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Friday, September 5, 2014

Constrast Between The 12th Century And The 21st.


A Difference Of Opinion Or The Way This Administration Works?

Another Obama Lie?


Is McClathcy-Tribune Selection Of Vulnerable Congressman Right?

The 10 Most Vulnerable House Members

September 5, 2014 by  
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The 10 Most Vulnerable House Members

WASHINGTON (MCT) — Welcome to the general election: Labor Day has passed, nearly every primary has finished, and Roll Call has revised its monthly list of the 10 most vulnerable House members.
Since Roll Call last published this feature in August, Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.) lost his primary by a wide margin, while Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) barely survived his, defeating his primary foe by 38 votes.
That opened up two spots in the Top 10 — and there are a plethora of choices this cycle to fill their spots, plus more honorable mentions below.
House Democrats must net 17 seats to win the majority. But most of the names below are Democrats, symbolic of a cycle increasingly favorable to Republicans.
For now, here are the 10 most vulnerable House members in alphabetical order:
  • Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.): Barber faces a rematch against retired Air Force Colonel Martha McSally in the Tucson-based 2nd District. McSally has a storybook biography, and midterm turnout should benefit a Republican. But Barber’s team knows how to win. Operatives from both parties say polling shows a dead heat — with a slight edge to their own nominee. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call Race Rating: Tossup.
  • Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.): Coffman is one of two new names to the list. In the 6th District — which has a virtual partisan split — two of the country’s strongest House candidates are running. Former state Speaker Andrew Romanoff has raised more money than Coffman, a prolific fundraiser in his own right. And both men will need it. The Denver media market will be a crowded one thanks to competitive Senate and gubernatorial contests, and this race is expected to be close to the end. (Coffman also may be a finalist in the liberal HBO comedian Bill Maher’s Flip a District contest.)Rating: Tossup.
  • Rep. Bill Enyart (D-Ill.): Enyart is the second new addition to the list. Less than two years since he was sworn into office, he has yet to solidify his support in the downstate 12th District. He must contend with the drag of unpopular Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn on top of the ticket — a precarious position for many Land of Lincoln Democrats. Crossroads GPS, the tax-exempt issue advocacy group led by former White House aide Karl Rove, is also spending here, a sign Republicans see a major opportunity with Mike Bost taking on Enyart. Rating: Tilts Democrat.
  • Rep. Michael G. Grimm (R-N.Y.): Under indictment for numerous federal tax evasion charges and with little cash to communicate with voters, Grimm’s re-election chances look bleak. Although the trial won’t begin until after the election, Grimm more than earned a spot on this list. Still, there are signs Democrats do not think the race is over yet: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is airing an ad in the Staten Island-based 11th District hitting Grimm on his legal troubles. Rating: Leans Democratic.
  • Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.): Two Democratic outside groups — House Majority PAC and the super PAC of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union — have been on air for a month, both defending Nolan and attacking his GOP opponent, businessman Stewart Mills, one of the GOP’s most-touted candidates. This early spending, plus concerns about Nolan’s own fundraising, makes it clear how worried the party is about Nolan’s odds. Rating: Leans Democratic.
  • Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.): Peters is one of a host of freshman Democrats who won their marginal districts in 2012 in states where President Barack Obama’s re-elect produced high turnout. This cycle, he faces re-election against a well-known, local Republican: former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio. With millions already slated to blanket the airwaves here, this district could again feature one of the closest and most expensive races of the cycle. Rating: Tossup.
  • Rep. Nick J. Rahall II (D-W.Va.): Rahall’s political survival is based on a simple calculus: Can his “Nicky Joe” brand survive an onslaught of outside advertising and West Virginia’s animosity for Obama? Democrats are bullish the answer is yes, but Republicans view former state Sen. Evan Jenkins as a terrific candidate for the 3rd District. This race marks just one of a few in the country where both parties sincerely believe they will win this seat. Rating: Tossup.
  • Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.): Like Enyart, Schneider is a freshman member who must contend with Quinn’s drag down-ballot. He’s also had only one term to galvanize support and make a mark on the 10th District north of Chicagoland. What’s more, Schneider is facing a well-known and well-financed opponent, former Rep. Robert Dold, who will have ample funds to make this a race. Rating: Tossup.
  • Rep. Steve Southerland II (R-Fla.): Southerland’s district marks one of the first two House seats on the map where both the DCCC and the National Republican Congressional Committee went up with ads — a sign of just how competitive both parties think it will be. That’s surprising, given that Mitt Romney carried this district by 6 points in 2012. The reason Southerland is in trouble? His rival: attorney Gwen Graham. Behind the scenes, Democrats and Republicans say the daughter of former Sen. Bob Graham is the best Democratic recruit of the cycle. Rating: Tilts Republican.
  • Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.): Things were looking up for Terry when a third-party candidate and former Republican dropped out of the contest this spring. It should have allowed him to consolidate conservative support in the 2nd District, which Romney won with 53 percent in 2012. But polling still shows this race in a statistical dead heat. And Terry can’t seem to get out of his own way, making a couple blunders on the trail, including on congressional pay. Rating: Tilts Republican.

Honorable Mentions

By the numbers, Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) should belong on this list, especially since both campaign committees started airing advertisements in the 12th District weeks ago. But Barrow’s own memorable advertisements, plus his survival rate in a district Romney won by 11 points, keep him off of this list — for now.
State Speaker Andy Tobin prevailed Tuesday — a week after the GOP primary — to face Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) in the Republican-leaning 1st District. He starts the race at a significant cash disadvantage, but the GOP’s good fortune, plus Kirkpatrick’s district, makes her a narrow miss for this list.
Reps. Timothy H. Bishop of New York and John F. Tierney of Massachusetts also just missed inclusion. They both represent districts that voted for Obama, but past ethical troubles imperil their political futures.
Freshman Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) has plenty of personal problems to battle after he was caught kissing a staffer this spring. But Louisiana’s unique election system provides a path for McAllister to win: He’s tacking to the middle in hopes of advancing from November’s jungle primary, with a Democrat joining him on the December runoff ballot. In that scenario, he is almost assured to survive in this deeply conservative district.
–Emily Cahn and Abby Livingston

Golan Heights Becomes New Pressure Point On Israel As Syria Loses Battles.

Al-Qaeda arrives at Israel's doorstep in the Golan Heights


Credit: Daniel Estrin
Graffiti in an abandoned building overlooking Syria. The building used to be a Syrian army post before Israel captured the Golan Heights territory.

For the last three years, Israelis have mostly enjoyed a safe distance from the fighting in neighboring Syria. Now, that's no longer true.
Last week, rebels took a border crossing between Syria and Israeli-held land, capturing a group of UN peacekeepers stationed along the tense frontier. Among the rebels were fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda's branch in Syria.
The takeover means al-Qaeda is now just feet away from Israeli military positions — and farmlands.
In the Israeli village of Merom Golan, Gabi Kuniel, the village's head of agriculture, climbs to the roof of an abandoned building. There “could be a little bit danger, even though today is a quiet day," he warns. "So let’s stand behind this wall."
The building offers a bird’s eye view of Kuniel's vineyards and apple orchards, set in a beautiful hilly area of the Golan Heights. The climate is perfect for growing fruit. The location? Not so much.
Gabi Kuniel in his orchard of Red Delicious apples, a few hundred feet away from the border fence.
Credit: Daniel Estrin
Gabi Kuniel in his orchard of Red Delicious apples, a few hundred feet away from the border fence.
His fruit trees grow right next to the border fence that separates Syria from territory Israel captured in 1967. Israel later annexed the land, a move that was never recognized internationally.
Israel and Syria are technically still at war, though the frontier between the two was quiet for decades. Then, three years ago, the Syrian civil war broke out. 
“What’s going on in these last three years — you hear it?” Kuniel asks, as heavy machine gunfire erupts beyond the border fence. It's just a few hundred feet away. "What’s going on ... is that you don’t know who’s the group who control[s] our fence." More gunfire punctuates his point.
Rebels in Syria have been fighting to control this border since the civil war began. Last week, they finally won. A group of opposition fighters overran Syrian troops at the border, capturing the UN peacekeepers. “There was a big, big, big, big fight,” Kuniel says.
Israel does not want to open up a new front to the Syrian war, so Israel's army has mostly held back, only responding to occasional mortar fire when it lands in Israeli-held territory.
Last week, when the fighting on the other side of the border became fierce, the Israeli army ordered Kuniel’s 200 workers out of the orchards and vineyards.
The Israeli army wasn’t participating in the fight, but mortars fired from Syria landed in Kuniel’s fields, setting them on fire. Whole patches of his land turned black, and the heat from the nearby fire scorched the grapevine, leaving it dry and crisp to the touch.
“You see, it’s all burned. Burned leaves,” Kuniel says, crumbling the dry grape leaves with his fingers. The smoke from the fire gave the grapes a musky taste. They can’t be used for premium wine anymore, which will cost Kuniel $200,000.
But that’s not what worries him. What worries him is the al-Qaeda fighters driving in trucks just feet away from his fruit trees. Kuniel says the extremist fighters actually make him miss Israel’s longtime foe, Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose forces used to control the Syrian side of the border.
“We saw what’s going on in the last six, seven, eight months in Iraq [and] in Syria," Kuniel says, as gunfire resumes in the distance. "So we prefer Assad and not al-Qaeda here.”
The capture of the border crossing here by the militants is significant. It was the Syrian government’s last major stronghold in the strategic Golan Heights. The rebels now control the entire length of the border.
Israeli defense officials say they believe the rebels do not pose an immediate threat to Israelis, as they have their sights set on battles within Syria. But Israeli analysts say al-Qaeda fighters do see Israel as a legitimate target — and now they’re at Israel’s front door.

Obama's Disapproval Continues To Grow On Handling of ISIS.

Author(s):  Unknown
Source:     Article date: September 2nd, 2014

Voters regard the radical Islamic terrorist group ISIS as a major threat to the United States and are very worried that President Obama doesn’t have a strategy for dealing with the problem. They remain reluctant to send U.S. troops back to Iraq to take on ISIS, but support is growing.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 67% of Likely U.S. Voters consider the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) a serious threat to this country. Just 13% disagree, while another 20% are not sure. (To see survey questions wording, click here.)
The president said last week at a press conference that the United States doesn’t have a strategy yet for dealing with the group which threatens to defeat democratic forces in Iraq and send the messy civil war in Syria further out of control.  Seventy-three percent (73%) of voters are concerned that the United States does not have a strategy for dealing with this military group, with 47% who are Very Concerned. Twenty-five percent (25%) are not concerned by this lack of a strategy, but that includes only four percent (4%) who are Not At All Concerned.
The president has authorized selective U.S. airstrikes to halt ISIS advances but has ruled out sending troops back to Iraq. Just 30% think the United States should send troops to defeat ISIS, but that’s up from 12% last December.  Opposition to sending troops back to Iraq has fallen dramatically from 71% in December to 58% a month ago. Now just 41% feel that way. A sizable 29% are undecided.
Most voters approve of the president’s decision to launch U.S. military airstrikes against ISIS forces in Iraq but still think the radical Islamic insurgents are likely to take control of the country.
Twenty-nine percent (29%) rate the Obama administration’s response to ISIS as good or excellent, while 42% say it’s done a poor job.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August 30-31, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Belief that the United States is winning the War on Terror has plummeted to its lowest level in over 10 years of regular tracking.
Seventy-nine percent (79%) of voters say they have been following recent news reports about the fighting in Iraq and Syria, with 45% who have been following Very Closely.
The reason for the president’s hesitancy may be explained in part by the finding that just 52% of Democrats consider ISIS a serious threat to the United States, compared to 82% of Republicans and 70% of voters not affiliated with either major party.
Democrats are much less concerned about the president’s lack of a strategy for dealing with the radical Islamic group.
Forty-four percent (44%) of Republicans think the United States should send troops back to Iraq to defeat ISIS, but only 21% of Democrats and 26% of unaffiliated voters agree.
Sixty-four percent (64%) of the Political Class think the administration has done a good or excellent job responding to the threat from ISIS.  Fifty-three percent (53%) of Mainstream voters rate the administration’s performance in this area as poor.
Fifty-four percent (54%) of voters who consider ISIS a serious threat to the United States believe the administration has done a poor job. By a 40% to 33% margin, these voters favor sending U.S. troops to Iraq.
Sixty-one percent (61%) of all voters think the U.S. government should hunt down the ISIS terrorist who beheaded a U.S. journalist on a video posted online, and even more voters think he should receive the death penalty if tried in a U.S. court.
Voter perceptions of U.S.-Islamic relations continue to deteriorate since President Obama’s highly publicized speech in Cairo, Egypt five years ago reaching out to the Islamic world.
Voters have long expressed little enthusiasm for getting more involved in Middle East politics, but they are slightly less likely to think this involvement hurts both the region and the United States.
Sixty percent (60%) think America’s political leaders send U.S. soldiers into harm’s way too often, and 48% believe the United States is too involved in the affairs of other countries.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.

Lois Lerner's Emails (Yes They Have Been Found) Show She Was Working On A "Secret Research Project."

Emails Reveal Lois Lerner's 'Secret Research Project'

Image: Emails Reveal Lois Lerner's 'Secret Research Project'(Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/Landov)
Friday, 05 Sep 2014 07:12 AM
By Melanie Batley
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The Internal Revenue Service obtained donor lists from nonprofit political groups for a "secret research project" conducted by the agency's former head, Lois Lerner, and other officials involved in the targeting scandal.

Newly obtained documents also reveal that 75 percent of the groups from which the lists were solicited were conservative, while just 5 percent were liberal. The watchdog group,Judicial Watch, obtained the emails and documents as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

"Again, Judicial Watch has uncovered more shocking emails from the IRS, forced out by a lawsuit and a federal court," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a release. "Now we learn the stunning news that Obama's IRS had a 'secret research program' using illicitly-obtained confidential donor lists of conservative and Tea Party organizations that opposed President Obama's agenda or reelection."

A 2012 email written by David Fish, IRS acting director of Exempt Organizations Rulings and Agreements, said, "Joseph Urban [IRS Technical Advisor, Tax Exempt and Government Entities] had actually started a secret research project on whether we could, consistent with 6104, argue that [REDACTED]," said "Joe was quite agitated yesterday when I told him what we were doing."

Another email indicates that the agency was aware the donor lists were not needed for decisions about groups' tax-exempt status.

"TEGE [Tax Exempt and Government Entities] has reviewed those files and determined that such information was not needed across-the-board and not used in making the agency's determination on exempt status," wrote Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Margo Stevens to Lerner in response to a question about whether the agency could return the lists it improperly solicited.

Significant parts of the emails obtained by Judicial Watch were blacked out or redacted, some completely blacked out. The group said that the Obama administration's decision to withhold the information is completely discretionary and not required by law.

The IRS had previously said that a computer crash wiped out Lois Lerner's emails.

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The Declaration Of Independence Is No Different Than A High School Breakup. How Does That Feel Is What Is Important, Not The Facts According To Common Core.

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Some are calling it the “Common Core Twist.”
No, it’s not a new dance move.
It’s a new method of teaching under Common Core national education standards – called “critical thinking” – that critics say skips over the facts and details behind important historical events such as the framing of the Declaration of Independence.
An example of this technique was on display recently in a classroom in Modesto, California, in which America’s founding document was compared to a high-school break-up letter.
America’s story of breaking away from England was likened to that of two high-school sweethearts cutting the cord on their relationship.
“Instead of focusing on the actual wording of the Declaration of Independence, and encouraging students to delve into the concepts and reasons behind the decision to break with England, the lesson likens the country’s beginnings to a high school love affair,” writes Victor Skinner at
And, “that’s the Common Core twist,” according to a report on the classroom lesson in the Modesto Bee.
“The difference is, we used to tell them answers. Now they’re having to struggle, come up with their own answers. That’s the critical thinking,” Principal Deb Rowe told the Bee.
“It’s a return to a lot of things we were doing when I started teaching 22 years ago. It’s refreshing,” Zambo told the newspaper. “They were indoctrinated into: There is one right answer. This is history! There are many perspectives.”
Common Core advocates talk a lot about “critical thinking” or “deeper thinking” skills.
They are training teachers not to require any single right answer, whether it’s a math problem or a history lesson. What matters is how well the student defends his or her answer. In math, that theory manifested itself in the infamous “2 plus 2 equals 5″ stories that went viral on the Internet months ago.
The Common Core social studies standards have not been completed yet but are a work in progress. With early experiments now released in classrooms such as the one in Modesto, it appears the same critical thinking philosophy will be applied to the teaching of history.
“If you’re teaching the Declaration of Independence you have to teach what it was, what led up to it, what it accomplished, because otherwise it is all taken out of context,” said Meg Norris, a longtime public school teacher in Georgia who retired last year to become a full-time anti-Common Core activist after she found out the destructive impact the standards were having on her students.
She said “critical thinking” should not be confused with “logical thinking.” They are not necessarily the same.
“It’s all about proof and argument, but you can’t think critically if you have no content base,” said Norris, who taught English/Language Arts for middle and high school and has a specialist degree in brain-based teaching and learning.
True critical thinking involves being able to analyze abstract concepts, something young brains aren’t capable of doing, according to researchers.
Abstract thinking doesn’t even begin to develop until the high school years, Norris said.
“Some earlier and some much later. Some adults never develop the ability,” she said. “But to expect it – force it – on young brains is setting them up to fail. Research shows if you try to force things before the brain is ready when the time comes it is even more difficult to learn.”
According to a pro-Common Core research blog at Young Education Professionals, teachers from across Washington, D.C., gathered earlier this year to strategize on how to implement this change in thinking. They were meeting for the final “Cutting to the Core” professional development session. In this seminar the teachers were instructed to “shift the mindset of our students from seeking the one easy, right answer to searching to unearth several right answers,” wrote Scott Goldstein, a social studies and ESL teacher at a D.C. public charter school who helped lead the seminary.
Besides pushing critical thinking on students before their brains are capable of processing abstract concepts, there is another fear. Some believe the “more than one right answer” philosophy will be exploited by social engineers who have long played a dominant role in education reform movements like Common Core.
Charlotte Iserbyt, former adviser to Ronald Reagan’s Department of Education and author of “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America,” has explored the history of “critical thinking” in depth and has written about it in her blog “The ABCs of Dumb Down.”
She says the concept of critical thinking was introduced into the U.S. education system in the 1960s. Educators were instructed to use critical thinking skills as a method to get students to think for themselves.
“Consensus is a part of critical thinking using the Marxist Hegelian dialectic. It is doubtful that it is the Socratic Dialectic as some educators might claim. The Socratic Dialectic was phased out with the Enlightenment and it was replaced largely by the Hegelian Dialectic,” Iserbyt writes. “Socratic Dialectic’s purpose was to logically arrive at Truth. The Syllogisms of logic embodied such concepts as ‘opposites cannot be true at the same time,’ which shatters any hope for logic in ‘consensus.’”
The Hegelian Dialectic is influenced by Darwinian evolution which does not allow for any lasting truth, only evolving opinions, Iserbyt says. “In this dialectic, Christianity, the Constitution, etc. are merely opinions that must be questioned and then compromised with conflicting opinions in order to reach consensus. Eternal truths are reduced to opinions of a bygone era and do not fit into today’s evolving world.
“Critical Thinking is a dialectic method of criticizing American values in order to change American ideals.”