The persecution of Christians is the biggest untold story in the establishment media. Consider Iran, a nation that we fear because it may soon acquire nuclear weapons. This fear is so strong in the school of popular punditry that strategic military strikes, embargoes and a host of other fairly dramatic remedies are seriously discussed. But is not our true fear of Iran that it is a nation which is intolerant, warlike and barbaric? We have lived for more than fifty years with Britain and France, which each has the power to destroy most major American cities on any given day. The Soviet Union and its offspring, the thuggish Russian nation, each have a vast nuclear arsenal, as does China, which bears us no goodwill. Israel, India, Pakistan, South Africa and probably a few other nations have nuclear capacity or could acquire it quickly. Our former Axis enemies — Germany, Japan and Italy — could all go nuclear fairly quickly, if they wished. What is it about Iran that makes us sweat?
President Obama’s constant refrain about the government’s unprecedented levels of red ink points to “millionaires and billionaires” as the problem, not the massive amounts of waste, fraud, and inefficiency in government operations. Remember when a million per mile seemed like a crazy price for a new road? Now it’s a billion per mile for a transportation project and the politicians are just fine with it, even if the project is totally unnecessary, even if we’re already broke. To make it allegedly easier for people in San Francisco to get in and out of Chinatown in a hurry, a new 1.7 mile subway line is in the works. The original projected cost was $647 million. Now it’s $1.6 billion, and growing.
Just a week ago this Monday, the Cherokee Nation’s Supreme Court ruled that the tribe may revoke the citizenship rights of black members. The case stemmed from a 2007 vote in which the Nation amended its constitution to allow the expulsion of the descendants of Cherokee-held slaves; this inspired a lawsuit by the “Freedmen,” as the black Cherokee are known. A district court found in favor of the Freedmen, but the Supreme Court overturned that ruling, arguing that the Cherokee alone have a right to determine who is and is not a fellow tribesman. The result is that these erstwhile Cherokees, approximately 3,000 strong, will now be denied benefits that inclusion in the tribe affords, such as free healthcare and education, and voting and housing rights. The Freedman had enjoyed Cherokee citizenship status ever since it was granted through a treaty with the U.S. government after the War Between the States.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell took sharp issue Sunday with what he called "cheap shots" at him and other officials in the Bush administration by Dick Cheney in the former Vice President's memoir, In My Time, scheduled to be released this week. In an interview on CBS's Face the Nation. Powell told host Bob Schieffer that if certain "White House operatives" and members of the Vice President's staff had been more forthcoming, the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate who leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame would not have been necessary and the investigation would have been shortened by more than two years. Powell made that comment while responding to Cheney's statement in his book that Powell preferred to express his doubts and differences with administration policy to others, rather than directly to the President. "It was as though he thought the proper way to express his views was by criticizing administration policy to people outside the government," Cheney wrote about the former head of the State Department.
Though Hurricane Irene — later downgraded to a tropical storm — did not cause anywhere the level of devastation initially predicted, it still made a major impact on the East Coast. At least 24 are known dead, thousands are without power, and some areas along the east coast are still under water. Estimates of the damages are in the billions of dollars. The state of Vermont has been declared a federal disaster area, with many small towns experiencing historic flooding. According to Fox News, “Hundreds of Vermonters were told to leave their homes after Irene dumped several inches of rain on the landlocked state.” Governor Peter Shumlin called it the worst flooding the state has ever seen. As well, he added, there is “extraordinary infrastructure damage” across the state. One video shows a small bridge over Williams River — which had stood since 1870 — swept away by rushing floodwaters. Every road in the state of Vermont, with the exception of two major highways, was closed at some point over the weekend as a result of the storms.
The implications in the New York Times’ article about Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) were clear even in the title: “A Businessman in Congress Helps His District and Himself” — Issa was using his position as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee to enrich himself. In the article, Eric Lichtblau implied that even the close proximity of his congressional office and his business office “on the third floor of a gleaming office building overlooking a golf course” in San Diego, signaled a highly suspect intermeshing of corporate and political interests. Lichtblau said that as Issa’s personal fortune has grown during his years in Congress (he was first elected in 2001), “so too has the overlap between his private and business lives, with at least some of the congressman’s government actions helping to make a rich man even richer and raising the potential for conflicts.”
A group of nearly 2,000 conservative members of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) met in Minneapolis August 24-25 to discuss how to move ahead in light of the denomination’s policy, begun in July, that allows open homosexuals to serve as clergy. The conference, organized under the umbrella of Presbyterians for Renewal, was called for those members “who are deeply troubled and whose integrity is deeply threatened by the move the denomination has made,” said the Rev. Paul Detterman, the group’s executive director. As reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the meeting was convened by the “newly formed Fellowship of Presbyterians … to help churches opposed to the move find ways to work within or leave the Presbyterian Church USA.” The Rev. Jim Singleton, pastor of the nearly 4,000-member First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, said of the conference: “With so many critical theological differences and a denomination that continues to decline, we have to ask ourselves, is there something else that God has for us?”
First there were efforts to compel Catholic hospitals to perform abortions. Now statists in some nations want to force priests to violate the confidentiality of confession for, ostensibly, the purpose of uncovering sexual abuse. Adam Shaw at American Thinker provides some background and then explains the recent proposals, writing: [O]ne of the most important aspects of confession is what is known as the seal of confession. The seal means that the priest who hears confessions is bound by church law on pain of both mortal sin and latae sententiae excommunication (a type of excommunication that can be removed only by the Holy See) not to reveal by word or action any of your confession. This basically means that any priest revealing any part of any confession is essentially committing spiritual hara-kari [sic].
At approximately 8:45 a.m. on August 24, federal agents raided Gibson Guitar Corporation facilities in Nashville and Memphis, making off with an estimated $1 million worth of Gibson property. Gibson’s alleged crime? Using imported wood from endangered trees. At least that’s what the company assumes the feds have in mind. Gibson hasn’t actually been notified of any charges against the company. In fact, according to a Gibson press release, they still haven’t been told on what charges “more than a dozen agents with automatic weapons” raided their factory and stole their property in November 2009. They’re being forced to sue in federal court to get their property back, and even there the government is stalling, having requested an indefinite stay of the case. Both raids appear to stem from allegations that Gibson imported wood from foreign countries in violation of the Lacey Act. Originally enacted to prevent trafficking in endangered species, the act was amended in 2008 to include plants. According to the Rainforest Alliance:
An Illinois judge has ruled that the state can end its relationship with Catholic adoption groups because of their refusal to place children with homosexual couples. Reuters News reported that charities connected with the Catholic dioceses of Springfield, Peoria, and Joliet had filed a lawsuit in June 2011 “to prevent Illinois from canceling their contracts to provide child services shortly after a state law took effect legalizing same-sex civil unions and after the Attorney General opened a probe into the groups’ policies.” Reuters reported that over the past several decades, the Catholic adoption and foster care groups “have been part of a network of private child welfare agencies paid by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services [DCFS] to help find foster and adoptive homes for children in the state in need of temporary or permanent care.”