Archive for October, 2009

October 30, 2009

63 Years of Christmas Tradition Banned

A Michigan man has filed a federal lawsuit claiming his constitutional rights were violated when he was ordered to remove a Nativity scene from the median of a public road — a creche that his family has displayed at the location for 63 years. John Satawa, of Warren, Mich., filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Friday in an attempt to be allowed to put back the 8- by 8-foot nativity scene his late father built in 1945. After receiving a complaint by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation last December, the Road Commission of Macomb County told Satawa to remove the holiday display, citing incomplete permits. Satawa’s permit application was later denied because it “clearly displays a religious message” and violated “separation of church and state,” Macomb County Highway Engineer Robert Hoepfner wrote.

Skin Cream Contains Fetal Proteins from Aborted Babies

A pro-life organization is blasting a Switzerland-based cosmetics manufacturer whose website openly admits some of its products were developed from the tissues of an aborted baby. Children of God for Life is a non-profit organization focused on the bioethics of embryonic tissue use in medicine and manufacturing. One of its current campaigns includes petitioning pharmaceutical companies to produce safe, effective alternatives to vaccines derived or cultivated from aborted fetal tissue But the organization’s attention has now turned Neocutis, a company with offices in San Francisco which has developed a line of anti-aging products that include an ingredient the company has trademarked as Processed Skin Cell Protein, or PSP, developed from skin cells harvested from an abortion. “It is absolutely deplorable that Neocutis would resort to exploiting the remains of a deliberately slaughtered baby for nothing other than pure vanity and financial gain,” said Debi Vinnedge, executive director of Children of God for Life, in a statement. “There is simply no moral justification for this.”

Pink Slips 2.5 Times Higher than Washington Monument

The congressional pink slips campaign has already generated almost a three-foot-tall stack of paper in the Capitol office of each individual senator and representative, says Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND and one of the organizers of the effort to rein in spending and Washington power grabs. If the 4 million pink slips were piled on each other, the stack would be two and a half times as high as the Washington Monument. If the 4 million pink slips were placed end to end, they would reach from the District of Columbia to Detroit, Mich., or Portland, Maine. But don’t expect to read, hear or see anything about this elsewhere in the “mainstream media,” warns Farah. “This is an unprecedented program, but the rest of the news media seems determined to downplay it – even spike any mention of it,” says Farah. “It’s just like the tea parties and the massive rally in Washington and the town hall coverage – non-existent.”

  • The mainstream media is growing increasingly out of touch and irrelevant.

Companies Get ‘Gayer’ as U.S. Economy Plummets

Despite an economy languishing in high unemployment and low consumer confidence, more American companies are jumping on the bandwagon to provide support for homosexual and transgender employees. More than 300 firms have now received perfect 100 percent scores in this fall’s Corporate Equality Index, produced annually by the Human Rights Campaign which ranks businesses on their “treatment” of employees who have chosen homosexual, lesbian, bisexual and transgender lifestyles, a 20% increase this year. Many companies, such as financial leader Morgan Stanley, are thrilled with their top ranking and use it as a public-relations tool.

  • Hmmm. Godlessness up, economy down. Sowing and reaping?

Pelosi Unveils Health Bill With Government-Run Insurance Option

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled a retooled $894 billion health care overhaul plan Thursday intended to bridge differences among Democrats and open a history-making floor debate on extending health insurance to nearly all Americans. Pelosi said the House’s version of a health care reform bill will include a government-run insurance option and extend coverage to 36 million uninsured Americans.  She said the bill will lower patient costs and reduce the national deficit. Pelosi wants to have the legislation on the floor next week — with a final vote before Veterans Day, Nov. 11 — which would give President Obama a bill to sign by year’s end. The bill would require nearly everyone by 2013 to sign up through their employer, a government program or a new kind of purchasing pool called an exchange. Tax credits would be available for most of those buying coverage through the exchange. They would have the option of picking a new government plan or private insurance. During the transition years from 2010-2013, a temporary government program would help people turned down by private insurers because of medical problems, lawmakers said. After that, insurers no longer could refuse to provide coverage to the sick, nor could they charge more because of poor health of the insured. The plan also calls for a significant expansion of Medicaid, the federal-state health program for low-income people. And it would impose a requirement on employers to offer insurance to their workers or face penalties.

  • Reduce the national deficit? Only through smoke and mirrors.

Fox News reports that the health care overhaul bill produced by House Democrats would impose an array of new taxes, fees and government mandates on major players in the health industry, including insurers, doctors and drugs and medical devices makers. In most cases, the pain has been meted out with an eye toward raising the money needed to finance President Barack Obama’s plan for reshaping the health system but also with careful regard for gaining the votes that will be needed to pass a final bill. Among the industries targeted in the bill are medical device makers — one of the few that failed to cut an early behind-the-scenes deal with Obama and Democrats to help pay for an overhaul. The House added $20 billion in taxes on sales of medical devices like artificial hips and heart stents to the legislation Democratic leaders unveiled Thursday. The measure is less kind to drug makers, an industry that did strike a deal with Obama and key senators to hold down its costs. Pharmaceutical companies agreed to cough up $80 billion in the health overhaul. While precise figures were not immediately available, it appeared the House legislation would target the industry for much more. America’s Health Insurance Plans, said the so-called public option would “bankrupt hospitals, dismantle employer coverage, exacerbate cost-shifting from Medicare and Medicaid, and ultimately increase the federal deficit.” She said the result would be that many people, including seniors, would lose coverage or face higher costs.

  • Insurers, device makers, etc. will be sure to pass along all their increased costs to us. Thus, it is the taxpayer who will foot the bill. Government can claim deficit reduction by pushing the deficit down on the lowly taxpayer

Abortion Funding is in Healthcare Bill

A national pro-life group is warning members of Congress that a vote in favor of the 1,990-page House healthcare bill is a vote to establish a federal government program that would directly fund abortion-on-demand with taxpayer dollars. Page 110, lines 17-22, refer explicitly to federal funding of abortions. Page 110 of H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, authorizes a new government health insurance program to pay for all elective abortions. Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee, notes: “So all of these assurances that some prominent Democrats, including President Obama, have given that there won’t be federal funding for abortions, that’s not what’s in the bill.”

  • The devil is in the details, which most legislators won’t bother to read.

Obama Signs Defense Bill

Trumpeting a victory against careless spending, President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed a defense bill that kills some costly weapons projects and expands war efforts. The $680 billion bill authorizes spending but doesn’t provide any actual dollars. Rather, it sets guidance that is typically followed by congressional committees that decide appropriations. Obama hailed it as a step toward ending needless military spending that he called “an affront to the American people and to our troops.” Still, the president did not win every fiscal fight. He acknowledged he was putting his name to a bill that still had waste.

  • Eliminating waste is every president’s stated goal, but the federal bureaucracy is so entrenched that nothing short of an atom bomb will change anything by very much.

Hate Crimes Legislation Approved

Hate Crimes legislation was attached to the Defense Bill and was therefore approved indirectly. The law makes it a federal hate crime to assault people based on sexual orientation. The measure expands current hate crimes law to include violence based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. To assure its passage after years of frustrated efforts, Democratic supporters attached the measure to the must-pass defense policy bill over the steep objections of many Republicans. The measure is named for Matthew Shepard, the gay Wyoming college student murdered 11 years ago. The expansion has long been sought by civil rights and gay rights groups. Conservatives have opposed it, arguing that it creates a special class of victims. They also have been concerned that it could silence clergymen or others opposed to homosexuality on religious or philosophical grounds.

  • This tactic makes it easier for controversial legislation to be passed. Attaching unrelated measures to another bill should be banned. It’s unethical and nonsensical. However, our bureaucrats love such clandestine tactics because it gives them an excuse to grant their approval.

A Christian evangelist who was once arrested, jailed, and charged under Pennsylvania’s hate crimes law says the federal hate crimes bill signed into law by President Obama is one of the most dangerous laws in the history of the United States. Michael Marcavage, director of Philadelphia-based Repent America, was one of 11 Christians who were jailed and charged with a hate crime for carrying Bible verse banners and preaching at a 2004 homosexual pride event in Philadelphia. The charges were later dismissed — and in 2008, the state’s Supreme Court ruled the law had been passed illegally by the Pennsylvania legislature. Marcavage says the new federal hate crimes law is yet another move by the federal government to “silence Christians.” “What this bill does is [seek] to shut down those who dare to speak against the sin of homosexuality with the hope and freedom that is found in Jesus Christ,” says the Christian activist.

Obama Revives Military Trials at Gitmo

President Barack Obama brought back Bush-era military trials for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay on Wednesday by signing into law new rules that will give detainees stronger legal rights in court. Obama approved the rules, most of which he proposed in May, as part of a $680 billion defense policy bill that cut some pricey and overlapping military weapons programs. More than 220 detainees remain at Guantanamo as the Obama administration decides how to prosecute some in U.S. courts and turns over others to nations that are willing to rehabilitate or free them. Additionally, the administration is grappling with how to keep in prison a small handful of remaining detainees who are considered too dangerous to release or put on trial. The old system limited detainees’ legal rights to defend themselves at trial, in part by allowing the use of hearsay and coerced statements to be used against them. Civil rights and constitutional law advocates said the changes that they called improvements still fell far short of guaranteeing detainees’ rights.

Senate Agrees on Extending Home-Buyer Tax Credit

Senators agreed Wednesday to extend a popular tax credit for first-time home buyers and to offer a reduced credit to some repeat buyers. The tax credit provides up to $8,000 to first-time home buyers but is set to expire at the end of November. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that new home sales fell 3.6% in September, and some industry representatives blamed uncertainty about the tax credit. Senators agreed to extend the existing tax credit for first-time home buyers while offering a reduced credit of up to $6,500 to repeat buyers who have owned their current homes for at least five years. The tax credits would be available to home buyers who sign sales agreements by the end of April. They would have until the end of June to close on their new homes. Senators in both political parties were hoping to add both tax provisions to a bill that would give people running out of unemployment insurance benefits up to 20 more weeks of federal aid. The Senate could vote on the overall bill as early as Thursday.

Cash for Clunkers Cost $24,000 per Vehicle

Taxpayers ended up paying an average of $24,000 per vehicle for the Cash for Clunkers program over the summer when sales that would have happened anyway are taken into consideration, says car buying research site The program, which cost taxpayers $3 billion, gave car buyers up to $4,500 in incentives to trade in their gas-guzzling clunkers to buy new fuel thrifty cars. It was intended primarily to spur sales, and the economy. But says a lot of those sales would have happened anyway, with or without the clunkers program. Of more than 690,000 vehicles sold, only about 125,000 of the sales were entirely due to the government’s added inducement, says. The rest of buyers just got lucky by getting the government to kick cash into deals that they would have proceeded with anyhow. When the cost of the program is spread over just those extra incremental sales, the total is $24,000 per vehicle.

  • Government programs always cost more than expected and more than reported

Stimulus Jobs in U.S. Overstated

More than 650,000 jobs have been saved or created under President Barack Obama‘s economic stimulus plan, the White House said Friday, saying it is on track to reach the president’s goal of 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year. New job numbers from businesses, contractors, state and local governments, nonprofit groups and universities were released Friday. White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein says officials have been told the figures. When adding in jobs linked to $288 billion in tax cuts, Bernstein says the stimulus plan has created or saved more than 1 million jobs. The data will be posted on, the website of the independent panel overseeing stimulus spending. But the job market has yet to show signs of recovery, putting pressure on the White House to show that the stimulus was worth its hefty price tag.

The government’s first accounting of jobs tied to the $787 billion stimulus program claimed more than 30,000 positions paid for with recovery money. But that figure is overstated by least 5,000 jobs, according to an Associated Press review of a sample of stimulus contracts. The AP review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two and sometimes more than four times; and other jobs were credited to stimulus spending when none was produced. There’s no evidence the White House sought to inflate job numbers in the report. But administration officials seized on the 30,000 figure as evidence that the stimulus program was on its way toward fulfilling the president’s promise of creating or saving 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year. The reporting problem could be magnified enormously in these new, higher number.

  • Unfortunately, it is more common than not for government statistics to be exaggerated and fudged. Corporations would be prosecuted for such actions, why not government officials?

Stimulus Helps Fill State Coffers

A historic nosedive in state tax collections extended into the third quarter of the year, and only an infusion of federal stimulus money has averted widespread program cuts and worker layoffs. Tax collections from July through September dropped an average of 8.3% from a year earlier in the eight states that release up-to-date monthly tax figures, including 13.2% drop in Arizona and 8.9% in New York. Federal stimulus money has protected states from making big cuts in the number of government workers, in aid to schools or in spending on Medicaid, the health care program for the poor. But most federal stimulus money ends in December 2010.

  • All the federal government accomplished was shifting the immediate problem to the state level which will soon begin hemorrhaging jobs and programs.

Economic News

The economy grew at a 3.5% pace in the third quarter, best showing in two years, fueled by government-supported spending on cars and homes. It was the strongest signal yet that the longest, deepest downturn since the Great Depression is ending. But a second report out Thursday showed the number of people claiming jobless benefits for the first time droppped only slightly in the latest week, evidence that the labor market remains weak. The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of newly laid-off workers seeking unemployment insurance fell 1,000 to a seasonally-adjusted 530,000 last week. The “normal” level is closer to 300,000.

Consumer spending fell in September for the first time in five months as the boost from a government auto incentive faded, data showed Friday, adding to fears that consumers may be pulling back as they head into the last quarter of the year. The Commerce Department said spending fell 0.5%, the largest decline since December. Consumer spending, which normally accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, was bolstered in August by the popular “cash for clunkers” program that gave discounts on some new motor vehicle purchases.

ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Eni dashed hopes of an imminent turnaround for the oil industry, saying a sluggish economic recovery is weighing on energy demand and prices. The three posted big drops in quarterly earnings on Thursday, after crude oil and natural gas prices plummeted and refining margins were squeezed to at times negative levels. Exxon (XOM), the world’s largest oil company by market value, said net income fell a larger-than-expected 68%.

The average domestic airfare in the second quarter was nearly identical to ticket prices back in 1998. The average fare for a domestic trip from April to June was $301, down 13% from a year earlier and the steepest year-over-year dip in nearly 15 years.


More than $180 million in U.S. foreign aid to promote democracy in Egypt over the past four years has produced few measurable results, in part because the Egyptian government has stymied the effort, a newly released government audit says. The “impact of (American-funded) democracy and governance programs was unnoticeable” in Egypt, said the report by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s inspector general. USAID auditors based their conclusions on international indexes of press freedom, corruption, civil liberties and political rights. Egypt is the second-largest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel, having garnered $69 billion in military and economic assistance since 1948, according to the Congressional Research Service. President Hosni Mubarak has ruled the country under a “state of emergency” since Anwar Sadat was assassinated by extremists in 1981.


Iran has given an “initial response” to the International Atomic Energy agency on a plan that calls for Tehran to ship much of its enriched uranium abroad, the IAEA said Thursday. The wording of the IAEA statement appeared to dash Western hopes of a quick deal that would delay Tehran’s ability to make a nuclear weapon. The U.S. and allied countries were seeking Iranian agreement to ship out 70% of its low-enriched uranium to Russia in one shipment for further enrichment and conversion into fuel for a Tehran research reactor. Sending that amount in one batch would not leave Tehran with enough material to make weapons-grade uranium should it decide to make a warhead.


Iraq announced the arrests of dozens of military and security personnel over the attacks on government buildings in Baghdad that killed 155 people, the Iraqi capital’s military spokesman said Thursday. Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi told the Associated Press that 11 army officers and 50 security officials have been taken into custody over Sunday’s bombings — the worst attacks in Iraq in more than two years. The massive blasts at the Justice Ministry and the Baghdad Provincial Administration caused outrage among many Iraqis, who question the ability of the government to protect its people ahead of parliamentary January’s elections and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.


A car bomb struck a busy market in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing 105 people — many women and children. More than 200 people were wounded in the blast, the deadliest in an increase of attacks by suspected insurgents this month. The government blamed militants seeking to avenge an army offensive launched this month against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in their stronghold close to the Afghan border. The bombing was the deadliest since October, 2007.


The European Union says the second round of presidential elections in Afghanistan must be fair for the new government to win international acceptance. In a draft statement on the last day of a two-day summit Friday, EU leaders have praised U.N. work in coordinating international efforts in Afghanistan. The EU urged transparent voting in a runoff election Nov. 7, after the first round in August was marked by widespread fraud by supporters of incumbent President Hamid Karzai.


A record-setting snowstorm that dumped nearly 4 feet of snow across parts of the Rockies by Thursday will threaten parts of the Midwest and South Friday with heavy rain and flooding. The powerful fall storm forced hundreds of flights to be canceled in Denver and closed schools and major highways. Heavy snow fell as far west as northern Utah‘s Wasatch Front to western Nebraska‘s northern border. In South Dakota, snow shut down the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. A blizzard warning was in effect until morning in northwest Kansas. The heaviest snow was reported in the foothills west of Denver, near Pinecliffe, Colo., with 43.8 inches by midday Thursday. The snow and windy conditions, which began late Tuesday, closed part of Interstate 70 through Colorado, plus other highways.Cheyenne, Wyo., has had 2 feet of snow this month, shattering its previous October record, set in 1906. The average October snowfall in Cheyenne: 4.9 inches.

One man is dead and a landmark church steeple toppled onto a car in Louisiana after a line of thunderstorms spawned several tornadoes there and in neighboring Arkansas. At least three tornadoes touched down in northwest Louisiana. Roads were flooded in parts of southwest Arkansas.

Arizona is the only state in the nation that is fully under drought conditions, with 54% of the state in extreme drought. 91% of California is in drought, with 9% of the state under severe drought. Arizona also is the only state with a wildfire burning. The Twin Peaks fire along the southern border has consumed 5,737 acres as of Thursday.

October 28, 2009

Church Growth in China Too Fast to Keep Up With

The Christian Post reports that the church is China is growing tremendously – a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless for pastors. A massive shortage of trained pastors has led nearly 150,000 lay leaders to step up and pastor local churches. The lack of theological education can – and has already – led to the spread of biblically inaccurate beliefs. The Rev. Gao Feng, president of the government-approved China Christian Council, said one pastor proclaimed Jesus had already returned as a young woman. Gao reports that in his home province there is only one trained pastor for 40,000 Christians. “One of the challenges is that we need to train more pastors,” he said. The China Christian Council is the only government-approved umbrella organization for Protestant churches in China.

Home Depot Fires Employee over God Button

A former cashier for Home Depot who has been wearing a “One nation under God” button on his work apron for more than a year has been fired, he says because of the religious reference. The company claims that expressing such personal beliefs is simply not allowed. The American flag button Keezer wore in the Florida store since March 2008 says “One nation under God, indivisible.” Earlier this month, he began bringing a Bible to read during his lunch break at the store in the rural town of Okeechobee, about 140 miles north of Miami. That’s when he says Home Depot management told him he would have to remove the button. Keezer refused, and he was fired on Oct. 23rd. A Home Depot spokesman said Keezer was fired because he violated the company’s dress code.

  • Expect to see more and more of this kind of anti-God persecution

Poll Shows Changed Views on Obama

As the anniversary of President Obama’s election approaches, the tidal wave of hope that swept Obama into office has ebbed and some perceptions of the president have changed, the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds. He’s seen more as a down-the-line liberal, less as someone who can bridge partisan divides. Confidence in Obama’s ability to deliver on his campaign promises has eroded, especially on domestic issues. A majority of those surveyed now say his administration won’t be able to control federal spending or improve the health care system. The biggest decline has been on his pledge to ease the nation’s fierce partisanship: A year ago, 54% said he would be able to “heal political divisions”; now only 28% say so. The public’s view of Obama is critical to his clout. It affects his ability to persuade reluctant moderates to sign on to revamping the health care system and to persuade liberals unhappy with some of its compromises to stay on board. It will help determine how much public support he can command for his decision on whether to deploy more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. His standing also will be one important factor on whether Democrats suffer big losses in next year’s congressional elections.

Americans Alarmed at Attacks on Free Speech

A majority of Americans are alarmed over attempts by the White House to stifle dissent or suppress free speech, according to a new poll that asked about a series of issues ranging from President Obama’s attempt to cut Fox News out of an interview opportunity to his advocacy for “hate crimes” legislation that could hinder Christian pastors’ sermons. The new poll from Zogby International/O’Leary Report reveals a clear majority of Americans view recent actions by Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress as “threats to our First Amendment Rights.” “Independents, Hispanics and small business owners are among the key voting blocs that disagree with the president’s moves to curtail free speech,” the summary of the poll results said. Fifty-three percent of Americans agree the Fox News maneuver is an attempt to silence dissent and only 40 percent disagreed, the poll said. “Even a plurality of Democrats (48 percent) think Obama and his staff are trying to silence dissent, while 43 percent of Democrats disagree. An even stronger majority, 59 percent, “oppose any international law that protects religions from criticism, while only 21 percent support such a law,” the results said. A plurality of 47 percent of Americans disagree with the Hate Crimes bill, while only 38 percent agree with it, the poll said.

  • Despite the opinions of the American public, our government will continue to march us inexorably down the road to a one-world socialistic government as prophesied in Revelation 13.

Christian Broadcasters Leery of ‘Hate Crimes’ Law

The “hate crimes” bill approved recently by Congress could be a problem for broadcasters — most importantly, Christian broadcasters — when it is signed into law. Sometime Wednesday President Barack Obama is expected to sign into law the measure that adds to the list of federal hate crimes attacks on people based on their sexual orientation. Congress approved the legislation last week as part of the $680-billion FY 2010 Defense Authorization bill. Appended to the hate crimes amendment was a statement ensuring that a religious leader or any other person cannot be prosecuted on the bases if his or her speech, beliefs, or association. But Craig Parshall, chief counsel for National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), discounts that statement, pointing out that such laws in other countries have been used to silence people of faith. He believes the law approved by Congress is potentially dangerous as it relates to comments made about homosexuality or another religion. “Under the criminal law of incitement, if something is said in a broadcast that another person uses as a motivation to go out and commit an act of what they call ‘bodily injury’ in the statute, then a broadcaster could be held criminally liable,” he explains.

Climate Bill Goes Cold

Senate Democrats have all but abandoned the prospects of getting a climate bill passed this year, although they hoped that they could show some progress on the issue, such as clearing a bill out of a major committee, in advance of international climate negotiations in Denmark in December. Top Obama administration officials are looking to make their case at a U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday for aggressive action to combat climate change, even as Republicans show no sign of softening their dislike of a Democratic bill that would dramatically cut heat-trapping pollution. The White House has made clear its support for the 900-page Democratic bill that would cut greenhouse gases by 80% over the coming 40 years. It was sending three cabinet secretaries and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to Tuesday’s Senate hearing, hoping to persuade some wavering senators to support the measure.

McCain Moves to Block FCC’s Net Neutrality

U.S. Sen. John McCain has introduced legislation that would block the Federal Communications Commission from creating new net neutrality rules, on the same day that the FCC took the first step toward doing so. McCain on Thursday introduced the Internet Freedom Act, which would keep the FCC from enacting rules prohibiting broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Internet content and applications. Net neutrality rules would create “onerous federal regulation,” McCain said. The FCC voted Thursday to begin a rulemaking process to formalize net neutrality rules. The rules, as proposed, would allow Web users to run the legal applications and access the legal Web sites of their choice.

  • Who decides what’s “legal?” Our socialistic anti-Christ government.

Privately Run Infrastructure Deals Dry Up

The rush by state and local governments to sell roads, bridges and airports to private operators in return for eye-popping upfront sums has all but collapsed in the recession. That could leave taxpayers on the hook for more of the $200 billion a year needed to maintain the nation’s transportation system, according to federal estimates. An era of privately operated infrastructure seemed near when Chicago leased its 7-mile Skyway for $1.8 billion in 2003 and Indiana leased a 157-mile toll road for $3.8 billion in 2006States had proposed selling all kinds of things, from highways to lotteries, to raise $10 billion or more. In return, the private companies would operate the assets during long-term leases and bank the revenue. The purchase of government assets has all but stopped as credit has dried up. Now, with tax collections falling, state and local governments are scrambling to finance their own projects.

Asian Leaders Seek to Reduce Western Trade Ties

Asia-Pacific leaders called on Sunday for regional-wide free trade and other measures to reduce dependence on the United States and big Western markets as Asia leads the way out of the global economic downturn. At the meetings, held under tight security, Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama found tentative support from his Asian counterparts for a proposed regional community inspired by the European Union that would account for nearly a quarter of global economic output. Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, host of the meetings, said Asia clearly needed a new growth model leaning less on big Western trading partners and more on Asia-wide trade pacts. The global financial crisis, he said, bore this out.

  • Regional unions in Asia and North America are the next step in moving toward a one-world government

Economic News

States have reported using stimulus money to create or save more than 388,000 jobs so far this year, buttressing the Obama administration’s claim that the $787 billion plan has had a significant impact on the economy. That total, based on a USA TODAY review of reports from 33 states and Puerto Rico, includes teachers, construction workers, and others whose jobs were funded by stimulus money awarded to states.

Sales of new homes dropped unexpectedly last month as the effects of a soon-to-expire $8,000 tax credit for first-time owners started to wane. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that sales fell 3.6%. It was the first decline since March. Sales in September were down 7.8% from a year ago. The median sales price of $204,800 was off 9.1% from $225,200 a year earlier, but up 2.5% from August’s level of $199,900. Home loan demand slid for the third straight week, with purchase applications the weakest since mid-May and refinancing requests at a two-month low.

Gasoline prices have risen 16 cents a gallon in the past month and will go a bit higher before leveling off, oil and gas analysts say. The national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $2.67 Tuesday vs. $2.69 a year ago. The rise left San Franciscans paying an average $3.05 a gallon last week.

GMAC Financial Services is in talks with the Treasury Department for a third injection of taxpayer aid as the auto lender faces a November deadline to raise the $11.5 billion capital cushion mandated by results of the government’s “stress test.” Of the 19 banks that underwent government stress tests, 10 were determined to be undercapitalized. GMAC is the only one that couldn’t raise the necessary capital from investors.

Ecuador Seeks Billions to Go Green

Ecuador‘s president is in London this week to promote a unique proposal: pay his country $3 billion not to drill for oil in a pristine Amazon reserve. Germany and Spain have expressed interest in President Rafael Correa‘s idea, which environmentalists say could set a precedent in the fight against global warming by lowering the high cost to poor countries of going green. “This is the first time the government of a major oil-producing country has voluntarily offered to forego lucrative oil extraction in order to help combat climate change,” said Dr. Matt Finer, staff scientist for Save America’s Forests.


Amnesty International is accusing Israel of pumping disproportionate amounts of drinking water from an aquifer it controls in the West Bank, depriving local Palestinians of their fair share. The London-based human rights group also said in a report released Tuesday, that Israel has blocked infrastructure projects that would improve existing water supplies to Palestinians — both in the West Bank and those living in the Gaza Strip. Israeli officials deny the accusations. Water is a major point of contention between Israelis and Palestinians and is considered an issue that must be resolved before the two sides could make peace.


Taliban militants wearing suicide vests stormed a guest house used by U.N. staff in the heart of the Afghan capital early Wednesday, killing 12 people — including six U.N. staff — in the biggest in a series of attacks intended to undermine next month’s presidential runoff election. One rocket struck the “outer limit” of the presidential palace but caused no casualties, presidential spokesman Humayun Hamidzada said. Another slammed into the grounds of the Serena Hotel, which is favored by many foreigners.

Eight American troops were killed Tuesday in two attacks in Afghanistan, making this the deadliest month for U.S. forces since the war started in October 2001. This month, 55 Americans have died in Afghanistan. The next-highest month for U.S. deaths was August, when 51 U.S. service members were killed.


A car bomb tore through a crowded market in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing at least 91 people hours after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in the country to show American support for its campaign against Islamist militants. More than 200 people were wounded in the blast in the main northwestern city of Peshawar, the latest in a surge of bloody attacks this month by suspected militants apparently aimed at denting public backing for an army offensive against al-Qaeda and Taliban close to the Afghan border. Secretary Clinton opened her three-day visit to Pakistan on Wednesday, praising the government for pressing a high-risk military offensive against extremist forces in a volatile region near the Afghan border.

October 26, 2009

Christians on High Alert over Hate Crimes Passage

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed a hate crimes bill that Christian leaders have warned for years could greatly infringe on the rights of those who speak to loudly about their religious views. Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel agrees with most observers that President Obama will sign the measure — adding that the president desires to “throw a bone to homosexual activists because they have been breathing down his neck…and this is a way to hold them off.” Barber views the legislation as something akin to a muzzle. “Unfortunately, it places Christians — people of faith, people who have traditional values relative to sexual immorality…in an untenable position,” says the attorney. He notes that several years ago, a similar law in Pennsylvania resulted in the arrest of 11 Christians who were presenting the gospel at a Philadelphia homosexual rally. Barber goes on to say that the federal bill “will chill religious liberty and free speech — and that is its intended purpose, not to protect anybody from hate crimes.”

Insider Reveals Secrets of North American Union Plot

The integration of the United States with Canada and Mexico, long deemed by many as little more than a fanciful “conspiracy theory,” was actually an idea promoted by the Council on Foreign Relations and sold to President Bush as a means of increasing commerce and business interests throughout North America, according to a top Canadian businessman. Thomas d’Aquino, CEO and president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives – the Canadian counterpart to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – confirmed in an interview recently published in Canada that the Council on Foreign Relations was the prime mover in establishing the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, or SPP. Published by the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, the d’Aquino interview verifies that the creation of the SPP was not a “conspiracy theory” but a well-thought-out North American integration plan launched by his organization, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, along with the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States.

Climate Control Leads to One-World Government

Will the upcoming Copenhagen climate talks usher in a one-world government? Lord Christopher Monckton, the former advisor for science policy to Lady Margaret Thatcher, believes that if the U.S. signs any climate treaty coming out of the Copenhagen climate change conference in December, it could subject the United States to a global dictatorship. Monckton explains his concerns. “[T]his treaty of Copenhagen, which is going to be negotiated by the states’ parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December, is going to…establish for the first time in human history a global government,” he warns. Monckton contends that the word “government” appears twice in paragraph 38 of the draft, and that paragraphs 36 through 38 explain that the purpose of the treaty is to establish a world government. “Whose job,” he explains, “will be to transfer wealth from the wealthy countries, such as the United States most of all, to Third World countries — and the excuse for this transfer of wealth is so-called ‘reparation.'” He adds that this world government will have the ability to make the U.S. pay.

Swine H1N1 Flu

Swine flu is more widespread now than it’s ever been, and has resulted in more than 1,000 U.S. deaths so far. Flu illnesses are as widespread now as they are at the winter peak of normal flu seasons, said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. “Many millions” of Americans have had swine flu so far, according to an estimate he gave at a Friday press conference. The government doesn’t test everyone to confirm swine flu so it doesn’t have an exact count.

More Americans have been vaccinated against seasonal flu this fall than ever before by this time of year, federal health officials said Friday. Sixty million people have gotten the winter flu vaccine — probably because they’re paying more attention to flu warnings in general, thanks to swine flu. It’s an unprecedented number of seasonal flu shots for October; most usually aren’t given until later in the fall.

President Obama declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency, giving his health chief the power to let hospitals move emergency rooms offsite to speed treatment and protect noninfected patients. The declaration, signed Friday night and announced Saturday, comes with the disease more prevalent than ever in the country and production delays undercutting the government’s initial, optimistic estimates that as many as 120 million doses of the vaccine could be available by mid-October.

  • Keep in mind the CBS News report from our previous SOTT that says there is little testing going on for people with flu-like symptoms. The diagnosis of swine flu is questionable.

Clunkers Clogging Recycling Yards

Cash for Clunkers may be history for car shoppers, but the program’s largesse lives on in recycling yards around the country. A torrent of traded-in clunkers have arrived at auto recyclers in the past two months and are still waiting to be drained of fluids, stripped of valuable parts and eventually flattened for scrap. At some disposal facilities clunkers are parked bumper to bumper on several acres, “I’ve got a parking lot of almost 4,000 vehicles right now,” said Harry Haluptzok, chief executive of John’s Auto Parts in Blaine, Minn., near Minneapolis. His business typically dismantles 100 vehicles per week, but the workload has now more than doubled, and Haluptzok hired 10 more workers to keep up with all the extra vehicles.

Small Business Faces Sharp Rise in Health Costs

As Congress nears votes on legislation that would overhaul the health care system, many small businesses say they are facing the steepest rise in insurance premiums they have seen in recent years. Insurance brokers and benefits consultants say their small business clients are seeing premiums go up an average of about 15 percent for the coming year — double the rate of last year’s increases. The higher premiums at least partly reflect the inexorable rise of medical costs, which is forcing Medicare to raise premiums, too. Health insurance bills are also rising for big employers, but because they have more negotiating clout, their increases are generally not as steep. Higher medical costs aside, some experts say they think the insurance industry, under pressure from Wall Street, is raising premiums to get ahead of any legislative changes that might reduce their profits.

Economic News

The cascade of bank failures this year surpassed 100 on Friday, the most in nearly two decades. And the trouble in the banking system from bad loans and the recession goes even deeper than the number suggests. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of other banks remain open even though they are as weak as many that have been shuttered. Regulators are seizing banks slowly and selectively — partly to avoid inciting panic and partly because buyers for bad banks are hard to find.

An economic survey out Monday provides fresh evidence that a fitful recovery is underway as customer demand grows in the third quarter for the first time in more than a year and the jobs outlook brightens a bit. For the first time since the recession began, the portion of companies planning to add employees in the next six months outnumbered those expecting to cut jobs. Twenty-four percent plan to grow their workforce, 20% say they’ll trim staff and 57% expect no change. Forty-four percent of firms reported rising customer demand, vs. 21% with falling demand, the first time gainers outpaced losers since July 2008.

The decline in U.S. newspaper circulation is accelerating as the industry struggles with defections to the Internet and tumbling ad revenue. Figures released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations show that average daily circulation dropped 10.6% in the April-September period from the same six-month span in 2008. That was greater than the 7.1% decline in the October 2008-March 2009 period and the 4.6% drop in the April-September period of 2008.

Britain Still in Recession

The British economy shrank 0.4% in the third quarter, surprising forecasters and dashing hopes the country would follow France and Germany out of recession. The disappointing figure leaves Britain in the grip of the worst downturn since official records began in 1955 and piles pressure on Prime Minister Gordon Brown‘s government ahead of next year’s general election. Rew had forecast a drop large enough to bring the total fall in output since the start of the recession to 5.9%. The persistent decline comes despite concerted attempts by the government and Bank of England to boost the economy.

European Missile Shield

Vice President Joe Biden made significant strides during a trip to Central Europe this week in relieving anxieties the Obama administration stirred up last month when it scrapped a Bush-era plan for missile defense. Biden won agreement Friday from the Czech Republic to join Obama’s reconfigured missile defense system, just two days after Poland said it also would take part. The NATO chief, meanwhile, praised the new plan as offering good defense for the West from future Iranian threats. “Ministers welcomed the fact the new approach puts European missile defense more into a NATO context,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in nearby Bratislava after U.S. Defense Minister Robert Gates briefed alliance defense ministers on the system. “It is good for solidarity.

  • And also good for globalism

Violence in Jerusalem

Israeli police firing stun grenades faced off Sunday against masked Palestinian protesters hurling stones and plastic chairs outside the Holy Land‘s most volatile shrine, where past violence has escalated into prolonged conflict. A wall of Israeli riot police behind plexiglass shields marched toward young men covering their faces with T-shirts and scarves, sending many of them running for cover into the Al-Aqsa mosque, one of the Islamic structures in the compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. Eighteen protesters were arrested, and no serious injuries were reported. But even mild troubles at the disputed compound in Jerusalem‘s Old City can quickly ignite widespread unrest, and police remained on high alert.

Iranian Duplicity

U.N. inspectors entered a once-secret uranium enrichment facility with bunker-like construction and heavy military protection that raised Western suspicions about the extent and intent of Iran‘s nuclear program. The visit Sunday by the four-member International Atomic Energy Agency team, reported by state media, was the first independent look inside the planned nuclear fuel lab, a former ammunition dump burrowed into the treeless hills south of Tehran and only publicly disclosed last month. No results from the inspection are expected until the team leaves the country, but some Iranian officials hailed the visit as an example that their nuclear program was open to international scrutiny.

  • Open? It was a closely guarded secret until it was discovered. Secrecy implies guilt not openness.


NATO defense ministers signaled broad support Friday for a robust counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, adding to the momentum favoring a substantial U.S. troop hike. Without discussing troop levels, NATO ministers meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia, endorsed the strategy put forward by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. and allied commander. The alliance rejected competing proposals to narrow the military mission to simply fighting the remnants of al-Qaida. “The only way to ensure that Afghanistan does not become once again a safe haven for terrorism is if it is made strong enough to resist the insurgency as well,” said Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO’s secretary-general. “In Afghanistan, you cannot separate counterterrorism from counterinsurgency.”

Taliban fighters warned Afghans not to take part in the war-wracked country’s upcoming presidential runoff, threatening Saturday to launch a fresh wave of violence on polling day to stop them. The warnings came on the first official day of campaigning for the Nov. 7 vote. The militant group denounced the race between President Hamid Karzai and challenger Abdullah Abdullah as “a failed, American process” and said its fighters would “launch operations against the enemy and stop people from taking part.” The statement said Taliban militants will also cut off key roads and highways, and warned that anyone who casts a ballot “will bear responsibility for their actions.” Taliban fighters killed dozens of civilians during the first round on Aug. 20, barraging several southern cities with rocket-fire and cutting off the ink-stained fingers of at least two people who cast ballots in the militant south.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s top challenger called for a “dramatic increase” in troops to ensure security in his country, suggesting a failure to send in reinforcements could put Afghanistan “at risk” of falling to insurgents Abdullah also warned that without assurances that the vote will be credible it will be difficult to convince voters to turn out. He did not say whether he would consider a boycott of the runoff if reforms are not made.

A series of helicopter crashes killed 14 Americans on Monday, the U.S. military said. It was one of the deadliest days of the war for U.S. troops. Two other U.S. choppers collided while in flight. U.S. authorities have ruled out hostile fire in the collision. Another chopper went down in the west of the country after leaving the scene of a firefight with insurgents.


The army captured the strategically located hometown of Pakistan’s Taliban chief Saturday after fierce fighting, officials said, snagging its first big prize in a major U.S.-backed offensive along the Afghan border. Pakistan’s 8-day-old offensive in the Taliban and Al Qaeda stronghold of South Waziristan is considered its most critical test yet in the campaign to stop the spread of violent extremism in this nuclear-armed country. The army operation has prompted a wave of retaliatory attacks by militants this month that have killed some 200 people.

A suicide bomber attacked a suspected nuclear-weapons site in Pakistan Saturday, “raising fears about the security of the nuclear arsenal.” The report notes that Pakistan’s nuclear sites are mostly in the northwest of the country, close to the capital, Islamabad, to keep them away from the border with India. But that means, the reports says, that they are close to Pakistani Taliban extremists, who are concentrated in the northwest. In 2007, the nuclear-missile storage site at Sargodha was attacked and in 2008, a team of suicide bombers blew themselves up at the entrance to the Wah armament factory, which is thought to be one of Pakistan’s main nuclear-weapons assembly locations.


Two suicide car bombs exploded in downtown Baghdad Sunday, killing at least 155 people and wounding over 500 more, delivering a powerful blow to the heart of the fragile city’s government in the worst attack of the year, officials said. While violence has dropped dramatically in the country since the height of the sectarian tensions, such bombings like Sunday’s demonstrate the precarious nature of the security gains and the insurgency’s abilities to still pull off devastating attacks in the center of what is supposed to be one of Baghdad’s most secure areas. The car bombs, which targeted the Justice Ministry and the Baghdad provincial administration, come as Iraq is preparing for elections scheduled this January, and many Iraqi officials have warned that violence by insurgents intent destabilizing the country could rise.

Another Strong Quake Hits Indonesia

Seismologists say another strong earthquake has hit Indonesia. Reports of damage or injuries were not immediately available. The U.S. Geological Survey says Saturday’s quake — the second strong temblor in two days — had a preliminary magnitude of 7.0. It was located 144 miles north-northwest of Indonesia’s Tanimbar Islands at a depth of 86 miles. Saturday’s quake came as Indonesia is still recovering from another earthquake last month island that killed more than 1,000 people on western Sumatra.

  • Indonesia has the largest Muslim population of any nation

Hunger Strikes East Africa

The Horn of Africa is bracing itself as a severe and prolonged drought tightens its grip. Recent reports predict that as many as 23 million people could be on the brink of starvation in Ethiopia, Kenya, Eritrea and other countries. Drought has seized the area for four successive years, bringing with it bad harvests. Coupled with conflict, climate change and population growth the crisis has left millions of people desperate for food. This week, the Ethiopian government has asked the international community for emergency food aid for 6.2 million people. In Kenya, where at least one in ten already receives emergency rations, an estimated four million people are at risk.

October 23, 2009

Congress Votes to Add Gays to Hate-Crimes Law

Physical attacks on people based on their sexual orientation will join the list of federal hate crimes in a major expansion of civil-rights-era law that Congress approved Thursday and sent to President Barack Obama. A priority of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., that had been on the congressional agenda for a decade, the measure expands current law to include crimes based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. To ensure its passage after years of frustrated efforts, Democratic supporters attached the measure to a must-pass $680 billion defense-policy bill the Senate approved 68-29. The House passed the defense bill earlier this month. Many Republicans, normally staunch supporters of defense bills, voted against the bill because of the hate-crimes provision. In Arizona’s delegation, Republican Sen. Jon Kyl voted against the defense bill. Republican Sen. John McCain voted for it.

  • So now the Federal Government officially condones immorality and will prosecute those who speak out for God’s laws

Adult Stem Cells Overcome Spinal-Cord Injuries

Adult stem cells, which do not require killing a human embryo, have shown success again. A new report from researchers in Portugal and at Wayne State University documents use of adult stem cells to treat spinal-cord injury patients, none of whom had use of their legs prior to treatment. Out of the 20 patients that they treated, 13 of those patients showed significant improvement — things like being able to walk with the aid of braces or using a walker with no braces, [and] recovering feeling, different sensation, and movement below the old injury sight. In contrast, highly touted human-embryo research has produced no benefit. Adult stem cells, however, are being used to treat more than 70 illnesses or medical conditions so far.

  • Based on facts alone, there is no justification for embryonic stem-cell funding, besides the fact that is it is morally reprehensible

Swine H1N1 Flu Cases Overestimated

According to state-by-state test results obtained in a three-month-long CBS News investigation, states are no longer testing presumed flu patients for the H1N1 virus, but rather diagnosing only on the basis of symptoms and risk factors. In late July, the CDC abruptly advised states to stop testing for H1N1 flu, and stopped counting individual cases. The rationale given for the CDC guidance to forego testing and tracking individual cases was: why waste resources testing for H1N1 flu when the government has already confirmed there’s an epidemic? CBS asked all 50 states for their statistics on state lab-confirmed H1N1 prior to the halt of individual testing and counting in July. The results reveal a pattern that surprised a number of health care professionals CBS consulted. The vast majority of cases were negative for H1N1 as well as seasonal flu, despite the fact that many states were specifically testing patients deemed to be most likely to have H1N1 flu, based on symptoms and risk factors, such as travel to Mexico.

  • So what’s going on here? The New World (Dis)Order, which manufactured the virus to begin with, wants there to be a pandemic even if there isn’t one. Why? To further the notion that a one-world government is needed to handle such worldwide crises. Yes, the virus is real. No, the pandemic is not.

Americans’ Belief in Global Warming Cools

The number of Americans who believe there is solid evidence the Earth is warming because of pollution is at its lowest point in three years, according to a survey released Thursday. The poll of 1,500 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that only 57% believe there is strong scientific evidence the Earth has gotten hotter over the past few decades, and as a result, people are viewing the situation as less serious. That’s down from 77% in 2006, and 71% in April 2008. Only about a third, or 36% of the poll respondents feel that human activities — such as pollution from power plants, factories and automobiles — are behind a temperature increase. The poll was released a day after 18 scientific organizations wrote Congress to reaffirm the consensus behind global warming.

  • Global warming is much more likely a product of natural cycles that have occurred over and over again during the history of the earth. End-time weather, however, will grow more chaotic, reflecting the turmoil in the spiritual realm.

Poll: Hopes Buoyed on Race Relations

While some of the soaring optimism of Election Day has tempered, more than six in 10 Americans predict in a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll that Barack Obama‘s presidency will improve race relations in the United States in the years ahead. Four in 10 say it already has. As the anniversary of his election approaches, the mood of the recession-battered nation continues to be generally glum: By 3-1, those surveyed say they are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country, and Obama’s job-approval rating is a middling 50%. Even so, a solid majority of blacks and whites say race relations will get better as a result of his presidency; just 13% say they will get worse. By 41%-22%, those surveyed say race relations have improved rather than worsened since Election Day. As the anniversary of the presidential election approaches, Michelle Obama is viewed more favorably than her husband, and her standing is 19 percentage points higher than Vice President Biden‘s.

  • Just about the only good thing about Obama’s presidency is that he and Michelle have broken down racial barriers

U.S. Arrests Over 300 in Mexican Drug Cartel Raids

In the largest single strike at Mexican drug operations in the USA, federal officials on Thursday announced the arrests of more than 300 people in raids across the country aimed at the newest and most violent cartel. The arrests took place in 38 cities, from Boston to Seattle and Tampa, to St. Paul, in 19 states. Attorney General Eric Holder pledged to keep hitting La Familia and the cartels responsible for a wave of bloodshed in Mexico. He said the U.S. would attack them at all levels, from the leadership to their supply chains reaching far into the United States.La Familia has earned a reputation for dominating the methamphetamine trade and displaying graphic violence, including beheadings. U.S. officials said the cartel, based in the state of Michoacan, in southwestern Mexico, has a vast network pumping drugs throughout the United States, specializing in methamphetamine.

Poll: Amnesty = More Illegal Immigration

A conservative author and commentator says a new public opinion poll of Mexican nationals is further evidence that granting amnesty to illegal aliens encourages more unlawful border crossings by “wage thieves” who steal American jobs. The survey by Zogby International finds that adults in Mexico (56 percent) thought giving legal status to illegal aliens in the United States would make it more likely that people they know would go to the U.S. illegally. Also, 69 percent of people in Mexico thought that the primary loyalty of Mexican-Americans should be to Mexico. Just 20 percent said it should be to the United States. Phil Kent, national spokesman for Americans for Immigration Control, says the poll confirms that granting amnesty will only increase the country’s illegal immigration problem.

Latina Teen Suicide Rate High

One out of every seven Latina teens, or 14 percent, attempts suicide according to a 2007 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of high school students. And Latina high school students have higher attempted suicide rates than white non-Hispanic (7.7 percent) or black non-Hispanic (9.9 percent) girls their age, the CDC reports. Dr. Luis Zayas, a psychologist at Washington University, says the typical Latina teen who attempts suicide is 14 or 15, the daughter of immigrant parents, lives in a low-income setting and is caught in an intense battle with her mother over Latino and American cultures. Research conducted by Zayas has found the girls’ parents hold strictly to traditional Latino values, while teens who grow up in America learn “very different models about what girls should do, can do and are permitted to do.”

  • The underbelly of the immigration problem

Latinos may be ‘future’ of U.S. Catholic Church

One-third of all Catholics in the United States are now Latinos thanks to immigration and higher fertility rates, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The Latino population boom has rocked the pews. “It’s the browning of the Catholic Church in the United States,” says Pedro Moreno Garcia, who until last month led the Hispanic ministry for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Moreno Garcia points to St. Cecilia’s Spanish-dominant Mass schedule as a sign of the times. One archdiocese parish that is struggling with the Latino influx is Holy Trinity in St. Ann, Missouri, a suburban community with an affordable housing stock that has prompted a population shift in the last decade. Separate Sunday morning Masses in English and in Spanish at Holy Trinity are creating division among the devout. “We’re two separate parishes operating under one roof,” says Parish Council President Gina Shocklee.

Abuse Report: 10,440 children died 2001-07

More than 10,000 children died from abuse or neglect in the United States from 2001 through 2007, a report released Wednesday says. The U.S. death rate is more than double the rate in France, Canada, Japan, Germany, Great Britain and Italy, countries that have less teen pregnancy, violent crime and poverty, according to the report by the Every Child Matters Education Fund, a non-partisan advocacy group. “It’s heart-wrenching that each day in America, five children will die from abuse and neglect, but what’s worse is that the real number is even larger,” as much as 50% higher, says Michael Petit, the fund’s president.

To highlight the problem, his group is hosting a conference this week in Washington at which federal officials, scholars and social workers will discuss possible remedies. The report, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, finds that three-quarters of the children who died from abuse or neglect were younger than 4. The number of child deaths rose from 1,300 in 2001 to 1,720 in 2007, the most recent year for which figures are available. In that period, 10,440 abuse and neglect deaths were reported.

Police Officer Deaths fell sharply in 2008

The number of police officers slain in the line of duty fell sharply last year, according to FBI data released Monday. Bureau statistics list 41 law enforcement officers killed in 2008, down from 58 in 2007. Felony killings of police officers haven’t been that low since 1999. “Certainly the greater use of body armor, bulletproof vests, has had a big impact, after firearms-related fatalities peaked in the 1970s,” said Kevin Morison, spokesman for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. However, the group’s data also show that for the first half of 2009, officer killings rose 20%.

State Governments Failing

It isn’t on the national radar screen quite yet, but state and local government budgets across the country are falling apart after expanding to lofty levels during the recent “salad years” of sky-high tax revenues. With meaningful cutbacks blocked by government union bosses and other political parasites, public-sector budgets are getting squeezed in the wake of failed businesses, job losses, and collapsing tax revenues. But rather than cut useless bureaucrats and extravagant pensions, government officials are more inclined in many states to punish the public with basic service cuts the populace really likes – hoping that doing so will lead to more political support for higher taxes.  That means jails are emptied, criminal sentences shortened, police patrols pared back, parks closed, after-school programs axed, and corners cut on basic government services. Even the pro-Obama Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute now admits state government tax revenues are sinking fast and are the worst seen in at least five decades, when such statistics first started being compiled.

Arizona will have to borrow about $600 million from the federal government to continue paying unemployment benefits through 2010, with the funds to be replenished by a sharp increase in company unemployment-insurance taxes. Without those moves, the fund used to pay out benefits would be empty by March, according to the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

Treasury Orders Bailed-out Firms to Slash Exec Pay

The Treasury Department on Thursday ordered seven companies that received billions of dollars in government bailouts to halve total compensation for their top executives. But the big reductions will not apply to pay earned before November. Kenneth Feinberg, the Treasury official leading the pay review, told reporters that average salaries for the top 25 executives are being cut 90% starting next month. The action will apply to the top executives at Bank of America, American International Group, Citigroup, General Motors, GMAC, Chrysler and Chrysler Financial. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve unveiled a proposal Thursday that would police banks’ pay policies to ensure they don’t encourage employees to take reckless gambles like those that contributed to the financial crisis.

Economic News

Home resales rose far more than expected last month to the highest level in more than two years as buyers scrambled to complete their purchases before a tax credit for first-time owners expires. The National Association of Realtors said Friday that sales of existing homes rose 9.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million in September. The median sales price was $174,900, down 8.5% from a year earlier, but the smallest annual drop in 13 months.

The Fed’s latest snapshot of business conditions nationwide found “many sectors” of the economy either stabilized or logged modest improvements over the last six weeks. The pickups, though, often were from “depressed” levels of activity. Only two of the Fed’s 12 regions — Atlanta and St. Louis — reported weaker overall economic activity.

The number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week, after falling in five of the past six weeks. The number of people continuing to claim benefits dropped for the fifth straight week to 5.9 million, from just over 6 million the previous week.

Another day, another 7,000 people run out of unemployment benefits. One month after the House passed a bill extending unemployment benefits, the issue is still being debated in the Senate. Those that live in states with unemployment greater than 8.5% would receive an additional six weeks if the bill is passed.

Poland Accepts New U.S. Missile Defense Deal

Standing alongside Vice President Biden, Poland’s prime minister said Wednesday his country was ready to participate in the Obama administration’s revamped plan for a U.S. missile defense shield in Europe. President Obama removed a major irritant in relations with Russia last month by scrapping U.S. plans to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic to intercept long-range missiles from “rogue” states such as Iran. The Bush-era plan had enraged Moscow. The Kremlin has praised Obama for the decision, but Russian officials also have said they want to know more about what missile defense system the United States will use instead. Details of the new plan were not released.

Strong Earthquake Strikes Afghanistan and Pakistan

A strong earthquake centered in the towering Hindu Kush mountains shook a wide area of eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan early Friday, swaying buildings in the Afghan and Pakistani capitals. There were no initial reports of damage or casualties from the quake. However, the temblor was centered in a remote mountain area where communications are poor and reports of casualties take time to reach the capital. The earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 on the Richter scale.


U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday that NATO allies are moving toward sending more troops and civilian aid to Afghanistan. Gates said he was “heartened” by allies’ commitment to the 8-year-old war even as the Obama administration mulls whether to order tens of thousands more U.S. troops to the fight. He praised NATO nations for already doubling the number of troops they have sent to Afghanistan over the last 15 months.

The Taliban in Afghanistan are running a sophisticated financial network to pay for their insurgent operations, raising hundreds of millions of dollars from the illicit drug trade, kidnappings, extortion and foreign donations that American officials say they are struggling to cut off. In Afghanistan, the Taliban have imposed an elaborate system to tax the cultivation, processing and shipment of opium, as well as other crops like wheat grown in the territory they control. Estimates of the Taliban’s annual revenue vary widely. Proceeds from the illicit drug trade alone range from $70 million to $400 million a year, according to Pentagon and United Nations officials. Despite efforts by the United States and its allies in the last year to cripple the Taliban’s financing, using the military and intelligence, American officials acknowledge they barely made a dent.


A suicide bomber killed seven people near a major air force complex in northwest Pakistan on Friday, while an explosion killed 17 on a bus heading to wedding elsewhere in the region, the latest in a surge of militant attacks this month. Also, a car bomb in the northwest’s main city wounded 15 people. The bloodshed has coincided with the run-up and first week of a major army offensive in a Taliban and al-Qaeda stronghold along the Afghan border. Around 200 people have died as the insurgents have shown they can strike in a variety of ways and places in the nuclear-armed, U.S.-allied nation.


State TV says Iran wants to buy nuclear fuel it needs for a research reactor rather than accept a U.N.-drafted plan to ship much of its uranium to Russia for further enrichment. Iran’s response will come as a disappointment to the U.S., Russia and France, which all endorsed the U.N. plan Friday that called for Iran to ship its uranium stockpile to Russia rather than continue what is believed to be an weapons-grade enrichment program. The three countries formulated the draft plan in three days of talks with Iran in Vienna that ended Wednesday.


Islamic insurgents fired mortars at Somalia‘s airport as the president was boarding a plane Thursday, sparking battles that killed at least 20 people. The president was unhurt and his plane took off safely, police said. Somalia’s capital sees near-daily bloodshed as a powerful insurgent group with links to al-Qaeda tries to overthrow the fragile U.N.-backed government and push out some 5,000 African Union peacekeepers. Both sides of the conflict have been accused of indiscriminate shelling.

Sri Lanka

More than 4,000 ethnic Tamils displaced by civil war left government-run camps Thursday, the latest to be released amid international criticism that Sri Lanka is moving too slowly to let thousands of others go. Hundreds of thousands of minority Tamil civilians were forced into the camps after fleeing the final months of the government’s decades-long war with the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, which ended in May. Rights groups have condemned the detention as an illegal form of collective punishment for the ethnic group. Aid groups say the camps are overcrowded and prone to disease, and fear imminent monsoons will create a public health crisis.

Eritrea Inflicts another Blow on Christians

Mission News Network reports that 10 Christians in Eritrea have been arrested while their pastor has been placed under house arrest. Eritrean security forces raided the home of Pastor Tewelde Hailom, founding elder of the Full Gospel Church in Asmara, on Oct. 15 and arrested three members of his congregation. Two days later, they arrested seven more members of the congregation. Hailom is under house arrest, but not imprisoned due to his frail health. So far, persecution watchdog Open Doors has been unable to find out where the other Christians are being held. More than 2,800 Eritrean Christians have been imprisoned for worshipping outside of state-sponsored churches. The country is number 9 on Open Doors’ Watch List for religious persecution.

October 21, 2009

Church Without a Building?

A leader of the house church movement in the U.S. says believers must put hands and feet to the gospel in order to impact those outside the church. Ken Eastburn is elder of The Well church, a network of home-based churches in Colorado and California. Recently, he encouraged organizations, such as the National Association of Evangelicals, to put more emphasis on people, as opposed to programs. “Our building had become an anvil around our necks, strangling the life out of our church body,” describes The Well’s website. By taking the building out of the equation, the church transformed from one “of stone and steel to a living, breathing church of flesh.” Eastburn says more programs are not needed in the church in America. Instead, he says a focus on local outreach should be of primary importance to believers in the United States.

  • The early church did not center around one building but rather many homes

Vatican Makes Anglicans an Offer: Come Back

The Vatican has opened an express lane to traditional Anglicans — unhappy with their own church’s moves toward accepting female and gay bishops — to reunite with the Roman Catholic Church their forefathers left nearly 500 years ago. In a surprise announcement from Rome, Pope Benedict XVI approved a provision to create a new church entity that will allow Anglicans to join the Catholic Church in a format similar to Ukrainian or Eastern Rite Catholics, keeping their liturgy and married priests, but not married bishops. The announcement Tuesday stunned many in the 77-million worldwide Anglican Communion, particularly the Church of England, where the Archbishop of Canterbury has wrestled for years with factions that opposed female bishops.

U.S. Sponsors U.N. Plan to Restrict Free Speech

A proposal sponsored by the Obama administration at the United Nations that purports to seek protection for “freedom of opinion and expression” actually is a call for a worldwide crackdown on freedom of speech and a mandate for nations to ensure “that relevant national legislation complies with … international human rights obligations” – a clear threat to the First Amendment, according to critics. The resolution was submitted recently by the United States and Egypt. It was approved by the U.N. Human Rights Council as a first step in its process through the international organization. It demands that all nations condemn and criminalize “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.”

  • The “hate crime” tactic to suppress Judeo/Christian beliefs goes international. So much for free speech and tolerance.

Obama Team ‘Controlled’ Media Coverage During Campaign

The Obama campaign’s press strategy leading up to his election last November focused on “making” the media cover what the campaign wanted and on exercising absolute “control” over coverage, White House Communications Director Anita Dunn told an overseas crowd early this year.  In a video of the event, Dunn is seen describing in detail the media strategy used by then-Sen. Barack Obama’s highly disciplined presidential campaign. The video drew attention after Dunn kicked off a war of words with Fox News last Sunday, calling the network “opinion journalism masquerading as news.” The White House stopped providing guests to “Fox News Sunday” in August after host Chris Wallace fact-checked controversial assertions made by Tammy Duckworth, assistant secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  • They’re trying the same strategy now, but finding it a bit more difficult. However, as long as the mainstream media is controlled by the New World (Dis)Order folks, they will line up, for the most part, with Obamamania.

Support for Healthcare Bill Dwindles

The findings of the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll underscore the skepticism Obama and other Democrats face as they work on key details of their health care plan. One-third of those polled say they expect to oppose the final bill, one-fourth say they would support it, and 39% are undecided. The poll, which comes as Senate leaders are crafting a bill for a critical floor vote, finds that people who fear their costs would increase under the measure jumped 7 percentage points since last month, to 49%.

‘Moderate’ CAIR to Feature Radicals at Annual Banquet

While mocking an explosive new book that presents internal documents showing it is a U.S. front for global jihad, the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations is trumpeting a keynote speaker at its 15th annual banquet next week who was an uninidicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing investigation and who told New Jersey Muslims the U.S. government would one day be taken over by an Islamic caliphate. CAIR currently features Imam Siraj Wahhaj’s name on the opening flash page to its website, along with co-keynote speaker Dalia Mogahed, who sparked controversy of her own recently when she defended Shariah, or Islamic law, on a British television show hosted by a member of an extremist Muslim group, insisting the majority of women around the world associate Shariah with “gender justice.”

  • There is no such thing as a “moderate” Islamic group. They are all intent on subjugating the world to their beliefs.

Documentary an Inconvenient Truth for Gore

Sunday, October 18, the documentary Not Evil Just Wrong premiered worldwide via the Internet and premiere parties. Following the premiere, the film’s website suffered an attack and was down most of the day. The documentary tackles climate change and environmental legislation while exposing what husband-and-wife producers Ann McElhinney and Phelim Mcaleer believe is the anti-human agenda behind it. “What we did was we bypassed Hollywood. You know, Hollywood don’t want to tell a lot of truthful stories — they want to tell hateful stories a lot of the time,” determines McElhinney. “So we have decided to bypass Hollywood because this is an important film. This is the film that challenges Al Gore and the green religion in a lot of ways, actually. And people responded extraordinarily well to that. I mean, we had over 7,000 premieres.” She adds that more than 27,000 alone watched the premiere online.

Just before the premiere of the documentary, Mcaleer caught the attention of the media when he asked Al Gore a question concerning the British Courts’ ruling that portions of An Inconvenient Truth were inaccurate. Gore refused to respond other than with a deflecting quip. McElhinney explains that the reality is that the ice is melting, and it has been doing so since the end of the last Ice Age. McElhinney notes that during the medieval warm period the earth was much warmer than it is now.

Full Results Show AIDS Vaccine Marginally Effective

Fresh results from the world’s first successful test of an experimental AIDS vaccine confirm that it is only marginally effective and suggest that its protection against HIV infection may wane over time. Yet the findings are exciting to scientists, who think that blood samples from the trial may show how to make a vaccine that does a better job. The results also hint that the vaccine may work better in the general population than in those at higher risk of infection, such as gay men and intravenous drug users.

  • Interesting results from a spiritual perspective

Swine Flu Vaccine Running Late

Vaccine for the H1N1 flu won’t be widely available until November — a month later than first thought — and some states are expecting delays to last until December. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that vaccine yields had been lower than hoped. Flu vaccine is grown in chicken eggs, and the yields can vary greatly. “The vaccine’s in a race against the virus, and right now the virus is winning,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “I just had three meetings canceled because people were sick.”

Census Predicts Fall in Response Rate

Turbulent political and economic times roiling the nation are expected to diminish initial participation by households in next year’s Census despite a $326 million marketing blitz that far outspends previous Census campaigns. Mounting mistrust of government, rising identify theft and record numbers of foreclosures could discourage people from mailing back Census forms next year. A Census Bureau analysis shows that about 64% of households are likely to mail in their forms without additional prodding from Census workers — down from 67% in 2000. That could mean 4 million more doors to knock on. Sending Census workers door-to-door — sometimes more than once — is expensive: $80 million to $90 million for every additional 1% of households.

In Hawaii, School’s Out for Recession

At a time when President Barack Obama is pushing for more time in the classroom, his home state has created the nation’s shortest school year under a new union contract that closes schools on most Fridays for the remainder of the academic calendar. The deal whacks 17 days from the school year for budget-cutting reasons and has education advocates incensed that Hawaii is drastically cutting the academic calendar at a time when it already ranks near the bottom in national educational achievement. The cuts come as Obama, who graduated from a top private high school in Hawaii, says U.S. students are at a disadvantage with other students around the world because they spend too little time in school.

No Increase in Stamp Prices Next Year

The price of first-class stamps will not go up next year. The Postal Service has been implementing rate increases annually in recent years, with increases announced in January to take place in May. But Postmaster General John E. Potter announced in an internal postal memorandum that there will be no rise in prices next year for products in which the agency dominates the market, such as first-class mail. While increasing prices might have generated revenue for the Postal Service in the short term, the long-term effect could drive additional mail out of the system. The post office has been struggling with losses as more and more letters and bill payments move from paper to the Internet. Thousands of jobs and work hours have been trimmed, local postal branches are being studied for closure, and increased automation is being put in place. Congress delayed for a year the agency’s requirement to make an advance payment of more than $4 billion in future retiree health benefits.

Day Care Aid Shrinks

As budget problems worsen, states are tightening rules for subsidies, eliminating enriched child care programs, raising fees that parents and providers pay, and halting new subsidies. At least nine states have growing waiting lists for subsidies, says Helen Blank, director of leadership and public policy with the National Women’s Law Center. States use federal and state funds to help low-income working parents pay for child care. Without aid, child care costs normally range from $4,000 to $14,000 a year, says Eric Karolak, executive director of the Early Care and Education Consortium in Washington, D.C. “The real impact of these cuts is on families,” says William Eddy, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care. “Parents are forced to find makeshift care, one day with a neighbor, one day with an aunt, in order to get to work.”

Higher Jobless Rates Could be Here to Stay

Even with an economic revival, many U.S. jobs lost during the recession may be gone forever and a weak employment market could linger for years. That could add up to a “new normal” of higher joblessness and lower standards of living for many Americans, some economists are suggesting. The auto and construction industries helped lead the nation out of past recessions. But the carnage among Detroit’s automakers and the surplus of new and foreclosed homes and empty commercial properties make it unlikely these two industries will be engines of growth anytime soon. Many small and midsize businesses are still struggling to obtain bank loans, impeding their expansion plans and constraining overall economic growth. Retrenching businesses will be slow in hiring back or replacing workers they laid off. Many of the 7.2 million jobs the economy has shed since the recession began in December 2007 may never come back.

Watchdog Excoriates Execution of TARP

A Treasury Department watchdog is warning that a key $700 billion bailout program has damaged the government’s credibility, won’t earn taxpayers all their money back and has done little to change a culture of recklessness on Wall Street. “The American people’s belief that the funds went into a black hole, or that there was a transfer of wealth from taxpayers to Wall Street, is one of the worst outcomes of this program, and that is the reputational damage to the government,” said Neil Barofsky, special inspector general of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). His 256-page report, out Wednesday, said TARP played a significant role in bringing the financial system back from the “brink of collapse” but questioned its effectiveness in increasing lending to small businesses or reducing the risk of foreclosures. Initially designed by the Treasury to buy toxic assets that threatened the financial system, TARP funds ended up invested in 685 banks, bailing out auto companies and funding a program on home mortgage modifications. “We don’t even know where the money went,” says Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., who recently called for TARP assistance to end in December, when it’s set to expire. The Treasury has the authority to extend the program until next October.

Obama Expanding Bailout to Small Banks, Businesses

President Barack Obama wants smaller community banks to have greater access to the government’s $700 billion financial rescue fund as the administration refocuses the bailout money on small businesses and homeowners and winds down programs aimed at big banks. Obama on Wednesday announced a package of initiatives designed to increase lending, including a request that Congress increase caps for existing Small Business Administration loans. The new effort comes as the administration is under pressure from liberals to shift the massive bailout fund’s spending away from big financial institutions and toward reducing foreclosures and creating jobs. But it also comes as Republicans press Obama to end the rescue program and use bank repayments to reduce the national debt.

Economic News

Construction of new homes edged up slightly in September, helped by a rebound in single-family construction. But applications for building permits fell by the largest amount in five months, a worrisome sign for future housing work. The Commerce Department said construction of new homes and apartments rose 0.5% in September while applications for building permits, considered a good sign of future activity, fell 1.2% in September.

The Obama administration is still considering whether to back extending a popular tax credit for first-time home buyers but is skeptical the government can afford the cost, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said Tuesday. The $8,000 tax credit, which will expire at the end of November, has boosted home sales in recent months, helping to revive a flagging housing market that had been a key factor driving the recession. Donovan told the Senate Banking Committee that while he was aware the program was popular with lawmakers, “At the same time, I am mindful that these proposals can be very expensive, especially at a time of significant budget deficits.”

  • Wow. Someone in Obama’s administration finally gets it

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said its wholesale price index unexpectedly fell 0.6% in September because of lower energy costs. Outside food and energy, core inflation fell 0.1%. For the 12 months ended in September, core wholesale prices rose a modest 1.8%.Last week, the government said consumer prices edged up a modest 0.2% in September.

The price U.S. drivers paid to fill up at the gasoline pump soared to the highest level in five weeks thanks to rising crude oil costs, the Energy Department said Monday. The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline increased 8.5 cents over the last week to $2.57 a gallon, down 34 cents from a year ago. Higher crude oil prices raised the cost for refiners to make gasoline. U.S. crude oil prices gained for the eighth trading day in a row on Monday, settling close to $80 a barrel, the highest level in a year.

More than half of U.S. companies are reducing bonuses, and nearly half are scaling back on raises in an effort to cut costs in a tough recession, according to research released Monday. A third of companies are cutting back on employee health care benefits, and a third also are cutting back on stock options and other equity-based compensation to trim costs, according to a survey of chief financial officers and senior comptrollers.


