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Two months ago, after writing about the Singapore Summit of Monday, June 12, 2018, I said I would analyse it the following week, largely because the media will not focus on this historic event:

Other meetings have taken place since then, and it seemed apposite to wait a while to see how things were progressing between the United States and North Korea as well as China.

Most recently, on August 1, Vice President Mike Pence presided over a ceremony and reception of fallen soldiers’ remains in Hawaii, part of the Summit agreement.

Going back to the Summit, it was reported that President Trump showed a special video about the United States to President Kim Jong Un and his negotiators:

The following day, North Korea’s state-run news bureau reported that Kim accepted Trump’s invitation to visit Washington for denuclearisation talks. This was hailed as a ‘radical switchover’ in relations between the two nations.

On June 13, Trump tweeted:

It wasn’t just Fake News. The cancer had spread earlier in the month to other television programmes, such as this one:

In an interview that day, Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s short-lived White House communications director from 2017, focussed on trade:

Despite the positive developments …

… on June 21, Trump renewed the ‘national emergency’ declaration regarding North Korea for another year. BT.com reported:

In an executive order on Friday, the president extended for one year the so-called “national emergency” with respect to the nuclear-armed nation, authorising economic restrictions against it …

It states that “the existence and risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material” and the actions and policies of the North Korean government “continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States”.

The national emergency has been in place since 2008 …

Meanwhile, the Pentagon said on Friday evening that it has “indefinitely suspended” a major military exercise with South Korea, known as Freedom Guard and scheduled for August, as well as two Korean Marine exchange training exercises.

Officials had announced on Monday that planning for Freedom Guard had been suspended in line with Mr Trump’s decision to halt what he called US “war games” in South Korea.

A Pentagon spokeswoman, Dana W White, said further decisions about military exercises in South Korea “in support of diplomatic negotiations” led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will depend on North Korea “continuing to have productive negotiations in good faith”.

Air Force veteran Lisa Mei Crowley noted that change was in the air:

Fox News and The Daily Caller also reported on this welcome development, which the US secretary of state acknowledged:

Not surprisingly, ‘tensions’ were rising in China — North Korea’s controller — and defence secretary James Mattis visited the country, with subsequent stops in Japan and South Korea:

Meanwhile, the two Koreas had tensions of their own over human rights legislation.

The White House issued a strong statement about China and tariffs, which reads in part:

To stop China’s predatory attacks on America’s innovation base, President Trump is instituting a program of tariffs and is considering investment restrictions and strengthened export controls. These tariffs will help pressure the Chinese to stop engaging in unfair practices and fully open up its markets to U.S. products, including U.S. technologies. The correct response from China would be to stop stealing from Americans and give American products a level playing field to compete in China, not to retaliate and reinforce its own position.

Bloomberg asked how prepared China’s Xi was for a trade war. Hmm:

Xi Jinping vowed to match Donald Trump blow for blow in any trade war. Now as one gets closer, some in Beijing are starting to openly wonder whether China is ready for the fight — an unusually direct challenge to the leadership of the world’s second-largest economy.

In recent weeks, prominent academics have begun to question if China’s slowing, trade-dependent economy can withstand a sustained attack from Trump, which has already started to weigh on stock prices. The sentiments are being expressed in carefully worded essays circulated on China’s heavily censored internet and — according to interviews in recent days with ministry officials and foreign diplomats who asked not to be identified — repeated in the halls of government offices, too.

The Conservative Treehouse explained:

China has focused so intensely on durable-goods manufacturing, their consumable goods market (food) is dependent; they cannot feed themselves.  The U.S. can survive without exporting food, China cannot survive without importing food.  The U.S. economy can survive without importing durable goods; the Chinese economy cannot survive without exporting durable goods.  This is the unavoidable trade reality.  As a consequence President Trump has all the factual leverage.

June 28 was the 50th anniversary of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Mike Pompeo gave a speech about North Korea and Iran in this regard. Concerning the former, he said:

The next day, controversy arose as to whether North Korea was being honest and Obama’s national security advisor tried to make Trump into a chump:

On July 3, Trump refuted Rice and others:

Pompeo had returned to South-east Asia:

According to one South Korean press outlet, Pompeo had with him as a gift for Kim a CD of Elton John’s Rocket Man, a song he said he’d never heard. The State Department said that was false:

The State Department kept Americans updated:

On July 6, the other big news item was the US-China trade war. CNBC’s Jim Cramer said the American people supported Trump’s perspective:

“We simply, as a people, seem to be united that the president’s position is wrong. I hear more of that on TV than I hear reality. I think that there are a lot of people [who say], ‘Thank you for standing up for us,’” Cramer said on CNBC …

“There are a lot of companies that are doing quite well in the country. And I think if you’re going to take on the Chinese you do it from strength. And we have much more strength than they do,” he said. “Look at 211,000 jobs on average the last three months, this economy is very strong.”

Wall Street trader and Sarge986 President Stephen Guilfoyle agreed. He told Fox News that day:

President Trump’s trade policies have China “by the short hairs” and “right where we want them” in the bid to win any impending trade wars.

“They have retail sales in the hole… they’ve got industrial production in the hole,” Guilfoyle said. “The Shanghai Composite [stock index] is down 17 percent year-to-date. We’ve got these guys where we want them.

News about Pompeo’s trip and the trade war circulated, so they will comprise tomorrow’s post.

That said, most of the established media wanted to focus on the Mueller probe:

No wonder Trump got shirty about that and the short shrift he received for the Singapore Summit:

At least Asian nations appreciate his sterling efforts:

True. One cannot say better than that.

On Saturday, August 11, 2018, leftists attempted to revive the peculiar melee that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017.

Meanwhile, on August 11, President Trump hosted his biker supporters at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club.

Charlottesville

In Charlottesville this year, the Left showed their true colours once again:

A Unite the Right 2 demonstration took place that day, just as it did last year. However, very few participants must have shown up, because Antifa were the stars of the show.

Antifa verbally abused reporters — ironically, the very people who defend them.

Breitbart reported (language warning in the link):

A crew with the left-wing anarchist group “Antifa” attacked and shouted at a USA Today reporter and photographer during a counter-protest in Washington, D.C. on Sunday.

In a counter-protest to the “Unite the Right 2” protest, Antifa mobs descended on the streets of Washington, D.C., attacking police and threatening onlookers. The Antifa group also threatened and shouted down members of the media, including a USA Today reporter who said she was simply trying to do her job.

Exclusive footage taken by Breitbart News shows two members of Antifa cursing at and shouting down the USA Today reporter, telling her to “Stop taking pictures!”

“Are you going to report how many people they tear-gassed?” the Antifa member shouted at a photographer.

“If we knew,” the USA Today reporter responded.

The Antifa members then verbally abused the USA Today reporter with foul language. An AFP (Agence France Presse) photographer was also caught up in the incident:

After the altercation, the USA Today reporter and a photographer with AFP said they were just trying to do their jobs.

Then, there is the curious attitude of NBC towards Antifa then and now in Charlottesville. As NewsBusters reports, last year, their political director and news programme host Chuck Todd (emphases in the original):

used his MSNBC program, MTP Daily to elevate Antifa’s violence as a legitimate tactic against the right. He even doubled down and allowed them to use the formerly prestigious Meet the Press as a platform to push their hate and violent methods. Todd has never condemned them.

How ironic, then, that last Saturday night, an Antifa protester shouted foul language at two of Todd’s colleagues:

Late Saturday night, NBC News reporter Cal Perry and his crew were in the thick of it as Antifa members ganged up on them and attacked. The next morning, NBC’s Sunday Today ignored the attack and suggested the media was simply “heckled” by their assaulters.

On Twitter, Perry was documenting the protesters as they marched through the streets of college town when they started to get “very aggressive with the media” and trying to block their camera shots. “Yeah. We’re getting a lot of this. Protesters trying to grab our camera,” he responded to one Twitter commenter telling him to “f**k off national media vulture.”

NewsBusters included a Cal Perry video and even warned about the language content.

Meanwhile, protesters were also assembling in front of the White House. The NBC reporter there, Garrett Haake, said there was violence in Charlottesville, but instead of showing Perry’s video of the altercation involving him and a cameraman, showed their other coverage.

The following day, Chuck Todd ignored the abuse of his colleagues and launched into another anti-Trump diatribe. NewsBusters has the relevant part of the NBC Sunday Today transcript.

This is worth noting:

CNN’s Brian Stelter was in no position to be indignant about Antifa’s attacks on the media:

Washington DC

On Sunday, the scheduled right-wing protest, beefed up by the media, was, in fact, a damp squib. The violent Left dominated once again. The building in the background, by the way, is the Trump International, formerly the Old Post Office:

Here’s more irony about the media, especially CNN, defending Antifa past violence:

Bedminster

Some of President Trump’s longest and most loyal supporters are the Bikers for Trump.

Trump welcomed 180 of them to his Bedminster golf club on Saturday:

The Daily Mail has coverage of the event, including photos:

President Donald Trump has met with a group of 180 bikers at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, reveling in the group’s loyal support as they bashed the press and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

The group, made up of veterans and members of the New Jersey chapter of Bikers for Trump, descended on Trump National Golf Club on Saturday in a procession of chrome and roar of exhaust pipes.

Claiming nearly 100,000 members across the country, Bikers for Trump is a major grassroots organization that supports the Trump administration’s agenda.

Driving rain at first pushed a planned outdoor photo-op into the club’s ballroom, where the White House press pool was ushered in at around 3.30pm and greeted with noisy chants of ‘USA, USA!’ 

Here, Trump greets the bikers:

When it began raining, Trump opened his clubhouse to his guests:

This video summarises a happy, fun event which served as a generous ‘thank you’ for their continued support:

Afterwards, Trump tweeted:

Indeed they are Americans who love the Great Republic. May God continue to bless them — and President Trump.

Bible ancient-futurenetThe three-year Lectionary that many Catholics and Protestants hear in public worship gives us a great variety of Holy Scripture.

Yet, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

My series Forbidden Bible Verses — ones the Lectionary editors and their clergy have omitted — examines the passages we do not hear in church. These missing verses are also Essential Bible Verses, ones we should study with care and attention. Often, we find that they carry difficult messages and warnings.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Acts 19:35-41

35 And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky?[a] 36 Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38 If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. 39 But if you seek anything further,[b] it shall be settled in the regular assembly. 40 For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.” 41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.

———————————————————————————————————————————

Last week’s entry was about the riot in Ephesus, brought about by the distraught silversmith Demetrius who was upset that fewer people were buying his little shrines of the goddess Artemis — Diana.

The town clerk managed to quieten the mob and asked who did not know that a) Ephesus was the centre of Artemis worship and b) that the goddess — great stone — had fallen from the sky to earth (verse 35).

‘Town clerk’ is a bit of a misnomer, because both Matthew Henry and John MacArthur say that he was a very important person in Ephesus.

Henry’s commentary tells us (emphases mine):

he is called, grammateus–the scribe, or secretary, or recorder; “the register of their games,” the Olympic games (so others), whose business it was to preserve the names of the victors and the prizes they won.

MacArthur says that he was akin to a mayor:

he was the chief citizen of the town, he was the chairman of the town assembly, the town council, he was the secretary of the town council. He was the guy who called the convening of the town meetings which occurred three times a month. He was the very important citizen. He finally quieted the people after two hours of standing in the middle of that place screaming their heads off.

He appealed to the Ephesians’ common sense: ‘Everyone knows that our city has the great temple to Artemis, who came to us from the sky in the form of a stone. Therefore, why are we getting into such a lather over a universally known fact?’ For them, Artemis was fact, not fiction.

MacArthur explains the stone:

this big, black, ugly image of Diana that they assumed had fallen from Jupiter; it probably was some sort of a meteorite. But nevertheless, the tradition had said it came down from Jupiter.

The town clerk then cautioned the mob against any rash violence (verse 36). This was because he would have to give an account to the Romans as to why he could not control the city over which he presided. That could have had serious consequences, as MacArthur says:

Now he’s smart man. He knows that the Romans are going to hold him responsible for all the trouble. Because he’s in charge of the town. He’s like the mayor. And he knows that the Romans could impose a fine on that city or the Romans could take away their right to free government because they were a free city like Athens was. And they could really be in trouble. So he jumps up and he says, “don’t you all know that this city is the worshipper” literally in the Greek, the temple warden of the great goddess Artemis.

Rationally, the town clerk continued his short discourse. He pointed out that the men the mob were angry with had not blasphemed the goddess or done anything destructive towards her (verse 37). MacArthur interprets his words as follows:

Why, nothing can affect our great goddess, a whole lot of these little preachers roaming around and be like shooting a peashooter at the Empire State Building. This is big time stuff. They’re not going to affect us. So he fires out a whole lot of nice glossy platitudes about the greatness of their god. And that nothing could ever change that.

The goddess power was undeniable and secure. Relax, he says, calm down. Verse 37. “For you have brought here these men who are neither robbers of temples, they have implundered the shrine of Diana, or Artemis.” And they’re not blasphemers of your goddess. They haven’t blasphemed your goddess.

Henry’s commentary says that the town clerk implied there was no way Artemis could be man made, as Paul said, because she fell from the heavens:

The temple of Diana at Ephesus was a very rich and sumptuous structure, but, it should seem, the image of Diana in the temple, because they thought it sanctified the temple, was had in greater veneration than the temple, for they persuaded the people that it fell down from Jupiter, and therefore was none of the gods that were made with men’s hands … Some take it thus: “Seeing the image of Diana fell down from Jupiter, as we all believe, then what is said against gods made with hands does not at all affect us.”

Both commentators indirectly refer to the theological concept of common grace, which asserts that Providence and/or the Holy Spirit maintains order in the world, even via unbelievers — in this case, the town clerk.

Henry has this observation:

See here, [1.] How the overruling providence of God preserves the public peace, by an unaccountable power over the spirits of men. Thus the world is kept in some order, and men are restrained from being as the fishes of the sea, where the greater devour the less. Considering what an impetuous furious thing, what an ungovernable untameable wild beast the mob is, when it is up, we shall see reason to acknowledge God’s goodness that we are not always under the tyranny of it. He stills the noise of the sea, noise of her waves, and (which is no less an instance of his almighty power) the tumult of the people, Psalms 65:7. [2.] See how many ways God has of protecting his people. Perhaps this town-clerk was no friend at all to Paul, nor to the gospel he preached, yet his human prudence is made to serve the divine purpose. Many are the troubles of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth them out of them all.

MacArthur points out:

You know the Holy Spirit put this whole story in here for no other reason than just to have a pagan say verse 37.

The town clerk further called the mob to reason by saying that if Demetrius and his fellow silversmiths have legitimate grievances, they can follow the proper channels via the local courts and the proconsuls (verse 38). Anything else can be dealt with in the regular assembly (verse 39).

He closed by alluding to Roman authority: the riot could attract the government’s attention and the Ephesians would not be able to justify it (verse 40).

At that point, he dismissed the Ephesians (verse 41).

MacArthur says that the town clerk indirectly helped the church in Ephesus:

He took Christianity under his patronage. He said, they haven’t done anything. What have they done against us? Let’s let them be.

However, MacArthur surmises that the church in Ephesus became too comfortable without struggle. He says that Paul and Timothy were their first and last great pastors.

Recall the angel’s — messenger’s — warning to the church in Ephesus in my post on Revelation 2:1-7:

3You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

St John (the Apostle and Gospel author) wrote Revelation around 95 AD. As I wrote in my post:

You may wonder what happened to the city of Ephesus. Sadly, it no longer exists. That great, bustling metropolis of the early world has disappeared. Over time, silt from the River Cayster accumulated to such an extent that it ruined the city and its harbour. It is now desolate. Would this have happened if the Ephesians heeded this letter?

John MacArthur says that only a little village nearby exists:

that doesn’t name one single Christian in its population.

One can tour the ruins in Ephesus. The following quote is from one tour company’s description. Note that Mary was believed to have spent her final days there:

You will firstly visit the Temple of Artemis which was once one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Our next stop will be Ephesus ancient city. You are going to visit the world famous ancient Greco-Roman City of Ephesus, the most well-preserved example in the world. After visiting this impressive site, we are going to have a break for lunch. After the lunch, you are going to visit the House of Virgin Mary, where it is believed she spent her last days. That is a holy place for both Christians and Muslims. Afterward, you are going to visit the Isabey Mosque.

And that is the story of Ephesus.

People say that God does not bring judgement anymore, that it stopped with the Bible. Looking at this history, we can see that He surely has brought judgement to the Church. A salutary lesson.

Next time — Acts 20:1-6

My apologies for not posting Forbidden Bible Verses today.

I intend to schedule it for tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I had something to do this afternoon which took much longer than expected and had to be done within a particular deadline. It’s finished now and I can truly agree, once again, that there is a wideness in God’s mercy.

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy is a hymn that Dr Frederick William Faber, a clergyman with a Doctor of Divinity degree, wrote in 1862 to the melody of WELLESLEY (Tourjee).

Since then, Dr Faber’s lyrics have been adapted to other melodies, such as Corvedale by Maurice Bevan (b. 1921), sung below by the Choir of St Paul’s Cathedral, London:

The hymn is widely sung across many denominations and appears in 785 hymnals.

Hymnary.org has the lyrics to Faber’s hymn:

1 There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
like the wideness of the sea.
There’s a kindness in God’s justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is no place where earth’s sorrows
are more felt than up in heaven.
There is no place where earth’s failings
have such kindly judgment given.

2 For the love of God is broader
than the measures of the mind.
And the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful,
we would gladly trust God’s Word,
and our lives reflect thanksgiving
for the goodness of our Lord.

Faber was part of the Oxford Movement — members of the Church of England who moved to High Church (traditional Roman Catholic-style) liturgy — in the 19th century. The movement later became known as Anglo-Catholicism and exists today.

John Henry Newman was one of the Oxford Movement adherents. He eventually became not only a Roman Catholic but also a Cardinal.

Faber also ‘crossed the Tiber’ and became a Roman Catholic in 1846. Hymnary.org tells us that he was the son of a Church of England clergyman, Mr T H Faber, and:

was born at Calverley Vicarage, Yorkshire, June 28, 1814, and educated at Balliol College, Oxford, graduating B.A. in 1836. He was for some time a Fellow of University College, in the same University. Taking Holy Orders in 1837, he became Rector of Elton, Huntingdonshire, in 1843, but in 1846 he seceded to the Church of Rome. After residing for some time at St. Wilfrid’s, Staffordshire, he went to London in 1849, and established the London “Oratorians,” or, “Priests of the Congregation of St. Philip Neri,” in King William Street, Strand. In 1854 the Oratory was removed to Brompton. Dr. Faber died Sept. 26, 1863.

Balliol College is one of the foremost Oxford colleges. It is interesting that Faber served a parish in Huntingdonshire, part of Cambridgeshire, which was known for its Low Church adherence. During Cromwell’s time, two centuries earlier, Cambridgeshire was Calvinistic in belief, the very antithesis of High Church beliefs and worship.

Anyone who knows London will also know that the London Oratory is one of the centres of the capital’s Roman Catholic worship. The Oratory also has a famous boys’ school, which is over-subscribed year on year.

What follows are the readings for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, August 12, 2018.

These are for Year B in the three-year Lectionary cycle.

There are two sets of first readings, each with an accompanying Psalm from which the celebrant can choose. I have given the second selection blue subheadings below. Emphases mine throughout.

First reading

Readings from 2 Samuel continue. To bring those of us less learned in the Old Testament up to date in the story of David (see last week’s reading), the child that David had sired when he lay with Bathsheba when she was still married to Uriah the Hittite died after seven days. The two had married after Uriah’s engineered death on the battlefield. She became pregnant again and gave birth to one of the most famous men in biblical history, Solomon (2 Samuel 12).

David had older children, among them two sons — Ammon (his firstborn) and Absalom — and a daughter, Tamar. Ammon committed incest with Tamar, taking her by force, despite her attempting to resist his advances (2 Samuel 13). Absalom took the distraught Tamar into his house. Whilst David, when he found out, was furious with Ammon, he did nothing to punish him. Absalom, meanwhile, loathed his brother for what he had done to their sister.

To avenge his sister’s rape, Absalom arranged for his servants to get Ammon drunk and then murder him. Jonadab, David’s nephew, explained to him (David) the reason for the murder. While David was finding out from Jonadab what had happened, Absalom left to go into exile for three years. David, no longer having Ammon, missed Absalom terribly.

David asked Joab, whom he deeply trusted, to bring Absalom back home, out of exile (2 Samuel 14). However, David told Joab to instruct Absalom not to come in contact with him (David). Consequently, Absalom did not see his father in Jerusalem for two years. He was a very handsome young man, with a head full of abundant hair. During his time away from his father, Absalom had three sons and a daughter, whom he named after his sister Tamar.

One day, Absalom sent for Joab, as he wanted to see his father David. However, Joab ignored Absalom’s two requests. To get his attention, Absalom told his (Absalom’s) two servants to set Joab’s field of barley on fire. The field was next to one of Absalom’s. Joab finally agreed to take the request to David. David summoned Absalom and forgave him for setting up the murder of Ammon.

Absalom then assumed the role of being guardian and gatekeeper for (law)suits that David was supposed to judge (2 Samuel 15). He sent everyone home as they approached the city gates, saying that no one was available to hear their cases. As such, he became a hero to the Israelites.

Four years later, Absalom asked David’s permission to visit Hebron, as he said he wanted to fulfil an obligation he had made to the Lord. David duly granted his permission, and Absalom left. However, Absalom’s goal was to make himself king of Hebron, effectively usurping his father. David left in pursuit, accompanied by his officials, the people of the city and most of his household (some had to stay behind).

David, through careful plotting, managed to foil Absalom’s coup via one of the co-conspirators, Ahithophel (2 Samuel 16 and 17). A battle later resulted in the forest of Ephraim and Absalom died. Now on to this Sunday’s reading:

2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33

18:5 The king ordered Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders concerning Absalom.

18:6 So the army went out into the field against Israel; and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim.

18:7 The men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the slaughter there was great on that day, twenty thousand men.

18:8 The battle spread over the face of all the country; and the forest claimed more victims that day than the sword.

18:9 Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on.

18:15 And ten young men, Joab’s armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him, and killed him.

18:31 Then the Cushite came; and the Cushite said, “Good tidings for my lord the king! For the LORD has vindicated you this day, delivering you from the power of all who rose up against you.”

18:32 The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” The Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king, and all who rise up to do you harm, be like that young man.”

18:33 The king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; and as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Psalm

The Psalm reflects hope in the Lord during times of desolation:

Psalm 130

130:1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD.

130:2 Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications!

130:3 If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?

130:4 But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered.

130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;

130:6 my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.

130:7 O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.

130:8 It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.

First reading

These second choices of first readings are from various books in the Old Testament. In this passage, the prophet Elijah is distraught, having been forced into the wilderness by the unrepentant among God’s chosen people who refused to listen to him. Yet, the Lord was with Elijah:

1 Kings 19:4-8

19:4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.”

19:5 Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, “Get up and eat.”

19:6 He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again.

19:7 The angel of the LORD came a second time, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.”

19:8 He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.

Psalm

The Psalm reflects the gratitude we feel when God is with us and delivers us from trying, isolating circumstances:

Psalm 34:1-8

34:1 I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

34:2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.

34:3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.

34:4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

34:5 Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed.

34:6 This poor soul cried, and was heard by the LORD, and was saved from every trouble.

34:7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.

34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.

Epistle

The reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians concerns Christian behaviour, focussing on showing brotherly love and pursuing truth:

Ephesians 4:25-5:2

4:25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another.

4:26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

4:27 and do not make room for the devil.

4:28 Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy.

4:29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.

4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption.

4:31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice,

4:32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children,

5:2 and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Gospel

The Gospel reading continues with Jesus’s words in Capernaum, the day after the Feeding of the Five Thousand:

John 6:35, 41-51

6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

6:41 Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”

6:42 They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

6:43 Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves.

6:44 No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day.

6:45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.

6:46 Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father.

6:47 Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.

6:48 I am the bread of life.

6:49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.

6:50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.

6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

These words lost Jesus many disciples (John 6:66). Later, in private with His Apostles, He also said that one of the Twelve would betray Him (John 6:70-71).

On Monday, August 6, 2018, Alex Jones’s Infowars was banned by several social media outlets.

Previously, these media outlets issued partial bans, but now, some have made no secret about removing him from their platforms entirely.

Contrary to what Big Media would have you believe, Infowars is the 7th most popular app in the US. Look at what Infowars is beating in the ratings:

Jones had anticipated this for at least three years. His apprehension started in 2015. After the election in 2016, even though Trump won, he was even more concerned about social media trying to cut off his access to viewers and listeners.

He details the various reasons for the ban in this video of his, made on the day it happened. It’s a keeper. Start with the video below (courtesy of variety) and continue on the link they recommend:

For a start, Apple and Google are working separately with China to develop censored social media projects and a search engine that filters and/or bans people and sites that go against the Establishment way of thinking. He says that the EU has also brought in censorship. (I recently heard a discussion about this on French radio, explained as, ‘They’re doing away with alarmist fake news, nothing more’, but it’s the same thing: silencing the opposition.) Then, there are the Democrats (example here) and their water carriers in the media who want to stifle support for Trump and the Republicans for the November mid-terms.

Jones says that none of the media outlets banning him have given him a specific reason why, other than to say ‘hate speech’. He says that there are people voting Infowars material down or flagging it as offensive.

Jones closed his video by saying people can still watch Infowars and read the news there on his own platform.

A lot of people don’t like Alex Jones, but, as he warns in the video, anyone could be next.

One rapper on Twitter says:

I don’t support or believe [what] ALEX JONES says but I don’t want powerful tech companies dictating what society is allowed to hear or see. They are too powerful. If they can delete anyone’s voice they want from the internet Who will be next?

Before going into further reactions, let’s look at two news reports about the Infowars ban. Emphases mine.

Howard Kurtz wrote a piece for Fox News, excerpted below:

Facebook said it has taken down some Jones pages “for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies.”

Apple said it removed the “Alex Jones Show” and other podcasts from iTunes and its podcast app. The company said it “does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users.”

Google’s YouTube dropped the ax on Jones’ channel, telling The Washington Post that it terminates users who violate “our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures.”

And Spotify banned Jones altogether after earlier removing some podcasts, telling the Post: “We take reports of hate content seriously and review any podcast episode or song that is flagged by our community.”

Hate content is not representative of the Infowars many know, and, unlike cable news networks, at least Jones apologises when he gets it wrong. Even Kurtz had to admit that in his editorial.

CNBC had more:

Pinterest removed the official InfoWars board on Monday afternoon after multiple people alerted the company to policy violations.

“Consistent with our existing policies, we take action against accounts that repeatedly save content that could lead to harm,” a Pinterest spokesperson said. “People come to Pinterest to discover ideas for their lives, and we continue to enforce our principles to maintain a safe, useful and inspiring experience for our users.”

CNBC’s article got to the crux of the issue:

Tech giants have faced calls from both sides of the political spectrum to be more transparent about the way they approach content flagging and banning. On the left, there are critics who say these firms are not doing enough to take down harmful and offensive content, while on the right there are some who think internet firms are routinely censoring conservative posts.

As private companies, there is nothing in law to bar them from removing user-generated videos and audio as they see fit. But a number of mostly conservative commentators have framed the issue as a matter of freedom of speech.

The Conservative Treehouse made excellent observations:

The corporate thought police moved in unity today to unperson Alex Jones and his Info Wars media site from popular social media platforms.

Imagine if BP, Exxon, Chevron and Sunoco all moved, on the same day, at the same time, to charge $5.00/gal for gasoline at their service stations.  That would be illegal collusion to take advantage of a monopolistic positionThat’s essentially what happened today when Facebook, YouTube, Apple and Spotify simultaneously banned the Alex Jones broadcast from their platforms; in an effort to purge him from the internet …

Oddly enough this was entirely predicted.  Back in the Fall of 2015 Matt Drudge appeared on the Alex Jones broadcast to warn of this exact situation.  Drudge talked about the need to stay off their platforms, because he could see the political use of platform control was likely to happen in the next few years.  In hindsight Drudge was eerily prescient:

 

The political left, and all the control elements of the Marxist Silicon Valley monopoly gatekeepers are moving in unity, taking action they deem will influence the 2018 elections and beyond. In the big picture this coordinated effort is a move to attack political opposition by weaponizing and controlling social media platforms.

Regardless of anyone’s opinion of Alex Jones, all should take this action seriously and think through the long-term ramifications….

Meanwhile, many social media platforms allow questionable content, including what were once deviant, criminal practices — and still are, to many of us. Yet, when Alex Jones tries to expose the ugly, painful truth behind them, perverts want him censored:

Then, there are the foul television shows, but they’re okay, because that’s free speech:

And let’s not forget newspapers like the New York Times which recently appointed a woman with a history of racist tweets to its editorial board:

Yes, it’s odd that Twitter never called Ms Jeong out.

And what about the death threats against President Trump that are allowed to stay on social media?

And isn’t incitement to war an example of ‘hate speech’? Alex Jones is not guilty of that, but what about Big Media?

One woman called the Jones ban what it is — censorship:

Alex Jones would agree:

I said above that Jones will issue lengthy apologies and explanations when he gets things wrong. Others in media are not so inclined, like CNN’s Brian Stelter, host of Reliable Sources (!?):

Media analyst Mark Dice compared the Jones ban to book burning:

An independent journalist said:

Infowars’ English editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson had this to say about Facebook:

And censorship in general:

Another Englishman agrees:

So, is it time to break the social media monopoly?

In the meantime, this will not go down without a fight. Here’s investigative journalist James O’Keefe’s request (more at the Gateway Pundit):

He and his Project Veritas team want to know more about things like this:

Also, other platforms are making it clear they will continue to broadcast Infowars. Here’s one of them:

This situation is a slippery slope and extends beyond banning an independent media outlet. Lying is now considered ‘protected speech’. You could not make this up:

Good heavens! Whatever next?

Stay strong and frosty in the search for the truth.

In further coverage of what used to be called Operation — or Project — Mockingbird, the diffusion of certain headlines via the media is still alive and well.

On Thursday and Friday, August 2 and 3, 2018, the subject was QAnon, who must have hit a huge nerve among the powers that be.

Here’s the flurry of American headlines from last Thursday:

The following day, a contributor to 8chan’s Q Research board posted the following international stories, all of which are about QAnon fostering Trumpian conspiracy theories:

Anonymous  e71061 (4) No.2430466>>2430476 >>2430709

Qanon MSM news exposure went global past 24 hours

Example for several countries

France

https://http://www.20minutes.fr/monde/2316919-20180803-qanon-groupe-pro-trump-adepte-theories-complot

Germany

https://http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/donald-trump-und-die-verschwoerungstheorie-qanon-trumps-trolle-kriechen-hervor-a-1221463.html

Netherlands

https://http://www.ad.nl/buitenland/qanon-rukt-op-in-amerika-complotgekkies-of-wakkere-patriotten~aa24a2ab/

Norwegian

https://http://www.dagbladet.no/nyheter/konspirerer-om-at-trump-star-bak-en-kommende-storm/70069810

Spanish

https://http://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-internacional-45053116

Austria

https://derstandard.at/2000084612925/Paedophiler-Tom-Hanks-QAnon-nutzt-uralte-Diffamierungstaktik

Poland

https://http://www.wprost.pl/swiat/10143667/qanon-glownym-tematem-w-usa-media-odkryly-nowa-teorie-spiskowa-fanow-trumpa.html

Italy

https://notizie.tiscali.it/esteri/articoli/usa-mistero-qanon-complottisti-che-adorano-trump-00001/

Hungary

https://http://www.express.hr/top-news/poremecena-sekta-za-trumpa-izmisljaju-teorije-zavjera-16966

Czech Republic

https://http://www.info.cz/svet/trumpovi-stoupenci-se-zamilovali-do-bizarni-konspiracni-sekty-prostor-dostava-i-v-cesku-35063.html

China

https://paper.wenweipo.com/2018/08/03/YO1808030018.htm

Russia

https://echo.msk.ru/blog/karina_orlova/2252088-echo/

Korean

https://news.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2018/08/03/2018080300118.html

I read only the French article and the comments. The latter were particularly interesting, as the readers were divided. Someone wrote a characteristically critical remark about President Trump and his supporters, to which someone replied, ‘Inform yourself a bit before commenting. Trump’s doing a great job, especially with the economy’.

Back to the 8chan comment. Q responded (message 1806), emphases mine:

Q !CbboFOtcZs  d51ef9 (1) No.2430708

Full attack mode.

Washington Post leading?

[Sample Past 5hrs]

https://http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2018/08/03/this-is-the-moment-how-a-wave-of-media-coverage-gave-qanon-conspiracy-theorists-their-best-week-ever/?utm_term=.cf4f4e0f506c

https://http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/08/03/theres-a-virus-in-trumpland/?utm_term=.73cb6867bf8c

https://http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/08/03/qanon-meet-a-real-life-believer-in-the-online-pro-trump-conspiracy-theory-thats-bursting-into-view/?utm_term=.1c12101c8280

Who owns the Washington Post?

Amazon?

What ABC agency is heavily tied to Amazon?

https://http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-web-services-launches-secret-region-2017-11

https://http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-20/cia-tech-official-calls-amazon-cloud-project-transformational

Q

Why would the rest of the world need — or even want — to know about QAnon and Q-related boards, including Reddit’s greatawakening?

By design, this Nightingale’s song serves only to thoroughly discredit Trump’s followers. What if a false flag were to take place with a fake Q follower? These articles could set the stage. The world would say, ‘Oh, the QAnon story was in the papers. Yeah, crazy people’.

Therefore, this is important:

Interestingly, the Washington Post featured an editorial after the Trump-Putin Helsinki meeting: ‘God bless the “deep state”‘, an image of which is here. It begins with this:

Before this harebrained and reckless administration is history, the nation will have cause to celebrate the public servants derided by Trumpists as the supposed “deep state” …

God bless them. With a supine Congress unwilling to play the role it is assigned by the Constitution, the deep state stands between us and the abyss.

If you appreciate President Trump, please continue to pray for his safety and that of his family and administration.

The Left — Democrats — continue their long, hot summer of vandalism and violence.

At the weekend, Republican activist Scott Presler of Virginia went to Philadelphia to rally in support of the city’s police. This is what happened to his car:

He was able to get new tires and had a message for the Dems:

He graciously declined personal donations:

He gave this update:

True enough.

Brad Parscale, President Trump’s campaign manager for 2020, had this reaction:

Sign of weakness from the left. When people are desperate they resort to cowardly acts. Will Dem leaders stand up against this and stop the unnecessary damage it is causing?

Agree about the weakness and cowardice, but, on the other side of the country in Portland, Oregon, one good American not only had his flag snatched but was also beaten with what looks like an oar covered in black fabric. When his assailant hit him on the head, he collapsed immediately. No one immediately came to his aid:

Anyone who thinks voting Democrat is still a good idea should really think again.

I’m not sure if the following event took place last week in either Ohio or Pennsylvania where President Trump held rallies, but the following video shows his motorcade making an unexpected stop so that he could greet local firefighters.

This is absolutely brilliant — and, no doubt, difficult for the Secret Service:

What other US president has ever done that?

Look at the difference between Trump and Obama:

The camera doesn’t lie.

Below is a graphic of four servers.

Each one has an important story behind it that could have an impact on national security.

Is anyone investigating these? (Image courtesy of a Trump supporter somewhere)

Click on the image to enlarge. It will open in a separate tab.

The DNC server was publicised before the Democratic National Convention in July 2016 and caused Deborah Wasserman Schultz (DWS in the graphic) to resign as head of the Democratic National Committee. Emails that planned to bring down Bernie Sanders’s candidacy emerged.

The House Democratic Caucus server was run by Imran Awan, a Pakistani-American citizen who worked in Washington DC for DWS and other Democrat legislators between 2004 and 2017. He was cleared in July 2018 of any wrongdoing involving data.

The Clinton Private Email server needs no explanation.

The Gmail server in North Korea must have an interesting story behind it.

Has anyone really looked at these forensically, regardless of past investigations? Is there more to the story than we already know?

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