It’s Time For Conservatives To Abandon The GOP

Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus wants disaffected members of the GOP to know that the Party is doing the very best it can. And while conservatives may find his assertions a little silly, it’s important to remember that what he really means to say is that the GOP is doing everything it can to ensure the supremacy of big government in America for years to come.

Now that “toe the party line” GOP voters have had more than a month to reflect on the folly of running a big government, left-leaning Republican against a big government Democrat in a contentious Presidential election, the Party chairman is offering a blunt assessment of the campaign.

He said in a recent interview with National Review Online:

When you look at where we were and where we’ve come to, I think the RNC has done a good job. But I don’t believe that what we’ve done will be good enough four years from now. I think you can have it both ways — we did a good job with the time we had, but it’s clearly not going to be good enough in four years.

As for the overall question, I think it’s a team. When you say the Republican party, I consider that to be our friends, the candidates, everyone in between — and it just wasn’t good enough. Our job is to figure out what we can do as a team, all of us together, what can we all do better together so that we can have a decisive victory in 2016. That’s something that hasn’t happened since 1988. We can’t just wait for these Tuesday nights every four years where, if one out of eight states doesn’t go well for us, we’re done. We have to figure out what we have to do to give ourselves more opportunities.

Note in the second paragraph: “When you say the Republican party, I consider that to be our friends, the candidates, everyone in between — and it just wasn’t good enough.”

Looking back on the Presidential campaign season, it’s fairly evident that when Priebus says “everyone in between” he doesn’t include the vast number of Americans who hoped the GOP, despite differences, would embrace them simply for their support of a much smaller American government.

Yes, you’re thinking: “Oh, here we go, more talk about the Ron Paul disrupters.”

Bob Livingston pointed out artfully Monday how the Republican mainstream packed its primary with deeply flawed faux conservatives while simultaneously using every trick in the book to shut out the only true conservative in the race.

Now, Priebus and his phony conservative acolytes are laying out the plan for coming Republican victories. If you are a truly conservative member of the GOP, the news is all bad:

The committee members support what we did. They know we have a ton of work to do going forward, and they think I’m well suited to spearhead that effort.

The writing is on the wall, and Priebus’ words only make it clearer that the Republican elite plan to march forward with its plan to destroy any true conservatism left in the GOP in the interest of big government, the military industrial complex and corporate welfare.

Paul will leave Congress this year, and — as Livingston pointed out — the GOP is already making sure that no other noisy true conservatives take his place in highlighting the lies in the message of the Party by removing lawmakers who fail to march lockstep with the GOP’s big government agenda from committee assignments. A recent purge drove Justin Amash of Michigan, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, David Schweikert of Arizona and Walter Jones of North Carolina from their assignments for the high crime of suggesting that the Party’s go-to budget doesn’t cut spending fast enough.

If you are one of those who spent the past several months shouting down the prospect of a powerful third-party candidate, perhaps your energy over the next four years could be spent more effectively building one up. That is, unless you like the direction the Nation has been taken under the Republicrat regime.

Forget Fiscal Cliff, Here Comes Regulatory Tsunami

As Americans suffered through the Presidential election season, the Federal government put on hold a number of pending regulations that would have given the GOP ammunition in claims that President Barack Obama is strangling the Nation with regulations. Now, with the Regulator in Chief comfortably back in the Oval Office, a regulatory tidal wave is headed toward America.

According to The Associated Press, regulations regarding the environment, workplace safety, Wall Street and much in between are about to fall on the American people as the Obama Administration quietly reopened regulatory initiatives after the election.

Currently, the following agencies have regulations pending review or ready to be implemented:

In January, the Obama Administration ordered the Federal government to ax rules that were repetitive and burdensome to the economy, which lead to the undoing of hundreds of regulations. The Administration claimed that the action would save American business upward of $10 billion in half a decade and create jobs.

While the President’s initiative did modestly help economic recovery, Republican lawmakers say that the coming onslaught of regulatory actions is going to reverse any good that was done and kill the economy.

