Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘Organizations’

Thankful Nuns Celebrate Sotomayor’s Contraceptive Mandate Stay.


Image: Thankful Nuns Celebrate Sotomayor's Contraceptive Mandate Stay

By Andrea Billups

A group of Catholic nuns celebrated Wednesday the decision by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to issue a stay in a crucial portion of the Obama healthcare law that would have forced religious groups to provide health insurance coverage for birth control and other medications designed to induce abortions.

The Little Sisters of the Poor, a Baltimore-based order that operates nursing homes for low-income elderly around the country, issued a statement praising the justice’s actions.

“We are grateful for the decision of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granting us a temporary injunction protecting us from the HHS contraceptive mandate,” the nuns said. “We hope and pray that we will receive a favorable outcome in order to continue to serve the elderly of all faiths with the same community support and religious freedom that we have always appreciated.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

The sisters were represented in the case by attorneys from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which issued its own statement in the case.

“We are delighted that the Supreme Court has issued this order protecting the Little Sisters,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund. “The government has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people  it doesn’t need to force nuns to participate.”

In defending its healthcare law, the Justice Department had argued that such a mandate for contraceptives offered “no substantial burden on their (nuns) exercise of religion.” The administration said the nuns could complete a self-certification form to opt out of the coverage requirements, turning it over to their health care provider.

“To opt out of providing contraceptive coverage, Little Sisters need only certify that they are nonprofit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and that, because of religious objections, they are opposed to providing coverage for some or all contraceptive services,” attorneys for the Justice Department defended in the appeal.

The nuns would have faced “draconian” fines if they did not comply to the original law,the Los Angeles Times noted.

The Obama administration has until Friday to file a response in the justice’s stay order, which applies only to the nun’s case. Other religious groups and corporations that object to the contraceptive mandate have filed similar motions, which are expected to be heard in March by the high court.

Sotomayor’s Tuesday ruling gave Roman Catholic Church-affiliated organizations temporary exemptions from a part of the Obamacare healthcare law that requires employers to provide insurance policies covering contraception.

She granted the temporary injunction to the Little Sisters of the Poor and Illinois-based Christian Brothers Services, plus related entities.

Sotomayor is giving the government until Friday morning to respond to her decision.

Two different appellate courts had granted stays in three other cases that were pending at the high court, filed by various organizations, including Catholic University of America and non-profits in Michigan and Tennessee, said a lawyer representing the groups. The lower-court actions meant the Supreme Court did not need to act in those cases.

The groups were all asking the courts to exempt them temporarily from the so-called contraception mandate while litigation continues. The mandate, which was to take effect for the organizations on Wednesday, is already in place for many women who have private health insurance.

The organizations accuse the federal government of forcing them to support contraception and sterilization in violation of their religious beliefs or face steep fines.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, requires employers to provide health insurance policies that cover preventive services for women, including contraception and sterilization.

The law makes an exception for religious institutions such as houses of worship that mainly serve and employ members of their own faith, but not for schools, hospitals, and charitable organizations that employ people of all faiths.

As a compromise, the administration agreed to an accommodation for nonprofits affiliated with religious entities, which was finalized in July.

Under the accommodation, eligible nonprofits have to provide a “self certification” — described by one lower-court judge as a “permission slip” — that authorizes the insurance companies to provide the coverage. The challengers say that step alone is enough to violate their religious rights.

In separate cases, the Supreme Court already has agreed to hear oral arguments on whether for-profit corporations have a basis to object to the contraception mandate on religious grounds. The court is due to hear those arguments in March and decide the two consolidated cases by the end of June.

Reuters contributed to this story.

Related Stories

 

 

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 
© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Incandescent Light Bulb Ban Ushered in With New Year.


Image: Incandescent Light Bulb Ban Ushered in With New Year

By Andrea Billups

Incandescent light bulbs, which have been in use in the United States for more than a century, are on their way out in the new year. The federal government has prohibited their manufacture and import starting Wednesday.

The latest ban covers 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs. The 100-watt and 75-watt varieties had already been phased out. The bans were signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007 as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act.

Opponents of the law protest that the government is making decisions for consumers rather than letting the marketplace determine the products people want.

