Announcing his entry into the 2012 presidential race, Gary Johnson rattled off a list of crises besetting the United States, from “record unemployment” to “loss of our nation’s industrial might.” “Why am I telling you this?” he asked, then answered: “Because America is better than this. And because I can help fix it.”

Former Congressman Newt Gingrich has never shied away from controversy, so the recent turmoil among his presidential campaign staff, leading to the abrupt departure of a number of his senior aides, was very much in character. At the time, the candidate whom Robert Novak of the Washington Post had once identified as a top presidential contender seemed to be dead in the water. Gingrich, however, has opted to soldier on, and while campaign funding is lagging, the toxic political climate and economic turbulence have made presidential electoral politics more uncertain than at any time in recent memory.

Jon Huntsman, Jr. was barely known outside of Utah and the upper echelons of D.C. politics before his GOP candidacy received a series of big publicity boosts. But still today, Huntsman is relatively obscure — especially among the general public.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Chief John Morton (left) has terminated the federal Secure Communities program with nearly 40 states, the Arizona Republic reports.

Secure Communities is a program that identifies and deports dangerous illegal alien criminals. Morton, the newspaper reports, revealed that the federal government was ending agreements with those states that implemented Secure Communities protocols, saying it does not need the cooperation of states in order to run the program.

Item: The Associated Press reported on July 15 on the UN’s proposed Arms Trade Treaty to regulate weapons worldwide: The French Ambassador, Eric Danon, “said the treaty aims to regulate the legal trade of conventional weapons for the first time by requiring countries to track arms exports and imports and help fight the illicit weapons trade. Countries are debating whether the treaty should also track bullets and other ammunition.”