Pro-Life Message Spreads in China

Baptist Press reports that opponents of abortion in China are using various forms of media to communicate the pro-life message in the face of the country’s coercive abortion regime, and their message is spreading widely. Even as they utilize Internet sites, DVDs and booklets, Chinese pro-lifers recognize, however, their mission is daunting on a variety of levels. While pro-lifers in China work against the power of the world’s strongest Communist system, Christians in unregistered churches reportedly are the targets of a new crackdown by the government. During the three-decade one-child program, the state actions against women have included forced abortions, even on women in the eighth and ninth months of pregnancy, and compulsory sterilizations. Infanticide, especially of female babies, also has been reported. Penalties for violations of the policy also have included fines, arrests and the destruction of homes. At least 13 million abortions are performed in China each year, according to an estimate by the country’s National Population and Family Planning Commission.

Clinton Supports Tax Deal

Former President Bill Clinton came before surprised reporters to let it be known that he endorsed the tax deal that Obama cut with the Republican Party, even though many Democrats were raising a fuss about it. There was to be no press coverage allowed of Obama’s meeting with Clinton. No photos, no questions, not even a written statement about what happened. That changed when Obama and Clinton wrapped up their private meeting in the Oval Office. Clinton wanted to publicly endorse the tax package. Obama is welcoming all the help he can get. Clinton comfortably outlined how the pending package of tax cuts, business incentives and unemployment benefits would boost the economy — even though it included tax help for the wealthy that Obama had to swallow. As votes in the Senate are scheduled to begin Monday on President Obama’s controversial tax-cut deal with Republicans, some Democratic opposition appears to be easing and the White House is predicting passage by year’s end.

President Obama’s plan to cut payroll taxes for a year would provide big savings for many workers, but makes Social Security advocates nervous that it could jeopardize the retirement program’s finances. The plan is part of a package of tax cuts and extended unemployment benefits that Obama negotiated with Senate Republican leaders. It would cut workers’ share of Social Security taxes by nearly one-third for 2011. Workers making $50,000 in wages would get a $1,000 tax cut; those making $100,000 would get a $2,000 tax cut. The government would borrow about $112 billion to make Social Security whole.

The tax-cut deal may help the economy and create jobs, but it’s almost sure to guarantee him another $1 trillion-plus deficit in 2011. That would give the first-term president a hat trick on trillion-dollar deficits — three more than any previous president had. The 2009 deficit was $1.4 trillion, and the 2010 deficit was $1.3 trillion. In just two months of the 2011 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, the deficit was about $290 billion. That’s equal to the entire 1992 deficit, which set a record and helped doom President George H.W. Bush’s re-election.

  • · Our economy is in a catch-22 situation due to decades of profligate spending. We need more jobs but increased debt may push us over the tipping point. It may be too late to maintain the current delicate balance.

UN Climate Meeting OKs Green Fund

A U.N. conference on Saturday adopted a modest climate deal creating a fund to help the developing world go green, though it deferred for another year the tough work of carving out deeper reductions in carbon emissions causing Earth to steadily warm. Though the accords were limited, it was the first time in three years the 193-nation conference adopted any climate action, somewhat restoring faith in the unwieldy U.N. process after the letdown a year ago at a much-anticipated summit in Copenhagen. After debating into the early hours, the conference overrode a lone objection by Bolivia, which argued the plan did not do enough to do enough combat climate change. The Cancun Agreements created institutions for delivering technology and funding to poorer countries, though they did not say where the funding would come from.

Border Security, Immigration Reform Continue to Vex U.S.

When it comes to grappling with immigration, the United States is hardly alone. But it is in a league of its own. With 42 million foreign-born residents, the United States has, by a large margin, more immigrants than any nation on Earth, where more than 200 million people live outside their home country. It also has the world’s largest population of illegal immigrants, more than half of them from Mexico. Congress has tried multiple times in the past decade to enact comprehensive immigration reform, legislation that would balance border security, a guest-worker program and legalization for illegal immigrants. The most recent attempt died in the Senate in 2007 amid a national outcry over what critics call “amnesty.” Despite continuing talk, politicians have been reluctant to revisit the issue, instead focusing on border security and enforcement. With a lack of meaningful action by the federal government, which has been decried by immigration advocates and opponents alike, states have begun trying to fill the void. Arizona, with a large illegal-immigrant population and ground zero for illegal border crossing, has led the way.

Judge Dismisses Part of Challenge to Arizona Law

A federal judge has dismissed parts of the U.S. Department of Justice’s challenge to Arizona’s new immigration law. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton’s ruling last Friday struck down the federal government’s challenge to the portion of the law that prohibits the transport of illegal immigrants. But Bolton’s ruling didn’t have any effect on the portions of the law that she previously prevented from taking effect, including a requirement that immigrants get or carry immigration registration papers. Bolton on Friday denied Gov. Jan Brewer’s request to dismiss challenges to the law’s most controversial sections.

