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

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



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

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







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在 這樣的世代裏

那 鴻書﹕神懲 罰報應的概述

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__________



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

pdfIran Nukes And Regional Staility


The Harvest


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

pdfPaths Of Righteousness - For His Name's Sake

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

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

pdf National Security: What Is America Doing In Secret?

pdf  Watson's Economic Crisis Report - II

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



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


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

_____


Ezekiel and the Spirit of Stubbornness/The Sardis Syndrome

Christ, Family and Persecution

When The Bottom Falls Out Of Your Boat

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

Unwise Faith
- It is most unwise to place your faith in the wrong things.
 
Obadiah: 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
  17 Nov 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.


17 Nov

This May Be The Answer To Net Neutrality's Demise

This poor community, ignored by Big Telecoms is building their own internet! Read this, it is very interesting. Please note that it is primarily a black city that the Big Boys don't want to have access to the internet - they can't afford it.

Consider that a sign of things to come when they pull Title II from Big Cable.

What needs to happen is at the State level, this is encouraged. But Big Telecom is already working the state legislatures to prevent any competition to this massive cartel who will very soon have the power to cut, control, interfere with, undermine and destroy anyone they want to - and the Donald Trump is about to let them do it.


No, this is not an overreaction and they are smart enough to phase in their plans over many years. But once Title II is gone, the internet as we know it will go with it. Like watching NetFlix? Going to Amazon? Visiting Alex Jones? Your Cable company could one day say, no you can't, flip you the bird and raise your rates in the process. They can get away with it because in many markets, there are is only one, maybe two providers. There is no real competition and with this move by Trump, there will be much less.

There are ways around this move by the Trump administration and Detroit has the right idea. This kind of thing is exactly what is needed to make sure that everyone EVERYONE has access to the internet and what it offers -  information, learning, the opportunity to make money, be activists, pray, minister, educate, inspire, dream, joke, communicate, conduct commerce and just have fun using this wonderful tool called the internet.

There are those who don't want to see that and want to control all that you see, hear and do on the net, where you can go and how much you pay them, rather than those who create content.

Those interests are represented by Trump, FCC Chairman Pai and a host of others in the GOP.

This is what happens when private billion dollar corporate interests win out over the Public interest.

There are better solutions that this blanket removal of Title II, creating solutions that allow the big companies to expand without resorting to these 'street ball' tactics. One is to make sure that in any market where there are less than three competitors, there is no throttling. Make the rules conditional on market conditions and making sure that there is a choice - a REAL choice.

There is indeed too much at stake. What if your ISP decides they don't want you paying your bills online? Or decides that they don't like the fact that a major bank did not lend them money and decides to strike back by making sure that no one on their networks can reach their site to pay their bills?

No one is asking the hard questions in this mad dash to handing over the internet to a few big massive firms.

130 Kids Die In Yemen Everyday

So says 'Save The Children'. They die of extreme hunger and disease.


15 Nov

Africa Watch

Libyan Slave Markets Operate With Abandon

CNN does an insightful investigative report on a subject that this site has covered before. The slave markets going on in Libya after Obama and Hillary overthrew the Ghadffi regime in a NATO led effort.

Few wanted to hear it. I know I told one Black American about it and they mocked like it wasn't even happening. Obama and Hillary were 'saviors' of Black folks, their brainwashing (that is what it was and is) programmed them to say.  These same folks weep and whine about 'reparations' were more than willing to see other Black Africans sold into slavery.

If I sound a little upset about it, I am. This was an atrocity that many pointed out and hardly anyone cared. I posted video's of Africans locked up in cages in these Libyan slave markets like animals and few paid the slightest attention.

I cannot help but fault Obama and Hillary for this. But in his defense, he later expressed clear regrets for this policy.
Zimbabwe: Miliary Steps In, House Arrests Mugabe
Military denies 'coup' after seizing power. Mugabe has been in power for nearly four decades. He is popular in rural areas but loathed in urban areas. His popularity with rural areas probably stems from his early African 'liberation' days. Mugabe is blamed/credited with expropriating land from White farmers.

Mugabe's government emphasised the redistribution of land controlled by white farmers to landless blacks, initially on a "willing seller-willing buyer" basis. Frustrated at the slow rate of redistribution, from 2000 Mugabe encouraged the violent seizure of white-owned land. Food production was severely impacted, generating famine, international sanctions, and drastic economic decline. Opposition to Mugabe grew, particularly through the Movement for Democratic Change, although he was re-elected in 2002, 2008, and 2013 through campaigns dominated by violence, electoral fraud, and nationalistic appeals to his rural Shona voter base. Internationally, Mugabe sent troops to fight in the Second Congo War and chaired the Non-Aligned Movement (1986–89), the Organisation of African Unity (1997–98), and the African Union (2015–16). - Wikipedia
Four Major Players In Mugabe Drama

China Denies Relationship Between Recent Visit And Zimbabwe Coup

Five Ways China Is Building Influence In Zimbabwe

CFR Gives Views Of Coup Just Before It Happened
The CFR always has some good background material, this one is no exception.
Zimbabwe: Mugabe To Step Down, Wife To Be Exiled

Nigerian President Speaks On Zimbabwe Situation

Trump Seeks To Withdraw Global Food Aid

Sun, Wind, Renewables Set To Soar In Africa
More Africans are getting access to energy because of renewable energy
UN Authorizes Israel To Expand Tech Support To Central African Republic

UN Opens Probe Into Peacekeepers During CAR Violence

Seven Dead In Concert Attack In CAR
Heavy gunfire follows and reprisals. The real tragedy was that the concert was designed to bring in reconciliation between Christians and Muslims.
Both Sudans, CAR sign Anti-Drug Agreement

A View From CAR
This very interesting little piece gives us a human look at the crisis in the country.
Gov't Warns Ugandans Of 'Kaveera' Use
No, its not some new drug. Rather it is cooking food in Polythene bags. Cancer is the big risk here.
US Conducts Missile Strike In Somalia
The strike is reportedly against Al Shabab the AQ linked group that operates in the region.
Somalia: Drought Sitrep
22.9 million people affected by drought in the region
Madagascar Plague Shares Ebola Similarities

Chinese Medics Treat Thousands In Mozambique Plague

Kenyan Court Hears Petition Against Kenyatta's Election
This time the basis is the accusation that the reforms that nullified the first election have not been made.
South African Utility Is Running Out Of Cash
Quarterly financials paint a disturbing picture of this important African utility company.
Nigeria Recovers $65m In Electricity Debt From Niger, Benin

Kenyans Join Boycott Of Telecom Company -  Airtel Gains 11,000 Subscribers In 2 Weeks


Kazahkstan Seeks To Help Africa Out Of Poverty

Other News


China To Invest $83 Billion In US Shale

KSA Walks Back Escalations In Yemen, Lebanon

This looks to be a fairly dramatic move, with the reported re-opening of aid as well as a return of Hariri to Lebanon.


13 Nov

Yemen



   Image Source: Famine Early Warning System

I do realize this is a subject I talk about a little more than some of you wish, but it is indeed, I think a very important one. Both Yemen and Sudan are places where food is a major issue, but right now, the situation in Yemen is much more acute. Yemen has always been a very poor country but since the Saudi's invaded and brought their military operations to the nation, food has become very scarce and the situation is becoming dire. Last week aid agencies lifted up a warning and appeal to the world that the situation was pushing the nation to the worst famine in decades. Presently, according to the the UN's OCHA, 14.1 Million people are in need right now of assistance. Out of a current population of 27.4; 10.3 million of those people are in acute humanitarian need.


    Source: OCHA


The OCHA also has a great interactive map that can be found here that shows where within the country the need is the greatest. The menu (upper right hand corner in previous link) of the previous link has a host of very informative resources on the crisis.  I will not repost the maps and links here today. What I do want to talk about is why this crisis is so out of hand.

Related: Yemen Market Update - United Nations World Food Program
Pictures The Saudi's And Donald Trump Don't Want You To See

Yemen: border closure threatens aid effort

The Saudi's have tightened an already pretty air-tight blockade (its been in the news for many long months) of Yemen that disallows critical supplies from entering the nation. They are doing this with clear public, if not well advertised American support. The Saudi's have been bombing the country since 2015 and the raids have been very indiscriminate and frankly appear to have specifically targeted mosques, schools, hospitals, etc very much like the terrorist organization ISIS, which had direct links to the Saudi and Gulf kingdoms.

Now this is a new form of siege warfare. In the middle ages, the Knights would come and surround a castle and try and starve it out, get their siege engines and throw giant stones at the castle walls. This is the same kind of warfare but it is being conducted on a national scale. Yemen is under siege by the Saudi's who have attacked it. Why? The Saudi's don't like the Houthi government and now seek to impose their own on the nation to their liking. I will give you the official USGOV narrative as put forward by Wikipedia

It began in June 2004, when dissident cleric Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, a leader of the Zaidi sect, launched an uprising against the Yemeni government. Initially, most of the fighting took place in Sa'dah Governorate in northwestern Yemen, but some of the fighting spread to neighbouring governorates Hajjah, 'Amran, al-Jawf and the Saudi province of Jizan. Since 2014 the nature of the insurgency has changed with the Houthi takeover in Yemen and then into the ongoing Civil War with a major Saudi-led intervention in Yemen beginning in 2015. - Wikipedia

The whole entry is a good one if you take a little time to read it, it does give a fairly good overview of the situation, even if it is a little too generous with the Hadi government that was overthrown. It had 'international support' as the Americans like to say. In reality it robbed the nation blind and this was and is one of the poorest nations on earth.

Now again, I want to show you how disinformation works. If you read the Wikipedia entries, the reasons for the overthrow of the government are intentionally nebulous. They go out of their way to downplay or just plain ignore that the President who has 'international support' was accused by international agencies of being... well... a thief. One can responsibly wonder who was paid off and with how much of all of that money in order to garner such 'international support'.

Yemen ex-leader Saleh 'amassed up to $60bn' - UN probe

Yemen ex-president amassed up to $60 billion, colluded with rebels: U.N. experts

The Battle To Recover Yemen's Lost Billions

Corruption in Yemen is a highly serious problem. Yemen is the most corrupt country in the Gulf region.[1] It is also the poorest country in the Middle East, “with an exceptionally high birth rate, acute rates of child malnutrition and rapidly dwindling reserves of oil and water.” In Yemen, according to Chatham House, “corruption, poverty and inequality are systemic”;[2] in the words of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, corrupt activity is “so entrenched and pervasive” that many citizens feel powerless.[3]

Absent any “system of control and accountability,” corruption is now present throughout the public and private spheres, so much so that in the words of the World Bank, “[c]orruption and patronage networks are running the country’s public affairs.” This ubiquitous corruption has resulted in weak government and “corrupt power blocs that control public resources.” As a consequence of civil-service corruption, there are large numbers of so-called ghost workers. Corruption in the energy, communications, and health and education sectors have resulted in inadequate service or no service at all. - Wikipedia

While Corruption is hardly the only problem in Yemen, it is one of the primary underlying causes of the conflict - though frankly US sponsored think tanks will be loath to admit it. They are far more prone to blame as much of the conflict on Iran as possible, even though their real influence is minimal. The 'Blame Iran' narrative plays well with defense contractors and other policy wonks as it gives considerable impetus to further military operations there to bomb one of the very poorest people on earth and garner considerable defense dollars in the process. The constant refrain must be 'Iranian backed' in think tanks doing their level  best to scare up defense dollars. When the guy who stole all that money was running Yemen he tried to gain support for his kleptocracy by claiming Iran was the real enemy, not himself who absconded with all that money and left the people to starve, many to literally starve. But how much is Iran really involved or perhaps more relevantly was from the beginning? More and more it looks like the US government, under the leadership of Barak Obama deceived us into yet another military misadventure.

Here is a piece that I think many of you will find of great interest. Another here shows you the lengths the 'Armageddon faction' that operates within the bowls of the deep state will go to blame someone else to start a war.


I give all of this to you as background to help you better understand who is pushing what line of propaganda to escalate the war that is literally starving out the people by the millions.

While the world is doing its best to pull a rabbit of its hat to convince us all about massive Iranian interference, somehow when the Saudi's interfere in the most evil and disgusting ways into the affairs of the nation,  the issue is framed somehow as a good thing - worth of US military support. The good news is that not everyone in the west is buying the devil's dung (propaganda) on the situation in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia Is Committing War Crimes in Yemen - Foreign Policy

Yemen: UN agrees to investigate alleged war crimes amid conflict between Saudi Arabia-led coalition and rebels
Those of you wanting a more detailed assessment of the nefarious activities the Saudi's and the US under both Obama and Trump have been up to can read the recent report out of Human Rights Watch.

The real issues in this war have little to do with anything you are going to read in the english language. Blogs and other sites often have been infected with money and influence that comes from the bowels of the deep state. But suffice it to say that Saudi paranoia over Iranian influence in Yemen will become a self fulfilling prophecy before too long. Consider that everywhere the Gulf states have started some geopolitical violence (Syria, Iraq) to counter Iran - Iran's hand was strengthened considerably. This looks to eventually be the case in Yemen as the months and years pass and victory in Yemen eludes the invaders.

My point here is hardly to paint Iran as some innocent bystander, nor to take sides in this internal Islamic spat between the Sunni and Shi'ite wing of Islam. Rather it is to say this and say it for the record. It is impossible for me to have much respect for any religious system that treats its own adherents with such systemic violence and hatred. To watch this new Saudi Prince blow these poorest of Muslims into oblivion and to starve the rest of them out, is a warning to the world as to the real face of Sunni Islam and the keepers of Mecca. Let the Saudi King and the crown prince show their fellow Muslims some respect and treat them like members of the Human family and allow much needed aid into the nation. Let the truth be told - there are few people on earth who would let a dog starve to death as the people of Yemen are being now. So why are the Saudi's doing it to other Muslims? Correction MILLIONS of other Muslims?

I generally do not like to denigrate other religious systems here. I let the Buddhists and Muslims; Taoists and Pagans do what they want without much comment. I am not a 'dominionist' (an adherent to doctrine of  Christian Dominionism) and do not seek to impose my beliefs on others, other than to preach and make others aware of the Gospel.  But when their actions lead to the deaths of so many people in such an abominable and systemic way, it's time to put the blame where it lies. The Saudi's and their hatred and paranoia of Iran and Shia Islam.  That and a US establishment so craven with greed they are willing to play along as long as the weapons sales to the Saudi's continue to grow in size with each passing year.

Apathy in America

What troubles me as much as Saudi paranoia, is American apathy. How we can support such secret wars that kill so many? First, by not letting the people know what is going on (disinformation via willful omissions). Second by creating a false narrative to garner support (i.e., "Iran is coming to murder us all in our beds!"). These tricks are tried and true and to a population far more interested in the latest sex scandal in Hollywood, the football game and where they plan in getting their next opium fix, what is happening in Yemen simply does not signify. Far too many Americans honestly could not care less.

So the atrocities continue. But God will not hold such men and women blameless and one day, all of the innocent blood this nation has shed, the lies we have told to shed it, the people we have set up, imprisoned and murdered to hide the truth will be required of the leaders and people of this nation.

There is a spirit behind this.  A powerful one and it is described at length within the book of Revelation. Let the reader understand for the hour is late.



And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints,
and of all that were slain upon the earth.
 (Revelation of John 18:24 [KJVA])

God has not changed and his word is sure. That we have this great nation who is so accurately described in Revelation 17 and 18 now sitting on top of the world today shows us the accuracy of God's holy word.

I ask all true Christians to take some time out today and pray for the people of Yemen that aid, medicine and food can come into the nation so the people who are on deaths door from starvation can eat and be satisfied. That those who are sick with Cholera can get the medical help they need; that those children who have been crippled and disfigured because of the munitions the Saudi's have used can get what they need.

I beg you all to really pray for the people of Yemen and to not let the fact that most of them are Muslims cause you to show less concern for those in such dire circumstances. What a powerful witness it would be of Christian charities were allowed into Yemen to treat these people!

When our Lord was asked who his neighbor was he told us all this parable
. This is a powerful word on caring for others and having mercy on those in need.

 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from
Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped
him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving
him half dead  And by chance there came down a certain priest
that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 
And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked
 on him, and passed by on the other side.  But a certain Samaritan,
as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him,
he had compassion on him,  And went to him, and bound up
 his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his
own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 
And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence,
and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him;
and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again,
I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou,
 was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 
And he said, He that shewed mercy on him.
Then said Jesus unto him,
Go, and do thou likewise.

(Luke 10:30-37 [KJVA])


Are you going to mimic the Priest, the Levite or the Samaritan? For many of our pastors in this nation, they behave too much like the Pharisee's of old - utterly without mercy for others. For too many Americans, they don't even care if these people live or die - the latest installment of their favorite TV show, their booze, dope and sex are far, far too important to even bother to even make themselves aware of this ongoing human tragedy.

But one day within a single hour...


Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying,
Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city!
for in one hour is thy judgment come.
 (Revelation of John 18:10 [KJVA])

For in one hour so great riches is come to nought.
And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors,
and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,

 (Revelation of John 18:17 [KJVA])

And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing,
 saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had
ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour
is she made desolate.

 (Revelation of John 18:19 [KJVA])
How can Americans obtain mercy in that terrible hour? I will give you one good first step.

Blessed are the merciful:
for they shall obtain mercy.

 (Matthew 5:7 [KJVA])

I ask all Christians who truly know their God to take some time out and pray for the people of Yemen and for those of you who don't know how to pray for them ask yourself this question: If you had not had a decent meal in a month and little water and some of your family had succumbed to Cholera as a result of this war, what would you, sitting in a hospital - little more than skin and bones and on deaths door want to see happen?

Let your answer to that question be the guide to how you pray!




11Nov

News Scan

Man Made Global Warming? Antarctic Polar Caps Melting Has Another Cause
Over a Decade Ago, I had a vert popular earth changes blog and I posited just such a theory (in above link) as to the real reason for rising Ocean temps and polar icecap melting.

I still say to everyone to keep an open mind about the cause of the warming trends we are seeing. Too much money from too many different sources are trying to gain control of the narrative because hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake in regulations and trade. Billionaires with deep, deep pockets are funding the pro-warming side and fossil fuel companies are funding the other side. Where the truth lies is anyone guess. So those of you who have already made up your minds as to what is or is not the case, perhaps you need to either get a Phd in Environmental affairs rather than pretending you have one or do something novel...

...like keep an open mind.

I do not wish to sound condescending, but too many people are spending too much money trying to convince us all and more and more the blogosphere is being infected with what I will call 'environmental fundamentalists' who think they know it all because they read a story on CNN.

Equifax: Nervousness, Restlessness, Profits, Lawsuits and State Attorney Generals
India: Rising Food Inflation Caused By Unexpected Rains
29 States Pass Seed 'Gag' Orders In Favor Of Big Ag
Former Wholefoods Exec Joins Surplus Food Reseller
Higher Food Prices?
Remember The Sacrifices Of Our Veterans
GM Crops Grown Illegally In India
Afghanistan: US Accused By Former President Of ISIS Collusion
America’s ‘Retail Apocalypse’ Is Really Just Beginning
Next Phase Of Carmegeddon - The Banks
LAPD Shuts Down Pedophile Investigation After Two Days
Is Kapersky Being Set Up By The CIA?
Decade after Church Burnings in Nigeria, Officials Forbid Rebuilding
Fulani Herdsman Ambush, Kill Nine Christians
Al-Shabaab Publicly Execute Four Men as Spies

USA 'Liberty Act' Won't Fix What Broken In NSA Spying
(EFF) A key legal linchpin for the National Security Agency’s vast Internet surveillance program is scheduled to disappear in under 90 days. Section 702 of FISA—enacted in 2008 with little public awareness about the scope and power of the NSA’s surveillance of the Internet—supposedly directs the NSA’s powerful surveillance apparatus toward legitimate foreign intelligence targets overseas. Instead, the surveillance has been turned back on us. Despite repeated inquiries from Congress, the NSA has yet to publicly disclose how many Americans are impacted by this surveillance.

With the law’s sunset looming, Congress is taking up the issue. The USA Liberty Act, introduced by Representatives Goodlatte (R-Va.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), and others, may offer a chance to address some of the worst abuses of NSA Internet surveillance even as it reauthorizes some components of the surveillance for another six years.

But the first draft of the bill falls short.

The bill doesn’t effectively end the practice of “backdoor searching,” when government agents—including domestic law enforcement not working on issues of national security—search through the NSA-gathered communications of Americans without any form of warrant from a judge. It doesn’t institute adequate transparency and oversight measures, and it doesn’t deal with misuse of the state secrets privilege, which has been invoked to stave off lawsuits against mass surveillance. 

Perhaps most importantly, the bill won’t curtail the NSA’s practices of collecting data on innocent people. - continues at EFF.org


10 Nov

(Note: This was posted about 10 days ago for insiders. Yes, Watson's Web still look at a host of issues, like the crisis in Saudi Arabia, the military actions in Afghanistan and elsewhere as well as Biblical and Prophetic issues for those who are granted access to the insiders page. - MSW)

Fed, Economy, Taxes

Today, we are going to spend a little time looking at the US economy focusing on the above items.

As you all may or may not know, President Trump is expected to replace the Ms. Yellen over at the Fed. The official rumor has it that Jerome Powell will replace her.

A survey of 30 economists in March 2017 noted that Powell was slightly more of a monetary dove than the average member of the board of governors. However, The Bloomberg Intelligence Fed Spectrometer rated Powell as neutral (i.e. neither a hawk or a dove). Powell has been a skeptic of round 3 of quantitative easing, initiated in 2012, although he did vote in favor of implementation.
Financial regulation

Powell “appears to largely support” the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, although he has stated that "“we can do it more efficiently". - Wikipedia
Is this anything radical? Nope, but given the fact that the GOP and Democrats on the Hill are in a mood to destroy just about anything Trump proposes, he needs a person that will be easily confirmed; a person that it will be hard to suddenly 'find' create and/or manufacture evidence that he too is 'Russian spy' planted by the Kremlin to destroy us all. The way to do that is to get this man already on the board and appointed by a Democrat (Obama). These days, one fake news story from CNN about Russia will send the Senate into a McCarthy-esque tizzy.


What would a Powell Chairmanship mean? Opinions differ. Some see him as a low interest rate hawk, others not so much. Here is how Mises.org sees it.

Going forward, we should expect to see the Fed continue its tediously slow normalization of its balance sheet – what George Selgin has cleverly dubbed Operation SNAIL. Whether the Fed continues with its projected interest rate hike in December may itself depend on Congress. The legislature’s knack for kicking the budgetary can down the road as led to yet another “fiscal cliff” scenario at the end of the year. While we can be ensured that outcome will be more spending (and more debt), the bout of yet another round of arbitrary drama may give the Fed enough of an excuse to follow their lead and hold off until 2018.   - The Swamp Wins: Trump Expected to Nominate Powell to Replace Yellen

Reuters, one of America's establishment (officially sanctioned) news services see's Powell's potential appointment as a good thing. They think it will be good for smaller lenders.

Related: Jerome Powell On Role Of Bank Boards (BIS)
Where Powell may exert a more powerful influence is in one of the most important economic issues facing America outside of its national debt. That being the economic mantra of the elite in DC of 'too big to fail' financial institutions. A policy whereby bad businesses are propped up with taxpayer money when they get into trouble. Mr. Powell has spoken on this key issue in the past. Here is some of what he had to say back in 2013.

Today I will discuss “too big to fail” and the ongoing work since the financial crisis to end it.1 More than three years into this effort, there have been sweeping reforms to the regulation of large financial organizations in the United States and around the world. Substantial proportions of the new rules are designed to end the practice of bailing out such firms with taxpayer money. The too-big-to-fail reform project is massive in scope. In my view, it holds real promise. But the project will take years to complete. Success is not assured.

In the meantime, some urge the adoption of more intrusive reforms, such as a return to Glass-Steagall-style activity limits, more stringent limits on size or systemic footprint, or a requirement that the largest institutions break up into much smaller pieces. I believe that public discussion and evaluation of these ideas is important. At a minimum, we need to thoroughly understand these alternatives in case the existing reform project falters.

It is worth noting that too big to fail is not simply about size. A big institution is “too big” when there is an expectation that government will do whatever it takes to rescue that institution from failure, thus bestowing an effective risk premium subsidy. Reforms to end too big to fail must address the causes of this expectation.

In broad terms, these reforms seek to eliminate the expectation of bailouts in two ways – by significantly reducing the likelihood of systemic firm failures, and by greatly limiting the costs to society of such failures. When failures are unusual and the costs of such a failure are modest, the expectation at the heart of too big to fail will be substantially eliminated. My focus today is principally on the second of these two aspects of reform – containing the costs and systemic risks from failures, a goal being advanced by work to create a credible resolution authority....

