Wednesday, February 29, 2012

TLP Quik Hits: Transplant Denied - How Medical Marijuana Policy Kills Patients

Norman Smith seemed to be making progress in his liver cancer recovery at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles, Calif. He had some of the best doctors in the world, he was on a transplant list and he had completed a successful clinical trial that had his doctors dubbing him a “miracle man.”

Then, his cancer returned and two months before he was would have received a transplant, he was de-listed for smoking marijuana prescribed by his oncologist at Cedars-Sinai. Now, if he doesn’t receive a transplant, he will die.

“It’s only my life that I’m fighting for,” says Smith. “What do I have to hide? I have nothing to hide.”

Smith’s situation represents one of the first battles being fought over the place of medical marijuana in medicine and it has left him in limbo.

Cedars-Sinai declined interview requests but referred Reason TV to Peggy Stewart, a clinical social worker with UCLA’s transplant program, which holds a similar position to Cedars-Sinai on medical marijuana.

“Marijuana is considered substance abuse,” says Stewart. “The legality of it is really not an issue.”

Stewart and Cedars-Sinai did say that transplant patients who consume marijuana put themselves at potential risk of infection from a mold found in cannabis called aspergillus.

But not everyone sees the mold as a potential threat.

“The truth is that Norman lives in Los Angeles and there are laboratories that he can take his medicine to and make sure that it doesn’t have contaminants,” says Stephanie Sherer of Americans for Safe Access , which works to break down political and legal barriers to medical cannabis.

Further, a 2009 study from the American Journal on Transplantation that looked at potential liver transplant candidates said that there wasn’t a significant difference between marijuana users from marijuana non-users.

Sherer points out that Smith isn’t alone, his problems are the reality for many patients caught in-between managing their pain and receiving a transplant.

“In our database at our office, we know of over two dozen patients that are going through this and unfortunately half of them have passed away because they did not receive these transplants,” says Smith.

Music by and

About 6:48 minutes. Written and produced by Paul Detrick. Camera by Alex Manning, Zach Weissmuller and Jim Epstein.

TLP Quik Hits: Santorum Fails Constitution 101

Senator Sanctimonious is not the Constitutional Conservative that he leads you to believe.
I think Sen. Rick Santorum would make a great community organizer. Unfortunately, we are trying to remove, not re-elect, a community organizer in the White House.

Both Santorum and President Obama have a track record of ignoring the Constitution and implementing their personal ideologies at the federal level.

By incessantly talking about his principles and his seven children, Santorum has convinced some voters that he is more socially conservative than Romney, Paul and Gingrich.

Whoa, hold on. Things are not always what they seem; Obama is a politician who looks and talks like a man of principle. In 2008, Americans perceived him as a leader they could trust to reform society and enforce the law of the land. But Obama’s picture-perfect marriage and family life haven’t stopped him from cheating on the Constitution. Likewise, Santorum’s picturesque family life eclipses his poor track record of upholding the Constitution.

Let’s run through examples of how Santorum imitates Obama’s activist drive to choose ideology over the Constitution:

Constitution 101

Both Obama and Santorum have vocalized their discontent with the U.S. Constitution.

Newsmax reports: “…during a September 2001 Chicago public radio program,” Obama said that the “country’s Founding Fathers had ‘an enormous blind spot’ when they wrote it [the Constitution]. Obama also remarked that the Constitution ‘reflected the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day.’”

Santorum routinely trivializes the Constitution and implies that, as president, he would override the Constitution’s own words (like the 10th Amendment) in favor of his personal ideology. He has said that the Constitution isn’t the “end-all, be-all” and he’s implied that reading the Constitution literally could lead to a French-style revolution because our Constitution gives “radical freedom.”

The Founding Fathers did not allow the president to cherry-pick sections of the Constitution to enforce, depending on his or her beliefs. Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution declares the Constitution to be “the supreme law of the land” and Article II, Section 1 states that the President must take an oath to “…preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The Founders specifically forbid the president from legislating or becoming a religious leader à la King Henry VIII, who ordained himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England.
Read the rest at

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mitt Romney Rubs His Wealth In Our Faces Again At The Daytona 500

First there was the infamous $10,000 bet to Rick Perry in the Iowa debate. No biggie, we've all made ridiculous bets before but 10K to Romney is walking around money.

Then in an interview with Soledad O'Brien Mittens says "I’m not concerned about the very poor." Granted it was a sound byte taken out of context but that is just red meat for his opponents.

Next was this gaffe on Friday, while campaigning in Detroit, where he flaunts his support of the US auto industry by telling supporters, "I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually." Way to go Mitt, another softball to your detractors.

Now, just 2 days after the latest foot-in-mouth incident, Gov Flip-Flop again brags about his wealth at the rained out Daytona 500 when he responds to a reporter's question about whether he follows NASCAR with this gem "Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners." As Homer Simpson would say, D'oh.

Memo to Mittens the economy sucks, people are broke, out of work and losing their homes. Most of us who are working live paycheck to paycheck and those that do have something to fall back on, are in the minority. Reminding us how rich you are goes to show just how much of an out of touch douche bag you are.

Being President may be a "bucket list" thing to you, like it is for Barry, but we need someone to turn things around and I don't think you are that someone.

Via Memeorandum

I Guess That Jefferson And Madison Want To Make Rick Santorum "Throw Up" Too

This morning Rick Santorum was asked by George Stephanopoulos if he stood by his remark that JFK's 1960 speech to Protestant ministers regarding the separation of Church and State made him want to "throw up" to which the Rickster responded in the affirmative.

Well, if Mr Sanctimonious believes this...
I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country.
...then he obviously has no idea about what the founders said on the subject and is unfit to be President or to swear an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.

Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists
To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.


The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

Th Jefferson
Jan. 1. 1802.
[Emphasis mine]
James Madison to Edward Livingston

Montpr., July 10, 1822

Dr Sir, I was favored some days ago with your letter of May 19, accompanied by a copy of your Report to the Legislature of the State on the subject of a penal Code.1

I should commit a tacit injustice if I did not say that the Report does great honor to the talents and sentiments of the Author. It abounds with ideas of conspicuous value and presents them in a manner not less elegant than persuasive.

The reduction of an entire code of criminal jurisprudence, into statutory provisions, excluding a recurrence to foreign or traditional codes, and substituting for technical terms, more familiar ones with or without explanatory notes, cannot but be viewed as a very arduous task. I sincerely wish your execution of it may fulfil every expectation.

I cannot deny, at the same time, that I have been accustomed to doubt the practicability of giving all the desired simplicity to so complex a subject, without involving a discretion, inadmissible in free Govt. to those who are to expound and apply the law. The rules and usages which make a part of the law, tho' to be found only in elementary treatises, in respectable commentaries, and in adjudged cases, seem to be too numerous & too various to be brought within the requisite compass; even if there were less risk of creating uncertainties by defective abridgments, or by the change of phraseology.

This risk wd. seem to be particularly incident to a substitution of new words & definitions for a technical language, the meaning of which had been settled by long use and authoritative expositions. When a technical term may express a very simple idea, there might be no inconveniency or rather an advantage in exchanging it for a more familiar synonyme, if a precise one could be found. But where the technical terms & phrases have a complex import, not otherwise to be reduced to clearness & certainty, than by practical applications of them, it might be unsafe to introduce new terms & phrases, tho' aided by brief explanations. The whole law expressed by single terms, such as "trial by jury, evidence, &c, &c." fill volumes, when unfolded into the details which enter into their meaning.

