Signs of the Times (6/4/12)

National Motto Proclaimed in Orange County, CA

A vote in favor of displaying “In God We Trust” has made one California county the leader in displaying the national motto. The Anaheim City Council agreed to install the phrase “In God We Trust” in the City Council Chambers. The motto, displayed in four-inch black- or gold-colored letters, will be placed above the city seal. Jacquie Sullivan of In God We Trust America says “With Anaheim voting yes, that makes Orange County the leading county in California and in the country,” she explains. “There are 32 cities [in the county], and Anaheim makes 17 cities now that will soon be displaying our national motto.” The motto has already been placed in 16 cities in Orange County and in almost 300 cities nationwide.

The Single-Mom Catastrophe

The LA Times reports that the single-mother revolution started in the 1960s when the nation began to sever the historical connection between marriage and childbearing and to turn single motherhood and the fatherless family into a viable, even welcome, arrangement for children and for society. The reasons for the shift were many, including the sexual revolution, a powerful strain of anti-marriage feminism and an outbreak of American individualism that hit the country in the 1960s and ’70s. In 1965, 93% of all American births were to women with marriage licenses. Over the next few decades, the percentage of babies with no father around rose steadily. As of 1970, 11% of births were to unmarried mothers; by 1990, that number had risen to 28%. Today, 41% of all births are to unmarried women. And for mothers under 30, the rate is 53%. Author Kay S. Hymowitz notes, “The single-mother revolution has been an economic catastrophe for women. Poverty remains relatively rare among married couples with children; the U.S. census puts only 8.8% of them in that category, up from 6.7% since the start of the Great Recession. But more than 40% of single-mother families are poor, up from 37% before the downturn.” The Brookings Institution’s Isabel Sawhill calculates that virtually all the increase in child poverty in the United States since the 1970s would vanish if parents still married at 1970 rates.

  • The breakdown of the traditional family, God’s ordained natural order, is Satan’s primary end-time strategy, whether it be single moms. abortion or the gay agenda

Target T-Shirts Promote Gay Marriage

Two years after Target Corp. angered gay marriage supporters with a political donation that benefited a fiery gay marriage opponent seeking the governor’s office, the retailer is now upsetting same-sex marriage opponents by selling T-shirts to raise money for a group working to defeat a gay marriage ban in Minnesota. The Minneapolis-based retailer is taking heat in its home state, where voters will decide this November whether to put a gay marriage ban into the state constitution. One organizer of gay marriage opponents warned that their displeasure could spread to 32 other states where voters have banned gay marriage. “Target is attacking traditional marriage, which is an incredibly misguided thing for them to have done,” said Chuck Darrell, spokesman for Minnesota for Marriage, a group campaigning to pass the constitutional marriage amendment. “It’s an insult to the overwhelming majority of their customers.”

  • Target and Home Depot are the most active retailers in promoting the gay agenda

Congress Votes Against Prenatal Nondiscrimination

The American Center for Law & Justice reports that 168 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives chose to stand on the side of legal protections for those who would end the life of a baby with full knowledge that the only reason for doing so is that the baby is a little girl.  That is not a typo — 168 Members of Congress actually went to the Floor of the U.S. House today and opposed H.R. 3541, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA).  These 168 votes, while a minority of votes cast, were enough to deny the 2/3 required for passage of the bill. The ACLJ notes that, “It is a tragedy of epic proportion that the United States is the only industrialized nation of the world that does not restrict abortions that are performed solely because of the gender of a child.  It’s equally alarming that the largest abortion provider in the world [Planned Parenthood] is actively opposing legislation that would right this wrong, even as they are repeatedly caught on tape participating in abortions that are chosen because the baby is the ‘wrong” gender.” Congressman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), the bill’s sponsor, said: “Worldwide now, we’re probably missing 200 million girls because of sex-selective abortions, and in America we have now allowed thousands of little girls to be dismembered, usually late in the pregnancy when they can feel extreme pain, simply because they are little girls.”

  • Unconscionable support for gender-selected murder. Doesn’t this qualify as a hate crime?

IRS: Politics Can Jeopardize Churches’ Tax-Exempt Status

Pastors meeting in Washington have been warned about political activities that could jeopardize their churches’ tax-exempt status. IRS regional manager Peter Lorenzetti told the Faith Leaders Summit that prohibited activities include endorsing or opposing candidates, campaigning for them, or making contributions to their campaigns. But pastors are free to do any of those things as private citizens, according to Congressman G.K. Butterfield.  The North Carolina Democrat, a former judge, said, “You simply cannot do it in your capacity as the pastor of the church and give the implication that the church is endorsing the candidate.” Lorenzetti said churches can distribute voter guides that educate about political issues without favoring a particular candidate.

  • This will become a major end-time issue when the government imposes hate-crime and other limitations on what can be preached and taught in churches. Churches should begin shedding costs (e.g. expensive real estate) and prepare to surrender their tax-exempt status before they are forced to choose between closing their doors or adhering to a watered-down gospel.

DOJ to Florida: Don’t You Dare Clean Up Your Voter Rolls

A simple way to help prevent voter fraud and election abuse is for states to purge voter rolls. What does this mean? Getting rid of names on voter rolls of people ineligible to vote such as illegal aliens, dead people, duplicates, etc. For nearly a year, Florida election officials have asked the Department of Homeland Security for access to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement database in order to take illegal aliens and non-citizens off Florida voter rolls. Not surprisingly, DHS has been dragging its feet and has yet to comply with the request and now, the Department of Justice is stepping into the purging process and ordering Florida, a vital swing state, to stop.

  • Democrats will continue to fight for the ‘rights’ of illegal immigrants because they overwhelmingly vote in their favor. Forget principles, politics is all about gaining and retaining power.

Addiction to Synthetic Marijuana Alarms Officials

Many young people are getting hooked on synthetic marijuana — often called K2, Spice or fake weed. But the substance has been even more devastating than regular marijuana. Police believe two young men smoked it before they attacked a Farmington Hills family with baseball bats in April. A West Bloomfield teen killed by his grandmother tested positive for the substance, the grandmother’s attorney said. And police blame it for the overdose death of a young man in Bloomfield Township last weekend. Now, Michigan lawmakers, police, judges, health professionals and parents say they’re on a mission to get the products banned. It’s not the first time the state or federal government has tried to outlaw synthetic marijuana. In the last two years, both have banned certain chemicals that were being used to make the products. Manufacturers quickly skirted the laws and developed new formulas. Today, it’s easy to find across much of the nation.

Synthetic marijuana is usually sold in packets or clear containers with names like Legal Devil, the Presidential, Demon, LOL, Tsunami and Scooby Snax. It comes in flavors like grape, blueberry, mango, strawberry, apple and watermelon. The products are made up of plant material, not marijuana, and sprayed with chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. It doesn’t show up in many drug tests. National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske said calling the product synthetic marijuana is a mistake because that term doesn’t convey the dangerousness of the drug. Some variations can be legally purchased online, at gas stations, tobacco stores and various other outlets — usually for $5 to $50. It’s often marketed as incense or potpourri with a label that warns “not for human consumption.”

CNN Lost Half Its Audience in Past Year

Liberal CNN in May suffered its worst month for ratings in nearly 20 years, according to Nielsen figures, and has lost 50 percent of its audience in the past 12 months, losing many of its viewers to Fox News. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper has lost a quarter of his viewers in the past 12 months, and ratings for Wolf Blitzer’s two-hour “Situation Room” are down by more than half.

  • How long can the media and government deny that America is largely conservative and Christian? As long as they remain in control, they will continue to promote their secular, socialist agenda.

Public Transit Soaring in 2012

Use of public transit is soaring. Transit agencies had record or near-record ridership in the first three months of the year, thanks to high gas prices and a mild winter. At least a dozen communities set records for the number of people riding buses, trains and light rail, even though some cut service because of tight budgets. ridership on what’s called heavy rail — subways and elevated trains — increased in 14 of the 15 systems that have such transit. Use of light rail — streetcars and trolleys — rose in 25 of the 27 cities that have it. And 34 of 37 large cities saw increases in bus ridership.

States Explore New Ways to Tax Motorists

States are looking for new ways of taxing motorists as they seek to pay for highway and bridge repair and improvements without relying on the per-gallon gasoline tax widely viewed as all but obsolete. Among the leading ideas: Taxing drivers for how many miles they travel rather than how much gasoline they buy. Minnesota and Oregon already are testing technology to keep track of mileage. Other states, including Washington and Nevada, are preparing similar projects. The efforts are being prompted by the fact that gasoline taxes no longer provide enough money to pay for roads and bridges — especially when Congress and many state legislatures are reluctant to increase taxes imposed on each gallon. The federal tax of 18.4 cents a gallon hasn’t been raised in nearly two decades. More than half the states have not raised their gas tax this millennium. Fuel-efficiency also is behind the efforts. Electric-powered vehicles are growing in numbers.

Economic News

There’s some good news behind the discouraging headlines on the economy: Gas is getting cheaper. It’s dropped to $2.99 in some areas of South Carolina and could soon fall below $3 in a handful of Southern states. A plunge in oil prices to an eight-month low has knocked more than 30 cents off the price of a gallon of gas in most parts of the U.S. since early April. The national average is now $3.61. Experts say it could drop to at least $3.40 before Labor Day.

China and Japan inked a deal last Friday to cut the U.S. dollar out of all trades between the two countries, and instead, trade directly in yuan and yen, yet another step toward eliminating the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Already this year, Iran, Taiwan, and Russia — to name just a few countries —traded directly with each other without using the dollar as a reserve currency.

Middle East

A damaging cyberattack against Iran’s nuclear program was the work of U.S. and Israeli experts and proceeded under the secret orders of President Barack Obama, who was eager to slow that nation’s apparent progress toward building an atomic bomb without launching a traditional military attack, current and former U.S. officials say. The origins of the cyberweapon, which outside analysts dubbed Stuxnet after it was inadvertently discovered in 2010, have long been debated, with most experts concluding that the United States and Israel probably collaborated on the effort. The current and former U.S. officials confirmed that long-standing suspicion Friday, after a New York Times report on the program. Code-named Olympic Games, it was first developed during the George W. Bush administration and was geared toward damaging Iran’s nuclear capability gradually while sowing confusion among Iranian scientists about the cause of mishaps at a nuclear plant.

Egypt

Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison Saturday for failing to stop the killing of protesters during the uprising that forced him from power last year. But the ousted president and his sons were acquitted of corruption charges in a mixed verdict that swiftly provoked a new wave of anger on Egypt’s streets. After the sentencing, the 84-year old, ailing Mubarak cried in protest and resisted leaving the helicopter that took him from the Cairo courtroom to a prison hospital for the first time, according to security officials. Since Mubarak was ordered detained last April, he has been held in several different military hospitals but never in a prison hospital. The charges related to killing protesters carried a possible death sentence that the judge chose not to impose, opting instead to send Mubarak to prison for the rest of his life. Thousands of riot police in helmets and shields held the restive, mostly anti-Mubarak crowd back behind a cordon protecting the court.

Thousands of people took to the streets in cities across Egypt on Friday to demand that Ahmed Shafiq, a former senior official in Hosni Mubarak’s ousted regime, be disqualified from next month’s presidential runoff due to his close ties to Mubarak. Shafiq, who served as Mubarak’s last prime minister, was one of the top two finishers in the first round of Egypt’s landmark presidential election last month, advancing to a June 16-17 runoff against Mohammed Morsi, the candidate of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood. Neither candidate represents the mostly young, secular activists who led the popular uprising last year.

Syria

The U.N.’s top human rights body voted overwhelmingly Friday to condemn Syria over the slaughter of more than 100 civilians last week, but Damascus appeared impervious to the crescendo of global condemnation following a string of horrific massacres. Syria’s most important ally and protector, Russia, voted against the measure by the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. Russia has refused to support any move that could lead to foreign intervention in Syria, Moscow’s last significant ally in the Middle East. New bloodshed was reported across Syria on Friday, with troops firing on protesters and more execution-style killings coming to light.

Libya

A Libyan security official says disgruntled militiamen have taken over the country’s main airport, storming it with heavy machine guns and armored vehicles and forcing airport authorities to divert flights. Militiamen from the city of Tarhouna occupied the airport runway on Monday. Flights were diverted to Metiga air base in the city’s center. The militiamen are angry over arrest of their commander, Abu Elija, on Sunday. Tarhouna in central Libya was widely seen as a favorite of deposed ruler Moammar Gadhafi. Its dominant tribe, also called Tarhouna, held many positions in the Libyan military under Gadhafi. Tribal rivalries have swept Libya since Gadhafi was overthrown last year.

  • “Behold, you are with child, and you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has heard your affliction. He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, nd every man’s hand against him.” (Genesis 16:11-12)

Afghanistan

Taliban insurgents detonated a truck bomb, then tried to storm a NATO base Friday in eastern Afghanistan, but coalition forces repelled the attack, killing 14 militants. NATO plans to pull combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and turn security over to local forces. If security allows, Karzai said foreign forces could pull out earlier. Karzai said that while the U.S. had helped Afghanistan build roads, schools, clinics and welcomed the country into the world community, U.S. and NATO troops had not been able to provide security to the Afghan people. “It did not bring the defeat of terrorism as we thought it would,” he said. “But the American presence did bring an overall stability to Afghanistan.”

Iraq

A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-rigged car outside Iraq’s main religious affairs office for Shiite Muslims on Monday, shearing off the facade of the three-story building and killing at least 23 people in the deadliest single attack in the country in three months. More than 70 people were wounded in the explosion that shattered nearby windows and damaged cars in Baghdad’s central Bab al-Muadham area. In apparent retaliation, a mortar shell hit close to Iraq’s main office for Sunni Muslim religious affairs in northeastern Baghdad later Monday, but caused no damage or injuries. Monday’s explosion came at a time of a prolonged political paralysis caused by sectarian tensions.

Pakistan

A drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal areas killed eight suspected militants early Monday, Pakistani officials said, as the U.S. pushes ahead with the controversial drone program despite Pakistani demands to stop. The strike was the seventh in less than two weeks and highlights the importance that Washington places on the drone program as a way to combat al-Qaida and Taliban fighters who use Pakistan as a base for attacks against American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. The attack followed closely on the heels of another drone strike Sunday that killed 10 suspected militants.

Yemen

Yemeni military officials say 21 al-Qaeda militants have been killed in a southern province where the Islamists took advantage of the country’s political turmoil last year to seize entire cities. The military has not yet fully reclaimed the city of Jaar in its offensive. The U.S. Embassy in Yemen says Washington is providing another $6.5 million in aid to the impoverished Arab country, bringing the total of U.S. humanitarian assistance to Yemen to $80 million this year.

Wildfires

A record wildfire raged on in southwestern New Mexico on Sunday, belching out a wall of smoke as it devoured thousands of acres and advanced across the rugged wilderness. Authorities cautioned children, adults with heart disease and other sensitive groups to stay indoors and avoid the smoke. The blaze — the biggest in the state’s history — has scorched an area more than one and a half times bigger than Chicago. The more than 1,200 firefighters who are battling the nation’s largest wildfire in rugged mountains and canyons of southwestern New Mexico were racing over the weekend to build lines to corral the massive Whitewater-Baldy blaze before more threatening winds and dry conditions developed. The fire had charred more than 380 square miles of the Gila National Forest by Saturday morning, and is only 17% contained as of Monday morning. Fire managers expected it to start backing down the mountains east of the community of Glenwood. While there was no immediate threat, residents there have been immersed in a thick haze of smoke for days.

To land managers and scientists, the record-setting New Mexico blaze represents a true test of decades of work aimed at returning fire to its natural role on the landscape — a test that comes as many Western states grapple with overgrown forests, worsening drought and a growing prospect for more megafires. Unlike last year’s megafires in New Mexico and Arizona, this blaze is burning in territory that has been frequently blackened under the watchful eye of the Gila’s fire managers. The question that the Whitewater-Baldy fire is expected to answer is whether that strategy will pay off with more natural, less intense fires. So far, the word from the fire lines is that the majority of the 241,000-acre blaze has burned with low to moderate intensity, not the kind of near-nuclear strength that was exhibited last year with the Las Conchas blaze in northern New Mexico. In that case, entire mountainsides were vaporized, leaving nothing behind but the white ashy skeletons of what used to be trees.

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