...Bailouts may have been more tolerable in the early 1990s when they were rare and their use for a failing bank was uncertain. That is no longer the case. Recent years have seen large and numerous bailouts as a result of the financial crisis. The public, the regulatory community, and large financial institutions themselves all agree now that too big to fail must end.

As I said earlier, reforms to end too big to fail must wage the fight on two fronts. First, we need enhanced regulation to make large financial institution failures much less likely. Second, we need a credible mechanism to manage the failure of even the largest firms, without causing or amplifying a systemic crisis. - Ending "Too Big to Fail"Governor Jerome H. Powell

Trump's pro-business mindset clearly does not entail endless public bailouts for private institutions with incompetent or corrupt leadership. Risk is part of business and losing when one risks badly is also part of business. Giving one group of people billions of taxpayer money in bailouts because of their own failures is a reward for bad business. Bad business puts people out of work and drives out good business when the playing field is rigged up so that some can't lose no matter how badly they play the game.

This kind of twisted economic non-thinking that has been part of our economic malaise. I heard the other day on CSPAN a person bemoaning the lackluster business creation environment and that we should have created a lot more businesses but haven't. The speaker then went on to decry the fact that no one wants to take risks. There is a modicum of truth to in this view. Taking risks is indeed part of business. Yet, one of the bigger problems I see with small businesses is that today more and more business is described as 'the internet economy.' Just a few firms dominate the vast majority of traffic (Google, Yahoo, Facebook, etc). Cross them and you have just dug your own digital grave. We have created too big to fail internet companies as well, as many of them are not what they appear to be (let wiser readers figure out what I mean). It's the whole idea of a fair field for businesses. It must be fair and perceived to be so, otherwise people will not take risks. No one is going to gamble their hard earned money in a rigged up casino. Not unless they just can't wait to get a bed at the local homeless shelter. I don't know many people like that.

Related: Fed taps Jerome Powell to head oversight of 'too big to fail' banks


Now the problems here that Mr. Powell is describing is not 100% on this point,  but in some ways they are. Lending is something that needs to be done more and in a way that allows for business creation. Not just business creation for young, white liberals who just got out of college, but for others who want to start other kinds of business. A new way for people to communicate in the internet, a Plumbing business, a local delivery service. When a bank is too big to fail, he is not nearly as worried about letting others get businesses and making money from that kind of lending. Not when he can make much more in gambling in derivatives. So on the occasional times when he lends to businesses, he does so with an eye towards helping his friends and other interests that may be associated with the institution, its board or his  buddies. Those of economic and racial groups of whom he does not approve will be turned down, or given "special loans" that are designed to make sure they cannot afford and put them out of business. He does not need or want their business, not when they know Uncle Sam will bail him out when his firm gets into trouble. 

If America wants to have a strong business creation environment, then she needs to make sure that the playing field is level and perceived to be so. Let me give you a personal aside.

One of my readers here a few years ago, queried me about what was needed to get an internet privacy service going. This was about the time of the Snowden revelations. There was clearly a demand for it and still is. He asked a few things and I had to tell him why I wished him luck but his idea would fail.

We have seen all the revelations about how pervasive all the spying is (not was). I made it clear to them that any effective privacy service that really was impregnable to the NSA would come under attack from forces they would never see. They would find a way to shut it down. There was once one I had many years ago, run out of Panama. It was pretty good, but after years of work, the 'deep state' finally got to the owner and his service turned into a honey pot. The sad part is that once that happens, they often won't even allow you to go out of business! This is a legal tactic they tried before though I am not so sure it held up in court. In short, the Deep state is all over this. Taking a financial risk to protect your fellow countrymen in this manner is a non-starter - a person could literally wind up dead for trying.

For the person who asked, he did not see the risk. I did. I am glad he did not try because I like hearing from this reader from time to time. The issue here is the 'too big to fail' environment of big-data and big NSA combining together to make the playing field uneven - to make sure all the data on the internet goes through Government approved data centers which can be tapped and surveilled at will - no warrant, no probable cause and as little choice as possible to escape their digital matrix. Big data, big banking, big oil, Big pharma - they do not brook competition or a level playing field and will find ways of making sure it's always tipped in their favor. One of the biggest problems here is the power these entities have over the regulatory and legal environment.

Trumponomics.

So what can we expect over the next few months? Well as we all know President Trump and Congress are working on a Tax plan. Here is the gist of Trumps reforms.



Source: US Treasury

You can read more about the plan here - it's a pretty fair piece. That piece from The Balance dutifully, points out how this plan is anything but deficit neutral. It adds to the deficit and debt and allows us all to borrow money from our children and grandchildren's future earnings provided that the debt bubble does not blow up in our faces before then and given what China and Russia have been up to, that really could happen in an unforeseen and ugly fashion one day in the not too distant future.

My view of this is pretty straightforward. This is the same old Voodoo that has put us into this economic mess. A mess so bad we have to shut down the government from time to time while Congress debates about borrowing yet more money. Money we have to borrow or we close down our government. For a President who makes noises about National Security, being dependent on foreigners to buy our debt to keep our doors open seems like a 'Trojan Horse' economic security plan, as it gives these foreign entities tremendous leverage over our nation. Some of them has used it in the past to demand our nation change policies.

The national indebtedness aside, the national interest payments aside, the economic ship that is now taking on water aside - the tax plan will indeed provide plenty of liquor, food and entertainment to the passengers of the economic Titanic. Everyone will be happy as long as they don't go below decks and notice all of the furniture floating on top of a few feet of water and that strange rushing sound coming from the other side of the bulkhead. Clearly this is what Trump and the whole DC establishment hope all will do when the shrimp and cocktail sauce are passed around (tax breaks).

Conclusion

But all in all, truth be told no one is about to really touch the deficit or debt. A candidate will always run on it, but never deliver it. To do so would mean someone would have to start paying it down -  benefits would go down and taxes would go up or to use the Titanic analogy  - everyone would have to roll up their pants legs, get a bucket and start bailing the water out of the ship. Now, who is going to do that when the main course of Steak and Lobster is about to be served! The rich would try and force the poor and vice versa and that is where we stand today. No, to keep your seat in Congress or your place in the White House, let's not talk about buckets, water and soggy trousers - too depressing. So for dessert we're gonna have... tax break cake, after the lobster is served...

... while that strange rushing sound from the bulkhead keeps getting louder. What kind of economic policy is this?

It comes from Mr. Zee.

Mr. Cray Zee.

The whole Zee family infests the House, Senate and anywhere the government's budgeting is conducted.


8 Nov

Persecution Watch

Christian Human Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng Escaped, Recaptured
NK: Children Forced Into Hard Labor

Vatican Hosts Summit On Human Trafficking, Slavery
India: Violence Against Christians Increases As Election Draws Near
China Deports Hundreds of South Korean Christians for Helping Persecuted North Koreans
The Persecuted Church in America & Abroad
Christians In Pakistan Flee Homes After False 'Blasphemy' Accusations
Eritrean Forces Use Live Ammo To Enforce New Church Edicts
Letting Egypt's Persecuted Know They Are Not Forgotten
UK Charity Says Church Facing Worst Persecution In History
Kazakhstan Baptist convicted for refusing to pay state ‘expert’ to analyse his Christian books
Israel Politicizes Christian Persecution
   This piece gives us a look at who really persecutes them the most.
“We Are Going to Burn You Alive!” Muslim Persecution of Christians, June 2017
   This monthly update, which often runs many months late gives us a synopsis of persecution events around
   the world that hit the newswires. Remember many many others never hit anyone's news cycle.
Call For Trump To Tackle Religious Freedom In China
   US business leaders are signing billions of dollars worth of deals, where does Christian Persecution
   and Human Rights fit into the mix?
No Persecution, Including Shootings, Will Silence the Church


6 Nov

Psalm 126

Today, we again will take a break from the news beat and get back to the scriptures. This time, we will continue our look at the Songs of Ascents.

When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion,
we were like them that dream.
(Psalms 126:1 [KJVA])

This Psalm fits perfectly with the things we saw in the book of Nehemiah. After their long exile in Babylon, hearing the news that they could return to their homeland must have seemed like they were dreaming. Finally the edict went forth from Cyrus, that they could return. The person who brought them the news in the outlying areas were probably not easily believed  - but there it was, they could come home. Some scholars while certainly noting that this was for the captives in Babylon have attempted to also say that this passage has a prophetic significance for the last days and that the captivity of Babylon is also a type of last days redemption.

Here is how John Gill puts it.
This deliverance of the captives, though it was by Cyrus as an instrument, yet it was the Lord's work; which he employed him in, and stirred him up to do, and therefore is ascribed to him. And though this is expressed in the past tense, yet it may be put for the future; and be considered as a prophecy of it, and which the following word seems to confirm; and especially the prayer, Psa_126:4; for the return of the captivity seems to require it should: and may not only literally respect the return of the captives in Babylon, but the conversion of the Jews in the latter day, and their deliverance from their present captivity; which is expressed sometimes by the Lord's bringing again Zion, and returning the captivity of the Jews, and their being turned to the Lord, Isa_52:8; and may be applied to spiritual and eternal redemption by Christ, of which the deliverance from Babylon was a type; and is sometimes expressed in the same language, Psa_14:7; and the people redeemed are often signified by Zion, and are by nature captives to sin, Satan, and the law; from whence they are redeemed by Christ, whose work alone it is, Isa_1:27;  - John Gill
The passage, I suppose in a broader sense could indeed refer to the last days ingathering of God's people. However such an extrapolation of the passage, I think to a small degree takes away from the genuine and simple joy the captives in Babylon must have felt when they were told they could return to Jerusalem. It was like a dream they could hardly believe that they were really awake hearing this news, it was so incredible!

Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing:
then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath
done great things for them.
(Psa 126:2)

There must have been singing and dancing. They were clearly very happy at this news. God moved in the heart of the King and caused him to make this most anticipated proclamation, which is recorded for us in the book of Ezra.

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD
by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit
 of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his
 kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia,
The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth;
and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him,
and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house
of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.
And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men
of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts,
beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.
(Ezr 1:1-4)


So Cyrus did not just allow the Jews to return, but also to build a new Temple at Jerusalem. Again, we can understand why the Psalmist says they thought they were dreaming. You mean we don't have to sneak in? Don't have to fight the kings Army? Don't have to secretly transport the materials for the Temple? Are you sure Jehud? You aren't just kidding us? You haven't been sipping on that jug of wine have you? But those who checked could discover, that yes, the king himself commanded this thing at the stirring of the Spirit of the Lord.

Mind you, there would be many struggles ahead and God's promises does not mean that there will not be opposition as we saw in Nehemiah and when we get to the book of Ezra as well.

This edict was one that even caused the heathen to take note, saying that God had done great things for them. How is it that this 'heathen prince' had made such a dramatic move on behalf of his people? Yes, even the Chaldean's saw the mighty hand of the God of the Jews in this thing, they were amazed at his power and recognized the great hand of God who moved in favor of his people.

The LORD hath done great things for us;
whereof we are glad.
(Psa 126:3)

This verse is rather self explanatory, but is a brief parallel to the way the heathen reacted, here we see how the Jews here acknowledge the work of God that brought joy their long downcast hearts.

Turn again our captivity, O LORD,
as the streams in the south.
(Psa 126:4)



As the whole passage is about the fulfillment of the return of that captivity, this may have merely been a repetition of a long uttered prayer by the Jews who were captive in Babylon and in anticipation of the actual culmination and accomplishment of the Kings edict. The mention of the streams of the south is rather obscure, some thinking it refers to the Nile river. Here is what Adam Clarke says about it.

As the streams in the south - Probably the Nile is meant. It is now pretty well known that the Nile has its origin in the kingdom of Damot; and runs from south to north through different countries, till, passing through Egypt, it empties itself into the Mediterranean Sea. It it possible, however, that they might have had in view some rapid rivers that either rose in the south, or had a southern direction; and they desired that their return might be as rapid and as abundant as the waters of those rivers. But we know that the Nile proceeds from the south, divides itself into several streams as it passes through Egypt, and falls by seven mouths into the Mediterranean. - Adam Clarke
This may be the meaning, but I think the Cambridge Bible may be more spot on as to the meaning the Psalmist was trying to convey.

as the streams in the South] The Negeb, or ‘South’ country, literally ‘the dry region,’ was the arid waterless district to the south of Judah (Jdg_1:15), where in summer all the brooks dry up, and are only filled by the autumn rains. Thus far the restoration of Israel has been only as it were a scanty thread of water trickling among the stones, but as in the due season Jehovah refills those stony stream-beds with abundance of sparkling rushing water, so He can re-animate the feeble community of Israel with fresh and vigorous life, and multiply its scanty numbers into the crowds which the prophet’s vision saw streaming to Jerusalem (Isa_49:18).

I think this catches the meaning the Psalmist wanted to convey.

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth,
bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
bringing his sheaves with him.
(Psa 126:5-6)

This passage I think gives us a sense as to what the Songs of Ascents are really all about. They are about a people making a pilgrimage to Mount Zion. Now again, Scholars have long differed as to what is meant by the term Song of Ascents and while I hesitate to link to Wikipedia on such an issue, this brief little snippet I think gives us the range of views.

Many scholars believe the title indicates that these psalms were sung by worshipers as they ascended the road to Jerusalem to attend the three pilgrim festivals  (Deuteronomy 16:16). Others think they were sung by the Levite singers as they ascended the fifteen steps to minister at the Temple in Jerusalem.One view says the Levites first sang the Songs at the dedication of Solomon's temple during the night of the fifteenth of Tishri 959 BCE.Another study suggests that they were composed for a celebration after Nehemiah's rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls in 445 BC. Others consider that they may originally have been individual poems which were later collected together and given the title linking them to pilgrimage after the Babylonian captivity.

They were well suited for being sung by their poetic form and the sentiments they express. "They are characterized by brevity, by a key-word, by epanaphora [i.e., repetition], and by their epigrammatic style.... More than half of them are cheerful, and all of them hopeful." As a collection, they contain a number of repeated formulaic phrases, as well as an emphasis on Zion. - Wikipedia

The Psalm seems to confirm the view above on Nehemiah, at least for this Psalm. But frankly the last is probably most accurate, being a collection from various times and then set together as a collection.

But the last two passages itself really show what is beautiful about this Psalm and occation. Sorrow first, but those who bring their sorrows to God will reap in joy. The Jews had waited 70 long years while the land was cleansed from their polluted behavior (Eze 22:24, Eze 36:18, Jer 3:2). But now that it was, God sent a call out to his people to return, God had not forgotten his people and had respect to his promises. It was time for him to act, the days of sorrow and longing were over, now was the time of joy. Waiting on the Lord, while not stated specifically is implied by the long exile the Jews had to endure.

For those of us who await our pilgrimage to the new Jerusalem where Christ will reign. Let me quote from another Psalm that embodies these thoughts from a sightly different perspective.

 
Wait on the LORD, and keep his way,
and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land:

when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. 
I have seen the wicked in great power,

and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
 Yet he passed away, and, lo,

he was not: yea, I sought him,
 but he could not be found.

(Psalms 37:34-36 [KJVA])

Let us all wait upon our God, for his timing is not ours, and his ways are higher than ours and his plans are not known to us.

Wait, I say upon the Lord.

4 Nov

(Note: This was posted for insiders on the 13th of Oct.)

Spiritual Trends

There are a great many trends now transpiring in our world, particularly in America. These trends show a remarkable decline in the underpinnings of the Christian traditions of the west. Today, we will look at a few of those trends.

Sodom And Gomorrah California

First off, I am watching what is going on in California. It's the state I was born and raised in. It was once a great place to live and I am sure in many parts of the state, it still very much is. But I recently saw a story where it is no longer a felony to deliberately infect a person with Aids. Before Gov. Brown signed the law, it was a felony punishable for up to eight years in jail, now it is a misdemeanor. The reduction of penalties for sex crimes appears to at be the top of Gov. Brown's agenda. In California, the laws for soliciting sex from minors have been duly muddled by him. Other trends of note is that he is now going to fine or even jail health care workers who refuse to call sex-change patients by their new name.

For we who know our God, we understand what is going on here. There is a powerful demonic stronghold that has full control of the State's government. The LBGT/Hollywood and yes the Baphomet/Satanic crowd are forcing the devils agenda on the State.  California is the abortion (child sacrifice) capital of the nation. This is not a new phenomenon. This spirit, this demonic stronghold goes back a few millennium. What do I mean?


There has been a connection between abortion and homosexual advocates within the state government of California.  They fight against restrictions on abortions and pass a long list of pro-homosexual measures within the California Assembly [source].

Ironically, the goddess pagan worship has a historical demonic connection between homosexuality and child sacrifice. The goddess worship included the celebration of same-sex relationships, cultic sex (both heterosexual and homosexual), child sacrifice, and witchcraft.  The San Francisco Bay Area has a history of not only homosexuality, but an extensive history of the occult.

The Church of Satan was started in San Francisco in June 6, 1966 by Anton Lavey. It promotes sexual lust over spiritual love and heavily promoted sexual perversion as a practice of Satanism. Lord Egan, a former member of Anton Lavey church, formed the First Church of Satan in the 1990s.    He took up the satanic mantle after Lavey’s death in 1997. Egan admitted on the church’s website that he had a strong interest in pedophilia and subscribed to North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA).  NAMBLA represents men who want to have the age of sexual consent reduced so that may have sex with boys. San Francisco also has a well-established witch coven called “The Reclaiming Witches of San Francisco.”  It is 501c3 Non-Profit Religious Organization that promotes the unity of the spirit and politics.  It teaches and makes magic through workshops and classes as well as conducts public rituals. Overall it is estimated that there maybe as many as 50,000 pagans and witches living in the Bay Area.   In addition, Southern California is home to countless psychic and tarot card reader businesses, and botanical stores in both southern and northern California that sell potions and charms.

The occult presence in the Bay Area fuels Spiritual wickedness in high places.  This branch of the kingdom of darkness has charge over the spiritual and religious atmosphere. Child sacrifice (abortion) helps fuel demonic powers.  And the demonic world requires blood sacrifice to invoke the spirits and favor from these demonic beings.  A good example of this is in 2 Kings 3:27 when Moab was in the process of losing a battle against Israel.   When King Mesha of Moab saw this, he sacrifice his eldest son to the Moabite, the god Chemosh.  This was done to aid the Moabite army in winning the battle against the backslidden army of Israel.  After King Mesha sacrificed his son, the battle turned in favor of Moab. - The Principality Of California And Spiritual Warfare

Once we get past the political (which I do spend a lot of time on), then we can better understand just what is going on in the Spiritual. There are some of the darkest spirits in the satanic kingdom operating at the highest levels of California government. These spirits mean business - satanic business and that business will always involve his for principle goals -
Steal
Kill
Destroy
Deceive
Pervert
Once you understand his methodology, it's not hard to figure who is behind the work, no matter how many flags, crosses, burka's and other trappings these spirits use to deceive the unsuspecting. Satan always comes in on the wings of seemingly innocent change that leads to bigger less innocent ones. He does this until you have a society that is in total rebellion against the God of heaven. For this is his ultimate goal with the sons of men,  to turn us all against God and have us either knowingly or unknowingly join the celestial rebellion against heaven he started long before Adam was made. Satan wants to get (and will get) vast swaths of mankind to rebel against God and worship him. This is what is now, not so slowly happening in California. In the final system, we see that this is what is marked by that system.

And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast:
 and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast?
who is able to make war with him? 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. And all that dwell
upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the
book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
If any man have an ear,
let him hear.
(Rev 13:4-9)



How many of you have been keeping up with the Weinstein Sex scandal? None of what has happened should surprise any of us. The whole 'Hollywood set' has been infected by too many men who are not at all unlike the deeds we have heard about with Mr. Weinstein. Now this man is a mover and a shaker in DNC circles. He was a big donor to political causes. He was co-founder of Miramax studios. From my impression of what I have read, it appears in many instances to be a case of 'if you want that part in my new movie, you got to let me sleep with you', kind of thing, but that is just my impression. This kind of thing is hardly new in Hollywood, it goes back decades. I used to watch TCM a lot and they often did their own shorts and films about the backstage goings on in Hollywood. But the lines of political power in the Golden State are paved with money out of Hollywood and Hollywood has its own agenda.

There is a very powerful demonic stronghold that has its tentacles sunk in deep into the golden state, but only a few can really see it.

But that is hardly the only place such evil exists today. The devil is getting bolder and bolder. Secularists place belief if satan into the superstition category, not knowing just what they are dealing with - a very ancient, and very powerful evil. In South Carolina late last month, satanic symbols were found on an historic South Carolina Church. You can read the story here. Then there was the case of the teen who was murdered by her lesbian ex-lover in some kind of satanic ritual. Yes, the devil is very busy.

I need not give you the goings on in our federal government as I talk about it quite a bit.

In Britain, the 'witchfest' international festival has been cancelled due to 'financial challenges'. Well, that is the good news. The bad news is that they are regrouping for one in 2019. We have the same thing here. Ever heard of the 'Burning Man' Festival? You should. It too is one of those festivals with serious pagan undertones conducted here in the US. More here.

In other news of elite involvement in these things, most charges against Sir Edward Heath have been dropped. He was accused of being involved in child molestation and satanism. Weather or not he was truly innocent or has (rather his family has) very powerful friends who covered this all up will be of course debated for a long time.

There has long been a rather substantial body of evidence that many of those in positions of power engage in these things. One can ignore it and call it all 'conspiracy theory', but I can tell you that these things do exist and happen and some of those who engage in them are names you know. Moreover, it is important that we all realize that the rich and powerful are very, very different. They pretty much do what they want when the camera's are not rolling and do it knowing they can get away with it. For the most part, the wheels of justice stop dead in their tacks when it comes to their activities.


Times and Seasons

Brothers, I could inundate you with links to scare you half to death, but that is not the purpose here today. I want to impress upon all of you how far the world we live in, the nation we live in is turning against God and what that means for us and them. I want to impress upon all of you just what it means to be one of the very, very few real born again, blood-bought, Holy Spirit walking Christians. I make these clear delineations because most of what passes itself off as Christianity today in the west simply isn't. It's a carefully decked out deception that can only keep lost souls lost while thinking they will be saved. We are in a battle; a serious knock down, drag out spiritual battle and there will be winners and losers. The good news is that if we maintain our faith, keep walking the straight and narrow and do the things Christ  commanded us to do we will be saved.


And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake:
but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
(Mat 10:22)


If we maintain that faith (not belief but faith - let the reader understand the difference)  we will discover that we have already won, for Christ has conquered the enemy - death. We who know him will be resurrected in due time and be forgiven of the sins that earned us all that fate.

We Christians must always remember this - we are never going to fully fit into this world. If it is hard for us to rise in our places of employment or find jobs, we have to remember that more and more, demonic strongholds control many of your top job givers and corporations. They can find out a lot about you when you apply for a job. If they don't want Christians working for them, they can see to it that none are hired. As the devil gains more and more control over the money system and the economic lifeblood of our nation and world, we must remember these things.

We must always be vigilant and aware of the times brothers and not get lulled to sleep, which will be a major problem in the very last days.


Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil,
as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same
afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are
in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called
 us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye
 have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish,
 strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and
dominion for ever and ever.
Amen.
(1Pe 5:8-11)


I give solemn testimony, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that the devil is indeed roaming about, looking for ways to destroy Christians, their ministries, their Churches, their families, their business, etc. He is very adept and finding ways 'in' to accomplish his nefarious purposes. False brethren and false friends are one, but only one way he does that. He is already making enormous progress in the realms of government and economics. He has also not been slack in getting his wicked servants into the Church and its leadership. So let us all be spiritually sober, mentally aware, spiritually awake and know what time it is.

Grace and peace to you all in Christ.


3 Nov



Anti-Semitism Watch

This is a very real problem in the world today. It may not be covered much, but powerful forces in our world have always hated the Jews. Today is no different. It always starts out with seemingly little things, but later they get uglier and uglier. Read your history.

Anti-Semitic incidents in football are a warning sign to society

Gov. Hogan Is Right To Oppose Anti-Semitic BDS Bill
This is a very interesting and well written piece and response by the Gov. of Maryland. 

Jewish Leaders Urge Italian Sports Authorities To Fight Anti-Semitism

Normalizing anti-Semitism in student governments

David Hirsh Looks At Anti-Semitism, Soviet Ideology, Putin And Today

Russian Jews Point Out To Patriarch Krill's Opposition To Anti-Semitism

Labour activists compare Israel to Nazi Germany as Jeremy Corbyn accused of behaving like 'ostrich' over anti-Semitism

How the left got sold on the idea that Zionism is racism

Cornell: Hundreds Stand Against Anti-Semitism

Former Google Guy To Give 'Big Data' Break Down Anti-Semitism Online

EU Diplomats Hear Testimony On Anti-Semitism In Knesset...

..US Declines To Attend.

Luther At 500: Many Want To Talk About His Anti-Semitism

UK, Teens And Anti-Semitism

Jewish film director Brett Ratner– ‘More Must Be Done to Fight Bigotry, Prejudice and Anti-Semitism’

Antisemitism & Calls For Israel to be Destroyed at Auckland Mosque (With Video)

When Old And New Anti-Semtism Come Together

1 Nov

Refugee Watch

US Assistance To Syrian Refugee's

The ongoing conflict in Syria has contributed to the largest refugee crisis since World War II, with more than 5 million Syrians displaced to neighboring countries. The United States has taken a leading role in providing humanitarian assistance to those affected by the Syrian conflict, obligating more than $3 billion, primarily in the form of voluntary contributions and grants to PIOs (Public International Organizations). Given the challenges of implementing projects during an emergency, the importance of financial oversight— which includes understanding the risks that implementing partner organizations face and monitoring their activities to mitigate these risks— is elevated.






Source: GAO
UN: Most Indonesian Refugee's Will Never Be Resettled.
These are mostly from the Rohingya crisis.
Four Rohhingyans Drowned As Boat Capsizes

Bangledesh Offers Voluntary Sterilization To Rohingya's

Papau New Guinea Prepares To Shut 'Illegal' Australian Refugee Camp Down
They plan on cutting water and power to the camp.

Syrian Refugee Crisis: A UNHCR Snapshot

600,000 Refugee's Displaced Inside Central African Republic
“I lost everything: my home, my flesh, my identity. My kids sleep on the floor.” 
-  Zainaba, widowed mother of four displaced in Bangui

How Europe Exported Its Refugee Crisis To North Africa
EU leaders have found a way to disrupt the flow of refugee's from North Africa

Over Half Of Refugee Children Not In School
The UN has done a great report on the subject. There are lots of kids who are refugee's with no reasonable possibility to return to their homeland anytime soon. This is a major problem.

USA: White Nationalists Stage Anti-Refugee Protests

France: French Police Tear Gassing Refugee's, Children In Aggressive Campaign

Canada Shows Concern For Developing Refugee Crisis In Venezuela

Greek Refugee Camps See Surge In Migration

Lebanon: Cyprus Can Help With Refugee Crisis

South Sudan Refugee Crisis

30 Oct

Once or twice a month for insiders, I post links of interest - usually government and think tank reports to help readers get the  background they need so they do not become victims of fake news, false narratives, lies and other forms of disinformation.

We are in an information battlefield - this is an information war and most Americans are completely unarmed because they choose to be. They would rather buy 'blanks' (fake news) on Fox and MSNBC than get the hard data else where.

Pick up a little informational 'ammo' here.

National Archives Issues JFK Files
Yes, they finally did it. Most of them are now available on line and can be found on this link. President Trump at the last minute bowed to pressure from the FBI and CIA about some of the files, reportedly  about 2800 that they think could compromise sources. Search information and methods can be found here.

John F. Kennedy was killed on November 22, 1963. Almost 30 years later, Congress enacted the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992. The Act mandated that all assassination-related material be housed in a single collection in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).   The resulting Collection consists of more than 5 million pages of assassination-related records, photographs, motion pictures, sound recordings and artifacts (approximately 2,000 cubic feet of records). Most of the records are open for research. - National Archives

What do I expect from these records? Not much really. I think they will shed light on a whole range of theories about the assassination, but will never tell us exactly who ordered him killed - and no I don't think LHO shot him or even if he could make such an impossible shot, did so on his own. The kind of shooting required is simply not possible where he was at a moving target.

I am often asked who I think killed JFK. I will tell you this. I don't think it was one person or group. I am fairly well convinced that there were many forces who wanted him gone, the CIA (for the bay of pigs) The FBI (because Hoover hated Bobby and the whole Civil Rights movement) and the Mob, (because Bobby was giving them hell even after they helped him win the Presidency with 'antics' in Chicago - the book double cross written by A Giancana tells the story. ). The DOD wanted him gone because he was very hesitant to escalate in Vietnam among other things.

Then there are lesser known aspects to this - the fact that JFK may have been a drug addict (yes, lets see if those files are included) he was in considerable pain. And then there is the issue of unauthorized contact with the Russians. JFK may have been working secretly with Khrushchev in an under the table fashion to bring peace - and keep in mind that this was at the height of the cold war and anti-Russian hysteria was at a fever pitch back in those days.

I am fairly certain that with the full knowledge of key players in DC, they decided to take him out, put LBJ in office and let him do a U-Turn on these issues and other than on the issue of Civil Rights, he did.

I have done considerable research on the subject over many long years, from my early 20's and still have quite a few books on the subject.

No, this was a planned well executed coup and it was essential that the coup plotters got away with it and a patsy was found to take the blame - Enter Lee Harvey Oswald. The coverup as well took in all three branches of government - Remember it was the Chief Justice (Warren) who was charged with investigating covering it all up. The coup was complete when that deceitful report was issued.

As we all know there was considerable drama about the release and the spy agencies cried a river of tears to stop the release of some of the material. Trump relented and then relented on his relenting - all files - saving informants names who are still alive - will now be released - Probably on the 30th (Monday). For years everyone laughed at 'grassy knoll conspiracy theorists' those accusers were often merely  whoring for the elements who covered up his murder.

More here.

But some of the files that have come to light show us all that there was nothing crazy about those theories.

If you really want to understand why this nation is so (expletive deleted)ed up, go back to that day  - there was a coup back then and the deep state took over the US government - they have been running it ever since. We had a chance once to make a significant change for the better and  return the government to the people...


...but they murdered him too.

***
U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress, October 20, 2017

Human Trafficking: New Global Estimates of Forced Labor and Modern Slavery, CRS Insight, October 18, 2017

U.S. Withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), CRS Insight, October 17, 2017

NAFTA Renegotiation and Modernization, October 12, 2017

Overview of “Travel Ban” Litigation and Recent Developments, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 23, 2017

States’ Obligations Under Additional Protocols to IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements, CRS memorandum, October 23, 2017

Defense Primer: Military Pay Raise, CRS In Focus, updated October 10, 2017

The Army’s Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Program, CRS Insight, October 10, 2017

U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Recent Conflicts, updated October 11, 2017

Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2017, updated October 12, 2017

Poverty in the United States in 2016: In Brief, October 25, 2017




EPA Proposes to Repeal the Clean Power Plan, CRS Legal Sidebar, October 25, 2017

Who Earns Pass-Through Business Income? An Analysis of Individual Tax Return Data, October 24, 2017

Tracking Federal Funds: USAspending.gov and Other Data Sources, October 24, 2017

Civilian Nuclear Waste Disposal, October 23, 2017

Comparison of the Bills to Extend State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Funding, October 23, 2017
Second Treasury Report on Regulatory Relief: Capital Markets, CRS Insight, October 19, 2017

Federal Lifeline Program: Frequently Asked Questions, October 19, 2017

The Opioid Epidemic and Federal Efforts to Address It: Frequently Asked Questions, October 18, 2017

How many Americans abuse opioids? In its annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) does not collect data using the category “opioids”; rather, it collects data on use of heroin and misuse of prescription pain relievers. In 2016, SAMHSA estimated that 329,000 Americans age 12 and older were current users of heroin and approximately 3.8 million Americans were current “misusers” of prescription pain relievers.

According to the same survey, an estimated 11.8 million people aged 12 and older misused opioids in the past year (i.e., the year preceding the date on which the individual responded to the survey) including 11.5 million misusers of pain relievers and 948,000 heroin users.5 In its annual survey of adolescent students, the Monitoring the Future Survey measures drug use behaviors among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. In 2016, 0.2% of surveyed adolescents were current users of heroin; 5.4% of surveyed 12th graders6 were current users of “narcotics other than heroin.”

What is the harm associated with opioid abuse?

There are short-term and long-term effects of abusing opioids, but the most severe among them is the risk of overdose and death. Drug overdose deaths more than tripled from 1999 to 2014.8 In 2015, more than 52,000 people died from drug overdoses, and approximately 63% of those deaths involved an opioid.9 More than 15,000 overdose deaths involved prescription opioids, representing almost half of all opioid overdoses.
 Also, while U.S. life expectancy (at birth) increased by 2.0 years overall (due to decreasing death rates related to heart disease, cancer, etc.) from 2000 to 2015, researchers have found that the increase in opioid-related drug poisoning death rate reduced overall life expectancy by 0.2 years during this same time.


Reports indicate that recent increases in overdose deaths are most likely driven by illicitly manufactured fentanyl and heroin.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that fentanyl is largely to blame for the sharp increases in overdose deaths over the last several years. Further, NIDA explains that the number of fentanyl-related deaths is likely underestimated because some medical examiners do not test for fentanyl and some death certificates do not list specific drugs.




Fentanyl Supply

Exacerbating the current opioid problem is the rise of non-pharmaceutical fentanyl33 on the black market. Diverted pharmaceutical fentanyl represents only a small portion of the fentanyl market. Non-pharmaceutical fentanyl largely comes from China, and it is often mixed with or sold as heroin. It is 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin, and over the last two years, reported prices ranged between $30,000 and $38,000 per kilogram. The increased potency of non-pharmaceutical fentanyl compounds, such as the recently emerged “gray death,” is extremely dangerous. Law enforcement expects that the fentanyl market will continue to expand in the future as new fentanyl products attract additional users. - CRS

Who is behind the Fentyal crisis here in the states? This report out of the US  Government will answer that question for you.



Chemical flows from China have helped fuel a fentanyl crisis in the United States, with significant increases in U.S. opioid overdoses, deaths, and addiction rates occurring over the last several years. Unlike previous opioid epidemics, including a temporary spike in U.S. fentanyl use in 2006 that was traced to a single clandestine lab in Mexico, fentanyl sold in the United States is now being produced by individual distributors across the country. The diffused nature of fentanyl distribution and the drug’s high potency have complicated U.S. counternarcotic efforts and necessitated new policies aimed at reducing flows of fentanyl and other synthetic opiates to the United States. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is the federal government’s primary counternarcotic authority, working with state and local law enforcement to regulate and enforce controls on illicit drugs and chemicals. According to U.S. law enforcement and drug investigators, China is the primary source of fentanyl in the United States. Along with shipments sent directly to the United States, fentanyl is shipped from China to Mexico and, to a lesser degree, Canada, before being trafficked across the U.S. border. In response, the U.S. and Chinese governments have taken steps to increase counternarcotic cooperation and strengthen regulations governing chemical flows. However, these efforts have not adequately adapted to drug exporters’ increasingly sophisticated production and distribution methods. - Fentanyl: China’s Deadly Export to the United States/USCC

The CFR has a great one here as well.

Congress Faces Calls to Address Expired Funds for Primary Care, CRS Insight, October 18, 2017

Workers' Compensation: Overview and Issues, October 18, 2017

The Net Neutrality Debate: Access to Broadband Networks, October 17, 2017

Gun Control: Silencers under the Hearing Protection Act (H.R. 3668), CRS Insight, October 16, 2017

Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Federal Civil Service Annuities, October 16, 2017

Qatar: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, October 19, 2017

Iran Sanctions, October 13, 2017

Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response, October 13, 2017

Arms Sales in the Middle East: Trends and Analytical Perspectives for U.S. Policy, October 11, 2017

Syria's Chemical Weapons: Continuing Challenges, CRS Insight, October 11, 2017

Iran: Politics, Human Rights, and U.S. Policy, October 3, 2017

Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity in the Armed Services: Background and Issues for Congress, October 24, 2017

Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2017, October 12, 2017

Multiyear Procurement (MYP) and Block Buy Contracting in Defense Acquisition: Background and Issues for Congress, October 12, 2017

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), October 11, 2017

U.S. Periods of War and Dates of Recent Conflicts, October 11, 2017

Attack on U.S. Soldiers in Niger: Context and Issues for Congress, CRS Insight, October 5, 2017

Navy Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism Operations: Background and Issues for Congress, October 2, 2017
U.S. Air Force Pilot Shortage, CRS Insight, September 11, 2017

Jailing Jihadist Returnee's - CSS

Arctic Rivalries: Friendly Competition or Dangerous Conflict?
Will the melting of Arctic Ice bring conflict and a war over resources?

Zapad 2017: Beyond the Hype, Important Lessons for the US and NATO
Getting past the hype, hand-wringing and hate, this paper looks a the Russian exercises with a degree of objectivity that is sorely missing these days. These drills shows Russians traditional strengths with a few new twists. They also made clear that if need be, Russia will use tactical nukes to defend it from invasion.
Colombia’s Armed Groups Battle for the Spoils of Peace
Colombia’s 2016 peace accord has brought over 10,000 FARC fighters to the cusp of civilian life, but in their wake rival armed groups are battling for control of vacated territory and lucrative coca crops. In order to roll back booming drug production and expanding non-state groups, the Colombian government should provide local farmers with alternative livelihoods while developing grassroots security and local governance. - ICG

Cameroon’s Far North: Reconstruction Amid Ongoing Conflict
Cameroon has been officially at war with Boko Haram since May 2014. Despite a gradual lowering in the conflict’s intensity, which peaked in 2014 and 2015, the continuing violence, combined with the sharp rise in the number of suicide attacks between May and August 2017, are reminders that the jihadist movement is by no means a spent force. Since May 2014, 2,000 civilians and soldiers have been killed, in addition to the more than 1,000 people kidnapped in the Far North region. Between 1,500 and 2,100 members of Boko Haram have reportedly been killed following clashes with the Cameroonian defence forces and vigilante groups. - ICG

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): A Dangerous Stalemate
The grave socio-economic crisis, harsh repression by security forces and lack of confidence in political elites make for a potentially explosive cocktail of resentment and frustration. Beyond urban centres, violence is escalating in many provinces, adding to concerns for regional stability.

Kabila’s government has engaged in a two-pronged strategy: violent repression and closure of political space at home on the one hand, intensive regional diplomacy to defuse U.S. and European Union (EU) pressure on the other. The latter track appears to have been particularly successful. African and especially Southern African powers now largely accept the government’s interpretation of the agreement (notably its unilateral choice of prime minister). While they have been more critical behind closed doors and acknowledge that the political manoeuvring and delay tactics increase the risk of violence, their public positioning has given the regime vital breathing space. - ICG

China: Alternative Models for the Central Military Commission
The CMC is the supreme national organ in charge of military and defense affairs. Its major functions include formulation of military strategy, handling contingencies, building effective military forces, coordination of military, economic, political, and diplomatic strategies, and formulating military guidelines and policies. [1] Despite this consistent mission, the size and structure of the CMC have varied widely over the years, adapting to new strategic and political contexts. Party Congresses and associated plenums have typically been the occasion for major decisions on the CMC’s structure and membership. - Jamestown Foundation/China Brief.

FYI, these are issued about every two weeks and the entire pdf brief can be found here.

Election leaves western Kenya angry and bitter

Trump At Ten

Today we are going to look at the Trump Presidency at 10 months. Rather than write a detailed piece with a lot of links and elite opinion, I prefer today to write just a piece on general impressions - where he is taking us and how many impediments he will face in the days ahead and if some of those challenge will be a good thing or not so good.

Domestic Impressions

First of all let me state that I never thought Trump was Presidential material, not by a long shot. I still don't think he has the right stuff for that job. This is not said to denigrate him personally nor to undermine his office. Rather, it is just to say that there are people who are cut out for certain jobs and the Presidency requires a special kind of person. The qualities that made Trump, 'Trump' are not the qualities I think make a good and effective President.

Yet having said that he is it for the next four years as specious calls for his impeachment for imaginary crimes created out of the DNC headquarters and certain 'sour grapes' Republicans have finally died down. Donald Trump won fair and square and what the establishment in both parties have failed to grasp is why - what have they been doing wrong for so long that would cause millions of Americans to reject firmly the usual field of establishment candidates and elect Mr. Trump. They still don't get it, or perhaps more accurately, they have no intention of 'getting it'. But to me what Trump represented was a silent revolution - a revolution of millions of Americans whom the mainstream media ignored and denigrated for years. That silent electoral majority got up off of their hind legs and brought in change that was not approved by the elite. Mind you, that revolution did not represent my interests as I am not a Republican, but I think that those on the left who fail to understand why Trump is in the White House and continue to fall back on comfortable lies and half truths to kid themselves about how badly they have failed millions of Americans -  they can fully expect more Donald Trump's to sail into power on the winds of their own fake news and political incompetence in the future.

Donald Trump's combative, 'Reality TV' Presidential style is an affront to many. They don't like his near daily feuds with top lawmakers and world leaders. These days, he is locked in a pitched 'twitter battle' with Senator Corker. Corker, like many leaders are dead set against unilateral military action against North Korea. He has stated so publicly and made it plain what he thinks of Trump in public statements about a 'day care center'. This feud is rather telling in that as we note in the previous link, Corker was once a strong supporter of Trump when much of the GOP establishment treated him like a political leper.

That’s a dramatic and ironic turnaround, because Corker’s word and credibility, as a senator respected for his principles and seriousness, was instrumental in paving the way for mainstream Republican acceptance of the Trump candidacy.... - The Atlantic

Trump has a penchant for picking fights and airing them right into the mainstream media, much like a reality TV show, rather than a sitting President. This has harmed his image with a great many Americans and his polls number show it, with the last polls I saw he had about a 38% approval rating. He has taken on the NFL, mainstream media, key Senators and others in his late night twitter storms.

My view of Trump just from a PR perspective goes like this. We need a President who can inspire, give positive messages, bring hope and essentially be a positive image for the nation. Donald Trump, in my view just does not have the capability to be that. In the heat of controversy when emotions run high, a President should be able to say something that heals divisions and tones down the hate rather than pour gasoline on a raging wildfire. President Trump too often does not understand the need to put personal image, needs, hurts aside and do and say what is best for the country.

In fairness to the President, I have never seen the kinds of hate and disrespect for a President in my lifeftime directed at him. It is truly off the scale. Even before he went into the White House the vitriol against him was in full swing and in mainline media circles, he had very few defenders.

He was forced to run counter-spin operations himself. Consequently to some degree, I understand why he has been forced to be more combative than most Presidents in the past. But this President needs to stop, take stock of what he tweets and says in public and let his press office deal with the day to day controversy. In short, President Trump needs to be more President and less Trump. He needs to be wiser and understand the complexities of the world, something he clearly so far has lacked the capacity to understand... this opinion coming from his own cabinet members. A look at some of the things that go on behind the scenes can be gleaned from pieces like this (scroll down below the asterisks) gives one considerable trepidation.

Then there the lesser known things, like his change of EPA that seek to roll back some of the Obama administrations energy policy. For the most part, I supported Obama's move towards clean energy, not because of 'greenhouse gases' but because of simple pollution. Our world is pushing near its maximum carrying capacity demographically speaking and there are more people on the way - energy sources need to be diverse, not just fossil fuel driven and it needs to be clean so that you and I can breath. This is why I have supported much of Obama's climate initiatives. The talk of Greenhouse gasses is a great catchword that our elite have used adeptly to get the world thinking along different lines - I remain wholly unconvinced of the man-made global warming debate. I am on the other hand, wholly convinced of the manmade pollution/destruction debate. The more people we have, the more pollution we will have... of all kinds.

The real problem with the way this President is handling himself in my view is that he is adding to the deep divisiveness the nation is now experiencing. The nation's political landscape is becoming increasingly volatile. Trump's statements need to be moderated accordingly.

Foreign Policy Impressions

I think Trump's foreign policy has got a lot of problems. First because it is based on a false premise. That premise in my estimation is that by making America's military bigger and more lethal, he will be on the road to making America 'great again'. Our nation needs a strong military. I have never denied that. We need to ensure that our country can be defended. The basic problem with Trump's foreign policy and that of much of the US establishment is that it seeks imperial control of as much of the global landmass and waterways as possible, using military means. In the period immediately after WWII, such thinking had its basis in geopolitical realities. The world needed a policeman in the post war world and with Japan and Europe in shambles from war, Russia in not much better shape, even though she won, America emerged from WWII largely unscathed and her military and industrial power were unmatched.

This all lead to the creation of the post war system of security and economics (NATO,and Bretton Woods, etc), That system let America play a kind of 'capital of the world' with the United Nations being housed in the nations commercial center, New York. This has been the so called 'new world order' that no one really saw while all were warning about it! It has always been here and is indeed the post war economic and military order that was imposed upon the the world after WWII. This is the system that is now slowly coming apart, thanks to the BRICS nations, particularly China and Russia. Each is now chafing hard at at the bit of American leadership and are making serious inroads to breaking free of American post war, geopolitical dominance.

Donald Trump's policies while often full of verbal bombast and threats, in my view have not fully congealed. Yes, he wants to step up the war on Islamic terrorism. Yes he wants to deal with North Korea's missile and nuclear program. Yes, he wants to get out of the Iran deal, but these are all basically tactical moves that seem less part of a grand strategy than it is to appease domestic audiences and payback political favors. Trump made fighting Islamic extremism and curtailing the inflow of Muslims into the US a cornerstone of his campaign.

But his Iran policy troubles me the most for in it I see the hand of Israel and yes, the Mossad. We have heard a great deal about how Trump has been 'turned' by Moscow, but nothing about how he and parts of his cabinet may have  been turned by Israel and the Mossad. Links between Jared Kushner and Israeli billionaires (of which few are not tied in deeply with Israel's secret services) have come to light. Whatever Mr. Steinmetz's connections are to the Israeli 'deep state', it does not seem to have afforded him much protection from an arrest and an investigation. Well, here is a more pejorative and juicy bit of background on Mr. Kusher written by the Russia linked Strategic Culture. Just remember, just because it's Russian does not necessarily make it false. It just often contains information that American officials would rather not have us know. What I do NOT want to say is that Mr. Kursher has been turned by or is in actuality a Mossad agent. But what I do want to say is that if he were, he would not the first person in a very high position who was. But the ties to Israel's Mossad and this administration are pretty clear for any and all to see, if they choose to.

Now I am a strong supporter of Israel it's right to exist and its right to govern itself in peace. I have always had a deep love and sympathy for the Jewish people, that will never change, whatever mistakes and policies the Israeli government makes.  But I am not in favor of Israel or any nation having too strong a say in how our nation runs its policies. Our national security apparatus should not be an arm of Israel's Mossad. Too often, quite frankly it has been. One thing about the last President was he really went after those lobbies in the US who were abusing their special relationship with the US by making our nation and our military into a national 'condom' for the geopolitical goals of other nations.

The Israeli's and the Saudi's were by far the worst offenders and during Obama's turn in office, he dialed back the hooks both networks had into the US security networks. It showed in the high amount of tension that existed in both relationships. Israel and the Saudis could not wait to see the back of Obama. Trump has reconstituted the 'condom' factor into US foreign policy. One of his first visits as President was to Saudi Arabia, in a showy and in my opinion rather disgusting display of semi-subservience to the keepers of Mecca which has too long been a hallmark of US policy. He also went to Israel and as we have later found out, now the US has established its first (official) US military base in Israel. Now don't get be wrong, this is not in and of itself a bad thing. In fact, overall I see a permanent base in Israel as a good thing. So it's not so much a criticism of the policy but one that goes to the mechanisms that brought that policy about. No, rather one has to ask the question of who is running our polices now. This brings us to the next point.

The Iran Deal

President Trump has made not one ambivalent statement about it, he hates the Iran deal and is using all of his considerable power to break the deal. Many in his cabinet do not agree and have stated so publicly. Why is he so bent on breaking that deal? Is it really that bad? I don't see it. Most others don't see it. But certain Neoconservatives do see it as a very bad thing. Many of those names are indeed of men who have strong ties to Israel. Lest you think I am on an anti-Israeli rant, please understand, there is a strong dislike for what is going on even in American Jewish circles  - I do recommend this read. As the piece states, this does matter to Jewish America and all of America. Let that article be a jumping off point for what I have to say here.

Israel hates that deal. They fought it tooth and nail when it was being debated in the Senate. Israel had sent out its Mossad honey-pot sex patrol to ensnare key members of Congress and elsewhere in their net of blackmail should one of them get the 'hornies' and sleep with one of them. They were prepared to do whatever it took to kill that deal. No, I am not making this up. From what little I understand, Obama had to intervene to slow that operation to a crawl. How he did it or what threats he issued Israel are not known to me. But a sudden curtailment of Intelligence sharing would certainly do the trick. The point is that they hate that deal enough to do whatever it takes to get the US to renege on it. I will not get into the reasons for their hatred of it, they are many, and in my view not all of them are rational. Indeed the hatred that exists between the two (Israel and Iran) also has a high degree of irrationality that exists on both sides - each nations security apparatus seems dedicated to the destruction of the other.

Now, with Trump in office, they have what, in my view, is their 'wind-up doll' who will implement Israeli policy with every request made on the Presidential hotline from Tel-aviv  - via Mr. Kushner. Jared is now 'it' now that Bannon is out. From where I sit that puts Israel at the center of American foreign policy.

