Santorum Picking up Steam

The latest poll provides confirmation of what everyone in Iowa is talking about — former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s timely surge.

As in the NFL, you know the best time to get hot is at the end of the season, heading into the playoffs. Politically speaking, we’re heading into the playoffs.

Last weeks game no longer matters. You make it into the playoffs and you have a shot at the Superbowl. Iowa is the Wild Card game. Win, place well, or go home.

If Santorum does as well as the polls are now showing, he could provide the voters with something they haven’t had as yet — an articulate, socially conservative opponent who isn’t a moderate, a progressive or a cranky old man and has a picture-perfect family life to rival Romney’s.

He can’t be painted as a Washington insider despite the 12 years he spent there as a Senator. Why? Because he wasn’t a “deal” maker. He spent his time pushing conservative causes. Santorum sponsored the partial birth abortion bill, championed welfare reform and Federalist Society-approved judicial appointments. He’s a hawk on defense, favors lower tax rates and wears his faith proudly. What’s not to like?

Up until now, people questioned if he could win, citing his devastating Senatorial reelection loss by 18% in 2006. What they don’t account for, in 2006, is the overall animosity toward overspending republicans & the “throw them all out” mentality. Santorum simply got swept up with the trash. It was beyond his control. He has had a difficult time raising money & garnering support because of it.

He has also been unfairly tagged with the moniker that he is just the “Social Conservative”. His conservative stance on fiscal issues, defense, gun rights, the repeal of Obamacare, etc., has been overshadowed by his social conservatism.

Republican strategist Mike Murphy predicted on Dec. 29. “He can keep rising, could even catch Mitt.”

Given the expectations in Iowa, Santorum need only make it into the same sentence with frontrunners Romney and Texas Representative Ron Paul, whose cranky, conspiracy-prone and isolationist views should not carry him far beyond Iowa.

More recent good news for Santorum is that Rick Perry just launched a negative radio ad this week in Iowa, specifically targeting Santorum. One doesn’t waste funds on a commercial attacking a loser.

Santorum is so confident of emerging from the pile in Iowa that he just committed money for television ads in New Hampshire, which votes on Jan. 10.

Just a few days ago I wrote an election update stating Santorum’s bid could be over. Things are, shall I say, quite fluid.

Attribution: Bloomberg

Quick Hit News

DWB (Driving while Burka’d)

Police stopped a Muslim woman in France on Thursday and fined her for driving while wearing a burka because the garment “reduced her field of vision”.

The woman was told she was in breach of the country’s burka ban imposed last April, which outlawed anyone hiding their face in public, including in streets, shops, restaurants and cars on public roads.

The woman was handed an on-the-spot fine under article 412-6 of the French highway code, which states: “Field of vision must not be restricted by either passengers, objects being transported or by the position of non-transparent objects on the windows.”

Police spokesman Laurent Dufour added: ‘The officer who stopped her said she was driving hesitantly and clearly could not see properly. Looking out through a narrow slit in the fabric is as dangerous as driving while eating a sandwich, smoking or with an iced-up windscreen.”

France was the first country in Europe to outlaw Muslim headgear that hides the face. Similar laws have since being passed in Belgium and the Netherlands.

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has described the burka as a “sign of debasement”. His immigration minister Eric Besson called it “a walking coffin”.

Leaders of Al Qaeda’s North African network have vowed to seek revenge on France for enforcing the law.

They wrote on an Islamic extremist website, “We will seek dreadful revenge on France by all means at our disposal, for the honour of our daughters and sisters.”

That Phone’ll Kill Ya

Afghans face death if they don’t have mobile phones playing defiant Taliban ringtones and messages.

They are being forced to show their loyalty to the insurgents at clandestine checkpoints by producing the chants romantisizng the war with the West.

Taliban ringtones include the titles “Teenager, Doomsday and Suicide Bomber. Lyrics for Doomsday include, “Its Judgment Day for the Satan of the West … the evening is blazing, blazing …”.

Prior to reaching a checkpoint, travellers often pop out their phones’ real SIM cards and replace them with ones containing insurgent-produced jingles.

Shopkeepers are doing a booming business in rebel ringtones at $2 an download.

A member of President Hamid Karzai’s government carries two SIM cards whenever he travels outside Kabul – one with all his contacts and the other for the Taliban.

The Taliban have 40 singers that produce on average of one 12-song album every month, a spokesperson for the group told the Wall Street Journal.

Attribution: UK Daily Mail

Joke of the Day

An Israeli doctor says: “Medicine in my country is so advanced that we can take a kidney out of one man, put it in another, and have him looking for work in 6 weeks.

“A British doctor says: “That is nothing; we can take a lung out of one person, put it in another, and have him looking for work in 4 weeks.”

A Canadian doctor says: “In my country, medicine is so advanced that we can take half a heart out of one person, put it in another, and have them both looking for work in 2 weeks.

“An American doctor, not to be outdone, says: “You guys are way behind…… We took a man with NO brain, made him President, and now the whole country is looking for work.

“M F” has a new Meaning


Wallstreet fat cats are all right wingers. Only the democrats are for the common man. Those rich republicans, making up the 1%, will rob & pillage the poor 99% for their own amusement.

The latest example of right-wing malfeasance is the MF Global scandal. You know, those evil, Tea Party loving robber barons. They steal the money from the poor unassuming public, drive the business into bankruptcy and then claim they can’t find the money they stole.

Wait…you mean none of these Wallstreet big shots is a republican? That can’t be. This completely shatters my worldview. Haven’t we been told, right = Sheriff of Nottingham, left = Robin Hood?

Well, the fact is that most of the so-called Wallstreet fat cats are democrat. It’s just a shame the general public isn’t aware of it.

As I just stated, take the MF Global scandal. The company is bankrupt & has misplaced 1.2 billion dollars. That happens to me every week.

MF Global declared bankruptcy Oct. 31 after telling regulators that the company had about $6.3 billion in debt from Ireland, Italy, Spain and other European countries and after credit ratings services downgraded the company’s status to “junk,” the company said in court records.

At the center of this firestorm is ultra-liberal democrat ex senator, ex-governor, Jon Corzine. He was the chieftain at MF global. Jon testified to Congress that he just doesn’t know where the money is. Good enough for me. Go in peace, Mr. Corzine.

Imagine, if you will, ex V.P. Dick Cheney testifying the same way. Cheney, “Really, gentlemen, I don’t know where the money went.” Congress, “Ok boys, grab that rope. Let’s string him up.” You know it’s true.

One that hasn’t gotten the press of Jon Corzine is Bradley I. Abelow. He was the President & COO of MF Global Holdings, Ltd.

Yes, it's true. Abelow is also Vulcan. Live long and Prosper!

Bradley too, testified in front of the Congress & Senate, repeating the Corzine line. He doesn’t know where the money is.

So he has nothing different to say. Why bring him up?

It turns out that Mr. Abelow has another job. Bradley is also a financial advisor to the Environmental Protection Agency. Yep. He’s the chairman of the EPA’s financial advisor board. That’s a laugh, eh?

EPA, “ Ok, Mr. Abelow, why should we hire you as our financial advisor?” Bradley, “Well at MF Global, I lost over a billion dollars.” EPA, “That’s good, but not good enough.” Bradley, “ I also know some important people.” EPA, “Now we’re talking. You’re hired. Sign here, here & initial here.”

Abelow has ties to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson through former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine. Each served at different times as the governor’s chief of staff. When Mr. Corzine lost his bid for re-election and later joined MF Global, Mr. Abelow followed.

The EPA says the financial advisory board members include, “prominent experts from all levels of government, including elected officials, the finance and banking communities, business and industry and national organizations.” That’s ok then, as long as they’re experts.

“EPA relying on Wall Street for financial guidance is like the blind leading the blind,” said Jeff Ruch, president of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group based in Washington. PEER is no right-wing group, for sure, but even they are asking questions.

Yet, no lawmaker broached the topic though. Not one Congressman or Senator saw fit to ask him a single question of his relationship with the Administration, nor did Bradley offer one.

Mr. Abelow did offer a heartfelt apology to the House & Senate committees. I’m sure the more than 2500 soon to be unemployed workers & the swindled investors will take solace & feed their families on that.

Attribution: Washington Times

Joke of the Day

Be Prepared to Groan

A Russian weatherman named Rudolph and his wife are sitting at their kitchen table, which is next to the window. Since he’s Russian, people affectionately call him “Rudolph the Red.”

Rudolph looked out the window and said to his wife, “Oh look honey, it’s raining outside.”

His wife looks out as well and says, “No, I think that is snow.”

He looks at her and says, “Rudolph the Red knows rain dear.”

Yeah, I know, UGH!

It’s not my Fault, It’s the Tea Party

Sen. Dick Lugar said challenges by Tea Party candidates are partly to blame for the Republicans not having a majority in the Senate.

Yes, it’s our fault Senator. It has nothing at all to do with the total lack of support for the Tea Party candidates by the republican establishment. What the Tea Party stands for is enemy to both the left & right. Small, Constitutionally controlled Government.

Lugar, a six-term Republican senator from Indiana, is up for re-election in 2012 and facing a primary challenge from a Tea Party-backed Republican opponent.

In any other business, one would either retire or be retired after 36 years on the job. Notice I didn’t say 36 years of service. Term limits anyone?

Lugar told CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that he’s the best chance for the GOP to hold on to his Senate seat, and that similar challenges by Tea Party candidates are part of the reason Republicans are the minority in the Senate.

Isn’t it rather revealing that these RINO’s will happily go on the lefty cable shows with a viewership of about 112, yet they would never dare be heard on Rush’s or Glenn’s radio show, where they could reach 10’s of millions.

Important Digression: Yes, I left Hannity out. While I believe him to be personally conservative, I also believe he is a republican apologist. He won’t challenge the establishment due to his need for guests on his television & radio shows. Does he really think Karl Rove, “The Architect”, has the same interests as we? Rove is a big government progressive, just like his former boss ‘W’ & a major reason some of the Tea Party candidates lost last time. He personally torpedoed them. To this day, many think that Sharon Angle & Christine O’Donnell are idiots, thanks to him. Sean thinks he’s great & loves his insight. Those kinds of things are disqualifiers for me.

“Republicans lost the seats before in Nevada and New Jersey for example and Colorado where there were people who claimed that they wanted somebody who was more of their Tea Party aspect, but in doing so they killed off the Republican chances for majority,” he said. “This is one of the reasons why we have a minority in the Senate right now.”

If we only just had reasonable people like Senator Lugar, or Snowe, or Brown, or McCain, or McConnell. That would be great. We would control the Senate. Then what? Then nothing would change except for the control flips to other side of the same coin.

Remember presidential advisor Carroll Quigley’s quote:

“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideas and policies is a foolish idea. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can throw the rascals out at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. Then it should be possible to replace it every four years if necessary, by the other party, which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.”

“Well, I’m not certain it — that I’m the most vulnerable and I’m not sure it just happened,” Lugar said. “In other words, I would just say that our campaign has already enlisted hundreds of volunteers from all the backgrounds that I’ve talked about. We’ve made 517,000 calls already, just to the spectrum of people who might vote in the Republican primary.”

I think Lugar is clearly worried and he should be.

Job number one is to rid ourselves of Obama. Job number two (and it’s a close second) is to dump these RINOs. They will never come over to our side, so they must be defeated.

We’re coming for you, Dick.

Attribution: Patriot Update, Cowboy Byte, Newsmax

Political quick Hits

Santorum may end bid:

Santorum will quit the race for the republican presidential nomination if he finishes at or toward the bottom.

That’s a real shame. He is one of two real conservatives in the race. The other, of course, is Bachmann.

Santorum told News Radio 1040 WHO-AM in Des Moines, Iowa, “My feeling is we have to exceed expectations,” he said. “And the expectations right now for us are pretty low based on a lot of the national polls. So I feel like we need to do well. We need to be right in the mix. Obviously, we’d love to win it. Our intention is to win it. And we’re doing everything we can to try and finish first. And somewhere in that middle of the pack and up we’d feel very, very good though.”

“Look if I finish dead last — way behind the pack — I’m going to pack up and go home, but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he declared.

Gingrich gets a key endorsement:

Republican presidential primary candidate Newt Gingrich received a key endorsement from economist Arthur Laffer.


“Newt has the best plan for jobs and economic growth of any candidate in the field,” said Laffer, the renowned economist who is the father of The Laffer Curve and supply-side economics. He was the architect of Ronald Reagan’s economic plan.

Laffer went on to say, “Rebuilding the America we love requires returning to job creation and economic growth. We need big changes to fix the economy, and I am ready to stand up to Barack Obama’s class warfare rhetoric to make the case that letting the American people keep more of what they earn is the best way to create jobs.”

Romney Heralded:

Candidate Mitt Romney received the endorsement of the Boston Herald Newspaper.

“There is only one candidate in the Republican field with the integrity, the experience, the organizational strength and the intelligence to beat Barack Obama and that man is Mitt Romney,” the Herald wrote.

