Congressman Ron Paul has joined the presidential race again, but with a difference: This time around, there’s no House seat to return to as a consolation prize. The Texas congressman, long known for holding the line on the U.S. Constitution, limited government, and sound economics, has announced his retirement from the House of Representatives, regardless of the outcome of his latest bid for the White House.

Perhaps it’s an early indicator of how seriously Ron Paul is taking his presidential campaign this time around that he has already released a fireball of a campaign TV ad, focusing squarely on the debt limit debate and holding fellow lawmakers in both parties accountable for the budgetary mess we’re in. Not that Ron Paul didn’t take his 2008 run seriously — he ended up astonishing Beltway insiders for his ability to raise funds and for the innovative track his campaign took. But one sensed four years ago that Ron Paul himself was a bit surprised at how his campaign took off, fueled as much by the enthusiasm and creativity of his support base as by Ron Paul’s own initiative.

Police in Midway, Georgia shut down a lemonade stand run by three girls trying to make money for a trip to a water park in Savannah because the youngsters didn't have the license and permits required for their fledgling enterprise. City ordinances require a business license, a peddler's permit, and a food permit for the vending of food or beverages, even on residential property in the small city (pop. approximately 1,100) just south of Savannah. The license and permits cost $50 a day or $180 a year, according to Coastal Source, a website of Savannah TV stations WJCL and WTGS.

So the girls shut down their stand and are doing yard work and other chores to make money.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass the Better Use of Light Bulbs (BULB) Act. Though the vote was 233-193, which normally would have been enough, the measure required a two-thirds majority for passage. While House Republicans may still try to adopt the measure by simple majority, most expect that it will not pass the Democrat-controlled Senate. The BULB Act would repeal Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which ultimately bans incandescent light bulbs.

The Kansas City Star reports:

While dozens of Beijing’s trained propagandists posing as journalists were welcomed to the NGA summit, The New American’s Senior Editor William F. Jasper was singled out for exclusion.

Although reporters from communist-controlled media in China are welcome at a summit between the National Governors Association and their Chinese communist counterparts in Salt Lake City this weekend, William Jasper, senior editor for the constitutionalist magazine The New American, is not.

On Tuesday evening, President Obama was being interviewed by Scott Pelley, who asked the President whether he could guarantee that Americans would get their Social Security checks if the debt ceiling weren't raised:

Can you tell the folks at home that, no matter what happens, the[ir] Social Security checks are going to go out on August the 3rd?

Obama:
  Well, this is not just a matter of Social Security checks. These are folks on disability and their checks. There are about 70 million checks that go out each month.

Pelley: Can you guarantee, as president, that those checks will go out on August the 3rd?

Obama: I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven’t resolved the [debt] issue, because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been butting heads with Senate Democrats and President Obama in recent weeks in budget and debt ceiling negotiations, but the Kentucky Republican has also been getting flak from members and supporters of his own party. The conservative organization FreedomWorks, which played a prominent role in organizing the Tea Party movement of 2009 and 2010, put out a message on Twitter this week urging its followers to call McConnell and "Help him find his spine." The Tweet was in response to a backup plan McConnell has offered to break the deadlock in negotiations over raising the debt limit before the current borrowing authorization expires on August 2.

With the national debt currently at roughly $14.3 trillion, Republican congressional leaders, including McConnell, have been demanding White House support for cuts in entitlement programs, including Social Security, and Medicare, in return for raising the debt limit. They have also insisted there be no tax increases.

According to a Reuters report, President Obama is using the worst fear mongering tactics to frighten seniors into pressing their Congressmen to vote for a $2.3 trillion rise in the debt ceiling. In an interview on Tuesday, Obama said that checks to recipients of Social Security may not go out in early August if he and the Republican congressional leaders do not agree on a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

"I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue," Obama said in an interview with CBS, according to a transcript on the network's web site. "Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it," Obama said.

In an Internet commentary on the president’s tactics, Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge, writes:

Europe’s crisis took a dramatic turn for the worse with the sudden awareness, reflected by a steep increase in government bond yields, that the Italian economy may soon be on the financial chopping block alongside those of Greece, Portugal, and Ireland.

Italy, whose national debt is second only to that of Greece in the Eurozone as a percentage of GDP, was long assumed to be too big to fail. The fact that Italy’s more prudent lending practices have prevented a major real estate bubble was faint reassurance that somehow Italy would be immune to financial contagion.

According to House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, “Nobody can out debate” President Obama in the debt ceiling debate. Why then has President Obama reportedly scolded congressional leaders during a debt meeting and then stormed out, contending, “Enough is enough?”

The meeting began to become contentious when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told President Obama that “Congress should instead consider a series of debt ceiling votes based on spending cuts that already have been identified. Talks could then continue to identify additional cuts for subsequent voters.”

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