Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wed Dec 18th Todays News

Miranda Devine writes of self inflicted wounds. I agree with her criticism of the Abbott Government, but also point out that Miranda noted the popularity of Rudd in '07. She was right about that too. However, there is a difference between advocacy and propaganda. Rudd's popularity was unsupported by virtue, and it was wrong not to point that out in '07. Abbott's appointment of a left wing creature has limited merit, and it is wrong to ignore that. Stott Despoja has an Arafat choice of either being a statesman or staying a terrorist. Arafat chose poorly. Unlike the position of Bryce as GG, Stott Despoja can't mess up this appointment without embarrassing herself. Meanwhile, a conservative in that position would not have bipartisan support. It is an adult choice made by Abbott, not an easy one. 
Meanwhile, the appointment of Tim Wilson to the Human Rights Commission is really good. Personally I despise the Human Rights Commission, which does not stand for human rights, but privileges of left wing orthodoxy. Tim can change that. I'd rather dismantle it. 
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Hatches
Happy birthday and many happy returns Janet MobbsKenny TranThanh Tia and Tian Yuan Fu. Born on the same day, across the years, along with
Matches
Despatches
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Self-inflicted wounds an opening for enemies

Miranda Devine – Wednesday, December 18, 2013 (9:04am)

ON its 100th day in power the Abbott government shot itself in the foot.
Appointing avowed leftist Natasha Stott Despoja to a bogus job as Australia’s Global Ambassador for Women and Girls is a betrayal of conservatives on every level.
It’s stupid, cowardly and ultimately self-defeating.
Having faded into relative obscurity in Adelaide, Stott Despoja, 44, has already used her platform to highlight the gender imbalance in the Abbott government and her opposition to offshore processing.
Did anyone tell Scott Morrison? Nope.
The former Democrats leader is pleasant enough, but she holds all the orthodox leftist-feminist views that have proved so toxic for the nation.
This is a woman who invited convicted terrorist David Hicks to her Senate retirement party.
This is a woman who launched a book for Bob Ellis, whose previous book had been pulped because of scurrilous claims about Tony Abbott and Peter Costello’s wife.
This is a woman who branded John Howard “mean-spirited”, and his policies “callous and unacceptable”. She politicized the abortion debate, and attacked Abbott, when he was Health Minister, on everything from a pregnancy counseling hotline, to human cloning and a republic.
This is a woman who gave a standing ovation to Julia Gillard during an election campaign event in 2010, as part of an adoring crowd alongside Joan Kirner. That was a couple of months after she wrote a piece for Fairfax criticising Labor … for “joining” the Coalition in a “race to the bottom” on offshore processing.
This is a woman who wasted no time telling the ABC on Monday night that she would be giving the government “honest and upfront advice” about its treatment of asylum seekers. Oh, and she was just about to head to Nauru where she hoped to see “first hand” Australia’s offshore processing centre.
She also opined on the dearth of women in the Abbott cabinet.
“I think the irony is not lost”.
Stott Despoja’s appointment does not redress the gender imbalance in the government. It just puts it up in neon lights.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s choice of the woman she says is known simply as “Natasha” comes straight after Industry minister Ian Macfarlane’s inexplicable appointment of union warhorse Greg Combet to an IR panel.
Suddenly Abbott’s over-praising of Kevin Rudd the day he resigned from parliament, and needless sideswipe at Howard, look like attempts to curry favour with enemies.
Hello? Appeasing the left is not a winning strategy.
Government insiders claim they are striving to be bipartisan, following the “Rudd template”, if you can believe it.
They claim handing out a few low-level appointment to leftists will give them political cover for when they give serious jobs to partisan individuals from their own side.
But that doesn’t pass the sniff test. It is an attempt to justify a cowardly sop to the misogyny police.
After all, having Julie Bishop as the only female minister in Abbott’s inner sanctum gives her inordinate power - and denying her the “women and girls” ambassador role she describes as “pivotal to our foreign policy priorities “ must have seeemed more trouble than it was worth.
Even if the cover story were true, cheap political tricks wasting taxpayer money on useless jobs are no way for a serious government to behave.
In a flurry of activity yesterday, the government made two appointments belatedly to appease their own troops. Former Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella gets a comparatively unglamorous role on the board of a shipbuilding firm.
Tim Wilson from the free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs was also announced as the Human Rights Commissioner. But why have a Human Rights Commission at all? It’s just another $30 million haven for leftists, no matter who’s the boss.
Exactly how much the Australian taxpayer is paying for its Ambassador for Women and Girls has been difficult to ascertain.
After two days of inquiries from two reporters, a spokeswoman from the Department of Foreign Affairs divulged that Stott Despoja would be paid a daily rate “according to the Remuneration Tribunal Rates for a Category 3 Chairperson”. That appears to be $698 a day, with $493 a day accommodation and $170 a day for meals within Australia.
“Tier 1” travel benefits provide first class travel to all those lovely UN meetings in New York.
No wonder Stott Despoja describes it as her “dream job”.
Whatever the final total, the government is nuts to spend a cent on feminist posturing that will likely alienate our regional neighbours.
The Ambassador for Women and Girls is just a trick job that Julia Gillard dreamed up as part of her misogyny capers back in 2011.
And what about boys? They’re children too. On any number of measures they are more vulnerable - literacy, suicide, child mortality. Why exclude them?
In one fell swoop the Abbott government has made itself look weak and foolish.
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Staying firm on history of war

Miranda Devine – Wednesday, December 18, 2013 (6:01am)

WAR Memorial director Brendan Nelson fumbled badly when he tried to replace Kipling’s iconic quotation “Known unto God” on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with a Paul Keating quote.
He compounded the error by giving the divisive former PM free rein on Remembrance Day to patronise the World War I Digger whose remains are in that tomb - as witless “cannon fodder”.
But Nelson may have redeemed himself.
Fears were swirling that he would buckle to pressure from leftist historians such as Henry Reynolds to devote an exhibit at the War Memorial to the “Frontier Wars”, already well covered in the National Museum up the road.
As Quadrant editor Keith Windschuttle writes in the magazine’s upcoming January edition, Reynolds’ latest book Forgotten War is an attempt to “depose the history of the landing at Anzac Cove in 1915 as the symbolic founding event of the Australian nation."In its place, [Reynolds wants to] substitute the history of frontier conflict between British colonists and Aborigines.”
Reynolds sneers at “what he called ‘the ongoing carnival of military commemoration’ in the histories supported by… the Australian War Memorial in the lead-up to the centenary of Anzac in 2015”, says historian Windschuttle.
To his credit, Nelson has managed to stand firm.
“The Memorial’s official role is to develop a memorial for Australians who have died on, or as a result of, active service,” a spokeswoman said yesterday.
“The definition does not include internal conflicts between the Indigenous populations and the colonial powers of the day.”
If a Labor government were still in office, chances are Reynolds would have won the history war. 
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16 OF 26

Tim Blair – Wednesday, December 18, 2013 (3:25am)

James Anderson’s defensive prod against Mitchell Johnson in Perth delivers the Ashes to Australia:

image

This astonishing result follows fifteen earlier contests during which the England team were usually in control –until recently. Now, for the first time, Australia ties for wins in the great dual-hemisphere cricket contest and is ahead on overall runs. Current standings:
Australia: Six wins, 6364 runs
England: Six wins, 5698 runs
Three draws
One match abandoned
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The two Tims: why the Abbott Government cannot compromise with those now savaging Tim Wilson

Andrew Bolt December 17 2013 (5:37pm)


One Tim was a Liberal and a member of a conservative think tank. Here is how the ABC greeted his appointment today by a Coalition Government to the Human Rights Commission::
But first to Canberra where the Federal Attorney-General George Brandis has just appointed a director from one of Australia’s most conservative think tanks to be Australia’s next Human Rights Commissioner.
The Institute of Public Affairs has previously called for the commission to be disbanded. But the new appointee, Tim Wilson, says he’ll now be focusing on the promotion of freedom of speech.
Mr Brandis defended his decision saying that under the previous government, the Australian Human Rights Commission had become increasingly narrow and selective in its view of human rights, and the appointment of Mr Wilson will help to restore the balance.
The other Tim was a Labor member and staffer to Kevin Rudd and Bob Carr, and a member of a Leftist think tank. Here is how the ABC greeted his appointment by a Labor Government to the Human Rights Commission just five months ago:
Political commentator Tim Soutphommasane has been appointed as Australia’s new Race Discrimination Commissioner.
Dr Soutphommasane, a first-generation Australian of Chinese and Lao background, is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights at the University of Sydney…
He has written for newspapers and his book Don’t Go Back To Where You Came From won the 2013 NSW Premier’s Literary Award…
Australian Human Rights Commission president Professor Gillian Triggs welcomed the appointment.
“Dr Soutphommasane is an influential thinker, writer and broadcaster who has substantially contributed to national discussions about diversity and national identity,” Professor Triggs said…

Dr Soutphommasane is also a board member of the National Australia Day Council, a member of the Australian Multicultural Council and a fellow of Per Capita and the St James Ethics Centre.
ABC chairman Jim Spigelman wants evidence of ABC bias? Here it is.
Anyone else wanting evidence of the Left’s sense of entitlement to control of all such bureaucracies, here it is - with savagery thrown in:

image
Remember that Wilson’s threat to the Left is that he wishes we had more freedom to speak. Now check again the tweets of some enemies of that freedom - commentators and journalists from the ABC and Fairfax in particular, along with a Greens senator.  Note the sheer hatred and hypocrisy - the refusal to countenance any Liberal appointment, even as the token libertarian. And bear in mind that Wilson is in many ways the kind of conservative even the ABC should tolerate - a gay man who is in favor of a form of same sex marriage and is more a libertarian than conservative.
The Abbott Government had better wake up. There is zero chance of it ever placating its intellectual enemies with any compromise to its agenda. It is in a cultural war, so it may as well be hated by its foes for following its principles than despised by its friends for offering compromises to those who will accept none.
Just go for it. The haters gotta hate anyway.
PS:
Imagine the screams if the ABC now hired a conservative as a TV current affairs host…
UPDATE
Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus, surely the most sanctimonious Labor MP in federal politics, “questions” Wilson’s appointment:

By appointing Mr Wilson, Senator Brandis has sent a strong signal about exactly the kind of blatant political agenda he wishes to pursue as Attorney-General,” Mr Dreyfus said.
Dreyfus is either a fool or a hypocrite. You’d think from his statement that no Labor government had ever appointed an activist of the Left to the Human Right Commission: But let’s check who Wilson is joining as a commissioner
President

Professor Gillian Triggs – appointed by the Gillard Government. Backed Labor’s plans for further restrictions to our free speech.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner
Mick Gooda – appointed by the Rudd Government. Advertised speaker on ”Building a Stronger Left” at the Australian Left Renewal Conference in April.
Age Discrimination Commissioner
Susan Ryan - former minister in the Hawke Labor Government, and appointed commissioner by the Gillard Government.
Children’s Commissioner
Megan Mitchell – former CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service, and appointed commissioner by the Gillard Government.
Disability Discrimination Commissioner

Graeme Innes – widely criticised for whipping up a social media to attack Myer for not introducing a 10 per cent quota of disabled workers, something not required under any law or HRC policy.  
Race Discrimination Commissioner

Tim Soutphommasane – former Labor member, staffer to Bob Carr and Kevin Rudd and member of Left-wing Per Capita think tank. A supporter of the apology, but not a giver of one.
Sex Discrimination Commissioner
Elizabeth Broderick – gender warrior who presented Prime Minister Julia Gillard as a victim of the media.
So what makes Wilson different? What makes him the target of so much media outrage?
Simple: he’s a conservative, appointed to a taxpayer-funded activist body the Left claims for its own.
Squeals from the golden trough. 
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ScreenHunter_271 Dec. 16 20.05
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freedomwatch.ipa.org.au
  • John Tran Baaaaa, go, the spirit of Vietnamese defiance.. Did I tell you that we have a thousand year history of just defying the powers that be, for no reason at all!

  • John Tran Maybe Castle2 will have Anh Do and his duck called "Dinner".

  • John Tran "For this story is an example of two things: a) the petty authoritarianism of government and b) the brilliant bloody-mindedness of some of its victims. Vu, by the way, is used to fighting tyrants. When the council chose to make an example of him it probably didn’t realise it was taking on one of Vietnam’s toughest dissidents. In the 1970s, Vu tried to start his own democratic revolution in communist Vietnam, by printing forged documents for the resistance out of a secret headquarters that he set up opposite Saigon police quarters. His cojones only got bigger over time. Vu built himself a gun that looked like a pen and taught himself how to make explosives. The commies caught him and threw him in prison where he was sentenced to four years in Hell. He convinced the guards to put him in charge of security (how?!) and slipped away into the jungle on New Year’s Eve. Vu ran through the jungle for two hours with a broken foot, took a truck to Saigon, laid low, fashioned a boat, carried the vessel along the coast to avoid the police and then sailed to Thailand. From there he gained refugee status in Australia, where he’s lived since 1981 as a quiet, unassuming mechanic with broken English. In short, Vu Ho is a freaking legend."
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<Watching staff working at maccers is like watching busy black ants. They are all scurrying around doing something. You just aren't sure exactly what they are doing & they probably have no clue either, except you're still waiting on your frozen come 5 mins later!>
That exciting new service McDonalds is providing .. is it Australia wide or only the ACT? Would they ration it in the NT? Is it in the main queue, or is there a select queue? Is it part of the breakfast menu? - ed
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Timothy James Scriven's photo.

23 December at 00:00
Everywhere, online and off- On Monday, the grumpiest of days
124 people are going
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4 her

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<*Chuckles*. No inconsistency whatsoever with joining an organisation you once criticised.Don't these shrieking leftie dills understand precisely that an organisation changes when its leadership changes? For instance, the ABC under the present leadership warrants criticism and calls for dismantling. The ABC under Jason Fong, on the other hand would deserve effusive praise and an increase in funding. >
www.canberratimes.com.au
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Bush's values different to .. (from boy on a bike)

1. Country
2. Ideology/values
3. Party

He there describes himself as an American first, a conservative second and a Republican third. The good of the country is more important than the good of the party. He is happy to beat the crap out of the Republicans if they stray from the true path. And he does. Daily.

The left view it this way:

1. Party
2. Ideology/values
3. Country

Labor values, and the good of the country, take second and third places to the party gaining power.

Ideologues like Gillard use:

1. Ideology/values
2. Party
3. Country

She trashed the Labor Party by being true to her socialist values.

Rudd is:

1. Rudd
2. Rudd
3. Rudd

This is why the left and right will never see eye to eye. Their frameworks are completely different.>

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Lol, maybe it would be easier to write it in French? Service extérieur - ed
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The Richmond Rollercoaster

The bay area has a few bridges, and a couple of them are quite famous, but this one is deemed as the ugly duckling along with the San Mateo bridge... I say that by twilight this one looks quite exceptional.
 — with Miguel De La Cruz atRichmond Bridge.
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Madu Odiokwu Pastorvin
Another year of grace.
This year has almost gone and we are on the brink of another. What kind of a year has 2013 been for you? Where would you place it on a scale of 1 – 10?

Maybe you would give 2013 8 or 9 out of 10 – in other words, it was a really good year. It was a good year because you had success in your business, a good year at work or at school, good family relationships, new friendships? 
2013 was a year that included a lot of exciting things, new challenges, tasks completed, a great holiday.Or maybe you rate this past year 8 out of ten compared to the previous year which was a horrible year.

Or maybe you would give 2013 a 5. It was just another year, pretty much the same as any other year? Nothing very exciting happened, in fact, it was kind of dull and dreary. Just getting up, going to work, coming home, going to bed and then doing the same thing the next day and the next and the next.

Maybe 2013 deserves only 2 out of 10. That’s because it was a really dreadful year. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The year included tragedy, sickness, loss of friends, marriage problems, the kids were just impossible, even a death in your family. How would you rate this year?

Think back and check what kind of a person you were during 2013. Are there some regrets? If you were able to have some part of the year over again, how would you have behaved differently? Would you have shown more understanding, cared more, been more patient, less critical, been more supportive and helpful? 

How about your relationship with God? Did that flourish and grow during 2013 or did it just hover in much the same place as it did the previous year or perhaps even went backwards as you prayed less, heard less from God through his Word, worshipped less. Maybe God didn’t have a big part to play in your life this year.You could well ask the question: how much did my life reflect the fact that I am God's child.
did I speak as a child of God; 
did I act with the love of God in my heart; 
did I interact with others with the same love and forgiveness that Jesus has shown toward me? As we stand on the threshold of another year, Jesus tells us a parable. It’s brief but the point is clear.

"Listen," Jesus says. "A man has a fig tree and plants it in his vineyard. (Apparently it was common for fruit trees to be planted among the vines). Three years later he’s making his way up and down his vineyard, he is looking forward to the taste of a ripe fig but he sees that the fig tree still doesn’t have any fruit. He calls to his gardener, ‘Hey. Get over here. Why is this tree still here? It’s taking up soil and moisture and space. Cut it down, right now.’Why should that tree remain standing? Why should it keep taking up space, using up the goodness of the soil if it’s serving no purpose? 
What’s the point of having a tree that should bear fruit but does nothing? 

Jesus’ words, "Cut it down, right now, and stick a match to it" cuts deeply. The owner has a right to be disappointed and angry at that useless tree. It’s no wonder he wants it destroyed. But as we listen to Jesus story we know Jesus isn’t just talking about a fig tree. He’s talking about you and me. We are led to ask ourselves, "Am I bearing fruit? I keeping sucking up the nutrients of the soil in which I’ve been planted and when am I going to show some kind of fruit to match the years I’ve been standing in God's garden and all the opportunities I’ve been given?"

Jesus takes a breath and continues. "Leave it alone for one more year", the gardener pleads, "I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year fine. If not, then cut it down.".I promise to put more fertilizer in you so that next year you bear more fruits for the Master.You are all wonderful people and I bless you in Jesus Name,Amen.
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Luke 13:6-9
Jesus told them this parable: "There was once a man who had a fig tree growing in his vineyard. He went looking for figs on it but found none. So he said to his gardener, "Look, for three years I have been coming here looking for figs on this fig tree, and I haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it go on using up the soil?' But the gardener answered, "Leave it alone, sir, just one more year; I will dig around it and put in some fertilizer. Then if the tree bears figs next year, so much the better; if not, then you can have it cut down.' " If you did not make it,next year is your turn,rejoice and give thanks to God.You are blessed.
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Father, today I choose to set my mind and focus on You. I choose to look for what You want to do in and through me. I let go of any wrong thinking, attitudes or actions that would hold me back from You in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.(Proverbs 29:18, NIV)
We have to have a vision for increase. If you’re not expecting favor, or if you are just satisfied with where you are, then you will live below your privileges. But if you will get a vision for increase, a vision for who you are as a child of the Most High God and what He wants to do in your life, you’ll see supernatural opportunities, favor and increase in your life. When you look for what God is doing, when you follow His commands, you won’t just be “average” or “good enough.” No, as a child of the Most High, you are the most blessed.

Today, take time to focus your heart and mind on God and His promises. Meditate on His Word and ask Him to increase your capacity to receive His blessings. Get a vision for increase, embrace His promises, and boldly move forward in the good things God has in store for you.God bless you.
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sultanknish.blogspot.com
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pjmedia.com
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www.jewishpress.com
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www.meforum.org
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pjmedia.com
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calevbenyefuneh.blogspot.com
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www.nytimes.com
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unitycoalitionforisrael.org
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Skiing in Switzerland- NO, the Judean Hills!!!
You got to see it to believe it!!!
Moshav ft. Matisyahu “World on Fire” (Official Music Video)
What a fabulous duo singing an awesome song. (Don't love the video though)
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This must be one of the best video presentations that clearly explains international law and the legal case for Israel and Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria. Definitely watch this to have a better understanding of international law so you can talk about Israel's situation intelligently with others.
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Help Us Help Them




The longest day in Aung's life: in Meikhtila, March 2013, Aung (pseudonym) watched as young students were rounded up by mobs and security forces. He watched from 10 meters away as his 10-year old classmate was burned alive. Others were led to a killing field. Those who survived witnessedwomen being beatenmen stabbed, and children burned alive. Why? Because they were Muslim in Burma. The police coerced them out and watched their massacre.

Similar instances of heinous violence have erupted across Burma from western Arakan state to Lashio, Shan state. All attacks suspiciously appear well organized and coordinated. They need our help. Please donate today.

2013 has been a challenging year for USCB as we have combatted the discrimination and targeted violence toward the Muslim minorities, the Chin, Karen and Kachin Christian minorities, and the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims in western Burma.

The trend of Propaganda → Hate Speech → Discrimination → Violence → Rape → Murder → Ghettos → Ethnic Cleansing has created the building blocks of genocide in Burma. Help us demonstrate and advocate for equality, justice and accountability for all in Burma by donating today.

We must push onward with our action demanding an international investment into government-led systems of violence and impunity in Burma.

Messages of hate must be countered with messages of tolerance and unity. Thanks to your help, one of our most successful ventures this year was inviting our fellow activists to participate in an Anti-Discrimination, Anti-Violence design contest. Our winning designers produced beautiful messages of hope and peace for all across Burma. Check out our Freedom Store to learn how you can purchase your own copy of their inspiring message.

The Rohingya in Burma need you. The Muslim minorities need you. The ethnic nationalities need you. Every man, woman, youth and child in Burma that face discrimination and violence need you. Help us help them by considering a donation today.

In solidarity,

Jennifer, Myra, Brianna, and Rachel
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Michelle Malkin 5
Hi everyone! Here's the MichelleMalkin.com newsletter for December 17th. Enjoy!

From the Blog

Video: Udall lied, health plans died

Colorado voters, spread the word! And God bless Laura Carno...

Dueling Headlines; ‘War on Fox News is over’ edition

The long and protracted “war on Fox News” has left fantasy-land in smoldering ruin, but that war has ended, as evidenced by today’s first headline. However, today’s dueling headline confirms that it might take a long time for Fox News execs to agree on terms of surrender...

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Demonstrators marching through Habib Bourguib Avenue in Tunis
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Events[edit]

Births[edit]

Deaths[edit]

Holidays and observances[edit]

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“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.””Matthew 1:20-21 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"I remember thee."
Jeremiah 2:2
Let us note that Christ delights to think upon his Church, and to look upon her beauty. As the bird returneth often to its nest, and as the wayfarer hastens to his home, so doth the mind continually pursue the object of its choice. We cannot look too often upon that face which we love; we desire always to have our precious things in our sight. It is even so with our Lord Jesus. From all eternity "His delights were with the sons of men;" his thoughts rolled onward to the time when his elect should be born into the world; he viewed them in the mirror of his foreknowledge. "In thy book," he says, "all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them" (Ps. 139:16). When the world was set upon its pillars, he was there, and he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. Many a time before his incarnation, he descended to this lower earth in the similitude of a man; on the plains of Mamre (Gen. 18), by the brook of Jabbok (Gen. 32:24-30), beneath the walls of Jericho (Jos. 5:13), and in the fiery furnace of Babylon (Dan. 3:19, 25), the Son of Man visited his people. Because his soul delighted in them, he could not rest away from them, for his heart longed after them. Never were they absent from his heart, for he had written their names upon his hands, and graven them upon his side. As the breastplate containing the names of the tribes of Israel was the most brilliant ornament worn by the high priest, so the names of Christ's elect were his most precious jewels, and glittered on his heart. We may often forget to meditate upon the perfections of our Lord, but he never ceases to remember us. Let us chide ourselves for past forgetfulness, and pray for grace ever to bear him in fondest remembrance. Lord, paint upon the eyeballs of my soul the image of thy Son.

Evening

"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."
John 10:9
Jesus, the great I AM, is the entrance into the true church, and the way of access to God himself. He gives to the man who comes to God by him four choice privileges.
1. He shall be saved. The fugitive manslayer passed the gate of the city of refuge, and was safe. Noah entered the door of the ark, and was secure. None can be lost who take Jesus as the door of faith to their souls. Entrance through Jesus into peace is the guarantee of entrance by the same door into heaven. Jesus is the only door, an open door, a wide door, a safe door; and blessed is he who rests all his hope of admission to glory upon the crucified Redeemer.
2. He shall go in. He shall be privileged to go in among the divine family, sharing the children's bread, and participating in all their honours and enjoyments. He shall go in to the chambers of communion, to the banquets of love, to the treasures of the covenant, to the storehouses of the promises. He shall go in unto the King of kings in the power of the Holy Spirit, and the secret of the Lord shall be with him.
3. He shall go out. This blessing is much forgotten. We go out into the world to labour and suffer, but what a mercy to go in the name and power of Jesus! We are called to bear witness to the truth, to cheer the disconsolate, to warn the careless, to win souls, and to glorify God; and as the angel said to Gideon, "Go in this thy might," even thus the Lord would have us proceed as his messengers in his name and strength.
4. He shall find pasture. He who knows Jesus shall never want. Going in and out shall be alike helpful to him: in fellowship with God he shall grow, and in watering others he shall be watered. Having made Jesus his all, he shall find all in Jesus. His soul shall be as a watered garden, and as a well of water whose waters fail not.

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Today's reading: Amos 7-9, Revelation 8 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Amos 7-9

Locusts, Fire and a Plumb Line
1 This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me: He was preparing swarms of locusts after the king’s share had been harvested and just as the late crops were coming up. 2 When they had stripped the land clean, I cried out, “Sovereign LORD, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!”
3 So the LORD relented.
“This will not happen,” the LORD said.
4 This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me: The Sovereign LORD was calling for judgment by fire; it dried up the great deep and devoured the land. 5 Then I cried out, “Sovereign LORD, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!”
6 So the LORD relented.
“This will not happen either,” the Sovereign LORD said.
7 This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. 8 And the LORD asked me, “What do you see, Amos?”
“A plumb line,” I replied.
Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer...."

Today's New Testament reading: Revelation 8

The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer
1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake....
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FRB-Christmas-Story-BookCover-SmallReading 12: The Birth of Jesus

God had promised the people of Israel a Savior. Through the prophets, God had told them how the Savior would come and what he would do. All the things the prophets had said about Jesus’ birth came to pass. Mary gave birth to Jesus in the town of Bethlehem, an ordinary, quiet place.

Luke 2:1-7
The Birth of Jesus
1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)3And everyone went to his own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Further Study
JUST THE FACTS
  1. Why did Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem? (vv. 1 – 3)
  2. What was another name for the town of Bethlehem? (v. 4)
  3. Why did Mary put the baby in a manger? (v. 7)
LET’S TALK
  1. Can you think of some of the prophecies that were fulfilled when Jesus was born? Look back to the previous readings if you need to.
  2. Why would God want his Son to be born in such a poor and ordinary place?
WHY THIS MATTERS

That night in Bethlehem, God came down to earth in the form of a little baby. God gave Jesus a humble beginning so that everyone could understand that he came to bring salvation to all people, even the poorest and lowliest. Jesus was born human, like us, so we could relate to him. He was God so that he could save us from our sins and give us new life.

POINTS OF INTEREST

2:7 The manger Mary laid Jesus in was a trough or open box used to hold grain or grasses to feed livestock. The area around Bethlehem has many limestone caves that were used in Bible times to shelter and feed animals. Although we think of a stable as a wooden building, the stable Jesus was born in may have been a cave located behind an inn.
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A Christmas Devotional

EVERLASTING FATHER

And he will be called...Everlasting Father. -Isaiah 9:6
What a remarkable string of names in Isaiah 9:6! Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Now, these were radical statements indeed, and they described the one who was coming to rule heaven and earth. A coming ruler might-if he were an ordinary ruler-simply assert his authority and prerogatives as sovereign. As we well know, a king is one who has the power because he has an army, and who has wealth because he controls the resources of his realm. That is the way of earthly rulers. But Isaiah also spoke of a ruler whom people would look to in far more personal terms: "Father."
But Jesus would be no mere earthly ruler. His reign would be "everlasting." Enduring, unstoppable, without challenge, having the qualities of heaven. An everlasting ruler would have to be a divine king.
It is a different kind of king who reigns as father. A king (or, for that matter, a prime minister, a president, etc.) does not have to treat his subjects as though the he were their father. They can wield power simply because they have it. But a ruler who cares for those in his realm, who truly wants to protect, and provide for his subjects out of a familial kind of love, is as much a father as he is king
Hundreds of years before his birth, Jesus was called "Everlasting Father" because his reign would be about protecting and providing-a king, yes, but a fatherly one. And we should not forget that Jesus' relationship with God the Father was so close that Jesus could say: "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father."
In some parts of the world, the legend of Santa Claus, derived from St. Nicholas, is called "Father Christmas." At its best, the legend expresses the belief in someone out there that is bigger than life, full of benevolence and magical charm. That Everlasting Father exists. Nothing can compare to the reality that Jesus Christ has become, for the world, the Powerful Protector and Perfect Provider, a king whose authority is so right and so good, it will never end.
Born a child, destined to bring fatherly care. Always and forever. In this, the children of God place their faith and hope.
Prayer for today:
Lord, help me to fully submit to your authority as king in my life, and then let me know your protection and provision which goes beyond what any early father can provide.
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About The Author - Mel Lawrenz serves as minister at large for Elmbrook Church and leads The Brook Network. Having been in pastoral ministry for thirty years, the last decade as senior pastor of Elmbrook, Mel seeks to help Christian leaders engage with each other. Mel is the author of eleven books, the most recent for church leaders, Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to Engagement.
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From Curse to Redemption, Traveling Toward Consummation

Today's reading: Job 14:1-12
This passage paints a picture of the brevity of human life. "At least," sighs Job, in what may sound sarcastic to our cynical ears, "there is hope for a tree ..." (Job 14:7). Job's comparison of a person's fragility to that of a flower (see Job 15:2) is an ironically opposite image. We are reminded of David's words inPsalm 103:15-17: "The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But [and this caveat means everything to us as believers] from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him." Job had a God-inspired inkling about redemption (see Job 19:25), but it was ill-formed, a vague hope groping beyond the light of the revelation God had to that point made available to humankind.
Historical theologian and national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for Environmental Stewardship E. Calvin Beisner observes:
What we ought to expect, if we believe in the transforming power of Christ in the lives of the redeemed and, through them, on the cultures in which they live, is an increasing reversal of the effects of the Curse, a progressive transformation that parallels the growth-both intensive and extensive-of Christianity through the centuries. While Biblically sound social analysis repudiates the secularist ideology of inevitable Progress, nonetheless the Christian doctrines of creation, fall, curse, redemption, and consummation equip us with a linear concept of time and a Biblically grounded faith that God is indeed working in time and space to restore this fallen and cursed world to glory (Mt 13:24-43), and we ought to see-and can see if we are looking-evidences of this in history.
Job's imagery of a tree "dying" and rising again at the scent of water is striking in light of Beisner's reflections (though the analogy was certainly not intended by either Job or by this modern author) (see Job 14:8-9).
In terms of historical progression, Job lived under the curse (temporally speaking, the cross was yet far off, though God in his grace would offer to his Old Testament saints glimpses of salvation; see Jn 8:56Gal 3:8Heb 4:2). We, on the other hand, find ourselves blessed to be living on the stepping-stone of redemption. Our sights are set on the rock-solid certainty of a glorious future with Christ. God's Old Testament people knew little of curse reversal (and God will deal with them on the basis of what he did choose to reveal in the days before Christ). Indeed, our stewardship of the planet covers a dimension they could not fully have foreseen. Having moved from curse to redemption, we are invited to travel confidently and diligently, in faith and at work, toward consummation, that glorious completion of all God's work.

Think About It

  • How do you think that God revealed glimpses of future redemption to the Old Testament saints?
  • In what ways do you see glimpses of God reversing the curse in your world?
  • What does it mean to travel confidently toward consummation? It all began in a garden and will end in a city. What role does our work play in moving along God's plan for creation?

Pray About It

Lord, I praise your work in the past, present and future for the redemption and restoration of all things.
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Family Abuse and Rescue

But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes, who were about to be murdered.
2 Kings 11:2
Until a few years ago, I was only marginally aware of this emotionally powerful story about Joash. It is, after all, stuck in the middle of the long section of 1 and 2 Kings that many of us sometimes, um, skim.
At any rate, we read here about King Ahaziah's mother, Athaliah, who had begun killing off the royal family so that she could rule as queen. Jehosheba, Ahaziah's sister, saw what was going on and rescued Ahaziah's young son Joash, hiding him and his nurse at the temple. Joash remained there for six years, finally emerging when it was time for him to be crowned as king.
What first gripped me about this story was Athaliah, a wicked matriarch of fairy-tale proportions. Can't you just see her as the Wicked Witch of the West? Once I tore myself away from that specter, I noticed how complicated her family was. On the one hand, this group of relatives was truly dysfunctional (they were, after all, related to the infamous family of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel). They were so dysfunctional that a grandmother began killing off her own grandchildren-her own descendants!-so she could grab the throne. Athaliah makes my overbearing grandmother look like a wimp.
On the other hand, the family wasn't all bad. Joash's aunt, Jehosheba, intervened to rescue the little boy and hide him till he was old enough to be king. That's a powerful illustration of how families that contain violent and destructive kooks and abusers can also contain courageous and self-sacrificing heroes.
I can relate to the story of Joash because my own aunts played such a huge role in my growing-up years. While never in danger of being killed, I sometimes felt like I didn't fit in with my parents and sister. My aunts stepped into that gap to nurture me, to explain the weird Winner family mysteries to me, and to help me feel like I belonged. Now that I'm an adult, my aunts continue to be my cherished confidants.
My own aunts-not to mention Aunt Jehosheba-remind me what a blessing extended family can be. They help me understand how important it is not to get so focused on our nuclear families that we forget our wider kith and kin. For some of us, extended families may not be biological; they may be in-laws, neighbors, friends or church family.
I certainly hope my own little family is never as destructive and broken as Joash's. But I would be fooling myself to think that my husband and I are perfect parents or that we can do the job of raising our children by ourselves. We need others to help us do that. By looking outside the walls of our own home to our relatives and church family, Griff and I will help ensure that our own bad tendencies are caught, checked and corrected by others who love us and ours.
Lauren Winner

Let's Talk

  • Thinking about each other's families, which people are the dysfunctional or difficult ones? Who are the heroes? How do all of these people influence our marriage?
  • Are we as a couple open to intervention, love, even rebuke from friends or extended family? If we have children how do we encourage relationships between them and other adults in our family whom we love and trust?
  • Have we ever acted as someone else's Jehosheba, stepping in to help the child of a friend or relative? What have we learned from this experience?
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