Some studies have indicated that six pending EPA regulations limiting air and water pollution alone are going to cost American businesses up to $138 billion, not to mention upward of $500 billion in construction costs to become compliant.

Learn more about specific government regulations at Reginfo.gov.

Thursday Morning News Roundup 12-13-2012

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.


  • Time readers picked North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un as their top choice for person of the year. It seems bad that the dictator of the Hermit Kingdom would be picked, but considering that Sandra Fluke was also in the running the, readers didn’t do so badly.

 

 

 

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook.

Concealed Carry Victory In Illinois

Earlier this week, a Federal appeals court struck down an Illinois ban on concealed carry, which was the most sweeping State concealed firearms law in the Nation.

The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals gave lawmakers in the State six months to create legislation that legalizes concealed firearm carry in Illinois.

“The notion of concealed carry is something new to many Illinoisans,” said Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) Executive Director, Richard Pearson. “I can understand the apprehension some feel about people carrying defensive firearms in public. If they have heard some of the misinformation about concealed carry that I have heard, then that apprehension would come naturally. However, the truth of the matter is, studies consistently show that concealed carry has purely positive impacts on public safety.”

Pearson said his organization has helped lawmakers draft a concealed carry bill that addresses background checks, field provisions and other issues that lawmakers could pass by January.

A big concern for many of the victorious concealed carry advocates is that lawmakers in the State will ignore suggestions from groups like ISRA and introduce concealed carry bills with provisions so strict that few, if any, citizens would actually qualify for a permit. There’s also a concern that legislators could include gun taxes, gun bans and other unacceptable forms of gun control onto the court-ordered concealed carry legislation.

Fed Continues Monetary Meddling

The Federal Reserve yesterday announced that it will continue to keep interest rates near zero and continue to buy debt and print money. But the central bank has at least linked its monetary policy to specific targets for the first time.

Fed officials say that it will hold off on raising interest rates until unemployment dips below 6.5 percent or inflation climbs above 2.5 percent. As predicted by economists, the Fed said it would expand efforts at quantitative easing and buy $45 billion in Treasury bonds per month, beginning in 2013. Monthly purchases of $40 billion in mortgage debt are already under way.

While officials have set goals that would allow the Fed to draw down on its aggressive monetary policy, central bankers say that lack of improvement will lead to further financial meddling.

According to the Federal Open Markets Committee:

The Committee will closely monitor incoming information on economic and financial developments in coming months. If the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the Committee will continue its purchases of Treasury and agency mortgage-backed securities, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate, until such improvement is achieved in a context of price stability. In determining the size, pace, and composition of its asset purchases, the Committee will, as always, take appropriate account of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases.

The Fed asserts that the economy continues to grow “at a moderate pace” but believes that the economy remains too weak to stand on its own.

Obesity Threatening National Security

The United States has a growing national security problem: Many Americans are becoming too fat to serve in the Armed Forces.

The Washington Post points out in a recent piece that obesity is the leading cause of ineligibility for people who want to join the U.S. Army, and the number of troops being discharged for failing fitness scores is snowballing.

From the year 1998 to 2010, according to the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, the number of active-duty military personnel described as overweight or obese tripled with 86,186 troops (5.3 percent of the force) in the category by 2010.

As commanders prepare for drawdowns in combat zones and mandates that require military reduction in force, physical fitness is coming under much scrutiny in military units. In the first 10 months of this year, 1,625 troops were discharged for being physically unfit for service, five times the number let go for the same reasons in 2007 at the height of Mideast conflict.

“During a war period, when we were ramping up, the physical standards didn’t have a lot of teeth because we needed bodies to go overseas, to fill platoons and brigades,” said Stew Smith, a former Navy SEAL and fitness expert told The Post. “During a period of drawdown, everything starts getting teeth, and that’s kind of where we are again.”

FBI Reports Hate Crimes Down

According to crime data from the FBI for 2011, hate crimes last year fell to the lowest level they have been since 1994.

The agency recorded 6,222 criminal incidents involving 7,254 offenses in 2011 that resulted from bias toward a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or physical or mental disability.

Also detailed in the report:

  • There were 6,216 single‑bias incidents, of which 46.9 percent were motivated by a racial bias, 20.8 percent were motivated by a sexual‑orientation bias, 19.8 percent were motivated by a religious bias, and 11.6 percent were motivated by an ethnicity/national origin bias. Bias against a disability accounted for 0.9 percent of single-bias incidents.
  • Of the 4,623 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2011, intimidation accounted for 45.6 percent, simple assaults for 34.5 percent, and aggravated assaults for 19.4 percent. Four murders and seven forcible rapes were reported as hate crimes.
  • There were 2,611 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property. The majority of these (81.4 percent) were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism. Robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and other offenses accounted for the remaining 18.6 percent of crimes against property.
  • Fifty-nine percent of the 5,731 known offenders were white; 20.9 percent were black. The race was unknown for 10.8 percent, and other races accounted for the remaining known offenders.
  • Most hate crime incidents (32.0 percent) occurred in or near homes. Eighteen percent took place on highways, roads, alleys, or streets; 9.3 percent happened at schools or colleges; 5.9 percent in parking lots or garages; and 4.4 percent in churches, synagogues, or temples. The location was considered other (undesignated) or unknown for 11.3 percent of hate crime incidents. The remaining 19.1 percent of hate crime incidents took place at other specified or multiple locations.

Hate crimes made up about six ten-thousandths of all crimes committed in 2011. Among religious hate crimes, the vast majority (63.2 percent or 936 victims) were committed against Jews. With fewer than 1,000 reported Jewish hate crime victims, the case can hardly be made for the Anti-Defamation League’s argument that Americans remain deeply anti-Semitic.

Curiously, despite the small number of religious hate crimes committed against Muslim Americans (only 12.5 percent or all religious hate crimes or 185 victims), the Southern Poverty Law Center doubled down following the release of the numbers, proclaiming in a headline: “FBI: Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Remain Relatively High.”

But the SPLC also argues that the FBI numbers are inaccurate: “The FBI statistics, which are compilations of state numbers, are notoriously understated. Two Department of Justice studies have indicated that the real level of hate crimes in America is some 20-30 times the number reported in the FBI statistics.”

Patent Filed For Electric Handcuffs

As American police become increasingly militarized, and in many cases increasingly hostile to Constitutionally guaranteed rights, many Americans are becoming increasingly worried of the very real possibility of having cuffs slapped on and being thrown into the back of a squad car for what may seem like a less-than-arrestable offense. A new patent filed for a futuristic law enforcement tool likely isn’t going to set their minds at ease.

Earlier this month, Gizmodo discovered a recent patent filing for handcuffs that would afford law enforcement officers a range of shocking new tools to keep their prisoners under control.

A company called Scottsdale Inventions LLC has filed a patent for handcuffs that would allow officers to deliver an electric shock to prisoners through the restraints. The handcuffs would also allow for the delivery of a drugging substance “to achieve any desired result”; the substance could be in the form of “a liquid, a gas, a dye, an irritant, a medication, a sedative, a transdermal medication or transdermal enhancers such as dimethyl sulfoxide, a chemical restraint, a paralytic, a medication prescribed to the detainee, and combinations thereof.”

patent description for the Apparatus and System for Detainee Restraint states:

There is provided a device and system for restraining detainees through devices attached to the detainees and configured to administer electrical shocks when certain predetermined conditions occur. Restraining devices may be activated by internal control systems or by external controllers that transmit activation signals to the restraining device. External controllers may be actuated by an external controlling entity such as a detention guard or other person or system, or may be controlled by an enabling signal sent by wired or wireless connections to the controller. There is also provided a system for detainee restraint where multiple detainees may be restrained collectively or individually in a controlled environment such as a detention facility, a jail, or a detainee transport vehicle.

While the patent claims that the cuffs come equipped with sensors that would prevent prisoners from being shocked or drugged to death, some might argue that it still seems like a vast amount of power for a growing number of officers who demonstrate poor judgment on the job.

Tuesday Morning News Roundup 12-11-2012

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • The Pentagon is gearing up for another launch of its secretive space plane. Nobody in the public knows why it is going up or what it does.

 

 

 

  • Some intelligence experts believe that superhumans in control of supercomputers and living in supercities will be the norm by the year 2030. Sounds a bit like the setting of “Total Recall.”

 

  • Sexting is becoming an epidemic among children in developed countries around the world, as boys and girls are sending intimate photos by electronic devices at ages as young as 12 and 13.

 

  • Michigan teachers protesting right-to-work laws have made it impossible for as many as 26,000 children in the State to attend school today.

 

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook.

 

Fiscal Cliff Talks Rife With Government Ineptitude

A majority of Americans lack faith in the Federal government’s ability to come to an agreement that will not hurt pocketbooks throughout the Nation as the fiscal cliff drama continues.

A poll conducted by The Hill indicates that 58 percent of people have don’t believe Washington will reach a solution to the government’s tax and spending problem by Jan. 1. Only 39 percent of respondents were confident that the government can reach a deal that would halt the looming $500 billion tax increase and simultaneous $109 million government spending cut.

Respondents to the poll, despite their lack of faith in government, said 50 percent of the time that it would be better for lawmakers to reach a long-term solution than simply coming up with a short-term quick fix.

Judging from recent talks between President Barack Obama and Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, Americans can expect a tax increase in one form or another.

Former Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson explains in a recent address to supporters:

Here is how the charade is playing out:  President Obama is demanding that the so-called Bush tax cuts be allowed to expire for what he calls the wealthy to produce $800 billion in more “revenue” for the government.  In what only a politician could call a negotiation, the Republican Speaker of the House has countered with an offer to – you guessed it – raise revenues (taxes) by $800 billion.

If this wasn’t so serious, it would be laughable.

The only difference between the two “sides” is what they want to call their plan for the government to suck almost another trillion dollars out of the private economy to finance their wars, their take-over of our health care, and the never-ending erosions of our freedom.

With just three weeks left until the Nation tumbles over the fiscal cliff, political posturing continues to dominate the negotiations. This week, the President is continuing to hold campaign-style rallies to get Americans on board with his tax-the-rich message.

Court Finds North Carolina ‘Choose Life’ License Plates UnConstitutional

A Federal judge has ruled that it is unConstitutional for the State of North Carolina to issue pro-life license plates unless it also offers pro-abortion license plates.

In a ruling Friday, U.S. District Court Judge James C. Fox said that the lack of a pro-abortion choice means that the State should no longer issue its “Choose Life” plates to motorists who wish to advertise their anti-abortion views.

He concluded, “The State’s offering of a Choose Life license plate in the absence of a pro-choice plate constitutes viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.”

The ruling is the result of a lawsuit filed against the State by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of residents seeking specialty license plates that supported the right to choose to have an abortion.

The “Choose Life” license plates were approved by the State’s legislature in 2011, but lawmakers rejected proposals for plates stating “Trust Women. Respect Choice” or “Respect Choice.”

“This is a great victory for the free speech rights of all North Carolinians, regardless of their point of view on reproductive freedom,” said Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU-NCLF. “The government cannot create an avenue of expression for one side of a contentious political issue while denying an equal opportunity to citizens with the opposite view. We are very pleased that the court agrees that such a one-sided scheme constituted viewpoint discrimination and violated the First Amendment.”

Brook also said that the ACLU would have taken the same position had the situation been reversed.

U.N. Doubles Down On Internet Control Mission

Governments meeting in Dubai to discuss the future of global Internet regulation reportedly butted heads on Monday as some countries called for more government control, while U.S. officials warned that overregulation in cyberspace posed threats to freedom.

At a U.N. conference that will end later this week, officials from Russia, China and some Arab states have argued that governments need greater control over Internet content. But a U.S. delegation to the conference, which includes representatives from tech giants like Google and Microsoft, says that countries that already use heavy Internet controls would abuse the power.

Members at the conference have already agreed to work on implementing Internet standards that would essentially allow global eavesdropping. International Telecommunications Union officials said they would adopt a proposal from Chinese officials that would allow telecom companies across the world to more easily dig through data passed across the Web.

