Advertisements

On Tuesday, December 6, Time unveiled its Person of the Year:

Some Americans are less than impressed:

Time‘s editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal wrote a gushing editorial about the magazine’s choices. It begins as follows, referring to #MeToo on Twitter:

It became a hashtag, a movement, a reckoning. But it began, as great social change nearly always does, with individual acts of courage. The actor who went public with the story of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s “coercive bargaining” in a Beverly Hills hotel suite two decades earlier. The strawberry picker who heard that story and decided to tell her own. The young engineer whose blog post about the frat-boy culture at Silicon Valley’s highest-flying startup prompted the firing of its founder and 20 other employees. The California lobbyist whose letter campaign spurred more than 140 women in politics to demand that state government “no longer tolerate the perpetrators or enablers” of sexual misconduct. A music superstar’s raw, defiant court testimony about the disc jockey who groped her.

The galvanizing actions of the women on our cover—Ashley Judd, Susan Fowler, Adama Iwu, Taylor Swift and Isabel Pascual—along with those of hundreds of others, and of many men as well, have unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s. Social media acted as a powerful accelerant; the hashtag #MeToo has now been used millions of times in at least 85 countries. “I woke up and there were 32,000 replies in 24 hours,” says actor Alyssa Milano, who, after the first Weinstein story broke, helped popularize the phrase coined years before by Tarana Burke. “And I thought, My God, what just happened? I think it’s opening the floodgates.” To imagine Rosa Parks with a Twitter account is to wonder how much faster civil rights might have progressed.

It just seems one-sided to have only left-wing women on the cover, but Imperator_Rex explains:

Others wondered where the men were — guys like Corey Feldman, who was sexually abused as a child actor.

Time has been a disappointment for many years. Strangely enough, Bob Dylan thought so in the 1960s. He says that if he wants facts, he won’t turn to magazines:

One wonders if he came to appreciate Time and Newsweek more once they adopted a left-wing slant.

Nice unearthing by Julian Assange, at any rate.

Bible penngrovechurchofchristorgThe 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 (here, here and here).

Acts 13:13-14a

Paul and Barnabas at Antioch in Pisidia

13 Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem, 14 but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia.

Acts 13:40-43

40 Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:

41 “‘Look, you scoffers,
    be astounded and perish;
for I am doing a work in your days,
    a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’”

42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.

———————————————————————————-

Last week’s post discussed Paul’s blinding of Elymas the sorcerer for trying to prevent Sergius Paulus from converting. Paul accomplished this via divine grace as the Holy Spirit welled up in him.

That happened in Paphos, on the island of Cyprus.

Verse 13 tells us that Paul and his companions — including Barnabas — left Cyprus. they sailed from Cyprus to Perga in Pamphylia then onto Antioch in Pisidia (not Syria). John (John Mark, Mark of the Gospel) returned to Jerusalem (verse 14).

John MacArthur explains what probably happened (emphases mine below):

And here’s the sad note. “And John departing from them returned to Jerusalem. You say, “What’s so sad about that?” Paul was very upset about that, very very upset. S[o] why did John Mark leave? There’s several possibilities. Some say that he had resentment over Paul becoming the leader over Barnabas. Some say Mark was more attached to Barnabas and Paul, by his very nature, became the leader he was angry with Paul and didn’t want to work under him. Others say he was afraid because they were having to go over the Taurus mountains and the Taurus mountains were noted for being perilous. They were terribly fast torrents that was spanned by very weak bridges, and there were also robbers that lurked and the Roman government had tried to get the robbers out of the Taurus mountains but there was so many cracks and crevices and caves they couldn’t get them, and so it was a terribly perilous thing to even be in the Taurus mountains. It’s interesting, too, that in II Corinthians Paul says, “In my life I’ve been in the peril of robbers and in the peril of rivers,” and it may have been just that when he was talking about when he went to the Taurus mountains on his way.

And so perhaps Mark had a little chicken in him. There’s a third possibility and that is that the romance of mission work had worn off. Like so many missionaries who go out the first time around, the romance is going and they come back and that’s it. But whatever it was Paul was upset and it caused friction. Over in Chapter 15, verse 38, it had a terrible effect. They were going to go on a second missionary journey Paul and Barnabas, and this is, we’ll get to this and ooh you’ll learn some things there. Look at the difference between this and verse 36, “Let us go again.” Um Paul you’re running ahead, right? The last time the Spirit of God said, “Separate Me Paul and Barnabas.” Paul said, “Let us go.” You know what happened? They didn’t go. Paul wound up taking Silas and Barnabas wound up going somewhere else.

But you know what happened? Barnabas determined to take John, verse 37, “But Paul thought it not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia and went not with him to the work and so the contention was so sharp that they departed asunder one from the other.” You know that leaving of John Mark actually fractured the relationship between Paul and Barnabas? There’s a beautiful ending to the story II Timothy 4:11, Paul is closing out his life and he writes and he says, “Only Luke is here. Could you send Mark? He could be profitable to me.” Somewhere in the years he and Mark got back together.

MacArthur tells us that Antioch in Pisidia is in the region known as Galatia in Asia Minor.

In Antioch in Pisidia, Paul and his companions attended synagogue on the Sabbath. The leader asked them for a ‘word of encouragement to the people’ (verse 15). Paul rose to preach a message tailored for a Jewish audience.

MacArthur describes the themes Paul used:

First of all, the Jewish mind was dominated by the fact that God was active in the history of Israel. They exalted in the fact that they were God’s chosen people; that they were the ones that God had called out, set apart, through whom He gave the blessings, the covenants, the promises and so forth. The Jew was absorbed joyously in the concept that God was his God and so the concept of God’s involvement in Israel’s history was one of the general themes that dominated their minds.

The second general theme that dominated their minds was God’s future plans for them through Messiah. The Jew exalted in his nationalism. He exalted in his Jewishness but he also exalted in the future hope of Israel. They dreamed, they hoped, they lived for the day that Messiah would come. It was said that the Jewish mothers used to wish that their son would be the Messiah. This was the dream of every true Jew.

The third thought that dominated their minds was God’s attitude in dealing with sin. The Jew never forgot his identity. The Jew never forgot his hope and the Jew never forgot his sin. Those three things absolutely saturated and dominated the life of a Jew and it is to those three things that Paul directs his message, answering to the three great themes of Judaism. Every Jew saw God in control of his destiny. Every Jew saw God’s promise of a Messiah as his hope and every Jew was careful to follow the sacrifices set down to deal with sin.

When Paul mentioned King David, he said:

23 Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised.

Paul then discussed Jesus’s ministry, His death and Resurrection, explaining that these events were all prophesied — the holy and certain blessings of David. Corruption (below) refers to sin, by the way:

34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way,

“‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’

Paul went on to say that only these blessings could save the Jewish people, adding that the law of Moses could not (verse 39).

This brings us to the second set of verses, where Paul warns that his audience must believe that Jesus is the Messiah, otherwise another prophecy will come true (verse 40).

The prophecy, to which Paul refers (verse 41) is in Habakkuk 1:5 and Isaiah 29:14, the latter cited below as it explains the penalty for unbelief:

therefore, behold, I will again
do wonderful things with this people,
with wonder upon wonder;
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”

The Jews knew how God had severely punished their ancestors for disobedience. Paul’s audience thought back to the events in Habakkuk.

MacArthur gives us the history:

In Habakkuk’s day, Israel was a mess and God said, “Habakkuk, you better tell the people that I’m going to do a work that they’re not even going to believe even though you tell them,” and the work is the work of judgment, incidentally here. The passage warns against the unbelief of Israel. If Israel rejects as continually as they have the message of God, they’re going to get it.

Do you remember what God did to them in Habakkuk? Sent the Chaldeans, sacked Jerusalem, hauled them off to Babylon, wiped out the whole country and Paul says, “You remember what the prophets said God was going to do to Israel of old? Listen,” he says to that congregation in Antioch, “You better beware lest what God did then happens to you, when God will work a work of judgment.” Notice a couple of notes and it’s so powerful. “I’ll work a work in your days which you shall in no way believe even though somebody tells it to you.”

Paul’s review of Jewish history and his conclusion with Habakkuk got the people in the synagogue thinking deeply. Instead of being angry, they begged Paul to return the following Sabbath to preach again (verse 42).

Verse 43 says that those who heard Paul began following him and Barnabas, who urged them to continue in the grace of God.

That verse mentions Gentiles — ‘devout converts to Judaism’. Therefore, Jew and Gentile received the message and acted upon it.

Interestingly, Matthew Henry’s commentary says that verse 42 is not as positive as it looks. Some Jews actually were incensed at Paul’s words. There were Gentile pagans who also heard them and longed to be included in the divine promise. This perspective makes the rest of Acts 13 more understandable. First, Henry’s explanation:

I. There were some of the Jews that were so incensed against the preaching of the gospel, not to the Gentiles, but to themselves, that they would not bear to hear it, but went out of the synagogue while Paul was preaching (Acts 13:42), in contempt of him and his doctrine, and to the disturbance of the congregation. It is probable they whispered among themselves, exciting one another to it, and did it by consent …

