If you have only been born once you will die twice, but if you are born twice you will only die once. —Steven Lawson
Dec. 3, 2014
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is headed to Canada on a trade mission to discuss energy, an issue central to the 2016 Republican presidential nomination contest.
U.S. lawmakers, about to pass a short-term deal to extend dozens of targeted tax breaks, know what they’re doing is bad policy. And they’re doing it anyway. Dozens of tax breaks expired on Dec. 31, 2013, and Congress spent the year fighting over them. Now, with just four weeks left in the year, the House of Representatives plans today to punt the whole debate and slap on a new expiration date: Dec. 31, 2014.
Legislation introduced in New Jersey to rescue Atlantic City from fiscal distress would channel taxes on gambling revenue to pay municipal debt and give the state more say in the public-school system.
The European Central Bank’s purchases of asset-backed securities is boosting confidence in a revival of the market seven years after it was shuttered by the financial crisis. Sales of the debt will jump next year by the most since 2007, increasing about 50 percent to $143 billion.
The slide in oil prices to five-year lows offers China a double benefit as its leadership confronts the weakest expansion in a generation.
West Texas Intermediate and Brent oils rose after an industry report showed that U.S. crude inventories declined last week.
AP Top Stories
The American mother of a 14-year-old boy killed by an online gaming partner in Britain said she did everything she could to protect her son: She limited his access to electronics, installed parental controls and forbade him from using the same server as a boy she had grown suspicious of. She warned both British police and her son, the boy, was murdered by someone he met online on Feb 17. The teenagers had been playing games online for several months, despite efforts to put an end to their relationship.
In what seems contrary to mainstream dietary advice, a small new study shows that doubling the saturated fat in a person’s diet does not drive up the levels of saturated fat in the blood. Rather, the study found that it was the carbohydrates in people’s diets that were linked with increased levels of a type of fatty acid linked to heart disease and type-2 diabetes.
US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Wednesday it will take years for a US-led coalition to defeat the Islamic State group, as Washington said arch-foe Iran had launched its first air strikes against the jihadists.
A judge is expected to set a trial date for a white Chicago police officer who shot and killed a young black woman in 2012, in a case that has gained notoriety in the national uproar in recent months over policing and race.
Somalia’s al Shabaab Islamist group said it was responsible for an attack on a northeastern Kenyan quarry where it said it had executed dozens of “Kenyan crusaders.” The group said its mujahideen fighters had killed 40 people, although the government and other Kenyan officials put the death toll at 36.
A Las Vegas man who won $14.3 million playing the Megabucks slot machine at Rampart Casino plans to donate a large portion of the winnings to charity and to his church.
A Maine court has awarded the family of a transgender girl $75,000 in a settlement of her discrimination lawsuit against a school district where administrators made her use a staff, not student, bathroom.
India is speeding up a navy modernization program and leaning on its neighbors to curb Chinese submarine activity in the Indian Ocean, as nations in the region become increasingly jittery over Beijing’s growing undersea prowess.
Massachusetts General Hospital admitted a patient possibly exposed to the Ebola virus on Tuesday, the hospital said in a statement.
Sweden’s left-of-center government is facing defeat in a budget vote that could prompt snap elections less than three months after it came to power.
A man was jailed for posting revenge porn to Facebook, making him the first person to be imprisoned under a new Californian law.
President Obama renewed calls for Congress to approve $6bn in emergency aid to fight the deadly Ebola outbreak.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said any member of the armed forces found to lack loyalty will be dismissed.
Schools need to rapidly reopen in three Ebola-hit West African states as some five million children are being denied an education, a campaign group said.
More than 180 supporters of the banned Muslim Brotherhood have been sentenced to death over a 2013 attack on a police station near Cairo.
Authorities in India’s Orissa state halt mass sterilisation camps after a doctor was found using a bicycle pump to inflate women’s abdomens.
A 10-year-old North Carolina girl is publicly shaming the Disney Channel after the network said her thanking God on its website was tantamount to profanity.
An openly lesbian federal judge whose appointment was opposed by dozens of U.S. senators has ruled against a Christian former Navy chaplain who alleged his superiors engineered his dismissal from the service because he was not “ecumenical.”
State health officials have designated 35 U.S. hospitals as Ebola treatment centers, a move that will at least triple the number of beds available to treat future patients. The hospitals are mostly clustered around five airports: New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, New Jersey’s Newark, Washington’s Dulles, Chicago’s O’Hare and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson.
Daily Digest for Wednesday
December 3, 2014
“How much more do they deserve our reverence and praise, whose lives are devoted to the formation of institutions, which, when they and their children are mingled in the common dust, may continue to cherish the principles and the practice of liberty in perpetual freshness and vigor.” –Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) indicated he would support Republicans’ budget plan to curtail Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration. But this isn’t exactly good news. Republicans plan on funding most of the federal budget through September 2015, while giving the Department of Homeland Security enough dough to keep it running only until March, when the Republican-controlled Congress could better attack Obama’s power grab. Rep. Steve Womack (R-AK) told The Wall Street Journal, “We’ve just been handed an opportunity to demonstrate our capacity to lead and to govern. I don’t think it would be wise on our part … to get locked down in some kind of a confrontation.” While Red State’s Erick Erickson argues the Republican Party is caving to the will of the president, it’s likely Republicans know they can make only limited progress in this lame-duck session. More…
A reporter asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest about Barack Obama’s admission that he changed immigration law when he took executive action. Earnest first said it was just part of Obama’s down-to-earth rhetoric: “I think he was speaking colloquially, that what he has put in place, uh, meaning that obviously, well, no, meaning that it’s the responsibility of the United States Congress to pass laws. And it’s the responsibility of the executive branch to implement and enforce them. So I guess my point is…” The reporter pressed, asking the question again, and Earnest stumbled some more. “Well, I think the impact of the law certainly has been changed in terms of the way it affects millions of people who are in this country,” he continued. “And I think that’s what the president was alluding to.” When challenged about the legality of Obama’s actions, the White House is left stammering into a microphone.
Yesterday, we noted Barack Obama’s difficulties in choosing a new secretary of defense to replace Chuck Hagel. Well, it now seems the likely nominee is former Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. Though Carter is considered to be an aggressive and independent thinker, and he said, “I do not think they are looking for someone more aggressive and independent,” he may have been the last person standing. But he’s a technocrat who The Wall Street Journal speculates won’t “do much more than mind the store while the White House conducts its meandering foreign policy.” As even The Washington Post observes, “Obama has had a difficult relationship with the military and his defense secretaries, who have often questioned his passion and commitment to the military’s mission.” Indeed, Obama’s only mission is knocking the U.S. down a few pegs, in part by stubbornly “ending” the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq without a sound strategic plan. That allowed ISIL to rise flourish, leaving Carter with quite the mess to clean up — if he’s allowed to.
Former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is yet another member of the leftist elite who has supposedly never heard of MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber — one of the architects of the “Affordable” Care Act. However, while she tries to sever the connection Gruber had with ObamaCare, she sure does talk like him, saying Americans are too ignorant to understand the concept of insurance. “A lot of Americans have no idea what insurance is about,” Sebelius told USA Today. “I think the financial literacy of a lot of people, particularly people who did not have insurance coverage or whose employers chose their coverage and kind of present it to them, is very low — and that has been a sort of stunning revelation. It’s not because people hid it from folks. It’s because this is a complicated product.” Insurance? What’s that? Gee, we suppose the government should tell us all what to do because we’re too stupid to protect our own futures. Mark this comment down as a Gruberism. More…
As millions of Americans were racking up credit card debt on Black Friday, the federal government published its own revised debt figures. The balance sheet reveals that the U.S. has officially accrued more than $18 trillion in debt, or 103% of GDP. The feds spent nearly as much money in one day as Americans doled out during the post-Thanksgiving spending spree. Zero Hedge reporter Tyler Durden says, “[D]ebt held by the public rose to $12,922,681,725,432.94, an increase of $32 billion in one day.” Contrast that with a report from Bloomberg showing four-day consumer spending was just over $50 billion. We saw a lot of things Friday, but “black” wasn’t one of them — more like deep red. Barack Obama, who once called George W. Bush’s deficits “unpatriotic,” is making his predecessor’s spending habits look downright thrifty. According to Durden, America’s “debt has increased by 70% under Obama, from $10.625 trillion on January 21, 2009 to $18.005 trillion most recently.” That’s change you can believe in. More…
|No racial profiling here|
On Monday, Barack Obama spoke to a group of the usual suspects about how Ferguson is an example of the many communities across the country where young people of color feel cheated. In a nation governed by the basic principle of equality under the law, Obama complained too many feel they aren’t treated fairly. The president argued that when any part of the American community feels this way, it’s a problem for us all.
Obama said his conversations with young people moved him because they feel no one believes the reality of their miserable lives. Surprisingly, he also spoke fairly about police and the difficulties and dangers of the job: “[I]f they’re in dangerous circumstances, we have to be able to put ourselves in their shoes and recognize that they do have a tough job.”
So he’s got a plan. His first initiative is the creation of the 21st Century Policing Task Force (TCPTF), which will involve local law enforcement, community activists and other “stakeholders” to provide input. The TCPTF will report back to Obama within 90 days with concrete recommendations. Obama guarantees that, unlike most task forces, this one would not be a waste of time.
Next he wants to ensure that “we’re not building a militarized culture inside our local law enforcement.” The heavy hardware Ferguson police used during the rioting did indeed cause concern across the political spectrum. Yet Obama plans no pause or reduction in the program of giving local and state police unnecessary military supplies and hardware. He just wants $75 million to subsidize 50,000 body cameras.
Third, the TCPTF will focus on — wait for it — racial profiling. Obama’s coming executive order will require federal agencies to stop racial profiling. Fortunately, our federal system saves us from his foisting it on the states. Racial profiling can cause problems, but it doesn’t appear that was the case with Officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown.
Noteworthy, of course, is that white cops kill an average of 96 blacks every year — prompting a major White House initiative to address it. Yet blacks killed 6,000 other blacks last year, as well as 409 whites with nary a peep from the president. How’s that for racial profiling?
Meanwhile, Obama thanked his outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder for doing “excellent work” in Ferguson. And Holder kicked off a series of “honest conversations” with a speech at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church — the one pastored by Martin Luther King Jr. Another conversation about race. Whoopee.
Where Obama soft-pedaled, Holder let loose. “What we saw [in Ferguson] was a genuine expression of concern and involvement,” Holder said. “And it is through that level of involvement … and I hope a level of perseverance … that change ultimately will come.” He continued, “[Ferguson] presents this nation with … a unique opportunity, and I think it’s incumbent on all of us to seize this opportunity to deal with issues that for too long have been ignored.”
To that end, Holder will pursue two civil rights investigations, one aimed at Officer Darren Wilson and one at the Ferguson Police Department. So the Left’s racist merry-go-round that began in the 1960s just keeps spinning.
Holder called the protests in Ferguson “a genuine expression of concern and involvement,” meaning it was a righteous display. The rest of America saw a bunch of savages rioting, looting, setting fires and destroying businesses.
Indeed, non-aggrieved people are fed up. In the 1970s movie “Network,” the lead character advised people should yell, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” On talk radio, on the Internet, in the social media, in the supermarket, people are figuratively yelling just that.
And non-minorities aren’t the only ones fed up. Black Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke blasted Holder for his interference in Ferguson. Clarke said he “listened to Eric Holder throw law enforcement officers under the bus for political expediency,” and he compared Al Sharpton and his ilk to “vultures [feeding] on a roadside carcass.”
Granted, Michael Brown didn’t grow up in a good family — he was raised mostly by his grandmother. And it’s terribly sad that every year black babies are born into Brown’s kind of life (if they’re born at all). But the finger of blame rests on the heads of those like Obama, Holder and all the others who continue enflaming race for personal gain. Enough already!
The UK Telegraph describes the result of America’s increased oil production as “one of the most extraordinary turnarounds in modern economic history.” The Washington Post declares its effect on the world to be the “most important economic story of 2014.” And you can see this story played out at the gas pump in your hometown.
Gone are the days when gas was four or five dollars per gallon. According to the American Automobile Association, the average price for a gallon of regular gas on Dec. 2 is $2.76. Here in East Tennessee, the price of gas is expected to drop below $2 a gallon, just like in Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina and Texas.
Thanks to fracking and a boom in the oil production from shale deposits, the price of a barrel of crude oil is $66.88. Increased oil production in the United States hobbles hostile countries abroad while giving the wallets of the middle and lower class a boost. Did we also mention it’s good for education? Educating liberals in the effects of free markets, that is.
For years, America was tied to foreign oil, OPEC controlled the lion’s share of oil, and no matter what the feds tried, none of their schemes could break the dependence of foreign fuels. In 2005, a record 60.3% of the petroleum products consumed in America came from outside the states. The demand for oil — felt by price spikes at the pump — led to new technology for harvesting oil and that led to a boom in American oil extraction.
Today, if Texas were counted as a separate country, it would be the seventh largest oil producer in the world. According to Mark Perry, an economic scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Texas produced 3.17 million barrels of oil per day in July. During the same time, Iran produced 3.23 million barrels — the sixth largest oil producer. But let’s not forget the American contributions of offshore drilling, the Alaskan oil fields and North Dakota.
This was a result of pure American entrepreneurship, the free markets acting on their own. Obama never created an energy policy guiding the energy now pouring out of the shale deposits around the nation. The EPA? It was too busy chasing coal companies and rubbing shoulders with environmentalists that break out in hives when they catch a whiff of industry.
As Perry writes:
“It happened not as a result of government mandates, regulatory pressure or taxpayer subsidies. Rather, it came about primarily due to innovation, entrepreneurial problem-solving and the marketplace, with some early government assistance in developing the technology for fracking and horizontal drilling.
“Lo and behold, the shale revolution is not only driving economic growth and putting millions of Americans to work but also providing elegant and efficient solutions to problems like foreign-oil dependence that policymakers couldn’t solve.”
The result is a price cut that can be felt by anyone with an automobile. Americans can spend more money on clothes and food instead of sinking green into the gas tank. As The Washington Post reports, “Every day, American motorists are saving $630 million on gasoline compared with what they paid at June prices, and they would get a $230 billion windfall if prices were to stay this low for a year.” Obama probably read about this one in the paper. How much did he say ObamaCare was projected to save taxpayers again?
On the world stage, America’s oil production pulls this nation’s economy ahead while stalling countries hostile to America. Last week, OPEC decided it was not going to cut oil production in response to the plummeting cost of a barrel of oil.
That was a mistake, writes the Telegraph: “Opec has misjudged the threat. As late as last year, it was dismissing US shale as a flash in the pan. Abdalla El-Badri, the group’s secretary-general, still insists that half of all US shale output is vulnerable below $85.”
Currently, the world’s oil producers are in a game of chicken with their economies. If the price of oil drops too low, the competing countries will have to stop production because the cost would not be worth it. At the moment, their cost of producing oil is much higher than that of the United States.
The Telegraph again: “The fiscal break-even cost is $161 for Venezuela, $160 for Yemen, $132 for Algeria, $131 for Iran, $126 for Nigeria, and $125 for Bahrain, $111 for Iraq, and $105 for Russia, and even $98 for Saudi Arabia itself, according to Citigroup.”
And how far does the price of oil have to drop before it starts to hurt the U.S. shale fields? $50, according to CNBC.
This sets the U.S. in the strategic position to win in the economic struggle for oil domination against hostile nations. For example, Russia is now facing serious economic challenges, and as a result will possibly slow exploration for oil and gas in its Arctic seas. According to the Brookings Institute, the Great Bear estimated the global price of oil would be at $97 dollars as it set its 2014 budget. Once the price of oil slid below $80, however, it headed for economic trouble because oil accounts for 14.5% of Russia’s GDP. If oil prices remain low, how will Vladimir Putin fund his shadow war in Ukraine?
It’s a story the late economist Milton Freidman would love: A whole industry rises up under a regulation-happy government and sets the stage for economic security here and abroad. Our analysis? Drill, baby, drill.
TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
- Walter E. Williams: Can Racial Discrimination Explain Much?
- Stephen Moore & Kathleen Hartnett-White: EPA’s Goofy Green-Energy Rules
- L. Brent Bozell & Tim Graham: The Hypocrisy Over Presidential Kids
- Michelle Malkin: Nothing on Terry Bean
- Arnold Ahlert: Amnesty Showdown
OPINION IN BRIEF
Senator Daniel Webster (1782-1852): “The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions.”
Columnist Walter E. Williams: “Whether a student is black, white, orange or polka-dot and whether he’s poor or rich, there are some minimum requirements that must be met in order for him to do well in school. Someone must make the student do his homework. Someone must see to it that he gets eight to nine hours of sleep. Someone has to fix him a wholesome breakfast and ensure that he gets to school on time and respects and obeys teachers. Here’s my question: Which one of those basic requirements can be accomplished through a presidential executive order, a congressional mandate or the edict of a mayor, a superintendent of schools or a teacher? If those basic requirements aren’t met, whatever else that is done in the name of education is for naught.”
Columnists Stephen Moore & Kathleen Hartnett-White: “[The EPA’s Clean Power Plan] would expand federal control over electric power on a scale comparable to Obamacare’s transformation of health care but with a disturbing difference. At least Congress passed the Affordable Care Act — albeit without a single Republican vote — to overhaul the nation’s health care system. By contrast, Congress has repeatedly rejected legislation to give the EPA the power to control carbon dioxide. Congress has rejected carbon taxes, the Kyoto Treaty, cap-and-trade schemes, and other regulatory measures that would harm jobs and the economy. Regardless of how one feels about global warming, this is hardly the way the Constitution intended for the really big decisions affecting our economy and livelihoods to be decided. Most amazing of all is that we have here is an extraordinarily expensive rule, but the EPA can’t tell us what it hopes to accomplish.”
Comedian Argus Hamilton: “The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the U.S. unemployment rate fell below six percent last month with the jobless rate down in thirty-four states and payroll up in thirty-eight. However on Monday, the number of non-working Americans rose by five hundred and thirty-five. Congress returned to session.” Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.
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Democrat Lawmakers Stoke Fires Of Racial Hatred On House Floor
Several lawmakers took to the House floor Monday evening to make the “Hands up, don’t shoot,” gesture to protest the police shooting of Michael Brown
There is nothing else that liberals love more than to use the race card to cause strife and division in America. Seen here are members of the Congressional Black Caucus milking their 15 minutes of Ferguson fame for all it’s worth. You will never see an end to racism in America as long as fostering it remains the multi-million dollar cash cow of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and all the others who make their living from it.
“Hands up, don’t shoot. It’s a rallying cry of people all across America who are fed up with police violence,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said as he took the floor. “In community, after community, after community, fed up with police violence in Ferguson, in Brooklyn, in Cleveland, in Oakland, in cities and counties and rural communities all across America.”
“Now this is a problem that Congress can’t run away from and the Congressional Black Caucus stands here today to make sure that Congress runs toward the problem,” Jeffries said. “That we come up with constructive solutions to breaking this cycle, this epidemic, this scourge of police violence all across America.”
“This has become the new symbol, a new statement, a statement wherein people around the country now, are calling to the attention of those who don’t quite understand that this is a movement that will not dissipate, it will not evaporate. It is a movement that is going to continue,” Green said on the floor.
Read the rest of this story on Politico….
The post Democrat Lawmakers Stoke Fires Of Racial Hatred On House Floor appeared first on Now The End Begins.
Quran Should be Read at Prince Charles’ Coronation, Anglican Bishop Says
A senior Church of England bishop has said that Prince Charles’ coronation service should include a reading from the Quran so that Muslims feel “embraced” by the nation – a proposal which is being criticized by some Christian groups in the U.K.
Incitement…from the West
But even in the so-called conservative denominations, I know leadership — from the SBC and the Assemblies of God — that clearly seems to have a problem with Jews. They might acknowledge and even embrace much of prophecy. They might have some respect for Israel as an ally in the War on Terror.
Desperate Boehner Looks to Make Deal with Democrats to Save Obama’s Amnesty
With House conservatives wanting to keep the pressure on Barack Obama given his end run of the political process when it comes to illegal immigration, reports indicate Republican House Speaker John Boehner may be considering doing the un-thinkable — abandoning House conservatives to do a deal with Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi to keep the government open long-term.
Eating the Mediterranean diet may lead to a longer life
Eating a Mediterranean diet may be your key to living longer. That’s according to a new study led by Immaculata De Vivo, associate professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School. The diet involves eating items off a menu that is rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and peas, unrefined grains, olive oil and fish. It keeps dairy, meat and saturated fats to a minimum. And you can have a glass of red wine with dinner without cheating. Read More
Rick Warren’s Call for Christians to Unite With Catholics, ‘Holy Father’ Raising Concerns
In a new video, megachurch leader and author Rick Warren is calling for Christians to unite with Roman Catholics and “Pope Francis,” who Warren recently referred to as the “Holy Father”—a move that is raising concerns among Christians nationwide and is resulting in calls for Warren to repent. Warren made the comments following his visit to the Vatican last month, where he spoke at an interfaith conference on the “Complementarity of Man and Woman.” “We have far more in common than what divides us,” he said in the two-minute video released by the Catholic News Service on Wednesday, described as being an outline for “an ecumenical vision for Catholics and Protestants to work together to defend the sanctity of life, sex and marriage.” “They would all say, ‘We believe in the Trinity; we believe in the Bible; we believe in the resurrection; we believe in salvation through Jesus Christ,” Warren asserted, speaking of the various denominations within Christianity, of which he included Roman Catholicism. “These are the big issues.” Read More
Phoney doctor convicted after practicing 30 years
Vidoje “Willy” Peric, a naturalized Swiss originally from Serbia, claimed to have a medical diploma from the Belgrade military academy but could not produce an original copy, the Corriere del Ticino newspaper reported. He treated patients in Savosa, a village near Lugano, as well as in German-speaking Switzerland and Cuba, according to the report. More than 30 years ago the man was caught passing himself off as a doctor in Serbia, the prosecution said. Yet he managed to continue practising in Switzerland despite having twice failed in attempts to obtain a Swiss federal diploma in medicine. After one failed examination Swiss experts maintained that Peric “knows medicine less than any man on the street”. Read More
Russia to hold more large-scale military maneuvers in 2015
Tens of thousands of Russian military personnel will take part in Center 2015 strategic exercises that will be held simultaneously in several areas both in Russia and abroad, Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement. The strategic military exercises for military personnel in the Central Federal District, called Center 2015, will be held in summer through autumn 2015. They are planned as the largest exercises of the year. “The exercises will be held in the summer training period simultaneously in different areas within Russian Federation and abroad,” the Defense Ministry’s statement said. “They will be extended in time and will unite tens of thousands soldiers and military personnel of the Central Military district, divisions and units of armed forces and other national security and defense agencies under a single command.” Read More
Brazil and Uruguay move away from US dollar in trade
BREAKING NEWS – Brazil and Uruguay have switched to settling bilateral trade with local currency to stimulate turnover, bypassing the US dollar. Payments in the Brazilian real and Uruguayan peso started on Monday. The agreement was signed on November 2 by the head of Brazilian Central Bank Alexandro Tombini and his Uruguayan counterpart Alberto Grana. Both countries believe such a move would strengthen trade across Latin America. “The agreement was the result of long negotiations between the countries belonging to Mercosur [the common market of South American countries – Ed.], as well as the global strategies of BRICS,” RIA quotes Carlos Francisco Teixeira da Silva, Professor of International Relations at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Read More
How Did Christmas Become A Festival Of Greed?
For most people, Christmas is all about the presents. But how did such a supposedly sacred holiday become a festival of greed? Not many people know the history behind Christmas gift giving, and it will probably shock you. This year, Americans will spend somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 billion dollars on Christmas, but most people have no coherent explanation for why they are buying all of these gifts. Those that are Christian will tell you that they are doing it to celebrate the birth of Christ, but as you will see below, gift giving on this holiday originated long before Christ was born. Others will tell you that they are just following tradition, but most of them have absolutely no idea where the tradition of Christmas gift giving originally came from. And the truth is that most people simply don’t care about the history. They are just excited about all of the stuff that they are going to get on December 25th. But if you are curious to learn how Christmas became a festival of greed, just keep reading… Read More
Family Lived With Corpse for 6 Months While Praying for Resurrection
A Canadian family lived with a corpse in their upstairs bedroom for six months because they believed the deceased man would be resurrected if they prayed, but the body was discovered when the family was evicted for not paying the mortgage. Kaling Wald, 50, pleaded guilty to failing to notify police that her husband had died, an offense under the provincial Coroner’s Act, and was sentenced on Monday to probation and counseling, her lawyer told Reuters on Tuesday. Peter Wald, 52, died in March 2013 of what authorities believe were natural causes following a foot infection linked to his diabetes, defense lawyer Peter Boushy said. Read More
Tour Guide Gets More Than She Expected When She Joins Prayer at Supreme Court
It’s significant that a prayer vigil with Bound4LIFE is called a “Silent Siege.” This public prayer witness carries a distinct difference from the atmosphere of many protests that occur on Capitol Hill, specifically at the U.S. Supreme Court. The people praying are silent, yet definitely it is a Siege—things are most certainly happening! I have led educational historic tours of the East Coast for decades. I’ve often been by the people who are lined up at the steps of the Supreme Court, praying with the red Life Tape over their mouths. I was familiar with Justice House of Prayer DC and Bound4LIFE, but I had never prayed with them before. One day a friend and I were there without a group so I said, “Let’s go over and pray with them.” As soon as I took the piece of red tape that said “LIFE” on it, I started shaking. Keep in mind, I’m not some sort of shake-and-quake person. What is wrong with me? I thought. Why am I shaking? Read More
Is New York about to experience their own “Ferguson”?
A grand jury decision is expected to come soon, in the case of the apparent police chokehold that killed Eric Garner on Staten Island this past summer.
Garner, a father of six, died in July after being placed in an apparent chokehold by Officer Daniel Pantaleo. Garner was being arrested for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. The grand jury began hearing evidence in the case Sept. 29. As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, a small, but spirited protest about the Garner case was held outside the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office on Tuesday. “I hope that Officer (Daniel) Pantaleo is indicted,” said Steve Quester of the group Stand up for Racial Justice. Read More
Alarm bells toll for human civilization as world’s 12th largest mega-city to run out of water in just 60 days
The city of Sao Paulo is home to 20 million Brazilians, making it the 12th largest mega-city on a planet dominated by shortsighted humans. Shockingly, it has only 60 days of water supply remaining. The city “has about two months of guaranteed water supply remaining as it taps into the second of three emergency reserves,” reports Reuters. Technical reserves have already been released, and as the city enters the heavy water use holiday season, its 20 million residents are riding on a fast-track collision course with severe water rationing and devastating disruptions. Read More
Are Republicans On Verge Of Already Breaking Their 2014 Campaign Promises?
Sessions: House GOP Is On the Verge Of Breaking 2014 Campaign Promises
Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) suggested that House Republicans are on the verge of breaking their campaign promise to fight President Obama’s administrative amnesty, judging by the legislative text currently being circulated.
Sessions said that the proposed language “fails to meet [the] test” established by Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, who promised earlier this year that the GOP would do everything possible to thwart Obama’s executive orders.
“The executive amnesty language is substantially weaker than the language the House adopted this summer, and does not reject the central tenets of the President’s plan: work permits, Social Security and Medicare to 5 million illegal immigrants — reducing wages, jobs and benefits for Americans,” Sessions said in the statement expressing his dissatisfaction with the results of a House Republican conference meeting today.
In the meeting, “the lawmakers began coalescing around a two-part plan that would allow a symbolic vote to show their frustration with President Obama’s executive action on immigration, before funding the government ahead of a Dec. 11 deadline,” according to the New York Times.
Read the rest of the story on National Review…
The post Are Republicans On Verge Of Already Breaking Their 2014 Campaign Promises? appeared first on Now The End Begins.
6 Steps to an Awe-full Church
In The Holiness of God, R C Sproul addressed the problem of large numbers of people leaving church because they are bored. As we saw previously, Sproul’s solution is more awe in our worship services, which puts significant responsibility on the pastor or worship-leader. But it also places important obligations upon worshippers too if we are to be awed by the evident presence of God.
Guess What Happened The Last Time The Price Of Oil Crashed Like This?
There has only been one other time in history when the price of oil has crashed by more than 40 dollars in less than 6 months. The last time this happened was during the second half of 2008, and the beginning of that oil price crash preceded the great financial collapse that happened later that year by several months …………. Click here for full story
U.S. Debt Clock Surges Past $18 Trillion
The U.S. debt clock has swept past $18 trillion without so much as a flicker of hesitation. But what is $18 trillion? How about figuring it in exotic supercars, like those 253-mph, 1,001-horsepower (and 8 miles per gallon) $1.9 million Bugatti Veyrons? ……… Click here for full story
Bloody Christmas: ‘Spectacular Attack’ Alert
Another coordinated terror attack using jetliners, reminiscent of 9/11, could be in the works, according to an airport-security source cited by a London paper………. Click here for full story
Arab League Joins PA Bid For United Nations Timeline On Israeli Pullout To Pre-1967 Lines
Arab foreign ministers decided on Saturday to support the Palestinian Authority’s plan to seek a UN Security Council resolution calling for a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital………. Click here for full story
Israel’s New IDF Chiefs Must Take Next Prospective War With Hizballah Onto Enemy Ground
In Israel’s Defensive Edge campaign that wound down three months ago, its defense forces under Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and his deputy and successor Maj. Gen. Gady Eizenkott were found wanting by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He found they lacked the operational and tactical capabilities needed for winning the far more extensive conflicts with Iran and Hizballah which, according to military intelligence forecasts, confront Israel in the spring ……… Click here for full story
Anglican Bishop Says Quran Should Be Read at Prince Charles’ Coronation
A senior Church of England bishop has said that Prince Charles’ coronation service should include a reading from the Quran so that Muslims feel “embraced” by the nation – a proposal which is being criticized by some Christian groups in the U.K ……… Click here for full story
Real Madrid removes cross from apparel to appease Arab partner
CultureWatch: Kardashian Christianity
by Bill Muehlenberg
Most people in the West may know little or nothing about the Bible, about Christianity, about church life – all the things that made the free West what it is today – but they likely know heaps about Kim Kardashian. For the one or two people holed up in caves the past decade, Kim is of course a hyper famous, super celeb.
Oh yeah? Well what is she famous for? Well, she is famous for being famous. That’s about it. I still have yet to figure out why she is featured in all the media on a regular basis. Wherever she goes the cameras follow her, and we all have to know about it – even on the 6 o’clock news.
Increase their Joy: 3 Ways to Encourage Pastors
Every few weeks I’ll tweet the following: “People, pray for your pastors!” I mostly do it because I need to be reminded to do so, but also because I know how much it means to my pastor friends to know they are prayed for by their people. You can look in any direction today and see churches, leaders, pastors, and flocks crumbling under the weight of sin, failure, financial ruin, and more. Not only do I not want to see that happen at my church, I also don’t want to be ignorant of the pressures on pastors and their families.
The Real Reasons Young Adults Drop Out of Church
The reason that many church-attending young adults stopped going to church upon graduating from high school? Their faith just wasn’t personally meaningful to them. They did not have a first-hand faith. The church had not become a valued and valuable expression in their life—one that impacts how they live and how they relate and how they grow. Church was perhaps something their parents wanted them do. They may have grown up in church, and perhaps they faced pressure from parents and even peers to be involved in church. But it wasn’t a first-hand faith.
Don’t Just Flee Sin, Run Toward Golgotha
Jesus reiterates a similar point when he says, “There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defiles him” (Mark 7:15). Does this, therefore, mean that it doesn’t matter what we expose ourselves to? What we watch? With whom we spend our time? No, it means that even though external factors condition, deceive and enable us to fall into sin, we cannot blame those factors. It means that even though we may avoid temptations, we cannot avoid ourselves.
5 Ugly Qualities of the Anti-Elder
This is not a new problem. In the pages of the New Testament both Paul and Peter labor to describe the man who is qualified to the office of elder. It is noteworthy that almost all of these qualifications are related to character. Where we are drawn to outward skill, God cares far more for inward character. There are millions of men who are great teachers and great leaders and great C.E.O.’s, but still completely unsuited to leadership in the church. God’s standards are very, very different.
Confessions of a Former Planned Parenthood Director
There are a few pretty common questions that you get when you leave the abortion industry. How did you not see that it was a baby? How did you not realize that you were killing babies? How did you see these babies in the POC lab and not leave? (The POC lab is where the fetal body parts are put back together after an abortion). How did you have a baby and not see the problem in what you were doing? My answer… I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.
Pope Francis Unites Hindus, Muslims And Buddhists To Sign Pact With Rome
Pope’s anti-slavery initiative gets new support from Hindu, Buddhist, Jews and Muslims
“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.” Revelation 16:13
Rome is very smart, always has been. They know that in order to unite the faiths, they must focus on humanitarian projects that nearly everyone can agree on and work together to try and solve. It doesn’t matter whether it’s about poverty, perceived injustice, abortion, slavery or any other subject. These are all mental conditioning exercises that Pope Francis is conducting to get all the religions into the same tent. Once everyone is together, Rome will be the leader. And as you can see, it’s working beautifully.
VATICAN CITY — Religious leaders from a half-dozen faiths signed a new Vatican initiative Tuesday to end modern-day slavery by 2020, declaring that human trafficking, organ trafficking and forced labor and prostitution are crimes against humanity.
Pope Francis was joined by the Hindu guru Mata Amritanandamayi, known as Amma, as well as Buddhist, Anglican, Orthdox, Jewish, Shiite and Sunni Muslim leaders in signing a joint declaration at an unusually high-profile ceremony inside the Vatican walls.
“In the eyes of God, each human being is a free person, whether girl, boy, woman or man, and is destined to exist for the good of all in equality and fraternity,” the declaration read.
Francis has made eliminating modern-day slavery one of the key priorities of his pontificate, inspired by his ministry in the slums of Buenos Aires. Earlier this year, the Vatican launched the Global Freedom Network, a multifaith initiative to encourage governments, businesses, educational and faith institutions to rid their supply chains of slave labor.
One of the network’s founding members, the Walk Free Foundation, estimates that five countries account for 61 percent of the world’s population living in slavery: India, with an estimated 14.2 million people enslaved, China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Russia.
Read the rest of the story on the Star-Tribune…
The post Pope Francis Unites Hindus, Muslims And Buddhists To Sign Pact With Rome appeared first on Now The End Begins.
Headlines of Interest
Free Advent E-book (Through Thurs 12/4)
Dr. Ray Pritchard
Through this Thursday, you can download our new Advent guide in which We’ll explore 25 reasons why Christ came to the earth. There is no more pressing question today than this: why did Christ come to earth?
Clever and True
Dr. James Emery White
P.D. James, one of the true masters of crime fiction, died this past Thursday at her home in Oxford, England. She was 94. And I recall her saying something very wise…
6 Steps to an Awe-full Church
How can we have what the Apostle Paul described in the early church?
Anyone who has suffered some kind of tragedy knows that “Why me?” questions aren’t off the table. God allows them. But often he doesn’t answer them.
More Pastors are Addressing Mental Illness
A new direction is hopefully becoming a positive trend in the way churches welcome those struggling with mental illness.
High Praise for Keller’s New Book on Prayer
Hold on! Is it a book about prayer? Another book about prayer? Is there any possible way we can benefit from yet another book on the subject of prayer?
Featured Video Ministry from LightSource.com
Is Christmas Day Rooted in Paganism?
It’s not uncommon to hear that the celebration of Christmas is rooted in ancient Roman paganism. That claim generally goes something like this: the ancient Romans celebrated a pagan festival on December 25th, but when the Roman Empire was Christianized in the 300s, the church simply turned the pagan festival into a Christian holiday.
It is true that there was a pagan Roman holiday called the “Birthday of the Unconquered Sun” that marked the winter solstice. And in the old Julian calendar, the winter solstice occurred on December 25. The cult of “Sol Invictus” (“the Unconquered Sun,” a.k.a. the sun god) became an official Roman cult in 274 under the reign of Emperor Aurelian. And the Roman empire was Christianized about fifty years later under Constantine.
It doesn’t take too much imagination to see how some could assume that the post-Constantine Romans simply adopted the pagan holiday and Christianized it.
But there’s actually good evidence to suggest that the date of December 25 does not have pagan origins. That’s because, long before Aurelian made December 25 an official pagan holiday, there were Christians in the early church who taught that Jesus was born on December 25th.
In fact, in the early church, there were two primary dates suggested as the dates on which Jesus was born in Bethlehem. One was December 25 and the other was January 6.
Around the year 192, Clement of Alexandria suggested that Jesus was born on January 6. An early Christian tradition suggested that Christ’s baptism took place on January 6. Then, because Luke says that Jesus was “about 30 years old” when He was baptized, some early Christians (like Clement) assumed that His birthday was the same day as His baptism.
A contemporary of Clement named Hippolytus of Rome, writing in the early 200s, suggested that Jesus was born on December 25. Hippolytus was convinced that the first day of creation was March 25 (corresponding to the first day of Spring in the Julian calendar). From there, he speculated that March 25 was also the day on which Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb. (Incidentally, some church fathers also suggested that March 25 was the day Jesus died, which only added to the significance of that day.) If you add 9 months to March 25, you end up at December 25.
So we have these two dates suggested very early in church history, roughly 80 years before Aurelias made the pagan observance of December 25 official in Rome, and more than a century before the Roman Empire became Christian.
What this means, then, is that the selection of December 25th as the celebration of Jesus’ birthday may not have pagan origins at all.
After the Roman Empire converted to Christianity, December 25th became the official day designated for the celebration of Christ’s birth. Meanwhile, January 6th, which is known as Epiphany, remained associated not only with Jesus’ baptism but also with the coming of the Wise Men. As for the “twelve days of Christmas,” that refers to the twelve days between December 25th and January 6th.
King Obama Defies Congress And Rewrites Obamacare Law Yet Again
On Thanksgiving eve, the Obama administration dumped reams of mind-numbing ObamaCare regulations into the Federal Register — including yet more unilateral rewrites of the Affordable Care Act.
“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” Daniel 7:25
Dropping the rules as most Americans were busy preparing for the holiday made a mockery (again) of President Obama’s promise to have “the most transparent administration in history.” The stunt has even worked to keep most of the media from reporting on the rules. Yet the changes these regulations make in the health care law are substantial.
For one, the president is redefining what health plans are “adequate” for larger employers (100-plus workers) to offer under the Affordable Care Act. He’s also “asking” insurers to pay for new benefits — while warning that, if they don’t, they may be forced to.
Under the Constitution, Obama lacks any authority to make such changes to the health law, or any law. Only Congress has that power. But he’s doing it, and not for the first time.
The president has made two dozen changes to his health law by executive fiat, from delaying the employer mandate to allowing people to keep health plans that don’t meet ObamaCare standards.
Read the rest of the story on the New York Post…
The post King Obama Defies Congress And Rewrites Obamacare Law Yet Again appeared first on Now The End Begins.
Lighthouse Trails December 1, 2014 Newsletter
This Week’s Headlines:
‘Twas the Night Before the Last Christmas!
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