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.
Millions of economic transactions take place every hour in the United States, too many for any central committee in Washington to handle or even Understand, even if they all graduated with honors from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. For the most part, the economic transactions happen instantaneously, automatically sending market signals that organize production according to size and color, spontaneously determining losses, profits, wages and prices. And so, if we want organic pomegranate granola with cherries, it’ll be there, right on time for breakfast every day on the capitalist shelves. It’s the same with red Corvettes or caramel ice cream with cinnamon bun dough and a streusel swirl. It takes a little longer to get it right once the central controllers take charge of deciding things.  
Abortion advocates are getting bolder in their outlandish opinions on what constitutes a personal right of “choice.” Writing recently on the popular pro-abortion website RH Reality Check, bloggers Susan Yanow and Steph Herold went to bat for a 20-year-old New York City woman who was arrested and charged with inducing her own abortion — then disposing of the baby’s body in the trash. “In spite of ever-increasing restrictions,” write the pro-abortion duo, “abortion is legal through the second-trimester throughout the United States, although it is inaccessible to many women. Yet if women safely end their pregnancies without medical supervision, they face criminal penalties.” The pair speculates on just why Yaribely Almonte chose a do-it-yourself abortion — via medication or, perhaps, violently beating on her abdomen — in a city where Planned Parenthood’s version of “reproductive health care” is as common as neighborhood groceries once were.
It was a ceremony to mark the official end of the American military occupation of Iraq. But Defense Secretary Leon Panetta sounded more like the United States was moving  in to stay when he spoke Wednesday in what the New York Times described as a heavily fortified courtyard at Baghdad Airport with helicopters hovering above. “Let me be clear: Iraq will be tested in the days ahead — by terrorism, and by those who would seek to divide, by economic and social issues, by the demands of democracy itself,” Panetta said. “Challenges remain, but the U.S. will be there to stand by the Iraqi people as they navigate those challenges to build a stronger and more prosperous nation.” The war has been declared finally over more than eight and a half years after President George W. Bush declared the end of American combat operations in Iraq, while standing under a banner proclaiming, “Mission Accomplished.” Yet as the Times report pointed out, “insurgents continue to attack American soldiers and militants with Al Qaeda still regularly carry out devastating attacks against civilians.”  
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