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Putin Assembles Blacklist of US Leaders for Asset and Travel Ban to Russia.


President Vladimir Putin has reportedly assembled a blacklist of Obama administration officials and U.S. senators, including Majority Whip Dick Durbin, banning their travel and freezing any assets there.

Putin’s sanctions are expected to come Tuesday, The Daily Beast reported, citing diplomatic sources.

The retaliatory slap comes in the wake of President Obama’s asset and travel ban Monday on seven Russian officials and four Ukrainian officials.

At the top of Putin’s tit-for-tat list is the Illinois Democrat, who with fellow Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen.Jeffrey Flake, R-Ariz., passed a measure last week to give Ukraine financial aid and impose sanctions on Russia.

“Are we going to stand by and say this is acceptable conduct? Because this isn’t the end of his ambition,” Durbin said on NBC’s Meet the Press” Sunday.

Durbin’s listing would mirror that of Valentina Matvienko, the head of the upper chamber of the Russian Duma, who wound up on Obama’s sanction list, The Daily Beast pointed out.

“My Lithuanian-born mother would be proud her son made Vladimir Putin’s American enemies list,” Durbin said in a statement to the newssite.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, who’s been to Kiev to meet with Ukrainian leaders, said he fully expects to be on the Putin enemies list — and couldn’t be more pleased.

“You think I’m not going to be on it?” McCain asked The Daily Beast. “I would be honored to be on that list,” then joked: “I guess I’m going to have to try to withdraw my money from my secret account in St. Petersburg.”

The Daily Beast said other names that may be listed, but that the news site had not confirmed, include Sens. Robert Menendez , D-NJ,  and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., also members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee leading a sanctions drive, and Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for Europe, who’s been been working with the Ukrainian opposition.

McCain told The Daily Beast the U.S. cannot bend to any of Russia’s sanctions.
“If we acquiesced to that, that would be a green light for him to go for Moldova, where there are also Russian troops,” he said. “That’s the problem with this appeasement policy.”
McCain wants even stronger measures against Putin to thwart any possible expansion of the invasion.

“… Putin has put everything in place for a de facto partition of Eastern Ukraine,” he told The Daily Beast. “Will he do it? I don’t know. But I don’t think he can be discouraged from that by these limited actions by the United States…. We must commit to the ultimate return of Crimea to Ukraine, just as we promised to the so-called captive nations that they would eventually be free of Soviet domination.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Cathy Burke

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

Mitt Romney: Hillary Clinton — Not Bill — Is the Issue in 2016.


Former President Bill Clinton “breached his responsibility” and embarrassed the United States while having an affair with intern Monica Lewinsky while in office, former candidate Mitt Romney said Sunday, but he doesn’t think his issues are relevant to a potential campaign for Hillary Clinton.

“She has her own record and her own vision,” Romney told NBC’ “Meet the Press” host David Gregory Sunday.

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who is a likely candidate for the Republican nomination in 2016, is leading a charge against the Clinton campaign by calling the former president a “sexual predator,” saying the affair shows hypocrisy in the Democrats’ accusations that Republicans are spearheading a “war on women.”

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

But Romney said it is not Hillary Clinton’s job to explain her husband’s actions, and the Republican Party and its presidential candidates would be better off focusing on her history as a New York senator and as secretary of state.

“I think Hillary Clinton if she becomes the nominee will have plenty to discuss about her own record,” said Romney. “I don’t imagine that Bill Clinton will be a big part of it.”

He also acknowledged that while Bill Clinton was in office, the nation enjoyed economic prosperity, but the former president’s private life and mistakes embarrassed the nation.

Romney insisted again on Sunday that while he’ll support the GOP candidate who is matched up against Clinton or whomever the Democratic nominee turns out to be, he won’t be the one seeking the nomination.

The former Massachusetts governor has sought the presidency twice, but now thinks “by and large people who lose a presidential race, well, they step aside.”

But even though he isn’t planning another presidential run, Romney said, that doesn’t mean “I’m going to quit fighting for the American people.”

In other discussions on the show, Romney said he does not believe security concerns about the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, were overblown, but the games have proven so far to be safe.

“I think Russia has shown not only through the application of their security forces, but also through their intelligence work, that they have the capacity to keep the games reasonably safe,” said Romney, who is credited with bringing the 2002 winter games to Salt Lake City in 2002.

Meanwhile, the former governor continued his complaints about Russia’s more-than $50 billion budget for the games, saying the Olympics can be held for as little as $2 billion. Countries hosting the games should instead spend their billions on efforts to fight poverty and disease, he said.

“That’s what we really ought to be using those resources for, as opposed to wasting them, in many cases, to show off a country or, I think more cynically, to show off the politicians in a country,” he said.

Romney, who wrote an opinion piece for USA Today this past week about curtailing the Olympic costs, said Sunday that the International Olympics Committee should step in to curb the costs.

Despite his concerns about the costs, Romney still calls hosting the games “a great experience.” He is an adviser to a possible bid from Boston to host the 2024 Olympics, and limits on spending could help that city, or cities in other parts of the world compete with countries such as Russia, where billions of government dollars can be promised.

But in the United States, the Olympics are funded, for the most part, by private donors. sponsorships, broadcast revenue and tickets, Romney said in his opinion piece.

Politicians such as Russian President Vladimir Putin think it’s worth it to spend extravagant amounts of money to promote themselves on a world stage, said Romney, and “the politicians who take this money and spend $50 billion to host the world for TV appearances, they think it’s worth it or they wouldn’t do it.”

Romney also discussed the issue of same-sex rights in Russia and the United States, reiterating that he believes marriage is “a relationship between a man and a woman” and the “ideal” for raising a child is with a father and mother.

“If gay couples want to live together, that’s fine,” said Romney, while acknowledging it’s too soon to determine if same-sex marriages are having a negative impact on the country.

In addition, he doesn’t think Republicans or other should worry about who has won or lost the fight on gay marriage.

“You have to stand behind your principles,” said Romney. It continues to be an issue that people find relevant and important … I do think it’s best decided by the people than by the courts.”

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

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Sandy Fitzgerald

Ryan, Republicans Blame Obama for Stalling Immigration.


Republicans are starting to lay the blame on President Barack Obama if an overhaul of the nation’s broken immigration system fails to become law.

The GOP’s emerging plan on immigration is to criticize Obama as an untrustworthy leader and his administration as an unreliable enforcer of any laws that might be passed. Perhaps realizing the odds of finding a consensus on immigration are long, the Republicans have started telling voters that if the GOP-led House doesn’t take action this election year, it is Obama’s fault.

“If the president had been serious about this the last five years, we’d be further along in this discussion,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, said Sunday.

House Republicans last week unveiled a road map for an overhaul of the nation’s broken immigration system that calls for increased border security, better law enforcement within the U.S. and a pathway to legal status — but not citizenship — for millions of adults who live in America unlawfully. The proposal requires those here illegally to pay back taxes and fines.

But one of its backers, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, said distrust of Obama poisons interest among some in his Republican caucus.

“Here’s the issue that all Republicans agree on: We don’t trust the president to enforce the law,” said Ryan, his party’s vice presidential nominee in 2012.

Ryan said a plan that puts security first could only pass the House if lawmakers believe the administration would enforce it — an unlikely prospect given Republicans’ deep opposition to Obama. The president’s waivers for provisions in his 4-year-old health care law have increased suspicions among Republicans.

“This isn’t a trust-but-verify, this is a verify-then-trust approach,” Ryan said.

Asked whether immigration legislation would make its way to Obama for him to sign into law, Ryan said he was skeptical: “I really don’t know the answer to that question. That is clearly in doubt.”

The Senate last year passed a comprehensive, bipartisan bill that addressed border security, provided enforcement measures and offered a long and difficult path to citizenship for those living here illegally. The measure stalled in the GOP-led House, where leaders want to take a more piecemeal approach.

In the meantime, Republicans have started uniting behind a message that Obama won’t hold up his end of the bargain.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said “there’s a lot of distrust of this administration in implanting the law.” And Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., last week warned that distrust of Obama would trump the desire to find a solution for the estimated 11 million people living in the United States illegally.

“We just don’t think government will enforce the law anyway,” Rubio said, recounting conversations he’s had with fellow Republicans.

Immigration legislation is a dicey political question for the GOP. The party’s conservative base opposes any measure that would create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living here illegally, but many in the party worry that failing to act could strengthen support among many voters for Democratic candidates.

In 2012, Obama won re-election with the backing of 71 percent of Hispanic voters and 73 percent of Asian voters. The issue is important to both voting blocs.

The White House, meanwhile, is trying to give Republicans a chance to hammer out their intra-party differences in the hopes they find a way to give legal standing to those here illegally.

“We ought to see a pathway to citizenship for people,” White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said Sunday. “We don’t want to have a permanent separation of classes or two permanent different classes of Americans in this country.”

McDonough said the White House remains optimistic that legislation that includes citizenship could reach the president’s desk: “We feel pretty good that we’ll get a bill done this year.”

Jindal spoke to CNN’s “State of the Union.” Ryan appeared on ABC’s “This Week.” Cantor was interviewed on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” McDonough appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CBS.

 

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

Franklin Graham Disagrees With Pope Francis on Homosexuality.


The Rev. Franklin Graham is criticizing Pope Francis for his stance on homosexuality.

The pontiff declared earlier this year: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge them?”

But Graham, the son of the Rev. Billy Graham, says being gay is a sin in the eyes of God, and that unlike the pope he does not plan to soften his position, according to Politico.

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“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.”

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“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.

Editor’s Note: Do You Approve of Pope Francis? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Drew MacKenzie

Franklin Graham Disagrees with Pope Francis on Homosexuality.


The Rev. Franklin Graham is criticizing Pope Francis for his stance on homosexuality.

The pontiff declared earlier this year: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge them?”

But Graham, the son of the Rev. Billy Graham, says being gay is a sin in the eyes of God, and that unlike the pope he does not plan to soften his position, according to Politico.

“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.” 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking newsworld news, and news about the economy

“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. 

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Drew MacKenzie

Issa: Despite NYT, al-Qaida Involved in Benghazi.


A group affiliated with the al-Qaida terrorist organization was involved in the deadly Sept. 11, 2011 attack in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others, Rep. Darrell Issa insists, despite a New York Times investigation that suggests otherwise.

“There was a group that was involved that claims an affiliation with al-Qaida,” Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told NBCMeet the Press” host David Gregory Sunday.

Issa has long been one of the more outspoken critics of how the Obama administration handled the attack, including claims made by then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice that the embassy attack was a mirror image of an attack in Egypt after Muslims reacted over an inflammatory video about the Prophet Muhammad.

Story continues below.

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Issa and other Republicans have maintained that the attack was a planned and organized raid backed by al-Qaida, but The New York Times lengthy investigative report, written by journalist David Kirkpatrick, concludes that local militants conducted the raid, not al-Qaida or other international terrorist groups. The report also says that while the video itself was not the entire cause of the attack, it helped inflame some of the attackers.

Issa conceded Sunday that Kirkpatrick did “very good work,” but he still has not seen conclusive evidence that the video led to the attack. Further, he said that it is time for the Obama administration to tell the truth about its misstatements.

“They went out on five stations and told the story that was at best a coverup for the CIA or at worst something that cast away this idea that there was a real terrorist operation in Benghazi,” Issa told Gregory.

Kirkpatrick, appearing at the beginning of the program, told Gregory that Issa and other Republicans may be combining the goals of Islamic groups with the al-Qaida network and its infamous leader, Osama bin Laden.

“If you’re using the term al-Qaida to describe even a local group of Islamist militants who dislike democracy or have a grudge against the United States, If you’re going to call anybody like that ‘al-Qaida,’ then, okay,” the New York Times journalist said.

Kirkpatrick denied Sunday that his piece bolsters Rice’s comments about the attacks being conducted by a mob inflamed by the video, however.

“No, we’re not bolstering that statement,” Kirkpatrick said. “This was not a street protest. This was not a copycat of Cairo. This was a group of armed men.”

But Kirkpatrick said the United States misunderstood the Libyan militias on the ground at the time.

“The attackers were the militias the Americans thought were there to protect the mission,” said Kirkpatrick.

Meanwhile, Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro told Gregory that he hopes Issa and other Republicans have learned a lesson from the report.

“They crusaded for over a year over what’s basically a fairy tale,” said Castro. He noted that as in an any other major event, there was a great deal of information released that needed to be verified.

“Susan Rice and the administration were doing their best to provide information,” said Castro. “Issa and the others took it and crusaded with it.

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By Sandy Fitzgerald

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