What The National Pamphleteers Don't Report:
Why The Credit Score You Buy Differs From The Lender Score
March 06, 2012
Many consumers go beyond getting their free annual credit report from the nationwide credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. These consumers pay for monthly subscriptions to a credit monitoring service with the goal of knowing their credit score at any point in time and receiving alerts when someone uses their personal information or accesses their credit history. It takes many people by surprise when they purchase credit scores just before applying for credit only to find the lender's credit score disclosure does not match. Why is that the case, and what can you do?
What Credit Scores Tell Consumers and Lenders
Credit monitoring services and nationwide credit reporting agencies make money by selling credit scores to consumers, lenders and other businesses that use credit scores for decision-making. You, as a buyer, borrower or consumer, can buy educational credit scores from a credit monitoring service. Educational credit scores help you prepare to apply for loans, manage your debts and eliminate fraud or identity theft. Mortgage lenders, auto loan companies, credit card providers, insurance companies, landlords and employers [....]
Dachau survivor, liberator meet 6 decades later
by Joann Loviglio,
The Associated Press
March 4, 2012
PHILADELPHIA — The way Ernie Gross and Don Greenbaum laugh and tell jokes with the ease of old friends, it’s easy to assume the dapper octogenarians have known each other forever. In reality, they only met a few months ago. Their familiarity doesn’t come from shared memories of a childhood playground or a high school dance but a far darker place: Both men spent a single day at the Dachau concentration camp on the day its 30,000 prisoners were liberated by American GIs in 1945. Greenbaum, 87, and Gross, 83, don’t think they met that day in Dachau but nevertheless share a bond. They met after Gross, who lives in Philadelphia, saw a mention in a local newspaper last November about Greenbaum, a Philadelphia native now living in suburban Bala Cynwyd.
“Ernie wanted to thank me for saving his life, quote unquote, even though there were 50,000 other men there with me,” Greenbaum said, with a hint of unease, during an interview at Gross’ home. “And we sat and had lunch together and discussed what happened 66 years ago.” Gross, then all of 85 pounds after nearly [....]
How Old is My Pet?
Correctly Calculate Your Dog or Cat's Age!
by Gayle Hickman,
March 2, 2012
Most people think that calculating the age of dogs and cats in "human years" is quite simple: multiply their age by seven. For example, a 4-year-old dog or cat would actually be 28 years old in human years.
But when you really begin weighing out the arithmetic, this method doesn't add up. Say a 1-year-old dog is the equivalent of a 7-year-old human -- get out of here! How many 7-year-old humans are sexually active and capable of reproducing? Dogs and cats are much more likely to have babies at 1 year old or even at 10 years old, than any person who is 7 or 70.
Aging is much faster during a dog's first two years but [....]
Detecting Terrorist Surveillance
by Scott Stewart,
March 7, 2012
As we noted last week, terrorist attacks do not materialize out of thin air. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Those planning terrorist attacks follow a discernable process referred to as the terrorist attack cycle. We also discussed last week how terrorism planners are vulnerable to detection at specific points during their attack cycle and how their poor surveillance tradecraft is one of these vulnerable junctures.
While surveillance is a necessary part of the planning process, the fact that it is a requirement does not necessarily mean that terrorist planners are very good at it. With this in mind, let's take a closer look at surveillance and discuss what bad surveillance looks like.
Eyes on a Potential Target
As noted above, surveillance is [....]
How Contour helmet cameras went from business plan to successful company
by Aaron Task
March 8, 2012Imagine you're a college student and you've just won $20,000 in an entrepreneurship contest. What would you do with the money? If you're like many college students, you might throw the mother of all keg parties, or maybe plan the most epic Spring Break trip ever. Or maybe you'd pay some bills, put some money in the bank or even dabble in the stock market. Along with classmate Jason Green, Barros used the contest winnings to fund a company that builds helmet cameras. The industry was in its infancy in 2003, when Barros and Green won the prize money at the University of Washington. Today, helmet cameras are must-have accessories for skiers, snowboarders and enthusiasts of dozens of other sports. The company [....]
When Paying Down Debt Doesn't Make Sense
March 06, 2012
One of the most common nuggets of advice dispensed by financial experts is to pay down your debt aggressively. According to this strategy, paying down high-interest rate loans and debt before saving for retirement ensures that compound interest doesn't eat up any more of your disposable funds than is necessary. In many personal financial situations, this makes sense. However, the recession of 2008 and the ongoing economic uncertainty changes the game for many Americans who are carrying debt today. There are several sets of circumstances that make paying down debt a dangerous (and sometimes, costly) strategy.
Paying down non-revolving debt does not result in having access to additional credit. For example, making a mortgage payment doesn't give you automatic room to borrow additional funds. Paying down a credit card, on the other hand, allows you to borrow back up to the card limit again. Since the 2008 recession [....]
Bad Karma: Our Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid breaks down
by Consumer Reports Staff
March 8, 2012
Our Fisker Karma cost us $107,850. It is super sleek, high-tech—and now it’s broken.
We have owned our car for just a few days; it has less than 200 miles on its odometer. While doing speedometer calibration runs on our test track (a procedure we do for every test car before putting it in service by driving the car at a constant 65 mph between two measured points), the dashboard flashed a message and sounded a “bing“ showing a major fault. Our technician got the car off the track and put it into Park to go through the owner’s manual to interpret the warning. At that point, the transmission went into Neutral and wouldn’t engage any gear through its electronic shifter except Park and Neutral. [....]
China boosts 2012 defense spending by 11.2%
by Christopher Bodeen,
The Associated Press
March 4, 2012
BEIJING — China said Sunday that it would boost its defense spending by 11.2 percent in 2012, the latest in a nearly two-decade string of double-digit increases. Although the planned figure is less than last year’s 12.7 percent increase, China’s military leaders have said they are unhappy with recent moves by the Obama administration to increase the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Only twice since the early 1990s has the increase been less than double digits. National People’s Congress spokesman, Li Zhaoxing, said China’s defense spending would increase by 11.2 percent over actual spending last year to hit 670.2 billion yuan ($106.4 billion) in 2012, an increase of about 67 billion yuan. China’s official defense spending is the largest in the world after the United States, but actual spending, according to foreign defense experts, may be 50 percent higher, as China excludes outlays for its nuclear missile force and other programs.
Li, speaking at a news conference a day before the opening of the annual session of the congress, said China’s military spending was small as a percentage of gross domestic product compared to other countries, especially the United States. “China is committed to the path of peaceful development and follows a national defense policy that is defensive in nature,” Li said. “You see, China has 1.3 billion people, a large territory and long coastline, but our [....]
Morning Bell: Obama’s Hidden Tax Hikes
by Mike Brownfield
March 2, 2012
It could be said that President Obama has never seen a tax hike he doesn’t like — whether it’s letting the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire, insisting on higher taxes for job creators, and yesterday calling on Congress to raise taxes on the oil industry. But as much as the President wants to raise taxes, Heritage has discovered that there are even more tax hikes hidden in his budget, adding up to a total of $2 trillion in higher taxes.
In a new report, Heritage’s Curtis Dubay uncovers Obama’s hidden tax hikes and finds that the President’s proposed $1.561 trillion tax increase over 10 years is much bigger than advertised. In fact, the President wants to raise taxes by $1.689 trillion – that’s $128 billion more than was reported by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the President’s FY 2013 budget proposal.
What’s to account for the discrepancy? Dubay explains that OMB reports the tax hikes in areas other than the tax section, misleading readers into believing that the President’s tax hikes are smaller than they are in reality. Among them are the “Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee,” better known as [....]
The Art of Picking TV Titles: 9 Do's and Don'ts
The Hollywood Reporter,
March 9, 2012
This story originally appeared in the March 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.
Would Friends have been the same hit had NBC executives approved its original title, Six of One? Would Lost have lasted six seasons with its earlier name, Nowhere? And would Grey's Anatomy be able to charm nearly 12 million weekly viewers had it remained Surgeons? These are the questions now haunting studio and network executives as they look to attach the perfect title -- catchy, but not cheesy; clever, but not confusing; inclusive, but not vague; provocative, but not inappropriate -- to their crop of pilots in contention for the fall schedule. Producers and executives agree that getting a title right is more important than ever given the increasingly crowded and fragmented television landscape, where standing [....]
The Geopolitics of Shifting Defense Expenditures
March 9, 2012
The shift in global defense spending associated with the global economic crisis is accompanied by a deeper and more fundamental geographic change. A market report published Thursday remarked upon the shift from defense spending in the developed world (particularly Europe) to the developing world as fiscal austerity in the West takes hold. Indeed, upon returning from a trip to China, Indonesia’s defense minister announced Wednesday that his country might soon begin domestic licensed production of modern Chinese anti-ship missiles, once the purview of much more developed military powers. This comes close on the heels of the publication Wednesday of the annual edition of the Military Balance by the International Institute of Strategic Studies, which suggests that cumulative defense spending by Europe may, for the first time, be overtaken by such spending in the Asia-Pacific region (it has already converged in recent years).
It is now commplace to refer to the Asia-Pacific as "the future." The value of trans-Pacific trade has outstripped trans-Atlantic trade for decades now. The only remaining global superpower is also -- not coincidentally -- uniquely native to both oceans compared with both traditional European and emerging Asian powers. Stratfor has long noted that the events of two decades ago marked not only the end of the Soviet Union and the Cold War but also the European era of nearly half a millennium in which Europe was the center of the global system. This reflects a [....]
"Fluked” Again: A Word Is Born
by James Lewis,
March 8, 2012
The saga of Sandra Fluke has taken yet another dramatic twist, with Rush Limbaugh apologizing for calling the lady a “slut”.
OK, Rush, manfully done. Sandra Fluke is NOT a slut! She is a liberated, extremely enlightened being of the female persuasion who demands that you and I pay for whatever she chooses to do with HER OWN BODY! Which is only natural and healthy and a mandatory piece of Obamacare. Which you also get to pay for, as part of being an American.
Somebody named Joe Palazzola wrote on the WSJ Law Blog that “Georgetown Law Gets Behind Sandra Fluke.” That’s NOT FUNNY, Joe.
On behalf of all good and decent males in these United States, I just want to say how truly hurt and sorry I am that my favorite talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, used such a hurtful and offensive word to refer to Ms. Fluke.
Please accept my sincere apologies, Women of America.
And yes, I will do the dishes. Coming! Right now.
Actually, Ms. Fluke [....]
Obama Not A Citizen Thanks To His Own Mother
by Suzanne Eovaldi,
February 29, 2012
Attorney Orly Taitz vowed to shove everything she had concerning Barack Obama’s evidentiary problem at last week’s eligibility challenge in front of Indiana’s election board. Taitz, whose airline ticket to the hearing was purchased by a concerned citizen, presented evidence of a “stolen social security number and a forgery instead of a birth certificate!” She told WND reporter Bob Unruh that Indiana just removed their Secretary of State Charlie White for his discrepancies with voter registration irregularities over “minor” problems. Taitz said our sitting president’s eligibility problems are major in comparison.
But new questions about the status of BHO’s teen age mother Stanley Ann Dunham are surfacing as analysis at another web site is revealing a Congressional rule change for people born between December 23, 1952 and November 13, 1986 puts in serious doubt Stanley Ann Dunham’s ability to confer citizenship status on her son. Since Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. was born in 1961, this newly discovered law involves Dunham’s age because she was only 18 at time of delivery! The law says:
”When one parent was a U.S. citizen and the other a foreign national, the U.S. citizen parent must have resided in the U.S. for a total of 10 years prior to birth of the child with FIVE of the years after the age of 14.”
Stanley Ann Dunham did not meet requisite status according to blog discovery. One commenter said, “She was not old enough to register Obama’s birth in Hawaii or anywhere else in the U.S. as a Natural Born Citizen as she did not meet the residency requirements! Backing this statement up, another commenter reiterates:” The law specifically outlines the requirements for a CITIZEN mother to confer citizenship to her baby. Ann Dunham was NOT [....]
[Related Content] Cold Case Posse Determines Obama Documents To Be Forgeries
by Bob Livingston,
Personal Liberty Digest
March 2, 2012
Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse announced yesterday that the White House-released Long Form Birth Certificate for President Barack Obama was most likely a forgery, probably produced on a computer. Additionally, the President’s Selective Service card was also a computer-generated forgery. To further muddle Obama’s nativity, the Immigration and Naturalization Service cards filled out by airplane passengers arriving on international flights originating outside the United States in the month of August 1961, examined at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., are missing records for the week of Obama’s reported birth, including the dates Aug. 1-7, 1961.
“Absent a copy of a birth certificate, a legitimate copy of a birth certificate, we do not have a single document that proves Mr. Obama’s birth in Hawaii or anywhere else in the United States for that matter,” a spokesman for the Posse said. “We believe a full-blown investigation is warranted because the people of Maricopa County have been defrauded, and the people of Arizona have been defrauded.”
The Cold Case Posse is made up of former law enforcement officers and lawyers with law enforcement experience. They examined dozens of witnesses and hundreds of documents, as well as taking numerous sworn statements from witnesses around the world. I have written before that Obama [....]
[Related Content] Sheriff Joe Arpaio Exposes Forgery Of Obama’s Selective Service Registration
by Floyd and Mary Beth Brown,
March 3, 2012
Having just attended Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s “Cold Case Posse” news conference in Phoenix, Arizona, we candidly admit we have never seen a greater example of raw media bias in our 30 years of watching the fourth estate. Arpaio organized the cold case five-member law enforcement posse last year to investigate allegations that the Obama birth certificate released to the public by the White House on April 27, 2011 might be a forgery, and he said he constituted the posse after a request by 250 Maricopa County citizens. In less than an hour, Arpaio’s team laid out a compelling case that individuals working under the President of the United States have engaged in criminal forgery. And most interestingly, the case isn’t just about Obama’s birth certificate.
The case against Obama was made with simple, clear videos describing the techniques the forgers used to falsifying important documents released by Obama’s team. It was obvious that the law enforcement professionals doing the actual investigation are real pros. If you want the details of the techniques used you can watch the videos on Westernjournalism.com. The Arpaio team devastated the legitimacy of Obama’s purported [....]
[Related Content] Joe Arpaio: Biased Media Belittled Obama Inquiry
by Joe Arpaio,
March 5, 2012
Over the past several weeks, members of the local media continuously asked me what our preliminary findings, which were released on Thursday, would show in the investigation of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. They were practically salivating at the opportunity to embarrass me, my highly capable group of volunteer investigators and literally anyone else who would dare show an interest in the possibility that this investigation could lead to any real credible evidence into what they claim has already been “looked into” or “widely debunked.”
During our news conference, my investigators and I laid out a large array of technical information, demonstrations and evidence that no other law-enforcement agency in the country has even considered looking into. We have produced experts in the creation of electronic documents who will attest that the document in question is a forgery, evidence that the president’s Selective Service registration card is highly suspect and looked far different from any other card we examined from the same exact post office in the same exact month in which his was filed. And we uncovered [....]
Harvard: Free Federal Dollars Hurt State Economies
by Sam Rolley,
Personal Liberty Digest
March 5, 2012
Often when a member of a State’s Congressional delegation holds a powerful committee seat in Washington, the lawmaker can count himself safe from voter wrath come election season. After all, what voter wants to lose a powerful earmark-happy legislative ally in the Nation’s capitol? A new study by Harvard Business School challenges this way of thinking. The Harvard researchers found that people who favor laissez-faire economic policies are likely correct in believing that when government money is pumped into a region, private enterprise suffers.
In a study published in the Journal of Political Economy authors Lauren Cohen, Joshua Coval and Christopher Malloy contend that when a Senator gains more earmarking power as a chairman, publicly traded firms in his home State scale back employment growth by 3 to 15 percent. On average a State experiences a $48 million per year drop in capital expenditures and a $44 million per year drop in research and development spending by publicly traded companies. Some firms that are direct beneficiaries of government money do grow, but the researchers say that Federal funds mostly hurt private enterprise. The study tracks only money that came with no strings attached, negating the popular argument that stimulus funds have to be paid for with higher taxes, thus hurting private sector business revenues.
