New York Edges Closer To Legalizing Gay Marriage

Lawmakers in New York say they are close to legalizing gay marriage. Such a law would make New York the largest state to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The movement to make such a law gained momentum when four lawmakers, who had previously voted against gay marriage, announced Monday they would now vote in favor of it. The group includes one Republican, State Senator Jim Alesi, a 63-year-old retired businessman who represents the suburbs of Rochester.

“I’m not only voting for the bill, I’m encouraging others who feel like they can to do it as well,” Alesi said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “Social justice should apply to all Americans.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said he would advance a same-sex marriage bill shortly after the four lawmakers made their announcement.

“This is a very significant development… I believe the votes will be there for marriage equality,” Gov. Cuomo said, according to the article. “We’re moving toward the goal line, but we’re not there yet.”

Currently, same-sex marriage is legal in five states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont.

“With a population of 19 million, New York would be the sixth and by far the most populous state with gay marriage,” the article read. “If the bill passes, the number of Americans living in states where gay marriage is permitted would more than double.”

Obesity Vaccine Shows Promise

Obesity vaccine shows promiseA hormone called ghrelin is present in the gut and has the unfortunate effect of increasing the appetite while also slowing energy levels.

A team of researchers at the University of Porto in Portugal have found that suppressing this hormone may have the same effect as that of gastric bypass surgery, without having the risks of the invasive operation.

“This suggests that there is a hormonal mechanism underlying the weight loss attained by the surgical procedures,” said lead investigator Mariana Monteiro, M.D., Ph.D.

In a study of mice, the scientists showed that a vaccine containing a noninfectious virus that carried ghrelin was effective in decreasing the rodents’ food intake. After one day, the vaccinated mice ate 18 percent less than a control group, and after two months they ate only half as much as their counterparts.

The researchers reported no toxic effects after the two-month study, which equates to about four years in humans.

Results of this study were presented at the Endocrine Society’s 93rd Annual Meeting in Boston.

Who Shot The Dollar?

Who killed the U.S. dollar? This question will be debated by future historians. Already, more people are asking that question than tuned in to find out who shot J.R. on Dallas. The lineup of suspects is long, but it ends with Barack Obama, the triggerman who killed the buck.

The first wound came from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who expanded the Federal government’s influence far beyond what the writers of the Constitution ever imagined. He devalued the price of gold and made it impossible for ordinary Americans to convert currency to bullion. But FDR was also crucial during America’s World War II victory, a pivotal event that set the stage for America to become the world’s largest creditor and greatest superpower.

LBJ Chooses Guns And Butter

Another suspect is Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson. When I was in college studying economics, our professor made us read history. This seemed counterintuitive until we read about the guns-and-butter policies of the Johnson Administration.

And while Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama make Johnson look like a penny-pincher, Johnson was the first to take a shot at the dollar.

Johnson pressed forward his vision with major spending programs for education, medical care, crime and transportation. He wanted to transform America the way FDR had. And he had a war to fight in Vietnam.

Gold demand rose, creating a drawdown on America’s gold reserves. The root of it all was a growing trade deficit that the United States owed to the rest of the world.

The Administration of John F. Kennedy knew America’s gold standard was in trouble. In January 1961, Kennedy’s Undersecretary of the Treasury, Robert Roosa, suggested the U.S. and Europe pool their gold to prevent a private marketplace for gold in which the price would exceed the mandated price of $35 per ounce. French President Charles de Gaulle reneged on the deal and began to redeem dollars for gold instead of U.S. Treasuries. The drain on U.S. gold became severe.

The 1960s marked a gigantic increase in Federal spending. Johnson’s two-front war was being fought at a prohibitive cost. In 1968, for the first time since 1893, the United States ran a deficit in its balance of trade. Federal debt began to soar. By the end of the 1960s, the U.S. faced the stark choice of eliminating trade deficits or devaluing the dollar.

Gold On Nixon’s Enemies List

On Aug. 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon cut the final link between gold and the dollar. Other nations could no longer redeem rapidly depreciating greenbacks for bullion.

In February 1973, the world’s currencies “floated.” By the end of 1974, the price of gold had soared from $35 to $195 an ounce. The U.S. could suddenly pump dollars without constraint. It was a period during which red flags were being raised for paper investors, few of whom paid any notice.

The majority of investors would pay a steep price for their ignorance. Over the next decade, they suffered through the worst bear market in stocks since the Great Depression and the worst bond market of the 20th century.

A Democrat Gives The Dollar A Reprieve

It is ironic that another Democrat would breathe life into the buck, but that is what President Bill Clinton did.

During the Clinton Administration — with the help of innovative accounting — the dollar stormed back. The disgrace Clinton brought to the Oval Office over the Monica Lewinsky affair seems almost forgivable since his Administration presided over a growing economy and what underpinned it, a strong dollar. More than a decade ago, the world had confidence in the U.S. dollar.

If you do not believe me, check the chart below.

 

Trade Weighted Exchange Index

As you can see, the greenback has been experiencing an unprecedented decline since 2001. No doubt much of the weakness in the dollar was caused by another guns-and-butter President: George W. Bush.

Just 2½ years into office, Obama is pushing the value of the dollar even lower. It’s so low that the value of the U.S. dollar now threatens to undermine our future and our children’s future.

Obama had an opportunity to restore the U.S. dollar and the United States. In that task he has failed miserably.

The London Telegraph details Obama’s murder of the dollar. A few weeks ago, the newspaper wrote: “If President Obama is to be believed, ‘speculators’ are responsible for the rise in oil prices that threatens the global recovery. However, for the real drivers of the oil price, the President needs to look closer to home.”

The U.S. has continued to devalue its currency by allowing the Federal Reserve to print dollars like they are going out of fashion. This has boosted the price of all commodities — and the trend is likely to continue for the rest of this year.

“Commodities such as oil are priced in dollars. When the dollar falls, these commodities — be they copper, wheat, or oil — become cheaper in other currencies. This prompts “speculators” to buy. Prices of raw materials have therefore risen on a sea of dollar liquidity — fueled by cheap money and quantitative easing.”

Obama has been pumping money the way Saudi Arabia once pumped oil. His spending has gotten America close to Third World status.

China alone holds nearly $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury obligations. Still, we have a President who is bent on blaming Wall Street. And he does so after having spent more than $1 trillion in bailouts and pushing the Federal deficit past $14 trillion!

Tale of Two Presidents

The Administration of President Jimmy Carter dealt President Ronald Reagan a bad hand. The world was losing confidence in the once-almighty dollar. Commodity prices were soaring. Reagan did the right thing for America. He bit the bullet. Interest rates soared under the discipline of Reagan and then-Federal Reserve Chief Paul Volcker. The result was a rolling recession that hurt a lot of Americans and could have cost Reagan a second term.

Obama has not shown that courage. Rather than batten down the hatches, Obama has opened the spigots — to the tune of trillions in new dollars. The result is a world in which other nations no longer want the greenback as the world’s reserve currency.

History will show that a lot of Presidents injured the U.S. dollar. But the one who gave the greenback the coup de grâce was Obama.

Action to take: Obama’s re-election is paramount to him. He doesn’t care whether the dollar dies. As a result, you should continue to get out of dollar investments and into real assets. The U.S. dollar and Big Board stocks are heading for a collapse. Real assets offer you your only chance of financial survival.

Yours in good times and bad,

John Myers
Myers’ Energy & Gold Report

President Obama Campaigns In Attempt To Save Job

President Obama is trying to convince the country that he should be re-elected.While a wave of enthusiasm swept Barack Obama into the White House in 2008, the President is reportedly facing much bleaker prospects in certain States as he attempts to get re-elected.

According to The Associated Press, in 2008 Obama was the first Democrat to win North Carolina since Jimmy Carter in 1976, but he barely did so, besting Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) by fewer than 15,000 votes. Such an upset could be much less likely in 2012 as the President’s polling numbers remain low in large part because of the weak economy.

The news source reports that interviews it conducted throughout the Tar Heel State, which has the nation’s 10th highest unemployment rate, showed that many who were vocal supporters of Obama in 2008 have lost some of their excitement.

“I don’t think that enthusiasm is quite as broad as it was,” Shirley Tate, a 66-year-old former teacher, told the news source.

