The Debt Limit

A satirical short film taking a look at the national debt and how it applies to just one family. Starring Brian Stepanek & Eddie Jemison, Produced by Seth William Meier, DP/Edited by Craig Evans, 1st AC Brian Andrews, Sound Mixer Gus Salazar, Written and Directed by Brian Stepanek.

Attribution: Greg

ACLU Picks the Republican

The ACLU, that bastion of
righteousness, has now taken upon itself to rank the presidential candidates.
The Nashua Telegraph reports that the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) has released their “Candidate Report Card”, ranking candidates for the Republican nomination and President Barack Obama on how well – or poorly – they adhere to the Constitution.

I wasn’t aware The ACLU had a sense of humor? They must have quite a good one because they have to be kidding. What would they know about the Constitution other than how to subvert it?

You may also say, who cares. I, for one, care. If the ACLU rates high, any Republican candidate, you best run away, from said candidate.

So, let’s take a look and see what they came up with.

You would think this would be a slam-dunk for the anointed one. Oh contraire.

The criteria that they used to rank the candidates is as follows:

The rankings, represented by lit or unlit “Lady Liberty torches” (see, they do have a sense of humor), were based on seven categories: humane immigration policy, closing Guantanamo Bay and ending indefinite detentions, gays and lesbians serving openly in the military, ending torture, ending a surveillance state, gay marriage and freedom of reproductive choice. (Weren’t these first seven amendments in the Bill of Rights?) Candidates could score up to four torches in each category, according to the report.

Here are the 2012 candidates in order of ACLU preference:

Gary Johnson, libertarian w/ 21 torches

Ron Paul, libertarian w/ 18 torches

Barack Obama came in third w/ 16

Jon Huntsman w/ 12

Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry each got only 2 ACLU torches

Rating lowest and last on the ACLU scale are Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum with 0 torches. Michele Bachmann also rated 0 but has dropped out of the race.

I don’t know about you but if the ACLU doesn’t like a candidate, that alone is a good reason for me to support them.

So, that tells me I have 3 candidates to choose from.

There’s Bachmann, but she dropped out. That’s not much of an option.

How about Mitt? Well
, he’s a squishy moderate that keeps telling us he’ll work with the democrats. “Work with democrats” is code for conservatives must compromise & libs don’t. He’s out.

That leaves one. Rick Santorum.

I stand corrected. The ACLU has performed a service after all.

Attribution: Nashua Telegraph, GOPUSA

Congress to the People: Do as we Say…

I was going to write about debates. I still may, but I received an email complaining about how Congress exempts itself from the laws it passes. I thought, that can’t be? They wouldn’t do anything that dastardly. Just kidding. Of course they could and would.

Politico writes, “Congress has a long, checkered history of failing to apply to
itself, the laws it passes effecting everybody else. For years, key laws — including the “Americans With Disabilities Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act”— didn’t apply to Congress.”

James Madison in Federalist Paper 57 states, “I will add, as a fifth circumstance in the situation of the House of Representatives, restraining them from oppressive measures, that they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society.”

That’s a hot one!

Here are just a few.

Discrimination:
A new report from Congress’s Office of Compliance, regarding the 1964 Civil Rights Act, notes that Congress has never applied the provision to itself. That’s awesome. Not a single instance of discrimination since 1964? Must be some sort of record.

Healthcare:
Congress is exempted from Obamacare. The spin is that Congress isn’t specifically exempt. No, of course not. They wouldn’t write it in plain english like that. A House spokesman says, “Members of Congress are subject to the legislation’s mandate to have insurance, and the plans available to them must meet the same minimum benefit standards that other insurance plans will have to meet. “All plans would have to follow those requirements by 2019”. Because of their Cadillac healthcare plans, they already meet the minimum requirements and are, defacto, exempt. Because it isn’t actually spelled out, they can naturally deny their exemption.

Insider Trading:
From an article I wrote a month or so ago, we know they are exempt from current insider trading laws.

OSHA:
Unlike every other employer in the country, Congress is exempt from Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) regulations. What a deal.

Repayment of Student Loans:
Many Congressional staffers have their student’s loans forgiven.
Here is what I pulled directly off Congressman Dennis Ross’s (12th District, Florida) official website. He is, I guess, trying to disprove the claim.

