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RAPID RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section.  It will offer fresh, quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in this rapid-fire world of ours.  Of course, as in military campaigns, a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction.  Charge that to "the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or military campaign must maintain to be effective.  But the mission will always be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick", supported by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.  That's all I promise.
GS

Click here to return to the current Rapid Response list


TUESDAY, November 30, 2010

THE START TREATY: POINT AND COUNTERPOINT.  GS

Russia's Medvedev warns of new arms race

By Steve Gutterman Steve Gutterman Tue Nov 30, 9:21 am ET

MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Dmitry Medvedev warned on Tuesday that a new arms race would erupt within the next decade unless Russia and the West forged an agreement to cooperate on building a missile defense system.

In his annual state of the nation address, Medvedev called for closer cooperation with the United States and the European Union, holding out the prospect of closer ties two decades after the Soviet Union's collapse ended the Cold War.

He said tension would ratchet up fast, forcing Russia to bolster its military arsenal, if Western offers of cooperation on a system to defend against missile threats failed to produce a concrete agreement.

The warning appeared to reflect wariness in the Kremlin over uncertainty about Senate ratification of New START, the nuclear arms limitation pact Medvedev signed with President Barack Obama in April, centerpiece of the push for better ties.

"In the coming decade we face the following alternatives: Either we reach agreement on missile defense and create a full-fledged joint mechanism of cooperation, or ... a new round of the arms race will begin," Medvedev said.

"And we will have to take a decision about the deployment of new offensive weapons. It is clear that this scenario would be very grave."

The remarks, in a 72-minute speech to members of parliament and ministers, raised the stakes in sensitive discussions with the United States and NATO on missile defense. The issue has divided Moscow and the West since the 1980s.

Medvedev agreed to NATO's offer of missile defense cooperation at a summit with the alliance that was hailed as a fresh start, but the plans are sketchy and Russia has warned it wants an equal voice in evaluating threats and responses.

Medvedev has pursued warmer ties with the West and particularly Washington since he was steered into the presidency by his predecessor, Vladimir Putin.

He has embraced Obama's efforts to "reset" a relationship that hit post-Cold War lows during Russia's war with Georgia in August 2008, months after he took office.

RESET UNDER THREAT?

After the address, Kremlin aide Arkady Dvorkovich told journalists the collapse of the New START pact "would mean nothing good and we are counting on ratification going through."

Obama wants the treaty ratified before his Democratic Party's majority decreases when the new Senate elected this month convenes early next year.

Medvedev's comments also seemed aimed to assuage hard-liners and assure Russians steeped in decades of anti-Western rhetoric that Moscow will not open itself up to a threat.

When Medvedev said Russia might have to deploy more weapons, applause broke out after a brief pause before he went on to say that would be "very grave."

Russia has emphasized it could withdraw from New START if a U.S. missile defense system becomes a threat to its security.

"Russia wants a legally binding agreement on missile defense because it sees potential threats," said military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer. But he said Russia "does not have the capabilities" to hold its own in an arms race in the foreseeable future.

Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of the journal "Russia in Global Affairs," said Medvedev's message was that if Russia is shut out of meaningful missile defense cooperation, it "will try to take measures to counter that by modernizing its nuclear arsenal."

The Kremlin's pursuit of better ties with the West has been accompanied by calls for a stronger say across a broad swath of the globe including Europe, America and the ex-Soviet Union.

"I see significant potential in broadening cooperation with the European Union and the United States," Medvedev said, though he underscored that Moscow wants concrete benefits such as help on Moscow's bid to join the WTO.

(Additional reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel, Tom Grove, Amie Ferris-Rotman and Denis Dyomkin; Editing by Jon Boyle)

Irrelevance of the New START

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER

It's a lame-duck session. Time is running out. Unemployment is high, the economy is dangerously weak and, with less than five weeks to go, no one knows what tax they'll be paying on everything from income to dividends to death when the current rates expire Jan. 1. And what is the president demanding that Congress pass as "a top priority"? To what did he devote his latest weekly radio address? Ratification of his New START treaty.

Good grief. Even among national security concerns, New START is way down at the bottom of the list. From the naval treaties of the 1920s to this day, arms control has oscillated between mere symbolism at its best to major harm at its worst, with general uselessness being the norm.

The reason is obvious. The problem is never the weapon; it is the nature of the regime controlling the weapon. That's why no one stays up nights worrying about British nukes, while everyone worries about Iranian nukes.

In Soviet days, arms control at least could be justified as giving us something to talk about when there was nothing else to talk about, symbolically relieving tensions between mortal enemies. It could be argued that it at least had a soporific and therapeutic effect in the age of "the balance of terror."

But in post-Soviet days? The Russians are no longer an existential threat. A nuclear exchange between Washington and Moscow is inconceivable. What difference does it make how many nukes Russia builds? If they want to spend themselves into penury creating a bloated nuclear arsenal, be our guest.

President Obama insists that New START is important as a step toward his dream of a nuclear-free world. Where does one begin? A world without nukes would be the ultimate nightmare. We voluntarily disarm while the world's rogues and psychopaths develop nukes in secret.

Just last week we found out about a hidden, unknown, highly advanced North Korean uranium enrichment facility. An ostensibly nuclear-free world would place these weapons in the hands of radical regimes that would not hesitate to use them - against a civilized world that would have given up its deterrent.

Moreover, Obama's idea that the great powers must reduce their weapons to set a moral example for the rest of the world to disarm is simply childish. Does anyone seriously believe that the mullahs in Iran or the thugs in Pyongyang will in any way be deflected from their pursuit of nukes by a reduction in the U.S. arsenal?

Useless and problematic

Obama's New START treaty, like the rest, is 90 percent useless and 10 percent problematic. One difficulty is that it restricts the number of delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons. But because some of these are dual-use, our ability to deliver long-range conventional weapons, a major U.S. strategic advantage, is constrained.

The second problem is the recurrence of language in the treaty preamble linking offensive to defensive nuclear weaponry. We have a huge lead over the rest of the world in anti-missile defenses. Ever since the Reagan days, the Russians have been determined to undo this advantage. The New START treaty affirms the "interrelationship" between offense and defense. And Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has insisted that "the unchangeability of circumstances" - translation: no major advances in U.S. anti-missile deployment - is a condition of the entire treaty.

The worst thing about this treaty, however, is that it is simply a distraction. It gives the illusion of doing something about nuclear danger by addressing a non-problem, Russia, while doing nothing about the real problem - Iran and North Korea. The utter irrelevance of New START to nuclear safety was dramatically underscored last week by the revelation of that North Korean uranium enrichment plant, built with such sophistication that it left the former head of the Los Alamos National Laboratory "stunned." It could become the ultimate proliferation factory. Pyongyang is already a serial proliferator. It has nothing else to sell. Iran, Syria and al-Qaeda have the money to buy.

Iran's Islamic Republic lives to bring down the Great Satan. North Korea, nuclear-armed and in a succession crisis, has just shelled South Korean territory for the first time since the Korean armistice.

