Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Vote for Nobody - 'Bob Doles' All

... Which is a shame - because I really liked Bob Dole! Sen. Dole should have never run for President "back in the day" and he was probably the last great Republican Senator. The Republican (R.I.N.O.) candidates running for President are "Doles" only because they shouldn't be running. Any vote for a candidate or for President this election will be for a LIBERAL!

WASHINGTON — Dig beneath the surface of the raucous Republican presidential race and you will find even deeper turmoil: Four in 10 GOP voters have switched candidates in the past month alone, and nearly two-thirds say they may change their minds again.

None of the GOP candidates has reason to feel secure, according to an ongoing national survey conducted for The Associated Press and Yahoo! News.

That includes Mike Huckabee, who has roared to a tie with longtime front-runner Rudy Giuliani. Half of all voters — including four in 10 Republicans — know too little about Huckabee to even say whether they have a favorable impression of him, let alone whether he is conservative, liberal or moderate. ( He's a LIBERAL - Tiger )

That could give his rivals the opportunity to define him. Witness Mitt Romney's criticism of the former Arkansas governor on immigration and Fred Thompson's contention that he raised taxes "like a Democrat." ( Romney, Thompson - LIBERALS - Tiger )

The Democratic side is less chaotic, with Hillary Rodham Clinton maintaining a clear lead nationally over Barack Obama, though voters are still doing plenty of shifting. About one in five backs a different contender than in November, and nearly half say they still may settle on someone else, according to the poll conducted by Knowledge Networks. ( Forget the Dems - Tiger )

This ground-level view of the 2008 race is made possible by an AP-Yahoo! News survey that will periodically question the same 2,000 people until Election Day, repeatedly seeking their views about politics, the country and their own lives. That will produce a picture of how the campaign is playing out from the perspective of voters like Matthew Larson, 29, of Mankato, Minn., who since last month has moved from Giuliani to Huckabee.

"I switched due to inconsistencies in Giuliani's stands" on abortion, said Larson, a security counselor, referring to the former New York mayor's explanations of his abortion rights views that trouble many who no longer support him. "That's the big one in our household. Huckabee just seems more firm in what he wants to do." ( The "Mayor" is a LIBERAL - Tiger)

Highlighting how restless Republicans are, a fifth who said last month they wouldn't change candidates did so anyway — along with half who said they might change. Only a third of Democrats who said they might change moved to a different contender.

People's drifting sentiments even pushed them across party lines, with 14 percent changing their loyalty as Democrats, Republicans or independents in roughly equal proportions. Among them was Anne Marie Pontarelli, who shifted from the GOP to Clinton because she liked her equivocal initial response to the controversy over states granting driver's licenses to illegal aliens.

"There are many shades of gray" on issues, said Pontarelli, 30, a consultant from Downers Grove, Ill. "The way she responded took a lot of guts."

No one in the GOP had a rougher ride in the past month than Thompson, the former Tennessee senator who joined the race in September and has slowly fizzled ever since. This month's poll showed he retained just over half of those who supported him in November, compared with six in 10 by Giuliani, Romney and John McCain and three in four by Huckabee. ( McCain is a LIBERAL - Tiger )

While each candidate also picked up fresh supporters, Giuliani and Thompson saw their overall strength droop, with Giuliani losing the most. Huckabee's support rose, while McCain and Romney stayed about the same.

Millicent Muller of Farmville, N.C., moved from Giuliani's camp to Romney's.
"I don't care if he's a Mormon," said Muller, 53, a homemaker, though some voters say that makes them reluctant to support the one-time Massachusetts governor. "The cheap shots at it offended me, and made me take a closer look at him. I don't see anything wrong with him."
Religion has played a pivotal role in Huckabee's rise, though in a more textured way than many polls have shown.

Roughly four in 10 white evangelical Christians have made a change since November, similar to other Republicans who shifted candidates. But 56 percent of evangelicals who found another candidate flocked to Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, giving him 36 percent of the support of one of the GOP's heavyweight voting blocs, well ahead of his rivals. ( so 6 in 10 actually have a brain? - Tiger )

The intensely religious were even more restless — and more smitten with Huckabee. Among evangelicals who are conservative and attend church weekly, 54 percent switched candidates last month — and 61 percent of the switchers moved to Huckabee.

"He believes in what I believe in. I'm a Christian," said truck driver Jerry Steadman, 53, of Inman, S.C. ( DOH! - Really? Ya know that for sure?)

Yet even Huckabee is not immune to voters' evolving tastes — 83 percent who moved to him said they were open to changing again.

Though the poll shows little relationship between shifting voters and the issues they consider important, many who left Giuliani put more importance on political corruption than those who still support him. Bernard Kerik, Giuliani's former police commissioner, has pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges.

Among Democrats, Clinton's large lead over Obama and John Edwards changed little, though polls on Iowa's Jan. 3 caucuses — the nation's first voting — show them in a three-way battle there.

Nationally, six in 10 Obama supporters now say they are sure to stay with him, a gain from last month and the same as for Clinton. Edwards' certain supporters doubled, but only to just more than four in 10.

"She's kind of harsh," Linda Beerhorst, 56, a notary from Osceola, Ind., said of Clinton, whom she has abandoned for Obama. "He doesn't talk like a politician, he talks like your next-door neighbor."

Among Democrats, men were slightly likelier to switch than women, while middle-aged Republicans changed more often than younger or older ones.

The survey of 1,821 adults was conducted from Dec. 14-20, and had an overall margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points. Included were interviews with 847 Democrats, for whom the margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3.4 points, and 655 Republicans, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.8 points.

The poll was conducted over the Internet by Knowledge Networks, which initially contacted people using traditional telephone polling methods and followed with online interviews. People chosen for the study who had no Internet access were given it for free.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto - Killed by the Real Pakistan

By Andrew C. McCarthy - NRO

A recent CNN poll showed that 46 percent of Pakistanis approve of Osama bin Laden.

Aspirants to the American presidency should hope to score so highly in the United States.

In Pakistan, though, the al-Qaeda emir easily beat out that country’s current president, Pervez Musharraf, who polled at 38 percent.

President George Bush, the face of a campaign to bring democracy — or, at least, some form of sharia-lite that might pass for democracy — to the Islamic world, registered nine percent. Nine!

If you want to know what to make of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s murder today in Pakistan, ponder that.

There is the Pakistan of our fantasy. The burgeoning democracy in whose vanguard are judges and lawyers and human rights activists using the “rule of law” as a cudgel to bring down a military junta. In the fantasy, Bhutto, an attractive, American-educated socialist whose prominent family made common cause with Soviets and whose tenures were rife with corruption, was somehow the second coming of James Madison. (... explains G.W. perfectly; he's in a dream world - Tiger ...)

Then there is the real Pakistan: an enemy of the United States and the West.

The real Pakistan is a breeding ground of Islamic holy war where, for about half the population, the only thing more intolerable than Western democracy is the prospect of a faux democracy led by a woman — indeed, a product of feudal Pakistani privilege and secular Western breeding whose father, President Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto, had been branded as an enemy of Islam by influential Muslim clerics in the early 1970s.

The real Pakistan is a place where the intelligence services are salted with Islamic fundamentalists: jihadist sympathizers who, during the 1980s, steered hundreds of millions in U.S. aid for the anti-Soviet mujahideen to the most anti-Western Afghan fighters — warlords like Gilbuddin Hekmatyar whose Arab allies included bin Laden and Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the stalwarts of today’s global jihad against America.

The real Pakistan is a place where the military, ineffective and half-hearted though it is in combating Islamic terror, is the thin line between today’s boiling pot and what tomorrow is more likely to be a jihadist nuclear power than a Western-style democracy.

In that real Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto’s murder is not shocking. There, it was a matter of when, not if.

It is the new way of warfare to proclaim that our quarrel is never with the heroic, struggling people of fill-in-the-blank country. No, we, of course, fight only the regime that oppresses them and frustrates their unquestionable desire for freedom and equality.

Pakistan just won’t cooperate with this noble narrative.

... G.W., I have a hindsight question for you; did you help to convince Bhutto to return to Pakistan? - Tiger
( read - Bolton: U.S. Partly Responsible for Bhutto Assassination )

... We don’t have the political will to fight the war on terror every place where jihadists work feverishly to kill Americans. And, given the refusal of the richest, most spendthrift government in American history to grow our military to an appropriate war footing, we may not have the resources to do it.

But we should at least stop fooling ourselves. Jihadists are not going to be wished away, rule-of-lawed into submission, or democratized out of existence. If you really want democracy and the rule of law in places like Pakistan, you need to kill the jihadists first. Or they’ll kill you, just like, today, they killed Benazir Bhutto.

A Reference Read - Instability From Day 1

Monday, December 24, 2007

FOXNEWS Gone Sour - So Much For Fair and Balanced

Fox News has long been considered a beacon to those that distrust televised liberal media, meaning every channel other than Fox. One of the indicators of the station’s right-leaning bent is that it has, for the most part, gotten the ‘War on Terrorism’ correct. However, with the undue influence of a Saudi Prince related to militant causes and with this month’s acquisition of Beliefnet, a religious resource website that proudly promotes radical Islam, signs show that the war coverage may soon be taking a turn for the worse.

In September of 2005, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal purchased 5.46 per cent of Class B voting shares in News Corp, the company that owns Fox News and a number of other media and entertainment entities. This had replaced the three per cent stake in Class A non-voting shares bin Talal had previously held through his investment corporation, Kingdom Holding Company (KHC).

With his newfound voting rights, bin Talal stated his intention of supporting Rupert Murdoch, the principal owner of News Corp, helping Murdoch to stay in power and avoid hostile takeover by other interested investors. Some have said that this was like making a deal with the devil, as Murdoch has been left vulnerable to the whims of an individual that has been involved in despicable causes.

In April of 2002, bin Talal had donated $27 million during a Saudi telethon that was raising money for the families of suicide bombers. As well, he had given $500,000 to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to be used towards the distribution and propagation of a set of Islamist books for American libraries. The set included Jamal Badawi’s Gender Equity in Islam, which sanctions the beating of women by their husbands, and a version of the Quran, Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s The Meaning of THE HOLY QURAN, which has been banned by the Los Angeles school system.

Utilizing his position of power within Fox News (today, he is the second largest shareholder), bin Talal has worked to influence programming at the station. An infamous example of this was reported in a December 2005 article found in WorldNetDaily, stating:

During the violent street protests in France one month ago, the prince said, Fox News ran a banner at the bottom of the screen that said “Muslim riots.”

“I picked up the phone and called Murdoch ... [and told him] these are not Muslim riots, these are riots out of poverty,” al-Walid said.

“Within 30 minutes, the title was changed from Muslim riots to civil riots.”

This incident was precisely the type of scenario that then-Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani tried to avoid, when after the 9/11 attacks, he rejected a $10 million check from bin Talal for the renovation of New York, that was attached to statements made by the Prince critical of the United States’ relationship to Israel. The question now is how many more incidents, such as the one concerning the French Muslim riots, have occured without the notice of the American public? And how far has bin Talal’s influence been able to reach?

The answer to the latter question may very well be in News Corp’s December 4th acquisition of Beliefnet, an internet-based religious information source.

Beliefnet came on the scene, first as a website in February of 2000 and then as a corporation in May of 2000, acting as basically a clearinghouse for religious thought. On the website, each of the world’s major religions were (are) given their own sections. This didn’t seem to be a problem, as favoritism towards one religion over another was nonexistant. However, within the Islam section, extremists began to gain a foothold.

On December 5, 2000, Beliefnet published an exclusive article written by the National Communications Director of the CAIR, Ibrahim Hooper, entitled ‘Why the Fury?’ a.k.a. ‘Why the Rage?’ [The article is still up on Beliefnet.] CAIR was created in June of 1994 as part of the Hamas terror network. Since then, the group has had a number of its officials charged with terrorist activity. Hooper, himself, has refused to condemn Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations.

On February 8, 2001, Beliefnet, at the top of the homepage of its Islam section, refered to former Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, as a “tyrant” and published an article calling Prime Minister Sharon a “war criminal.” The article, ‘Ariel Sharon: The War Criminal Takes Over,’ like Hooper’s, is still up on Beliefnet.

On October 13, 2001, Beliefnet prominently placed on its website a piece, what it called a “rallying cry,” by then-Vice President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Ingrid Mattson, entitled ‘American Muslims, It’s Time for Us to Lead.’ ISNA, an umbrella group for radical mosques and Islamic centers throughout the United States and Canada, was recently named an “Unindicted Co-conspirator” by the U.S. government in connection to the raising of millions of dollars for Hamas. [As was CAIR.]

On November 5, 2002, Beliefnet (Beliefnet Books) introduced to its audience a compilation of essays, entitled Taking Back Islam, that comprised of pieces authored by a number of Islamists, such as: Mattson; MPAC Executive Director Salam Al-Marayati; CAIR National Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar; and Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), who was barred from entry into the United States, in September of 2004, for having suspected ties to terrorists.

Today, Beliefnet’s Islam section is entirely controlled by, and the content of it is entirely consumed by, radical Muslims.

A Hint of Things to Come

FBI Wants Largest Biometrics Database

The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion project to build the world's largest computer database of biometrics to give the government more ways to identify people at home and abroad, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

The FBI has already started compiling digital images of faces, fingerprints and palm patterns in its systems, the paper said.