Being that Romney is the former Governor of Massachusetts, they continued, “Now we are more aware than most of our former governor’s reputation for being, well, a bit stiff. But this is a contest for what we used to call Leader of the Free World [before Barack Obama downgraded the job], not Mr. Congeniality or the guy you’d most like to have a beer with.

In short, the newspaper declares, “Mitt Romney can get the job done — the job of running for president and the job of governing. And the Herald is pleased to endorse his candidacy.”

Attribution: Newsmax

Joke of the Day

A sailor meets a pirate in a bar, and take turns boasting of their adventures on the high seas. The sailor notes that the pirate has a peg-leg, hook, and an eyepatch.

The sailor asks “So, how did ye end up with the peg-leg?”

The pirate replies “We were in a storm at sea, and I was swept overboard into a school of sharks. Just as me men were pulling me out a shark bit me leg off.”

“Wow!” said the sailor. “What about your hook”?

“Well…”, replied the pirate, “While me men and I were plundering in the middle east, I was caught stealing from a merchant and the punishment for theft in the middle east is the loss of the hand that steals”

“Incredible!” remarked the sailor. “How did ye get the eyepatch”?

“A sea gull dropping fell into me eye.”, replied the pirate.

“You lost your eye to a sea gull dropping?” the sailor asked incredulously.

“Well…”, said the pirate, “..it was me first day with the hook.”

Harry Reid’s Unicorns: Fact Checking A Whopper

From Paul Roderick Gregory, Contributor, Forbes.com:

Tax policy should be serious business carried out by serious politicians using real facts and figures. This is why we have the Library of Congress and the Congressional Budget Office, among other expert institutions.

How can we take Congress seriously when the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, makes patently inaccurate, outrageous and bizarre claims on an important tax-policy issue without any heads being turned? I guess this is what we have come to expect of Congress. No wonder citizens with favorable opinions of Congress are as rare as unicorns, to borrow a phrase.

Harry Reid’s statement on December 6 on his proposed 1.9 percent surtax on million-dollar incomes has kicked up some dust. Here is his statement:

“Millionaire job creators are like unicorns. They’re impossible to find, and they don’t exist… Only a tiny fraction of people making more than a million dollars, probably less than 1 percent, are small business owners. And only a tiny fraction of that tiny fraction are traditional job creators…Most of these businesses are hedge fund managers or wealthy lawyers. They don’t do much hiring and they don’t need tax breaks.”

Taking their cue, National Public Radio launched a search for one millionaire job creator. They triumphantly announced:

“NPR requested help from numerous Republican congressional offices, including House and Senate leadership. They were unable to produce a single millionaire job creator for us to interview.”

Were it not for Google, I would have accepted Harry Reid’s unicorn story and NPR’s confirmation. Unlike Harry Reid’s office, I went to the IRS’s Table 1.4 “Sources of income, adjustments, and tax size of adjusted gross income, 2009” to check things out. (I summarize my sources in a separate blog posting). Here is what I found:

There are 236,883 tax filers with incomes of a million dollars or more. By Harry Reid’s count, only one percent, or 2,361 of them, are business owners, and a tiny fraction of them create jobs. I do not know what Harry means when he says “a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction.” If we let 5 percent represent Harry’s “tiny fraction,” we are left with 118 businesses owners who earn a million or more and create jobs. Yes, they are only slightly less rare than unicorns, if Harry is to be believed.

This leaves 236,765 million-dollar-plus tax payers, most of whom are “hedge fund managers and wealthy lawyers” who “don’t create jobs and don’t need tax breaks.”

My Google search for Harry Reid’s quarter million hedge fund managers and wealthy lawyers came up empty handed. I could identify at most sixteen thousand “wealthy lawyers and hedge fund managers,” not Harry Reid’s quarter million.

Well, Harry Reid’s numbers leave much to be desired, but maybe he is right that millionaire business owners do not create jobs.

What does the IRS have to say about this? Millionaire tax filers earn a total taxable income of $623 billion, on which they pay the highest average rate (30 percent) of any tax bracket. (Either Warren Buffet’s secretary has an incompetent tax accountant or Buffet has some pretty juicy tax breaks. I think the latter is more likely). A 1.9 percent tax surcharge on million-dollar-earners would yield $11 billion, assuming those shifty millionaires take no evasive action to avoid the tax.

Millionaire tax filers earn $221 billion – almost a quarter of a trillion — from business and professions, partnerships, and S-corporations. This is puzzling: If Harry Reid’s figure is correct (2,361 millionaire businesses), then the average millionaire-owned business earns almost a hundred million dollars, and all, except 118 of them, do this without hiring anyone. These super heroes do their own typing, selling, drafting. public relations, building, and manufacturing. They do not need employees. Remarkable!

To summarize:
Millionaire tax filers earn almost a quarter trillion dollars from their businesses. They must hire hundreds of thousands of employees to do so.

There are a trivial number of millionaire hedge-fund managers and wealthy lawyers (who, according to Harry, do not hire anyone and don’t need tax breaks). The millionaire tax surcharge is not aimed at them, but at the tens of thousands of millionaire business owners.

A 1.9 percent surcharge on millionaires would raise at most eleven billion dollars. By today’s standards, this is chump change, within the federal budget’s rounding error.
The millionaire’s tax is not about balancing the budget. It is about gaining political advantage through the use of envy and greed (two of the seven deadly sins).

Why would Harry Reid tell such whoppers, which are so easily disproved?
Ryan Streeter has hit the nail on the head. He writes that even bearded Occupy Wall Street misfits understand the difference between “earned” and “unearned” success. Those who earn success by creating value honestly are the true heroes in our economy. They should be lauded rather than targeted. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are heroes. Bernie Madoff and, now it seems, John Corzine are not, and everyone, irrespective of their political leanings, understands this.

Reid, in his clumsy way, is trying to portray Republicans as the party of dishonest millionaires, who have not earned their wealth, have not created jobs, detract rather than create value, and refuse to pay their fair share. Such class warfare will be the anchor of the Democrat election playbook.

High Tea at the O.K. Corral

John Boehner & his leadership group of faux conservatives sure did put up a powerful big fight! Right.

Some honest people have been looking into this cave of Boehner & his buds over the tax extension fight between the House & Senate.

As usual, the Devil (and I mean Devil) is in the details.

It was surely a win for the lefties, but I think also for the progressive right. I think it was a nice little reminder that the Tea Party holds no sway in that there town.

A Hollywood Director couldn’t have choreographed that show any better. Maybe it was just show. It’s almost as if this whole scenario was scripted. Let’s recap.

The House, led by John Boehner [the good guy (white hat)] passes a yearlong extension of the Social Security tax cut & extension of unemployment benefits. The right hails them as heroes! The Senate, led by [Dirty] Harry Reid [the bad guy (black hat)] passes a lousy 2-month extension, insists they will not negotiate and leave town a few days before the Christmas break.

Boehner boldly says he will stick to his guns & says no deal to the Senate. They must come back & deal with him. Conservatives roundly applaud him. Hooray for the good guy!

In step the squishy Senate moderates, led by Mitch McConnell. They insist a deal must get done. He says the House should take the deal & fight it out in March with the banditos in the Senate. Boehner will not capitulate. Figuring Big John Boehner will hold out, members of the House begin to leave town for Christmas.

My theory is, when he (Boehner) & his cohorts thought it was safe, they pulled the old switcharoo.

The Speaker agreed to pass the two-month extension on Friday morning by unanimous consent, a fast-track procedural maneuver that guarantees passage unless lawmakers book plane tickets and fly back to Washington in time to object. Game-set-match. I guess the white of Boehner’s hat was just the wrapping paper. Peel that away & it’s as black as Dirty Harry’s.

“Given the late hour of notification, there’s no way I can make it,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R., Kansas).
“I’m disappointed. That’s not the process by which I thought we would consider things like this,” he said, adding, “This is the kind of stuff that people hate about Washington.”

It gets worse. In Washington, it always does.

Seems the $33 billion, lousy two-month package is set to be paid for with fees charged by mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over 10 years.

“The policy is horrific,” said Rep. Mo Brooks (R., Ala.), “increasing the costs of mortgages hurts homeowners of all incomes,” adding “it’s hard to figure out how the senators could have done worse–all for two months.”

In other words, Republicans have “caved” by agreeing to increase mortgage fees for 10 years in order to fund a mere two months worth of tiny tax cuts. Instead of taxes being raised January 1, they go up March 1 instead, while the higher mortgage fees endure for a decade. Brilliant. And to score this great political achievement, the House speaker is willing to use Pelosi and Reid-style procedural tricks to exclude the toughest opposition from the vote. Awesome!

This is the kind of inside-the-beltway crap we are all so tired of. How many times do we have to suffer disappointment to get angry enough to actually throw the bums out?

Except for a few select members, mostly freshmen, they all must go!

Attribution: Joel McDurmon