More TEA Parties July 4th

This Saturday, July 4, the American Family Association is sponsoring Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party rallies in communities across America. These 1,347 TEA Party rallies are organized locally. Approximately 600,000 individuals participated in TEA Party rallies on April 15. AFA says, “The current administration is quickly turning America into a socialist state where the government owns and runs the various businesses. Our government has taken over major insurance, banking, and automobile companies. Before long we will be presented with a $2 trillion health care bill run by the federal government. It is time that those of us who love our country, our children, and our grandchildren stand up and be heard.

Energy Cap & Trade Program a Hidden Tax

On Friday, Democrats in the House ignored American voters and listened to Obama and Gore as they lobbied for and passed the biggest tax increase in history that is estimated to increase energy costs per family by $1,600 to $3,200 each year. Obama has promised, “I pledge… no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.” Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

  • Oh, he meant direct taxes, not indirect taxes. This “splitting of hairs” reeks of Clinton’s semantic distinctions over what constitutes sex, a favorite tactic of liars.

Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Loses Support Among Americans

A recent poll indicates that Americans are not as supportive of homosexual “marriage” as they once were. A CBS-New York Times survey shows that support for redefining marriage to include same-gender couples has declined. Jenny Tyree of Focus on the Family Action tells OneNewsNow that, according to The New York Times, the figure dropped slightly — but she believes nine percentage points is more than slightly. “I think that this really digs into what Americans really feel about marriage — that they like that [marriage is] defined between a man and a woman,” she contends. “And also it’s a bit of a backlash against the five states whose legislative bodies have redefined marriage very recently within the last several months.”

Supreme Court More Conservative Last Term

In the term that ended Monday, the Supreme Court shifted more to the right, making it harder for people to bring civil rights claims, rejecting challenges by environmentalists and raising the standard for older workers alleging bias on the job. Even in the cases where the Roberts Court did not rule as conservatively as expected, it trimmed legal remedies. “There has been a modest evolution toward narrower, less sweeping opinions,” says Harvard University‘s Richard Fallon. “Roberts’ style in dealing with iconic precedents is to distinguish the older cases, leave them standing, but start tacking in the opposite direction — as in the (voting rights) case.” One of its more consequential decisions came on the last day of the term, when the justices imposed a new hurdle for employers trying to scrap tests and other seemingly neutral practices that favor whites at the expense of racial minorities, or men at the expense of women.

The Supreme Court’s ruling against a city that discarded the results of a firefighter promotion test after whites outscored minorities is likely to affect employers nationwide trying to ensure that hiring practices do not exclude certain segments of society. The 5-4 decision controlled by the conservative wing raises the bar for employers seeking to change a test or other job criteria because it hurts minorities. The decision in the New Haven, Conn., case also heightened the politics around President Obama‘s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the high court. She was a member of the panel that wrote the decision reversed by the justices.

Ron Paul Wins Support to Audit Federal Reserve

All of a sudden, Congress is paying close attention to Ron Paul.  The feisty congressman from Texas, whose insurgent “Ron Paul Revolution” presidential campaign rankled Republican leaders last year, now has the GOP House leadership on his side — backing a measure that generated paltry support when he first introduced it 26 years ago.  Paul, as of Tuesday, has won 245 co-sponsors to a bill that would require a full-fledged audit of the Federal Reserve by the end of 2010. “In the past, I never got much support, but I think it’s the financial crisis obviously that’s drawing so much attention to it, and people want to know more about the Federal Reserve,” Paul told FOXNews.com.

The bill would call for the comptroller general in the Government Accountability Office to audit the Fed and report those findings to Congress. The GAO’s ability to conduct such audits now is severely restricted. The Federal Reserve Transparency Act would remove all of these restrictions, and allow GAO to get real answers from the Federal Reserve to protect American taxpayers. Unfortunately for Paul, the bill appears to be idling in the House Financial Services Committee, which is chaired by Barney Frank, D-Mass.