II. The Gentiles were as willing to hear the gospel as those rude and ill-conditioned Jews were to get out of the hearing of it: They besought that these words, or words to this effect, might be preached to them the next sabbath; in the week between, so some take it; on the second and fifth days of the week, which in some synagogues were their lecture days. But it appears (Acts 13:44) that it was the next sabbath day that they came together. They begged, 1. That the same offer might be made to them that was made to the Jews. Paul in this sermon had brought the word of salvation to the Jews and proselytes, but had taken no notice of the Gentiles; and therefore they begged that forgiveness of sins through Christ might be preached to them, as it was to the Jews …

III. There were some, nay, there were many, both of Jews and proselytes, that were wrought upon by the preaching of the gospel

Now on to what happened: practically all of Antioch (Pisidia) gathered to hear Paul and Barnabas preach at the next Sabbath. However, the Jews who were angry with Paul began contradicting him. Paul and Barnabas then stated they would stop preaching to the Jews and focus instead on the Gentiles:

46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

That citation is from Isaiah 49:6:

he says:
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to bring back the preserved of Israel;
I will make you as a light for the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

How appropriate that we are reading this during Advent!

The Gentiles rejoiced and glorified the word of the Lord. They believed in Christ Jesus. The Gospel message — and, no doubt, conversions — spread throughout Pisidia (verse 49). The most influential Jews banded together to persecute Paul and Barnabas, driving them out of the region (verse 50). MacArthur says:

Now we don’t know the exact nature of it but in 2 Timothy 3:11, Paul talks about his persecution in Antioch and in 2 Corinthians 11, he says he was beaten with rods and with whips and that’s probably what happened there. They really let them have it and then they “expelled them from their borders.”

Paul, Barnabas and their companions ‘shook the dust from their feet’ and went onward to Iconium (verse 51). The disciples were ‘filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit’ (verse 52).

Remember the meaning of shaking the dust from one’s feet in the Gospels. MacArthur reminds us:

Jesus had said in Luke 10, when you go to evangelize, sent out His disciples, when they don’t hear your message and they don’t believe the Messiah, you shake the dust off your feet and leave that town. What He meant was this: No Jew would ever bring Gentile dirt into Israel because the Jews believed that Gentile soil was defiled and so when a Jew arrived at the border of Israel, he would shake the dust off his feet because they didn’t want even Gentile dirt in Israel. They thought it was soiled and Jesus accommodated Himself to that particular view and when He said, “Shake the dust off your feet,” He meant treat those Jews like they were Gentiles. You don’t want a thing to do with them. They’re just as if they were pagan and when Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet in the face of the Jews of Antioch, they were saying in effect, “We consider you heathen.” That in itself was the greatest disclaimer, the most volatile rebuke that anyone could ever give to a Jew was to assign him a place with pagans and they did it to them. From now on, God looks at you like heathen. That was the result. They were lost, doomed, because they rejected their Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Paul and Barnabas left town, took off for Iconium. They left two different groups. God saw some as pagans. God filled the others with His Holy Spirit. Let me say this in closing. Listen. You either live life separated from God, a heathen without God, without the knowledge of God, or you live your life with God’s Holy Spirit inside. There’s no middle ground. You either take Jesus or reject Him. He said, “He that is not with Me is against Me.”

MacArthur says that judgement is always in effect. He warns us:

You know it is hard…the hardest thing for me to understand and inevitably, the hardest thing for people to believe is that God is a God of judgment.

It’s unbelievable because we have a misconstrued idea of the character of God to begin with. We think God is a namby-pamby, senile Santa Claus who pats everybody on the head and says, “Oh, I don’t care what you do. You’re nice,” that kind of thing. It’s not so. God is dealing with sin. You read the Old Testament and you get His attitude toward sin. God deals with sin seriously and we know that it’s difficult to believe. Someone even in our church called the other day and was very, very upset. They went to a class and they heard about hell and they said, “Oh, I can’t believe it. It can’t be. It’s not so,” and so forth and so on. It’s hard to believe that. Even for us who believe it in our hearts, our emotions are hard pressed to handle it, right?

There is a hell and there is a hell where the worm dies not and the fire is not quenched, where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth and there’s going to be a day of judgment and it’s going to come and men don’t believe it but that doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen. God knew they wouldn’t believe it. He said that right here. You won’t believe it even though somebody tells you and so the warning closes out Paul’s sermon. He says, “I’m giving you an invitation. For all who believe, all things are forgiven and you’re justified. But beware, if you don’t believe it, God’s going to work a work of judgment which you won’t believe.” So you either believe in Jesus Christ or you don’t believe what’s going to happen in result…in response. Well, God is a God of grace but Paul closes with a serious warning. A man is a fool who rejects Jesus Christ.

To anyone reading this and thinking Christmas is purely a time for secular pleasures, please think again. Begin reading the New Testament. Pray for faith. Pray for grace. Pray that Christmas finally has true meaning.

Next time — Acts 14:1-7

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has struck again, this time with two undercover videos about the Washington Post.

It seems WaPo management took as long as the New York Times did a few months ago to catch on to the sting:

This video came out on Monday, November 27:

The description reads:

In newly released undercover video, Washington Post National Security Correspondent Dan Lamothe and Director of Product Joey Marburger speak to the paper’s hidden agenda. Evidently, covering Trump the way they do is good business, even though it’s fake news.

Dan Lamothe told two Project Veritas reporters that he thinks the paper goes ‘over the top’ sometimes in its reporting, particularly when it’s about President Donald Trump. However, he said he thought that the New York Times and CNN are much worse in their coverage.

Lamothe, probably not a Trump fan, draws a distinction between the news side of the paper and the editorial side. He said the editorial board is like a ‘god’ in that it is trying to ‘educate’ the reader to adopt a certain point of view. He thinks the editorial side blows Trump out of proportion:

Woah, I work for that place?

He says that everyone at WaPo is obsessed with Trump, especially his tweets. He laments that such an obsession:

draws the oxygen out of the room.

and:

They definitely don’t like Trump…

Also:

I can’t tell you how many times we get an email at work: ‘Oh did you see what (Trump) just tweeted? What are we gonna do about it?

Joey Marburger’s position as Director of Product involves the non-print aspect of the paper. He told the Project Veritas reporter that he talks to owner Jeff Bezos ‘all the time’.

One of Marburger’s assignments was to work closely with Bezos in finding a slogan for the newspaper. Whereas Lamothe finds the slogan ‘Democracy dies in darkness’ over the top, Marburger says that Bezos thought of it himself. When it came time to choose one of three slogans, Bezos decided on ‘Democracy dies in darkness’. Marburger confirms that Bezos is referring to Trump.

At the end of the video, James O’Keefe pointed out that, like other Big Media outlets, the thing to look at is what WaPo does not report. He says:

Democracy can also die in silence.

Lamothe reacted on Twitter:

The next Project Veritas video appeared on Wednesday, November 29. It features an interview with National Security Reporter Adam Entous, who is the main correspondent on the notional Trump-Russia collusion story:

The last part of the video features Melissa McCullough, Director of Newsroom Operations. She cannot stand Trump. The description reads:

In this all new Project Veritas video, two Washington Post employees are caught on hidden camera expressing their biases and acknowledging that the Trump-Russia collusion. O’Keefe also takes a swing at The Washington Post, saying “The media wants me to kneel down and apologize. I will not.”

The theme of this video is:

Entous says there is no solid evidence that Trump colluded with the Russians to win in 2016, which is the same thing as CNN’s John Bonifield — and Van Jones, who worked in the Obama administration — say.

Entous tells Project Veritas that the Russia narrative is a:

f*cking crap shoot, f*cking black box … maybe it doesn’t exist at all.

Also:

Our reporting has not taken us to a place where I would be able to say with any confidence that the result of it is going to be the president being guilty of being in cahoots with the Russians. 

McCullough just says a few anti-Trump things then concludes:

I shouldn’t be saying these things because we don’t… We’re not supposed to really talk about that kind of stuff.

So, the WaPo presents news stories but if one only read the op-ed pages, the slant would be really biased:

On November 27, the day the first video dropped, Project Veritas’s offices were vandalised:

O’Keefe has written a book about what his undercover reporters have revealed:

On Tuesday, December 6, O’Keefe won an Impact award:

He also gave a speech:

O’Keefe said that people are afraid to speak up because they do not want to have their reputations — and careers — ruined.

The pressure from media and other elites is designed to intimidate citizen journalists like O’Keefe and whistleblowers.

Thank goodness there are gutsy people like them to tell the truth, especially at great personal risk.

advent wreath stjohnscamberwellorgauWhat follows are my Advent posts to help us to spiritually prepare for Christmas.

There is something for every age group and every mainstream denomination below:

Advent resources for Catholics and Protestants

The next set of posts explain more about the season through the Bible:

Advent reflections: John the Baptist and the Apocalypse

Advent: Make straight a highway

Advent: John the Baptist’s message of Good News — and repentance

Advent: Mary’s Magnificat and Zechariah’s prophecy in Luke 1

John the Baptist, charity and Advent

Vanderbilt University has a set of Sunday readings for Year B.

St NicholasHappy St Nicholas Day!

If you had a celebration today, I hope it was a pleasant treat before Christmas.

My 2014 post has much detail on this famous bishop of the 4th century. There is much we can learn about — and from — this great man:

St Nicholas Day

My 2016 post discusses the customs and celebrations observed on this day:

More on St Nicholas — feast day December 6

In commenting on that post, one of my readers, sunnydaysall, shared her experience of living in Germany and being able to join in the festivities:

Wow! I had no idea St Nicholas was so many things to so many different cultures.

When I lived in Berlin Germany, I lived in the heart of the population… On the “economy” as it was called by military dependents! I loved the German people and their customs, and Christmas was a real treat for my family! We put our shoes out on the stoop for St Nicholas to stuff our shoes with sweet treats and trinkets, and sometimes there was a simple exchanging of gifts! But it was the neighborhood celebrations that we all enjoyed so much!

The European Christmas with St Nicholas was so very different from our American Santa Claus, and Christmas was celebrated with neighbors, family, and friends! The cobblestone streets were filled with carolers and snow! Being from the South, it was the first time I had lived where it truly snowed!! Large beer wagons were filled with hay and people hopped aboard and caroled from the wagons as well! The “huge” horses were draped in jingle bells and they were braided in their mane and tails! The kids would get so excited when they heard them coming!

There were also people in the streets singing and the neighborhood pubs, where everyone gathered, stayed open almost all night! But you had to be ready for Church the next morning! 🙂

For a country with a dwindling population, 40 years ago, Germany was all about celebrating the “family”… But now I hear it is so very different now.

Thanks, sunnydaysall, for documenting a lovely memory — and for letting me share it here.

On Monday, December 4, 2017, President Donald Trump travelled to Salt Lake City, Utah, to sign two proclamations restoring the use of federal land to Americans.

This was a controversial move, and lawsuits have already been filed.

However, while leftists believe Trump and his Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke are wrong, Trump campaigned on this issue in 2016. He wants greater co-ordination between the federal government and states on the use of government-owned land.

US Government still owns the land

First of all, the US government has not sold any land.

Although most of us think of the western United States as the wide open spaces where freedom reigns, in fact, the federal government owns most of the land in those states.

History

A commenter at The Conservative Treehouse points out that this started early in American history (emphases mine):

It has been long and beneficial arrangement for the American people and individual states which dates back to the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. There is a misconception that land has been “taken” from states and aggregated to the Federal government. This is simply not true, as the vast majority of Federal lands have always been owned and administered by the federal government. Often, these lands included large areas of desert waste and wilderness that were not accessible or open to economic development in the 19th century, ie lands that the territories/states and their governments/populations had little use or administrative control over at the time. Indeed, most Federal lands are an artefact of the process of incorporating unsettled Western land into territories and then admitting those territories into the Union.

In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law, protecting national sites of natural interest for the nation. He had good intentions and increased the number of national parks.

The Conservative Treehouse commenter says that problems arose with federal ownership after the Second World War, possibly before, when the New Deal programmes of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (Teddy’s cousin) started:

There is a problem, however: post New Deal/World War II, and particularly since the Clinton Administration, and very particularly under the Obama Administration, the Federal Government has been increasingly prescriptive in regards to Federal land management. Traditional land right uses, which are critical to Western states’ economies and including activities such as mining, ranching, drilling, have been all but banished via the Antiquities Act of 1906 and through agency-driven regulation.

Left-wing politicians believe that Native Americans and ranchers should have less access to lands that they have been successfully managing:

People whose families have used lands for centuries have suddenly found themselves treated as trespassers and criminals due to this shift. States which have counted on the economic development and use of Federal lands have been crippled. Federal land agencies have been weaponized like so much of the Washington government, to the detriment of the people.

Perhaps the conditions surrounding federal landownership need a rethink:

the local conditions of the 19th century no longer apply. States now have the ability to administer and develop remote areas within their borders. It is therefore time to examine whether the 18th century arrangement between federal and state government in regards to land ownership is the most efficient in the 21st century.

Clinton administration expansion

The Education Forum has an article about a proclamation President Bill Clinton signed in 1996 — during his re-election campaign — appropriating 1.7 million acres of land in Utah to the federal government. He did this from Arizona.

While this looked like a good thing for the environment, Clinton’s actions hid a bigger goal — to prevent American coal being mined there as a political favour, increasing the nation’s dependency on foreign coal:

Why would he dedicate a Utah monument while standing in Arizona? Well, this federal land grab was done without any consultation with the governor of Utah or any member of the Utah congressional delegation or any elected official in the state. The unfriendly Utah natives might have spoiled his photo-op.

The state already had six national monuments, two national recreation areas and all or part of five national forests. Three-quarters of Utah already was in federal hands. Still, the land grab was sold as a move to protect the environment.

At the time, the Clintons were worried that Ralph Nader’s presence on the ballot in a few Western states would draw green votes from Clinton in a race that promised to be close after the GOP retook Congress two years earlier.

In fact, the declaration of 1.7 million Utah acres as a national monument, thereby depriving an energy-starved U.S. up to 62 billion tons of environmentally safe low-sulfur coal worth $1.2 trillion and minable with minimal surface impact, was a political payoff to the family of James Riady.

He’s the son of Lippo Group owner Mochtar Riady. James was found guilty of — and paid a multimillion dollar fine for — funneling more than $1 million in illegal political contributions through Lippo Bank into various American political campaigns, including Bill Clinton’s presidential run in 1992.

Clinton took off the world market the largest known deposit of clean-burning coal. And who owned and controlled the second-largest deposit in the world of this clean coal? The Indonesian Lippo Group of James Riady. It is found and strip-mined on the Indonesian island of Kalimantan.

The Utah reserve contains a kind of low-sulfur, low-ash and therefore low-polluting coal that can be found in only a couple of places in the world. It burns so cleanly that it meets the requirements of the Clean Air Act without additional technology.

“The mother of all land grabs,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said at the time. He has called what was designated as the Grande Staircase of the Escalante National Monument the “Saudi Arabia of coal.”

Obama expansion

Late in 2016, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation to create the Bears Ears monument in Utah, which had 1.35 million acres.

Extent of federal lands

Big Think has an excellent article, complete with eye-opening illustrations of the extent of federal land ownership out West.

Excerpts follow:

The rough beauty of the American West seems as far as you can get from the polished corridors of power in Washington DC. Until you look at the title to the land. The federal government owns large tracts of the western states: from a low of 29.9% in Montana, already more than the national average, up to a whopping 84.5% in Nevada

Few minds will stir when they learn that the US federal government owns a grand total of 640 million acres of land: that figure is so vast that it becomes meaningless [1]. The sum of all that acreage adds up to about 28% of the nation’s total surface, 2.27 billion acres. That sounds like a lot, but since it is an average, and because we have nothing to compare it to, that percentage is, to use one of my favorite quotes, “the kind of information they conceal in books” [2].

By contrast, the federal government owns significantly less of Midwestern land and practically nothing on the East coast.

The land is administered by different governmental bodies:

According to the Congressional Research Service [4], a total area of just under 610 million acres – more than twice the size of Namibia – is administered by no more than 4 federal government agencies:

* The United States Forest Service (USFS), which oversees timber harvesting, recreation, wildlife habitat protection and other sustainable uses on a total of 193 million acres – almost the size of Turkey – mainly designated as National Forests.

* The National Park Service (NPS) conserves lands and resources on 80 million acres – a Norway-sized area – in order to preserve them for the public. Any harvesting or resource removal is generally prohibited.

* the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), managing 248 million acres [5] – an area the size of Egypt – has a multiple-use, sustained-yield mandate, supporting energy development, recreation, grazing, conservation, and other uses.

* the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) manages 89 million acres – an area slightly bigger than Germany – to conserve and protect animal and plant species.

The first agency is part of the Department of Agriculture, the latter three of the Department of the Interior. The Department of Defense manages an additional 20 million acres – a bit larger than the Czech Republic – as military bases, testing and training grounds, etc.

That is a lot of feds of whom to fall afoul.

Citizens cross the federal government at their peril

Big Think reminds us of one well-known recent case of an ordinary American crossing the federal government on these lands which ended badly:

That conflict came to a head very publicly last year with the case of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher whose conflict with the Bureau of Land Management over grazing rights led to the federal government impounding his cattle [6].

The case is still unresolved, as footnote 7 to the article explains:

[7] Mr. Bundy refused to pay $1.2 million in grazing fees to the BLM, arguing that the land his cattle uses belongs not to the federal, but the state government. In the spring of last year, BLM officials agreed to leave his property and release his cattle after hundreds of armed supporters showed up at the Bundy ranch. As the Washington Post recently reported, the conflict remains unresolved.

As for Big Think‘s article and graphics:

Ultimately, this map reverberates and keeps bouncing around the internet because it touches a divide in American politics and wider society that is about much more than land use. It pits libertarians versus federalists, with the gap between them increasing to such an extent that the former often seem to the latter to be no more than right-wing vigilantes, the latter to the former nothing less than world-government-promoting socialists. Until some middle ground emerges to bridge that divide, this map (and other incendiary devices) will continue to add fuel to the ideological fire.

Is extensive federal land ownership constitutional?

The Independence Institute has a good article on whether such extensive land holdings are constitutional.

This is a grey area as Rob Natelson, the author, explains. In part:

* Under the Property Clause (Art. IV, Sec. 3, Cl. 2), land titled to the federal government and held outside state boundaries is “Territory.” Federal land held within state boundaries is “other Property.”

* The Property Clause gives Congress unconditional power to dispose of property and authority to regulate what is already held. It does not mention a power to acquire.

* As for acreage (“other Property”) within state boundaries: Under the Necessary and Proper Clause, the federal government may acquire and retain land necessary for carrying out its enumerated powers. This includes parcels for military bases, post offices, buildings to house federal employees undertaking enumerated functions, and the like. It is not necessary to form federal enclaves for these purposes.

* But within state boundaries the Constitution grants no authority to retain acreage for unenumerated purposes, such as land for grazing, mineral development, agriculture, forests, or parks.

Looking at the issue historically, he concludes:

Most states were admitted to the union pursuant to treaties, agreements of cession, and/or laws passed by Congress. These are called organic laws. They include, but are not limited to, enabling acts and acts of admission. These laws cannot change the Constitution, but they have some interesting ramifications for federal land ownership. That is a topic for another posting.

My article has been cited widely. But  it will not surprise you to learn that many reject the conclusions. Liberals are unhappy, because they want to keep much of our territory socialized. Conservative land activists are disappointed because they want the federal government to convey land to the state governments, not dispose of it in other ways. It is significant, however, that no one has even tried to rebut my conclusions or the evidence for them.

Zinke visits Utah — May 2017

Ryan Zinke must be the most active Secretary of the Interior ever. He is always travelling around the United States.

In May, he visited Utah:

for a four-day listening tour. He met with community members, stakeholders, and representatives of federal, state, local and tribal governments, regarding an executive order to review some large national monuments designated under the Antiquities Act.

That description goes with this video. You can see him on horseback at the three-minute mark:

Zinke’s recommendation was to reduce the size — though not the ownership — of of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National monuments.

This is the background on Trump and Zinke visiting Salt Lake City on December 4.

Trump and Zinke visit Salt Lake City

The Salt Lake Tribune has a good report about Trump and Zinke’s visit, excerpted below:

To the cheers of Utah politicians and dismay of environmental and tribal groups, President Donald Trump swept into Utah on Monday and erased most of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National monuments — shaving 2 million acres from their boundaries and replacing them with five smaller monuments

At the invitation-only Capitol Rotunda ceremony, he signed a proclamation to shrink Bears Ears, created last year by President Barack Obama, from 1.35 million acres to 201,876. The remnants were placed into two new monuments: Shash Jaa (Navajo for Bears Ears) at 129,980 acres and Indian Creek at 71,896 acres.

He signed a second proclamation to reduce Grand Staircase-Escalante — created in 1996 by President Bill Clinton — from 1.9 million acres to 1 million. It was replaced by three monuments: Grand Staircase at 209,933 acres; Kaiparowits at 552,034; and Escalante Canyon at 242,836. The protected areas are still larger than Rhode Island.

“Past administrations have severely abused the purpose, spirit and intent of the century-old law known as the Antiquities Act,” Trump said, referring to the law used by Clinton and Obama to create the monuments.

He said presidents are supposed to set aside in monuments only the smallest area necessary to protect important resources.

The following video shows the beauty of the Grand Staircase-Escalante. The person who made this is upset, however, there will still be plenty that is preserved, even if coal mining begins. The coal mining will not be in the same area as the Grand Staircase:

National Geographic says that tourism is the mainstay of the Grand Staircase-Escalante, however, that is seasonal traffic. Those who live there are disappointed that the government bought out the leases for a proposed coal mine on the Kaiparowits Plateau in 1996. While there are service jobs aplenty, mining would give many of the residents a much better quality of life.

As for Bears Ears, National Geographic explains that, as visitor numbers increase, so does the damage to nature and Native American history:

tourists pocketing potsherds, campers using century-old Navajo hogans for firewood; graffiti on ancient rock panels; all-terrain vehicles blasting through ancestral burial grounds.

Some residents are suspicious of the federal government:

… many locals oppose relying on what they see as the heavy hand of the federal government to resolve it. The feds, says [San Juan County Commissioner Phil] Lyman, “have become very much the enemy,” and monument designation only strengthens the federal regulatory grip. “They need to leave San Juan County, not own San Juan County.” The cuts to the monument, however, are unlikely to send either the BLM or the visitors away.

It is a complicated situation. The governor of Utah, Gary Herbert, wrote an excellent Myth and Fact piece on Bears Ears for the Deseret News, which is well worth reading. Excerpts follow:

Myth: Without national monument status, the vast landscape of the Bears Ears region will be subjected to unchecked exploitation.

Fact: Before Obama’s monument declaration in December 2016, the Bears Ears region was mostly federal public land subject to a network of federal protections that conserve the area’s natural beauty and archeological treasures. Trump’s reconfiguration of the monument’s boundaries does not change the federal ownership of these lands and maintains the existing system of federal protections

Myth: Without national monument status, the Bears Ears region will be crisscrossed by coal mines, oil rigs and gas pipelines.

