge in Texas granted an emergency order preventing the police from executing a search warrant at an office where the tapes are kept.
12 Unsolved Murders Possibly Linked to Manson– The LAPD on Thursday announced it has open investigations on a dozen unsolved homicides near known Manson Family hangouts around Los Angeles.The revelation came amid a legal battle to obtain hours of audio tape recordings between former Charles Manson follower and convicted murderer Charles “Tex” Watson and his lawyer.”We have an obligation to the families of these victims,” Cmdr. Andy Smith told NBC4. “Our detectives need to listen to these tapes. The tapes might help with solving these murders.”News of the open investigation was first reported by the Los Angeles Times Thursday and confirmed to NBC4 by LAPD officials. Smith told the Times the 12 murders they are investigating “are similar to some of the Manson killings.”
Manson and his followers shot to infamy in 1969 after the murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others at a Benedict Canyon home in the hills above Los Angeles. That rampage was followed the next night by the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their Los Feliz home.
The unheard recordings sought by the LAPD were made more than four decades ago, after Watson’s arrest for his role in the Tate-LaBianca slayings.
CIA found militant links a day after Libya attack– he CIA station chief in Libya reported to Washington within 24 hours of last month’s deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate that there was evidence it was carried out by militants, not a spontaneous mob upset about an American-made video ridiculing Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, U.S. officials have told The Associated Press.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. The Obama administration maintained publicly for a week that the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans was a result of the mobs that staged less-deadly protests across the Muslim world around the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S.Those statements have become highly charged political fodder as the presidential election approaches. A Republican-led House committee questioned State Department officials for hours about what GOP lawmakers said was lax security at the consulate, given the growth of extremist Islamic militants in North Africa.
Obama under pressure to spell out his agenda for a second term– President Obama is taking heat from his Republican rivals and some members of his own party for being vague about his agenda for a second term.On Thursday, Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan told a crowd at a campaign event in Florida that Obama “is not telling you what his second-term plan would be.”“He’s not saying that he is offering anything new,” the Wisconsin lawmaker said during a town hall. “All he is offering is four more years of the same.”Republicans are using the critique to parry Democratic attacks against Romney’s tax-reform plan, but they aren’t the only ones questioning what Obama’s priorities would be on Day One of term two.
“What would make my heart leap is to see him offer a forward-looking speech that encompasses all the things that he’s been talking about in little bits into a big thematic package, and one, big, second-term-agenda speech,” said Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons.
Poll shows Romney leading in blue Pennsylvania– A new poll shows Republican Mitt Romney leading in Pennsylvania, a state that Republicans had all but written off just weeks ago but which is now listed as a toss up by the Real Clear Politics website.Susquehanna Polling and Research provided The Washington Examiner with a poll it conducted for state party officials that shows Romney with a 49 percent to 45 percent lead over President Obama.It’s the first poll to show Romney leading among likely voters in the Keystone State.”The polling is very clear that the race is certainly up for grabs and Republicans have a tendency to never believe it,” Susquehanna President James Lee told The Examiner.
Welfare spending jumps 32% in four years– Welfare spending has grown substantially over the past four years, reaching $746 billion in 2011 — or more than Social Security, basic defense spending or any other single chunk of the federal government — according to a new memo by the Congressional Research Service.The steady rise in welfare spending, which covers more than 80 programs primarily designed to help low-income Americans, got a big boost from the 2009 stimulus and has grown, albeit somewhat more slowly, in 2010 and 2011. One reason is that more people are qualifying in the weak economy, but the federal government also has broadened eligibility so that more people qualify for programs.Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, who requested the Congressional Research Service report, said it underscores a fundamental shift in welfare, moving away from a Band-Aid and toward a more permanent crutch.
These are my links for July 25th through July 26th:
Obamacare falling short already– The unintended, convoluted and costly consequences of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law are about to be realized. Obamacare was rushed through Congress in 2010 despite almost no one knowing what the 2,700-page law provided, apart from a vague promise to make health care more affordable and accessible.This week, the Congressional Budget Office said that, because the U.S. Supreme Court, in ruling last month to validate most of the Affordable Care Act, allowed states to opt out of the law’s expansion of Medicaid, about 3 million fewer people will end up insured than originally estimated. This is guesswork because the CBO admits no one knows how many states will opt out. We believe many, if not all, states controlled by Republican legislatures and governors will opt out.
Government Did Not Build Your Business – “If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” declared President Barack Obama at a campaign stop last week in Virginia. Evidently, the president believes that economic growth and job creation are largely the result of actions taken by benevolent government agencies. But while it is certainly the case that good governance is essential, entrepreneurs engaging in voluntary cooperation coordinated through competition in free markets is what actually creates wealth and jobs. In the Virginia speech, the president also observed, “Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.” As parts of “this unbelievable American system” that “allowed” businesses to “thrive,” the president cited “a great teacher” and that “somebody invested in roads and bridges.” With regard to building a business, the nebulous “somebody” who “made that happen” is, of course, government.
Shifting Dynamics Favor G.O.P.– Since 2006, members of the House have faced electoral waves that swept away scores of incumbents.But the 2012 struggle for control of the House is shaping up less as a partisan surge than as a series of squalls, in which the outcome will largely depend on individual survival skills rather than a national movement.In New York, Dan Maffei, a Democrat, hopes to snag back a seat he lost two years ago, while Representative Kathy Hochul, a Democrat who won in a special election last year, is trying desperately to hang on. In California, a nonpartisan primary and an expensive member-against-member contest between two Democrats, Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, have muddled the outlook in a state where Democrats had high hopes.
No Building Permits for Opponent of Same-Sex Marriage– But denying a private business permits because of such speech by its owner is a blatant First Amendment violation. Even when it comes to government contracting — where the government is choosing how to spend government money —the government generally may not discriminate based on the contractor’s speech, see Board of County Commissioners v. Umbehr (1996). It is even clearer that the government may not make decisions about how people will be allowed to use their own property based on the speaker’s past speech.And this is so even if there is no statutory right to a particular kind of building permit (and I don’t know what the rule is under Illinois law). Even if the government may deny permits to people based on various reasons, it may not deny permitsAmendment rights. It doesn’t matter if the applicant expresses speech that doesn’t share the government officials’ values, or even the values of the majority of local citizens. It doesn’t matter if the applicant’s speech is seen as “disrespect[ful]” of certainpeople’s rights to express such views without worrying that the government will deny them business permits as a result. That’s basic First Amendment law — but Alderman Moreno, Mayor Menino, and, apparently, Mayor Emanuel (if his statement is quoted in context), seem to either not know or not care about the law.
Chick-fil-A Blocked From Opening Second Chicago Store– A Chicago politician said he will block Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant in his ward, following anti-gay marriage remarks by the fast food chain’s president.Alderman Joe Moreno, who represents Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, plans to use his aldermanic privilege, a Chicago tradition in which City Council members defer to aldermen on local matters, to block the restaurant’s permit.”It’s a very diverse ward– economically, racially, and diverse in sexual orientation,” Moreno told ABCNews.com. “We’ve got thriving businesses and we want more but at the very least don’t discriminate against our LGBTQ folks.”Moreno is not alone in standing up to the fast food restaurant, whose president Dan Cathy came under scrutiny after he told the Baptist Press he was “guilty as charged” when it came to supporting “the biblical definition of the family unit.”
The Battle for Ballot Integrity in Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania is, for the moment, ground zero in the battle over voter fraud. In March, Pennsylvania’s legislature enacted a law that requires identification for voting. The ACLU has sued to enjoin enforcement of the law; a trial on its lawsuit began today and is expected to last for around a week. This illustrates how low the ACLU has fallen. Voting illegally–that’s a “civil right!” But how about not having your vote canceled by the ballot of an illegal voter? Is that a civil right? Naahh.
Conservatives urge Cantor to push spending fight into 2013– House conservatives urged Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to back a stopgap spending bill that would extend into 2013 and take the issue of government funding off the table during the election and the jammed lame-duck session this fall.Cantor attended a meeting Wednesday of the conservative Republican Study Committee, where lawmakers voiced support for passing a long-term continuing resolution when federal funding runs out at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.While conservatives led a fight for deep spending cuts in a continuing resolution in 2011, they are worried that Democrats will draw them into a battle that could lead to a government shutdown in October, right before the November elections. They also want a stopgap measure to extend beyond the end of the year so that Democrats cannot use it as leverage in a broader fight over expiring tax rates and automatic spending cuts.
Pat Buchanan wants Palin to speak at convention– Echoing Jim DeMint, it’s Pat Buchanan, after Greta Van Susteren asked Wednesday night whom he’d like to speak at the Republican convention.Buchanan:”I’ll tell you who I like — your buddy and my favorite, Sarah Palin.I would say to Governor Romney at the convention: ‘Look, let’s not have a boring convention…. why don’t you bring in all the voices of the party and say ‘Look, you may not agree with this folks and that folks, but we are all united behind Governor Romney’.”