Archive for June 15th, 2009

Christ the Wisdom and Power of God

Monday, June 15th, 2009

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”


Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (New International Version)

“Just Make Stuff Up – President Obama’s War on the Truth” By Victor Davis Hanson

Monday, June 15th, 2009

In the first six months of the Obama administration, we have witnessed an assault on the truth of a magnitude not seen since the Nixon Watergate years. The prevarication is ironic given the Obama campaign’s accusations that the Bush years were not transparent and that Hillary Clinton, like her husband, was a chronic fabricator. Remember Obama’s own assertions that he was a “student of history” and that “words mean something. You can’t just make stuff up.”

Yet Obama’s war against veracity is multifaceted.

Trotskyization. Sometimes the past is simply airbrushed away. Barack Obama has a disturbing habit of contradicting his past declarations as if spoken words did not mean much at all. The problem is not just that once-memorable statements about everything from NAFTA to public campaign financing were contradicted by his subsequent actions. Rather, these pronouncements simply were ignored to the point of making it seem they were never really uttered at all.

What is stunning about Obama’s hostile demagoguery about Bush’s War on Terror is not that he has now contradicted himself on one or two particulars. Instead, he has reversed himself on every major issue — renditions, military tribunals, intercepts, wiretaps, Predator drone attacks, the release of interrogation photos, Iraq (and, I think, soon Guantanamo Bay) — and yet never acknowledged these reversals.

Are we supposed to think that Obama was never against these protocols at all? Or that he still remains opposed to them even as he keeps them in place? Meanwhile, his attorney general, Eric Holder, is as voluble on the excesses of the Bush War on Terror as he is silent about his own earlier declarations that detainees in this war were not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Convention.

Politicians often go back on earlier promises, and they often exaggerate (remember Obama’s “10,000” who died in a Kansas tornado [12 perished], or his belief that properly inflating tires saves as much energy as offshore drilling can produce?). But the extent of Obama’s distortions suggests that he has complete confidence that observers in the media do not care — or at least do not care enough to inform the public.

The “Big Lie.” Team Obama says that Judge Sotomayor misspoke when she asserted that Latinas were inherently better judges than white males. Yet the people around Obama knew before Sotomayor was nominated that she has reiterated such racialist sentiments repeatedly over many years.

Obama complained that his deficits were largely inherited — even though his newly projected annual deficit and aggregate increase in the national debt may well, if they are not circumvented, equal all the deficit spending compiled by all previous administrations combined.

The president lectures Congress on its financial excesses. He advocates “pay as you go” budgeting. But he remains silent about the unfunded liabilities involved in his own proposals for cap-and-trade, universal health care, and education reform, which will in aggregate require well over a trillion dollars in new spending on top of existing deficits — but without any “pay as you go” proposals to fund them.

By the same token, his promise that 95 percent of Americans will receive an Obama “tax cut” is impossible. Remember, almost 40 percent of households currently pay no income taxes at all — and the $1.7-trillion annual deficit will necessitate a broad array of taxes well beyond those assessed on incomes above $250,000.

Obama talks about cutting federal outlays by eliminating $17 billion in expenditures — one-half of one percent of a $3.4-trillion budget. Here the gap between rhetoric and reality is already so wide that it simply makes no difference whether one goes completely beyond the limits of belief. Why would a liberal “budget hawk” go through the trouble of trying to cut 10 or 20 percent of the budget when he might as well celebrate a 0.5 percent cut and receive the same amount of credit or disdain? If one is going to distort, one might as well distort whole-hog.

Outright historical dissimulation. On matters of history, we now know that much of what President Obama says is either not factual or at least misleading. He predictably errs on the side of political correctness. During the campaign, there was his inaccurate account of his great-uncle’s role in liberating Auschwitz. In Berlin, he asserted that the world — rather than the American and British air forces — came together to pull off the Berlin Airlift.

In the Cairo speech, nearly every historical allusion was nonfactual or inexact: the fraudulent claims that Muslims were responsible for European, Chinese, and Hindu discoveries; the notion that a Christian Córdoba was an example of Islamic tolerance during the Inquisition; the politically correct canard that the Renaissance and Enlightenment were fueled by Arab learning; the idea that abolition and civil rights in the United States were accomplished without violence — as if 600,000 did not die in the Civil War, or entire swaths of Detroit, Gary, Newark, and Los Angeles did not go up in flames in the 1960s.

