When we cease to worship God, we do not worship nothing. We worship anything. —G.K.Chesterton
Jan. 23, 2015
President Obama will be the official “chief guest” at India’s Republic Day parade. The first U.S. president invited to attend; his presence will signal an increasingly close relationship between partners with a sometimes prickly history.
King Abdullah, the monarch who oversaw a fivefold increase in the size of the Arab world’s biggest economy and met the Arab Spring with a mixture of force and largesse, has died after almost a decade on the throne. He was born in 1924. Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, Abdullah’s half-brother, will succeed him.
India’s foreign-exchange reserves rose to a record as policy makers looked to protect the economy against outflows from a probable increase in U.S. interest rates. Holdings climbed $2.7 billion in the week ended Jan. 16 to $322.14 billion, a Reserve Bank of India statement showed.
Vladimir Putin isn’t just angering leaders from Berlin to Washington. He’s irking some of his richest friends, too, by snubbing their pleas to end the conflict in Ukraine and ostracizing all but a handful of hardliners.
Denmark sent hedge funds and other speculators a clear message yesterday, daring them to test the full force of its monetary arsenal at their own peril. The central bank signaled it is ready to step up currency interventions and continue cutting rates to stamp out any lingering speculation it may be unable to defend its euro peg.
Purchases of previously owned U.S. homes rose less than forecast in December as higher prices limited sales to first-time buyers. Contract closings increased 2.4 percent to a 5.04 million annual rate from a 4.92 million pace in the prior month.
Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s terrorism trial has been delayed because jury selection is taking longer than expected, as defense lawyers argue that more than eight in 10 potential jurors have made up their minds or were personally affected by the attack.
AP Top Stories
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, on Friday warned the West against trying to topple President Vladimir Putin and said that Russians are ready to sacrifice their wealth in Putin’s support.
Israel warned Lebanon and Syria on Friday not to allow any attacks on Israel from their soil, hoping to avoid reprisals for an Israeli air strike in Syria that killed an Iranian general and senior Hezbollah fighters.
Indonesian divers on Friday finally reached the fuselage of an AirAsia plane that crashed last month, an official said, as four more bodies were recovered from the Java Sea.
A drug-resistant superbug infected 32 people at a Seattle hospital over a two-year period, with the bacteria spreading through contaminated medical scopes that had been cleaned to the manufacturer’s recommendation, officials said.
A British backpacker has been discovered dead on the popular Thai tourist island of Koh Tao, police said Friday, four months after a British couple were found murdered there.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Frustrated with a lack of international action to address climate change and shrink nuclear arsenals decided to push the minute hand of their iconic “Doomsday Clock” to 11:57 p.m. It’s the first time the clock hands have moved in three years; since 2012, the clock had been fixed at 5 minutes to symbolic doom, midnight.
The number of anti-Muslim incidents in France has soared since the Paris attacks, with 128 such acts registered over two weeks, almost the same amount as all 2014, a watchdog said Friday.
Almost 3 million gallons of potentially toxic saltwater leaked from a western N. Dakota pipeline into a creek that feeds the Missouri River, the largest spill of its kind in the state’s history.
Thailand’s junta-stacked parliament voted on Friday to impeach former premier Yingluck Shinawatra, hours after prosecutors announced plans to indict her for corruption in a double blow that risks reigniting the country’s bitter divisions.
Beijing plans to shut 300 companies this year to help reduce choking air pollution in the Chinese capital, the official Xinhua news agency said.
The main pro-Russian rebel leader in eastern Ukraine said his troops are on the offensive and he does not want truce talks.
President Obama will not meet Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu when he speaks to Congress in March, the White House said.
High-profile Bitcoin backers are seeking to establish a Bitcoin exchange in the US that would be overseen by mainstream financial regulators.
Two days of historic talks between the United Sates and Cuba have ended with both sides agreeing to meet again in a bid to “normalize” relations.
Nigeria does not need the help of UN or African Union troops to take on Boko Haram, the country’s national security adviser tells the BBC.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she wants Greece to “remain part of our story” ahead of elections that could throw the country’s Eurozone future into doubt.
A Christian school in Britain whose students were grilled by “hostile” government inspectors about lesbianism has been given the lowest possible rating, even though its students regularly achieve among the highest test scores in the region.
Anticipating a possible counter-attack from Hezbollah, Israel is prepared for “any scenario” and will operate with “determination and the required intensity” along the northern border with Syria and Lebanon, declared Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benjamin Gantz.
The government awarded $432,000 to Columbia University to interview gay men who use GPS dating apps and determine whether it increases their likelihood of engaging in sexual behavior.
January 23, 2015
“If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy.” –Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Cooper, 1802
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
|Obama breaking his ban on selfies with YouTube entertainers|
Since 2010, the White House has invited fawning political neophytes to converse with the president after his State of the Union address. It’s another way for Barack Obama to circumvent the watchdog media and virtually kiss babies. This year, three entertainers who garnered fame on YouTube “interviewed” Obama. Instead of pitching the hardball questions, Hank Green thanked the president for ObamaCare. Bethany Mota, 19, who earned a following for dispensing fashion advice, admitted she didn’t care about politics until YouTube asked her to conduct the interview. And so, Obama used her naiveté to his advantage by twisting the history of American education, saying politicians created the first colleges. Comedian GloZell Green, who pulled stunts like bathing in a bathtub of milk and Fruit Loops, probably asked the hardball question of the evening when she said former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro “puts the d— in dictatorship.” The interviews were embarrassing — even for Obama, as he was hugging himself at one point. “He’s got a good sense of humor — that’s a political asset,” media analyst Howard Kurtz said. “But it just seemed beneath the dignity of the office to be hanging out with some of these YouTubers.” But the one who is really beneath Obama’s dignity, the White House made clear, is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. More…
On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Barack Obama called abortion a “core constitutional right” and threatened to veto a bill Congress has passed every year banning the use of federal funds for abortions. The statement read, “I am deeply committed to protecting this core constitutional right, and I believe that efforts like H.R. 7, the bill the House considered today, would intrude on women’s reproductive freedom and access to health care and unnecessarily restrict the private insurance choices that consumers have today.” It didn’t used to be this way. “And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up,” Obama told Congress in 2009, “under our plan [ObamaCare], no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.” We’re shocked that Obama lied. He not only supports abortion in any and all circumstances but he wants you to pay for it. More…
“King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who came to the throne in old age and earned a reputation as a cautious reformer even as the Arab Spring revolts toppled heads of state and Islamic State militants threatened the Muslim establishment that he represented, died on Friday,” reports The New York Times. “Toppled heads” is an interesting choice of words, given the Saudis’ regular use of beheading. Still, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have long been allies, in large part because of oil. The Wall Street Journal reports that even with the ascension of Crown Prince Salman, “[T]he kingdom is likely to continue to pump crude in the face of a global glut, which has helped push prices down by more than 55% since last June.” Saudi Arabia is also an important regional counterweight to both al-Qaida and Iran. And as we now see in Yemen, those are getting harder to come by. In fact, Salman assumes the throne at a time when his nation is surrounded by Iran’s proxies — Syria, Lebanon, and increasingly Iraq and Yemen.
In his rebuttal of Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) said the president’s plans to save the earth from climate change by enacting massive regulation are nothing but “a wealth redistribution scheme.” Inhofe argued that even if Obama could enact his policies, they would not do enough to change the globe’s climate. “Why the pain for no gain?” He continued, “The President’s agenda will cost our economy $479-billion dollars; we will experience a double-digit electricity price increase; and tens of thousands of Americans will lose access to well-paying jobs over the course of the next decade.” Inhofe surprised the Left by co-sponsoring an amendment saying climate change is happening. Unlike the Left, however, Inhofe realizes that if climate change can in any way be mitigated, we will need a strong economy to do so. More…
The 45th World Economic Forum kicked off this week in beautiful Switzerland, where organizers will hash out policy agendas, among them how to address the global effects of climate change. With that glorious goal in mind, one would hope that attendees would at least set a good example by burning as little fossil fuel as possible. After all, writes Brendan Bordelon at National Review, “Climate scientists view air travel as the most costly per-person contributor to carbon emissions, with some estimates saying it accounts for 5 percent of ‘warming.'” Except “green” travel isn’t what they did at all. According to reports, envirofascists needed roughly 1,700 airplanes to transport over 2,500 ticket-holders at $40,000 a pop. And just how does WEF plan on neutralizing such a heavy carbon footprint? So far, the answer to that is … crickets. The enviro-elite are quick to lecture us peons about the importance of ridding the world of fossil fuels. That is, as long as it doesn’t cramp their luxurious lifestyle. More…
Barack Obama hit the campaign trail this week after his State of the Union address to sell his new pet phrase “middle-class economics,” a phrase he’s working to ingrain in the political lexicon. According to the president, speaking at Boise State University, middle-class economics “means helping folks afford child care, and college, and paid leave at work, and health care, and retirement.” But beware of statists bearing gifts.
Middle-class economics is nothing more than a cradle-to-grave welfare state paid for through wealth redistribution. It will ultimately stifle economic growth and require — wait for it — more government welfare spending.
Obama latched onto this middle-class economics concept as a way to set the Democrats’ class warfare theme for the 2016 election. He spent much of 2014 trying to convince the public that, thanks to his policies, the economy was on the mend. Few believed him. So he came up with a clever new name for wealth redistribution and is now trying to rewrite history from the campaign trail.
Going on the road, giving speeches and lambasting Republicans as the enemies of the middle class are parlor games for Obama. This strategy guided everything that he, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid did when Democrats ran all of Washington. Now that Republicans control Congress, it’s a bit more difficult to label them obstructionist — not that Obama won’t try. Republicans have the power to set the legislative agenda, but that’s not going to stop this imperial president.
“I know there are Republicans who disagree with my approach,” Obama told the Boise crowd. “And if they do disagree with me, then I look forward to hearing from them how they want to pay for things like R&D and infrastructure that we need to grow. They should put forward some alternative proposals.”
Of course, Obama doesn’t want to hear ideas that aren’t in lockstep with his agenda. Indeed, he’s already threatened to veto just about every Republican bill under consideration. Yet he has the audacity to declare, “Work with me. Don’t just say no. You can’t just say no.”
Obama and his fellow statists assume the government should be involved in every aspect of the American economy. There is no debate about the constitutional role of government, only over how to pay for all the goodies. And that’s where class warfare and wealth redistribution come in.
Democrats hope to regain control in 2016 by appearing to be champions of the middle class. And they want to do it with “free” gifts paid for with higher taxes on the “wealthy.”
Unfortunately, this strategy often works.
The welfare state has greatly expanded over the last 50 years because people can’t say “no” to “free” stuff. Political analyst George Will explains, “More than twice as many households receive ‘anti-poverty’ benefits than receive Social Security or Medicare. Between 1983 and 2012, the population increased by almost 83 million — and people accepting means-tested benefits increased by 67 million. So, for every 100-person increase in the population there was an 80-person increase in the recipients of means-tested payments. Food stamp recipients increased from 19 million to 51 million — more than the combined populations of 24 states.”
This cycle of government welfare only perpetuates itself. It has become a way of life that is truly changing the American character. In the last 50 years, the number of men 25 to 34 who are neither working nor looking for work has almost quadrupled. The percentage of children born to unmarried women was nearly six times higher in 2012 than in 1964. And the percentage of people living under the poverty line hasn’t budged in 30 years.
Former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a lifelong liberal, warned, “The issue of welfare is not what it costs those who provide it, but what it costs those who receive it.” Even he saw the inevitable. Today’s Democrats don’t care, however, as long as they can win elections.
|Iranian-backed Houthis gain|
As more proof that drone strikes and occasional American advisory assistance are no way to bring peace and stability, let us present the woebegone desert nation of Yemen. It’s virtually under siege and perfectly illustrates Barack Obama’s failed foreign policy.
Few Americans can locate Yemen on a world map, but Yemenis are the largest group still held at Guantanamo Bay, and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which claimed the Charlie Hebdo massacre as one of its operations, is based there. To paraphrase Joe Biden: In the world of Islamic terrorism, Yemen is a “big effing deal.”
It’s so big a deal that the U.S. had to put an informal halt on releasing Gitmo detainees who hail from Yemen.
While Obama had previously pointed to Yemen as a successful model in his fight against radical Islamic terror vague operation of appearing to care about national security, that confidence vanished in recent days. Neither al-Qaida nor Yemen was mentioned in the very brief portion of the State of the Union address that dealt with “violent extremism.” It’s no wonder Obama avoided the topic, as Yemen has crumbled in recent weeks. To mention it also would have brought up the obvious questions about Obama’s absence from the Paris demonstrations and his lack of success against other terror groups.
While direct attacks on Americans, such as a rocket fired at the American embassy last September, are rare, strife in the capital of Sana’a involving Shiite rebels known as the Houthis has otherwise reached a fever pitch. After Houthis battled their way into the presidential palace, pro-American Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi resigned on Thursday, shortly after Prime Minister Khalid Bahah and his 36-member cabinet all left office. This left Parliament Speaker Yahia al-Rai as the nation’s titular head, although the Houthis with the guns are truly in charge.
While a possible fringe benefit of these events could be a check on the Sunni sectarian AQAP, the need for assistance from the Yemeni government for the overall war on terror outweighs the limited advantages.
This was bad news for Obama, as Hadi’s cooperation in Yemen was a linchpin of his hands-off, no-boots-on-the-ground strategy to fight the Long War. Obama said just last September, “This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.” With that government out of the picture and infighting among religious, tribal and regional factions tearing apart the small nation, the likelihood of significant progress on that war front is not good.
Not only that, but it’s good news for Iran. Political analyst Charles Krauthammer explains, “Why should we care about the coup? First, because we depend on Yemen’s government to support our drone war against another local menace, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. It’s not clear if we can even maintain our embassy in Yemen, let alone conduct operations against AQAP. And second, because growing Iranian hegemony is a mortal threat to our allies and interests in the entire Middle East. … Our regional allies — Saudi Arabia, the other five Gulf states, Jordan, Egypt and Israel — are deeply worried. Tehran is visibly on the march on the ground and openly on the march to nuclear status.”
In other words, Yemen’s collapse continues Obama’s track record of alienating allies and conceding to foes. So much for a model of success.
TOP 5 RIGHT OPINION COLUMNS
- Linda Chavez: Democratic Revolt on Iran
- Charles Krauthammer: Iran’s Emerging Empire
- Jonah Goldberg: Obama Still Reading From the Same Old Script
- David Harsanyi: Republicans Surrender to Infanticide
- Mona Charen: Obama: President of France
OPINION IN BRIEF
Novelist James Baldwin (1924-1987): “Freedom is not something that can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be.”
Columnist David Harsanyi: “Here’s a short list of things that are less popular than banning late-term abortions: ‘Acting’ on climate change. ‘Free’ community college. Taxing the wealthy. Building the Keystone XL pipeline. President Barack Obama. Future President Hillary Clinton. Every Republican who’s thinking about running for president. … Yet the GOP caves on a bill that would prohibit most abortions after 20 weeks and promises instead to pass another worthless ban on taxpayer-funded abortions — which we all know can be ignored by hiring an accountant. … This is about politics. Tragically incompetent politics. Even though a veto was imminent, you have to wonder: If the party representing the pro-life position, a party with a sizable majority, can’t pull together a vote on an issue as unambiguous and risk-free as this one, what are the chances of it coming to a consensus and offering compelling arguments on issues such as health care and tax reform? Very little, I imagine.”
Columnist Mona Charen: “Barack Obama’s sixth State of the Union address was an homage to France. The president might not have intended it as such — he mentioned the nation only glancingly when denouncing terror attacks in Pakistan and Paris. Yet France was at the heart of the president’s address. … France is Obamaland. Government sucks up 56 percent of GDP. The state offers cradle-to-grave subsidies for child care, health, disability, unemployment, old age and more. The welfare state discourages work in myriad ways — most French retire at age 60, and many at 55. The workweek is 35 hours. (Obamacare defines it as 30 hours.) France’s labor code is 3,600 pages long (sound familiar?) and makes it practically impossible to fire anyone. Shockingly, businesses are wary about hiring. France’s growth rate has averaged .3 percent annually since 2008. Everyone from taxi drivers to notary publics to dentists goes on strike at the drop of a chapeau. All of this looks like paradise to Obama. … France has its virtues, but the policies Obama admires have brought the nation stagnation, unemployment, high taxes, constant strikes, restive and unassimilated immigrants, and domestic terrorism. The French don’t seem to know what went wrong. Our president doesn’t, either.”
Comedian Seth Meyers: “Obama gave the State of the Union address, and I just have to say that I don’t know what union he was describing. But I want to live there. I want to move. It sounds outstanding. There’s a middle class. They have small businesses. It sounds great.”
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Posted: 23 Jan 2015 08:06 AM PST
Harvard Professor Margo Seltzer warned that miniature mosquito drones will one day forcibly extract your DNA on behalf of the government and insurance companies as she told elitists at the World Economic Forum in Davos that privacy was dead. Seltzer, a professor in computer science at Harvard University, told attendees, “Privacy as we knew it in the past is no longer feasible… How we conventionally think of privacy is dead.” Seltzer went on to predict that in the near future, mosquito-sized robots would perpetually monitor individuals as well as collecting DNA and biometric information for governments and corporations. “It’s not whether this is going to happen, it’s already happening,” said Seltzer on the issue of pervasive surveillance. “We live in a surveillance state today.” The professor added that miniaturized drone technology should be used for benevolent purposes, such as sending the same device into an Ebola ward to “zap the germs”. Fellow Harvard academic Sophia Roosth also warned that an era of “genetic McCarthyism” was on the way as a result of people’s personal genetic information being available to governments via the Internet. However, another speaker, tech entrepreneur Anthony Goldbloom, told the panel that young people no longer cared about surveillance issues and were perfectly willing to trade privacy for convenience. More
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|Iran Has Ballistic Missile That Poses Threat to United StatesPosted: 23 Jan 2015 07:59 AM PST
Iran has produced an intercontinental ballistic missile — an act that poses a threat to the United States due to its expanded range, according to a report. The Jerusalem Post reports that Iran has a missile measuring 27 meters in length (88.5 feet) on a launch pad just outside its capital city of Tehran. The missile had never before been seen in public, reports the Post. “The missile and the launch pad indicate that Iran’s ballistic missile program, which is an integral part of its nuclear weapons program, is moving forward at full throttle,” the Post writes. “The expanded range of Iran’s ballistic missile program as indicated by the satellite imagery makes clear that its nuclear weapons program is not merely a threat to Israel, or to Israel and Europe. It is a direct threat to the United States, as well,” according to the newspaper. Iran has been steadily improving its ballistic missile capabilities, despite ongoing talks between the Obama administration and Tehran to keep the country from acquiring nuclear weapons. Tehran insists that its nuclear enrichment program is for domestic use only, and wants sanctions imposed on it by the West lifted. The administration favors the lifting of sanctions in return for a deal. But the advancements are clearly ongoing, and worrying. In March, the Iranian defense ministry ceremoniously paraded eight anti-ship ballistic missiles, known as the Khalij Fars, before handing them over to the country’s military. More
