Stop UN Control of the Internet

Next week, the United Nations’ attempt to take over the Internet will kick into high gear when the International Telecommunications Union meets in Dubai with representatives from 193 countries to craft a new governing structure for the Internet. The meetings are expected to last two weeks. If you haven’t heard about this issue, there’s a reason. The negotiators have kept the tightest possible lid on their discussions to prevent word of the regulatory proposals from leaking out. In my book, “Here Come the Black Helicopters,” I warn about this coming treaty and its terrible implications. Indeed, the negotiations were secret until two George Mason University researchers, Jerry Brito and Eli Dourado, created a website called WCITLeaks.org and invited anyone with access to documents outlining the U.N. proposals to post them online. On June 12, 2012, an anonymous leaker posted a 212-page memo detailing the status of the negotiations and the proposed terms of the treaty. This information has not been officially or authoritatively available despite the fact that the conference convenes next week. But the first reports are horrific. Vinton Cerf, one of the founders of the Web and currently a vice-president of Google, warns, “The open Internet has never been at higher risk than it is now.” He adds, “If all of us do not pay attention to what’s going on, users worldwide will be at risk of losing the open and free Internet.” The very concept of U.N. control of the Web is horrible. The U.N. is corrupt and biased in favor of authoritarian regimes. But this particular regulatory proposal is even worse. It takes the leading force for democracy in the world today — the Internet — and could transform it into an instrument for propaganda and oppression Its most obnoxious feature would let countries censor websites that originate within their borders and to force its Internet users to pay a high fee for accessing foreign sites. If adopted, this provision would erect a wall of user fees, keep people from reading free-speech foreign sites and leave users from nations like China and Russia only a government-censored product. The draft treaty states that the U.N. will assign e-names and provide host governments with the names along with I.P. addresses, which will let them to identify dissidents. Congress needs to speak up! With a new Secretary of State coming up for Senate confirmation, the conservatives on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee need to ask the designee whether he or she approves of these secret negotiations and press her on the question of U.N. regulation of the Internet. The proposed treaty stems from an initiative by Russia and China to restrict the Net. It appears to have been the brain hild of Russian President Vladimir Putin. After a 2011 meeting with Secretary-General Hamadoun Tour‚ of the International Telecommunications Union — the UN agency to be vested with control of the Net — Putin turned vocabulary on its head saying “if we are going to talk about democratization of international relations, I think a critical sphere is information exchange and global control over such exchange.” How Internet regulation would “democratize” things, he did not explain. Tour‚, a native of Mali, is the ideal person to suit Putin’s objectives. If ever Putin found the right man for the job of controlling the Internet, Tour‚ is it. He studied at the Technical Institute of Electronics and Telecommunications in Leningrad and got his Masters and Doctorate from the Moscow Technical University of Communications and Informatics. Before we give him control over the Internet, we are entitled to ask why Soviet Russia would want to help a young man from Mali gain expertise in telecommunications, electronics and “informatics?” We can only speculate, but the thought is not comforting. We need Congress to step up and fight against U.N. control of the Internet. Even without these terrible provisions, the very concept of U.N. regulation of this free medium is repugnant! To find out more about Dick Morris and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2012 DICK MORRIS AND EILEEN MCGANN DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Big Data Becomes Big Daddy

Every four years, the seating arrangement at the Thanksgiving table becomes especially sensitive. The presidential election is recent history, but putting space between winners and losers was crucial this year. The generation gaps between family and friends became the scenes of battle, and passions run high among voting-age adults. This year, fault lines focused on Mitt Romney’s post-campaign analysis of how and why he lost. His remarks that he couldn’t compete with the “gifts” bestowed on Democratic constituencies contains an element of truth, but it betrays bitterness. We hadn’t associated bitterness with Romney. We didn’t hear a discouraging word about Barack Obama’s re-election, and how he did it, from college age kids joining in the turkey feast. “Forgiveness of loan interest was a big gift,” Romney said. “Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-age women.” It reinforced the idea of which man cared about them, as cynical as that may be. The president’s boast that he had kept everyone 26 years or younger on his parent’s plan with Obamacare held considerable appeal to the generation that never wants to leave home. In the battleground states where it counted, such as Florida, Ohio and Virginia, the president increased his share of the 18- to 29-year-old voters over 2008. Romney spoke of assorted gifts the president gave to Hispanics and blacks in return for the high percentages of their vote. Such remarks provoked scathing criticism from Bobby Jindal, the popular Republican governor of Louisiana, who joined the chorus of Republicans railing against what they saw as Republican exploitation of the divisions in America. “We have to stop dividing the American voters,” Jindal, whose family came to America from India, told reporters at the Republican Governors Association in Las Vegas. “We need to go after 100 percent of the votes.” That, too, had an element of truth, but it’s a glaring truth that the Democrats exploited the divisions with greater enthusiasm, and in a more clever way. A little scarier, too. They sliced and diced their appeals into smaller and smaller categories, and won big partly because their divisions were data-driven, not idea-driven, and the slicing and dicing was interpreted by high-tech numbers crunchers who knew what they were doing. The Democrats were infinitely superior in crunching the numbers of smaller and smaller psychological pieces. If you hear the word “cookies” in these conversations, it’s unlikely that anyone’s describing Granny’s pecan- and chocolate-chip favorites. It will be about the small files of data broken into targeted categories for reaching specific voters, which won the election for the president. “In this year’s election, it looks as if the Obama team’s use of such data was one of its biggest edges over the Romney effort,” writes Gordon Crovitz in The Wall Street Journal. He discovered a telling example of how applied cookies worked in a $40,000 fund-raiser ticket invitation at the Manhattan home of actress Sarah Jessica Parker. The wording on the invitation depended on who was getting it. For some, the emphasis was about her motherhood; for others, it was noted that Vogue editor Anna Wintour would be at her party; others noted that a concert by Mariah Carey would follow the fundraiser later that night. For those who wouldn’t have $40,000 to spare, this was merely academic information, but it shows how the latest in cookies, data developed for targeting customers through advertising, works for targeting voters. It’s a brave new world dimension of psychological dissection, but since it worked for the Obama team, it’s here to stay. Data dicing trumps hunch and intuition and even past experience. The Obama data crunchers showed Time magazine what they did and how they did it, with the stipulation that everything would be withheld until after the election. The magazine learned how Sarah Jessica Parker exercises the gravitational pull in raising Obama money on the Atlantic coast that George Clooney does in Hollywood. But not only money is at stake. These same data crunchers helped the president win the swing states with a massive megafile, equivalent to what one cruncher called the Democratic “nuclear codes.” Voters were targeted like campaign contributors, organized in parallel worlds. Data analysts replaced media consultants in making successful analyses and predictions, determining which appeals would work on specific people. Psychological information was added to the basics like age, sex, race, neighborhood and voting records. Those who make educated decisions based on hunches are out. “Quants,” the soft term for hard-headed quantitative analysts, are in. Big data becomes Big Daddy. Pass the traditional post-holiday turkey hash, and lay on the leftover cranberry sauce as we move back to the future. Write to Suzanne Fields at: suzannefields2000@gmail.com. To find out more about Suzanne Fields and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

Giving Thanks for America’s Givers

Chandler Osborn, 14, watched Fox News coverage of Hurricane Sandy last week and decided to take action. “Last weekend, me and my younger brother, Cooper, 7, did a fundraiser in Colorado Springs to help the people” affected by the storm, he told me. The siblings set up a table at the Colorado Springs Sugar Plum Festival, gave away patriotic car magnets and pins for any donations, and collected signatures on a giant banner of support for the victims. “We raised $612 in one weekend.” The Osborns joined countless Americans across the country who stepped up, in small and large ways, to help their fellow citizens in need. While this election season was a contentious battle between makers and takers, this Thanksgiving season is a time to honor the givers who keep the nation’s private philanthropic spirit alive. In times of crisis, it’s individual citizens, churches, businesses and charitable organizations — not federal government bureaucrats — who mobilize first and fastest to provide aid and comfort. Tom Laureys noted in the Parsippany (New Jersey) Daily Record: “The first people to help Hurricane Sandy victims were the neighbors helping their neighbors for free. The Red Cross was the first organization to arrive to help. FEMA was the last. The FEMA workers stayed at the Soho Grand Hotel at $310 per night.” On Staten Island, a group of residents banded together, bought their own walkie-talkies, and provided the debris-clearing and water-pumping services that no one else was providing. “We’ve done more for our community than FEMA, the Red Cross and the National Guard combined, directly hitting houses and people in need,” Frank Recce, a 24-year-old longshoreman and Army Iraq War veteran who organized the “Brown Cross” group, told FoxNews.com. Here in Colorado Springs, the raging Waldo Canyon wildfire brought volunteers of all political stripes together to support local first responders and help nearly 350 devastated families who lost their homes. By the time President Obama arrived in Colorado nearly a full week after the fire ignited, churches, businessmen and civic groups had united to donate mountains of clothes, lend phones, shelter pets and open their homes to the displaced. The outpouring of compassion was so overwhelming that volunteers were turned away from shelters and centers. The left-leaning Colorado Springs Independent, conservative Focus on the Family, Pikes Peak United Way, World Arena, the city’s philharmonic and others raised more than a half-million dollars during a community benefit concert for the Waldo Canyon Victim Assistance Fund. One organization, Care and Share, collected nearly 73,000 pounds of food and water for the brave firefighters who battled the blaze. On top of that, Care and Share volunteers distributed more than 440,000 pounds of food and water to affected residents. An amazing surplus remains: The group has 332,593 pounds of food and $379,032 in donations remaining to distribute for the holidays. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, America’s top 50 donors gave a total of $10.4 billion in 2011. But it’s the small, unsung acts of everyday giving and doing — like the Osborn brothers’ $612 or the Staten Island citizen brigade’s do-it-yourself volunteerism — that add up. In sum, Americans contributed $136 billion to charitable causes. The median discretionary income of the American giver? $54,783. God bless America, the Charitable. Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com. COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

Camp Bastion Families Want Answers About Afghanistan

While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton boozes it up in Australia and the Pentagon grapples with more floozy eruptions, outraged military families are still waiting for answers about the forgotten 9/14 attack on Camp Bastion. Muckrakers and distraction engineers are having a front-page field day with the so-called “sex scandal.” But for surviving relatives and colleagues of heroic Marine Lt. Col. Christopher Raible and Sgt. Bradley Atwell, it’s the national security scandal at Afghanistan’s Camp Bastion that deserves headline coverage. There’s been a virtual blackout of the alarming story in the national press. As I reported last month, the meticulously coordinated siege by 15 Taliban infiltrators — dressed in American combat fatigues and armed with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons — resulted not only in two deaths, but also in the most devastating loss of U.S. airpower since Vietnam. Six Harrier jets were destroyed; three refueling stations were wiped out; six hangars were damaged. The attack came exactly six months after a failed suicide attack targeting Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and three days after the deadly attack on our consulate in Benghazi. Yet, on Tuesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced that President Obama is standing by beleaguered Marine Gen. John Allen. He’s the four-star general and lead U.S. commander in Afghanistan who is now entangled in former CIA Director David Petraeus’ sexcapades soap opera. Allen reportedly exchanged hundreds of “flirtatious” emails with Petraeus family friend and married Florida socialite Jill Kelley. Kelley is the alleged “other other woman” who told the FBI she was harassed by alleged Petraeus mistress and biographer Paula Broadwell. While Petraeus stepped down, Obama “has faith in Gen. Allen, believes he’s doing and has done an excellent job” overseeing security in Afghanistan, Carney said. Are families of our Marines at Camp Bastion happy with Allen and the Obama administration? Donella Raible, widow of Lt. Col. Raible, was blunt. “I’m not,” she told me Tuesday afternoon by phone. “I’m mortified. It shows the corruption in the whole Washington/Arlington culture.” Mrs. Raible, who is now raising three children (ages 11, 9 and 2) on her own, said, “I couldn’t sleep at night if I were (Obama). If they’re happy with things in Afghanistan, they should come look at the faces of those left behind.” If not for the heroism of Lt. Col. Raible, Sgt. Atwell and their fellow brothers-in-arms, the entire Harrier squadron and a barracks-full of sleeping Marines could have been lost. Another Camp Bastion Marine wife and mother of two told me: “My husband survived, and I am so grateful, but I am also heartbroken for those who died. … There is no excuse for this. We are the United States of America and supposed to be the badass of all badasses, and we are constantly made out to be fools and caught off guard. … I blame this administration for these recent preventable losses of life.” Deborah Hatheway, aunt of Sgt. Atwell, said the family received a standard-issue condolence letter from the White House last week. “That means nothing. This was not supposed to happen,” Hatheway told me. She blasted the “negligence, irresponsibility, incompetence and plain ignorance” that led to her nephew’s murder, and she believes the failures in Benghazi are tied to the fate of the fallen at Camp Bastion. Off the record, several family members of Camp Bastion Marines have voiced persistent concerns about security in what was touted as one of the safest places to be in Afghanistan. “It is not a matter of if, but when” the compound is attacked again, one told me. Another relayed how a few weeks before the 9/14 attack, razor wire on the perimeter kept disappearing — but Marine sentries were barred from firing on suspected thieves to avoid causing civilian casualties. Others wondered why security hadn’t been stepped up given the public threat by the Taliban on September 10 to kill Prince Harry, who was stationed at Camp Bastion. “And after the incident with Panetta, the security should have been so tight there that even a suicide mouse couldn’t get through,” Hatheway told me. “How could they let this happen? Someone has to speak up.” Obama’s military leaders were asleep on the job — or sleeping with others instead of doing their jobs. Who will answer for this deadly disgrace? Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com. COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

Stop UN Gun Control Now!

While I was wrong in predicting a Mitt Romney win, I was, unfortunately, correct in saying that President Obama would move to sign a U.N. Arms Control Treaty right after the election whether he won or lost. On the very day after the election, the Obama administration voted to reopen talks on the treaty at a special meeting on March 18-28.

The U.S. will undoubtedly “compromise” and sign the treaty, all the time reassuring us that it is protecting our constitutional right to bear arms.

But don’t be fooled!

This treaty is U.N. gun control pure and simple.

The giveaway is that it is designed to solve a problem that almost doesn’t exist: The private exportation of small arms. Ninety percent of all small arms exports come from governments, primarily the United States, Israel, Russia and China. If the U.N. really wanted to stop the sales of weapons to drug gangs, guerilla groups and extremists, it would only have to stop arms sales from these governments.

Instead, the U.N. is setting up an elaborate mechanism to stop, by treaty, sales and exports of guns and grenades by private companies and individuals around the world. This regimen will necessitate a U.N. oversight governing body with broad enforcement powers and is a backdoor way to enact global gun controls. Since the U.S. accounts of 40 percent of all small arms exports, it is squarely aimed at us.

This U.N. governing body will have the power to require registration of all guns as a preliminary “inventory” of weapons to stop their exportation. Then, limitations on sales and even confiscations could follow. The treaty amounts to a backdoor way of achieving, through international action, gun controls that would never pass the U.S. Congress. And, politically, it is a way to cut the Republican House of Representatives out of the equation and empower on the Democratic Senate to approve the gun controls since they are being done by treaty. The House has no role in treaty ratification.

This U.N. governing body will have the power to require registration of all guns as a preliminary inventory of weapons to stop their exportation. Then, limitations on sales and even confiscations could follow. But … it does require a 2/3 vote of the Senate to ratify the treaty. And there are still 45 Republicans in the new Senate. If we hold 34 of them, we can kill the treaty.

Most have already indicated their opposition to the treaty, but don’t rely on that. When the U.S. “achieves” some soothing language protecting the Second Amendment — words that do nothing to mitigate the enforcement power conferred on the U.N. governing body in the treaty itself — they will flake away, leaving only the serious opponents of gun control to vote no.

We need to mobilize as never before. This treaty is the most serious threat to our Second Amendment rights we have ever faced.

Please go to dickmorris.com to sign a petition against UN gun control. Circulate it among your friends, family, and fellow sportspeople! We need a broad, broad net of treaty opponents to stop this thing.

Please include your hard address so we can send your signature to your Senators to change their minds or stiffen their hearts!

And read our new book “Here Come The Black Helicopters.” This U.N. treaty is only the opening shot in a broad effort to compromise our sovereignty and turn it over to the U.N. Read about it all in our book.

To find out more about Dick Morris and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2012 DICK MORRIS AND EILEEN MCGANN DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

The Hope-a-Nomics Disaster: One Company’s Horror Story

President Obama promises to move the country forward with his recycled pledge of five million green jobs. But in the real world, small businesses are struggling to stay afloat as they deal with the fiscal wreckage of this administration’s disastrous venture socialism. Here’s the tale of just one Colorado company victimized by the Obama Department of Energy (DOE). Colorado Distribution Group is a privately held storage and shipping company based in Denver. Thanks to hope-a-nomics, its warehouse is saddled with nearly 7,000 pallets of federally subsidized solar panels (one-third of which are completely spoiled and unsalable), along with related detritus such as broken glass and stray module parts. While $22,000/month in storage costs go unpaid, the panels consume up to a third of the company’s warehouse space. Legal costs have forced CDG to slash payroll and lay off at least three employees. A source with knowledge of CDG’s woes told me this week the company is facing pressure by the Department of Energy to drop its petition to recoup those costs. The feds want CDG to swallow a $1.4 million tab to dispose of the bum solar panels. In July, according to Dow Jones, CDG asked a Delaware bankruptcy court “for permission either to sell or collect rent on the property Abound Solar Inc. has at its facility, saying the situation is threatening its ability to stay in business.” Like many private enterprises in the Age of Obama’s Brass-Knuckled Politics of Revenge, fear of retribution holds back many from coming forward publicly about such attempted shakedowns. CDG serves industries ranging from automotive to food and beverage, electronic, medical, furniture, clothing, sporting goods and telecommunications. Founded in 2005, CDG handles distribution, fulfillment, transportation, logistics and inventory management using a high-tech data system. For the past three years, the company warehoused solar panels manufactured by Fort Collins-based Abound Solar. Yes, Abound Solar. Also known as: Colorado’s own Solyndra. In June, less than a year after fellow Obama green boondoggle Solyndra went belly up, Abound filed for bankruptcy. As I reported in March, the financial outlook of the $400 million DOE loan guarantee recipient was based on false hope and imaginary change. Obama’s envirocrats ignored bright red flags from Fitch Ratings about Abound’s substandard technology and failures to meet basic efficiency targets. Abound borrowed $70 million against its $400 million Obama DOE loan guarantee; taxpayers will lose up to $60 million on the loan after the bankruptcy proceedings are complete. Nearly 125 Abound Solar employees lost their jobs. Screwed-over companies like CDG that did business with Abound are not alone. At least one other warehouse in Colorado is storing the costly panels. And an untold number of related contractors and businesses have been stiffed. “I did a lot of machining for Abound,” one business owner told me this summer, “and they went under owing me a fair amount.” Recently released internal documents show that customers demanded replacements for the panels after experiencing “low performance,” “under performance” and “catastrophic failures.” Credit and technical advisers at DOE complained about having “major issues” with the Abound Solar deal and expressed concern over the “transaction pressure under which we are all now operating.” The documents fly in the face of Obama’s denial — just days before Election Day — that his White House played any role in this fiscal disaster. The investigative work of Colorado’s Todd Shepherd at CompleteColorado.com, Amy Oliver at the Independence Institute and Michael Sandoval now of the Heritage Foundation exposed Abound’s crony ties to the Obama administration. Like Solyndra, Abound had a deep-pocketed bundler with ties to the White House. Progressive activist and billionaire heiress Pat Stryker, a repeat visitor to the Obama White House, owns an investment firm that invested considerably in Abound and donated nearly $500 million to the Democrats between 2008 and 2012. Criminal and civil probes into Abound Solar’s alleged malfeasance — there are reports that the firm knowingly sold faulty goods — have been launched in both Colorado and on Capitol Hill. The stench of pay-for-play abounds. While Obama giddily promises his cronies and sycophants that “the best is yet to come,” small-business owners are fighting for their lives. Where’s their “fair share”? Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com. COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