U.S. Cedes Control of Banking System

One result of the April 2, 2009 G20 meeting in London was the agreement to expand the powers of the Financial Stability Forum (FSF) into a new Financial Stability Board (FSB). The FSB is based in Basel, Switzerland, within the auspices of the Bank for International Settlements. The BIS is the pinnacle of global banking, whose working board members are the heads of central banks around the world. Obama and Geithner are pushing to install the FED as the “super-regulator” in the U.S. financial system. The Fed is a primary member of the BIS. Chairman Bernanke attends up to 10 board of directors meetings in Basel, Switzerland every year, to determine global monetary policy. When (and if) the FED achieves super-regulator status over U.S. institutions, it will have no impediment to simply transferring it over to the FSB and the BIS. And that will be the end of sovereignty for the U.S. financial industry.

  • U.S. sovereignty is poised over the tipping point with little hope on the horizon to prevent its imminent demise.

The dollar declined the most against the euro in a month in May and dropped versus the yen after China repeated its call for a new global currency. The greenback fell against most of its major counterparts after the People’s Bank of China said yesterday the International Monetary Fund should manage more of members’ foreign-exchange reserves in another step toward globalization.

Obama Reaffirms Support for Gay Rights

Countering criticism that he’s done little on gay rights, President Obama commemorated the 40th anniversary of the birth of the modern movement by welcoming its leaders to the White House and reaffirming his commitment to their top priorities. “I want you to know: You have our support,” Obama told members of the core Democratic constituency as he and first lady Michelle Obama hosted a cocktail-and-appetizer reception in the East Room for gay pride month. It’s been some four decades since the police raid on New York City’s gay Stonewall Inn that spurred gay rights activism across the country. As activists work to change minds and change laws, Obama added: “I will not only be your friend, I will continue to be an ally and a champion and a president who fights with you and for you.”

  • Lest anyone think Obama had a change of heart, he has clearly staked out his position.

Trojan Horse in Healthcare Reform

President Obama said something at his White House healthcare event last week that offers a disturbing hint of our future under his vision of health reform. He suggested one way to save costs is not to spend on procedures that “evidence shows [are] not necessarily going to improve care” for the sick and the dying. “Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller,” the President said. But the question is, who decides? Under the plan advocated by President Obama and his allies, that someone will be a government bureaucrat.

  • Some believe that this will have a chilling effect on care for the elderly, resulting in age discrimination and genocide, fulfilling one of the goals of the New World (Dis)Order to reduce population

Battle over Water Heats Up in Drought-Stricken California

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar came to ground zero in the state’s fight over dwindling water resources Sunday as agriculture and environmental interests have become increasingly polarized. In Congress this week, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, blamed farmers’ woes on “government action to protect a three-inch minnow.” And Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, countered coastal fishermen are suffering their third collapse of the salmon industry in four years because “science has been put aside for politics.” “It’s do or die,” said farmer Shawn Coburn, who said he lost a new $750,000 well this week because emergency groundwater pumping is depleting aquifers.

Salazar held a town hall meeting at California State University, Fresno, to assess the impacts of a three-year drought and federal water delivery cutbacks from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to protect threatened fish. His visit comes 10 days after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked the Obama Administration to declare Fresno County a disaster area, and five days after state agriculture officials held hearings in Mendota, where idled farm workers contribute to a 40% unemployment rate. In Fresno County, the No. 1 agriculture county in the U.S., farmers have idled 262,000 acres because they do not have enough water. Statewide the figure is 450,000 acres unplanted.

  • It’s not just a three-year drought. For nearly twenty years, the southwest has suffered through an extended drought that has drained aquifers even as a population explosion has tremendously increased demand.

Drug-Resistant Swine Flu

Health officials have confirmed a case of swine flu that is resistant to Tamiflu, the leading pharmaceutical weapon against the new virus. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials say the resistance was seen in a patient in Denmark. The good news is that scientists say the resistant strain developed in that one patient and has not spread to others. Experts say Tamiflu resistance has developed in other types of flu, so this was not unexpected. But until an effective vaccine is developed, the drugs Tamiflu and Relenza are considered the best defense medicine has to offer.

Kroger Recalls Beef

Kroger on Tuesday recalled ground beef sold under its store brands in more than a dozen states. The meat was produced by JBS Swift Beef of Greeley, Colo., which voluntarily expanded an earlier beef recall because of possible E. coli contamination. Kroger says packages with “sell by” dates of April 27 to June 1 are included. Kroger-owned Food 4 Less stores in the Chicago area, Fry’s stores in Arizona and Smith’s stores in Arizona, Utah, and other western states are included in the recall.

FDA Panel Suggests Smaller Doses of Acetaminophen

The FDA has assembled a group of experts to vote on ways to reduce liver damage associated with acetaminophen, one of the most widely used drugs in the U.S. Despite years of educational campaigns and other federal actions, acetaminophen remains the leading cause of liver failure in the U.S., according to the FDA. Acetaminophen is found in popular over-the-counter medications like Tylenol and Excedrin. Government experts say prescription drugs like Vicodin and Percocet that combine a popular painkiller with Acetaminophen should be eliminated because of their role in deadly overdoses. But many panelists opposed a sweeping withdraw of products that are so widely used to control severe, chronic pain.

Economic News

Commercial bankruptcies are surging. Fewer people are starting small businesses, and firms already open are struggling under changing consumer habits, a lack of funding options and tougher bankruptcy laws. If a nationwide trend seen since January holds true, more than 300 businesses will file for bankruptcy — today alone. The first five months of this year have shown a 52% increase in the total number of commercial bankruptcy filings (36,106) compared with the same period last year (23,829).

Arizona, California, Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina and Pennsylvania are among states still struggling to approve budgets for the 2010 fiscal year, which begins Wednesday in 46 states. Big tax hikes were approved in some states, including Hawaii, Nevada, New Jersey and Oregon. Many other tax proposals, though, died in budget negotiations. “With a few exceptions, states have been able to avoid the doomsday projections that big tax hikes were on the way — but doomsday may be just a year around the corner when the federal stimulus money runs out,” says Pete Sepp, vice president of the National Taxpayers Union, an anti-tax group.

Prices of single-family homes declined in April from March in many areas, but the pace of the decline slowed, suggesting stability is emerging, according to the latest Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller home price indexes. An index of 20 metropolitan areas dipped 0.6% in April from March, after a 2.2% decline the month before, for an 18.1% downturn from a year earlier. The rate of annual decline in these measures has improved, from 18.7% in March.

The ink has barely dried on credit card reform signed by President Obama in May, and already, issuers are raising prices again. In the latest round, Bank of America and Chase have increased, or are increasing, their maximum balance-transfer fees, from 3% to 4% and 5%, respectively. Chase is also expanding the definition of who could get hit with a penalty interest rate. Meanwhile, InfiBank is establishing a higher minimum APR — the greater of 15.99% or 11.99% plus the prime rate — on many cards. And Capital One and Citigroup continue to raise card rates for certain borrowers. That new law limits when issuers can raise interest rates on existing debt and charge late and over-limit fees. But it doesn’t impose a cap on card rates and fees.

Ford is boosting its third-quarter production schedule after seeing more demand for its cars and trucks in June, the company said Monday. Ford (F) plans to increase production by 16% compared with the third quarter of 2008. The automaker had said it would increase production 10%, but is adding another 25,000 vehicles because it’s seen some stabilization in June auto sales.

Top Indian Official Apologizes for Anti-Christian Violence

Christian Post reports that India’s head government official says people displaced by religious violence must return to their homes. “I am sorry that certain things happened last year and you have been brought to these camps,” said Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram. “But you must go back to your villages. I am here to remove your fear and assure you that Center and State government will offer all protection.” More than 2,000 people remain in relief camps in Kandhamal. Chidambaram told these refugees to return “without any fear,” promising that “[w]hoever has been found accused or involved in violent activities, will be prosecuted and punished.”

