(CNN)-It's early, and State of the Union is bringing you the best of the morning headlines to go with your cup of coffee.
On our radar: Controversial statements from presidential candidates, and tensions in Iran and Syria.
Check out what we're reading, and watch our interview today with presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) as well as our insider panel: former presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) and Republican Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.
Paul: U.S. "slipping into a fascist system"
"We've slipped away from a true Republic," Paul said. "Now we're slipping into a fascist system where it's a combination of government and big business and authoritarian rule and the suppression of the individual rights of each and every American citizen."
2012: The year of 'birth control moms'?
Women backed Barack Obama in big numbers in 2008 but then swung right in 2010. If the president is to win reelection in 2012, he’ll need to win women back — and Lake and other Democrats see the GOP push on contraception as a gift that will make that easier.
Santorum: Obama leads with a 'different theology'
“It's not about your job. It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology,” Santorum said. "Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology. But no less a theology.”
Rising Gas Prices Give G.O.P. Issue to Attack Obama
In a closed-door meeting last week, Speaker John A. Boehner instructed fellow Republicans to embrace the gas-pump anger they find among their constituents when they return to their districts for the Presidents’ Day recess.
“This debate is a debate we want to have,” Mr. Boehner told his conference on Wednesday, according to a Republican aide who was present. “It was reported this week that we’ll soon see $4-a-gallon gas prices. Maybe higher. Certainly, this summer will see the highest gas prices in years. Your constituents saw those reports, and they’ll be talking about it.”
‘Taxmageddon’ looms at end of payroll tax holiday
On Dec. 31, the George W. Bush-era tax cuts are scheduled to expire, raising rates on investment income, estates and gifts, and earnings at all levels. Overnight, the marriage penalty for joint filers will spring back to life, the value of the child credit will drop from $1,000 to $500, and the rate everyone pays on the first $8,700 of wages will jump from 10 percent to 15 percent.
The potential shock to the nation’s pocketbook is so enormous, congressional aides have dubbed it “Taxmageddon.” Some economists say it could push the fragile U.S. economy back into recession, particularly if automatic cuts to federal agencies, also set for January, are permitted to take effect.
Barak Says Iran Sanctions Have Further to Go Before Military Strike Needed
“We’re still in the sanctions stage and we expect them to become even more tight,” Barak said at a press conference today in Tokyo at the end of a four-day visit. “I think there is consensus in most capitals of the world that Iran should not be allowed to turn into a nuclear military power.”
Iranian warships sail into the Mediterranean
Two Iranian warships sailed through Egypt's Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea, Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency reported Saturday, amid heightened tensions in the region.
The move represents only the second time such ships have crossed the Suez Canal since the Islamic republic's 1979 revolution.
It was not clear from the report where the two vessels, a destroyer and a supply ship, were headed. However, another semi-official Iranian news agency, ISNA, said the ships were on their way to Syria.
House Intelligence chairman: Iran behind attacks on Israelis
“I can say with a very high degree of confidence that Iran was involved and some of its more known intelligence — both military and civilian intelligence services — were engaged in these events,” said Rogers in an interview set to air on NPR’s All Things Considered on Saturday evening.
Israeli Strike On Iran 'Not Prudent,' Gen. Martin Dempsey Says
In Damascus, street protests and diplomacy
Close to 300 doctors have been arrested since mid-March, one opposition group says.
Syria 'disintegrating under crippling sanctions'
One of Syria's leading businessmen says its economy is being crippled by foreign sanctions and that the government is slowly disintegrating.
Israel's ex-spy chief sees opportunity in Syria crisis
If the regime falls in Syria and the Iranians are expelled, this is going to be a horrendous defeat for Iran.
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I pray for all my brothers across the world, and ask god to help us avoid war. Why must there be disaster in order for us to come together? Division is our greatest fault and it will be the undoing of the greatest of nations. I am tired of there being so much hatred. It doesn't matter what religion you live by or if you believe at all, you only have to look around you to realize that the end for us is very near. This much hate and animosity can not go on... We are the voice and backbone of this great nation/s and it is time we let our voices be heard. Our governments must serve the people NOT DICTATE TO US HOW WE MUST LIVE. And we often wonder why so many hate the U.S it is not us who they hate it is the way's of our government. This year when the alignment of our planets cause's worldwide catastrophe and devatation the one beautiful thing will be that we will all finally come together and it will not matter what nation you are from... you will extend your arms out and help one another. OUT OF DEATH AND DISTRUCTION THERE WILL BE RESURRECTION OF LIFE?
Let me see bat is on the repubs agenda if the win election: first they will kill Obamacare and leave 30 million folks out in the cold; pushing power back to the insurance companies to commence doing what the oil companies are currently doing to the American people, These repubs seems to think that companies are not out to make money but to cater to the needs of the America people in a global economy, they will make all the states a right to work state and get rid of the middle-class; companies will start paying every one the same basic rates as China and India; which means we will lose our middle class advantage and have to compete for American jobs with countries with 5 to six more spenders than we have, they will cut our spending powers and give to the rich; the rich will see that consumer spending has cut dramatically (which is 70% of our economy) and run to china. Lesson we've got to allow the rich to invest in rebuild our infrastructures, and put million of people to work, this will be a investment because the more money folks have, the more money they'll get. More people will pay taxes and the debt will start going down.
Entire republican candidacy failed and will fail, people lost trust. This nation is going in a right direction. true, true, and true.
State of the Union -- All Republican, All the Time,
You may as well tune in to Fox as to watch Crawley.
LOL! The GOBP deathcult morons want to emphasize rising gas prices while ratcheting up tensions over Iran. Even better, they'll do this while opposing new financial regs addressing the futures markets for commodities like oil. Americans know why gas prices are rising and it has nothing to do with drilling here (where production levels are way up) or with President Obama's economic policies.
Prices are up because the GOBP supports reckless warmongering in the middle east and because the GOBP and its psychopathic leaders hidden among the 1%, make huge, almost unimaginable, amounts of money trading on war, whether actual wars, rumored wars, build-ups to wars or rebuilding after wars. It's a giant money scam the low-info, low-IQ folks on the extreme rightwing can't see.
I don't know as to which planet these GOP idiots are but they and their ideas are so kooky, and mess this nation. This nation is on right track now than ever before.....