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Wednesday, October 31, 2012



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Eugene Robinson: Election Is A Struggle For National Meaning, Identity.

Eugene Robinson | Election is a struggle for national meaning, identity

WASHINGTON — This election is only tangentially a fight over policy. It is also a fight about meaning and identity — and that’s one reason why voters are so polarized. It’s about who we are and who we aspire to be.

President Obama enters the final days of the campaign with a substantial lead among women — about 15 points, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll — and enormous leads among Latinos and African-Americans, the nation’s two largest minority groups. Mitt Romney leads among white voters, with an incredible 2-1 advantage among white men.

It is too simplistic to conclude that demography equals destiny. Both men are being sincere when they vow to serve the interests of all Americans. But it would be disingenuous to pretend not to notice the obvious cleavage between those who have long held power in this society and those who are beginning to attain it.

When Republicans vow to “take back our country,” they never say from whom. But we can guess.

Issues of race, power and privilege are less explicit this year than in 2008, but in some ways they are even stronger.

Four years ago, we asked ourselves whether the nation would ever elect a black president. The question was front and center. Every time we see the President and his family walk across the White House lawn to board Marine One, we’re reminded of the answer.

The intensity of the opposition to Obama has less to do with who he is than with the changes in American society he not only represents but incarnates. Citing his race as a factor in the way some of his opponents have bitterly resisted his policies immediately draws an outraged cry: “You’re saying that just because I oppose Obama, I’m a racist.” No, I’m not saying that at all.

What I’m saying is that Obama’s racial identity is a constant reminder of how much the nation has changed in a relatively short period of time. In my lifetime, we’ve experienced the civil rights movement, the countercultural explosion of the 1960s, the sexual revolution, the women’s movement and an unprecedented wave of Latino immigration. Within a few decades, there will be no white majority in this country — no majority of any kind, in fact. We will be a nation of racial and ethnic minorities, and we will only prosper if everyone learns to give and take.

Our place in the world has changed as well. The United States remains the dominant economic and military power; our ideals remain a beacon for those around the globe still yearning to breathe free. But our capacity for unilateral action is diminished; we can assert but not dictate, and we must learn to persuade.

Obama’s great sin, for some who oppose him, is to make it impossible to ignore these domestic and international megatrends. Take one look at Obama and the phenomenon of demographic change is inescapable. Observe his approach to international crises in places such as Libya or Syria and the reality of America’s place in the world is unavoidable.

I’m deliberately leaving aside what should be the biggest factor in the election: Obama’s policies. It happens that I have supported most of them, but of course there are legitimate reasons to favor Romney’s proposals, insofar as we know what they really are — and the extent to which they really differ from Obama’s.

In foreign affairs, judging by the most recent debate, the differences are too small to discern; Romney promises to speak in a louder voice and perhaps deploy more battleships, but that’s about it. Domestically, however, I see a clear choice. I consider the Affordable Care Act a great achievement, and Romney’s promise to repeal it would alone be reason enough for me to oppose him. Add in the tax cuts for the wealthy, the plan to “voucherize” Medicare and the appointments Romney would likely make to the Supreme Court, and the implications of this election become even weightier.

Issues may explain our sharp political divisions, but they can’t be the cause of our demographic polarization. White men need medical care, too. African Americans and Latinos understand the need to get our fiscal house in order. The recession and the slow recovery have taken a toll across the board.

Some of Obama’s opponents have tried to delegitimize his presidency because he doesn’t embody the America they once knew. He embodies the America of now.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Associated Press (AP) Poll: Majority Harbor Prejudice Against Blacks. And I Ask: So What Else Is New?

AP poll: Majority harbor prejudice against blacks

WASHINGTON — Racial attitudes have not improved in the four years since the United States elected its first black president, an Associated Press poll finds, as a slight majority of Americans now express prejudice toward blacks whether they recognize those feelings or not.

Those views could cost President Barack Obama votes as he tries for re-election, the survey found, though the effects are mitigated by some people's more favorable views of blacks.

Racial prejudice has increased slightly since 2008 whether those feelings were measured using questions that explicitly asked respondents about racist attitudes, or through an experimental test that measured implicit views toward race without asking questions about that topic directly.

In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell.

"As much as we'd hope the impact of race would decline over time ... it appears the impact of anti-black sentiment on voting is about the same as it was four years ago," said Jon Krosnick, a Stanford University professor who worked with AP to develop the survey.

Most Americans expressed anti-Hispanic sentiments, too. In an AP survey done in 2011, 52 percent of non-Hispanic whites expressed anti-Hispanic attitudes. That figure rose to 57 percent in the implicit test. The survey on Hispanics had no past data for comparison.

The AP surveys were conducted with researchers from Stanford University, the University of Michigan and NORC at the University of Chicago.

Experts on race said they were not surprised by the findings.

"We have this false idea that there is uniformity in progress and that things change in one big step. That is not the way history has worked," said Jelani Cobb, professor of history and director of the Institute for African-American Studies at the University of Connecticut. "When we've seen progress, we've also seen backlash."

Obama has tread cautiously on the subject of race, but many African-Americans have talked openly about perceived antagonism toward them since Obama took office. As evidence, they point to events involving police brutality or cite bumper stickers, cartoons and protest posters that mock the president as a lion or a monkey, or lynch him in effigy.

"Part of it is growing polarization within American society," said Fredrick Harris, director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University. "The last Democrat in the White House said we had to have a national discussion about race. There's been total silence around issues of race with this president. But, as you see, whether there is silence, or an elevation of the discussion of race, you still have polarization. It will take more generations, I suspect, before we eliminate these deep feelings."

Overall, the survey found that by virtue of racial prejudice, Obama could lose 5 percentage points off his share of the popular vote in his Nov. 6 contest against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. But Obama also stands to benefit from a 3 percentage point gain due to pro-black sentiment, researchers said. Overall, that means an estimated net loss of 2 percentage points due to anti-black attitudes.

The poll finds that racial prejudice is not limited to one group of partisans. Although Republicans were more likely than Democrats to express racial prejudice in the questions measuring explicit racism (79 percent among Republicans compared with 32 percent among Democrats), the implicit test found little difference between the two parties. That test showed a majority of both Democrats and Republicans held anti-black feelings (55 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans), as did about half of political independents (49 percent).

Obama faced a similar situation in 2008, the survey then found.

The AP developed the surveys to measure sensitive racial views in several ways and repeated those studies several times between 2008 and 2012.

The explicit racism measures asked respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements about black and Hispanic people. In addition, the surveys asked how well respondents thought certain words, such as "friendly," "hardworking," "violent" and "lazy," described blacks, whites and Hispanics.

The same respondents were also administered a survey designed to measure implicit racism, in which a photo of a black, Hispanic or white male flashed on the screen before a neutral image of a Chinese character. The respondents were then asked to rate their feelings toward the Chinese character. Previous research has shown that people transfer their feelings about the photo onto the character, allowing researchers to measure racist feelings even if a respondent does not acknowledge them.

Results from those questions were analyzed with poll takers' ages, partisan beliefs, views on Obama and Romney and other factors, which allowed researchers to predict the likelihood that people would vote for either Obama or Romney. Those models were then used to estimate the net impact of each factor on the candidates' support.

All the surveys were conducted online. Other research has shown that poll takers are more likely to share unpopular attitudes when they are filling out a survey using a computer rather than speaking with an interviewer. Respondents were randomly selected from a nationally representative panel maintained by GfK Custom Research.

Overall results from each survey have a margin of sampling error of approximately plus or minus 4 percentage points. The most recent poll, measuring anti-black views, was conducted Aug. 30 to Sept. 11.

