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.
An 84-year-old grandmother in a wheelchair abused by Transportation Security Administration screeners at John F. Kennedy airport plans to sue the TSA, complaining of injuries and extreme humiliation suffered during a strip search. Homeland Security spokesmen, however, said “proper procedures were followed” and later claimed that the victim’s clothes were not fully removed. In a phone interview with The New American, the traumatized 103-pound woman, Lenore Zimmerman, warned that America was in “deep trouble” if manhandling frail grandmothers was what “security” had come to. But she plans to seek justice and has already contacted an attorney. “They stopped me to pat me down and I said ‘I can’t go through the machine because I have a defibrillator’,” Zimmerman explained, clearly distraught at the recollection. “So they patted me down and then they escorted me to a private room and strip-searched me.” Zimmerman, utterly humiliated, demanded to know why she was being molested, asking the screeners for an explanation. “They’re off their rocker,” she said of the people running TSA, noting that there was no justification for conducting a strip search. “They’re nuts!”
Newt Gingrich came out strongly for jury trials before illegal immigrants can be deported in the December 3 presidential forum sponsored by Fox News' Mike Huckabee. But the former House Speaker has refused to favor jury trials of American citizens accused of terrorism. During the forum Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi asked Gingrich if his proposal to create neighborhood boards to legalize the residency status of illegal immigrants would undermine the rule of law. Gingrich's campaign website proposes the following proposal to make illegal immigrants legal residents: "Applicants must first pass a criminal background check, and then the local committees will assess applications based on family and community ties, and ability to support oneself via employment without the assistance of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other entitlement programs."
After several delays Saturday afternoon, one-time “man to beat,” Herman Cain, indefinitely suspended his campaign for President. Cain resolutely made the announcement at a rally in Atlanta. He promised that he “would not go away,” despite his decision to withdraw from the GOP race for the White House. There is no secret as to what brought the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO to this point. For weeks, the outspoken businessman turned presidential hopeful has been dogged by accusations of sexual harassment and (more recently) a long-term extramarital affair. Wearing sunglasses and with his wife in the background, Herman Cain stood at a podium in front of a crowd of chanting supporters. The site of the appearance was that of the building that was to be his national campaign headquarters. Quieting the crowd, Cain spoke words whose tone and topic is one familiar to followers of presidential politics. “As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul-searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign. Because of the continued distractions, the continued hurt caused on me and my family, not because we are not fighters. Not because I’m not a fighter.”
When Fox News' Mike Huckabee hosted a forum for the GOP presidential candidates December 3, few expected that Texas Congressman Ron Paul would field what may have been the toughest question for a constitutional purist: Why would he say Social Security is unconstitutional and at the same time say that as a constitutional purist he would vote to continue the program? The question posed to Paul during the December 3 forum seems impossible to answer, since the U.S. Constitution fails to enumerate a power of the federal government to create anything remotely resembling an old-age pension fund for all Americans. Panelist and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli asked Paul: "Congressman, you are very clear. You think they are unconstitutional. Why would you sign a budget you think contains something unconstitutional?" Paul responded: "Because you have two choices. You either can work our way out of this, or you have to wait until it collapses and we have to rebuild it." But the question remains: Is Rep. Paul succumbing to practical politics? Is Rep. Paul a hypocrite for claiming he'd continue to pay Social Security recipients while at the same time claiming to be a strict constitutionalist? Actually, no, he isn't.
Newt Gingrich is relishing his new front-runner position. The media is slavering over the former Speaker of the House, endowing him with that most desirable designation. As his poll numbers increase, so does the interest in the policies Gingrich advocates and the identity of the cadre of counselors who have his ear. As to the former, Gingrich’s appearance at a recent GOP debate where he declared his support for an amnesty program for illegals has given pundits and his opponents plenty of fodder for attack. In the case of the latter, the roster of advisors that Gingrich has announced reveals the true trajectory that the once and future neoconservative would take were he elected to the White House.
The scandal surrounding the Obama administration’s operation “Fast and Furious,” which sent thousands of American guns to Mexican drug cartels, continues to escalate. Senior officials and a new trove of documents released yesterday further confirm that the Justice Department provided false information about the deadly scheme to Congress. And the number of Congressman demanding Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation has now soared well above 50. The administration was forced to release more than 1,300 pages of documents related to the gun-trafficking program. The subpoenaed records reveal frantic e-mail communications between senior officials about how vigorously to defend the operation, as well as concerns about the veracity of some of the proposed defenses.
Economist and conservative commentator Don Boudreaux attended the opening of the Institute for Justice (IJ) on September 10, 1991, and thought to himself at that time that “it sounded like a good idea.” Looking back at what IJ has accomplished since then, Boudreaux says, “IJ’s success over the past two decades is nothing short of phenomenal.” At the ceremony marking the beginning of IJ, co-founder Clint Bolick spelled out exactly what they intended to do, and recognized the enormous changes in the way of their doing it. IJ is going to be focused, he said, on “removing barriers to opportunity and helping low-income people earn their share of the American Dream.” For instance: Little Devon Williams, who was able to escape the cesspool of the Milwaukee Public Schools and instead get a good education in an excellent neighborhood private school, thanks to the nation's first real parental choice program. I tell you, the inspiration, the look of joy and optimism on their faces, speak volumes to the fact that we are right, and that we must persevere in these efforts that are only barely begun…. Each of us possesses fundamental rights that no government may take away. If any of us loses our rights, we all lose our rights. And if [anyone] does not have liberty, then none of us has liberty. We have so much work to do.
Ignoring protests from residents and a resolution from state legislators calling for the state’s seasonal celebratory tree to be called by its Christmas designation, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee insisted that the blue spruce that graces the Statehouse this year be referred to officially as a “Holiday Tree.” According to the Associated Press, Chafee, who changed his party designation from Republican to Independent in 2007, said that eschewing the term “Christmas” is in line with the principles laid down by Rhode Island founder Roger Williams that the state would supposedly be a place where religion and government are to be kept separate. “I’m just continuing what other governors have done,” Chafee told the Boston Herald after a ceremony dedicating a separate “holiday tree” to soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I just want to make sure I’m doing everything possible in this building to honor Roger Williams.” To be sure, noted the AP, Chafee’s immediate predecessor, Republican Governor Donald Carcieri, “used both holiday tree and Christmas tree in his correspondence. Other governors have made no specific reference to Christmas at all with invitations to ‘holiday celebrations’ featuring a ‘tree lighting.’"
Welcome to Paul Blair’s world. The 48-year-old Blair, pastor of the Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, is a small business owner, husband, and father, and a former offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings. He played his college ball for the Oklahoma State Cowboys and recently declared himself a Republican candidate for the Oklahoma state Senate, District 41. Blair (who has been previously interviewed in The New American) offered in a campaign flier one reason for his decision to run for public office: “We must stop the overreach of the federal government. We must stop the crippling debt that is crushing our nation.”