Do you think our elected leaders are crazy? You might be right. According to the thesis of a new book, nearly every one of the great and powerful leaders of history have at least one trait in common: They were (are) mentally ill. In a purposefully provocative new book entitled First-Rate Madness, Nassir Ghaemi, professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine, claims that some of history's most noteworthy and respected leaders demonstrated signs of being mentally disturbed in one way or another. Evidence of mental illness, writes Ghaemi, is not only a common thread running throughout these leaders' personalities, but it is the presence of that trait that distinguishes them in the field of public service.
Republicans and Democrats may be at loggerheads about the debt ceiling and what to cut from the budget, but they agree on one thing: It’s OK to bill the taxpayers for gourmet coffee, pricey pastries, and bottled water. In 2010, CNSNews.com reports, then-House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and then House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) spent nearly $35,000 at a bakery and coffee supplier to keep their hard-working staff members and colleagues refreshed and ready to go at a moment’s notice. The conservative news service looked into the disbursement reports of the U.S. House of Representatives to get the data.
With Texas Governor Rick Perry expected to make an "announcement" on Saturday at a conservative conference in South Carolina, scrutiny of his record is more important than ever — particularly a look at his record with regard to China. In spite of posturing as an independent Christian conservative, Perry has consistently contributed to what is called the Chinafication of America. In a video produced by Vince Wade, Wade points out that Perry “preaches less government, less taxes, and other conservative cliches,” but his record says otherwise.
Michele Bachmann is hoping to become the first presidential candidate to go directly from the House of Representatives to the White House since James Garfield made the leap in 1880. But a rapid climb up the political ladder is nothing new for the third-term Congresswoman who has gone from defeated school-board candidate in Stillwater, Minnesota, to top-tier presidential candidate in a mere 12 years. Along the way she has become a favorite with the Tea Party movement and is founder of the congressional Tea Party Caucus. A Des Moines Register poll at the end of June showed her in a virtual tie with early frontrunner Mitt Romney in Iowa, where caucus voters will provide the first test for presidential contenders in 2012. She has been among the most visible and vocal opponents of both the Troubled Asset Relief Program (the Wall Street bailout) that Congress passed in 2008 and the following year’s rescue of the auto industry that left the federal government the principal shareholder of General Motors. She has introduced legislation to repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, described by the president of the American Bankers Association as a “tsunami of new rules and restrictions for traditional banks that had nothing to do with causing the financial crisis in the first place.” Above all, she seeks the repeal of the healthcare reform bill that Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress enacted last year, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.
Until recently, Herman Cain was a largely unknown businessman whose major claims to fame included a high-level appointment in the Federal Reserve System and some degree of success in the private sector. But after an early GOP primary debate hosted by Fox News, his name exploded into the headlines as that of a serious contender for the 2012 Republican nomination. Some elements of the Tea Party movement quickly latched onto Cain’s candidacy — basking in his relatively conservative rhetoric, his harsh criticism of President Obama, and his perceived status as a political outsider. Some of that early enthusiasm, however, began to fade as Cain made the rounds on TV and talk radio.
The communist Chinese dictatorship blasted the U.S. government for endangering its massive dollar holdings, calling for America to rein in its out-of-control debt by slashing military spending and welfare. The regime also demanded international supervision of the dollar and even suggested the creation of a new global reserve currency. The attack came in the form of an editorial from Xinhua News Agency, one of the dictatorship’s official propaganda arms, following the downgrade of American debt last week by Standard & Poor's (S&P). It immediately made headlines around the world. “China, the largest creditor of the world's sole superpower, has every right now to demand the United States to address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China's dollar assets,” read the commentary. “To cure its addiction to debts, the United States has to reestablish the common sense principle that one should live within its means.”
While much of the nation's news for the past several weeks has been focused on the national debt, the killing of 30 U.S. and seven Afghan troops, along with an interpreter on Saturday reminded Americans of a debt to fighting forces that cannot be repaid. The shooting down of a Chinook transport helicopter by the Taliban insurgents, killing all on board, was another grim reminder that the cost of war cannot adequately be measured in trillions of dollars. The passengers and crew were on a night-raid mission in Tangi Valley in Warduk Province when they were brought crashing to the earth, most likely by a rocket-propelled grenade, according to a coalition source cited by the New York Times. The Taliban claimed credit for the attack that made Saturday the deadliest day for Americans in Afghanistan since U.S forces arrived there in search of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda followers in the fall of 2001, just weeks after the terrorist attack of 9-11. The dead on Saturday included 22 members of SEAL Team 6 unit responsible for the tracking down and killing of bin Laden in Pakistan on May 2 of this year, though the Seals on board the helicopter did not take part in that raid.
While Standard and Poor's downgrade of the U.S. government's credit rating has drawn much attention in the last few days, a generally overlooked report by Moody's Investment Services on the poor performance of student loans suggests higher education may be in a financial "bubble" that could burst in a stagnant economy that offers declining rewards for a college or university degree. Titled "Student Lending's Failing Grade" the report appeared in the Moody's Analytics publication for July, 2011. It notes that dollar balances on student loans have increased by double-digit rates in the past decade and the number of loans has continued to increase in recent years as more people have been seeking education and training in a declining job market. But the tightening of lending standard in other sectors of the economy that followed the financial crisis of 2008 has not affected student loans, the report found.
Texas woes regarding the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) may be getting even worse. Ever since the State partnered with Madrid-based Cintra, to build the wildly unpopular mid-continent trade corridor, Texas has had nothing but trouble. Especially property owners who have become victims of eminent domain abuses, and residents subjected to unwanted toll roads, a tyrannical state Department of Transportation and downright bullying by Governor Rick Perry and the State Legislature. But now, according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, Texas officials are worried about a possible default by Cintra that could affect the progress of the Texas corridor projects. Cintra is involved in road construction projects all over the world, including the operation of the Indiana Toll Road. After the company was also awarded the contract to operate the Trans Texas Corridor for the next 50 years, Texans learned they were stuck with both Cintra and a huge corridor project they did not want. One feature of the Texas contract was that Cintra was guaranteed a buyback if the project proved unprofitable. It seems that very thing could happen with the company’s operation of the Indiana Road. Because of lower traffic, therefore lower toll revenue than originally forecast, Cintra has used up most of its rainy day fund and is running out of money to pay its debt to Indiana. The revenue shortfall occurred after Cintra dramatically increased tolls on the Indiana road.
Religious groups and pro-life advocates denounced a new ObamaCare mandate requiring health insurance plans to cover birth control and other "preventive care" services for women, with no co-pays. Drafted by the Institute of Medicine and announced last week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the new requirements will take effect on or after August 1, 2012. As The New American reported last week, social conservatives, pro-life groups, and religious organizations staunchly oppose the new requirements, because they undermine family values and assail moral and spiritual beliefs among Christian denominations. Particularly of concern are FDA-approved drugs such as Ella and Plan B (the "Morning After Pill") — misleadingly referred to as "emergency contraceptives" — which are in fact abortifacients, designed to terminate a developing baby before or after implantation into the mother’s womb.