Thursday, March 13, 2008

Olympian Persecution Coverup

With increased frequency, the Chinese government is persecuting house churches and banishing foreign Christians from the country, Baptist Press reports. The increased harrassment is presumably to squelch voices who might draw attention to the plight of religious minorities in the nation surrounding the Beijing Olympics. "We seem to be seeing a crackdown ahead of the Olympics. Whether that's to send a message to the church to lay low or whether it is to make sure that anybody who might cause international embarrassment is taken care of ahead of time, I don't know," Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for Voice of the Martyrs, told BP. "But we do see an increase in the level of arrests, the level of house church services being raided... We also have seen a number of foreigners who are Christians who... have been denied a new visa and told that they had to leave the country. So it's happening both amongst the house churches of native Chinese people as well as foreign Christians who are living and working in China." Only about 20 percent of China's Christians are part of the official approved church (Three-Self Patriotic Movement or Catholicism) while the other 80 percent go to unregistered or unofficial churches.
  • JJ Commentary: China hopes to show the world its “new” softer face, but persecution and pollution speak otherwise

The Puzzle that is Iraq Continues

Violence appeared to be on the rise in Iraq after a day that saw at least 42 people die — numbers that cast doubt on the easing of sectarian violence following a surge of U.S. forces to the country last year. The spike comes in the wake of a 60% drop in attacks across the country since June, according to U.S. military figures. According to an Associated Press count, at the height of unrest from November 2006 to August 2007, on average approximately 65 Iraqis died each day as a result of violence. As conditions improved, the daily death toll steadily declined. It reached its lowest point in more than two years in January, when on average 20 Iraqis died each day. Those numbers have since jumped. In February, approximately 26 Iraqis died each day as a result of violence, and so far in March, that number is up to 39 daily. Military spokesman Rear Adm. Gregory Smith said Sunday that recent violence should not be taken as evidence of "an increase or a trend of an increase." With the overall U.S. military death toll in Iraq nearing 4,000, the latest killings also mark a significant rise in deadly attacks against Americans.

A Pentagon report finds that up to 90% of the foreign fighters in Iraq cross the border from Syria and that Iran's support for Shiite militants also is hurting efforts to improve security in Iraq. As those external pressures dog coalition and Iraqi forces, the government of Iraq is also hamstrung by internal corruption and persistent problems getting basic services to the people. The Defense Department's quarterly report on progress in Iraq released Tuesday says that terrorists continue to find safe havens and logistical support in Syria.

Iraq isn't spending much of its own money, despite soaring oil revenues that are pushing the country toward a massive budget surplus, auditors told Congress on Tuesday. The expected surplus comes as the U.S. continues to invest billions of dollars in rebuilding Iraq and faces a financial squeeze domestically because of record oil prices. "The Iraqis have a budget surplus," said U.S. Comptroller General David Walker. "We have a huge budget deficit.. .. One of the questions is who should be paying."

The top commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East abruptly announced his resignation Tuesday a week after the publication of a magazine article that described him as being at odds with the Bush administration's stance toward Iran. In a profile in Esquire magazine, author Thomas P.M. Barnett described Adm. William Fallon as "brazenly" challenging the Bush administration and pushing back against a president "who trash-talks his way to World War III" with Iran.
  • JJ Commentary: We must re-think our strategy for the war on terror, using our massive fire-power instead of troops on the ground. The advantage we possess in smart bombs and missiles is of no use in guerrilla style warfare where the enemy has the advantage.

Virtual is not Real

The first 28 miles of “virtual fencing” being deployed along our Southern border have failed to meet expectations, according to last month’s congressional testimony by Richard Stana, director of Homeland Security for the Government Accounting Office (GAO). Stana’s indictment of the hugely expensive, over-complicated and so far unworkable alternative to physical fencing should cause at least a pause for re-evaluation in moving forward with this “solution” to illegal immigration. Instead, the Department of Homeland Security continues to stand behind the virtual fence as a good substitute for the less artistic but repeatedly proven effective reinforced physical fencing.

