Archive for October 6th, 2009

Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

Matthew 16:13-20 (New International Version)

“Time for a Staff Shakeup, Mr. President” by Bradley A. Blakeman

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Mr. Obama is surrounded by the “C” team. He needs to get rid of his campaign operatives and trade them in for staff that understands the powers and prestige of the presidency from a historical, political, legal and practical sense.

Something tells me that with the many missteps and policy setbacks plaguing this White House lately, it’s time for a “change.”

In fact, it’s time to make some staff changes, Mr. President.– The people who got you where you are today, are not necessarily the people you need to keep you where you are today.

The president is learning the hard way that it is much easier to campaign than govern. In the campaign, he was against the surge in Iraq, as was his running mate Joe Biden. Both men were wrong. As president, he is now pursuing a strategy in Iraq very similar to that of the Bush administration.

In the campaign, he vowed to unilaterally close Guantanamo within his first year in office. Now as president he is being told that it is not possible and that he must advance a suitable alternative, before closure could be accomplished. To date, he has set forth no viable alternative.

In the campaign, Senator Obama vowed to pass immigration reform within his first year in office. Has anyone heard anything meaningful on immigration reform this year? The answer is clearly no because, instead, the entire administration has become bogged down in the manufactured “crisis” over health care.

The president and his staff believed with all their heart, that if he would just apologize to the world for perceived past transgressions, our sworn enemies and detractors would change their ways and we would all live happily ever after. Well, Iran has gotten more aggressive since Obama took office, as has North Korea. We are now receiving more security threats, more frequently, from Usama Bin Laden.

Then there is, of course, the latest humiliation, losing the 2016 Olympic Games in spite of the personal pander by the president to the IOC in Denmark.

It is obvious that the president is receiving very bad advice across the board. He is not acting presidential and is stuck in campaign mode. As a result, he is not leading or governing effectively.

As a candidate, Senator Obama had all the answers. He told us that he had well-thought-out policies to fix everything, from the economy to health care to convincing the Iranians and North Koreans to abandon their nuclear ambitions to the closing of Guantanamo.

We now know that the president has no policies, only ambitions. President Obama has ceded much of his power to the legislative branch or to czars who are not accountable to anyone but him.

He told Congress to come up with legislative solutions with bills he can sign while telling his czars to implement policy without any need for oversight or authority.

He is a “no heavy lifting” chief executive, who is letting the inmates run the asylum.

A seasoned staff of professionals would never let the president get bogged down like this. Mr. Obama is surrounded by the “C” team, and he needs to get rid of his campaign operatives and trade them in for staff that understands the powers and prestige of the presidency from a historical, political, legal and practical sense.

The president does not possess the requisite experience or judgment without the help from others competent enough to help.

It is tough for any executive to rid himself of loyal personnel. But the people Mr. Obama has around him now just can’t cut it. Unless he regroups– and does so quickly– he will cripple a presidency that is already living in a world of hurt.

This is the one “change” Mr. Obama could enact now that Americans could believe in.

Original Link.

Gulf States Deny Secret Plan to Dump Dollar

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

I’ve been expecting this to happen and really, none of us should be surprised when it does. Although they deny it, I feel that the Gulf States are planning on dumping the dollar in favor of the Euro. It will mean disaster for our economy, which although slowly recovering, has a long ways to go before it is once again “healthy”. Dropping the dollar could be the death knell of the United States as we know it.

The world’s oil producers will continue using the U.S. dollar as the currency for buying and selling crude, high-ranking oil and finance officials in the Gulf said on Tuesday, denying a report in a British newspaper.

Earlier, The Independent reported that Gulf Arab states, as well as China, Russia, Japan and France, are in secret talks to end the use of the U.S. dollar to trade oil, causing the American currency to fall in overseas trading Tuesday.

Qatar’s oil minister, Kuwait’s finance minister and sources in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi central banks all denied the report.

The Independent report is “absolutely incorrect” and there has been “absolutely nothing” of that nature discussed between Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, and other countries, Saudi Central Bank Governor Muhammad al-Jasser told reporters in Istanbul.

“We did not discuss this at all,” Russia’s deputy finance minister Dmitry Pankin said on the sidelines of International Monetary Fund meeting.

The newspaper report said, “Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.”

The report cited unidentified sources in the Gulf and Hong Kong, adding that France had also been involved in the talks.

Written by leading journalist Robert Fisk, the report said Gulf states plan to transition the trading of crude oil over nine years from the U.S. dollar to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar.

The report did not make clear how the change would work and raised doubts among some analysts that such a switch could occur anytime soon, despite speculation about the dominant role of the U.S. dollar in global trade and as the world’s main reserve currency.

U.S. officials, which are “sure to fight this international cabal,” are aware the secret meetings have taken place but have not fully discovered all of the details, the newspaper said.

The report cited an unnamed Chinese banker as saying the plan “will change the face of international financial transactions. America and Britain must be very worried. You will know how worried by the thunder of denials this news will generate.”

The issue of shifting oil trade away from the U.S. dollar has been raised occasionally in recent years. Iran began trading most of its crude oil exports in non-dollar currencies a few years ago.

In wake of the report, the U.S. dollar fell against six major currencies on Tuesday.

Original Link.

“Laughing at the President’s Expense” by Jeff Schreiber

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

This is really sad. Not sad from the point that comics are starting to make fun of Obama…they have been making fun of everyone for years, especially President Bush and former governor Palin. So in that aspect, it’s good to see the comedians being “fair and balanced”, if you will.
What is sad is that through the comedy, the failures of this man who would be president, are highlighted and, unfortunately for him, numerous.

When it came to late-night and other comedians, President Barack Obama has been strictly off-limits. Sure, you could poke fun of Joe Biden. Sure, you could laugh at Hillary Clinton. Republicans? Oh, please! They were a gold mine for the liberals on the coast.

Just a few minutes ago, however, as I briefly flipped the channels after watching a still-undefeated Auburn squad beat the Tennessee Volunteers–War [edited] Eagle!!–I caught the very beginning of Saturday Night Live.

And oh, boy — the honeymoon is over.

While SNL’s Fred Armisen has apparently given up on trying to sound like the president, he was unmistakably Barack Obama and absolutely excoriated the Commander In Chief. With a visual checklist beside him, Armisen-as-Obama went issue-by-issue and demonstrated how this president has accomplished nothing.

Close Guantanamo Bay? Not done.

Out of Iraq? Not done.

Improve Afghanistan? Worse.

Health care reform? [edited] no.

“I even went personally to try to bring the Olympics to Chicago in 2016. It didn’t work out. But in this case, there’s some good news with the bad — for every person who buys an American car in the next six months, you’re gonna get one of these,” said Armisen-as-Obama, holding up a tee shirt reading: 10-02-09 Chicago 2016.

If anybody should be mad at him, Armisen-as-Obama says, it should be the left. They probably thought he would have accomplished at least one of the following things by now:

Global warming? No.

Immigration reform? No.

Gays in the military? Nuh-uh.

Limits on executive powers? Nope.

Torture prosecutions? No.

“So, looking at this list, I’m seeing two big accomplishments,” he says. “Jack and squat.”

And, even more amazing, the folks at SNL actually reminded America of what the Democrats seem to forget every time they accuse Republicans of obstructionism:

“And remember — I can do whatever I want,” Armisen-as-Obama continues. “I have a majority in both houses of Congress. I could make it mandatory for all gays to marry, and require all cars to run on marijuana. But do I? No.”

But, he cautions, “I do have some accomplishments.”

The cash-for-clunkers program, he said, stimulated the economy. “Unfortunately, it was the economy of Japan.” Also, he said, “I killed a fly on TV.”

It was absolutely incredible. It wasn’t Armisen-as-Obama getting laughs at the expense of someone else — it was Armisen-as-Obama getting laughs at the expense of Obama. I’m certain that Rahm Emanuel and others aren’t pleased, and while they will most definitely dismiss it as a funny segment in a comedy show when inevitably pressed about it by someone, I think this was far, far more significant in the grand scheme of things.

When it comes to this particular president of the United States, the varnish has worn off and the tarnish has begun to set in. Sure, his policies and his ideals are still loved and his personality and race still worshiped by the left, but his failures are becoming obvious, and the left is not pleased in the least.

Soon, politically Barack Obama will be a man without a country. The right never wanted to have anything to do with him in the first place, and from his background and associations had him pegged from the get-go. The moderates–even those who voted for him–don’t want the government to own the automakers, don’t like seeing success discouraged and retroactively punished, and correctly feel that our nation is no longer as safe. And the left, beyond disappointed, will frantically search for someone further left, but either will not find anyone, or will find someone that could never, ever get elected in America.

Two types of politicians will be able to flourish in this new environment, the environment that so many of us saw coming but only now is starting to manifest itself — an outwardly centrist Democrat like Hillary Clinton, who may adhere to some of the moderate left’s values without displaying an overt hatred of America, and a conservative-libertarian Republican who can effectively articulate the proper role of the American federal government.

Ladies and gentleman, the president of the United States is no longer off-limits, and there’s a wealth of material just waiting to garner a good, hearty laugh.

Original Link.

FTC to Regulate Blogging

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

More government interference where it is not needed or wanted. About the only thing we do on this blog is book reviews, for which the authors or their representatives have sent us a free copy of the book. The two business we do advertise have not given us any goods or services and we do not accept payment for their ads, instead doing it in the spirit of Christian fellowship. Further to that, we have never gotten any donations to help offset the cost of running the blog and website, so it would appear to me that we don’t fall any of these rules.
But none the less, it’s just more government interference.

The Federal Trade Commission will try to regulate blogging for the first time, requiring writers on the Web to clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products.

The FTC said Monday its commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the final Web guidelines, which had been expected. Violating the rules, which take effect Dec. 1, could bring fines up to $11,000 per violation. Bloggers or advertisers also could face injunctions and be ordered to reimburse consumers for financial losses stemming from inappropriate product reviews.

The commission stopped short of specifying how bloggers must disclose conflicts of interest. Rich Cleland, assistant director of the FTC’s advertising practices division, said the disclosure must be “clear and conspicuous,” no matter what form it will take.

Bloggers have long praised or panned products and services online. But what some consumers might not know is that many companies pay reviewers for their write-ups or give them free products such as toys or computers or trips to Disneyland. In contrast, at traditional journalism outlets, products borrowed for reviews generally have to be returned.

Before the FTC gave notice last November it was going to regulate such endorsements, blogs varied in the level of disclosures about these potential conflicts of interest.

The FTC’s proposal made many bloggers anxious. They said the scrutiny would make them nervous about posting even innocent comments.

To placate such fears, Cleland said the FTC will more likely go after an advertiser instead of a blogger for violations. The exception would be a blogger who runs a “substantial” operation that violates FTC rules and already received a warning, he said.

Existing FTC rules already banned deceptive and unfair business practices. The final guidelines aim to clarify the law for the vast world of blogging. Not since 1980 had the commission revised its guidelines on endorsements and testimonials.

Cleland said a blogger who receives a freebie without the advertiser knowing would not violate FTC guidelines. For example, someone who gets a free bag of dog food as part of a promotion from a pet shop wouldn’t violate FTC guidelines if he writes about the product on his blog.

Blogger Linsey Krolik said she’s always disclosed any freebies she’s received on products she writes about, but has stepped up her efforts since last fall. She said she adds a notice at the end of a post, “very clear in italics or bold or something — this is the deal. It’s not kind of buried.”

Original Link.

ACORN Embezzlement Totaled $5M, Not $1M

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Most likely ACORN is done. It will be interesting to see how the president spins this to isolate himself from the group.

BATON ROUGE, La. — An internal review by ACORN’s board of directors found that $5 million was embezzled from the community organization, far more than the previously reported amount of $1 million, according to documents released Monday.

The new amount was reported in a subpoena from the investigation by Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported. It is unclear if the money was taken from state, federal or private funds, according to the subpoena.

ACORN Chief Executive Officer Bertha Lewis said the new embezzlement allegation is “completely false.” She said she would comment further after she and ACORN attorneys have a chance to review the subpoena, which was released Monday.

Caldwell issued subpoenas in August seeking documents related to ACORN International then-President Wade Rathke and his brother, Dale Rathke, who kept the group’s books. Those subpoenas targeted possible violations of state employee tax law, obstruction of justice and violations of the Employee Retirement Security Act.

The attorney general made inquiries in June into alleged embezzlement within ACORN that happened 10 years ago. The group last year dealt with an internal dispute and a lawsuit involving accusations that Dale Rathke made nearly $1 million in improper credit card charges in 1999 and 2000. Rathke’s brother and a donor repaid the money.

But Caldwell said last month that the statute of limitations prevented prosecutors from taking action on the alleged embezzlement, and that his investigation was not focused on that issue.

The subpoena issued Monday puts a new emphasis on the embezzlement issue. It appears to be in reaction to documents gathered from ACORN’s board as a result of the subpoenas issued in August.

“Current high ranking members of ACORN have publicly acknowledged that embezzlement did in fact occur, but the exact amount of the embezzlement was unknown until it was recently acknowledged in a board of directors meeting on Oct. 17, 2008, by Bertha Lewis and Liz Wolf that an internal review had determined that the amount embezzled was $5 million,” the new subpoena says.

The subpoena requests documents from Citizens Consulting Inc., which assisted ACORN, and from various accounting and legal consultants in New Orleans.

Original Link.

“A THIRD Stimulus? Get Real!” by Dana Perino

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

The debate over how effective – or ineffective – last February’s stimulus package has been continues, but the articles about it are frustrating to read because they allow contradictions of the Obama administration’s defenses to go unchecked.

For example, the administration touts the success of the stimulus for pulling America back from the brink of financial ruin, but there’s widespread agreement that the actual financial collapse was prevented in the fall of 2008 when Congress reluctantly passed the bank rescue bill.

In making the case for its $787 billion stimulus, the administration said that it would prevent unemployment from rising higher than 8 percent, but here we are with a very troubling – and possibly persistent — 9.8 percent unemployment rate.

The administration defends today’s higher unemployment rate by saying the stimulus hasn’t been given enough time to work yet, and that only 14 percent of the money has been spent. If that’s the case, then how could it also be true that the stimulus saved us from economic disaster? And if only 14 percent has been spent and it’s worked so well, could we get the 86 percent back?

When Vice President Biden said that never in his wildest dreams would he have believed the stimulus would have worked as well as it has, I expected some collective eyebrow raising from the press. There wasn’t much. And now there’s more talk of a third stimulus. Ahem, if only 14 percent of the last stimulus has been spent, and it’s working better than the VP’s wildest dreams, surely we don’t need another stimulus, right?

Is it me, or is someone trying to have it both ways? These Jedi mind games are starting to get to me.

If the administration really thinks America needs another stimulus to end the recession, they’re going to have to be straightforward about why the February stimulus hasn’t worked. America is going to want answers to questions including,, “Where are all the shovel ready projects you talked about? Why is the unemployment rate rising when you said it would go down if we supported the package? And where are all the new green jobs?”

We need policies that will help us create stable and well-paying jobs, regardless of color – green, blue, white, whatever — which means support for the entrepreneurs who want to build and expand their businesses. We can’t at the same time raise their taxes and burden them with more regulations and expect them to hire more people. That isn’t possible in anyone’s dreams, wild or otherwise.

Despite the double-talk, the government has once again proven that even with $787 billion it still can’t create jobs like the private sector can. Going forward, we should all be a bit more skeptical when we hear these claims.

Original Link.