Los Angeles Revival will go on for a 5th Week!

shot 2 copyThis is God!  There is no doubt.  Nearly 350 have come forward.  An even greater number have been healed.  People in Southern California have completely rearranged their lives to be in every one of these indescribable nights.  We simply had to add this 5th week.   The rumbling of revival has not let up, it has intensified.  There is no other way to do justice to this phenomenon but to call it the fire of God falling on the masses and destroying the works of the devil.

To underscore the urgency of these meetings, I want you to know Brother Jesse Duplantis was scheduled to be at Echoes of Faith this Wednesday night but has graciously postponed his visit saying, “I do not want to get in the way of the moving of the Holy Spirit.” This only reinforces what a great man of God Jesse Duplantis truly is. 

I am beseeching Christians worldwide for prayer and to encourage people especially skeptics to come and see the miracles of Christ.  Growths have vanished, limbs have been healed, and dozens have reported healings of diabetes, heart disease and a host of other diseases. 

The presence of God is intense and you get the feeling that any moment Christ Himself might physically appear.  Like so many revivals I have read about in this case there seems to be a radiating presence even outside of the meeting hall in the general public that is softening them toward God and opening their hearts to be saved.

These upcoming meetings already feel like the one in the book of Matthew where the men tore the roof off of the building!  I have no doubt whatsoever that the intensity of the Glory is going to be more intense than ever in these next three nights. 

Where does it all go from here?  This is why I am begging for nationwide, yea worldwide prayer.  We have announced these as the final three nights.  However, God is the only one who knows what the future holds.  Nevertheless, you should assume that these are the last three nights and come if at all possible so you are not disappointed. 

April 1,2,3 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at 7PM

Echoes of Faith:  Address: 11255 Central Ave, Ontario, CA

91762 Phone: (909) 627-0927. Childcare is available for all services.

Florida University Under Fire Over ‘Jesus’ Classroom Exercise

FAU

Florida University Under Fire Over ‘Jesus’ Classroom Exercise

Wednesday, 27 Mar 2013 07:46 PM

A Florida university has come under fire over a professor’s controversial classroom assignment that asked his students to write “Jesus” on a sheet of paper and then to step on it.

The incident earlier this month at the Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, has prompted the school to issue an apology and led to a call from Florida’s Republican Governor Rick Scott for an investigation.

“I am deeply disappointed in the recent actions of Florida Atlantic University faculty that raises significant questions over students’ rights and the lessons being taught in our classrooms,” Scott wrote in a letter to the head of Florida’s state university board on Tuesday.

The classroom exercise was conducted as part of a course on intercultural communication at the public university.


It called for students to write the words “Jesus” in big letters on a piece of paper, place it on the floor and then to step on the paper. Students were then asked to describe how they felt.

School officials said the instructor told students they could choose whether to participate in the exercise, which was based on an example in a study guide to a course textbook and intended to provoke a discussion of cultural symbols.

In a recent statement, Florida Atlantic University said it will no longer use the exercise after it sparked criticism from some students.

“It was insensitive and unacceptable. Based on the offensive nature of the exercise, we will not use it again and have issued an apology to the community,” the statement said.

In his letter, Scott said he wanted more than just an apology from the school.

“The professor’s lesson was offensive, and even intolerant, to Christians and those of all faiths who deserve to be respected as Americans entitled to religious freedom,” he wrote.

“I’m requesting a report of the incident, how it was handled and a statement of the university’s policies to ensure this type of ‘lesson’ will not occur again,” Scott added.

Mario’s note: This news item is not offered merely to spark rage but to soberly ask ourselves why this would be done so close to Easter.  Even the professor might not understand his actions.  The answer, in my opinion, is that darkness is agitated at this time of year because we recall and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. 

And why was there no order to write Allah or Mohammed on a sheet of paper and stomp on it?  We all know the answer to that question.  It is because academic honesty is virtually gone.  It is because the America that activist professors, politicians, and media are building has open hostility to Christ and His teachings. 

On the other hand, we can extract an important lesson from this story.  Someone spoke out and the University felt the heat and immediately took action.  How sad that it was a Mormon who first spoke out.   Our prayers and our voices can make a great difference right now.

 “Silence in the face of evil is in itself evil.” – Dietrich  Bonhoeffer.  

Prevailing Prayer for America’s Soul.

prayer blog art

The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ inflicted the greatest wound evil has ever known.  Today, we need evil to take another massive hit in America.  To do this we must realize that we are in a war, an invisible war.

The idea of an invisible war raging all around them paralyzes most Christians. Their daily life overwhelms them.  They are losing their health and their mind because of supernatural stress.  Yet, for all of this, they refuse to open their eyes to the war that is costing them dearly. But see it they must, or they will live out the rest of their days discouraged, helpless and exhausted.

Yes, it is chilling to realize that something supernatural hates you and those you love.  It is even more frightening to discover how much the destruction being caused by principalities and powers are doing to our nation.

The Bible shows us that supernatural evil can establish itself in a culture and open a floodgate of misery.  How these spirits can be confronted and driven back should be the study of every child of God.

The Bible has methods for dealing with Satan’s agenda.  God yearns to reveal Himself as a mighty warrior on behalf of those who will take the time to become armed and dangerous.  But instead of heeding the cry of the Holy Spirit most believers are content to live in dread, defeat, and confusion.

The evil one of course, loves it this way.  He wants you to live on the defensive.  He wants you reacting instead of acting.  He wants you to feel that darkness is inevitable and that the works of vile men cannot be reversed.  In fact, the wicked one wants you to believe that the overpowering demands of your everyday life are so great that you cannot even consider being a warrior in the larger battle for the soul of a nation.  How better to dismantle America than to prevent the army of God from ever entering the theater of battle?

Let me speak plainly.  Have you had enough?  Are you ready to reopen the Bible and apply its message of supernatural victory to your life?

He is Risen

You road map to victory begins by asking the right question.

1. What is God’s will for me as a warrior?  We must answer the bigger questions but this one comes first.  The Bible tells you that your FATHER wants you strong, securing the thoughts and emotions in your mind to force them to submit to truth.  Confess that your father wants to make you mighty through training for and living in a culture of victory forged by habitual breakthroughs in battle.

Ephesians 6:10-13 says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

You must settle the question of your victory in this war.  Yes, you must fight but you are designed for triumph in battle.  Admit that the evil one has had the upper hand because of your ignorance of the Word of God and the heart of God, and that you are done with this ignorance once and for all.

That you may not yet know how to fight does not matter at this point.  You may not yet have your emotions under control.  What you need now is to know beyond knowing that God your Father has assured you inward and outward victory.

GodBlessAmerica

2. Now you must take your stand.  “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  – Ephesians 6: 14-17

This is your personal declaration of war.  Some balk at this because the idea that they are challenging Satan awakens fear.  “If I announce my opposition to Satan I open myself up to attack.”  This is a huge misnomer.  You are already under attack.  The only difference now is that you are fighting back.

It is a disastrous myth to think that if you leave Satan alone that he will leave you alone.  As I have said before, that is like believing that the bull will not charge because you are a vegetarian.

Since you are going to be attacked anyway, you must learn how to return fire.  Nothing matches prayer for retaliation against Satan.

3.  Now we must begin praying prayers that get through and prevail. The truth that God has limited some of His activity to our prayers is a great mystery.  However, we do not have the luxury of waiting until we unravel this mystery before we avail ourselves of the great privilege of prevailing prayer.

When Jesus taught us that we need to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” the clear message is that God waits for us to enforce the victory He won on the Cross.   Simply put, heaven comes to earth in pieces, in segments as the product of fervent prayer.   We are commissioned, empowered and trained to take high value ground that was once the unchallenged property of Satan.

It is urgent that you see why that after Paul told us to be strong and to put on all of the armor in Ephesians 6, he concludes his admonition with verse18: “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”

Prayer and prevailing prayer can look the same but they are completely different.  You may have been praying and then settling for something that is not the will of God.  The angel told Daniel, Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.” -Daniel 10:12, 13.

Whatever it takes: The modern spoon-fed believer cannot imagine warring 21 minutes let alone 21 days.  Yet, it is this tenacity in intercession that changes the world.  You pray fervently, utterly and without regard to time or personal sacrifice because your marriage, your children, grandchildren and the miracles that yearn to come are worth it!

gwprayingvalleyforge2

Consider that Daniel did not have the great intercessor Jesus at the right hand of God.  The victory of Calvary was still a future event and its eternal benefits were not yet in place.  How much more then should we feel bolder in prayer than Daniel!

First you counterpunch the attacks in your soul.  Then you take on the attacks on your loved ones.  You enlarge your retaliation to envelope health, finances, taxes, enemies, and your entire daily grind.

With each victory comes a deeper resolve.  You exhale knowing you are finally on the offensive driving back devils that you once tolerated for reasons you cannot even remember.  The days of dread are in your rear view mirror.

Yes, you will be attacked again but now instead of dread you welcome the opportunity to exercise your new found boldness in prayer and to see the new kinds of intervention that the Holy Spirit will unfold.

4. Now you have earned the right to call America back to God through prayer!  You can ask questions you never asked before. Arthur Matthews said, “Questions again flood our minds.  How do these spirit powers exert their influence in society?  Where do they get in?  Is there a distinctive modus operandi that would help us identify them?  What can or what should we be doing to control and prevent their intrusion?”

Here is a historical fact that should deeply sober every American Christian: Israel lost the knowledge of God in one generation.  Judges 2:10,11 says, “When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel. Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals.”

America is repeating this process.  Our government is guilty of outright war on the things that made America great.  Dr. Benjamin Carson, the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital “Let’s say somebody were [in the White House] and they wanted to destroy this nation, I would create division among the people, encourage a culture of ridicule for basic morality and the principles that made and sustained the country, undermine the financial stability of the nation, and weaken and destroy the military. It appears coincidentally that those are the very things that are happening right now.”

Satan has saved his very best lie for God’s remnant. Remember that Jesus said “to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”  Satan is plying a special lie on the elect of God!  Satan is even imitating the voice of the Holy Spirit to tell this lie!  He is doing this because this remnant is the final firewall stopping his agenda for America.

this generation reaching up

In a nutshell, here is the deceiving message from the devil to the righteous core:  “The best days of the Church are behind you.  God must judge America to allow the return of Christ. God cannot do it again because He does not want to. The bottom line of this lie is the times are too hard, the task is too great and we are too small.”

I have heard from sources I trust that our government has dreadful plans to overrule the Constitution and come after our freedoms.  What do we do with this information?  The saints in Damascus heard Saul of Tarsus was coming with authority from the government to arrest and execute Christians.

Those believers could have cited end time prophecy to justify running and hiding but instead they took their stand.  They set themselves to fervent prayer and unleashed heaven on the situation.  A light blasts Saul off of his horse ending the threat.  As a bonus to this victory, the Church gets a new Apostle named Paul.

In this hour, our revival prayer must be mingled with two seemingly opposing attitudes:  An utter desperation that admits that God must do it again, and a violent confidence that God will do it again!

Sprawling and Struggling: Poverty Hits America’s Suburbs

Sprawling and Struggling: Poverty Hits America’s Suburbs

Published: Friday, 22 Mar 2013 | 1:18 PM ET

By: Allison Linn

David Friedman | NBC News
Tara Simons, left, and her daughter Alexis talk in their kitchen in West Hartford, Conn.

Like many Americans who move to the suburbs, Tara Simons came to West Hartford, Conn., because she wanted her daughter to grow up in a nice, safe place with good schools.

Her fall from a more financially secure suburban life to one among the working poor also happened for the same reason it’s happened to so many others. She had a bout of unemployment and couldn’t find a new job that paid very well.

As a single mother, that’s made it hard to hold on to the suburban life that is, in her mind, key to making sure her daughter gets off to the right start.

“I’m basically paying to say I live in West Hartford,” she said. “It is worth it.”

It’s a struggle that many Americans bruised by the weak economy can relate to.

The number of suburban residents living in poverty rose by nearly 64 percent between 2000 and 2011, to about 16.4 million people, according to a Brookings Institution analysis of 95 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. That’s more than double the rate of growth for urban poverty in those areas.

“I think we have an outdated perception of where poverty is and who it is affecting,” said Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of the research. “We tend to think of it as a very urban and a very rural phenomenon, but it is increasingly suburban.”

Simons’ situation is complicated by the fact she’s a single mom. Poverty and financial insecurity among single moms is far higher than for households headed by single dads or two parents.

The rate of poverty among single mothers actually improved dramatically through the 1990s, thanks to a strong economy, more favorable tax breaks and the success of so-called welfare-to-work programs. But two recessions and years of high unemployment erased many of those gains.

Moving for a Better Life

Simons and her daughter Alexis moved from Massachusetts to West Hartford eight years ago because Simons had a job with a local rug retailer.

Alexis, now 14, made friends, became an avid lacrosse player and is now a high school freshman.

The picturesque suburb, with its well-kept homes and an upscale town center, has a median household income of $80,061, more than double that of Hartford itself, which is $29,107 according to the Census Bureau.

And yet the number of people needing help has skyrocketed in recent years, said Susan Huleatt, the human services manager for West Hartford.

About five years ago, Huleatt said a mobile van began coming to town once a month to distribute fresh produce to people in need. Now, four vans come each month, and more than 200 people sometimes line up for the food. That’s in addition to the city’s own food pantry.

Simons expected to work for the rug retailer until retirement, but about a year ago she quit after disputes with one of the two owners. She had never had trouble finding a new job and was unprepared for how hard it would be.

“I know that part of it is my fault and I absolutely take responsibility for that, but I never in a million years thought that I would (be in this position),” she said.

Simons went without work or unemployment benefits for five months before she got her current job about six months ago. The position, as a customer service representative for a local health products company, pays $14 an hour. That leaves her with take-home pay of about $460 to $480 a week, plus about $127 a week in child support. Simons has full custody of her daughter.

She is behind on her electric and gas bills and owes nearly $400 to her daughter’s club lacrosse team, which has her worried that her daughter won’t be able to play this spring.

Like many working poor people, she has fallen into a debt spiral. She took out an $800 payday loan, and she estimates that it will end up costing her $1,600 to pay it back. She also has several hundred dollars in credit card debt and has worked to pay off hundreds of dollars in bank overdraft fees. She’s sold jewelry for cash.