Obama peddling New START is the guy looking for his wallet under the lamppost because that's where the light is good - even though he lost the wallet on the other side of town.


MONDAY, November 29, 2010

THERE.  WE DON'T HAVE TO BE PERPETUAL VICTIMS ANYMORE.

GS

How to Stop North Korea
Nov. 29 2010 - 12:03 am

“No one has found a way to persuade North Korea to move in sensible directions.”  Stapleton Roy, the former American ambassador, said this to me in the beginning of 2004.

Since then, Kim Jong Il has continued to travel down the wrong path.  The little dictator may be an absolute failure when it comes to running the domestic affairs of his Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but he is nonetheless a genius in roiling relations in North Asia.  No nation—with the possible exception of increasingly militant China—has figured out how to get along with Pyongyang.

How do we deal with North Korea?  There is one major step to take, and then the rest falls into place.  As an initial matter, we have to adjust our thinking.  “Whenever peace—conceived as the avoidance of war—has been the primary objective of a power or a group of powers, the international system has been at the mercy of the most ruthless member of the international community,” wrote Henry Kissinger, long before the emergence of Kim Jong Il.  “Whenever the international order has acknowledged that certain principles could not be compromised even for the sake of peace, stability based on an equilibrium of forces was at least conceivable.”

Today, South Koreans think the use of force is inconceivable, and the Obama administration shares that view.  Therefore, we jump at just about every offer to talk to Pyongyang, such as the one Beijing floated yesterday.

But as Kissinger hints, the most reliable way to become engaged in a war is to desperately try to avoid one.  By not imposing any consequences on the North for its belligerent behavior—the sinking of the Cheonan in March and the shelling of Yeonpyeong last week, for instance—Seoul has encouraged Kim Jong Il to continue to kill South Koreans.  Eventually, his regime will overstep, doing something that starts an escalatory spiral.  So, if we want to avoid a general conflict in North Asia, we need to change the way Pyongyang views the world.

The first thing we can do is intimidate Kim, who is usually well behaved when confronted with superior force.  He has abrogated the 1953 armistice on various occasions, most recently on May 27 of last year.  We nonetheless maintain that the truce remains in force, but as a matter of international law it cannot continue to exist if one party states it has been terminated.  We should take the North Koreans at their word and announce that we too recognize that there is no longer any agreement not to use force.

If we have the right to use force, we certainly have the right to take coercive measures.  Here are three of them we should implement immediately.

First, the U.S. Treasury should order banks and other financial institutions doing business in or with the U.S. to freeze North Korea’s funds and to refrain from commercial transactions with the militant state.  This mimics the Bush administration’s targeting of Banco Delta Asia, a Macau institution that was handling Pyongyang’s illicit money transfers.  The action, taken in 2005, forced North Korea to use its diplomats as mules to ferry money around the world in bulging suitcases.  Much of the North’s commerce is illegitimate anyway—counterfeit currency, methamphetamines, you name it—so this is something that should be done in any event.

Second, South Korea should order its 120 or so companies in the Kaesong Industrial Complex to close their facilities there.  The area, just north of the Demilitarized Zone, funnels about $600 million yearly to the North.  A large portion of this sum ends up in the pockets of senior regime members, who skim wages and other payments.  It is shameful for South Korean leaders to talk of North Korea’s “unpardonable” acts while funding them at the same time.  It is, simply stated, morally wrong.

Third, the U.S., along with its allies, must interdict North Korean shipments of long-range missiles and items that can be used in nuclear weapons programs.  Pyongyang has been proliferating nuclear weapons and missile technology to Iran, Syria, and Burma, according to a U.N. report released this month, and there are undoubtedly other customers as well.  North Korea has links with terrorist groups and has sold conventional weaponry to Hezbollah, for instance.  It’s not much a leap for the regime to sell a nuke to Osama bin Laden.

So North Korea is a threat to not just its neighbors.  It poses a threat to the United States.  Last June, the U.S. turned back the Kang Nam, a North Korean tramp freighter believed to be carrying nuclear materials to Burma.  The action was hailed at the time as a victory for nonproliferation.

Yet we never found out what happened to its cargo, which was unloaded and probably shipped overland through China.  We should have boarded the vessel on the high seas and, if necessary, confiscated its cargo.  With no armistice in effect, such an act would have been permissible under international law.  We had the right to sink the Kang Nam, so of course we had the right to stop and search it.

If we want “the most ruthless member of the international community”—that’s Kim Jong Il—“to move in sensible directions,” we need to abandon policies that have not worked and adopt ones that can.  By now, we don’t have much choice.


FRIDAY through SUNDAY, November 26 through 28, 2010

A--We had ties with Ho Chi Minh as early as 1942, when he agreed to help the Allies against the Japanese.  In exchange, we agreed to sponsor his country's sovereignty after the war.  We promptly screwed him at the Potsdam Conference in 1945 when the Allies decided to graciously return Indo-China to the French.  We see where that got us.
 
Note, however, that Ho was an ardent communist since the 1920's, and that it doesn't matter if he modeled his government after our founding documents.  Actions are everything.  It also doesn't matter if the U.S. mis-read Viet Nam's relationship to China.  History notes that the Vietnamese began separating from Chinese influence in the 1300s.  It was Ho's relationship with the Soviet Union, not China, that fueled his participation in expanding communism in that part of the world at that time.
 
B--He's half-right about Saddam.  No way would Hussein have allowed Al Qaeda to further toxify his relationship with the U.S. with those loose cannons rolling all over the Fertile Crescent.  However, Hussein was a victim of his own duplicitous success.  He did such a good job of making everyone in his neighborhood, as well as us, believe that he had nukes that we had no choice but to err on the side of caution.  If he truly had them, we would have found them by now.  But, to say that we had no reason to go into Iraq is as stupid as what we are currently doing with Iran, to our and the world's eternal shame if, under current circumstances, they get and subsequently push the button.
 
Also, "many Iraqis ruefully admit that perhaps only a complete SOB like Saddam can run their country" is like saying that Mussolini made the trains run on time.  Is he kidding?  Of course they're going to say that.  I'm all for "Better the devil you know . . .", but come on!  And, this guy made it up to Ambassador??? 
 
C--Re: Kim Jong-Il, sooo, if you're intelligent that means that you can't be a diabolical, sadistic despot hell-bent on making your people's lives a blistering, collective, sheer hell so you can consolidate all sorts of power at your disposal?  News Flash!--you don't get to sit at the table as a peer of true nations to discuss peace treaties under those circumstances.  And, if you are a despotic regime, not at least until you are an 800 lb. gorilla like the Soviet Union or China.  But, people like Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and Madeline Albright keep feeding the beast with heavy-water reactors and/or dropping everything to rush over there to beg and plead to Uncle Kim to release those two unfortunate souls who were caught for "spying" on North Korea.
 
This guy makes Joe Stalin look like a ham-handed amateur because he is so much more subtle in his approach.  He's intelligent, he wears designer glasses, he loves American movies and music.  He can't be that bad, right?
 
And, don't buy the latest news that China has less awareness and information about North Korea's actions than we suspected.  They live on each other's doorstep for God's sake!  And, what does it say about China that they don't get off their ass and push for a unified Korea a' la the present South Korean economy and governance in order to defuse such a potential bomb right in front of them?  It means that they don't care one bit about their own people or those anywhere on the Korean Peninsula.  It also means that they either don't care or have no awareness of the immense boom to their economy that this scenario would bring . . . , AGAIN, right on their doorstep.  And, it has nothing to do with political ideology.  Look who their biggest trading partner is. 
 
To add to our brilliant ambassador's final comment, "Talks are often needed most . . ." before you give away literal and figurative leverage to your enemies.  Sorry, am I being too harsh with that word?  I am by no means a sabre-rattler or warhawk, but we have GOT to stop kicking the can down the road.
 
Evil and despotism LOOOOVE apathy, which so often these days comes in the misguided form of perceived circumspect vision, patience, and tolerance.
 
Perrin

Folks, this qualifies as a comment "on the other hand".  I had read about the Ho Chi Minh story before.  And then there is the book I just bought, entitled "The American Way of War...Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril", by Eugene Jarecki, among other things the founder and director of "The Eisenhower Project".  You remember what the General said about "the Military-Industrial Complex". 
I have also begun reading "Decision Points" by W.  And I have completed reviewing "Broke", a very good source of history and serious thought by Glen Beck. 

All of this is by way of following my own perennial advice: cross-read...and do your part, however seeming like "a voice crying in the wilderness", for yourselves, for your family, and for humanity.

GS

Donald Gregg: Politico Commentary on North Korea

[This comment was originally posted on the POLITICO website. KDMJ]

What do Ho Chi Minh, Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il have in common?
They are all foreign leaders we demonized. With two of them, Ho and Saddam, we fought wars that should not have been fought. Many of your conservative contributors suggest that we go after Kim Jong Il militarily, ignoring, or not knowing or caring that Seoul is blanketed by North Korean artillery, and that although North Korea would lose any war that started today, hundreds of thousand of innocent Seoul citizens would die in the first few days of fighting.

Ho Chi Minh’s life was saved by OSS at the end of World War II. In gratitude he reached out to us repeatedly, asking for help and recognition. He modeled his constitution on our founding documents, but we mis-read one thousand years of Chinese-Vietnamese enmity and saw him as China’s cat’s paw, instead of one it its toughest enemies, and slid into the abyss of war.

 Saddam Hussein, who largely deserved demonization, was not guilty of the two things we accused him of; ties with Al Quaida, and possession of nuclear weapons. Our war of choice in Iraq is a continuing tragedy, and many Iraqis ruefully admit that perhaps only a complete SOB like Saddam can run their country.

Kim’s conduct is often hard to stomach and even harder to understand, but it has its inner logic. We demonize him as a “nut case” but I have talked to Russians, Chinese, South Koreans and Americans who have met with him at length, and all say he is extremely intelligent. What Kim wants is sustained, serious talks with the US, leading to a comprehensive peace treaty. Our problem is that every time we elect a new president, we seem to feel that we have to start from scratch with North Korea. For example, just over ten years ago, then Vice President Al Gore hosted a lavish luncheon for North Korean Marshal Jo Myong Rok at the State Department. Jo had invited President Clinton to visit Pyongyang, and Clinton had agreed to send Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to North Korea to do the advance work for a possible visit. Albright went, had good meetings with Kim, but time ran out, and Clinton was not able to go. The North Koreans were hopeful that Bush 43 would take up where Clinton left off, but that was not to be. In January 2002 Pyongyang heard itself named as part of the “axis of evil,” with Iran and Iraq by our recently elected president.

Talks are often needed most when they seem hardest to start. Today is such a moment.

Donald P. Gregg
US Ambassador to Korea, 1989-93


SUNDAY through THURSDAY, November 21 through 25, 2010

Experts Assess Health Risks of Airport Full-Body Scanners

By Emily P. Walker, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today
Published: November 24, 2010

With the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ramping up its use of full-body scanners in airports just at the busiest travel time of the year, passengers are extra cautious about what health risks, if any, are posed by the new scanners.

But the consensus among radiation experts and medical physicists is that the scanners used in airports produce such minuscule levels of radiation that they pose no real health risks.

However, others pose questions about the machines -- what effects will the low-dose X-rays have on skin and what would happen if a machine's off mechanism jammed and delivered a dose of radiation that is millions of times higher than intended?

Airports use two types of scanning technology -- millimeter wave scanners, which use radio waves and do not expose people to X-rays, and backscatter scanners, which use very low levels of X-rays.

It's the backscatter scanners -- which create an anatomically accurate image that reveals if anything is hidden under a person's clothing -- that have been the subject of controversy in the past week.

The full-body backscatter scanners are now deployed in 70 of the 450 airports in the U.S., according to the TSA. Physical pat-downs are performed on people who refuse the full-body scan.

With amped-up media scrutiny on the full-body scans, and with many patients preparing for holiday travel, an increasing number of physicians have been calling Kelly Classic, a health physicist at the Mayo Clinic and asking her what they should tell their patients.

Classic's department even issued a statement that Mayo doctors can refer to when explaining to patients if the full-body scanners emit enough harmful radiation to pose a health risk.

The message: "The amount of radiation is almost insignificant."

Classic tells Mayo doctors to give their patients the following comparisons:

The amount of radiation from one full-body airport scan is equivalent to two minutes of flying in an airplane, to sleeping next to another person for the night, and to 40 minutes of just living.

"There are so many common things we're exposed to that produce radiation," she told MedPage Today. "This [an airport scan] is a pretty minor piece of that."

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security echoes the assessment that the radiation from one full-body scan is equivalent to the radiation a person is exposed to from two minutes of flying at cruising altitude.

Put another way, a traveler would require more than 1,000 such scans in a year to reach the effective dose equal to one standard chest X-ray, the American College of Radiology (ACR) said in a statement posted to the group's website.

"The ACR is not aware of any evidence that either of the scanning technologies that the TSA is considering would present significant biological effects for passengers screened," the ACR said.

A group of scientists from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) first brought the issue to the forefront of the radiology community more than seven months ago.

John Sedat, PhD, professor emeritus in UCSF's department of biochemistry and biophysics, and several colleagues wrote a letter to the White House in April expressing their concern over the "potential serious health risks" of the full-body backscatter scans.

The scientists said the device has not been adequately tested and laid out a number of issues that they say are unknown, including the effects of radiation on older passengers, pregnant passengers, and passengers with HIV or cancer, and what effect the low doses of radiation might have on breast tissue directly beneath the skin, on corneas, and on testicles.

However, since that letter, scientists at Johns Hopkins' applied physics lab tested the most commonly used machine -- the Rapiscan -- for the Department of Homeland Security and TSA.

Their August report found the doses of radiation delivered to a person standing in the scanner are well below those laid out by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Even if a person had 46 screenings a day every single day for a year, the dosage would still be just one-quarter of the total amount of radiation that the ANSI recommends not be exceeded in a given year, according to the report.

However, the scientists pointed out that there are areas well above the unit, and at the entry and exit points where the radiation dose could exceed the per year dosage cap laid out by ANSI.

But Peter Rez, PhD, professor of physics at Arizona State University questioned the radiation figures from the John Hopkins scientists. By his own mathematical calculations, the doses emitted from the backscatter machines are much higher, although still not high enough to pose a serious health risk.

The real risk posed by the machines is if they jammed and failed to turn off, which could result in blasting a person with enough radiation to cause serious burns, Rez told MedPage Today.

"Mechanical things break down and if that beam were to stop at one point, you'd get a very high dose on that one part," Rez said. "That's what worries me the most."

The machines do have fail-safe methods built in, but Rez said he won't trust them until he sees engineering studies proving the fail-safes are reliable.

"It's one thing to have an X-ray in a lab at a hospital that is looked over by trained people, but it's quite another to have it in an airport terminal with all the hustle and bustle and the TSA people looking over it."

Rez recently opted out of the full-body scan before boarding a flight from Florida to Arizona, which meant he was subjected instead to what he called the "big grope."

But the chief physicist at John Hopkins -- who was not involved in writing the report for DHS and TSA -- told MedPage Today that even if the machines failed to turn off, a person would have to stand in the scanner for hours before being exposed to radiation doses high enough to cause burns.

"In case the machine gets stuck, the radiation output is not that high," said Mahadevappa Mahesh, MS, PhD, who is also an associate professor of radiology and cardiology.

In light of the recent backlash over the ramped-up screening procedures, Obama administration officials said the screening process is "evolving" and the government will take into account the public's concern.


SATURDAY, November 20, 2010

...AND THE CRETINS WHO "LEAD" US WANT TO ADD THE MEDICAL PROFESSION TO THIS LIST OF SHAME.    DON'T LET THAT HAPPEN.

GS

FACTS from NATL ACAD SCI Report 111910.pdf


FRIDAY, November 19, 2010

DESPERATION.  Barack and Hillary, you're being played like a violin.  Have you ever heard of: "He who seeks equity must do equity"?  How about: "Heads, I win; Tails, you lose"?   GS

Israel and U.S. struggle to conclude settlement pact

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Talks between Israeli and U.S. officials aimed at reviving Middle East peace talks have hit snags over incentives promised by Washington to persuade Israel to resume a freeze of Jewish settlement building.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled the U.S. inducements to his cabinet last weekend and appeared hopeful the ministers would back plans for a temporary halt to building in the occupied West Bank to overcome a hurdle to the peace talks.

But an Israeli official said on Friday the United States had not yet provided the guarantees that Israel wanted, with Washington reluctant to commit to paper all the promises Netanyahu says he was offered verbally last week.

The latest snag concerned a pledge that Israel says U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made to provide the country free of charge 20 F-35 stealth warplanes worth $3 billion.

Politicians said Washington was backtracking and now wanted some sort of payment for the coveted fighter aircraft.

"It looks like the free stealth fighters have slipped," said Benny Begin, a minister from Netanyahu's Likud party who is opposed to the proposed U.S. deal, warning that Washington was setting a trap to extract major concessions later down the line.

"One may wonder if you cannot agree to understandings from one week to the next, what could happen over three months," he told the Army Radio on Friday.

The U.S. State Department said on Friday it would be willing to put the guarantees in writing but declined to discuss specifics of what they might be.

"We continue our discussions with the Israelis. If there is a need to put certain understandings in writing, we will be prepared to do that," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told a news briefing.

Netanyahu has said "intensive" discussions continued to get the necessary "understandings."

"If I receive such a proposal from the American government, I will bring it before the security cabinet and I have no doubt that my colleagues will accept it," he said late Thursday.

FOCUS ON BORDERS

U.S. President Barack Obama invested substantial political capital in persuading the Palestinians to resume direct talks with Israel in early September, after months of mediation.

But, true to their warnings, the Palestinians halted negotiations when Netanyahu refused to extend a 10-month partial settlement moratorium when it expired at the end of September.

Washington hoped its diplomatic and defense enticements would persuade Israel to renew the freeze for 90 days, opening the way for three months of intense negotiations that would focus on the future border of a Palestinian state.

However, Netanyahu's coalition allies demanded a written pledge from the United States to make clear the building freeze did not include occupied land in East Jerusalem and to spell out there would be no U.S. pressure for any subsequent moratoria.

The Palestinians themselves have expressed outrage in private over reports of the U.S. offer, saying it was a bribe to get Israel to fulfill basic international obligations.

The Israeli official said there appeared to be a disconnect between the White House and State Department with Obama unhappy that Clinton had offered so much for such a minimal concession.

However, he added that Netanyahu's office thought a deal could be reached in the coming hours and that the prime minister would get the necessary backing from his cabinet at the weekend.

Political sources say seven ministers are ready to support the plan, while six were firmly opposed, leaving two ministers from the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party holding the balance of power.

Newspapers say they are likely to abstain, but they are facing growing pressure from the pro-settler lobby to vote against and prevent any halt to settlement building.

(Additional reporting by Allyn Fisher-Ilan and Andrew Quinn in Washington; Editing by Ralph Boulton and Eric Beech)


THURSDAY, November 18, 2010

Palin admits she’s seriously considering a 2012 run
By Holly Bailey

Make no mistake about it: Sarah Palin is seriously considering a run for the presidency in 2012. In a just-released story for this Sunday's New York Times Magazine, Alaska's former governor tells writer Robert Draper that she's talking to her family about whether she should seek the White House and weighing whether she would bring unique qualities to the GOP field.

"I'm engaged in the internal deliberations candidly, and having that discussion with my family, because my family is the most important consideration here," Palin tells Draper.

She says there are no meaningful policy differences between her and other potential GOP candidates--but acknowledges she will face more pressure to prove that she has what it takes to be a serious presidential contender. "I know that a hurdle I would have to cross, that some other potential candidates wouldn't have to cross right out of the chute, is proving my record," she says. "That's the most frustrating thing for me--the warped and perverted description of my record and what I've accomplished over the last two decades. It's been much more perplexing to me than where the lamestream media has wanted to go about my personal life. And other candidates haven't faced these criticisms the way I have."

Asked whether her unwillingness to talk to the national media is partly to blame for how the public views her, Palin said she's been accessible on Fox News and through Facebook and Twitter. "I haven't been avoiding anything or anybody," she said. Because of the media's unfairness toward her, Palin said, "I fear for our democracy."

Still, Palin's willingness to talk to the Times Magazine is perhaps the biggest hint yet that she's serious about a White House bid. If she is to have a real chance at the GOP nomination, Palin will have to engage the national media more than she has over the past two years.

In a similar vein, Palin admits to Draper that she'll have to change the way she's handled her political operation since leaving the Alaska governorship two years ago. At the moment, Palin World consists of fewer than 10 staffers, only a handful of whom have direct access to her. While she doesn't have a formal chief of staff, Palin's husband, Todd, increasingly fills that role, serving as a gatekeeper to his wife.

"The organization would have to change," she said. "I'd have to bring in more people--more people who are trustworthy." Citing her experience as John McCain's running mate in 2008, Palin admits she remains deeply suspicious of political types, especially those from Washington.

Palin's biggest struggle may not be wooing public support; rather, she'll be hard-pressed to win over Beltway players working against her candidacy. In the story, she again trashes the unnamed Republicans who have criticized her potential White House run. "They want to be trusted to take on the likes of Ahmadinejad, but they won't take on a hockey mom from Wasilla?" she asks.

Still, the story notes that Karl Rove, who recently declared that Palin lacks the "gravitas" to be president, has tried to make nice with her. Draper writes that they ran into each other on election night at Fox News, where both are contributors. As Palin left the set, she spied Rove nearby, conspicuously reading a book called "Alaska for Dummies." Palin, Draper writes, laughed and took a photo of Rove with his book, never mentioning his criticism.



WEDNESDAY, November 17, 2010

Pro-Life Groups Respond to Tea Party Activists Calling for Abortion Backdown

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 11/15/10 5:52 PM

The letter jointing signed by Republican gay rights activists and a small group of Tea Party leaders has sent shockwaves throughout the pro-life movement.

Two leading pro-life organizations issued a swift response to the letter, which calls for ignoring social issues like abortion in exchange for focusing on the economy.

Concerned Women for America leader Penny Nance told LifeNews.com that social issues shouldn’t be set aside and, instead, should share an equal level of important with fiscal issues in the next session of Congress.

“Social issues should be at the very top of the list of priorities for the new Congress, along with sensible fiscal policies,” she said.

Nance says internal post-election polling her organization conducted showed American voters in the mid-term elections were enthusiastic about pro-life and other social issues as much as they were the economy.

“Americans voted overwhelmingly for both social and fiscal conservatives, and it would be unwise to throw social policies to the wayside and snub the voters who sent a strong message to the new Congress that they want both pro-life and fiscally conservative policies. In our post-election poll, when asked to name the biggest issue facing future generations, 62 percent of voters said it is the moral decline of our nation,” she said.

Kristan Hawkins, the director of Students for Life of America, also told LifeNews.com she is upset by the joint letter the GOProud organizers signed with the group of Tea Party activists.

“Tea Party leaders who have called for Congress to ignore social issues are forgetting how important the pro-life issue is, especially after the passage of Obamacare,” she said. “What these leaders fail to realize is that protecting the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception is the first responsibility of government.”

“The youth of America have shown that they are also concerned about social issues as well as fiscal issues. Ignoring the voice of the American people and important issues like abortion will be the fastest way to kill the Tea Party,” she added.

Last week, Concerned Women for America sent a memo to Republican leaders outlining three specific priorities the new Congress must address in the wake of the first pro-life majority in the House since Roe v. Wade.

“I’d like to know which one — support for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, eliminating taxpayer dollars from funding embryonic stem cell research, or defunding Planned Parenthood — the signers of the GOProud letter have a problem with,” Nance said.

“There was a net 52-seat pro-life gain in the House of Representatives, an unprecedented statement that voters reject taxpayer-funded abortion and want a more conservative, pro-life legislature moving forward.  Now is not the time for Republicans to back away from their own party’s foundational social issues,” she concluded.


TUESDAY, November 16, 2010

Regarding the previous Rapid Response (November 15, 2010)...

I've thought about this for some time, and here's what I've come up with:
 
Some years ago, Indian reservations and casinos came under fire for the explosive expansion they underwent after the 1988 Supreme Court decision legalizing casinos on Native American land.  I became personally aware of this issue as it related to the area surrounding what has become Foxwoods.  I determined then about Indian casinos what I determine now about the trade relationship between the U.S. and China.
 
For every buyer, there must be a seller.  For everyone who complained that the reservations were expanding at an alarming rate, there were those who freely sold their land to the Indian tribes.  Nobody put a gun to their heads and made them sell.
 
The roles are reversed, but the same notion holds true for the ridiculous trade imbalance with China that has plagued the U.S. for decades.  For every seller of item X that is made with safe, quality materials for price Y, there are tens of millions of idiots who will buy item X from China, regardless of the fact that it will either break down in a fraction of the time as the better item, regardless of the fact that it could physically harm them, simply because it is sold at price Y minus a few pennies or even --gasp!-- a dollar or two.
 
It is now virtually (and unfortunately) impossible to avoid buying items from China no matter how hard we try.  We can thank the philosophy of "lowest price uber Alles" for this predicament.  But, the effort must persist even if the monetary cost is higher to us as individuals and as a nation--yes even during the present economic state.  In fact, the more pressure there is to buy the lowest price simply because it is the lowest price gives China even more power than it currently wallows in.  From drywall that leeches poison gas into our homes to cookware that explodes under normal cooking temperatures due to the deliberate use of inferior (and also often-toxic) materials, and the myriad items in between, we have to STOP buying things SIMPLY and SOLELY based on their price.
 
I'm sure we've all walked into the local 7-Eleven and seen the ad for "Three hot dogs for only 75 cents!  What a deal!"  Are you kidding?  You couldn't pay me to eat a 25-cent hot dog.  You don't have to be a Nobel laureate in Economics to know that this math doesn't add up.  Nor does the simple explanation of China intentionally devaluing its currency.  Putting aside the fact that the cost of labor alone puts them at a huge advantage, let China continue to devalue its currency.  If fewer people buy their goods (especially in their largest market) they will be forced to further devalue their currency in a hopeless effort to maintain the arguably unsustainable growth rate that is required to keep the coastal, exporting hubs happy even if it simultaneously raises the hackles of the poorer (and larger) interior population who don't benefit from this windfall.  You can only devalue a currency so much before the Law of Diminishing Returns bites you on the ass.  They know this, but have no fear of it as long as their biggest trading partner follows the pied piper to the next sale price.
 
A well-known Asian philosophy states that when everyone is doing one thing, you should do the opposite.  Asians are born to think about collectivism and the bigger picture.  Historically, this has come up short economically, politically, and militarily when placed against the Western philosophy of individualism.  However, we are giving away the keys to the kingdom by consciously and literally subsidizing a system that allows them the best of both of these philosophies, and we are going to pay dearly for it in the end if we don't do something about it now.         
 
Let's start fighting fire with fire.  At the same time, let's stop acting so surprised that one of our mortal enemies wants to do us harm.  Case in point, did anyone hear the latest about the reusable grocery bags made in China that have elevated levels of LEAD in them?  Really?  Lead?  In a friggin' grocery bag???
 
Once again, is this thing on?
 
P-


MONDAY, November 15, 2010

U.S. vs. China: A cold trade war

Sunday, November 14th 2010, 4:00 AM

On Friday, the G-20 meeting in Seoul - the summit bringing together the world's 20 most important economies - concluded. The gathering, the fifth since former President George Bush revived the grouping in 2008, was the place where the world was supposed to come together to rebalance the teetering global economy.

Instead of doing so, presidents and prime ministers deferred solutions to the most intractable problems to the indefinite future. Worse, they did so when global commerce is especially vulnerable. Countries are already erecting barriers to trade and engaging in predatory policies that are sure to set back growth.

The central obstacle to a global solution? Despite wishful thinking to the contrary, the world's two largest economies - the U.S. and China - have interests that are diametrically opposed.

President Obama's visit did little constructive to confront or bridge that divide, and as a result the global consensus supporting trade could dissolve, just as it did in the 1930s.

The worst policies unresolved by the summit involve currency. In September, Brazil's finance minister said an "international currency war" had already broken out. He was right: In recent months, 18 countries have intervened to cheapen their money, among them Japan, South Korea, India and Brazil.

Trying to stop the economic arms race, Obama said on Wednesday to fellow leaders, "The world is looking to us to work together." He was essentially ignored.

The problem begins and ends with China, because it is the world's largest exporter. It has earned that position largely by holding down the value of the renminbi, which now trades somewhere 20% to 40% below its true value. That makes Chinese exports artificially competitive in global markets. As a result, China has built up enormous trade surpluses and the world's biggest stash of foreign exchange - $2.65 trillion at last count.

The United States, on the other hand, is a trade deficit nation, largely due to China. Chinese trade benefits the U.S. in other ways, but it has decimated American industry and put Americans out of work.

To get out of this jam, Obama in his State of the Union message pledged to double American exports in five years. But other countries are competing for those very same markets. As Brazil's outgoing President Luiz Inacio da Silva said at the end of last week, "Everyone would like to sell."

At the very same time, to jumpstart the American economy, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke this month announced his "quantitative easing" plan, which involves increasing the U.S. money supply by $600 billion in one shot.

This will flood the world with dollars and cause the greenback to depreciate. That means the Chinese will suffer great losses on the American currency they hold in their foreign exchange reserves.

Beijing is also petrified that Bernanke's plan will end up blowing up its economy. Investors will undoubtedly take the money he created and put it in China, resulting in even bigger Chinese property and stock market bubbles and runaway inflation.

It is time to begin facing economic fact: What is good for America is bad for China - and vice versa. China is a seller, and America is a buyer. America is a debtor, and China is a creditor.

It's no wonder Beijing and Washington were unable to come to terms with each other in Seoul last week - or at any of the other G-20 meetings since 2008.

Going forward, expect tensions to heighten. Minutes after the summit ended, an obviously annoyed President Obama got in the first shot: "It is undervalued," he said, referring to the renminbi. "And China spends enormous amounts of money intervening in the market to keep it undervalued."

The next stage of the contest between Washington and Beijing has just begun, and the world economy hangs in the balance.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2010/11/14/2010-11-14_us_vs_china_a_cold_trade_war.html#ixzz16Pdj3Ngi


SUNDAY, November 14, 2010

Another edition of "Around the World in 80 Opinions...Satellite View. 

Today, one need not go from nation to nation around the world to capture the world-view of America.  Just recall the immortal words of Rodney Dangerfield: "I get no respect". 
From the Far East to the Near East, from Europe to Africa and the Americas, both our "allies" and our adversaries sense blood in the water - our blood.

 And so, wherever our President goes, hat in hand and saddled with the echoes of his many apologies for America being America, he is rebuffed.  The most recent example of this is his craven capitulation to Israel in seeking a "90 day moratorium" on its stiff-necked overreaching regarding the future of that region.  Of course we will always defend Israel as we would defend any State in the Union.  Of course we would prevent the gathered vultures at the U.N. from swooping into that troubled region.  But what have we gotten out of these guarantees over all these decades toward the promotion of a lasting peace?  Less than nothing.  "You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie". 

Yes, our blood is in the water...and we Americans cannot wait for our "leaders" to staunch the flow.  We must impose the necessary discipline on ourselves and on those leaders.  The Tea Party movement has been a good start, with historic success in "throwing the bums out".  We all must continue this movement through our own active, daily participation in the political life of the country at all levels...and through our own change from our profligate ways.  Personal empowerment through education and re-education.  Frugality in our economic life.  Practice and demand personal responsibility in all things, great and small.  Keep informed of developments, not through the tainted pablum of the 30 second news soundbites that surround us, but by means of critical cross-reading from several at least formerly reputable news sources.  We must do this not as much for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren who will otherwise be studying "The Decline and Fall of the American Empire". 

A good place to start is with Glen Beck's latest offering entitled: "Broke".  Filled with facts and reasoned analysis from many sources, it is right on point.  To put it another way, remember the exercise lesson from our typing class:
"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country."  Really.

GS


FRIDAY through SATURDAY, November 5 through 13, 2010

Whether in the fields of Psychology or Climate Change or Economics...or any other questions with political agendas, some of today's "scientists" have become whores, prostituting themselves and the Scientific Method to their own personal ideologies. 
Beware the "expert"; and cross-read constantly.  It's a jungle of duplicity out there.

GS

Thirty Studies in Five Years Show Abortion Hurts Women’s Mental Health

by Priscilla Coleman, Ph.D. | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 11/12/10 5:04 PM

On Sunday November 7th, the Washington Post published an opinion by Dr. Brenda Major titled “The Big Lie about Abortion and Mental Health.”

I would like to offer another perspective on dishonesty permeating the scientific study and dissemination of information pertaining to abortion and mental health.

Dr. Major is absolutely correct; an informed choice regarding abortion must be based on accurate information.

For abortion providers to offer an unbiased and valid synopsis of the scientific literature on increased risks of abortion, the information must include depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as well as suicide ideation and behaviors.

Over 30 studies have been published in just the last 5 years and they add to a body of literature comprised of hundreds of studies published in major medicine and psychology journals throughout the world.

The list is provided below and the conscientious reader is encouraged to check the studies out. No lies … just scientifically derived information that individual academics, several major professional organizations, and abortion providers have done their best to hide and distort in recent years.

Like Brenda Major, I too am a tenured, full professor at a well-respected U.S. University and I, too, have published peer-reviewed scientific articles in reputable journals. In fact, my publication record far exceeds that of Dr. Major on the topic of abortion and mental health. I am not alone in my opinion, which has been voiced by prominent researchers in Great Britain, Norway, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, the U.S., and elsewhere.

As a group of researchers, who in 2008 had published nearly 50 peer-reviewed articles indicating abortion is associated with negative psychological outcomes, 6 colleagues and I sent a petition letter to the American Psychological Association (APA) criticizing their methods and conclusions as described in their Task Force Report on Abortion and Mental Health.