“When we make a purchase, it’s about quality, price, how much money we have now, can I use that money for a better investment? I don’t need the government to say that I am making the incorrect decision and therefore I should buy energy-efficient products,” said Daren Bakst, research fellow in agricultural policy at the Heritage Foundation.

He decries the light-bulb ban as representing heightened government overreach.

“The light-bulb issue is about a complete ban of a product. It’s overkill. Now you have something you can no longer buy. That’s really indefensible,” he said.

“Forget about choice. It’s basically saying not only can you not make smart choices, we have so little faith in you that we will make sure you can’t buy those goods anymore.

“Here you have a central-planning bureaucrat that knows everything, saying we’re going to make sure you do the right thing. Granted, Congress passed the law, but this looks like the state knows better than the public does,” Bakst said.

The prohibition has also led to U.S. job losses, as factories that made incandescent bulbs have been forced to close.

Because of the ban, General Electric closed a factory with 200 employees in Winchester, Va., that was the last major incandescent manufacturing facility in the United States. Now the work is going to places such as China, where some of the new compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are made.

Energy efficiency experts say the new light bulbs benefit consumers, who will pay more on the front end for the new-generation bulbs but will save money over time because they last longer — up to 23 years for LED bulbs and about nine years for CFLs.

CFL bulbs use about 75 percent less energy, government estimates say, while LEDs use about 85 percent less than incandescent bulbs, but they cost about 10 times more.

“The reason why the federal government legislated the change is because these incandescent bulbs use four times or more energy than other technologies,” Kevin Hallinan, a University of Dayton engineering professor who studies renewable energy,told the Dayton Daily News, noting that incandescent bulbs emit more heat.

“That’s more pollution coming out of the power plants, that’s more carbon emissions, so this is really a good thing for the U.S,” Hallinan said.

Consumers can still purchase the incandescent bulbs as long as supplies last, and they remain in stock at many home-product retailers around the country. Once those are gone, however, the newer bulbs will be the only ones available.

Some Republican members of Congress have sought a repeal of certain elements of the ban, but have had no success despite cries of a “nanny state” imposing its will on consumers.

In 2011, a trio of Republican lawmakers — Reps. Joe Barton and Michael Burgess of Texas and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee — offered the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, but the legislation failed to pass the House.

The Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, sponsored by Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and eight co-sponsors, was also floated in 2011 but died in a House subcommittee.

Current laws under the federal government’s Energy Star program are enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency, which is in charge of new guidelines for light fixtures. The guidelines for a fixture to earn Energy Star ratings increased in 2013 as part of the federal law’s broader energy efficiency plan.

The light bulb issue marks a continued pattern of what some say is the federal government’s overextending its power in recent years, including spying on news reporters’ sources, forcing menu labeling laws in an attempt to change what people eat, and intimidating certain groups, including conservatives, through IRS intrusion.

Former presidential candidate Herman Cain said in a speech to the Faith and Freedom Coalition‘s annual conference:

“We’ve got the IRS abuse. FEC intimidation. EPA discrimination. DOJ intimidation. NSA corruption. And it goes on and on and on in terms of the abuse and the corruption in the government that wants to control all of our lives.”

Said Bakst, of the Heritage Foundation:

“We certainly have seen far more government intrusion in the last few years than we have before. It has become the expectation that the government has the proper role in the free choices that we make.”

Related Stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

3 Ways to Grow Your Church By Subtraction.


Artie Davis

Artie Davis

I heard a phrase on a business radio program that I wasn’t familiar with … “Addition by subtraction.”

It was explained that quite often, an organization or department can add to its effectiveness by actually taking someone off the team (not replacing them). I understand the genius of less is more, but addition by subtraction? … awesome idea!

Here are 3 things you may need to subtract (take away) from your church if it’s not moving…

1. Subtract a Ministry. Too many ministries and not any operating at full capacity is dangerous. We need to systematically measure the success of all we do, and subtract those that are sub par.

Not that they aren’t good. We just need to subtract them until we have the energy and resources to do them passionately well.

Which ministry are you going to pray about shelving?

2. Subtract a Meeting. Can I get an Amen?? O yeah, Glory! Unproductive and unnecessary meetings are draining and they kill passion. Only gather together when needed, not necessarily scheduled.

A meeting mentality feeds the need to talk and not do. What regularly scheduled meeting will you reduce or eliminate?

3. Subtract a Member. Yeah, sometimes we just have take someone off the team. That means you have to be willing to make the difficult call. If that one staff, volunteer, leader or whatever isn’t contributing, they are draining! If you don’t subtract them, your team will begin to dwindle.

What member of your team (if any) should you seriously consider subtracting?.

Written by Artie Davis

Artie Davis is the pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Orangeburg, S.C. He heads the Comb Network and the Sticks Conference. He speaks and writes about leadership, ministry, church planting and cultural diversity in the church. You can find his blog at ArtieDavis.com or catch him on Twitter @artiedavis.

For the original article, visit artiedavis.com.

Rep. Trey Gowdy: NY Times Report on Benghazi Protects Hillary.


Image: Rep. Trey Gowdy: NY Times Report on Benghazi Protects Hillary

By Greg Richter

 

Rep. Trey Gowdy says a New York Times article that concluded al-Qaida was not involved in last year’s Benghazi attacks never mentioned then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but Gowdy had no problem quoting her to make a point of his own.

“First of all, I want to congratulate The New York Times. It only took 15 months for them to figure out how to spell Benghazi,” Gowdy, R-S.C., said Monday on Fox News Channel’s “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren.” 

“So, in another 15 months, maybe their reporting will actually catch up with the truth,” Gowdy said.

The Times concluded there was no evidence that al-Qaida was involved in the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. It also said the attacks were not meticulously planned, as House Intelligence Committee members have said, but was a reaction to an anti-Muslim video produced in the United States.

“Whether it was al-Qaida or a subsidiary or a holding company or a limited partnership, to quote Hillary Clinton, ‘What difference does it make?'” Gowdy told Fox News. “Who cares whether it was al-Qaida proper or a subsidiary? Four Americans are dead, and it wasn’t a spontaneous reaction to a video. It was planned.”

Intelligence Committee members Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Adam Schiff, D-Calif., both agreed on “Fox News Sunday” that al-Qaida was in some way involved and that there was planning.

People should believe Rogers, who is a former FBI agent, and Schiff, who is a former federal prosecutor, over The New York Times, Gowdy told guest host Dana Perino. Both men have dedicated their professional lives to following evidence wherever it leads, he said.

Gowdy also took issue with the assertion that the anti-Muslim video caused the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The video in question was translated into Arabic in early September 2012, Gowdy said, just days before the fatal attack.

That couldn’t explain a prior attack on the U.S. consulate or the attempted assassination of the British ambassador or attacks on the International Red Cross in Benghazi, he said.

“I thought we had no business being in Benghazi. We were the last flag flying in Benghazi,” Gowdy said. “But that begs a bigger question: Why were we there? Why was Chris Stevens in Benghazi that night?”

Gowdy didn’t explain whether he had any suspicions, but Sen. Rand Paul and others have suggested Stevens was in Libya because the CIA was using the area to run guns to Syrian rebels.

Gowdy did make clear that he suspects The Times published the article to bolster the expected presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton in 2016. Clinton, as secretary of state, came under fire after Benghazi for reportedly ignoring requests from Stevens for additional security.

“I’ve read this New York Times article, Dana, six times,” Gowdy told Perino. “I want you to read it six times and tell me if you can tell who the secretary of state was when Benghazi happened.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Ex-NSA Director Hayden: Report Shows Spying Keeps US Safe.


Image: Ex-NSA Director Hayden: Report Shows Spying Keeps US Safe

By Greg Richter

Former NSA and CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden says he is surprised people are surprised at the detailed spying the National Security Agency is able to do.

German magazine Der Spiegel published a story on Sunday that laid out the NSA’s ability to hack into the computer systems and phones of its targets, and even to stop computer equipment mid-shipping to install spyware.

The article says current NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander and his crew are “pretty good at this. And that’s good news for the American people,” Hayden said Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Special Report.” 

Traditional signals intelligence used to be passive and “midpoint,” Hayden explained. If someone being targeted decided to send a message, spy agencies tried to get between points A and B and intercept the communication.

With the digital age, he said, spies have gone to “active” signals intelligence. They don’t just intercept at the midpoint, but go to the endpoint, he said.

“Go to a point where sometimes they have not even yet decided to transmit,” he said.

Hayden called the new collection methods “a good thing for American security and American liberty.”

Der Spiegel’s article no doubt damaged the NSA’s abilities, Hayden said. Now, legitimate foreign intelligence targets will read such reports and begin to take action to get around the methods, and that will make the United States less safe, he said.

Hayden told Fox News he read the article in Der Spiegel with his “antennae up” to see whether there was anything that should concern the U.S. public, but said he couldn’t find it.

The targets discussed were legitimate foreign intelligence targets, he said.

Hayden also said he was pleased that U.S. companies are surprised their products were  hacked by the NSA. They should be surprised, Hayden said, because they had nothing to do with it; it was all the NSA.

Turning to the New York Times story on Saturday that said al-Qaida was not involved in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Hayden compared the argument to medieval theological discussions about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.

Hayden said it was reminiscent of President Bill Clinton’s parsing the meaning of the word “is.”

Whether the terrorist group behind the 9/11 attacks was also linked to the Benghazi attacks “depends on your meaning of the word ‘al-Qaida’,” he said.

There are three levels to the group, he explained: “al-Qaida prime, al-Qaida-affiliated, and groups who are like-minded.” Within days of the attacks, he said, he termed them “either high-end like-minded or low-end affiliated.”

So, while al-Qaida probably did not directly order the attacks, they were carried out by people under its influence, he said.

“No one has suggested that somebody with a Motorola Push to Talk in the Hindu Kush was sending detailed instructions to somebody in Benghazi,” he said.

Republican lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee have called the Times report “misleading.”

Related Stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Rep. Grimm: New York Times Wrong, Benghazi Attacks Were Terrorism.


Image: Rep. Grimm: New York Times Wrong, Benghazi Attacks Were Terrorism

By Greg Richter

Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y.,  is among the lawmakers who don’t buy a New York Times report over the weekend that the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was a spontaneous act fueled by anger over an anti-Muslim YouTube video.

The former Marine and FBI agent says the attack that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead was without a doubt a military operation, and anyone with a military background could recognize it as such.

“This was a methodical, military attack. This was not some group of individuals that was upset,” Grimm said Monday on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”“These were trained individuals. This was a military op.”

The attackers were weaponized, trained, and methodical, Grimm told CNN. If a YouTube video had gotten ordinary citizens upset, they might have thrown Molotov cocktails or rocks, he said. Someone might have even had a firearm or an AK-47, he said, but there would not have been the same amount of weaponry as the attackers had.

The Times story also concluded that al-Qaida, the terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, was not involved in the Benghazi attack, which occurred on Sept. 11, 2012, the 11th anniversary.

“The New York Times is wrong,” Grimm said. “And I would not say that’s a Republican point of view. For me, this is apolitical.”

Both Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee who have been briefed on Benghazi have “tangible evidence, empirical data” that show the attacks had al-Qaida ties, he said.

“If al-Qaida is funding an offshoot, an affiliate, to carry out a terrorist act, then they’re a terror proxy for al-Qaida” even if they call themselves by another name, Grimm said.

Al-Qaida, he said, has “morphed” since the 9/11 attacks and now funds other groups that can act in its stead. He said he has seen secret intelligence documents that tie al-Qaida to the attacks, even if somewhat tenuously, but said he cannot divulge publicly what those documents say.

Grimm said the Times report may spur further investigation, especially because the United States should get to the bottom of how security was handled in Benghazi. Unless such threats are recognized, he said, the lives of innocent Americans are placed at risk and the country appears weaker in the eyes of terrorists.

He said the United States was right to offer security help to Russia in light of two  bombings linked to the coming Winter Olympics in Sochi.

But the United States could lack authority on the world stage, he said, unless it can honestly discuss its own security breaches in places such as Benghazi.

“For Russia to be able to rely on us and to work with us, there has to be an underlying understanding that we come to the table openly and honestly about security,” he said.

Still, the United States should not have second thoughts about attending the games, Grimm said.

“When we stop doing things like the Olympics, then they’ve won. We can’t allow that to happen,” Grimm told CNN. “We can’t live in a state of terror or panic. But you do have to take the appropriate precautions.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Rep. Westmoreland: NY Times Wants to ‘Absolve’ Clinton of Benghazi Blame.


Image: Rep. Westmoreland: NY Times Wants to 'Absolve' Clinton of Benghazi Blame

By Wanda Carruthers

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland joined Donald Trump Monday in claiming The New York Times is trying to “absolve” Hillary Clinton of any blame for the 2012 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya to make it easier for her to run for president in 2016.

“I don’t know why they put it out, unless it was for political reasons,” the Georgia Republican said on “Fox & Friends,” referring to a Times report over the weekendclaiming that al-Qaida and other terrorist groups weren’t responsible for the attack.

The Times also reported, as the Obama administration initially claimed, that an American-made anti-Muslim video was partly responsible for setting off the violent outbreak in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012 that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.

Westmoreland suggested the report is aimed at “laying the groundwork” for a presidential run by former Secretary of State Clinton, who Republicans blame for the lax security in Benghazi.

“This thing is eventually going to fall back on the State Department, when all the truth gets out there. Of course, Secretary Clinton was in charge at the time,” Westmoreland said.

“I think they’re just . . . trying to absolve her from the lack of security that was sent over there, the number of requests for security that was turned down. So, I think they’re just trying to take the pressure off her and the administration,” he added.

Earlier on “Fox & Friends,” Trump all but accused the Times of trying to help cover up what actually happened the night of the attack in Benghazi to make it easier for Clinton to make another run for the White House.

Westmoreland continued to maintain that the anti-Islam video “never came into play” in the Benghazi bombing, saying that watching a video “doesn’t give you instructions on how to shoot five mortar rounds.”

“If you go to some of the research, or the people that study these media, social media outlets, and stuff, there was nothing even on the radar in Libya or in Benghazi actually until the next morning,” he said, referring to some reports the video may have spurred a crowd to form and then attack the U.S. compound.

Related Stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Obama Battered by Healthcare, Shutdown, Surveillance Scandals.


Image: Obama Battered by Healthcare, Shutdown, Surveillance Scandals

By Todd Beamon

From Obamacare to sequestration to Iran to the 16-day government shutdown that cost American taxpayers $1.4 billion, 2013 marked the year of the scandal — domestically and internationally — for President Barack Obama.

The president’s year was so riddled with troubles because “the Obama White House isn’t nearly as transparent as they had bragged during two different campaigns,” Tobe Berkovitz, an associate professor of advertising at Boston University, told Newsmax. “The White House is so tight with letting any information out that once negative information goes out, the press and the public start to take more interest in it because usually there’s such tight control on everything.”

But the worst problem of all is Obamacare, Berkovitz said.

“That affects everybody — and healthcare and a family’s health, along with their economic security, are the most important things to Americans,” he told Newsmax. “You start messing with people’s health and their healthcare, that gets right to the core of what people care about.”

Here are some of the major scandals that rocked the Obama administration:

The Obamacare Rollout

After delaying the mandate for large companies under Obamacare, President Obama decided to proceed with the mandate for individuals on Oct. 1. The rollout was plagued by a dysfunctional website, HealthCare.gov, which serves 36 states that lack their own exchanges.

The site has experienced a plethora of technological glitches — and HealthCare.gov was shut down its first weekend to address these issues, and again in November.

Americans continue to have problems accessing the site — and concerns surrounding whether applications have been processed sufficiently, even whether Americans’ personal information is safeguarded, continue to dog the website.

President Obama promised that the site would be improved by Nov. 30 — and then even that deadline was extended by a day. HealthCare.gov crashed during a visit by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to a Miami hospital in November.

The glitches led the White House to postpone deadlines for Americans to apply for insurance that would start on Jan. 1 — from Dec. 23 to 11:59 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

The Big Obamacare Lie

In touting his signature domestic policy achievement, President Obama declared, “If you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan, period.” He also said, “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.”

But millions of Americans have lost their healthcare coverage because the policies did not meet Obamacare’s requirements. The Heritage Foundation reported that 4.7 million insurance policies have been canceled or changed in 32 states.

The cancellations led Obama to apologize to Americans who lost their coverage due to the healthcare law and later urged Americans to not be discouraged in using Healthcare.gov.

But Americans have seen both their premiums and deductibles skyrocket.

Republicans continue to charge that Obamacare cannot be fixed and should be repealed. Last month, the GOP-controlled House passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan that would allow insurers to continue continue for another year selling policies that don’t meet Obamacare requirements.

It passed on a 261-157 vote, with 39 Democrats breaking ranks and supporting the bill. The day before the vote, President Obama promised that he would grant a one-year reprieve to Americans whose health policies had been canceled.

