Archive for September 29th, 2009

Take Off the Old Self and Put On the New Self

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Colossians 3:5-11 (New International Version)

Iran Refuses to Discuss Nuclear Program at Upcoming Talks in Geneva

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

No surprise here.

Iran declared its refusal Tuesday to discuss its nuclear program — including the disclosure of a second nuclear enrichment plant — when it sits down at the negotiating table Thursday with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, Reuters reported. A top Iranian official told the news agency that his country will not abandon its nuclear activities, “even for a second.”

Iran’s nuclear chief also announced Tuesday that his country built its newly revealed uranium enrichment facility inside a mountain and next to a military site to ensure continuity of its nuclear activities in case of an attack. The revelation comes as the Obama administration works up plans to push for new sanctions against the country, targeting its energy, financial and telecommunications sectors if it does not comply with international demands to come clean about its nuclear program, U.S. officials said Monday.

The officials said the U.S. would expand its own penalties against Iranian companies and press for greater international sanctions against foreign firms, largely European, that do business in the country unless Iran can prove that its nuclear activities are not aimed at developing an atomic weapon.

Among the ideas being considered are asset freezes and travel bans against Iranian and foreign businesses and individuals who do business in those areas, the officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the measures were still under review.

The proposed sanctions would largely focus on investment in Iran’s energy infrastructure and development, the officials said. Until now, the sanctions have dealt mainly with companies and people suspected of buying or selling weapons of mass destruction or their components.

Diplomats from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — and Germany meet with Iran’s top nuclear negotiator on Thursday to press once again an offer of incentives for Iran to halt suspect activity.

But U.S. officials familiar with the process that dates back to the Bush administration are skeptical that Iran will agree to demands to fully disclose its intentions. Iran repeatedly has denied it wants the bomb and that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

Previous meetings — the last in July 2008 — have not made progress and the officials said they did not think Thursday’s talks in Geneva would produce any significant developments on the nuclear front.

Instead, the officials said they expected Iran to raise a broad range of global political concerns while the other participants focused on Iran’s nuclear program, including the disclosure last week of a new uranium enrichment facility.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the talks, said they believed another round of talks would be scheduled before mid-November, at which Iran would face demands to address the international community’s concerns.

If they refuse, the officials said the U.S. and its partners would move ahead with new penalties.

Original Link.

“Zazi, Homegrown Terrorists, and the American Mosque” by Annie Jacobsen

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

It’s been a busy month for the FBI. All 50 field offices have been involved in the ongoing investigating of what may turn out to be the biggest terrorist plot in the United States since 9/11. The man at its center is Najibullah Zazi, 24, an Afghan immigrant with a green card — which makes him the FBI’s worst nightmare of a threat.

“I want to talk today about the changing shape of terrorism and, in particular, the threat of homegrown terrorism,” FBI Director Robert Mueller declared in an executive speech in June 2006. When the FBI calls someone a homegrown terrorist, they mean the person gets radicalized while living on American soil. The homegrown terrorist speaks English, is familiar with American customs, and is able to blend in. The privilege of U.S. travel documents allows the homegrown terrorist remarkable freedom of movement around the globe. Najibullah Zazi, for example, was able to travel from New York to Switzerland to Qatar to Pakistan, where he stayed for approximately five months before returning to the land he calls home.

“To detect homegrown terrorists,” Robert Mueller pointed out, is difficult. “They operate under the radar. And that makes their detection that much more difficult for all of us.”

Zazi, it appears, is such a case. “He was a nice guy,” one of his co-workers at Big Sky Shuttle in Lakewood, Colorado, told me on Friday afternoon (the co-worker chose not to be named). That’s where Zazi got a job working as an airport van driver beginning in February 2009. When I asked the man if he ever expected his co-worker to be at the center of an international terrorist plot, he replied: “No way, it’s so weird.”

Read the complete article here.

Legislators Push for 72-Hour Waiting Period Before House Can Pass Laws

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Hey, Congress, Read the Bill!! That is my sentiment exactly!!

Then we have congresspeople like House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich who said:
“I love these members that get up and say, ‘Read the bill’. Well, what good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”

The congresspeople pushing this 72-hour waiting period resolution are on the right track and are responding to what the people told them during the August break. Good Job. Now make it a bill and get it passed into law so that you congresspeople actually have to obey it and we’ll be getting somewhere.

FORT DODGE, Iowa – With American protesters shouting, “Read the bill!” at their U.S. representatives during the summer’s town hall meetings, a growing tide of lawmakers are working to force Congress to slow down the legislative process enough to do exactly that.

A pair of resolutions are pending before the U.S. House of Representatives that would require Congress to delay both debate and voting on legislation until bills are made public online for a set waiting period.

A bipartisan group of 128 legislators have co-sponsored the first resolution, H.Res. 554, which would require any legislation – including both original bills and significant amendments – be made public for 72 hours before debate can begin.

The second, H. Res. 721, would make the waiting period 30 days in the specific case of major health-care reform.

“In my eyes, it’s simply common sense to give the American people the time they need to analyze proposed legislation,” said Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, a co-sponsor of both bills. “Unfortunately, it’s become a common practice for lawmakers in the House of Representatives to offer sweeping legislative measures just hours before we’re expected to vote on them. Sometimes, these proposals are introduced in the dead of night. This is undemocratic, and it needs to stop.”

Latham’s website points to a recent example in June, when lawmakers added a 300-page manager’s amendment to the cap-and-trade energy bill at about 3 a.m. on the day the House voted on final passage of the legislation.

Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash., along with Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., is the original sponsor of H. Res. 554.

“Members of Congress are too often asked to make decisions on bills that can be longer than telephone books and are only given a few hours to actually read them,” says Baird. “Both parties are guilty, and both should stop doing it.”

“Shadowy legislative practices shut the people out of the process and force representatives in Congress to vote on important proposals without knowing what’s in them,” Latham added. “It’s time to bring transparency back to Congress.”

Many Americans during the recent congressional recess expressed displeasure at town hall meetings over massive spending and health-care legislation that the Obama administration urged Congress to pass quickly.

Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Wis., was one of several legislators to be met at their town halls with protesters chanting, “Read the bill! Read the bill!”

A Wisconsin man who attended Kagen’s town hall meeting in Green Bay explained to the Fox News Channel that he wanted to express the message, “We don’t feel that Washington is listening to us.”

He told host Bill Hemmer, “The way the Congress has been acting in general lately is in my mind totally unconstitutional. They want to take one of the most important issues in my life, which is health care, they want to say that they are going to reform it, but they haven’t even read the bill.”

Rep. Baird told Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund his resolution should help address the citizens’ frustration.

“One of the reasons voters are so upset today is that they get the sense they aren’t being trusted to make their own judgment about what goes on in Washington,” Baird said.

The language of Baird’s bill itself states its purpose is to “enhance public participation in American democracy” and “help restore public trust in government.”

The bill also states its purpose is to “slow the explosive growth of the $11,000,000,000,000 national debt of the United States, reduce excessive annual budget deficits, and control the size and scope of government by ensuring that there is adequate scrutiny of proposals for new and amended laws, taxes, and expenditures.”

Despite bipartisan support, however, H. Res. 554 has languished in committee since June.

Similar measures have also failed in the Senate, where last week, the Senate Finance Committee narrowly voted down a proposal to require a 72-hour waiting period before the committee casts any final vote.

“Let’s be honest about it,” said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. “Most people don’t read the legislative language.”

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., told Politico only five percent of Americans could understand the legalese, anyway.

“Anybody who thinks that is going to be transparent to the American people is really not telling it like it is,” Conrad said.

On the House side, however, the movement for a waiting period is gaining steam.

Rep. Walden last week filed a motion to discharge H. Res. 554 from committee, which means if 218 representatives can be found to sign the discharge, the resolution can be voted on, even over the objections of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“If Americans contact their representative and encourage him or her to sign this discharge petition,” Baird told Fund, “I’m confident it will become law.”

Americans may contact their representative from the U.S. House website.

At press time, 178 of the required 218 representatives had signed the discharge pushing for a vote on H. Res. 554.

The other transparency proposal, H. Res. 721, which would require a 30-day waiting period on major health-care reform, was introduced to the House by Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., only just this month and also remains in the House Committee on Rules. It currently has 43 cosponsors.

There is absolutely no reason for any congressperson to oppose this resolution. Contact your representative today and tell them to sign on to it. Now!!

Original Link.
See a synopsis of the resolution here.

Low Turnout for Muslims’ Capitol Hill Rally

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

A political activist and pro-family leader says last week’s Islamic event on Capitol Hill was clearly a bust as far as attendance was concerned. Robert Knight, a senior fellow at the American Civil Rights Union and a senior writer for Coral Ridge Ministries, adds that unless a person could understand Arabic, one wouldn’t have known what was being said there.

Organizers of Friday’s “Islam on Capitol Hill” event blame opposition by some Christian groups for a much smaller turnout than they anticipated. The number of Muslims who actually gathered outside the U.S. Capitol ranged from 1,000 to 3,000 — a fraction of the 50,000 that organizers expected. Muslims who did participate report they heard calls to repent from some of the Christians.

“[Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch] said they did add up to the ultimate goal of submission to Islam and had a triumphal air to them. People who could understand them knew they were talking about the superiority of Islam over everything else,” he adds.

Original Link.

Obama Cuts Pensions to Surviving Alaska World War II Vets

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

From Jeff Schreiber at America’s Right:
“Despicable even by this administration’s standards, the White House has decided to increase the financial burden on aging Alaskan World War II veterans by excising pension money from its outlined priorities for a new military appropriations bill.”

Alaska World War II Soldiers

You know, we went through this very same thing in March when the White House sent out what it later insisted was a trial balloon, suggesting that it was going to force combat-wounded veterans to pay for treatment of battlefield wounds through their own private health care coverage. The White House eventually reneged on that after criticism reached a fever pitch, and I hope that the president similarly flip-flops here as well.

Back in March, the administration hoped to save $540 million by having wounded veterans provide their own care. While, in this case, the exact number of pennies looking to be pinched at senior veterans’ expense hasn’t been divulged, the argument remains the same. We gave $900 million to Hamas after that group brutally murdered innocent Israeli women and children back in December of 2008. We passed a $787 billion so-called “stimulus” package committing $650 million to provide coupons for free digital television converter boxes, $335 million for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, $300 million for fancy electric golf carts, $400 million for research into the farce that is global warming and a whopping $8 billion on a Mag-Lev train for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. We’re preparing to spend trillions of dollars on health care reform and bankrupt our economy through cap-and-trade. Yet we cannot scrape together enough money to ensure that the few remaining members of the Alaska Territorial Guard can live the rest of their lives without additional stress?

Read the complete article here.