-And the LORD answered me, and said,
             Write the vision,and make it plain upon tables,
                    that he may run that readeth it. 
                   - (Hab 2:2)

News And Commentary are UP for Insiders - Click Here!!



Watson's
                Web Lighthouse
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That He May Run That Readeth it

This is a book I wrote many years ago and was the genesis of this site. It is still available from my publisher Infinity Publishing.







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在 這樣的世代裏

那 鴻書﹕神懲 罰報應的概述

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__________



An Open Letter To Black Lives Matter:
How to avoid being ensnared in the ongoing Federal operation 'Ni&&er Catcher' and 'Black Snare', run out of the US intelligence community and certain sections of Law Enforcement. These operations do exist, though naturally not with those pejorative titles. They are not legal, nor are they officially recognized but key people in high positions run these operations that specifically target Black Americans and certain White Americans who seek justice, truth and use their rights to bring these things back to our once great nation. The impetus comes from the US Intelligence community - LE does the footwork. This is what they did to so many civil rights leaders back in the 60's and 70's. They have honed their skills for the technology of the 21st century.

pdfIran Nukes And Regional Staility


The Harvest


An Open Letter To Senator Mikulski And The Senate Select Committee On Intelligence

pdfPaths Of Righteousness - For His Name's Sake

pdfIn Times Like These
pdfEconomic Crisis Report: Models Of Destruction
Where is our economy heading and why can't the US and global economy find its footing nearly six years after the of economic crisis of 2008? These are some of the questions we will attempt to ask ourselves in this report. The problems in the developed world today stem from deep troubles in

pdfWill America Go To War With China?
This is a look at the possibility of this happening and some of the drivers that could tip these nations into war.  Those key drivers may not be what many analysts think.
pdfEconomic Crisis Report III: Between Two Shutdowns
Government shutdowns? Inflation? Deflation? QE? Joblessness? Obamacare?

pdf National Security: What Is America Doing In Secret?

pdf  Watson's Economic Crisis Report - II

 pdf
Eyes On Russia: Watson's Economic And Political Report



pdfPolitical And Economic Review #2
This issue is mostly about American oil and leadership. It is a 30 page overview of America's oil situation.


pdfPolitical and Economic Review
The first in a new series of secular articles. One way to support this site is to get a copy of these inexpensive reports (click link aboue). Another is to hit the donate button.

_____


Ezekiel and the Spirit of Stubbornness/The Sardis Syndrome

Christ, Family and Persecution

When The Bottom Falls Out Of Your Boat

NSA Spying:
The Future, Black Madness and the Prophetic imperative.

How God Measures Us
He does it very differently that the world does.

Trends In Africa
A quick look at some troubling trends in Africa

Brothel Politics, The Church and First Things
Recent trends in the nation, including Obamacare are indicative of something much deeper that is wrong with America

While I Was Away...
A word about my month long hiatus

Shutdown Note:
A look at how the criminally insane 'pay' their bills.


Times And Seasons (09-13)
 Faith and patriotism in the last days... and what kind of fruit is  Christ going to find on your tree?

7 Churches Of  Revelation
Light for seeing, ears for hearing. Most commentaries on these chapters miss this most important point.


The Devil, Catholics And Internet Protestants
Catholic bashing is a foundational stone of so much of todays internet Christians faith. Is this really a pastime God approves of, especially when the Catholics are doing their best to reform?

Unwise Faith
- It is most unwise to place your faith in the wrong things.
 
Obidiah: Divine Geopolitics
- Is the Lord concerned about geopolitics?

The Assyrian
- Damascus and the Assyrian in Bible Prophecy

End Time Personal Notes
- Just some notes to true believers as to things to watch for on a personal level and consider in these times.


 - What I See...

A quick look (15 pages) at some trends I see and don't see. Trends in the economy, trends in 'people control' and spiritual matters


 - Collision Course

Each and every passing day,

we who know Christ can see our nation is on a collision course with God. On a number of fronts the nation has just decided to set its face against the God who blessed us and move its spiritual foundations towards the spiritual foes of both God and man.


      - Prison Labor Industry

      Slave labor cleverly

      disguised.


 - Special Report: Watson's Economic Crisis Report 

   

This issue of my new series of paid reports deals with the ongoing global economic crisis. Its about 40 pages and deals with a wide range of issues that face the western world. This touches on America's decline, Obama's new Treasury pick, the ongoing debt crisis, the Fed and Treasuries debt monetization operations, currency wars, scenario's for major troubles in China, Europe's ongoing crisis and ...

 - 3 Short Commentaries

   

Entitled Not Afraid, Tough Decisions and Job's Sufferings. God will take care of his people. Just make sure brothers when its our time to pass over our own spiritual 'river Jordan', that we make our deaths count for something, that being Christ. If we are to die as Christians for the gospel and the word of our testimony (Rev 19:10, 12:17, 12:11), let us rejoice because we have a long and honorable heritage of those who went before us.

 -  Lamentations Are Coming 

   

I think we as Christians need to keep in mind and prepare our souls for what is really coming. Mr. Leal has done a good job of laying out that a time of great sorrow will sweep America.

 -  The Curse 

   

When a nation decides to put the stamp of approval on those things God hates, it invites a curse. And be certain of this, without some real soul searching repentance, a curse is what is going to hit us. America has enjoyed prosperity like no other nation on earth. Military power like no other nation on earth. Good will and diplomatic strength like no other nation on earth. Why? We as a nation respected ...

 -  I Have A Dream Vs. I Have A Drone 

   

I think it should be noted that while some people will say they find something 'highly offensive' when they do not really mean it, I want to make clear that I really do mean it, it is personally highly offensive to compare Dr. King and President Obama. If a person wants to worship Obama and idolize him, that is their business, not mine. But before anyone attempts to cast dispersions on Dr. King by ...

 -  Mali: Africa Must Take The Lead 

   

This crisis in Mali... first off, this is not just 'another war'. This is a very serious and potent threat to African continental security.

  Watson's Economic And Political Review (WEPR) #2 

   

This issue is mostly about American oil and leadership. It is a 30 page overview of America's oil situation and new claims that America will one day surpass the Saudi's in Oil production and become energy independent. The question is an extremely important one and could really alter the whole geopolitical landscape... if true. Are these claims real and credible? Are there any problems with them? This ...

 - Watson's Economic And Political Review (WEPR) #1 

   

This is going to be bad news for many of my readers, but a small portion of my secular writings are going to have to go pay. I have done a pretty good job with this update (if I do say so myself!) dealing with issues that I know many care about. Namely Iran and what a war or 'regime change' is likely to bring about, the EU crisis and how the ongoing economic crisis could deeply effect the US. Keep ...

 -  The Holiday Season 

   

Christmas has been a matter of some controversy for a number of reasons. First off, one of the few things we can be certain of about Christmas is that Christ was not born on December 25th, or anywhere near it. When was Christ Born? We do not know, though some scholars have said that it was more likely an event that occurred in the Fall, though the evidence for this is rather scant. What we do know ...

 -  There Is A Generation... 

   

What does it mean to live in our times, having been touched by God's spirit and understanding what God requires of us? It means that we are going to have a hard time fitting in with the current generation. This is the way it should be, since we are of a very different heritage. The scriptures talk about times like ours and what kinds of people will inhabit the earth just before Christ returns. We ...

  The Way Back 

   

For many of my readers, the way back to God is the road you are on. Many of you have fallen away and for whatever reason, personal tragedy, hard times or just a dissatisfaction with worldly 'satanic' living that did not make you nearly as happy as you thought it would. I find it interesting that so many people here in America have just about everything and yet are totally miserable. I am struck by ...

 - What's Expected Of Son's And Heir's 

   

What should we as Christians should be doing in these times? As these days grow darker and increasingly rejects Christ and genuine Christianity, we who wish to get into the kingdom must know what God wants us to do. What does God expect of us, we who are determined no matter what comes, to get into God's kingdom and avoid his holy wrath, which I bear witness, is coming to this world and will usher ...

 - In The Kingdom Of The Blind 

   

Today, it is extremely important that we know what is happening in our world, particularly from a prophetic standpoint. Why? The return of Christ is our blessed hope. God spoke clearly and insistently that we are to be watching and ready for our Lords return. Yet as I speak to Christians, I just don't see any level of spiritual discernment in their lives or minds Mind you there are always some exceptions ...

 - We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Broadcast To Bring You... 

   

But when it comes to the times and seasons and understanding them, Christians I know as well are floundering. They are often confused and unsure about what to believe. They listen to their pastors, read the news, but more and more are seriously questioning both. This is a good thing at least as a first step, but often leads to confusion, depression and can lead to apostasy. Why? Because such Christians ...

 - Culling The World's Population 

   

Yes, there is a plan afoot to reduce the human population. Most of the plan is hidden in plain sight.

 -  Political, Economic And Spiritual Review (Summer 2012) 

   

Fifty-three pages that looks at several issues facing our world today. From the economic crisis to food and eugenics to Syria as well a look at what a Mitt Romney Presidency may look like.

 -  Judge Not! 

   

...Lest ye be judged.

 - The Blessings Of Obedience 

   

Has the devil fooled you into thinking you can be saved and not obey the Lord?

  From Another World 

   

Christians, real ones that is, must conduct themselves as though they are from another world. A real Christian, is not of this world but of the Kingdom of God and his Christ.

 


-  From The North 

   

A prophetic look at the Arctic. The Arctic you ask? Yes the Actic and how it may relate to Babylon's fall.


Other Resources
(most are in PDF format)


Select Congressional Committee Investigating Illegal Practices In The Abortion Industry

Congressional Report On STOPPING TERROR FINANCE:
SECURING THE U.S. FINANCIAL SECTOR

LITTORAL COMBAT SHIP AND FRIGATE
Congress Faced with Critical Acquisition Decisions


Defense Business Board Outlines Savings Of $125 Bln Annually


Iran: Ministry Of Intelligence And Internal Security - LOC

Global Trends 2030 - NIE

High Unemployment And GDP - CRS

Internet Governance and the Domain Name System: Issues for Congress

DOJ Lethal Force Justification Against US Citizens

Global Trends 2030
- NIC

US Vulnerabilities To Money Laundering, Drugs And Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History
- US Senate

Intelligence Committee Report On Huawei

Major Arms Transfers - CRS

The Crisis In Mali - CRS

The Crisis In Syria - CRS

 Posse Comitatus - CRS

Iran: Nuclear Intentions And Capabilities

Official Japanese Diet Report On Fukushima

State Department Report On Religious Persecution

State Department Report On Religious Persecution (Constitutional Review for OIC) - 2012

US-China Policy Issues - CRS

US Naval Modifications For China's Rise - CRS

UAE: US Policy Issues - CRS

Senate Report On Counterfeit Parts In DOD Supply Chain


2012 Annual Report To Congress On Chinese Military - DOD

Water Security - CIA/NIC

Syria's Phase Of Radicalization - ICG

Oil Imports And Exports - CRS

Pivot To The Pacific - CRS

Challenges To EU's Energy Security - CRS

Official US Military Report On Nazi Germany's IG Farben- DOD

Chinese Naval Modernization - CRS

Isreal's Possible strike On Iran - CRS

Iran Policy Concerns - CRS

Food Aid To NK - CRS

Aid To Pakistan

(Senate Hearing)

DOD Missing Trillions

(official audit)

GAO's Audit of the FED Report

(audit)

Chinese Naval Modernization - CRS

Human Rights In China - CRS

US-China Trade Issues - CRS

US-China Miliary Contacts - CRS

US- Taiwan Arms Sales - CRS

China's Currency: Analysis Of Issues - CRS

The Debt Limit ∓mp; Gov't Operations - CRS

China's Acquisition of US Technology - Congress

Secret Law And the Threat To Democracy - Senate Judiciary Comm.

OSS/CIA Images Of Auschwitz During the War

Nuclear Terror In The US - FEMA


More Resources



Links I Like
From all over the Christian spectrum!
***

Last Days Of The Age
___
The Endtime Pilgrim
___
The First Trumpet
___
The Last Trumpet
___

Spirit Daily

(Catholic... great news links)

Orthodox Today
(A look at today from an Orthodox Perspective)
___
The Assyrian News Agency
(A look at events in Iraq)
___
The Barnabas Fund
___
China Aid
(A look at events inside China, from a Christian Perspective)
___
Gay Christian Movement Watch
(A hard-hitting blog talking about the growing sin of Homosexuality inside the Church)
___
Independent Catholic News
___
Jihad Watch
(Not Christian, but gets into important trends in the Islamic world)
___
Compass Direct
(Persecution news)

Babylon Today


Mark's Audio Page

Selected Audio

Paradigm Shift: Capitalists ∓mp; Dissenters

Part 1 and Part 2

Emerging Viruses - Dr. Horowit untrz

- Lo-fi version here

Think You Have Property Rights?

The Real Purpose Of Public Education - John Gatto

Alex Jones Talks On Bilderberg 2005

Stan Goff On The Military-Monetary System

On War: A Veteran NYT Journalists Views

Mad Cow And Alzheimer's: The Link

Vote Rigging In 2004 (A 2 Hour Look) -
Part 1And Part 2

Hard Evidence Of Vote Fraud In Ohio - 2 Min Update

Bev Harris Interviewed On Ohio Vote Fraud

Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man
Part 1And Part 2

Announcement On Ohio Vote Legal Action

Seymour Hersh On Abu Gharib

Mike Ruppert/TUC Radio: Across The Rubicon
Part 1And Part 2

What Is Wrong With The American Mind: Corporate Media Consolidation
Part 1And Part 2

Lethal Injections: The Hidden Dangers Of Vaccines


Bush Blocked Bin Laden Probes

Truth And Lies Of 911

911 Road To Tyranny (low bandwidth)

Afghanistan, jihad and oil in Central Asia

Biowarfare: Leaps In Technology

An intelligent look at the future of the Oil Based Economy

Natural Resources and Global Conflict

Plan Colombia

Corporate Propaganda

Gore Vidal On Terrorism

The Bush's Oil War

America The Babylon

Part 1 And Part 2

A Look At Peak Oil

Black Box Voting

The Evidence Is A Farce

The Bilderbergs

The Doctrine Of Incorporation

Wheat Receipts: The Federal Reserve

American Dynasty: The Bush Family

The Pentagon Crash Investigation.

Trenton Parker On The Oil Crisis Of The 70's

Earth changes, HAARP, Non-Lethal Weapons
Part 1 And Part 2

A very interesting Presentation on War Crimes in Vietnam

Why Is Africa Starving?

Financial Collapse: What Does Greenspan Really Think - FSO?

The 911 Cover-Up Commission

The Mafia, CIA And Bush


_______

Last Updated
  23 Aug 2017

-
This Site has become a PRIVATE Site

99% of all future commentary are now private.

For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words,
of him shall the Son of man be ashamed,
when he shall come in his own glory,
and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.
(Luk 9:26)



“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression.
In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged.
And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air
– however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”
 ― Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas


I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand,
I shall not be moved.
(Psa 16:8)

***


Mark can be reached here.




23 Aug

Sudan: Two Pastors Evicted

JUBA, South Sudan (Morning Star News) – In further efforts to help a Muslim businessman take over church property, police in Omdurman, Sudan evicted two church leaders and their families from their houses, sources said.

Police on Tuesday (Aug. 15) raided the two houses belonging to the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC), one near the Omdurman Evangelical Church and the other attached to Omdurman Evangelical School, both close to each other in the city across the Nile River from Khartoum. They evicted the families of the Rev. Yahia Abdelrahim Nalu, SPEC moderator, and the Rev. Sidiq Abdalla, a SPEC pastor who has two children, ages 8 and 10.

The action was the latest show of force in a government-aided bid to help Muslim businessman Hisham Hamad Al-Neel take over the church property for investment, sources said. Police told the pastors they were carrying out a court order. - MorningStar News

China: Christian Human Rights Lawyer To Stand Trial

According to the article from China Aid, he is charged with Subversion of State Power. His crime was to aid Christians with his law degree.

China Angered By American Criticism Of Its Persecution

The above link is from the South China Morning Post, but other major news sites are carrying it as well. Daily Mail, RT and Arab News are just some.

So what did the State Department say that got China all in a huff? Forgive me if I take quite a bit from the report.

The People’s Republic of China’s constitution states citizens have freedom of religious belief but limits protections for religious practice to “normal religious activities” and does not define “normal.” The government continued to exercise control over religion and restrict the activities and personal freedom of religious adherents when these were perceived to threaten state or Chinese Communist Party (CCP) interests, according to nongovernmental organization (NGO) and international media reports. Only religious groups belonging to one of the five state-sanctioned “patriotic religious associations” (Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim, Catholic, and Protestant) were permitted to register with the government and officially permitted to hold worship services.

There continued to be reports that the government physically abused, detained, arrested, tortured, sentenced to prison, or harassed adherents of both registered and unregistered religious groups for activities related to their religious beliefs and practices, including members of unregistered Christian churches (also known as “house churches”). Falun Gong reported dozens of its members died in detention. A pastor of an unregistered church and his wife were reportedly buried alive while protesting the demolition of their church; the wife died while the pastor was able to escape. There were also reports of the disappearance of a Catholic priest, and the death of a rights activist for Hui Muslim minorities and others that the government said was suicide.

The government cited concerns over the “three evils” of “ethnic separatism, religious extremism, and violent terrorism” as grounds to enact and enforce restrictions on religious practices of Uighur Muslims. The government sought the forcible repatriation of Uighur Muslims from foreign countries, many of whom sought asylum in those countries on the grounds of religious persecution.

According to media and NGO reports, three Tibetans, one monk and two laypersons, self-immolated during the year and three nuns committed suicide in protest of restrictive government policies, including those restricting religious freedom. Authorities often justified official interference with Tibetan Buddhist monasteries by associating them with separatism and pro-independence activities.

In July Sichuan provincial officials demolished over 2,000 residences and expelled 2,000 or more monks and nuns from Larung Gar, the world’s largest Tibetan Buddhist institute, located in Ganzi (Kardze), Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Authorities in Zhejiang Province continued their destruction of Christian structures as part of a campaign against “illegal structures” that began in 2014, according to NGO and press reports. Over 2,000 structures, including 600 crosses, had been destroyed or demolished by the end of the year. Many Zhejiang pastors and congregants openly resisted the campaign, resulting in the detention, prosecution, or conviction of several church leaders and activists.

During the year, the government released for public comment draft regulations that would govern the activities of religious groups. Religious leaders and groups reported that the proposed regulations would increase restrictions on their ability to practice their religions, including a new requirement for religious groups to seek approval to travel abroad and a prohibition on “accepting domination by external forces.” Christian churches stated as a result of the proposed regulations, the government increased monitoring, causing many churches to cease their normal activities.

There were reports that improved relations between the Vatican and the government created a better operating environment for Vatican-backed Catholic bishops and priests, although disputes remained and the authorities reportedly blocked a bishop approved by the Vatican from becoming the Bishop of Wenzhou.

Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists reported severe societal discrimination in employment, housing, and business opportunities. In Xinjiang, tension between Uighur Muslims and Han Chinese continued.

The President, the Secretary of State, the Ambassador, and other embassy and consulates general representatives repeatedly and publicly expressed concerns about abuses of religious freedom in China, including the need for tolerance, especially for oppressed religious groups. The President stressed the need for the government to protect the religious freedom of all its citizens. U.S. officials consistently urged the government to adhere to internationally recognized rights of religious freedom and urged the release of those imprisoned for their religious beliefs. Embassy officials met with members from diverse religious communities and protested the imprisonment of individuals on charges related to religious freedom.- State Department

You can also go to the Departments site and get reports on all nations here.

What China is doing with its statment is engaging it information war. China is actively engaged in this right now.

Case in point. The Cambridge University Press has issue a periodical called The China Quarterly. It's an academic journal that looks at key issues in China. You can read the University's statement here on its recent censorship move to accommodate China and its later retraction of that move. The excellent site Sinocism has a host of articles on this here.

US, UK Fail To Support Iraqi Christians

None of the money set aside for rebuilding is for Christian communities in Northern Iraq, according to a memo signed by UK authorities.

Orthodox Leader Calls On Moscow, Rome To Support Persecuted Church

This an article about an interview that anticipates the Secretary Of State for the Vatican's visit to Russia.

Report: Christianity Growing Among Iranian Youth

"The massive rise of Christianity, particularly among youth in Iran has been observed, indeed, even Islamic leader admitted that more and more young people are choosing to follow Christianity. According to News, which reports on the persecution and state of Christianity in Iran, the “exponential rate” of Christian growth has been a factor for the last couple of decades." - Christians In Pakistan

Christianity Grows In North Korea, Despite Persecution

A look at how the faith prospers in the most repressive nation on earth.

Militants Kill Four Men in Eastern Kenya for Their Christian Faith

08/21/2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) - International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on August 17, 2017, al-Shabaab militants perpetrated another attack in Kenya's Lamu County where four Christian men were killed. The attack came just over one month after an attack in nearby Jima village where seven Christian men were killed.

Late in the night on August 17, al-Shabaab militants entered Maleli village of Witu and killed the four men; three were hacked to death with machetes and one was burned inside his home. The four men who were killed are Stephen Hizano Ponda, Charo Karisa Ngoa, Naphtali Katana Kadenge, and Joseph Gasena Ngoa. The midnight raid also comes barely a week after Kenya entered into general elections, during which al-Shabaab promised to create chaos.

Pastor Henry Divayo of Witu African Inland Church (AIC), where hundreds of Jima families are taking refuge, said, "One of the men killed this morning in Maleli, Naphtali Katana Kadenge, was a son to a family staying in this camp and he was a student at Lamu high school. During the vacation, he decided to go back to Maleli village to fend off wild animals that feed on farm crops. He was advised to be cautious, but when al-Shabaab stormed their house, he was found and killed."

Father Cyprian Taah of Witu Catholic Church told ICC, "One of our catechists, Stephen Nyati, lost his son in the attack and we are saddened as a church community and we strongly condemn the act. His son had gone back to the fields to check the progress of the farm when the militants pulled him out of the house and slaughtered him." He continued, "We are asking the global community to remember us in prayer and if possible send us material help because the people in the camps need food, shelter, water, medicine, sanitary pads and soap."

The President of Kenya asked the families to remain calm in the displacement camps as measures are being taken to rid the area of the terrorists. He ensured the villagers that they will return to their villages and resume their normal lives as soon as possible, but this recent attack means that Lamu is still not safe.

One of the chiefs in Witu, Chief Macharia, stated, "[There] is desperation in the camps that is making a few people return to the villages even after the government ordered all the people to remain in the camps. The Boni Forest operation to kill al-Shabaab is ongoing and several of them have been killed. This operation will go on until all the militants disturbing the peace of Lamu residents are neutralized. We continue to urge the people to stay inside the camps until new orders to return to their homes [are] given by the higher authority."

ICC's Regional Manager, Nathan Johnson, said, "The Kenyan government must provide safety and stability to all of its people. They must end al-Shabaab's reign of terror that has been thriving on the border with Somalia. We pray for the families of the deceased and for peace to come to a region that has seen such violence toward Christians. We hope that Kenya's government can take effective action to rid Kenya of these terrorist attacks."

***
You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference
 International Christian Concern (ICC) and include our web address,
 www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington D.C.-based human rights
organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides
Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church.


Micah Chapter 3


And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes
of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment?
Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin
 from off them, and their flesh from off their bones; Who also
 eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them;
and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces,
as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.

(Mic 3:1-3)



Here the Lord, via his anointed prophet excoriates the princes (leaders) of Israel. As chides them – they are supposed to know and execute judgment (justice). Yet they are those who hate the good and love the evil. Let us take a look at the two key words here. Prince and Judgment.

Princes - H7101
קצין
qâtsîyn
kaw-tseen'

From H7096 in the sense of determining; a magistrate (as deciding) or other leader: - captain, guide, prince, ruler. Compare H6278.




Judgment- H4941
משׁפּט
mishpâṭ
mish-pawt'

From H8199; properly a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree (human or (particularly) divine law, individual or collectively), including the act, the place, the suit, the crime, and the penalty; abstractly justice, including a particular right, or privilege (statutory or customary), or even a style: - + adversary, ceremony, charge, X crime, custom, desert, determination, discretion, disposing, due, fashion, form, to be judged, judgment, just (-ice, -ly), (manner of) law (-ful), manner, measure, (due) order, ordinance, right, sentence, usest, X worthy, + wrong.


The Lord is telling them, they know or are supposed to know of justice, but instead they love the evil and hate the good. This is the kind of leadership that Israel had in Micah's time. Here the Lord begins by describing their crimes in a prophetic prose as to just how severe God see's their evils. The Prophet here uses a kind of imagery here that reminds one of a wild beast, an animal (that has taken human form) who eats God's people up. He is describing a cruel group of leaders whose wickedness knows no bounds. He is literally describing a nation whose leaders are nothing more than butchers of God's people. “...and chop them in pieces, as for the pot”. The leaders had descended to a very low level of barbarity and cruelty and these were the men who were supposed to be dispensing justice to the people. Here I think Gill really hits the nail on the head about this passage.

(they) did with them as cooks do, who not only cut flesh off the bones, and into slices, but break the bones themselves, to get out the marrow, and chop them small, that they may have all the virtue that is in them, to make their soup and broth the richer; by which is signified, that these wicked and avaricious rulers took every method to squeeze the people, and get all their wealth and riches into their hands, that they might have in a more riotous and luxurious manner. - John Gill's Expository of the Entire Bible.

In short, the leaders of the nation were squeezing the people dry. They took everything, the goods and their livelihoods. God and sent his prophet to warn the leaders that he saw it and was sore displeased at what he saw. The prophet was sent to tell these evil men just what was in store for them.

Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them:
 he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they
 have behaved themselves ill in their doings. Thus saith the
LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err,
 that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth
not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.
 Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision;
and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine;
and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day
shall be dark over them. Then shall the seers be ashamed,
and the diviners confounded: yea, they shall all cover their lips;
for there is no answer of God.
(Mic 3:4-7)

The Lord warns them of this fact – the time would come when they would cry out to the Lord and he would not hear them and he would recompense them for their evil deeds. This is followed by Micah warnings against the false prophets and false seer's and false diviners of his time. They caused the people to err. They were deceivers. They would tell the people what they wanted to hear for money. They would cry peace when someone gave them a good meal, money or some other gift. Here is how the K & D commentary puts this passage.

concerning the false prophets. Micah describes them as people who predict peace and prosperity for a morsel of bread, and thereby lead the people astray, setting before them prosperity and salvation, instead of preaching repentance to them, by charging them with their sins. Thus they became accomplices of the wicked rulers, with whom they are therefore classed in Mic_3:11... - Keil And Delitzsch Commentary

Psst, you want a good prophecy about the future? Invite me over to dinner tonight, and I will tell you good things about your future!” This type of false prophet is chided here and for good reason. They were misleading the people. They were 'liars for dollars', like so many false prophets and pastors in the west today. They will never say the kinds of things that God's people need to hear. They will only tell folks what he thinks they WANT to hear. That is the mark of a false prophet. He rarely challenges you about sin, repentance, getting close to God, obedience to his commandments. He has another agenda. For these prophets of Micah's time, it is for a reward. Nothing has really changed. As long as the rulers and people supplied these prophetic liars with food, clothing and bread, they would go on prophesying peace and prosperity.

Brothers, this is why I personally do not belong to what I call America's Churchianty. This is because many of the pastors are on the government payroll. They have dual loyalty and have incorporated themselves into the government of this world. There are some excellent and informed pages in the net that are written by Christians and pastors who were once part of that system. This link may help some of you with a little background. Here is how this piece concludes.

The whole conclusion of showing this information is to inform the world and reveal the truth about the 501c3. We have been heavily deceived by the 501 c3 corporations masquerading as churches out there. I say dump your tax- free privilege, trust the Most High God, preach against transgressions unashamedly and do not hold back (proclaim the evils of baby-slaughtering, sodomy, Bush, politics, Socialism, corruption in gov’t, etc.)

"I am not the only IRS employee who’s wondered why churches go to the government and seek permission to be exempted from a tax they didn’t owe to begin with, and to seek a tax deductible status that they’ve always had anyway. Many of us have marveled at how church leaders want to be regulated and controlled by an agency of government that most Americans have prayed would just get out of their lives. Churches are in an amazingly unique position, but they don’t seem to know or appreciate the implications of what it would mean to be free of government control"   - Nestor, IRS Senior Revenue Officer (ret) - 501(c)3 Exposed (please – I do not subscribe to all of the teachings on this or ANY site – I just pass this link/page on because it is very well done. - MSW)

More here. This too is good and this as well is most excellent on the subject. Say what you want to brothers, your pastors in America, with only a few courageous and notable exceptions are merely spokesmen for Babylon. The Whore has got their tongue and this is why they cannot decry the crimes, speak against the murders, unjust wars and other evils. If they do, they get a phone call or are threatened. This is the real world we live in brothers. The sins of the religious establishment that occurred back then have only been codified into law today. God has not changed. He is still on the throne and brothers, his standards have not and will not change.

He was sore displeased with the false prophets on Micah's time and he is just as if not more displeased with the false prophets and pastors of our time and if you really want to know why a guy like me is about the only one telling you of Nazi's in Ukraine, US support for the Christian executioners in Iraq and Syria and why Libya now is run by Al-Qaeda linked militants, installed by the US government– it's because your pastors are gagged; they couldn't tell you even if they knew and far too many are too busy serving the devil filling their bank accounts to care about such things.

This is ultimately what Micah is decrying in this passage – system of false religiosity that gives 'good words' for money. The day would come when these false prophets would no longer have a vision from God. The day would go dark for them. God was going to silence their lies with darkness.

But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD,
and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob
his transgression, and to Israel his sin. Hear this, I pray you
, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the
house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity.
They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity.
The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests
thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money:
yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is
not the LORD among us?
none evil can come upon us.
(Mic 3:8-11)

Micah then contrasts his ministry with those who lie in the name of the Lord for their bread. Micah is not full of the bread of lies, but with the spirit of the Lord and he is indeed going to expose the transgressions of Israel. Micah was full of the power and Spirit of the Lord whose spirit represents judgment and might. He was not going to tickle the ears of God's people and leave them in their sins without due warning, he was going to declare Israel's sins for that was what he was called to do. Again, Micah is contrasting his work with those who prophecy for money and gave out good words for reward.

The two words – Judgment and Might are these in the Hebrew dictionary

H4941
משׁפּט

mishpâṭ
mish-pawt'

From H8199; properly a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree (human or (particularly) divine law, individual or collectively), including the act, the place, the suit, the crime, and the penalty; abstractly justice, including a particular right, or privilege (statutory or customary), or even a style: - + adversary, ceremony, charge, X crime, custom, desert, determination, discretion, disposing, due, fashion, form, to be judged, judgment, just (-ice, -ly), (manner of) law (-ful), manner, measure, (due) order, ordinance, right, sentence, usest, X worthy, + wrong.

H1369
גּבוּרה
gebûrâh
gheb-oo-raw'

Feminine passive participle from the same as H1368; force (literally or figuratively); by implication valor, victory: - force, mastery, might, mighty (act, power), power, strength.

This was the spirit that the prophet was operating under and his message was coming from the most high. Micah was not going to compromise the message for reward and he had the courage and might to speak the unvarnished truth.

Brothers, there are not many men - in fact very, very few who really have that kind of courage today. there are many out there claiming to speak for God, but many of them are only speaking a word they have been paid to give or a word they think will win them influence and perhaps a paid invitation to a Church or Christian convention.

Then he gives this new message to the heads (leaders) of Israel and gives a most uncomplimentary description of them. He says they abhor (hate) judgment, justice and pervert all equity. These were the basic characteristics of the leaders of Israel in those days. The word translated abhor means to loath and to detest it. These men really hated justice and this is why the Lord became so angry. But the passage actually is more explicit in that it says that they perverted ALL equity.

What Micah is describing is a system of injustice that reveled in its perversity, in the way that it blessed the guilty and condemned the just. This is probably what verse 10 is referring to – they built up Zion with Blood, probably referring to judicial murders and other sundry violent crime that enthroned the injustice and gave power to inequity. JFB commentary puts it like this

build up Zion with blood--build on it stately mansions with wealth obtained by the condemnation and murder of the innocent (Jer_22:13; Eze_22:27; Hab_2:12).

This is a very close parallel to the above mentioned verse found in Jeremiah. Let me quote from it here for it is most instructive.


Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness,
and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour's
service without wages, and giveth him not for his work;
That saith, I will build me a wide house and large chambers,
and cutteth him out windows; and it is cieled with cedar,
and painted with vermilion. Shalt thou reign, because thou
closest thyself in cedar? did not thy father eat and drink,
and do judgment and justice, and then it was well with him?
He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him:
was not this to know me? saith the LORD. But thine eyes and thine heart
 are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood,
and for oppression, and for violence, to do it.

(Jer 22:13-17)



These are the crimes that Jeremiah and Micah spoke against. Micah came before Jeremiah in the times of their ministries. What is really amazing is that after they do all of this evil they have the gall to say is not the Lord among us? They had the temerity to claim to lean on God while they robbed and murdered the just man in their perverted courts!

Brothers, this is the kind of blindness that falls on a nation when they become reprobate. They think that God approves of their evil because of their race or nationality. With Israel, they thought God was with them because they were Israel and were Jews. Yet these are the same kinds of sins we see in our own nation. Somehow, we Americans think that we can get away with mass murder, wrecking whole nations and throwing the poor man out of his home and then say 'God bless America' and think all will be well. This is the mentality I think that Micah is speaking against. It is the 'God understands' our wickedness and evils and will not punish us, mentality... all to prevalent in the USA. “None evil shall come upon us” We are Americans! Micah's words are for any nation who develops this mentality.


Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field,
and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house
as the high places of the forest.
(Mic 3:12)

The Lord here through is prophet is making plain the fallacy of this viewpoint. Simply put he is saying that the destruction you think cannot befall you has already been ordained. They thought wrong and were about to learn a lesson in spirituality the hard way. This passage is interesting in that Jeremiah quoted from it when they were thinking about killing him.

Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people,
 saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and
against this city all the words that ye have heard.
Therefore now amend your ways and your doings,
and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD
will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.
 As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth
good and meet unto you. But know ye for certain,
that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent
blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the
inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the LORD hath
sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears.
Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests
and to the prophets; This man is not worthy to die:
 for he hath spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God.
Then rose up certain of the elders of the land, and spake
to all the assembly of the people, saying, Micah the Morasthite
 prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah,
and spake to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus saith the
LORD of hosts; Zion shall be plowed like a field,
and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain
of the house as the high places of a forest. Did Hezekiah
king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to death?
did he not fear the LORD, and besought the LORD,
and the LORD repented him of the evil which he had
pronounced against them? Thus might we procure
great evil against our souls.
(Jer 26:12-19)



The Lord was slow to anger and waited and waited but finally one day, he stopped waiting and fulfilled his word against an evil and reprobate nation.

When the Lord sends in his prophets it means that a nation or people are at the final stage of warning before God deals with them. When he says repent, your best move is to not delay and do it, because once the hand of judgment falls, the Lord stops up his ears from hearing your cries and gives you just what your actions have been demanding - recompense.




20 Aug

Award Winning Playwright Gives Views On De-nazification Of America

This is an excellent piece posted on CounterPunch and one that I think those who are caught up in this elite money driven hysteria should take a minute to read.

It just goes to show how easy it is to manipulate folks and frankly how many Americans actually would rather be manipulated than think for themselves, or at all.

Watching all of this madness - I feel like a guy on a prairie, watching a herd of stampeding buffalo, thundering across the plain heading to a cliff which none of them will see until they fall off into gorge 500 feet below. I am doing my best to get out of the way of the mindless beasts in their mad rush to a destruction, they don't even know.
The vultures circling overhead, having seen this movie before, screech their carrion cry in anticipation of the coming feast.

Orange Revolution, Arab Spring, Maidan? I get the feeling we may be on the verge of the same thing here in the US.

The above link is good, fully of satire and a bit of dark humor that tells more truths about where we are today, than a hundred cable news networks.

Me? I stopped caring about pleasing the mob long ago. I am going to tell it like it is even if most people don't like it or me for not giving into the the loopy political conniption of the day -  brought to you by (name your multi-billion dollar corporation/rich elitist here).


18 Aug

Schwarzenegger On The Nazis He Knew: ‘Broken Men … Filled with Shrapnel And Guilt’

The Daily Caller gives space to the former movie star, Mr. Universe and California Governor and gives us his take on the events at Charlottesville. This is very telling and I am rather surprised by its brutal honesty. He tells readers that the real Nazi's he knew were losers and fought for a lost cause and a false ideology.

Thanks to the 'Governator' for his unique first hand experience with real Nazi's.

This is a sad time in America, it really is and it is times like this that frankly, I am so glad to be behind a password wall. There is so much hate and ignorance out there along with a lot of frustration. Elected officials wanting Trump Assassinated, people wanting to take down war memorials, you name it. I wonder what is next.

Do activists now want to tear down the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument? Each were slaveholders. What about Mr. Rushmore? Was slave labor used in building the White House? The Capitol Building? Maybe they should be razed to the ground too. Erasing the whole era of American history before and during the civil war? What will that do?

Ever heard of Holocaust denial? There are some very vocal anti-Semites who believe that the Holocaust did not happen, or rather want the world to believe that the Holocaust did not happen. In short, they want to re-write history. It's pretty easy to do when you erase the real history. Do we want to go there? Do we want to hear about 'slavery denial' in 20 years? I don't. Ugly history is the best history to remember. It helps us not to repeat those mistakes. Bloodsoaked mistakes.

Those of you who want to erase parts of our history... be careful what you wish for.


16 Aug



Charlottesville

This was a subject I had decided to write on this AM and soon thereafter I got this link from a reader (thanks!).
https://www.allenbwest.com/2017/08/13/ok-folks-heres-really-happened-charlottesville-everyone-missing/
It was written by a Black conservative. The reader who sent me this grew up in Charlottesville and sent me a rather extended and most interesting email detailing her background from there as well as other anecdotes dealing with race in the area.

I will not repost it as I did not request her permission, rather I thought I would jot down some key thoughts on this horrible tragedy. - MSW

I suppose this is time for we to weigh in on the tragic events in Charlottesville, where political violence claimed the lives of Americans. My heartfelt sympathy to those who lost loved ones in the senseless brutality and violence that transpired.

If I spend today just talking about this issue, it is for a reason.

First of all we all must understand, all Americans must understand that every American has a right to protest. Black Lives Matter, Gay Rights activists, Green Activists. Weather we personally agree with what they are protesting against or in favor of, they have a right, a constitutionally protected right to protest. As repugnant as I find the ideology of these White Nationalists and Neo-Nazi's, they have a right to protest and air what they view as their grievances, as long as it is done peacefully.

From what I understand about this whole chain of events, these avowed racists had to go to Federal Court in order to get permission to have their march. They got that permission. Here is a down and dirty chain of events. So this was no haphazard rally. This was planned and permission was given to have this rally.

Then apparently counter protests started. These counter protests, as far as I can determine did not receive the courts permission and as a result of their presence and according to witnesses, their violence, the situation got ugly. Even armed militia's came down, but their actions were not in support of the racists and made it plain that their presence was neutral. Police have been accused of 'standing down' and their own spokesperson made it clear that their presence was 'thin'.

The fundamental question here is and I don't think the major papers and blogs have made it clear is this, who started the violence? Did the counter protesters go to specifically to start violence? As evil as these White Nationalists are, they too enjoy the same protections as BLM, Occupy Wall Street, etc when they peacefully protest. If the left or rather the counter protesters started the violence, then who is to blame for the violence? Now mind you, no one can responsibly blame the left for the people who were killed and injured in the car attack, a foul deed which seems to have been inspired by Islamic terrorists who have recently been using this method to spread fear and to make their twisted political statements in the blood of the innocent.

But while many Americans are loath to credit Trump for being right, he is in this instance. There has been plenty of political violence on both sides of the aisle and truly believing that you are right in a political argument, does not give you the right to use violence or deny other Americans their rights. Well, whatever fake news and false narratives that have been put out in the mainstream media, Trump was and is right when he said...

“What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt-right? “Do they have any semblance of guilt? What about the fact they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. As far as I am concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day.”
“I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane. You had one group on one side, and you had a group on the other side,”  - President Trump

"I'm right so I have the right to bash your head in", is that the 'statement' the left wants to make?

Statements like Trump's recent comments are used by many to say that Trump 'supports Nazi's'. No, that is not how I read it. I see a President who is disgusted with the violence that took place on both sides. I feel the exact same way. In fact, I will go you one further, it looks to me, that if these people came to that protest armed with clubs, knives and other weapons and may have clearly had the intention to create violence. Let's let the DOJ view all of the surveillance footage (not just carefully chosen/edited snippets designed to spark emotional outrage as we will soon find on blogs and sites on the internet) and see where the truth lies.

I think everyone in this nation, Black and White, old and young, rich and poor needs to take a long deep breath and catch themselves from being caught up in fake emotions being driven by fake news and liars who wiggle their forked tongue on the cable news networks. Too many heavily politicized blogs and new organizations will create any news event that they can use to denigrate the person who beat their candidate, Hillary Clinton. They have not missed a single opportunity to do just that. They are loath to condemn the acts of political violence that took place in the election when it was being committed by the left.

One thing that needs to be kept in mind, to all of you who think that they can engage in this violence, set fire to a car, smash out a storefront window and steal property -  this President and AG are not playing that game. I was shocked and taken aback when I discovered that those people who engaged in violence on Trump's inauguration are not just facing some small fine and a 'time served' rebuke from the courts, but some now are facing 70+ years in prison. And while I do understand how the author of the last piece is attempting to shed a light on the dangers to lawful protests with these acts, we must not forget that what was done was crime in anyone's book and in any nation on earth. You set fire to a car and smash out windows and engage in other misdeeds, you have just ceased being an activist and have turned into a criminal. Now a 75 year or even 10 year sentence may be too harsh. But should vandalism and violence go unchecked just because it was done under the cover of political activism? I would say no.

But the even more compelling reason for this view is more important but probably less understood by many Americans. It is a subject I have broached here before. It comes under the heading of domestic political destabilization. This is a practiced art that many of the world's governments engage in, not least of which is our own. Destabilization is done with many many methodologies but one that has been used by the US of late is the idea of 'regime change'. This can be accomplished by stirring up political trouble in a nation in the hopes that such political instability can bring about a change in government that is more amendable to the interests of the covert destabilizing force. This is a potent threat to any modern state. Not least of which is America.

Related: Rent-A-Mob In Charlottesville
$25 An Hour To Protest

This is accomplished by finding political hot potato issues, funding and directing one side or both sides covertly, arrange protests along with counter demonstrations and let natural events take their course. Finding and exploiting those social and political time bombs is the first key 'thing to do' when wanting to do engage in this. In America, social, economic, racial and even religious hatred are key aspects of America where key fault lines can be duly exploited, by the nation's enemies. America's enemies know our weaknesses, they have agents who live here are in positions of influence who can be used to inform these nations as to just where, when and how to take advantage of long simmering discontent and anger to 'compact the powder in the keg and ignite it' and create the kinds of instability they are looking for. This is why we all need to be careful with those who are doing their best to use this as a reason to impeach Trump. This would be the goal of many nations who don't like the idea of future trade tariffs and shipping jobs back to America, leaving their own citizens unemployed. There are nations with a lot of influence here in the US, who know how to stir up trouble right here to get what they want at the expense of the American people. It's not too hard to find useful idiots to assist, not in 21st century America.

Then there are other 'deep state' actors who work with (or for) these foreign interests and assist (accidentally on purpose) these foreign nations, for they too want to 'change regime' in the White House. Often for many of the same reasons - they make good money using slaves in these countries, paying them a pittance in unsafe and exploitative work environments.

This is why frankly, while I don't like to see our phone data abused by government, Sessions Warrant seeking data on those who helped organize the violence during the inauguration is not necessarily a bad thing. Provided a real warrant and probable cause can be found by a sitting Federal Judge. That key check is the difference between this and the warrantless wiretapping we have seen in the past. If the same thing had happened during Obama's first inauguration, would you now want to know who was behind it, funded it and find out if maybe it wasn't the Chinese, North Koreans, White Supremacists or perhaps even other nations who pretend friendly relations with us? Any honest person from the left would say yes.

My view is more complex that the reactionary emotionalism the headlines are today giving support to and create the political anger to bolster the drive to remove the President.

I think that there are powerful interests in Washington, even within the GOP that are moving to detach Trump from his base and sadly, though they are a small part of that base, these White Nationalists are part of it. Trumps original less that forthright condemnation of racists got him into trouble, particularly with Democratic wannabe Presidents like Joe Biden, whose self interested tweets should be taken in the light of typical political banter.

Biden, while Vice President got his son over into Ukraine to make money on Shale Oil drilling after the Neo-Nazi government was safely installed there. Consortium piece is generous to the regime in Kiev saying that they just support the Nazi brigades. That is not all together the whole picture as the whole government that came to power after the violent coup was Neo-Nazi. Here is a piece many of you are not going to want to deal with, but here it is. More here.

My point is to make sure you understand that Biden's alleged distaste for Nazi-ism from where I stand, is not backed up by his actions or the history that is not so easy to find on the increasingly censored web.

General Lee

All of these protest swirl around a statue of a long dead General who was honored by both the North and the South after the Civil War. Gen. Lee, in hindsight, fought for the wrong side, but he and many other Americans made the same choice and despite the carefully re-written history of those times, there were more than a few Black folks in the South who supported the South's war efforts. Many were slaves, but the history is far more complex than the usual simplistic narratives and politically correct history has given us. Many would rather not deal with real history and want to re-write it to suit their own ends. The Nazi's did that and so did the Soviets as censorship and 'creative history' were both a key foundation of each of these evil governments system.

General Lee, for good or ill is a very important part of our History. To write him out of history is to engage in the very same Nazi-ism those on the left are now decrying. The history of the Civil War simply cannot be oversimplified to suit the whims of the historically ignorant and frankly those who think tearing down a statue of Gen. Lee is a good thing only shows that ignorance. Many of those who fought for the South did not do so over the issue of slavery, of which more than a few opposed. The issues of that war go far, far deeper.

Here is how General Lee summed up his views on Slavery in a letter to his wife.

... In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence.
— Robert E. Lee, to Mary Anna Lee, December 27, 1856
As we read this, we must realize that Lee and all of those like him were products of their times, not ours. I see a man deeply conflicted about slavery not one who can't wait to get back to the plantation and beat his slaves in some kind of twisted glee.

Most fought for the South because they were conscripted. Slavery was an issue, but it was only one of many issues. The key issue that war was fought was the issue of State's Rights. The right for any State to succeed from a Union that they no longer saw as beneficial. The same things are happening today. Think Brexit, think the CaLEAVEfornia movement, think the movement for the succession of Cascadia. The history of the Civil War and its follies and bloodshed will certainly be repeated if we don't learn the proper lessons or try and tear down key parts of that history in a fit of rage over 'fake news'.

Over the past few years, I have taken a lot of time to go over the Civil War, not just the great battles and the actions of the President, but the diary's of ordinary foot soldiers, wives of Southern Generals, the exploits of the Guerilla's etc. One comes away with a very different understanding of the war if we ignore the historians and listen to the record of those who lived through it suffered through it and left is a written record. So I am adamantly opposed to removing those statutes. They exist on all major Civil War battlefields as a testimony to the sacrifices and bravery of men from both sides. Those of you who want to honor the man who was largely seen as being responsible for freeing the slaves, Lincoln, would to well to mimic him and work hard to bring healing to our nation. He was hard pressed to punish the South harshly for its 'Treason' and 'Rebellion', as some top political leaders urged him to do. He did not but wanted the North and South to live again as brothers. Lest we forget, Lincoln himself was clear as to his most important objective. It was to preserve the Union, not free the slaves.

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause." -  The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume V, "Letter to Horace Greeley" (August 22, 1862), p. 388.

Many Southern Gentlemen both before, during and after the war felt that the South should have freed the slaves first and then fought the war as they knew that the slave issue was a galvanizing issue in the North. Take that away and the reasons many had for fighting they felt would drain away.

So this fake debate about a statue fails to address many of the more pressing questions at hand on race, but gives us a fake issue, with fake narratives that even if one side 'wins', will change absolutely nothing, i.e., fake results. It won't put jobs in depressed Black communities or stop heroin from entering into them; it won't stop the cycle of violence afflicting young Black men that now has Black intellectuals burying their heads in the sand over, refusing to address in an effective and intelligent manner.

Frankly, I think the left and other reactionaries are going about this the wrong way. The best way to deal with these kinds of racists in many instances is to ignore them. Treat them like you would the kids in a special-ed class. Emotionally atrophied and mentally incompetent. That pretty much is how I view those who give into the doctrines of hate. Violence is the last resort to the critically unthinking; either by choice or because of some biological deficiency. Why give these dum-dums all this time and space and divert the nations attention? If no one paid them any mind, they would have had a rally for about half a day and if no one covered it in the press, they would be far less encouraged to have another one. But as long as you continually give these mental misfits space and focus in the press, they will continue and their ranks may even swell. These racists are to be pitied, not feared.

Moreover, I refuse to let the historically ignorant dictate what we should all believe American history teaches us just because they listened to a 30 minute podcast and think now 'they have it all figured out'. There is too much ignorance and hate out there and not all of it is coming from the White Supremacists.

Finally, I feel it best to call out these big tech firms for booting Neo-Nazi sites from their services. I get that keeping them onboard is bad press. No one wants to be associated with them. But at the same time, I don't like censorship... of any kind. What happens when someone decides to call BLM a racist group? What happens when the wheels of the corporate-state moves in that direction? Who decides? What if one day Google is sold off to to new spinoff called 'Aryan Technologies' with the motto 'Tech is for Whites' and throws all non-white sites off of its servers? Is that the kind of America you want to live in?

What about other movements that have not come into being? Do we want to go the censorship route? What kind of statement are you really sending? We don't like Nazi's so we are going to be like Nazi's and censor you. That is wholly un-American.

Even on a practical level, this is not a good idea. It's better to have these guys on the web where they can be easily watched and monitored rather than have them going down in the deep dark web and having a lot more trouble tracking and understanding what is going on in this dark and violent counter culture.

You don't fight Nazi's by turning into one. There are better ways to do it. Censorship once started always takes dangerous and unexpected turns.

Moreover, A free press is an excellent safety valve. People can get their ideas into circulation in a way that does no real harm. Take that away and political statements are still likely to be made but not with ink or digital media.

There has been far too much of those kinds of political statements in world today - terrorism.

Better the mindless banter of these misfits than the violence their doctrines too often glorify.

Let's get rid of hate from our hearts. All kinds.

But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness,
 and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. (I John 2:11)

Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer
 hath eternal life abiding in him. (I John 3:15)

If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that
loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom
he hath not seen? (I John 4:20)

What I have said here is not politically correct (i.e. a commonly agreed upon lie), but it is as factual and honest as time and space allows. It's free from America's obsession with political correctness. It has become so much so we are willing to help erase part of our history and deny basic rights to those most of us find morally repugnant.

Well, I am not in favor of this on any level. This kind of propaganda feels good for a minute, but will only drive truths about who we are as Americans and how we got here, deeper into the memory hole. The best way to bring forth a lie is to hide the truth... even uncomfortable ones.

A lie told often enough becomes the truth.
Vladimir Lenin

A people without the knowledge of their past history,
origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
Marcus Garvey

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
Karl Marx

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived,
but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.
Maya Angelou
15 Aug

Tillerson Blasts ISIS For Genocide In Religious Freedom Report

The above link is from 'The Cable'. Below is a section of the preface from the 2016 report on religious freedom.

America’s promotion of international religious freedom demands standing up for the rights of the world’s most vulnerable populations. ISIS’ brutal treatment of religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East has drawn a great degree of attention over the last few years. The 2016 Annual Report details these atrocities. ISIS has and continues to target members of multiple religions and ethnicities for rape, kidnapping, enslavement, and death. ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims in areas it controlled.

ISIS is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups, and in some cases against Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and other minorities. The protection of these groups– and others who are targets of violent extremism – remains a human rights priority for the Trump Administration. This report serves as a resource for governments and citizens alike, helping to inform the work of faith leaders, lawmakers, rights advocates, academics, business leaders, multilateral institutions, and non-governmental organizations. -
US State Department

Christian Persecution in India Hits Record High in First Half of 2017

This article piggybacks on an Opendoors Report on Persecution in India noting a sharp uptick in incidents.

Emails Show Saudi's Want Out Of Yemen

The invasion of Yemen has not gone well and the Saudi's had to learn this lesson the hard way. In the 21st century, there are some serious limitations as to the goals that can be achieved with the use of force.

Pope Francis 'Blesses' GMO Foods

Should he change his name to Pope Monsanto?

Mike Adams from Natural News gives us his take on this.

Christians Reveal ISIS Murders And Church Unity

This article talks about Chinese Church leaders who were put under investigation by the Chinese Communist Party for their connections to evangelization efforts in Pakistan. This is all part of a sad chain of events that ended in two Christians  being executed by ISIS.

Christianity Grows In Nepal

These are stories of a Church that is hardly dying, but is still winning souls to Christ. In Nepal it is just as the scriptures say, that the poor have the gospel preached to them and come to believe.

Christianity may be dying a slow death by asphyxiation (the pleasures of this life - Matt 13:7) in the west. Not so in other parts of the world. And as usual, as shown in this article, Christian leaders are often falsely accused of every crime in the book.

It's also good to see that a major MSM news source, the Guardian has a great story that is not trying to denigrate Christians.

Azerbaijan: Ever Present, But Little Known Persecution

08/11/2017 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Overshadowed by its more flamboyant and media-grabbing neighbors, Turkey, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and China, the Caucasus region lies relatively ignored by the Western media. Known mostly for being home to many ‘-stan’ countries like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan, the Caucasus region maintains a low profile for most people. This includes religious persecution. Unfortunately, ignorance does not make religious persecution disappear as the story of Pastor Hamid in Azerbaijan tells us.

Azerbaijan, one of the few non-‘stan’ countries in the Caucasus region, is a former Soviet country where approximately 94 percent of the local population is Muslim. Technically, the constitution says there is freedom of religion, including the freedom to participate in religious rituals. Yet the Azerbaijani government, despite its claim of religious freedom, has a State Committee on Work with Religious Organizations (SCWRO), responsible for protecting and monitoring religious activity, including registering religious organizations. Without registration, no religious organization can legally operate, including churches. Unfortunately, few Christian organizations are approved; there is an overwhelming bias towards Muslim registrations. Pastors and Christians who meet in unregistered groups with religious literature can face fines and imprisonment. - Continues at the ICC site.

State Gov't In India Passes Anti-Conversion Law

08/14/2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the Jharkhand Assembly, a state legislative body in northeastern India, passed the Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Bill-2017, also known as “Jharkhand Dharma Swatantra Adhiniyam,” on Saturday, August 12. The bill will now be sent to the governor, following whose approval it would go to the president for final assent. The bill was passed by the BJP-led government despite significant opposition from religious groups, civil society, and the tribal groups across Jharkhand.

“This is very unfortunate for the people of Jharkhand,” Rev. Dr. Man Maish Ekka, a member of the Jharkhand Sadbhavana Munch, a local religious freedom forum, told ICC. “This is not just an attack on Christians, but is an attack on the religious freedom that the constitution gives to very citizens of this country. The motive of the bill is to divide the tribal people and break their unity.”

“[These] anti-conversion laws, ironically titled freedom of religion laws, are actually aimed at taking away the freedom of religion and rights of tribal and other marginalized sections of the Indian society,” Rev. Vijayesh Lal, General Secretary Evangelical Fellowship of India, stated in a press statement.

Section 3 of the law states, “No person shall attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any person from one religious faith to another by use of force or by allurement or by any fraudulent means, nor shall any person abet any such conversion.” Punishment under this bill would include imprisonment of up to three years, a fine of 50,000 Rupees, or both. In cases where a minor, a woman, or a person from the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe communities were involved, the prison sentence would increase to four years and the fine to 100,000 Rupees. - International Christian Concern

Everywhere we turn, we see the governments of the earth turning on Christians. Why? Because brothers we are in a deep spiritual war and the Price of this world does not want to see men saved. He will and is using his demonic powers and the strongholds under his dominion to do his will, which is to keep men lost and away from the cross of Christ. So be not shocked at the way China, North Korea, Pakistan or India treats us.



13 Aug

Nehemiah Part LV

This is one of the latter sections of my study in Nehemiah, which would be the size of a decent sized book, were I to publish it. I have taken my time with it and dealt with each and every verse. Every week, I have done a  few verses and as you can see, there are at the time of this writing 55 different sections to this commentary.
 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was
there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him
king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin.
 Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against
our God in marrying strange wives?
(Nehemiah 13:26-27 [KJV])

We continue our look into the book of Nehemiah with the continuation of Nehemiah's religious reforms. This time we return to the issue of Foreign wives, which if you remember from an earlier chapter, was a major issue among the returnee's. It is one that Ezra had to deal with a few decades before as well as Nehemiah. In continuing to chide his hearers, he reminded them of the sin that Solomon had committed. Solomon as we all know loved many foreign wives and they turned his heart from serving the Lord. He was once very special to God and built him a great temple. But his heart was drawn to foreign women and they caused him to err and commit apostasy.
 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh,
women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; 
Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel,
Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely
they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.
 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines:
and his wives turned away his heart.  For it came to pass, when Solomon was old,
that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not
perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. 
For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after
Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.  And Solomon did evil in the sight
of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. 
Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab,
in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the
children of Ammon.  And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which
burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. 
(I Kings 11:1-8)

This was the danger that the Lord warned about in the law (Deut 17:17). Solomon fell for this trap of the devil and that is all it was and is. Any person place or thing that tries to get us to get out of God's commandments is wittingly or unwittingly an agent of the devil. Even Peter, with the best of intentions was used of him (Matt 16:23). We must always remember this. Solomon got into bed with all of these foreign women and then started worshiping all of those strange gods and goddesses. Solomon was probably the biggest reason Israel went into apostasy after David, for as the King does, so do the people. Since then there was a constant string of false gods, idolatry and other abominations in Israel. Why did this happen? The reason is in the passage above "But king Solomon loved many strange women..."

Nehemiah's reforms were designed to put a stop to the same errors that transpired before and here he reminds the people of this great sin of the past. He knew exactly what would happen. These women would bring their idols into the homes of his people and bring error to his people entice the men of Israel to their temples and religious celebrations.

Why are Foreign Gods So Enticing?

I think this is one thing that we should talk about because it is very relevant today.

The gods of the devil allow for various sins and evils. They are often elastic enough morally speaking, where murder, adultery, homosexuality, perversions, lying, stealing, fraud, trucebreaking, arrogance, hate, warmongering are allowed. The devils religions are designed to do one thing - to give people a warm religious feeling while they commit sin against God and move along the railroad tracks to hellfire. That is the purpose of any and all false religion.

People today don't want to deal with moral absolutes. Don't lie, don't steal, be faithful to your spouse, etc, these things are seen as too constraining. They don't want a religion that makes them live a little humbler and quieter and one that takes away their sinful pleasures or ill gotten revenue streams. They want a religion that lets them do whatever they want.

"Do as thou wilt."
 Satanist/Occultist Aleistair Crowley

As you all know many of those false religions in the days of the kings of Israel allowed for huge sexual orgies. This is the kind of religion many people flock to. Then the people say, "who is the Lord? We don't know him";  "We brought ourselves out of Egypt" or "by or own strength we are protected" or "my idol blesses me everyday" or "Molech has prospered me" or "Ashtoreth healed me from my boils". The people forget the God who did wonders for them. Why? It's more fun to go to the orgy than to Temple. There was more money in defrauding your neighbor than dealing honestly with him. It was cheaper to kill the guy who owned the land you wanted to buy than to pay him for it. Who would notice, since the you and the judge who would hear the case are drinking buddies and went to the temple of Molech together.

This is the morality that people really like. Oh sure, they decry these things in public or when they are the victims of crime and evil, but they are more than willing to engage in wickedness when they see something in it for themselves.

But the religion of the Lord is not that way. It is one of the few religions with a clear-cut no non-sense moral code. That code is 180 degrees opposite to the 'situational ethics' of today the quasi-eastern religions and new age religions and philosophies that are becoming more popular here in the west. These days, religion is being used to put a stamp of approval on sin and evil, justify it and codify it into law, not rebuke it. These are the things that mark a false religion.

This is why real Bible based Christianity is so much on the outs today. No one wants to change their behavior. They are looking for something that makes them feel good in their sins, rather than separating them from them. Once people realize that genuine Christianity is not going to let them keep their mistresses, their gay lovers, their business (like a porn shop, drug running, loan sharking, and other legal and illegal enterprises), they quickly turn to something more palatable to their desires. The demands (commands - as in not optional) of the Lord are simple, to the point and easily understood. God demands that man be separated from sin and evil. Any religion that tells you otherwise is a false one; any god that tells you otherwise is a false one.

The NT admonition on marriage should also be mentioned here. Paul did not say that those who were previously married to unbelievers should divorce. In fact, if the unbeliever is content to remain with his spouse, then there are no grounds for divorce, in God's eyes.


And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord,
Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart,
let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let
 not the husband put away his wife. But to the rest speak I, not the Lord:
 If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him,
let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not,
 and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving
wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean;
but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart.
 A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath
called us to peace. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt
save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save
thy wife? But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath
called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.
(1Co 7:10-17)



So if you get saved, and your unsaved husband wants to stay with you. Your faith is not an 'out' of your marital obligation. Your obligation to your wife or husband remains.

There are no clear cut prohibitions against marrying unbelievers. Though the passage in (2Cor 6:14) seems to be a pretty strong admonition against such a union. But again, it does not specifically mention marriage. Why is this?

It is hard to say. We must keep in mind that the hearers of Paul's letters were living in pagan Rome and many were slaves. Others were of the nobility and often marriages were arranged among them. What if Senator Publius wants to marry his daughter Livia to the Proconsul of Syria? The daughter is a Christian, the Proconsul has Venus and Mercury as the keepers of his home. What is she to do? I think there were practical considerations that would preclude such a sweeping prohibition. Again, unlike the command that went out to Israel in Moses' time, Christians who read Paul's letters were living in pagan Rome.

But the admonition above about being unequally yoked is your best guide in marriage with unbelievers as is the experience of ancient Israel and Solomon. Marriage is trouble enough when married to a fellow believer.

Back to the text


Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil,
to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?
Nehemiah 13:27 [KJV])

Nehemiah realized that marriage to these strange women was a grievous sin and it was. God loved Solomon, blessed him and gave him enormous responsibility and yet these foreign women turned his head and his heart against the Lord. Nehemiah asks the question. Should we listen to you and let this happen again? Should we sin again against the Lord, Is that your counsel?

Nehemiah was having none of this. if nothing else they were going to have a clear witness against them and their evil. Nehemiah was calling them out.


And one of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest,
 was son in law to Sanballat the Horonite: therefore I chased him from me.
(Nehemiah 13:28 [KJV])

The exact reason or Nehemiah's ejection of the descendant of Eliashib is not clearly stated, but I think it is inferred from the earlier verse when Nehemiah asked if transgressing God's commandment was his counsel. This to me would follow. Here is what K&D says about this passage.
Nehemiah acted with greater severity towards one of the sons of Joiada the high priest, and son-in-law of Sanballat. He drove him from him (מעלי, that he might not be a burden to me). The reason for this is not expressly stated, but is involved in the fact that he was son-in-law to Sanballat, i.e., had married a daughter of Sanballat the Horonite (Neh 2:10), who was so hostile to Nehemiah and to the Jewish community in general, and would not comply with the demand of Nehemiah that he should dismiss this wife. In this case, Nehemiah was obliged to interfere with authority. For this marriage was a pollution of the priesthood, and a breach of the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites. -  K&D
This person had a vested interest in seeing to it the nation remained in rebellion against God and that foreign wife of his was the reason. Again, this is just like Moses said it would turn the hearts of the people away from him. We must remember that this was a priestly bloodline. So this was a pretty important spiritual issue for the future of Israel. A shepherd in rebellion can only lead his sheep in the same direction. The name of the offender is not mentioned, only his lineage. Adam Clarke's commentary says that the offenders name is Manasseh.
One of the sons of Joiada - This was Manasseh, brother of Jaddua, son of Joiada, and grandson of Eliashib the high priest. - Clarke

We will continue the last section of Nehemiah next week God willing, The Commentary on Nehemiah is finished. and then perhaps the following week a summary of the book. Then unless anyone has any objections (let me know), I want to do Ruth (for insiders) next and focus on Godly women for a while.


Grace and peace to you all in Christ Jesus.


Brother Mark

Afghan Watch

20 Killed In Blast, Gun Attack At Shi'ite Mosque
Trump Looks At Afghan Pullout
Former Blackwater CEO Has Trumps Ear On Afghan Mercenaries
US Chopper Makes Hard Lancing In E. Afghanistan
SIGAR Issues Scathing Report On War In Afghanistan

This is the special IG that has been put in charge of reconstruction (and funding) in Afghanistan. They just issued their quarterly report to Congress. The unclassified version can be found here. There is a classified version. SIGAR has requested that the DOD declassify the information on systematic child abuse, but so far this has not happened.

The report gives us a rare look at some of the lesser known realities of Afghanistan, beyond the terrorist bombings and headline grabbing news.

Despite the United States providing $8.6 billion for counternarcotic efforts in Afghanistan since 2002, the area under cultivation continues to rise. It increased 10% to 201,000 hectares in 2016 compared to the previous year’s total. The United Nations also reported that 685 hectares were eradicated this year; these results are provisional, as they are not verified by satellite imagery. Eradication results for 2016 were 355 hectares, but even the recent increase accounts for less than 0.5% of the area under opium-poppy cultivation.

Ambassador William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, met with President Ghani in July to discuss strategy and counternarcotic efforts in the region. The U.S. government is still operating under its 2012 counternarcotics strategy for the country: the revised strategy has been postponed until the Administration completes its review of a draft revised policy...

... The World Bank, IMF, and others exclude the value from opium production in their reported GDP estimates. Afghanistan’s Central Statistics Organization releases official GDP growth figures in two categories—one that includes and one that excludes opium value. Opium-related earnings boost domestic demand and are a significant source of foreign exchange.

The estimated net value of opium production was $2.9 billion in 2016, representing 16% of GDP. The farm-gate value—the potential gross amount earned b farmers—was almost $900 million, roughly 5% of GDP and a 57% increase over 2015.- SIGAR

This report is really quite excellent as it looks at the whole economy of Afghanistan, US aid, development issues, Education, health, as well as counter narcotics efforts.

Afghanistan also suffers from widespread illegal drug use. A 2015 Afghanistan National Drug Use Survey estimated that roughly 11% of the population would test positive for one or more drugs, including 5.3% of the urban population and 13% of the rural population. Drug use among women and children is among the highest documented worldwide, and 30.6% of households tested positive for some form of illicit drug. Afghan drug use generates crime, funds the insurgency, and costs the Afghan government hundreds of millions of dollars in health-care costs, crime prevention, and lost economic productivity. - SIGAR



You can download it here.



