Current Events

Waiting For A Leader?

On September 8, 2005, The Los Angeles Times wrote: “For $3.8 trillion, we should get more than this. That’s the combined expenditure of the federal, state and local governments in 2005, nearly a third of the national economy. And yet the results in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast speak for themselves: Warnings went unheeded, levees were neglected, cops and rescuers were short-shifted… Amid all this international worrywarting [sic] and globe-girdling crusading, the well-being of ordinary Americans is ignored. Who bothers with something so dull as infrastructure? We spend money, lots of it, but neither party sweats details to make sure public services work routinely, let alone in a crisis. So there’s a huge hole in the middle of American politics waiting to be filled by a leader who puts the American nation, and the American people, first.”

Failure of Katrina Relief Efforts Due to Iraq?

AFP reported on September 10, 2005:

“Four years after the September 11 attacks, the failure of the US emergency services to handle the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina is due to resources being diverted to the ‘war on terror,’ experts say. With thousands of National Guard soldiers deployed in Iraq and medical resources being diverted to deal with a potential biological attack, the southern United States was less prepared than it might have been when Katrina struck on August 29. ‘The most recent effects of these diversions of funding have been seen in the unfolding tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the surrounding area,’ said Erica Frank from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. ‘Had there been more bodies on the ground, there would have been fewer deaths. But 7,000 National Guards from Louisiana and Mississippi are deployed in Iraq,’ she said.”

More Expensive Than Two Wars?

MSNBC wrote on September 10, 2005: “Although estimates of Hurricane Katrina’s staggering toll on the treasury are highly imprecise, costs are certain to climb to $200 billion in the coming weeks. The final accounting could approach the more than $300 billion spent in four years to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

The article pointed out that the “government never has dealt with a disaster of this scale: In 1992, the devastation of Hurricane Andrew in Florida and Louisiana cost $35 billion. The price for the 6.7-magnitude temblor in the Northridge area of Los Angeles in 1994 was $15 billion to $20 billion.”

Powell Comes Clean

As it was reported on September 9, 2005, “Former Secretary of State Colin Powell criticized the response to Hurricane Katrina, saying ‘a lot of failures’ occurred at all levels of government… ‘There was more than enough warning over time about the dangers to New Orleans. Not enough was done,’ Powell told ABC News’ Barbara Walters in an interview… Powell also said his prewar speech to the United Nations accusing Iraq of harboring weapons of mass destruction was a ‘blot’ on his record. ‘I’m the one who presented it to the world, and (it) will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It is painful now,’ he said.”

Catholics and the Bible

On September 9, 2005, reported about the fact that the Bible is not read by many Catholics. It was pointed out:

“With an estimated five billion copies sold in more than 2,000 languages worldwide, the Bible is considered the ultimate best-seller. But is it also the best read? Apparently not, according to a new survey commissioned by an Italian Christian association and carried out in three Catholic countries: Italy, France and Spain. The survey’s results were presented on Thursday at the Vatican, and suggest that only three percent of practising Catholics actually read the Scripture on a daily basis while 80% of them only hear extracts from the Bible during Sunday Mass. Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Catholic Bible Federation, also notes that there is widespread ignorance about the so-called ‘Good Book’. For instance, the survey found that 40% of those polled believed… Paul had written a Gospel while 26% thought… Peter was one of the Evangelists–the… authors of the Gospels are in fact Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Bishop Paglia also expressed concern about a survey finding suggesting that the majority of practising Catholics still believe the Bible to be a book which should be confined to the clergy rather than one they should make their own.”
This “concern” is of course rather surprising and hypocritical, as for centuries Catholic lay members were strongly discouraged, if not forbidden, by the Catholic Church to read the Bible.

Canadian Pastor vs. Government “Position” on Homosexuality

As WorldNetDaily reported on September 10, 2005, a Canadian pastor is facing monetary fines for his published views on homosexuality. The article stated: “A Canadian pastor who works with at-risk youth is preparing to face his province’s Human Rights Tribunal because of a letter to the editor he wrote calling homosexuality immoral and dangerous. The letter by… Stephen Boissoin of Alberta also called into question the province’s new homosexual-rights curriculum… The complaint was filed by Darren Lund, an assistant professor at the University of Calgary, after Boissoin’s letter was published in the Red Deer Advocate. If Boissoin loses, he could be forced to pay $7,000 in fines–$5,000 to Lund personally and another $2,000 to the homosexual-rights group EGALE Canada…

“In his letter, Boissoin wrote, ‘Children as young as 5 and 6 years of age are being subjected to psychologically and physiologically damaging pro-homosexual literature and guidance in the public school system; all under the fraudulent guise of equal rights.’… [H]is accuser, Lund, has likened him to a local white supremacist, Terry Long of Aryan Nation, and a holocaust denier, James Keegstra. Boissoin told he expects to be found guilty, noting he met with an officer of the Human Rights Commission who said the letter went against the panel’s ‘position.'”

