Manhattan Declaration Project

As of Monday morning, 33,529 have signed the Manhattan Declaration, a petition which addresses the necessity to defend and promote the sanctity of marriage, life and religious liberty. The Manhattan Declaration will be publicly released at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington on Friday, Nov. 20, 2009. Please go to www.manhattandeclaration.org to add your name to this important document.

Senate Votes to Move Ahead on Health Care

Democrats united Saturday night to push historic health care legislation out of committee to floor debate over the opposition of Republicans. There was not a vote to spare. The 60-39 vote clears the way for a historic debate after Thanksgiving on the legislation. The measure is designed to extend coverage to an estimated 31 million Americans who lack it and crack down on insurance industry practices that deny benefits.

Only two in 10 Americans say their health insurance coverage and the quality of the health care they receive will improve if a bill passes Congress this year, despite President Obama‘s promises to improve the system for those with and without insurance More than seven in 10 of those polled say their costs and their care will either stay the same or get worse if the legislation Obama and congressional Democrats are pushing becomes law this year. Although there is widespread agreement that changes must be made in the USA, a strong majority say they are satisfied with what they have and don’t want it upended.

Companies and groups hiring lobbying firms on health issues nearly doubled this year as special interests rushed to shape the massive revamp of the nation’s health care system now in its final stretch before Congress. About 1,000 organizations have hired lobbyists since January, compared with 505 during the same period in 2008, according to a USA TODAY analysis of congressional records compiled by the nonpartisan CQ MoneyLine. Overall, health care lobbying has increased, exceeding $422 million during the first ninth months of the year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics. That’s more than any other industry and a nearly 10% jump over the same period in 2008.

Drug-Resistant H1N1 Found in U.S. and U.K.

Epidemic experts say they are investigating the apparent spread of Tamiflu-resistant swine flu virus among four patients at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and five in a hospital in Wales. These clusters appear to be the first in which a virus resistant to the antiviral Tamiflu, a mainstay of flu treat, has spread from person to person, researchers said Friday. If Tamiflu-resistant virus spreads widely, swine flu will become tougher to treat and may cost more lives.

Gore Admits CO2 Does Not Cause Majority Of Global Warming

In a new development that is potentially devastating to the agenda to introduce a global carbon tax and a cap and trade system, Al Gore admits that the majority of global warming that occurred until 2001 was not primarily caused by CO2. Gore is not backing away from his support for the theory of man-made climate change, but his concession that carbon dioxide only accounted for 40% of warming according to new studies could seriously harm efforts to tax CO2, that evil, life-giving gas that humans exhale and plants absorb. Gore acknowledged to Newsweek that the findings could complicate efforts to build a political consensus around the need to limit carbon emissions.

Global Governance

In accepting his appointment as the first president of the European Union, Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy announced that “global governance” is the only way to address the crises that beset the planet. “We’re living through exceptionally difficult times – the financial crisis and its dramatic impact on employment and budgets, the climate crisis which threatens our very survival, a period of anxiety, uncertainty and lack of confidence,” he said in his maiden press conference. “Yet these problems can be overcome through a joint effort between our countries. Two-thousand and nine is also the first year of global governance with the establishment of the G20 in the middle of the financial crisis. The climate conference in Copenhagen is another step toward the global management of our planet.”

  • Just as Revelation 13 prophesies, one-world government is inexorably forming

State, Local Budget Cuts a “Time Bomb” for Jobs

Budget shortfalls pose a direct threat to millions of U.S. jobs, many in the private sector, as state and local governments lay off workers and cut spending on contracts and other business services. State and local governments will have to raise taxes and cut spending in the current and next two fiscal years to cover shortfalls totaling $469 billion, according to an Economic Policy Institute report. The think tank said the U.S. government must give states and cities $150 billion in direct budget relief to save between 1.1 million and 1.4 million jobs. “Given the fragility of the economy, already high unemployment and the magnitude of the budget shortfalls, it is clear that we cannot afford inaction,” the report said, calling the gaps “a ticking time bomb for the economy.”

  • Since the federal government is out of money, states and cities are going to bleed jobs over the next year or more

Government Run Ventures Drain State Budgets

Government-owned businesses that generate revenue for states and cities have taken a sharp turn downward and now are draining money from many struggling governments, a USA TODAY analysis found. States and cities operate hundreds of such enterprises — power companies, sewer systems, betting parlors, subways and more — that earned more than $120 billion in profits during the 1990s. These businesses started losing money in 2006 and are on track to lose $3.5 billion nationwide this year, according to an analysis of data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Traditional cash cows such as gambling and utilities are making less money, although they’re still profitable. Money losers such as transit systems and housing authorities are suffering growing losses. This reversal is adding to the financial squeeze state and local governments are suffering because of a 6.7% drop in tax collections during 2009. Governments are raising taxes, hiking utility rates or cutting budgets to cope.

  • Let’s not forget the Post Office and Amtrak which continue to run up enormous deficits at the federal level.

Economic News

Florida banking regulators on Friday shut down Commerce Bank of Southwest Florida, marking the 124th U.S. bank to succumb this year to the struggling economy and rising loan defaults. It was the 12th failure of a Florida bank this year. Failures also have been concentrated in California, Georgia and Illinois. The banking crisis has grown so intense that it has started to capture banks that regulators deemed healthy only months ago.

Unemployment rates rose in 29 states and the District of Columbia in October from September. The Department of Labor said 13 states registered declines and eight were unchanged.

For the first time in a decade, more people paid their credit card bills on time in the third quarter this year than in the second quarter. The delinquency rate on bank-issued cards, such as those bearing MasterCard and Visa logos, fell to 1.1% for the June-to-September period, from 1.17% the prior three months.

Indonesia

Officials say they have confiscated 75 tons of an explosive material being shipped from Malaysia to Indonesia and are investigating possible links to terrorism. Customs official Nasar Salim says the ammonium nitrate was found on a ship captured in the South China Sea. Ammonium nitrate can also be used as fertilizer, but Salim says 95% of the material imported into Indonesia is used in explosive devices. Seventeen crewmen are being questioned while police search for the shipment’s owner. Indonesia has been ravaged by terrorist attacks in recent years that killed more than 250 people

Philippines

The Philippine army says it has found 21 bodies in the country’s restive south after gunmen hijacked a convoy of politicians and supporters filing their nominations for next year’s elections. Military spokesman Lt. Col. Romen Brawner says the victims included 13 women and eight men. He says they were found in a remote village in southern Ampatuan township, where the people aboard the convoy were taken hostage as they traveled in three vans earlier Monday. Philippine elections are particularly violent in the south because of the presence of armed groups, including Muslim rebels, and political warlords who maintain private armies.

Iran

Iran on Thursday began large-scale air defense war games aimed at protecting the country’s nuclear facilities against any possible attack, state television reported. It said the five-day drill will cover an area a third of the size of Iran and spread across the central, western and southern parts of the country. The United States and its European allies accuse Iran of embarking on a nuclear weapons program. Iran denies the charge and insists the program is only for peaceful purposes. Israel has not ruled out military action to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Afghanistan

A rocket hit outside the luxury Serena Hotel in Afghanistan’s capital late Saturday, wounding at least two, the Interior Ministry said. The heavily guarded Serena regularly houses visiting diplomats, officials and international workers. It has been the target of attacks before, most recently just last month when a rocket slammed into a courtyard. The most serious attack occurred in January 2008, when militants stormed the hotel in a coordinated assault that killed seven people.

A NATO spokesman says the chief of the alliance is urging members to make commitments to boost their forces in Afghanistan in anticipation of President Obama’s decision to send more U.S. troops. Although several allies have said they will dispatch some reinforcements in response to Obama’s anticipated request, most NATO nations have so far shied away from making any firm commitments.

American and Afghan officials have begun helping a number of anti-Taliban militias that have independently taken up arms against insurgents in several parts of Afghanistan, prompting hopes of a large-scale tribal rebellion against the Taliban. The emergence of the militias, which took some leaders in Kabul by surprise, has so encouraged the American and Afghan officials that they are planning to spur the growth of similar armed groups across the Taliban heartland in the southern and eastern parts of the country.

Meager Monsoon Worsens Arizona Drought

Rain and snow have ended droughts across much of the United States this year, but in Arizona, conditions have worsened, further extending a dry streak that reaches back to 1996. A weak monsoon season, bookended by meager rain in the months before and after, turned the rangelands brittle and allowed the summer wildfire season to linger through autumn. Dwindling water resources forced ranchers to sell livestock and drained watering holes that sustain wildlife. In the high country, the soil is so parched it will likely soak up some of the spring snowmelt before the water can flow into rivers and reservoirs. Enough water is stored from past years to protect Phoenix from shortages no matter what happens this winter, but the rest of the state faces a bleaker outlook that could include conservation measures or even water hauling in some places if weather patterns don’t change.

Just 2.78 inches of rain has fallen at Sky Harbor International Airport since Jan. 1, more than 4 inches below the 30-year average for mid-November. No measurable rain has fallen since Sept. 5, setting Phoenix on course to break the record, set in 2002, for the driest year on record. Similar deficits exist elsewhere: Flagstaff has recorded 7.92 inches this year, almost 12 inches below normal. Tucson has received 5.24 inches, less than half its normal through mid-November.

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