Archive for February 6th, 2009

United Methodist Church Observes ‘Catastrophe’ of Israel

Friday, February 6th, 2009

God said He would bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel…….the UMC might want to lose their liberalism and check out their Bible on this one (and several other issues for that matter).

The United Methodist headquarters in Washington, DC, is hosting a month-long exhibit that portrays the founding of Israel as a catastrophe.

The display, which is titled “60 Years of Dispossession,” chronicles what Palestinians call the “Nakba” — the Palestinian word for “catastrophe.” Palestinians use the word to describe Israel’s founding, an event that is reviled in the Arab world. The photo exhibit trumps what it describes as “the 1948 mass deportation of Palestinians, massacres of civilians, and the razing to the ground of hundreds of Palestinian villages” following Israel’s creation.

According to a Faith in Action report, the exhibit is an “awareness building resource” that is being used in several countries to educate and inspire advocacy. But Mark Tooley, director of UM Action with the Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD), says the exhibit is proof that activists with the religious left have a deep dislike of Israel.

Original Link

Obama Does Not Consider Abortion as Killing Innocents

Friday, February 6th, 2009

If tiny babies are not considered “innocents”, I don’t know who is.

President Obama revealed his stance on pro-life issues at Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast.

During his first prayer breakfast in Washington, President Obama discussed the peaceful coexistence of different religions. He denounced death-dealing terrorism and then made this statement: “There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being.” (See earlier article)

Joe Scheidler, founder of the Pro-Life Action League, recalls that Obama is the most pro-abortion president in America’s history.

“There’s several times he’s said things to that effect, that you cannot kill an innocent person, an innocent human being,” he notes. “He just doesn’t make the connection, obviously, that the unborn child is an innocent human being and that he supports that kind of killing.”

Scheidler points to a disconnect in Obama’s thinking, as well as in the minds of his colleagues. “[Only] if somehow we could get him and most of his staff and the following of Barack Obama to see that all abortion is the killing of an innocent human being,” he laments.

He adds that the difference should be obvious to the president when as many as 300,000 people participated in the annual March for Life in Washington, DC, just two days after his inauguration.

Original Link

“Crisis, Catastrophe: Are These Words of Hope?” by Charles Krauthammer

Friday, February 6th, 2009

“A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe.”
— President Obama, Feb. 4.

WASHINGTON — Catastrophe, mind you. So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared “we have chosen hope over fear.” Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill.

And so much for the promise to banish the money changers and influence peddlers from the temple. An ostentatious executive order banning lobbyists was immediately followed by the nomination of at least a dozen current or former lobbyists to high position. Followed by a Treasury secretary who allegedly couldn’t understand the payroll tax provisions in his 1040. Followed by Tom Daschle, who had to fall on his sword according to the new Washington rule that no Cabinet can have more than one tax delinquent.

The Daschle affair was more serious because his offense involved more than taxes. As Michael Kinsley once observed, in Washington the real scandal isn’t what’s illegal, but what’s legal. Not paying taxes is one thing. But what made this case intolerable was the perfectly legal dealings that amassed Daschle $5.2 million in just two years.

He’d been getting $1 million per year from a law firm. But he’s not a lawyer, nor a registered lobbyist. You don’t get paid this kind of money to instruct partners on the Senate markup process. You get it for picking up the phone and peddling influence.

At least Tim Geithner, the tax-challenged Treasury secretary, had been working for years as a humble international civil servant earning non-stratospheric wages. Daschle, who had made another cool million a year (plus chauffeur and Caddy) for unspecified services to a pal’s private equity firm, represented everything Obama said he’d come to Washington to upend.

And yet more damaging to Obama’s image than all the hypocrisies in the appointment process is his signature bill: the stimulus package. He inexplicably delegated the writing to Nancy Pelosi and the barons of the House. The product, which inevitably carries Obama’s name, was not just bad, not just flawed, but a legislative abomination.