In January, the agency -- which focuses on violations of federal law, espionage by foreigners and terrorist activities -- expects to award a 10-year contract to expand the amount and kinds of biometric information it receives, it said.

At an employer's request, the FBI will also retain the fingerprints of employees who have undergone criminal background checks, the paper said.

If successful, the system, called Next Generation Identification, will collect the biometric information in one place for identification and forensic purposes, the Post said.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Minneapolis SWAT Team Raids Wrong House

Folks - this is what happens when you arm and train police like soldiers - always a NO-NO in a "Free" society!

MINNEAPOLIS — With her six kids and husband tucked into bed, Yee Moua was watching TV in her living room just after midnight when she heard voices — faint at first, then louder. Then came the sound of a window shattering.

Moua bolted upstairs, where her husband, Vang Khang, grabbed his shotgun from a closet, knelt and fired a warning shot through his doorway as he heard footsteps coming up the stairs. He let loose with two more blasts. Twenty-two bullets were fired back at him, by the family's count.

Then things suddenly became clear.

"It's the police! Police!" his sons yelled.

Khang, a Hmong immigrant with shaky command of English, set down his gun, raised his hands and was soon on the ground, an officer's boot on his neck.

The gunmen, it turned out, were members of a police SWAT team that had raided the wrong address because of bad information from an informant — a mistake that some critics say happens all too frequently around the country and gets innocent people killed.

"I have six kids, and only one mistake almost took my kids' life," said Moua, 29. "We will never forget this."

No one was hurt in the raid Sunday, conducted by a task force that fights drugs and gangs, though two police officers were hit by the shotgun blasts and narrowly escaped injury because they were wearing bulletproof vests.

Police apologized to the family and placed the seven officers on leave while it investigates what went wrong.

Such mistakes are a fact of police work, some experts said.

"Does going to the wrong address happen from time to time? Yes," said John Gnagey, executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association in Doylestown, Pa. "Do you corroborate as best you can the information the informant gives you? Absolutely. But still from time to time mistakes are made."

One of the biggest botched raids in recent years happened in Atlanta in 2006, when police killed a 92-year-old woman in a hail of nearly 40 bullets after she fired a shot at what she thought were intruders. Police had gone to her house on a drug raid, but no drugs were found.

Prosecutors said that in obtaining a search warrant, Atlanta police falsely told a judge that an informant had confirmed drug dealing there. The scandal led to a shake-up in the department, two officers pleaded guilty to manslaughter and civil rights charges, and the city faces at least two lawsuits.

Reliable figures on the frequency of erroneous raids are hard to come by. Federal agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, said they do not keep track.

A study last year by the libertarian Cato Institute said: "Because of shoddy police work, over-reliance on informants, and other problems, each year hundreds of raids are conducted on the wrong addresses, bringing unnecessary terror and frightening confrontation to people never suspected of a crime."

Gnagey disputed the reliability of the research behind those figures, and said it is impossible to know whether they are too high or too low. He said no dependable estimates exist.

"Going to the wrong home is an extreme rarity," said Mark Robbins, a law enforcement professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato. "It's just unfortunate that when it does, it often ends up in violent and even tragic incidents."

In the Minneapolis case, the nature of the tip and precisely what police were looking for were not disclosed; they have not released the search warrant. And it was not clear how far off the mark the informant was in supplying the address.

No charges were brought against Khang, a laid-off machine operator who lives in crime-ridden north Minneapolis. Khang used the shotgun for hunting, said his brother, Dao Khang. In Minnesota, no license is required to own a shotgun.

Khang, who speaks some English but used an interpreter during an interview, said he does not remember hearing any calls of "Police!" until his sons shouted. He said he would never knowingly shoot at officers.

"That's why I reacted the way I did, to protect my family and two sons," said Khang, 34, whose children are ages 3 to 15.

Lt. Amelia Huffman, a police spokeswoman, said the information in the search warrant came from a source who had been reliable in the past.

Huffman said officers who routinely work on drug and gang cases are trained to try to corroborate their information. As for why the process didn't work this time, "that's one of the things the internal investigation will go through in exhaustive detail," she said.

The Hmong are hill people from Laos who aided the CIA during the Vietnam War by fighting the Viet Cong. Hmong refugees began arriving in Minnesota in the late 1970s, and there are perhaps 60,000 Hmong in Minnesota today. (the Hmong are one of the most respected group of friends Green Berets speak of - Tiger)

The Khang family is living with relatives until the house gets cleaned up. The raid left six windows broken and walls and ceilings pocked with pellet and bullet holes.

"The whole family is badly shaken and still trying to understand what happened," Moua said.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Islamist in the U.S. Army

In April of 2000, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) – the American arm of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the Muslim Brotherhood of Pakistan – launched a website to provide information about Islam to non-Muslims, appropriately called Why Islam? (WI). Since then, the website has been used, instead, to propagate support for overseas terrorist groups and to spread violent hatred against non-Muslims. One of the individuals that has been involved in both is currently located in Iraq. However, he is no Iraqi. He is an American and a member of the United States Army. The following exposes this individual, in hopes that a potential threat will be averted.

Dawah is the Arabic term for outreach (with the intent to convert non-Muslims to Islam). WI is ICNA’s program for just such outreach. For it, ICNA created a toll-free helpline and built an interactive website. One of the main functions of the website is a forum, where group members get together on-line to discuss numerous subjects regarding Islam and current events. Many times these discussions result in praise for terrorist organizations, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and extreme hateful statements aimed at non-Muslims, particularly members of the Jewish faith. This occurs from not only WI members, but from forum leaders, as well.

One of the forum members goes by the screen name “Deep Thought.” While he stated that he joined to “learn about Islam,” it didn’t take long for Mr. Thought (DT) to become a party to the hate fest. In March of 2006, less than a month after he signed up, he took aim at Jews, whites and Christians, saying that the reason for U.S. support for Israel was due to the fact that “Jews in America have money,” that he is “very cautious of white people,” and that “Christians are hypocrites” for thinking that beheadings by Muslims are any different than capital punishment in the U.S. He stated, “Personally I think I would rather a quick chop to the head then the electric chair.”

In time, the rhetoric would become much worse, leading towards his support of terrorist organizations, a violent obsession with Jews and Israel, and repeated assaults on President Bush.

Concerning Hamas, Hezbollah and Chechen militants, DT stated:

“I cant believe Christians and Israel supporters condemn groups like Hamas and Hezbollah!!... Far in between I tell u brothers and sisters in Islam.... We will prevail... Allahu Akbar.” (August 9, 2006)

“You choose to believe it because in your mind HAMAS CAN DO NO RIGHT... The article fits your perception of them.... as terroist.... I on the other hand see them as freedom fighters... FREE PALESTINE!!!!!!!” (May 1, 2006)

“You mention Chechen rebels and Hezbollah... Unfair of you to call them terroist unless you know THEIR story... Believe me their cause is a worthy one.” (November 10, 2006)
“I consider them [Hamas] freedom fighters... G-d bless them.” (May 5, 2006)

About Jews, DT wrote:
“I would tell you face to face how I feel about you israel supporting ‘jews’... Likewise, If a Jew attacks me or my muslim brothers.....GAME OVER.” (July 20, 2006)

“I have never personally met a Jew but if he is anything like you.. I'm gonna put my combat boots in his jew a**.” (July 20, 2006)

“As if there is not enough of Pro-jewish/ christian crusader groups in the United States! Hell, the whole government for that matter.. Tell me that they are not!! I dare u, this is an argument or ‘debate’ that you CAN NOT win.” (August 9, 2006)

“Jews own the American media.” (August 27, 2006)

... folks, our leaders are complete utter idiots, having POLITICAL CORRECTNESS as their ONLY principle!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Reindeer Really Can Fly

Alan Blacklock, a photographer with the New Zealand Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, was certainly surprised when he looked into the afternoon sky from his home in the capital city, Wellington.

'It was Sunday afternoon and my attention was drawn to this cloud,' he said.
'It wasn't a great leap of the imagination to see a reindeer.'

The picture, taken on Dec 2, is of a cirrus cloud, which takes shape at about 30,000ft.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Keep It Up, Slick! You're Doing A Great Job ...

... At Shutting Down Hillary, Of Course!

Concerned over Hillary Clinton’s slide in the polls and angry with some of the decisions made by her team, Bill Clinton is rushing in to shake up his wife’s campaign.

“She’s in big trouble and he knows it,” one Democratic operative told the New York Daily News.
Bill is “unhappy” and “very agitated,” according to sources close Hillary’s campaign, and worried that she could lose the Democratic nomination if there are no major changes in strategy and staffing.

The former president is considering “a lot of different ideas and a lot of different scenarios to fix this,” a source close to Bill told the Daily News.

Another source criticized recent Clinton campaign ads as lacking focus, and Bill has reportedly been “yelling at [chief strategist] Mark Penn a lot,” the News reports.

While insiders say a major staff purge is likely, Hillary herself has dismissed the talk, saying, “These stories are false. I have the best staff in the country.”

In any case, one Clinton operative said: “Nothing will happen until after Iowa,” referring to the Jan. 3 caucuses there.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

An American Who Is Serious About Freedom

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Jeanne Assam appeared before the news media for the first time Monday and said she "did not think for a minute to run away" when a gunman entered the New Life Church in Colorado Springs and started shooting.

There was applause as Assam spoke to reporters and TV cameras saying, "God guided me and protected me."

New Life's Senior Pastor Brady Boyd called Assam "a real hero" because Murray "had enough ammunition on him to cause a lot of damage."

When asked by a reporter if she felt like a hero, Assam said, "I wasn't just going to wait for him to do further damage."

"I give credit to God," she said.

Assam described how the gunman, Matthew Murray, entered the east entrance of the church firing his rifle.

"There was chaos," Assam said, as parishioners ran away, "I will never forget the gunshots. They were so loud."

"I saw him coming through the doors" and took cover, Assam said. "I came out of cover and identified myself and engaged him and took him down."

"God was with me," Assam said. "I didn't think for a minute to run away."

Assam said she believes God gave her the strength to confront Murray, keeping her calm and focused even though he appeared to be twice her size and was more heavily armed.

Murray was carrying two handguns, an assault rifle and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition, said Sgt. Jeff Johnson of the Colorado Springs Police Department.

"It seemed like it was me, the gunman and God," she said.

Assam worked as a police officer in downtown Minneapolis during the 1990s and is licensed to carry a weapon. She attends one of the morning services and then volunteers as a guard during another service.

Boyd said Assam was the one who suggested the church beef up its security Sunday following the Arvada shooting, which it did. The pastor credited the security plan and the extra security for preventing further bloodshed.

Boyd said there are 15 to 20 security people at the church. All are volunteers but the only ones armed are those who are licensed to carry weapons.

The security guards are members of the church who are screened and not "mercenaries that we hire to walk around our campus to provide security," Boyd said.

About 7,000 people were on the church campus at the time of the shooting, said Boyd.

Two of the parishioners killed in the shooting were identified Monday as sisters Stephanie Works, 18, and Rachael Works, 16. Their father, David Works, 51, suffered two gunshot wounds -- one to the abdomen and one to the groin -- and was listed in fair condition on Monday. They were shot in the parking lot as they were getting into their van.

"Our concern is for our family that lost two teenage daughters. Our hearts are grieving," said Boyd. "You can imagine, as parents, losing two children while coming to church, just showing up for a worship service, not bothering anyone."

Boyd said Assam's actions saved the lives of 50 to 100 people.

Assam said she was ending three days of fasting on Sunday when fate put her in the path of the gunman.

"I was praying to God that he direct me" in what to do in life, Assam said. "God made me strong."

More Evidence Most Americans Aren't Serious About Freedom

Monday, December 10, 2007

Garner - Washington Times : with Others

British spies concerned that Iran has "fed disinformation to the CIA" over nuke plans

Of course, it's disinformation that so many in the U.S. want so desperately to believe. "Iran 'hoodwinked' CIA over nuclear plans," by Tim Shipman, Philip Sherwell and Carolynne Wheeler in the Telegraph (thanks to LGF):

British spy chiefs have grave doubts that Iran has mothballed its nuclear weapons programme, as a US intelligence report claimed last week, and believe the CIA has been hoodwinked by Teheran.

The timing of the CIA report has also provoked fury in the British Government, where officials believe it has undermined efforts to impose tough new sanctions on Iran and made an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities more likely.

The security services in London want concrete evidence to allay concerns that the Islamic state has fed disinformation to the CIA.

The report used new evidence - including human sources, wireless intercepts and evidence from an Iranian defector - to conclude that Teheran suspended the bomb-making side of its nuclear programme in 2003. But British intelligence is concerned that US spy chiefs were so determined to avoid giving President Bush a reason to go to war - as their reports on Saddam Hussein's weapons programmes did in Iraq - that they got it wrong this time.

A senior British official delivered a withering assessment of US intelligence-gathering abilities in the Middle East and revealed that British spies shared the concerns of Israeli defence chiefs that Iran was still pursuing nuclear weapons.

JERUSALEM – Israel has "incriminating" information Iran has continued its nuclear weapons program, a senior Israeli security official told WND, directly contradicting last week's U.S. intelligence report stating Tehran suspended its ambition in 2003.

"The Iranians continue their push for nuclear weapons in specific ways, including the acquisition and development of missiles," said the official who has access to classified Israeli defense material and intelligence reports on Iran.

"Iran hides its nuclear weapons program but it continues nonetheless," he said, indicating the U.S. estimate may have been "politically motivated."

The security official said Israel possesses "incriminating" information that Iran continues its purported drive to obtain nuclear weapons. JERUSALEM – Israel has "incriminating" information Iran has continued its nuclear weapons program, a senior Israeli security official told WND, directly contradicting last week's U.S. intelligence report stating Tehran suspended its ambition in 2003.

"The Iranians continue their push for nuclear weapons in specific ways, including the acquisition and development of missiles," said the official who has access to classified Israeli defense material and intelligence reports on Iran.

"Iran hides its nuclear weapons program but it continues nonetheless," he said, indicating the U.S. estimate may have been "politically motivated."

The security official said Israel possesses "incriminating" information that Iran continues its purported drive to obtain nuclear weapons.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Strange Bedfellows - Newsweek and President Bush

Liars Lie Together ! - Canada openly proclaims NAFTA Superhighway

A Newsweek story critical of Rep. Ron Paul and labeling the NAFTA Superhighway a baseless conspiracy theory has generated approximately 250 adverse reader responses on the "comments" section of Newsweek's website, many citing hard evidence that the proposed transcontinental trade corridor is quite real.

"There is a broad coalition of Americans developing across the United States who are opposed to a North American Union and know that Ron Paul is right and we need to take action now before it is too late," Jesse Benton, national press secretary for the Ron Paul Presidential Campaign 08 told WND.

Particularly interesting among Newsweek's reader comments were citations of Canadian government websites that openly discuss and declare plans to create a NAFTA Superhighway.
Several readers pointed to a Canadian government video clip gaining wide circulation on the Internet.

It involves a Nov. 20 "Speech from the Throne," in which John Harvard, lieutenant-governor of the Province of Manitoba, Canada, opened the second session of the 39th assembly of the provincial legislature with comments proclaiming support for the development of a "Mid-Continent Trade Corridor."

"Manitoba is also taking a major role in the development of a Mid-Continent Trade Corridor, connecting our northern Port of Churchill with trade markets throughout the central United States and Mexico," Harvard told the legislature.

"To advance the concept," Harvard continued, "an alliance has been built with business leaders and state and city governments spanning the entire length of the Corridor. When fully developed, the trade route will incorporate an 'inland port' in Winnipeg with pre-clearance for international shipping."

A video posted on YouTube shows excerpts from Harvard's speech juxtaposed with clips of President Bush and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the press conference of the third summit of the Security and Prosperity Partnership in Montebello, Quebec, on Aug. 21, ridiculing the North American Union and the NAFTA Superhighway as baseless conspiracy theories.

A Destination-Winnipeg trade group website identifies the Mid-Continent Trade Corridor as "the northern gateway of this vast Corridor, a network of highways and railways linking the business community with cities to the south, through the U.S. and into Mexico."

The Canadian government's Canada Transport website describes the Mid-Continent International Trade Corridor as a rail and highway network which stretches from Manitoba to Mexico.

Other Newsweek readers provided links to an Alberta government website.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation in Alberta, Canada, has posted on its website a trade corridor map that shows a NAFTA Superhighway clearly designated in the same route, including Interstate Highways 35, 29 and 94, that the North America's SuperCorridor Coalition, or NASCO, designates as the I-35 NAFTA Superhighway.

Craig Offman of the National Post writes that this Alberta map of the NAFTA Superhighway on the Alberta Government website is currently Number Two on the popular U.S. web site

"Well, now, Mr. Paul might think he has some real fodder," Offman writees. "The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation website uses the exact phrase, showing a thoroughfare that begins in Manitoba and drops all the way down to West Texas."

"Why would the Canadian government web page in Alberta show a NAFTA Superhighway if the highway doesn't exist?" asks a Newsweek reader linking to the Alberta site. "Keep on lying to the people, Newsweek, it is what you do best."

"We have had that map with the NAFTA Superhighway on our website for 5 years or more," Jerry Bellikka, director of communications for the Alberta Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation told WND in a telephone interview.

"The website is a site for truckers," Bellikka explained. "We try to harmonize our trucking regulations with Canada and the United States so truckers can log on and see where they fit on our requirements when they are traveling along these North American corridors."

WND asked Bellikka if the Alberta Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation had any intention of changing the NAFTA Superhighway map on its website.

"No," Bellinkka answered directly. "We have no plan to change the designation of NAFTA Superhighway on our website."

Friday, December 07, 2007

Injustice Smells Like Johnny Sutton and the Bush Administration

President Bush should immediately commute the prison sentences of two former U.S. Border Patrol agents convicted in the shooting of a drug-smuggling suspect, says the chairman of a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee.

Rep. Bill Delahunt, Massachusetts Democrat who heads the subcommittee on international organizations, human rights and oversight, said in a resolution yesterday the 11- and 12-year sentences for Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean, respectively, were "profoundly disproportionate" based on federal sentencing guidelines.

Ramos, 37, and Compean, 28, were sentenced in October 2006 for shooting Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila in the buttocks in February 2005 when he was running from a van with 743 pounds of marijuana near Fabens, Texas.

Mr. Delahunt called the sentences "a miscarriage of justice," saying serious questions have been raised about the manner in which U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton in El Paso prosecuted the case.
He said the agents' supervisor, Border Patrol Sector Chief Luis Barker, described the sentences during Senate testimony as "disproportionate," and that Mr. Sutton has said, "Some say it's just too much time, and I have some sympathy for that."

"President Bush can correct a gross miscarriage of justice with the stroke of a pen," he said. "And this resolution will put Congress on record demanding that he do just that."

Mr. Delahunt said that between February 2005 and June 2007, there have been 1,982 incidents in which Border Patrol agents have been assaulted. He said the numbers would "support the premise that Border Patrol agents operate in a climate of tension, danger and even fear for the safety of themselves and others."

Ramos and Compean testified they thought Aldrete-Davila had a weapon.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Feds Working Hand-In-Hand With Islamic Extremists

What price is our government paying for allowing Islamic Relief, a Muslim extremist group, to get involved as a “partner” to the government, when it comes to natural disasters, be it Katrina, California wildfires or anything else? And what price are we as Americans going to pay in the end? The American public must demand answers from FEMA, because it is obvious that FEMA, a division of Homeland Security, will not seek them on its own.

Last month, this author exposed how the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), a group tied to the financing of Hamas, has been “partnering” with the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), a branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), claiming to be providing aid to those affected by Hurricane Katrina and the California wildfires. It has now been learned that another group said to be linked to Hamas, Islamic Relief, also has a working relationship with FEMA. Question: Has our government placed American disaster assistance into the hands of an overseas terrorist group?

Islamic Relief (IR) was founded in Birmingham, England in 1984. Since then, it has opened up offices around the world; hence its UK headquarters designation, Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW). Today, it has subsidiaries located in over 30 countries, including the United States.

According to the group’s website, IR “seeks to promote sustainable economic and social development by working with local communities through relief and development programmes.” As noble as that sounds, the group has had a checkered past. In 1999, it was reported that IR had collected and sent over $6 million to Chechen rebels with ties to Al-Qaeda. The same year, IR received $50,000 from Human Concern International (HCI), a “charity” that the U.S. Department of Treasury described as a “Bin Laden front.” Shortly after the September 11th attacks, IR, itself, would be investigated by the Treasury Department, as a “possible source of funding for Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.”

In May of 2006, Israel labeled IR a Hamas front, after Israeli security services arrested the organization’s Program Manager for Gaza, Ayaz Ali, for providing assistance to the terror group. According to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (IMFA): “[Ali] admitted to being a member of the UK-based Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), which is suspected of supporting Hamas... [H]e worked to transfer funds and assistance to various Hamas institutions and organizations, including the Al Wafa and Al Tzalah associations, which have been outlawed in Israel. He also admitted that he worked in Jordan and cooperated with local Hamas operatives.”

The founder and President of IR is Hani Al-Banna, a former trustee of Muslim Aid, a global “charity” based in London, England. While Al-Banna was associated with MA, the group was a “partner organization” to the Al-Salah Islamic Association, a Gaza-based entity that the U.S. Treasury Department designated a “Key Support Node for Hamas,” along with its Director, Ahmed Al-Kurd, who the U.S. government also designated a “terrorist.” As well, while Al-Banna was involved with MA, the group was a partner to organizations directly related to the Muslim Brotherhood of Pakistan, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), including the Al-Khidmat Hospital based in Karachi.

Despite the group’s storied connections to entities found on the U.S. State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs), IR has been allowed to operate within the United States.

Chavez the Imbecile

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rising Tide, Rising Burden - Illegal Immigration

The immigrant population has hit its highest number in 80 years at 37.9 million according to an analysis of 2007 Census Bureau data on legal and illegal immigration, released Thursday by the Center for Immigration Studies.

The study’s data are compelling: in the seven years of the Bush administration, immigration -- especially illegal immigration -- has grown hugely, imposing a burden on the U.S. economy it may not long be able to sustain.

The Current Population Study (CPS) conducted by Steven Camarota, an advocate of limiting immigration and director of the Center for Immigration Studies, shows that between 2000 and 2007 the immigrant population rose by 7.3 million or 1.04 million per year, and that one in three immigrants is an illegal alien.

Particularly interesting is CPS’ analysis of legal and illegal immigrants accepting government assistance, illustrating growing economic burdens on U.S. taxpayers. The CPS found that 33% of immigrant-headed households use at least one welfare program compared to 19% for natives.

Government welfare programs cost the government about $600 billion a year, reports Camarota. Unskilled legal immigrants (defined as in not having completed high school) make the most use of the welfare system, an estimated 56% of households headed by unskilled legal immigrants use one major welfare program (cash assistance, food assistance, subsidized housing and Medicaid). Camarota told HUMAN EVENTS that the $600 billion is a rough total for federal, state and local payouts, though most of the amount is taken from federal welfare and entitlement programs.

The CPS notes that in most cases illegals can not use the welfare system themselves -- but their U.S. born children are eligible for food assistance and Medicaid. New York had the highest rate of illegal alien headed households using major welfare programs with 49%, then California at 48% and Texas at 44%. Overall 40% of illegals in the nation are on welfare.

The study showed that unskilled legal immigrants have high percentages of health insurance coverage, Camarota says this is because “a large share of unskilled legal immigrants and their children use Medicaid which is costly to taxpayers.” Camarota says this indicates that legalization will not solve the problems of welfare use or low income associated with illegal immigration. In fact, legalization (amnesty) will increase welfare programs.The burden also falls on state and local education systems.

The CIS found that “immigration accounts for virtually all of the national increase in public school enrollment over the last two decades and in 2007 alone there were 10.8 million school-age children from immigrant families in the United States.”

Law makers and pundits remind Americans of the economic benefits of illegal immigration but what about the growing burdens this survey presents?

Immigration reform -- securing our borders and dealing with the at least 12 million illegal aliens now here -- is a key issue in the 2008 race and the Republican candidates are jockeying for positions on it. In Wednesday night’s CNN/YouTube debate former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said, “We are going to have to recognize in this country that we welcome people here legally…we should say if you’re here illegally, you should not be here, we’re not going give you benefits other than those required by the law like healthcare and education.”

Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani said, “If I were president of the United States, I could do something about that by deploying a fence, by deploying a virtual fence, by having a BorderStat system like my COMSTAT system that brought down crime in New York and just stopping people from coming in and then having a tamper-proof ID card.”

Thompson’s response: “A nation that cannot and will not defend its own borders will not forever remain a sovereign nation. It's our home. And we now get to decide who comes into our home. We've got to strengthen the border. We've got to enforce the border. We've got to punish employers -- employers who will not obey the law. And we've got to eliminate sanctuary cities and say to sanctuary cities, 'if you continue this, we're going to cut off federal funding for you, you're not going to do it with federal money'.”

Arizona Sen. John McCain, whose presidential campaign was nearly demolished by his unpopular amnesty bill proposal said, “I want to assure you that I'll enforce the borders first, that as president of the United States, we'll solve this immigration problem. And we won't demagogue it. And we won't have sanctuary cities.”

In 2008, Americans will demand straight answers from candidates on how they will secure the borders and deal with illegal immigration. The Bush administration’s failure to do this -- best demonstrated in CIS’s immigration figures -- has caused voters to distrust what politicians have promised before. In 2008, Americans’ will make it impossible for candidates to evade or equivocate. How will they secure the borders? And by what measures will they claim success or failure? We deserve to get straight answers from them all. Conservatives will insist on getting them.

... but, where are the Conservatives? - Tiger

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bush's Religion Is 'Ideology'

Over lunch, a liberal friend expressed puzzlement. Citing the title of Tom Oliphant's new book about the Bush administration, "Utter Incompetents," he wondered aloud.

Like him or not, he said, Bush is not an unintelligent man, and he is a principled and energetic executive. As for Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and the others, almost all had long resumes of accomplishment in politics, government and business.

Why, then, do they seem to have failed so dismally? In my new book, "Day of Reckoning," published this week, I offer an answer. If there is a one root cause to the Bush failures, it has been his fatal embrace of ideology.

Ideology is substitute religion, a belief system based on ideas that are often contradicted by history and common sense. Yet men will adhere to ideologies with a zealotry that borders on fanaticism.

Marxism, fascism and socialism were; are ideologies - gods that failed. So, too, is democratism, the Gospel of George W. Bush. Democratism is a belief that all men are equally endowed with a desire for freedom and an aptitude for democracy. All can be uplifted, and all brought to see that democracy is the one true path to peace in our world. In democracy lies our salvation.
( This is nonsense, of course! - Tiger )

This conviction lay behind the invasion of Iraq, Bush's crusade to democratize the Middle East and his "global democratic revolution" to "end tyranny in our world." And, as Woodrow Wilson's crusade "to make the world safe for democracy" gave us Lenin, Stalin and Hitler, Bush's crusade for democracy is leaving us with ashes in our mouths.

Yet, Wilson's heart was pure, and he ever exhibited the serenity of the True Believer, the unmistakable mark of the ideologue. One imagines Bush will be preaching the dogma of free trade long after the last U.S. factory has closed and the dollar has reached parity with the Mexican peso.

Bush's "compassionate conservative" appears grounded in the ideological conviction that all children are endowed with the capacity to learn through the high school level. No Child Left Behind was going to raise the test scores of all our children above the national average, as in Lake Wobegon.

Why was it fated to fail? Because reality is otherwise. All children are not equal in their innate ability to learn English or math, as they are not equal in their ability to play sports, music or chess. A second-grader knows that, but our elites reject it as bigotry and blasphemy against the egalitarian dogmas that define who they are.

... I don't always agree with Pat Buchanan, but he's making sense here! - Tiger

Garner - Washington Times : A Scrapbook of Failure

All From Not Knowing Your Enemy !

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Saudis Calling Shots at Annapolis Peace Conference? - The Capitulation Continues

Israel recognizes plan calling for exit from Golan, Temple Mount, Jerusalem, West Bank

JERUSALEM – In exchange for Saudi Arabia attending this week's U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian conference in Annapolis, the Israeli government agreed to recognize the importance of a Saudi-sponsored "peace initiative" in which the Jewish state is called upon to evacuate the strategic Golan Heights, the entire West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, WND has learned.

WND obtained a draft Israeli-Palestinian declaration to be presented at the Annapolis conference and to serve as an official outline of a final settlement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority .

The wording is still being negotiated by both sides, but according to Israeli diplomatic sources, Israel agreed to a Saudi request that the declaration document include reference to a Saudi-backed Arab Peace Initiative, first presented in 2002 and reissued earlier this year at a meeting of the Arab League, an umbrella association of Mideast Arab states.

When it was first revealed, the Arab Initiative was heavily criticized by the U.S. and Israel because the text requires the Jewish state to withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza and allow for the creation of a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem, including the evacuation of the Temple Mount - Judaism's holiest site.

The Initiative also called for a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights, strategic mountainous territory that looks down on Israeli population centers and that was twice used by Syria to launch ground invasions into the Jewish state.

But now Israel has recognized the Arab Initiative as a precondition for Saudi Arabia to attend the Annapolis summit, according to diplomatic sources in Jerusalem.

While Israel doesn't commit itself to the Arab Initiative's requirements, a clause in the current draft of the Israeli-Palestinian declaration slated for the Annaplis conference and obtained by WND reads: "We recognize the critical supporting role of Arab and Muslim states and the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative."

The draft declaration is subject to final changes up to Tuesday's summit.

Saudi Arabia announced yesterday it would send its foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, to the Annapolis summit after the Arab League decided to back the Israeli-Palestinian conference.
Syria has not yet officially decided whether to attend but has made clear it would not send a representative to Annapolis unless the Golan Heights was placed on the agenda.

Syria is in a military alliance with Iran and is accused by the U.S. of supporting the insurgency in Iraq and generating instability in Lebanon. Israel says Syria regularly ships Iranian rockets and weaponry to the Lebanese Hezbollah militia. The chiefs of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad Palestinian terror groups are based in Damascus.

The U.S. extended an invitation to Syria without any preconditions.

While many in Washington have high hopes for Annapolis, recent polls here show Israelis are less optimistic.

A survey sponsored last week by the Israel Policy Center for Promoting Parliamentary Democracy and Jewish Values in Israeli Public Life found 77 percent of Israelis believe Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas lacked the power to prevent attacks from the West Bank.

Sixty-one percent of the general Israeli public opposes a withdrawal from most of the West Bank and handing the strategic territory to the Palestinians.

If Israel indeed evacuated the West Bank, some 55 percent of Israelis believe Palestinians will use the territory to fire rockets into Jewish population centers, and 65 percent believe there is a high or very high chance Hamas would take control of the area, according to the new poll. Hamas leaders in recent days warned their terror group would take over the West Bank if Israel withdrew.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Americans Get Fed Up With 'Happy Holidays' - But Democrats Can't Stomach 'Merry Christmas'

A new poll finds Americans overwhelmingly prefer that stores use the phrase "Merry Christmas" in their seasonal advertising rather than "Happy Holidays.

The Rasmussen survey found 67 percent favor "Merry Christmas" while just 26 percent prefer "Happy Holidays."

Rasmussen said the poll results were the same for males and females, and there were few demographic differences.

A sharp difference, however, showed up between Republicans and Democrats.

While 88 percent of Republicans prefer "Merry Christmas," just 57 percent of Democrats favor the saying.

Rasmussen also found 57 percent of respondents say they will attend a Christian service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day this year.

About 30 percent won’t go to a special service. Women are more likely to attend a Christmas service than men, the survey found.

Several activist groups have launched campaigns in the last few years to encourage stores to acknowledge that their biggest retail season of the year is about Christmas, not winter or simply "holidays."

As WND reported, a group called the Committee to Save Merry Christmas launched a successful boycott against Macy's then targeted Sears for eliminated references to Christmas in its advertising.

The home-improvement retailer Lowe's dropped references to "Holiday Trees" in favor of "Christmas Trees" just one day after a WND story brought national exposure.

Scientist Who Ignited Stem-Cell War Says It's Over - He Now Uses Ordinary Adult Skin Cells

The scientist who helped ignite cultural and political controversy with the use of embryos in stem-cell research believes his new discovery – using ordinary adult skin cells – means the war is virtually over.
"A decade from now, this will be just a funny historical footnote," James A. Thomson told the New York Times in an interview.

Thomson's laboratory at the University of Wisconsin was one of two that announced Tuesday a new way to turn ordinary human skin cells into what appear to be embryonic stem cells without using a human embryo.

The technique involves adding four genes to ordinary adult skin cells.

... critics of stem-cell research using human embryos have continued to point out that all of the clinical trials yielding success in the past several years have used adult stem cells.

As WND reported in January, Christian leaders from around the world hailed the announcement of research concluding stem cells could be derived from amniotic fluid.

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson said at the time that the study "provides more evidence that there is no need to destroy human embryos in order to treat disease or otherwise benefit mankind. In fact, there are no clinical trials anywhere in the world where embryonic stem cells are being used in patients."

At least 70 conditions already are being treated with stem cells from bone marrow and cord blood, and similar prospects are likely for stem cells from amniotic fluid, he said.

( Photo: NY Times )

Friday, November 23, 2007

Cardinals Discuss Threat From Christian Sects

VATICAN CITY — The Roman Catholic Church must figure out what it is doing wrong in the battle for souls since so many Catholics are leaving the Church to join Pentecostal and other evangelical movements, a top Vatican cardinal said Friday.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, who heads the Vatican's office for relations with other Christians, told a meeting of the world's cardinals that the Church must undergo a "self-critical pastoral examination of conscience" to confront the "exponential" rise of Pentecostal movements.

"We shouldn't begin by asking ourselves what is wrong with the Pentecostals, but what our own pastoral shortcomings are," Kasper told the gathering, noting that such evangelical and charismatic groups count 400 million faithful around the world.

The Vatican has been increasingly lamenting the rise of Protestant evangelical communities, which it describes as "sects," in Latin America, Africa and elsewhere and the resulting flight of Catholics. In Brazil alone, Roman Catholics used to account for about 90 percent of the population in the 1960s; by 2005 it was down to 67 percent.

Kasper's comments came on the eve of Saturday's ceremony to elevate 23 new cardinals. As he did during his first consistory in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI asked the world's cardinals to come to Rome early for a meeting to discuss church concerns.

This year, Kasper briefed the cardinals on relations with other Christians, focusing on the church's relations with the Orthodox, Protestants and Pentecostal movements.

Kasper said the rise of independent, often "aggressive" evangelical movements in Africa and elsewhere had complicated the church's ecumenical task. Nevertheless, Kasper told reporters that "ecumenism is not an option but an obligation."

Kasper opened his remarks by updating the cardinals and cardinal-designates on an important new document approved by a Vatican-Orthodox theological commission that has been working to heal the 1,000-year schism between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.

In the document, Catholic and Orthodox representatives both agreed that the pope has primacy over all bishops — although they disagreed over just what authority that primacy gives him.

The development is significant since the Great Schism of 1054 — which split the Catholic and Orthodox churches — was precipitated largely by disagreements over the primacy of the pope.

Castro For Strohs

: )

Here's The 'Special Interest' Reason Democrats Will Win - Democrats Party Of Rich, Study Finds

Democrats like to define themselves as the party of poor and middle-income Americans, but a new study says they now represent the majority of the nation's wealthiest congressional districts.

In a state-by-state, district-by-district comparison of wealth concentrations based on Internal Revenue Service income data, Michael Franc, vice president of government relations at the Heritage Foundation, found that the majority of the nation's wealthiest congressional jurisdictions were represented by Democrats.

... it also explains why Republicans have gone CapitaSocialist BIG TIME! ( Tiger )

He also found that more than half of the wealthiest households were concentrated in the 18 states where Democrats hold both Senate seats.

"If you take the wealthiest one-third of the 435 congressional districts, we found that the Democrats represent about 58 percent of those jurisdictions," Mr. Franc said.

A key measure of each district's wealth was the number of single-filer taxpayers earning more than $100,000 a year and married couples filing jointly who earn more than $200,000 annually, he said.

But in a broader measurement, the study also showed that of the 167 House districts where the median annual income was higher than the national median of $48,201, a slight majority, 84 districts, were represented by Democrats. Median means that half of all income earners make more than that level and half make less.

Mr. Franc's study also showed that contrary to the Democrats' tendency to define Republicans as the party of the rich, "the vast majority of unabashed conservative House members hail from profoundly middle-income districts."

"I just found the pattern across the board to be very interesting. That pattern shows the likelihood of electing a Democrat to the House is very closely correlated with how many wealthy households are in that district," Mr. Franc said in an interview with The Washington Times.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Supreme Court Will Decide Meaning of Second Amendment

The American People Already Know What the Second Amendment Means, So, Really We Will Find Out If the Supreme Court Is Still A Valid Institution or Has Been Bought!

On November 20, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear the case of District of Columbia v. Heller. Finally, the Court will decide whether the Second Amendment secures to individual citizens the right to keep and bear their private firearms or whether it merely recongizes that an individual may use firearms for the collective purpose of participating in a state-sponsored militia.

This day has been a long time coming. The last time the Supreme Court directly addressed the meaning of the Second Amendment was almost 70 years ago in the case of U.S. v. Miller, which resulted in a controversial opinion that raised more questions than it answered. The case hinged on whether a short-barreled shotgun was the type of weapon used for military purposes and thus protected by the Second Amendment. The Court never heard evidence on this issue and before it could, Mr. Miller was killed and the case died with him.

As a board member and officer of NRA, I’ve been a vocal critic of gun bans and the D.C. gun ban in particular. It’s not just because such laws violate our Constitution but also because 25 years ago, before I became a gun owner, I was almost the victim of a home invasion. I learned first hand that the right of self-defense means nothing unless you also have the means of self-defense.

When this case challenging the D.C. gun ban was filed in 2003, it was called Parker v. District of Columbia. Shelly Parker lived in a high crime area of D.C. She and five other plaintiffs sued to overturn the D.C. law because it deprived them of their right to keep operable firearms in their homes for self-protection.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

AG Must Investigate Ramos-Compean Case, Senator Says

( - Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) wants to know why it took so long to charge the drug dealer -- used as the star witness in putting two ex-Border Patrol agents in prison -- with a second smuggling offense.

Critics of the prosecution of former border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, sentenced to 11 and 12 years respectively, have long asked why the drug smuggler wasn't prosecuted.

The indictment and arrest of Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila last week for smuggling drugs into the country in the fall of 2005 did not alleviate criticism of U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton of the Western District of Texas. (See Indictment)

Rather, some critics say it affirms their suspicion that Sutton, who prosecuted the border agents and is now prosecuting Aldrete-Davila, delayed bringing charges against Aldrete-Davila because he feared prosecuting him would jeopardize a conviction in the jury trial of Ramos and Compean.

The two agents were convicted for shooting Aldrete-Davila in the buttocks in February 2005 when he tried to evade arrest.

Further, the alleged smuggling occurred after Aldrete-Davila was granted immunity for attempting to smuggle more than 700 pounds of marijuana into the U.S. the day he was shot and also at a time when Aldrete-Davila had a "humanitarian pass" from the government to enter and exit the country unsupervised.

Though Cornyn did not make any specific allegation against Sutton or the Justice Department, he does want the matter explored.

"The recent arrest of Aldrete-Davila raises serious questions about decisions that were made in the trial and incarceration of the two agents," Cornyn told Cybercast News Service. "The attorney general should review the circumstances of this case immediately and forward a recommendation to the president."