The AP reports that there are a number of other States in similar situations as North Carolina in regard to Obama supporters, such as Virginia and Florida.

Fox News reports that Obama recently visited North Carolina to try to sell the State on the 2009 stimulus.

According to the AP, a large majority of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy.

Hacking, And The Truth About The Cyberwar

Hackers are getting a lot of press lately for using their skills to effect change (or wreak havoc) on a global scale. High-profile cyberattacks on Sony, Nintendo, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Google, the United States Senate and the International Monetary Fund (to name a few) have started a cybersecurity panic. Governments across the globe are calling for international Internet-control measures.

“While some civil liberties campaigners fear giving governments greater control of the Internet would undermine privacy, others say that same privacy is already being undermined by both criminal and state-linked hackers,” read a FoxNews.com article.

But not all hackers are alike.

Anonymous, perhaps the most well-known hacktivist collective, spends most of its time engaging in international cyberwarfare with governments. For example, on Friday Anonymous announced that it had successfully taken down several government websites in Turkey in retaliation for that government’s plans to institute an Internet browsing filter. Anonymous despises censorship.

Anonymous has also helped foment rebellion in the Middle East by spreading the word about government corruption and providing safe havens for rebels online. The group is reportedly planning an operation against Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian regime. One could argue that Anonymous’ support of WikiLeaks has kept the site going, and its editor in chief, Julian Assange, is a hacker himself.

The Federal government says these are the bad guys, by the way.

It’s true not all hacker groups are trying to save the world. LulzSec, for example, has claimed responsibility for the Sony, Nintendo, PBS and Senate hacks mentioned above, among others. And Russia and China are both reportedly at the forefront of military-led cyberwarfare.

“In the view of Mike McConnell, a former spy chief, the effects of full-blown cyberwar are much like nuclear attack. Cyberwar has already started, he says, ‘and we are losing it,’” read an article in The Economist.

And there’s the key. Governments across the world are all telling their citizens the same thing: “We are losing the cyberwar.” To what end?

“The Western power elites have three main thrusts in our humble view to pursue. 1. They have an evident urgent need to continue their lunge toward world government. 2. They have to create war and chaos to do so. (Out of chaos, order.) 3. And finally, they have to ameliorate the damage that is being done to their plans by the Internet,” read an article on LewRockwell.com.

“An Internet false flag within this context would be a kind of masterstroke.”

Has the Internet suddenly become a much scarier place? Or do governments across the globe want us to think the Internet is scary, in an attempt to gain further control over its content? Or is it much, much worse?

The Pentagon will treat cyberattacks from foreign nations as acts of war and may choose to respond, not in cyberspace, but in a coordinated military strike.

With one attack, hacktivists can deprive you of your Internet service. With one attack, the Pentagon can start World War III.

And who are the bad guys?

Republican Candidates Face Off

On Monday night, CNN hosted a debate in New Hampshire between seven potential Republican Presidential candidates.

Businessman Herman Cain, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas), former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) spent much of the debate slamming President Barack Obama, with few criticisms directed at each other.

Moderated by CNN anchor John King, the debate included questions from journalists, audience members and gatherers at town hall meetings across New Hampshire.

The Presidential hopefuls sounded off on several hot-button topics, including healthcare, abortion, gay marriage and military service, and whether any of them could successfully integrate Tea Party activism into the Presidency without angering mainstream Republicans.

Bachmann stopped just short of formally announcing her candidacy at the event, saying she had filed the necessary papers to enter the race that day. Regardless of whether she would gain the Republican nod, Bachmann said she was confident of a GOP win in November 2012.

“Make no mistake about it. President Obama is a one-term president,” Bachmann said.

Supposed front-runner Romney expressed more self-confidence, saying he “can’t wait to debate” Obama.

CNN analysts said Romney and Bachmann were clear winners in the debate, along with Gingrich, who “remained in the race,” according to an article on CNN.com.

Pawlenty was viewed Monday night’s clear loser, because “he could not back up what he has said (about Romneycare)… when he was standing on the stage with Romney. He looked tentative and he looked weak,” the article read.

CNN.com contributed to this article.

 

Obama Says ‘There Are Days When I Say One Term Is Enough’

Even as he begins his re-election campaign, President Barack Obama may be tacitly acknowledging the chance of defeat.

“I’m sure there are days where I say that one term is enough,” Obama said in an interview with NBC News that aired Tuesday morning on Today.

He also said that if the first lady “didn’t think that what we’re doing is worthwhile in moving the country forward, I think she’d be the first one to say do something else less stressful.”

The President said his daughters have responded well to being members of the first family. “The girls seem to be thriving,’’ he said. “They continue to surprise me with how poised, well-mannered (and) kind they are turning out, even in the hothouse environment of the White House.’’

However, “Michelle and the kids are wonderful in that if I said, `You know, guys, I want to do something different,’ they’d be fine,” Obama said. “They’re not invested in Daddy being president or my husband being president.”

 

 

You’re A Grand Old Flag: Patriotic Americans Observe Flag Day

Americans celebrate Old Glory on Flag Day.On Flag Day, Americans celebrate their country’s most-recognized symbol: Old Glory.

On June 14, 1777, our Founding Fathers in the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act, which established the design and colors of the American flag. While the number of stars has changed over the past 234 years, the message that the flag sends is still the same — something that North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple recognized when he recently called on his constituents to celebrate Flag Day and observe National Flag Week.

“Since its adoption in 1777, the American flag has symbolized freedom and opportunity for generations of Americans, embodying our nation’s highest ideals of equality and justice for all,” Dalrymple said. “As we look upon the flag, we are reminded of the great sacrifices that have been made, and continue to be made, by our brave men and women in uniform, who throughout our history, have defended the flag and the liberties for which it stands.”

Other people are looking to honor the flag by protecting it from desecration. The Citizen’s Flag Alliance, a nationwide nonprofit, nonpartisan group, is seeking a Constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to prevent the flag from being dishonored in ways such as burning it in protest, reports the Green Valley News and Sun.

GOP Primary Debate Focuses On Obamacare, Economy

Seven Republicans recently took part in a primary debate.Seven hopefuls for the Republican nomination for the 2012 Presidential election recently squared off in a debate in New Hampshire and set their sights on attacking the record of President Barack Obama.

According to The Associated Press, much of the debate focused on Obama and his overhaul of the healthcare system and his struggles with the economy.

“When 14 million Americans are out of work, we need a new President to end the Obama Depression,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) was specific about what he thought was wrong with the economy, blaming the recession on the Federal Reserve, reports the news source.

Still, much of the criticism during the debate was saved for the President.

Tim Pawlenty, the former Governor of Minnesota, said that Obama was a “declinist” who thinks of the United States “as one of equals around the world,” rather than an exceptional country.

While many ideas and opinions were shared during the second Republican primary debate, perhaps the biggest bit of news to emerge from the debate was the announcement by Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) that she would officially join the race for the White House.

Bachmann Files Paperwork To Enter GOP Primary

Michele Bachmann said she would run for President.While much was discussed during the recent Republican primary debate, the biggest news story to emerge was the announcement by Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) that on Monday she had filed the necessary papers to enter the GOP race.

Fox News reports that during the debate, which featured six other GOP hopefuls, Bachmann said that she filed the paperwork to enter the primary race and that she would make a formal announcement in the near future.

“Our country needs a leader who understands the hardships that people across America have been facing over the past few years, and who will do what it takes to renew the American dream. We must become a strong and proud America again, and I see clearly a better path to a brighter future,” the Congresswoman said in a statement.

Bachmann is embraced in many sectors because of her willingness to speak her mind and refusal to back down on a range of topics that many other candidates might shy away from.

NPR reports that Bachmann did more than just announce her candidacy during the debate in New Hampshire. She was heavily critical of President Barack Obama, particularly his handling of the situation in Libya.

Giving Peace No Chance

In 2009, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the annual Nobel Peace Prize to newly minted President Barack Obama. In its press release, the Committee noted “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

Democrats hailed the announcement as a validation of their faith in the erstwhile junior Senator from Illinois. Conservatives acknowledged the most-recent addition to the untested former community organizer’s collection of accolades as proof that the Nobel Prize — which had gained considerable tarnish after being handed to Al Gore for science fiction — was rapidly becoming as precious as those fancy breath mints they have in a dish at the Chicago-area restaurants where Oprah Winfrey dines. The conservative skepticism was confirmed after it became apparent the Norwegian Nobel Committee voted to hand the medal to Obama only nine days into his occupation of the Oval Office.

But Obama is a Nobel laureate. He successfully campaigned on his opposition to war, proudly touting his stance against further combat in Iraq and promising a swift withdrawal from that conflict. With Obama in the White House, not only were we all going to be better people, but we were going to live in a more peaceful world. Obama was demonstrating “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation.”

So, more than two years later, how’s that working out for everyone?

The War in Iraq continues, although the corporate media have developed an apparent aversion to reporting on it. The War in Afghanistan has gotten more — not less — violent, although the corporate media have evidently forgotten how to find Afghanistan on a map. The Middle East has erupted in a revolutionary frenzy which seems inspiring, until closer examination of the various conflicts reveals what may well be some sort of intramural Islamofascist squabble. Instead of delivering harmonious peace to the planet, Obama has increased U.S. military obligations from two wars to four. And he has done so at a time when the U.S. economy is wheezing like Ed Schultz chasing after a date (thanks to Obama’s ham-fisted economic stewardship).

You read that correctly. In addition to the continuing engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama has committed us to the dubiously progressing effort to oust Moammar Gadhafi from Libya. And thanks to a report which will probably cost The New York Times a spot on the plane the next time Michelle Obama takes a few dozen of her closest friends to a five-star foreign resort, it has been revealed the U.S. military is now conducting a “secret” — and growing — conflict in Yemen. “Cooperation between peoples” is fairly simple when one side of those “peoples” is pushing up palm trees.

To be honest, I have no issue with justifiable war. Terrorists, among others, need to die; and the U.S. military has consistently demonstrated it is second to none at killing terrorists. Plus, war looks much cooler on television than the corporate media excusing Representative Anthony Weiner’s contact with high school girls. Of course, I didn’t run for President of the United States on an anti-war platform, nor did I win the Nobel Peace Prize on spec. The Obama global doctrine appears to involve some sort of diplomatic board game: “All right, Mr. President, you rolled a five and a three. You have to go to…Yemen… with a cruise missile!”

I am, therefore, perplexed by the ability of rank-and-file liberals to rectify their beloved Obama’s anti-war promises with his decidedly belligerent (or scattershot) performances.

The whole of human history has been marked by war. Indeed, the number of war-free years since the first Neolithic tribesmen began scribbling depictions of dead other Neolithic tribesmen is, counting 2011, effectively zero. Ever since Thok figured out he could have the best cows and women by splitting Unk’s skull with a rock, we’ve been at it. In fact, there may well be only one thing that has defined man’s attempts to assert his own dominance over the world: lying.

–Ben Crystal

One Man’s Meat Is Another Man’s Poison

Many millions of people have digestion problems, and some do all their lives.

How do I know? Just walk up and down the aisle of your local pharmacy or convenience store. There must be thousands of synthetic high-profit products that reach out for your stomach.

They are beautifully packaged, but most of them are worse than worthless. They are downright harmful, especially if they mask the symptoms of digestive problems.

Digestive distress is a strong signal that something is wrong. Either you are low on stomach acid or you have food allergies.

The truth is that some foods just don’t like us. But when most foods don’t, we need to be concerned. It is not something to fool around with.

A doctor offered me Prevacid® a few years ago with the straightest face. Not to worry. This is what American medical schools are turning out.

Prevacid® is one of a family of drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Doctors prescribe them to people suffering from “excess” stomach acid. But most people who think they have excess acid actually have too little… at least of the good stomach acid, hydrochloric acid (HCl).

With too little HCl, foods don’t digest properly. Instead, foods putrify in the stomach. Taking PPIs only compounds the problem of having too little stomach acid. To eliminate problems like acid reflux, you should increase the HCl in your stomach. Apple cider vinegar or sea salt mixed with water will do.

Taking PPIs impairs the digestive process and leaves foods to rot in the stomach, which leads to cancer.

Well, just so long as we know.

It is not the good whole foods that our stomachs don’t like. It is processed foods that give the trouble. And you know what, most folks don’t know the difference!

Gluten sensitivity is a well-known stomach problem for many unfortunate souls. Lectins are to blame. They accumulate until they translate into headaches, skin problems, stomach cramps, bloating, weight gain, daily fatigue, mucus buildup, joint stiffness, inflammation, belching and flatulence. These are the symptoms of the saturation of lectin in our digestive system.

Dr. Joseph Mercola writes: “Lectin is a defense mechanism for the wheat plant, designed to ward of (sic) its natural enemies such as fungi and insects. Unfortunately, this protein is also very resistant to breakdown by living systems, and it easily accumulates in tissues where it interferes with normal biological processes and acts as an anti-nutrient.

“Typically, sprouting, fermenting or digestion can help to negate some of the harmful effects of such anti-nutrients (as in the case of fermenting soy, which removes many of its anti-nutrient properties). However, lectins are resistant to these types of processes.”

Cultural Exchange To Take Place Between U.S. And Communist Cuba

America will take part in a cultural exchange with communist Cuba.The United States placed a near total embargo on Cuba in 1962 and it has stood ever since, barring most commerce with the island nation. However, the Barack Obama Administration has decided to ease relations with the communist country.

One sign of this increased acceptance of communism is the recently agreed-to cultural exchange between the U.S. and Cuba that will involve the Florida Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba. According to the St. Petersburg Times, this will be the first time that such an exchange has taken place since 1999, when Democrat Bill Clinton was in the White House.

However, such an exchange lends credibility to Cuba and its communist leaders, according to many lawmakers.

These types of exchanges “only serve as a propaganda tool for the octogenarian clique that oppresses Cuba. It is very unfortunate that some would advocate for exchanges that have little impact on bringing freedom and democracy to Cuba,” U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who heads the Committee on Foreign Affairs, told the news source.

The first trip by orchestra members will take place this coming September, reports the news provider.

Could Broccoli Compounds Be Used As Alternative Medicine For Cancer?

Could broccoli compounds be used as alternative medicine for cancer?Past research and conventional wisdom dictate that cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are part of a nutritious diet because they contain an abundance of healthful properties — from antioxidants to fiber.

Researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University are now reporting that a compound called sulforaphane found in broccoli and its brethren may also be effective at killing cancer cells.

“It is well-documented that sulforaphane can target cancer cells through multiple chemopreventive mechanisms,” said study authors. “Here, we show for the first time that sulforaphane selectively targets benign hyperplasia cells and cancerous prostate cells while leaving the normal prostate cells unaffected.”

Sulforaphane works by inhibiting the histone deacetylase enzymes, an approach that has been gaining popularity in cancer treatment, both from a pharmaceutical and dietary standpoint.

However, authors noted that just because a compound is found in food does not automatically make it safe to use as a treatment. As a result, further research is needed to test the safety of sulforaphane therapy.

Results of this study were published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.

China Credit Rating Agency Says U.S. Is Defaulting

A Chinese credit rating agency says that America is defaulting on its obligations.While the Barack Obama Administration has attempted to paint a rosy picture of the economy, one of America’s largest creditors is not so sure that the United States will be able to pay its debts.

At least one credit rating agency in China, which holds $1.1 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds, says that America is defaulting on its loans.

“In our opinion, the United States has already been defaulting,” Guan Jianzhong, the president of Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. Ltd., said, reports AFP.

Guan’s company is the only credit agency in China that gives sovereign ratings. The official also said that the U.S. was defaulting because it allowed its currency to slip compared to others.

Fox News reports that the top three credit agencies are warning that America’s credit rating might slip. According to the news source, Fitch has warned that America could lose its sterling rating if it fails to deal with its long-term deficits.

America’s credit rating will also likely be impacted by whether Congress raises the debt ceiling by Aug. 2, which is the date lawmakers have been given by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Geithner said that if no action is taken by that time, the U.S. would likely have to default on some of its obligations, according to Fox.

Gates Criticizes European NATO Members For Making U.S. Carry Their Weight

Defense Secretary Robert Gates criticized the European members of NATO.The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been central to American foreign policy for decades, but according to retiring United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the European partners in the group need to pull their own fair share of the weight.

Gates said that America is unfairly burdened with providing funding for and the muscle behind NATO, which was formed as a defense against increasing Soviet power in the late 1940s.

The Defense Secretary said that NATO faces a “dim, if not dismal” future if the European countries don’t step up to the plate.

“The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the U.S. Congress — and in the American body politic writ large — to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense,” he said.

Gates said that Afghanistan has highlighted the unwillingness of the European countries to match the commitment of the U.S.

“Despite more than 2 million troops in uniform, not counting the U.S. military, NATO has struggled, at times desperately, to sustain a deployment of 25,000 to 45,000 troops, not just in boots on the ground, but in crucial support assets such as helicopters, transport aircraft, maintenance, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and much more,” he said.

Judgment Day For Obama?

A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 48 percent of Americans believe the U.S. economy is headed for another depression within a year. This is great news, because it means nearly half of all Americans are starting to awaken from their slumber and realize President Barack Obama and his media allies have been lying about the existence of a nonexistent recovery.

I say “starting,” because I have no way of knowing how many of these people truly understand the underlying causes of the depression they believe is on the way. (I hasten to add that, in truth, we have long been in an invisible depression — a depression shielded from the public by easy credit and excessive money creation. But that’s a story for another day.)

There’s another piece of good news to go with CNN’s 48 percent figure. In a recent Allstate/National Journal poll, 47 percent of Americans said they “would definitely or probably” not vote for Obama. The 48 and 47 percent figures sound like a winning combination — or, put another way, a losing combination for Obama.

The bad news is Mitt Romney is the early front-runner for the Republican nomination, with the Tea Party candidates stuck at the back of the pack. Nevertheless, if Romney does end up winning the nomination, I believe he will make Obama look and sound like a fumbling, stumbling high school kid in head-to-head debates.

So what’s the problem? If Romney becomes President, probably the best we can hope for is that he will be another George W. Bush. Yes, I’m talking about the same George W. Bush who, just as Herbert Hoover did for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, gave Obama the Presidency with his big-spending policies. And the worst that might happen to the United States, courtesy of the guy who created the model for Obamacare, is too bad to even contemplate.

Another piece of bad news offsets the 48 and 47 percent anti-Obama figures. The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll also shows 75 percent of Americans approve of Obama “personally.” Huh? What planet do these folks live on? They obviously know little or nothing about Obama’s upbringing, his past and current associations, his debt and spending policies, and his endless, ongoing lies that everyone can easily witness on television and the Internet on a daily basis.

Obama will obfuscate, lie and spin the truth thousands of times over the next 17 months. He will unmercifully smear whoever his opponent may be. That’s the problem. It isn’t hard to imagine Obama swinging enough voters over to his side to dramatically reduce the 47 percent figure (people who say they won’t vote for him) and, in the process, win re-election.

Once he is out of campaign mode, you can be sure Obama will go right back to putting the redistribution-of-wealth throttle on full thrust in an attempt to finish the job he was taught to do by his radical mother, his proud-to-be-a-communist father (his mother’s words), his ideological mentor Frank Marshall Davis, his spiritual mentor Reverend Jeremiah Wright, community-organizing guru Saul Alinsky, American-hating terrorist Bill Ayers, Frances Fox Piven (of “overwhelming the system” fame), etc. The list is endless, ugly, Marxist and lethal.

Clearly, the Republicans need a Presidential nominee who is willing to be bold and aggressive in exposing the truth about Obama, his background, his allies, his ideology, his policies and his vision of America as a model collectivist state. What will not work is the make-nice stuff like Jon Huntsman’s self-righteous statement, “I believe we ought to have a civil discourse in this country.” The Republican Party needs to nominate a Tea Party type.

Unfortunately, another poll — this one by Rasmussen Reports — makes it clear the Tea Party folks are going to have a huge hill to climb to get one of their own nominated. The poll found only “16 percent of all voters now consider themselves members of the Tea Party movement, down from 21 percent at the end of last year.” That is not good news.

So the big problem Republicans now face is how to find and nominate a candidate who believes, deep down in his or her heart, in Ayn Rand’s tenet: “Judge and prepare to be judged.”

The Master of Misdirection has had nearly 2½ years to show us what he meant by “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Now it’s time for him to be judged — candidly and harshly — for bringing America to its moral and financial knees. It’s time for his free pass to come to an end.

But if Romney is the guy who ends it, don’t get your hopes up that we will see smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation and more freedom. I could be wrong, but … in any event, stay tuned. Things are likely to change every week. Let’s just hope the changes are for the better. We have already found out the hard way that change can also result in our worst nightmare.

(On that note, please keep in mind that this article was submitted Monday morning, prior to the CNN Republican Presidential debate Monday evening.)

–Robert Ringer

New FBI Surveillance Rules Allow Agents More Freedom

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) plans to release new surveillance rules, which would give agents more freedom in their investigations of both suspects and informants. The new rules would make it easier for agents to administer lie-detector tests and dig through trash, among other things.

“I would call these minor tweaks based on feedback from agents in the field who began operating under the original (rules)… Not sweeping new powers,” the FBI said in a statement quoted by a FoxNews.com article.

However, the article said the new rules would allow agents to investigate informants with many of the same methods previously used to investigate only suspects.

“One of the changes would allow agents to look up people on various databases without opening up a low-level inquiry known as an ‘assessment.’ Currently, agents have to take that formal step before looking into someone’s background,” the article read.

“In addition, the new rules reportedly would allow agents to use surveillance squads multiple times during the ‘assessment’ phase. Currently, those teams can only be used once during that phase.”

Federal Welfare Programs Can Negatively Affect Kids

A researcher at the University of Missouri (MU) found that the stress of complying with Federal welfare program requirements can put a strain on families, inadvertently having a negative effect on the families’ children.

Associate Professor Colleen Heflin at MU’s Truman School of Public Affairs studied the cognitive scores of children whose families receive assistance from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). She found that 3-year-old children whose families were on TANF had much lower cognitive scores than children not on the program.

“Our findings suggest that the way these assistance programs are structured could have negative effects on child outcomes,” Heflin said in a press release on the MU website. “While TANF traditionally has been the main social program to offer financial support to low-income households with children, current program requirements may create pressures that conflict with the objective of improving child outcomes.”

Heflin said programs like TANF often have requirements that force parents to interact less with their children in order to comply, ranging from random drug testing to attending job-development classes to accepting minimum-wage jobs that require single mothers to be away from their families during evenings and weekends.

“We don’t create policies to hurt young children, we try to help them,” Heflin said. “TANF has created enough pressure on families trying to comply with its regulations that it has actually begun to exert a negative force on these families at the margins.”

Palin Emails: Less Scandal, More Unwarranted Media Scrutiny

The mainstream media’s love-to-hate relationship with Sarah Palin rages on, as they dissect the recently released emails from her time as Alaska’s Governor. The sheer number of emails, more than 24,000, was supposed to offer an unheard-of glimpse into the intricacies of her time as Governor.

That glimpse reveals that during her time in office, Palin was juggling her responsibilities as Governor, Mom and eventually, Vice-Presidential candidate.

“The trove of… emails detailing almost every aspect of Sarah Palin’s governorship of Alaska, released late on Friday, paints a picture of her as an idealistic, conscientious, humorous and humane woman slightly bemused by the world of politics,” Toby Harnden, the U.S. editor for the U.K. newspaper the Daily Telegraph, wrote in a blog.

“If anything, Mrs Palin seems likely to emerge from the scrutiny of the 24,000 pages, contained in six boxes and weighing 275 pounds, with her reputation considerably enhanced.”

The emails (the full text of which has been published online by several left-leaning publications) contain both the minutiae of governing a State and the personal concerns of a mother whose family was unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight.

“I wish I could shame people into ceasing such gossip about a teen, but can’t figure out how to do that,” Palin wrote shortly after her daughter’s pregnancy was revealed.

“Whether or not she runs for the White House — and the solid consensus among Republican leaders is that she won’t — the scramble over the Palin emails confirms her status as a pivotal figure in the race to challenge President Barack Obama next year,” Harnden wrote.