Social Security Cannot Go Broke

If you have looked at a news site in the past two days, you know that Social Security and Medicare are set to go broke in the next two decades, which is earlier than previously expected.

The unsurprising revelation comes from the Social Security Trustees’ annual report on the state of the government retirement and Medicare trust funds. Social Security is expected to exhaust its trust funds by the year 2033, three years earlier than last year’s projection. Medicare, while stable at the moment, will see its hospital insurance fund go broke by 2024. Social Security disability insurance, according to the report, is in the most trouble; its trust fund will be exhausted by 2016.

From the report:

Social Security and Medicare are the two largest federal programs, accounting for 36 percent of federal expenditures in fiscal year 2011. Both programs will experience cost growth substantially in excess of GDP growth in the coming decades due to aging of the population and, in the case of Medicare, growth in expenditures per beneficiary exceeding growth in per capita GDP. Through the mid-2030s, population aging caused by the large baby-boom generation entering retirement and lower-birth-rate generations entering employment will be the largest single factor causing costs to grow more rapidly than GDP. Thereafter, the primary factors will be population aging caused by increasing longevity and health care cost growth somewhat more rapid than GDP growth.

This is not breaking news. The social welfare program has long been in trouble. The increased number of retirees and decreasing number of working Americans are rendering the “pay-as-you-go” social welfare mammoth unsustainable. However, even when the fund runs dry, about three-quarters of currently scheduled benefits could be carried by the taxpayer for about 50 years, according to analysis.

Some people have called the Social Security program a Ponzi scheme for workers who will be nowhere near retirement age by 2033 and call for an “opt out” option that would allow working individuals to invest elsewhere the money taken from their checks for Social Security.

But, how then would the government fund the program?

The Federal government can print fiat money to infinity; it will always be able to pay Social Security no matter what the balance sheets say. By keeping the presses rolling, Federal officials could take the advice of one Forbes contributor who says he can fix the program for $49.99:

We’ll buy a really nice pen (that’s what costs $49.99), have one of those federal workers write “44 quadrillion dollars” on it [the Trust Fund balance], and put it in the drawer. By my calculations, this will keep Social Security solvent through 3575, plus granny will get a free lifetime supply of Werther’s Original. Entitlement crisis solved!

Or, we could just admit that the Trust Fund balance is arbitrary and bears no meaningful relationship to the government’s ability to pay Social Security benefits.

The Forbes writer’s plan essentially removes any initiative for Americans to work and save in an attempt to retire with more than just monthly government bread, because in the end they will have had their savings taxed through inflation.

Social Security is not going to go broke, despite the mainstream media’s effort to make the Nation believe it will; and whatever the “plans” to repair the social welfare system, they will quit working, saving Americans in the same place: the pocketbook.

Executive Order, Un-Constitutional Congress

The use of executive orders by Presidents of the United States is not new, but the nature of these orders has become more alarming and totalitarian than at any other point in the history of the United States.

On June 8, 1789, three months after being sworn in as President, George Washington issued a Presidential directive asking his chief officers to issue him reports “to impress me with a full, precise, and distinct general idea of the affairs of the United States” that they each handled. This is considered by many historians to be the first executive order.

Since then, Presidents have signed more than 13,592 executive orders. Some of them, called “proclamations,” are fairly innocuous. They created holidays, recognized individuals, etc. Other executive orders were downright tyrannical in the eyes of many.

In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, which ordered Cherokee Indians off of the lands that they inhabited by order of previous treaties with the Federal government. The Cherokee fought the legislation and won in the Supreme Court (Worcester vs. Georgia, 1832) in a decision rendered by Justice John Marshall. But Andrew Jackson disagreed with the court, and famously said, “John Marshall has made his decision; let him enforce it now if he can.” Thus began the Trail of Tears.

During the Civil War, and with the help of a rubber-stamp Congress, Abraham Lincoln (whose Administration actually coined the term “executive order”) used the power of executive orders to shut down newspapers, imprison dissenters and eviscerate the Bill of Rights, in order to ensure that the Federal government would always hold supreme command of the United States.

Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the highest number of executive orders, though many were related directly to World War II, including his decision to intern Japanese Americans living on the West Coast.

Bill Clinton was often criticized for over-using the executive order. Clinton’s most significant abuse of his executive powers took place in using the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate millions of acres of Federal land as protected national monuments. He also declared many non-emergency emergencies.

During the George W. Bush years following 9/11, Americans became the victim of executive orders which created the Department of Homeland Security and a number of liberty-quashing initiatives. The Bush Administration, playing to a public terrified of the “axis of evil,” expanded Presidential power vastly, often subversively through Vice Presidential actions and unConstitutionally.

In a 2007 speech against this massive abuse of executive power, a young Senator from Illinois who had previously taught Constitutional Law classes said this: “It’s time to give our intelligence and law enforcement agencies the tools they need to track down and take out terrorists, while ensuring that their actions are subject to vigorous oversight that protects our freedom. So let me be perfectly clear: I have taught the Constitution, I understand the Constitution, and I will obey the Constitution when I am President of the United States.”

Fast-forward to present, that young Senator, now President Barack Obama, is quickly shaping up to be a more unilateral President than his predecessor. A new report by The New York Times explains that Obama’s initiatives are less focused on issues that rip away privacy and liberty, and more on domestic social welfare issues.

When Republicans took control of Congress in 2010, Obama had no reason to worry with using his executive powers to increase spying and stealing liberty in the name of safety; most Republicans in Congress are completely happy to write bills that do just that. Obama’s problem has been GOP obstructionism in moving forward with growing the size of the Federal government and implementing socialistic welfare initiatives.

From The Times:

Mr. Obama has issued signing statements claiming a right to bypass a handful of constraints — rejecting as unconstitutional Congress’s attempt to prevent him from having White House “czars” on certain issues, for example. But for the most part, Mr. Obama’s increased unilateralism in domestic policy has relied on a different form of executive power than the sort that had led to heated debates during his predecessor’s administration: Mr. Bush’s frequent assertion of a right to override statutes on matters like surveillance and torture.

The U.S. Constitution has seemingly become null and void on all fronts as the President uses unilateral power to push his socialist initiatives and Congress pushes its own draconian “for your security” laws that are gleefully signed into law by the President. He has supported Bush-era assaults on liberty with no outcry from either his detractors or his devout supporters.

The Nation, in the words of Presidential candidate Ron Paul, has become an “elective dictatorship.” He said recently, “The drafters of the Constitution intended the default action of government to be inaction. Hopefully, this means actions taken by the government are necessary and proper. If federal laws or executive actions can’t be agreed upon constitutionally- which is to say legally- such laws or actions should be rejected… Sadly, previous administrations have set precedents that the current administration is only building upon. It is time for Congress to reassert itself and its constitutional role so that future administrations cannot continue on this dangerous path.”

It seems the political class of the Nation has two sides, with unConstitutional goals the same.

Michelle Obama, The White House Starlet

Michelle Obama is quite the ham. She has made cameo appearances on television about 44 times since her husband took office as the President of the United States.

It is not uncommon for modern first ladies to make television appearances — Hilary Clinton and Laura Bush both made appearances during their time in the White House — but Obama is the fitness-loving propaganda arm of her husband’s 2012 campaign.

Whether doing push-ups on “The Biggest Loser,” chatting with Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show,” or appearing on children’s shows like “iCarley,” “Sesame Street” and Nickelodeon’s “Kids Choice Awards” alongside the likes of Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift, the first lady has been highly televised.

According to FOX News, Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center said Obama really is “off the charts” in the number of times she’s appeared in entertainment television cameos, even more so “than I dare say many big name actors and actresses.”

The first lady’s stated mission in appearing on so many television shows is to push her “Let’s Move” initiative and encourage Americans to exercise and eat healthy foods. Some people say she is also doing a great deal of campaigning.

“I think they have a great asset and they’re using it,” Schoen said. “At its core, there is an election in seven months and it helps.”

In light of recent criticisms about living a jet-setting lifestyle on the taxpayer dime, perhaps the first lady could get paid for her future cameos and put the money toward her Air Force One fuel costs.

The Collectivist War On Women And Everyone Else

Currently, the “war on women” and “war for women voters” memes are hot topics among the Nation’s news media as President Barack Obama and establishment-declared Republican front-runner Mitt Romney duke it out over women in America.

Obama and the Democratic Party often attempt to paint themselves as the women’s party, the minorities’ party and the protector of the underdog in the United States. At the same time, the party works to make the GOP appear to be the party of the affluent white male.

NPR pointed out last week that both Romney and Obama have distinct strategies for courting female voters: Obama’s focus remains heavily, and in traditional Democratic fashion, on “micro” issues — i.e., contraceptives or Republican disdain for Planned Parenthood — while Romney is focusing more broadly on the economy, jobs and how they affect American women.

Data from the Pew Research Center show that 66 percent of women aged 18 to 34 in the United States consider a fulfilling career high on their list of priorities in life, compared to 59 percent of men in the same age group. The data indicate what Pew describes as a shift in traditional male and female roles that has been occurring for decades.

Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen’s recent comment that Ann Romney, Mitt Romney’s wife and a mother of five, had not “worked a day in her life” reignited the debate about women’s roles in the United States. According to some people, the focus of the discussion has been misguided. Rather than acknowledging that men and women both frequently take equal part in earning money and child rearing, political opportunists on both sides have muddied the issues.

With Democrats ramping up their “war on women” rhetoric and accusing Republicans of wanting women to avoid careers and with Republicans similarly accusing Democrats of hating stay-at-home mothers, a complex issue that is nearly impossible to view on a collectivist level is overly simplified for sound-bite politics.

Here are some issues that are largely disregarded:

  • Sometimes, stay-at-home parents are men.
  • There are a large number of non-working, single parents who rely on welfare as a primary source of income. Legislation aimed at helping them rejoin the workforce has been described as harmful to women’s rights to stay home and offer their children the best care.
  • Contention between women who pursue careers and those who choose to stay at home has been created by politicians and hyped by media to further other agendas.
  • Many families simply can’t afford the child care costs incurred when both parents are away from the home each day.
  • Some of the women/men earnings discrepancies are statistical fallacies. Contrary to what politicians and media say, women do not always earn less than men.