Andra Gillespie, an Emory University political scientist who studies race-neutrality among black politicians, contrasted the situation to that faced by the first black mayors elected in major U.S. cities, the closest parallel to Obama's first-black situation. Those mayors, she said, typically won about 20 percent of the white vote in their first races, but when seeking reelection they enjoyed greater white support presumably because "the whites who stayed in the cities ... became more comfortable with a black executive."

"President Obama's election clearly didn't change those who appear to be sort of hard-wired folks with racial resentment," she said.

Negative racial attitudes can manifest in policy, noted Alan Jenkins, an assistant solicitor general during the Clinton administration and now executive director of the Opportunity Agenda think tank.

"That has very real circumstances in the way people are treated by police, the way kids are treated by teachers, the way home seekers are treated by landlords and real estate agents," Jenkins said.

Hakeem Jeffries, a New York state assemblyman and candidate for a congressional seat being vacated by a fellow black Democrat, called it troubling that more progress on racial attitudes had not been made. Jeffries has fought a New York City police program of "stop and frisk" that has affected mostly blacks and Latinos but which supporters contend is not racially focused.

"I do remain cautiously optimistic that the future of America bends toward the side of increased racial tolerance," Jeffries said. "We've come a long way, but clearly these results demonstrate there's a long way to go."

AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.

Read more here:


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"It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions."

--Thomas Jefferson, letter to Richard M. Johnson, 1808

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Saturday, October 27, 2012



Cut Some Perks For University Of Kentucky Administrators.

Cut some perks for UK administrators

In the grand scheme of the University of Kentucky's budget, the cushy extra retirement benefit afforded top administrators isn't a big deal.

But that's not the point. The point is the benefit establishes a special class within the university.

UK pays 15 percent of the salary for these top administrators — with annual salaries from $161,000 to President Eli Capilouto's $500,000 and UK hospital president Michael Karpf's $792,451 — into retirement accounts.

For other employees, the university matches a 5 percent retirement contribution with a 10 percent allocation.

Capilouto, who faces a nearly $50 million budget hole due largely to reduced state funding, has cut a number of administrative positions and eliminated this longtime perk for new hires.

The faculty Senate asked him to eliminate that benefit for current employees and cut salaries for the highest-paid administrators. He has rejected salary cuts.

Spokesman Jay Blanton said the president "believes strongly he shouldn't go back on incentives that were promised in the past."

The whole point of this budget-cutting exercise is that things aren't the same. Students face increasing tuition year after year, teachers worry they will carry heavier class loads and staff struggle to do their work with fewer resources. No one is getting the deal he or she anticipated from UK.

Creating a culture where everyone buys into a common goal is always important, but especially so in tough times. It will be hard for Capilouto to accomplish this unless he shows that his inner circle has more skin in this painful game.

There's a larger point about leadership here.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, for example, has cut his own $140,000 annual salary in half and required two-week unpaid furloughs of his commissioners and top-level staff.

Likewise, Gov. Steve Beshear, facing huge budget problems in 2008, announced that he and his top staff would take a voluntary 10 percent pay cut.

These were largely symbolic actions given the size of local and state budgets; but at least citizens, employees and others feeling the pain knew it was shared at the top.

UK's most important promise is to deliver an excellent education to its students. To accomplish this, everything needs to be on the table for consideration, including the extra retirement benefit for top administrators.

Read more here:




Friday, October 26, 2012


Kentucky Senate President David Williams appointed as circuit judge

In a move that dramatically changes Frankfort’s political landscape, Gov. Steve Beshear on Friday appointed his political nemesis David Williams as a circuit judge.

The appointment, which takes effect Nov. 2, was made in an executive order released by the Secretary of State’s Office on Friday afternoon.

It marks the end of Williams’ 27-year legislative career and nearly 13 years where he was often Frankfort’s dominant political force as president of the state Senate.

“Senator Williams is an experienced lawyer and is familiar with the district, having represented the area in the legislature for more than 20 years,” Beshear said in a statement Friday afternoon.

The move came as a result of the unexpected death on Sept. 17 of Eddie C. Lovelace, circuit judge for Clinton, Cumberland and Monroe counties.

Williams, an attorney, is from Cumberland County. Initial speculation of Williams’ interest in an appointment to fill the vacancy, and Beshear’s interest in appointing him, evolved over the ensuing weeks into a widely accepted belief in political circles that Beshear would appoint Williams.

On Thursday a judicial nominating commission nominated Williams and two others for the appointment.

And Beshear, who had 60 days to make the appointment, pulled the trigger Friday.

The appointment is for two years remaining in Lovelace’s term.

Williams, 59, of Burkesville, was first elected to the House in 1984 followed by election to the Senate for seven terms. In 2000, he was elected by a new Republican majority as Senate president — a title he has held until Friday.

He and Democrat Beshear have clashed bitterly and repeatedly since Beshear’s first election as governor in 2007.

Last year Williams won his party’s nomination for governor and ran to prevent Beshear from winning a second term. But Beshear won re-election in a landslide, capturing 56 percent of the vote to 35 percent for Williams with the remaining 9 percent going to the late Gatewood Galbraith, an independent.

Williams’ departure from the legislature creates a vacancy both in the Senate’s 16th District (Clinton, Cumberland, McCreary, Monroe, Wayne and Whitley counties) and in the Senate presidency.

Senate Republicans, virtually certain to retain a majority in the chamber after November’s elections, will choose a new president during the first days of the 2013 regular session in January.

The governor will call a special election to fill the vacancy in Williams’ Senate seat. Candidates will be selected by Republican and Democratic organizations within the district.

Under a 2005 law that Williams supported, legislators who move on to a higher-paying job in the other branches can use the higher salary of the new job as the basis for their legislative pensions.


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Kentucky Supreme Court weakens grandparents' rights to see grandchildren

The Kentucky Supreme Court has made it harder for grandparents to win visitation with their grandchildren when the child’s parents object.

In a 6-1 ruling, the state’s high court ruled Thursday that parents who oppose giving a grandparent visitation must be presumed to be acting in the child’s best interests.

The court did not strike down Ken­tuc­ky’s 1984 grandparent visitation law but said a grandparent must present “clear and convincing” evidence to win the right to visit a grandchild over a parent’s objection.

“Kentucky courts cannot presume that grandparents and grandchildren will always benefit from contact with each other,” the court ruled. “If the only proof that a grandparent can present is that they spent time with the child and attended holidays and special occasions, this alone cannot overcome the presumption that the parent is acting in the child’s best interest.”

Writing for the court, Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr., said “the grandparent must show something more — that the grandparent and child shared such a close bond that to sever contact would cause distress to the child.”

Louisville family lawyers not involved in the case said the ruling will make it extremely hard for grandparents to win court-ordered visitation rights over a parent’s objection.

“That is an awful high legal standard,” said former Jefferson Family Court Judge Louis Waterman, adding that it gives “near-total authority” to parents.

The court reversed an order from Jefferson Family Court Judge Dolly Wisman Berry, giving visitation to Donna S. Blair for her grandson B.B., who is now 8, over the objection of his mother, Michelle L. Walker.

Blair said she had baby sat for the boy since he was born, took him to the zoo and the movies, gave him bubble baths and hosted his birthday parties.

But Walker said that, after the boy’s father killed himself, she feared for his safety and emotional well-being, because Donna Blair and her former husband blamed Walker for the suicide.

The court ordered Berry to conduct a new hearing, following the rules set down in its 20-page opinion.

The court said grandparents may win court-ordered visitation if they can show that the child would be harmed by denying it or where the grandparent and child lived in the same household for some time or the grandparent regularly baby sat the child.

The court directed judges to consider eight factors, including the nature and stability of the relationship between the child and the grandparent; the amount of time they had spent together; the effect that granting visitation would have on the child’s relationship with the parents; and the wishes and preferences of the child.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Will T. Scott said he would have required grandparents to rebut the presumption in favor of parents based on a preponderance of the evidence, which is an easier burden to meet.

“It is beyond dispute that there is a societal presumption that it is usually healthier when a child has a loving relationship with a loving grandparent,” wrote Scott, who is seeking re-election against former Court of Appeals Judge Janet Stumbo.

The case marked the first time in 20 years that the state Supreme Court had tackled the issue, and the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court held in 2000 that parents have a constitutionally protected interest in raising their children without government interference.

Upholding the right of grandparents in a 1992 case from Boyle County, the state Supreme Court put parents and grandparents on equal footing in assessing the best interest of the child.

It also cited the benefit of visitation to the grandparent, who “can be invigorated by exposure to youth” and “avoid the loneliness that is so often a part of an aging parent’s life.”

But the court on Thursday said it was compelled by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to reverse its Boyle County ruling, which “is no longer good law.”

“So long as a parent is fit, there will normally be no reason for the state to inject itself in the private realm of the family,” the court said.

Blair’s lawyer, Denise Helline, said she found it troubling that "they set the bar too high." Walker’s lawyer, Mitchell Charney, said he hadn’t read the decision and couldn’t immediately comment.

No one tracks how many motions for grandparents’ visitation are filed in Kentucky, but Jefferson Family Court Judge Stephen George estimated in August that they are filed in about 5 percent of divorce and custody cases.

Waterman predicted that fewer will be filed now because attorneys will advise grandparents that it is less likely they will prevail.

Family lawyer Diana Skaggs, publisher of the blog “Divorce Law Journal,” who had predicted that if the court ruled Kentucky’s grandparent’s law unconstitutional it would mean “grandparents have no rights,” said she was glad the court didn’t do that.

But she agreed that the ruling means grandparents will have a tougher time getting courts to order visitation. “A loving relationship alone now is not enough.”



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Many of you have figured out by now I don't think POTUS Barack Obama deserves to be re-elected President of these her United States.

By the same token, I for certain don't feel like Mitt Romney has any business bringing his PHONINESS and lack of abiding guiding principles to the White House.

And yes, Americans are more careful about choosing their produce or dead fish at the local store as they do selecting their rulers.

That's why we found ourselves in this mess of having to close our nostrils in order to select the "lesser of two evils"!

I, for one, am glad I don't have to make that choice of which "evil" to choose. I won't have to share the blame for what becomes of the next 4 years!!

And then again, maybe, the Hand of God is in all of this.

Maybe, God has decided once again to send another VERY CLEAR message to America, which America will, once again, IGNORE TO ITS DETRIMENT.



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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Salt Lake City, Utah, Tribune Newspaper Endorses, Decries "Too Many Mitts". I Do, Too.

Tribune endorsement: Too Many Mitts

Obama has earned another term

Nowhere has Mitt Romney’s pursuit of the presidency been more warmly welcomed or closely followed than here in Utah. The Republican nominee’s political and religious pedigrees, his adeptly bipartisan governorship of a Democratic state, and his head for business and the bottom line all inspire admiration and hope in our largely Mormon, Republican, business-friendly state.

But it was Romney’s singular role in rescuing Utah’s organization of the 2002 Olympics from a cesspool of scandal, and his oversight of the most successful Winter Games on record, that make him the Beehive State’s favorite adopted son. After all, Romney managed to save the state from ignominy, turning the extravaganza into a showcase for the matchless landscapes, volunteerism and efficiency that told the world what is best and most beautiful about Utah and its people.

In short, this is the Mitt Romney we knew, or thought we knew, as one of us.

Sadly, it is not the only Romney, as his campaign for the White House has made abundantly clear, first in his servile courtship of the tea party in order to win the nomination, and now as the party’s shape-shifting nominee. From his embrace of the party’s radical right wing, to subsequent portrayals of himself as a moderate champion of the middle class, Romney has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: "Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?"

The evidence suggests no clear answer, or at least one that would survive Romney’s next speech or sound bite. Politicians routinely tailor their words to suit an audience. Romney, though, is shameless, lavishing vastly diverse audiences with words, any words, they would trade their votes to hear.

More troubling, Romney has repeatedly refused to share specifics of his radical plan to simultaneously reduce the debt, get rid of Obamacare (or, as he now says, only part of it), make a voucher program of Medicare, slash taxes and spending, and thereby create millions of new jobs. To claim, as Romney does, that he would offset his tax and spending cuts (except for billions more for the military) by doing away with tax deductions and exemptions is utterly meaningless without identifying which and how many would get the ax. Absent those specifics, his promise of a balanced budget simply does not pencil out.

If this portrait of a Romney willing to say anything to get elected seems harsh, we need only revisit his branding of 47 percent of Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, yet feel victimized and entitled to government assistance. His job, he told a group of wealthy donors, "is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Where, we ask, is the pragmatic, inclusive Romney, the Massachusetts governor who left the state with a model health care plan in place, the Romney who led Utah to Olympic glory? That Romney skedaddled and is nowhere to be found.

And what of the president Romney would replace? For four years, President Barack Obama has attempted, with varying degrees of success, to pull the nation out of its worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression, a deepening crisis he inherited the day he took office.

In the first months of his presidency, Obama acted decisively to stimulate the economy. His leadership was essential to passage of the badly needed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Though Republicans criticize the stimulus for failing to create jobs, it clearly helped stop the hemorrhaging of public sector jobs. The Utah Legislature used hundreds of millions in stimulus funds to plug holes in the state’s budget.

The president also acted wisely to bail out the auto industry, which has since come roaring back. Romney, in so many words, said the carmakers should sink if they can’t swim.

Obama’s most noteworthy achievement, passage of his signature Affordable Care Act, also proved, in its timing, his greatest blunder. The set of comprehensive health insurance reforms aimed at extending health care coverage to all Americans was signed 14 months into his term after a ferocious fight in Congress that sapped the new president’s political capital and destroyed any chance for bipartisan cooperation on the shredded economy.

Obama’s foreign policy record is perhaps his strongest suit, especially compared to Romney’s bellicose posture toward Russia and China and his inflammatory rhetoric regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Obama’s measured reliance on tough economic embargoes to bring Iran to heel, and his equally measured disengagement from the war in Afghanistan, are examples of a nuanced approach to international affairs. The glaring exception, still unfolding, was the administration’s failure to protect the lives of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, and to quickly come clean about it.

In considering which candidate to endorse, The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for organization, pragmatic problem solving and inspired leadership that he displayed here more than a decade ago. Instead, we have watched him morph into a friend of the far right, then tack toward the center with breathtaking aplomb. Through a pair of presidential debates, Romney’s domestic agenda remains bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust.

Therefore, our endorsement must go to the incumbent, a competent leader who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day. The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first.

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BREAKING NEWS: Watch Retired General, Colin Powell, Endorses POTUS Barack Obama For President. So Where Are My Fellow Republicans To Call Him A Traitor (Notice They Would Have Called Him Our New George Washington Had He Endorsed PHONY MItt Romney -- WINK.)?!



Wednesday, October 24, 2012



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Facts And Fiction In Foreign Policy Presidential Debate. In Order Words: Who Lied The MOST!?

Facts and fiction in foreign policy debate
Mitt Romney, Barack Obama
By Kevin G. Hall

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney traded barbs on foreign policy Monday night, dueling over everything from military spending to Middle East events to how best to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

In the last of three high-stakes presidential debates, not everything they said at Lynn University in the Florida beach city of Boca Raton squared with reality. Here’s a fact check of some of what they said:


Obama said he was confident that (Bashar) “Assad’s days are numbered.” However, there’s no evidence to support that the Syrian leader’s fall is imminent, and the administration has repeated that line for several months now with no significant military progress by the rebels.

While it’s true that the rebels have managed to capture sizable parts of the country, they’ve struggled to hold those territories against the better-armed regime forces, and experts agree that there’s no way the rebels can win militarily without either a crucial infusion of heavy weapons or direct foreign military intervention. By contrast, 19 months into the uprising, Assad is still in power, his inner circle is largely intact, and his military is still strong enough to call up reinforcements. Without an assassination or some form of outside military help for the rebels, experts say, Assad could hang on for many more months or even years.

Romney blasted Obama for failing to take “a leading role” in organizing the Syrian political opposition and uniting the “disparate” rebel factions under a single opposition banner.

The United States, along with France and other Western allies, has tried for more than a year to pressure Syrian opposition forces to form a government-in-waiting and streamline the rebel forces. In addition, the U.S. government has allocated more than $130 million in nonlethal and humanitarian aid to Syrian dissidents to spur them to organize.

However, the Syrian dissidents themselves are deeply divided and openly admit that their own ideological and religious differences have prevented the formation of a potential transitional government, as the Libyans managed to create before the fall of Moammar Gadhafi.


President Obama’s notion that U.S. interlocutors only worked with relatively moderate opposition forces during the Libyan uprising is misleading. The United States backed the National Transitional Council, a self-appointed group of exiles and dissidents that included conservative Islamists as well as secularists.

Meanwhile, the rebels who fought Gadhafi’s forces were a hodge-podge of military defectors, civilians and former jihadists – just like in Syria today. The United States, the lead partner in the NATO alliance, supported those rebels militarily. Many of the most seasoned fighters were veteran jihadists, including some of who’d fought U.S. forces in Iraq or Afghanistan. When the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked in September, the attackers used rocket-propelled grenades that may have come from the arsenal left behind in Gadhafi’s collapse.


Romney was misleading in asserting – as he has previously – that Iran is “four years closer” to having a nuclear weapon. The greatest hurdle to developing nuclear weapons is enriching uranium, and Iran crossed that line almost six years ago, when technicians began feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into high-speed centrifuges at the country’s main enrichment facility at Natanz. He was correct in noting that work has continued. Iran has installed thousands of centrifuges in Natanz, brought on line a second facility buried below a mountain near the holy city of Qom and built up stocks of 3.5 percent and near 20 percent low-enriched uranium that Iran says it wants for fuel for nuclear power reactors and a research reactor that produces medical isotopes. Those stocks can be further enriched to highly enriched uranium, or HEU, for a weapon using the same centrifuges. But if Iran were to move to produce HEU, it would almost certainly be immediately detected by U.N. inspectors and monitoring devices, putting Iran’s facilities at risk of U.S. airstrikes, most experts agree.

Romney largely supported the tough economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the Obama administration but said he would have imposed them earlier. The Bush administration considered tougher sanctions but concluded they could push Iran to play its oil card, doing something to spike the price of oil, hurting U.S. consumers in a down economy.

In what appeared to be a significant geographical gaffe, Romney called Syria Iran’s "route to the sea." Iran has 1,491 miles of coastline on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, across which its oil travels to reach global markets. It has another 460 miles of northern coastline on the Caspian Sea. Syria has just 119 miles of coastline, most on the Mediterranean Sea, according to the CIA Factbook.


Obama criticized Romney for suggesting we should have troops in Iraq to this day. But Romney pointed out correctly that Obama was negotiating to keep a few thousand troops in Iraq. Talks on keeping U.S. troops in Iraq collapsed over Iraqi concerns about legal protection of U.S. forces. Obama later declared the war was over.

The president once again claimed that he fulfilled a promise to end the war in Iraq. In reality, all U.S. forces were required to be out of Iraq by Dec. 31, 2011, under a timetable negotiated by the Bush administration with the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al Malaki and that as overwhelmingly approved by the Iraqi Parliament on Nov. 27, 2008. He did ensure that the timetable was met.


The president said that “military spending has gone up every single year that I’ve been in office. We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined.”

While true that the US spends more on defense than the next 10 nations combined, the president’s contention that US defense spending has increased in each year of his administration is a half truth. While true that through this year, the base budget for the Department of Defense has increased, overall defense spending – which includes overseas contingency operations funding – has decreased, for instance from $158.8 billion in 2011 to $115.1 billion in 2012.

Romney repeated that the U.S. naval fleet is at its lowest number since 1917. This is false. The actual low, according to a U.S. Navy website, came in 2007, when the U.S. Navy ship total fell to 278. In fact, there have been several years in the past decade when the U.S. Navy has had fewer than the current 285 ships. What Romney may be referring to is a trend that began in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell. Since then, the number of U.S. Navy ships steadily dropped from 592. The Navy’s plan for ship building over the next 30 years is based on building toward a size of about 300 ships.

Romney asserted that the United States has not dictated to other nations, rather it had freed them. His is right on the liberating role the U.S. foreign policy has played in numerous conflicts, but it takes the most liberal of readings of history to suggest that U.S. foreign policy has not dictated to other nations. The simple act of economic sanctions, whether they fall on Cuba, Myanmar or Iran, is precisely designed to dictate the behavior of another nation.

Obama made several mentions of his administration’s support for Egyptian protesters who rose up against then-President Hosni Mubarak, an authoritarian and one of the United States’ most reliable Arab allies. Obama said letting “tanks run over those young people who were in Tahrir Square” wasn’t the kind of American leadership espoused by John F. Kennedy. His comments sidestep the fact that his administration wavered at the beginning of the Egyptian revolt, when the Egyptian security forces were using extreme force against protesters in Tahrir Square.

On Jan. 25, 2011, the day of the first major protest in Cairo, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confidently described the Mubarak government as “stable” and moving towards reform. Fewer than three weeks later, Mubarak had resigned.

Romney repeated his claim that Obama’s foreign policy was “unraveling,” rattling off countries where instability and violence have followed Arab Spring revolts. The tumult, Romney said, brought “a rising tide of chaos.” Analysts who’ve closely followed the Middle East, however, say that there’s little any U.S. president could’ve done to have contained the spontaneous, region-wide uprisings and avoided the threats to U.S. interests in the region, namely the replacing of U.S.-friendly authoritarians with a new crop of Islamist politicians from the Muslim Brotherhood and other more conservative groups.


Gov. Romney repeated that he’d boost trade with Latin America and suggested the region represents a missed opportunity. The United States already has trade agreements with Chile, Peru, and Colombia, the most important Pacific Coast nations in South America. That mostly leaves Brazil, hostile Venezuela and shaky Argentina as significant trade partners. The United States and all the other nations in the hemisphere negotiated a Free Trade Area of the Americas for 10 years, but it died on the vine during the Bush administration, in large measure because Brazil, the region’s dominant economy, didn’t see the pact in its best interests.

Hannah Allam, Roy Gutman, Jonathan S. Landay and Matthew Schofield contributed Email:; Twitter:@KevinGHall

Read more here:





Monday, October 22, 2012

MAUREEN DOWD: Pampered Princes Fling Gorilla Dust.

Pampered Princes Fling Gorilla Dust

EVEN at a dinner dedicated to the Happy Warrior, the president seemed like the Unhappy Warrior.

Barack Obama was elegant in white tie and got off some good gibes at the annual Al Smith charity banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan on Thursday.

But his smile sometimes looked forced as he was goaded by Mitt Romney, whose comic barbs were just as aggressive as his last debate performance.

“President Obama and I are each very lucky to have one person who is always in our corner, someone who we can lean on, and someone who is a comforting presence,” Romney said. “Without whom, we wouldn’t be able to go another day. I have my beautiful wife Ann, he has Bill Clinton.”

It was funny, and it drew blood.

Tremors from the asymmetrical first debate are still reshaping the race and buoying Romney. It has been said that Obama didn’t show up for that contest, but the reverse is true: the real Obama did show up, indulging in flashes of petulance, self-pity and passivity at a treacherous moment for himself, other Democratic candidates and all the people working their hearts out — and emptying their wallets out — for him.

Will it mean that Obama ends up being the one-term Democratic tunnel between the first black president, as Bill Clinton has been dubbed, and the first female president — the organic arugula in a messy, meaty Clinton sandwich?

Much was made of the alpha tone of the second presidential debate. But it was more like a parody of alpha, a couple of pampered, manicured Harvard princes kicking up “gorilla dust,” as Ross Perot calls it. In a truly commanding performance, you don’t jab fingers, invade space, bark interruptions.

Obama put aside his disdain for jousts and woke up from the “nice, long nap I had in the first debate,” as he wryly said at Thursday’s dinner. But he was overcompensating for the first debacle, and he still didn’t have a vision or memorable zingers or a knockout punch for a rival who hides in plain sight.

Obama’s contempt for Romney gleamed through as Mitt got all O.C.D. with Candy Crowley about the rules, and rambled on about his weird retro worldview, where women in binders have to bound home to make dinner, where the problem of too-easy access to assault weapons could be helped if, gosh, we just tell “our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone.”

As Massachusetts governor, Romney signed a ban on certain assault weapons. But now he has “Romnesia,” as Obama bitingly calls it, so Mitt is always distancing himself from himself.

In some ways, the two rivals are alike: cold, deliberative fish, self-regarding elitists with upbringings out of the norm and trouble connecting at times, as when Obama echoed Jon Stewart’s word “optimal” on “The Daily Show” and sounded aloof about the tragedy in Libya: “If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.” The mother of one of those Americans, Sean Smith, told The Daily Mail of London, “It’s insensitive to say my son is not very optimal; he is also very dead.”

These candidates are, in some respects, natural antagonists. Their rancor seems especially intense, fueled by jagged ads and a long period of mud-wrestling on the head of a pin.

Barry scorns Mitt as a guy who had it all handed to him and now feels comfortable taking it away from everybody else.

Like the Bushes, the Romneys, another famous Republican political dynasty that grows more conservative with each generation, promote the myth that they are self-made men.

“The danger arises when a family myth intersects with a governing vision, when the stories a presidential candidate tells himself shape the policies he favors for everyone else,” Noam Scheiber writes in The New Republic, adding that the Romneys can’t fathom that if federal programs are slashed for the less privileged, those people can’t use family connections to help obstacles melt away.

The president joked at the Al Smith dinner about how both candidates had “unusual” middle names — Mitt and Hussein — noting mock-wistfully, or maybe really wistfully, “I wish I could use my middle name.”

The line summed up Obama’s incredible odyssey, how many barriers he had to leap over with no rich daddy, no daddy at all, to rise to the pinnacle. President Cool hates the fact that the uncool scion is making him descend from the lofty heights of governing and engage in crass politics.

Romney can only do offense, not defense. He expects to be catered to as the smartest guy in the room, and he clearly loathes being patronized by Obama. But some who have worked with Mitt say his teeth-baring is an act, overlaying indifference. Romney, they say, is all about crunching the data, regarding Obama coldly as an impediment to his dream of becoming the first Mormon president.

“Mitt does not express great love, and he does not express hate,” said one Republican strategist who knows him well. “Ledger sheets don’t hate.”


Words Of Wisdom, Words To Ponder And Words To Live By For Liberty Lovers Like Me.

"It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth - and listen to the song of that syren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it."

-- Patrick Henry, speech in the Virginia Convention, 1775

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In Tonight's Presidential Debate, POTUS Barack Obama Is Expected To "Play Ball" Against A Bunch Of Mitt Romneys! LOL.


Saturday, October 20, 2012



Friday, October 19, 2012






Thursday, October 18, 2012





Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Debate Fact Check: Revisiting Claims On Jobs, Education.

Debate fact check: Revisiting claims on jobs, education
USA TODAY's Paul Davidson, Tim Mullaney, Gregory Korte, Susan Davis and Aamer Madhani took a deeper look at some of the claims Obama and Romney made in the second debate.
obama romney hofstra debate

In their second debate, President Obama and Mitt Romney took questions from an audience of undecided Long Island voters. Some of their responses deserve a deeper look:


Claim: Romney said he will create 12 million new jobs in his first term.

Facts: Romney's pledge to create 12 million jobs has been hotly contested in large part because economic forecasters, including Moody's Analytics, predict roughly 12 million jobs will be created over the next four years — no matter who is elected president.

Romney's pledge means 250,000 jobs will have to be added every month for four years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth has averaged 139,000 a month in 2012 and 153,000 a month in 2011.

Romney's five-part jobs plan is shy on details but says jobs will be created by achieving North American energy independence by 2020, expanding U.S. trade efforts, training workers, cutting the deficit and promoting small businesses. It is accurate that the U.S. economy is expected to gain 12 million jobs in the first term of the next president, but Romney's job plan is not the reason.


Claim: The Obama administration brought criminal charges against North Dakota oil companies for killing a handful of birds.

Facts: The U.S. attorney in North Dakota last year charged seven oil companies with misdemeanor violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which carries a $15,000 fine, in connection with the deaths of 28 endangered birds.

The birds reportedly flew into open oil pits that they mistook for ponds, or were poisoned by oil that spilled into nearby wetlands.

Charges against three companies were dismissed in January.

Three other defendants reached plea agreements, and the charges against the final company were dropped by the government.


Claim: In response to a question from a college student, Romney said, "I want to make sure we keep our Pell Grant program growing."

Facts: Romney's white paper on education, "A Chance for Every Child," suggests that a Romney administration would reverse the growth in Pell Grant funding. Indeed, he sharply criticizes Obama for doubling funding for Pell Grants.

The May 23 position paper said, "A Romney Administration will refocus Pell Grant dollars on the students that need them most and place the program on a responsible long-term path that avoids future funding cliffs and last-minute funding patches."


Claim: Romney said Obama pledged to cut the deficit in half, but he doubled it instead.

Facts: This is partly true. Obama did make that commitment on the $1.3 trillion deficit when he took office, declaring in February 2009: "I am pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office." He didn't. But he didn't double it either.

The Congressional Budget Office projected the 2012 fiscal year deficit, which just ended, at $1.09 trillion. In reality, the federal deficit has fallen slightly on Obama's watch, but he fell far short of cutting it in half.

The deficit fell 16% during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the Treasury Department said Oct. 16. The department said tax receipts rose as the economy grew, and spending to counter the effects of the recession and its aftermath declined.


Claim: Obama said Romney invested in a company that is helping Chinese authorities spy on its people.

Facts: In December 2011, a Bain-run fund in which a Romney family blind trust has holdings purchased the video surveillance division of a Chinese company, Uniview Technologies, according to a March report in The New York Times. Uniview is the largest supplier to the government's Safe Cities program, a controversial monitoring system that allows the Chinese authorities to watch over university campuses, places of worship and other gathering places through centralized command posts.

After The New York Times published its story, the Romney stressed that his investments were managed by a blind trust, underscoring that he didn't have direct control of where Bain invested after he left the private venture firm. "I don't make investments in Bain or anywhere else," Romney told reporters at the time. "That's done by a trustee who makes decisions that he thinks are correct."

In his unsuccessful 1994 Senate campaign against Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., Romney at the time criticized the senator for using a blind trust to manage his investments, calling it "an age-old ruse." He added, "You can always tell the blind trust what it can and cannot do. You give a blind trust rules."


Claim: Obama said Romney called Arizona's controversial immigration law a "model" for the rest of the nation.

Facts: Romney quickly corrected Obama on this one, saying he was referring only to the E-verify provision of the Arizona law.

"You know, I think you see a model in Arizona," Romney's said in a Feb. 22 debate in Mesa, Ariz. But he continued: "They passed a law here that says — that says that people who come here and try and find work, that the employer is required to look them up on E-verify. This E-verify system allows employers in Arizona to know who's here legally and who's not here legally."

But Romney has also said he would drop the federal lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the Arizona law "on Day One" — a position now mooted by a Supreme Court ruling that overturned some provisions of the law and upholding others.

At an event sponsored by Spanish-language Univision last month, Romney softened his stance. "My inclination would be to have them go with the rate of inflation."

Gas prices

Claim: Romney said a gallon of gasoline in Nassau County, N.Y., was $1.86 when Obama took office. It's now "4 bucks a gallon." He also said the cost of electricity is up.

Facts: Gas prices were going through a period of exceptional volatility when Obama took office — largely because, as Obama noted, gas prices plummeted as the recession took hold and people drove less. The day before Obama was sworn in, the national average for a gallon of regular gas was $1.83, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). As of Monday, it was $3.71.

But gas prices are still 34 cents below their all-time high during the Bush administration. In the summer of 2008, the national average hit $4.05 a gallon.

The average retail price of electricity has also risen — but just barely. It's up 2.5% from 2008 to 2011, according to the EIA. Abundant natural gas — thanks largely to new controversial new drilling methods known as "fracking" — has helped keep electricity costs below inflation.

DREAM Act veto

Claim: Obama said Romney said he would veto the DREAM Act, which would help young adults brought to the United States as illegal immigrants by their parents when they were children.

Facts: When asked by a voter in Le Mars, Iowa, on Dec. 31, 2011, if he would veto the DREAM Act if Congress passed it, Romney affirmed he would.

"The answer is yes," Romney said. "I'm delighted with the idea that people who come to this country and wish to serve in the military can be given a path to become permanent residents in this country. Those who serve in our military and fulfill those requirements, I respect and acknowledge that path. For those that come here illegally, the idea of giving them in-state-tuition credits or other special benefits I find to be the contrary to the idea of a nation of law. If I'm the president of the United States, I want to end illegal immigration so that we can protect legal immigration. I like legal immigration."

The Romney campaign also said later in a statement that the former Massachusetts governor supports allowing "young illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children the chance to become permanent residents, and eventually citizens, by serving honorably in the United States military."

Tax breaks to ship jobs overseas

Claim: "You can ship overseas and get tax breaks for it," Obama said. "Now, Gov. Romney actually wants to expand those tax breaks."

Facts: A version of this claim came up in the first presidential debate, when Romney replied: "The idea that you get a break for shipping jobs overseas is simply not the case."

They're both right. There's no provision in the tax code that gives a company a specific deduction for moving jobs overseas — although they can take the same deduction for business expenses as they would for any other expense that comes off their bottom line. And once a subsidiary of an American company sets up shop overseas, federal tax collectors have no jurisdiction over those profits until they're sent back to the United States.

So no, there are no specific tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas. But the effect of the tax code does allow companies to realize tax advantages for doing so. Obama wants to eliminate those tax incentives and create a new tax deduction for expenses incurred by companies that move foreign operations back to the United States. Romney has not supported that position.

Romney's 47% comments

Claim: Romney said he cares about "100% of the American people."

Facts: At a private May 17 fundraiser, Romney claimed that 47% of Americans will support Obama "no matter what" because they are "dependent upon government" and "pay no income tax." Romney added: "My job is not to worry about those people." After the comments were made public by Mother Jones in September, Romney has had to shift course on the facts as well as the politics. According to a July 2011 study from the Tax Policy Center, about 46.4%, or 76 million people, didn't pay federal income taxes in 2011. They projected that 46% won't in 2012, and 44% won't in 2013, under current tax law. However, those individuals do pay other taxes in the forms of payroll taxes, which help fund Social Security and Medicare, state and local taxes, and other forms of taxation, like property taxes.

People who do not pay federal income taxes include senior citizens and the working poor who have incomes so low that they can't afford to be taxed. Romney's claim that these Americans will support Obama is also false. According to recent Gallup polling, 37% of low-income earners said they intended to vote for Romney, who has also led among those 65 and older. Many of the voters who Romney lumped in as Obama supporters fall clearly under his coalition.

Romney said in an interview on Fox News Channel earlier this month that those comments were a mistake.

Terror attack in Libya

Claim: Romney said Obama took two weeks to acknowledge the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was a terrorist attack.

Facts: In a Rose Garden statement on Sept 12, Obama described the incident as "acts of terror."

Later, speaking on Late Night With David Letterman, a week after the attack, Obama said "terrorists and extremists" had attacked U.S. diplomatic installations in Libya and elsewhere, using a controversial video that portrayed the prophet Mohammed as a pedophile as a pretext. U.S. intelligence agencies, however, surmised by the day after the assault that the incident was indeed a terrorist attack and there was no protest prior to the incident, according to multiple news reports.

Other administration officials were slower to describe the incident as a terrorism.

The White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Sept. 20 that the incident was a terrorist attack. And U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, continued to describe the incident as part of a protest outside the U.S. diplomatic mission for several days after the incident.

5.4% unemployment

Claim: Romney said Obama said unemployment would be 5.4% by now.

Facts: Two economists who would soon join the Obama administration issued a report in early January 2009 – before Obama's inauguration – predicting that an economic stimulus plan would prevent unemployment from rising above 8% and would push it down to about 5.4% by the third quarter of 2012. However, the economists underestimated the severity of the recession. Even without the stimulus, they forecast in that report that the jobless rate would be 5.9% by now.

Last year, the Commerce Department said the slump was far worse than it had estimated, with the economy contracting almost 9% in the fourth quarter of 2008 and 5.3% in the first quarter of 2009.

Bain Capital

Claim: Obama said Romney's business strategy is you can invest in a company, bankrupt it and still make money.

Facts: The Obama campaign and Democrats have repeatedly hit Romney on his connections to the private venture capital firm, Bain Capital, which it has claimed has loaded companies with debt to give investors dividends earlier.

The Wall Street Journal found that about 22% of Bain's companies either filed for bankruptcy or liquidated within eight years after the private-equity firm acquired them. Four of the companies that produced Bain's 10 biggest gains ended up in bankruptcy court, according to the Journal.


Like A Man Who Woke Up From A Self Induced Semi Conscious Coma, POTUS Barack Obama "Comes Out Swinging The Fists" At Presidential Debate And Bests Rival Mitt Romney. Watch Debate Video Here.



Tuesday, October 16, 2012




Monday, October 15, 2012

KENTUCKY'S GESTAPO STRIKES AGAIN: Kentucky Attorney General Finds Cabinet For Families And Children Improperly Redacted Child's Death Records.

Kentucky attorney general: Agency improperly redacted child's death records
By Beth Musgrave —

FRANKFORT — Attorney General Jack Conway's office has ruled that the Cabinet for Health and Family Services improperly withheld from a newspaper information on a 2-year-old Prestonsburg boy who was allegedly killed by his aunt and uncle.

The Mountain Citizen in Inez had requested all the cabinet's information on Watson Adkins, who was found unresponsive at his aunt and uncle's home in Prestonsburg on Sept. 29, 2011. Watson had been removed from his mother's home by state social workers and placed with his aunt and uncle, Gladys and Jason Dickerson.

Gladys Dickerson was Watson's maternal aunt and had custody of him at the time of his death.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services initially did not provide two previous unsubstantiated reports of abuse against Gladys and Jason Dickerson to the newspaper, but the agency later supplied the reports with much of the information redacted, the attorney general's opinion said.

The opinion said the cabinet could not redact some of that information, including the names of perpetrators involved in the unsubstantiated reports. The cabinet failed to follow the state's Open Records Act in its response to The Mountain Citizen by not citing either state or federal law that allowed it to withhold or redact information, the opinion said.

The attorney general's opinion, publicly released Monday, is the latest step in a legal battle of more than three years between the media and the cabinet over what details can be released after a child is killed from abuse or neglect. The Lexington Herald-Leader and the Courier-Journal have sued the state twice over the handling of social worker files on children who have been killed or severely injured as a result of abuse and neglect. What information can be redacted or blacked out of those files is currently being appealed.

Gary Ball, the editor of the Mountain Citizen in Inez, said he was relieved that the attorney general's office agreed that too much information had been removed from the files. Ball filed the request for the information after hearing that there had been previous reports to the cabinet regarding Gladys and Jason Dickerson's treatment of Watson and his siblings.

"I got heavily redacted information," Ball said. "I wanted all records from the time that they were removed from the home to the time of the criminal charges."

Watson Adkins and his four siblings were removed from his mother's home in February 2011 because of conditions in the home, according to news accounts and records from the cabinet. The mother was allowed supervised visitation with the children between February 2011 and September 2011, Ball said. The mother had taken photos of the children with suspicious injuries, Ball said.

Ball said the cabinet had investigated two abuse allegations against Gladys and Jason Dickerson before September 2011. Ball received the reports from the cabinet, but it's difficult to tell why those reports were not substantiated.

"I want the records that will show me how they made that determination that those reports were unsubstantiated," Ball said.

Gladys and Jason Dickerson were charged with murder after Watson's death. Those charges are pending. Court records allege that Watson and his siblings were repeatedly beaten in July, August and September.

A local day-care center where Watson and his siblings attended was shut down by the Office of Inspector General with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in October 2011 for failing to report alleged physical abuse of the children. Watson's 5-year-old sibling allegedly told staff at Dinosaur Playland Daycare in Prestonsburg that her uncle hurt her and pleaded with staff to take her home with them.

Staff also saw injuries to Watson's head on Sept. 26, three days before Watson died.

Read more here:





"We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections."

--John Adams, Inaugural Address, 1797

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Saturday, October 13, 2012


Friday, October 12, 2012

In A Blur Of Facts, Vice Presidential Debate Strained The Truth.

In a blur of facts, VP debate strained the truth
2012 Vice Presidential Debate
By William Douglas and Anita Kumar

WASHINGTON — In their first and only debate, Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Rep. Paul Ryan verbally wrestled over Medicare, Social Security and abortion. But sometimes it was the truth that got tackled.

Like President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney did in their first debate, Biden and Ryan made statements or observations that weren’t entirely factual. Here’s a look at some of what was said:


Biden repeated a line oft-used by Obama and Democratic surrogates that Romney said let Detroit’s automobile industry should go bankrupt. The vice president is only half-right. Romney, whose father George was an auto company executive and governor of Michigan, said he’d preferred to let the auto industry go through bankruptcy reorganization on its own, rather than with taxpayer help and government direction. Whether it was by former President George W. Bush or Obama, it was the wrong way to go,” he said.

He wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in 2008, headlined, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” He said if the auto companies get a bailout, "you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.”


Ryan criticized the Obama administration for apologizing the night that four Americans were killed in Libya. The U.S. embassy in Cairo released a statement on Sept. 11 condemning a video that negatively portrayal the Prophet Muhammad. Hours later, after protesters stormed the embassy, staff tweeted it stood by its statement, though it was later deleted from its account. That night in Benghazi, Libya, four American diplomats were killed, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, but news of the deaths was not announced until the next morning. The statement was not an "apology’’ and it came before the deaths in Libya so it was not in response to the unrest in Cairo or Benghazi. But the White House immediately distanced itself from the embassy statement, saying Washington did not approve of the statement and it did not reflect the views of the U.S. government.

Asked whether the United States should have apologized for U.S. Marines urinating on Taliban corpses, Ryan responded “Oh gosh, yes” and added that “what we should not be apologizing for are standing up for our values.” Ryan was referring to an regularly repeated line by the Romney campaign that Obama traveled overseas shortly after becoming president and apologized for American behavior. Obama made several overseas speeches early in his presidency, but he never issued a formal apology in any of those speeches.


Biden’s insistence that the Obama administration was never told that diplomats wanted more security at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi contradicts testimony in this week’s congressional hearing on the issue that focused on apparent denials of requests for expanded security from diplomatic personnel. Still, a diplomatic security chief testified, the attack was so severe that even extra security probably couldn’t have repelled it.


Ryan incorrectly stated that if defense cuts mandated by as part of a bipartisan deal go through the U.S. Navy will be at its smallest since World War I. The actual low, according to a U.S. Navy website, came in 2007, when the Navy ship total fell to 278. Several times in the past decade, the Navy has had fewer than the current 285 ships. Ryan may have been referring to a trend that began in 1989 that has seen the number of Navy ships steadily drop from 592. The Navy’s plan for ship building over the next 30 years is based on building towards a size of about 300 ships.


Ryan claimed that when Obama was elected Iran had enough nuclear material to make one bomb. Now, he said, Iran has enough for five. “They’re racing toward a nuclear weapon,” he said.

No evidence exists to show that Iran has uranium enriched to 90 percent, which is necessary for a nuclear weapon. Iran does have highly enriched uranium, between 20 and 27 percent, according to International Atomic Energy Agency.


In challenging Ryan to a way to quell the violence in Syria, Biden suggested the next step was putting “American boots on the ground.” But no one has proposed sending ground troops to Syria. The Syrian opposition has beseeched the U.S. and other Western powers for measures such as the imposition of a no-fly zone, the establishment of buffer zones along the borders and the provision of weapons to Syrian rebels. Both camps have backed the idea of U.S.-allied Arab nations arming the Syrian rebels fighting to unseat President Bashar Assad. However, recent news reports suggest that the Obama administration was cautioning against the supplying of shoulder-fired missiles and other heavy weapons that could boost the rebel side of Syria’s bloody stalemate.


Ryan repeated the claim that the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, would take $716 million from Medicare, turning it into a "piggybank" for the health overhaul law. The federal healthcare law cuts projected Medicare spending by $716 billion from 2013 to 2022. The funding cuts wouldn’t affect services for seniors because they come mainly from lower payments to hospitals and other providers, higher premiums for affluent beneficiaries and lower payments to Medicare Advantage plans.

But some experts have questioned whether the cuts would limit the availability of services for beneficiaries in the future and lead to a shortage of care providers like the Medicaid program is currently experiencing. If that happens, Congress would have to increase the payments to providers, which could lead to higher Medicare costs than the current law now projects.

In order to slow Medicare spending, Romney would replace the program’s current delivery system with a flat payment to beneficiaries known as a “voucher” or “premium support” payment, which they could use to buy private insurance or traditional Medicare coverage. If their medical costs exceed the amount of their voucher, seniors would have to pay the difference regardless of whether they’ve chosen private insurance or traditional Medicare. Critics say insurers would end up recruiting younger, healthier seniors under the new system, leaving traditional Medicare with older, sicker people who are more costly to care for.

Romney also wants to repeal the healthcare law. The Congressional Budget Office said repealing the measure would increase the deficit by $119 billion and cause Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund to become insolvent eight years earlier – in 2016 instead of 2024. Repealing the law would bring about some Medicare savings, most notably by eliminating the law’s “doughnut hole” prescription drug coverage and by eliminating a range of free preventative care and screenings.

Ryan also said the healthcare’s 15-member Independent Payment Advisory Board would be "in charge of cutting Medicare each and every year in ways that will lead to denied care for current seniors." Actually, the panel would submit recommendations to Congress for cutting Medicare costs if they exceed a targeted growth rate. The recommendations become law if Congress fails to pass a similar measure that saves the same amount.


Ryan said Social Security and Medicare were going bankrupt. “These are indisputable facts,” he said. While most economists think that left unchanged, Medicare threatens to swamp all other government spending. Social Security, however, is nowhere near going bankrupt and can easily be fixed with changes such as raising the retirement age to 70, raising the caps on how much income is subjected to payroll taxes dedicated to Social Security and changing how benefits are indexed to account for inflation and wage growth.


Biden questioned whether Ryan had changed his view on abortion over time. Ryan, a conservative Catholic, has tried to scale back access to abortions or end it altogether. He previously said he would only allow abortion in cases when the life of the mother is at risk. But when he became Romney’s running mate, he said he was "comfortable" with the former governor’s view. Romney supports abortion rights in the case of rape and incest.

Obama and Biden supports abortion rights. Romney previously supported abortion rights, but now says states should make those decisions.


Biden repeated charges made earlier by Obama that the Romney-Ryan tax plan would add almost $5 trillion over 10 years to the deficit. While correct, Biden neglected to say that the report he cited by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center stressed that the $5 trillion number did not include the offsetting revenue gains from ending or scaling back popular tax deductions. The Romney-Ryan campaign has not said what deductions it would end or save.

Ryan said that his ticket could preserve Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, and then cut them by an additional 20 percent. These lost tax revenues would be offset by ending or scaling back a number of popular tax deductions. Ryan said the ticket would deny those loopholes and deductions to higher-income taxpayers. That goes beyond what Romney has said. Romney has advocated having the rich get less of a deduction, but has not said the wealthy would be denied deductions for mortgage interest, state taxes and the like.

Read more here:


PEGGY NOONAN: [The Vice Presidential Debate Was] A Draw On Substance, But [Joe Biden] Loses On Style To Paul Ryan. I AGREE!

Noonan: Confusing Strength With Aggression
A draw on substance, but the vice president loses on style.

The vice presidential debate was uniquely important because if Paul Ryan won it or did well, the Romney-Ryan ticket's momentum would be continued or speed up. If he did not, that momentum would slow or stop. So the night carried implications.

The debate, obviously, was the Republican versus the Democrat, a particular kind of conservative versus a particular kind of liberal, one philosophical approach versus another. Beyond that there was some iconic weight to it. It was age versus youth; full, white-haired man versus lean, black-haired man. Youth is energy—new ideas and new ways. But age can stand for experience, wisdom. Youth can seem callow, confident only because it is uninformed. But age can seem reactionary, resistant to change in part because change carries a rebuke: You and your friends have been doing things wrong, we need a new approach.

Joe Biden had to do what the president failed to do—seem alive, bring it, show that he respects America so much he'd bother to fight for it. Mr. Biden is voluble, sentimental, scrappy. Could he focus his scrappiness enough to deliver targeted blows?

Mr. Ryan had to introduce himself to the American people in a new way—at length, in a contentious environment. He had to communicate: "I haven't been a national figure long, but I know what I'm doing. I'm not radical or extreme and I'm not here to destabilize, I'm here to help make things safer by putting them on firmer ground."

History is human; both men had things to prove. Mr. Biden had to show the White House, the Democratic base and himself that he still has it, that he's not the doddering uncle in the attic. Whatever happens, at almost 70 this is his last grand political moment. Would his career end with a whiff or a hit? And the debate was his opportunity to save Barack Obama. Might that be personally satisfying? Obama staffers are often quietly condescending about Ol' Joe. What sweet revenge to publicly save the leader of those who privately patronized you. If I read Mr. Biden correctly, this would have crossed his mind.

Mr. Ryan had to show the voters, the GOP and the political class that Mitt Romney did not make a mistake in choosing him. There were other candidates, some impressive. He had to demonstrate that Mr. Romney's faith was well and shrewdly placed.

So: a pat on the back and a gold watch for the old man? Or a "Thanks for coming in, we're going in another direction but let's stay in touch" for the young one?

So, to the debate:

There were fireworks all the way, and plenty of drama. Each candidate could claim a win in one area or another, but by the end it looked to me like this: For the second time in two weeks, the Democrat came out and defeated himself. In both cases the Republican was strong and the Democrat somewhat disturbing.

Another way to say it is the old man tried to patronize the kid and the kid stood his ground. The old man pushed, and the kid pushed back.

Last week Mr. Obama was weirdly passive. Last night Mr. Biden was weirdly aggressive, if that is the right word for someone who grimaces, laughs derisively, interrupts, hectors, rolls his eyes, browbeats and attempts to bully. He meant to dominate, to seem strong and no-nonsense. Sometimes he did—he had his moments. But he was also disrespectful and full of bluster. "Oh, now you're Jack Kennedy!" he snapped at one point. It was an echo of Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle, in 1988. But Mr. Quayle, who had compared himself to Kennedy, had invited the insult. Mr. Ryan had not. It came from nowhere. Did Mr. Biden look good? No, he looked mean and second-rate. He meant to undercut Mr. Ryan, but he undercut himself. His grimaces and laughter were reminiscent of Al Gore's sighs in 2000—theatrical, off-putting and in the end self-indicting.

Mr. Ryan was generally earnest, fluid, somewhat wonky, confident. He occasionally teetered on the edge of glibness and sometimes fell off. If I understood him correctly during the exchange on Iran, he seemed to suggest to moderator Martha Raddatz that a nuclear war in the Mideast would be preferable to a nuclearized Iran. Really? That easy, is it? Mr. Biden had one of his first good moments when he said, essentially, "Whoa." Actually he said war should always be a very last resort, which is always a good thing to say, and to mean.

Because the debate was so rich in charge and countercharge, and because it covered so much ground, both parties will be able to mine the videotape for their purposes. On the attack in Benghazi, the question that opened the debate, Mr. Biden was on the defensive and full of spin. He pivoted quickly to talking points, a move that was at once too smooth and too clumsy. He was weak on requests for added security before the consulate was overrun and the ambassador killed. "We will get to the bottom of this."

Oh. Good.

Mr. Ryan was strong on spending and taxes. On foreign affairs and defense spending, he was on weaker ground. Medicare and Social Security were probably a draw. Mr. Ryan coolly laid out the numbers and the need for change, but Mr. Biden emoted in a way that seemed sincere and was perhaps compelling. He scored when he knocked Mr. Romney for his 47% remarks, saying those who pay only payroll taxes pay a higher rate than many of the rich, including Mr. Romney. Mr. Ryan in turn scored on the unemployment rate in Scranton, Pa., Mr. Biden's hometown. It is 10%. It was 8.5% when the recession began. "This is not what a real recovery looks like." Mr. Ryan on abortion was personal and believable. Mr. Biden seemed to be going through the pro-choice motions.

I have just realized the problem with the debate: it was the weird distance between style and content, and the degree to which Mr. Biden's style poisoned his content.

In terms of content—the seriousness and strength of one's positions and the ability to argue for them—the debate was probably a draw, with both candidates having strong moments. But in terms of style, Mr. Biden was so childishly manipulative that it will be surprising if independents and undecideds liked what they saw.

National Democrats keep confusing strength with aggression and command with sarcasm. Even the latter didn't work for Mr. Biden. The things he said had the rhythm and smirk of sarcasm without the cutting substance.

And so the Romney-Ryan ticket emerged ahead. Its momentum was neither stopped nor slowed and likely was pushed forward.

Meaning that things will continue to get hotter. The campaign trail, commercials, all sorts of mischief—everything will get jacked up, cranked up. Meaning the next debate is even more important. Which means, since the next debate is a town hall and won't be mano-a-mano at the podium, that the third debate, on foreign policy, will be the most important of all.

Ms. Raddatz acquitted herself admirably, keeping things moving, allowing the candidates to engage, probing. There was a real humanity to her presence. We just saw Jim Lehrer beat up for what was also good work. May her excellence go unpunished.