Our Disenfranchised Troops Deserve Better

The next president of the United States must do right by our men and women in uniform. Our troops put their lives on the line to protect our right to vote, but untold thousands of them were unable to cast their own ballots on Tuesday. For shame. Veterans groups and soldiers advocates have warned about military disenfranchisement for years. M. Eric Eversole, director of the Military Voter Protection (MVP) Project and a former litigation attorney in the Voting Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, reported that “more than 17,000 military and overseas voters were disenfranchised in 2008 because their ballots arrived after the deadline and had to be rejected.” That doesn’t include the thousands more whose ballots never arrived or arrived at their bases too close to the election to be returned. The total number of troops affected this year could be more than double or triple that because of the relocation of nearly 70,000 military personnel out of Iraq and Afghanistan over the past year. More alarming, the feds acknowledged last week that a transport plane that crashed at Shindand Air Base in Afghanistan on Oct. 19 was carrying 4,700 pounds of mail — including an unknown number of absentee ballots. Experts agree that a minimum 45-day mailing standard is needed to provide soldiers overseas sufficient time to get their ballots home. But the feds have done virtually nothing to ensure that laggard states comply with military voter protection statutes. In fact, the Obama administration has actively worked against pro-troop voting protection efforts by suing to stop Ohio’s military enfranchisement reforms. Moreover, according to a report by the Military Voter Protection Project released on Election Eve, the number of absentee ballot requests by both military members and other overseas voters in the battleground states of Virginia and Ohio has dropped 70 percent since 2008. Despite a federal law mandating that every base establish a voting assistance office (the 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act), the Pentagon reported this summer that it could only contact such offices on half of the military’s bases. In Wisconsin alone this election cycle, at least 30 municipalities failed to send absentee ballots to members of the military before the 45-day election deadline. On Monday, GOP Sens. John Cornyn, Kelly Ayotte, John McCain, Rob Portman and Marco Rubio raised the issue with President Obama’s Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The group noted that the DoD’s Military Postal Service Agency (MPSA) had documented widespread problems experienced by overseas military voters during the last midterm elections, but that the department had taken no steps to make mail streamlining and modernization changes recommended in 2010. The most simple, efficient fix involves a centralized mail forwarding system for blank absentee ballots to accommodate transient servicemen and servicewomen. The U.S. Postal System already has a similar system in place for civilian use. “We are perplexed as to why DoD did not do everything in its power to modernize the system for redirecting blank ballots in order to eliminate this roadblock for military service members,” the senators told Panetta. Perplexed? Try steamed. Outraged. Livid. “Our men and women in uniform should be able to participate in the very same democratic system of government that they defend, not be relegated to mere spectator status because their ballot never reached them.” The profligate Obama administration — which squandered trillions of taxpayer dollars on a failed stimulus law, billions on dozens of now-bankrupt green boondoggles, billions to the Muslim Brotherhood-coddling government of Egypt, and multimillions on the first lady’s junkets in Spain and around the world — has the audacity to blame funding woes for its neglect of military enfranchisement reform. A White House less focused on revenge and redistribution would put the rights of those who secure our blessings of liberty first. They deserve nothing less. Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com. COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM

Voting under duress? Be careful when you vote today!

“I CANNOT fully express how appalled I am”

It is happening all over the country. Voters are being pressured and their rights are being violated. This is just one more example from a small east Texas town. This is a mom emailing her daughter about how her day was… Mom says “Now you want to hear something really strange, I went to vote and the lady that took care of me turned my machine on and showed me how to punch the mark with a pencil eraser and said, now since you are a democrat here is where you punch and she went to obama, I said no I don’t want him, can’t I vote for the other one, she said NO, do you want to lose all your benefits, and Medicare, you don’t want to vote for Romney, I looked at her and said, “tell me we are not having this conversation” she laughed and said don’t tell anyone about this it’s just between you and me. Hahaha. And you asked me how my day was, hahaha!” Daughter says “I CANNOT fully express how appalled I am that the “neutral voting assistant” gave you a spill on ANY political “views”!!! Then, add in her ridiculous emphasis on “obamacare”!!!! That fricking pisses me off and she needs to be reported ASAP!!! Whoosh, I’m pissed!!!” Mom says “I’m sorry for upsetting you so bad; I think she realized she was wrong, hopefully I was her only victim.” Daughter says “Did she let you vote for who you wanted?” Mom says “Yes, Romney!” As you go out today to exercise your voting rights as an American citizen, be careful and hopefully you will not have to vote under duress. However, if you are placed in such an awkward situation, do as this mom did and stand your ground. Your choice in voting is your right!

Going Out on a Limb: Romney Beats Obama, Handily

Fundamentals usually prevail in American elections. That’s bad news for Barack Obama. True, Americans want to think well of their presidents, and many think it would be bad if Americans were perceived as rejecting the first black president. But it’s also true that most voters oppose Obama’s major policies and consider unsatisfactory the very sluggish economic recovery — Friday’s job report showed an unemployment uptick. Also, both national and target state polls show that independents — voters who don’t identify themselves as Democrats or Republicans — break for Romney. That might not matter if Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 39 to 32 percent, as they did in the 2008 exit poll. But just about every indicator suggests that Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting — and about their candidate — than they were in 2008, and Democrats are less so. That’s been apparent in early or absentee voting, where Democrats trail their 2008 numbers in target states Virginia, Ohio, Iowa and Nevada. The Obama campaign strategy, from the beginning, has recognized these handicaps, running barrages of early anti-Romney ads in states that Obama carried narrowly. But other states, not so heavily barraged, have come into contention. Which candidate will get the electoral votes of the target states? I’ll go out on a limb and predict them, in ascending order of 2008 Obama percentages — fully aware that I’m likely to get some wrong. Indiana (11 electoral votes). Uncontested. Romney. North Carolina (15 electoral votes). Obama has abandoned this target. Romney. Florida (29). The biggest target state has trended Romney since the Denver debate. I don’t see any segment of the electorate favoring Obama more than in 2008, and I see some (South Florida Jews) favoring him less. Romney. Ohio (18). The anti-Romney auto bailout ads have Obama running well enough among blue collar for him to lead most polls. But many polls anticipate a more Democratic electorate than 2008. Early voting tells another story, and so does the registration decline in Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County. In 2004, intensity among rural, small town and evangelical voters, undetected by political reporters who don’t mix in such circles, produced a narrow Bush victory. I see that happening again. Romney. Virginia (13). Post-debate polling mildly favors Romney, and early voting is way down in heavily Democratic Arlington, Alexandria, Richmond and Norfolk. Northern Virginia Asians may trend Romney. Romney. Colorado (9). Unlike 2008, registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats, and more Republicans than Democrats have voted early. The Republican trend in 2010 was squandered by weak candidates for governor and senator. Not this time. Romney. Iowa (6). The unexpected Romney endorsements by the Des Moines Register and three other newspapers gave voice to buyer’s remorse in a state Obama carried by 10 points. Democrats’ traditional margin in early voting has declined. Romney. Minnesota (10). A surprise last-minute media buy for the Romney campaign. But probably a bridge too far. Obama. New Hampshire (4). Polls are very tight here. I think superior Republican intensity will prevail. Romney. Pennsylvania (20). Everyone would have picked Obama two weeks ago. I think higher turnout in pro-coal western Pennsylvania and higher Republican percentages in the Philadelphia suburbs could produce a surprise. The Romney team evidently thinks so too. Their investment in TV time is too expensive to be a mere feint, and as this is written, Romney is planning a Sunday event in Bucks County outside Philly. Wobbling on my limb, Romney. Nevada (6). Democratic early voting turnout is down from 2008 in Las Vegas’ Clark County, 70 percent of the state. But the casino unions’ turnout machine on Election Day re-elected an unpopular Harry Reid in 2010, and I think they’ll get enough Latinos and Filipinos out this time. Obama. Wisconsin (10). Recent polling is discouraging for Republicans. But Gov. Scott Walker handily survived the recall effort in June with a great organizational push. Democrats depend heavily on margins in inner-city Milwaukee (population down) and the Madison university community. But early voting is down in university towns in other states. The Obama campaign is prepared to turn out a big student vote, but you don’t see many Obama signs on campuses. Romney. Oregon (7), New Mexico (5), New Jersey (14). Uncontested. Obama. Michigan (16). Romney chose Pennsylvania, where there’s no auto bailout issue. Obama. Bottom line: Romney 315, Obama 223. That sounds high for Romney. But he could drop Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and still win the election. Fundamentals. Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2012 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Then and Now

WASHINGTON — For better than a month, the Obama administration has been dodging and weaving over what actually transpired in Benghazi, Libya, on the night of Sept. 11-12. Questions have been posed about why Ambassador Christopher Stevens was there and not at his embassy post in Tripoli. Congressional investigators have asked why he had no security detail, why the State Department decided not to send in U.S. Marine embassy security guards when they were offered months before, why contingency plans were not in place on the anniversary of 9/11 and why the O-Team insisted for so long that the attack on our U.S. diplomatic post was a “spontaneous event” and not an act of terrorism. By now, all should realize that truthful answers to these inquiries will not be furnished by the White House or State Department until after the presidential election on Nov. 6. But there is an even more important question that should be asked and answered now: Once the White House knew about the attack in Benghazi, what action did the president take to protect or save the lives of Americans? “We the People” need to know the answer because we are about to hire — or rehire — a commander in chief. The response is crucial to determining whether the incumbent is competent enough to fulfill the responsibilities of the job or whether he should be replaced. Fortunately, we have a standard of behavior for a commander in chief in a previous well-documented terror event: Ronald Reagan during the Achille Lauro incident. On Oct. 7, 1985, four radical Islamic terrorists — members of the Palestine Liberation Front, the organization now calling itself Hamas — hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro. They then murdered Leon Klinghoffer, a wheelchair-bound American passenger. His only offense was that he was an American citizen and a Jew. That was offense enough to spark what the current administration might well call a “spontaneous event.” Within minutes of the CIA alert that Americans were at risk — and before it was known that Klinghoffer was dead — a National Security Council-led counterterrorism task force was convened by secure conference call. From Air Force One en route to Chicago, President Reagan approved the first recommendation of the task force — deployment of a specially trained and equipped unit from the Joint Special Operations Command to the region. While the JSOC team was heading east from the U.S., Reagan ordered every available U.S. military and intelligence asset in the eastern Mediterranean to find and track the vessel — and asked every littoral government in the area to deny port access to the hijackers. Despite abysmal weather conditions at sea, U.S. Navy and Air Force units located the cruise ship and followed it to Alexandria, Egypt. When Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak lied to President Reagan about the terrorists having escaped, we knew better. In those days, our relationship with the Israeli government was so good that members of it contacted us to tell us where the perpetrators were, the tail number of the EgyptAir commercial aircraft Mubarak had provided to fly them to Tunisia and the takeoff time. The president immediately approved a plan crafted by the task force, the Joint Chiefs, the JSOC and the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet to intercept the civilian airliner and force it to land at the NATO air base at Sigonella, Italy. Less than four hours later, the terrorists and their ringleader — Abu Abbas, head of the PLF — were captured. Contrast this scenario with what we now know from previously undisclosed emails exchanged among various Obama administration officials about what transpired in Benghazi. The White House apparently was notified within minutes of the attack’s being launched on our consulate. From ground-based FLIR cameras and live imagery from at least one unmanned aerial vehicle overhead, officials at the CIA, Pentagon, State Department and White House could see with extraordinary clarity what was going on as military assaults were mounted against the U.S. Consulate and then a nearby annex over the course of more than eight hours. Unlike those during the Achille Lauro incident, the O-Team’s decision-makers knew precisely what was happening in real time in Benghazi. Yet apparently, they did little more than wring their hands and stare at their widescreen monitors as Americans were dying. In 1985, we had no real-time information other than what was provided by the Israelis or the scant information gleaned from the ship-to-shore radiotelephone calls by the terrorists to their chief, Abu Abbas. We had no UAVs or live coverage. We had no prepositioned forces on the ground; the JSOC unit that captured the hijackers and turned them over to Italian authorities had to be flown to Sicily from the U.S. On Sept. 11, 2012, there were dozens of U.S. military aircraft stationed within an hour’s flight time of Benghazi. A U.S. Marine contingent and a U.S. special operations unit were less than two hours away by air, remarkably enough in Sigonella — the very place the Achille Lauro terrorists were captured. A White House spokesman now claims that the O-Team couldn’t commit military force without “diplomatic clearance” from the Libyan government. Good thing that provision of international law doesn’t apply in Pakistan or Yemen. Our current commander in chief cannot answer the question, What did you do to save and protect American lives? On Nov. 6, we need to fire him and hire a new one who is up to the most important responsibility for the president of the United States. Oliver North is the host of “War Stories” on Fox News Channel, the founder and honorary chairman of Freedom Alliance, and the author of “Heroes Proved.” Join Oliver North in Israel by going to https://www.olivernorthisrael.com. To find out more about Oliver North and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM