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IN THIS
ISSUE

FEATURES

Did Hedge Funds Throw the 2008 Election?
(Guest commentary)

Will the 2012 election feature a repeat of the financial hanky-panky that went on in the 2008 election? Guest blogger Jeff Lukens explains.

A Battle We Cannot Afford to Lose
(Guest commentary)

Jeff Lukens writes that patriots since the founding have always risen to the challenges of their time. Today, we must do the same. As the debt crisis deepens, the time is growing short. We must demand our lawmakers speak truthfully about the budget, and offer real solutions.

Anticipating the Battle
(Commentary)
Even before being sworn in, House Republicans in the new 112th Congress announced that the first major item on their agenda would be to draft legislation calling for the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. "Obamacare".

2010: a Measured Success
(Commentary)
The timing could not have been better. A front-page, above the fold article in this morning's Denver Post helped me answer that question that most of us ask ourselves on the last day of the year, "Has this last year been successful from my perspective?"

Enough, already!
(Satire)
While the East Coast liberals are enjoying digging out from under two to three feet of snow, providing their long-awaited relief from the scourge of Global Warming, we conservatives out here in fly-over country have been sweltering in 500 temperatures.

Believing in Santa, and Other Myths
(Commentary)
The thought that some people continue to believe that the DOL and labor unions can create jobs and improve the economy is totally beyond comprehension.

Let's Not Make the Same Mistake Twice
(Commentary)
With the exception of President Obama, there is probably no one in America who is both as widely adored or despised as Sarah Palin....

A Busy Senate Weekend
(News, Commentary)
The U.S. Senate kills the DREAM Act and repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
policy

Regarding Wiki-
Leaks

(Satire)

On the Ramparts of Liberty
(Article)
An insider's in-depth look at the facts and fiction regarding the Tea Party/Liberty Movement

King Barry: Long Live the King!
(Article)
An editorial  written by columnist Dale McFeatters of Scripps Howard News, regarding President Obama's 2009 trip to London for the G-20 summit, illustrates the international embarrassment that our President has become.

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TEST - ARE YOU CIVICS LITERATE?

Do you think you are more knowledgable about our nation's government and history than the average American?

Take the Inter-
collegiate Study Institute's CIVICS LITERACY TEST and find out. Then learn the surprising results of those who have taken this test before you, and see why confidence in our elected officials is so low.

Click on the image below.

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Welcome to the new DRUM and CANNON website. I hope that you find your visit enjoyable. If you like what you see, bookmark it and tell your friends about it. Thanks for stopping by.
                                                                Jack

                            ____________________

The great question of our time is this: will the public demand that government adhere to the Constitution and "control itself," or will the public not give a damn what the Constitution says as long as government provides bread and circuses?

                                                        Michael Filozof (2010)

ARTICLES/COMMENTARY

Did Hedge Funds Throw the 2008 Election?

Guest article by Jeff Lukens August 2011

Hedge fund traders had a great year in 2008. That year, hedge fund short sellers were instrumental in the spike in fuel prices, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the banking crisis, and the stock market collapse. While extremely wealthy hedge fund traders engineered each of these calamities, and made billions of more dollars short selling each one, the American people collectively lost trillions of dollars in the value of their homes and savings.

And, as amazing as it is, no one went to jail. Why? Well, perhaps it is because in 2007 the perpetrators had some laws changed to their liking. And perhaps it is because these people are politically connected to the Obama Administration and Congressional liberals. Our government is protecting them, and there needs to be a public investigation into this matter.
The hedge fund short sellers who were at the root of the mayhem are found primarily at the Managed Funds Association (MFA), the so-called “voice of global alternative investment community.” MFA members include George Soros, John Paulson, Jim Chanos, James Harris Simons, and others.

When Democrats took control of Congress in January 2007, MFA lobbyists soon began pressuring Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox to remove safeguard regulations that provided the conditions for stable markets. Such regulations had been in place since 1938. Cox eventually yielded to their requests to repeal the uptick rule, circuit breakers, and trading curbs. The Federal Accounting Standards Board also instituted mark-to-market accounting. Short ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) were introduced that year as well. Collectively, these changes fomented the resulting financial disaster.

The next year was a tumultuous one for investors. Early in 2008, the stock market was trending lower as news of the subprime mortgage crisis began to unfold. In July, oil prices spiked to $147 per barrel sending ripples through the economy. One of those ripples was to hit Lehman Brothers. The double whammy of subprime mortgages and soaring oil prices put them under.

On Monday, Sept 15, Lehman filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy while other lending institutions lined up like dominoes teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. On Thursday of that week, a $550 billion electronic run on banks occurred within an hour or two, going mostly to offshore accounts. Instantly, there became a liquidity crisis within the banking industry. In an unprecedented move, the Treasury and the Federal Reserve had to act together to stop what had become a full-fledged panic. No one has ever investigated who withdrew the money or to where it went.

Up to that week, John McCain was ahead of Barack Obama in some polls by about 3 percent. By Oct. 10, the S&P 500 Index had lost 25 percent of its value from what it had been a month before and the McCain campaign was doomed. Hedge fund short sellers effectively handed the election to Barack Obama.

Declining markets occur all the time. Hypothetically speaking, it would be an outrage to the American people if someone were to induce a market panic in the midst of a presidential campaign. Could this be what happened in 2008? We may never know. The evidence is admittedly lacking, and is at best circumstantial. This could possibly be the perfect crime of all time. The question we need to ask ourselves now is whether we are exposed for this to happen in 2012?

Among MFA members, George Soros is the most well known. He has made his fortune by short selling and then pouring his private wealth into shadow organizations to subvert various nations. Hastening a market meltdown to give the election to Barack Obama would fit with his pattern of profiting while destroying the social order of his target country. His financing of the Democrat Party and hundreds of 527 organizations collectively has become a "Shadow Party" unto themselves. While profit and control motivate most hedge fund executives, Soros also has an ulterior motive to hasten a New World Order.

Another Soros associate is John Paulson. Paulson has contributed financially to both major political parties. He too has made billions by shorting collateralized mortgage debt securities, and then waiting for the financial institutions to collapse a few months later.

In his book, Wizards of Wall Street, Jubi Diamond detailed how the hedge fund short sellers operate in private. According to Diamond, the hedge fund short sellers are predators who feast on companies and economic sectors that can be pummeled “by market manipulations through collusion and unrestricted short selling.” Hedge fund traders, Diamond notes, can drive prices down and then drive them back up, all within a 15-minute period. Unlike mutual funds, this is an unregulated industry with many traders located offshore, outside the jurisdiction of the United States.

In 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law, which did little about regulating the hedge fund short sellers.

Diamond explains:

 

The only financial reform needed today is to regulate and monitor the hedge funds and the hedge fund short sellers, some of them which are registered off-shore to avoid scrutiny. These global operators, with investors who remain mostly anonymous, must be compelled to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), publicly disclose their positions in the markets, and maintain accounting and trading records for a period of 10 years so their activities can be monitored and scrutinized. Just like mutual funds, they must be prohibited from engaging in day trading activities.

 

Much of the financial damage happened because of the mark-to-market rule, and because there was no uptick rule, no circuit breakers, and no trading curbs. They changed these regulations in 2007, meaning that the risk of investing has been borne by common investors “as the hedge fund short sellers operate with impunity looting the invested capital of American families.”

On March 9, 2009, the mark-to-market accounting rule was reversed, and (perhaps not so coincidentally) the S&P 500 Index happened to hit a low that same day, and more than doubled over the next two years. 

The MFA’s short selling in 2008 was mostly legal because few laws were in place to stop them. And in the high-speed world of electronic trading, little evidence exists to convict them. The ways of hedge fund traders will not change until there is a public investigation, and we return regulations at least to what they were in 2006.

Perhaps we should consider the recent market volatility as the start of the 2012 campaign. Expect a wild ride as we count down to the election.

____________________________ 

Jeff Lukens is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. He can be contacted at www.jefflukens.com

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A Battle We Cannot Afford to Lose
Guest article by Jeff Lukens March 2011

Patriots since the founding have always risen to the challenges of their time. Today, we must do the same. As the debt crisis deepens, the time is growing short. We must demand our lawmakers speak truthfully about the budget, and offer real solutions.

We know that the biggest threat to our way of life today is our growing debt. Yet progressives in government and in the media disrespect us. They label us extremists and racists when all we are calling for is a responsible government that controls its spending.  

Federal spending is up 108 percent from what it was 10 years ago. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the deficit this fiscal year will be nearly $1.6 trillion, the largest in peacetime history. The government borrows 40 cents of every dollar they spend. As the deficit reaches 10 percent of our annual GDP, the debt is now equal to it.  

By the submission of his budget, President Obama tacitly admits that he is not serious about addressing the problem. His budget will more than double the deficit in the next few years. And within five years, the debt will grow to $21 trillion. By then, interest payments on our debt will be nearly half of federal tax receipts, and inflation will run wild. This is a mathematical certainty unless great change comes to Washington very soon. 

And with the stimulus money soon running out, the bailouts of state and local governments will end. Across the country, they have already started cutting police, firefighters, emergency medical, and teachers. The protests in Wisconsin are just the beginning. In Illinois, tens of thousands of people had been waiting for their checks for months until state officials finally punted by raising taxes and borrowing more money. Dozens of other states have similar horror stories. 

