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Posts tagged ‘New York’

Al-Qaida Magazine Calls for Car Bombs in US Read Latest.


Al-Qaida sounds a call for its terrorist followers to strike the United States and other Western nations with car bombs — and even suggests times and targets — in the Spring issue of its magazine, Inspire.

The magazine manifesto suggests U.S. targets such as Washington, D.C., New York, northern Virginia, Chicago, and Los Angeles, as well as locations in Great Britain, France and “other crusader countries.”

The article suggests terrorists aim for places that are heavily populated: sporting events, election campaigns, and festivals.

Christmas and New Year’s are suggested as good times for attack. In Europe, the article suggests attacking the Bastille Military Day Parade in Paris and soccer stadiums in England “when huge crowds leave the stadium and celebrate around the entrances and [the English Football Association's] FA Cup matches.”

“The important thing is that you target people and not buildings,” the article says.

Washington and New York have “symbolic importance,” the article says, because D.C. is the seat of the federal government and New York is the former capital and currently the country’s financial, cultural, transportation, and manufacturing center.

Northern Virginia is suggested because “almost all the military bases are based in this state, apart from the Air Force which is based in Chicago.” The area also is home to many government agencies, the Department of Defense and CIA and “attracts a load of tourists,” the magazine said.

Chicago is the second-largest financial center in the United States and is a major transportation hub. Los Angeles is the second-largest city and is home to Hollywood. Celebrities often visit restaurants in the area on weekends, the article says.

A letter from the editor in the front of the magazine reads in part:

“The American government was unable to protect its citizens from pressure cooker bombs in backpacks, I wonder if they are ready to stop car bombs!

“Therefore, as our responsibility to the Muslim Ummah in general and Muslims living in America in particular, Inspire Magazine humbly presents to you a simple improvised home recipe of Shahzad’s car bomb.

“And the good news is … you can prepare it in the kitchen of your mom too.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Greg Richter

Russian Forces Push Beyond Crimea Before Referendum.


Ukraine said Russian forces tried to push deeper into its territory and the Kremlin strengthened its rhetoric, threatening to escalate the worst diplomatic standoff between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.

By Saturday afternoon, The New York Times reports, Russian troops moved beyond the Crimean border and overtook a gas plant just beyond the regional border of Crimea.

Meanwhile, Russian troops entered the Kherson region on the Azov Sea from the Crimea peninsula they already occupy, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations, Yuriy Sergeyev, told reporters Saturday at the United Nations in New York. The Foreign Ministry in Kiev issued a statement protesting the seizure by Russian soldiers of the village of Strilkove.

The incursion raises tensions before the Black Sea Crimean region holds a referendum Sunday on joining Russia. While the European Union and the U.S. are threatening to tighten sanctions against Russia if it doesn’t pull back, President Vladimir Putin has said ethnic Russians in the region need protection from “extremists.”

“Russia now takes it as a fact that they’ve picked off Crimea and is sending more soldiers and provocateurs into Ukraine to test the waters and see how much further they can go,” Joerg Forbrig, a senior program officer at the Berlin bureau of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S., said in a phone interview.

As many as 130 Russian soldiers are in Strilkove, digging trenches and doing “other engineering work,” said Oleh Slobodyan, a spokesman for Border Guard Service. They have three armored personnel carriers and are in control of a Ukrainian natural gas pumping station, he said. There have been no military confrontations between Ukraine and Russia so far, he said.

The UN Security Council met Saturday in New York where Russia vetoed a resolution proposed by the U.S. that stressed the need for political dialogue. Thirteen members of the Security Council backed the resolution and China abstained.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said the vote shows Russia is “isolated, alone, wrong.” Chinese Ambassador to UN Liu Jieyi said the resolution would have resulted “in confrontation and further complicate the situation.” He said respecting “sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states” is a “fundamental” in China’s foreign policy.

U.S. officials who monitor social media say the number of posts on Twitter, Facebook and other public Internet sites about possible Russian incursions into eastern Ukraine and a growing number of unidentified men who appear to be Russians with military or police training is rising sharply Saturday.

