Due to new federal air pollution regulations, more than 32 power plants across the country will be forced to close their doors, according to a recent Associated Press survey. Those plants, which are mostly coal-fired, discharge enough electricity to supply more than 22 million households, the survey notes, and their closure will lead to job layoffs, depleted tax revenues, and a considerable hike in electric bills. The areas that will be hit hardest are the Midwest and in the coal belt (Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky), where dozens of plants will likely be retired. Two regulations are in question: One aims to curb air pollution in states downwind from pollutant-heavy power plants; and the second, which was finalized last week, would enact the first standards for mercury, acid gas, and other pollutants from plant smokestacks. In total, the new regulations could eliminate more than eight percent of coal-fired generation nationwide. AP’s survey, the first of its kind, looked at the analyses by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of plant retirements and interviewed 55 power plant operators about the effects on power supply and about their plans to deal with the new regulations.
Despite the best efforts of the establishment media, Ron Paul’s campaign for President is gaining momentum nationwide as his “unorthodox” views are becoming more widely disseminated and understood by an American public slavering for salvation from the economic and moral abyss toward which the country is slouching.   There are some on the Right, however, who refuse to join the revolution.   Because of his strictly constitutional interpretation of all major issues, Ron Paul has been called “pro-choice state by state" by an influential pro-life organization.   This is disingenuous at best and deceitful at worst.   Ron Paul is unqualifiedly in favor of affording the full panoply of legal rights to the unborn. In fact, he is so ardently opposed to abortion that earlier this year he declared the right to life “the most important issue of our age.”
Vaclav Havel, a Czech playwright and political figure who became Czechoslovakia’s President following a non-violent uprising in 1989 that ended decades of Soviet rule in that country, died December 18 at the age of 75. Almost immediately upon news of his passing, eulogies lionizing Havel as one of the great “liberators” of the 20th century began flooding the print, broadcast, and Internet media. Radio Prague hailed Havel as an anti-communist dissident who spent five years in Soviet prisons before being seated as his country’s President in the wake of the 1989 “Velvet Revolution” that dismantled the oppressive communist regime. It also described how Havel helped lead a re-vitalized Czechoslovakia into two separate entities — the Czech Republic and Slovakia — continuing as the Czech Republic President until 2003.  
On Monday, Gordon Chang, the author of The Coming Collapse of China and regular contributor at Forbes.com, was interviewed on Yahoo’s Daily Ticker, where he observed, “If you look at all of [China’s] indicators, they all point down.” Among those indicators were electricity consumption (flat), car sales (flat), property prices (collapsing), and industrial orders (down). And there is more to come, much more. The Chinese communist government is slowing the rate of growth of the money supply in order to “fight inflation,” the natural result of nearly 30 years of expanding that money supply in order to catapult the Chinese agrarian economy into the 21st century. And such slowing is having the same expected effect: As the economy slows down, bankruptcies increase, tax revenues decrease, and the economy slows down further. Chang added, “We’ll see more obvious signs of deterioration in the Chinese economy over the next six months.” He noted that one of those signs is the increasing civil unrest including riots, bombings, and insurrections taking place across the country.
As GOP presidential contender Ron Paul is increasingly becoming a threat to the establishment and to big government advocates on both ends of the political spectrum, some members of his opposition are preparing dirty tactics to thwart him. The secretive hacker group Anonymous, for instance, has already vowed to disrupt the January 3 vote in the Iowa caucuses, which Paul seems poised to win. Though Paul was initially almost wholly ignored by most politicians and the mainstream media, and treated as though he was a fringe, unviable candidate, he has surged in popularity in poll after poll. Now ignoring him is no longer an option. According to the most recent Public Policy Poll (PPP), Ron Paul is firmly in first place in Iowa, with 23 percent of the vote, followed by Mitt Romney, with 20 percent, and Gingrich, with just 14 percent of supporters.
According to United Wisconsin, the group behind effort to recall Governor Scott Walker, as of December 19 volunteers had collected 507,533 of the 540,208 signatures needed to force the special gubernatorial election. The group has hopes of collecting over 720,000 signatures, which “would represent 33 percent of the 2010 general election turnout and nearly 21 percent of all Wisconsin registered voters,” reported Reuters News. The signatures will have to be submitted to the state’s Government Accountability Board (GAB) to verify before the recall effort can proceed. GAB officials estimate the process itself could take more than a month.  
Debate over the payroll tax cut remains heated as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) demanded from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) a year-long tax cut. The challenge threw another wrench into the negotiations on the deal, which, if not reached by the New Year, will result in an increase in payroll taxes as the present payroll tax reduction expires.  
A distorted account of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul's "town hall" meeting in New Hampshire Monday evening appeared on the ABC News political blog, "The Note. The report, written by Jason Volock, appeared under the headline, "Ron Paul Attacked for Views on Health Care." The lead sentence reads: "Ron Paul's views on health care came under fire tonight at a campaign stop in New Hampshire, where his position on eliminating Medicaid was met with open hostility from the audience." The article does contain a few points of accuracy. The candidate was Ron Paul and the state was New Hampshire. It was a campaign stop and there was an audience, made up of about 150 people at the Executive Court in Manchester. And there was a question about the candidate's position on Medicaid. But the woman who asked the question in no way appeared to be "up in arms," as the reporter described her. Nor was her question hostile. "Skeptical" would have been a far more accurate description, though the word fails to convey the sense of dramatic confrontation for which Mr. Volock was so obviously striving.
U.S. State Department security personnel detained a conservative activist at last week’s conference to help implement a United Nations resolution that seeks to curb free speech.  Andrea Lafferty, president of the Traditional Values Coalition, was there to protest American support, via the State Department, for the implementation UN Resolution 16/18, a non-binding document that supposedly seeks to stop religious discrimination and stereotyping. Opponents say it is really an attempt to silence the foes of Islam.  
The pro-Gingrich New Hampshire Union Leader/Sunday News published an editorial attack on Ron Paul Sunday, calling “Renegade Ron” a “gadfly, not a contender” in  New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary. Perhaps it's a sign the editorial board is worried that the Texas congressman, who has moved into first place in the latest Iowa poll, may overtake Gingrich in New Hampshire as well. A Public Policy Polling survey released  Monday showed Paul moving to the head of the pack in Iowa, where the delegate selection begins on January 3. The PPP poll shows Paul with 23 percent and Romney in second place with 20 percent of likely voters. Gingrich, who until quite recently had been considered the frontrunner in the Hawkeye State, fell into third place with just 14 percent, a drop of 13 points in just three weeks, according to PPP surveys. A Rasmussen poll released early last week showed Paul moving up on Gingrich  for second-place in New Hampshire, where former Massachusetts Governor and part-time New Hampshire resident Mitt Romney still holds a sizable lead. The Rasmussen survey showed Romney with the support of 36 percent of likely voters, Gingrich with 22 percent and Paul at 18 percent. A Suffolk University poll released last Wednesday, however, showed former Utah Governor and  Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman moving past Paul into third place among likely New Hampshire primary voters.
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