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No trust? Microsoft to count Iowa votes

(THE HILL) — Microsoft volunteered to provide the technology to help tally up the results of Iowa’s caucus, free of charge. Now it will be put to the test Monday night.

The contests in both parties are expected to go down to the wire. And the spotlight will be on precinct officials who have been trained on a new Microsoft app, which is meant to cut down on human error and speed up the reporting process.

Both the Republican and Democratic parties in Iowa have expressed strong confidence in Microsoft, dismissing late suspicion of corporate influence from the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) early last week.

Party officials have said no errors have been spotted in caucus dry runs. But the Sanders campaign has created its own backup reporting system, as has the Hillary Clinton campaign.

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Christian mega-author: Trump ‘absolute catastrophe’ as president

Christian author Joel Rosenberg in front of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp was liberated 71 years ago on Jan. 27, 1944, by the Soviet army.

Christian author Joel Rosenberg in front of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, which was liberated 72 years ago on Jan. 27, 1944, by the Soviet army.

A best-selling Christian author known for his high-level government contacts inside Israel says most of the candidates running for president, including the front-runners of both major parties, are ill-prepared to deal with the threat of what he calls “apocalyptic Islam.”

Joel C. Rosenberg, author of the popular “Last Jihad” series and “Epicenter” among many other novels and non-fiction books, says Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton do not have the skill set needed to deal with Iran’s mullahs or the growing threat of the Islamic State.

“I would say there are probably three candidates right now who are particularly strong on this issue,” said Rosenberg, whose latest novel, “The First Hostage,” centers on a plot by Islamic terrorists to kidnap the U.S. president. “The person that’s been speaking and working on these issues for the longest is former Sen. Rick Santorum. He wrote the original sanctions on Iran. He’s very experienced.”

Given that Santorum “doesn’t seem to have traction” with voters, Rosenberg said the next tier of candidates he sees as most prepared to deal with the Islamic threat are Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

“I’ve been impressed by Sen. Marco Rubio. I’ve met with him to talk about these issues in Iowa, and then he’s asked me to send him various fact sheets and backup and he has been speaking about ‘apocalyptic Islam’ in debates, in speeches, so he’s embraced that language, not because I persuaded him but we did talk about some of the nuances, and he’s served on the Senate foreign-relations committee as well as the intelligence committee.”

Aside from his writing career, Rosenberg is founder of the Joshua Fund, which seeks to mobilize Christians to “bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus.”

Rubio adopts ‘apocalyptic’ language

Rosenberg spoke with WND Thursday, just hours before the GOP debate. During the debate Rubio again spoke of “apocalyptic Islam,” saying ISIS has an end-times vision that involves provoking Western powers into a “World War III” scenario in Dabiq, Syria.

Cruz also has impressed Rosenberg.

“He has spoken a little bit about apocalyptic Islam. I’ve met him several times. I’ve spent more time with his father than him,” he said. “But I’ve met with some of his colleagues and advisers, so I feel confident that he understands the threat.”

“I would put those three in a different category, of people who get it and have demonstrated to me that they’re serious about neutralizing the threat of Iran and ISIS.”

Rosenberg says “radical Islam” is a threat in itself and includes groups like the Muslim Brotherhood that work to implement Shariah law in various parts of the world.

But within radical Islam is another group of Muslims that believes in “apocalyptic Islam,” he said, and this includes the Islamic State, also called ISIS.

“All devout Muslims, whether Sunni or Shiite, believe in the coming of their so-called Mahdi in the last days, that he will establish a global Islamic caliphate in the last days and they believe in a final judgment,” Rosenberg told WND. “But that doesn’t mean all Muslims believe in committing genocide.”

“What is unique about Iran and ISIS is they believe in a genocidal eschatology, that you believe you must slaughter thousands or millions to accomplish your religious objectives, and this is stated openly by both those regimes,” he said. “I produce fact sheets on both so people can examine for themselves what we’re talking about because this stuff sounds crazy, and it can be hard to grasp without looking at the data. The problem is the candidates are not looking at the data.”

This billboard showing the Imam the Muslim Jesus behind Imam Mahdi graces the Vali-Asr Square in Tehran. It was completed in late 2014.

This billboard showing the Muslim Jesus behind Imam Mahdi graces the Vali-Asr Square in Tehran. It was completed in late 2014.

Rosenberg, 48, is author of 10 fiction and five non-fiction books about Islam, the Middle East and Bible prophecy. His novels have sold more than 3 million copies.

Born in Rochester, New York, to a Jewish father and gentile mother, Rosenberg now makes his home in Israel with his wife and family.

A major theme of his books is that to misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it.

“On Dec. 7, 1941, we were blindsided by an imperial Japan,” he told WND. “On Sept. 11, 2001, we were blindsided by al-Qaida.”

On the Democratic side, Rosenberg sees no evidence that the party’s leaders are interested in even having an honest debate about the true nature of “radical” or “apocalyptic” Islam.

“Secretary Clinton fully supports President Obama’s approach toward Iran and the Islamic State. I’ve seen no daylight between Clinton and Obama,” he said. “In fact, Secretary Clinton fully supports the Iran nuclear deal.”

Flirting with evil

Rosenberg said his novels, though fiction, are heavily researched and based on insights he’s gleaned from many political, intelligence and religious leaders.

“I was sitting and having breakfast recently with former CIA Director James Woolsey, who of course worked under (Mrs. Clinton’s) husband and he said something to me I found interesting. He said if you read through the Iran deal, as an arms control agreement it’s not that bad, if it were made with Denmark, or some other rational, normal government,” he said. “But when you make the deal with an Iranian regime that is calling for the annihilation of the U.S. and Israel and is driven by an apocalyptic, end-times, theology, the deal is not only dangerous but insane.

“That’s what Obama has done and that’s what Clinton supports,” he said.

Is it too late for America? Joel Rosenberg investigates in his book, “Implosion: Can America Recover from its Economic and Spiritual Challenges in time?”

A what about Bernie Sanders, the self-described socialist running against Hillary Clinton in the primaries?

“Mr. Sanders goes even further, saying we should normalize relations with Iran,” Rosenberg said. “Clearly the two leading Democrats running for president and the current president have no idea how dangerous Iran is and so they’re making bad decisions,” he said.

Not impressed by Trump

In doling out report cards for the GOP presidential candidates, Rosenberg seems to save his most stinging rebuke for Trump.

By describing Obama’s Iran nuclear deal as a badly negotiated “contract,” Trump misses the point, according to Rosenberg. This is not to be treated as a real estate deal, he said, but something where lives hang in the balance.

“The leading candidate in the GOP has no clue. He would be an absolute catastrophe as president,” Rosenberg says. “He said he would not rip up the deal with Iran. He says it’s a contract. First of all it’s not a contract. Our government has not signed it and Congress has not approved it. This is like a gentleman’s agreement between our president and the government of Iran. So he doesn’t understand just how dangerous it is.”

Rosenberg said Trump’s lack of experience in matters of foreign policy has leaked out in some of his comments.

“Mr. Trump says he would kill not only the terrorists but their families. So this is a war crime. Mr. Trump is proposing war crimes as a solution, as a foreign policy,” he said. “This is insane. And yet many conservatives and many evangelicals are supporting Mr. Trump.

“So on the topic of foreign policy and the Islamic state we have a president who doesn’t understand the nature of the threat and we have two front runners who are not prepared to do anything to neutralize that threat.”

Rosenberg said he believes the vast majority of Muslims are not violent by nature.

“About 90 percent of the Islamic world does not subscribe to violent jihad,” he said. “About 7 to 10 percent support violent jihad. Now radical Islam, their objective is to attack us, whereas apocalyptic Islam wants to annihilate us. Radical Islam wants to use violence to drive the infidel out of their part of the world.

“Apocalyptic Islam isn’t simply trying to attack us on their soil but all over because it wants to establish an Islamic caliphate all over the globe.”

He said there’s no way to stop apocalyptic Islam without destroying the entire movement. Limited strikes being doled out by the Obama administration are like pinpricks – they can be annoying or even painful but will only help the apocalyptic leaders of ISIS to expand their appeal and their worldwide recruitment efforts.

“It’s not going to work because, the more you retreat, they’re coming to the next genocidal group to expand their kingdom,” Rosenberg said.

He sees “apocalyptic Islam” is a subset within “radical Islam.”

“Quite a few of the Republican candidates do understand this generally,” he said. “But the two Cubans (Cruz and Rubio) and certainly Santorum above all, have really demonstrated to me they know what they are talking about.”

Rubio’s mistake

Rosenberg said Rubio made a mistake by sponsoring the Gang of Eight immigration reform bill in 2013.

“He was approaching immigration purely as a domestic policy and that was I think a mistake,” he said. “His membership in the Gang of Eight, as he’s repented of that, he’s used that to justify why he was wrong before.”

Of the three frontrunners on the GOP side, Rosenberg believes Trump is the least prepared to deal with the Islamic threat. (Photo: Twitter)

Of the three frontrunners on the GOP side, Rosenberg believes Trump is  least prepared to deal with the Islamic threat. (Photo: Twitter)

Rosenberg then returned to criticizing Trump as “having absolutely no idea what he’s talking about.”

“He’s talking about killing women and children, and he won’t rip up the Iran deal. I’m just Identifying people who are showing good judgment on these issues and I’m disturbed that the frontrunner has shown none,” Rosenberg said. “He has spoken highly of Vladimir Putin. And yet you have a big chunk of the Republican Party and evangelicals who are drawn to him and aren’t working their way through the issues. There is nobody in the party worse than Mr. Trump on foreign policy and national security issues. I’m convinced he would be an unmitigated disaster.”

Surprised by Trump’s evangelical support

Rosenberg said he is most surprised by Trump’s ability to garner support from evangelicals.

“Generally I think the conservatives and evangelicals, they see him as strong, and as tough, but they perhaps are not paying close attention to the fact that he’s wrong and ill-informed and irrational on foreign policy,” he said. “He is not rooted in the basic principles of American liberty and security. When asked where does he get his foreign policy advice from, he said he gets it from the Sunday-morning TV shows. I meet with CIA directors, prime ministers and foreign ministers – and I’m a novelist. I think the standard ought to be a little higher for the frontrunner of the Republican nomination for president.”

In contrast to many other conservative pundits, who see Trump as unstoppable in his drive to win the GOP nomination, Rosenberg said he expects Trump to lose some traction as the primaries unfold.

“I suspect Trump is going to hit some speed bumps and we’ll watch an emerging race between Cruz and Rubio,” he said.

Here are Rosenberg’s opinions on some of the other GOP candidates:

Rand Paul: Like Trump, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has said he would not rip up the deal with Iran. Rosenberg is not a fan of Paul’s “isolationist’ worldview.

“Rand Paul would be horrible. He has a set of principles that are isolationist that I don’t agree with but he isn’t getting traction,” Rosenberg said.

Ben Carson: “I believe Dr. Carson is a genius as a surgeon and a complete novice when it comes to foreign policy and national security. The stakes and the risks we face as American people are too great to entrust to a novice. The oval office is not a place for on-the-job training. The role of Commander in chief is not for the uninitiated. And to put it in the hands of people who don’t know what they’re doing is foolishness, especially when there are people who do know and have displayed good judgment.”

Jeb Bush: The former Florida governor, like Trump, Paul and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, has said he would not immediately tear up the deal with Iran.

“I like him. I think he’s a good man. I think he has a solid world view on some of these issues but he has not shown strength as a commanding leader, he’s sinking in the polls and is running ads to attack his own protégé (Rubio) so I don’t think he’s a real factor.”

Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee: “I believe Huckabee and Christie have, generally, a reasonably sound understanding of radical Islam, but the three I mentioned, as I watched them they are talking with a level of detail that strikes me as different and deeper and better prepared.”

Donald Trump: “He doesn’t listen to anybody. He’s unaccountable. He’s a billionaire who would go to the White House not believing he has to talk to anybody, listen to anybody,” Rosenberg said. “I would never have thought to create a candidate in a novel as unqualified and as dangerous as Donald J. Trump. He is a fictional character who would have never dawned on me. I think he is dangerous and the American people deserve better.”

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Pro-Obamacare legal expert admits president broke law

 

obama-shrug

A University of Michigan law professor who has written  commentaries and opinion pieces in major publications from the Los Angeles Times to the New York Times in praise of Obamacare now admits the president broke the law in his implementation of a requirement that citizens buy government-ordained health insurance plans or be fined.

Nicholas Bagley’s new stance grabbed the attention of Case Western Reserve University professor Jonathan Adler.

Writing at the Volokh Conspiracy legal blog, he pointed out that there’s nothing new about claims that “the Obama administration has repeatedly flouted legal requirements or acted outside the scope of its delegated authority when implementing Obamacare.”

But it’s significant when an ardent Obamacare advocate admits it.

“It is more notable when a prominent defender of the Obama administration acknowledges that the administration has colored outside the lines, and not always with good justification,” Adler wrote. “So those interested in the Affordable Care Act and the administrative law should give Nicholas Bagley’s new paper on ‘Legal Limits and the Implementation of the Affordable Care Act’ a careful read. The paper’s still in draft form – and in my view bends over backward to provide the most charitable read of the administration’s actions – but still concludes that the administration has violated the law repeatedly in implementing the ACA, even if not quite as often as some administration critics have claimed.”

Bagley wrote: “On occasion … the administration has strayed beyond legal limits. Two episodes raise especially serious legal concerns: the administrative delays and the decision to finance cost-sharing reductions out of an appropriation governing tax refunds. In both cases, Republican recalcitrance threatened to undermine the president’s signal achievement. And in both cases, the president appears to have broken the law.”

Regarding the multiple delays announced by Obama during the Obamacare implementation, he wrote, “The delays are … bald efforts to avoid unwanted consequence associated with full implementation of the ACA.”

Here’s the help you’ll need to prepare your household for the realities of living under a centralized health-care system — order Dr. Lee Hieb’s “Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamacare”

He pointed out that Obama made “public announcements of its nonenforcement policies” to “encourage the regulated community to disregard provisions of the ACA.”

Bagley explained that the administration announced numerous delays for various requirements of the law.

“They were conscious decisions to put off the dates on which congressional statutes directed at private actors took effect.”

He noted that even the Obama administrations Office of Legal Counsel had warned the president that he could not “in the guise of exercising enforcement discretion, attempt to effectively rewrite the laws to match its policy preferences.”

On the issue of cost-sharing subsidies – the additional federal subsidies for those making less than 250 percent of the poverty level – he emphasized they are “essential” to Obamacare.

“Without them, health plans would have to bear the full costs of the cost-sharing reductions that they’re required to make – an estimated $167 billion over 10 years,” he said.

“But there’s a problem,” he continued. “Although the ACA directs the Treasury Secretary to issue cost-sharing payments, it’s black-letter law that ‘a direction to pay without a designation of the source of the funds is not an appropriation.’”

And while Obama asked for the money, Congress refused.

“The administration then quietly determined that it did not need an annual appropriation. It instead concluded [the law] already appropriates the money to pay both premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions.”

The Obama administration argues that the law was set up as a permanent and ongoing appropriation.

However, Bagley noted, a law “may be construed to make an appropriation out of the Treasury … only if the law specifically states than an appropriation is made.”

“Nothing in the ACA specifically appropriates money for cost-sharing reductions,” Bagley wrote.

In fact, he said, a court case brought by the U.S. House likely will be decided early this year that “could raise a legal cloud over the ACA in the middle of a presidential election.”

Bagley noted that “in the face of committed resistance from a Republican-controlled Congress that wishes to undermine the ACA … the administration may have felt that it had little choice but to find an appropriation where non exists.”

It is, however, a “troubling precedent” for the future, he said.

Further, Bagley warned, “Eventually, too, the courts will lose patience with a presidential practice of dressing up lawbreaking in the garb of law.”

While he noted that Obama followed the law many times in his pursuit of Obamacare, “it’s hard for me to shake the fear that we are entering an era marked by the relentless chipping away at the rule of law.”

“I don’t want to seem alarmist: for now, such chipping away is modest. But it appears poised to become a durable feature of American governance, with consequences I can’t begin to anticipate. … It seems to me that the rule of law is a terrible thing to waste.”

Adler noted: “The Obama administration has repeatedly flouted legal requirements or acted outside the scope of its delegated authority when implementing Obamacare. I’ve argued as much in numerous blog posts, congressional testimony and in a chapter on what I call the ‘Ad Hoc Implementation of Obamacare’ in a new book, ‘Liberty’s Nemesis: The Unchecked Expansion of the State.’”

He said: “It seems to me the administration has strayed from the ACA’s text law when and where it thinks it’s difficult for critics to obtain judicial review, though other explanations are possible, too. In any event, the paper helps further a discussion about the appropriateness of what some consider administrative ‘self-help.’ This is not the first administration to take liberties with a statute when Congress refused to cooperate (see, e.g., what the Bush administration did with the Clean Air Act), and it won’t be the last.

“A real question is whether the Obama administration’s actions with regard to the ACA are an augur of what is to come in the future,” Adler said.

Here’s the help you’ll need to prepare your household for the realities of living under a centralized health-care system — order Dr. Lee Hieb’s “Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamacare”

 

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Doctor warns Hillary: Your meds could kill you

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

NEW YORK – A California physician who had his license to practice medicine revoked in the state because he refused to administer the anticoagulant medication Coumadin, believes Hillary Clinton’s use of the drug could be more life-threatening to her than the possibility of a recurring blood clot.

Dr. David K. Cundiff, who contacted WND after reading a WND story Thursday about Clinton’s use of the drug, said he is inclined to support the Democratic presidential candidate but is speaking out mainly because of concern for her personal health.

WND reported Thursday that the medication Clinton has taken since 1998 to deal with her blood-clotting problems – cerebral venous thrombosis – may have dangerous side effects. They include blurred vision and confusion – both of which she has been reported to have experienced – plus a tendency to bleed excessively even from minor injuries.

The ‘Stop Hillary’ campaign is on fire! Join the surging response to this theme: ‘Clinton for prosecution, not president’

“My interest in cerebral venous thrombosis and in Hillary Clinton’s case is public health-based rather than political,” Cundiff explained to WND.

“I think that her medical risks are much more from the side effects of the Coumadin than the recurrence of a venous thrombosis.”

‘At high risk the rest of her life’

On his website, WhistleBlowerDoctor.org, Cundiff describes his concern about Clinton’s medications.

“Hillary Clinton has had three episodes of venous thrombosis (clots in veins): deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) in her leg in 1998 and 2009 and thrombosis in veins in her brain (cerebral venous thrombosis) in 2012. On July 31, 2015, Ms. Clinton’s doctor revealed that Ms. Clinton still takes the blood thinner (anticoagulant drug) Coumadin (warfarin),” the doctor writes.

“If her doctors follow current clinical practice guidelines, Coumadin or other blood thinners will continue for the rest of her life. This puts her at high risk for major bleeding.”

Taking into consideration Clinton’s medical history of suffering venous thrombosis, Cundiff calculates she has about five times the chance of a woman her age of developing another blood clot, amounting to a 20 percent chance over the next 10 years.

He writes that Clinton’s chance of dying from a blood clot if she is not taking Coumadin, or any other prescribed anticoagulant medication, is only about 1.5 percent. But if she continues taking Coumadin, her chance of a major bleeding episode before 2025 would be about 50 percent, with a 10 percent chance of experiencing a fatal or disabling hemorrhage.

Harvard-affiliated physician lends support

Cundiff’s concerns about the practice of prescribing anticoagulant medications for blood-clot patients has received support from Dr. Magdy Selim, M.D., Ph.D., at the Stroke Division, Department of Neurology, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Selim is also affiliated with the Harvard University Catalyst, a network of scientists also known as the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center, funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.

In an editorial titled “Cerebral Venous Thrombosis: Another Heparin Controversy,” Selim discussed favorably Cundiff’s published research on the dangers of prescribing anticoagulants like Coumadin to blood-clot patients.

After noting that Cundiff’s published research suffers from certain limitations encountered by referencing unpublished medical research data, Selim observed:

Despite these limitations, Cundiff raises valid concerns and questions of clinical and therapeutic importance that are yet to be fully answered. The use of anticoagulants in patients with CVT (blood-clots in the brain) poses a real risk: ICH (Intracerebral Hemorrhage, or bleeding within the brain).

Still fighting license revocation

On April 21, 2010, an administrative law judge in California rejected Cundiff’s petition to have his physician’s license reinstated in the case of a patient who died from clots. Cundiff stopped administering Coumadin to the patient, who had an alcohol problem the doctor believed could trigger internal bleeding.

After appealing all the way to the California Supreme Court, however, his petition was rejected.

“The Superior Court judge told me in court that all I needed to do to get my license reinstated was to admit that it was my error to stop heparin (another anticoagulant medication) and Coumadin in my patient with a DVT (deep vein thrombosis, or deep vein blood-clot) along with liver failure, advanced tuberculosis, severe malnutrition, alcoholism and tenuous social support,” he said.

He also had to promise to treat all future patients suffering venous thromboembolism with anticoagulants.

“I told him my Hippocratic Oath and I my own research and judgment on this issue would prevent me from committing to make either of those declarations,” Cundiff said.

“The only route that I will accept to get my license reinstated is for the Federal Drug Administration to declare all anticoagulant drugs contraindicated for venous thromboembolism,” he stressed.

Cundiff has filed a petition with the FDA regarding venous thromboembolism. He received an interim letter from the agency saying his situation was so complex that it needed more time than six months to respond.

“Once the FDA follows my petition and bans anticoagulants for venous thrombosis, I will request that Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris personally review my case and order my license reinstated,” Cundiff told WND.

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Ted Cruz: If Christians vote, race ‘would be over’

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

Editor’s note: If U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz became president, just what actions would he take – not just “on Day 1,” but on the first 100 days of his presidency? The eye-opening answers are revealed, by Cruz himself, in a new book just published by WND Books.

The book, authored by Cruz’s father, Cuban-American pastor Rafael Cruz – titled “A Time for Action: Empowering the Faithful to Reclaim America” – includes a powerful 3,000-plus word “Epilogue” by son Ted Cruz, which is excerpted below.

In Rafael Cruz’s stirring narrative, one truth that becomes increasingly evident is that Ted Cruz’s devout Christian faith had a lot to do with the presidential candidate’s father – and with benefiting from all of his trials, tribulations and profound lessons his dad learned.

While “A Time for Action” unfolds the harrowing story of Rafael, a refugee from communist Cuba, and his escape to America, the main purpose of the book is to lay out the elder Cruz’s vision for America, and specifically, his detailed blueprint for how Christians can and must take their country back from the secular progressive forces that have come to dominate the once Judeo-Christian nation.

Here is U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s powerful “Epilogue” to “A Time for Action”:

WB295_mn“A Time for Action: EPILOGUE”

by Sen. Ted Cruz

If you’ve read this far, you now understand why, for my entire life, my father has been my hero.

My cousin Bibi (the daughter of my aunt, Tía Sonia) and I have often reflected on what a blessing it is to be the children of those who fled oppression. As children, we would sit at the feet of our grandparents, Abuelo and Abuela, and hear stories of my dad and my aunt fighting in Cuba.

My father, fighting against Batista, was imprisoned and tortured by Batista’s army. My Tía Sonia, a few years later, fighting against Castro, was likewise imprisoned and tortured. When you are the children of those who fled oppression and came to America, it makes you appreciate how precious and fragile liberty truly is.

My dad is a freedom fighter. And if we need anything today, it is more freedom fighters.

Our country is in crisis. The challenges we are facing today are not like in the past, and the upcoming 2016 presidential election will not be an election like every other. We are bankrupting our kids and grandkids. Our constitutional rights are under assault from Washington as never before. And America has receded from leadership in the world, making the world a far more dangerous place. Today, our friends and allies no longer trust us, and our enemies no longer fear us.

I am convinced, it is now or never. There comes a point where the hole is too deep, the debt is too great, our liberties are too receded, and there is no going back. I don’t think we’re there yet … but we’re close. Very close.

It is a time for truth. It is a time for action.

* * *

In September 2015, I met at the county jail with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk jailed for acting according to her faith. She and I embraced, and I thanked her for her courage. I told her that millions were inspired by her stand. That she was being lifted up in prayer by believers across America and across the world. That she may have thought she was alone in that jail cell, but she didn’t realize just how crowded it was.

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A year ago, if I had suggested that a Christian woman would be sent to jail for honoring her faith, that would have been dismissed as crazy. Paranoid, even. But that is where we are.

Why was Kim Davis jailed? Two reasons: First, the Supreme Court’s fundamentally illegitimate gay marriage opinion. Five unelected lawyers declared themselves, in Justice Scalia’s words, the “rulers” of 320 million Americans, insisting that their radical view of marriage – contrary to the biblical definition, to the understanding of marriage that predated America by millennia – would be forced on the rest of us. That was not law. Courts don’t make law. And that was not the Constitution. In the penultimate paragraph of his dissent, Justice Scalia predicted that state and local officials would refuse to obey the court’s lawless edict.

Second, a federal district judge and the state of Kentucky both violated Kentucky law. Kentucky, like the federal government and many states, has a Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which protects expressions of faith. It mandates reasonable accommodations for religious faith. Thus, Jehovah’s Witnesses are exempted from having to make pledges or oaths, which is contrary to their faith. Amish are exempted from sending their children to mandatory schooling. Christian Scientists are exempted from mandatory medical treatments. Muslim truck drivers are exempted from carrying alcohol. Jews are exempted from being forced to work on the Sabbath. All of that is current law.

And yet, Christians are somehow singled out. Kim Davis, as a Christian, did not want her name to appear on a homosexual marriage license. Under Kentucky law, her faith should have been respected and her name removed. Since the state decided to treat the court opinion as law, it would have been a simple matter to comply with Kentucky’s RFRA and accommodate Kim’s religious convictions. Instead, she was sent to jail, the act of an imperious, arrogant judge wanting to punish a Christian for daring to live according to her faith.

In the aftermath of Ms. Davis’s imprisonment, virtually every Democrat – and sadly, more than a few Republicans – said that she should either abandon her faith and issue the same-sex marriage certificates or resign her office. They gravely intoned that her honoring her faith was somehow a profound threat to liberty and the rule of law. What nonsense.

And, it seems, none of those commentators was concerned with the behavior of other government officials (with whom they agreed) defying actual laws. None raised concern about former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom granting same-sex marriage certificates, when doing so was directly contrary to California law. Nor were they troubled by the current San Francisco mayor’s policy – mirrored by Democratic mayors in cities across America – declaring San Francisco to be a “sanctuary city.” Thus, San Francisco openly obstructs federal immigration law, in effect inviting violent criminal illegal aliens, such as the career criminal who is accused of murdering Kate Steinle.

Nor do most of the politicians take serious issue with the extraordinary pattern of lawlessness demonstrated by President Obama. Whether it is federal immigration law, or welfare reform law, or even his own Obamacare, the president, repeatedly, has simply refused to follow the law.

None of these commentators who are outraged by Kim Davis has called for the resignation of the San Francisco mayor or of President Obama. How can it be that one Kentucky clerk, honoring her Christian faith, poses a grave threat to the rule of law, but a president who routinely ignores federal law is not a problem at all? The hypocrisy is staggering.

What we are really seeing is an increasing hostility to religious liberty, and to Christians in particular. When Kim and I visited in that Kentucky jailhouse, I told her she was highlighting the threats to millions, that each of us could be next. Trembling at the impact she was having, she replied, “It is all to the glory of God.”

These threats are coming. And not just to Kim Davis. In the summer of 2015, I was honored to host a rally for religious liberty in Iowa. Some twenty-five hundred people came out to attend the rally, and we listened to the stories of heroes who had stood for their faith and been persecuted: Dick and Betty Odgaard, Aaron and Melissa Klein, Chief Kelvin Cochran, Sergeant Phillip Monk, Barronelle Stutzman, Blaine Adamson. Amazing stories. Ordinary people – a florist, a baker, a soldier, a fireman – who stood by biblical values and faced vicious persecution. If you want to be inspired, watch the video of their stories at www. http://ift.tt/1nxmVSZ.

They are not alone. Indeed, at the Supreme Court oral argument in the gay marriage case, Justice Alito asked the Justice Department whether, if the Obama administration prevailed, the next step would be for the IRS to deny tax-exempt status to Christian colleges and universities that follow a biblical teaching of marriage. By extension, his question could apply as well to Christian grade schools, Christian charities, or even Christian churches. Chillingly, the Obama solicitor general replied that, yes, that was a real possibility.

These threats are only growing. If we don’t stand up and stop them, you and I could be next. Chief Cochran was fired from his job as Atlanta’s fire chief because he wrote, in his personal time, a Christian book discussing and analyzing Scripture. Pastors, being punished for preaching the Word of God could well be next.

The Iowa religious liberty rally ended with the story of Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini, an American citizen sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison for the crime of sharing the gospel. Tragically, the Obama administration’s extended negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran did nothing to secure Pastor Saeed’s release, or that of his fellow American hostages languishing in Iranian prisons. Our commander in chief should be fighting for the release of American hostages, not appeasing Islamist dictators.

All of us pray fervently for the swift and safe release of all of the hostages. And yet, even in the darkness of an Iranian prison cell, God is sovereign. Since he began his sentence, Pastor Saeed has led dozens of fellow prisoners and even some of his captors to Christ.

* * *

As I write this today, I’m campaigning for president. Our campaign is enjoying enormous momentum; I could not be more encouraged.

We need strong leadership. Principled, constitutional leadership.

If I am elected president, let me tell you what I intend to do on the very first day in office:

The first thing I intend to do is rescind every single illegal and unconstitutional action taken by President Obama.

The second thing I intend to do is instruct the Department of Justice to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood and the horrible videos that have emerged and exposed them, and to prosecute any and all criminal violations by that organization. The administration of justice should be blind to party and ideology; the only allegiance of the Department of Justice should be to the laws and Constitution of the United States.

The third thing I intend to do is to instruct the Department of Justice, and the IRS, and every other federal agency, that the persecution of religious liberty ends today. That means that our servicemen and women will be able to pray and worship God, and their commanding officer has nothing to say about it. That means that the Little Sisters of the Poor – a Catholic charity against which the Obama administration is currently litigating to try to force the nuns to pay for abortion-inducing drugs – will have the case against them dismissed.

The fourth thing I intend to do is to rip to shreds Obama’s catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal. The single greatest national security threat facing America is the threat of a nuclear Iran – we should not be sending over $100 billion to a theocratic zealot like the Ayatollah Khamenei, who pledges “death to America” – and if I am president, under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons.

The fifth thing I intend to do is begin the process of moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the once and eternal capital of Israel.

All of that is on day one. It is an example of how quickly things can change. The Left, and the media (who are in cahoots), try to convince us that nothing can change. They want us to give up. But strong presidential leadership, backed by the American people, can usher in dramatic change.

In the days that follow, as president I intend to do the following:

Go to Congress and repeal every word of Obamacare. In its place, we will pass commonsense health care reform that makes health insurance personal, portable, and affordable, and keeps government from getting between our doctors and us.

Instruct the Department of Education – which should be abolished – that Common Core ends today. Education is too important to be dictated by unelected bureaucrats in Washington; it should be controlled at the state or local level, where we parents have direct control over our children’s education.

Expand school choice – the civil rights issue of the twenty-first century – so that every child, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, or zip code, has a right to access an excellent education.

Rebuild our military, and honor the commitments made to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. Peace through strength should always be our goal, but we must remember that we can’t have the first without the second. If we are committed to peace, we need an equally profound commitment to maintaining America’s strength.

Reform the VA to give our veterans the right to choose their own doctors at whatever hospital they wish, and protect the right of our servicemen and women to keep and bear arms and protect themselves.

Stand up and defeat radical Islamic terrorism. Confront it by its name. Utterly destroy ISIS, which is the face of evil, crucifying Christians, beheading children, and working to establish an Islamic caliphate to spread their theocratic hate. And as commander in chief, make clear to jihadist militants across the globe, “If you go and join ISIS, if you take up arms and wage jihad against America, trying to kill innocent men and women, you are signing your death warrant.”

Finally, finally, finally secure the borders and end sanctuary cities. Put an end to the Obama administration’s indefensible practice of releasing violent criminal illegal aliens, and pass Kate’s Law, ensuring that fewer violent criminals go free.

Take on the EPA, and the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), and the alphabet soup of federal agencies that are strangling small businesses and killing jobs. Unchain booming economic growth, so that young people coming out of school once again have two, three, four job offers and a brighter economic future.

Unleash an American energy renaissance, allowing America finally to become energy self-sufficient and ushering in millions of high-paying jobs. Stopping the Obama administration’s war on coal and crushing regulatory assault will revitalize manufacturing across America, enabling us to bring back millions of jobs from foreign nations like China, based not on low-cost labor, but on abundant God-given low-cost energy.

And work with Congress to pass fundamental tax reform, passing a simple flat tax. Where all Americans can fill out their taxes on a postcard. And when we do that, we should abolish the IRS.

This is a bold, aggressive agenda. And yet it’s simple common sense. Return to the free-market values and constitutional liberties that built America. Live within our means. Don’t bankrupt our kids and grandkids. Follow the Constitution.

SPECIAL OFFER: Get an autographed copy of Rafael Cruz’s powerful new book, “A Time for Action: Empowering the Faithful to Reclaim America,” at a discounted price, from the WND Superstore.

How can we get it done? Ecclesiastes 1:9 tells us “there is nothing new under the sun.” And I believe where we are today is very much like the late 1970s.

The same failed economic policies. The same misery, stagnation, and malaise. The same feckless and naïve foreign policy. Indeed, the very same countries – Russia and Iran – openly laughing at and mocking the president of the United States.

Why does that analogy give me so much hope and optimism? Because we know how that story ended. Millions of men and women rose up and became the Reagan Revolution.

And it didn’t come from Washington. Washington despised Ronald Reagan. (Remember, Reagan had primaried Gerald Ford in 1976. You want to incense the Republican establishment? Come within an inch of defeating the incumbent Republican president in a primary.) It came from the American people – from people just like you and me – and it turned the country around. We went from misery and stagnation to booming economic growth. To millions being lifted from poverty into prosperity and the American dream. We went from our hostages languishing in Iran, to winning the Cold War and tearing the Berlin Wall to the ground.

And the same thing is happening today. When we launched our campaign for president at Liberty University (the largest Christian university in the world), the mainstream media scoffed. The New York Times opined, Cruz has almost “no chance” to win because the GOP “despises” him.

I’ve often joked, “I kinda thought that was the whole point of the campaign!”

If you think Washington is doing great, that we need to keep going in the same direction and just fiddle about the edges, then I ain’t your guy. But if you think Washington is profoundly broken, that there is bipartisan corruption of career politicians in both parties who get in bed with lobbyists and special interests and who grow and grow government, and that we need to bring power out of Washington and back to we the people . . . that is what this campaign is all about.

And the support has been incredible. From the grassroots. From the people.

In the first two quarters of the campaign, out of seventeen Republican candidates for president, our campaign raised more hard money than that of any other Republican candidate. Over $14.3 million, from all fifty states. Our average contribution was sixty-eight dollars.

To date, we’ve received more than 275,000 contributions, from people all over the country going to http://www.tedcruz.org.

Signing up, volunteering, contributing. As of September 2015, we have financial supporters in over 55 percent of the zip codes in America.

And we’re seeing the old Reagan coalition coming together. Conservatives, evangelicals, libertarians, young people, Hispanics, African Americans, women, Reagan Democrats.

No other candidate has the grassroots team we have put together . . . in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and all across the South – the so-called SEC primary states that are voting on Super Tuesday.

If you agree with my father’s message, that our country is in crisis, that we must change direction now, then join us. The only force powerful enough to defeat the Washington cartel is we the people.

We need revival. We need awakening. And it is happening all across America. If you wonder why our government is daily assaulting life, and marriage, and religious liberty, why we’ve abandoned Israel and aided and abetted the rise of radical Islamic terrorism (going so far as President Obama’s working to send more than $100 billion to Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei), the answer is simple. In 2012, 54 million evangelical Christians stayed home. And millions more Reagan Democrats – blue collar Catholics – stayed home as well.

If our nation’s leaders are elected by unbelievers, is it any wonder that they do not reflect our values?

I tell you this: we will stay home no longer.

If the body of Christ arises, if Christians simply show up and vote biblical values, we can restore our nation.

Imagine, in 2016, if just 44 million evangelicals stayed home. Now, let me be clear: that would be a miserable failure. It would mean we failed to reach and motivate 44 million Christians to take a stand. But even so, if just an additional 10 million evangelicals showed up, the election would be over.

We wouldn’t be waiting up at 2 a.m. to see the results in Ohio or Florida. Instead, they would call the election at 8:45 p.m., because 10 million more Christians showing up is all it takes.

That is our task. To do it together. For pastors to take the lead, to reawaken the Black Robe Regiment and call upon Christians to stand for truth.

It is a time for truth. It is a time for action.

It is our time to preserve the last best hope of mankind, to restore that shining city on a hill that is the United States of America.

From our first days, God’s providential blessing has been on our nation, and I’m convinced God isn’t done with America. Brighter days are still ahead, if only we stand and act in accordance with our faith.

SPECIAL OFFER: Get an autographed copy of Rafael Cruz’s powerful new book, “A Time for Action: Empowering the Faithful to Reclaim America,” at a discounted price, from the WND Superstore.

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‘Perplexing’ Trump doctrine revealed

(BLOOMBERG VIEW) – The whole world is struggling to decipher the worldview and guiding principles Donald Trump would apply as president. It may not be a prominent feature of his campaign, but his advisers say he does have a doctrine that informs his positions on foreign policy and national security.

Some leading foreign policy pundits are convinced Trump is shooting from the hip on foreign policy, making up glib answers to serious questions like how to defeat the Islamic State or deal with an aggressive Vladimir Putin. Top Republican national security officials who advise other candidates routinely tell reporters they have not heard from the Trump campaign, which leads them to believe he has not sought any expert input before his provocative statements, like lashing out against China or Saudi Arabia.

Trump’s advisers say they’re happy to be perplexing. The Washington foreign policy establishment has no idea what to make of Trump’s string of declarations, such as his promises to “take” the Islamic State’s oil, force Mexico to pay for a wall on the southern U.S. border, or bar all Muslims from coming to the U.S.

“This whole notion that he is devoid of advisers is wrong. We have a lot of smart guys around us and a lot of smart people helping us,” Sam Clovis, Trump’s chief policy adviser, told me in an interview. “There’s a lot more to this than what our opponents and the pundits think. We play them like a five-string banjo because at the end of the day, they are going to look stupid. We don’t mind doing that.”

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McCain on Cruz claim: ‘It’s an outright lie’

(CNN) — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Saturday urged Republicans to do something that he claimed had never been done before: nominate a Republican who supported Ronald Reagan for president in the 1980 primaries.

“Let me give you an amazing statistic,” Cruz told a packed house at the Gateway Hotel in Ames, Iowa. “Do you know if you define as a Reaganite anyone who supported Ronald Reagan in the 1980 primary, do you know that the Republican Party has never once nominated a Reaganite to be president since 1984? Every single nominee since 1984 opposed Ronald Reagan in the 1980 primary. ”

The pitch was clear: GOP voters now have the first chance since Ronald Reagan to nominate someone in the mold of Ronald Reagan. “I’m 45 years old,” he said. “I have never once had the opportunity to go to a general election ballot and vote for a Reaganite on the ballot. We are inches away from doing that right here.”

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