Signs of the Times (1/10/14)

Israel Goes Molech

Israel will pay for abortions for women aged 20 to 33 regardless of circumstance starting next year, health officials said Monday, adding that they hope to make eligibility for state funding universal in the future. Until now, subsidized abortions for women of all ages were available in medical emergencies or in case of rape and sexual abuse. Women under the age of 20 or over 40 were also eligible for abortion funding even when the reason was personal. Israel currently has 41 “termination committees” by which the state approves abortions. Talk about death panels! Israelis abort about 20,000 babies a year illegally, without the approval of the committees. That’s about half of all Israeli abortions, according to AmericanVision.org.

  • This has become modern Israel’s method of passing their children through the fire of Molech. (Leviticus 18:21, Ezekiel 16:21) which will increasingly curse this secularized nation

Signatures Delay Controversial Calif. Transgender Law

Thousands of signatures to repeal California’s “transgender bathroom” law will be counted after state and county officials tried to refuse them. The law, which was set to go into effect January 1, has now been put on hold on account of the signatures. A California judge has finalized an order that requires California Secretary of State Debra Bowen to accept thousands of signatures supporting an effort to repeal the state’s transgender bathroom law. This referendum placed on hold AB 1266, the California law allowing “self-identified transgender” students to choose which sex-segregated activities and facilities (e.g., locker rooms, bathrooms) they will use. If enough signatures are verified, the referendum would go before voters in November.

Most Christians Not Sharing the Gospel

A new survey suggests that Christians are not sharing their faith despite many feeling the responsibility to do so. In a survey of over 1,000 Canadian Protestants, 43% claimed they felt a “personal responsibility to share my religious beliefs about Jesus Christ with non-Christians.” However, 78% had not “shared with someone how to become a Christian” in the past six months. The survey was conducted by Nashville-based LifeWay Research. Other statistics emerging from the data proved similarly discouraging. Although 58% of those asked reported that they felt comfortable sharing their faith, 59% had also not invited anyone to church for at least six months. Twenty-one per cent said they had invited one person to church in that time, while only 10 per cent said they had invited three or more people. The researchers did find that mature Christians are more likely to evangelize than those who are new to the faith.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vows to Fight ObamaCare Employer Mandate

The head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce vowed Wednesday to fight Obamacare’s so-called employer mandate and other “onerous” provisions in the year ahead, even as the pro-business group acknowledged the bill as a whole cannot be repealed in the current climate. Though the law’s requirement on mid-sized and large businesses to provide health coverage to workers was delayed by a year, Donohue said the Chamber still plans to lobby against that mandate in 2014. “In 2014, we will work to repeal onerous health care taxes; repeal, delay, or change the employer mandate; and give companies and their employees more flexibility in the choice of health insurance plans,” Donohue said. Donohue said the health insurance cancellations that “swamped” the individual market last year are expected to hit the small business market even harder this year. And many firms are not hiring and are cutting workers’ hours because of the law’s mandates.

War on Poverty 50 Years Old, Victory Nowhere in Sight

Five decades after the so-called ‘War on Poverty’ was initiated, the war is far from won. Back in 1964, 36 million Americans lived in poverty; today it’s close to 47 million. Of course, the U.S. population has grown dramatically over the last 50 years, and the percentage of Americans in poverty has declined in that time span, from 19 percent to 15 percent. Still, that’s higher than at any point in the first decade of this millennium, when George W. Bush was president, and far from the record low of 11.1 percent achieved under President Nixon in 1973. What’s more, the percentage of children living in poverty is essentially unchanged since 1964. In 1964, only 11 percent of Americans families with children were headed by a single parent. By 2012, that figure had risen to 35 percent: more than a third of all American households. By some estimates, Uncle Sam has spent $15 trillion on anti-poverty programs over the last five decades.

  • More evidence that the federal government is inept in implementing and managing major programs. The only thing really accomplished by the $15 trillion is huge growth in the size and scope of the government itself which voraciously finds many ways to feed itself off we taxpayers.

Obama Designates Five “Promise Zones”

President Obama designated troubled neighborhoods in five cities and areas as “Promise Zones,” eligible for tax breaks and other forms of assistance designed to create jobs and improve education, housing, and public safety. The first five Promise Zones will be located in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Under the proposed Promise Zones, the federal government plans to partner with local governments and business to provide tax incentives and grants to help combat poverty. The project is part of Obama’s effort to address income inequality. In his State of the Union address a year ago, Obama said his administration plans to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet.

  • The federal government has proven over and over again that they cannot successfully follow through on such promises. Detroit received the most federal intervention in recent years and is now worse than before.

Colorado River Drought Forces A Painful Reckoning For States

The Colorado River and its numerous man-made reservoirs from the Rockies to southern Arizona are being sapped by 14 years of drought nearly unrivaled in 1,250 years. The once broad and blue river has in many places dwindled to a murky brown trickle. Reservoirs have shrunk to less than half their capacities. Seeking to stretch their allotments of the river, regional water agencies are recycling sewage effluent, offering rebates to tear up grass lawns and subsidizing less thirsty appliances from dishwashers to shower heads. But many experts believe the current drought is only the harbinger of a new, drier era in which the Colorado’s flow will be substantially and permanently diminished. Faced with the shortage, federal authorities this year will for the first time decrease the amount of water that flows into Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, from Lake Powell 180 miles upstream. That will reduce even more the level of Lake Mead, a crucial source of water for cities from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and for millions of acres of farmland.

Young Veterans Most Vulnerable for Suicide

Whatever torment has driven U.S. troops to commit suicide in historically high numbers is following them as they leave the service, according to new data released by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Young veterans just out of the service and receiving health care from the government committed suicide at nearly three times the rate of active-duty troops in recent years. VA officials say the data show that severe personal issues driving self-destructive tendencies for those in uniform follow them when they leave the military. The Army has struggled with suicide among active-duty troops more than other service branches during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the risk persists after soldiers return to civilian life.

Just 1 in 4 Young Teens Meet Federal Fitness Guidelines

Young teens aren’t exactly embracing the government’s Let’s Move mantra, the latest fitness data suggest. Only 1 in 4 U.S. kids aged 12 to 15 meet the recommendations — an hour or more of moderate to vigorous activity every day. Obese kids were less active than normal-weight girls and boys. “It’s definitely very concerning to see that our kids are engaging in such a limited amount of physical activity each day when we are still battling” an obesity epidemic, said Dr. Stephen Pont, an Austin, Texas, pediatrician and chairman of  the American Academy of Pediatrics’ section on obesity. Data suggest obesity may have decreased slightly among some kids but the overall obesity rate for children aged 2 to 19 remains around 17 percent, or about 12.5 million obese kids.

Is Chase/JP Morgan Too Big to Jail?

Five years after the financial crisis, the debate over whether some of the biggest banks in America are “too big to jail” is causing tensions among prosecutors and regulators. As federal prosecutors in Manhattan finalized their investigation of JPMorgan Chase & Co. for failing to blow the whistle on Ponzi-schemer Bernard Madoff, the question arose: What happens if federal prosecutors file criminal charges against the bank? Prosecutors fear that if the bank is found guilty, regulators from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency will move to pull the bank’s license, leading to the destruction of the nation’s largest bank and potentially the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs. OCC officials said they could not provide assurance to the prosecutors that they wouldn’t move against the bank. Meanwhile, the bank has agreed to pay $20 billion to settle cases filed by the government, an amount that doesn’t seem to have strained it much at all.

Economic News

Job growth slumped sharply in December, falling far short of expectations. The economy added only 74,000 jobs in December, according to the Department of Labor. This was the weakest month for job growth since January 2011 and came as a huge surprise to economists, who were expecting an addition of 193,000 jobs. For all of 2013, the economy added 2.2 million jobs — on par with 2012’s gains.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% in December, but the drop came mainly from workers leaving the labor force. Only 62.8% of the adult population is participating in the labor market — meaning they either have a job or are looking for one. That matches the lowest level since 1978.

Election-year legislation to revive expired federal unemployment benefits unexpectedly cleared an early hurdle on Tuesday, offering a hint of bipartisan compromise in Congress and a glimmer of hope to the long-term unemployed and their families, but a further strain on federal debt loads.

Federal Reserve officials want to move forward “cautiously” with their plan to reduce their stimulus program at their last meeting in December, according to minutes released Wednesday. Encouraged by a pickup in hiring since the Fed launched the bond-buying program in September 2012, officials said were ready to start slowing the stimulus program. In the meantime, the Fed is still keeping its key short-term interest rate near zero for an extended period of time — a tool that it hopes will keep rates on mortgages and other loans cheap for borrowers.

Persecution Watch

Four of seven children who were forcibly removed from their home in Texas have now been returned to their parents after the Christian couple spent two months battling the government in court over their right to homeschool. Trevor and Christina Tutt of Dallas have several years of experience helping at-risk children through both CPS foster care and the ministry Safe Families. In addition to five biological children (three of whom are now grown and living outside their home), the Tutts have three adopted children and are in the process of adopting another child. However, in September, a local police officer contacted CPS officials after finding that a child temporarily in the Tutts’ care—a four-year-old with autism—had wandered a short distance away from their home. Even though Mr. Tutt was nearby, searching for the child, the police officer’s report led to a CPS investigation. A CPS caseworker investigated the Tutt family’s home and concluded by saying, “There is no problem here.” However, the caseworker also remarked, “Nobody in their right mind would want to stay home all day with so many children!” and ordered Mrs. Tutt to enroll in parenting classes and take a psychological examination. Despite the fact that Mrs. Tutt showed CPS workers numerous parenting class certificates and paperwork certifying her mental health, a local judge ordered the Tutts’ seven children to be removed from the home. In November, armed constables seized the children and kept them under government custody for nearly two months.

  • Homeschooling is under attack largely because it is Christian-driven and removes children from the secular indoctrination centers our public schools have become.

For the 12th consecutive year the hermit communist country of North Korea remains the world’s most restrictive nation in which to practice Christianity, according to the Open Doors 2014 World Watch List (WWL). However, a major trend which the WWL tracked in 2013 was a marked increase in persecution for Christian communities in states that are commonly regarded as “failed.” A failed country is defined “as a weak state where social and political structures have collapsed to the point where government has little or no control.” The top 10 countries where Christians faced the most pressure and violence in the 2013 reporting period of the 2014 WWL are: North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran and Yemen. For the complete list, go to www.worldwatchlist.us. Overwhelmingly, the main engine driving persecution of Christians in 36 of the top 50 countries is Islamic extremism.

Al-Qaeda Gaining in Strength

The death of leader Osama bin Laden did not end the spread of al-Qaeda, say analysts. It may have even helped it. The chaos of the Arab Spring revolutions, al-Qaeda’s shift to a more bottom-up structure and a pullback of U.S. influence in the Middle East are behind the spread of America’s No. 1 enemy in the world, say several analysts. The latest and most stark example came this week in Iraq, where al-Qaeda militants seized control of government buildings and districts of Fallujah and Ramadi, cities that were liberated from jihadist control by American troops during the Iraq War.

The Saudis fear the rise of Al Qaeda’s affiliates in Syria, and they have not forgotten what happened when Saudi militants who had fought in Afghanistan returned home to wage a domestic insurgency a decade ago. They officially prohibit their citizens from going to Syria for jihad, but the ban is not enforced; at least a thousand have gone, according to Interior Ministry officials, including some from prominent families. But the Saudis are also bent on ousting Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, and his patron, Iran, which they see as a mortal enemy. Their only real means of fighting them is through military and financial support to the Syrian rebels. And the most effective of those rebels are Islamists whose creed — rooted in the puritanical strain of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia — is often scarcely separable from Al Qaeda’s.

Middle East

Mortars fired by terrorists operating in the Gaza Strip landed in Israel Thursday, prompting IDF return fire which destroyed the cell. Although the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad group claimed responsibility for the attack, Israel re-iterated that it holds the Islamist terror militia Hamas, which rules the Strip, ultimately responsible for all fire directed at Israel. However, some analysts openly questioned the ability of Hamas to prevent such attacks, given a recent string of setbacks which have severely eroded its capabilities. The biggest setback of all comes from the fact that the Moslem Brotherhood, of which Hamas is the Palestinian franchise, has lost power and been outlawed in neighboring Egypt.

Israel

Israel on Friday announced plans to build 1,400 new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territory the Palestinians claim for their future state. Israel’s housing ministry said 800 new houses will be built in the West Bank and 600 in east Jerusalem. The announcement is likely to anger Palestinians and could put the U.S.-led peace efforts in peril. While Israel is not obligated to halt construction under the peace talks, Secretary of State John Kerry has urged restraint and said the building raises questions about Israel’s commitment to peace.

Wednesday afternoon saw a protest outside the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem, with at least 8,000 African migrants demonstrating against the government’s policy of enforcing laws concerning illegal immigration. Holding up signs proclaiming their demands for political asylum and other rights and privileges the government has denied they are entitled to, the protesters garnered mixed reactions from lawmakers. “I call on the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Interior and the Defense Minister to take advantage of the gathering in the Rose Garden in Jerusalem, as well as any gathering, to put them [the migrants] all on buses and send them to the detention facilities,” MK Eli Yishai (Shas) posted on his Facebook page.

  • The U.S. is not the only nation with immigration issues

Iran

ranian oil exports hit a high in December, just one month after Western nations inked a nuclear pact with Iran that guaranteed up to $7 billion in economic sanctions relief. Exports of Iranian crude oil rose from 789,292 barrels per day in November to 1,059,605 per day in December, according to new shipping data provided to the Washington Free Beacon by the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI). This is among the highest number of oil exports Iran reached in all of 2013. Iran hit its peak oil sales in April of that year, when it was exporting some 1.39 million barrels per day… China, India, South Korea, Turkey, and Syria are currently the top five importers of Iranian oil, according to UANI’s shipping data. Taiwan also resumed its oil purchases from Iran in December after halting them completely during the previous months.

  • Iran got just what it wanted from negotiations – oil money and more time to push ahead with its nuclear weapon plans.

Iraq

A suicide bomber blew himself up at a military recruiting center in Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 12 people — an attack that was likely retaliation for the Iraqi government’s campaign to retake two cities overrun by al-Qaeda militants. The attacker detonated his explosives outside the recruiting center in the city’s central Allawi neighborhood as volunteers were waiting to register inside. Such suicide attacks are the hallmark of al-Qaeda’s Iraq branch, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Afghanistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the country is going to release all but 16 of 88 prisoners considered a security threat by the United States. Karzai says that a review of the prisoners’ cases by Afghan intelligence and judicial officials turned up no evidence of wrongdoing for 45 of the detainees. Karzai says there was insufficient evidence on another 27 and that they must be released. The U.S. is strongly opposed to their release because it says the prisoners have been involved in the wounding or killing of U.S. and coalition troops.

Central African Republic

A top regional official has announced that the president and prime minister of Central African Republic are stepping down from power. Rebel leader Michel Djotodia seized power in a March 2013 coup when thousands of his fighters stormed the capital. He was later installed as president while longtime opposition leader Nicolas Tiangaye became prime minister. However, the country has tilted toward anarchy in the months that have followed and the violence has turned Muslim and Christian communities against each other. A Christian militia attempted a coup in early December, unleashing days of bloodshed on the streets of the capital that left more than 1,000 people dead. The United Nations’ refugee agency resumed aid deliveries to an estimated 100,000 people in the Central African Republic who’ve sought refuge at the capital’s international airport from the violence ravaging the country. Security concerns had temporarily halted relief efforts.

Environment

Schools and restaurants closed, grocery stores sold out of bottled water, and state legislators who had just started their session canceled the day’s business after a chemical spill in the Elk River in Charleston shut down much of the city and surrounding counties even as the cause and extent of the incident remained unclear. The chemical, a foaming agent used in the coal preparation process, leaked from a tank at Freedom Industries and overran a containment area. Virginia American Water: Do not drink, bathe, cook or wash clothes with tap water. The federal government joined the state early Friday in declaring a disaster, and the West Virginia National Guard planned to distribute bottled drinking water to emergency services agencies in the nine affected counties. Shortly after the Thursday night spill from a Freedom Industries hit the river, a licorice-like smell enveloped parts of the city, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin issued an order to customer of West.

Weather

Dangerous polar temperatures finally eased up Wednesday, after days of record-breaking cold across the eastern half of the United States. At least 21 deaths are blamed on the frigid temperatures and winter weather since Sunday. More than 11,000 flights were canceled between Saturday and Tuesday. Most schools in the Deep South are back in session today, after being closed because of the dangerous temperatures earlier this week. As people struggled to stay warm in their homes, natural gas demand set a U.S. record Tuesday. Even cities that are used to dealing with frigid temperatures were brought to a standstill by this week’s cold spell. With the thawing out, pipes that froze and cracked are unfreezing, and plumbers and fire crews are rushing to stop the gushing water leaks that have caused some serious damage to homes and businesses and flooded streets.

At least 50 major cities broke record lows Tuesday morning from the Midwest to the East and Deep South. Both Atlanta and Washington, D.C., dropped to 6 degrees, the lowest since 1996. Minneapolis-St. Paul spent 62 consecutive hours below zero before climbing into positive territory Tuesday afternoon. Chicago spent 37 straight hours below zero – including 29 consecutive hours in the double digits below zero – before climbing to zero at 1 pm. Tuesday. Detroit was not so fortunate, as Tuesday’s high of 1 below zero was only the sixth subzero high temperature suffered in 140 years of records in the Motor City.

Portions of Palm Beach County in Florida were soaked by 12 to 18 inches of rain late Thursday into early Friday, resulting in significant flash flooding. Many roads were closed and water entered homes and businesses. The flooding forced the closure of Palm Beach County schools Friday. A section of I-95 in Palm Beach County was also closed Friday morning due to the flooding.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: