Christian Coalition

Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was among the keynote speakers at a Texas-Americans for Prosperity Summit over the holiday weekend.

The senator took the opportunity to energize his grassroots Tea Party base at the event.

Cruz talked about hot topics, such as the president's Affordable Care Act and how Republicans will target it in 2016.

"In the year 2017, a Republican president in the Rose Garden is going to sign a bill that is going to repeal every word of ObamaCare," he said.

Cruz also told the crowd President Barack Obama needs to respond to the greatest terror threat now facing the free world.

"Isis says they want to go back and reject modernity," he said. "Well I think we should help them; we ought to bomb them back to the stone age."

Cruz elaborated as he delivered one jab after another to the Obama administration.

He criticized the president for not visiting the U.S.-Mexico border during the child immigration crisis. And he called on the United States to stand strong in its defense of Israel.

Texas Governor Rick Perry also spoke at the event. Like Perry, he's considered a top contender for the 2016 Republican presidential candidacy.

"The good news is there are exactly 128 days left until the next Congress convenes with a Republican house and a Republican Senate," Perry told summit participants.

Protests took place outside while Perry spoke, calling on the Texas governor to expand Medicaid in the state and accept the $100-billion in federal funding by adopting some Obamacare provisions.

The mood inside stayed positive.

"The American people are rising up to take our country back, to the restore the American Dream [and] to get back to the free market principles and constitutional liberties this country was built on," Perry told an enthusiastic crowd.

JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the nation Wednesday evening for the first time since the Egyptian-mediated open-ended ceasefire took effect 24 hours earlier.

The government has already come under fire from Israelis and politicians for not going far enough in the battle against Hamas. But Netanyahu said despite all the blather from Hamas, Israel dealt a heavy blow to the terrorist organization.

Flanked by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, the prime minister explained why he believes Operation Protective Edge met its two primary goals: to decimate the terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip as much as possible and to achieve long-term quiet for Israel.

"I can say that Hamas was indeed hit hard," Netanyahu said.

As to whether the quiet will last, it's too early to tell, he said. But Israel is prepared for "all possibilities" and will respond more harshly than ever to even a "drizzle" of rockets.

Despite the raucous victory celebration in Gaza City Tuesday evening, Hamas walked away from the ceasefire agreement virtually empty-handed, failing to achieve any of its goals, Netanyahu told Israelis in the televised speech.

Outside of Egypt agreeing to open the Rafah border crossing, Israel agreeing to transfer building material and extend the boundary for Gaza fisherman, none of its earlier demands were met, he said.

"There is no connection between reality and the celebrations in Gaza," Gen. (ret.) Amos Gilad told Israel's Channel 2 news, Arutz Sheva reported.

Gilad, a member of the Israeli negotiating team in Cairo, said Hamas agreed to the ceasefire because Israel defeated its fighting forces and not for any other reason.

"In the end Hamas did not get anything and agreed to the [ceasefire] deal against its will," he said.

Boasting by Hamas leaders, including Ismail Haniyeh, Mahmoud al-Zahar and Sami Abu Zuhri, who emerged from their hiding places to appear at Tuesday night's rally, doesn't change the group's severely depleted rocket cache, smashed tunnels, or thousands of houses reduced to rubble.

The kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens and the massive rocket salvos on Israeli citizens sparked the 50-day war that left an estimated 300,000 Gazans homeless.

Israel lost 65 soldiers and five civilians in the conflict, including a four-year-old boy. Israel estimated it had killed 1,000 terrorists, including at least three senior Hamas commanders.

Gazan civilian casualties, about the same number, were noncombatants, many of whom Hamas apparently deliberately put in harm's way as fodder for its media campaign against the Jewish nation-state.

But despite the usual international backlash against Israel, Hamas suffered such a huge setback that its leaders felt compelled to accept the ceasefire proposal, Gilad said.

"Hamas agreed to a [ceasefire] deal because we broke them militarily, not for any other reason," Gilad said. "In the end, Hamas did not get anything and agreed to the deal against its will."

JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israel is literally the West's frontline in confronting radical Islamic groups, former Israeli National Security Advisor Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror said.

Less than a day after Israel agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Hamas, following 50 days of fighting in the south, an Israeli army officer was moderately wounded along Israel's northern border on the Golan Heights by gunfire emanating from Syria.

Israel responded with artillery fire at a Syrian army post. Israel said it holds the Syrian army responsible for all cross-border fire.

Amidror, currently with the BESA Center for Strategic Studies, told journalists in a conference call on Wednesday that Israel may find itself leading the Western war against radical Islam.

"Israel might be literally the front of the West toward the radical Islam[ic] movements," Amidror said. "It is true about Gaza, relating to Hamas, and it might be true about al-Nusra [Front] if they succeed to take control on the Golan Heights."

But Amidror said it's not just a threat to Israel; it's a threat to the West.

"And I think that this is a very important issue to remember because those threats of radical Islam are not going to stop on the frontiers of Israel, but the West and democratic countries and others will have to face it near home sooner or later," he said.

"In many cases in history they begin with the Jews and they continue with others," he added.

The Syrian army has been fighting rebel forces, including the al-Nusra Front for control of southern Syria, along Israel's northern border for the past two years.

Earlier Wednesday, some reports said al-Nusra had actually taken control of the Quneitra border crossing, normally manned by United Nations peacekeeping forces.

And it may not stop with the al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front on its Golan Heights border. The Islamic State (ISIS) may not be far behind.

The Israeli daily Ha'aretz referred to unnamed officers of the IDF's northern command, saying the Islamic State "is already knocking on the door of the Golan Heights."

Amidror said Israel needs to make its position very clear on the northern border.

"As in the previous battles between the regime and the rebels, we are not in a position to determine the process in Syria, and we are not the one who should be [doing] the dirty [work] for the Assad regime," Amidror said.

"We should be very clear about our red lines. No one will cross the border. If someone will try, we will kill him. And if someone will launch rockets or artillery toward Israel, our retaliation will be immediate whether it's the Syrian regular army or the rebels," he said.

"We should not interfere on the other side of the border to save one side or the other," he added.

At the same time, Israel should continue to help in a humanitarian way by treating injured Syrians. Israel has already treated hundreds of wounded Syrians who have mysteriously crossed the border.

The Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday forecast that the U.S. economy will grow by just 1.5 percent in 2014, undermined by a poor performance during the first three months of the year.

The new assessment was considerably more pessimistic than the Obama administration's, which predicted last month that the economy would expand by 2.6 percent this year even though it contracted by an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the first quarter.

The economy did grow by 0.9 percent during the first half of 2014.

Looking ahead, the CBO said it expected the economy to grow by 3.4 percent over 2015 and 2016, and predicted that the unemployment rate would remain below 6 percent into the future.

The economy went into reverse at the beginning of this year, reeling from an unusually harsh winter that disrupted consumer spending, factory production and other business activity.

Growth in the gross domestic product, the economy's total output of goods and services, recovered in the second quarter, advancing at an annual rate of 4 percent, according to the government's first estimate. That forecast will be revised on Thursday.

Even with the rebound, economists have lowered their outlook for the entire year, given the weak start. Economists at JPMorgan Chase are forecasting that the economy will grow by 1.9 percent this year, when measured from the fourth quarter, down from 3.1 percent in 2013.

The CBO also projected that the government would run a deficit of $506 billion for the budget year that ends Sept. 30. That would be the lowest level of Barack Obama's presidency.

The CBO foresees a slight increase from its earlier $492 billion projection of this year's deficit but also modest improvement over the coming decade.

Obama inherited a recession and a trillion-dollar-plus deficit picture when he took office in the aftermath of the 2008 fiscal crisis. The economy has recovered more slowly than hoped; some of the recent drop in the jobless rate is due to frustrated job-seekers leaving the labor market.

