Pro-Family Leaders Fight Congress to Save DOMA

Providing federal benefits for domestic partners, such as same-gender couples living together, could lead to litigation. Recently a communication from the White House began the process of providing some benefits of marriage for domestic partnerships, not including health insurance. Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel believes that action could violate the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. That law protects the traditional view of marriage. Staver told OneNewsNow that when the federal government gives marital benefits to same-gender couples, it is violating DOMA, which Congress is bound to implement and obey. “For federal purposes, the marriage definition is one man and one woman — and therefore, you can’t recognize a relationship that is similar to or approximates marriage as one man and one woman or treat it like marriage.”

  • Breaking down the God-created family structure is Satan’s number one goal

Obama’s Ambitious Reforms Lose Steam

President Barack Obama’s ambitious legislative agenda has stumbled on Capitol Hill, imperiling not only his marquee health-care reform initiative but complicating efforts to reform energy and immigration policies. Senate and House Democratic leaders missed Obama’s deadline on health-care reform, and Congress has left Washington for its annual August recess without passing any legislation on what is considered the administration’s No. 1 priority. Its momentum slowed by Democratic infighting between moderates and progressives, the debate over national health care now moves back to fall as the White House and Democratic leaders reconsider their strategies and goals. At the same time, Republican health-care reform foes, who call the Democratic approach too costly and intrusive, are invigorated.

The public’s gloves are starting to come off over gov­ern­ment health­care, while Obama’s approval num­bers fall like a rock.  Cur­rently, he is even below where Jimmy Carter was at the com­pa­rable time in 1976. A recent AARP meeting turned ugly as mem­bers protested AARP’s sup­port of health­care leg­is­la­tion; meeting leaders packed up their stuff and ran out of the meeting. Town hall meet­ings are turning vio­lent all over the country. Physi­cians jammed into a meeting in Houston in protest of the prospect of social­ized medicine. The liberal media are working overtime to spin the grassroots opposition to ObamaCare as an “orchestrated” effort that is funded by Big Business.

Public Divided on Healthcare Reform

As supporters and opponents of overhauling the health care system try to shape public opinion at congressional town-hall-style meetings, both sides face a big complication: Public opinion on the issue is complex in ways that defy an easy Republican-Democratic divide. Analysis of a recent USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds views on what priority to emphasize, how fast to act and what’s important to protect vary and sometimes conflict depending on a person’s age and region of the country, whether he or she has insurance, and is healthy or ailing. Seniors are by far the most resistant to the idea of changing the current system — an opening for opponents who have focused on proposed cuts in Medicare spending and accusations about planning for “end-of-life” care.

The idea of controlling insurance costs has broader support overall than expanding coverage for the uninsured, which has prompted the White House to begin describing its goal as “insurance reform.” Two-thirds of blacks and six in 10 Hispanics say the key goal should be expanding coverage to the uninsured, but six in 10 whites say controlling costs is the priority. There’s less urgency for healthcare reform among those who have insurance and whose health is excellent or good — groups that make up the majority of those polled.

Drug Industry to Bailout Healthcare?

The nation’s drugmakers stand ready to spend $150 million to help President Barack Obama overhaul health care this fall, according to numerous officials, a staggering sum that could dwarf attempts to derail Obama’s top domestic priority. The White House and allies in Congress are well aware of the effort by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a somewhat surprising political alliance, given the drug industry’s recent history of siding with Republicans and the Democrats’ disdain for special interests. The campaign, now in its early stages, includes television advertising under PhRMA’s own name and commercials aired in conjunction with the liberal group, Families USA. Any health care bill that makes it to Obama’s desk is expected to extend health insurance to the nearly 50 million who now lack it. That would mean a huge new pool of potential customers for drug companies and other health care providers. That, in turn, has created an incentive to offer concessions to the White House and lawmakers in hopes of shaping the bill, rather than simply opposing it.

Swine H1N1 Flu

Fifty-one American troops in Iraq have been diagnosed with and treated for swine flu, while another 71 soldiers remain in isolation suspected of contracting the potentially deadly virus, the U.S. military said Sunday. A woman in the southern holy Shiite city of Najaf died of the disease, raising fears about a possible outbreak among worshippers making pilgrimages to the revered sites.

National Guard to Hire Internment/Resettlement Specialists

An ad campaign featured on a U.S. Army website seeking those who would be interested in being an “Internment/Resettlement” specialist is raising alarms across the country, generating concerns that there is some truth in those theories about domestic detention camps, a roundup of dissidents and a crackdown on “threatening” conservatives. The ads, at the GoArmy.com website as well as others including Monster.com, cite the need for: “Internment/Resettlement (I/R) Specialists in the Army are primarily responsible for day-to-day operations in a military confinement/correctional facility or detention/internment facility. I/R Specialists provide rehabilitative, health, welfare, and security to U.S. military prisoners within a confinement or correctional facility; conduct inspections; prepare written reports; and coordinate activities of prisoners/internees and staff personnel. At a NationalGuard.com website, a front page video describes the position thoroughly.

  • The National Guard’s focus is domestic, not foreign.

States Bank on Gambling to Boost Revenue

States are aggressively expanding legalized gambling, eager to shore up battered revenue sources during the economic crisis and concerned that residents will cross state lines to gamble elsewhere if they don’t. Gambling will expand in about a dozen states this year in an effort to generate an extra $2 billion in gambling taxes by 2010, a record-breaking increase if state projections are accurate. States collected $6.8 billion in gambling revenue in 2008, about 1% of all tax revenue. Gambling taxes fell 2.2% last year, despite the opening of new casinos and the installation of 37,000 new slot machines. Legalized gambling has grown for two decades, the big jumps occurring during economic downturns.

California Won’t Accept Its Own IOUs”

Small businesses that received $682 million in IOUs from the state say California expects them to pay taxes on the worthless scraps of paper, but refuses to accept its own IOUs to pay debts or taxes. The vendors’ federal class action claims the state is trying to balance its budget on their backs. Vendors say California has used them as “suckers” as it looks for a way to bankroll its operations while avoiding its own financial obligations. “Instead of seeking funds through proper channels, the State has created a nightmare,” the class action suit says. “Many of these businesses will not survive if they are required to wait until October 2009 to have these forced IOUs redeemed by the State.” The lawsuit claims the state is violating the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. It demands that California be ordered to honor its own IOUs, plus interest.

Wall Street Bankers Still Raking in Billions

Despite all the apparent momentum building to rein in runaway pay, it looks as if Wall Street’s compensation practices will largely emerge unscathed. Flush from two quarters of profits and having repaid the government its bailout money, Goldman Sachs has set aside $11.36 billion for compensation and benefits in the just first six months of the year, a 33% increase from last year. JPMorgan Chase, which also has paid back taxpayer money, reported record second-quarter revenue and has carved out $14.5 billion for pay in the first half of the year, up 22%. While Morgan Stanley, too, has repaid the government, the bank recorded its third-consecutive loss in the second quarter. Despite that, the bank has set aside $6 billion so far this year for compensation expenses, and $3.87 billion just in the second quarter, which represents 72% of its revenue. The Wall Street community is not particularly plugged into the public sentiment,” says Peter Cappelli, management professor at Wharton business school. “It’s a culture that hasn’t cared very much about the political realities elsewhere.”

  • Unrestrained greed, the god of this age, has not only infected Wall Street but also Main Street. The “something for nothing” mentality drove ordinary people to assume mortgages they couldn’t afford and to buy pricy electronic toys instead of saving for a rainy day, all of which has contributed to bankrupting America.

Economic News

The federal deficit grew by another $181 billion in July. Bailouts for financial firms and billions in tax revenue lost because of the recession drove the total deficit to a record $1.3 trillion in July, according to the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Spending through July of 2009 has increased by $530 billion, which is 21 percent over the same period in 2008.

Regulators on Friday shut down two banks in Florida and one in Oregon, bringing to 72 the number of federally insured banks to fail this year under the weight of the weak economy and rising loan losses. There were 25 bank failures nationwide last year and three the year before.

Consumers paid down their credit cards and cut other debt in June for the fifth straight month as they rebuild savings battered by the recession. Outstanding U.S. consumer debt fell $10.3 billion, or 4.9% at an annual rate, to $2.5 trillion. June’s reduction follows a 2.6% cut in May and a steep 8.2% drop in April, when consumers reduced their borrowing $17.4 billion. That was the most in dollar terms on records dating back to 1943.

The U.S. price of gasoline jumped nearly 16 cents a gallon during the past two weeks to $2.64. The average price for a gallon of mid-grade was $2.77. Premium was at $2.88. Charleston, S.C., had the lowest price, $2.38 for a gallon for regular. Honolulu was the highest at $3.07.

Angola

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton the first secretary of state to visit Angola in seven years, signed a new agreement with Angolan health officials to help treat and control the spread of HIV/AIDS. The Obama administration will more than double funding for Angola to combat the disease, from $7 million to $17 million. On Sunday, she urged Angola’s government to build on successful legislative elections held in 2008 — the first in 16 years — by holding presidential elections as soon as possible and dealing with the legacy of 27 years of civil war.

  • A worthy cause, no doubt, but one wonders where the bankrupt U.S. will find the extra money

Iraq

A double truck bombing tore through the village of a small Shiite ethnic minority near the northern city of Mosul, while blasts in Baghdad Monday also targeted Shiites in a wave of violence that killed at least 45 people and wounded more than 200, Iraqi officials said. The attacks provided a grim example of U.S. military warnings that insurgents are targeting Shiites in an effort to re-ignite the kind of sectarian violence that nearly tore the country apart in 2006 and 2007. The U.S. military has stressed that despite the rise in attacks, the Shiites are showing restraint and not retaliating as they did more than two years ago when a similar series of attacks and bombings provoked a Shiite backlash that degenerated into a sectarian slaughter claiming tens of thousands of lives.

Iran

Dozens of opposition activists and protesters stood trial in Tehran Saturday on charges of rioting and plotting to topple the ruling Islamic system following the disputed presidential election. The mass trial in Tehran’s hardline Revolutionary Court demonstrates the government’s resolve to discredit the reform movement in one blow and bring an end to anti-government protests that have persisted since the June 12 election. During the session, a prosecutor read out an indictment outlining what he said was plans by the U.S. and Britain to foment unrest in Iran with the aim of toppling the ruling Islamic system through a “soft overthrow”, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Pakistan

Pakistan‘s prime minister pledged on Thursday to review laws that may be sharpening tension among Pakistan’s religious communities, days after a Muslim mob burned homes in rioting that left eight Christians dead. The killings Saturday in the eastern city of Gojra came amid concerns that rising extremist Islam has deepened the vulnerability of Pakistan’s minorities. “A committee … will discuss the laws detrimental to religious harmony to sort out how they could be improved,” Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told a gathering in Gojra. His announcement suggests the government may seek to change Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which can carry the death penalty for those convicted of insulting Islam.

The Associated Press reports that last weekend’s deadly attack on Christians was planned by an group with al-Qaida links. According to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan head Asma Jahangir, interviews with victims’ families and witnesses said many attackers came from a neighboring district known as a stronghold of banned militant groups. “The attackers seemed to be trained for carrying out such activities,” she said. Muslim clerics were also implicated, she said, as many of them had encouraged Muslims the day before to “make mincemeat of the Christians.” Other reports indicate that militants fleeing an army offensive in northwest Swat Valley were also involved in the killings. The verbal attacks culminated in mob violence that killed eight Christians.

Afghanistan

Insecurity in significant portions of Afghanistan has hindered election preparations and disproportionately affected Afghan women, a report co-authored by the U.N. mission in the country said. Afghans will vote for president and provincial councils in a nationwide election Aug. 20, which the Taliban has vowed to disrupt. Violence has “severely limited freedom of movement and constrained freedom of expression for candidates and supporters, hampering their ability to campaign openly through public gatherings or door-to-door visits,” the joint report from the U.N. mission and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission said.

The Taliban have gained the upper hand in Afghanistan, the top American commander there said, forcing the U.S. to change its strategy in the eight-year-old conflict by increasing the number of troops in heavily populated areas. Gen. Stanley McChrystal warned that means U.S. casualties, already running at record levels, will remain high for months to come. Gen. McChrystal said the Taliban are moving beyond their traditional strongholds in southern Afghanistan to threaten formerly stable areas in the north and west.

Venezuela

President Hugo Chavez told his military on Sunday to be prepared for a possible confrontation with Colombia, warning that Bogota’s plans to increase the U.S. military presence at its bases poses a threat to Venezuela. Chavez has issued near daily warnings that Washington could use bases in Colombia to destabilize the region since learning of negotiations to lease seven Colombian military bases to the United States. Colombian officials say Venezuela has no reason to be concerned, and that the U.S. forces would help fight drug trafficking.

Honduras: Political Instability Hurts Missions

Mission News Network reports that political limbo in Honduras has hampered missions and compounded a growing humanitarian problem. Twenty-four hour curfews have prevented people from accessing water, food, medical care and even shelter. Military troops patrol many areas of the country, raising tensions even higher. John Lowrey with Christian Resources International says his group’s mission trip has been continually pushed backward, ultimately leading them to cancel the trip. “We did go ahead and ship all of the materials that we intended to use for our ministry while we were in country,” Lowrey said. “We shipped it to [a Honduran pastor] so those resources are there. And we also had a pastor and his wife from Mississippi that chose to go ahead and do the trip on their own.”

Earthquakes

A strong earthquake struck off the south coast of Japan on Sunday night local time, “jolting Tokyo and wide areas of eastern Japan,” the country’s Kyodo news agency reported. The 7.1 earthquake hit 200 miles (320 kilometers) south-southwest of Tokyo. Its epicenter was 188 miles (303 kilometers) deep, the USGS said. There were no immediate reports of damage.

Weather

A powerful typhoon toppled houses, flooded villages and forced nearly 1 million people to flee to safety on China’s eastern coast before weakening into a tropical storm Monday. Hundreds of villages and towns were flooded and more than 2,000 houses collapsed, the official Xinhua News Agency said.  The storm struck after triggering the worst flooding in Taiwan in 50 years, leaving hundreds missing or unaccounted for and bringing down a six-story hotel. It earlier lashed the Philippines, killing at least 22 people.

A 50-year government study found that the world’s glaciers are melting at a rapid and alarming rate. The ongoing study is the latest in a series of reports that found glaciers worldwide are melting faster than anyone had predicted they would just a few years ago. The Arctic Ocean has given up tens of thousands more square miles of ice in a relentless summer of melt, with scientists watching through satellite eyes for a possible record low polar ice cap.

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