“These findings argue that tax and interest rate channels, while obviously important, may not account for all or even most of the costs imposed by government spending,” the researchers write. “Even in a setting in which government spending does not need to be financed with additional taxes or borrowing, its distortionary consequences may be nontrivial.” The authors offer an explanation of why “free money” from the Federal government actually hurts State economies and use the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority which drove private companies out of the electrical business across the South in the 1930s. “Some of the [government] dollars [....]
Will Iceland decide to go loonie?
by Bill Mann,
March 8, 2012
Commentary: Idea in Iceland to adopt Canadian currency gaining momentum
PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. (MarketWatch) — “Nobody seems to hate Canada,” Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau once said. The latest generation of Canadian $100 bills made of polymer went into circulation last fall. These days, Iceland, especially, doesn’t hate Canada. It might even adopt the Canadian loonie as its currency, in fact. Even though that’s only been proposed, it’s being discussed more and more openly in Iceland’s financial community and press.
Trudeau’s comment was made during the Vietnam War, when anti-Americanism was at its peak, but the pro-Canada (or pro-Canadian dollar) movement in the homeland of the alternative singer Bjork has its roots in a different kind of turmoil: economic. Namely, the collapse of Iceland’s banks and currency and the EU’s Greek problems. The idea of adopting the loonie as Iceland’s currency to replace Iceland’s battered, propped-up krona was first suggested late last year by politicians and economists in Iceland’s opposition Progressive Party. It was given scant credibility by the Icelandic government, which is still officially applying for EU membership. But the idea has gained momentum, the best evidence coming last weekend when Canada’s ambassador to Reykjavik, Alan Bones, was set to deliver a speech to the Progressive Party, saying that Canada would have no problem with the loonie migrating to Canada. (Iceland has strict currency controls supporting the krona.)
“If you want to adopt the loonie as your currency, we won’t stand in your way,” was the gist of what Bones was going to say, according to a report on Iceland’s RUV state broadcaster picked up by several Canadian news outlets. After all, Ecuador adopted the U.S. dollar, right? Just send over a few boatloads of [....]
The Not-So-Great Eight
by Ben Crystal,
Personal Liberty Digest
February 29, 2012
While the Republican Presidential candidates vie for top billing in Tampa, Fla., the Democrats have evidently convinced themselves that President Barack Obama is a shoo-in for another four-year occupation of the White House. Let me rephrase that: The Democrats are trying desperately to convince themselves that President Barack Obama is a shoo-in for another four-year occupation of the White House. Isn’t it interesting, then, that their anointed savior can’t muster up approval ratings that consistently eclipse the 50 percent mark? Isn’t it more interesting that some polls show Obama packing his gear and clearing out in favor of — among other people — Congressman Ron Paul, a man about whom the media can hardly bring themselves to comment? Isn’t it even more interesting that the corporate media can’t (won’t) mention Obama’s anemic performance, but will offer fealty that borders on blasphemy?
The list of reasons why the thinking voter should eschew casting a ballot for Obama is nearly as long as a Russian novel, but you don’t have the time and we don’t have the bandwidth to enumerate them all here. Each week, I put together a video commentary for Personal Liberty Digest® entitled “The Great Eight.” Today, I offer you a print version. With apologies to David Letterman (and my production crew):
From our home office in Cullman, Ala., it’s the top eight reasons not to vote for Barack Obama this fall.
8. Permanent Vacation.
Spain, Hawaii, Martha’s Vineyard, more Hawaii, more Martha’s Vineyard, Aspen and even more Hawaii. Remember how much the liberals hated George W. Bush’s brush-clearing misadventures? At least he [....]
The Geopolitics of Israel: Biblical and Modern
May 14, 2011
Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.
The founding principle of geopolitics is that place -- geography -- plays a significant role in determining how nations will behave. If that theory is true, then there ought to be a deep continuity in a nation's foreign policy. Israel is a laboratory for this theory, since it has existed in three different manifestations in roughly the same place, twice in antiquity and once in modernity. If geopolitics is correct, then Israeli foreign policy, independent of policymakers, technology or the identity of neighbors, ought to have important common features. This is, therefore, a discussion of common principles in Israeli foreign policy over nearly 3,000 years. For convenience, we will use the term "Israel" to connote all of the Hebrew and Jewish entities that have existed in the Levant since the invasion of the region as chronicled in the Book of Joshua. As always, geopolitics requires a consideration of three dimensions: the internal geopolitics of Israel, the interaction of Israel and the immediate neighbors who share borders with it, and Israel's interaction with what we will call great powers, beyond Israel's borderlands.
Israel has manifested itself three times in history. The first manifestation began with the invasion led by Joshua and lasted through its division into two kingdoms, the Babylonian conquest of the Kingdom of Judah and the deportation to Babylon early in the sixth century B.C. The second manifestation began when Israel was recreated in 540 B.C. by the Persians, who had defeated the Babylonians. The nature of this second manifestation changed in the fourth century B.C., when Greece overran the Persian Empire and Israel, and again in the first century B.C., when the Romans conquered the region.
The second manifestation saw Israel as a small actor within the framework of larger imperial powers, a situation that lasted until the destruction of the Jewish vassal state by the Romans. Israel's third manifestation began [....]
The Geopolitics of the United States,
Part 1: The Inevitable Empire
August 24, 2011
Editor's Note: Originally published Aug. 24, 2011, this installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of Stratfor monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.
Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States. They are a diverse collection of peoples primarily from a dozen different Western European states, mixed in with smaller groups from a hundred more. All of the New World entities struggled to carve a modern nation and state out of the American continents. Brazil is an excellent case of how that struggle can be a difficult one. The United States falls on the opposite end of the spectrum. The American geography is [....]
[Related Content] The Geopolitics of the United States, Part 2: American Identity and the Threats of Tomorrow
August 25, 2011
Editor’s Note: This installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of Stratfor monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.
We have already discussed in the first part of this analysis how the American geography dooms whoever controls the territory to being a global power, but there are a number of other outcomes that shape what that power will be like. The first and most critical is the impact of that geography on the American mindset.
The formative period of the American experience began with the opening of the Ohio River Valley by the National Road. For the next century Americans moved from the coastal states inland, finding more and better lands linked together with more and better rivers. Rains were reliable. Soil quality was reliable. Rivers were reliable. Success and wealth were assured. The trickle of settlers became a flood, and yet there was still more than enough well-watered, naturally connected lands for all. And this happened in isolation. With the notable exception [....]
Texas Warns Spring Breakers to Steer Clear of Mexico
by Trevor Ladd,
March 7, 2012
The Texas Department of Public Safety issued an advisory to "Spring Breakers" this week urging them to avoid traveling to Mexico given the rising level of drug-related violence.
"The Mexican government has made great strides battling the cartels, and we commend their continued commitment to making Mexico a safer place to live and visit," said DPS Director Steven C. McCraw. "However, drug cartel violence and other criminal activity represent a significant safety threat, even in some resort areas."
The DPS, which oversees such statewide law enforcement agencies as the Texas Rangers and the Texas Highway Patrol, has issued similar warnings for several years. This year's bulletin, however, follows the detailed warning issued by the U.S. State Department in early February recommending that travelers avoid some of Mexico's major tourist destinations and keep low profiles.
The State Department ramped up its warnings from previous years due to increases in reported threats. The DPS notes that the new State Department warning urges visitors to bypass all or part of 14 Mexican states, up from 10 in 2011. The biggest tourist hub [....]
Why More States Should Establish State Defense Forces
by Jessica Zuckerman,
Colonel Martin Hershkowitz,
B/Gen Frederic N. Smalkin and
James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.
February 28, 2012
Abstract: Twenty-two states currently have volunteer state guard units. These units, formally known as state defense forces (SDFs), are today’s state militias. Authorized by the Constitution and built on a strong U.S. militia tradition, today’s SDFs offer a vital, low-cost force multiplier and homeland security resource. In July 2011, Arizona’s Senate Bill 1495 went into effect, authorizing Arizona’s governor to establish an SDF. Historically, state defense forces were often organized as light infantry and military police forces. This model is largely a relic of past security and defense needs. While SDFs are not necessarily required in states with low risk of natural disasters or terror attacks, several states that are at high risk for catastrophes have yet to create a modern state defense force. Such states can no longer afford to place establishment of an SDF on the sidelines. Four national security analysts, including two retired SDF officers, explain how SDFs work, and why they are invaluable to so many states—and to the country.
On July 27, 2011, Arizona’s Senate Bill 1495 (S.B. 1495) went into effect, authorizing Arizona’s governor to establish a state guard unit. These units, formally known as state defense forces (SDFs), are today’s modern state militias. Authorized under the Constitution and by state and federal law, and built on a strong U.S. militia tradition, today’s volunteer state defense forces offer a vital, low-cost force multiplier and homeland security resource. It now stands with Arizona’s governor to establish the force. If established, Arizona’s state defense force would become the 24th active SDF of the United States (22 in other states, one in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico). Obtaining statutory authorization to stand up the force, however, is only the first step. Arizona’s state leaders must now organize and train their newly authorized SDF and assign to it those missions most critical to the state.
Historically, state defense forces were organized along traditional unit lines, usually as light infantry and military police forces. This model, however, is largely a relic of past homeland security and homeland defense needs. Today’s threats require a different mission. Modern SDFs now serve as auxiliaries to the National Guard units of their states, as well as force multipliers for [....]
Unemployment charade–manipulating the numbers
February 27th, 2012
The latest White House claim insists that unemployment dropped to a three year low of 8.3 percent — the lowest it has been in nearly three years. This is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But not so fast; a rowing number of financial experts around the country are reporting that the figures have likely been manipulated using a creative accounting method that significantly decreased the number of Americans in the workforce. According to them, the actual unemployment rate is closer to 9 percent rather than the 8.3% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
It’s a relatively easy, clever ruse; the unemployment rate is determined by simply dividing the number of unemployed job-seekers by the total number in the labor force. By reducing the number of workers in the overall workforce, the administration can easily show actual unemployment dropping, but in reality the improvement has been questionable for months. As a growing number of people drop out of the workforce because of a multitude of reasons, the BLS conveniently labels the unemployed person a “discouraged worker.” Interestingly, the BLS immediately [....]
Providing In-State Tuition for Illegal Aliens:
A Violation of Federal Law
by Hans von Spakovsky and
November 22, 2011
Federal law prohibits state colleges and universities from providing in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens “on the basis of residence within the State”—unless the same in-state rates are offered to all citizens of the United States. Today, 12 states are circumventing this federal law, and the legal arguments offered to justify such actions are untenable, no matter what other policy arguments are offered in their defense. Because at least one federal court of appeals has held that there is no private right of action under the specific statute in question—§ 1623 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996—the U.S. Department of Justice must enforce this statutory provision against states that have violated federal law. Yet even as it sues states like Arizona and Alabama for trying to assist the enforcement of federal immigration law, the U.S. government refuses to sue states that are incontrovertibly and brazenly violating an unambiguous federal immigration law. Such inaction is unacceptable: The President and the Attorney General have an obligation to enforce every provision of the United State’s comprehensive federal immigration regulations—including the federal law prohibiting state colleges and universities from providing in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens “on the basis of residence within the State.”
In 1996, Congress passed—and President Bill Clinton signed into law—the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA).[i] Section 1623 of this federal statute prohibits state colleges and universities from providing in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens “on the basis of residence within the State” unless the same in-state rates are offered to all citizens of the United States.[ii] Today, 12 states[iii] allow individuals who are in the United States illegally to pay the same in-state tuition rates as legal residents of the states[iv]—without providing the same rates to others. By circumventing the requirements of § 1623 these states are violating federal law, and the legal arguments offered to justify such actions are untenable, no matter what other policy arguments are offered in their defense.
A Nation of Laws, Not of Men
The United States is a country of immigrants—men and women who sought opportunity and freedom in an exceptional new land. Americans take pride in their heritage and this country’s generous policies regarding legal immigration. Yet, as citizens of a sovereign nation, Americans retain the right to decide who can and cannot enter this country—and what terms immigrants and visitors must accept as a condition of residing in the United States. As mandated by [....]
Until Next Sunday....