Thousands of Hurricane Harvey Victims Experience God at Franklin Graham's 'Decision Texas' Tour

Many Texans are still recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey two months after the storm ripped through the Lone Star State, tearing apart families and homes.

But recently more than 9,000 Texans gathered at the Longview, Maude Cobb Convention & Activity Complex for the last night of Franklin Graham’s Decision Texas tour. 

The Decision Texas Tour took place in seven cities across Texas from October 11th – October 19th and brought prayer, live worship, and the gospel message to thousands of people.  

“God sent his son Jesus Christ to this earth on a rescue mission. He hung on that cross and he took our place,” Graham told the crowd. “If you’re not sure that you’ve repented and told God you’re sorry, now is your time. And believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and the promise is you will be saved,” he added. 

It was a message that hit home as thousands of people came to the front of the stage to ask Jesus into their hearts. 

One of those people was Diana, who says she felt compelled to repent of her sins. 

“I wanted to be able to start all over,” she said. “I feel like a huge burden was lifted…First there were tears of desperation and sadness and then tears of joy.”

Mckell also gave her life to Christ that night and says she went home with a new purpose and a new family. 

“I’ve never been in front of a big crowd that loves God that much…I know that God is gonna come with me and no matter what I do he will always be there,” she said. “I began to think about what I’m going to do in my life. God’s making my life happier, better, a part of his family.”

This Decision Texas tour may be over but the message Graham brought lives on and thousands of people across Texas will never be the same again. 
 

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Trump Has No Plan to Block Scheduled Release of JFK Records

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he doesn’t plan to block the scheduled release of thousands of never publicly seen government documents related to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

“Subject to the receipt of further information,” he wrote in a Saturday morning tweet, “I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened.”

The National Archives has until Thursday to disclose the remaining files related to Kennedy’s 1963 assassination. The trove is expected to include more than 3,000 documents that have never been seen by the public and more than 30,000 that have been previously released but with redactions.

Congress mandated in 1992 that all assassination documents be released within 25 years, but Trump has the power to block them on the grounds that making them public would harm intelligence or military operations, law enforcement or foreign relations.

“Thank you. This is the correct decision. Please do not allow exceptions for any agency of government,” tweeted Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and author of a book about Kennedy, who has urged the president to release the files. “JFK files have been hidden too long.”

The anticipated release has had scholars and armchair detectives buzzing. But it’s unlikely the documents will contain any big revelations on a tragedy that has stirred conspiracy theories for decades, Judge John Tunheim told The Associated Press last month. Tunheim was chairman of the independent agency in the 1990s that made public many assassination records and decided how long others could remain secret.

Sabato and other JFK scholars believe the trove of files may, however, provide insight into assassin Lee Harvey Oswald’s trip to Mexico City weeks before the killing, during which he visited the Soviet and Cuban embassies. Oswald’s stated reason for going was to get visas that would allow him to enter Cuba and the Soviet Union, according to the Warren Commission, the investigative body established by President Lyndon B. Johnson, but much about the trip remains unknown.

Longtime Trump friend Roger Stone, who wrote a book alleging that Johnson was the driving force behind Kennedy’s assassination, had personally urged the president to make the files public, he told far-right conspiracy theorist and radio show host Alex Jones this past week.

“Yesterday, I had the opportunity to make the case directly to the president of the United States by phone as to why I believe it is essential that he release the balance of the currently redacted and classified JFK assassination documents,” Stone said, adding that “a very good White House source,” but not the president, had told him the Central Intelligence Agency, “specifically CIA director Mike Pompeo, has been lobbying the president furiously not to release these documents.”

“Why? Because I believe they show that Oswald was trained, nurtured and put in place by the Central Intelligence Agency. It sheds very bad light on the deep state,” he said.

After the president announced his decision, Stone tweeted: “Yes ! victory !”

The files that were withheld in full were those the Assassination Records Review Board deemed “not believed relevant,” Tunheim said. Its members sought to ensure they weren’t hiding any information directly related to Kennedy’s assassination, but there may be nuggets of information in the files that they didn’t realize were important two decades ago, he said.

“There could be some jewels in there because in our level of knowledge in the 1990s is maybe different from today,” Tunheim said.

The National Archives in July published online more than 440 never-before-seen assassination documents and thousands of others that had been released previously with redactions.

Among those documents was a 1975 internal CIA memo that questioned whether Oswald became motivated to kill Kennedy after reading an AP article in a newspaper that quoted Fidel Castro as saying “U.S. leaders would be in danger if they helped in any attempt to do away with leaders of Cuba.”

Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.

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Funeral Held for U.S. Soldier at Center of Trump Fight

COOPER CITY, Fla. (AP) — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

Some of the 1,200 mourners exiting the church after Saturday’s service said the portrait of Sgt. La David Johnson, 25, was joined on stage by photographs of Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Washington; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio; and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia. The four died Oct. 4 in Niger when they were attacked by militants tied to the Islamic State. Johnson’s family asked reporters to remain outside for the service.

“We have to remember that one thing – that it wasn’t just one soldier who lost his life,” said Berchel Davis, a retired police officer who has six children in the military. He said the preacher and Rep. Frederica Wilson both made that a part of their talks. “That was a good gesture on everyone’s part.”

He and others said the fight between Trump and Wilson was never mentioned during the service.

Johnson’s pregnant widow, Myeshia, had held the arm of an Army officer as she led her two young children and her family, dressed in white, into the Christ the Rock Community Church in suburban Fort Lauderdale. The modern hymn “I’m Yours” could be heard coming from inside.

Johnson’s sister, Angela Ghent, said after the service that “it don’t feel real” that her brother was killed.

“It hasn’t hit me yet, I haven’t had time to grieve,” said Ghent, who last spoke to her brother a few weeks before he died. She said she was glad mourners got to hear about her brother’s love for bikes and cars, not just his military service.

The fight between Trump and Wilson had taken the focus off Johnson, whose widow is due to have a daughter in January. Sgt. Johnson told friends she will be named La’Shee. The couple, who were high school sweethearts, already had a 6-year-old daughter, Ah’Leeysa, and 2-year-old son, La David Jr. An online fundraiser has raised more than $600,000 to pay for the children’s education.

Johnson’s mother died when he was 5; he was raised by his aunt. His family enrolled him in 5000 Role Models, a project Wilson began in 1993 when she was an educator where African-American boys are paired with mentors who prepare them for college, vocational school or the military.

“We teach them to be a good man, a good husband and a good father. Sgt. Johnson typified all of those characteristics,” said mourner Carlton Crawl, a public school consultant who is one of the program’s mentors.

In 2013, a year before he enlisted, Johnson was featured in a local television newscast for his ability to do bicycle tricks, earning the nickname “Wheelie King.” He said he learned his tricks by going slow.

“Once you feel comfortable, you could just ride all day,” he told the interviewer.

The war of words between the president and Wilson began Tuesday when the Miami-area Democrat said Trump told Myeshia Johnson in a phone call that her husband “knew what he signed up for” and didn’t appear to know his name, a version later backed up by Johnson’s aunt. Wilson was riding with Johnson’s family to meet the body and heard the call on speakerphone. She was principal of a school Johnson’s father attended.

Trump tweeted Wilson “fabricated” his statement and the fight escalated through the week. Trump in other tweets called her “wacky” and accused her of “SECRETLY” listening to the phone call.

Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, entered the fray on Thursday. The retired Marine general asserted that the congresswoman had delivered a 2015 speech at an FBI field office dedication in which she “talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building,” rather than keeping the focus on the fallen agents for which it was named. Video of the speech contradicted his recollection.

Wilson, who is black, fired back Friday when she told The New York Times: “The White House itself is full white supremacists.”

The retorts persisted on Saturday morning, with Trump tweeting: “I hope the Fake News Media keeps talking about Wacky Congresswoman Wilson in that she, as a representative, is killing the Democrat Party!”

Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.