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|Economy in tatters, Venezuela’s Maduro tells citizens ‘God will provide’Posted: 23 Jan 2015 07:57 AM PST
At a pharmacy in Caracas Thursday morning, hundreds of people stood in line hoping to get their hands on diapers and other essentials inside. Queuing up has become routine for many here, as Venezuela has struggled to pay for the import of most of its goods. But the morning after a much-anticipated speech by Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro, which had citizens hoping to hear concrete plans for a way out of the nation’s economic tailspin, many fear tougher times are on the horizon. “We have confidence in God but not so much Maduro. He’s to blame for all this,” says Marvelis Bazque, a housewife standing in line. She’s referencing a line from the president’s speech Wednesday night, where he assured Venezuelans that despite a big drop in the price of oil, which the nation greatly relies on, “God will provide.” The Venezuelan economy is in tatters with higher than 64 percent inflation and dwindling foreign reserves. Protests like those that paralyzed the country last February are beginning to sprout up again. Maduro’s decision to essentially maintain business as usual – in his speech last night he accused opposition politicians of planning a coup and avoided an explicit devaluation of the currency – signaled to Venezuelans and the world that he’s not willing to face the country’s ailing economy head on. “The scarcity will probably get worse over the next weeks, the people won’t be happy, and we could see some social pressure emerge,” says Henkel Garcia, director of Econométrica, a local economic consultancy. More
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|Tyranny grows in America as FBI insists no warrant needed to snoop on private citizens’ cell phone callsPosted: 23 Jan 2015 07:52 AM PST
The Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution have taken new hits recently, as the Federal Bureau of Investigation now asserts that it does not need a court-issued warrant when deploying cell-tower simulators in public places. The devices, which are nicknamed “stingrays,” are essentially nothing more than cell phone tower decoys that are capable of capturing locations and identities of mobile phone users. In addition, the decoy towers can intercep calls and text messages. As reported by the tech blog ArsTechnica, the FBI has staked out its position recently to Congress: The FBI made its position known during private briefings with staff members of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). In response, the two lawmakers wrote Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson, maintaining they were “concerned about whether the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have adequately considered the privacy interests” of Americans. More
|How the UN is confiscating American homes and controlling all food and energyPosted: 23 Jan 2015 07:47 AM PST
In times of crises, the government has proven, time and time again, that it cannot be counted on to adequately protect the American people. As the American people have not prepared for the coming dark days, they will be vulnerable to starvation, dehydration, cholera, pandemics and attacks from resource-deficient looters. Will the government be there to save them? History has already answered this question in the negative. Events such as Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, L.A. riots and the Ferguson riots have repeatedly demonstrated that when trouble comes, the American people will be on their own. (Story by Dave Hodges, republished from TheCommonSenseShow.com) When disaster strikes, it will take less than 24 hours until grocery stores are empty, the utilities are down and neighbors begin to prey upon neighbors. Certainly, no government can be all things to all people. Subsequently, the government should be in the business of encouraging its citizens to be independent. However, the Obama administration has taken the opposite approach. Instead of the government empowering the people to be self-sufficient, this administration is punishing independence and self sufficiency. More
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Posted: 23 Jan 2015 07:44 AM PST
The Western United States is not the only region of the world that is currently suffering under chronic drought conditions. The largest country in South America — Brazil — is also experiencing drought, and its biggest city is two months away from running out of water entirely. As reported by Reuters, the Brazilian mega-city of Sao Paulo, where 20 million people reside, has about one month’s worth of a guaranteed water supply, as city officials have begun tapping into the second of three emergency reserves. Reuters further noted: The city began using its second so-called “technical reserve” 10 days ago to prevent a water crisis after reservoirs reached critically low levels last month. This is the first time the state has resorted to using the reserves, experts say. “If we take into account the same pattern of water extraction and rainfall that we’ve seen so far this month – and it’s been raining less than half of the average — we can say the (reserve) will last up to 60 days,” Marussia Whately, a water resources specialist at the environmental NGO Instituto Socioambiental, told the newswire service over a month ago. The expert went on to say, however, that, with the approaching Christmas and New Year’s holidays, water usage is actually expected to increase, meaning the existing reserves will likely be depleted sooner. After that, said Whately, there is no guarantee or certainty regarding the availability of water to the country’s financial center and wealthiest city. If rainfall does not replenish the Cantareira system, which is the main collection of reservoirs that provide water to Sao Paulo, she said the city could actually run out of water altogether. There is a third, and final, technical reserve, and it could be used, says Vicente Andreu, president of ANA, the country’s water regulatory agency, but it is difficult to get to, and the water is mixed with silt that would likely gum up the pumping process. More
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|Death Of Saudi King Could Set Stage For Islamic End Times Frenzy In 2015Posted: 23 Jan 2015 07:34 AM PST
In the last two years, media outlets have published conflicting reports on Saudi King Abdullah’s health. Just last week, Saudi Arabia’s Royal Court announced that the king has pneumonia and is temporarily using a breathing tube. In fact, every time the king’s health deteriorates, news agencies speculate on what will become of the Saudi dynasty and its leadership after the king’s death. But some Shiite scholars think differently about the matter, believing that Abdullah’s death will mark the beginning of a chain of great events that will shock the world. Some Shiite scholars believe that the Saudi king’s death will signal the resurrection of the Mahdi and the beginning of the end-times. Abdullah, the 10th son of King Abdulaziz, was born Aug. 1, 1924. His mother, Fahda bint Asi Al Shuraim, was a member of the Al Rashid family, longtime rivals of the Al Saud family and a historic dynasty in the Arabian Peninsula that ruled the emirate of Jabal Shammar. Abdullah ascended to the throne in 2005 following the death of his half-brother King Fahd, though power was already in his hands. According to Shiite hadiths, after the death of a king named Abdullah in the Hijaz — a western region of present-day Saudi Arabia — no successor to the throne would be accepted, and disagreements would escalate and persist until the rise of Imam Mahdi. The Shiites believe that divine Imams are heirs to the political and religious Ummah, or Islamic nation. These 12 imams are successors to the Prophet Muhammad and to the head of the caliphate, with Mahdi being the final Imam who disappeared, or went into occultation. Mahdi will be revealed only in the end-times, along with Jesus, to deliver peace to the world. According to the book “250 Signs Until the Appearance of Imam Mahdi,” Prophet Muhammad said: “On doomsday, a man who is carrying the name of an animal ascends to the throne, after which a man named Abdullah comes to the power. Whoever informs me of his death, I will inform him of the rise [of Mahdi]. After Abdullah passes away, for several days and months, the government will appear.” More
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|Signs emerge of major Ukraine rebel offensive loomingPosted: 23 Jan 2015 07:25 AM PST
Signs emerged Friday pointing to a major offensive in eastern Ukraine by rebels fighting to break off from the rest of the country. A rebel leader said they will continue to fight and won’t join further peace talks — but left unclear whether they would respect this week’s agreement to pull back heavy weapons from the front line. NATO says it has indications that a major rebel offensive is coming, due to heavy weapons moving in from Russia as they have prior to previous rebel pushes. Meanwhile, the U.N. human rights agency says the overall death toll in the conflict has risen above 5,000 as fighting escalates. Separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko said rebel fighters will continue to fight for more territory, and are advancing in five directions to push back Ukrainian government forces to the limits of the eastern Donetsk region. “Attempts to talk about a cease-fire will no longer be undertaken by our side,” Zakharchenko said. Any rebel advances would further undermine a tentative peace deal forged this week in Berlin at a meeting of foreign ministers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany. Those negotiations concluded with an agreement to uphold a demarcation line defined in September after talks in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. More
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|If oil drops below $30 a barrel, brace for a global recessionPosted: 23 Jan 2015 07:02 AM PST
The price of oil is about $17 a barrel away from signaling that a global recession is inevitable, according to a new survey of investment professionals. The survey from ConvergEx Group polled 306 investment professionals, asking, among other things, what oil price would show that a global recession was inevitable. “The idea behind this question was simple — at some point oil prices aren’t just a nice theoretical tailwind for global economies,” said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx, in a note. “Rather, they become a signal that worldwide demand is contracting so quickly that oil prices must quickly decline to reflect that fact.” The most common answer was $30 a barrel, from 26% of respondents, with $35 a barrel being the second most common answer (16% of respondents). All told, 62% of respondents said $30 or lower crude was a global recession’s canary in a coal mine. More than half those surveyed represented buy-side firms such as asset managers and hedge funds, and about a quarter of them were from sell-side firms such as banks or broker dealers, according to ConvergEx. More
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Posted: 23 Jan 2015 06:59 AM PST
The euro keeps falling. On Friday morning, the euro broke below 1.12 against the US dollar, a fresh 11-year low for the currency as markets continue to digest the QE announcement from the ECB made on Thursday. Ahead of the ECB’s announcement the euro was trading at around 1.16 against the dollar, and has been on an almost unabated downward march since that announcement. On Thursday, the ECB said it would buy €60 billion worth of bonds per month through at least September 2016 as the ECB looks to jumpstart inflation in the eurozone, which is now just a paltry 0.4% year-over-year. Following the ECB’s announcement, the euro fell and stocks in Europe and the US rallied, and on Friday stocks in Europe were extending these gains, with the CAC in Paris up almost 2%, the DAX in Germany up 1.7%, and markets in Italy, Switzerland, and the Netherlands up better than 1%. Here’s the big euro slide over the last day. More
Netanyahu Can Win Reelection by Fighting Corruption :: Doron in Weekly Standard
by Daniel Doron
The Weekly Standard
January 19, 2015
Erdoğan’s Grand Ambitions :: Bekdil in Middle East Quarterly
by Burak Bekdil
Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2015 (view PDF)
This Is The Beginning Of The End For The Euro
The long-anticipated collapse of the euro is here. When European Central Bank president Mario Draghi unveiled an open-ended quantitative easing program worth at least 60 billion euros a month on Thursday, stocks soared but the euro plummeted like a rock. It hit an 11 year low of $1.13, and many analysts believe that it is going much, much lower than this. The speed at which the euro has been falling in recent months has been absolutely stunning. Less than a year ago it was hovering near $1.40. But since that time the crippling economic problems in southern Europe have gone from bad to worse, and no amount of money printing is going to avert the financial nightmare that is slowly unfolding right before our eyes. Yes, there may be some temporary euphoria for a few days, but it is important to remember that reckless money printing worked for the Weimar Republic for a little while too before it turned into an utter disaster. Now that the ECB has decided to go this route, it is essentially out of ammunition. The only thing that it could potentially do beyond this is to print even larger quantities of money. As the global financial crisis begins to unfold over the next couple of years, the ECB is pretty much going to be powerless to do anything about it. Over the next couple of months, we can expect the euro to continue to head toward parity with the U.S. dollar, and eventually it is going to go to all-time lows. Meanwhile, the future of the eurozone itself is very much in doubt. If it does break up, the elite of Europe will probably try to put it back together in some sort of new configuration, but the damage will already have been done. (Read More….)
Iran, Obama, Boehner and Netanyahu
What the Speaker’s invitation to the Israeli Prime Minister reveals about leftist dogma.
Iran has apparently produced an intercontinental ballistic missile whose range far exceeds the distance between Iran and Israel, and between Iran and Europe.
On Wednesday night, Channel 2 showed satellite imagery taken by Israel’s Eros-B satellite that was launched last April. The imagery showed new missile-related sites that Iran recently constructed just outside Tehran. One facility is a missile launch site, capable of sending a rocket into space or of firing an ICBM.
President of Egypt Calls for Islamic Reform – Obama Defends Muslim Brotherhood
Brethren, we have a dangerous man in our White House. He sides with terrorists. He is letting extremely dangerous men out of Gitmo. He is doing exactly what he said he would do in his book.
I have had Christians say to me “But you should be praying for him!” And to them I answer “Yes! I am praying for him!”
Islam experts: No-go zones looming for America
The “no-go zones” in some Western nations, where law enforcement has lost control because of the influence of Islamic law, are coming to America.
That’s according to several Islam experts interviewed by WND who believe the kind of Muslim enclaves that have developed in Europe due to a lack of assimilation will eventually arise in the U.S. as the Muslim population grows.
Evangelicalism, Inc., and the silencing of critics
Yet, emerging leaders like Warren, Bill Hybels and others not only welcomed the attention, they embraced it. Thus was born the non-biblical “church growth” model for doing church. A key component of the model is consensus building. In other words, everyone from leadership to laity gets onboard with the leader’s “vision” of how things should be. Over time, those dissenters who call into question the methods are quietly but rudely shown the door.
Skin In The Game
by R.C. Sproul Jr.
Abortion is not only not a game, it’s not an issue. Babies, real human babies, are really and truly murdered.
Rob Bell promotes “Mother God” and “apophatic meditation” in new “Liturgists” show
by Marsha West
Emergent guru and one-time pastor of a megachurch, Rob Bell, is a busy man these days. He has a show on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN channel and has also been busy with his Zimzum of Love book promotions. And then there’s the podcast program he recently launched. Amy Spreeman, co-host of Stand Up For The Truth, reports that other theological partners on The Liturgists podcast “do not actively promote our names and personal images” for ego reasons. “What do The Liturgists talk about when they talk about God the Father?” Amy asks. “Well actually, they talk about God the Mother.”
Handling a Rabbi’s Objection About The Resurrection of Jesus
Dan Cohn-Sherbock, a well-known rabbi of Reform Judaism, and Jewish theologian has given some of his reasons for rejecting the resurrection of Jesus. He says: “As a Jew and a rabbi, I could be convinced of Jesus’ resurrection, but I would set very high standards of what is required. It would not be enough to […]
Fairy Tales and the Imagination
Here is a challenging article that reminds us how important stories are in shaping virtue in our children. As anyone who has read his or her Bible lately knows, stories are very important to God: the Bible is full of true stories as well as parables, all of which are designed not only to teach us what to think, but also how to feel about the subject at hand. Similarly, good fiction, while not on par with the God-breathed Scriptures, also shapes us through our imagination.
In this article, Vigen Guroian challenges you to consider the power of fairy tales to positively shape the imagination of children. Since we, as Christians, do not object to the idea of a common human nature, he will be arguing past us, but his is a potent argument nonetheless.
Headlines of Interest
Kim Riddlebarger – A Christian Jihad? Self-Defense as a New Crusade?
The President’s Deeply Dishonest Statement about Life
Where is the concern for “every child” being able to know that their life matters? Where is the burden to improve the “life chances” of unborn children? Nowhere. In fact, his administration doesn’t even acknowledge that they are a part of the moral equation. Rather, his administration cites “reproductive rights” and the “right to choose” as if they are absolute and inviolable rights. Bottom line: He believes that unborn children are nothing.
2 Principles to Consider if You Are Planning to Move
Here is what’s troubling to me—folks are usually not making church a first priority in their decision to move. Either they haven’t thought about what church they would go to in their new location, or they just assume there will be a good church near them no matter where they move (after all, this is America, where a church can be found on every street corner, right?).
Christology and the “Biblical Patriarchy” Movement
As the only Mediator between God and man, Jesus is also called Christ “because he was annointed with the Holy Ghost above measure; and so set apart, and fully furnished with all authority and ability, to execute the offices of prophet, priest, and king of his Church, in the estate both of his humiliation and exaltation” (WLC 42). To refer to a Christian husband and father as the ‘priest of his family’ applies an office to a sinful human being which, in the New Covenant, is only applied to the perfect God-man, Jesus Christ – and only He can fulfill this office of a priest. Not only does this blurring of categories esteem the role of husband and father more than it should (and may potentially lead to abuse of that role), but it diminishes the role of our Savior.
Exhort and Convict Those Who Contradict
It is this last reason that I think would shock most pastors who try to be less than controversial. You know these preachers. They speak about things that are true and in general, draw moral principles from the Bible. But they never come out and say something is right or wrong or dangerous. They think they are doing their flock a great favor, but in reality, they are like the parents that let their children play with scorpions.
Your Average Life Now
What happened to contentment (Heb. 13:5)? What’s so bad about an average, middle-of-the-road kind of life if it’s the life God wants us to live? There are lots of average Christians earning average salaries with average families. They are not to be despised, but encouraged, prayed for, and even admired as they serve God faithfully in their ordinary everyday obscurity.
Husbands, Pray with Your Wives
True spiritual intimacy in marriage is only accomplished through the Holy Spirit. Only the Spirit can break down the barriers she has to you and you have to her. Only the Spirit can truly minister to the deep places in her heart. You can’t be her god, and when you bring her with you to the One True God, you put both of you back on the only path to peace.
When Is It My Circus?
But a more effective approach is to deal directly with those in your church who are affected by the teaching. Find out why they are attracted to the teaching. Is there perhaps some shortcoming in your own ministry that is causing these folks to look elsewhere? But don’t go into attack mode. Gently lead them into a more correct understanding of the biblical teaching. You are dealing with the sheep, not the wolves.
One of the Clearest (and Earliest) Summaries of Early Christian Beliefs
Most recently, I came across an amazing paragraph in one of our earliest Christian apologies. Aristides, a converted Athenian philosopher, wrote an apology to emperor Hadrian around 125 A.D. As such, it is one of the earliest patristic writings we possess. It is a lengthy treatise which compares the God of Christianity with the gods of the barbarians, the Egyptians, and the Greeks. But, at one point, he summarizes what Christians believe in a manner that would rival even the Apostle’s Creed:
When Were The Angels Created? Follow Up
Q Re:When were the Angels created? The answer you gave seems to be very incorrect Scripturally. We have recently had this discussion in our Institute and through studying Scripture have found a very clear answer. I wonder if you might look at it and see if we are out in left field.
We read in 2 places:
Col 1.16 “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:…”
“For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day:…”
The Holy Spirit. Here And There?
Q. A friend claims that the Holy Spirit leaves earth when we do in the Rapture and is not here during the last seven years. I have the understanding that it is the Holy Spirit within us that leaves but He is also here
during those seven years for those who will come to Christ. Am I wrong?
Who Were The Thieves and Robbers?
Our Time is Short
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