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 SPP.gov 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.”

Afghanistan

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.

Pakistan

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.

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