Wednesday, October 31, 2012

GALLUP: Romney Up 52-45% Among Early Voters

GALLUP: Romney Up 52-45% Among Early Voters



Very early on, before this campaign started in earnest, live or die, I publicly cast my lot with Gallup and Rasmussen. As a poll addict going back to 2000, these are the outlets that have always played it straight. It's got nothing to do with politics and everything to do with credibility and not wanting to kid myself. So when an outlet like Gallup tells me Romney is up seven-points, 52-45%, among those who have already voted, that's very big news.

Just as Gallup did with their bombshell survey showing that 2012 is looking like a year where Republicans will enjoy a record three-point turnout advantage over Democrats (a ten-point shift from 2008), for whatever reason, they buried the lede with this latest bombshell, as well. When you consider the fact that the CorruptMedia's been talking for weeks about how Obama's crushing Romney in early voting, you would think Gallup proving that Narrative a big fat phony lie would be news. Instead, though, they bury this explosive news at the bottom of a piece headlined: "In U.S., 15% of Registered Voters Have Already Cast Ballots".
Sounds like a nothing story, right?
Except waaaaay at the bottom we learn this:
Thus far, early voters do not seem to be swaying the election toward either candidate.
Romney currently leads Obama 52% to 45% among voters who say they have already cast their ballots. However, that is comparable to Romney's 51% to 46% lead among all likely voters in Gallup's Oct. 22-28 tracking polling. At the same time, the race is tied at 49% among those who have not yet voted but still intend to vote early, suggesting these voters could cause the race to tighten. However, Romney leads 51% to 45% among the much larger group of voters who plan to vote on Election Day, Nov. 6.
When Gallup says early voters don’t seem to be swaying the election, presumably what they means is that because Romney is ahead by five points nationally, an early voting advantage of seven-points isn't going to "sway the election."
Romney's early voting lead in Gallup may not jive with the CorruptMedia narrative, but it does with actual early vote totals that have been released and show Romney's early vote totals either beating Obama in swing states such as Colorado and Florida or chipping away at the President's advantage in the others. For example, here's what we know about Ohio's early voting numbers, thus far:
But here is what we do know: 220,000 fewer Democrats have voted early in Ohio compared with 2008. And 30,000 more Republicans have cast their ballots compared with four years ago. That is a 250,000-vote net increase for a state Obama won by 260,000 votes in 2008.
Something else in this Gallup survey also helps shed some light on what we're seeing in these sometimes counter-intuitive state polls. As the headline states, Gallup is showing that only 15% of the public has already voted. Moreover, they've broken down early voting by region and show that in the Midwest only 13% of voters have already voted. And yet, many polls in places like Ohio show a much higher percentage of early voters, some as high as 30%, which you can bet skews the data. In other words, those polls can't be correct.
Other than the fact that this is Gallup, another reason to embrace this poll is due to its very large sample size of 3,312 registered voters.

Fiat Says Chrysler, Jeep Production May Move to Italy

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.

Mitt Romney has rightfully criticized the Obama Administration for handing over Chrysler to the Italians and now leaving the fate of American workers in the hands of Fiat management. Fiat is not a healthy company and the auto industry is in as great a risk as ever. The insistence that all is well by those with political motivations does not mask the danger. More jobs are at risk of being lost and more taxpayer money may be lost as well.

Let's face it, the auto bailouts were not well thought out. Perhaps General Motors' CEO, Dan Akerson, said it best when he said, "The good thing about our bankruptcy is that it took only 39 days. The bad news is that bankruptcy took only 39 days. If we had been there longer, people would have asked these questions and looked at these things."

The whole auto industry bailout process was rushed through with the wrong primary motivation of protecting the politically powerful UAW's interests. The Obama Administration never considered that giving Chrysler to Fiat was not a great idea and could eventually hurt the same UAW workers it was trying to protect. Manufacturers like Chrysler and GM are at a competitive disadvantage due to UAW obligations that were not properly addressed in the bankruptcy process. The industry is more competitive than ever and the government does not seem to be the best innovators to lead the sector to real health. This truth is very likely to become more apparent when the political season ends.
Mark Modica is an NLPC Associate Fellow.

The mysterious media Benghazi bugout

The mysterious media Benghazi bugout


Where is the Benghazi media feeding frenzy?

I don’t think there’s a conspiracy at work. Rather, I think journalists tend to act on their instincts. And, collectively, the mainstream media’s instincts run liberal.

In 2000, a Democratic operative orchestrated an “October surprise” attack on George W. Bush, revealing that 24 years earlier, he’d been arrested for drunken driving. The media went into a feeding frenzy.

“Is all the 24-hour coverage of Bush’s 24-year-old DUI arrest the product of a liberal media almost drunk on the idea of sinking him, or is it a legitimate, indeed unavoidable news story?” asked Howard Kurtz on his CNN show “Reliable Sources.” The consensus among the guests: It wasn’t a legitimate news story. But the media kept going with it.

One could go on and on. In September 2004, former CBS titan Dan Rather gambled his entire career on a story about Bush’s service in the National Guard. His instincts were so powerful, he didn’t thoroughly check the documents he relied on, which were forgeries.

Oh, there have been conservative feeding frenzies: about Barack Obama’s pastor, John Kerry’s embellishments of his war record, etc. But the mainstream media usually tasks itself with debunking and dispelling such “hysteria.”

Last week, Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported that sources on the ground in Libya say they pleaded for support during the attack on the Benghazi consulate that led to the deaths of four Americans. They were allegedly told twice to “stand down.” Worse, there are suggestions that significant military resources were available to counterattack, but requests for help were denied.

If true, the White House’s concerted effort to blame the attack on a video crumbles, as do several other fraudulent claims. Yet, last Friday, the president boasted, “The minute I found out what was happening” in Benghazi, he ordered that everything possible be done to protect our personnel. That’s either untrue, or he’s being disobeyed on grave matters.

Yet Fox News is alone in treating the story like it’s a big deal. During the less significant Valerie Plame scandal, reporters camped out on the front lawns of Karl Rove and other Bush White House staff. Did Obama confiscate those journalists’ sleeping bags?

Of the five news shows last Sunday, only “Fox News Sunday” treated this as a major story. On the other four, the issue came up only when Republicans mentioned it. “Meet the Press” host David Gregory shushed a guest who tried to bring up the subject, saying, “Let’s get to Libya a little bit later.” He never did, but he saved plenty of time to dive deep into the question of what Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s comments on abortion and rape mean for the Romney campaign.

I’m willing to believe that journalists like Gregory are sincere in their desire to play it straight. But among those who don’t share his instincts, it’s hard to distinguish between conspiracy and groupthink. Indeed, it’s hard to think why one should even bother trying to make that distinction at all.

‘Cooling Out’ the Voters--The facts of the Benghazi attack have been revealed as slowly and gradually as possible

‘Cooling Out’ the Voters
The facts of the Benghazi attack have been revealed as slowly and gradually as possible.
By Thomas SowellConfidence men know that their victim — “the mark” — is eventually going to realize that he has been cheated. But it makes a big difference whether he realizes it immediately, and goes to the police, or realizes it after the confidence man is long gone.
So part of the confidence racket is creating a period of uncertainty during which the victim is not yet sure of what is happening. This delaying process has been called “cooling out the mark.”

The same principle applies in politics. When the accusations that led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton first surfaced, he flatly denied them all. Then, as the months passed, the truth came out — but gradually, bit by bit. One of Clinton’s own White House aides later called it “telling the truth slowly.”
By the time the whole truth came out, it was called “old news,” and the clever phrase now was that we should “move on.”

It was a successful “cooling out” of the public, keeping them in uncertainty so long that, by the time the whole truth came out, there was no longer the same outrage as if the truth had suddenly come out all at once. Without the support of an outraged public, the impeachment of President Clinton fizzled out in the Senate.

We are currently seeing another “cooling out” process growing out of the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi on September 11 this year.

The belated release of State Department e-mails shows that the Obama administration knew, while the attack on the American consulate was still underway, that it was a coordinated, armed terrorist attack. They were getting reports from those inside the consulate who were under attack, as well as surveillance pictures from a camera on an American drone overhead.

About an hour before the attack, the scene outside was calm enough for the American ambassador to accompany a Turkish official to the gates of the consulate to say goodbye. This could hardly have happened if there had been protesting mobs there.

Why then did both President Obama and U.N. ambassador Susan Rice keep repeating the story that this was a spontaneous protest riot against an anti-Islamic video in America?

The White House knew the facts — but they knew that the voting public did not. And it mattered hugely whether the facts became known to the public before or after the election. What the White House needed was a process of “cooling out” the voters.

Not only did the Obama administration keep repeating the false story about an anti-Islamic video being the cause of a riot that turned violent, but the man who produced that video was tracked down and arrested, creating a media distraction.

All this kept the video story front and center, with the actions and inactions of the Obama administration in the background.

The White House had to know that it was only a matter of time before the truth would come out. But time was what mattered with an election close at hand. The longer they could stretch out the period of distraction and uncertainty, the better. Once the confidence man in the White House was reelected, it would be politically irrelevant what facts came out.

As the Obama administration’s video story began to slowly unravel, their earlier misstatements were blamed on “the fog of war” that initially obscures many events. But there was no such “fog of war” in this case. The Obama administration knew what was happening while it was happening.

They didn’t know all the details — and we may never know all the details — but they knew enough to know that this was no protest demonstration that got out of hand.

From the time it took office, the Obama administration has sought to suppress the very concept of a “war on terror,” or the terrorists’ war on us. The painful farce of calling the Fort Hood murders “workplace violence,” instead of a terrorist attack in our midst, shows how far the administration would go to downplay the dangers of Islamic-extremist terrorism.

The killing of Osama bin Laden fed the pretense that the terrorism threat had been beaten. But the terrorists’ attack in Libya exposed that fraud — and required another fraud to try to “cool out” the voters until after Election Day.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. © 2012 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fracking Brings Manufacturing Back to Rust Belt

So not only is the U.S. about to take the global lead in oil production; a new piece in the Wall Street Journal reports that the glut of cheap gas, which is difficult and expensive to transport abroad, has made America one of the cheapest places to manufacture many energy-intensive materials. This is particularly true in the Rust Belt states where the gas is extracted, and the area is already beginning to see the results as manufacturers begin to open plants in the region. And with the plants come jobs:
It isn’t just Beaver County reaping the benefits of cheap gas. Plunging prices have turned the U.S. into one of the most profitable places in the world to make chemicals and fertilizer, industries that use gas as both a feedstock and an energy source. And they have slashed costs for makers of energy-intensive products such as aluminum, steel and glass.
“The U.S. is now going to be the low-cost industrialized country for energy,” the energy economist Philip Verleger says. “This creates a base for stronger economic growth in the United States than the rest of the industrialized world.” . . .
Natural gas [is] difficult to transport across oceans and is most efficiently consumed in the same continent where it is produced. That means the glut of gas hitting the market will result in the U.S. having lower prices than other major industrial economies for years to come.
It is a stroke of good luck that the energy revolution has not only come to America, but is concentrated in the areas that have been hardest hit by the changing economic trends of the past quarter-century. Greens may wail, but the expansion of fracking and unconventional extraction techniques offers the best hope of recovery to many of America’s hardest-hit cities and towns.

The Emperor’s rented clothes

The Emperor’s rented clothes

by Paul Mirengoff in 2012 Presidential Election, Barack Obama, Presidential debate

The first debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney was probably the most stark “Emperor has no clothes” moment in our modern political history. And the problem for Obama did not end with that debate. In the second and third debates, Obama tried to substitute shots at his opponent (mostly cheap ones) for clothing.

Meanwhile Romney, having turned the momentum in his favor, kept talking about his clothes — his five point plan to create jobs, the approach he would take to the Middle East, and so forth. When the dust had settled, the flailing, naked Obama trailed his challenger by several points in the national polls.

So Obama finally decided to don some attire, in the form of a four-point economic plan. Tellingly, he rented these clothes from Romney.

Obama actually owns some clothes of his own — the ones he has worn during his presidency. They are knock-offs of the dull garb worn for decades by European Socialists, with a few Chinese accessories thrown in. He donned them after becoming president, having previously dazzled voters with hip, even psychedelic attire during the 2008 campaign.

Forced to face the voters again, this time in bad economic times when hipsterism is not an option, Obama concluded that both no clothes and Romney’s clothes are preferable to his own wardrobe.

Don's Tuesday column

      THE WAY I SEE IT   by Don Polson  Red Bluff Daily News   10/30/2012

Candidates, taxes and teachers unions

Tonight, at the Tea Party Patriots’ meeting, all of the candidates for State Senate – Jann Reed, Dan Levine, Ben Emery and Jim Nielsen – will appear, make statements and take questions. The format for questions will be announced. This is a somewhat different type of candidates’ night from others and will be worth your time. I apologize to anyone that went to last week’s meeting expecting a discussion of the ballot propositions; information was available at the door.

The meeting contained some passionate feedback by members who attended the Regional Water Board meeting, which they felt was inclined toward goals and agendas threatening to Northern Californians’ water rights. Some had various ideas for how to respond; others aren’t completely sold on the imminence of water meters, industrial-size wells sucking our aquifer dry to send south, or other top-down impositions against our water rights. We’ll see how it goes; I’m not lighting my hair on fire over it, yet.

I have to weigh in against Measure A, which imposes a “Transit Occupancy Tax (TOT)” on, effectively, one Red Bluff business, the Durango RV Resort on Lake Avenue adjacent to the freeway and south of the Sacramento River. I don’t have a vote, being a county resident; however, it is a ballot issue that affects the greater Red Bluff economy in ways that those who put it up for a vote may not have considered.

There are RV parks within the city as well as others in unincorporated areas; I’m informed that the TOT is paid by a couple of Red Bluff RV parks but not by any other parks outside of town limits. Those various parks range in quality (generally very good but not always), prices (I haven’t done a survey but Durango may trend higher due to facility improvements), location (proximity to the freeway, restaurants and shopping) and appeal (monthly residents can be a turnoff for higher end travelers and their hundred thousand-plus dollars worth of RVs).

I also have no way to ascertain whether the lack of a TOT in the pricing for Durango spaces has had any affect on competitors’ reservations or nightly drop-ins. We are too cheap to pay for a space when we can sleep overnight in a WalMart or other parking lot on our way to forest, lakeside or mountain campgrounds. However, as Good Sam members we receive their monthly magazine, “Highways,” and can assure you that the RVing community is adamantly opposed to TOTs or any other taxes targeting RV parks. Letters are published informing their readers about where they can go to avoid such fees and taxes; their reporters and researchers are keen to keep readers apprised of the worst offenders of travelers’ wallets.

Since all motels and hotels reside in the city, there is a leveling effect of TOTs in their case. However, if you haven’t noticed Durango’s well-filled park, it’s worth considering the arguments involved relating to the tax and it’s implications. In the first place, Durango Resort is not in a head-to-head competition with O’nite or Rivers Edge, for instance, due to their size and clientele, nor, as nice as it is, with the Red Bluff RV Park off of Antelope Blvd, due to Durango’s facilities.

Durango is, however, in competition with RV parks like the one in Redding next to I-5 at Lake Blvd (campers pay a TOT). I think we should consider that having a high-end RV Park with a pricing advantage versus other parks, sought out by well-heeled travelers, to be a major economic feather in our “Branding” cap, if you will. The word gets out and Red Bluff benefits when those travelers buy groceries, supplies, restaurant meals, attend an event or movie, or explore parks and trails. Why not let them keep a few (around five, actually) dollars per night, encourage them to discover some of the things that make us unique in all of Northern California, maybe chose among our modestly priced real estate listings to make into a “home base.” They might return that money many times over to merchants due to the good will they perceive by not being gouged just for occupying a space in an RV park.

Vote “No” on Measure A.

I was chagrined to find agreement with the other Tuesday writer on the issue of Prop 37, the food labeling initiative (Vote No). That should settle it in voters’ minds, anyway.

I have another example of an invaluable service to readers: “Polecat News and Views” (go to the blog tab at the online Daily News, or makes available material, analysis and opinion that won’t fit into this column. On the subject of teachers’ unions, the disconnect between money and education results, and the way said money is corrupted by virtue of forced union dues spent to raise taxes on Californians; scroll down to the “Education” label on my home page.

Must reads: “When Public Sector Unions Win in California,” “Small Class-Size Balloon Punctured Again,” “The Imaginary Teacher Shortage,” “The Largest Political Machine,” and “Textbook case of inefficiency: Can’t buy a quality education,” showing how 8 percent more students in classes has seen funding more than double with no discernable improvement in quantified learning and test results. Vote “No” on Props 30 and 38.

Life Imitates Parody

Life Imitates Parody

by John Hinderaker in 2012 Presidential Election

Barack Obama and his fans (fangirls, in particular) are becoming almost impossible to parody. The reality is sillier than any fiction a humorist can come up with. Thus, this Michael Ramirez cartoon, published last month, eerily anticipated the “sex” ad that the Obama campaign launched last week. Only I think the girl in the ad is a little bit creepier:

I do think, however, that Ramirez is a little pessimistic. He captions his cartoon, “What America has become.” I think it is actually only what 47% of America has become.

When Public Sector Unions Win in California

When Public Sector Unions Win in California

Editor’s note: Earlier this month, Manhattan Institute senior fellow Daniel DiSalvo released a study entitled “The Nays Have It: When Public Sector Unions Win in California.” DiSalvo has agreed to allow UnionWatch to republish two key sections of that report here, concerning California’s public sector union influence over the outcome of citizen initiatives and over the state legislature. Readers are encouraged to read the entire study, as well as DiSalvo’s other recent studies on public sector union power, “Dues and Deep Pockets: Public-Sector Unions’ Money Machine” (March 2012), and “Storm Clouds Ahead: Why Conflict with Public Unions Will Continue” (November 2011).

California’s Public Employee Unions & Citizen Initiatives

We isolated the 15 propositions that stand out as particularly important to public-employee unions (Table 2). Of course, another analyst might choose a few different propositions to be included in the list of the most important,

but there is likely to be broad agreement on most of those included here. These were major battles on which the unions spent huge sums of money in efforts to convince the electorate and mobilize their members. This more qualitative analysis reveals that when unions pull out all the stops for a ballot-initiative campaign, they almost always win. Of these major initiatives, the unions supported six and opposed nine, and voters enacted only one of those that they fought (ending bilingual education in 1998). On the other hand, voters ratified four of the six measures that the unions supported. And the two that failed went down by quite narrow margins. (One of these proposals would have allowed school districts to issue their own bonds, if approved by a simple majority of voters rather than the existing two-thirds requirement; the other would have put limits on lobbying and established limits on campaign contributions and spending.) In sum, out of the 15 ballots most dear to them over the last 30 years, the unions have lost only three times. It is an impressive record.

What issues motivated the unions to pull out all the stops? Education, clearly central to the teach ers’ unions in California, tops the list: ten of the 15 measures touched on education issues. On “defense,” six of the nine initiatives that the unions opposed were education-related. These political triumphs had huge policy consequences. Led by the CTA, public sector unions managed to block proposals for school vouchers (twice), teacher evaluation and testing, new requirements for teacher tenure, and a relaxation of education spending requirements. On “offense,” four of the six measures that unions supported were designed to funnel more money into the schools. On all these propositions, the unions spent substantial sums (Chart 2). Indeed, on some of them, they almost entirely underwrote their side of the campaign. In most of these campaigns, the teachers’ unions and their allies significantly outspent their rivals. A few of the votes were close; but in most cases, the union position won an overwhelming majority. No wonder former Governor Pete Wilson described the CTA as a “relentless political machine” (Quoted in Richard Lee Colvin, “Wilson Is Lampooned at Teachers Union ‘Boot Camp,’” Los Angeles Times, August 26, 1998).

The most important of all these education-related measures was Proposition 98 in 1988. It required that 40 percent of the state’s general fund be spent annually on K–12 education and community colleges. That year, the CTA spent $4.5 million, a very large sum in those days, to promote it. The CTA’s victory, by a slim margin, was one of the most significant pieces of legislation in the last 30 years of California history. It also demonstrated the power of the teachers’ unions. As political scientist Terry Moe asked: “How often is a special interest group able to commandeer 40 percent of a state’s entire budget for its own realm of policy?” (Terry M. Moe, Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America’s Public Schools, Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2010, 299). The consequence was a severe constriction of the state’s fiscal flexibility. By guaranteeing such lavish funding, Proposition 98 also reduced accountability, as school districts have had to worry less about the most efficient allocation of resources. By using its influence on local school boards, the CTA channeled much of the new monies—about $450 million a year—into increasing teacher pay (Troy Senik, “The Worst Union in America,” City Journal 22, no. 2, spring 2012). California now boasts the highest average teacher salaries in the country.

In opposition, the teachers’ unions have vehemently opposed voucher plans, which they see as a threat to their survival. School vouchers have made it onto the ballot twice in California: Proposition 174 in 1993 and Proposition 38 in 2000. In both instances, the teachers’ unions single-handedly bankrolled the opposition campaign (Moe, Special Interest, 298). In the 1993 campaign on this issue, the CTA spent $12.5 million, outspending supporters 8 to 1. In addition, it persuaded March Fong Eu, the secretary of state, to significantly change the proposition’s title from “Parental Choice” to “Education Vouchers” (Senik, “Worst Union in America.” The state attorney general’s authority over ballot titles stems from a 1974 measure, Proposition 9, which mandated the creation of a Fair Political Practices Commission). According to education scholar and former teacher Myron Lieberman, the more controversial title dropped Proposition 174 ten points in the polls, where it had initially been well received by voters (Myron Lieberman, The Teacher Unions: How the NEA and AFT Sabotage Reform and Hold Students, Parents, and

Teachers Hostage to Bureaucracy: New York: The Free Press, 1997). In the 2000 ballot fight, the teachers’ unions spent some $21 million. In both cases, many other interest groups in California—such as the NAACP, the PTA, and the ACLU—publicly opposed school vouchers. Yet they spent almost nothing to defeat the proposals at the ballot box.

The teachers’ unions have also blocked efforts to impose greater accountability measures on California’s public schools. In 1998, the CTA spent nearly $7 million to defeat Proposition 8. The measure would have allowed the use of student performance as a criterion for teacher evaluation and required teachers to take credentialing tests in their fields. In 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his supposed “Year of Reform,” proposed a measure aimed at teacher tenure in K–12 education that would have extended the apprentice period for teachers from two years to five. Another measure would have set limits on state spending and relaxed the education spending requirements imposed by Proposition 98. The CTA alone spent $57 million, mortgaging its Sacramento headquarters, to fight these and other measures.

(Read the rest at link)...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Small Class-Size Balloon Punctured Again

Small Class-Size Balloon Punctured Again

It’s time to “just say no” to the small class-size pushers and eliminate seniority as a staffing mechanism.

Small class size means less work for teachers. Parents seem to think that their child will be better educated in a room with fewer classmates. Unions love fewer kids in a class because it equates to a larger workforce, which means more money and power for them. Only problem is that small class size does not lead to greater student achievement. It just means more hiring, then laying off the same teachers and punishing taxpayers who needlessly pay for a bloated workforce.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published “The Imaginary Teacher Shortage,” an op-ed by professor of education reform at the University of Arkansas Jay Greene, in which he exposes the small-is-better canard.

For decades we have tried to boost academic outcomes by hiring more teachers, and we have essentially nothing to show for it. In 1970, public schools employed 2.06 million teachers, or one for every 22.3 students, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Digest of Education Statistics. In 2012, we have 3.27 million teachers, one for every 15.2 students.

Greene also addresses the fact that as hiring increases, there is less likelihood of a student getting a good teacher. And a having a good teacher is the most important factor in student achievement.

Parents like the idea of smaller class sizes in the same way that people like the idea of having a personal chef. Parents imagine that their kids will have one of the Iron Chefs. But when you have to hire almost 3.3 million chefs, you’re liable to end up with something closer to the fry-guy from the local burger joint.

Just three months ago, director of Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom Andrew Coulson wrote a similar op-ed in the same newspaper. The subhead in “America Has Too Many Teachers” sets the tone:

Public-school employees have doubled in 40 years while student enrollment has increased by only 8.5%—and academic results have stagnated.

In the body of the piece, he gives us some numbers to chew on. Whereas Greene talks specifically about teachers, Coulson refers to the entire “public school workforce.”

Since 1970, the public school workforce has roughly doubled—to 6.4 million from 3.3 million—and two-thirds of those new hires are teachers or teachers’ aides. Over the same period, enrollment rose by a tepid 8.5%. Employment has thus grown 11 times faster than enrollment. (Emphasis added.) If we returned to the student-to-staff ratio of 1970, American taxpayers would save about $210 billion annually in personnel costs.

I contributed my own two cents on the subject in City Journal in July of 2011.

In 1998, Hoover Institution senior fellow and economist Eric Hanushek released the results of his impressive review of class-size studies. Examining 277 separate studies on the effect of teacher-pupil ratios and class-size averages on student achievement, he found that 15 percent of the studies found an improvement in achievement, while 72 percent found no effect at all—and 13 percent found that reducing class size had a negative effect on achievement. While Hanushek admits that in some cases, children might benefit from a small-class environment, there is no way ‘to describe a priori situations where reduced class size will be beneficial.’

So basically, almost three-quarters of all the studies showed no benefit to small class size, and of the rest, almost the same number revealed negative effects as positive ones.

While it is a personal hardship for a teacher to be laid off, no one should be surprised when it happens. When economic times are good, it’s easy to buy into more hiring. But good economic times don’t last forever and when suddenly we can’t afford all the teachers we have hired and some need to be let go, it is brazen of the self-righteous, small class-size true believers to mislead the public with their hand-wringing and political posturing.

And we can’t say we weren’t warned that there were going to be problems. Back in April of 2004, teacher union watchdog Mike Antonucci wrote,

Enrollment Figures Spell Big Trouble for Education Labor.

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) regularly reviews enrollment figures, comparing past years with expectations for the future. Its most recent report shows clearly that the fat years of teacher employment are over, and the lean years may last much longer than anyone has previously predicted.

NCES compared the period 1988-2001 with its projections for 2001-2013. The differences are stark. While public school enrollment increased 19 percent between 1988 and 2001, it is expected to grow only 4 percent between 2001 and 2013. During the period 1988-2001, the number of public school teachers grew by an astonishing 29 percent. The forecast for 2001-2013 is growth of only 5 percent – or less than 0.4 percent annually.

Then in June 2004, referring to Rankings and Estimates, a National Education Association report, Antonucci wrote,

In 2003-04, American public elementary schools taught 1,649,027 more pupils than they did in 1993-94. But there were 247,620 more elementary school classroom teachers in 2003-04 than there were in 1993-94. Simply put, for every 20 additional students enrolled in America’s K-8 schools in the last 10 years, we hired three additional elementary school classroom teachers.

So clearly, having fewer teachers is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is tragic when we lose the good ones. Throughout much of the country, the decisions as to which teachers get laid off are determined by archaic seniority policies. Teachers-of-the-year are laid off before their mediocre or incompetent counterparts simply because the latter may have been hired a few days before the former. This is no way to run an education system. The sooner we get away from the smaller-is-better myth and turn our attention to scrapping the industrial style “last in, first out” method, the better.

About the author: Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.

Capital Punishment

Is it immoral for the state to kill convicted murderers? Is it immoral for the state not to? Best selling author and nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dennis Prager answers both questions in this powerful five minute presentation.

Is voter fraud being committed in Ohio?

Is voter fraud being committed in Ohio?

Is voter fraud being committed in Ohio?
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Two volunteer poll workers at an Ohio voting station told Human Events that they observed van loads of Ohio residents born in Somalia — the state is home to the second-largest Somali population in the United States — being driven to the voting station and guided by Democratic interpreters on the voting process. No Republican interpreters were present, according to these volunteers.
While it’s not unusual for get-out-the-vote groups to help voters get to the polls, the volunteers who talked to Human Events observed a number of troubling and questionable activities.

A source, who wishes to remain anonymous, is a volunteer outside the Morse Road polling center. She has witnessed Somalis who cannot speak English come to the polling center. They are brought in groups, by van or bus. The Democrats hand them a slate card and say, “vote Brown all the way down.” Given that Sherrod Brown is the incumbent Democrat Senator in Ohio, one can assume that this is the reference.
Non-English speaking voters may use an interpreter. The interpreters are permitted by law to interpret for the individual voting; however, they are forbidden from influencing their vote in any way. Another source who also wishes to remain anonymous has seen Democrat interpreters show the non-English speaking Somalis how to vote the Democrat slate that they were handed outside. According to this second source, there are not any Republican Somali interpreters available.
The logical follow-up question is whether a non-English speaking person is an American citizen. Although Republican leadership in Ohio passed a voting reform law, it was repealed by the legislature itself after the Democrats threatened a referendum. According to the Ohio Secretary of State’s web site, someone wanting to vote early in Ohio must supply one of the following in writing on the absentee ballot form, whether voting early by mail or in person: an Ohio driver’s license number; the last four digits of the social security number; or a copy of a current and valid photo identification, military identification, or a current — within the last 12 months — utility bill, including cell phone bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the person’s name and address in addition to the voter registration acknowledgement.
The voter is not required to show the driver’s license or social security card, but must merely write it on the absentee ballot request form. While the individual would be required to show a utility bill, bank statement or other printed document if he or she chooses that option, this is in lieu of writing the driver’s license or social security number. Therefore, the information cannot be checked against the Bureau of Motor Vehicles or other state databases. Essentially, a person is asked to check a box stating that they are a citizen, and the poll worker is to trust that they are the person who is listed on the item being shown or the information being written. In other words, someone can be an illegal resident of the state of Ohio and the United States, get an apartment, turn on the heat, bring in the Columbia Gas bill, register to vote by the deadline, and vote by showing that same bill. There is then no verification that this individual is a citizen of the United States.
Matt McClellan, the press secretary for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, explained, “There is a process to challenge a voter’s eligibility. The point in time for a challenge to be brought ended mid October. A poll worker could challenge a voter if they had questions as to whether or not a voter was registered or eligible to vote.” However, if the poll worker does not raise the issue at the time the voting occurs, that person’s vote will otherwise be counted on election day along with everyone else’s vote. McClellan was not aware of any reports of irregularities at the Morse Road voting place in Franklin County.
Two phone calls and a text message to the Public Information Office at the Franklin County Board of Elections were not returned.
According to the Somali Community Association of Ohio’s web site, over 45,000 Somalis live in Ohio. Only 40 percent have become citizens of the United States, and only 25 percent speak English well enough to get a job.
The second source mentioned has seen voter intimidation at this same voting place. A Mitt Romney bus stopped near the voting center, approximately 30 Democrats who were outside handing out the slate cards rushed over to the bus. They yelled at the bus, and swarmed around its door when anyone attempted to exit the bus. This, from the “tolerant left.”
All elements of this story are still developing and will be updated as new information is uncovered. Stay tuned.
Sara Marie Brenner, a special correspondent for Human Events, is a member of the Powell, Ohio City Council and blogs about politics at the Brenner Brief.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Benghazi: A Reader Assesses the Evidence

Benghazi: A Reader Assesses the Evidence

by John Hinderaker in Benghazigate

A reader, relying on publicly available information, has reconstructed what we know and can infer about what happened in Benghazi. I haven’t tried to verify all of his facts nor do I necessarily vouch for his inferences, although in general they seem reasonable. But his analysis is, I think, a valuable contribution to our understanding, and I reproduce it here in slightly edited form:
This last week may have finally broken the protective wall around the POTUS. Between the comments of Hillary Clinton, Gen. Petraeus, Defense Secretary Panetta and the FOX News report, the picture of what really transpired in Benghazi is starting to emerge. The trail is leading straight to the POTUS….

I have no military service, security clearance, or contacts in the middle east. I don’t speak Arabic and have no special skills that would allow me to have a special insight into how the travesty in Benghazi happened, and who is responsible for letting our people die.

All I have are my instincts and google. They allowed me to ascertain within a couple of days that there was no protest outside the consulate before it was attacked. For the administration to attempt to sell such a story infuriated me, especially when Ambassador Rice appeared on five Sunday talks shows on September 16th to spin an obvious lie.

The latest bombshell revelations by FOX News about our people being denied assistance while under attack fits in with my theory of what transpired on 9/11 in Benghazi. I developed my theory by using google to find as many disparate sources of information as I could, and I am presenting you more of what I discovered in hopes you can shine a brighter light on the obvious falsehoods of the Administration’s storyline about what they knew and when.

Rather than include links within the story, I footnoted them and include them at the end of this document.

The timeline of the attack is very important in understanding what happened at the consulate, the “rescue” by Tyrone Woods and other members of the annex staff, the subsequent assault on the annex, and ultimately, the evacuation of the staff to the Benghazi airport.

First we have the attack, which everyone now agrees happened at 9:40 and was not preceded by a protest of any nature. Charlene Lamb said she was at the situation room monitoring the attack in real time, and that the consulate staff sounded the alarm at about 9:40. By monitoring the attack in real time by watching the video feed from the cameras at the consulate, the State Dept situation room staff … would have seen a large number of armed men.
In the State Dept timeline briefing (1) given on October 9th, the briefer describes their version of what happened that night. Here is how they describe the “rescue” of the Americans at the consulate:
At this point, the special security team, the quick reaction security team from the other compound, arrive on this compound. They came from what we call the annex. With them – there are six of them – with them are about 16 members of the Libyan February 17th Brigade, the same militia that was – whose – some members of which were on our compound to begin with in the barracks.
Here is how FOX News (2) describes the same event:
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.
Question 1: ... (DP: use link to read the rest of this revealing analysis)

Benghazigate: The state of the story

Benghazigate: The state of the story

by Scott Johnson in 2012 Presidential Election, Benghazigate

Even for one who follows the news obsessively — one such as I — it has been extremely difficult to keep up with the developments in the Benghazigate story this week. In his weekly column, Mark Steyn incorporates Thursday’s and Friday’s breaking news and brings the story up to date with his characteristic flair:
“We’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video,” said Hillary Clinton. No, not the person who made the video saying that voting for Barack Obama is like losing your virginity to a really cool guy. I’ll get to that in a moment. But Secretary Clinton was talking about the fellow who made the supposedly Islamophobic video that supposedly set off the sacking of the Benghazi consulate. And, indeed, she did “have that person arrested.” By happy coincidence, his bail hearing has been set for three days after the election, by which time he will have served his purpose. These two videos — the Islamophobic one and the Obamosexual one — bookend the remarkable but wholly deserved collapse of the president’s reelection campaign.

You’ll recall that a near-month-long attempt to blame an obscure YouTube video for the murder of four Americans and the destruction of U.S. sovereign territory climaxed in the vice-presidential debate with Joe Biden’s bald assertion that the administration had been going on the best intelligence it had at the time. By then, it had been confirmed that there never had been any protest against the video, and that the Obama line that Benghazi had been a spontaneous movie review that just got a little out of hand was utterly false. The only remaining question was whether the administration had knowingly lied or was merely innocently stupid. The innocent-stupidity line became harder to maintain this week after Fox News obtained State Department e-mails revealing that shortly after 4 p.m. Eastern, less than a half hour after the assault in Benghazi began, the White House situation room knew the exact nature of it.

We also learned that, in those first moments of the attack, a request for military back-up was made by U.S. staff on the ground but was denied by Washington. It had planes and special forces less than 500 miles away in southern Italy — or about the same distance as Washington to Boston. They could have been there in less than two hours. Yet the commander-in-chief declined to give the order. So Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods fought all night against overwhelming odds, and died on a rooftop in a benighted jihadist hellhole while Obama retired early to rest up before his big Vegas campaign stop. “Within minutes of the first bullet being fired the White House knew these heroes would be slaughtered if immediate air support was denied,” said Ty Woods’s father, Charles. “In less than an hour, the perimeters could have been secured and American lives could have been saved. After seven hours fighting numerically superior forces, my son’s life was sacrificed because of the White House’s decision.”

Why would Obama and Biden do such a thing? Because to launch a military operation against an al-Qaeda affiliate on the anniversary of 9/11 would have exposed the hollowness of their boast through convention week and the days thereafter — that Osama was dead and al-Qaeda was finished. And so Ty Woods, Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, and Chris Stevens were left to die, and a decision taken to blame an entirely irrelevant video and, as Secretary Clinton threatened, “have that person arrested.” And, in the weeks that followed, the government of the United States lied to its own citizens as thoroughly and energetically as any totalitarian state, complete with the midnight knock on the door from not-so-secret policemen sent to haul the designated fall-guy into custody.
This goes far beyond the instinctive secretiveness to which even democratic governments are prone. The Obama administration created a wholly fictional story line, and devoted its full resources to maintaining it…. [W]hen the president and other prominent officials stand by as four Americans die and then abuse their sacrifice as contemptuously as this administration did, decency requires that they be voted out of office as an act of urgent political hygiene.
At the photo-op staged for the returning caskets, Obama et al. seem to have been too focused on their campaign needs to observe even the minimal courtesies. Charles Woods says that at the ceremony Joe Biden strolled over to him and by way of condolence said in a “loud and boisterous” voice, “Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?” One assumes charitably that the vice president is acknowledging in his own inept and blundering way the remarkable courage of a man called upon to die for his country on some worthless sod halfway across the planet. But the near-parodic locker-room coarseness is grotesque both in its inaptness and in its lack of basic human feeling for a bereaved family forced to grieve in public and as crowd-scene extras to the political bigshot. Just about the only formal responsibility a vice president has is to attend funerals without embarrassing his country. And this preening buffoon of pseudo-blue-collar faux-machismo couldn’t even manage that.
But a funny thing happened over the next six weeks: Obama’s own cue balls shriveled. Biden had offered up a deft campaign slogan encompassing both domestic and foreign policy: “Osama’s dead and General Motors is alive.” But, as the al-Qaeda connections to Benghazi dribbled out leak by leak, the “Osama’s dead” became a problematic boast and, left to stand alone, the General Motors line was even less credible. Avoiding the economy and foreign affairs, Obama fell back on Big Bird, and binders, and bayonets, just to name the “B”s in his bonnet. At the second presidential debate, he name-checked Planned Parenthood, the General Motors of the American abortion industry, half a dozen times, desperate to preserve his so-called gender gap. Yet oddly enough, the more furiously Obama and Biden have waved their binders and talked up Sandra Fluke, the more his supposed lead among women has withered away. So now he needs to enthuse the young, who turned out in such numbers for him last time. Hence, the official campaign video (plagiarized from Vladimir Putin of all people) explaining that voting for Obama is like having sex. The saddest thing about that claim is that, for liberals, it may well be true.
Both videos — the one faking Obamagasm and the one faking a Benghazi pretext — exemplify the wretched shrinkage that befalls those unable to conceive of anything except in the most self-servingly political terms. Both, in different ways, exemplify why Obama and Biden are unfit for office. One video testifies to a horrible murderous lie at the heart of a head of state’s most solemn responsibility, the other to the glib shallow narcissism of a pop-culture presidency, right down to the numbing relentless peer pressure: C’mon, all the cool kids are doing it; why be the last hold-out?
If voting for Obama is like the first time you have sex, it’s very difficult to lose your virginity twice. A flailing, pitiful campaign has now adopted Queen Victoria’s supposed wedding advice to her daughter: “Lie back and think of England.” Lie back and think of America. And then get up and get dressed. Who wants to sleep with a $16 trillion broke loser twice?

Just about the only item of recent news related to the story that Mark omits is Obama’s interview with KUSA 9News anchor Kyle Clark (video below). Clark asks Obama the same question twice, right at the top of the interview:
KYLE CLARK: Were the Americans under attack at the consulate in Benghazi Libya denied requests for help during that attack? And is it fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and we’ll all find out after the election?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened. These are folks who served under me who I had sent to some very dangerous places. Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do. But we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I have made a commitment to the families impacted as well as to the American people, we’re going to bring those folks to justice. So, we’re going to gather all the facts, find out exactly what happened, and make sure that it doesn’t happen again but we’re also going to make sure that we bring to justice those who carried out these attacks.
KYLE CLARK: Were they denied requests for help during the attack?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, we are finding out exactly what happened. I can tell you, as I’ve said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we’re going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we’re going to find out exactly what happened, but what we’re also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.
The video below shows Clark’s entire seven-minute interview with Obama. Stick with it to see Clark ask: “In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, you called Governor Romney a ‘bullshitter.’ What did you mean and why did you choose that word?” Obama’s response shows the charge to be a case study in projection.

Oh, and one more thing. On the question why those requests for help were denied during the attack, the CIA released a statement yesterday, presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus: “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.” Bill Kristol explicates the text:
So who in the government did tell “anybody” not to help those in need? Someone decided not to send in military assets to help those Agency operators. Would the secretary of defense make such a decision on his own? No.

It would have been a presidential decision. There was presumably a rationale for such a decision. What was it? When and why—and based on whose counsel obtained in what meetings or conversations—did President Obama decide against sending in military assets to help the Americans in need?
Those are the questions that Obama avoids answering in his interview with Kyle Clark.

Obamacare’s rhetoric vs. its reality

Obamacare’s rhetoric vs. its reality

By ,

Just recently, the Internal Revenue Service issued an 18-page, single-spaced notice explaining how to distinguish between full-time and part-time workers under the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). The difference matters, because the act requires employers with 50 or more full-time workers to provide health insurance for those workers. At the same time, no company has to buy insurance for part-time employees, defined as those working less than 30 hours a week.

Here’s a sample:

This notice expands the safe harbor method described in a previous notice to provide employers the option to use a look-back measurement period of up to 12 months to determine whether new variable hour employees or seasonal employees are full-time employees, without being subject to a payment under section 4980H for this period with respect to those employees.

Obamacare has faded as a campaign issue, perhaps because it doesn’t suit either the president or Mitt Romney. It’s not popular, a minus for Barack Obama. Its resemblance to Romney’s Massachusetts program is a minus for him. But Obamacare’s relentless march to full-fledged introduction in 2014 demonstrates that, for all its good intentions, it will make the health-care system more confusing (see above), costly and contentious. It won’t control health spending — the system’s main problem — and will weaken job creation.

Consider the treatment of full-time and part-time workers as an object lesson.

Exempting part-time workers is a concession to practicality. If companies had to provide insurance for all part-time and seasonal workers — often unskilled and poorly paid — the high costs (a worker-only insurance policy can run more than $5,000) would eliminate many jobs or inspire mass evasion. On the other hand, exempting too many “part-time” and “seasonal” workers would make achieving near-universal insurance coverage much harder.

So there’s a balancing act: preserving jobs vs. providing insurance. The problem isn’t small. In September, 34 million workers, about a quarter of total workers, were part-time, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the bureau defines part time as less than 35 hours a week; Obamacare’s 30 hours a week was presumably adopted to expand insurance coverage. There are now 10 million workers averaging between 30 and 34 hours a week. To the bureau, they are part-time; under Obamacare, they’re full-time.

Employers have a huge incentive to hold workers under the 30-hour weekly threshold. The requirement to provide insurance above that acts as a steep employment tax. Companies will try to minimize the tax. The most vulnerable workers are the poorest and least skilled who can be most easily replaced and for whom insurance costs loom largest. Indeed, the adjustment has already started.

As first reported in the Orlando Sentinel, Darden Restaurants — owners of about 2,000 outlets, including the Red Lobster and Olive Garden chains — is studying ways to shift more employees under the 30-hour ceiling. About three-quarters of its 185,000 workers are already under, says spokesman Rich Jeffers. The question is “can we go higher and still deliver a great [eating] experience.” The financial stakes are sizable. Suppose Darden moves 1,000 servers under 30 hours and avoids paying $5,000 insurance for each. The annual savings: $5 million.

As a reaction to Obamacare, this makes business sense, but in other ways, it doesn’t. Waiters and waitresses going below 30 hours a week will lose income. They make about $15 an hour with tips, says Jeffers. A server who drops five hours would lose $75 a week. Although some servers under the limit might increase their hours and incomes, jobs will become less attractive because earnings will be effectively capped. Turnover, already 50 percent annually, might rise, as would Darden’s training costs. On average, servers receive 35 hours of training, says Jeffers.

Many companies, especially in the fast-food, retailing and hotel industries, will explore similar changes. Some workers will resent the limits on their wages. Others will think that companies have illegally denied them insurance, even though the IRS guidelines permit much flexibility in calculating who exceeds the 30-hour limit. That’s why the IRS notice is so long and complex. Still, some firms will cheat; enforcement will be hard.

The argument about Obamacare is often framed as a moral issue. It’s the caring and compassionate against the cruel and heartless. That’s the rhetoric; the reality is different. Many of us who oppose Obamacare don’t do so because we enjoy seeing people suffer. We believe that, in an ideal world, everyone would have insurance. But we also think that Obamacare has huge drawbacks that outweigh its plausible benefits.

It creates powerful pressures against companies hiring full-time workers — precisely the wrong approach after the worst economic slump since the Depression. There will be more bewildering regulations, more regulatory uncertainties, more unintended side effects and more disappointments. A costly and opaque system will become more so.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

CIA Repeatedly Denied Requests for Benghazi Relief

CIA Repeatedly Denied Requests for Benghazi Relief

by John Hinderaker in Benghazigate, Obama Foreign Policy

More details are emerging about what happened in Benghazi, and the story is infuriating: the CIA repeatedly denied pleas for help from the handful of men who fought off terrorists for seven hours before help finally arrived, too late:
Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that three urgent requests from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. Consulate and subsequent attack nearly seven hours later were denied by officials in the CIA chain of command — who also told the CIA operators to “stand down” rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

Former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were part of a small team who were at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. Consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When they heard the shots fired, they radioed to inform their higher-ups to tell them what they were hearing. They were told to “stand down,” according to sources familiar with the exchange. An hour later, they called again to headquarters and were again told to “stand down.”

Woods, Doherty and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the Consulate which at that point was on fire.
Good for them. But the story gets worse:
The quick reaction force 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 Specter 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.

A Special Operations team, or CIF which stands for Commanders in Extremis Force, operating in Central Europe had been moved to Sigonella, Italy, but they too were told to stand down. A second force that specializes in counterterrorism rescues was on hand at Sigonella, according to senior military and intelligence sources. According to those sources, they could have flown to Benghazi in less than two hours. They were the same distance to Benghazi as those that were sent from Tripoli. Specter gunships are commonly used by the Special Operations community to provide close air support.
According to sources on the ground, the special operator on the roof of the CIA annex had visual contact and a laser pointing at the Libyan mortar team that was targeting the CIA annex. The operators were calling in coordinates of where the Libyan forces were firing from.

So why wouldn’t the CIA act? Who made the decision? The gun battle apparently was being followed in real time in the White House Situation Room and elsewhere. How in the world–I’m suppressing stronger language here–could anyone watch this handful of heroic men battling terrorists without sending reinforcements? How high up did the request for help go? This is a scandal that badly needs to be investigated. Here is what appears to be the bottom line:
Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, were part of a Global Response Staff or GRS that provides security to CIA case officers and provides countersurveillance and surveillance protection. They were killed by a mortar shell at 4 a.m. Libyan time, nearly seven hours after the attack on the Consulate began — a window that represented more than enough time for the U.S. military to send back-up from nearby bases in Europe, according to sources familiar with Special Operations.

The candidate of hope has become the candidate of fear: How Obama has transformed himself in ugly election campaign

The candidate of hope has become the candidate of fear: How Obama has transformed himself in ugly election campaign

By Toby Harnden

Four years after he was elected as a self-described 'hopemonger' promising a new post-partisan era, President Barack Obama is trying to claw his way to re-election with an ugly, divisive campaign in which he is playing the role of fearmonger-in-chief.

On a chilling Wednesday evening in a Las Vegas park, Obama spoke to a raucous gathering of some 13,000 – more than twice the number his opponent Mitt Romney had attracted a few days earlier but a far cry from the crowds of 2008 when he was swept into office with a seven-point victory over Senator John McCain.

With his own star power fading somewhat, Obama had enlisted the help of teen heartthrob Katy Perry to sing before he appeared. Resplendent in a black-and-white latex dress emblazoned with a ballot paper, she delivered five of her pop hits to screams and squeals from the younger attendees.
Where's the hope? President Obama, speaking last night in Las Vegas, lost the sparkle of his 2008 campaign as he launched into a exhaustive and exhausting diatribe about Romney

Berlin 2008
Richmond, Virginia, 2012
Four years' difference: Obama, pictured left at a rally in Berlin in 2008 before he was elected, and today, at another rally in Richmond, Virginia
When Obama finally took to the stage, he began with light-hearted quips about Perry’s 91-year-old grandmother getting lipstick on his cheek and nearly getting him in hot water with his wife Michele. ‘I’m just telling you - you might get me in trouble!’

Right on cue, and just like 2008, a woman shouted out: ‘We love you, Obama!’ He responded, just as he always has: ‘I love you back!’

But the mood quickly darkened and it was at this point that any comparisons with 2008 evaporated. Obama – who was reading his remarks from two teleprompters flanking the stage – launched into a exhaustive and exhausting diatribe about Romney.

There was all the standard stump stuff about ‘Romnesia’ – a term dreamt up in the bowels of the Left-wing blogosphere and adopted by the Obama campaign this month as part of its closing argument in this election.

The word is a cute enough campaign term, though perhaps not quite something you would expect from a President of the United States who has been hailed for the world historical significance and beauty of his rhetoric.

Certainly, Romney is rightly vulnerable on the issue of shifting policy positions. But ‘Romnesia’ , as Obama aides have made clear, is about saying that Romney cannot be trusted. It’s about calling the former Massachusetts governor a liar.
Proof: Obama holds up his early voting ballot receipt today after he voted early in the 2012 election at the Martin Luther King Community Center in Chicago
That's standard-fare political hardball. But then Obama went a step further. After describing himself as ‘steady and strong’ – words used by his apparatchiks in the post-debate spin room in Florida on Monday - he told the crowd that a vote for Romney would plunge Americans back to the early 1960s.

‘You can choose to turn the clock back 50 years for women and immigrants and gays,’ he said.
Hope: The iconic campaign poster by Shepard Fairey was omnipresent during the 2008 election
Hope: The iconic campaign poster by Shepard Fairey was omnipresent during the 2008 election
‘Or in this election you can stand up for the principle that America includes everybody. We're all created equal - black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, abled, disabled - no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from or who you love, in America you can make it if you try.’

Leave aside for a moment that 50 years ago was 1962, when President John F. Kennedy was in office and it seemed like America was entering a new dawn.

What Obama meant was that Romney wanted to take away the rights of women and every minority group in the country. He did not say it explicitly – Obama is too clever a politician for that, and the remarks has been carefully prepared before being loaded onto the teleprompters – but he was suggesting that Romney is a dangerous extremist and very possibly a racist

Exactly four years ago today in Las Vegas, Obama that ‘things can get ugly sometimes’ in election campaigns and that ‘say anything, do nothing, do anything’ politics can take over.

Obama continued: ‘The ugly phone calls, the misleading mail and TV ads, the careless, outrageous comments, all aimed at keeping us from working together, all aimed at stopping change.

‘Well, you know what? This is not what we need right now. The American people don’t want to hear politicians attack each other. You want to hear about how we’re going to attack the challenges facing the middle class all over the country.’
After resisting for months calls to draw up a plan for a second term, this week Obama tore down a small rainforest by printing 3.5 million copies of a 20-page booklet entitled ‘A Plan for Jobs and Middle-Class Security.
The view: This week, we've seen Obama use the softball setting of the Jay Leno Show to denounce Romney by association based on the clumsy comments of Richard Mourdock
The view: This week, we've seen Obama use the softball setting of the Jay Leno Show to denounce Romney by association based on the clumsy comments of Richard Mourdock
But there was nothing new in the booklet and was rushed out just two weeks before election day and the morning after the final debate – too late for Romney to challenge him on it.
More to the point, Obama’s focus is not on his own record but on tearing Romney down personally in exactly the way he decried four years ago.
This week, we’ve seen Obama use the softball setting of the Jay Leno Show to denounce Romney by association based on the clumsy comments of Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Indiana.
Mourdock, asked in a debate about whether a foetus conceived during rape should be aborted, responded that life was a ‘gift from God’ and that ‘even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen’.

Obama knew that Mourdock was essentially outlining the position of any observant Roman Catholic – that an unborn child’s life was precious no matter how it was created. But Obama told the Leno audience: ‘Rape is rape. It is a crime. And so these various distinctions about rape don't make too much sense to me.’

Mourdock – never mind Romney – made no distinction about different types of rapes or characterised rape as anything other than a crime.

What Obama was doing was what he was doing in his Las Vegas speech – playing on the fears of voters that Romney is a crazed bigot.

As the laundry list of minority voting groups indicated, Obama was engaging in what one politician described in 2008 as ‘the kind of slice and dice politics that's about race and about gender and about this and that, and that's what Americans are tired of because they recognise that when we divide ourselves in that way we can't solve problems’.

That politician, of course, was Obama, then running for president.

Low blow: Obama seems to believe that the load road against Romney is his only route back to the White House in 2012
Low blow: Obama seems to believe that the load road against Romney is his only route back to the White House in 2012
Obama has signally failed to woo Republicans in Washington and there is precious little evidence he has even tried. Today, we learned that when asked by a ‘Rolling Stone’ editor whether he had a message for the editor’s six-year-old daughter took the opportunity to describe Romney as ‘a bulls***tter’.

Almost all politicians – though not Romney – swear in private. But for a President of the United States to describe his opponent publicly in such a way was beneath the dignity of his office.

Obama’s tactics in the final days of this campaign might well pay off. Politically speaking, he may not have any other way of scraping a narrow victory – though the risk is that he will turn-off moderate voters.

But if Obama is re-elected the way he has run his campaign may make it almost impossible for him to govern effectively - let alone in the spirit of the ‘better angels of our nature’ that Abraham Lincoln cited in his first inaugural speech and that Obama used to love quoting.

It was John McCain who said in 2008 that he would not ‘take the low road to the highest office in the land’.

Obama seems to believe that the load road is his only route back to the White House in 2012. It is the kind of strategy that Candidate Obama in 2008 would have viewed as beneath contempt.

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