(Related Story: JPMorgan Reining In Payday Lenders)

She and Alexis had to leave the house they were renting after she lost her job and a roommate. She got one-time aid from the city’s crisis fund to help with the down payment for her new, cheaper apartment. Still, the $1,125 rent eats up more than half of her monthly take-home pay.

She went on Medicaid after being unable to afford health insurance.

Simons said it’s been hard, and sometimes embarrassing, to accept help.

“The thing is, I don’t want it,” she said. “I want to pay my bills.”

Hoping for a Break

Simons has continued to apply for jobs daily, hoping to land a higher-paying position with health insurance she can afford.

One morning in early March, she got a break. A rug retailer about 40 miles from West Hartford offered her a job interview.

Excited and anxious, Simons carefully picked out her clothes and fretted about her hair. She was too nervous to eat.

A few hours before the interview, her boyfriend Phil Volonis stopped by to give Simons some gas money. Her 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier had broken down the day before, so he had lent her a car.

Later that evening, Simons walked out of the interview confident that she had done well, but still not sure if she had gotten the job.

Driving home in the pouring rain, Simons said that while living in West Hartford has been good for her and her daughter, she dreams of moving somewhere warmer.

She mused that perhaps Alexis will go to University of Florida—which has a good women’s lacrosse team—and she could move down there, too.

But for now, she said, she would do almost anything to keep her daughter in this town.

“The kid’s been through enough,” Simons said. “So, I just want her to feel as safe and settled as possible, and I want her to know that she can count on her mom to keep her where she is and keep promises.”

Most Palestinians hate Obama; US president gets heated reception in West Bank

Most Palestinians hate Obama’; US president gets heated reception in West Bank

The two presidential choppers landed in the Palestinian presidential compound in Ramallah twenty minutes ahead of schedule. The force of their landing blew plumes of dust and litter over thin lines of ceremonial guards and bagpipers saluting the arrival.

Police block Palestinian protesters during a rally against Barack Obama

Police block Palestinian protesters during a rally against Barack Obama in the West Bank city of Ramallah Photo: AP

By Phoebe Greenwood, Ramallah

5:55PM GMT 21 Mar 2013

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, hit the red carpet first, followed byBarack Obama. The welcome ceremony lasted five minutes, with time for only solemn-faced handshakes and a reedy rendition of the Star Spangled banner before presidential entourage disappeared into Muqata’a building. The red carpet rolled up promptly behind them.

The pageant of love Mr Obama has engaged in with Benjamin Netanyahu may have won over several Israeli hearts, but it may have caused considerable damage to his relationship with the Palestinians.

The first 24-hours of Obama’s visit was marked with early morning rocket fire from Gaza towards Sderot, violating ceasefire agreed with Israel in November.

In Ramallah, empty streets were dotted with truculent Palestinian soldiers deployed to prevent violent protest at the president’s visit. Ramallah’s major thoroughfare, running from the presidential compound to Qalandiya checkpoint, was lined with posters censored with black paint. Their slogans had read: “Mr President, don’t bring your smart phone to Ramallah, there is no 3G in Palestine!”

Just 100 metres away from the Muqata’a, a small crowd of angry demonstrators gathered outside a Kentucky Fried Chicken, contained by flanks of riot police. “Obama get out”, they chanted in the direction of the president.

“The right of return [for Palestinian refugees] is a red line,” an old man swathed in a keffiyeh yelled passionately.

Ahmad, 27, was nursing a broken arm having been shot with a rubber bullet by Israeli soldiers during a protest at Qalandiya checkpoint last Friday but supported the demonstrators.

“When he got the presidency, he said he would do lots for Palestine but he did nothing,” he explained. “Now Palestine is angry, as you can see. Most Palestinians hate Obama – he will only make more problems for us”.

On his last visit to the Middle East in 2009, Mr Obama had made a soaring speech in Cairo saying that the suffering of the Palestinian people was intolerable. “America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own,” he vowed then. But this is exactly what most Palestinians believe he has done.

Emerging from more than two hours of talks with the Palestinian leadership, Mr Obama squirmed on his podium next to Mahmoud Abbas when pressed on his position over Israeli settlements.

“Based on my conversations with both Mr Netanyahu and Mr Abbas, I believe the possibility exists for a two state solution,” he equivocated. Settlement expansion was not “appropriate or constructive”, he said, stopping short of stating the US government position that Israeli settlement construction is illegal.

“It’s important to continue with negotiations even if there are irritants on both sides,” he said.

“The core issue is how to get sovereignty for the Palestinian people and security for the Israeli people. That isn’t to say settlements are not important. But … I don’t want to put the cart before the horse.”

Hassan Mousa, 47, whose export business was forced to close due to the presidential visit, had no interest in hearing what Mr Obama had to say.

“It’s crazy this visit. All our business shut down for a whole day and for what? He may be the head of the most important country in the world but he is doing nothing for us as Palestinians,” Mr Mousa said. “He is a man who offered a lot but has delivered nothing.”

Mario’s note: Remember when Obama promised us that he would improve our relationship with the Arab world?  Obama seems to have  a reverse Midas touch where everything that is gold turns into tin when he touches it.

A government document shows tab for the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand came in at $585,000.50.

Biden Hotel bill

As it turns out, Vice President Joe Biden’s London stay in February was not the most expensive part of his trip. A government document released on February 14, 2013 shows that the contract for the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand came in at $585,000.50.

The documentation for this contract is not as detailed as the London one, so the cost per room is not available.  However, just like his London hotel, the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand is a five star hotel. Again, security concerns prevent these type of contracts from being open to bidding, but if the government was able to do some comparison shopping, the Hotel Intercontinental has a special offer, “Find a lower price elsewhere and your first night is free.” The Vice President stayed in Paris for one night.

Obama’s Sequester Scaremongering Is the Real Threat

February 28, 2013

Fear is a powerful motivator. As it turns out, it’s also a good political tool. But President Obama is taking it about twenty steps too far in his quest to hyperbolize the potential effects of the sequester. Seemingly every day now he’s trotting out another group – first responders, firemen, teachers – to highlight the potential disaster of the relatively small budget cuts.

According to the president, “this meat-cleaver approach” will “jeopardize military readiness” and “eviscerate job-creating investments.” On top of that it will cause federal prosecutors to “let criminals go,” it will “cause delays at airports,” force parents to “scramble for child care,” and will cause Americans to “lose access to primary care.”

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano did her part to pour gasoline on the fire, saying that u.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has already released “several hundred” immigrants from detention facilities just in anticipation of the cuts. Even Democrats questioned the move.

Doris Meissner, from President Clinton’s White House, questions whether the decision is intended to show “how damaging sequestration is”? Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told the Washington Postthat it was “a scare tactic” designed to tell leery voters, ‘Look, we’re going to release illegal aliens, they’re coming for your family!”’

As if such scare tactics weren’t disgusting enough, the White House has stooped to out and out lies to try and sway public opinion to their side. The Washington Post reports:

 “There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can’t come back this fall,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

When he was pressed in a White House briefing Wednesday to come up with an example, Duncan named a single county in West Virginia and acknowledged, “whether it’s all sequester-related, I don’t know.”

And, as it turns out, it isn’t.

Officials in Kanawha County, West Virginia say that the “transfer notices” sent to at least 104 educators had more to do with a separate matter that involves a change in the way West Virginia allocates federal dollars designated for poor children.

But perhaps the worst piece of political demagoguery of them all was the President announcing that the U.S.S. Harry Truman, which was scheduled to deploy to the Persian Gulf, will be staying stateside because of the cuts. The implicit message was that the sequester would threaten the United States’ ability to deal with the ongoing, growing threat posed by Iran, which is patently untrue.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters called the move “ostentatious,” like “Donald Trump claiming he can’t afford a cab.” The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, who penned a detailed chronicle of the sequester’s creation, said the commander-in-chief’s decision to not deploy the carrier was a “kind of madness that I haven’t seen in a long time.”

“Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying ‘Oh, by the way, I can’t do this because of some budget document?” Woodward asked on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “[O]r even Bill Clinton saying, ‘You know, I’m not going to attack Saddam Hussein’s intelligence headquarters,’ as he did when Clinton was president because of some budget document.”

The answer is no, because Obama isn’t Clinton, and he sure as heck isn’t Reagan. What he is a scaremonger who bends public opinion to his will with fear because he can’t do it with reason or facts. Because in this case the evidence is clearly against him. As the Wall Street Journal editorial board writes, “[I]f any of these cataclysms do come to pass, then they will be mostly Mr. Obama’s own creation. The truth is that the sequester already gives the White House the legal flexibility to avoid doom, if a 5% cut to programs that have increased more than 17% on average over the Obama Presidency counts as doom.”

Nevertheless, the President wants you to believe the world is ending when the federal government will still spend $15 billion more than it did last year and 30% more than it did just five years ago. Why? Because fear works. And hyperbole sells.

Obama an unqualified disaster in the Middle East. They like George Bush more than Obama.

Obama’s Middle East policy in tatters: Column

James S. Robbins7:13p.m. EDT March 20, 2013

U.S is now less popular in the region than at the end of the George W. Bush administration.

President Obama’s first journey to Israel as president comes amid earth-shattering change in Middle East, much of it for the worse. The Arab Spring, which once raised hopes of freedom and dignity, has diverged onto the dark path of Islamist authoritarian rule. In Syria, tens of thousands of people have died in a bitter civil war that might have recently seen its first use of chemical weapons. And Iran continues its march toward nuclear weapons capability, heedless of international condemnation. Obama’s effort to seek peace between Palestinians and Israelis is in tatters.

That’s why the White House has been lowering expectations for Obama’s trip to Israel all this week. He will announce no new peace plan, grand design or major foreign policy initiative. His advisers are calling the trip a “listening tour.” That is what you call a state visit when you have little to say.

Failed beginning

Despite downgrading the trip, many see Obama’s arrival as the sequel to his 2009 visit to Cairo, where he announced a “new beginning” with the Muslim world. Four years later, that doesn’t auger well for renewed efforts in Israel and the West Bank. According to the latest survey by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project, confidence in Obama in Muslim countries dropped from 33% to 24% in his first term. Approval of Obama’s policies declined even further, from 34% to 15%. And support for the United States in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Pakistan is lower today than it was in 2008 in the closing year of George W. Bush’s administration. That collapse of support has not happened elsewhere.

In his Cairo speech, Obama pledged a relationship between America and Muslims around the world “based on mutual interest and mutual respect.” But in 2013, interests are diverging, and respect is in short supply.

Of all the strained relationships in the Middle East, the partnership with Israel is the most important and potentially the most easily repaired. Obama is not popular in the country. A poll released last week showed he had a scant 10% approval rating in Israel, with an additional 32% saying they respect but don’t like him. But the president is making significant symbolic gestures to heal the breach, such as visiting the grave site of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism. It’s being interpreted as showing support for the Jewish people’s historic connection to the land of Israel, something Obama avoided in his first term.

Unpopular in Palestine

If Israelis don’t like Obama, Palestinians are even less favorable.Washington’s perceived failure to take a harder line with Israel over the final status of Jerusalem, and U.S. opposition to President Mahmoud Abbas’ successful campaign for higher Palestinian status in the United Nations, have engendered a deep sense of frustration. Passions spilled over in Bethlehem this week, when young Palestinians defaced a billboard with Obama’s image and burned pictures of him in the streets. Obama’s symbolic nods to Israel’s history are likely to raise Palestinian ire even further.

The hope that Obama will say the right things in Thursday’s speech at Jerusalem’s convention center is negated by doubts he will follow through. The president has to assure Israelis and Palestinians that he is still engaged if the peace process has any chance of moving forward. In part, this means convincing them that he still matters.

James S. Robbins is a senior fellow in national security affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council.

Flustered Barack Obama on the back foot over Israeli settlements

Flustered Barack Obama on the back foot over Israeli settlements

Barack Obama experienced the sobering realities of re-engaging with the Middle East peace process on Thursday when the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, openly challenged his line on Jewish settlements.

US President Barack Obama holds a joint press conference with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas beneath a banner showing Abbas and the late Palestinian later Yasser Arafat in Ramallah on March 21, 2013.

US President Barack Obama holds a joint press conference with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas beneath a banner showing Abbas and the late Palestinian later Yasser Arafat in Ramallah on March 21, 2013. Photo: AFP/Getty Images.
Robert Tait

By Robert Tait, Jerusalem

2:40PM GMT 21 Mar 2013

In a stark contrast to his smooth-running public appearances with Israeli leaders, the US president found himself on the back foot when forced to address the issue after a 90-minute meeting with Mr Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Mr Obama said he had told Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, that settlement expansion in east Jerusalem and the West Bank on land the Palestinians want for a future state was not “constructive” or “appropriate”.

But he did not repeat his previous call, issued in 2009, that building must cease, pleading instead for resumed talks on the “core issues” of establishing a sovereign Palestinian state and providing security for Israel.

“That’s not to say settlements aren’t important. That’s to say if we solve those two problems, the settlement issue will be resolved,” Mr Obama told a press conference in a rambling answer in which his normal fluency seemed to desert him.

Referring to Palestinian demands for a building freeze before re-starting talks, he admitted that settlements were “frustrating”.

Mr Obama and Mr Abbas pose with some Palestinian children in Ramallah today. Picture: Reuters

But he added: “If the expectation is that we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time, then there’s no point in negotiations. It’s essential to work through this process even if we have concerns on both sides. We can push through these things, not use them as excuses not to do anything.”

Mr Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, was swift and uncompromising in his riposte. He called settlements a “hurdle and ignoble” and said their presence was killing the belief of a whole generation of Palestinians in a two-state solution.

Since 1967, Israel has built dozens of settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem that are now home to 560,000 Israelis – an increase of 60,000 since Mr Obama became president.

“Everybody considers settlements more than a hurdle toward a two-state solution,” he said. The [United Nations] security council issued more than 13 resolutions, not only condemning settlements but demanding ending and removing them because they’re illegal. We’re demanding nothing other than the implementation of international law. The issue of settlements in clear.”

The press conference contained none of the bonhomie that existed between Mr Obama and Mr Netanyahu in a similar event the previous evening. Both men appeared stiff, formal and mostly unsmiling.

While reiterating his belief in a two-state solution, Mr Obama stressed that he had come with modest goals and without any specific peace plan.

“I think part of my goal during this trip is to have helpful discussions with both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas on what they need and how they see a potential path and how it would be structured,” he said.

He and John Kerry, the US secretary of state, would draw conclusions from the visit and consider how to plot a future course, Mr Obama suggested.

This afternoon the president returned to Israel, where he once again branded Israeli settlements “counterproductive” to peace in a keynote speech to students in Jerusalem.

He also warned that Israel “must reverse an undertow of isolation”.

Mr Obama walked a thin diplomatic line during the speech, urging Israelis to accept Palestinians’ right to self-determination, but also insisting it is time for the Arab world to “take steps toward normalizing relations” with the Jewish state.

“Israelis must recognize that continued settlement activity is counterproductive to the cause of peace, and that an independent Palestine must be viable, that real borders will have to be drawn,” Mr Obama said.

He also insisted: “Palestinians must recognize that Israel will be a Jewish state, and that Israelis have the right to insist upon their security”.

Yesterday, speaking after a meeting with Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu, the US president admitted: “Ultimately, this is a really hard problem.”

Mr Obama has said he is in the Middle East to listen to the parties about how to resume peace talks which have been frozen for two-and-a-half years.

He said he had decided against coming armed with a comprehensive peace plan that might not be fit for current political conditions.

The Arab-Israeli issue has “been lingering for over six decades,” he said at the press conference with Mr Netanyahu yesterday. “And the parties involved have, you know, some profound interests that you can’t spin, you can’t smooth over. And it is a hard slog to work through all of these issues.”

Mr Obama’s new approach was a stark contrast to early in his first term, when he declared Israeli settlement building to be illegitimate and promised to dedicate himself to peace.

He admitted on Wednesday that he had perhaps made mistakes, but argued that he was not the only US leader to have done so.

“I hope I’m a better president now than when I first came into office,” Mr Obama said.

“I’m absolutely sure that there are a host of things that I could have done that would have been more deft and, you know, would have created better optics.”

Mr Obama was met with a colder welcome as he arrived in the West Bank this morning after his effusive reception in Israel yesterday.

Palestinians tried to wave away his helicopter, Marine One, as it landed in Ramallah. Around 150 demonstrators chanted anti-American slogans, saying they wanted weapons not presidential visits.

Early this morning, two rockets fired by militants in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip hit southern Israel.

Mario’s note:  Strange isn’t it?  

A president, who refuses to write a budget, refuses to negotiate with Republicans, refuses to be transparent and even batters his already compliant media wife lectures the Middle East: “If the expectation is that we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time, then there’s no point in negotiations. It’s essential to work through this process even if we have concerns on both sides. We can push through these things, not use them as excuses not to do anything.”

His entire agenda is based on “excuses not to do anything.”  His “my way or the highway is the essence of what is strangling the nation.

Give up the settlements?  Israel would be insane to do that.  Right now millions of Americans are glued to their sets watching the Bible Miniseries and getting reacquainted with how God gave Israel a promised land.  When a tiny nation is surrounded by multiple, massive Arab states there is no basis for believing that the future of Palestinians is in the hands of Israel.  These massive nations cannot take care of  their own?

Obama in Israel

MSNBC, owned and operated by the White House tries to pose as a news organization in Israel.  One of their cast members asked actual questions.  This attempt at journalism shocked Obama who then berated the reporter as “incorrigible.”   It is incorrigible indeed for an employee to treat his boss this way.  See video and other Obama debacles in Israel.

 

NETANYAHU JOKES TO OBAMA: YOU SEEM TO HAVE ‘INCESTUOUS RELATIONSHIP’ WITH MEDIA

President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu had a light-hearted moment when Obama introduced his chief foreign policy speechwriter Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes. Pointing at Rhodes, Obama said to Netanyahu, “Just remember that anything offensive that I say, it’s because of him.” Obama then pointed out that Ben’s brother, David, runs CBS News and has a “proud Jewish mother.”

Netanyahu quipped, “It sounds like a very incestuous relationship,”
“Not if you watch CBS News,” Obama retorted.

Backup presidential limo on its way for Obama in Israel after fuel filling failure

One of the limousines in Barack Obama’s fleet has broken after reports that it was filled with the wrong fuel

Barack Obama's limousine.

President Obama’s limousine. One of the fleet is being flown to Israel from Jordan to replace its poorly friend. Photograph: Handout/GPO via Getty Iimages

One of the limousines in Barack Obama’s fleet has broken after reports that it was mistakenly filled with the wrong fuel at the start of the US president’s visit to Israel.

Another limo is on its way from Jordan, according to Ma’an News agency, citing Israel’s Channel 10, reportedly after a mixup over whether the vehicle ran on diesel or gasoline.

Ma’an reports:

Hebrew-language websites described the malfunctioning limo, brought from Washington specially for the visit, as the first unforseen incident during Obama’s three-day visit to the region.

Obama is scheduled to leave the airport to Jerusalem in a helicopter. A parade of Black Hawk helicopters will follow the presidential helicopter carrying his delegation.

According to the Associated Press, the US secret service said the vehicle suffered mechanical problems before Obama arrived but would not say what the problem was.

The secret service said its advance teams plan ahead for these types of glitches. “This is why we bring multiple vehicles and a mechanic on all trips,” said spokesman Brian Leary.

It was not the only unscripted moment of the visit so far: our Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood, notes that Obama apologised to the Israeli prime minister about the size of the presidential entourage.

JERUSALEM POST EDITOR: ‘WE CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHAT HE’S DOING HERE’


by LARRY O’CONNOR 20 Mar 2013

Caroline Glick, Senior Contributing Editor of the Jerusalem Post said the Israeli people consider President Obama “a hostile president overall,” on “Mornings on the Mall” on WMAL-FM in Washington DC.

Appearing with Brian Wilson and myself Wednesday morning, Glick said the Israeli people “can’t figure out what he’s doing here,” when asked about the mood in Jerusalem as the President’s plane touched down for the first time in his presidency.

“Essentially his goal is to empower the un-electable, incredibly radical left in Israel to put pressure on the Israeli government for whatever concessions he wants it to make to the PLO,” said Glick in evaluating the reasons why Obama will be meeting with university students and members of the Palestinian Government during his visit.

When asked about how the installment of Chuck Hagel as the Secretary of Defense was received by the Israeli people, Glick said, “It’s a hostile act.”

Mario’s note:  All true Christians should be praying for Israel at this time.  Perhaps these bungles are a part of God trying to protect Israel from the Obama agenda.

Gifted Hands By Thomas Sowell

Gifted Hands

By Thomas Sowell – March 19, 2013

A remarkable book titled “Gifted Hands” tells the personal story of Benjamin Carson, a black kid from the Detroit ghetto who went on to become a renowned neurosurgeon.

At one time young Ben Carson had the lowest grades in his middle school class, and was the butt of teasing by his white classmates. Worse yet, he himself believed that he was just not smart enough to do the work.

As young Ben’s school work began to catch up with that of his classmates, and then began to surpass that of his classmates, his whole view of himself and of the wider world around him began to change. He began to think that he wanted to become a doctor.

There were a lot of obstacles to overcome along the way, including the fact that his mother had to be away from time to time for psychiatric treatment, as she tried to cope with the heavy pressures of trying to raise two boys whose father had deserted the family that she now had to support on a maid’s wages.

In many ways the obstacles facing young Ben Carson were like those faced by so many other youngsters in the ghetto. What was different was that he overcame those obstacles with the help of a truly heroic mother and the values she instilled in him.

It is an inspiring personal story, told plainly and unpretentiously, including the continuing challenges he faced later as a neurosurgeon operating on the brains of people with life-threatening medical problems, often with the odds against them.

To me it was a personal story in another sense, that some of his experiences as a youngster brought back experiences that I went through growing up in Harlem many years earlier.

I could understand all too well what it was like to be the lowest performing child in a class. That was my situation in the fourth grade, after my family had moved up from the South, where I had been one of the best students in the third grade — but in a grossly inferior school system.

Now I sometimes found myself in tears because it was so hard to try to get through my homework.

But in one sense I was much more fortunate than Ben Carson and other black youngsters today. The shock of being in a school, whose standards were higher than I was able to meet at first, took place in an all-black school in Harlem, so that there was none of the additional complications that such an experience can have for a black youngster in a predominantly white school.

By the time I first entered a predominantly white school, I had already caught up, and had no trouble with the school work. Decades later, in the course of running a research project, I learned that the Harlem school, where I had so much trouble catching up, had an average IQ of 84 back when I was there.

In the predominantly white school to which I later went, I was put in a class for children with IQs of 120 and up, and had no trouble competing with them. But I would have been totally wiped out if I had gone there two years earlier — and who knows what racial hang-ups that might have led to?

Chance plays a large part in everyone’s life. The home in which you are raised is often a big part of luck being on your side or against you. But you don’t need parents with Ph.D.s to make sure that you make the most of your education.

The kinds of things that statisticians can measure, such as family income or parents’ education, are not the crucial things. The family’s attitude toward education and toward life can make all the difference.

Virtually everything was against young Ben Carson, except for his mother’s attitudes and values. But, armed with her outlook, he was able to fight his way through many battles, including battles to control his own temper, as well as external obstacles.

Today, Dr. Benjamin Carson is a renowned neurosurgeon at a renowned institution, Johns Hopkins University. But what got him there was wholly different from what is being offered to many ghetto youths today, much of which is not merely futile but counterproductive.

Note from Mario:  One of the driving forces of my life is the truth that Christ got me out of the ghetto and then He did the greater miracle of getting the ghetto out of me.  I do not condemn social workers and government programs.  What I do condemn is blind allegiance to ideas, methods, and spending by those in authority in the inner city who know better than anyone that they do not work.