It’s not just pages and pages of special-interest tax breaks, giveaways and protections, one of which would set off a ruinous Smoot-Hawley trade war. It’s not just the waste, such as the $88.6 million for new construction for Milwaukee Public Schools, which, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, have shrinking enrollment, 15 vacant schools and, quite logically, no plans for new construction.

It’s the essential fraud of rushing through a bill in which the normal rules (committee hearings, finding revenue to pay for the programs) are suspended on the grounds that a national emergency requires an immediate job-creating stimulus — and then throwing into it hundreds of billions that have nothing to do with stimulus, that Congress’ own budget office says won’t be spent until 2011 and beyond, and that are little more than the back-scratching, special-interest, lobby-driven parochialism that Obama came to Washington to abolish. He said.

Not just to abolish but to create something new — a new politics where the moneyed pork-barreling and corrupt logrolling of the past would give way to a bottom-up, grass-roots participatory democracy. That is what made Obama so dazzling and new. Turns out the “fierce urgency of now” includes $150 million for livestock insurance.

The Age of Obama begins with perhaps the greatest frenzy of old-politics influence peddling ever seen in Washington. By the time the stimulus bill reached the Senate, reports The Wall Street Journal, pharmaceutical and high-tech companies were lobbying furiously for a new plan to repatriate overseas profits that would yield major tax savings. California wine growers and Florida citrus producers were fighting to change a single phrase in one provision. Substituting “planted” for “ready to market” would mean a windfall garnered from a new “bonus depreciation” incentive.

After Obama’s miraculous 2008 presidential campaign, it was clear that at some point the magical mystery tour would have to end. The nation would rub its eyes and begin to emerge from its reverie. The hallucinatory Obama would give way to the mere mortal. The great ethical transformations promised would be seen as a fairy tale that all presidents tell — and that this president told better than anyone.

I thought the awakening would take six months. It took two and a half weeks.

Original Link.

“Zero Hour Approaches” by Hal Lindsey

Friday, February 6th, 2009

We’ve been counting down to the year that Iran will finally become a nuclear power ever since Iranian dissidents exposed the Iranian nuclear program in 2002. European intelligence estimated it would take Iran until 2012 to achieve this. Israeli intelligence figured late 2007.

Last year’s National Intelligence Estimate completely undercut the Bush administration’s Iran foreign policy when it estimated Iran was still “many years” from being able to build a bomb.

The NIE predicted: “… with moderate confidence that the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough HEU [highly enriched uranium] for a weapon is late 2009, but that is very unlikely.”

Unlikely though it may have been, the International Atomic Energy Agency found that Iran had enriched enough uranium to make its first atomic bomb on Nov. 21, 2008. By now, as it brings new centrifuges online, Tehran may well have enough for a second.

The head of Russia’s state nuclear corporation, Sergei Kiriyenko, was quoted from the Kremlin on Wednesday confirming the launch of the Bushehr reactor later this year. Iran’s nuclear ambitions are no longer even remotely unclear.

Yet, knowing this, Moscow fully intends to supply Iran with all the nuclear material it needs.

In Gaza, Hamas is claiming victory on the same ground as did Hezbollah in 2006. It survived, and Israel pulled out without meeting all its objectives. Rockets continue to rain down on Israel from Gaza, and Hamas continues to hold Israeli solider Gilad Shalit hostage.

To the north, either out of nervous tension or tactical plan, Hezbollah launched several rockets into Israel. Syrian troops opened fire with small arms on Israeli troops on their side of the border near Sheba Farms. In a couple of days, Israeli voters are likely to return Benjamin Netanyahu to power, which changes the whole equation in the region.

WorldNetDaily reported yesterday of a secret message sent by Netanyahu to Hamas’ top leadership saying that if they don’t stop the rocket attacks against Israel, he will order the IDF to “wipe them out.”

Netanyahu makes three specific promises to voters upon the strength of which he is expected to win. The first is the destruction of Hamas.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Netanyahu speaking from the site of a Grad missile strike in Ashkelon on Monday, saying: “A government under my leadership will overthrow the Hamas rule in Gaza and bring about a cessation of rocket fire,” he said. “The policy of blindness followed in the past years has brought us to this situation.”