In light of news that the "virtual" fence along Arizona's southern border won't be operational until 2011, Gov. Janet Napolitano has asked Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to deploy National Guard troops there in the meantime. Those troops, stationed along the border since June 2006 as part of Operation Jump Start, are being drawn down as the operation nears its expiration July 15. At its peak, the operation brought 6,000 troops to the border states, including 2,400 to Arizona. That has been reduced by half, with roughly 1,200 troops now stationed along the Arizona border. "Now that promised improvements in border-security measures will not come to pass any time soon, the federal government has no excuse to scale back the program. Common sense dictates that the drawdown should stop and that a continued high National Guard presence should be maintained," Napolitano wrote Tuesday in a two-page letter to Chertoff.
  • JJ Commentary: Yet another governmental boondoggle.

More Debt to the Rescue??

Staring at spreading financial dangers, the Federal Reserve announced a rescue package Tuesday that could pour as much as $200 billion into banks and investment houses and allow them to put up risky home-loan packages as collateral. The Fed's maneuver, coordinated with central banks overseas, was its latest effort to stem the global credit crisis and severe housing woes that threaten to bury the United States in its first recession since 2001. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues have been stretching for new and imaginative ways to confront the situation. They are hoping to bring relief where it is sorely needed: in the market for mortgage securities. Home-loan financing has become much harder to get as nervous lenders have hunkered down.

Gasoline and oil prices extended their record-setting streaks Wednesday, with gas at the pump reaching a new high of nearly $3.25 and crude surpassing $110 for the first time. The dollar weakened throughout the day Wednesday, setting a number of new lows against the euro. Many analysts believe the dollar's decline is the reason crude futures have surged to records in 12 of the past 13 sessions, despite the fact that crude supplies have risen 10.2% since early January.

  • JJ Commentary: In typical short-term thinking, our government believes it can keep expanding our enormous debt load to solve long-term problems, making things worse for the future.

Peace, Peace When There is No Peace (Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11)

Gaza rocket squads barraged southern Israel early Thursday, after Israeli undercover forces killed four Palestinian militants in the West Bank. The new violence shattered a recent lull in Gaza fighting and highlighted the fragility of efforts to move Israel and the territory's Islamic Hamas rulers toward an informal truce. About a dozen rockets was fired late Wednesday and early Thursday, Israeli security forces said. Two of them struck a warehouse and soccer field in the rocket-weary Israeli town of Sderot, but no one was injured, Israeli officials said. Israeli aircraft struck a loaded rocket launcher early Thursday, but no Palestinian injuries were reported. The rocket barrage from Gaza was practically a given after Israeli undercover forces opened fire on a car in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Wednesday, killing the local Islamic Jihad commander, Mohammed Shehadeh, and three other wanted men. The Israeli military said Shehadeh planned suicide bombings that killed dozens of Israelis.

On a tour of the Gaza border area on Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned IDF troops that the battle with Hamas will most likely “bring an escalation beyond what we have seen so far, before we reach a period of calm.” "We are not in a state of calm with Hamas, we are in ongoing activity meant to stop Kassam fire. There is no change in what we are doing," Barak said in comments that once again cast doubts on Arab media reports in recent days that Egypt has managed to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas.

IDF troops and elite police commandos operating in Bethlehem on Wednesday evening killed four top terrorists with the Islamic Jihad militia, including the planner of last week’s shooting massacre in a prominent Jerusalem yeshiva, Palestinian sources claim. While attempting to arrest the armed fugitives, who made up the Islamic Jihad's leadership in the city, the troops came under fire near Bethlehem’s main government building, and killed all four in a gun battle. The four-man terror cell was known to be in direct contact with Islamic Jihad's leadership in Syria as well as with Hizbullah. Shehadeh has been wanted by Israel for the past eight years for involvement in planning and executing terror attacks in which Israelis were killed and wounded.
  • JJ Commentary: There will be no peace for Israel until Jesus returns. Any sounds of peace are inherently false as Islam continues to seek its total annihilation.

The Sexual Evolution

At least one in four teenage American girls has a sexually transmitted disease, suggests a first-of-its-kind federal study that startled some adolescent-health experts. Because some sexually transmitted infections can cause infertility and cancer, U.S. health officials called for better screening, vaccination and prevention. Only about half of the girls in the study acknowledged having sex. Some teens define sex as only intercourse, yet other types of intimate behavior can spread diseases. Among those who admitted having sex, the rate was even more disturbing: 40 percent had an STD. The overall STD rate among the 838 girls in the study was 26 percent, which translates to more than 3 million girls nationwide, researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. The teens were tested for four infections: human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can cause cervical cancer and affected 18 percent of girls studied; chlamydia, 4 percent; trichomoniasis, 2.5 percent; and genital herpes, 2 percent.

  • JJ Commentary: Our media-inspired, promiscuous generation is reaping the corruption of the flesh as Biblically expounded in Galatians 6:8

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pakistan Latest al-Qaeda Target

Massive suicide bombs ripped through a seven-story police headquarters and a house in Lahore on Tuesday, killing at least 20 people and wounding more than 150, deepening Pakistan's security crisis as a wave of Islamic militancy sweeps the country. The blasts come amid a spate of violence that authorities are blaming on Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants, spreading beyond their strongholds along the Afghan border, and as the victors of last month's elections prepare to form a new government. The party of Nawaz Sharif, which is set to be the junior partner in the incoming coalition, blamed military operations ordered by U.S.-backed President Pervez Musharraf for destabilizing the country and called for him to resign.

  • JJ Commentary: Osama and al-Qaeda have hidden and re-energized on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and are now re-asserting themselves in both countries. Pakistan has been the key U.S. “partner” in the region. Loss of this ally will make it nigh impossible to continue our efforts in Afghanistan.

Israel's Unholy Policies

Did the Israeli police allow the Muslim custodians of the Temple Mount – Judaism's holiest site – to carry out illegal construction on the Mount last week that may have damaged antiquities and make it more difficult for archaeologists to find temple artifacts? That's the question being asked by Temple Mount activists and archaeologists here after it was discovered the Waqf, the Mount's Islamic custodians, last week used a heavy tractor to lay massive stone tiles over an area of the Mount some archaeologists believe a Second Temple wall was recently discovered. Pictures of the purported wall surfaced after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert last summer gave the Waqf permission to use tractors to dig a 1300-foot trench around the periphery of the Mount. The Waqf claimed the trench was necessary to replace electrical cables outside mosques on the site. Allowing the use of bulldozers at any sensitive archaeological site is extremely unusual, particularly at the Temple Mount, which experts say contains sealed layers of artifacts as shallow as two to three feet below the surface. The Mount has never been properly excavated. Heavy equipment could easily damage any existing artifacts, stress Israeli experts, who assert the area should be excavated slowly and carefully by hand.

  • JJ Commentary: Secular Israel consistently turns its back on its godly foundations resulting in curses dictated in Deuteronomy 27-28.

Real Estate Ripple Effects

The tough real estate market isn't just affecting home sales — it's also prompting consumers to buy fewer TVs, digital cameras and other electronics. Sacramento, Phoenix, Tampa and Detroit were the four metropolitan areas with the biggest drops in consumer-electronics spending in the fourth quarter of 2007, compared with the previous year, says a study out Monday from researcher NPD. The study examined retail sales in the 40 largest urban areas in the USA. Those four cities were also among the top 10 major markets for declines in housing prices, says the National Association of Realtors. Sacramento posted the biggest drop in both electronics sales and housing prices. Nearly every area with a decline in electronics sales also had falling home prices, says NPD analyst Stephen Baker.

The mortgage foreclosure crisis has caused a drop in cities' revenues, a spike in crime, more homelessness and an increase in vacant properties, a survey of elected local officials out today shows. About two-thirds of 211 officials surveyed by the National League of Cities reported an increase in foreclosures in their cities in the past year, according to the online and e-mail questionnaire. A third of them reported a drop in revenues and an increase in abandoned and vacant properties and urban blight. "There's a reduction in revenues at the same time that more services are needed," says Cynthia McCollum, president of the National League of Cities. "Because of foreclosures, people are stealing, crime is on the rise and we don't have more money for cops on the street."

  • JJ commentary: Inflated home prices and underfinanced mortgages were bound to cause problems. Why do we keep thinking we can consistently violate sound economic policies?


The average price of gasoline set a record Monday, joining the prices of oil and diesel fuel in high-price territory that threatens an already shaky U.S. economy. Americans were paying a nationwide average of $3.225 for regular, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly price survey — 0.7 cents more than the previous record last May 21, though still short of inflation-adjusted federal peak of $3.405 in March 1981. Oil blew by its record of $105.47 a barrel to close Monday at $107.90.Gasoline prices are rising sharply as refiners, who have kept prices down in order to compete for sales, become more willing to pass on their higher costs of crude oil, according to an industry analyst Sunday. The Lundberg Survey of 7,000 stations nationwide released Sunday said things will likely get worse, with prices at the pump rising 20 to 30 cents a gallon in the next month as refiners begin passing on to customers more of their higher costs for crude oil.

  • JJ Commentary: Oil will prove to be the lynch pin that undermines the U.S. economy given the falling dollar and our humongous debt.

Our Drugged Society

A vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows. To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe. But the presence of so many prescription drugs — and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health. In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas — from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit to Louisville. Even users of bottled water and home filtration systems don't necessarily avoid exposure. Bottlers, some of which simply repackage tap water, do not typically treat or test for pharmaceuticals, according to the industry's main trade group. The same goes for the makers of home filtration systems.

How do the drugs get into the water? People take pills. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue. And while researchers do not yet understand the exact risks from decades of persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals, recent studies — which have gone virtually unnoticed by the general public — have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife.

  • JJ Commentary: Americans are so over-medicated that not only does it cause pollution but it also has fostered new drug-resistant germs. Anti-biotics are ineffective against viruses, so why do so many doctors prescribe them? Because people want some kind of magic pill to make everything better.

Boycott Praise Report

In the face of plummeting car sales, Ford Motor Company has taken steps to reduce its aggressive, pro-homosexual policies, prompting a family-rights group to call off its boycott of the carmaker. The American Family Association says it's suspending its two-year boycott of Ford, noting the auto giant has met the conditions of the original agreement between AFA and Ford from 2005. AFA Chairman Donald Wildmon said the original agreement between the family group and Ford contained four items:

Ford would not renew current promotions or create future incentives that give cash donations to homosexual organizations based on the purchase of a vehicle.
Ford would not make corporate donations to homosexual organizations that, as part of their activities, engage in political or social campaigns to promote civil unions or same-sex marriage.
Ford would stop giving cash and vehicle donations or endorsements to homosexual social activities such as 'gay'-pride parades.
Ford would cease all advertising on homosexual websites and through homosexual media outlets (magazines, television, radio) in the U.S. with the exception of $100,000 to be used by Volvo. The Volvo ads would be the same ads used in the general media and not aimed at the homosexual community specifically.
Ø JJ Commentary: Christians can and should make a difference in the world or else we allow ungodly values to afflict our country and our lives.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Economy Continues Rapid Decline

Many Arizona cities are struggling to balance their budgets amid a slowdown in the national economy. The downturn has led to budget worries in Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert and other communities. But Phoenix appears to be the hardest hit. The city's deficit will force the largest one-year cuts in its history. The culprit: plunging tax collections for January, which reflect December sales. Revenues were down 11.2 percent from the previous January, typically the best month of the year for the city. Compounding the city's problems is a decline in revenues from the tax on construction, which was down a staggering 27.1 percent from the previous year. In addition, Americans' percentage of equity in their homes fell below 50 percent for the first time on record since 1945, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.

  • JJ Commentary: With the dollar falling to record lows, oil prices at record highs, and continuing increases in U.S. indebtedness, the current downturn has the potential to escalate into a serious recession. Whether it is this time or the next, at some point soon the economic devastation prophesied in Revelation 6:5-6 is coming when the third seal releases the black horse.

Hall of Shame

The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has just released our annual Hall of Shame report on our website. The Hall of Shame is our list of the world's 10 worst persecutors of Christians based on news reports from the previous year. We publish this annual report to bring attention to the plight of persecuted Christians around the globe. There are more than 200 million Christians worldwide who live in countries where there is overt social or governmental anti-Christian hostility. This hostility is expressed in various forms, from harassment, job discrimination, and imprisonment, to rape, torture, and assassination. It is troubling that a human rights issue of this magnitude is so often ignored. The countries on the list are: North Korea, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, China, Pakistan, Eritrea, Egypt, India, Laos, and Indonesia.

  • JJ Commentary: Even though Christians are one of the largest religious groups persecuted for their faith, their plight is almost entirely ignored by the mainstream media.

Pope Exonerates Luther

An article in the London Times states that Pope Benedict XVI is to rehabilitate Martin Luther, arguing that he did not intend to split Christianity but only to purge the Church of corrupt practices. The Pope will issue his findings on the reformer in September after discussing him at his annual seminar of 40 fellow theologians at the papal summer residence. Vatican insiders say Benedict will argue that Luther, who was excommunicated and condemned for heresy, was not a heretic, a move which Cardinal Walter Kasper said would help to promote ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Protestants. Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo X, who dismissed him initially as "a drunken German who will change his mind when sober."

  • JJ Commentary: Not that Luther or Protestants need exoneration and rehabilitation, but it is noteworthy that Catholicism continues to purge itself of historically unscriptural acts and positions.

Israel on High Security Alert in Wake of Jerusalem Massacre

Israeli security forces across the nation were placed on the highest level of alert Friday, following last night's terrorist shooting spree at a landmark Jerusalem yeshiva which left eight Jewish seminary students dead. Even before the shooting massacre, police were poised to raise their alert ahead of Muslim Friday prayers at the mosques in Jerusalem, after receiving intelligence reports that Palestinian worshippers may attempt to disrupt order. Only Muslim men over the age of 45 with a valid blue identity card were to be allowed to enter the Temple Mount for prayers. Israeli authorities are keen to smother signs of unrest in east Jerusalem and the West Bank and even among Israeli Arabs in the wake of last weekend's sharp escalation in fighting along the Gaza border. An Arab from an east Jerusalem neighborhood used his access as a driver for a prominent Jerusalem seminary to infiltrate the crowded library and halls of the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva on Thursday evening and spray hundreds of rounds from an automatic rifle at Jewish religious students, leaving 8 dead and up to three dozen wounded.

  • JJ Commentary: Despite ongoing calls for peace negotiations, there will be no true peace for Israel. After increasing hostilities, a false peace will be ushered in by the Antichrist, which will allow Israel to rebuild their temple – without, however, the inner and outer courts which are overrun by the Genitles” as prophesied in Revelation 11:2 (i.e. the Dome of the Rock). But then, in the middle of the 7-year Tribulation period (Daniel 9:24-27), the Antichrist will commit the “abomination of desolation” and declare himself to be God and defile the temple with pagan sacrifices (Daniel 11:2, Matthew 24:15, 2Thessalonians 2:3-4).

Africa Continues to Boil

Eight people have been killed in separate attacks in western and central Kenya, government officials said Friday, underlining the difficulty of reversing Kenya's cycle of postelection violence despite President Mwai Kibaki and his rival agreeing to share power. On Thursday, Kibaki urged lawmakers to pass the laws needed to enforce the country's new power-sharing agreement that was reached last week. It calls for Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga to share power after both sides claimed victory in the Dec. 27 presidential election. Their dispute unleashed weeks of bloodshed, killing more than 1,000 people and exposing divisions over land and economic inequality.

China vigorously defended its policy on Darfur on Friday against critics seeking to link Beijing's close relations with Sudan to this summer's Olympic Games. Liu Guijin, China's special envoy for Darfur, said Beijing was working hard to help end the humanitarian crisis in the troubled Sudanese region, where five years of fighting between rebels and government troops and allied militia has killed at least 200,000 people and displaced 2.2 million since 2003.

Islamist insurgents killed five government soldiers while briefly seizing a strategic town in central Somalia late Thursday, police and residents said. A police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said several military vehicles were also destroyed in Belet Weyne, the provincial capital of the central Somali region of Hiraan, 200 miles north of Mogadishu. Islamist fighters have vowed to wage an Iraq-style war on the shaky Western-backed transitional government after Somali troops supported by their Ethiopian allies chased the Islamists from power in December 2005. The Islamists had seized control of much of the south and the country's capital, Mogadishu, which they had held for six months.

  • JJ Commentary: What the media fails to report is that in each African country where violence runs rampant, it is Islam that is stirring up the unrest.

New World Order Update

The controversial Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, or SPP, continues closed-door meetings with business leaders while the heads of state of the U.S., Mexico and Canada now openly urge them to launch a public relations campaign to counter growing criticism of the trilateral cooperative some fear is a step toward a North American Union. The information is contained in an internal memo from Canada's Foreign Affairs and Internal Trade ministry, obtained by World Net Daily under an Access to Information Act request. The text of the undated memo is an internal government summary of the third SPP summit meeting held Aug. 20-21, 2007, in Montebello Quebec. The first sentence of the memo makes clear, the North American Competitiveness Council, or NACC, was the only participant invited to meet behind closed doors with the SPP bureaucrats. The SPP consists of 20 working groups plus the attending cabinet officers from each country and the heads of state.

The NACC is a largely secretive SPP advisory council of representatives of 30 North American corporations selected by the Chambers of Commerce in the three nations. The PR offensive is clearly discussed in the third paragraph of the internal memo, where the paragraph discusses comments made by the three heads of state in the closed door discussions, noting, "He also urged NACC members to assist in confronting and refuting critics of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP)." The "He" in the sentence is not identified. The fourth paragraph continues the PR theme: "In closing, all leaders expressed a desire for the NACC to play a role in articulating publicly the benefits of greater collaboration in North America."

  • JJ Commentary: The only question remaining about the formation of the North American Union is when, not if. Similarly, the Asian Union is also well underway. It will not be all that long before the one-world government prophesied in Revelation 13:8

Global Warming??

For snow-weary residents of the Midwest and New England, spring can't come soon enough. Locations such as Madison, Wis., and Concord, N.H., endured their snowiest winter since records began, and parts of the western USA also saw a much snowier-than-average winter, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. The U.S. winter of 2007-08 — which meteorologists classify as the months of December, January and February — will go down as the coldest since the winter of 2000-01, with a national average temperature of 33.2 degrees, NOAA reported Thursday. However, it's the record snowfall that may be the most memorable element of this winter.

  • JJ Commentary: Short-term weather is hard to predict. Long-term forecasts (such as global warming) are nigh impossible.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Illegal Immigration Costs Rising Fast

Illegal immigration is costing Arizona border counties millions a year for law enforcement and criminal prosecutions, diverting money from parks, libraries and other law-enforcement efforts, according to a study to be released Tuesday. The costs to the four border counties in Arizona increased 39 percent, from $19.2 million in fiscal 1999 to $26.6 million in fiscal 2006, researchers at the University of Arizona and San Diego State University found. For the nation's 24 border counties in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, the costs related to illegal immigration in fiscal 2006 were $192 million, more than double the costs in 1999.

The study was commissioned by the U.S./Mexico Border Counties Coalition, a non-profit group of border-county officials who want the federal government to reimburse their county jails and prosecutors offices for legal costs. The coalition, which began looking at the impact of illegal immigration on border counties in 1999, paid for the study using a Justice Department grant. Researchers estimate the costs of illegal immigration on county law enforcement borderwide at $1.2 billion in the past eight fiscal years.

  • JJ Commentary: Keep in mind that these costs are only for law enforcement and criminal prosecutions. When you add emergency hospital care, education, welfare, etc. to the equation, the overall costs are humongous.

The Other Side of the Warming Debate

Global warming is a natural process, not likely the result of human activities, argued more than 100 internationally prominent environmental scientists in papers presented at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change, which concluded in New York this past weekend. The conference, organized by the Heartland Institute, sought to refute the contention promoted by Al Gore and the U.N. that there is an "established scientific consensus" that human beings are causing the earth to warm catastrophically. The event attracted more than 500 people, including scientists, economists, policy experts and members of the public from around the world.

"Is global warming 'An Inconvenient Truth,' as Vice President Al Gore charges, or a 'Global Warming Swindle?' Harriet Johnson, spokeswoman for the Heartland Institute asked in a statement distributed at the start of the three-day conference. "The alarmists in the global warming debate have had their say – over and over again, in every newspaper in the country practically every day and in countless news reports and documentary films," a notice on the Heartland Institute website proclaims. "But they have lost the debate."

Environmental scientist S. Fred Singer kicked off the conference by releasing a report entitled, "Nature, Not Human Activity Rules the Climate," summarizing a three-year international scientific research project conducted by the Nongovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or NIPCC, that Singer headed. "There are many factors that affect the climate," Singer told WND. "What we can now exclude by scientific evidence is the argument that greenhouse gases are an important factor in causing global warming." Singer and the NIPCC agree that global warming occurred in the 20th century, but disagree human activity is responsible. He argues instead that natural causes are likely to be the dominant cause of the scientifically observed global warming under discussion.

The Weather Channel has lost its way, according to John Coleman, who founded the channel in 1982. Coleman told an audience at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change on March 3 in New York that he is highly critical of global warming alarmism. “The Weather Channel had great promise, and that’s all gone now because they’ve made every mistake in the book on what they’ve done and how they’ve done it and it’s very sad,” Coleman said. “It’s now for sale and there’s a new owner of The Weather Channel will be announced – several billion dollars having changed hands in the near future. Let’s hope the new owners can recapture the vision and stop reporting the traffic, telling us what to think and start giving us useful weather information.”

  • JJ Commentary: Ice Ages and Global Warming have long been a cycle of nature before humanity had any impact at all. Greenhouse gases do contribute to the warming, but to a minor extent compared to natural factors.

Obama Twists Biblical Principles

Some recent remarks by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama linking same-sex relationships to Jesus' famous Sermon on the Mount are raising some eyebrows in the Christian community. During a Sunday campaign stop in Nelsonville, Ohio, Pastor Leon Forte of Grace Christian Center in Athens, Ohio, asked the Illinois senator to address social concerns. Your campaign sets a quandary for most evangelical Christians," Forte said. "They believe in the social agenda that you have. They have a problem with what the conservatives have laid out as the moral litmus test about who is worthy and who is not."

As part of a lengthy videotaped response, Obama referred to the speech by Jesus found in the Gospel of Matthew, as well as some anti-homosexuality statements made by the apostle Paul which he called "obscure": I will tell you that I don't believe in gay marriage, but I do think that people who are gay and lesbian should be treated with dignity and respect and that the state should not discriminate against them. So, I believe in civil unions that allow a same-sex couple to visit each other in a hospital or transfer property to each other. I don't think it should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state. If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans. That's my view. But we can have a respectful disagreement on that.

  • JJ Commentary: Romans 1:26-27 is not “obscure” but rather direct and clear, showing that homosexuality is not just an Old Testament issue. Of course, the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus’ other teachings implore us to love everyone, including sinners and our enemies. But that does not mean that we condone the sin.

Secular Humanism Triumphs Over Homeschooling

A ruling from an appeals court in California that a homeschooling family must enroll their children in a public school or "legally qualified" private school is alarming because of the way the court opted to order those results, according to a team of legislative analysts who have worked on homeschooling issues in California for decades. The ruling, when it was released several days ago, sent ripples of shock through the homeschooling community. World Net Daily has reported on the order handed down to Phillip and Mary Long over the education being provided to two of their eight children. The decision from the 2nd Appellate Court in Los Angeles granted a special petition brought by lawyers appointed to represent the two youngest children after the family's homeschooling was brought to the attention of child advocates. The lawyers appointed by the state were unhappy with a lower court's ruling that allowed the family to continue homeschooling, and specifically challenged that on appeal.

The court essentially concluded that the state provided no circumstance that allowed parents to school their own children at home. "We find no reason to strike down the Legislature's evaluation of what constitutes an adequate education scheme sufficient to promote the 'general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence.' We agree … 'the educational program of the State of California was designed to promote the general welfare of all the people and was not designed to accommodate the personal ideas of any individual in the field of education,'" the ruling said.

  • JJ Commentary: Make no mistake. The recent trend toward banning homeschooling is a religious issue. Most homeschools are Christian-based, while public schools have become indoctrination centers for satan’s counterfeit religion, secular humanism.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Faith Under Fire

According to Mission Network News, the amount of persecution against Christians in India continues to increase, and there's no sign of things improving. A Gospel for Asia story states that nearly 40 Christians were kidnapped February 27 by anti-Christian radicals in Himachal Pradesh. The extremists reportedly took the Christians to a religious temple and are trying to force them to renounce Christ and return to the country's dominant faith. Gospel for Asia's Daniel Yohannan says, "They do this to try to scare people from following Christ. It's kind of like, 'If you follow Christ, this is what's going to happen to you.' But it always seems to backfire because more people get saved after the persecution."

  • JJ Commentary: Persecution has always been the way the Gospel spreads best, from the scattering of the original Apostles till now. Unbelievers are more impressed by those who cling to their faith under fire than those who spout the words of faith from positions of comfort and prosperity.

Changing Church Venues

The Christian Post reports that new survey has broken down America's church attendance to reflect the growing number of "church" options that have redefined how Christians worship on Sunday. American Christians are increasingly adopting house churches, marketplace ministries and cyberchurches as places of worship and ministry. The new Barna survey, released Monday, contends that popular measures about who is "unchurched" are out of date. "The fact that millions of people are now involved in multiple faith communities -- for instance, attending a conventional church one week, a house church the next, and interacting with an online faith community in-between -- has rendered the standard measures of "churched" and "unchurched" much less precise," The Barna Group noted.

  • JJ Commentary: As government further muzzles the Church to restrict the preaching and teaching of the full gospel (e.g. homosexuality, political issues), it will be the larger, traditional churches that will suffer the most. The end-times Remnant will increasingly meet in smaller, non-traditional venues.