We cannot believe half of what our government tells us, and nobody in the media even bothers to cover it. A decade ago, we were running surpluses. What few people knew was that Social Security withholdings gave the federal government its artificial surplus. But now, with our aging population, Social Security is already operating in the red and requires tax general revenue to meet its commitments. And then they tell us unemployment is 9.4 percent when the true number of people seeking work is closer to 20 percent. You see, it is all in how they define unemployment.  

But their misleading statements are catching up with them. While the government reported inflation to be only 1.5 percent for 2010, the U.S. already has inflationary problems with food, energy, clothing, and other necessities. The CRB food index was up 36 percent over the past year, and raw materials were up 23 percent. The government can also define inflation in a non-threatening way, but it is already causing anxiety around the world and riots in the Middle East. It is sure to be higher in 2011 and beyond. Much higher. 

With the dollar as the world’s Reserve Currency, the U.S. is the only country that pays for its imports in its own currency. As a result, our government can just print more money to pay for anything. So now we are seeing China, Japan, OPEC countries, and others are moving to end usage of the dollar in their transactions for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies. The dollar could lose its Reserve Currency status. When that happens, the price of gasoline and other imports here will skyrocket, inflation will soar, and the economy will tank. Just imagine what happens when China quits buying up our debt. 

Saying that we are losing our prosperity is an understatement. We are at the edge of an abyss, and it is mostly a problem of our own making. The time to reduce spending is now. We must press lawmakers for every budgetary cut from wherever it can be found. Last week, they passed a bill to cut $61 billion. These cuts are only a beginning. There will need to be many more. 

Unfortunately, we cannot fully reverse the tide of red ink without gaining control of the Senate and the White House in 2012. Assuming that happens, lawmakers will then be able to do what is necessary to balance the budget, including reform of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Of course, ObamaCare must be repealed. The Department of Education, Department of Energy, and even the Department of Commerce should all be severely cut back -- or better yet -- eliminated. We need lower corporate tax rates. We need a roll back in regulations. And we need a Balanced Budget Amendment.  

The seriousness of this crisis, however, will not stop the Left from demagoging every cut in every way possible. We must be able to refute their exaggerations.  

It is too easy for Washington to return to its old ways. Our task is to elect a governing body of conservatives to go against what is normal in Washington. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is a good example of an elected leader who has stood up well against the onslaught. We need many more like him in 2012.  

There is no way to exaggerate the importance of the debt crisis. Now is the time for all constitutionally minded Americans to get busy, to plug into the tea party and other grass roots activist groups, and to carry the budget reform message forward. And we cannot let up. This is a crusade, and it will go on for years. The debit crisis is a defining issue of our generation. 

Are we willing to do what it takes America to remain an exceptional nation? We do not have much time to answer that question. We must hold our elected officials accountable, and press them relentlessly for budget reform. We literally cannot afford to lose this battle.

____________________________ 

Jeff Lukens is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. He can be contacted at www.jefflukens.com

 *********************

Anticipating the Battle
January 7, 2011 by Jack Ott

Even before being sworn in, House Republicans in the new 112th Congress announced that the first major item on their agenda would be to draft legislation calling for the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. "Obamacare". Simultaneously, they would be proposing the reduction of federal spending to 2008 levels.

Both of these steps are bold and sorely needed. Despite the unlikelihood of the repeal of Obamacare making it through the Democrat-controlled Senate, much less past a presidential veto, it sends a clear message to the American people that the new Republican majority is deadly serious about living up to the pre-election promise to provide adult supervision to the holdovers of the big-spending 111th Congress, as well as to the Obama Administration.

For the Republicans, however, their actions are fraught with danger. They have never been on a par with the Democrat propaganda machine, with its double-speak that has won elections by convincing voters of their victimhood. There is no reason that Obama, Reid, and Pelosi could not turn that machine around and project the victimhood role on the Democrat Party itself by claiming that the Republicans are preventing them from carrying out their plans to end the country's miserable economic situation, provide jobs, and promote "social justice".

The Republicans must learn, and learn quickly, how to head off such an onslaught, considering that the MSM would be only too happy to carry the Left's message to the people. They need to make it perfectly clear to Americans, through a planned and coordinated effort, the serious problem that our country faces, and that unless something is done quickly, we will soon pass the point of no return, with emphasis on that "point of no return."

In the first 200-plus years of our nation's history, the federal debt grew by an average of $37.5 billion per year. During the first two years after Democrats took back control of Congress in 2006, it rose by an average of $978 billion, or almost $1 trillion each year. In the two years since President Obama took office in January, 2009, it rose by $1.7 trillion each year. Today we have a national debt of over $45,000 for every man, woman, and child in the United States.

How will we pay off that debt? The answer is, of course, that "we" won't. That will be left up to future generations. This legacy that we will leave to future generations is an unpleasant reality that the Democrats would rather not think about, and they hypocritically call conservatives "selfish". Nevertheless, it remains our generation's responsibility to keep that debt from growing even more. If for no other reason, we owe it to our progeny.

Meanwhile, we must pay ongoing interest on the money that we are "borrowing" to maintain this profligate and irresponsible spending. In 2010, interest on the debt was $164 billion. This money is actually a part of each year's   federal spending, and in 2010 it amounted to almost 5% of the total Federal Budget. While this amount does not appear to be overly significant on the surface, it should be kept in mind that it is based on the current low interest rates, which are well below the norm; nor does it take into account any additional deficit spending that is almost certain to take place during the next few years.

In his article The Four Questions Every Liberal Must Be Asked that appeared at American Thinker on December 29, 2010, Estate-Planner and blogger Tony Kondaks pointed out that if interest rates go up to a reasonable 6%, the amount of interest on the debt would rise to $840 billion annually. If the rate would go as high as 10%, which has happened before and is likely to happen again, the annual amount of interest would become $1.4 trillion, which would be greater than today's deficit spending amount. In other words, the current level of deficit spending would be needed simply to service  the debt itself. At that point, the nation reaches insolvency.

Congressional Republicans must find a way to get this information out to the public, and do it in such a way as to credibly counter the Left's expected pleas of victimhood. Unfortunately, they cannot rely on help from the establishment media, and further complicating the problem is that most Americans do not comprehend or appreciate the vast sums of money that are involved. Typical accusations of the use of "scare tactics" will be forthcoming, so the message must be totally clear, credible, and consistent. When countering arguments are made, they must be addressed and corrected immediately, in language that the American people can clearly understand. The argument should not take the form of partisan bickering, and Republicans must accept their share of the blame for the high deficits.

As most of us on the political right clearly understand, America stands on an economic precipice. The problem now is to not only bring us back from that precipice, but to provide the rest of our citizens with convincing reasons why we are doing what we must do. If we cannot effectively accomplish this, the risk of losing everything in 2012 is great.

Did I hear the words, "PR Campaign?"

adults_cartoon.jpg (55060 bytes)

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2010: a Measured Success
December 31, 2010 by Jack Ott

2011_new_year.jpg (42755 bytes) The timing could not have been better. A front-page, above the fold article in this morning's Denver Post helped me answer that question that most of us ask ourselves on the last day of the year, "Has this last year been successful from my perspective?" The article, entitled "GOP's first steps a nod to Tea Party", reported that one of the first actions that would take place

in the House of Representatives as the new 112th Congress takes over next week would be the reading of the U.S. Constitution into the Congressional Record by its GOP members. According to the article, this would be the first time in history that this has taken place.

No, I am not taking credit for this development. Nevertheless,  I have to admit that I am proud to be a part, albeit a small part, of the movement that helped bring it about.

More important, however, will be the additional requirement that the drafters of future legislation will be required to cite the specific articles of the Constitution within the bill itself that authorizes the new law.

Critics of the new House rules were quick to respond. Some called it merely symbolic and cosmetic, meant solely to appease members of the conservative movement. Others claim that it would induce additional debate and controversy into the legislative process, effectively slowing it down or even sabotaging it.

The reading of the Constitution is indeed symbolic, just as the singing of the National Anthem at sporting events or the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at political functions is symbolic. It is the type of patriotic symbolism that liberals seem to abhor. To those who complain, I would merely quote one of their own more famous adherents who once justified his own arbitrary position by stating, "We won."

In and of themselves, these new rules will not resolve the legislative problems that face this country. Linda Chavez, writing at Townhall.com, (Good Governance) cites other changes that are required, including the drastic shortening of bills proposing new legislation, and a mandatory requirement that legislators take the time to read the bills before they come up for a vote.

Linda wrote:

If legislators can't explain what they want to do in 100 pages or less, they probably shouldn't be doing it. Again, the health care act tells us much about what is wrong with the process. The drafters of the legislation sought to micromanage an entire industry, with rules affecting every aspect of health care spelled out in excruciating detail.

The most important laws on our books provide simple guidance, not play-by-play scenarios of what is or is not permitted. We abolished slavery and granted former slaves the right to vote in 100 words. We guaranteed equal protection of the laws and recognized the citizenship of all persons born or naturalized in the United States in barely 80. We guaranteed women the right to vote in fewer than 40 words.


All in all, 2010 was a good year for conservatives, undoubtedly better than we could have reasonably expected. Still, we have a long way to go to bring this country back from the brink of becoming the world's largest banana republic.

My hope is for an even more successful and Happy New Year for all Americans, unless their names are Obama, Reid, or Pelosi.

*********************

Enough, already!
December 2010 by Jack Ott

While the East Coast liberals are enjoying digging out from under two to three feet of snow, providing their long-awaited relief from the scourge of Global Warming, we conservatives out here in fly-over country have been sweltering in 500 temperatures. It's almost as if President Obama had issued an Executive Order or the EPA had issued a new regulatory policy as a means of getting even for the way we voted on November 2nd. Come to think of it, I'm sure that's the reason. Of course, the NY Times and MSNBC would refute any such claim, opining that this absurd idea must have come from Sarah Palin.

To illustrate just how hypocritical this Administration is, we hear now that the President is extending his Hawaii vacation until his grounds crew gets all of the snow removed from the south lawn of the White House so that First Dog Bo doesn't get his little bum cold and wet when he is out doing his morning business.

Fortunately, we champions of the founding fathers, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution have Mother Nature on our side. The warmth and dryness that have been suffered by We, the People in the southern Great Plains have not been shared by our good friends and relatives in the mountains to the west. Up to three feet of snow has fallen over the last two weeks in and around the numerous ski areas, beckoning to all of those big-spending SEIU members from Washington, D.C., New York, and Illinois to bring a little revenue our way. If only we could find some way to keep them up there in the mountains. Truth be told, we are not that eager to share our Global Warming.

_______________________

No sooner had I finished this report and before posting it, snow began falling here, and a winter storm warning has been issued by the EPA National Weather Service. Up to 10 inches of snow (horror of horrors!) have been forecasted to inundate Denver. This just proves that the federal government and Democrats are not to be trusted or consistent. Looking at the bright side, however, perhaps Denver International Airport will be closed for a few days, keeping some more of that SEIU money here.

Have a Happy New Year!

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Believing in Santa, and Other Myths
December 2010 by Jack Ott

The following was reported on December 23 on the U.S. Department of Labor website:

Obama, Solis and Labor Leaders

President Obama, Secretary Solis and key White House staff met last week with a dozen leaders from several national labor unions to discuss ways to work together to strengthen the economy. The group talked about creating good jobs for the American people, and how the partnership with labor unions is essential to growing our economy and continuing our recovery.

There was more reality emanating from the Air Force personnel at Ent AF Base in Colorado Springs reporting on Santa's flight progress on Christmas Eve than there was in the above DOL report. The thought that some people continue to believe that the DOL and labor unions can create jobs and improve the economy is totally beyond comprehension.

The best first step that could be taken to boost the economy and get America back on its feet would be to abolish all labor unions in the Public Sector. And yes, that includes those in the public education field.

*********************

Let's Not Make the Same Mistake Twice
December, 2010 by Jack Ott

She is Everyman's woman, or she is a vamp. She is an under-educated and unrefined product of flyover country, or she is Joan of Arc to self-proclaimed patriots. She is a cheerleader, a rabble-rouser, or an unprincipled populist. With the exception of President Obama, there is probably no one in America who is both as widely adored or despised as Sarah Palin, the Darling of the Conservatives and the Wicked Witch of the Far North to Liberals/Progressives. For most of those people in the middle, whether left- and right-leaning, she is either usually not taken seriously or she is disliked as a politician, primarily because she does not fit the traditional mold of a cocktail party elitist, nor is she afraid to say things that are controversial when a more disciplined approach might be the politically proper approach to take.

The 2008 Presidential election was, in many ways, unique in American history. It was won by an inexperienced empty suit, a candidate with no viable political experience, and one who relied solely on his charisma and speaking ability rather than on any solid record of achievement. He said only what many Americans wanted to hear, yet he said nothing. He promoted "hope" and "change", without ever spelling out the true meanings of the terms. For the most part, the campaign promises that he made remain unfulfilled after two years into his presidential term. Several have been totally forsaken, such as the closing of Gitmo and bringing about a speedy end to the two ongoing wars.

Cindy Simpson wrote a superb article about the 2008 election entitled The Picture of Barack Obama (December 21, 2010) at American Thinker, and I would recommend that everyone take the time to read that article. Among other things, Ms. Simpson wrote:

An empty canvas was offered by Barack Obama in the prologue of his book, The Audacity of Hope, with his admission: "I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views," and "my treatment of the issues is often partial and incomplete." 

She then proceeded to describe the affect that this approach had on the American voter:

Inspired voters did indeed "project their own views" on Obama's blank canvas.  They painted him as their war-ender and bringer of peace, or savior of the economy; political uniter; race unifier; environmental champion; endorser of gay marriage; protector of women's rights; fellow Muslim or Christian; fellow liberal, Communist, or Socialist; wealth redistributionist; brilliant professor; etc.  Obama proclaimed, "We are the ones we've been waiting for," and he effectively became a mirror for his fans.

The election soon became the equivalent of a contest for votes to elect a high school prom king, pitting a smooth and polished media star who said all of the right things and said them extremely well, against a relatively plain and straight-speaking (and old) establishment figure who tried to generate his own charismatic image, but proved to be no match for his opponent.

Even before the election, John McCain's surprising choice of a running mate began to emerge as the Conservatives' answer to Barack Obama's magic. At the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Sarah's aceptance speech drew a standing ovation from many of the delegates, and she soon became more popular than McCain himself to many conservative Republicans.

After the election, then-Governor Palin resumed her duties in Juneau, but she never left the limelight. In 2009, as the new, conservative Tea Party Movement gained influence and notoriety, she became one of its most prominent standard- bearers, praised as a leading Voice of Conservatism and ridiculed by the media and those on the Left.

Many of Sarah Palin's ardent admirers are now calling for her to run for president against Barack Obama in 2012. This is understandable, but I do not believe that it is very realistic. While her service for two and a half years as a state governor and Mayor of the town of Wasilla make her more qualified and experienced for the Office of the President than did Obama's limited experience in his Illinois and U.S. Senators seats, it is still not enough for her to be considered a qualified candidate to lead the country at this time. Although Obama's resume included a stint as President of the Harvard Law Review, that alone is no more meaningful or relevant, in my opinion, than Palin's ability to dress a downed moose. In either case, it is not a qualifier to be elected as President of the U.S.

So what we come down to again, in essence, is the single issue of charisma. If conservatives in general agree that   "image" alone was the wrong reason to vote for Obama, why would it be the right for Sarah Palin? Saying all of the right things does not a president make. At this point in time, what is her foreign policy experience? What roles has she played in addressing national security issues? Does she have sufficient knowledge and understanding of the major economic issues that are facing our country?

There is no doubt whatsoever that sometime in the future beyond 2012, Sarah Palin could be a viable candidate for president if she so chooses. She is surely intelligent enough, and she has already proven that she can take on the media's strongest attacks.  Her middle-American persona would be a welcome change from the aura of East Coast elitism that is so often seen in political candidates for high national office. She has a firm foundation and belief in those principles upon which our nation was founded, and she is not one to back away from controversy or political influence. She can and should continue to be an outspoken leader in restoring America to its former greatness and republican exceptionalism.

As we have sadly learned since January of 2009, the White House is not the place for on-the-job training. What America will need in 2012 is an experienced conservative leader who can effectively outline his or her plans and begin implemen- ting them immediately after inauguration. We cannot afford to allow the next presidential election to become simply a contest of charisma saturated by empty rhetoric. We allowed it to happen in 2008. Let us not repeat that mistake.

*********************

A Busy Senate Weekend
December, 2010 by Jack Ott

Several of my e-mail messages this morning highlighted the fact that the Senate would be voting for cloture on the new Immigration Bill, affectionately known as the DREAM Act. Some of the messages, from conservative websites, announced that they would be carrying the Senate vote live on streaming TV. For some reason or other, I was never able to tap into these internet sites, so I turned on the television, hoping to catch the action there on CSPAN. “Action” may not be the correct word, because watching CSPAN is even less exciting than watching golf, a cooking show, or a soap opera. 

After some browsing, I finally discovered that the session was being carried live on CSPAN2. I joined the session in progress, shortly after the first few roll call votes had been registered. As the clerk read through the names, I was surprised by the number of “No” votes, and even more surprised at some of the names that voted "No". There were Snowe, Collins, and Voinovich. On the other hand, some of the Republicans who voted “Aye” were no surprise; Lugar and Murkowski. Although I was not counting, the number of "No" votes seemed much higher than I expected, perhaps even exceeding (so it seemed to me) the number of “Ayes”.  When the final votes were tallied, it was not quite what I expected, but nonetheless the number of "No" votes was forty-one compared to fifty-five "Aye" votes, five less than what was needed to bring about cloture and a final vote on the bill. 

The major provision of the DREAM Act is that it would grant amnesty and eventual citizenship for children of illegal immigrants who have either completed two years of college or served in the U.S. Military.  

There is no doubt whatsoever that passage of this Bill would serve as additional encouragement for those who would illegally immigrate to the United States with their families. This is especially true because so many states are now granting tuition assistance or in-state status even to illegal immigrants. Liberals who support this legislation argue that the children of illegal immigrants should not be punished for the actions of their parents. Conservatives respond that illegal is illegal, and rather than encouraging the practice we should be taking all steps necessary to prevent it in compliance with existing laws. Where liberals see a source of potential voters for their cause, conservatives see ever-increasing costs for welfare, healthcare, and education.  

As the proceedings progressed, I considered both sides of the issue. As it is written now, the bill, is anathema to conservatives, no questions asked. If, however, the provisions regarding attendance at college were dropped and the sole qualifier for amnesty were service in the military, specifically, the active military (not the Reserves or National Guard), some would support it. By volunteering and serving in the military, the children of immigrants would be earning amnesty and citizenship, rather than merely having it granted without giving something back to the country. Upon successful completion of a tour of duty, the offspring of illegal immigrants automatically and rightfully would be entered into the normal citizenship process. 

Advocates of the DREAM Act might ask about a situation wherein the child of an illegal immigrant were not physically qualified to serve in the military. The question back to them would inquire as to the ramifications if they were not intellectually qualified for college? In other words, would successful completion of at least two years at an accredited school be a requirement for amnesty, rather than just attending classes?  

Critics of the DREAM Act contend that the bill is just the first step in the granting of amnesty to all illegal immigrants, and with good reason. For example, what is the status of the parents during and after their child’s completion of a tour in the military or two years of college. Are they still illegal immigrants, subject to being sent back to their home country? What about their other children? It is possible that the answers to some of these questions are included in the legislation. I have not read the bill, and I strongly suspect that neither did most of our legislators. The DREAM Act does not address the issue of secure borders or how to stop illegal immigration. Conversely, it merely encourages it and deals with illegal immigrants once they are across our borders and in our country. This is wholly unsatisfactory. Hopefully, it is also now a dead issue.

In Game 2 of the today’s double-header, the Senate was able to force cloture on a bill repealing the seventeen-year “Don’t ask, don't tell” policy regarding gays and lesbians serving in the military. It later passed the final bill by a 63-33 majority. The new law, which will allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in all branches of the Armed Forces, will not take affect immediately. There is a minimum 60-day congressional delay built into the bill, during which time the various branches will be conducting sensitivity training, among other things. 

The new policy was a cornerstone of President Obama's election campaign in 2008. It is seen as a major political victory for the president, coming after a series of defeats and forced concessions in other bills. 

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Regarding Wiki-Leaks: If our government really wants to keep classified documents secret, they should be kept in the same place that President Obama's college transcripts, senate logs, and birth certificate are kept. (Author unknown, H.T. to Ron Michel)

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Courtesy of THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION
(Click on picture to watch the video)

On the Ramparts of Liberty
December 2010
By Jack Ott

Today our we are facing what may be the greatest threat to the survival of  America that we have seen since the Civil War. Over the last several decades, the emergence of an entirely new cultural norm usually described as the "entitlement mentality" has largely replaced the concept of individual

and personal responsibility. The rise of "political correctness" is displacing free speech, and the promotion of diversity and multiculturalism is tearing at the fabric of our culture. Most recently, the successful introduction of "class-envy" by those who worship at the altar of redistribution of wealth has helped prolong the most serious economic downturn since the Great Depression.

It is not surprising, therefore, that a movement of concerned citizens came about in opposition to these developments. While the vast majority of Americans were lulled to sleep by this country's abundance of freedom, material wealth, and increasing leisure time, and despite the threats posed by international terrorism and two wars, there were a million or more alert citizens who recognized an internal threat as insidious as that from without. . . the threat of big government and creeping socialism. They rose to meet it, first in flag-waving, sign-carrying rallies around the country, and later in loosely-organized groups of grassroots activism that dominated the election process beginning at the local level.

It has been frequently written that most people of the liberal/progressive political persuasion in America look upon the members of the various Tea Party/Liberty groups as dolts and bumpkins. In some cases, these opinions are sincere, if misinformed. In others, they merely reflect the empty rhetoric of non-thinking, self-styled elitists who are convinced that these are the fashionable beliefs to espouse.

Perhaps more important, however, is that there are also some moderate and even right-of-center pundits and political operatives who share these views. The phenominal growth the the Tea Party movement, culminating in the conservative swing in the recent elections converted many of these doubting Thomases, most of whom were members of the old, discredited GOP establishment that had failed miserably in the two prior elections. It was very gratifying to watch as the Karl Roves and Peggy Noonans of the world eventually jumped on the proverbial bandwagon.

There is another popular misconception about the Tea Party/Liberty Movement that warrants mention here; it is the commonly held belief among people on both sides of the political spectrum that because the Tea Party/Liberty Movement is politically conservative, it therefore by definition emphasizes social conservative values such as right-to-life and gay rights issues. In actuality, the Movement makes a conscious effort to avoid these issues for two primary reasons. The first reason is that, because the wide diversity among the movement's membership regarding social issues, the type of consensus that exists regarding national issues such as the economy, the Constitution, and limited government is not achievable regarding social issues, other than to assert that they are issues to be dealt with at the state, rather than the federal, level. Secondly, social issues constituted a very low priority in the 2010 elections. As such, they were not the type of issues that would be likely to sway independent voters, the success of which proved to be the primary factor in the conservative victories.

Since the November election, there has been an effort emanating from social conservatives within and outside of the Movement to persuade the Tea Party/Liberty groups to include specific socio-cultural issues within the Movement's agenda. Generally, this effort has been rejected by an significant majority of Movement members, for the same reasons as stated above. There is a general feeling among members that the incorporation of social and cultural issues in its agenda would bring about a collapse of the Movement.

