Archive for September, 2009

September 30, 2009

Judge Blocks Parts of New Arizona Abortion Law

A state judge has blocked implementation of key parts of a new Arizona law restricting abortion, a day before they were to take effect. Judge Donald Daughton of Maricopa County Superior Court late Tuesday issued a preliminary injunction granting most of a request by Planned Parenthood, the state’s largest abortion provider. Daughton’s order allows a 24-hour waiting period to take effect, but blocks parts requiring that a woman see a doctor in person for advance disclosures before getting an abortion. Other blocked provisions include a requirement that parental consents for a minor’s abortion be notarized and a ban on nurse practitioners performing abortions. A spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office said they were reviewing Daughton’s order to determine how to proceed. The preliminary injunction will stay in place unless it is successfully challenged in court.

N.Y. Health Care Workers Protest Mandatory Swine Flu Shots

Several hundred health-care workers, civil libertarians and members of anti-vaccine groups on Tuesday railed against a mandate that medical professionals get seasonal and swine-flu vaccines. Nurses and other health-care workers said they shouldn’t be forced to get a vaccine that they don’t believe has been tested appropriately as a condition of keeping their jobs. But the state health commissioner said their arguments are baseless. The state Hospital Review and Planning Council unanimously approved a requirement that health-care workers in hospitals, outpatient clinics and home-care programs receive seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccines by Nov. 30, unless they have medical reasons why they cannot.

‘Public Option’ Health Insurance on Respirator

A Senate committee drafting health care legislation soundly rejected two versions of a proposed government-run program Tuesday. Supporters of the “public option” vowed to resurrect the provision later this fall. Moderate Democrats twice voted with a unanimous bloc of 10 Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee to beat back attempts by more liberal Democrats to insert the public option into the $900 billion, 10-year plan under consideration by the committee. Defeat of the public option underscored divisions among Democrats. Supporters of a public insurance program, including President Obama, have argued it would lower health care costs by offering competition to private insurance companies. Most Republicans counter that a government-run plan would drive private insurers out of business.

  • Now it’s time to pull the plug and kill the plan altogether.

Five More Nuke Plants Spotted in Iran

Deep-cover MI6 agents who have described the workings of the once-secret underground uranium enrichment plant near the Iranian city of Qom now have discovered a staggering five more similar operations, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the online newsletter published by the founder of WorldNetDaily. They, like the Qom facility, are buried deep inside the mountains of north Iran and are guarded by divisions of Revolutionary Guards. The MI6 agents have established that, like Qom, the new plants are staffed by nuclear scientists from Iran’s main weaponization program. It is known by the acronym Metfaz, and is headquartered at 180 Western Avenue in the Pars district of eastern Tehran.

  • There isn’t just smoke anymore, it’s a major fire

Earthquakes/Tsunamis Rock Samoa/Indonesia

A powerful earthquake in the South Pacific hurled a massive tsunami at the shores of Samoa and American Samoa, flattening villages and sweeping cars and people out to sea, leaving at least 99 dead and dozens missing. Survivors fled the fast-churning water for higher ground and remained huddled there hours after the quake struck early Tuesday. Four tsunami waves 15 to 20 feet high roared ashore on American Samoa, reaching up to a mile inland. Signs of devastation were everywhere, with a giant boat washed ashore lying on the edge of a highway and floodwaters swallowing up cars and homes. The quake, with a magnitude between 8.0 and 8.3, struck around dawn about 125 miles from Samoa, an island nation of 180,000 people located about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii. It struck about 120 miles from neighboring American Samoa, a U.S. territory that is home to 65,000 people. Hampered by power and communications outages, officials struggled to determine damage and casualties.

A major earthquake that struck Indonesia Wednesday killed at least 13 people and injured hundreds more. The 13 were crushed when the quake collapsed buildings. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami alert for Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Thailand. The Indonesian agency said the tremor had a magnitude of 7.6. Its epicenter was just off the coast of Sumatra The shaking could be felt in high buildings in the capital, Jakarta, several hundred miles, kilometers away and in neighboring Singapore and Malaysia.

4 Million on AIDS Drugs; 5 Million Waiting

United Nations health officials estimate about 4 million people who need AIDS drugs worldwide are now getting them, a 10-fold jump in five years,.according to a report issued Wednesday. The figure represents a major increase in rolling out the drugs to patients across Africa, where the AIDS epidemic is focused, but an estimated 5 million or more across the globe are still waiting for the drugs. Overall, about 44% of people with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa who need AIDS drugs are now taking them. In the U.S., about 71% of patients who need the AIDS drugs are taking them. Last year, the global community spent nearly $9 billion on AIDS. For every dollar spent on public health, AIDS gets about 23 cents. It causes about 4% of deaths globally.

Americans Say Public Schools Flunking

The U.S. public school system is failing dismally, according to a new WorldNetDaily/Wenzel poll that reveals “barely half believe the public schools are providing students a comprehensive basic education.” “The American public education system is in deep trouble and faces an uncertain future,” Fritz Wenzel of Wenzel Strategies, wrote in his analysis of the results. According to Wenzel, “A major problem, the [education] poll shows, stems from the curriculum. Just 29 percent said they think schools are teaching appropriate subjects, while 50 percent said they believe the public schools are dabbling in topics in the classroom in which they have no business.” He said the current system has significantly stronger support among Democrats, who split on that question 38 percent to 38 percent. Sixty-five percent of Republicans think the public schools teach improper subjects, while just 15 percent said they think the subject matter is proper. Among independents, 47 percent said they think some topics in public schools are improper, while 35 percent said they are appropriate. Half of all respondents – 50 percent – said they think American kids are falling short internationally because they are lazy.

Extended School Year Would Have Dire Economic Effects, Critics Say

If the academic year gets pushed deeper into summer, as President Obama is advocating, the grumbling will not be limited just to students and teachers who will be forced to spend more days in school. Critics say the president’s call for a longer academic calendar and a shorter summer vacation will bring on a host of unintended consequences — including increased costs for school systems, major cuts to the nation’s hotel and tourism industries, and a serious blow to summer camp operators. Obama says kids in the U.S. spend too little time in the classroom, putting them at a disadvantage when competing with students in other countries. The president has suggested that making school days longer and extending the school year will increase learning, raise test scores and close the achievement gap.

Number, Role of Obama’s Policy ‘Czars’ Spark Debate

The latest skirmish between conservatives and the Obama administration — the proliferation of “czars” named by the president to handle pressing issues — is prompting efforts in Congress to put limits on the White House. Lawmakers from both political parties agree that the term itself is subjective, and they acknowledge that they aren’t sure how many czars there are — or whether some of the special advisers are even czars at all. “The question is: What do these guys do, and how much are they costing us?” says Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga. He is sponsoring a bill to withhold funding from any top policy adviser not confirmed by the Senate, which signs off on Cabinet secretaries and other top officials. In the Senate, Democrats, such as Robert Byrd of West Virginia, are questioning the constitutionality of the advisers the White House says it needs to coordinate policy and advise the president on issues from health care to the Middle East. Republicans, such as Susan Collins of Maine, are trying to curb funding for them. Unlike Cabinet secretaries, who regularly testify before Congress, most special advisers are accountable only to the president. Some, such as Carol Browner, who oversees climate change and energy issues, earn $172,200 a year, according to the White House’s report on staff salaries.

Scammers Hit Twitter with Tainted Tweets

A flurry of tainted micropostings is swamping Twitter with malicious scams, making it tougher to trust tweets even from people you know, security researchers say. Several attacks that launched last week used tried-and-true e-mail spamming techniques. “We’re seeing old scams migrating to the popular social networks,” says Matt Marshall, lead researcher at Redspin, which tests network defenses. Two began when crooks created Twitter accounts en masse, then sent tweets carrying links to promotions for fake anti-virus protection. One wave keyed off Twitter’s top 10 “trending topics,” spreading bad links in tweets purportedly about subjects generating the most microposts globally. Another copied tweets sent by real people and resent them with links triggering fake anti-virus pitches.

  • In some ways, cyberspace is more dangerous than the real world because the crooks have greater anonymity. At least it’s not violent crime.

Income Gap at Record Level

The recession has hit middle-income and poor families hardest, widening the economic gap between the richest and poorest Americans as rippling job layoffs ravage household budgets. The wealthiest 10% of Americans — those making more than $138,000 a year — earned 11.4 times the $12,000 or so made by those living near or below the poverty line in 2008, according to newly released census figures. Household income declined across all groups, but more sharply for middle-income and poor Americans. Median income fell last year from $52,163 to $50,303, wiping out a decade’s worth of gains to hit the lowest level since 1997. the median is the midpoint — half of households made more, half less. Poverty jumped sharply to 13.2%, an 11-year high Analysts attributed the widening gap to the layoffs in the economic downturn that have devastated household budgets. They say while the richest Americans may be seeing reductions in pay, those at the bottom of the income ladder are often unemployed and struggling to get by.

Economic News

A closely watched index of home prices shows year-over-year improvement for the sixth month in a row. Prices rose in all but two of 20 cities surveyed from June to July. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday says prices rose 1.2% from June. although home prices are still 13.3% below July a year ago.

Controversial bank account fees, which have fattened banks’ bottom lines at the expense of vulnerable consumers, are rapidly becoming a black eye for the industry. Under siege are the fees charged to consumers who spend more than they have in their accounts, whether by check, debit card or at the ATM. Last week, four of the nation’s largest banks said they would scale back some of their overdraft policies. Their efforts, while meaningful, have failed to appease lawmakers, including powerful Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who is preparing legislation to crack down on what he calls a pattern of “abusive” practices.

U.S. bank regulators, expecting bank failures to cost $100 billion through 2013, said Tuesday that they plan to make banks prepay three years worth of deposit insurance premiums in an attempt to salvage the fund that insures bank deposits. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) says the insurance fund will technically run out of money Wednesday, drained by $25 billion worth of bank failures this year and nearly $18 billion in 2008.

The percentage of Arizonans living in poverty increased twice as fast as the national average last year. New figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show that an estimated 938,924 residents were in households below the poverty level. That computes out to 14.7 percent of the state. Mississippi tops the list with 21.2 percent of its population considered living in poverty.

The average retail price for gasoline dipped below $2.50 a gallon for the first time in two months Monday as swelling oil supplies and slumping demand overshadowed even a fire at a major U.S. refinery. Gas is 11 cents less than a month ago, and nearly $1.16 below what drivers were paying at this time last year.

Mexico Aging Quickly

Long known for big families with numerous children, Mexico is going gray. The population 60 and older is growing twice as fast as in the United States as life expectancy climbs and birth rates drop. And new programs — from a Senior University to free Viagra — are being set up to cater to them. In an affluent area of Mexico City where elementary schools have closed or shrunk because families are having fewer children, the city government opened a university in April only for people 60 and older. In the past, the Mexican government offered few benefits to seniors because children usually took care of their aging parents, but the dropping birthrate means there are fewer children to share the responsibility. The federal government stepped in two years ago by giving subsidies of 500 pesos a month, about $38, to people 70 and older in poor areas. Mexico City started its own subsidy program in 2001, giving $61 a month to people 68 and older.

157 Dead in Guinea Opposition Protest

Doctors treated hundreds of injured civilians Tuesday, a day after soldiers fired at a pro-democracy rally in the capital’s stadium as the death toll in the West African country rose to 157, local Red Cross officials said. More than 1,000 were wounded. Burned-out cars littered quiet streets Tuesday morning as most terrified residents stayed home. At least two police stations were torched after the shooting spree and were blackened shells. Tensions have risen in Guinea amid rumors that military leader Capt. Moussa “Dadis” Camara may run in presidential elections set for Jan. 31. “The killing of dozens of unarmed protesters is shocking even by the abusive standards of Guinea’s coup government,” said Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.

24 Killed in Nepal Church Collapse

Police in Nepal say a church has collapsed in the eastern part of the country, killing at least 24 people and injuring an additional 62. Police official Arjun Khadka says several people were gathered in the eastern town of Dharan for a Christian conference and most of them were sleeping in the building when it collapsed early Wednesday. Among those killed were 17 women and four children. The area is about 240 miles southeast of the capital, Katmandu.


After nearly eight years of war, Afghanistan’s security forces are still plagued by corruption, high levels of absenteeism, a lack of proper training and an excessive dependence on their American counterparts, U.S. commanders and troops in the field say. The security forces’ persistent flaws are one of the biggest considerations facing President Obama as he evaluates potentially major changes to the U.S. war strategy here. Other recent complications include the resurgence of the Taliban insurgency and this summer’s disputed presidential elections, but the performance of the Afghan army has a direct impact on how long the U.S. military must remain here. In describing his long-term exit strategy for Afghanistan, Obama has spoken of the need to produce a large, professional Afghan force that will take control so that U.S. troops can then depart — much as is happening in Iraq.


The top general in Iraq is sending home thousands more U.S. troops by the end of October as the American military pulls back from the six-year war. Army Gen. Ray Odierno said in remarks prepared for a congressional hearing Wednesday that the number of U.S. soldiers in Iraq will total about 120,000 over the next month. He said that will mean about 4,000 fewer troops than are in Iraq now — about the size of an Army brigade.


Intelligence officials say a suspected U.S. missile attack has killed six alleged militants in northwestern Pakistan. The strike Wednesday by an unmanned U.S. plane was the third attack in 24 hours against al-Qaeda and Taliban targets close to the Afghan border.


Officials say the death toll in the massive flooding in the Philippine capital and surrounding areas has climbed to 246 people, with 38 others missing. The National Disaster Coordinating Council said Tuesday the homes of nearly 1.9 million were inundated, with nearly 380,000 people brought to schools, churches and other evacuation centers. The extent of devastation became clearer Monday with mud-covered communities, cars upended on city streets and huge numbers of villagers without drinking water, food and power.

September 25, 2009

Judge OKs Lunchtime Prayer in School

A lunch prayer given by an athletic director and requested by the school’s principal didn’t violate a federal court order against praying at school events, a judge has ruled. The two men had faced up to six months in jail and $5,000 in fines for violating a 2008 settlement agreement of a lawsuit against the Santa Rosa County District. The agreement prohibited school officials from praying or promoting prayer at school events, and district officials admitted a long-standing culture of promoting Christianity at the rural northern Panhandle high school. The decision in favor of Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman was greeted with a roar of approval by protesters outside the Pensacola Federal Court House.

  • However, this got by on a technicality. The judge is still enforcing a ban on prayer at school events. Despite positive blips here and there, the overall trend is still down. More and more prayer is needed – even if it results in imprisonment. The time for martyrdom is here.

For ACORN, Controversy Now a Matter of Survival

ACORN — which has received about $53 million in federal funds since 1994 — has long been a target of conservatives because of its ties to Democrats. Attacks increased after its aggressive voter-registration and get-out-the-vote efforts for President Obama last year. Now, videos showing ACORN workers giving advice to conservative activists posing as a pimp and a prostitute are raising questions about its tactics and finances — and whether it can survive. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now was born of 1960s idealism and grew into a national political force. It calls itself the nation’s largest grass-roots community-organizing group and says its goal is “social justice and stronger communities.” ACORN has a $25 million annual budget, about 10% of it from the federal government, CEO Bertha Lewis says. The rest of its funding comes from dues, fundraising, foundations and unions. ACORN doesn’t identify donors.

The fallout from the videos has been dramatic. On Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service said it will no longer partner with ACORN to provide free tax advice. Congress voted to withhold money from ACORN. The Census Bureau decided not to work with the organization on the 2010 Census. Obama, whose campaign hired Citizens Services Inc., an ACORN affiliate, for $832,000 to help get out the vote, said the episode should be investigated. At least 10 states have launched inquiries into ACORN operations in their states.Even before the video became public, ACORN faced investigations into allegations of voter registration fraud and tax violations. ACORN filed suit Wednesday in Maryland against the filmmakers, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, and the website for the taping in Baltimore. It’s illegal in Maryland to use “electronic surveillance” without consent. ACORN seeks damages and an injunction barring distribution and broadcast of the video.

  • Another example of good intentions gone bad. Corruption is rampant at all levels of society – business, government, as well as community organizations. The problem is not the type of organization, but rather people’s sinful nature which only Jesus can cure.

Sunstein: Force Broadcasters to Air ‘Diversity’ Ads

The U.S. government should have the right to force broadcast media companies to air commercials that foster a “diversity” of views, argued President Obama’s newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein. “If it were necessary to bring about diversity and attention to public matters, a private right of access to the media might even be constitutionally compelled. The notion that access will be a product of the marketplace might well be constitutionally troublesome,” wrote Sunstein in his 1993 book “The Partial Constitution.”

  • What’s really “troublesome” is the notion that the free functioning of the marketplace is somehow unconstitutional. These Czars want government to control everything.

Obama Promotes New World Order at U.N.

The August Forecast notes: When Fidel Castro praises Obama, it means that Obama is lining up with com­mu­nism. Obama now views him­self as the chosen one to deliver the U.S. into the New World Order. In fact, I believe that he IS the chosen one… chosen by the Tri­lat­eral Com­mis­sion. Obama’s speech to the U.N. this morning was as slick as any­thing Bill Clinton ever said, but it was oth­er­wise just as hollow. A few of notable quotes from his speech: “No world order that ele­vates one nation or group of people over another will suc­ceed;” “The world must stand together to demon­strate that inter­na­tional law is not an empty promise and that treaties will be enforced.” [note: inter­na­tional law trumps domestic law].

  • The Tri-Lateral Commission is one of the key New World (Dis)Order organizations. Dozens of Obama’s administration are members, and Obama is the globalists poster boy

Researchers: Experimental Vaccine Helps Prevent HIV Infection

For the first time, an experimental vaccine has prevented infection with the AIDS virus, a watershed event in the deadly epidemic and a surprising result. Recent failures led many scientists to think such a vaccine might never be possible. The vaccine cut the risk of becoming infected with HIV by more than 31% in the world’s largest AIDS vaccine trial of more than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand, researchers announced Thursday in Bangkok. Even though the benefit is modest, “it’s the first evidence that we could have a safe and effective preventive vaccine,” Col. Jerome Kim said in a telephone interview. He helped lead the study for the U.S. Army, which sponsored it with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

  • That’s great news on the one hand; on the other, let’s pray it doesn’t lead to greater promiscuity

Stimulus Funds Boost Number of Federal Jobs

The $787 billion economic recovery package also is stimulating growth in the federal government as agencies hire thousands of workers and spend millions of dollars to oversee and implement the package, according to government records and spokesmen. Fourteen of the top federal agencies responsible for spending under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act say they’ve hired about 3,000 workers with stimulus money. That’s helped fuel the continued growth of the federal government, which increased by more than 25,000 employees, or 1.3%, since December 2008, according to the latest quarterly report. During that time, the ranks of the nation’s unemployed increased by nearly 4 million, Labor Department statistics show.

  • Not only is the federal government recession-proof, it thrives on turmoil, growing like cancer cells in a sick body.

G20 Summit

As President Obama and other leaders of the G-20 nations prepared to meet in Pittsburgh, it’s worth recalling what became of their previous promises. At earlier summits, G-20 leaders solemnly vowed to refrain from worsening the crisis by erecting new trade barriers — then returned home and promptly began erecting new trade barriers. Since November’s Washington gathering, G-20 members have enacted about 100 separate trade-restricting provisions. Last week, for example, the U.S. announced a 35% tariff in response to what it called a damaging surge of Chinese-made tires.

As police clashed with protesters in the streets, world leaders on Thursday closed ranks on pay limits for bankers whose risky behavior contributed to the global financial meltdown. With economies on the mend, a summit mood of cautious optimism replaced last year’s fear and uncertainty. In a historic shift recognizing the rising influence of China, Brazil and India, the leaders of the world’s top 20 wealthy and developing nations decided that the G-20 will take over the role of preeminent council on global economic cooperation, a function that for more than three decades had been performed by a smaller club of leading industrial countries known as the G-8. The G-8 will continue to meet on matters of common importance such as national security. President Obama initiated the move.

  • The New World (Dis)Order continues to emerge

A mile from the convention center where talks will be held on Friday, police fired canisters of pepper spray and smoke at marchers protesting the summit after the protesters responded to calls to disperse by rolling trash bins and throwing rocks. The clashes began after hundreds of protesters, many advocating against capitalism, tried to march from an outlying neighborhood toward the convention center. Officials said 17 to 19 protesters were arrested, and there were no reports of injuries.

Economic News

The Federal Reserve provided its most upbeat assessment yet of the economy on Wednesday, suggesting the recession is over and growth could be more robust than it previously anticipated. But noting the economy is still relatively weak, the central bank agreed to keep a key interest rate unchanged near zero and extended its financial support for the housing market until the end of the first quarter.

The number of newly laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits fell for the third straight week, the Labor Department said Thursday. Labor said initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped to a seasonally adjusted 530,000, still well above the 325,000 norm. The four-week average, which smooths out fluctuations, dropped to 553,500, having fallen about 100,000 since reaching a peak for the current recession in early April.

Orders for goods expected to last at least three years fell unexpectedly in August due mainly to a drop in demand for commercial aircraft. The second decline in orders for durable goods in three months is evidence that any recovery in manufacturing will be slow and gradual. The Commerce Department said Friday that orders for durable goods dropped 2.4% in August, after increasing a revised 4.8% in July.’

August home sales waned after growing strongly the past four months, a sign that the housing recovery hasn’t yet hit its stride. Sales of existing homes dropped 2.7% in August from July, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Thursday. In the previous four months, sales had increased a total of 15%.

U.S. airlines are raking in more money this year from extra fees, although fewer people are flying. In the first six months of this year, the airlines collected $3.8 billion for checking bags, canceling or rebooking flights, carrying pets and assigning seats.

The oil industry has been on a hot streak this year, thanks to a series of major discoveries that have rekindled a sense of excitement across the petroleum sector, despite falling prices and a tough economy. More than 200 discoveries have been reported so far this year in dozens of countries, including northern Iraq’s Kurdish region, Australia, Israel, Iran, Brazil, Norway, Ghana and Russia.

Israel Hails U.S. Call for Talks Without Conditions

Israel‘s prime minister welcomed Thursday President Obama‘s call for the resumption of Mideast peace talks without preconditions despite Palestinian demands for a halt to new Jewish settlements in the West Bank before any new negotiations begin. In the past, Obama had said all Israeli building must stop on lands the Palestinians claim for a future state. But he toned down his language Tuesday at a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in New York, where he spoke of Israeli steps “to restrain settlement activity.” Netanyahu is proposing a partial and temporary slowdown, while Palestinian leaders say there can be no negotiations without a complete halt to Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank.

Saudi Arabia Inaugurates its First Coed University

Saudi Arabia inaugurated on Wednesday its first-ever fully integrated coed university, and its ruler declared the institution will be a “beacon of tolerance” in a world attacked by extremists. The multibillion dollar King Abdullah Science and Technology University, or KAUST, boasts state-of-the-art labs, the world’s 14th fastest supercomputer and one of the biggest endowments worldwide. It breaks many of the conservative country’s social taboos by allowing, for the first time, men and women to take classes together. Saudi officials have envisaged the postgraduate institution as a key part of the kingdom’s plans to transform itself into a global scientific hub — its latest efforts to diversify its oil-reliant economy.

U.S., Switzerland Sign Treaty to Share Tax Info

Switzerland and the United States have signed a treaty to increase the amount of tax information they share to help crack down on tax evasion, Swiss officials said Wednesday. The agreement follows a model set out by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development designed to make it harder for taxpayers to hide money in offshore tax havens. U.S. tax authorities will be able to request information on Americans suspected of concealing Swiss bank accounts, the Swiss Finance Ministry said. The treaty forbids so-called ‘fishing expeditions,’ meaning U.S. authorities have to provide specific details on the person they are seeking further information about and can’t simply ask for wholesale lists of Americans with Swiss accounts.

Obama Charges Iran with Hiding Nuclear Plant

President Obama and the leaders of Britain and France revealed this morning that Iran has been building an underground nuclear fuel enrichment facility for years without informing international inspectors. The revelation, coming as world leaders began meetings here on the global economic crisis, was sure to put new pressure on Iran to come clean about its nuclear ambitions at a meeting next week or risk tough sanctions. “The size and configuration of this facility is inconsistent with a peaceful program,” Obama said. “Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow.”

Afghanistan Support Drops

Half of all Americans, and six in 10 Democrats, oppose sending more troops to Afghanistan, a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows, underscoring the pressures on President Obama as he re-evaluates his approach to what he calls “a war of necessity.” That’s a stark turnaround from February, when 65% of Americans supported Obama’s decision to send 17,000 additional servicemembers, according to Gallup. In March, Obama announced what he called “a comprehensive new strategy” for Afghanistan premised on more troops, training the Afghan army and boosting reconstruction efforts.

Pakistan Elders Killed

Militants ambushed a convoy of prominent anti-Taliban tribal elders in volatile northwest Pakistan on Thursday, spraying their cars with gunfire, killing six people and wounding several others. The members of the anti-Taliban citizen’s group were traveling from the Machikhel area to meet security officials in Bannu district when their three-vehicle convoy was sprayed with bullets by insurgents. The ambush followed another attack by militants who killed two members of another anti-Taliban citizen’s committee Thursday in the Swat Valley to the northeast. The assailants struck as members of the “peace committee” slept in Swat‘s Sertelegram area. Local people formed the Sertelegram group last week to protect their area from Taliban fighters who controlled the valley until July when a major offensive by the Pakistani army scattered them.


More than 1,500 homes were flooded in days of rain that inundated the Southeast, but the damage to buildings, bridges and roads is equally severe, officials said Wednesday. A spokesman for Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue said the flooding seriously damaged Atlanta’s largest wastewater treatment plant and dozens of roads and bridges, and it may have wiped out an elementary school in Cobb County. “You could only see the roof,” Bert Brantley said of Clarkdale Elementary School.

Australia’s worst dust storm in 70 years blanketed the heavily populated east coast Wednesday in a cloud of red Outback grit, nearly closed the country’s largest airport and left millions of people coughing and sputtering in the streets. Dust clouds blowing east from Australia’s dry interior — parched even further by the worst drought on record — covered dozens of towns and cities in two states as strong winds snatched up tons of topsoil, threw it high into the sky and carried it hundreds of miles.

Droughts from Australia to the U.S. Southwest, acidic ocean water and melting glaciers are signs that the pace of climate change is surpassing the worst-case scenarios scientists predicted in 2007, a U.N. report said Thursday. Mountain glaciers in Asia are melting at a rate that could eventually threaten water supplies, irrigation or hydropower for 20% to 25% of the world’s population. The Climate Change Science Compendium 2009 report analyzed 400 scientific reports released through peer-reviewed literature, or from research institutions,

  • End-time weather will continue to grow more volatile

September 23, 2009

60,000 Pray in Times Square – and Media Fails to Report It

You can see most anything at Times Square in Manhattan. But 60,000 people praying? That’s an unusual sight in the heart of Broadway. Yet, that’s just what happened there yesterday for one hour – from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. in a Christian rally called Prayer in the Square. Event organizers from Time Square Church had expected some 15,000. But their expectations were far exceeded at the third event of its kind in the last three years. More than 200 churches joined with the Times Square Church in promoting the rally to pray for the city and the nation. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who helped the church cut through the red tape necessary to hold such an event, addressed the crowd. Despite the magnitude of the event, no major media covered it – even in the center of the media world on a slow news day.

  • In the name of tolerance, all things Christian are ignored or not tolerated

‘See You at the Pole’ at Nation’s Schools Today

Millions of public school students gather today at their campuses to pray and to praise God as part of the annual “See You at the Pole” observance. The event began in 1990 when a group of teenagers in Texas prayed at their school flagpoles. The next year, more than 45,000 students in four different states met and prayed at their flagpoles. This year, more than three-million teenagers in every state and several countries are expected to take part in “See You at the Pole.” The theme for this year’s observance is “Engage: Go and pray.” Doug Clark, a spokesman for the national SYATP 2009 organization, explains the story behind the theme. “It’s taken from II Kings 22 — and it’s a great story to look up and…to refresh and build your vision for this generation,” he shares, “because Josiah, the king of Israel, was 16 years old when he began experiencing an awakening in his own life. And that led to him being part of one of the greatest revivals and awakenings in the Old Testament.”

TEA Party Rallies Scheduled Against Obama’s “Minion Media”

American citizens outraged by President Obama and the actions of Congress have set their sights on a new target – the so-called mainstream media – with tea-party protests now set to boil in front of more than 30 press offices across the U.S. Following a WND report on the growing popularity of “Operation: Can You Hear Us Now?” taxpayers are making plans to bring their protests to the front doors of major media outlets. Nearly 2,000 fans have flocked to a new Facebook page for the event, scheduled for October 17th at 16 suggested locations. The operation website states, “Imagine: There was a million-plus person march on Washington, and no one reported it. It did not happen.”

Obama to World: Don’t Expect America to Fix it All

Seizing a chance to challenge the world, President Obama says the global community is failing its people and fixing that is not “solely America’s endeavor. Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world’s problems alone,” Obama said in a passage of the speech he delivered Wednesday to the United Nations General Assembly. He said if the world is honest with itself, it has fallen woefully short. “Extremists sowing terror in pockets of the world,” Obama noted. “Protracted conflicts that grind on and on. Genocide and mass atrocities. More and more nations with nuclear weapons. Melting ice caps and ravaged populations. Persistent poverty and pandemic disease.” The president added, “I say this not to sow fear, but to state a fact: the magnitude of our challenges has yet to be met by the measure of our action.”

  • Obama is right about attitudes toward America, but this is also a solid pitch for globalism.

Obama Hosts Meeting with Israeli & Palestinian Leaders

President Obama‘s first three-way meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders Tuesday produced no breakthrough, but Obama billed it as the starting point for “intensive discussions” that he said must lead to a resumption of peace negotiations. “We have to summon the will to break the deadlock that has trapped generations of Israelis and Palestinians in an endless cycle of conflict and suffering,” Obama said as he marked his most significant attempt at personal Middle East diplomacy since taking office. After the meeting, Netanyahu told reporters there was “general agreement” that peace talks, which broke off late last year, should resume as soon as possible “with no preconditions.” Obama’s Middle East envoy, former Senate majority leader George Mitchell, said at a news conference that there remain “differences between them on how to proceed.”

  • These peace efforts will fail just as all the preceding ones have because Islamics seek only Israel’s complete destruction. Any peaceful progress is merely an opportunity for them to gain a greater foothold against Israel. True peace will not come until Jesus returns and establishes once and for all who the One True God really is.

New al-Qaeda Video Predicts Obama to Fall

On Tuesday, al-Qaeda marked the eighth anniversary of Sept. 11 with a new 106-minute long video predicting President Obama‘s downfall at the hands of the Muslim world. The Arabic-language video released on militant websites, featured a review of the events of the past year and testimony from several leading al-Qaeda figures, but not the leader Osama bin Laden himself. Similar long messages intercut with news footage have appeared on previous anniversaries as a kind of year’s roundup. Bin Laden released a short message of his own on Sept. 14. Many analysts believe that al-Qaeda has been alarmed by Obama’s comparative popularity in the Middle East, especially following his landmark speech to the Muslim world in Cairo in June. “America has come in a new, hypocritical face. Smiling at us, but stabbing us with the same dagger that Bush used,” said al-Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri in the message. “God willing, your end will be at the hands of the Muslim nation, so that the world and history will be free of your crimes and lies.” he said addressing Obama at the end of the two part video.

Islamic Rally on Capitol Clouded by Organizer’s Terror Ties

As an anticipated 50,000 Muslims prepare to descend on Capitol Hill for “A Day of Islamic Unity” this Friday, several blogs and online news sources have spotlighted the history of the movement’s leader and his ties to terrorists in the U.S. One of the key organizers is Hassen Abdellah, an attorney from Elizabeth, N.J. Abdellah formed part of the legal team that defended four men in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, including Mahmud Abouhalim, who was convicted and sentenced to prison. The case, as well as Abdellah’s other legal associations, has raised eyebrows online, who published an extensive look at the Muslim rally’s organizers, including a reminder that Abdellah also defended Numan Maflahi, a man who in 2004 was accused by prosecutors of being tied to al-Qaida and sentenced to five years for lying to investigators during an investigation of terrorism financing.

  • Imagine the outcry if the Christian leaders of the National Day of Prayer event had ties to criminals, let alone terrorists. But now, only silence in the mainstream media.

Terror Suspect Held Without Bail; Alert Issued

An airport shuttle driver under arrest in Colorado may have been planning with others to detonate backpack bombs on New York City trains in a terrorism plot similar to past attacks on London’s and Madrid’s mass-transit systems, officials said. The investigation into the possible terror plot has prompted counterterrorism officials to warn mass-transit systems, stadiums, hotels and entertainment complexes around the nation to step up patrols. More than a half-dozen individuals in the United States, Pakistan and elsewhere, were being scrutinized in the alleged plot.

Obama Science Chief: Abortion can Save Planet

Despite the claims of some media watchdogs, President Obama’s science czar contended in a textbook he co-authored that involuntary birth-control measures, including forced sterilization, may be necessary and morally acceptable under certain conditions, such as widespread famine brought about by “climate change.” John Holdren argued in the 1970s college textbook obtained by WorldNetDaily, “Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment,” that, “Compulsory control of family size is an unpalatable idea, but the alternatives may be much more horrifying.” The author also advocated abortion as an acceptable form of population control and proposed that the best survival strategy for a pregnant woman is to abort her baby. “When performed today under appropriate medical circumstances by a qualified physician … abortion is much safer than a full-term pregnancy,” Holdren and co-author Ehrlichs wrote.

  • Obama’s czars are scary, none more so than this Science Czar.

Poll: Americans Angry at Feds

Americans are overwhelmingly angry at the U.S. government and is nearly as let down by the lack of ideas from both political parties, a new poll by Rasmussen Reports revealed Tuesday. Sixty-six percent of voters in a national poll said they’re angry at the policies of the federal government, including 36 percent who counted themselves as very angry. Thirty percent are not really angry, including 10 percent of whom say they aren’t angry at all. Among those most angry are Republicans — 90 percent of whom say they are somewhat or very angry. Seventy-seven percent of independents are angry and just 44 percent of Democrats are peeved. But few believe that the political parties have an answer. Of those surveyed, 60 percent said neither Republicans nor Democrats understand what is needed and among those who claimed to be very angry, that number rises to 80 percent.

Cash for Clunkers Program Caught in Undercover Sting

While President Obama delivers speeches praising the alleged success of Cash for Clunkers, a former rebate processor for the federal program – also working undercover for WorldNetDaily – is calling it “complete chaos.” Hiring practices and training programs for those who would review dealer vouchers were beyond abysmal. During a 37.5-hour work week, informant Kathleen Willey reported actually working only 14 hours – but she was paid for more than 37 hours of work. “Two of those nights, I had no work at all,” she said. “On those two evenings, when I left, I complained to two different supervisors and I got two different responses: ‘Milk it, baby!’ and ‘Free money!'” She said the vouchers were “rife with idiotic mistakes by Level 1 reviewers who were rejecting them for no reason at all, mostly because they were not paying attention.” Vouchers were being returned to “irate” dealers as many as seven times. When their documents are returned for revision, they have no number to call or person to e-mail. In addition, the New York Times reported that the CARS computer systems were often overloaded, and dealers said they would finish one page in the application, hit enter and nothing would happen. Then a message would notify the dealer that the page had “timed out.”

  • And people continue to expect the government to fix the economy with even more federal programs and greater involvement? The main problem is the government.

U.K.‘s Brown Urges New Economic Order

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said leaders of 20 rich and developing countries must start to sketch out the outlines of a new global economic order when they meet in Pittsburgh later this week, as well as making sure that the fledgling recovery sustains itself. Brown said it was important that longer-term issues, such as preventing huge financial imbalances in trade, savings and consumption, are tackled as the global economy recovers from its worst recession since World War II. Many of the world’s leaders, including U.S. President Obama and IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, have spoken of the need for “rebalancing” the world economy.

  • The one-world government of Revelation 13 is coming. On the surface it makes sense. The problem is that leadership will be driven by the gods of greed and power, not by the One True God.

Immigrant Population Dipped Last Year

The share of the U.S. population composed of immigrants dropped slightly in 2008, reversing a 40-year trend that helped fuel the nation’s explosive growth and diversity. The foreign-born dropped from 12.6% in 2007 to 12.5%, according to Census data out Monday. The share had been rising every decade since 1970, when it hit a low of 4.7%. The dip is more pronounced in areas that have taken a big economic hit in the recession, such as Los Angeles and Riverside in California and Phoenix. Areas doing better such as Houston and Dallas did not experience as large a drop — an indication that immigrant numbers could rise again as soon as the economy rebounds. Mexican immigrants, who held a significant share of jobs in the hard-hit construction industry, showed the largest overall decline among the foreign-born: down about 300,000 to 11.4 million.

People With ‘No Religion’ Increasing

Americans who don’t identify with any religion are now 15% of the USA, but trends in a new study shows they could one day surpass the nation’s largest denominations — including Catholics, now 24% of the nation. American Nones: Profile of the No Religion Population released Tuesday by Trinity College, finds this faith-free group already includes nearly 19% of U.S. men and 12% of women. Of these, 35% say they were Catholic at age 12. Researchers forecast one in five Americans will be Nones in 20 years. Not all Nones are alike. Half (51%) still believe in God or a higher power. The percentage of atheist Nones — who say there’s no such thing as God — hasn’t budged in years. Nones also are the only major U. S. group that’s majority male.

Census: 76% Marry Just Once

Most Americans marry for keeps or, if it doesn’t last, don’t want to repeat the same mistake, according to new Census data that show 76% of those who have ever been married have married just once. Almost 20% have been married twice and 5% have been married three or more times, finds data released Monday from the American Community Survey of 3 million households. The survey also found almost 200,000 fewer same-sex couples than the previous year, which Census officials say resulted from data-processing changes. The total number of same-sex couples in 2008 was about 565,000, vs. 754,000 in 2007.

Heart Attack Rates Fall 17% After Smoking Bans Enacted

Community smoking bans have an immediate and dramatic effect on reducing heart attacks, according to two new analyses of laws in the USA, Canada and Europe. Two separate analyses released Monday each found that heart attack rates fall 17% within a year after smoking bans take effect. Cigarette smoke can trigger a heart attack in people with underlying heart disease by causing clots or spasms in the blood vessels, says David Goff, a spokesman for the American Heart Association who wasn’t involved in either study. Given that there are about 920,000 heart attacks every year, the studies suggests that public smoking bans could prevent more than 150,000 of these, according to the Cardiology paper. Taken together, the findings provide strong, consistent evidence that the country should enact more smoke-free laws, Goff says.

Swine Flu Cases Increasing

The number of swine flu cases in Arizona continues to increase. As of last week, the day the Arizona Department of Health Services reports the number of flu cases each week, the ADHS reported a total of 1,480 swine flu cases in Arizona. The ADHS figures show 13 cases of swine flu cases in Yavapai County. The CDC spokesman said visits to doctors for influenza-like illness are more frequent than normal for this time of year and are up for the fifth consecutive week. This is very unusual for this time of year, he said.

Bird Deaths Present Problem at Wind Farms

For years, a huge wind farm in California‘s San Joaquin Valley was slaughtering thousands of birds, including golden eagles, red-tailed hawks and burrowing owls. The raptors would get sliced up by the blades on the 5,400 turbines in Altamont Pass, or electrocuted by the wind farm’s power lines. Scientists, wildlife agencies and turbine experts came together in an attempt to solve the problem. The result? Protective measures put in place in an effort to reduce deaths by 50% failed. Deaths in fact soared for three of four bird species studied, said the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area Bird Fatality Study. The slaughter at Altamont Pass is being raised by avian scientists who say the drive among environmentalists to rapidly boost U.S. wind-farm power 20 times could lead to massive bird losses and even extinctions.

Credit Scores Take a Big Hit

Long after the economy recovers, millions of Americans will be left with a grim legacy of the recession: damaged credit scores, the three-digit ratings that help determine consumers’ ability to get loans and other types of credit. Even though some consumers have seen their credit scores improve as they trim their debt, more have seen their scores drop significantly because of late payments on bills, foreclosures and rising credit card debt. Meanwhile, lenders’ actions during the recession are delivering another blow to borrowers — even some with pristine credit. Lenders are closing credit card accounts and lowering credit limits for millions of consumers and business owners who have never paid late. Some lenders are reporting mortgage modifications in a way that dings consumers’ scores, dealing a setback to those trying to get their finances on track. More lenders also are adopting a new scoring model the financial industry believes is better at predicting risk — but that could also hurt consumers’ scores.

Economic News

Jobless workers in imminent danger of losing their unemployment benefits would get a 13-week reprieve under legislation approved Tuesday by the House of Representatives. The House bill, which applies to 27 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, all with unemployment rates of 8.5% or higher, would add to the already-record levels of benefits that have been available to the jobless as the country has struggled to recover from its prolonged economic malaise. It would not, however, give any extra benefits to the longtime unemployed in states that have lower levels of joblessness.

Despite some progress, congressional investigators on Monday cast doubt on whether efforts by American International Group (AIG) to restructure its operations and pay back the government will ever prove successful. In the biggest taxpayer-funded bailout of a single company, the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department have provided $182.3 billion to the insurance giant. The Government Accountability Office said that as of early September, AIG’s outstanding balance of aid was $120.7 billion.

More Americans found housing unaffordable last year, even though home prices across the U.S. have taken a major fall. Nearly two in five homeowners with mortgages and half of renters paid 30% or more of their before-tax income on housing costs, which is the limit the government sets for determining that housing is unaffordable. The prices of homes this year are down more than 20% compared with the peak of the housing bubble in 2006, according to the National Association of Realtors. Reflecting the rapid pace of foreclosures, the number of homeowners dropped by about 142,000.

Big, healthy banks may lend billions to shore up the government fund that insures regular deposit accounts, according to a report Tuesday. The fund maintained by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has suffered major losses from bank failures during the financial crisis and is at its lowest point since 1992, the height of the savings-and-loan crisis.

  • Great. More debt to shore up problems of too much debt. The vapor money supply will soon go poof!

Brzezinski Suggests Obama Shoot Down Israeli Jets

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser during the administration of President Jimmy Carter says the United States should shoot down Israeli jets if that nation chooses to take military action against a nuclear project in Iran. Israel long has been thought to be considering a military strike against operations in Iran that could result in a nuclear weapon for the regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Israel has stated that it is unwilling to have its future threatened by a leader who believes it should be wiped off the map, as Ahmadinejad has stated, with access to nuclear weapons. But such an Israeli attack on Iran probably would have to fly over coalition airspace in Iraq. He said the U.S. has to be “serious” about denying Israel the right to attack.

  • Anti-Israel attitudes continue to grow as Satan fans the flames of opposition to Judeo-Christian institutions. Brzezinski has been a New World (Dis)Order leader from the get-go.

In Somalia, U.S. Weapons End Up in al-Qaeda Hands

As the Somalia conflict spirals into a new proxy war between al-Qaeda and the United States, there is mounting evidence that U.S. weapons and Somali soldiers are ending up under the control of Islamic terrorists, Somali politicians say. The warning comes after a week of heavy violence in Somalia, including a U.S. commando raid that killed a suspected terrorist leader, followed swiftly by a double suicide bombing that killed 17 African peacekeepers in revenge for the U.S. raid. The United States has pumped at least 40 tons of weapons into Somalia in recent months to help the government fight the Islamic warriors who are linked to al-Qaeda. But the Somali army is so weak and ill-trained that its soldiers have begun defecting to the Islamists and their U.S.-supplied weapons are being traded to the insurgents, known as al-Shabab, the politicians say. Washington’s attempt to prop up the Somali government with a flow of arms is a futile gesture because there is not enough training and support for its soldiers, the politicians said.

  • You’d think by now we’d grow weary of arming our future enemies. All too often we wind up contending against our own weaponry.


Sen. John McCain says more U.S. troops are needed in Afghanistan, insisting that the longer it takes to send them, “the more Americans will be put at risk.” Critics at the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill have called on Obama to fulfill an anticipated request for more troops from the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal. White House officials, however, say they are unsure that a troop increase in Afghanistan will help in the fight against al-Qaeda.

Twelve Afghan civilians died in roadside bomb blasts in the past 24 hours, officials said Wednesday. Homemade bombs planted on roads or near government buildings have become a major killer in Afghanistan as the Taliban and other militants increasingly use guerrilla tactics to battle Afghan and international forces. The bombs usually target the military, but civilians are also frequent victims. A U.N. report said 1,013 civilians were killed in the first half of 2009, a 24% increase from the same period last year. More than half of those killed — about 60% — died in militant attacks. Airstrikes by international forces were also a major killer.


Suspected Islamist militants blew up a girls school close to the main city in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, police said. The school on the outskirts of the Peshawar was empty when the explosion took place. Islamist militants in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan have often targeted girls’ schools because they believe that women should not be educated.


A wildfire stoked by the notoriously hot and dry Santa Ana winds has burned some 8,500 acres in the hills of Ventura County, where airtankers — including a DC-10 jumbo jet and big helitankers — have bombarded flames with retardant and water. Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggar has declared a state of emergency for the county, freeing up state resources to battle the more than 13-square-mile fire, which was one of several burning in Southern California Tuesday. Numerous homes remained threatened and evacuation orders remain in effect. At least one small building was seen ablaze.

Four wildfires are burning in Oregon, having already consumed over 11,200 acres (over 17 square miles).


Widespread flooding Monday killed at least ten people in Georgia and Alabama and left hundreds of homes inundated, thousands without power and millions of commuters flummoxed as closed roads and washed-out bridges created major traffic jams across the Atlanta region. Late Tuesday, sections of Interstates 20 and 285 remained closed as authorities waited for floodwaters to drain.

Two years ago, more than 180 nations made a bold promise: By the end of 2009, they would draft a sweeping treaty to slow climate change. Now the deadline is nearing, and hope is fading. The treaty is supposed to be finalized at talks that start Dec. 7 in Copenhagen, but diplomats have made almost no progress toward an agreement — a point made repeatedly by world leaders Tuesday at the U.N. climate summit in New York. The debate over climate change is wrapped in a wide range of political and economic conflicts.

September 21, 2009

Obama Says to Legalize Illegals to Get Them Healthcare

President Obama said this week that his health care plan won’t cover illegal immigrants, but argued that’s all the more reason to legalize them and ensure they eventually do get coverage. Obama said, “If anything, this debate underscores the necessity of passing comprehensive immigration reform and resolving the issue of 12 million undocumented people living and working in this country once and for all.” Republicans said that amounts to an amnesty, calling it a backdoor effort to make sure current illegal immigrants get health care. “It is ironic that the president told the American people that illegal immigrants should not be covered by the health care bill, but now just days later he’s talking about letting them in the back door,” said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

Obama’s Week of High Diplomatic Stakes

The unrelenting global troubles confronting President Barack Obama are about to converge on him all at once, providing a stern test of leadership for a first-year president who has pledged to “change the world.” In a span of four days, Obama will plunge into the politics of the United Nations and host a summit in Pittsburgh on the world’s wobbling economy. The international stage is coming to him, and no one standing on it with him will have higher stakes. Obama is under pressure to push along stalled Mideast peace, prove the United States is serious about climate change and rally allies against the nuclear threats of Iran and North Korea. Restless leaders in Europe and elsewhere are pressing Obama to reform risky U.S. financial behavior and get Congress on board. He also bears the load of two inherited wars that now bear his imprint — the one he’s winding down in Iraq and the one that’s widening in Afghanistan. Eight years after the Sept. 11 attacks, Obama must hold together international will as he tries to keep Afghanistan from becoming an al-Qaeda launching pad again.

  • Obama’s international honeymoon is over. Now comes the tough part. This week will tell a lot concerning his and America’s leadership in the world.

Obama: Race ‘Not the Overriding Issue Here’

President Obama said Friday that angry criticisms about his health care agenda are driven by an intense debate over the proper role of government — and not by racism. “Are there people out there who don’t like me because of race? I’m sure there are,” Obama told CNN. “That’s not the overriding issue here.” Obama, the first black president in the nation’s history, spoke about the issue of race during a battery of interviews on Friday. In a media blitz aimed at pounding home his health care message, he taped interviews with ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Univision to be shown during the networks’ Sunday morning talk shows.

  • To his credit, Obama has not used race as an issue in the healthcare debate, although other less principled liberals have been quick to tarnish opponents with that false judgment

Congress, Obama Team Up to Kill Marriage

Nearly 100 members of the U.S. House are working in lockstep with the Obama administration to try to eliminate protections for traditional marriage in the United States with the “Respect for Marriage Act” that has just been introduced in Congress. H.R. 3567 was introduced just days ago by U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, and more than 90 co-sponsors. “This legislation would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law which discriminates against lawfully married same-sex couples,” Nadler said in a statement on his website.The proposal has been assigned to committee. “The introduction of the Respect for Marriage Act responds directly to a call from President Obama for congressional action on the issue. As the president recently confirmed: ‘I stand by my long-standing commitment to work with Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. It’s discriminatory, it interferes with states’ rights, and it’s time we overturned it,” the statement said. The Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for federal purposes. It was passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996.

According to an analysis by Alliance Defense Fund, a repeal of the primary federal law that protects marriage opens the door for litigation that would seek to force states to recognize “marriages” between same-sex duos. “Marriage is not just any two people in a committed relationship. There’s more to a marriage than that. A decisive majority of Americans believe this, and they are tired of being treated with contempt by politicians,” said ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum.

1 in 3 Teen Girls Get Cervical Cancer Vaccine

One in three teenage girls have rolled up their sleeves for a vaccine against cervical cancer, but vaccination rates vary dramatically between states, according to a federal report released Thursday. The highest rates were in Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, where more than half of girls ages 13 through 17 got at least one dose of the three-shot vaccination. The lowest rates were in Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina, where fewer than 20% got at least one shot. Merck’s Gardasil vaccine targets strains of the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus that cause about 70% of cervical cancers. It came on the market in 2006. Health officials recommend that girls get the shots when they are 11 or 12, if possible, before they become sexually active so they have immunity before they are first infected. The shots are approved for females 9 through 26.

Vaccine proponents had been hoping for higher vaccination rates, saying the shots could dramatically reduce the nearly 4,000 cervical cancer deaths that occur each year in the United States. Money is an issue. Retailing at $390 for the three-dose series, Gardasil is the most expensive childhood vaccine. Efforts to make the vaccine mandatory in some states have failed. Opponents cite possible long-term health risks that have not as yet been studied.

More than 35 Million have Dementia

More than 35 million people around the world are living with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, says the most in-depth attempt yet to assess the brain-destroying illness – and it’s an ominous forecast as the population grays. The new count is about 10 percent higher than what scientists had predicted just a few years ago, because earlier research underestimated Alzheimer’s growing impact in developing countries. Barring a medical breakthrough, the World Alzheimer Report projects dementia will nearly double every 20 years. By 2050, it will affect a staggering 115.4 million people, the report concludes. The report aims to raise awareness of the threat in poorer countries, where finally people are living long enough to face what is mostly a disease of the 65-and-older population. The report puts North America’s total at 4.4 million.

Obama says No Job Growth until 2010

President Obama says that despite signs of economic recovery, the country will not see large-scale job growth until next year. In a wide-ranging interview broadcast Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Obama said reversing job losses from the recession will come at the end of the recovery period, not the start. Obama explained that he believes the economy will be creating jobs through the end of 2009 — but not enough to keep pace with population growth nor to make up for steep losses in employment that occurred earlier this year. “I think we’ll be adding jobs, but you need 150,000 additional jobs each month just to keep pace with a growing population,” the president said. “So if we’re only adding 50,000 jobs, that’s a great reversal from losing 700,000 jobs [a month] early this year – but… it means that we’ve still got a ways to go.”

Economic News

Forty-two states lost jobs last month, up from 29 in July, with the biggest net payroll cuts coming in Texas, Michigan, Georgia and Ohio. The Labor Department also reported Friday that 27 states and Washington, D.C., saw their unemployment rates increase in August, and 14 states and Washington reported unemployment rates of 10% or above. The report shows jobs remain scarce even as most analysts believe the economy is pulling out of the worst recession since the 1930s.

Despite all the talk about small cars, many used car buyers are thinking big again. Used small cars are taking the biggest hits on value in the resale market, Kelley Blue Book says. The trend reflects, for one thing, that gas prices seem relatively low and stable. And it shows that Americans may not be so quick to embrace smaller new vehicles the federal government is mandating — if they cost more.

Regulators shut down two banking units of Irwin Financial on Friday, marking the 93rd and 94th failures this year of federally insured banks. Hundreds more banks are expected to fail in the next few years largely because of souring loans for commercial real estate. The number of banks on the FDIC’s confidential “problem list” jumped to 416 at the end of June from 305 in the first quarter.

The Conference Board‘s index of leading economic indicators, which is supposed to forecast economic trends six to nine months ahead, rose 0.6% to 102.5, the highest level since January 2008, after a revised 0.9% gain in July.

Arizona is receiving $66 million from the federal stimulus package to revive more than 30 stalled affordable-housing projects for families, seniors and the disabled. The developments are expected to create at least a thousand homes for residents who cannot find housing they can afford, as well as at least 2,000 construction, government and service jobs.

Iran Building Backup nuke plant in Venezuela?

Iran may consider a proposal from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to build a backup “nuclear village” in his nation to produce nuclear energy and also to have a safe fall-back production capability in case there is an attack by Israel or the United States on nuclear facilities in Iran, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin. The WorldNetDaily founder reports that Chavez, in a visit last week to Iran, proposed to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the idea of building a project in Venezuela. Security sources have confirmed such a “nuclear village” could become the Iranian nuclear production alternative, or a location to hide especially critical nuclear components from attack.

U.S. Envoy Leaves Israel Without Peace Talk Deal

President Obama‘s special Mideast envoy on Friday ended his latest mission to the region without agreement on the terms of renewing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the chief Palestinian negotiator said. The deep gaps between the Israeli and Palestinian positions raised doubt about Obama’s plans to revive Mideast peace efforts, including the possibility of holding a trilateral meeting with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders next week in New York, on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. The key disputes are over Israeli settlement expansion and whether peace talks should begin where they left off. Israel has balked at a U.S. demand that it freeze settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, war-won territory the Palestinians claim for their state.

  • The so-called “war-won territory” was originally part of Israel. The world has very short memories as far as Israel is concerned. There never has been a Palestinian state, despite what the media attempts to portray.

Conference Criticizes Israeli Nukes

Overriding Western objections, a 150-nation nuclear conference on Friday passed a resolution directly criticizing Israel and its atomic program for the first time in 18 years. Iran hailed the vote as a “glorious moment.” The result was a setback not only for Israel but also for the United States and other backers of the Jewish state, which had lobbied for 18 years of past practice — debate on the issue without a vote. It also reflected building tensions between Israel and its backers and Islamic nations, backed by developing countries. Of delegations present at the International Atomic Energy Agency meeting Friday, 49 voted for the resolution. Forty-five were against and 16 abstained from endorsing or rejecting the document, which “expresses concern about the Israeli nuclear capabilities,” and links it to “concern about the threat posed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons for the security and stability of the Middle East.”

Thousands March in Iran Protests

Hard-liners attacked senior pro-reform leaders in the streets as tens of thousands marched in competing mass demonstrations by the opposition and government supporters. Opposition protesters, chanting “death to the dictator,” hurled stones and bricks in clashes with security forces. The opposition held its first major street protests since mid-July, bringing out thousands in demonstrations in several parts of the capital. In some cases only several blocks away, tens of thousands marched in government-sponsored rallies marking an annual anti-Israel commemoration. The commemoration, known as Quds Day, is a major political occasion for the government — a day for it to show its anti-Israeli credentials and its support for the Palestinians.

During a speech for the rallies, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad railed against Israel and the West, questioning whether the Holocaust occurred and calling it a pretext for occupying Arab land. Quds is the Arabic word for Jerusalem. But the opposition was determined to turn the day into a show of its survival and continued strength despite a fierce three-month-old crackdown against it since the disputed June 12 presidential election. Iran’s Supreme Leader warned government supporters on Sunday against accusing opposition members of wrongdoing without proof, an indication that the Islamic government may be easing up on critics of the June presidential election.

Russia Scraps Missile Plan

Russia has scrapped a plan to deploy missiles in a region near Poland after President Obama dumped his predecessor’s plan for a U.S. missile defense in Eastern Europe, a Russian deputy defense minister said Saturday. Vladimir Popovkin told Ekho Moskvy radio that Obama’s move has made the deployment of Iskander short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad region unnecessary. Russia staunchly opposed the plan by the former administration of George W. Bush to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a related radar in the Czech Republic and said if the project went ahead it would respond by deploying the Iskander missiles in its westernmost Baltic Sea region. Obama’s decision to scrap the plan was based largely on a new U.S. intelligence assessment that Iran’s effort to build a nuclear-capable long-range missile would take three to five years longer than originally thought, U.S. officials said.

China: 400 Officials Attack Sleeping Church Members

Mission News Network reports that Christians sleeping at a new church site were surprised and brutally attacked by 400 Chinese officials on Sunday. Several believers were left unconscious with severe bleeding and injuries. Fellow Christians who took them to the local hospital discovered that hospital staff had been ordered not to treat them. The building stands on property owned by a Christian factory, preventing officials from refusing authorization as they would normally. “They called it a worship center. It’s a part of the factory owned by the Christians, and the government regarded it as a church, so that’s why they started attacking,” explains ChinaAid Association President Bob Fu. The building was destroyed in the attack. About 80,000 believers of an underground network hoped to use the worship building at different times.


A hospital official says an earthquake on the Indonesian resort island Bali has injured at least seven people and sent many others fleeing outside. Indonesia’s Meteorological and Geophysics Agency measured the quake at a powerful 6.4 magnitude..It struck 45 miles south of Denpasar early Saturday. No tsunami alert was issued. Dr. Ken Wirasandi says seven people were treated for head injuries and broken bones at the Sanglah Hospital in Bali’s capital, Denpasar. Wirasandi said the shaking had caused panic and women and children ran screaming out of their houses, but there were no immediate reports of serious damage.

Part 3 – National

September 18, 2009

House Votes to Defund ACORN

The House voted Thursday to deny all federal funds for ACORN in a GOP-led strike against the scandal-tainted community organizing group that comes just three days after the Senate took similar action. “ACORN has violated serious federal laws, and today the House voted to ensure that taxpayer dollars would no longer be used to fund this corrupt organization,” said second-ranked House Republican Eric Cantor of Virginia. The vote, on a provision attached to a student aid bill, was 345-75, with Democrats supplying all the “no” votes. On Monday the Senate voted 83-7 to deny housing and community grant funding to ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Republicans accelerated their attacks on the liberal-leaning group a year ago when ACORN, in conducting a massive voter registration drive, was accused of submitting some false registration forms. On a hidden-camera video released on Monday, two ACORN employees are seen apparently advising a couple that was posing as a prostitute and her pimp to lie about her profession and launder her earnings. The video was the latest in a series that has already led to the firing of four ACORN employees in Baltimore and Washington.

Regulatory Czar Wants to Spread America’s Wealth

It is “desirable” to redistribute America’s wealth to poorer nations, argued President Obama’s newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein. According to Sunstein, global climate change is primarily the fault of U.S. environmental behavior and can, therefore, be used as a mechanism to redistribute the country’s wealth. The Obama czar penned a 2007 University of Chicago Law School paper – obtained and reviewed by WorldNetDaily – in which he debated whether America should pay “justice” to the world by entering into a compensation agreement that would be a net financial loss for the U.S. Sunstein heavily leans on the side of such an agreement, particularly a worldwide carbon tax that would heavily tariff the U.S.

  • Obama and his Czars line up like ducks behind the New World (Dis)Order’s global plans for wealth distribution

In addition, Sunstein also contends that the interpretation of federal law should be made not by judges but by the beliefs and commitments of the U.S. president and those around him. “There is no reason to believe that in the face of statutory ambiguity, the meaning of federal law should be settled by the inclinations and predispositions of federal judges. The outcome should instead depend on the commitments and beliefs of the President and those who operate under him,” argued Sunstein in a 2006 Yale Law School paper, “Beyond Marbury: The Executive’s Power to Say What the Law Is.”

  • All hail King Obama – or is it messiah?

Baucus Health Care Bill gets Lukewarm Reception

A long-awaited plan to revamp health care got a tepid response from lawmakers Wednesday, underscoring the challenge President Obama confronts as his top priority enters a critical new phase. The proposal, estimated by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., to cost $856 billion in the first 10 years, is the last of the health care bills to be drafted and the result of months of talks by a bipartisan group of senators called the “Gang of Six.” No Republicans backed the measure Wednesday and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called it “just the beginning.” Starting next week, Obama and Democratic leaders face the daunting task of passing health care legislation in the Senate Finance Committee and then merging it with other proposals pending in Congress. At the same time they must quell infighting in their own party and fend off Republican attacks.

  • Government-led healthcare reform is on life support.

Cap-and-Trade’s Cost to Americans: $1,761 per Household

The Obama administration has concluded privately that a cap-and-trade law would cost every American household $1,761 a year — or a national total of nearly $200 billion a year, the equivalent of hiking personal income taxes by about 15 percent. The previously unreleased Treasury Department analysis, which CBS News reported this week, says the new law would require new taxes between $100 billion to $200 billion a year. That’s how Treasury analysts arrived at the $1,761 per household figure. Because personal income tax revenues bring in around $1.37 trillion a year, a $200 billion additional tax would be the equivalent of a 15 percent increase a year. A $100 billion additional tax would represent a 7 percent or 8 percent increase a year. Democrats pushing such legislation, meanwhile, have relied on estimates from MIT’s John Reilly, who put the cost at $800 a year per family. They insist that tax credits to low-income households could offset part of the bite.

  • With government debt (i.e. U.S. Taxpayer debt) soaring to unprecedented levels, are these people out of their minds to even think about going forward with such a plan?

Millions to be Under Surveillance by Obama’s New Internet Spy Program

The Obama White House “new media” operations Czar recently contracted a technology vendor to conduct an enormous secret program to gather personal information on millions of Americans from Internet social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, according to the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC). The Obama minions are interested in information such as comments, tag lines, emails, audio, and video that mention — or related to — President Barack Obama. The sites targeted for surveillance include Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and others –- any space where the White House “maintains a presence.” According to the NLPC, this is the third controversy involving the White House internet operations in less than a month.

During the heated health care debate, President Obama asked Americans to send information about critics of the White House health care effort to a special White House email address. The ensuing firestorm of caused the White House to terminate the email address and the web site created for that purpose. Subsequently, Fox News White House correspondent Major Garrett uncovered the Obama Administration sending email spam from the White House supporting the President’s health care position. Again the White House was forced to back down. Now the same people at the White House are at it again with an ambitious plan to harvest huge amounts of information from the web and specifically social networking sites, according to NLPC.

  • They don’t give up, do they? Nor will they, as the New World (Dis)Order becomes more bold and blatant.

Electrical Grid Vulnerable to Terrorist Attack

It sounds like a science-fiction disaster: A nuclear weapon is detonated miles above the Earth’s atmosphere and knocks out power from New York City to Chicago for weeks, maybe months. Experts and lawmakers are increasingly warning that terrorists or enemy states could wage that exact type of attack, idling electricity grids and disrupting everything from communications networks to military defenses. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is pushing Congress for authority to require power companies to take protective steps, which could include building metal shields around sensitive computer equipment. An expert panel that Congress created to study such an attack says it would halt banking, transportation, food, water and emergency services and “might result in defeat of our military forces.” The scenario involves a phenomenon called an “electromagnetic pulse,” or EMP, which is essentially a huge energy wave strong enough to knock out systems that control electricity flow across the country. The immediate effect would resemble a blackout. Although blackouts can be restored quickly, an EMP could damage or destroy power systems, leaving them inoperable for months or longer.

Lead, Arsenic Found in Numerous Products

A consumer watchdog group has found lead, arsenic and other potentially harmful chemicals in an array of everyday products, from handbags to pet supplies to car seats and backpacks. The Michigan-based Ecology Center tested more than 5,000 products for its new database,, launched Wednesday. The environmental advocacy organization also produces and The group found lead in 75% of the 100 women’s handbags tested. Two-thirds of all handbags tested had lead levels above 300 parts per million, the new safety standard for children’s products. That safety standard doesn’t apply to adult products. But Gearhart notes that teething babies sometimes chew on soft purses and wallets, and that toddlers often play with their mother’s bags. One-quarter of all pet products — and nearly half of all pet collars and tennis balls designed for dogs — had detectable levels of lead. Sports tennis balls intended for humans were lead-free.

Crackdown on Artifact Crimes Gets Results

A federal government crackdown on black-market Indian artifacts and the looting of dozens of sacred objects from Indian ruins in Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico continued to unfold this week as a mother and daughter were sentenced to three and two years of probation respectively. They were the first to be sentenced in the Department of the Interior investigation, launched in late 2006. The women pleaded guilty to multiple felonies involving theft and excavation of artifacts and surrendered an antiquities collection of more than 800 objects. Since the investigation began, 26 people, including several well-known antiquities collectors, have been indicted. “It’s like a Tony Hillerman book unfolding right before our very eyes,” Melodie Rydalch, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah noted, referring to popular detective novels based on the Navajo Nation.

Incomes of Young in 8-year Nose Dive

The incomes of the young and middle-aged — especially men — have fallen off a cliff since 2000, leaving many age groups poorer than they were even in the 1970s, a USA TODAY analysis of new Census data found. People 54 or younger are losing ground financially at an unprecedented rate in this recession, widening a gap between young and old that had been expanding for years. While the young have lost ground, older people have grown more prosperous over the years. Older women have done best of all. The dividing line between those getting richer or poorer: the year 1955. If you were born before that, you’re part of a generation enjoying a four-decade run of historic income growth. Every generation after that is now sinking economically. “The second half of the Baby Boom may be in the worst shape of all,” says demographer Cheryl Russell of New Strategist Publications, a research firm. “They’re loaded with expenses for housing, cars and kids, but they will never generate the income that their parents enjoyed.”

Economic News

Household wealth in the U.S. increased by $2 trillion in the second quarter, bringing an end to the biggest slump on record. Net worth for households and non-profit groups climbed to $53.1 trillion from $51.1 trillion in the first quarter, the first gain since the third quarter of 2007, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday. The advance reflected the biggest quarterly jump in stock prices since 1998 and the first increase in home values in more than two years. Wealth dropped by a record $13 trillion during that time.

The number of workers filing for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since early July, evidence that job cuts are slowing, as housing starts continued to rebound. The Labor Department says initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped to a seasonally adjusted 545,000. The decline is the third in the past four weeks. The four-week average, which smooths out fluctuations, dropped 8,750 to 563,000. That’s still far above the 325,000 per week typical in a healthy economy. The number of people claiming benefits for more than a week rose by 129,000 to a seasonally adjusted 6.2 million.

Five states posted jobless rates above 12% in August, according to federal data released Friday. Michigan led the nation in unemployment, with a rate of 15.2%, while Nevada was next at 13.2% and Rhode Island was third at 12.8%. California and Oregon were tied for the fourth spot, each with unemployment at 12.2%. These were record highs for California, Nevada and Rhode Island, the Labor Department said.

The Commerce Department said housing construction rose in August to the highest level in nine months as a surge in apartment building offset a decline in single-family construction. Commerce said construction of new homes and apartments rose 1.5% to an annual rate of 598,000 units last month. The increase pushed building activity to the highest level since last November and left home construction 24.8% above the record low set in April. Applications for building permits, a good forecaster of future activity, posted a 2.7% rise in August.

Time is fast running out for first-time buyers hoping to get a tax credit of up to $8,000, and Realtors say they’re seeing a marked upswing in interest as the deadline looms. Real estate groups also are urging Congress to extend the credit beyond its current deadline and expand the tax credit to up to $15,000. Now, buyers must close on their purchase by Nov. 30 to be eligible for the credit. Home builders and real estate organizations are concerned that letting the tax credit expire could knock the wind out of the current housing recovery.

Part 1

September 18, 2009

Principal Cleared of Criminal Count over Meal Blessing

A judge today cleared the principal of Pace High School in Florida of a criminal contempt charge after the American Civil Liberties Union complained that Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman violated a court order. Freeman also had faced the same criminal contempt charge, but also was cleared. Judge M. Case Rodgers decided that the meal blessing – requested by Lay and delivered by Freeman – was on church property and was spontaneous, therefore lacking an intent to violate the order. The situation began several years ago when two anonymous students sued with the help of the ACLU over long-standing practices at the school allowing prayer at some events. Rodgers issued a temporary injunction last January halting the practices. Lay was accused of asking Freeman to bless the food, which he did, at the off-campus event.

Liberty Counsel founder Mathew D. Staver expressed relief over that victory but frustration over the ACLU’s actions. “The wheels came off the ACLU’s steamroller. While we are pleased with the ruling, we are saddened that a wonderful woman had to spend a day in court, with the ACLU’s crosshairs aimed at her back. Prayer is neither contemptuous nor criminal. It is outrageous that the ACLU sought civil contempt charges against an outstanding woman whose husband prayed a beautiful prayer at a privately sponsored event held off campus. The ACLU needs to take a good dose of the First Amendment and call us in the morning,” he said. The case has also gained national attention. Earlier this week, Congressman Randy Forbes, the chair of the bi-partisan Congressional Prayer Caucus, co-chair Mike McIntyre and U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, whose district includes Santa Rosa County, along with more than 60 members of the caucus, issued a letter of support and talked about this case on the House floor. In his speech, Forbes warned that this case represents what might be coming as result of the ACLU’s agenda:

  • ACLU’s agenda, led and empowered by Satan, is to dismantle, discredit, and disable all things Christian.

National ‘Back to Church Sunday’ Spurs Massive Response

During the first-ever national “Back to Church Sunday” (BTCS), held by hundreds of congregations across the country on Sunday, Sept. 13, church members invited more than 700,000 of their friends and family and created worship services specifically geared toward visitors. Participating churches reported surges in attendance, confessions of faith, new members and baptisms. According to a survey conducted by Outreach Inc. after the event, many visitors were favorably impressed toward the church and the Gospel. Some participating churches reported attendance was up by as much as 25-30 percent. The campaign is ongoing, with some churches holding BTCS events on other days. It is aimed at reaching the “un-churched” and “de-churched” – people who once went to church, but don’t any more. LifeWay Research, an arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, found that 82 percent of un-churched people surveyed said that they’d be open to visit a church, if a friend or family member invited them. BTCS is stirring congregations to do just that.

Biggest U.S. Churches ‘Contemporary, Evangelical’

Two new reports on the size and strength of American congregations present contrasting pictures of church life today. The October issue of Outreach magazine lists the 100 largest U.S. churches, based on attendance statistics gathered by LifeWay Research, Nashville. Leading the list, as in 2008, is Joel Osteen‘s Lakewood Church, Houston; 43,500 attend weekend worship. But the newest trend in church growth is exemplified by the No. 2 ranked church’s cross-country reach. transmits pastor Craig Groeschel’s worship services from the church’s studio home in Edmond, Okla., to 13 locations, reaching 26,776 people in average weekend worship attendance. “Multiple sites are the new normal for fast-growing and large churches. Lakewood is the exception. The next 10 all have multiple sites,” says Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay. “They’re contemporary, aggressively evangelistic and evangelical and they’re moving beyond the ‘big box’ megachurch model. The best churches have very intentional systems to move people from sitting in rows to sitting in circles (in small groups) to going out and making a difference in the world.”

But the third edition of the Faith Communities Today Study of 2,527 U.S. congregations, released last week, finds overall the nation’s congregations — Catholic, Protestant and other world religions — are suffering. Only 19% say they are in excellent financial health, down from 31% in 2000.Less than half (48%) could report at least 2% growth in worship attendance, down from 58% in 2005. The study was conducted by a multi-faith coalition hosted by the Hartford Seminary’s Hartford Institute for Religion Research in Hartford, Conn. Institute Director David Roozen sees a “slow downward trickle” in measures of “spiritual vitality” such as participation in devotional practices, church attendance and satisfaction with the quality of worship. The congregations that do well, Roozen says, are participatory, involve lay leadership, and have a “strong, clear sense of their purpose.” And drums. Churches with contemporary worship music grew while those with traditional music stalled.

  • The key word is “participatory.” “Faith without works is dead,” says James, brother of Jesus.

Number of Female Senior Pastors Doubles

One in 10 U.S. churches employs a woman as senior pastor, double the percentage from a decade ago, according to a new survey by the Barna Group. Most of the women — 58% — work in mainline Protestant churches, such as the United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and Episcopal Church; only 23% of male senior pastors are affiliated with mainline churches, the survey said. Barna’s survey found that female pastors tend to be more highly educated than their male counterparts, with 77% earning a seminary degree, compared to less than two-thirds of male pastors (63 percent) . But male pastors still rake in larger incomes. The average compensation package for female pastors in 2009 is $45,300, Barna says, while males earn $48,600. The compensation gap has closed in the last decade, though, with females earning 30% more than they did in 1999, according to the survey. But male pastors still rake in larger incomes. The average compensation package for female pastors in 2009 is $45,300, Barna says, while males earn $48,600. The compensation gap has closed in the last decade, though, with females earning 30% more than they did in 1999, according to the survey. The median age of female pastors rose from 50 to 55 in the last decade; male pastors’ median age rose from 48 to 52.

Part 2 – International

September 18, 2009

U.S. Scrapping Europe Missile Shield

President Barack Obama on Thursday shelved a Bush-era plan for an Eastern European missile defense shield that has been a major irritant in U.S. relations with Russia.            He said a redesigned defensive system would be cheaper, quicker and more effective against the threat from Iranian missiles. Obama said the decision had been made based on “unanimous recommendations” by his national security team, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Obama’s announcement met with immediate Republican criticism. “Scrapping the U.S. missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic does little more than empower Russia and Iran at the expense of our allies in Europe,” House Minority Leader John Boehner said in a statement. “It shows a willful determination to continue ignoring the threat posed by some of the most dangerous regimes in the world, while taking one of most important defenses against Iran off the table,” Boehner said.

  • Obama’s appeasement strategy will lead to reduced deterrence and eventually increased deaths due to terrorism

Russia‘s Putin Urges U.S. to Scrap Trade Barriers

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday praised President Obama‘s decision to scrap plans for a missile defense system in Europe and urged the U.S. to also cancel Cold War-era restrictions on trade with Russia and give the go-ahead to World Trade Organization membership for Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Putin stressed that the Cold War-era trade restrictions hurt American business as much as Russia. He lashed out at the U.S. administration for using the so-called “CoCom lists” to discriminate against Russia. CoCom, or Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls, was established during the Cold War to tightly control technology exports to the Soviet Union and its allies. Russia has spent years trying to get the U.S. to scrap a handful of restrictive laws on bilateral trade, including the Jackson-Vanik amendment, a key Cold War-era legislation that has been a key irritant in relations between Moscow and Washington.

  • Satisfy one demand and another takes its place. Such is the outcome of appeasement.

NATO Proposes Link With Russia’s Missile Defense

The head of NATO called Friday for the U.S., Russia and NATO to link their missile defense systems against potential new nuclear threats from Asia and the Middle East, saying that the old foes must forget their lingering Cold War animosity. Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen appealed for unity a day after the U.S. shelved a Bush-era plan for an Eastern European missile defense shield that has been a major irritant in relations with Russia. “We should explore the potential for linking the US, NATO and Russia missile defense systems at an appropriate time,” Fogh Rasmussen said. “Both NATO and Russia have a wealth of experience in missile defense. We should now work to combine this experience to our mutual benefit.”

  • A mighty fine idea for the globalists and sounds good on paper. However, Putin has been carefully orchestrating the rebirth of Russia as a superpower under the banner of reconstituted totalitarianism. Is this who we want to share our missile technology and secrets with?

China’s Growth to Exceed Planet’s Resources

If China‘s economy continues to expand rapidly and rely heavily on coal and other fossil fuels until the middle of the century, its power consumption would be unsustainable, according to a study by government think tanks released Wednesday. Using energy consumption growth trends from 2002 to 2008, the study said China’s energy usage could exceed 100 billion tons of standard coal in 2050, more than the Earth’s capacity to sustain and far more than the 16.1 billion tons of standard coal the entire planet consumed in 2008. The two-year study, supported by the U.S.-based Energy Foundation and the international environmental group WWF, also said if China’s energy usage structure remains unchanged, its emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming would reach 17 billion tons a year by 2050. That would represent 60% of total global emissions and three times China’s current production, it said. While the study does not officially represent the government’s views or policy, it is from a group of high-profile experts at government-backed institutes. It also follows comments by Premier Wen Jiabao, who has said the government will accelerate a shift away from fossil fuels that produce carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas.

Explosions Hit Peacekeeper Base in Somalia

Two suicide car bombs bearing U.N. logos exploded at the main base of African Union peacekeepers in Mogadishu, sending plumes of black smoke into the air, witnesses and officials said Thursday. There was no immediate word on casualties. A security officer at the airport, where the base is located, said the explosions were caused by two white Land Cruisers with United Nations logos. An AU official confirmed that blasts occurred. “The soldiers at the gate assumed they were U.N. cars and opened the gate for them,” the security official said. The attack came two days after a Somali Islamic militia group, al-Shabab, vowed revenge for a U.S. commando raid that killed an al-Qaeda operative in Somalia.

Iran Able to Make a Nuke

Iran experts at the U.N nuclear-monitoring agency believe Tehran has the ability to make a nuclear bomb and is working on developing a missile system that can carry an atomic warhead, according to a confidential report seen by the Associated Press. The document drafted by senior officials at the International Atomic Energy Agency is the clearest indication yet that those officials share Washington’s views on Iran’s weapon-making capabilities and missile technology – even if they have not made those views public. The document, titled “Possible Military Dimension of Iran’s Nuclear Program,” appeared to be the so-called IAEA secret annex on Iran’s reputed nuclear-arms program that the U.S., France, Israel and other IAEA members say is being withheld by agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, claims the nuclear watchdog denies.


A suicide car bomber attacked an Italian military convoy on a road in Afghanistan‘s capital Thursday, killing six Italian soldiers and 10 Afghan civilians, officials said. The suicide bomber rammed his explosives-filled car into two Italian military vehicles about midday. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility, saying in a text message that they had ordered had carried out the suicide attack against foreign forces.

Afghanistan‘s president defended the integrity of last month’s election Thursday, but said some government officials “were partial toward me.” The statement appeared to be President Hamid Karzai‘s first public acknowledgment of fraud by his supporters during the Aug. 20 vote and its aftermath. He spoke to reporters on the day after full preliminary results showed him with a 54% of the vote, comfortably above the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff with leading challenger Abdullah Abdullah. Widespread reports of fraud still need to be investigated before results are finalized, and observers have said enough votes are questionable that Karzai could still be forced into a runoff with Abdullah.


A suicide car bomb destroyed a two-story hotel and several shops in a northwestern Pakistani town on Friday, killing 25 people in an apparent attack on the country’s Shiite community, police and a government official said. The blast on the outskirts of Kohat injured scores more just days before Muslims from both the Sunni and Shiite sects celebrate the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. It was the second attack in two days in the area, which is not far from the Afghan border and has experienced past incidents of sectarian violence.

Government Steps Up Mexico’s Drug Wars

As Mexico’s U.S.-funded drug war reaches new levels of violence, President Felipe Calderón’s government has launched a $1 billion drive to train and equip beleaguered local police forces that, historically, focused on rounding up town drunks or dishing out traffic violations. The goal, Calderón says, is to produce competent and non-corrupt local police forces that can fight alongside Mexico’s federal police and army — which, until now, have done most of the heavy lifting in the anti-drug fight. More than 11,500 people have died in drug-related violence nationwide, including hundreds of police, since Calderón took office in 2006. Despite his vow to destroy the cartels, they still control 90% of the cocaine that flows into the USA, and some violence from their turf wars has spilled into Georgia, Arizona and other states. Improving Mexico’s police will require not just more money, but a change of culture, commanders say. Police forces in several cities including Ciudad Juárez, across the border from El Paso, have been purged of hundreds of officers who were found to be on the cartels’ payroll. Many officers in Uruapan admit they still routinely accept bribes to supplement their salaries, which run as low as $460 a month.


Cypriot authorities say an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.4 has shaken the eastern Mediterranean island nation. No damage or injuries have been reported. The Cyprus Geological Survey Department says the quake occurred at 5:09 p.m. Wednesday, 6.2 miles off the southern coastal resort of Limassol at a depth of 28.6 miles. The Department said the quake was felt in Limassol and surrounding mountain villages, as well as by high-rise dwellers in the capital, Nicosia, about 37 miles to the north.


Summer temperatures for the globe’s ocean surface ranked as the warmest on record, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Climatic Data Center. Overall, when the Earth‘s land areas and oceans are included together, the three-month June-August period measured as the third-warmest summer on record. Global climate records go back to 1880. The summer melt of Arctic sea ice was not quite as bad this year as the last two years. But it still ranked as the third-biggest melt on record.

Recent storms in Texas brought some long-awaited relief to the nation’s most drought-stricken state, but the brutal dry spell is far from over as it drags into its third year. About 16% of the state — all in the southern and central parts of Texas — is classified under the most extreme two categories of drought, according to the latest drought monitor map released Thursday. That’s down from last week’s 25%.

September 16, 2009

Two Groups Sue to Block Arizona Abortion Laws

Abortion-rights supporters filed lawsuits in state and federal court Monday, asking judges to block new Arizona laws that would restrict abortion access. In separate lawsuits, Planned Parenthood and the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights challenged the enactment of House Bill 2564 and Senate Bill 1175. Attorneys for the groups asked judges to prevent enactment of the laws until their constitutionality is settled. Among other provisions, the bills create a 24-hour waiting period to get an abortion, require physicians to perform the procedure, and allow pharmacists and other health-care professionals to refuse to provide contraception. They also require that parents provide notarized consent for their minor children to get abortions. The Republican-controlled Legislature passed the laws this year, and Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed them into law. They are scheduled to go into effect Sept. 30.

The Center for Arizona Policy says they will be vigorously working to oppose the lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood to challenge Arizona’s new abortion laws. “The Arizona abortion laws challenged today protect women, children, parents, and the civil rights of health care workers,” says Cathi Herrod, CAP President. “The law simply clarifies and updates current Arizona abortion law to remedy real-world problems. I am fully confident that the law will be upheld in state court as each measure meets constitutional standards.”

Obama Czar: Embryos are ‘Just a Handful of Cells’

There is no moral concern regarding cloning human beings since human embryos, which develop into a baby, are “only a handful of cells,” argued President Obama’s newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein. “If scientists will be using and cloning embryos only at a very early stage when they are just a handful of cells (say, before they are four days old), there is no good reason for a ban (on cloning),” wrote Sunstein, who was confirmed by the Senate last week as administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. “It is silly to think that ‘potential’ is enough for moral concern. Sperm cells have ‘potential’ and (not to put too fine a point on it) most people are not especially solicitous about them,” Sunstein wrote in a review of the 2003 book “Our Posthuman Future” by Francis Fukuyama.

  • Obama’s czars clearly demonstrate his underlying objectives no matter how he tries to spin the issues

Obama’s Denials of Abortion Coverage ‘Laughable’

A leading pro-life activist in Washington says President Obama is not telling the whole truth when he promises taxpayers they will not be forced to fund abortions under his healthcare plan. On Sunday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on ABC’s This Week program that President Obama will go beyond language in the House healthcare bill to make sure no public money goes to pay for abortions under healthcare reform. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, says Americans should be skeptical of Sebelius’ claim, especially given the President’s 2007 promise to Planned Parenthood that his healthcare plan would provide “reproductive care.” “It’s almost gotten to the point of laughable if the consequences weren’t so dire — the president repeating over and over that there is no abortion coverage in healthcare reform currently.  I mean, it’s simply a lie. It is simply not true,” she contends. “I simply don’t believe that he is that ignorant of what the plans are out there. I think what he knows is that Americans have rejected the idea. Our poll showed last week that it rejects the idea.”

Obama Asked to Apologize for ‘Lies to Entire Country’

An immigration enforcement organization is calling on President Barack Obama to publicly apologize to Congress, the media, and the entire nation for lying about illegal immigrants not having access to healthcare reform benefits. The grassroots group is standing behind Congressman Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina), who shouted “You lie!” during the president’s healthcare speech last week. Even though Wilson apologized to the president, House Democrats are demanding that he apologize again — this time on the House floor. He refused, so the House voted to officially rebuke him. William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, says it is President Obama who needs to apologize for lying. “More important than whether Congressman Wilson was rude or not is the fact that when the president of the United States lies to the entire country — as Obama did when he made the incorrect claim that his reform legislation would not benefit illegal aliens — then that’s a much more serious thing,” he contends. “And that is why ALIPAC is calling on the president to apologize to the nation.”

Obama Supports Muslim Prayer at Capital

Reports indicate that on September 25th there will be a national prayer gathering of Muslims on the west front of the U..S. Capitol Building.  They are expecting at least 50,000 to attend from mosques all across America. They will gather to pray from 4:00 AM until 7:00 PM. The gathering will take place by the site where U.S. presidents have been inaugurated since 1981.  The organizers say that it was Obama’s inauguration speech in January and his speech broadcast from Egypt in June that gave them the idea for this prayer gathering on Capitol Hill. They have a website set up for this event:

  • This is quite ironic and very revealing in that President Obama didn’t attend the National Day of Prayer or even sign The National Day of Prayer proclamation until noon that day.

Obama Supports Extending Patriot Act

The Obama administration supports extending three key provisions of the Patriot Act that are due to expire at the end of the year, the U.S. Justice Department told Congress in a letter made public Tuesday. Lawmakers and civil rights groups had been pressing the Democratic administration to say whether it wants to preserve the post-Sept. 11 law’s authority to access business records, as well as monitor so-called “lone wolf” terrorists and conduct roving wiretaps. The provision on business records was long criticized by rights groups as giving the government access to citizens’ library records, and a coalition of liberal and conservative groups complained that the Patriot Act gives the government too much authority to snoop into Americans’ private lives. As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama said he would take a close look at the law, implying changes, but so far has offered none.

  • Obama is no different than other candidates turned President. Campaign one way, act another. This was a no-brainer for Obama because it’s a key New World (Dis)Order mechanism for increased government control

Steep Hill for Healthcare

A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken after the president’s dramatic address to a joint session of Congress last week shows Americans almost evenly divided over passing a health care bill and inclined to think it would make some of the system’s vexing problems worse, not better. Six in 10 say Obama’s proposal, if enacted, would not achieve his goals of expanding coverage to nearly all Americans without raising taxes on the middle class or lowering the quality of health care. For the first time, a majority disapprove of the way he’s handling health care policy. The findings underscore the steep climb ahead for the White House in trying to push a health care plan through the House and Senate during the next few weeks. The president’s speech apparently failed to galvanize public opinion in the way the White House had hoped. While it drew a national television audience estimated by Nielsen at more than 32 million people, there’s little evidence in the survey that it changed minds.

Health Insurance Costs Rise

An average family health insurance policy now costs more than some compact cars, and four in 10 companies will likely pass more of that expense on to workers, according to a closely watched survey of businesses released Tuesday. The average cost of a family policy offered by employers was $13,375 this year, up 5% from 2008, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust survey found. By comparison, wages rose 3% over that period, the study said. Since 1999, health insurance premiums for families rose 131%, the report found, far more than the general rate of inflation, which increased 28% over the same period. Overall, health care in the United States is expected to cost $2.6 trillion this year, or 17% of the nation’s economy, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

Swine H1N1 Flu

Some people who are infected with the swine flu appear to shed infectious virus for 10 or more days after they’re infected, researchers reported Monday. One study suggesting that patients may still shed virus despite treatment with Tamiflu. The research suggests that the current prevention guidelines for “self-isolation” may not be long enough, says one investigator, Gaston De Serres of the National Institute of Public Health in Canada. Guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that it’s safe for flu patients to mingle with others 24 hours after fever abates. With seasonal flu, people are not believed to be infectious after a week, De Serres says.

U.S. Attends U.N. Rights Council

The United States attended its first formal meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Council as a member Monday, saying it will try to promote dialogue at a body it once avoided and heavily criticized. The United States was elected in June to the 47-nation council, which was criticized by the previous American administration for primarily denouncing Israel while ignoring abuses elsewhere. The decision in May to seek a seat on the Geneva-based body after three years of staying on the sidelines was a major shift in U.S. policy in line with President Obama‘s stated aim to closer cooperate with the United Nations. The council is dominated by African and Asian countries, who have blocked criticism of allies such as Zimbabwe, Sudan and Sri Lanka while passing a series of resolutions critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

  • This is a significant milestone in the movement of America toward globalism and away from supporting Israel

Senate Votes to Cut Off ACORN Funding

Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill are pleased the Senate has voted overwhelmingly to cut off federal funding to ACORN, in light of the ongoing investigations of voter registration fraud involving that organization. The vote was 83-to-7 to pass an amendment to block the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now from receiving federal funds for housing programs. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who has been battling for accountability from the organization, says it is already under investigation in more than a dozen states for alleged voter fraud, the result of widespread allegations during the 2008 presidential campaign. He welcomes the Senate vote and hopes the House will follow suit. The congressman says the recent undercover video shot at the ACORN office in Baltimore by two people posing as a pimp and prostitute demonstrates the absolute willingness of ACORN to facilitate criminal activities.

  • Another video has just surfaced wherein ACORN helps a confessed killer. Too many such episodes reveals underpinnings of evil.

Murder, Violent Crime Dropped in 2008

Nearly all major crime categories dropped in 2008 despite the sagging economy and high unemployment, according to the FBI‘s annual crime report out Monday. Overall violent crime declined for the second straight year, including a nearly 4% drop in murder and a 2.5% drop in aggravated assault. Although burglary was up 2%, car thefts plunged by nearly 13%, according to the report, which includes crime statistics from about 17,000 law enforcement agencies. The largest overall declines were recorded in the West, where murder was down 6.8% and car thefts dropped by nearly 17%.

Fuel-Economy Rules Set 35.5 mpg Standard for 2016

The government announced tough new fuel-economy standards Tuesday in a proposed rule that also would place the first nationwide limits on vehicles’ greenhouse gas emissions, blamed for global warming. The rules would phase in with 2012 models, when the current rules end, and escalate so that by the 2016 model year, the industry would have to average the equivalent of 35.5 miles per gallon. The administration estimates the rules would add an average of $1,100 to the price of a car but could save $3,000 on fuel over the vehicle’s life. New rules were required by Congress in the Energy Act of 2007. The proposal will be open to public comment for 60 days before it can become final. The current rules call for 2009-model cars to average 27.5 mpg and trucks, 23.1 mpg. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in March that today’s new cars actually average 32.6 mpg and trucks, 24.2.

Many Mortgage Modifications Push Payments …. Higher

Tens of thousands of financially strapped homeowners who have asked lenders to lower their mortgage payments are instead winding up with higher monthly payments and larger debts on their homes. Homeowners who were hoping for lower payments are discovering to their dismay that lenders roll late fees, back taxes or other costs into the principal, sometimes turning a difficult payment into an impossible one. That is one reason that many reworked mortgages are sliding back into default. A total of 360,165 mortgage modifications are now in a three-month trial period under the government’s plan announced in March. But the initiative focuses on reducing interest rates rather than cutting principal, which has been found to be one of the most effective modifications for helping homeowners avoid defaulting a second time (known as a “re-default”).Of loans modified from Jan. 1, 2008, through March 31, 2009, monthly payments increased on 27% and were left unchanged on an additional 27.5%, according to a recent report by banking regulators.

Obama Delivers Warning to Wall Street

President Obama warned Wall Street on Monday against going “back to the days of reckless behavior” and pressed his case for “the most ambitious overhaul of the financial system since the Great Depression.” Speaking a year after the collapse of Lehman Bros. set off a worldwide financial crisis, Obama took aim at Wall Street firms that received government bailout funds last year but have since returned to profitability — and have set aside huge sums for executive compensation. “The old ways that led to this crisis cannot stand,” Obama said in a speech at Federal Hall on Wall Street itself. ince the panicked days of a year ago, the financial system is “beginning to return to normalcy,” Obama said. The Treasury Department is scaling back its support for Wall Street. On Friday, for instance, it ends a program that once guaranteed as much as $3 trillion in money market mutual funds. Saying “history cannot be allowed to repeat itself,” the president urged Congress to pass his sweeping plan to overhaul financial regulation.

  • Obama is correct about Wall Street greed playing a major role in the economic downturn. He is wrong, however, that increased government control is the answer. Greedy investors seeking inordinate profits is what feeds Wall Street. Eliminating greed is the answer, and Jesus is the only solution.

Economic News

Retail sales rose at their fastest pace in three-and-half years in August, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Government-sponsored auto incentives buoyed motor vehicle sales, according to data that also showed strong sales outside the auto sector. Commerce said retail sales climbed 2.7%, biggest monthly advance since January 2006, after declining a revised 0.2% in July. Motor vehicle and parts sales surged 10.6% in August.

The government said inflation at the wholesale level shot up at double the expected rate in August as gasoline prices soared by the largest amount in a decade. The increase isn’t seen as a signal that inflation is becoming a problem, given the economy’s continued weakness. The Labor Department says its wholesale price index rose 1.7% in August, an annual rate of 20.4%.Excluding volatile energy and food costs, core inflation posted a more modest 0.2% increase.

Industrial companies boosted production more than expected in August, making more cars, clothing and other goods in the early stages of a broad economic recovery. The Federal Reserve says output at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities rose 0.8% in August. Last month’s gain marked the second straight increase after the global recession dried up production.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday that the worst recession since the 1930s is probably over. Bernanke said the economy likely is growing now, but it won’t be sufficient to prevent the unemployment rate, now at a 26-year high of 9.7 percent, from rising.

  • This is the same guy who said we weren’t going to have a recession even when it had already started. He’s more of a cheerleader than a prognosticator.

4 U.K. Muslims Sentenced for Airline Plot

In a case that altered airport security worldwide, three British Muslims were imprisoned Monday for at least 30 years each for a plot to kill thousands by blowing up trans-Atlantic airliners with liquid explosives hidden in soda bottles. The judge described the foiled suicide bombings — meant to rival the Sept. 11 attacks — as “a grave and wicked” conspiracy, likely the most serious terrorist case ever dealt with by a British court. The plot’s disclosure prompted an immediate ban on taking some liquids onboard passenger jets, a measure that remains in place, inconveniencing passengers throughout the world. Abdulla Ahmed Ali— the plot’s ringleader — was given a minimum of 40 years in prison, one of the longest sentences ever handed out by a British court. Assad Sarwar, 29, and Tanvir Hussain, 28, were imprisoned for a minimum of 36 years and 32 years respectively at London’s high security Woolwich Crown Court.

Israel Rejects Independent Inquiry into Gaza War Crimes

Israel said Wednesday it would not appoint an independent inquiry into its conduct in the Gaza Strip war, rejecting a key recommendation from an explosive U.N. report that accused the Jewish state of war crimes. The report by U.N.-appointed investigators said Israel used disproportionate firepower and disregarded the likelihood of civilian deaths in last winter’s offensive, which killed hundreds of non-combatants and caused widespread damage to Gaza. The report, released Tuesday, also urged Israel to conduct an independent investigation into its war conduct or face the prospect of referring the case to international war crimes prosecutors. Israeli officials refused to cooperate with the investigation and vehemently rejected its findings, saying it was ordered by a U.N. body with a clear anti-Israeli bias. Israel’s military has conducted its own inquiry and others remain pending, but so far has cleared itself of any systematic wrongdoing.

  • End-time hostility toward Israel and the One True God continues to escalate

Obama Extends Cuba Embargo One Year

President Obama has extended the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba for one year, the White House said in a statement released on Monday. The extension was expected and has been the practice of all U.S. presidents dating to the 1970s under a section of the so-called “Trading With the Enemy Act.” Obama extended the embargo even though he has made reaching out to old U.S. foes a key plank in his foreign policy. There have been signs of a possible thaw in U.S.-Cuban ties since Raul Castro early last year took over as president from his ailing brother Fidel. Obama has sought to reach out to Cuba by easing travel and financial restrictions on Americans with family in Cuba. The two countries have said they will hold talks on resuming direct mail links. But Obama has also said he will not lift the embargo until Cuba undertakes democratic and economic reforms.

New Leftist Japanese Leader

Longtime opposition leader Yukio Hatoyama was elected prime minister and installed his new Cabinet Wednesday, promising to reinvigorate Japan‘s economy and shake up government with his left-of-center party after more than 50 years of nearly unbroken rule by conservatives. Hatoyama’s victory marks a major turning point for Japan, which is facing its worst economic slowdown since World War II, with unemployment at record highs and deflation intensifying. But concerns ran deep over whether the largely untested government would be able to deliver. Hatoyama has vowed to cut government waste, rein in the national bureaucracy and restart the economy by putting a freeze on planned tax hikes, removing tolls on highways and focusing policies on consumers, not big business.

  • Another key country takes a leftward turn as the New World (Dis)Order solidifies its power


The top U.S. military officer said Tuesday that winning in Afghanistan will probably mean sending more American troops to fight the war. Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he does not know how many more troops the commanding general of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan will request. A debate over the right mix of forces and other resources will be held in the coming weeks, Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee. The influential chairman of the panel, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., used the session to underscore his opposition to additional forces — at least until the United States takes bolder action to expand Afghanistan’s own armed forces. Sitting beside him, Levin’s Republican counterpart said committing too few forces to the war would invite a rerun of mistakes the U.S. made in Iraq. The United States has about 65,000 troops in Afghanistan now, with a few thousand additional trainers due by the end of this year.

  • We continue to fight wars within artificial limitations to assuage public opinion and reelection campaigns. It’s about time we fought to actually win.

U.S. Troops Help Invade Somali Town

Foreign troops in helicopters strafed a car Monday in a Somali town controlled by Islamist insurgents, killing two men and capturing two others who were wounded, witnesses said. U.S. military officials said American forces were involved in the raid. The commando-style action took place in a village near Barawe amid growing fears that al-Qaeda is gaining a foothold in this lawless nation. Two U.S. military officials said forces from the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command were involved. Many experts fear Somalia is becoming a haven for al-Qaeda, a place for terrorists to train and gather strength — much like Afghanistan in the 1990s.


Torrential rains have lashed Africa‘s western coast for the past three months, killing 159 people and flooding the homes and businesses of over 600,000 others. The water was so deep in some neighborhoods that people were forced to swim out. Even as aid begins to arrive, the rain continues to fall. Among the six countries where the flooding has been most severe — Senegal, Sierra Leone, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Ghana — the neighborhoods most affected are the poor ones.

The summer 2009 was the third-driest on record across Arizona. According to the National Climatic Data Center, the statewide average rainfall total for the three months was 2.17 inches. The long-term average is just shy of 4.5 inches.

September 14, 2009

TEA Party Rally in DC

Tens of thousands of fiscal conservatives packed streets in the nation’s capital Saturday to protest what they consider the federal government’s out-of-control spending. Many carried signs addressing a host of issues. Some targeted health care with “First the IRS, Post Office, and Now Health Care” and “Obamacare makes me sick,” while others pointed toward a fear of oncoming communism with slogans such as “The new green is the old red” and “One czar down,.32 to go.” Many protesters said they paid their own way to the event — an ethic they believe should be applied to the government. They say unchecked spending on things like a government-run health insurance option could increase inflation and lead to economic ruin.

The taxpayer march and rally could be the biggest protest ever – potentially dwarfing the Million Man March and the Promise Keepers Rally. Though crowd estimates vary from as low as 60,000 to 70,000 according to ABC News to a high of 2 million by London Daily Mail, photographs and videos of the march and rally demonstrate its enormity. The White House said Friday it was unaware of the rally.

  • Not aware of the rally? That’s just a bold-faced lie. Lying seems to come easy to the Obama administration

Obama ‘Clones’ Bush in Supporting North American Union

President Obama is continuing President George W. Bush’s effort to advance North American integration with a public-relations makeover calculated to place the program under the radar of public opinion and to deflect concerns about border security and national sovereignty. The Obama administration has “rebranded” and “refocused” the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, or SPP, to advance the Bush administration’s agenda of North American integration under the rubric of the “North American Leaders Summit,” a less controversial banner, according to confidential sources in the U.S. Department of Commerce and State Department who agreed to speak with WorldNetDaily only if their comments were kept off the record. Sources confirmed to WND that the SPP is now being directed from within the White House, as reflected by a new blog posted on the White House website entitled “The North American Leaders Summit.” The site is intended to replace as the official website documenting trilateral government activities going forward under the rebranded name.

  • Presidents Clinton, Bush (junior and senior) and Obama are all card-carrying members of the New World (Dis)Order

White House now Against Health Coverage for Illegal Immigrants

The White House strengthened its stand against health care coverage for illegal immigrants Friday, and a pivotal Senate committee looked ready to follow its lead. The developments reflected a renewed focus on the issue in the days since a Republican congressman’s outburst during President Obama’s health care speech to Congress on Wednesday night. Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted “You lie!” as Obama said illegal immigrants wouldn’t be covered under his health plan. There are some 7 million illegal immigrants in this country who lack health insurance, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. The issue has caused heat on talk radio and at congressional town halls, too. So on Friday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs sketched a new position that goes even further than some conservative critics had demanded: Obama will oppose letting illegal immigrants buy insurance through new purchasing exchanges the government will set up — even from private companies operating within the exchanges.

  • The voice of the people is being heard, albeit reluctantly

State Lawmakers Launch Attack Against Obamacare

Republicans in more than a dozen states opposed to President Barack Obama’s push for health care overhaul have mounted state-driven efforts to block federal intervention in health care, with some early success. Even if state lawmakers succeed, doubts remain over whether their proposals would take effect if a federal overhaul were passed. Experts say federal law likely would trump such state changes. “It became very clear that the direction for what they call health care reform at the federal level was putting at risk our health care freedoms, and we need to move quickly to make sure citizens are protected,” said Republican state Rep. Nancy Barto, sponsor of a measure in Arizona. Lawmakers in eight states, only half of which are controlled entirely by Republicans, have filed proposals this year to ask voters to amend state constitutions to prohibit what they bill as restrictions on a person’s freedom to choose a private health care plan, mandatory participation in any given plan and penalties for declining coverage. Last week, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate, said that federal health care proposals will step on states’ rights and there needs to be a discussion about whether aspects of it are constitutional.

Census Bureau Severs Ties with ACORN

The Census Bureau on Friday severed its ties with ACORN, a community organization that has been hit with Republican accusations of voter-registration fraud. In splitting with ACORN, Groves sought to tamp down GOP concerns and negative publicity that the partnership will taint the 2010 head count. The group, which advocates for poor people, conducted a massive voter registration effort last year and became a target of conservatives when some employees were accused of submitting false registration forms with names such as “Mickey Mouse.”

The independent filmmaker whose hidden-camera videos prompted the firing of four ACORN workers is demanding an apology from ACORN for calling his work a fabricated “scam” and daring the activist group to take legal action against him. That was after ACORN lashed out at O’Keefe, who with his friend Hannah Giles posed as a pimp and prostitute looking to evade the IRS and apply for an illegal housing loan for a brothel. The sting operation caught four ACORN workers in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., offices appearing to offer their help. Those workers were subsequently fired. But ACORN chief organizer Bertha Lewis issued a written statement Saturday saying that while she cannot defend the actions of the workers who were terminated, O’Keefe may have committed a “felony” with his operation. She also threatened legal action against FOX News, which aired the videos but did not produce them.

Obama School Safety Chief: How to Push Homosexuality

President Obama’s choice to monitor school safety once boasted that he introduced homosexual advocacy into the school system in Massachusetts by manipulating the message presented to lawmakers. The revelations about Kevin Jennings, who was named assistant deputy secretary for the office of Safe & Drug Free Schools in the U.S. Department of Education, come just as several of Obama’s “czars” have come under scrutiny for their actions, opinions and affiliations. Environmental adviser Van Jones resigned last weekend after revelations of his links to communism and his advocacy for the movement that contends the U.S. government conspired to allow or cause 9/11. Harvard professor Cass Sunstein, confirmed this week by the Senate as the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Budget and Management, was exposed for his belief that animals should be given legal rights like humans. Jennings is the founder and former executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, which “works to make schools safe for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” according to the government announcement of his appointment. In 1995, he gave a speech in which he described how he has used the concept of “safety” in schools to promote homosexual advocacy in public schools in Massachusetts.

MRSA ‘Superbug’ Found in Ocean, Public Beaches

Public beaches may be one source of the surging prevalence of the superbug known as multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, researchers said Saturday. A study by researchers at the University of Washington has for the first time identified methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) in marine water and beach sand from seven public beaches on the Puget Sound. The researchers identified Staph bacteria on nine of 10 public beaches that they tested. Seven of 13 Staph aureus samples, found on five beaches, were multidrug resistant. “Our results suggest that public beaches may be a reservoir for possible transmission of MRSA,” lead investigator Marilyn Roberts told the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, the leading international conference on new and resurgent diseases. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been around for almost as long as there have been antibiotics. Until recently, researchers have been able to outwit them by developing new antibiotics. Now, however, the pipeline of new antibiotics has slowed, and germs are coming perilously close to winning the race.

  • End-time plagues will overwhelm medical treatment options

Swine Flu Shots May Start in Early October

The nation’s first round of swine flu shots could begin sooner than expected, with some vaccine available as early as the first week of October, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday. Sebelius said she is confident the vaccine will be available early enough to beat the peak of the expected flu season this fall and that early doses are intended for health care workers and other high-priority groups. Researchers have discovered that one dose instead of two could be enough for healthy adults, and protection could begin once vaccinated within 10 days instead of three weeks.

  • Since swine flu is relatively mild, I think healthy adults should avoid the shot and the risks of an unknown vaccine

Researchers delivered a double dose of good news Sunday in the fight against the flu: successful tests of what could become the first new flu medicine in a decade, and the strongest evidence yet that such drugs save lives, not just shorten illness. A single intravenous dose of the experimental drug, peramivir, cleared up flu symptoms as well as five days of Tamiflu pills did, a large study in Asia found. An IV treatment is badly needed because many sick people can’t swallow pills and because illness hinders the body’s ability to absorb oral medicines.

Evangelical Takes Top NIH Post

Scientist and evangelical Francis Collins, was installed last month as head of the National Institutes of Health. Scientists such as Harvard’s Steven Pinker, who called Collins an “advocate of profoundly anti-scientific beliefs,” criticized placing an outspoken evangelical Christian in the post. On his first day on the job, Collins stepped down from the BioLogos foundation he founded to foster a rapprochement between the spiritual and the scientific worlds, after such complaints. “I want to reassure everyone I am here to lead the NIH as best I can, as a scientist,” Collins said at an August briefing.

  • Perhaps we should add evangelicals to hate crime legislation as another group needing protection from discrimination

Immigration Raids Yield Jobs for Legal Workers

When federal agents descended on six meatpacking plants owned by Swift & Co. in December 2006, they rounded up nearly 1,300 suspected illegal immigrants that made up about 10% of the labor force at the plants. But the raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents did not cripple the company or the plants. In fact, they were back up and running at full staff within months by replacing those removed with a significant number of native-born Americans, according to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). That has become an increasingly common result of the raids: “They were very beneficial to American workers,” according to Vanderbilt University professor Carol Swain. “Whenever there’s an immigration raid, you find white, black and legal immigrant labor lining up to do those jobs that Americans will supposedly not do,” said Swain, who teaches law and political science.

Generation Gap Widens

According to the Pew Research Center Survey, the generations are less apt to see “eye-to-eye” today than thirty years ago. 79% of today’s adults say there is a major difference in the point of view of younger and older people, compared to 60% in 1979. Many blame the Internet and technology in general for the widening divide.

Treasury Secretary: System ‘Back from Brink’

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testified that the financial system has “stepped back from the brink,” allowing the government to wind down some programs designed to calm jittery markets. Policymakers must change strategy as they switch from “rescuing the economy to repairing and rebuilding the financial system,” Geithner told the Congressional Oversight Panel overseeing federal bailout funds. He said that Treasury will: not need to tap a $750 billion contingency fund budgeted earlier this year on top of last year’s $700 billion bailout fund; end a program this month to guarantee money market mutual funds, a program that once covered more than $3 trillion in fund assets; scale back to no more than $30 billion from $100 billion the amount that Treasury will ante up as part of a public-private program to buy toxic loans and investments from financial institutions.

GM Agrees to Sell its Opel Division

General Motors has agreed to sell its Opel division to auto supplier Magna International and Russia’s Sberbank after the companies hammered out intellectual property issues that had stymied the deal. The agreement, which gives Magna and Sberbank 55% of Germany-based Opel, lets GM continue using the brand’s platforms and purchasing power to trim costs. The deal is considered a win for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who saw the outside investors as the best way to save jobs in her country. Opel has four plants in Germany, employing 25,000 people. Merkel is up for re-election Sept. 27.

General Motors, in an effort to keep employees happy as it tries to climb back to profitability, has restored white-collar pay cuts it made last spring as it desperately tried to conserve cash and avoid bankruptcy protection. The struggling automaker was losing staff because its pay scales were no longer competitive with other automakers and manufacturing companies. As many as 10,500 Opel jobs in Europe could be cut, nearly half of them in Germany, a move likely to draw lopud protests in countries where the automaker has operations.

Pace of Stimulus Spending Slows

The government handed out stimulus money far more slowly this summer than it had in the first weeks after the massive economic recovery plan started, even though President Obama and other members of his administration had vowed to hasten that aid. But in the months that followed, even though more construction projects began, the pace of new spending dropped. In the 101 days after Obama signed the stimulus package in mid-February, the government allocated an average of more than $1.3 billion a day to new grants and projects. Since then, that pace has fallen to an average of about $1 billion a day, a drop of about 25%, according to federal agencies’ financial reports, current through Sept. 4.

The Obama administration said last week that if tax cuts are included, the amount of stimulus aid reaching the economy increased slightly during the summer. And Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers estimated that the stimulus had saved or created more than 1 million jobs, significantly more than the target Obama set in June. White House spokeswoman Liz Oxhorn said examining only spending cannot measure whether the White House met the president’s target. Doing so, she said, is “selective accounting” that “fails to measure the actual progress” of the stimulus. The administration, she said, has “met and exceeded every goal set to speed up the Recovery Act.”

  • Selective accounting? What about the millions of jobs that have been lost during this time period? How do they measure jobs “saved?” Selectively, I presume.

Economic News

The federal deficit surged higher into record territory in August, hitting $1.38 trillion with one month left in the budget year. The soaring deficits have raised worries about the willingness of foreigners to keep purchasing Treasury debt. The Chinese, now the largest foreign owners of U.S. Treasury securities, have expressed concerns about runaway deficits. It marked the 16th consecutive month that revenues have been lower than the previous year.

Improving consumer sentiment and a big drawdown in wholesale inventories Friday provided the latest evidence that an economic recovery is picking up speed. Evidence of a durable recovery is coming in from all quarters with economic data, company earnings and big drivers of global growth like China all signaling strength ahead. Concerns about a frail jobs market continue to temper optimism about the U.S. recovery, however. The Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers said the preliminary reading of its consumer confidence index for September rose to 70.2, the highest since June, from 65.7 in August (90 is the norm, so overall pessimism still is predominant).

European and Asian markets fell Monday and U.S. stocks opened lower, as investors worry that a trade dispute between the U.S. and China could hurt a fledgling global economic recovery. The U.S. decision to impose trade penalties on Chinese tires infuriated Beijing, which condemned the move as protectionist and said it violates global trade rules. With U.S.-Chinese trade a key link in the global economy, investors were spooked by the potential repercussions.

Italy Grapples with Accusations of Sexual Abuse by Catholic Priests

Dozens of other former Catholic students did something highly unusual for Italy: They went public with claims they were forced to perform sex acts with priests. For decades, a culture of silence has surrounded priest abuse in Italy, where surveys show the church is considered one of the country’s most respected institutions. Now, in the Vatican’s backyard, a movement to air and root out abusive priests is slowly and fitfully taking hold. A year-long Associated Press tally has documented 73 cases with allegations of sexual abuse by priests against minors over the past decade in Italy, with more than 235 victims. The tally was compiled from local media reports, linked to by websites of victims groups and blogs. Almost all the cases have come out in the seven years since the scandal about Roman Catholic priest abuse broke in the United States.

  • The celibacy of the priesthood is not a Biblical standard but rather a manmade construct that causes more problems than it solves.

U.S. & Allies Agree to Meet with Iran

The Obama administration says it and five partner nations have accepted Iran‘s offer to hold talks, and a top Iranian official said Saturday it was possible the discussions could include Tehran’s nuclear program. Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said he welcomed talks with the United States and its partners, adding that “should conditions be ripe, there is a possibility of talks about the nuclear issue.” Mottaki’s statement appeared to be a reversal of Iran’s consistent refusal to discuss its nuclear program.

China Tire Penalties Hurt Relations with U.S.

President Obama’s decision to impose trade penalties on Chinese tires has infuriated Beijing at a time when the U.S. badly needs Chinese help on climate change, nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea and the global economy. China condemned the White House’s announcement late Friday as protectionist and said it violated global trade rules. At home, the punitive tariffs on all car and light truck tires coming into the U.S. from China may placate union supporters who are important to the president’s health care push. A rising tide of Chinese tires into the U.S. was hurting American producers. The United Steelworkers blames the increase for the loss of thousands of American jobs.

Bin Laden Calls Obama ‘Powerless’

In a video tape released Sunday by al-Qaeda’s media wing, terrorist leader Osama bin Laden said President Obama is “powerless” to stop the war in Afghanistan. SITE Intelligence Group, a terrorist-monitoring firm that translated the address, said bin Laden, whose al-Qaeda organization was behind the Sept. 11 attacks, blamed the war on the “pro-Israel lobby” and corporate interests. IntelCenter, another company that monitors terrorist propaganda, said the 11-minute video shows a still picture of bin Laden while audio of the address plays. Bin Laden‘s address to the American people comes two days after the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. He typically addresses the United States in a message around the Sept. 11 anniversary. The purpose of his address Sunday, bin Laden said in the SITE translation, is “to remind you of the causes” of Sept. 11, chiefly “your support to your Israeli allies who occupy our land of Palestine.”


Congressional skepticism over the Obama administration’s plans for Afghanistan mounted Sunday as three senators questioned whether more troops should head there and one lawmaker called for a withdrawal timeline. Democrats Jeanne Shaheen and Diane Feinstein along with Republican Susan Collins said they shared colleagues’ concerns about boosting troop levels before substantial bolstering of the Afghan military and police. The Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, has urged the White House to avoid escalating the war and speed up training for Afghan security forces instead of sending more U.S. troops into combat.

About 50 civilians, security forces and militants were killed in a wave of violence around Afghanistan, including a bomb that left 14 Afghan travelers dead in one of the country’s most dangerous regions. Five American soldiers died in two attacks using roadside bombs. The attacks Friday and Saturday reached a broad swath of the country, demonstrating the spread of the Taliban insurgency, which had been largely confined to the country’s south and east in the years after the 2001 U.S. invasion. Half of those killed in the most recent attacks were civilians, who often find themselves caught in the grinding war between the Taliban and U.S. and NATO forces. Taliban attacks have risen steadily the last three years as have deaths of Afghan civilians caught in the grinding war between the Taliban and U.S. and NATO forces.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai hung onto his 54% to 28% lead over his closest rival Sunday in the presidential contest as the vote count ground on in the face of fraud allegations. Despite the lopsided margin, the U.N. mission warned there were “no winners” yet from last month’s election. Karzai’s lead could still be cut to below 50%, depending on the outcome of investigations by a U.N.-backed group into hundreds of fraud allegations. If that happens, Karzai will face Abdullah in a runoff.


Pakistani soldiers arrested the spokesman for the Taliban in the Swat Valley and four other commanders, the military announced Friday, striking its first major blow against the leadership of the insurgency in the one-time tourist resort. The announcement of the arrests, coming on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., pleased American officials who have been encouraged by recent Pakistani military gains against the Taliban.

A missile fired from a suspected unmanned U.S. drone slammed into a car in a Pakistani tribal region close to the Afghan border Monday, killing four people, intelligence officials and residents said. The apparent American missile strike was the latest of more than 50 in the northwest region since last year aimed at killing top al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders. Pakistan protests the U.S. missile strikes as violations of its sovereignty and says they fan support for the insurgents, but Washington has shown no sign of abandoning a tactic that it says has killed several ranking militants and disrupted their operations.

Separately, at least 18 women and girls waiting to get free flour in Pakistan‘s southern city of Karachi died when the crowd around them swelled and a stampede occurred, officials said. The deaths in the Karachi stampede came during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a traditional time for charitable acts including giving away food. At times, however, the giveaways have turned rowdy and dangerous in this largely impoverished nation.

Hundreds Arrested in Deadly Uganda Riots

At least 640 people were arrested and 14 killed in fighting in Uganda’s capital between government forces and loyalists of a traditional kingdom, police said Sunday. At least 82 were injured. The number of people arrested for suspected roles in the three-day riots could go up because investigations are still under way, said Kale Kayihura, the nation’s police chief. Trials for the suspects will start Monday on charges including taking part in violent acts and unlawful assemblies, Kayihura said. Tensions between President Yoweri Museveni and the Buganda kingdom — headed by King Ronald Mutebi II, the ruler of the Baganda tribe — have intensified in recent years. The violence flared Thursday when the government said it would not allow the king to travel to an area inhabited by a renegade rival group.

September 11, 2009

Obama’s Regulatory Chief Pushes New ‘Bill of Rights’

A government that is constitutionally required to offer each citizen a “useful” job in the farms or industries of the nation. A country whose leadership intercedes to ensure every farmer can sell his product for a good return. A nation that has the power to act against “unfair competition” and monopolies in business. This is not a description of Cuba, communist China or the old USSR. It’s the vision of the future of the U.S, as mandated by a radical new “bill of rights” drawn up and pushed by President Obama’s newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein. Sunstein openly seeks to create a “progressive” consensus as to what the U.S. Constitution should provide for by the year 2020. It also suggests strategy for how liberal lawyers and judges might bring such a constitutional regime into being. Many of the people working with President Obama are Marxists or socialists with backgrounds in the Communist Party, according to a socialist Columbia University professor with strong ties to Obama’s radical associates, including Weathermen terrorist Bill Ayers.

  • Obama’s socialistic agenda is most clearly seen in his choice of advisors; it’s a scary group. By calling their programs ‘rights,’ they try to position increased government control as protection of citizen’s basic entitlements. Instead, it creates a hamstrung population totally dependent on government.

Obama Addresses Congress about Healthcare

President Obama alternately wooed and lashed out at critics of his landmark health care plan Wednesday in an effort to regain momentum lost during a month of growing public doubt and anxiety Saying he wanted to succeed where presidents since Theodore Roosevelt have failed, Obama told a joint session of Congress and millions watching on TV that he’s willing to compromise — but unwilling to start over or settle for the status quo. Obama’s goal of remaking the U.S. health care system has advanced through four congressional committees — further than ever before. Yet for the past month, it’s been losing support in public-opinion polls and among the moderate Democrats whose votes may be key to passage.

Obama used Wednesday’s speech to get specific about his plan. He endorsed tax credits for those who need help buying insurance, mandates that individuals get insurance and large companies provide it to workers or pay a fee, and a new tax on the most expensive insurance policies. The plan, he said, would cost about $900 billion over 10 years. Many Republicans in the chamber weren’t impressed. Some laughed when Obama said there were “significant details to be ironed out.” Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., yelled “you lie” when Obama said his plan would not insure illegal immigrants.

  • Besides the huge problem of government control over healthcare, where does Obama expect to find another $900 billion? Oh yeah, print more money and send us the bill.

Obama Speech ‘a Litany of Lies’

A conservative media watchdog organization is demanding that the media reports President Obama’s “lies, distortions, and exaggerations” delivered in his speech on healthcare reform Wednesday night. The Media Research Center says President Barack Obama continues to commit what it calls “serial dishonesty with the American people until the media expose his false figures and bogus exaggerations for what they are: fraudulent scare tactics.” The group describes the president’s Wednesday night speech about healthcare as “a litany of lies.” “He talked about how he would not add a single dime to the deficit, when the studies are showing it would add about a trillion dollars to the deficit over the second year of the plan. He talked about not permitting any illegal immigrant to be covered, when in fact it was Democrats who voted down any attempt to verify immigration status.”

Underlying Health Care Issues

Nearly half of Americans have a chronic condition, and 75% of the $2.6 trillion spent annually on health care goes to treat patients with long-term health problems, says Kenneth Thorpe, a professor at Atlanta‘s Emory University and head of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. In the Medicare program, 95% of spending is linked to a chronic disease. Researchers say much of these conditions could have been avoided or mitigated by healthier habits. Although health officials have exhorted Americans for years to get in shape, two-thirds of adults today are overweight and smoking remains an issue, despite overall declines in usage.

Uninsured patients aren’t the only ones using the ER for non-urgent care. With too few primary-care doctors to go around, many patients turn to the ER when they can’t get an appointment with their regular physician, says Sandra Schneider, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. In some ways, insurance payments contribute to the shortage, Epperly says, by discouraging physicians from going into primary care. Medicare, which covers people over 65, pays doctors far more to perform procedures than to monitor a patient’s overall health, Epperly says. In the past decade, only 10% of new doctors — who graduate from medical school with an average of $140,000 in student loans — have gone into primary care.

Patients with chronic conditions may see specialists who each treat a different symptom or deteriorating organ. But these doctors may rarely if ever get together to talk about the patient’s overall health Under Medicare’s current system, no one is paid to coordinate all these services. And no one is accountable for helping the patient get better. Medicaid, which covers poor children and the disabled, also discourages doctors from taking on new patients. The federal program, which is run by the states, pays doctors an average of 28% less than Medicare, says David Tayloe, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. So many doctors refuse to treat patients on Medicaid.

  • There’s no doubt our healthcare system needs an overhaul. However, government programs (Medicaid, Medicare) are already a contributing factor, so why would more government control solve the problem? Individual responsibility would solve half the problem, and an emphasis on prevention by the medical/insurance institutions would fix the other half.

Most U.S. College Campuses Reporting Flu

Almost three-quarters (73%) of American colleges and universities are reporting cases of influenza-like illnesses among students, with the highest rates in the Southeast and Midwest, the American College Health Association says. There were 4,045 new flu-like illness cases between Aug. 29 and Sept. 4 among 204 schools taking part in voluntary reporting. Most schools are not testing to confirm the virus is H1N1, or swine flu. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly all the flu virus now circulating is H1N1. So far there has been only one flu-related college death.

Abuse of Prescription Drugs Dips

Fewer people abused prescription drugs last year than in 2007, reversing an upward trend in abuse of potent painkillers such as Oxycontin, a federal drug survey found. People who once saw little risk in abusing prescription drugs are responding to health reports underscoring dangers of misuse, says Eric Broderick, acting administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which conducts the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health made public Thursday. About 6.2 million Americans — 2.5% of the population — said they abused prescription drugs in the past month in 2008, a decrease from 2.8% of the population in 2007.

11 End Lives under Assisted Suicide Law

Eleven people have used prescribed drugs to end their lives in the first six months after a Washington state law took effect allowing assisted suicides for terminally ill patients, an advocacy group said Tuesday. An additional five people received life-ending drugs under the law but died without using them, the group Compassion & Choices of Washington said. The deaths amount to less than one-tenth of 1% of all deaths statewide in 2008, indicating the law is being used carefully and sparingly, Robb Miller, executive director of the group, said.

Border Traffic Plunges

The number of people crossing the northern and southern land borders into the USA has dropped sharply since a passport requirement began June 1. Businesses in tourism-dependent border communities blame the policy for making a bad year worse. The change is part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, an effort to make borders more secure after 9/11. The rules affect U.S. citizens entering by land or sea, who once could get across by simply declaring themselves citizens. The change also affects citizens of Canada and Bermuda, who previously did not have to show passports. Now, they must have passports or a handful of other documents including enhanced driver’s licenses, which have more security features and are available in some Canadian provinces and Michigan, New York, Vermont and Washington. The rules for Mexicans have not changed; they have long needed special border crossing cards or passports plus visas.

  • Unfortunately, these rules have more impact on law-abiding citizens than on those who sneak across the border illegally

U.N. Calls for Global Currency

The United Nations is adding its voice to the chorus call for a new global cur­rency. Already, India, China, Brazil, Russia and the IMF have backed the same idea. The crux of this latest call is for an enhanced SDR (Spe­cial Drawing Right) issued by the International Monetary Fund. Exactly how the SDR might be made to better rep­re­sent third-world coun­tries is not made clear, but it could be the estab­lishing of another global body that would manage exchange rates between countries. The U.N. spokesperson refers to the cur­rent financial system as a “con­fi­dence game” that is in jeop­ardy of collapsing.

  • The New World (Dis)Order needs a global currency for its one-world government. Most likely it will first establish regional currencies like the Euro. For the North American Union, the Amero will be the currency of choice. Prototypes have already been produced.

Obama Advisers Claim 1M Jobs Saved or Created

President Obama‘s economic advisers estimated Thursday that the economic stimulus package has saved or created about 1 million jobs, drawing immediate criticism from Republicans. Christina Romer, the head of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said her team consulted other economists for its report to Congress on the likely effects of the $787 billion package of tax cuts, government spending and aid to states. Republicans called the White House estimate unreliable, pointing to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures showing a 9.7% unemployment rate in August and a net loss of 2.4 million jobs since Obama signed the stimulus law in February.

Failing Commercial Loans Threaten Small Banks

The speed at which loans on commercial properties such as office buildings and malls are souring is “unprecedented,” a recent report from Deutsche Bank said. The delinquency rates on these loans reached 4.1% in June, more than double the March rate. Banks are most vulnerable because they hold about $1 trillion of commercial real estate loans and an additional $530 billion in construction loans. Job losses have led to rising office vacancies. Tight-fisted consumers have helped close retailers such as Circuit City, forcing mall landlords to default on loans. That is having a tiered effect on the banking industry: It is especially noxious for the smallest banks, which have very large portions of their loan portfolios exposed. That’s the chief reason bank failures have hit 89 this year, vs. 25 for all of last year. The very largest banks, those with at least $1 trillion in assets, are less exposed. The National Association of Realtors projects that retail vacancy rates will increase from 11.7% in the second quarter of 2009 to 12.9% in the same period of 2010.

Taxpayers Face Heavy Losses on Auto Bailout

Taxpayers face losses on a significant portion of the $81 billion in government aid provided to the auto industry, an oversight panel said in a report released Wednesday. The Congressional Oversight Panel said most of the $23 billion initially provided to General Motors and Chrysler late last year is unlikely to be repaid. The prospect of recovering the government’s assistance to GM and Chrysler is heavily dependent on shares of the two companies rising to unprecedented levels, the report said. The government owns 10% of Chrysler and 61% of GM.

  • Government ownership of business entities (think Amtrak and the Post Office) always lose money that is covered with taxpayer dollars

Social Security Reports Record Deficit

The Social Security Trust Fund reported an August net deficit of $5.865 Billion. This is the largest monthly deficit in nineteen years. Base on recent years’ data it was not surprising the Fund ran a deficit in August. But the magnitude of the shortfall was a surprise. This deficit is now the seventh in the past twelve months. That pace has never been seen before. The Net Present Value of future committed liabilities is in deficit by $7 trillion. To plug this sized hole would require a significant increase in payroll taxes. The alternative is cutting benefits, not a popular option. To shore up the fund would require across the board cuts greater than 20%.

  • There is no ‘trust fund.” That’s a semantic illusion. The government spends the payroll taxes as part of its overall operating budget. It’s the ultimate Ponzi scheme.

Economic News

Americans’ household income last year took the sharpest drop since the government began keeping records in 1947, the Census Bureau reported Thursday. Median household income sank 3.6% to $50,303. A decade’s worth of gains wiped out in one year. Economists predicts income will drop at least 5% this year because of rising unemployment in the recession’s second year.

About 12% of eligible borrowers have begun trial modifications of their mortgages since the start of a $75 billion federal program to rework home loans into more affordable monthly payments, the Treasury Department reported Wednesday. Since the program’s launch in March, 360,165 borrowers had received three-month trial modifications through August. If they keep up their payments for the trial period, lenders are supposed to extend the modifications for five years. “It’s still a slow ramping up,” says Mark Zandi, at Moody’s

Job openings fell to the lowest level in nine years in July, according to a Labor Department report Wednesday, as businesses remain reluctant to hire despite signs the economy is improving. The report underscores the tough competition that jobless Americans face. With 14.5 million unemployed people in July and only 2.4 million openings, that means there were six unemployed people, on average, for every job opening. Employers’ hiring plans for the upcoming fourth quarter dropped to their lowest level in the history of Manpower’s Employment Outlook Survey, which started in 1962.

The U.S. trade deficit shot up in July to the highest level in six months, signaling a pickup in the economy, as a surge in shipments of foreign oil and autos pushed imports up by a record amount. The Commerce Department said Thursday that the trade deficit rose 16.3% to $32 billion in July. Imports rose 4.7%, largest monthly advance on records that go back to 1992, while exports edged up a smaller 2.2%. Both gains provided evidence that the most severe recession since World War II was beginning to lose its grip on the global economy.

  • While signaling a pickup in the economy, the ongoing and now increasing trade deficit continues to put strain on the value of the dollar in international markets

From January to August, national bankruptcy filings reached 954,911, up from 703,732 in the same period of 2008. From January to August, national bankruptcy filings reached 954,911, up from 703,732 in the same period of 2008.

Americans cut their outstanding credit by a record $21.5 billion in July, damping hopes that a resurgence in consumer spending will juice the economic recovery. Consumers slashed their credit at an annualized rate of 10.4% to $2.47 trillion. It was the sixth-consecutive monthly decline.

  • Consumer reduction of debt is a good thing. The main problem is not lack of consumer spending, but rather unprecedented increases in government debt.

Poll finds Soaring European Support for U.S. Policy

European support for the U.S. president’s handling of foreign policy has soared since President Obama took over from former president George W. Bush, but Europeans continue to view major issues including Afghanistan, Iran and global warming differently than Americans view them, a poll released Wednesday found. Among those polled in the European Union and Turkey, about three-fourths, on average, said they supported Obama’s handling of foreign policy compared with about a fifth who said the same for Bush last year, according to the survey. It was conducted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a nonpartisan policy institution that promotes trans-Atlantic cooperation, and the Compagnia di San Paolo, a research center in Turin, Italy. The results were especially pronounced in Germany, where support shot up 80 percentage points to 92%, and in France, where it rose 77 percentage points to 88%.

  • A poll conducted by an organization that promotes globalism has to be taken skeptically. However, Obama’s mystique still plays well abroad.

Eight Years after 9/11, al-Qaeda is Weakened but Still a Threat

In the eight years since the Sept. 11 attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller has spent nearly the entire time focused on one enemy: al-Qaeda. Thousands of terrorist operatives have been killed or captured. Terrorist safe havens and training grounds in Afghanistan where operatives were trained have been destroyed. Military forces largely have shattered al-Qaeda’s leadership in Iraq. Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden and top deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, who once closely managed al-Qaeda’s day-to-day operations, have been driven into seclusion. Now, Mueller and counterterrorism analysts are tracking the emergence of a new threat. Al-Qaeda has morphed into a fractured network of small terrorist franchises strewn across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Al-Qaeda’s transformation raises an unsettling question: Does its splintering help make the USA and its Western allies safer, or does it complicate efforts to guard against terrorism?

  • The terrorism threat remains substantial and is not going away, merely adapting


Well over half of nearly 1,400 Palestinians killed in Israel’s Gaza war were civilians, including 252 children younger than 16, a leading Israeli human rights groups said Wednesday, challenging Israel’s claim that most of the dead were militants. Determining the number of civilian casualties is seen as key in the ongoing debate over whether Israel, along with Hamas, violated the rules of war in its three-week offensive against Gaza’s Hamas rulers last winter. International human rights groups have said they suspect both sides committed war crimes — Israel by using disproportionate force in crowded Gaza, and Hamas by hiding behind civilians and indiscriminately firing rockets at Israeli towns.

  • Hamas wanted a high civilian death toll to further erode public support of Israel. Any war efforts in the densely populated Gaza is bound to cause civilian deaths.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she sees little congressional support for boosting troop levels in Afghanistan, putting the Democratic majority in Congress on a possible collision course with the Obama administration over the future conduct of the war there. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top American commander in Kabul, is expected to formally request as many as 40,000 U.S. reinforcements this month. Support among Democratic and independent voters for the Afghan war has been evaporating for months, and a raft of recent polls has found that majorities of both groups now oppose continuing or expanding the conflict.

Airstrikes by coalition forces in Afghanistan have dropped dramatically in the three months Gen. Stanley McChrystal has led the war effort there, reflecting his new emphasis on avoiding civilian casualties and protecting the population. NATO fixed-wing aircraft dropped 1,211 bombs and other munitions during the past three months — the peak of the fighting season — compared with 2,366 during the same period last year, according to military statistics. The nearly 50% decline in airstrikes comes with an influx of more than 20,000 U.S. troops this year and an increase in insurgent attacks. Ground troops are less inclined to call for bombing or strafing runs, though they often have an aircraft conduct a “show of force,” a flyby to scare off insurgents, or use planes for surveillance.

Commandos freed a New York Times reporter Wednesday after he was kidnapped by militants in northern Afghanistan last week, the newspaper said. An Afghan official said the reporter’s translator was killed in the operation. The Times kept the kidnappings quiet out of concern for the men’s safety, and other media outlets, including the Associated Press, did not report the abductions following a request from the Times.

A group of Afghan journalists has blamed international troops for the death of a kidnapped colleague during a rescue operation. In a statement issued Thursday, the Media Club of Afghanistan also criticizes NATO commandos for leaving his body behind while they rescued a foreign New York Times writer. They also condemn the Taliban for abducting both men last week in northern Afghanistan.

Riots in Uganda

Supporters of the traditional ruler of an ethnic group in Uganda have clashed with police and soldiers in the country’s capital, and at least seven people have died. police and the army clashed with stone-throwing protesters who burned tires Thursday in Kampala. The clashes began when a representative of the traditional ruler of Buganda, Uganda’s largest ethnic group, was prevented from traveling to a region northeast of the capital to prepare for a political rally Saturday. The Buganda advocate a federal system, which would strengthen their traditional ruler’s influence. This has been resisted by the central government, led by President Yoweri Museveni.


A prolonged drought, which is drying up vegetation and fueling a seemingly endless fire that has burned more than 250 square miles of Los Angeles County, could be the start of a fall siege in Southern California. “We’ve had extreme fire behavior: 2007 and 2008 were what firefighters refer to as ‘siege years,’ ” says Janet Upton, deputy director for communications for the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as CalFire. California is in the third year of a drought that has contributed to extreme fire conditions. Fire officials say the lack of rain makes brush burn more easily. And when fire hits parched forests, the fire tends to burn faster and do more damage.


The USA’s summer was cooler than average in 2009, for only the second time this decade, according to data released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Several Midwest states — including Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota— recorded one of their 10 coldest summers on record. Northwestern Pennsylvania recorded its coldest summer ever. Climate records date to 1895.

  • I guess we need to watch out for global cooling now

Flash floods gushed across a major highway and a commercial district in Istanbul on Wednesday, killing at least 20 people and stranding dozens in cars or on rooftops, the city’s governor said. Some of the dead drowned inside their vehicles. Fueled by the worst rain in decades, waters rose more than three feet (a meter) high in the city’s Ikitelli district, cutting off the route to Istanbul’s main airport and the highway to Greece and Bulgaria on the European side of the sprawling city. Eight other people were still missing and 20 others were injured.

A violent storm that spawned a tornado and mudslides killed at least 16 people across northern Argentina and southern Brazil, authorities said Tuesday. Dozens were injured in the winds and hail as their homes were destroyed. Rescue workers in Sao Paulo searched the rubble Tuesday evening for three people still missing and were also trying to find two children believed buried after part of a school collapsed, according to civil defense officials. Extremely heavy rains tangled traffic in Sao Paulo for most of the day and cut off phone service in some neighborhoods. Two rivers overflowed onto major highways in South America’s largest city.

Drought in Kenya’s is the worst in 12 years. The dry conditions pose a serious threat to the large and majestic animals, whose striking silhouettes across Kenya’s broad savannah draw around 1 million tourists each year. A recent survey in Chad showed its elephant population had declined from 3,800 to just over 600 in the past three years due to the drought and poaching.