Does Gary Johnson Matter?

The Republican Party is worried that Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson could take a substantial toll on the election outcome, so an all-out assault has been launched against the candidate.

As pundits note that Mitt Romney has taken a more moderate stance on many issues in recent weeks and President Barack Obama’s policies have turned voters concerned with civil liberties away from the Democratic ticket, there is buzz that Johnson may have a heavy impact on the outcome of an already competitive election.

According to The New York Times, Republican operatives in a handful of the 48 States where Johnson is on the Presidential ballot have been working to ensure that the Libertarian will be an option for as few voters as possible.

Johnson has been denied the opportunity to debate alongside Romney and Obama, but says he offers voters something that the two major-party candidates do not: a different path for America. For that reason, Johnson told The Times that he represents Perrier in a Presidential race between Coke and Pepsi.

Addressing Republicans who begrudgingly support Romney despite his moderate political views, Johnson asked in a recent campaign speech, “What is more of a wasted vote than voting for somebody that you don’t believe in?”

The Libertarian has offered harsh critiques of both Obama and Romney. In a recent interview with Salon, he took an opportunity to tell potential voters what he would say if allowed to join the debate stage tonight with the two-party candidates:

Well, I would not bomb Iran. I would get out of Afghanistan tomorrow, bring the troops home. I believe that marriage equality is a constitutionally guaranteed right. I would end the drug wars. I would advocate legalizing marijuana now. I would have never signed the Patriot Act. I would have never signed the National Defense Authorization Act allowing for arrests and detainment of you and me as U.S. citizens without being charged. I believe we need to balance the federal budget now and that means a $1.4 trillion reduction in federal spending now. When it comes to jobs, I’m advocating eliminating income tax, corporate tax, abolishing the IRS, and replacing all of that with one federal consumption tax. In this case, I am embracing the FairTax. I think that that’s really the answer when it comes to American jobs. In a zero corporate tax rate environment, if the private sector doesn’t create tens of millions of jobs, then I don’t know what it takes to create tens of millions of jobs.

Voting Stresses You Out

A new study finds that voting in elections, like the quickly approaching Presidential election, can actually cause stress and emotional arousal, something people passionate about politics likely already knew.

“Emotional changes are related and affect various physiological processes, but we were surprised that voting in national democratic elections causes emotional reactions accompanied by such physical and psychological stress that can easily influence our decision-making,” according to Professor Hagit Cohen from the Anxiety and Stress Research Unit at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Faculty of Health Sciences.

The study, published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology, found that the level of cortisol in study participants was nearly three times higher just before voting than it was 21 months later. Cortisol, known as the “stress hormone,” is released when a person is in a state of stress, threat or emotional distress.

The study was conducted on Israel’s Election Day in 2009 with individuals on their way into a polling place. They were asked to give a saliva sample and to complete a questionnaire examining emotional arousal at a stand that was placed 30 feet from the ballot box.

“Since we do not like to feel ‘stressed out,’ it is unclear whether this pressure on Election Day can influence people and cause them not to vote at all. Impact on voter turnout is particularly important given that the stress levels rise if our preferred party or candidate for whom we want to vote is not popular in the polls,” Cohen said.

Panetta Spreads ‘Cyber-Pearl Harbor’ Fear

The term “Cyber-Pearl Harbor” conjures up some ridiculous imagery, but the fateful military attack that led the United States full force into World War II is what Defense Secretary Leon Panetta invoked last week to make a case for passing online security bills like the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which has been widely criticized by privacy advocates.

Panetta, during a speech at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York, said that America is in a “pre-9/11 moment” and should do everything in its power to secure its “national interests in cyberspace.”

Panetta said that in order to avoid a “Cyber-Pearl Harbor that would cause physical destruction and the loss of life, an attack that would paralyze and shock the nation and create a profound new sense of vulnerability” Congress must pass a bill that enables the Federal government to freely obtain personal online information about Americans from businesses. CISPA, which does just that, was voted down by Congress after complaints from online freedom and privacy advocates who said it violated the 1st and 4th Amendments. The Barack Obama Administration, however, has not ruled out passing the legislation via executive order.

Panetta pinpointed China, Russia and Iran as the nations most likely to launch a damaging cyberattack against the United States. Panetta said (emphasis is the author’s own):

An aggressor nation or extremist group could use these kinds of cyber tools to gain control of critical switches. They could derail passenger trains, or even more dangerous, derail passenger trains loaded with lethal chemicals. They could contaminate the water supply in major cities, or shut down the power grid across large parts of the country.

Panetta also argued that the U.S. government needs the ability to launch offense operations against cyber-actors it deems as threats to national security.

Kid Rock To Sean Penn: ‘Suck It, Commie’

With a vulgar and bizarre public service announcement posted to YouTube last week, musician and noted right-leaner Kid Rock joined lefty actor Sean Penn to send a message to America: Don’t let politics divide us.

“Don’t let politics divide us,” the short film’s tagline reads. “Thinking differently is what made this country great.”

The video starts out with the two getting into a confrontation at a bar, as Rock’s “Born Free” performance at a Mitt Romney event is playing on the television. The two insult one another feverishly and quite vulgarly until a breaking news report plays on the television in the background telling of troop deaths in the Mideast. The grim news pulls the two political opposites together, and they embark on a political stereotype-laden journey to better understand one another’s political views.

“It reminds us that what really matters is that we’re all Americans, with diverse thoughts, opinions and stances on issues,” the video’s YouTube description reads. “We are millions of unique, individual parts, the sum of which comprise a whole that is the shining beacon of freedom throughout the world.”

The video may be of dubious political value during an election season that many Americans believe will determine the direction of the Nation in coming decades, but it serves well to point out the often ridiculous stereotypes that the politically observant on both sides often foist upon their opposition.

Watch the video below, but be warned it contains some serious vulgarity.

 

Condescending Biden, Collected Ryan And A Continuing Horse Race

Following President Barack Obama’s assertion that he lost the first Presidential debate to Republican Mitt Romney because he was too polite, it appears as though the Democratic Party told Joe Biden that he needed to carry a decidedly “no more Mister Nice Guy” attitude to the Vice Presidential debate on Thursday.

