Sunday, February 27, 2011

Potentate Obama; World Unites Against Israel; "Space Weather"

1) Obama Not Just Above the Law--He Is the Law

President Obama's brazenly calculated move to unilaterally abandon the federal Defense of Marriage Act showcases his attitude that he is above the law.

DOMA defines marriage as "only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife" for purposes of all federal laws, rules and regulations (Section 3). It specifies that no state shall be required to honor laws of other states that treat same-sex relationships as legal marriages -- effectively carving out an exception to the Constitution's full faith and credit clause (Section 2).

Congress passed this law by enormous majorities (Senate 85-14, House 342-67) in response to political pressure (UNDER PRESIDENT CLINTON! - comment mine) in some states to redefine marriage, especially a Hawaiian court's decision suggesting the Hawaii Constitution conferred the right to same-sex marriage. Congress was worried that, among other things, same-sex couples living in other states might go to Hawaii to marry and demand that their home states recognize their marriages.

…During his presidential campaign, Obama stated that he did not support same-sex marriage but that he did believe that DOMA should be repealed. He gave no hint that he would take it upon himself to issue a presidential edict, without a congressional bill placed before him, forbidding the executive branch from enforcing the law. But that is precisely what he did this week (emphasis mine).

Thank you, Potentate Obama. Who does he think he is? Even if you don’t support DOMA, you must admit the hubris and lawlessness of this man is breathtaking. He is violating the Constitution consistently and repeatedly, and is getter more and more brazen in doing so. – comment mine.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced that President Obama had concluded that the administration would no longer defend Section 3 of DOMA. Holder acknowledged that the Justice Department had previously defended DOMA in court under a "rational basis standard." (It's interesting they chose Section 3, because many legal scholars believe Section 2 is more vulnerable to a constitutional challenge.) But he said Obama now believes that "a more heightened standard of scrutiny" should be required for laws involving same-sex marriage -- the same standard that applies to "laws targeting minority groups with a history of discrimination."

More on this…

This Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder sent his own version of a “Dear John” letter to the Speaker of the House, informing him that President Barack Obama’s Justice Department will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in federal court. The letter clearly states that the decision was personally made by the President himself, who, supposedly just this week, came to the conclusion that DOMA violates “the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment” of the U.S Constitution. This purely partisan act is completely consistent with both President Obama’s unprecedented politicization of the Justice Department and the same-sex marriage movement’s end-run around for democracy.

1a) The Lawless Obama Regime

RUSH: Barack Obama, ladies and gentlemen, took an oath -- not that that means anything -- but he took an oath to faithfully execute his duties.  And what he's doing in this Defense of Marriage Act is abandoning the defense of the law which means there's no one left to defend it.  The president of the United States and his corrupt attorney general just decided that the law is unconstitutional, a law that dates all the way back to Bill Clinton.  They just don't like the law.  So he's gonna repeal the law, or part of it, by refusing to defend it.  This is really extraordinary.  We could apply the age-old test: Imagine if this were Richard Nixon.  Imagine if this were George W. Bush and the law were abortion. 

Jeff Lord at American Spectator has a funny piece today.  Sarah Palin's new attorney general, Mark Levin, has just decided that Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional.  They're just gonna decide not to defend abortion anymore, it's silly, they're just gonna effectively pretend it doesn't exist.  Can you imagine the outcry?  Very extraordinary, and particularly from a liberty point of view.  There's a pattern of abuse here.  Obama is encouraging lawlessness in Arizona.  He is encouraging lawlessness in Wisconsin.  He is undermining state governments everywhere he can, particularly if they're battleground states, which Wisconsin is.  He's ordering his Justice Department not to defend a federal law.  Nobody has said the law is unconstitutional other than Obama and Holder, and they don't have the power to do that.  Obama is ignoring court orders he doesn't like, such as drilling moratorium laws in the Gulf of Mexico, and, of course, DOMA, Defense of Marriage Act. 

2) Bottom up, top down revolution

Who has the President’s ear nowadays? Is it the Senate? His cabinet? No, it appears to be union boss Richard Trumka. Glenn gave his reaction to some shocking audio from Trumka on radio this morning.

“Just remember what we told you about a year ago.  That he was creating a new structure.  And we told you that this is what, I think it was Caesar Augustus did, that he would leave all of the trappings but they wouldn’t, they wouldn’t work.  They didn’t do anything.  He left the Senate.  He left all the trappings of the republic, but it changed,” Glenn explained.

MSNBC is reporting that Obama may be following the same path as Augustus.

“Just to set this up, it’s a discussion of Obama on MSNBC with Andrea Mitchell about how many times he has spoken in the last two years to some of his cabinet members,” Pat explained.

“It doesn’t really surprise me.  I’ve been talking for a while about why doesn’t the president use cabinet officials.  You report that in fact there were a half a dozen cabinet members who had not heard from the president personally, had not got a phone call or had an opportunity to be one on one with him in the first two years,” Andrea Mitchell said in the audio.

“And this person said, I’ve talked, I’ve had individual meetings with all the cabinet members.  And he was shocked to hear that a number of them, he said half a dozen of them, have never had a single phone call from the president in the first two years up to that point,” her guest said, adding “That is a pretty dramatic thing because it tells you not only was the president not listening to people outside the administration, he wasn’t even listening to senior members of the administration.  He was really only listening to a very small group of people.”

Glenn said, “You see the MSNBC saying he’s not even meeting with the cabinet.  So who is he meeting with?  And it goes into this:  New audio from Richard Trumka.”

Richard Trumka was asked, “How often is the White House meeting with you, having conversations with you?”

“I am at the White House a couple of times a week, two, three times a week,” Trumka responded. “ I have conversations every day with someone in the White House.”

“You have to see his body language, the arrogance when he begins to respond is incomprehensible,” Glenn said of Trumka.

“The President has not met with his cabinet, but he meets with Richard Trumka,” Glenn lamented.

3) The Government Wants To Buy Software To Fake Online Grassroots Social Media Campaigns

The latest in the long line of revelations from the HBGary Federal email leak, is that HBGary Federal wanted to create software that could make it easy for staffers to create and maintain a massive number of fake online social network personas, allowing them to control virtual armies of totally fake people, whose only mission is to spy on others and spew paid-for propaganda. But, what's even more amazing is that not only did the emails reveal HBGary Federal employees talking about building a platform for letting people more easily manage an army of fake personas, but that the US government put out a request for exactly that kind of software last June, with its request for "Persona Management Software."

…The request appears to come from the Air Force, and the idea is to use such a tool in Afghanistan and Iraq... but if the government has such tools, is it really that big of a stretch to see them using them in other contexts as well? While I do wonder how effective such a tool really is, the idea that it can pretty successfully build up "friends" using social media, and then use those for propaganda purposes seems just wrong. It seems that even the folks at HBGary Federal were somewhat perplexed by this government opportunity, with one employee sending around an email that said, simply: "WTF Dude?" while someone else questioned whether it could really be serious.

3a) US Gov. Software Creates 'Fake People' on Social Networks

The US government is offering private intelligence companies contracts to create software to manage "fake people" on social media sites.  Private security firms employeed by the government have used the accounts to create the illusion of consensus on controversial issues.

The contract calls for the development of "Persona Management Software" which would help the user create and manage a variety of distinct fake profiles online. The job listing was discussed in recently leaked emails from the private security firm HBGary after an attack by internet activist last week.

According to the contract, the software would "protect the identity of government agencies" by employing a number of false signals to convince users that the poster is in fact a real person. A single user could manage unique background information and status updates for up to 10 fake people from a single computer.

The software enables the government to shield its identity through a number of different methods including the ability to assign unique IP addresses to each persona and the ability to make it appear as though the user is posting from other locations around the world.

4) Look for the Union Fable

…Democrats are acting as if Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's demand that public sector employees give up collective bargaining would have George Washington rolling in his grave (a clear violation of Gravediggers' Local 803 regulations concerning the rolling of the dead).

In fact, government employees should never, ever be allowed to organize.

The need for a union comes down to this question: Do you have a boss who wants you to work harder for less money? In the private sector, the answer is yes. In the public sector, the answer is a big, fat NO.