But what will the world be like if the deal falls apart? The Israeli's will then do what they have long wanted to do. Commit a unilateral attack on Iran to destroy it using as much of the American military their influence here can muster. Take a look at how the US is dealing with North Korea. It seems clear that Trump wants to take them out in a unilateral display of geopolitical neanderthalism. Almost certainly triggering a resounding and powerful military response from both China and Russia, igniting what would be WWIII if cooler heads do not prevail. This too is part of the feud Trump has with Senator Corker.

Keep in mind that Corker is no partisan reactionary, he sits as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. This is a man who knows foreign policy and has a lot of power and he is deeply concerned about the President.

When a person like McCain blasts the President, I see that as being a good thing, as McCain is not a person I have a lot of respect for, politically speaking. Corker, on the other hand is highly regarded and once was a supporter of Trump. The NYT piece notes that Corker feels that Trump has not made the transition from show business and frankly this may indeed be part of his problem. Corker also calls the President presents an 'acute risk'. That is a pretty strong statement and coming from Corker, it carries 10 times more weight than comments made by 'Jihad John' McCain (more here).

Trump, in my view so far has made more mistakes as President than even the worst political novice. He has only survived because the GOP is scared to death of a  backlash at the polls if they try and remove him.

But the nation needs significant change in the realm of foreign policy and needs to re-organize itself better for a more multi-lateral, less US centric world. President Trump, with his America first policy seems disinclined to comprehend the need for this and wishes to attempt maintain an empire that is even now crumbling at the foundations - militarily and fiscally. The nation needs wise, capable leadership who can understand the future needs of the nation and prepare it accordingly, not an angry man with delusions of an empire that he hopes to maintain with a flash of a mushroom cloud.

Prophetic Impressions

Trump's Presidency is I think one of the last gasps for empire. Not that I think America is going to fade away soon... I don't think so. Rather I think as she begins to slowly lose her empire, more desperate and foolhardy actions will be taken in order to attempt to shore it up. This will bring in enormous hatred from many quarters in our world. We have already seen considerable consternation around the globe with our allies at the election of Trump. Germany being one, Mexico another, but hardly the only examples.

Trumps bombast and threats are frightening. But they could have quite a prophetic significance for it is ten kings, ten rulers who will hate the harlot and will destroy her. The key here is that there is a hate and the passage does not say that the hate is unjustified. Indeed, given the description of the great whore and what she does, it seems that their hatred of her may have some clear and significant justifications. Indeed, the prophet Isaiah when speaking of the spiritual entity in control of Babylon (King of Babylon) said this.

That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say,
How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!  The LORD hath
broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. 
He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke,
he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted,
and none hindereth. 
(Isaiah 14:4-6)

The passage seems to indicate that the continual violence of the nation against others is a serious issue with Babylon. That her constant anger and striking of the nations will one day turn on her. What is that spirit - the spirit of the King of Babylon? It's in the following versus that follow the ones above.

Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols:
the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. 
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 
For thou hast said in thine heart,
I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:
 I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will be like the most High. 
Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. 
They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee,
saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;
 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof;
that opened not the house of his prisoners?

(Isaiah 14:11-17)

No, I am not blaming Trump for all of America's sins. Presidents of both Parties have been guilty of feeding this 'beast' and it is not just President's, but a whole system of war and highly profitable paranoia, masquerading as National Security - this has put the nation on this self destructive course. Rather, I am saying that Trumps rhetoric, actions and attempts at action seem to indicate a kind of tragic 'capstone' on 70 years of American imperial policy.

So this is my own impressions of not just Trump, but of where America is in our times. If anger and hatred more and more mark our political discourse and our social cues, is it really so strange that we have this 'angry' President whose war proclivities are worrying many in government, on both sides of the aisle?

Finally, Trump''s love affair with "name it and claim it" evangelicals, troubles me (non-Christian site) more here and here. This form of Christianity may win votes in White suburbia, but it about as far away from the gospel of Jesus Christ as the Pharisees were from Jehovah way back when. I say this not so much as a criticism of Trump but of those religious 'hucksters' who surround him.

Yes, it concerns me greatly, not that I want to play judge because I don't. But that the gospel of Christ is being used in such a way and millions of Christians are being duped, or rather are allowing themselves to be duped by teachings that are not of the God of the Bible or of the Jesus Christ they claim to adore.

Conclusion

Rather than give you a short closing paragraph, I think I will give him a grade for my conclusion.

So far, overall grade for Trump's Presidency?

D+

Conservatives will say it is too low and liberals too high. I am neither so I will tell you why I gave him this grade.

First all I have no animosity toward Trump - never have. I see him as a rich older guy who cares deeply about the America he grew up in. Like me he is bewildered at some of the nutso things this nation allows and does. I rate him low because so far he has been pretty ineffective. The policies he wants to bring about (regardless of how I feel about them) have not been passed. The Immigrant vetting was struck down, the Obamacare repeal, it failed. He is trying and these are not theatrical attempts made to appease voters. For this, I give him high marks - he wants to remain true to those who voted for him - this makes him evil in the eyes of the kleptocracy and corruptocracy that has ruled DC for too long.

I could have given him a C- but a C grade means average and whatever you can say about him - there is nothing 'average' about Trump!

Second he is very inexperienced never having held office before, he had a lot to learn, and still does. But now I think he is understanding his power better and perhaps next year we may see more care taken in how he gets things done so they are accomplished.

Finally he has guts - I like that in any person  - man or woman. I loath moral cowards of which this once great nation is filled. Bobble heads, yes men, kiss-behinds and men who crawl on their knees.... can't stand them - I've got more respect for the beasts of the field than I do for 'men' like that. Trump is going to stand and fight for what he believes is right. That in my view may one day make him, once he gets more experience, a remarkable President.



27 Oct


Nigeria: Nine Day Massacre By Fulani Terrorists

JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – The church elder in Plateau state, Nigeria saw the Muslim Fulani herdsmen storm into his village at 11 p.m. the night of Oct. 13, shooting in all directions.

“Every one of us ran to save his life,” Dauda Samuel Kadiya, 38, of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Zanwrua, told Morning Star News. “I was shot at, but the bullet only bruised my hand. You can see the wound yourself.”

The assailants destroyed eight houses in the attack, one of several assaults in Plateau state that went on uninterrupted from Oct. 8 to Oct. 17, killing 48 Christians, survivors said.

“All Christians in villages around here have been displaced, and worship buildings have been abandoned,” Kadiya said. “Some of the church buildings were destroyed by the attackers.”

In Zanwrua village, 62-year-old Agado Aura recounted how he and his wife narrowly escaped death... - Continues At MorningStar News

Niger: A Preliminary Assessment

Jamestown gives us their take on what happened. It's rather interesting.

I Served 26 Years  For A Murder When The Real Killer Already Confessed

A very sad story that shows how legal ethics left this man to languish in jail for decades.

Disabled And Vulnerable

This is a really tragic story on how bad people really manipulated a mentally disabled man who spend a long time in jail for a crime he did not commit.

The state of North Carolina paid each of the brothers $750,000 in October 2015. If invested in an annuity, the money could have paid each $3,000 a month or more for the rest of their lives, according to several annuity calculators.

But seven months after receiving the award, McCollum had run out of money. He took out a $60,000 loan at 38 percent annual interest, with Megaro’s approval. Oct

At a hearing in August, Megaro (the Lawyer Representing the exhonerated brothers) refused to reveal how much he took of the $1.5 million the state paid to the brothers. “You know, I'm assuming you took half a million dollars because that might be what the contract was,” said Boyle, clearly irritated. “It might have been 750, it could be 250. I have no idea because you won't tell me.”

After that hearing, McCollum told a court-appointed psychiatrist that his legal team received half or more of his state compensation. - The Marshall Project

Sad, sad story and shows you how hard it is for the disabled in this country. They are also targeted for crime and violence here in the US. My mother had a neighbor who lived next door and he was a an estate lawyer that specialized in protecting people just like this, the handicapped, etc. He told me once you simply could not believe the evil things people did to their OWN RELATIVES who had money but could not take care of themselves.

How we treat these kinds of people is a reflection of what we are as a people.

Nepal Criminalizes Christian Conversion And Evangelism

As the message of Christ grows, so does opposition to that message. Let none of this surprise us. This is a primarily Hindu nation. There is also a link to a Nepal Christian site that may be of interest to you all.

Here is what the ICC comment has to say about this...

"Last week, Nepal's president signed into law a bill passed by the country's parliament that would make religious conversion illegal. The law, which is set to take effect in August 2018, is something long lobbied for by Nepal's radical Hindu nationalists who would like to see the growth of Christianity curbed. Nepal's Christian community is one of the fastest growing communities in the world. Hindu nationalists see this growth as a threat to the dominance of Hinduism. Many Christian rights advocates fear that this law will be widely abused, like similar laws enacted in India." - ICC (image edited from Wikipedia/Shahid Parvez)

Sudan: Will End Of Sanctions End Shortage Of Bibles?

(World Watch Monitor) Measures by the Sudanese government to prevent Bibles from entering the country are leaving the churches there with a serious shortage of Scripture and teaching materials.

One senior church leader, who has overseen the import of hundreds of thousands of Bibles and other pieces of Christian literature to Sudan, told World Watch Monitor the Bible Society has not had Bibles to distribute in Sudan since around 2013.

He said there are about 1 million Christians in Sudan, around five per cent of the population, disputing the official figure of three per cent.

“They need Bibles, they need materials. It’s very difficult for them to get them now,” he said. “The government is denying their right to know their own belief and study their own religion.”

Sudanese Christians point to a 2011 speech by President Omar al-Bashir in which he said wanted to adopt a “100 per cent” Islamic constitution after the Christian-majority south had voted to secede. Since then, foreign missionaries have been expelled, churches confiscated or demolished, and leaders harassed and arrested.

The church leader listed ways in which the government has restricted access to Christian literature. The Logos bookshop in Khartoum was shut down in 2013 after almost 20 years and its books were confiscated... Story Continues At World Watch Monitor (image credit same)



25 Oct

Militant Atheism Watch

The Coach Who Lost His Job Over A 15 Second Prayer
US Courts: Can't Pray At Work Or Home
Churches Banned From Receiving Federal Aid After Hurricane
USAF Hides Info On Assault Over Retired Veteran's Use of Word 'God'
Government Refuses To Allow Prayer Before Football Game... at a Christian School!
WWI 'Peace Cross' Memorial Ordered Removed By Appeals Court
The Little-Known History of American Religious Freedom
Atheists Demand Removal Of HS Christian Flag
Christians responded by bringing their own flags and putting them on their vehicles!
Xi: The Most Powerful Leader Of China Since Mao
This piece done by the BBC looks at the Phenomenon of 'Xi  Thought' which has now been officially enshrined into the Chinese Constitution. What is Xi Thought? Mr. Lam, at the Jamestown Foundation gives us some background on it. After reading it and other literature, what this actually means is not 100% clear.
The core idea is Xi’s “Chinese dream,” which is a super-nationalistic narrative about China becoming a superpower. The “two fundamental points” refer to “comprehensively deepening reform and upholding the mass line” (China.com.cn, November 6, 2015; People’s Daily, July 17, 2014). Given the lack of concrete political or economic reforms in the past five years, as well as the gaping rich-poor divide among the populace, it is difficult to avoid the impression that Xi’s publicists are merely regurgitating hackneyed slogans. For example, the Chinese dream about the “renaissance of the Chinese nation” has been talked about by intellectuals since China’s first effort at Western-style political reform in the 1890s. “Upholding the mass line” or similar slogans such as “serving the people,” were first coined by Mao in the 1950s (Sichuan Daily, May 25; Thepaper.com [Shanghai], October 24, 2014). - What is Xi Jinping Thought (China Brief) By: Willy Wo-Lap Lam
You can read the whole piece as Mr. Lam's insights are always particularly excellent. Another piece that many of you may find of interest is this one on Military Thought. Another interesting development that relates to this is the inclusion of Xi's "Belt And Road" Initiative within the Party Charter (Constitution).

Now many of my readers wonder why I spend so much time on issues like this when many Christian sites and their narratives are looking at a lot of domestic issues -  the NWO, Trump, the latest headline posted to spark outrage and anger in its readers. I suppose there is a time and a place for that but I think if we were to rephrase this issue in China like this - "The Consolidation Of Power By Militant Atheist Over the Worlds Most Populous Nation and Who That the Worlds largest Military", that may be an attention getter, because truth be told, that is exactly what is happening in China and is the result of this twice in a decade Party Congress.

We must keep in mind just what is really happening in China which is a part that is not always covered well by Christians who are often being misdirected by wild eyed conspiracy theories and Madison Ave. Generated stories to create hate and anger at key parts of our own political system...

There are a lot of Christians in China and the numbers keep growing. Let's keep China's Christians and its leaders in prayer!
Xi Set To 'Sinicize' Religions In China
In short, the Chinese Communist Party is set to move into the realm of Religion and 'harmonize them' with Communist party dogma, which as Xi has made clear, is decidedly atheist. This is not just directed at Christianity, but other faiths as well, Buddhism has a long and significant history in China as well as Islam. Let's keep our perspective here. As a Christian I hate to see the persecution that has come to pass in China as a result of Xi's 'reforms'. It is a whole slew of brown-noser party officials who are trying new and better ways to 'deal with' religious groups in the nation to win points with the 'Xi gang'. But we also must at least to some degree try and look at it from his/Xi's perspective. In the past foreign nations have worked with religious groups within China to stir up trouble and even violent revolution.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) Tibetan program was a covert operation consisting of "political action, propaganda, paramilitary and intelligence operations" based on U.S. Government commitments made to the Dalai Lama in 1951 and 1956.[1]

Although it was formally assigned to the CIA alone, it was nevertheless closely coordinated with several other U.S. government agencies such as the Department of State and the Department of Defense.[2]

Previous operations had aimed to strengthen a number of isolated Tibetan resistance groups, which eventually led to the creation of a paramilitary force on the Nepalese border with approximately 2,000 men. By February 1964, the projected annual cost for all CIA Tibetan operations had exceeded US$1.7 million.[2]

The program was gradually discontinued in the late 1960s, and finally ended with President Nixon's visit to China in 1972.[3] - Wikipedia

China is like an elephant - she does not forget. We Americans should not forget... that she does not forget.

What wrongs we have done to them they will recall at the proper moment. Right now, Xi is going to make sure that western interests do not use religion to stir up trouble within China and one way to do that is to get as much control over all of them as possible. In my view, this looks to be at least part of what Xi is up to.


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23 Oct


Psalm 125


We continue our look at the Psalms of Ascents (degrees). FYI, this time I will use the ASV rather than the KJV.

A Song of Ascents.
They that trust in Jehovah Are as mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but abideth for ever.

(Psa 125:1)

This Psalm is about steadfastness and God's protection. It is a Psalm of the praise of those who put their trust in the Lord as well as a warning to those who trust in evil. This Psalm speaks of the power of God to protect and preserve his people. This is a Psalm of simple trust in the Lord. Here the Psalmist compares the people of God, all who truly put their trust and faith in him are like Mount Zion. In case we were wondering in just what way the Psalmist wants us to make that comparison, he tells is in the second stanza, like Mount Zion -  they cannot be moved. They will abide forever. This is such an important concept especially today. That we have a strong protector who looks out for us and if we put out trust in him, he will look out for us. We become immovable. We become impregnable. We become a fortress against our enemies. It does not mean they will not attack, it means that we have the protection of an eternal and most powerful God.

When God gave Joshua his charge, he told him that no man would be able to stand before him all of his days.

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life:
as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee; I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
(Jos 1:5)

God made Joshua a mighty warrior. He was like Mount Zion, he could not be moved. Though he had to fight many battles, God was with him. In his ministry and life, Joshua was immovable.
As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, So Jehovah is round about
 his people From this time forth and for evermore.
(Psa 125:2)

Here, using poetic similitude, the Psalmist likens the protection of the Lord to the mountains around Jerusalem. Again, the Psalmist does not leave much to the imagination, as he tells us that as those mountains stood forever, so will God's protection of his people. Here is how the Cambridge Bible comments.

“All around Jerusalem are higher hills: on the east, the Mount of Olives; on the south, the Hill of Evil Counsel, so called, rising directly from the Vale of Hinnom; on the west the ground rises gently … while on the north, a bend of the ridge connected with the Mount of Olives bounds the prospect at the distance of more than a mile.” Robinson, Biblical Researches, 1. 259. This girdle of mountains is an ever-present symbol to the dweller in Jerusalem of Jehovah’s guardianship of His people. Cp. Zec_2:5, “I will be unto her a wall of fire round about.” - Cambridge Bible

This is the sense the Psalmist is trying to give us, that all around the righteous, God has protection for them. For just a moment, let us talk a bit about how God sends his angels to protect us and help to make us, his people immovable and impregnable.


And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out,
and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand:
 and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.
(2Ki 19:35)



And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour,
and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria.
So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was
come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels
slew him there with the sword.
(2Ch 32:21)


The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him,
 and delivereth them.
(Psa 34:7)


Let them be as chaff before the wind:
and let the angel of the LORD chase them.
(Psa 35:5)


Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them.
(Psa 35:6)


Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians
 a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning,
behold, they were all dead corpses.
(Isa 37:36)


Brothers, God will protect his own and knows how to do it, but woe be unto those who harm his people!


For the sceptre of wickedness shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous;
That the righteous put not forth their hands unto iniquity.
(Psa 125:3)

This is an interesting passage. First it says that the rod or scepter of wickedness will not rest upon the righteous. What this means could be that the instruments of chastisement and trouble from a wicked ruler will not befall the righteous.

The word translated scepter is this one.
H7626
שֵׁבֶט
shêbeṭ
shay'-bet
From an unused root probably meaning to branch off; a scion, that is, (literally) a stick (for punishing, writing, fighting, ruling, walking, etc.) or (figuratively) a clan: -  X correction, dart, rod, sceptre, staff, tribe.
Total KJV occurrences: 190

Here I think Albert Barnes gets the gist of the meaning right.

God will not deal with the righteous as the wicked are often dealt with: that is, God will not give his people prosperity as he does them. The righteous will be afflicted, and will be placed in circumstances to keep them from putting forth their hands to iniquity; that is, from indulging in iniquity. They will be afflicted; they will be kept in the ways of virtue and religion by trial; they will not be left to act out the depravity of the heart as the wicked are. - Barnes

The lot of the righteous is also a phrase that bears comment. It can mean the belongings and fate of the righteous man. In this the wicked have no say. We can remember how God protected Israel and the patriarchs in their time. Remember when Abraham's wife was kidnapped by Pharaoh? Abraham and a real looker for a wife and knew that if he went out and about with her in a foreign land, they might kill him to steal his wife. Lets go and review that passage, if you don't mind the slight digression.

And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into
Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was sore in the land.
And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt,
that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art
a fair woman to look upon: and it will come to pass, when the Egyptians
shall see thee, that they will say, This is his wife: and they will kill me,
but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister;
that it may be well with me for thy sake, and that my soul may live because of thee.
And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt,
the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.
And the princes of Pharaoh saw her, and praised her to Pharaoh:
and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. And he dealt well with
Abram for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he-asses,
and men-servants, and maid-servants, and she-asses, and camels.
And Jehovah plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai,
Abram's wife. And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast
done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?
why saidst thou She is my sister, so that I took her to be my wife?
now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. And Pharoah gave
men charge concerning him: and they brought him on the way,
and his wife, and all that he had.
(Gen 12:10-20)

Note how God protected Abraham and even from a great king! Sarai (before her name was changed to Sarah) was bound to one of God's servants. God afflicted the King in such a way as to he understood that he had crossed the living God. He protected Abram and Sarai in a foreign land not just from roaming, marauding slave traders, but from Pharaoh himself. In this case, the scepter of Pharaoh did not hit Abram.

Do good, O Jehovah, unto those that are good, And to them that are upright in their hearts.
But as for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, Jehovah will lead them
forth with the workers of iniquity. Peace be upon Israel.

(Psa 125:4-5)

The final two verses are what is known as an antithetical parallelism and is common in the Hebrew wisdom literature, particularly in the proverbs. The two passages compare and contrast the fate of the righteous and the wicked, by first uttering a small prayer for those that do good. The Psalmist then speaks against those who turn aside and away from the Lord. The Psalmist notes that their fate will be with the lost souls, which is just what those who work iniquity are.  The word 'turn aside' is this one in the Hebrew.

H5186
נָטָה
nâṭâh
naw-taw'
A primitive root; to stretch or spread out; by implication to bend away (including moral deflection); used in a great variety of applications: -    + afternoon, apply, bow (down, -ing), carry aside, decline, deliver, extend, go down, be gone, incline, intend, lay, let down, offer, outstretched, overthrown, pervert, pitch, prolong, put away, shew, spread (out), stretch (forth, out), take (aside), turn (aside, away), wrest, cause to yield.
Total KJV occurrences: 214

The word as used here has the general connotation of apostasy. Here is how the Cambridge Bible puts this verse and it fits in well with the series on Nehemiah I just completed.

But as for such as turn aside &c.] Renegades who forsake the straight course of duty to their God and country for tortuous courses of intrigue with enemies: the disloyal party in Jerusalem, some of whom, like Shemaiah, took bribes from Sanballat and Tobiah to entrap Nehemiah, while others kept up a treasonable correspondence with them. See Neh_6:12-13; Neh_6:17.

shall lead them away] To share the judgement of those whose hostility to Israel they have chosen to abet. Cp. Mat_25:41. - Cambridge Bible


The doxology is a simple prayer for and acknowledgment of the peace that God will give to Israel.


20 Oct

Russia In The Spotlight: Links Of Interest

The shift in the middle east slowly away from America will have enormous geopolitical and prophetic ramifications in the years ahead. Note that Watson's Web will never be used as a disinformation platform for ANYONE, but will always listen to and give space to different and intelligent viewpoints that may or may not necessarily be looked upon favorably by the US.



Russia, North Korea And China: Moscow's Game Plan
There are three main actors in the Korean nuclear crisis: Pyongyang, Washington and Beijing. However, Moscow may be seeking a more prominent role in the game. In pursuing its North Korea diplomacy, Russia has displayed increasingly close collaboration with China. Russian and Chinese aversion to Kim Jong Un and his nukes is eclipsed by their shared animosity to US hegemony. Ultimately, the North Korean nuclear menace is a symptom of the dysfunctional state of the current international order, in which its premier players are not capable of working together. - ISN/CSS

Why Would Saudi King Visit Russia

Last week Moscow was visited by Saudi ruler Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud accompanied by an entourage of a hundred people carried out in order to hold meetings with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Several rounds of negotiations were held with the Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman, the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, the Minister of Energy along with the head of the sovereign foundation of the Kingdom who is in charge of Riyadh’s overseas investments. From the beginning it was clear as to why the Saudi king would decide to come to Moscow for the first time since 1926. Only two matters are of any importance to Riyadh today: Iran and its policies in the region and collective oil pricing. Everything else is treated as secondary concerns by Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis do fear Tehran, since they believe that Shia influence is growing across the region, as the Islamic Republic of Iran implements a plan to create a Shia arc that would unite Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Yemen and the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia that is home to a Shia minority. Riyadh is truly concerned about the close bilateral relations that exist between Russia and Iran, especially in the field of military cooperation. For over a decade Riyadh has been trying to persuade Moscow to cut all military ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran in exchange for massive purchases of arms that were allegedly to be made by Saudi Arabia in Russia. When Moscow supported anti-Iranian sanctions within the UN framework in 2010 and refused to fulfill its obligation to deliver S-300 anti-air systems to the armed forces of Iran, Saudi Arabia failed to fulfill its own obligations. Predictably, there’s been no other investments from Saudi Arabia in other areas of the Russian economy. - Image and text credit New Eastern Outlook/Peter Lvov (copyright info located on bottom of this link)

New Silk Road - EIR

EIR lays out the positives of the Chinese led economic initiatives which Russia will play an important role.

Russia-US Relations And The Future Of Syria
In light of the Saudi Kings visit to Russia last week, this piece written in August is especially relevant.

Putin’s Syrian Gambit: Sharper Elbows, Bigger Footprint, Stickier Wicket
Russia has profited from a hard core of Alawite and Christian support for Asad inside Syria. At the same time, U.S. reluctance to become militarily involved in Syria facilitated the move of Russian forces into the country. Russia also benefited from the disunity among the diverse opposition to Asad and their external patrons. While Saudi Arabia and Turkey were both early proponents of ousting Asad, Saudi Arabia is now more focused on defeating Houthi rebels in Yemen, and Turkey on fighting Kurdish separatist forces in northern Syria. In return for help from Putin in resolving its Kurdish problem, Turkey in 2016 helped Putin resolve Russia’s Aleppo problem.

As President Donald Trump considers and implements a way forward on working with Russia in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and toward peace in Syria, events of the past several years underscore several fundamental constraints under which Putin will be operating and some challenges that have been overstated.  - National Defense University (DOD)

Zapad-17: Lessons Learned

(Jamestown Foundation) It bears noting that the combat experience Russia gained over the past decade from its military operations in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria directly affects the evolution of the military-political leadership’s vision on forms and methods of modern war. This is why the focus of Russian strategic exercises in recent years have changed accordingly. Zapad 2009, for instance, in a carry-over from Soviet tradition, emphasized the “repulsion of NATO aggression” (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, September 17, 2009), even though nobody in modern Europe was planning to attack Russia. But eight years later, the Zapad 2017 exercise scenario was significantly different: a fictitious non-aligned country, “Veishnoriya,” located in northwest Belarus, supported by “Vesbariya” (drawn in the official exercise map over western Lithuania and central Latvia) and “Lubeniya” (composed of the Suwałki corridor and the northeastern part of Poland), attacks Belarus; the Russian military then comes to its ally’s support and carries out massive and deep air, naval and land strikes across “Veishnoriya’s” entire territory (Deutsche Welle—Russian service, September 8).

It is not difficult to deduce from this fictitious exercise scenario that the Russian military was practicing waging a conventional war against the North Atlantic Alliance that NATO had purportedly started. In this regard, the Kremlin’s key lessons related to the practical testing of Russia’s vision of modern warfare—featuring combined symmetrical and asymmetrical operations, conventional and nuclear forces, as well as hidden and overt threats/operations. For Moscow, mastering these elements of how wars are fought today is a prerequisite for preserving Russian control or dominance over zones of the world it considers as falling within its “vital interests” (and these are not limited to Russia’s so-called “near abroad”) in addition to blocking further NATO enlargement.

During this year’s Zapad drills, Russian troops trained for deep combined air-ground and joint naval operations as well as achieving air and sea superiority. Russian units also tested advanced “command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance” (C4ISR) systems, particularly at the operational level. The exercise featured the newest radio-communication equipment, electronic warfare tactics, and the integration of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) into reconnaissance and target-acquisition systems. Participating units also tested long-range precision-guided munitions as well as the combat sustainability of Russia’s anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) “bubble” (see EDM, September 20; The Wall Street Journal, September 19). - Jamestown Foundation/Eurasia Daily Monitor by Ihor Kabanenko



18 Oct

Iran Nukes

In light of the fact that President Trump is backing away from the Iran deal. I thought I would repost this piece that has some of the background issues not discussed in MSM news sources. This was written some time ago. But one one reads it the whole aspect of energy/oil/gas comes much more in focus.

Trump And NAFTA

(FYI: This was posted for insiders last month)

This is not a story that has been much in the headlines, but it is an important one. Trump has talked loud and often about NAFTA and free Trade but did dial back his rhetoric soon after assuming office this after getting some pressure from GOP leaders. The issues with such negotiations are always rather complex and as we all know, the strictest secrecy is applied to them while they are being negotiated. Their Secrecy that is far better respected than a thousand classified markings at the NSA or the CIA. They do keep those things secret and the leaks regarding these trade deals we have seen in the past, were shall we say 'semi-officially' blessed.

So we are not likely to hear much about what exactly they are negotiating about, but two things are certain to be at the center of the agenda. The first is auto's and the second is agriculture. President Trump's Commerce Secretary has singled out the Auto Industry as being a key item on the new round of NAFTA negotiations.

However, some have stated that this key issue may be put off until later. This new round is being set off (sort of) because the fast track authority  That particular trade authority runs out next year and who knows what mood Congress swill be in in an election year. So what are the issues. Well, I will be a little lazy today and rather than give you a long text based narrative, I will give you some excellent graphics that will help lay out to you what is at stake and what is not at stake. These charts all come from the Congressional Research Service and the Fed.

Before we begin, let us keep in mind that NAFTA's whole purpose was to integrate the North American Continent and was designed to take the economies of the three nations and meld them into one. This would in turn put in place the momentum to integrate the political systems as well. This was one day to be followed by a new currency. Remember the Amero and all the talk about that? That name was what was given to a future currency unit that the three nations would have used. I know there is a whole slew of conspiracy literature on this, but there is more than a a little scholarly literature on this as well. But even in the halls of Congress these things were discussed. Here is an old CRS report that may show you what I mean.

Common Market or Economic Union

 Deeper integration of the North American economic space would imply some form of common market or economic union. A common market area would add free movement of labor and capital; thus, immigration and investment regulations would need to be harmonized or mutually recognized. In addition to a common tariff policy and free trade in goods and services, a common market would imply free movement of capital and labor. At this point, harmonization of certain investment and immigration issues would need to be agreed upon. A type of economic union approaching that of the European Union would also require harmonized or mutually recognized standards and regulations and perhaps some supranational institutions. Although the United States and Canada share many developed country level standards, this form of integration would still need to be meticulously worked out. For example, would the United States adopt the metric system to fulfill its obligations to harmonize standards? Could the two nations adopt common forestry prices and management policies and thereby help resolve the softwood lumber dispute? Would either nation allow supranational entities to overrule laws passed by Congress or Parliament? These questions illustrate the extent to which North American economic integration would affect the governance of the United States, Canada, and possibly Mexico.

Monetary Union

Another discussion recurrent in many Canadian policy circles is that of monetary union with the United States. This potential goal has been discussed in many forms. The Canadian dollar could be linked in value to the U.S. dollar; Canada could adopt the U.S. dollar; or a new North American currency (called the Amero by one proponent) could replace the U.S. and Canadian dollars, and perhaps the Mexican peso. Generally, talk of monetary union north of the border is strongest during times of relative weakness of the loonie vis-a-vis the U.S. dollar. The recent strength of the loonie has diminished such discussion, although the idea still has some proponents.

Those who support monetary union argue that it would force Canada to make the necessary structural adjustments that would make it more competitive with the United States. In other words, dollarization or a currency union would remove the ability to cushion adverse economic conditions through depreciation of the currency. By tying the loonie to the U.S. dollar or by adopting the dollar outright, Canada would be making the unmistakable commitment to converge with U.S. macroeconomic policy. Then Canada would be able to reap the benefits of U.S. policy, which traditionally have been lower inflation, lower interest rates, and higher levels of growth than Canada has experienced. In addition, the savings in trade transaction costs would be significant for the volume of trade the two nations conduct.   - United States-Canada Trade and Economic Relationship: Prospects and Challenges

Well things have changed significantly since then. The runaway globalization train has slown down to a veritable crawl and was in serious peril of derailing altogether. But there appears to be some momentum now in place to not undo all the previous hard work done before.






As noted above, one key issues is auto parts. This issue is not easily soundbite-able, so I will lift a bit out of the CRS report that shows you some of the issues that are at stake.

Under Mexico’s Border Investment Program, maquiladoras operated under the following special rules:

  • lower trade and foreign investment restrictions than other sectors in Mexico;
  • access to duty-free imports of intermediate materials with the condition that a percentage of the final production was exported;
  • duty-free import of manufacturing equipment with the condition that it would be exported if the company ceased to operate under the program; and
  • exemption from Mexican laws requiring majority Mexican ownership and from prohibitions on foreign ownership of real estate near borders and coastlines.
Maquiladora operations increased rapidly during the 1970s and 1980s. As Mexican labor costs were very low compared with those in the United States, U.S.-based automotive manufacturers initially used maquiladoras to make labor-intensive products such as wire harnesses, assemblies of wires that carry electricity to lights, dashboard indicators, and other components. Over time, manufacturers began producing more sophisticated components, such as brakes and suspensions, in maquiladoras. Maquiladora production of auto parts was intended to supply auto assembly plants in the United States and Canada, and it was not integrated with domestic assembly of automobiles in Mexico. At the time, companies such as General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, and Volkswagen, which were assembling vehicles in Mexico, were subject to trade and investment restrictions under a series of Mexican auto decrees that also required a minimum proportion of Mexican content. (See box below on Mexico’s Auto Decrees.) Automobiles produced in Mexico were generally not exported to the United States and Canada and in some cases did not meet U.S. or Canadian safety and emissions standards. Imports of new vehicles from the United States and Canada into Mexico were not allowed prior to 1989.


After NAFTA took effect, Mexico merged the maquiladora operations and Mexican domestic assembly-for-export plants into one program called Maquiladora Manufacturing Industry and Export Services (IMMEX). NAFTA regulations continued to allow maquiladoras to import products duty-free into Mexico, regardless of the country of origin of the products. This phase also allowed maquiladora operations to increase sales to the Mexican domestic market. However, in 2001, rules of origin established in NAFTA replaced the previous special tariff provisions that applied only to maquiladora operations, so that any products that qualified as North American origin could be imported duty-free into Mexico for any purpose. At the same time, some inputs imported by maquiladoras from non-NAFTA countries became subject to Mexican tariffs, raising costs for maquiladoras that imported from countries such as Japan or China. NAFTA Provisions and the Auto Sector The market-opening provisions of NAFTA gradually eliminated all tariffs and most nontariff barriers on goods produced and traded within North America over a period of 15 years starting in 1994. Most of the market-opening measures of NAFTA resulted in the removal of tariffs and quotas applied by Mexico on imports from the United States and Canada. Mexican tariffs were substantially higher than those of the United States at the time NAFTA was negotiated. Moreover, many Mexican products entered the United States duty-free under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences. Prior to NAFTA, the United States assessed the following tariffs on imports from Mexico:
  • 2.5% on automobiles,
  • 25% on light-duty trucks, and
  • a trade-weighted average of 3.1% for automotive parts.

In comparison, Mexico’s more restrictive tariffs on U.S. and Canadian automotive products were 20% on automobiles and light trucks and 10%-20% on auto parts.

NAFTA helped lock in Mexico’s automotive-industry reforms by phasing out the restrictive auto decrees. It also included the gradual removal of many nontariff barriers to trade, provided for uniform country-of-origin provisions, enhanced protection of intellectual property rights, required less restrictive procurement practices by the Mexican government, and eliminated performance requirements on investors from other NAFTA countries. -
NAFTA and Motor Vehicle Trade

This CRS report is especially informative because it gets down to many of the details that are rather boring but do drive the trade and manufacturing agenda. 

Related: In Mexico, $2-per-hour workers make $40,000 SUVs

But while we Americans like to talk about how NAFTA has effect the US and our jobs market, we have forgotten how the agreement has effected Mexico and it has done so in a profound way, both good and bad.

Many of us remember the Zapatista's (EZLN). These were a group of rebels in Mexico who drew their ranks from the poorest and most neglected parts of Mexico, particularly the most southern part of Mexico. The Zapatista's came out against NAFTA from the beginning who viewed NAFTA as a new form of colonization of their nation. NAFTA has done a lot for Mexico economically but not in all areas and for all people. Many areas have seen little real benefit. In fact, there have been protests in Mexico to abandon the agreement. There have been winners and losers and those who have lost are making their voices heard. Moreover Mexico has not so quietly threatened to begin dealing more with Latin America and also with America's geopolitical competitors as a result of trade and other tensions.

In Canada, right now there is an automobile strike transpiring at GM. That Bloomberg story is an interesting one and shows you some of the travails going on in Canada with regards to jobs.

One thing we must keep in mind is that those who were closely watching NAFTA's introduction and implementation back in the 90's and early 2000's saw one thing about it - that it was a clear move against organized labor and laws that were set up to protect workers. Those who wrote on this made it plain that the trends in Globalization were designed to make sure that when labor costs got too high, it was no longer very difficult for corporations to move to a place where labor was cheaper and benefits were non-existent, leaving a hole in the ground where there were once jobs before. NATFA was set up to protect big business from the ability of laborers to organize successfully for better wages, benefits, etc.

Sometimes nations put incentives in place to get companies to move to their nation. Consequently, those with high paying jobs with good benefits, particularly manufacturing jobs, lost out.

Yet having said that, it is probably unfair to blame NAFTA for all of the turmoil with the loss of manufacturing jobs, not at this stage of the game. Automation as well is playing a key role in the destruction of manufacturing Jobs in the US.



Graph are hotlinked.

Conclusion

These are complex issues. Much of the debate these days about jobs is being overtaken by the issue of robotics. Many if not most of those jobs just are not going to come back. But the deeper issues for us Christians are the trends described above that talk of regional political integration and currency union. We are not there yet, not by a long shot as this current administration's combativeness will preclude that kind of deeper political and economic union.

Nevertheless this will have prophetic significance for us. Why?

The globalizers may have taken a major beating in the past few years, particularly with the advent of the crisis of 2008, the Islamic refugee crisis and various moves around the world of movements to break free of larger supranational political and economic unions (Brexit, the attempt at Grexit, now moves in Catalonia, Calexit, etc) are still running at full force. The recent setback in the German elections for Merkel with the Parliamentary seating of the AfD party (Alternative for Deutchland) shows a growing dissatisfaction for the way many issues have been handled with the globalizers.

But under no circumstances do I think the trends in globalization will end. One thing about the global elite is this - they are determined. They never give up. But they will, I think take a different tact in the future. There will be significant resistance to a currency union as discussed back in the '90's. So I do not see an Amero in the near, medium or even long term future. The troubles with the Euro are not lost on the elite, not least of which is the deep political, near revolutionary resentment many have on the way the system has worked them over.

Rather, what is more likely is that somehow a global currency will come into being outside of the purview of national governments or even national Central Banks. This is where I think Cryptocurrencies will eventually make their mark. A digital Currency that is very difficult, if not impossible to counterfeit, cannot be printed up at will by national governments but can be quietly regulated by a supranational entity.

This is what I think the future may hold for us. The rage today over crypto-currencies looks to me to be much more than a passing fancy. More governments are seriously exploring them as well as the BIS (the world's coordinating body for Central Banks). They key for the globalizers is to get control of the global method of trade (currency) for then they have a key lever of economic and later political control of the world economy.

Given leaps and bounds in biometrics and man's deep exploration of DNA, it seems quite possible that one day they will have a cryptocurrency that will be based on an  encryption algorithm  that is  based on each individual's DNA.

And then we may see....


And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond,
to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark,
or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom.
Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast:
for it is the number of a man; and his number is
Six hundred threescore and six.
(Rev 13:16-18)

17  Oct

Fulani Militants Raid Village, Kill 28 Women and Children

Villagers Hiding in School, Found by Militants and Slaughtered

10/17/2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) - International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Fulani militants raided Nkedoron community in Plateau State, Nigeria. During this raid, the militants attacked and killed at least 28 people, mostly Christians, including many women and children. This struggle between Fulani militants and Christian farmers has been an ongoing and bloody struggle for years. As the Fulani continue to migrate south, militants clash with more Christian villages. This year alone, there have been more than 30 attacks on these Christian villages, leaving more than 250 killed and hundreds of homes burned down.

Rev. Andrew Okebe, the Zonal Coordinator of Christian Association of Nigeria, Miango District, told ICC, "The soldiers had told the women and children to go and hide in the primary (elementary) school class at night while the men in the village constituted a vigilante group and join[ed] the soldiers in patrolling the area. Sadly, the militia descended and the soldiers fled, leaving the defenseless villagers to be massacred by the terrorists."

According to Rev. Okebe, these persistent attacks have left villagers feeling like the security operatives assigned to their communities are not committed to protecting and securing their lives from the aggressors whom they believe to be Islamic jihadists who want occupy their land. This attack followed only a few weeks after a Fulani militia invaded Ancha, a neighboring village to Nkedoron, where 20 members of a Baptist church were murdered in cold blood.

The most disturbing part of this attack is that there were members of the military stationed in the village. These soldiers are a part of Operation Safe Haven, which is the government's attempt to confront the Fulani militant violence in the Middle Belt. Even though these soldiers were on the scene before the attack, they did nothing to prevent this terrible atrocity. It has left many questioning the dedication of these men to protecting the communities they are charged with protecting.

ICC's Regional Manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, stated, "We pray for those who are suffering the pain of loss. This unbelievable act of violence is becoming all too common for Christian villages in Nigeria's Middle Belt region. The government of Nigeria must not only condemn the violence, but take the necessary steps to ensure that the perpetrators are punished and unable to commit these acts again. Until then, Christian villagers in the Middle Belt will be left to wonder if their community will be next."
For interviews with Nathan Johnson, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org


***

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.

Blogging Can Be Deadly

The lady behind the Panama Papers loses her life to a car bomb.

12 Oct


Godly Separation

In our times, out is it that we should be living? We Christians who truly know our Lord via experiential knowledge of him by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we must understand that Holiness, true Holiness demands separation from evil. This is not a request, but a demand our Lord makes upon us. We as Christians must not be partakers in evil deeds or be too close to evil people. Those individuals whose wickedness is clear for all to see, we must not let their sinful acts rub off on us. There is a healthy degree of separation that is a requirement for us to be blessed of the Lord.

I believe David, who wrote the first Psalm for us summed up very well what is expected of us saints in a beautiful poetic fashion.
 Blessed is the man
that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,
 nor standeth in the way of sinners,
nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
  But his delight is in the law of the LORD;
and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
(Psalms 1:1-2)

The three basic positions mankind takes while he lives. David makes it clear that we are not to have part in the deeds of the ungodly, the sinful or the scornful which is probably a great way to describe today's militant atheists and secularists or the haters of God (satanists). We are not to take their counsel (advice) nor are we to stand in the way of sinners Lets take a look at three key words in the passage.

We are not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly. The word translated counsel is this one.


H3045
יָדַע
yâda‛
yaw-dah'
A primitive root; to know (properly to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially (including observation, care, recognition; and causatively instruction, designation, punishment, etc.): - acknowledge, acquaintance (-ted with), advise, answer, appoint, assuredly, be aware, [un-] awares, can [-not], certainly, for a certainty, comprehend, consider, X could they, cunning, declare, be diligent, (can, cause to) discern, discover, endued with, familiar friend, famous, feel, can have, be [ig-] norant, instruct, kinsfolk, kinsman, (cause to, let, make) know, (come to give, have, take) knowledge, have [knowledge], (be, make, make to be, make self) known, + be learned, + lie by man, mark, perceive, privy to, X prognosticator, regard, have respect, skilful, shew, can (man of) skill, be sure, of a surety, teach, (can) tell, understand, have [understanding], X will be, wist, wit, wot.
Total KJV occurrences: 946


This is a rather complex word that has many different connotations, but the translator did use the correct word here. But as we can see it also means many other things. I see this verse as being one that would preclude a Christian from becoming a Freemason. A person must take oaths and partake of their doctrines and accept other Freemasons, as brothers. Those who become Freemasons actually are taking counsel with and from the ungodly. I say this because for the Freemasons, they have their own God which they call the 'great (or grand) architect of the universe' which allows for any and all religions into its body. They have their own 'understanding' and their own set of doctrines which a person is slowly initiated into higher levels if they get the 'blessing' of the higher Masons. One rises faster the more money and or business connections one has that helps enrich their brother Masons. Then one gets to know the higher 'counsels' of this secretive group.

Additionally we Christians can be influenced by others who want to give their ungodly and often satanic advice. Often those who give such advice have no idea that they are working under the power of the devil. They will tell you what they think you should do, who you should see, where you should go, how you should do this or that. I know I have had that problem many times in the past when those who have turned on the Lord and have gone aside to wickedness start to tell me how I should run my site and how I need to be more this or less that and generally tell me in a subtle way, "come with us, don't follow that Jesus stuff anymore, help us bless Nazi's, help me steal this $5000 air conditioner, link over to this new age site, etc". This is the kind of counsel ungodly people will eventually give to you, given enough time. To take their ungodly counsel is the first step off of the path of life. This is why the Psalmist tells us not to walk in their counsels. Perhaps we should take a quick look at the world walk as well.

H1980
הָלַךְ
hâlak
haw-lak'
Akin to H3212; a primitive root; to walk (in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively): - (all) along, apace, behave (self), come, (on) continually, be conversant, depart, + be eased, enter, exercise (self), + follow, forth, forward, get, go (about, abroad, along, away, forward, on, out, up and down), + greater, grow, be wont to haunt, lead, march, X more and more, move (self), needs, on, pass (away), be at the point, quite, run (along), + send, speedily, spread, still, surely, + tale-bearer, + travel (-ler), walk (abroad, on, to and fro, up and down, to places), wander, wax, [way-] faring man, X be weak, whirl.
Total KJV occurrences: 1545

The idea the Psalmist seems to have wanted to covey was to have familiarity with, to go down the same path and to 'hang out' with or to be at ease with those who know not God. One mistake I will never make again is to be at ease and share any confidence with a person who has not shown a consistent love of Christ and his ways. I strongly exhort you all to do the same. Be careful of friendships with godless people particularly in these troubled times. At work of course we must all have some kind of professional associations and even some social interaction is expected or required. Nevertheless, keep in mind who you belong to and what he expects of you and know that when the spirit of Judas appears, it always comes in the form of a friend or family member. Take great care who you walk with and whom you take counsel from.

The next stanza warns about who to stand with or rather, who not to stand with. We are not to stand with sinners. The word for stand is this one.

H5975
עָמַד
‛âmad
aw-mad'
A primitive root; to stand, in various relations (literally and figuratively, intransitively and transitively): - abide (behind), appoint, arise, cease, confirm, continue, dwell, be employed, endure, establish, leave, make, ordain, be [over], place, (be) present (self), raise up, remain, repair, + serve, set (forth, over, -tle, up), (make to, make to be at a, with-) stand (by, fast, firm, still, up), (be at a) stay (up), tarry.
Total KJV occurrences: 521

Brown Driver Briggs Dictionary gives us this definition.
H5975
עמד
‛âmad
BDB Definition:
1) to stand, remain, endure, take one’s stand
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to stand, take one’s stand, be in a standing attitude, stand forth, take a stand, present oneself, attend upon, be or become servant of
1a2) to stand still, stop (moving or doing), cease
1a3) to tarry, delay, remain, continue, abide, endure, persist, be steadfast
1a4) to make a stand, hold one’s ground
1a5) to stand upright, remain standing, stand up, rise, be erect, be upright
1a6) to arise, appear, come on the scene, stand forth, appear, rise up or against
1a7) to stand with, take one’s stand, be appointed, grow flat, grow insipid
1b) (Hiphil)
1b1) to station, set
1b2) to cause to stand firm, maintain
1b3) to cause to stand up, cause to set up, erect
1b4) to present (one) before (king)
1b5) to appoint, ordain, establish
1c) (Hophal) to be presented, be caused to stand, be stood before
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root
Same Word by TWOT Number: 1637
The connotation is broad but I find the idea of 'making a stand' with those who know not God as being an important but hardly the only connotation. When the wicked make their stand, we must not be with them. This is I think an important one for we Christians today in our heavily politicized environment. We need to hold fast to that which is good and to stand fast with God, not the godless.

The next stanza uses the sitting metaphor. The word sitteth is this one in the Hebrew.


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

Here the connotation has a slightly more permanent effect than one of walking or standing. Sitting means to remain, to and as noted above, it could mean settling down in a home or marriage. Such associations are forbidden unto us especially with the scornful. 

Here lets take a look at what he BDB dictionary says about the word scornful.
H3887
לוּץ
lûts
BDB Definition:
1) to scorn, make mouths at, talk arrogantly
1a) (Qal)
1a1) to boast
1a2) to scorn
1b) (Hiphil)
1b1) to mock, deride
1b2) to interpret (language)
1b2a) interpreter (participle)
1b2b) ambassador (figuratively)
1c) (Hithpalpel) to be inflated, scoff, act as a scorner, show oneself a mocker
Part of Speech: verb
A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root
Same Word by TWOT Number: 1113
Have you ever been around an arrogant prick who loves to mock and cast dispersions on you? A guy or gal who never has anything good to say about anything? Or one who has the deepest contempt for your faith in God and takes every opportunity to say something negative about you and your God? The scriptural admonition almost seems moot, but is stated nevertheless. Don't live with, sit with, dwell with marry or otherwise get to close to such. In not sitting with such so you will be blessed by the most high. You know, when I get rid of bad relationships I feel like a giant load is taken off of my shoulders. Like a dark cloud has been removed from around me or a painful boil or wound has been suddenly healed. The best bet for all of us is to not let that dark cloud get next to us in the first place.

The sum of this little spiritual aside can be found in the New Testament in the book of 2nd Corinthians.

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:
for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath
he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath
the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God;
as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them;
and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,
saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
And will be a Father unto you,
and ye shall be my sons and daughters,
saith the Lord Almighty.

(2Co 6:14-18)

May God grant you all wisdom in your relationships and may he guide your footsteps more gently than he was forced to deal with me on this issue! Take the Lord's advice and watch who you Stand, Walk and Sit with and receive the blessing of the Lord for so doing!

But what also must be made plain is that we must not give into Pharisee-ism and take on a spiritual arrogance that makes us think we are better than others. This was the downfall of the religious establishment in Christ's time.  No, better a quiet humility, full of love and grace  - this should be the cornerstone of our character.

Grace and peace to you all in Jesus Christ,

Brother Mark

11 Oct


Humanitarian Watch

Probably better called the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse Watch...

