Feb. 22, 2016
Deutsche Boerse AG halted trading on Eurex, Europe’s biggest derivatives exchange, as it investigated technical issues on the platform.
The U.S. called off nascent talks with North Korea aimed at formally ending the Korean War when it became clear that the reclusive nation wasn’t interested in stopping its nuclear program by conducting a ballistic missile test.
As economists size up the chances of the first nationwide slump since 2009, pockets of the country are already contracting. Four states — Alaska, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming — are in a recession, and three others are at risk of prolonged declines, according to indexes of state economic performance tracked by Moody’s Analytics.
Sovereign wealth funds may withdraw $404.3 billion from global stock markets this year if crude prices stay between $30 to $40 per barrel as oil-rich nations seek to shore up their finances, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.
Apple, resisting a court order requiring the company to help unlock the iPhone of a dead terrorist, asked the government to withdraw its demands and said Congress should form a committee to discuss the implications for privacy and personal freedoms.
The pound fell the most since the U.K.’s 2009 banking crisis after London Mayor Boris Johnson, one of the nation’s most popular politicians, said he’ll campaign for Britain to leave the European Union in a June referendum.
Private air travel is getting the Uber treatment with some of the industry’s biggest customers — members of the Saudi Royal family — investing $26.1 million in a company that lets users book private jets from a smartphone.
HSBC Holdings Plc posted an unexpected fourth-quarter loss, its first since at least 2009, as revenue dropped and loans to oil and gas companies drove a jump in impairment charges.
Investors appear to have renewed faith in Glencore Plc Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg’s plan to turn around the fortunes of the embattled commodity trader and miner.
AP Top Stories
Bombings claimed by the Islamic State group in the Syrian cities of Damascus and Homs killed nearly 130 people on Sunday, highlighting the threat posed by the extremists as the country’s warring factions fight for the northern city of Aleppo and world powers chase an elusive cease-fire.
The Supreme Court is meeting for the first time since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, as speculation swirls over a potential successor. President Obama has vowed to nominate a candidate to take Scalia’s seat, but Senate Republicans, backed by their party’s presidential contenders, have pledged to block anyone Obama puts forward. Republicans have said the choice should await the next president.
Russia will ask permission on Monday to start flying surveillance planes equipped with high-powered digital cameras amid warnings from U.S. intelligence and military officials that such overflights help Moscow collect intelligence on the United States. Russia and the United States are signatories to the Open Skies Treaty, which allows unarmed observation flights over the entire territory of all 34 member nations to foster transparency about military activity and help monitor arms control and other agreements.
A plan by the state to establish a colony of venomous timber rattlesnakes on an off-limits island in Massachusetts’ largest body of water has some rattled by visions of dangerous serpents slithering through the surrounding woods, attacking hikers, fishermen and hunters.
Indonesia sank 27 impounded foreign boats on Monday, a minister said, as the world’s largest archipelago nation stepped up a campaign against illegal fishing in its waters.
More than 10 million people in India’s capital are without water despite the army regaining control of its key water source after protests, officials said.
Authorities in Michigan are searching for answers after a taxi driver went on a random shooting spree on Saturday, killing six people.
Thousands of migrants and refugees have been stranded near Athens and on Greece’s northern border after Macedonia stopped allowing Afghans in. Some 5,000 people were stuck on the border and another 4,000 arrived at Piraeus port, as Macedonia said only Syrians and Iraqis would be let in.
Fernando Cardenal, a Nicaraguan priest who defied Vatican orders to leave the revolutionary Sandinista government in the 1980s, has died aged 82. He was suspended from the priesthood after refusing to stand down from his post as education minister. He led a successful campaign against illiteracy in Nicaragua.
An inquiry into child sex abuse in Australia has cleared the way for victims to be present when Australia’s most senior Catholic gives testimony.
Saudi Arabia has put on trial 32 people, almost all of them members of the kingdom’s Shia minority, accused of spying for Iran, local media report.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) said he’s “concerned” Canada’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has tripled the number of Syrian refugees allowed in the country, putting at risk the United States for potential terrorists to cross the border.
Pope Francis, fresh off a tour of Mexico that stopped at America’s border and pressed for more U.S. embrace of illegals and refugees, has now turned attention to the death penalty, and in an address aimed at the world, called for the abolition of the punitive measure.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a bill Sunday prohibiting the state from contracting for health services with any organization that performs or promotes abortions, blocking government funds to Planned Parenthood.
Top News – 2/22/2016
Record-setting Tropical Cyclone Winston hit Fiji and left this terrible scene across the island
The Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston caused heavy flooding, down power lines and damage to buildings. Cyclone Winston packed maximum sustained winds of 180 mph and was the strongest storm on record in the Southern Hemisphere…
Fifth-dimensional black hole could cause general relativity to break down
A team of physicists at the University of Cambridge have run computer simulations that show that a five-dimensional, ring-shaped black hole could violate Einstein’s general theory of relativity by creating a naked singularity, which would result in the equations behind the theory breaking down.
Erdogan’s Nightmare of United Kurdistan Fueling Turkey’s ‘Misguided Policies’
Erdogan’s obsession with preventing the Kurds from making any gains in Turkey or elsewhere is contributing to greater chaos in the Middle East, yet Ankara seems oblivious to this adverse trend.
Franklin Graham: ‘World Is Unraveling From Middle East to North Korea, Jesus Is Coming’
Franklin Graham has said that international news headlines indicate the world is unraveling, and urged people to trust Jesus Christ, who is going to one day “wipe the slate clean.” “While the United States is focused on its own politics, the world is unraveling. The danger signals are everywhere. Beheadings, rapes, murders, bombings are taking place every day across North Africa through the Middle East, all the way to the borders of India,” Graham wrote Thursday on his Facebook page.
False Flags To Be Used To Justify A Massive Ground Invasion Of Syria?
it appears that we may have just seen a “false flag” attack in Turkey. The Turks needed justification for bombarding the Kurds in northern Syria, and right on cue there was a “terror attack” in Ankara. During the weeks to come, will we see more “false flag” attacks that will be used to justify a full-blown ground invasion of Syria?
What did 1969 astronauts hear on dark side of moon?
Apollo 10 astronauts orbiting the moon in 1969 said they heard strange music at a time when they had traveled far beyond the ability to receive earthly broadcasts, and they weren’t sure whether or not to alert NASA authorities, newly released recordings of their conversations revealed. “It sounds like, you know, outer space-type music.”
‘Trump rewrites US politics rulebook’
As you can see, it didn’t matter with Trump’s base, because Trump’s base doesn’t care whether he is being probed on issues or not. They don’t care about what he says. He has rewritten the rulebook for US politics. It is extraordinary what we’re looking at. While everyone else sits around figuring out how to react to Trump in the media, how to deal with Trump
Clinton E-Mail Reveals Hezbollah Base in Cuba
Hezbollah established an operational base in Cuba, according to intelligence received by Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State. The State Department’s latest release of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s e-mails reveals that she received a message claiming Hezbollah is seeking to set up a base in Cuba to carry out attacks in Latin America.
Bennett calls to ‘truly unite Jerusalem’
“If you truly believe in a united Jerusalem, deeds have to be more than words. We need a real united Jerusalem. It takes determination, audacity and money to provide full services and law enforcement in the entire city.”
Obama: We’re better off now than when I started as President
“There is no doubt that we are better off than we were when I came into office,” said the President when asked if his presidency and his administration had made real change in the US.
IDF, U.S. European Command Undertake Joint Military Drills
The IDF and the United States European Command (US EUCOM) began their eighth ballistic missile defense exercise today. The joint exercise, known as Juniper Cobra, has taken place every two years since 2001. Its primary purpose is to enhance interoperability between the two militaries and improve joint defensive capabilities.
Assassination Attempt on Netanyahu Averted
A Hamas terror cell operating out of Jerusalem had been planning a mass casualty attack with the added goal of assassinating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
Earthquakes Rattle Morris County Towns – Again
Sunday was filled with excitement in the Butler and Kinnelon area, just as it was Thursday night, as another earthquake was recorded.
Magnitude 5 quake near Seddon
A magnitude 5 earthquake has hit near Seddon, but St John says it hasn’t received any calls or reports of injuries from the area. Geonet said the severe quake hit shortly after 4pm was 8km deep, about 30km south-east of the upper South Island town.
Moderate 5.5 earthquake hits Nepal
At least 434 aftershocks with four or more magnitude have been recorded so far since the 2015’s devastating earthquake.
China signals no South China Sea backdown as foreign minister goes to U.S.
China’s South China Sea military deployments are no different from U.S. deployments on Hawaii, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday, striking a combative tone ahead of a visit by Foreign Minister Wang Yi to the United States this week. The United States last week accused China of raising tensions in the South China Sea by its apparent deployment of surface-to-air missiles on a disputed island, a move China has neither confirmed nor denied.
IDF, US European Command undertake joint military drills
The IDF and the United States European Command (US EUCOM) began their eighth ballistic missile defense exercise on Sunday. The joint exercise, known as Juniper Cobra, has taken place every two years since 2001. Its primary purpose is to enhance interoperability between the two militaries and improve joint defensive capabilities. The drills are not undertaken in preparation for any specific or potential scenario.
U.S. Scrambles to Contain Growing ISIS Threat in Libya
The Islamic State’s branch in Libya is deepening its reach across a wide area of Africa, attracting new recruits from countries like Senegal that had been largely immune to the jihadist propaganda — and forcing the African authorities and their Western allies to increase efforts to combat the fast-moving threat.
EU referendum: Pound sees biggest fall in a year on Brexit fears
The pound has seen its biggest drop in more than a year against the dollar amid uncertainty about a possible British exit from the European Union. It fell 1.65% to $1.4167, the biggest one-day drop since 2 January, 2015. The move follows London Mayor Boris Johnson joining the campaign to leave the EU after Prime Minister David Cameron set a June referendum date.
HSBC shares slide on earnings and bumpier road ahead
Shares in HSBC fell nearly 4% following a surprise fourth quarter loss and predictions of a “bumpier” road ahead because of China’s slowing economy. In the final three months of last year, HSBC reported a loss of $1.3bn compared with a profit in the fourth quarter of 2014. For the full-year, pre-tax profit was flat, up just 1% to $18.9bn (£13.1bn).
Kalamazoo, Michigan: Taxi driver held over ‘random’ killings
A taxi driver is being held over the deaths of six people in an apparently random shooting spree in the Michigan city of Kalamazoo. Jason Brian Dalton, 45, was arrested after attacks at three locations on Saturday evening. Two people, including a 14-year-old girl, remain seriously ill in hospital. It has been confirmed that Mr Dalton was a driver for cab-hailing app Uber.
India caste unrest: ‘Ten million without water’ in Delhi
More than 10 million people in India’s capital are without water despite the army regaining control of its key water source after protests, officials say. Keshav Chandra, head of Delhi’s water board, told the BBC it would take “three to four days” before normal supplies resumed to affected areas. Jat community protesters demanding more government jobs seized the Munak canal, the city’s main water source on Friday.
Saudi Arabia exposes alleged spying cell that collaborated with Iranian intelligence
A 32-person cell accused of espionage and ties to Iranian intelligence went on trial Sunday in Saudi Arabia, the London-based daily al-Hayat reported on Monday. According to al-Hayat, the indictment against the cell members accused them of forming a spying unit that transmitted secret information related to Saudi Arabia’s military capabilities to Iranian intelligence, thus hurting the kingdom’s national security.
London Underground trains splashed with anti-Israel ads for Israel Apartheid Week
Advertisements attacking Israel were splashed across London’s underground tube network on Monday as the annual “Israel Apartheid Week” began. The campaign, entitled “Apartheid is Great Britain,” takes the UK to task for providing arms to Israel which were used in 2014’s Operation Protective Edge to “massacre” Palestinians in Gaza.
Cyclone Winston leaves 18 dead, thousands without power in Fiji
The death toll from a ferocious cyclone which tore through Fiji over the weekend has risen to 18 as authorities on Monday began to get a grasp on the scale of the disaster and deploy aid to hard-hit outer islands.
Syria conflict: IS claims deadly Homs and Damascus blasts
The Islamic State group says it carried out bomb attacks in the Syrian capital Damascus and the city of Homs, which left at least 140 people dead. Four blasts in the southern Damascus suburb of Sayyida Zeinab killed at least 83 people, state media say.
Heavy gunfire heard as operation to flush out gunmen in Kashmir enters third day
Indian security forces battled for a third day amid heavy gunfire on Monday to clear militants who stormed a government building in the disputed Kashmir region and killed six people, officials and a witness said.
Russia’s defence minister on surprise visit to Iran
Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Sunday started a previously unannounced visit to Tehran with the conflict in Syria high on his agenda, Iranian state media reported.
Obama’s rudeness hits new heights with Scalia, Schumer
Gratuitous. Nasty. Petty. Spiteful. Insulting. Just plain rude. When the rhetoric of a major party’s leading presidential candidate falls to this level, we should be scornful. So, how is it OK when it isn’t just a presidential candidate, but a president, who does it?
China is quickly becoming one of the world’s biggest arms exporters
China has almost doubled its weapons exports in the past five years, a military think tank said on Monday, as the world’s third-largest weapons exporter pours capital into developing an advanced arms manufacturing industry.
