Jon Huntsman dropped out of the 2012 Presidential race Monday after offering an endorsement to establishment-favored candidate Mitt Romney.
“The race has degenerated into an onslaught of negative and personal attacks not worthy of the American people,” Huntsman said at the beginning of a press conference in Myrtle Beach, S.C. “I call on each campaign to cease attacking each other and instead talk directly to the American people about how our conservative ideas with create American jobs.”
The candidate then went on to offer support for Romney, a candidate he has sharply criticized in the past, as the best choice for Republican voters.
“It’s now time for our party to unite around the candidate best equipped to beat Barack Obama,” Huntsman said. “Despite our differences… that candidate is Gov. Mitt Romney.”
Huntsman’s endorsement has raised the eyebrows of many conservative pundits and voters who remember his scathing attacks against Romney. In a September interview, Huntsman referred to Romney as a “perfectly lubricated weather vane” who frequently changes direction on important issues. The two have also had tense moments at past debates, which can be seen below:
The Ron Paul campaign has long been saying that the Texas Congressman’s rivals in the Republican Presidential Primary make halfhearted attempts to copy his “cut the size of Federal government” message, but the campaign says he now has an unlikely imitator in the Administration of Barack Obama.
A campaign statement pointed out the attempt:
“Just like most of the Republican presidential candidates, President Obama really isn’t going to consolidate government or cut spending. But also like them, the President apparently thinks it’s important to try to sound like Ron Paul. Paul’s budget plan eliminates five federal departments, transferring some functions to other departments, allowing for $1 trillion to be cut in the first year.”
The comparison between Obama and Paul’s GOP rivals comes as the White House recently announced a new plan to consolidate Federal agencies, beginning with those related to trade and commerce. The Administration claims that the plan will eliminate about 1,000 Federal jobs and save $3 billion over a 10-year span.
The President said his plan to consolidate agencies is a part of a promise he made last year during the State of the Union address to create a leaner, more efficient Federal bureaucracy.
Obama will propose combining the functions and staff of six trade- and commerce-related agencies and offices: the Small Business Administration; the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; the Export-Import Bank; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; and the Trade and Development Agency, according to reports.
The move has been met by opposition from some lawmakers who say it could hamper the government’s ability to quickly implement new trade and commerce programs, but many Republicans have supported the plan because it falls in line with small government policy, according to The Washington Post.
The Paul campaign has pointed out that the President’s plan is little more than a symbolic gesture that will merely put a dent in Federal spending and bureaucracy.
On Sunday, six days before South Carolina’s Presidential primary, Ron Paul scored one of the most sought-after endorsements in the State.
South Carolina State Senator Tom Davis endorsed the Texas congressman in Myrtle Beach. Davis is a favorite among Republicans and a highly regarded fiscal conservative who is liked by many Tea Party activists.
The State Senator called former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman “a fine man” and was equally kind to Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, but he said Paul was the only candidate right for now.
“At the end of the day, when I sat down, I realized there were a lot of good people running for this race,” Davis said. “But there’s only one person, there’s only one person speaking to what I believe is the core problem of our country today. The biggest threat to our liberty comes from debt.”
Paul is currently campaigning in South Carolina where a recent Public Policy poll put him in third place at 15 percent favorability, behind Romney’s 29 percent and Gingrich’s 24 percent.
Any North Korean who failed to show up or to mourn the death of Kim Jong Il convincingly enough are likely a little upset now, as the government is handing down at least six months in a labor-training camp to anybody who didn’t participate.
An unidentified source told Daily NK:
The authorities are handing down at least six months in a labor-training camp to anybody who didn’t participate in the organized gatherings during the mourning period, or who did participate but didn’t cry and didn’t seem genuine.
Immediately after the mourning was allowed to stop, North Korean officials reportedly began conducting “criticism sessions” at all levels of industry, in enterprises and by local people’s units to find out who didn’t mourn enough. In addition to the session, the people of the country have also been subject to near-constant propaganda aimed at glorifying the young new leader, Kim Jong Un.
A Japanese paper reported earlier this month that Kim Jong Un issued an order not to let a single defector get away around Dec. 19, when the North announced the death of Kim Jong Il, citing a source supposedly knowledgeable about the North Korea-China border areas.
Newark, N.J., Mayor Corey Booker wants people to report their neighbors to law enforcement if they are exercising their 2nd Amendment rights.
The Mayor hopes to incentivize people to snitch on gun-owning neighbors by offering a $1,000 reward for every report that leads to an illegal firearm arrest.
“We as individuals have to do something about it. So we have a program in our city right now that is completely anonymous and we will give you cash— $1000 to anyone who calls our anonymous tip-line. Give us the information about who is carrying a gun, we don’t even have to have a conviction. If we arrest that individual and simply get that gun off the streets.” Booker said in a commercial announcing the program, which you see below.
The Newark program is seemingly modeled after the Federal “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign that enlists everyday citizens to be government spies.
The Administration of Barack Obama is planning yet another assault on the Internet privacy rights of all American citizens, some critics say.
The Administration is currently drafting a plan that will hand over to the Commerce Department the authority to implement an “identity ecosystem” for the Internet with the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace to be released in coming months.
According to CNET, details about the Obama Administration’s actual plans for the online identification program are extremely scarce.
“We are not talking about a national ID card,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said at a Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research event. “We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy, and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities.”
Opponents of the plan, many of whom fear this is another step toward complete Internet regulation, reportedly say that if a trusted Internet ID system is to be created, it must be done by the private sector.
The campaign attacks are beginning to get so nasty in the Presidential primary that Newt Gingrich is threatening to sue.
Gingrich’s campaign is threatening to sue South Carolina and Florida television stations that air an ad by a pro-Romney super-PAC claiming Gingrich was “fined” $300,000 for ethics violations during the 1990s, according to The Hill.
The ad says that Gingrich is a desperate candidate who has “more baggage than the airport.”
Gingrich attorney Stefan Passantino called the commercial “a defamatory communication which exposes this station to potential civil liability” in a letter sent to television stations, according to NBC Politics.
In an editorial on Jan. 12, a New Hampshire newspaper said Ron Paul was “recklessly naïve” and that his supporters were essentially young and ignorant.
The Union Leader editorial begins:
Ron Paul finished second in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, and in his speech he thanked this newspaper for not endorsing him. Endorse a candidate who said “the CIA controls everything,” blamed American policy for the 9/11 attacks, asserted that the U.S. Civil War was “fought primarily over tariffs,” and said it’s fine if terrorist-arming Iran gets a nuclear weapon? No need to thank us for that, Dr. Paul. Not endorsing political quacks is our business.
The authors of the piece then go on to compare the candidate to President Barack Obama and attack the character of his supporters:
Paul’s base of support reminds us of President Obama’s. Both have many young, inexperienced, idealistic supporters who fail to see through the vague, simplistic platitudes. The candidates are similar, too. They portray themselves as paragons of virtue and purity, when in reality both are recklessly naive.
Despite the paper’s fallacious attacks against Paul and his supporters leading into the New Hampshire primary, he took a strong second place to Mitt Romney in the State on Tuesday. The Paul campaign has set its sights on South Carolina, hoping to re-create a similar outcome in that State’s Jan. 21 primary.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Paul said during a speech at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport that his support is starting to expand beyond “a tireless irate minority.”
“We’re marching on. The numbers are growing. They grew exponentially in New Hampshire, and they’re going to grow contagiously here in South Carolina,” he said.
A Federal appeals court decided Tuesday that an amendment that would ban Oklahoma courts from considering international or Islamic law discriminates against religions and a Muslim community leader has the right to challenge its Constitutionality.
According to CBS News, the Denver-based court upheld U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange’s order blocking implementation of the amendment shortly after it was approved by 70 percent of Oklahoma voters in November 2010.
Part of the amendment read: “The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia law.”
Muneer Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma, sued to block the law, arguing that the amendment violated his First Amendment rights. He said the ban on Islamic law would likely affect every aspect of his life as well as the execution of his will after his death.
“When the law that voters wish to enact is likely unconstitutional, their interests do not outweigh Mr. Awad’s in having his constitutional rights protected,” the court said.
Following the release of a new book about the Presidential family, The Obamas, first lady Michelle Obama is upset that she has been portrayed as an “angry black woman.”
In an interview with CBS This Morning, Obama said, “I guess it’s more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here and a strong woman and — you know? But that’s been an image that people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced, that I’m some angry black woman.”
New York Times reporter and author of The Obamas, Jodi Cantor, re-touched the “angry black woman” theme in her book, writing that there was tension between the First Lady and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and with former Presidential Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Obama denies the reports.
“Rahm is, and Amy, his wife, are some of our dearest friends,” Obama said. “Rahm and I have never had a cross word. He’s a funny guy.”
The first lady said in the interview that she did not understand how a book like Cantor’s could be written, because it does not represent how she really feels.
“Who can write about how I feel? Who? What third person can tell me how I feel, or anybody for that matter?” she asked.
The mayor who said he did not need to run for President because he already has “his own army” and vast power in his current position in New York is again acting as the city’s nanny.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is trying to limit the sale of alcohol in his city after already successfully banning guns, public smoking, trans fats, salt and sugary drinks, according to The New York Post.
The New York Health Department’s Partnership for a Healthier New York City initiative proposes to slash the number of establishments in the city that sell booze through community “transformation” grants to be provided under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.
One of the goals listed in the “request for proposal” document to community groups is “reducing alcohol retail outlet (e.g. bar, corner store) density and illegal alcohol,” a planning document obtained by the Post states.
There have also been discussions of banning liquor advertising seen by millions of passengers in the city’s massive public transit system.
On Tuesday, as voters in New Hampshire were getting ready to make their choice for the Republican Presidential nominee, candidate Ron Paul set his sights on a familiar foe.
In a USA Today op-ed, Paul showed that the constant campaigning has not taken his mind off of one issue he has spoken about for years: the Federal Reserve’s manipulation of financial markets.
“Throughout its nearly 100-year history, the Federal Reserve has presided over the near-complete destruction of the United States dollar. Since 1913, the dollar has lost over 95% of its purchasing power, aided and abetted by the Fed’s loose monetary policy,” Paul writes.
Along with Paul’s piece the newspaper ran an editorial calling the candidate’s wishes to audit and end the Fed “19th century economic ideas.”
The editorial calls the Federal Reserve vital to the U.S. economy:
“The value of a politically independent central bank has been proven repeatedly since then. When Lehman Bros. failed in September 2008, it was Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke who played a key role in preventing the other investment banks from collapsing like a row of dominoes. By late 2008 and early 2009, banks had become so averse to lending that even blue-chip industrial companies such as General Electric, Caterpillar, Verizon and Harley Davidson relied on the Fed to finance their day-to-day operations.”
But Paul, in his writing, disagrees: “To say that auditing or ending the Federal Reserve reflects ‘19th century thinking’ is to propose that economic responsibility and transparency in government are ideas whose time has passed.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Cuba Wednesday as tension between the United States and Iran continue to grow.
The killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran further strained relations between the two countries with Iranians blaming Israel, the CIA and Britain’s intelligence agency for the killing.
“Iran’s enemies should know they cannot prevent Iran’s progress by carrying out such terrorist acts,” IRNA quoted First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi saying.
Despite the controversy over the killing, Ahmadinejad is completing his five-day trip to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador.
Some foreign policy experts believe the trip is part of an Iranian effort to build a network of operatives in Latin America to strike back at U.S. and Israeli targets in the region should there be a military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Ahmadinejad will visit Ecuador next.
Most of the news coming from Greece over the past year has been related to economic collapse, but the bureaucrats running that country have found a way to enrage its citizens without relying on its failed economic policy.
According to International Business Times, many people in Greece are furious about a plan by the government to categorize pedophiles, pyromaniacs, fetishists, exhibitionists, compulsive gamblers, kleptomaniacs, sadomasochists and others as “disabled.” The move suggests that such groups may also be eligible to receive state benefits.
The country’s Labor Ministry reportedly said that the decision to reclassify the word “disabled” to include these groups came after consultation with a panel of medical professionals — and that people newly covered under the phrase would not necessarily be entitled to benefits.
“What’s happened is incomprehensible,” Yannis Vardakastanis, head of Greece’s National Confederation of Disabled People, told The Associated Press. “I think there is some big mistake. The [Labor] ministry should have a different policy on disability. The list contains major changes to disability quotients, which could effectively remove many people from access to benefits. It’s really not serious to grant Peeping Toms a 20-30 percent disability rate, and 10 percent to diabetics, who have insulin shots four or five times a day.”
This week, President Barack Obama said that donors to his Presidential campaign were like the modern-day equivalent of the colonists who fought the British for American independence during the Revolutionary War.
“It takes you, ordinary citizens committed to fighting and pushing, inching this country forward bit by bit so we get closer to our highest ideals,” The Daily Caller reported Obama said in a campaign speech to 700 donors seated at white-linen tables in Washington’s Capital Hilton hotel. “That’s how this country was built. That’s how we freed ourselves from an empire.”
Obama reportedly did not stop with the Revolutionary comparison, but went on liken his aspirations to the accomplishments of those of the members of what is often referred to as the “greatest generation” and of the Civil Rights movement that followed.
Does Google know something that the American public does not? Or did the search engine simply botch an election results test-run?
According to National Journal, an apparent Google glitch displayed the “results” of the New Hampshire primary early this morning, hours before polls close.
Sourced to The Associated Press and displayed alongside searches for GOP hopefuls Mitt Romney and Buddy Roemer, the “results” showed front-runner Romney coming in sixth place behind Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann, who ended her campaign.
The apparent error was reportedly fixed at about 7:05 a.m.
The mainstream media continue to express surprise that the Ron Paul campaign stands firm as today’s first-in-the-Nation primary gets underway.
The final University of New Hampshire survey before the contest put Mitt Romney in a position of favor among voters in the State, leading with 41 percent. The second place spot is taken by Paul, with 17 percent, followed by Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman who are tied for third with 11 percent.
Another poll from Suffolk University/7 News illustrates a smaller gap between the leaders with Romney polling at 35 percent and Paul at 20 percent.
An article published in The Washington Times on Monday points out that Paul’s popularity is shaping up to be a major force to be reckoned with within a fractured Republican establishment, and that the devotion of the candidate’s “never-say-die” supporters should not be marginalized. In his work, the author, William Kelly, offers one main reason for Paul’s popularity, “freedom is popular.”
Paul’s son, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), said Monday that he believes his father has a remote chance of pulling an upset in New Hampshire today if there is a large showing of independent voters, according to POLITICO.
Popular conservative radio host Michael Savage said recently that he does not believe that Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has what it takes to beat Barack Obama in the 2012 election.
Savage was apparently outraged by Romney’s lackluster response to Obama’s decision to make recess appointments while Congress is in session, and said that if the candidate is incapable of real criticism against the President he is also incapable of leading the Nation.
“If the best Mitt Romney is going to say is that [Obama’s] just a nice guy, but he’s just in over his head, then Mitt Romney is a putz,” Savage said. “He is a bad guy. And he is not over his head,” Savage said. “Barack Hussein Obama is 10 times smarter than Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney is way over his head.”
The host of the highly-rated conservative radio show said that he is now eyeing Rick Santorum as the most capable GOP candidate.
Savage, who previously “jokingly” offered Newt Gingrich $1 million to drop out of the race, is still calling for the former House Speaker to bow out because “of the damage he is doing to the other candidates.”
“Gingrich needs to be put into a barrel, stripped naked and made to run around the country like the figure he is,” Savage said on his show Friday. “This man is a rolling embarrassment and a threat to the survival not of the Republican Party but of the United States of America.”
The author of the new book The Obamas, New York Times Washington correspondent Jodi Kantor, said in a recent interview that First Lady Michelle Obama was the real politician.
“Michelle Obama is the real politician in the family in the sense she is more effusive, better at connecting instantly with people,” Kantor said. “A good source of mine once said to me, ‘Here’s what you have to remember: She is Bill Clinton, and he is Hillary.'”
Kantor’s book, which is to be published Jan. 10, is described as a “penetrating, gossipy page-turner of a biography” about the Obamas’ time in the White House.
In an interview with Chicago Magazine Kantor described the occupants of the White House as Washington introverts who did not have a clear idea of what the Presidency would be like when Obama was elected.
The author conducted interviews with White House staffers, the President and the First Lady in the writing of the biography.
A new report by the University of Haifa says that terrorist activity is increasingly moving to the Internet as groups designated as terrorist organizations use forms of social media to convey messages and gain supporters.
Professor Gabriel Weimann spent 10 years conducting a study of encoded and public Internet sites of international terror organizations, groups supporting these organizations, forums, video clips and other information relating to global terrorism.
“Today, about 90% of organized terrorism on the Internet is being carried out through the social media. By using these tools, the organizations are able to be active in recruiting new friends without geographical limitations,” he said.
Designated terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas have embraced not only the social networking aspects of these sites, but also use them for surveillance. There are reports that Hezbollah has searched for material on the Israeli army’s Facebook activity using social networks.
The networks are also often routinely used for terrorists to share “tricks of the trade” with one another. According to the report, the following post could be found on Hamas’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades’, social profile page: “I have a kilogram of acetone. I want to know how to make an explosive with it to blow up a military jeep.”
This spring, thousands of U.S. soldiers will be deployed in Israel to participate in the country’s largest-ever missile defense exercise amid Iran’s push to obtain materials that could be used to develop nuclear weapons.
According to The Jerusalem Post, Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc, who is in command of the Germany-based U.S. Third Air Force, traveled to Israel late last month to finalize plans for American participation in the drill.
During the drill, the United States will establish command posts in Israel and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) will establish a command post at the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) headquarters in Germany in an effort to establish a joint task force that could counter large-scale Mideast conflict, according to the article.
The United States is expected to supply Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and ship-based Aegis ballistic missiles to simulate interception of missiles fired at Israel. The American systems will work in conjunction with Israeli missile defense systems.
A review of Ron Paul’s investment strategy by The Wall Street Journal shows that the Presidential contender has put his money where his mouth is while investing.
Financial journalist Jason Zweig writes of Paul’s investments:
“As a financial journalist (and registered Independent), I don’t take sides in political campaigns. But, in more than 20 years as an investing reporter, I’ve never seen a more unorthodox portfolio than Rep. Paul’s: no bonds at all, no mainstream stocks or mutual funds (other than three funds that ‘short sell,’ or bet against, U.S. stocks), and 64% of all assets in the shares of companies that mine silver and gold.”
While the writer did not deny that Paul’s portfolio has performed extremely well over the past 10 years, he said that the candidate had too little diversity in his investments.
Here are a few of Paul’s investment picks:
- AgniCo Eagle Mines (AEM), which doubled in price from 2009 through 2010 before plunging 50 percent in 2011.
- Barrick Gold (ABX), which went from about $33 in early 2009 to between $45 and $55 in the past year.
- Goldcorp (GG), which went from $27 in early 2009 to surpass $55 last April. These days, it trades for about $45.
- Iamgold (IAG), a stock that went from $6 in early 2009 to more than $20 last spring. It’s now trading at about $17.
- Newmont Mining (NEM), which has jumped almost 70 percent from early 2009.
Kim Jong Un, who seized power in North Korea following the death of his father Kim Jong Il, recently demonstrated that the regime will not be softening under his rule.
This week, sources reported Kim Jong Un ordered that defectors attempting to flee the country be shot.
A Japanese paper called Sankei Shimbun reported last week that Kim Jong Un issued an order not to let a single defector get away around Dec. 19, when the North announced the death of Kim Jong Il, citing a source supposedly knowledgeable about the North Korea-China border areas.
“Kim Jong-un has ordered intensified control in border areas in recent years since he emerged as successor to his father Kim Jong-il,” a defector-turned-reporter at Open Radio for North Korea, a Seoul-based media organization specializing in the North, told the Korean JoongAng Daily. “And now Kim Jong-un is ordering immediate executions when people are caught trying to cross the borders [without permission].”
Kim Jong Un has reportedly also ordered that three generations of relatives of any defectors are also to be killed — an act that is said to have never been carried out under his father.
The number of North Korean defectors has increased sharply over the past several years as people in the country have suffered food shortages and learned more about other parts of the world.