A few dozen snickers, interruptions and condescending “look here, little boy” moments directed at Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan later, and Biden succeeded at one thing during the debate: emboldening Democratic voters. Despite Biden’s lively performance, Ryan offered a portrait of someone who could calmly defend Romney’s proposals and firmly point out where the Obama Administration has failed, appealing to Republicans and undecided voters alike.

Biden, famous for his foot-in-mouth moments, likely left many people watching the event in hopes of catching one of the Vice President’s verbal missteps disappointed; the gaffe-prone politico managed to keep his comments clean. Ryan was also able to avoid any verbal missteps, and pundits appear to agree that his first nationally televised debate performance was a resounding success.

“I know you’re under a lot of duress to make up for lost ground,” Ryan said to Biden at one point referencing the President’s poor debate performance last week as the reason the Vice President rudely interrupted him during the showdown.

When Biden attempted to take a cheap shot at the Republican ticket by bringing up Romney’s now infamous “47 percent” remarks, Ryan downplayed the controversy and issued a scathing rebuke of his opponent saying: “As the Vice President very well knows, the words don’t always come out of your mouth the right way.”

Though debate moderator ABC News foreign correspondent Martha Raddatz attempted to coax specificity from both candidates, they largely stuck to party line talking points throughout the night.  What did come as a surprise to many pundits watching the debate was the candidates’ heavy focus on foreign policy. The Obama Administration has attempted to avoid the topic in recent weeks in the wake of disastrous Afghan attacks on U.S. soldiers and the terrorist assault on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“What we are watching on our TV screens is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy, which is making the world more chaotic and us less safe,” Ryan said, seizing the issues to reinforce a Romney assertion that Obama foreign policy is making the United States a weak world power.

Criticizing the Obama Administration on the Libya attacks, Ryan issued a handful of critiques on Obama foreign policy that Biden could do little to defend.

“It took the President two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack,” Ryan said.

“Look, if we’re hit by terrorists, we’re going to call it for what it is: a terrorist attack. Our ambassador in Paris has a Marine detachment guarding him. Shouldn’t we have a Marine detachment guarding our ambassador in Benghazi, a place where we knew that there was an al-Qaida cell with arms?” he went on.

The Vice President’s rebuttal admitted foreign policy mistakes while making promises for the future.

“I can make absolutely two commitments to you and all the American people tonight. One, we will find and bring to justice the men who did this. And secondly, we will get to the bottom of it; and whatever – wherever the facts lead us, wherever they lead us, we will make clear to the American public, because whatever mistakes were made will not be made again,” Biden said.

In discussing a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014, Biden declared that the Obama Administration would stick to the schedule no matter what and said that the Afghans would fulfill their responsibility to providing proper security in the country until the U.S. military leaves.

“We are leaving. We are leaving in 2014. And in the process we’re going to be saving over the next 10 years another $800 billion,” Biden said.

Ryan was less willing to call 2014 a concrete withdrawal date, saying that it was imperative that the United States not lose gains made over the past decade in the region by leaving too hastily.

Biden attempted to capitalize on American weariness about further Mideast conflict by painting the Romney/Ryan foreign policy plan as a hawkish guarantee of more ground wars in the region in coming years. He accused the Republicans of loose talk with regard to Syria and said that Republicans would put the country’s dictator, Bashar Assad, in a position that made U.S. conflict with the nation unavoidable.

Ryan denied that there were plans to put American forces in Syria to stabilize the nation, but doubled down on tough talk about the dangers of allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapon capabilities. He said that the Obama Administration’s sanctions on the country have been too weak and put the Iranians four years closer to their goal of nuclear armament.

When pressed by Raddatz for a precise plan to eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat, Ryan was largely mum. Political pundits speculate that the candidate’s silence was likely necessary to avoid an answer that would be unpopular with Americans tired of fighting in the Mideast: a military attack on Iranian nuclear sites.

When the candidates talked about the defense budget, Ryan denied the much-publicized claim that a Romney Administration would add $2 trillion to the military budget over the course of the next decade (which the Romney Budget does advocate). Ryan said, however, that Romney would simply not allow the kind of automatic military spending cuts for which the Obama Administration was prepared.

Biden rebutted that the military Joint Chiefs of Staff had no issue with the cuts and were in fact “in favor of a smaller, leaner military.”

The Vice President capitalized on criticism from economic policy wonks who say the Romney/Ryan budget proposals contain math that doesn’t exactly add up.

Ryan said that the Romney tax plan closes enough loopholes in the tax code to provide for an across-the-board tax cut for Americans. He attempted to drive home the point that the Obama/Biden plan would raise taxes on the middle class and small businesses making more than $250,000 a year.

“There aren’t enough rich people and small businesses to tax to pay for their spending,” he said. “Watch out, middle class. The tax bill’s coming for you.”

Biden protested that the Romney plan was “not mathematically possible.” In defense, Ryan invoked John F. Kennedy’s tax plan, which accomplished some of the things that the Romney/Ryan plan would if implemented.

Ending the exchange, Biden used a debate trick and interrupted Ryan with the quip: “Oh. Now you’re Jack Kennedy.”

For what it lacked in specific answers, the Vice Presidential debate made up for in vitriol with the two men constantly at the throats of one another’s policy. Following the event, polls indicated something of a tie in the debate with preference for the candidates split mostly along party lines.

In a CNN poll following the debate, 48 percent of respondents said Ryan won; 44 percent chose Biden. A poll by CBS claimed Biden had 50 percent preference and Ryan 31 percent.

Pundits say the debate and following polling results indicate that the election is becoming more and more a Presidential horse race that will likely boil down to a photo finish.

NYPD Hints Of Possible Iran Attack

Late last month, pro-Israeli lobbyist Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy floated the idea that a Pearl Harbor-style attack on America was the best way to get U.S. citizens on board with the idea of going to war with Iran. This week, the New York Police Department said that it is concerned about an Iranian threat to the city’s heavy Jewish population.

New York City is home to the largest Jewish population in any city outside of Israel with 1.5 million Jews spread throughout the metropolis.

Speaking at an anti-terrorism conference this week, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said that tensions between Israel and Iran could have deadly implications for the Big Apple if the Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah terrorist group sets its sites on the city’s Jewish population.

“We’ve been concerned about Iran for a while, and I think the history of those events throughout the world since January give us cause for concern,” Kelly said.

Early last month, reports broke of ties between the Israeli government and the NYPD when New York’s finest opened a new branch, in Israel.

Obama And Civil Liberty

President Barack Obama said earlier in the week that he wants civil liberties to be brought forth as a more important topic of debate in the few remaining weeks before the Presidential election.

“We haven’t talked about what’s at stake with respect to civil liberties,” Obama mused during a campaign speech at the Los Angeles Ritz Carlton.

Obama critics would likely agree that, despite the President’s comment, a real conversation about civil liberties under his Administration would not likely gain him any favor with civil libertarians. While Mitt Romney isn’t exactly known for his love of civil liberty and his party certainly isn’t after the Patriot Act-laden reign of George W. Bush, what Obama has done (and has failed to do) is more alarming to libertarians than anything Romney might do.

In examining Obama’s record over the past four years alongside statements he made before he took office, it almost appears as if the President does not remember anything he has done with regard to civil liberties in nearly four years.

Obama said this in December 2007:

I reject the view that the President may do whatever he deems necessary to protect national security, and that he may torture people in defiance of congressional enactments. I reject the use of signing statements to make extreme and implausible claims of presidential authority. Some further points:

The detention of American citizens, without access to counsel, fair procedure, or pursuant to judicial authorization, as enemy combatants is unconstitutional.

Warrantless surveillance of American citizens, in defiance of FISA, is unlawful and unconstitutional.

The violation of international treaties that have been ratified by the Senate, specifically the Geneva Conventions, was illegal (as the Supreme Court held) and a bad idea.

The creation of military commissions, without congressional authorization, was unlawful (as the Supreme Court held) and a bad idea.

Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act, a law that allows for “the detention of American citizens, without access to counsel, fair procedure, or pursuant to judicial authorization, as enemy combatants.” Though he claims to have “had reservations” about it.

Obama’s Administration not only continued Bush-era domestic spying programs, but dramatically increased warrantless electronic surveillance.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Department of Justice monitored 37,616 phones in 2011 and increased its tracking of email and social networking data by 361 percent under Obama.

The President also embraced the use of the very military commissions that he once abhorred.

Furthermore, the “transparent” Obama Administration has waged all-out war on whistle-blowers because the President claims that “state secrets” have been put into danger.

If the President wants a conversation about civil liberty that makes him look better than the prospect of a Romney Administration, he has a great deal of bad policy to undo before November.

Rand Paul Slams Romney Foreign Policy

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) criticized Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney on foreign policy in a column Wednesday published by CNN.

Romney, who got the Senator’s endorsement to the dismay of Ron Paul supporters earlier in the campaign, has been heavily critical of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy in recent weeks and has called for increased defense spending and more Mideast intervention. But the younger Paul says he cannot support Romney in certain areas of foreign policy.

Here’s an excerpt from the column:

Romney chose to criticize President Obama for seeking to cut a bloated Defense Department and for not being bellicose enough in the Middle East, two assertions with which I cannot agree.

Defense and war spending has grown 137% since 2001. That kind of growth is not sustainable.

Adm. Michael Mullen stated earlier this year that the biggest threat to our national security is our debt.

If debt is our gravest threat, adding to the debt by expanding military spending further threatens our national security.

While I would always stand up for America and preserve our ability to defend ourselves, a less aggressive foreign policy along with an audit of the Pentagon could save tens of billions of dollars each year without sacrificing our defense. To dismiss either idea is to miss the very compromise that will enable us to balance our budget. That compromise would be for conservatives to admit that not every dollar spent on the military is sacred or well-spent and for liberals to admit that not every dollar spent on domestic entitlements and welfare is necessary.

In North Africa and the Middle East, our problem has not been a lack of intervention. In the past 10 years we have fought two full wars there, and bombed or sent troops into several others.

Racist Morons Everywhere You Look

Racism in America is alive and well, but perhaps we should call it something different.

Race has been a hot topic in America in the years since the Nation’s “first black President” was elected (not Bubba but Barack) and has received heightened attention in headlines over the past year. In electoral politics accusations of racism have been flung from both sides of the aisle. In coverage of tragedies like the shooting of the black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by the Hispanic (white if you work in media) George Zimmerman, racism has been exploited as a sensational motive. And just yesterday, the Supreme Court heard a case involving a word that should have long ago been thrown in the trash bin with “nigger,” “spic” and “kike”: affirmative action.

After President Barack Obama was elected nearly four years ago, cries of jubilation from the hope-and-change peanut gallery were idealistic in tone and hinted of a new, improved post-racial American future. In fact, a poll released by Gallup in the summer following the President’s ascent to power showed that a little more than half of the population felt optimistic that the division of the past between blacks and whites in the Nation was closer than ever to being forgotten.

The results of that particular Gallup poll offer interesting, albeit heavily anecdotal, evidence of who more strongly believes that America can remove race from the success/failure equation and replace it with merit. As in “he didn’t hire me because I am black do not have enough experience in the field for the job” or “I wasn’t accepted into the University of Texas because the school couldn’t add more white students and still meet diversity requirements didn’t feel my application was as strong as others.”

That particular poll noted that while 59 percent of whites saw the election of a “black” President as a boon to American race relations, only 50 percent of black respondents shared the same view.

Since Obama took office, it has become harder and harder to tell who the most egregious racists in America are, save the obvious examples like the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nation and The New Black Panther Party which have given unfortunate merit to the race-baiting existence of organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center for decades. The examples of outright racism that are not so easily pointed out are those that burden the person pointing them out with proving that he is not indeed a racist himself.

If you’re white, criticizing the President is ridiculously likely to get you called a racist.

And pointing out that Huffington Post dedicates an entire portion of its website to black people — that’s racist — is a surefire way to elicit a response like the one of an impassioned young Occupy Wall Street Trotskyite forever immortalized on YouTube (the video, by the way, has an impressive number of views): “Are you a white man? If you’re a white man, then shut the f**k up about race because you don’t know s**t other than how to rape and kill.”