Both Obama and Romney have joined in using collectivism and political campaign rhetoric to create media hype around nonissues to take focus away from a terrible economy and the near-constant destruction of civil liberties in the United States by the political class. Perhaps women, and all Americans, would find a better advocate outside of the two-party paradigm in a candidate focused on the rights of individuals rather than groups — a rare commodity in the political world.

Panetta: U.S. Within An Inch Of Another War

The United States has been at war for more than a decade in the Middle East, and last week Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that every day it becomes more likely that the Nation will go to war with North Korea.

“We’re within an inch of war almost every day in that part of the world,” Panetta said in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, responding to a question about the threats in the Korean Peninsula. “And we just have to be very careful about what we say and what we do.”

The Defense Secretary also said that charges from Republicans that President Barack Obama has been weak with regard to responding to foreign threats are unwarranted.

“I think it’s pretty clear this administration took a firm stand with regard to provocative behavior North Korea engaged in,” Panetta said. “We made clear they should not do it, and we condemned the action even though it was not successful.”

Panetta promised “worsened” relations between the U.S. and North Korea if the hermit kingdom attempts another nuclear test. The Defense Secretary also told the House Armed Services Committee last week that he believed China was aiding the country in its ballistic missile ambitions through “trade and technology exchanges.”

Along with the potential for conflict with North Korea, the U.S. remains threatened by Iran and Syria, Panetta said.

House Passes Sportsman-Friendly Bill

On Tuesday, lawmakers in the House passed legislation that makes it harder for areas to restrict hunting and fishing on public lands and ensures that lead will continue to be used in bullets and fishing tackle. The bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

Republican sponsors of the bill say it is aimed at protecting American sportsmen, but Democrats have accused them of pandering to the gun lobby, calling the legislation unneeded because 85 percent of Federal land is already open to hunting.

The law requires Federal land managers to support hunting and fishing on Federal land, but allows them to close the areas for reasons of national security or fire safety. Upon doing so, they must submit a detailed report to Congress explaining the reasoning behind restrictions.

Anti-lead groups that have argued that lead poisons the environment are dealt a blow in the bill, as it blocks the Environmental Protection Agency from requiring alternatives to lead be used in fishing tackle and ammunition.

Ted Nugent Will Be ‘Dead Or In Jail’ If Obama Re-Elected

Ted Nugent, The Motor City Madman, made headlines this week after giving Republican voters a spirited pep talk at the National Rifle Association’s convention about the need for change within the Federal government this November.

Whether or not you enjoy “Uncle Ted’s” music or agree with his politics, if you are liberty-minded, you likely agree with his feelings about the way the Federal government is treating the Constitution:

If you don’t know that our government is wiping its ass with the Constitution, you’re living under a rock someplace. And that there’s a dead soldier, an airman, a marine, a seaman, hero of the military that just got his legs blown off for the U.S. Constitution—and we got a President and Attorney General who doesn’t even like the Constitution. We’ve got four Supreme Court justices who don’t believe in the Constitution. Does everybody here know that four of the Supreme Court justices not only determined you don’t have the right to keep and bear arms, four Supreme Court justices signed their name to a declaration that Americans have no fundamental right to self-defense? That sounds like a stoned hippie. That doesn’t sound like a Supreme Court anything.

Nugent urged attendees to do everything in their power to convince people to vote for Mitt Romney and against President Barack Obama so that the United States does not become a “suburb of Indonesia.”  The musician-turned-conservative activist also promised that he will be “dead or in jail” this time next year if Obama is re-elected.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06XVt6zEr9E&w=560&h=315]

Nugent is being criticized by the liberal website Right Wing Watch for saying that in the spirit of Americans’ historical penchant for defiance against tyranny, voters should “ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”

Taxes Take Center Stage

Yesterday represented Tax Freedom Day in the United States, the day when the average American taxpayer has stopped working for the sole purpose of paying local, State and Federal taxes.

Republican Presidential contender Ron Paul took the opportunity to remind Americans of his dedication to undoing the U.S. tax system.

In a statement, Paul said:

My ultimate goal remains to repeal the 16th Amendment and end the tyranny of the IRS once and for all. Of the four men seeking the presidential nomination of one of the major parties — President Obama, Governor Romney, Speaker Gingrich, and myself — I am the only one who has consistently opposed increases in taxes and spending. I am also the only one who has consistently fought the Federal Reserve’s assault on the middle class’ standard of living. My campaign to Restore America Now is the clear choice for any American concerned about rolling back taxes, cutting spending, and curbing inflation.

Paul’s “Plan to Restore America” contains several tax provisions, it would:

  • Extend 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.
  • Eliminate the individual income tax and the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Lower the corporate tax rate to 15 percent.
  • Get rid of the estate tax.
  • End taxes on personal savings and tips.
  • Eliminate the dividends and capital gains taxes.

Newt Gingrich’s “Jobs and Growth Plan” would:

  • Extend all 2001-2011 tax cuts that would otherwise expire in 2013.
  • Offer an optional alternative tax system, which would create a 15 percent flat tax rate and allow taxpayers to claim a standard $12,000 exemption for each individual and dependent.
  • Repeal the Federal estate tax.
  • Lower the corporate tax rate to 12.5 percent.
  • Capital gains, dividends and interest income would not be taxable under the flat tax system.

Mitt Romney’s plan would:

  • Extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.
  • Allow some provisions set by the 2009 stimulus act to expire, including the earned income tax credit.
  • Repeal the Federal estate tax.
  • Cut the corporate tax rate to 25 percent.
  • Extend for one year the full expensing of capital expenditures.
  • Make the current research and experimentation credit permanent.
  • Allow a “tax holiday” for the repatriation of corporate profits from abroad.

On Monday, the Senate blocked President Barack Obama’s “Buffett Rule” that would raise taxes on those with incomes higher than $1 million. The plan had been denounced by all of the GOP candidates and conservatives as a whole as a wealth-redistribution scheme.

As Romney has been declared the inevitable GOP nominee by the establishment, many pundits have focused more heavily on the candidate’s tax proposals and how they will be implemented.

Romney has identified specific loopholes and deductions for the wealthy that he plans to eliminate in order to finance his tax cut and ensure that the Nation’s top earners face the same tax burden they do today.

“I’m going to probably eliminate for high income people the second home mortgage deduction,” Romney said. “By virtue of doing that, we’ll get the same tax revenue, but we’ll have lower rates. The nice thing about lower rates is that small businesses get to keep a larger share of what they’re earning and plow it back in to hire more people and expand their business.”

To this point, he has been tight-lipped about the possibility of cutting Federal agencies to ease Americans’ tax burden. But a reporter recently overheard the candidate sounding much more like a conservative’s conservative at a closed-door fundraiser, according to MSNBC.

“I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go,” Romney said. “Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I’m not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we’ve got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states.”

Michigan Lottery Winner Nabbed For Welfare Fraud

The Michigan woman who, despite hitting a $1 million jackpot, still felt entitled to food stamps has been charged with fraud.

Amanda Clayton, 25, continued to draw thousands of dollars in taxpayer-funded food stamps after winning the Michigan Lottery “Make Me Rich” jackpot, according to reports. Attorney General Bill Schuette and Michigan Department of Human Services Director Maura D. Corrigan today announced that the Attorney General’s Criminal Division charged Clayton with two felony counts of welfare fraud after investigation revealed she failed to report her lottery winnings, as well as her employment, as required by State law governing public assistance programs.

“It’s simply common sense that million dollar lottery winners forfeit their right to public assistance,” said Schuette.  “We will continue to work with local, state and federal authorities to uphold state laws intended to ensure wise stewardship of taxpayer dollars.”

Besides winning the jackpot, Clayton was employed while she was receiving the assistance from August 2010 to March 2012. It is alleged that income from Clayton’s employment during that time period was never reported.  From August 2011 through March 2012, Clayton allegedly collected approximately $5,475 in food and medical assistance benefits for which she would otherwise have been ineligible.

Clayton was arrested Monday.

Children’s Book Pushes Veganism

If one new children’s book makes it into your elementary-aged child’s school library, he or she may come home refusing to eat dinner because the food you have prepared has feelings too.

“Vegan is Love,” a children’s book set for release on April 24, encourages children to avoid animal products altogether, covering food, clothing and products tested on animals, according to The Daily Mail. The book was written by 29-year-old Los Angeles mother Ruby Roth, who is raising her child on a vegan diet.

A Kirkus review of the book says:

Presented in picture-book format, this nonfiction work features a different concept on each two-page spread. These concepts include clothing choices, animal testing and using animals in entertainment venues as well as eating habits, farming and environmental degradation. With each, Roth examines the impact of peoples’ choices on the Earth and the animals that live on it. Colorful, stylized paintings vary in subject matter, from cheerful organic farms to starving children, wounded animals and raw meat. The graphic nature of some of the pictures suggest that adults would be most comfortable sharing Roth’s message with older elementary children, a reality somewhat at odds with the appealing cover and brevity of the text. The lack of an index or print citations to specific information may leave readers wondering whether some of her sweeping statements are entirely (or still) correct, depending on when the book is read. Roth’s decision to ascribe emotion to animals may also leave some readers unconvinced.

 
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNU2pezAcSs&w=560&h=315]
 

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will celebrate the launch of the book on May 5 at its Los Angeles headquarters. Some critics of the book say that it will scare impressionable children into unhealthy eating habits.

Ron Paul Dodges Neocons In Video Game

Ron Paul may soon join the ranks of Mario and Luigi if one liberty-minded game designer is successful in bringing the candidate’s Revolution to the world of video gaming.

Daniel Williams, 27, of Houston said he wanted to use his love of video games to educate young people about Paul’s political message.

Though the game, “Ron Paul, The Road to Revolution,” appears to be more fun than educational, it does have some Paul-centric themes: Traveling through the political landscape of the United States, the Paul character grabs gold coins (sound money) and visits each branch of the Federal Reserve Bank while dodging neocons. The designer also said gamers could expect an “epic” encounter between Paul and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

According to Raw Story, the game should be available for play free on the Internet by July.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ydrfs8bpBY&w=560&h=315]
Maybe now Paul will be able to defeat the Fed once and for all.

Obama Signs Natural Gas Executive Order

On Friday, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that increases Federal involvement in the oversight of unconventional methods for mining natural gas.

The order establishes a working group that includes various White House offices such as the Council on Environmental Quality and National Economic Council, along with other cabinet departments and agencies like the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

The order comes just after many Republican lawmakers have chided agencies working on regulations for the industry — specifically related to hydraulic fracturing — saying they are hampering growth.

Some proponents of the Presidential order applaud the action, saying that it could streamline the oversight process of the natural gas industry in the United States.

American Petroleum Institute head Jack Gerard said his organization is “pleased that the White House recognizes the need to coordinate the efforts of the Federal agencies that are reviewing, studying or proposing new regulations.” He does, however, call for the Federal government to work closely with State regulators.

Others say that the President has effectively taken over the industry.

A portion of the order states:

Because efforts to promote safe, responsible, and efficient development of unconventional domestic natural gas resources are underway at a number of executive departments and agencies (agencies), close interagency coordination is important for effective implementation of these programs and activities. To formalize and promote ongoing interagency coordination, this order establishes a high-level, interagency working group that will facilitate coordinated Administration policy efforts to support safe and responsible unconventional domestic natural gas development.

Some critics argue that because the order states the importance of protecting long-term supplies, it gives the Federal government the power to shut down gas production at will under pressure from environmentalists, while claiming the need to protect reserves.

Britain: George Washington Greatest Military Foe

Outnumbered and outgunned, George Washington led the fight for American Independence against the British, which at the time was the world’s most powerful Nation. Washington has always been a hero to Americans, and the Brits recently gave the legendary man another title: Britain’s most outstanding military opponent in history.

In a contest run by the British National Army Museum, historians organized a list of 20 opponents that the country had met on battlefields since the 17th century.  The adversaries were then whittled down to a list of just five, including the likes of Irishman Michael Collins, Frenchman Napoleon Bonaparte, the German Erwin Rommel and the Turkish Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Washington won the title in an online vote in which he took 45 percent of the whole.

Here is a breakdown of the top five from The Telegraph:

George Washington (1732-99) – 45 percent: Guided the American rebels to victory over the British in the War of Independence. Often outmaneuvered by British generals with larger armies, his leadership enabled him to hold together an army of secessionists from 13 different states and keep it in the field – and ultimately prevail – during the protracted struggle.

Stephen Brumwell, author and specialist on eighteenth century North America, said: “Washington scores highly as an enemy of Britain on three key grounds: the immense scale of damage he inflicts upon Britain’s Army and Empire – the most jarring defeat that either endured; his ability to not only provide inspirational battlefield leadership but to work with civilians who were crucial to sustain the war-effort; and the kind of man he was. As British officers conceded, he was a worthy opponent.”

Michael Collins (1890-1922) – 21 percent: Helped transform the Irish Republican Army into a powerful force which fought the British to a standstill in the Irish War of Independence, securing the separation of most of the island of Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Under him, the force waged a guerrilla campaign, mounting attacks and ambushes on barracks, police stations and convoys before quickly withdrawing. His tactics made much of Ireland ungovernable – with an army that never exceeded 3,000 active volunteers at any given time.

Gabriel Doherty, lecturer at University College Cork, said: “He was much more than just a great military leader. He had many different hats and his political and administrative skills tend to be a lot more overlooked.”

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) – 18 percent : Emerged from the turmoil and terror of revolution to become France’s greatest military commander, conquering much of Europe. His greatest victories were against other countries, but his final campaign, culminating in the Battle of Waterloo, tested the Duke of Wellington to the limit.

Alan Forrest, professor of modern history at the University of York, said: “Napoleon was, of course, a supremely gifted general and military tactician, and he also had an unerring gift for propaganda and self-promotion. He recognized in Britain his most implacable opponent, and concentrated all his resources – political and economic as well as military in his attempt to defeat him.”

Erwin Rommel (1891-1944) – 10 percent : A decorated veteran of the First World War, he led the German “Blitzkrieg” of France in the Second World War before making his name battling British forces in North Africa, where he earned the nickname “Desert Fox”. His skill at handling armoured formations enabled his “Afrikakorps” to consistently outmatch his opponents, often against heavy odds.

Dale Clarke, a reservist officer in the Royal Artillery, author and technical adviser on historical films and television shows, said: “A myth may have grown up around Rommel but there is an underlying truth that he was a superb leader who knew that in war you have to instantly grasp the initiative and keep your men moving forward. He is still the ultimate enemy, because of his sheer tenacity and skill.”

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938) – 6 percent : Fought a tenacious defensive campaign at Gallipoli in 1915 which forced the Allied invasion force to withdraw. Displayed great leadership and tactical acumen, reacting immediately to the landing at Anzac Cove to launch successful counter-attacks, preventing his opponents from securing high ground.

Matthew Hughes, from Brunel University, said: “Atatürk resisted the British-led amphibious landings and was the man at the front who stopped the enemy troops taking the peninsula, advancing on Istanbul and knocking Turkey out of the war.”

Is Romney Firing Blanks On Gun Support?

Mitt “varmint hunting” Romney joined the National Rifle Association at its annual meeting in St. Louis on Friday.

In the NRA’s mission statement the organization says its express goals are to “promote firearms and hunting safety, to enhance marksmanship skills of those participating in the shooting sports, and to educate the general public about firearms in their historic, technological and artistic context.”

Many of the organization’s members are likely wary of Romney’s record on guns, considering his proverbial “Etch A Sketch” rhetoric concerning the issue.

