In what may be a tale too bizarre to be believed by millions of Americans, the U.S. Senate appears ready to pass a bill that will designate the entire earth, including the United States and its territories, one all-encompassing “battlefield” in the global “war on terror” and authorize the detention of Americans suspected of terrorist ties indefinitely and without trial or even charges being filed that would necessitate a trial. The bill could come to a vote as early as today, according to a bulletin issued by the American Civil Liberties Union. The legislation “goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans,” the ACLU statement said, describing the bill as having moved toward passage while most Americans were celebrating Thanksgiving and a long holiday weekend for millions of U.S. workers. “The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself,” the ACLU warned. Labeled the National Defense Authorization Act, S. 1867 was drafted in secret by Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and approved in a closed-door committee meeting, according to the ACLU statement.
The Wall Street Journal virtually called the Obama administration’s efforts to create “green” jobs a joke, decrying the President’s efforts to jump-start the economy with them as mere “conjuring” and suggesting instead that he drop his “ideological illusions” and face reality. The reality is that no matter how much of other people’s money the President throws at the “clean” renewable alternative energy sector to force it to generate jobs, his efforts have been an abysmal failure. The name Solyndra is now synonymous with “loser” and the Washington Post reported last month that Obama’s green loan program of $38 billion has created just 3,500 jobs in two years instead of the 65,000 anticipated by the White House. Instead, real jobs are being created in the real energy industry — in Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. In the first six months of this year, 18,000 new jobs were created in the natural gas business in Pennsylvania, with more than 200,000 jobs existing there today where none existed 10 years ago. Overall, the Journal reported that “oil and gas production … now employs some 440,000 workers, an 80% increase, or 200,000 jobs, since 2003. Oil and gas jobs account for more than one in five of all net new private jobs in that period.”
Amid growing speculation over the collapse of the euro, British embassies are now preparing for worst-case scenarios, such as riots and civil unrest. The Telegraph reported, “British embassies in the eurozone have been told to draw up plans to help British expats through the collapse of the single currency, amid new fears for Italy and Spain. As the Italian government struggled to borrow and Spain considered seeking an international bail-out, British ministers privately warned that the break-up of the euro, once almost unthinkable, is now increasingly plausible.” The euro’s endangerment comes as the International Monetary Fund, of which Britain is a large shareholder, may be forced to give Italy a rescue package that would allow its new Prime Minister, Mario Monti, time to implement tax increases and spending cuts. Likewise, revelations indicate that a pact has been struck between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy that did not include Britain, nor did it include countries outside the European Union. Under that plan, EU member states will be forced to have their budgets approved by the European Union before even being approved by their own national parliaments. Likewise, countries will have to sign on to new rules on the size of debts they may take on and will be sued in the European Court of Justice for any breach of those rules.
An ex-employee of London’s buzzing Heathrow Airport is suing her former employer for unfair dismissal, claiming that she and other Christian staff were discriminated against because of their religious beliefs. According to the U.K.’s Sunday Telegraph, Nohad Halawi, who migrated to Britain from Lebanon in 1977, professed "that she was told that she would go to Hell for her religion, that Jews were responsible for the September 11th terror attacks, and that a friend was reduced to tears having been bullied for wearing a cross." Halawi worked at the airport as a saleswoman at World Duty Free, where she sold perfumes at a commission-based pay position, but was dismissed in July, after working for the airport shopping outlet for 13 years. While nurturing many relationships amongst staff of all religious affiliations, she was fired following "unsubstantiated complaints by five Muslims about her contact," reported Christian Concern. A complaint from a colleague was reported after Halawi described a Muslim staff member as an allawhi, which means "man of God" in Arabic, but another worker nearby thought she said Alawi, a branch of Islam that the worker is affiliated to. The misunderstanding instigated a heated exchange and Hawali was suspended immediately, and then fired in July.
Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin — the formal head of the Russian government — has launched a campaign to become President, or head of state, a position currently held by Dmitry Medvedev. Putin had already served two terms as President before becoming Prime Minister; now he has decided that he wants to become President again and swap offices with Medvedev, a protégé of his. Putin, in his campaign, has warned Europe and America not to interfere in the Russian elections. In the 2008 elections, Medvedev received 71 percent of the vote, and the United Russia Party, the vehicle of Putin, won 315 out of 450 seats in the Duma (the Russian national legislature). Even otherwise meek governments in Europe did not consider these elections fair or honest. The Czech government commented that the "election campaign did not conform to democratic standards.” The German government said, "Russia was not a democracy and Russia is not a democracy.” The British Foreign Ministry stated that there were allegations that, “if proven correct, would suggest that the Russian elections were neither free nor fair." Even those governments that congratulated Putin’s party on its victories did so with deeply expressed reservations.
Despite not being a member of the European Union, Switzerland is under intense pressure from Brussels to raise taxes as companies flee high-tax EU welfare states in favor of more business-friendly Swiss cantons. And if the nation refuses to bow down soon, so-called “eurocrats” are threatening retaliation. The Swiss government has been in discussions with EU bosses for over a year regarding Switzerland’s non-compliance with the “EU Code of Conduct for Business Taxation.” The EU’s goal, according to the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, is to eliminate what the supranational regime in Brussels calls “harmful tax practices” — low taxes which attract capital, businesses, jobs, and workers away from the crumbling European super-state.
While churches, pastors, and Christians everywhere bemoan the state of spirituality in today’s culture, Americans can point to few notable Christian leaders in the nation. The findings of a November 21 study led the Barna Group to conclude that there are gaps to be filled — if not for national leaders, at least for “more local and regional Christian leaders to emerge — whether in churches, ministries, or a variety of other capacities.” Barna’s latest study —based on telephone interviews of a random sample of 1,007 adults in the continental United States, aged 18 and older — reveals that no single Christian leader has emerged to a level of influence that captures the attention of the nation. Indeed, when asked to identify the single most influential Christian leader today, 41 percent of respondents were unable to think of anyone meeting that description.
The death of longtime homosexual activist Frank Kameny offered an opportunity for “LGBT” professionals to gather and celebrate their increasing presence in the federal government, as well as to insist that more be done to advance their interests. On a mid-November evening, a group of D.C. bureaucrats gathered at the Cannon House Office Building to remember the “gay rights pioneer,” who, reported the Associated Press, “is credited with staging the first gay rights protests in front of the White House and Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. He had been fired from his job as a government astronomer for being gay. Kameny took that case to the Supreme Court 50 years ago.” John Berry, director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, told the gathering — which included White House staffers, Congressmen, and a Yale Law School professor — that Kameny was responsible for blazing the trail “that I and countless others followed into public service.” Berry, who in 2009 became the Obama administration’s highest level homosexual appointee, told the assembled group that Kameny’s “unrelenting and unceasing fight for gay rights enabled other Americans to step out of the closet and into the full light of equality. But most importantly, his long battle and eventual triumphs show the miracles that one person wrought upon the world.” While Berry may be one of the most high-profile homosexuals serving in the Obama administration, he is by no means the only one.
Campaigning in New Hampshire earlier this month, Mitt Romney referred to the automatic cuts in defense spending that are supposed to go into effect as a result of the failure of the so-called “Super Committee,” saying: “We cannot put America’s safety in jeopardy by virtue of the failure of this committee.” And Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), during a presidential candidates' debate in October, expressed a similar sentiment regarding military cuts: “We can’t do that to our brave men and women who are on the ground fighting for us.” It is curious that among so many “conservatives” there is such explicit intent to preserve the size of the federal government. While it is true that the Constitution does provide authority to the legislative branch of the federal government to “provide for the common defense” of our nation, the current spending level of the Pentagon far exceeds that level necessary to carry out this constitutional mandate. Not only that, but the automatic cuts associated with the failure of the super committee are not cuts in the absolute sense, but cuts in future planned spending. Even if these cuts are made, defense spending would still increase, but not as much as otherwise. When Congress ceded its authority to a single committee, that committee was tasked with presenting a plan to reduce the federal deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years. Failure to accomplish this goal would result in a slate of “automatic cuts” in the same amount, $600 billion of which would be siphoned from future planned spending for the Department of Defense.
A flawless launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on November 26 has NASA’s latest mission to Mars safely on its nearly nine-month journey to the red planet. NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, a rover that has also been given the name Curiosity, is the American space agency’s most advanced rover to date, and its mission is nothing less than to continue the search for life on Mars and prepare for future human exploration. Although the speed and maneuverability of the two-ton Curiosity rover may not offer much when it comes to travel on Earth, its capacities in both those regards could transform the study of Mars. According to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s website, Curiosity promises to move across the surface of Mars at a speed vastly beyond the capacity of earlier probes: