Erick Erickson: If Election Were Held Today, Obama Would Win

Contra Dick Morris, Mitt Romney is not winning this election. At least Mitt Romney is not winning the election right now. Conservatives are obsessing over every poll, the turn out models used, and the media bias that is on ful display. Yes, some of the polling models seem screwy, though we all forget the pollsters apply a secret sauce known only to them on top. Yes, reporters are fully beclowning themselves to get their god-king re-elected. But while we may be focused there, the fact is the Romney campaign isn’t functioning well. Lucky for you and me the election is not today. But something needs to happen in Boston and I am less and less hopeful anything will happen.

It would be easy to dismiss me by saying I never cared for Romney or I’m somehow actually rooting against him. So let me put it to you this way: Jenn Rubin and I are on the same page. That’s either a sign of the apocalypse or there is something really dysfunctional happening within the Romney campaign.

Having refused to get on the “campaign shake up” bandwagon when Rupert Murdoch and Jack Welch were claiming a shake up needed to happen, count me in now. Like it or not, spin it or not, put your head in the sand or not, attack me as the messenger or not, the very simple truth is that Mitt Romney has failed to close any deal with the voters and his message is so muddled no voter really knows what they are getting.

Consider last Friday’s economic news. The Romney campaign has let every North African nation distract them from reminding voters of that data. Even the North African mess has rendered the Romney campaign a rudderless messaging mess. His message is not selling. His ads are not very good. He has hundreds of staffers in Boston and I’m guessing too many cooks in the kitchen.

Several weeks ago, based on conversations with people more attuned to Team Romney than myself, I suggested Stu Stevens might be in over his head or too busy selling himself to sell Mitt Romney. In the past few weeks, I’ve confirmed that more and more Republican donors are also concerned with Stu Stevens.

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Justin Bieber’s Mom Chose Life, Not Abortion

Last year, Justin Bieber made waves around the world for proclaiming himself pro-life. But a new interview his mom gave to the Today show’s Kathie Lee Gifford provides an extraordinarily background as to why Bieber may oppose abortion — his mom chose life.

Justin Bieber’s mother, Pattie Mallette, explained to “Today,” in an interview that will air this week, about the sexual abuse she suffered before becoming pregnant and how she was determined to make it through a difficult pregnancy situation and give birth to Bieber.

Prior to becoming pregnant, Mallette suffered sexual abuse, a subject she discusses in her new book, “Nowhere But Up: The Story of Justin Bieber’s Mom.” Of that abuse, Mallette told Gifford, “I’ve learned it’s normal and natural for anybody who’s been through sexual abuse to carry that shame and that blame and feel like there’s something wrong with you. So I definitely carried that.”

The shame was so much Mallette attempted to kill herself. She told Gifford that the suicide attempt was “a culmination of, you know, built up over the years with the abuse and the pain and at the time I was messed up with all the drugs and alcohol. I was in a depression and the drugs and alcohol kind of spurred that on some more.”

By the age of 17, Mallette became pregnant with Justin, and at the time, she was encouraged to abort the baby. Of course, Mallette said that was an option she couldn’t consider. “I just knew I couldn’t. I just knew I couldn’t. I just know I had to keep him,” she told Gifford. “And, do the best. I — you know, I didn’t know how I was going to do it. But I just knew that I couldn’t — I couldn’t abort. I had to do my best. I had to see what I could do. And I was determined to do whatever it took.”

Mallette went on to say that the first time she heard her son cry, it was literally music to her ears. “I know this sounds crazy, but he sounded like he was singing. He did,” she said. “It was like this, like, ‘A hah, a hah.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, it is so precious and amazing. I just want to squeeze him.’”

The full interview airs September 18-19 on the Today show.

In the February 2011 interview that made headlines, Rolling Stone magazine initially reported Bieber said: “I really don’t believe in abortion … It’s like killing a baby.”

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White House Press Corps Ignores Obama’s Muslim Outreach Policy Meltdown

The press corps asked no questions during Monday’s White House press conference about the meltdown of President Barack Obama‘s high-profile Muslim outreach policy.

Instead, they spent time asking low-impact questions, such as whether officials timed today’s announcement of a new lawsuit against Chinese auto part makers to aid the president’s two campaign stops in Ohio.

They used up the bulk of their limited time throwing softball questions.

“It was a beautiful weekend for golf and he wasn’t out on the course,” asked one reporter, according to a transcript. “Is it safe to assume maybe he was doing some preparation [for the presidential debates] at the White House?”

“Can you give us any guidance or insight into how the President is monitoring the situation in Afghanistan?” asked another reporter. The journalists’ names are not included in the transcript.

Obama’s Arab-outreach policy — dubbed “A New Beginning” in 2009 – is being shredded as Islamist governments, angry populations and jihadi groups compete to demonstrate their hostility to, or distance from, Obama’s U.S. government.

Read more from this story HERE.

Incompetent US Generals Say Afghan Police Murder Americans Because of GI’s “Culturally Offensive Behavior”

Photo credit: The US Army

Afghan security forces, our supposed allies, are slaughtering American troops. Thirty-three soldiers have been killed by “green on blue” attacks this year alone. The situation is so bad that the training of Afghan forces has been temporarily suspended.

How has the Pentagon responded? By blaming our troops.

Top officials believe culturally offensive behavior is the motivation behind the killings, so it’s stepped up Islamic sensitivity training for our troops.

If you don’t want to be shot in the back by your Afghan training partners, the Pentagon advises, don’t offend their religious sensibilities. Don’t kick your feet up on a table, for instance, and never ask to see a picture of their wives and kids. “There’s a percentage [of attacks] which are cultural affronts,” Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said in a recent interview.

Dempsey echoes the concerns of Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi, the Afghan National Army’s chief of staff, who earlier this month argued both sides need to do more to “teach” foreign troops Islamic traditions and values to reduce the chance of violent reactions to cultural slights.

“It is our duty to teach this to them. Our indifference about these issues causes the incident,” he said.

In the past three years, uniformed Afghans have murdered at least 97 US and NATO troops.

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Libya Now Claims that US had 72 Hours Advance Notice of Attack; So Much for Obama’s YouTube Excuse

American diplomats were warned of possible violent unrest in Benghazi three days before the killings of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three members of his team, Libyan security officials say.

The claim came as the country’s interim President, Mohammed el-Megarif, said his government had information that the attack on the US consulate had been planned by an Islamist group with links to al-Qa’ida and with foreigners taking part.

However, the American ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, insisted that the killings had resulted from a demonstration against a film about the Prophet Mohamed, replicating protests in Cairo, which had been “hijacked” and got out of control.

The Independent has reported diplomatic sources who said that the threat of an attack against US interests in the region was known to the US administration 48 hours before it took place. The alert was issued by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, but not made public. A State Department spokesman maintained: “We are not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the US Mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent.”

But President Megarif told the American station National Public Radio: “We firmly believe that this was a pre-calculated, pre-planned attack that was carried out specifically to attack the US Consulate. A few of those who joined in were foreigners who had entered Libya from different directions, some of them definitely from Mali and Algeria.”

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Shell’s Safety System Problems Plague Arctic Plans

Photo credit: Daquella manera

Safety equipment that Shell Oil volunteered to put into place for drilling off the coast of Alaska is complicating the company’s quest to reach oil-bearing rock during the short open-water drilling season this year.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC announced Monday that a containment dome being tested off the coast of Bellingham, Wash., was damaged Saturday night in its final test. Time needed to repair the damage, on top of delays from ice and waiting for the Alaska Natives’ whaling season to end, figured into a decision to cancel plans to complete exploratory wells this year in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.

“We can see that we’re better off optimizing this year around top holes and next year drilling into hydrocarbons,” Shell Oil President Marvin Odum told The Associated Press. “That’s the way we get the best out of a multiyear approach.”

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar last month cited Shell’s failure to obtain certification for the Arctic Challenger, the oil spill response barge that will carry the containment dome, as the prime reason the company has not been able to drill into hydrocarbon zones this year.

Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith said Monday the dome is one of several precautions against a major spill.

Read more from this story HERE.

The Tea Party is Key to Lowering U.S. Gasoline Prices

Photo credit: Spencer T.

We need immediate and instant resuscitation measures to re-start the heart of the economy.

The defibrillator is the abolishment of the ethanol mandate!

President Reagan abolished oil price controls with an executive order, so don’t tell me Obama could not abolish the ethanol mandate instantly tomorrow.

He won’t, so pressure must be put on Democrats with Tea Party public education of the public about the ethanol mandate problem to result in a ground root’s demand for its abolishment.

The GOP isn’t going to do it. It is not even aware of the problem. Romney could make abandonment of the ethanol mandate a persuasive part of his campaign, but he won’t since it is impossible for anyone to communicate with his campaign about it.

The Tea Party is the only hope 49 days before the election. The Tea Party can get it done if Romney is elected.

Please don’t put abolishment of the ethanol mandate in a list of things to do in the future!

The biggest problem in America is the economy. The biggest problem in the American economy is the oil policy. Foreign oil imports affect jobs, income, tax revenue, debt, gasoline prices, imbalance of payments, and our national security, not to mention wars in the Middle East. On the individual economic level, gasoline prices affect Americans the most.

Gasoline prices can and should be lowered in two ways, immediately and long range. Gasoline prices can be lowered immediately by simply abolishing the ethanol mandate which requires that ethanol be blended with gasoline at the pump. This would eliminate the millions of dollars in waivers which refineries are required to purchase because there is no cellulosic ethanol production, thereby decreasing the price of gasoline.

Besides immediately lowering the price per gallon of gasoline, abolishing the ethanol mandate would also allow Americans to be able to go much farther on a gallon of gasoline, thereby lowering the cost per mile traveled.

Americans would get an extra 125 billion miles of free travel annually due to the poor mileage from ethanol. In 2011, the US consumed 134 billion gallons of gasoline and 13.9 billion gallons of ethanol for a total of 147.9 billion gallons of fuel with an average blend of about 10% ethanol. The 13.9 billion gallons of ethanol had 1,056 trillion BTUs. The same amount of gasoline would have 1,727 trillion BTUs. The ethanol had 671 trillion BTUs less energy than gasoline. It takes an average of 5,354 BTUs of energy for a vehicle to travel one mile. Thus, Americans could travel free for an extra 125 billion miles annually if the mandate to blend ethanol with gasoline was abolished so that gasoline would replaced ethanol.

There is yet another benefit from abolishing the ethanol mandate. It would prevent 4.2 million tons of additional carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere annually since using ethanol emits more carbon dioxide into the air than using gasoline. There are 0.99 pounds of additional carbon dioxide emitted from each 1.635 gallons of ethanol. Thus, one gallon of ethanol emits an additional 0.60366 pounds of carbon dioxide. Ethanol production last year was 13,900 million gallons. There were 4.2 million tons of additional carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere last year due to the use of gasoline-blended-with-ethanol rather than the use of gasoline. Such unnecessary emissions of carbon dioxide into the air should be stopped.

It is impossible for ethanol to ever replace oil. Last year’s ethanol production of 331 million barrels was only 6% of the US oil demand of 5.3 billion barrels annually. Ethanol is a disastrous folly, and the ethanol mandate should be abolished immediately.

The long range lowering of gasoline prices can and should be done by replacing foreign oil imports with US oil production. Historically, the price of US oil has been lower than the price of foreign oil. During the week ending November 11, 2011, US crude oil was $6.47 per barrel less than foreign OPEC crude oil at the “World Crude Oil Prices” website of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration. Foreign oil imports were 3.4 billion barrels annually. The estimated savings to Americans, if US oil replaced foreign oil imports would be over $21 billion. Unfortunately for transparency, the “World Crude Oil Prices” website went blank after that week in November 2011, a year before the presidential election.

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Sel Graham, West Point ’51, is the author of Why Your Gasoline Prices Are High.

Constitution, Down But Not Out

It is fair to suggest that Congress came late to declaring a constitution day because for much of American history the Constitution was routinely celebrated on public occasions, most notably on Independence Day, when great orators like Daniel Webster and Charles Francis Adams spoke with reverence of our nation’s founding document. The Constitution, usually along with the Declaration of Independence and a portrait of George Washington, hung on most schoolroom walls. Future voters who passed through those classrooms may not have learned the intricacies of constitutional law, but they did enter upon their lives as citizens knowing that the Constitution is important.

But the passage of time and the remarkable success of our great experiment in government led to complacency and a casual assumption that mere citizens could trust government to respect and nurture a constitution designed originally to protect their liberties against inevitable violations by that self-same government. To be sure, the Bill of Rights (though not part of the original constitution) was not forgotten by mid- and late-twentieth-century activists, but the framers’ great structural design of divided government was largely abandoned to expediency and growing dependency on government.

In that regard, 2012 was not a very good year. The challenge to Obamacare presented the Supreme Court with its greatest opportunity in decades to begin restoring the vertical separation of powers that is true federalism. But the chief justice blinked. Though wishful advocates for liberty and limited government found solace in the majority’s conclusion that the Commerce Clause has limits, the reality is that the power to tax is now an unlimited power to regulate. The powers the Supreme Court has now constituted will permit Congress to do whatever it has the political will to enact. The emperor has no clothes. The Supreme Court has no robes.

But we should not allow Constitution Day 2012 to be a day of mourning. The Constitution is not yet a dead letter. The ingenious framework of horizontally and vertically divided authority; the careful and narrow enumeration of congressional powers; the Tenth Amendment declaration that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”; the Bill of Rights, including the Ninth Amendment’s confirmation that (in the words of the Declaration of Independence) “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights”; and the proposition that (again in the words of the Declaration) “governments are instituted among Men” “to secure these rights” — all of that remains.

What is missing is the resolve to put principle ahead of politics, to put liberty and responsibility ahead of dependency and entitlement.

Read more from this story HERE.

Friday’s Taliban Raid Caused an Astonishing $200 Million in Damage

Photo Credit: New Civil Engineer

An audacious Taliban attack on a heavily fortified base in southern Afghanistan did far more damage than initially reported, destroying or severely damaging eight attack jets in the most destructive single strike on Western matériel in the 11-year war, military officials said Sunday.

While other attacks have caused greater loss of life, the assault late Friday at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, one of the largest and best-defended posts in Afghanistan, was troubling to NATO because the attackers were able to penetrate the base, killing two Marines and causing more than $200 million in damage. “We’re saying it’s a very sophisticated attack,” said a military official here. “We’ve lost aircraft in battle, but nothing like this.”

The complex attack, which NATO officials said was conducted by three tightly choreographed teams of militants wearing American Army uniforms, was a reminder that the Taliban remain capable of serious assaults despite the “surge” offensive against them. Now the offensive is over, and nearly 10,000 American Marines have left Helmand Province, a critical stronghold for the Taliban, over the past several months.

Together with a rash of attacks by Afghan security forces against NATO troops — including two over the weekend that left at least six coalition service members dead — the Taliban have put new pressure on the American withdrawal plan, which calls for accelerated troop pullouts through 2014 while training Afghan forces to take over.

At the same time, tensions with the government flared Sunday as President Hamid Karzai condemned the deaths of Afghan women in airstrikes and criticized the continued American custody of hundreds of Afghan prisoners.

Read more from this story HERE.