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Russian Deputy PM Laughs at Obama Sanctions.


Kirit Radia (@kiritradia)

 

MOSCOW – Russia’s deputy prime minister laughed off President Obama’s sanction against him today asking “Comrade @BarackObama” if “some prankster” came up with the list.

The Obama administration hit 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials with sanctions today as punishment for Russia’s support of Crimea’s referendum. Among them: aides to President Vladimir Putin, a top government official, senior lawmakers, Crimean officials, the ousted president of Ukraine, and a Ukrainian politician and businessman allegedly tied to violence against protesters in Kiev.

It remains to be seen whether the sanctions will dissuade Russia from annexing Crimea, but one an early clue that they will not be effective came just hours later when President Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as an independent state, perhaps an early step towards annexation.

U.S. official have warned of additional sanctions for Russian action, hoping it will deter Russia from any further aggression towards Ukraine, but it didn’t appear to upset the often outspoke Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin is seen in this July 17, 2012 file photo during a meeting with Indian Minister for External Affairs, S.M. Krishna in New Delhi. Raveendran/AFP/Getty Images

Rogozin, a friend of actor Steven Seagal, took to Twitter to tweak Obama, tweeting he thinks “some prankster” came up with the sanctions list

In a later tweet addressed to “Comrade @BarackObama,” he asked, “what should do those who have neither accounts nor property abroad? Or U didn’t think about it?”

Another Russian on the sanctions list, Vladislav Surkov, also seemed unconcerned.

Surkov, a top Putin ideologue often called the Kremlin’s grey cardinal, reportedly told a Russian newspaper, “It’s a big honor for me. I don’t have accounts abroad. The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing.”

Here’s who gets hit with the sanctions:

U.S. officials said that, among the sanctioned individuals were the “key ideologists and architects” of Russia’s Ukraine policy, while adding that some of the Russian officials were included in the list for their role in curbing “human rights and liberties” in Russia.

The sanctions freeze any assets under American jurisdiction and prevent American banks from doing business with the named individual, essentially freezing them out of the international banking system. The sanctions also impose a ban on their travel to the United States. Separately, but in coordination with the White House, the European Union announced sanctions today on 21 individuals that it plans to name later. U.S. officials told reporters that the American and European lists “overlapped” in some area, but declined to say how.

While some of the sanctioned officials are bold faced names, the White House move is unlikely to affect Russia’s decision making with regard to Crimea’s bid to join the Russian Federation. Russia’s stock market actually improved on the news that so few officials were included on the list. U.S. officials warned that, if Russia does go ahead with annexation of Crimea, additional penalties will follow, with more, harsher measures to come if Russia attempts to enter eastern Ukraine.

Kremlin aides

Vladislav Surkov – An aide to President Vladimir Putin, he was once considered one of Russia’s most powerful men. He has been called the Kremlin’s “gray cardinal” for his role as a power broker behind the scenes. He’s also credited the architect of Russia’s political system, with power concentrated in the presidency. In the past he was credited with shaping the ideology of the ruling United Russia party. He has also written rock music lyrics and is rumored to have authored a book.

Sergei Glazyev – An economic aide to Putin who oversaw relations with Ukraine. He frequently blasted the protest movement in Kiev and was outspoken in his criticism of American and European support for the protests.

 

Top government official

Dmitry Rogozin – An outspoken, hawkish Deputy Prime Minister, he’s known to have a close friendship with Hollywood actor Steven Seagal. As a member of Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev’s government, Rogozin is responsible for the armed forces and arms industry.

Russian lawmakers

Elena Mizulina – A senior lawmaker, she is considered one of the Kremlin’s morality enforcers in the parliament. She is perhaps best known as the co-author of last year’s homosexual “propaganda” law which sparked outrage overseas. She also proposed a measure to give Ukrainians Russian passports.

Leonid Slutsky – A lawmaker in the lower house of Parliament. He is the chair of the Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration, and Relations with Compatriots. He was one of the Russian observers attending Sunday’s referendum in Crimea.

Andrei Klishas – A member of the upper house of Parliament, the Federation Council, who proposed retaliatory action in case of Western sanctions on Russia. He is chairman of the Federation Council Committee of Constitutional Law, Judicial, and Legal Affairs, and the Development of Civil Society. 

Valentina Matviyenko – The head of the Federation Council, she is the most senior lawmaker on the sanctions list.

 

Crimean officials

Sergey Aksyonov – Once an obscure pro-Russian politician in Crimea, he has now been declared the prime minister.

Vladimir Konstantinov – The newly declared speaker of Crimea’s parliament.