The opinion piece by Brenda Major following on the heels of the highly biased APA report is just the latest effort to divert attention from a tidal wave of sound published data on the emotional consequences of abortion. The evidence is accumulating despite socio-political agendas to keep the truth from the academic journals and ultimately from women to insure that the big business of abortion continues unimpeded.

 The literature now echoes the voices of millions of women for whom abortion was not a liberating, health promoting choice. A conservative estimate from the best available data is 20 to 30 percent of women who undergo an abortion will experience serious and/or prolonged negative consequences.

Any interpretation of the available research that does not acknowledge the strong evidence now available in the professional literature represents a conscious choice to ignore basic principles of scientific integrity.

The human fallout to such a choice by the APA and like-minded colleagues is misinformed professionals, millions of women struggling in isolation to make sense of a past abortion, thousands who will seek an abortion today without the benefit of known risks, and millions who will make this often life altering decision tomorrow without the basic right of informed consent, which is routinely extended for all other elective surgeries in the U.S.

In publishing Major’s opinion without soliciting other voices on the topic, the Washington Post has perpetuated a serious injustice.

Studies showing the abortion-mental health connection:

•       Bradshaw, Z., & Slade, P. (2005). The relationship between induced abortion, attitudes toward sexuality, and sexual problems. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 20, 390-406.
•       Brockington, I.F. (2005). Post-abortion psychosis, Archives of Women’s Mental Health 8: 53–54.
•       Broen, A. N., Moum, T., Bodtker, A. S., & Ekeberg, O. (2006). Predictors of anxiety and depression following pregnancy termination: A longitudinal five-year follow-up study. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 85: 317-23.
•       Broen, A. N., Moum, T., Bodtker, A. S., & Ekeberg, O. (2005). Reasons for induced abortion and their relation to women’s emotional distress: A prospective, two-year follow-up study. General Hospital Psychiatry 27: 36-43.
•       Broen, A. N., Moum, T., Bodtker, A. S., & Ekeberg, O. (2005). The course of mental health after miscarriage and induced abortion: a longitudinal, five-year follow-up study. BMC Medicine 3(18).
•       Coleman, P. K. (2005). Induced Abortion and increased risk of substance use: A review of the evidence. Current Women’s Health Reviews 1, 21-34.
•       Coleman, P. K. (2006). Resolution of unwanted pregnancy during adolescence through abortion versus childbirth: Individual and family predictors and psychological consequences. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35, 903-911.
•       Coleman, P. K. (2009). The Psychological Pain of Perinatal Loss and Subsequent Parenting Risks: Could Induced Abortion be more Problematic than Other Forms of Loss? Current Women’s Health Reviews, 5, 88-99.
•       Coleman, P. K., Coyle, C. T., & Rue, V.M. (2010). Late-Term Elective Abortion and Susceptibility to Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms, Journal of Pregnancy, vol. 2010, Article ID 130519.
•       Coleman, P. K., Coyle, C.T., Shuping, M., & Rue, V. (2009), Induced Abortion and Anxiety, Mood, and Substance Abuse Disorders: Isolating the Effects of Abortion in the National Comorbidity Survey. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 43, 770– 776.
•       Coleman, P. K., Maxey, C. D., Rue, V. M., & Coyle, C. T. (2005). Associations between voluntary and involuntary forms of perinatal loss and child maltreatment among low-income mothers. Acta Paediatrica, 94(10), 1476-1483.
•       Coleman, P. K., & Maxey, D. C., Spence, M. Nixon, C. (2009). The choice to abort among mothers living under ecologically deprived conditions:  Predictors and consequences. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction 7, 405-422.
•       Coleman, P. K., Reardon, D. C., & Cougle, J. R. (2005). Substance use among pregnant women in the context of previous reproductive loss and desire for current pregnancy. British Journal of Health Psychology, 10 (2), 255-268.
•       Coleman, P. K., Reardon, D. C., Strahan, T., & Cougle, J. R. (2005). The psychology of abortion: A review and suggestions for future research. Psychology and Health, 20, 237-271.
•       Coleman, P.K., Rue, V.M. & Coyle, C.T. (2009). Induced abortion and intimate relationship quality in the Chicago Health and Social Life Survey. Public Health, 123, 331-338.DOI: 10.1016/j.puhe.2009.01.005.
•       Coleman, P.K., Rue, V.M., Coyle, C.T. & Maxey, C.D. (2007). Induced abortion and child-directed aggression among mothers of maltreated children. Internet Journal of Pediatrics and Neonatology, 6 (2), ISSN: 1528-8374.
•       Coleman, P. K., Rue, V., & Spence, M. (2007). Intrapersonal processes and post-abortion   relationship difficulties:  A review and consolidation of relevant literature. Internet Journal of Mental Health, 4 (2).
•       Coleman, P.K., Rue, V.M., Spence, M. & Coyle, C.T. (2008). Abortion and the sexual lives of men and women: Is casual sexual behavior more appealing and more common after abortion? International Journal of Health and Clinical Psychology, 8 (1), 77-91.
•       Cougle, J. R., Reardon, D. C., & Coleman, P. K. (2005). Generalized anxiety following unintended pregnancies resolved through childbirth and abortion: A cohort study of the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 19, 137-142.
•       Coyle, C.T., Coleman, P.K. & Rue, V.M. (2010). Inadequate preabortion counseling and decision conflict as predictors of subsequent relationship difficulties and psychological stress in men and women. Traumatology, 16 (1), 16-30. DOI:10.1177/1534765609347550.
•       Dingle, K., et al. (2008). Pregnancy loss and psychiatric disorders in young women: An Australian birth cohort study. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 193, 455-460.
•       Fergusson, D. M., Horwood, L. J., & Boden, J.M. (2009). Reactions to abortion and subsequent mental health. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 195, 420-426.
•       Fergusson, D. M., Horwood, L. J., & Ridder, E. M. (2006). Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 16-24.
•       Gissler, M., et al. (2005). Injury deaths, suicides and homicides associated with pregnancy, Finland 1987-2000. European Journal of Public Health, 15, 459-463.
•       Hemmerling, F., Siedentoff, F., & Kentenich, H. (2005). Emotional impact and acceptability of medical abortion with mifepristone: A German experience. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 26, 23-31.
•       Mota, N.P. et al (2010). Associations between abortion, mental disorders, and suicidal behaviors in a nationally representative sample. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 55(4), 239-246.
•       Pedersen, W. (2008). Abortion and depression: A population-based longitudinal study of young women. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 36, No. 4, 424-428.
•       Pedersen, W. (2007). Childbirth, abortion and subsequent substance use in young women: a population-based longitudinal study. Addiction, 102 (12), 1971-78.
•       Reardon, D. C., & Coleman, P. K. (2006). Relative treatment for sleep disorders following abortion and child delivery: A prospective record-based study. Sleep, 29 (1), 105-106.
•       Rees, D. I. & Sabia, J. J. (2007). The Relationship between Abortion and Depression: New Evidence from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Medical Science Monitor. 13(10): 430-436.
•       Suliman et al. (2007) Comparison of pain, cortisol levels, and psychological distress in women undergoing surgical termination of pregnancy under local anaesthesia versus intravenous sedation. BMC Psychiatry, 7 (24), p.1-9.

