When a group of students at a California high school elected to wear patriotic American-flag T-shirts to school on Cinco de Mayo (May 5), a Mexican holiday, they were told by their principal to turn their shirts inside out so as not to offend the school’s Hispanic students. The students took their case to court; however, last week a U.S. District Judge James Ware of San Francisco ruled that the school was well within its rights to make the students hide the U.S. flags on their T-shirts.

Three students appeared at Live Oak High School at the Morgan Hill Unified School District on May 5, 2010 wearing T-shirts adorned with the American flag. Assistant principal Miguel Rodriguez asked the students to either remove their shirts or turn them inside out. When the students refused to comply, Rodriguez ordered them to principal Nick Boden’s office. After discussing the subject with the students for well over an hour, the principal sent them home for the day.

The Blaze reports, “The Rutherford Institute and the Thomas More Law Center teamed up to represent the students and their families.”

“This is nothing more than political correctness,” declared John Whitehead, president of Rutherford. “If these kinds of decisions are upheld, they will destroy our First Amendment rights.”

"For Ron Paul to run as an independent," Fox News Channel's Juan Williams wrote back on November 4, "could be the biggest, most consequential third party candidacy in American history. Yes, one that is even bigger than Ross Perot’s candidacy was in the 90s."

Persistent talk about a Ron Paul third party candidacy by some may be an attempt to sabotage Dr. Paul's GOP candidacy and enable establishment candidates who support banking bailouts and irresponsible foreign military intervention to win the nomination. Paul has stated he won't run an independent race for the presidency. But serious analysis of the 2012 presidential race indicates that a major independent challenge is all but certain this year without an anti-bailout candidate such as Paul winning the GOP nomination.

Indeed, a significant third party candidacy need not be headlined by Ron Paul. Plenty of third party candidate possibilities dot the political horizon, each of whom could draw 5-15 percent of the popular vote (or more) and a significant percentage of conservative and independent voters. More on those possible candidates later. But first, let's outline a few basic facts about the 2012 presidential election.
 

Except for dissent from Representative Ron Paul of Texas and (to a lesser extent) former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, the Republican presidential candidates blazed their way in a November 12 debate toward foreign policies where the United States would engage in two new Middle Eastern wars against Syria and Iran, re-institute the Bush Administration torture policy, abolish trials for terror suspects, and allow unlimited presidential assassinations.

New Wars Against Iran and Syria
Mitt Romney came out for war against Iran at the beginning of the debate. "If all else fails," Romney told debate moderator and CBS News Anchor Scott Pelley in the South Carolina debate at Wofford College, "then of course you take military action. It is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon." Likewise, Romney sought war against Syria, suggesting "Of course it's time for the Assad dictatorship to end. And we should use covert activity."

Herman Cain told CBS moderator Scott Pelley that he wouldn't invade Syria, but would wage war against the country by funding a bloody insurgency instead: "I would not entertain military opposition. I'm talking about to help the opposition movement within the country."

In the Republican debate on Wednesday, moderator Maria Bartiromo raised the issue of the sexual-harassment allegations that have plagued Herman Cain. “Why should the American people hire a president if they feel there are character issues?” she asked the GOP hopeful. It’s a question we should pose more often.

That’s not to say I lend credence to the charges leveled against Cain. It’s not uncommon today for well-heeled entities to pay five-figure settlements to put nuisance lawsuits to bed — as Cain’s former employer, the National Restaurant Association, has — and a couple of the candidate’s accusers have questionable backgrounds. It’s also odd that, as Ann Coulter pointed out, the allegations leveled against Cain have a David Axelrod connection. Axelrod has been called Barack Obama’s “hired muscle” by the New York Times, and he has a history of smearing Obama opponents with accusations of sexual misconduct. And what is this Axelrod connection? Among other things, Cain’s latest accuser, Sharon Bialek, once lived in Axelrod’s building, and she admits having met the political hit man. But you can read Coulter’s piece for the rest of that story, because my focus here will be different. After all, character does matter and all prospective leaders deserve scrutiny.

And this brings me to my point. If I’d been a candidate at the debate, I would have loved to have chimed in when my turn came and made this statement:

 

Niall Ferguson, professor at Harvard and the London School of Economics, summarized his latest book, Civilization: The West and the Rest for Newsweek magazine’s The Daily Beast by stating that he is not a “declinist” but is instead expecting an imminent collapse of the United States. He wrote: "I really don’t believe the United States ... is in some kind of gradual, inexorable decline.... in my view, civilizations don’t rise…and then gently decline, as inevitably and predictably as the four seasons.... History isn’t one smooth, parabolic curve after another. Its shape is more like an exponentially steepening slope that quite suddenly drops off like a cliff."

As evidence Ferguson points to the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, which was built over a hundred years and collapsed in less than ten. He notes that the Roman Empire collapsed in just a few decades in the early fifth century, while the Ming dynasty ended with frightening speed in the mid-17th century.

He tries to explain why the West, and especially and specifically the United States, is set up for a similar collapse through the use of the analogy of what made America great in the first place, computer-based “killer applications” such as competition, the scientific revolution, the rule of law and representative government, modern medicine, the consumer society, and the work ethic.

CNBC reportedly pulled an online poll half an hour after the GOP debate ended on Wednesday night, indicating that “one candidate” was leading by a large margin. That candidate was Ron Paul.  Video reveals that the longtime Texas Congressman was significantly ahead of the others just prior to the poll being removed from CNBC’s website and replaced with an article entitled, “Who won the debate — Attendees weigh in.”

 

“High-profile detainee” and alleged al-Qaeda operative Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was arraigned Wednesday before a military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba.  The U.S. government has charged al-Nashiri with war crimes related to his alleged role in the suicide bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, an attack that killed 17 sailors. The defendant is additionally charged with the bombing of a French merchant vessel in 2002, and a planned attack on the American naval warship the USS The Sullivans, also in 2000.
 
Guarded by an escort of American servicemen, al-Nashiri entered the courtroom dressed in his white prison jumpsuit. He was clean-shaven and wearing his hair very short.
 
Sitting at a table flanked by his cohort of defense attorneys, al-Nashiri appeared confident, smiling occasionally and at one point waving to the media and other observers sitting behind a glass barrier.
 
The arraignment of al-Nashiri is historic in that it is the first of such tribunals to be held since the system was created during the George W. Bush administration in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001. The proceeding is especially noteworthy in that not only is it the first military tribunal of a Guantanamo prisoner, but, if convicted, al-Nashiri faces the death penalty.

Rose Marie Belforti, a part-time town clerk for the small town of Ledyard, a rural farming community in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, won her reelection on Tuesday, November 8; however, her struggle is just beginning. The soft-spoken Belforti finds herself on the frontline in the battle between the aggressive same-sex-marriage promoters and those who  uphold traditional values.

As a resident of tiny Smithville, Texas (between Austin and Houston), this past Labor Day I was able to observe firsthand the largest and most horrific wildfire in Texas history (which ravaged the area) and also its aftermath. The event — labeled the Bastrop County Complex fire — once again gave rise to the stories that restore one’s faith in people: Neighbors as well as citizens from states around the nation responded immediately to the plight of victims. Yet at the same time, the intrusion of the U.S. government agency FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), with its bureaucratic regulations, provided a clear lesson on why federal aid is not the answer in such situations.

A lawsuit filed by the state of Massachusetts seeking to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as only between a man and a woman, has received the support of a legal brief filed by scores of major corporations. According to LifeSite News, nearly 70 companies signed on to the friend-of-the-court brief filed in Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The companies include Microsoft, Starbucks, Google, NIKE, Levi Strauss and Co., CBS, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mass., Time Warner Cable, and Xerox. Also adding their influence to the brief, reported Keen News Service, a website focusing on homosexual issues, were nearly a dozen national law firms, seven trade and professional organizations, and the cities of New York and Boston.

LifeSite News reported that the brief “charges that DOMA causes ‘unnecessary cost and administrative complexity’ for employers located in states where same-sex ‘marriage’ is recognized by law. Since same-sex ‘marriage’ is recognized as legal in some states but not recognized by the federal government, employers must contend with a complex tax situation for ‘married’ homosexual couples, the brief says.”

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