Aug 11


The Real Foreign Invasion

Can you hear it? Can you see it? No. Most can't because it is not being talked about on cable news, Facebook or the latest sex scandal sheet you see at the checkout counter at the grocery store. But it's happening. There will never be an need for a foreign government to fire a shot to take over America. Our leaders will sell the ground out right from under us and call it 'patriotism'.
Foreigners snap up record number of US homes - CNBC

Unfortunately, the pdf report that was available on the site for free and with no copyright notice within it has been removed from the site to a password protected area. More here.


According to this article and the National Realtors Association, foreigners bought $153 Billion in US residential property. You read that number correctly. Foreigners are heading into the US at a very fast pace.

Now I am never going to do the xenophobic thing as this country has always been friendly to immigrants from all over the world. I see no reason to change that. The only people who have a right to complain about a 'foreign invasion' are Native Americans. The rest are nothing more than the sons and daughters of immigrants, with the exception of African Americans, whose decedents entry into America was not of choice.

Still, the trends are troubling. Not so much from the 'xenophobic' angle, but from an economic angle. The average purchase price for one of these homes was just over $535,000. Most Americans face it, simply cannot afford a home at that price point. The states where these buyers purchased? Florida was the highest by far, with Texas and California virtually tying for second with New Jersey and Arizona coming up last among the top destinations.

For those of you who want a really detailed look at the whole environment here with charts from the IMF, the PRC's central bank and more outlining the global trends behind this, the above referenced report from the NAR is excellent.

Always keep in mind that real estate is one key ways the wealthy stash their money. While banks are great and many folks put their assets in them, an investment that is likely to increase, and generate a revenue stream (rent) is one way the rich stay rich and renters stay renting. It is also a way for those with money who fear capital controls to get their money out of the country and this is one of the reasons so many Chinese are doing this.

But the trends in residential home buying is just one of the troubling trends in America when it comes to what I will call the slow displacement of Americans from their own economy.

The Trends in Foreign Direct Investment in the US are also of note.

Foreign direct investment in the United States in 2015 increased by 83% over that recorded in 2014. (Note: The United States defines foreign direct investment as the ownership or control, directly or indirectly, by one foreign person [individual, branch, partnership, association, government, etc.] of 10% or more of the voting securities of an incorporated U.S. business enterprise or an equivalent interest in an unincorporated U.S. business enterprise [15 CFR §806.15 (a)(1)].) In 2015, according to U.S. Department of Commerce data, foreigners invested $379 billion in U.S. businesses and real estate, compared with the $207 billion invested in 2014. Foreign direct investments are highly sought after by many state and local governments that are struggling to create additional jobs in their localities. While some in Congress encourage such investment to offset the perceived negative economic effects of U.S. firms investing abroad, others are concerned about foreign acquisitions of U.S. firms that are considered essential to U.S. national and economic security.

On October 31, 2013, the Obama Administration launched a new initiative, known as Select USA, to attract more foreign direct investment to the United States. According to the Administration, the aim of the program is to make attracting foreign investment as important a component of U.S. foreign policy as promoting exports. As a result, the President reportedly instructed Commerce and State Department officials to make attracting foreign investment one of their “core priorities.” In addition, the program has designated global teams led by U.S. ambassadors in 32 key countries to encourage foreign investment into the United States, and has established a “coordinated process” to connect prospective investors with senior U.S. officials. The initiative (selectusa.commerce.gov) offers a number of tools for foreign investors looking to invest in the United States, including a list of various state and federal programs that may be available to foreign investors. - Congressional Research Service, FDI In the US - An Economic Analysis

The trends are troubling but not disastrous. The CRS piece looks at both aspects of foreign investment. That which US companies invest abroad and that which others invest here. We must also keep this key fact in mind. This kind of investment is the cornerstone of Globalization. Globalization is meant to undermine and otherwise destroy national sovereignty in favor of international institutions and (most importantly) global corporations.


The reasons for this are many, but one interesting observation in the CRS report says this

"According to Commerce Department data, the increase in foreign direct investment in the United States in 2016, compared to 2015, reflects a 10% drop in net equity investments by foreign- owned firms from $390 billion in 2015 to $352 billion in 2016. Equity capital, which accounted for 10.0% of U.S. direct investment abroad in 2016, accounted for 53.0% of foreign direct investment in the United States, as indicated in Figure 4. This high percentage of financing that originates from equity capital raises questions about the overall net impact of foreign direct investment on the U.S. economy, since foreign firms may be competing with domestic firms for sources of financing in U.S. capital markets. In part, the shift in net equity investments may reflect rising equity values and efforts by foreign firms to boost the value of their stock by buying back shares, as many U.S. firms have done since early 2014.".

Another very interesting chart is the one with a look at various sectors of FDI investment can be found below.



Well, I will not belabor this. Those of you interested can read the report from the CRS. It pretty much tells the tale. Just always keep in mind that key word that is not going to be mentioned much - Globalization. Also, when looking at this data, keep the 'camel in the tent' analogy in your mind. One the foreigners are in, they form a powerful political lobby as they have the one thing politicians want - Money.


Meanwhile....

In other US economic news, we find that serious issues abound. One is the Student Loan Crisis. the crisis that no one for a long time even admitted we had. Students who get a degree, go into debt to the tune of thousands. But other problems are brewing as well. Here is a great place to look at the crisis.

Here is a chart just of outstanding (as of Q2 2017) loans created from data provided by the Department of Education.



That is indeed going to be a major shoe to drop. The other one? Well the guy over at Automatic Earth has a great piece here that looks at a whole range of issues, not least of which the strange patterns of stock purchases that are sending the market to the moon.
There are other stories of note as well. Oil Price.com asks if more Bankruptciies are in store for Shale Oil Drillers.

The low prices are the problem, but one that emanates from US policy makers who have tried and are trying to bust up OPEC and starve nations like Russia, Iran and Venezuela of much needed capital. The problem is the debt bomb that lays underneath many a  shale oil platform across the nation.

Another problem? Unwinding QE, which is going to be a problem. Do we know exactly what will happen. No and anyone who does is guessing. Why? Nothing like this has ever happened before. QE was meant to inflate prices of stocks, bonds and even real estate. Have we seen that? Oh yes. What happens when that process goes into reverse.

Let your imagination run a bit and you will probably be close.

Precious Metals + Rogue President = Mass Death In Congo

I could not get the radio program to play, but you can get some background on this in this piece, which is very good.

You Know Your Society Is Sick When...

"...data from 2011-2015 based on the National Crime Victimization Survey, shows that disabled people experience violent victimization at over twice the rate of people without disabilities. (On average 32 per 1,000 disabled people experience violent victimization annually, compared to 13 per 1,000 non-disabled people.)" -  Prison Policy Initiative.


Image Source: DOJ
I don't think much comment is needed here.



Aug 10

Persecution Magazine: Aug 2017

This issue talks about Islam's abduction and forced conversion of Christian girls.

You can download the very, very large pdf here (approx 175MB).

(ICC) Imagine that you are a young teenage girl living some- where like Nigeria, Egypt, or Pakistan. Imagine that you’re going about your daily life – perhaps you’re attending school, shopping at the market, or working to help your family survive. Because you’re a Christian though, life is challenging as you and your family experience discrimination and hatred at work, home, and school, but you persevere.

One day, a Muslim man approaches you and demeans your faith and calls you an infidel. He tells you that you are too pretty to be a Christian and pressures you to convert to Islam.

 But you keep walking, head down, trying to keep the annoyance from escalating into something truly frightening. But then, in broad daylight, in the middle of your neighborhood teeming with neighbors and police, he and another man grab you and throw you into the back of a car.

Immediately, a bag is put over your head and everything goes dark. You’re in a moving vehicle, surrounded by men defiling your religion, calling you names and touching you. You’ve heard of this happening to other girls and women, but now it’s happening to you. The worst part is that you know the rest of the story and are in terror of the hell you about to descend into, and all you can think is, “This can’t be happening to me.”

When you arrive at your destination, the men remove your blindfold. The first man who approached you again demands that you convert to Islam. When you refuse, he and the others begin to verbally and physically abuse you. They strip off your clothes and then begin to rape you…over and over again. - Credit International Christian Concern Image and Text

This issue also has some info about Egypt and Islam's treatment of women, so if you are not on a bandwidth restricted plan, download it and check it out.


Psalm 123


We will continue our brief interludes with the Songs of Degree's

A Song of degrees. Unto thee lift I up mine eyes,
O thou that dwellest in the heavens.

(Psa 123:1)

This Psalm like the other similar songs of ascents (degrees) starts off identifying it as being such. Then it begins with a common theme, looking upwards (121) or going upwards (122). Here the Psalmists looks upwards to heaven where the Lord dwells. God dwells in a place that is unapproachable to us moral men. God rules all things from his throne and it is to this heavenly throne that the Psalmist lifts up his eyes. The words translated dwelleth in the KJV is better translated seated or by implication, enthroned. The word is this one.

H3427
יָשַׁב
yâshab
yaw-shab'
A primitive root; properly to sit down (specifically as judge, in ambush, in quiet); by implication to dwell, to remain; causatively to settle, to marry: -  (make to) abide (-ing), continue, (cause to, make to) dwell (-ing), ease self, endure, establish, X fail, habitation, haunt, (make to) inhabit (-ant), make to keep [house], lurking, X marry (-ing), (bring again to) place, remain, return, seat, set (-tle), (down-) sit (-down, still, -ting down, -ting [place] -uate), take, tarry.
Total KJV occurrences: 1081


Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters,
 and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress;
so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God,
until that he have mercy upon us.
(Psa 123:2)

In this verse we see the Psalmist looks upon God in a special way. He looks upon him in submission, in deference and in faith, waiting on God to have mercy on them and to guide and direct them, like a handmaiden to her mistress. The next couple of verses and the situation described have caused scholars to surmise that this Psalm was not composed by David, but was rather composed around the time of the Babylonian exile. Some even think that it was written by Isaiah.  The idea in this verse seems to me to be similar to that in Rev 14:4 describing the 144 thousand where it says that 'they follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth'. They are ever with their Lord and are there to do his bidding.


Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us:
for we are exceedingly filled with contempt.
(Psa 123:3)

Again here, the idea of some great national chastisement is evident in the passage and the Psalmist asks for mercy. This is what God wants us all to do, esquire of him, ask him his opinion. seek his counsel or in this passage ask God for mercy. But he wants us to do this always, not just when we are under the lash of chastisement. As we see the situation was dire for Israel and they were greatly despised, which is an alternative translation of 'exceedingly filled with contempt'. The word contempt is this one.

H937
בּוּז
bûz
booz
From H936; disrespect: - contempt (-uously), despised, shamed.
Total KJV occurrences: 11

This would seem to place this in the exilic period. Here is how John Gill comments.


for we are exceedingly filled with contempt; by reason of meanness in outward circumstances, the common lot of God's people; and therefore are reckoned the faith of the world, and the offscouring of all things: and on account of their religion, which wicked men make a jest of; reckon an engine of state, to keep people in awe of the civil magistrate; or a piece of priestcraft, to serve the lucrative views of a set of men; or as mere cant and enthusiasm, and a gloomy melancholy business, which none but fools will give into; and particularly on account of peculiar doctrines embraced, which are branded as novel, irrational, and licentious; and ordinances, which entirely depend on the sovereign will of the institutor of them. For these things, and the like, contempt was plentifully poured upon them; they had enough of it, and too much, so much that they could not bear it; - John Gill

Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease,
 and with the contempt of the proud.
(Psa 123:4)

The key to this passage is that they were being jeered at and mocked. Those who were at ease would mock them as they lived in careless ease. They may have had such a lowly social standing, they were given menial tasks to perform and like during the days of the Nazi's when the Jews would be made a laughing stock and forced scrub sidewalks etc, as a form of degrading entertainment.

This is clearly a Psalm about suffering and being under the Lord's lash. Nevertheless, the Psalmist was not reviling God as Job's wife told Job to do (Job 2:9), but rather humbly sought the Lord in the hour of his trial.

That is what we must do when trials come, humbly go to God and ask him for guidance.



9 Aug

Micah

Chapter 2

Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds!
when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of
 their hand.And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses,
and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man
 and his heritage.Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, against this
family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks;
neither shall ye go haughtily: for this time is evil. (Mic 2:1-3, KJV)


The next chapter of Micah shifts gears somewhat and moves from his word against idolatry and starts off by naming other social evils that were taking place in Israel in those days. There were a group of wealthy noblemen who were making plans to steal the land of the poor man.  In those days, a man's land was not only his home, but also for most, his source of income and his heritage.

The prophet here elicits an image of a greedy robber baron plotting the theft of the poor man's land at the very first light of the morning and as soon as he gets up, gets busy implementing their wicked plans. They took away the poor man's home and land by violence an oppression. This all stems from the root cause of covetousness. We have seen the same things today, but today these things are a global phenomenon. I often visit sites and occasionally post stories on this. You can find some interesting papers on this here. You can read a little more here.

This AM I got a really good email from a long time reader I am going to digress here for just a moment so you get a sense as to what is going on in our world. We were talking about China and the soft takeover of our nation that has been underway and is unknown to most Americans please forgive the digression but I think it pertinent

This reality that has revealed itself to me is a scary possibility. I spoke with an African man recently about this matter, and he confirmed to me that the Chinese had purchased vast tracts of land in Africa, nearly as large as nations in some cases. He claimed that while they did pay the locals, they did not hesitate to compel them into their employment. The conditions were deplorable, and the pay was just as close as it could be without being outright slavery/forced labor with no pay.

I, however, anticipate that the situation here will be different/far worse. I feel that the US will literally see a situation astonishing similar to that imposed by Germany during WWII. I have said in the past, that this would not be a racial deal, as the German's had back then. Now I can see where I am going to recant on that. Emphatically, the situation WILL be racial, with the Chinese being then where the Germans were during WWII. I worked last year in China, and you are right, then don't like black folk...or Christians, and they only like us white folk to the point that we will allow ourselves to be used by them, then they will only throw us to the curb, then do away with us as well, but only after they milk all that they can from us first... - Name Witheld

The bottom line is that large corporations from the west, China and elsewhere are moving into places that produce food and are finding legal ways to throw the poor man off of his land so the corporations or nations with large populations and who lack adequate food production (like China and India) can come in and produce food. The poor man, (often Africans) are pushed off with no recompense or recourse. This brothers, is a Global evil and no wealthy nation or people's are less guilty than the others. Even the African nations, who should be looking out for their people are in on it, often taking bribes from rich nations in order to facilitate title transfers. Sometimes these new global farms use prison (slave) labor. The point here is that this phenomenon of the rich man stealing from the poor – particularly his home and wealth is something that God really hates. This is why this writer has spoken so vehemently about the way the Big Banks were stealing the homes of poor people here in the US, using fraudulent paperwork, forgery and adjustable rage mortgages. Those homes did not fall into the Banks hands by accident, someone 'devised iniquity and worked evil in their beds' and when they went to the office that morning, they put their wicked plans into motion.


But the Lord uttered his voice and let them know that he too was capable of devising trouble on those who practice evil. He pronounced a horrendous judgment on those who did this thing. There would be recompense and what God was planning for them was not something they could shake off.  It was a yoke that they were not going to get out of. As they stretched their neck in arrogance and haughtiness, so now would an unbreakable yoke of  be placed on their necks that would bow it low that they could not escape, for the Lord had spoken it. The Lord via his prophet then pronounces that when these things happen it would be an evil time -  time of humiliation and distress, not pride and arrogance,  two sins which God was clearly going to break.

In that day shall one take up a parable against you,
and lament with a doleful lamentation, and say, We be utterly spoiled:
he hath changed the portion of my people: how hath he removed it from me!
turning away he hath divided our fields. Therefore thou shalt have none
 that shall cast a cord by lot in the congregation of the LORD.

(Mic 2:4-5)


The Prophet tells the people that they will  take up a doleful lamentation. The repetition of the world lament seems to indicated a long and monotonous cry of sorry and regret. Then the lament itself begins - here it is how the ESV translates this brief lamentation.

“We are utterly ruined;
 he changes the portion of my people;
 how he removes it from me!
 To an apostate he allots our fields.”


The last section of verse 4 does not appear to be part of the lamentation but may be directed at either a contemporary false prophet or to the haughty rich in general. It seems to indicate that they shall have no posterity to inherit any land in the future. It appears to be a reference to the dividing up the land by lot which was common since the days of the Patriarch. It was their covetousness, theft and violence that got their portion removed from the 'Congregation of Jehovah'.

This passage should be a stern warning to we Christians as well, to not let covetousness, greed and devisin evil plans become part of our lives, not if we want to be joint inheritors with Christ. If we let this happen we too will be cast out of the congregation of the Lord!!

Then Micah warns the people about how they treat God's messengers.


Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy:
 they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame.

(Mic 2:6)

Here, the wicked man whom the Lord's prophet was pronouncing these words, told the Lord's messenger to be silent and prophecy not. The idea seems to be the people were complaining, 'How dare you say such horrible things to us, we are God's chosen!' If all you have to say is 'negativity', then shut up'. This was a grievous error the people made. The second part of the verse indicates that the people think that by forbidding the prophet from speaking, they would be able to escape the judgments he pronounced on them.  The people did not want their sins exposed nor the unwelcome truths told to them. They wanted smooth words dripping with wine and whiskey (strong drink).


O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened?
are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?
 Even of late my people is risen up as an enemy: ye pull off the robe with
 the garment from them that pass by securely as men averse from war.
The women of my people have ye cast out from their pleasant houses;
from their children have ye taken away my glory for ever.

(Mic 2:7-9)

Here the Lord chides his people – They took the name of Israel (Jacob) but they had none of his righteousness. He asks them, 'has the Lord love and compassion really contracted (narrowed)'? Of course not, he makes it plain that God's word is good to those who do good.  Mathew Henry has a slightly different approach to the passage dealing with the idea of straitened.

"Is the Lord's Spirit straitened? In silencing the Lord's prophets you do what you can to silence his Spirit too; but do you think you can do it? Can you make the Spirit of God your prisoner and your servant? Will you prescribe to him what he shall say, and forbid him to say what is displeasing to you? If you silence the prophets, yet cannot the Spirit of the Lord find out other ways to reach your consciences? Can your unbelief frustrate the divine counsels?" (2.) What a scandal it was to their profession as Jews: "You are named the house of Jacob, and this is your honour; but are these his doings? Are these the doings of your father Jacob? Do you herein tread in his steps?

No; if you were indeed his children you would do his works; but now you seek to kill and silence a man that tells you the truth, in God's name; this did not Abraham (John 8:39; John 8:40); this did not Jacob." Or, "Are these God's doings? Are these the doings that will please him? Are these the doings of his people? No, you know they are not, however some may be so strangely blinded and bigoted as to kill God's ministers and think that therein they do him service," John xvi. 2. (3.) Let them consider how unreasonable and absurd the thing was in itself: Do not my words do good to those that walk uprightly? Yes; certainly they do; it is an appeal to the experiences of the generation of the upright: "Call now if there be any of them that will answer you, and to which of the saints will you turn?

I have always read his (Mathew Henry's) commentaries even from the days of my youth. His work is far less historical and technical but always is quite spiritually relevant.

If the Prophets words were speaking of doom, it was because their deeds were evil. In short the Lord was saying, 'lay off my prophets and lay off me and my word, YOU are the problem, change your ways and the Lord's word will be good towards you'. I can't deal with you as my people when your men rise up and steal the clothes off a man walking home, or rob a mother and her children of their home'.

They took away the substance of the ordinary man and in so doing they committed not just robbery, but sacrilege. Here is how Albert Barnes lays out part of this verse.

Instead of the holy home of parental care, the children grew up in want and neglect, away from all the ordinances of God, it may be, in a strange land. “For ever.” They never repented, never made restitution; but so they incurred the special woe of those who ill-used the unprotected, the widow, and the fatherless. The words “forever” anticipate the punishment. The punishment is according to the sin. They never ceased their oppression. They, with the generation who should come after them, should be deprived of God’s “glory,” and cast out of His land forever. - Albert Barnes

While the sense here is that the there were those among the people who were bandits and highway robbers, it also is likely that the robbery comes by other means, like usury and debt slavery when they took away a man's clothes for debts.


Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest: because it is polluted,
it shall destroy you, even with a sore destruction. If a man walking in the spirit
 and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink;
 he shall even be the prophet of this people.

(Mic 2:10-11)

Here the Lord basically instructs them to prepare to depart the land and go into captivity. It is a place where there shall be no rest. This new land of slavery will destroy you in a most unpleasant way. In that Israel had polluted the land with their iniquities and sin so shall they be cast out of it into a land that is polluted (spiritually). The new land would be and end to them 'even with a sore destruction'. Then the Lord contrasts the words of a true prophet with those of a false one who prophesies of wine and strong drink – I call the false ones the 'Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll' prophets. What the passage seems to be saying is that if you have a prophet who says, 'the wine will be a great vintage this year, or 'try the '2001 Scotch Whiskey, the Lord made it' such a liar would be a prophet to this people. They spoke of earthly pleasures and good times, not righteousness and truth.  They prophesied smooth things and deceits. They tickled ears and comforted, rather than rebuked seared and abominated consciences.


I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel;
I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold:
they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men. The breaker is come
up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate,
and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them,
and the LORD on the head of them. (Mic 2:12-13, KJV)


There appears to be some confusion about this passage. Some think this may be the words of a false prophet (continuing the theme from verse 11) promising prosperity to Israel in their drunken bashes. I do not see this at all. This passage to me is clearly one of the future restoration of Israel. The fact that the word remnant is used shows that most have gone by the spiritual wayside. This clearly was not the message of the false prophets who had no need of a remnant, since partying down and sipping whiskey was the way to 'salvation' for them.

Rather, God is showing us here that he will not make a full end of Israel and that one day he will regather them like sheep, not a few. This passage probably has a dual fulfillment, both a look at the eventual return from exile and more importantly the ultimate salvation of Israel at the end of this age (Romans 11:26). Borzah was a famous pasture for sheep in those days. The last verse in this chapter is probably a picture of the Messiah who breaks all the obstacles preventing Israel's restoration. The idea seems to be that just as the Lord went before them when they left Egypt (Exo 13:21), so shall he go before them in their eventual restoration.

All true prophets give a promise to those who repent and come to the Messiah, Old and New Testament. Micah is not exception. This sudden break from the oracles of woe to one of promise is common throughout prophetic literature. God, even in his anger does not forget that he wants to bless, forgive and restore.

We will get to chapter three as the Lord permits.


7 Aug

Prophecy And Technology

I apologize for re-posting this. I did this early this year (Feb) and simply forgot I posted this on the public page.

I will leave it here just the same.

Again, my apologies.
***
Today we are going to briefly look at some trends in technology and how they relate to Bible prophecy. No, we are not going to spend much time on the internet and privacy, but on other very important trends that are now coming to pass right before our eyes. These are some truly ‘epoch’ level changes coming and these new technologies are going to fundamentally alter life on earth and how man interacts with the world around him - his wages, war, how he pays his bills, works and travels. Major changes are just now starting to occur.


I can imagine many priests in the middle ages thought the Apostle John’s vision of the apocalypse too fantastic to believe in a literal sense. As I read the much older interpretations of scripture, I see how many of them tended to over-spiritualize so many of the things in there. They had no conception of the kinds of technological advances man would have achieved in the final hour.


Today, the things in Revelation may still seem strange and way out to some readers, but as we see the things now being invented and developed and some of the things now transpiring on earth on the environmental front, those prophecies no longer seem far fetched to anyone who reads the news. Mass die-off’s of the world’s oceans? Brothers, it’s right there in your Bibles (Rev 8:9, 16:3). I do not mean to say that we have seen the fulfillment of these things, only that they are by no means far fetched… not anymore.


One reader of mine who sends me interesting links from time to time had this question that will be the starting point for this paper.

 I was browsing over the internet a few days ago, and I came across articles describing the latest computer technology. In Japan they are creating robots that look almost completely human like. One very soon will even be able to interact intelligently with these robots:  no kidding here, this really is shocking. I even read of computerized algorithm being  created that will be allowed to decide guilt and innocence..., before the crime is even committed!  According to what I read, courts are actually condemning people on the basis of these computerized conclusions. Sounds too much like a return of inquisition. These same computerized thinking programs are determining medicine for the sick, and a whole myriad of other decisions that potentially affect a persons life in very dramatic ways. I even saw where a robot was performing surgical operations !

   My point is this...a thought leaped into my head...maybe it was from the good Lord, or maybe it was just from within me. I see a powerful potential for Satan to possess this computerized technology. My feeling is that he will, and it will come about here very soon. The link above somewhat confirms this feeling inside of me. I read in the bible where the false profit will build a statue of the beast, and this statue will come to life and say that all those who refuse to worship it must die...The sound of this passage appears far too much like the human appearing robot being constructed by the Japanese to me. - Name Withheld

Yes the trends in technology are real and are moving very rapidly. Yes, real androids who can interact with people and who look like us is not so very far off at all. I read a story where sex-bots were on the way.


But these somewhat anecdotal aspects of the coming android/robot revolution, in my view pale in comparison to some of the much darker implications.

Fully Autonomous Weapons Systems



Today there is a revolution now taking place. It’s in the field of military robotics. The word’s powers, the Americans, Chinese and yes, most definitely the Russians are now in a race to build fully autonomous robots and weapons systems. But these efforts in military and other forms of robotics do not just mean the world’s military’s. Private companies are also involved in this kind of development, including Silicon Valley.


In short, what we are seeing both in the military and private sphere is what some have termed the normalization of military robotics. These things are coming and to a large degree are already here. We have seen pictures of fully autonomous vehicles operating on the battlefield. The Russians as well, as we learn from their own news sources are working on their own ‘skynet’ of fully autonomous weapons systems capable of making its own decisions without any human interaction.


I don’t think I need to tell any reader here of the enormous implications of this and why this is one area that we as Christians should indeed be watching most carefully. I could give you all a slew of links on this subject and today I won’t. But I will pass on a couple.
  
Background - Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems UNOG

Killer Robot Series - HRW

There is a considerable amount of activity on this. Here is a group that is dedicated to the peaceful use of robots. There are many voices now sounding the alarm about this most serious development in mankind's technological ability. More and more man is showing that his knowledge is far outstripping his wisdom. Key questions needed to be answered long before the considerable development of these weapons transpired. But that has not happened.


But when we look at this issue what do we see prophetically? I am always amazed at the prophecies of Revelation insofar as this – in the last days, we see a massive army of strange and evil creatures that shall torment mankind. Brothers, we hear much about the beast, Antichrist, the mark, but we don’t hear much about some of the other things that our God gave us for a witness as to what shall transpire in the last days. Here is the witness.


And the fifth angel sounded,
and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth:
and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit,
 as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were
darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of
the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power,
 the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them
that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing,
 neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
And to them it was given that they should not kill them,
but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment
was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it;
and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle;
and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were
as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth
were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were
breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of
chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions,
 and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit,
whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue
hath his name Apollyon. One woe is past; and, behold,
there come two woes more hereafter.
(Rev 9:1-12)




This vision of a futuristic attack on the human race had to seem like some kind of impossible event to many who read it back in the days of old. In fact, so many of the visions in John’s revelation were so ‘far out’ that many did not want to include the book in the Bible.... This piece continues here.

4 Aug

Germany Assists Niger Fight Traffickers and Terrorists

This piece from 'The Trumpet' shows us two things. First that Germany is more involved in Africa as she moves to create a new and more independent foreign policy. But it also shows is that Niger is a critical transit point for the human wave of migrants that head to Libya.

“Germany sees itself as a close partner of Niger and the entire
Sahel region in the fight against terrorism,
organized crime and human trafficking,”
- German Defense Minister (as translated from 'The Trumpet'.)

The problems in Niger are particularly severe as slavery is common as is sex trafficking. Wikipedia has an unusually good entry on this here.

Niger is a source, transit, and destination country for children and women subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced labor and forced prostitution. Caste-based slavery practices, rooted in ancestral master-slave relationships, continue primarily in the northern part of the country. Children are trafficked within Niger for forced begging by religious instructors known as marabouts; forced labor in gold mines, agriculture, and stone quarries; as well as for involuntary domestic servitude and forced prostitution.

The ILO estimates at least 10,000 children work in gold mines in Niger, many of whom may be forced to work. Nigerien children, primarily girls, are also subjected to commercial sexual exploitation along the border with Nigeria, particularly in the towns of Birni N’Konni and Zinder along the main highway, and boys are trafficked to Nigeria and Mali for forced begging and manual labor. There were reports Nigerien girls entered into “false marriages” with citizens of Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates: upon arrival in these countries, the girls are often forced into involuntary domestic servitude. Child marriage was a problem, especially in rural areas, and may have contributed to conditions of human trafficking. Niger is a transit country for women and children from Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo en route to Northern Africa and Western Europe; some may be subjected to forced labor in Niger as domestic servants, forced laborers in mines and on farms, and as mechanics and welders. To a lesser extent, Nigerien women and children are trafficked from Niger to North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe for involuntary domestic servitude and forced commercial sexual exploitation. - Wikipedia


Image Source: Missing Migrants




The migrant crisis is causing a lot of consternation in Europe and Merkel seems, at least until recently to be bound and determined to bring in as many as possible into a Europe that is having significant political and social problems as a result. Eastern EU nations are incensed as she has tried to force these migrants into their countries. But those political problems may very well be part of a long term stratagem to jettison the East from Europe and solidify a new leaner EU only among Northern EU nations. Nordstream may also be part of this as well, as it leaves Germany invulnerable to Eastern Europe's ability to cut the energy flow from Russia to Germany during times of heightened political tension.


Additionally, there is the recent row regarding a German ship carrying migrants that was seized by Italian authorities. You can read the story here. More here.

Now both the German and Italian navies may try and tackle the problem off the Libyan coast. This move could indeed change things. The boat that was picked up has ties to both Clinton And Soros, both of whom have had ties to the American deep state. Soros has been one of the prime movers getting this whole chain of events going and in the beginning of this crisis and has is organizations hand out pamphlets to refugees assisting them in how to 'crash borders' at the beginning. Keep in mind that one of Soros' major Foundations is called the 'Open Society' and advocates a world without borders (globalism).

This is all part of a network of hyper globalists/hyper Islamists in the west who are trying to ensure the Christian foundations of Europe are completely undermined and a new form of government comes into being, that form being fascism. Read your history. Hard line goose stepping, kill the Jews and kill the Christians fascism, this is the goal a determined but powerful few in Europe wish to see. But right now it is imperative that they put on their 'humanitarian face' to bring in the Islamic 'Trojan horse'.

But let me make this clear, I have a heart for these migrants. I certainly do not want to see them harmed and want to see them helped and treated right. God is displeased those who mistreat the stranger and the migrant. So this is not a diatribe against those in genuine need. My point is this. They have 'weaponized' these people and now are using them as cannon fodder in strategic machinations that few understand. This is all part of the new kind of warfare in the 21st Century and demographics and migrants are just as potent a weapon as sanctions and diplomatic expulsions.

Merkel, according to leaked transcripts regrets having done what she did with this migrant policy. I was always supportive of immigration, but carefully managed immigration so that social and political stability is maintained as well as making sure that those who come are capable of integrating into EU society and do not try to make the EU look like the countries they just risked their lives escaping from.

But to Christians who live in Europe I exhort you to remember that many of  these people have been traumatized by a long and very dangerous journey and need a little understanding and love, not hate and prejudice.


Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some
 have entertained angels unawares.

 (Hebrews 13:2 [KJVA])



The Apostle John talks a bit about this, though the reference seems to be more about Saints who are strangers (aliens) and may have lost all due to persecution.

Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren,
and to strangers;
 (III John 1:5 [KJVA])


The People's New Testament says this

Thou doest faithfully. In his kindness to brethren and strangers. In those early ages hospitality to the saints sent on evangelistic missions, and especially to persecuted saints driven from home, was a very important duty. - People's Newe Testament.

I also ask EU readers to keep in mind that many Muslims are quietly curious and interested in knowing more about Christianity. The last thing such people need to see is Christians mistreating and hating them.

You are witnesses to the Gospel. Keep that in mind in the way you treat immigrants.


3 Aug

KSA Blocks Fuel Aid In Humanitarian Stricken Yemen

The situation is bleak.




Source of maps, Famine Early Warning System - Report can be downloaded on this link.
1 Aug

Micah


I wrote this back in mid 2015. I will as time permits post this commentary on Micah as the weeks and months pass.

Chapter 1

Micah is not one of those prophets that is well known. He was identifies himself as a Morshthite. Where this place is exactly is a matter of some debate but most seem to believe that he was from the town of Moresheth, which was located in Judah, the Southern Kingdom. He prophesied during the same time as Isaiah and did his work during the reign of the wicked King Ahaz (who sacrificed his son to an idol – 2King 16:2ff). His message was directed at a sinful people who were given fully over to idolatry; that being the worship of false gods, idols and though they did not know it, demons.

The religious worship was not in keeping with the true God who brought them out of Egypt and gave them the land that they were now defiling. It was in short, a defective and abominable religio-social system overtook the kingdom. As a result of Israel's sin's the whole nation was subverted spiritually. This is when God sent in his prophet. When God sends in a prophet like this, it is not a good sign. It is usually a very bad one. The job of a prophet? Who would want it? It is a tough job. His job is to tell folks what they don't want to hear and have been working pretty hard to ignore. His job is to warn and cajole, sometimes insult and threaten. Not in hatred, but to get people to sit up and take notice of God whom they had deeply offended. When the prophet is sent, God is beyond just 'hurt feelings'; he is determined to act.