Here we see the omnipotent influence of Obama’s multicultural creed: Western civilization is unexceptional in comparison with other cultures, and history must be the story of an ecumenical, global shared brotherhood.

Read the complete article here.

“Jerusalem: Trigger to Armageddon” by Terry James

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Normally, I would not use my previous writings in a “Nearing Midnight” column. However, because I sense as being so egregious the noose presently being tightened around the Jewish people and Jerusalem, the city on earth considered by God the most important in His relationship to man, the previous segments I’ve chosen are, I believe, appropriate as part of this update.

Current issues and events that look to be harbingers of the biblically-prophesied apocalypse bombard this generation of earth’s inhabitants. Jesus’ Olivet Discourse prophecies, foretelling things to come in the time of “great tribulation,” seem to leap from news reports that are becoming so routine that they no longer shock. No signal is more prophetically significant than present circumstances involving the city where Jesus was crucified nearly twenty centuries ago.

This is as the Old and New Testament prophets said it will be just before Christ returns to a planet that is home to a world of rebels against God. That rebellion is scheduled, the prophets forewarn, to culminate in history’s final and most destructive war. Armageddon will be triggered because of the determination of Satan and fallen mankind to install themselves upon the single spot on earth dearest to the heart of God.

Mt. Moriah sits at the southern end of the ancient city, crested by a golden dome that represents as many as 1.2 billion people whose religion demands of its adherents’ blood-vowed opposition to God’s chosen nation, Israel. This is the place God picked to have His temple on earth constructed. It is the precise location where the third temple will sit–the temple that will be desecrated by Antichrist, earth’s last and most beastly tyrant.

Even more importantly, the Temple Mount will be the home of Christ’s millennial temple. Moriah, then to be known as Zion, will be supernaturally elevated by the tremendous topographical changes caused when the Lord’s foot touches the Mount of Olives at His return. The person who takes upon himself the mantle of responsibility for overseeing the rebuilding of a Jewish temple has weighed in about controversies surrounding Mt. Moriah at present.

“U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo last week robbed Judaism of its legacy and threatens the existence of the Jewish state, according to Temple Institute Rabbi Chaim Richman. The rabbi also said the president’s comments were in essence perverse and obscene. He responded point by point to President Obama’s speech in which he said that ‘settlements are illegitimate,’ that the re-establishment of the State of Israel is rooted in the Holocaust, and that denying the Holocaust is a sin but that Iran, whose leader denies the Holocaust, has a right to nuclear power.

President Obama ‘is making our right to be here illegitimate,’ according to Rabbi Richman, who is director of the Temple Institute.

Regarding President Obama’s statement that Jerusalem is holy to the Muslims, the rabbi pointed out that when praying, ‘the Muslims bow down, and they face Mecca and they turn their back sides up to” Jerusalem’” (“Temple Institute Rabbi: Obama is a Robber,” by IsraelNN staff,, 6/11/09).

Hostilities surrounding Jerusalem and the Temple Mount are all-consuming in the heretofore unachievable quest for peace. Diplomats of the world have, for the past four decades, engaged in effort after effort to bring stability to the region, at whose heart the city of Jerusalem sits. We remember the many jettings to and from Washington D.C., Jerusalem, and other capitals of the Mideast. From Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, James Baker, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, to, now, Hillary Clinton and even Barack Obama–America’s secretaries of state and a most strangely assertive president have burned mega-gallons of jet fuel in trying to find the formula for peace that would diffuse the Armageddon bomb. All of that diplomatic shuffling is mere prelude to the fretting that is about to take place over this, the most important, thus most volatile city on planet earth.

Zechariah the prophet foretold the end-time anxiety that we believe is observably now on the precipice of gripping the international community:

The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:1-3).

There is good reason for the building anxiety. Israel’s terrorist-sponsoring neighbors to the north strive mightily to develop neuclear bombs and missiles that will deliver them. No one doubts in which direction these missiles will be pointed should Iran be successful in producing such weapons of mass destruction. Israel’s one, common declaration, amid all of the political infighting remains the core of its defense: “Never again!”

The following summary of atrocities to the Jewish race presents compelling evidence why “Never again!” must be their passionate declaration, backed by nuclear strength:

“Due to [Israel’s] disobedience the Jews have suffered terribly. They were ruled by Rome in Christ’s day but rebelled in A.D. 70 and 250,000 were killed. They rebelled again in A.D. 135 and again Rome smashed them, killing even more and scattering them throughout the empire. Since then, they have been bitterly persecuted. Forcibly expelled from England in 1290 and from France 1306. In 1298 more than 100,000 were killed in Europe. >From 1648 to 1658 some 400,000 were massacred. From 1939-45 Hitler’s Nazis killed more than 4 million… In its history, Egyptian Pharoahs, Assyrian kings, Babylonian rulers, Persian satraps, Greek Hellenists, Roman Caesars, Holy Roman emperors, Roman Catholic pontiffs, Medieval monarchs, Christian crusaders, Spanish inquisitors, Nazi dictators, Communist commissars, Arab sheiks and United Nation delegates have all turned against the Jews yet they still survive” (Charles L. Monk, “A Look at Bible Covenants and Their Meanings,” 02/22/2003, Category: Bible Studies, Sugar Land Bible Church, COVENANTS – 1987).

The Jewish people of Israel collectively declare they will never again let themselves be enslaved within regimes that want them erased from the earth. Never again will they allow the genocide they have suffered through the centuries. Their national vow is backed by the ominous “Samson Option.” This last-ditch military imperative is not lost on the leaders of the international community. These leaders of this enlightened age might not believe the Bible is the word of God, but, they know the story of Samson and what happened when he was finally put in a predicament in which he could no longer be free. The world’s diplomats–at least those of the Western world—have no doubt that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) will bring the house down around them, if it comes to that as Israel’s only viable option. The international community–once termed “the new world order”—has developed a systemic neurosis involving the bleak outlook for the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The “Roadmap to Peace” seems to be the nerves-soothing theraputic course of action upon which the powers-that-be have chosen to eliminate the possibility of nuclear conflict being triggered over earth’s most coveted city.

World leaders consider Jerusalem the trigger to Armageddon; they will do whatever it takes to diffuse that trigger. In so doing, they will violate God’s touchstone to mankind, about which the Lord says: “For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye” (Zechariah 2:8).


Original Link.

Israel’s Netanyahu Calls for Creation Palestinian State for First Time

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Caving under pressure from Emperor Obama, Israel has agreed to a “Palestinian” state “solution” for the first time. God’s judgment on the United States may not be far behind.
On the other hand, Israel demanded that in return, they be recognized as a Jewish state and that the Palis terrorist lay down their arms, something they will never do.
So basically, things are back to the way they were.

VIENNA — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorsed a Palestinian state beside Israel for the first time on Sunday, reversing himself under U.S. pressure, but saying the Palestinians would have to lay down arms, a condition they swiftly rejected.

A week after President Obama’s address to the Muslim world, Netanyahu said the Palestinian state would also have to recognize Israel as the Jewish state — essentially saying Palestinian refugees must give up the goal of returning to Israel.

With those conditions, he said, he could accept “a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state.”

The West Bank-based Palestinian government dismissed the proposal.

“Netanyahu’s speech closed the door to permanent status negotiations,” senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said. “We ask the world not to be fooled by his use of the term Palestinian state because he qualified it. He declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel, said refugees would not be negotiated and that settlements would remain.”

Netanyahu, in an address seen as his response to Obama, refused to heed the U.S. call for an immediate freeze of construction on lands Palestinians claim for their future state. He also said the holy city of Jerusalem must remain under Israeli sovereignty.

The White House said Obama welcomed the speech as an “important step forward.”

Netanyahu’s address was a dramatic transformation for a man who was raised on a fiercely nationalistic ideology and has spent a two-decade political career criticizing peace efforts.

“I call on you, our Palestinian neighbors, and to the leadership of the Palestinian Authority: Let us begin peace negotiations immediately, without preconditions,” he said, calling on the wider Arab world to work with him. “Let’s make peace. I am willing to meet with you any time any place — in Damascus, Riyadh, Beirut and in Jerusalem.”

Since assuming office in March, Netanyahu has been caught between American demands to begin peace talks with the Palestinians and the constraints of a hardline coalition. On Sunday, he appeared to favor Israel’s all-important relationship with the U.S. at the risk of destabilizing his government.

The Palestinians demand all of the West Bank as part of a future state, with east Jerusalem as their capital. Israel captured both areas in the 1967 Mideast war.

Netanyahu, leader of the hardline Likud Party, has always resisted withdrawing from these lands, for both security and ideological reasons. In his speech, he repeatedly made references to Judaism’s connection to the biblical Land of Israel.