Ethiopian Famine Watch
A surge in food insecurity – now affecting 8.5 million people, up from 5.6 million in January – and staggering malnutrition rates in drought-affected areas are in large part a consequence of insufficient livelihoods response, which remains just 43% funded. - FAO

South Sudan Operational Overview
A look at what is being done in South Sudan, rather than just how bad the situation is.

This report does look at the dire circumstances of the region.

Source: Famine Early Warning System (FEWS)

Fearsome Epidemic Hits Madagascar
This is pretty bad and some are comparing it to the West African Ebola outbreak not so long ago. This is the Pneumonic plague and kills much faster than the bubonic type. Public facilities are closed. Another link on this can be found here.

Sudan: Cancer Increase In River Nile State
Here a toxin is suspected as there are other widespread anomalies in the area; crops not growing, miscarriages, etc.

India: Unknown Disease Effects Crops
Nothing they have used to stop the spread has thus far worked.

Famine In Yemen
A link to the FAO's Yemen page with the latest resources.

Yemeni's  Cholera Outbreak About To Break Record
Stars and Stripes looks at the deadly outbreak of the disease during this long and violent struggle.

8 Oct

Ruth Part IV


(Right now, I am going through the book of Ruth for insiders. Here is one section done a couple of weeks ago of one of the more wonderful passages in the OT.) - MSW


And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee:
 for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge:
thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me,
and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. When she saw that
she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.

(Rth 1:16-18)

As we left off last time, Ruth and her two daughters-in-law were getting ready to part, probably forever as Naomi was preparing to make her way back to Judah. One of them was going to go back to her people of Moab (Oprah) but the other, Ruth, as we read in the above passage, was steadfast in her determination to go to Judah with Naomi. There was obviously the deepest regard for Naomi and her ways that both women held for her, but with Ruth it was clearly deeper. Ruth deeply honored her mother-in-law and was determined to stay with her, come what may. Here is how Adam Clarke sums up what I think is one of the most beautiful and wonderful passages in scripture.
And Ruth said - A more perfect surrender was never made of friendly feelings to a friend: I will not leave thee - I will follow thee: I will lodge where thou lodgest - take the same fare with which thou meetest; thy people shall be my people - I most cheerfully abandon my own country, and determine to end my days in thine. I will also henceforth have no god but thy God, and be joined with thee in worship, as I am in affection and consanguinity. I will cleave unto thee even unto death; die where thou diest; and be buried, if possible, in the same grave. This was a most extraordinary attachment, and evidently without any secular motive.
This powerful attachment was in reality one of both love and honor for Naomi, but also one of faith. She obviously saw something very different in her mother-in-law than what she was used to in other Moabite women. I say this attachment was particularly powerful because she had to know of the dangers that awaited her, a childless widow of Moabite persuasion going into Judah. The journey as well would not be easy, not for two unattached women traveling alone. Yet and still despite all of this she was willing to go wherever Naomi went. This in many ways is a quite prophetic passage of scripture it shows a person who was willing to give up all to follow after a person of  God to a place she could not be sure of... demonstrated something important - faith. Not the sit around and wait for a miracle belief, but a get moving, roll up your sleeves kind of faith.

This was the kind of faith Abraham had when he pulled up stakes from Ur and went to a land that was only described as a place the Lord would show him. This was faith. I would also add that this idea of following someone like this so unconditionally is so thoroughly is reminiscent of the way the 144,000 follow after Christ.



And they sung as it were a new song before the throne,
and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn
that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand,
which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which
were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.
These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.
These were redeemed from among men, being the
firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth
was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
(Rev 14:3-5)

These special men who are the first fruits of God follow the Christ wherever he goes. Just like Ruth did with Naomi. When we are born into the kingdom and place Christ as our Lord - Lord by the way, not being some meaningless title - we in essence do the same. We agree to be commanded by him and go wherever he sends us, even if we don't really want to do it. I never wanted to come back to America from Germany and were it not for the command of my God to return, I would never have come back here - no joke. But when I rededicated by life back to the Lord I knew it was a major test to see if I would obey him and do the things that he commanded or go after my own ways and in essence rebel. I was faithful to God and did as I was commanded. I could easily have remained where I was. But I knew what God wanted me to do. God was testing my faithfulness and my obedience. He will do the same with all of his true children one way or another as time passes. When I decided to return to Christ over three decades ago, I made up my mind that wherever he sent me, I would go and whatever he wanted me to do, that would I do. NO MATTER WHAT.

The kind of steadfast faithfulness we see in Ruth is exceptionally rare. Husbands and wives rarely have this kind of dedication to one another in our divorce ridden, selfish and throw-away society. Too many will continue to love you only if they.... [name your 'love' conditionality here]. There was no such conditionality with Ruth and there should be none with us and our Lord. He may very well require our lives of us one day and warned us all before hand to count the cost.

But this passage to me only goes to show that like the wise man said, there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly:
and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
(Pro 18:24)


Blessed is the man who finds such a friend. Doubly blessed is a person who can find a mate who has the dedication and faith of a Ruth to brave all hardship in order to remain faithful to his or her mate. Have you found such a mate or friend or fellow traveler in Christ? You may count yourself doubly blessed.

The last part of the passage says that she was steadfastly minded to go with her. The word for steadfastly minded is a very interesting one as it demonstrates a little more than just determination. Here is the Strong's word.

אָמַץ
'âmats
aw-mats'
A primitive root; to be alert, physically (on foot) or mentally (in courage): - confirm, be courageous (of good courage, stedfastly minded, strong, stronger), establish, fortify, harden, increase, prevail, strengthen (self), make strong (obstinate, speed).
Total KJV occurrences: 41

This is the same word that the Lord used with Joshua when he told him to be strong and of good courage (Josh 1:6,9,18). Ruth was going to be strong and courageous and deal with the travails and troubles that would come as they came, with faith.

One thing my mother always passed on to me was this - God always honors faith. Real faith. Put your trust in the almighty. Trust God always and fully in obedience and faith and he will never fail or forsake you.  I will quote here from the Biblical illustrator.

Decision a safeguard
If a man is seen to be decided in his stand for Christ, antagonists will give over assailing him. There is nothing in the use of which men are more discriminating than entreaty, argument, or influence. So long as the object of their solicitude is wavering, they will bring all their batteries to bear upon him, for there is still the hope that he will yield. But when he comes openly and determinedly out for Christ, they will waste no more ammunition on him. They leave him thenceforth alone, and attack some one else. Thus decision, while it may require an effort to make it, is, after it is made, a safeguard against assault, So long as a vessel has no flag at her mast-head, the sea-robber may think it safe to attack her; but let her hoist the flag of this nation, and that will make the assailant pause. In like manner, the hoisting over us of the banner of the Cross, being a symbol of decision, is also an assurance of protection. (W.M. Taylor, D. D.) - Biblical Illustrator

We will continue this work in Ruth next week, God willing as we see how things go when she returns to Judah.

US, Nigerian Troops Ambushed, Killed

Map Source: KDE Marble (Public Domain)

(ICG) According to U.S. and Nigerien security sources, on 4 October 2017 a mixed patrol of U.S. and Nigerien special forces was ambushed near Tongo Tongo, a village located in the Tillabery region (about 120km north of the capital, Niamey), a few kilometres from the border with Mali. The precise death toll is still uncertain but at least five Nigerien and three U.S. soldiers were killed. Several others are wounded or missing, and Nigerien sources say the patrol’s vehicles were looted or destroyed.

The patrol may have been attacked by jihadists operating in the region, but there was no early claim of responsibility and what happened may only become clear over time. U.S. troops are supporting Nigerien armed forces fighting jihadists in at least two locations in the country, Aguelal and Diffa. The U.S. also is present elsewhere in Niger (and the region): it is establishing a drone and airbase near Agadez (northern Niger) and its forces are present at Niamey airport where they share space with French and Nigerien forces.

This is not the first attack against security forces in the area. Indeed, Nigerien forces have suffered repeated attacks there since early 2017, including against the special counter-terrorism unit whose men are trained by the U.S. But this is the first attack to have claimed the lives of U.S. soldiers.


Who Was Responsible?


In July 2017, alone, local representatives of the Fulani community – one of the largest ethnic group in West Africa comprised mostly of herders – claimed that militias of rival ethnic groups, the Tuareg and Doosaak (a nomadic group close to and often confused with the Tuaregs but with a distinct language) killed some 46 civilians, purportedly as part of counter-terrorism operations. Conversely, Tuareg representatives repeatedly accuse local Fulanis of murdering members of their communities with jihadist support.

In reality, jihadist violence often intertwines with local intercommunal tensions related to competition over natural resources and trafficking, making it difficult to distinguish the real nature and motives of many incidents.- International Crisis Group

Comment: It remains to  be seen who is really responsible, but I find it interesting that this piece brings out the links between the Fulani and Islamic militants. Keep in mind that the Fulani have been harassing and even killing Christians.

Another Green Beret's death has been announced in this incident making the total US killed to four.


6 Oct

Sudan: Trump Set To Permanently Lift Sanctions

The Sudan Tribune covers the story and the official reasons why.

FYI, Human Rights Watch wrote a letter to the UN on the state of human rights in Sudan, it can be found here. Numerous violent attacks have been perpetrated by the Sudanese regime in Darfur and elsewhere that have made few news headlines here in the US.  The HRW, piece covers some of the key points.

The Persecution Project also has some stories on it as they focus on this issue for the region. This article, written last July, talks about the crisis there from the perspective of a Sudanese Pastor.

China Detains Two Christians And Young Child For Missionary Work

They were preaching the gospel in public squares, sang and danced and were arrested.

172 Montagnard's To Be Deported

They sought asylum in Cambodia but according to officials are not eligible for refugee status. They have been on the receiving end of considerable persecution in the past. It is unclear how they will be treated when repatriated.

16 Year Old Coptic Girl Rescued After Islamists Kidnapped Her

(World Watch Monitor) A 16-year-old Coptic Christian girl kidnapped on 28 June to be “converted to Islam, then married off or sold”, was released and returned to her family on 30 September after police found her and arrested her kidnappers in a city just outside Cairo.

Marilyn was recovered from a city named 10th of Ramadan, but she is from a village several hundred kilometres south, in the governorate of Minya...

One of many

Her kidnapping was part of a series of disappearances in which Coptic girls were targeted by Islamist networks, who kidnap and force them to convert to Islam and then either marry them off or sell them for large amounts of money, as World Watch Monitor reported last month.

According to ‘G’, a former kidnapper who said he actively targeted Coptic girls before he left Islam, the group he was part of “rented apartments in different areas of Egypt to hide kidnapped Coptic girls. There, they put them under pressure and threaten them to convert to Islam. And once they reach the legal age, a specially arranged Islamic representative comes in to make the conversion official, issue a certificate and accordingly they change their ID”.

‘G’ said one of the strategies they used to gain the girls’ trust was for the kidnapper, a Muslim man, to tell the Christian girl he loved her and wanted to convert to Christianity for her...

Story Source: World Watch Monitor


3 Oct


Micah Chapter 7


Note: This was posted a year or so ago, but as I have started the Micah series here, I will re-post this again to finish it up in sequence. - MSW 3 Oct 2017

Filthy, Rotten People - Then and Now


Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits,
as the grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat:
my soul desired the firstripe fruit. The good man is perished
out of the earth: and there is none upright among men:
they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.
That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh,
and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man,
he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up.

(Mic 7:1-3)


How many Christians really know what time it is? It is a hard time.


Those were hard times, the spiritual condition of the nation was not just some kind of prophetic mumblings, it was seen and felt in the everyday living of those who walked with God. The Judges were taking bribes in Micah's time. It was no aberration, this was the way thing were done back them and this much I know, that Gay marriage ruling we had a few days ago was worked out long ago. The political wheels were greased, the right case was heard by the court and now you have all of this Sodomy. Obamacare? The same thing. One Justice took a bribe to make sure it passed and ensure any challenge to it was duly put down.


The US Supreme Court is probably the most corrupt court in the world. Bribery rules in the American legal system, just like it did in Ancient Israel. The people of the day worked earnestly, very hard to do evil. They were evil times. Times very much like today in so many parts of the world. The West in the past used to not be quite as corrupt as she has become in the past 20 years or so, but it has gone off the rails these days. Even a former Senator has railed against the corruption in Washington Brothers, it is far worse that anyone on the web can tell you. Micah is relaying the same spiritual rot that he sees in his times. Then he goes on to tell Godly folks how they should operate in those days. Brothers, last days America is 70% there already and rapidly moving in the wrong direction. In many ways, the American nation is worse, but its worse crimes and bloody abominations are hidden behind the wall of government classifications.

Look at the kinds of news we have seen, police shooting people down unarmed people in cold blood, lying in wait for the Black man to gun him down. The good men were very few and far between, Micah was living in a generation of vipers. We also in America more and more are living among a generation of vipers. Many of them in uniform. 

The prophet is just relaying to his hearers what it is like to live in times when sin rules and what God's people should and should not be doing. The first thing is to not be a trusting soul who opens his mind and heart to even his closest companions. Micah goes on to observe and then exhort,

The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper
than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh;
now shall be their perplexity. Trust ye not in a friend,
put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of
thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom
. For the son
dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against
her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law;
 a man's enemies are the men of his own house.

(Mic 7:4-6)

Men were thoroughly treacherous. Even those who were righteous in the eyes of other wicked men were worthless. This passage is very reminiscent of the times that Christ warned about in the last days. Here is what our Lord had to say about them. Look carefully at the passage for in it are many clues and I think give light to the times that are coming for us.

But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils,
and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall
be brought before governors and kings for my sake,
for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when
they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall
speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what
ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father
which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the
brother to death, and the father the child: and the children
shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death
.
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake:
but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

(Mat 10:17-22)

Christ is not telling us to be some happy-go-lucky, all trusting half-wit in dangerous times. He is warning us of future treachery in the world's most treasured and trusted personal relationships. He says BEWARE OF MEN. Micah's warning indeed was for those of his time, but they can be safely applied in a more general sense to our times as well. I know this much - Over the past few years I have just noticed a different spirit in Americans. People I know, they just seem to have no love for right anymore, they are far more interested in their political, financial and sexual agenda's. Morality has become obsolete to so many people, or their morality is 180 degrees opposite to God's... the God who raised up and blessed this nation above all others. The God of all things the nation has now forsaken. Now granted I have a somewhat limited scope of people I see regularly, but do you know what I rarely see on the face of Americans in their day to day living? I'll tell you. A smile. Its a rare thing these days. People just don't smile, they don't take kindness kindly (except those of lower economic estate, they often appreciate simple kindness). Brothers our nation has just entered the outer rim of the devil spiritual no-mans land. Micah is giving us a strong and important exhortation if we are to be victorious in such a time and place. Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. I used to keep this saying in my heart for years and these days I have pulled it out and keep in in the front of my mind these days. “Trust is the occupation of fools, and its wages are disappointment” Yes, it is overboard in its generalization but still, in times like these when someone asks me to trust them, especially (sadly) other Christians, I just have to keep that saying in mind, go into my closet and get that steel plate to put under the back of my T-shirt(!).


I want to relay this to you as an aside – I think it important. Before I started this last chapter of Micah, I bowed my head and the Lord just said to me - those relationships had to go, it was needful for the times we are in. Then he told me to tell all of you just what he told me. They were both bad news and a danger to me personally and this humble ministry in particular. But I have to tell you that long before it happened the Lord warned me that it was going to happen and told me why. I was stubborn, not rebellions, just stubborn... I did not believe that these people would do me wrong.

They did though I don't think out of any maliciousness, just souls that are lost, thinking they are God's work and doing the devils. One I know and the other I think just stopped believing in the God of the Bible, that Christ is really the only and true way into the Kingdom. One just apostatized, the other I think has gone down a path of spiritual compromise in the devil's agency, never to return, deceiving and being deceived.

But I am not putting the whole fault on them. The problem was not all their fault. What I did that was wrong was that I trusted both to begin with, and did not heed the Spirit of God when it was no more whispering but as much as God's Holy Spirit can, was shouting in my soul... Danger!!! This guy is poison! Judas alert! Not in those exact words, but the effect on my spirit man was the same. The problem is I don't think these kinds of Christians and so many nominal Christians really know God. One of these men (who claimed Christ) told me one of the last times we spoke that 'We All Worship the same God'. I told him that what ever God the nut jobs in ISIS is worshiping, I am not, nor do I think their victims would claim such demon spirits as deities. He could not say anything, and I am almost certain he indirectly aided their rise to satanic power, even if peripherally, knowing what he was doing. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”, so saith the scripture and when he said that to me and tried to argue it, I knew that I had to start listening to what the Spirit of God had been saying to me or trouble was on the Horizon.

Trusting these men; that was my failing. Truly a failing in these treacherous times that I think Micah in the first part of this chapter lays out for his time. He is pointing out just what is wrong with the people of his time and that anyone who puts their trust in such people is behaving most foolishly.

Brothers and sisters, I know that it is hard to let go of some relationships, it is hard to break with a well worn and comfortable routine. What Micah in the first verse is telling his hearers is that he lives in place where the people are rotten... rotten to the core. It is like Micah is looking for some good wholesome fellowship, an honest, good companion and cannot find it. The number of good people are few and far between. He is looking for someone to trust, and cannot find it. It's like he is looking for a rose and can only find poison ivy. He's looking for water and can only find vinegar; he's looking for a friend, and can only find the Old Testament version of Judas.


Yet having said that brothers we do need to understand that being an overly suspicious person can lead to bitterness and a terrible Christian witness and even make you into the kind of people the scriptures tell us to be wary of. If I had to sum it up, I would say that intelligent and consistent caution should be exercised in all of your relationships from here on. BEWARE OF MEN – means exactly what it says. Don't try and reinterpret it to no effect and don't turn your back on or put too much faith in folks who have not shown a consistent, long and deeply Christian walk.


This fake western GOP-esque or liberal left-wing Christianity does not count as a Christian walk. I am talking about people who have walked the walk, made deep scarifies for the kingdom and are fully and completely Christ's...even to the death! If you do trust people too much in these times you are likely to be betrayed and at the worst possible moment.


Yes, this is a hard saying. It goes contrary to the 'happy happy' gospel that is preached in western Churches - pray up a Cadillac and roll into the kingdom in a Rolls Royce. Let the wiser souls (most of your here) in the Lord digest what Micah and Christ are telling us in dangerous times.... and apply them.


Micah makes reference to the day of thy watchmen and of the visitation. Micah is telling the people that all the prophecies that were told about those days were going to come to pass. Big trouble would be on the horizon, even as God revealed to his prophets. God was going to move and all those who mocked God's watchmen and holy prophets would regret it and wish they had listened. People rarely do and that is why so many souls are lost. God sends his watchmen and prophets and no one listens. He warns them and they mock and laugh and go right on sinning, often worse than before... often in defiance and mockery.


Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the
 God of my salvation: my God will hear me. Rejoice not against me,
O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness,
the LORD shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of
the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause,
and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light,
and I shall behold his righteousness.

(Mic 7:7-9)


Micah then tells how he will behave in times like these. He is not going to be like the lost souls, he is going to look to the Lord and he is going to wait for the God of his salvation. This is the mind we have to have in these times. Brothers, the world is going to turn against us. We must not put our trust in men, not mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sisters or brothers. We must put our trust fully and completely in the Lord. Brother, we have no better friend that Christ.


Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you
(Joh 15:14)


And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God,
and it was imputed unto him for righteousness:
and he was called the Friend of God.
 (James 2:23)

Try and understand what I am saying to you. Each of you who know Christ are very, very precious in his eyes. He loves you deeply and sincerely. Much too much to let a snake in the grass mess up your walk with him. The snakes in the grass are going to multiply like rabbits in the years ahead. When God and the Holy Spirit senses danger, listen to what God has to say. Don't do like I did and wait until it was almost too late. Listen and heed, rather than ignore and bleed!

Micah's utters his deep unyielding faith in God that he would hear him in the day of trouble. Micah would look to the God of his salvation in faith! What is interesting is that Micah's prayer makes no request for immunity from the troubles of life or from Divine Chastisement. No, his faith knows that these things do come but he looks to God for his help and salvation. Every prophet and minister has to endure trails and tribulations to complete their ministry. Micah and all the prophets knew that. At times their work seems vain and utterly hopeless. Even the Apostles of the NT had the same problem. Look at Paul's life. Look at the book of Hebrews, where the saints were thinking about forsaking the gospel. Paul could have gotten discouraged during all those years in jail. But you know what he did? He wrote most of the NT while in prison! There is a saying I have always liked and it says that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Don't mope about with a 'poor pitiful me' attitude. Sometimes hard things come into our lives, often to redirect us. Take your redirection humbly. God knows what he is doing. It may not seem like it in the natural realm but as time passes, if you are faithful to him, he will show you how important your redirection was. Faith is the key, faith and obedience.

There is no easy road into the kingdom brothers and sisters and if you are having a hard time of it and have maintained your faith and have not walked away, be assured, you are not alone and that your experiences are par for the course! Don't let your circumstances depress you brothers, God knows what you are going through and what is to come!

The prophet then gives an exhortation to Israel's enemies, that they should not rejoice over her fall when it comes to pass. This is because while her punishment is severe, it is only temporary. God will still be a light to his people, even in their darkest hour. God was still with them, even though he had to severely chastise them. The prophet uses his prose in the first person and describes the sins of the people which he probably is also identifying at least partially with himself. Prophets are not perfect and the problem with so many of the devils accusers is that when one slips and falls, all of the satanic accusations from hell and demonic pointing fingers are there to point out the Man of God's human failings. Here is how John Gill's Commentary puts this passage, I think it fitting for us in these times, I will cut and paste it here.

...the Chaldeans or Edomites, or both, who rejoiced at the destruction of Jerusalem, and the calamities the people of the Jews were brought into at it; see Psa_137:7; spiritually, Satan the great enemy of mankind, and especially of the church and people of God, to whom it is a pleasure to draw them into any sin or snare, and to do them any hurt and mischief; and also the Inert of the world, who hate and persecute the saints; and watch for their haltings, and rejoice at their falls into sin, and at any calamity and affliction that may attend them, though there is no just reason for it; since this will not always be the case of the saints, they will be in a better situation, and in more comfortable circumstances; and it will be the turn of their enemies to be afflicted, punished, and tormented: - John Gill's Exposition Of The Entire Bible


Brothers, how I know what Mr. Gill is talking about. How many people in power want to set me up and tried and almost succeeded. The only thing I can say to each of you is this. God knows our failings. I know mine and so does God. If God has to chastise you, as he almost did with me then sit quietly and put your trust him God, he knows your affliction and knows how long it will last, he will not let your enemies rejoice over you forever. He's got something very 'special' prepared for the enemies of his people.


When God is finished with chastisement, he will indeed bring you out of the darkness and back into the light of his love and salvation, often with a blessing. I always remember the trials of Job. Job at the end of his horrendous trail (how many people could survive that one brothers!) was greatly blessed. How did God bless Job?


And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed
for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much
as he had before. Then came there unto him all his brethren,
 and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his
acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house:
and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil
that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him
a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. So the LORD
blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning:
 for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels,
and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.
He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the
name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second,
Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch. And in all the
land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job:
and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.
After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons,
and his sons' sons, even four generations. So Job died,
being old and full of days.

(Job 42:10-17)


Yes, the Lord will afflict and allow affliction to come into our lives. But he is always constant to those who are constant with him and often bless his people at the end of that affliction, if they are faithful to him throughout it. What gives us this constancy? Faith brothers, faith!


Then she that is mine enemy shall see it, and shame shall
cover her which said unto me, Where is the LORD thy God?
mine eyes shall behold her: now shall she be trodden down
 as the mire of the streets. In the day that thy walls are to be built,
in that day shall the decree be far removed.

(Mic 7:10-11)


Then there are the God mockers. Yes, there were many of them in Micah's day. They dwelt in the lands where Israel's enemies dwelt.


The 'she' referred to is probably Ancient Babylon. She was at the height of her power and arrogance. They rejoiced over Israel's fall and mocked their faith in Jehovah. Have we not heard this kind of mockery in our society today? I can remember some one making a comment about California's Gay Marriage Amendment. I cannot remember who it was but his comment went like, 'well, the ground has not opened up because of this!' This mocking spirit is very much with us today. It is of the devil. It is most prevalent in major empires who enjoy prosperity and pleasures and consistently use violence to get the goods that they want, not at all unlike end times Babylon (America). We have heard the God mockers and can see them in a great many websites and postings. This is no longer the fringe of American society, but more and more it is becoming mainstream. This is why Gay Marriage is now the law of the land and satanic monuments and temples are being erected. There is increasingly outright scorn and mockery for God in our Nation.


Mockers will always mock when things are at their worst for us Christians. The demon spirits enter into them (yes, they do) and begin to mock and rail and spit their hate at the God in heaven who has pronounced his eternal judgment on these fallen beings; eternally consigning these spirits into everlasting darkness. This is why they hate the Lord so much and seek to destroy man as well. Even Christ had to deal with these demonic utterances when on the Cross (Matt 27:43). We are not immune to it brothers, let them mock. God is giving mankind a full and complete opportunity to show whose side it is on, God's or the devils. So when they mock remember this, God see's it and shall forever remember it.

And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men
that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die,
neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an
 abhorring unto all flesh.

(Isa 66:24
)

Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
(Mar 9:44)


Micah then makes clear that just as the chastisement of Israel was foretold and came to pass, so shall the destruction of this arrogant Babylon come to pass. Brothers, as the scriptures say, God is not mocked.


Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth,
that shall he also reap.

(Gal 6:7)


The devil may drive men to mock God, but the devils know that God is, and are very, very afraid of him.


Thou believest that there is one God;
thou doest well:
 the devils also believe,
and tremble.
(Jam 2:19)


Yes, if the devil is getting people to believe there is no God, it is only consistent with the devil and his character; to lie, misdirect, be evasive and be false. His main goal, to get you to act based upon a lie.


In the day that thy walls are to be built, in that day shall the
decree be far removed. In that day also he shall come even
to thee from Assyria, and from the fortified cities, and from
the fortress even to the river, and from sea to sea, and from
mountain to mountain. Notwithstanding the land shall be desolate
because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their doings.

(Mic 7:11-13)


This prophecy is clearly for Israel when God brings them back from where they were captive. The day that the Walls are rebuilt is almost certainly a reference to Nehemiah (Neh 2:17). The decree that is to be removed is probably the unrighteous decree's of Babylon when she falls.

However some think the passage is too broad and all encompassing to refer just to that time and see perhaps some kind of end time fulfillment. The people (probably Israelites, but it is not 100% clear from the passage) come from


Assyria

The fortified cities

From the fortress even to the river

From sea to sea

From mountain to mountain


Yet Barnes says this and I think it most enlightening.


The destruction, captivity, restoration, were parts of one and the same decree of God, of which the restoration was the last accomplished in time. The restoration was not the removal, but the complete fulfillment, of the decree. He means then probably, that the decree of the enemy, whereby he held her captive, was to remove and be far off, not by any agency of her’s . The people were to stream to her of themselves. One by one, shall all thy banished, captive, scattered, children be brought quite home unto thee from all parts of the earth, whither they have been driven, “from Assyria, and from strong-land”. - Albert Barnes


This is what leads others (and myself) to think this passage has a dual meaning, both to encourage the Jews of Micah's and later Nehemiah's time, but also for a larger more grand fulfillment just before the time of Christ's return. But verse 13 reminds them that there is going to be time of desolation for the land because of the sins of the people. Ultimately the prophet is reminding the people that Babylon and Edom are footnotes and asterisks in Israel's fate. They are merely the tools that God used to chastise Israel for her wickedness and as a result of those sins, the land would remain desolate for an appointed time. This is why the following verse changes track from one of hope back to one of severe chastisement.


Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage,
which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel:
let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old.
According to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt
will I shew unto him marvellous things. The nations shall see
and be confounded at all their might: they shall lay their
hand upon their mouth, their ears shall be deaf.

(Mic 7:14-16)


The day of this deliverance (from Micah's time) is a ways off. Micah is telling them basically, 'don't rejoice yet, you have not paid the piper for your evils and pay him you shall'. Micah's prayer/utterance goes on to remind the hearer how God took Israel of old out of Egypt and how Israel was to dwell alone (separate – in the world but of it) . The reference to Bashan and Gilead is also a reference to Israel in its early days and where she dwelt.

When these things happen, all of the people come flowing into the holy land, God restores his people and they dwell in a land of plenty, The nations (gentiles/lost peoples) will see it and be shocked and confounded. They would be put to shame. When God moves in his powerful ways, no man can stop it. Those who worked against God, mocked him and spat at God's people shall be ashamed. Nothing or no one can hinder God's purposes.

Yea, since the day was I am he; and there is none that can
deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who can hinder it?
Thus saith Jehovah, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and I will bring down
all of them as fugitives, even the Chaldeans, in the ships
of their rejoicing.
(Isa 43:13-14)

No one can deliver out of God's hands and his purposes shall be established.


They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move
out of their holes like worms of the earth: they shall be
afraid of the LORD our God, and shall fear because of thee.

(Mic 7:17)


The reference to the snake is probably meant both as a reference to their humiliation and their spiritless pedigree. The passage is an interesting one and another one that makes this author believe that these passages are referring to the end times. Note that reference to the holes, where creeping things dwell. Could this be an oblique reference to the end times when...


And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men,
and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every
bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us,
and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne,
and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his
wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

(Rev 6:15-17)


These kings and rich men of the last days are sore afraid of the God of heaven and his Messiah. Why? Because of their evil deed and the way that they treated God's holy people (Jew and saved gentile– all Israel (Rom 11:25-26). These passages need little comment. The living God shall surely return and give full and complete recompense to the evil men who have mistreated, imprisoned and even killed God's Holy people.



Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity,
 and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage?
 he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth
 in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us;
 he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their
sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob,
and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our
fathers from the days of old.

 (Mic 7:18-20)


The final doxology of Micah is one of uplifting promise of God's forgiveness, constancy towards his people and his love for them. God delights in mercy. God is indeed going to return good things to his people. Their sins will indeed be forgiven and their iniquities forgiven and forgotten.


God is always true to his word. He made many promises about the redemption of mankind, from Adam, to Noah, to Abraham to Moses – God was indeed going to send in a messiah who would purge the iniquity from God's people. The people of God have this most wonderful promise, that if we are faithful to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our iniquities.


If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
 and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we
have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

(1Jo 1:9-10)


The major themes of the Old Testament prophets can be clearly found in those of the New.

Micah is another one of this Old Testament Jewels. In our world where men more and more mock God and turn on his people, we who know God can take comfort that many men of God in the past faced similar situations, were able to minister and do God's work even in evil times. Micah preached to a nation steeped in idolatry during the days of that wicked King Ahaz, who was instrumental in leading his nation away from God. Here is what Eaton's dictionary says about Ahaz.


He gave himself up to a life of wickedness and idolatry. Notwithstanding the remonstrances and warnings of Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah, he appealed for help against Rezin, king of Damascus, and Pekah, king of Israel, who threatened Jerusalem, to Tiglath-pileser, the king of Assyria, to the great injury of his kingdom and his own humiliating subjection to the Assyrians (2Ki_16:7, 2Ki_16:9; 2Ki_15:29). He also introduced among his people many heathen and idolatrous customs (Isa_8:19; Isa_38:8; 2Ki_23:12).


Let those of us who can see the growing rank apostasy of our nation (America) and the kinds of leaders we now have in positions power pause and consider this. It is nothing new. This has happened before. If we have nation-wide acceptance of homosexuality and adultery it is because we have leaders who have forsaken God and gone aside to follow after other religions, mainly Freemasonry and increasingly, Islam and even devil worship. So let those of us who know our God be wise as serpents, the days are evil and are going to get much more so as the crescendo of sin reaches its climax before the return of our Savior and Messiah Jesus Christ.


Even so, Come Lord Jesus!!


1 Oct

BEA Releases GDP By Metropolitan Area For 2016
This pdf report is what it says, it lays out how much GDP is produced in various cities across the nation. A map below gives us one look at the trends, but the folks at Howmuch.net have a better one. The BEA one is found below.


The more visually descriptive chart at the Cost Information Web site HowMuch is below (copyright info here)

I think charts like this better describe at least part of the so called 'culture war' the nation is now undergoing. The places where Trump won are represented by the lower GDP number and where Hillary won, the higher, with some notable exceptions (Florida and Texas), the higher GDP areas. A clickable 2016 Election map can be found along the right hand column of this page.


Western Persecution Watch

The September Issue of Persecution Magazine has a special section looking at issues here in the west.

You can find the whole pdf of this done by International Christian Concern here (35MB) in pdf.



The State Of STD's In America (PDF)




This is a report done by the CDC and can be found here or here. I will not make any spiritual commentary on this, I don't really think it is needed.

The incidents of STD's in married couples who are faithful to each other is near to non-existent.

What these stats show quite simply is that in our nation the incidents of adultery and fornication is very, very high. The report is quite informative as it breaks it down by race, metropolitan are and sexual preference.


I am Not Ashamed:  A Barnabas Fund Devotional

(Barnabas Aid) The I Am Not Ashamed daily devotional resource has been specially designed for SCAW. It includes daily readings and prayers based on the theme for the week, “I Am Not Ashamed”. For each of the eight days you will find a reading, a comment and a suggested prayer.  Download I Am Not Ashamed devotional booklet PDF

For praying Christians like me, this booklet may be of great use.


28 Sept


Palestine: Concern Over Coptic Christians

(ME Concern) Palestinian Christians request renewed prayer for nuns of the Coptic Orthodox church and convent in Bethlehem involved in legal action over a property dispute. The family that has  misappropriated convent property continues its aggressive stance, and has filed a complaint against one of the nuns, falsely accusing her of physical assault.

In the 1980's an elderly blind Palestinian woman was given a room on the church property adjacent to the convent, but in 1998 her family moved in and took over more of the property by breaking into the convent. The church filed a complaint but a judge dropped the case in 2015 due to "lack of evidence". The case was referred to a higher court.

On 30th April 2017 the nuns called the police after a physical assault by Rania, the granddaughter of the original occupant (the blind Palestinian lady). A policeman arrived and asked the nuns and two witnesses to make a statement at the police station. As they were on the way by car to the police station, two men cut in front of them and started hitting the nuns' car with a metal bar and car jack. The assailants were unaware of the presence of the policeman inside the car, who made himself known and stopped the attack. The nuns and those accompanying them continued to the police station and filed a complaint. A court hearing was set for 11th July, but was re-scheduled for 10th October.

On 11th September, Rania filed a complaint against Sister Maria (the nun who had been assaulted) accusing her of physical assault. The Civil Court in Bethlehem has set a date for 31st October for a hearing. Sister Maria believes that this is another attempt by the family to persuade the nuns to withdraw their complaint of 30th April.

It is known that the family which is illegally occupying parts of the convent has influential connections with the Palestinian Authorities and it is believed that the justice process is being hindered as a consequence.

Please pray:
a. for protection, courage and God's peace for the nuns
b. that justice will be done, and that there will be no "cover-up"
c. that the property disputes will be resolved in favour of the church
d. for wisdom and strength for church leaders and state officials to stand firm and not bow to pressure that would compromise justice
e. that the perpetrators of the assaults will repent of what they have done

---------------------------------
Middle East Concern
meconcern.org
twitter.com/MiddleEConcern
facebook.com/middleeastconcern

URL for this prayer request: http://www.meconcern.org/2017/09/28/palestine-growing-concern-for-coptic-church/

Crown of Life

Today, we are going to talk about what we as Christians strive for but also what it will cost many of us to obtain it.

  I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty,
(but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which
say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.  
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil
shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have
tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death,
and I will give thee a crown of life.
(Revelation of John 2:9-10)


The Crown of life was a promise made to the Church at Smyrna. This was one of the seven Churches of Asia which the Apostle John addressed the book of Revelation. Smyrna was one of the blessed Churches in that in Christ's message was no word of rebuke. He praised the Church at Smyrna and acknowledged that he recognized their poverty and understood it but that their true state contradicted the outward appearance of that poverty. Christ told them they were rich towards God (see Luke 12:21).

Christ is well aware of the suffering and tribulations of his people. In fact, he says so in verse nine. For those of us who are struggling on many fronts, know that God knows our troubles. He is fully aware of them as he was with the Church at Smyrna.

I think we need to understand something here. Today, especially in America and particularly during hard times, like the depression, being poor was a shame and in some places even was even a crime (vagrancy). In a nation dominated by riches, wealth, gadgets, toys and unbridled materialism, being poor is looked down upon. I always find it telling that in many conversations today especially when it comes to those who are of an age to date, the issue of income always comes up. Like a price tag on a piece of merchandise in a store, the potential love interest's 'economic value' must be ascertained before things can move forward.

People flock in similar economic circles and as a person who I do business with once opined to me as we both reflected on getting older, we see potential mates with very different eyes that we did when we were younger.... like how much that very pretty woman is going to cost us... the idea he wanted to convey was the prettier, the more expensive, as in all honesty you just don't see  many 'drop dead gorgeous' women with poor guys; nor rich men with homely mates or love interests. My point here is to get all to understand that our society is money obsessed and because we live here in the US, many of us are also money obsessed but are not aware of it or just how our actions reflect that ungodly obsession.

As I read the prayer request that one reader here had last week, I am reminded that he may be feeling low, but that even in this, God is in it. It may not seem like it at the time, but he is with him through all of this. One reason why being stretched financially can be good for us is that it teaches us to be totally reliant on God. This was a hard habit for me to break as my whole life I have always had a very strong independent streak. I don't like crowds or following them, I don't like to be dependent on anyone and have a very strong, 'make my own way' kind of mind set. Like my mother, I am very much a trailblazer and one who is pretty unconcerned with the opinion's of others.

But some of that had to go as God wanted and still wants me to be dependent on him.... for all things. A person who has a rich husband or a well paying job or was born into wealth learns to be dependent on his source of living and not God. Hence, we as Christians must always look to God for our guidance and 'supply line'. You can always tell who really trusts God and who is just making religious noises by how he earns and more importantly spends his money (stewardship).

The Church in Smyrna obviously did not have much of wealth, but yet Christ told them there were rich. Even so, the troubles of poverty was not the end of their woe's. Christ foretells to them that some will be cast into prison for 10 days and that they had to be faithful even unto death. The long and short of it was that Christ was aware of their troubles, but that more were on the way. They two keys were this - the Lord was well pleased with them, but that further trials were ahead. Here is how Barnes sums up this.
That ye may be tried. That the reality of your faith may be subjected to a test to show whether it is genuine. The design in the case is that of the Saviour, though Satan is allowed to do it. It was common in the early periods of the church to suffer religion to be subjected to trial amidst persecutions, in order to show that it was of heavenly origin, and to demonstrate its value in view of the world. This is, indeed, one of the designs of trial at all times, but this seemed eminently desirable when a new system of religion was about to be given to mankind. Compare Barnes on "1Pe 1:6-7". - Barnes
This to me is one of the fundamental virtue's of Christianity. Christians are willing to suffer severe persecution to keep their faith, yes even death. But in our world non-Christian religions are passing laws to force people to stay in the state religion (Islam, Hinduism, etc - via increasingly common anti-conversion laws and Apostasy laws) and put penalties on those who leave the faith. This speaks volumes as to the power of the gospel. Other religions sometimes have to force their worshipers at near gunpoint or with a sword, even an economic one (loss of job, position for 'apostasy') to keep them 'faithful'. But with Christians we know that as soon as we come to the cross, we are going to suffer or it and those with genuine faith endure will to the end. To me, there is little real spiritual power in forcing someone to bow down in a religious organization at the threat of prison, a beating, or even death.

It should also be noted that Smyrna was the place where one of the early Church's martyrs was killed. His name was Polycarp.whose execution seems by way of a prophetic fulfillment of the words the above passage. Many more would go his way in those days for Christians were truly hated and feared in Ancient Rome.

But more and more in our times, in many places Christians are facing many of the same travails. This site has covered these issues with great regularity. Some may think perhaps a bit too much, but I don't think so. We Christians need to be fully cognizant of the trials of our brethren elsewhere and the severe persecution that Christians endure and the deep hatred satan's ministers (witting and unwitting) have for us. We in the west are insulated from most of that. It is my hope that Christians here never get complacent about this issue; either for brethren, or ourselves when the time comes for us to face these kinds of tribulations.

The passage above denotes a specific period of trial, 10 days. What the number 10 represents is not clear, some feel it is to denote just a few days. Others see them as 10 separate persecutions under the Roman Emperors
the "first" was under Nero, in the year 64 or 66;
the "second" was under Domitian, about the year 93;
the "third" was under Trojan, in the year 104;
the "fourth" was under Hadrian, in the year 125;
the "fifth" was under Marcus Antoninus, in the year 151;
the "sixth" was under Septimius Severus, in the year 197;
the "seventh" was under Maximinus, in the years 235, 236, 237;
the "eighth" was under Decius, in the year 250;
the "ninth" was under Valerianus, in the year 257;
and the "tenth" was under Dioclesian, in the year 303.
 - John Gill

I tend to think the number has two connotations, both brevity and one that is 'set' (fixed period of suffering) by God - that he is in this and will only allow it to go on for so long. The number 10 may be a way of denoting a divine appointment and appointment with a trial of faith. But here there is suffering denoted "fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer". The reason? God has a promise to the overcomer and that promise is the Crown of life. The word for Crown is this one.

G4735
στέφανος
stephanos
stef'-an-os
From an apparently primary “stepho” (to twine or wreathe); a chaplet (as a badge of royalty, a prize in the public games or a symbol of honor generally; but more conspicuous and elaborate than the simple fillet, G1238), literally or figuratively: - crown.
Total KJV occurrences: 18

This is may just a figurative term for the rewards of all righteous men and women who endure to the end and are saved, but I think a literal crown is one that at least some of us shall posses once we overcome (see Rev 4:10) The crown of life is also mentioned in James.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried,
he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised
to them that love him.
(Jas 1:12)



What is noted about this crown in both passages is that they are given to those who endure temptation or trial.

It is probably very similar or the same to the Crown of Glory, the Crown of Righteousness, and even the promise to sit on a throne (See 1Pet 5:4, 2Tim 4:8 and Rev 3:21). The connotation is of a great reward not just of eternal life but one of honor and heavenly favor granted by our God. The sense particularly in Rev 3:21 is one of the full weight of authority that goes with a crown and not just some garland of honor as the Greek word above could have meant. It is also possible that these are all various degree's of reward in the form of a crown.

One key here to remember is that these trials come from the devil and this fact is made plain in the passage. This is a common theme and Job is probably our best Old Testament example as he too was tried by the devil and came through it even more blessed than before. The key here I think is to remember who is behind these things, who is bringing  trouble into our lives, but also who allows it and why. God is trying our faith.

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be,
 ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith,
 being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire,
 might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
(1Pe 1:6-7)

The crown of life goes to all of us who endure temptation and tribulation, particularly when we are called on to deny our faith or turn away from God at the threat of some severe punishment. When we stand fast and take what the devil throws at us and keep our faith - the crown of life is our reward. We must be overcomers to receive the rewards.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory
that overcometh the world, even our faith.
(1Jn 5:4)

Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that
 Jesus is the Son of God?
(1Jn 5:5)

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
 To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life,
which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
(Rev 2:7)

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
(Rev 2:11)

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give
him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written,
which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
(Rev 2:17)

And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will
 I give power over the nations:
(Rev 2:26)

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment;
and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life,
but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
(Rev 3:5)

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God,
and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God,
and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem,
which cometh down out of heaven from my God:
and I will write upon him my new name.
(Rev 3:12)

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne,
even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
(Rev 3:21)

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God,
and he shall be my son.
(Rev 21:7)

27 Sept

News Scan

NAFTA Salvo: Trump Levies Massive Tariff Of Canada Aircraft

WTO Salvo: Trump Moves Against Trade Body Adjudication Process
This move by Trump has gone largely unnoticed but could have great ramifications for global trade.
The Hookers With PhD's: Venezuela's Crisis Sending Skilled Women To Work 'On their Backs'
As one woman in the piece states, she would never have thought she would have fallen into this if you asked her four years ago. Now these women are really struggling just to feed their kids and are forced into prostitution.

When crisis hits, it hits hard and fast. None of us knows what a day may bring. Those living high now may find that life changes and does so in a sudden and inexplicable fashion. Let those of us who know our God and walk with him remember those in need today for in so doing, the Lord will remember us in our hour of need.
DHS: No, The Russians Did Not Hack Wisconsin Elections
A conflicting press released that appears to tell at least part of the truth but keeps enough doubt to keep the anti-Russian hysteria going in America so critical to Democratic electoral hopes (they think) in 2018. But I think it is folly to have this hope. I really do. Look at what just happened in Alabama. The establishment GOP candidates need to take note of it. This 'Russia is evil' narrative is not playing except to political hacks and Hollywood actors. In the real political world, the silent majority of Americans who don't have a voice on cable news and the MSM are making their voice heard at the ballot box. First it was Trump and now this.

There is a very rich vein of political discontent in very large swaths of American society and more and more Republicans see their party machine (establishment) as being part of that problem. The key here for both Trump and Moore is that each connect up with large parts of the nation. While it is easy to just say that these men are 'racist' and those who vote for them are (as we heard during the Presidential election) the fact is that is not what is getting these men elected, even if they are racist and I never thought Trump was despite the theatrics we see from black leaders in the DNC. That simple minded Russia narrative will play well to some liberals, but not to a great many of those who head to the polls.

Those who support candidates like this often just don't like the way the country is going, have not for a long time and refuse to be hoodwinked by the same tired faces with the same old empty promises. Love them or hate them, these kind of candidates are going to be a trend for the future until the political establishment in DC (both parties) reach out to the ordinary voter, rather their key donors and find out what they need and deliver.

There is a
big disconnect out there between DC and the average blue collar American. It's time to fix it before it widens further. Look at it from their perspective for a moment, those of you on the left. They can't pass an Obamacare repeal bill, but they can secretly get rid of consumer protection. They can pass stuff that screws over the little guy all right with little to no trouble. For many, Obamacare did not help them, it hurt them with higher premiums, less coverage and less choice.

From my perspective, the GOP establishment is lost in a maze of corporate payoffs, semi-legal bribery that
enriches the rich and have forgotten the people who elected them. They need to reconnect up with the average working man or woman or worse things are in store for the party and the nation.
Afghanistan: RPG's Hit Airport After Mattis Arrival
About 40 hit a couple of hours after he landed. The Defense Secretary was in no immediate danger.
Taxpayers May Have To Pick Up Tab For Dakota Pipeline
This is the tab for policing services during the protests.
China Steps Up Anti-Terror Efforts in Xinjiang
The above is from the Times of Islamabad which always has interesting stories from that part of the world. The Jamestown foundation also talks quite a bit about this issue in their latest issue of China Brief. Here is a brief Snippet.

Within two months of assuming power in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in August 2011, Chen Quanguo rolled out his first and perhaps most effective security innovation, the so-called convenience police stations (便民警务站), street-corner bulwarks for community-based policing. In October 2011, the TAR advertised 2,500 police positions, with 458 of them designated for Lhasa’s new convenience police stations (Xueyu jiaoyu, October 21, 2011). By August 2012, Lhasa had established 161 of these concrete structures with a distance of no more than 500 meters between stations (Ministry of Public Security, August 12, 2012).

This dense network of surveillance is at the heart of what Party officials call “grid-style social management” (社会网格化管理), a practice that segments urban communities into geometric zones so that security staff can systematically observe all activities with the aid of new technologies (ChinaChange, August 8, 2013; China Brief, August 17). The system relies on big data analytics, connecting a network of CCTV cameras with police databases to achieve enhanced, even automated surveillance. Grid management was first trialed in Beijing in 2004 (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, October 28, 2013). Chen’s implementation of the convenience police station network in China’s West is probably the most sophisticated implementation yet. - Jamestown Foundation/China Brief by, Adrian Zenz, James Leibold
Xi's policies when one examines them fully are rather frightening not just for his part of China but for all of it. The Communist idea of an all powerful state based on militant atheism is very real in Xi's China even ex-officials are effected.

For those of you who really want to understand Xi, you must go back and understand Mao, Xi's role model. More here.
Saudi's Threaten Nations Over Yemen Human Rights Inquiry
The Saudi's are threatening nations who want to look into the human rights abuses there. There have been multiple reports of serious and gruesome violations. Bombing of hospitals, Mosques, killing of many civilians including children. These things happen regularly but are not generally reported on Cable news in  the US. These violations of rights and international law include the systematic use of torture on Yemeni's. Human Rights Watch has their report on this here.

Better Than Anti-Depressants: Magnesium
A way to save money for those who are prone to depression. Very cheap and you can find it over the counter for pennies a day.
The Opioid Epidemic Is Changing What It Means to Protect and Serve
This epidemic is changing policing and the way they interact in communities. This is an interesting piece and I hope you get a chance to read it. This crisis is real enough and is hitting all parts of the nation, Black, White, Old, Young, Urban and Rural.  As stated in this piece, most people who live around an addict don't know they have a problem until the coroner shows up to remove the body.
Hurricane Maria: Puerto Ricans Still Waiting On Aid
Almost the whole population is still without power, water is scarce and so are other essentials. But the there has  been a response to the crisis as the US military has been sent in to help out FEMA.

Micah Chapter 6


The Lawsuit

Hear ye now what the LORD saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains,
 and let the hills hear thy voice. Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD'S controversy,
and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath
a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel.

(Mic 6:1-2)

This chapter of Micah starts off with a command to the prophet. He tells Micah to go before the mountains and hills and speak to them. Weather or not this was meant figuratively or literally we cannot know for sure, but probably this was meant as an actual command. Prophets were often commanded to do some most unusual things. Barnes commentary seems to indicate that Micah did not really want to do this thing but did as he was bid. This is not in the verse per se, but such an imputation can be understood. Micah had to make God's case before God's creation as to the sins and waywardness of his people. The mountains and hills were to be as a kind of jury for God's controversy, the very creation was to testify against his people. For as the prophet testifies in verse two, "The Lord has a controversy with his people".


O my people, what have I done to thee, or in what have I molested thee?
answer thou me. For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt,
and delivered thee out of the house of slaves: and I sent before
thy face Moses, and Aaron, and Mary. O my people, remember,
I pray thee, what Balach, the king of Moab, purposed:
and what Balaam, the son of Beor, answered him, from Setim to Galgal,
 that thou mightest know the justice of the Lord.
(Mic 6:3-5)

God lays out his complaint and asks the question? What did I do to you? How have I mistreated you? What Crime did I commit against you that you have gone aside? God commands them to testify against him, if they can! Consider that there is a special relationship here. God calls them 'my people'. They are his by act of his covenant with them and then begins to recount how they were called out of Egypt when in slavery and were led by both Moses and Aaron. God is laying out to them the very special relationship he has with his people, which carries with it very heavy obligations as  well most excellent benefits. When we as Christians are born into God's kingdom, we too become part of God's family but are part of an even better heritage. We become brothers with Christ Jesus.

For it became him, for whom are all things, and through
whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory,
to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
For both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are
 all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, In the midst of
the congregation will I sing thy praise. And again,
I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold,
I and the children whom God hath given me. 
(Heb 2:10-13, ASV)

The moment we are born again into God's kingdom, we become part of that heritage. - provided we truly have been born again from above, which I think is far, far less common that is generally believed.  In this respect, these passages are of great importance to Christians and modern Christianity, who too in large parts of the world, particularly the west, have gone aside just like those referenced in the above passages in Micah. Do you not think that God now has a serious controversy with many Churches in the west for their strange doctrines, allowing unrebuked and open sin in the congregation as well as many other sundry evils? What would the Churches do if a Micah came in and started speaking against these evils? They would cast him out and call him a narrow minded bigot, a hatemonger and lacking the proper love (of sin)!!

O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted,
and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal;
that ye may know the righteousness of the LORD.
Wherewith shall I come before the LORD,
and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him
with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?

(Mic 6:5-6)

God here is not chiding his people so much as he is pleading with them. 'Do you remember how Balak tried to get Balaam to curse Israel and rather sent a blessing to them instead?' This is the sense of the verse (see Numbers 22ff). This is an interesting passage, here is how K&D summarizes it. This is rather long, but I think instructive for those unfamiliar with the story.

The rapid defeat of the two mighty kings of the Amorites filled the Moabites with such alarm at the irresistible might of Israel, that Balak their king, with the princes of Midian, sought to bring the powers of heathen magic to bear against the nation of God; and to this end he sent messengers with presents to Balaam, the celebrated soothsayer, in Mesopotamia, who had the reputation of being able both to bless and curse with great success, to entreat him to come, and so to weaken the Israelites with his magical curses, that he might be able to smite them, and drive them out of his land (Num_22:1-7). At first Balaam declined this invitation, in consequence of divine instructions (Num_22:8-14); but when a second and still more imposing embassy of Moabite princes appeared before him, God gave him permission to go with them, but on this condition, that he should do nothing but what Jehovah should tell him (Num_22:15-21). When on the way, he was warned again by the miraculous opposition of the angel of the Lord, to say nothing but what God should say to him (Num_22:22-35). When Balak, therefore, came to meet him, on his arrival at the border of his kingdom, to give him a grand reception, Balaam explained to him, that he could only speak the word which Jehovah would put into his mouth (Num_22:36-40), and then proclaimed, in four different utterances, what God inspired him to declare. First of all, as he stood upon the height of Bamoth-baal, from which he could see the end of the Israelitish camp, he declared that it was impossible for him to curse this matchless, numerous, and righteous people, because they had not been cursed by their God (Num 22:41-23:10). He then went to the head of Pisgah, where he could see all Israel, and announced that Jehovah would bless this people, because He saw no unrighteousness in them, and that He would dwell among them as their King, making known His word to them, and endowing them with activity and lion-like power (Num_23:11-24). And lastly, upon the top of Peor, where he could see Israel encamped according to its tribes, he predicted, in two more utterances, the spread and powerful development of Israel in its inheritance, under the blessing of God (Num 23:25-24:9), the rise of a star out of Jacob in the far distant future, and the appearance of a ruler in Israel, who would break to pieces all its foes (Num_24:10-24); and upon this Balak sent him away (Num_24:25). - K&D Commentary

The name Balak is also quite interesting, it means to lay waste (H1111) or make desolate. In short, the kings in those days wanted to destroy Israel because they had had such excellent military success against the regions kingdoms. So the King went and tried to get this soothsayer to curse Israel. God intervened as he always did to protect and increase his people. The point here is that they repay him with spiritual treachery. The people cannot deny God's goodness and protective hand this is the purpose of this spiritual history lesson.

Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself
before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with
thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of
my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee,
 O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD
require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?
(Mic 6:6-8)
God is  telling his people he is not interested in a big religious show, some big new national religious convention with the sacrifice of the unrepentant. Such things not only do not please God, they offend him greatly.

Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God,
and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools:
 for they consider not that they do evil.
(Ecc 5:1)

God is not interested in these theatrics. Spiritual showmanship is of no interest to him. This is what got the Pharisee's in such trouble. They put on a great outward religious show but as our Lord said, they were whited sepulcher's and full of dead men's bones. They were a spiritual horror story of the Boris Karloff variety, not Godly men. Like so many false ministers, televangelists and other sundry false workmen today. In verse eight, he has told them exactly what the Lord commands of them.

- To do justly (love justice)
- Love mercy (to have pity, do good works, be kind)
- Walk humbly with God (obey his words, honor him in all things and never get your head swelled up about anything!). God hates pride but gives grace to the humble (1Pet 5:5)
These words need no further commentary.

The LORD'S voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall
see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it.
Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked,
and the scant measure that is abominable? Shall I count them pure
with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?
For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants
thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.

(Mic 6:9-12)

Here I think a more contemporary translation may  be more in order.

I am the LORD, and it makes sense to respect my power
to punish. So listen to my message for the city of Jerusalem:
You store up stolen treasures and use dishonest scales.
But I, the LORD, will punish you for cheating with weights
and with measures. You rich people are violent, and everyone tells lies.
(Mic 6:9-12)

The prophets message was directed to the Mountains and Hills to bear witness and act as a jury for the Lord's compliant, but ultimately this message was for the city. From Amos to Zechariah, we see how the Lord looks upon those with Riches and refuses to do right once they get them to the poor man. There is a kind of 'religion' that goes with the acquisition of wealth. It is the same spirit that ran from Ancient Babylon to the banks and insurance companies of Wall Street. False balances (today, our fiat money system), cheating and violence; they all go hand in hand. This is the spirit of Mammon - theft, murder and lies - they all go hand in hand into the kingdom of hell. Money and wealth over all is their 'faith' and their 'scriptures' take the form of a balance sheet.  Those who follow after it, receive the satanic blessings from the god of this world who has the power to give, even the kingdoms of this earth to whom he chooses (Matt 4:8-10). Did you ever wonder why so many rich and powerful people these days are into satanism, atheism and eastern religions? This is why. They fell down and worshiped at the devils feet, if not literally then by their deeds. Lies, violence, cheating and the accumulation of wealth - this is the spirit Micah is speaking against and it is the same spirit that infects America and the western world.

Therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee, in making thee
desolate because of thy sins. Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied;
and thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee;
and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver; and that
which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword. Thou shalt sow,
but thou shalt not reap; thou shalt tread the olives,
but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil; and sweet wine,
but shalt not drink wine. For the statutes of Omri are kept,
 and all the works of the house of Ahab, and ye walk
in their counsels; that I should make thee a desolation,
 and the inhabitants thereof an hissing: therefore ye shall
bear the reproach of my people.

(Mic 6:13-16)
God is going to strike Israel because of these evils.
  • They shall become ill, sick in God's punishment
  • God will leave them desolate (accomplished by by king of Assyria)
    in making thee desolate because of thy sins; went on, not only to make them sick, and bring them into a declining state, but into utter desolation; as by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, who carried Israel captive; and by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who led Judah captive, because of their sins of idolatry, injustice, and oppression, with others that abounded among them. (Gill)
  • They will eat and still be hungry, not satisfied who remain after this desolation.
  • Their goods that they stored up, they would lose.
  • They would work, but others would eat the fruit of their labors.
God gives yet another reasons these disasters would befall his people. The people were keeping the 'Statutes of Omri'. He was the founder of the house of Ahab and was a very wicked king. Probably the wickedest who had reigned up till that time. Omri, was Ahab's father. God is telling his people that they are following after the wickedness of idolatrous leaders and for that he would smite them sure just as he described.

In this God seems to be evening up the score. In that they took that which was not theirs, they would work and have other take what they earned. The shoe would go on the other foot. That is why I exhort all of you. DO NOT TAKE THAT WHICH DOES NOT BELONG TO YOU. God hates theft - even if it is a mechanic overcharging for his work or stealing money out of a purse. God hates theft. If it does not belong to you, don't take it!! Do that in honor to God and respect to your fellow man and may God protect all of your wealth and belongings in the coming economic crisis!!


25 Sept

Mob Violence Terrorizes Small Christian Village in Egypt


Facebook Post Published and Deleted Four Months Ago Sparks Violence Against Christians

09/25/2017 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) - International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on September 14, a Muslim mob in the village of Tawa in Minya attacked the local Coptic Christian community. Homes, businesses, and cars were destroyed and three Copts suffered minor injuries. These attacks were in retaliation against a Facebook post which was widely shared among Christians. The author, a 22-year-old Christian resident of Tawa named Bassem, had written the post in May following the deadly attack by Islamic extremists against a caravan of Coptic Christians traveling to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor.
 
Bassem wrote on May 27: "Are we (Copts) Egyptians not from Egypt? No matter that you try to hurt us, one day all your ways will fail. Do you think that I cry? Never! I don't cry because I trust in Jesus very much, I prostrate to him and he loves me. He never leaves me one day. When you demolish the homes of his children, you attack himself. I ask Jesus to touch your heart and change you. Our Lord knows and see what is happening to us. Continue and increase your terrorism, but I'm not afraid because it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God."
 
At the end of the post, Bassem shared photos of Salafi Sheikhs whom he believed bore responsibility for inciting extremist violence against Christians. Bassem deleted the post the next day, on May 28, but not before it had spread across social media. It wasn't until four months later that a Muslim villager in Tawa saw the post on the Facebook page of Bassem's friend, Mena. The post then spread among some of the Muslim villagers, who considered the post an insult to Islam. 
 
Essam, a Christian resident in Tawa and an eyewitness to the mob's violence, told ICC, "Many Muslims gathered and the mob began to attack Christian homes and shops. They were pelting stones at the homes while shouting, 'Allah Akbar.' They hurled bricks and stones at Mar Girgis (St. George) Coptic Orthodox Church despite the presence of some security guards who had been assigned to guard the church, but the guards couldn't confront the huge number of the mob. The police then arrived in the village, controlled the situation, and arrested Muslim villagers. The security forces have now deployed across the streets of the village." 
 
On September 15, the governor of Mina and the security director toured the village while accompanied by a number of parliamentarians as well as Islamic and Christian clerics. The same day, the prosecution detained 19 Muslims pending an investigation into the violence. The prosecution also ordered the arrest of Bassem and Mena, charging them with insulting Islamic figures and inciting sectarian strife. Both Christian men have fled the village.
 
Claire Evans, ICC's Regional Manager, said, "Egypt's Coptic Christian community has greatly suffered at the hands of Islamic extremists. In Tawa, Christian men, women, and children were once again terrorized by those who have no desire for peace. This violence is unacceptable. We are relieved to learn that Bassem and Mena were not injured by the mob, but alarmed about the prosecution's decision to charge them although they were clearly targets of the mob's violence. We pray for their safety and that of their fellow villagers. The authorities need to be more intentional in protecting the lives and property of Egypt's Christians."

For interviews with Claire Evans, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org

 ***
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Zapad-17 Wraps Up

Zapad 2017 and the Initial Period of War

Russian Tank at ArmyGames-2016
Image Source and Copyright Vitaly Kuzmin
(Jamestown Foundation/Eurasia Daily Monitor - by Roger McDermott) Western media and analytical commentary on Zapad 2017 has focused on the numbers of Russian military personnel participating in the joint Belarus-Russia strategic exercise, speculating about whether Moscow was using the event as cover to launch a real attack against neighboring states, or promoting the notion that Moscow will leave some of the deployed forces in Belarus after its conclusion. However, there has been little attention to how the early phase of the exercise reveals key features in Russian military thinking. Compared with Zapad 2013, the exercise featured wider participation by Russian security agencies, but differed little in substance. In short, the scenarios and execution of Zapad 2017 are quite consistent with the central themes of past Zapad exercises. And this year’s Zapad war game has concluded peacefully (Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, September 15).
 
Zapad 2017 commenced on September 14, and its two active phases brought the exercise to its conclusion on September 20. Other than some media interest in an accidental helicopter strike on civilian vehicles situated close to observers, none of the Western hype appears to have been justified. Predictably, Zapad 2017 passed without Moscow initiating a military assault upon its neighbors. The exercise was certainly impressive in terms of its geographical coverage, logistics, and the sheer scale of activity among Russian forces; this extended well beyond the Western Military District (MD) to cover activities and tactical rehearsals of combat or related operations in all the other MDs. A number of parallel exercises were no doubt built into the exercise in order to offer the General Staff greater insight into Russia’s defense capabilities. While, the Russian Ground Forces and special forces units played a central role in the exercise, Zapad encapsulated the various branches and arms of service, providing opportunity to test a variety of improvements and lessons drawn from Russia’s recent experience of conflict. This involved six training ranges in Belarus and three ranges in Russia, with much of the activity centered on Luga (Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, September 19).
 
Despite the claims by Russia’s defense ministry that Zapad 2017 focused on a scenario featuring terrorist incursions into Belarus, much of the Russian military media identified that in the first active, defense-linked phase, the rehearsal involved countering a conventional force. It has long been known that the Zapad series of exercises rehearses the defense of the Belarus-Russia Union State against an intervention by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Zapad 2017, according to the reporting of the first phase, was no different. Russian military theorists and senior General Staff officers have studied the evolution of military interventions by the United States as well as NATO and concluded that high value is placed on the initial period of war; at that point, Western forces use mainly air power to attempt to shape the battlespace. This conclusion—which also plays into the long-standing Soviet/Russian fear of a surprise attack, drawing on the events of June 1941, with reference to the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999—drives the investment into and military planning based on air-defense and conventional precision-strike systems. Beyond the observations that Zapad 2017 was a rehearsal for large-scale war, there are deeper lessons to be identified: from how Russian forces conducted the early stages of Zapad 2017, to how some of those themes carried through the entire exercise (Mil.by, accessed September 20).
 
Reported use of strategic down to tactical air defense, combined with the employment of additional assets, in the very early stage of Zapad 2017 confirms that the Russian military rehearsed a conventional response to a massive aerial attack. During the first phase, joint military forces worked on raising combat readiness among the deployed force groupings, moving troops, deploying command-and-control assets, as well as organizing interactions among these forces and affording force protection. Reportedly, aviation and air-defense units from the 6th Army Air Force and Air Defense in the Western MD conducted various tactical episodes aimed at repelling “massive air strikes” by a conventional opponent. Pilots also worked on striking ground targets and providing escorts for bombers. Operational-tactical and other tactical missiles were used during this process. The Aerospace Forces (Vozdushno Kosmicheskikh Sil—VKS) conducted sorties mainly using Su-27, Su-35, Su-30SM and MiG-31 fighters to destroy enemy aircraft, while Su-34 bombers struck infrastructure, columns of armored vehicles, and enemy command-and-control nodes; an Su-24MR jet was used for reconnaissance to transmit the coordinates of ground targets (Krasnaya Zvezda, September 17).
 
Anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) methods were quickly put into place to construct a multilayer air-defense bubble, similar to the Russian A2/AD assets used in Syria. Russian air-defense systems were forward deployed from their bases in the Western MD, including S-300s, S-400s and Pantsir-S1s. The simulation that ensued targeted enemy cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and aircraft (TASS, September 16). In Kaliningrad, TASS reported similar activity among Russian naval assets. Corvettes in the Baltic Fleet were used to strike aerial, naval and coastal targets, implying an A2/AD mission. In this case, the air attack was simulated by Su-24 attack aircraft alongside Ka-27 anti-submarine-warfare helicopters (TASS, September 17).
 
In this phase of the exercise, a number of other Russian A2/AD components featured in addition to identifiable air-defense systems. Notable among these was the Iskander-M, a dual-capable (nuclear/conventional) tactical ballistic missile. Successful Iskander strikes were reported at training ranges, including a 480-kilometer strike against a target at a training range in Kazakhstan from units in the Central MD, as well as a variety of cruise missiles fired from air, land and sea. The Missile and Artillery Troops (Raketnyye Voyska i Artilleriya—RV&A), a Branch of Arms in the Ground Forces, serving as the primary means of destroying enemy forces by conventional and nuclear fires, were in action throughout Zapad 2017, rather than solely at the end. The RV&A also used the older Tochka-U system, which is in the process of being fully replaced by the Iskander-M (TASS, RBC, September 18). Traditionally, the Iskander’s appearance in Russian exercises is assumed to indicate the rehearsal for a tactical nuclear weapons strike. In Zapad 2017, the Iskander was mainly conventional in its support of A2/AD. Moreover, the Russian missile forces appear to have rehearsed the use of the cruise missile that can be mounted on the Iskander platform, greatly extending the system’s strike range well beyond 500 km (Livejournal, September 20).
 
The emphasis on A2/AD during Zapad 2017 and the use of Russia’s conventional precision-strike systems throughout the exercise suggest more than simply preparation for larger-scale war. It seems rooted in rehearsing conflict-escalation dominance and deploying forces and assets during a crisis to ensure the avoidance of a regional conflict intensifying to a global war.
 
--By Roger McDermott. From The Jamestown Foundation. (copyright policy here)
 
21-22 Sept

Law And Disorder News

Non Violent Convictions And Collateral Consequences

(GAO) Collateral consequences are the penalties and disadvantages that can be imposed upon an individual with a criminal conviction, in addition to those directly associated with a sentence (such as a fine, prison, or community service). GAO’s review of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction (NICCC) found that, in federal laws and regulations, there are 641 collateral consequences that can be triggered by nonviolent drug convictions (NVDC). For example, individuals with NVDC may be ineligible for certain professional licenses and federal housing assistance. The NICCC data that GAO reviewed indicate that these 641 collateral consequences can limit many aspects of an individual’s life, such as employment, business licenses, education, and government benefits. In addition, GAO also found that the NICCC identified that 497 (78 percent) of the 641 collateral consequences can potentially last a lifetime.

Colorado Outlaws Jailing The Mentally Ill
"Across the country, and especially in rural areas, people in the middle of a mental health crisis are locked in a cell when a hospital bed or transportation to a hospital isn’t immediately available. The patients are transported from the ER like inmates, handcuffed in the back of police vehicles. Laws in five states — New Mexico, North and South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming — explicitly say that correctional facilities may be used for what is called a “mental health hold.” Even in states without such laws, the practice happens regularly." - Marshall Project
The Double Limbo Of America's Soldier Dreamers

One Arkansas County Takes On Private Probation Company
This is an interesting story of Judges who are trying to fix a broken system being sued by contractors who make their money off of poor folks.
Most Americans probably thought debtors’ prisons had gone the way of hanging, but in truth they never really went away, in large part because of the economics of criminal justice — as we saw with predatory policing and courts in Ferguson, Missouri — and the rise of private probation companies. In over one thousand counties across the country, underfunded and overworked public officials have been willing to farm out their parole and probation work to private firms. A few years ago Human Rights Watch reported on the phenomenon, calling it a self-perpetuating “offender-funded” system marked by little public oversight or corporate accountability. - Marshall Project
This Weeks Crooked Cop Stories
A Louisiana cop gets nailed for having sex and peddling dope on the job, a sticky-fingered Pennsylvania cop gets nailed for stealing drug money, a South Carolina cop gets nailed--nine years after the fact--for lying on a drug search warrant, and more. - Drug War Chronicle/Stop The Drug War
The Intersection Of Race, Bail and Guilty Pleas
This is a conference with Congressman that will take place later today (2pm EST)

Texas Re-thinks Use of Incentivized Witnesses In Light Of Innocence Project Case
This is the story of a jailhouse informant who said he did not get any incentive for his testimony about an alleged confession and in fact did get an incentive in the form of a reduced sentence -  and then sought to get more 'non-incentives' for testifying against others. The victim spent 19 years in jail based on this rancid testimony. Story is at the Innocence Project

Delaware Struggles As 'Gun Plague" Afflicts Youth

This is a topic I talk about a lot gun violence in Black communities. AP (above link) talks about the issue. I get a rash of mess from folks for being so bold and un-PC about it. But PC and ignoring the problem all these years has only made the problem worse.

I do not want to make the problem worse. Thus, my head will never get buried in the sands of politically correct dogma.... a dogma that is literally killing a whole generation of Black Americans.

Shame on Black leadership and other Black Americans who would rather see this continue than swallow their political pride and sit down with GOP leadership and come up with rational, workable solutions to this. Such leaders are correctly labeled a 'mis-leadership class'. Because the only place they have led so many young Black Americans is to the mortuary. 

But there are some bright spots.

Lets hope my generation of Black Americans can figure out that burying our head in the sand is the same as burying your first, second and third born son.

News Flash! Not all or even most in the GOP are racist. But many are afraid to address this issue, even positively lest they be shouted down by the Black wind-up dolls who are rented by the hour by the Democrats who will call anyone not a Democrat a 'racist' for even bringing the issue up.

Lets get past these petty political labels and knee jerk responses and get to down to earth solutions!


Satan Clubs Dying, Good News Clubs Growing

An interesting story on how Athiests/Satanists were working to counter SCOTUS decision on Good news clubs afterschool at the elementary level.
As the Satan Clubs are closing down, about 4,500 Good News Clubs are starting up this new school year all over the USA. Over 180,000 children will be enrolled in a high energy club that includes Bible stories,... - ChrsitianNewsWire
There are still many people out there who are hungry for more than what the world and the devil have to offer.

The news is not all bad!

Who Is Blocking The CPFB's Arbitration Rule?

Check this out, its pretty important especially in light of the Equifax hack. Pay attention - your legal rights to sue your bank for screwing you over are at stake!!

It's Congress who is quietly trying to keep the little people out of the courts when the big boys rake us over the coals.

Look, the CPFB in my view was Obama's True Success Story Americans from all walks of life and both parties have shown that this agency is highly regarded. They have helped many Americans who ordinarily would have fallen victim to legal loopholes, shady actions and outright illegal act ivies by the Nation's major financial players. Those who don't understand why the agency is important should know that it's there for all. Anyone can file a complaint if they feel they are being cheated, had or defrauded. Before you needed a gaggle of lawyers who may or may not know what they are doing. With the CPFB, they have the power to look into issues, correct them and fine those who break the law. The only people who would oppose such an agency are those who are determined to break the law.

Who is out there right now working in our favor over the Equifax scandal? I will tell you the CPFB. They are also great just for giving consumers helpful information on how to protect themselves. Like here. Who was it who dealt with Wells Fargo and all of those fake accounts they created which looks exactly like fraud to my non-legal mind. Without them these things would be going on and no one would be able to do anything about it.

This is an agency that was truly set up for the 'little guy'.

I know many of my readers don't understand why I was so hard on Obama especially the race obsessed part of Black America. It was because I was not blinded by his skin color. I did what all Americans should do, judge a politician by his actions and his results. I absolutely refused to judge him based on his skin color - which is just another word for being a racist. I am not nor will I ever be a racist. So those of you who never understood that about what I said about Obama during his tenure can understand why I did not cut him much slack on key issues he reneged on.

But when he did right, I was the first to say so and the CPFB was indeed the right thing to do especially in light of the down right criminality the banks had been engaging in during the crisis of 2007-2008. Trying to foreclose on homes already paid for, handing out 'ghetto loans' to the Brothers and Latino's, systemic forgery. The crimes are too numerous to mention. Even in spite of all of that and how Americans were victimized, many in Congress want to go back to that kind of criminality and not give Americans the right to hold the crooks accountable when they break the law. This is what trying to destroy the CPFB's Arbitration rule is all about. This about giving the big boys the ability to make money using crime and making it impossible for you and me to prosecute the criminals.

Shame on the congressmen who wish to screw their countrymen over for a campaign donation. The CPFB's rule only allowed you and me our day in court...

...nothing more, nothing less.


www.markswatson.com



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