DREAM Act Originator Now Opposes It

The DREAM Act (the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act) was originally proposed by Sen. Orrin Hatch [R-UT] and Sen. Dick Durbin [D-IL] in 2001. Every Congress since 2001 has attempted to enact it either as a stand alone bill or as a rider on every immigration bill proffered by either the House or the Senate. While the legislation initially had bipartisan support since the path to citizenship for illegals came through military service to our nation, that changed. When the far left took control of both Houses of Congress in 2007, the Dream Act changed with the political philosophy of those in power. In 2009, the Dream Act was introduced for the fifth time. This time, it was no longer a bipartisan bill. The 2009 version was proffered by Durbin and Congressman Howard Berman [D-CA]. But now, Senator Hatch has reconsidered his position and has officially stated he is opposed to the Dream Act.

Pat Downs of Children an Opening for Pedophiles

It was a suggestion from a Transportation Security Administration official from several years back that airport security personnel should treat as a “game” their pat-downs of little children, but it’s raising alarms among those who advocate for children. The issue is that experts confirm that making a “game” of touching often is how pedophiles will approach and then groom small children they intend for their victims. “Of course this opens the door to future pedophiles, teachers, little friends and others ‘playing’ the ‘pat down game’ with children, and taking it further as the traumatized child tries to understand what is happening,” Dr. Judith Reisman told WorldNetDaily. “The pedophile ‘grooming’ process has been made into international training. With congressmen lusting over Playboy on the airplane, hundreds of Pentagon officials downloading child pornography, an university officials ‘objectively’ wanting child pornography made legal, who is going to be left in our society to understand what normal, moral sexual conduct is all about?”

Assange ‘Rape’ Accuser Linked to CIA

One of the women accusing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of sex crimes appears to have worked with a group that has connections to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). James D. Catlin, a lawyer who recently represented Assange, said the sex assault investigation into the WikiLeaks founder is based on claims he didn’t use condoms during sex with two Swedish women. Swedish prosecutors told AOL News last week that Assange was not wanted for rape as has been reported, but for something called “sex by surprise” or “unexpected sex.” One accuser, Anna Ardin, may have “ties to the US-financed anti-Castro and anti-communist groups.” While in Cuba, Ardin worked with the Las damas de blanco (the Ladies in White), a feminist anti-Castro group. Professor Michael Seltzer pointed out that the group is led by Carlos Alberto Montaner who is reportedly connected to the CIA.

  • · A blatant frame-up to preserve government secrets and keep the ‘masses’ enslaved in darkness

Libraries Welcome Homeless to ‘Community Living Rooms’

Public libraries are becoming more hospitable to the homeless by hosting social-service agencies, organizing events such as book clubs and movie matinees and redesigning their facilities. Instead of trying to deter the homeless from congregating, libraries welcome them and rely on codes of conduct that address issues such as hygiene and behavior to prevent their presence from intimidating other patrons, says Audra Caplan, president of the Public Library Association. The homeless “go to libraries because they don’t have anywhere else to go, and that’s a shame,” she says. A federal court ruled in 1992 that the First Amendment gives everyone the right of access to information, but libraries can enforce reasonable rules, says Mary Minow, a library law consultant. “Libraries are becoming our community living rooms,” San Francisco  Librarian Luis Herrera says.

‘Do Not Track’ Could Revolutionize Online Ad Pndustry

If you’re like most Web users, you probably don’t realize how intensively your visits to many of the most popular pages on the Internet are scrutinized. In fact, the art of anonymous, Internetwide monitoring of who visits what webpage has been advancing dramatically, driven by advertisers’ desire to tailor their messages to specific groups of customers. This month, however, the Federal Trade Commission — responding to complaints that “tracking” software can violate the privacy of those using the Web — moved to put the brakes on such monitoring. The FTC called for a “Do Not Track” mechanism that would enable consumers to opt out of being tailed around the Web. Privacy advocates praised the move, saying that tracking has gotten out of hand. Opponents counter that the Do Not Track plan would disrupt the burgeoning online advertising industry, putting at risk the estimated $300 billion of U.S. economic activity it helps to foster.

  • · As usual, greed is championed over individual rights

Economic News

Last month’s federal budget deficit set an all-time high for November, hitting $150.4 billion, 25% more than a year ago, the Treasury Department reports. That’s the 26th-straight month of shortfalls, another record.

The number of people filing for bankruptcy protection in retirement has soared in recent years — even before the recession. In fact, people 65 and older are the fastest-growing segment of the population seeking bankruptcy protection. Their medical expenses, taxes and other costs keep going up, while their income is going down. Social Security hasn’t had a cost-of-living adjustment in a long time and pensions and retirement accounts took a huge hit during the recession. Reverse mortgages and other alternatives presented to them as “solutions” often just dig them further in the hole. Elder Americans carry 50% more credit-card debt than their younger counterparts.

An encouraging trade report and signs that a tax cut package would pass the Senate sent stocks to their highest levels in two years Friday. Bond prices fell for another day as investors expected the tax deal to lead to economic growth and higher budget deficits. The appeal of bonds may be dimming, as investors took more money out of bond mutual funds than they put in last month. The pullout snapped a two-year string of positive monthly flows into bonds, where investors have sought refuge after the financial crisis soured many people on stocks.

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., once the nation’s largest grocer, filed for bankruptcy protection late Sunday after years of struggling with enormous debt and rising competition from low-priced peers. The 151-year-old company, based in Montvale, N.J., operates 395 supermarkets in the northeastern United States under the A&P, Waldbaum’s, The Food Emporium, Super Fresh, Pathmark and Food Basics banners. It said all its stores, which employ 41,000 people, will remain open.

Middle East

Israel’s leader dismissed on Sunday a top ally’s call to share the holy city of Jerusalem with the Palestinians, another reminder of the challenges the U.S. faces as it shifts gears on its troubled Mideast peacemaking strategy. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reaffirmation of his intention to hold on to east Jerusalem was liable to escalate friction between the two sides and with the Americans. The White House Mideast envoy is scheduled to arrive this week in another attempt to push peace efforts forward. The conflicting claims to east Jerusalem lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The dispute over the area, home to sensitive Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites, has derailed past peace talks and spilled into violence. The Palestinians want to establish their future state in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel later annexed east Jerusalem in a move that is not recognized by the international community.

  • · Jerusalem is God’s capital on earth and He does not want to share it with Satan. It’s boundaries were established ages ago, not in the 1900s by political machinations.

Afghanistan

A roadside bomb planted by the Taliban has killed 15 civilians in a dangerous and remote region of southern Afghanistan, officials said Saturday. The attack happened Friday afternoon as a pickup carrying villagers to a nearby bazaar rolled over the bomb. Also Saturday, a suicide bomber blew up a stolen police car that had been packed with explosives, injuring at least 14 people near an army checkpoint in northern Afghanistan. Six NATO service members were killed Sunday in an insurgent attack in southern  Afghanistan Sunday. More than 670 international troops have been killed so far this year, well above the 502 killed in the whole of 2009.

Taliban small-arms attacks against U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan are nearly twice what they were a year ago, a reflection of increased coalition penetration of Taliban strongholds and the insurgency’s resilience, military officials and analysts said. U.S. forces have encountered more than 18,000 attacks this year from Taliban fighters armed with automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and in some cases missiles, according to data from the Pentagon. That compares with about 10,600 such attacks in 2009.

Iran

Iran‘s nuclear program is still in chaos despite its leaders’ adamant claim that they have contained the computer worm that attacked their facilities, cybersecurity experts in the United States and Europe say. The American and European experts say their security websites, which deal with the computer worm known as Stuxnet, continue to be swamped with traffic from Tehran and other places in the Islamic Republic, an indication that the worm continues to infect the computers at Iran’s two nuclear sites. The Stuxnet worm, named after initials found in its code, is the most sophisticated cyberweapon ever created. Examination of the worm shows it was a cybermissile designed to penetrate advanced security systems. It was equipped with a warhead that targeted and took over the controls of the centrifuge systems at Iran’s uranium processing center in Natanz, and it had a second warhead that targeted the massive turbine at the nuclear reactor in Bashehr.

Sweden

Swedish police said Sunday that two explosions in central Stockholm were an act of terrorism by what appeared to be a suicide bomber, who killed himself and injured two people. A car exploded in the city center near Drottninggatan, causing panic among Christmas shoppers. Shortly afterward, a second explosion was heard higher up on the same street. A Swedish news agency has reported receiving an email just before the blast referring to a case of a cartoon of Muhammad that outraged the Muslim world and to the country’s soldiers in Afghanistan. No one died except for the bombing suspect, but two explosions in Sweden’s capital tore at the fabric of this tolerant and open nation — a society that hadn’t seen a terrorist attack in more than three decades.

Somalia

The European Union anti-piracy force says pirates have hijacked a U.S.-operated ship with 23 crewmembers aboard. The EU Naval Force said the MV Panama was attacked Friday just east of the Tanzania-Mozambique border, making it one of the most southerly attacks Somali pirates have pulled off. Somali pirates currently hold more than 500 crewmembers hostage from more than 20 ships. An international flotilla of warships has not been able to prevent continued attacks.

Weather

A powerful winter storm roared across the upper Midwest on Sunday with high winds and mounds of snow closing roads in several states and canceling more than 1,400 flights in Chicago. At least two weather-related deaths were reported Sunday. The storm system dumped nearly 2 feet of snow in parts of Minnesota and caused the Metrodome’s inflatable, Teflon roof to collapse moved east. The winter weather, with blowing snow that severely limited visibility, wreaked havoc on air and road travel. In the Chicago area, wind gusts of up to 50 mph, temperatures in the teens Fahrenheit, and wind chills well below zero.

A blast of Arctic air was sweeping down the Eastern Seaboard early Monday. It was forecast to drop temperatures below freezing as far south as Florida, where Gov. Charlie Crist declared a state of emergency for citrus growers, and cause flight delays in the Northeast after wreaking havoc on travel in the upper Midwest.

A mudslide on rail tracks in Washington state has shut down Amtrak’s route between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle. Mudslides north of Vancouver, Washington, led to a 48-hour moratorium. The mudslides were caused by recent heavy rains.

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