Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul says the United States is partially to blame for the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
Speaking on the Fox Business Channel program The Independents, Paul accused the U.S. and the West of helping to overthrow Ukraine’s government under President Viktor Yanukovich. He went on to say that Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose military has invaded the Crimean peninsula portion of Ukraine, has “some law on his side” for his actions.
“This whole thing that Putin is the big cause of the trouble is pretty good evidence that the Europeans as well as the American government have contrived to have the overthrow of a government that most people say had been elected,” Paul said.
“And they say everything that Putin does is illegal. He’s no angel, but actually he has some law on his side. They have contracts and agreements and treaties for a naval base there and the permission to go about that area.”
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Paul compared the situation to the Americans’ presence at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, where the U.S. has a suspected terrorists. and a detention facility for suspected terrorists.
Host Matt Welsh asked Paul about Russia’s actions, which have included stacking its army along the border and taking over a Ukraine base in Crimea.
“I don’t think we should do all that threatening,” Paul said.
Welch interjected, saying he was referring to the Russians in his question.
“I know but we’re there,” Paul said. I know you were talking about the Russians. You listen to [Sens. Lindsey] Graham and [John] McCain, [they say] ‘Oh, now we can build our missiles in Russia’s backyard.’ No, I don’t think so.
“If you believe in limited government, everybody should have the right to minimize their government. There should be a right of secession. We loved secession when we seceded from Great Britain, and we loved secession when the Soviet Union broke up. So why not have the break up of these countries?”
The panel’s reports showed that on Sept.15, four days after the attacks and one day before U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on various Sunday talk shows, Morell received an email from the CIA station chief in Libya stating that they were “not/not an escalation of protests.”
But that same day, according to Fox News’ chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge, although Morell cut the word “Islamic” from the talking points, he left the word “demonstration.”
And despite the fact that the CIA and the FBI on Sept. 18 reviewed the closed circuit footage showing there were no protests, President Obama still referred to a demonstration two days later, reported Fox.
Intelligence analysts stayed with the explanation “without sufficient intelligence or eyewitness statements to corroborate that assertion. The IC (intelligence community) took too long to correct these erroneous reports,” said the Senate report.
In November 2012, as the controversy over the talking points escalated, Morell accompanied Rice to a meeting with Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Morell defended Rice’s TV appearances and maintained there was confusion about what happened in Benghazi, Graham told Fox.
“What I found curious is that he did not accept responsibility for changing the talking points. He told me the FBI had done this. I called the FBI — they went ballistic. And I am sure somebody from the FBI called Mike Morell, but within 24 hours, his statement was changed where he admitted the CIA had done it,” Graham said.
Herridge pointed to an interview Morell gave to The Wall Street Journal last August in which he spoke about his interest “in advising future presidential campaigns,” and noted that The Journal, citing unnamed officials, also reported that Morell “is close to Hillary Clinton.”
“He’s put himself out there as a political player,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. Judicial Watch is reportedly suing in federal court for the talking points documents and recently obtained 70 heavily redacted pages.
“You have to wonder what he was thinking at the time he was deleting these talking points in a way that benefited the Obama administration, and Hillary Clinton personally,” Fitton said.
Since leaving government Morell has joined Beacon Global Strategies, a government relations firm founded by Philippe Reines, whom the New York Times magazine recently described as “Clinton’s principal gatekeeper.”
Morell issued a written statement to Fox saying that the Senate report “…strongly supports the CIA’s long-standing position that neither the unclassified talking points nor the classified analysis on which they were based were in any way politicized. While not perfect, neither the talking points nor the analysis were produced with any political agenda in mind. None.”
“I think given what was said by him and others, and where they’re headed, down the political road, would justify revisiting this issue,” Graham told Fox.
“I want to warn people that I think he (the pope) is right when he says he’s not the judge,” Rev. Graham, the head of his father’s ministry, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, adding: “He’s not the judge. God is the judge.”
“God would have to shift — and God doesn’t. “God’s word is the same, yesterday and today and a million years from now. It’s a sin. I know the consequences of what will happen one day when they stand before God.”
Franklin also said on the program that his 95-year-old father is still “very weak.”
“His vitals are good, blood pressure, heart rate, these things are good. And he’s eating a little bit, but he’s just extremely weak. So I’ve asked people to pray. People who are watching this program, I hope they would pray for him. He would appreciate it very much.”
Billy Graham has been battling to regain his strength since celebrating his birthday last month by posting a personal, 30-minute video message online called “My Hope America,” which was described by some as possibly his final sermon.
About a third (35 percent) say they will only visit churches with a live sermon.
Three in 10 say a video sermon won’t keep them from a church, but they still prefer live preaching. The same number say live or video sermons are fine.
Less than 1 percent prefer to watch a video sermon.
“I don’t think anyone gets up on a Sunday morning saying, ‘Boy, I’d really like to watch a video sermon,’ ” said Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research and author of Multi-Site Churches: Guidance for the Movement’s Next Generation. “But the fact that many churches utilize video sermons means other factors such as relationships, preaching approach, music, relevance, and location can be more important.”
The sermon question was part of a telephone survey of 1,001 Americans, conducted Sept. 6-10.
Video sermons are mostly used by multi-site churches, which hold services in more than one location, often called a campus. Those campuses frequently have live music, prayers and a local pastor, who does everything but preach.
About half of the estimated 5,000 multi-site churches in the U.S. use video teaching, said Jim Tomberlin of the consulting firm MultiSite Solutions.
Tomberlin said larger churches are more likely to use video sermons.