I hope it will not be thought by this intimation of my doubts I wish to damp the enterprize from which you have not shrunk. On the contrary I not only wish that you may overcome all the difficulties which occur to me; but am persuaded that if compleat success shd. not reward your labors, there is ample room for improvements in the criminal jurisprudence of Louisiana as elsewhere which are well worthy the exertion of your best powers, and wh will furnish useful examples to other members LC of the Union. Among the advantages distinguishing our compound Govt. it is not the least that it affords so many opportunities and chances in the local Legislatures, for salutary innovations by some, which may be adopted by others; or for important experiments, which, if unsuccessful, will be of limited injury, and may even prove salutary as beacons to others. Our political system is found also to have the happy merit of exciting a laudable emulation among the States composing it, instead of the enmity marking competitions among powers wholly alien to each other.

I observe with particular pleasure the view you have taken of the immunity of Religion from civil jurisdiction, in every case where it does not trespass on private rights or the public peace. This has always been a favorite principle with me; and it was not with my approbation, that the deviation from it took place in Congs., when they appointed Chaplains, to be paid from the Natl. Treasury. It would have been a much better proof to their Constituents of their pious feeling if the members had contributed for the purpose, a pittance from their own pockets. As the precedent is not likely to be rescinded, the best that can now be done, may be to apply to the Constn. the maxim of the law, de minimis non curat.

There has been another deviation from the strict principle in the Executive Proclamations of fasts & festivals, so far, at least, as they have spoken the language of injunction, or have lost sight of the equality of all religious sects in the eye of the Constitution. Whilst I was honored with the Executive Trust I found it necessary on more than one occasion to follow the example of predecessors. But I was always careful to make the Proclamations absolutely indiscriminate, and merely recommendatory; or rather mere designations of a day, on which all who thought proper might unite in consecrating it to religious purposes, according to their own faith & forms. In this sense, I presume you reserve to the Govt. a right to appoint particular days for religious worship throughout the State, without any penal sanction enforcing the worship. I know not what may be the way of thinking on this subject in Louisiana. I should suppose the Catholic portion of the people, at least, as a small & even unpopular sect in the U. S., would rally, as they did in Virga. when religious liberty was a Legislative topic, to its broadest principle. Notwithstanding the general progress made within the two last centuries in favour of this branch of liberty, & the full establishment of it, in some parts of our Country, there remains in others a strong bias towards the old error, that without some sort of alliance or coalition between Govt. & Religion neither can be duly supported. Such indeed is the tendency to such a coalition, and such its corrupting influence on both the parties, that the danger cannot be too carefully guarded agst. And in a Govt. of opinion, like ours, the only effectual guard must be found in the soundness and stability of the general opinion on the subject. Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together. It was the belief of all sects at one time that the establishment of Religion by law, was right & necessary; that the true religion ought to be established in exclusion of every other; And that the only question to be decided was which was the true religion. The example of Holland proved that a toleration of sects, dissenting from the established sect, was safe & even useful. The example of the Colonies, now States, which rejected religious establishments altogether, proved that all Sects might be safely & advantageously put on a footing of equal & entire freedom; and a continuance of their example since the declaration of Independence, has shewn that its success in Colonies was not to be ascribed to their connection with the parent Country. If a further confirmation of the truth could be wanted, it is to be found in the examples furnished by the States, which have abolished their religious establishments. I cannot speak particularly of any of the cases excepting that of Virga. where it is impossible to deny that Religion prevails with more zeal, and a more exemplary priesthood than it ever did when established and patronised by Public authority. We are teaching the world the great truth that Govts. do better without Kings & Nobles than with them. The merit will be doubled by the other lesson that Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Govt.

My pen I perceive has rambled into reflections for which it was not taken up. I recall it to the proper object of thanking you for your very interesting pamphlet, and of tendering you my respects and good wishes.

J. M. presents his respects to Mr. [Henry B(?)]. Livingston and requests the favor of him to forward the above inclosed letter to N. Orleans or to retain it as his brother may or may not be expected at N. York.
[Emphasis mine]
Via Memeorandum

TLP Quik Hits: Who Should Apologize For Afghanistan?

Again, Michael Scheuer is spot on with his analysis of the situation in Afghanistan.
Driving to Mass this morning I was listening to FOX on the issue of Afghanistan and the killing of U.S. and NATO soldiers by our supposed Afghan allies. FOX had its “terrorism expert” on and he was blathering about how President Obama’s apology for the recent Koran burning was causing more violence in Afghanistan and across the Muslim world. The apology, said the “expert”, was typical of Obama’s weakness, and this weakness is contributing to the rise of Islamist power in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Afghanistan, and other places. Somehow Obama’s apology for the Koran burning was explained by FOX’s “expert” as an apology for “U.S. policy,” which surprised me as I did not know our policy was to burn Korans.

Anyway, that this sort of truly brain-dead stuff passes for acceptable — or even plausible — analysis on any U.S. network falls into the appalling but not surprising category. The violence in Afghanistan against U.S. and NATO forces, for example, has nothing to do with the repeated apologies of Obama, Bush, Secretary Clinton, etc. for various incidents. The violence comes from the fact that we and NATO are viewed by the overwhelming number of Afghans as, to quote an old but true phrase, “foreign infidel occupiers.”

Now, there is no doubt that burning Korans alienates Afghans, but it is the icing on the cake of 2,000-plus years of unrelenting, violent Afghan opposition to all occupiers — Greeks, Persians, Mongols, British, or Soviets. FOX’s “expert” said that Washington and NATO should be “partnering with pro-democracy Afghan social groups” to discredit the Taleban and other Afghan mujahedin and thereby reduce violence and spur democracy. This analysis is truly a howler as those Afghans who are killing Western soldiers are the only social forces that count in Afghanistan, and they are the only ones that have counted since we invaded in 2001. Had we smashed these folks to the edge of extinction and then left in the 18 months following 9/11, all would have been well. But we stayed to build a secular democracy and empower women, and today the world’s greatest power and its allies are acknowledging defeat at the hands of shaggy lads armed with weapons of Korean War vintage.

On the issue of “apologies,” it is clear that one is due, but it is due to the American people and especially to American parents who have lost sons or daughters to members of the so-called Afghan Forces who have shot the U.S. and NATO soldiers who trained them. I always try to avoid saying “I told you so,” but since I published Imperial Hubris in 2004 I have written on numerous occasions that the idea that the U.S. and NATO were going to be able to train an Afghan military/security/police force that could defend the country and the social and political values Washington and its allies sought to impose on Afghans was a piece of absolute of nonsense. I argued that those we trained would kill our soldiers, ultimately help the Taleban to throw NATO out of the country, and thereafter divide along ethnic lines for the coming civil war. Right and left came down hard on me for making these points, the former claiming I was a Bush hater and the latter that I was a an anti-Afghan racist because I refused to see how much the Afghans were desirous and capable of uniting their nation under a secular democracy. Well, I hated neither Bush nor the Afghans — I simply hate those U.S. and Western politicians who refuse to see reality and read history and so get our soldier-children killed for no good reason.


So at day’s end, FOX’s always silly “terrorism expert” was wrong in damning Obama’s apology. What he should have said was that Obama’s apology was misdirected toward the Afghans and, instead, should have been made to Americans. Words of atonement ought to be forthcoming soon from those whose hands are smeared with blood of our Army and Marine trainers killed by their trainees: namely, Presidents Bush and Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former-Secretaries of Defense Rumsfeld and Gates, and Generals McChrystal and Petreaus and their insurgency geniuses, like John Nagl and David Kilcullen.

These men and women — who know only how to lose wars, waste American lives, and intervene in other peoples’ business — were morally and legally required to know the Afghan context into which they were trying to wedge their damnable Western fantasies. They failed to do their home work or, worse, believed history did not pertain to them, and as a result of their arrogant negligence America has lost the Afghan War and many American parents are grieving for the wasted lives of their military youngsters, men and women killed by those they trained or, even worse, in the name of allowing Mrs. Muhammad to vote.
Read the full article here

“VP” Rand Paul And The Imaginary Romney/Paul Connection

Jack Hunter at RonPaul2012
The media speculation about some supposed cooperation between the Ron Paul campaign and Mitt Romney has gotten completely out of hand. Ron Paul is running for President of the United States. His son, Sen. Rand Paul, is supporting his father’s run for President of the United States. That’s all that’s going on here. There is no secret “conspiracy.” During a radio interview this morning in Chicago, Sen. Paul said:

“If there’s a secret deal they’re keeping it secret from me, I think that’s mostly internet chatter and fun for people to speculate on…”
Speculative fun is exactly right. Sen. Paul explained his own views on the supposed Romney/Paul connection this morning, including his comments about being “honored” if he were to be considered as the GOP vice presidential nominee:

I think the story kind of got misrepresented, because you know when I was asked, every time I’m asked these kind of questions, these are hypothetical questions, I always say you know what? I still have my first choice in the race and that’s Ron Paul. My first choice would be a Ron Paul presidency and my first choice for a position would be an unofficial adviser to a Ron Paul presidency…

But when they push and push and push, and say ‘What about Romney? Would you do it?’ I mentioned that it would be an honor, and what I meant by that is sort of like if you were nominated for an academy award, what’s your response? You’d say “It’s be an honor to be nominated’ and so I think it would be silly for me not to say that if anybody considered me that I’d be honored by it, but I think it was somewhat overblown, it sort of fits into this sort of cabal that people write about…

That there’s this big strategy between Ron Paul and Romney, really the Ron Paul strategy as far as I’m aware of it is to gather delegates and to try to win, and one of the unwritten stories really is that Ron Paul may have already won a couple of states but people haven’t realized it because the delegates haven’t been allotted in Iowa yet, and we still think there’s an reasonable chance we can win Iowa we they count the delegates, we think there’s a reasonable chance we can win Maine when they count the delegates, and this is sort of an unwritten story that’s out there, and also why I don’t like the story out there that somebody’s trying to angle for some other position other than I’m just trying to help my dad at this point…

Saturday, February 25, 2012

TLP Quik Hits: Gasoline Prices Are Not Rising, the Dollar Is Falling

If this is the first you are hearing of this, you haven't been reading TLP.

Panic is in the air as gasoline prices move above $4.00 per gallon. Politicians and pundits are rounding up the usual suspects, looking for someone or something to blame for this latest outrage to middle class family budgets. In a rare display of bipartisanship, President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner are both wringing their hands over the prospect of seeing their newly extended Social Security tax cut gobbled up by rising gasoline costs.

Unfortunately, the talking heads that are trying to explain the reasons for high oil prices are missing one tiny detail. Oil prices aren’t high right now. In fact, they are unusually low. Gasoline prices would have to rise by another $0.65 to $0.75 per gallon from where they are now just to be “normal”. And, because gasoline prices are low right now, it is very likely that they are going to go up more—perhaps a lot more.

What the politicians, analysts, and pundits are missing is that prices are ratios. Gasoline prices reflect crude oil prices, so let’s use West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil to illustrate this crucial point.

As this is written, West Texas Intermediate crude oil (WTI) is trading at $105.88/bbl. All this means is that the market value of a barrel of WTI is 105.88 times the market value of “the dollar”. It is also true that WTI is trading at €79.95/bbl, ¥8,439.69/barrel, and £67.13/bbl. In all of these cases, the market value of WTI is the same. What is different in each case is the value of the monetary unit (euros, yen, and British pounds, respectively) being used to calculate the ratio that expresses the price.

In terms of judging whether the price of WTI is high or low, here is the price that truly matters: 0.0602 ounces of gold per barrel (which can be written as Au0.0602/bbl). What this number means is that, right now, a barrel of WTI has the same market value as 0.0602 ounces of gold.

During the 493 months since January 1, 1971, the price of WTI has averaged Au0.0732/bbl. It has been higher than that during 225 of those months and lower than that during 268 of those months. Plotted as a graph, the line representing the price of a barrel of oil in terms of gold has crossed the horizontal line representing the long-term average price (Au0.0732/bbl) 29 times.

At Au0.0602/bbl, today’s WTI price is only 82% of its average over the past 41+ years. Assuming that gold prices remained at today’s $1,759.30/oz, WTI prices would have to rise by about 22%, to $128.86/bbl, in order to reach their long-term average in terms of gold. As mentioned earlier, such an increase would drive up retail gasoline prices by somewhere between $0.65 and $0.75 per gallon.

US Intelligence: Iran Not Building A Nuke

There is no proof that Iran is pursuing a nuke, never has been. But that little inconvenience, like the false claims of Saddam's WMD's, won't deter the Neocons from attacking another sovereign nation. Heck, even the war-loving AEI admits that it's more about maintaining the balance of power in the Middle East than preventing Iran from some hypothetical attack of Israel.

Here's some more food for thought and the real reason Iran is in the cross-hairs of the Global Elite; Iran wants to accept gold instead of dollars as payment for oil.

It's a dirty little secret but connect the dots.

Saddam Hussein wanted to accept payments in gold, where is he now? Dead. What about Muammar Gaddafi? He threatened to begin accepting payments for Libya's oil in gold. See Saddam Hussein.

Think there's a pattern here?

I dare any of you War Hawks to offer evidence to the contrary.

LA Times
Reporting from Washington — As U.S. and Israeli officials talk publicly about the prospect of a military strike against Iran's nuclear program, one fact is often overlooked: U.S. intelligence agencies don't believe Iran is actively trying to build an atomic bomb.

A highly classified U.S. intelligence assessment circulated to policymakers early last year largely affirms that view, originally made in 2007. Both reports, known as national intelligence estimates, conclude that Tehran halted efforts to develop and build a nuclear warhead in 2003.

The most recent report, which represents the consensus of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, indicates that Iran is pursuing research that could put it in a position to build a weapon, but that it has not sought to do so.

Although Iran continues to enrich uranium at low levels, U.S. officials say they have not seen evidence that has caused them to significantly revise that judgment. Senior U.S. officials say Israel does not dispute the basic intelligence or analysis.

"I think they are keeping themselves in a position to make that decision," James R. Clapper Jr., director of National Intelligence, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Feb. 16. "But there are certain things they have not yet done and have not done for some time."
Via Memeorandum

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Is a Rand Paul Vice Presidency Possible?

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Cross-posted at the Left Coast Rebel

Is it possible? Rick Santorum thinks something up and I've considered it somewhat possible for a little while; the Romney/Rand Paul veep rumor has been swirling the savvy side of the intertubes for a bit now. I have also been very suspicious about just how kid gloves-ish Ron Paul is with Mitt Romney, especially with the debates and attack ads. The two don't go after each other like you think they should/would and it doesn't add up. When was the last time you saw either of them go at each other?

Anyway, Mitt Romney picking Rand Paul sounds plain insane you say?

Does it really?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

TLP Quik Hits: There's More Than One Way To Fudge Unemployment

As you read at TLP earlier this month, the BLS is able to fudge the unemployment rate by manipulating the labor force participation rate. Now come this revelation by the NY Post that increasing disability claims are shrinking the ranks of the unemployed even further.

So, with the latest mid-month unemployment report by Gallup that the jobless rate is due to rise in the next BLS report, imagine what it would be like if there were no shenanigans afoot.

NY Post
Standing too many months on the unemployment line is driving Americans crazy — literally — and it’s costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.

With their unemployment-insurance checks running out, some of the country’s long-term jobless are scrambling to fill the gap by filing claims for mental illness and other disabilities with Social Security — a surge that hobbles taxpayers and making the employment rate look healthier than it should as these people drop out of the job statistics.

“It could be because their health really is getting worse from the stress of being out of work,” says Matthew Rutledge, a research economist at Boston College. “Or it could just be desperation — people trying to make ends meet when other safety nets just aren’t there.”

As of January, the federal government was mailing out disability checks to more than 10.5 million individuals, including 2 million to spouses and children of disabled workers, at a cost of record $200 billion a year, recent research from JPMorgan Chase shows.

The sputtering economy has fueled those ranks. Around 5.3 percent of the population between the ages of 25 and 64 is currently collecting federal disability payments, a jump from 4.5 percent since the economy slid into a recession.

Mental-illness claims, in particular, are surging.

During the recent economic boom, only 33 percent of applicants were claiming mental illness, but that figure has jumped to 43 percent, says Rutledge, citing preliminary results from his latest research.

His research also shows a growing number of men, particularly older, former white-collar workers, instead of the typical blue-collar ones, are applying.

The big concern about the swelling ranks is that once people get on disability, they’re unlikely to give it up and go back to work.

“It’s not like other support programs, such as unemployment insurance, which you lose after a year or two,” says Michael Feroli, chief US economist with JPMorgan.

Social Security’s disability fund, which has been operating short of cash since 2005, is forecast to run out of reserves by 2018.

The jump in successful disability claims also is making the unemployment picture look extra rosy because those folks are falling off the jobless rolls.

“If they’re on disability they’re generally not counted,” says Feroli, who estimates that a quarter of those dropping out of the job market are getting disability. “It’s no trivial number.”

Rick Santorum A True Fiscal Conservative

Not! Rick Santorum is a fake, phoney, fraud fiscal conservative.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

(VIDEO) "What if" by Judge Andrew Napolitano

Cross-posted at the Left Coast Rebel

This "what if" segment allegedly had something to do with Judge Andrew Napolitano getting fired from Fox Business. It aired right before he was axed.

Watch it and weep:

What if we don't have anyone so stridently independent on any television outlet any more?

Damn that independent thought stuff.

Hat-tip Moonbattery.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rick Santorum on Libertarianism and Individualism

Cross-posted at the Left Coast Rebel

This video clip pretty much seals the deal for me:

"There is no such society that I am aware of, where we've had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture."

 Ever hear of the United States of America, Rick? It wasn't until your progressive overlord brethren got their hands on the most successful model of individual freedom the world has ever seen that the train came off the rails and we ended up in the socialist nightmare we find ourselves in. Before you guys ruined this society of radical individualism we were infinitely better off and it was precisely because of radical individualism.

Absolutely shockingly doggone spooky.

Is Rick Santorum the not-Romney candidate that is actually much worse than Newt Gingrich?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

America in Statist Decline: Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan Vs. John Locke's Self Determination

Cross-posted at the Left Coast Rebel

I'm currently enrolled in an early American history course, unfortunately there's quite a bit of revisionist-leftist history; for example I'm required to read a vile novel by some America-hating leftist called "Jefferson's Pillow." I shudder to think of the material that awaits me.

Nevertheless some of my course work and material is quite fascinating...

For example, almost 400 years ago a war was raging in the hearts and minds of both colonists and Europeans, particularly the English. Amidst the mid-17th century, two diametrically-opposed political philosophies were at the forefront of people's minds.

And like today, it came down to liberty versus tyranny.

Seventeenth-century English philosopher John Locke's vision of self-government and individual freedom was pitted directly against English philosopher Thomas Hobbes' alternate vision of man as a beast to be tamed; one that was always in a state of conflict, or "war" against one another with a super-monarch and "leviathan" state/leader as the only alternative to man's animal-like nature.

Hobbes put his pen to paper and wrote "The Leviathan" and if you ever wondered just what the term leviathan means -- as you have seen it across pages and pages of this site -- enter this difficult, dark read oozing with eery parallels to modern America.

I read several chapters and came away thinking that Barack Obama is nothing more than the personification of Hobbes' ultimate Leviathan-state vision:
Cover to Hobbe's "Leviathan". Note the all-powerful monarch (dictator) with sword in one hand, religious scepter in the other. The Leviathan towers over an English city; his coat of armor is comprised of the many faces of the faceless super-state. (High-res image here)

England overwhelmingly rejected Hobbes' dark, despotic vision of humanity and government and instead opted for Locke's belief that man had a natural right to defend his “Life, health, Liberty, or Possessions." If you think this phrase, coined by Locke decades before the American Revolution sounds familiar to Jefferson's "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" from the Declaration of Independence, you are correct: In many ways Jefferson and the Founders were simply carrying Locke's philosophical torch as they fought the tyranny of the crown some 100 + years later.

Understand that I am paraphrasing and by no means an expert in this realm of history. Nevertheless, I find it fascinating and sadly relevant to America's own Leviathan government and the dark place we have been led to.

Anyway, although clearly liberal, my history professor seems relatively open-minded and encouranging of discourse and debate. She asked me what I thought of the classic philosophical clash between Hobbes and Locke.

Thus, I wrote:

Hello Professor:

Thank you for your feedback. This topic in particular (Hobbes vs. Locke) really ignites my imagination; I find that if I am interested in a historical topic I learn and retain so much more. It is an interesting note that you make that Hobbes was in line with Puritans and puritanical thinking of that time. The Puritans were what we would consider fundamentalists today and according to the text they were strict believers in predestiny -- that being that only certain people were chosen by God to be saved, etc. I believe that this belief led Puritans to a very gloomy outlook on humanity as a whole. They essentially held that man was an insufferable beast and generally evil. Conversely, the Founders believed that man, simply put, was generally good. John Locke echoed this sentiment as well. Locke -- as well as Founders like Thomas Jefferson -- believed in a state to carry out the most strictly limited functions of a society, ie. the court system, military, etc. and tarriffs, I believe to fund the government. Locke's held that an individual should have the freedom and ability to choose his destiny, free from the constraints of a Hobbes-esque Leviathan-type government. In essence, this was and is the political philosophy knows as classical liberalism. The closest equivalent in today's America is the libertarian train of thought. I believe that Locke would argue against the heavy hand of state/federal government and the policy of redistribution. I believe that he would argue, that the redistributive state robs everyday citizens of their most basic liberty -- that of their blood sweat and tears; that of their liberty
To quote Thomas Jefferson,

"To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association—the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."

When we as a once freedom-loving society ignore history we are doomed to repeat it.

Private Property Rights Versus Progress

I fully support the expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline and feel it is wrong for the Obama administration to block it, but I am also a firm believer in property rights. While I can understand the argument that municipalities may need to take land for public projects, an overwhelming argument must be made in the state's favor.