 

Ukrainian officials

Viktor Medvedchuk – A pro-Russian politician, he is being sanctioned for having “materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support” to impeached President Viktor Yanukovich. Ukraine’s opposition has accused him of orchestrating or aiding a crackdown on protesters and opposition.

Viktor Yanukovich – The ousted president of Ukraine. He was elected in 2010 but was chased from office by protests last month.

Republicans Brace for Sign that Jeb Bush May Run in 2016.


By all appearances, former Florida governor Jeb Bush is a man on a mission.

His itinerary for the next several weeks includes stops in Tennessee, New Mexico and Nevada to appear with Republican candidates in this fall’s elections or help them raise money for their campaigns.

And then he speaks at a dinner ahead of a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting featuring several potential Republican presidential contenders at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The hotel is owned by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who gave over $100 million to Republican candidates in 2012.

Urgent: Who Should Be 2016 GOP Presidential Nominee? 

So what, exactly, is Jeb Bush up to? Could Bush, 61, the son of a U.S. president and the brother of another, quietly be laying the groundwork for a historic attempt to become the third member of his family to occupy the White House?

When Bush is asked if he will run in 2016, he deflects, saying he will decide by the end of this year based on family considerations and whether he thinks he can run “joyfully.”

Bush’s spokeswoman, Kristy Campbell, declined to comment.

But several other people close to him say that now more than ever, there are signs he might look past several potential hurdles – including polls that suggest Americans are not exactly enthralled with the idea of another President Bush – and seriously consider stepping into the fray.

At this point in previous election cycles when his name has surfaced, Bush has told friends, staffers and fellow Florida politicians that he would not run. However, he “has not given anyone the wave-off at this point” for 2016, said a Washington-based Republican strategist familiar with Bush’s discussions about the presidency.

To the contrary, this strategist said, Bush has in place an “inner circle” of fewer than a dozen people who are in regular contact with him weighing the pros and cons of running. “They are at the beginning of a very serious conversation.”

A former Bush campaign aide who remains in contact with the former governor said this year’s speculation is more warranted than that in previous years: “He’s really giving it true consideration. Possibly if you’d asked two years ago, we’d say, ‘Oh gosh, I don’t think he’d do this.’ But I think he’s giving it a real, serious look now.”

Former Republican senator Mel Martinez of Florida, who was secretary of housing and urban development during the presidency of Bush’s brother, George W. Bush, said that in Jeb Bush’s south Florida there is a growing belief among political observers that he is leaning toward joining what promises to be a crowded field of Republican presidential contenders.

Republican strategists said that Bush – whose eight years as Florida’s governor ended in January 2007 – could change the dynamic of the Republican nomination battle and provide a defining moment for a party struggling with a divide between conservative Tea Party activists and more moderate members of the Republican establishment.

There are no declared candidates yet, but the race for the Republican nomination appears to be shaping up as a contest largely among staunch conservatives favored by the Tea Party movement, such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz, libertarian Republican Rand Paul and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. A more moderate potential candidate, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, has been caught up in a political scandal that has made some Wall Street donors nervous about his prospects.

A campaign by Bush, a face of the party establishment, could challenge arguments of Tea Party activists and others on the right who see losses by John McCain and Mitt Romney in the last two presidential elections as reasons the party should nominate a more strictly conservative candidate.

For big-money Republican donors, strategist Matt Mackowiak said, Bush would represent a marquee name in U.S. politics that could attract the support beyond the far-right Republican base that will be needed to win a general election. He could also bring enough star power to vie against former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who officials in both parties expect to run and win the Democratic presidential nomination.

Bush is the donor class’ first choice in his home state, said Florida Bankers Association president and Romney campaign bundler Alex Sanchez.

 

‘JEB IS THE EXCEPTION’

For pundits, political observers and history lovers, the prospect of a Bush-Clinton battle for the White House would be a dream matchup: a showdown between two branches of America’s political royalty.

Recent early polls have suggested that if he were to run, Jeb Bush would be weighed down by Americans’ lingering attitudes toward his brother, who left office in January 2009 as one of the least popular presidents in U.S. history. In a Washington Post/ABC News poll this month, nearly half of the voters surveyed said they “definitely would not” vote for Jeb Bush in 2016 – a level of disapproval matched only by Romney.

Even Bush’s mother, former first lady Barbara Bush, has been lukewarm about the notion of another son running for president.