Here are a few of Romney’s past positions concerning gun control:

  • In 1994, Romney backed two gun-control measures that were strongly opposed by the NRA: a ban on certain assault weapons and the Brady Law, which imposed a five-day waiting period on gun sales. “I don’t think (the waiting period) will have a massive effect on crime, but I think it will have a positive effect,” he said. Also in 1994, Romney, speaking about his devotion to tough control laws, said he did not line up with the NRA.
  • While running for Governor of Massachusetts in 2002, Romney said: “We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts. I support them. I won’t chip away at them.”
  • In 2004, as Governor of the State, Romney made good on the promise by signing a complete assault rifle ban into law, declaring the firearms “instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”
  • During his Gubernatorial tenure, Massachusetts approved raising the fee on gun licenses from $25 to $100.

Romney took a bit of a turn on the issues during his first Presidential run. Romney told The Washington Post in 2008:

I believe we need to focus on enforcing our current laws rather than creating new laws that burden lawful gun owners. I believe in safe and responsible gun ownership and that anyone who exercises the right to keep and bear arms must do so lawfully and properly. I do not believe in a one-size-fits-all federal approach to gun ownership because people keep and use firearms for different reasons. Law-abiding citizens have a right to protect their homes and their families and as President, I will vigorously defend that right.

In a 2007 interview, Romney told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos:

…I’m a strong proponent of Second Amendment rights. I believe people, under our Constitution, have the right to bear arms. We have a gun in one of our homes. It’s not owned by me, it’s owned by my son, but I’ve always considered it sort of mine. (Emphasis added.)

Borrowing his son’s gun that is kept in one of his homes was apparently enough, however, for the candidate to sign up for a lifetime membership to the NRA before his first Presidential run. Perhaps it is even enough for the millions of Americans who keep several guns in their one home for self-defense, hunting and sport shooting to believe that the candidate is sincere in his devotion to protecting 2nd Amendment Rights.

How ‘Justice’ Suits The Liberal Agenda

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) says it has become the recent victim of liberal political opportunism sparked by recent events in the news.

For more than 30 years, the nonprofit organization has been a key player in promoting legislation throughout the Nation that it sees as beneficial to the advancement of the Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, Federalism and individual liberty in the United States. ALEC says in its mission statement that it promotes the aforementioned principles by aiding in the development of policies based on the Constitutional premise that governmental powers “are derived from, and assigned to, first the People, then the States, and finally, the Federal Government.”

And for its dedication to small government and personal freedoms, ALEC says that liberals who favor “state-dependent utopia” detest the organization.

ALEC has helped to pen legislation that would help to privatize some aspects of education, cut social welfare programs, combat healthcare initiatives like Obamacare and implement voter ID laws, among bills pushing for other conservative reforms. The organization has also advocated Stand Your Ground laws in States throughout the Nation, which has sparked a liberal attack on its policy initiatives in the wake of the Trayvon Martin controversy.

Over the past couple of weeks, liberal pressure on corporate sponsors of ALEC has led companies like Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc., McDonald’s Corp., Kraft Foods Inc., The Wendy’s Company and Intuit Inc., as well as the philanthropic Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to publicly sever financial ties with the free-market and personal liberty advocate.

Liberals like the writers at the left-leaning, anti-corporate blog “Crooks and Liars” applaud the companies for withdrawing ALEC support. A “Crooks and Liars” post states:”

As ALEC whines and twirls in a strange dance of damage control, remember that the Stand Your Ground law that triggered the corporate exodus from them is only the tip of the iceberg. They have done grave harm to many states and most people. Whether it’s education, Voter ID, health care, guns, or taxes, ALEC is the author of far too much turnkey legislation with deep and barbarous cuts to those institutions we hold dear in this country, like schools, and hospitals, and public streets. They deserve no sympathy, nor quarter. They should be accountable for each and every evil they have wrought on states and people who live in them, and those who sponsor their efforts should be equally accountable…

And ALEC agrees with the liberals who are urging customers throughout the country to call and complain to companies who support it on at least one thing: The liberal endeavor to destroy the nonprofit is a subversive effort to use a tragic situation to hamper the organization’s other legislative ambitions. It isn’t just about Stand Your Ground laws.

Ron Scheberle, Executive Director of ALEC said in a press release late last week:

First, the people now attacking ALEC and its members are the same people who have always pushed for big-government solutions. Our support for free markets and limited government stands in stark contrast to their state-dependent utopia. This is not about one piece of legislation. This is an attempt to silence our organization and it has been going on for more than a year.

Second, ALEC is one of America’s premier ideas laboratories when it comes to advocating free market reforms. We are a target because our opponents believe they have the opportunity to attack an effective, successful organization that promotes free-market, limited government policies that they disagree with. We work to promote the Freedom of Choice in Health Care initiative against ObamaCare’s individual mandate. We support fair tax policies and tort reform. This is an all-out intimidation campaign designed to promote government-based solutions rather than the free-market principles that we have seen work.

If ALEC is correct, one might suggest that through a campaign of liberal smoke and mirrors Martin has unwittingly and posthumously become the face of big government in the United States as a consequence of this liberal initiative. Is that the true meaning of justice to leftists in America?