He goes on to mutter something about white people criticizing black people for criticizing the “power structure” — it is all so very Black Panther circa 1960s, but I digress.

Along with HuffPost’s “Black Voices” section, you can visit “Latino Voices” and “Gay Voices” if you are feeling incredibly minority-tastic. In honor of Columbus Day on Monday, one of the publication’s esteemed “Black Voices” columnists (a black man) penned a wonderfully racist column about “underwhelming” white people. The list, entitled “The 15 Most Overrated White People”, includes the likes of Elvis Presley, Ronald Reagan, the entire National Hockey League (except Wayne Simmons, a black Canadian), William Shakespeare, Joel Osteen, Sarah Palin and Bill Clinton.

The list includes such fallaciously sarcastic observations as this bit about Palin: “Although her political career is likely over, Palin continues to be a powerbroker among Right wing extremists. Despite her lack of knowledge of policy or strategy, Palin is still a go-to pundit on conservative media outlets. No one destroys the myth of white supremacy more effectively than Sarah Palin.”

While some of the author’s observations are actually spot on (Palin is no policy genius, and Osteen is a bit of a shameless self-promoter), imagine the racially charged vitriol coming from a white columnist in a similarly named article “The 15 Most Overrated Black People.” In the spirit of fair play, a few names come immediately to mind: Obama, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, many others whose names are preceded by “The Reverend,” Lil Wayne, Kanye West, the Congressional Black Caucus and anyone involved in the production of one of those dreadful Tyler Perry films.

Of course, you’ll never read that column because it would be an incredibly racist and culturally misguided critique of black culture coming from a white pundit.

The simple fact that the columnist in question felt the need to write about “overrated white people” in an all-black forum on Columbus Day demonstrates perfectly the damage that affirmative action, political correctness and the perpetual myth that white people are always trying to tread upon black people are doing to the Nation. Columbus Day has become a popular time for bleeding hearts to remind everyone that bad things happened in the past and will continue to happen as a result of evil and hate. And that’s fine, but picking selective racial battles only to self-embolden black identity is no noble endeavor. Perhaps a better article would have been “The 15 Most Underrated Native Americans Killed By European Settlers.” Of course, HuffPost has yet to add a “Native American Voices” section.

There is no shortage of white racists in America, but they by no means have the monopoly on hate and closed-mindedness. And so, because racist has always been such a white-centric term and “reverse racism” is an idiotic one, perhaps it is time to find another word that could encompass both the ignorant white man in his hood and robe and the spiteful black man who blames pigment for all of his problems. Luckily, we already have one: moron.

A Cup Of Tea To Battle Terrorism

New research indicates that a powerful weapon in the fight against bioterrorism could be a simple cup of tea.

The favorite English beverage has shown in studies the ability to kill certain deadly microorganisms and deactivate toxins. According to Dr. Simon Richardson, senior lecturer in Biopharmaceutical Sciences at the British University of Greenwich’s School of Science, and his team of researchers, a principal component of black tea can neutralize ricin, a highly toxic substance that has been used in a number of attempted bioterror attacks.

Ricin is a waste byproduct of the extraction of oil from castor beans.

“One cup of char [British slang for tea] won’t cure you if you have been poisoned, but compounds extracted from tea could, with further research, provide an antidote to poisoning following a terrorist attack,” said Richardson. “I’ve been working on neutralizing ricin poisoning for about six years as a by-product of my work in drug delivery…The next stage, as well as securing more funding, is seeing if other components of tea have a greater effect.”

There is currently no treatment for ricin poisoning. A number of failed terror attempts in the United States and abroad have involved the bioterrorism chemical in recent years.

In 1978, Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian journalist and activist living in London, was famously killed by a man with an umbrella rigged to inject a poison ricin pellet under Markov’s skin.

If refined into a terrorist or warfare agent, ricin could be used to expose people through the air, food or water.

Israel Early Elections And Attack Talk

At a press conference in Tel Aviv Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for early parliamentary elections in his country.

According to some analysts, Netanyahu wants to move forward with elections while his approval rating in the country is relatively good. He hopes to avoid allowing other Israeli parties to strengthen their platforms.

Some also suggest Netanyahu is worried about possible diplomatic retaliation if President Barack Obama is re-elected following the Israeli Prime Minister’s apparent support for Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The early Israeli elections could come as soon as January.

The report comes just after Foreign Policy magazine published a piece detailing American and Israeli consideration of a joint surgical strike on Iranian uranium enrichment facilities. The article’s author, David Rothkopf, quotes “a source close to the discussions,” writing:

Advocates for this approach argue that not only is it likely to be more politically palatable in the United States but, were it to be successful — meaning knocking out enrichment facilities, setting the Iranian nuclear program back many years, and doing so without civilian casualties — it would have region wide benefits. One advocate asserts it would have a ‘transformative outcome: saving Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, reanimating the peace process, securing the Gulf, sending an unequivocal message to Russia and China, and assuring American ascendancy in the region for a decade to come’.

…To get to buried Iranian facilities, such as the enrichment plant at Fordow, would require bunker-busting munitions on a scale that no Israeli plane is capable of delivering. The mission, therefore, must involve the United States, whether acting alone or in concert with the Israelis and others.

Dismal Winter Gas Prices May Be Coming

Gas prices on the West Coast hit record-breaking highs on Monday, averaging nearly $4.67 in much of California.

Breaking records set in 2008, the recent surge in gasoline prices has been attributed to a series of pipeline and refinery problems that are slowing fuel production.

Prices throughout the rest of the United States have also reached historic highs for this time of year at about $3.82 per gallon as of Monday. Usually, October means falling gas prices throughout the Nation. Although prices tapered off in 30 States, they went up in 16 others. The most drastic increase has been in California where motorists have seen the price of gas jump an average of 50 cents since Oct. 1. In some parts of that State, gas costs more than $6 a gallon.

Some analysts predict that prices will continue to rise in coming weeks, meaning that some voters could have to stop for some more-than-$4-a-gallon gas on the way to the polls in November.

Conservative commentator Mike Huckabee slammed the mainstream media yesterday, saying news coverage has not paid nearly as much lip service to the rising gas prices under President Barack Obama as it did under the George Bush Administration.