The second is the destruction of Hezbollah and Syrian influence over Lebanon. The third promise is left deliberately vague: “Iran will not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons.” Netanyahu doesn’t elaborate on exactly how Israel will prevent it. But notice something curious about that. Not many Israelis want him to.

Taking a step back and looking at the Big Picture, it is hard not to miss the fact that events are developing in concert with the ancient prophecies of Scripture.

The Prophet Isaiah foretold the “burden of Damascus” (Isaiah 17:1) in which the prophet predicts the overnight destruction of that great city in the last days: “At evening time, behold there is terror! Before morning they are no more. Such will be the portion of those who plunder us, and the lot of those who pillage us.” (Isaiah 17:14)

The Prophet Ezekiel predicts an alliance between Russia and an Islamic confederacy headed by Iran, or Persia.

Hamas continues to attack Israel with rocket attacks for the sheer joy of the violence of it all. Related to this, the Prophet Obadiah pronounced this verdict against Edom, who is one of the forefathers of the people of Hamas, saying, “Because of violence to your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame, and you will be cut off forever.” Interestingly, the word translated as “violence” in this Scripture is the Hebrew word, chamac, pronounced “hamas.”

Of all the generations in history, it is to this generation that the prophecies of the last days are addressed. Previous generations looked for the signs given by Scripture, but only this generation can truly see them all come together at one time – which is itself a key fulfillment of prophecy.

The Prophet Daniel predicted these conditions: “And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, ‘Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.'” (Daniel 12:8-9) We are witnessing the “unsealing” of the end-times prophecies.

The same Spirit that inspired the incredible accuracy of the prophets to this point is not likely to suddenly have a misstep. So what does that mean? The Lord of the Universe is getting ready to judge the world. But before that, He will come for His own. Make sure you are one of them.

Original Link.

Charges to Be Dropped Against USS Cole Bombing Suspect

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Gee Obama, that’s a really great way to fight terror…NOT!!

The senior military judge overseeing terror trials at Guantanamo Bay is expected to drop charges Friday against a suspect in the 2000 USS Cole bombing, FOX News has confirmed.

The legal move by the Hon. Susan J. Crawford would bring all Guantanamo cases into compliance with President Barack Obama’s executive order to halt court proceedings at the Navy detention center in Cuba.

Judge James Pohl had refused the Obama administration’s request to delay the arraignment of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the accused planner of the Cole attack in Yemen.

A senior Obama administration official told The Associated Press that the charges against al-Nashiri will be dismissed without prejudice. That means new charges can be brought again later in another venue, possibly a military court martial or criminal court.

It also gives the White House time to review the legal cases of all 245 terror suspects held there and decide whether they should be prosecuted in the U.S. or released to other nations.

Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kurt Lippold, who was commander of the USS Cole when it was attacked in Yemeni waters in 2000, told FOX News that he was invited to the White House on Friday for a special meeting with Obama.

Lippold decried Obama’s request to delay all pending trials at Guantanamo. But he told FOX News he “will go with an open mind and wait to see and hear what President Obama has to offer.”

Original Link.

Obama Whines to Public via Op-Ed Piece in WaPo

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Instead of being a real leader, our esteemed president chooses to whine to the American public, about opposition to his spend-a-rama so-called “stimulus” bill, via an op-ed piece in the Washington Post.
The piece is loaded with “straw man” arguments and thinly veiled threats.
Where is the leadership? Why does he insist on acting like a spoiled toddler who throws a temper tantrum every time he doesn’t get his way?
By the way, for those who might have forgotten the definition of “straw man arguments” (I know I had), here it is:
“A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position. To “set up a straw man,” one describes a position that superficially resembles an opponent’s actual view, yet is easier to refute. Then, one attributes that position to the opponent. For example, someone might deliberately overstate the opponent’s position. While a straw man argument may work as a rhetorical technique—and succeed in persuading people—it carries little or no real evidential weight, since the opponent’s actual argument has not been refuted.”

By now, it’s clear to everyone that we have inherited an economic crisis as deep and dire as any since the days of the Great Depression. Millions of jobs that Americans relied on just a year ago are gone; millions more of the nest eggs families worked so hard to build have vanished. People everywhere are worried about what tomorrow will bring.

What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives — action that’s swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis.

Because each day we wait to begin the work of turning our economy around, more people lose their jobs, their savings and their homes. And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.

Notice the fear mongering in that last sentence. The country recovered from the Great Depression, that was much worse than this current crisis. There are banking safeguards in place today that did not exist back then. There are stock market safeguards in place today that were not available before the Great Depression. There are still a great many number of economist who do not believe that massive spending by government helped back then or will help now.

On to the “Straw Man” arguments:

In recent days, there have been misguided criticisms of this plan that echo the failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis — the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems; that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures; that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

I don’t know of anyone who has said this. Most knowledgeable economist believe that large tax cuts to small businesses and individuals will carry the most impact. This puts money in people’s pockets now. There does need to be some spending, but it should be minimal, and as we have said on this blog, it should actually create jobs as opposed to being funding for the pet pork projects of the Democrats and liberal Republicans.

Our dependence on foreign oil still threatens our economy and our security.

Let me remind everyone that it is the Democrats who have opposed domestic drilling and new refineries at every turn.

…to computerize the health-care records of every American within five years

We blogged about this before. Federalization of medical records is the first step toward federalizing health care, which has been disastrous in every other country that has tried it.

Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs points out these as well:

… that we can meet our enormous tests with half-steps and piecemeal measures…

Who has ever said this? Who would say such a ridiculous thing?

… that we can ignore fundamental challenges such as energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive.

“Ignore energy independence and health care?” Again, where can I find the pundits who write these things? Because I read a lot of political opinion pieces, and I don’t recall ever seeing such a viewpoint advocated.

This is the same kind of empty, false rhetoric he employed in his campaign—attacking stances that no one has espoused, and no one even would espouse.

Obama’s lack of leadership and management skills is becoming more apparent by the day.

Original Link.

“50 De-Stimulating Facts” By Stephen Spruiell & Kevin Williamson

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Senate Democrats acknowledged Wednesday that they do not have the votes to pass the stimulus bill in its current form. This is unexpected good news. The House passed the stimulus package with zero Republican votes (and even a few Democratic defections), but few expected Senate Republicans (of whom there are only 41) to present a unified front. A few moderate Democrats have reportedly joined them.

The idea that the government can spend the economy out of a recession is highly questionable, and even with Senate moderates pushing for changes, the current package is unlikely to see much improvement. Nevertheless, this presents an opportunity to remove some of the most egregious spending, to shrink some programs, and to add guidelines where the initial bill called for a blank check. Here are 50 of the most outrageous items in the stimulus package:

The easiest targets in the stimulus bill are the ones that were clearly thrown in as a sop to one liberal cause or another, even though the proposed spending would have little to no stimulative effect. The National Endowment for the Arts, for example, is in line for $50 million, increasing its total budget by a third. The unemployed can fill their days attending abstract-film festivals and sitar concerts…

$50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
$380 million in the Senate bill for the Women, Infants and Children program
$300 million for grants to combat violence against women
$2 billion for federal child-care block grants
$6 billion for university building projects
$15 billion for boosting Pell Grant college scholarships
$4 billion for job-training programs, including $1.2 billion for “youths” up to the age of 24
$1 billion for community-development block grants
$4.2 billion for “neighborhood stabilization activities”
$650 million for digital-TV coupons; $90 million to educate “vulnerable populations”

The stimulus package’s tax provisions are poorly designed and should be replaced with something closer to what the Republican Study Committee in the House has proposed. Obama would extend some of the business tax credits included in the stimulus bill Congress passed about a year ago, and this is good as far as it goes. The RSC plan, however, also calls for a cut in the corporate-tax rate that could be expected to boost wages, lower prices, and increase profits, stimulating economic activity across the board…

$15 billion for business-loss carry-backs
$145 billion for “Making Work Pay” tax credits
$83 billion for the earned income credit

Even as their budgets were growing robustly during the Bush administration, many federal agencies couldn’t find the money to keep up with repairs—at least that’s the conclusion one is forced to draw from looking at the stimulus bill. Apparently the entire capital is a shambles. Congress has already removed $200 million to fix up the National Mall after word of that provision leaked out and attracted scorn. But one fixture of the mall—the Smithsonian—dodged the ax: It’s slated to receive $150 million for renovations…

$150 million for the Smithsonian
$34 million to renovate the Department of Commerce headquarters
$500 million for improvement projects for National Institutes of Health facilities
$44 million for repairs to Department of Agriculture headquarters
$350 million for Agriculture Department computers
$88 million to help move the Public Health Service into a new building
$448 million for constructing a new Homeland Security Department headquarters
$600 million to convert the federal auto fleet to hybrids
$450 million for NASA (carve-out for “climate-research missions”)
$600 million for NOAA (carve-out for “climate modeling”)
$1 billion for the Census Bureau

A big chunk of the stimulus package is designed not to create wealth but to spread it around. It contains $89 billion in Medicaid extensions and $36 billion in expanded unemployment benefits—and this is in addition to the state-budget bailout (see “Rewarding state irresponsibility” below)…

$89 billion for Medicaid
$30 billion for COBRA insurance extension
$36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits
$20 billion for food stamps

The problem with trying to spend $1 trillion quickly is that you end up wasting a lot of it. Take, for instance, the proposed $4.5 billion addition to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers budget. Not only does this effectively double the Corps’ budget overnight, but it adds to the Corps’ $3.2 billion unobligated balance—money that has been appropriated, but that the Corps has not yet figured out how to spend. Keep in mind, this is an agency that is often criticized for wasting taxpayers’ money. “They cannot spend that money wisely,” says Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense. “I don’t even think they can spend that much money unwisely.”…

$4.5 billion for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
$850 million for Amtrak
$87 million for a polar icebreaking ship
$1.7 billion for the National Park System
$55 million for Historic Preservation Fund
$7.6 billion for “rural community advancement programs”
$150 million for agricultural-commodity purchases
$150 million for “producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised fish”

Open up the section of the stimulus devoted to renewable energy and what you find is anti-stimulus: billions of dollars allocated to money-losing technologies that have not proven cost-efficient despite decades of government support. “Green energy” is not a new idea, Riedl points out. The government has poured billions into loan-guarantees and subsidies and has even mandated the use of ethanol in gasoline, to no avail. “It is the triumph of hope over experience,” he says, “to think that the next $20 billion will magically transform the economy.”…

$2 billion for renewable-energy research ($400 million for global-warming research)
$2 billion for a “clean coal” power plant in Illinois
$6.2 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program
$3.5 billion for energy-efficiency and conservation block grants
$3.4 billion for the State Energy Program
$200 million for state and local electric-transport projects
$300 million for energy-efficient-appliance rebate programs
$400 million for hybrid cars for state and local governments
$1 billion for the manufacturing of advanced batteries
$1.5 billion for green-technology loan guarantees
$8 billion for innovative-technology loan-guarantee program
$2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects
$4.5 billion for electricity grid

One of the ugliest aspects of the stimulus package is a bailout for spendthrift state legislatures. Remember the old fable about the ant and the grasshopper? In Aesop’s version, the happy-go-lucky grasshopper realizes the error of his ways when winter comes and he goes hungry while the industrious ant lives on his stores. In Obama’s version, the federal government levies a tax on the ant and redistributes his wealth to the party-hearty grasshopper, who just happens to belong to a government-employees’ union. This happens through something called the “State Fiscal Stabilization Fund,” by which taxpayers in the states that have exercised financial discipline are raided to subsidize Democratic-leaning Electoral College powerhouses—e.g., California—that have spent their way into big trouble…

$79 billion for State Fiscal Stabilization Fund

Read the complete article here.