With the latest announcement of its sale of 16 newspapers, the New York Times continues to sell off assets to stay alive. The sale of its papers in Florida, South Carolina, and California is expected to generate a much-needed capital insertion of about $150 million, less than was expected. Those newspapers’ revenues had been steadily declining, falling another 7 percent for the first nine months of the year.
Just days before the sale was announced the Times' chief executive officer, Janet Robinson, also announced her retirement. She had been in the difficult position of trying to put a positive spin on bad news to the point where even comedian Jon Stewart took advantage of her woes in a short video clip.
The government of Japan and the communist dictatorship ruling mainland China announced a landmark agreement this week to facilitate trade between the two powers without using the U.S. dollar, relying instead on the Japanese yen and the Chinese yuan.
According to the terms of the deal, the two governments agreed to encourage trade directly in yen and yuan without having to use American dollars as an intermediary — the current practice. Companies in Japan and China will soon be able to convert the currencies directly. And the Japanese government also agreed to hold Chinese yuan in its foreign-reserves portfolio.
It remains unclear exactly how and when the agreement will be implemented. But according to news reports, both governments have already set up a working group to iron out the details. Officials said the move was aimed at reducing risk and transaction costs.
The new currency deal comes as the communist Chinese dictatorship has been taking increasingly bold steps to expand the international role of the yuan. The regime’s officials have also become ever-more vocal in attacking the dollar’s global reserve status, calling instead for a more international system managed by a world entity such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The stuff of establishment Republicans’ worst nightmares is now coming to pass: they can no longer depict Ron Paul as a “fringe” candidate. Even they have been compelled by events to acknowledge that the Texas Congressman could very well finish in first place in the Iowa caucuses.
But it isn’t just that Ron Paul may take Iowa. Throughout these primaries, in spite of receiving less media coverage than any of the other candidates, Paul has succeeded in maintaining, for the most part, a third place showing. Every “frontrunner” except for the establishment’s favorite — Mitt Romney — has come and gone. Paul rates more favorably nationally among Republican voters than Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, and Rick Santorum.
When Newt Gingrich said he would not vote for rival candidate Ron Paul if Paul wins the Republican presidential nomination, Gingrich may have forfeited whatever support he might receive from a sizable number of conservative and libertarian voters if the former Speaker of the House is himself the nominee.
Gingrich answered with and unqualified "No," when asked if he would vote for Paul if the 12-term Texas congressman were to emerge as the party's standard-bearer. "I think Ron Paul's views are totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American," Gingrich said Tuesday on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. By its very nature the comment appears to impugn not only Paul, but his legions of supporters as well. The people who support Ron Paul share his views on most or all of the issues the candidate has been espousing in this and in previous campaigns. If those views are "outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American," then the unavoidable implication of Gingrich's statement is that "virtually" everyone who holds such views is not a "decent American." Should Gingrich emerge from the primary battles as the nominee, even those Paul supporters who hold the former speaker in "minimum high regard" might be loath to support the nominee who has, in effect, called them indecent.
National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Deborah Hersman has called for states to mandate a total ban on cellphone usage while driving. She has also encouraged electronics manufacturers — via recommendations to the CTIA —The Wireless Association and the Consumer Electronics Association — to develop features that "disable the functions of portable electronic devices within reach of the driver when a vehicle is in motion." That means she wants to be able to turn off your cellphone while you're driving.
With very little evidence, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims that there were some 3,092 roadway fatalities last year that involved distracted drivers. Americans ought to totally reject Hersman's agenda. It's the camel's nose into the tent. Down the road, we might expect mandates against talking to passengers or putting on lipstick while driving. They may even mandate the shutdown of drive-in restaurants as a contributory factor to driver distraction through eating while driving. You say, "Come on, Williams, you're paranoid. There are already laws against distracted driving, and it would never come to that!" Let's look at some other camels' noses into tents.
Rep. David Reichert (R-Wash.) along with two other House members has asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) for acting more like a profit-making insurance company rather than a tax-exempt advocate for senior citizens. The AARP’s close control and micro-marketing management of companies it allows to use its brand amounts to profit-making activity that should be taxable, assert the lawmakers and others. But for years the AARP has largely successfully defended its non-profit status all the while growing into the seventh largest insurance company in the country.
Reichert, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, told Fox News: “They’re really trying to manage these companies to increase their revenues.” And they have succeeded greatly. During the recession, when many of its members were struggling financially, AARP’s revenues just from its affiliation with United HealthCare alone jumped from $284 million in 2007 to $427 million in 2009 and $670 million in 2010. But because of their tax-exempt status, little of this is subject to income tax.
Travelers hoping to retain their dignity by taking buses, trains, or cars instead of airplanes are in for a rude awakening. “The Transportation Security Administration,” writes the Los Angeles Times, “isn't just in airports anymore. TSA teams are increasingly conducting searches and screenings at train stations, subways, ferry terminals and other mass transit locations around the country.”
“We are not the Airport Security Administration,” Ray Dineen, the air marshal in charge of the TSA office in Charlotte, North Carolina, told the Times. “We take that transportation part seriously.”
Indeed they do. No longer content to violate the rights of airline travelers alone, the TSA’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams “have run more than 9,300 unannounced checkpoints and other search operations in the last year,” the newspaper says. That’s 9,300 times the government has deliberately ignored the Fourth Amendment’s requirement that it have probable cause and a warrant to search someone and has instead engaged in mass searches of the traveling public. The number of individuals searched during these operations surely reaches into the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Add to that the roughly 700 million airline passengers also probed by the TSA in a year, and it’s clear that, as far as the government is concerned, the Constitution is no obstacle to getting what it wants.
It's the kind of "scandal" that makes one wonder if the establishment press could ever get a smear story straight. The script is that Rep. Ron Paul is a closet racist, is embroiled in a scandal he falsely denies, while new revelations about his racism are leaking out by the hour.
Establishment reporters ever so desperately want to create this image. And just because the facts aren't there, that doesn't keep the mainstream media from trying. Such was the case when a disgruntled former Paul staffer blogged his disagreements with the presidential candidate, which became the following lead in the New York Daily News: "A former Ron Paul staffer says the Republican presidential candidate is 'unsettled by being around gays personally,'" the Daily News story reported December 27, "and is 'out of touch' with black and Hispanic voters."
The story's lead paragraph seemed to fit the establishment media talking points that Ron Paul is a racist, if not anti-Semitic, person. It appears to be a follow-up to the legitimate, but minor, news about Paul's inattentive management of newsletters that were published under his name in the 1980s and early 1990s that contained a handful of racist remarks.
But the lead disappointed. There was no fire under the smoke, just lots of mirrors.
How did your U.S. Representative and Senators vote on last summer's debt deal that raised the national debt limit while promising to reduce future spending and deficit projections? How did your Representative vote on a measure that would have repealed the federal phaseout of the ubiquitous incandescent light bulb? And how did your Senators vote on an amendment to prohibit U.S. citizens from being held indefinitely in the ongoing war against terrorism without being given a trial?
The answers to all three questions above are in our latest "Freedom Index" in the January 9, 2012 issue of The New American and also available online as a downloadable PDF.
The New American's "Freedom Index" is a congressional scorecard that rates all members of the House and Senate based on their adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, national sovereignty, and a traditional foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements. The index is published four times each two-year congressional term; each index rates Congressmen based on 10 key votes.
Even the left-leaning Washington Post has acquired a sour taste over the Obama administration’s deplorable investment in Solyndra, the defunct solar-panel maker that reaped more than $500 million in taxpayer-backed loan guarantees. The administration’s fervor for the so-called "green" energy program, the newspaper noted in a recent article, was "infused" with political motives that spawned reckless policymaking and resulted in millions of wasted taxpayer dollars.
"Meant to create jobs and cut reliance on foreign oil, Obama’s green-technology program was infused with politics at every level, The Washington Post found in an analysis of thousands of memos, company records and internal e-mails," the article reads. "Political considerations were raised repeatedly by company investors, Energy Department bureaucrats and officials at the White House."
"The records, some previously unreported, show that when warned that financial disaster might lie ahead, the administration remained steadfast in its support for Solyndra."