As she heads into the last year of her tenure in the state of Washington, Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire has a handful of policy initiatives she would like to push through to pad her political legacy: balance the state’s budget, raise state revenues, create some jobs to help the economy, improve education. And force through a bill legalizing homosexual marriage.

After seven years of waffling and “vague answers” on the issue, the Roman Catholic Governor, whose stand on homosexual marriage is at odds with her church's teaching,  announced on January 4 that “she not only supports allowing gays and lesbians to marry, but will propose legislation to legalize it in Washington state,” reported the Seattle Times.

“Our gay and lesbian families face the same hurdles as heterosexual families — making ends meet, choosing what school to send their kids to, finding someone to grow old with, standing in front of friends and family and making a lifetime commitment,” Gregoire said in announcing her decision to support legalizing homosexual marriage. “For all couples, a state marriage license is very important. It gives them the right to enter into a marriage contract in which their legal interests, and those of their children if any, are protected by well-established civil law.”

After nearly three years in existence, the Tennessee Tea Party disbanded Thursday, according to a message sent to members from the leaders of the group, Robert and Tami Kilmarx. While there yet remain other Tea Party-affiliated groups in the Volunteer State, the end of even one of them may augur a decline in the electoral influence of the Tea Party.
 
This perceived de crescendo of the Tea Party symphony is distinctly different from the loud and animating drumbeat that helped march scores of Tea Party-backed candidates into Washington in 2010.
 
There is no question that the Tea Party wasn’t without failure in the 2010 midterm elections (for instance, the defeats of Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell), but Sarah Palin became a household name and legitimate constitutionalists such as Rand Paul now sit in Congress, faithfully protecting the Constitution from enemies, foreign and domestic.
 
The voting trends developing in the presidential election campaign reveal the rapidity of the decline in Tea Party clout, however.

On Saturday, the Ron Paul campaign issued a statement announcing the naming of several new members of the “Homeschoolers for Ron Paul” coalition.  The formation of the group was originally announced in August and since then has been very successful in motivating homeschool advocates to rally to Dr. Paul’s campaign for the White House.
 
 

According to the latest census, there are fewer than 2,000 people living in Morrison, Wisconsin. There are at least 10 times that many cows.

A drive along any one of the country roads criss-crossing rural Brown County reveals one after the other of the area's many family-owned dairy farms (mega farms are still the minority). In fact, Brown County, home to Morrison, is one of America’s largest dairy-producing regions. Such pleasant landscapes are common to most of the surrounding communities dotting this rolling prairie of bucolic midwestern hamlets that are home to the salt of the earth.
 
Hidden from sight, however, is the petty tyranny of the Morrison Town Board and its egregious agenda of quashing the freedom of speech. This ham-fisted oligarchy is threatening to stain the idyllic tapestry woven by generations of good, law-abiding citizens and muzzle their ability to have a say in the making of the laws that govern them.
 
So constitutionally offensive are the recent policy positions taken by the Town Board, there is a distinct possibility that legal challenges could bring down serious repercussions upon some member of that council.

Republican presidential candidates came out verbally swinging at each other on so-called "attack ads" in a debate on NBC January 8, just days before the New Hampshire primary. The discussion of "attack ads" that examine the records of political opponents focused upon campaign advertisements and so-called "SuperPac" independent expenditures.

Both the official Ron Paul campaign and an independent, pro-Mitt Romney SuperPac, Restore Our Future, spent millions each in the attack on Gingrich in Iowa. The Atlantic magazine credited Restore Our Future with handing Romney the Iowa victory. "The Iowa caucuses, more than any single contest in 2010, will mark the arrival of the super PAC as a potent, and likely lasting, political weapon. Restore Our Future, the super PAC that has run millions of dollars in television advertisements on Romney's behalf, deserves an Oscar for the role it played in Iowa."

In the January 8 NBC debate, moderator David Gregory asked Gingrich if he had changed his position on "negative" advertisements after being hit by about $5 million in advertisements in Iowa highlighting his record:

Who is responsible for a YouTube video that paints Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman as “The Manchurian Candidate”? On the basis of rather scant evidence, Huntsman was quick to finger supporters of rival candidate Ron Paul. Since then, however, further evidence has called Huntsman’s rush to judgment into serious question, with some observers even suggesting that Huntsman himself — or his daughters, who have been involved in some rather odd videos before — may have uploaded the thing in an effort to garner sympathy and, in turn, votes.

The whole flap began on January 4, when, as the End Run blog put it, “a ridiculous, pathetic joke of a video” entitled “Jon Huntsman’s Values” was posted on YouTube. The amateurish production, which questions whether the candidate’s values are American or Chinese, shows photos of Huntsman in China and clips of him speaking Chinese (both only natural given that he was once U.S. Ambassador to China), images of him with his adopted Chinese and Indian daughters (with the caption “China Jon’s Daughters/Even Adopted?” — whatever that is supposed to mean), and a still picture with Huntsman’s face superimposed over Mao Zedong’s. It concludes with the words “American Values and Liberty/Vote Ron Paul.”

Texas Congressman Ron Paul slammed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as a "chickenhawk" in the ABC News/WMUR debate January 7, one of two final debates before the New Hampshire primary January 10.

WMUR's Josh McElveen remarked to Gingrich, "Recently, Dr. Paul referred to you as a chickenhawk because you didn’t serve." A chickenhawk is a politician who is gung-ho for war, but avoids military service for himself. In essence, a chickenhawk is someone who is brave only with the lives of someone else's sons.

The comment led co-moderator Diane Sawyer to ask Rep. Paul:  "Congressman Paul, would you say that again? Would you — would you use that phrase again?

Paul replied:

Yeah. I think people who don’t serve when they could and they get three or four or even five deferments aren’t — they — they have no right to send our kids off to war, and not be even against the wars that we have. I’m trying to stop the wars, but at least, you know, I went when they called me up.

 

Attorneys representing the U.S. government submitted a brief to the Supreme Court on Friday, setting out their arguments in favor of the constitutionality of ObamaCare.

In the pleading and at a briefing on the case, the lawyers for the Obama administration defended the healthcare law’s requirement that all legal U.S. residents purchase a qualifying health insurance plan by 2014 or face severe penalties. This key component of ObamaCare is the much maligned individual mandate.

Those challenging the legality of the statute insist that in passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Congress exceeded the scope of its constitutional authority. Furthermore, if the federal government can force Americans to buy healthcare, they posit, are there any limits on what it could demand of citizens?

Recently, the Supreme Court granted certiorari (a petition submitted requesting that the court hear an appeal from a lower appeals court) in three of the several cases currently filed against the U.S. government and the agencies charged with enforcing ObamaCare. The announcement by the court indicates that the justices have set aside five and one-half hours to hear oral arguments from the parties.

A veteran in uniform who spoke out in favor of GOP presidential contender Ron Paul and his foreign-policy views after the Iowa Republican caucus could face discipline for potentially having violated military regulations, according to Defense Department officials. But the soldier has already gained a tremendous following online among Paul’s enthusiastic supporters.

After caucusing for the top-tier candidate Rep. Paul (R-Texas), Cpl. Jesse Thorsen spoke to CNN about why he supported the 12-term Congressman’s bid for the Republican nomination. The veteran of the Afghanistan war also called for peace and warned against starting more wars overseas before being abruptly cut off, apparently because of technical problems.

“I’m really excited about a lot of his ideas — especially when it comes to bringing the soldiers home,” the 28-year-old corporal told the CNN interviewer about Dr. Paul before the video feed dropped. “I’ve been serving for 10 years now and all 10 years of those have been during wartime. I’d like to see a little peacetime army and I think he has the right idea.”

U.S. sanctions on Iran are “acts of war.” The Iranian government, which views the sanctions, along with assassinations of its nuclear scientists and belligerent rhetoric from Washington, as precursors to “regime change,” is seeking to obtain nuclear weapons “as a deterrent to foreign intervention.” War could occur at any moment, and the only way to avert it with any certainty is for “Western powers [to] imagine how the situation looks from Tehran.”

This may sound like a Ron Paul stump speech. But in fact, it is the essence of a recent Bloomberg article by Vali Nasr, a Middle East expert with contacts in the government of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni. Nasr’s piece, says Robert Wright of the Atlantic, vindicates the Texas Republican’s “sheer conjecture” about Iran’s interpretation of Western actions as “acts of war.”

Paul’s “conjecture,” of course, was based on a simple understanding of human nature. If Oceania routinely threatens Eastasia and begins punishing it, the Eastasian people and their government are not going to sit idly by and allow their country to be destroyed. They will fight back. Then Oceania will escalate the conflict further, Eastasia will respond in kind, and so on, until a full-scale war is under way.
 

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