Personal Insolvencies Hit Record High

On August 5, 2005, The Guardian reported that “the number of personal insolvencies in England and Wales has risen to its highest level in 45 years… In the April to June period, the number of personal insolvencies rose to 15,394, the highest since comparable records began in 1960… That was up 36.8% compared to a year ago and 11.7% on the quarter. The insolvencies were made up of 11,195 bankruptcies–also the highest on record–and 4,199 individual voluntary arrangements.”

Great Ramadan Offensive?

WorldNetDaily published a frightening article on September 8, 2005, pertaining to rising concerns about terrorist attacks in October, the “holy month of Ramadan.” The publication claimed that “al-Qaida is planning spectacular attacks next month against the U.S., Russia and Europe in what it is calling the ‘Great Ramadan Offensive.’ The offensive, designed to overshadow the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon, was first referenced in a May 30 letter written by al-Qaida’s Iraq commander Abu Musab Zarqawi to Osama bin Laden. It is the subject of a report written by terrorism expert Yossef Bodansky, the former director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, to government officials. Ramadan, the holiest period in the Muslim calendar, begins Oct. 4 this year and lasts a month… Airports in Italy and the Netherlands are referenced as specific potential targets, and Italy is already on high alert for possible terrorist attacks… Details of the operation came from intercepted communications between top al-Qaida leaders about two weeks ago… Bodansky says plans for attacks against Europe are being finalized in the Balkans, while preparations for attacks on Russia are being completed in Chechnya. Attack plans against the U.S. are being directed from the tri-border area in Latin America.”

The article continued:

“Paul Williams, author of ‘The Al-Qaeda Connection,’ however, sees a much more devastating, coordinated, all-out, surprise attack coming. ‘The next attack, according to al-Qaida defectors and informants, will take place simultaneously at various sites throughout the country,’ he writes. ‘Designated targets include New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Houston, Las Vegas, and Valdez, Alaska, where the tankers are filled with oil from the Trans-Alaska pipeline. To orchestrate such an incredible event requires not only the shipment of the nukes into the United States but also the establishment of cells, the training of sleeper agents, the selection of sites, and the preparation of the weapons without detection from federal, state or local law enforcement officials.'”

The reports explained that “… al-Qaida has obtained at least 40 nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union–including suitcase nukes, nuclear mines, artillery shells and even some missile warheads. In addition, documents captured in Afghanistan show al-Qaida had plans to assemble its own nuclear weapons with fissile material it purchased on the black market.”

In a related article, which was published by ABC News on September 12, 2005, it was stated:

“In an apparent Sept. 11 communiqué broadcast on ABC News, an al Qaeda operative threatens new attacks against cities in the U.S. and Australia. ‘Yesterday, London and Madrid. Tomorrow, Los Angeles and Melbourne, Allah willing. And this time, don’t count on us demonstrating restraint or compassion,’ the tape warns. ‘We are Muslims. We love peace, but peace on our terms, peace as laid down by Islam, not the so-called peace of occupiers and dictators.’… [The tape] message contains a very pointed al Qaeda threat against Los Angeles and Melbourne… This morning, Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton acknowledged his city is a target for terrorists.”

Active Volcanoes in Oregon?

Reuters reported on September 9, 2005: “A large, slow-growing volcanic bulge in Eastern Oregon is attracting the attention of seismologists who say that the rising ground could be the beginnings of a volcano… Further north, the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens killed 57 people, destroyed at least 230 square miles of forest and spewed ash for hundreds of miles. Mount St. Helens has rumbled back to life recently, spitting lava, rocks and ash, but has not had another big eruption. A lava dome is growing in the huge crater created in Mount St. Helens, but that event appears to be unrelated to the South Sister bulge, seismologists said.”

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