Top Headlines – 2/22/2016
Ken Cascio – Cattle and Sheep
1) As presidential race continues, the field narrows and worldview divides become clearer
Winners and losers from the South Carolina primary, Nevada caucuses, Chicago Tribune (Chirs Cillizza)
2) Death of Antonin Scalia accentuates the importance of elections for American public and private life
Win one for Nino, Washington Post (Charles Krauthammer)
Supreme Court Appointment Could Reshape American Life, New York Times (Adam Liptak)
Resetting the Post-Scalia Supreme Court, New York Times (Linda Greenhouse)
3) Argument at Georgetown law highlights just how liberal American higher ed is
Georgetown law professors argue over how, and whether, to mourn Scalia, Washington Post (Susan Svrluga)
Law students of color hope to see civil rights ally named to Supreme Court, Washington Post (Courtland Milloy)
4) Creationists draw ire of media, labeled “evangelical extremists”
Noah’s Ark Rises in Kentucky, Dinosaurs and All, Newsweek (Lindsay Tucker)
In other news…
Canada, diplomacy and religious freedom: Canadians argue over how to promote religious freedom abroad, The Economist (M.D. and Erasmus)
Should a Baby Receive Anesthesia Before an Abortion Because He Can Feel Intense Pain?, Life News (Conor Beck)
More people think abortion should always be legal. And more people think it should never be legal., Washington Post (David Weakliem)
Frontrunning: February 22
- Futures sharply higher as oil extends gains (Read More)
- Global Stocks Gain on Rising Commodities Prices, China (Read More)
- Pound in freefall as Boris Johnson sparks Brexit fears (Read More)
- Pound Slides Most Since 2009 as Johnson Backs ‘Brexit’ Campaign (Read More)
- Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton Seize Leads for Their Parties’ Nominations (Read More)
- Oil Glut Will Persist Into 2017 as IEA Sees Prices Capped (Read More)
- Japanese Seeking a Place to Stash Cash Start Snapping Up Safes (Read More)
- San Bernardino victims to oppose Apple on iPhone encryption (Read More)
- Apple Calls for Congress to Form Committee for Privacy Issues (Read More)
- Syrian Conflict’s Toll Pressures Allies (Read More)
- Gold, Oil Go Their Separate Ways (Read More)
- Europe’s Economy Strains as Global Slowdown Takes its Toll (Read More)
- Japan PMI Shows Manufacturing Weakened, Dragged By Drop In Exports To China (Read More)
- Republican Marco Rubio winning Wall Street fundraising race (Read More)
- That Didn’t Work as Planned: Mexico’s Oil Monopoly Ends, Then Oil Tanks (Read More)
- China at the Heart of North Korea’s Illicit Cash-Flow Funnel (Read More)
- Buffett’s ‘Woodstock of capitalism’ goes global (Read More)
- HSBC Drops After First Quarterly Loss in More Than 5 Years (Read More)
- Emerging Markets Caught Between a Rock and Some Harsh Ratings (Read More)
Throughout history, governments have staged attacks on their own people in order to place the blame on their enemies. These kinds of attacks are known as “false flags”, and they are often used to justify military action. As I will explain below, it appears that we may have just seen a “false flag” attack in Turkey. The Turks needed justification for bombarding the Kurds in northern Syria, and right on cue there was a “terror attack” in Ankara. During the weeks to come, will we see more “false flag” attacks that will be used to justify a full-blown ground invasion of Syria? (Read More…)
Saudi Arabia already has nukes, Iran probably does, and the Russians are one of the two great nuclear powers on the entire planet. So if Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their Sunni allies do decide to conduct a full-blown ground invasion of Syria, could someone ultimately decide to use nuclear weapons when their backs get pushed up against a wall? As you read this article, there are thousands of military vehicles and hundreds of thousands of troops massed along the southern border of Turkey and the northern border of Saudi Arabia. If the command is given and those forces start streaming toward Damascus, it is inevitable that the Syrians, the Iranians, Hezbollah and the Russians would fight back. It would literally be the start of World War 3, and the Saudis and the Turks are trying very hard to convince the United States to be involved. But the truth is that we don’t want any part of this conflict, because it could very easily become the very first nuclear war in the history of the Middle East. (Read More….)
Well done sirs. (And/or madams.)
I am sorry but we can’t help reposting this tweet from the president from last week.
We also can’t help posting this graphic from last year.
Pay attention to what the graphs actually say and what the measurements are, but it is pretty clear, even before the likes of Bloomberg and CNBC started talking about a looming recession a recession was looming.
February 22, 2016
“The greatest good we can do our country is to heal its party divisions and make them one people.” —Thomas Jefferson, 1801
TOP RIGHT HOOKS
|Ronald Reagan and Antonin Scalia in 1986|
The politics were subdued Saturday as the Scalia family laid their patriarch, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to rest. Yes, Liberty lost an articulate and bold defender and the political scrabble surrounding his replacement’s nomination will be one for the history books, but the ceremony at the largest Catholic church in the country, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, focused on a great man and a higher truth.
“We are gathered here because of one man,” eulogized Rev. Paul Scalia, the son of the justice. “A man known personally to many of us, known only by reputation to even more. A man loved by many, scorned by others. A man known for great controversy, and for great compassion. That man, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth. It is He whom we proclaim. Jesus Christ, son of the father, born of the Virgin Mary, crucified, buried, risen, seated at the right hand of the Father. It is because of him. because of his life, death and resurrection that we do not mourn as those who have no hope, but in confidence we commend Antonin Scalia to the mercy of God.”
Washington elites such as AG Loretta Lynch, Joe Biden and Chief Justice John Roberts filled the pews. But one man was noticeably absent: Barack Obama. He released a photo of himself carrying a thick binder with what he said were potential Supreme Court nominees that he would go through over the weekend. That was Friday. On Sunday, rain interrupted his golf game. Nothing better than scoring political points.
The results from South Carolina are in with few surprises, unless perhaps it would be Marco Rubio’s second-place finish after coming in a dismal fifth in New Hampshire. Ted Cruz came in third (though only about 1,000 votes behind Rubio) in a state that should have been tailor-made for him. Donald Trump performed strongly despite praising ObamaCare and essentially calling the last Republican president a war criminal. Perhaps he can, as he recently boasted, “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and [not] lose any voters.”
The Trump Train remains impossible to derail until the field is down to two. Yes, Jeb Bush dropped out, but John Kasich and Ben Carson remain in the race, diluting the not-Trump vote. As Rubio put it, “[O]ver 70% of Republicans nationally have basically said we’re not voting for Donald Trump. And as long as that 70% is being divided up … of course he’s the frontrunner.” That’s assuming Trump has reached his ceiling. He’s defied all conventional wisdom so far, but it does seem that 30-35% is his plateau in the primary. Until Rubio or Cruz bows out, Trump has the clearest path to the nomination — followed by what at present appears to be a significant loss to Hillary Clinton.
The trouble is that neither Rubio nor Cruz has any reason to leave the race yet. They virtually tied in South Carolina, and are polling neck-and-neck in Nevada (which votes Tuesday). Most unfortunately, they’ve spent most of their time in recent weeks attacking each other, which has made both of them less appealing.
As we have said before, Trump’s card is the ace of anger affirmation — he’s tapping into an entirely justified swell of frustration among voters. And for that, we can thank Barack Obama and the failure of the GOP establishment to effectively stop him. If Trump wins the nomination, it may simply be the Republican establishment reaping what it sowed. That’s all well and good, but we think it will ultimately lead to Clinton carrying on Obama’s legacy from the White House. What will that have accomplished?
With the results of the South Carolina primary placing him in fourth, Jeb!™ Bush dropped out of the GOP presidential primary, saying, “The presidency is bigger than any one person.” Winning South Carolina was key to Bush’s campaign. It was where his brother and father picked up their support in their races. But the possibility of a Bush family dynasty and the crass rhetoric of Donald Trump doomed the former Florida governor’s efforts.
“I have had a front row seat to this office for much of my adult life,” Bush said in the speech announcing the end of his campaign. “I have seen fallible men rise up to the challenges of our time, with humility, and clarity of purpose … to make our nation safer, stronger, and freer. I firmly believe the American people must entrust this office to someone who understands that whoever holds it is the servant, not the master. Someone who will commit to that service with honor and decency.”
And with those comments, Bush demonstrated his respect for voters, the office and the process. As conservative blogger Rod Dreher wrote, it was Bush’s good character that prevented him from stooping to Trump’s level. It was what made him, in part, appear “low energy.” If it wasn’t for the toxic name of “Bush,” Jeb could have been one of the front runners in this primary. And despite not being the ideal candidate for 2016, his dropping out means there’s one less man of character in the race.
FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS
By Arnold Ahlert
A spate of stories published last week all point in one troubling direction: America’s adversaries have taken the measure of our commander in chief — and found him seriously wanting.
We begin with the news that Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Iran Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan regarding the purchase of the S-300 air defense system and offensive weapons that include Moscow’s most sophisticated T-90 tanks and Su-30 Flanker fighter jets. Thus one of the key provisions of the Iran nuclear deal, a.k.a. UN Resolution 2231 — requiring Tehran to get UN permission before acquiring “battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, large calibre artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems” — is on the verge of being ignored. Adding insult to injury, Gen. Dehqan is believed to be the architect of the 1983 Beirut bombing that killed 241 American service members.
Iran is also expected to thumb its nose at the same resolution this month when they test a Simorgh space launch vehicle characterized by U.S. officials as the basis of their covert program to develop long-range nuclear missiles. An unnamed State Department official who spoke with The Washington Free Beacon epitomized the administration’s flaccid response to the prospect, declining to speculate as to whether such a launch would violate the agreement, but promising to address any Iranian actions “inconsistent with any relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions … through the appropriate channels.” Iran insists the space launch vehicle’s 220 pound payload is too small to carry a first-generation nuclear warhead. The Beacon’s Bill Gertz reveals otherwise: “Space launch technology is identical to long-range missile technology.”
And from whom is Iran getting the technological expertise for such an effort? An April exposé by Gertz reveals that while the nuclear negotiations with Iran were proceeding, North Korea supplied the mullahs with “several shipments of missile components” that also “appear to violate UN sanctions on both countries.” That would be the very same North Korea that South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) asserts is planning a terrorist attack orchestrated by Kim Jong Un. The same North Korea that launched a long-range rocket of its own this month — following January’s test of hydrogen bomb components.
Americans must never forget why North Korea has nukes. The same bankrupt ideology that animates the Obama administration’s horrendous deal with Iran drove Bill Clinton and his North Korean emissary Jimmy Carter. They repeatedly assured the nation the Agreed Framework of 1994 would prevent a nuclear North Korea.
Even if one were to concede such a momentous failure were an honest mistake, the idea the Obama administration would so willingly repeat it exemplifies the arrogance of a president who believes clever rhetoric can overcome evil ambitions by Communist or Islamist totalitarians.
An equally ambitious China revealed the hollowness of Obama’s promise of an Asian “pivot,” locating surface-to-air missile launchers and a radar system Woody Island in the South China Sea. The island is part of the Paracel Island chain and ownership is claimed by both Taiwan and Vietnam. The rising level of aggression follows condemnation by China, which vowed there would be consequences following the passage of U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54) within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island, also part of the Paracel chain. A U.S. defense official called “on all claimants to halt land reclamation, construction, and militarization of features in the South China Sea,” but one suspects this is another “red line” moment for the administration.
Speaking of red lines, the administration’s failures in Syria may also lead to tragic consequences. “The Syrian civil war, still spiraling out of control, may soon lead to something even worse: a Russian-Turkish conflict that would engulf the region, magnify the war’s death toll and destruction, and likely mark the end of NATO,” explains columnist Benny Avni. Thus Secretary of State John Kerry’s allegedly engendered “cessation of hostilities” has become little more than what the French ambassador in Washington, Gerard Araud, referred to as “a smokescreen for the intensification of the offensive” by Russian and Syrian forces that included the bombing of two hospitals near the former rebel stronghold of Aleppo. “If Russia continues behaving like a terrorist organization and forcing civilians to flee, we will deliver an extremely decisive response,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated following the strikes.
If Russia and Turkey engage in all out war, NATO is supposed to help Turkey. Avni notes what will likely happen in that event. “We don’t do wars anymore, remember? We, and NATO, are the weakest link in the Syrian war, which by now is a mini-world war, with players from near and far deploying armies and backing proxy militias.” A senior NATO official was even blunter regarding cause and effect: “It’s clear that there has to be some actual ‘redline’ for Mr. Obama, something that the United States cannot tolerate Russia doing — but where is it? If I don’t know, I’m sure the Kremlin doesn’t either.”
Last week, Defense Intelligence Agency director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart brought the consequences of the Obama administration’s fecklessness home — literally. Stewart told the Senate Armed Services Committee that ISIL “will probably attempt to conduct additional attacks in Europe, and attempt to direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016.” His assertion was buttressed by National Intelligence Director James Clapper who explained the world’s foremost terrorist organization is active in approximately 40 countries, and that the world has more terrorist safe havens “than at any time in history.”
The Islamic State might have something else as well. Last November, “highly dangerous” radioactive material was stolen from a storage facility near Basra. The storage facility is owned by U.S. oilfield services company Weatherford WFT.N, and the radioactive material by SGS Turkey, an Istanbul-based testing and inspection company. An Iraqi official speaking on condition of anonymity stated the obvious, saying, “We are afraid the radioactive element will fall into the hands of Daesh (ISIL).”
That would be the same Islamic State expanding in Libya, courtesy of Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose “leading from behind” strategy abandoned Libya to terrorists after deposing strongman Moammar Gadhafi. The administration finally carried out airstrikes against ISIL there last Friday, reportedly killing as many as 30 people. Nonetheless, European and U.S. official believe the number of Islamic State fighters in Libya has increased from 2,000 to 5,000 — meaning once again the administration is half-heartedly attempting to clean up a mess of its own making.
Maybe not since the establishment of the United States itself have we seen an administration more willing to abide such chaos. While Americans remain embroiled in presidential politics, the world moves closer to war and/or another devastating domestic attack, with the added worry that a dirty bomb might be part of the equation. Through it all only one constant endures: This commander in chief and his cadre of equally delusional administration officials are more than willing to compromise national security for ideological purity.
MORE ORIGINAL PERSPECTIVE
- ANALYSIS: Mothers — Living and Leaving a Legacy
- Trump Attempts to Become Everyone’s Candidate
- Clinton’s Condescending Attitude Toward Blacks
- The Trouble With ‘Progressives’
- Wisconsin Purges Planned Parenthood of Funding
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
- Peggy Noonan: The Court, Like the Country, Needs Balance
- Imprimis: Charitable Giving and the Fabric of America
- Burt Prelutsky: Politics for Dummies
For more, visit Right Opinion.
- Hillary Clinton Wins Nevada Caucus
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For more, visit Patriot Headline Report
OPINION IN BRIEF
Peggy Noonan: “The closest you can come to public peace in resolving the question of Scalia’s replacement is to take a step wholly unusual, even unprecedented, and let the American people make the decision themselves, this year, with their 2016 presidential vote. … That they made the decision will allow people to accept the outcome more easily — either a real change in the ideological makeup of the court, or a court whose rough and not always predictable balance has been preserved. We take a swerve or stay where we are. But it will be the people who swerved or stayed. For President Obama to leave the Scalia replacement to the next president would be an act of prudence and democratic courtesy. … There is something increasingly unappeasable in the left. This is something conservatives and others have come to fear, that progressives now accept no limits. We can’t just have court-ordered legalized abortion across the land, we have to have it up to the point of birth, and taxpayers have to pay for it. It’s not enough to win same-sex marriage, you’ve got to personally approve of it and if you publicly resist you’ll be ruined. It’s not enough that we have publicly funded contraceptives, the nuns have to provide them. This unappeasable spirit always turns to the courts to have its way.”
The Gipper: “Recognize that government invasion of public power is eventually an assault upon your own business. If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals from customers, clients, or even government, recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he’ll eat you last.”
For the record: “Democrats continue to wage war against photo IDs being required at the polls, pretending its only purpose is to disenfranchise blacks. And yet blacks don’t seem to have a problem proving who they are when it comes to boarding planes, renting cars and apartments, buying beer and cigarettes or showing their photo ID to traffic cops. Only when it comes to voting do they suddenly become stateless, homeless and nameless, according to those promoting crooked elections.” —Burt Prelutsky
Bingo: “I think there’s an underlying question that is really in the back of people’s minds, and that is, you know, ‘Is she in it for us or is she in it for herself?’ I think that’s, you know, a question that people are trying to sort through.” —Hillary Clinton
The BIG lie: “Planned Parenthood does some very good work.” —Donald Trump
Alpha Jackass: “The reason that Ted Cruz lost the Evangelicals in S.C. is because he is a world class LIAR, and Evangelicals do not like liars!” —Donald Trump
Upright: “We are a nation of 300 million people. The two frontrunners are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It would be hard for me to think of two people less suited to the presidency in mind and character — especially character — than those two. But, in a democracy, the people get their way. And elections tell us a lot more about us than about the candidates.” —Jay Nordlinger
Late-night humor: “Over on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders is getting the support of students at Hillary Clinton’s alma mater, Wellesley College. Now Hillary Clinton is trying to get the support of Bernie’s alma mater, Jurassic Park.” —Jimmy Fallon
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson
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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Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham Says There is ‘Hope’ for Even the Most Hardened Atheist
Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis CEO and President of the Creation Museum, has encouraged Christians to remember that even the strongest of atheists can turn from their ways and be saved despite their blatant hatred of Jesus Christ and His followers.
3 Things I’ve Learned from Being an Introvert at Church
In spite of my introversion, and sometimes because of my introversion, I can actually be a good Christian.
4 Powerful Truths for Depressed Christians
Millions of people around the world are affected by mental health issues. These truths will help shine light into the darkness when depression and anxiety strike.
Newsweek calls those who believe in divine creation “evangelical extremists”
In today’s The Briefing Albert Mohler discussed an article that appeared in Newsweek entitled “Noah’s Ark Rises In Kentucky, Dinosaurs And All” that has to do with the Ark Encounter, the replica of Noah’s Ark being built by the ministry Answers in Genesis. According to Mohler, “The article itself is an attack on the ministry and an attack on the project, but what’s really, really interesting is the subhead in the article, because it speaks of evangelical Christians who deny the theory of evolution and believe in divine creation as,
Lindsay Tucker’s piece, says Mohler, “is really not all that important, but the headline is. It tells us that, according to the liberal secular elites in this country, if you believe in the biblical account of creation, you are an evangelical extremist. The dominant secular academy so committed to the worldview of Darwinism and evolution finds it inconceivable that a large sector of Americans still refuse to accept evolution and still believe in the biblical account of creation. So what exactly do they think of us? As being eccentric, or odd, or confessional, convictional? No, as this headline makes very clear, they consider us “evangelical extremists.” Who knew that merely believing in the total truthfulness and the historicity of the book of Genesis would earn us the label “evangelical extremists” in Newsweek magazine, but there it is in plain print.”
Today’s Kindle deals include the excellent Theologians on the Christian Life series from Crossway at just $3.99 each: Augustine; Bavinck; Calvin; Edwards; Luther; Newton; Owen; Packer; Warfield; Wesley. Also consider picking up Rise by Trip Lee at $1.99.
Samuel James responds to comments and criticism on his excellent article about nudity and sex in movies.
When you flip that page between the Old Testament and New Testament, you are travelling 400 years. What happened in that time? (This is an advertisement for a course, but still has a helpful and brief overview of the main headings.)
Rick Phillips explains why socialism is evil. He focuses on 3 reasons: “because socialism is a system based on stealing; because socialism is an anti-work system; because socialism concentrates the power to do evil.”
Marrieds love to tell singles going through transitions and hard times, “At least you’re not tied down! At least you’re free to be flexible! At least you can make your own schedule, etc.” Singles love to tell marrieds going through transitions and hard times, “At least you have each other! At least you’re married! At least you don’t have to do it alone!”
What’s it like to return from space? This little video gives one astronaut’s perspective.
This Day in 1649. 367 years ago today, “The Westminster Assembly adjourns, having held one thousand one hundred and sixty three sessions over a period of five years, six months, and twenty-two days.” *
Randy Alcorn explains our attraction to idols.
Nick Batzig explains the unexpected blessings of teaching children.
Though you hoard up wealth, gold is nothing but dust to a dying man. —C.H. Spurgeon
Our Time is Short
What is The Gospel?
God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.
The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.
Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.
God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.
But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.
And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.
This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.
God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.
God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.
Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.
There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.
The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.
The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.
The Gospel In A Nutshell
Now, with regard to this rule of faith—that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend—it is, you must know, that which prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word, first of all sent forth; that this Word is called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen “in diverse manners” by the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father; sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics.
Tertullian, “On Prescription Against Heretics,” Chapter XIIl
If you picked up a hitchhiker (not that I recommend doing that) and he saw a Bible on your car seat and said, “I’ve heard about this thing called the Gospel – can you explain it to me before you drop me off in one minute up the street?” What would you say?
Can you explain the gospel in 30 seconds? In one minute? In five minutes?
Here’s one way I have found helpful. The five main components of the gospel can be remembered on 5 fingers of one hand. Here they are:
1) Jesus’ birth
2) Jesus’ life
3) Jesus’ death
4) Jesus’ resurrection
5) Jesus’ ascension
Obviously each point can be elaborated on depending on how much time you have. Here’s the short version:
1) Jesus’ birth – Jesus, God himself, the creator of the universe, the Messiah, became a human being – took on flesh, and was born of a virgin.
2) Jesus’ life – Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. Though he was tempted in every way as we are, he never once sinned.
3) Jesus’ death – on the cross, Jesus himself took all our sins and paid for them. God the father counted all our sins to Jesus as if he himself had personally committed them. Then Jesus bore God’s wrath towards sin – the punishment we deserved – as a substitute for us.
4) Jesus’ resurrection – within 3 days, Jesus rose physically from the dead, proving that his sacrifice for sins have been accepted by God, since the punishment for sin was death. Jesus was seen by numerous people after he rose including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15).
5) Jesus’ ascension – Jesus ascended physically into heaven where he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And someday he will return to the earth.
That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life.
That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give you opportunities to share his good news today.
Ready to start your new life with God?
Who do you think that I am?
With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.
Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.
Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more
CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.
Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!
30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.
New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed
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