Could Obama Do ‘October Surprise’ Against Iran?; Reagan PAC: Gingrich Most Like Gipper

Saturday, 31 Dec 2011 06:06 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Ronald Reagan's Old PAC: Gingrich Closest to Reagan
2. Obama's Cuba Policy Could Cost Him the Election
3. U.N. Flies Flags at Half-Staff for Kim Jong Il
4. Could Obama Launch 'October Surprise' Against Iran?
5. Payouts to Seniors to Reach 50 Percent of Budget
 

1. Ronald Reagan's Old PAC: Gingrich Closest to Reagan

Republicans believe Newt Gingrich is the GOP presidential candidate who "comes closest" to being "the next Reagan," according to a political organization originally established by Ronald Reagan.

Citizens for the Republic released the results of surveys of likely primary voters in Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire.

"As we've traveled around the country this year, we've heard from citizens all over how much they wish they could vote again for Ronald Reagan," said CFTR Executive Vice President Bill Pascoe.

"But they can't. So we decided to see who among the GOP candidates for president comes closest to being the next Reagan — and the results were decisive.

"In each of the three early primary and caucus states we polled, likely Republican voters answered with one name more than any other — and that candidate was Newt Gingrich."

Poll respondents were asked, "Many voters have commented that they wish they could vote again for Ronald Reagan, a leader valued as a consistent conservative whose leadership qualities and belief that America's best days were yet to come served our nation well. While none of the Republican candidates for president can properly claim to be the next Reagan, in your opinion, which current candidate for president comes closest?"

Gingrich received 23 percent of the vote in Iowa, well ahead of second-place finisher Mitt Romney at 8 percent. He also polled 23 percent in South Carolina; in New Hampshire, Gingrich and Romney were tied at 18 percent.

Former House Speaker Gingrich scored even higher among respondents who said they supported the tea party.

"Given his three decades as one of the most influential leaders of the Conservative Movement, his consistent conservative values, and his optimistic vision for an American Opportunity Society, it should be no surprise that Newt scored this well on the 'Next Reagan' question," said Pascoe.

"At least among the candidates tested, Newt is the obvious choice as the heir to the Reagan legacy."

Citizens for the Republic was launched by Reagan as a political action committee in 1977, and CFTR was re-launched as a lobbying organization in 2010. Its board includes Ed Meese, who served as attorney general in the Reagan administration.

On Thursday Newsmax released a special online broadcast, "The Newsmax 2012 Campaign Special," hosted by Reagan's son Michael Reagan. Echoing the results of the CFTR survey, Reagan — a respected conservative commentator — introduced an exclusive Newsmax interview with Gingrich by declaring that Gingrich is the candidate who will best continue the Reagan legacy.

Editor's Note:



2. Obama's Cuba Policy Could Cost Him the Election

President Barack Obama has said that unilaterally easing sanctions against the Castro regime in Cuba is an "adequate" policy supported by Cuban-Americans.

That "support," however, is "never reflected where it counts — the ballot box," writes Mauricio Claver-Carone, director of the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC and founding editor of CapitolHillCubans.com, in an opinion piece for the Miami Herald.

He points out that Obama received only about 30 percent of the Cuban-American vote during the 2008 election, "when just about every other constituency was overwhelmingly looking for 'change' after eight years of the Bush administration."

"Obama won Florida by only 2.5 percent. Today, he's treading on thin ice politically. Thus, any drop in Cuban-American support could easily cost him Florida — and given Florida's political importance, perhaps the election."

Obama's political rationale regarding Cuba is based on the belief that Cuban-Americans — although they consistently vote to support candidates who favor maintaining strong sanctions against Cuba's dictatorship — support more travel to and engagement with the island.

"Here are the facts: The Cuban-American community has never elected a candidate to federal office who has supported lifting sanctions," Claver-Carone writes.

"In the most recent example, during the 2010 congressional race in the heavily Cuban-American 25th District of Florida, Obama's candidate — an outspoken cheerleader for his Cuba policy — got less than 18 percent of the Cuban-American vote."

He notes that in September, as Obama was discussing his "adequate" policy, the Castro regime arrested 563 people for political "crimes." That's the highest monthly number of political arrests in 30 years.

"Why does President Obama continue this policy of unilateral appeasement with the Castro brothers?" Claver-Carone says. "After all, with unemployment in Florida reported to be as high as 11 percent, it would seem that Obama and his re-election campaign don't have much wiggle room."

Editor's Note:



3. U.N. Flies Flags at Half-Staff for Kim Jong Il

The United Nations has sparked outrage by lowering its flags in New York and other centers to half-staff to mark the Wednesday funeral of ruthless North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il.

A U.N. spokesman said the gesture was customary when the leader of a U.N. member state dies, but it "nonetheless raised eyebrows in the case of Kim, who headed what is widely viewed as the world's most repressive regime," CNS News reported.

U.N. Watch, a non-governmental organization based in Geneva — where the U.N. flag also flew at half-staff Wednesday — said the world body should also voice solidarity for the victims of the North Korean regime.

"We understand that the U.N. follows diplomatic protocol, but the world body must not forget that its founding purpose is to defend basic human rights, and sadly that message is at serious risk of being blurred today," said the group's executive director, Hillel Neuer.

"Today should be a time for the U.N. to show solidarity with the victims — the millions of North Koreans brutalized by Kim's merciless policies of starvation, torture, and oppression — and not with the perpetrator."

U.N. Watch on Wednesday urged the U.N.'s South Korean Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "to make clear that today's gesture in no way signals respect for a mass murderer of his own people, a man personally responsible for some of the worst atrocities of our time."

Neuer voiced concern that Pyongyang would likely "exploit the images of flags at half-staff to claim world sympathy for Kim Jong Il and his regime."

At the funeral, an official commentator praised Kim Jong Il as a leader who did all he could "for the glory of the country and the happiness of the people."

But the U.S.-based North Korea Freedom Coalition says an estimated three million North Koreans have died as a result of abuses attributed to the regime, including starvation, since the mid-1990s, when Kim Jong Il assumed leadership following the death of his father, Kim Il Sung.

North Korea is also widely regarded as the world's most repressive state, CNS News observed. It earns the worst possible ranking for civil liberties and political freedom in annual global evaluations by the democracy advocacy group Freedom House.

As many as 200,000 North Koreans are held in prison camps, where they face malnutrition, hard labor, beatings, forced abortions, and summary executions, International Religious Freedom Chairman Leonard Leo wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday.

He urged the Obama administration to ensure that U.S. diplomacy relating to North Korea "advances an agenda that gives a prominent place to the protection of human rights."

Editor's Note:



4. Could Obama Launch 'October Surprise' Against Iran?

Recent statements from the Obama administration have led at least one Israeli observer to suspect that the president is preparing for an attack on Iran — and political considerations would dictate an assault in October.

Writing in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Chemi Shalev notes that on Dec. 16, Obama switched his rhetoric from "a nuclear Iran is unacceptable" to the assertive "we are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."

On Dec. 19, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who had previously warned about the pitfalls of an attack on Iran, declared that the United States "will take whatever steps necessary to deal with" the Iranian nuclear threat.

The next day, Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, "My biggest worry is that [the Iranians] will miscalculate our resolve."

Shalev observes that with the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, there is no longer fear that an attack on Iran would endanger U.S. forces there.

And he discloses that people who have heard Obama speak about Iran in closed sessions believe he would order an attack if he is convinced that a nuclear-armed Iran poses a clear danger to America's national security.

"There can be no doubt — notwithstanding claims by the radical left and the isolationist right — that a nuclear Iran would be an unmitigated disaster for American interests, above and beyond the existential threat to Israel," Shalev writes.

"The entire Middle East would be destabilized and America's oil supplies held hostage by a self-confident and bellicose Iran."

If an American attack on Iran were to take place, timing it close to the November elections would benefit Obama politically, according to Shalev, who declares that "October would be ideal."

He adds: "That's the month that Henry Kissinger chose in 1972 to prematurely declare that 'peace is at hand' in Vietnam, thus turning Richard Nixon's certain victory over George McGovern into a landslide; that's the month that Ronald Reagan feared Jimmy Carter would use in 1980 in order to free the Iran hostages and stop the Republican momentum; and that's the month that many of Obama's opponents are already jittery about, fearing the proverbial 'October Surprise' that would hand Obama his second term on a platter."

Editor's Note:



5. Payouts to Seniors to Reach 50 Percent of Budget

Due to the aging of the baby-boom generation, the annual share of the U.S. budget spent on programs benefiting seniors is projected to reach a "not sustainable" 50 percent, an expert warns.

In 1970, spending on Social Security and Medicare accounted for just 20 percent of the budget. The percentage has since nearly doubled, to 37 percent in 2010, accounting for 8.4 percent of the nation's gross domestic product.

But "combining Medicare and Social Security data alone underestimates the realities of federal spending for senior citizens," according to Veronique de Rugy, a research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

She notes that in a recent year, 28 percent of Medicaid spending went to Americans over the age of 65. With those Medicaid costs included, about 40 percent of the 2010 budget was spent on seniors.

And by 2030, she asserts, half of the entire budget will be consumed by payments for senior citizens.

"These trends are not sustainable," de Rugy declares, and current law cannot be allowed to stand if these entitlement programs are to remain solvent without bankrupting the federal government.

Editor's Note:



Editor's Notes:

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