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NORAD’s Crazy Santa Cause 

An inside look at the single largest public outreach program for the Department of Defense — and the Pentagon’s most elaborate propaganda operation.

But the number printed in the newspaper in December 1955 had a digit wrong — and was instead the direct line into the secret military nerve center in Colorado Springs, Colo., where the Pentagon was on the lookout to prevent nuclear war. The Air Force officer and World War II fighter pilot who took the first call that day for Father Christmas thought it was a crank — and Col. Harry Shoup sternly said so.

“The little kid started crying,” Shoup’s daughter, Terri Van Keuren, recalled in an interview. “So Dad went into his ‘Ho ho ho’ and got the kid’s list.”

Sixty-two years later, the Continental Air Defense Command is now the North American Aerospace Defense Command, and its interactive NORAD Tracks Santa has become the largest single public outreach program for the Defense Department. It’s also, you might say, the Pentagon’s most elaborate propaganda operation.

Air Force Lt. Col. David Hanson, of Chicago, takes a phone call from a youngster in Florida at the Santa Tracking Operations Center at Peterson Air Force Base near Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday, Dec. 24, 2010. Volunteers take as many as 80,000 phone calls from youngsters and adults around the world with questions about Santa and his travels. Lots of military secrets are hidden behind the gleaming walls of NORAD’S headquarters building, including this one: Just how do they get Santa’s flight path onto their computer screens every Christmas Eve?Tracking Santa’s travels is a celebrated tradition at the North American Aerospace Command, and it unfolds Friday for the 55th year. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

On Christmas Eve, while monitoring the heavens for North Korean missile launches or Russian military aircraft flying too close to the U.S. or Canada, NORAD will also be reporting the progress of Santa and his reindeer as they travel from the North Pole around the world delivering presents and holiday cheer. It will correlate the jolly elf’s journey with its network of 47 radar stations, spy satellites in “geosynchronous” orbit 22,300 miles above the earth, fighter jets and a suite of special high-tech “SantaCams.” Or so the publicity stunt’s plan goes.

“The moment our radar tells us that Santa has lifted off, we begin to use the same satellites that we use in providing warning of possible missile launches aimed at North America,” says NORAD’s detailed 14-page internal handbook for the operation, which is replete with Santa stats (first flight believed to be Dec. 24, 343 A.D.) and even talking points for that uncomfortable question many parents also confront: “Is there a Santa Claus?”

[Read the full story here, at POLITICO]

It’s all part of the ornamented script that more than 1,500 volunteers — including the four-star general in charge of defending North America — are using to field an anticipated 150,000 calls and an avalanche of emails and social media posts (2 million Facebook followers so far) who are all seeking to locate Ole St. Nick on his starlight odyssey.

“As soon as you’re hanging up there’s another kid wanting to talk to you,” Preston Schlachter, NORAD’s Track Santa program manager and its director of community outreach, said of the 23-hour period leading up to Christmas when volunteers work in two-hour shifts, backed up by dozens of sponsors ranging from Microsoft to the National Defense Industrial Association, Taco Bell and the local Amy’s Donuts in Colorado Springs.

In the past, VIPs like former first lady Michelle Obama have also taken a turn at the phones.

“It is the best two hours you’ll ever experience,” Schlachter added in an interview. “You are getting these calls from all over the world. One of the coolest things I like about the program is the multi-generational aspect of it. We are seeing feedback on social media, people who call in and tell us they tracked Santa when they were kids and they’ve introduced it to their kids and now they’re introducing it to their grandkids.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Wonder Woman’s Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix recipe 

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YIELD
8 servings (1 1/2 cups mix)
ACTIVE TIME
10 minutes
TOTAL TIME
10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  1. For the hot chocolate mix:
    • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/2 cup high-quality cocoa powder
    • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
    • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  2. For the hot chocolate:
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • Whipped cream, marshmallows, and cocoa powder (for serving)

Read the rest of this entry »


‘Santa Claus’ Night in Chicago’: Original Newspaper Strip by Stanley Smith

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Original newspaper strip by Stanley Smith, source unknown

[Click to enlarge]

Source: 


‘The Deer Hunter’, Christmas Edition, 1978

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[VIDEO] Kilt-Wearing Santa Plays Flame-Shooting Bagpipes While Riding Unicycle

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PORTLAND, Ore., Dec. 23 (UPI) — An Oregon man was filmed doing his part to keep Portland weird by dressing up as a Scottish Santa and playing flaming bagpipes while riding a unicycle.