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FBI Launches New Fight to Uncover Secretive Female Genital Mutilation in US

Most Americans are unaware of a very old, barbaric tradition which continues to be practiced to this day inside their own country. For decades, the horrific practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) has continued in the US due to secretive trafficking.

This torture has endured unsuspected, undetected, and most often is unreported to local authorities. But now the FBI has launched a new campaign to fight back.

Some migrants to the US from primarily Islamic areas – including certain parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia – consider genital mutilation of as a rite of passage. All or parts of young girls’ genitalia are cut off using razors or knives – often without anesthesia of any kind – to make the girls “clean and pure” for marriage.

Two major developments in the fight against FGM have brought this practice back into the light in the US. 

Earlier this year, Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, an Indian-American physician in Detroit, Michigan, became the first person charged under the United States law criminalizing female genital mutilation.

“Incredibly, a federal statute outlawing FGM was passed in 1996, and it has taken 21 years to bring a federal criminal prosecution,” Elizabeth Yore, the head of the initiative EndFGMToday, wrote in a op-ed for Townhall.com.

“While this is a first important step, it signals the depth and extent of the covert conspiracy of silence to protect this hideous and barbaric practice on unsuspecting little girls. The public should be aware that it is also a federal crime to take a child out of the US for the purposes of FGM,” she continued. 

According to EndFGMToday, Nagarwala and her alleged conspirators are associated with the Muslim sect Dawoodi Bohra, which authorizes the horrific practice on their young daughters. 

Nagarwala is charged with conspiracy, genital mutilation, transporting minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, lying to a federal agent and obstructing an official proceeding. If convicted, she could face up to life in prison.

Yore also noted that the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 513,000 women and girls in the US are at risk for this brutal procedure. And the number of potential FGM victims is likely vastly unreported, she stated in a press release. 

“Faced with a growing refugee population originating from FGM-practicing countries—such as Somalia, where 98 percent of girls are cut, and Egypt, where 97 percent of girls are subjected to FGM—resources and the public are needed to expose this barbaric practice,” Yore said.

That’s why the FBI has set up a confidential hotline and tipline to expose FGM in the US.  Both the FBI and EndFGMToday urge the public, schools and health facilities, and FGM victims to call the FBI hotline at (800) CALL-FBI or visit www.FBI.gov/FGM. 

“Americans must demand that FGM no longer be imported and practiced in our country,” Yore explained. “It’s against the law.” 

“It violates the human rights of little girls, and its barbarism will not be tolerated here. The potential victims of female genital mutilation deserve and need the protection of law enforcement so that no girl will be subjected to this brutal sexual assault,” she said.

It is estimated more than 200 million women and girls alive today in 30 countries around the world have been subjected to the torture of FGM. 

Sources: EndFGMToday, FBI.gov, Detroit Free Press, USA Today

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All Five Living Former Presidents Raise $31 Million for Hurricane Victims

Across decades and partisan lines, all five living, former US presidents gathered together to raise money for hurricane relief Saturday.

The former presidents, including Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, gathered at Texas A&M  University for the “Deep From the Heart: The One America Appeal Benefit Concert.”  

The former presidents took to the stage reminding the crowd of the spirit of unity and volunteerism that make this nation great. 

“Our problems are great but the heart of America is greater. That’s what we are here to celebrate,” said Clinton repeating a famous quote from George H.W. Bush.

“The heart of America, without regard to race or religion or political party, is greater than our problems,” Clinton said to great applause.  

Carter, a spokesperson for Habitat for Humanity, said the organization has pledged to rebuild 6,000 homes in devastated areas.

President Trump, who did not attend the concert, sent a video greeting. In a taped message, Trump praised his fellow presidents for their efforts and echoed the sentiment of unity.

“To Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Melania and I want to express our deep gratitude for your tremendous assistance,” said Trump.

“This wonderful effort reminds us that we truly are one nation under God, all unified by our values and our devotion to one another,” Trump continued.

In addition to the presidents, the spotlight was cast on everyday people who pulled together to help their fellow neighbors through the storms.

Five of those volunteers were given special honor as Points of Light Recipients. The Points of Light award was initiated by George H.W. Bush during his time in office.

“That spirit of volunteerism, that spirit that says we’re all in this together. That in dire times ignores all the differences we had before, that spirt is exemplified by the five Points of Light recipients,” said Obama. 

The event was emceed by country music star Lee Greenwood, and featured appearances from gospel artist Yolanda Adams and Lady Gaga.

“This is an historical moment, that we are truly one-nation under God,” said Lady Gaga.

Gaga went on to push for the mental and psychological recovery for the hurricane victims and said she’d donated $1 million dollars towards the efforts. 

She also shared a story of being invited to attend church service with former president George W. Bush saying, “I reminded President Bush that I went to his father’s church before I played the super bowl. He reminded me it was not the same as a Catholic church, which I am. But all I needed was Jesus that day,“ Gaga recalled.  

Nothing more beautiful than everyone putting their differences aside to help humanity in the face of catastrophe. #OneAmericaAppeal pic.twitter.com/2TPdPonvWv

— xoxo, Gaga (@ladygaga) October 22, 2017

All in all, the former presidents raised 31 million dollars.

The money will go toward to help victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Hurricane Irma in Florida, and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

One America Appeal was created by the five former presidents to offer help in response to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, but was expanded after Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

 

 

 

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Cell Biologist: Let's Replace Darwin by Studying DNA and Genetics

One Harvard trained cell biologist is going against the grain with his new findings that he says debunks the Darwin myth.  

Dr. Nathaniel Jeanson of Answers in Genesis, says his years of research into the origin of species, proves the theory of evolution has serious flaws.  

His current research involves using DNA comparisons to understand the true beginnings of life as we know it. The result of his ground breaking study is found in his latest book Replacing Darwin: The New Origin of Species. 

“You think about Darwin’s subject matter — species like giraffes, elephants, zebras — things that we all recognize. The number that he knew in 1859 was a fraction of what we know today, probably 15 percent of what we know today Darwin knew back then,” he told CBN News. 

“I think for any other historical question, if you say, ‘Hey, The author of that conclusion had only access to 15 percent of the data,’ you would probably revisit it,”  Jeanson continued.

With a Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology, Dr. Jeanson is uniquely qualified to investigate what genetics reveal about origins. 

He claims that Darwin’s theory of evolution is often considered one of science’s “sacred cows,” but he believes modern day genetics research is proving it wrong.  He determines that if Darwin were to examine the evidence today using modern science, his conclusions would be vastly different.  

Since Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” was published in the mid-19th century, entirely new fields of science have emerged – fields which hold the keys to the origin of species.

“The origin of the species is fundamentally a genetic question that has the only direct scientific answers to the question.  And Darwin tried to answer that question 100 years before anyone knew that DNA was the substance of heredity,” Jeanson explained.  

“We haven’t been really able to answer this question until now. So he took what I think is an unpredented massive scientific risk and it’s worth our while to go back and revisit this,” he said.

Dr. Jeanson knows first-hand how hard it can be to change an entrenched social narrative, even if it’s wrong.  Jeanson says its his mission to usher in the days of a new scientific revolution.  

“What this book represents is meeting the evolutionist’s challenge and saying ‘OK, let’s now deal with modern genetic data.’ The most important scentific field on this question. Can evolution make sense of what we see?  Can it predict the number of differences between humans and chimpanzies?  Can it predict the rate of which DNA change happens?  These sorts of questions,” Jeanson said. 

“And what I argue in the book is — evolution is failing at this. And to many people’s surprise even my own, creationists exceed the rate of evolution. I can predict the rate of cats, dogs, elephants, giraffes change their DNA.  I don’t think anyone saw this coming,” he stressed.

“We’re advancing our knowledge of the world. The rates of genetic change in these various species, which is the fundamental mechanism of evolution, that’s not been measured in the millions of species that are out there.  Just a handful.  And I’m saying based on this handful of results, I now can predict the rate of at which jaguars change their DNA.  And that’s a huge advance.  That’s the type of laws of scence that we need to discover things about the world,”  Jeanson explained.

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Dramatic Sentencing Hearing Expected in Bergdahl Case

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The fate of Bowe Bergdahl — the Army sergeant who pleaded guilty to endangering his comrades by leaving his post in 2009 in Afghanistan — now rests in the hands of a judge.

A sentencing hearing for Bergdahl starts Monday at Fort Bragg and is expected to feature dramatic testimony about soldiers and a Navy SEAL badly hurt while they searched for the missing Bergdahl, who was held captive for five years by Taliban allies after leaving his post. Bergdahl faces up to life in prison on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after pleading guilty to the charges last week.

Bergdahl made his plea without striking a deal with prosecutors for a lesser punishment, opting instead for a move known as a “naked plea,” in hopes of leniency from the judge. The plea, legal experts say, may be a sign that the evidence against Bergdahl was strong.

Eric Carpenter, a former Army lawyer who teaches law at Florida International University, said a naked plea can be advantageous by allowing the defense to refrain from agreeing to certain facts that it might otherwise have to concede to under a plea agreement.

Greg Rinckey, a former Army prosecutor and defense attorney now in private practice, said such a plea is risky.

“You don’t plead someone out naked without weighing those risks,” Rinckey said.

The judge, Army Col. Jeffery Nance, will also have to resolve last-minute arguments by defense attorneys that President Donald Trump has unfairly swayed the court-martial with new comments about the highly politicized case. During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly called Bergdahl a “traitor.” The defense argues that remarks made by Trump as late as last week show that he harbors the same view now that he is commander in chief. A White House statement on Friday said, while not mentioning Bergdahl by name, that all military personnel in the justice process should use their independent judgment and that any case should be “resolved on its own facts.”

Bergdahl’s lawyers are hoping that the five years that he spent as a Taliban captive will win him some leniency from the judge. Bergdahl, 31, has said he was caged, kept in darkness and beaten. He said he tried to escape more than a dozen times.

The plea came after several pretrial rulings against the defense. Perhaps most significant was the judge’s decision in June to allow evidence of the searchers’ wounds at sentencing. The judge ruled that a Navy SEAL and an Army National Guard sergeant wouldn’t have wound up in separate firefights that left them wounded if they hadn’t been searching for Bergdahl.

While calling the wounded men “heroes,” Bergdahl’s lawyers have argued their client can’t be blamed for a long chain of events that included decisions by others on the searches.

At his plea hearing, Bergahl himself said he now understands his disappearance triggered the missions, calling his actions “very inexcusable.”

President Barack Obama brought Bergdahl home in 2014 in a swap for five Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, leading to criticism by Republicans including Trump.

Bergdahl has said he walked away from his remote post with the intention of reaching other commanders and drawing attention to what he saw as problems with his unit.

One of the injured soldiers who could testify, former Army Cpl. Jonathan Morita, said in a phone interview after the plea hearing that he wasn’t sure whether to feel happy about Bergdahl’s admission of guilt.

“It’s good that he said it. But did he really mean it, or did the defense tell him to say it?” said Morita, who was injured after a rocket-propelled grenade struck his rifle. The grenade didn’t explode, but it shattered the bones in his hand.

Retired Senior Chief Petty Officer James Hatch is expected to testify about a leg wound on a search mission that ended his career as a Navy SEAL.

“Senior Chief Hatch has always said he wants him to have a fair trial and a fair sentence, with the understanding of all the suffering that he caused by trying to support his own agenda,” said Buddy Rake, Hatch’s lawyer. He declined to say what level of punishment Hatch thinks is appropriate.

But Rake, himself a Navy veteran, believes Bergdahl should at a minimum be deprived of an honorable discharge: “As you go through life you get all sorts of trophies and awards, but the most important that I’ve ever received is the one that says ‘honorable discharge.’”

Follow Drew at www.twitter.com/jonldrew

Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. 

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