Signs of the Times (12/3/12)

Lawsuit Fails to Overturn Nevada Marriage Law

Nevada is willing to gamble on a lot of things, but marriage isn’t one of them. In federal court yesterday, Judge Robert Jones dealt a big setback to state activists hoping to redefine marriage. His opinion, which he issued just days after oral arguments, may be one of the most compelling yet on the question of “equality” for homosexual couples. The lead plaintiffs in the case are two lesbians, both grandmothers, who argued that Nevada’s 10-year-old marriage amendment is discriminatory. Judge Jones emphatically disagreed in a 41-page masterpiece that thoroughly dismantled the Left’s legal logic. “Homosexuals have not historically been denied the right to vote, the right to serve on juries, or the right to own property,” he pointed out. “The protection of the traditional institution of marriage, which is a conceivable basis for the distinction in this case, is a legitimate state interest,” he said, adding that if the state recognized same-sex couples’ marriages, heterosexuals might “cease to value the civil institution as highly as they previously had and hence enter into it less frequently… because they no longer wish to be associated with the civil institution as redefined.”

West Point to Host First Same-Sex Marriage

The first same-sex marriage at the U.S. Military Academy’s Cadet Chapel at West Point will be celebrated Saturday as Brenda Sue Fulton and Penelope Dara Gnesin exchange vows. The ceremony comes a little more than a year after President Obama ended the military policy banning openly gay people from serving. n September 2011, the Pentagon issued guidance stating that “determinations regarding the use of DOD real property and facilities for private functions, including religious and other ceremonies, should be made on a sexual-orientation neutral basis, provided such use is not prohibited by applicable state and local laws.” The policy change came with the caveat that the use of a military facility does not constitute an endorsement of gay marriage by the Defense Department.

  • Caveat or not, it’s another step down the prophesied immoral path of lawlessness indicative of the end-times

Plan X: The Pentagon’s Roadmap for Cyberwarfare

The Pentagon plans to bring warfare into the 22nd century, creating a new system to “map” the digital battlefield of cyberspace, defining a playbook for deploying cyberweapons and designating a management facility in Arlington, Va. to bring it all together. It’s called Plan X, and it makes one thing very clear: Cyberwar is the future. On Nov. 20, Pentagon research arm DARPA — short for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — released a document called “Foundational Cyberwarfare (Plan X),” a 52-page outline of how to fight a cyberwar. Its heart is a new map of cyberspace, a real-time rendering of the world of computers and how they connect — switches, bridges, nodes and so on. It then seeks “support platforms” that can deploy cyberweapons, measure damage, strengthen defenses and communicate.

Drones Change ‘Top Gun’ Culture of Air Force

The rise of drone warfare has meant a dramatic cultural shift for the Air Force, whose leadership has for decades been dominated by officers who made their mark flying combat aircraft. Drones were initially dismissed by many pilots as nothing more than video games, and it took prodding from the Pentagon before the Air Force embraced the aircraft. Today, the Air Force pins more wings on new drone pilots than fighter and bomber pilots. The smallish aircraft, fitted with powerful cameras for surveillance and sometimes missiles for airstrikes, play a critical role in Afghanistan. They provide 24/7 surveillance of the battlefield and have the ability to hit precise targets. The Air Force has now embraced drone pilots without reservations. Air Force officers blanch at using the word drone, which they say suggests it is a dumb aircraft that flies itself. The accepted term is remotely piloted aircraft, or RPA. The message is that pilots control the aircraft, even if from a remote location. Some pilots say the Air Force embraces the drones at the expense of manned aircraft. n the view of many aces, “just the very idea of a pilotless aircraft is dishonorable.”

  • It’s evolving high-tech that explains the formerly indecipherable images of Revelation’s end-time symbolism

Obamacare to Cause Massive Hospital Layoffs

Hospitals are expected to cut some 93,000 jobs in 2013 in anticipation of ObamaCare. Louisiana State University announced in October it would cut 1,495 positions and various programs across its seven hospitals to trim more than $150 million from its budget. Officials with the Central Florida-based Orlando Health announced on Monday that the largest staff reduction in its nearly 100-year history will result in cutting up to 400 jobs, starting immediately. Gary Bauer, president of Washington DC-based American Values, warns that this is only the beginning of an economic catastrophe that will impact America for years. “What the public still doesn’t realize is that all the savings the president projected are literally savings that come from not paying hospitals, doctors and other care centers for services,” he told OneNewsNow.

Obama to Punish States That Don’t Comply With Obamacare

Residents of states that refuse to set up health insurance exchanges under Obamacare are set to be hit with higher premiums under new rules announced by the Health and Human Services Department. Insurance companies will be charged 3.5 percent of any premiums they sell through the federal exchanges, the department announced Friday. And insurers are likely to pass that surcharge on to clients, leading to higher premiums. The only states to be affected are those that refuse to set up their own exchanges because of opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. They are almost certain to be those under Republican control. In those states, HHS will set up the exchanges. GOP governors are taking a hard line against implementing any part of the healthcare law. So far, 17 states have refused to set up their own insurance exchanges.

School Removes God From First-Grader’s Poem

A first-grade girl in West Marion, North Carolina, had the word “God” stripped from a poem she wrote and was going to read at her school’s Veterans Day assembly earlier this month. The poem honored her two grandfathers who served during the Vietnam War. “He prayed to God for peace,” she wrote of one of them. “He prayed to God for strength.” Unfortunately, a parent found out about this, and complained to the school district. When the demand from this person was heard, the rights of another stopped. It did so by hushing the voice of a six-year-old girl. School Board member Lynn Greene told McDowell News, “My understanding on the law is a teacher cannot promote any certain religion, but when it comes to students voicing their opinion or expressing themselves in a poem we pretty much have to give some leeway. To me this whole thing is a violation of that child’s rights.”

  • Another ridiculous example of how the end-time anti-Christ spirit is growing in influence (1John 2:18)

12,000 Still Without Power after Sandy

At least 12,000 New Yorkers are trying to survive in unheated, flood-damaged homes, despite warnings that dropping temperatures could pose a health risk. The chill is only one of the potential environmental hazards that experts say might endanger people trying to resume their lives in the vast New York and New Jersey disaster zone. Uncounted numbers of families have returned to coastal homes that are contaminated with mold, which can aggravate allergies and leave people perpetually wheezing. But it is the approaching winter that has some public health officials worried most. Nighttime temperatures have been around freezing and stand to drop in the coming weeks.

Homeless at Risk of Cold Too

A report by the National Alliance to End Homelessness found that the nation’s homeless population decreased from 643,067 in 2009 to 636,017 in 2011. The only increase was among those not living in shelters: Almost 4 in 10, or 243,701, were living on the streets, in cars or abandoned buildings. That’s a 2% increase from 2009. As winter approaches, those people are at risk in many parts of the country.

Economic News

Just four years after the worst shock to the economy since the Great Depression, U.S. corporate profits are stronger than ever. In the third quarter, corporate earnings were $1.75 trillion, up 18.6% from a year ago. That took after-tax profits to their greatest percentage of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product in history. But the record profits come at the same time that workers’ wages have fallen to their lowest-ever share of GDP. Profits accounted for 11.1% of the U.S. economy last quarter, compared with an average of 8% during the previous economic expansion. They fell as low as 4.6% of GDP during the recession. A separate government reading shows that total wages have now fallen to a record low of 43.5% of GDP. Until 1975, wages almost always accounted for at least half of GDP, and had been as high as 49% as recently as early 2001.

  • Greed and power almost always win – until Jesus returns

About 2 million jobless Americans fear they’ll lose their extended unemployment benefits, which are slated to end next month unless Congress votes to renew them. Their concerns make a new finding all the more puzzling: Many people eligible for unemployment don’t even bother to collect it. In the depths of the recession in 2008 and 2009, only half of those who qualified for benefits applied, a study by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank shows. Many unemployed people aren’t eligible for benefits because they worked part-time or weren’t at their jobs long enough. But of the roughly 11.4 million who were laid off and eligible to collect in 2009, only about 5.7 million filed claims. Those who didn’t saved state and federal governments $108 billion — nearly as much as the $121 billion in benefits paid.

Hundreds of holiday jobs are there for the taking around here — and employers are having trouble finding people to fill them. Major distribution companies like Amazon and UPS are struggling to fill jobs to ship holiday orders. UPS still had 200 openings paying $8.50 per hour on four shifts this week, three months after setting out to hire 1,000 temporary workers.

Since passage of the health care overhaul two years ago, 5.8 million Medicare patients have saved $5 billion from prescription drug discounts. The savings are a continuation of the 2010 health care law’s attempt to close the “doughnut hole” — or the prescription drug coverage expenses that kick in once Medicare coverage runs out. In 2012, Medicare coverage ends when total prescription costs top $2,930.

Majority in U.K. Want Return to Christian Roots

A breeding ground of Darwinian evolution and atheism — and more recently, spreading Islamization — England has been recognized as falling away from its Christian heritage for generations. But recent survey results released by Oxford University indicate that a large majority is ready for a return to its Christian roots. A YouGov poll reveals that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the 1,800 participants in the study believe that Christianity should be taught in schools because children need to learn about it in order to understand English history and culture.  slight majority (51 percent) of those polled, believe that Christianity provides a moral compass that helps children decipher right from wrong.

Middle East

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared Sunday in Ramallah: “Now, we have a state.” The Palestinian Communications Ministry will also reportedly petition the International Telecommunication Union and the Universal Postal Union for frequencies and country codes, in a further attempt to capitalize on what the PA views as a de facto recognition of statehood by the international community.

Israel on Sunday roundly rejected the United Nations’ endorsement of an independent state of Palestine, and announced it would withhold more than $100 million owed to the Palestinians in retaliation for their successful statehood bid. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared the statehood campaign, led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, as “a gross violation of the agreements signed with the State of Israel.” The U.N. resolution spelled out the borders of a future Palestine, endorsing the Palestinian position that it comprise the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war,

  • Israel will (rightfully) never agree to splitting Jerusalem

More than 100 anti-Israel demonstrations have been held in the United States following Israel’s military operation in Gaza, with more than one-third on college campuses, the Times of Israel reports. The campus demonstrations have included comparisons of Israelis to Nazis and accusations that the Jewish state is trying to perpetrate “another Holocaust” in Gaza, according to the Anti-Defamation League. During the demonstrations and on social media, some students and professors openly expressed support for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which controls Gaza, and for terrorism targeting Israeli civilians. Many of the protests were organized by Students for Justice in Palestine.

  • Our liberal colleges and universities are growing more anti-Christ and anti-Jehovah (Israel)

The Palestinian U.N. envoy accused Israel on Friday of carrying out “an immediate provocation” following the U.N.’s recognition of the state of Palestine by announcing the expansion of settlements which he denounced as illegal. Israel accused the Palestinians of bypassing direct negotiations by seeking recognition as a state, and less than 24 hours after the vote the government approved the construction of 3,000 homes in Jewish settlements on Israeli-occupied lands. The Palestinians have insisted that settlement building stop before negotiations resume. Sitting behind a nameplate saying “State of Palestine” for the first time, Mansour called Thursday’s overwhelming vote in the assembly to raise the Palestinians’ status to a nonmember observer state “historic” for his people and the United Nations.

  • It’s also historic in its continuing isolation of Israel which will eventually result in a major conflagration that will trigger the Tribulation

Syria

The American effort to stem the flow of Iranian arms to Syria has faltered because of Iraq’s reluctance to inspect aircraft carrying the weapons through its airspace, American officials say. The shipments have persisted at a critical time for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, who has come under increasing military pressure from rebel fighters. The air corridor over Iraq has emerged as a main supply route for weapons, including rockets, antitank missiles, rocket-propelled grenade and mortars. Iran has an enormous stake in Syria, which is its staunchest Arab ally and has also provided a channel for Iran’s support to the Lebanese Islamist movement Hezbollah.

Egypt

Egypt’s top court says it has suspended its work indefinitely to protest “psychological pressures.” The Supreme Constitutional Court’s announcement Sunday comes hours after it postponed a ruling on the legitimacy of an Islamist-dominated panel that drafted a disputed new constitution for the country. The judges also were expected to rule to on the legitimacy of another Islamist-dominated upper house of parliament, or the Shura Council. Several thousand supporters of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi have gathered outside the Nile-side courthouse in Cairo to prevent the judges from entering.

Tens of thousands of people waving Egyptian flags and hoisting large pictures of the president are demonstrating across Egypt Saturday in support of him and Islamic law. The rally, organized by the Muslim Brotherhood, is seen as a test of strength for Islamists seeking to counteract large opposition protests held this past week. The Islamists argue that the liberals, who are still laboring to create a cohesive opposition nearly two years after the uprising that ousted longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, do not represent the vast majority of Egyptians. The Brotherhood and harder-line Islamists won nearly 75% of the seats in last winter’s parliamentary election.

Kuwait

Voting is under way in Kuwait to pick a new parliament that’s certain to side with the ruling establishment after a widespread election boycott by opposition groups. The voting Saturday displays deep divisions in the strategic Gulf nation, a major oil producer and hub for U.S. ground forces in the Gulf. Opposition groups — ranging from hardline Islamists to Western-leaning liberals — have bitterly denounced a decree in October by Kuwait’s emir to change the balloting system. They claim it will make it easier for officials to influence the outcome. The opposition groups now may increasingly turn to street protests after staying on the sidelines in the election.

Tunisia

The army moved into a southwestern Tunisian town, an official and witnesses said Friday, the fourth day of protests that have injured more than 300 people. President Moncef Marzouki said on television that the North African country’s government has not “met the expectations of the people” and asked that a new one, smaller and specialized to deal with the unrest, be formed. The current government has about 80 members. Up to 10,000 people marched Friday to demand more jobs, government investment and the resignation of the local governor, but the peaceful protest degenerated into clashes with police. Still, the confrontation was far less serious than a day earlier, when the army was brought in briefly to quell protests.

Afghanistan

Taliban suicide bombers attacked a joint U.S.-Afghan air base in eastern Afghanistan early Sunday, detonating explosives at the gate and sparking a gunbattle that lasted at least two hours with American helicopters firing down at militants before the attackers were defeated. The attackers and at least five Afghans were killed. It was the largest clash at the Jalalabad air base since February, when a suicide car bombing at the gate triggered an explosion that killed nine Afghans, six of them civilians.

China

With a long red AIDS ribbon pinned to his chest, Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang warned of the grave situation of HIV/AIDS in China, calling it “not only a medical issue but also a social challenge.” The disease shows no sign of abating in the world’s most populous country. AIDS related-deaths have increased by 8.6 percent to 17,740 deaths, compared with the previous year. And 68,802 new HIV/AIDS cases were reported this year up to October. China has grappled with a checkered HIV history that includes a contaminated blood scandal in a central province and, in years past, denying that AIDS was a problem in the country.

Weather

The last in a series of punishing storms swept through Northern California on Sunday, leaving downed power lines, cracked tree limbs and buckets of rain — but not, it appeared, the disastrous flooding that authorities had feared. The rains totaled nine inches east of Sacramento; a foot in Paradise, near Chico. Some rivers, such as the Napa, began topping their banks. Roughly 100,000 homes and businesses lost power, powerful winds knocked over a truck on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and Bay Area Rapid Transit train service was disrupted briefly after a power outage. And the threat was not over; the Russian River in Sonoma County could overflow its banks Monday. But in several communities, calamity was narrowly avoided.

Since we’re now in December, one would think that snowflakes and frozen conditions would be in the forecast for the majority of the country. Right? Wrong. With the jet stream riding to the north and southerly winds at the surface, warmer-than-average air engulfed a large portion of the country through Monday. Daily record highs will be threatened in numerous cities through Tuesday. Many cities in the Rockies, Midwest, and South are experiencing temperatures that are 10 to 30 degrees above average for early December. Highs in the 50s and 60s will stretch from Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, Pa. to Chicago, Ill. and Rapid City, S.D. Rockford, Ill. has a chance to see its first 70-degree December day on record Monday.

The amount of heat-trapping pollution the world spewed rose again last year by 3 percent. So scientists say it’s now unlikely that global warming can be limited to a couple of degrees, which is an international goal. The overwhelming majority of the increase was from China, the world’s biggest carbon dioxide polluter. Of the planet’s top 10 polluters, the United States and Germany were the only countries that reduced their carbon dioxide emissions. Last year, all the world’s nations combined pumped nearly 38.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, according to new international calculations on global emissions. That’s about a billion tons more than the previous year. Emissions of the key greenhouse gas have been rising steadily and most carbon stays in the air for a century. Worldwide carbon dioxide levels are 54 percent higher than the 1990 baseline.

  • End-time weather will continue to grow more extreme no matter what we do (Ezek. 13:11-13, 38:22, Rev. 8:7, 11:19. 16:21)

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