Many large churches already project an image of their preacher on a big screen during the sermon. So when they open a new campus, people are already accustomed to seeing a video image of their pastor. That’s less likely to be the case at a smaller church.
“Small churches have a bias against video,” said Tomberlin. “As a church grows bigger, video gives them more options. It becomes a non-issue.”
Younger Americans are more likely to accept a video sermon. More than a third (37 percent) of those 18 to 29 say it doesn’t matter if the preaching is live or by video.
By contrast, only about a quarter of those 45 to 54 (24 percent) or those over 65 (26 percent) say they are fine with both options.
Researchers also found that that those in the Northeast also are most open to a video sermon, with 40 percent saying they are fine with either an in-person or video sermon.
Almost half of those who don’t go to church (47 percent) also say it doesn’t matter if the sermon is live or delivered by video.
Those with a college degree are more likely to prefer an in-person sermon (41 percent) as are self-identified born-again, evangelical, or fundamentalist Christians (37 percent).
Ken Langley, president of the Evangelical Homiletics Society and an adjunct professor of homiletics at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, is skeptical about sermons delivered by video.
The sermon is part of the church’s worship, he said, and it’s incomplete if the preacher isn’t there with the rest of the congregation.
“I do think that there is something missing when the preacher is not present,” he said. “And it’s hard to define. Presence is important.”
Langley, who also serves as pastor of Christ Community Church in Zion, Ill., said sometimes he makes changes to the sermon while preaching, depending on who is listening.
For example, he was preaching a sermon about finding joy in the midst of suffering, and noticed some congregation members who had been going through a difficult time.
He made some subtle changes in language to his sermon, in order to comfort them, while still making his point.
“You can’t do that when you are preaching to a camera,” he said.
But Tomberlin points to the example of Billy Graham, whose crusade sermons were sometimes filmed and later broadcast on television. People still connected with Graham’s message, even though they were watching it at home and not in person.
“God could still work, even if Graham wasn’t in the room,” he said.
“People keep saying different things, some good and some not so good,” DeMoss told Asheville, N.C.’sCitizen-Times.com. “But he’s about the same. I think everybody’s intentions are good. The family members want everybody to pray for Mr. Graham, and I understand that.”
DeMoss says he is in touch with Graham’s medical staff daily.
“I think everybody is concerned about Mr. Graham, but we’re not getting any different reports from the medical staff,” he says. “I’m checking in every day, and there has not been a change for better or worse in the last number of weeks. He’s weak, he’s at home, and his vital signs are good—his pulse, his heartbeat, his blood pressure. He’s not in any immediate danger.”
Speculations about Graham’s health started when his son, Franklin Graham, said last week that his father’s health had been declining in the weeks since his birthday party. Later in the week he asked for prayers for his ailing father.
Additionally, Graham’s grandson recently said the evangelist is close to going home to be with the Lord.
“On Nov. 7 [with his ‘My Hope America With Billy Graham’ outreach], he finished his race and up until that time, God had protected his health and gave him supernatural strength and now, the only thing left is for him to come home,” Will Graham, son of Franklin Graham, said. “God has removed His hand of protection, and old age has set in.”
When asked how to pray for his grandfather, Will Graham replied, “I don’t know how to answer that anymore. I wish He would give him strength, but I don’t think he needs strength anymore. It’s time to go home.”
Billy Graham’s nephew, Mel Graham, said Friday that the evangelist had had a good couple of days.
“Overall we are encouraged,” Mel Graham told WSCO TV. “He’s doing great today. He had a nice breakfast. He sat up in bed and had oatmeal and a banana, and his favorite fluffy cat was right there by his side.”
He added, “When I saw him a few days ago, we had a nice visit. He was a little weaker, but the last few days was considerably stronger then when I saw him, so I look forward to getting up in the next day or two and spending some time with him.”
“People keep saying different things, some good and some not so good. But he’s about the same. I think everybody’s intentions are good. The family members want everybody to pray for Mr. Graham, and I understand that,” Graham’s spokesman, Mark DeMoss, told USA Today.
“I think everybody is concerned about Mr. Graham, but we’re not getting any different reports from the medical staff,” DeMoss said, according to USA Today.
“I’m checking in every day, and there has not been a change for better or worse in the last number of weeks. He’s weak, he’s at home and his vital signs are good — his pulse, his heartbeat, his blood pressure. He’s not in any immediate danger.”
One of South Africa’s leading evangelists says he believes the gospel profoundly affected Nelson Mandela‘s outlook as he re-entered politics after his years in prison.
Evangelist Michael Cassidy said Billy Grahamasked him to visit Mandela in 1992 in response to a letter Mandela had written to Graham after he left prison.
He said he personally took a signed copy of Graham’s book, Peace with God, to Mandela.
“I remember him telling me that when he was in prison he never missed Bible study or church service or Sunday nights. I was very impressed by that,” Cassidy said.
“I personally like to believe that the Christian gospel also informed his responses. It wasn’t just pragmatic politics. These were principles in his heart and soul and mind that he had come to believe were right,” he continued.
At Mandela’s request, Cassidy went to network with other church leaders to press for reconciliation, both before and after Mandela’s election in 1994.
“He was saddened that there were portions of the church that had given explicit or implicit support for the apartheid system and had legitimized it theologically,” he reminisced.
“But it was not lost on him that the church was a very important player in the whole process whereby apartheid was brought to an end,” Cassidy added.
Cassidy said Mandela wrote a letter to Graham saying he was touched by one of Graham’s TV broadcasts while in prison.