Obama Tramples Checks And Balances With Recess Appointment

By using recess appointment powers to name the head for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Administration of Barack Obama has tossed aside a long-standing precedent that Obama and other Democrats used against President George W. Bush.

Obama appointed former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray even though the Senate, which has the power to confirm nominees, says it is still in session. The White House, however, contends that Senate Republicans worked so hard to stall Corday’s appointment that Obama had no choice but to bypass them, according to The Washington Times.

“Although the Senate is not in recess, President Obama, in an unprecedented move, has arrogantly circumvented the American people,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

When the Senate is not in session, the Constitution gives the President power to make appointments without confirmation. Traditionally, it was understood that the Senate would have to be adjourned for longer than 10 days, and a legal opinion during the Administration of President Bill Clinton said a recess must be at least three days. Obama acted just one day after the Senate held a session.

Obama and fellow Democrats cited the three-day rule in 2007 and 2008 when they used the strategy to prevent Bush from making his own recess appointments. Back then, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had the Senate convene twice a week in pro forma sessions to keep Bush’s hands tied.

China’s Growing Military Power

As part of a continuing military buildup, China is building a new class of ballistic missiles designed to arc through the stratosphere and explode onto the deck of a carrier to keep the U.S. Navy at bay in the event of armed conflict.

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, the new missile, called the DF-21D, was designed to strike a moving ship up to about 1,700 miles away. Defense analysts in the United States say the missile is designed to come in at an angle too high for U.S. defenses against sea-skimming cruise missiles and too low for defenses against other ballistic missiles. The DF-21D is expected to be finished around 2015.

The United States and China have both, in recent years, been involved in a military technology race, but Pentagon officials don’t have much to say about potential conflict with China because it is not an explicit enemy, according to the article.

Reports of China’s new military tools come as the country has recently warned the United States that it opposes sanctions and military actions against Iran related to current tension in the Persian Gulf. Some commentators believe that China’s relationship with the Iranians could mean a global military conflict is looming if the U.S. uses military force against Iran.

After Iowa Bachmann Out, Perry Reassessing; Paul, Romney Are Winners

For the past several months, GOP Presidential Primary polls have been inescapable as, it seems, every news outlet in the country tries to predict the outcome of the GOP race. Now, in the aftermath of the Iowa caucus, Americans have a clearer vision of how the rest of the contest may play out.

After running a visit-every-county campaign that some pundits said looked more like a run for Iowa Governor than for President, Rick Santorum trailed leader Mitt Romney by just eight votes in the caucus (24.6 percent to 24.5 percent of the vote). While Santorum’s surge to catch up with establishment-favored Romney surprised many people, it is likely that the former Senator from Pennsylvania will lack the resources or ability to re-create the victory on a national level.

Ron Paul finished a close third in the caucus with 21.4 percent of the vote. The candidate called his third-place finish a victory. He said that Santorum may have finished second, but that leaving Iowa, it is a Paul/Romney contest.

“There were three tickets out of Iowa, and Ron Paul earned one of them,” said a statement from the Paul campaign. “One of the three tickets, the one belonging to Rick Santorum, is a dead-end due to Santorum’s weak fundraising and lack of national campaign organization.”

Fourth in the caucus was Newt Gingrich, who vowed to carry on with his campaign. Rick Perry received 10 percent of the votes, Michele Bachman 5 percent and John Huntsman received about 1 percent. (Huntsman didn’t compete in Iowa, focusing his attention instead on New Hampshire where, he says, they pick Presidents instead of corn). Poor performance in Iowa sent Perry back to Texas to “reassess,” and after initially saying he wouldn’t be headed to South Carolina, which holds its primary Jan. 21, he announced via Twitter Wednesday that he would campaign in the State.

Bachmann, speaking from Iowa on Wednesday, announced that she was suspending her bid for President. She said that her primary reason for running was to repeal unConstitutional legislation like Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, and to get the United States off of a path to socialism, goals that she says can be accomplished only if voters rally around one strong GOP candidate.

“Last night, the people of Iowa spoke, with a very clear voice, and I decided to stand aside,” Bachmann said.

Looking to New Hampshire, where the first primary will take place Jan. 10, recent polls show Romney and Paul both having a good shot at winning favor in the “Live Free or Die” State.

Following his Iowa victory, Romney scored an endorsement from Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.). McCain helped author the recent bill that allows for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens by the Federal government. McCain twice won the New Hampshire primary but, as the GOP pick, lost to President Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential election.

Though it is not an endorsement, Paul and his supporters got a pat on the back from former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin who said that dismissing the candidate and his broad support would be a big mistake for the Republican machine.

“The GOP would be so remiss to marginalize Ron Paul and his supporters as we come out of Iowa tonight and move down the road to New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida, et cetera.”  Palin told Fox Business Network’s Neil Cavuto. “If we marginalize these supporters who have been touched by Ron Paul and what he believed in over these years, well, then, through a third party run of Ron Paul’s or the Democrats capturing those independents and these libertarians who supported what Ron Paul’s been talking about, well, then the GOP is going to lose. And then there will be no light at the end of the tunnel.”

While the Republican-centric events played out, Obama reminded Democrats that the 2012 Presidential election will give him a chance to face off against the GOP pick.

“I think the main message that we’re going to have in 2012 is that we’ve done a lot, but we’ve got a lot more to do, and that’s why we need another four years to get it all done,” he said in a telecast.

OWS For Credit At Columbia University

A new class being offered for credit at New York’s Columbia University will allow young people to join the ranks of OWS protesters not as unemployed, disgruntled activists, but as anthropology students.

Upperclassman and graduate students at the Ivy League school where the average yearly cost of attendance is around $60,000 — well over the annual income of Americans considered poor — will take to the streets under the direction of Dr. Hannah Appel to learn about economic inequality. The class is dubbed “Occupy the Field: Global Finance, Inequality, Social Movement.” Instruction will be split between spending time with the 99 percent and lectures at the college’s campus.

Appel, who earned a Ph.D. in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University, reportedly has previously spent time alongside OWS protesters and defended the movement on her blog, writing: “It is important to push back against the rhetoric of ‘disorganization’ or ‘a movement without a message’ coming from left, right and center.”

The professor told New York Post that though she does have affection for the protests, she believes she is still objective in her teaching methods.

“Inevitably, my experience will color the way I teach, but I feel equipped to teach objectively,” Appel told the Post. “It’s best to be critical of the things we hold most sacred.”

 

Firearm Sales Soared Through Holidays

The Federal government continues to push for tighter gun-control laws through liberal rhetoric and more dubious means like the Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation, which may explain why wary Americans bought a record number of firearms as gifts this Christmas season.

According to the FBI, more than 1.5 million background check requests were made to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System by gun dealers in the month of December. About 500,000 of those requests came in the six days before Christmas.

On Dec. 23, there were 102,222 background checks made for gun purchases — the second highest number in history, surpassed only by this shopping season’s Black Friday when there were 129,166 gun-buying background checks, according to The Telegraph.

A spokesman for the National Rifle Association (NRA) said he believed that more gun-buying was taking place because of shrinking police forces and more crime in many areas of the country.

Some anti-gun lobbies like the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence say that the trend is indicative of more guns being bought by the same Americans out of fear.

“The research we’ve seen indicates fewer and fewer people are owning more and more guns,” spokesperson Caroline Brewer told CNN. “All the trends indicate the number of Americans who own guns has declined. It would appear because of fear-mongering by the NRA since Obama’s election that people are adding more guns to their arsenals out of fear Obama and the Democrats will take away their guns, which is absurd.”

NASA Says No 2012 Doomsday, But Preppers Have Other Worries

NASA has posted a frequently asked questions section on its website seeking to quiet talk about 2012 being a year of catastrophic disaster for the planet Earth.

Many preppers have explored possibilities of disaster scenarios that could play out in 2012 based on information from ancient texts, celestial observations or simply the general state of world affairs. Though there were numerous social and natural disasters in 2011 that have led many people to believe a massive catastrophe is looming, scientists at NASA say that 2012 doomsday theories are false in a recently released FAQs section, “2012: The Beginning of the End or Why the World Won’t End.”

“There apparently is a great deal of interest in celestial bodies, and their locations and trajectories at the end of the calendar year 2012. Now, I for one love a good book or movie as much as the next guy. But the stuff flying around through cyberspace, TV and the movies is not based on science. There is even a fake NASA news release out there,” says a statement from NASA senior research scientist Don Yeomans.

While the planet may not be in imminent danger this year, many people say the outlook for 2012 appears to be filled with the possibility of widespread military conflict, growing protests throughout the world, more global economic failures and further evidence of government’s inability to function in the way in which it was intended.

In what may be a prediction of rocky times ahead, a report in The Daily Mail last month explained that in much of Europe, following widespread economic calamity, being a prepper has gone from eccentric to mainstream.

Personal Liberty Digest™ has long been an advocate of survival, self-sufficiency and the prepper way of life. Though 2012 may not include a world-ending event, it is impossible to know when disaster or hardship will strike. Being prepared for the worst at the beginning of this new year is as easy as visiting Personal Liberty’s™ Survival and Self-sufficiency section and taking heed of the suggestions of the expert preppers who contribute.

 

Polls: Romney Leads in New Hampshire, Paul Second

Two new polls show that Mitt Romney has a strong lead in New Hampshire, where the Nation’s first primary will take place next week.

Romney has 43 percent support among likely primary voters in a 7 News/Suffolk University daily tracking poll, and 41 percent in a survey by the polling firm Magellan Strategies.

In second in the two polls is Ron Paul, who polled at 17 percent in the 7 News/Suffolk University survey and 21 percent in the Magellan Strategies survey.

According to Reuters, in the 7 News/Suffolk University poll, Jon Huntsman followed Paul with 9 percent. The poll placed Newt Gingrich in fourth with 8 percent.

The Magellan Strategies poll placed Huntsman and Gingrich in a tie for third place with 12 percent.

Support among New Hampshire voters for Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann was in the low single digits in both polls.

Former CIA Head Of Bin Laden Unit: Iowans Should Vote Paul For Safer America

The former CIA member who was, until his resignation in 2004, in charge of the unit that tracked Osama bin Laden said recently on his website that Ron Paul was Iowans’ only choice.

Michael Scheuer, a renowned foreign policy expert who spent decades working to make the United States safer from Islamic terrorists, wrote in a post that a vote for any candidate but Paul is a vote for American bankruptcy, U.S. efforts to destabilize more nations, billions of foreign aid spending in countries involved in Arab Spring revolts, widespread Islamic terror attacks on the United States, war with Iran and a continued and growing reliance on Mideast oil.

An excerpt from Scheuer’s endorsement reads:

Notwithstanding the damnable lies about Dr. Paul’s foreign policy constantly proclaimed by his fellow Republican candidates, leading pro-Israel/pro-intervention U.S.-citizens and their journalist friends, and most of the media, only the gentleman from Texas speaks for the Founder’s non-interventionist vision of America’s role in world affairs and for plain common sense. In the Founders’ non-interventionist design for U.S. foreign policy that is championed by Dr. Paul, Iowans will find a proven road to the maintenance of America’s sovereignty, independence, peace, and prosperity. In the realm of common sense, Dr. Paul beats his fellow candidates, the Obamaites, and the media hands down. Dr. Paul challenges the interventionists in both parties on their plans for spreading secular democracy — and causing wars thereby — on historical grounds that are irrefutable because they are just good commonsense. We, the British, the Australians, and the Canadians have been building our republics/democracies since Magna Charta in 1215 — that is for nearly 800 years — and we are not yet quite perfect. If Iowans and all Americans truly think about what Dr. Paul is saying — and not what the interventionists say he is saying — they would respond favorably to the Texan’s logical conclusion that what we have not fully accomplished in eight centuries cannot possibly be attained in Egypt, Afghanistan, or elsewhere in the Muslim world in 6 weeks, 6 months, or six years, not least because none of those places separate church from state.

The Paul campaign said that the endorsement from a former CIA official who has witnessed firsthand the effects of U.S. military adventurism in the Mideast should reshape discussion about Paul’s foreign policy beliefs.

 

Healthy Eating May Improve Brain Function

If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to maintain a more healthful diet, it could have a long-term, positive impact on not only your physical health but your mental health, too.

New research suggests that elderly people with higher levels of several vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids in their blood perform better on mental-acuity tests and experience less of the brain shrinkage commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Those with “junk food” diets displayed opposite results.

A first-of-its-kind study published in Neurology focused on blood nutrient levels, unlike previous studies that based findings on questionnaires about subjects’ diets and relied on flawed memories of what they had eaten.

Researchers found that people who had the highest levels of vitamins B, C, D, E and the healthy oils commonly found in fish in their blood were mentally sharper than those with lower levels of the vitamins and oils.

“The vitamins and nutrients you get from eating a wide range of fruits, vegetables and fish can be measured in blood biomarkers,” said Maret Traber, a principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute and co-author on the study. “I’m a firm believer these nutrients have strong potential to protect your brain and make it work better.”

Findings in the study also suggest:

The most favorable cognitive outcomes and brain size measurements were associated with two dietary patterns: high levels of marine fatty acids and high levels of vitamins B, C, D and E.

Consistently worse cognitive performance was associated with a higher intake of the type of trans-fats found in baked and fried foods, margarine, fast food and other less-healthy dietary choices.

Cognitive changes related to different diets may be due both to impacts on brain size and cardiovascular function.

Ron Paul Forecasts Military Conflict With Iran

Ron Paul said speaking at an Iowa event last week that Iran would be justified in responding to U.S. sanctions by blocking the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz.

“I think we’re looking for trouble because we put these horrendous sanctions on Iran,” Paul told an audience at the Hotel Pattee in Perry, Iowa, according to Los Angeles Times.

Paul contends that the actions currently being taken by the United States against Iran are setting the stage for yet another Mideast conflict. If he were President, Paul said, he would not respond to Iran’s threat of closing the strait with military action, but would report to Congress who could declare war if they wished.

The Republican candidate said a blockade on the strait would be the most likely response to tighter sanctions because Iran has “no weapons of mass destruction” and shutting down the strait is “the most” it could do.

Iran’s top naval commander, Habibollah Sayyari, told the country’s state television last Wednesday that closing the Strait of Hormuz would be “easier than drinking a glass of water” for Iranian armed forces, but some U.S. analysts disagree.

According to CNBC, researchers familiar with the strait say that Iran’s navy does not have the size or resources to carry out a sustained blockade, but could cause problems with mines and missiles. The Bahrain-based U.S. Fifth Fleet is nearby and keeping a close eye on Iran’s activities and said last week that any disruption in the area “would not be tolerated.” Mine-laying or missile activity will likely generate a U.S. response.

DHS Tracks Facebook, Twitter Users

The Electronic Privacy Information Center is suing the Department of Homeland Security for a new program that tracks individuals’ social media activity if they are deemed a threat by using certain keywords in posts.

The organization claims “legal authority for the DHS program remains unclear” and asked a Federal court last week to compel the department to turn over documents on the initiative.

DHS makes fake Twitter and Facebook profiles for the specific purpose of scanning the networks for “sensitive” words and tracking the people who use them. The words on the DHS list range from things that might suggest the mention of bioweapons to more obscure words like “drill,” “strain” and “illegal immigrant,” according to The Daily Mail.

The latest controversy involving the Federal government’s attempts to meddle with the Internet comes as the debate continues over the House Stop Online Piracy Act and the Senate Protect IP Act — both of which would impose China-like Internet regulations in the United States.

CNN Haters, Bachmann Accusations Do Not Deter Paul

Despite the fact that the mainstream media have pulled no punches against Republican Presidential primary hopeful Ron Paul, his campaign is continuing to gain steam as the Iowa caucus, the first in the Nation, approaches.

Two polls released on Wednesday show Paul in a dead heat with fellow GOP contender Mitt Romney; however, the polls conflict one another, each reporting opposite leaders by similar margins.

A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling shows Paul leading the pack among likely voters in Iowa, with 24 percent saying they would vote for him over Romney’s 20 percent. PPP accredits Paul’s popularity to his ability to unite non-traditional Republicans, independents and some Democratic converts. Romney still takes the most favor among mainstream Republicans.

“If Ron Paul really manages to change the electorate by turning out large numbers of young people and independents, he should win Iowa,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “If it’s a more traditional turnout with an older electorate, Romney will probably win. And given his personal popularity it’s worth keeping an eye on [Rick] Santorum in the final week.”

CNN and Time conducted a separate poll that shows Romney leading with 25 percent to Paul’s 22 percent heading in to the caucus. It has been pointed out that the CNN-Time poll — unlike the PPP poll — surveyed only a list of declared Republicans that was provided by the Iowa Secretary of State.

Many people have in the past week questioned if CNN is running a campaign against Paul after the news network repeatedly aired a heavily cut video that makes it appear as if Paul walked out on an interview with reporter Gloria Borger after she asked him the same question several times about controversial newsletters published under his name.  The full video of the interview reveals CNN’s sleight-of-hand reporting tactic and portrays the interview in a different light.

Despite the CNN-driven controversy, Paul is continuing to pick up key supporters, some even from the campaigns of fellow candidates. Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman, Senator Kent Sorenson, jumped ship on Wednesday to offer his support to Paul’s campaign in a decision that ignited headlines throughout the media.

Sorenson released a statement saying that he had a difficult time choosing which of the two candidates to support from the beginning but, given Paul’s surge in the polls and real chance at the Presidency, he felt joining the campaign was in the best interest of the country.

A portion of Sorenson’s statement reads:

Ron Paul is the only candidate to predict the current mess we find ourselves in economically, and he’s the only candidate to offer a true plan to cut spending and balance our budget.

He’s also consistently spoken out against government spending, assaults on individual liberties, and unnecessary trillion-dollar military adventurism for over 30 years. Polls show he is the Republican candidate that can take on and defeat President Obama in November 2012.

Bachmann denied that Sorenson’s decision was made for love of country but contended in a Wednesday announcement that it was for love of money, saying, “Kent Sorenson personally told me he was offered a large sum of money to go to work for the Paul campaign. Kent campaigned with us earlier this afternoon and went immediately afterward to a Ron Paul event and announced he is changing teams. Kent said to me yesterday that ‘everyone sells out in Iowa, why shouldn’t I,’ then he told me he would stay with our campaign. The Ron Paul campaign has to answer for its actions.”

Despite the accusation from Bachmann, Iowa political director for her own campaign, Wes Enos, denies that money could have been a motivator for Sorenson’s decision. His comments appeared later on Paul’s campaign website.

“I won’t say much about the situation or the conflicting statements beyond this; I can say unequivocally that Kent Sorenson’s decision was in no way financially motivated,” said Enos.

Sorenson’s decision to endorse Paul comes just after one of the Texas Congressman’s former aides, Eric Dondero, attempted to do damage to the campaign by saying Paul is “unsettled by being around gays personally” and is “out of touch” with black and Hispanic voters in an editorial on RightWingNews.com. The Paul campaign described Dondero as “a disgruntled former staffer who was fired for performance issues.”

The New York Times reported Wednesday that despite the flurry of accusations and controversy media and other candidates are drumming up around Paul, droves of college students are currently arriving in Iowa to assist with the ground campaign in the State. The young supporters, whom Paul has embraced in the past as “having a better grasp of the meaning of liberty than many lawmakers in Washington,” are expected to be vital to the success of the Paul campaign.

 

Eric Holder: Too Many Guns Have Fallen Into Wrong Hands

Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Department of Justice orchestrated the Fast and Furious gunwalking scheme to supply Mexican drug cartels with illegal firearms, released a statement on Wednesday decrying the fact that too many people who are not legally permitted to own guns have access to them.

The AG’s remarks followed the release of a report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund that showed a 13 percent increase in the number of Federal, State and local officers who died in the line of duty, from 153 in 2010 to 173 in 2011.

“This is a devastating and unacceptable trend. Each of these deaths is a tragic reminder of the threats that law enforcement officers face each day — and the fact that too many guns have fallen into the hands of those who are not legally permitted to possess them,” said Holder. “Departments across the country have mourned the loss of too many dedicated colleagues and friends, but my colleagues and I at the Justice Department are determined to turn back this rising tide. I want to assure the family members and loved ones who have mourned the loss of these heroes that we are responding to this year’s increased violence with renewed vigilance and will do everything within our power — and use every tool at our disposal — to keep our police officers safe.”

Guns provided via Fast and Furious are known to have been used in the killings of at least one law enforcement officer in 2010, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, and another in 2011, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata.

Holder’s statement came with the announcement of a number of new officer-protection initiatives to be headed by the Justice Department.

 

Scientist Think Sick Seals May Be Radioactive

Scientists are investigating whether seals in Alaska that have recently fallen ill are being sickened by radiation from the destroyed Japanese Fukushima nuclear plant.

Several seals have washed up on Alaska’s Arctic coastline since July, suffering or killed by a mysterious disease marked by bleeding lesions on the hind flippers, irritated skin around the nose and eyes and patchy hair loss on fur, according to Reuters.

Scientists initially thought a virus was behind the animal’s illness but have not yet been able to identify one, so they expect radiation may be involved.

“We recently received samples of seal tissue from diseased animals captured near St. Lawrence Island with a request to examine the material for radioactivity,” said John Kelley, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Water tests have not picked up any evidence of elevated radiation in U.S. Pacific waters since the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan that crippled the Fukushima plant, according to the article.

White House Announces Weapons Sale To Saudi Arabia

The White House has forged an agreement with Saudi Arabia to sell the kingdom $29.4 billion worth of equipment for the Royal Saudi Air Force.

The agreement includes production of 84 new Boeing F-15SA aircraft and the modernization of 70 existing aircraft as well as munitions, spare parts, training, maintenance and logistics, according to a White House press release. Officials with the Administration of Barack Obama say the move will help to bolster the U.S. economy by engaging 600 American suppliers in 44 States, providing $3.5 billion in annual economic impact.

The agreement is part of a larger $60 billion arms package for Saudi Arabia that was passed by Congress last year. The White House decision to move forward with this portion comes as tensions mount between the United States and Iran in the Persian Gulf and the final troops are pulled from Iraq.

Saudi Arabia is a longtime enemy of Iran, and the tattered relationship between the two countries may be exploited by the White House as the U.S. and Iran continue to quarrel over nuclear energy and trade sanctions. The Saudi weapons-sale announcement comes just a week after Iranian officials threatened to close the vital Straits of Hormuz in response to indications that the United States plans to impose new sanctions on Iranian oil exports.

Obama Is The Drone President

The Administration of President Barack Obama is responsible for an emerging global apparatus for drone killing, says one report from The Washington Post.

The apparatus is made up of dozens of secret facilities, including two hubs on the East Coast, virtual Air Force­ ­cockpits in the Southwest and bases in at least six countries on two continents, according to the article. Obama is quickly becoming known as the Commander in Chief more involving tactics to carry out the secret killings of adversaries than any U.S. President in history, and drones have played a vital role.

The growing drone program has blurred the lines between the CIA and the military, and the White House has taken great pains to avoid divulging much information about the programs structure, according to the article.

According to the article, when Obama took office in 2009, the Nation’s secret drone war was confined only to Pakistan, where 44 strikes over five years had left about 400 people dead. Since then, the number of strikes has soared to nearly 240; and the number of those killed, according to conservative estimates, has more than quadrupled.

Iran Threatens To Lock Down Oil Supply Amid Talk Of Sanctions

Iranian leaders said Tuesday that if the United States imposes sanctions being set up against their country, it will cut off all oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, a vital supply route through which one-fifth of the world’s oil supply is shipped.

According to The New York Times, the declaration was made by Iranian First Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, as President Barrack Obama prepares to sign legislation that could substantially reduce Iran’s oil revenue to keep the country from pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

The Obama Administration has been working in recent months to put in place a plan to cut off Iran from global energy markets without risking higher fuel prices. The Iranian economy is already weak, and oil exports account for much of the country’s revenues so Iranian officials are worried about the sanctions.

“If they impose sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, then even one drop of oil cannot flow from the Strait of Hormuz,” Rahimi said, according to Iran’s official news agency.

The White House said that the disruption would not be tolerated there is talk that the Obama Administration is working on a plan to keep the supply route open in the event of crisis. Some officials speculate that the latest sanctions are setting the stage for violent confrontation between the United States and Iran.

 

Occupy The Iowa Caucus

Protesters aligned with the OWS movement have said that they plan to occupy the Iowa caucus.

“The 99 percent have woken up and we’re not going to take it anymore,” said Occupy activist Stephen Toothman, of Des Moines, according to The Daily Caller.

The OWS group is reportedly working to decide which candidates they will target as the GOP hopefuls make their way across the State in a campaign dash. According to the article, hundreds of Occupy activists from as many as 10 States are expected to participate in a “People’s Caucus” near the Capitol to plot activities between now and the Jan. 3 caucuses.

A statement on the Occupy Des Moines website says, “We are excited to announce the First in the Nation Caucus Occupation. This winter, presidential campaign headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa and political events throughout the state will be occupied. Occupy Des Moines will not interfere with or disrupt caucus voting on Jan 3. We are not targeting voters.”

The activists say their tactics will include interrupting candidates at events and camping out at their Iowa campaign offices. Many people fear the OWS group will tarnish Iowa’s reputation for civil political discourse ahead of the caucus.

More Powerful Version Of Heavily Abused Opiate To Hit Market

Drug makers are in the process of developing a more powerful version of the second most highly abused drug in the Nation.

The new pharmaceutical will contain up to 10 times the amount of the highly addictive painkiller hydrocodone as existing medications such as Vicodin. Four companies have begun patient testing, and one of them — Zogenix — has plans to apply early next year to begin marketing the drug, Zohydro, according to The Associated Press.

Many addiction experts are worried that the release of new pills will spark another narcotic epidemic in the United States similar to that following the release of OxyContin, which became known as “hillbilly heroin.”  

“I have a big concern that this could be the next OxyContin,” said April Rovero, president of the National Coalition Against Prescription Drug Abuse. “We just don’t need this on the market.”

OxyContin was designed to deliver measured time-release doses, but addicts quickly learned that by crushing the tablets they could achieve an instant, powerful high. OxyContin is the most-abused medicine in the Nation, and hydrocodone is second, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s annual count of drug seizures sent to police drug labs for analysis.

Prescription drug makers earn a combined $10 billion a year legally pushing powerful opiate narcotics.

Tea Party Express Offers Support To Michele Bachmann

The Sacramento, Calif.-based Tea Party Express offered support for Michele Bachmann in the 2012 Republican Presidential primary race, but did not officially endorse the candidate.

According to Roll Call, the California-based Tea Party Express said in a statement that, while it has not endorsed any candidate, it remains committed to backing the conservative candidate best positioned to beat President Barrack Obama in 2012. The group said it wants a competitive primary, beginning with the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3 and in all of the States that follow, to jump-start that process.

“While the Tea Party Express has not endorsed a presidential candidate at this time, Michele Bachmann garners strong Tea Party support because of her work and commitment to restoring fiscal responsibility to Washington, D.C.,” Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer said. “Let’s let the voters in Iowa choose the leading candidates to go forward from the many excellent candidates we have.”

While Bachmann’s campaign claimed last week to be in a “statistical dead-heat” with Iowa frontrunner Ron Paul (19 percent), she actually followed Mitt Romney (18 percent) and Newt Gingrich (16 percent) with only 15 percent voter support, according to The Des Moines Register.

Obama To Request More Borrowing

President Barack Obama is expected to ask Congress to raise the Nation’s borrowing limit by $1.2 trillion this week, marking the third and final increase from a deal negotiated over summer.

The Treasury Department says that the increase is needed because the Federal government will be within $100 billion of its current spending limit by Friday. The newest increase will bring the amount of money borrowed by the U.S. government to fund its operations to $16.4 trillion and allow it to keep borrowing until after the 2012 Presidential election.

The enormity of the debt has fueled intense partisan debate in Congress over spending and taxes. Congress could reject the President’s request, but he can veto its objection. If Congress takes no action, the spending measure will take automatic effect after Jan. 14, according to The Associated Press.