Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Bible Protects Unborn

http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2005-12-28T130846Z_01_KRA847296_RTRUKOC_0_UK-POPE-EMBRYOS.xml&archived=False

God sees embryos as full and complete humans - Pope

Wed Dec 28, 2005 1:08 PM GMT

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - God sees embryos as "full and complete" humans, Pope Benedict said on Wednesday in an address that firmly underlined the Roman Catholic Church's stance against abortion and scientific research on embryos.

"The loving eyes of God look on the human being, considered full and complete at its beginning," Benedict said in his weekly address to the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Quoting Psalm 139, Benedict said the Bible teaches that God already recognises the embryo as a complete human. That view is the basis for the Church teaching that aborting or manipulating these embryos amounts to murder.

In Psalm 139, the psalmist says to God: "Thou didst see my limbs unformed in the womb, and in thy book they are all recorded."

"It is extremely powerful, the idea in this psalm, that in this 'unformed' embryo God already sees the whole future," Benedict said.

"In the Lord's book of life, the days that this creature will live and will fill with works during his time on earth are already written."

Benedict has already weighed into an Italian debate on abortion ahead of a general election in April, publicly supporting a pro-life group that right-wing Health Minister Francesco Storace wants to have access to counselling centres advising women seeking to terminate pregnancy.

The Pontiff also raised the theme in his Christmas Eve mass on Saturday, saying the love of God shines on each child, "even on those still unborn".

As well as being against abortion in all cases, the Church opposes stem-cell research which extracts useful cells from unused embryos left over from fertility treatments.

The United States Congress is debating whether to expand federal funding for this kind of research, which scientists say could provide cures to many debilitating diseases.

For the truth on this topic please visit my April 8th, 2005 post, "Conflict of Church & State - The Stem Cell Funding Debate" found at:
http://visionsfromthehorizon.blogspot.com/2005/04/conflict-of-church-state-stem-cell.html.

For the complete truth on abortion, please visit my May 26, 2005 post, "This Is What "Choice" Looks Like!!!", found at:
http://visionsfromthehorizon.blogspot.com/2005/05/this-is-what-choice-looks-like.html .

An Enemy Within.

For the truth on this topic, please visit my March 21st, 2005 post, "We Are All Guilty" at: http://visionsfromthehorizon.blogspot.com/2005/03/we-are-all-guilty.html.

MEXICO - Fox hires lobbyist for U.S.

http://www.sunherald.com/mld/miamiherald/news/world/americas/13472193.htm?source=rss&channel=miamiherald_americas

The Texan who advised President Vicente Fox's election campaign will now try to sweeten U.S. views on immigration.
BY SAM ENRIQUEZ - Los Angeles Times Service

MEXICO CITY -- President Vicente Fox has rehired the Texas public relations man and GOP political consultant who quietly helped engineer his election victory in 2000. This time, Fox wants Rob Allyn & Co. to put the brakes on growing anti-immigration, anti-Mexican sentiment in the United States.

Last week, the U.S. House approved a bill to add 700 miles of border fencing and make illegal immigration a felony. Fox denounced the measure as shameful. His foreign minister called it stupid and underhanded.

''The contributions of Mexicans in the United States, who are making their best effort, generating lots of wealth, are not known,'' said Rodrigo Iván Cortés Jiménez, an elected deputy in Mexico's lower house and a member of its commission on foreign affairs.

The immigration bill, expected to reach the Senate in February, has no provision for allowing temporary Mexican workers -- a further slap, in Fox's view. He and President Bush agree on the need for a ''guest worker'' program.

Fox cannot seek reelection next year, and his legacy may rest in part on his pledges to secure an agreement with the United States to grant legal status to the millions of Mexicans living and working illegally north of the border.

So the Mexican leader last week turned to the political operative who helped him topple Mexico's longtime ruling party to win the presidency.

Rob Allyn helped George W. Bush defeat Ann Richards for the governorship of Texas in 1994. Three years later, Allyn saw another potential winner in Fox, then governor of Guanajuato state. He agreed to join Fox's presidential campaign, but only in secret.

For three years, Allyn worked clandestinely, helping craft Fox's message of change, as well as his TV commercials, his polling and his wardrobe. Allyn made dozens of trips to Mexico, traveling under one of three pseudonyms.

Fox, of the National Action Party, came from behind to defeat Francisco Labastida of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which had ruled Mexico for seven decades. During Mexico's official campaign season in the first six months of 2000, Allyn worked with Penn, Schoen & Berland, a polling and political consulting firm. They operated Democracy Watch, a nonpartisan group hired by Mexicans to conduct national exit polls as a hedge against election fraud.

After the July election, Allyn told the Dallas Morning News he hid his work for Fox because he didn't want to be a political liability. Mexicans are sensitive to foreign interference, especially involving the United States.

Allyn, who also worked on the Bush presidential campaigns, now faces a bigger challenge with the migration issue.

Demands to stem illegal immigration are growing louder in the United States as Mexican and Central American workers spread across the country.

''Our focus is on public opinion, which influences policy outcomes in Congress,'' said Allyn, 46, who grew up in Huntington Beach, Calif., and moved to Texas when he was in high school. ``There is a huge misperception among the U.S. public about Mexico.''

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez said Allyn's message should be that Mexicans have sunk roots deep in their U.S. neighborhoods and that they contribute more through their work, taxes and families than they take away in public services.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Atrocity Uncovered...

Estimated numbers of victims of Saddam's mass graves total over 300,000 now!!!

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/02/24/iraq/main541815.shtml

Mass Graves Unearthed In Karbala

BAGHDAD, Dec. 27, 2005
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(CBS/AP) Municipal workers doing maintenance work in the Shiite holy city of Karbala uncovered remains that police believed were part of a mass grave thought to date back to the early 1990s, when Saddam Hussein's regime crushed a Shiite uprising in the south.

The remains, which were discovered on Monday, were sent for tests on Tuesday in an effort to identify the bodies, a Karbala police spokesman said.

The men who claim to have discovered the graves were working on underground sewer lines, CBS' Jennifer Donelan reports.

Police will not say how many bodies were found.

Ayad Mashaalah, a local restaurant owner, said he saw bags filled with decomposed bones and corpses. Mashaalah said human rights workers came and took the bags, which are thought to date back to 1991.

BBC estimates that as many as 30,000 people could have been killed and buried in mass graves during the particular Shiite uprising thought to be the source of Monday's finding.

Why We Must Protect The Amendments...


Why do we fight for religious freedom? Freedom of speech? The right to bear arms? When God given right's are lost...we are no longer free. Read on...

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/12/27/051227130907.obcu6uet.html

Putin's liberal economic adviser resigns, saying Russia 'not free'
Dec 27 8:09 AM US/Eastern

President Vladimir Putin's outspoken liberal economic adviser Andrei Illarionov announced his resignation to protest what he said was an end to political freedom in Russia. "It is one thing to work in a partially free country, as Russia was six years ago. It's another when the country has stopped being politically free," Illarionov, 44, was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS news agency on Tuesday. He said he expected Putin to accept his resignation.

Illarionov, who became Putin's economic adviser in 2000, said he did not recognise the country anymore.

"In these six years the situation has radically changed and in the last year it became clear that not only the political, but economic model of the country has changed," he was quoted as saying by ITAR-TASS. "I did not go to work for such a country, or sign a contract, or swear an oath."

"As long as I could do at least something, including talking, I thought it was important to stay," he was quoted as saying by RIA-Novosti.

Illarionov has long been the highest profile critic within the Kremlin of the Putin administration. Just last week, in what may have been his last major press conference as adviser, he said: "Russia has ceased being a free and democratic country."

Illarionov has cut an increasingly lonely figure as he lashed out at the direction the country was taking -- in stark contrast to the rest of the Kremlin's tightly managed information machine.

In January of this year he lost his job as the Kremlin's point man on relations with the influential Group of Eight (G8), which includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.

Rationalization At It's Worst...

The report said 95.7 percent of abortions were carried out for the physical or mental health of the woman. That's almost 96% of 85,000 abortions?! This is precisely why a matter of life and death such as this should not be left up to subjective interpretation. When it comes to life and death...THERE IS NO GREY AREA!!!

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/12/27/051227182908.unrgpfgk.html

Abortions in Spain rise by 72 percent in 10 years

Dec 27 1:29 PM US/Eastern

The number of abortions carried out in Spain has risen by almost three quarters in the past decade but the figure remains low by European standards, the country's health ministry said. In 2004 the total reached 84,985, up by 6.5 percent on 2003 (79,788) et 72 percent on 1995 (49,367), it reported.