Obama’s Diversity Problem

If President Barack Obama were a Republican, recent media reports would likely have Democrats, equal rights activists and affirmative action proponents up in arms.

With an abundance of recent media controversy that paints conservatives as being racially insensitive and as having a “War on Women” complex that allegedly has them wanting all women at home “barefoot and pregnant,” two recent headlines about the President’s Administration are a bit ironic.

The first came in the form of a photograph that made its rounds on news sites and through the conservative blogosphere. The photo, taken from the Obama campaign’s Tumblr page, shows a gathering of members of the campaign team at its Chicago headquarters. Conservative pundits have pointed out that the “army of twenty-somethings” pictured in the photo isn’t an extremely racially diverse one.

The latest ironic Obama headline comes on the heels of the recent release of a number of White House financial records. The records show that women hold very few top-level positions on the White House staff and earn, on average, about $11,000 less every year than their male counterparts.

The median salary for women was $60,000, while the median salary for men was $71,000.

In a 2010 statement, Obama addressed the fact that women typically earn less in the workforce.

“Paycheck discrimination hurts families who lose out on badly needed income.  And with so many families depending on women’s wages, it hurts the American economy as a whole.  In difficult economic times like these, we simply cannot afford this discriminatory burden,” Obama said in 2010.

Obama’s behavior is not new. In 2008, it was discovered that women in McCain’s office were paid much better than the women in Obama’s.

–Bryan Nash contributed to this report.

Surprise: Researchers Find That Brandishing A Weapon Intimidates

Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles have confirmed the obvious in a recent study: Basic survival instincts make people more apt to perceive that individuals brandishing a weapon are a threat.

Anthropologists at the school conducted a study during which they showed hundreds of participants photos of nearly identical male hands holding a range of easily recognizable objects including handguns and knives before asking them to gauge the size and strength of the men.

In one part of the study, 628 individuals were asked to look at four pictures of different hands, each holding a single object: a caulking gun, electric drill, large saw or handgun.

“Tools were used as control objects to rule out the possibility that a simple link with traditionally masculine objects would explain intuitions that the weapon-holders were larger and stronger,” Daniel Fessler, the lead author of the study and an associate professor of anthropology at UCLA explained.

Participants were then asked to estimate the height of each hand model in feet and inches based solely on the photographs of their hands. They were shown six images of progressively taller men and six images of progressively more muscular men and asked to estimate which image came closest to the probable size and strength of the hand model.

The researchers say that 17 percent of the time, the pistol packer was estimated to be stronger and taller than those holding the other objects. A similar outcome was noted when a kitchen knife was shown in the photos.

“We’re exploring how people think about the relative likelihood that they will win a conflict, and then how those thoughts affect their decisions about whether to enter into conflict,” said Fessler.

America’s Priorities In Six Words

In the spirit of the traditional, memorable six-word phrases often recited by Presidential candidates on the campaign trail, the National Constitution Center  is inviting Americans to share what their six-word message would be if they were running for the Nation’s highest office.

Some examples of Presidential stumps:

  • “Restore America to its own people.”
    –Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • “The old ways will not do.”
    –John F. Kennedy
  • “Federal government is overgrown and overweight.”
    –Ronald Reagan
  • “Read my lips: no new taxes.”
    –George H.W. Bush
  • “Our government should work for us.”
    –Barack Obama

In partnership with SMITH Magazine, the center is asking Americans to submit phrases to the Six-Word Memoir® project starting April 24. The submissions will be displayed on screens in the National Constitutional Center’s main exhibit in Philadelphia. In addition, the center plans to analyze words and phrases in the submissions and organize them in dynamic charts, maps and word clouds that reveal information about election priorities across geography and party affiliation.

“The Address America initiative is a unique and accessible way for people across the country to engage in the pivotal 2012 election,” said National Constitution Center President and CEO David Eisner. “There is no better time to launch this program than on April 24 – the day when several states, including Pennsylvania, hold their primaries, and we celebrate our freedom to vote. We hope visitors of all ages will join us to share in the excitement and make their voices heard through a six-word stump speech.”

Beginning April 24, you can participate in the project here.

In the interim, comment below and let us know what your six-word stump speech would be.

The Ron Paul Buzz Heightens With Santorum’s Exit

Rick Santorum made the decision to “suspend” his campaign on Tuesday, leaving Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich as the remaining contenders for the Republican Presidential nominee. Now what?

Romney has long been declared by the GOP establishment and mainstream media as the definite front-runner in the race. But for the sake of the 24-hour news cycle, nearly every other candidate has been afforded a moment to relish in the limelight as his “rival” — every candidate, it seems, except Paul.

With Santorum’s exit, the “Paulbots,” “Paulites” or whatever the MSM have branded Paul’s supporters this week have become energized, and some pundits believe they have good reason. Throughout the primary season, Paul and his supporters have frequently decried the lack of media attention given to the candidate despite his campaign’s ability to organize and energize supporters in ways the other contenders could only hope to emulate.

But now, some people are left wondering if the media will be forced to recognize Paul as a real alternative — even if he is trailing — to Romney as the race enters the final stretch and the candidates make a mad dash to the Republican National Convention in August.

The prospect seems unlikely. The New York Times declared on Monday — even before Santorum’s exit — that the primary has reached an endgame in an article entitled “A Living Autopsy of the Ron Paul Campaign.” Despite the article’s death-declaration of a title, its author could not help but note the obvious: Paul’s positions are popular to a large base of Americans.

Seemingly representing the best of both worlds in a political sense, the candidate’s fiscal ideology is the stuff of dreams for Republicans — specifically Tea Party types who believe Paul Ryan’s recent budget proposal to be lackluster in the “cuts” department. His wish for a smaller Federal government bridges gaps between libertarians, Republicans and independents. And though Paul’s foreign policy makes many hawkish conservatives queasy, it represents a silver lining to Democratic voters who supported Obama for similar peaceful proposals and were slapped in the face.

Paul is often called dangerous by the elite within the military-industrial complex, yet he receives more campaign donations from active-duty military personnel and veterans than any of the other candidates. Do these troops know something the general public — the average hawkish conservative — does not? Lost in translation to many Republican voters who prefer small government is the Paul axiom that big military is big government. In fact, about 27 cents of every 2011 Federal income tax dollar went to military spending, according to the National Priorities Project, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that analyzes the Federal budget.

Paul and Gingrich have both vowed to stay in the race until the convention, but an interesting caveat for fiscal conservatives considering a vote for Gingrich: The man, who if elected would be charged with repairing a national economy that is in extreme debt, is bouncing checks on the campaign trail. Some pundits have noted since the beginning of his campaign that Gingrich has used the primary mostly as a book tour.

Paul’s campaign still has money to burn and the dogged determination of a well-organized base of support, and many within his base believe — despite MSM reports — that Paul actually has enough delegates to pose a major threat to Romney. They base the assertions on the fact that many of the delegates remain unbound to any one candidate, and the delegate-count numbers are constantly fluctuating.

Even if the MSM are correct in asserting that Paul is no threat to Romney as the primary draws down, the candidate has energized a mass of people who seem to represent a serious threat to the political status quo. In a recent POLITICO article, “Ron Paul’s baby boom,” it is noted that Paul’s Presidential bid and the growing popularity of his message have encouraged a growing number of people who do not identify as wholly Republican or Democrat, but rather as supporters of liberty, to become politically involved. Even if Paul loses this battle, it looks as if he has set the stage to win the war.

Finding Love While Prepping

If you are single, prepping can be a lonely lifestyle and dating may be even more treacherous than it is for non-preppers. Imagine trying to explain the importance of the five-year food store and impressive ammo cache in your basement to someone who is interested only in what happened on the latest episode of “Jersey Shore” or which team the Braves are playing this week.

And then there are all of the tin-foil hat jokes.

Few people appreciate the prepper lifestyle and may find it weird that you carry a concealed weapon for protection, a bug-out kit in the car and spend time in public places identifying threats and planning escapes. Even though being prepared for disaster is a basic responsibility of all humans, partners who understand the prepping lifestyle are often few and far between.

Luckily, Andrea Burke, a 45-year-old teacher from Montana, recognizes the plight of the single prepper. She runs a website called Survivalist Singles that is similar to popular dating sites like eHarmony and Match.com. Only, on Survivalist Singles one might find stockpiling non-perishable food, shooting weapons and perfecting bug-out plans listed alongside “long walks on the beach” in the interests section.

The site launched in 2010 and currently has about 1,640 members. Burke told CNN Money that she hopes to see the site grow. While membership is free for now, she plans to charge a $5 per month fee so she can pay for maintenance and improvements.

 

Vigilante Border Patrol?

In Arizona, a group of armed vigilantes have allegedly taken to conducting their own deadly border patrol missions.

At about 10:35 p.m. last Sunday, officers in Pima, Ariz., responded to a call of shots fired on a vehicle carrying illegal aliens into the United States.

Police say that the vehicle, which is thought to have been carrying about 30 aliens, was ambushed by an unknown number of men dressed in camouflage and armed with rifles. When the men opened fire, two of the passengers in the truck were killed.

Dawn M. Barkman, a spokeswoman for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, told The Arizona Republic that police are unclear why the gunmen opened fire on the pickup, but the shooting happened in an area commonly used by human smugglers.

The surviving passengers fled into the desert, according to reports. Five were located hiding in the brush, interviewed by homicide detectives and turned over to the Border Patrol.

In a similar January 2007 incident, four men wearing camouflage and berets and armed with assault weapons killed a smuggling suspect and wounded another person after ambushing a vehicle in a nearby town. In March 2007, gunmen wearing dark clothing ambushed a vehicle loaded with more than 20 illegal aliens near Green Valley, south of Tucson, and killed two people.

While police currently have no suspects in the case and do not know the motive, some people believe the actions were acts of vigilante border patrol.

The incident comes as many Arizonians are becoming increasingly frustrated that the Federal government has not done more to secure the Southern border. Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen introduced S.B. 1083, a bill that would create a volunteer militia to patrol the State and pursue and apprehend illegal border crossers. The proposal is gaining little support in the State Legislature.

“Everybody just wants to sit around and gripe about it, complain about it, blame the federal government for it,” Allen told AzCapitolTimes. “But when it comes to saying, ‘What can we do as a state to really try to solve the problem?’ Now it’s all the reasons why we can’t solve this problem.”

Liability and training concerns have slowed legislative action on the initiative.