The report confirms a trend of short-term improvement in the deficit but an unsustainable long-term fiscal path if Washington doesn't cut spending or raise additional revenue.

Over the long term, the CBO said "the large and increasing amount of federal debt would have serious negative consequences" including the risk of a crisis that could raise interest rates.

The latest numbers come as the GOP-controlled House and Obama are taking a break from the budget, debt and tax battles that have flared up several times since Republicans won back the House in 2010.

Obama did not see attacking the deficit as a priority during his first term. Republicans forced him to the negotiating table in 2011 and extracted more than $2 trillion in spending cuts over the following decade, though little of that savings came from big benefit programs such as Medicare.

A traitor is a person, country or group that betrays and is disloyal to another by helping or supporting its enemy.  Yes, there are groups of Jews and Christians, including the liberal base of the U.S. Democrat Party, which can be labeled as traitors to Israel.  Europeans who were exposed to Nazism and Fascism before and during WWII are now participating in anti-Semitic protests.  Israel has been suffering terrorizing rocket attacks over the past decade and decided to defend her citizens.  Israel needed to destroy Hamas terror tunnels and Hamas’ ability to rain rockets down on Israeli towns and cities.  Astonishingly, the traitor protesters are favoring Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization, but not Israel!  How is this possible?

Question:  how does the elevation of Hamas and its unscrupulous barbarian dictators who harm, oppress, mistreat and show no justice towards their own innocent people, jive with groups who say they want “justice and freedom for all” under the umbrella of democracy?  Either their democracy means something different from our democracy, or these groups are blatantly betraying Israel and their own “so-called” cause of freedom. 

Do the traitors not know about the huge numbers of Jewish scientists, scholars, teachers, pastors and leaders who were slaughtered in the Holocaust?  Do they not recognize the monumental impact for technological advancement today’s Israelis have been consistently bringing to the world for the benefit of all humanity?  Do they not recognize that Western values match Jewish values?  For example, Israel is a Jewish nation which preserves and protects the religious freedom of all, without discrimination, to practice their religion and this includes secularism.  The ultra-Orthodox do not run the Israeli government unless a majority elects them.  Israel promotes free speech.  The liberality of custom and religion are obvious on Israel’s streets.  Israel identifies with her European counterparts and is the total opposite of Middle East Muslim fundamentalist religion-based totalitarian rule.  Arabs actually serve in positions of authority within Israel’s government.  Israel’s technological advancements and cultural achievements are not reflective of the gene pool but rather of the culture of freedom.  So, how is it possible to have sympathy for terrorists and condemn Israel?

North Korea and Iran display goose-stepping hooded troops on parade for all the world to see.   Islamists parade with plastic bombs strapped to their side.  Have you ever seen Israeli troops with sunglasses and chests full of tawdry metals parade like that in Israel?  No!  Israel’s soldiers are warm, friendly (men and women) who seem to enjoy one another’s company.  Their officers are more like the army of the United States than of tyrannical dictators and Mullahs.  Again, how can anyone who values freedom and democracy possibly have any sympathy at all for Hamas and other terrorist organizations?

Before I get to the crux of the issue, nestled in with the anti-Semitic headlines is this glimmer of hope: “Hundreds of young American Jews arrive in Israel…young American and Canadian Jews have arrived…ready to join the Israeli army despite the ongoing conflict in Gaza.”   God bless those who stand true to Israel and her democratic and spiritually positive leadership.

The question is, what is the “why” behind these headlines:   “True Torah Jews are Against Zionism,” or “French Jews Stand Firm as Anti-Israel Voices Grow Louder, and boast that hate crimes against Jews are on the rise in Europe.”  In the U.S., Jews were reported to march in a NYC rally against Israel’s war in Gaza. This disturbing announcement caught my attention: “Christians Against Jews.”  A July 15, 2011, article reported the World Council of Churches, a collection of some 347 Protestant churches and denominations with more than 500 million Christians world-wide, during a conference held in Jordan in 2007, called for a crusade to end the Jews’ occupation of their Biblical land. Also, consider this bite from the Democratic National Convention in 2012:  many of the pro-Israel delegates were disturbed that the party platform committee eliminated traditional language recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; they couldn’t muster a simple majority.   Thankfully, the Republican leaders and most Americans stand solidly with Israel and the Jewish people.

It is a given that moderate Arab states merely tolerate Israel, and Islamic states are violently against Israel.  Add into the mix of countries (and people groups) openly or secretly fighting for, or yearning for, Israel’s demise, such as some Christians, the U.S. liberal Democrats, Europeans and even Jewish groups, and we see an extremely disturbing trend.  These groups are striking matches to light up anti-Israel/Jewish fires that conjure up visions of the conditions which led up to WWII.  Shouldn’t protesting traitors (who enjoy freedom that came from the sacrifices of others) be locked arm-in-arm with Israel in pursuit of democracy and justice and freedom for all?

Or does Shakespeare’s “The lady doth protest too much, methinks” …that the word democracy doth another meaning have in the minds of, and according to, the intentions of the traitors who doth protest and agitate!   The “Mission Statement” of “Socialism and Democracy online” reads:  “Socialism and Democracy is committed to showing the relevance of socialist politics and vision… the perspective is broadly Marxist…”   Oh dear.  Marxist?  Socialist?  That’s not my view of democracy.  Is it yours?

“To what end do you seek?” we ask the World Council of Churches.  Perhaps, assuming the demise of Israel to be the ultimate goal of anti-Semitic protesters, Israel’s traitors should experience living among the barbarians and under heathen Hamas to get a big taste what it will feel like to live under their thumbs before they push Israel, and others who value real freedom and democracy, over the cliff.

 

Investigative journalist Richard Behar with Forbes Magazine unveiled how the international press has mishandled the Israel-Hamas war.

Behar's report focuses heavily on the New York Times because, he said, "it is, without question, the most important media outlet in the world, in terms of setting the table each day for other outlets. It is also widely regarded as the most authoritative media outlet in the world for international coverage."

"Since the operation began on July 8th, so much of the western coverage has been predictably skewed against Israel -- through those time-honored journalism tools of sloppy and lazy reporting, superficiality, nuance, omission, lack of historical knowledge, or flat-out agenda-driven lies and bias," Behar said.

Even the Foreign Press Association in Israel said Hamas has been intimidating foreign reporters and condemned the terrorist group for its actions.

Investigative reporter Gary Weiss says the news outlets have "become a part of the Hamas war machine."

To read Behar's full report, click here.

A New York couple faces thousands of dollars in fines for declining to rent out their family farm for a same-sex wedding celebration.

The New York State Division of Human Rights fined Cynthia and Robert Gifford $13,000 for declining a request from a lesbian couple to rent the family barn for their ceremony.

The Giffords have owned and operated Liberty Ridge Farm in for over 25 years. They believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

Like many small farm families, they often open up their home to host public events, including weddings.

In addition to the fines, the family has been told to implement "re-education" classes for their staff.

Should the government be in the business of "re-educating" citizens to change their moral beliefs? Ryan Anderson, with the Heritage Foundation, talks about this and more.

A high school student in Tennessee received a brief in-school suspension for saying "bless you" to a fellow student who sneezed.

Kendra Turner is a senior at Dyer County High School. Local media outlets report Turner said her computer teacher banned the phrase "bless you" in class because it should only be allowed in church.

The teacher also banned some non-religious phrases, like "my bad" or "hang out," saying they're a distraction during class.

On her Facebook page this week, Turner said her teacher told her, "'We do not do godly speaking in my class.' I stood up for my belief and said I have a constitutional right to speak about my God!!"

The Dyersburg State Gazette reports the school said the incident is about distraction, not a religious issue.

"We can't discuss discipline issues because of right to privacy of students, but I can say there are two sides to every story," DCHS Assistant Principal Lynn Garner told the paper.

"Sometimes people spin things and turn them to make them seem one way, but I cannot discuss anything specific in order to protect the child."

On Wednesday, Turner took to Facebook again to defend herself saying, "I don't care who talks about me or what they say, I WILL stand tall for my God!!!"

The Supreme Court is delaying the start of same-sex marriage in Virginia.

The court on Wednesday granted a request from a county clerk in northern Virginia to block same-sex marriages across the state while the issue is being appealed to the Supreme Court. The court provided no explanation for its order.

Without court intervention, same-sex couples would have been allowed to wed as of Thursday.

In January, the justices issued an order putting same-sex unions on hold in Utah while the federal appeals court in Denver was hearing the case. That court upheld the decision striking down Utah's gay marriage ban, but delayed its decision from taking effect pending appeal to the Supreme Court.

Most other federal court decisions in favor of same-sex marriage also have been put on hold.

FARMVILLE, Va. -- The small town of Farmville, Virginia, only has two private practitioners, or what we used to know as family doctors.

One of them, Dr. Lawrence Varner, is considering closing his doors after more than 20 years of service.

"If anyone finished medical school now and had the least thoughts of opening a solo practice, they would be absolutely insane, there's just no way," Varner said in a recent interview with CBN News.

Buried in Paper Work

Thanks to increased pressure from the government, Medicare, and insurance companies, Varner said he no longer recognizes the practice of medicine.

"I started when things were good, when physicians were physicians and they could do what they thought was best for the patient and not having to crawl and beg to insurance companies to get certain tests approved, certain medicines approved," he explained.

Government intervention into the healthcare system was supposed to improve patient care. Instead, many doctors say they feel more like clerks, stuck behind their computers instead of taking care of patients.

One example of that government intervention is Electronic Medical Records, or EMR. As part of the 2009 Economic Stimulus Package, physicians received incentives to convince them to buy into EMR.

The system promised to make their lives easier. But according to Varner's wife, Linda, it's done the exact opposite.

"Overhead is through the roof now because it requires more people to do it -- and the more requirements they have," she said. "And they said it would be paperless and we're buying more paper then ever and it's just backfired."

"And we're never done, whereas before we were at least done, it was late but we were done. With EMR we're never done," she explained.

Less than Minimum Wage

Time put in at the office seems endless, as do the sacrifices to keep the practice running.

"Family -- our youngest, he's 19 but he's still home a lot -- and he's like, 'I'm home but I'm not really home because ya'll physically are there but we're still working,'" Linda said.

An increasing number of doctors are closing their doors on private practice. Others are being acquired by hospitals in an effort to combat their loss of revenue.

Four years ago, Dr. Varner tried the route of becoming an employed physician. He laid out two conditions: First, that he continue working in the building he owns and second, that his daughter continue on as one of his nurses.

"At the end of two years they decided they wanted to move me," Varner said. "They would not honor the commitment to the office building. Then a month after they told me that, they came and said my daughter could no longer work here."

After the three-year contract was up, Varner went back into private practice where things had only gotten worse during his years working for the hospital.

"I'm making the equivalent of $12 an hour and my wife is making $2.90 since January 1," he said.

For the Love of the Job

So why not just close the doors? Varner said it's a mix of refusing to be pushed around and a love for his patients, patients who love him back.

Ray Fawcett is one of those patients. He's been a patient of Dr. Varner's for 25 years and he can't imagine finding another doctor now.

"The major strain is that Dr. Varner knows our minds and our bodies so well that it takes years for another doctor to build that rapport with us," he said. "I'm not nearly so concerned over the driving distance as I am the time required to build that rapport."

Regardless of the intentions of the administration, the results in the medical world are disturbing. Dr. Varner's message to the government: Stop being the problem.

"I've got the computer system, I've got the EMR, let me use it in a way that suits my practice and my patients," he said."And not because of some rules and regulations that someone that doesn't have a clue regarding patient care has decided that we need to meet. That would be a big huge step."