Part of the proposal would allow governments to use a process called deep packet inspection, which has been used by repressive regimes, many of which are members of the ITU, to conduct surveillance against their own citizens.

“The telecommunications standards arm of the U.N. has quietly endorsed the standardization of technologies that could give governments and companies the ability to sift through all of an Internet user’s traffic – including emails, banking transactions, and voice calls – without adequate privacy safeguards.  The move suggests that some governments hope for a world where even encrypted communications may not be safe from prying eyes,” the Center For Democracy and Technology said of the measures in a recent blog post.

Report: U.S. Will Lose Superpower Status By 2030

By the year 2030, the United States will no longer be considered a world superpower, but it isn’t expected to be replaced by another nation gaining superpower status, according to a National Intelligence Council report.

Power will shift, rather, to “networks and coalitions in a multipolar world,” according to the “Global Trends 2030” report.

The world of 2030 will be radically different from the world today in terms of power structure. By 2030, no country will be a hegemonic power.

The new divisions of power, according to the report, will lead to a reversal in the historic rise in Western power since 1750. This will be integral in “restoring Asia’s weight in the global economy and ushering in a new era of ‘democratization’ at the international and domestic level.”

The report says:

The diffusion of power among countries will have a dramatic impact by 2030. Asia will have surpassed North America and Europe combined in terms of global power, based upon GDP, population size, military spending, and technological investment. China alone will probably have the largest economy, surpassing that of the United States a few years before 2030. In a tectonic shift, the health of the global economy increasingly will be linked to how well the developing world does—more so than the traditional West. In addition to China, India, and Brazil, regional players such as Colombia, Indonesia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Turkey will become especially important to the global economy.

The report says that a best case scenario as global power shifts would be the United States and China becoming strong economic allies who collaborate on a range of issues. Less desirable outcomes, according to the report, would be that global shifts in power lead to conflict as nations seek to gather more resources.

Monday Morning News Roundup 12-10-2012

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

 

  • This month has seen a worldwide explosion in purchases of doomsday prepping gear in as Dec. 21, the much-hyped end of the Mayan calendar, approaches.

 

 

  • Two boys, ages 7 and 11, pulled a gun on a woman in Oregon outside of church parking lot demanding her wallet, phone and car.

 

  • The President is still on the campaign trail, more than a month after the election. This time, he’s in Michigan asking for people to support his tax hikes.

 

 

  • A new proposal is out for global regulation of the Web. It would require countries around the world to explicitly regulate Internet companies.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook.

Federal Government Expected To Attack State Pot Laws

The Administration of Barack Obama is likely prepared to unleash the Department of Justice on States that opted last month to legalize recreational marijuana use despite national public opinion that leans to the side of the pot-friendly initiatives.

Senior White House and Justice Department officials are considering plans to sue Colorado and Washington to undermine the will of voters in the States where recreational marijuana was legalized by popular vote.

Some Federal law enforcement officials are pushing for Obama to come down hard on the States, arguing that allowing State legality of a Federally illegal drug will lead to other challenges against Federal authority.

The DOJ is reportedly preparing to sue on the grounds that because marijuana is already illegal under Federal law, State officials cannot legally make laws to regulate the drug. If the DOJ prevails, it would strike down the initiatives on the theory that voters wouldn’t have supported marijuana legalization without the promise of heavy government regulation.

There is also the possibility that the Federal government will begin to arrest and prosecute low-threat recreational marijuana users that it would not have otherwise pursued.

Despite the Federal government’s urge to exert its power and let voters and State governments know that its will is final, polling results show that a majority of Americans wish the Feds would butt out. According to a new poll from YouGov, 51 percent of respondents said that the Federal government should allow the States to make their own laws regarding the drug, while only 31 percent said that Federal law should be upheld.

Iranian Official: Sanctions Make Us Stronger

A senior Iranian commander in the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said last week that sanctions from the West are not hurting the nation, but actually making it more self-reliant and resilient.

General Mohammad Reza Naqdi told worshippers at Tehran University that Iran should welcome Western sanctions because they are helping Iranians make their country more self-sufficient, according to The Associated Press.

His remarks are similar to other conservative Iranians who believe that, despite U.N. sanctioned embargos on Western oil, banking and trade with the country, Iran is making technological and industrial advances.

Naqdi said a man who runs 100 meters in 20 seconds can finish it in 7 seconds if a wolf is chasing him, explaining why he believes the country will persevere in missile, drone, satellite and uranium enrichment advancements.

“What we could not achieve in about two decades was achieved in one and a half years,” Naqdi said.

The sanctions have cut Iran off from the Western world and severely damaged its oil trade, which previously accounted for about 80 percent of economic revenue. The Nation’s currency has been severely weakened, most heavily affecting small-business owners and wage earners in the country.

But Iran has made advancements under its “resistance economy,” most notably by constructing facilities to become self-sufficient in producing its own gasoline. The country had worked to do this since 1991 but wasn’t successful until 2010, two years after sanctions began.

Government Borrows Nearly Half Of What It Spends

Nearly half of every dollar the Federal government has spent since the beginning of the 2013 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, has been borrowed, according to the latest data from the Congressional Budget Office released on Friday.

In just the first two months of the fiscal year, the Federal government racked up a deficit of $292 billion, borrowing 46 cents on every dollar it has spent. The government has spent $638 since October and managed to bring in only $346 billion in revenues despite tax revenues being up $30 billion, about 10 percent higher than they were last year.

Spending is up even more. The government has spent an outstanding $87 billion more than it had at this time last year, according to the CBO report; that’s 14 percent higher than it was in fiscal 2012. The budget watchers contend, however, that the higher spending is a result of timing of month-to-month payments.

Taking that into account, the government said that the overall deficit is actually $8 billion lower this year.

The biggest budgetary problem spots, not surprisingly, are related to mandatory expenditures on Social Security, Medicare and interest on already accumulated government debt. These also continue to be major points of contention among Republican and Democratic lawmakers as the fiscal cliff negotiations trudge on.

The CBO says the following about those increases:

  • Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—Expenditures for each of the three largest entitlement programs were higher, with outlays for Social Security benefits increasing the most—by $8 billion (or 7 percent). Spending for Medicare rose by $6 billion (or 8 percent) and outlays for Medicaid rose by $4 billion (or 9 percent).
  • Other Activities—Expenditures in this broad category increased by $7 billion (or 4 percent). Spending increased for the Departments of Agriculture and Justice and for several other programs.
  • Net interest—Outlays for net interest on the public debt were $2 billion (or 5 percent) higher, reflecting both the growing debt held by the public and higher payments for inflation-indexed securities.

Meanwhile, the CBO reported a decrease in government spending on unemployment benefits (down by $4 billion) and defense spending (down by $2 billion) from the same period last year.

Happy Friday! Morning News Roundup 12-7-2012

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has a good idea about how Republicans should handle tax negotiations: “Why don’t we let the Democrats pass whatever they want? If they are the party of higher taxes, all the Republicans vote present and let the Democrats raise taxes as high as they want to raise them, let Democrats in the Senate raise taxes, let the president sign it and then make them own the tax increase.”

 

  • Meanwhile, Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is working on the really important stuff. He is working on getting a waiver so that lawmakers are allowed to eat popcorn in the Capitol building while watching a special screening of Steven Spielberg’s ode to the father of Federal superpowers, Lincoln.

 

 

  • President Barack Obama is currently enjoying an approval rating of 57 percent. That’s the highest it has been since he took credit for the Navy SEALS’ purported killing of Osama bin Laden.

 

  • George Zimmerman filed a suit today against NBC Universal over a well-publicized editing error that portrayed him in racist terms in his pursuit of Trayvon Martin.

 

 

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook.

Verizon Files Creepy Spying Television Patent

The telecom giant Verizon has filed a patent for a cable television box that would use sensors to monitor what costumers are doing in their homes and how they are behaving as they view television programing in order to target audiences with more specific advertisements.

In a patent filing, Verizon outlines a set-top box that would use a depth sensor, an image sensor, an audio sensor and a thermal sensor to determine what people are doing while they watch television.

“If detection facility detects one or more words spoken by a user (e.g. while talking to another user within the same room or on the telephone), advertising facility may utilize the one or more words spoken by the user to search for and/or select an advertisement associated with the one or more words,” Verizon wrote in its application.

The technology would also allow the company to know how the inhabitants of the home were interacting with one another. For instance, a couple watching a romantic program while cuddling on the couch could be recognized by the set and targeted for ads for contraceptives or romantic getaways.

The company would also be able to find out whether a user is “eating, exercising, laughing, reading, sleeping, talking, singing, humming, cleaning, playing a musical instrument, performing any other suitable action, and/or engaging in any other physical activity during the presentation of the media content,” according to the patent.

While the technology raises major privacy concerns and brings to mind notions of the all-seeing telescreens in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, Verizon said its customers have no need to worry.

“Verizon has a well-established track record of respecting its customers’ privacy and protecting their personal information. As a company that prizes innovation, Verizon takes pride in its innovators whose work is represented in our patents and patent applications. While we do not comment on pending patent applications, such futuristic patent filings by innovators are routine, and whatever we might do in the future would be in line with our well-established track record of respecting our customers’ privacy and protecting their personal information,” it said in a statement.

Political Correctness Busybodies Attack Senior Citizens’ Christmas Tree

Residents at a senior housing complex in California are outraged that management of the building has ordered them to remove their Christmas tree from a communal area because “it’s a religious symbol.”

On Tuesday, JB Partners Group Inc. sent a memo to staff at The Willows senior apartment building in Newhall, Calif., demanding they take down Christmas trees and menorahs in communal areas, according to Los Angeles Daily News.

“We’re all angry. We want that tree,” Fern Scheel, a resident of the complex told the news outlet. “Where’s our freedom? This is ridiculous.”

JB Partners did not reply to media requests for comment on the matter. The company owns apartments in California, Oklahoma and Colorado.

“I’ve got grandkids and they come here and now they’ll ask, `Grandpa, where’s the Christmas tree?’ Then I’ll have to explain that someone said we couldn’t have one. What kind of message is that sending to the kids?” resident Max Greenis said of the demand.

The political correctness assault on the California group of seniors comes as ongoing controversy brews in Rhode Island, where Governor Lincoln Chafee refuses to utter the words “Christmas tree.”

“I did what the previous governor did, called it a Holiday Tree. So this goes back to the 90s,” said Chafee, to the dismay of Rhode Islanders who have pointed out that changing the name does not change the symbol.

DeMint Joins Heritage To Broaden Conservative Message

Influential conservative Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is exiting his final term in the Senate four years early to take over as president of the Heritage Foundation, a GOP-affiliated think tank in Washington with a budget of about $80 million.

DeMint is Tea Party favorite and a strong social and fiscal conservative who has said in the past that “you can’t be a fiscal conservative unless you’re also a social conservative.” The Senator said he is taking the job at Heritage with the goal of popularizing conservative ideals that could appeal to a broader public.

“This is an urgent time,” he said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, “because we saw in the last election we were not able to communicate conservative ideas that win elections.”

DeMint will take over the role of the foundation’s president from Edwin J. Feulner, the man who first envisioned the think tank in 1973 and has led it as president for the past 36 years.

Despite hard leanings to the right on social issues in the past, DeMint has taken a stance more recently saying the Republican Party must adopt more Libertarian values.

“The new debate in the Republican party needs to be between conservatives and libertarians,” he said in an interview with Reason. “A lot of the libertarian ideas that Ron Paul is talking about…should not be alien to any Republican.”

The Senator may also push for the GOP as a whole to back off its traditional aversion to any kind of military spending cuts in his new position.

“I’m not sure what that number is. But I do know there’s waste in Pentagon spending. We’ve identified waste not only in the Pentagon but all across the board….But we have to have a vision for what we want our military to do,” DeMint said in a recent interview.