Thomas Jefferson rightly noted that big cities are the “bane” of freedom. And in a letter to James Madison, Jefferson wrote, “When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become corrupt as in Europe.” Modern America is a living testament to Jefferson’s sagacity. Unlike early America, the vast majority of the U.S. population now lives in large metropolitan areas. And it is the big-government machinations of big-city politicians that are leading the charge for America’s surrender to Big Brother. Houston, Texas, is the latest example.
Writing for FOX NEWS, Todd Starnes covers the story:
“The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.
“‘The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,’ Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christina Holcomb said in a statement. ‘The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions.’”
Starnes continues, “‘Political and social commentary is not a crime,’ Holcomb said. ‘It is protected by the First Amendment.’
“The subpoenas are just the latest twist in an ongoing saga over the Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance. The law, among other things, would allow men to use the ladies room and vice versa. The city council approved the law in June.
“The Houston Chronicle reported opponents of the ordinance launched a petition drive that generated more than 50,000 signatures–far more than the 17,269 needed to put a referendum on the ballot.
“However, the city threw out the petition in August over alleged irregularities.
“After opponents of the bathroom bill filed a lawsuit the city’s attorneys responded by issuing the subpoenas against the pastors.
“The pastors were not part of the lawsuit. However, they were part of a coalition of some 400 Houston-area churches that opposed the ordinance. The churches represent a number of faith groups–from Southern Baptist to non-denominational.
“‘City council members are supposed to be public servants, not “Big Brother” overlords who will tolerate no dissent or challenge,’ said ADF attorney Erik Stanley. ‘This is designed to intimidate pastors.’”
Starnes also wrote, “Among those slapped with a subpoena is Steve Riggle, the senior pastor of Grace Community Church. He was ordered to produce all speeches and sermons related to Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality and gender identity.
“The mega-church pastor was also ordered to hand over ‘all communications with members of your congregation’ regarding the non-discrimination law.
“‘This is an attempt to chill pastors from speaking to the cultural issues of the day,’ Riggle told me. ‘The mayor would like to silence our voice. She’s a bully.’
“Rev. David Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor Council, also received a subpoena. He said he will not be intimidated by the mayor.
“‘We’re not afraid of this bully,’ he said. ‘We’re not intimidated at all.’
“He accused the city of violating the law with the subpoenas and vowed to stand firm in the faith.
“‘We are not going to yield our First Amendment rights,’ Welch told me. ‘This is absolutely a complete abuse of authority.’”
See the report here:
Obviously, city officials in Houston, Texas, are trying to use their authority to bully and intimidate local pastors and churches from exercising their God-given duty to proclaim truth as they understand it. And, yes, such speech is emphatically recognized and protected in the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights. Therefore, it is clear that Mayor Annise Parker and the Houston City Council do not believe in the freedom of speech; and their actions should be regarded as an act of tyranny by any freedom lover–be they Christian or otherwise.
The issue is NOT homosexuality or lesbianism; the issue is freedom of speech and religion. And I would say the same if the folks exercising their First Amendment freedom were homosexuals and lesbians. In fact, can you imagine the outcry of the national media if, instead of a lesbian mayor and pro-homosexual city council, the mayor of Houston and city council were conservative Christians and the clergymen being threatened with fine or imprisonment over their freedom of speech were lesbians and homosexuals? Why, the outcry of the national press corps would be deafening. As it is, for all intents and purposes, the story is completely ignored by the vast majority of the mainstream media. So typical!
The audacity of Mayor Parker and the Houston City Council to demand they examine and approve of a pastor’s sermons and private communications with parishioners! This is so egregiously offensive it is difficult to comprehend that we are talking about an American city. But this is NOT the America of Washington, Jefferson, and Madison. Furthermore, it is obvious that Texas is NOT the State of Travis, Austin, and Houston. In fact, the namesake of the City of Houston must be turning over in his grave. I doubt that the Mexican tyrant, Santa Anna, ever dreamed up anything as dastardly as what we see emanating from the twisted mind of Mayor Parker and her corrupt cronies on the Houston City Council.
Unfortunately, there is absolutely no doubt that the action of Houston city officials is only a precursor of forthcoming acts of tyranny.
Most of us are aware that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued a statement saying it was going to begin “monitoring” the sermons of America’s pastors after an atheist organization complained that too many of America’s pastors were violating the conditions of their non-profit tax status under section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC).
See this report:
As an aside, I have to chuckle at the proposition that too many pastors are speaking out on political issues from their pulpits. How many churches have you attended lately? One could visit almost every church in a given community and not find ONE pastor who regularly speaks out on what some might call “political” issues. In fact, a recent Barna research project discovered that some 90% of America’s pastors deliberately refuse to address such subjects from the pulpit.
Furthermore, I am NOT IMPRESSED with the so called “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” in which pastors are encouraged to deliberately speak out on topics considered taboo by the IRC on one particular Sunday of the year. Nationwide, some 1,500 pastors reportedly participated in a recent “Pulpit Freedom Sunday.” That’s 1,500 out of over 300,000 evangelical pastors in America. Do the math.
I ask you, what is the big deal if a pastor decides to speak out on salient political and cultural issues on ONE Sunday? What about the other 51 Sundays?
A recent study by Harvard Business School found that United States corporate executives make over 300 times as much as the average worker. Based on a $30,000 annual worker income and a 40 hour week the CEO gets $4326.00 an hour while the worker gets $14.42.
In the mid-thirties during the depth of a serious depression executives at General Motors were making 200 times as much as their workers. It was this disparity that helped set the stage for a power shift from the corporate moguls to John L .Lewis and his CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations). John L. Lewis and hundreds of thousands of disgruntled workers succeeded in forcing well-armed and well connected corporate executives to allow collective bargaining which ultimately unionized large portions of the U. S work force.
It was a struggle of epic proportions that bared the fangs of the power elite against the will and leadership of the workers. It began at the Chevrolet Body Plant in Cleveland, Ohio and spread to Flint, Michigan then to Atlanta, Kansas City, Pontiac, and finally to Detroit itself. Nearly half a million workers were involved. At Flint they staged a sit in where the workers sat at their stations day and night. Machine guns were brought in. The courts got involved. Finally an injunction was issued.
The strike began on December 28, 1936. The edict ordered prison sentences and million dollar fines if the strike was not stopped by February 3rd. Governor Frank Murphy of Michigan called out the National Guard who along with strike breakers armed with clubs and crowbars surround the Flint Plant.
According to William Manchester’s account in “The Glory and the Dream” Governor Murphy was ready to send the bayonets of the National Guard against the workers when at the last moment he called John L. Lewis asking what he should do. Lewis replied, “You want my answer, sir? I shall personally enter General Motors Chevrolet Plant Number Four. I shall order the men to disregard your order, to stand fast. I shall walk up to the largest window in the plant, open it, divest myself of my outer raiment, remove my shirt and bare my bosom. Then when you order your troops to fire, mine will be the first breast that those bullets will strike. And as my body falls to the ground, you will listen to the voice of your grandfather as he whispers in your ear, ‘Frank, are you sure you are doing the right thing?’” (Murphy’s grandfather had been hanged in an Irish uprising.)
Fourteen strikers were wounded during the night but Murphy backed down and finally ordered GM not to prevent the strikers from carrying food to the sitting strikers. With President Roosevelt silent and Governor Murphy aiding the strikers the corporate elites succumbed, signing contracts for collective bargaining. Unionization spread rapidly into other big corporations.
Globalization was anathema to union workers. When the rape of United States markets was set in place by our elected officials through ratification of international trade legislation a great burden was placed on unions. The rush to be competitive in world markets was diametrical to unionism.
Justice is a prerequisite to peace. When human power is concentrated and not prescribed ghastly actions often result. God’s overarching legal system provides perfect justice and a necessary restraint; when it is cast off the power swings that marked unions and management replace it.
In our time a more insidious power structure threatens our well-being. For at least a century a systematic plan has been in place to bring the nations of the world under international law. Nation after nation has been subverted by monstrous, opaque centralized power. Every major nation of the Western world has been subjected to stealth control. Debt is the weapon. Since Islam forbids most debt, Muslim nations are harder to conquer. Military force is necessary and the United States is being used as an instrument of conquest.
Corporate mergers have created behemoths that have little competition and are tyrannical in their own rite. The furtive power seekers are not planning a free society. Their vision appears to be a controlled environment similar to China. As economic pressure drains wealth from the United States and oppression ramps up, our standard of living falls, eventually bringing us to par with third world labor. It is like a 007 movie where James Bond has accepted a bribe to join Blofeld.
Globalization is marred by the illegal procedures used to bring it about. Wealthy and powerful men and women conspired to burglarize, undermine, and tyrannize the entire population of the world. Their methods are bribery and intimidation and the results of their evil intentions are apparent around the globe.
One wonders if an honest, forthright free-will proposition had been presented to the people of Western Civilization they might have voluntarily participated in bringing the Far Eastern Nations into their economic circle and endorsed an international legal code that would guide global trade. Conspiracies are sometimes successful but they are wicked and harsh.
Recently, the National Press Club hosted a debate on War and the Constitution between Bruce Fein, a Ron Paul adviser and resident scholar at the Turkish Coalition of America, and John Yoo, a wily Korean born Constitutional Lawyer and prominent Bush II adviser. C-Span carried the debate. Yoo maintained that the increase in the power of the Executive Branch of our government was a result of congressional acquiescence and Fein maintained that it is up to the people to elect officials that will abide by the Constitution.
The contending positons were logical and convincing but as with all of public discourse the core issues were evaded. No one mentioned the fact the incumbent elected official have the political clout to codify unconstitutional and tyrannical law while continuing to garner enough votes to stay in office. Yoo claimed that congressional leaders are regularly consulted on Executive Orders and other major decision.inclosed sessions; no one mentioned that this plotting is inimical to the well-being and health of the nation.
Consider the repercussions if a nuclear bomb had been dropped on the city of Detroit! Legislation passed by our elected officials has caused similar damage. In a recent interview a Detroit official said that there are 80,000 derelict homes in the city. They are being demolished in a process that is similar to cleaning up after a major attack. The destruction of this once great city is a result of the heretical actions of our own government and it has been done without as much as a whimper from our citizens.
Fein was right when he placed responsibility with the people but at this point the statement was mute for not only has the damage been done but our people are still inert and deluded. Because we have forsaken the Creator and cleaved to the creature our delusion has allowed us to sink so far into the quicksand that escape seems improbable.
Rousas Rushdoony writes “To control the god of any system is to control the men within it. The long battle between church and state has this fact at its roots. Orthodox Christianity gives us a God who is beyond the control of church and state alike. Hence the God of Scripture has been resented by civil governments, and attempts to subvert orthodox Christianity and its churches have been legion. The church too often has been restless under so sovereign a God; churchmen too prefer a god who can be put into man’s pocket.”
The citizens of the United States of America worship humanistic gods. Our deities are designed and controlled by human beings. These gods, created in human minds, have been in place for most of United States history.
Now the chickens have come home to roost!
Human beings were not created to govern themselves and when the anarchy of human opinion gains leverage over society, absurdity, chaos, and tyranny soon follow.
In the Harvard survey U. S. citizens guessed that corporate executives were making about 30 times the average worker’s wage. Citizens in other nations made similar errors in estimates.
It is readily apparent that the captain of the ship fills a more important role than a kitchen worker but to accurately measure and quantify that difference is difficult.
What is interesting, however, is that the U. S. tops the world in the size of its wage inequity. Switzerland is 2nd and Germany is 3rd, both have disparities of about 150 times the average worker or half that of the U. S. Wage inequity is not the only area in which our nation excels: We incarcerate the larger percentage of our citizens than any other nation in the world (including China and Russia); we have the world’s largest army. We had the world’s largest economy before the power barons began to dismantle it. We are probably the most violent nation. Violence brought the United States independence, violence freed the slaves and preserved the nation, violence conquered the West, it was the instrument of land acquisition, and of efforts to subdue rebels. Now it is being used to subdue the Muslim world.
When we are too lethargic to stop voting in elections that are rigged and too lazy to verify that our news is mostly propaganda and lies, we have no chance of helping to bring our profligate nation back under the sovereignty of the One True God.
God’s Law provides perfect justice. Peace is impossible without justice. When injustice becomes ingrained in a society that society comes under judgment and God’s judgment can be grueling. If Bruce Fein’s charge to U. S. citizens ever finds fertile ground it must start with Christians. Christians are required to be the light of the world. Light reveals what darkness hides. It is long past time for Christians to discern and reveal the evil that confronts us.
The University of Al-Qaeda?
“Since 2003, Anglo-American power has secretly and openly coordinated direct and indirect support for Islamist terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda across the Middle East and North Africa. This ill-conceived patchwork geostrategy is a legacy of the persistent influence of neoconservative ideology, motivated by longstanding but often contradictory ambitions to dominate regional oil resources, defend an expansionist Israel, and in pursuit of these, re-draw the map of the Middle East.” Nafeez Ahmed, “How the West Created the Islamic State“, CounterPunch
“The US created these terrorist organizations. America does not have the moral authority to lead a coalition against terrorism.” Hassan Nasralla, Secretary General of Hezbollah
October 06, 2014 “ICH” – “Counterpunch” – The Obama administration’s determination to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is pushing the Middle East towards a regional war that could lead to a confrontation between the two nuclear-armed rivals, Russia and the United States.
Last week, Turkey joined the US-led coalition following a vote in parliament approving a measure to give the government the authority to launch military action against Isis in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made it clear that Turkish involvement would come at a price, and that price would be the removal of al Assad. According to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News:
“Turkey will not allow coalition members to use its military bases or its territory in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) if the objective does not also include ousting the Bashar al-Assad regime, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hinted on Oct. 1…
“We are open and ready for any cooperation in the fight against terrorism. However, it should be understood by everybody that Turkey is not a country in pursuit of temporary solutions, nor will Turkey allow others to take advantage of it,” Erdoğan said in his lengthy address to Parliament.”..
“Turkey cannot be content with the current situation and cannot be a by-stander and spectator in the face of such developments.” (“Turkey will fight terror but not for temporary solutions: Erdoğan“, Hurriyet)
Officials in the Obama administration applauded Turkey’s decision to join the makeshift coalition. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel hailed the vote as a “very positive development” while State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “We welcome the Turkish Parliament’s vote to authorize Turkish military action…We’ve had numerous high-level discussions with Turkish officials to discuss how to advance our cooperation in countering the threat posed by ISIL in Iraq and Syria.”
In the last week, “Turkish tanks and other military units have taken position on the Syrian border.” Did the Obama administration strike a deal with Turkey to spearhead an attack on Syria pushing south towards Damascus while a small army of so called “moderate” jihadis– who are presently on the Israeli border– move north towards the Capital? If that is the case, then the US would probably deploy some or all of its 15,000 troops currently stationed in Kuwait “including an entire armored brigade” to assist in the invasion or to provide backup if Turkish forces get bogged down. The timeline for such an invasion is uncertain, but it does appear that the decision to go to war has already been made.
Turkish involvement greatly increases the chances of a broader regional war. It’s unlikely that Syria’s allies, Russia and Iran, will remain on the sidelines while Turkish tanks stream across the country on their way to Damascus. And while the response from Tehran and Moscow may be measured at first, it is bound to escalate as the fighting intensifies and tempers flare. The struggle for Syria will be a long, hard slog that will probably produce no clear winner. If Damascus falls, the conflict will morph into a protracted guerilla war that could spill over borders engulfing both Lebanon and Jordan. Apparently, the Obama administration feels the potential rewards from such a reckless and homicidal gambit are worth the risks.
No-Fly Zone Fakery
The Obama administration has made little effort to conceal its real objectives in Syria. The fight against Isis is merely a pretext for regime change. The fact that Major General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Chuck Hagel are angling for a no-fly zone over Syria exposes the “war against Isis” as a fraud. Why does the US need a no-fly zone against a group of Sunni militants who have no air force? The idea is ridiculous. The obvious purpose of the no-fly zone is to put Assad on notice that the US is planning to take control of Syrian airspace on its way to toppling the regime. Clearly, Congress could have figured this out before rubber stamping Obama’s request for $500 million dollars to arm and train “moderate” militants. Instead, they decided to add more fuel to the fire. If Congress seriously believes that Assad is a threat to US national security and “must go”, then they should have the courage to vote for sending US troops to Syria to do the heavy lifting. The idea of funding shadowy terrorist groups that pretend to be moderate rebels is lunacy in the extreme. It merely compounds the problem and increases the prospects of another Iraq-type bloodbath. Is it any wonder why Congress’s public approval rating is stuck in single digits?
TURKEY: A Major Player
According to many sources, Turkey has played a pivotal role in the present crisis, perhaps more than Saudi Arabia or Qatar. Consider the comments made by Vice President Joe Biden in an exchange with students at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University last week. Biden was asked: “In retrospect do you believe the United States should have acted earlier in Syria, and if not why is now the right moment?” Here’s part of what he said:
“…my constant cry was that our biggest problem is our allies – our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends – and I have the greatest relationship with Erdogan, which I just spent a lot of time with – the Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad except that the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world…
So now what’s happening? All of a sudden everybody’s awakened because this outfit called ISIL which was Al Qaeda in Iraq, which when they were essentially thrown out of Iraq, found open space in territory in eastern Syria, work with Al Nusra who we declared a terrorist group early on and we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them. So what happened? Now all of a sudden – I don’t want to be too facetious – but they had seen the Lord. Now we have – the President’s been able to put together a coalition of our Sunni neighbors, because America can’t once again go into a Muslim nation and be seen as the aggressor – it has to be led by Sunnis to go and attack a Sunni organization.”
Biden apologized for his remarks on Sunday, but he basically let the cat out of the bag. Actually, what he said wasn’t new at all, but it did lend credibility to what many of the critics have been saying since the very beginning, that Washington’s allies in the region have been arming and funding this terrorist Frankenstein from the onset without seriously weighing the risks involved. Here’s more background on Turkey’s role in the current troubles from author Nafeez Ahmed:
“With their command and control centre based in Istanbul, Turkey, military supplies from Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular were transported by Turkish intelligence to the border for rebel acquisition. CIA operatives along with Israeli and Jordanian commandos were also training FSA rebels on the Jordanian-Syrian border with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. In addition, other reports show that British and French military were also involved in these secret training programmes. It appears that the same FSA rebels receiving this elite training went straight into ISIS – last month one ISIS commander, Abu Yusaf, said, “Many of the FSA people who the west has trained are actually joining us.” (“How the West Created the Islamic State“, Nafeez Ahmed, CounterPunch
Notice how the author points out the involvement of “CIA operatives”. While Biden’s comments were an obvious attempt to absolve the administration from blame, it’s clear US Intel agencies knew what was going on and were at least tangentially involved. Here’s more from the same article:
“Classified assessments of the military assistance supplied by US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar obtained by the New York Times showed that “most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups… are going to hardline Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster.”
Once again, classified documents prove that the US officialdom knew what was going on and simply looked the other way. All the while, the hardcore takfiri troublemakers were loading up on weapons and munitions preparing for their own crusade. Here’s a clip that Congress should have read before approving $500 million more for this fiasco:
” … Mother Jones found that the US government has “little oversight over whether US supplies are falling prey to corruption – or into the hands of extremists,” and relies “on too much good faith.” The US government keeps track of rebels receiving assistance purely through “handwritten receipts provided by rebel commanders in the field,” and the judgment of its allies. Countries supporting the rebels – the very same which have empowered al-Qaeda affiliated Islamists – “are doing audits of the delivery of lethal and nonlethal supplies.”…
the government’s vetting procedures to block Islamist extremists from receiving US weapons have never worked.” (“How the West Created the Islamic State”, Nafeez Ahmed, CounterPunch)
These few excerpts should help to connect the dots in what is really a very hard-to-grasp situation presently unfolding in Syria. Yes, the US is ultimately responsible for Isis because it knew what was going on and played a significant part in arming and training jihadi recruits. And, no, Isis does not take its orders directly from Washington (or Langley) although its actions have conveniently coincided with US strategic goals in the region. (Many readers will undoubtedly disagree with my views on this.) Here’s one last clip on Turkey from an article in the Telegraph. The story ran a full year ago in October 2013:
“Hundreds of al-Qaeda recruits are being kept in safe houses in southern Turkey, before being smuggled over the border to wage “jihad” in Syria, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
The network of hideouts is enabling a steady flow of foreign fighters – including Britons – to join the country’s civil war, according to some of the volunteers involved.
These foreign jihadists have now largely eclipsed the “moderate” wing of the rebel Free Syrian Army, which is supported by the West. Al-Qaeda’s ability to use Turkish territory will raise questions about the role the Nato member is playing in Syria’s civil war.
Turkey has backed the rebels from the beginning – and its government has been assumed to share the West’s concerns about al-Qaeda. But experts say there are growing fears over whether the Turkish authorities may have lost control of the movement of new al-Qaeda recruits – or may even be turning a blind eye.” (“Al-Qaeda recruits entering Syria from Turkey safehouses“, Telegraph)
Get the picture? This is a major region-shaping operation that the Turks, the Saudis, the Qataris, the Americans etc are in on. Sure, maybe some of the jihadis went off the reservation and started doing their own thing, but even that’s not certain. After all, Isis has already achieved many of Washington’s implicit objectives: Dump Nuri al Maliki and replace him with a US stooge who will amend the Status of Forces Agreement. (SOFA), allow Sunni militants and Kurds to create their own de facto mini-states within Iraq (thus, eliminating the threat of a strong, unified Iraq that will challenge Israeli hegemony), and create a tangible threat to regional security (Isis) thereby justifying US meddling and occupation for the foreseeable future. So far, arming terrorists has been a winning strategy for Obama and Co. Unfortunately for the president, we are still in the early rounds of the emerging crisis. Things could backfire quite badly, and probably will.
(NOTE: According to Iran’s Press TV: “The ISIL terrorists have purportedly opened a consulate in Ankara, Turkey and use it to issue visas for those who want to join the fight against the Syrian and Iraqi governments….The militants are said to be operating freely inside the country without much problem.” I have my doubts about this report which is why I have put parentheses around it, but it is interesting all the same.)
CAMP BUCCA: University of Al-Qaeda
So where do the Sunni extremists in Isis come from?
There are varying theories on this, the least likely of which is that they responded to promotional videos and propaganda on social media. The whole “Isis advertising campaign” nonsense strikes me as a clever disinformation ploy to conceal what’s really going on, which is, that the various western Intel agencies have been recruiting these jokers from other (former) hotspots like Afghanistan, Libya, Chechnya, Kosovo, Somalia and prisons in Iraq. Isis not a spontaneous amalgam of Caliphate-aspiring revolutionaries who spend their off-hours trolling the Internet, but a collection of ex Baathists and religious zealots who have been painstakingly gathered to perform the task at hand, which is to lob off heads, spread mayhem, and create the pretext for US-proxy war. Check out this illuminating article on Alakhbar English titled “The mysterious link between the US military prison Camp Bucca and ISIS leaders”. It helps explain what’s really been going on behind the scenes:
“We have to ask why the majority of the leaders of the Islamic State (IS), formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), had all been incarcerated in the same prison at Camp Bucca, which was run by the US occupation forces near Omm Qasr in southeastern Iraq….. First of all, most IS leaders had passed through the former U.S. detention facility at Camp Bucca in Iraq. So who were the most prominent of these detainees?
The leader of IS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, tops the list. He was detained from 2004 until mid-2006. After he was released, he formed the Army of Sunnis, which later merged with the so-called Mujahideen Shura Council…
Another prominent IS leader today is Abu Ayman al-Iraqi, who was a former officer in the Iraqi army under Saddam Hussein. This man also “graduated” from Camp Bucca, and currently serves as a member on IS’ military council.
Another member of the military council who was in Bucca is Adnan Ismail Najm. … He was detained on January 2005 in Bucca, and was also a former officer in Saddam’s army. He was the head of a shura council in IS, before he was killed by the Iraqi army near Mosul on June 4, 2014.
Camp Bucca was also home to Haji Samir, aka Haji Bakr, whose real name is Samir Abed Hamad al-Obeidi al-Dulaimi. He was a colonel in the army of the former Iraqi regime. He was detained in Bucca, and after his release, he joined al-Qaeda. He was the top man in ISIS in Syria…
According to the testimonies of US officers who worked in the prison, the administration of Camp Bucca had taken measures including the segregation of prisoners on the basis of their ideology. This, according to experts, made it possible to recruit people directly and indirectly.
Former detainees had said in documented television interviews that Bucca…was akin to an “al-Qaeda school,” where senior extremist gave lessons on explosives and suicide attacks to younger prisoners. A former prisoner named Adel Jassem Mohammed said that one of the extremists remained in the prison for two weeks only, but even so was able to recruit 25 out of 34 inmates who were there. Mohammed also said that U.S. military officials did nothing to stop the extremists from mentoring the other detainees…
No doubt, we will one day discover that many more leaders in the group had been detained in Bucca as well, which seems to have been more of a “terrorist academy” than a prison.” (“The mysterious link between the US military prison Camp Bucca and ISIS leaders“, Alakhbar English)
US foreign policy is tailored to meet US strategic objectives, which in this case are regime change, installing a US puppet in Damascus, erasing the existing borders, establishing forward-operating bases across the country, opening up vital pipeline corridors between Qatar and the Mediterranean so the western energy giants can rake in bigger profits off gas sales to the EU market, and reducing Syria to a condition of “permanent colonial dependency.” (Chomsky)
Would the United States oversee what-amounts-to a “terrorist academy” if they thought their jihadi graduates would act in a way that served US interests?
Indeed, they would. In fact, they’d probably pat themselves on the back for coming up with such a clever idea.
With election time almost upon us, here’s a rather sobering thought: By spending as little as a mere two billion dollars, anyone with that amount of money can now afford to buy an entire American election — Congress, the White House, governorships and all.
“But Jane,” you might ask, “why would anyone even want to do that?” Why? Just look at all the immense amount of loot you can score with just this tiny investment. Access to national park land, bank deregulation, profits from weapons production, corporate monopoly status, pro-pollution laws, judges’ rulings in your favor…need I go on?
For instance, eleven trillion dollars has been recently spent on escalating and pursuing fake wars. So if you “invest” in American elections and still only receive, say, just ten percent of those eleven trillion singles for your weapons-manufacturing services or whatever the heck else companies like Halliburton do, you still have just grown your measly two-billion-buck investment at least a thousand times over. Forever War really pays off!
Or if you are guys like Obama, Bush and Cheney — and can’t resist playing with war toys? Then you get to buy your very own wars! Lots and lots of wars. You get to play with actual life-sized GI Joe dolls and call yourself “Commander in Chief”. You get to bomb Libya and Ukraine and Iraq and Syria. What fun! Two billion dollars can buy you a hecka lot of war toys — eleven trillion dollars worth to be exact.
Or let’s say that your net worth is approximately 100 billion dollars, like, say, the Koch brothers’ worth is. You spend less than three percent of that money on buying elections — and voila! You too get over a thousand percent return on every dollar you spend. What kind of crazy-good investment is that!
Or let’s say you are a member of the notorious WalMart family, worth hundreds of billions of dollars. You spend just a few paltry billion on election buyouts — and suddenly us taxpayers are paying for all of your employees’ healthcare. And we’re throwing food stamps into the bargain too. Brilliant idea!
Or what if you own a giant coal company, oil company, car company, power company or some other major polluter? Common sense tells us voters that we need to cut down on polluting the atmosphere so as to avoid drastic climate change that even now threatens to kill off the whole human race.
We could have been using solar power all this time for instance — and also cleaned up our rivers and even eliminated the need for fossil fuel. But no. For a few (billion) dollars more at election time, you can potentially doom the entire human race. America, are we having fun yet?
Or let’s say for instance that you are AIPAC, that Israeli political action committee. Spend just two billion dollars to buy every election in America — up to and including the dog catcher? What a deal! And since Israel is already receiving three billion dollars every year from America, guaranteed, voted by Congress, you don’t even have to risk using your own moolah. You can use ours. Fabulous investment. http://www.counterpunch.org/
Plus you also get permission to bomb Gaza, take over the West Bank, design America’s stupid “Bomb Syria” policy, have red-carpet access to the entire Middle East (as in red carpets of blood) and get away with committing all kinds of other violations of the Nuremberg precedents and Geneva war crime conventions too.
According to Middle East expert Paul Larudee, “Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu infamously bragged that ‘America is a thing you can move very easily’.” Apparently all you need is just two billion bucks. Hell, Attila the Hun never even had that kind of power. Or even Josef Stalin. All he ever got out his American investments was the freaking Cold War.
But don’t worry, Josef! The Cold War is about to heat up again, thanks to AIPAC. Hell, now AIPAC is even an unofficial member of NATO (and apparently its most influential member too). And, as such, Israeli war hawks seem hell-bent on fomenting World War III. Does the American public really want to go there? I think not.
Or you could invest your capital in running America’s prison-industrial complex? Just think of all the cheap labor you’ll get! For much less than two billion in folding money, you don’t even have to ship your goods over from China any more. Plus you get to have them stamped “Made in America” too. Definitely a win-win for you.
Or what if you are Monsanto or Big Pharma or Bank of America or CitiCorp or Goldman Sachs or General Electric? For far less than two billion dollars, you can get rid of unions, create your own monopolies, write your own “regulations”, appoint your own “regulators” and rake in the profits. And if you are Big Media, our publicly-owned airwaves now belong to you. Think Rupert Murdock. Or net neutrality up in smoke. Think AT&T. Boo-yah!
Yep, America is for sale for really cheap these days. The total assets of the United States of America is currently 188 trillion dollars. And just think. For just a mere two billion simoleons, all that can be yours! Buy a little false advertizing, do a bit of voter-suppression, get your hands on a few electronic voting machines, tell a few lies on Fox News and CNN and, boom shake the room, you can own all of that. All $188,000,000,000,000.00 worth. “Worth playing for?” Yeah.
My country these days has become like some aging cheap whore, selling herself on street corners to the first two-bit John who comes along and offers her a couple of dollars.
America these days isn’t even a high-priced call girl any more.
“French aircraft were due to begin their first reconnaissance flights over Iraq,” France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced on September 15. Britain is already flying reconnaissance missions over Iraq. Several other countries – Arab ones included – say they are willing to support the air campaign. None seem interested in pledging any ground troops, however.
“Well, you will hear from Secretary Kerry on this over the coming days. And what he has said is that others have suggested that they’re willing to do that. But we’re not looking for that right now,” Chief of Staff Denis McDonough waffled on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, September 14. “We’re trying to put together the specifics of what we expect from each of the members,” he added, which is one way of saying the United States is finding it hard to persuade other countries to provide ground forces – something the self-designed leader of the “coalition” is unwilling to do. Also on “Meet the Press” James Baker noted that the biggest problem “of course, is who are our, quote, ‘partners on the ground’ that the president referred to in his speech. And I don’t know where they come from.” Let it be noted that Baker put forth an ad-hoc strategic plan that was, in fact, far better than the one outlined by Obama. He suggested joining forces with China, Russia, Iran, Syria and others, following a non-UN-sponsored international conference of genuine international leaders.
There are no “partners on the ground” for now, and those that the Administration wants to groom for the role are worse than none: McDonough conceded that ground troops are needed, “that’s why we want this program to train the [Syrian] opposition that’s currently pending in Congress.” In my curtain-raiser on President Obama’s much-heralded speech of September 10, posted two days before he delivered it (“Obama’s Non-Strategy”), I warned that he – disastrously – still counts on the non-existent “moderate rebels” in Syria to come on board, and still refuses to talk to Bashar al-Assad, whose army is the only viable force capable of confronting the IS now and for many years to come. In short, “he has no plan to systematically degrade the IS capabilities, no means to shrink the territory that they control, and certainly no strategy to defeat them.”
Obama’s address to the nation on September 10 confirmed all of the above, but it also contained numerous non sequiturs, falsehoods, and delusional assertions that need to be addressed one by one. (The President’s words are in italics.)
I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.
This is an audacious statement of intent: not what the U.S. and America’s unnamed “friends and allies” will try to do, but what they will do to destroy an effective fighting force of some 30,000 fanatical jihadists at the time of this writing, and rapidly rising – an army, in fact, which is well armed and equipped, solvent, and highly motivated. Regardless of the coherence of Obama’s proposed methods – more of that later – what he announced is the beginning of yet another open-ended Middle Eastern war in which the United States will be fully committed and in which the “job” will not be considered “done” until and unless the IS is “destroyed.” Newt Gingrich is already salivating at the prospect of America spending “half of a century or more hunting down radicals, growing reliable self-governing allies, and convincing friends and neutrals to be anti-radical.” This nightmare is good news – at home – only for the military-industrial complex, and abroad for the jihadists of all color and hue. “Half a century or more” of such idiocy can only accelerate this country’s road to bankruptcy, financial as well as moral.
Over the last several years, we have consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country. We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Osama bin Laden’s death did not make one scintilla of difference. Al Qaeda’s (AQ) leadership is not a snake but a hydra: you can “take out” a hundred of its leaders today, and another hundred will take their place tomorrow. Successfully killing scores or thousandsof jihadists should not be confused with winning against jihad. More importantly – and Obama seems to be oblivious to the fact – al Qaeda is not a hierarchical organization, but a state of mind and a blueprint for action. Its non-affiliates, too – in Nigeria, Libya, Syria, the Philippines, Kashmir etc. – follow the same guiding principles and seek the same millenarian objectives. As any counterterrorism expert can tell you, “targeted” drone killings are doing more damage than good by angering local populations – which suffer “collateral damage” – thus providing an inexhaustible pool of fresh recruits for the jihadists (quite apart from legal and moral considerations).
We’ve targeted al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia.
It is breathtaking that Obama should imply that Yemen and Somalia are his administration’s success stories that should be emulated in the campaign against the IS. As Nicholas Kristof noted in The New York Times, “Obama may be the only person in the world who would cite conflict-torn Yemen and Somalia as triumphs.”
Yemen is an ever-growing hotbed of terrorist activity regardless of (and more likely partly due to) more than 100 American airstrikes since 2002, which killed some 500 militants and over a hundred civilians. (When Yemeni kids are disobedient, their parents have a new tool of enforcing discipline: “A big American drone will come and get you!”) The Department of state admitted in its most recent worldwide terrorism report that “of the AQ affiliates, AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) continues to pose the most significant threat to the United States and U.S. citizens and interests in Yemen.” Its success, according to the report, is “due to an ongoing political and security restructuring within the government itself” [i.e. no effective government and no reliable security forces]. “AQAP continued to exhibit its capability by targeting government installations and security and intelligence officials, but also struck at soft targets, such as hospitals,” and it continues to expand territory under its control. Somalia is an utterly failed state with no functioning government, and al-Shabaab’s terrorist base from which complex operations are launched against soft targets in neighboring countries (notably last year’s attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall, which killed at least 67 people).
If this is the model for the anti-IS campaign, then even a century of Newt’s “hunting down radicals, growing reliable self-governing allies, and convincing friends and neutrals to be anti-radical” will be a fiasco – albeit on an infinitely grander scale.
We’ve done so while bringing more than 140,000 American troops home from Iraq, and drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year. Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer.
