Newt Gingrich emerged as the winner of the October 22 Iowa Faith and Freedom Forum, if measured by the level of audience applause. The Christian-right audience gave the thrice-married Gingrich several rounds of loud applause and an enthusiastic standing ovation at the end of his address.
Gingrich — a former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives who began the presidential race with a devastating resignation by much of his campaign staff — had been judged not a viable candidate. He was even parodied several times on Saturday Night Live as a "curio from a bygone era." Yet Gingrich has gradually risen in the polls after performing well in recent debates, and has been scoring in the high single digits in national polls in recent weeks.
The national Faith and Freedom Coalition is run by former Pat Robertson functionary Ralph Reed, who served as head of Robertson's Christian Coalition. Both the Christian Coalition and the Faith and Freedom Coalition focus upon social issues such as the sanctity of marriage, abortion, and opposing the homosexual agenda.
The additional irony of the strong crowd enthusiasm for Gingrich (other than his personal life) is that the former House Speaker's record is far from the conservative crowd's well-known small government preferences. Gingrich's record has proven he's no friend of limited government, even though much of his rhetoric sounds good. As a Congressman, Gingrich voted with President Jimmy Carter to create the U.S.
President Obama announced with much fanfare in an October 21 address to the nation that "as a candidate for President, I pledged to bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end.... Today, I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over."
But Obama's own Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough acknowledged in a press conference the same day that the withdrawal from Iraq was more due to demands from the Iraqi government than from Obama's commitment to keep his campaign promises. "The security agreements negotiated and signed in 2008 by the Bush administration stipulated this date ... as the end of the military presence. So that has been in law now for — or been enforced now for several years. So it’s difficult to rebut the proposition that this was a known date." In essence, Obama trumpeted a troop withdrawal that he had little choice but to follow.
Indeed, Obama was most reluctant to follow through on his campaign promise. The National Journal reported October 22 that "as recently as last week, the White House was trying to persuade the Iraqis to allow 2,000-3,000 troops to stay beyond the end of the year. Those efforts had never really gone anywhere; one senior U.S. military official told National Journal last weekend that they were stuck at 'first base' because of Iraqi reluctance to hold substantive talks."
With public discontent growing over the burgeoning number of foreigners flooding into their country, many Britons are expecting their government to restrict immigration, and require immigrants to speak English before being allowed into their nation.
Researchers at the University of California claim they have conclusively proven the reality of global warming. The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) study analyzed more than 1.6 billion land temperature records dating back to the 1800s from more than 39,000 temperature stations around the world. Results show warming of nearly 1°C since 1950.
In moving to combat in-state welfare fraud, Michigan is requiring food stamp recipients to provide information on their assets to determine whether they should continue to qualify for benefits. Under the new rules launched earlier this month, current recipients are obligated to report the values on their homes, vehicles, stocks, bonds, and even lottery winnings. Residents with $5,000 in liquid assets or driving a vehicle worth over $15,000 may no longer qualify for benefits. So far, the state has identified about 15,000 people who could lose their food stamp benefits.
Although the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — commonly known as food stamps — is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, states distribute the benefits and have the authority to make certain decisions on eligibility. (In Michigan, the program is called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, [FAP — Food Assistance Program] and is administered by the Department of Human Services [DHS], which has offices in every county of Michigan.) Michigan’s policy change is a shift from the trend for states to request information only on recipients’ income. Texas and Indiana are among other states that consider assets, while Oregon and New York are among those who check only income when determining eligibility for the program. As the U.S. economy has continued to decay, eligibility requirements for food stamps have loosened, with 35 states now having abolished asset tests for food stamp recipients.
Despite the fact that Libyan strongman Col. Muammar Gadhafi was considered an important U.S. ally in the terror war as recently as 2009, top American lawmakers and Obama administration officials rushed to celebrate his reported violent death at the hands of NATO war planes and Western-backed revolutionaries. Several members of Gadhafi’s family, including children and grandchildren, have been killed recently as well.