Government unions have nothing in common with private sector unions because they don't have hostile management on the other side of the bargaining table. To the contrary, the "bosses" of government employees are co-conspirators with them in bilking the taxpayers.

Far from being careful stewards of the taxpayers' money, politicians are on the same side of the bargaining table as government employees -- against the taxpayers, who aren't allowed to be part of the negotiation. This is why the head of New York's largest public union in the mid-'70s, Victor Gotbaum, gloated, "We have the ability to elect our own boss."

Democratic politicians don't think of themselves as "management." They don't respond to union demands for more money by saying, "Are you kidding me?" They say, "Great -- get me a raise too!"

…It used to be widely understood that collective bargaining has no place in government employment. In 1937, the American president beloved by liberals, FDR, warned that collective bargaining "cannot be transplanted into the public service." George Meany, head of the AFL-CIO for a quarter century, said unions were not appropriate for civil servants. As recently as 1978, the vast majority of states prohibited unionization of government employees (emphasis mine).

4a) As Madison impasse continues, schools eye layoffs

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin school districts are warning teachers, each one on the payroll in some cases, that their contracts might not be renewed as Gov. Scott Walker's plan to cut nearly all public employees' collective bargaining rights remains in limbo.

The proposal took a concrete step forward Friday when Republicans in the state Assembly abruptly approved the bill and sent it to the Senate after three straight days of punishing debate and amid confusion among Democrats. But with all 14 Democratic state senators still out of state (emphasis mine), another stalemate awaits the measure that Walker insists will help solve a looming budget deficit and avoid mass layoffs.

4b) 67% Disapprove of Legislators Fleeing Wisconsin to Avoid Vote

Half of America’s voters favor public sector unions for government workers, but they strongly oppose the tactic by Wisconsin state senators to flee their state to prevent a vote that would limit the rights of such unions.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that only 25% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of this tactic, while 67% disapprove. State legislators in Indiana have used the same approach to avoid a vote in their state. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Sizable majorities of Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major party reject such a strategy. Democrats are fairly evenly divided, with 48% approving and 44% disapproving.

4c) Dem Rep to unions: Time to get ‘bloody’

A Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts is raising the stakes in the nation’s fight over the future of public employee unions, saying emails aren’t enough to show support and that it is time to “get a little bloody.”

“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Ma.) told a crowd in Boston on Tuesday rallying in solidarity for Wisconsin union members.

…Capuano is considered a leading contender to take on Sen. Scott Brown in 2012.

This is not Capuano’s first brush with violent rhetoric. Last month Capuano said, “Politicians, I think are too bland today. I don’t know what they believe in. Nothing wrong with throwing a coffee cup at someone if you’re doing it for human rights.”

4d) CWA union thug strikes young female FreedomWorks activist

…I was taking pictures and video with my phone, and I heard my coworker getting into a heated exchange with one of the protesters. I turned on my iPhone camera and headed over to film it. They were going back and forth, the protester called my colleague a “little sh*t” just as I walked up, which is where the video starts. Then he noticed I was filming. Here’s what happened:

Basically, it’s ridiculous. I’m a 5′1 female in a dress, and he was standing up on a garden wall above me in the courtyard. He hardly felt threatened. I was stunned, because generally protesters are there to, you know, get their message out. They don’t normally shy away from the camera.

I’m very much okay, and very appreciative of the support from my fellow bloggers and activists today. I am, however, shaken up by the level of sheer hatred I experienced today. The look of fury on his face in the close up is appalling. I had not exchanged a word with him. He didn’t know who I was. He didn’t even know my name, what I do. He had probably surmised that I was with FreedomWorks and that was enough.

This just can’t be tolerated anymore. It’s one thing to be called a violent teabagger. It’s another to be called a violent teabagger while you’re being assaulted. They’ve been comparing themselves to the Egyptians ousting Mubarak. Looks like they’re not too far off, given that they share the tendency to assault women with cameras.

In addition, it’s disgusting to me that the first response I received from the Left was rationalization. “You were too close, respect personal space” and “well he obviously didn’t want to be filmed!” - essentially, it’s the “her skirt was too short” defense. No one deserves to be hit. The concern from a bystander was that “You’ll get on the news, stop it!” Unfortunately for him, he did not know who he was dealing with. I will ensure that this happens.

5) Oman clashes widen protest rumblings in Gulf

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Protests against the tight grip of Gulf rulers widened Sunday as riot police in Oman battled pro-democracy demonstrators in a deadly clash that sharply raised tensions in the region.

Tiny Bahrain is already in turmoil and giant Saudi Arabia is seeking to hold back calls for reforms.

The Gulf protests have shaken the once-comfortable command of various monarchs and sheiks. An ever deeper and sustained political revolt would thrust the Arab world's uprising into the heart of the region's oil riches and Washington's front-line allies against Iran.

The U.S. has long counted on the Gulf's rulers as reliable partners — particularly their common ground over concerns about Iran's efforts to expand its influence. No ruling system has given way, but cracks are evident.

Protesters are calling for the ouster of the Bahrain monarchy that hosts the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet. Marchers on Sunday streamed through the diplomatic zone in Bahrain's capital Manama, chanting slogans against the king.

Opposition forces, meanwhile, are showing resolve to challenge the absolute rule of dynasties in Saudi Arabia and now Oman, which shares with Iran control of the strategic oil tanker route through the Strait of Hormouz and is a mediator between Iran and the West.

Meanwhile, gas prices in my neighborhood are rising, and quickly - 10 cents on Thursday from Wednesday, 20 cents on Friday from Thursday, up to $3.55. The upcoming week ought to be interesting…but nooooo sir, we don’t need to drill for our own oil…

5a) Nations United Against Israel

Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen are in turmoil. In Libya, Colonel Moammar Gadhafi is using mercenaries to slaughter peaceful protestors. Hezbollah is staging a slow-motion coup in Lebanon. Iran’s rulers are executing dissidents daily, developing nuclear weapons and sending warships through Suez. The response of the United Nations to these many threats to global peace and security? Condemn Israel! Is there anything else the UN does as often or as well?

Here’s how it went down this time: At the urging of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, temporary Security Council member Lebanon – a nation, as noted, increasingly ruled by Hezbollah, the Iranian-funded terrorist group that in 1983 murdered 241 American servicemen in Beirut – sponsored a resolution condemning Israel for constructing “illegal settlements.”

In other words, the issue that the UN considers most critical in the world at this hinge moment in history is that Israelis have been building homes on land the Palestinians want – and might be able to have if they were prepared to negotiate a peace treaty with Israelis.

…In the end and to its credit, the Obama administration did veto the resolution. But U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice did not even attempt to suggest how hypocritical, counterproductive and just plain deranged it is for the UN to ignore the crimes being committed by Islamist terrorists and Arab despots while demanding that Israelis surrender territory -- taken in a defensive war -- to those who remain committed to their extermination.

Instead, Rice meekly conceded that the U.S. agrees "about the folly and illegitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity (yeah, with friends like the US, who needs enemies? – emphasis and comment mine)," adding that the resolution was nevertheless “unwise."

5b) As Arab World Burns, Palestine Sends Out Smoke Screen

As the Arab world burns, the Palestinians are sending out a smoke screen. Rather than engage in peace talks with Israel or reform the rampant corruption within its government, the Palestinian Authority is driving the West to distraction.

While Israel has been eager to return to the negotiating table, the Palestinian Authority (PA) appears emboldened to stand up to the United States. Not only is the PA assiduously avoiding talks with Israel, its prime minister last week announced plans to seek a "unity government" with Hamas.

This comes on the heels of a direct snub of the leader of the free world. Last week, Obama reportedly made a personal appeal in a lengthy phone call with PA President Mahmoud Abbas not to push for a vote on an anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. Security Council. Obama was ignored, and the United States was forced to veto the latest U.N. fixation on Israeli settlements.

But the PA paid no price for dismissing the U.S. In fact, it scored a major victory when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton changed U.S. policy by calling settlements "illegitimate."

5c) This week on 'The Hal Lindsey Report': Iran, Libya, Egypt, and the Soft Underbelly of America

…Speaking of Iran and 1979 and Egypt. Something happened this week in the Middle East that hasn't happened since 1979. Two Iranian warships passed through the Suez Canal from the Red Sea into the Mediterranean. Until now, the Iranians would have never even requested permission to transit the canal because they knew Hosni Mubarak would never grant it. As Bob Dylan sang, "The times, they are a-changin'" Though the ships, a frigate and a supply tender, are declared to be free of contraband (like missiles for Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza) and on an innocent training mission to Syria, the event signals a sea change in the Middle East geopolitical picture.

And though Libya is the hot spot of revolutionary fervor this week, the Persian Gulf island nation of Bahrain has been experiencing its own uprising. Embroiled in a proxy battle between the Shi'ites of Iran (who are seeking to gain a foothold on the Arabian Peninsula) and the Sunnis of Saudi Arabia, the tiny sectarian state -- which is ruled by the Sunni minority -- is just the latest pro-Western, secular state to be targeted by 'pro-democracy' protesters. The U.S. has a vested interest in what happens in that tiny nation because it serves as the home of the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf.

For a long time, we've been watching the relationship between Venezuela and Iran, Chavez and Ahmadinejad, grow ever warmer and more deeply entrenched. The sinister implications of this alliance are even more ominous in view of the developing danger to America's soft underbelly presented by the virtual anarchy in Mexico and the rogue regimes springing up around the Caribbean in places like Nicaragua, Bolivia, and, of course, Cuba. Some leading intelligence experts are becoming concerned that Iran might use Venezuela as the launching point for a simple, yet clever attack on the United States -- an attack that we know Iran has been planning and even practicing for in recent years (emphasis mine).

6) 10 Things You Need to Know About High Gas Prices and Obama’s Oil Policy

This week the media’s attention is finally focused on oil prices. After two years of continually rising consumer gas prices in America, the oil futures market has captivated the Mideast storyline. And attention is much needed. December 2010 saw the highest gas prices for the month of December in our nation’s history. This month, we’re setting similar records with the national average of $3.14/gallon–fifty cents higher than it was a year ago. If this trend continues, the summer of 2011 will hit consumers much harder than in the summer of 2008 when prices soared above $4/gallon.

But if you only read, hear or see this week’s news reports, you would think that oil and gas prices were doing just fine until the historic events in Egypt, Libya and across the Middle East unfolded this past month and caused spikes in the futures market. Unfortunately, that is not the case. President Obama has been unilaterally taking steps to increase the cost of gasoline for two years. Here are ten things you need to know about gas prices that you may not hear reported elsewhere:

-Gas Prices Are Skyrocketing Under President Obama…

-President Obama Has Crippled Domestic Oil Exploration…

-The Obama Permitorium is Costing the Government Much-Needed Revenue: The Gulf accounts for more than 25 percent of domestic oil production. With production in the Gulf expected to drop in 2011 by 220,000 barrels per day, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates the U.S. will suffer $3.7 million in lost revenue per day as a result of lost royalties. If that holds, the federal government would lose more than $1.35 billion from royalty payments, just this year.

-The Obama Administration Has Been Held in Contempt of Court: Federal District Court Judge Martin Feldman held the Obama Interior Department in contempt of court on February 2, 2011, for dismissively ignoring his ruling to cease the drilling moratorium which the judge had previously struck down as “arbitrary and capricious.” Judge Feldman has since given the Administration 30 days to act on permits it has needlessly and purposefully delayed saying inaction was “not a lawful option.”

-Jobs Are Being Killed by Obama’s Oil Policies…

-Decreasing Our Domestic Supply Increases Foreign Dependence…

-Renewable Energy Is Not the Answer to Mideast Turmoil…

-Regulations and Delays: The Obama EPA has added costly new regulations to refineries in the name of global warming, while the Obama Interior Department issues new rules that make it much harder to develop natural resources on government land. The EPA is also denying approval of the Keystone pipeline which would increase the amount of oil the U.S. receives from our friendly neighbor Canada by over a million barrels per day.

-The Middle East Is Not the Sole Cause of Rising Oil Prices: Global oil prices have been rising steadily for months based on variety of factors including those listed above and as the world economy pulls out of a recession. In fact, Egypt is not a major producer of petroleum, and only 2-3 percent of the world’s supply moves through the Suez Canal. Certain spikes are not abnormal and can be more easily weathered with a smarter domestic energy strategy.

6a) Judge to Obama Administration: Get Moving on Drilling Permits

The Obama Administration hasn’t had their boot on the neck of just BP but also the entire Gulf economy. Federal Judge Martin Feldman is now doing the same to the Obama Administration.

A few weeks after Feldman held the Interior Department in contempt of court for ignoring his ruling to put an end to the job-killing drilling moratorium, he ordered the Interior Department to get moving on new permits one way or the other. Judge Feldman gave the Administration 30 days to act on five permits, emphasizing that the Administration has been sitting on these permits for four to nine months when Interior routinely processed the permits in two weeks’ time. Feldman wrote: “[T]he government is under a duty to act by either granting or denying a permit application within a reasonable time. Not acting at all is not a lawful option.”

7) Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Seek $3.1 Billion Amid Improved Earnings

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the mortgage-finance companies operating under U.S. conservatorship, requested another $3.1 billion in Treasury Department aid as they reported quarterly earnings reflecting improving health.

Fannie Mae reported net income of $73 million for the three-month period that ended Dec. 31, the Washington-based company’s first positive results in three years. McLean, Virginia-based Freddie Mac’s quarterly loss narrowed to $113 million from $6.5 billion in the same period a year earlier.

Both companies reported net-worth deficits attributable largely to the quarterly dividend payments they make to the Treasury Department, which has owned more than 79 percent of both companies since they were seized and placed under U.S. conservatorship during the credit crisis in 2008.

8) Problem bank ratio at 23-year high

That's one take on the state of the banking industry, via the latest review issued by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The number of banks fell for the 25th straight year in 2010, FDIC data show. The agency's deposit insurance fund now covers 7,657 banks and thrifts. That's down 25% from 1999 levels and 58% below the 1985 peak.

At the same time, the number of banks at risk of failure continues to climb. The FDIC says 884 institutions rate dishonorable mention (anonymously, of course) on its problem list. That number has risen for 17 straight quarters to its highest level since 1992, at the tail end of the savings and loan crisis.

And if anything that measure understates the severity of this crisis, which comes after the biggest financial meltdown since the Great Depression.

The number of FDIC-backed banks judged at risk of failure is 11.5% -- which is to say 1 bank in 9 is in danger of collapse.

9) Saudi man charged with plotting terrorist attack

LUBBOCK, Texas – A college student from Saudi Arabia who studied chemical engineering in Texas bought explosive chemicals online as part of a plan to hide bomb materials inside dolls and baby carriages to blow up dams, nuclear plants or the Dallas home of former President George W. Bush, the Justice Department said Thursday.

"After mastering the English language, learning how to build explosives and continuous planning to target the infidel Americans, it is time for jihad," or holy war, Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari wrote in his private journal, according to court documents.

The 20-year-old Aldawsari wrote that he was planning an attack in the United States for years, even before coming to the U.S. on a scholarship. He said he was influenced by Osama bin Laden's speeches and that he bemoaned the plight of Muslims.

…In e-mails Aldawsari apparently sent to himself, he listed 12 reservoir dams in Colorado and California; the documents did not state their exact locations. He also wrote an e-mail that mentioned "Tyrant's House" with the address of Bush's home.

…"You who created mankind ... grant me martyrdom for your sake and make jihad easy for me only in your path," he wrote, according to court records.

Yep, a religion of peace all right.

10) North Korea threatens to attack South Korea, US

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea threatened Sunday to enlarge its nuclear arsenal and "mercilessly" attack South Korea and the United States, as the allies prepared for joint military drills which the North considers a rehearsal for invasion.

North Korea routinely issues threats over the annual joint military drills, but its latest warning could rekindle tensions that rose sharply after two recent deadly incidents blamed on the North.

North Korea fired artillery at a front-line South Korean island in November, killing four people. Forty-six sailors died when a South Korean warship sank eight months earlier. North Korea has denied firing a torpedo at the ship.

North Korea called the South Korea-U.S. drills, which begin Monday, a "dangerous military scheme."

"The army and people of (North Korea) will return bolstered nuclear deterrent of our own style for the continued nuclear threat by the aggressors," North Korea's military said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

It accused South Korea and the U.S. of plotting to topple the North's communist government. It said if provoked, North Korea would start a "full-scale" war, take "merciless counteraction" and turn Seoul into a "sea of flames."

11) 'Monster' Solar Storm Erupts On the Sun

The sun unleashed a powerful flare Thursday (Feb.24) that – while not the strongest solar storm ever seen – let loose a massive wave of magnetic plasma in a dazzling display.

The solar flare kicked up a huge, twisting tendril of plasma that scientists call a solar prominence. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the flare in an eye-catching video, with mission scientists calling the eruption a "monster prominence."

"Some of the material blew out into space and other portions fell back to the surface," NASA scientists wrote in a statement released Friday (Feb. 25).

Thursday's solar flare was the latest in a series of strong sun storms this month. Scientists classified it as an M3.6 Class solar storm. NASA described the solar eruption as a "rather large-sized flare."

Scientists use a three-class system to measure the strength and intensity of solar flares. The most powerful sun storms are Class X – a Class X2.2 solar flare erupted on Feb. 14. Class M solar storms are medium strength but still powerful, according to a NASA description. The weakest types of solar flares are Class C storms.

Thursday's solar flare erupted from a new spot on the sun called sunspot 1163, according to the website, which monitors space weather and skywatching events. The flare was not aimed at Earth, and so should not pose a concern to satellites or other systems.

"Earth was little affected," reported Friday. "Plasma clouds produced by the blast did not come our way."

…Strong solar flares aimed at Earth can disrupt satellites and power grids, as well as pose a hazard to astronauts on spacecraft.  They can also spark dazzling shows of the northern lights, or aurora borealis.

The threat of solar flares to satellites and infrastructure has been gaining notice among decision makers lately. Last week, Jane Lubchenco – the chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – told a gathering of scientists that the United States must take steps to protect assets from potentially dangerous space weather events.

“Space weather.” That’s an interesting term. Reminds me of Luke 21:25-26: “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” “Space weather” indeed.

"This is not a matter of if, it's simply a matter of when and how big (emphasis mine)," Lubchenco said of the potential for a dangerous solar flare. "We have every reason to expect we're going to be seeing more space weather in the coming years, and it behooves us to be smart and be prepared."

12) Homosexuals Sue Christian Bed & Breakfast Owner for Refusing 'Civil Union' Ceremony

Attacks on religious liberty and freedom of conscience have started -- mere weeks after Governor Pat Quinn (D) signed the 'civil unions' bill into law -- just as we warned.

While many conservatives think wisdom and political pragmatism dictate a "truce" on the social issues, liberals, including homosexuals, see this time as ripe for an all-out frontal assault on virtually every issue pertaining to homosexual practice.

The most recent assault by those who view our side's cowardly truce as their golden opportunity is taking place in Illinois. Just one month after Governor Patrick Quinn signed the civil union bill into law, a homosexual couple has filed complaints with both the Illinois Attorney General and the Illinois Department of Human Rights for the refusal of two innkeepers to rent out their privately owned bed and breakfasts for a civil union ceremony and reception.

…One of the bed and breakfasts, Timber Creek in Paxton, Illinois, is owned by Jim Walder, a Christian father of five children who has been deluged with vicious, hateful emails and phone calls. This comes as no surprise to those of us who spend much of our time exposing and opposing the homosexuality-normalizing juggernaut, but it's been an emotionally devastating experience for the Walders who did not ask for this battle.

The desire and efforts of parents to protect their children from exposure to ceremonies and celebrations on their property that honor conduct which God finds detestable are noble desires and efforts that must be supported. I have said many times that there is no greater threat to First Amendment speech and religious rights and parental rights than that posed by the movement to normalize homosexuality. We need look no further than Springfield and Paxton, Illinois for proof.