Current Events

Will Jews Build Another Temple in Jerusalem?

No Historic Evidence for the First Two Jerusalem Temples?

The Jerusalem Post wrote on July 28:

“There is a persistent narrative by the Islamists to deny any past Jewish presence on what they call Haram al-Sharif. Like the cult centers of Mecca and Medina, they call it the Noble Sanctuary rather than the Temple Mount. The propaganda is spreading throughout the Arab world, and would deny any legitimacy to our claim to have experienced the destruction of two Temples on the site. All the evidence, the propaganda goes, is written by Jews and is therefore suspect…

“Our own history is so ingrained in us, and our belief in the First and Second Temples so deeply inscribed in our hearts that it is difficult to think of an answer to these charges. But there are answers that don’t depend on our own literature.

“Firstly Josephus. His account of his own period is good history. His description of contemporary buildings is borne out by archeology. He lived shortly after the death of Herod, and gives a vivid account of that ruler’s ruthless personality as well as his achievements in construction. But as Josephus was not alive at the time, what were his sources? His main source was Herod’s personal historian, Nicolaus of Damascus, a non-Jew who would have had no reason to invent the story of Herod rebuilding the Second Temple.

“Josephus mentions that there was a stone at the southwest corner of the Temple Mount from which one of the priests would blow the trumpet on Friday afternoons to announce the start of the Sabbath. That stone has been found, with the Hebrew inscription ‘Lebeit hatekia’ (to the place of trumpeting). No such stone would have graced the corner of a Roman temple.

“Furthermore, the existence of the Second Temple is made clear from the New Testament and the stories of Jesus within the Temple complex. But then, the Islamists would say, those Christian documents were also written by Jews, maybe by Jews with a new belief in a savior, but still Jews…

“So the external sources are slim, except for one piece of evidence that is hard and fast. And that is the large frieze on the Arch of Titus in Rome, showing the spoils of the Temple being carried by Jewish slaves through the Forum Romanum. The shapes of the menora and silver trumpets are clear. Trumpets appear everywhere in the Roman world, but there was no menora at that time at any place in the world except Jerusalem.

“Was this proof of a Temple on Haram al-Sharif? It’s pretty good evidence, but perhaps not enough for the Islamists, so let’s turn to their own sources.

“… the Koran itself now makes that clear. The prophet’s night journey is described in Surah 17: ‘Glory be to Him who made His servant go by night from the Sacred Temple [Mecca] to the farther Temple [Al-Aksa, Jerusalem], whose surroundings We have blessed…’ It goes on to say, ‘We solemnly declared to the Israelites: “Twice you shall commit great evil in the land… and We sent against you a formidable army which ravaged your land… and when the prophecy of your second transgression came to be fulfilled, We sent another army to afflict you and to enter the Temple, as the former entered it before…”‘

“Thus the Koran itself gives us the evidence of the destruction of the two Temples that had stood on the site of Al-Aksa. Nothing could be clearer.”

Vast Majority of Jews Want the Jerusalem Temple Rebuilt

WorldNetDaily wrote on August 1:

“Nearly two-thirds of Israelis say the time is right to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple, according to a Ynet-Gesher survey. Even half of non-religious Jews favor rebuilding the Holy Temple – an idea politically unthinkable in Israel just 10 or 20 years ago…

“The poll was release[d] on the saddest day on the Jewish calendar – the fasting day of Tisha B’Av, or the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av. It commemorates a series of tragedies that befell the Jewish people all on the same day, most significantly the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, which occurred about 656 years apart on the same day…

“Aside from the destruction of the Jewish Temples, a remarkably large number of massive calamities befell the Jewish people on Tisha B’Av. Jewish rebellion leader Bar Kokhba’s famous revolt against Rome failed in A.D. 136. Following the Roman siege of Jerusalem, the razing of Jerusalem occurred the next year. The first crusade pogrom against Jews in Palestine began on that date in A.D. 1096… The Jews were expelled from Britain on Tisha B’Av in 1290 and were expelled from Spain that same day in 1492. The Warsaw Ghetto uprising was crushed by the Nazis on that day in May 1943, resulting in the slaughter of about 50,000 Jews. Nationalists in Israel also mourn the removal of Jews from the Gaza Strip in 2005, which began the day after Tisha B’av…

“Israel recaptured the Temple Mount during the 1967 Six Day War. Currently under Israeli control, Jews and Christians are barred from praying on the Mount. The Temple Mount was opened to the general public until September 2000 when the Palestinians started their intifada by throwing stones at Jewish worshippers after then-candidate for prime minister Ariel Sharon visited the area. Following the onset of violence, the new Sharon government closed the Mount to non-Muslims, using checkpoints to control all pedestrian traffic for fear of further clashes with the Palestinians.

“The Temple Mount was reopened to non-Muslims in August 2003. It remains open, but only Sundays through Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and not on any Christian, Jewish or Muslim holidays… During ‘open’ days, Jews and Christian are allowed to ascend the Mount, usually through organized tours and only if they conform first to a strict set of guidelines, which includes demands that they not pray or bring any ‘holy objects’ to the site.

“King Solomon built the First Temple in the 10th century B.C. The Babylonians destroyed it in 586 B.C. The Jews built the Second Temple in 515 B.C. after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. The Romans destroyed the Second Temple in A.D. 70.”

Obama Against Rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple?

Israel National Radio wrote on July 29:

“While a majority of the American People support Israel, U.S. President Obama doesn’t want Israel to allow Jewish building even in [its] own capital city, Jerusalem. This means that Obama would not even let Israel build the Temple if it wanted to… Why does he act in a manner that is down right promoting ‘apartheid’ in not wanting people to build or live in certain areas, just because they are Jews?”

Saudi Arabia Won’t Compromise on Politics Involving Israel

Israel National News wrote on August 1:

“Saudi Arabia has thoroughly rejected appeals by U.S. President Barack Obama that the Arab world make modest gestures to Israel to show it is interested in advancing a regional peace that would include the establishment of a Palestinian Authority state within Israel’s current borders…

“The Saudi rebuff, which also ignored an appeal by more than 200 members of Congress for ‘gestures’ towards Israel, leaves President Obama with little room for maneuvering after his two-month-old demand that Israel freeze all building for Jews in eastern Jerusalem as well as in Judea and Samaria fell on deaf ears in Israel. American media and the Jewish community increasingly have criticized President Obama for going too far in trying to pressure Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East and a close ally of the United States.”

Iran Waits for Green Light from Ayatollah to Build the Bomb

Times on Line wrote on August 3:

“Iran has perfected the technology to create and detonate a nuclear warhead and is merely awaiting the word from its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to produce its first bomb, Western intelligence sources have told The Times. The sources said that Iran completed a research programme to create weaponised uranium in the summer of 2003 and that it could feasibly make a bomb within a year of an order from its Supreme Leader.

“A US National Intelligence Estimate two years ago concluded that Iran had ended its nuclear arms research programme in 2003 because of the threat from the American invasion of Iraq. But intelligence sources have told The Times that Tehran had halted the research because it had achieved its aim — to find a way of detonating a warhead that could be launched on its long-range Shehab-3 missiles.”

Ahmadinejad Sworn In Amidst Controversy in the EU

Deutsche Welle reported on August 5:

“Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been sworn in as president of Iran, vowing his country will resist ‘oppressive powers.’ German politicians have condemned the EU’s attendance of the ceremony as international criticism continues. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of the US, France, Britain and Italy have refused to offer congratulations to Ahmadinejad on his re-election…

“Within the European Union, there had been strong criticism of Sweden’s plans to send its ambassador to attend the ceremony to represent the current EU council presidency. German politician Elmar Brok, who is also the foreign policy spokesman for the conservatives in the European Parliament, warned the EU should be more consistent in its criticism of Tehran… Eckhard von Klaeden, the foreign policy spokesman for Merkel’s CDU, said Sweden should have followed the example of most other EU countries by not sending their ambassador…”

Der Spiegel Online added on August 6:

“France and Sweden, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, both sent official envoys to the ceremony. Britain’s ambassador to Iran also attended… No other major Western powers sent representatives…

“In Thursday’s newspapers, German commentators debate… on where all this turmoil… could be leading.

“Conservative Die Welt writes: ‘… the fact that the ambassador of Sweden, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, participated in Ahmadinejad’s inauguration ceremony sends a completely wrong signal. There are reports of a supposed meningitis outbreak at Tehran’s Evin Prison, and relatives of demonstrators who have been killed are not being allowed to claim their bodies. But, while all this is going on, a representative of the EU is standing among a crowd of people congratulating Iran’s head of state — a very sleazy sight…’

“The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes: ‘… the confrontation between Iran and the West will surely escalate. Even if Mir Houssein Mousavi had become the new president, Iran would most likely not have given ground in the controversy over its nuclear program. But with Ahmadinejad at the top, any such backing down is completely unthinkable… The US Congress had put off passing new sanctions until after the elections — but it will surely pass them soon. And, in Israel, hardly a day goes by without more speculation on possible attack scenarios on the nuclear facilities in Iran.'”


Iran Continues to Suppress Freedom

Deutsche Welle reported on August 3:

“The mass trial of post-election protestors and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s confirmation of President Ahmadinejad’s re-election both underscore the disconnect of those in power in Iran… Anyone who was expecting or at least hoping that the officially announced results of the Iranian presidential elections might be reversed has now definitively been shown to be wrong. The incumbent and ostensible winner, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has been confirmed by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei…

“Weeks of protest have had no impact. On the contrary, pressure from the government has grown. Demonstrations have been banned and violently broken up. News coverage of the protests has been suppressed. And most significantly, thousands of protest organizers and participants have been jailed and hundreds of them have been put on the stand in a mass show trial…

“But when instead of the three politicians, their staff members and demonstration organizers are put on the stand, this shows that those in power don’t feel comfortable with the situation. They know, just as everyone in the country does, that the recent protests weren’t a coup attempt controlled from abroad, but rather the expression of broad dissatisfaction – with the way the elections went but above all with the general conditions in the country.

“And they also know that the demonstrations were an external expression of an internal power struggle that remains unresolved. Ex-presidents Rafsanjani and Khatami, in particular, are calling for more freedom than they were ready or able to provide during their presidencies. As long as they continue to do so, the opposition will maintain a remnant of hope, but if they too are gagged or brought before court, then the violence could really escalate.”

Bill Clinton Frees American Journalists from North Korea

Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 5:

“Former US President Bill Clinton returns from North Korea Wednesday with two freed American journalists. German commentators wonder who really won this mini showdown and whether Clinton will be America’s new nuclear negotiator with the unstable pariah state… The women — Euna Lee, 36, and Laura Ling, 32 — had been sentenced in June to 12 years of hard labor for entering the country illegally and engaging in ‘hostile acts’ after having been arrested in March near China’s border with North Korea…

“Clinton arrived in Pyongyang in a private plane on Tuesday morning, where he was greeted by Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, who is also North Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator. He then attended a banquet hosted by Kim. North Korean media sources reported that the two had held wide-ranging talks and that Clinton had delivered a message from President Obama, although White House sources have called the latter assertion ‘not true’…

“This has been a great success for the Americans — and presumably a very expensive one, too. It’s still hard to tell what trade-offs Clinton carried with him in his bags… The US government has called Clinton’s mission ‘private,’ but that is nonsense…

“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘Clinton’s mission shows just how dangerous the United States believes that developments in North Korea to be. Kim Jong Il is visibly weak, and there are more and more credible reports claiming that he is terminally ill. Should he be forced to step down or even die, a power vacuum in North Korea could lead the entire Korean peninsula into a war made riskier by the fact that North Korea now has nuclear weapons. Other worrisome factors include that North Korea might not only sell its bomb-making know-how to others, but also even perhaps an explosive device or a so-called dirty bomb. There’s no shortage of potential buyers on the world market. US relations with North Korea are much worse today (than they were during Clinton’s presidency)…’

