Archive for November, 2012

Why Constitutional Conservatives Are Leaving The Republican Party–Limited Government Party or Die–Video

Posted on November 29, 2012. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Climate, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, Health Care, history, Inflation, Language, Law, Life, Links, People, Philosophy, Politics, Rants, Raves, Religion, Security, Tax Policy, Taxes, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , |

Constitutional Conservatism or Die

Public Opinion for Libertarians – Bryan Caplan 

Doug Wead: Romney Threatened Ron Paul with PR A-Bomb

Ron Paul’s Senior 2012 Campaign Adviser Doug Wead gives WeAreChange an exclusive interview about the Ron Paul RNC delegate controversy, criticism of Jesse Benton, and the real reason Ron Paul didn’t attack Mitt Romney during the campaign

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Moving Tribute To Ron Paul–Video

Posted on November 29, 2012. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Politics, Tax Policy, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , |

Rep. John Duncan’s Moving Tribute to Ron Paul

Ron Paul RNC 2012 Tribute Video

 

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Stephen Moore–Who is the Fairest of Them All?: The Truth About Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America—Videos

Posted on November 29, 2012. Filed under: American History, Books, College, Communications, Culture, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Homes, Immigration, Inflation, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, People, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Public Sector, Raves, Resources, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , |

The Truth about Tax “Fairness”

Fairest of Them All: Finding Real Economic Justice – CBN.com

An Evening with Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore delivered the keynote address at the 2012 Annual Dinner of the Kansas Policy Institute October 18, 2012. Moore is an economic writer and policy analyst who founded and served as president of the Club for Growth from 1999 to 2004. He is currently a member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, regularly writes for that paper’s opinion page and frequently appears on national broadcast media including CNBC and Fox News.

An Overdue Book

By Thomas Sowell

“…If everyone in America had read Stephen Moore’s new book, “Who’s The Fairest of Them All?”, Barack Obama would have lost the election in a landslide.

        The point here is not to say, “Where was Stephen Moore when we needed him?”  A more apt question might be, “Where was the whole economics profession when we needed them?” Where were the media?  For that matter, where were the Republicans?

        Since “Who’s The Fairest of Them All?” was published in October, there was little chance that it would affect this year’s election.  But this little gem of a book exposes, in plain language and with easily understood facts, the whole house of cards of assumptions, fallacies and falsehoods which constitute the liberal vision of the economy.

        Yet that vision triumphed on election day, thanks to misinformation that was artfully presented and seldom challenged. The title “Who’s The Fairest of Them All?” is an obvious response to liberals’ claim that their policies are aimed at creating “fairness” by, among other things, making sure that “the rich” pay their “fair share” of taxes.  If you want a brief but thorough education on that, just read chapter 4, which by itself is well worth the price of the book.

        A couple of graphs on pages 104 and 108 are enough to annihilate the argument about “tax cuts for the rich.”  These graphs show that, under both Republican President Calvin Coolidge and Democratic President John F. Kennedy, high-income people paid more tax revenues into the federal treasury after tax rates went down than they did before.

        There is nothing mysterious about this. At high tax rates, vast sums of money disappear into tax shelters at home or is shipped overseas. At lower tax rates, that money comes out of hiding and goes into the American economy, creating jobs, rising output and rising incomes.  Under these conditions, higher tax revenues can be collected by the government, even though tax rates are lower. Indeed, high income people not only end up paying more taxes, but a higher share of all taxes, under these conditions.

        This is not just a theory.  It is what hard evidence shows happened under both Democratic and Republican administrations, from the days of Calvin Coolidge to John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.  That hard evidence is presented in clear and unmistakable terms in “Who’s The Fairest of Us All?”

        Another surprising fact brought out in this book is that the Democrats and Republicans both took positions during the Kennedy administration that were the direct opposite of the positions they take today.  As Stephen Moore points out, “the Republicans almost universally opposed and the Democrats almost universally favored” the cuts in tax rates that President Kennedy proposed.

        Such Republican Senate stalwarts as Barry Goldwater and Bob Dole voted against reducing the top tax rate from 91% to 70%.  Democratic Congressman Wilbur Mills led the charge for lower tax rates.

        Unlike the Republicans today, John F. Kennedy had an answer when critics tried to portray his tax cut proposal as just a “tax cut for the rich.”  President Kennedy argued that it was a tax cut for the economy, that changed incentives meant a faster growing economy and that “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

        If Republicans today cannot seem to come up with their own answer when critics cry out “tax cuts for the rich,” maybe they can just go back and read John F. Kennedy’s answer.

        A truly optimistic person might even hope that media pundits would go back and check out the facts before arguing as if the only way to reduce the deficit is to raise tax rates on “the rich.”

        If they are afraid that they would be stigmatized as conservatives if they favored cuts in tax rates, they might take heart from the fact that not only John F. Kennedy, but even John Maynard Keynes as well, argued that cutting tax rates could increase tax revenues and thereby help reduce the deficit.

        Because so few people bother to check the facts, Barack Obama can get away with statements about how “tax cuts for the rich” have “cost” the government money that now needs to be recouped.  Such statements not only promote class warfare, to Obama’s benefit on election day, they also distract attention from his own runaway spending behind unprecedented trillion dollar deficits. …”

http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2012/11/28/an_overdue_book/page/full/

WSJ Economist Moore: No Grounds for Obama’s Tax on Wealthy

By Jim Meyers and John Bachman

“…Moore is a senior economics writer and editorial board member for The Wall Street Journal. He is the founder and former president of the Club for Growth and a best-selling author. He also wrote the cover story for Newsmax magazine’s October issue.

Moore’s new book is “Who’s The Fairest of Them All: The Truth about Opportunity, Taxes and Wealth in America.”

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, Moore was asked if Obama and the Democrats are advocating higher taxes on the wealthy to improve the economy or to win over middle-class voters.

“I don’t think anybody thinks that raising tax rates will improve the economy. At least I certainly hope no one does because the history is so unequivocal that that’s not the case,” Moore says.

“In fact, what you want is lower tax rates, not higher tax rates, especially when we’re living in a global economy where United States companies are competing against companies in India and China and Germany and France and all over the world.

“So there’s no case on economic grounds for raising tax rates. President Obama is selling that idea on the grounds of fairness and that’s really the reason I wrote this book, to sort of define what does it really mean to be a fair society.

“What I show in this research is that the fairest  system of them all is the free enterprise system. The free enterprise system is what creates growth, creates jobs and higher living standards for almost all Americans. So it’s hard to improve on that system. President Obama believes that the way to create a fairer system is to redistribute income from the rich to the poor. That’s never worked very well.”

Americans are an “aspirational society” and don’t believe that rich people are evil, Moore adds.

“Most of us aspire to be rich and that’s really the American Dream — to try to work hard, start a business, do the right thing so you can get rich. And America’s still the best country in the world to do that, despite all the obstacles that government tries to create.

“I think President Obama is driven much more by an ideology that says, ‘Redistribute wealth instead of creating.’ It’s almost like the wealth is just automatically there and all we have to do is just cut up that pie differently. What I show in the book is that when you try to do that, what happens is the pie shrinks and everybody is worse off.”

Vice President Joe Biden recently said the middle class has been “buried” during the last few years. But Moore argues that the demise of the middle class is a myth.

He comments: “First of all, let me say that the demise of the middle class over the last three years is very real. We have seen a very steep decline in middle income earnings over the last three and a half years. Since President Obama came into office, there’s been a $4,500 decline in income. That’s huge. That’s one month’s income.

“What I was talking about in the book is, over the last several decades, in the ‘80s, ‘90s and even the first of the 2000s, the middle class did very well. President Obama says, ‘Oh, the recent decades have been a time of decline in the middle class.’ That’s not
true. The real decline of the middle class was George Bush’s last year in office and Barack Obama’s first three and a half years in office.” Moore points out that the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans pay most of the taxes — 75 percent of income taxes and 45 percent of all taxes. Yet some argue that the richest Americans are still doing really well when compared to the other 90 percent and can afford to chip in a little more in taxes.

“Look, we do need more tax revenues if we want to balance this budget. There’s absolutely no  question about it,” Moore says.

“Tax revenues as a percent of our GDP are lower than they’ve been in 40 years. My response to this argument about why not just soak the rich is that that’s never really worked very well. History proves if you want to get more revenues out of rich people, cut their tax rates, don’t raise them. That’s a lesson that John F. Kennedy taught us, Ronald Reagan taught us, even George W. Bush taught us.

“I don’t think there’s any evidence  that raising tax rates way up is going to get more money out of the rich because the rich will find shelters, they will find tax carve-outs and loopholes and deductions to hide their money.”

Another argument from the left is that we should raise tax rates to where they were under President Clinton. President Obama has pointed out that those rates did not slow down economic growth during Clinton’s tenure. Moore takes issue with that point of view.

“A couple of things,” he says. “One is that President Obama doesn’t want to just raise the rates to the Clinton era, he wants them to be a lot higher. People forget that also in the Obamacare healthcare law, there’s a 3.8 percent investment surtax so rates would actually go up about four percentage points higher than they were in the Clinton administration.

“But the other thing to point out is the Clinton years were prosperous, in part because under a Republican Congress and Bill Clinton, who was a conservative in terms of his fiscal policies, government spending fell as a share of GDP from 22 percent to 18 percent. So that’s like a tax cut when you cut government spending by four percentage points of GDP.

“Barack Obama’s done just the opposite. He’s raised gross spending by almost four percentage points of GDP. We’ve been averaging about 24 percent, which is the highest it’s been any time since World War II when we were fighting the Nazis and the Japanese.

“So the point I would make is that Barack Obama’s kind of the anti-Clinton. Obama’s not a fiscal conservative. He’s driven up the debt by over $1 trillion a year. Just last week, the numbers came out that we had a $1.1 trillion deficit in 2012. That’s four straight years with trillion-dollar deficits. That isn’t fiscal conservatism. That doesn’t help anybody.”

The Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire next year at the same time that automatic cuts in government spending are scheduled to take effect, possibly leading to what some have called a “fiscal cliff.” That makes this year’s election crucial, Moore asserts.

“The most important fiscal cliff is this tax increase, and the reason this is such an important election is if Barack Obama wins, he will have a mandate from voters to raise tax rates,” he tells Newsmax.

“I agree with the Congressional Budget Office and a lot of other economists that that’s something that could cause a double dip recession. And if you think the economy’s bad now, wait until
those tax rates go up in 2013.

“One of the arguments for Mitt Romney is he’s actually going to cut the rates, not raise them. I do think we need spending cuts. There’s a lot of people who say that we can’t afford to do these spending cuts next year. Yes, we can afford to do that.

“In fact, we have to do that. We have to start really taking a blade to government spending because that’s so inefficient and every dollar the government spends is a dollar less the private sector has to spend on its own expansions.”

Mitt Romney is vowing to cut taxes by 20 percent across the board and pay for those cuts by eliminating loopholes. Romney also says he believes in a progressive tax structure.

“I like his tax plan,” Moore says. “I don’t agree with everything in it but [I agree with] the basic concept, which Ronald Reagan did with Dan Rostenkowski and Bob Packwood and Ted Kennedy and Democrats back in the
1980s.

“It’s amazing how the Democrats have moved to the left. Back then, what we did is we cut tax rates significantly, very significantly, and we closed off loopholes to make a much more efficient tax system and it worked really well. That’s what Mitt Romney, for the most part, is trying to do — get rid of the pollution and the special interest carve-outs in the tax system, lower the rates for everybody.

“It’s been proven time again, that’s a very productive way to get the economy moving again. The numbers can add up. Ronald Reagan proved the numbers can add up. When we did the 1986 tax act, that lowered the rate all the way down to 28 percent. We actually got more revenues into the treasury, not less.”

Asked to give Romney’s plan a letter grade, Moore responds: “I’ll give him a B-plus. The tax plan is strong and it will move us right in the right direction.

“Now I’d like to see a flat tax. I’m a Steve Forbes guy. One rate for everybody with no deductions, no loopholes and you get rid of the double tax on saving and investment. That would be the optimal tax system but Mitt Romney’s plan moves us in that direction.

“Interestingly, under Mitt Romney, the top tax rate would be about 28 percent. Under Barack Obama, the top tax rate goes up to 42 percent. That’s a big difference.”

Read Latest Breaking News from Newsmax.com
http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/moore-obama-tax-plan/2012/10/09/id/459261#ixzz2DeMBPkui

75% of Obamacare taxes will be on middle-class

Stephen Moore: We’ve Spent Over a Million Dollars For Each Green Job 

Wall Street Journal Stephen Moore – Ron Paul’s IRS proposal 

Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore on the 2012 Election 

Ashbrook Center – Stephen Moore – Can Capitalism Make a Comeback? – April 4 2012 

Stephen Moore, Senior Economics writer for the Wall Street Journal speaks at an Ashbrook Center Major Issues Lecture on April 4, 2012. Moore addresses the topic : Can Capitalism Make a Comeback?

Stephen Moore – America at a Crossroads

Dr. Mathew Manweller of Central Washington University and Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal join members of the Freedom Foundation to discuss the direction the United States going into the 2012 election.

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U.S. Debt By Presidents–Obama: $5.073 Trillion in Four Years, Bush: $3.294 Trillion in Eight Years–Videos

Posted on November 27, 2012. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Enivornment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, government spending, Health Care, Homes, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Public Sector, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Security, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Transportation, Unemployment, Unions, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , |

U.S. Debt Clock

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

http://www.federalbudget.com/

The bar chart comes directly from the Monthly Treasury Statement published by the U. S. Treasury Department. <<< Click on the chart for more info.The “Debt Total” bar chart is generated from the Treasury Department’s “Debt Report” found on the Treasury Direct web site. It has links to search the debt for any given date range, and access to debt interestinformation. It is a direct source to government provided budget information.

“Deficit” vs. “Debt”—Suppose you spend more money this month than your income. This situation is called a “budget deficit”. So you borrow (ie; use your credit card). The amount you borrowed (and now owe) is called your debt. You have to pay interest on your debt. If next month you spend more than your income, another deficit, you must borrow some more, and you’ll still have to pay the interest on your debt (now larger). If you have a deficit every month, you keep borrowing and your debt grows. Soon the interest payment on your loan is bigger than any other item in your budget. Eventually, all you can do is pay the interest payment, and you don’t have any money left over for anything else. This situation is known as bankruptcy.

“Reducing the deficit” is a meaningless soundbite. If the DEFICIT is any amount more than ZERO, we have to borrow more and the DEBT grows.

Each year since 1969, Congress has spent more money than its income. The Treasury Department has to borrow money to meet Congress’s appropriations. Here is a direct link to the Congressional Budget Office web site’s deficit analysis. We have to pay interest* on that huge, growing debt; and it cuts into our budget big time.

http://www.federalbudget.com/

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT SERVICE
                                                  STAR - TREASURY FINANCIAL DATABASE
             TABLE 1.  SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS, OUTLAYS AND THE DEFICIT/SURPLUS BY MONTH OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT (IN MILLIONS)

                                                        ACCOUNTING DATE:  10/12

   PERIOD                                                                     RECEIPTS                OUTLAYS    DEFICIT/SURPLUS (-)
+  ____________________________________________________________  _____________________  _____________________  _____________________
   PRIOR YEAR

     OCTOBER                                                                   163,072                261,539                 98,466
     NOVEMBER                                                                  152,402                289,704                137,302
     DECEMBER                                                                  239,963                325,930                 85,967
     JANUARY                                                                   234,319                261,726                 27,407
     FEBRUARY                                                                  103,413                335,090                231,677
     MARCH                                                                     171,215                369,372                198,157
     APRIL                                                                     318,807                259,690                -59,117
     MAY                                                                       180,713                305,348                124,636
     JUNE                                                                      260,177                319,919                 59,741
     JULY                                                                      184,585                254,190                 69,604
     AUGUST                                                                    178,860                369,393                190,533
     SEPTEMBER                                                                 261,566                186,386                -75,180

       YEAR-TO-DATE                                                          2,449,093              3,538,286              1,089,193

   CURRENT YEAR

     OCTOBER                                                                   184,316                304,311                119,995

       YEAR-TO-DATE                                                            184,316                304,311                119,995

http://www.fms.treas.gov/mts/mts1012.txt

Another Day Older & Deeper In Debt: Federal Deficit to Top $1 Trillion for Fiscal Year  2012

Peter Schiff U.S. Debt Crisis

Vicious cycle of the US Debt & Deficit

President Obama Blaming Bush for Debt

Deficits, Debts and Unfunded Liabilities: The Consequences of Excessive Government Spending

Public Opinion for Libertarians – Bryan Caplan

Social Security trustees: We’re going broke

John C. Goodma

“…Here’s some bad news: The latest report of the Social Security and Medicare trustees shows an unfunded liability for both programs of $63 trillion. That is equal to about 4.5 times the entire U.S. gross domestic product.

The unfunded liability is the amount we have promised in benefits, looking indefinitely into the future, minus the payroll taxes and premiums we expect to collect. It’s the amount we must have in the bank today, earning interest, for these entitlement programs to be solvent.

We not only don’t have the money in the bank, no one has a serious plan to put it there.

Now — some really bad news. The actual liability is almost twice what the government is reporting. In 2009, the trustees calculated the two programs’ unfunded liability at about 6.5 times the size of the U.S. economy. But the next year the unfunded liability was cut in half. The reason: “Obamacare.” The minute President Barack Obama signed his health reform bill, he cut Medicare’s unfunded liability by more than $50 trillion.

You would think this accomplishment would be an occasion for great joy — for dancing and celebration in the streets. If you’re like most Americans, however, you probably haven’t heard about it. Certainly, the Obama administration isn’t talking.

Here is what’s going on: Obamacare uses cuts in Medicare to pay for more than half the cost of expanding health insurance for young people. So even if the Medicare cuts take place, they won’t reduce the government’s overall obligations. They just replace entitlements for seniors with entitlements for young people. In addition, the health reform bill contains no serious plan for making Medicare more efficient.

So the only realistic way to make cuts in Medicare spending is a mechanism that will pay less and less to doctors and hospitals over time.

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Service’s Office of the Actuaries has predicted what this can mean for seniors. By the end of this decade, the fees that Medicare pays to doctors will be lower than what Medicaid pays. From an economic view, seniors will represent a less profitable sector than welfare mothers represent. Also by the end of the decade, one in seven hospitals will be forced out of business. In the decades that follow, the consequences only seem to get worse.

Many serious people inside the Beltway believe these cuts will never take place, however. The reason: Congress has been unwilling to allow similar reductions in doctor fees for nine straight years under previous legislation.

In fact, the possibility of “Obamacare” policies cutting Medicare’s unfunded liability in half is so unlikely that Medicare’s chief actuary, Richard Foster, provides an “alternative” report, in addition to the official trustees report, in which he projects much higher levels of Medicare spending.

What about the Medicare trust fund? Workers have been repeatedly told that their payroll taxes are being securely held in trust funds. But they are actually spent the very minute they arrive in the Treasury’s bank account. No money has been saved. No investments have been made. No cash has been stashed in bank vaults. Today’s payroll tax payments are being spent to pay medical bills for today’s retirees. And if any surplus materializes, it is spent on other government programs. As a result, when today’s workers reach the eligibility age of 65, they will be able to receive benefits only if future taxpayers pay (even higher) taxes to support them.

To address these defects, Medicare must be truly reformed. That means shifting from the current “pay as you go” system to one in which workers pay their own way.

My colleagues and I have calculated that workers (and their employers) must save and invest 4 percent of payroll. Eventually, we will reach the point where each generation of retirees will pay for the bulk of its own post-retirement medical care — with a payroll tax no higher than the one we have today.

We also need other reforms, of course. Seniors should be free to manage more of their own health care dollars. Doctors should be free to repackage their services in ways that lower the cost to patients and raise the quality of care. Seniors should also have access to more services, whose price is set in the marketplace rather than dictated by governments.

Most importantly, we need bipartisan commitment from those on Capitol Hill who can make all of this happen.

John C. Goodman is president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, research fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the book “Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis,” due out in June. …”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0412/75603.html#ixzz2DRkCo9CU

US could be on path to fifth straight $1 trillion deficit after government runs $120 billion October deficit

“…The federal government started the 2013 budget year with a $120 billion deficit, an indication that the nation is on a path to its fifth straight $1 trillion-plus deficit.

Another soaring deficit puts added pressure on President Barack Obama and Congress to seek a budget deal in the coming weeks.

The Treasury Department said Tuesday that the October deficit — the gap between the government’s tax revenue and its spending — was 22 percent higher than the same month last year.

Tax revenue increased to $184.3 billion — 13 percent greater than the same month last year. Still, spending also rose to $304.3 billion, a 16.4 percent jump. The budget year begins on Oct. 1. Officials said last year’s figures were held down by a quirk in the calendar: the first day of October fell on a Saturday, which resulted in some benefits being paid in September 2011.

The deficit, in simplest terms, is the amount of money the government has to borrow when revenues fall short of expenses. The government ran a $1.1 trillion annual budget deficit in fiscal year that ended in September. That was lower than the previous year but still painfully high by historical standards.

Obama’s presidency has coincided with four straight $1 trillion-plus deficits — the first in history and record he had to vigorously defend during his successful re-election campaign.

The size and scope of this year’s deficit will largely depend on what happens with the so-called fiscal cliff — a package of tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect in January unless the White House and Congress reach a budget deal by then.

If the economy goes over the fiscal cliff, this year’s deficit would shrink to $641 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But the CBO also warns that the economy would sink into recession in the first half of 2013.

If the White House and Congress can reach a budget deal that extends the tax cuts and avoids the spending cuts, the deficit will end up roughly $1 trillion for the budget year, the CBO says.

The deficits have been growing for more than a decade but reached a record $1.41 trillion in 2009, Obama’s first year in office. That was largely because of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Tax revenue plummeted during the downturn, while the government spent more on stimulus programs.

The deficits first began to widen after President George W. Bush won approval for broad tax cuts and launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

One of the biggest challenges for the federal budget is the aging of the baby boom generation. That is raising government spending on Social Security and on Medicare and Medicaid. At the same time, the fragile economy, along with tax cuts, has reduced government revenue.

Over the past three years, revenue has fallen below 16 percent of the total economy as measured by the gross domestic product. Spending has exceeded 22 percent of GDP. The government has been forced to borrow to make up the gap, which has pushed the federal debt to $16.2 trillion.

The government is expected to hit its borrowing limit of $16.39 trillion by the end of December, unless Congress votes to raise it again. …”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/11/13/us-government-runs-120-billion-october-deficit/

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/11/13/us-government-runs-120-billion-october-deficit/#ixzz2DRXL3c6c

The Facts About Budget Deficits: How The Presidents Truly Rank

James K. Glassman, Contributor

“…Please forgive me. Over and over, I hear misinformation about deficits in prior administrations, and I can’t keep quiet any longer. I have to correct the record.

The latest was on “Squawk Box” on Monday morning. Joe Kernan, the host, is interviewing former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, ex-candidate for president and chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Kernen cites campaign comments about “bad policies” going back “decades” affecting the high rate of unemployment today.

He asks, “What specific policies in the Bush Administration do you think are still being used to explain 8 percent unemployment?”

Dean responds, “The biggest ones are the deficits that were run up…. The deficits were enormous

Let’s shed some factual light on the situation by turning to table B-79 of the current Economic Report of the President. There we find the official statistics on federal spending, receipts, and deficits (or surpluses) as proportions of Gross Domestic Product. These are the figures that economists use in determining the relationship of the deficit to the overall economy, answering the question, “How much more are we spending than taking in?”

We can average the deficit-to-GDP ratio during a presidential term and get a good take on whether “deficits were enormous” in historic terms or not. The only tricky part is whether to give a president credit (or blame) for his incoming and outgoing years. For example, President Reagan took office on Jan. 20, 1980, but fiscal year 1980 started four months earlier. Similarly, he left office Jan. 20, 1989, but fiscal 1989 still had four months to run.

I decided to use three sets of calculations for each president: first, the deficit-to-GDP ratio from the fiscal year he took office to the fiscal year he left minus one (thus, for Reagan: 1981-88); second, from his first fiscal year plus one to the fiscal year he left (thus, 1982-89); and third, an average of the first two

Here are the ratios of deficit to GDP for the past five presidents:

Ronald Reagan 1981-88 4.2 % 1982-89 4.2 Average 4.2

George H. W. Bush 1989-92 4.0 1990-93 4.3 Average 4.2

Bill Clinton 1993-2000 0.8 1994-2001 0.1 Average 0.5

George W. Bush 2001-08 2.0 2002-09 3.4 Average 2.7

Barack Obama 2009-12* 9.1 2010-12 8.7 Average 8.9 *fiscal 2012 ends Sept. 30, 2012, so this figure is estimated

Source: Economic Report of the President, February 2012

The results for President Bush are skewed by the 10.1 percent deficit/GDP ratio in fiscal 2009. A large chunk of spending in that year went to the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. In fiscal 2009, TARP contributed $151 billion to the budget deficit, but in 2010 and 2011, $147 billion of that amount was recouped and thus reduced the size of the deficit during President Obama’s watch. (These calculations are complicated and are laid out by the Office of Management and Budget. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/spec.pdf, p. 49.)

As for spending itself, during the George W. Bush years (2001-08), federal outlays averaged 19.6 percent of GDP, a little less than during the Clinton years (1993-2000), at 19.8% and far below Reagan, whose outlays never dropped below 21 percent of GDP in any year and averaged 22.4%. Even factoring in the TARP year (2009), Bush’s average outlays as a proportion of the economy was 20.3 percent – far below Reagan and only a half-point below Clinton. As for Obama, even excluding 2009, his spending has averaged 24.1 percent of GDP – the highest level for any three years since World War II.

Americans can judge for themselves whether deficits are “enormous”– but only if they have the facts. In this case, there is no denying the order in which the last five presidents rank on the basis of deficits: Clinton, Bush 43, Bush 41 and Reagan in a virtual tie, and Obama. …”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesglassman/2012/07/11/the-facts-about-budget-deficits-how-the-presidents-truly-rank/

U.S. Debt by President

By Kimberly Amadeo, About.com Guide

The Best Way to Measure Debt by President:

“…Therefore, the most accurate way to measure the debt by President is to sum all the budget deficits. That’s because the President is responsible for his budget priorities. It takes into account spending, and anticipated revenue from proposed tax cuts or hikes.

There are a few caveats, however. First, Congress does have a role, since it must approve the budget. Second, each President inherits a previous President’s policies. For example, every President has had to compensate for lower revenue thanks to President Reagan’s tax cuts. That’s because tax increases are a sure way to prevent re-election.

Third, while every President has had to deal with a recession, all recessions were not created equal. Furthermore, some Presidents have had to deal with unusual events, like the 9/11 terrorist attack and Hurricane Katrina. While these weren’t part of the business cycle, they required responses that came with economic price tags.

President Barack Obama:

President Obama contributed the most to the debt, with cumulative deficits totaling $5.073 trillion in just four years. Obama’s budgets included the economic stimulus package, which added $787 billion by cutting taxes, extending unemployment benefits, and funding job-creating public works projects. The Obama tax cuts added $858 billion to the debt over two years. Obama’s budget included increased defense spending to around $800 billion a year. Federal income was down, thanks to lower tax receipts from the 2008 financial crisis.Both Presidents Bush and Obama had to contend with higher mandatory mandatory spending for Social Security and Medicare. He also sponsored the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was designed to reduce the debt by $143 billion over 10 years. However, these savings didn’t show up until the later years.

President George W. Bush:

President Bush is next, racking up $3.294 trillion over two terms. He responded to the attacks on 9/11 by launching the War on Terror. This drove military spending to a new records, between $600-$800 billion a year. President Bush also responded to the 2001 recession by passing EGTRRA and JGTRRA, otherwise known as the Bush tax cuts.

President Ronald Reagan:

President Reagan added $1.412 trillion to the debt during his two terms. He fought the 1982 recession by cutting the top income tax rate from 70% to 28%, and the corporate rate from 48% to 34%.  He also increased government spending by 2.5% a year. This included a 35% increase in the defense budget, and an expansion of Medicare. Although $1.412 trillion doesn’t sound like a lot, compared to 2012 debt levels, in fact Reagan’s economic policies doubled the debt during his Presidency.

President George H.W. Bush:

President George H.W. Bush added $1.03 trillion to the debt in one term. He responded to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait with Desert Storm. He oversaw the $125 billion bailout to end the 1989 Savings and Loan crisis. Part of his debt contribution was due to lost tax revenue from the 1991 recession.
Although many other Presidents added to the debt, none comes close to these four in terms of overall spending. Part of that is because the U.S. economy, as measured by GDP, was so much smaller for other Presidents.  For example, in 1981 GDP was only $3 trillion, growing by five times to $15 trillion in 2012. See the table below for a year-by-year detail of each President’s budget deficit since President Woodrow Wilson. (Updated September 12, 2012)

Budget Deficits by Fiscal Year Since 1960:

President Barack Obama: First Term = $5.073 trillion.

  • FY 2013 – $901 billion.
  • FY 2012 – $1.327 trillion.
  • FY 2011 – $1.299 trillion.
  • FY 2010 – $1.546 ($1.293 trillion plus $253 billion from the Obama Stimulus Act that was attached to the FY 2009 budget).

President George W. Bush: First Term = $1.267 trillion.  Second Term = $2.027 trillion. Total = $3.294.

  • FY 2009 – $1.16 trillion. ($1.416 trillion minus $253 billion from Obama’s Stimulus Act)
  • FY 2008 – $458 billion.
  • FY 2007 – $161 billion.
  • FY 2006 – $248 billion.
  • FY 2005 – $318 billion.
  • FY 2004 – $413 billion.
  • FY 2003 – $378 billion.
  • FY 2002 – $158 billion.

President Bill Clinton: First Term = $496 billion. Second Term = ($559 billion surplus). Total = ($63 billion surplus).

  • FY 2001 – $128 billion surplus.
  • FY 2000 – $236 billion surplus.
  • FY 1999 – $126 billion surplus.
  • FY 1998 – $69 billion surplus.
  • FY 1997 – $22 billion.
  • FY 1996 – $107 billion.
  • FY 1995 – $164 billion.
  • FY 1994 – $203 billion.

President George H.W. Bush: First Term = $1.03 trillion.

  • FY 1993 – $255 billion.
  • FY 1992 – $290 billion.
  • FY 1991 – $269 billion.
  • FY 1990 – $221 billion.

President Ronald Reagan: First Term = $733 billion. Second Term = $679 billion. Total = $1.412 trillion.

  • FY 1989 – $153 billion.
  • FY 1988 – $155 billion.
  • FY 1987 – $150 billion.
  • FY 1986 – $221 billion.
  • FY 1985 – $212 billion.
  • FY 1984 – $185 billion.
  • FY 1983 – $208 billion.
  • FY 1982 – $128 billion.

President Jimmy Carter: First Term = $253 billion

  • FY 1981 – $79 billion.
  • FY 1980 – $74 billion.
  • FY 1979 – $41 billion.
  • FY 1978 – $59 billion.

President Gerald Ford: Three Years = $181 billion.

  • FY 1977 – $54 billion.
  • FY 1976 – $74 billion.
  • FY 1975 – $53 billion.

President Richard Nixon: First Term = $64 billion. First Year of Second Term = $6 billion. Total = $70 billion.

  • FY 1974 – $6 billion.
  • FY 1973 – $15 billion.
  • FY 1972 – $23 billion.
  • FY 1971 – $23 billion.
  • FY 1970 – $3 billion.

President Lyndon B. Johnson: Two Years in First Term = $7 billion.  Second Term = $35 billion. Total = $42 billion.

  • FY 1969 – $3 billion surplus.
  • FY 1968 – $25 billion.
  • FY 1967 – $9 billion.
  • FY 1966 – $4 billion.
  • FY 1965 – $1 billion.
  • FY 1964 – $6 billion.

President John F. Kennedy: Two Years in First Term = $11 billion.

  • FY 1963 – $5 billion.
  • FY 1962 – $7 billion.

President Dwight Eisenhower: First Term = $3 billion surplus. Second Term = $19 billion. Total = $16 billion.

  • FY 1961 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1960 – $0 billion (slight surplus).
  • FY 1959 – $13 billion.
  • FY 1958 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1957 – $3 billion surplus.
  • FY 1956 – $4 billion surplus.
  • FY 1955 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1954 – $1 billion.

President Harry Truman: First Term = $1 billion surplus. Second Term = $4 billion. Total = $3 billion.

  • FY 1953 – $6 billion.
  • FY 1952 – $1 billion.
  • FY 1951 – $6 billion surplus.
  • FY 1950 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1949 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1948 – $12 billion surplus.
  • FY 1947 – $4 billion surplus.
  • FY 1946 – $16 billion.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt: First Term = $13 billion. Second Term = $11 billion. Third Term = $172 billion. Total = $196 billion.

  • FY 1945 – $48 billion.
  • FY 1944 – $48 billion.
  • FY 1943 – $55 billion.
  • FY 1942 – $21 billion.
  • FY 1941 – $5 billion.
  • FY 1940 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1939 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1938 – $0 billion (slight deficit).
  • FY 1937 – $2 billion.
  • FY 1936 – $4 billion.
  • FY 1935 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1934 – $4 billion.

President Herbert Hoover: First Term = $5 billion.

  • FY 1933 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1932 – $3 billion.
  • FY 1931 – $0 billion (slight deficit).
  • FY 1930 – $1 billion surplus.

President Calvin Coolidge: Two Years of First Term = $2 billion surplus. Second Term = $4 billion surplus. Total = $6 billion surplus.

  • FY 1929 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1928 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1927 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1926 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1925 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1924 – $1 billion surplus.

President Warren G. Harding: Two Years of First Term = $2 billion surplus.

  • FY 1923 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1922 – $1 billion surplus.

President Woodrow Wilson: First Term = $1 billion. Second Term = $21 billion. Total = $22 billion.

  • FY 1921 – $1 billion surplus.
  • FY 1920 – $0 billion (slight surplus).
  • FY 1919 – $13 billion.
  • FY 1918 – $9 billion.
  • FY 1917 – $1 billion.
  • FY 1916 – $0 billion (slight surplus).
  • FY 1915 – $0 billion (slight surplus).
  • FY 1914 – $0 billion.

FY 1789 – FY 1913 – $24 billion surplus. (Source: OMB, Table 1.1—Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits: 1789–2017) …”

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Forward Off The Fiscal Cliff…Falling…Falling…Splat!–Videos

Posted on November 26, 2012. Filed under: Babies, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Farming, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, Health Care, Inflation, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, People, Politics, Public Sector, Security, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , |

Thelma & Louise:Ending Scene

Coyote Fall 

Fastest with the Mostest

Where Have all the Flowers Gone: Eve of Destruction 

Pete Seeger: Where Have All the Flowers Gone? 

Fiscal Cliff

The fiscal cliff: Another phony emergency to give the government more power

U.S Fiscal Cliff, What Could Happen? 

John Boehner on Fiscal Cliff: ‘White House Has to Get Serious’

Democratic Leaders: GOP Has Yet To Make Serious Offer As Fiscal Cliff Looms

    Obama Takes Fiscal Cliff Message To The Public

Fiscal Cliff: Raising Taxes on Middle-Income Americans

Fiscal Cliff: Why Reducing Spending is Our Only Hope

Fiscal Cliff Debate: Austerity One Way or Austerity Another Way

Fiscal Cliff An Artificial Crisis

Robbing the Future with Budget Deficits

Taxes, Debt and the Fiscal Cliff pt3

Word of the Day: Fiscal Cliff!

Explaining the ‘fiscal cliff’

Forward off the fiscal cliff: falling, falling, splat! 

Time is quickly running out for President Barack Obama and the congressional leadership of the Democratic and Republican parties as they attempt to negotiate a deal that would avert going over the year-end “fiscal cliff.”

If a deal or fiscal cliff fix is not agreed to by then, the so-called Bush marginal tax rate cuts would expire on Jan. 1, 2013 followed by the cutting or sequestration of government spending on Jan. 15.

Should these massive tax hikes and huge spending cuts happen, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected that the unemployment rate would rise above 9 percent in the latter half of 2013 from its present level of 7.9 percent with the economy going into another recession, with negative economic growth in real gross domestic product for the first two quarters of 2013.

In a November report titled “Economic Effects of Policies Contributing to Fiscal

Tightening in 2013,” the CBO projected that “if all of that fiscal tightening occurs, real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) will drop by .5 percent in 2013 (as measured by the change from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013), reflecting a decline in the first half of the year and renewed growth at a modest pace later in the year.”

The estimated 10-year cost of the expiration of the Bush 2001/2003 marginal rate tax cuts is $2.4 trillion. The estimated cost of the expiration of Alternative Minimum Tax (ATM) patches is $864 billion and of various “tax extenders” is $890 billion.   Over a 10-year period, the spending cuts or sequester of 10 percent of defense spending is estimated to be $510 billion and of 8 percent of non-defense spending is estimated to be $335 billion.

A majority of Democrats and Republicans appear to agree that the Bush marginal rate tax cuts should be extended for those individuals earning less than $250,000. Both parties also agree on extending the ATM patches, tax extenders (R&D tax credit and others) and the so-called doc fix for Medicare reimbursement. Both parties appear to agree on not extending the temporary one year 2 percent reduction in the Social Security (FICA) employee payroll tax and not extending unemployment insurance benefits.

The biggest disagreements between both political parties is over Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, with its additional 3.8 percent tax on dividends and capital gains and a .9 percent tax on wage income for those earning more than $250,000. The Republican Party wants to repeal Obamacare in its entirety, while the Democrat Party wants Obamacare to be implemented on schedule.

Obama and the Democratic Party want to raise the marginal tax rates of those earning above $250,000 by increasing the marginal tax bracket rates from 25, 28, 33, and 35 percent to 28, 31, 36, and 39.6 percent and increasing the estate tax from 35 percent for estates over $5 million to 55 percent for estates over $1 million. The Democrats also want to increase the capital gains tax from 15 percent to 20 percent and tax dividends as ordinary income.

In a nationally televised statement to the nation on Nov. 28, Obama said, “”Our ultimate goal is to get an agreement that is fair and balanced.” “If Congress does nothing, every family in America will see their taxes automatically go up at the beginning of next year,” the president added.

The Republican Party wants the Bush marginal tax rates either made permanent or extended for at least another year and either the elimination of the estate tax or no changes in the current estate tax. Republicans also want to either eliminate the tax on capital gains and dividends taxes or leave their taxation unchanged. They argue that it is the successful small business owner who creates wealth, income and jobs.

House Speaker John Boehner said, “Raising tax rates is unacceptable.” and added “Frankly, it couldn’t even pass the House. I’m not sure it could pass the Senate.”

Boehner concluded, “The goal here is to grow the economy and control spending. You’re not going to grow the economy if you raise the top 2 percent rates. It’ll hurt small businesses and it’ll hurt our economy, why this is not the right approach.”

However, the biggest differences between both political parties in their attempt to avoid falling off the fiscal cliff concerns government spending cuts or sequestration. The real problem is not adequate tax revenues, but excessive government spending, with deficit spending under President George W. Bush of nearly $3.3 trillion over eight fiscal years (2002-2009) and Barack Obama of nearly $5.1 trillion over four fiscal years (2010-2013).

Next week part 2 of this article will address the challenge of cutting federal government spending.

Raymond Thomas Pronk is host of the Pronk Pops Show on KDUX web radio from 3-5 p.m. Fridays and author of the companion blog http://www.pronkpops.wordpress.com

TIME Explains- the Fiscal Cliff

Complete explanation of ‘fiscal cliff’

The Fiscal Cliff — Everything You Need to Know Explained

The fiscal cliff explained (with help from Hollywood)

Fiscal Cliff An Artificial Crisis

Peter Schiff Explains Why Libs Are Willing To Go Off The ‘Fiscal Cliff’

Douglas Holtz-Eakin: Going Off the Fiscal Cliff Is Irresponsible

Senator Pat Toomey on Fiscal Cliff: A Strong Recovery Is within Reach

2012 Fiscal Cliff

Fiscal Cliff: How Much Would Taxes Rise in 2013?

Donald Marron, director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, walks viewers through the anatomy of the Fiscal Cliff, explaining exactly what as it stake for Americans in various income groups.

RON PAUL TALKING ABOUT THE FISCAL CLIFF!

Fiscal Cliff – Clock Ticking – Cavuto

MiMike Maloney on the Fiscal Cliff and the “Holy Sh*t” Demographic Bankrupting America!

Black Friday, Fiscal Cliff, Gold, Dollar

The Real Fiscal Cliff: How to Spot the Ledge | Peter Schiff

With Election Over, Washington Shifts Focus to Fiscal Cliff

Is America about to Fall off the Fiscal Cliff?

United States fiscal cliff

“…The “Fiscal Cliff” refers to the expected slow down in the U.S. economy if spending from the government goes down as much as scheduled and taxes go up as much as scheduled on January 2013.[1] These laws include tax increases due to the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and spending cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011. The Congressional Budget Office reported an increased risk of recession during 2013 if the deficit is reduced suddenly, while indicating that lower deficits and debt would in time improve long-term economic growth.[2] The deficit for 2013 is projected to be reduced by roughly half. Further, over the next ten years, projected increases in the United States public debt would be lowered by as much as $7.1 trillion or about 70%, resulting in a considerably lower ratio of debt relative to the size of the economy.

The Budget Control Act of 2011 was enacted as a compromise to resolve a dispute concerning the public debt ceiling. Deficit spending previously appropriated by Congress was bringing the federal government’s total debt close to the statutory ceiling. Republicans in Congress refused to approve an increase in the ceiling unless there were deep spending cuts. The Budget Control Act included an immediate increase in the debt ceiling, along with a mechanism for facilitating two additional increases. It also provided for automatic spending cuts to begin on January 2, 2013.

The year-over-year changes for fiscal years 2012–2013 include a 19.63% increase in tax revenue and 0.25% reduction in spending. These changes would return tax revenue to approximately its historical average of 18% GDP, while continuing to spend at dollar levels held approximately the same since 2009.[3] Some major programs, like Social Security, Medicaid, federal pay (including military pay and pensions), and veterans’ benefits, are exempted from the spending cuts. Spending for federal agencies and cabinet departments would be reduced through broad, shallow cuts (referred to as budget sequestration).

The projected effects of these changes have led to calls both inside and outside of Congress to extend some or all of the tax cuts, and to replace the across-the-board reductions with more targeted cutbacks. It has been speculated that any change is unlikely to come until the period roughly between the 2012 federal elections and the end of the year. Additionally, the debate may be exacerbated by the expectation that the debt ceiling is expected to be reached before the end of 2012,[note 1] unless “extraordinary measures” are used.[4] Nearly all proposals to avoid the fiscal cliff involve extending certain parts of the 2010 Tax Relief Act or changing the 2011 Budget Control Act or both, thus making the deficit larger by reducing taxes and/or increasing spending.

Etymology

The term ‘fiscal cliff’ had in the past been used to refer to various fiscal issues. The term started being used in the current context near the original expiration of the Bush tax cuts in 2010.[5] In 2011, the term started to be used to refer to the deficit reductions that would occur in 2013 under current law.[6]

In late February 2012, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, popularized the term “fiscal cliff” for this crisis. Before the House Financial Services Committee he described that “a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases” would take place on January 1, 2013.[7][8]

Some analysts have argued that “fiscal slope” or “fiscal hill” would be more appropriate terminology because while the cumulative economic effect over all of 2013 would be substantial, it would not be felt immediately but rather gradually as the weeks and months went by.[9]

Legislative history

During a lame duck session in December 2010, Congress passed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010. The act extended the Bush tax cuts for an additional two years and “patched” the exemptions to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) for tax year 2011. This act also authorized a one-year reduction in the Social Security (FICA) employee payroll tax. This was extended for an additional year by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which also extended federal unemployment benefits and the freeze on Medicare physician payments.[10]

On August 2, 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011 as part of an agreement to resolve the debt-ceiling crisis. The Act provided for a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the “super committee”) to produce legislation by late November that would decrease the deficit by $1.2 trillion over ten years. If the committee failed to do so, as it in fact had failed to do,[11] another part of the Act directs automatic across-the-board cuts (known as “sequestrations”), split evenly between defense and domestic spending, beginning January 2, 2013. Also, the Affordable Care Act imposed new taxes on families making more than $250,000 a year ($200,000 for individuals) starting at the same time.[12]

At the end of 2011, the patch to the AMT exemptions expired. Technically, the AMT thresholds immediately reverted to their 2000 tax year levels, a drop of 26% for single people and 40% for married couples. Anyone over these reduced thresholds at the end of 2012 would be subject to the AMT. Therefore, more taxpayers would pay more unless some legislation was passed (as was done in 2007) that affects the exemptions retroactively.[10]

Current laws leading to the fiscal cliff

The following provisions of current law are most involved in the fiscal cliff:[13][14]

  • Expiration of the Bush tax cuts extended by President Obama in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010;
  • Across-the-board spending cuts (“sequestration”) to most discretionary programs as directed by the Budget Control Act of 2011;
  • Reversion of the Alternative Minimum Tax thresholds to their 2000 tax year levels;
  • Expiration of measures delaying the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate from going into effect (the “doc fix”), most recently extended by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (MCTRJCA);
  • Expiration of the 2% Social Security payroll tax cut, most recently extended by MCTRJCA;
  • Expiration of federal unemployment benefits, most recently extended by MCTRJCA and
  • New taxes imposed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

Without new legislation, these provisions will automatically go into effect on January 1 or 2, 2013, except for the Alternative Minimum Tax growth, which may be changed retroactively. Some provisions will increase taxes (the expiration of the Bush and FICA payroll tax cuts and the new Affordable Care tax and AMT thresholds) while others will reduce spending (sequestration, expiration of unemployment benefits and implementation of the Medicare SGR).[13]

Proposals to avoid the fiscal cliff involve repealing legislation containing certain of these provisions or passing new legislation to extend provisions that are due to expire. Different proposals may include changes to some or all of the above provisions. For example, the Congressional Budget Office’s “Alternative Fiscal Scenario” includes only the first four items above. Changes to other provisions are also sometimes included in such proposals; for example, changing the original caps on discretionary appropriations contained in 2011’s Budget Control Act, indexing the AMT exemptions for inflation or the wholesale or partial reform of the tax laws or entitlement programs.[15]

Congressional Budget Office projections

US federal debt from 1940 to 2022. The right side of the diagram projects what would happen to the debt if Congress (a) allows current laws to take effect and reduce the deficit (the baseline) or (b) extends the current policies, such as keeping tax cuts in place (the alternative).

CBO scenarios

Decisions regarding the fiscal cliff will have meaningful implications for deficits, debt, and economic growth. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected two fiscal scenarios for the years 2013 to 2022:[16]

  • The baseline projection. This scenario would have lower deficits and debt but also have lower spending and higher taxes.
  • The alternative fiscal scenario. Higher deficits and debt but lower taxes and higher spending.[note 2]

These paint starkly different fiscal futures. If Congress and the President do not act, allowing tax cuts to expire and mandated spending cuts to be implemented, the next decade will more closely resemble the baseline projection. If they act to extend current policies, keeping lower tax rates in place and postponing or preventing the spending cuts, the next decade will more closely resemble the alternate fiscal scenario.

Baseline projection. The CBO has been publishing baseline projections since 1985.[15] Under “the baseline”, tax cuts are allowed to expire and spending cuts are implemented in 2013, resulting in higher tax revenues plus lower spending, deficits, debt and interest for the next decade and beyond. Future deficits would be reduced from an estimated 8.5% of GDP in 2011 to 1.2% by 2021. Revenues would rise towards 24% GDP, versus the historical average 18% GDP.[17]

The total deficit reduction or debt avoidance over ten years could be as high as $7.1 trillion, versus the $10–11 trillion debt increases if current policies are extended. In other words, roughly 70% of debt increases projected over the next 10 years could be avoided by allowing laws on the books during 2012 to be implemented.[18]

CBO estimates under the baseline projection that public debt rises from 69% GDP in 2011 to 84% by 2035.[19] In the long run, lower deficits and debt should lead to relatively higher growth estimates. But, in the short run, real GDP growth in 2013 would likely be reduced to 0.5% from 1.1%. This would mean a high probability of recession (a 1.3% GDP contraction) during the first half of the year followed by 2.3% growth in the second half.[20][21]

Alternate fiscal scenario. If Congress “avoids” the fiscal cliff, the future more closely resembles the continuation of 2012 policies, described by the CBO’s “alternative fiscal scenario.” This scenario involves extending the Bush income tax cuts, restricting the reach of the AMT, and keeping Medicare reimbursement rates at the current level (the so-called “doc fix”, versus declining by one-third as mandated under current law). Revenues are assumed to remain around the historical average 18% GDP. Under this scenario, public debt rises from 69% GDP in 2011 to 100% by 2021 and approaches 190% by 2035. This scenario has considerably higher debt and interest payments than the baseline projection, but short-term impact on the economy is avoided.[19]

CBO Infographic.

Projected effects

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that allowing certain laws on the books during 2012 to expire or take effect in 2013 (the baseline scenario) would cut the 2013 deficit approximately in half and significantly reduce the trajectory of future deficits and debt increases for the next decade and beyond. However, the 2013 deficit reduction would adversely impact the economy in the short-run. On the other hand, if Congress acts to extend current policies (the alternative scenario), deficits and debt will rise rapidly over the next decade and beyond, slowing the economy over the long run and dramatically increasing interest costs.[16]

CBO estimates that if the baseline scenario is allowed to take effect in 2013, it would reduce federal spending by $103 billion and increase tax revenues by $399 billion (and another $105 billion “mostly in revenue”) through September 2013 (the end of FY2013). This would amount to a net total of $560 billion, roughly half the $1.2 trillion FY2011 deficit.[20] The White House estimates that a family of four with an income of $50,000 to $85,000 would pay an additional $2,200 in federal taxes.[22]

The CBO has identified the following metrics for its baseline and alternative scenarios for the period starting January 2013:[23]

Fiscal or Economic Measure CBO
Baseline
Alternative
Scenario
Federal deficit in FY2013 $641 billion $1037 billion
Economic growth in FY2013 −0.5% of GDP 1.7% of GDP
Unemployment rate for October thru December 2013 9.1% 8.0%
Public debt in 2022 58% of GDP 90% of GDP

Consideration of these scenarios and other options[note 2] leads to what the CBO calls “a broad spectrum of fiscal policy choices”.[23]

Estimated deficit for the first year

  Expiration of tax cuts and the subsequent growth in the AMT: $221B (36.41%)
  Expiration of 2% FICA payroll tax cut: $95B (15.65%)
  Other expiring tax provisions: $65B (10.71%)
  Affordable Care Act taxes: $18B (3.97%)
  Spending cuts (“sequestration”) under the Budget Control Act of 2011: $65B (10.71%)
  Expiration of federal emergency unemployment insurance: $26B (4.28%)
  Reduction in Medicare payment rates for doctors: $11B (1.81%)
  Other changes (mostly revenue, primarily reflecting economic growth): $105B (17.30%)

The CBO estimated that the total deficit of fiscal year 2012 (which ends on September 30, 2012) will be $1.171 trillion. The CBO also estimated that the total reductions to the fiscal year 2013 deficit by letting current laws take effect (which increase taxes and reduce spending) would be about $560 billion.[20]

Therefore, since the total US public debt was approximately $11.053 trillion as of July 2012,[24] the public debt would climb by the end of FY2013 to either $11.664 trillion (if Congress does nothing, allowing current law to take effect) or $12.224 trillion (if the fiscal cliff is avoided, extending current tax and spending policies into the future), all other considerations remaining the same. This difference amounts to 5.07% of the federal debt in nine months.

Under current laws scheduled to take effect by the end of 2012, the total 2013 deficit will be $612 billion, as opposed to $1,171 billion for the previous year. The chart at the right contains a breakdown of the currently authorized reductions to the FY2013 deficit. The total of this chart is $606 billion but this is without considering economic feedback. Reduced taxes and increased spending, due to the 1.3% contraction in the first half of 2013, as well as other constraints, are expected to decrease the savings by $47 billion, giving a net total of $560 billion in deficit reduction during FY2013.[20][21]

CBO analysis of policy options

The CBO reported in November 2012 the economic and employment effects of various policy options related to the cliff. Each option has a different GDP and employment impact per dollar of deficit impact. In other words, some choices are more economically efficient. CBO explained why spending cuts have a more significant adverse impact on the economy than tax increases per dollar of deficit reduction: “The larger ‘bang for the buck’ next year of the spending policies under the alternative fiscal scenario occurs because, CBO expects, a significant part of the decrease in taxes (relative to those under current law) would be saved rather than spent.”[25]

Effects of sequestration

Main article: Budget Control Act of 2011
Main article: United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction

The spending reduction elements of the fiscal cliff are primarily contained within the Budget Control Act of 2011, which directed that both defense and non-defense discretionary spending[note 3] be reduced by “sequestration” if Congress was unable to agree on other spending cuts of similar size. Congress was unable to reach agreement and therefore the sequestrations are expected start taking effect on January 2, 2013 if Congress, and President Obama, do not agree to a budget deficit reduction plan. The scope of the law excludes major mandatory programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

The effect on both defense and non-defense discretionary spending will be significant if the cliff is not avoided. Cuts totaling $110 billion per year will be applied from 2013 to 2022, split evenly ($55 billion each) to defense and non-defense discretionary spending. For scale, discretionary funding for 2011 totaled $1,277 billion: budget authority of $712 billion for defense and funding totaling $566 billion for non-defense activities.[15]

During 2013, defense and non-defense discretionary spending would be maintained around 2012 levels due to the sequester. However, the spending begins to rise thereafter, but not at the pace projected prior to the sequester. In other words, the trajectory of spending increases is reduced, but spending is not frozen at 2012 levels. Defense and non-defense discretionary spending increases from 2013–2021 would be about 1.5% annually, significantly below the prior decade.[15]

For example, according to the CBO Historical Tables, defense spending (including overseas contingency operations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) grew from $295 billion in 2000 to $700 billion in 2011, an annual growth rate of 8.2%. Non-defense discretionary spending grew at a 6.6% annual rate during that time, from $320 billion to $646 billion.[26]

The austerity represented by the sequester is not unprecedented; from 1990–1999, defense spending actually declined by about 1% annually, from $300 billion to $276 billion, although non-defense discretionary spending grew by 4.5% annually, rising from $200 to $297 billion.[26]

The CBO estimated the possible impact on defense spending in October 2011 testimony: “Compliance with the caps on discretionary funding could occur through many different combinations of defense and non-defense funding. For example, defense and nondefense appropriations might be cut proportionally relative to the funding that would be necessary to keep pace with inflation. In that case, funding for defense programs apart from overseas contingency operations would drop from $552 billion in 2011 to $538 billion in 2012 before rising again and reaching $637 billion in 2021 (see Table 3).[15]

Between 2012 and 2021, such funding would be $445 billion less than the amount that would occur if the amount of funding for 2011 grew at the rate of inflation. When measured as a share of GDP, funding for defense would decline by about 1 percentage point from 2011 to 2021, or by more than one-fourth (see Table 5). Funding for defense in 2021 (excluding overseas contingency operations) would represent 2.7 percent of GDP; by comparison, annual funding for defense (excluding overseas contingency operations) has averaged 3.4 percent of GDP during the past decade.”[15]

The CBO estimated the possible impact on non-defense discretionary spending in October 2011 testimony: “If defense and nondefense appropriations were cut proportionally relative to the funding that would be necessary to keep pace with inflation, nondefense budget authority would decrease from $511 billion in 2011 to $505 billion in 2012 before rising again and reaching $597 billion in 2021 (see Table 4). Between 2012 and 2021, budget authority for nondefense purposes would be $418 billion less than the amount that would be provided if funding grew at the rate of inflation after 2011. Under an assumption that the obligation limitations for certain transportation programs grow over time at the rate of inflation, nondefense funding in 2021 would represent 2.8 percent of GDP; by comparison, such funding has averaged 4.1 percent of GDP during the past decade (see Figure 6).”[15]

Effects of tax increases

Various sources estimated the 2013 impact on taxpayers (individual and married filing jointly) from the tax increases that would occur if the Bush income tax cuts and Obama payroll tax cuts are allowed to expire. The table below shows the dollar and percentage increase in taxes due and assumes two federal allowances are taken. The interactive tool at the source cited can be adjusted based on the reader’s circumstances.[27]

Income Level / Filing status Single Married
Filing Jointly
$50,000 $1,576 / 18% $1,870 / 26%
$100,000 $4,076 / 17% $3,272 / 17%
$150,000 $5,850 / 15% $5,046 / 15%
$200,000 $7,350 / 13% $6,546 / 14%

Commentary

Many experts have argued that the U.S. should avoid the fiscal cliff while taking steps to bring the long-term deficit and debt trajectory under control.[28][29][30] For example, economist Paul Krugman recommended that the U.S. focus on employment in the short-run, rather than the deficit.[30] Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke emphasized the importance of balancing long-term deficit reduction with actions that would not slow the economy in the short-run.[29] Charles Konigsburg, who directed the bi-partisan Domenici-Rivlin deficit reduction panel, advocated avoiding the fiscal cliff while taking steps to reduce the budget deficit over time. He recommended the adoption of ideas from deficit panels such as Domenici-Rivlin and Bowles-Simpson that accomplish these two goals.[28]

Other experts at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Carlyle Group have argued that allowing the tax increases and spending cuts to occur under current law may be necessary to create the “grand bargain” required to get the U.S. deficit and debt trajectory under control for the long-run. In other words, allowing current law to take effect would create conditions under which legislators might be forced to enact better designed deficit reduction approaches of similar or greater magnitude.[31]

Even financial news networks CNBC and CNBC.com are launching a network-wide initiative aimed at calling attention to the fiscal situation. The network’s campaign is called “RISE ABOVE”[32], a call to action appealing to everyone to rise above partisan political views in an effort to come to agreement on a plan that tackles both the long and short term challenges to the American economy. CNBC plans to engage business leaders, politicians and viewers through a series of programming efforts designed to increase the understanding of the core issues and to raise the level of dialogue beyond the rhetoric and talking points that have saturated media coverage of the ‘fiscal cliff.’[33]

Proposals to mitigate the fiscal cliff

Congress

U.S. Federal budget deficit as % of GDP assuming continuation of certain policies for 2012-2022. The baseline deficit assumes current law takes effect, meaning tax cuts expire and spending cuts are applied. Avoiding the “fiscal cliff” increases the projected deficit.

Congressional Republicans have proposed that the Bush tax cuts be extended in their entirety.[34] In August 2012, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that extending these tax cuts for the 2013–2022 time period would add $3.18 trillion to the national debt relative to the current law baseline, comprising $2.74 trillion in foregone tax revenue plus another $0.44 trillion for interest and debt service costs.[35]

On July 25, 2012, the U.S. Senate voted 51–48 to pass a bill supporting the President’s tax proposal which extended cuts for most taxpayers, while rejecting the Republican proposal of extending the tax cuts for all 45–54.[36] The U.S. House of Representatives rejected, 170–257, the President’s tax proposal on August 1, 2012.[37]

As of November 1, 2012, a group of senators, now called the Gang of Eight, composed of Democratic Whip Richard J. Durbin D-Il., Finance Committee member Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Budget Committee Chair Kent Conrad, D-N.D., Sen. Michael F. Bennet, D-Colo., Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., Finance member Mike Crapo, R-Idaho., Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., have been working since 2011 but “has so far failed to reach an agreement after more than a year of talks.”[38] Because of the number of spending cuts and tax changes, at least half a dozen committees, such as the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees, might want to weigh in on the bill.[38] Congressional rules allow bills to skip committee hearings, but the group lacks the clout to “push its plan through Congress outside the regular order of business”.[38]

On November 16, 2012, the US leaders announced that President Obama (D) met with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) “to discuss” the plan “to work on” a plan “over the weekend” “to create a plan” that would be ready to present the week of November 26, 2012 concerning the fiscal cliff.[39]

IRS

In a three-page letter, Steven Miller, acting IRS Commissioner, outlined the effects of the fiscal cliff and said that the IRS is working under the assumption that Congress would “patch” the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The patch prevents the AMT from impacting many more taxpayers. This is similar to what Congress has done in previous years.[40]

President’s position

Since the budgetary and economic impact is due to existing laws, Congress would have to pass new legislation and have the President sign it into law to avoid the cliff. Since a Presidential veto requires a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate to override, a Presidential veto of attempts to avoid the cliff would likely ensure that significant deficit reduction would occur. The President has promised to veto any attempt to bypass the cliff that does not include an increase of tax rates for the wealthy.[41]

Timeline

  • March 23, 2010: President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. One of this law’s provisions is to impose new taxes on families making $250,000 per year or more starting in 2013.[42]
  • December 17, 2010: Obama signed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, patching the AMT through 2011 and extending the Bush tax cuts to the end of 2012.[43]
  • August 2, 2011: The President signed the Budget Control Act of 2011. This act provided that, if the Joint Select Committee did not produce bipartisan legislation, across-the-board spending cuts would take effect on January 2, 2013.[44]
  • February 22, 2012: Obama signed into law the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which extended the following provisions until December 31, 2012: the 2% Social Security payroll tax cut, federal unemployment benefits and the freeze on Medicare physician payments.[45]
  • February 29, 2012: Ben Bernanke popularized the term “fiscal cliff” in his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.[8][7]
  • July 3, 2012: IMF head Lagarde warned that the threat of “going over the fiscal cliff” could weaken the US economy later in 2012. The IMF also reduced its projection for US growth in 2013 from 2.4 to 2.25 percent of GDP.[46]
  • July 17, 2012: Bernanke pushed Congress to avoid the fiscal cliff, warning that a failure to do so will further dampen the sluggish economic recovery.[29]
  • July 31, 2012: Reid and Boehner agreed on a continuing resolution that would pay for the day-to-day running of the government until the end of March 2013. This does not affect the fiscal cliff or the debt-ceiling.[47]
  • August 7, 2012: Obama signed the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, which directed his administration to detail in 30 days how they plan to implement the automatic cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act.[48]
  • September 14, 2012: Obama released his 400-page document detailing cuts.[49] http://cdn.govexec.com/media/gbc/docs/pdfs_edit/091412cc1.pdf [50]
  • October 22, 2012: At the third of three presidential debates, Obama says sequestration will not happen.[51]
  • November 16, 2012: US leaders announced that they met “to discuss” the plan “to work on” a plan “over the weekend” “to create a plan” that would be ready to present the week of November 26, 2012 concerning the fiscal cliff.[39] …”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_fiscal_cliff

Why Not Just Fall Off the Fiscal Cliff?

Contrarians and some politicos on both the left and the right have started to ask the forbidden question

By Joyce Hanson, AdvisorOne

“…As everyone knows by now, considering all the talk by market pundits and business media, fear of falling off the fiscal cliff has become the obsession du jour ever since President Obama won re-election. The threatened results of a failure to resolve the issue – including tax hikes, spending cuts and an almost certain recession – sound so dire that nobody wants the U.S. to fall off that cliff.

Then again, maybe some do. Contrarians and some politicos on both the left and the right have started to ask the forbidden question: Why not just fall off the fiscal cliff?

For example, conservative thinker Marc A. Thiessen of the American Enterprise Institute dared suggest in an opinion piece for The Washington Post on Monday that the best way to start the new year in a bipartisan fashion would be to head over the cliff.

“Today, the only ones in Washington who advocate fiscal cliff-diving are liberal Democrats. It’s time for conservatives to join them. Letting the Bush tax cuts expire will strengthen the GOP’s hand in tax negotiations next year, and it may be the only way Republicans can force President Obama and Senate Democrats to agree to fundamental tax reform,” Thiessen wrote.

True enough, liberal Paul Krugman in a post-election column for The New York Times on Nov. 8 urged Democrats not to make a deal in terms of accommodating Republican demands.

“I don’t mean to minimize the very real economic dangers posed by the so-called fiscal cliff that is looming at the end of this year if the two parties can’t reach a deal,” Krugman wrote. “The looming combination of tax increases and spending cuts looks easily large enough to push America back into recession. Nobody wants to see that happen. Yet it may happen all the same, and Mr. Obama has to be willing to let it happen if necessary.”

Facing What May Become Reality

After the Dec. 31 deadline, if no compromise is reached, both the Bush-era tax cuts and the Obama administration’s payroll tax cut are scheduled to expire. At the same time, $1.2 trillion of automatic “sequestration” spending cuts divided equally between defense and non-defense discretionary programs are set to kick in.

Some market participants are girding themselves to face the reality of Washington gridlock if lawmakers fail to reach any kind of a fiscal cliff compromise, whether it’s a continued kicking of the can down the road or a grand bargain.

For example, Mike Acton (left), director of research for AEW, an institutional investment manager that focuses on real estate, said that contrarians are arguing that if tax rates go back to where they were 10 years ago, it would generate as much as $4.5 trillion of new revenue.

“So if in January the Bush tax cuts went away, that would allow $1.5 trillion of reduction in the debt ceiling as called for by the deficit supercommittee,” Acton said. “They created that as a way to force an agreement.”

Acton noted that falling off the cliff would mean that the capital gains tax, dividend tax, estate taxes and personal income tax rates would all go back up. …”

http://www.advisorone.com/2012/11/20/why-not-just-fall-off-the-fiscal-cliff

Greenspan: ‘Markets Will Crater’ With Fiscal Cliff

Former Fed chairman says mild recession is ‘cheap price’ of coming crisis

By John Sullivan, AdvisorOne

“…Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told Bloomberg Television on Friday that “markets will crater if we run into any evidence that we can’t solve this [fiscal cliff] problem.”

Greenspan, who said recently that big Wall Street banks should allowed to go bankrupt, said, “If we get out of this with a moderate recession, I would say that the price is very cheap.”

Greenspan on the fiscal cliff:

“We have to recognize that this is going to be extraordinarily difficult to solve. All of the simple low hanging fruits have been picked and the presumption that we are going to resolve the big issue on spending by making a few little twitches here and there I think is a little naive. If we get out of this with a moderate recession, I would say that the price is very cheap. The presumption that we will solve this problem without paying I think is grossly inappropriate.”

On Simpson and Bowles saying that the markets could crash if a deal isn’t made:

“I think it is not only Simpson-Bowles. I think the markets are getting very shaky. And they are getting shaky because I think fiscal policy is out of control. And I think the markets will crater if we run into any evidence that we cannot solve this problem. And I think the notion that the issue of the impact on the economy is strictly the spending tax issue, is also the market. I think we underestimate the extent to which the market value of assets has a very important impact on real GDP.”

On whether the U.S. is headed into a recession even if a deal is made:

“Not necessarily. I am just saying that we may get a deal, which will take us for next year or so. But the question isn’t that. I think the question is essentially how are we going to stop what is a critical problem here, an extraordinarily rapid rise in what the Department of Commerce calls government social benefits to persons, which has been rising very rapidly bipartisanly in the sense that it has been rising even faster under Republican administrations than Democratic administrations. And they are all very closely involved in these new benefits, the only problem is that it is eating into the savings of the society and our long-term growth. And yes, we can continue for the next year or so without any really serious problems emerging. But I think it is a highly risky endeavor.

“The problem is, if we are going to come to grips with this thing, we are going to have to recognize that even if we have got to pay the cost of a significant rise in taxes to get a significant slowing and then decline in social benefits, that is a very cheap price in the sense that a large increase in taxes required to fund what is currently on the books is going to cause a recession. But I think that if we can get away with that is the only cost to this whole problem, I think that is a pretty good deal.”

On where Republicans and Democrats will find common ground on cutting entitlement programs:

“It is going to be extraordinarily difficult. The issue is that words matter. If you ask the average person in the street about, for example, their social security benefits, they will say we have paid in, it is our money, we have earned it, I am getting it back. It is not welfare, it is not charity. It is equivalent to a private, fully-funded pension fund. It isn’t. It is essentially extremely underfunded. In fact, if we were to go to a fully-funded system, comparable to those fully-funded private systems, we would have to cut benefits by the equivalent of 4% points of payroll taxes or raise payroll taxes by the equivalent amount. Those are very large numbers and would suggest that yes, indeed, people have put money in, but certainly not enough to fund what they are getting back. The notion that we have to confront is that people do not think that this is any different from a private fund. The trouble is that it is.”

On tax policy:

“The problem basically is that we have tried for decades to somehow manage our budget in such a way that, yes we can run deficits of this or that size, and we use it sophisticatedly for fiscal policy. It turns out we cannot do that well. It gets out of hand and this is not an accident. There is no question that raising taxes will turn the economy downward. Ideally I would like to just cut spending. I do not think politically that is feasible because the problem, no matter how you look at it, is fundamentally this extraordinary rise in social benefits to persons. That is the core of the problem. But the issue is, if we can solve it the way I would want to solve it, if we go back to where we were earlier at a much lower level of those benefits because I think what is then going on in recent years, we have not been able to afford.”

On whether tax rate increases or eliminating deductions and closing loopholes will get the revenue agreement:

“I agree with those who argue that marginal tax rates really do matter. And I thought the genius of the Simpson-Bowles plan to identify a trillion dollars’ worth of tax expenditures which Republicans can a look at as subsidies, and the Democrats can look at as increased taxes to upper income groups. The problem is you are looking at the same issue and you can compromise on that. But look, if the issue here is whether you do it tax rates or you do it by taking loopholes out so to speak, obviously the latter is the better choice by far. The issue here is in both cases, you lower the rate of savings in a society and that will curtail capital investment, curtail the rate of growth and productivity, and essentially slow down the rate of real resource creation, which at the end of the day is what funds social benefits.” …”

http://www.advisorone.com/2012/11/17/greenspan-markets-will-crater-with-fiscal-cliff?t=tax-planning&page=2

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“…The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is demanding an immediate explanation from the nation’s top intelligence official, James Clapper, for what the chairman says were inconsistent statements to Congress and to the public on who was behind changes to the CIA talking points on the Libya consulate attack in September.

Critics say the Obama administration initially minimized the role of terrorism despite evidence of a coordinated attack on the consulate in Benghazi. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the assault.

Testimony last week on Capitol Hill raised additional questions about the administration’s changing story on the attack, putting new pressure on Clapper, the director of national intelligence.

Rep. Mike Rogers, the Intelligence Committee chairman, “looks forward to discussing this new explanation with Director Clapper as soon as possible to understand how (his office) reached this conclusion and why leaders of the intelligence community testified late last week that they were unaware of who changed the talking points,” Rogers spokeswoman Susan Phalen told Fox News.

Fox News was told by one source that Clapper, in a classified session on Thursday, was “unequivocal, and without hesitation insisted the changes were made outside the Intelligence community. He didn’t know who but was emphatic he would find out.”

A day later, former CIA Director David Petraeus also stated changes were made after his agency drafted the talking points, adding no one imagined how changing the language would end up being such a big deal.

But late Monday night, Clapper spokesman Shawn Turner said in a series of briefings for reporters that the intelligence community was solely responsible for “substantive” changes to the talking points, which were finalized on Sept. 15 – four days after the attack and one day before U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s controversial appearance on five Sunday talk shows, when she described the attack as spontaneous violence that grew out of protests of an anti-Islam film.

Along with changing “al Qaeda” to “extremists,” the new talking points timeline stated the FBI apparently wanted a change in the language from the U.S. “knew” Islamic extremists were involved to “there are indications.”

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, a senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News the timeline reinforces his view the changes were driven by security considerations, not politics.

“To anyone who was listening, it was clear from General Petraeus and other intelligence officials who testified last week that the talking points were amended to protect classified sources of information and were not subject to any political spin by the White House or ambassador to the U.N.,” Schiff said.

John Bolton, a U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in the George W. Bush administration, said Clapper must now explain the genesis of the administration’s initial statements, which blamed a video for sparking a demonstration that was hijacked by terrorists, when the available and immediate raw intelligence strongly supported a pre-meditated terrorist attack.

“I think Clapper has to say publicly whether he advocated the YouTube video theory, whether he pressed it on the White House and others in the intelligence community,” Bolton told Fox News. “And if so, did he do that at the direction of the White House?”

The new timeline on the talking points – released by Clapper’s office – does not address another inconsistency, first reported by the Daily Beast. After the Sept. 11 attack, diplomatic security agents were evacuated from the Benghazi consulate to Ramstein Air Base in Germany. By Sept. 14, two days before Rice’s Sunday show appearances and one day before the talking points were finalized, the FBI had learned from consulate agents that there was no demonstration when the attack unfolded. This single data point appeared to gut the administration’s anti-video protest theory.

Fox News asked the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for specifics on the timeline, as well as for comment on Rep. Rogers’ claims, but calls and emails were not immediately returned.

A Capitol Hill source who asked not to be identified, given the sensitive nature of the topic, noted this seemed to be the second time Clapper’s office had “fallen on its sword” in the Benghazi matter. On Sept. 28, in a statement released late in the day, spokesman Turner explained their “evolving” understand of the assault. Turner said the initial view, that the attack spontaneously grew out of a protest of the anti-Islam video, was now abandoned, and the evidence supported a “deliberate and organized terrorist assault.” …”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/11/20/top-gop-lawmaker-pressures-clapper-to-explain-altered-talking-points-on-libya/#ixzz2CsyuIp91

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BmHHKOf_T4

Topic: James Clapper

CBS: DNI Changed Talking Points

Alana Goodman

“…CBS reports that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence removed references to terrorism from the CIA talking points before distribution:

CBS News has learned that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) cut specific references to “al Qaeda” and “terrorism” from the unclassified talking points given to Ambassador Susan Rice on the Benghazi consulate attack – with the agreement of the CIA and FBI. The White House or State Department did not make those changes. …

However, an intelligence source tells CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan the links to al Qaeda were deemed too “tenuous” to make public, because there was not strong confidence in the person providing the intelligence. CIA Director David Petraeus, however, told Congress he agreed to release the information — the reference to al Qaeda — in an early draft of the talking points, which were also distributed to select lawmakers. …

The head of the DNI is James Clapper, an Obama appointee. He ultimately did review the points, before they were given to Ambassador Rice and members of the House intelligence committee on Sept. 14. They were compiled the day before.

Brennan says her source wouldn’t confirm who in the agency suggested the final edits which were signed off on by all intelligence agencies.

First, the CIA answers to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, so the whole notion that the CIA “agreed” to the changes is moot. They “agreed” to the changes because they were told to by the ODNI. Second, Clapper is clearly sprinting from this — the responsibility for the changes is pinned vaguely on the “Office of the Director of National Intelligence,” without much mention of him. The article actually leaves open the possibility that somebody else within the ODNI changed the talking points without running the changes by Clapper first, as if that’s believable. …”

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/topic/james-clapper/

Scapegoating James Clapper Won’t End Benghazi Scandal

“…Cover-Up: Intel chief James Clapper taking blame for dishonest talking points won’t cauterize the Benghazi scandal. The country was still lied to about terrorists killing four Americans for the sake of Obama’s re-election.

As Benghazigate became a major pre-election embarrassment for the president, a number of commentators quipped to Obama defenders who minimized its significance that, unlike in Libya on Sept. 11, “nobody died in Watergate.”

Watergate is an apt comparison in some ways. The whole underlying purpose of the 1972 attempted bugging of the Democratic National Committee headquarters was to get President Nixon re-elected. The whole underlying purpose of lying about the killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith, and ex-Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, was to get President Obama re-elected.

In Watergate, the objective was to collect information that could persuade people not to vote for the Democratic nominee for president.

In Benghazigate, the objective was to suppress the truth that al-Qaida had organized a Sept. 11 attack with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades on a vulnerable diplomatic post in Libya so that the president’s convention speech claim that “al-Qaida is on the path to defeat” would not be exposed as false.

In Watergate, the fiction was that, as Nixon put it, “no one in the White House staff, no one in this administration, presently employed, was involved in this very bizarre incident.”

In Benghazigate, the fiction was, as America’s United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice claimed on Fox News two months ago (and in four similar TV appearances), that “the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack, that what happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction . .. as a consequence of the video” insulting Mohammad.

CBS News last week reported that it was the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, headed by Clapper, that “cut specific references to ‘al-Qaida’ and ‘terrorism’ from the unclassified talking points given” to Rice “with the agreement of the CIA and FBI.”

CBS assures us that “the White House or State Department did not make those changes.” But the DNI was established in 2005 at the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission to centralize authority over intelligence, to “manage the national intelligence program and oversee the agencies that contribute to it.”

Clapper is the president’s man . For all practical purposes, he is White House staff, as much as the national security adviser. He attends Oval Office meetings and discerns the wishes of the president and senior staff.

As the DNI told CBS News, “The intelligence community assessed from the very beginning that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.” And as CBS noted, “That information was shared at a classified level — which Rice, as a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, would have been privy to.”

The upshot: Clapper being the fall guy shortly after Obama’s re-election ends Benghazigate about as much as G. Gordon Liddy going down shortly after Nixon’s re-election ended Watergate.

Read More At IBD: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/112012-634215-blaming-intel-chief-wont-end-benghazigate.htm#ixzz2CsTNGab5

Benghazigate: Obama’s Many Lies About Libya

By Daniel Greenfield

“…In his interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Obama claimed to take offense at, “The suggestion that in any way, we haven’t tried to make sure that the American people knew as the information was coming in what we believed.”

That sentence is not only incredibly convoluted, shifting the blame not just to the intel, but to the perception of that intel held by some vague group of “We’s” who may include anyone in the administration. But it’s a ridiculous finger wagging moment from a man who repeatedly blamed the video for a heavily armed assault on an American consulate.

The man who only told the American people about the Libyan War several days after it began, who has lied about Fast and Furious, who even in the language of his own media supporters runs the least transparent administration since King George III has no right to act offended when he is challenged for putting out gross misinformation and locking up a filmmaker based on that misinformation.

The feigned self-righteousness is Obama’s version of Clinton’s “finger-wagging” moment over accusations of improprieties.

Libya is to Obama as Monica was to Clinton.

1. Obama lied about the cause of the war in the form of a supposed massacre of 70,000 people that threatened Benghazi.

2. Obama lied about the purpose of the war, claiming that the goal was not regime change. He lied about this to the UN and to the American people.

3. Obama lied about our level of collaboration with the rebels, which was not supposed to exist at all, but involved coordinating their movements and attack plans

4. Obama lied about the duration of the war and about ending American participation in the war shortly after it began

5. Obama lied about having American personnel on the ground during the war, as reported by the New York Times

With all those lies, his show of self-righteousness is pathetically misplaced.

The official fallback story is that Obama had “bad intel” on what happened in Benghazi. This “bad intel” somehow caused Obama and his officials to continue spouting nonsense about a video and a protest, at a time when even those of us in the cheap seats were accurately reporting that this had been a planned attack. So either our “intel” is better than the CIA’s, or the problem wasn’t with the intel. Not when one of the first reports had already nailed Ansar Al-Sharia as the perpetrators and everyone knew that heavy weaponry, completely inconsistent with a spontaneous protest, had been used against the consulate.

But reporters are now carefully phrasing leading questions for Obama and his cronies, complete with “bad intel”. These questions wouldn’t be allowed in court, but they’re fine for the professional class of journalists who include the alibi as a premise in their questions.

A classic example of this travesty took place on Morning Joe. “Scarborough aided and abetted him by asking, “Was it the intel community giving you bad information early on because the stories keep changing?”

The real question here is why the stories have kept changing. Scarborough tries to cover for Obama by blaming the bad intel for the obvious problem of the changing stories. But there is no evidence of bad intel. There is evidence of changing stories. And changing stories mean either incompetence or deceit.

Former National Security Adviser Bud McFarlane has said, “To have known what he had available, to have known that Americans were under fire, and to have done nothing, is dereliction of duty that I have never seen in a Commander in Chief from a president of any party. ” …”

http://frontpagemag.com/2012/dgreenfield/benghazigate-obamas-many-lies-about-libya/

McClatchy: Obama admin changed story on Benghazi to blame video 3 days after attack

posted at 8:41 am on October 19, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

“…Barack Obama insisted in the presidential debate on Tuesday night that he had called the Benghazi attack an “act of terror” in his Rose Garden address the next day. Fact-checkers called shenanigans on that claim, but McClatchy notes that Obama did call it an “act of terror” the next day at campaign stops in Colorado and Nevada on September 13th. On the same day, the State Department refused to link the Benghazi attack to the YouTube video that media outlets like the New York Times and AFP had. Hillary Clinton called it a terrorist attack that evening.

However, the next day, things began to change, as McClatchy’s Hannah Allam and Jonathan S. Landay report in their in-depth look at how the narrative shifted toward the YouTube video instead of an al-Qaeda attack:

With images of besieged U.S. missions in the Middle East still leading the evening news, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney became the first official to back away from the earlier declaration that the Benghazi assault was a “complex attack” by extremists. Instead, Carney told reporters, authorities “have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack.” He added that there was no reason to think that the Benghazi attack wasn’t related to the video, given that the clip had sparked protests in many Muslim cities.

“The unrest that we’ve seen around the region has been in reaction to a video that Muslims, many Muslims, find offensive,” Carney said.

When pressed by reporters who pointed out evidence that the violence in Benghazi was preplanned, Carney said that “news reports” had speculated about the motive. He noted again that “the unrest around the region has been in response to this video.”

Carney then launched into remarks that read like talking points in defense of the U.S. decision to intervene in last year’s uprising against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi: that post-Gadhafi Libya, he said, is “one of the more pro-American countries in the region,” that it’s led by a new government “that has just come out of a revolution,” and that the lack of security capabilities there “is not necessarily reflective of anything except for the remarkable transformation that’s been going on in the region.”

By that Sunday, Sept. 16, the evolution of the narrative was complete when Rice, the U.N. ambassador, showed up on all five major morning talk shows to make the most direct public connection yet between the Benghazi assault and the incendiary video.

While she couched her remarks in caveats – “based on the information we have at present,” for example – Rice clearly intended to make the link before a large American audience.

Why did the story change? State had watched the attack unfold in real time at Foggy Bottom through its security video system, a fact that got revealed at the House Oversight Committee hearings. That’s why State insisted that they had never considered this a “spontaneous demonstration” that “spun out of control,” as Rice insisted on five Sunday talk shows and as Carney tried to claim two days earlier. Similarly, the intel community has leaked on more than one occasion that while the data they had was conflicting, they didn’t conclude it was a demonstration that got out of hand — and several days later, that should have been even more clear.

Allam and Landy hit the nail on the head in their connection of this to Obama’s intervention to decapitate the Qaddafi regime. The rise of radical Islamist terrorist groups in eastern Libya, including al-Qaeda, comes as a direct result of that intervention. The central government in Tripoli has no control now over the Benghazi region. Furthermore, everyone knew before the intervention that AQ and other radicals operated in the eastern part of the country, and a regime decapitation would set those elements free.

The cover story was designed to mislead the American public so that they would not connect those dots. That intervention in Libya, coming with no effort at all to control the outcome on the ground, has made us much less safe, especially in that part of the world.

By the way, as a measure of how little control Tripoli now has over AQ’s new stomping grounds in the east, the New York Times reports that the prime “suspect” in the Benghazi terrorist attack doesn’t even plan to go into hiding. In fact, he’s doing media sessions:

Witnesses and the authorities have called Ahmed Abu Khattala one of the ringleaders of the Sept. 11 attack on the American diplomatic mission here. But just days after President Obama reasserted his vow to bring those responsible to justice, Mr. Abu Khattala spent two leisurely hours on Thursday evening at a crowded luxury hotel, sipping a strawberry frappe on a patio and scoffing at the threats coming from the American and Libyan governments.

Libya’s fledgling national army is a “national chicken,” Mr. Abu Khattala said, using an Arabic rhyme. Asked who should take responsibility for apprehending the mission’s attackers, he smirked at the idea that the weak Libyan government could possibly do it. And he accused the leaders of the United States of “playing with the emotions of the American people” and “using the consulate attack just to gather votes for their elections.”

Mr. Abu Khattala’s defiance — no authority has even questioned him about the attack, he said, and he has no plans to go into hiding — offered insight into the shadowy landscape of the self-formed militias that have come to constitute the only source of social order in Libya since the fall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

A few, like the militia group Ansar al-Shariah that is linked to Mr. Abu Khattala and that officials in Washington and Tripoli agree was behind the attack, have embraced an extremist ideology hostile to the West and nursed ambitions to extend it over Libya. But also troubling to the United States is the evident tolerance shown by other militias allied with the government, which have so far declined to take any action against suspects in the Benghazi attack. …”

http://hotair.com/archives/2012/10/19/mcclatchy-obama-admin-changed-story-on-benghazi-to-blame-video-3-days-after-attack/

Attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi

‘…On September 11, 2012 in Libya, a heavily armed group executed an attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, also referred to as the Battle of Benghazi.[4][5][6][7] The attack began at night in a U.S. diplomatic compound for the consulate, and ended early the next day at another diplomatic compound nearby where the U.S. intelligence was posted. Those killed included U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other members of his diplomatic mission, U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith and U.S. embassy security personnel Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. Two other Americans and seven Libyans were also injured. The Benghazi attack was strongly condemned by the governments of Libya, the United States and other countries around the world.

There were peaceful demonstrations on September 12 in Benghazi and Tripoli condemning the attack; people held such signs as “Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans,” “Benghazi is against terrorism,” and other signs apologizing to Americans for the actions in their name and in the name of Muslims. On September 21, about 30,000 Libyans protested against armed militias in their country including Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamist militia alleged to have played a role in the attack, and stormed several militia headquarters, forcing the occupants to flee. On September 23, the Libyan president ordered that all unauthorized militias either disband or come under government control. Militias across the country began surrendering to the government and submitting to its authority. Hundreds of Libyans gathered in Tripoli and Benghazi to hand over their weapons to the government.

Almost immediately after the attack ended various news, government, and intelligence sources were reporting on what the state of security was at the consulate before and at the time of the attack, suspected perpetrators and their motives, how the assault on both compounds was executed, and how U.S. military forces might have (or should have) intervened during the engagements. Questions about whether Obama administration officials — and President Obama himself — should have stated or did state that this was a terrorist attack created a controversy in the U.S., where the U.S. 2012 Presidential election was underway. The U.S. investigation of the attack is being conducted separately by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Background

In an October 2, 2012 letter to Secretary of State Clinton, Darrell Issa (R-CA, chairman of the Committee) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT, chairman of the subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations) compiled a list of more than a dozen attacks and events in the 6 months prior to the September 11 attack—including car jackings, kidnappings, assassination attempts, and gun battles—all of which indicated “a clear pattern of security threats that could only be reasonably interpreted to justify increased security for U.S. personnel and facilities in Benghazi.”[8]

  • In April 2012, two former security guards for the consulate threw a homemade “fish bomb” IED over the consulate fence; the incident did not cause any casualties.[9] Just 4 days later, a similar bomb was thrown at a four vehicle convoy carrying the United Nations Special Envoy to Libya, exploding just 12 feet from the UN envoy’s vehicle without injuring anyone.[10]
  • In May 2012 an Al-Qaida affiliate calling itself the Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades claimed responsibility for an attack on the International Red Cross (ICRC) office in Benghazi. On August 6 the ICRC suspended operations in Benghazi. The head of the ICRC’s delegation in Libya said the aid group was “appalled” by the attack and “extremely concerned” about escalating violence in Libya.[11]
  • The Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades released a video of what it said was its detonation of an explosive device outside the gates of the U.S. consulate on June 5, which caused no casualties but damaged the consulate’s perimeter wall,[12][13] described by one individual as “big enough for forty men to go through.”[8] The Brigades claimed that the attack was in response to the killing of Abu Yahya al Libi, a Libyan al-Qaeda leader who had just died in an American drone attack, and was also timed to coincide with the imminent arrival of a U.S. diplomat.[14][15] There were no injuries, but the group left behind leaflets promising more attacks against the U.S.[16]
  • British ambassador to Libya Dominic Asquith survived an assassination attempt in Benghazi on June 10. Two British protection officers were injured in the attack when their convoy was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade 300 yards from their consulate office.[17] The British Foreign Office withdrew all consular staff from Benghazi in late June.[18][19][20]
  • On the day of the attack:
    • Al Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri declared that al Libi’s death still needed to be avenged.[21]
    • In Egypt, 2000 Salafist activists protested against the film at 5pm EET (11am EDT) at the US embassy in Cairo.[22]
    • President Obama was attending a 9/11 ceremony in the morning, and in the afternoon he visited with wounded veterans at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for two-and-a-half hours about the time the Benghazi attack began.[23]

After the attack, CNN reported that a Benghazi security official and a battalion commander had met with U.S. diplomats three days before the attack and had warned the Americans about deteriorating security in the area. The official told CNN that the diplomats had been advised, “The situation is frightening, it scares us.”[24]

On September 14, CNN correspondent Arwa Damon found Ambassador Stevens’ diary at the unsecured site of the attack. In it, Stevens expressed his concern about the growing al-Qaeda presence in the area and his worry about being on an al-Qaeda hit list. The U.S. State Department later accused CNN of violating privacy and breaking its promise to Stevens’ family that it would not report on the diary.[25]

The attack

The Benghazi attack consisted of military assaults on two separate U.S. diplomatic compounds. The first assault occurred at the main compound, approximately 300 yards long and 100 yards wide, at about 9:40 pm local time (3:40 pm EDT, Washington DC). The second assault took place at a CIA annex 1.2 miles away at about 4 am the following morning.[26]

Assault on the Consulate

Between 125 and 150 gunmen, “some wearing the Afghan-style tunics favored by Islamic militants,” are reported to have participated in the assault.[27][28][29] Some had their faces covered and wore flak jackets.[30] Weapons they used during the attack included rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, AK-47 and FN F2000 NATO assault rifles, diesel canisters, mortars, and heavy machine guns and artillery mounted on gun trucks.[31][32]

The assault began at nightfall, with the attackers sealing off streets leading to the main compound with gun trucks.[27] The trucks bore the logo of Ansar al-Shariah, a group of Islamist militants working with the local government to manage security in Benghazi.[27]

The area outside the compound before the assault was quiet; one Libyan guard who was wounded in the attack was quoted as saying “there wasn’t a single ant outside.”[28] One witness said he saw the militants before the assault “gathering around 20 youths from nearby to chant against the film.”[27] No more than seven Americans were in the compound, including Ambassador Stevens, who was visiting Benghazi at the time to review plans to establish a new cultural center and modernize a hospital.[33] Ambassador Stevens had his last meeting of the day with a Turkish diplomat and escorted him to the main gate at about 8:30 pm (local time). The street outside the compound was calm; the State Department reported no unusual activity during the day outside.[34] Ambassador Stevens retired to his room about 9 pm; he was alone in the building, according to guards interviewed later.[35]

About 9:40 pm (local time) large numbers of armed men shouting “Allah Akbar” descended on the compound from multiple directions.[28][36] The attackers lobbed grenades over the wall and entered the compound under a barrage of automatic weapons fire and RPGs, backed by truck-mounted artillery and anti-aircraft machine guns.[27][35] A Diplomatic Security agent viewed on the consulate’s security cameras “a large number of men, armed men, flowing into the compound.”[34] He hit the alarm and started shouting, “Attack! Attack!” over the loudspeaker.[37] Phone calls were made to the embassy in Tripoli, the Diplomatic Security Command Center in Washington, the Libyan February 17 Brigade, and a U.S. quick reaction force located at a second compound (the annex) a little more than a mile away.[29][38] Ambassador Stevens telephoned Deputy Chief of Mission Gregory Hicks in Tripoli to tell him the consulate was under attack. Mr. Hicks did not recognize the phone number so he didn’t answer it, twice. On the third attempt Mr. Hicks answered the call from Ambassador Stevens.[39]

Diplomatic Security special agent Scott Strickland secured Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith, an information management officer, in the main building’s safe haven.[38][40] Other agents retrieved their M4 carbines and tactical gear from another building. They tried to return to the main building but encountered armed attackers and retreated.[38]

The attackers entered the main building and rattled the locked metal grille of the safe haven.[37] They carried jerrycans of diesel fuel, spread the fuel over the floor and furniture, and set fires.[37][38] As thick smoke filled the building, Stevens, Smith, and Strickland moved to the bathroom and lay on the floor, but they decided to leave the safe haven after being overcome by smoke.[40] Strickland exited through the window, but Stevens and Smith did not follow him. Strickland returned back several times but couldn’t find them in the smoke; he went up to the roof and radioed other agents.[40]

Three agents returned to the main building in an armored vehicle; they searched the building and found Smith’s body, but not Stevens.[40]

A quick reaction force from the CIA annex arrived and attempted to secure the perimeter and locate the ambassador but were unable to find Stevens in the smoke-filled building. The team then decided to return to the annex with the survivors and Smith’s body. While en route back to the annex, the group’s armored vehicle was hit by AK-47 rifle fire and hand grenades. The vehicle was able to make it to its destination with two flat tires, however.[26]

Abdel-Monem Al-Hurr, the spokesman for Libya’s Supreme Security Committee, said roads leading to the Benghazi consulate compound were sealed off and Libyan state security forces had surrounded it.[41]

Immediate Reaction in the United States

Diplomatic security officers informed their headquarters in Washington about the attack just as it was beginning at about 9:40 local time (3:40PM Eastern Time). By 4:30 Eastern, Pentagon officials informed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta about the attack. The Pentagon ordered an unmanned aerial vehicle that was in the air conducting surveillance on militant camps to fly over Benghazi. The drone arrived at 5:11 and began providing a video feed to Washington. At 5:41, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephoned CIA Director David Petraeus to coordinate. The CIA, which made up most of the US government’s presence in Benghazi, had a ten-member security team at its annex and the State Department believed that this team would assist the consulate in the event of an attack.[42]

Recovery of Ambassador Stevens

At about 1 am the body of Ambassador Stevens was found by local citizens and taken to the Benghazi Medical Center. At the hospital Stevens was administered CPR for 90 minutes by Dr. Ziad Abu Zeid.[43] According to Abu Zeid, Stevens died from asphyxiation caused by smoke inhalation. A 22-year-old freelance videographer, Fahd al-Bakoush, later published a video[44] showing Libyans trying to extract the unconscious ambassador from a smoke-filled room,[45][46] where he was found unconscious, which confirms reports that suggested the U.S. envoy died of asphyxiation after the building caught fire.[47]

Some of the Libyans who entered the compound tried to rescue Stevens after they found him lying alone on the floor in a dark smoke-filled room with a locked door accessible only by a window. A group of men pulled him out of the room through the window, and then placed him on the courtyard’s stone tile floor. The crowd cheered “God is Greatest” when Stevens was found to be alive. He was then rushed to the hospital in a private car as there was no ambulance to carry him.[48]

Dr. Ziad Abu Zeid was the Libyan doctor who treated Stevens. He said Stevens died of severe asphyxiation, that he had no other injuries, and that he tried for 45 minutes to revive him.[49] The doctor said he believed that officers from the Libyan Interior Ministry transported the body to the airport and into United States custody. State Department officials said they do not know who took Stevens to the hospital or transported the body to the airport and into U.S. custody.[49]

Assault on the CIA annex

After the consulate attack and before the annex attack, Libyan government forces met up with a group of Americans (believed to be eight reinforcements from Tripoli including Glen Doherty[50]) that had arrived at the Benghazi airport and went with them to the CIA annex at about 4am to assist in transporting approximately 32 Americans at the annex back to the airport for evacuation. As they were at the annex arranging for the transportation back to the airport a single shot rang out, quickly followed by RPGs and then a mortar that hit the annex roof killing Doherty and Tyrone Woods while operating their machine gun[51] while 31-year-old David Ubben suffered shrapnel injuries and several broken bones. According to Ubben’s father, “The first [mortar] dropped 50 yards short and the next two were right on target.”.[52]

Evacuation

The bodies were taken to Benina International Airport and flown to the capital, Tripoli, and scheduled to fly to a U.S. airbase in Germany. From Germany, the four bodies arrived at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, DC, where President Barack Obama and members of his cabinet held a ceremony in honor of those killed.

After the attack, all diplomatic staff were moved to the capital, Tripoli, with nonessential personnel to be flown out of Libya. Sensitive documents remained missing, including documents listing the names of Libyans working with the Americans, and documents relating to oil contracts.[53]

A U.S. Army commando unit was sent to Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy the night of the attack but did not deploy to Benghazi.[54]

Fatalities and injuries

Members of U.S. diplomatic mission who died in Benghazi, Libya
J. Christopher Stevens Sean Smith (diplomat) Glen Anthony Doherty.jpg Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods.jpg
J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Sean Smith, U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Glen Doherty Tyrone S. Woods

Four Americans died in the attack: Ambassador Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith,[55] and two embassy security personnel, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods,[56][57] both former Navy SEALs.[58][59] Senior intelligence officials later acknowledged that Woods and Doherty were contracted by Central Intelligence Agency, not the State Department as previously identified,[60] and were part of a Global Response Staff (GRS), a team that provides security to CIA case officers and countersurveillance and surveillance protection.[61] On September 14 the remains of the slain Americans were returned to the United States. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honored the Benghazi victims at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony held at Andrews Air Force Base, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

Initial reports indicated that ten Libyan guards died; this was later retracted and it was reported that seven Libyans were injured.[62] Three Americans were injured in the attack and treated at an American Military Hospital in Germany. [63]

Glen Doherty

Glen Anthony Doherty trained as a pilot at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University before joining the United States Navy. Doherty served as a Navy SEAL including tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. After leaving the Navy, he worked for a private security company in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Kenya and Libya.[64] In the month prior to the attack, Doherty as a contractor with the State Department told ABC News in an interview that he personally went into the field in Libya to track down MANPADS, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, and destroy them.[65]

Tyrone S. Woods

Tyrone Snowden Woods worked for the State Department Diplomatic Security[66] as a U.S. embassy security personnel,[67] working under a service contract.[68] Since 2010, Woods had protected American diplomats in posts from Central America to the Middle East.[69]

Aftermath

Libyan response

Libyan Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur’s office condemned the attack and extended condolences, saying: “While strongly condemning any attempt to abuse the person of Muhammad, or an insult to our holy places and prejudice against the faith, we reject and strongly condemn the use of force to terrorise innocent people and the killing of innocent people.” It also reaffirmed “the depth of relationship between the peoples of Libya and the U.S., which grew closer with the positions taken by the U.S. government in support of the revolution of February 17.”[70] Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf, the President of the General National Congress of Libya, said: “We apologise to the United States, the people and to the whole world for what happened. We confirm that no-one will escape from punishment and questioning.”[71]

There were demonstrations in Benghazi[72] and Tripoli[73] on September 12, condemning the violence and holding signs such as “Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans,” “Benghazi is against terrorism,” and other signs apologizing to Americans for the actions in their name and in the name of Muslims. The New York Times noted that young Libyans had also flooded Twitter with pro-American messages after the attacks.[73] It was noted that Libyans are typically more positively inclined towards the United States than their neighbors.[74] A 2012 Gallup poll noted that “A majority of Libyans (54%) surveyed in March and April 2012 approve of the leadership of the U.S. — among the highest approval Gallup has ever recorded in the… region, outside of Israel.” [75] Another poll in Eastern Libya, taken in 2011, reported that the population was at the same time both deeply religious conservative Muslims and very pro-American, with 90% of respondents reporting favorable views of the United States.[76][77]

Ali Aujali, the ambassador to the United States, praised Stevens as a “dear friend” and a “real hero” at a reception in Washington, D.C., alongside Hillary Clinton. He also urged the United States to continue supporting Libya as it went “through a very difficult time” and that the young Libyan government needed help so that it could “maintain…security and stability in our country.”[78]

The Libyan response to the crisis was praised and appreciated in the United States, and President Obama emphasized how the Libyans “helped our diplomats to safety” to an American audience the following day,[79] while a New York Times editorial criticized Egypt’s government for not doing “what Libyan leaders did.” [80]

Anti-militia demonstrationsOn September 21, about 30,000 Libyans marched through Benghazi calling for the support of the rule of law and for an end to armed militias.[81][82] Carrying signs with slogans such as “We Want Justice For Chris” and “Libya Lost a Friend,” the protestors stormed several militia headquarters, including that of Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamist militia who some allege played a role in the attack on U.S. diplomatic personnel on September 11.[83][84] At least 10 people were killed and dozens more wounded as militiamen fired on demonstrators at the headquarters of Sahaty Brigade, a pro-government militia “operating under the authority of the ministry of defence.”[81][84][85]

By early next morning, the protestors had forced militia members to flee and seized control of a number of compounds, releasing four prisoners found inside.[83][84] Protesters burnt a car and a building of at least one facility, and looted weapons.[81][82][84] The militia compounds and many weapons were handed over to Libya’s national army[82] in what “appeared to be part of a coordinated sweep of militia bases by police, government troops and activists” following the earlier demonstrations.[83][84] Some militia members accused the protestors of being Qaddafi loyalists, looking to disarm the militias in the wake of the revolution.[82]

Government campaign to disband militiasOn September 23, taking advantage of the growing momentum and rising anger against the militias evinced in the earlier anti-militia demonstrations,[86] the Libyan president declared that all unauthorized militias had 48 hours to either disband or come under government control.[87][88] The government also mandated that bearing arms in public was now illegal, as were armed checkpoints.[87]

It has been noted that previously, handling the militias had been difficult as the government had been forced to rely on some of them for protection and security.[86][88] However, according to a Libyan interviewed in Tripoli, the government gained the ability to push back against the militias because of a “mandate of the people.”[88]

On the 24th, the government commenced with a raid on a former military base held by a rogue infantry militia.[89]

Across the country, militias began surrendering to the government. The government formed a “National Mobile Force” for the purpose of evicting illegal militias.[90] On the same day as the declaration, various militias in Misrata held meetings, ultimately deciding to submit to the government’s authority, and handed over various public facilities they had been holding, including the city’s three main jails, which were handed over to the authority of the Ministry of Justice.[88] Hours before the announcement, in Derna, the two main militias (one of them Ansar-al-Sharia) active in the city both withdrew, leaving both their five military bases behind.[86][88][90]

Hundreds of Libyans, mainly former rebel fighters, gathered in the city centers of Tripoli and Benghazi to hand over their weapons to the government on the 29th of September.[91]

However, the campaign has been less successful in other areas, such as the remote Nafusa Mountains, inhabited by the Nafusi-speaking Berber minority, where the Emirati news agency The National reported on 23 September that arms were being hoarded. The National also reported arms being hoarded in Misrata, despite simultaneous reporting by other outlets that militias were surrendering in Misrata.[92]

U.S. government response

On September 12 U.S. President Barack Obama condemned “this outrageous attack” on U.S. diplomatic facilities[94] and stated that “[s]ince our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”[94] After referring to “the 9/11 attacks,” “troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan”, and “then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi”[94] the President then stated that “[a]s Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it.”[94] He then went on to say, “[n]o acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.”[94]

After the attack, Obama ordered that security be increased at all such facilities worldwide.[95] A 50-member Marine FAST team was sent to Libya to “bolster security.”[96] It was announced that the FBI would investigate the possibility of the attack being planned.[97] U.S. officials said surveillance over Libya would increase, including the use of unmanned drones, to “hunt for the attackers.”[97]

Secretary of State Clinton also made a statement on September 12, describing the perpetrators as “heavily armed militants” and “a small and savage group – not the people or government of Libya.”[98] She also reaffirmed “America’s commitment to religious tolerance” and said “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet,” but whether true or not, that was not a justification for violence.[99] The State Department had previously identified embassy and personnel security as a major challenge in its budget and priorities report.[100]

On September 12 it was reported that the United States Navy dispatched two Arleigh Burke class destroyers, the USS McFaul and the USS Laboon, to the Libyan coast.[101] The destroyers are equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles. American UAVs were also sent to fly over Libya to search for the perpetrators of the attack.[102]

In a speech on September 13 in Golden, Colorado, President Obama paid tribute to the four Americans “killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Libya,” stating, “We enjoy our security and our liberty because of the sacrifices they make…I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world.”[103]

In his press briefing on September 14, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that “we don’t have and did not have concrete evidence to suggest that this [the Benghazi attack] was not in reaction to the film.”[104] He went on to say: “There was no intelligence that in any way could have been acted on to prevent these attacks…. We have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack. The unrest we’ve seen around the region has been in reaction to a video that Muslims, many Muslims find offensive. And while the violence is reprehensible and unjustified, it is not a reaction to the 9/11 anniversary that we know of, or to U.S. policy.”

On September 14 the remains of the slain Americans were returned to the U.S. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended the ceremony. In her remarks Clinton said, “One young woman, her head covered and her eyes haunted with sadness, held up a handwritten sign that said ‘Thugs and killers don’t represent Benghazi nor Islam.’ The President of the Palestinian Authority, who worked closely with Chris when he served in Jerusalem, sent me a letter remembering his energy and integrity, and deploring – and I quote – ‘an act of ugly terror.’[105] She went on to say: “We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with.”

A report prepared by the CIA on Sept. 15, stated “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.” [106] This initial assessment was provided to Executive Branch officials.[107]

On September 16 the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice appeared on five major interview shows, stating that the attacks began as a “spontaneous reaction” to “a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world.” “I think it’s clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were al Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al Qaeda itself I think is one of the things we’ll have to determine.”[108][109][110][111][112] Ms. Rice later stated that her statements were based on a report prepared by the C.I.A.[113]

In a White House press briefing on September 18, press secretary Jay Carney explained the attack to reporters: “I’m saying that based on information that we — our initial information, and that includes all information — we saw no evidence to back up claims by others that this was a preplanned or premeditated attack; that we saw evidence that it was sparked by the reaction to this video. And that is what we know thus far based on the evidence, concrete evidence.”[114]

On September 20, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney answered a question about an open hearing with the National Counterterrorism Center Director, Matthew G. Olsen, which referenced which extremist groups might have been involved. Carney said, “It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Our embassy was attacked violently, and the result was four deaths of American officials. So, again, that’s self-evident.”[115] On the same day, during an appearance on Univision, a Spanish-language television network in the United States, President Obama stated, “What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests.”[116][117][118][119][120]

On September 25, in an address before the United Nations General Assembly President Obama stated, “The attacks on our civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America…And there should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice.”[33][121] He also said, “There is no video that justifies an attack on an Embassy.”

On September 26 Clinton acknowledged a possible link between Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the September 11 attack.[2]

On September 28, U.S. intelligence stated “In the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo. We provided that initial assessment to Executive Branch officials and members of Congress . . . . As we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists. It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attack, and if extremist group leaders directed their members to participate.”[107]

To assist the Libyan government in disbanding extremist groups, the Obama administration allocated $8 million to begin building an elite Libyan commando force over the next year.[122]

Criticism of U.S. government response

Republican Party members took issue with the Democratic Party controlled administration, accusing the White House and State Department of overplaying the role of the protests against a trailer for a controversial anti-Islamic movie in the case of Libya and the government’s alleged reluctance to label the attack as “terrorist”.[123] Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who on the 13th of September said that the attacks had all the hallmarks of a coordinated attack by al-Qaeda,[124] has questioned whether there were any protests at all in Benghazi, saying: “I have seen no information that shows that there was a protest going on as you have seen around any other embassy at the time. It was clearly designed to be an attack.”[125] According to critics, the consulate site should have been secured better both before and after the attack.

On the 20th, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a classified briefing to U.S. Senators,[126] which several Republican attendees criticized.[127] According to the article, senators were angered at the Obama administration’s rebuff of their attempts to learn details of the Benghazi attack, only to see that information published the next day in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

GOP legislators also took issue with delays in the investigation, which CNN attributed to “bureaucratic infighting” between the FBI, Justice, and State. On the 26th, Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) said he “cannot believe that the FBI is not on the ground yet.”[123]

On CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley on September 30, Crowley observed that “Friday we got the administration’s sort of definitive statement that this now looks as though it was a pre-planned attack by a terrorist group, some of whom were at least sympathetic to al Qaeda,” and asked the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John McCain, “why do you think and are you bothered that it has taken them this long from September 11th to now to get to this conclusion?” to which McCain replied that “it interferes with the depiction that the administration is trying to convey that al Qaeda is on the wane… how else could you trot out our U.N. ambassador to say this was a spontaneous demonstration?… It was either willful ignorance or abysmal intelligence to think that people come to spontaneous demonstrations with heavy weapons, mortars, and the attack goes on for hours.”[128]

On CBS’s Face the Nation on October 28, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said “we know that there were tapes, recordings inside the consulate during this fight…. So the president went on various shows, despite what he said he said in the Rose Garden, about terrorist acts, he went on several programs, including The View including Letterman, including before the UN where he continued to refer, days later, many days later, to this as a spontaneous demonstration because of a hateful video. We know that is patently false. What did the president know? When did he know it? And what did he do about it?”[129] However, CBS News reported earlier on October 24 that the video of the assault was recovered 20 days after the attack, from the more than 10 security cameras at the compound.[130]

U.S. media response

On the last weekend of October a message posted on Facebook by a Political Action Committee (SOS PAC) claiming President Obama denied them backup in Benghazi was taken down twice by the social networking site. After the post was removed and SOS’s Facebook account suspended for 24 hours, the post was reinstated and SOS received an email from Facebook apologizing for the matter.[131]

A study released on November 2 found that leading newspapers in the U.S. framed the attack in terms of a spontaneous protest (the Obama administration’s version) four times as often as a planned terrorist attack (the Republican version).[132] The study was based on a computer-assisted analysis of 2,572 words and phrases related to the attack in 348 news stories from September 12 to October 12 in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today.

On the day of that study’s release, two of the newspapers—The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal—published editorials critical of the Obama administration’s handling of Benghazi. The Washington Post editorial asked such questions as, “Did the Obama administration’s political preoccupation with maintaining a light footprint in Libya lead to an ill-considered reliance on local militias, rather than on U.S. forces?”[133] The Wall Street Journal editorial asked such questions as “Why did the U.S. not heed warnings about a growing Islamist presence in Benghazi and better protect the diplomatic mission and CIA annex?” and “Why has the Administration’s story about what took place in Benghazi been so haphazard and unclear?”[134]

On November 4, two days before the presidential election, CBS News released a portion of its interview with President Obama for 60 Minutes that was filmed on September 12 but did not air originally on its September 23 show.[135] Journalist Bret Baier, host of Special Report with Bret Baier, noted that in these newly released portions of the interview “Obama would not say whether he thought the attack was terrorism. Yet he would later emphasize at a presidential debate that in the Rose Garden the same day, he had declared the attack an act of terror.”[136] Baier noted that President Obama had been saying that he declared the Benghazi attack a terrorist attack since his announcement in the Rose Garden on September 12 and highlighted the newly released video interview with Steve Kroft: “KROFT: Mr. President, this morning you went out of your way to avoid the use of the word terrorism in connection with the Libya Attack, do you believe that this was a terrorism attack? OBAMA: Well it’s too early to tell exactly how this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an attack on Americans. And we are going to be working with the Libyan government to make sure that we bring these folks to justice, one way or the other.”[136]

Investigation timeline

September 2012

September 12 The New York Times reported: “American and European officials said that while many details about the attack remained unclear, the assailants seemed organized, well trained and heavily armed, and they appeared to have at least some level of advance planning.” The article also noted that a senior Obama administration official told reporters that “it was clearly a complex attack,” but provided no details.[137]CBS News reported that Wanis al-Sharef (also spelled al-Sharif), a Libyan Interior Ministry official in Benghazi, said that an angry mob had gathered outside the consulate to protest a U.S.-made film that ridicules Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. According to al-Sharef, the mob stormed the consulate after the U.S. troops who responded fired rounds into the air to try and disperse the crowd.[138]CBS News later reported that U.S. officials said the attack was not an out-of-control demonstration as first suspected, but a well-executed assault. From the wording of the report it is unclear whether the protesters were a group distinct from the attackers or were the attackers themselves.[139]The Guardian published a video interview of a local Libyan on the consulate compound right after the attack, who presumed and empathized that the attack was in response to the anti-Islamic film.[140]The Washington Post reported that U.S. officials and Middle East analysts said that the attack “may have been planned by extremists and inspired by al-Qaeda.”[141]In a press release, the Qulliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think tank based in London, stated that the “military assault” was not related to the film but was to “avenge the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi, al-Qaeda’s second in command killed a few months ago.”[142]BBC reported that Libya’s deputy ambassador to London, Ahmad Jibril, named Ansar al-Sharia as the perpetrators. They also said a Libyan reporter told them that the attack was executed by as many as 80 militiamen “armed with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and 14.5 mm anti-aircraft machine guns.”[143][144]Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif of the Libyan government told a news conference in Benghazi that it was likely that the perpetrators had been Gaddafi loyalists, suggesting the attack could have been intended as a revenge for the extradition of Abdullah al-Senoussi (Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief) from Mauritania the previous month.[145]
September 13 The FBI opened an investigation into the deaths; a team was sent to investigate, with another team for security.[97] The FBI officials were set to arrive by September 21 in Benghazi to work with Libyan officials.[146]In a briefing to congressional staffers, State Department Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy said that the attack appeared planned because it was so extensive and because of the “proliferation” of small and medium weapons.[147]CNN reported that the attackers were part of an Al Qaeda spinoff group. They spoke with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who said the killings were possibly linked to the terrorist group blamed for the 9/11 hijackings. According to Sen. Feinstein, “The weapons were somewhat sophisticated, and they blew a big hole in the building and started a big fire.”[148]
September 14 The Senate Armed Services Committee was briefed by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta about the response to the situation in Libya. Afterwards, Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) was quoted as saying, “I think it was a planned, premeditated attack.” He added that he did not know the group responsible for the attack.[149]
September 15 SITE Intelligence Group released a report that said al-Qaeda claimed that the attack was in revenge for the killing of the network’s number two Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi.[150]Talking points prepared by the CIA, stated “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.” [106]
September 16 In an interview with NPR in Benghazi, President Mohammed el-Megarif said that foreigners infiltrated Libya over the past few months, planned the attack, and used Libyans to carry it out.[151] According to el-Megarif: “The idea that this criminal and cowardly act was a spontaneous protest that just spun out of control is completely unfounded and preposterous. We firmly believe that this was a precalculated, preplanned attack that was carried out specifically to attack the U.S. Consulate.” He said the attackers used the protesters outside the consulate as a cover, and there is evidence showing that elements of Ansar al-Sharia, an extremist group in eastern Benghazi, were used by foreign citizens with ties to al-Qaida to attack the consulate.[152]U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice appeared on several Sunday morning talk shows and stated, “Putting together the best information that we have available to us today our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of– of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video. What we think then transpired in Benghazi is that opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate as this was unfolding. They came with heavy weapons which unfortunately are readily available in post revolutionary Libya. And it escalated into a much more violent episode.”[112][153][154][155][156]Senator John McCain (R-AZ), the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, voiced suspicion that the attack was planned in advance and not prompted by the furor over the film. He noted that “[m]ost people don’t bring rocket-propelled grenades and heavy weapons to demonstrations. That was an act of terror.”[157]
September 17 Fox News reported that an “intelligence source on the ground in Libya” said “there was no demonstration outside the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi” before the attack.[158] The source was quoted as saying, “There was no protest and the attacks were not spontaneous.” The source also said that the attack “was planned and had nothing to do with the movie.” The source said the assault came with no warning at about 9:35 p.m. local time and included fire from more than two locations. The information for the time and for multiple directions of the attack corroborates an eyewitness report.[28]Representative Mike Rogers (R) Michigan, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview with Real Clear Politics that there were reports that the Consulate sustained “indirect fire, artillery type fire from mortars. They had direct unit action. It was coordinated in a way that was very unusual. They repulsed a quick reaction force that came to the facility….”[159]
September 19 The director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Matthew Olson, appeared before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. During the hearing Olsen said that the Americans killed in Libya died “in the course of a terrorist attack.”[160]But he said that “the facts that we have now indicate that this was an opportunistic attack,” one in which heavily armed militants took advantage of an ongoing demonstration at the Consulate.Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) disagreed with Olsen’s statement that the attack did not appear pre-planned. She said, “Based on the briefings I have had, I’ve come to the opposite conclusion. I just don’t think that people come to protests equipped with RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades] and other heavy weapons. And the reports of complicity—and they are many—with Libyan guards who were assigned to guard the consulate also suggest to me that this was premeditated.” Olsen told committee members that the U.S. is “looking at indications” that some attackers had connections to al-Qaeda or its North African affiliate, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.Fox News reported intelligence sources that the attack was tied to Al Qaeda via the involvement of Abu Sufian bin Qumu, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee.[161][162] However, a US national security official tells Mother Jones that “that report is wrong, there’s no intelligence suggesting that he was leading the attack on the consulate that evening.”[163]
September 20 Reuters reported that U.S. authorities are investigating the prospect of collusion between the militants who launched the attack on the consulate and locally hired Libyan personnel guarding the facility.[164] This corroborates earlier statements by U.S. government officials who stated there were multiple accounts of collusion between the attackers and the Libyan security guards.[160]Secretary Clinton announced the formation of a panel to investigate the attack,[165]which is separate from the FBI investigation.White House Press Secretary Jay Carney for the first time called the event “a terrorist attack.” In the same report CNN noted conflicting reports that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens “believed he was on an al Qaeda hit list.”[166]
September 21 U.S. officials said that the heavily armed extremists who laid siege to the consulate used “military-style tactics” in what appeared to be a “sophisticated operation”. Intelligence reports indicated that 50 or more people, many of them masked, took part in the attack and used gun trucks and precise mortar fire.[167] Intelligence reports also indicated that the attackers set up a perimeter to control access in and out of the compound.
September 23 A report in The New York Times has stated that there were two facilities used by the Americans in Benghazi, one for the American mission and an annex a half-mile away [168]and that:
Neither was heavily guarded, and the annex was never intended to be a “safe house,” as initial accounts suggested. Two of the mission’s guards — Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty, former members of the Navy SEALs — were killed just outside the villa’s front gate.
September 25 U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) sent a letter to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice seeking clarification on statements she made on the five Sunday talk shows on September 16 that the September 11 attack in Benghazi was the result of a “spontaneous reaction.” The senators wrote that the evidence clearly showed the attack was planned and coordinated.[169] Ms. Rice wrote in her reply letter, “I relied solely and squarely on the information the intelligence community provided to me … This information represented the intelligence community’s best, current assessment as of the date of my television appearances.” The four senators replied in a statement: “Elements of the intelligence community apparently told the administration within hours of the attack that militants connected with al Qaeda were involved, yet Ambassador Rice claims her comments five days later reflected the ‘best’ and ‘current’ assessment of the intelligence community. Either the Obama administration is misleading Congress and the American people, or it is blaming the entire failure on the intelligence community.”[170]
September 26 The Daily Beast reported that three separate U.S. intelligence officials knew within 24 hours of the attack that it was “planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya.”[171]Libyan president Mohamed Magariefd, in an interview with NBC News, said that there were no protestors at the site before the attack and that the anti-Islam film had “nothing to do with” the attack.[172]“Reaction should have been, if it was genuine, should have been six months earlier. So it was postponed until the 11th of September,” he said. “They chose this date, 11th of September to carry a certain message.”Eight Republican Representatives on the House Armed Services Committee sent a letter to President Obama asking him to provide answers to questions in a classified format.[173] Their letter reads in part: “While we appreciate your willingness to provide the House of Representatives with an interagency briefing last week, many of the members’ questions were left unanswered. To that end, we are seeking additional information regarding the intelligence leading up to the attack, the security posture of our embassy, the role former Guantanamo Bay detainees may have played, as well as the way forward in Libya and, indeed, the region.”
September 28 A statement released by the Director of Public Affairs for the Director of National Intelligence, Shawn Turner, on the intelligence related to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, read in part:[107] “As we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists. It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attack, and if extremist group leaders directed their members to participate. However, we do assess that some of those involved were linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to al-Qa’ida. We continue to make progress, but there remain many unanswered questions. As more information becomes available our analysis will continue to evolve and we will obtain a more complete understanding of the circumstances surrounding the terrorist attack.”

[edit] October 2012

October 2 In a letter to Secretary of State Clinton, Darrell Issa (R-CA, chairman of the Committee) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT, chairman of the subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations) write that “the attack that claimed the Ambassador’s life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012. It was clearly never, as Administration officials once insisted, the result of a popular protest.”[8] The letter goes on to state that the mission in Benghazi was denied increased security they repeatedly requested. Subpoenaed witnesses set to testify before the committee on October 10 are Charlene Lamb, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State; Eric Nordstrom, Regional Security Officer, U.S. Department of State; and Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, Utah National Guard, U.S. Army.[174] According to Lt. Col. Wood, his 16-member team and a six-member State Department elite force called a Mobile Security Deployment team left Libya in August, one month before the assault on the diplomatic mission. Wood says that’s despite the fact that U.S. officials in Libya wanted security increased, not decreased.[175]
October 3 The Washington Post reported that the FBI investigation team was in Tripoli and had not reached Benghazi yet.[176]
October 4 The State Department announced an Accountability Review Board “to examine the facts and circumstances of the attacks.”[177]The Washington Post reported that the FBI team arrived in Benghazi and left after about 12 hours.[178]
October 5 The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is conducting its own investigation of the attack.[175]
October 9 In an evening briefing to reporters, the State Department said it never concluded that the consulate attack in Libya stemmed from protests over the video.[179]Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Bob Corker (R-TN) met with Libyan officials in Tripoli, and said that investigators are examining video from security cameras at the primary Benghazi compound to help them reconstruct what happened in the attack and identify attack participants.[180]Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) sent letters to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director David Petraeus, and John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, asking them to respond to “specific questions regarding the shifting official explanations” about the attack.[181]
October 10

The four witnesses called to testify at the October 10, 2012 hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (l to r) were Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, Utah National Guard, U.S. Army; Eric Nordstrom, Regional Security Officer, U.S. Department of State; Charlene Lamb, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State; and Ambassador Patrick Kennedy, Under Secretary for Management, U.S. Department of State. An image of the U.S. compound can be seen behind Ms. Lamb.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held its hearing, “The Security Failures of Benghazi.”[174] In addition to the three witnesses originally named, a fourth witness testified: Ambassador Patrick Kennedy, Under Secretary for Management, U.S. Department of State.

  • In sworn testimony, Mr. Kennedy said, “…if any administration official, including any career official, were on television on Sunday, September 16th, they would have said what Ambassador Rice said. The information she had at that point from the intelligence community is the same that I had at that point.”[182] However, in a briefing to congressional staffers on September 13, Mr. Kennedy said that the attack appeared planned.[147]
  • During testimony State Department witnesses acknowledged that it rejected appeals for more security at its diplomatic posts in Libya in the months before the attack.[183] The “annex” and “safe house” in the second diplomatic compound was inadvertently revealed to be a U.S. intelligence post.[184][185][186]
  • Charlene Lamb, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Programs, said in her prepared testimony that she had a firm grasp on what happened in Benghazi, starting moments after the assault began. ”When the attack began, a Diplomatic Security agent working in the tactical operations center immediately … alerted the annex U.S. quick reaction security team stationed nearby … and the Diplomatic Security Command Center in Washington. From that point on, I could follow what was happening in almost real-time.”[38]
  • During testimony Representative Issa described the existence of video tape of the attack taken from consulate security cameras; the tape was not available to committee members at the time of the hearing.
October 12 U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs announced its plan to conduct a bipartisan investigation. Part of their investigation will seek to determine “why the Administration’s initial public assessments of this attack were subsequently proven inaccurate.”[187]
October 14 Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation, said that “[t]he intelligence community on the ground in Libya has told Senator Corker and myself that within twenty-four hours, they communicated up to Washington that this was a terrorist attack.”[188]
October 15 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton assumed responsibility for the Benghazi attack, saying that she is in charge of her 60,000-plus staff all over the world and “the president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”[189] Republican Senator John McCain praised her “laudable gesture, especially when the White House is trying to avoid any responsibility whatsoever” but insisted that either there were drastic failures in the national security operation in not keeping the president aware of ongoing threats, or Obama himself knew of the threats and needed to take responsibility for the shortcomings.[190]In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the two Libyan militiamen guarding the consulate denied aiding the attackers. The compound was “lazily quiet” in the hours before the assault, they said. Around 9:30 p.m., the guards heard cries of “Allahu akbar!”—”God is great”—three times from outside the walls, then a voice called out in Arabic “You infidels!” and the attackers raced inside.[191]The New York Times reported that witnesses of the attack knowledgeable of the circumstances were very convinced that it was carried out by a group of local Islamic militants in response to the video. According to local militia leaders familiar with the militant group, it was capable of carrying out the attack on short notice with only a few hour’s planning.[192]
October 17 Libyan officials report that the founder of Libya’s Islamist militia Ansar al-Sharia was at the compound during the attack, but that he remains free a week after those allegations were disclosed to Libyan political leaders and U.S. investigators.[193] The militia commander, identified as Ahmed Abu Khattalah, is a former political prisoner whose fighters were also blamed for assassinating a senior military officer after he defected to the opposition during last year’s revolution against Moammar Kadafi.[194]
October 18 Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs made its first request for documents and briefings into the circumstances surrounding the attack. In separate letters to Secretary Hillary Clinton, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the committee requested a classified briefing for members of the committee. The briefing is to address threat assessments before the attack, security needs, requests for security, description and chronology of the attack, and what the Obama administration knew about the attack in the immediate aftermath and “whether any initial public statements issued by members of the Administration in the days following the attack were inaccurate and, if so, why.”[195]Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, questioned the security at the compound and the initial intelligence surrounding the attack. Feinstein was quoted in an interview: “I think what happened was the director of national intelligence, which we call the DNI, who is a very good individual, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Gen. Jim Clapper, put out some speaking points on the initial intelligence assessment. I think that was possibly a mistake.”[196]
October 19 Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and National Security Subcommittee Chairman Jason Chaffetz sent a 10-page letter to President Obama,[197] accompanied by 166 pages of unclassified documents[198] and photos.[199] The committee stated that the “letter requests that the White House respond to questions about its role in the controversial decision to have the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya pursue a course of ‘normalization’ that was intended to help create the perception of success in Libya and contrast it to U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”[200]Representative Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to President Obama requesting him to release Intelligence Community (1) reporting that led Obama Administration officials to initially characterize the assault as a “spontaneous reaction” to a film and (2) data and intelligence that led the Administration to change its characterization from a “spontaneous reaction” to a “terrorist attack.”[201]Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) renewed their request from 10 days ago that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director David Petraeus and John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, answer questions regarding “the shifting official explanations surrounding” the attack. The senators wrote, “Our questions should not be hard to answer, and the American people have a right to learn what our intelligence communities knew about the events of September 11, 2012, and when they knew it.”[202]U.S. officials told The Associated Press that the CIA station chief in Libya compiled intelligence reports within 24 hours of the attack that indicated there was evidence it was carried out by militants, using the pretext of demonstrations against U.S. facilities in Egypt against the film to cover their intent. The report from the station chief was written late Wednesday, Sept. 12, and reached intelligence agencies in Washington the next day. It was not clear how widely the information was circulated.[203]
October 20 The Washington Post reported that talking points prepared by the CIA on Sept. 15 stated: “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.” [106]CBS News reported Congress members have asked why military assistance was not sent. General Dempsey and Secretary Panetta “looked at available options, and the ones we exercised had our military forces arrive in less than 24 hours, well ahead of timelines laid out in established policies.” A unmanned Predator drone was sent to Benghazi, and the drone observed the final hours of the attack. The Pentagon said it moved a team of special operators from central Europe to Naval Air Station Sigonella; other nearby military forces available were fighter jets and AC-130 gunships. Gary Berntsen stated, “They made zero adjustments in this. They stood and they watched and our people died.”[204]
October 22 The New York Times reported that Ms. Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, “has said that the judgments she offered on the five talk shows on Sept. 16 came from talking points prepared by the C.I.A., which reckoned that the attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans had resulted from a spontaneous mob that was angry about an anti-Islamic video that had set off protests elsewhere. That assessment, described to Ms. Rice in briefings the day before her television appearances, was based on intercepted communications, informants’ tips and Libyan press reports, officials said.” [113]
October 23 Media reports indicate that the State Department’s Operations Center sent a “Sensitive but unclassified” email at 4:05 p.m. Washington time (10:05 p.m. Benghazi time) on September 11 titled “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack” to the White House Situation Room and other U.S. security units and two hours later sent an email titled “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.”[205][206] The first email reads in part: “approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well. Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four COM (Chief of Mission/embassy) personnel are in the compound safe haven.”[207] Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton cautioned that those emails are “not in and of itself evidence” that the administration had definitively assessed the assault as a terrorist attack from the beginning.[208] A Tunisian man who was arrested in Turkey earlier this month with reported links to the Benghazi attack has been returned to Tunisia and is facing terrorism charges.[209][210]
October 25 A suspected Al-Qaeda member who was believed to have been involved in the Consulate attack was shot dead by Egyptian police, after they received a tip that he was staying in an apartment in Madinat Nasr. Egyptian police also arrested a seven-member cell in Cairo, five of whom are Libyans and the other two Egyptians.[211]
October 26 Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte wrote to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, CIA Director David Petraeus, and Attorney General Eric Holder requesting they make public the surveillance video taken at the consulate during the attack.[212]Fox News reported that military back-up was denied by the CIA chain of command, and the annex was instructed twice to “stand down”. Woods, and two others, ignored those instructions and evacuated the consulate. Upon returning to the annex, and after beginning to taking fire, the annex requested fire support as they had a laser targeted on the mortar team that was attacking them. A CIA spokeswoman, Jennifer Youngblood, denied the claims.[61]
October 27 The Associated Press published a timeline of the comments by the administration and Libyan officials regarding the Benghazi attack,[29] as well as Libyan witnesses account.[27]
October 28 Retired Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer told Fox News that he has sources saying President Obama was in the White House Situation Room watching the assault unfold in real time.[213]
October 31 Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested that “at least two networks have emails from the National Security Adviser’s office telling a counterterrorism group to stand down” in assisting the besieged U.S. consulate in Benghazi.[214]Gingrich said that the bombshell emails could be revealed within the next two days.Fox News reported that a cable marked “SECRET” and addressed to the Office of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton summarized an “emergency meeting” convened by the U.S. Mission in Benghazi on August 15, 2012. In the meeting the State Department’s regional security officer “expressed concerns with the ability to defend Post in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound.” According to Fox News, “The details in the cable seemed to foreshadow the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. compound, which was a coordinated, commando-style assault using direct and indirect fire. Al Qaeda in North Africa and Ansar al-Sharia, both mentioned in the cable, have since been implicated in the consulate attack.”[215]

November 2012

November 1 Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), appearing on yesterday evenings’ Fox News’ On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren, said that Ambassador Stevens telephoned Deputy Chief of Mission Gregory Hicks in Tripoli on Sept. 11 to tell him the consulate was under attack.[39]CBS News reported that during the attack the Obama administration did not convene its top interagency counterterrorism resource: the Counterterrorism Security Group, (CSG). A high-ranking government official was quoted: “The CSG is the one group that’s supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies. They were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon.”[216]The article goes on to state that counterterrorism sources and internal emails reviewed by CBS News expressed frustration that key responders were ready to deploy but were not called upon to help in the attack.Documents found by reporters for the American magazine Foreign Policy on Oct. 26 amid the wreckage of the U.S. consulate indicate there was concern about security at the compound. One letter dated Sept. 11 and addressed to Mohamed Obeidi, the head of the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ office in Benghazi, reads in part: “Finally, early this morning at 0643, September 11, 2012, one of our diligent guards made a troubling report. Near our main gate, a member of the police force was seen in the upper level of a building across from our compound. It is reported that this person was photographing the inside of the U.S. special mission and furthermore that this person was part of the police unit sent to protect the mission.”[217]The article states that this accords with a message written by Smith, the IT officer who was killed in the assault, on a gaming forum on Sept. 11. “Assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures,” he wrote hours before the assault.Washington Post published a detailed CIA timeline of the attack described by a senior intelligence official.[218]
November 2 Fifty-three members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary Clinton requesting responses to oversight questions, including questions on the president’s Daily Brief, how the State Department designated the Benghazi compound (and how it affected security requirements), contradictions in the administration’s public statements of the attack as a deliberate terrorist attack or a spontaneous protest, and discrepancies between danger pay increases for mission personnel but denial for additional security.[219]Senior U.S. intelligence officials acknowledged that Woods and Doherty were contracted by the Central Intelligence Agency, not the State Department as originally publicly identified.[60]Fox News reported that U.S. military intelligence informed senior commanders as early as 7 p.m. ET (that is, less than 4 hours after the attack began) that Ansar al-Sharia carried out the attack. The intelligence was relayed with no caveats, according to a source familiar with the intelligence.[220]The Pentagon said that two U.S. service members volunteered to join the CIA team that travelled from Tripoli to Benghazi on the rescue mission.[221]
November 3 U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) urged the immediate creation of a temporary Select Committee to investigate the Benghazi attack.[222]Fox News reported that the Blue Mountain Security manager (who was in charge of the local force hired to guard the consulate perimeter) made calls on both two-way radios and cell phones to colleagues in Benghazi warning of problems at least an hour earlier than the attack. Allegedly, those calls were to local security contractors, who say that the annex was also notified much earlier than 9:40 p.m., when the attack started. U.S. military intelligence also said that armed militias were gathering up to 3 hours before the attack.[223]
November 9 David H. Petraeus resigned his position as CIA Director and admitted to having an extramarital affair; he was scheduled to testify before Congress the week of November 12 on the Benghazi attack.[224] As of then it was not clear that General Petraeus would have to testify, and whether he would be disposed to do so if requested or required by Congress, though Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, indicated that the Congress would need to interview him. On Wednesday, November 14, 2012, it was made known that he had agreed to testify the following day, Thursday, November 15.[225]
November 10 The Department of Defense released a press release stating they released a detailed timeline yesterday of the Pentagon’s response to the attack.[226]
November 12 Paula Broadwell gave a talk on October 26th at the University of Denver in which she revealed that the CIA annex was used to imprison Libyan militia members.[227] In the same speech, Broadwell speculated that this may have been the motivation behind the attack on the consulate.[228] A Fox News Source confirmed to them that the CIA Annex was used as a detention center for not just militia members, but for prisoners from all parts of Northern Africa and the Middle East. The CIA has denied these allegations.[229]
November 15 U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism officials testified in congressional public and closed hearings today.[230] CNN reported that legislators saw “real-time film (showing) exactly what happened”, starting before the attack began up “through the incident and the exodus,” according to Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The video was reported to be from “a combination of video from a surveillance camera and a drone.”[231]
November 16 Former CIA Director David Petraeus testified in closed hearings to both congressional intelligence committees. Speaking with reporters after the hearing, Representative Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said that Petraeus testified that he knew that the attack was a terrorist attack linked to al-Qaeda affiliates and not sparked by a protest over an anti-Islam video, as White House officials and President Obama had said for days afterwards.[232] “The original talking points put out by the CIA were different from what was later put out,” King said. “Petraeus says his initial assessment was from the start it was a terrorist attack.” King said a CIA analyst specifically told lawmakers that the al-Qaeda affiliates line “was taken out.”[233]Other House members in attendance at the hearing said that Petraeus made clear that the modifications of the original talking points were not done for political reasons. Petraeus “was adamant there was no politicization of the process, no White House interference or political agenda,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). “He completely debunked that idea.” Regarding Ambassador Susan Rice’s comments during television interviews after the attack, Schiff went on to say that the, according to Petraeus, the comments “reflected the best intelligence at the time that could be released publicly”. “There was an interagency process to draft it, not a political process,” Schiff said. “They came up with the best assessment without compromising classified information or source or methods. So changes were made to protect classified information.”[234] According to Petraeus’s statements during the hearing, administration officials were concerned that, by publicly disclosing the involvement of Al Qaeda affiliates and sympathizers in the attack, those groups would be tipped off that US government agencies were aware of their involvement.[235]The Washington Post reported that, since the attack, the CIA and other intelligence analysts have settled on a hybrid view of the attack, suggesting that the Cairo protest sparked militants in Libya, who quickly mobilized the assault on U.S. facilities in Benghazi.[236] Details about possible al-Qaeda links were not in initial talking points used by both Petraeus and UN Ambassador Susan Rice because they were preliminary and based on classified sources, intelligence officials said.
November 20 CBS News reported that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) cut specific references to “al Qaeda” and “terrorism” from the unclassified talking points given to Ambassador Susan Rice on the attack, with the agreement of the CIA and FBI.[237]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_on_the_U.S._diplomatic_mission_in_Benghazi

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Obama’s Collectivist Victory Speech–The Collectivists March Forward Over The Fiscal Cliff–Videos

Posted on November 7, 2012. Filed under: Blogroll, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, Inflation, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Programming, Radio, Raves, Regulations, Tax Policy, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

George Carlin Doesn’t vote

President Obama’s Election Night Victory Speech – November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois 

G. Edward Griffin – The Collectivist Conspiracy 

George Carlin -“Who Really Controls America” 

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Independent Fiscal, Religious and Libertarian Conservatives Stayed Home Instead of Voting for A Neoconservative Progressive Republican or Democrat–Paul Prepares For 2016?–Plague On Both Parties–Lesser of Two Evils Is Still Evil–Conservatives Looking For A New Political Party–Tea Party–Videos

Posted on November 7, 2012. Filed under: American History, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, Health Care, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Radio, Raves, Religion, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Uncategorized, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , |

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of  the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
Abraham  Lincoln

Why Rand Was Right to Endorse Romney 

“I did not come to praise the progressive Republican establishment but to replace them.”

Raymond Thomas Pronk

SA@TheDC – Conservatism for What? 

Open Memo To Republican Party: No more progressives or your party will go the way of the Whigs.

Dewey, Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain, and Romney–Progressive Republicans all.

Since the end of World War II, the only conservative libertarian Republican elected President was Ronald Reagan and the progressive Republicans or Rockefeller Republicans did not want him.

Millions of Independent conservatives as well as Republican conservatives stayed home in 2012 or did not vote for either Romney nor Obama, get a clue Republican Party establishment.

I stayed home.

The time has come for tea party candidates to form their own political party.

The Republican Party like the Democratic Party is controlled by progressive Republicans that favor big government intervention in the economy and abroad.

Conservatives are leaving the Republican Party in droves.

The only way to get a politician or political party’s attention is to not vote for them.

Have we got your attention.

I doubt it.

Why would any progressive vote for a Republican progressive?

Why would any conservative–traditional, national defense, social, religious, fiscal or libertarian–vote for a progressive Republican.

Neoconservatives are not conservatives, they are right-wing progressives from the Democratic Party.

Soon the number of independent voters will exceed the number of registered Democrats as well as the number of registered Republicans.

All the Republican Party had to do in 2012 was nominate a conservative, instead the Republican Party establishment nominated a progressive.

Some people and parties never learn.

Romney did not get the young vote.

Ron Paul did in the primaries.

Barack Obama got the majority of the young vote–18-29.

For sheer stupidity and arrogance read the post below from a Romney volunteer and their get out the vote software or website failure!

Romney’s team did not the basics down.

Should be a Havard Business School case study in how not to run a campaign.

Senator Rand Paul for President in 2016!

Senator Rand Paul

Why ‘Mitt Romney’ Lost

The Ultimate Mitt Romney Flip-Flop Collection 

“Can’t Be Worse Than Obama”

“The Libertarian View”

SA@TAC – What’s a ‘Neoconservative?’ 

SA@TheDC – Confronting American Empire

SA@TAC – No Excuse: Mitt Romney’s Case for American Empire 

SA@TAC – Ronald Reagan: Isolationist

SA@TAC – Conservatism in Exile

RNC or WWE? 

Snakes on a Campaign: Mitt Romney by the Southern Avenger

How Romney and Republicans Can Appeal to Libertarians 

Ron Paul on Fox News ~ Election Day Analysis 11/6/12

RON PAUL on THE TONIGHT SHOW with JAY LENO (09/04/2012)

Rand Paul Eyes 2016 Run 

Alex Jones It’s gonna get BAD! 7.nov.2012 

Collectivism Running America: Alex Jones Report 

G. Edward Griffin – The Collectivist Conspiracy 

Mind blowing speech by Robert Welch in 1958 predicting Insiders plans to destroy America

The Truth in Time by Robert Welch

[youatube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLucLyyJxMQ&feature=related]

Mr. Conservative: Barry Goldwater at the 1964 Republican National Convention 

Reagan – A Time For Choosing 

Turnout shaping up to be lower than 2008

“…

A drop in voter turnout in Tuesday’s election didn’t keep President Barack  Obama from winning a second term.

Preliminary figures suggest fewer people voted this year than four years ago,  when voters shattered turnout records as they elected Obama to his first  term.

In most states, the numbers are shaping up to be even lower than in 2004,  said Curtis Gans, director of American University’s Center for the Study of the  American Electorate. Every state is showing lower numbers than in 2008, Gans  said. Still, the full picture may not be known for weeks because much of the  counting takes place after Election Day.

“This is one of those rare elections in which turnout in every state in the  nation went down,” Gans said.

In Texas, turnout for the presidential race dropped almost 11 percent from  2008. Vermont and South Carolina saw declines that were almost as large. The  drop-off was more than 7 percent in Maryland, where voters approved a ballot  measure allowing gay marriage.

With 97 percent of precincts reporting, The Associated Press’ figures showed  more than 118 million people had voted in the White House race, but that number  will go up as more votes are counted. In 2008, 131 million people cast ballots  for president, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Experts calculate turnout in different ways based on who they consider  eligible voters. A separate, preliminary estimate from George Mason University’s  Michael McDonald put the 2012 turnout rate at 60 percent of eligible voters.  That figure was expected to be revised as more precincts reported and absentee  votes were counted. …”

Read more: http://www.kypost.com/dpps/news/national/turnout-shaping-up-to-be-lower-than-2008_7991483#ixzz2BZ1CMrNE

Read more: http://www.kypost.com/dpps/news/national/turnout-shaping-up-to-be-lower-than-2008_7991483#ixzz2BZ00bhK8

November 08, 2012

The Unmitigated Disaster Known As Project ORCA

What is Project Orca?  Well, this is what they told us:

Project ORCA is a massive undertaking – the Republican Party’s newest, unprecedented and most technologically advanced plan to win the 2012 presidential election.

Pretty much everything in that sentence is false.  The “massive undertaking” is true, however.  It would take a lot of planning, training and coordination to be done successfully (oh, we’ll get to that in a second).  This wasn’t really the GOP’s effort, it was Team Romney’s.  And perhaps “unprecedented” would fit if we’re discussing failure.

The entire purpose of this project was to digitize the decades-old practice of strike lists.  The old way was to sit with your paper and mark off people that have voted and every hour or so, someone from the campaign would come get your list and take it back to local headquarters.  Then, they’d begin contacting people that hadn’t voted yet and encourage them to head to the polls.  It’s worked for years.

From the very start there were warning signs.  After signing up, you were invited to take part in nightly conference calls.  The calls were more of the slick marketing speech type than helpful training sessions.  There was a lot of “rah-rahs” and lofty talk about how this would change the ballgame.

Working primarily as a web developer, I had some serious questions.  Things like “Has this been stress tested?”, “Is there redundancy in place?” and “What steps have been taken to combat a coordinated DDOS attack or the like?”, among others.  These types of questions were brushed aside (truth be told, they never took one of my questions).  They assured us that the system had been relentlessly tested and would be a tremendous success.

On one of the last conference calls (I believe it was on Saturday night), they told us that our packets would be arriving shortly.  Now, there seemed to be a fair amount of confusion about what they meant by “packet”.  Some people on Twitter were wondering if that meant a packet in the mail or a pdf or what.  Finally, my packet arrived at 4PM on Monday afternoon as an emailed 60 page pdf.  Nothing came in the mail.  Because I was out most of the day, I only got around to seeing it at around 10PM Monday night.  So, I sat down and cursed as I would have to print out 60+ pages of instructions and voter rolls on my home printer.  Naturally, for reasons I can’t begin to comprehend, my printer would not print in black and white with an empty magenta cartridge (No HP, I will never buy another one of your products ever again).  So, at this point I became panicked.  I was expected to be at the polls at 6:45AM and nothing was open.  I was thankfully able to find a Kinko’s open until 11PM that was able to print it out and bind it for me, but this is not something I should have had to do.  They expected 75-80 year old veteran volunteers to print out 60+ pages on their home computers?  The night before election day?  From what I hear, other people had similar experiences.  In fact, many volunteers never received their packets at all.

At 6:30AM on Tuesday, I went to the polls.  I was immediately turned away because I didn’t have my poll watcher certificate.  Many, many people had this problem.  The impression I got was this was taken care of because they had “registered me”.  Others were as well.  But apparently, I was supposed to go on my own to a Victory Center to pick it up, but that was never communicated properly.  Outside of the technical problems, this was the single biggest failure of the operation.  They simply didn’t inform people that this was a requirement.  In fact, check out my “checklist” from my ORCA packet:Notice anything missing?  My guess is the second “Chair (if allowed)” was supposed to be “poll watcher certificate” but they put chair twice.  This was an instruction packet that went out to 30,000+ people.  Did no one proof-read it?

So, I headed back home to see if I could get my certificate.  I called their official help line.  It went unanswered.  I tried their legal line.  Same thing.  I emailed them.  No response.  I continued to do this for six straight hours and never got a response. I even tried to call three local victory centers.  All went straight to voicemail.

While I was home, I took to Twitter and the web to try to find some answers.  From what I saw, these problems were widespread.  People had been kicked from poll watching for having no certificate.  Others never received their pdf packets.  Some were sent the wrong packets from a different area.  Some received their packet, but their usernames and passwords didn’t work.

Now a note about the technology itself.  For starters, this was billed as an “app” when it was actually a mobile-optimized website (or “web app”).  For days I saw people on Twitter saying they couldn’t find the app on the Android Market or iTunes and couldn’t download it.  Well, that’s because it didn’t exist.  It was a website.  This created a ton of confusion.  Not to mention that they didn’t even “turn it on” until 6AM in the morning, so people couldn’t properly familiarize themselves with how it worked on their personal phone beforehand.

Next, and this part I find mind-boggingly absurd, the web address was located at “https://www.whateveritwas.com/orca&#8221;.  Notice the “s” after http. This denotes it’s a secure connection, something that’s used for e-commerce and web-based email.  So far, so good.  The problem is that they didn’t auto-forward the regular “http” to “https” and as a result, many people got a blank page and thought the system was down.  Setting up forwarding is the simplest thing in the world and only takes seconds, but they failed to do it.  This is compounded by the fact that mobile browsers default to “http” when you just start with “www” (as 95% of the world does).

By 2PM, I had completely given up.  I finally got ahold of someone at around 1PM and I never heard back.  From what I understand, the entire system crashed at around 4PM.  I’m not sure if that’s true, but it wouldn’t surprise me.  I decided to wait for my wife to get home from work to vote, which meant going very late (around 6:15PM).  Here’s the kicker, I never got a call to go out and vote.  So, who the hell knows if that end of it was working either.

So, the end result was that 30,000+ of the most active and fired-up volunteers were wandering around confused and frustrated when they could have been doing anything else to help.  Like driving people to the polls, phone-banking, walking door-to-door, etc.  We lost by fairly small margins in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado.  If this had worked could it have closed the gap?  I sure hope not for my sanity’s sake.

The bitter irony of this entire endeavor was that a supposedly small government candidate gutted the local structure of GOTV efforts in favor of a centralized, faceless organization in a far off place (in this case, their Boston headquarters).  Wrap your head around that.

I’m on Twitter at @JohnEkdahl if you have any questions.

http://ace.mu.nu/archives/334783.php

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Pro Life People of Faith Will Vote Romney/Ryan–They Will Turn Out To Vote Election Day, Tuesday November 6, 2012,–Romney 53%, Obama 47%, Romney 307, Obama 231–President Romney and Vice President Ryan Noon Sunday, January 20, 2013–Videos

Posted on November 6, 2012. Filed under: Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, government, government spending, Law, liberty, Life, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Tax Policy, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

The GOP and the Catholic Vote 

Mormons and Evangelicals: A Theological Divide 

Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan & Religion 

Romney, Ryan make religious history 

Romney claims Obama attacking religious at CNN Arizona Debate 

Romney: Obama Leading “Assaults” on Life, Religion, Marriage 

Mitt Romney On Gay Rights, Mormonism & Homosexuality 

Paul Ryan VP Pick Appeases Tea Party & Religious Right

Is the religious right Mitt’s secret weapon to win?

Is the Religious Right Romney’s secret weapon?

Will Romney’s faith factor in the race to the White House?

Mitt Romney & the Mormon Curse Upon Black People

The Background of President Obama’s Liberation Theology 

Black Liberation Theology’s Origin and History 

Black Liberation Theology’s Defining Concepts

Jeremiah Wright 

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Bye Bye Birdie aka Bubbles Ben Bernanke and Bye Bye Blackbird Barry–A Twofer!–Videos

Posted on November 4, 2012. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Inflation, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Politics, Radio, Rants, Raves, Resources, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Ann-Margret BYE BYE BIRDIE

“CTRL+P” BERNANKE IS ALMOST DEAD!

November 2, 2011, Press Conference with Chairman of the FOMC, Ben S. Bernanke 

Peter Schiff  – The Fed Unspun: The Other Side of the Story 

Jim Rogers on Ben Bernanke, the Dollar and “Saving the Saver” 

Investor Jim Rogers Gives Dire Warning

Marc Faber: Fed Monetary Policy Will Destroy World 9/14/2012

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We Can’t Afford Four Years of Obama With Fewer Americans Working Than Five Years Ago In November 2007 (146.6 Million) Than Today (143.4 Million)–Obama Is Not Working Out–Vote For A Change–Videos

Posted on November 4, 2012. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Culture, Demographics, Economics, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, Health Care, history, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Monetary Policy, People, Philosophy, Politics, Programming, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Resources, Video, Wealth, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

November 2nd 2012 CNBC Stock Market Squawk Box (October Jobs Report)

Market Week in Review – November 2, 2012 

Employment Level

143.384 Million

Series Id:           LNS12000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Employment Level
Labor force status:  Employed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 136559(1) 136598 136701 137270 136630 136940 136531 136662 136893 137088 137322 137614
2001 137778 137612 137783 137299 137092 136873 137071 136241 136846 136392 136238 136047
2002 135701 136438 136177 136126 136539 136415 136413 136705 137302 137008 136521 136426
2003 137417(1) 137482 137434 137633 137544 137790 137474 137549 137609 137984 138424 138411
2004 138472(1) 138542 138453 138680 138852 139174 139556 139573 139487 139732 140231 140125
2005 140245(1) 140385 140654 141254 141609 141714 142026 142434 142401 142548 142499 142752
2006 143150(1) 143457 143741 143761 144089 144353 144202 144625 144815 145314 145534 145970
2007 146028(1) 146057 146320 145586 145903 146063 145905 145682 146244 145946 146595 146273
2008 146397(1) 146157 146108 146130 145929 145738 145530 145196 145059 144792 144078 143328
2009 142187(1) 141660 140754 140654 140294 140003 139891 139458 138775 138401 138607 137968
2010 138500(1) 138665 138836 139306 139340 139137 139139 139338 139344 139072 138937 139220
2011 139330(1) 139551 139764 139628 139808 139385 139450 139754 140107 140297 140614 140790
2012 141637(1) 142065 142034 141865 142287 142415 142220 142101 142974 143384
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

Civilian Labor Force Level

155.641 Million

Series Id:           LNS11000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Civilian Labor Force Level
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 142267(1) 142456 142434 142751 142388 142591 142278 142514 142518 142622 142962 143248
2001 143800 143701 143924 143569 143318 143357 143654 143284 143989 144086 144240 144305
2002 143883 144653 144481 144725 144938 144808 144803 145009 145552 145314 145041 145066
2003 145937(1) 146100 146022 146474 146500 147056 146485 146445 146530 146716 147000 146729
2004 146842(1) 146709 146944 146850 147065 147460 147692 147564 147415 147793 148162 148059
2005 148029(1) 148364 148391 148926 149261 149238 149432 149779 149954 150001 150065 150030
2006 150214(1) 150641 150813 150881 151069 151354 151377 151716 151662 152041 152406 152732
2007 153144(1) 152983 153051 152435 152670 153041 153054 152749 153414 153183 153835 153918
2008 154075(1) 153648 153925 153761 154325 154316 154480 154646 154559 154875 154622 154626
2009 154236(1) 154521 154143 154450 154800 154730 154538 154319 153786 153822 153833 153091
2010 153454(1) 153704 153964 154528 154216 153653 153748 154073 153918 153709 154041 153613
2011 153250(1) 153302 153392 153420 153700 153409 153358 153674 154004 154057 153937 153887
2012 154395(1) 154871 154707 154365 155007 155163 155013 154645 155063 155641
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

Labor Force Participation Rate

63.8%

Series Id:           LNS11300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force participation rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.1 67.1 66.9 66.9 66.9 66.8 66.9 67.0
2001 67.2 67.1 67.2 66.9 66.7 66.7 66.8 66.5 66.8 66.7 66.7 66.7
2002 66.5 66.8 66.6 66.7 66.7 66.6 66.5 66.6 66.7 66.6 66.4 66.3
2003 66.4 66.4 66.3 66.4 66.4 66.5 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 65.9
2004 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 66.0 66.1 66.1 66.0 65.8 65.9 66.0 65.9
2005 65.8 65.9 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0
2006 66.0 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.3 66.4
2007 66.4 66.3 66.2 65.9 66.0 66.0 66.0 65.8 66.0 65.8 66.0 66.0
2008 66.2 66.0 66.1 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 65.9 66.0 65.8 65.8
2009 65.7 65.8 65.6 65.6 65.7 65.7 65.5 65.4 65.1 65.0 65.0 64.6
2010 64.8 64.9 64.9 65.1 64.9 64.6 64.6 64.7 64.6 64.4 64.5 64.3
2011 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.1 64.0 64.1 64.1 64.1 64.0 64.0
2012 63.7 63.9 63.8 63.6 63.8 63.8 63.7 63.5 63.6 63.8

Unemployment Level

12.258 Million

Series Id:           LNS13000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Level
Labor force status:  Unemployed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 5708 5858 5733 5481 5758 5651 5747 5853 5625 5534 5639 5634
2001 6023 6089 6141 6271 6226 6484 6583 7042 7142 7694 8003 8258
2002 8182 8215 8304 8599 8399 8393 8390 8304 8251 8307 8520 8640
2003 8520 8618 8588 8842 8957 9266 9011 8896 8921 8732 8576 8317
2004 8370 8167 8491 8170 8212 8286 8136 7990 7927 8061 7932 7934
2005 7784 7980 7737 7672 7651 7524 7406 7345 7553 7453 7566 7279
2006 7064 7184 7072 7120 6980 7001 7175 7091 6847 6727 6872 6762
2007 7116 6927 6731 6850 6766 6979 7149 7067 7170 7237 7240 7645
2008 7678 7491 7816 7631 8395 8578 8950 9450 9501 10083 10544 11299
2009 12049 12860 13389 13796 14505 14727 14646 14861 15012 15421 15227 15124
2010 14953 15039 15128 15221 14876 14517 14609 14735 14574 14636 15104 14393
2011 13919 13751 13628 13792 13892 14024 13908 13920 13897 13759 13323 13097
2012 12758 12806 12673 12500 12720 12749 12794 12544 12088 12258

Unemployment Rate U-6

7.9%

Series Id:           LNS14000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Rate
Labor force status:  Unemployment rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 4.0 4.1 4.0 3.8 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.1 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9
2001 4.2 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.3 4.5 4.6 4.9 5.0 5.3 5.5 5.7
2002 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 6.0
2003 5.8 5.9 5.9 6.0 6.1 6.3 6.2 6.1 6.1 6.0 5.8 5.7
2004 5.7 5.6 5.8 5.6 5.6 5.6 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.5 5.4 5.4
2005 5.3 5.4 5.2 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.0 4.9 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.9
2006 4.7 4.8 4.7 4.7 4.6 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4
2007 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4 4.6 4.7 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.7 5.0
2008 5.0 4.9 5.1 5.0 5.4 5.6 5.8 6.1 6.1 6.5 6.8 7.3
2009 8.3 8.7 8.9 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.8 10.0 9.9 9.9
2010 9.7 9.8 9.8 9.9 9.6 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.5 9.5 9.8 9.4
2011 9.1 9.0 8.9 9.0 9.0 9.1 9.1 9.1 9.0 8.9 8.7 8.5
2012 8.3 8.3 8.2 8.1 8.2 8.2 8.3 8.1 7.8 7.9

Total Unemployment Rate U-6

14.7%

Series Id:           LNS13327709
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (seas) Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers
Labor force status:  Aggregated totals unemployed
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over
Percent/rates:       Unemployed and mrg attached and pt for econ reas as percent of labor force plus marg attached

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 7.1 7.2 7.1 6.9 7.1 7.0 7.0 7.1 7.0 6.8 7.1 6.9
2001 7.3 7.4 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.9 7.8 8.1 8.7 9.3 9.4 9.6
2002 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.7 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.7 9.8
2003 10.0 10.2 10.0 10.2 10.1 10.3 10.3 10.1 10.4 10.2 10.0 9.8
2004 9.9 9.7 10.0 9.6 9.6 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.4 9.7 9.4 9.2
2005 9.3 9.3 9.1 8.9 8.9 9.0 8.8 8.9 9.0 8.7 8.7 8.6
2006 8.4 8.4 8.2 8.1 8.2 8.4 8.5 8.4 8.0 8.2 8.1 7.9
2007 8.4 8.2 8.0 8.2 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.8
2008 9.2 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.7 10.1 10.5 10.8 11.1 11.8 12.7 13.5
2009 14.2 15.1 15.7 15.8 16.4 16.5 16.5 16.7 16.8 17.2 17.1 17.1
2010 16.7 16.9 16.9 17.0 16.6 16.5 16.5 16.6 16.9 16.8 16.9 16.6
2011 16.1 15.9 15.7 15.9 15.8 16.2 16.1 16.2 16.4 16.0 15.6 15.2
2012 15.1 14.9 14.5 14.5 14.8 14.9 15.0 14.7 14.7 14.6

Background Articles and Videos

Mythical Green Shoots and the Big Government Lie on Unemployment

Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this release is embargoed                       USDL-12-2164
until 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Friday, November 2, 2012

Technical information:
 Household data:       (202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
 Establishment data:   (202) 691-6555  *  cesinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact:         (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov

                         THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- OCTOBER 2012

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 171,000 in October, and the unemployment
rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. Employment rose in professional and business services, health care,
and retail trade.

   _______________________________________________________________________________
  |                                                                               |
  |                                Hurricane Sandy                                |
  |                                                                               |
  |Hurricane Sandy had no discernable effect on the employment and unemployment   |
  |data for October. Household survey data collection was completed before the    |
  |storm, and establishment survey data collection rates were within normal ranges|
  |nationally and for the affected areas. For information on how unusually severe |
  |weather can affect the employment and hours estimates, see the Frequently Asked|
  |Questions section of this release.                                             |
  |                                                                               |
  |_______________________________________________________________________________|

Household Survey Data

Both the unemployment rate (7.9 percent) and the number of unemployed persons (12.3
million) were essentially unchanged in October, following declines in September.
(See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for blacks increased to 14.3
percent in October, while the rates for adult men (7.3 percent), adult women (7.2
percent), teenagers (23.7 percent), whites (7.0 percent), and Hispanics (10.0 percent)
showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 4.9 percent in October
(not seasonally adjusted), down from 7.3 percent a year earlier. (See tables A-1,
A-2, and A-3.)

In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more)
was little changed at 5.0 million. These individuals accounted for 40.6 percent of
the unemployed. (See table A-12.)

The civilian labor force rose by 578,000 to 155.6 million in October, and the labor
force participation rate edged up to 63.8 percent. Total employment rose by 410,000
over the month. The employment-population ratio was essentially unchanged at 58.8
percent, following an increase of 0.4 percentage point in September. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to
as involuntary part-time workers) fell by 269,000 to 8.3 million in October, partially
offsetting an increase of 582,000 in September. These individuals were working part
time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a
full-time job. (See table A-8.)

In October, 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little
different from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) These
individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had
looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed 
because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See
table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 813,000 discouraged workers in October, a
decline of 154,000 from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.)
Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe
no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.6 million persons marginally attached
to the labor force in October had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding
the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See
table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 171,000 in October. Employment growth
has averaged 157,000 per month thus far in 2012, about the same as the average monthly
gain of 153,000 in 2011. In October, employment rose in professional and business
services, health care, and retail trade. (See table B-1.)

Professional and business services added 51,000 jobs in October, with gains in 
services to buildings and dwellings (+13,000) and in computer systems design (+7,000).
Temporary help employment changed little in October and has shown little net change 
over the past 3 months. Employment in professional and business services has grown by
1.6 million since its most recent low point in September 2009.

Health care added 31,000 jobs in October. Job gains continued in ambulatory health
care services (+25,000) and hospitals (+6,000). Over the past year, employment in
health care has risen by 296,000.

Retail trade added 36,000 jobs in October, with gains in motor vehicles and parts dealers 
(+7,000), and in furniture and home furnishings stores (+4,000). Retail trade has added
82,000 jobs over the past 3 months, with most of the gain occurring in motor vehicles
and parts dealers, clothing and accessories stores, and miscellaneous store retailers.

Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up (+28,000) over the month.
This industry has added 811,000 jobs since a recent low point in January 2010, with
most of the gain occurring in food services.

Employment in construction edged up in October. The gain was concentrated in specialty
trade contractors (+17,000).

Manufacturing employment changed little in October. On net, manufacturing employment
has shown little change since April.

Mining lost 9,000 jobs in October, with most of the decline occurring in support
activities for mining. Since May of this year, employment in mining has decreased
by 17,000.

Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and 
warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change
over the month.

In October, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was
34.4 hours for the fourth consecutive month. The manufacturing workweek edged down by
0.1 hour to 40.5 hours, and factory overtime was unchanged at 3.2 hours. The average
workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged
down by 0.1 hour to 33.6 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In October, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged
down by 1 cent to $23.58. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen
by 1.6 percent. In October, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and
nonsupervisory employees edged down by 1 cent to $19.79. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised from +142,000 to
+192,000, and the change for September was revised from +114,000 to +148,000.

_____________
The Employment Situation for November is scheduled to be released on Friday,
December 7, 2012, at 8:30 a.m. (EST).
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Obama Lied and Americans Died In Libya and Big Corporate Media Ignores The Story In Support of Obama!–Have They No Shame? Have They No Honor?–Apparently Not–Videos

Posted on November 1, 2012. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Radio | Tags: , , , , , , , |

The White House Disinformation Campaign on Libya

Libya Cover-up – Obama Outright Lied to American People

Judge Jeanine Pirro, Ann Coulter and Pat Caddell on the Benghazi, Libya Attack

Father Of Murdered Navy Seal in Benghazi, Recounts Days After Attack – Judge Jeanine Pirro

Obama Admin Cover-up!
Delta Force Was On The Ready – Planes Was On The Ready
Father Of Slain Ex-seal Tyron Woods Speaks Out
Father Of Murdered Navy Seal Recounts Days After Attack

Latest on Libya – TheBlaze

BREAKING- OBAMA MAY GO TO PRISON AND BE IMPEACHED KILLING OUR OWN; GLENN BECK

10/28/2012 New Revelations on Attack in Benghazi with Bret Baier – Fox News

Know The TRUTH ~ Step By Step ~ Bret Baier’s ~ ‘Death and Deceit in Benghazi’

Judge Jeanine Investigates Benghazi Gate Part 1 – 10/20/2012 

Judge Jeanine Investigates Benghazi Gate Part 2 – 10/20/2012

Christopher Stevens US ambassador to Libya killed: HD Video

Judge Jeanine Investigates Benghazi Gate Part 3 – 10/20/2012 

Judge Jeanine Investigates Benghazi Gate Part 4 – 10/20/2012 

Obama Administration Denies CIA in Benghazi Requested Help (10/26/12)

Major General Bob Scales: White House Should Have Taken Action in Benghazi (10/26/12)

Retired Major General Bob Scales believes, the White House should have taken action to go after the terrorists in Benghazi on 9/11/12. TWO U.S. drones were flying overhead, giving the White House all the info needed, which made the “fog of war” a minimum concern, and help for the CIA agents and U.S. Ambassador was less than 2 hours away. The siege lasted for 7 hours, making a rescue very possible for at least 2 CIA agents. Repeated calls for help, by the CIA agents, only met with a “request denied” with each call.

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