The latest international Index of Economic Freedom revealed that the economy of the United States lost even more liberty for a fourth consecutive year, dropping from ninth to tenth place under the Obama administration and solidifying its designation as “mostly free” — earned in 2009, down from “free” the year before that.

 

On January 13 U.S. District Court Judge John Gibney ruled against Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, and Rick Santorum in a lawsuit seeking to have their names appear on the 2012 Republican primary ballot in Virginia. The candidates argued that they had been unfairly excluded from the ballot because the state’s ballot access law, which requires candidates to collect 10,000 signatures of registered voters using only Virginia residents as petition circulators, was too onerous.

 

Activists are expressing serious concerns that Mitt Romney’s private equity firm Bain Capital owns one of America’s largest media conglomerates, Clear Channel Communications, Inc., which broadcasts numerous popular talk-show hosts with incalculable influence in the 2012 GOP primary. Among the radio personalities syndicated by Clear Channel or aired on hundreds of stations it owns nationwide are Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, and many others.

 

Guess what? Barack Obama has found an opponent whose approval ratings are even lower than his own. So to kick off his re-election campaign, he’s decided to run against Congress.  The campaign against the obstructionist, do-nothing Congress started during the recent congressional "recess," when Obama decided to ignore the U.S. Constitution, recent Presidential tradition, and even his own vote when he was a U.S. Senator by making four “recess” appointments.
 
 

Calling it the “most significant religious liberty decision in two decades,” the New York Times announced the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the “ministerial exception” whereby churches and other religious organizations are exempt from governmental interference in their hiring and firing practices. In a unanimous 9-0 decision on January 11, the Court said that churches have an overriding “interest ... in choosing who will preach their beliefs, teach their faith and carry out their mission.”

The case started when a teacher at a Lutheran school in Redford, Michigan, was fired for threatening to sue the school over an alleged discrimination violation. Cheryl Perich was diagnosed with narcolepsy and took a leave of absence. When she tried to return, she learned that the school had hired someone else to take her place. When she threatened a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act, she was fired for violating the church’s doctrine by pursuing litigation rather than trying to resolve the situation internally.
 
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) got involved and filed suit against the school. When the court ruled in favor of the school, the EEOC appealed. The appeals court reversed the decision, and the school took the case to the Supreme Court. At issue were core First Amendment rights: the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause, to wit: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is under fire after news reports surfaced showing that his company, Bain Capital, benefited from multiple federal bailouts amounting to well over $50 million. The top-tier Republican candidate has flip-flopped on the issue of whether or not taxpayers should be forced to bail out private firms, but critics have seized on his controversial work at Bain to attack his candidacy from all angles.

 The scandal over Romney’s federal bailouts first surged to prominence after a former strategist for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy publicly released an unaired campaign ad — made nearly a decade ago when Romney was running for the Massachusetts Senate seat — exposing a $10-million federal bailout of Bain & Co. while Romney was at the helm. The attack ad, citing a 1994 report in the Boston Globe, noted that Romney worked with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) to bamboozle the American people out of money under the guise of “debt forgiveness.”
 
“Mitt Romney says he saved Bain & Company, but he didn’t tell you that on the day he took over, he had his predecessor fire hundreds of employees, or that the way the company was rescued was with a federal bailout of $10 million,” notes the narrator in Sen. Kennedy’s unreleased ad as pictures of newspaper articles fill the screen. “He and others made $4 million in this deal which cost ordinary people $10 million.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit on Tuesday unanimously upheld a lower court ruling enjoining the enforcement of an amendment to the Oklahoma state constitution that barred state courts from taking Sharia law into consideration when deciding cases.  Although the measure received overwhelming support from the citizens of the Sooner State, it was immediately challenged in court by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

The exit polls following the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary showed something remarkable that somehow missed the evening news: Paul consistently won the votes of the young, the disaffected, the independent, as well as discouraged Democrats. CNN’s exit polls in New Hampshire showed Paul winning almost half the voters aged 18-29 (compared to Romney’s 26 percent), and splitting the vote with Romney in the 30-to-39 age bracket. Paul also won 35 percent of unmarried voters, 40 percent of those who had never voted in a primary before, one-third of the independent vote, and nearly half of those with no religious affiliation. He also took a third of those who characterized themselves as “somewhat liberal” in their outlook.

Will a northern plains state axe the property tax? This June, residents of North Dakota will vote on a primary ballot measure which, if approved by voters, would eliminate local property taxes, retroactive as of January 1, 2012.  There could be no better place than the Flickertail State — which has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and a thriving energy-based economy — to attempt this unprecedented experiment in government by the people.
 
 

While diverging from Ron Paul on a number of political issues, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) says he is not ready to see the liberty-minded Texas Congressman withdraw from the GOP presidential race. "I really don’t want Ron Paul to drop out until whoever our front-runner is is collecting some of the ideas that he’s talking about," DeMint said when the Daily Caller asked him whether it was time for other GOP contenders to relinquish their campaigns and support former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who took first place in both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

 

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