Take the case of Hope Ingersoll in Massachusetts for example. For decades, the state wanted to take her 900 acre farm and cut a highway right through it, but Ms Ingersoll objected. She even went to great lengths and much expense to show there was an alternate path that the state could use which, while extending the path of the highway, would take 1/10th of her land than the original design. In the end, Ms Ingersoll prevailed and the highway was completed but not after hundreds of thousand of people, like my family, were subjected to massive traffic jams for many years on our way to the Cape for a weekend getaway.

What I am dead set against however is when the state takes land by eminent domain and gives it to a private company.

We have all heard of Kelo v. City of New London where the SCOTUS ruled against homeowner Susette Kelo in her battle against the city of New London CT where the city wanted to take her land so pharmaceutical giant Pfizer could expand it's research center into an "urban village". Today the land still sits vacant, except for a dump for debris from Hurricane Irene, as Pfizer pulled out of New London in 2010.

Well TransCanada, who has proposed the Keystone XL pipeline, is trying to use the tactic of eminent domain to take the land of Julia Trigg Crawford of Paris TX for their use.

For a private entity to plunder the property of a landowner is just another form of income redistribution and should not be tolerated. It is a core principle of our nation that private property rights are sacred and must remain so.

The Statesman
Private property rights advocates rallied Friday in Austin in support of a Northeast Texas landowner who was in court in Paris to defend the taking of her land by pipeline company TransCanada Corp.

The Calgary-based TransCanada is in the process of trying to secure land in East Texas through the use of eminent domain to possibly run pipeline that would bring Canadian crude to the Texas Gulf Coast through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

But the protesters outside state offices in Austin — along with Julia Trigg Crawford , the landowner in Paris — wanted to send a message to the company and to Texas policymakers: TransCanada shouldn't have the right to take Texans' land. They said the company has gone too far in its use of eminent domain, the process of taking private land for public use.

TransCanada follows the law and treats landowners with "honesty, fairness and respect," company spokesman Terry Cunha said in a statement Friday. He added that TransCanada has easement agreements in place with more than 99 percent of the landowners along the proposed route.

Crawford, who owns a 600-acre farm in Direct, on the Red River, said she wouldn't oppose the taking of private property through eminent domain for essential purposes, such as delivering water or power to the state's residents. She could even understand taking land for a highway, but not for nonvital reasons, she said.

"When it is used by an entity whose purpose is not charitable, when it is for a for-profit endeavor, that sure doesn't sound good," Crawford said.

Proponents have touted the proposed $7 billion, 830,000-barrel-a-day Keystone XL pipeline as a massive job creator that would help wean the United States off dependence on Middle East oil.

On Monday, Crawford secured a temporary restraining order preventing TransCanada from getting on her land. On Friday, she had to go to court for a hearing in which the company sought to have the order dissolved. Crawford said she expects a decision next week.

One of the Austin protesters, Chris Wilson, a pipeline consultant, said Crawford's situation was emblematic of property owners' battles across the state.

"Landowners have had it with a foreign company trying to take our land away," Wilson said.
Via Memeorandum

TLP Quik Hits: Brokest Nation In History Fusses Instead About Sex

Mark Steyn nails it again.

Why talk about the real issues when hysteria can be drummed up by both parties in order to distract from the 400 pound gorilla in the room.
At such a moment, it may seem odd to find the political class embroiled in a bitter argument about the Obama administration's determination to force Catholic institutions (and, indeed, my company and your company, if you're foolish enough still to be in business in the United States) to provide free prophylactics to its employees.

The received wisdom among media cynics is that Obama has engaged in an ingenious bit of misdirection by seizing on a pop-culture caricature of Republicans and inviting them to live up to it: Those uptight squares with the hang-ups about fornication have decided to force you to lead the same cheerless sex lives as them.

I notice that in their coverage NPR and the evening news shows generally refer to the controversy as being about "contraception," discreetly avoiding mention of sterilization and pharmacological abortion, as if the GOP have finally jumped the shark in order to prevent you jumping anything at all.

It may well be that the Democrats succeed in establishing this narrative. But anyone who falls for it is a sap. In fact, these two issues — the Obama condoms-for-clunkers giveaway and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 900% by 2075 — are not unconnected.

This is a very curious priority for a dying republic. "Birth control" is accessible, indeed ubiquitous, and, by comparison with anything from a gallon of gas to basic cable, one of the cheapest expenses in the average budget. Not even Rick Santorum, that notorious scourge of the sexually liberated, wishes to restrain the individual right to contraception.

Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, distills the current hysteria thus: "It's as if we passed a law requiring mosques to sell bacon and then, when people objected, responded by saying 'What's wrong with bacon? You're trying to ban bacon!!!!'"

Americans foolish enough to fall for the Democrats' crude bit of misdirection can hardly complain about their rendezvous with the sharp end of that page 58 budget graph.

People are free to buy bacon, and free to buy condoms. But the state has no compelling interest to force either down your throat.

The notion that an all-powerful government would distract from its looming bankruptcy by introducing a universal contraceptive mandate would strike most novelists as almost too pat in its symbolism.

It's like something out of "Brave New World." Except that it's cowardly, and, like so much else about the sexual revolution, very old and wrinkled.
Via Memeorandum

TLP Quik Hits: Ron Paul - America "Slipping Into A Fascist System"

Don't believe him, just look at the results of the GOP primaries and caucuses or polls showing Obama on top.

Even the Tea Partiers who claim to be in favor of limited government seem more than happy to to have either Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich, all of whom have supported big government and corporatism in one for or another while they were in office.

As the "Republican Revolution" of the 2010 midterm election has now proved, Americans don't desire real change, they are happy just to shuffle the deckchairs.

Daily Mail
Ron Paul has warned the U.S. is 'slipping into a fascist system' dominated by government and businesses.

The Republican presidential candidate made the bold claim as he held a rally on Saturday - upstaging other nearby Republican Party banquets.

The Texas congressman drew thousands to Kansas City's Union Station while the party's establishment dined on steak across the street at the Missouri GOP's annual conference.

'We've slipped away from a true Republic,' Paul said. 'Now we're slipping into a fascist system where it's a combination of government and big business and authoritarian rule and the suppression of the individual rights of each and every American citizen.'

Saturday, February 18, 2012

TLP Quik Hits: Arizona Bill Would Nullify Health Care Act In Its Entirety

If our federal officials won't rid us of the Obamanation known as ObamaCare, we will do it one state at a time.

Tenth Amendment Center
Arizona lawmakers will join those in New Jersey considering the strongest legislation blocking implementation of the federal health care act proposed in the United States so far this year.

HB2725 and the senate companion bill SB1475 would nullify the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 in their entirety.

The legislation emphatically declares that the federal health care acts “are not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and violate its true meaning and intent as given by the founders and ratifiers and are declared to be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, are specifically rejected by this state and are considered void and of no effect in this state.”

The bills go a step further, making it a criminal offense for any Arizona state or federal official, agent or employee to attempt to enforce any provision of the federal health care act in the Grand Canyon State.

Several states will take up health care freedom legislation during the 2012 session, specifically addressing insurance mandates. But the Arizona bill takes things a step further, rightly judging the entire health care act unconstitutional. The bills’ authors build their case upon the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, pointing out that the Constitution grants the federal government specific and limited powers, leaving the rest to the states and the people.

