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”.

Joke of the Day

A man was in a large grocery store one day pushing his cart around when he collided with a young guy pushing his cart.

He said to the young guy, “Sorry about that. I’m looking for my wife and I guess I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going.”

The young guy says, “That’s OK. Coincidentally, I’m looking for my wife too. I can’t find her and I’m getting a little desperate.

The older guy said, “Well, maybe we can help each other. What does your wife look like?”

The young guy says, “Well, she is 24 years old, tall, with blonde hair, big blue eyes, long legs, big boobs, and she’s wearing tight white shorts, a halter top and no bra. What does your wife look like?”

The older man said, “Doesn’t matter — let’s look for yours.”

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?]

Jokes of the Day

1)
Two lawyers were in a coffee shop talking. One of the lawyers names was Thomas Strange.

After a while their conversation became rather morbid, and they started to started to talk about what they were going to have on their tomb stones.

Thomas said the he wasn’t going to have his name put on his tomb stone, instead he was going have “Here lies the body of an honest lawyer!!!” “Why are you going to have that?”, asked his friend.

“Well”, said Thomas, “When people are walking through the cemetery, and they see…Here lies the body of an honest lawyer. They will say “Oh…That’s Strange”.

2)
Three friends die in a car accident and they go to an orientation in heaven. They are all asked, “When you are in your casket and friends and family are mourning you, what would you like to hear them say about you?

The first guy says,”I would like to hear them say I was a great doctor and a great family man.”

The second guy says, “I would like to hear I was a wonderful husband and school teacher who made a huge difference in the lives of the children I taught.

The last guy replies, “I would like to hear them say … Look, He’s Moving!

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.

Updated NFL Playoff Predictions

What already happened:

AFC Wild Card:

Bengals @ Texans: Texans Won
Steelers @ Broncos: Broncos Won

NFC Wild Card:

Lions @ Saints: Saints Won

Falcons @ Giants: G-Men Won

____________________________________________________________________

AFC Division:

Broncos @ Patriots: Pats Win

Texans @ Ravens: Ravens Win

NFC Division:

Giants @ Packers: G-Men Won

Saints @ 49ers: 49ers Won

___________________________________________________________________

What will happen:

AFC Championship:

Ravens @ Patriots: Patriots Win

NFC Championship:

Giants @ 49ers: G-Men Win

___________________________________________________________________

Superbowl:
(As many predicted at the start of the season)

Pats & Giants: Pats win, Brady MVP – Crowned “Greatest Quarterback ever”.

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.]

Joke of the Day

A young lady, who was rather well-proportioned, spent most of her vacation sunbathing on the roof of her hotel.

She wore a bathing suit the first day, but on the second, she decided that no one could see her way up there, and she slipped out of it for an overall tan.

The woman had hardly settled in when she heard someone running up the stairs. She was lying on her stomach, so she just pulled a towel over her rear.

“Excuse me, miss,” said the flustered assistant manager of the hotel, out of breath from running up the stairs. “The Hilton doesn’t mind your sunbathing on the roof, but we would very much appreciate your wearing a bathing suit as you did yesterday.”

“What difference does it make?” the young lady asked rather calmly. “No one can see me up here, and besides, I’m covered with a towel.”

“Not exactly,” said the embarrassed man. “You’re lying on the dining room skylight.”