When Brandon Burgess, CEO of ION Television, named the producers of the upcoming Republican presidential debate being cosponsored by Newsmax, in Iowa on December 27, he was ebullient in his praise: “ION, Newsmax and Mr. Trump are committed to host a serious presidential forum which will include some of the most reputable journalists and media people in the country.” The debate will be produced by veterans of CNN, CBS, and NBC News.
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy was no less enthusiastic: “With Donald Trump and the top-notch media and production team led by Eason Jordan [who was president of CNN's news gathering for 23 years] we have organized, we expect that the Newsmax ION 2012 Presidential Debate will have the largest audience of any Republican primary debate to date.”
Those named to the production team reflect Ruddy’s long-standing and friendly relationship with the mainstream media, which goes all the way back to when Ruddy started Newsmax with money and significant help from Richard Mellon Scaife, heir to the Mellon banking interests and one of the 250 wealthiest individuals in the world. Scaife owns and publishes the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which has been criticized for its overt bias in favor of Democratic political officeholders in Pittsburgh. Scaife was known for ignoring campaign finance rules, donating nearly $1 million to President Nixon’s reelection campaign in 1972 but escaping without ever being charged. He also endorsed Hillary Clinton in her run for the Democrat party’s nomination in 2008.
Last Thursday, the often controversial Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (occasionally derisively called the “Ninth Circus Court” for its untenable holdings) threw out a case brought by an Arizona police officer. The court ruled that the officer did not have standing to challenge the state’s strict anti-illegal immigration law, SB 1070.
The appellant, Martin Escobar, is a patrolman with the Tucson police department. He filed suit last year claiming that he was “mandated to enforce SB 1070” and therefore he had standing sufficient to proceed with his complaint.
Simply put, "standing" is a legal concept wherein the party bringing the suit proves to the court that he has “connection to and harm from the law or action challenged to support that party's participation in the case.”
Escobar defended the sufficiency of his standing by explaining that "if he refuses to enforce the Act, he can be disciplined by his employer," and if he does enforce it, he "can be subject to costly civil actions" for "deprivation of civil rights of the individual against whom he enforces the Act."
The Court of Appeals was not persuaded, and it ruled against Escobar's assertion of standing. As a result of its holding in the Escobar case, the Ninth Circuit upheld the decision of the lower court dismissing the suit.
House Republicans, accelerating efforts to combat the frenetic influx of federal regulations that continue to flood the U.S. economy, passed the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) Friday, which would require all federal agencies to audit proposed rules more thoroughly before they are enacted, and make sure procedures for rulemaking follow proper steps. Federal courts would be more involved in the process, and regulators would be forced to examine potential costs and benefits of alternatives.
Opponents of the legislation claim it will emasculate environmental improvements, workplace safety, and the safety of children’s toys.
The 253-167 vote will move the regulation bill to the Democrat-led Senate, where analysts believe it is likely to be smothered. The White House vowed a veto before the vote took place, claiming the legislation would obstruct the federal government’s regulatory authority with unprecedented hurdles.
OMB Watch, a liberal advocacy group that monitors federal regulations and strives to make public the secretive actions of the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), blasted the bill in a press release. The organization’s president, Katherine McFate, stated, "Today, the House voted to bulldoze a half century of rulemaking procedures with the deliberately mislabeled Regulatory Accountability Act."
Egyptian voters delivered a powerful victory to Islamists and the long-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in the first round of parliamentary elections, with hard-line Islamic parties winning around 65 percent of the vote. The news sparked widespread fears among Christians and others that Egypt could be plunged into tyranny once again while jeopardizing the security of neighboring Israel.
Official election results released on Sunday showed the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) garnering a sizeable lead with almost 37 percent of the vote. The more radical Salafi Muslim party Al Nour did far better than expected with close to 25 percent of the 10 million votes cast in the first of three rounds of elections.
The most significant secular party, the Egyptian Bloc, won less than 14 percent and came in third overall. But smaller moderate Islamic and secular parties performed poorly.
Questions are growing about what the new Egyptian government might look like after the first real elections in decades. It remains unclear whether the Brotherhood’s FJP will ally itself with the even more radical Islamist parties or form a coalition with liberal groups.
Mainland China remains Communist China. Marxism, or perhaps Maoism, remains the political philosophy of government in this giant nation. Although Marxism has been a resounding failure everywhere it has been tried — except, of course, for the party elites — communists still propound the virtues of their system. One of those virtues is that the “dictatorship of the proletariat” means that strikes do not exist under communism because the workers hold power.
Someone forgot to tell the workers at the Hi-P International plant in Shanghai. More than 200 of these workers have gone on strike, and the strike entered its third day on December 2. The workers were chanting slogans and carrying banners that demanded answers from management. The strike was principally prompted by fears of big layoffs, and it was part of more general labor unrest in China.
Thousands of workers have gone on strike or begun work stoppages at factories that are part of China’s export industries. This has interrupted the supply of such products as shoes, bras, watches, and electronic equipment. The companies claim to operate on a razor thin profit margin and that there is no room for pay hikes, and, indeed, the workforces in some facilities may be reduced.
Here’s a headline the world’s 400 million-plus users of smartphones don’t want to read: “Your smartphone is probably spying on you.” The popular blog Talking Points Memo (TPM) has done yeoman’s work in keeping on top of this shocking story.
Top Masonic leaders met with the heads of European Union institutions to discuss spreading “democracy” and human rights in Europe and throughout the EU’s so-called “neighborhood,” according to a press release issued by the Brussels-based emerging continental government. Critics of the supranational regime, meanwhile, pointed out the irony of unelected regional rulers discussing democracy — especially after the EU-backed overthrow of democratically elected leaders in Italy and Greece in recent weeks.
The November 30 meeting, "A partnership for democracy and shared prosperity: a common willingness to promote democratic rights and liberties," was hosted by EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso, a former underground Maoist leader in Portugal before adopting a more moderate stance and entering the political world. Among the EU officials in attendance at the gathering were European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek and EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy.
"Building a future based on democracy, pluralism, the rule of law, human rights and social justice is a task and ambition of the European Union, and much still remains to be done, not only in the neighborhood of the European Union, but in our own countries, too,” Commission President Barroso said in a statement. “I am glad to see that participants share a deep concern for the promotion of those values which are and have to remain at the core of the European project."
Five years ago Cross City, Florida, resident Joe Anderson decided to pay for and donate to Dixie County a granite monument that would make clear to future generations that America was founded upon the Judeo-Christian principles found in the Bible. Since 2006, the monument, which bears the Ten Commandments — along with the simple exhortation, “Love God and keep his commandments" — has stood silent witness in front of the court house in this tiny county in north central Florida. “I just thought it was a good thing to do,” Anderson recalled. “A simple thing to do.”
Anderson, however, did not count on the ACLU, which has made it a nearly exclusive campaign to denude the American landscape of all vestiges of its Judeo-Christian foundation. His “simple thing” has become a high-profile court case as the ACLU has demanded that the federal judiciary force the county to remove the monument. The secular group is supposedly acting on behalf of a non-resident who claimed to be offended by the display. “I never in my wildest dreams thought it would come to something like this,” said Anderson of the conflict over his humble testament to America’s Christian heritage.
In July a U.S. district court in Gainesville ordered the county to remove the monument, parroting the secularist argument that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s ban on the establishment of a religion by government.
When Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax Media, decided to team up with Donald Trump by asking him to moderate Newsmax’s upcoming Republican presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday, December 27, he explained: “Our readers and the grass roots really love Trump. They may not agree with him on everything, but they don’t see him as owned by the Washington establishment [or] the media establishment.”
The timing for the debate appeared to be perfect, coming just a week before the Iowa caucuses. Ruddy no doubt was counting on the debate to increase Newsmax’s influence among its conservative supporters, hoping to build on its already-significant Web traffic. Invitations went out to the Republican presidential candidates on Friday afternoon.
It didn’t take Ron Paul’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, long to respond. On Saturday morning, he issued the following statement:
Leaders of Latin American and Caribbean governments gathered in Caracas, Venezuela, on Friday and Saturday to forge a new regional organization that includes representatives from every country in the Western Hemisphere except the United States and Canada. According to socialist rulers backing the new scheme, it is aimed at providing a counterweight to U.S. “imperialism” in the region while promoting “integration.” The communist regime ruling mainland China celebrated the news and vowed to support the group.
The budding 33-member alliance — dubbed CELAC, the Spanish initials for “Community of Latin American and Caribbean States” — is reportedly the brainchild of Venezuelan socialist strongman Hugo Chavez. Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who founded the shadowy but immensely powerful socialist cabal known as “Foro de Sao Paulo” with dictator Fidel Castro and the Sandinistas, also played a key role.
CELAC represents the most recent integration scheme in a region already plagued by a costly patchwork of expensive intergovernmental alliances, including the relatively new Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the socialist Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA), Mercosur, the Caribbean Community, and many more. Among the most prominent is the largely U.S.-funded Organization of American States (OAS), which includes every nation in the hemisphere except Cuba.