“Fact – It is wrong to say congressional staffers, do not pay student loans back. There are student loan repayment programs that may be offered to eligible House and Senate staffers, but those programs have annual and lifetime caps. It’s possible that some congressional staffers will not have to repay their student loans, but that depends on how much they owe and how long they remain on staff. It is also worth pointing out that a similar program exists for executive branch employees; so congressional staffers aren’t the only ones receiving this benefit. All of the programs were created to help recruit and retain qualified employees. We don’t take any position on the merits of the programs. But it’s simply not true that they exempt anyone from repaying their student loans.”

Notice he parsed his words by saying, “exempt anyone.” You can’t make this stuff up. That statement was his proof? In the first sentence, he says there is no program. The next few, well, there kind of is. The last sentence, he admits there is, but other people do it too, so you can’t just be mad at us.

As an aside, I have all but given up on these supposed fact-checking sites. Both Snopes & Factcheck.org claim this student loan thing was a myth, when it is truly a fact. My guess is, like politicians, they can claim something is a myth if doesn’t apply 100% across the board.

There are probably 100’s more examples of congressional malfeasance, but this is a start. I’m sure Madison has been turning over in his grave for a century or more.

The email I received ended with this:
Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: “Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.”

I would change the amendment to read, “Every branch & entity of government”.

Confirmation of the Santorum Surge

I attended a Republican forum the other night where the debates, polling and the various candidates were discussed. I introduced the results of a Rasmussen poll regarding the continued surge of Rick Santorum. Well, the place started buzzing. It seems, no one had heard or seen this poll.

I thought it odd the panel of experts discounted it so quickly, claiming Rasmussen’s record wasn’t that great. The mantra continued to be, Romney will win going away. He may very well & he’d better. The expectations in New Hampshire are that Romney kills the competition. In my opinion, if Santorum comes within 10 points of Mitt, it’s really going to upset things in the establishment.

From Newsmax:

Rick Santorum has vaulted into second place among the Republican presidential candidates, polling well into the double digits in the last month, according to two new national surveys from the leading poll outlets Rasmussen and Gallup.

Rasmussen has Santorum in second with 21 percent of likely Republican primary voters in its latest poll, just behind Mitt Romney at 29 percent.

The poll was conducted Wednesday night, a day after Santorum’s surprising second-place finish at the Iowa caucuses, in which the former Pennsylvania senator fell short of Romney by only eight votes.

The Gallup poll has Santorum’s share of the vote increasing to 11 percent, from 8 percent, in its daily tracking poll. Gallup uses a five-day rolling sample, meaning that only 20 percent of its interviews were conducted after Santorum’s showing in Iowa. That implies that Santorum polled at or just above 20 percent in interviews conducted on Wednesday alone, consistent with his standing in the Rasmussen Reports survey, The New York Times pointed out.

In the Rasmussen poll the two frontrunners were followed by Newt Gingrich at 16 percent, Ron Paul at 12 percent and Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman at 4 percent each. Santorum began November at 1 percent in the same survey, and finished the month at only 4 percent.

Real Unemployment = 11.4%, Don’t be Fooled!

From Zero Hedge: Real Jobless Rate Is 11.4% With Realistic Labor Force Participation Rate

One does not need to be a rocket scientist to grasp the fudging the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) has been doing every month for years now in order to bring the unemployment rate lower: the BLS constantly lowers the labor force participation rate as more and more people “drop out” of the labor force for one reason or another.

[EC (Editorial Comment): The Labor Force Participation Rate is a measure of the active portion of an economy’s labor force. The participation rate refers to the number of people who are either employed or are actively looking for work. The number of people who are no longer actively searching for work are not included in the participation rate. In a poor economy, such as this, many people get discouraged and stop looking for employment and as a result, the participation rate, by percentage, decreases.]

While there are some floating speculation that this is due to early retirement, this is completely counterfactual when one also considers the overall rise in the general civilian non institutional population.

In order to back out this fudge we are redoing an analysis we did first back in August 2010, which shows what the real unemployment rate would be using a realistic labor force participation rate.

To get that we used the average [labor force participation] rate since 1980, or ever since the great moderation began. As it happens, this long-term average is 65.8% (chart 1).

We then apply this participation rate to the civilian noninstitutional population to get what an “implied” labor force number is, and additionally calculate the implied unemployed using this more realistic labor force. We then show the difference between the reported and implied unemployed (chart 2).

Finally, we calculate the jobless rate using this new implied data. It won’t surprise anyone that as of December, the real implied unemployment rate was 11.4% (final chart) – basically where it has been ever since 2009 – and at 2.9% delta to reported, represents the widest divergence to reported data since the early 1980s.

