TEA Parties Mark the 4th

Many Americans from coast-to-coast turned Independence Day 2009 into a “counterattack” against what they call the high-spending, freedom-shrinking policies of President Barack Obama and members of Congress, irrespective of party affiliation. Some 2,000 rallies in all 50 states attracted hundreds of thousands tax and Big Government protesters on Independence Day – perhaps the biggest July 4 political event in America since the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence. The turnouts that defied traditional July 4 diversions, heat and rain encouraged organizers looking forward to the next scheduled tea party events Sept. 12 in Washington, D.C.

  • All of which was pretty much ignored by the mainstream media

New ‘American Patriot’s Bible’ sees USA’s ‘godly roots’

Americans looking to combine love of God with love of country this July 4th can quote the new American Patriot’s Bible, which says God has influenced America though godly Founding Fathers, presidents and soldiers. “This Bible is designed for the decent, hardworking core of America, the ordinary man or woman who loves this nation and believes it springs from godly roots,” says Richard G. Lee, a Southern Baptist pastor from Georgia who served as the Bible’s general editor. “Christians have believed all along that this nation sprung from Judeo-Christian ethics. Now they can say, “Oh, now I know where this uniqueness comes from in our nation’s history.”‘

High School Students Fail Citizenship Test

A survey sponsored by the non-profit Goldwater Institute of Phoenix has found that only 3.5 percent of Arizona high-school students could pass the U.S. citizenship test. The institute wants Arizona lawmakers “to require students to pass the USCIS citizenship exam, administered by a third party, as a condition for receiving a high-school diploma, or that Arizona universities use it as a pre-condition for admittance.” Others have suggested that voters be required to pass the test before being allowed the privilege of voting.

  • The liberal education agenda has certainly proven effective, hasn’t it? Our kids can’t read, spell or do math, nor pass the test immigrants must take to become citizens.

Feds begin Immigration Crackdown

The Obama administration launched investigations of hundreds of businesses around the country Wednesday as part of its strategy to focus immigration enforcement on the employers who hire illegal workers. Immigration officers served “Notices of Inspection” to 625 businesses, the Homeland Security Department said. By comparison, 503 such notices were issued to businesses last year, the agency said. Employers are required to keep the I-9 forms and must check the authenticity of documents provided by the employee. The Homeland Security Department said it would not release the names or locations of businesses being audited.

Private health care coverage at 50-year low

The percentage of Americans with private health insurance has hit its lowest mark in 50 years, according to two new government reports. About 65% of non-elderly Americans had private insurance in 2008, down from 67% the year before, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the 1970s and early 1980s, nearly 80% of Americans had private coverage, according to CDC officials. Some experts blamed the faltering economy and corporate decisions to raise health insurance premiums — or do away with employee coverage — as the main drivers of the recent data. They say coverage statistics for 2009 may look even worse.

Lessons from Europe’s Free Health Care

As President Obama pushes to overhaul the American health care system, the role of government is at the heart of the debate. In Europe, it’s a given. The concept of free, state-run health care has been enshrined in Europe for generations. Europeans have built health systems so inclusive that even illegal immigrants are entitled to free treatment beyond just emergency care. Europeans have some of the world’s best hospitals, and have made great strides in fighting problems like obesity and heart disease. But the system is far from perfect, as costs have skyrocketed and in some cases, patients have needlessly suffered and died.

Critics fear Obama’s reforms will lead to more government control over health care and cite problems faced by European health systems as examples of what not to do. Serious problems in Britain’s health care were reported last month, when cancer researchers announced that as many as 15,000 people over age 75 were dying prematurely from cancer every year. Experts said those deaths could have been avoided if those patients had been diagnosed and treated earlier.

A World Health Organization survey in 2000 found that France had the world’s best health system. But that has come at a high price; health budgets have been in the red since 1988. “I would warn Americans that once the government gets its nose into health care, it’s hard to stop the dangerous effects later,” said Valentin Petkantchin, of the Institut Economique Molinari in France. The U.S. already spends the most worldwide on health care. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the U.S. spent $7,290 per person in 2007, while Britain spent $2,992 and France spent $3,601.

  • The key question is whether health care is a right? The Constitution says nothing about it and before the 20th century it was not even a question. The second key issue, is why does the U.S. spend so much money on it and still have inferior results (e.g. lower life expectancy than most Western, industrialized countries? The answer? Greed.

Swine H1N1 Flu

With swine flu continuing to spread around the world, researchers say they have found the reason it is — so far — more a series of local blazes than a wide-raging wildfire. The new virus, H1N1, has a protein on its surface that is not very efficient at binding with receptors in people’s respiratory tracts. But flu viruses are known to mutate rapidly, the research team noted, so this one must be watched closely in case it changes to become easier to spread.

25,000 Students Homeless in AZ

The number of homeless schoolchildren in Arizona has surpassed 25,000. An increase of nearly 18 percent in the past year was driven by the soaring rate of unemployment and foreclosures, education officials say. Parents lose their jobs, then their home, and families lose their stability. They stay at a friend’s, a hotel, a campground, a shelter – even live out of the car. For students, the loss of a home is more than just a loss of a place to live. It can impede their education and damage their upbringing.

Rising National Debt Next Economic Crisis

(AP) – The Founding Fathers left one legacy not celebrated on Independence Day but which affects us all. It’s the national debt. The country first got into debt to help pay for the Revolutionary War. Growing ever since, the debt stands today at a staggering $11.4 trillion — equivalent to about $37,000 for each and every American. And it’s expanding by over $1 trillion a year. The mountain of debt easily could become the next full-fledged economic crisis without firm action from Washington, economists of all stripes warn. Higher taxes, or reduced federal benefits and services — or a combination of both — may be the inevitable consequences. Interest payments on the debt alone cost $452 billion last year — the largest federal spending category after Medicare-Medicaid, Social Security and defense. It’s quickly crowding out all other government spending. And the Treasury is finding it harder to find new lenders.

  • There’s no “maybe” about it, and it won’t just be higher taxes and reduced benefits – it will be a major collapse.

Canada’s Banks Best in World

Our northern neighbor sometimes seems so similar to the United States that it’s hard to tell where the USA ends and Canada begins. Here’s one way: Canada is the place with healthy banks, taxpayers unscathed by megabillion-dollar bailouts and no need to overhaul financial regulation because it was done right the first time. As U.S. officials scramble to prevent a crisis sequel, the ability of Canadian banks to navigate the current financial storm is earning global plaudits. The World Economic Forum in October ranked the country’s financial institutions No. 1 in the world for solvency. U.S. banks came in 40th, two rungs behind Botswana.

Canada’s experience is reflected in elements of the Obama administration’s proposed revamp of financial industry regulation, the most sweeping set of changes since the 1930s. One example is an increase in the capital buffer required of financial institutions, especially those whose failure would threaten the entire system. Canadian banks must maintain high-quality capital reserves beyond international standards, thus limiting the banks’ use of borrowed funds for investments. (Such leveraged financial bets magnify gains if they pay off — or losses if they don’t.) But the prospect of congressional turf battles prompted the administration to shy from tackling the fragmented U.S. regulatory system, meaning perhaps the greatest Canadian lesson is being ignored. The administration opted to leave in place multiple financial regulatory agencies rather than mimic Canada’s most distinctive feature: a single powerful regulator, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, with a mandate to roam across banks, insurance companies and pension plans.

California prepares to issue promissory notes

California’s controller will start paying many of the state’s bills with promissory notes as soon as Thursday after lawmakers failed to close the state’s worsening budget deficit, adding a new measure of indignity to a state sinking deeper into dysfunction. Lawmakers’ failure to act on Tuesday, the end of the fiscal year, also widened California’s deficit from what already had been a whopping $24.3 billion — more than a quarter of its general fund. The failure to balance the state’s main checkbook prompted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday to declare a fiscal state of emergency. Under the declaration, state offices will be closed three days a month to conserve cash.

If the Legislature fails to solve the deficit within 45 days, it cannot adjourn or act on other bills until the crisis is resolved. The partial government shutdown also will lead to a third furlough day for 235,000 state employees, bringing their total pay cut this year to about 14%. IOUs were scheduled to go out beginning Thursday to private contractors, state vendors, people getting tax refunds and local governments for social services. Assistance payments to elderly, blind and disabled people will be disbursed as usual, because the federal government is paying the state’s share.

Arizona Governor rips budget, calls special session

Governor Jan Brewer vetoed most of the $8.4 billion budget Wednesday, saying it “incorporates devastating cuts to education, public safety and our state’s most vital services for the frail.” She called lawmakers into a special session beginning Monday, asking them to pass a budget that avoids deep cuts in part by increasing the sales tax. The governor vetoed most of the $8.4 billion budget Wednesday, saying it “incorporates devastating cuts to education, public safety and our state’s most vital services for the frail.” She called lawmakers into a special session beginning Monday, asking them to pass a budget that avoids deep cuts in part by increasing the sales tax.

Economic News

Education Secretary Arne Duncan is releasing $2.7 billion in stimulus dollars earlier than planned to help states confront increasingly tighter budgets. The money comes from a fund for state government priorities that has very few strings attached. It doesn’t have to be spent on education, although the administration hopes it will be.

Employers cut a larger-than-expected 467,000 jobs in June, driving the unemployment rate up to a 26-year high 9.5%, according to the Labor Department. The report showed that even as the recession shows signs of easing, companies likely will want to keep a lid on costs and be wary of hiring until they feel certain the economy is on a solid ground. Many economists predict the jobless rate will hit 10% this year, and keep rising into next year, before falling back.

June car sales were bad — 28% lower than a year ago — but industry executives say they think the market has hit bottom and will continue to inch up as the year progresses. It was the first month since September that sales have fallen less than 30% over the previous year.

Iran

A top Iranian cleric said Friday that some of the detained Iranian staffers of the British Embassy in Tehran will be put on trial, and he accused Britain of a role in instigating widespread protests that erupted over the country’s disputed presidential election. The announcement by Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati came a day after the European Union demanded Iran release the staffers, who were detained on June 27. Britain is pressing EU countries to pull their ambassadors out of Tehran in protest.

The most important group of religious leaders in Iran called the disputed presidential election and the new government illegitimate on Saturday, an act of defiance against the country’s supreme leader and the most public sign of a major split in the country’s clerical establishment. The announcement came on a day when presidential candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi, released documents detailing a campaign of fraud by the President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s supporters.

Iraq

At least 447 Iraqi civilians were killed in June, double the toll from the previous month, according to an Associated Press tally, as insurgents took aim at crowded areas to maximize the number of casualties. The spike in violence reflects the stiff challenges facing Iraqi security forces following the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from urban areas this week. But the numbers are still far lower than previous years, and the bombings by suspected Sunni extremists are not triggering the type of retaliatory attacks from Shiite militias that nearly led to civil war in 2006-2007.

Major Offensive in Afghanistan

Thousands of U.S. Marines poured from helicopters and armored vehicles into Taliban-controlled villages in southern Afghanistan on Thursday in the first major operation under President Obama‘s strategy to stabilize the country. The offensive was launched in the Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold and the world’s largest opium poppy-producing area. The goal is to clear insurgents from the hotly contested region before the nation’s Aug. 20 presidential election. It came as U.S. military announced that one of its soldiers was captured by insurgents in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday.

One Marine was killed and several others were injured or wounded Friday on the first full day of the assault, the largest military operation in Afghanistan since the fall of Taliban government in 2001. Taliban militants fired rockets and mortars at a U.S. coalition base in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, killing two American troops and wounding several more in a two-hour battle, officials said.

Pakistan

U.S. missiles struck a training facility operated by Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud and a militant communication center Friday, killing 17 people and wounding 27 others, intelligence officials said. The two attacks by drone aircraft took place in South Waziristan, a Mehsud stronghold close to the Afghan border where Pakistani troops are gearing up for a military offensive, two officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The drone attacks were the latest in more than 40 believed to have been be carried out by the United States against militant targets in the border area since last August. Washington does not directly acknowledge being responsible for the attacks, which kill civilians as well as militants.

Pakistani fighter jets pounded Taliban positions in the country’s volatile northwest on Saturday, killing at least 12 suspected insurgents, security officials said, as the government kept up pressure on Islamist militants along the Afghan border. Elsewhere in the northwest, clashes between tribesmen and Taliban fighters left 16 people dead in the latest violence between pro-government tribal militias and insurgents.

Muslims apparently angered because a Christian man driving a tractor reportedly tried to pass a Muslim on a motorcycle have rampaged in one village in Pakistan, destroying Christians’ homes and throwing acid on women and children as they fled, according to a new report from Barnabas Aid.

North Korea test fires three short-range missiles

North Korea fired seven ballistic missiles off its eastern coast Saturday, South Korea said, a violation of U.N. resolutions and an apparent message of defiance to the United States on its Independence Day. The launches, which came two days after North Korea fired what were believed to be four short-range cruise missiles, will likely further escalate tensions in the region as the U.S. tries to muster support for tough enforcement of the latest U.N. Security Council resolution imposed on the communist regime for its May nuclear test.

Honduras Rejects Calls to Reinstate President

Honduras rebuffed a personal appeal from the Americas’ top international diplomat Friday, refusing to reinstate President Manuel Zelaya and setting the stage for a dramatic showdown if the ousted leader returns to reclaim power this weekend. Jose Miguel Insulza, who heads the Organization of American States, said the hemispheric body would decide Saturday whether to suspend Honduras, a move that could lead to further sanctions against one of the Latin Americas’ poorest countries and encourage other organizations and countries to halt aid and loans.

Amnesty International accuses Israel of war crimes in Gaza

Israeli forces killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians and destroyed thousands of Gaza Strip homes in attacks that amounted to war crimes, Amnesty International charged Thursday, in the first in-depth human rights group report on the recent war in Gaza. Amnesty called on Israel to publicly pledge not to use artillery, white phosphorus and other imprecise weapons in densely populated areas. And it urged Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers to stop rocket fire against Israeli civilians — attacks it also described as war crimes. Israel and Hamas both denounced the report as unbalanced. Israel charged that Amnesty “succumbed to the manipulations of the Hamas terror organization” and Hamas accused the rights group of downplaying the scale of the destruction Israel left behind.

  • End-time bias against Israel will continue to grow from all quarters

China: 140 killed in Riots

Violent street battles killed at least 140 people and injured 828 others in the deadliest ethnic unrest to hit China’s volatile western Xinjiang region in decades, and officials said Monday the death toll was expected to rise. Security forces have clamped down on the city of Urumqi and set up checkpoints to catch any fleeing rioters, state media reported, after tensions between ethnic Muslim Uighur people and China’s Han majority erupted into riots. The government blamed Uighur exiles for stoking the unrest. Exile groups said the violence started only after police began violently cracking down on a peaceful protest. The demonstrators had been demanding justice for two Uighurs killed last month during a fight with Han Chinese co-workers at a factory in southern China.

Weather

The government says the death toll from landslides and floods in Vietnam’s mountainous north has risen to 22. Thirteen other people are still missing after the heavy rains that struck on Friday night. Landslides and floods destroyed or damaged more than 500 houses and hundreds of acres (hectares) of rice fields.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: