Governor Gets Message, Victory for Christmas!

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear did not like a Christmas tree being called a Christmas tree. So he changed it. According to the Associated Press, Gov. Beshear recently decided the tree on the Capitol lawn in Frankfort, for 2009, should be called a “holiday” tree. American Family Association immediately went to work against the forces of political correctness who wanted to remove the word “Christmas” from the Christmas season. Within days, thousands of phone calls and emails had flooded the governor’s office, urging him to reverse his decision.  As a result, the governor issued a statement saying the tree would immediately and henceforth officially be called a “Christmas” tree.

Historic, Obama-backed Health Care Bill Passes House

The Democratic-controlled House has narrowly passed landmark health care reform legislation, handing President Obama a hard won victory on his signature domestic priority. Republicans were nearly unanimous in opposing the plan that would expand coverage to tens of millions of Americans who lack it and place tough new restrictions on the insurance industry. The 220-215 vote late Saturday cleared the way for the Senate to begin a long-delayed debate on the issue that has come to overshadow all others in Congress. A triumphant Speaker Nancy Pelosi compared the legislation to the passage of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare 30 years later. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) applauded the passage of the pro-life amendment offered by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich) and Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-Penn) which prohibits federal funding of abortion under the health care bill in the U.S. House.

In the run-up to a final vote, conservatives from the two political parties joined forces to impose tough new restrictions on abortion coverage in insurance policies to be sold to many individuals and small groups. The legislation would require most Americans to carry insurance and provide federal subsidies to those who otherwise could not afford it. Large companies would have to offer coverage to their employees. Both consumers and companies would be slapped with penalties if they defied the government’s mandates. Insurance industry practices such as denying coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions would be banned, and insurers would no longer be able to charge higher premiums on the basis of gender or medical history. The industry would also lose its exemption from federal antitrust restrictions on price fixing and market allocation.

Don’t look for the Senate to quickly follow the House on health care overhaul. A government health insurance plan included in the House bill is unacceptable to a few Democratic moderates who hold the balance of power in the Senate. If a government plan is part of the deal, “as a matter of conscience, I will not allow this bill to come to a final vote,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut independent whose vote Democrats need to overcome GOP filibusters. “The House bill is dead on arrival in the Senate,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said.

  • Good news about abortion, but penalties for defiance, government mandates, price fixing? Sounds like socialism. Good-bye freedom – unless the Senate has a change of heart. Pray hard, contact your Senators.

U.S. Troops’ Insignia Bears U.N. Colors, NAU Continent

Troops in the United States’ USNORTHCOM ranks appear to have adopted a shoulder patch showing a North American continental design, with an emphasis on United Nations colors, giving evidence of the strength of a plan to integrate North America. The patch reveals the continent of North America in the orange and blue colors typical to the U.N. The insignia patch also is displayed on the 5th Army website, the home of U.S. Army North, USARNORTH, the Joint Force Land Component Command and the Army Service Component Command of USNORTHCOM. The design of the patch with the U.S. eagle image superimposed seems to imply a hierarchy in which the U.S. 5th Army exerts its military command under the authority of USNORTHCOM, with its domain defined as all North America, including the U.S., Mexico and Canada, for the United Nations.

Officials Warn Against Anti-Muslim Backlash

The Obama administration and top military leaders are discouraging an anti-Muslim backlash in the aftermath of last week’s deadly shooting at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas. Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey and Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano on Sunday echoed weekend remarks by President Obama cautioning against saying that religion played a role in the attack or that it was “terrorism.” Muslim and Arab groups have reported a few threats of violence, plus angry phone calls and hateful e-mails. So far, the harsh words haven’t turned to action.

However, The alleged Fort Hood shooter apparently attended the same Virginia mosque as two Sept. 11 hijackers in 2001, at a time when a radical imam preached there. Whether the Fort Hood shooter associated with the hijackers is something the FBI will look into. The suspected Fort Hood terrorist’s former mosque in Maryland is controlled by the radical Muslim Brotherhood, a Saudi-funded worldwide jihadist movement which controls many of the mosques in America.