And because we know this will be the next question, extending this lunacy, America will officially have no unemployed, when the Labor Force Participation rate hits 58.5%, which should be just before the presidential election.

[EC: Someone, with more clout than I, must pick up this torch & carry it. Do any of our elected officials or those running for office have the courage to challenge these lies?]

The New Axis of Evil

Remember a few years ago, Obama said Iran & Venezuela were small & insignificant countries that pose no threat to the U.S.? Remember that?

Could it be, he was wrong?

Well, it appears there is a new Axis of Evil, or maybe just another.

The new Axis being, North Korea, Iran & Venezuela.

From The Jerusalem Post:

North Korea and Iran appear to have been regularly exchanging ballistic missile technology in violation
of UN sanctions, according to a confidential United Nations report obtained by Reuters on Saturday.

The report also said that the illicit technology transfers had “trans-shipment through a neighboring third country.” That country was China, several diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

“Prohibited ballistic missile-related items are suspected to have been transferred between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Islamic Republic of Iran on regular scheduled flights of Air Koryo and Iran Air,” the report said.

For the shipment of cargo, like arms and related materiel, whose illicit nature would become apparent on any cursory physical inspection, (North) Korea seems to prefer chartered cargo flights,” it said.

It added that the aircraft tended to fly “from or to air cargo hubs which lack the kind of monitoring and security to which passenger terminals and flights are now subject.”

Several Security Council diplomats said that China was unhappy about the report. Beijing has prevented the publication of expert panel reports on North Korea and Sudan in the past. Earlier this week, Russia took similar steps to suppress an equally damning expert panel report on Iran.

End: Post Article

Then we have this from The German Paper Die Welt:

The Iranian government is moving forward with the construction of rocket launch bases in Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is Teheran’s most important South American ally.

Iran is building intermediate-range missile launch pads on the Paraguaná Peninsula, and engineers from a construction firm – Khatam al-Anbia – owned by the [Iranian] Revolutionary Guards visited Paraguaná in February. Amir al-Hadschisadeh, the head of the Guard’s Air Force, approved the visit, according to the report. Information was cited from “Western security insiders.”

The rocket bases are to include measures to prevent air attacks on Venezuela as well as commando and control stations.

The Iranian military involvement in the project extends to bunker, barracks and watch tower construction. Twenty-meter deep rocket silos are planned. The cost of the Venezuelan military project is being paid for with Iranian oil revenue. The Iranians paid in cash for the preliminary phase of the project, which amounted to “dozens of millions” of dollars.

The Paraguaná Peninsula is on the coast of Venezuela and is roughly 120 kilometers (about 75 miles) from America’s main South American partner, Colombia.

The clandestine agreement between Venezuela and Iran would mean the Chavez government would fire rockets at Iran’s enemies should the Islamic Republic face military strikes.

End: Die Welt article

Not very clandestine anymore, I reckon.

So, let’s see if I understand this. North Korea sells the missile technology to Iran. Iran contacts Venezuela. Chavez agrees to build a missile base that can strike Iran’s enemies, say us, if Iran is attacked by, say Israel.

Like the Obama administration, I see so downside or threat to the above scenario. What could possibly go wrong? Just do what they want & no one gets hurt. It’s not as if that’s blackmail or anything. Oh wait, yes it is!

It’s sunshine & lollipops with Obama at the helm.

Santorum moves on to New Hampshire

From The Daily Beast: Can Santorum Compete in New Hampshire and Beyond? by Lois Romano

(My Editorial Comments will be indicated by [EC])

Rick Santorum’s New Hampshire operation was over the moon Tuesday night as their man unexpectedly soared to a photo finish with Mitt Romney for first place in the Iowa caucuses, finally coming in a tight second by just eight votes. But it will take more than sheer joy and political dexterity for his small organization here to lift him from fifth place in the Granite State.

[EC: I agree. New Hampshire is an odd state. It has always been the bastion of conservatism surrounded, on all sides, by socialists. For the past several years the state has become much more liberal. Recently though, there has been blowback & a push to return to conservatism.]

The next test for Santorum now is whether he can realistically pivot his stunning Iowa success quickly into a New Hampshire surge—and beyond. Single-state strategies rarely are effective long-term, and many Republicans say this is no exception. Santorum has had neither the money nor the organization to get traction here.

[EC: Yes, and many of those saying that are just “Republicans”, not conservatives. They will do anything they can to torpedo Santorum’s campaign. Just watch. The “Republicans” want Romney, just as they wanted McCain. McCain, as it turns out, just endorsed Romney today. What a shocker. By the way, the democrats also want Romney.]

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, holds a commanding lead in New Hampshire, as well as millions of dollars to go the distance. And third-place Iowa finisher Rep. Ron Paul has an army of well-organized, messianic volunteers to propel him.

[EC: Romney does have a fortune to spend. He also has ‘Super-Pac’ money that will do the dirty work for him while he disavows any connection to them. Paul is an enigma. He has his minions that would follow him off a cliff. What I think is an interesting dichotomy; small government

This could be fun


Ron Paul & his ‘Occupy’ loving, hippy, want everything for free supporters. Do they not know he wants to shut down all the give-away governmental departments?]

In the most recent public-opinion survey in the state, Santorum was the choice of only 5 percent of the vote. He has had no money to run paid advertisements, and now he can count on his rivals to come after him with big guns.
[EC: 2-3 weeks ago Santorum had little more support in the polls in Iowa.]

“Senator Santorum is about to discover the wrath of the super PAC!” said Patrick Griffin, a senior fellow at the Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College: “Intense scrutiny, tough ads, and an uphill battle to raise money, continue to deploy staff, and search for a significant number of social conservative voters that are simply not as plentiful in New Hampshire as in Iowa.”

[EC: Mr. Griffin is right about the whole Social Conservative thing. It is imperative Santorum break out of that mold. He must become the conservative choice, not just the social conservative. As an aside, Mr. Griffin was a republican political strategist prior to joining Saint Anselm College. By sheer coincidence, one of his clients was Mitt Romney. Just an observation.]

Still, while some of his rivals are largely skipping New Hampshire and heading straight to the more conservative South Carolina for its primary on Jan. 21, Santorum has made it clear he has every intention of riding his wave into New Hampshire. “Game on,” Santorum told his cheering supporters Tuesday in Iowa.

With an attentive media contingent in tow, the former Pennsylvania senator hits the ground running with a two-hour town-hall meeting Wednesday night that will be followed by at least 10 more before Tuesday’s primary. He has spent considerable time here—and has an enthusiastic core of supporters and volunteers in place.

[EC: He is garnering more support here. I personally know he has many more volunteers. I’ve had more than a few calls from already. Some are even reading this blog.]

“I’ve spent more time in New Hampshire and done more events than anybody but Jon Huntsman. And the same thing with South Carolina,” he said. “We feel very, very good that we’ve got the organization. And money is coming in better than it’s ever come in. And [after Iowa] we suspect we’ll have the resources to be able not just to compete in New Hampshire, but to compete all the way through.”

Indeed, his staff is banking that his Iowa success will generate ample funds and supporters to help him push forward. In addition, Santorum will generate much free media coverage.

“We know we can build on this momentum,” says Bill Cahill, a co-chair of Santorum’s New Hampshire campaign. “We’re going to make it happen with what we’ve got. We’re not going to staff up. Look, if he can come in at third place, it would be a phenomenon and spectacular. And we think we can make it happen.”

[EC: He just may do that. There is a lot more buzz about Santorum up here. People actually know who he is now.]

Cahill dismissed the notion that New Hampshire voters may find Santorum too socially conservative with his oppositions to abortion and same-sex marriage. “Conservatives play well in New Hampshire, and his positions on trade, tax policy, and national security are appealing. There’s a very large Catholic and ethnic populations here … The old Reagan coalition is still around for us.”

[EC: Cahill was right to dismiss the notion of anti-abortion & homosexual marriage. The only reason they are still intact is thanks to New Hampshire’s democrat Governor’s veto pen. Santorum must push hard his fiscal conservative policies. Show he is a well-rounded & most of all principled & ethical conservative leader. Push his foreign policy, his support for Israel. Remind people how great and good America is under true conservative leadership.]

Call him “Legend”

From the New York Post:

Secluded on the top floor of a bombed-out four-story apartment building north of war-scarred Fallujah, Iraq, Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle is just getting comfortable.

It’s November 2004. Thanksgiving time. The second battle of Fallujah has launched, and Kyle is swaddled in silence atop an upturned baby crib, studying the enemy through a Nightforce 4.5-22 power scope attached to a .300 Win Mag rifle.

He’s feeling badass.

“We just got word that the president of Iraq said that anyone left in the city is bad — meaning, clear to shoot,” he recalled for The Post. “From that point on, every fighting-age male was a target.”

That was just fine with Kyle, who spent five weeks in the hideout, protecting Marines on the ground and bagging seven confirmed kills — adding to his official total of 160, making him the deadliest sniper in US history.

“After the first kill, the others come easy. I don’t have to psych myself up, or do anything mentally — I look through the scope, get the target in the cross hairs and kill my enemy before he kills one of my people,” Kyle writes in his new autobiography, “American Sniper.”

During his 10-year career as a member of SEAL Team 3, Kyle, 37, saw action in every major battle during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

He became known among his fellow SEALS as “The Legend.”

The enemy was less complimentary.

In Ramadi, insurgents put an $80,000 bounty on his head and branded him “Al-Shaitan Ramadi” — “The Devil of Ramadi.”

“That made me feel like I was actually doing my job and having an effect on the war,” he said.

In north-central Texas, Kyle grew up dipping tobacco, riding horses and hunting deer, turkey and quail — a cowboy at heart.

He got his first gun at 8 years old — a bolt-action 30-06 rifle.

The son of a Sunday-school teacher and a church deacon, Kyle credits a higher authority for his longest kill.

From 2,100 yards away from a village just outside of Sadr City in 2008, he spied a man aiming a rocket launcher at an Army convoy and squeezed off one shot from his .338 Lapua Magnum rifle.

Dead, from more than a mile away.

“God blew that bullet and hit him,” he said.

For Kyle, the enemy is a “savage” — there’s no room for gray, only black or white.

His Charlie platoon even adopted the insignia of the comic-book vigilante The Punisher, spray-painting skulls on their body armor, vehicles, helmets and guns.

“You see us? We’re the people kicking your ass. Fear us, because we will kill you, motherf–ker,” he writes.

The married father of two is now president of Craft International, an outfit that provides sniper and security training for the US military.

He teaches what’s required to take that perfect shot: Study the terrain, correct for elevation and wind, prepare for the vibration after the shot, and keep in mind the Coriolis effect, the effect of the rotation of the Earth on a bullet’s trajectory.

“You need skill to be a sniper, but you also need opportunity. And luck,” he said.
He retired a chief petty officer, and along the way, collected an armload of hardware, including two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars with valor.

“That’s just candy,” Kyle said. “That’s not why we were there.”

Quick Hits

Trump is a Jerk:
Donald Trump supporters have met an official ballot deadline in Texas, paving the way for the business mogul to become a third-party candidate there, a source close to Trump tells The Blaze. Trump himself acknowledged the filing in a statement.

According to an email sent by the source to The Blaze on Sunday night, Trump supporters filed paperwork on Friday to create the “Make America Great Again Party,” giving Trump the opportunity — should he take advantage of it — to be on the primary ballot.

Attribution: The Blaze

Background checks up Again:
According to the FBI, over 1.5 million background checks on customers were requested by gun dealers to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in December. Nearly 500,000 of those were in the six days before Christmas.

It was the highest number ever in a single month, surpassing the previous record set in November.

On Dec 23 alone there were
102,222 background checks, making it the second busiest single day for buying guns in history.

The actual number of guns bought may have been even higher if individual customers took home more than one each.
Explanations for America’s surge in gun buying include that it is a response to the stalled economy with people fearing crime waves. Another theory is that buyers are rushing to gun shops because they believe tighter firearms laws will be introduced in the future.

The National Rifle Association said people were concerned about self-defense because police officer numbers were declining.

A spokesman said: “I think there’s an increased realization that when something bad occurs it’s going to be between them and the criminal.”

Attribution: UK Telegraph

Occupy the Classroom:
Does getting pepper-sprayed count as extra credit?

Columbia University is offering a new course on Occupy Wall Street next semester — sending upperclassmen and grad students into the field for full course credit.

[Just a little editorial side note. The cost, per credit at Columbia is between $2000.00 & $3800.00. That does include room, board, transportation, books, etc.]

The class is taught by Dr. Hannah Appel, who boasts about her nights camped out in Zuccotti Park.

As many as 30 students will be expected to get involved in ongoing OWS projects outside the classroom, the syllabus says.

The class will be in the anthropology department and called “Occupy the Field: Global Finance, Inequality, Social Movement.” It will be divided between seminars at the Morningside Heights campus and fieldwork.

On her blog, Appel defends OWS, arguing that “it is important to push back against the rhetoric of ‘disorganization’ or ‘a movement without a message’ coming from left, right and center.”

Attribution: NY Post