Brian Kidd, aka The Unipiper, posted a video to YouTube showing him ringing in the holiday season in a festively eccentric fashion.

The video shows Kidd riding a unicycle while dressed as Santa from the waist up and a kilt-sporting Scotsman from the waist down. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Santa Claus Visits The Moon Base’, Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine, December 1954

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Source: rogerwilkerson


[VIDEO] Watch Santa Claus Shoot a Silenced Machine Gun

 writes: It’s almost time for Santa Claus to make his annual trip around the globe to deliver presents for all the good little boys and girls. However, before he gets started, he’s blowing off some steam at the range with a bunch of silenced rifles, shotguns, handguns, and machine pistols.

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“Unfortunately, the ATF have regulated them so much I can’t give them out to all the good little boys and girls.”

Or, at least, that’s how the latest ad from SilencerCo depicts things.

The video features Santa and Rudolph shooting a variety of silenced firearms out in the snowy North Pole.

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“I used to have some pretty boring hobbies like whittling, baking, but then in the 9th century a magical thing happened: the Chinese invented a little thing called gun powder.”

“My name is Saint Nicholas,” Santa says in the video. “Most of you know me as Santa Claus. My job definitely comes with a lot of stress, but we all have our own ways of relieving that stress.”

[Read the full story here, at freebeacon.com]

“I used to have some pretty boring hobbies like whittling, baking, but then in the 9th century a magical thing happened: the Chinese invented a little thing called gun powder,” he says. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] International Space Station Decorated with Christmas Stockings: ESA Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti

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ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is in the holiday spirit as the International Space Station is decorated with stockings for each crew member and a tree.


[PHOTO] President and Mrs. Kennedy with the 1961 White House Christmas Tree

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13 December 1961 President and Mrs. Kennedy with the 1961 White House Christmas Tree. White House, Blue Room.  Photograph by Robert Knudsen, Office of the Naval Aide to the President, in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.


[PHOTO] FRANKENSANTA, 1966

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Monster World Magazine #6 Jan. 1966

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Paperback: ‘Santa Claus Funnies’

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Wonder Woman, Alias ‘Miss Santa Claus’ Sensation Comics #38, Feb 1945

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Sensation Comics #38 (1945)

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A Message From Saint Nicholas

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Matthew Milliner


Santa’s Smoke Break

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The Media’s Democratic Donor Delusions

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We’re supposed to believe the Kochs are evil but leftist billionaires are disinterested givers? 

Matthew Continetti writes:  Some lies just won’t go away. In February the Washington Post published an article with the following headline: “Why There’s No Democratic Version of the Koch Brothers’ Organization.” It was the umpteenth attempt to explain, in a particularly simplistic manner, how the millionaires and billionaires who donate money to the Democratic party are nothing, absolutely nothing, like those meanie cancer-research philanthropists Charles and David Koch.

“Does Reid Wilson believe in Santa Claus? His willingness to suspend disbelief when confronted with the image of a mythic creature — the un-self-interested liberal — suggests as much. The words “labor” and “union” appear nowhere in his article, despite the fact that unions are six of the ten top all-time donors…”

The author, Reid Wilson, interviewed “Democratic strategists who deal frequently with high-dollar donors,” and these Democratic strategists told him, strategically, that their high-dollar donors are better than Republican ones. “For the Koch brothers, electing the right candidate can mean a financial windfall,” Wilson wrote. “Democratic donors revolve more around social issues.” On the one hand you have petty, greedy rich men, and on the other you have committed liberals willing to sacrifice for causes they believe in. The morality play writes itself. Read the rest of this entry »


Government Isn’t Santa

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Capitalism is the precondition of generosity

Kevin D. Williamson  writes:  There were three wise men, bearing gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Much has been written about the mystical connotations of those gifts, but it is rarely, if ever, asked: Where did they get them?

Presumably, Balthazar, Melchior, and Caspar were not engaged in gold mining, frankincense farming, or myrrh cultivation. They had other things to do, other stars to follow. For Christians, and for men of goodwill categorically, this is an important question: Feed my sheep, saith the Lord — okay: Feed ’em what? Some of the Apostles were said to have the gift of healing through the laying on of hands; those without such gifts still have an obligation to heal the sick (if the ACLU will allow it), which means building hospitals and clinics, equipping doctors and nurses, etc. With what?

If ye had but faith in the measure of a mustard seed . . . and if the mustard-seed approach does not work, and the mountains we command to be uprooted remain stubbornly in place, then we are back to the old-fashioned problems of human existence: scarcity and production. That is what is so maddening about Pope Francis’s recent apostolic exhortation — which is, as much as my fellow Catholics try to explain it away, a problematic document in many ways. The pope’s argument, fundamentally, is that we can have capitalism on the condition that we feed the poor. This is exactly backward: We can feed the poor if we have capitalism. To give away wealth presumes the existence of that wealth, whether it is an annual tithe or Jesus’ more radical stance of giving away all that one owns. Giving away all that you own does not do the poor an iota of good if you don’t have anything. You can’t spread the wealth without wealth.

Conservatives sometimes protest that the Left presents government as though it were Santa Claus, but Santa Claus, bless him, is a producer. He has a factory up there at the North Pole, full of highly skilled (and possibly undercompensated) labor. He has logistics problems — serious ones. He has production deadlines. The entire point of the Santa Claus myth — at least the animated Christmas-special God Bless America version of that myth — is that those toys aren’t going to make themselves, and they aren’t going to deliver themselves. Government cannot do the work of a captain of industry such as Santa Claus, because government creates nothing. More to the point, government cannot satisfy Jesus’ command that we feed the poor — it produces no food. It has no wealth of its own.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Megyn Kelly Responds to Santa Claus Critics: Get a Sense of Humor

Matthew Sheffield reports:  Fox News Channel host Megyn Kelly took on the left-wing hate mob that has come after her following a humorous segment that she featured on her program Wednesday evening in which she and her guests staged a mock debate over the racial identity of Santa Claus.

To the haters, Kelly had a message tonight: Lighten up and learn to realize what satire is. “Humor is a part of what we try to bring to this show but sometimes that is lost on the humorless,” she said.

Since the Wednesday segment, an absurd controversy has been swirling around the newly minted primetime host in which Foxophobic television and internet outlets seemed unable (or unwilling) to comprehend that the entire segment, which began with a satirical disclaimer to “kids at home” that Santa was white and did exist, was not to be taken seriously.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Must-See Holiday Cheer: WestJet’s Remarkable Christmas Surprise

Neha Prakash reports:  Airports are perhaps the least jolly of locales during the holiday season, generally filled with disgruntled people facing delays, lost luggage and other mishaps. But, thanks to WestJet, one gaggle of weary travelers was treated to a Christmas miracle that turned an airport into Santa’s workshop.

The Canadian airline, with the help of a virtual and tech-savvy Santa Claus, learned what passengers at the Toronto and Hamilton International Airports — who were waiting to board flights to Calgary — had on their Christmas wishlists this year. Once everyone boarded their planes, the WestJet team also took off — on shopping sprees, that is.

The more than 150 WestJet employees played the part of Santa’s elves, gathering personalized presents, wrapping them and delivering them to the Calgary airport before the unsuspecting recipients landed. Upon arrival, the travelers received nothing short of a holiday miracle at baggage claim.

The entire event was captured via hidden cameras and turned into an ad mimicking the poem commonly known as The Night Before Christmas.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] CNN: Cornel West Warns Against the ‘Santa Claus-ification’ of Nelson Mandela

By Friday evening, nearly every cable news commentator on the planet had gotten a chance to weigh in on the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. But none of them had a take quite like that of Dr. Cornel West, who joined Jake Tapper on CNN to denounce what he sees as the “Santa Claus-ification” of the South African leader.

Asked if Mandela’s passing has caused the media to “cover up” how some people, especially those on the right in American politics, viewed him in the not-so-distant past, West answered affirmatively. “I think no doubt we are,” he said. Calling Mandela a “spiritual giant, moral titan and political revolutionary,” West described what we are now witnessing as a “Santa Claus-ification” of his legacy.

Read the rest of this entry »


Scrooged: The ‘War on Good Cheer’ Targets NORAD’s Beloved Santa Tracker Tradition

NORAD’s Santa Tracker: Fanciful ‘Fighter Jet Escort’ for Santa Under Fire from Child Psychologists and Public Health Experts?

NORAD’s Santa Tracker is a volunteer effort since 1955, a cherished baby boomer-era Christmas tradition right up there with watching the Charlie Brown Christmas Special.

 (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

(OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

It was only a matter of time before some humorless finger-wagging scolds indulged their paranoia and accused the government of sponsoring a harmful military-industrial brainwashing campaign against children (to induce them into military service later in life?) and succeeded in getting the media to pay attention.

I think we should celebrate when these imaginary grievances make national news. It reveals how silly the academics, psychologists, and culture warriors can get. When allowed to walk outside of their University offices and talk to members of the press, without supervision, they unintentionally provide us with comedy gold.

Unknown-1One of the advocates of this campaignAmy Hagopian, a professor of public health at the University of Washington, should be fired given a toy airplane, a basket of candy canes, some cupcakes, and a yo yo. Then taken on a trip to the zoo, then taken out for an ice cream, and read a bedtime story. She deserves a happy childhood, but perhaps didn’t get one. I propose that we bury her in love, kindness, and holiday cheer, ’cause she needs it. Send her an email, let her know what you think.

Without NORAD’s official protection, securing North American airspace for Santa and his reindeer, Santa’s annual global delivery route–and Santa himself– could be at risk! I hope the fine men and women at NORAD ignore the Scrooges and screwballs, and continue their volunteer efforts to keep Santa’s supply routes open and safe! Props to Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, for standing his ground in this (manufactured) controversy. A fictional controversy about an imaginary NORAD mission. It’s perfect.

WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Some child advocates are upset that the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is providing Santa Claus with a fighter jet escort around the globe in this year’s tracking program.

Since 1955, NORAD Tracks Santa has been operated by the joint U.S.-Canada command.  Its purpose is to provide children with information and details about Santa’s whereabouts as he drops off presents around the world.

This year’s program depicts Santa flying over snow-capped mountain peaks with a military aircraft keeping up with him on either side.

Read the rest of this entry »


Santa Claus Arrested For Groping Teenage Elf

santaclausA Santa Claus hired by Hanover Mall to spread Xmas cheer finds himself in hot water after spreading some unwanted cheer to an 18-year-old elf.  62-year-old Herbert G. Jones of Assonet was arrested at about 5:30 p.m on Saturday after police say his elf photographer lodged a complaint. The part time Kris Kringle now faces indecent assault and battery charges, authorities say.

Cherry Hill Photos, the company that employs Santa and his helper, released the following statement: “We have been made aware that an allegation of improper conduct has been lodged against the person portraying Santa at Hanover Mall by another employee working at the Santa photography concession. This allegation has been denied by the individual portraying Santa. Both persons are employed by Cherry Hill Photo, a New Jersey company specializing in providing Santa Photographic services to the mall during the holiday season. A spokesperson for Cherry Hill Photo has informed us that a comprehensive background report had been completed on the individual portraying Santa. The report indicates that he is clear of any prior arrests or convictions. The investigation is ongoing.”

Read the rest of this entry »