The Little America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City was abuzz with activity and excitement when your reporter arrived on July 14 for the opening of the U.S. & China Trade, Culture & Education Conference 2011. Throngs of Chinese delegates and journalists packed the lobby, while still more delegates from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) disembarked from limousines and tour buses at the hotel entrance. The scene was much the same across the street at the hotel’s pricier corporate sister, the Grand America Hotel, which served as the main venue for the National Governors Association Annual Meeting and U.S.-China Governors Forum.

My first order of business was to pick up my press credentials for the Trade, Culture & Education Conference, which was being sponsored by the American & Chinese Friendship Promotion Society. Unfortunately, I arrived at the credential room a few minutes too late; the man in charge had closed up and departed for the afternoon, taking the press badges with him. Mine would be available the next morning, in time for the main events, his assistant assured me. In the meantime, the assistant said, since he had seen my name on the list of officially approved journalists, I could use the press badge of Le Yeng, a Chinese journalist who had not shown up, to get into the afternoon’s remaining events.

No one has ever accused Rick Santorum of being coy. The former Pennsylvania Representative and two-term Senator has built a reputation for being outspoken and unapologetic, a political point man for opinions that have become politically incorrect.

Born in 1958, he early became known as feisty and opinionated. In high school, he earned the nickname “Rooster,” in part because of hair that refused to stay combed, and in part because “he was dogged and determined like a rooster and never backed down,” according to an online June 2006 write-up by U.S. News & World Report.

Santorum got his first taste of politics as a junior at Penn State University, where he volunteered for Republican Senator John Heinz’s campaign in order to fulfill a requirement for a political science course.

The German government is considering banning the National Democratic Party (known as NPD, for "National Party of Deutschland," a political movement defined by the punditry as "far right." Gerhard Schröeder, the Social Democrat who preceded Angela Merkel as Chancellor of Germany, failed in his attempt to ban the small party in 2003.

Hajo Funke of the Free University of Berlin supports the ban: “The NPD is dangerous — its far-right, violent, and xenophobic ideology threatens the multi-ethnic fabric of German life,” he declares, adding that Germany is still home to “an active, dangerous and strong Neo-Nazi movement.” The NPD's foes claim that it does not deserve taxpayers' money. In Germany, all political parties receive tax dollars; in contrast, many Americans believe that taxpayer support for any political party compromises the integrity of the whole political system.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) schooled former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on foreign policy issues in the August 11 GOP presidential debate in Ames, Iowa.

Asked by Fox News channel anchor Chris Wallace why Paul was "soft" on Iran in his opposition to economic sanctions against the country, Paul told the debate audience that the threat from Iran was small when looked at through the lens of history: "Just think of what we went through in the Cold War when I was in the Air Force, after I was drafted into the Air Force, all through the Sixties. We were standing up against the Soviets. They had like 30,000 nuclear weapons with intercontinental missiles. Just think of the agitation and the worry about a country that might get a nuclear weapon some day."

Paul concluded of sanctions: "That makes it much worse.

Officials in Michigan have finally ended a lucrative scam: attending college and collecting food stamps on the grounds of need. College kids in Michigan have been cheating the taxpayers by claiming they were too poor to buy food.

No longer. The Detroit News reported on Monday that Human Service Director Maura Corrigan has tossed 30,000 college students off the food dole, which will save the state $75 million annually.

Naturally, food stamp devotees want as many college students on the program as possible. But almost everyone, including Kwame Kilpatrick, the former Mayor of Detroit, knows that using food stamps while in college is a scam on the taxpayers.

Mitt Romney’s candidacy is something of a miracle. “Miracle Mitt” continues to claim — falsely — that he didn’t seek to raise taxes as Massachusetts Governor. And he appears to be getting away with it, as enough Republican voters remain ignorant of his record for Mitt to retain his “frontrunner” status in the 2012 Republican presidential primary race.

The Cato Institute reported of Romney’s 2003 proposals as Massachusetts Governor:

He scared some conservatives when he said that he was opposed to tax increases but he couldn’t rule them out. His first budget, presented under the cloud of a $2 billion deficit, balanced the budget with some spending cuts, but a $500 million increase in various fees was the largest component of the budget fix.

Does Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann really believe foreigners have no rights under American law? Apparently so, according to her remarks during the Ames, Iowa debate August 11.

Fox News' Chris Wallace asked her why Rep. Ron Paul was wrong to insist that trials be held for terror suspects: "You say that we don't win the war on terror by closing Guantanamo and reading Miranda rights to terrorists. Congressman Paul says terrorists have committed a crime and should be given due process in civilian courts. Could you please tell Congressman Paul why he is wrong?"

Bachmann, who calls herself a "constitutional conservative," responded: "Because, simply, terrorists who commit acts against United States citizens, people who come from foreign countries to do that, do not have any right under our Constitution to Miranda rights."

Of all of the myriad agencies created and maintained by the Executive Branch, few have proven to be as detrimental to the United States as the Environmental Protection Agency. Since its birth under President Nixon’s executive order in 1970, the mission of the EPA has been to protect human health and the environment. The mission has been mutilated since the start, as the environment (or at least what we are led to believe is the environment) has taken so much precedent that the human health aspect — whether it is the physical, mental, social or economic sort — has been deemed worthless in comparison.

More often than not, it has appeared that the power brokers in Washington use the environment (and therefore the EPA) as a tool, a compelling means by which to exert its brand of total control over economic functions it would otherwise have a difficult time with without such propaganda. Over time, the EPA has touched everything from the food we eat (from over-the-top dust regulations to clean water rules that strip property rights) to the energy we use (telling oil and gas companies where, how and when to extract much-needed resources, creating a dependency on foreign sources) to the air we breathe (instituting utterly insane emissions standards for things as simple as portable fuel tanks). All of those rules and thousands more add to the cost of doing business and therefore the cost of living. The actual negative impact on the American consumer is in the hundreds of billions per year as we end up paying for these regulations at the market, fuel pump, and department store.

In this year’s summer of discontent, as the nation faced a possible government shutdown in the battle over the debt ceiling, presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty was assuring voters he could handle such a crisis when his turn came. As a former Governor of Minnesota, he has, as they say, been there, done that.

“I shut down a government and won,” Pawlenty said in one TV ad. Another says, “Minnesota government shut down. Why? Because Tim Pawlenty would not accept Democrats’ massive tax and spending demands. Result? Pawlenty won.” At the time, however, the Governor did not sound so triumphant. When the partial shutdown ended after nine days in July of 2005, Pawlenty cautioned against boasting by either side. “Given what the state’s been through, anybody who tries to spin this as a partisan victory should be ashamed of himself or herself,” he said at a press conference. The budget standoff ended when Pawlenty and the Democrats agreed to a 75-cent increase in the cigarette tax, an increase Pawlenty had proposed near the end of the regular session of the Legislature. It was revived during the special session as a way to help pay for public health programs. Pawlenty wouldn’t call it a tax hike, though.

Representative Thaddeus “Thad” McCotter of Livonia, Michigan, entered the presidential race in July 2011, and styles himself as a conservative, telling the Detroit NBC-TV affiliate, “I’m a Russell Kirk conservative. I’m a Ronald Reagan conservative.” But McCotter earned an anemic average of only 53 percent during his nine years as a Congressman on The New American’s “Freedom Index,” far lower than the other two Congressmen running for President, Ron Paul (100 percent) and Michele Bachmann (81 percent).

The 45-year-old, five-term Michigan Congressman is basing his candidacy on what he calls his “five core principles.” Those principles are: “1. Our liberty is from God not the government, 2. Our sovereignty is in our souls not the soil, 3. Our security is from strength not surrender, 4. Our prosperity is from the private sector not the public sector, 5. Our truths are self-evident not relative.”

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