-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)

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Watson's
                Web Lighthouse
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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
  11 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.

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: t
hey 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 os 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 their doctrines but basically calling him a liar in the process by claiming some other way to God.  Once Christ rose from the dead, there was finally a way from men - all men - to be saved from sin and the consequences of it.

Taking It All For Granted

This is one thing that man does but should not do. All of mankind could have been lost. The whole race of man. There are spiritual beings that have sinned and will never have a path to salvation. God had pity on us a  race/species and has put a plan in place not just to save our souls, but to give us some of the honored positions within the entire Creation. With mankind this salvation thing really is all-or-nothing-at-all. God's love for man is deep and real, and his love for those who respond to his offer of salvation is beyond our human comprehension. Those of you who have come to know Christ, believed on him and obey his voice, I can tell you that you are deeply beloved. Each and every soul who comes to Christ, and is born again by the power of the Holy Spirit, faith in Christ Jesus and by the atoning work of Blood of Christ -  he has his eye on you for something so special that your finite mind cannot comprehend it.

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,
how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?
It is God that justifieth.  Who is he that condemneth?
It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again,
who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation,
or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword 
As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long;
we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  Nay, in all these
things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels,
nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to
 separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:32-39 [KJVA])

We who are called, chosen and faithful, God has something prepared for us and we must not ever look back or forsake our faith as is the path many, many have taken. They came in for as season and then fell away. But this too was foretold by Christ in the parables. These things should not surprise us.

Those who turn away from Christ, however often become twice the child of hell as others. This too Christ warned us about.

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man,
he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 
Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence
I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty,
swept, and garnished.  Then goeth he, and taketh
with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself,
and they enter in and dwell there:
 and the last state of that man is worse than the first.
Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
(Matthew 12:43-45 [KJVA])

You can also read about this in he parable of the Sower (Mark 4:3ff) Yes, brothers, I have seen this before and I am sure before I pass on, I will see this several more times. It hardly shocks me anymore to see men and women forsake Christ for a few trinkets the devil promises and rarely delivers on. The only thing he can deliver on with alarming consistency is a place in hell.

I say this by way of admonition to those who know Christ - do not look back.

Christ being the only way to salvation this is one of the biggest 'sticking points' other religions have with Christians and why many Christian leaders are working overtime to overthrow basic Christian doctrine to make it more world friendly or better phrased, more 'satanically correct'. Done in a way that has all manner of 'good feelings' and fine sounding words that lull people into a false sense of security. When a 'Christian' minister starts preaching that there are other ways to salvation than Christ - run. He has done exactly what the false religious leaders of Jesus' day did, they called Jesus a liar.

But to those of us who truly know him. He does more, he reveals his secrets, long held from the sons of men and even the Angels. What do I mean?

 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the
throne a book written within and on the backside,
 sealed with seven seals.  And I saw a strong angel proclaiming
with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to
loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth,
neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither
to look thereon.And I wept much, because no man was found
worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the
Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed
to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
(Revelation of John 5:1-5 [KJVA])



Christ has revealed things that were long sealed up. Now those of us who have the spirit of God, know him and do his will. He has given us a look into the drama of the heavens and things that are to come. The saints of old did not have this. We do. Only with the person and work of Jesus Christ have things things become known to us.


Conclusion

I write this small testimony to all of you today to show you just what Christ wrought for us on the cross. We who know him and to whom he has given his spirit, we know. We know because God has given us understanding. Why did Christ speak in parables and the book of Revelation use so many symbols and lost souls are at a loss to understand it? I will tell you.

 And the disciples came, and said unto him,
Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
 He answered and said unto them,
 Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries
of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
(Matthew 13:10-11 [KJVA])


Why is it that around the world, from India to Egypt; to Nigeria, to Eritrea, to North Korea, to Vietnam, to Saudi Arabia, to Iran, to Iraq to Syria and a host of other nations too numerous to mention, they persecuting Christians so consistently? Why is this? Because we are of a different spiritual pedigree. Totally different and for that fact, we are hated, resented, mistreated and even killed.

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you:
 and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another,
and shall hate one another.  And many false prophets shall rise,
 and shall deceive many.
(Matthew 24:9-11 [KJVA])

These are things Christ told us about and things are happening just as he foretold. But this persecution is not over, and will only get worse as time passes and the devils ministers continue to gain more power and wealth on earth. Then they will do the devils will, try and kill us all in that final 42 month system of the false prophet and antichrist.
 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies;
and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. 
And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name,
 and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him
 to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him
 over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
(Revelation of John 13:5-7 [KJVA])


Satan is given so much power in those days but look at what the last government of this world does with it? It turns on God utters contempt for him and then goes about to kill his people.

This is the real purpose of the world's secret societies, satanists, masons and others. It is to destroy the works and people of God. Why? It is energized and guided by the devil and the devils will this system will do.

Brothers in Christ, there is no other way to be saved but by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and by the power of his Resurrection. He alone has the power and keys to salvation. He alone has the keys to hell and death. Those who call him a prophet and refuse to acknowledge his singular significance to the plan of God's salvation (Divine Sonship), are liars. They may be just deceived or as in some cases know deep down inside the truth but work against it. But the result is the same. The spirit of deceit coupled with a powerful seductive narrative -  'we all worship the same god', 'Jesus is just one of many prophets', 'all go to heaven and Christ died in vain', etc.

Jesus did not give us that choice, now when you read and understand what he said and the claims he made. No one can make the claims he made and be sane... unless they are true. This is the choice, the only honest choice a person can make about Jesus. The rest are filled with a fundamental dishonesty about who he claimed to be so that they can seduce you into another system of religion/belief.

Who did he claim to be? The Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God and the only path to salvation that man has.

May God give all who read this light to see, ears to hear and a mind to comprehend just who how far God has gone to try and save mankind. Why?


For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.
 (John 3:16 [KJVA])

He really cares for us.


Let none of us who know our God be ashamed of the gospel, nor of Jesus Christ nor of the words spoken by him (Luke 9:26).



Brother Mark
12 June 2017



9 Jun

The Carmel Alert

This Messianic Jewish ministry gives us all the latest happenings in Israel.

Persecution Watch

Danish Man Charged With Blasphemy In Denmark
Eritrea: Persecution Extraordinaire (locked up in storage container)

House Passes Aid To ISIS Victims By Unanimous Consent
Rising Violence Against Congo's Churches
China: Church Destroyed, 40 Christians Detained
Indonesia: Islamic Radicals Target Online Critics
Americans Detained, Deported For Carrying Bibles In China
Answered Prayer Report For NK Persecution Victim
Christians Shot Dead In Philippines For Refusing To Recite Muslim Creed
Pakistan: Christian Dies In Detention Center
Egypt's Displaced Struggle To Find Shelter And Security
Persecution Magazine For July 2017 (39MB)
This Is What Christian Persecution Looks Like
How Europe's Refugee Camps Are Seeing Migrants Persecute For Their Faith
Fourth Indonesian Christian Deported From US Who Sought Asylum
Why Korean Missionaries Wish They Were Still Imprisoned by the Taliban

Let all who name the name of the Lord in spirit and in truth lift up prayers for the many persecuted saints around the world. - MSW

The Forgotten People's of the Earth

(Note: This was written in April) A lot of serious changes and unfortunate events are taking place today that are deeply effecting the poorer and less fortunate people of the earth. Today, we will look at some of these issues.

Food matters, humanitarian aid matters. This piece gives us the reasons why.

Let's start off and take a very quick look at the situation in South Sudan. Fox news has done a piece here on the Famine and war now taking place there. Right now, according to that piece, nearly 300,000 are facing a food crisis. There are a lot of folks who are in dire need there, and remember that one of the biggest problems with the famine in Sudan is that it is taking place with the backdrop of a civil war. 


                                      Source: Wikipedia/Ali Zifan
This war is rather sad because this is the youngest nation on earth, created during the Obama administration in the hopes of bringing peace. Instead it has brought war, famine and sorrow. The origins of the war are not going to be talked about here, I have talked about them here and there are many sites that describe the ethnic and other tensions that serve as the backdrop. The key here today is to understand that this conflict is having a devastating effect on ordinary South Sudanese. War and Drought are playing a major role in creating this famine. This war has disrupted farming as well.  This famine right probably has garnered the most international attention, but it is hardly the only one.
Let's look at a couple of others today.

Right now in Burundi, food is also problem.
Residents of some localities of Gihanga district claim people continue dying from famine. Humanitarian actors have not so far given sufficient help since the first cases of death were reported in January. - All Africa
The problems here are also of an economic nature, the government of Burundi right now is forcing teachers and others to make 'voluntary contributions' to the state. The new scheme takes a significant chunk of money from people who make only about $10 a month. The good news is that the country did recently receive $25 million to improve food security.

 Let's look at Eritrea for instance. Here is what the UN says about it.
Eritrea is a country that is arid and semi-arid. Eighty percent of the population depends on subsistence agriculture for its livelihoods. Rain-fed agriculture is the predominant economic activity, employing more than two thirds of the population. By virtue of its location in the Sahel, Eritrea is affected by periodic drought and food shortages. Even in times of good rainfall, domestic food production is estimated to meet between 60 to 70 percent of the population’s needs. Data from the Nutrition Sentinel Site Surveillance4 system indicates an increase in malnutrition rates over the past few years in four out of six regions of the country, with 22,700 children under five projected to be affected by severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in 2017. National data also indicates half of Eritrean children are stunted  Vulnerabilities of children will need to be addressed through collective action. - UNICEF

Then there is Kenya.

Yes, there is a major crisis in Kenya. Though it appears to be a regional one. The UN has a great chart here that gives some details.


Source: HumanitarianResponse.info/UN (Copyright info here)
The crisis is not being called a Famine, but for many Kenyan's they have seen a significant spike in food prices, even while Global food prices have come down. This piece from the Digital Standard talks about the situation is it effects ordinary Kenyan's. The cause is the drought and it has caused double-digit inflation to hit the country.  UNICEF has a recent article here that may help give us all some perspective as to the causes and effects. But one reason not mentioned in most articles is the invasion of the armyworm, that has many farmers concerned.  The good news is that some have stepped up to the plate and helped out. The Chinese community in Kenya have donated 144 tones of food aid to the problem regions. The Salvation Army as well is helping out. The UN issued a flash appeal for Kenya here.


Did you know that there is also a water and food crisis in Madagasgar, the world's 4th largest Island? I confess, I didn't until I started hunting for stories on the web about it. This story from the AFP (at Yahoo) talks about the water carriers of Madagasgar.

Drought, war, climate change (whatever the cause of it) is making some places of the world unable to sustain human life at the levels that is now required. There are no two ways about it, and when introduces things like war and violent non-state actors (terrorists) into the mix, things just get worse. But other problems lurk on the Horizon. One of those is the overuse of groundwater for irrigation.

But for the poor and less fortunate there are other threats than just food. In China, they plan on relocating millions of people in the future. In fact the number is about 250 Million people. That was the entire population of the US, not so many years ago. So this is a plan for mass resettlement.

Part of this is to combat poverty the other part if this is disaster preparedness. There are a few stories on the web about it, and you can find a good translation of the official policy of the Chinese Central Committee here on this link. IRIN has a story on this here that is a really good article with some highly informed links. China does have many problems related to disasters, natural and otherwise. But what is not made clear in the document is if these relocation's will be compulsory or voluntary.

I don't want to paint too dark a picture here because clearly China wants to prevent the kinds of human catastrophe's it has suffered in the past. But whenever a Communist government talks about 'relocating' that many people. I kind of get the jitters. Why? read your history of other communist governments actions.

Forced settlements in the Soviet Union took several forms. Though the most notorious was the Gulag labor camp system of penal labor, resettling of entire categories of population was another method of political repression implemented by the Soviet Union. At the same time, involuntary settlement played a role in the colonization of remote areas of the Soviet Union. This role was specifically mentioned in the first Soviet decrees about involuntary labor camps.

Population transfer in the Soviet Union that led to the creation of these settlements was performed in a series of operations organized according to social and national criteria of the deported.

Compared to the Gulag camps, the involuntary settlements had the appearance of "normal" settlements: people lived in families, and there was more freedom of movement; however, that was only permitted within a specified area. All settlers were overseen by the NKVD (под надзором НКВД): once a month a person had to visit a local law enforcement office at a selsoviet in rural areas or at a militsiya department in urban settlements. - Wikipedia

Forced relocation's under China's communist party is not anything new or unheard of.

The story sounds good insofar as being a proactive measure against future catastrophe's, but that is exactly what those planning something more diabolical would want to play it in the Media.

Time will tell.

7 June

Note: There has been a considerable amount of activity around the world. Watson's Web has been looking at many of these issues in depth. The crisis in the Qatar/Gulf? This site (behind password wall) has been looking at it. North Korea? Russia? The Trump budget? All of these issues have been and are being analyzed and looked at in depth. The vast majority of my analysis is and will remain behind the password wall. There have been some changes but the analysis and commentary continue, unabated.

FYI, I do often post a few issues here on the public site but that is mostly to keep visibility and at times to give a slightly different spin to the 'fake news', foolishness and pattern of dumbing down we continue to see in the MSM and on Social media, which these days is acting as a global censor.

This is one reason I have not done the Google ads thing or get involved in Social Media, there is another side to them that I have only shared with my insiders. Like some of the darker elements of the 'Deep State' that they are too close to, they mimic the goals of those dark and secretive forces against our basic liberties (like free speech) being just one, total surveillance being another.  There were many reasons for me going password protected and as the political landscape will certainly make a 'hard right turn' in the days ahead under Trump, this decision and guidance from the Lord was most wise indeed. These are dangerous times but people don't know the danger. Bloggers and Social Media guys they don't know the danger. 
They should. Hopefully President Trump will let his more libertarian instincts get the better of him and not turn the clock back on press and our other freedoms and rights.


Blogging -  REAL blogging is hard work and dangerous as is real journalism in our world. People with power will try and shut you up and even kill you. I am not talking about the politically charged 'narratives of nitwits' in the global 'echo chamber' of left and right respective blogs and sites here in the US. Their job is to keep you locked into a mindset that keeps you supporting the two party system that is bankrupting the nation.  No, I am talking about the real deal, the back story and the truth which most people react most violently against... because they have been trained and conditioned to. This has been done via years of MSM (corporate media/Madison Ave) conditioning that they are not even aware they are a victim of.

More and more you are finding that those with real good info and real perspective, they are going 'dark' insofar as they know that in our times, the truth is more valuable than rubies and like rubies, people will steal to get it, or in the case of information, kill to hide it.

So, yes Watson's Web is still very, very busy.



6 June

Why The Official Unemployment Number Is Patently False

The above link is from mybudget360. They keep pulling people out of the labor force and simply stop counting people who are not working. These are not labor statistics, a 4.3% unemployment rate this is a fraud.

BLS
                            not in labor force
Source: BLS

I remind my readers that the same agency... the EXACT same agency that tells us the unemployment rate is 4.3% is the same one telling us that there are about 95 million Americans without jobs. That is about 25% of the total population and a much higher percentage of the working age population.

Do you really want to understand why Donald Trump is in the White House? Many Americans did not believe these Americans without jobs really existed. They were a statistical phantom that the Obama administration and the DNC hoped to get people to believe were just a figment of an overactive imagination. If you believed that these people really existed, according to the DNC, Obama and large parts of the GOP you wore a 'tin foil hat'.

The proof of their existence was demonstrated in Donald Trump's election. And the Democrats are upset about it.

They really believed their own propaganda... that they would win an election without the average ordinary (used to be) working White male.

Listening to pundits a few months ago, one made it plain that the party's shift away from White Working people was a conscious decision. They thought they could make up the difference in other key demographic and regional groups. If I remember correctly this was part of Sen. Schumer's strategy for the DNC.

Hillary is still refusing to accept any real responsibility for her loss. Blaming it on Russia and Trump and anyone but her own bad behavior, scandals and inability to pick good people to surround her. The kinds of people she had in the DNC and as her confidants, like Huma. All of these factors angered just enough core people in her party to swing the election. Many who supported Bernie, they held their noses and voted for Trump. There was no way they were going to vote for Hillary.

I listened to CSPAN over the weekend and they had several scholars on who were analyzing the election. These guys were pretty smart, far smarter than the stupidity we get on TV.

They said that what people are missing is the fact that this election and future elections were and will be more and more about the economic strata and less about party politics. They said the political parties of today are dying. Then the scholars split the country along two lines. The vertical line: the political left and right and another horizontal line of those who have benefited from Globalization and those who have not. Then they went on to discuss how in counties with high opioid White male death rates were more likely to vote for Trump. One guy said that 2016 was about the 'politics of despair'.

But it is hard to get politico's who drive around in BMW's and lefties who are just coming from their all night sex parties to understand what is happening in so many parts of the country. There is real despair in many places. Suicide rates in some places are scary. Sadly, this is too often the reaction to this tragedy, and why Trump is now President. The DNC just didn't care and they didn't listen.

Trump did.

The DNC is still stuck on stupid. They still don't get it. But more and more as I listen to Black media, more and more Black Americans are getting it.... finally! I am not so sure that in the future the Democrats can count on that 95% Black vote after having done nothing for them and a Black President who may have looked and sounded good, but was more interested in pleasing gays and Wall Street than lifting a finger for Black folks. Having a Black President was supposed to the the pinnacle of Black political achievement. The pinnacle turned out for many to be nothing more than a different color shaft the system has been giving us for decades.

I think those days of universal Black DNC support are rapidly coming to an end.


5 June


Climate Change: Temporal And Spiritual

While those on the left have gone pretty much off the deep end with Trump's formal announcement of his withdrawal from the Paris Accords, the truth of the matter is that what Trump did matters a lot less than his detractors say.

The Paris Agreement is by and large a voluntary agreement to cut carbon emissions. You can read the whole agreement here as non compliance has no consequences. If fully implemented, regardless of what those on the left have to say, it would have had significant effect on America and her energy sector (and prices) as well as other regulatory frameworks. No one really felt the effects of the agreement because again, no on really had to comply - it was a great feel good 'hug-a-tree' moment.

We won't get into the politics of this today, rather I do want to talk a bit about this whole debate and how it has been framed and why Donald Trump is being beaten up so bad by those on the left.

First of all, the key issue that drove this agreement was the whole theory; and it still is that, a THEORY regardless of the heavily financed opinions of 'scientists' pushing the idea of anthropomorphic global warming.  That is a fancy word for man-made global warming or rather, the earth is warming primarily because of human activity on earth. This is the narrative that has been pushed forward by many of the most powerful and important scientific organizations in the world.

In this debate which is being conducted with the classic instruments of information warfare, we would be wise to consider carefully what we believe, why we believe it and whom we have come to trust to tell us what the truth is. What is your predisposition? What is it that you WANT to believe? That may be the hardest question to answer.

Those on the left are immediately suspicious of those on the right and vice versa. The big money flowing into think tanks, media organizations and most importantly those highly trusted scientific organizations which ordinary people have come to trust like the Druids once did their priests. High Science has become the neo-religion of our times. Now this is important so keep this in mind going forward in this debate. Money will go to corrupt those whom the world has come to trust the most. Be it a politician, a religious leader or a scientific foundation. No scientific research can be done without money and those with money do decide what gets researched and which conclusions they will continue to support and those that they will not. The power of the purse in Science is equivalent to the power of religious texts in religion. If you want to begin any journey to the truth in our times and you fail to follow the money, you probably are on the road to deceit. It's like an ancient mariner going to sea without a compass or a modern one without a GPS. The guys from the old days, stood a good chance of getting lost without his sextant.

Today, in a maze of information, misinformation and disinformation we need that compass, that sextant and that GPS to help us navigate the waters of our informational landscape.

When we follow the money we understand two things. Both sides are heavily financed, but one side has been at this longer and has been able to co-opt the scientific community from the beginning. For lack of better words, I won't use 'left' and 'right' to describe the opposing views, I will use the 'Soros crowd' verses the 'Exxon crowd'. As I think this better typifies the debate. Those who are getting their money from men like Soros and Prince Philip and those who are getting their money from large oil companies. I repeat that because I want you all to keep that in mind as the weeks pass and the debate continues. This is all classic information warfare and it is being waged as much by governments as it is by wealthy interests who have a stake in the outcome of the debate.

Once we can get that and internalize it, deconstructing this whole debate is far less difficult. But another key to doing this is to not jump to conclusions and to not have your mind made up before you look at as much available data as time allows on both sides of the debate. Additionally one must use a large dose of common sense when analyzing it the data. People are smart when they allow themselves to be. The problem is that propaganda, political reflexes and often just plain on social cowardice prevents people from looking at issues with a cold analytical eye that allows them to think outside of the common 'heard mentality'. But breaking with that heard can in some cases mean social isolation and thus many are overcome with fear, even terror of thinking (really thinking) for themselves. It is easier to let the TV do it for them. If you made up your mind and don't want to be bothered with facts and thinking, then go back to watching the comedy channel thinking it is news. There is not much hope for you or millions like you.

This is not said to denigrate anyone who is truly concerned about the environment. I know I am, very much. Rather it is to say this. Let us ensure that we are trying to really fix the environment and are not letting a few rich sons of you know what with billions to spend putting forth a false narrative deceive us into spending our time and efforts into a problem of theoretical significance when other far, far more pressing problems of an environmental nature that require no proof of existence are not dealt with. This leads us all to a position where we are mis-allocatting resources and effort and in the process do more harm than the theoretical good they (claim to) want to fix.


There is a plethora of data available, some of it is indeed fake data and it is not just coming from one side or the other. Both sides are being rather liberal with data that is quite frankly not as reliable as many think. The entire basis of the thesis of man made global warming comes primarily from data that the pro-global warming crowd 'destroyed'. This is one of the things that came out during the climate-gate scandal. Though the media experts and digital consultants have worked pretty hard to pull down information on the web that tell us of this very inconvenient fact.  The search engines (often secretly run by the deep state) have put tones of search spam in major engines that put all the 'pro global warming' links and sites with top ranking. But the guys who are not connected up with elitists, they can give you a better non-emotional and factual look at this - without the spin. Search engine disinformation - it is real and real people spend many man hours in this new dis-informational discipline.

Rather than give all of you a long dissertation on this what I will do is pass on some food for thought links to all of you, I hope you at least get a chance to peruse some of them and then I will say what follows. If I link more to the climate skeptic side of things more than the climate 'religion' side - it is only because for the most part anyone with a heartbeat has heard the debate from the 'Al Gore' side of the debate and generally dismiss out of hand the other side.

Climategate: The Fix Is In
Global Warming Scare Is About Population Reduction (EIR - very interesting)
Global Warming Is Irreversable Say Experts
The Amazing Arrogance of the Paris Climate Agreement
The Abrupt Science Of Climate Change (quite interesting and counter narrative)
Top 10 Scientists Refute Global Warming


This climate debate is about money. It's about economics and about who gets to build factories and produce and those who are punished for it. The plan is to use 'carbon emissions' as the deciding factor. Those nations who have too high emissions (the western developed world) will be punished.  This whole debate was and is really about building an international framework to manage the world economy under the auspicious of the environment, or rather 'global environmental watchers'. Moreover it would have, if the Paris Agreement were fully implemented, deeply effect (negatively) the agricultural sector (food production). Some nations are exempt from emissions and others can increase them. What does this do? Again, these are not 'dots' that the pro global warming crowd want connected because if you did, you may begin to scratch your head at the whole range of agreements and pseudo-scientific consensus that has been heavily financed by billionaires who are are pushing this.

The key to understand is that the money aspect of this is clouded by the 'feel good' aspect that people have when they think they are doing something positive for the earth. They are not following the money. What happens when it becomes too expensive to operate a factory in the US because of carbon emissions? I will tell you. They will move to a country where they are allowed to produce without that carbon emission problem. Again, this will ultimately be about jobs, but no one is allowed to frame this debate in this fashion.

But interestingly, Trumps move to get the US out of the Paris Agreement has lined up both Big Oil and environmentalists... against an exit from the agreement.

What Do I think about Global Warming?

I am often asked that question as many think I am a 'climate change denier'. Well I am not. I do think the climate on earth is changing, doing so rapidly and some types of change (like desertification) may be irreversible.

Under no circumstances do I think the climate is not changing. From the polar region, to many parts of Africa, China and elsewhere where we are seeing the process of desertification, only a blind man or one who just is not in touch with reality would say differently. The issue in my view is how much of this is really man made and how much of it is due to climatic factors that are out of our control (solar activity, a slowly shifting polar axis, undersea volcanic activity, etc)?

My concern and it is a deep one is two fold. First, the emphasis on global warming I think is a bit, if not totally misplaced. I hear much more today about the heavily financed debate about Global Warming and almost nothing about the real man-made environmental disaster of Fukushima. People, most people don't have a clue as to just what is going on there. Just how bad it is and just what could result from that man made disaster. In fact the way the Global press has been behaving, it is more like a massive environmental coverup with the political left just as guilty as the right.

Here you have a US designed nuclear reactor that has apparently melted down (past tense) and is undergoing a nuclear chain reaction that will go on for thousands of years, is emitting radiation inside so hot that robots go in and stop functioning. Since Fukushima, we have seen so many mass dieoff's of fish, right along the currents that lead right from Fukushima along the Canadian coast to the US west coast. We have seen dozens of incidents and many of them with literally thousands of dead sea creatures washing ashore. No one is allowed to say the word 'Fukushima' in relation to this ongoing and increasing phenomenon. The supposedly earth friendly corporate moguls who preach the global warming gospel go silent on this ongoing and clearly man made disaster and only cry their 'tears of sorrow' for the earth when it comes to the economically significant 'global warming' debate. There have been many under reported disasters taking place at the reactor at Fukushima. But no one talks about it except the local stations where they happen.

The way I see this debate today is like this - A cow passes gas in a pasture and panic ensues about greenhouse gases and global warming; millions of fish die off in the ocean because of a ongoing nuclear chain reaction that has tons of radioactive water flowing into the sea and there is silence. This is classic misdirection. However, with the global warming debate there is also an opportunity to further the trends towards globalization that have taken some major hits of late. The Paris Agreement is but one step on a road toward increasing international organizations (un-elected) sovereignty over the nation state (often elected) and this is what we need to keep in mind. The prevailing narrative of global warming is being so strongly pushed by so many with money because they have a completely different agenda that the one they go on camera and cry about. They are for globalization. They are for creating and strengthening international institutions that have little to no democratic input so that they can manage the planet to their economic benefit. But in order to do that they need various narratives to garner the support needed to strengthen those organizations that will be used to limit democratic input. Man made global warming was and is just such a narrative. The actual truth of that narrative was and still is immaterial, it's a footnote. The key is, what can they get the masses of humanity to believe and what 'solutions' can they implement as a result. That is the key.

My view is that there may indeed be some man made global warming. I am not dogmatic about it. I don't have the scientific background to have a definite opinion. The data I have seen (and I have seen quite a bit of it from both sides over a few years) leads me to skepticism, not denial. The data available -  so much of it has been massaged by political hacks and 'computer models' that appear to exaggerate the scope of purported warming and other tricks to deceive the uninformed that frankly, I have come to distrust any data coming out that is carried far and wide in your major corporate media and politically charged sites and blogs.

Those of you who have formed a strong definite opinion about this without a strong scientific background weather you are from the left or right - you are being played for a sucker. When you get such a strong background and have access to the data that is not readily available, or has not been deliberately destroyed, perhaps your opinion will matter. But an uninformed opinion is nothing more than a high sounding phrase for ignorance and today, in our so called information society, there is an epidemic of ignorance out there.

 
So did Trump do right by withdrawing from the agreement? I don't know. I think politically the way he did it was wrong and will only energize his foes which are many. I do think he wanted to talk to a lot of people before he made this decision. I know Al Gore spent time talking with him about it and there were probably others. I think the President did not want to make a rash decision but wanted to listen to everyone before he made this decision I think Mr. Gore and others had every opportunity to prove to President Trump that Global warming was established fact. They could not do it. One thing I have noted about Trump is that he is capable of learning and listening. How much he really listened to the other side is up for debate. But I think he is smart enough to know what he does not know and can listen to those who do, or are at least are supposed to.

The Media is doing its level best to call Trump's views misinformed calling him out for calling Global Warming a 'Chinese Hoax'. Well, I can tell you that it sure started out that way. This was China all the way and there is a clear definite money trail and other hard evidence to prove it, but that information will not and probably never be allowed to come out.

The truth, the real truth dear readers is something most people just cannot handle. They get angry and often have a real fit when you tell them something that is true and assaults their preconceived notions. If you want to know why our leaders often do things that make little sense, this is often why. They know things, and key aspects to problems that our world faces that you are never ever going to hear and will be shouted down as being false, even and especially by those who know it is true. Sometimes it is because it could expose policies that are not generally known, Sometime it is done to protect a narrative, other times it is done to protect classified information (sources and methods). If they start talking specifics then the sources you had dry up or are found lying in a ditch with their brains blown out. So they often cannot tell you the truth for the above state reasons.  But I can tell you that China was indeed behind the whole Global warming scam from the get go many decades ago. They carefully paid for, nurtured and carried the whole narrative so that the west would regulate its industry out of business and they would set up shop in China. Did it work? This is something as well that many people don't understand. Often times plans are set in motion and they don't work or don't work as well as people think they would. Other times, they backfire. With China this has worked but only up to a point. China did not used to emit the kinds of pollution it does today. Now it accounts for around 30% of it. Anyone with an internet connection can see the kinds of pollution in China. They have smog days there in some places that look like a three alarm fire is taking place in the other room. Over the past several years and it has become a bit of a crisis there. My point? What started out as a kind of joke on the west has been slowly coming to pass on China, perhaps not of the 'warming variety' but of a clear pollution variety. China as a result, has modified its position. 

For some readers they need to understand that when states and wealthy men with a lot of influence embark on a policy, they often look long range. China in particular does this very long range kind of planing. It is all done in the 'covert' realm so that 999 out of a thousand people would never know what is going on, let along line it up with a state or non-state actor and be called nuts for seeing it and pointing it out. But these things happen. We have plans, the Russians have plans, the Chinese... they all plan for the future and in our 21st century world were warfare and conflict are no longer confined to traditional armies, understanding these new battle lines is key to understanding our world. The problem in America is that there are many powerful forces who are going to make absolutely sure that Americans never really understand the world, except where they can be manipulated into a deep political rage about something that may or may not even be true in order to support a hidden agenda they don't even remotely understand.

Prophetically Speaking

 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon,
and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 
For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the
kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle
of that great day of God Almighty.
(Revelation of John 16:13-14 [KJVA])

"We have to protect Mother Earth"
Chancellor Merkel
(responding to Trump's
withdrawal from the Paris Accord)

The Climate debate however goes far beyond just temperature models, climate agreements and a carbon tax. There are enormous implications in this debate that only a few have the guts to cover. In the EIR link above, Executive Intelligence Review does a decent job in their teaser of showing you that there are other forces who have other agenda's hope to use the debate to further those agendas. It is not just Prince's in England, but also the Pope in Rome, who has gathered key earth worshipers to advise him. One key advisor is Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, he is the Pope's main advisor on these matters.

Hans Joachim “John” Schellnhuber, radical environmentalist and global warming advisor to Chancellor Merkel of Germany. He was the star of the Vatican press conference presenting the new encyclical in support of the global warming theory [1]. Schellnhuber has just been named as a member of the Papal Academy of Sciences in the Vatican, despite the fact that he is an atheist. Some observers class Schellnhuber as a scientific pantheist. He embraces the Gaia theory of James Lovelock, according to which the earth is a living thing, locked in an existential struggle with the destructive forces of Shiva. - Voltaire.net
This is where the rubber meets the road for Christians who know their God and understand the times, which are in reality only a very few in number. Most Christians don't understand the real fault lines. They don't get it. Why is that? I will tell you in one simple sentence. They don't believe God. They say they do, recite some childish Jesus loves me versus but never grow up beyond the kindergarten version of Christianity.

Let me put it to you another way. These pantheists? These followers of the Gaia Religion? These occultists who push some of these agenda's? They believe their God and act accordingly. They work tirelessly often behind the scenes and spend more money individually than whole denominations get in tithes to do the will of the god they serve. Christians? They are stuffed full of Barbecue and beer staring at the flat panel TV, totally clueless as to the times are are in. They don't know and many, frankly don't want to know. Jesus commanded his true servants to watch in these times. The American Christian thinks he meant the NFL channel, HBO or a porn site. They don't know better because they never read their Bibles. They think they know God but like most of humanity they are deceiving themselves. They want a religion that makes them comfortable, not one that will save their soul. Deceit is everywhere and its power these days is not just to deceive but to destroy any reference to truth.

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess
not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.
This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
 (II John 1:7 [KJVA])


The characteristic of those who oppose God is can be found in this passage.

 And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down
 some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. 
Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host,
and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the
place of his sanctuary was cast down.  And an host was given
 him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression,
and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised,
 and prospered.
(Daniel 8:10-12 [KJVA])

What does it mean cast truth down to the ground? It will not be believed, hidden, mocked and derided while the lie will be elevated. This is a mechanism for deceit and more and more today, we are seeing it. The last phrase tells us that it will have enormous success in its undertakings.

The Pope is listening to the devil. Why is the pope giving heed to deceiving spirits? This is a subject I have talked about at length and won't get into here. This Pope is bad news for the little flock of believers. But he is very appealing to those who have shown a deep contempt for religion in the past. I heard one person say to me that this Pope is dragging the Church kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Well given what has been happening in the 21st century, I would have to agree, since it was at his constant insistence that the flood of Islamic terrorists headed into Europe and are now wrecking havoc there and he now is getting input from atheists on Christian teaching. This should not surprise the few Christians who are wide awake. Many have been warning that something evil is taking control of the Vatican. The devil is working very hard to make the Church into his image and that of the world. Yet, Jesus Christ told those who love and obey him that we are not part of this world, but are of another kingdom.


The religion of Gaia? It's real. Those who adhere to those principles, it's no conspiracy theory (non-Christians site). This is just the kind of 'tickle your ears' kind of religion that the devil would create to get people to follow him and they are doing so in droves. Keep this in mind going forward as well, this Pope has rejected the fundamental teachings of scripture and is part of a network of many various secret societies and is clearly a member of what many have incorrectly called the illuminati, but in reality is a close knit body of secret societies who who have tremendous influence in key realms of human endeavor - Politics, Banking, Religion, Science, Business. He was placed there by powerful non-Christians to do their will, rather than God's and anyone who knows their Bible can see it.

But I don't want to focus in on the Pope. There are other things that need to be considered.

First we need to understand that whatever is true about man-made global warming, God has told those who listen to and obey him that there will be massive environmental changes coming to earth and great tribulation. The trouble will get so bad that if God did not shorten the days, no flesh (animal life) would survive it.

Does the bible predict global warming? Actually it does, pretty clearly and tells us that (physically/environmentally speaking) it will not be man that causes it but the sun and that it will be so hot that men will be scorched.

 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun;
and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
  And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed
the name of God, which hath power over these plagues:
and they repented not to give him glory.

(Revelation of John 16:8-9 [KJVA])



You see, the biblical truth is that the coming global warming is indeed human induced. We become so wicked and so perverse that God begins to chastise mankind with the most gruesome plagues to get us to repent and man in his stubborn wickedness, refuses to.

God has not left us without a witness brothers and sisters. The Bible talks about a mass die off of sea life in the oceans, it talks abut massive earthquakes. The Bible is crystal clear, let no one tell you otherwise, mankind and this earth are heading for several extinction level events and they are caused not by carbon emissions, but by our consistent choice to love and do evil.

So to the little flock who have not been deceived by Pope Francis, the Televangelists who come on the tube and live in multimillion dollar mansions, the men pleasers who love to tickle the ears of Christians while they preach a sermon on Sunday morning, I have this to say.

Change is coming and this earth we walk on will change as well and not for the better.  Deceivers will continue to deceive and the ignorant will continue to praise ignorance. Lies will be enthroned and the truth derided and more and more it will seem like nothing will be able to stop it. We who are wise and know our God must understand that 'going with the flow' is to invite a first class ticket on a sleigh ride to hell. Our lives as Christians are to be kind of counter-culture. We are to be wholly and completely different than this world and what motivated us should be pleasing God and not doing what the world expects of us. We need to be believing God rather than the spirit of this age. To do this we must be totally transformed in the way we think and see things.


 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,
acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed
by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good,
and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

(Romans 12:1-2 [KJVA])


We are to focus in on doing the will of God, not the will of George Soros or Hans
Schellnhuber; and stop being misled by Fox news and MSNBC.

But I warn you -  Truth more and more is going to be hard to find as the concentration of media power continues to consolidate.  You may think you know the truth, but what little knowledge you think you have is often wrong and that is by design.

Let wiser souls consider what I say here. Let those who have ears to hear, hear. -  that will not be many of you, but it will be some of you - get into your prayer closet and ask for God's guidance in all things.

Deceit is everywhere and no one out there who has been deceived knows it until the day his eyes are really opened and brothers and sisters, that is not many people. How do I know?

One look at election results in this country and the state of American Christianity tells me as clearly as the summer sun.


Grace and peace to all who serve our Lord Jesus Christ in Spirit and in Truth.

Brother Mark
5 Jun 2017

 
 

1 June

Psalms 120


One of my favorite Psalms is 120. I often like the shorter ones. They are quick and to the point.

Hebrew poetry is different that the poetry we have today. We like our poems to rhyme and have a consistent rhythm. Hebrew poetry is not like that.  It does have rhythm, at least most of it does, but it is a different kind. Ever read the 23rd Psalm? You will see what I mean. There is a rhythm to the passages. The first ones start of when just a few words and then each stanza gets a little longer, and then they slowly get a bit shorter. The rhythm is kind of like the waves of the sea flowing from lo tide to high back to low again. Then there are the ethical parallelisms. We find them in proverbs particularly. The parallelism and the antithetical parallelisms, where the morality of the good is compared to that of the wicked. These are all part of the poetry we find on the Old Testament. Beauty of style as well as the teachings are found clearly in the Wisdom Literate (Psalms, Proverbs,  Ecclesiastes, Job and Song of Solomon). But often prophets used the same method of poetic communications in their words.

Me, I like getting down to the nitty gritty, the teachings and what is it that God expects of me. The beauty of language is wonderful and makes the passages much more readable, but I prefer passages that cut to the chase.

Psalms 120 is one of those and I have always liked it.

A Song of degrees.
In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me. 
Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.
(Psalms 120:1-2)


The Psalmist here is in distress. The word is also translated adversity and affliction.

H6869
צָרָה
tsârâh
tsaw-raw'
Feminine of H6862; tightness (that is, figuratively trouble); transitively a female rival: - adversary, adversity, affliction, anguish, distress, tribulation, trouble.
Total KJV occurrences: 73


The Psalmist, probably David cries out to God in his distress. In doing so, God hears him. When a saint is in trouble, and thus cries to God, he does hear.

Here the psalmist wants God to deliver him from a deceitful tongue, the lying spirit which apparently was at least part of what afflicted him. This spirit is a real one and can do considerable damage to a man or woman of God. I know the spirit well. It is the same spirit of Judas. From the later passages in this Psalm, we get the distinct mention that David is not in Israel, when this occurs but is dwelling among foreigners.

This spirit can and often does emanate from false friends as well as those we don’t personally know well, typified by those whom David was dwelling with. False accusations, un-requested ‘criticism’ of your Godly walk. a high and judgmental spirit that seems to come over those false brothers who may have once knew God and turned on him, like a dog on his master. Make no mistake about it, there is indeed a special place in hell for people like that and yes, despite the lying tongues of many of America’s pastors, there is a place called Hell and real people do go there, every single day. Indeed, the vast part of the human mistake – I did not say race  - (See Genesis Chapter 6) is heading there right now, at break neck speed. This two-legged, rapidly numerically increasing mistake? They are not hearing or having any of it, their father, the devil has already told them to not worry, there is no such place as hell, keep on sinning, even greater sins!!

Many have a hard time with such a stark assessment of what man really is. But they have not read nor understood what happened in Genesis chapter six. It is right there in plain simple english as to just what God thinks of this part of his creation called man. We are a mistake. God does not make many, but we are most defiantly one of them.

But God even in his anger has not forgotten mercy.

Deceitfulness? Lying? Propaganda? Today, they are so prevalent that the truth more and more is very hard to find and derided so hatefully that few want to believe it.  Why? There is a lot of money going into lying tongue's to keep people from it. The key part of the coming system brothers and sisters is deceit.

The final part of this prophetic drama is about to be played out for all of us and a NEW SYSTEM of economic transactions will one day be ushered in. My own studies have made it plain to me that Islam and it’s financial clout will play a key, if not pivotal role in that system. One need only look at the serious money that the Gulf States and the Saudi’s have and now our new Presidents new found ‘arms-sales driven’ love for  those who have long supported international terrorism. What has caused him to forget all of his promises on the campaign trail? One word – money, the $350 Billion dollars in arms he is going to sell to the keepers of Mecca, the largest single arm deal in history.

The devil knows the money system will be the only thing he can count on to tie the world together under his satanic leadership, that and a patently false religion. This is why the scriptures calls the system of the last days, the false prophet. He is working for the devil and his job is to use a LYING TONGUE to deceive and then afflict the inhabitants of the earth, or to phrase it a little differently to ensure the damnation of the uncorrected mistake that which walks on two legs and has destroyed planet earth, reviles God in both word and deed and will one day, fall down and worship at the feet of the devil.

These are those whose names are NOT written in the book of life. Their fate is eternal death. How do they get to point where they worship the devil? Simple, they listened to the lying tongue and deceiving spirits.  How do these spirits work? First and foremost with a lying tongue.

David’s prayer is that he is delivered from such. Brothers I know exactly how David feels. I have had such tongues denigrate, lie about and lie to me. It is very disconcerting, especially when the person is claiming to be your friend! I know I have asked my God to deliver me from such men and to never let such people get close to me again.

The fact is this, though it is not politically correct to say this -  A liar and a person whose tongue is given to uttering deceits is a child of the devil, plain and simple. It does not matter if he is sitting in the White House, the Pulpit, a newsroom or lying in bed with you. The surest and fastest way to determine if you are dealing with a devil is to find out  what he or she does with truth and how often lies pass from his or her lips.

What is my prayer? Lord deliver me from lying lips, deceitful tongue’s and those who work for deceiving spirits!!


John Gill has a great little comment on this verse I think is worthy of relaying.

Such were the lips and tongues of Doeg the Edomite, Ps 52:2-4, and of Saul's courtiers, who insinuated to him that David sought his hurt, 1Sa 24:9; and of the Scribes and Pharisees, that flattered Christ to his face, and reproached him to the people; and of Judas, that betrayed him with "Hail, master", Mt 26:49; and of the false witnesses suborned against him; and of false teachers, deceitful workers, that lie in wait to deceive, and, by their good words and fair speeches, do deceive the hearts of the simple; and of antichrist and his followers, who, as they are given up to believe a lie, speak lies in hypocrisy; and of Satan the father of lies, and who is the old serpent, the devil, that deceives the whole world: and to be delivered from the bad effects of such lips and tongues is very desirable. - GIll

In times like this brothers and sisters, I think it behooves all of us to make this request of the Lord, to deliver us from such tongues that utter falsehoods. In these times of near universal deceit and where large sums of money are being poured into media, including and particularly western and ‘christian’ media to get control of the prevailing ‘narrative’ to start wars, arm the nations enemies, assist those who have been arming the persecutors and murderers of God’s little flock and other abominations, asking God to deliver us from these kinds of falsehoods, false men and liars who hide murder in their hearts will do wonders for your spiritual health and will help ease your path to eternal life.

What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee,
thou false tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty,
with coals of juniper.
(Psalms 120:3-4 [KJVA])


The sense of the above passages is what will be the punishment that comes to the false tongue, the lying lips. What is interesting in this passage and does not appear in the English translation is that the tongue almost personified as it is apostrophied. Here is how the Pulpit commentary puts it.

 Thou false tongue. The "false tongue" is apostrophized, as if it were a living person.

This tongue is not just false, but some commentators make the tongue a crafty one, a person knows the way of words and uses them to evil purposes. Here the psalmist is contemplating what God is going to do to those who use their tongue for lies and evil. Then he names two, the sharp arrows of the mighty and the coals of juniper. The arrows are self explanatory, the coals of Juniper were apparently known throughout the ancient world as being coals that were hot and would burn for a very long time. Jerome says that once lit, these coals could burn for a whole year. The Cambridge commentary says that they are the finest quality coals and makes the very hottest fires. In fact Jerome, wrote that they burned so long that that two men used them once, went on a long journey that lasted a year and came back and warmed their feet by the very same coals (Midrash/Gill/Nisbet). Mind you the story is anecdotal but gives us an idea as to just how long the fires burned with Juniper (broom).

The idea seems to show an unextinguishable fire for liars, a concept that was not revealed to the saints until a much later date than David (Rev 21:8).

Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar!
My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace.
(Psa 120:5-6)


Here we see the Psalmist at the time of writing this was not in Israel, but was dwelling in foreign lands.

The two names here Mesech and Kedar are where he was dwelling. Mesech, as those of you who know your Bible prophecy is often associated with the Russians and the Scythians. They are usually used in association with Gog, Magog and Tubal.  But here there is a problem. Because many scholars place this group of men living in the area  between the Black and the Caspian sea, it is not possible for David to be dwelling among both groups. They are much too far away.

Kedar was a son of Ishmael. His name means dark and some scholars think it referred to the darkness of the skin and others to the fact that they had black tents. The common ‘Islam friendly’ transliteration these days for Kedar is Qedar. These were an organized group of Arabian nomads/bedouin who lived between Ancient Israel and ancient Babylon. But we must keep in mind that David’s references predate Babylon of Jeremiah's time. The Children of Mesech, or perhaps a few of them may have still dwelt in the region surrounding ancient Israel. Here is how the Cambridge Bible puts this.

Meshech, mentioned in Gen_10:2 as a son of Japheth, was a barbarous people living between the Black Sea and the Caspian, probably the Moschi of Herodotus (iii. 94), and Mushki of the Assyrian inscriptions: Kedar, mentioned in Gen_25:13 as the second son of Ishmael, was one of the wild tribes which roamed through the Arabian desert, “whose hand was against every man” (Gen_16:12). Obviously the Psalmist cannot mean to describe himself as actually living among peoples so remote from one another, but applies these typical names of barbarian tribes to his own compatriots, as we might speak of Turks and Tartars. - Cambridge Bible

The sense from this Psalm is that the writer was a sojourner, a wanderer from place to place and was not in Israel at the time, even as David was for many years before he became King. He probably came across many different tribes and peoples during those years that were not recorded for us. Here he gives us his impression of these two groups. ‘Woe’ is the word that David uses for his time among them. He viewed it as a grave misfortune that he was forced to live with them. It is interesting that Kedar is mentioned here as being for war and strife, for this was part of the Prophecy of the seed of Ishmael, for which Kedar was a decedent.

And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child,
and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD
hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against
every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell
in the presence of all his brethren.

(Gen 16:11-12)

So David was forced to hang out with a bunch of brigands who were given over to violence and war. It is small wonder he saw that condition as being woeful. This is why in verse six he makes it plain he was dwelt too long among them, the implication was that it was probably time to depart Why? They hated peace. Clearly these were men who loved war and violence. I can picture the evening campfires drinking the local brew in the desert a bunch of rough looking men with battle scars sitting around talking about how many they slew in the last battle and where they planned on attacking next in the search for violent excitement and spoil. David probably had enough of it, for when partaking of such evenings with them, David was for peace. His compatriots were having none of it.

I am for peace: but when I speak,
they are for war.

(Psa 120:7)


So it is with the peace-loving man when he is forced to live with men of violence and bloodshed. There really are people who cannot rest at night unless they have killed another person and stolen his goods. Such creatures tend to gravitate towards one another, like vultures over strewn carcasses.

Conclusion:

I often feel this way myself. I don’t dwell with Mesech nor with Kedar, but with the last days Babylonian Empire. A place wholly given over to war and deceits (propaganda). This is a nation whose whole demeanor now revolves around war, arms and empire. We used to be a nation of free men who treasured democracy and freedom and the basic rights of our fellow man. No more, we more and more have become as Mesech and Kedar, a place where godly men more and more feel a sense of woe and dread for having the misfortune to dwell among so many who crave war.

I know at times, I do. America’s war industry? We are the top in the world, we sell arms to anyone with a checkbook. Before we had some scruples when it came to human rights. Now, under our new President, Human Rights no longer matter. As long as you are not Shi’ite and have a liquid checking account, Americans death manufacturers will come knocking.

This is why men like me and others who seek peace are and will always be shouted down by the devil’s ministers and satan’s politicians, who hate peace with a perfect hatred. One main reason is because no arms get sold when there are no wars.

America? I think it meet that we remember that Christ said, "blessed are the peacemakers", but today in Trump’s America, the new American beatitude is

“Blessed are the sunni-terrorists,
for they shall receive arms”

 - The Gospel according to Tillerson,
New Trump Version

I hate to sound so hard on the President and I don't want to make it out that all the Saudi Royals support terrorism, they don't. But deals like this only shows that the fight against terrorism has taken a back seat to arms deals.

Let all who name the name of the Lord work for peace and become blessed by God for being a peacemaker.



31 May

ISIS Battles For S. Philippines: Pastor Kidnapped, Asks For Help

(World Watch Monitor) As the battle for the southern Philippines city of Marawi continues, a priest being held hostage by Islamist militants has appeared in a video, pleading for the President to “consider” hostages’ lives and stop bombing the city.

A spokesman for the Philippines army dismissed the video, which was released yesterday (30 May) and circulated via social media, as “propaganda”.

Fr. Teresito Suganob says in the video he is one of around 200 people being held hostage by the Islamists who stormed the city last week, setting fire to buildings including a cathedral and Christian college. The militants later killed nine Christians at a checkpoint; local residents identified them as Christians and said they had been pulled from a truck, had their hands bound and then their bodies riddled with bullets and left in a field.

Reports continue to emerge of Christians being specifically targeted, forced to recite Muslim prayers and used as human shields. Edwin de la Peña, bishop of Marawi, told Catholic news agency Fides he was “happy” Fr. Suganob was alive but “afraid of the fate of the hostages – about 200 civilians in all – now used as human shields”. - World Watch Monitor

ISIS Hits Philippine City, Thousands Flee (Death Toll Rises)
Martial Law In Mindanao
Foreign Fighters Among ISIS Militants In Mindanao
Fighting Rages On
IS Wants Foothold In Philippines


30 May

Trump A 'Patriotic' Administration? Maybe Not

This is a story not too unlike the stories of others of veterans who served their country and came back and found out how much the government 'cares' about them. Such stories are real and there are real people behind them. What troubles me is that this administration does not seem to want to side with a disabled American war veteran but with a mortgage company. Now I am not saying that in this instance, the mortgage company has no leg to stand on, they do. The issue here is what are you really going to do for America's veterans? Play to the camera's on Memorial day, or help them when it counts?

This is what deeply troubles me about this administration and the moves by some in the GOP to gut Dodd-Frank, which is getting a lot of bad press by folks who don't know what they are talking about and what set of events brought it about or are in the pay of the banks who were behind so much mayhem during the crisis.

One of the things that Dodd-Frank did was bring in protections to consumers, something that many in the GOP want to do away with. The CPFB is a backstop  - the last line of defense for ordinary people who were cheated by the banks and could not get redress in local and state courts. Mind you, the CPFB sets up no new laws, it is just a place that makes sure existing law gets enforced and that you and I can go when the banks break the law and the lower courts and state governments are too crooked to care.

Back during the crisis of 2008 there was fraud galore, the robosigning scandal (forgery) people with homes paid for that had them 'foreclosed' on by banks that did not own the note. It was a heyday of corruption. The CPFB was put in place to put a stop to that. This is the 'overregulation' that the GOP is complaining about. They want more 'freedom'. The 'freedom' to rob your home right from under you.

There are many , many stories on the web that show how the CPFB has been a constant watchdog on the banks to make sure they don't cheat us.

Yes, the CPFB is in Trumps crosshairs
Trump is looking to gut the CPFB, the agency whose sole job is to look out for the little guy. Isn't it ironic that guy like Trump who talked about championing the rights of the working guy looks to be instrumental in dismantling one of the few and only real protections he has against 'the swamp'?

I like the CPFB and so do many Americans who were cheated, screwed and defrauded by the big banks and got help. You can scroll back in your search or news engine and see the great work they have done and that work has really angered the banks, some of whom make their money robbing poor folks and those of color.

Link One
Link Two
Link Three

Guess who is screaming in Trump's ear to shut it down?

You won't have to guess long.

The CPFB is one of the few things for ordinary folks Obama went the limit to bring into being. He did not get enough credit for his efforts.


I thank you, former President Obama.


Jesus, Who Loves You, Warned Frequently About Hell

Many people today put Hell in opposition to the love of God, but Jesus combines them. Here is an important truth: No one loves you more than Jesus Christ, yet no one spoke of or taught on Hell and Judgment more than He did. He gave warning after warning and told parable after parable, practically shouting about judgment and the reality of Hell. - Archdiocese of Washington

Christians need to put that 'powder puff' gospel being taught across the western world in the garbage can where it belongs. There is no universal salvation. The great teeming masses of humans are not going to heaven. Only those who repent and put their faith in the cross of Christ get into the kingdom. Everyone is looking for a word and a gospel that tickles their ears and confirms their own sins and wickedness rather than one that changes behavior.

These Christians don't want a God, they want a genie. They want to read passages of scripture from the 'rub a lamp' version of the New Testament. God has commandments and they are just that COMMANDMENTS, they are not suggestions and are not optional.

Mind you, God is not some overbearing 'ogre' who is just waiting for us to mess up so he can condemn us. No! He really loves us but we must acknowledge that we are sinners, need his help and come to him as a child comes to his parents. God's whole plan for us can be boiled down to this - God loves us, he is trying to save us all from the mess we put ourselves and continue to put ourselves in (sin). He has provided a way to get out of the pattern of sin and death. That is via the cross of Jesus Christ. It was not an easy plan to bring into being and Christ had to suffer greatly FOR OUR SAKES.  But the way is made and anyone who wants to come in to fellowship with God, the door is open.


Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
 (John 14:6 [KJVA])


 And Jesus said unto them,
I am the bread of life: he that
cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth
on me shall never thirst  But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me,
and believe not.  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;
and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
(John 6:35-37 [KJVA])


Christ did not leave any room for compromise or debate or for an 'alternative way'. He is it.

He also warned us about hell. Why is there such a place? It was meant for the devil and his angels (Matt 25:41). It was not created for mankind. But our sins will lead us there and all those who take after their father, the devil. How do we know his works? He steals, kills, destroys, He lies, he hates, he murders, he fornicates, he deceives, he defrauds and finally he blasphemes heaven and the host thereof (see Rev 13:5-7). His children act like their father and do these things. He who follows the devil's ways will get the devils wages and those wages are a place called hell.


Let me make this perfectly clear. The devil's greatest trick and lie is to tell you hell does not exist. It does exist and as the author of the above piece states, the same Jesus who loves you warned you incessantly about a place called hell.

The big problem today is that pastors are not preaching the whole counsel of God and are not waking their sheep up to the times. These are the very times when the sheep are falling asleep while many others are being led to slaughter; the prophecies of the bible are coming to pass and the masses of Christians are overcharged with the cares of this life.


 
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts
be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness,
and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted
worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass,
and to stand before the Son of man.
(Luke 21:34-36 [KJVA])

Let the wise man or woman consider these things prayerfully.

The devil knows how to tickle your ears. He knows how to tell you just what you want to hear and make it sound most convincing. But is MO is always on some level, often with great subtlety, to call God a liar.

Grace and peace to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ

Brother Mark

Iranian Christians Request Prayer

(Middle East Concern) Iranian Christians request prayer for Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz (pictured) and Amin Nader Afshar. They and other Christians were arrested on 26th December 2014 at a Christmas celebration at Pastor Victor’s home.

In April 2017 Pastor Victor and Amin were informed that a hearing in their case would take place on 21st May at the 26th Revolutionary Court in Tehran with judge Mr Ahmad Por (known for the severity of his rulings).
Pastor Victor and Amin attended the hearing, as did Victor’s wife Shamiram and their son Ramiel. Also present was Hadi Askari who had been at Pastor Victor’s home in December 2014 when the arrests took place. Hadi was present in court as a witness but was not questioned at the hearing.

The hearing could not be concluded in Amin’s case because the judge had not provided all necessary documents to the defendant’s lawyer. It was agreed that the lawyer would meet the judge at a later date after she had examined the documents. As the cases of Pastor Victor and Amin are linked, no verdict was issued.
Verbal charges made against Pastor Victor include “conducting evangelism”, “illegal house church activities” and “Bible printing and distribution”. He was released from prison on bail on 1st March 2015. Amin was released from prison on bail in February 2015.

On 26th August 2016 Amin was arrested again at a picnic in Firuzkuh with Ramiel Bet Tamraz (Pastor Victor’s son), Mohammad Dehnavy, Amir Sina Dashti and Hadi Askari. Amin and Hadi remain in detention in Evin Prison in Tehran. The others have been released on bail.

Those arrested in August have been charged with “acting against national security” and “organising and creating house churches”. Ramiel faces additional charges of propagating the teaching of his father Pastor Victor.
___

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.

26 May

Christians Massacred In Egypt Bus Attack

26 Coptic Christians have been massacred in a bus attack. This one is different insofar it is not on the Sinai, where many recent attacks take place. This one took place in Central Egypt, along the Nile. The bus was heading to a monastery.  The above link is from DW. Below find the story from the ICC.

05/26/2017 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that multiple masked gunmen attacked a caravan of Coptic Christians traveling to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor in Minya province, Egypt. Minya province is approximately 140 miles south of Cairo.
 
Sources told ICC that two buses and two other vehicles were traveling from a village to the monastery to pray. Most of the passengers in the buses were children. The source also informed ICC that the caravan was "in front of the Abu Tartour plateau when 10 masked [militants] in four 4x4 vehicles intercepted [the caravan] ...and opened fire." The source continued, "[The attack] resulted in the death of 35, most of them kids and more than 25 are injured." So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
 
The precision and execution of this attack led the source to believe that "the militants carried out this attack very carefully; they knew the details of the trip and its time and ambushed the buses."
 
In recent months, radical extremists have hunted Coptic Christians. In April 2017, ISIS suicide bombers killed approximately 70 Christians in two church bombings on Palm Sunday.

On May 6, a Coptic Christian, who ran away from El-Arish, was murdered after he returned to his barbershop. Four masked gunmen shot him, following the pattern established in the January and February murders of seven Coptic Christians.

In February 2017, hundreds of Christian families fled their homes in El-Arish, a city located in the Sinai Peninsula, after ISIS carried out a series of murders targeting Christians. Between January 30 and February 23, seven Christian men living in and around El-Arish were targeted and murdered by masked men. During the height of the killings, an ISIS affiliate in the Sinai region promised to eliminate the Christian minority, claiming that Egypt's Christians were the group's "favorite prey."

On December 11, 2016, a suicide bomber attacked the small church of St. Peter and St. Paul, attached to St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral located in Cairo. As a result of that attack, 25 Christians, mostly women and children, were killed.