New NATO Flotilla takes over Anti-Piracy Patrols

NATO has replaced the flotilla conducting anti-piracy patrols off Somalia for the past three months with a new force that will “continue the operation “indefinitely,” a spokesman said Monday, in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. The new force will continue to operate in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, where international patrols involving warships from NATO, the European Union and other nations have been working to reduce attacks on merchant ships by Somali pirates. The new task force will consist of five warships from Britain, the United States, Greece, Italy and Turkey. Despite the presence of about two dozen foreign warships backed up by maritime patrol planes off Somalia, the number of hijackings has not dropped noticeably in recent months. Experts say the seagoing gangs have evolved new tactics to beat the patrols.

Iraq Troop Withdrawal

Four American soldiers have died in combat during the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraqi cities, adding a darker note to a milestone that Iraqis have wanted for some time. The troop deaths prompted Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to assure Iraqis that government forces taking control of urban areas on Tuesday were more than capable of protecting the country. The withdrawal that was completed on Monday was part of a U.S.-Iraqi security pact and marks the first major step toward withdrawing all American forces from the country by Dec. 31, 2011. President Obama has said all combat troops will be gone by the end of August 2010.

As Iraq celebrated Tuesday’s deadline for U.S. troops to depart from the nation’s cities, a car bomb killed at least 33 people in the city of Kirkuk, spotlighting the fragile security as Iraqi forces take control. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had warned that insurgents would mount attacks around Tuesday’s deadline. In Washington, President Obama said, “Make no mistake: There will be difficult days ahead,” he said.

The top U.S. military commander in Iraq on Tuesday accused Iran of continuing to support and train militants who are carrying out attacks, including most of the ones in Baghdad. “Iran is still supporting, funding and training surrogates inside Iraq,” Odierno told reporters at his base outside Baghdad. “I think many of the attacks in Baghdad are in fact done by individuals supported by Iran.”

Iranian Election Declared Valid

Iranian officials have declared the hotly disputed presidential election to be correct after a partial recount of 10% of the ballots. Requests for a new election and allegations of voting irregularities have been rejected. Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi claims he, not incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is the rightful winner of the June 12 election, and has called for a new election.

President Obama has become the latest in a series of U.S. presidents to be confounded by Iran’s Islamic Republic, a line that includes Jimmy Carter‘s failed attempts to free 52 American hostages, Ronald Reagan‘s arms sales in the Iran-contra scandal, and Bill Clinton‘s overtures to an ostensibly moderate president who secretly expanded Iran’s nuclear program. Now, the tumult in Iran may complicate Obama’s goal of negotiating a nuclear compromise at a time when, according to a May report by the U.S. Senate foreign relations committee, Iran could be as little as six months away from building a nuclear weapon.

Honduran Coup Opposed

Honduran coup leaders have three days to restore deposed President Manuel Zelaya to power, the Organization of American States said Wednesday, before Honduras risks being suspended from the group. Zelaya, who was ousted in a coup Sunday, planned to return to Honduras this weekend, accompanied by OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza, the presidents of Argentina and Ecuador and the head of the U.N. General Assembly, and seek restoration of his authority. President Obama on Monday declared that the United States still considers Manuel Zelaya to be the president of Honduras and assailed the coup that forced him into exile as “not legal,” widening the chasm between the Central American nation and much of the rest of the world.

Weather

Tornado-related deaths are down sharply as the peak season for twisters ends this week. There have been 21 deaths caused by tornadoes this year, compared with 121 in the first half of 2008, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. Fatalities averaged 63 a year over the past decade. There is an annual average of 770 tornadoes through mid-June, Brooks says. This year, there were about 690, and they didn’t hit populated areas.

More than 2,000 Nebraska cattle died last week during an unexpected spike in temperatures and humidity levels, with one feedlot alone losing 250 cattle, officials estimated Monday. Many livestock producers were already struggling amid high feed costs before the heat wave moved in.

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