“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘The fact that Pyongyang was able to drive the price for freeing the journalists so high can confidently be described as a victory for Kim Jong Il…'”

European Army in the Making…

The EUObserver wrote on July 14:

“Most Europeans have probably never heard of the European Defence Agency, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this month. Yet, this little known EU agency has slowly created a basis for the development of common military projects… Like most developments in the area of European military co-operation, the work of the EDA is happening completely outside the view of the wider general public…

“The statement in the Constitution that ‘Member States shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities’ is directly linked to the establishment of the EDA. It has led many to doubt whether Europe intends to be a friendly military power… French President Sarkozy has argued that, ‘Europe cannot be a dwarf in terms of defence and a giant in economic matters.’ Then Greek Defence Minister Papantoniou said in 2003: ‘We [Europe] must strengthen our presence, especially in the defence field, in order for the United States to view us seriously.’ Curiously, he saw the main obstacle being ‘that after the Cold War there is no strong threat. We have to overcome this problem.’

“With Javier Solana, High Representative for the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), appointed the head of the EDA, the agency was guaranteed political support. ‘The need to bolster Europe’s military capabilities to match our aspirations is more urgent than ever. And so, too, is the need for us to respond better to the challenges facing our defence industries. This Agency can make a huge difference’, stated Solana…

“Britain doesn’t approve: ‘We don’t back a budget without seeing what we are paying for’, a British official was quoted as saying… The EDA has certainly developed as a key player, sometimes even a catalyst, in the broader area of European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) developments. It is too early to judge properly its real added value, however, or its potential as a cornerstone in the process of an increasingly militarised role for the European Union. Doubtless, structurally diverging national interests will continue to be a major barrier.

“The fact that the EDA has remained largely invisible to most people is deeply problematic. The referenda rejecting the Constitutional Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty showed the ambiguity and widely diverging, often negative, views of European citizens on the current state and proposed future of Europe — including its rapidly developing security and defence policies. Continuing on the road to further EU military integration, including the special role for the EDA, without broad public consultation and a serious public debate, risks further undermining trust in the wider European project.”

Russia Backs EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia

Deutsche Welle reported on August 5:

“In rare praise from Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday lauded the work of the EU monitoring mission in Georgia but said he remained opposed to any American participation in the initiative… The unarmed EU monitors were sent to the region in the wake of the conflict under a peace deal brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The 225 civilian observers patrol along the de facto borders of both Georgia’s pro-Moscow breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In July this year, EU foreign ministers agreed to extend the European Union Monitory Mission (EUMM) for another year to September 14, 2010…

“Tensions have escalated between Russia and Georgia in recent weeks as the one-year anniversary of their war looms. Russia has reacted with anger to a request by Georgia for the United States to join the EU monitoring mission. On Wednesday, Lavrov reiterated his opposition to Georgia’s request, saying it was aimed at putting US observers alongside the thousands of Russian soldiers stationed in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. ‘The idea is absolutely clear and we honestly told this to our US colleagues,’ Lavrov said. ‘This is all about dragging Americans into Georgia and pitching them against the Russian military,’ he said.”

India on the Warpath…

The Financial Times wrote on July 30:

“India has plans to add about 100 warships to its navy over the next decade as it seeks to modernise its armed forces, and develop its low-cost shipbuilding capabilities. Captain Alok Bhatnagar, director of naval plans at India’s ministry of defence, said on Thursday that 32 warships and submarines were under construction in the country’s shipyards. Work on 75 more ships, including aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates and amphibious vessels, would begin over 10 years.”

Afghanistan’s War Without Solutions

AFP  wrote on August 1:

“The international military mission in Afghanistan has delivered ‘much less than it promised’ due to the lack of a realistic strategy, an influential [British] committee of lawmakers said Sunday. In a report, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said without a clear strategy stabilising Afghanistan had become ‘considerably more difficult than might otherwise have been the case.’

“Lawmakers criticised US policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan and warned the ‘considerable cultural insensitivity’ of some coalition troops had caused serious damage to Afghans’ perceptions that will be ‘difficult to undo’… Drone attacks by US forces in Pakistan have ‘damaged the US’s reputation’ while some of the blame for problems in the international mission in Afghanistan must be put on the Bush administration’s early focus on military goals, it said.”

Kenyan Birth Certificate of Obama?

WorldNetDaily wrote on August 2:

“California attorney Orly Taitz, who has filed a number of lawsuits demanding proof of Barack Obama’s eligibility to serve as president, has released a copy of what purports to be a Kenyan certification of birth and has filed a new motion in U.S. District Court for its authentication. The document lists Obama’s parents as Barack Hussein Obama and Stanley Ann Obama, formerly Stanley Ann Dunham, the birth date as Aug. 4, 1961, and the hospital of birth as Coast General Hospital in Mombasa, Kenya.

“No doctor is listed. But the alleged certificate bears the signature of the deputy registrar of Coast Province, Joshua Simon Oduya. It was allegedly issued as a certified copy of the original in February 1964. WND was able to obtain other birth certificates from Kenya for purposes of comparison, and the form of the documents appear to be identical…

“One of the issues Taitz must deal with will be the authentication of the document. Critics immediately jumped on the Feb. 17, 1964, date for the document, explaining that the ‘republic’ of Kenya wasn’t assembled until December of that year… But Kenya’s official independence was in 1963, and any number of labels could have been applied to government documents during that time period… Kenya became an Independent Republic, December 12, 1963…”

The following comment was posted, on August 3, on Orly Taitz’ blog site: “I happen to be Kenyan. I was born 1 month before Obama at Mombasa medical center. I am a teacher here at the MM Shaw Primary School in Kenya. I compared my birth certificate to the one that has been put on by Taitz and mine is exactly the same. I even have the same registrar and format. The type is identical. I am by nature a skeptical person. I teach science here and challenge most things that cannot be proven. So I went to an official registrar today and pulled up the picture on the web. They magnified it and determined it to be authentic. There is even a plaque with Registrar Lavenders name on it as he was a Brit and was in charge of the Registrar office from 1959 until January of 1964. The reason the date on the certificate says republic of Kenya is that we were a republic when the ‘copy’ of the original was ordered. I stress the word ‘copy.’ My copy also has republic of Kenya.”

WorldNetDaily reported on August 4:

“According to a posting in the Washington Independent, a ‘source’ said the Obama document was nothing more than an alteration of ‘certified copy of registration of birth’ from Australia… ‘There are striking similarities between this document and the one Orly Taitz is passing off as a “Kenyan birth certificate” for Barack Obama,’ the report said. ‘The design is identical, down to the seal at the top and the classifications (“Christian name,” etc) used for identifying the baby.

“‘The “registrar” on the Bomford document is G.F. Lavender. On the Taitz document, it’s E.F. Lavender,’ the critics continued.

“‘The “district registrar” on the Bomford document is J.H. Miller. On the Taitz document, it’s M.H. Miller.’ ‘What’s more likely – that two Kenyan bureaucrats shared last names with two Australian bureaucrats, and that the numbers on both certificates were identical? Or that someone used this document, available online for anyone who wanted to look, to forge the Obama “certificate?'” the Independent report asked. The Independent critique was among hundreds of challenges to the document raised as soon as it appeared.'”

“Lou Dobbs Is Right” — Or Isn’t He?

Newsmax wrote on August 3:

“The Associated Press is wrong and Lou Dobbs is right. This past weekend, the AP published a story entitled ‘CNN’s Dobbs Under Fire for Hosting “Birthers.”‘ The AP began their highly critical story on Dobbs: ‘He’s become a publicity nightmare for CNN, embarrassed his boss and hosted a show that seemed to contradict the network’s “no bias” brand.’ And what is Dobbs’ ‘crime?’ He has said on air that Obama should release his birth certificate and has had on his show guests who suggested Obama was born outside the U.S.

“Dobbs does not believe Obama was born outside the U.S., nor does Newsmax. The evidence indicates he was born in Hawaii. But the indisputable fact is that Obama has not released his birth certificate, which the state of Hawaii issues for all citizens born there… Instead, Obama’s campaign last year released only his Certification of Live Birth from the state of Hawaii, which is a document that offers a summarized version of the birth certificate. Even state residents born outside the U.S. can get one.

“During the 2008 presidential campaign, GOP nominee Sen. John McCain quickly released his birth certificate when liberal bloggers raised questions about his eligibility to be president. McCain was born at a military hospital in Panama. Obama likewise could put the matter to rest by releasing his actual birth certificate, which would show, among other things, the place of his birth and the doctor who performed the birth procedure. This information is not provided on the Certification of Live Birth.

“As it stands, Obama is the only president in history whose birthplace is unknown to the public – a fact that would be stated on the actual birth certificate. Interestingly, his family has mentioned two different hospitals in Hawaii as the place of birth. Obama’s refusal to release his birth certificate does mean that Obama remains one of America’s most mysterious and opaque presidents ever. Obama, for example, has not released many other documents regarding his public and private life… Ironically, Obama accused the Bush White House of being ‘one of the most secretive administrations in our history,’ and chided then-Sen. Hillary Clinton for not releasing her White House schedules.”

More U.S. Banks Shut Down

CNNMoney wrote on July 31:

“Regulators shut down five regional banks Friday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said, bringing the total number of banks to fail in the United States to 69 this year. Friday’s bank closures will cost the FDIC fund $911.7 million, bringing the total cost for failed banks to $15.13 billion this year. That compares with $17.6 billion in all of 2008… The number of bank failures so far in 2009 has almost tripled last year’s total of 25.”

Health Care Bill Being Pushed Through?

The Financial Times wrote on July 31:

“Liberal and conservative Democrats on Friday pulled off a last-minute compromise on healthcare that will enable them to go into the summer congressional recess with the reform process still on track. Friday’s deal paves the way for a full House of Representatives vote in September. The bill, which would cost about $1,000bn over 10 years, would extend insurance to most of the almost 50m Americans currently lacking it, funded through savings within the healthcare system.

“Under the compromise, Medicare, the government programme for the elderly, would negotiate lower drugs costs directly with drugs companies and the savings would help to pay for a generous employer exemption, which conservative Democrats negotiated for small businesses… However, a similar compromise continues to elude the Senate, which is a much tougher hurdle for Barack Obama’s administration given that Democrats will need 60 out of the 100 votes in the upper chamber to prevent the Republicans from filibustering it.

“Bills in the House can pass by a simple majority. The Senate maths is complicated by the absence of Ted Kennedy, the chairman of the Senate health committee, who is undergoing treatment for brain cancer. Friday, Chris Dodd, the senator for Connecticut, who is standing in for Mr Kennedy, announced he was in the early stages of prostate cancer… On Thursday, Max Baucus, chairman of the pivotal Senate finance committee, said he would be unable to broker a bipartisan compromise before the August break. He set a new deadline of September 15.”

The New Health Care Proposals–What About Abortion?

The Associated Press reported on August 5:

“Health care legislation before Congress would allow a new government-sponsored insurance plan to cover abortions, a decision that would affect millions of women and recast federal policy on the divisive issue. Federal funds for abortions are now restricted to cases involving rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother.

“Abortion opponents say those restrictions should carry over to any health insurance sold through a new marketplace envisioned under the legislation, an exchange where people would choose private coverage or the public plan. Abortion rights supporters say that would have the effect of denying coverage for abortion to millions of women who now have it through workplace insurance and are expected to join the exchange.

“Advocates on both sides are preparing for a renewed battle over abortion, which could jeopardize political support for President Barack Obama’s health care initiative aimed at covering nearly 50 million uninsured and restraining medical costs. The dispute could come to a head with House and Senate floor votes on abortion this fall, a prospect that many lawmakers would like to avoid.

“‘We want to see people who have no health insurance get it, but this is a sticking point,’ said Richard Doerflinger, associate director of pro-life activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. ‘We don’t want health care reform to be the vehicle for mandating abortion.’ The church can’t accept a public plan that covers abortion, he said… Since abortion is a legal medical procedure, experts on both sides say not mentioning it would allow health care plans in the new insurance exchange to provide unrestricted coverage.”

Will Middle-Class Americans Be Taxed for Health Care Overhaul?

The Associated Press wrote on August 2:

“President Barack Obama’s treasury secretary said Sunday he cannot rule out higher taxes to help tame an exploding budget deficit, and his chief economic adviser would not dismiss raising them on middle-class Americans as part of a health care overhaul… Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Larry Summers both sidestepped questions on Obama’s intentions about taxes. Geithner said the White House was not ready to rule out a tax hike to lower the federal deficit; Summers said Obama’s proposed health care overhaul needs funding from somewhere…

“During his presidential campaign, Obama repeatedly vowed ‘you will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime.’ But the simple reality remains that his ambitious overhaul of how Americans receive health care — promised without increasing the federal deficit — must be paid for.”

These kinds of promises sound all too familiar. We recall that former President George Bush Sn. stated during one of his political campaigns, when running for President: “Read my lips: No more taxes.” But when he had become President, that promise was swiftly forgotten. The sad part is, voters have become so familiar with the lies and broken promises of politicians that they don’t even get alarmed when another promise is being broken. That is why politics is such a “dirty business.”

25-Year-Old Graduate Student Ordered to Pay $675,000 for Illegally Downloading and Sharing 30 Songs

The Associated Press reported on July 31:

“A federal jury on Friday ordered a Boston University graduate student who admitted illegally downloading and sharing music online to pay $675,000 to four record labels. Joel Tenenbaum, of Providence, R.I., admitted in court that he downloaded and distributed 30 songs… The maximum jurors could have awarded in Tenenbaum’s case was $4.5 million. Jurors ordered Tenenbaum to pay $22,500 for each incident of copyright infringement, effectively finding that his actions were willful.

“The attorney for the 25-year-old student had asked the jury earlier Friday to ‘send a message’ to the music industry by awarding only minimal damages… [Tennenbaum] added he will file for bankruptcy if the verdict stands… Last month, a federal jury in Minneapolis ruled that Jammie Thomas-Rasset, 32, must pay $1.92 million, or $80,000 on each of 24 songs, after concluding she willfully violated the copyrights on those tunes…”

Serious Side-Effects to Swine Flu Drug

Times on Line wrote on July 31:

“More than half of children taking the swine flu drug Tamiflu experience side-effects such as nausea and nightmares, research suggests… The research by the Health Protection Agency emerged as Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer for England, said that swine flu infections ‘may have reached a plateau.’

“Releasing the latest figures, Sir Liam said that an estimated 110,000 new cases of the H1N1 virus were diagnosed by doctors in the week to Sunday. That did not include those using the new National Pandemic Flu Service for England to obtain antiviral drugs without seeing their GP. Sir Liam said that the deaths of 27 people in England were confirmed to have been linked to swine flu, compared with 26 last week. As of Wednesday morning 793 people were in hospital in England with the virus, and 81 were in intensive care.”

HIV Transmitted from Gorillas to Humans

AFP wrote on August 2:

“French virologists on Sunday said they had found a new subtype of the AIDS virus that appears to have jumped the species barrier to humans from gorillas. The new strain, found in a woman from Cameroon, West Africa, is part of the HIV-1 family of microbes that account for the vast majority of cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), they said. Until now, all have been linked to the chimpanzee…

“There are several theories that seek to explain how SIV entered humans. An infected animal bit a human, or a SIV-infected ape was butchered and sold for bushmeat, and the virus entered the bloodstream through tiny cuts in the hand, according to these hypotheses.

“AIDS first came to public notice in 1981, when alert US doctors noted an unusual cluster of deaths among young homosexuals in California and New York. It has since killed at least 25 million people, and 33 million others are living with the disease or HIV, the virus that destroys immune cells and exposes the body to opportunistic disease.”

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