Clinton Visits Libya, Pledges Support, Money

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton traveled to Libya on Tuesday to offer words of encouragement and millions of dollars in U.S. aid to the country’s fledgling transitional government.

Clinton, the first cabinet member of the Administration of Barack Obama to visit Libya, reportedly made a five-hour visit to the country, hosting a town hall-style meeting with top officials of the newly placed Libyan government, according to The Washington Post. She focused on assuring new Libyan leaders of the United States’ vehement dedication to aiding the country as it tries to re-establish basic infrastructure and social order, both of which were decimated in the battle to oust Moammar Gadhafi. The Secretary of State also vowed to ensure that the thousands of shoulder-fired rockets looted from the Gadhafi compound would be retrieved with U.S. help.

One State Department official said the purpose of the meeting was to focus on “setting the table for a long-term, completely different relationship between the United States and Libya that is deep and broad.”

Americans have provided more than $130 million in aid for Libyan rebels since the beginning of the uprising earlier this year, with more promised. Reportedly, the State Department has boosted funds and staffing in recent months for the sole purpose of returning Libya to a state of order. Clinton has also announced State Department intentions of providing long-term funding for medical facilities for those wounded in the country’s civil war.

Reports indicate pro-Gadhafi forces are still holding out in cities such as Sirte, Gadhafi’s birthplace. The whereabouts of the former leader, whom State Department officials call a “lethal nuisance,” are unknown.

Republicans Put The Heat On Healthcare Reform

Feeling optimistic about the possibility of taking control of the White House and Senate in the 2012 elections, Republican activists are setting the stage for a multi-step process to chip away at Obamacare in 2013.

Many conservatives are pressuring GOP candidates to commit to using every available option to fully repeal the law before pledging to support the candidates, according to the Los Angeles Times.  Conservative healthcare experts reportedly are also discussing draft versions of an alternative to the law, a tactic seen by many people as a way to shield the GOP from past criticisms that they were willing to leave some Americans with no health coverage.

According to The Hill, Republican lawmakers called on Monday for an immediate repeal to measures of Obamacare that the President’s Administration has said are unworkable. A long-term care provision of President Barack Obama’s plan called the CLASS Act was supposed to pay for itself, but last Friday officials announced that it simply could not.

White House officials’ announcement that the CLASS Act was unsustainable prompted swift response from Republicans, many of whom say it is too late to rework the plan. The White House has issued statements saying it is against repealing provisions of the healthcare law, and some experts believe Obama may veto any attempt to repeal any part of the law.

Obama Bus Tour Outlines Election Strategy

President Barack Obama began a three-day bus tour on Monday to target potential voters in North Carolina and Virginia, where experts say he is looking to woo large numbers of minority and “white, professional” voters.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Obama is also expected to travel to the Mountain West next week, where he enjoys heavy support from Hispanics in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.

Experts say that the President seems to be focusing on an election strategy for 2012 that will give him “multiple routes of victory” to reduce his dependence on Ohio and Florida, traditional electoral gems. The strategy contrasts 2000 and 2004 Democratic strategy when the party focused heavily on those States and won neither.

Campaign officials say that if Obama is able to win majorities in States that traditionally favor Democrats, plus North Carolina and Virginia or one of those and Colorado and Nevada, he will have an electoral college victory. Democrats won majorities in none of those States in 2000 and 2004, but Obama won all four in 2008.

The President’s re-election strategy most recently shows him shying away from working-class, white voters who have become bitter toward his Administration, the newspaper reports.

According to Business Insider, Obama has also further embraced the Occupy Wall Street crowd as a part of his White House re-election strategy. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a preview to the bus tour that Obama will make it clear that he is fighting to make sure that the “interests of 99 percent of Americans are well represented.” This is reportedly the first time the White House has used the term to differentiate between classes of Americans.

Being Multilingual May Reduce Alzheimer Symptoms

Health researchers at St. Michaels Hospital in Canada have determined that being multilingual can ward off symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

A team of researchers studied CT scans of patients who had been diagnosed with probable Alzheimer’s disease and who had similar levels of education and cognitive skills, such as attention, memory, planning and organization. Half were fluently bilingual; the other half spoke only one language.

The study published in Cortex determined that though both groups performed similarly in regard to cognitive performance, the bilingual patients were doing so with higher levels of dementia-related brain damage.

Previous observational studies have found that bilingualism delays the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms by up to five years, but Dr. Tom Schweizer, a neuroscientist who headed the research, said that this is the first time that doctors have physical proof through CT scans that the brains of multilingual people combat Alzheimer’s more effectively.

“This is unheard of – no medicine comes close to delaying the onset of symptoms and now we have the evidence to prove this at the neuroanatomical level,” he said.

Schweizer said that researchers must now reproduce the results, using a larger base of patients and more sophisticated MRI equipment to better understand how to approach dementia prevention.

Paul Will Eliminate $1 Trillion, Cut Presidential Salary By $360,664

GOP Presidential candidate Ron Paul in a recent email to supporters said that he has been given only 18 minutes, 47 seconds to speak during the past three debates; mainstream ignorance of the candidate may end with his Monday release of a budget plan announcing about $1 trillion in specific Federal budget cuts.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Paul’s plan calls for the massive cuts to be made during his first year in office along with the elimination of five cabinet-level  agencies and the lowering of corporate tax rates from 35 to 15 percent.

The candidate’s “Restore America” plan is focused on drastically reducing government reach to spur American business growth. This will be accomplished in part by repealing Obamacare, last year’s Wall Street regulations law and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Paul also calls for a 10 percent reduction in the Federal workforce which may be achieved by eliminating the Departments of Education, Commerce, Energy, Interior and Housing and Urban Development.  He also calls for a 30 percent budget cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, a 40 percent cut to the Food and Drug Administration, slashed Pentagon funding for foreign wars and completely eliminating spending on foreign aid, according to POLITICO.

The Congressman from Texas also wants to see programs like Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, food stamps, family support programs and the children’s nutrition program block-granted to the States and removed from mandatory Federal expenditures. In regard to Social Security, his campaign says that the plan “honors our promise to our seniors and veterans, while allowing young workers to opt out.”

In his plan, Paul also ensures voters that he is not going to make massive Federal budget cuts while living like a fat cat politician. He plans to reduce the Presidential salary from $400,000 yearly to $39,336 a year, which the plan says is “approximately equal to the median personal income of the American worker.”

Khamenei: Iran Will Fight Against Any U.S. Action

Amid speculation that the U.S. will launch military attacks on Iran, the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warns that any “inappropriate action” will be met with decisive response.

According to Daily Times, a Pakistani news outlet, Iranians deny any involvement whatsoever in the alleged attempted assassination plot against the Saudi foreign minister in Washington, D.C., that was announced by the Department of Justice last week. Many Iranian lawmakers and analysts have come forward and said that Iran would not benefit in any way by assassinating the diplomat in the United States.

“If American officials are entertaining any illusions, they should know that any inappropriate action — whether political or security-related — will meet with the Iranian people’s decisive response,” said Khamenei in a speech in western Iran, according to his official website. “The Islamic republic of Iran will face off any plot, or destructive or obstructive measures, with all its might.”

The Iranian official also said in his speech that the announcement of the plot — which many American analysts have called dubious or likened to a “bad Hollywood script” — was an attempt by Justice Department officials to draw attention away from other issues going on in the U.S., including protests and government scandals. He said that the U.S. is coming unraveled because of government officials’ “undignified accommodation of Zionists” and that “the flames of their [the American people’s] rage would indeed set the system of Hegemony afire and burn it into ashes.”

“You have turned your back to your people. You are hated by most of them. The Islamic Republic is otherwise where the large national participation points to the nation’s firm resolve and perseverance against any conspiracy,” Khamenei said.

INFOWARS.COM reports that the U.S. military has already mobilized a large-scale exercise over the Mideast to pressure Iran by deploying 41 giant transports of the 22nds Airlift Squadron on Monday and putting ground troops on “full alert.” Israeli, Egyptian and Saudi armies are also reportedly standing by for active military conflict.

Pakistan Seeking Understanding With Islamic Militants

Pakistani officials appear less willing than ever to confront Islamic extremist groups, and recently they are instead opting for a diplomatic approach to the handling of terrorist organizations within their country.

According to The Washington Post, recent statements issued by Pakistani officials reject any notion of widespread military action against insurgents in tribal areas of the country and instead call for truces. Reports are not clear as to which militant groups the country will make peace with, or if the insurgents will be willing to cooperate.

According to reports, most Pakistanis have become very disgruntled by the Mideast occupation of the U.S. military and believe that the foreign forces have driven up the number of terror attacks on Pakistanis. Many in the country view the militant groups as disgruntled countrymen more than terrorist organizations and feel that the end of foreign military actions in the region will suppress terror attempts on Pakistani targets.

Though U.S. officials are still calling on Pakistanis to take a hard stance against Islamic militants, leaders in Pakistan say that the idea is hypocritical given how the U.S. is now approaching the Taliban. The U.S. military has recently sought to facilitate talks between Afghan officials and the fractured militant group, according to Andhra News. Many Pakistanis see the United States’ new approach, negotiating with militant groups like the Haqqani network, as a way to save face in the Mideast before the anticipated 2014 troop withdrawal.

U.S. Spends $30 Million Looking For Gadhafi Missiles

After the U.S. helped Libyans oust Moammar Gadhafi, hundreds of surface-to-air missiles and other dangerous weapons fell into the hands of Libyan rebels and terror groups. Americans are now footing the bill for a $30 million program to track down the weapons.

Under the program, the U.S. government has sent 14 civilian military contractors to help the Libyan transitional government search for the weapons, according to an article in The Washington Post.

President Barack Obama refused to send U.S. soldiers to Libya for the missile retrieval mission to avoid raising ire in the region and from members of Congress at home. Despite the lack of military involvement, the contractor mission represents the biggest weapons-retrieval initiative since those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

During the rebel raids on the Gadhafi compound last month, Libyan rebels — many of whom are linked to al-Qaida — were said to be seen looting hundreds of weapons, including assault rifles, grenades and shoulder-fired missiles. The U.S. urgency in recovering the surface-to-air missiles stems from the ability of those weapons to shoot down commercial aircraft; in fact, 40 commercial planes have been shot down in such manner since the 1970s.

Last week, security forces apprehended several Libyan missiles en route to Egypt, where they are often sold on the black market. Reportedly, in regions with a high number of surface-to-air missile black market sales, the number available is so high that the price of a missile has dropped from $10,000 to about $4,000.

 

Phosphorous May Be Endangered Element

Some researchers believe that phosphorous — a staple of life present in the DNA of all plants and animals — is becoming endangered, and its gradual depletion is being largely ignored.

Phosphorus is used worldwide by farmers and in a number of key industries, but 85 percent of rich phosphate deposits for mining are limited to just three countries: China, the United States and Morocco.  James Elser, a professor at Arizona State University, and Elizabeth Bennett, a researcher at McGill University in Canada, published an article last month that calls for an examination of phosphate use and a contingency plan for the disappearance of phosphorus. In their article “Phosphorus cycle: a broken biogeochemical cycle” which was published in Nature, the two argue that while mineable phosphorus is disappearing, that which is used in industry and farming is poisoning the environment. The two say that there is an urgent need for recycling programs that target the element.

Officials in the United States have reportedly just begun considering ways to approach limited phosphorus supplies. Morocco, the country with the world’s largest mineable phosphorus reserve, has been planning for years to benefit from phosphorus shortfalls. Despite having more of the element available than China and the United States, Morocco mines less – although it still accounts for 30 percent of global export, according to Reuters. Some researchers believe the North African country is waiting for its two competitors to deplete reserves, giving the country a monopoly on the element, before increasing production.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) indicates that phosphorus that can be mined with modern technology, could be completely gone in as little as 90 years.

 

Herman Cain Tax Plan: Dubious Or Dream For Conservatives?

One analysis of the Herman Cain tax proposal finds that implementation of the 2012 GOP presidential contender’s 9-9-9 plan may be difficult, but conservatives say it is a welcome idea in the tax discussion.

The Washington Post administered a fact check on claims Cain has made about his plan and found at least some aspects of it to be “highly dubious.”

The article says that while Cain’s claim that he will throw out the current tax plan may be true, his ability to replace it with 9-9-9 would take a long time, and the result would be only temporary. The research indicates such because 9-9-9 is the second of three parts involved in the Cain tax goal. The first step would cut individual and corporate tax rates to a top 25 percent rate, and the last step is actually the replacement of any current tax structure — even 9-9-9 — with a national sales tax or Fair Tax.

The article expresses doubt in the plan:

“As denizens of Washington, we find this three-step process to be highly dubious. It takes years, even decades, to fundamentally overhaul the tax code. Herman Cain is going to do this three times in his presidency?”

The Wall Street Journal says the Cain tax proposal “clearly has roots in the Reagan-era antitax movement.” The newspaper reports that Cain even met extensively with conservative economist Arthur Laffer in considering the basis of his proposal. Laffer has said that 9-9-9 will be a “vast improvement to the current tax system and a boon to the U.S. economy.”

Conservative supporters believe that even though Cain’s proposal may take a long time to implement completely, beginning the discussion is the first step.

Federal Judge Blocks Two Parts Of Tough Immigration Law

The Atlanta-based Federal appeals court has delayed two of the controversial measures put into place under what has been called one of the strictest pieces of immigration legislation in the United States.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday temporarily blocked provisions in Alabama immigration legislation, which the State’s legislature passed over the summer, that would require individuals living in the State illegally to obtain an alien registration card and another that required school officials to check the immigration status of students.

The new orders represent a partial victory for those against the immigration law. The court opted to uphold provisions in the law requiring police to attempt to determine immigration status during traffic stops, making it illegal for aliens to enter business transactions — including applying for driver licenses and business licenses — and barring State courts from enforcing contracts involving anyone who is in the State illegally, according to CNN.

The Administration of Barack Obama says the Constitution does not permit States to deter illegal immigration, saying an issue with foreign policy implications is the exclusive mandate of the Federal government. The Department of Justice has joined forces with the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the National Immigration Law Center in lawsuits against the Alabama immigration law.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has said that the legislation would not have been necessary “if the Federal government would have done its job and enforced the laws dealing with this problem.”

Tea Party, Taxpayers: Buzz Off, Whiners

As the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement drags on, it has prompted criticism from its more established and goal-oriented political cousin, the Tea Party, and another group that says it is “the 53 percent.”

A Tea Party-related website published an article entitled “Occupy Wall Street? They’re No Tea Partiers” earlier this week to ensure that its opinion of the movement is known. The piece proclaims that the Tea Party has nothing against Wall Street corporations; instead, it is dissatisfied with the government that props up corporations when they fail. Tea Partiers say the Occupiers have missed the point about why Wall Street is corrupt: Government is too involved in financial markets.

“…[T]hose occupying Wall Street and other cities, when they are intelligible, want less of what made America great and more of what is damaging to America: a bigger, more powerful government to come in and take care of them so they don’t have to work like the rest of us who pay our bills.”

The OWS movement was also the catalyst behind a website that mocks the message of the so-called 99 percent, who believe they are abused by the 1 percent of Americans who are allegedly super wealthy. The new group has launched a website to counter the OWS message. We Are The 53% says it represents: “Those of us who pay for those of you who whine about all of that… or that… or whatever.”

The website is said to represent the 53 percent of Americans who pay Federal income taxes. It assumes that the Wall Street protesters — who are camped out during regular working hours — are part of the 47 percent of the country who do not. While the 53 percent may not be attracting as much mainstream media attention as the OWS crowd, the messages posted by its supporters are strong and clear: “Shut up,” “get a job,” “the taxes I pay support you,” etc.

U.S. Passes Biggest Trade Agreement Since ’94

This week, Congress passed free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama in the largest sweeping trade move since the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994.

The agreement with South Korea removes duties on about two-thirds of American farm exports, and it phases out tariffs on more than 95 percent of industrial and consumer exports over the next five years, according to Bloomberg.

The agreement broadens long-dead trade relationships just after Congress voted on measures to punish the Chinese for currency devaluation. Some people say the new measures will also open more trans-Pacific trade possibilities.

The U.S. International Trade Commission says the South Korea deal could boost American exports by as much as $10.9 billion during the first full year it is in effect. The deal with Colombia could lead to about $1.1 billion in export revenues.

Some opponents to the free-trade agreements have noted soaring trade deficits in the U.S. as a result of past trade agreements, and they contend that the new trade deal will have similar effects. Fearing that unions and wage workers in the U.S. will lose out to cheap foreign labor, many Democrats took to the House floor to speak in opposition to the deals, according to The New York Times.

“What I am seeing firsthand is devastation that these free trade agreements can do to our communities,” Representative Mike Michaud, (D-Maine), told the newspaper.

Issa Seeks Answers In Investigation, Subpoenas AG

Attorney General Eric Holder was subpoenaed on Wednesday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for documents related to Operation Fast and Furious.

Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the oversight committee, believes that Holder has withheld knowledge about the gun running operation in Congressional hearings. The subpoenas are directed at the Attorney General as well as other high-ranking officials at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“Top Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Holder, know more about Operation Fast and Furious than they have publicly acknowledged,” Issa said in a statement. “The documents this subpoena demands will provide answers to questions that Justice officials have tried to avoid since this investigation began eight months ago. It’s time we know the whole truth.”

The subpoenas seek information about communications between the DOJ and the executive branch, any organized crime task force in Phoenix or to a number of law enforcement officials related to the task forces and a slew of interdepartmental documents.

The pursuit of thousands of pages of documents never before sought represents Issa’s determination to understand exactly what happened during the Fast and Furious operation. Issa has already made headway. Recently released internal DOJ memos show Holder was notified about Operation Fast and Furious as early as last year. The DOJ and the White House previously said Holder had no knowledge of Fast and Furious gun walking tactics until earlier this year.

‘Underdog’ Obama’s Campaign Coffers At $70 Million For Third Quarter

The incessant campaigning that President Barack Obama has been accused of in past months has apparently paid off; he raked $70.1 million in third quarter contributions for his 2012 campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

While the number is lower than the $88 million raked in during the preceding funding quarter, POLITICO reports that the President’s campaign is doing much better at raising funds than it is at achieving high approval numbers in polls.

GOP Presidential contenders are reportedly expected to have raised cumulatively about half as much as Obama. The Republican National Committee raised $9.3 million over the same period, but reportedly has millions of dollars in debt.

Despite having raised massive amounts of campaign money, the President’s campaign officials are still attempting to depict Obama as an underdog who faces GOP special interest power.

“We’re up against a Republican Party and special interest-funded groups that will spend hundreds of millions of dollars spreading any message that they believe will defeat the president and roll back our efforts to build a fairer economy that rewards hard work and responsibility, not large corporations,” wrote Obama campaign organizer Jim Messina in an email to supporters.

Messina said the new cash is being used to establish the campaign’s infrastructure in battleground States.

Underwear Bomber Pleads Guilty

The accused underwear bomber pleaded guilty Wednesday to eight criminal charges, including conspiring to commit an act of terrorism, in his second day of trial.

According to USA Today, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab read from a statement saying he was guilty under U.S. law, but not under Islamic law, of the charges. He said that his actions were in retaliation against the United States for the murder of innocent civilians in Afghanistan, Somalia, Israel and elsewhere.

The would-be suicide bomber said in his statement to a U.S. District Court in Detroit that he was not sorry because committing jihad against the United States is one of “the most virtuous acts” a Muslim can perform, according to reports. He also reportedly warned his audience that if the U.S. continues its Mideast occupation, a calamity will befall the country.

INFOWARS.COM published a story discrediting Abdulmutallab’s plea, saying he was originally scheduled to plead innocent and call to the stand Kurt Haskell, who was also a passenger on Delta Flight 253. Haskell was prepared to testify that he had seen a suited man ask ticket agents whether Abdulmutallab could board the plane without a passport, according to a report on MLive.com.

The INFOWARS.COM article reads: “Abdulmutallab’s reversal now means that Detroit Attorney Kurt Haskell’s contention that the plot was, as in almost every other terror case made public, a product of government entrapment, and that the US intelligence establishment was involved in the aborted attack, will now remain buried, at least for the time being.”

Cain, Romney Lead In Recent Polls

Two recent polls show former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney ahead of other candidates but neck and neck with one another when it comes to preference among likely 2012 GOP primary voters.

In Virginia, the Quinnipiac University Poll that was released Tuesday shows Cain and Romney sharing first choice among voters with 21 percent favorability each. They are followed by Texas Governor Rick Perry who only 11 percent of those polled said they would vote for, less than half than in the same poll a month ago.

“Herman Cain is moving up the ladder at breakneck speed. His 21 percent share of the GOP primary vote is more than three times the 6 percent he received when Quinnipiac University surveyed Virginians September 15,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling institute in a press release.

Of the other candidates Representative Ron Paul got 9 percent, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had 7 percent each, former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania had 2 percent and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman had 1 percent of the total votes cast.

In a poll released Monday by the American Research Group, Inc., on the 2012 primary outlook in South Carolina, Cain led Romney’s 25 percent by just 1 percentage point. In third place, Perry received 25 percent of votes cast followed by 12 percent for undecided voters, 8 percent for Gingrich, 7 percent for Paul and 1 or no percentage points for the other candidates.

 

 

Obama Vows To Pass Jobs Bill In Pieces

Despite President Barack Obama’s repeated recommendations that Congress “pass this bill,” Senate Republicans united against the President to ensure that what they have called a rehashing of his previous stimulus attempts died on the Senate floor.

A 50-49 tally that garnered support from a majority of the 100-member Senate but fell well short of the 60 votes needed to keep the bill alive ended the President’s measure. As a result of the vote, Obama criticized Republicans for failing to support measures that they have in the past and vowed to pass the bill in pieces.

“Tonight’s vote is by no means the end of this fight. Independent economists have said that the American Jobs Act would grow the economy and lead to nearly 2 million jobs, which is why the majority of the American people support these bipartisan, commonsense proposals,” Obama said in a Tuesday night statement. “And we will now work with Senator Reid to make sure that the individual proposals in this jobs bill get a vote as soon as possible.”

Obama and his fellow Democrats’ new plan, it seems, is to break the bill apart and force Republicans to vote on some of the measures that Obama pulled from GOP playbooks in creating the jobs bill. Reports also indicate that some marriages of Republican and Democratic ideas may come to vote as smaller proposals.

“With each vote, members of Congress can either explain to their constituents why they’re against commonsense, bipartisan proposals to create jobs, or they can listen to the overwhelming majority of American people who are crying out for action,” Obama said.

 

 

Debate At Dartmouth Docile, Romney Shines In Media Eyes

In a roundtable-style debate Tuesday night at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, the 2012 GOP Presidential primary candidates were given a chance to highlight their economic ideas and opinions.

Some recurring themes among the candidates were evident over the course of the debate:

  • Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan came under scrutiny from other candidates.
  • Mitt Romney and Rick Perry continued their focus on one another.
  • Michele Bachmann spoke several times but failed to say anything very specific except that she disagreed strongly with Obamacare.
  • Jon Huntsman joked throughout the debate, as he has in past debates.
  • Rick Santorum fell back on his familiar message that the economy rests on the working man.
  • Newt Gingrich attacked protestors, politicians and the media.
  • Ron Paul was largely ignored.

The economic focus of the debate gave Cain an ideal forum for again contending that his reworking of the U.S. tax plan via his 9-9-9 plan — 9 percent business flat tax, 9 percent personal income tax, 9 percent national sales tax — could provide economic recovery. Huntsman poked fun at the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO, saying that when he first heard of the plan, he thought it was a deal at a pizza joint.

The roundtable style of the debate gave the candidates the opportunity to interact and to question one another more than other debate formats, but the answers often appeared less informative than the questions.

Bachmann took a swing at Perry midway through the debate: “Well, in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan produced an economic miracle, and while all of us were wishing and yearning for a third term for Ronald Reagan, Governor Perry, you were campaigning and co-chairing Al Gore’s election campaign for president of the United States,” she said. “You went on to increase spending in Texas by over 50 percent… How can we trust you to not go down the Obama way and overspend and pay for that spending with indebtedness on the backs of the next generations?”

Romney also endured several comments comparing him to Barack Obama, as the other candidates focused on Romneycare and his past history as a corporate businessman.

Santorum focused on candidates that supported the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that provided what he called “the single biggest government intrusion into the private sector,” the Wall Street banker bailouts.

“The interesting thing here is, is the four people on this panel that actually supported TARP at the time of its passage are the people who say that they are the anti-Washington candidates, that they are the business candidates.,” he said. “… [T]he four people were Governor Huntsman, Governor Perry, Herman Cain, and Governor Romney.”

Mainstream media reports mostly declared the Dartmouth College debate to be a Romney victory, using terms like “unshakeable frontrunner,” but in the place of Perry they have placed Cain as the No. 2 favorite despite skepticism about his 9-9-9 plan.

Ron Paul Supporters Decry Media Bias

The mainstream political establishment and the media are terrified of Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s popularity among Americans who are frustrated about “business-as-usual” politics, the candidates’ supporters point out.

On ronpaulforums.com, posters put on display the mainstream media’s collective effort to discredit every victory that Paul enjoys. A series of screenshots from various news media sources reporting on last weekend’s Values Voter Straw Poll are posted on the forum, each of the stories indicate that Paul won by accident or trickery.

The Washington Post, FOX, CBS, POLITICO, The Atlantic, Business Insider, The Daily Beast, New York Magazine, Hot Air, MSNBC, The Associated Press, The Boston Globe, Forbes  and several more well-established news media outlets all implicate Paul as a kook, fringe candidate and poll cheat.

Jack Hunter, who writes the PAULITICAL TICKER, took note of the media’s penchant for ignoring Paul:

“I’ve often joked that when Ron Paul gets to the White House, the media will declare the presidency irrelevant and focus on how Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and other establishment candidates represent the future of the Republican Party.”

Big Brother Can Access Email Without Warrant

Government officials investigating the WikiLeaks controversy have made one thing evident with the investigation: They do not believe it violates the 4th Amendment to search information on cellphones and in emails without a warrant or even notification of the person being searched.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the government has obtained a secret court order to force Google Inc. and small Internet provider Sonic.net Inc. to turn over information from the email accounts of WikiLeaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum. The smaller company fought the order but lost, and both were required to release partial emails and addresses of those with whom Appelbaum had corresponded with over the past two years.

The article said the order vindicates suspicions many people have about the government’s ability to peek into individuals’ email accounts and observe online tendencies without their ever knowing they were investigated. The law that is supposed to protect Internet users from Big Brother’s spying eyes, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, was passed in 1986, before the World Wide Web existed.

The government has also considered using cellphone GPS to pinpoint the location of individuals without their knowledge, a process that a Federal court called “Orwellian” when it overruled a government request to obtain cellphone location records without a warrant.

Rare Earth Minerals For Green Tech Put U.S. In Foreign Hands

As the “green energy” movement continues, there is some indication that rare earth minerals necessary for the production of green technologies are going the route of controversy in the geopolitical sphere.

At a meeting of the U.S. Geological Society (USGS) attended by politicians and political policymakers of all sorts, Professor Roderick Eggert of the Colorado School of Mines sought to explain the extreme rarity of minerals needed for green technology. The consequence of pushing green technology is that the U.S. is subject to the exportation policies of countries such as China which have rich stores of rare earth metals.

The USGS uses the example of China’s exhibition of a stranglehold on neodymium, a substance used in wind generators, when it restricted export of the substance last year. The result was a much lower neodymium price in China that allowed the country to both export the rare earth mineral at a high price and produce more wind technology than other countries.

“Among the basics that need to be grasped to understand the current state of affairs is how rare these minerals and elements really are. Some are plentiful, but only found in rare places or are difficult to extract. Indium, for instance, is a byproduct of zinc mining and extraction. It is not economically viable to extract unless zinc is being sought in the same ore,” Eggert explained in a press release. “Others are just plain scarce, like rhenium and tellurium, which only exist in very small amounts in the Earth’s crust.”

The USGS contends that the U.S. must either find ways to use less of these rare earth minerals or seek them in countries with fair trading policies.

Perry Practicing, Polishing For Debates

After three debate performances that portrayed Texas Governor Rick Perry as bumbling and unprepared, he is reportedly using at least a portion of his massive $17 million in campaign funds to polish his image for future rhetorical showdowns.

According to a recent New York Times report, the Governor is practicing for the debates to come by “re-examining” his statements of position on immigration issues and getting ready for attacks from other GOP contenders who have rallied against him in past debates. Reportedly, a Perry aide even acts as a stand-in for Mitt Romney — the candidate’s media-proclaimed adversary — in practice debates.

Most reports indicate that Perry’s strategy for winning the GOP primary is focused on highlighting the Texas economy, vilifying Romney as a wealthy, Mormon elitist and painting himself as the honest, straightforward “everyman.”

Perry’s latest campaign ad, a selection of clips from Romney speeches, proclaims of the former Massachusetts Governor: “Even the richest man cannot buy back his past.” Some people contend that this is a bold statement for a candidate who has been criticized for an executive order in Texas requiring teenage girls to get vaccinations, questionable relationships to Texas lobbyists who largely contributed to his gubernatorial campaigns and an immigration policy that provides tuition assistance for illegal aliens in Texas.

Perry refuses to acknowledge his critics; he recently said in an interview with PARADE magazine when asked what he thought of those who question his electability: “Well, I disregard that. Americans are looking for somebody to stand up and tell them the truth, and I have a record to back it up. Ultimately, if I can explain my heart, my jobs record, and my philosophy to Americans, I’m pretty confident that I’ll win.”