At the same time that the Tea Party/Liberty groups were gaining influence, there arose a number of independent but allied organizations such as the Tea Party Express, American Solutions, and Americans for Prosperity, to name just a few. For the most part, these were "527" groups, founded to counter the numerous Liberal/Progressive political organizations that were so effective in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

The fundamental concepts on which the Tea Party/Liberty Movement bases all of its activites can be summarized as follows:

1. fiscal and monetary responsibility, and the end of deficit spending;

2. limited government;

3. strict adherence to federal and state Constitutions;

4. the promotion of individual rights and personal responsibility;

5. teaching our children about our nation's history and heritage;

6. elimination of judicial activism;

7. promoting national security and support for our troops. (756)

Contrary to what some among the uninformed believe, the "Tea Party" is not a political party, nor is it aligned with any political party. Its membership consists of members of several political parties, as well as many non-affiliated or independent voters. Among its many self-appointed responsibilities is monitoring office holders of all political parties, and to hold accountable members of any party whose activities fly in the face of conservative principles. One of its key strengths is the individualism of its many groups and members. There is no national or statewide leadership issuing directives, although many groups have joined informal coalitions of like-minded groups to help coordinate their activities through social networking.

The recent elections provided a clear statement of the Movement's power and influence. It's goal was to provide the America's conservative base with a stronger voice in determining the direction that our country is taking and, to the greatest extent possible, reverse the current direction. To accomplish this, it provided support wherever possible to the most conservative candidates who were competing. It should come as no surprise to anyone who realisitcally follows the political process in our country that most, if not all, of these candidates, whether successful or not, were Republicans. It should also come as no surprise that some of the Movement's most ardent cheerleaders, such as Sarah Palin and U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, were prominent Republicans as well. At the same time, there were locations where the Tea party/Liberty groups were in direct conflict with the Republican establishment, such as in Florida, Delaware, and Nevada.

The days of flag-waving, sign-carrying rallies are over for the Tea Party crowd. The latest election cycle saw the transformation of many of its members from naive political amateurs to hardcore professionals ready to take on the political establishment, while holding the feet of elected conservative politicians to the fire to ensure compliance with campaign promises (perhaps a first in American politics). There will be many issues on local and state levels that Movement members will be influencing, taking an active role in the legislative process by providing testimony in committee hearings or meeting directly with state legislators, city councils, and school boards. They will be carrying their conservative message to the public through the printed and electronic media outlets. They will bear witness to the fact that as concerned patriotic Americans, We Still Hold These Truths.

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Related stories/articles:

Tea Culture: This party is not just about politics
By Chris Stolte at The Daily Caller, December 9, 2010

A point that’s often missed in the unending dissection of Tea Party motivations is that the movement is more inherently cultural in origin than political. Tea Partiers feel a political class is dictating that they should be submissive citizens — such orders directly conflict with the distinctly American values of independence and self-sufficiency. Tea Partiers became political because they didn’t want a new culture imposed upon them....(Does this conflict with the article above? Not at all.) Read More

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King Barry; Long Live the King!
December 2010
By Jack Ott

The following news commentary was written by Dale McFeatters of Scripps-Howard News, and appeared in 2009. In it, he describes the arrogant, self-inflated behavior of our  President as he participated in the London G-20 summit in March of that year.

Editorial: An entourage more royal than the Queen's

The heads of government in London for the G-20 summit are discussing serious and weighty issues, which in time will be duly reported on, but right now the British press is entranced by the sheer size of President Obama's traveling entourage. And no wonder.

Obama arrived with 500 staff in tow, including 200 Secret Service agents, a team of six doctors, the White House chef and kitchen staff with the president's own food and water.

And, according to the Evening Standard, he also came with "35 vehicles in all, four speech writers and 12 teleprompters." For sure, our president is not going to be at a loss for words.

The press duly reported on Air Force One and all its bells and whistles but also on the presence of the presidential helicopter, Marine One, and a fleet of identical decoys to ferry him from Stansted airport to central London.

Among all those vehicles is the presidential limousine, which one local paper mistakenly called Cadillac One, but is universally referred to as the Beast. The limo, reinforced with ceramic and titanium armor, carries tear gas cannon, night vision devices, its own oxygen and is resistant to chemical and radiation attack. It is, marveled one reporter, a sort of mobile panic room. The Guardian called it "the ultimate in heavily armored transport."

The president is entitled to all the security, communications and support he feels necessary to do his job but surely, when we're trying to project a more restrained, humble image to the world, the president's huge retinue could be scaled back to something less than the triumphal march from "Aida."

It would be more understandable if McFeatters had been describing the visit of some tin-pot, two-bit dictator from a remote African country. But he was describing the President of the United States of America, an utter hypocrite who professes concern for the common American.

The important question no longer deals with this man's constitutional eligibility to serve as President, but rather his worthiness for the office. He has become an embarrassment, and has made America the laughing stock of the world.

2012 cannot come soon enough.

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