“When George Bush was president, we heard about gas prices every time,” Huckabee said on FOX News’ Fox & Friends. “And they would take cameras to the pumps and have someone almost tearfully explaining that they were paying almost two dollars and fifty cents a gallon. It’s amazing how quiet the media has been when gas prices are double what they were when President Obama took office. They’re the highest in the country’s history.”

Pharmaceutically Induced Meningitis Outbreak Under Way

On Monday, health officials throughout the United States were working to identify victims of a rare form of meningitis spread to unsuspecting patients throughout the Nation by contaminated steroid injections.

The Centers for Disease Control believes that about 13,000 patients may have been exposed to the three lots of the steroid methylprednisolone acetate which was recalled from the New England Compounding Center Inc. in Framingham, Mass.

The CDC reported 105 cases in nine States on Monday, up from 91 cases on Sunday. According to the CDC, people who received the steroid injections between May and September in the following States may be at risk for the infection: California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas and West Virginia.

The steroid shot reportedly was given to patients most often for relief of back pain.

NEEC, a pharmaceutical compounding company, was previously the subject of safety complaints and has suspended operations pending investigation.

Glenn Beck Needs To Make Some More Frog Soup

Ron Paul supporters who have decided that they can simply not bring themselves to support Mitt Romney or Barack Obama for President in November may soon get a clue from the Tea Party original himself as to who is the best candidate for disillusioned liberty lovers.

In an interview with Fox Business last week, Paul reiterated the fact that he has not offered any support for the Romney campaign saying: “I obviously haven’t announced in support for Romney, so that means that’s very unlikely. And I don‘t think anybody thinks I’m going to vote for Obama. So it’s back to that frustration level in not seeing a dramatic choice in how the system works.”

Paul also suggested a third-party candidate may be a better option for a voter who doesn’t want to be complicit in electing a President who really has little or no likelihood of dramatically changing the direction of the Nation.

“There are other people who are technically capable of winning because they’re on a lot of ballots,” Paul said, though he stopped short of offering a particular endorsement at this time.

The very conservative former candidate elicited shrieks from supposed conservatives like The Blaze writer Meredith Jessup, who, in a column entitled “Ron Paul Is Really Starting To Tick Me Off” writes a familiar “conservative nose-holder voting for Romney” response:

Countless conservatives voting for Romney this fall didn’t support him in the primary election but are now throwing their support behind the best chance this country has right now to avoid driving off a fiscal cliff.  Countless conservatives don’t agree with Romney on many issues, but see that they agree with Romney much more than they disagree with him.  Countless conservatives realize that voting for Romney doesn’t represent a rousing endorsement for every policy position he has.  And countless conservatives also know that a president is only capable of change with cooperation with Congress and if they want real change, it’s more important to elect conservatives from their local districts to represent them in Washington.

Jessup also trumps up to selfishness Paul’s and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson’s ambition to change the direction of the country drastically rather than mutedly, writing: “But the threat of four more years of Barack Obama apparently doesn’t matter to Paul, Johnson and their supporters who think the principle of their protest trumps the best interests of the country.”

The writer’s opinion is interesting coming from someone writing for a website created by the same guy — Glenn Beck — who took massive heat from Republicans three years ago when he told Katie Couric he would have voted for Hillary Clinton over John McCain before boiling rubber frogs to demonstrate why. Beck’s hypothesis, aptly demonstrated with his frog toy, was this: Someone who polarizes the Nation and gives real conservatives a reason to resist heavily, is much safer than a fake conservative who is able to lull others into a false sense of security as they boil to death.

Despite his aversion to supporting a progressive in conservatives clothing in the last election, Beck seems to be happy to support his fellow Mormon in this election, despite a heavy stench of progressivism lingering in the air.

So-called conservatives like the aforementioned writer of the column calling out Paul for not backing Romney already know that Obama is a liberal. They know that he wants to raise taxes and do away with the Bush tax cuts. These things scare them to death. But, evidently, they don’t fear the unknown. They don’t fear a candidate who has been on the same side of the aisle as Obama on a number of issues including social issues, taxes, global warming, ethanol, “model for the nation” healthcare and others but isn’t now only because he says he isn’t.

It would seem — to borrow from Beck — that many so-called conservatives are ready to jump out of this nearly four-year-old boiling pot of water and right into a more slowly heating cauldron where they may be cooked in a more relaxing manner.

But while Paul may be ticking off columnists like Jessup and Beck may have lost the fervor he had back in his days at Fox, not much has changed in the time since the last election: Two guys are running, one a known liberal and the other with closeted liberal tendencies; the economy is in shambles; and neither candidate is offering a clear plan on how to fix it. The bottom line is that conservatives who believe voting for a real conservative candidate is a throwaway are simply telling you (again hat tip to Beck’s frog boiling), “I’m tired of fighting and would much rather be boiled slowly.”

In the meantime, America can probably (and hopefully) expect Paul to make headlines in coming weeks when he throws his support behind a candidate who is on the ballot in 48 States and has been steadfast in his political beliefs.

That candidate said this in response to the debate — which he was not invited to, some suggest illegally — last week:

Everyone, including President Obama and former governor Mitt Romney, gives lip service to reducing the deficit. But when you do the math — whether it be Obama’s, Romney’s or even Paul Ryan’s — there is no plan for eliminating deficits that adds up. When a politician, Republican or Democrat, tells you we can balance the budget while not reducing Medicare costs or while spending even more for defense, it simply cannot be done. And they know it can’t be done.

Americans deserve the truth. The truth is that our deficits are not only unsustainable, but represent a very real threat to this nation. And of the $16 trillion in debt our government in Washington has racked up, it is almost equally split between Republican and Democrat administrations.

It doesn’t have to be that way. I will submit a balanced budget in 2013. Yes, that budget will call for spending reductions of 43% — the reductions necessary to match revenues without raising taxes.

And it would only be fitting for Paul to support the Libertarian. Johnson never flip-flopped, instead spending a massive amount of time smashing down his veto stamp (750 times on bills and thousands of budget line items) during his two terms as New Mexico Governor.

Besides, why turn down the flame under the water pot when there’s a way to cut the gas?

Another Trillion-Dollar Year In The Red

It is all bad economic news for President Barack Obama as the government’s fiscal 2012 came to an end last week with a budget deficit of $1.1 trillion, the fourth trillion-dollar deficit year of the President’s Administration.

The Congressional Budget Office reported Friday that the deficit was about $200 billion lower than in fiscal 2011, but mostly due to a timing difference that added some final payments to last year because Oct. 1, 2011 fell on a weekend. Were that not the case, according to The Hill, the fiscal 2012 deficit would come in at $30 billion higher than 2011.

“President Obama famously promised to cut the deficit in half and today’s report shows that his pledge amounted to nothing more than more empty campaign rhetoric,” Kevin Smith, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said.

The CBO predicts the deficit will fall to $641 billion next year in its baseline scenario and down to $387 billion in 2014. This will only happen however if the U.S. breaches the “fiscal cliff,” allowing automatic spending cuts and tax increases to take place.

Attacking Makes Nuclear Iran More Likely

Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush, said that there is a surefire way for the United States to create a nuclear-armed Iran: Attack.

Speaking in Norfolk, Va., Gates warned of the potentially catastrophic consequences an American or Israeli attack on Iran would pose for the Mideast. He believes that neither the American nor the Israeli military is capable of quashing Iranian nuclear ambitions.

“Such an attack would make a nuclear-armed Iran inevitable,” Gates said. “They would just bury the program deeper and make it more covert.”

Gates, a longtime voice against U.S./Iranian war, said recently that war with the country would pose greater challenges than any the U.S. military faced in Iraq.

“The results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world,” he said, according to the Virginia-Pilot.

Aggressive rhetoric in recent weeks from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has heightened the prospect of U.S. military involvement in Iran. He believes nuclear talks are ineffective and argues that the sanctions are doing nothing to stop Iran’s nuclear program.

Gates said he believes that Iran’s nuclear program can be more effectively halted by increasing “economic pressure and diplomatic isolation to the point where the Iranian leadership concludes that it actually hurts Iranian security and, above all, the security of the regime itself, to continue to pursue nuclear weapons.”

Rioting in Iran was reported this week, which is said to have stemmed from a plummeting currency value in the nation due in large part to economic sanctions currently imposed by the United States.

Mitt Romney Won, What About You?

Scanning the fallout from Wednesday night’s “domestic issues” Presidential debate, a few things are incredibly clear: Most political pundits, conservative and liberal, agree that Mitt Romney made President Barack Obama look like a badly prepared college debate team contestant; Jim Lehrer, veteran journalist or not, did a poor job of steering the debate to meaningful topics; and for those voters who believe Obama and Romney are too much alike, nothing has changed.

The candidates spent the bulk of the 90-minute debate attempting to portray one another as bad for middle-class voters, with Romney calling Obama a purveyor of “trickle-down government” and Obama accusing the challenger of being an advocate only for the richest Americans. One of Romney’s key strengths throughout the event was his ability to focus with vigor on Obama failed policies and the incumbent’s Presidential record, which has yet to receive heavy doses of media scrutiny in the campaign.

In discussing deficit reduction, Romney pointed out one of the President’s most indefensible weaknesses: “You’ve had four years. You said you’d cut the deficit in half. It’s now four years later. We still have trillion-dollar deficits. You found $4 trillion to reduce or to get closer to a balanced budget, except we still show trillion-dollar deficits every year. That doesn’t get the job done.”

Obama subsequently doubled down on a claim that the $4 trillion in cuts proposed by his Administration are both relevant and paid for by a balanced plan of taxing only the most successful Americans.

In any case, most fact-checkers agree that $4 trillion in spending cuts is a lofty goal under the Obama plan, as ABC’s Jon Karl explains in a fact-check column calling the President’s claim “mostly fiction”:

Does President Obama have a plan to cut the deficit by $4 trillion?

No. The “$4 trillion plan” he is referring to includes about $1 trillion Congress has already agreed to and $1 trillion in savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are already ending.

This would be Mostly Fiction.

Romney’s deficit-reduction plan, however, is also not exactly expected to leave middle-class taxpayers unscathed. The candidate reiterated several times throughout the debate that he plans to tack on additional military spending if elected, which would be somewhere around $2 trillion in extra government spending while at the same time keeping Americans’ taxes from rising.

Romney offered no specifics throughout the debate regarding his yet-to-be-released tax plan, except to refute a claim made by Obama that it contained proposals for about $5 trillion in tax cuts.

“We ought to apply tax relief to people in the middle class, but I’m not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people,” Romney said. “I’m not looking to cut massive taxes.”

But Romney, despite his magnificent debate performance, offered voters little information on where specifically he plans to make cuts to government spending — except for when he mentioned that, although he likes Big Bird, he plans to cut government funding of public television.

Other cuts would be made by a formula Romney outlined: “First of all, I will eliminate all programs by this test, if they don’t pass it: Is the program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? And if not, I’ll get rid of it. … No. 2, I’ll take programs that are currently good programs but I think could be run more efficiently at the state level and send them to the state. No. 3, I’ll make government more efficient and to cut back the number of employees, combine some agencies and departments.”

Debate moderator Lehrer, while unable to get the candidates to answer questions specifically or stay within their allotted time, went to great pains to highlight the idea that Romney and Obama are two very different candidates. And while superficially Obama and Romney played the parts of helping government all the way as opposed to emboldening the private sector, each spouted rhetoric that leaves little hope for smaller government regardless of the election’s outcome.

Obama applauded himself for spending the amount of time he did during the initial years of his Administration ramming his healthcare bill down America’s throat, and Romney assured fellow moderates that he would not do away with the entire plan.

Discussing Obamacare was not the only moment when Romney renounced some of the self-described “severely conservative” ideas he pretended to have throughout the Republican primary season. In fact, some pundits have suggested that Romney’s sudden burst of moderate vigor could have been partially to blame for the confusion that Obama seemed to exhibit throughout the debate. For instance, following an Obama narrative that too much regulation was never the problem leading up to the collapse on Wall Street, Romney all but agreed. In discussing Dodd-Frank, which he had harshly criticized in debates against other Republican candidates, Romney changed his tune on Wednesday to embrace the regulations but called for them to be made more clear by the government.

So, while liberal commentators’ (like MSNBC’s Chris Mathews) heads looked as if they were going to explode as they discussed Obama’s poor performance Wednesday night, and conservative outlets like Fox published jovial “the conservatives are winning” headlines on Thursday, many people still remain unconvinced that there is much difference between the two men.

Perhaps there is only one way to find out for sure: Is anyone ready to see Libertarian Gary Johnson debate alongside the two?

Don’t Be A Racist, Vote Obama

If you don’t vote for President Barack Obama in November, you are clearly a hood-cladded bigot.

In fact, not only do you hate black people but you also hate women, homosexuals, the poor, peace on Earth, immigrants and anyone who disagrees with or is different than you. Likewise, if you have taken a stance against Mitt Romney you hate Christians, business, Israel, safety, the rich and American exceptionalism.

 

 

Those readers who agree with any of the points made thus far are, unfortunately, too ignorant to continue reading and would be well advised to refocus attention immediately here or here because you are simply incapable of understanding anything beyond the mainstream media-peddled narrative.

In the months leading up to America’s fast-approaching Presidential election, the populace of this Nation has been inundated by simplistic, meme-tastic rhetoric and punditry that serve up imagery of one of the most politically polarized moments in American history. But, as those of you who have not already happily clicked one of the above links and moved on to something more easily digested by the ill-informed mind already know, this is mostly malarkey.

The upcoming election doesn’t offer so much a clear choice between two diametrically opposed men as it does the choice of who will be the guy at the reigns as government continues to snowball in size, accrue more crippling debt, get involved in more entangling wars and suck away at the few remaining hints of American Constitutional liberty. Just as masses of idealistic left-leaning voters flocked to the polls for Obama in the last election because they believed his policies would clearly represent something very different than those of President George W. Bush’s, masses of conservatives and other anyone-but-Obama types are prepared to do so for Romney in this election.

Unfortunately for liberty, the choice between Romney and Obama is a lose-lose. Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act and its provision to indefinitely detain American citizens. Romney said that he would have done the same. When the Department of Homeland Security sought to create massive data-collecting and potential Privacy Act-violating “fusion centers” to collect data on American citizens, the Bush Administration applauded the effort. Later, the Administration of Barack Obama also publically supported the fusion centers. This is unfortunate for Obama not only because a recent Senate report found that the $1.4 billion security apparatus doesn’t actually make anyone safer, but also because his previous support for the prime examples of government failure takes away something for which he could ridicule Romney who — surprise! — in his role as chairman of a national task force on intelligence sharing was one of the key advocates behind creating the centers.

Of course, fusion centers aren’t the only thing that Romney created and Obama liked. But at least in discussing the Romneycare/Obamacare “model for the Nation” relationship, conservatives can take comfort in the fact that Romney has since flip-flopped his healthcare stance. The same can’t be said for his anti-liberty ideas.

Perhaps there is some hope that a Romney Administration would restructure the economy in such a way that could reverse the damage done by the previous two Presidential Administrations via war and corporate and social welfare. Most economic experts, however, advise that Americans not hold their breath. Propping a nation up with either warfare or welfare paid for via extortion is fundamentally flawed economic policy; neither Obama nor Romney are willing to admit this for fear of alienating plutocrat handlers.

The media are aware of all of the similarities between Romney and Obama, and you are, too. But, who wants to admit that he is going to vote for a guy that he doesn’t like in November because there’s no other choice? Who wants to admit that his country is owned and controlled by special interests? Who wants to admit that there are alternatives to the two guys on stage last night, but that because they are told so, the alternatives can never have a chance?

It’s far more comfortable to pretend that the Presidential election is about race, homosexuality or poverty than the evitable coming collapse of the United States as Americans know it today. That’s why this week, mainstream media have been embroiled in a massive debate about how black Obama could be after the election.

But, until Americans admit the uncomfortable fact that the country is broken and that fixing it will require something more from the citizenry than passive Presidential politics, nothing is ever going to change. The only real polarization in America today is that between patriot and plutocrat, and there were no patriots on stage at last night’s debate. Hopefully, after the next four painful years, 2016 won’t be too late for a patriot to make it to the stage.

Alabama Statistician Predicts Big Obama Win

Alabama-based astrophysicist and statistician Wes Colley says that the Presidential race is already over and that President Barack Obama is well on his way to re-election.

Using a simple method of measuring poll data which he has employed to correctly predict the outcome of the past two Presidential elections, Colley believes Obama has locked up Ohio and Virginia and holds a small lead in Florida that will jettison him to electoral victory.

“I think the operative word is disaster if you’re a Republican,” Colley told al.com on Monday. “I think the operative word is confidence if you’re a Democrat.

“These things can swing a lot. But it would have to swing a lot a lot.”

Colley teaches statistics and physics-based modeling at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. His method predicts Obama winning the election with 348 electoral votes and Romney with only 190.

Obama, Romney Can’t Make Jobs; Here’s Who Can

A recent survey of U.S. businesses offers a bit of long-overdue positive news for the Nation’s economy.

A Michigan State University study shows that U.S. firms, facing a number of issues associated with manufacturing products in emerging countries amid rising global instability, are increasingly considering moving their manufacturing operations back to the United States. Many of the companies are re-evaluating overseas manufacturing because of rising labor costs in emerging countries, high oil prices and increasing transportation costs; global risks such as political instability; and a handful of other factors.

“Going overseas is not the panacea that it was thought of just a decade or so ago,” said Michigan State University supply chain expert Tobias Schoenherr. “Companies have realized the challenges and thus are moving back to the United States.”

Based on a survey of 319 firms, the study indicates that 40 percent of manufacturing firms believe a growing number of businesses are considering moving manufacturing plants back to the United States from countries such as China and India. The most likely industries to “reshore” in the U.S. are aerospace and defense, industrial parts and equipment, electronics, and medical and surgical supplies.

The firms that were included in the study also indicated that nearly 38 percent of their competitors have already taken steps to bring some manufacturing back to the United States.

Other factors contributing to the growing movement of American companies back to domestic manufacturing are concerns over erosion of intellectual property overseas and product-quality problems created by overseas manufacturing.

“From my communication with some firms, I also sense a genuine desire to help the U.S. economy and to bring back jobs,” Schoenherr said.

North Korea Says U.S. Will Spark Nuclear War

North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Pak Kil-yon told the 193-member U.N. General Assembly this week that the United States’ actions toward his country are increasing the likelihood of nuclear war.

“Due to the continued U.S. hostile policy towards the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea], the vicious cycle of confrontation and aggravation of tension is an ongoing phenomenon on the Korean Peninsula, which has become the world’s most dangerous hotspot where a spark of fire could set off a thermonuclear war,” the diplomat said.

He continued, saying that the U.S. wants to “occupy the whole of the Korean Peninsula and to use it as a stepping-stone for realizing its strategy of dominating the whole of Asia” and accusing American policymakers of working to spark another Korean war.

“The U.S. hostile policy towards the DPRK is most deeply rooted in military field,” Pak said. “With a view to eliminating the DPRK by dint of force, the U.S. already finalized different Korean War scenarios and it is waiting for a chance to implement them.”

The criticisms come just about a month after North Korea signed an agreement with Iran, another nation isolated by American foreign policy, to collaborate in the fields of science and technology.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran and North Korea have common enemies, because the arrogant powers do not accept independent states,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said at the time, according to Iranian media.

According to the reports, the countries will cooperate in research, student exchanges and joint laboratories. They will also share information related to information technology, engineering, biotechnology, renewable energy, the environment, sustainable development of agriculture and food technology, according to Iranian officials.

How The News Makes You Stupid

Don’t trust anything the mainstream media tell you.

This appears to be the takeaway message from a handful of events which serve to remind the American public that the corporate-controlled mainstream media apparatus operates only to propagandize the many to the benefit of the few.

First, there are the remarks delivered by former Democratic pollster Pat Caddell at a recent Accuracy in Media conference as he discussed the embarrassing media fumbling of reporting on the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Caddell noted that the original intent of the 1st Amendment was protecting the public from tyrannical “organized governmental power,” a purpose which American news media have long since abandoned.

“We’ve had nine days of lies over what happened because they can’t dare say it’s a terrorist attack, and the press won’t push this,” said Caddell over the weekend. “Yesterday there was not a single piece in The New York Times over the question of Libya. Twenty American embassies, yesterday, are under attack. None of that is on the national news. None of it is being pressed in the papers.”

In summary, Caddell added that it is one thing for news media to be biased but, “It is another thing to specifically decide that you will not tell the American people information they have a right to know.”

Indeed, the media floundered in reporting on the situation that unraveled in Libya where American-backed terrorists that were used as pawns (just as American-backed terrorists have always been used in Mideast conflict) to elicit regime change in the Nation turned on the United States in a violent terrorist attack against the embassy. To report what is actually going on, rather than the unbelievable narrative about the uprisings being sparked by a silly 12-minute YouTube video, would be to reveal to mass audiences that U.S. foreign policy in the region is a total failure and manufactured as such in order to ensure a continual profit flow for the military-industrial complex.

Next is the mainstream media tendency to portray President Barack Obama as whoever they believe the American public wants him to be. Months ago, in a piece that portrays the President a decider who meticulously selects targets from a list of top terrorist The New York Times proclaimed:

Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.

…When he applies his lawyering skills to counterterrorism, it is usually to enable, not constrain, his ferocious campaign against Al Qaeda — even when it comes to killing an American cleric in Yemen, a decision that Mr. Obama told colleagues was “an easy one.”

A new report that was released last week makes the earlier Times story more significant, despite the fact that much of mainstream media have been largely mum on its findings. The report from NYU School of Law and Stanford University Law School details what life is like in Pakistan, where Obama most likes to target his drone strikes.

The report begins:

In the United States, the dominant narrative about the use of drones in Pakistan is of a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the US safer by enabling “targeted killing” of terrorists, with minimal downsides or collateral impacts.

This narrative is false.

Following nine months of intensive research—including two investigations in Pakistan, more than 130 interviews with victims, witnesses, and experts, and review of thousands of pages of documentation and media reporting—this report presents evidence of the damaging and counterproductive effects of current US drone strike policies. Based on extensive interviews with Pakistanis living in the regions directly affected, as well as humanitarian and medical workers, this report provides new and firsthand testimony about the negative impacts US policies are having on the civilians living under drones.

The report goes on to describe U.S. government terrorism against the Pakistani people that is nothing like what The New York Times described in its article about Obama’s calm-and-collected target killing.

Another reason to turn off your network news and gather information from alternative sources is the story of CNN’s firing of a three-time Emmy award-winning investigative journalist who exposed how mainstream media routinely take bribe money to run propaganda content.

Journalist Amber Lyon was fired from CNN after she refused to stop reporting on her firsthand experience of the systematic torture and murder of peaceful protesters by the American-backed government of Bahrain. After showing only a few of the reports Lyon had created, CNN pulled the journalist’s Bahrain coverage from both its domestic and international networks.

You can watch a detailed interview conducted (somewhat ironically given mainstream media’s disdain for him) by veteran alternative-media innovator Alex Jones below:

Severe Obesity An American Epidemic

America has a big problem. A new study suggests that the number of people in the Nation that are 100 pounds or more overweight is growing rapidly, and much faster than the number of people who are described as being only moderately overweight.

The study, conducted by the RAND Corporation, found that from 2000 to 2010, the proportion of Americans who were severely obese rose from 3.9 percent of the population to 6.6 percent. That’s a nearly 70 percent increase.

More than 15 million adult Americans are morbidly obese and have a body mass index of 40 or higher. But the good news is that American weight gain appears to have reached a sort of plateau and is slowing mildly. For all levels of obesity, the increases were fastest among age groups younger than 40.

“The proportion of people at the high end of the weight scale continues to increase faster than any other group of obese people, despite increased public attention on the risks of obesity,” said Roland Sturm, lead author of the report and a senior economist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “But for the first time in the past 20 years there is evidence the trend is slowing.”