The officials were quick to add that the trend doesn’t mean any Russian action is imminent and that the accuracy and origin of such posts are difficult to verify quickly. Nevertheless, one of the officials called the trend worrisome.

Clashes erupted Friday in Ukraine’s second-biggest city, Kharkiv, near Russia’s border, where a shootout left two dead and a policeman injured. Russian troops massed just inside Russia’s border nearby for exercises, stirring concerns of a Kremlin move to annex eastern Ukraine. Russia said it’s examining numerous requests for protection received from people living in Ukraine.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who met Friday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov without a breakthrough, warned Russia would face consequences if it failed to change course.

Russia moved more forces into Crimea, bringing the total to about 22,000 soldiers as of Friday evening, Ukrainian Defense Minister Ihor Tenyukh said in a website statement. The troops “may be used for an offensive,” he said.

Lavrov expressed outrage over March 13 clashes in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk in which one person was killed and 17 injured, according to the regional government.

“Militants came to Donetsk from other regions and started fighting with demonstrators,” Lavrov said.

Putin is driven by deep geopolitical goals and isn’t likely to fear the consequences of sanctions by Western nations, Eugene Rumer, director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington policy group, said in a telephone interview.

After watching the North Atlantic Treaty Organization expand and the U.S. build ties with former Soviet Union countries, Russians feel they “have every reason to push back and expand their ‘sphere of privileged interests,’” Rumer said.

“The confrontation has reached a new level,” acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov said in a website statement late Friday. “Either the new young democracy wins, or a totalitarian curtain falls on Ukraine.”

Putin’s government contends ethnic Russians in Crimea are at risk after the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, an assertion that Ukraine’s new leaders deny. The Kremlin supports Crimea’s recently appointed administration, which organized Sunday’s referendum.

Crimean Premier Sergei Aksenov told reporters in the region’s capital, Simferopol, that the peninsula may become part of Russia next week, though full integration may take a year. Turnout is expected to be more than 80 percent, he said.

“Preparations are already under way to incorporate Crimea into Russia,” Sergei Markov, a Kremlin adviser and vice rector of the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics in Moscow, said in a telephone interview from Sevastopol on Saturday.

Russian lawmakers are scheduled to consider legislation March 21 that would allow Russia to incorporate parts of countries where the central authority isn’t functioning and local residents want to secede, he said.

The bill isn’t needed to make Crimea part of Russia because the region already declared independence from Kiev, according to Markov. It would allow for the annexation of parts of eastern Ukraine, though Russia would only want to do that if it’s sure “we are welcomed with flowers,” he said.

Russian stocks posted the biggest weekly drop since May 2012, with the Micex Index sliding 7.6 percent to 1,237.43 Friday, the lowest level since May 2012. Russia’s 10-year bond fell for a sixth day, driving up the yield by 38 basis points to 9.79 percent, the highest level since 2009. The ruble weakened 0.2 percent to 43.0570 against Bank Rossii’s target basket of dollars and euros Friday in Moscow. Gold climbed to the highest in sixth months.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of U.S. stocks fell 2 percent this week to 1,841.13, erasing its gains for the year. The UX index of Ukrainian stocks was down 7.1 percent for the week. Even so, Ukrainian Eurobonds and the hryvnia rebounded after Lavrov said Russia had no invasion plans.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will travel to NATO members Poland and Lithuania on March 17, the day after the Crimea vote, for talks on Ukraine, according to a White House statement. The Pentagon said this week that it would send 12 F-16 aircraft to Poland as a sign of U.S. commitment to defend allies in the region, and the U.S. sent six fighter jets to Lithuania last week.

EU foreign ministers, who meet March 17, the day after the Crimea vote, are poised to impose asset freezes and visa bans on people and “entities” involved in Russia’s seizure of the peninsula, an EU official said. The next stage of sanctions would be weighed at a summit at the end of next week.

Forbrig said that visa bans and other political moves aimed at Russia won’t deter Putin.

“If Putin sees the EU sanctions as not strong enough, he may view them as a green light to go further,” Forbrig said.

“We have to get to the material base of Putin’s regime through economic and trade measures that both target his revenue directly and have a snowball effect of scaring off investors and fueling capital flight out of Russia,” he said.

Bloomberg contributed to this report. 

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Newsmax Wires

Obama, Hillary Join Forces to Raise Money for Democrats.


President Barack Obama is bolstering his party’s campaign coffers, joining an ally of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to help the Democratic National Committee climb out of a worrisome deficit. It’s the latest alignment of the Obama and Clinton orbits, as the former first lady considers a White House bid in 2016.

Obama is traveling to New York Tuesday to raise money for the party at two events, including a high-dollar fundraiser at the home of Alan Patricof, the founder of a New York venture capital fund. Patricof is a longtime Clinton friend and financial bundler for her Senate and presidential campaigns.

The event illustrates the overlapping fundraising draw that Obama and the former first lady, senator and secretary of state represent for the party at a crucial time for the cash-strapped DNC. It also helps bridge some internal party tensions between donors who are merely interested in presidential politics and the Democrats’ needs during this year’s midterm elections.

Patricof wrote in a February email to contributors that he and his wife, Susan, had been “relatively quiet on the political front” following Clinton’s loss to Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary.

“The most effective way that we all can be helpful to Hillary, and the Democratic Party in general, is to make sure that the Democratic National Committee is as strong as possible if Hillary should decide to run in 2016 and, for that matter, if any other good candidate appears on the scene if she decides not to be in the race,” Patricof wrote in the email, first reported by Politico.

He called the fundraiser with Obama a “fireside chat” that would include 13 couples — 26 people — paying $32,500 per person.

The DNC has been trying to pare down millions of dollars in debt accumulated during Obama’s re-election campaign; through the end of January the DNC owed more than $15 million.

Obama, who will also raise money at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser while in New York, has been making a sober fundraising pitch of late, warning that Democrats run the risk of losing control of the Senate if the party doesn’t have the resources to motivate voters this November.

The president’s cash-raising comes amid tensions with Russia over Ukraine and a fast-approaching health care sign-up deadline that have been preoccupying the White House, underscoring the competing demands on Obama. It also comes as Obama is struggling with tepid approval ratings. Recent Gallup and CNN/Opinion Research polls place his job approval at 45 and 43 percent respectively. Over the past year, Obama’s approval ratings as measured by Gallup have fluctuated between a high of 51 percent last April and 39 percent in January.

If Clinton runs and wins the party’s nomination in 2016, the DNC would serve as a platform of continuity between the Obama White House and a future Clinton campaign. Party leaders recently outlined plans to build upon its technological advantage over Republicans and expand its voter registration and protection work in key states, steps that will help Obama’s successor.

The DNC already has plenty of Clinton connections. Committee members include Harold Ickes and Minyon Moore, both longtime advisers to Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. One of its top fundraisers is Michael Kempner, a New Jersey public relations executive who served as co-chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 national finance committee and was a top bundler for Obama in 2012.

For many Clinton backers, the DNC is a natural place to offer help while the former New York senator mulls her future.

“It’s a clear signal that the Clinton faction of the party is seeking to help the president any way possible,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a New York-based Democratic strategist who advised Bill Clinton’s campaigns. “Money is still the mother’s milk of American politics.”

The fundraiser is the latest in a series of steps that have helped bring together the Obama and Clinton camps after the bitterness of the 2008 primary fight.

Democratic super PAC Priorities USA Action recently brought on board Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, to lead the group. It made clear that it will back Clinton if she seeks the nomination. The super PAC’s executive director is Buffy Wicks, a former top Obama campaign staffer.

Ready for Hillary, a grassroots group aiming to lay the groundwork for a Clinton campaign, is advised by former Obama campaign aides Jeremy Bird and Mitch Stewart. In Iowa, which traditionally holds the nation’s first presidential caucus, the super PAC dispatched 250 volunteers last weekend to sign up new members at county Democratic conventions. The group covered 84 of the state’s 99 counties.

Patricof is managing director of Greycroft LLC, a venture capital firm he founded in 2006. In November, Obama appointed him to the President’s Global Development Council.

 

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

34 Questions On The Sandy Hook School Shooting That Have Never Been Answered (VIDEO).


Regardless of how you view the Sandy Hook Newtown school shooting, it has raised multiple questions that have never received satisfactory answers, such as:

  1. Why were no “Life-Flight” or “Life-Star” helicopters called in to assist victims at Sandy Hook?
  2. Why were paramedics and EMTs denied access to victims?
  3. Why did the medical examiner not allow families to see the bodies of their dead children?
  4. Why was such an effort made to tie both Adam and Nancy Lanza to the Sandy Hook school, when later it was found that those reports were false?
  5. The school nurse claims to have heard 5 shots. How would 5 shots result in over 20 dead bodies?
  6. Why was the Newtown school completely destroyed with no trace of it remaining? They didn’t tear down the school in Columbine, Colorado.

34 Questions On Sandy Hook Shooting That Have Never Been Answered from Now The End Begins onVimeo.

…and the list goes on and on. We invite you to watch this video and simply attempt to answer these 34 questions yourself using only available facts, common sense and logic. But we promise you, that if you simply watch the video all the to the end, you will absolutely come to the conclusion that whatever actually happened at the Sandy Hook School, it is not what we have been lead to believe.

Why Is This ‘Grieving Dad’ Smiling And Laughing Before His Obviously Fake Performance? from Now The End Begins on Vimeo.

And what about “greiving dad” Robbie Parker? When he thought the cameras were not rolling, he is seen laughing and joking like he doesn’t have a care in the world. When he starts to talk, he gives the most pathetically-bad display of horrible acting, with all the fake crying you can stand to watch. Click and see for yourself.

by NTEB News Desk

Christine O’Donnell: Tax Law Didn’t Protect Me.


A federal law intended to protect the privacy of personal tax information has become a “shield” to protect tax agency employees, says tea party favorite Christine O’Donnell, whose tax data was accessed  immediately after she announced her Republican Senate candidacy in Delaware nearly three years ago.

“What was written as a well-meaning law to protect taxpayers has inexplicably transformed into a shield for the perpetrators,” O’Donnell wrote in the New York Post Saturday under the headline “Christine O’Donnell: I was a victim of the IRS.”

“Unless the law is changed, there will be no public accountability for those who committed this crime, no one will be brought to justice — and there will be no deterrent preventing such crimes from being committed again.”

O’Donnell defeated former Delaware Gov. Mike Castle, in a 2010 primary for Vice President Joe Biden’s old seat, but lost the general election to Democrat Chris Coons.

The day she announced her candidacy the Internal Revenue Service placed an $11,744 tax lien on a Wilmington home O’Donnell had sold in 2008.

“On March 9, 2010, around 10 a.m., I announced my plans to run for the Senate representing Delaware,” O’Donnell said in her Post column. “Later that same day, my office received a call from a reporter asking about my taxes.

“It’s since come out, after a halting and unenthusiastic investigation, that a Delaware Department of Revenue employee named David Smith accessed my records that day at approximately 2 p.m. — out of curiosity, he says.

“That these records ended up in the hands of the press is just a coincidence, the IRS claims,” O’Donnell said.

“The tax records given to the reporters weren’t even accurate,” she continued. “I had never fallen behind on my taxes, and a supposed tax lien was on a house I no longer owned.

“The lien was highly publicized and used as political ammunition by my political opponents. The IRS later withdrew the lien and blamed it on a computer glitch but, at that point, the damage — and the invasion of my privacy — was done,” O’Donnell said.

She noted how the IRS has admitted to targeting tea party, conservative, and religious groups in their applications for tax-exempt status and acknowledged how “opponents of President Obama have been subjected to audits soon after criticizing the administration.”

In fact, former Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz and other conservatives have charged to Newsmax TV that last month’s indictment of Obama critic and best-selling author Dinesh D’Souza on campaign-finance charges “smacks of selective prosecution.”

“What we all have in common,” O’Donnell said. “No answers.”

A Treasury Department official told O’Donnell in January 2013 that “my tax records were compromised and misused,” she said, but since then, “no one has been called to testify, no more answers given.

“How did Smith’s curiosity become an erroneous tax lien? How did the material end up in the hands of a journalist?” O’Donnell asked. “Neither Smith, nor anyone else in the Delaware Department of Revenue, nor anyone at the IRS, has never been placed under oath to explain this.”

The House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee are investigating the IRS targeting — and Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley has discussed O’Donnell’s case.

Just this week, Grassley and three other Judiciary Committee members called on FBI Director James Comey to answer specific questions regarding the “routine review” of campaign filings, IRS records and other data that led to the D’Souza indictment.

But “in a brutal irony, even if Congress does track down answers, they may not be able to share what they discover with me,” O’Donnell said.

That’s because of the law requiring the privacy of personal tax information.

“Too bad it didn’t protect mine,” O’Donnell said.

“It has already been 10 months since Sen. Grassley and I were told by Treasury Department officials that we would be given information about my case,” she added. “What is taking so long?

“The only way people will be confident the government is truly on their side is if these cases are resolved with the perpetrators held accountable and brought to justice,” O’Donnell said. “Until then, any taxpayer is a potential target.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Todd Beamon

DeMint: Republicans Had Little Choice on Debt-Limit Vote.


Last week’s debt-limit vote brought criticism from many conservatives, but Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint said he believes Republicans did the only thing they thought they could do.

“It was a defining vote this week,” DeMint told NBC “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer. “I think it showed that all the Democrats in Congress were completely willing to give the president a blank check to borrow whatever he wanted. Most of the Republicans weren’t.”

However, the former South Carolina GOP senator said, Republican leaders, like House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, have figured out that they either give President Barack
Obama “all the money and debt he wants or he’s going to close the government down and blame it on them. So I think they did what they thought was the only thing they could do.”

Editor’s Note: 
Secret ‘250% Calendar’ Exposed — Free Video

Story continues below video.

DeMint said he doesn’t blame Boehner or other Republicans for their vote, but he also does not believe people who share his brand of conservatism feel well-represented in the nation’s capital, and many Americans, “regardless of political labels,” feel the same way.

“I hear it all over the country and I think that’s why you see a stirring in the country,” DeMint said. “Frankly, people are less interested in the label of Republican and Democrat and they’re tired of that but they will unite around some principles that will give us a stronger economy, a strong society, a strong America… America’s not nearly as divided as it looks like they are in Washington.”

DeMint said he is concentrating on his work with the Heritage Foundation, which is working to promote conservative goals. He said he is not involved in the super PAC he founded, Senate Conservative Fund, which aims to oust moderate Republicans, including making a push this past week to remove Boehner as House speaker.

“We’re less involved with, really, trying to cram anything down the throats of congressman and senators,” said DeMint.

Editor’s Note: Secret ‘250% Calendar’ Exposed — Free Video

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Dems Hope to Force House Vote on Minimum Wage Hike.


House Democrats said Thursday they will try to highlight GOP resistance to a higher minimum wage with a tactical maneuver meant to bring new attention to an issue they consider a political winner.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said her party will push a “discharge petition” when Congress returns from its recess on Feb. 24. If Democrats can persuade roughly two dozen Republicans to sign the petition, it would force GOP leaders to allow a House vote on the wage issue.

Most Republican lawmakers oppose a higher minimum wage. They say it prompts employers to cut down on hiring, a claim Democrats dispute.

It’s by no means clear Democrats can collect enough signatures in the House, where they hold 200 seats to the Republicans’ 232. Three seats are vacant.

Pelosi’s announcement, at a House Democratic retreat in rural Maryland, might displease immigration reform advocates who want priority given to a discharge petition on that subject. Pelosi said a discharge effort may come later for immigration, but “right now we’re starting with the minimum wage.”

Democrats say most Americans favor both a higher minimum wage and sweeping changes to immigration laws. They say Republican leaders thwart the public’s will by refusing to allow House votes on these topics.

President Barack Obama and many congressional Democrats want to raise the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.10.

An AP-GfK Poll in January found 55 percent of U.S. adults favor an increase in the minimum wage. Just 21 percent oppose it, and 23 percent are neutral.

Democrats say it’s frustrating to see polls show widespread support for their proposals — including a higher minimum wage and an immigration overhaul — even as Republicans appear likely to retain their House majority and possibly gain control of the Senate in this year’s elections.

Some strategists want congressional Democrats to find new ways to underscore their differences with Republicans, and paint Republicans as obstructionists.

“The minimum wage is one of the illuminating contrasts we have,” Rep. Steve Israel, of New York, told reporters at the party’s retreat. He chairs the committee overseeing Democrats’ House races.

Earlier, Republicans dismissed the idea of Democrats getting enough petition signatures to force a House vote on a Senate immigration bill that would grant new pathways to legal status for millions of immigrants.

“This scheme has zero chance of success,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner. “A clear majority in the House understands that the massive Senate-passed bill is deeply flawed.”

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said he believes nearly all House Democrats would sign a petition seeking a vote on a higher minimum wage. If all 200 Democrats did so, they would need 17 Republicans to join them.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

GOP Senate Leadership Bucks Cruz’s 60-Vote Debt Ceiling Bid.


Image: GOP Senate Leadership Bucks Cruz's 60-Vote Debt Ceiling Bid

After a dramatic Senate tally in which top GOP leaders cast the crucial votes, must-pass legislation to allow the government to borrow money to pay its bills cleared Congress Wednesday for President Barack Obama’s signature.

The Senate approved the measure by a near party-line 55-43 vote. All of the “aye” votes came from Obama’s Democratic allies.

But the vote to pass the measure was anticlimactic after a dramatic 67-31 tally — held open for more than an hour — in which the measure cleared a filibuster hurdle insisted on by tea party Republican Ted Cruz of Texas. The Senate’s top two Republicans — both facing tea party challenges in their GOP primaries this year — provided crucial momentum after a knot of Republicans in the Senate well were clearly unhappy at having to walk the plank.

Urgent: Do you support Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination for President? Vote Now 

After Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Minority Whip John Cornyn, voted “aye” several other Republicans switched their votes in solidarity. Twelve Republicans ultimately voted to help the measure advance but the tally appeared to be in doubt for several anxious minutes.

“A lot of people stepped up and did what they needed to do,” said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, who voted to advance the bill, as did Mark Kirk of Illinois, who said: “Members didn’t want to” vote for it.

The 12 Republicans who voted against Cruz’s measure were: John Barrasso, Wyo.; Susan Collins, Maine; Bob Corker, Tenn.; John Cornyn, Texas; Jeff Flake, Ariz.; Orrin Hatch, Utah; Mike Johanns, Neb.; Mark Kirk, Ill.; John McCain, Ariz.; Mitch McConnell, Ky.; Lisa Murkowski, Alaska; John Thune, S.D.

Cruz’s demands irritated Republicans because it forced several of them, particularly McConnell, to cast a difficult vote. McConnell faces a May primary against tea party candidate Matt Bevin, whose supporters adamantly oppose increasing the debt limit.

“In my view, every Republican should stand together against raising the debt ceiling without meaningful structural reforms to rein in our out of control spending,” Cruz said.

After the tally, Cruz said he had no regrets, saying the “Senate has given President Obama a blank check.”

Asked about forcing a difficult vote upon McConnell, Cruz said: “That is ultimately a decision … for the voters of Kentucky.”

The legislation would permit Treasury to borrow normally for another 13 months and then reset the government’s borrowing cap, currently set at $17.2 trillion, after that.

It passed the House Tuesday after Republicans gave up efforts to use the debt ceiling measure to win concessions from Obama on GOP agenda items like winning approval of construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The measure is required so that the government can borrow to pay bills like Social Security benefits, federal salaries, and payments to Medicare and Medicaid providers.

Quick action on the debt limit bill stands in contrast to lengthy showdowns in 2012 and last fall when Republicans sought to use the critically necessary measure as leverage to win concessions from Obama. They succeeded in 2011, winning about $2 trillion in spending cuts, but Obama has been unwilling to negotiate over the debt limit since his re-election, and Wednesday’s legislation is the third consecutive debt measure passed without White House concessions.

Republicans have been less confrontational after October’s 16-day partial government shutdown sent GOP poll numbers skidding and chastened the party’s tea party faction. Republicans have instead sought to focus voters’ attention on the implementation and effects of Obama’s health care law.

The measure is required so that the government can borrow to pay all of its bills, including Social Security benefits, federal salaries, payments to Medicare and Medicaid providers and interest on the accumulated debt. Congress has never failed to act to prevent a default on U.S. obligations, which most experts say would spook financial markets and spike interest rates.

Most Republicans say any increase in the debt ceiling should be accompanied by cuts to the spiraling costs of costly benefit programs like Medicare.

“We need some reform before we raise the debt ceiling. We need to demonstrate that we are taking steps that will reduce the accumulation of debt in the future,” said Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, top Republican on the Budget Committee. “And the president and the Democratic Senate have just flatly refused. So they’ve just said, `We’ll accept no restraint on spending’.”

Some Republicans seemed irked that Cruz wouldn’t let the bill pass without forcing it to clear a 60-vote threshold that required some Republicans to walk the plank and help it advance..

“I’m not going to talk about that,” said Orrin Hatch when asked if Republicans are annoyed with Cruz.

Passage of the debt limit measure without any extraneous issues comes after House GOP leaders tried for weeks to find a formula to pass a version of their own that included Republican agenda items like approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and repeal of an element of the health care law. But a sizable faction of House Republicans simply refuse to vote for any increase in the government’s borrowing abilities, which forced House Speaker John Boehner to turn to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to pass the measure on the strength of Democrats.

The debt measure permits Treasury to borrow regularly through March 15, 2015, putting the issue off until after the November elections and setting it up for the new Congress to handle next year. If Republicans take over the Senate, they’re likely to insist on linking the debt ceiling to spending cuts and other GOP agenda items, but for now at least, the issue is being handled the old fashioned way, with the party of the incumbent president being responsible for supplying the votes to pass it but with the minority party not standing in the way.

“I think we will go back to the responsible way of making sure that our country does not default,” said Democratic Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray.

Senate action Wednesday would safely clear the debt issue off of Washington’s plate weeks in advance of the Feb. 27 deadline set last week by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. The debt limit was reset to $17.2 trillion after a four-month suspension of the prior, $16.7 trillion limit expired last Friday. Lew promptly began employing accounting maneuvers to buy time for Congress to act.

Urgent: Do you support Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination for President? Vote Now 

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

What Parents Can Learn from the Creationism vs. Evolution Debate.


Brent Rinehart

Like more than 750,000 others, I tuned in to the recent “Creationism vs. Evolution” debate. In case you missed it, it pitted Bill Nye (“the Science Guy”) against Answers in Genesis CEO Ken Ham, and of course, Nye sported his signature bow tie – something I’ve loved about him since my youth.

This age-old debate had the feel of the Scopes Monkey Trial, or at least how it was depicted inInherit the Wind (1960): small town location, massive amounts of attention and media coverage, and high-profile representatives arguing the case. The battle lines were drawn. Modernists versus fundamentalists. Science versus religion. Darwin versus God. Us versus them.

As I followed the conversation on Twitter, most of it disparaging from one side or the other, I couldn’t help but feel this great amount of concern about the world my children are growing up in. There’s no civility in our debate anymore. If you base it all on social media, there is no doubt less tolerance for traditional Biblical views in our culture than even a few years ago. How can you possibly prepare your children for this?

Back in Kentucky, the conversation was mostly cordial … and entertaining. But, despite the entertainment value (I’m largely referring to Nye’s discussion of “traditional fish sex”), the debate predictably did very little to advance either side beyond its traditional adherents.

No strict evolutionist would be persuaded by “the Bible tells me so” answer to most seemingly unanswerable questions. Likewise, it’s unlikely any creationist could be persuaded when Nye’s answers to the same questions were repeatedly, “It’s a mystery.” It’s that answer that gets little publicity in all of the post-event media coverage, but it’s important. That’s the admission that even science can’t answer the most important questions in life: where did I come from, or why am I here?

I won’t get into the nuts and bolts of the debate. I’m not a scientist, debater, theologian or apologist. I’m a dad. And, that’s why the most interesting part of the debate came at the end of the event when each gentleman was asked to answer questions submitted by the audience. My favorite question (besides “What is your favorite color?) was the final one: “What is the one thing, above anything else, upon which you base your belief?”

I loved the answers from both, in different ways. I thought about my responsibility as a father as I listened. Each answer has applications in how we should prepare our children for the culture they are sure to encounter.

In the course of Ham’s answer, he said, “If you search out after truth, you really want God to show you, he will reveal himself to you.”

Nye referenced a quote from a college professor, “When you are in love, you want to tell the world.” He loves science and he loves discovering new things about the world around him. “It fills me with joy to make discoveries every day of things I had never seen before. It feels me with joy to know we can pursue these answers,” he added.

Though coming from a completely different place, their answers aren’t all that different. Both men spoke of the importance of not sitting idle and waiting for answers or knowledge. While the ultimate source of that knowledge might be different for each man, they each emphasized our need seek it. And, it’s our responsibility as parents – not the school’s, not the church’s – to teach our children to seek after truth and knowledge.

Proverbs 4:7 says “Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment” (ESV).

Our children should be taught to have a love for the world around them and discovering things about it. They should also be taught to have a love for truth and deciphering it.

As Christians, we can argue about nonessentials. But, I believe when we are active in this debate, and when we are active in this process of discovery, we are holding true to the greatest commandment, found in Matthew 22:37-38, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”

We might not be able to use words to describe how to love someone with all of hearts and souls, but we can feel it. We know it when we see. Loving something or someone with all of your mind is different. It’s your consciousness. It’s where you focus your brainpower.

Like most men, memorizing song lyrics or movie quotes comes naturally. In the middle of a conversation, I can whip out a quote from a movie faster than Doc Holliday drawing his gun at the OK Corral. “I’m your huckleberry.” (There, I just did it.)

But that’s always convicting to me. Why can’t I recall Scripture the same way? Maybe I’ve got the heart-love and the soul-love, but could stand to work on the mind-love.

We need to teach ourselves – and in turn teach our children – to seek after truth diligently. Don’t be satisfied believing what you are told to believe or what the culture around you pressures you to believe.

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7, NLT)

The “Creationism vs. Evolution” debate proved several things to me. Faith is required on either side; we don’t have all the answers and that’s okay; and despite what people might say, science and religion don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

But the most important thing it proved to me is that, as parents, we need to encourage our children to seek after knowledge, wisdom and most importantly, their Heavenly Father.

Brent Rinehart is a public relations practitioner and freelance writer. He blogs about the amazing things parenting teaches us about life, work, faith and more atwww.apparentstuff.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Publication date: February 7, 2014

The No. 1 Way to Transform Your Children’s Ministry.


Written by Dale Hudson
children's ministry

(Lightstock)

A transformed children’s ministry comes from transformational leadership. Transformational leadership is when a leader raises team members to higher levels of motivation and effectiveness.

Transformational leaders create an inspiring vision. An inspiring vision comes from:

  • Clarifying your purpose—why you do what you do
  • Core values that the team will be committed to
  • Creating a picture of what can be
  • Communicating the vision

Transformational leaders motivate people to buy in and own the vision:

  • Talk about the vision often—remember, vision leaks.
  • Tell the stories of kids and families who are being impacted by the vision.
  • Teamwork—show people the part they play in making the vision a reality.
  • Thank people on the team—encourage them, praise them, appreciate them.

Transformational leaders develop plans to make the vision a reality. They take the next step and deliver the vision:

  • Lead through changes that need to be made.
  • Lay out goals that will take you to the vision.
  • Let people see your commitment and persistence to overcome difficulties and roadblocks.

Transformational leaders build ever-stronger, trust-based relationships:

  • Find out your team members’ personalities, love languages, developmental needs and goals.
  • Focus on helping them grow, meet their goals and achieve their dreams.
  • Feedback—create a culture where feedback is not only received but asked for.
  • Face-to-face, personal time with your team members.

In conclusion, everything rises and falls on leadership. The natural overflow of transformational leadership is a transformed children’s ministry.

Dale Hudson has served in children and family ministry for over 24 years. He is the director of children’s ministries at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach, Fla. He was recently named one of the top 20 influencers in children’s ministry. He is the co-author of four ministry books, including Turbocharged: 100 Simple Secrets to Successful Children’s Ministry. Visit Dale at relevantchildrensministry.com.

For the original article, visit relevantchildrensministry.com.

 

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