The fruits of the war in Iraq are all too visible. It cannot be stated often enough that America’s war against Saddam – who never threatened the United States, and opposed Islamic terrorism – produced the IS, which is now treated as an existential threat which requires another American war to eliminate.
In Afghanistan the Taliban is well poised to make a comeback one, two, at most three years after the end of the American combat mission. It is able to carry out attacks in the center of the capital, Kabul, the latest of which – on September 16 – killed three members of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. Safer, indeed.
Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.
This is surreal. Obama may have been born and raised a Muslim, but he claims not to be a Muslim now; it is therefore as preposterous for him to pass judgments on the Islamic bona fides of Muslim entities as it would be for the Saudi king to decide whether the Orange Order of Ulster or the Episcopal Church are “Christian” (a purely technical parallel, of course). In any event, Obama’s theological credentials were established with clarity in the aftermath of James Foley’s beheading by the IS, when he declared (also in the context of absolving Islam of any connection with the IS) that “no just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day.” Since they did what they did, this unambiguous statement means that – in Obama’s opinion – either there is no God, or God is not just.
Contrary to Obama’s assurances, Islam does condone the killing of infidels (non-Muslims) and apostates (Shiites) – they are not “innocents” by definition. And of course Muslims have been killing other Muslims – often on a massive scale – ever since three of the four early caliphs, Muhammad’s immediate successors, were murdered by their Muslim foes. It is immaterial whether ISIS is true to “Islam” as Obama chooses to define it. It is undeniable that it is true to the principles and practices of historical Islam.
Obama either does not know what he is talking about, or he is practicing a variety of taqiyya. As Nonie Darwish put it bluntly in the American Thinker on September 12, Obama does not want to go down in history as the one who destroyed and extinguished the dream of resurrecting the Islamic State. Under his watch Islam was placed on a pedestal and that helped revive the Islamic dream of the Caliphate:
Muslims felt that Obama was their man, under whom they had a chance to achieve their powerful Islamic state. Obama himself was not happy with the military takeover and destruction of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Jihadist ambition had to move away from Egypt to war-torn Syria and Iraq. For more than two years, Islamists have carried out flagrant and barbaric mass terrorism – beheadings, torture, kidnapping, and sexual slavery of women, men, and children. Obama ignored the problem until it blew up in our faces with the beheading of two Americans.
Even if he could defeat ISIS, Darwish argues, that would turn him into an infidel enemy number one of Islam – one who supported Muslims in their dream of the Caliphate by looking the other way, only to later crush it. Obama therefore cannot be honest about this dilemma regarding ISIS; “a dilemma between his duty to the USA, the country he chose to lead, and his dream of becoming the hero of the Muslim World who taught the West a lesson on how to treat Muslims. Obama will not obliterate ISIS but will contain it, as he said. He will eventually kick the can to the next administration, not only because he hates wars as he claims, but because he does not want to be enemy number one of Islam and the Muslims.” That is Obama’s dirty little secret that explains his paralysis before ISIS, Darwish concludes: “Ironically, the man who claimed to have healed the relationship between the West and the Muslim world will go down in history as the one who helped the rise and the bloody fall of the Islamic State and perhaps America itself.”
And ISIL is certainly not a state… It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates.
Obama does not know the feelings of some ten million people under IS control. Many of those who did not cherish life under its black banner have already fled to Damascus, Baghdad, or Erbil. There is no doubt that it is successful in attracting thousands upon thousands of new recruits every month. And as I wrote in the current issue of Chronicles, the Caliphate is a “state” whether we like it or not:
Traditional international law postulates the possession of population, of territory, and the existence of a government that exercises effective control over that population and territory: a state exists if it enjoys a monopoly on coercive mechanisms within its domain, which the caliphate does. After all, unrecognized state entities such as Transnistria, Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh command their denizens’ overwhelming loyalty and exercise effectively undisputed control over their entire territory. Some international jurists may cite the ability of the self-proclaimed state’s authority to engage in international discourse, but that is a moot point. The capacity to control a putative state’s territory and population almost invariably leads to such ability, regardless of the circumstances of that state’s inception: South Sudan is a recent case in point, and the creation of Israel in 1947 also comes to mind.
ISIS controls an area the size of Montana in northeastern Syria and western and northwestern Iraq. It has substantial funds at its disposal, initially given it by the Saudis, Kuwaitis, Turks, Qataris, Bahrainis, UAE donors, et al., and augmented to the tune of half a billion dollars looted from the Iraqi government vaults in Mosul and Tikrit. It is effective in collecting taxes, tolls, and excise duties. With no debts or liabilities, the existing stash and ongoing cash flow makes the emerging Caliphate more solvent than dozens of states currently represented in the UN. It has enough oil and derivatives not only for its own needs, but also to earn the foreign exchange needed to buy all the food and other goods it needs from abroad.
ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple.
It is not that (see above). This statement reflects a conceptual delusion which ab initio cannot provide the basis for a sound strategy. Obama’s own State Department declared as far back as July 23 that “ISIL is no longer simply a terrorist organization” – or at least that is what Brett McGurk, deputy assistant secretary for Iraq and Iran, told a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on that day. “It is now a full-blown army seeking to establish a self-governing state through the Tigris and Euphrates Valley in what is now Syria and Iraq.”
And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.
It does have a vision. That vision is eminently Islamic in its millenarian strategic objectives, in its tactics, and in its methods. It is no more utopian than Obama’s vision of an “indispensable” America, which – as he put it at the very end of his speech – stands for “freedom, justice and dignity,” an America which defends those “timeless ideals that will endure long after those who offer only hate and destruction have been vanquished from the Earth.”
In its self-proclaimed status as a caliphate, the IS claims – in principle – religious authority over all Muslims in the world, and ultimately aspires to bring all Muslim-inhabited lands of the world under its political control. Last June ISIS published a document which announced that “the legality of all emirates, groups, states and organizations becomes null by the expansion of the khilafah’s authority and arrival of its troops to their areas.” It rejects the political divisions established by Western powers in the Sykes–Picot Agreement of 1917. Its self-declared immediate-to-medium-term goal is to conquer Iraq, Syria and other parts of al-Sham – the loosely-defined Levant region – including Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus and southeastern Turkey. It is a bold, even audacious vision, but a vision it most certainly is.
In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide.
There is absolutely nothing “unique” in the IS fighters’ brutality. They are only following the example of their prophet. Muhammad executed Meccan prisoners after the battle of Badr in 624AD. He condoned the killing of women and children besieged in Ta’if in 630. He and his followers enslaved, raped and forced into marriage Jewish women after he massacred the men of the Jewish tribes of Banu Qurayzain 627 and Banu Nadir in 629. He even “married” one of the captured Banu Nadir women, Safiyya bint Huyayy captured after the men Banu Nadir were massacred. He did not “threaten” the Jews of the Arabian peninsula with genocide, he carried that genocide so thoroughly that not a trace of them remains to this day. Christians living in the IS who want to remain in the “caliphate” face three options according to IS officials: converting to Islam, paying a religious tax (jizya), or “the sword.” This choice is as conventionally Islamic as it gets, having been stipulated many times in the Quran and hadith.
But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. That’s why I’ve insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days… I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.
The would-be coalition of Sunni Muslim “partners” includes those who had been aiding and abetting ISIS for years, and who have neither the will nor the resources to fight it. As I wrote here last week, those countries’ military forces are unable to confront an enemy which consists of highly motivated light infantry, knows the terrain, enjoys considerable popular support, and operates in small motorized formations:
On the basis of its poor showing in Yemen it is clear that the Saudis in particular are no better than the Iraqi army which performed so miserably last June. Even when united in their overall strategic objectives, Arab armies are notoriously unable to develop integrated command and control systems – as was manifested in 1947-48, in the Seven-Day War of 1967, and in the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Their junior officers are discouraged from making independent tactical decisions by their inept superiors who hate delegating authority. Both are, inevitably, products of a culture steeped in strictly hierarchical modes of thought and action. Furthermore, their expensive hardware integrated into hard to maneuver brigade-sized units is likely to be useless against an elusive enemy who will avoid pitched battles.
An additional unresolved problem is Turkey, which is staying aloof and will not allow even U.S. facilities in its territory to be used for the air campaign. Erdogan is definitely not a “partner,” and Turkey continues to tolerate steady recruiting of ISIS volunteers in its territory as well as the passage of foreign jihadists across the 550-mile borderit shares with Syria and Iraq.
The most important problem in creating a coalition with Obama’s “Arab partners” is religious, however. The leaders of all Sunni Arab countries and Turkey are well aware that, contrary to Obama’s claims, ISIS is a Muslim group firmly rooted in the teachings and practices of orthodox Sunni Islam. They are loath to ally themselves with the kuffar in fighting those who want to fulfill the divine commandment to strive to create the Sharia-based universal caliphate. Those leaders are for the most part serious believers, and they do not want to go to hell.
Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy. First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts … so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense.
The Shia-dominated Iraqi army is not to be counted upon, as attested by its flight from Mosul, and it cannot be counted upon to cooperate with the armed forces of the overtly anti-Shia regimes, even if in the fullness of time they provided ground troops. The Kurdish pershmerga also would be loath to treat Saudis or Qataris as brothers-in-arms. Even if they were capable of major operations, which they are not, both the Iraqi army and the peshmerga would be perceived by the Sunni Arab majority in northwestern Iraq as an occupying force with the predictable result that the “caliphate” could count on thousands of fresh volunteers. Obama’s “regional allies” could end up helping their Sunni coreligionists fight the Shia “apostates.” They regard the IS in western Iraq and northeastern Syria as a welcome buffer against the putative Shia crescent extending from Iran to the Lebanese coast. As for the “Iraqi forces,” they are devoid of any offensive potential now and that will not change for years to come.
Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition… In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people; a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all.
“The Syrian opposition” is ideologically indistinguishable from the IS, militarily ineffective, internally divided, and far keener to renew its stalled fight against Bashar al-Assad than to fight the Caliphate. America’s would-be “coalition” partners have indirectly indicated that they are aware of this fact: several mentioned Iraq when announcing the proposed military measures last Monday, but none made any mention of the challenge next door.
Obama’s present heavy reliance on the “Syrian opposition” is at odds with his own doubts about its viability, which were openly expressed in an interview with New York Times’s Tom Friedman only a month earlier:
“With ‘respect to Syria,’ said the president, the notion that arming the rebels would have made a difference has ‘always been a fantasy. This idea that we could provide some light arms or even more sophisticated arms to what was essentially an opposition made up of former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth, and that they were going to be able to battle not only a well-armed state but also a well-armed state backed by Russia, backed by Iran, a battle-hardened Hezbollah, that was never in the cards.’”
Now, however, Obama is rejecting cooperation with Damascus – the only realist course with any chance of success – and is relying on a “fantasy” scenario to create some boots on the ground. No lessons have been drawn from Libya’s collapse into bloody anarchy, or from the failure of America’s decade-long effort to train and equip the Iraqi army, which disintegrated when faced with the IS three months ago. Such fiascos notwithstanding, Obama wants to build up a Syrian rebel force as one of the pillars of his strategy – that same force of which he said to Friedman on August 8 that “there’s not as much capacity as you would hope.”
We will continue providing humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been displaced by this terrorist organization. This includes Sunni and Shia Muslims who are at grave risk, as well as tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities. We cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homelands.
“Tens of thousands of Christians” is a hundred-fold reduction of the magnitude of the problem that long-suffering community has faced in the region since the start of the Iraqi war in 2003. Obama’s statement is the exact numerical and moral equivalent to saying that “hundreds of thousands of European Jews” were at grave risk at the time of the Wannsee conference. As Peggy Noonan wrote the other day in the Wall Street Journal, “genocide” is the right word to describe the plight of the region’s Christians, noting that “for all his crimes and failings, Syria’s justly maligned Assad was not attempting to crush his country’s Christians. His enemies were – the jihadists, including those who became the Islamic State.” As well as those, let us add, who are now being groomed by the President of the United States to fight the Islamic State. No wonder he is deliberately and cynically minimizing the plight of his protégés’ Christian victims.
This is our strategy.
Lord have mercy!
This is American leadership at its best: we stand with people who fight for their own freedom; and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity.
My Administration has also secured bipartisan support for this approach here at home. I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL.
This is disputable. Obama refers to the authorization originally concerning action against al-Qaeda, treating as a blank check for starting a new war of unknown magnitude and duration.
This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.
Deja-vu all over again. On the grimly positive note, more Yemeni and Somali-like “successes” may be needed to accelerate America’s eventual return home.
America is better positioned today to seize the future than any other nation on Earth.
It would be a cliché to state that Obama is either deluded or stunningly cynical. He is both, of course, I’d say roughly 60:40.
Our technology companies and universities are unmatched; our manufacturing and auto industries are thriving. Energy independence is closer than it’s been in decades. For all the work that remains, our businesses are in the longest uninterrupted stretch of job creation in our history.
Cringe again: tasteless, self-serving inanities that have nothing to do with ISIS or strategy. Obama’s psychopatic narcissism trumps that of the Clintons, impossible as it may have seemed.
Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world. It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists.
“The world,” indeed, minus Russia, China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Iran, South Africa, and scores of lesser powers on all continents (save Australia) which have the capacity and the will to reject Obama’s audacious and increasingly absurd notions of global leadership.
It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny. It is America – our scientists, our doctors, our know-how – that can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola. It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so they cannot pose a threat to the Syrian people – or the world – again.
There is no “Russian aggression,” and “the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny” was brazenly undermined by the State Department/CIA-engineered coup d’etat in Kiev last February. It is preposterous for Obama to take credit for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons – it was Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic coup which got Obama off the hook when Congress and the public at large expressed their opposition to the intended bombing of Syria. But yes, American scientists and doctors definitely “can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola.” That was the only true statement in Obama’s address. Its relevance to his anti-IS strategy is unclear.
And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, tolerance, and a more hopeful future.
… especially in places like Marseilles, Antwerp, Malmo, Dortmund, and Dearborn, Michigan.
America, our endless blessings bestow an enduring burden. But as Americans, we welcome our responsibility to lead. From Europe to Asia – from the far reaches of Africa to war-torn capitals of the Middle East – we stand for freedom, for justice, for dignity. These are values that have guided our nation since its founding.
Obama wouldn’t know the founding values if they hit him in the head. He is the worst president of the United States in history after all. That is no mean feat, considering the competition.
Why the Real Target is Assad Not ISIS…
Invoking the same ominous language as his predecessor, Barack Obama used a prime time presidential address on Wednesday to announce the beginning of a war on Syria. And while there’s no doubt that many Americans will be confused by Obama’s misleading focus on the terrorist organization named ISIL, the real purpose of the speech was to garner support for another decade of homicidal conflicts in the Middle East. The administration is as determined as ever to plunge the region into chaos, erase existing borders, and install its puppets wherever it can. ISIL–which is mainly an invention of western Intel agencies and their treacherous counterparts in the Gulf– conveniently creates the justification for another bloody invasion followed by years of occupation, subjugation, and revolt.
My fellow Americans — tonight, I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL. As commander-in-chief, my highest priority is the security of the American people…..
Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer.
Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat. We cannot erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm. That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today. That’s why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge.
Get it? We are all in great peril and only our loving father, Obama, can save us. Where have we heard that before?
Obama: “In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage…..If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region — including to the United States.”
This is pure demagoguery, the likes of which we haven’t heard since Bush’s ”The Axis of Evil” speech. The truth is, ISIL poses NO threat to US national security at all. It’s a joke. Readers should mull that over before they throw their support behind Obama’s proposed crusade in Syria..
More Obama: “First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists…..I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven…..”
Okay, so borders don’t matter, international law doesn’t matter, national sovereignty doesn’t matter. What matters is oil, money and power. Isn’t that what he’s saying? He’s asking the American people to support another millennia of killing so he can pad the bank accounts of corrupt US oil magnates while strengthening America’s tenuous grip on global power. Would you be willing to sacrifice your son’s life for such a cause?
Obama: “Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition. Tonight, I again call on Congress to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters.”
So, now Obama wants to arm and train the same terrorists which the CIA and our enlightened friends in the Gulf States recruited from around the world. Sounds like a good plan, doesn’t it? What could go wrong?
Obama: “This is our strategy….. Secretary Kerry was in Iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity, and in the coming days he will travel across the Middle East and Europe to enlist more partners in this fight.”
So, Senator Botox and his gaggle of neocons are going to fix everything, just like they did in Kiev. Now I am worried.
Obama: “But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground.”
No American “boots on the ground”?? Is that what he said? What he meant to say was no boots on the ground until after the midterms. After that, the sky’s the limit!
Don’t kid yourself, the Obama claque is as determined to topple Assad as Bush was determined to remove Saddam. That’s why Obama’s public relations team decided to use the prestige of a primetime presidential speech –with all the pompous trappings of high-office–to make their case. It’s because their real target is the American people who are being led by the nose into another hellish bloodbath.
Obama: “American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world. It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists.”
Oh boy. American troublemaking is the “one constant” in this world, even death and taxes take a back seat to that. America started the war on terror. (Blowback) America perpetuated the war on terror. (check the globe. The US is fighting wars everywhere.) And America is entirely responsible for the war on terror. (Afghanistan, Mujahedin) And now–after 13 years of unlawful detentions, black sites, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, death squads, waterboarding, illegal surveillance, drone attacks, and a mountain of carnage that stretches halfway to the moon– Obama is re-launching the War on Terror under the opaque sobriquet “ISIL”. Haven’t we had enough of this garbage yet?
As always, the media seems entirely mystified as to the administration’s real intentions. In contrast, analyst Patrick Martin at the World Socialist Web Site sees through the hoax and sums it up like this in an article titled “Obama announces open-ended war in Iraq and Syria”. Here’s an excerpt:
“It was only 12 months ago that Obama tried and failed to create the political conditions for US air strikes against the Assad regime, making allegations of the use of nerve gas weapons that were later discredited. Now Obama is seeking to achieve the same goal by a different route, using ISIS as a pretext to get American military forces into Syria, where they will become the spearhead of the campaign to oust Assad and install a pro-US stooge regime in Damascus.”
Bingo. The ISIL canard is nothing but a pretext for war.
Write to your Senators and Congressmen: NO WAR IN SYRIA.
When I was in India several years ago, I learned a lot about its historic caste system and the role of its “untouchables”. But I never put two and two together — that we might have “untouchables” and a caste system here in America too — until I saw photos of what happened in Ferguson, Missouri, this August. http://www.stltoday.com/news/
When I was in the Peace Corps in South Africa, I learned all about its grim apartheid practices in the past. But I never actually figured it out — until Ferguson — that America practiced apartheid too, and that the old apartheid bantustans of South Africa strongly resemble modern African-American bantustans like Ferguson; deliberately kept isolated, controlled and apart from the rest of America until there is almost no hope of ever getting out of them except by doing hard time in prison. http://www.blackagendareport.
When I visited the slums of Kampala, I was struck by what a third-world country Uganda was, with many of its poorest citizens being jobless, homeless, hopeless and living a bleak hand-to-mouth existence. But it never occurred to me that parts of America have similar unemployment rates, sparse education systems and the hopelessness of a third-world country too — until Ferguson gave me that new perspective. http://www.
In Israel/Palestine, I saw people constantly discriminated against “not by the content of their character but by the color of their skin,” to paraphrase Martin Luther King. But not until Ferguson, where whites clearly hold all the power and use it corruptlyhttp://stlouis.cbslocal.com/
When I was embedded in Iraq, I saw American tanks and weaponry like you wouldn’t believe, used on Iraqi civilians to keep them in line. But it wasn’t until I saw videos of Ferguson that I realized that the use of tanks and military weaponry have become standard warfare procedure against civilians here in America too. http://readersupportednews.
When I was in Burma, I saw minorities being labeled as inferior, being called insulting names and constantly being accused of laziness, stupidity, immorality and violence to the point where in some cases the minorities actually started suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome and becoming all the things that they were constantly being labeled as — but I never really brought this connection back home until Ferguson. http://readersupportednews.
When I was in Honduras, I heard tales about how Ronald Reagan funded his brutal death squads there by having the CIA fly whole plane-loads of drugs into secret airfields in Arkansas via “Air America” and then sell all those drugs in the ghettos here at home.
I knew that, back in the 1980s, the sudden availability of cheap crack cocaine had hit America’s Black communities like a ton of bricks — but I hadn’t really realized how much this crack epidemic had hurt these communities, even decades later, until I saw what the results of this evil agenda of deliberately choreographing drug sales in America’s ghettos had done to the societal fabric of American cities and towns like Ferguson back in the 1980s — and how hard, even today, that “authorities” are still fighting to keep the residents of places like Ferguson from ever putting their lives back together again.
When I was in Afghanistan, I constantly heard all kinds of stories about how American military planes would arrive there all loaded up with military supplies and then fly back to America loaded down with heroin, and that the dirty-money made on these ventures would help finance the American military-industrial complex’s Forever Wars.
But I never thought to associate all of this foreign drug trafficking with the breakdown of African-American cultural norms due to the sudden availability of huge amounts of heroin in ghettos all across our own nation — at least not until Ferguson caused me to see that the break-down of cultural norms in American ghettos had been carefully orchestrated and planned to do just that. And while turning a profit too — so that our own impoverished ghetto bantustans here at home are actually helping to finance the American military-industrial complex’s grim slaughter-for-empire abroad. Think about it. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-
When I was an election observer in Syria last June, I soon learned not to trust anything the American and British mainstream media claimed about election fraud there. There was no election fraud there. Period. https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Shame on me for so easily seeing all the bias, racism, apartheid, military brutality, corruption, caste systems and just down-right immoral behavior by ruling-class Brahmans that routinely happens in other countries — but failing to see that all these grim tactics are being used right here at home too. http://readersupportednews.
And shame on America for letting all this profiling, perfidy, pilfering and prejudice go on for so long back here at home — where we Americans are supposedly civilized and moral, and supposedly hold ourselves to the higher ideals of liberty, equality and democracy. http://vimeo.com/84249535
What a waste of human resources, human compassion and human life.
Something drastic must be done immediately to rectify this grim situation if we are ever going to pull the emergency brake on America’s rapid downward descent into feudalism and fascism — starting with using the trillions of dollars that we will save when we put a stop to ruthless military adventurism, and instead use that money to open world-class schools in every ghetto (and even in every non-ghetto) in the land, and to provide decent, chemical-free non-mutated food on every table too. http://www.
We now live in a nation where
doctors destroy health
lawyers destroy justice
universities destroy knowledge
governments destroy freedom
the press destroys information
religion destroys morals
and our banks
destroy the economy.
PS: Can American taxpayers really afford to pay for the occupation of Ukraine, Palestine, Iraq, Syria and Ferguson? Plus why would we want to? http://www.
The American military-industrial complex is currently spending 1.5 million dollars a day on military operations in Iraq. Imagine if that money was being spent to send Black kids to college — or to supply a college education to all American kids too for that matter. http://www.theguardian.com/
Every single patriotic American who loves his or her country needs to immediately get on the phone (and not even just go on FaceBook either) and make calls to Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court — bluntly telling them, “I’m sick of war!” https://www.aclu.org/secure/
PPS: “But Jane,” you might say, “those people in Ferguson blatantly stole stuff and looted and defied the law.” Yeah they did. But then so did Cliven Bundy — and nobody seemed to object to that. Angry Ferguson-Americans obviously need to learn how to steal and loot and defy the law Bundy-style! Fox News will probably even make them heroes. And maybe Bundy could even give them some tips.
Or maybe the citizens of Ferguson can get some tips from the primitive horde of neo-Nazis that the American military-industrial complex has recently hired (for five billion dollars) to shoot up and loot Ukraine — including but not limited to that Malaysian airplane that we never read about any more after it became public knowledge that Ukrainian neo-Nazis, not Putin, shot it down. http://www.wsws.org/en/
When I was in Ukraine several years ago, everything was peaceful — but just look at it now. It’s a war zone. And just another example of our tax dollars at work abroad destroying people’s lives rather than fixing people’s lives here at home.
I wouldn’t mind at all if that five billion dollars had been spent here at home instead. It could have bought Ferguson a new library, several new schools and probably a new hospital too. http://www.globalresearch.ca/
Rev. Robert Barron was chagrined, but not entirely surprised when he read Woody Allen’s recent ruminations on ultimate things. To state it bluntly, said Rev. Barron, Woody could not be any bleaker in regard to the issue of meaning in the universe. We live, he said,
“… in a godless and purposeless world. The earth came into existence through mere chance and one day it, along with every work of art and cultural accomplishment, will be incinerated. The universe as a whole will expand and cool until there is nothing left but the void. Every hundred years or so, he continued, a coterie of human beings will be “flushed away” and another will replace it until it is similarly eliminated. So why does he bother making films — roughly one every year? Well, he explained, in order to distract us from the awful truth about the meaninglessness of everything, we need diversions, and this is the service that artists provide.” (Woody Allen’s Bleak Vision, nationalreview.com, Aug. 12, 2014)
Like millions of other evolutionary humanists in rebellion against our Heavenly Father, Woody Allen is a nihilist—a non-person. The source of his nihilism is the belief that our Heavenly Father is dead and there is no Absolute Truth, that all truth is relative. According to Eugene (Fr. Seraphim) Rose, nihilism is the basic philosophy of the 20th century:
“It has become, in our time, so widespread and pervasive, has entered so thoroughly and so deeply into the minds and hearts of all men living today, that there is no longer any ‘front’ on which it may be fought.” The heart of this philosophy, he said, was “expressed most clearly by Nietzsche and by a character of Dostoyevsky in the phrase: ‘God is dead, therefore man becomes God and everything is possible.” (Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, oodegr.com)
Rev. Richard Wurmbrand (1909 –2001), a Romanian Christian minister of Jewish descent possesses penetrating insight into nihilism because it was his own philosophy for many years. But after fourteen years of physical and mental torment in a man-made hell on earth operated by soulless psychopaths, this courageous pastor emerged with an unquenchable love for Jesus Christ and his fellow man. According to Wurmbrand, nihilism freezes and hardens the souls of its’ dehumanized believers:
“You freeze when you think of yourself as only a complicated product of chemical reactions….You cannot see stars (or your soul) through the microscope or microbes through the telescope. Men who cannot think rightly come to the conclusion that God does not exist because they cannot find Him through the senses, which are functions of life in the realm of matter. Senses are not the right means to see God.” (The Answer to the Atheist’s Handbook, Wurmbrand, p. 105)
The common denominators of Allen’s particular form of nihilism as well as those of militant secularism and its’ theological and New Age Eastern oriented counterparts are the denial of the supernatural Triune God and creation ex nihilo, the fall (original sin), man as person because created in the spiritual image of the One God in three Persons, Moral Law, immutable Truth, Jesus Christ God enfleshed, His death and Resurrection, heaven and hell.
Within the secular framework there is also denial of angels and demons, especially of Lucifer as the fallen angel Satan. Other common denominators are the embrace of the idea of either pre-existing or spontaneously generated evolving matter and energy and mankind collectively dehumanized and reduced to aspects of the evolving universe. All of these myths are validated by scientism—the instrument of fallen man’s will.
Whether matter and energy are held to be eternally existing or spontaneously generated (Cosmic Egg/Big Bang) matters not since the common point of departure for all worldviews grounded in matter and energy is metaphysical nihilism,
“… This position has been held by philosophers such as Parmenides, Buddha, Advaita Vedantins, and perhaps Kant (according to some interpretations of his transcendental idealism). Blob theory can also be considered very closely aligned with mereological nihilism (there are no parts and wholes). Obviously if metaphysical nihilism is correct, empirical reality is an illusion.” (What is Metaphysical Nihilism? OpenTopia.com)
Concerned creationists have long pointed out that evolutionary scientism is at the heart of the spiritual and moral crisis facing modern man. A booklet titled The Surrender to Secularism (Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation, 1967) written by Most Rev. Cuthbert O’Gara, former bishop of Yuanling, China, provides a powerful testimony to this truth. Rev. O’Gara relates the following:
“When the Communist troops over-ran my diocese they were followed in short order by the propaganda corps—the civilian branch of the Red Forces—an organization…more fanatical, then the People’s Army of Liberation itself. The entire population, city and countryside, was immediately organized into distinctive categories (and) forced to attend the seminar specified for his or her proper category and there (forced to submit) to the official Communist line. Now what…was the first lesson given to the indoctrinees? The first, the fundamental, lesson…was man’s descent from the ape—Darwinism! Darwinism negates God, the human soul, the after-life. Into this vacuum Communism enters as the be-all and end-all of the intellectual slavery it has created. In the Red prison in which I was held, the slogan, ‘Bring your mind over to us and all your troubles will end,’ was hammered into the minds of the prisoners with brutal and numbing monotony. Nothing but a groveling holocaust of the human person can satiate the lust for dominance of Peking’s Red Regime.” (Article 12: The Quintessential Evolutionist, waragainstbeing.com)
All forms of the evolutionary scientism dominating our modern societies, from the Neo-Darwinism force-fed to our children to militant forms of secularism, occult New Age evolutionary pantheism and their evolutionary theological counterparts, all are variations of metaphysical nihilism demanding a holocaust of the human person:
“It matters little whether we are dealing with Communism, Socialism, Nazism, abortion, the whole secular culture of perversity and death, the exclusion of God from public education, the crisis within the Church, or a whole host of other individual and social agendas – all are intimately related, and have as a powerful causative factor, belief in Darwinian Evolution.” (ibid)
Within the Western civilized world, including America, the idea that everything in the universe reduces to matter and energy is found for example, in the thinking of global NWO socialists, America’s progressive ruling class, the evolutionary ‘Christianity’ of Michael Dowd, the Hindu-pantheism of Teilhard de Chardin, the integral evolutionism of Ken Wilber, the dialectical materialism of Karl Marx, and the 20th century’s murderous dictators, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot.
In his article, “Leftism a Radical Faith,” Bruce Riggs notes that much of the political history of the extended twentieth century is that of massive extinctions of citizenries by their dictatorial governments:
“Take the engineered mass starvations, torture chambers, firing squads, and gulags of Lenin and Stalin; Nazi gas chambers; Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge killing fields; the genocides of Mao’s “Great Leap Forward”; and the tyrannical North Korean Sung dynasty, and one will find that over one hundred million people
have been slaughtered.” (American Thinker, Jan. 1, 2014)
In one way or another, these dictatorial governments systematically dehumanized and murdered millions to create an imagined earthly Eden, said Riggs, and this is clearly irrational. In this sense, leftist ideology is an atheist religion with the look of a religious inquisition. Klaus Fischer puts it this way:
“[T]otalitarianism represents the twentieth-century version of traditional religiosity; it is in many ways the secular equivalent of the religious life. Unless this crucial point is captured, the quintessential nature of totalitarianism will elude us.” (ibid)
This “totalitarian religiosity” is grounded in metaphysical nihilism and the dehumanization and reduction of mankind to aspects of the evolving universe on a par with slugs, weeds, and apes. This evil religion continues today as a “scientific,” secular, politico-centric faith,
“….disdainful of theistic beliefs and contemptuous of those who subscribe to them. It is a faith that, in its historical manifestations, has birthed the murderous tyrannies of the extended twentieth century — tyrannies that have marched under left-wing banners of Marxism, Communism, and National Socialism, or, more generally and descriptively, Coercive Collectivism.” (ibid, Riggs)
As it was for murderous 20th century dictators, so it is for todays’ individual evolutionists that metaphysical nihilism and dehumanization of ‘others’ is liberating, at least during younger years when death is not yet a blip on the radar. This is because for the uncreated, liberated autonomous ‘self’ who is the measure of all things and whose life no longer has any ultimate meaning or purpose there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his debauched, even murderous friends should not do what they want to do. But the nihilism, egotism, lying, perverse license, and sadistic pleasure attained through psychological domination and manipulation of dehumanized ‘dupes’ and their children, all of which nihilists rejoice in during their younger years becomes an unbearable source of despair, horror, night terrors, dread, and thoughts of murder and suicide with the advent of old age and the approach of death.
God, Heaven, Hell, Souls and Demons: Do They Exist?
At issue for evolutionary humanists is the existence of the supernatural God of Revelation, the Heavenly Creator who spoke everything into existence ex nihilo. Does He exist and did He reveal Himself to men or not? Rebellious evolutionists say no, all that exists is the natural dimension of matter and energy in continuous motion measured by time that may or may not involve the working of a god invented and controlled by man.
However, existence within the natural dimension of space and time is not the only form of existence. Timeless is the supernatural realm (third heaven) of the eternally existing, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Holy God of Revelation.
There are three heavens. The first is the immediate sky, or earth’s atmosphere. (Genesis 2:19; 7:3, 23; Psalms 8:8; Deuteronomy 11:17) The second is the starry heavens or outer space. (Deuteronomy 17:3; Jeremiah 8:2; Matthew 24:29). The third heaven is outside of time and space, meaning the first and second heavens, thus outside the reach of man’s science. The timeless heaven is where God and the holy angels and spirits of righteous men in possession of eternal life dwell and to which Paul was taken. (Deuteronomy 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27; Psalms 115:16; 148:4; 2 Cor.12:2)
Furthermore, all people who have had out-of-body experiences by way of near-death or drugs, astral plane travels, or through shamanism for example, can testify to the existence of their own souls as well as of the timeless abode of demons and fallen angels, the “spirits of wickedness under the heavens” (Eph. 6:12) and their chief, “the prince of the powers of the air.” (Eph. 2:2) According to the Apostle Paul, fallen angels thrown down from the third heaven are dispersed in a multitude throughout the first heaven. It is with this timeless abode of fallen angels and demons that shamans interact and to which astral plane travelers from the time of Nimrod to our own have been visiting. According to Francis Huxley and Jeremy Narby:
“Western observers began participating in shamanistic sessions involving hallucinogenic plants, (and) found, to their astonishment, that they could have experiences similar to those described by shamans.” ‘Life’ magazine popularized shamanism in a 1957 story, “In Mexico, American banker Gordon Wasson ate psilocybin mushrooms in a session conducted by (a) shaman.” Wasson described to ‘Life’s’ readers his experience of “flying out of his body.” Narby and Huxley report that “hundreds of thousands of people read Wasson’s account, and many followed his example.” (Modern Shamanism: Spirit Contact & Spiritual Progress, James Herrick, p. 17, from “On Global Wizardry, edited by Peter Jones)
When the soul comes out of its’ body, as happened to the Satanist William Schnoebelen, it is immediately within the timeless realm of evil spirits. According to early Church Fathers, if the soul is that of a faithful believer it will be met by one of Gods’ Holy Angels and escorted to the third heaven. If not, as was the case with Schnoebelen, it will meet with deceiving, malignant spirits.
William Schnoebelen was a great hardboiled sinner whose damnable transgressions included Satanism and receiving the mark of Satan during an out of body experience. His autobiography, Lucifer Dethroned, is a gripping and horrifying account of his descent into the darkest, most frightening side of the occult, magick, spell-casting, vampirism, astral travel and Satanism and his subsequent restoration through grace and the love of Jesus Christ.
Bill was a demonically-empowered Druidic high priest, high-order Mason, ordained spiritist minister and Satanist who frequently “went out of his body” into the timeless realm for various reasons. As he tells it, one night he was “yanked” out of his body and drawn up through the paths of the Tree of Life toward the zone of Binah or Saturn. His terrifying journey took him to a vast, obsidian trapezoidal shaped temple called the Cathedral of Pain situated in the midst of swirling stars. The inside walls were clear glass,
“…holding back a transparent green fluid. Floating within the fluid…were hundreds of naked (horribly mutilated) human bodies. They were all dead, most with expressions of exquisite terror etched in a rictus on their frozen faces.” Then a pillar of light struck an “obsidian throne,” a sacrificial altar, and out of the light “appeared a huge being…robed in white…” Mighty wings swept his shoulders. At one moment the winged being was an incredibly handsome man, the next a “bull” and the next a “woman.” Chanting began in Latin: “Ave Satanas, Rege Satanas (Hail Satan, Satan Rules)” Then the terrifying being reached out his left hand “and placed it on my forehead….I felt a claw tear into my brow (and) insert itself into my brain like a white-hot poker..” Then a voice spoke: “Now you are mine forever.” (p. 157-159)
Schnoebelen was forced to return to the Cathedral of Pain a few more times before turning to Jesus Christ for salvation. One night he finally got down on his knees and confessed,
“…to the Lord that I was indeed a sinner—perhaps the chiefest of sinners (but) I repented (Luke 15:5) and confessed that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead so that I might have eternal life (Romans 10: 9-10). I asked Jesus to save me from my sins (Romans 10: 13), and to be the absolute Lord of my life (Romans 12: 1-2)” Jesus Christ forgave me and set me “free from unbelievable darkness and evil...” Jesus Christ liberated his demonically oppressed soul.”(p. 315)
All people, including ‘scientifically enlightened’ evolutionary nihilists live in a mysterious world of which we see in part, and that only darkly, because we are imprisoned in the jail of our senses. But as Schnoebelen, shamanists and practicing occultists such as Carl Jung know, there are all about us and even here on earth powerful, intelligent beings that move so fast we cannot not see them, who emit rays outside the spectrum of our vision and communicate among themselves on a wavelength beyond what man can hear and apprehend, thus they can observe us, inflate our most disordered passions and influence our dreams and thoughts for good or bad. They can also, by way of telepathy or automatic writing, transmit through someone like Nietzsche or Carl Jung teachings from the demonic realm.
According to the highly celebrated Jung, Philemon, a winged, horned demon, supervised and inspired the writing of the “Seven Sermons to the Dead.” Jung described the occasion like this:
“The whole house was….crammed full of spirits. They were packed deep right up to the door, and the air was so thick I could hardly breathe…Then it began to flow out of me, and in the course of three evenings the thing (Septem Sermones ad Mortuos) was written.” (Jung relates how his soul departed into the timeless realm)…the mystical land of the dead (and) soon after the…..’dead’ appeared to me and the result was the Septem Sermones.” (To Hell and Back, Maurice S. Rawlings, M.D., p.143)
Spirits can, and do, influence the minds of proud evolutionary humanists who then trumpet the nihilistic ideas dropped into their minds as their own brilliant ideas and do the work of devils by leading astray millions of people with their damnable soul-destroying teachings.
Evolutionary seculars and their theological and occult New Age counterparts commit grievous sins and live as if they will never die. But the God of Revelation, heaven, hell, angels and demons exist, and even now, without their knowledge, rebellious nihilists are being prepared to receive the mark of Satan on their foreheads unless they repent. Before it’s too late, let them learn from the despairing words of other adversaries of Jesus Christ:
“I am suffering the pangs of the damned.” Talleyrand (ibid, Wurmbrand, p. 158
“Give me laudanum that I may not think of eternity.” Mirabeau
“I am abandoned by God and man. I shall go to hell. Oh Christ, oh Jesus Christ!” Voltaire
“What blood, what murders, what evil counsels have I followed. I am lost, I see it well.” Charles IX, King of France
“I would give worlds, if I had them, if the Age of Reason (an anti-Christian book) had never been published. Oh, Lord, help me. Christ, help me. Stay with me. It is hell to be left alone.” Thomas Paine
“…I had a feeling that life was ebbing from me. I felt powerful sensations of dread (then suddenly everything) turned a glowing red. I saw twisted faces grimacing as they stared down at me (I tried to defend myself but) could no longer shut out the frightful truth: beyond the faces dominating this fiery world were faces of the damned. I had a feeling of despair….the sensation of horror was so great it choked me. Obviously I was in Hell itself (and then suddenly) the black silhouette of a human figure began to draw near…a woman…with lipless mouth and in her eyes an expression that sent icy shudders down my back. She stretched out her arms…and pulled me by an irresistible force (into) a world filled with….sounds of lamentation….I asked the figure…who she was. A voice answered: “I am death.” (German actor Curt Jürgen’s, To Hell and Back, pp. 76-77)
Nihilists are lost and spiritually blind— to the reality of the timeless realms, but especially to the third heaven of our Heavenly Father. So too are they are blind to the reality of their own frozen souls and to the existence of devils all around them for their foolish hearts are darkened (Rom. 1:21) and their thoughts evil (Gn. 6:5). They are ignorant, guilty, and corrupt. They have exchanged God’s Revelation for scientism and His Truth and Way for a lie (Rom. 1:25), and their darkened minds are wholly blind to the saving Light of Christ that shines into the hearts of the faithful. (John 8:12)
From his own experience, Eugene Rose believed that a nihilist cannot come to Christ fully until he is first aware of how far he and his society have fallen away from Him, that is, until he has first faced the Nihilism in himself:
“The Nihilism of our age exists in all,” he wrote, “and those who do not, with the aid of God, choose to combat it in the name of the fullness of Being of the living God, are swallowed up in it already. We have been brought to the edge of the abyss of nothingness and, whether we recognize its nature or not, we will, through affinity for the ever-present nothingness within us, be engulfed in it beyond all hope of redemption-unless we cling in full and certain faith (which doubting, does not doubt) to Christ, without Whom we are truly nothing.” (Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, oodegr.com)
“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.… (John 3:19-20)
For all who repent of their sins, combat their nihilism with the aid of God and unite with the faithful who persevere in the Way of Christ, death is merely a doorway to eternal physical life, first in the third heaven for a while, then in a physical Paradise—the earth and heavens renewed and remade in unimaginably wondrous ways. But for the stubborn, dehumanized nihilist who prefers darkness to Light the approach of old age and death are accompanied by increasing afflictions of the mind—despair, depression, nightmares, inexplicable feelings of dread and horror—because beyond the grave lies only eternal remorse in utter darkness.
The statistics are just beginning to be analyzed—by UN agencies and a myriad of NGO’s whose mandates include salvaging young lives from the nearly incalculable ravages of the five-week (and counting) Zionist aggression upon Gaza. It is of course the third aggression in six years against the 1.8 million Palestinians, sardine-canned into what is increasingly referred to as history’s largest open air prison, but the outcome this time is looking particularly cruel and grim.
As the Netanyahu regime announced (on 8/10/14) that its attacks on Gaza would continue, increasing numbers of obscene calls—for Israel to “finish the job” and “go all the way” etc.—are floating in the Zionist state’s malodorous public echo-chamber, emanating from such figures as the Knesset’s deputy speaker, who advocates driving Palestinians into the Sinai desert and resettling Gaza with Jews.
In Khuza’a “the Israeli military had trapped at least 32 people in a home and then prevented the Red Cross from evacuating them before shelling the area,” reported Lebanese-American journalist Roqayah Chamseddine. Hoping for safe haven, the people in the house sought refuge in the basement of a neighbor’s home, where they found additional families already inside.
“By that point we were 120 people, 10 men and the rest women and children,” Kamel al-Najjar recalled for Human Rights Watch.
After dawn and without warning (no polite leaflets or knocks on the roof apparently), Israel struck the house, killing three people and wounding 15 others.
The toll of the war on Gaza’s children has been “catastrophic,” according to UN agencies. At least 450 have been killed, and those not having their physical bodies buried have found their innocence entombed. It is another casualty in the war—a war against all things daring to live and resist in Gaza. According to Chamseddine:
“Israel has forced the children of Gaza to lay flowers atop headstones, and watch helplessly as coffins that are filled with not only their most beloved family members, teachers, neighbors, and friends but also their most treasured memories, lullabies, lessons learned and those that will never come, descend into the belly of the earth. Their lips will memorize and form prayers for the dead and the stars that defied the siege that flickered freely high above them will be snatched from their skies.”
Increasingly it is being heard from Gazans that “Israel has stolen everything beautiful in our lives,” and Israel’s barbarity confirms this sentiment.
Middle East analysts point out that it is difficult to recall a time in modern history when there has been so much sustained slaughter of this region’s civilian population, with more than two-thirds of the victims being women and children. For the past year, UN agencies and other humanitarian organizations have lamented a simple reality—that there is not a sufficient level of international aid to save lives and treat those in need of emergency and longer term medical care.
But now something is changing.
The horrors we have just witnessed, especially with respect to traumas inflicted on children, is producing, as should be the case, a major and rapidly growing international focus on salvaging young lives. Descriptions and evaluations of the consequences of Gaza wars are being published and urgently discussed. Some analysts and government officials, including Pentagon planners, are calling for a ‘Medical Marshall Plan,’ to save Gaza’s children. One proposed first step is the dispatching of a humanitarian support group of hospital ships that would sail to Gaza without further delay.
What can and must be done, by the United States and other countries with the naval and medical capacity to do so, is to organize a Hospital Ship flotilla to break the siege of Gaza, to anchor offshore, and to begin caring for the medical needs of all, with a special focus on children and their psychological well-being. Call it a Mercy Mission. Initially it could include the following countries—all well known for their hospital ships with up-and-running medical staffs: the USA, UK, France, China, Russia, Spain, Argentina, and Australia. Within this group of nations are ships with hundreds of patient beds and fully stocked pharmacies. Moreover, it is a group not likely to be interfered with by those who have imposed the inhumane blockade of Gaza (and of course it even includes some of their collaborators in the region), but perhaps most importantly, every country on the list possesses one or more hospital ships that are fully staffed and available to act.
France is reportedly ready to join such an effort and is also working on a related crisis—in Iraq, where it plans delivery of first aid equipment “in the coming hours,” according to the office of Francois Hollande. The French president has “reaffirmed the will of France to stand by the side of civilian victims of continued attacks” in Iraq, and his spokesmen said that “France will do the same thing for Gaza.”
“The European Union is called upon to also take necessary measures with great urgency to respond to immediate humanitarian needs,” the spokesman added.
Hundreds of EU citizens, with their specialized skills in fields of pediatric medicine and child psychology, are reportedly ready to help the children of Gaza. Two fully stocked and staffed American medical ships, the USNS Mercy and the USNS Comfort, could contribute greatly to the effort. Each ship’s hospital is a full floating medical treatment facility, containing 12 fully equipped operating rooms, a 1,000-bed patient capacity, digital radiological services, medical laboratory, pharmacy, optometry lab, and intensive care ward; each also has a dental clinic with full services, CT scanner, and two oxygen-producing plants.
Helicopter landing decks are available as well, for patient transports, and the ships also have side ports that could take on patients from Gaza fishing boats and other crafts at sea. In addition to these two mammoth-sized medical vessels, dozens of other US Navy ships also have hospitals on board. For example, in one year, the medical department of the USS George Washington handled over 15,000 out-patient visits, drew almost 27,000 lab samples, filled almost 10,000 prescriptions, took about 2,300 x-rays, and performed 65 surgical operations—and nearly 100 other US ships are capable of doing the same.
Just one example with respect to capacity is illustrative. In April of this year, the USNS Comfort—a converted 70,000-ton tanker—sailed from Norfolk, Virginia carrying 900 doctors, nurses, and engineers, including staff from the U.S. military, civilian agencies, non-government charities, and even foreign navies. The ship is designed to be deployed quickly for four month intensive full service medical assistance; yet similar capacities obtain in certain other US ships and in foreign navies as well. All of these resources must be put to immediate use to save Gaza’s children.
Looking at the longer term, the Pentagon should seriously consider ordering a sufficient number of catamaran transports and shallow-draft littoral ships to fill out the flotilla, vessels capable of delivering aid by sea via the relatively shallow Gaza coastline. The success of breaking the siege of Gaza will likely give impetus to a UN Security Council decision to construct a seaport for Gaza, perhaps with a shipping channel to Cyprus.
Similarly, the UK hospital ship, RFA Argus, designated as a ‘Primary Casualty Receiving Ship,’ is moored in Falmouth, England, and is also uniquely designed for this type of humanitarian crisis; and it, too, is reportedly ready to sail once given the green light by Downing Street.
Five Hospital ships are urgently needed along Gaza’s shoreline at the following locations: opposite Jabaliya and North Gaza, Gaza City, Deir al-Balah, Khan Younis, and Rafah.
Although attacking a hospital ship is clearly a war crime, the Israeli pattern of targeting medical facilities in Gaza is well known, and threats from the settler movement and the right wing Likud Party to “sink any ship that enters Gaza waters if judged to be aiding the terrorists” must be taken seriously. Yet one imagines the occupation regime would have to think carefully about sinking another US Navy vessel as it did in 1967 with the repeated bombing of the USS Liberty.
Instead of recycling raw combat power, the White House can best meet the demands of a war-weary American public through an emphasis on missions such as those the USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort are designed for. Poll after US public opinion poll reveal that Americans believe their humanitarian values are best reflected when our navy is tailored for delivering humanitarian aid to places like Gaza, and not by delivering munitions to occupying colonial regimes.
If You Don’t Have Such A Rifle, Go Buy One Now!
The recent killing of an unarmed teenager by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer incited riots in and around the northern St. Louis area. As usual, the police version and the version of several eye witnesses lie in stark contrast. The police version is, the young man was struggling with the officer and trying to take his weapon from him–and the officer fired his weapon in self-defense. Several eyewitnesses say the young man had his hands in the air and was surrendering when the officer shot him. The latter version is the more popular view of local residents, which prompted hundreds of people to riot. Yes, the victim was a young black man.
It is very unfortunate and counter-productive when race becomes the focus of any story such as this. But it almost always does. Our propaganda media, which loves to use the race card, almost always makes any such tragedy some kind of racial discrimination story. Sometimes it is; but more often than not, race had nothing to do with it.
It is also very unfortunate that among the vast majority of God-fearing, law-and-order Americans, policemen are automatically assumed to be guiltless in the face of accusations of police abuse. It’s almost like when a man puts on a badge and a gun, he becomes incapable of human misconduct.
Am I suggesting that a majority of police-killings are unjustified? I am not. I still believe that the vast majority of our men and women in blue (and brown for sheriff’s deputies) are good-hearted, sincere, law-abiding people who do a tough job outstandingly well. The vast majority–but not all.
Sadly, incidences of police abuse seem to be skyrocketing. Examples of police arrogance and overreach are ubiquitous. More and more law enforcement personnel have an “us versus them” mentality. And the “them” are the citizens they (the “us”) took an oath to protect and serve. More and more policemen have a shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later mindset. And more and more of them look upon their fellow citizens as “the enemy.”
True story: A Christian policeman was recently asked to speak at a church gathering. The officer works in the traffic division of a small town. Mostly, he gives out parking and speeding tickets. As he opened his address to his fellow churchmen, he said, “I am a cop; I work among the dregs of society.” Really? People who get parking tickets and drive 10 or 15 miles an hour over the speed limit are the “dregs” of society? That statement should have disqualified everything the officer had to say after that. But, sadly, the vast majority of Christians in the audience thundered their approval with choruses of “Amen!” This illustrates the depth of the problem we are now facing.
Putting on a badge and a gun no more makes a man righteous than putting on a tool belt or a fire suit or a waitress apron or a clergyman’s frock or a welder’s helmet or a lab coat, etc. If anything, putting on a badge and a gun makes a man more accountable for his actions than an ordinary profession.
While the incident in Missouri is still being investigated, there are plenty of examples of police conduct that is either questionable at least or downright Gestapo-like at worst. Last month, an unarmed man was choked to death by a police officer in Staten Island, New York. Five years ago, an Oakland, California police officer shot and killed a young man while he was lying face down on a subway platform. Two years ago, an unarmed National Guardsman was shot and killed by a New York policeman during a traffic stop. Unfortunately, these incidents seem to be escalating. Yes, the Oakland officer was prosecuted and convicted, but this is the exception not the rule. Seldom is an offending police officer ever charged with a crime–or even removed from his post.
Add to the list of police killings the tens of thousands of people who are severely beaten or abused, often without provocation, by out-of-control rogue officers, and the picture becomes even more ominous. Again, I readily recognize that these rogue officers are the exception and not the rule, but the sad reality is that these bad cops are mostly allowed to continue their brutality with impunity. For a policeman to be removed from his job, much less face prosecution, is a rarity indeed.
And here is the kicker: after the New York and Missouri incidents mentioned above, the U.S. Justice Department has announced that it is widening its involvement in local policing in an attempt to curb the growing abuse of power.
Are you kidding me?
The reason that so many of our local and State police agencies are succumbing to increased examples of police abuse is directly due to the militarization of local and State police agencies by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The DHS is providing the funding, the armaments, the military-style vehicles, military-style tactics and training, etc. for all of these local and State police agencies. The arrogance and heavy-handed tactics of these rogue police officers is largely attributed to the influence of the U.S. government’s Department of Homeland Security. Now, this same U.S. government is going to “widen” its involvement with local police agencies in order to curb police violence? Get real! You know what’s happening: the U.S. Justice Department is widening its involvement in local police agencies in order to further its parochial political agendas and to further promote political correctness.
What we need are constitutional sheriffs who will courageously serve as the people’s vanguard against both the overreach of the federal government (which spawns so much police abuse, both local and federal) and against rogue officers among the police agencies of his jurisdiction. We also need partisan-free prosecutors in the local court systems. So many prosecutors are primarily motivated by partisan politics than they are “liberty and justice for all.” And we also need jurors who are truly blind to their prejudices and propensities and are willing to acquit or convict on the basis of proven fact alone. When a policeman steps over the line, he or she must be held as accountable as any ordinary citizen.
I personally believe, and would aggressively support, making all sheriff and county prosecutor’s races non-partisan (like judges). Justice should always be politically (and, yes, racially) blind. We have far, far too many political prisoners in our jails and prisons in this country. And if you don’t think that’s true, it’s because most of the local media refuses to report this kind of injustice due to the political connections and partisanship of the paper’s publishers and editors. The same is true with local television news. Accordingly, I strongly believe that sheriff and county prosecutor’s races should be non-partisan. We should probably throw in the State attorney general’s race, also. Lady Justice is supposed to be blindfolded, but political partisanship has taken away her blindfold and given her tainted glasses.
Obviously, even if the killing of the young man in Missouri was unjustified, the ensuing riots were also unjustified.
My friends, if you live in a big metropolitan area, you are one Rodney King or Hurricane Katrina event away from a potential all-out war against your family and property. As in the riots in South Central Los Angeles in 1992, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, people in northern St. Louis were subjected to the destruction of their property and the potential loss of life in the aftermath of the shooting of the young man in Ferguson.
And, just as was the case in South Central Los Angeles, business owners in northern St. Louis protected their lives and properties with–you guessed it: AR-15 semiautomatic rifles. Had President Obama and Senator Feinstein had their way a few months back, those people in North St. Louis would have been defenseless against the violent rioters that were attacking them. The presence of the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle saved many a life and much property in Los Angeles, California in 1992, in New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005, and in North St. Louis, Missouri in 2014.
In any kind of civil unrest, the best protection any of us have is God, the loyalty and dedication of good friends and family members who are willing to protect our backs, and a .223 or .308 semiautomatic battle rifle with loaded, large-capacity magazines. If you don’t have such a rifle, GO BUY ONE NOW! If you don’t have enough ammo, go buy it now. And if you live in a State or city that won’t let you buy one, MOVE!
Add to the chaos of civil unrest caused by either man-made or natural disasters the fact that the U.S. government is unloosing hundreds of thousands–maybe millions–of violent illegals into our country, and anyone who is not well-armed for his or her own protection is downright foolish. According to Texas State officials, there have been nearly a half-million felonies committed by illegals during the last four years IN THE STATE OF TEXAS ALONE–including over 5,000 rapes and over 2,000 murders. Remember, these are crimes committed by illegals alone in the State of Texas alone.
Border Patrol agents are warning us that violent Mexican gang members, many of whom have already committed murder, are being allowed free access into the heartland of America. Texas State Senator Dan Patrick recently reported that his State now has over 100,000 illegal immigrant gang members. Again, that’s just in Texas.
The crime rate across the United States has been declining for years, and is currently at its lowest level in recent history. But watch out! Violent illegal gang members, including members of one of the most violent and notorious gangs ever, MS-13, are pouring into this country. The crime rates in communities across America are about to explode. There is no way that local police agencies are going to be able to protect you. And, in truth, that is not their job. It is your job to protect yourself, dear friend. And you are not going to protect yourself from marauding rioters or violent gang members with a six-shot revolver. Oh, the handgun is fine defense for one or two attackers; but for more than that, you need a large-capacity semiautomatic battle rifle. How many examples of civil unrest do you need to convince you? I guess the one that breaks out next to your neighborhood, huh?
Of course, the federal government is allowing these violent illegals into our country KNOWING the crime and havoc they will unleash on this country. They WANT violence and havoc to be unleashed on this country. They must raise the crime rates in America in order to justify the expansion of the national Police State they are determined to construct. But in the meantime, tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) of Americans are going to be beaten, paralyzed, robbed, raped, and murdered.
We don’t have to make it easy for these two-legged beasts: we can and should be an armed and ready populace capable and determined to protect our families, friends, neighborhoods, and communities: anything less is un-American, unmanly, and, un-Christian. Yes, you heard it right: It is un-Christian.
The Bible tells believers that any man who does not provide for his own, especially those of his own house, he has denied the Christian faith and is worse than an infidel. (I Timothy 5:8) And most certainly, “providing” for one’s own entails protection as much as it does food, clothing, and shelter. I, therefore, maintain that any Christian who is not prepared to protect and defend his family by being duly armed and trained in the use of arms has denied his faith and is truly worse than an infidel. Even heathens understand the Natural Law of self-defense. In fact, the entire natural kingdom understands the law of self-defense.
The recent killing of that young man in Missouri should serve to remind us that police, too, must abide by the law (I sincerely hope that the police officer involved did just that), that civil unrest can erupt anywhere in seconds, and that the need of the people to keep and bear, not just any arms, but semiautomatic battle rifles, is the best insurance for the survival of our lives and our liberties.
When Christians entangle themselves with the kingdoms of the world, they become worldly in the very worst way. — Pastor Gregory Boyd…
When someone becomes director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins at the age of 33, you need to admire such an achievement.
When, at 36, this same man leads a surgical team that separates Siamese twins who were joined at the head, youreally need to admire such as achievement.
And when you learn that this man was raised in poverty by a single mom in the Detroit ghetto, you should simply stand in absolute awe of their life story.
But when this person gets serious about running for president of the United States, you need to start asking serious questions.
This person of such incredible accomplishments is Dr. Ben Carson. And according to this story, he has taken a “major step” toward a run at the White House.
What questions should you ask?
Does Carson understand his job description, i.e. the Constitution?
Does Carson understand the Second Amendment? Read his remarks here about semi-automatic weapons.
Does Carson understand the Ninth and Tenth Amendments? To his credit, Carson supports medical marijuana. However, he is all reefer madness when it comes to recreational marijuana.
And this has nothing to do with whether or not you yourself hit the lettuce. A government that will fine or imprison you for a victimless act like smoking marijuana will intrude on your life without end. And if you would fine or imprison someone for hitting the lettuce, you thereby forfeit your right to complain when an overbearing government intrudes on your life. Drug prohibition has turned the “land of the free” into the nation with the world’s highest incarceration rate.
And then there is the question of whether Carson understands constitutional limits on foreign policy and the military. Does he understand that there is absolutely zero constitutional basis for America being a “superpower” with a global troop presence?
Read this 600-word column in which Carson calls Obama’s already overly aggressive foreign policy “rudderless”. Can anyone interpret this as anything other than a call for endless war and meddling whenever Washington wants wherever Washington wants?
This is from a man who had originally opposed America’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. But now, he serves up a lot of pre-election year pabulum to pander to the neoconservative base.
Carson also appears to be much more pro-Second Amendment than before. While I agree with his more recent remarks, I am a concerned about the timing. Can we truly trust a man who changes his positions when he appears poised to run for president?
To be sure, Carson opposes Obamacare. However, he appears to support extensiveunconstitutional federal intrusion in the medical marketplace. And if you are implicitly trusting of what a Carson administration would do with these powers, just ask yourself what would happen with these powers in the hands of some Democratic president some day.
Unlike Carson, Ron Paul had an impeccable pro-Constitution and antiwar voting record throughout his 12 terms in Congress. And he did not change his message when he ran for president.
Back now to the subject of war.
Carson is well known for his Christian beliefs. I will take him at his word. And he appears to have lived a morally exemplary Christian life. Has he now succumbed to the temptations of fame and politics?
He has no problem with America’s status as a “superpower”. What is Christian about this? When the devil offered Jesus unlimited political power – Matthew 4:8-10 – Jesus declined the offer. Why is it then that so many Americans who claim to follow Jesus are so enamored with America’s military might?
He calls the recent sanctions that Obama imposed on Russia “toothless”. What would “toothy” sanctions look like in real life? And is there anything Christian about barriers to trade? In the Great Commission – Matthew 28:18-20 – Jesus tells His followers to bringthe Gospel to all nations, regardless of political circumstances. And when products cannot cross borders, bibles and missionaries can’t do so either.
And Carson craftily writes this essay without using the word “war” once. Again, what will Carson’s foreign policy look like other than global war? And who will be spilling their blood in all these conflicts? Will it be Carson or will it be kids from the South Bronx and the Oklahoma Panhandle whose names he will never know and whose funerals he most probably will not attend?
(Just in case anyone is interested, Carson himself never served a day in the military.)
And can Carson be taken seriously as “pro-life” when he advocates so much militarism?
War is just like Obamacare or any other government program. Those who promote it would rather have their fingernails extracted without anesthesia than talk about its real world implications.
And I know Carson sounds well-intended. Did you ever hear a politician who didn’t sound this way?
A government that will act without restraint abroad is just like a government that will interrupt your life for smoking marijuana. It will acknowledge no restraint anywhere.
There is an overwhelming temptation to believe that if we just put “good people” in power, they will wield this power benevolently. The difference between Ron Paul and Ben Carson is that Ron Paul understood the role of government and remained uncorrupted. Ron Paul would not compromise his principles for political gain. Carson, on the other hand, appears to be falling into way too much temptation way too soon. Indeed, it has been said that when you dance with the devil, you don’t change him, but he changes you.
Christianity is not about controlling the world from the top down, but influencing the world from the bottom up. Christians are to influence the world with the examples they set in their daily lives – Matthew 5:13-16, Galatians 5:22-23, I Peter 2:12 – rather than through accruing unlimited political power.
Just the other day, I read the following status update on Facebook: “I have heard many warnings about addictive substances and activities. If only there were more warnings and more wariness about the allure and the addictiveness of power. ‘If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.’ Jesus (Mark 9:35)”
As Christians, we pray “Lead us not into temptation” – Matthew 6:13.
Ben Carson has done way too much good with his life to squander his legacy in one of the most corrupt offices on earth, that of the presidency. (It was unspeakably corrupt LONG before Obama.) He could do so much more to benefit so many more people if he would just stay away from politics.
“But if we don’t get someone like Carson, we will wind up with Hillary!”
As Lew Rockwell once so succinctly put it, the right hates the left more than it hates the state. We need to fear God’s Judgment far more than we fear Hillary. Empires are the ultimate expression of human arrogance and hubris. As history shows, they all come to an end, and often a very ugly end. And if you are a Christian, read Revelation 18 and tell me who you think it is about.
It will take enormous courage for Ben Carson to eschew the allure of the White House. However, he needs to step aside and do it now if he truly is the genuine article.
During Cold War One those of us in the American radical left were often placed in the position where we had to defend the Soviet Union because the US government was using that country as a battering ram against us. Now we sometimes have to defend Russia because it may be the last best hope of stopping TETATW (The Empire That Ate The World). Yes, during Cold War One we knew enough about Stalin, the show trials, and the gulags. But we also knew about US foreign policy.
E-mail sent to the Washington Post July 23, 2014 about the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17:
Your July 22 editorial was headed: “Russia’s barbarism. The West needs a strategy to contain the world’s newest rogue state.”
Pretty strong language. Vicious, even. Not one word of hard evidence in the editorial to back it up. Then, the next day, the Associated Press reported:
Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday that Russia was responsible for ‘creating the conditions’ that led to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, but they offered no evidence of direct Russian government involvement. … the U.S. had no direct evidence that the missile used to shoot down the passenger jet came from Russia.
Where were these words in the Post? You people are behaving like a rogue newspaper.
– William Blum
I don’t have to tell you whether the Post printed my letter. I’ve been reading the paper for 25 years – six years during Vietnam (1964-1970) and the last 19 years (1995-2014) – usually spending about three hours each day reading it very carefully. And I can say that when it comes to US foreign policy the newspaper is worse now than I can remember it ever was during those 25 years. It’s reached the point where, as one example, I don’t take at face value a word the Post has to say about Ukraine. Same with the State Department, which makes one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s wholly inconclusive and/or unsourced or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation. Do they have something to hide?
The State Department’s Public Affairs spokespersons making these presentations exhibit little regard or respect for the reporters asking challenging questions. It takes my thoughts back to the Vietnam era and Arthur Sylvester, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, the man most responsible for “giving, controlling and managing the war news from Vietnam”. One day in July 1965, Sylvester told American journalists that they had a patriotic duty to disseminate only information that made the United States look good. When one of the reporters exclaimed: “Surely, Arthur, you don’t expect the American press to be handmaidens of government,” Sylvester replied: “That’s exactly what I expect,” adding: “Look, if you think any American official is going to tell you the truth, then you’re stupid. Did you hear that? – stupid.”
Such frankness might be welcomed today as a breath of fresh air compared to the painful-to-observe double-talk of a State Department spokesperson.
My personal breath of fresh air in recent years has been the television station RT (formerly Russia Today). On a daily basis many progressives from around the world (myself included occasionally) are interviewed and out of their mouths come facts and analyses that are rarely heard on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR, PBS, Fox News, BBC, etc. The words of these progressives heard on RT are typically labeled by the mainstream media as “Russian propaganda”, whereas I, after a long lifetime of American propaganda, can only think: “Of course. What else are they going to call it?”
As for Russia being responsible for “creating the conditions” that led to the shooting down of Flight 17, we should keep in mind that the current series of events in Ukraine was sparked in February when a US-supported coup overthrew the democratically-elected government and replaced it with one that was more receptive to the market-fundamentalism dictates of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the European Union. Were it not for the coup there would have been no eastern rebellion to put down and no dangerous war zone for Flight 17 to be flying over in the first place.
The new regime has had another charming feature: a number of outspoken neo-Nazis in high and low positions, a circumstance embarrassing enough for the US government and mainstream media to turn it into a virtual non-event. US Senator John McCain met and posed for photos with the leader of the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, Oleh Tyahnybok (photos easily found on the Internet). Ukraine – whose ties to Naziism go back to World War Two when their homegrown fascists supported Germany and opposed the Soviet Union – is on track to becoming the newest part of the US-NATO military encirclement of Russia and possibly the home of the region’s newest missile base, target Moscow.
It is indeed possible that Flight 17 was shot down by the pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine in the mistaken belief that it was the Ukrainian air force returning to carry out another attack. But other explanations are suggested in a series of questions posed by Russia to the the Secretary-General of the UN General Assembly, accompanied by radar information, satellite images, and other technical displays:
“Why was a military aircraft flying in a civil aviation airway at almost the same time and the same altitude as a civilian passenger aircraft? We would like to have this question answered.”
“Earlier, Ukrainian officials stated that on the day of the accident no Ukrainian military aircraft were flying in that area. As you can see, that is not true.”
“We also have a question for our American colleagues. According to a statement by American officials, the United States has satellite images which show that the missile aimed at the Malaysian aircraft was launched by the militants. But no one has seen these images.”
There is also this intriguing speculation, which ties in to the first Russian question above. A published analysis by a retired Lufthansa pilot points out that Flight 17 looked similar in its tricolor design to that of Russian President Putin’s plane, whose plane with him on board was at the same time “near” Flight 17. In aviation circles “near” would be considered to be anywhere between 150 to 200 miles. Could Putin’s plane have been the real target?
There is as well other serious and plausible questioning of the official story of Russia and/or Ukrainian anti-Kiev militias being responsible for the shootdown. Is Flight 17 going to become the next JFK Assassination, PanAm 103, or 9-11 conspiracy theory that lingers forever? Will the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the Syrian chemical weapons be joined by the Russian anti-aircraft missile? Stay tuned.
Will they EVER leave Cuba alone? No.
The latest exposed plot to overthrow the Cuban government … Oh, pardon me, I mean the latest exposed plot to bring democracy to Cuba …
Our dear friends at the Agency For International Development (USAID), having done so well with their covert sub-contractor Alan Gross, now in his fifth year in Cuban custody … and their “Cuban Twitter” project, known as ZunZuneo, exposed in 2012, aimed at increasing the flow of information amongst the supposedly information-starved Cubans, which drew in subscribers unaware that the service was paid for by the US government … and now, the latest exposure, a project which sent about a dozen Venezuelan, Costa Rican and Peruvian young people to Cuba in hopes of stirring up a rebellion; the travelers worked clandestinely, using the cover of health and civic programs, or posing as tourists, going around the island, on a mission to “identify potential social-change actors” to turn into political activists. Can you believe that? Can you believe the magnitude of naiveté? Was it a conviction that American exceptionalism would somehow work its magic? Do they think the Cuban people are a bunch of children just waiting for a wise adult to come along and show them what to think and how to behave?
One of these latest USAID contracts was signed only days after Gross was detained, thus indicating little concern for the safety of their employees/agents. As part of the preparation of these individuals, USAID informed them: “Although there is never total certainty, trust that the authorities will not try to harm you physically, only frighten you. Remember that the Cuban government prefers to avoid negative media reports abroad, so a beaten foreigner is not convenient for them.”
It’s most ironic. The US government could not say as much about most of their allies, who frequently make use of physical abuse. Indeed, the statement could not be made in regard to almost any American police force. But it’s this Cuba that doesn’t beat or torture detainees that is the enemy to be reformed and punished without mercy … 55 years and counting.
The United States and torture
Two of the things that governments tend to cover-up or lie about the most are assassinations and torture, both of which are widely looked upon as exceedingly immoral and unlawful, even uncivilized. Since the end of the Second World War the United States has attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders and has led the world in torture; not only the torture performed directly by Americans upon foreigners, but providing torture equipment, torture manuals, lists of people to be tortured, and in-person guidance and encouragement by American instructors, particularly in Latin America.
Thus it is somewhat to the credit of President Obama that at his August 1 press conference he declared “We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.”
And he actually used the word “torture” at that moment, not “enhanced interrogation”, which has been the euphemism of preference the past decade, although two minutes later the president used “extraordinary interrogation techniques”. And “tortured some folks” makes me wince. The man is clearly uncomfortable with the subject.
But all this is minor. Much more important is the fact that for several years Mr. Obama’s supporters have credited him with having put an end to the practice of torture. And they simply have no right to make that claim.
Shortly after Obama’s first inauguration, both he and Leon Panetta, the new Director of the CIA, explicitly stated that “rendition” was not being ended. As the Los Angeles Times reported at the time: “Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.”
The English translation of “cooperate” is “torture”. Rendition is simply outsourcing torture. There was no other reason to take prisoners to Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Somalia, Kosovo, or the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, to name some of the known torture centers frequented by the United States. Kosovo and Diego Garcia – both of which house large and very secretive American military bases – if not some of the other locations, may well still be open for torture business. The same for the Guantánamo Base in Cuba.
Moreover, the Executive Order referred to, number 13491, issued January 22, 2009, “Ensuring Lawful Interrogations”, leaves a major loophole. It states repeatedly that humane treatment, including the absence of torture, is applicable only to prisoners detained in an “armed conflict”. Thus, torture by Americans outside an environment of “armed conflict” is not explicitly prohibited. But what about torture within an environment of “counter-terrorism”?
The Executive Order required the CIA to use only the interrogation methods outlined in a revised Army Field Manual. However, using the Army Field Manual as a guide to prisoner treatment and interrogation still allows solitary confinement, perceptual or sensory deprivation, sensory overload, sleep deprivation, the induction of fear and hopelessness, mind-altering drugs, environmental manipulation such as temperature and noise, and stress positions.
After Panetta was questioned by a Senate panel, the New York Times wrote that he had “left open the possibility that the agency could seek permission to use interrogation methods more aggressive than the limited menu that President Obama authorized under new rules … Mr. Panetta also said the agency would continue the Bush administration practice of ‘rendition’ – picking terrorism suspects off the street and sending them to a third country. But he said the agency would refuse to deliver a suspect into the hands of a country known for torture or other actions ‘that violate our human values’.”
The last sentence is of course childishly absurd. The countries chosen to receive rendition prisoners were chosen precisely because they were willing and able to torture them.
No official in the Bush and Obama administrations has been punished in any way for torture or other war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and the other countries they waged illegal war against. And, it could be added, no American bankster has been punished for their indispensable role in the world-wide financial torture they inflicted upon us all beginning in 2008. What a marvelously forgiving land is America. This, however, does not apply to Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, or Chelsea Manning.
In the last days of the Bush White House, Michael Ratner, professor at Columbia Law School and former president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, pointed out:
The only way to prevent this from happening again is to make sure that those who were responsible for the torture program pay the price for it. I don’t see how we regain our moral stature by allowing those who were intimately involved in the torture programs to simply walk off the stage and lead lives where they are not held accountable.
I’d like at this point to once again remind my dear readers of the words of the “Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”, which was drafted by the United Nations in 1984, came into force in 1987, and ratified by the United States in 1994. Article 2, section 2 of the Convention states: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”
Such marvelously clear, unequivocal, and principled language, to set a single standard for a world that makes it increasingly difficult for one to feel proud of humanity.
The Convention Against Torture has been and remains the supreme law of the land. It is a cornerstone of international law and a principle on a par with the prohibition against slavery and genocide.
“Mr. Snowden will not be tortured. Torture is unlawful in the United States.” – United States Attorney General Eric Holder, July 26, 2013
John Brennan, appointed by President Obama in January 2013 to be Director of the CIA, has defended “rendition” as an “absolutely vital tool”; and stated that torture had produced “life saving” intelligence.
Obama had nominated Brennan for the CIA position in 2008, but there was such an outcry in the human-rights community over Brennan’s apparent acceptance of torture, that Brennan withdrew his nomination. Barack Obama evidently learned nothing from this and appointed the man again in 2013.
During Cold War One, a common theme in the rhetoric was that the Soviets tortured people and detained them without cause, extracted phony confessions, and did the unspeakable to detainees who were helpless against the full, heartless weight of the Communist state. As much as any other evil, torture differentiated the bad guys, the Commies, from the good guys, the American people and their government. However imperfect the US system might be – we were all taught – it had civilized standards that the enemy rejected.
Just because you have a right to do something does not make it right.
The city of Detroit in recent months has been shutting off the supply of water to city residents who have not paid their water bills. This action affects more than 40% of the customers of the Detroit Water and Sewage Department, bringing great inconvenience and threats to the health and sanitation of between 200 and 300 thousand residents. Protests have of course sprung up in the city, with “Water is a human right!” as a leading theme.
Who can argue with that? Well, neo-conservatives and other true believers in the capitalist system who maintain that if you receive the benefit of a product or service, you pay for it. What could be simpler? What are you, some kind of socialist?
For those of you who have difficulty believing that an American city could be so insensitive, allow me to remind you of some history.
On December 14, 1981 a resolution was proposed in the United Nations General Assembly which declared that “education, work, health care, proper nourishment, national development are human rights”. Notice the “proper nourishment”. The resolution was approved by a vote of 135-1. The United States cast the only “No” vote.
A year later, December 18, 1982, an identical resolution was proposed in the General Assembly. It was approved by a vote of 131-1. The United States cast the only “No” vote.
The following year, December 16, 1983, the resolution was again put forth, a common practice at the United Nations. This time it was approved by a vote of 132-1. There’s no need to tell you who cast the sole “No” vote.
These votes took place under the Reagan administration.
Under the Clinton administration, in 1996, a United Nations-sponsored World Food Summit affirmed the “right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food”. The United States took issue with this, insisting that it does not recognize a “right to food”. Washington instead championed free trade as the key to ending the poverty at the root of hunger, and expressed fears that recognition of a “right to food” could lead to lawsuits from poor nations seeking aid and special trade provisions.
The situation of course did not improve under the administration of George W. Bush. In 2002, in Rome, world leaders at another UN-sponsored World Food Summit again approved a declaration that everyone had the right to “safe and nutritious food”. The United States continued to oppose the clause, again fearing it would leave them open to future legal claims by famine-stricken countries.
I’m waiting for a UN resolution affirming the right to oxygen.
- See various examples at RT.com, such as “Jen Psaki’s most embarrassing fails, most entertaining grillings”, or simply search the site for “Ukraine Jen Psaki”
- Congressional Record (House of Representatives), May 12, 1966, pp. 9977-78, reprint of an article by Morley Safer of CBS News
- “Letter dated 22 July 2014 from the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General”, released by the UN 24 July, Document No. A/68/954-S/2014/524
- “Pre-WWIII German Pilot Shocker, MH17 ‘Not Hit By Missile’”, Before It’s News, July 31 2014
- Associated Press, August 4, 2014
- Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2009
- New York Times, February 6, 2009
- Associated Press, November 17, 2008
- Associated Press, November 26, 2008
- Washington Post, November 18, 1996
- Reuters news agency, June 10, 2002
Research Confirms What I Have Been Saying For Years…
George Barna is the foremost researcher of modern Christianity in the country. He recently spoke about a two-year research project studying why modern-day pastors and churches are so silent regarding political issues. The result of his research only confirms what I have been trying to tell people for years. But there was one thing his research uncovered that did somewhat surprise me. OneNewsNow.com covered the story:
“On Thursday, George Barna–research expert and founder of The Barna Group–shared with American Family Radio’s ‘Today’s Issues’ about new information he’s compiling at American Culture and Faith Institute over the last two years, gauging where theologically conservative pastors are at politically.
“‘What we’re finding is that when we ask them about all the key issues of the day, [90 percent of them are] telling us, Yes, the Bible speaks to every one of these issues. Then we ask them: Well, are you teaching your people what the Bible says about those issues?–and the numbers drop…to less than 10 percent of pastors who say they will speak to it.’
“When researchers ask those pastors what else they are willing to do to get their people active in the political process, Barna said ‘it’s almost nothing.’
“‘So the thing that struck me has been that when we talk about the separation of church and state, it’s that churches have separated themselves from the activities of the state–and that’s to the detriment of the state and its people,’ stated the researcher.”
That 90% of America’s pastors are not addressing any of the salient issues affecting Christian people’s political or societal lives should surprise no one–especially the readers of this column. It has been decades since even a sizeable minority of pastors have bothered to educate and inform their congregations as to the Biblical principles relating to America’s political, cultural, and societal lives. But the part of the research that did somewhat surprise me was this statement by Barna: “What we’re finding is that when we ask them about all the key issues of the day, [90 percent of them are] telling us, Yes, the Bible speaks to every one of these issues. Then we ask them: Well, are you teaching your people what the Bible says about those issues?–and the numbers drop…to less than 10 percent of pastors who say they will speak to it.”
Did you get that? Ninety-percent of America’s pastors say they KNOW that the Bible speaks to all of these issues, but they are deliberately determined to NOT teach these Biblical principles. That is an amazing admission!
It would have been one thing if the pastors had said that these political issues were not relevant to scripture, and, therefore, they didn’t feel called to address them. But the pastors are admitting that, yes, they KNOW that the scriptures DO relate to our current political issues, but they are deliberately choosing to NOT teach those scriptural principles. Holy heads-in-the-sand, Batman!
I confess: this statistic caught me off-guard. So, we can forever dismiss ignorance as justification for pastors remaining silent.
Now, all of the church members out there who have been forgiving of their ministers for not speaking out on the issues by saying things like, “He really doesn’t understand what’s going on,” need to reevaluate their leniency–if they are intellectually honest, that is–and if they truly care about the future of their country.
Church member, admit it: that pastor of yours who refuses to speak out on the issues KNOWS the Bible speaks to these issues, and he is DELIBERATELY refusing to teach those Biblical principles to you and your family.
So, we are not dealing with IGNORANT pastors; we are dealing with DELIBERATELY DISOBEDIENT pastors. They are PURPOSELY CHOOSING to remain silent. Will that make any difference to the Christians in the pews who say they want their pastor to take a stand but are willing to overlook his “ignorance?” Probably not. But, at least, we now know what the real issue is, don’t we?
The report goes on: “Why the disconnect? According to Barna, the answer is simple. He suggests asking pastors how someone would know if their church is ‘successful’–which he did.”
“‘There are five factors that the vast majority of pastors turn to [when asked that question],’ he explained. ‘Attendance, giving, number of programs, number of staff, and square footage.’”
There you have it: pastors are more concerned about being “successful” than they are being truthful. They believe if they tell their congregations the truth, their churches will not be “successful.” And it is so refreshing to see Barna directly ask pastors what “success” means to them. So, now we know (as if we didn’t know before; but, at least now there is definitive research to back it up). The vast majority of pastors believe church success lies in:
*Number of programs
*Number of staff
*Square footage (of facilities)
Shazam! Where did pastors come up with this definition of “success?” You know where: from men such as Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, et al.
The megachurch phenomenon of the last several decades transformed how pastors think and behave. Pastors read the “successful church” books and publications; they attend the “successful church” conferences; they watch the “successful church” videos, etc. They, then, try to mimic the tactics and strategies they have been taught. And if there is one constant theme promulgated by the likes of Osteen, Warren, and Hybels, it is pastors must avoid controversy like the plague. Again, one must realize that the goal is NOT being faithful to Biblical principles; the goal is building a “successful” church as noted above.
It is time for Christians to acknowledge that these ministers are not pastors; they are CEOs. They are not Bible teachers; they are performers. They are not shepherds; they are hirelings. It is also time for Christians to be honest with themselves: do they want a pastor who desires to be faithful to the scriptures, or do they want a pastor who is simply trying to be “successful?” BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF, CHRISTIAN FRIEND.
Barna’s research blows the “ignorance” excuse out of the water. Again, it is not ignorance; it is deliberate disobedience.
Barna goes on to say, “Now all of those things [the five points of success listed above] are good measures, except for one tiny fact: Jesus didn’t die for any of them.” Wow! You nailed it, George!
See the report here:
Where do you find anything in the New Testament that measures a pastor’s success by the number of people attending his church? Or by how large his offerings are? Or by how many programs his church has? Or by how many staff members he has? Or by how large his facilities are? In fact, the early New Testament church didn’t even own property or buildings.
When the Apostle Paul listed his ministerial pedigree, here is what it looked like (II Cor. 11):
*Stripes above measure
*In prisons frequently
*In deaths often
*Beaten with rods
*Hunger and thirst
*Cold and nakedness
I don’t see attendance, offerings, programs, staff, or square footage in that list at all, do you?
When Paul wrote his own epitaph, it read, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” (II Timothy 4:7). He didn’t say, “I had a large congregation, we had big offerings, we had a lot of programs, I had a large staff, and we had large facilities.”
In the world of Osteen, Warren, and Hybels (and 90% of America’s pastors), the Apostle Paul’s ministry must have been a dismal failure. And how many church pulpit committees would even consider the pastoral résumé such as the Apostle Paul wrote above?
Please understand this: America’s malaise is directly due to the deliberate disobedience of America’s pastors–and the willingness of the Christians in the pews to tolerate the disobedience of their pastor. Nothing more! Nothing less!
Oh, and get this: according to the survey conducted by Barna, guess what the number one reason is why pastors choose to be “successful” and not “controversial?” You guessed it: fear of the IRS 501c3 tax-exempt status. Who would have thought it? (Yes, that question is deliberately facetious.)
The release of this research by George Barna could not have come at a more opportune time. I announced just last week that we have officially launched the Liberty Church Project, whereby we will be helping people around the country to establish non-501c3 churches. I invite folks (pastors or laymen) who are serious about starting new non-501c3 churches–or helping to resurrect patriot pulpits within existing churches–to fill out our online application. We already have several groups that we intend to help and are looking for others. If you are someone who is serious about such an endeavor, and seeks our assistance, please fill out the online application here:
And, in case you missed it, here is my column announcing the launch of the Liberty Church Project:
I want to commend George Barna for his research. I suspect that the vast majority of pastors and churches will ignore it, but, at least now we know the painful truth of the matter: by in large, pastors are deliberately choosing to not teach Biblical truth to their congregations for the selfish goal of being “successful.” But as we come to grips with this reality, we must also acknowledge that pastors are simply (and shamelessly) putting their fingers to the wind and finding that the people in the pews are more interested in their churches being “successful” than faithful to the teaching of Holy Scripture. As Barna noted, it is the churches, themselves, that have chosen to separate from the political affairs of their country.
In the end, it always comes down to We the People, doesn’t it? If you want a church where the pastor is willing to teach the Biblical principles that relate to our everyday lives–including our political lives–you might have to vote with your feet and go find one. That is, if that kind of thing is truly important to you.
A Centennial For The Forces of Evil…
Destruction of the culture by massive immigration supported by the government. Read Here.
Destruction of moral standards by humanists in media, education, and government.
Aberrant media propaganda and entertainment.
Promoting a potentially disastrous conflict with Russian. Read Here.
Iimperialistic use of Executive Orders to pass controversial legislation.
Legal decisions by the courts that codify wickedness.
Constant attempts to promote violence by distorting the news and according immigrants and Black citizens privileged status over White citizens.
Destruction of the educational system.
Robbing the nation of its wealth by allowing cheap foreign products to destroy American businesses.
Forcing American industry to move jobs and entire industries to foreign countries.
Destroying the family by promotion feminism and homosexuality.
Constant government distortions and outright lies.
Lethal false flag operations that are never challenged by the media or elected representatives.
Destruction of the Christian religion by legislation and massive propaganda.
Normalizing cognitive dissonance by creating opposing programs – i.e. Allowing Muslim immigration while waging war on Muslims in their own lands.
Failure of elected representatives to confront and correct media lies and distortions.
Destruction of the First Amendment by restricting public speech – against racial groups, about conspiracies, against the progression of the world order or the United Nations, about the control of news, or against the State of Israel.
Terminating media employees for expressing unpopular or politically incorrect opinions.
Distorting the law, traumatizing the public, and filling our prisons with sex related offenders that should be handled locally.
Representative James Sensenbrenner chairs a committee attempting to reform the thousands of laws that make up the Federal Criminal Code but nothing is being done about the equally ponderous laws that are now enforced by militarized local police forces.
This list could be continued – -
The European culture that was the foundation of our wealth and freedom has been destroyed. The wealth has been stolen and we have saddled future generations with an insurmountable debt.
The United States of America that a few short decades ago was the world’s wealthiest and most moral nation is now like an egg shell that has been emptied of its contents. Aside from a lethal and vibrant military establishment, there is nothing left but fourth rate medical facilities and a plethora of food factories. Our medical doctors are imported and the adulteration of our food supply is rampant with uninspected imports for third world nations, mutants, cellulose (wood chips) and other fillers.
The battle, if there ever was an effective deterrent, for the culture of the United States of American is over. Our nation is hopelessly Balkanized with immigrants from every nation in the world. Dozens of different languages are spoken by voters who are easily manipulated by unscrupulous politicians. There is little attempt to learn English and assimilate. They know nothing about the nation and have no concern for its well-being. Their primary concern is often for the land they left behind.
The Pharisaical cadre that controls us, as well as much of the world, hates Christianity and is successfully destroying the gossamer Christian ethic that filled most of our churches. They are doing this with the help of hundreds of thousands of obtuse Christians who lend them unrestrained support. If it wasn’t so tragic it would be laughable!
While our free fall is in progress other dumb Americans work tirelessly in the political arena hoping the vehicle that was responsible for our downfall will miraculously redeem itself and us.at the same time.
Millions of our citizens are unaware that they are reading and listening to news that is filled with lies and distortions; they are so badly maligned that they no longer recognize truth, so brain washed that they quickly brand a the truth teller as a deluded conspiracy theorist
History is replete with power seekers who have murdered and ravaged to create empires but the current quest for world domination is the granddaddy of them all.
Plans for world domination seem to have begun in earnest at the end of the First World War. The United States congress approved the Federal Reserve System in 1913; the conflict began in Europe in 1914 and the United States entered the War in 1917. U. S. participation quickly ended the conflict in 1918. Under the aegis of world peace the ill-fated League of Nations was formed in 1920. It soon lost the support of the world’s major nations and failed in its stated mission to produce peace. It was replaced by the United Nations at the conclusion of the Second World War http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
The United States provided major support to the United Nations but paid little attention to its peaceful mission, entering a war in Korea in 1950 a scant five years later. Under the aegis of peace the real agenda of these two organizations was always world domination.
World Government at the point of a gun has been foisted on the world very slowly. We are living in the Centennial. It has taken nearly a hundred years for the brutal character of the movement to become public.
Now, all the power centers of our nation are occupied with men and women who support world government and are willing to manipulate the public into complacency as its tentacles begin to grasp the world. Incrementalism has allowed the incarceration of the world to progress with only token resistance.
Talented individuals are spotted early in their careers and are ushered into Ivy League educations; following stints at Oxford where they are indoctrinated with an International ethic they are mentored into power center jobs where they are stalwart supporters of world government and the shadowing cabal that is behind it..
Michele Flournoy is a case in point. She was a guest on C-Span on Sunday for the fifteenth time since 1988. She identified herself as an Internationalist and responded to Brian Lamb’s queries like the pro that she is. From California she was educated at Harvard and Oxford. She was mentored and groomed and has become a go to expert on defense issues. She held a strategic job as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in the Obama Administration and is now President of the Center for a New American Security, a think tank that directs government defense policy. She is one of a host of dependable Internationalists that have been groomed and inserted into important positions in government; all willingly do the bidding of their mentors. Defense is a misnomer that has now become an aggressive military offensive to control the world.
The hugely successful incremental incarceration of the world has been accomplished by a patient promotion of several generations of seekers. It is a sinful grab for power and control which is familiar to any historian but of a size and strength that is larger and more ominous than any of its predecessors.
This new, total oppression is coming upon us because we have and are rejecting the obvious conclusion that we were not created to govern ourselves. Not only do we reject that clear fact but we cling to the heresy that we can play god by developing our own legal system and curbing the horrific sinful nature of every human being by requiring obedience to our particular legal opinions. Again, we refuse to understand that if we are governed by the legal opinions of one human power they are no better than the legal opinions of another which makes war and murder inevitable.
The confusion, the proliferation of legal standards, the breakdown of law and order, police brutality, government oppression, and the resulting loss of freedom are predictable results of humanism. We are all sinners, every one of us – all have sinned and fallen short of the mark.
It is easy for us to critique the government. Such critiques are common and often virulent. Each critique is a direct blow to God Who has given us His Law, the only form of righteousness available to His creation. It is sin to assume that we have the solution to humanistic government – it is sin to think such a thought! God created us and if we are ever to experience lasting peace and prosperity we must stop playing God and begin to obey His Commandments.
Today I read excellent critiques by Paul Craig Roberts, Pat Buchanan, and Jacob Hornberger. All three of these men believe they have solutions to our problem. But, all three of these men are sinners whose only righteous alternative is to turn to the Laws of the Creator. Their thoughts are good thoughts from a human perspective, but they do not direct us to obey God’s Law. We can point out the results of allowing sinful men and women to control the world but we cannot fix it by having our opinions set in place. Human wisdom is not the solution. If we had spent our lives promoting obedience to God’s Law instead of depending on our own opinions and understandings we would not be in this situation.
We have found the culprit and it is us!
The Slaughter Must End…
The 72-hour ceasefire was supposed to get under way on 8/1/14 starting at 8 a.m. local time—but no sooner had it begun than it appeared to collapse. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, more than 30 Palestinians were killed, and dozens more injured, in an Israeli attack near the southern town of Rafah.
If, against all odds, a genuine ceasefire were to actually take place, the pause would allow time for both sides’ fighters to regroup and re-arm. But what of the civilian population of a now substantially destroyed Gaza? Presumably many will try to visit their bombed homes to retrieve some belongings, as we have seen in Syria and Iraq, and many will try finding a place to hide, say, perhaps, a UN school—well, maybe that’s a bad choice. Others may simply stay in their homes and wait to die.
For the invading Zionist forces, they are insured of plenty of munitions both during and after any ceasefire—because the Obama Administration is supporting Israel’s aggression in the Gaza Strip, and it is doing so, in part, by allowing it to tap into local US arms stockpiles. The Israelis will be able to resupply themselves with 40mm grenades and 120mm mortar rounds, stocks that the Pentagon claims “need to be refreshed,” this according to Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary, who rejected out of hand this week’s Amnesty International demand that “the US government immediately end its ongoing arms deliveries to Israel, which are providing the tools to commit further serious violations of international law in Gaza.” And not only that. Earlier, the US Senate, by a vote of 100 to 0, passed a resolution drafted by AIPAC expressing support for Israel’s attack on Gaza, a resolution reading in part, “The United States Senate reaffirms American support for Israel’s right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel”—and which says not a single word about Palestinian deaths.
Additionally, US politicians are working to provide millions of dollars in supplementary funding for Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile shield. The US Senate Appropriations Committee added $225 million for Iron Dome to a spending bill mainly intended to provide money to handle an influx of thousands of Central American children across the US-Mexico border.
“It is not that Iron Dome is all that effective, it fails 75% of the time,” said one Congressional staffer in an email to this observer earlier this week. “But Congress is under pressure to be seen as supporting Israel, and we’ve got to be seen doing something before we adjourn for five weeks.”
And likewise, as a sop to AIPAC, the White House announced on 7/31/14 that it “strongly opposes” a Republican-crafted emergency spending bill, in part because it contains no funds for Israeli missile defense and other presumed necessities. Earlier in the day the Senate had begun debating a $3.5 billion auxiliary spending measure that included the $225 million in additional funding for Iron Dome when suddenly the White House voiced its opposition to the House version, claiming it “does not include funding for the Department of Defense to support the government of Israel’s request for critical defense needs.”
It was also on 7/31/14, that Brian Wood, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International, reminded Mr. Kirby, the illustrious rear admiral, of an unpleasant truth, one that doesn’t normally penetrate Washington’s deaf-dumb-and-blind bubble: “It is deeply cynical for the White House to condemn the deaths and injuries of Palestinians, including children, and humanitarian workers, when it knows full well that the Israeli military responsible for such attacks are armed to the teeth with weapons and equipment bankrolled by US taxpayers.”
But despite all the American government’s massive support for Israel, survival of the apartheid regime is not at all assured. Recently expressed antipathy toward the Zionist state from notables in Europe, South America and parts of Asia seems to be considerably more than just bluster. Israelis are correct in thinking they can no longer count on public opinion, not in Europe or even, to a lesser extent, perhaps, from the American public either. Increasingly the latter are pressuring their Zionist-bought politicians, admittedly on a modest scale still at this point, but in a manner causing them to ponder their electability as Israel continues its descent into a pariah state. A recent Gallup poll found a majority of Americans less than 30 years of age believe Israel’s actions in Gaza to be unjustified and criminal. This is because younger Americans have grown up witnessing a US-armed-and- propped-up Israel brutally occupying the West Bank, killing Palestinians, while also invading Lebanon in numerous, periodic attacks that claimed more than 30,000 lives between 1948 and 2006.
In aggregate, Americans still see Israel favorably…but in smaller numbers, while more are viewing it as illegitimate, as a 19th century colonial enterprise with no legitimate place in a civilized international society. “Delegitimisation,” says Einat Wilf, a former Israeli parliamentarian and one of the authors of an as-yet-unpublished study of the topic at the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) in Jerusalem, is becoming “a strategic threat”.
As Robert Fisk pointed out this week, “Gaza, which is being so graphically covered by journalists that our masters and our media are suffering a new experience: not fear of being called anti-Semitic, but fear of their own television viewers and readers – ordinary folk so outraged by the war crimes committed against the women and children of Gaza that they are demanding to know why, even now, television moguls and politicians are refusing to treat their own people like moral, decent, intelligent human beings.”
From Antwerp to Warsaw, demonstrators’ placards have ranged from criticism of Israeli policy (“1,2,3,4, Occupation No More”) to condemning Israel itself (“5,6,7,8, Israel is a Terror State”). A growing percentage of the world’s population is coming to the conclusion that the regime occupying Palestine is a mistake and that history must be corrected. As The Economist recently reported, France is experiencing major unrest, which may be no surprise given that it claims the largest Jewish and Arab populations in Europe, but the extent of the tensions in France, including attacks on synagogues and raids on Jewish shops, has been shocking nonetheless. Even in normally sedate Oslo, the Jewish museum closed its doors.
Frankly, it comes as no great surprise then that many Jews feel that the world is against them, and view criticism of Zionist apartheid Israel as a mask for animosity towards Jews. In this they are very wrong. Let them visit the Middle East, in peace, and they will learn quickly that the rejection here is not at all about Jews, but only about Zionism as a fascist, racist creed. What people of good will reject, in the Middle East as elsewhere, is an antiquated movement that promotes a chosen people’s right to steal land belonging to others while ethnically cleansing an indigenous population; a movement that encourages chants of “Death to Arabs” among school children, whose settlers organize ‘fun-days,’ gathering as spectators to observe Zionist forces slaughtering Arab children in Gaza, as teachers hand out balloons and ice cream while leading the children in hate filled songs.
International public opinion matters. And much of it relating to the carnage being inflicted by those illegally occupying Palestine is right. The international public is increasingly aware that what is happening in Palestine today is not really about Hamas; it is not about rockets; it is not about “human shields” or terrorism or tunnels. It is about Israel’s permanent control over Palestinian land and Palestinian lives. It is about an unswerving, decades-long Israeli policy of denying Palestine self-determination, freedom, and sovereignty.
Having created a huge open-air prison in Gaza, PM Netanyahu now claims that Israel cannot relinquish security control of the West Bank for fear of Islamist attack—meaning that the Zionist occupiers intend to consolidate their illegal occupation, thus withdrawing all hope from Palestinians.
This region, and increasingly the global community as a whole, is planning for a post-Zionist Middle East and how best to achieve it without further suffering. The Zionist regime can stop the slaughter in Gaza; it can withdraw from Palestinian lands through agreement with international norms and UN resolutions, or, sooner or later, it will very likely cease to exist.
The World is watching…
Beirut — As the latest Zionist aggression continues unabated in its slaughter of the defenseless population of Gaza (for the fourth time in ten years, no less!) one of course might simply sit back and hope for the improbable—that the global community will act to end it. But this is no more likely, and maybe even less so, than have been the prospects for bringing justice to Palestine through the never-ending “peace process” of the past 40 years. Persistent Resistance, in its countless forms, is the only thing that will achieve dignity, an end to the occupation, and the right of Full Return for nearly nine million Palestinians.
As history instructs, the Zionist colonial enterprise had its apologists in Lebanon well before 1948. In fact, there are still plenty around today, yet at the same time, it must be said that the latest ‘lawn mowing’ in Gaza has generated an unusual amount of verbal support for Palestine across the political spectrum here.
A couple of examples. On 7/21/14 the program “Palestine…You Are Not Alone” was broadcast simultaneously on all of Lebanon’s main television channels in an expression of support for Palestinians facing the Zionist aggression that to date has killed nearly 900 and maimed or wounded more than 4500. The Lebanon TV initiative brought together for the first time networks with radically different views, including the official TeleLiban, Hezbollah’s Al-Manar, LBC, MTV, NBN and others. Lara Zaaloum, executive director of LBC’s news show, said the 30-minute report was “the fruit of a shared effort” that aims to “salute the Palestinians and their children.”
Even Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, son-in-law of Michel Aoun of the Free Patriotic Movement (both men are known for their anti-Palestinian and anti-Syrian-refugee rants) claimed a desire to have Lebanese diplomats work for a formal condemnation of the Israeli aggression. According to Beirut’s As Safir newspaper, Bassil is preparing a “legal study” that will be sent to the concerned international bodies documenting Israeli crimes in Gaza.
Then on 7/23/14, the March 14 Al-Mustaqbal (Future Movement) parliamentary bloc organized a well-attended solidarity press conference of MPs in the garden outside the office of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in Downtown Beirut.
“We are here to tell the world that we are standing by Gaza, by every Palestinian, and by occupied Palestine whose land has been ravished,” said former Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora. “Your wounds are ours, and you are fighting on the behalf of all of us. We do not forget the Palestinian people’s right for freedom, dignity and peaceful living.”
Others have also spoken up, including Hezbollah Secretary General Hassah Nasrallah.
“Hezbollah will stand with the Palestinian people’s uprising and whose resistance is in our heart, willpower, hope and destiny,” said Nasrallah on 7/19/14—and on Al Quds day, 7/25/14, Hezbollah was to hold a rally at which Nasrallah is scheduled speak yet again on the need for solidarity with Palestinian refugees. Many from Lebanon’s camps will be attending that event because in the camps Hezbollah’s words are listened to—they have been for the last quarter century, ever since the party announced its existence, pledging in an “Open Letter” to seek dignity for all Palestinians everywhere and to improve their daily lives.
Not to be outdone, Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani vowed that the Islamic Republic will also do all in its power to help the Palestinians.
“Iran strongly supports the Palestinian refugees as well as unity among Muslims” Larijani announced at a meeting with ambassadors of Islamic countries. “We take it upon ourselves to stand by and help the oppressed Palestinian people wherever they are, wholeheartedly, one way or another.”
The Iranian Foreign Minister and Iran’s embassy in Beirut have been advised that the most direct, realistic and significant way to help the Palestinian people is to voice support for Palestinians in Lebanon being allowed the elementary civil right to work—a right they enjoy in Gaza and virtually every other country but are denied here. Support for “the sacred cause of Palestine” was often expressed by the late Ayatollah Khomeini and continues to be voiced today by Supreme Leader Ali Khameini, and were Iran and its allies to negotiate something on behalf of the Palestinians, who are 90% Sunni, it would go a long way toward healing the tragic and deepening Shia-Sunni divide. And the help Palestinians most need in Lebanon, where Larijani and his political allies have major clout, is with being allowed to seek employment—same as any other refugee or foreign visitor who arrives.
Solidarity with their countrymen in Gaza is being shown by many Palestinian students in Lebanon as well, and this week 404 such students took the noble, humanitarian step of donating tuition grants that had been awarded to them by the Sabra-Shatila Scholarship Program for the present semester. Each of the students paired off individually with a countrymen of theirs, one identified as a fatality in Gaza, donating their tuition money in that person’s name to Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital, in care of Dr. Mads Gilbert. And more than a few of these students have expressed the hope that those offering mere verbal support to the Palestinian cause might use their political power, and perhaps 90 minutes of their Parliament’s time, to grant Palestinians in Lebanon the means of survival until they can return to their homes in Palestine.
As for Lebanese politicians, a pledge to end the discrimination against Palestinian refugees would give meaning and credibility to their encouraging words. Allowing camp residents the chance to work would additionally help Palestinian family members back in Gaza, and would also serve to build Lebanon’s weak economy. But the fact is that many, though not all, Lebanese politicians deal the Palestinian card for personal gain; financial and political human rights slogans are selectively regurgitated according to narrow political interests, and then just as selectively disregarded when their other interests might benefit. A student from Ain al-Hilweh camp, one of those who donated her scholarship to her Gaza countrymen this week, put it this way:
“These words politicians offer us are nice and we thank them. But we have heard them for so many years while the speakers have kept us without dignity and by denying us the right to work. Even the Zionist occupiers let us work. What kind of Resistance are the Lebanese politicians talking about? Does it mean Resistance to our most basic civil right to work and to care for our families? All we ask of Lebanon is to let us work just like every other country allows refugees to work and try to feed their families.
The fact of the matter is that hollow words from Lebanese and regional politicians may sound nice coming across on TV or in the newspapers, but they do little for Gaza and nothing for the families stuck in Lebanon’s 12 refugee camps without the basic human right to work. The malnourished, sardine-canned populations have been added to by thousands of refugees from Syria, and the camps in the process have become squalid and festering with disease, and amongst the people there the political posturing of leaders is increasingly being scoffed at. Some of these very same politicians still pat themselves on the back for the fake August 2010 Parliamentary initiative that eliminated a work permit application fee for Palestinians. But the application fee was never the problem to begin with, and the initiative left all the other Kafkaesque barriers to employment in place. As a result, not ten Palestinians have benefited in the four years since its passage, and the Ministry of Labor has not even tried to implement the phone labor law amendment.
The Palestinian community in Lebanon consists of descendants of the 750,000 people ethnically cleansed by Zionist colonials during the 1948 Nakba as well as the more than 300,000 forced from their homes in the 1967 Naksa. And they are in need of help. By simply doing the right thing, Lebanon has an opportunity to shed much of its self-garnered disgrace and international opprobrium over this issue; it has the opportunity to help heal the Shia-Sunni wound, improve the national economy, diminish the prospects of an intifada building in the desperate camps, and avoid the increasing likelihood of an international BDS movement against it as a consequence of its violations of human rights laws. Ninety minutes of Parliament’s time is all it would take. And it would do more for the people of Gaza and their families in Lebanon than all the tropes, platitudes, and hollow words that invariably fade without the faintest trace of a wind.
Gaza isn’t the only open air prison; Lebanon has 12 of its own. And the people there are denied the most elementary right to apply for a job in more than 50 professions. Worth noting also is that the US Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 could mandate a cut-off of all American aid to Lebanon due to ongoing violations of their human rights. Solidarity—credible, genuine solidarity—is within our grasp; let us reach for it.