  • A violent backlash would not be the right response, but to deny Islam’s role in the attack is ludicrous. Our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan against Islamic militants create a dilemma for Muslims in the U.S. military which needs to be closely monitored.

U.S. Islamic Street Preachers Declare Fort Hood Victims Got Just Deserts

A radical Muslim group was videotaped condoning the massacre at Fort Hood by Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan because it was a military target. “America’s chickens have come home to roost,” shouted a representative of the group. A website run by Revolution Muslim is also honoring Hasan, the man accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood in Texas, as an “Officer and a Gentleman,” saying his actions should not be denounced. The massacre, which also left more than two dozen injured, was called a “pre-emptive attack” by supporters of the group. The website lists as its imam Sheik Abdullah el-Faisal, who in February 2003 was sentenced to nine years in jail, reduced to seven on appeal, after being convicted of soliciting murder and inciting racial hatred in England.

Small Businesses Struggling

Small businesses often lead the nation out of recession. Not this time. With sales weak, they’re still slashing jobs and faring worse than their larger rivals. Nineteen percent of small-business owners cut jobs by a seasonally adjusted average of 4.2 workers per firm in the third quarter, according to a late-October survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Just 8% boosted employment. That’s better than the previous month, but “the job-generating machine is still in reverse,” says NFIB economist William Dunkelberg. The struggles of small businesses help explain why the jobless rate soared to 10.2% in October.

Small Banks Failing

Just as the housing sector appears to be recovering, gathering problems in the commercial real estate market threaten to become a new drag on the economy. The collapse in home prices sunk many big banks last year, but this year smaller lenders and community banks are going bust at an alarming rate because of their exposure to souring commercial real estate loans. At least 119 banks have failed this year, many because of their exposure to deteriorating commercial loans for retail space, office buildings and industrial parks. As of June 30, another 416 institutions the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was monitoring as “problem” lenders.

  • It’s not a coincidence that small businesses and small banks are failing, unlike in previous recoveries. The Obama administration and the New World (Dis)Order favor fewer, larger institutions which are easier to control.

Economic News

Freddie Mac‘s losses narrowed to $6.3 billion in the third quarter, but the government-controlled mortgage finance company didn’t need a federal cash infusion. The McLean, Va.-based company has received about $51 billion since it was seized by federal regulators in September 2008, but said it didn’t need any more money for the second-straight quarter. However, high unemployment and rising foreclosures will continue to “impede a full recovery,” and the company may need more money from the Treasury Department to stay afloat.

Consumers borrowed less for a record eighth straight month in September amid rising unemployment and tight credit conditions. Economists worry the declines in borrowing will drag on the fledgling recovery. The Federal Reserve said Friday that borrowing fell at an annual rate of $14.8 billion in September. That’s the biggest decline since July. Americans are borrowing less as they try to repair cracked nest eggs and replenish rainy day funds in a dismal jobs market. Many are finding it hard to get credit as banks, hit by the worst financial crisis in decades, have tightened lending standards.

Chavez Prepares Venezuela for War with Columbia

President Hugo Chavez on Sunday ordered Venezuela’s military to prepare for a possible armed conflict with Colombia. Chavez said Venezuela could end up going to war with Colombia as tensions between them rise, and he warned that if a conflict broke out “it could extend throughout the whole continent.” Venezuela’s socialist leader cited a recent deal between Bogota and Washington giving U.S. troops greater access to military bases as a threat to regional stability. The government of Colombian President Alvaro rejected what it called “threats of war from Venezuela’s government,” saying it would protest Chavez’s comments to the Organization of American States and the U.N. Security Council.

  • Chavez is mostly hot air, but erratic enough to do something stupid

Iraq Passes Election Law

Iraq’s parliament ended weeks of debate Sunday and passed a long-delayed law paving the way for the planned January election to go forward, sidestepping a crisis that could have delayed the U.S. troop withdrawal. The decision appeared to resolve a key sticking point — who will be allowed to vote in the disputed, oil-rich city of Kirkuk. The issue had threatened to delay Iraq’s key parliamentary elections, which in turn would affect how quickly American combat forces could leave the country. In a sign of how intensely Washington was following the debate, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill could be seen shuttling between various political factions before the law’s passage. All U.S. combat troops will be out of the country by the end of August 2010, leaving about 50,000 trainers and support troops, who in turn would leave by the end of 2011.

Afghanistan

Afghanistan‘s Defense Ministry said Saturday that a NATO airstrike in the western province of Badghis the previous day mistakenly hit a joint base housing coalition troops and Afghan security forces, killing four Afghan soldiers and three policemen. It added that five U.S. and 15 Afghan soldiers, two policemen and an Afghan civilian interpreter had been wounded in several hours of fighting against insurgents during the search for two missing paratroopers. The two disappeared on Wednesday while trying to recover supplies that had been airdropped and had fallen into a river.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Washington’s closest ally in Afghanistan, toughened his tone Friday with a harsh message for the Afghan leadership: Clean up your act — for real this time — or risk a cutoff of support. In what 10 Downing Street billed as a major speech, Brown reflected public outrage over troop casualties by threatening to pull back support — and perhaps additional troops — unless Afghan President Hamid Karzai cracked down on corruption. It was his first challenge since the Afghan leader was declared the winner of an election deeply marred by charges of fraud and ballot-rigging.

Pakistan

A suicide bomber blew himself up Sunday in a crowded market in northwestern Pakistan, killing an anti-Taliban mayor who had formed a militia to fight the militants and 11 other people. Twenty-five wounded people — several in critical condition — were rushed to a hospital. Another suicide bomber in a rickshaw detonated his explosives near a group of policemen in northwest Pakistan‘s main city of Peshawar, killing three people Monday The attacks were the latest in a string of strikes that has killed more than 300 people over the past six weeks. The Taliban have carried out a series of attacks in recent weeks aimed at pressuring the government to abandon an offensive launched in mid-October in South Waziristan, the main Taliban and al-Qaeda sanctuary in the country.

Somalia

Spain said Saturday it is working to free 33 crewmembers of a fishing vessel held by Somali pirates as thousands of friends and relatives rallied for their release. Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said he planed to meet Somali leader Ali Sharmarke Abdirashid Omar in Kenya. The pirates were threatening to kill the captives if two pirates captured by Spain were not freed. The two Somali men were captured and brought to Madrid for their alleged role in the hijacking of the Alakrana on Oct. 2 in tuna-rich waters of the Indian Ocean. The two suspects are due to face trial in Spain for kidnapping and other charges.

China

Nine men have been executed for taking part in ethnic rioting that left nearly 200 people dead in July, the first suspects put to death in the unrest, Chinese state media reported Monday. The worst ethnic unrest in decades began July 5 when minority Uighurs attacked Han, who make up China’s dominant ethnicity, only to face retaliatory attacks two days later. Many Uighurs, who are a Turkic Muslim ethnic group linguistically and culturally distinct from the Han, resent Beijing‘s heavy-handed rule in Xinjiang, their traditional homeland. Four months later, Xinjiang remains smothered in heavy security, with Internet access cut and international direct dialing calls blocked.

Weather

Mud and boulders loosened by heavy rains swept down a volcano and partly buried a small town Sunday, swallowing up homes as flooding and landslides across El Salvador killed at least 124 people. Hundreds of soldiers, police and residents dug through rock and debris in Verapaz looking for another 60 people missing from the mudslide, which struck before dawn Sunday while residents were still in their beds. Almost 7,000 people saw their homes damaged by landslides or cut off by floodwaters following three days of downpours from a low-pressure system indirectly related to Hurricane Ida.

Hurricane Ida is the biggest weather story in the U.S. on Monday as the late-season storm continued tracking north through the Gulf of Mexico, toward southeastern Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle. The system has weakened to Category 1 strength due to high wind shear and cooler waters. Periods of heavy downpours, strong thunderstorms, damaging winds and dangerous storm surges will accompany Ida during the storm’s progression.

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