For women aged between 15 and 44 the rate per thousand was 8.94 in 2004 compared with 8.77 in 2003.

But Health Minister Elena Salgado, taking the 2002 figure, said that Spain's figure was lower than that of Germany (15.35 percent), Finland (16.41 percent), France (18.34 percent), Denmark (18.9 percent), Italy (20.46 percent), Britain (22.82 percent) and Sweden (25.63 percent).

The great majority (86.7 percent) of abortions were carried out in private clinics, while 9.7 percent were carried out in private hospitals and 3.6 percent in public hospitals.

The intervention in the first weeks of pregnancy costs between 300 and 400 euros in a private clinic.

Abortion was decriminalised in Spain in 1985 for certain cases: after rape, in the case of malformation of the foetus and if the pregnancy represents a threat to the physical or mental health of the woman.

The report said 95.7 percent of abortions were carried out for the last reason.

Bush Overstepping Bounds

He may be doing it in the interest of the American people. He may be doing it with the best possible intentions. But ignoring the constraints of the Executive Branch is dangerous and should NOT and can NOT be tolerated. In doing so...the President is claiming infallibility that no one, save God himself, can claim.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/253334_nsaspying24.html?source=mypi

Secret court modified wiretap requests
Intervention may have led Bush to bypass panel

By STEWART M. POWELL
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER WASHINGTON BUREAU

WASHINGTON -- Government records show that the administration was encountering unprecedented second-guessing by the secret federal surveillance court when President Bush decided to bypass the panel and order surveillance of U.S.-based terror suspects without the court's approval.

A review of Justice Department reports to Congress shows that the 26-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court modified more wiretap requests from the Bush administration than from the four previous presidential administrations combined.

The court's repeated intervention in Bush administration wiretap requests may explain why the president decided to bypass the court nearly four years ago to launch secret National Security Agency spying on hundreds and possibly thousands of Americans and foreigners inside the United States, according to James Bamford, an acknowledged authority on the supersecret NSA, which intercepts telephone calls, e-mails, faxes and Internet communications.

"They wanted to expand the number of people they were eavesdropping on, and they didn't think they could get the warrants they needed from the court to monitor those people," said Bamford, author of "Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency" and "The Puzzle Palace: Inside America's Most Secret Intelligence Organization." "The FISA court has shown its displeasure by tinkering with these applications by the Bush administration."

Bamford offered his speculation in an interview last week.

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, adopted by Congress in the wake of President Nixon's misuse of the NSA and the CIA before his resignation over Watergate, sets a high standard for court-approved wiretaps on Americans and resident aliens inside the United States.

To win a court-approved wiretap, the government must show "probable cause" that the target of the surveillance is a member of a foreign terrorist organization or foreign power and is engaged in activities that "may" involve a violation of criminal law.

Faced with that standard, Bamford said, the Bush administration had difficulty obtaining FISA court-approved wiretaps on dozens of people within the United States who were communicating with targeted al-Qaida suspects inside the United States.

The 11-judge court that authorizes FISA wiretaps has approved at least 18,740 applications for electronic surveillance or physical searches from five presidential administrations since 1979.

The judges modified only two search warrant orders out of the 13,102 applications that were approved over the first 22 years of the court's operation. In 20 of the first 21 annual reports on the court's activities up to 1999, the Justice Department told Congress that "no orders were entered (by the FISA court) which modified or denied the requested authority" submitted by the government.

But since 2001, the judges have modified 179 of the 5,645 requests for court-ordered surveillance by the Bush administration. A total of 173 of those court-ordered "substantive modifications" took place in 2003 and 2004 -- the most recent years for which public records are available.

The judges also rejected or deferred at least six requests for warrants during those two years -- the first outright rejection in the court's history.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said last week that Bush authorized NSA surveillance of overseas communications by U.S.-based terror suspects because the FISA court's approval process was too cumbersome.

The Bush administration, responding to concerns expressed by some judges on the 11-member panel, agreed last week to give them a classified briefing on the domestic spying program. U.S. District Judge Malcolm Howard, a member of the panel, told CNN that the Bush administration agreed to brief the judges after U.S. District Judge James Robertson resigned from the FISA panel, apparently to protest Bush's spying program.

Bamford, 59, a Vietnam-era Navy veteran, likens the Bush administration's domestic surveillance without court approval to Nixon-era abuses of intelligence agencies.

NSA and previous eavesdropping agencies collected duplicates of all international telegrams to and from the United States for decades during the Cold War under a program code-named "Shamrock" before the program ended in the 1970s. A program known as "Minaret" tracked 75,000 Americans whose activities had drawn government interest between 1952 and 1974, including participation in the anti-war movement during the Vietnam War.

"NSA prides itself on learning the lessons of the 1970s and obeying the legal restrictions imposed by FISA," Bamford said. "Now it looks like we're going back to the bad old days again."

Monday, December 19, 2005

Media Bias A Reality

http://www.newsroom.ucla.edu/page.asp?RelNum=6664

UCLA NEWS:

Media Bias Is Real, Finds UCLA Political Scientist

Date: December 14, 2005
Contact: Meg Sullivan ( msullivan@support.ucla.edu )
Phone: 310-825-1046

While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.

These are just a few of the surprising findings from a UCLA-led study, which is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly.

"I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study's lead author. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."

"Overall, the major media outlets are quite moderate compared to members of Congress, but even so, there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of them lean to the left," said co‑author Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri economist and public policy scholar.

The results appear in the latest issue of the Quarterly Journal of Economics, which will become available in mid-December.

Groseclose and Milyo based their research on a standard gauge of a lawmaker's support for liberal causes. Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) tracks the percentage of times that each lawmaker votes on the liberal side of an issue. Based on these votes, the ADA assigns a numerical score to each lawmaker, where "100" is the most liberal and "0" is the most conservative. After adjustments to compensate for disproportionate representation that the Senate gives to low‑population states and the lack of representation for the District of Columbia, the average ADA score in Congress (50.1) was assumed to represent the political position of the average U.S. voter.

Groseclose and Milyo then directed 21 research assistants — most of them college students — to scour U.S. media coverage of the past 10 years. They tallied the number of times each media outlet referred to think tanks and policy groups, such as the left-leaning NAACP or the right-leaning Heritage Foundation.

Next, they did the same exercise with speeches of U.S. lawmakers. If a media outlet displayed a citation pattern similar to that of a lawmaker, then Groseclose and Milyo's method assigned both a similar ADA score.

"A media person would have never done this study," said Groseclose, a UCLA political science professor, whose research and teaching focuses on the U.S. Congress. "It takes a Congress scholar even to think of using ADA scores as a measure. And I don't think many media scholars would have considered comparing news stories to congressional speeches."

Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS' "Evening News," The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.

Only Fox News' "Special Report With Brit Hume" and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter.

The most centrist outlet proved to be the "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer." CNN's "NewsNight With Aaron Brown" and ABC's "Good Morning America" were a close second and third.

"Our estimates for these outlets, we feel, give particular credibility to our efforts, as three of the four moderators for the 2004 presidential and vice-presidential debates came from these three news outlets — Jim Lehrer, Charlie Gibson and Gwen Ifill," Groseclose said. "If these newscasters weren't centrist, staffers for one of the campaign teams would have objected and insisted on other moderators."

The fourth most centrist outlet was "Special Report With Brit Hume" on Fox News, which often is cited by liberals as an egregious example of a right-wing outlet. While this news program proved to be right of center, the study found ABC's "World News Tonight" and NBC's "Nightly News" to be left of center. All three outlets were approximately equidistant from the center, the report found.

"If viewers spent an equal amount of time watching Fox's 'Special Report' as ABC's 'World News' and NBC's 'Nightly News,' then they would receive a nearly perfectly balanced version of the news," said Milyo, an associate professor of economics and public affairs at the University of Missouri at Columbia.

Five news outlets — "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," ABC's "Good Morning America," CNN's "NewsNight With Aaron Brown," Fox News' "Special Report With Brit Hume" and the Drudge Report — were in a statistical dead heat in the race for the most centrist news outlet. Of the print media, USA Today was the most centrist.

An additional feature of the study shows how each outlet compares in political orientation with actual lawmakers. The news pages of The Wall Street Journal scored a little to the left of the average American Democrat, as determined by the average ADA score of all Democrats in Congress (85 versus 84). With scores in the mid-70s, CBS' "Evening News" and The New York Times looked similar to Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., who has an ADA score of 74.

Most of the outlets were less liberal than Lieberman but more liberal than former Sen. John Breaux, D-La. Those media outlets included the Drudge Report, ABC's "World News Tonight," NBC's "Nightly News," USA Today, NBC's "Today Show," Time magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, NPR's "Morning Edition," CBS' "Early Show" and The Washington Post.

Since Groseclose and Milyo were more concerned with bias in news reporting than opinion pieces, which are designed to stake a political position, they omitted editorials and Op‑Eds from their tallies. This is one reason their study finds The Wall Street Journal more liberal than conventional wisdom asserts.

Another finding that contradicted conventional wisdom was that the Drudge Report was slightly left of center.

"One thing people should keep in mind is that our data for the Drudge Report was based almost entirely on the articles that the Drudge Report lists on other Web sites," said Groseclose. "Very little was based on the stories that Matt Drudge himself wrote. The fact that the Drudge Report appears left of center is merely a reflection of the overall bias of the media."

Yet another finding that contradicted conventional wisdom relates to National Public Radio, often cited by conservatives as an egregious example of a liberal news outlet. But according to the UCLA-University of Missouri study, it ranked eighth most liberal of the 20 that the study examined.

"By our estimate, NPR hardly differs from the average mainstream news outlet," Groseclose said. "Its score is approximately equal to those of Time, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report and its score is slightly more conservative than The Washington Post's. If anything, government‑funded outlets in our sample have a slightly lower average ADA score (61), than the private outlets in our sample (62.8)."

The researchers took numerous steps to safeguard against bias — or the appearance of same — in the work, which took close to three years to complete. They went to great lengths to ensure that as many research assistants supported Democratic candidate Al Gore in the 2000 election as supported President George Bush. They also sought no outside funding, a rarity in scholarly research.

"No matter the results, we feared our findings would've been suspect if we'd received support from any group that could be perceived as right- or left-leaning, so we consciously decided to fund this project only with our own salaries and research funds that our own universities provided," Groseclose said.

The results break new ground.

"Past researchers have been able to say whether an outlet is conservative or liberal, but no one has ever compared media outlets to lawmakers," Groseclose said. "Our work gives a precise characterization of the bias and relates it to known commodity — politicians."

-UCLA-

MS580

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Don King On Bush...

http://www.drudgereport.com/flash9.htm

BOXING PROMOTER DON KING: 'BUSH IS A REVOLUTIONARY'

Wed Dec 14 2005 19:23:37 ET CNN, THE SITUATION ROOM 4:00 PM EST

WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Don king is known worldwide as a big-time boxing promoter. But has also taken some new fights on recently...

You love George Bush?

DON KING; I love George Walker Bush because I think he's a revolutionary. He's a president that comes in with conclusiveness. What they're doing in tomorrow in Iraq is a demonstration of that for the vote for democracy. The fundamental process of democracy is freedom of speech, law and order, being able to have freedom, working with people and working and governing yourselves. George Bush is that. He included in...

BLITZER: Do you have any regrets supporting him? Take a look at that picture when you and I were there at the diner last year. Do you have any regrets supporting him as enthusiastically as you did?

KING: No, I don't. In fact, I want to support him more now because it seems like everybody is punching him. You know what I mean? But he's fighting back, and he's throwing great combinations. And I think he's the guy that is really a revolutionary president.

I think he's a president that cares about the people he represents, but doesn't compromise himself to the extent that he acquiesce and accommodate. He goes out there and says like it is, and tries to make things better. Inclusiveness, education, is fighting for that.

These are the things that many guys that don't fight for -- George Walker Bush is a tremendous advocate to America, a great president for the great American people, and he's decisive. He's doesn't equivocate.

END

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

In God We Trust!!!

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001659292

Gallup: Poll Finds Americans' Belief in God Remains Strong

By E&P Staff
Published: December 13, 2005 12:15 PM ET

NEW YORK A new Gallup survey released today finds that four decades after the "God Is Dead" controversy was first noted, Americans retain a strong belief in a higher power. Some 94% think God exists.

Only 5% feel God "does not exist" -- and even most of them "are not sure" of that. Exactly 1% are certain there is no God.

But how strongly do the believers believe? Nearly 8 in 10, in fact, say they are "convinced" God exists, although Gallup does not ask them why that is.

Conservatives are more likely to be convinced than liberals (87% vs. 61%), women a little more likely than men (82% vs. 73%), and residents of the South more than those in the East (88% vs. 70%).

Surprisingly, some 61% of those who seldom or never attend church are nevertheless convinced that God exists.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
E&P Staff (letters@editorandpublisher.com)