While Congress remains on winter recess, President Obama hoodwinked his Senate Republican rivals of the newly-minted Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by naming former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray the nation’s chief consumer watchdog, sidestepping the Senate confirmation process. Mr. Cordray boarded Marine One on Wednesday for a brief flight to Andrews Air Force Base, where he joined the President in his hometown of Cleveland for a formal announcement.

With a director now in place, the agency will have the power to establish new regulations over financial institutions, including mortgage companies, debt collectors, payday lenders, and other entities often charged with contributing to the financial crisis. Moreover, the bureau will now be able to monitor mortgage originators and servicers, which were instrumental in the financial crisis by providing subprime mortgages to individuals and families who were not able to afford them.

"There is an army of lobbyists and lawyers right now working to water down the protections and the reforms that we passed," the President said in July when he nominated Cordray to head the bureau. "They've already spent tens of millions of dollars this year to try to weaken the laws that are designed to protect consumers. And they've got allies in Congress who are trying to undo the progress that we've made."

There are two new bills in Congress to fix the indefinite detention policy in the new NDAA law.

Who will be in charge of the executive branch of government if Mitt Romney is our next President? Who will be making the decisions coming out of the White House, decisions affecting matters as crucial as the question of war or peace? When Romney ran for the 2008 nomination. he was asked a rather basic question by Chris Matthews of MSNBC during one of the many televised debates.

 

The former head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) unit tracking terror leader Osama bin Laden, Michael Scheuer, endorsed Republican Rep. Ron Paul of Texas for President in 2012, days before the Iowa caucus. He argued, among other points, that the top-tier GOP hopeful is the best candidate to protect America from violent Islamic extremism.

In a column entitled "Iowa’s Choice: Dr. Paul or U.S. bankruptcy, more wars, and many more dead soldiers and Marines" published on his website over the weekend, Scheuer said voting for any candidate other than Paul would help inflict further damage on an already-wounded America. It would also contribute toward the continuation of a foreign policy that will ensure total national bankruptcy, noted the 22-year intelligence-community veteran, who now serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Peace and Security Studies.

“Dr. Paul’s non-interventionist policy will allow foreigners to work out their political destiny in their own way and at their own pace; prevent unnecessary additions to America’s growing list of enemies; and save countless young lives,” Scheuer wrote in his endorsement, blasting senior leaders and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle with harsh words. “Electing anyone but Ron Paul will further increase the already strong chances of widespread Islamist-conducted violence inside the United States.”

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul noted on Tuesday that efforts to rein in government spending appeared to be in vain, due to an agreement reached with the White House during the recent debt ceiling negotiations. Congress would have to pass a joint resolution to oppose any extension of the debt ceiling, which President Obama is free to veto. Said Paul: “A default is becoming more mathematically unavoidable with ... every debt ceiling increase.”

Not only is the word “default” becoming commonplace but also the words “economic collapse.” A study conducted by Leflein Associates and published by EcoHealth Alliance showed that of the 1003 individuals interviewed for the survey, 63 percent — or more than six out of ten of them — feared an “economic collapse” more than a natural disaster, a terrorist attack or a global outbreak of disease. This study was picked up by Michael, the author of his Economic Collapse Blog, who piled on by adding a long list of reasons why concerned citizens should be afraid of such an event:

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney eked out an eight-vote win in the Iowa Republican caucuses January 3 with just under 25 percent of the vote, ahead of second place former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (also just under 25 percent), in a tight six-way race that included Ron Paul pulling a close third place at nearly 22 percent.

Romney used the narrow victory to target President Obama in his victory speech. "He said three years ago, after being inaugurated, he was on the Today Show, and he said look, if I can't get this economy turned around in three years, I'll be looking at a one-term proposition. And we are here to collect." Romney is viewed as the Republican front-runner, and is far ahead in the polls in the upcoming New Hampshire primary. But he actually trails in polls in other early primary states, such as South Carolina and Florida. Romney's campaign is seen as the most viable because of his position in the polls nationally, and in New Hampshire, as well as his fundraising ability. Romney has raised more money than any of his Republican rivals, and is the top recipient of donations from employees of elite Wall Street banking concerns such as Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Bank of America. According to entrance polls in Iowa, Romney drew heavily from votes from establishment and veteran Republican functionaries, which carried the state for him.
 

The Democrats have the best public-relations team in the world.  It’s called the U.S. media.  As a consequence, the Republicans essentially have to spot the Democrats a certain number of points every election. How much do the media steal for statists? While it’s hard to say if the figure is 10, 15 or 20 percent, how it’s stolen is obvious — if you’re not trapped in the Media Matrix.

 

A religious liberty case involving candy canes, pens, and pencils with Christian messages — which has been dragging on for eight long years — has finally made its way to the highest court in the land. The conservative legal advocacy group Liberty Institute is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hold school districts accountable that violate the free speech rights of students who wish to express their religious faith in school.

The case in question began in 2004 when first grader Jonathan Morgan was banned by the principal of Thomas Elementary School in Plano, Texas, from handing out pens, shaped like candy canes, to fellow students at his class “winter party” because the pens had the name “Jesus” imprinted on them. The principal, Lynn Swanson, had met with the youngster’s parents before the party and explained that teachers would confiscate any religious-themed materials or items, and that the school children would also be prohibited from using the word “Christmas” during school activities.

Two years earlier, another student at the school, Michaela Wade, had faced similar repercussions when she tried to hand out treat bags that included pencils with the inscription, “Jesus is the reason for the season.”

Former Utah Governor and U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman is making some desperate efforts to wrest independent voters from the surging Rep. Ron Paul in New Hampshire. The latest salvo in that effort is Huntsman's "The Ron Paul Chronicles," a Web-based video series of out-of-context quotes from Paul and other observers designed to make Paul look like a conspiracy nut, complete with a Twilight Zone-themed introduction.

The first installment of what promises to be a weekly series has clips of Ron Paul discussing the Civil War, where the Texas Congressman dismisses it as a case where "600,000 Americans died in a senseless Civil War." Huntsman's video subsequently includes a second clip of Rep. Paul suggesting that an alternative to the Civil War would have been less costly: "You buy the slaves and release them, how much would that cost compared to killing 600,000 Americans?" This, apparently, represents an outside-of-the-mainstream view to Hunstman's campaign, though the Huntsman video doesn't explain how not killing 600,000 Americans could be a bad or crazy thing — particularly considering the evil institution of slavery was ended elsewhere in the Americas without the horrific bloodshed that occurred in the United States.

The video also includes a clip of Paul saying that "President Bush said that the New World Order was in tune, and that's what they were working for." Of course, President Bush did famously call for what he called a "New World Order" back in 1991, on the eve of the Iraq war, saying in a nationally televised speech:

Rick Santorum has been far from alone among the GOP presidential hopefuls in questioning rival candidate Mitt Romney's credentials as a conservative, his reversal of positions (often referred to as “flip-flops”) on key issues, and stressing the difficulty he would likely have as the party nominee in explaining the difference between the “ObamaCare” health care law that he wants to repeal and a similar law that Romney, as Governor, steered through the Massachusetts legislature — a law that Obama's political allies have hailed as the model for the federal legislation. But two days before Tuesday's voting in the Iowa caucuses, Santorum was still trying explain his own “flip-flop” on Romney. 

On NBC's Meet the Press Sunday, Santorum was asked about his endorsement of Romney as a presidential candidate in 2008 — two years after Romney had signed the controversial “RomneyCare” into law and after his earlier positions on issues such as abortion and “gay rights” had been well publicized.   

"Governor Romney is the candidate who will stand up for the conservative principles that we hold dear. He has a deep understanding of the important issues confronting our country today, and he is the clear conservative candidate that can go into the general election with a united Republican Party," Santorum said in the press release announcing his endorsement in 2008, when Romney was in what had become a three-way race with Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. In the current campaign, Meet the Press moderator David Gregory noted, Santorum has been describing Romney as a liberal Massachusetts Governor.

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