Imminent Talks with Iran Only “Political Theater”?
Weekly summary of world news
Norm Olson October 23, 2012
A 23-year military intelligence veteran is casting strong suspicion on weekend statements from Barack Obama’s re-election campaign that talks with Iran are imminent. In advance of Monday evening’s final presidential debate, President Obama’s senior campaign adviser David Axelrod made the rounds of the Sunday morning news programs. Axelrod backtracked on statements he made earlier in the week that talks with Iran were planned. “The president has traveled the world forming a coalition that has permitted us to escalate sanctions on Iran. When he came into office, the U.S. was isolated on this issue, and now the world is with us,” Axelrod responded on Meet the Press when asked about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “We’ve brought Iran’s economy to its knees. The sanctions are working.” Some commentators contend that Axelrod’s earlier statements concerning possible dealings between the White House and Iran are nothing more than “political theater.” With the third debate between Obama and Governor Mitt Romney slated to focus on foreign policy, Frank Wuco—retired naval intelligence officer and host of the Frank Wuco Show—says Iranian officials have denied such a claim. “I think it’s garbage,” Wuco told OneNewsNow. “I think it’s Axelrod contriving a foreign policy event that doesn’t exist.” The most recent Gallup daily tracking poll of likely voters has Romney leading Obama by seven points—52 percent to 45 percent. Wuco said those numbers undoubtedly have Obama’s campaign scrambling to reverse the trend, even to concocting the notion of negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program. “If those [poll] numbers are correct, there is no way that Obama can re-trend . . . so that Romney goes below 50 [or] 51 percent and Obama goes above it,” he offers. “It would take something that probably isn’t going to happen.”
- Traditional marriage is undefeated at the ballot box in the U.S., but the issue is before the voters in four more states in the upcoming election. Three states will be deciding whether to legalize homosexual marriage, while Minnesota residents will be asked to approve a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of only one man and one woman. Right now, polls show support for the amendment barely outpacing opposition. Minnesota for Marriage spokesman Chuck Darrell told WorldNetDaily’s Greg Corombos he’s confident his state will defend traditional marriage. “Most Minnesotans understand that marriage is between a man and a woman,” he said. ”It’s not simply about the love of any two adults. Kids need a mom and a dad and not just any two people that are committed to each other will do. Marriage is rooted in natural law. It’s who we are.” Darrell said this isn’t about denying homosexuals personal choices but about making sure they don’t force those choices on everyone else. “They can love whoever they want, but they don’t have the right to tell everybody in Minnesota that they’re going to redefine marriage and force same-sex marriage on Minnesotans.” Religious freedom and parental authority are also endangered, according to Darrell. He said the evidence from Canada and states that have legalized homosexual marriage shows tolerance for disagreement evaporating and parents being told they don’t have a say in what their kids are taught. “Once same sex marriage is legalized, then that is what the schools are forced to teach,” Darrell explained. “What we’re seeing in other states is if parents object to it, if they want to opt their kids out of the class, they’ve been told no. One father who objected was actually taken out of school in handcuffs and spent the night in jail. In Canada, what we’re hearing is that parents are being told you have no right to know what we’re teaching your kids about marriage or when we’re going to teach it. School bureaucrats are actually beginning to describe themselves as co-parents which is certainly usurping parental authority.” Darrell said free speech is also on the line in this debate. He said traditional marriage supporters already feel intimidated to stay quiet about their beliefs and legalizing same-sex marriage will only intensify that political correctness. Darrell also noted that the Canadian government is already telling homeschooling families and religious schools what they can and cannot teach about human sexuality.
- Officials at Louisiana State University defended their decision last Thursday to publish a photo in which they removed symbols of the Christian cross worn by students at Saturday’s football game, reports campusreform.org. The students, who are Christians, were shocked to see the doctored photo, which appeared to be otherwise untouched. “I was a bit surprised, because our pictures get used so frequently, and the cross had never been edited before,” said Posse member Cameron Cooke in an interview with Campus Reform. “The cross painting is important to me because it represents who I am as a Christ follower,” Cooke added, “and it reminds me who I need to act like in Death Valley.” Vice Chancellor for Communications Herb Vincent acknowledged the school had altered the image “to prevent other students from being offended.”
- Thanks to a cut in taxpayer funding, the Planned Parenthood abortion business has announced it will close one of its abortion clinics, reports lifenews.com. It has been operating in Abilene, Texas, reportedly giving out the dangerous RU-486 abortion drug that has claimed the lives of dozens of women and injured thousands more. Women will be sent to the nearby San Angelo Heath Center, which provides women with legitimate medical care and not abortions. Last year the abortion business closed as many as 12 locations following the end of the 82ndlegislative special session, which dealt the abortion industry a $64.2 million blow. In August, in a major victory, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans lifted a federal judge’s temporary injunction preventing the state of Texas from de-funding the Planned Parenthood abortion business. The court ruled Texas may cut off funding for Planned Parenthood within its women’s health services program because Planned Parenthood is an abortion business.
- Citing the rights of religious freedom and home education, a Swedish appeals court ruled unanimously that homeschooling parents in Gothenburg are allowed to educate their children at home in line with their faith. It was a small victory for just one family amid an ongoing government campaign to quash homeschooling in Sweden. Still, analysts told WorldNetDaily it has the potential to become a major turning point in the battle. Local officials had sought to violate the Namdar family’s internationally recognized rights to home education and religious liberty. Last year the municipal government slapped massive fines on the parents, who serve as Jewish Chabad-Lubavitch representatives to Gothenburg, and demanded that the children be enrolled in school. However, authorities were rebuked by the court, which found that the children were receiving a “very satisfactory alternative” to the Swedish government’s education. “One part of this decision is that this family is in a very special situation with regards to their religious freedom,” Judge Per Olof Dahlin, one of three judges who ruled on the case, told WND in a phone interview. “There is a risk of harassment (for the children), and we considered that they earlier had education at home and online (for many years),” the judge added, pointing out that the family’s many children were doing extremely well in the world, with some going on to get advanced degrees. “If you consider all these things together it qualifies as exceptional circumstances under the law.” According to homeschooling advocates and human rights experts, the ruling strikes at the heart of a new education law passed in mid-2010 purporting to ban homeschooling for religious and philosophical reasons in Sweden.
- Jewish groups have pulled out of an upcoming meeting with Protestant colleagues over a letter from religious leaders to congressmen calling for a possible suspension of U.S. aid to Israel, reports haaretz.com. Signers of the letter to Congress included the heads of liberal denominations, including the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Methodist Church, the National Council of Churches USA, and the United Church of Christ. “While we remain committed to continuing our dialogue and our collaboration on the many issues of common concern, the letter represents an escalation in activity that the Jewish participants feel precludes a business-as-usual approach,” stated a letter sent by seven Jewish groups to their Christian counterparts in canceling their participation in the Oct. 22–23 meeting in New York. The event, an annual gathering, is known as the Christian-Jewish Roundtable and began in 2004 when the issue of liberal Protestant groups divesting from their financial portfolios operations doing business with Israel rose to prominence. Prior to the letter to the lawmakers, participants had pledged to update one another on activities regarding Israel, such as the Palestinians’ statehood push in the United Nations and the upcoming Israeli elections. The Jewish representatives’ letter was signed by the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith International, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Rabbinical Assembly, the Union for Reform Judaism, and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. The Anti-Defamation League had announced earlier that it would not attend the meeting.
- Some members of the Washington State Bar Association are upset with the organization deciding against allowing voters to weigh in on the homosexual marriage issue next month, reports onenewsnow.com. SB 6239 was passed by lawmakers and signed by the governor in February of this year, legalizing civil homosexual marriage in the state. Now the WSBA Board of Governors’ official position is to support the Yes on R-74 campaign. But as Brad Abramson of the Alliance Defending Freedom reports, many do not agree with the board overlooking the efforts of traditional marriage groups who conducted a successful petition drive to let voters have a chance to weigh in on the measure. “Many attorneys in Washington state disagree with the position with respect to civil marriage for same-sex couples,” Abramson affirms. “They object to it on a variety of grounds, including moral and religious grounds, and they object to the Washington State Bar Association taking a position on it.” The WSBA is a mandatory association, meaning attorneys in the state must be members and pay dues to obtain and maintain a license. So some are upset with the organization’s action, partially on legal grounds. “The U.S. Supreme Court in a case known as Keller v. State Bar of California determined years ago in the 1990s that mandatory bar associations were not allowed to engage in activities that are of a political or ideological nature,” the ADF attorney cites. Legal representatives who oppose the WSBA’s position have written a letter outlining their objections. OneNewsNow last week reported on a 61-year-old grandmother in Washington who was assaulted by a “proud” homosexual because of her “Reject 74″ paraphernalia.
- Tim Tebow, the popular Christian quarterback, has officially trademarked “Tebowing,” reports The Christian Post. Tebow, backup quarterback for the New York Jets, said Friday that he wanted “to just control how it’s used . . . make sure it’s used the right way.” “I knew it was something that was cool for me in the past, but it’s not something that I do as ‘Tebowing.’ It’s something that I do that’s prayer for me and then it got hyped up as ‘Tebowing.’” “Tebowing” became popular last year after Tebow’s team, the Denver Broncos, upset the Miami Dolphins. The quarterback knelt down (on one knee) in the endzone and held a clenched fist against his forehead as he prayed. The move was picked up by the public with everyone from Christians to celebrities and NFL players imitating the pose. Time magazine named Tebowing No. 5 on its 2011 list of “Top Ten Memes.” Tebow, 25, has stated that he is flattered by the trend but also mentioned that he has been “doing this same exact routine for the last seven years.” Explaining the prayer position he takes out on the field, Tebow told thousands at Canyon Ridge Christian Church early this year that he does it “to take a moment to block out everything else and just get on a knee and thank the Lord. I want to humble myself before the Lord and say thank you for this opportunity. Thank you for letting me play the game I love. Whether I’m good or bad, whether I’m the hero or the goat, whether I score four touchdowns or throw four interceptions, that will still be the same person, honoring the Lord.” Tebow first gained media attention in 2009 when he sported “John 3:16″ and other Bible verses on his eye black while playing for the Florida Gators. Tebow was one of the most popular players in NCAA football, having been the first college sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy and the first college football player to both rush and pass for 20 touchdowns in a season.
- Wycliffe Bible translators are finding and using an effective method to speed up translations by training natives to help, reports onenewsnow.com. According to Robert Harmon, the Wycliffe coordinator for the Pacific region, teaching natives the English language so they understand the Bible, commentaries, and other printed matter enables them to then translate the Bible into their own languages. “It’s traditionally taken 25 to 40 years,” Harmon said about the process. “With computers we’ve cut that down to 15 to 20, but if we get a national who’s doing it and they understand enough English so that they can do the things that we’ve talked about, they can do it in 8 to 10 years. So the main advantage is getting it done a whole lot more quickly.” Harmon points out that Papua New Guinea alone has 850 different languages. Indonesia has over 300. About 1,500 of the 6,800 languages in the world are in the South Pacific. In Papua New Guinea there are 350 translations that have not yet been started. Harmon adds that he has attended dedications of new translations where there are usually major celebrations.
- People and organizations continue to speak out against the idea of a wage gap between male and female workers in the wake of an audience member questioning both presidential candidates about the issue in the most recent debate, reports onenewsnow.com. Among the skeptics is Charlotte Hays, director of cultural programs at the Independent Women’s Forum. “The wage gap is a big talking point of feminists and Democrats in the Obama campaign,” she says. “We have a great piece on the Independent Women’s Forum website by Carrie Lukas. Carrie quotes Diana Furchtgott-Roth, who is a terrific scholar. She says that if you factor in the choices that women make, the wage gap vanishes. For example, women often work fewer hours in the week. Women also tend to get out of the job market for a while and raise kids. That is going to affect what you earn.” Hays adds that younger, college-educated women in urban centers are actually out-earning their male counterparts. Other groups that dismiss the wage gap include The Heritage Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Cato Institute. Consad, a consulting company responsible for a 2009 report for the Labor Department, found that these factors account for most of the pay gap.
- A decision in a case regarded as a bellwether in the developing standoff between the right to free speech and so-called “hate crimes” laws that punish “thoughts” or “perceptions” has arrived—and it affirms the right of free speech, reports WorldNetDaily. The decision comes from the highest appeals court in Alberta. The court week dismissed an appeal of a lower court decision that ruled Pastor Stephen Boissoin was not liable to pay a $5,000 penalty and issue an apology for a letter he wrote to the editor of a local newspaper. Boissoin’s letter to the Red Deer Advocate newspaper criticized those who “in any way support the homosexual machine that has been mercilessly gaining ground in our society since the 1960s. Our children are being victimized by repugnant and premeditated strategies, aimed at desensitizing and eventually recruiting our young into their camps. Think about it, children as young as five and six years of age are being subjected to psychologically and physiologically damaging pro-homosexual literature and guidance in the public-school system. . . . Come on people, wake up!” His comments “offended” some, and he was brought to trial before a human rights council, which ordered him to make the apology and pay $5,000 to a professor who brought the complaint. Now, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the decision from the Alberta court likely signals an ultimate victory in the 12-year legal fight. “Christians and other people of faith should not be fined or jailed for expressing their political or religious beliefs. There is no place for thought control in a free and democratic society,” said Gerald Chipeur, one of more than 2,200 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom, who served as counsel in the suit. “The tools of censorship should not be available to prohibit freedom of religious expression in Canada. The court rightly found that this type of religious speech is not ‘hate speech.’” The court decision noted that while Boissoin wrote the letter, the local newspaper published it after it determined it was an honestly held expression of opinion on an issue of public debate.
- The Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life women’s group, has released a new website that exposes the lengthy pro-abortion record President Barack Obama has accumulated since taking over the White House in 2009, reports lifenews.com. Life News also noted that Ann Romney would be the first first lady since Roe v. Wade to be pro-life. Ann Romney interviewed with the liberal women of The View last Thursday and didn’t back down in proclaiming her pro-life position. Although Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and George W. Bush were pro-life and crafted extensive pro-life records, their wives did not share their pro-life positions.