UPDATE: The House passed the REINS Act by 241-184 at 5:30 PM on December 7.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul continues to enjoy significant success in Iowa polls. In fact, according to the latest NBC/Marist Iowa poll, Dr. Paul is currently the only candidate who can beat Obama. Meanwhile, another Iowa poll shows he has significant favorability among the other candidates.

An Iowa poll published by the Des Moines Register shows Paul in second place with 18 percent of support, behind Newt Gingrich at 25 percent, but ahead of Mitt Romney at 16 percent. That same poll shows that Paul is considered highly favorable by registered Iowa voters.

Ron Paul’s presidential campaign website notes, “Paul’s Iowa support has grown in the last three Des Moines Register polls from 7 percent in June to 12 percent in October to 18 percent presently. Paul is also among those whose support did not wane over the period the poll was taken.”

 

When Brandon Burgess, CEO of ION Television, named the producers of the upcoming Republican presidential debate being cosponsored by Newsmax, in Iowa on December 27, he was ebullient in his praise: “ION, Newsmax and Mr. Trump are committed to host a serious presidential forum which will include some of the most reputable journalists and media people in the country.” The debate will be produced by veterans of CNN, CBS, and NBC News.

Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy was no less enthusiastic: “With Donald Trump and the top-notch media and production team led by Eason Jordan [who was president of CNN's news gathering for 23 years] we have organized, we expect that the Newsmax ION 2012 Presidential Debate will have the largest audience of any Republican primary debate to date.”

Those named to the production team reflect Ruddy’s long-standing and friendly relationship with the mainstream media, which goes all the way back to when Ruddy started Newsmax with money and significant help from Richard Mellon Scaife, heir to the Mellon banking interests and one of the 250 wealthiest individuals in the world. Scaife owns and publishes the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, which has been criticized for its overt bias in favor of Democratic political officeholders in Pittsburgh. Scaife was known for ignoring campaign finance rules, donating nearly $1 million to President Nixon’s reelection campaign in 1972 but escaping without ever being charged. He also endorsed Hillary Clinton in her run for the Democrat party’s nomination in 2008.

House Republicans, accelerating efforts to combat the frenetic influx of federal regulations that continue to flood the U.S. economy, passed the Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) Friday, which would require all federal agencies to audit proposed rules more thoroughly before they are enacted, and make sure procedures for rulemaking follow proper steps. Federal courts would be more involved in the process, and regulators would be forced to examine potential costs and benefits of alternatives.

Opponents of the legislation claim it will emasculate environmental improvements, workplace safety, and the safety of children’s toys.

The 253-167 vote will move the regulation bill to the Democrat-led Senate, where analysts believe it is likely to be smothered. The White House vowed a veto before the vote took place, claiming the legislation would obstruct the federal government’s regulatory authority with unprecedented hurdles.

OMB Watch, a liberal advocacy group that monitors federal regulations and strives to make public the secretive actions of the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), blasted the bill in a press release. The organization’s president, Katherine McFate, stated, "Today, the House voted to bulldoze a half century of rulemaking procedures with the deliberately mislabeled Regulatory Accountability Act."

Five years ago Cross City, Florida, resident Joe Anderson decided to pay for and donate to Dixie County a granite monument that would make clear to future generations that America was founded upon the Judeo-Christian principles found in the Bible. Since 2006, the monument, which bears the Ten Commandments — along with the simple exhortation, “Love God and keep his commandments" — has stood silent witness in front of the court house in this tiny county in north central Florida. “I just thought it was a good thing to do,” Anderson recalled. “A simple thing to do.”

Anderson, however, did not count on the ACLU, which has made it a nearly exclusive campaign to denude the American landscape of all vestiges of its Judeo-Christian foundation. His “simple thing” has become a high-profile court case as the ACLU has demanded that the federal judiciary force the county to remove the monument. The secular group is supposedly acting on behalf of a non-resident who claimed to be offended by the display. “I never in my wildest dreams thought it would come to something like this,” said Anderson of the conflict over his humble testament to America’s Christian heritage.

In July a U.S. district court in Gainesville ordered the county to remove the monument, parroting the secularist argument that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s ban on the establishment of a religion by government.

When Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax Media, decided to team up with Donald Trump by asking him to moderate Newsmax’s upcoming Republican presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday, December 27, he explained: “Our readers and the grass roots really love Trump. They may not agree with him on everything, but they don’t see him as owned by the Washington establishment [or] the media establishment.”

The timing for the debate appeared to be perfect, coming just a week before the Iowa caucuses. Ruddy no doubt was counting on the debate to increase Newsmax’s influence among its conservative supporters, hoping to build on its already-significant Web traffic. Invitations went out to the Republican presidential candidates on Friday afternoon.

It didn’t take Ron Paul’s campaign manager, Jesse Benton, long to respond. On Saturday morning, he issued the following statement:

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.
 
 

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.’"

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