The Benghazi Coverup

The controversy surrounding the deaths of four Americans on Sept. 11, 2012, at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya spilled into 2013, as Republicans charged the Obama administration with covering up the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other U.S. citizens, including two former Navy SEALs.

News reports later surfaced that dozens of CIA operatives were on the ground during the attacks and that they were being polygraphed every month since January to determine whether anyone might be talking to Congress or the media.

The efforts were described in the news reports as intimidation — and even included threats that the careers of unauthorized leakers would be terminated.

Led by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, and Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire — all members of the Senate Armed Services Committee — Republicans relentlessly pressured President Obama to make Benghazi survivors available to Congress for questioning.

Several CIA personnel, including former contractors, gave a closed-door briefing to the House Intelligence Committee last month. They told lawmakers they were well aware that the 9/11 anniversary could be a flashpoint and could spur increased hostilities against Western targets during that period, Fox News reports.

The new testimony apparently countered the findings of the Accountability Review Board, which concluded that the Benghazi annex and the State Department “were well aware of the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks but at no time were there ever any specific, credible threats against the mission in Benghazi related to the Sept. 11 anniversary,” Fox reports.

That testimony has not quieted Republican calls for an investigation by a special prosecutor.

Five days after the 2012 attacks, Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, went on five Sunday morning talk shows and said that the incident began as a peaceful protest against an anti-Muslim film that was later “hijacked” by militants.

In addition, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explained in her congressional testimony in January that her department was unable to obtain reliable information as the assaults were unfolding.

This week, Rice called Benghazi “a false controversy” in an interview with “60 Minutes”on CBS.

The IRS-Tea Party Scandal

In May, a Treasury Department Inspector General’s report revealed that tea party, conservative, and religious groups had been singled out for special scrutiny by the IRS for their applications for tax-exempt status between 2010 and through the 2012 presidential election.

The scrutiny involved IRS agents placing groups with words like “tea party and “patriot” in their names on a “be on the lookout” list for additional screening of applications for tax-exempt status.

President Obama fired Steven Miller, the head of the IRS, who apologized in testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee, calling it “horrible customer service.”

At least three other IRS officials were replaced or were put on administrative leave.

Lois Lerner, who oversaw the IRS division that targeted the groups, invoked her Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination in May and refused to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

She was placed on administrative leave with pay, and retired in September.

The IRS and the Obama administration were sued by 25 conservative groups in federal court over the additional scrutiny. An IRS agent told congressional investors in August that the agency was still targeting the groups.

NSA Surveillance

Widespread spying on Americans and world leaders was revealed in stolen documents that were leaked to news organizations in June by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor.

Snowden, 30, who now is living under temporary political asylum in Russia, smuggled the classified information out of the NSA’s operations center in Hawaii.

The leaks disclosed that the agency collected billions of data on Americans’ telephone and Internet activities daily. The NSA began the surveillance after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — and the activities were broadened under Obama.

Snowden’s disclosures prompted a maelstrom of criticism of the NSA and the White House.

They’ve even split the GOP — with Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, author of the Patriot Act, attacking the NSA while Rep. Peter King of New York vocally supported the surveillance efforts.

In a public hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that the NSA “not wittingly” collected data on millions of Americans.

Clapper later called the statement “clearly erroneous” and apologized to committee chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

Seven House Republicans, including Sensenbrenner, have since called on the Justice Department to begin a criminal investigation into whether Clapper lied to Congress.

The firestorm led Obama to form an advisory panel that recommended this month that the NSA should have access to some records but that it should not be able to store them and should get court approval to search individual data.

The day before the report was released, a federal judge ruled that the NSA’s secret collection of telephone records was unconstitutional and that it violated privacy rights.

Budget/Sequester/Shutdown

Various budget battles with Congress dogged President Obama all year — from the Jan. 1 approval of the “fiscal cliff” deal to this month’s signing of the bipartisan two-year budget agreement.

The deal was sponsored by GOP Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee, and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, who heads the Senate Budget Committee.

In the interim, however, Capitol Hill Republicans fought against the deep budget cuts scheduled to take effect through sequestration. The cuts were expected to slash the Pentagon’s budget so severely that even outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta decried them.

Other battles included the stalemate over defunding Obamacare in a continuing resolution to finance the government in which Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas spoke for 21 hours and 19 minutes against the healthcare law during a Senate floor debate and the skirmish over extending the nation’s debt ceiling, which led to a 16-day partial shutdown of the federal government in October that cost American taxpayers $1.4 billion.

The shutdown tarnished both Congress and the White House, with Republicans bearing the brunt of the ire from Americans in surveys. Obama did not escape culpability, either, as poll respondents attacked him for refusing to negotiate with Congress.

Putin-Syria

On the international front, President Obama was upstaged by Vladimir Putin in September when his Russian counterpart brokered a deal that led to Syria giving up its nuclear weapons stockpiles to international control.

Putin seized on an off-hand comment by Secretary of State John Kerry that Syria could avoid a U.S. missile attack by turning over the chemical weapons. The Russian president insisted that the deal would only work if the United States agreed not to use force.

The deal, signed last month, vaulted Putin into the world spotlight — Forbes magazine recently named him as the most influential person in the world. A Russian group even nominated the ex-KGB strongman for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Two days after proposing the Syrian deal, Putin slapped Obama again in an op-ed piece in The New York Times, saying Americans should oppose U.S. strikes in Syria. The article was published the morning after Obama made his case for limited strikes against Syria in a prime-time televised speech.

Iran

Critics continued to slam President Obama’s ineptitude in international affairs with the signing in November of the deal between Iran and world leaders requiring Tehran to curb some of its nuclear activities in return for $7 billion in sanctions relief.

The deal would lead to further talks on a final deal to ends Iran’s nuclear program.

Most Americans surveyed opposed the deal while Israel charged that it was a “historical mistake.” Republicans and Democrats blasted the accord as enabling Iran to continue its nuclear program while leaving the United States with less leverage.

Despite assurances from President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry that Iran would honor the agreement, a bipartisan group of 26 senators this month introduced legislation to toughen sanctions on Iran and compel the United States to support Israel if it launches a pre-emptive attack on the Iranian nuclear program.

Obama has threatened to veto the legislation.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Obama Behind Congressional Dems’ Sinking Ship: CNN Poll.


Image: Obama Behind Congressional Dems' Sinking Ship: CNN Poll

By Cynthia Fagen

The Democrats have lost the lead in next year’s Congressional mid-term elections and President Barack Obama and the rocky healthcare rollout may be to blame, a new CNN poll revealed Thursday. 

Republicans have gained a 13-point swing in the polls in the past two months, when Democrats held a healthy 50-42 percent command. That was a likely result after congressional Republicans got negative reviews during a bitter fight over the federal government shutdown and the debt ceiling.

However, a month later, Republicans eked out a 49-47 percent lead. The new CNN survey, conducted in mid-December, in which 1,035 people were polled by phone, showed Republicans had widened the gap with a 49-44 percent edge.

That changeover follows the public outcry over the disastrous HealthCare.gov rollout and the controversy concerning some insurance policy cancellations due to Affordable Care Act deadline complications.

Republicans have a 17-seat advantage in the House and Democrats hold a 55-45 majority in the Senate.

Another GOP advantage is the president’s plummeting popularity with the public. Fifty-five percent of registered voters say that they are more likely to vote for a congressional candidate who opposes Obama than one who supports him.

“Virtually all the movement toward the GOP has come among men,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. “Fifty-four percent of female voters chose the Democratic candidate in October; 53 percent pick the Dem now. But among male voters, support for Democratic candidates has gone from 46 percent in October to just 35 percent now.”

Related Stories:

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

{ Day 360 }.


Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God‘s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. —Romans 12:11-13

Faithfulness. We must become involved in personal prayer ministry knowing that it will call for perseverance on our part. We will often have to pray more than one time for the same people with the same needs. We mustn’t become intimidated by apparent failure. We also need to remember the truth that if we are faithful in little, then God will give us more with which to work. The anointing of the Spirit grows stronger upon us as we put into practice what we have learned. Commit yourself to praying for hundreds of people for the rest of your life and see what God will do.

{ PRAYER STARTER }

Above all things, dear Father, I want to be counted faithful to You. Cause me to be faithful in my intercession before You for the souls of others.

Commit yourself to praying for hundreds of
people for the rest of your life and
see what God will do.

By MIKE BICKLE.

Tag Cloud