“There’s no question in my mind that Jeb is the best qualified person to run for president, but I hope he won’t, because he’ll get all my enemies, all his brother’s,” Barbara Bush, wife of George H.W. Bush, told C-SPAN in January. She softened her stance in an interview with Fox News this month, saying that “maybe it’s OK” if Jeb were to run.

For a Republican Party desperate to broaden its appeal among the nation’s fast-growing and Democratic-leaning Hispanic population, a figure like Jeb Bush could be significant. He speaks Spanish and his wife, Columba, was born in Mexico. Bush – who won 61 percent of Florida’s Hispanic vote in his 1998 governor’s race, according to exit polls – has backed legal status, but not full citizenship, for undocumented immigrants. This compromise drew conservative fire when Bush’ promoted his book “Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution” in 2013.

As governor, he also stressed using standardized test scores as metrics of school and teacher performances, an emphasis at the center of a nationwide debate in U.S. education. Bush, who runs an education foundation, has also promoted the idea of allowing parents and students a choice of which public school to attend.

Bush headlined a Republican National Committee fundraising lunch in southern California in February and spoke to a group of New York-area business leaders less than two weeks later. He also appeared in a U.S. Chamber of Commerce advertisement for the Republican candidate in a Florida special congressional election, and campaigned with his son, George P. Bush, who is running for Texas Land Commissioner.

In the coming weeks Bush will raise money for or appear with a slate of Republicans up for re-election in 2014: Senator Lamar Alexander and Governor Bill Haslam in Tennessee, Governor Susana Martinez in New Mexico and Governor Brian Sandoval in Nevada.

Some Bush allies reject the idea that his recent activity reflects a building desire to run for president.

“People who know a lot aren’t talking, and the people who are talking don’t know. He’s made clear he’s going to be deliberate and methodical in the way he goes about this,” said former Florida congressman Tom Feeney, who ran for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Bush in 1994 and remains close with him.

Several Republican strategists and Bush loyalists said it would take less time for Bush to organize a full-scale campaign team than it would for someone like Walker or Cruz, thanks to his family’s experience and connections. They also dismissed concerns that Bush would have trouble running a modern campaign, given that he has not run for office since 2002 – before the age of Twitter and the Tea Party.

“Jeb is the exception,” said Mackowiak. “The time it takes to build a national finance operation for one of those other candidates? He only has to spend a fraction of that to get his together. … The clock is ticking for him, it’s just ticking more slowly.”

Urgent: Who Should Be 2016 GOP Presidential Nominee? 

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

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

Searchers Spot Oil Slicks in Search for Missing Malaysian Airliner.


The Malaysian Airline plane that vanished from radar screens during a flight to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 aboard remained missing Saturday, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said.

Search operations midway between Malaysia and Vietnam’s southern coast were being intensified for the aircraft carrying 239 passengers and crew, and Vietnamese air force planes reported spotting two large oil slicks off the southern tip of Vietnam that could indicate a crash.

Relatives of the 154 Chinese nationals on the flight gathered at a hotel in Beijing to await news, CNN reports.

Flight MH370 departed from the Malaysian capital about 12:40 a.m. Saturday local time and was scheduled to arrive in Beijing at 6:30 a.m., the airline said in statements today. A search is under way for the Boeing Co. 777-200 aircraft, the airline said. Passengers are from 13 countries, it said.

“We deeply regret that we have lost all contacts with flight MH370,” said Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, chief executive officer of Malaysian Airline System. “Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew.”

China’s aviation authority said that the Malaysian flight hadn’t made contact, the Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the authority. The authority said that the flight-radar signal was lost with Ho Chi Minh City air control, Xinhua reported.

Faud Sharuji, vice-president of operations control for the airline, said that there was no idea where the aircraft was, CNN reported in an interview with the executive.

At least 158 passengers were Chinese, according to Xinhua.

“We’re closely monitoring reports on Malaysia flight MH370,” Chicago-based Boeing said in a statement on its Twitter feed. “Our thoughts are with everyone on board.”

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 By Newsmax Wires

Journalists Tweet Tales of Woe About Sochi Hotel Rooms.


Western journalists who have descended on Sochi, Russia for the opening of the 2014 Winter Olympics have taken to Twitter regaling followers with tales of unfinished and substandard hotel rooms and posting amusing photos.

Tens of thousands of tweets have been sent using the hashtag #SochiProblems, and the Twitter account @SochiProblems has more than 61,000 followers.

One journalist tweeted, “My hotel room has no internet, no hot water, no curtains and no furniture. On the plus side, three of the four lights work.”

Another Twitter user posted a photo of orange-colored tap water, adding, “Water restored, sorta. On the bright side, I now know what very dangerous face water looks like.”

International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams addressed the issue at a news conference.

“It’s a bit premature to say it’s been a failure. They have delivered 24,000 rooms,” he said, according to NBC News. “Surely there have been some issues, but we are really doing our best.”

Related stories: 

 

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Melanie Batley

What’s God’s Purpose for You in 2014?.


What are your life goals for the New Year?
What are your life goals for the New Year? (IStock photo)

New Year’s Day is a good time to do something most of us never do—set some goals. Most of the time we call them “New Year’s Resolutions” and we abandon them within a few weeks. Yet I believe God wants us to do more than that. We must determine God’s purpose for our life and for this New Year.

I’ve done this for nearly four decades by setting long-range and short-range goals. Maybe you can learn from my experience in writing goals and letting God use that to set priorities and to accomplish more than you would without them.

Most people spend more time planning their annual vacations than they do planning their lives. My observation is that even most believers drift along in life with no clear direction. It’s been documented that the people who actually write down and work on the goals they set are the most successful in life. I believe they are usually the happiest too, because they have a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Myles Munroe believes that God wants us to become people who have plans. He believes that plans are documented imagination. If we can document an imagination, we’ve developed a plan for action.

“If you are having real problems in your life, you probably don’t have a piece of paper on which you have documented your plans for the next five years,” he says. “You’re just living from day to day in the absence of a concrete, documented plan. You’ve been dealing with the same issues and habits and struggles for years. You slide forward a little only to slide backward again. Whenever things get hard, you start reminiscing about ‘the good old days’ and fall back into habits you had conquered. Progress requires a plan of action. Ideas must be put down if they are to influence the way you live.”

It’s important to know how to set goals.

Are your goals written down? Do other people know about them? Does your spouse? Do your friends?

Begin with general goals. I set written goals every week. In the “notes” portion of my iPhone, I have goals for the year—spiritual, family, physical, professional.

Break your general goals down into specific daily tasks. Mine are written in my iPhone so that I have them with me wherever I go. Each month I make the general goals specific and break them down to daily tasks. I probably only finish 80 percent of them because as I complete them, I set more.

The times I get away from fulfilling my goals are the times when I drift. Goals give me a sense of direction, boundaries and priorities.

Set some life goals. I like to talk with people about theirs. One of my favorite ways to relax is to get a bite to eat with a friend and ask them about their goals. I might ask how much money they want to make in five years, or what career path they want to take. I’ll ask what they want people to say in their obituary.

Most people have an opinion about these things, but few actually have a plan.

Establish a personal mission statement. Many people go through a difficult mid-life period, which may rob them of goals or make them feel as if what they have achieved is ephemeral. Patrick Morley, author ofThe Man in the Mirror, says that midlife is like a lake.

“Early in our lives we run swift like a river, but shallow. As we put years behind us, though, we deepen. Then one day, we enter the opened jaws of midlife,” Morley says.  “Where once we felt direction and velocity, suddenly we find ourselves swirling about, sometimes aimlessly, or so it seems. Each of us, like individual droplets of water, will take a different path through this part of the journey. For some of us it will only be a slowdown. Others will feel forgotten and abandoned by the father of the river. Some, unable to see where the waters converge and on again grow strong, will despair.”

Morley’s crisis started at 36. He says that it can occur well into your mid-50s.  (Remember, in our diverse culture there is no singular mid-life experience anymore).  “You come to a point that you feel somehow imbalanced—like something is missing,” he says, “like it’s not enough. All the years of pressure deadlines have taken a toll. You have discovered a vacuum in your soul for meaning, beauty, and quiet.”

He recommends writing a life mission statement that includes four elements:

1.  A life purpose: Why you exist

2.  A calling: What you do

3.  A vision or mental picture of what you want to happen

4.  A mission:  How you will go about it

Morley takes us full cycle through the birth of one vision, the implementing of that vision, the setting of goals to attain it, the commitment to a personal mission statement and on to the birth of a new vision that is greater than the first.

“A new vision must spring up from a foundation of gratitude for what God has already done to use us and make us useful,” Morley says. “The motivation cannot merely be wanderlust; not more for the sake of more. Rather, one chapter has closed and another beckons to be opened. A vision is a goal—a big one. Visions are not the work of today or tomorrow or even next month. Rather, a vision has a longer term.”

He reminds us that visions rarely turn out exactly as planned. The apostle Paul had the vision of going to Jerusalem and then to Rome. He didn’t consider that he would make those visits as a prisoner, but that’s how it came about. Often, God must delay the fulfilling of a vision or desire until He has prepared us to be people who can handle it with grace and humility. It is not God’s nature to give us greater visions and accomplishments if they work to our destruction. Instead, God allows us to be hammered into the shape of a vessel that can gracefully contain the vision.

What God-inspired goals do you have for your life? Are you a scientist or doctor who can set a goal of finding a cure for a disease? Are you an entrepreneur who can pledge to give several million dollars to a credible missions organization? Are you a board member or pastor who can start a program for the poor in your city, or network churches to meet the need?

What would do you if there were no boundaries on your imagination or budget?

If you haven’t had big goals and dreams before now, I pray you will learn to set goals for 2014 and give them deadlines. Keep in mind that when you stand before the Lord, He will hold you accountable for the talents, resources and dreams He bestowed upon you. You stand to lose nothing by going for God’s highest plan for you. On the day when He says to you, “Well done, you good and faithful servant,” you will know that you attempted and accomplished much for your Savior.

Please leave your comments. Do you agree with me? Did I motivate you to set some goals? What is a goal you achieved because you wrote it down? What are the biggest things you hope to accomplish in 2014?.

Steve Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter at @sstrang or Facebook(stephenestrang).

APC And Its Web Of Deceit By Ogunjimi James Taiwo.


By Ogunjimi James Taiwo

I always tell people that when you define some terms, always know that for every term that exists, there’s a separate Nigerian definition. It’s in Nigeria that you fight inflation by producing 5000 notes. It’s in Nigeria that you want to reduce child mortality rate and you’re not building hospitals. It’s in Nigeria that you want to reduce crime on the streets and you’re taking people’s means of livelihood. It’s in Nigeria that you want your schools to be among top schools in the world and you’re not funding education.

In the same vein, when people talk about APC and its attempt to revamp Nigeria’s democracy, I can only laugh. APC? They want to evolve our democracy? The same people label themselves progressives yet they wine and dine with agents of backwardness. Do they even know what it means? Abegiiii…

You can only call APC progressive if progressive means bringing together strange bedfellows. APC can only be progressive if progressive means accepting every tom, dick and harry all in an attempt to build strength. I say APC can only be progressive if progressive means inviting enemies of the masses to join up and lead them.

If anybody thinks APC is taking us anywhere good, I say dream on. The only place APC will take Nigerians is to push more people down the poverty line. Using LASU as case-study, the only place APC is taking Nigerians is a place where only the rich can afford to send their children to school. Using Lagos state as example, the only place APC is taking Nigerians is a place where you will all be told to go back to your villages and live in the forest if you can’t meet up with their pace? Using 2011 Presidential election (where Tinubu betrayed Ribadu and sold South-west to Jonathan) as case study, the only place APC is taking Nigerians is a place where leaders betray their followers when juicy deals come their way. Using Senator Yerima (and the overwhelming support of the defunct CPC senators for child marriage) as case-study, the only place APC is taking us is a place where we marry off our daughters from the cradle. Using Alli Ndume as case-study, the only place APC is taking us is a place where sponsors of terrorist organisations are granted bail even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Other countries may have passed through this stage and now enjoy ‘democracy’ today, but Nigeria won’t. The mistake people who refer to this make is that they forget that those countries differed on policies; their disagreements weren’t about who could loot the most, their wranglings weren’t about taking in every enemy of the masses in the name of building strength. Their disagreements bordered on policies, their disagreements bordered on agenda and its workability. That is why they scaled through. The only thing Nigerians will be left with after ignorantly experimenting with APC is disappointment and a taste of defeat at having been used to achieve selfish aims.

A party that accepts everybody and brings in people who destroyed their own party, a party that brings in sworn enemies of the masses is a party that has nothing good to offer.

My only prayer for Nigerians is that we will awake on time and free ourselves from the web of deceit that APC has weaved before we mortgage our future and that of our children and before we sacrifice our survival on the altar of power play and greed.

The way forward? We begin to plan towards a people’s revolution. We begin to put platforms in place. We begin to educate the masses. We begin a vigorous campaign to rid the ignorant of their ignorance. We begin a reeducation drive aimed at changing the orientation of the masses. A recycling of politicians won’t take us anywhere; only a total overturn of the current system of governance can bring a lasting change to Nigeria, reclaim the nation from those who have made it their birthright and give Nigerians back their nation.

Down with failed politicians! Down with parties of deceit! Onward to a people’s revolution!

Ogunjimi James Taiwo
December 2013

Follow me on Twitter: @hullerj. Google +: James Ogunjimi

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

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