I find it interesting that an earlier Micah (KJV Michaiah) was derided by a wicked king because he did not prophecy 'smooth things and deceits'. Because of this, the King of Israel (Ahab) hated him and said as much.

And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. (1Ki 22:8)

Like I said, when a true prophet shows up, it is because he has a message the Lord has been trying to get through to people that they do not want to hear. I use this prophet and passage to show some similarities between Micah and this earlier Michaiah. Both had to contend with false prophets and those who comforted rather than rebuked the people in their sins.

A true prophet rarely has warm and positive words. If God sent him, it it is usually seen as 'just' a negative message. But if you listen carefully, it really isn't negative at all, if the people are willing to repent and do right, God usually speaks of blessings that will follow. But it is because of the sins the prophet is sent. Micah is concerned about many forms of wickedness that had overtaken Jewish Social life and the task of relaying God's message and outlining Israel's sins of those days fell to Micah.

Micah was a keen observer. He looked at not just the spiritual condition of Israel, but also was keenly aware of the regional-political environment of his time and see's many of the sins of Israel in a light that we today can understand, living in America. This will be made plain as we move though the book. But like his fellow prophetic compatriots, his basic concerns are about false religion, the lack of justice, corruption the exploitation of the poor man by those who had wealth and power.

Micah's message was for Ancient Israel but is also for us today. His words and warnings, like those of all the minor prophets echo down the centuries.

The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple. For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth. And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place. (Mic 1:1-4)

Here Micah is expounding a vision of  two things. The Lord bearing witness against his own people and his judgment against them. Prophets in those days were often called seer's for they often had visions of God that were not seen by others. Here the 'seer' has a vision of God's glory and holy wrath as he comes out of his place to deal with the wayward and sinful nation.  This prophecy is not just directed at Israel, it is directed at the whole earth, all nations and peoples. While it is true that the audience for this word was the Ancient Jews, the sense here is something more far reaching and apocalyptic. This was in short, a vision of a future catastrophe for the people to whom it is directed.

So the Lord was going to come down from his holy Temple. The word here is

H1964

היכל

hêykâl

hay-kawl'

Probably from H3201 (in the sense of capacity); a large public building, such as a palace or temple: - palace, temple.



The sense here is not the Temple in Jerusalem, but rather his temple in heaven. From this verse we get a sense of God''s majesty and his power. God himself will come down and bear witness against the kingdoms and people's of the earth. God can easily do these things but in the instance here, God seems to want to let the world know he is doing it and thus the imagery is not of foreign nations coming in and pillaging Israel as we see in other prophets, but of the Lord himself coming down and dealing with them. Some however seem to think that what God is really saying is that he wants all nations to bear witness and see what he is doing to Israel. My own view is that this passage while directed at ancient Israel, is a forward looking vision of the ultimate Judgment of God through his son Jesus Christ, for whom this kind of imagery is used. We see many of these same themes, not just in prophetic literature where fire is prominent, but all through the Old and New Testaments (see Deut 4:24, Psa, 68:2, Psa 97:5, Isa 66:15,, 2Thess 1:8, 2 Peter 3:7-10)


So, I see this passage as being directed at ancient Israel, but the finality/totality of this judgment did not fall upon them, for the Lord did not come down in the manner hereof spoken. That literal fulfillment will come when Christ returns to recompense the entire earth for their evil.

For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem? Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, and as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof. And all the graven images thereof shall be beaten to pieces, and all the hires thereof shall be burned with the fire, and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate: for she gathered it of the hire of an harlot, and they shall return to the hire of an harlot.  (Mic 1:5-7)


Here is what John Gill says about this passage. I think it very simple and yet profound.



All this evil, all these calamities and judgments, signified by the above metaphorical phrases, these did not come by chance, nor without, reason; but were or would be inflicted, according to the righteous judgment of God, upon the people of Israel and Judah, for their manifold sins and transgressions, especially their idolatry: - Gill



The evil that got the Lord so angry was Idolatry, the worship of false Gods. The reference to Samaria was the same thing we saw in Nahum, the worship and institution of that Golden Calf there. This made the Lord very, very angry and he was going to deal with this people with great harshness. God was not playing and Micah was sent to make it plain to the people. The places mentioned were known for Idolatrous worship and other sundry wickedness'. Samaria was 'Idolatry HQ' and God was going to smash that place all to bits and burn it with fire. The last part of the above passage is particularly interesting. It shows that the kingdom was almost certainly prosperous in the worldly sense and all of her ill gotten wealth was one of God's objects of wrath and that like a whore, whose wealth is also ill gotten, she would lose her blessings in the material realm, perhaps by being sold off as slaves to other idolaters.


Like today, in our modern world, particularly in the west, (but this materialistic contagion is spreading), various forms of idolatry (including the worship of wealth itself) seemed like the best course for them – it was the 'best' way they, they reasoned in their spiritually dulled minds, So they took it. The reference to a harlot may also be indicative of the kinds of things going on in the religious life of Israel in those days. In the ancient world, it was common to see whores in the temples of the ancient gods plying their trade for money. But the sense may be more far reaching in that it was trade and the social-religious interaction with lost and idol worshiping nations that Micah is speaking about. In short, Israel was looking for 'economic growth' and she did not care how she got it including laying down and spreading her spiritual legs for a couple of shekels. Brothers, let me tell you, things have not changed all that much.

Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls. For her wound is incurable; for it is come unto Judah; he is come unto the gate of my people, even to Jerusalem. Declare ye it not at Gath, weep ye not at all: in the house of Aphrah roll thyself in the dust. Pass ye away, thou inhabitant of Saphir, having thy shame naked: the inhabitant of Zaanan came not forth in the mourning of Bethezel; he shall receive of you his standing. For the inhabitant of Maroth waited carefully for good: but evil came down from the LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem. O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift beast: she is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion: for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee. Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath: the houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel. Yet will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah: he shall come unto Adullam the glory of Israel. Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee. (Mic 1:8-16)


Here the prophet is so upset and troubled by this vision that he was going to cry and make noises like Dragons and Owls. As obtuse and poetic this passage may actually seem,  there may have been such creatures as they were noted apparently in the conquest of Alexander and told about in the works of Aelianus who was a Greek historian and Rhetorician and who was also an early naturalist, recording various animals of his time (2nd Century BC). But clearly Micah's comparisons are figurative in nature and are meant to elicit an image in the hearers mind just how loud a howl the prophet was to wail. Ever hear a howling dog late and night and are unable to sleep because if it? Yeah, like that.


Micah was even going to go about naked. This was not unusual for pre-exilic prophets. Think Isaiah. But Micah seems not to do this so much on divine orders, but out of genuine shock and horror at what God had planned for Israel. Then the prophet goes and 'visits' (prophetically) the various cities in the region with his message. The sense here is that these cities, (like Gath which was a key city of the Philistines) God had a message. In the other cities his morning takes different forms. He was commanded to not weep in Gath, don't make those hideous noises there – they were Israel's enemies and would rejoice at the news and God did not want that.

Versus 11 and 12 are probably better translated with the CEV.


Depart naked and ashamed, you people of Shaphir. The town of Bethezel mourns because no one from Zaanan went out to help. Everyone in Maroth hoped for the best, but the LORD sent disaster down on Jerusalem. (Mic 1:11-12)

These are all apparently cities in ancient Israel and Maroth may have been a city that was named after Naomi (see Ruth 1:20) who wanted he named changed to Mara (bitterness) but the actual location is not known today. Shaphir's name meant beauty and was located in the hills of Judah. Zaanan was a noted sheep pasture the name has the connotation of 'coming forth'. In these names the prophet uses a play on words to make his point.

O thou inhabitant of Lachish, bind the chariot to the swift beast: she is the beginning of the sin to the daughter of Zion: for the transgressions of Israel were found in thee. Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath: the houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel. (Mic 1:13-14)

Lachish was a strong and fortified city whose defenses were strengthened by Rehoboam. It is here that the beginnings of Israel's sins are found. Why is this so? Well let's us go and look at Rehoboam (1King 12:3ff) and we find that it was his sin, arrogance and cold hardheartedness that was the cause of Israel being split between two kingdoms. This is probably a reference to that act by Rehoboam, since it was he who made it into this fortified city. It is also, according to Gill, probably one of the first to go over to the idolatry of Jeroboam and the worship of calf's. But here the passage tells them to gather the horses that run swift. Note that no mention of taking up a sword or instruments of war with the beasts so that passage may be one of fleeing, running away from the trouble that was coming rather than defending the city.

Therefore shalt thou give presents to Moreshethgath: the houses of Achzib shall be a lie to the kings of Israel. Yet will I bring an heir unto thee, O inhabitant of Mareshah: he shall come unto Adullam the glory of Israel. Make thee bald, and poll thee for thy delicate children; enlarge thy baldness as the eagle; for they are gone into captivity from thee. (Mic 1:14-16)



Here the northern kingdom is trying to get the Judah to come and help them in the hour of their need. The 'Gath' at the end of the name is probably indicative of the city having once fallen to the Philistines. This was probably the same town the Micah was from. The city of Achzib was to be a 'lie' to Israel. Again we see the play on words

H392
אכזיב

'akzîyb

ak-zeeb'

From H391; deceitful (in the sense of a winter torrent which fails in summer); Akzib, the name of two places in Palestine: - Achzib.

But these will all be in vain, gifts will only purchase lies and no matter what they did, the enemy would come in and inherit the glory of Israel. These last few passages in the first chapter of Micah, frankly are a bit obscure and there is much debate about the exact meaning. But here is what Barnes says about Adullam. It is noteworthy insofar as I think we get a better sense as to what these places meant to the Israelite's to whom this message was directed.

He (that is, the heir, the enemy) shall come unto Adullam, the glory of Israel - . that is, he who shall dispossess Mareshah, shall come quite unto Adullam, where, as in a place of safety, the glory of Israel, all in which she gloried, should be laid up. Adullum was a very ancient city, being mentioned in the history of the patriarch Judah Gen_38:1, Gen_38:12, Gen_38:20, a royal city Jos_12:15. It too lay in the Shephelah Jos_15:35; it was said to be 10 (Eusebius) or 12 (Jerome) miles East of Eleutheropolis; but for this, there seems to be scarcely place in the Shephelah. It was one of the 15 cities fortified by Rehoboam 2Ch_11:7; one of the 16 towns, in which (with their dependent villages) Judah settled after the captivity Neh_11:30. It contained the whole army of Judas Maccabaeus (1 Macc. 12:38).

Like Lachish, it had probably the double advantages of the neighborhood of the hills and of the plain, seated perhaps at the roots of the hills, since near it doubtless was the large cave of Adullam named from it. The line of caves, fit for human habitation, which extended from Eleutheropolis to Petra , began westward of it. : “The valley which runs up from Eleutheropolis Eastward, is full of large caves; some would hold thousands of men. They are very extensive, and some of them had evidently been inhabited.” : “The outer chamber of one cavern was 270 feet long by 126 wide; and behind this were recesses and galleries, probably leading to other chambers which we could not explore. The massive roof was supported by misshaped pieces of the native limestone left for that purpose, and at some places was domed quite through to the surface, admitting both light and air by the roof.” The name of Adullam suggested the memory of that cave, the refuge of the Patriarch David, the first of their line of kings, in extreme isolation and peril of his life. There, the refuge now of the remaining glory of Israel, its wealth, its trust, its boast - the foe should come. And so there only remained one common dirge for all.

The last verse above is merely an expression that the prophets grief was to be most severe and shaving the head was often a way of expressing such grief.

I will re-post Chapter two as time and the Lord permits!

Grace and peace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ!


30 July

Persecution/War On The Saints Watch


Here are some stories of recent persecution against the Saint's of Jesus Christ. Let all who know and love the Lord, pray for our brothers, many of whom are suffering under the strong arm of repressive regimes, terrorists and supposed 'liberators'.

India: Cross Desecrations Continue

World Watch Monitor looks at an ongoing series of crimes against Christians

Laotian Christian Beaten By His Family

This is what happens to those who turn to Christ. To greater or lesser degrees, sooner or later, many family members will turn on you, just like Jesus Christ warned those of us who are truly one of his.
China Organizes Teams To Police Churches
This move is about the separation of education and religion.
Egypt Sets Up Council To Deal With Terror
This article acknowledges that Coptic Christians are usually the target of these attacks. It is not just ISIS, but other groups linked to the ousted President Morsi, who was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and was brought to power on the heels of the 'Arab Spring' Revolt that was strongly both publicly and covertly supported by Barak Obama.
Eritrea: Africa's North Korea
This piece is not Persecution Specific, but shows you many of the problems people in that nation have to deal with. The main thrust here is that people are fleeing the country. This article focuses on the Children. But right now, the Nations Orthodox Leader was stripped of his title and re-arrested and now sits in an Eritrean jail, I hope you get a chance to read that last link, it was written by the former Chairman of the US Human Rights Commission, which is an agency of the federal government.

Earlier this month, 200 Christians were arrested in this African nation.

Church in Zanzibar, Tanzania Shaken as Court Supports Muslims’ Opposition to Building
"A court on the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania, ruled on Thursday (July 20) that a church cannot continue constructing a worship building it has tried to finish for eight years, sources said.

Hard-line Muslims outside Zanzibar City have been fighting construction of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God building since 2009, having demolished the partially built structure twice before then. They claim the party that sold the property to the church was not the rightful owner." (Morning Star News)
India: Christians Arrested For 'Unlawful Assembly'
In India, there is a deep social disorder called 'Hindu Fundamentalism' that is wrecking havoc.
Tillerson Removes Legal Category 'Genocide' To Describe Genocide Of ISIS Victims (?)
This actually is merely a continuation of the Obama administration's policy of pretending that nothing is happening there. It was common operating procedure for Obama to make sure that persecution continued against Christians. Remember he never once spoke up about it, except very late in his Presidency.  Whereever the CIA's covert operators went to stir up trouble, Christians wound up being the targets. Iraq, Syria, Egypt...

But in semi-defense of the last President, while he was a lame duck, he did approve the expansion of the International Religious Freedom act. He did this naturally, when the Hollywood, the anti-Christ and most importantly HRC who supported/worked with him for years could not retaliate against him.

He had only a few of weeks before he was out of office.

But more recent reports say this genocide row is all overblown. This appears to be established with testimony before the Senate.

Christian-Jewish Group Launches Fundraiser for Persecuted Mideast Christians
Done by the international fellowship of Christians and Jews.

Trump Picks Brownback As Religious Freedom Ambassador
Religious freedom is the first freedom. Gov/Sen. Brownback has a long history of supporting religious liberty.
Chaldean Catholics And Kurds Faced Deportation
These Christians are here in the US and could be killed if they are repatriated. The key here I think is that apparently these are Iraqi's who had a criminal record and were picked up by ICE.

They have been grated a 90 day stay from deportation by a Federal Judge.
The War On Christians
The link above looks at this issue and is from the Washington Times.
Sweden About To Deport Christian Actress Back To Iran
The article notes it can be deadly to convert to Christ in Iran. When she came to Sweden, she requested a public baptism.

Usually, in Sweden, they grant such requests if there is reason to believe there will be persecution due to religious beliefs.
China Shuts Sown Vacation Bible School, Sunday School in E. Zhejiang province.

China Warns 85 Million Party Members: 'Be Firm Atheists'

Christians In Greece Flee Islamic Persecution In Camps
Death threats, beatings as well as not being able to practice their faith. The above link is from the Daily Caller.

27 July

FCC Sued Over FISA Requests On Data Regarding Net Neutrality

ArsTechnica looks at the new issues surrounding the Trump administrations mad dash to re-write the rules that govern the internet.

Do you get the impression that something is not right about Pai, and is contacts with ISP's?

That maybe something unethical, perhaps even criminal is taking place? Public officials tend to hide things when they have something to hide.

Something is amiss in the way this is being handled.

To me this is perfect example of government by bribery. These big ISP's have pumped money into the GOP and now want payback, they want control all of the information flow in the nation.

Brothers, I cannot stress just how much power that is in today's information driven, internet driven society and controlling the data flow in it.

This is no small battle about theoretical cyber rights, but one that could eventually deeply and fundamentally effect how much you pay, what you can see, who you can talk to and who you are allowed to do business with on the internet.

Many of you remember when Netflix was starting to be blocked by ISP's a few years ago. I can remember it well. I would start watching something and then the program would go into 'eternal buffer' mode. I could no longer watch Netflix. Do that across the nation for a few months and you just put them out of business.

That is the future of the internet if they get rid of Neutrality, but it won't just be for NetFlix - YouTube, Google, Yahoo, etc - they will all be deeply effected by an environment where ISP's can pick and choose where you can go on the internet and how much bandwidth they allocate to certain sites and internet protocols.

Could it one day effect who you can talk to with email, chats, or even do your eCommerce with? Could they one day block Amazon, or your favorite news site? The answer to that question is this.

Unless there is a law that specifically prevents such blocking, the answer is yes.

Is there such a law?

Yes.

What is it called?

Net Neutrality.

25 July

Al-Shabaab Militants Kill Seven Christian Men in Eastern Kenya

Militants Go Door to Door and Kill Men for Christian Faith

07/24/2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) - International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that in early July, al-Shabaab militants led a series of attacks in Kenya's Lamu County. Between July 5 and July 8 2017, militants raided three villages, Pandanguo, Jima, and Poromoko, killing three police officers as well as seven Christian men: Said Mbigo, Matei Mlatia, Peter Mburu, Teresio Munyi, Mwangangi Muneni, Katana Karisa Chai, and Musyoka Maithya.

On July 5, over 200 militants raided Pandanguo village in Lamu County, killing three police officers posted at the Pandanguo police station, looting homes and the local dispensary. On July 8, 15 of the militants returned and attacked the nearby villages of Jima and Poromoko.
According to locals contacted by ICC, the militants went door to door in Jima and Poromoko, killing seven Christian men. Schools in the three villages were closed and Christian families have evacuated to a church in Witu town.
"The attackers have been targeting Christians living in Lamu County especially farmers in the interior areas where small-scale agriculture thrives," Pastor Henry Divayo, head pastor of the church in Witu town, told ICC. "[The militants in Jima] were asking the villagers to produce their identification cards and if you were found to be a Christian you would be shot or slaughtered."
"Victims have been evacuated to camps where food and security is provided by [the] government and the Kenya Red Cross," Divayo said. "We are hosting more than 200 people in our church and we expect the number to increase as more families are evacuated from Boni Forest."
"The government has been in the forefront in giving security to churches but a lot more needs to be done," Divayo continued. "We need more well equipped police officers in churches, schools and hospitals."
Since 2011, Kenya has been aiding the fight against al-Shabaab in Somalia. In retaliation, al-Shabaab and its supporters have targeted Christians across the border in Kenya. On July 5, 2014, al-Shabaab attacked a Hindi village in Lamu which left nine dead. Militants also attacked Garrisa University on April 2, 2015, where 148 Christian students were killed. On June 12, 2016, the Islamic terrorists attacked Mpeketoni, Lamu County, killing 48 who couldn't recite Quaranic verses.
ICC's Regional Manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, said, "The Kenyan government must provide safety and stability to all of its people. They must end al-Shabaab's reign of terror that has been thriving on the border with Somalia. We pray for the families of the deceased and for peace to come to a region that has seen such violence towards Christians. We hope that Kenya's government can take effective action to rid Kenya of these terrorist actions." - International Christian Concern


You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference International Christian Concern (ICC) and include our web address, www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington D.C.-based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church.


War, Sanctions Geopolitics and Domestic Watch

This was posted yesterday for insiders. I usually reserve these but today I will pass this on to all.


A sweeping sanctions deal against Russia were in the headlines late last week. The bill is supposed to be about retaliating against Russia for alleged election hacking. As  stated earlier, there is a lot more in play than real, imagined and/or theatrical outrage at this yet to be proven meddling. One of the key issues is energy. Yes, you read that correctly and let no one on the tube fool you. Russia right now is Europe's main energy supplier and with the new Pipeline that is going to be built (NordStream) it will make Europe even more dependent on Russian energy. The US is incensed as it goes contrary to US policy to isolate the Russians. What will the EU do when the bill passes? Who knows.

Russia and the Germans get along pretty well and each are pragmatic enough to realize the mutual benefits of cooperation. So, as the US Congress is set to impose sanctions, Germany has threatened retaliation. The reason the down and dirty? The US wants Europe to become dependent on American energy. This could be accomplished in a few years with the construction of massive LNG terminals and shipping it to Europe. This is something that America really has been trying to achieve for some time and is part of the long range strategy being undertaken by NeoCons and NeoCon-esque policy makers.

Now I will give you my two-cents. The construction of such infrastructure would be very expensive. LNG Terminals cost Billions to build. Who picks up those costs? On what terms? Then there is the simple matter of trust. The EU may have some issues with Russia but you know what? The Russians have been a reliable energy partner and despite all the hate and anger that Europe has been forced to display towards Russia because of American policy, Russia still supplies Europe's energy, regularly and at fair prices. Do the Europeans trust America to do the same? I mean really trust us? Hardly. Look, America will levy sanctions against a nation for spitting in the wrong direction and Europe does not want to be further engaged with the cacophony of confusion and partisan foolishness that has enveloped Washington. Who knows what 'crime' real or imagined that American policy makers will conjure up to hold Europe Hostage to the whims of Neoconservatism? I don't know. They don't know. But I suspect that they are not anxious to find out.

European leaders are smart enough (so far) not to take the bait American policy makers are offering. The Russians have some serious issues, but obsession with sanctions and breaking trust (as Americans are addicted to doing) are not among their faults. LNG terminals cost a lot of money to build and operate. There are other issues with it as well.

This could turn out to be a major game changer for the US if we try and ram sanctions down Europe's throat over NordStream. American behavior is set to destroy what is left of the Transatlantic alliance. We would not stand for someone sanctioning us for trading with Mexico, why should others stand it when we sanction them? It is just this kind of unilateral behavior based on theatrical and hypocritical 'moral' outrage that is turning the world against us. A professional prostitute has no business judging the morals two adolescents kissing on the street corner. That too often is the best description of American moral outrage and sanctions on the global stage. We have to do better and learn to accept that we just no longer have the power or the competence to run our de-facto geopolitical empire.

This sanction issue is one to watch. If the US slaps them on German energy firms expect some serious retaliation. Moreover, as I said, I don't think the Europeans are going to jump out of bed with the Russians who have shown remarkable consistency in energy deliveries in spite of the Ukrainian flare up, in favor of the Americans. That, I don't think is going to happen.

In other Geopolitical news, Iraq has signed a major military cooperation deal with Iran. This is very significant and the article from the Duran is quite good as it points out some key issues. First that Iraq while coming to power on the heels of American interventionism has developed close ties with Iran that now look to be getting closer. Keep in mind that Shi'ites make up a sizable portion of Iraq's citizenship and has Shi'ite milita's in its security force. America has spent a lot of money in Iraq and now she is making friends with Iran.

This may not be good news to the Neoconservatives but my view is somewhat less hostile to Iran. Sure, they have a deep anti-Semitism, but that hatred with Iran is just openly expressed. In much of the Sunni world the hostility is just as present, though carefully suppressed.  This is why I personally don't get as upset with Iran's hostility towards Israel as others do. At least in Iran, Jews can and do live in relative peace and can worship the same way. The same cannot be said for Saudi Arabia, who does not allow Synagogues or Churches in its nation and is best friends with America. Iran, does allow these things, pure and simple. This is one of those little contradictions in US policy that many don't see because they don't want to see. Sure, Iran has some serious human rights issues. But Saudi Arabia more. Sure, Iran has some terrorist support issues, but more so Saudi Arabia. So all of this hypocritical 'huffing and puffing' against Iran by Trump and the Neocons has nothing to do with the issues of values, rights or democracy, of which the Saudi's have very little and Iran has in abundance.

Why is it that whenever there is genuine democracy by non-White nations, America hates it? Syria we have tried to overthrow their democracy and have not been shy about it, Iran, we did that back in the days of the Shah. In Central America we went after those democracies consistency in mid to late 20th centuries and have still be busy with various levels of skullduggery down there.

But the other major story out of Iraq is that they also signed a military arms deal with Russia.

It was reported on July 20 that Russia and Iraq have struck a deal on supplying a large batch of T-90 tanks. Vladimir Kozhin, the Russian president’s aide for military technical cooperation, confirmed the agreement but declined to provide details, saying only «the number of tanks is substantial». Russian military analyst Ruslan Pukhov told Russian newspaper Izvestia that the deal might cover deliveries of several hundred T-90 tanks, and that the contract may exceed $1 billion...

...Known for its firepower, enhanced protection and mobility, the T-90 features a smoothbore 2A46M 125mm main gun that can fire both armor-piercing shells and anti-tank missiles and the 1A45T fire-control system. Standard protective measures include sophisticated armor, ensuring all-round protection of the crew and critical systems, including Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor and active infrared jammers to defend the T-90 from inbound rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles and other projectiles. - Strategic Culture

You have to look at this from the other guys point of view, No matter what a nation may or may not do, some lobby in DC will garner enough power to compel our leaders to come and screw your nation up - democracy or no-democracy.  Unless you know how to pay off all the lobbies with considerable campaign donations and other financial gratuities that often skirt the law, you are going to be in a world of hurt when dealing with this once great nation. Americans still have yet to contextualize just what foreigners are getting for their money when they pump all of that money into our election system. This is why the Israeli's and Saudi's have always been so successful and the Chinese have learned this as well. Pay off everyone and you can do whatever you want. This is why often we have so little outrage over what is happening in China with all the arrests of Human Rights lawyers and Christians. They have learned how to work the system and have even gotten top political leaders in America to spy and work for them and no... I am not guessing. Our officials know but often these people are too powerful and politically protected to prosecute. They have to resort to 'other means' to get them out of office or at lest reduce their influence.

Listen, I am trying my best to show you why the nation's foreign policy is in shambles and why we are falling pretty fast from our place at the pinnacle of global political power.

But one thing that can always be counted on to drive American policy is not just bribery donations but also oil and gas interests. While I will not rehash it here, American policy has been set to deliberately keep the price of oil low to deprive nations like Iran and Russia of much needed hard currency revenue into their coffers. It has worked but only to a moderate degree. Moreover the low price of oil has also deeply effected American efforts to extract oil in the form of Shale here in the US. This is one reason why there have been so many financial problems with them. Low oil prices makes the undertaking in many cases, a losing proposition from a purely business perspective when one counts the cost of production, the energy costs to extract (which are very significant), labor and other considerations. My point is not to give you a long dissertation on the Global oil markets but to demonstrate that energy is one of the, if not the most important driver in modern geopolitics (and conflict) today. It was a key issue in the Syrian war (with pipelines being the key issue and who gets to built and profit by them) and it is also in Yemen, whose unique and very important geography is a prize that any major oil producer would want to win. It was also a major issue with the Ukraine, as it is a major transit route of energy to Europe. These are not issues that resonate with the American people so they tell us that it's about restoring 'democracy' right after American officials violently overthrew one. It is these glaring inconsistencies so blatantly displayed on the global stage that is causing America to move into the realm of the most distrusted nation on earth.

India and China are now having a serious border dispute. India and China are both now members of SCO (see earlier post Kings of the East Unite). Know that there is significant tension between India and China that is once again making the news.


US's Take - Doklam standoff: China sends a warning to India over border dispute - LAT/AP

India's Take - No talks on Doklam till Indian troops withdraw, China says ahead of NSA Doval’s visit - Hindustan Times

China's Take - Doklam has always been under China's effective jurisdiction without dispute: FM - Xinhua

What is at stake? Wikipedia has a brief and to the point synopsis.

In June 2017, Doka La became the site of a stand-off between the armed forces of India and China following an attempt by China to extend a road from Yadong further southward on the Doklam plateau. Unlike China and Bhutan, India does not have a claim on Doklam; however, India supports Bhutan's claim on the territory. According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road that previously terminated at Doka La towards the Bhutan Army camp at Zompelri near the Jampheri Ridge two km to the south; that ridge, viewed as the border by China but as wholly within Bhutan by both Bhutan and India, extends eastward approaching India's highly-strategic Siliguri corridor.[14] On 18 June, Indian troops apparently crossed into the territory in dispute between China and Bhutan in an attempt to prevent the road construction.In a 1949 treaty, Bhutan agreed to let India guide its foreign policy and defence affairs. In 2007, the treaty was superseded by a new friendship treaty that replaced the provision that made it mandatory for Bhutan to take India's guidance on foreign policy, providing broader sovereignty to Bhutan and not requiring it to obtain India's permission over arms imports. Article 2 of the 2007 Friendship Treaty signed by India and Bhutan in 2007 states: - Wikipedia
Openstreetmap shows you the region of contention. The truth is this is part of a long running dispute between both powers and is not quite as serious as the headlines make out. Still it demonstrates that all is not well inside SCO and that lingering problems of security and spheres of influence are still very prevalent among and between members. Those of you wanting a more scholarly background paper on the dispute can find a great paper here out of the Australian Military.  Eurasia Review has their analysis of the situation here.

In other news, the Temple Mount as you know, has heated up again (see two previous entries from last week) and it is causing a diplomatic crisis between Israel and Jordan. The NYT has a piece here on the crisis and for those of you looking for info from a Messianic Jewish perspective, can go here and get some good information.

Much of the controversy surrounds Israel's decision to install metal detectors at the Mosque, where (in case the anti-Israeli narrative prevails) Israeli police are there to protect everyone - particularly Muslim visitors. This was hardly an act of oppression, but one that will do much to protect all who come there.

Jordan is upset because someone used a screwdriver to stab an Israeli Embassy Guard who was at his home in Jordan and a diplomatic row is now ongoing. Israel refuses to remove the detectors (This changed today, the 25th). Why? Well, unless you have not been keeping watch, this is the new form of terror that Palestinians are engaging in, usually stabbings. There is deep concern for a wider crisis because of these events as two Arab citizens of Israel shot two Israeli Druze Policemen. How many stabbings?
3 October – Lions' Gate stabbing. A man and others stabbed multiple people in the Jerusalem Old Town, killing 2 and injuring a mother and her toddler. 3 dead (including perpetrator), 2 injured.[70]
4 October – An attack, similar to the Lion's Gate Stabbing on 3 October, took place when an Israeli teenager was stabbed near the Damascus Gate. 1 dead (perpetrator), 1 injured.[71]
7 October – Israeli woman injured and pulled out of her car in a rock-throwing incident and attempted lynching near Jerusalem.
7 October – Israeli civilian injured in stabbing attack in Old City of Jerusalem. Assailant was shot on site.
7 October – IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack in Kiryat Gat in which assailant stole the soldier’s weapon and was shot on site in a civilian’s apartment.
7 October – A Palestinian woman stabbed an Israeli man, after which the man shot the assailant with his personal gun. 2 injured (including perpetrator).[72]
7 October – A Palestinian stabbed an IDF soldier, after which he was shot dead by special forces. 1 dead (perpetrator), 1 injured.[73]
8 October – Four Israeli civilians and an IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack with screwdriver in central Tel Aviv. Assailant shot on site by an officer in the Israel Air Force.
8 October – Israeli man, 25, seriously hurt in Jerusalem stabbing attack. The attacker was identified as 19-year-old East Jerusalem resident.[74]
8 October – Israeli civilian injured in stabbing attack in Kiryat Arba. Assailant shot on site.
8 October – Israeli civilian injured in stabbing attack in Afula. Assailant shot on site.
9 October – Four Israeli civilians injured in stabbing attack in Dimona. Assailant apprehended on site.
9 October – Teenage Israeli boy stabbed in Jerusalem. 1 injured.[75]
9 October – Israeli police officer injured in stabbing attack in Kiryat Arba. Assailant shot on site.
10 October – IDF soldier injured by gunshot in Kiryat Arba.
10 October – Israeli civilian lightly injured after rocks thrown at bus in Jerusalem.
10 October – Israeli civilian lightly injured from rock attack on Route 60 to Jerusalem.
10 October – Two Israelis injured in stabbing attack in Jerusalem. Assailant shot by the police. 1 dead (perpetrator), 2 injured.[76]
10 October – Three Israeli police officers injured in stabbing attack in Jerusalem.
11 October – Israeli civilian injured by rock throwing in East Jerusalem.
11 October – Israeli civilian injured by rock throwing near Hebron.
11 October – Police officer injured by detonation of gas canister by female Palestinian driver near Ma’ale Adumim. Assailant apprehended on site.
11 October – Three Israeli civilians and an IDF soldier injured in stabbing attack in Gan Shmuel near Hadera. Assailant rammed his car into a soldier before getting out and going on a stabbing spree. Assailant shot on site.
12 October – Female assailant shot after stabbing a border police officer. 2 injured.[77]
12 October – Two Palestinian youths stabbed 2 Israelis in Pisgat Ze'ev. A 13 year old was seriously injured. While trying to escape, one of the assailants, Ahmed Manasrah aged 13, was lightly wounded, the other shot and killed. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas two days later accused Israel of the "execution of our children in cold blood, as they did with the boy Ahmed Manasrah and other children in Jerusalem and other places."[78] 3 injured, 1 dead.[79]
12 October – Palestinian man stabbed an IDF soldier on a bus after which he was shot dead by police. 1 dead (perpetrator), 1 injured.[80]
13 October – Israeli civilian injured by rock throwing near Hebron.
13 October – Israeli civilian injured in stabbing attack in Ra’anana. Assailant apprehended on site.
13 October – In shooting and stabbing attack on a bus in Jerusalem, 3 Israelis were killed and 16 others were wounded. The two assailants were shot dead.[81]
13 October – Minutes after the bus attack, a man drove his car into a bus stop, killing a rabbi and injuring 2 others before being shot and killed. 2 dead, 2 injured.[82]
13 October – In a second stabbing attack in Ra'anana, 4 Israeli were injured.[83] - More stabbings can be found here.
These are events are not covered by many news organizations and bloggers as it does not feed into the anti-Israeli hate so prevalent today.

In the Gulf dispute, Qatar has called for negotiations to ease the boycott. The good news is that the Regional powers have somewhat reduced demands on Qatar. How this all pans out is anyone's guess, but one of the key issues with Qatar is Iran. Qatar has a very pragmatic relationship with Iran, the other nations don't and moreover, like the US, they don't want one. They will not be happy until the whole nation has been conquered by the US and her allies and Sunni Islam (rather than Shia) is the dominant religion and the Exxon and ARAMCO flag flies over the oil fields.

Terrorism? This is the buzzword  being used but no one who knows anything can really take Saudi Arabia's new found anti-terrorism with any degree of seriousness. The Kingdom has funded too many Jihadists in the past for that to carry any weight. But that narrative does play well with with some. But Qatar is very tolerant of many diverse terror groups who can come there and meet and do business. The Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood, Palestinian fighters, they all come to congregate here. For those of you wanting some background can
go here.

This frankly is in the view of many, much too much tolerance.

Back here at home, the madness continues unabated. Did you know a 'fake cop' got over a million dollar's worth of US military grade hardware? This is one you have got to read. The GAO, an agency one would not think of conducting a 'sting' operation did this.

GAO created a fictitious federal agency to conduct independent testing of the LESO program's internal controls and DLA's transfer of controlled property to law enforcement agencies.

Through the testing, GAO gained access to the LESO program and obtained over 100 controlled items with an estimated value of $1.2 million, including night-vision goggles, simulated rifles, and simulated pipe bombs, which could be potentially lethal items if modified with commercially available items (see photos). GAO's testing identified that DLA has deficiencies in the processes for verification and approval of federal law enforcement agency applications and in the transfer of controlled property, such as DLA personnel not routinely requesting and verifying identification of individuals picking up controlled property or verifying the quantity of approved items prior to transfer. Further, GAO found that DLA has not conducted a fraud risk assessment on the LESO program, including the application process. Without strengthening DLA and LESO program internal controls over the approval and transfer of controlled property to law enforcement agencies, such as reviewing and revising policy or procedures for verifying and approving federal agency applications and enrollment, DLA lacks reasonable assurance that it has the ability to prevent, detect, and respond to potential fraud and minimize associated security risks. - GAO



The long and short of it is this - no one really checked on who was getting these weapons.

The most excellent Marshall Project has their take here.

“They never did any verification, like visit our ‘location,’ and most of it was by email,” said Zina Merritt, director of the GAO’s defense capabilities and management team, which ran the operation. “It was like getting stuff off of eBay.”

In its response to the sting, the Defense Department promised to tighten its verification procedures, including trying to visit the location of law enforcement agencies that apply and making sure agents picking up supplies have valid identification, the GAO report said. The department also promised to do an internal fraud assessment by April 2018.

A Defense Department spokesman declined to comment further.

The sting operation has its roots in the 2014 fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. At the time, many were surprised to see law enforcement respond to protests with armored trucks, sniper rifles, tear-gas bombs and other weapons of war.  - The Marshall Project

Are you shocked? I'm not. Not even a little bit.

Then there is the Trump saga. Will they get him? Will they one day impeach him? That is a hard one to answer as they have him on the ropes and key elements with the establishment of both parties are determined to remove him. We must never forget that the GOP was loath to accept him right up to the convention and if they could have kept their voter base, they would have denied him the nomination. Right now, I think that many in the Republican party are working hard to slowly detach Trump from that base so that removing him will not cost them much in Congressional elections. This is key, they won't move until his base has turned on him. In the meantime, they will use Muller, who is acting as establishment 'hatchet man' to probe for weak points and try and get a legal case to remove him from office.

Now mind you, I never thought Trump was Presidential material and said so long before the election. I think he has shown himself to be his own man and for good or ill, that is what he will remain. But I think that many within the GOP are woefully underestimating just how damaging they are being not just to their own party but the nation as well. They have hacked away at the Presidency in such a way that now, it will be much harder for anyone to govern. The 24-7 non-stop hate-a-thon at President (lets not forget that word) Trump on the news is something that I have never seen before. What happens when the Democrats get power? They are likely to pull the same mess on them. The respect for the office and even our form of government are at stake at the way we treat this President, whom for disclosures sake I must say I did not vote for.

It is my hope that we are able to get past the vicious partisanship and this witch hunt (that really is what this is) about Trump and Russia. There is a plethora of far worse and in your face collusion with foreign governments and yes spies by many of his worse detractors with Russia, China and various terrorists the world over by powerful political names in DC.  After all these investigations they still have not found much of note and even if they find that his cohorts talked to Russia, so what? What candidate, Senator or even Supreme Court Justice doesn't meet and talk to foreign dignitaries and others on a semi-regular basis? They do, but if the Trump team does it, the Media and the 'Grand Inquisitors' in the Senate are ready to break out the torches, rope and stake and burn this administration at the stake.

I don't think people really understand just what is going on. I do not see Mueller as some a good guy and again he appears to be acting as a hatchet man for key elements within the DC deep state. I admit, I could be wrong, but given the whole poisonous political environment these days, that is how things appear to be stacking up. He will gather all the info he can, and when his handlers give him the go ahead, they will lower the boom on the President.

So will they get him? I would give it a 50-50 chance. If Trump becomes a puppet President and ties ropes and chains to his arms and legs and dances to the deep state's tune, they will probably let him stay. If not, he may go.

But the DC establishment needs to get real about two major things before they decide to take the 'nuclear option' and impeach him. First is this. Americans who voted for Trump knew exactly what they were voting for. This is a guy who has been in the news for decades and had his own very popular TV show. Mr. Trump has never been shy about who he was or what he represented. It was all out there for any conscious or even semi-conscious person to see. So the establishment may not like him but those Americans who voted for him did so, so that he would shake up that establishment and that he has been trying to do.


Don't Drink and Tweet!


But the President has not done himself any favors. Many think he just is not competent for that job. His Midnight tweets which are often scathing and rather un-Presidential and only add fuel to the fire. His staff or Melania, need to hide his cellphone before he pops open that bottle of scotch and starts to channel surf Cable News at midnight. Mind you, I don't know that is what is happening, but given some of the things he has tweeted, it would follow. But again his spats with his AG and now with rumors of Tillerson thinking of bolting.... this does not bode well. Trump's administration has been marked by acrimony, chaos and contradictions. What I think is rather sad is he does not seem to be getting help from those in his party. Or maybe they try and he doesn't listen; or perhaps a bit of both.

I think what many on the left and in the hate Trump crowd have forgotten is just how hard it will be for future Presidents to govern if any past dealings they have had can be blown out of all proportion and then hound him to death about what appears at this time to be mostly minutiae. Moreover, I think that these men and women who run our government need to understand that Trump is a person with his own personality. He has a competitive and even combative personality, no use mincing words. So why aggravate him? If you want to do what is best for the nation, negotiation and conciliation are the watchwords.

My own purely personal take on all of this runs so. I did not want to see Trump as President. I did not want to see Hillary as President. I don't like the 'tone' of this White House, its feel and its personality. But Trump's appeal is not to middle aged free-thinking Black Men (like me) but to working or used to be working White ones. He has appeal to them and still has healthy support in this group. Those who remove him or are seen as supporting or orchestrating his downfall can forget about capturing that voter class for the foreseeable future, and that includes Congressional mid-terms.

Second is this. One reason why Barak Obama won in 2008 was because he was viewed as an outsider and ran against the 'establishment'. It was mostly a head fake with Obama, but he knew what the people wanted, told them what they wanted to hear and got elected. Trump also ran as an outsider but is doing what he can to actually bring in change (not a head fake) and that is why he is having so many troubles.

My point is this - The American people, left and right are ripe for change. They want it and got it in 2016. Regardless of if they remove Trump or not, outsiders from now on will be far more likely to gain the White House. Those who can bring in change to a government that most American see as no longer serving their interests and can garner the money needed to win can now get in. Trump proved that and that is why there is such rage against him. He was not 'anointed' by the establishment and deep state, which is how these things are usually done. Two candidates who get that anointing and then are 'allowed' to be nominated by their parties. This way, President's don't rock the boat, the corrupt rackets don't get touched (and there are many) and everyone in DC goes home a little richer and everyone on mainstreet goes home a little poorer. This was how things have been done for decades.

But that may be changing that is why if they remove Trump, the people are still likely to put in another outsider. They key for the establishment is to make sure they put another 'head faker' in their and not a real agent for change.

So I don't know if they will remove Trump. Perhaps not, but that does not mean they will not take extreme measures to neutralize him and this constant hounding of him I think is one of those methods they are using to get control of him.

So far his response has been 'the bird' to his enemies.

We will have to see how this all pans out.

I ask you all to keep President Trump, Speaker Ryan, Senate Majority Leader, McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, Schumer as well as the members of the Supreme Court and others of those in the government in your sincere prayers. They need them - all of them, from the left to the right.

This is a difficult time for the nation and tough choices will be soon forced upon our leaders.


24 July

Haggai: Prophet Of the Temple

I wrote this back in 2014. I hope you find it edifying.

-MSW


Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them. Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.

(Ezr 5:1-2)


The book of Haggai is a very short book, but not one without some very important spiritual teachings and prophetic relevance. As you may have noted, this above verse is not actually from the Book Of Haggai, but rather is from the book of Ezra. The books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi; these books are all interrelated in that they all deal with the return of Israel after that Babylonian Captivity and the rebuilding of the second temple. The work did not go smoothly at first. There were many problems, not least of which was the displeasure at the Viceroy, Tatnai had at the ongoing work at rebuilding the Temple. Now one thing I like about the prophets of these particular times, is that they were not just telling the people what they should do, they were doing it themselves! Yes, this passage clearly indicates that the prophets were not just out there with long robes, a staff and a 'Thus saith the Lord...”, but they also rolled up their sleeves, got a wheelbarrow and a shovel and got busy!

The Governor wanted the work stopped, but God had other plans.

Haggai is basically a book that contains a few of the words of just one of the prophets who were busy in this period of Israel's return. What Haggai says to the people who have returned is that while they have built their homes, and were living well, yet the House of the Lord had not be rebuilt.


Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD'S house should be built. Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD. Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands. Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD.

(Hag 1:2-12)


Clearly this was a situation that God was not pleased with. They were living well, but had forgotten the central part of Israel's existence, the God who brought them not only out of Egypt, but also out of Babylon. The Lord was displeased and was showing the people this divine displeasure in their increase, or lack thereof - or as we would put it today their deteriorating economic and financial situation.


This is one of the ways God deals with his people when they don't do right. He knows how to get people's attention. Here he merely 'blew on their money'.


Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.
- Hagga1 1:9


They gathered a hundred bucks but by the time they got it home it was less than $80, when they woke up the following morning, they were closer to $70. So it is when we do not give back to God, not just in our money, but in whatever service God is calling us to. We disobey and we get into big trouble. Let us consider what happened to Jonah when it did not do his job. God had withheld the the rain and clearly there was trouble on the agricultural front as well.


And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.
(Hag 1:11, KJV)


God was letting his people know that they had a responsibility not just to themselves, but to him. They apparently had forgotten that responsibility. This is not an unfamiliar them in scripture. It's a familiar and one on the surface that may not seem like a really big deal, but it is. Because once we forget the rock on which our faith (or in Israel, the nation) was founded and built, then comes sin and later apostasy. So the prophets exhortation was really one that says to Israel, I brought you back from Babylon, let's get started on the right foot here!. Let's not go back to the things that caused you to go into exile in the first place. In short, this was a warning against lukewarmness and giving too much attention to the pleasures and comforts of this life and not remember one's honorable service to the Lord. The first part of Haggai was a word of rebuke for the recent returnee's.

Later, Haggai changes his tone from one of rebuke to one of encouragement. Let me let you in on a big secret here. A prophet's main job is to expound a special message to a certain group of people that they are not hearing by other means. Usually if God has to send a prophet, there has been some area in their lives or corporate body that is amiss and has been pointed out and yet been uncorrected. The prophets job is to bring correction via words and yes, often with threats if there is no repentance. But it is not the prophet who is threatening, it is God who is using the prophet to threaten them with.

Many (MANY) have called me a prophet. I reject that label in the Old Testament sense, but accept in the New for in it we find that all of those who bear the witness and true testimony of the risen Christ has the spirit of prophecy (Rev 19:10). I know that there is the office of the prophet in the NT and I also know that any true prophet of God who came into the Churches today would be cast out as a heretic in congregation and congregation across America. Why? Prophets usually teach back to basic messages. All of the old prophets in Israel, they were preaching a message that was very basic - stop sinning, return to God, or face his wrath. Do good, cease doing evil, Honor God, stop worshiping false Gods, remember who brought you out of Egypt. From Elijah to Zechariah, their messages can be boiled down to these basic themes.

Haggai was preaching a back to basics message. He was telling the people that they needed to get back to the old ways, get your temple built and honor God. That was the route to blessings.

I once knew someone who wanted it all. They Had a business but you know what. He had forsaken the Lord. He had turned on God like a rabid animal. I can remember trying to pray for this person and the Holy Ghost... it was so strange, it was almost like he did not want me praying for him! I reached out my hand to put it on his shoulder it I knew that God was NOT with this person any more. Only later could I see how far this person departed from God. Last I heard is business was in trouble. But I have really not bothered to inquire. There is one category of people I really will have nothing to do with and that is hardened apostates. The occasional backslider, especially youthful one is one thing, an older person who turns on God is almost always a hopeless case. I fear for those around this person because I see dark spirits already beginning to hover around him and this person has some deeper integrity issues that have always plagued their character. But you know what I suspect. I suspect that this person had put his businessman 'front' as the most important thing in his life. To be known as a successful business person was far more important than God. More importantly, I think he felt that the moral precepts that God laid down was 'holding him back' from that success. I am fairly certain this person was so desperate for revenue that he was willing to bend or even break the law to get it and thus the slide begins right back into the spiritual mire. My point is a simple one. He left the first things, and went aside after the gods of money, commerce and materialism and erred greatly.


What is my point on this aside? That you had better not go back or even become lukewarm!! That when God calls you to redirect your lives towards him and his work - do it. Stop making excuses and do it. Here in Haggai, that work was building the Temple. Has God called you to do something? For me it was to warn and write. That is the job has called me to do. I am in some ways like the description that was given to Enoch in the very book of that name. No, it is not in scripture, though Enoch was very special to God and the book I am talking about was quoted from in the Bible as being the word of the Lord (Jude 14). According to the book of Enoch (none of you have to accept what is said here in blue) he had a horrible task to perform in the days just before the Flood.


Enoch the scribe- and said to me: 'Enoch, thou scribe of righteousness, go, declare to the Watchers of the heaven who have left the high heaven, the holy eternal place, and have defiled themselves with women, and have done as the children of earth do, and have taken unto themselves wives: "Ye have wrought great destruction on the earth: And ye shall have no peace nor forgiveness of sin: and inasmuch as they delight themselves in their children, The murder of their beloved ones shall they see, and over the destruction of their children shall they lament, and shall make supplication unto eternity, but mercy and peace shall ye not attain." - (1Enoch 12:4ff)

But that is the way I see this ministry – I am a Christian writer or a scribe of righteousness. Yes, I am a watchman and on rare instances God has a prophetic utterance for me go give out. But they are harsh words and I often kick against the goads when I am commanded to set it down.

I never asked for for this job, but here I am. I know that I must do this job or I will go into chastisement. I have been to the city of chastisement and have no desire to revisit that municipality. It was a painful stay and as I left it, I saw a sign in the rear view mirror, that said, “don't come back or there is more in store”. I have not always been as diligent with roadsigns as I should be, especially the ones with the speed posted, but this is one sign I am going to go out of my way to obey. I am not going back!


Has God called you to do something? Has he called you to be a prayer warrior? Has he called you to teach kids in Sunday School? Has he called you to help out at the local Homeless shelter run by Christians? Has he called you to preach, teach or otherwise minister in the congregation? Has he given you an abundance of wealth that can be given to Christian aid organizations and ministries or help the persecuted and needy part of the Body of Christ? My question to you is, how long will you delay doing what you were called to do. How long before you actually do what God has told you to do? What is it going to take to get you moving? How long will you posses and act upon those misguided priorities and get down to the task God has called you to do? If there is any practical and everyday message that can be found in Haggai, that is it.


So what follows in Haggai is the positive message. God is with you! Get to work, God will bless you and your work once you get moving in the direction God wants you to go.


Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD. Then spake Haggai the LORD'S messenger in the LORD'S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD. And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.
(
Hag 1:12-15, KJV)


So Haggai's word was one not just of rebuke but one of encouragement as well. This is one way you brothers can tell a true prophet from a false one. A false one is usually just doom and gloom. He never tells people what they must do to get things right, or if he does, it is not based on Christ and God''s holy way. He may be preaching a GOP gospel or a Democrat gospel or an Intelligence Community Gospel (paid for by the ones running coke into your neighborhoods, and arming terrorists in Iraq), but it is not one that is given by the Holy Spirit. Believe me the number of pastors and prophets out there taking money from these elements is very high, and not just American intelligence either!!. Most do not fully understand where the money is coming from. But simply put they have another Lord and master, and it ain't Jesus.

Haggai was telling people not what he wanted them to hear, but what God wanted to tell them and it was only by such a message can the Spirit of the Lord rouse another to do God's holy will. This is what happened with the Preaching of Haggai.


Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him, and the people did fear before the LORD. Then spake Haggai the LORD'S messenger in the LORD'S message unto the people, saying, I am with you, saith the LORD. And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and did work in the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, In the four and twentieth day of the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.
(Hag 1:12-15, KJV)


Haggai offered not just threats and fear, but also words of comfort and encouragement, he told God's servants that the Lord was with them and they began to work on the Temple.

The personage of Zerubbabel is an important one and one that I think I should cover briefly. His office was that of a Persian Governor. While it was true that the Jews had returned to their homeland, it was also true that they were still pretty much under Persian Domination. While he is refereed to as the Son of Sheatleil, he appears to be the son of Pedaiah and had by virtue of his lineage had claim to the throne through David. He was never on the Throne and only served as a mere functionary (Viceroy) of the Persian King here.

His ascendancy may have been as a result of revolts that had taken place and his ability to build the temple may have sprung from the desire for Persia to have peace in the province. The king probably realized it was easier and cheaper to let them build the Temple that it was to send troops.

His place in the beginnings of Post Exilic Israel is very important and should not be underestimated. He is mentioned here, Ezra and most notably in Zechariah. Zerubabbels lineage is believe it or not, more than just a little academic as it goes to a key prophecy of Jeremiah and also to the Messianic Bloodline.

The key here I think is express in a scholarly fashion by my favorite commentary (K & D). Here is what they say, it is a little complicated but you may find it of interest.

Zerubbabel (lxx Ζοροβάβελ) was the son of Shealtiël. שׁאלתּיאל is written in the same way in Hag 2:23; 1Ch 3:17; Ezr 3:2, and Neh 12:1; whereas in Neh 12:12 and Neh 12:14, and Hag 2:2, it is contracted into שׁלתּיאל. She'altı̄'ēl, i.e., the prayer of God, or one asked of God in prayer, was, according to 1Ch 3:17, if we take 'assı̄r as an appellative, a son of Jeconiah (Jehoiachin), or, if we take 'assı̄r as a proper name, a son of Assir the son of Jeconiah, and therefore a grandson of Jehoiachin. But, according to 1Ch 3:19, Zerubbabel was a son of Pedaiah, a brother of Shealtiel. And lastly, according to the genealogy in Luk 3:27, Shealtiel was not a son of either Assir or Jeconiah, but of Neri, a descendant of David through his son Nathan. These three divergent accounts, according to which Zerubbabel was (1) a son of Shealtiël, (2) a son of Pedaiah, the brother of Shealtiël, and a grandson of Assir or Jeconiah, (3) a son of Shealtiël and grandson of Neri, may be brought into harmony by means of the following combinations, if we bear in mind the prophecy of Jeremiah (Jer 32:30), that Jeconiah would be childless, and not be blessed with having one of his seed sitting upon the throne of David and ruling over Judah. Since this prophecy of Jeremiah was fulfilled, according to the genealogical table given by Luke, inasmuch as Shealtiël's father there is not Assir or Jeconiah, a descendant of David in the line of Solomon, but Neri, a descendant of David's son Nathan, it follows that neither of the sons of Jeconiah mentioned in 1Ch 3:17-18 (Zedekiah and Assir) had a son, but that the latter had only a daughter, who married a man of the family of her father's tribe, according to the law of the heiresses, Num 27:8; Num 36:8-9 - namely Neri, who belonged to the tribe of Judah and family of David. From this marriage sprang Shealtiël, Malkiram, Pedaiah, and others. The eldest of these took possession of the property of his maternal grandfather, and was regarded in law as his (legitimate) son. Hence he is described in 1Ch 3:17 as the son of Assir the son of Jeconiah, whereas in Luke he is described, according to his lineal descent, as the son of Neri. But Shealtiël also appears to have died without posterity, and simply to have left a widow, which necessitated a Levirate marriage on the part of one of the brothers (Deu 25:5-10; Mat 22:24-28). Shealtiël's second brother Pedaiah appears to have performed his duty, and to have begotten Zerubbabel and Shimei by this sister-in-law (1Ch 3:19), the former of whom, Zerubbabel, was entered in the family register of the deceased uncle Shealtiël, passing as his (lawful) son and heir, and continuing his family. Koehler holds essentially the same views (see his comm. on Hag 2:23). - (K & D Commentary on Haggai 1:1)

The prophet continues his words of encouragement to Zerubabbel and to Joshua, the high Priest. He tells Zerubbabel to be strong. Though the current temple was as nothing compared to the one Solomon Built, it would be even better one day, this was the promise. It may have started off as small as a country Chapel in Haggai's day, but it would indeed become a major architectural achievement through the years. They key here was that for these promises to be fulfilled, the people had to do two main things - they had to believe and obey God (faith) and they had to put their backs into it.

Brothers, nothing gets under my skin more than American Christians who sit back and expect everything to be delivered to them free of charge, free of work free of effort and without any interaction on their part The couch potato Christian is something I frankly cannot abide. The constant stream and litany of excuses that tends to permeate Western Christianity. Yes by that I mean that when it comes time for them to actually do something than sit up in Church on Sunday, they got a whole book of excuses to read from. 'I don't have time' or 'I am too busy' or “my wife and I are saving up for a trip to the Tahiti, we cannot afford to help the poor right now... or ever” or 'how dare you pass judgment on me!, or 'we are saved by grace, I need not do anything' or 'that is the pastors job'... The constant stream of excuses. The scriptures say that ye shall know them by their fruits. Well, me... I think you can also know them by their excuses too!!


Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD'S house should be built.
(Hag 1:2, KJV)

The Israelites had their excuses too. Had it not been for the prophecies of Haggai, Zechariah and the lot, the building of the Temple would have been consigned to the year never-ever BC.


The final part of the book deal with a look towards the day of the Lord, when the Lord will shake all things. Then he tells the people the things that are hindering their work. These are the things that defile. Defilement is a concept that is not often talked about today in our Churches with such an over emphasis on Grace. But defilement was something that prevents communion with God; it prevented sacrifices from being accepted and God is letting the people know that slovenly and slack work and an inattention to key details.


Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean.
(Hag 2:13-14, KJV)


Then the Lord makes a special promise to Zerubbael, one with clear messianic overtones.


And again the word of the LORD came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying, Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.
(Hag 2:20-23, KJV)


The Lord is making him know that in the great day of the Lord, Zerubbabel will be greatly honored and made a signet ring. This probably is referencing the fact that the Messianic line was transferred to him (Mat 1:12; Luk 3:27) after the curse fell upon Jeconiah. In fact, this careful use of the word signet here is significant in that this was the exact expression used by Jeremiah when he spoke against Jechoniah (Jeremiah 22:24ff), which removed that bloodline from Messianic consideration.

In closing let us consider this about Haggai. Unlike Jeremiah or Ezekiel, Haggai's message was more one of encouragement. All of the threatenings and warnings that Jeremiah and Ezekiel had spoken of had already come to pass. God was not about kicking his people when they were down. But he was also not about letting them go on with a pity-party and a list of excuses for not doing what they were supposed to be doing.


Brothers and sisters, has God called you to do something?


Stop making excuses (Moses was expert at that one!)


Stop questioning God's wisdom in choosing you for your task.


Roll up your sleeves


And get to work!!



Brother Mark
Oct 2014

22 July


They Won't Be Back


Thanks to the reader who sent me the interesting mp3 file. I appreciate it. It was a song about the Prayer of Daniel that I talked about here a few days ago. It was a nice song. If you all remember this reader asked for prayer for someone because he apparently has forsaken his Christian friends and as the reader surmised many have fallen in with some kind of cult.

This is a hard, hard lesson but all of is need to learn it and not let the realities of Christian living get us down. One of those realities is that...

And then shall many be offended, and shall betray
one another, and shall hate one another.
 - Matthew 24:10

I hate to break this to you, but in these times, the closer we come to the rise of the man of sin, the beast system's final form and the coming of Christ, falling away will be a very, very common thing. Many will fall away, not a few. This will be particularly true when persecution comes and comes hard. That will be the real test for western Christians. What are you really going to do when your walk with Christ costs... I mean really costs?

I know this is a theme I have talked about a few times before but it bears serious repeating. Those who come to know Christ and willfully and knowingly turn on the cross of Christ are in a very serious spiritual condition. In many cases, the simple fact is, they can never come back. Some of you think I am hard on this issue. No brothers, God is most merciful but at the same time our Lord, through his Apostles made some things very clear.

 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened,
and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 
And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves
 the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
(Hebrews 6:4-6 [KJVA])

Now to you the reader who asked for prayer, it is not my place to say if your former friend has placed himself into this category or not. I do not know. What I know is that there is a form of apostasy that precludes any future offer of salvation. In other words, you can't come back. Why is this?

I do not know for certain, but part of the reason is stated in the above passage. They brought great shame to the gospel by their apostasy. The other reason I think has to do with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God is a rather sensitive issue with the Lord. Its person and work are not to be taken lightly. Let us remember that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the only unpardonable sin (Mark 3:29). Also remember that its work is essential in the work of salvation. If God's spirit will not draw that person to Christ (or back to Christ) then the path to salvation is blocked. Keep in mind what Jesus said. 
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him:
and I will raise him up at the last day.
 (John 6:44 [KJVA])

A person must be drawn and if the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration (Titus 3:5) is no longer possible, that person is in extreme spiritual danger. When a person shows spite to the Holy Spirit, and turns away from the path of salvation there is frankly little if any hope for them.

 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
  Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy,
who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant,
wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite
unto the Spirit of grace?
(Hebrews 10:28-29 [KJVA])

I don't say these things to depress you or say that there is absolutely no hope for your friend, but to say that in our times, you had best get used to seeing this kind of thing... a lot. Our main task is two fold. First to make sure we are not like Lot's wife, looking back on spiritual Sodom or in the case of the Children of Israel, Egypt.

Looking back is bad enough, but going back is clearly forbidden and for many, that trip is one way, you won't be back even if you wanted to, not without the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

Second, I would exhort you to not be too full of sorrow and pity for such. They made their choice - to turn on the Lord. You must make yours, to stay with him even if all others forsake him. That is your job. Remember how Samuel was distressed over Saul and his apostasy? He was deeply grieved. But did the Lord join in Samuel's 'pity party'? No. He rebuked Samuel who had work to do and is excessive whining over Saul may have been effecting his work as a prophet and was nothing more than criticism of the Lord and his sovereign decision.

And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul,
seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go,
I will send thee to Jesse the Beth–lehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.
 (I Samuel 16:1 [KJVA])


The Lord chided Samuel and for good reason. Why was he whining about this reprobate king who in the very next verse Samuel is concerned that he may kill him? Who knows, but for a long time Saul and Samuel were pretty close. It was hard for Samuel to see Saul go down the path he had taken. But Samuel knew his duty. He was a prophet of the Lord and his representative and he had to do as the Lord bid. The first thing was to dry his tears for Saul and the second, to go and anoint a new King.

There comes a time when we have to let go of relationships and old friends sometimes change and change for the worse. God does not want us to be friends with liars, murderers, traitors and thieves and when people start to go down that road, we need to move away and stay away.

So to the reader who lives overseas and is concerned about this old friend. Don't spend too much time weeping over him. What should you do instead?


And he said to them all, If any man will come after me,
let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,
and follow me.
 (Luke 9:23 [KJVA])


DOJ Renews, Expands Civil Asset Forfeiture

Yes, its true and he is catching you know what from both sides of the aisle on the changes. I think you all are familiar with the program so I will not belabor it here. The key here is the program is back. The CNN Story is linked above.

I will post the actual DOJ Memo and make more comment below it.




You can download it here.

Sessions clearly is not totally insensitive to the problems in the past, with innocent people having their stuff stolen buy the Feds and not being able to get it back. What they had before was little more than a rip-off racket. Wanna rob your fellow Americans? Get a badge and a Warrant!

Well, I don't want to make light of this. Anyone who had their stuff stolen who was innocent of any crime will tell you this just isn't right and the abuses were common. The biggest problem was there were no checks and balances and they made it nearly impossible for the ordinary guy to challenge the seizure. How are you going to challenge it when they took your money? 

But while I will not defend the re-institution of this policy, I will say this. America is in the midst of a gripping opiod epidemic. It is killing many Americans; young and old, Black and White. Fighting the organized crime rackets who are running this dope in the nation is not going to be easy and LE needs tools to deal with this.

If I have a major issue with this it is with Sessions whom many see as a closet racist. Given the GOP's propensity to go after the Brothers and Latino's, it would not surprise me to see him use these tools in the Ghetto's and Barrio's and not use them in Bel Air and Wall Street, where the rich and the White also get their kicks from the drug.

Will these tools be used to go after the major rackets or just to harass  and imprison those the GOP thinks are 'undesirables'?

That is the question.

But according to the memo and the press release, new procedures have been put in place that should help to reduce significantly the kinds of abuses we have seen in the past.  I will cut and paste Mr. Sessions comments at the Press Conference.

“Under today’s guidance, the federal government will not adopt seized property unless the state or local agency involved provides information demonstrating that the seizure was justified by probable cause. We will accomplish this through a new adoption form that state and local law enforcement must fill out before we will agree to adopt any property, which will include the necessary information to allow Department lawyers to carefully review and determine whether adoption is proper. Further, law enforcement agencies who wish to participate in the Department’s Equitable Sharing Program now must now provide their officers with enhanced training on asset forfeiture laws.

“The Department will adopt smaller seizures of cash—between $5,000 and $10,000—only if there exists some level of criminality or with the express concurrence of the U.S. Attorney’s office.
“When I was in the Senate, I worked with Senator Schumer to make modifications to the civil asset forfeiture program. We required probable cause for the seizure of property. And we raised the burden on the government, who has the initial burden in all of these cases, to the same preponderance of the evidence standard used in all civil cases. In addition, if the government lost the case, then the government pays attorneys’ fees. I believe those were good reforms that strengthened the program.
“Further, to better protect claimants, the Department will expedite the review of civil asset forfeiture cases. State and local law enforcement agencies requesting federal adoption must do so within 15 calendar days following the date of seizure. The adopting federal agency must then send notice to interested parties within 45 days of the date of seizure. This is twice as fast of a review as is required by statute. This streamlined process will ensure that people receive speedy resolutions of their cases, and that rightful owners will get their property back as soon as possible.

“In addition to these safeguards on federal adoptions, I am asking Department attorneys to proceed with an abundance of caution when handling all forfeitures involving vehicles and especially residences. I think that Department attorneys should think hard before they agree to forfeit these types of property, or waive any asset thresholds associated with them. Just like with cash seizures, if we operate this program in a careful and responsible way, something I believe the American people expect and deserve with a program such as this, the Department’s federal asset forfeiture program will be an effective tool, while at the same time protecting the rights of property owners. - DOJ

Why did the feds announce this now? I cannot read minds but this may have had something to do with it.

FBI Profiler Gets Innocent Man Sent To Jail

The LAT goes a story on an incident where the testimony of one of the FBI's profilers sent someone innocent to jail.

Profiling may at times have its uses. But I see too many parallels with the Third Reich for me to be comfortable with. The Nazi's had racial profiling as well. They really thought all Jews were criminally inclined and had Nazi 'science' to back it all up.

Look, rather than me giving you some scholarly link, here are just some pictures and cartoons from those days in the racist Reich.

Today, new sentencing software that no one is allowed to see (including the Judges) use profiling to give sentences to defendants at trial.

The Reich is here. They just have not fired up the gas chambers and ovens yet. But ovens may not be so far off as you might think. Today, what the Nazi's accomplished by deliberate policy the Americans can accomplish by meticulously coordinated 'mistakes' and 'oversights' that no one ever gets around to fixing. They will 'slip and fall' and gas a few million people and call it bureaucratic bumbling. 'We have no idea how all that poison gas got into the air conditioning system in the part of the jail that house Black inmates. We are looking into it', they will assure us on camera and go out and buy more poison gas when no one is looking. Why? There is no punishment for 'mistakes' only deliberate murder even then it depends on ones 'racial profile'.

Mark my words.

They know most people will flip the channel and finish watching HBO when the story gets told on the news. 

The American people for the most part are ripe for another holocaust. They have the same arrogance and ignorance that is reinforced by 24-7 state run (in America corporate-state run) propaganda (media) that the Nazi's had. Too many have the same don't give a sh-t attitude at atrocities being committed on others as the average German had during the days of the Third Reich.

People today, I am not sure there will be more people decrying such a turn of events or trying to find out which company got the contract for the poison gas so they can ride the stocks rising value.

Sound too cynical for you?

Live a little longer.

Things have gone on that have never it the web and probably never will, if some folks get their way.

You'll, see.



20 July

US Aid Budget Moves Forward, But Dems To Fight Cuts

Devex looks at the Trump/GOP foreign aid budget cuts and the politics behind the cuts (above link). I think this is a good place to start on today's, news update. Foreign aid is more and more out with the US under Trump. What is in? Military spending and that is often done as a counter to threats that the US sees are growing around the world. I think I posted this once already, but I will re-post it here. Global Military Spending Trends for 2016. I can't post any charts as they are copyright, but do check it out, if for no other reason than to  get a feel for where our world is heading on this front. the instruments of peace are being gutted (aid) and the instruments of war are being sharpened.

One issue is China. Crisis Group today issued a report today on the crisis in South Sudan and how China views it. Do you remember how I have talked about China's non-interference policy in the internal affairs of other nations? That doctrine is being put to the test.

China’s longstanding principle of non-interference in other states’ internal affairs is evolving with its growing global footprint. As Chinese overseas investment and business links grow in scope and depth, Beijing faces increasing threats to its citizens, economic interests and international reputation. That, in turn, has confronted China with the inherent limitations of its traditional hands-off foreign policy posture. How it responds over time will have a profound impact on Beijing’s international role. The most prominent test case appears to be Africa and, within the continent, South Sudan, where Chinese measures to protect its citizens and economic interests, coupled with its support for an end to the war and pursuit of humanitarian objectives, seem a calculated trial run for a more proactive global role.

China first experimented with deeper involvement in Sudan in response to powerful international criticism (culminating in calls to boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics) of its support for Khartoum, which was fighting a brutal counter-insurgency campaign in Darfur. Using its influence with the Sudanese government and in the UN Security Council, China helped ensure deployment of UN peacekeepers to Darfur in 2008. Later, when Libya’s civil war erupted in 2012, China’s evacuation of its citizens generated national pride and increased both its people’s and its investors’ expectations about Beijing’s global profile. In both instances, China extended the boundaries of its time-honoured diplomacy, suggesting growing willingness to take action when its interests are threatened.

When South Sudan’s civil war broke out in late 2013, Chinese advocates of a more flexible interpretation of the non-intervention policy saw an opportunity to try new approaches to protect their nation’s interests. Several factors were at play. Huge investments made the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) both an economic and political actor. At the same time, China’s interests were aligned with those of others – mediators and Western powers – seeking to end the conflict. Working together with the Horn of Africa’s regional body – the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), charged with mediating South Sudan’s peace process – and Western actors, Chinese policymakers believed they could intervene constructively while managing reputational risks.

This was a step beyond its traditional approach: Beijing could claim broad adherence to the non-interference principle even as it used its influence to bring warring parties together and bridge differences between Western actors and South Sudanese leaders. It engaged in the peace process held in Ethiopia, hosted discreet talks among warring factions in Sudan, shaped UN Security Council action, sent peacekeepers to the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and joined the August 2015 peace agreement oversight body. - China’s Foreign Policy Experiment in South Sudan, International Crisis Group


I know many readers may not understand why I talk about these things and they may seem a bit 'off narrative' if one is hooked on Fox News and Christian TV and would rather look at the latest 'gotcha' on the Trump Russiagate scandal.  But the plain fact is this this -  China's insertion into regional conflicts and hotspots is going to bring in very significant tension and perhaps even conflict as time passes and China expands her global influence. It will mean many things, including the US beginning to insert troops as well. More and more, the world is look to rely less on the instruments of peace to settle differences, but are arming their forces for he inevitable 'Communication by Artillery shells' form of global dialogue which the world is witnessing now in Mesopotamia.

China's actions in the China sea as well need to be considered. Asia Times has done a piece here on Duterte and asks the question if his attempt to engage China has backfired. That is an interesting link and shows you how the Philippine President may have mishandled this whole affair. Know this, the China sea saga is not getting less tense, but more so as China continues to militarize the islands. Some of the more notable events in the China sea can be found here.

China as mentioned in a link a couple of days ago is moving into Syria with its belt and road initiative. So make no mistake, non-interference may soon go by the way side as China asserts itself into all the realms of geopolitical power, including military force.

Then there are the Russians. They are set to launch their ZAPAD exercises in September. These exercises are large scale military drills that Russia periodically runs to test its Western Theater. (Zapad means west). They are there to test the actual combat readiness of Russian front line forces. You can read more about how the Russophobes in the west view this exercise here as they play up the threat and fail to mention their own provocative actions along Russia's border.

The west made a seriously wrong turn under President Obama when they overthrew the elected government of Ukraine and then refused to take responsibility for their acts and continue to lay all the blame on Putin. We may have crossed a line of no return from a serious, blood curdling war with Russia and China within the next decade.

The Jamestown Foundation has a full report on the last time the Russians conducted these drills back in 2013 on this link. The way these things are done is that he Russians will create a scenario that could conceivably happen and poses a threat to Russia and move their troops in to counter that threat in the exercise.

Map of Baltic State: Source Wikipedia/Hayden120

But Baltic nations are afraid and their fear is not totally without merit. They know the Russians from the Soviet era and don't want to return to that. Moreover, Russia is completely unhappy with many of the broken promises made by the West. Again, we must try and look at these things as others do and not as American policy makers do. Russia will act based on her perceptions, not those of the CFR.

She see's the same kind of threat against her coming from the west as they had during the days of Napoleon and Hitler. Russia neither has the manpower nor the real desire to invade the west. But history has shown time and again the reverse to be true about the West's intentions with regards to Russia. 

Russia on the other hand, just does not have the kinds of might, logistical power or frankly the will, no matter how many Generals and US policy wonks say otherwise, to invade the west.  US General's are not honest when they tell us that the Russians are chomping on the bit to invade us and kill us all. Rather, they are for the most part reading from the script they hope will boost significantly defense spending, making western defense contracts rich and those same generals finding a place in the top slots of those major corporations.

But Russia will do whatever it takes to defend itself and if they see a big enough threat against her coming from the small Baltic States, she will gobble them up if she feels she must. While this will be billed as an act of aggression and by most International standards, it would be. But Russia will see it very differently, they will make it plain that NATO promised no expansion in certain areas, and they expanded. They promised no ABM systems in Europe and then they tried to deploy them. They will not take our verbal assurances. What they will do is do whatever it takes to defend Russia from those who would threaten her. In short, the exact same thing America would do if the tables were reversed.


Needless to say, this is not how American policy leaders want this issue framed. They want to get control of the narrative here in the US to keep the masses afraid of those 'Russian devils'. Russia could care less about what lies American policy makers tell their citizens, many of whom could not point to Lithuania on a map as they hunt for the next opioid high. Why should Joe Six-Pac care when the game is getting ready to come on the tube and he just got his fix?

In closing I want to look at just the kinds of crisis that the world is facing now as the US gets ready to cut its foreign aid budget. I think it only meet that I pass that data on to all of you.

We in America have full bellies and grocery stores full of food and water that comes out of our tap. It is not always easy to contextualize just how hard life is for those who are hungry, truly hungry and thirsty.



Source: Famine Early Warning System

18 July

US Christianity Watch

In the above link, the WaPo looks at some of America's pastors infatuation with Trump and the pomp and power of being connected up with money and power. What does this mean? Well I think one sentence in the piece pretty much tells all.

"... Trump has forced them to embrace a pragmatism that could damage the gospel around the world, and force many Christians to rethink their religious identities and affiliations." - WaPo
Throughout the piece the WaPo uses the phrase 'Court evangelicals' referring to the group of leaders who have access to the halls of power. The article goes on to give us a bit of a history lesson in right wing, mostly White political Christianity.

It is very interesting to see how American Christian leaders (many of whom are very wealthy) have taken up the crusade for Trump. I don't like denigrating other Christians, even those I strongly disagree with, but what I see here is something that is very dangerous and will one day really bite American Christendom back... hard.

The piece also makes another interesting observation. That many evangelicals are fed up with their denominations and are looking for a more authentic form of Christianity. This piece is rather insightful even if written from a somewhat secular perspective to fit the Post's readership. However it is written by a professor at a Christian College. I hope you take a couple of minutes to read it.

I am troubled by these things, but not shocked; not in the least. Many years ago, I can remember eating my lunch in my car when on an assignment in Pennsylvania (working for KPMG) and on the Christian radio there was a lady who had a vision of the Church making herself up in the mirror, doing what she could and making herself pretty for her lover. When asked what she was doing she merely made it plain that the world was always her lover and that was whom she was dressing up for.

I think that vision pretty much describes what I see happening in American Christendom. It is often, in my view little more than a deceiving mechanism to create a political and economic group that can be used and manipulated to the desires of her shepherds, leaders and men who pay the bills. For the most part, it is devoid of any real spiritual power and loves the world too much.


The link I posted a couple of weeks ago, I think is meet to re-link to, Christians: Don't Sell Your Soul in Defense of President Trump. The picture in that piece is worth a thousand words. The piece is good but merely focuses on Trumps tweets and public persona.

I think however this piece is more telling. It is a spiritual exam on just how unhealthy American Conservative Christianity is.

But frankly Western corporate Christianity is in as one writer put it, in a free fall collapse. That piece is long and very insightful.

This all really is a testament as to where American Christianity really is. The biblical ignorance, the ignorance of the Global landscape is appalling. But that is par for the course not just in Christianity but everywhere in the US. Ignorance and American are more and more becoming synonymous words. 

Mr. Shoebat makes a clear and insightful point, American Christianity today is a social religion, not a spiritual one and that is the major disconnect that I think many truly born again don't understand when they try and figure out why so many Churches they attend are spiritually dead and they have problems relating to those who attend those services.

Those Christians who have the true experiential and personal knowledge of Christ (let the reader understand Luke 10:22, John 14:23, Rev 3:20) don't feel conformable among these kinds of Christians. Being around them a while and one can just know they have never known Christ, even though they sit in Church on Sunday and can be counted on to get angry about things social conservatives are angry about on Monday.

I wish I had some positive commentary to make on this issue but frankly I don't. I don't see much good in the future of American Christendom and frankly I think one day the Social Christians will one day turn on the ones who have known Christ (born again with water, the blood and spirit - 1John 5:6) when the going gets tough. In that day, brother will betray brother to death.

This is why we need to mark those leaders who are slowly, carefully and methodically misleading the sheep in times like this.

The times today are not all that dissimilar to the days of the prophet Zechariah who was a very young prophet whom the Lord raised up in the times of the return of the Jewish exiles from Babylon. Here is what he said about the false shepherds of his time. In this rather extended passage we see many themes, the false shepherds, what God would do to them, etc.

 
There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled:
a voice of the roaring of young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled. 
Thus saith the LORD my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter; 
Whose possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty: and they
that sell them say, Blessed be the LORD; for I am rich: and their own
shepherds pity them not.  For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land,
saith the LORD: but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbour's hand,
and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand
I will not deliver them.  And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you,
O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty,
and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock.  Three shepherds also
I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me. 
Then said I, I will not feed you: that that dieth, let it die; and that that is to be cut off,
let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another.
(Zechariah 11:3-9 [KJVA])


This passage is very important for us today because of the reference to these false shepherds and later the act of betrayal by Judas (a type of antichrist, vs (Zech 11:12).

This passage typifies the pattern of many false shepherds. They sell the flock to the wrong people, get rich and earn the anger of the Lord for it. The JFB commentary makes plain that this was something the Shepherds of Israel did back in the Roman times.

possessors — The buyers [Maurer], their Roman oppressors, contrasted with “they that sell men.” The instruments of God’s righteous judgment, and therefore “not holding themselves guilty” (Jer_50:7). It is meant that they might use this plea, not that they actually used it. Judah’s adversaries felt no compunction in destroying them; and God in righteous wrath against Judah allowed it.
they that sell them — (Compare Zec_11:12). The rulers of Judah, who by their avaricious rapacity and selfishness (Joh_11:48, Joh_11:50) virtually sold their country to Rome. Their covetousness brought on Judea God’s visitation by Rome. The climax of this was the sale of the innocent Messiah for thirty pieces of silver. They thought that Jesus was thus sold and their selfish interest secured by the delivery of Him to the Romans for crucifixion; but it was themselves and their country that they thus sold to the Roman possessors.”
I am rich — by selling the sheep (Deu_29:19; Hos_12:8). In short-sighted selfishness they thought they had gained their object, covetous self-aggrandizement (Luk_16:14), and hypocritically “thanked” God for their wicked gain (compare Luk_18:11).

 
Look at the last passage above and how the Lord deals with them. He gives them over. When the time for their work, systems and even their persons to die, he was going to let it happen as well as being cut off. The key here was that he had no intention of saving them.

My point here is not to delve deeply into this passage, only to show you that the problem of false shepherds, and charlatans who get rich on religion is nothing new. NOTHING NEW. Look at how rich  some of America's so called religious leaders are.


So one day, when you see Churches fold, are swept away in floods, swallowed up in earthquakes or are swept up in violence committed by religious extremists. I caution you to be circumspect. Why?

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God:
and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey
not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved,
where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer
according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing,
 as unto a faithful Creator.
(I Peter 4:17-19 [KJV])
There is a pitiful lack of discernment, Biblical knowledge, Christian history and basic common sense that has afflicted the American Church. They have rejected knowledge. The result?


My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because
 thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou
shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God,
I will also forget thy children.
(Hosea 4:6 [KJV])


17 July

Pastor Shot And Killed In N. India

Base map Copyright Openstreetmap & Contributors CC BY-SA
07/17/2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) - International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Pastor Sultan Masih was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting outside of his church in Ludhiana on Saturday, July 15. Following the killing, local Christians staged demonstrations calling on authorities to apprehend those responsible for the brutal murder.
 
According to reports, Pastor Masih was outside of The Temple of God Church on his cellphone when two masked men riding a motorcycle shot the pastor four times around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night. The masked assailants then sped away on the motorcycle. Witnesses rushed Pastor Masih to the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital where he died.
 
Relatives of Pastor Maish claimed that they had noticed suspicious activities outside the church for the past two months. Stephen Sidhu, a relative of the slain pastor, told the Times of India, "Some suspicious-looking men were making rounds of the area, clicking pictures and making videos of the church and also of the address on its board. During the silver jubilee function of the church on May 31, about 20 to 25 miscreants arrived and accused the pastor of conversion. There was a campaign going against the church and the priest on a social networking site, too, saying, 'No conversions.'"
 
On Sunday, July 16, local Christians staged a demonstration in Ludhiana by blocking traffic on the Jalandhar Bypass Chowk on National Highway 1 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.. Hundreds of demonstrators blocked vehicles, accusing local authorities of inaction and calling for the perpetrators of the murder to be brought to justice. In response, Ludhiana police have created a special investigation team to investigate the murder, but have yet to bring suspects in for questioning.
 
"This is shocking beyond words," John Dayal of the United Christian Forum told ICC. "We welcome the relief provided to the family by the Chief Minister of Punjab and his assurance that the crime will be investigated by a special team. We hope and pray that the killers will be soon apprehended."
 
Attacks on Christians and their places of worship have dramatically increased since the election of the BJP-led central government in 2014. In 2016 alone, ICC documented more than 360 separate attacks on Christians, mostly led by radical Hindu nationalist groups operating with near complete impunity. 
 
William Stark, ICC's Regional Manager, said, "Attacks on Christians and their places of worship continue to escalate in both number and intensity because of the impunity enjoyed by those committing these attacks. This brutal murder of a pastor outside of his church must be a wakeup call for many in India. Those perpetrating attacks on religious minorities in India, whether the victims be Muslim or Christian, must be confronted and brought to justice. India's constitution guarantees full religious freedom for all, which means that everyone should be able to live without fear of attack because of their religious identity. Unfortunately, Prime Minister Modi and his BJP-led government have done little to make this constitutional guarantee a reality for India's religious minorities. This must change or else we will continue to see religious violence in India escalate."


***

You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference International Christian Concern (ICC) and include our web address, www.persecution.org. ICC is a Washington D.C.-based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church.


13 July

Chinese Dissident Dies

Informed observers are calling this a political murder.

Mr. Bill Bishop over at Sinocism has gathered some good links on this that can be accessed here.

Human Rights in China as well always has the latest on China's human rights abuses.
12 July

Trump's FCC Is About To Destroy The Internet As We Know It

Yes it is.  Net Neutrality is a big issue and those of you who don't understand why it is should read this piece over at Ars Technica. Yes, you really should read it. Did you know that removing the internet from Title II would make it legal for your ISP to discriminate against you? There is a WHOLE LOT MORE AT STAKE here than just liberals and activists whining.

Today is a day of action in this issue.

One has to wonder what this is really all about. I do. The prevailing narrative out there is that it's all about Big Cable's concern over traffic hogs. Well that was a concern a few years ago. But the truth? The Truth is that a whole bunch of ISP's are against these changes and I can prove it to you.

Trump and is administration is out of touch with business leaders and consumers in this country.



Letter is here. Courtesy EFF.

Facebook and Google as well are not in favor of this.

So who is  behind this move that so many ISP's, big data and consumers are against? What is Trump thinking about? What is the FCC chair thinking? I don't know but clearly the American people and American business leaders are not who he is listening to.

Who is this man listening to and what is their real agenda?

I do not know, but something here just does not seem to add up and his and certain GOP members visceral hatred of online freedom seems a more than just a bit strange to me.


Human Rights Watch

There has been a lot of activity on this front in our world so I wanted to take some time to today and look at these issues and not necessarily just from a Christian Persecution perspective. I know many of you would probably prefer me to stick with just how Christians are treated, but others are also badly mistreated and when evil regimes can do evil to the Human Rights lawyer, the protestor or the innocent bystander, they can do it to others. I also want to let you in on a little secret. Some of these people who are in jail and are well known human rights activists are in reality, Christians. However, the prevailing narrative in the US and its decidedly anti-Christian bias in many quarters make it prudent for those who control much of the information flow to not them to mention this, for if they did, many if not most news agencies in the US would not report on it. So they often just use a non-religious narrative control word to make sure the story gets told and is not censored because of anti-christian bigotry in American news outlets.

Lets get to it...

"...the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans -- born in this century,
tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage,
and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which
this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home
and around the world."
- JFK Inaugural Speech

In China one key activist who has been in prison for some time has been diagnosed with liver cancer. This diagnosis came very late in the disease progression and many activists and his family are outraged and what looks like an intentional late diagnosis.

HRIC is shocked by the information that imprisoned Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo (刘晓波) is suffering from late-stage liver cancer, and outraged by the fact that it is only at this point that the Chinese authorities have released him on medical parole. - HRIC

The number of Human Rights activists in China's jails is growing as China's Xi continues his crackdown on Human Rights advocates. These advocates and lawyers continue their fight for the victims of China's abominable human rights practices which in include midnight arrest, torture. Read here about a woman who was picked up in the dead of night, placed into a secret facility and told to sit for weeks cross-legged in a circle and was beaten when she complained. This is Xi's China, the real China hidden behind Xi's smiling face.

Don't believe that lie of China's benign and peaceful rise to power. Behind that fake facade lies a system that has a vulture where its soul should be. China under Xi is not going to build a better world, but rather likley to cause the infection of repression, torture and evil that is running wild in the Global body politic to fester and grow.
Human Rights: Is China likely to build a better world?
China's rights abuses are appalling and Xi's policy appears to flip the world the finger while he continues to order his police to detain and torture men and women whose only crime is to stand up for basic standards of human decency.

The good news on this front is that Europe has taken a tough stance on Human Rights with regards to China.

On July 6, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on the Chinese government to immediately release the Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia, and to allow Liu Xiaobo to choose where to receive treatment for his advanced liver cancer. The resolution, which passed with an overwhelming majority at a special meeting, also called for... Radio Free Asia
If China really wants to improve relations with Europe and have a stronger presence in its economy, these issues are just going to have to be dealt with.

Despite America's public declaration that Human Rights were no longer going to be a key factor in determining its National Security interests, the good news is that Secretary of State Tillerson and 'First Daughter' Ivanka Trump issue a public statement on some of these issues with the release of the annual Trafficking in Persons report.

The Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; therefore, China was downgraded to Tier 3. Despite the lack of significant efforts, the government took some steps to address trafficking, including increasing cooperation with other countries to investigate cases involving Chinese trafficking victims overseas and by funding awareness campaigns and materials to increase general understanding of the issue. The government continued to provide law enforcement data and reported convicting numerous traffickers; however, it was unclear how many of the cases reported by the government were consistent with the international definition of human trafficking.

The government reported operating shelters specifically for trafficking victims, as well as multi-purpose shelters available to accommodate trafficking victims. However, some unverified media and NGOs reports indicated government complicity in forced labor continued, including in some drug rehabilitation facilities where individuals continued to be detained without judicial process. Human rights organizations and media continued to report local officials in Xinjiang coerced Uighur men and women to participate in forced labor in and outside the province, despite the local government issuing a notice in early 2017 the practice had been completely abolished.

The government convicted fewer sex and labor traffickers compared to the previous reporting period. Authorities continued to forcibly repatriate North Koreans, where they faced severe punishment including forced labor and execution, without screening them for indicators of trafficking. While the government reported mandating authorities screen for indicators of trafficking among all individuals arrested for prostitution, it was unclear if any were screened, and the government did not report referring any such potential victims to shelters or other care. The law does not fully criminalize all forms of trafficking such as the facilitation of prostitution involving children younger than the age of 18, and defines several crimes as human trafficking that do not fit within international law. The government handled most cases with indicators of forced labor as administrative issues and initiated prosecutions of the traffickers in relatively few cases
. - State Department TIP 2017 Report
For those of you interested, the CFR has a piece here that talks about China and Human Trafficking.

This is in reality a mixed signal from the Trump administration as this Yahoo article notes, Tillerson was silent before on the detention and torture of Chinese Human rights lawyers when others stood up against these things to be counted. The article also goes on to note that the afore mentioned 'First Daughter' Ivanka is under investigation for her branded shoes which are made in China and may be using forced labor. But where the Trump administration chooses to look the other way, Europe has not, though clearly those at the top of the elite in Europe would rather make money from Human rights abuses than fight them.

"...at a summit in Brussels on June 1-2, the EU Council and Commission presidents in public did not forcefully condemn China’s deteriorating human rights situation, nor call for the release of political prisoners, including EU citizens." - HRIC

China clearly does not want scrutiny into the numbers and its methods of repression and torture and have discovery of its practices effect the 'smiling face' image Xi wants to project to the world on what 21st China is today.

China: Tiger Chairs And Prison Bosses
China: Tiger Chairs, Electric Baton's And Chili Oil

China now is also ramping up its censorship regimen. They are doing this today by banning all VPN's. This is all designed to keep undesirable news, information and services away from China's victims citizens. China is very serious about all the tools of totalitarianism, unlawful detention, forced labor, torture and censorship. More here on China's VPN issue. There are ways to get around the Great Firewall. Though most VPN services do not offer them.

Related: China’s Newest Censorship Methods on Display

The world needs to cease trusting China to do the right thing. It needs to see Xi's China for what she really is, a violent, repressive, despotic regime whose only real goal is to grasp as much of the worlds wealth as possible and get rid of anyone who they see as being in the way. A nation that does these kinds of things to its own citizens, what in the world do you think they will do to others should she gain hegemonic powers globally? Mind you, not all China's elite are fully on board with the direction Xi is taking. In fact he has met with some resistance. Still he is firmly in the  driver seat.

In other Human Rights News, the UK is going ahead with its arms sales to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The ruling has Human Rights activists in an uproar. The ruling is not surprising to me, the UK has been in dire financial straits since the crisis of 2008 and needs money (hard currency) and arms sales provide that. I hate to break it do you all, but there is not much leaders would not do or allow to have happen if it means significantly more money into state coffers. China, the Saudis? They know that they can do whatever they want as long as they have a liquid bank account and are willing to lavish it on western leaders, lobbyists and defense contractors. So Trump goes to Saudi Arabia and gets money from the Saudi's in the form of an Arms deal, the Brits as well.

The Saudi's invade a sovereign nation drop bombs on everything from schools and hospitals and the UK and US turns a blind eye to it all. Where do you think all of those arms that are sold going to used? I will tell you. They will be used on Yemen and her people.

"You can hear the screams": Inside Yemen's secret prisons (Daily Mail) - this is a very detailed report
US Interrogates Detainees Rife With Torture

'We Could Hear the Screams': Under US Eyes, Hundreds Tortured in Secret Yemen Prisons

Yes, torture is going on and yes America's allies are involved in it and yes, the Trump administration appears to have been complicit if not by direct action then by meticulously contrived inaction.

Related: US Backed Kurds Filmed Torturing Detainee's

Human Rights Watch is pressing Congress to deal with these issues. One method of torture involves spinning a prisoner over a fire. This is the kind of evil Donald Trump just rewarded with multi billion dollar weapons contracts.

Well, Senator McCain and I may not agree on much, but on torture we do agree, America should have no part in doing this to people, many of whom are guilty of nothing more than being SIV (Shi'ite in the Vicinity) or taking up arms against nations who have used armed force to invade their country. To you Americans out there who are quick to judge Yemeni's - what would you do if someone invaded YOUR country? Keep in mind that the Saudi's have been indiscriminate in their killings. They have tried to block food from the nation that is already starving to death. 

Mind you I use this by way only of analogy for taking up arms in any cause is very serious business. But we Americans have our national pride and people go, fight and die to protect their nation. Should it be a crime for Yemeni's to do the same? Is this now American foreign policy? Our friends want to invade your nation and torture your citizens and we are there to help them do it. Is this Trumps foreign policy? Our friends got money, you don't so you gotta die... but only after we get you to scream in torment? Sure, this is a vast oversimplification of the problem, but not so far off that it does not get to the heart of the problem of America's policy in the region. The rich kill the poor and we are there to help them do it. Keep in mind that the Saudi Coalition are made up of oil rich gulf states with some of the highest per capital wealth in the world.

Mind you, there are many interests in play in the Yemen conflict and yes there are indeed some terrorists as well. But don't be so quick to name all dark skinned Yemeni's as terrorists as American officials will be quick to do. Why? In order to prejudice the victims of torture in the eyes of American citizens in press reports. Just because the US says 'Al Qaeda terrorist' loud and often does not make it so. It just means they have found a narrative to make people believe this is about a war on terrorism when in fact there are many other factors that have nothing to do with terrorism are far more important to the invading powers -  energy, war within the houses of Islam and geography being just some.

Other Stories

In Syria, the human rights abuses are myriad. Amnesty international released a report saying that the US, Coalition and ISIS forces may have been complicit in War Crimes. AI's report can be found here and here.

In Lebanon, their Human Rights Minister has called for probes into the deaths of Syrians in custody. Lebanon has a lot of refugees from the war in their borders and are indeed concerned about how they are treated.

In Pakistan, widespread Human Rights abuses continue. In Sudan, defenders of Human Rights are now under threat of death. The abuses go on because there is never any real punishment for these crimes against humanity. Look at the Philippines, Duterte is turning the clock backwards.

The world is heading backwards in this realm and frankly Trump looks to be a catalyst to make the problem worse, not better.

We as a nation can do better than this. We should not lose our soul as a nation for an arms deal or to keep 'friends' whose hands never rest unless they can make some poor guy scream, drop a bomb on someone or invade their country. We don't need friends like that.

Selling America's soul for a series of arms deals will not put American first.

It will put her last.


6 July

Nigeria: Church Leader Seriously Injured in Fulani Attack

(World Watch Monitor) When Ibrahim Maisaje, a pastor of an ECWA (Evangelical Church Winning All) church in Panwasa Mada village, went to his farm with his family on 26 June, he was full of joy and expectation.

It was mid-season, the crops had grown well and the harvest season was looking promising. But what started as a quiet, normal day, suddenly turned into a nightmare as Maisaje’s wife noticed cattle eating their crops.

Panwasa Mada is in the central Nigerian state of Nasarawa, part of Nigeria’s Middle Belt, which is the main food source for the country. The inhabitants are mainly farmers, who earn their living through agriculture. Its green pastures also attract Fulani herdsmen and their cattle. Pressed from the north by the advancing Sahara Desert, the Fulanis push ever farther across West Africa into land owned by Christian farmers, causing inevitable clashes.

“When I got to the spot to see things for myself, I could see the considerable damage done to the crops,” Maisaje told World Watch Monitor. “Instantly I went to confront the owner, a Fulani man of about 20 years old.

“As he saw me, his face changed and he became stubborn. I did all I could to hear from him about the damage done to my crops by his cattle, but he refused to accept any wrongdoing.

“I went to take his machete as proof of what he had done, only to find him raising his machete to cut me. Thank God, I was able to protect my head with my left hand, but I suffered a very deep cut, which left blood gushing out of my hand.”

The two men struggled against each other and eventually Maisaje managed to overpower the Fulani man and take his machete from him.

When his family, working about 500 metres away, rushed to the scene, they saw him bleeding and began shouting. Some farmers working nearby also rushed to the scene. Maisaje was then taken to the nearest clinic for treatment.

(map and text copyright World Watch Monitor)

This incident is not an isolated case, Rev Abel Dauji, the Regional Secretary of ECWA, told World Watch Monitor. A year ago, on 30 June 2016, another pastor with ECWA, in Obi in neighbouring Benue state, was hacked to death by armed Fulani herdsmen as he collected wood from his farm. Rev Joseph Kurah left behind a wife and seven children.

Cattle rustling and disputes over land provide a pretext to the violence across the Middle Belt, which has so far claimed hundreds of lives and caused lots of damages. Many experts now believe that this Middle Belt violence has been responsible for more deaths than Boko Haram. - World Watch Monitor


Iran: Christians Face Long Prison Sentences

(MEConcern) Following a hearing on 11th June Judge Ahmadpour issued his verdict on 3rd and 4th July. Pastor Victor was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, Amin to 15 years (possibly including time already served) and Hadi to 10 years and a 2-year travel ban. The judge also raised the amount of bail for Amin and Hadi to 200 million Tomans (approximately US$60,000) each.

The men were not present at court when the sentences were read out, but their lawyer was present. Their lawyer will appeal against the court’s decision this week.

Pastor Victor and Amin were among several Christians arrested on 26th December 2014 at a Christmas celebration at Pastor Victor’s home in Tehran. Pastor Victor, who is of Assyrian background, was verbally charged with “conducting evangelism”, “illegal house church activities” and “Bible printing and distribution” among other charges. He was released on bail on 1st March 2015. Amin, a convert from Islam, was charged with “acting against national security” and “insulting the sacred” (blasphemy). Hadi, also a convert, was not present at the Christmas celebration but was arrested in August 2016 at a picnic in Firuzkuh and charged with “acting against national security” and “organising and creating house churches”.

Ramiel Bet Tamraz, Pastor Victor’s son, who was also arrested in August 2016 in Firuzkuh, is awaiting a hearing. Ramiel was charged with “acting against national security” and “organising and creating house churches” as well as charges relating to his father’s ministry. Pastor Victor’s wife Shamiran Issavi was summoned by the authorities in June 2017 to Evin Detention Centre, Branch 3 of the Revolutionary Court, and charged with “participating in foreign seminars” and “acting against Iranian national security” as a church member. She was released after one day on bail of 100 million Tomans (approximately US$30,000).

Ramiel and Shamiran’s hearing has not yet been scheduled. It is highly likely that their case also will be handled by Judge Ahmadpour. - MEConcern
***

MAY BE CIRCULATED TO GENERAL MAILING LISTS, OUTSIDE ORGANISATIONS, AND QUOTED FROM FREELY IN REPORTS CITING “MIDDLE EAST CONCERN” AS THE SOURCE OF THE INFORMATION.



5 July


Spiritual Strongholds: Standing In The Gap


Note: I am doing a Spiritual Strongholds series right now for insiders. This here is the third installment of that ongoing series.

 Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed,
nor rained upon in the day of indignation.  There is a conspiracy of her prophets
in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey;
they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure
and precious things; they have made her many widows in
the midst thereof.  Her priests have violated my law, and
have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference
 between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed
difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid
their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. 
Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey,
to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. 
And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter,
seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the
Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.  The people of the
land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed
the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.
 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge,
and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it:
 but I found none.  Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them;
I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have
 I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD. 
(Ezekiel 22:24-31 [KJVA])


Ezekiel was one of the Lord's faithful prophets before the Babylonian exile. His book may not be as poetical as Isaiah, or as hard hitting as Jeremiah, but Ezekiel's words are just as important and often times a bit more enlightening as to how the Lord deals with a wayward people as well into the heavenly realm. His word is very powerful as were the visions God gave him.


In the above passage, the prophet chides Israel for the the crooked way the prophets (and Priests) were robbing God's treasuries and defrauding the old and making many widows. The Lord was sore, sore displeased. We saw in the last section of Nehemiah how the High Priest was about to do the same things again and cast out the Lord's treasuries from the Temple. They did not keep the law (as with the situation with Tobiah) and also profaned the Lord's things.


In times like ours today, when 'christian' pastors perform gay weddings, and one day before long if the liberals in the catholic Church get their way, so will the Catholic Church. We have seen the Pope turn a blind eye to Biblical adultery and we have seen other things inside the Church which clearly go against God's express commands. 

In our once great nation, we have seen many of the things like those in the passage above. We have seen these televangelists rake in millions from people and live better than some kings do, with their multi million dollar mansions. But in those days, there appeared to have been perhaps some kind of organized crime going on. This passage and others in the scriptures indicate that some of them may have been conducting things like land fraud and other sins, under the guise and of religion. This is not a new story. We saw many of the same things with the Catholic Church during the middle ages. Note the language in verse 25,  they are like lion, getting ready to consume it's prey. But the entire passage calls out the whole nation for its corruption and all the major classes of people are involved in wickedness and corruption. Why? Verse 27 tells us, they are greedy for dishonest gain and will even kill to get it. Let not so distant history be your judge if things have changed all that much since Ezekiel's day.


Need I talk about how far America has slipped? No, and I won't today.


Rather I want to discuss the highlighted verse above. God was looking for someone who would stand in the gap for Israel, someone who would intercede on behalf of his wayward people. This is clearly prophetic imagery for an intercessor who would stand and plead for the people. The JFB Commentary gives is this short aside on this passage, it is rather insightful.


the hedge—the wall (see on Eze 13:5); image for leading the people to repentance.  
the gap—the breach (
Ps 106:23); image for interceding between the people and God (Ge 20:7; Ex 32:11; Nu 16:48).
I found none— (Jer 5:1) —not that literally there was not a righteous man in the city. For Jeremiah, Baruch, &c., were still there; but Jeremiah had been forbidden to pray for the people (Jer 11:14), as being doomed to wrath. None now, of the godly, knowing the desperate state of the people, and God's purpose as to them, was willing longer to interpose between God's wrath and them. And none "among them," that is, among those just enumerated as guilty of such sins (Eze 22:25-29), was morally able for such an office. - JFB Commentary


These insights are rather interesting in that we note that God could not find a person to stand in the gap for Israel. Yet as noted, Jeremiah and Baruch were there. How is it that there was no one. Well, Jeremiah was forbidden to pray of Israel. Ezekiel could have done it, but for some reasons, did not, but is not chided for it.


Why is this so. I think that perhaps what God is saying is that he has called these two men (and others) to be prophets. Prophets are to proclaim the nations sins and call them to repentance. What God is looking for is someone other than these men to stand in the gap. He knows about the Jeremiah's, the Baruch's and the other prophets. Where are the others who are faithful to the Lord? Today, where are the intercessors for our nation and our Churches? I know I used to pray daily for this nation, deep intercessory prayer during the days of Clinton and Bush. But one day, when I started to pray, the Lord just said, stop and it was a rather ominous word he gave me about the nation that I shall not repeat. That does not mean that others should not stand in the gap. If God has called you to do so, get on your knees and seek the Lord about the nation and intercede.
If he has called you to intercede for your denomination, your city, your small Church that could be slipping into error, then brother, take your shoes off, go into your prayer closet, fall on your faces, close the door and PRAY!


Successful Intercessors


Look at Abraham. When he found out that God was about to deal with Sodom, the Lord debated about telling Abraham what he was about to do. But once Abraham found out the Lord was about to judge Sodom, what did he do? He interceded. Now let's face it, Abraham had a vested interest in seeing to it that the city was not destroyed. His nephew Lot was there. One can get a better understanding the motivations for Abrahams' haggling (negotiating) with the Lord over the number of souls needed to spare the city if one keeps in mind that Abraham is trying to spare it so his Nephew does not get judged with them. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? - Gen 18:23. We all know the passage, Abraham was bargaining with the Lord! Yes he was and the Lord was in a mood to do it with the person he considered his friend (James 2:23). Abraham was able to get the Lord to withhold Judgment for the sake of 10 righteous souls, from his original 50 'offer'. What was Abraham doing? He was standing in the gap, not so much for Sodom, for which he had little respect (Gen 14:22ff), but for Lot.

Then we come to Daniel. We saw how he prayed and his prayer was so important that the devils angels took considerable pains to delay the answer from the Lord. But what was Daniel praying? He did not ask for the secrets of prophecy, nor did he even understand the amazing divine vision that the Lord gave him.

Daniel was deeply beloved of God. It is because of this love for him that the Lord heard him. Like with Abraham, whom the Lord spoke with and Moses, Daniel as well was very, very special to the Lord. Daniel conversed with angels and many think that Gabriel may have been a Christophany, though I am totally unconvinced of this. But he was an angel of very high rank that stood in the presence of God (Luke 1:9).

Before Daniel was given the vision of the 70 weeks, what was he doing? He was interceding and 'standing in the gap' for Israel.

Here is just a portion of his prayer.
 
O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger
and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain:
 because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and
thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.  Now therefore,
O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications,
and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate,
for the Lord's sake.  O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; o
pen thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city
which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications
 before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.
 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do;
defer not, f
or thine own sake,

O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.
(Daniel 9:16-19 [KJVA])

While Daniel was yet speaking (vs.20), the Lord sent him his answer in the form of Gabriel who then gave him the vision of the 70 weeks.


Daniel was beloved of God and because of this, the Lord heard him and took great pains to make sure he got his answer.


Need I tell you of Moses, who interceded for Israel when they committed sin? I don't think so. So when we talk about standing in the gap in prayer, we must understand that the person must be qualified to stand in the gap. That person must be.

  • One of God's children - today a born again (by water and spirit) Christian.
  • Walking in righteousness - no lukewarmness or unrepentant sin
  • Have a yearning for the things that God finds important; the Lord's name and reputation, love of righteousness and the spiritual condition of God's people, etc.
When a person fits the bill for these things, he can then intercede for others or 'stand in the gap'.

But today since we Christians have a deeper understanding of how the Spiritual world works because of the writing so the apostles as well as the most important words of Christ, we also can direct our efforts at the spiritual strongholds of darkness that control much of our world. This kind of intercessory prayer is also important. We can pray against the spiritual strongholds of Sodom or of graft that have taken over much of our nation. We can intercede against the spirit of violence and drug abuse, etc. When we do this, we may begin to see our officials given divine help to wrap up major drug networks or Congressmen and Senators begin to re-look at how we spend our Defense dollars and the wars we fight. Or we may be able to get a real Christian revival and awakening in Hollywood and get many stars, directors, producers and move studio owners saved and begin producing entertainment that is respectful of God.

As an aside, I am watching an old TV serious from the 70's called 'The Guns of Will Sonnet'. Now I confess, I gravitate to westerns and action films with a historical backdrop. But what strikes me about this little series (staring Walter Brennan) is two things. First it was produced by Aaron Spelling, who was a prolific TV producer/writer. But each episode is a kind of morality play and at the end of each one, the main character, played by Brennan, always says a small prayer just before the credits roll.

I say this because if we begin to pray against the strongholds rather than against the people who are being used by fallen angels to mock and blaspheme God, we may have considerable more success in our cultural war. The key to understanding this war is that we are not warring against people, but against the spiritual powers that cause men to oppose God.

Will you be one of those people? To pray against other spiritual forces that are opposing God and his people? The spirit of radical Islam, the spirit of Sodom, the spirit of false religion, hate, greed, etc.?

God is looking for people like that who can and will stand in the gap and be obedient to him in all things. He is looking for a friend and a son (or daughter) who will stand with him against his enemies and be one who 'stands in the gap' for a wayward people.

Dear readers, let us stand in the gap for one another. The reader who needed prayer for her back and her insurance problems? The reader who had a daughter with the serious drug problem? The reader who was and is looking for decent work after having left government service? Dear readers, pray for your brothers and sisters in their need. This too is something we need to do. Sometimes these things are the usual problems of day to day living, sometimes they are part of a spiritual assault on us. We need to stand in prayer one for another.


I will leave you with this link to a pdf on standing in the gap that you all may find useful.


Grace and peace to you all.


29 Jun

Trump, Trade, Jobs And Debts

(This was written in early May and I re-post it here. Before I get to it, I will post a few links on the Economy today.)

***

Debt Upon Debt: Are Illinois And Puerto Rico In Our Future?
Illinois Unpaid Bills Is $14.7 Billion Dollars
Unpaid Bills Of Illinois To Doctors
Illinois So Broke, May Not Be Able to Sell Powerball Tickets Anymore
AP Gives Us A Little Background To The State's Budget Mess
Puerto Rico Fiscal Board Rejects Power Authority Restructuring Deal
Stress Test Governments, Not Banks
How To Unwind A $4 Trillion Balance Sheet
They Are Not Afraid Of Collapsing The Bubble On Trump's Watch
Economic Indicator: US Rail Traffic
Economic Indicator: US Economy Running Cooler Than Forecast
$3.8 Trillion Bubble That You Are Probably Not Aware of
The death of retail as we know it is real.  People are shifting their buying habits online in a fast and furious way.  The only retail outlets that seem to be thriving are dollar stores but they are thriving because many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and online shopping is too expensive for some.  So it should come as no surprise that the way things were once done is being upended again by technology.  Giants like Amazon and Wal-Mart are cannibalizing entire industries. - MyBudget360


Source: BLS
The Surprising Diversity Of Jobless Adults
UPS Joins List Of Companies Freezing Pensions
NYC Ed Board Pension Director Issues Warning
China's Pension Gap Grows As Population Ages
CBO Looks At Trumpcare Bill
CBO and JCT estimate that in 2018, 15 million more people would be uninsured under the legislation than under current law. After additional changes to subsidies for insurance purchased in the nongroup market and to the Medicaid program took effect, the increase in the number of uninsured people would rise to 19 million in 2020 and then to 22 million in 2026. - CBO
GOP Senators Balk At Trumpcare Bill
Cost Of Health Care Is Top Of Financial Concerns For Americans
Trump Quietly Opens Door To Free Trade Agreement With Europe
The Closest Look Yet At Chinese Economic Engagement In Africa
Fed Raises Student Loan Rates To 4.75%
The End of the (Petro)Dollar: What the Federal Reserve Doesn’t Want You to Know


***

Today, we are going to talk about economics. I have not done this in a while so today, we are going to focus in on the subject with a specific look at the 'Trump' economic doctrine. Rather than spending an inordinate amount of time showing the glaring differences in what Trump promised on the campaign trail and what he is now looking to deliver, we will look mostly on the realities of what he is putting into motion. My view on his campaign promises goes like this - anyone dumb enough to believe the promises of Presidential candidate on the campaign trail should not be allowed to go out of the house or handle sharp objects without intense adult supervision.

This is not so much a slam at the candidates but at the system and the simple mindedness of most Americans who keep putting this two party monstrosity in power year in and year out after having been duly whipped up into a partisan frenzy by the cable news, pundits and the politicians who have little concern for the people who vote for them.


So where is Trump leading us? So far, after 100 days, we are beginning to get a glimpse of where he is going to take us. Lets take a look at some of the key issues and deal with them one by one.

Trade

This looks to be about the only campaign promise that looks to be fulfilled to a reasonable degree. For good or ill, Trump is shaking up the whole trade landscape. Well, sort of.

One would think that with his rhetoric on the campaign trail, he would have singled out China, Mexico or the EU for his trade major trade row. Instead he has picked on Canada, that peaceful neighbor of ours to our north. Here the issue is dairy products and lumber. The commerce department announced a decision to hit $5 Billion in lumber. This was set in motion even before Trump was sworn in, when the Commerce Department launched an in investigation into it.

Lumber? Dairy Products? Canada? This I don't think is what Americans were expecting. They were expecting a major trade policy change with China or Mexico. So why Canada? Simple. First, Canada does not have the lobbying power that other trading partners have. Second she has no major 'trade' tools to fire back at the US in retaliation that makes her -  three, an easy target. Trump is afraid to take on the lobbying power of Mexico (and the drug cartels who operate there) in Washington and certainly not powerful enough to take on the Chinese Lobby, for which many of the GOP's key donors would scream bloody murder if he tried.

In short with China, to a large degree Trump is gelded. He has not the power. Groups like the US Chamber of commerce have a lot of power on the Hill and they want more, not less trade. The group has unashamedly pushed for globalization, trade and even job offshoring. They have a lot of influence in the GOP. Trump has not the political power (or savvy) to maneuver around them. Last election cycle, the Chamber gave substantially to candidates. They gave $311,000 thousand last year and the breakdown can be found here. This is just one of he more prominent groups out there who are part of the GOP/Washington money machine. Trump can talk all day long on getting tough on trade, but he has to fight his own party and the democrats to make anything significant happen. These candidates are dependent on the money that flows from these organizations. The Chamber, on the other hand is more and more dependent on trade with China.

Many of these companies who are part of these lobbying networks do or want to do significant business in China, which today is probably the world's most important economy. There is no way they are going to let Donald Trump kill the goose that laid the golden egg-foo-yung.

So Trump wanting to keep up with his campaign rhetoric goes after Canada. But there may be just a bit more in play here. Trump may be firing a trade volley at Canada in order to give political momentum in Canada for renegotiating NAFTA, something he has clearly stated he wants to do. Canada's finance minister does not appear to be opposed to such a renegotiation, but has said that if it is to be done, it should be done now.

When one here in the US thinks of NAFTA, the first thing that comes to mind however is Mexico and this is where many Americans see the primary problem with the agreement, not with Canada, which most people see as a rather benign trade relationship.

But before we look at Mexico, lets look at what a trade agreement is really designed to do. Trade agreements are indeed to foster trade and economic growth to the participating signatories. However, there is another very important aspect to trade agreements. That is, providing the security that goes with connecting one's economy to another. A strong trade and economic relationship will mean that, even if not specifically stated in the trade agreement, some kind of security arrangement is implied. Once a country becomes economically, closely allied to or even totally economically dependent on another, a symbiotic relationship is created. If a country is dependent on another for energy or a critical resource that the other has, the beneficiary of that relationship will ensure a steady flow of the goods or services on which they are dependent. A key example of this was America's relationship with Saudi Arabia. The US was dependent on the Saudi's for energy and made protection of the Kingdom a strategic priority.

So nations often get more out of a free trade agreement that just trade. 

But trade 'liberalization' while much lambasted, even by yours truly, is not the total bane of the world. There are many positive success stories to be told. Trade is good. I have always said that. Free and fair trade is good. The problem is when trade is free, but not fair, particularly to one party in the agreement or to key segments in one or the others economy. In the US, one segment that has been hurt by free trade is good paying middle class laborers. Many of those jobs went out of the country, were off shored using various methodologies (often related to tax avoidance) leaving a gaping hole in America's middle class. This phenomenon catapulted Donald Trump into the White House. Granted, there are many who do not believe that trade has had a devastating effect on American workers. Others knew  this and intentionally downplayed the economic carnage. They invariably come from those who had warm homes, a nice car, clean clothes and a refrigerator full of food.

NAFTA has been very good for Mexico. That is not a bad thing. I would not want trade relations with any of our partners to harm their economic standing.

Over 80% of Mexico's trade is with the US and since NAFTA inception, Mexico's total exports (all countries) have risen significantly

Mexico has done well under NAFTA, but continuing frictions with their northern neighbor has caused Mexico to begin to look to decrease its dependence on the US.

As a result Mexico has embarked on an effort to diversify it's trading relationships and institute new free trade agreements. This has really helped Mexico's economy. Below find a map and chart that shows the extend of Mexico's trading agreements.







Graph and data source for both graphs above come from the CRS.

I point this all out not by way of digression, but to give readers here an impression of what others think and can do with hardball tactics on Trade. Many nations see America as overbearing, unstable and bossy. While they may be anxious for the economic benefits of a trade relationship, they don't want to get too close to a nation whose international behavior, in their view, is questionable at best.

I need not to tell you that Trump's election sent shivers down the spine of the world's leaders. Mexican drug cartel leaders even put contracts out on Trump during the election. Those cartels have benefited enormously from the warm trade relations and relatively open border between the two nations. Yes, the cartels do benefit from NAFTA. More here.

The key here to understand and is not generally known is that these cartels have power in the US and on capitol hill. Many Narco traffickers also are involved in legitimate enterprises. These cartels will fight moves to seriously change the trading relationship that could potentially restrict their enterprises.

But Trump's policies go far beyond just NAFTA. He has essentially deep-sixed the TPP and signed an executive order that will review all other trade deals in a quest to find abuses.

But Trump's emphasis on Canada in the early days leaves out what many think is America's biggest trade problem. The nation with which we have the largest trade deficit with is China, not Canada.


Data Source: US Census (numbers in Billions USD)

Again, this is the elephant in the room that Trump has talked about, but really does not have the power to tame. Consequently when Xi and Trump met, while trade was certainly discussed, the contents of those discussions have not be revealed. What is clear is that Trump has shifted his trade rhetoric.... away from China. His detractors still think he is spoiling for a trade war. He may be, but now at least he knows the cost such a war will be not just in terms of trade, but in terms of his relations with Capitol Hill and key elements within his own party.

I think Trump wants to do more than key Senators and even his own advisors want him to. The big banks, large corporations and other interests in Washington are doing well off of free trade. The pains of middle America are not of much concern to them, except when they stand on their hind legs and
1) put people in office who care about them or
2) when they get violent.

Number two inevitably follows when number one does not work. I do not want to see number two transpire in America. This is why my view is this about Trump and trade. For the most part, Trump is right to conduct these reviews and bring in change. However that does not mean that America should shelve good trade relations for campaign rhetoric. We need to carefully and meticulously review all of our trade deals and make sure that American workers are indeed given due consideration in those agreements. Doing this was political and economic 'heresy' before Trump.


My view is the biggest problem with those trade agreements is the fact that they were negotiated in secret. It was really a crime to talk about what they were talking about, negotiating and even at times, conspiring about. Clinton, Bush and Obama were all guilty as sin with regards to this. Our democratic principles demand debate about key issues like this. We did not get it. We got 'jack in the box' trade deals that were sprung on Americans that benefited the elite but not the American worker. Since then we have over 90 million working age Americans who are not working. I did not say unemployed as that phrase has become a statistical gimmick used by the BLS to downplay the number of people not working. Trade is good, but when power-players get to sit at the table and those who don't have the money and influence that lets them sit at the same table and are shut out, a bad deal is inevitable.


Jobs

How will Trump create jobs at home? That does not seem to be as clear. After his election and before his inauguration, he did attempt to encourage some manufacturers to keep jobs here. While there is some debate about how much Trump's actions were causative of those moves, they did show a remarkable change in tone from the last administration, who just did not seem to care what happened to ordinary working Americans.

So far, what I see is this. Trump is going to fill the coffers of your typical GOP donors, issue them contracts, sell goods overseas of their products and call it a jobs policy. Let's take a look at America's number one industry.

The Death and Evil Industries

Right now, the US and Saudi Arabia are in talks for a massive arms deal worth tens of billions of dollars. According to RT (who in instances like this will report 'inconvenient facts that the US media won't report) this will be a significant departure from the Obama administration's policies which were decidedly cooler to the Islamic Kingdom. (More here from an Iranian perspective) The deal may sell THAAD to the kingdom. What else they sell may be classified as many of America's security personnel have been involved in 'assisting' the kingdom in their domestic security policies. More here.

In his bid to sell F-16's to Bahrain, Trump is looking to dump human rights conditionalities on the sale. These sales will mean jobs because when there is an arms deal, there are defense jobs and that again is a very large and important segment of the US economy. They also help keep those who have them, in them. But in so doing we support a government that has shown considerable contempt for basic human rights. The situation is outlined by our own State Department. You can read the 2015 and 2016 report on Human Rights in Bahrain in those links.

The US and Russia are in an arms sales race and the last thing the US wants is to see Gulf kingdoms begin to look to Russia's excellent military offerings. The UAE is currently looking into just a prospect. More here. US Defense contractors do not want Russia to become a major arms suppliers to these kingdoms as it builds in a dependency and more importantly is a very important source of foreign capital to the Russians. So when you hear Mr. Tillerson decide that Human Rights no longer matter and that our foreign policy goals are more important, you can get a better idea of what he means. You will not longer need an NSA listening post to hear the screams of the tortured.

But I think as well the some of the 'glitter' of American arms has been lost. Some states are questioning the efficacy of some of those weapons in light of Russia's and China's rising military status. Our leaders may think that now is the time to loosen those HR restrictions or begin to see many of our multi-billion dollar arms sales be reduced in number and or cancelled all together and shifted towards Russia and China.

But another major industry in the 'evil' category being benefited by Trump is the incarceration industry. This industry has seen significant gains in their stocks in expectation of a Trump Presidency. They see big profits in Trumps mass deportation plan for illegal immigrants. I think we need to understand that these prisons are really slave labor factories and as long as there is a strong economic incentive to put people in jail, the Law Enforcement industry (and it is an industry) will put as many people in jail as possible. I say it again, this is the new slavery. They have just created a new social, legal and political mechanism to bring it back. Donald Trump looks to accelerate that and swing the pendulum back in the wrong direction.

Then there is big oil. Trump has been a big proponent of the 'drill baby drill' school of thought. Mind you, I am and have always been in favor of responsible oil exploration. But for reasons I have talked about at length here, I am not wild about the so called 'boom' in Shale oil extraction. The back story to it, the real costs in extraction (the Energy Returned on Energy Invested - ERoEI) and how they are actually making up the price difference (have you seen a major drop in the price of gasoline as the price per barrel of oil has descended?). There is considerable corruption, skullduggery and secret environmental issues that are directly related to Shale oil extraction. Secret environmental issues? Where are they getting the massive amounts of water they need to extract all that oil, which is several hundred miles from a major water source? Where? Where are water levels the lowest?

Listen, I understand the real desire to make the US energy independent. But the reality is that will probably be very short lived, despite the optimistic forecasts of our energy officials.

Debt

I need not tell you that the noises Trump made on fiscal responsibility will have little bearing on his policies as President. The nation's chief watchdog, the GAO issued one of its usually ignored warnings on our deficits a few days ago.

According to the 2016 Financial Report, the federal deficit in fiscal year 2016 increased to $587 billion—up from $439 billion in fiscal year 2015. Federal receipts grew a modest $18.0 billion due primarily to extensions of tax preferences, but that was outweighed by a $166.5 billion increase in spending, driven by Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on debt held by the public (net interest). Debt held by the public rose as a share of gross domestic product (GDP), from 74 percent at the end of fiscal year 2015 to 77 percent at the end of fiscal year 2016. This compares to an average of 44 percent of GDP since 1946. The 2016 Financial Report, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and GAO projections all show that, absent policy changes, the federal government’s fiscal path is unsustainable and that the debt-to-GDP ratio would surpass its historical high of 106 percent within 15 to 25 years (see figure below).


Source: GAO

The drivers are all things I have talked about before. I need not rehash them here. Donald Trump does not seem even slightly motivated to deal with these daunting but unavoidable fiscal and political realities, not when there is so much money to be made for his party and donors in other things.


Conclusion

Trump's economic policies in my view may indeed bring jobs to America. But the kinds of jobs that derive their origin from the 'disaster capitalism' that is wrecking the planet and millions of lives of the people who live on it. It's the kind of 'growth' that brings wars, conflict and degradation of every stripe to a world that is already going mad.

It is like Mr Trump is channeling the darkest side of the GOP and moving the nation in the direction of 'Darth Vader' and his strange sounding mechanical breathing apparatus. To me what is rather troubling is his propensity to unmoor the nation from it's long held values and that being a basic defense of the Human Rights of the defenseless.

Today, if you want to come to America, under Trump it will help to be rich. More and more this administration just looks rotten to the core. Darkness loves secrecy. Corruption?  What does this look like to you in the midst of multi-Billion dollar arms deals to these countries? His policies look to invite it.

American Christians? They really should be ashamed of him. On the very little things they wanted him to do he showed himself to be well, a windbag, promising much and delivering nothing of substance. Like Black Americans who stood by the President who accepted their support, but did nothing for them, this looks to be Trump's legacy for religious conservatives under Trump. They only people he seems to respond to are those who are in the 'evil' business and have deep, deep pockets.

Am I disappointed in Trump? No. I did not expect much and did not vote for him. He is turning out to be about as bad as I figured he would be - bow before the rich and flip the bird to just about everyone else.

I don't want to sound too cynical because I am not blaming him as much as I blame the system that produced such candidates as Clinton and Trump and the voters who are so blind with rage against the 'other party' that they refuse smell the repugnant aroma emanating from their own party and candidates. All in all we would not have seen much different from Hillary. The tone would be different, the persona, but the policies would be reflection of the real people who are running America into the ground... the deep state.

Donald Trump's Presidency is likely to accelerate America's decline as well as move her faster into the Lord's cross hairs. Our sins are not filled to the brim yet, but the spigot wickedness has just been opened up a bit wider. The principle of God waiting until iniquity is 'full' is found from the book of Genesis (15:16) to Revelation (17:4 - note the cup).

Sodom (Gen 13:13) also, had to wait until the cry of her abominations came up before the Lord (Gen 18:20). The Lord's policy towards sin and evil has not and will not change. When the time is right, he will judge and once the sentence is read, there will be no delay.

Some of my readers think I am a little soft on the sins of Sodom (LBGQ) issues because I have not strongly favored legislation opposing it. This is not because I approve of these things, I don't. It is because when a nation like ours has so many who are clamoring for their 'rights' to have their sins recognized as right, that is when you know that we have crossed some point of no return. Fighting this in the courts or via elections, etc is not going to work. I applaud those who tried and will never denigrate them, but I know a lost battle when I see one.

This is a battle that has to be fought in the spiritual realm and even then within limited parameters. I think the way to deal with this is to pray against the spirit of Sodom so that it does not infect our Churches, our Christian leaders and our Christian youth. That said, I do appreciate those who have come forward who spoke publicly of their own struggles against the sin of Sodom (homosexuality). It shows an honesty and humility that is not common in our world today.

But I will tell you that I think that adultery is just as big or even bigger a sin that homosexuality. I can tell you that the scriptures talk much more about that than homosexuality. I can tell you that with adultery, there is not only the sex sin, but also the covenant breaking, with both God and the wronged spouse.

But other sins are apparent in our nation and I will not rehash them here. We as a nation need to get back to more solid spiritual moorings and not let the Rex Tillerson's and Donald Trump's of the world detach our nation from looking out for the poor, abused and downtrodden in favor of a weapons contract, oil pipeline or in support of an unwise and evil war.

We could do better as a nation but have firmly decided against it. The temptations of easy money for Lockheed and a new Pipeline for Exxon are too tempting. Who cares if some impoverished Arab is being beaten to death in some prison when you have a new oil deal as compensation? There will be payment for this mindset. Our place in the world today is because of God's blessing.

Our place in the world tomorrow could very well be because of God's curse.
27 Jun

Trump, Human Rights, Civil Liberties.

On these critical issues that have long defined the American nation and even birthed this once great nation as well as our foreign policy? Where does President Trump plan on taking us? So far things do not look good.

Lets take a look at a couple of stories.

Today, it has been revealed that the Trump administration will no longer fund groups that oppose Neo-Nazi violence. The reasoning behind this move is convoluted, but not totally without merit and is explained in the previous link and in this one.

What is Trump up to? It is hard to say as these justifications may indeed be the reasons for this shift in funding, but no thinking person can ignore that one of his key advisors, Mr. Bannon is also a member of the Alt-Right movement, which many have noted for its antisemitism, racism and hate; not unlike Neo-Nazi groups that now will be given some political 'breathing room', I might add. Consider what the article (and others) say about the alt-right's take on civil rights. You can read more about their media presence here.

What is Trump doing? Again, it is hard to say for sure. Will this money go to Police departments, a group that Trump has vociferously supported as he has moved against efforts to bring in more effective oversight of America's police? Probably. You can read more about some of Trumps anti-reforms here at NBC and here, a well balanced report from The Hill. You can also read about Trumps apparent (careful) abandonment of the Obama administrations reforms.

I see the need for Police reforms, particularly in departments like Baltimore, where cops felt it was OK to do things like put a man in a van and give him a nickle ride. Yes, I see the need for effective oversight an reform. But on the reverse, I don't want the cops hands so tied that they cannot perform their duties or are so afraid of a lawsuit or negative consequences for making an honest mistake, that they are ineffective. What I see is that we need to strike the right balance. That balance needs to protect us all, not just the rich people in the suburbs.

I think the real question that is often missed is the word protection. Police are there to protect us. But often sadly that is not the case.  The police badge and their uniform should not be a 'protection' the consequences of terrorizing people. Nor should they be given a 'pass' when their actions are serving the interests
(KKK, NeoNazi's etc) of those who are targeting law abiding American citizens and use their uniform as a vector for criminal activity. We have seen a lot of that as well, like police stealing drugs from evidence rooms and using their cruisers to transport dope, even doing hits for drug lords. Why has Congress been lax in all of this? Perhaps this is why.

I can tell you some of the politicians who have been in bed with these cartels are household names.

Household names.

Related: Mexican Cartels Recruit US Soldiers As Contract Killers

 Is this the kind of behavior Donald Trump wants to defend and protect? I hope not, but when you begin to remove oversight, take away resources to make sure the police are protecting the people and not Nazi's and drug runners, that is the serious risk you run. Moreover I think Trumps anti-drug and anti-crime policies are one dimensional. They will not solve anything but make matters worse. This also goes to our drug policy. You are never going to have any success in the current opiod epidemic with 'billyclub' level thinking. The corruption that has allowed the problem to get so deeply rooted in the nation goes to the political level (local/state/federal) as well as in the financial arena (banks who launder the money) and going after a small business owner and stealing his business with no evidence in these asset forfeiture raids solves nothing. Most of these people are and were innocent of anything except not having political protection.

The Alt-right crowd, at least some of them may see an unrestrained police in certain metropolitan areas with high Black and Latino populations as a way to enforce their views on white racial superiority. This may be one of the driving factors behind the push back at serious police reform. From my view, this may indeed be part of it. The other reason is probably just getting back to the basics of the GOP base which has usually viewed the police with greater favor than the base of the Democratic party. Wealthy White suburbanites tend to view the police as a barrier against the people from 'across town' who are not so wealthy and White. Protecting police from effective reforms is viewed as a vote getter in many GOP circles.

It is hard to see how these trends really helps our civil liberties. To me it looks like in many respects, he wants to turn the clock backwards and that is not a good thing in my eyes. We have seen how the police have too often behaved when the victims are poor, Black and lack legal sophistication. But I say this to all of America especially to those of you who thinks its OK to do the Brothers, and Latino's and yes, Muslims wrong. The rights you take away from them today are the rights you will lose tomorrow. The Black man has always been the 'testing ground' for the elite in this country when they want to bring something into the wider population.

But other moves Trump has been making on the civil liberties front do not bode well either. One of those is the protection of our liberties within the byzantine maze of Federal regulations, particularly dealing with the Intelligence Community and other parts of the American 'deep state'.

Key Privacy Watchdog Muzzled During Surveillance Debate

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, or PCLOB, is a little-known agency that’s had an outsized influence in recent years on the debate over government spying. The board’s job is to make sure that when the executive branch takes action to defend the country, Americans’ privacy rights and civil liberties aren’t forgotten. To carry out that mission, the board has almost unparalleled access to classified information across the intelligence agencies. PCLOB uses that access to advise agencies on how to roll out surveillance programs while minimizing privacy and civil liberties violations, review programs already in operation, and raise the alarm when it uncovers problems.

But right now, despite the high stakes, the board is being held hostage by a personnel shortage. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle say that the debate over government surveillance is hobbled without PCLOB’s input. - POGO


This is another one of those agencies that takes care of our rights within the government that President Trump so far seems to have little interest in. But let us be clear, the problems at the board started before Trump took office as this PBS article makes plain. One must keep this in mind, it is one thing to have activists like the EFF, EPIC and others advocate for better privacy, it is another to have this board do it too. The problem with these activist organizations is that as well intentioned as the are, they do not have access to the actual classified programs. The PCLOB solves that problem and not only that, it reports directly to the President. They have access you and I are forbidden, by law, from having. The PCLOB can review classified programs for their compliance with both the law and any other problems that may impact our civil liberties.

The PCLOB was established by Congress back in 2004 under the Bush administration.

The purpose of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is two-fold: to analyze and review actions the executive branch takes to protect the nation from terrorism, ensuring that the need for such actions is balanced with the need to protect privacy and civil liberties; and to ensure that liberty concerns are appropriately considered in the development and implementation of law, regulations and policies related to efforts to protect the nation against terrorism.

The Board has two main functions: (a) advice and counsel on policy development and implementation and (b) oversight. Its functions include reviewing proposed legislation, regulations and policies; advising the President and the departments and agencies of the executive branch; and continually reviewing the implementation of the regulations, policies, and procedures of the executive branch relating to terrorism to ensure that privacy and civil liberties are protected. In addition, the Board is specifically charged with responsibility for reviewing the terrorism information sharing practices of executive branch departments and agencies to determine, whether they adhere to guidelines designed to appropriately protect privacy and civil liberties.[2][3] In the course of performing these functions, the Board shall coordinate with the privacy and civil liberties officers in the relevant departments and agencies.

The Board is authorized to have access to all relevant information necessary to fulfill its role, including classified information consistent with applicable law. The Board is required to report to Congress not less than semiannually...

...Some people initially viewed the PCLOB with skepticism, since the board was convened to protect the American public against privacy intrusions by their own government.[17] Under the board's statute, only the Chairperson is a full-time employee and has the power to hire staff. Since Medine was not confirmed until May 7, 2013, it was not until after that time that the Board was finally able to begin to engage in any substantial projects. - Wikipedia

It's history is instructive so if you have the time and interest that short article by Wikipedia is of value.

The Board is comprised of:
David Medine, Chairman
Rachel L. Brand, Member
Elisebeth B. Collins, Member
James X. Dempsey, Member
Patricia M. Wald, Member.
Source: PCLOB Site
Two reports of note are this one on mass surveillance and this one on how the government responded to their recommendations. This board is important. It is one of those agencies one never hears much about but can have enormous positive impact. We need that board and need it populated with people who understand both the need for our intelligence communities activities and those other government agencies to conduct the important business of protecting the nation  - as well as the need to protect the people of the nation from unnecessary, unwarranted intrusion into their lives as well as darker threats, coming from insider threat networks who use the information they gather on American citizens that is in turned, used by criminals, traitors and foreign governments to use against American citizens they view as being 'of interest' to them.

What do I mean? here is a Hypthetical -  Perhaps a county-level government official who opposes the sale of land to a foreign owned entity or a Congressman who may stand opposed to allowing thousands of foreign workers into the nation to replace Americans. These are the kinds of people that would be the first to be threatened by lax privacy laws. The information gathered by US intelligence could be stolen and passed on to this foreign government when data is not protected or illegally collected. But think about a corporate executive who has trade secrets that a foreign power would love to get their hands on. This too is the kind of person that foreign entities would love to know more about; where they go, who they see, where they plan on staying on their next visit to a foreign nation. Privacy is about a lot more than just protecting us from personal embarrassment or unwanted advertising and intrusions into our daily life, in some cases it can mean life or death should the wrong person get hold of the right data on the right person.

Some of you may say, "I don't know anything that could be of use to anyone". That may be true, but do you have access to someone who does? Are you a administrative assistant to a big CEO who has been targeted by some foreign power? They may target him by getting to you. After all, it is you who know a great deal about him, his day to day activities and can probably get access to key corporate decision making information (memo's, board minutes, etc).

No, unlike many who think that invasions of privacy and a government that can snoop on anything and anyone at will is some kind of 'enhancement' to the nation, I can tell you and  anyone familiar with history can tell you that there is hardly a bigger threat to the security and safety of any people as an out of control security apparatus or one that is under the influence or even being outright controlled by a foreign power.

This brings us to the next story.

The Next Hacker In Your Computer May Be German Intelligence

The above link is from Helpnetsecurity.com. Yes, it was slipped in at the last minute in a German bill. This is typical Merkel. She may decry the Surveillance state in public, but in secret, she yields to the powers of the all seeing eye.

What is rather interesting about her is that in reality she does oppose many of these powers and tactics. Remember she hails from East Germany, where the Stasi ruled and from little I can gather, had her run ins with them.

More here.

She understands just what an out of control police state can do.
These hacking tools revealed recently by Wikileaks are no joke and anyone who makes light of them perhaps needs to have his or her life turned upside down by people who abuse these tools and set people up falsely or have their bank accounts emptied by these dark forces. I find with many people, until it hits home -  hard and they are left with a few bruises and scars, they are not likely to comprehend why some issues are important.

One has to wonder what was the impetus behind this in Germany. Why now? The Americans just exposed their own massive hacking library of digital axes, swords, viruses and cluster bombs, why are the Germans now moving in this direction? 

Well I am sure there are many reasons, but one is pretty clear, they feel they need the tools others have to go after Cybercriminals. The Motherboard has a good piece on this here. Are there problems with this? Of course and if you want to know just how spooky this is, slide on over here and see what hackers found when they took one of malware viruses the Germans have used apart.

Now stop for a moment. You say, "that is not such a bad thing we need to get cybercriminals!". Well, I and most reasonable people could not agree more. But herein lies the problem - trust. Most people trust authorities to do right. But without oversight, effective oversight and controls, that trust is nothing more than a back turned to a guy with a dagger poised and murder in his eyes. How can this be abused? Well, take my case for example.

I was accused of every crime under the sun by 'deep state' employees. Then they started their surveillance against me and yes, hacked my computer on at least one occasion, but tried on many other occasions, but could not do it remotely (my security at home is fairly strong). But those false accusations were what they need to launch a 'fishing expedition' against me. They did steal my passwords and other things. I am fairly certain that one individual accused me of being a leaker and of having a treasure trove of classified info on my hard drive, so they needed an excuse to raid my home and basically make me look like a leaker or worse, a traitor. Why? Well as I said before, to many in the American deep state they believe that 'niggers shouldn't blog' and Christians shouldn't either, not unless they can be run or controlled by the CIA or other deep state actors. I would not be controlled and used some harsh and wholly unchristian language when someone tried to do that to me and then threatened me when I told him where he could go and what mode of transport they could use.

Soon thereafter the crap began.

Now think about this from a foreign intelligence perspective. Let's say the Germans are interested in something that one of our Silcon valley companies is developing or one of our defense contractors. They want to scan the hard drives of some key people in the hopes of getting that data. How do you do that? One way is to falsely accuse them of being a pedophile, a terrorist, a hacker or money launderer and launch an 'investigation' into them. Once that happens you can then scan their hard drive and gather the secrets you want using those tools described above.

My point is not that these tools never have a legitimate purpose, rather it is to make sure they are not abused by overzealous cops or worse cops and officials who are using their power for purposes other than enforcing the law.

This is a powerful lesson that many on Capitol Hill do get, but many out here in the political bleachers, don't.

But we must understand that standards of decency vary from nation to nation. Would you think it good if a nation, like  Germany with a long and vicious history of antisemitism started targeting Jewish Rabbi's in Germany or even the US for 'crimes' they never thought about committing? Surveilling them 24/7 for no other reason than they are Jewish? Or Black? Or Muslim? Or worse, developing cyber tools that can frame people up for crimes?

So we get back to the PCLOB. Such boards sound boring and perhaps a bit of a nuisance, but when you find your behind sitting in prison for 25 years for something you never even thought about doing, you will say to yourself that that was a lesson it took you 25 more years to learn than it should have.

Perhaps after your stretch, your learning curve will improve and history's lessons will not be lost on you.



23 Jun


WaPo Drops Russia Hacking Bombshell

While certainly eyebrow raising, this report raises other questions. The reports on the surface are not surprising. But I have, as a former intel analyst, come to greatly distrust Humint (intel based on Human sources), which this appears to have been derived from. Why? People lie and papers can be forged and/or created to misdirect, bait or otherwise mislead the intended recipient when they know the information will arrive on the intended recipient's desk.

Was this so called 'eyes only' report duly vetted by other (non-political) officials for its veracity and reliability? The WaPo piece seems to indicated that it was not, but so closely held hardly anyone saw it. Was this a Russian 'leak' to give the Obama/Clinton election efforts a report to 'bait them' into hearing exactly what Putin knew they wanted to hear (fake intel)? In the Intel business, these are always considerations. Remember 'Curveball'? A lot of Humint is nothing more than bulls-it with Top Secret markings on the top and bottom of the page.

One has to be careful in that not everything that says 'Top Secret' eyes only is true. There are a lot of falsehoods and fake reporting in the intelligence business and our officials are often duped into believing things that they desperately want to hear  - like Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that did not exist but could be used to start a war.

I am not saying that this report on Russia was fake, nor am I saying it was true. I am saying that those who believed it had a vested interest in it being true. What would Russia gain from issuing such a report? Who knows? It may have merely been a way for  them to expose a traitor in their midst. Once the Americans bit the apple, they knew who the spy was and they could send him to join his ancestors.


Did Russia try and hack our elections? Some low level hacking does appear to have taken place. From my understanding, the Russians did indeed try and hack the DNC where Hillary illegally stored all of those emails, but did not succeed. Open source reporting says that email viruses was the vector. The DNC's response to all of this? Blame Trump and whip out the 'eyes only' intel report in a panic that the Russians elected Trump.

Keep in mind that Trump did not commit what looks like a class A Felony, Hillary is the one our officials should be looking at. Trump did not take a hammer and smash up the evidence, people from the DNC did. Also keep in mind that there are more ties to Hillary and the Russians than Trump and the Russians. Heck her campaign manager is in Russia right now working as a consultant!! So you tell me that Putin wanted Trump elected? I say, why should he care, when our officials of either party can be so easily bought and manipulated? Too many of our elected officials will drop their panties, throw up their legs while laying flat on their back at the drop of a hat for a couple of bucks.

I want to make this clear. I view the hacking allegations of our system with the utmost seriousness. It goes to the very heart of our democracy and I will not excuse what Russia allegedly did, but I will say this. America has been meddling in other systems democracies for a long, long time from violent coup's to 'colored revolutions' to ballot fraud. We are by far the most guilty nation on earth of election fraud and meddling on others elections. And as far as hacking? Unless you have been in a coma the past few months, we have discovered that our own CIA and NSA have some pretty despicable tools that can easily make an attack look like it came from Russia, when it really came from  the CIA.

The DNC and other 'deep state' actors need to get real and get off their hypocrite horse and learn that sooner or later, the evil you do to others, will surly return upon us. We have instituted soft coups in other nations very recently. Poke around the web with key words like Brazil, Rousseff, US and Coup. Then find out who was the Informant for he US who replaced her after she was removed from office. Our deep state has defined the rules of this filthy game and now cry these crocodile tears when others play the same game.

No -  election meddling and coup plotting does not feel good. But he who throws crap will soon have crap thrown back at him.

If we want others to respect our elections, then we need to respect the will of the people in other nations, even if that 'will' may not make Exxon, Lockheed, and Citibank a kings ransom in profits.

My take? There are no innocent victims here. The Russians and Americas are both guilty as hades and unless we change the way we behave, you can only expect even more dastardly deeds done to our system of government -  not just from our enemies, but from some of those who claim to be our friends as well. 

Senators, Congressman, FBI and DOJ? Stop crying in your gerbers babyfood, grow up and show other nations the same respect we demand of them and this kind of thing will be far less likely to happen.

For disclosure sake - I am not a party member of either the Democrats or the GOP. I have not voted for either of those parties except once back in the 80's and bitterly regretted it ever since. I did not want to see either of these candidates in the White House, so my views have nothing to do with partisanship.

I want what is best for the country not what what is best for 'the party' or any candidate.

I have not been infected with Russophobia and refuse to let myself be manipulated by those who are doing their best to stoke up hatred and fear. Nor an I going to point fingers of accusation at someone who is doing the same thing we are doing. The Democrats need to get off this retarded Russia-gate narrative and get busy with something better. The country and considerable problems that need to be fixed. They just lost a special election last week they were supposed to win. Why? They have no plan for ordinary people, no policies for the nations citizens, nothing but this constant barrage of leaks and fake news about Russia.

***

Dear readers, we have sown a bitter crop with our misdeeds around the world....

...harvest time may not be far off.

For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind....
(Hosea 8:7a [KJVA])

21 June

India: Christians Denied Access To Water

HYDERABAD, India (Morning Star News) – Villagers in Uttar Pradesh state, India beat Christians, forced them to participate in Hindu rituals and have refused to provide them water, sources said.
Four families who were attacked in Jalalabad village, Ghazipur District rely on the water to irrigate their fields, they said.

“How will we survive if we don’t grow our crops?” Sasikala Kumari asked Morning Star News, noting that the village head and police have allowed the Hindus to cut off the Christians water supply. “They have all joined together and are conspiring against us.” - Morning Star News

Persecution ‘Key Driver Of Displacement’ Says UNHCR

(World Watch Monitor) More people are currently displaced through conflict and persecution than at any time since the Second World War.

According to the Global Trends report, published by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 65.6 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of 2016.

The report noted that the number of refugee returns in 2016 increased from recent years. However, this took place “often in less than ideal conditions”. It found that 552,200 refugees returned to their countries of origin – more than double the number from the previous year. It added that most returned to Afghanistan – some 384,000.

The European Evangelical Alliance last week voiced concern that converts from Islam to Christianity could be at risk if they were forcibly sent home to countries where Christians experienced repression, and included Afghanistan among the countries where they had such concerns.

The top three refugee-producing countries in 2016 were Syria (5.5 million), Afghanistan (2.5 million) and South Sudan (1.4 million). Many from the latter are in Uganda, which registered the greatest number of refugees in 2016: it also received many refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

There were 64,700 newly recognised refugees from Nigeria, which has been terrorised by the Boko Haram insurgency in the north and Fulani militia violence in the Middle Belt.

Eritrea remained the ninth-largest country of origin for refugees, with 459,400 at the end of 2016. Many are Evangelical Christians targeted by the country’s ultra-repressive government.

For Refugee Week (19-25 June), the European Evangelical Alliance has produced a Refugee Church Pack, available in English, Dutch, French, German and Italian, to encourage Christians to engage with the refugees on their doorsteps. - World Watch Monitor

Vietnam: Priests Claim Cops Let Gangs Terrorize Catholics

Reports are of local thugs who ride motor bikes at night and throw rocks at Churches and the homes of Catholics.

Somalia: 15 Killed In Al Shabbab Attack

The above link is from Stars And Stripes. Russia Today has the story with many pictures.


Christians Maintain Hope In Somalia, Despite Persecution

A brief look at the problems of Somalia from a Christian perspective. Somalia ranks just behind North Korea, who is first in the world when it comes to Christian persecution.

A brief  but sobering read.

Christian Teacher Killed In NE Kenya

“The suspected Al Shabaab militants entered the school compound and right away fired on the teacher who was teaching the pupils,” one of the sources said.

The suspected members of the Somali rebel group kidnapped another Christian teacher, Joseph Kamau, along with a Muslim teacher who tried to defend him, the sources said. Trying to shield the Kenyan Christian, the Muslim teacher of Somali descent told the assailants he would die with him, according to a Somali Muslim teacher who requested anonymity. - Morning Star News

Regime Change And All It Really Means

Today, the neocons are doing all they can to get a war started with Iran.

How did Iran come to be our nemesis and how is it that not so long ago the chant 'death to America' could be heard in Tehran?  If you really want to know the whole story, the part of the story that our Media in this country don't want us to know. Then this piece is for you. Slide on over and check it out and the link (first sentence) in it. There was a day that this was all called 'conspiracy theory' and anyone who spoke of these things was called part of the 'tin foil hat' brigade. Well the actual cables, and classified history is now declassified and you can now see how 'Regime Change', American style has created the 'monster' we now face in Iran. Sixty-four years later and we are still paying for that mistake.

One cannot help but wonder if our foreign policy 'experts' want to go in and repeat the same mistake again.

Well the sad part is that away from the spot light a new massive new alliance of nations is gaining new members, and already has nearly half the world's population in its organization. Insiders here have gotten a look at this and that paper done last week will be reserved for them.

But America's eternal foreign policy incompetence and violence is indeed causing the world to turn on us and one of the reasons why is our penchant for going into countries and creating chaos, refugee's and bloodshed and yes even more terrorists.

Our Libyan expedition os a perfect example where now slave markets thrive along with terrorists. Arms bazaars are there for any nut job with some money and a Koran... all this was done in the name of our 'fight against terrorism'
.

Regime change efforts have brought us little good in the region and the people a lot of heartache.

There are some things you cannot change or fix to ones benefit with Machiavellian political maneuverings. Soft power may take longer, but the benefits for all last longer when those efforts succeed.


We have tried for many years to interdict Iran's influence in the region, only to see it grow with each foreign policy mistake we make.


20 Jun



Psalm 121

A Song of degrees. I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
(Psa 121:1)

We will continue this short excursion into the Song of Degree's in the book of Psalms. We did Psalm 120 recently and now we will look at Psalm 121. These Psalms many believe were written and sung by those who were on their way to Jerusalem.

The first verse here shows is that the Psalmist is looking to the Hills. The Hills here are almost certainly meant in a figurative sense. But may indeed be something those ancient travelers saw and sang about on their way to the holy city. The word itself in Hebrew is this one.
H2022
הַר
har
har
A shortened form of H2042; a mountain or range of hills (sometimes used figuratively): - hill (country), mount (-ain), X promotion.
Total KJV occurrences: 545
The hills here are probably figurative as something that the Psalmist see's in his minds eye. The second part of the verse adds to a bit of confusion with the KJV translation as it implies that the Psalmist is looking for help from the hills. The language does not permit this, rather it should be understood separately. The Psalmist is asking the question, "where will his help come from"? Other modern versions render it correctly. These hills are figuratively probably Mount Zion (see Psa_87:1; Psa_125:1-2; Psa_133:3; Psa_78:68; Psa_3:4; Psa_20:2; Psa_134:3).


My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
(Psa 121:2-4)


Here the Psalmist answers his own question. His help is coming from the Lord and no one else. Then the Psalmist makes plain who the Lord is, he is the one who made all things. There is no greater power in heaven or on earth and it is in the Lord that he has placed his faith and confidence. This is where his help comes from, not from man who is finite and faulty; not from Princes whom other Psalms tells us not to put our trust in (Psalms 118:9; 146:3). No, trusting in these things is folly. It is the Lord that the Psalmist has put his trust in and it is the Lord who will look out for him.

God will not allow him to be moved. Why? Part of the answer is in verse two. God is all powerful and made all things, who can resist him and win? Second, he never sleeps. The Lord is always awake and knows what is transpiring down here. With such a one watching over those who serve him, the Psalmist can have confidence. A man can hire a security firm to watch out for him, but those guys often fall asleep on the job. Not so with the Lord. Israel's keeper is not of the human variety, the men who stand watch along her borders nor the soldiers who guard her, but rather, it is being done by someone who never sleeps.

The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
(Psa 121:5-6)


Now the Psalmist says that his keeper is the Lord. The shade that the Psalmist refers to is a poetic representation of the Lord's protection. The sun in the desert is hot, in the summer it is very hot. The Psalmist give us the imagery of God protecting him from the harsh elements and providing shade. Moreover this protector is on his right hand the place noted elsewhere for protection and honor (Psa 16:8; Psa 109:31)

It is because of this protection, so poetically expressed that the these troubles do not effect him. The heat of the sun, he is protected from it, even the the moon (probably meaning the coldness of night). God's protection will shield him from these natural elements. These natural elements are surely meant as a symbol of life's day to day troubles. Wherever trouble comes to afflict God's people, God is there to protect them. This is the sense I get from this passage.

The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth,
and even for evermore.
(Psa 121:7-8)
Here we can better see what the Psalmist means with his analogy. God is going to preserve his people from all evil. Here I think Barnes sums up the idea well.

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil - This is an advance of the thought. The psalmist had in the previous verses specified some particular evils from which he says God would keep those who put their trust in him. He now makes the remark general, and says that God would not only preserve from these particular evils, but would keep those who trusted in him from all evil: he would be their Protector in all the perils of life. - Albert Barnes
Yes, God will indeed protect us. He see's dangers we are not capable of seeing. He knows who our enemies are even when they are not known to us. He knows the future troubles we will have before we are even slightly aware of them.

He will watch over our goings. He will protect us on our way to work and on our way home, he will protect us on vacation or on the way to dropping out kids off at School. God's will watch over us not just today, but always.

This Psalm and its promises are meant clearly for Israel. But also we Christians who are the Israel of God (see Gal 6:16) by virtue of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, we too can claim this protection. So with all who serve, honor and place their faith in the God who made all things by the might of his power, even the Father and Jesus Christ, our Lord.

I take comfort in this Psalm in that in our troubled world, with so much evil, wickedness, trouble and treachery, I can put my faith in the living God and know that he has my back at all times. He never sleeps.

Grace and peace to all who place their full faith and confidence in the God of Israel and his Messiah.


16 Jun

Dominance And Submission

Today, I want to talk a bit about a problem with American policy overseas that I think is the well spring of most of our foreign policy problems. If our leaders can ever come to terms with this, our nation could very well play a strong and constructive role in the world. If we don't we will continue on the path to being one of the most hated and despised nations on earth.

The question really revolves around the idea that came out of Neoconservative dogma and think tanks, in papers and idea's like the Project for the New American Century, that lays out what they had in mind for America in the 21st century. What they wanted was to promote and expand American leadership in the world.

This was mostly a GOP policy 'bent' but many hawkish Democrats as well have bought into this idea, though they don't spend much time talking about it publicly. Their own policy moves and statements that support the goals and policies of PNAC give them away. Think of people like Hillary Clinton for starters.

Of the twenty-five people who signed PNAC's founding statement of principles, ten went on to serve in the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz. Observers such as Irwin Stelzer and Dave Grondin have suggested that the PNAC played a key role in shaping the foreign policy of the Bush Administration, particularly in building support for the Iraq War. Academics such as Inderjeet Parmar, Phillip Hammond, and Donald E. Abelson have said PNAC's influence on the George W. Bush administration has been exaggerated. - Wikipedia

Notice names like Kagan. His wife is VIctoria Nuland, the neocon queen who said 'f-- the EU' and was clearly one of the masterminds behind the violent coup that toppled the democratically elected government there in Ukraine. We will not rehash the violent and often arrogant policies of the NeoCons and those who hold their policy leanings. Rather we are briefly going to look at why America is having so many troubles in the world, why she is losing her diplomatic clout and why these trends are going to increase as time passes, regardless of who sits in the White House.

There is a spirit behind PNAC. It's the spirit of arrogance and violence. These two spirits often generate myopia and that myopia is what often destroys nations and particularly empires. It is the total unwillingness to listen to the other side of the story and violently push ones policies, culture, beliefs and proxy armies on people who do not want those things. The twisted mentality that brought us to this point in the Middle East and in Ukraine are still with us. To such minds, an oil pipeline is far more important than 100,000 lives and the 'will of the people' who vote and 'democracy' is an abstraction that can usually be successfully maneuvered around.

I think it meet that we talk about this from both a political and a spiritual perspective because we Christians need to understand what spirit is running our nation and where it wants to take us.

Take a look today in South Korea. The US has deployed THAAD, a system that has greatly angered the Chinese, the rising power in Asia. We needed China to help contain the madness of Kim Jung-un. But because of the need for American political leadership to play up to her defense contractors, THAAD now is operational and China has threatened to do what it takes to counter it. THAAD as of a few days ago is being debate by South Korea because of the election of a new President who has serious misgivings about the US anti-missile deployment. Missile systems like this are inherently destabilizing and lead only to one thing - an arms race. This is quickly followed by increasing instability. America did the same thing to Russia over a decade ago when it did its best that the so called 'missile shield' in Europe, reneging on a clear promise to the Russians not to do that. The idea pushed by these American elements is 'containment' of those who will not submit to American dominance (they call it 'leadership').

This is why China and Russia have joined hands. It is not that they don't have a lot of important points of disagreement on key policy questions. They do. It is that both need each other to deal with what they see is a growing global menace. American global arrogance, violence and mismanagement.

We Americans must try and understand these things not just from perspective of US NeoConservatives or the activists that support or even decry them. No, we must rather see the world as much as we can through the eyes of others and then we can begin to see why our world is in very deep trouble and we are losing clout and stature the world over.

Russia and China will never submit to what the Americans call 'leadership'. They have both tasted first hand what that leadership means and they want none of it. Russia has had its graveyards filled with western good intentions, broken treaties and violent coups. Vladimir Putin understands things things intimately. This is why for so long he was so openly dissing American policy. He had had enough of the Neoconservatives and their bluster, unilateralism and propensity to shed the blood of innocents to further an empire that they see as a perennial threat to his nation.

The Chinese see things a little differently. They are in no hurry to dethrone America. They take pleasure in 'the game', they would much rather destroy us slowly, painfully and entertain themselves on our own foolishness. Think of how a cat likes to play with its prey before it kills it. It may not be a perfect analogy, it it fits pretty well. The Chinese think very differently than Americans do. They know America is dying and are planning to move in to fill key gaps around the world as we commit national suicide.... slowly.

To each, they see a wounded beast, perhaps mortally but is still incredibly dangerous in its current incoherent state. Each are circling the wounded empire carefully at a good distance picking, prodding and allowing her to bleed to death from the wounds, many self inflicted she now suffers.

China and Russia do not see submission under this hostile wounded beast as being in their interest. Each has long memories of just what such leadership means. Both no longer are convinced that such leadership is too difficult to oppose, counter and otherwise frustrate. To the contrary, each now see's it as one of their primary national security goals.

This is why China has spent so much time modernizing and updating its military. It's naval modernization has the US very concerned. But it has also reorganized it's strategic forces as well as its land forces. I will not link to these things today, a search engine will yield up massive results on this - just type in 'PLA reorganization'. They want to be the dominant power in Asia and are working very hard to bring that about. With China however, the idea of global dominance for themselves is one that many Chinese policy analysts are not wild about. Most just want China to be the most important power in the Asian Pacific. But others realize that what you leave for others, only strengthens ones foes. They want to be more involved in the western hemisphere as well. This I think is going to be a major foreign policy question that will animate Chinese policy circles in the years ahead.

The real issue in my and in many others view is this. There is considerable motion on the global stage to capture parts of the world, geographically, diplomatically, legally (global governance institutions) as American influence wanes and she deals with the fallout, domestic and international of her burgeoning deficits and growing social problems and incompetent political leadership (both parties, all branches of government). But these states have shown considerable agility and determination to counter moves by the American empire to eat into their own political interests. Think Syria and Ukraine. Russia has shown that she is willing to meet force with force, violence with violence but has consistently held out an olive branch to American leaders that each time get s trampled on as the PNAC crowed contemplates some new outrage and provocation on the globe to provoke these two rising powers. These outrages are designed specifically to target the interests of these two rising powers. Each side wishes to avoid direct confrontation, but many within Neoconservative circles are not so coy, they really are looking for a open, all out war.

Why now? It is not possible to read minds, but it seems clear to me that these individuals inside America know that America's power is waning. They know about our deficits and know that when push comes to shove and they really  have no choice but to deal with those deficits in a real fashion, unrest and a great economic/political shaking will come to America. The time to undercut these new rising powers is now, not 10 years from now, I think is the view. This is the 'chaos is best' policy bent of some of our leaders.

In my view the real problem is this - America needs to go back to the past to see how empires of the past preserved themselves. Rome stretched itself too far and too thin. There came a time when emperors realized that you cannot push empire too far. If you do, you overtax your army and your people and lose your empire from without and from within.

The emperor Hadrian realized this and took steps accordingly to forestall continued expansion. Historians make clear that he realized that there was not much to gain by extending the empire too far. Other emperors also realize that biting off more than you can chew in imperial politics will can easily undermine decades of hard fought work.

This is the danger we have run into.

My view is that America has pushed too far and we need to take stock of the fact that it is our policies that have produced the likes of Maduro, Duterte, Putin and others and if there is strident anti-Americanism today, PNAC and those who think like that are those responsible for it.

I think that American needs to take stock and decide what is defensible and what is not. What is worth keeping under American control and which we should carefully relinquish. If we don't, we run the risk of real imperial over-reach and losing all because we will not have had not the resources to defend and maintain it all. I don't need to tell you to look at our deficits to show you that we are in trouble.  Those who can count can see, those who cannot won't.

If I were advising the President I would make it plain that this is the policy that should be implemented over the next 10 years. Strategic Retrenchment. Give our nation time to deal with our serious internal social and budgetary problems - worry about keeping what is essential defensible and let the others fight over the rest.

My considered opinion is that if we do that, fix our internal dysfunctionalities, deal with our moral and spiritual crisis that is sucking the life out of so many Americans with drug abuse, suicide and unrestrained lust, we can as a nation emerge stronger better and in a far better place to lead. But as long as we can't manage our own affairs, how is that we should manage the worlds? A nation who has shown such a lack of self control with our debts, dope abuse and more... we should not be in control of a cash register and a McDonald's, let alone the world.

But having said that, the world I think will quickly tire of leadership led by others whose human rights abuses are so obvious and revolting. I refer to Xi's China particularly, but not exclusively. By the time the world tires of their leadership, I think it will pine for a return of American leadership and by then, hopefully we will have our own act together and be ready to take on that task and remember what made this nation so respected was our respect for democracy and freedom, not violent coups to overthrow democracies and torture.

I think the crisis of America however is indeed terminal. Dark forces who only serve the god of forces (force) have taken over the American imperial 'asylum'. Anyone who does not prescribe more missiles, bombers and fighters is likely to be run out of the White House or any agency that formulates policy. We have forgotten from which we came.

Our nation was founded as a place where people fled to be free. The idea of a global military power that destroys democracies, makes millions into refugee's and conducts unilateral invasions of nations is repugnant to the whole idea of America that our founders had. We have lost our way and anyone who points America in the right direction is taking his life in his own hands by these dark forces who have stolen America from under us all.

I hope our nation, leaders and people can get it together but I am not optimistic that such a prospect is realistic.



12 June

The Sufficiency Of Christ

What does that mean? In simple terms that for our salvation, from beginning to end, the person and work of Jesus Christ are sufficient for a man's salvation. He is the focal point of God's efforts to save mankind from the spiritual consequences for his sins. We sons of men have not, do not and often just refuse to see the depth's to which the race of man has sunk to in the past and will again sink to. Indeed it is sinking to even today. Men who do evil and think that it is good? Many are of reprobate minds of this nature. They can chop off the heads of children and think they please God. They can set fire to whole nations, and believe that this is God's work. They can carry swastikas talk about killing Jews, they can firebomb a Church full of humble and mostly poor Christians and honestly think the demons who tell them to do these things is God. How can they be so deceived? There are many false prophets, false apostles and false workmen who are good at telling you that good is evil and evil is good. They will goad man into hate, war, killing, stealing, adultery and all manner of abominations and wickedness with their lying tongue. These men are incredibly deceptive.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
(2Co 11:14) 

This is the crux of many of our troubles today. Men who are full of hate preaching a gospel that is totally against that revealed by the God they claim to adore. You have satanists (too cowardly to identify themselves as being such) calling for wars, hatred and doing all manner of evil secretly. You have secularists preaching a touchy feel good humanistic gospel while they plot the next air raid that will send hundreds of innocents to their death. Many so called secularists are casting horoscopes, and listening to the supposed spirits of dead people while they preach that there is no God.

More and more we see many forms of depravity taking place in our world. We need not just look at the brutal viciousness of wicked organizations like ISIS and Boko Haram, but we can see state sponsored evil in places like North Korea with its massive concentration/death camp system. Around the world, there is great wickedness though much of it is hidden from ordinary people to protect the guilty and to ensure the crimes continue.

This is not to say that in our times we have come to the point the sons of men had come to in Genesis Chapter Six, where "...every thought of the intention of their heart was only evil continually..." (Gen 6:5). This is quite an indictment and the level of wickedness that man came to that led God to basically wipe out the race of men. But God loves us. For some, it is is not easy to reconcile what God did in Genesis 6 with a God of love. But it is not hard to do if you understand that God will only put up with evil for so long. His patience is meant to give us space to repent, not put a stamp of approval on our deeds.

There is something special about us that God truly loves and cares for. What that something is, not even David, writing under divine inspiration could understand (Psalm 8:4). God's love has allowed us all great a period of great forbearance and patience with our spiritual waywardness. We Christians all this the age of Grace. Yet that waywardness of man is not some light thing, as many will attempt to make it out to be. But something that deeply offends God. That is right - sin is a great offense to God. All of our sins. A white lie or a mass murder; the taking of goods from your place of employment to robbing a State bank, God is deeply offended by our wickedness and has a place for any and all who refuse to acknowledge their evils and repent of them. I am often fond of saying that God's standards have not changed. They have not. God's primary purpose with man is to separate him from his sins. The big problem is that most men are thoroughly in love with them and have no intention of giving them up.

Enter Jesus Christ

That is where Christ comes in. Sin is not that dissimilar to any good or service we have down here on earth. Sin however is a spiritual commodity and like any commodity, it has to be paid for. What does sin cost?

 For the wages of sin is death;
but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Rom 6:23)

Sin has a cost, but as the scripture subtly says, it also has a wage. Why does Paul use this analogy? Because sin is work a person who commits sin is a slave of sin, though he does not know it.

 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever:
but the Son abideth ever.  If the Son therefore
shall make you free,ye shall be free indeed.
(John 8:34-36 [KJVA])
Christ makes a very simple spiritual observation. One that the religious leaders of Christ's time could not understand. Why could they not understand it? Because they thought they were doing God's will, but were actually doing the devils. They had murder in their hearts and sought repeatedly to kill the person God sent to save them - hey did not know it but they were doing the devils work. Christ said as much about them. Later in this important exchange between Jesus and the Religious leaders of Christ's time,  Jesus does not mince words. He gives it to them straight, no nonsense, no flowery language and no need to interpret the meaning of his hard hitting and most sobering words.

Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.
He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth,
because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie,
he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 
Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth,
why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words:
ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
(John 8:43-47 [KJVA])

Here is the amazing thing. These were the religious leaders of Christ's time and he is telling them they are not God's. They are of the devil. How can you determine a worker of evil? A person who is of the devil? A spirit of murder is one of the best and most obvious ways to tell. This goes with people, organizations and even nation's. When murder and the lust to kill others is evident, you are dealing with something demonic. Sure, the entity may have glorified itself, immunized itself, made excuses for itself but that is the pattern with each and every person who is sitting in prison and in hell today. They always had a reason for committing acts of evil and always justified their evil with some totally selfish motivation.

The spiritual principles of Christianity are not hard to understand. They are so utterly simple that people don't want to hear it because it means something. It means that they have to change their ways. God is for life, and love. He is for peace and righteousness. The devil on the other hand is always most adept and dressing up evil as being good. He and his workers are masters of disguise. Again I say, if nothing else give the devil his due - he knows how to deceive.


But Christ came to overthrow the works of the devil. He came to save mankind from the law of sin and death, the chains of sorrow that eventually come over those who are enslaved to sin. Christ's ministry, ordeal, death and Resurrection defined the ultimate victory over the fate of mankind. There is now a way for men to be saved and that way is though the person and work of Jesus Christ and through him alone. God gave the early apostles a mighty testimony for salvation. Here is how the Book of Acts showed both the power of God to heal and to save and that there is no other path towards salvation.

 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel,
 that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead,
 even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 
This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders,
which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other:
 for there is none other name under heaven given among men,
 whereby we must be saved.

(Acts :4:10-12)

This is indeed the conundrum of Christianity, from a secular and 'other religion' perspective. Christ made it plain that there was no other way into the kingdom. None. He and his apostles made that perfectly clear. But today, other religions will always claim to have reverence for Jesus giving him some special status in