Afghanistan‘s election commission has ordered a runoff election for Nov. 7 after a fraud investigation dropped President Hamid Karzai‘s votes below 50% of the total. The announcement came two months to the day after the first round vote and follows weeks of political uncertainty at a time when Taliban strength is growing. The chairman of the Independent Election Commission, Azizullah Lodin, said the commission, which organized the Aug. 20 vote, did not want to “leave the people of Afghanistan in uncertainty” any longer. President Hamid Karzai‘s chief political rival agreed Wednesday to stand in the Nov. 7 run-off election, setting the stage for a high-stakes showdown in the face of Taliban threats and approaching winter snows.


Two suicide attackers bombed a women’s cafeteria and a faculty building at an Islamic university in the Pakistani capital Tuesday, killing two people and wounding 20. The International Islamic University was established in the 1980s. Its sprawling campus, on the outskirts of the city, has more than 12,000 students, nearly half of them women. Many of the students come from abroad. Most take Islamic studies of some description. Educational institutions were shut in Pakistan on Wednesday after suspected militants bombed a university close to the capital, sowing fear across the country as the army presses on with a major anti-Taliban offensive against an al-Qaeda and Taliban stronghold in the northwest close to the Afghan border.


Iran vowed retaliation Monday after accusing Pakistan, the U.S. and Britain of aiding Sunni militants who stunned the Islamic regime with a suicide bombing that killed top Revolutionary Guard commanders and dozens of others. A commentary by the official news agency called on Iranian security forces “to seriously deal with Pakistan once and for all.” And President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told his Pakistani counterpart that his nation must hunt down suspected members of Jundallah, or Soldiers of God. Iran made no specific threats against the U.S. or Britain, but the accusations came as talks began in Vienna over Iran’s nuclear program.

  • Iran has a blind eye about its own internal problems, including its heavy-handed treatment of election protesters which most likely led to this bombing


Because of new rules that require Iraqi approval for all U.S. missions, and a general decline in violence nationwide, many of the 117,000 U.S. troops stationed in Iraq say they now have more idle time than at any previous point in the six-year war. Combat is still a daily reality in some parts of Iraq, and U.S. troops are being killed here at a rate of about one a week. But for many troops in places such as this large military base in southern Iraq, traditional soldiering such as kicking down doors and searching for roadside bombs has at least partly given way to book clubs, karaoke nights, sports and distance-learning university programs.

President Obama renewed his vow Tuesday to have all U.S. combat troops out of Iraq by next August, while nudging Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to see that his parliament quickly passes a critical election law essential to a nationwide vote in January. Without an election law, the vote could be delayed, snarling American plans to begin significantly scaling back U.S. troop presence after the national referendum.


The Obama administration, after months of fierce internal debate, outlined a new approach Monday to settling the conflicts in Sudan, asserting a moral obligation to end “a vast sea of human misery” and a need to prevent the African nation from serving as a haven for terrorists. The new policy rests on offering incentives for the Sudanese government to end the violence and threatening stronger pressures if it does not. While emphasizing the role of diplomacy, it is a less accommodating approach than the White House‘s own special envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration, had been advocating. U.S. humanitarian groups embraced the new policy with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Jerry Fowler, president of the private Save Darfur Coalition, said the president had put his administration back on course to a more effective policy, but he said Obama must become personally engaged.

October 19, 2009

Prayer to Satan during MTV Telecast

During last month’s MTV music video awards ceremony, actor Jack Black urged the audience join hands and pray to “dear dark lord Satan.” In his prayer, the actor prayed that the musicians and nominees would have “continued success in the music industry.” The awards program was broadcasted on the MTV network (a subsidiary of the Viacom Corporation) throughout the country through cable and satellite television. The Radio City Hall audience readily acquiesced to Black’s invitation to pray to the devil. In a video posted on YouTube, Black encouraged the large audience to join in by saying, “let me see those horns.” Black, dressed in a “muscle suit” continued by asking the awards ceremony audience to join hands during “the prayer.” He then held hands with actress Leighton Meester while he prayed aloud.

  • Any doubt who the god of this music age is?

3.5 Million Congressional ‘Pink Slips’ Hit Mark

As more than 3 million “pink slips” descend on the Capitol, members of Congress are commending the WorldNetDaily program that warns of overspending and federal power grabs as a “great way to get the attention of members who have forgotten they will have to answer to the people next year.” Many of the “pink slips” just arrived this week, after being delayed for delivery by Capitol mailroom authorities because of the sheer volume. But they are now making their way to individual offices of every senator and representative. “The pink slips program is a great way to get the attention of members who have forgotten they will have to answer to the people next year on out-of-control spending and Washington power grabs,” said Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn.

White House Escalates War on Fox News

The White House escalated its offensive against Fox News on Sunday by urging other news organizations to stop “following Fox” and instead join the administration’s attempt to marginalize the channel. White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel told CNN that President Obama does not want “the CNNs and the others in the world [to] basically be led in following Fox.” Obama senior adviser David Axelrod went further by calling on media outlets to join the administration in declaring that Fox is “not a news organization.” By urging other news outlets to side with the administration, Obama aides officials dramatically upped the ante in the war of words that began earlier this month, when White House communications director Anita Dunn branded Fox “opinion journalism masquerading as news.”

  • Such paranoid scheming is a strong indicator of an administration afraid of the truth

Swine H1N1 Flu

Swine flu is causing unprecedented illness for so early in the fall — including a worrisome count of child deaths — and the government warned Friday that vaccine supplies will be even more scarce than expected through this month. Overall, what CDC calls the 2009 H1N1 flu is causing widespread disease in 41 states, and about 6% of all doctor visits are for flu-like illness — levels not normally seen until much later in the fall. Eighty-six children have died of swine flu in the U.S. since it burst on the scene last spring — 43 of those deaths reported in September and early October alone. Federal health officials said 11 more children have died in the past week because of the virus. Federal health officials said 11 more children have died in the past week because of the virus.

House & Senate Democrats at Odds over Healthcare Bill

You may think Democrats and Republicans are at odds over health care. Well, they’ve got nothing on House and Senate Democrats going after each other. The intraparty disputes may prove the most grueling test of all as Congress tries to write a bill that fulfills President Barack Obama‘s goal of extending coverage to millions of Americans and reining in rising medical costs. The disagreements extend well beyond whether or not to allow the government to sell insurance in competition with the private market, though fissures over the so-called public plan — preferred in the House, less so in the Senate — have drawn the most attention. Some of the toughest fights loom over what requirements employers should have to shoulder to see that their workers are covered, and perhaps stickiest of all, how to make coverage affordable and pay for extending it to millions of uninsured. Senators would tax high-value health insurance plans to pay for covering the uninsured, an approach supporters say would curb health costs because it would lead to employers offering less generous benefits. The more populist House would tax the highest-income people, placing the burden of caring for the neediest Americans on the backs of millionaires.

Vehicle Theft Rate Hits 20-year Low

Reported vehicle theft has fallen to a 20-year low even as the number of vehicles on the road has doubled, as manufacturers install sophisticated anti-theft technology in cars and police target organized car-theft rings. The FBI estimates 956,846 motor vehicles were stolen in 2008 — 315 cars for every 100,000 people. That’s less than half the rate in 1991, when a high of 1.66 million vehicles were stolen — 659 for every 100,000 people. Data for 2009 are not yet available. There are more than 245 million vehicles on the road today, up from 122 million in 1989. “It’s a much tougher job to be a car thief today,” says Russ Rader, spokesman for Highway Loss Data Institute, a research group funded by auto insurers that analyzes data from insurance claims. “The technology in new vehicles makes it much harder to make off with a car.”

Federal Deficit Hits Record $1.42 Trillion

What is $1.42 trillion? It’s more than the total national debt for the first 200 years of the Republic, more than the entire economy of India, almost as much as Canada‘s, and more than $4,700 for every man, woman and child in the United States. It’s the federal budget deficit for 2009, more than three times the most red ink ever amassed in a single year. And, some economists warn, unless the government makes hard decisions to cut spending or raise taxes, it could be the seeds of another economic crisis. Treasury figures released Friday showed that the government spent $46.6 billion more in September than it took in, a month that normally records a surplus. The previous year’s deficit was $459 billion. Forecasts of more red ink mean the federal government is heading toward spending 15% of its money by 2019 just to pay interest on the debt, up from 5% this fiscal year.

Arizona Agencies Paint Dire Picture

Further cuts to Arizona’s state agencies could mean eliminating insurance coverage for children, early release for thousands of prisoners and layoffs of more than 500 Highway Patrol officers, according to budget scenarios released Friday. The range of drastic measures was handed to Gov. Jan Brewer last week, after she asked state agencies to submit proposals for reducing their budgets by an additional 15 percent. The cuts would be necessary to resolve the state’s $1.5 billion budget shortfall if the Legislature pursued a cuts-only approach. The proposals also could provide Brewer with political leverage as she seeks a ballot measure to temporarily increase sales taxes by 1 cent on the dollar.

Economic News

The Reuters/University of Michigan con­sumer sen­ti­ment had risen in August to 73.5, which was the highest level in a year. This was one of the “green shoots” being touted by Gei­thner, Bernanke and other econ­o­mists. In Sep­tember, the index reversed gears and dropped to 69.4 Most all of last quarter’s sales fig­ures were skewed by gov­ern­ment stim­ulus plans like cash-for-clunkers and the home pur­chase rebate. The tem­po­rary blip is now over, and sales are seeking their orig­inal trajectory. This is under­scored by the highest unem­ploy­ment in at least 26 years if you use offi­cial fig­ures, and over 50 years if you use the real figures. This puts fore­clo­sure activity into a frenzy all its own: up 23 per­cent in the third quarter of 2009 as com­pared by the same period in 2008.

Tax rev­enue con­tinues to fall in every state, but the big states are still the hardest hit: Cal­i­fornia, New York, Michigan and Illinois. California’s new budget is already sloshing in red ink because tax income esti­mates were way too high and spending isn’t as easy to cut as they said; the state will con­tinue to have trouble in selling its bond offer­ings, which means they cannot rely on more bor­rowing to cover the deficit.

The recession is already difficult to live through, but it may also have everlasting effects. Cemeteries are having trouble expanding because of the high cost of real estate and a drop in revenues as strapped families increasingly turn to cheaper cremations. Communities struggling with budget deficits have also had to curtail spending on public cemeteries, which means many people may find that their hometown cemeteries are full.


Pakistan launched a much-awaited ground offensive in the al-Qaeda and Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan early Saturday, officials told the Associated Press, the toughest test yet in the nuclear-armed U.S. ally’s struggle against militants aiming to topple the state. The ground offensive comes on the heels of months of airstrikes that have softened up militant defenses and spurred tens of thousands of civilians to flee the region along the Afghan border. The full-scale operation also comes after two weeks of militant attacks that have killed more than 175 people and ramped up the pressure on the army to take on the insurgents. With winter snows weeks away, the army has limited time to pursue a major ground attack. The U.S. has raced to send in night vision goggles and other equipment to aid the effort. The Pakistani army and the Taliban claimed to be inflicting heavy casualties on each other as fierce fighting raged Sunday on the second day of a military assault on an al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctuary close to the Afghan border.


President Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, says the central issue that must be settled before the president makes a decision about troop levels in Afghanistan is whether there is a credible government in Kabul that can work with the United States and other countries seeking to stabilize that country. Fraud investigators have thrown out hundreds of thousands of ballots for Afghanistan’s president from the country’s disputed August election. The report sets the stage for a runoff between him and his top challenger. International officials say the panel determined that President Hamid Karzai‘s total fell below the 50% needed for outright victory.


A suicide bomber who hid among the Sunni congregation in a northern Iraqi mosque sprayed gunfire at Muslim worshippers Friday and then blew himself up, killing at least 15 people, including the imam leading prayers. The brazen attack is the latest against Sunni clerics who have increasingly spoken out against al-Qaeda in Iraq since U.S. combat troops withdrew from Iraqi cities at the end of June. The clerics and others fear militants could take advantage of the transition to step up the kind of sectarian attacks that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war two years ago. A bomb attached to a motorcycle exploded on Sunday near a popular cafe in a largely Sunni district of Baghdad Sunday, killing five people and wounding sixteen others,

More than 30,000 Iraqis have moved to the United States under a resettlement program that began in 2007 while much smaller numbers have gone to other countries, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has recommended to the participating countries the names of 82,500 Iraqis who should be moved, but so far only 33,117 have been able go to their new homelands. These refugees have been determined to be in need of international protection and that no other solution is possible.


A suicide bomber killed five senior commanders of the elite Revolutionary Guard and at least 26 others in an area of southeastern Iran that has been at the center of a simmering Sunni insurgency. The other dead were Guard members or local tribal leaders. More than two dozen others were wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the region in Iran’s southeast has been the focus of violent attacks by a militant group from Iran’s Sunni Muslim minority called Jundallah, or Soldiers of God, which has waged a low-level insurgency in recent years. The group accuses Iran’s Shiite-dominated government of persecution and has carried out attacks against the Revolutionary Guard and Shiite targets in the southeast.

  • When they’re not attacking us, they’re attacking each other. Islam, such a peaceful religion.


An autumn storm brought snow to parts of Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, the earliest snow on record in some towns used to harsh winters. The National Weather Service says there’s 4.5 inches of snow in State College, Pa., and 2 more inches are possible through Saturday morning.

October 16, 2009

14% of Americans Illiterate

A long-awaited federal study finds that an estimated 32 million adults in the USA — about one in seven — are saddled with such low literacy skills that it would be tough for them to read anything more challenging than a children’s picture book or to understand a medication’s side effects listed on a pill bottle. Though many communities are making strides to tackle the problem, it’s worsening elsewhere — in some cases significantly. Overall, the study finds, the nation hasn’t made a dent in its adult-literacy problem: From 1992 to 2003, it shows, the USA added about 23 million adults to its population; in that period, an estimated 3.6 million more joined the ranks of adults with low literacy skills. In Mississippi, the percentage of adults with low skills dropped 9 percentage points, from 25% to 16%. By contrast, in several large states — California, New York, Florida and Nevada, for instance — the number of adults with low skills rose.

Liberals Increasingly Frustrated With Obama

In recent weeks, President Obama has faced increasingly sharp criticism of his style and performance from an unlikely quarter: liberals. Liberal commentators from Saturday Night Live comedians to newspaper columnists to leftist bloggers to gay rights activists have been portraying Obama as a do-nothing president and “whiner-in-chief,” expressing a growing concern that the commander in chief is not showing enough spine. Critics on the left are growing impatient with Obama and pressuring him to reject a request from his chief military commander for more troops in Afghanistan, to include a government-run insurance option in his health insurance reform plan and to lift the don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy concerning gays in the military.

Insurers Dropping Policies for Homes with Chinese Drywall

Thousands of homeowners nationwide who bought new houses constructed from the defective building materials are finding their hopes dashed, their lives in limbo. And experts warn that cases in which insurers drop policies or send notices of non-renewal based on the presence of Chinese drywall, will become rampant as insurance companies process the hundreds of claims currently in the pipeline. At least three insurers have already canceled or refused to renew policies after homeowners sought their help replacing the bad wallboard. Because mortgage companies require homeowners to insure their properties, they are then at risk of foreclosure, yet no law prevents the cancellations. A spokesman for Citizens Property Insurance, said claims were denied because the drywall is considered a builder defect, which is not covered under the policy. It also considers the drywall a pre-existing condition that could lead to future damage, which is why the company won’t renew the policy unless the problem is fixed.

Doctors Run TV Ads Pressing Congress on Medicare

The American Medical Association is launching a coast-to-coast TV ad campaign to press Congress to approve higher payments for doctors treating Medicare patients. The doctors group announced the ads Thursday, a day after Democrats agreed to push a $247 billion bill through the Senate next week averting scheduled cuts in physicians’ Medicare fees over the next decade. A 21% reduction is scheduled for January, with other cuts in subsequent years. The ad, which the AMA said would cost seven figures, says the bill will “protect seniors’ access to quality care” and urges people to contact their senators to tell them to vote for it. Restoring the money has long been a top priority for doctors’ lobbyists.

Catholic Bishops May Pull health Care Support

The nation’s Catholic bishops have threatened to pull their support for health care reform unless their concerns about abortion and access for immigrants are addressed by lawmakers. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which supports universal access to health care as a “basic human right,” had been supportive of efforts to reform the health care system, but is concerned about taxpayer-funded abortions. Current law prohibits federal funding of abortions, and the White House has insisted abortion will not be covered in a final bill, but many conservatives warn that attempts to make that promise explicit in legislation have failed. Catholic officials are also concerned about failed attempts to insert language that would protect the consciences of medical providers who object to procedures like abortion, birth control, or fertility treatments.

Stimulus Kept or Created 30K Contracting Jobs

Contractors that split $16 billion in federal stimulus money created or saved 30,383 jobs, according to government reports published Thursday that for the first time tally the plan’s impact. The figure represents only a narrow slice, about 2%, of Obama’s $787 billion economic recovery plan. But it marks the first hard count of the jobs preserved by the spending plan. They are based on reports by about 5,200 companies hired directly by the federal government for work ranging from small park repairs to multibillion-dollar nuclear cleanups. The impact varied widely from state to state. The reports, released by the administration’s Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, identified almost 4,700 full-time jobs in Colorado, but fewer than six in Rhode Island, which had the nation’s third-worst unemployment rate in August. In Michigan, which had the nation’s highest unemployment rate, the contracts created or saved fewer than 400 full-time jobs. Obama has said the stimulus will create or save 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year, but measuring that impact has been difficult.