Where does Herman Cain stand on abortion? In an October 19 interview with Piers Morgan on CNN, the GOP presidential candidate managed to paint himself into a corner on the issue, causing some conservative voters who had supported him to wonder if the self-described pro-life candidate is really subtly pro-choice.
Cain began the interview solidly enough, answering Morgan’s query, “What’s your view of abortion?” by declaring: “I believe that life begins at conception, and abortion under no circumstances.”
But then things began to go badly. Feigning disbelief at Cain’s response, Morgan baited the rookie politician, wondering, “No circumstance?” adding, “… because some of your fellow candidates qualify that — rape and incest, and so on. Are you honestly saying that … if one of your female children, grandchildren was raped, you would honestly want her to bring up that baby as her own?”
Cain told Morgan that “it’s not the government’s role or anybody else’s role to make that decision.” Using rhetoric that pro-life observers said made him sound like an abortion activist, Cain added that “it ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make. Not me as president, not some politician, not a bureaucrat. It gets down to that family. Whatever they decide, they decide. I shouldn’t try to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive issue.”
The prediction by the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) that the United States is headed into another recession was greeted by a rise in the stock market from 1,074 on the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index on Tuesday, October 4, to 1,238 on Friday, October 21, a gain of 15 percent in just 13 days.
This sudden rise happened in the face of ECRI’s spokesman Laksman Achuthan’s emphatic forecast that “it’s going to get a lot worse … you haven’t seen anything yet.” Furthermore, Achuthan said that there is nothing policymakers can do about it, that the decline is just going to have to run its course.
Jon Markman, a stock market watcher and skeptic who writes for MarketWatch, asked Achuthan if this time his prediction might be wrong. Achuthan isn’t backing off one bit. Noting that his proprietary blend of various leading economic indicators has never failed in the past, he wasn’t surprised at the market’s rise following his company’s announcement, and said that the rise even confirmed his bearish call.
American troops are once again becoming embroiled in another international conflict, this time in the beleaguered East African nation Uganda. In response to the ongoing conflict there between the Ugandan government and rebels associated with the Lord’s Resistance Army, President Barack Obama announced earlier this week that 100 soldiers would support the years-long fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army, which is accused of horrific atrocities. The Obama administration said the troops will advise, not engage in combat, unless forced to defend themselves.
In a letter to Congress, President Barack Obama said that the troops will assist local forces in a long-running battle against the Lord's Resistance Army, considered one of Africa's most ruthless rebel groups, and help to hunt down its notorious leader, Joseph Kony. The first of the troops arrived in Uganda on Wednesday, the White House said, and others will be sent to South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite Obama’s claims of “limited intervention,” this latest American meddling in the affairs of another nation represents yet another example of the administration’s unconstitutional, internationalist adherence to the principles of “humanitarian intervention,” also known as the doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect” (RTP), the same theoretical basis for Obama’s intervention in Libya and former President Bill Clinton’s intervention in Kosovo.
Since news broke that there was an alleged plot by Iran to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel A. Al-Jubeir, and destroy a number of embassies, Iran has adamantly denied the accusations. Likewise, skeptics questioned whether the plot could have been staged by Iran, who would have had little to nothing to gain from such an endeavor, and claimed that the plot was uncharacteristic of Iranian terror. Others have asserted that the entire plot was in fact manufactured by American law enforcement agencies as an impetus for war against Iran. Adding yet another layer to this news story, Iran has come out and said that the plot was in fact planned by the French/Iraqi-based Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK), which is actually funded and supported by the United States.
Last week, the United States charged American-Iranian Mansour Arbabsiar, a used car salesman, for his role in an alleged plot to murder Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir and attack Saudi installations in the U.S. in a plan reportedly plotted earlier this year. According to the Justice Department, Arbabsiar conspired with Gholam Shakuri, a member of Iran’s Qods Force — an arm of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Iran immediately denied the accusations, with the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast declaring, “These attitudes, which are based on the age-old and hostile policies of the American-Zionist axis, are a ridiculous show in line with a scenario that aims to divide and that emanates from enemies of the region.”