No doubt you know the story. For ages one Palestinian or Isalmic militant organization after another has been involved in hostility against Israel. The way the cycle usually goes things get active for a while, then after a series of attacks and escalations on both sides another unsteady truce is achieved and the Middle East is once again a little bit relaxed.
This latest round began as usual, when Hamas began escalating their actions against Israel and kidnapped an Israeli soldier. Not long after this, Hezbollah captures 2 more Israeli soldiers. Both terrorist organizations demanded the release of prisoners. In each case, Israel refuses to negotiate with the terrorists and demands the return of their people. They also initiated various actions, including arresting several Palestinian officials and military attacks.
Hezbollah escalated their attacks and began firing rockets into Israel. As of this writing the conflict is in it's seventh day and it's beginning to look a lot like this one isn't going to cool down very soon.
President Bush and the other members of the G8 conference have changed their agenda to deal with the situation
G-8 Leaders Speak Out On Middle East
Superpowers Call For Release Of Israeli Soldiers And Cease-Fire
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, July 16, 2006
(CBS/AP) World leaders, managing to resolve sharp differences over an escalating crisis between Israel and Lebanon, declared Sunday that extremist groups in the region cannot be allowed to plunge the Middle East into chaos and must immediately halt their attacks.
The leaders of the world's eight industrial powers issued a strong statement condemning Hezbollah militants but also urged Israel to exercise restraint in its military actions against Lebanon.
"The root cause of the problems in the region is the absence of a comprehensive Middle East peace," the statement said.
In the latest news, Israel is ready for an extended fight. The writer of the story notes that President Bush is reluctant "to bring pressure on Israel to agree to a cease-fire". I can't help but wonder what that writer thinks Israel should do. Should Israel simply sit back and allow terrorists to move in and take over. Somehow I think that if that writer were to face a similar threat there would be a very sudden, intense, interest in getting a weapon and fighting.
Israel May Send Ground Troops Into Lebanon
Jul 18, 9:00 PM (ET)
By RAVI NESSMAN
JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel declared Tuesday it was ready to fight Hezbollah guerrillas for several more weeks and possibly send ground forces into Lebanon, raising doubts about international efforts to broker an immediate cease-fire in the fighting that has killed more than 260 people and displaced 500,000.
Despite the diplomatic activity, Israel is in no hurry to end its offensive, which it sees as a unique opportunity to crush Hezbollah. The Islamic militants appear to have steadily built up their military strength after Israel pulled its troops out of southern Lebanon in 2000.
Israeli warplanes struck an army base outside Beirut and other areas in south Lebanon on Tuesday, killing 27 people, and Hezbollah rockets battered Israeli towns, killing one Israeli. Two big explosions reverberated over Beirut early Wednesday, and missiles hit towns to the east and south of the capital.
Israel's forecast of a lengthy campaign, coupled with President Bush's evident reluctance to bring pressure on Israel to agree to a cease-fire, seemed to quash any hopes for an early resolution of the crisis, now entering its second week.
Not only is Israel under attack, but the Iranian branch of the terrorist organization is ready with volunteer recruits to attack Israeli and American interests.
Iran's Hezbollah says ready to attack US, Israel
Jul 18, 2006 -- TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's Hizbollah, which claims links to the Lebanese group of the same name, asaid on Tuesday it stood ready to attack Israeli and U.S. interests worldwide.
"We have 2,000 volunteers who have registered since last year," said Iranian Hizbollah's spokesman Mojtaba Bigdeli, speaking by telephone from the central seminary city of Qom.
"They have been trained and they can become fully armed. We are ready to dispatch them to every corner of the world to jeopardise Israel and America's interests. We are only waiting for the Supreme Leader's green light to take action. If America wants to ignite World War Three ... we welcome it," he said.
Iranian religious organisations have made great public show of recruiting volunteers for "martyrdom-seeking operations" in recent years, usually threatening U.S. interests in case of any attack against the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme
With the renewed fighting in the Middle East, Thoughts once again turn to the last days. One of those concern the mark of the beast, which could be implemented using currently available RFID technology.
Once again this story is not simply about a way to keep track of people who cannot take care of themselves and make it easier to identify them and locate their medical records more quickly and accurately.
The problem with this is that it's the old 'slipery slope'. Once something like this is acceptable, it becomes that much easier to get people to accept more and more widespread use of this technology until finally it is made mandatory. (See Revelation chapter 13)
Fla.-made microchip to be used in volunteers with memory loss
Sunday, July 2, 2006
The Associated Press
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Four hospitals in Puerto Rico will begin implanting a Florida.made microchip the size of a rice grain in patients who suffer from illnesses that cause memory loss, like Alzheimer's disease, a newspaper reported Sunday.
The hospitals will start using the microchip, made by the Delray Beach, Fla.-based Verichip Corp., in August, according to El Nuevo Dia. It is inserted in the forearm, costs $200 and is voluntary.
"It is a way to offer an additional service because the chip it going to be used on a population that has memory problems ... or great health problems," said Nelson Martinez, coordinator of operations for Hostos Medical Services.
VeriChip is the only company with U.S. federal approval to implant such chips in people. The company has implanted more than 2,500 people worldwide with chips that give hospitals access to their identification, which is used to retrieve medical information from an Internet database.
The chip implanting is just part of it. That is getting people used to the idea of RFID chips implanted in humans. On another front is the 'Real ID Act' which creates a national ID card that you will find very difficult to live without.
Funny how they claim that it's 'not mandatory', but effectively make it exactly that by threatening the federal funding received by any state that does not implement it.
I read this post on Usenet recently that briefly describes the Real ID Act and some of it's implications.
[*note, the Url The author provided for the actual Real ID act doesn't work, however you can find the text of it by going to http://thomas.loc.gov and entering 'Real ID Act' in the search box*]
From: RogerD <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: National ID Card Required by 2008
Date: Sat, 15 Jul 2006 06:46:23 -0500
On May 11, 2005, Congress passed the Real ID Act that was later signed into law by President Bush. The Real ID Act creates the first ever National ID card that will be implemented by all 50 States through their state driver license. It must be enacted by all 50 States by May 11, 2008.
Without your National ID, you will not be able to: Board a airplane, train or bus Enter any federal building Drive a vehicle Get a bank account Hold a job
Although the Federal Government says it is volunatary for the States to enact, if a State refuses to implement the Real ID they lose all Federal Funding. So, it is really voluntary, isn't it? What State will give up the millions of dollars each year they receive in Federal funding?
While the specifics is not yet certain, you will be required to prove your citizenship with the following documents:
1. Birth Certificate 2. Social Security Card 3. Picture ID 4. Proof of physical address (NO P.O BOX)
Your new National ID will sport some new features also, such as your fingerprint and retina and/or facial scan along with a tracking device, such as an RFID chip.
The new National ID transforms every American into no more than an animal being tracked by their Government. That's right, you are the terrorist now. They need to know what you are up to.
For more information, you can check the following sites:
Real Nightmare (Opposing the Real ID - Founded by the ACLU) http://realnightmare.org/about/4/
The Actual Real ID Act http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c109:3:./temp/~c109dUgCvv:
So, what do you guys think about the National ID? Is it something you will line up to accept? Don't know about you, but there is no way I am letting the Government track my every move.
You might wonder at first what this story has to do with the last days, but if various wireless devices can be made to receive emergency alerts and they also have the ability to provide GPS location information to 911 operators and such. Who's to say that your oh so handy cellphone cannot be made to switch on by remote control and broadcast not only your position, but any sound or conversations going on around it?
Cellphones are handy yes, but in the interest of privacy it might be a lot safer to remove the battery when it's not in use.
Wireless devices to get emergency alerts
Thursday, July 13, 2006; Posted: 10:06 a.m. EDT (14:06 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- We interrupt your cell phone call with this important announcement: The government will soon be sending warnings of national emergencies on wireless phones, Web sites and hand-held computers.
The new digital system will update the emergency alerts planned -- but never used -- during the Cold War in the event of a nuclear strike. More likely, these 21st-century technologies will carry warnings of natural disasters and terrorist attacks.
The Homeland Security Department, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, expects to have the system working by the end of next year. Though still in its pilot stages, the system is being demonstrated Wednesday at a public television station in suburban Virginia.
Along with all the violence going on, the US Senate has voted to increase funding for embryonic stem cell research. The problem with this is huge because to GET embryonic stem cells you have to take them out of a human embryo (That's an unborn baby). The reason this is a problem is that in getting the stem cells, the unborn baby is killed.
There are NO righteous moral grounds for continuing this line of research. Ever.
Senate Approves Embryo Stem Cell Bill
Jul 18, 5:10 PM (ET)
By LAURIE KELLMAN
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate voted Tuesday after two days of emotional debate to expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, sending the measure to President Bush for a promised veto, the first of his presidency.
The bill passed 63-37, four votes short of the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override Bush's veto. The president left little doubt he would reject the bill despite late appeals on its behalf from fellow Republicans Nancy Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"The simple answer is he thinks murder's wrong," said White House spokesman Tony Snow. "The president is not going to get on the slippery slope of taking something living and making it dead for the purposes of scientific research."
Senate supporters of the bill likened that logic to opposition suffered by Galileo, Christopher Columbus and others who were rebuked in their time but vindicated later.
The warrantless domestic spying scandal is back in the news again, albeit rather quietly. According to US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, President Bush deliberately moved to block investigation into the program that was ordered by Congress.
I fully understand that state secrets and National Security are important. However, The United States Government was designed with certain checks and balances built in. Specificaly each of the three main branches, Legislative, Judicial and Executive have certain responsibilities, and each of these branches must answer to the other two and of course, ALL of them are supposed to answer to the people.
If any one branch begins to exceed these constitutional boundaries, the other two must act to bring things back into balance. No portion of our government is supposed to have absolute power, Ever.
Gonzales: Bush Blocked Wiretap Probe
Justice Dept. Office Has Now Closed Investigation Congress Members Had Requested
WASHINGTON, July 18, 2006
(CBS) This story was written by CBS News producers Rob Hendin and Stephanie Lambidakis.
President Bush personally blocked a Justice Department office from investigating the role of department lawyers in creating and overseeing the NSA's warrantless eavesdropping program, according to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
The revelation from the attorney general came as the department released documents sent late Monday night to Congress in which the chief of the internal unit, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), repeatedly implored his bosses to grant him the security clearances to conduct his investigation.
"The president of the United States makes decisions about who is ultimately given access ... As with all decisions that are non-operational in terms of who has access to the program, the President of the United States makes the decision," Gonzales said in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The memos from OPR chief H. Marshall Jarrett to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, in February, March and April of this year show that while Gonzales publicly told the Senate that OPR was investigating, Jarrett was complaining to higher-ups that he was "unable to move forward" because of the lack of security clearances for himself and six staff members.