“Our right to form our sovereign state here in the land of Israel stems from one simple fact. The Land of Israel is the birthplace of the Jewish people,” he said.

But Netanyahu also said that Israel must recognize that millions of Palestinians live in the West Bank, and continued control over these people is undesirable. “In my vision, there are two free peoples living side by side each with each other, each with its own flag and national anthem,” he said.

Netanyahu has said he fears the West Bank could follow the path of the Gaza Strip — which the Palestinians also claim for their future state. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and Hamas militants now control the area, often firing rockets into southern Israel.

“In any peace agreement, the territory under Palestinian control must be disarmed, with solid security guarantees for Israel,” he said.

“If we get this guarantee for demilitarization and necessary security arrangements for Israel, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, we will be willing in a real peace agreement to reach a solution of a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state,” he said.

Netanyahu became the latest in a series of Israeli hard-liners to soften their positions after assuming office. Earlier this decade, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon led Israel out of Gaza before suffering a debilitating stroke. His successor, Ehud Olmert, spoke eloquently of the need to withdraw from the West Bank, though a corruption scandal a disastrous war in Lebanon prevented him from carrying out that vision.

Netanyahu gave no indication as to how much captured land he would be willing to relinquish. However, he ruled out a division of Jerusalem, saying, “Israel’s capital will remain united.”

Netanyahu also made no mention of uprooting Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Nearly 300,000 Israelis live in the West Bank, in addition to 180,000 Israelis living in Jewish neighborhoods built in east Jerusalem. He also said that existing settlements should be allowed to grow — a position opposed by the U.S.

“We have no intention to build new settlements or expropriate land for expanding existing settlements. But there is a need to allow residents to lead a normal life. Settlers are not the enemy of the nation and are not the enemy of peace — they are our brothers and sisters,” he said.

Netanyahu also said the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The Palestinians have refused to do so, fearing it would amount to giving up the rights of millions of refugees and their descendants and discriminate against Israel’s own Arab minority.

Although the Palestinians have agreed to demilitarization under past peace proposals, Erekat rejected it, saying it would cement Israeli rule over them.

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, another Palestinian official, called on the U.S. to challenge Netanyahu “to prevent more deterioration in the region.”

“What he has said today is not enough to start a serious peace process,” he added.

In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called the speech “racist” and called on Arab nations “form stronger opposition” toward Israel. Hamas ideology does not recognize a Jewish state in an Islamic Middle East and the group has sent dozens of suicide bombers into Israel.

Netanyahu also came under criticism from within his own government — a coalition of religious and nationalistic parties that oppose Palestinian independence.

Zevulun Orlev, a member of the Jewish Home Party, which represents Jewish settlers and other hard-liners, said Netanyahu’s speech violated agreements struck when the government was formed. “I think the coalition needs to hold a serious discussion to see where this is headed,” he told Israel Radio.

Original Link.

North Korea Warns of Nuclear War Amid Rising Tensions

Monday, June 15th, 2009

More saber rattling from the Korean madman…at least we hope so anyway.

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea’s communist regime has warned of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula while vowing to step up its atomic bomb-making program in defiance of new U.N. sanctions.

The North’s defiance presents a growing diplomatic headache for President Barack Obama as he prepares for talks Tuesday with his South Korean counterpart on the North’s missile and nuclear programs.

A commentary Sunday in the North’s the main state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, claimed the U.S. has 1,000 nuclear weapons in South Korea. Another commentary published Saturday in the state-run Tongil Sinbo weekly claimed the U.S. has been deploying a vast amount of nuclear weapons in South Korea and Japan.

North Korea “is completely within the range of U.S. nuclear attack and the Korean peninsula is becoming an area where the chances of a nuclear war are the highest in the world,” the Tongil Sinbo commentary said.

Kim Yong-kyu, a spokesman at the U.S. military command in Seoul, called the latest accusation “baseless,” saying Washington has no nuclear bombs in South Korea. U.S. tactical nuclear weapons were removed from South Korea in 1991 as part of arms reductions following the Cold War.

On Saturday, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry threatened war on any country that dared to stop its ships on the high seas under the new sanctions approved by the U.N. Security Council on Friday as punishment for the North’s latest nuclear test.

It is not clear if the statements are simply rhetorical. Still, they are a huge setback for international attempts to rein in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions following its second nuclear test on May 25. It first tested a nuclear device in 2006.

In its Saturday’s statement, North Korea said it has been enriching uranium to provide fuel for its light-water reactor. It was the first public acknowledgment the North is running a uranium enrichment program in addition to its known plutonium-based program. The two radioactive materials are key ingredients in making atomic bombs.

Original Link.

Iran Supreme Leader Orders Vote Fraud Probe while World Remains Silent

Monday, June 15th, 2009

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s state television says the supreme leader has ordered an investigation into claims of fraud in last week’s presidential election.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is ordering the powerful Guardian Council to examine the allegations by pro-reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, who claims widespread vote rigging in Friday’s election. The government declared President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner in a landslide victory.

It is a stunning turnaround for Iran’s most powerful figure, who previously welcomed the results.

Mousavi wrote an appeal Sunday to the Guardian Council, a powerful 12-member body that’s a pillar of Iran’s theocracy. Mousavi also met Sunday with Khamenei.

Mousavi’s backers have waged three days of street protests in Tehran.

Iranian authorities banned anti-government protesters from staging a planned rally on Monday, but a top aide to opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi vowed his followers would heed his call for a march through Tehran.

Mousavi and his supporters have shown no sign of backing down against an expanding security clampdown — bringing their rage to the streets for two straight days over claims that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stole last week’s election with vote rigging and fraud.

Original Link.

Meanwhile, in typical fashion…

VIENNA — The U.S. and Canada challenged Iran’s claims that hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won re-election, but much of the rest of the world remained silent Saturday despite claims of fraud and scenes of clashes on the streets of Tehran.

For the Middle East and West alike, the stakes were high.

Iran is a key economic player in the region, a perceived threat to Israel’s national security — and a major worry for the U.S. and allies who fear Tehran is trying to build a nuclear weapon.

Supporters of pro-reform candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi alleged that the outcome was rigged and clashes erupted in Tehran and at least one other city after Ahmadinejad’s government declared him the victor in a landslide. The U.S. refused to accept Ahmadinejad’s claim of a landslide and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she hoped the outcome reflected the “genuine will and desire” of Iranian voters.

“We are monitoring the situation as it unfolds in Iran, but we, like the rest of the world, are waiting and watching to see what the Iranian people decide,” Clinton told reporters during a visit to Canada.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said his country, too, was “deeply concerned” by reports of irregularities.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said concerns about ballot counting that candidates have expressed are an issue for Iranian authorities to address. “Our priority is that Iran engages with the concerns of the world community, above all on the issue of nuclear proliferation,” he said.

But most countries appeared to be taking a wait-and-see approach, including the European Union and China, Germany, Italy and Japan — nations with strong economic ties to Iran.

France said it was closely following the situation.

Original Link.

Battle Lines Drawn Over Government Health Plan

Monday, June 15th, 2009

As Emperor Obama continues his attempts to socialize the United States, this time through socialized health care, Republicans and Democrats are divided pretty much along party lines.

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama started his health care push by reaching out to all sides. Now it’s stuck in a partisan mess over his idea of a government insurance plan that would compete with private companies.

The idea got little attention when Obama proposed it as a candidate. Now, however, it’s jeopardizing his effort to win broad political support for changes that would guarantee coverage for all and try to rein in medical costs.

Supporters of a government plan say it would pressure private insurers to keep premiums reasonable. But experts say Obama may not need a full-blown federal program to achieve that.

For example, nonprofit cooperatives independent of the government could be set up to offer affordable coverage.

Or maybe a government plan could be used only as a last resort, entering a state or local market if private insurers fail to keep coverage affordable.

“There are lots of ways to fulfill those functions,” said economist Len Nichols of the nonpartisan New America Foundation. Nichols, who directs the foundation’s health care program, is working with lawmakers trying to find a compromise on the contentious issue.

“There are ways to finesse this,” said Robert Reischauer, president of the Urban Institute public policy center. “One way is to design the authority for a public plan and lock it up in a closet. If the private sector fails to bend the cost curve, then we unlock the closet and let the public plan out.”

Such suggestions may be of no avail. The partisan battle lines are hardening.

Republicans, almost unanimously, say a government plan would lead to a Washington takeover of the health care system.

“A public plan is a nonstarter,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “They are trying several ways to come up with a public plan without calling it that. I just don’t see that as working.”

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, answered “no” when asked if Democrats could live with legislation that guaranteed coverage for all, but did not include a public plan.

“I think that’s the essential part of health reform, and that is to have one public plan that is portable. No matter where you live, no matter where you move, you know you can get this plan,” Harkin said.

The impasse is rooted in ideological divisions that doomed former President Bill Clinton’s health care plan in the 1990s. “The public option discussion is a mirror of the debate we’ve been having for 60 years about the government’s role in health care,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

Part of the problem seems to be that Obama hasn’t spelled out what he wants in a public plan, even as he expresses strong support for the idea. His health secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, said Friday that Americans need a new government-sponsored insurance plan to guarantee choice and competition especially in rural areas. “What the president feels is important is to have some competition and to have a choice,” Sebelius said at a round-table discussion in Omaha, Neb.

The government already has a public plan for the elderly Medicare. And there’s Medicaid for the poor.

But a government plan for middle-class workers and their families would be new.

Under some scenarios, a government plan could undermine one of Obama’s central health care promises: that people can keep the coverage they have if they like it.

A recent analysis by the Lewin Group consulting firm found that if the new government plan was modeled on Medicare and open to all employers and individuals, it would swamp the private insurance industry. Employers and individuals would flock to the public plan because of its lower premiums. Private insurance enrollment would plummet by about two-thirds.

But the analysis also found that a public plan that was only open to individuals and small businesses would have much more limited consequences for private insurers, and could reduce significantly the number of uninsured.

Obama’s campaign proposal suggested the latter option, a public plan offered to individuals and small businesses having a hard time finding and keeping insurance. It would be a choice, along with private insurance plans, through a new kind of purchasing pool called an exchange. Studies have found that in most states a single insurer currently dominates the small business market.

As president, Obama hasn’t publicly revisited the issue in any detail.

Insurers are determined to avoid any kind of government plan, even as they have pledged to work with Obama to try to lower costs. Employer groups, hospitals and doctors have also expressed concerns. But the public plan is hugely popular with the Democratic activists Obama is counting on for grass-roots support in getting the health care bill through Congress

The bill expected to emerge in the House this summer probably will have a strong government plan. In the Senate where a key committee begins work on the legislation this coming week, it’s unclear whether a public plan can pass because some moderate Democrats also have concerns. The debate could keep going into the fall.

At a town hall meeting Thursday in Green Bay,Wis., Obama addressed public plan critics.

Speaking of Republican opposition, Obama said: “It’s not clear that it’s based on any evidence, as much as it is their thinking, their fear, that … once you have a public plan, that government will take over the entire health care system.”

Original Link.

Christian Man Raped, Murdered for Refusing to Convert to Islam

Monday, June 15th, 2009

More of the Islamic type of “tolerance”.

A young Christian man was raped and brutally murdered in Pakistan for refusing to convert to Islam, and police are doing nothing about it, the victim’s brother and minister told

Pakistani police reportedly found the body of Tariq “Litto” Mashi Ghauri — a 28-year-old university student in Sargodha, Pakistan — lying dead in a canal outside a rural village in Punjab Province on May 15. He had been raped and stabbed at least five times.

“They have sexually abuse him, torture him with a knife on his testicle and genitals,” Ghauri’s brother, 24-year-old Salman Nabil Ghauri, said. “They have tortured him very badly, and after that they have stabbed five times with a knife and killed him.”

The family believes Litto Ghauri was murdered by the brothers of his Muslim girlfriend, Shazi Cheema, after they found him in a compromising sexual position with their sister.

The Rev. Haroon Bhatti, a Christian clergyman in the village and a friend of the Ghauri family, said Cheema’s three brothers came to Litto Ghauri’s house on May 11 and gave him an ultimatum: Marry their sister and convert to Islam.

Ghauri agreed to the marriage but refused to accept Islam, and the brothers kidnapped him at gunpoint and drove him to a remote farmhouse, where they tortured and murdered him, the minister said.

“On that farmhouse — four days there — we all, Christians and family, were searching for him,” the Rev. Bhatti said. “I was with him. I was searching for him.”

After police discovered the body, Ghauri’s death was declared a homicide and the family filed paperwork with the Atta Shaheed police station in their small village, Adda 44SB. But Ghauri’s brother said police still have not arrested the alleged killers and have refused to meet with his family.

“They don’t want to meet us, and the three of them who are murderers are outside,” Salman Nabil Ghauri told “They are free. Nothing is happening to them. No investigation is running.”

Original Link.