Judge Rules ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Must End Now

A federal judge Tuesday ordered an immediate end to enforcement of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on lesbians and gay men serving openly in the armed forces. What happens next, however, is unclear. Neither the Pentagon nor the Justice Department, which has 60 days to appeal, would comment. Although President Obama says he opposes the 1993 law that set the military’s policy on gays, he has ordered the Pentagon to study the effect a repeal would have on the armed forces, and the results of that study aren’t due until December. The White House also says that Congress, not the courts, needs to repeal the law, but Senate Republicans have blocked those efforts. The law forbids gay servicemembers from revealing their sexual orientation, and it requires their superiors not to ask unless they believe the law is being broken. Last year, according to Bloomberg News, the military discharged 259 men and 169 women under the law.

Iowa Pastor Prays for IRS Action

The Rev. Cary K. Gordon has a prayer he recites as he campaigns against the three Iowa Supreme Court justices who are up for retention in next month’s election. “Dear God,” he says, “please allow the IRS to attack my church, so I can take them all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.” Gordon, an associate pastor at Cornerstone World Outreach in Sioux City, says he will defy federal law this month when he urges the congregation to vote to not retain the three justices, who participated in a unanimous ruling that allowed same-sex couples to wed. His mass mailing to 1,000 church leaders in September prompted one national religious liberty group to file a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service. Jeff Mullen, senior pastor of Point of Grace Church in Waukee, are urging Iowa pastors to communicate to their congregations the “biblical mandate for involvement in local and national elections.” Religious leaders on both sides of the gay marriage debate voiced strong opinions after last year’s Iowa Supreme Court ruling. But on the Nov. 2 ballot question of whether to retain the three justices, many say they plan to stay silent because of IRS regulations that prohibit churches from taking stands on political candidates or lose their tax-free status.

Obama Bans 1 Million Rifles

The Obama-run Washington bureaucracy has classified a common and reliable rifle, the M1 Garand, as a “threat to public safety in the U.S.,” and the State Department has canceled plans by the Republic of Korea to return tens of thousands of surplus rifles to the U.S. for sale in the consumer market, according to WorldNetDaily. The stunning classification of an ordinary gun that was used in the U.S. military for two decades and issued to thousands of soldiers and Marines during World War II and Korea as a threat came in a document filed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The ATF contacted the State Department and argued the stock of rifles “poses a threat to public safety in the U.S.” As a result, the State Department reversed its decision to allow reimportation of the Korea-owned rifles. The transfer of such weapons would raise the number of guns available and, therefore, lower the price, making them more generally available, the agency declared.

  • Just the tip of the iceberg as the New World Order folks seeks to disarm the public as it advances it’s socialistic, one-world government

Delay in Fort Hood Shooting Hearing

A military hearing to determine whether an Army psychiatrist should go to trial for last year’s deadly Fort Hood shootings was unexpectedly stalled Tuesday, without testimony from any of the dozens of survivors, after defense attorneys requested a month-long delay. Col. James L. Pohl, a military judge acting as the investigating officer in the case of Maj. Nidal Hasan, said he would rule Wednesday on the defense request to delay the start of the Article 32 hearing to Nov. 8. Maj. Nidal Hasan, 40, is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the Nov. 5, 2009 attack, the worst mass shooting at an American military base. The Article 32 hearing will determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial.

Majority of Voters Favor Third Party

A pox on both their houses: that’s apparently the thinking of American voters. A new poll from The Hill shows that a majority would favor a third party. As for Democrats, 49 percent say they favor a third party, while the total is 46 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of independents. “That’s probably the strongest number I’ve seen in a poll of people in America saying that they’re interested in a third party,” says Democratic pollster Mark Penn of Penn Schoen Berland, which conducted the survey. Republican strategist Mark McKinnon agrees. “I think there’s a greater potential for a third party than perhaps [at] any time in our history,” he says. “There is a very broad level of dissatisfaction throughout the electorate — right, left and middle.”

The Biggest Tax Hike Ever?

Is America headed for its biggest tax hike since World War II? The answer, nonpartisan fiscal watchdogs say, is yes — but with a big “if” and a few caveats. If Congress returns after the Nov. 2 midterm elections and does nothing, allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, then New Year’s Day will usher in the nation’s biggest tax increase since the end of World War II, according to Gerald Ahern, spokesman for the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax monitoring group. “If all the tax cuts are allowed to expire, the median American family will see a smaller paycheck and a tax increase of $1,540 on January 1,” Ahern said. And that could be just a start. “If there is total gridlock, then there will be additional tax breaks that will expire not connected to the Bush cuts,” he said, noting that if this happens, then Americans’ taxes would grow higher. Among those are the “patch” to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), the estate tax and a host of temporary tax cuts the Obama administration implemented as part of the stimulus package. “Not patching the AMT would cost an additional $70 billion” to taxpayers, Ahern said. The Treasury department says technically it wouldn’t be a tax increase — the result of a direct congressional action. It would simply be the expiration of existing programs.

The real problem — or the solution, experts say — is that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans in Congress want all the Bush tax cuts to expire. The Obama administration wants to renew all the cuts except those for individuals who make more than $200,000, or families that make more than $250,000 annually. That would mean a tax increase of $7 billion — but it wouldn’t be one for the record books. And Republicans, who are in the minority in both the Senate and the House, want to extend the tax cuts across the board. So while the political gap is a bitter one, most analysts feel it isn’t too wide to be closed.

Economic News

The Federal Reserve on Tuesday lowered its economic forecast for the rest of the year and added more fuel to wide speculation that it plans next month to take more dramatic steps to stimulate a sluggish recovery by purchasing government bonds. “Several members noted that unless the pace of economic recovery strengthened or underlying inflation (rose), they would consider it appropriate to take action soon,” the minutes of the meeting said. The central bank bought $1.7 trillion in mortgage securities and Treasury notes in 2009 and early this year to pump cash into stalled credit markets, pushing down mortgage rates about half a point.

The government is expected to announce this week that more than 58 million Social Security recipients will go through another year without an increase in their monthly benefits. It would mark only the second year without an increase since automatic adjustments for inflation were adopted in 1975. The first year was this year. The cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, are automatically set each year by an inflation measure that was adopted by Congress back in the 1970s. Based on inflation so far this year, the trustees who oversee Social Security project there will be no COLA for 2011.

The U.S. economy, the world’s largest, will expand less than previously estimated as a lack of jobs restrains consumer spending through 2011, a survey or economists showed. Gross domestic product will increase 2.6 percent this year and next, according to the median of 46 economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics from Sept. 2 to Sept. 21. A May poll projected growth of 3.2 percent for both years. Economists also cut estimates for personal spending, employment and consumer prices.

World Growing Dependent on China

In a phenomenon seen around the world, as both developed countries and emerging markets become dependent on China’s 1.3 billion people to fuel their economies. Because China now accounts for a quarter to a third of the world’s growth, it’s a crucial market for everyone’s export expansion. In the U.S., the Obama administration hopes to double overall exports by 2015, but that ambitious goal relies largely on its ability to expand economic ties with key trading partners. And the U.S.-China relationship is being severely tested in a year when tension has flared about business barriers, intellectual property rights and, most recently, the Chinese yuan, which some experts estimate is undervalued by 20% to 40%. U.S. manufacturers led by the steel industry, for instance, argue that the undervalued currency makes Chinese exports cheaper, hurting American companies’ competitiveness, and boosting unemployment and the U.S. trade deficit. But the undervalued yuan is helping America’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, and other companies that buy or make products in China. For U.S. consumers, a weaker yuan also means less inflationary pressure and lower prices for Chinese-made goods.

Chilean Miners Saved

So far, fourteen of the 33 miners trapped underground for more than two months in Chile were rescued Wednesday morning, and the mission continued to loud applause under a sunny sky. “I can’t believe we are all alive,” said Edison Pena, 34, the twelfth man to complete the half-mile long trip and emerge through a manhole-size opening to cheers, bear hugs and back slaps. The missile-like rescue container will continue its methodical journey through out the day, eventually plucking all the men to safety As it traveled down and up the 2,041-foot escape shaft, the capsule was not rotating as much as officials expected, allowing for faster trips, The rescues came as quickly as 39 minutes apart. The 33 trapped Chilean miners could face a variety of health problems after their rescue because of the dark, humid conditions underground. Being confined in a small space, without the opportunity to exercise normally, could also cause blood clots and muscle loss.

When the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile, collapsed, three of the miners were Christians. Since then, Baptist Press reports that two more of them have made professions of faith after a minister was invited to the camp above the mine. The miners finally got their own pastor two weeks away, when Pastor Marcelo Leiva of Vallenar Baptist Church in Vallenar, Chile, came from two hours away to join the camp above the men. Trapped miner Jose Henríquez’s family quickly connected Leiva to other families. “That [connection] allowed a lot of other people to hear the Word,” Leiva says, “and to know that in the midst of this catastrophe, God is in control, and it is the Lord who has kept their family members alive.”

Middle East

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered on Monday to extend his government’s moratorium on new settlement construction in the West Bank in trade for the Palestinian Authority’s recognition of Israel as the Jewish national home, but senior PA negotiator Saeb Erekat rejected the “racist” proposal out of hand. “We forcefully reject all these Israeli games,” said Erekat. “The racist demands of Netanyahu cannot be tied to the request to cease building in the settlements for the purpose of establishing a state.” Netanyahu had made the bold offer during his speech at the opening of the winter session of the Knesset earlier today. Netanyahu’s comments came after several weeks of suspense regarding how he would deal with the moratorium issue. He said that Palestinian recognition would be an important “confidence building measure” and would send an important positive message to the Israeli people of Palestinian intentions, but he added that PA leader Mahmoud Abbas had refused his offer conveyed through diplomatic channels in recent days. The move effectively exposes the PA’s attempts to set preconditions for direct talks while denying Israel the same right.

Afghanistan

U.S. military officials racing to make progress in Afghanistan are pressing new tactics to cut off the flow of Taliban fighters and bomb-making materials from Pakistan into key battlefields of the south, with some even advocating cross-border attacks, according to several U.S. civilian and military officials. The focus on southern Afghanistan is a response to the difficulties the U.S. has encountered this year in Kandahar and neighboring Helmand province, where the U.S. has sent tens of thousands of additional troops. Offensives in the region, the heartland of the Taliban movement, have struggled to clear guerrilla fighters who melt into the local population. U.S. and Afghan officials have in many areas not been able to establish stable government and improve services, priorities in the effort to win the hearts and minds of Afghan civilians.

The number of civilians killed or injured by coalition airstrikes has dropped dramatically over the past several years, despite an increase in fighting in Afghanistan. Coalition airstrikes caused 88 civilian casualties this year, down from 169 during the same period in 2008, according to coalition statistics. The numbers include both killed and injured. U.S. and allied commanders have made a reduction of civilian casualties a centerpiece of their strategy in Afghanistan, where an accidental death or injury often creates more enemies. Officials say more careful vetting of targets and restrained use of airstrikes have led to the reductions in civilian casualties.

Iran

Iran acknowledged Monday that some personnel at the country’s nuclear facilities were lured by promises of money to pass secrets to the West but insisted increased security and worker privileges have put a stop to the spying. The stunning admission by Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi provides the clearest government confirmation that Iran has been fighting espionage at its nuclear facilities… Yesterday’s revelation was the first public word that some personnel have engaged in espionage, although Tehran has arrested suspects in the past. With the announcement, Iran appears to be trying to raise public awareness about what it says are plots by the United States and its allies to derail Iran’s nuclear activities.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Iran‘s economy is under increasing strain four months after the latest international sanctions against Tehran, say Iranian businessmen, traders and consumers, who describe spreading pain from inflation, joblessness and mounting shortages. In interviews from within Iran, these people paint a picture of unsteady supply chains and disrupted exports. Ordinary Iranians say they worry they will be caught paying more for goods and services even as the government trims subsidies… ‘The economic crisis we are witnessing today is a direct result of the sanctions-and Iranian officials who say otherwise are fooling themselves,’ said Mojtaba Vahidi, who served as a top-level manager for nearly two decades in Iran’s ministries of finance and industry.”

Algeria

A security official says five people in Algeria have been killed by a remote control bomb that exploded at a work site in the North African country. The official says the bomb went off Tuesday as public works officials inspected a work site in Tlidjen, near the country’s eastern border. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Most attacks in Algeria are claimed by al-Qaeda in Islamic North Africa, a local Islamic insurgency movement that joined Osama bin Laden‘s terrorist network in 2006.

Hungary

An aerial photo taken months before a gigantic reservoir unleashed torrents of toxic sludge shows a faint red trail trickling through the container wall — part of a growing body of evidence that inspectors who gave the pit a clean bill of health may have missed warning signs. Police were examining the photo Tuesday as part of an investigation into how part of the wall containing the 10 million cubic meters (350 million cubic feet) of caustic slurry could have given way without structural weaknesses being detected by a team of inspectors from the government environmental agency who inspected the container pond less then two weeks before the spill.

China

China has accused foreign governments of interfering in its political system by backing the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to an imprisoned dissident. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Tuesday that politicians in some countries were using this peace prize to attack China. “This is not only disrespect for China’s judicial system, but also puts a big question mark on their true intentions,” he said. Beijing reacted angrily to Friday’s announcement awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo for his more than two decades of advocacy of human rights, calling him a criminal and warning Norway’s government that relations would suffer.

Weather

Hurricane Paula roared off Mexico‘s top vacation resort of Cancun on Wednesday and it was projected to veer into western Cuba‘s cigar-producting country. The Category 2 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph (160 kph), swiped at the island of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres overnight on a northward advance and was about 55 miles (90 kilometers) east of Cancun around dawn Wednesday. There were no immediate reports of major problems in Cancun or other resort areas.

Torrential downpours dumped up to 11 inches of rain on parts of eastern Australia on Monday, causing flash flooding, stranding cars and knocking out power to thousands. Heavy rain has been falling across coastal areas of southeastern Queensland state since Sunday, with wind gusts of up to 60 mph ripping branches from trees and downing power lines. No injuries or deaths were reported as a result of the storm. Brisbane police said several drivers had to be rescued from stranded vehicles, and many roads around the city were closed due to the flooding.

The U.N. weather agency says the La Nina climate pattern is likely to increase from moderate to strong over the next four to six months. The World Meteorological Organization says La Nina, characterized by abnormally cold sea-surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean, may result in drier conditions in South America and more Atlantic hurricanes. Recent heavy monsoon rains in South Asia are also typical of La Nina events. The latest La Nina represents the biggest and fastest ever observed swing from El Nino’s warm water conditions. La Nina occurs naturally every two to seven years.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: