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2015: A Year in Review

Welcome to 2015. Where man-buns are a thing and more deaths are caused by taking selfies than shark attacks. Deaths by selfies gone wrong: 12. Death by shark attacks: 8. There have been an estimated 105 billion photos taken by Americans this year and 104.9 billion of them were seflies! We have definitely become a more selfish and self-centered generation this year – with the Kardashians leading the charge on this one! Kim Kardashian (in)famously “broke the internet” this year with her butt. [I cannot believe I just wrote that sentence.] But I guess Ariana Grande wanted a piece of the limelight so she took to donut licking to find it. She may have taken it a bit too far when she said she hated America and Americans because her stunt backfired and people began to realize they’d have one less “Problem” without her so she eventually apologized and now all is right with the world.

Yes, 2015 was indeed a busy year. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories from this past year.

Politics and the Fight Against Terror
We started off 2015 with the attacks by two brothers with ties to Al-Qaeda, against Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine in Paris who had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. They killed 11 people and injured 11 others. A massive manhunt for the two terrorists led to an altercation with police two days later. The terrorists were found hiding in a printworks factory. They emerged from the building firing at police. Both suspects were killed. Meanwhile, two other terrorists with connections to the brothers had taken hostages inside a Jewish supermarket. In total, 17 people were killed in the course of three-days.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress this year in March speaking against the nuclear deal with Iran. President Obama was busy golfing or something and subsequently couldn’t find time to meet with our “strongest ally in the Middle East.”

In May, the U.S. along with several other world leaders struck a nuclear agreement with Iran. Supporters of Israel and common sense all over the world urged their leaders to oppose the deal. In his address to the country, President Obama gave us some information about the really bad deal.

An arms embargo would be in place for 5 years while a ballistic missile embargo would be in place for 8 years. The deal is not contingent on Iran changing its behavior or acting like a civilized nation. We are hoping this deal will lead to future talks in hopes that they will lessen their violence and take a more constructive path — but we’re not betting on it.

It does not give me pause the others in Tehran or Mr. Assad are praising this deal as victory against America. The facts are the facts. I’m not concerned with what others say about it.

We have huge differences with Iran. Israel has significant concerns with regards to its security. Iran has a military, they deny the holocaust, they have called for their destruction and have missiles pointed at [Israel]. For all the objections of Netanyahu and republicans no one has given me an alternative.

24/7 monitoring of the “known” and “declared” facilities. What if they try to develop a covert program? The benefit of sophisticated monitoring throughout the entire process is that it’s hard to create a covert program. But if they are so determined, the IAEA has the authority to declare they want to inspect the suspicious areas. If Iran wants to object to any inspections, we can override that decisions. This is the most vigorous inspection process ever negotiated. The only argument you could make against it is that Iran is no intent that no inspection team would ever be sufficient. At that point, the only alternative is to go to war with Iran.

We didn’t make the release of hostages part of the deal because we didn’t want Iran thinking they could get more out of this deal by using the hostages as leverage. If we had walked away from the negotiating table we’d still be pushing hard to get them out of prison.

There are quite a few sketch details in this nuclear deal with Iran. I’m sure we will hear about this in 2016.

The world was rocked again when terrorists carried out attacks in the capital of France. Terrorists executed at least 158 people in coordinated attacks around Paris. The terrorists were heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” and “this is for Syria” before opening fire. French President Francois Hollande closed the French borders and declared a state of emergency. The terrorists involved were killed.

ISIS took more ground in Syria and Northern Iraq. More people were brutally murdered by the terrorist group which also led to the height of the refugee crisis facing the world. For years, Syrians had been fleeing their country because of the devastating civil war taking place. But now with ISIS being added to the mix, the number of refugees was becoming almost overwhelming. The debate reached its height in America this year after it was discovered that at least one of the terrorists involved in the Paris attacks had snuck in with the Syrian refugees.

While most American were having Turkey for Thanksgiving, so was Russian President Vladmir Putin. After ISIS claimed responsibility for attacks against Russians and around the world, Putin ordered attacks against the terrorist groups and many Americans day-dreamed about impeaching Barack Mom-Jeans Obama and replacing him with Vladmir I-Wrestle-Bears-With-My-Bare-Hands Putin to be our next President.

And just when we all thought the Greek economy couldn’t get any worse, it did. Throughout the year, we’ve watched as the Greek economy collapsed – again…again.

2015 was also the year of Ben Carson and Donald Trump. Both entered the Presidential race this year and both have lead the ratings as the two front-runners in the GOP party. I think this shows that people are ready for some real change – not more politicians promising the world and then delivering none of it. Although, I still think Ted Cruz is the best candidate. Anyhow, this should make for an interesting election this coming year!

Race Issues
After the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, two weeks of protests erupted in downtown Baltimore. The incident reignited the debate about police brutality and brought the Black Lives Matter movement back to the forefront of American’s minds.

On June 17, a gunman opened fire at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and killed nine people. In the subsequent investigation, photos of the gunman posing with a Confederate flag emerged which sparked a debate on the Confederate flag. South Carolina representatives voted to remove the Confederate flag.

Rachel Dolezal came under fire this year after city officials investigated her claim that she was African-American only to find out she was actually white. She claimed that she “identified as African-American” because apparently in 2015 we became a society that made it ok to just “feel” whoever we wanted to be. Which leads us to one of the top social stories of the year.

Social Issues
Bruce “Call Me Caitlyn” Jenner made waves in April 2015 when he announced he identified as a woman and would be making the official change from Bruce to Caitlyn.

In a 5-4 decision this June, the Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was legal in all 50 states. However, many questioned the validity of the ruling and whether or not the Supreme Court, who cannot make laws but only enforce existing laws, had the authority to make such a decision.

Pope Francis made headlines this year when he visited the United States. He also addressed Congress on his September visit – becoming the first Pope ever to do so. In his speech, he advocated on behalf of the poor and Mother Earth and lambasted greed.

On April 25, the world jumped into action after an 8.1 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal and destroyed thousands of homes. The earthquake triggered a massive landslide on Mount Everest and killed approximately 9,000 people.

But the earthquake in Nepal wasn’t the only reason thousands of people died this year. Planned Parenthood earned themselves national criticism when undercover videos revealed the horrifying truth behind Planned Parenthood. While most of us already knew that Planned Parenthood doesn’t actually care for women or children, it seemed their depravation goes even further than any of us thought possible. Planned Parenthood officials were caught on video selling aborted baby parts for thousands of dollars. It seems that their procedures even took special precautions to ensure the parts were as intact as possible to ensure the highest price. Little was done in response to prevent this from happening again and many even bolstered their support for Planned Parenthood in spite of national criticism. Meanwhile, the dentist who killed Cecil the Lion in a small African village drew public outcry and even received death threats while the villagers in Africa went on with their lives as normal.

Meanwhile, college students across America whined that they needed “safe-spaces” on campuses so that no one would feel marginalized or have their feelings hurt. Because 2015 was the year of the cry-baby. In generations before us, young adults fought wars and built a life for themselves and their families but today, they cry for their blankies and safe-spaces. What is America coming to?!

Mass Shootings
Charleston, Oregon, San Bernardino. This year, it seemed as if there were too many mass shootings. It seemed like every day there were alerts of gunmen on a college campus, or walking down the street, or at their job. While the liberal left were crying for their blankies and more gun control (which is obviously the solution), common-sense thinkers recognized that it won’t take more gun control, it will actually take less government intervention to help keep America safe. Bad guys will find a way to murder and kill. The delay in time it takes a police officer to respond to a 911 call could mean the difference between life and death. And that means that if the bad guys are the only ones with guns, there will be no one to protect innocent civilians – especially with the wave of distrust arising against police officers.

Entertainment
Undefeated UFC champion Ronda Rousey was defeated by New Mexico native Holly Holm and Americans across the nation engaged in a throwdown of their own when that stupid dress came on the scene. You know which one I’m talking about. The gold and white one. Or was it the blue and black one? Either way, people almost died over that controversy.

We also saw, or at least learned, about the Gilmore Girls reunion! Fans all over the world pulled out their “Babette Ate Oatmeal” shirts, drank gallons of coffee, and practiced saying “Oy with the poodles” hundreds of times fast in preparation for the big day. We also saw Star Wars make a HUGE comeback this year. In what is the eighth highest-grossing film of all time, Disney takes us to a galaxy set 30 years after Return of the Jedi. I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t seen it yet, but, seriously, SO. MANY. QUESTIONS.

And then there was the sad news that oldest Duggar son Josh, had not only molested some of his younger sisters and family friends growing up but that he had been unfaithful to his wife, Anna, as well.

New Year, New Start
As 2015 comes to a close, its easy to look back at this last year and see only the negative. But in the midst of the bad there are stories of good. Stories of people helping others. Stories of lives being changed forever. Stories that restore our faith in humanity.

I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions, but just think what would happen in 2016 if we all resolved to be a force for good this year. If we stopped and helped someone in need. If we thought of others first and gave of ourselves. We could be the light in a very dark world. We could give others hope in a world of despair. So let’s charge into 2016 ready to face all the challenges that lay ahead knowing that God is the Light that goes before us!

Be blessed and be a blessing in 2016!

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U.S. Warships Headed to Yemen to Intercept Iranian Weapons

Please tell me this means that any sort of nuclear deal with Iran is now officially off the table?!?!?! This breaking news is only confirming what every person in the entire world with half a brain already knew: YOU CAN’T TRUST IRAN!

From Fox News:

A U.S. aircraft carrier has been dispatched to waters off Yemen to join other American ships prepared to block any Iranian shipments to the Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen.

The U.S. Navy has been beefing up its presence in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Arabian Sea amid reports that a convoy of about eight Iranian ships is heading toward Yemen and possibly carrying arms for the Houthis.

Tensions are rising in the region even as the U.S. and five other world powers scramble to strike a final deal with Iran on its nuclear program by the end of June. The fighting in Yemen, where U.S. ally Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition against the Iran-backed rebels, is complicating matters.

I think “complicating matters” is a bit of an understatement but hey, potato-potato, right?

Most of us already knew that Iran cannot be trusted as it is, so why would anyone in their right mind want to allow them to obtain a nuclear weapon and then actually believe that somehow we would magically be able to trust them after that?!

Among the most vocal world leaders to any nuclear deal with Iran is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. When addressing Congress several months ago, he warned that defeating ISIS but allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon would be “winning the battle but losing the war.” He went on to say that, “the enemy of your enemy is…your enemy” when speaking of Iran joining the fight against ISIS.

It seems that while President Obama has been more concerned with his desperate attempts to salvage any hopes of leaving a positive legacy, he is ignoring the common sense warnings that are staring him right in the face.

2016 can’t come soon enough…unless our options are Hillary or Jeb Bush. In which case, I’m moving to Canada. Or maybe now that Cuba is no longer considered a “state sponsor of terrorism” there will be some job opportunities there…

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Israeli Racism or the Left Who Cried Wolf?

Ok. So do you know what I am so sick and tired of hearing about already? How Prime Minister Netanyahu’s pre-election comments are racist. Because everything is racist now. Calling things “racist” is a leftist tactic that is getting old already. Everything is racist to these people! It also takes away from the crimes or statements that truly are racist and desensitizes people to the issue of racism.

Funny thing though…its only ever the Left that cries racism. It’s like the cop-out answer to everything now. You don’t like what someone just said? Call it racist. Don’t like the person who just made the comment? Call them racist and get them fired (right, Michelle Obama???). Upset by the outcome of a democratic election? Accuse the winner of racism. As if we’ve never seen a U.S. politician resort to accusations of racism to try and win an election before.

Want to know my solution?

GET. OVER. IT.

It’s no secret that President Obama is unhappy by the outcome of the Israeli elections but you know what? You’re the leader of the free world and it’s your job to rise above it and create an open and productive dialogue with world leaders. Not to throw temper tantrums and go behind the back of our closest ally in the Middle East by going to the UN in hopes of magically creating a Palestinian state without the support and agreement of Israel.

GROW UP AND GET OVER IT. Stop being so petty.

And by the Left crying “racism” in the case of the Israeli elections, they are distracting from the real issues like…the U.S. MAKING A NUCLEAR DEAL WITH IRAN!

Do you feel completely lost by what I’m talking about? If so, let me fill you in.

On the day of the Israeli election (this past Tuesday), Netanyahu made an appeal to his supporters to go out and vote because the Arabs were voting “in droves.”

Did you hear me??? In droves!!!! Isn’t that soooooo racist of him??? How dare he say that?!

I really hope you caught my sarcasm there. If not, you probably need to get out more.

Personally, I don’t find anything racist about these comments. PM Netanyahu has never hidden the fact that he supports a two-state solution as long as said Palestinian state would recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland and the safety and security of Israel would not be compromised. He had just finished reaffirming this commitment, which many took as a signal that he flip-flopped on this issue and is no longer committed at any level (again, a politician who flip-flops on campaign promises??? I’m shocked!), when he made the comments about the Arab vote.

Now I consider myself to be a rational person. I try to look at both sides of the issue and make a judgment call. (Unlike most people on the Left who see the world only through the eyes of their rhetoric and clearly don’t have the mental capacity to look beyond that…but hey, to each his own right?) And when I heard those comments from Netanyahu, I took him to mean: “Hey Israelis who don’t want a two-state solution or are concerned about our national security because of the threat from violent, Muslim, extremist groups that are sitting right outside our doorstep! If you want to ensure that your voice is heard you better get out here and vote because the Arabs who support a two-state solution and want your land and your death and our destruction are out here voting. So get to it!”

Could he have said it a little better? Perhaps. Was he flip-flopping on his commitment to a two-state solution? Only time will tell. But were his comments racist in any way? Absolutely not.

But leave it to the great people at CNN to twist these comments into a race issue. Because of course they would.

Liberals are now claiming that these comments were somehow racist and that Netanyahu was dividing Israeli citizens and was trying to keep Arab citizens from voting.

But on an interview with Megyn Kelly last night, PM Netanyahu explained what he meant.

He said that when he made those comments, he was referring to the foreign money and support that was being funneled into groups that have sympathies with Hamas and other terrorist organizations. These organizations who had foreign (including American and other countries as well) money and manpower funneled into them were using part of the funds to bus Arabs (“in droves”) who are also sympathetic to terrorist organizations to the voting booths.

He was in no way trying to stop or discount the Arab vote. Israeli citizens are not only Jews but Arabs as well. There are those Arab-Israeli citizens who fully back Netanyahu and even met with him the night before the election. Moreover, there are many Arab-Israelis who love Israel, proudly serve in the military to defend their country Israel, and do not support the creation of a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu has stated many times, and reaffirmed in his interview tonight, that he is proud to serve the entire population of Israel; Jew and Arab alike. But unlike other countries in the world who worry about simply defending their country, PM Netanyahu has the overwhelming burden of ensuring the very survival of his people. Part of that includes making sure that Hamas linked organizations do not sway the vote and tarnish the democratic process (as is done in other Middle Eastern countries where Arabs and Muslims can’t vote as freely as they can in Israel).

So just who are these groups that were receiving foreign funding and were trying to hijack the Israeli election?

According to their website,

“OneVoice is an international grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians, empowering them to propel their elected representatives toward the two-state solution. The Movement works to forge consensus for conflict resolution and build a human infrastructure capable of mobilizing the people toward a negotiated, comprehensive, and permanent agreement between Israel and Palestine that ends the occupation, ensures security and peace for both sides, and solves all final-status issues in accordance with international law and previous bilateral agreements. The 1967 borders form the basis for the establishment of an independent, viable Palestinian state, with permanent borders and any modifications to be agreed upon by both parties. The Movement recognizes that violence by either side will never be a means to end the conflict.” (emphasis mine)

Parts of OneVoice’s mission statement bother me a little bit. Notice that their entire goal is to bring about a two-state solution. Their entire goal is to divide the Land of Israel. Second, they recognize the current nation of Israel as the “occupier,” meaning that they probably don’t and won’t recognize Israel as the sovereign Jewish homeland. While they may state that they don’t support violence from either side, they also never say anything about recognizing a sovereign nation of Israel. They only focus on their goal of achieving a Palestinian state. Moreover, they use the 1967 borders as the basis for their purposed Palestinian state…a suggestion which is riddled with problems and flaws.

Victory 15 (V15) is the other group that was receiving “foreign funding” during the Israeli elections. V15 is a subsidiary of OneVoice whose stated goal is to “replace the government” in Israel. It is reported that V15 was receiving funding from OneVoice who, in turn, received $350,000 in recent U.S. State Department grants.

In response to all this shadiness, a U.S. Senate investigatory committee has launched a probe into OneVoice’s funding efforts to oust PM Netanyahu using Obama’s State Department taxpayer-funded grants to this end.

Essentially, the money train goes like this:
Anti-Netanyahu funding → V15 → OneVoice → State Department grants → President Obama

Follow the paper trail and do the math.

There’s some sketchy things going on here.

All of this is especially interesting given the fact that the reason President Obama gave for not meeting with Netanyahu and disapproving of his address to congress a few weeks ago was because it was too close to the Israeli elections and he didn’t want to influence the outcome. So much for that…

But the fact remains. Netanyahu won the election. Even after Obama and other nations and those who seek to do Israel harm tried as hard as they could, they could not succeed in defeating Netanyahu.

But it isn’t even about Netanyahu. Ultimately it’s all about YHVH’s plan. YHVH explicitly said that His Land was not to be divided. The majority of people who support a two-state solution also support groups that have terrorist sympathies or outright ties with terrorist organizations such as Hamas in the West Bank.

A two-state solution will not bring about peace. Remember those 1967 borders I mentioned earlier? Ya, even after giving the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians (which they swore would make them happy and bring about peace) we are still in the same struggle for peace but now Israel has less land and more threat from inside her own borders. And what did the Palestinians do with the West Bank and Gaza? They turned over control to Hamas! Who do you think will be leading the government of this so-called Palestinian State?

Personally, I think that with the situation the way it is in the Middle East, Netanyahu’s main focus will be on the security of Israel and defending her from the growing list of terrorist groups in the region and not on creating two-states with Israeli land. In doing this, however, I believe it will push him further and further away from other world leaders and that it will isolate Israel even more so in the international arena. When you think about the situation in Syria with ISIS, Iran and their determination to obtain a nuclear weapon, and Russia trying to take the Ukraine, I think Netanyahu will have plenty on his plate this coming term without dealing with accusations of racism.

So back to my original question: was Netanyahu truly being racist or is this yet another example of king Obama using his Lackeys on the Left to throw another hissy fit when he didn’t get his way?

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A Modern Purim Story

This week we celebrate the biblical holiday Purim. In the days of the Persian empire (modern-day Iran), Queen Esther (Hadassah, her given name in Hebrew) risked her life by breaking protocol in order to appear before King Xerxes to plead on behalf of her people for the right to self-defense from their enemies who sought to destroy them.

In the same way, we are seeing a modern-day Purim story unfold before our very eyes.

Today, Tuesday, 3 March 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will speak before the American Congress and make a plea on behalf of the Israeli people. President Barack Obama has said that IF Iran agrees to a “double-digit years” agreement and can prove that their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, Obama will sign a deal with Iran. However, a UN spokesman said that Iran is currently not cooperating and therefore, the UN cannot independently verify the Iranian program is in fact for peaceful purposes. Essentially, while Obama is hopeful Iran will agree to cooperate, the UN is saying Iran is not currently cooperating so how can we expect them to cooperate in the future?

Netanyahu is a Hadassah on behalf of his people. His visit has been called a “breach of protocol” by the White House because the White House did not grant Netanyahu permission to speak before House Speaker John Boehner confirmed the invitation. As a means to snub the Prime Minister, President Obama has decided not to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu while he is in America and about 30 Democrat congressmen have also decided to not attend his address to Congress.

And yet, Netanyahu prepares himself by seeking the face of YHVH at the Western Wall, the place where His Holy Temple once stood, and asking for YHVH’s favor as he defiantly appears before Congress.

The Prime Minister will be asking for the American government to reject any deal with Iran that would later limit the ability of an American response against a nuclear Iran and also to support Israel should she choose to preemptively strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Israel understands that if Iran is not stopped from obtaining a nuclear weapon, the lives of countless, innocent Israeli civilians will be in danger. But even more than that, Israel understands that a nuclear Iran is a threat not only to Israel, but the entire global community.

In yet another snub to Prime Minister Netanyahu, the American media has decided not to air the Prime Minister’s speech on the non-cable networks and has been scheduled for 10:45 EST…a time when most Americans are busy at work and unable to view his speech.

We are living in crucial days. Decisions with global ramifications are being made before our eyes…are we awake to perceive them? We are watching the Bible come to life right before our very eyes. We are privileged to be chosen to be alive for such a time as this. We as believers and those grafted into Israel have a responsibility to stand with Israel and pray for Prime Minister Netanyahu ahead of his speech. As a personal decision, I have decided to fast tonight and tomorrow morning, just as Esther’s people fasted for her, in order to beseech YHVH on behalf of His chosen Hadassah, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as he goes before the king in order to protect and preserve the people of YHVH.

And the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, and to plunder their goods, on one day throughout all the provinces of King Xerxes, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar. A copy of what was written was to be issued as a decree in every province, being publicly displayed to all peoples, and the Jews were to be ready on that day to take vengeance on their enemies.

Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a robe of fine linen and purple, and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor. And in every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, for fear of the Jews had fallen on them. – Esther 8:11-13, 15-17