LifeNews.com Note: Dr. Priscilla Coleman is a Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Bowling Green State University.


THURSDAY, November 4, 2010

Senate Elections Provide Big Gains for Pro-Life Movement on Abortion

Americans clearly preferred pro-life candidates on Tuesday when it came to the most hotly contested races for the Senate in the 2010 elections
The results make it so pro-life advocates will have an easier time stopping the advance of President Barack Obama’s pro-abortion agenda in terms of abortion funding and pro-abortion judicial nominees for the Supreme Court and other federal court appointments.

Wisconsin provided the pro-life movement with one of the biggest upsets of the evening as pro-life Ron Johnson defeated longtime pro-abortion Sen. Russ Feingold, who has promoted abortion for decades.

In the same way, pro-life Pennsylvania Senate candidate Pat Toomey defeated pro-abortion opponent Joe Sestak in one of the most challenging campaigns of the election cycle.

In Arkansas, pro-life candidate John Boozman picked up a seat for the pro-life movement in defeating pro-abortion incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln. With 27 percent of the vote counted, Boozman won 57-38 percent in a race that was never close despite Lincoln attacking Boozman and claiming he supported raping women.

Indiana also saw a pro-life candidate replace an outgoing abortion supporter as pro-life former Sen. Dan Coats defeated Brad Ellsworth, a Democrat who claimed to be pro-life but supported the abortion-funding ObamaCare bill. Coats will replace pro-abortion Sen. Evan Bayh, who claimed a more moderate position but repeatedly voted for abortion and abortion funding, after topping Ellsworth on a lopsided 55-40 percentage point margin.

In North Dakota, pro-life John Hoeven won is race to replace retiring pro-abortion Sen. Byron Dorgan, who defied the relatively conservative views of state voters by consistently supporting abortion and abortion funding during his career.

The Senate election also saw pro-life candidates hold seats that were in jeopardy of switching to pro-abortion lawmakers.

Marco Rubio will become one of the top pro-life Hispanic elected officials in the nation now that he is the Senator-elect in Florida, having defeated pro-abortion incumbent Gov. Charlie Crist, who ran as an independent.

Despite the presence of both Crist and pro-abortion Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek, Rubio cruised to an easy election victory capturing a majority of the vote and positioning himself as a major national figure. Full story at LifeNews.com


Gubernatorial Wins Give Pro-Life Advocates Chance to Cut Abortions Further

With wins from across the country in key gubernatorial elections, pro-life advocates have a clear opportunity to reduce abortions with the passage of additional pro-life legislation in state legislatures.
In Arizona, pro-life Governor Jan Brewer was able to keep her seat after she delighted pro-life advocates by singing significant pro-life legislation with a real potential to save the lives of unborn children.

Florida voters appeared likely to send pro-life candidate Rick Scott to Tallahassee to replace pro-abortion Gov. Charlie Crist, who vetoed a pro-life bill that would have allowed women a chance to see an ultrasound of their unborn child prior to an abortion.

In Georgia, pro-life candidate Nathan Deal allows pro-life groups a chance to continue passing bills by defeating his pro-abortion opponent.

Iowa is a state that will see a significant change as pro-life candidate Terry Brandstad defeated pro-abortion Chet Culver, who was a Planned Parenthood endorsement in a state where the abortion business is advancing the concept known as telemed abortions.

Sam Brownback becomes the next governor in Kansas, giving pro-life groups a real opportunity to reduce abortions, stop late-term abortions and prosecute abortion practitioners who flout the law.

In New Mexico, voters elected one of the few pro-life women governors and one who is a Hispanic to boot in Susanna Martinez. Mary Falin, another pro-life woman, was elected in the state of Oklahoma as was pro-life Nikki Haley in South Carolina.

Ohio saw pro-life former congressman John Kasich become the state’s next governor to replace pro-abortion stalwart Ted Strickland.

Voters in Pennsylvania rewarded pro-life candidate Tom Corbett in a race that will help the pro-life movement further reduce abortions beyond the great gains it has already seen.

Texas voters re-elected pro-life Gov. Rick Perry to another term and voters in Wisconsin helped the state elected pro-life candidate Scott Walker. Full story at LifeNews.com

Pro-Life Democrats Pay the Price for Backing Abortion-Funding ObamaCare

They said the legislation that would allow a government-run health care program did not fund abortions and they said an executive order President Barack Obama signed would ensure that was the case.
When legal analysis from every respected pro-life groups showed otherwise, a handful of self-declared pro-life Democrats insisted pro-life groups were lying.

In one case, with Steve Driehaus of Ohio, the pro-life women’s group Susan B. Anthony List faces accusations that its billboards were false and could potentially be forced to pay fines or serve jail time if a state elections commission agrees. Driehaus is currently losing his re-election bid to pro-life former Rep. Steve Chabot, a Republican who won praise from pro-life advocates for his hard work promoting a national ban on partial-birth abortions in the House.

But voters reminded those Democrats on Tuesday that pro-life organizations were right and replaced them with pro-life Republicans who campaigned against ObamaCare and on a more consistent pro-life platform.

Thus far, eight of the so-called pro-life Democrats have lost their bids for re-election. That includes Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, Chris Carney and Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania; Alan Mollohan of West Virginia; Baron Hill of Indiana; and Charlie Wilson of Ohio.

Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life added: “During the debate over the health care bill, we urged Members of Congress to reject taxpayer-funded abortion. Tonight, Paul Kanjorski learned that Life Counts as voters elected Lou Barletta, a leader committed to defending Life

The SBA List ran a “Votes Have Consequences” campaign involving $3.4 million and a massive us tour and voting information effort that targeted the “pro-life Democrats” who supported pro-abortion ObamaCare.

One of its targets, Democratic Rep.Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, who ran against pro-life Senate candidate Dan Coats, lost his bid for U.S. Senate. Full story at LifeNews.com



WEDNESDAY, November 3, 2010

ELECTION REACTION. 
GS


MONDAY and TUESDAY, November 1 and 2, 2010

Election Day

If Billy Graham didn't say this ("according to Snopes"), then I just did.

GS

Billy  Graham's Prayer For Our Nation
 
'Heavenly Father, we come before you  today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your  direction and guidance.  We know Your Word  says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but  that is exactly what we have done.  We have  lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our  values.. We have exploited the poor and  called it the lottery. We have rewarded  laziness and called it welfare. We have  killed our unborn and called it choice.  We have shot abortionists and called it  justifiable.  We have neglected to  discipline our children and called it building  self esteem.  We have abused power  and called it politics. We have coveted  our neighbor's possessions and called it  ambition.  We have polluted the air  with profanity and pornography and called it  freedom of expression.  We have  ridiculed the time-honored values of our  forefathers and called it enlightenment.   Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts  today; cleanse us from every sin and Set us  free. Amen!'



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