No Increase in Social Security

The Social Security Administration announced Thursday that 50 million Social Security beneficiaries won’t get a cost of living increase next year, marking the first time retirees have gone without a raise since 1975. Cost of living adjustments are pegged to the inflation rate between the third quarter and the year-ago quarter. This year, that rate was negative because of a sharp drop in energy costs. By law, Social Security benefits can’t decline. But because premiums for the Medicare drug program are expected to increase 11% next year, seniors who have those premiums deducted from their benefits will see a drop in payments.

President Obama’s plan to send $250 checks to more than 50 million Social Security recipients who won’t get cost-of-living adjustments in January is gathering support in Congress, but outside experts and budget watchdogs say the payments are unjustified. Obama’s proposal would include seniors, people with disabilities, veterans and retired railroad workers, bringing the total cost to between $13 billion and $14 billion. Experts on Social Security blasted the plan, both as a replacement for the COLA and as a way to stimulate the economy. Seniors don’t deserve the money without inflation, they said, and don’t need it as much as those laid off in the recession. Some lawmakers are questioning President Obama’s proposal since the bulk of the $787 billion stimulus package is still unspent.

Economic News

Industrial production rose by 0.7% in September for a third consecutive month, Federal Reserve data showed Friday, suggesting the economy closed out the third quarter with surprisingly strong growth. For the third quarter as a whole, output advanced at a 5.2% annual rate, the first quarterly gain since the first quarter of 2008 and the largest increase since the first quarter of 2005. The figures will likely reinforce the view that the longest recession since the Great Depression ended in the third quarter.

The number of workers filing new claims for unemployment insurance unexpectedly fell last week to the lowest level since January, according to a government report on Thursday. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 514,000 the week ended Oct. 10. Even more encouraging, the number of people collecting long-term unemployment benefits dropped 75,000 to 5.99 million in the week ended Oct. 3. The decline, however, could be a sign that many jobless workers have exhausted their unemployment benefits.

Arizona’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1 percent in September. That surprised several economists because they expected it to keep climbing toward 10 percent. They say it could mean the state’s job market is at the bottom and heading toward a slow recovery.

A bad economy and low inflation are starting to drag down wages for millions of everyday workers. Average weekly wages have fallen 1.4% this year for private-sector workers through September, after adjusting for inflation, to $616.11. Colorado announced this week it will become the first state to lower its minimum wage. Weekly wages have tumbled largely because employees are working fewer hours — an average of 30 per week — than at anytime since the government began tracking the data in 1964.

Bank of America had its latest setback Friday, suffering a steep loss as increasing numbers of Americans defaulted on their credit cards and mortgages. The nation’s biggest bank lost $2.2 billion in the third quarter, after getting hit with a number of costs associated with the government’s move to rescue the firm over the past year. The Charlotte, N.C.-based lender said it paid $1.2 billion in dividends on its preferred shares, held primarily by the government. The company agreed to make quarterly payments in exchange for getting $45 billion in bailout money. Bank of America also paid $402 million during the quarter to exit an agreement it had struck with the government in January that was designed to shield the company from further losses.

  • The August Forecast notes: During 2008, we were told that port­fo­lios of sub-prime mort­gages were “toxic assets” that would send us to eco­nomic Hades in a hurry. Well, there are plenty of those toxic assets still on the books of banks around the world, but now the out­come is sup­posed to be different? It’s just like Alice in Wonderland. It’s turning out that the real tox­i­city is from stim­ulus money. It’s printed out of thin air, based on no credit cri­teria and tends to rapidly dete­ri­o­rate the dollar in value.

Middle East

The U.N. Human Rights Council voted Friday to endorse a Gaza war crimes report and send it to the Security Council, possibly setting up international prosecution of Israelis and Palestinians accused of war crimes. The council approved a Palestinian-backed resolution after two days of debate on the Goldstone report, which it had commissioned following the Dec. 27-Jan. 18 conflict in which almost 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed. The resolution passed 25-6, with mostly developing countries in favor and the United States and five European countries — Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia and Ukraine — opposing. Eleven mostly European and African countries abstained, while Britain, France and three other members of the 47-nation body declined to vote. Russia and China, two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, were among those voting yes.

U.S. officials in recent days expressed to the Palestinian Authority that President Obama’s administration is “disgusted” with Israel, a top aide to PA President Mahmoud Abbas told WorldNetDaily in an interview. Nimr Hamad said the White House was disgusted that Israel is refusing to halt all settlement activity as a precondition for re-starting talks with the PA over the creation of a Palestinian state. “Settlement activity” refers to Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem. The sources specified that as a confidence-building measure toward the PA, Israel will be asked by the Obama administration to hand over security control to territories designated in the 1993 Oslo Accords as Area B – referring to cities administered by the PA but largely controlled by Israeli security. The specific section of the Oslo Accords regarding control of Area B was finalized in 1995.

A Messianic Jewish leader and Israel supporter is outraged that an Obama website recently published an article comparing Israelis to Nazis. According to the Israeli news service Arutz Sheva (, Organizing for America — the political arm of President Barack Obama — recently carried an entry on its website from ultra-left-wing professor Richard Falk. Falk, reportedly a supporter of Ayatollah Khomeini’s 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, was once deported from Israel for statements he made comparing Israeli treatment of the Palestinians to the Holocaust. The Israeli news service says Organizing for America published an article by Falk which said: “Comparing the present-day Israel with Nazi Germany, one discovers that the majority of the Israeli policies are exact copies of the Nazi policies.” Jan Markell, founder and director of Olive Tree Ministries, says it is an absolute outrage that a website with direct ties to the president would allow Falk’s comments to be printed.

  • The emerging one-world government is aligned against Israel in accord with Satan’s desire and influence

Peace in Nigeria

Nigeria‘s president says an amnesty granted to militants over the past two months in the oil-rich Niger Delta has restored peace to the region. The government says more than 8,000 militants have disarmed since it offered the amnesty in August. President Umaru Yar’Adua said late Wednesday that “agitations” are over and that development must take place in the region for peace to continue. Yar’Adua said there is now greater stabilization in the country’s oil market. Unrest in the Delta region had cut Nigeria’s oil production by about a million barrels a day. The Delta’s main militant group said it would not participate in the amnesty, but several top commanders and their men laid down their arms.


Teams of gunmen launched coordinated attacks on three law enforcement facilities in Pakistan‘s eastern city of Lahore and car bombs hit two other cities Thursday, killing a total of 39 people in an escalating wave of anti-government violence. The bloodshed, aimed at scuttling a planned offensive into the Taliban heartland near the Afghan border, highlights the Islamist militants’ ability to carry out sophisticated strikes on heavily fortified facilities and exposes the failure of the intelligence agencies to adequately infiltrate the extremist cells. A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb at a mosque next to a police station in the northwest Pakistani city of Peshawar on Friday, killing 11 people in the latest bloodshed in an unrelenting wave of terror that has hit the country.

The White House says President Barack Obama has signed a bill that gives $7 billion in aid to Pakistan over five years The aid package signed Thursday provides $1.5 billion annually for as a “tangible manifestation” economic and social programs as the Obama administration works to shore up Pakistan’s return to civilian rule and to encourage it in the fight against Taliban and al-Qaeda militants.


British Prime Minister Gordon Brown ordered hundreds more troops to Afghanistan on Wednesday, pledging to bolster the international effort on the condition that Britain’s allies also do their fair share to support the war effort. Brown did not immediately give a figure for the size of the increase when he spoke in the House of Commons, but he said Britain’s overall contribution would rise to 9,500 troops — an increase of about 500.

The U.S. military says four American service members have been killed in a bombing in southern Afghanistan. The latest deaths bring to 25 the number of American troops killed in Afghanistan this month.

A fraud investigation of ballots in Afghanistan’s troubled election has reduced President Hamid Karzai’s portion of the vote to about 47 percent, an outcome that will trigger a runoff between him and his closest competitor, according to officials familiar with results.


A strong earthquake rattled the Indonesian island of Java on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets of the capital city, Jakarta. The U.S. Geological Survey put the quake’s magnitude at 6.1 A mosque in Banten province, located on the western edge of Java, sustained significant damage, while other buildings including several houses, were slightly damaged.. There were no reports of any serious injuries. There were no immediate reports of damage and the quake was not strong enough to cause a tsunami. Indonesia is still recovering from another, more powerful earthquake that left more than 1,000 people dead in western Sumatra earlier this month.

October 14, 2009

World Hunger Rises Over Past Decade

Even before the economic crisis pushed the ranks of the world’s hungry to a record 1 billion, declining aid and investment in agriculture had been steadily increasing the number of undernourished people for more than a decade, a U.N. food agency said Wednesday. Unless these trends are reversed, ambitious goals set by the international community to slash the number of hungry people by 2015 will not be met, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization warned in a report. After gains in the fight against hunger in the 1980s and early 1990s, the number of undernourished people started climbing in 1995, reaching 1.02 billion this year under the combined effect of high food prices and the global financial meltdown.

The Christian Post reports that churches nationwide are calling on their congregations to do something for World Hunger Day on Oct. 16. “I think Jesus was very clear that not only are we to share with people the love of God in sharing about Jesus Christ, but we also are to meet the human needs that exist,” said Wendy Norvelle, a spokesperson for the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board. The denomination took an offering on Sunday for its World Hunger Fund. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) has encouraged its members to participate in Food Week of Action, Oct. 11-18. According to the U.N. World Food Program, more than 1 billion people go hungry every day, some of them pushed over the brink by rising food prices and other fallout of global economic problems.

Poll: Half of Americans Say Homosexuality Is ‘Morally Wrong’

Baptist Press reports that half of Americans still think homosexuality is “morally wrong” and few find it “morally acceptable,” according to a new Pew Research poll. The survey of 4,013 adults in August shows that 49 percent say that homosexuality is morally wrong, 9 percent morally acceptable and 35 percent say it is not a moral issue. The poll is mostly in line with Gallup surveys from the past eight years, when anywhere from between 48 and 55 percent of Americans have said they found homosexuality to be “morally wrong.” Still, 57 percent of all adults favor “allowing gay and lesbian couples to enter into legal agreements with each other that would give them many of the same rights as married couples.”

President Taps Lesbian Activist to EEOC

President Barack Obama continues to deliver on his promises to the homosexual activist community. The president has nominated Chai Feldblum, a lesbian activist, to be commissioner for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Her appointment is awaiting Senate confirmation. Feldblum, a law professor at Georgetown University, has signed an online petition titled, “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families and Relationships.” That petition chides conservatives for opposing same-sex “marriage” and also calls for a “new vision” for achieving recognition from the government and private sector for diverse kinds of partnerships.

  • President Obama’s appointments will carry out his plans while he attempts to remain above the fray in order to maintain his image as a man of reason and peace

Health Care Bill Clears Senate Committee

Lawmakers turned their attention to the next critical step for health care legislation — floor debate — after a key Senate committee Tuesday advanced an $829 billion measure that would affect health insurance for millions of Americans. The proposal, which the Senate Finance Committee approved 14-9, would expand insurance coverage to 29 million people who wouldn’t otherwise have it by requiring nearly everyone to buy a policy and offering subsidies to help low- and moderate-income families afford premiums. The bill, which was drafted after months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, captured support from only one Republican on the committee, Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. Her vote gave President Obama’s efforts a boost, but she warned that she could withdraw her support depending on how the bill evolves. But even before voting began, senators called for changes.

The legislation would expand Medicaid by allowing individuals who earn less than about $14,400 a year to enroll in the program. The bill would also prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage or charging higher premiums because of a patient’s pre-existing  conditions. It would reduce budget deficits by $81 billion over 10 years, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. The Senate Finance Committee’s health care bill approved Tuesday now needs to be merged with a version produced by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. A coalition of labor unions is running a series of newspaper advertisements starting Wednesday announcing their opposition to the finance bill. Unions oppose a plan to pay for the bill in part with a 40% tax on high-priced insurance plans.

  • More government control is odious at best, and cost reduction estimates are overly optimistic. This bill will simultaneously increase taxes on middle- and high-income citizens as well as raise the deficit further, while providing health coverage for abortion and to illegal aliens.

Proof of Jihadists Infiltrating D.C.

A daring, dangerous and devastating undercover investigation infiltrating the nation’s most aggressive Muslim “civil rights” organization for six months has resulted in stunning revelations about the supposedly “moderate” group, backed up by 12,000 pages of documents and 300 hours of covert video obtained during the secret operation. As revealed in a new book detailing the operation and its findings, the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, is not the beneficent Muslim civil-rights group it claims to be. Rather, as indisputable evidence now shows, CAIR and other “mainstream” Islamic groups are acting as fronts for a well-funded conspiracy of the Muslim Brotherhood – the parent of al-Qaida and Hamas – to infiltrate and destroy the American system. CAIR has been a powerful force in the nation’s capital and across the country.

“Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America,” a publication by counter-terrorism investigator P. David Gaubatz and “Infiltration” author Paul Sperry, documents CAIR’s ultimate purpose to transform the United States into an Islamic nation under the authority of the Quran. With evidence from “Muslim Mafia” in hand, U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., co-founder of the Congressional Anti-Terror Caucus, and other members of Congress – including Reps. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., and Paul Broun, R-Ga. – plan to hold a press conference today in Washington calling for an investigation and an end to political lobbying by front groups such as CAIR.

  • Islam is predicated on worldwide domination, so this revelation is not a surprise but rather a confirmation that Islam is not a “peaceful” religion

U.S. Can’t Trace Foreign Visitors on Expired Visas

Eight years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and despite repeated mandates from Congress, the United States still has no reliable system for verifying that foreign visitors have left the country. New concern was focused on that security loophole last week, when Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a 19-year-old Jordanian who had overstayed his tourist visa, was accused in court of plotting to blow up a Dallas skyscraper. Last year alone, 2.9 million foreign visitors on temporary visas like Mr. Smadi’s checked in to the country but never officially checked out, immigration officials said. While officials say they have no way to confirm it, they suspect that several hundred thousand of them overstayed their visas.

  • Added to those who illegally cross our borders undetected, there are many potential terrorists already lurking within our country

Rev. Moon Marries Thousands in Global Mass Wedding

Brides in white wedding gowns and Japanese kimonos joined grooms in black suits and red ties Wednesday for the Unification Church‘s biggest mass wedding in a decade — a spectacle church officials say involved some 40,000 people around the world. The “blessing ceremony” was the church’s largest since 1999, and may well be the last on such a grand scale officiated by the 89-year-old Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the controversial founder of the Unification Church. Critics who accuse the church of engaging in cultlike practices say the mass weddings prove it brainwashes its followers. Many let Moon pick their spouses on the belief that he has divine insight, meeting their future spouses for the first time at the mass weddings. Moon, a self-proclaimed Messiah who says he was 15 when Jesus Christ called upon him to carry out his unfinished work, has courted controversy and criticism since founding the Unification Church in Seoul in 1954.

  • This false Christ is one of many to come, as Jesus warned us in Matthew 24.

Teen Girl who Fled Islam Ordered Back to Ohio

A Florida judge has concluded a 17-year-old girl who fled her Muslim family after she turned to Christianity, explaining she feared she would be the victim of an “honor killing,” should be returned to Ohio where her family lives. The results of today’s hearing in a courtroom in Florida, which was linked to a courtroom in Ohio, are that she likely will be placed in foster care in Ohio, where the family is expected to be given psychiatric evaluations. Fathima Rifqa Bary, an honor student and cheerleader, was raised in a Muslim family in Columbus, Ohio. She became a Christian four years ago as a result of her interactions with children at school.

  • Florida is just passing the buck. It will be interesting to see what the psychiatric evaluations reveal.

Wood Making Comeback as Power Source

One of the world’s oldest energy sources is making a comeback. Across the USA, power plants are turning to wood to make electricity. The move is spurred by state mandates to encourage renewable power and by bills moving through Congress that require more renewable electricity nationwide. Wood power’s rise is “meteoric,” says William Perritt, editor of Wood Biomass Market Report. One wood-burning plant started up in 2007, seven in 2008 and a dozen in 2009, he says. Dozens more are on the drawing board. That includes three 100-megawatt plants, scheduled to start in 2012 that together would crank out enough juice to power up to 270,000 homes. In 2008, wood-burning power plants were capable of generating roughly 6,700 megawatts or enough to provide power to about 6 million homes, according to the Energy Department. Many plants now burn bark, twigs and other waste wood. If wood power grows as expected, whole trees will have to be cut down to fuel the plants, says Pete Stewart of Forest2Market, a forest-industry analysis firm. Some environmentalists fear that the rise of wood power could devastate forests.

  • Wood may be renewable, but the growth process is slow and could well be outstripped by demand. Worldwide forests have already been depleted by development, reducing the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere, presumably contributing to global warming.

Natural Gas Supplies Huge

New tech­nolo­gies have made it pos­sible to recover nat­ural gas in ways never before dreamed pos­sible. As a result, BP’s CEO says that proven global nat­ural gas reserves has reached the equiv­a­lent of 1.2 tril­lion bar­rels of oil, or about 60 years supply at the cur­rent con­sump­tion rate. Fur­ther­more, Texas A&M claims that U.S. tech­nology about to be put into the field could increase global nat­ural gas reserves by nine time to 16,000 tril­lion cubic feet. This would give the world a 540 year supply of carbon energy, again assuming there is no oil or coal production. This news is rocking the cur­rent energy estab­lish­ment and its under­lying gov­ern­ment structures. All of the oil-based power struc­tures (OPEC, Russia, Venezuela, etc.) will be rewritten if they cannot use black gold as a sledge­hammer against the rest of us. It would mean the end of  petrodollar war­fare, which would threaten every giant energy com­pany, and the inter­na­tional banks who process the money.

  • Look for the New World (Dis)Order to squelch this development in order to retain the petro sledge hammer

Pentagon says Recruiting Last Year was Best Since 1973

The Pentagon says it has just finished the best recruiting year since the all-volunteer military was established in 1973. Defense Department head of personnel Bill Carr says all services met their goals for active duty and reserve recruiting and that the quality of recruits improved during the budget year that ended Sept. 30. He told a Pentagon press conference that it’s because the department continued to spend strongly on finding recruits as fewer jobs were available in the civilian world due to the nation’s economic problems. Carr says an example of the higher quality of recruits is that nearly 95% of those coming into the Army were high school graduates, an 11% improvement over the previous year.

Economic News

Retail sales declined in September by the largest amount this year as car sales plummeted following the end of the government’s popular Cash for Clunkers incentives program. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that retail sales dropped 1.5% last month. But outside of autos, sales were better than expected. Car sales plunged 10.4%; excluding autos, retail sales rose 0.5%.

JPMorgan Chase(JPM), the first of the big U.S. banks to report third-quarter earnings, says its loan losses are still high and are expected to remain that way for the foreseeable future, a troubling sign for the economy. While JPMorgan reported a $3.59 billion profit, it also says it roughly doubled the amount of money it set aside for failed home and credit card loans in the quarter.

Oil prices jumped above $75 a barrel Wednesday for the first time in a year on investor expectations that crude demand will improve ahead of the winter season. A weak dollar is also bolstering crude prices. When the dollar is weak, commodities such as oil are seen as a way to preserve capital. Gasoline prices rose an average of 2 cents to $2.489 per gallon last week, the first rise in two months.

Middle East

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday vowed never to allow Israeli leaders or soldiers to stand trial on war crimes charges over their actions during last winter’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip, furiously denouncing a U.N. report in a keynote address to parliament. The U.N. report, compiled by a team led by former war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone, accused both Israel and Hamas of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. It specifically accused Israel of using disproportionate force, deliberately targeting civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure, and using people as human shields. It accused Hamas of deliberately targeting civilians and trying to spread terror through its rocket attacks.

An internal document circulated among members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas‘ political party says all hopes placed in the Obama administration “have evaporated” because of alleged White House backtracking on key issues to the Palestinians. The Fatah Party memorandum, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, accuses the United States of backing off from its demands that Israel freeze settlement construction and failing to set a clear agenda for new Mideast peace talks.

  • Although the terrorists, like the gays, are disappointed in Obama’s progress, he’s still moving in their direction


The Pentagon is speeding up delivery of a colossal bomb designed to destroy hidden weapons bunkers buried underground and shielded by 10,000 pounds of reinforced concrete. Call it Plan B for dealing with Iran, which recently revealed a long-suspected nuclear site deep inside a mountain near the holy city of Qom. The 15-ton behemoth — called the “massive ordnance penetrator,” or MOP — will be the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal and carry 5,300 pounds of explosives. The bomb is about 10 times more powerful than the weapon it is designed to replace. The Pentagon has awarded a nearly $52 million contract to speed up placement of the bomb aboard the B-2 Stealth bomber, and officials say the bomb could be fielded as soon as next summer.


Iraq says 85,694 people have lost their lives in the country’s violence from 2004-2008, in the first official report by the government on the Iraqi death toll since the war began. The report, released late Tuesday by the Iraqi human rights ministry, also says that 147,195 people have been wounded during the same period. It says the toll includes 15,000 unidentified bodies that have not been claimed by their families and were buried in special cemeteries.

Iraq‘s Cabinet has signed off on a $67 billion draft budget for 2010 that is well below what officials have said is needed, raising concerns that the shortfall will derail the progress of Iraqi security forces just they are taking over from withdrawing American troops. Low oil prices have forced Iraq to curtail spending for the second year, complicating efforts to rebuild the country after years of war and construct a military capable of self-defense.


President Obama is secretly dispatching up to 15,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan beyond the 21,000 he announced in March. The additional troops are primarily support forces — such as engineers, medical personnel, intelligence experts and military police. The decision to send 15,000 additional troops was part of a larger move to reach 68,000 troops in Afghanistan by year’s end, according to inside sources. Obama says he will make his official decision on new U.S. troops for Afghanistan in the “coming weeks.” Rampant government corruption might derail the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan even if as many as 80,000 additional U.S. troops were sent to the war, the top military commander there has concluded.

The New York Times reports that interviews with senior administration and military officials and recent reports assessing Afghanistan’s progress show that nearly seven months after Mr. Obama announced a stepped-up civilian effort to bolster his deployment of 17,000 additional American troops, many civil institutions are deteriorating as much as the country’s security. Afghanistan is now so dangerous, administration officials said, that many aid workers cannot travel outside the capital, Kabul, to advise farmers on crops, a key part of Mr. Obama’s announcement in March that he was deploying hundreds of additional civilians to work in the country. The judiciary is so weak that Afghans increasingly turn to a shadow Taliban court system because, a senior military official said, “a lot of the rural people see the Taliban justice as at least something.”


Pakistani jets pounded militant hide-outs along the Afghan border overnight as hundreds of thousands of civilians fled South Waziristan in anticipation of an expected government offensive there The army says 80% of the militant attacks plaguing nuclear-armed Pakistan are planned from South Waziristan, while the United States says insurgent leaders blamed for spiraling violence in Afghanistan are also based in the lawless, remote area. The army and the government have agreed to launch what is expected to a bloody and difficult ground operation in the mountainous region.


A powerful fall storm packing strong winds and rain drenched fire-scarred hillsides around California on Wednesday, and residents from north to south braced for possible mudslides and debris flows. The storm prompted evacuation warnings earlier Tuesday near Santa Cruz and disrupted power across the state. Officials urged residents to evacuate from about 60 homes in the town of Davenport in the Santa Cruz Mountains, 50 miles south of San Francisco, where more than six inches of rain fell on an area that burned in August. Residents in the area of the massive Station Fire in Los Angeles County were on guard. The wildfire burned into the backyards of foothill homes in September, and stripped the steep mountains of vegetation that holds the soil to the slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains.

October 12, 2009

Majority Oppose Same-Sex Marriage, but Support Civil Unions

An increasing majority of Americans favors allowing same-sex couples to obtain most of the same rights as married straight couples, but only 39 percent support legalization of same-sex “marriage,” according to a poll released Friday. The Pew Research Center said support for civil unions has risen to 57 percent, up from 54 percent a year ago and 45 percent when the question was first asked by Pew in 2003. Views on legalizing same-sex marriage remained almost unchanged from last year, with 53 percent opposed and 39 percent in favor, the center said. Supporters of same-sex marriage were divided over the best way to pursue legalization, according to the survey. Forty-five percent of them favored pushing hard to legalize it as soon as possible, while 42 percent said pushing too hard for swift legalization might trigger a backlash against homosexuals.

  • Civil Unions are just another step down the slippery slope of the homosexual agenda

Obama ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Pledge Questioned

President Barack Obama restated his campaign pledge to allow gay men and women to serve openly in the U.S. military, but left many in his audience of activists wondering when he would make good on the promise. “I will end ‘don’t ask-don’t tell,”‘ Obama said Saturday night to a standing ovation from the crowd of about 3,000 at the annual dinner of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay civil rights advocacy group. The law was passed by Congress in 1993 and signed by President Bill Clinton, who also promised to repeal the ban on homosexuals in the military but was blunted by opposition in the military and Congress. Obama offered no timetable or specifics on changing the so-called “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which allows gay men and women to serve as long as they keep their orientation hidden, and he acknowledged some may be growing impatient. Some advocates said they already have heard Obama’s promises and now they want a timeline.

  • Political promises have a tendency to fade after the election, even to a primary constituency. Obama wants to see it get done, but by others so he can avoid the fallout.

Gay-Rights Advocates March in D.C.

Thousands of gay and lesbian activists marched in Washington on Sunday, the launch of a new national push to win equal rights in marriage, military service, jobs and housing. A day after President Obama pledged to stand alongside gay people in a fight for equal rights, participants said they want more action and less rhetoric from the president. “He’s moving too slow,” said Robin McGehee, a college professor from Fresno and one of the march organizers. Marchers, including heterosexuals and gay families with children, marched from the White House to the Capitol, chanting and waving rainbow flags. Homemade signs said “Ask and Tell” and “Marriage is a human right, not a heterosexual privilege.” The event was meant to refocus attention at the national level on civil rights for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people.

  • One of the clearest signs that the end-times have commenced in earnest.

U.N. Resolution Harmful to Religious Minorities

Christians are being encouraged to sign an online petition against a proposed United Nations resolution that some say would increase persecution against believers. The “Defamation of Religions” Resolution — which has been introduced the past several years at the U.N. — seeks to criminalize words or actions that are believed to be against a particular religion. Lindsay Vessey with Open Doors USA says the current resolution was proposed by Muslim officials as a way to punish anyone who speaks out against Islam. Vessey says the resolution could have a chilling effect on Christians in Muslim countries who are accused of blasphemy. “Often there’s no fair trials [in these countries], and these people could be put in prison for life. And in some countries they can even be executed,” she adds. “So it’s very dangerous… for Christians, for Jews, for Baha’is, for all those religious minorities — and it’s even harmful for other Muslims who don’t hold to the dominant strain of Islam in that country.”

  • The U.N., as an adjunct to the New World (Dis)Order, isn’t interested in protecting Islam but rather in marginalizing Christianity. Even Satan knows there’s only one true religion.

75% Of America Rejects Lautenberg Gun Ban

A Rasmussen Poll says a majority of Democrats and Republicans believe the constitution guarantees the right to own a gun. Only days after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to one of the nation’s most egregious gun laws, a new Rasmussen poll shows waning support for stricter gun laws. Among Americans polled, 75% said the Constitution guaranteed the right to own a gun. The percentage of “yes” answers was higher among Republicans (92%) and lower among Democrats (64%). Among others, 71% answered yes. And, 57% of those polled cited fear of increased government restrictions as the reason for a spike in gun sales. President Obama and the White House are looking the other way as congressman Lautenberg seeks to ban guns from 1,000,000 US citizens on a secret FBI terrorist watch list.

  • Of course we don’t want to arm terrorists. The problem is that the government is free to put anyone they want on the terror suspect list.

Evangelical Leaders Endorse Mass Amnesty

Leaders of most of the nation’s evangelical Christians made a shocking endorsement of illegal-alien amnesty last week in Senate testimony. Their spokesman — the head of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) — said high immigration is increasing membership in evangelical churches and is good for the economy. Polls have shown that evangelical Christians in the pews are the MOST likely to OPPOSE amnesty. If you are one of them, you may want to contact your church leaders immediately.  The NAE phone number is:  202-789-1011 —   Fax number is 202-842-0392  The NAE email address is: and

  • It’s not only political leaders who ignore the majority, it’s our Christian leaders as well. The more institutionalized they become, the more likely they will align with New World (Dis)Order objectives.

Healthcare Reform Estimates Squishy

After working for months behind the scenes to help shape health care reform, the insurance industry is now sharply attacking the emerging plan with a report that maintains Senate legislation would increase the cost of a typical policy by hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars a year. The health insurance industry has been working until recently to help draft legislation, while publicly endorsing President Barack Obama’s goal of affordable coverage for all Americans. The alliance has grown strained as legislation advances toward votes in Congress. Late Sunday, the industry trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans sent its member companies a new accounting firm study that projects the legislation would add $1,700 a year to the cost of family coverage in 2013, when most of the major provisions in the bill would be in effect.

The Heritage Foundation is questioning the latest Congressional Budget Office estimates concerning the Senate version of healthcare reform, labeling the report “a devastating revelation.” According to latest estimates, the Senate version — authored by Max Baucus (D-Montana) — will cost a little over $800 billion over a ten-year period and even shave a little off the federal deficit. But policy analyst Dennis Smith with The Heritage Foundation is skeptical of the claims, calling the estimates “squishy.” In addition, “they don’t count Medicare spending,” Smith points out. “They have not counted additional spending under the State Children Health Insurance Program [S-CHIP], so they haven’t funded that.” He expects the Senate will try to railroad the bill with very little input from the public. “We’ve suspected for sometime the majority leader [Harry Reid] would be looking for an avenue to simply attach this to another bill that can already be taken up,” says Smith.

  • Congressional estimates are almost always wrong, underestimating costs and overestimating revenue and/or cost savings

Swine Flu Still Spreading, Killing Children

Swine flu is believed to have killed 19 children the week ending Oct. 3, bringing the number of pediatric deaths to 76 since the pandemic began in April, health officials reported Friday. Sixteen of the children were confirmed to have H1N1 flu; three were believed to have died of the disease. Over the past three flu seasons, total pediatric deaths ranged from 46 to 88. Most of the children had severe underlying conditions, especially asthma and such neurological ailments as cerebral palsy. Up to 30% of the children who didn’t survive were previously healthy. In many cases, severe bacterial infections overwhelmed children already weakened by flu.

Few Black Men are Teachers

Only about 2% of teachers nationwide are African-American men. But experts say that needs to change if educators expect to reduce minority achievement gaps and dropout rates. American teachers are overwhelmingly white (87%) and female (77%), despite minority student populations of about 44%. It’s a job men generally avoid because of gender stereotypes, fear of abuse accusations and low pay, said Bryan Nelson, founder of the Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization MenTeach. The average U.S. teacher salary was about $51,000 in 2006-07. Yet increasing the number of minority teachers is important because of “the role model factor,” said Greg Johnson, a policy analyst for the National Education Association.

Economic News

Moderate gains on Friday led by health care and utility stocks pushed major indexes to their best weekly performance since July. Major stock indicators rose 4% for the week. The stock market’s seven-month rally was put firmly back on track this week after two down weeks. The moderate rise in stocks Friday comes two years to the day after the market hit its peak. The Dow is still down 30.4% from its high of 14,164. The Dow rose 78.07 Friday to 9,864, its highest close of the year.

General Motors announced Friday it had finalized plans to sell control of its iconic Hummer brand to a Chinese heavy equipment maker, pending approval from the U.S. and Chinese governments. While Hummer will be controlled by two Chinese automakers, CEO Jim Taylor said Friday the company plans to keep operations headquartered in the U.S.

Poland Ratifies EU Treaty

Poland’s president completed his country’s ratification of the European Union reform treaty on Saturday — leaving the Czech Republic as the only nation yet to sign off on the agreement. President Lech Kaczynski signed Poland’s ratification of the so-called Lisbon Treaty, which seeks to increase the 27-nation bloc’s influence. To come into force, the reform treaty must be ratified by all 27 EU nations.

Turks, Armenians Restore Relations

Turkey and Armenia have signed an accord to establish diplomatic relations after a century of enmity, as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton helped the two sides clear a last-minute snag. Their parliaments are expected to ratify it, but nationalists on both sides are seeking to derail implementation of the agreement. Major countries, however, expressed their support for the accord, with the foreign ministers of the United States, Russia, France and the European Union in the room to watch the signing. The agreement calls for a panel to discuss “the historical dimension” of the killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians during World War I. The discussion is to include “an impartial scientific examination of the historical records and archives to define existing problems and formulate recommendations.” That clause is viewed as a concession to Turkey, which denies genocide, contending the toll is inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war.

N. Korea Fires 5 Short-Range Missiles

North Korea fired five short-range missiles off its east coast on Monday, news reports said, even as South Korea proposed working-level talks with its communist neighbor. The missiles were surface-to-surface KN-02 rockets with a range of up to 75 miles. The reported launches were the first since the regime conducted a barrage of seven ballistic missile tests in early July, and come despite signs North Korea is reaching out to rival South Korea and the United States after months of heightened tensions over its missile and nuclear programs.

India Test-Fires Nuclear-Capable Missile

India successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable missile Monday with a range of 220 miles. It can carry a warhead weighing up to 1,100 pounds. India’s current crop of missiles is mostly intended for confronting neighboring Pakistan. The two countries routinely test-fire missiles, but usually notify each other ahead of the launches in keeping with an agreement. They have been holding peace talks since 2004 aimed at resolving their differences, including their dispute over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, although the dialogue has been hindered by last year’s Mumbai terror attacks by Pakistan-based militants. The two countries have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over control of Kashmir.


The head of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan acknowledged Sunday that there was “widespread fraud” in the August presidential election but refused to give specifics or lay blame to avoid influencing the ongoing recount. Kai Eide appeared before reporters to respond to allegations by his former deputy, Peter Galbraith, that the Norwegian diplomat had sought to cover up evidence of massive fraud allegedly committed on behalf of President Hamid Karzai during the Aug. 20 balloting. Galbraith, the top-ranking American in the U.N. mission, was fired Sept. 30 by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon after the widely publicized dispute over how to deal with the fraud charges, which threaten to discredit both the Afghan government and the international strategy for combating the Taliban insurgency. Eide was flanked by ambassadors from the United States, Britain and France in a silent show of international support for the U.N. mission and its embattled leader. Violence in this country has surged in recent months as insurgents grow bolder and the U.S. debates whether to send additional troops.


A suicide car bombing targeting Pakistani troops killed 41 people Monday, the fourth grisly militant attack in just over a week, as the Taliban pledged to mobilize militants across the country for more strikes. Pakistani commandos also raided their own army’s headquarters Sunday to free 30 people held hostage by Islamist fighters who staged a brazen attack on the compound while wearing military uniforms. Three captives and four hostage-takers were among those killed in the 22-hour-long drama that ended with the capture of the attackers’ ringleader. The audacious assault on the nerve-center of the country’s military establishment showed the strength of militants allied with al-Qaeda and the Taliban ahead of a planned army offensive on their heartland in South Waziristan along the Afghan border. It also signaled that any push there would be met with more attacks across Pakistan.

October 9, 2009

Christians Gather in Jerusalem to Show Support for Israel

Some 5,000 Christians from 100 nations marched through the streets of Jerusalem on Tuesday to show their solidarity with the nation of Israel. March participants waved Zionist banners and flags, while others wore T-shirts that read “Jerusalem United” as part of a campaign responding to political pressure on Israel to stop construction in the largely Arab eastern part of the city. The Jerusalem March is part of the 30th annual Feast of Tabernacles being held this week in Israel, an event hosted by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

Nearly 1 in 4 people worldwide is Muslim

Nearly one in four people worldwide is Muslim — and they are not necessarily where you might think, according to an extensive new study that aims to map the global Muslim population. There are about 1.57 billion Muslims in the world, representing about 23 percent of the total global population of 6.8 billion. India, a majority-Hindu country, has more Muslims than any country except for Indonesia and Pakistan, and more than twice as many as Egypt. China has more Muslims than Syria. Germany has more Muslims than Lebanon. And Russia has more Muslims than Jordan and Libya put together. Nearly two out of three of the world’s Muslims are in Asia. The Middle East and north Africa, which together are home to about one in five of the world’s Muslims, trail a very distant second. There are about 2.25 billion Christians, based on projections from the 2005 World Religions Database.

  • Muslims are promoting population growth while Western nations are experiencing fertility rates below maintenance levels. Unfortunately, a majority of those who call themselves Christian are not true born-again believers, so it’s possible that Muslims are the majority now.

D.C. Latest Marriage Battlefield

The nation’s capital is the latest battleground in the fight over same-sex marriage. The council introduced a gay marriage bill Tuesday. Sunday, activists will march in Washington, calling for federal legislation to establish rights of gays and lesbians from housing and job discrimination to marriage. Ten of Washington’s 13 council members support the gay marriage measure. Passage could come as early as December. Twelve states and the District of Columbia allow gay people to register for civil unions or domestic partnerships, but they don’t get all the benefits married people have. California’s state Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in May 2008, but six months later, voters amended the state constitution to ban it.

  • Destruction of the family and God’s natural order is Satan’s key strategy

House Votes to Extend Hate Crimes to Cover Gays

The House voted Thursday to make it a federal crime to assault people because of their sexual orientation, significantly expanding the hate crimes law enacted in the days after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968. With expected passage by the Senate, federal prosecutors will for the first time be able to intervene in cases of violence perpetrated against gays. Civil rights groups and their Democratic allies have been trying for more than a decade to broaden the reach of hate crimes law. This time it appears they will succeed. The measure is attached to a must-pass $680 billion defense policy bill and President Barack Obama— unlike President George W. Bush— is a strong supporter.

  • What seems innocuous on the surface becomes another tool to persecute Christians

Obama Pandering’ to Homosexual Activists Saturday

The president of an organization dedicated to exposing the homosexual activist agenda believes President Barack Obama will alienate many Americans when he speaks this weekend at a meeting of the largest homosexual-rights group in the nation. On Saturday night, Obama will deliver the keynote address at the 13th annual National Dinner in Washington, DC — an annual event organized by the Human Rights Campaign. Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, says it is clear President Obama is trying to appease homosexual activists, many of whom have been vocal about their disappointment with the chief executive. “The problem with having the homosexual lobby as an ally is that they’re very loud and obnoxious — and if they don’t get their way immediately, they start carping and complaining,” says LaBarbera. “But the further and faster Obama moves on the gay agenda, the more he will alienate mainstream and middle-of-the-road Americans.” LaBarbera points out that HRC has “Bible studies” online that claim homosexuality is not sinful. Among those studies is one HRC says is designed to train individuals to “move people of faith and congregations from acceptance to public advocacy.”

Atheists Say Prayer Makes Them Physically Sick

Atheists recruited to be part of a lawsuit that is trying to rid government ceremonies such as the inauguration of a president of any invocation or other prayer have claimed they are made physically ill by prayer. The lawsuit was filed before President Obama’s inauguration and subsequently was dismissed at the district court level. Briefs now are being submitted to the appeals court in plaintiffs’ hopes the case will be reopened.

  • Of course it makes them sick. That’s the typical demonic reaction to anything having to do with the One True God and Jesus Christ our Savior.

Obama Wins Noble Peace Prize

President Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The surprise announcement came as Obama, whose achievements during his first nine months in the White House have been largely domestic, is wrestling with perhaps his biggest foreign policy challenge: Afghanistan. Obama has yet to achieve major breakthroughs on the many international efforts he has undertaken: drawing down U.S. involvement in Iraq and beefing it up in Afghanistan, reaching peace in the Middle East, forcing Iran to forego its nuclear program, resetting relations with Russia, improving relations with the Muslim world or reducing the world’s supply of nuclear arms. The Norwegian Nobel Committee picked the 48-year-old president from 205 nominees for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.

  • Ridiculous. Obama hasn’t accomplished anything yet. This shows clearly that the Noble committee is run by the New World (Dis)Order folks.

Justices Appear Divided Over Cross on Park Land

Supreme Court arguments over a cross at a national preserve in California turned tense Wednesday, revealing the divisions among justices regarding religious symbols on public grounds. Though the legal question before the court Wednesday was narrow, it showcased familiar ideological divisions between conservatives such as Scalia and liberals such as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The case involves a memorial that dates to 1934 when the Veterans of Foreign Wars erected a cross at Sunrise Rock in San Bernardino County. The land is now part of the Mojave National Preserve and under the authority of the National Park Service.

The cross structure at the Sunrise Rock outcropping has been replaced several times and the current cross, put up in 1998, is about 5 feet tall. In 2001, Frank Buono, a former park service worker, sued the U.S. government, objecting because it allowed the cross but no other religious symbols at the site. Park officials had rejected a request for a Buddhist shrine near the cross. Lower federal courts ruled that the cross at the national preserve violated the required constitutional separation of church and state under the First Amendment. A judge ordered the cross taken down; it has been covered over during the appeal. Congress designated the cross a national memorial and passed a law in 2004 calling for the transfer of the land on which the cross sits to the VFW in exchange for a privately owned parcel elsewhere in the preserve.

  • Are we, or are we not, a Christian nation? That’s the root question. Our secular government pretends that we’re not and joins with Satan in destroying all things Christian

Health Bill Projected at $829B

A landmark health care bill crafted by a key Senate committee would cost less than an earlier projection and would provide insurance to 94% of Americans, an independent congressional agency said Thursday. The Senate Finance Committee’s health care bill would cost $829 billion over a decade and would insure 29 million people who wouldn’t otherwise have coverage, according to the Congressional Budget Office estimate. The analysis clears the way for the committee to vote on the bill as early as this week. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, criticized the bill for “hundreds of billions of dollars” in taxes and fees. It “spends nearly $1 trillion and still leaves 25 million people” uninsured. The compromise bill, which is the product of months-long, bipartisan talks, is the least expensive of all the health care measures in Congress and is the only version that doesn’t include a government-run insurance program.

Republican Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday warned that health-care reform pushed by congressional Democrats figures to increase costs borne by states, creating a “devastating” situation for Arizona and other states already teetering on financial collapse. With Arizona government already facing a $1.5 billion budget shortfall for the remainder of this year, Brewer called it “incomprehensible that Congress is contemplating an enormous unfunded entitlement mandate on the states.” Brewer’s concerns mirror those of more than a dozen of her fellow Republican governors. Their chief concern, expanding who is eligible for Medicaid, would force cash-strapped states to either cut programs in other areas or raise taxes, the governors say. Senate leaders on Thursday announced a climactic Finance Committee vote next week on health care legislation.

  • $829 billion is still a lot of money we don’t have. Just like some individuals careening toward bankruptcy who go on a spending spree beforehand, perhaps that’s the underlying strategy here. Regardless, government estimates of cost, no matter how “independent,” are usually much lower than actual.

Wide Health Gaps Among States

A new “scorecard” lists “shockingly wide variations” among the states when it comes to the health of their residents, says the president of the Commonwealth Fund, which compared such factors as access to care, insurance coverage and avoidable hospital admissions. Overall, Vermont ranked No. 1 and Mississippi came in last. In some measures of health status, the top state’s performance was double or triple that of the bottom state’s, the Commonwealth Fund found. The gap was especially wide in the percentage of adults ages 18 to 64 who lacked health insurance. In Massachusetts, which has a universal health insurance program, only 7.2% of its residents that age were uninsured. In Texas, nearly a third, or 31.5%, were. Improving the performance of all states to the levels achieved by the best states could save thousands of lives and billions of dollars, according to the “Commonwealth Fund State Scorecard on Health System Performance.”

  • There is a core issue here that needs to be resolved. The Constitution proclaimed states’ rights, implicitly recognizing that there would well be differences among the states. But the Federal Government wants total control over virtually all significant matters, in violation of the Constitution. It’s time to stand up for the Constitution again and champion states rights. If you live in Texas and want universal health care move to Massachusetts. Competition among states, must as in business, is a good thing.

Swine H1N1 Flu

As the first wave of swine flu vaccine crosses the country, more than a third of parents don’t want their kids vaccinated, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. Some parents say they are concerned about side effects from the new vaccine — even though nothing serious has turned up in tests so far — while others say swine flu doesn’t amount to any greater health threat than seasonal flu.

A new government study shows that one quarter of Americans who were sick enough to be hospitalized with swine flu last spring wound up needing intensive care, and 7% of them died. Health experts say that is a little higher than with ordinary seasonal flu. They say the biggest difference is that nearly half of those hospitalized with the new swine flu have been children and teens. Flu usually strikes hardest in the elderly.

Jobless Claims Fall More than Expected

The number of workers filing new claims for jobless insurance fell more-than-expected to a nine-month low last week, according to a government report Thursday that suggested the labor market is healing despite a setback in September. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 33,000 to a seasonally adjusted 521,000 in the week ended Oct.3, the lowest since early January, the Labor Department said. The four-week moving average for new claims fell 9,000 to 539,750 last week, declining for a fifth straight week. The number of people collecting long-term unemployment benefits fell 72,000 to 6.04 million in the week ended Sept. 26th. That was the lowest level since late March.

Economic News

The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in August as exports posted a small gain, while imports fell on a big drop in demand for foreign oil. The Commerce Department said Friday that the trade deficit declined 3.5% to $30.7 billion. Oil prices shot up, but the volume of shipments dropped sharply in August. For August, exports of goods and services edged up 0.2% to $28.2 billion, the fourth straight gain.

A federal program that has cut mortgage payments for more than 500,000 homeowners since spring is falling well short of what’s needed to fix the nation’s foreclosure crisis, warns a congressional panel’s report Friday. “We’re concerned that not enough foreclosures will be prevented,” said Elizabeth Warren, who chairs the Congressional Oversight Panel for the $700 billion financial bailout program approved last year.

In a sign that more banks are under great pressure from the recession, 34 financial institutions did not pay their quarterly dividends in August to the Treasury on funds obtained under the Troubled Asset Relief Fund (TARP). The number almost doubled from 19 in May when payments were last made, and also raised questions about Treasury’s judgment in approving these banks as “healthy,” a necessary step for them to get TARP funding.

Consumers reduced their borrowing for the seventh straight month in August, as households worked to pay off debt and banks reduced credit card limits. Americans are saving more and borrowing less as widespread job losses, stagnant wages and dwindling home values have spurred a move to greater frugality. While that’s a positive trend in the long run, economists say, it can weaken the fledgling recovery as consumer spending powers about 70% of the economy.

  • Consumers are doing what the government should be doing. Instead, massive debt will cause a disastrous depression after a brief economic respite.

Deep budget cuts will lead the Arizona Department of Transportation to close 12 Motor Vehicle Division offices and 13 highway rest stops and will delay $370 million in construction projects. ADOT on Thursday released its plan to close up a $40 million budget shortfall that resulted from cuts by the Legislature and drops in gasoline-tax and vehicle- registration revenue.

U.N. a Mess

How good is the United Nations at reforming itself? Not good at all, according to a lengthy study this year by U.N. investigators of a grandiose, five-year effort to streamline and coordinate the performance of a $778 million U.N. bureaucracy that is supposed to do what diplomats like to do best: hold meetings. According to the report, the bureaucracy’s reform effort so far has been a near-total failure. Distributed to U.N. members in advance of the September opening of the General Assembly, the 24-page evaluation report was prepared by members of the U.N.’s watchdog Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). The investigators didn’t discover any cost savings as a result of the global reform effort. Nor, the report continued, was there any evidence that successive top U.N. managers had done much to change the situation. Just as disturbingly, the inspectors declared that they were “unable to vouch for the accuracy and veracity of data” given to them by the conference bureaucracy for evaluation.

  • A foreshadowing of what global government will look like.


Israel‘s foreign minister declared Thursday that there is no chance of reaching a final accord with the Palestinians any time soon, casting a pall over the U.S. Mideast envoy’s latest effort to get peace talks moving again. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israel Radio on Thursday that anyone who thinks the two sides can soon reach a deal ending their decades-old conflict “doesn’t understand the situation and is spreading delusions.”


Iraq‘s government payroll has become so heavy with soldiers and police that it’s now hindering reconstruction, Iraq’s prime minister warned Wednesday, raising the possibility of security force cutbacks just as U.S. combat troops are pulling out. It’s doubtful whether Nouri al-Maliki would ever slash too deeply into Iraq’s police and military with U.S. forces due to end combat missions next August. But it may reflect shifting priorities as violence eases and the government faces increased demands to spend money on rebuilding roads, electrical grids and other services crippled from years of war and neglect.


A powerful car bomb exploded outside the Indian Embassy in the busy center of Afghanistan‘s capital early Thursday, killing at least 12 people, destroying vehicles and blowing off the walls of shops Eleven of the dead were civilians and one was an Afghan police officer, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. At least 84 people, including members of Afghan security forces, were wounded in the attack, which struck a shop-lined road between the Indian Embassy and the Interior Ministry.

Insurgents fought their way inside an American base in Afghanistan last weekend in a rare security breach before they were driven back under heavy fire during the deadliest battle for U.S. troops in more than a year, a U.S. official said Wednesday. The bold assault raised serious questions about the security of thinly manned outposts spread across the troubled nation’s volatile border region with Pakistan, and reflects growing insurgent resolve.


A suicide bomber blew up his vehicle near a crowded market in northwestern Pakistan on Friday, killing 49 people and pushing the country closer to an offensive against militants in their main stronghold along the Afghan border. The attack, which wounded more than 100 people in Peshawar, was Pakistan’s deadliest in six months and was a reminder of the ability of insurgents to strike in major cities despite operations against them and the death of their leader in a U.S. missile strike.


The recent deaths of two U.S. troops in a roadside bomb attack in the Philippines has drawn attention to a little-known, but increasingly perilous, front in global counterterrorism efforts. About 600 U.S. troops have been stationed in the Philippines since shortly after 9/11, helping the government battle an Islamic extremist group known as Abu Sayyaf. The group, which the Pentagon says has ties with al-Qaeda and other regional terrorist organizations, has just a few hundred members but has carried out numerous attacks on Filipinos and foreigners in the south in recent years. The Sept. 29 roadside bomb attack, which also killed a Filipino marine, was the first of its kind against U.S. troops operating in the Philippines.

Warships Ward Off Somali Pirates

The number of ships captured by pirates off the coast of Somalia has dropped dramatically in the past two months because of the presence of an international flotilla of warships plying the waters there and a new willingness on the part of merchant vessels to defend themselves. Military and shipping officials expected a spike in attacks when the monsoon season ended in early August, but there has only been one ship captured since then. In August and September last year, pirates seized 16 ships, Navy records show. In the same period this year, no ships were seized.


For the fourth time in less than 11 hours, a major earthquake rocked the South Pacific Ocean near the island nation of Vanuatu on Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. They were part of a series of 16 moderate-to-major quakes that rattled the region over the same period. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.


A powerful typhoon slammed into Japan on Thursday, damaging buildings and roads, halting train service and canceling hundreds of flights as it swept across the country. One man died and dozens were reported injured. Typhoon Melor hit the country’s main island early Thursday with strong winds. The storm flooded roads and homes, toppled trees and power lines, blew over trucks on highways and heavily damaged some buildings.

Rescuers struggled through mud and pounding rain Friday to clear mountain roads and retrieve more than 160 bodies from dozens of landslides that buried villages and cut off towns in the rain-soaked northern Philippines. The latest calamity brought the death toll to more than 450 from the Philippines’ worst flooding in 40 years after back-to-back storms started pounding the country’s north on Sept. 26.