From the bill –

“The assumption of power that the federal government has made by enacting the patient protection and affordable care act and the health care and education reconciliation act of 2010 is nowhere expressly granted by the United States Constitution and interferes with the right of the people of this state to regulate health care as they see fit.”
But that’s not all..
“An official, agent or employee of the United States Government or any employee of a corporation providing services to the United States Government who enforces or attempts to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation of the United states Government in violation of this act is guilty of a Class 4 Felony.”
Several sponsors signed on to both the senate and house bills. Senate sponsors include Gould, Murphy, Griffin, Nelson, Shooter and Yarbrough. House sponsors include Seel, Fillmore, Gowan, Kavanagh, D. Smith, Stevens, Crandell, Goodale, Harper, Judd, Proud and Urie.

Last year, the North Dakota legislature passed health care nullification legislation lacking the enforcement provisions featured in the bills under consideration in Arizona and New Jersey. Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed the bill into law on April 27, 2011.

TLP Quik Hits: NDAA Nullification Bill Passes Arizona Senate Committee 6-1

Bring it on Leviathan, we are prepared for the fight.

"It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government" and that is what the patriots in the Arizona Senate are attempting to do.

Tenth Amendment Center
By a vote of 6-1 (with 1 abstaining) the Arizona Senate’s Border Security, Federalism and States Sovereignty Committee approved Senate Bill 1182 (SB1182), bringing it one step away from a full Senate vote.

SB1182, if signed into law, “Prohibits this state and agencies of this state from participating in the implementation of Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012. Classifies the act of attempting to enforce or enforcing these sections as a class 1 misdemeanor.”

A modified version of the Liberty Preservation Act released by the Tenth Amendment Center this month, Arizona joins a growing choir of states and localities who’ve decided that waiting for federal politicians to repeal their own power is something they’re not willing to risk.

The bill was introduced by Senator Sylvia Allen, originally on 01-19-12 on a different subject. But, through a process in Arizona known as a “strike everything amendment” she was able to insert the Liberty Preservation Act language into the bill in time for the committee hearing today. According to the Arizona Legislature,

A “strike everything after the enacting clause” amendment (also referred to as a “strike everything” amendment or simply a “striker”) proposes to delete the entire text of the existing bill and substitute new language, essentially making it a completely different bill, possibly on an entirely different subject. These amendments are sometimes used to allow legislators to circumvent the deadlines on introduction of new legislation, deal with an issue that arises after the deadline or revive a bill that has previously been defeated.
A strike everything amendment was also submitted for Senate Concurrent Resolution 1011 (SCR1011), which includes the following position amongst a long denouncement of the federal act signed into law by Barack Obama on 12-31-11:

That the Members of the Legislature condemn sections 1021 and 1022 of the 2012 NDAA as they purport to repeal posse comitatus and authorize the President of the United States to use the armed forces of the United States to police American citizens, to indefinitely detain persons captured within the United States without charge until the end of hostilities as purportedly authorized by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, to subject persons captured within the United States to military tribunals, and to transfer persons captured within the United States to a foreign country or foreign entity.
Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey pointed out that the vigorous debate on the meaning of sections 1021 and 1022 should raise concern in and of itself.

“It is clear to me, and I am far from alone in this view, that the detention provisions in the NDAA are vague, overbroad and open to interpretation. That leaves me to trust in the good character and moral clarity of Barak Obama, Rick Santorum or whoever happens to reside at the White House, to protect me and my fellow Americans from abuse of this power. No thanks!” he said.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It's Not Just Ron Paul Supporters Who Smell A Fix In Maine Caucus

The Bangor Daily News reports that the Waldo County GOP Committee voted to recommend a censure of Maine GOP Chairman Charlie Webster for his (mis)handling of the caucus.

WXIX, the Fox affiliate in Cincinnati OH has some questions.

And so does Rachael Maddow

At least Webster has changed his tune and the Washington County votes will count toward the final tally.

But what about the other missing votes? Stay tuned.

Mike Church Interviews Michael Scheuer On Blowback

Michael Scheuer understands Al-Qaeda as well as anyone alive. He was after all the Chief of the CIA Osama bin Laden unit from 96-99 and Special Adviser to the Chief of the bin Laden Unit from 01-04 so he knows what he is talking about. It should also come as no surprise that he understand that there are consequences to our interventionist foreign policy in the form of blowback, or as he puts it "high school physics" where every action has a reaction.

He quite simply says that you have to be an idiot, or an Ivy Leaguer, to think that we can continue to push others around without them pushing back at some point.

In this interview with Mike Church, Mr Scheuer correctly points out that in 2001, Al-Qaeda was only active in Afghanistan. Today Al-Qaeda is a global enterprise active in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the United States because of our intervention in the Middle East.

Please listen to the interview and think about what an expert has to say about the ramifications of our interventionist foreign policy the next time you say "I like Ron Paul except for his foreign policy."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dave Mustaine Of Megadeth Endorses Rick Santorum; A Piece Of My Youth Died

A little back story here.

Back in the late 80's and early 90's I was big into the metal scene and got to meet Dave Mustaine and his Megadeth band mates at an in-store signing in support of their 1990 release, Rust In Piece. In line in front of my buddy and I were 2 tarted-out, hair-metal twinkies who looked and sounded like they were more into bands like Poison than Megadeth and we were stuck listening to their inane jabbering for about an hour. When we finally got to the table, the girls got their CD's signed and one of them offered her hand for Dave to shake. What followed next was pure metal.

Dave shook the girl's hand, but as he did, he started pulling her arm towards him, staring at her menacingly. Now, you're not familiar with the band, Mustaine is a pretty sinister looking guy with long, flaming-red hair and he was obviously freaking this girl out. The closer she got, the more she tried to pull away but Dave kept sneering and wasn't easing up. Finally, after her face was about a foot away from his, he let her go and she rushed off but not before Dave said "bye".

My buddy and I were just looking at each other trying not to laugh because the look on this girl's face was priceless, but we didn't really want to piss off Mustaine. The kicker was as we slid over to pass Dave our CD's to sign, he looked up at us, smiled and said "I love doing that shit"; at that point my friend and I just bust out laughing. Classic metal and I'll never forget it.

So much for the history lesson and a glimpse into the past life of your humble narrator.

Earlier this week, the Megadeth front man came out in support of Rick Santorum and really it's not that much of a shock. Mustaine has always been quite the anti-government type, as his lyrics have shown, but he is also a born-again Christian with strong personal beliefs.

Here's what he has to say about Santorum in an interview with
Earlier in the election, I was completely oblivious as to who Rick Santorum was, but when the dude went home to be with his daughter when she was sick, that was very commendable. Also, just watching how he hasn't gotten into doing these horrible, horrible attack ads like Mitt Romney's done against Newt Gingrich, and then the volume at which Newt has gone back at Romney… You know, I think Santorum has some presidential qualities, and I'm hoping that if it does come down to it, we'll see a Republican in the White House... and that it's Rick Santorum.
Mustaine also weighed in on the other candidates, saying that he was "pretty excited" about Gingrich who he still likes but probably wouldn't vote for because he went back to being "that angry little man". On Ron Paul he said he likes Paul because of the way he excites young people, but uses the "I like Ron Paul, but.." knock, commenting "he'll make total sense for a while, and then he'll say something so way out that it negates everything else."

As for how he feels about the current Occupier in Chief, Mustaine feels that his supporters have their heads in the sand and hopes that whoever the GOP nominee is, that a Republican takes the White House in 2012 because "can't bear to watch what's happened to our great country" under Barry.

So I won't hold Mustaine's endorsement against him, as much as I disagree with him; we are all free to support the candidate of our choice.

That said, I'll leave you with some of Dave's early work on his disdain for Leviathan. Enjoy.

Via Memeorandum

Saturday, February 11, 2012

TLP Quik Hits: Maine GOP Shenanigans Give Romney Caucus "Win"

The blackout continues.

In reality it's all about the delegate count, which Ron Paul could still come out on top, but the establishment will do anything to give the Paul campaign any satisfaction.

Anyone who has gone through winter in the Northeast, I lived in Massachusetts for nearly 40 years, knows that anything under a foot of snow is just a minor inconvenience, so it was quite surprising that the caucuses there we postponed. Surprising that they were cancelled because of weather that is.

The Paul campaign know this too and sent out an email with this statement.
[I]n Maine today, you and I saw a perfect example of just how much the establishment fears Ron Paul.

In Washington County – where Ron Paul was incredibly strong – the caucus was delayed until next week just so the votes wouldn’t be reported by the national media today.

Of course, their excuse for the delay was “snow.”

That’s right. A prediction of 3-4 inches – that turned into nothing more than a dusting - was enough for a local GOP official to postpone the caucuses just so the results wouldn’t be reported tonight.

[T]his is MAINE we’re talking about.

The GIRL SCOUTS had an event today in Washington County that wasn’t cancelled!

And just the votes of Washington County would have been enough to put us over the top.

This is an outrage. Perhaps you heard about it on the mainstream news tonight?

Probably not. In fact, if you were watching one major network, they cut off their telecast of Ron Paul’s speech right when he began mentioning this fact.

The truth is, there is no length to which the GOP establishment won’t go. There is nothing the mainstream media won’t do.

TLP Quik Hits: DEA, FBI, ICE Knew About Fast & Furious

Holder lies, Issa blinks and Boehner deals; now this.

No wonder why the lame stream mediots have been so quiet, the entire federal law enforcement community could get dragged into the mess.

Fox News
Tony Coulson, the DEA’s agent in charge of Southern Arizona during Fast and Furious, says many federal field agents knew the ATF was walking guns to Mexico, but supervisors told them to back off when they objected.

“Clearly, we went too far,” Coulson said. “The question we had among rank and file law enforcement was, ‘When is someone going to call ATF on this, when is someone going to tell them to stop?’”

Coulson’s remarks jibe with what is already known about the operation. The DEA, the FBI and ICE, also known as Immigration Customs and Enforcement, all played roles in the investigation.

Coulson said those agencies share the blame since top officials knew, but did little to stop, the gunrunning effort. Coulson is among the first senior public officials, current or former, who admit knowing about the botched operation.

Coulson claims he raised objections to then-DEA chief Elizabeth Kempshall, but was told it was taken care of. After attending a meeting with ATF agent in charge Bill Newell, Coulson said that’s when he and other agents “knew (Fast and Furious) was not some sort of benign, pie-in-the-sky publicity stunt. Guns were actually getting in the hands of criminals.”

TLP Quik Hits: Ron Paul Finishes Second In Maine Causus

It was close, Ron Paul finished less than 200 votes behind Mittens with only 84% of the precincts participating. The caucuses being held after today don't count toward the final tally, but that's ok because delegates are still awarded and that is what matters.

So while the outcome of the caucus may be a disappointment, Dr Paul is still well positioned to win the delegate race in the state.

Maine GOP
Maine is considered a ‘beauty contest’ state when it comes to caucuses. That is to say, there are no national delegates ‘won’ or ‘bound’ to any Presidential candidate in our caucus process. At the caucuses, we elect state delegates, election clerks, and in some cases town officers. What we also do is ask those participating in the caucus, to take a poll on which Presidential candidate they prefer. This is an unofficial, non-binding poll, that just simply show’s a ‘snapshot’, or takes the current ‘pulse’, of which Presidential candidate has the most support at the participating caucuses throughout the state. Some caucuses decided to not participate in the Presidential poll, and will caucus after this announcement. Their results WILL NOT be factored into this announcement after the fact. Again, this is an unofficial, non-binding poll, and we will elect our actual national delegation, from the floor of the state convention on May 5TH and 6TH.

Mitt Romney has 39.2 percent of the vote with 2190 votes, Ron Paul has 35.7 percent with 1996 votes, Rick Santorum has 17.7percent with 989 votes, and Newt Gingrich has 6.25 percent with 349 votes.
Via Memeorandum

Happy Truck Day Boston

Forget about Punxsutawney Phil, the true sign of spring is the beginning of MLB's spring training. This year, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers and catchers is February 19 with full squads coming in around February 24.

Well today is Truck Day in Boston, the much celebrated event where the Red Sox gear gets loaded up at Fenway Park and begins the 1,500 mile journey to their spring training home in Fort Myers FL.

Ready or not, spring is just around the corner.

Via Ballbug

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Political Placebo Effect

John Carey over at the Sentry Journal pens a great entry about what many libertarians and little "r" Republicans believe; that the GOP victory in the 2010 midterm rang hollow and it was just another bill of goods sold to us in order shuffle the deck chairs in DC.

John points out the obvious fact that many on the right refuse to admit, the 2010 Tea Party Revolution achieved nothing except substituted one big government party for another big government party. Yes, that's right, Republicans are no different than Democrats. The respective party mascots may be different on paper but the truth of the matter is that both parties are just pigs at the trough.
Think about this. From the time President Obama raised his right hand in January 2009 until the beginning of January 2011 when the Republicans retook the House the national debt increased by 9.1 percent.  It went from $10,669,804,864,612.13 to $14,003,420,744,930 in two years; an increase higher than any other President or congress to date has duplicated.  The people clearly saw that Washington was out of control and in 2010 Republicans were swept into power by the electorate’s discontent with the spending trajectory the government plotted out.  One year later, how has it worked out for us?  Well from the time the Republicans actually gained control of the purse strings in March 2011 to today the national debt has increased by over $1 trillion to $15,342,906,989,996. This $1 trillion+ increase was achieved through a series of empty spending compromises by Republicans.  The illusion was created to make the public believe something was actually getting done; however the numbers speak for themselves.  The Republican leadership decided empty compromises were a better choice than appearing as if they were unwilling to work with the Democrats.  The Democrats got what they wanted and an ignorant electorate got what they wanted; a placebo that offered no real solutions.
This also dovetails into the 2012 GOP race for the White House.

With four candidates left in the race, the prevailing wisdom is that conservatives need to compromise and get behind one of three flawed candidates; a flip-flopping former Governor of a Blue State who ushered in socialized medicine during his term and ran to the left of the "Liberal Lion" Ted Kennedy in a failed 1994 Senate run, a blow-hard former Speaker of the House who voted for multiple debt ceiling increases and the Department of Education, co-sponsored the Global Warming Prevention Act, took $1.6M from Freddie Mac for "offering advise" and considered himself a "Rockefeller Republican" and a former Senator who voted for "No Child Left Behind", the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, multiple debt ceiling increases and strongly believes that the federal government needs to regulate personal choices that he does not agree with.

Any of these three are not a compromise; they are an Obama-lite placebo.

I used to think that there was hope for our Republic, but the current state of affairs has brought about a change of heart. Too many of my fellow Americans are either too misinformed, too ignorant or too brainwashed to make the hard decisions that are needed during this time of crisis.

Video - Rand Paul CPAC 2012 Speech

Ron Paul could not make CPAC this year due to a scheduling conflict so Rand spoke instead.

Maybe it's just me but this could be the plan for 2016, with CPAC being Rand's coming out party. It sure sounds like a stump speech to me and we could be seeing a Paul in the White House in the not so distant future.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Video - Vice President Paul?

Jack Burkman make a good argument, but I'm not sure how much I like the idea though.

FBN Gives Freedom Watch with Judge Andrew Napolitano The Ax

Freedom Watch with Judge Andrew Napolitano is by far the best show on the air for anyone with a libertarian bent, sorry Stossel, but alas come February 20, Fox Business is giving it the ax in favor more financial orientated news.

I loved watching the Judge when he filled in on The Glenn Beck Show and was thrilled when FBN gave him his own show. There is no other show like Freedom Watch, giving you the news of the day from a Constitutional perspective and nobody does it better than Andrew Napolitano. His roster of guests, including some true Leviathan fighters like Ron and Rand Paul, Utah Senator Mike Lee and Michigan Congressman Justin Amash among others, was top notch.

The Judge is our ally in the fight against tyranny and tells it like it is. His nightly defense of liberty will be missed.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tom Woods: 26 Things Non-Paul Voters Are Basically Saying

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore
Tom Woods nails the hypocrisy of those who are dead set against voting for Ron Paul yet claim to want limited government. The reality is, there is very little daylight between where Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum stand on the issues and where President Pull-Ups stands. In some way or another they all think that Leviathan knows best.

If you call yourself a conservative or Tea Partier but will not vote for Ron Paul, I urge you to read them all and then ask yourself why you would ever consider voting for the other three.
(1) The American political establishment has done a super job keeping our country prosperous and our liberties protected, so I’m sure whatever candidate they push on me is probably a good one.

(2) Our country is basically bankrupt. Unfunded entitlement liabilities are in excess of twice world GDP. Therefore, it’s a good idea to vote for someone who offers no specific spending cuts of any kind.

(3) Vague promises to cut spending are good enough for me, even though they have always resulted in higher spending in the past.

(4) I prefer a candidate who plays to the crowd, instead of having the courage to tell his audience things they may not want to hear.

(5) I am deeply concerned about spending. Therefore, I would like to vote for someone who supported Medicare Part D, thereby adding $7 trillion to Medicare’s unfunded liabilities.

(6) I am opposed to bailouts. Therefore, I will vote for a candidate who supported TARP.

(7) The federal government is much too involved in education, where it has no constitutional role. Therefore, I will vote for a candidate who supported expanding the Department of Education and favored the No Child Left Behind Act.

(8) Even though practically everyone was caught by surprise in the 2008 financial crisis, which we are still reeling from, it’s a good idea not to vote for the one man in politics who predicted exactly what was bound to unfold, all the way back in 2001.

(9) I am not impressed by a candidate who inspires people, especially young ones, to read the great economists and political philosophers.

(10) I am concerned about taxes. Therefore, I will not vote for the one candidate who has never supported a tax increase.
Read the rest here

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Boehner To Cave, Holder To Skate On Fast And Furious

Sipsey Street Irregulars
As for yesterday . . . (it was) a plea bargain of sorts where both sides save face. The Committee will accept the scalps of Breuer and Wienstein, DOJ will release enough of the (documents) to condemn them, claim cooperation (thus giving the appearance of recognizing congress's oversight authority), and Holder will survive - looking like a "leader" for offering them up (along with a few lower level ATF and DOJ folk). The Committee will chalk one in the "Win" column for oversight and holding people accountable. DOJ will have the same for cooperating and accountability. All sides win, all checks and balance intact and working fine, all powers respected and then they move on to the next act of political theatre. The only ones left to sweep up the mess, are the American and Mexican peoples - ignorantly secure in our beliefs that the system works and that our government is actually for us, by us, and of us.
If this is true, it will be the biggest betrayal of the public trust and further proof that Boehner and the GOP were paying nothing but lip service to the Tea Party sheeple who believed that this was the one time in history that politicians were telling the truth.

One has to wonder, what's in it for him and what kind of back room deal was cut? One thing is for certain, if this report pans out I'll be making a donation to the campaign of whoever is running against Boehner in Ohio's 8th district.

Let this be a lesson to you so called conservatives who think for a second that Romney, Gingrich or Santorum will be any different and won't sell you out in a New York minute if they beat Barry in November.

Monday, February 6, 2012

TLP Quik Hits: This Could Be The End Of The TSA

Even if Barry signs off on this, don't expect the TSA to go silently into the night any time soon.

Companies wanting to take over passenger screening at U.S. airports from the Transportation Security Administration will have an easier time getting contracts under Senate legislation.

The U.S. agency must allow airports to switch to private companies for screeners unless it can show the move wouldn’t be cost-effective and would be detrimental to security, according to the legislation, which the Senate cleared today for President Barack Obama’s signature. The House approved the measure Feb. 3.

“They’ve been trying to force the door open for several years,” Jeff Price, a Denver-based consultant who has written a textbook on aviation security, said of U.S. lawmakers. “It reverses the burden of proof. It is definitely trying to checkmate the TSA.”

TSA Administrator John Pistole raised the ire of House transportation committee Chairman John Mica, a Florida Republican, last year by freezing the number of airports using non-government screeners. Mica, who proposed the House version of the FAA bill, has said the TSA should get out of passenger screening to focus on intelligence gathering and security oversight.

TLP Quik Hits: Something Fishy In Nevada?

What's wrong with this picture?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

TLP Super Bowl Commercial Winner - Kia Optima "Dream Car"

I liked the Chrysler "It's Halftime In America" commercial mainly because of Clint and the Acura NSX one with Seinfeld and Leno was pretty good as were a couple for Doritos, but the winner for me was by far the Kia Optima "A Dream Car. For Real Life".

Just having Adriana Lima is enough but add in Motley Crue and Chuck Liddell and you have one bad-ass commercial.


As for the game, great ending but this Pats fan is still disappointed. Congratulations to the New York Football Giants but once again the Pats snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

TLP Quik Hits: A Nation Of Moochers

Glenn Harlan Reynolds on Charles Sykes' new book, A Nation Of Moochers: America’s Addiction To Getting Something For Nothing and I'll tell you what, I definitely feel like one of those suckers.

Washington Examiner
If you tried to hold a series of potluck dinners where a majority brought nothing to the table, but felt entitled to eat their fill, it would probably work out badly. Yet that’s essentially what we’re doing.

In today’s America, government benefits flow to large numbers of people who are encouraged to vote for politicians who’ll keep them coming. The benefits are paid for by other people who, being less numerous, can’t muster enough votes to put this to a stop.

Over time, this causes the economy to do worse, pushing more people into the moocher class and further strengthening the politicians whose position depends on robbing Peter to pay Paul. Because, as they say, if you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can be pretty sure of getting Paul’s vote.

But the damage goes deeper. Sykes writes, “In contemporary America, we now have two parallel cultures: An anachronistic culture of independence and responsibility, and the emerging moocher culture.

“We continually draw on the reserves of that older culture, with the unspoken assumption that it will always be there to mooch from and that responsibility and hard work are simply givens. But to sustain deadbeats, others have to pay their bills on time.”

And, after a while, people who pay their bills on time start to feel like suckers. I think we’ve reached that point now:

* People who pay their mortgages - often at considerable personal sacrifice - see others who didn’t bother get special assistance.

* People who took jobs they didn’t particularly want just to pay the bills see others who didn’t getting extended unemployment benefits.

* People who took risks to build their businesses and succeeded see others, who failed, getting bailouts. It rankles at all levels.

And an important point of Sykes’ book is that moocher-culture isn’t limited to farmers or welfare queens. The moocher-vs-sucker divide isn’t between the rich and poor, but between those who support themselves and those nursing at the government teat.
Via Memeorandum
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