Fact: Mineral resources beneath Bears Ears are scarce. There is no developable oil and gas. The region’s nonrenewable resources, including uranium near the Daneros Mine, were actually outside the expansive monument boundaries declared by Obama. The integrity of the Bears Ears landscape, long kept intact before the creation of the monument, will almost certainly remain intact after Trump’s announcement. And to ensure this going forward, the state of Utah is asking for congressional legislation that will exclude the region from mineral extraction …

Utah reaction in the Capitol building

Inside Salt Lake City’s Capitol building, Ryan Zinke gave a brief speech before Trump’s arrival.

He then introduced a Navajo stakeholder who expressed her deep gratitude to everyone involved, including President Trump. She also complimented Zinke on his horseback riding:

Other state officials then spoke briefly. Finally, Trump arrived:

What follows is an excerpt from his speech:

Here, and in other affected states, we have seen harmful and unnecessary restrictions on hunting, ranching, and responsible economic development. We have seen grazing restrictions prevent ranching families from passing their businesses and beloved heritage on to the children — the children that they love.

We’ve seen many rural families stopped from enjoying their outdoor activities. And the fact they’ve done it all their lives made no difference to the bureaucrats in Washington.

We have seen needed improvements, like infrastructure upgrades and road maintenance, impeded and foreclosed. We have seen how this tragic federal overreach prevents many Native Americans from having their rightful voice over the sacred land where they practice their most important ancestral and religious traditions. (Applause.)

These abuses of the Antiquities Act have not just threatened your local economies; they’ve threatened your very way of life. They’ve threatened your hearts.

He then signed the proclamation:

This was the reaction:

Politically contentious

The Hill reported that Congress wants to take action on how the Antiquities Act is used in future.

As Trump wants to return use of federal lands to the American people where possible:

The House Natural Resources Committee approved a bill in October that would restrict the president’s ability to quickly and unilaterally declare large national monuments.

Republicans, including Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah), consider the bill an important check on presidential power, and they are intent on moving the reform bill through Congress this session.

The next steps will be to move beyond symbolic gestures of protection and create substantive protections and enforcement and codify in law a meaningful management role for local governments, tribes and other stakeholders,” Bishop said in a Monday statement.

Democrats have vowed to resist any effort to diminish the presidential monument-making power, setting up potential fights if the bill moves to the House floor and the Senate.

Conclusion

This move is not nearly as calamitous and damaging as environmentalist activists say it is.

It helps the American people, especially those Native Americans, ranchers and other residents in these areas regain use of their resources.

Yesterday’s post discussed the events that took place Friday, December 1, 2017.

Today’s entry serves as an update on the weekend’s news. I won’t be recapping much of what I wrote about Friday, so you might want to read that post before continuing here.

ABC’s Brian Ross

ABC’s veteran reporter Brian Ross was suspended for four weeks without pay for his fake news of Friday that caused the US stock market to dip for an hour:

President Donald Trump was delighted:

But he was not yet finished:

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, father of Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is a past Republican presidential candidate and former Fox News show host:

This lawyer and writer for The Federalist listed more of Ross’s huge blunders:

Mueller investigation — Peter Strzok

One of Robert Mueller’s top investigators has been sacked from his team investigating the Trump campaign’s notional Russian collusion:

One could not make this up:

 

You can read clips from more articles on that subject here (image courtesy of a Reddit contributor).

Trump chimed in:

Advice came in for the new FBI director, Christopher Wray:

Judicial Watch has been keen for the McAuliffe/Clinton scandal to be investigated:

Their November 21 article begins with this summary:

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released 79 pages of Justice Department documents concerning ethics issues related to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s involvement with his wife’s political campaign. The documents include an email showing Mrs. McCabe was recruited for a Virginia state senate race in February 2015 by then-Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam’s office.

The news that Clinton used a private email server broke five days later, on March 2, 2015. Five days after that, former Clinton Foundation board member and Democrat party fundraiser, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, met with the McCabes. She announced her candidacy on March 12. Soon afterward, Clinton/McAuliffe-aligned political groups donated nearly $700,000 (40% of the campaign’s total funds) to McCabe’s wife for her campaign.

Most Trump supporters knew about that during the 2016 campaign, but it got little media coverage.

Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton has been doing great work in exposing Swamp scandals. See here, here and here.

This is very serious. Can one imagine a Republican getting away with such a thing?

Where’s the justice?

Lieutenant General Michael Flynn has been made to look like a criminal for lying to the FBI, but we have senior US officials — present and former — who have committed crimes. The American people are told there is nothing to see.

Congressman Steve Smith (R-Georgia) summarised the situation well:

Trump is, rightly, on the warpath:

Is he having a go at his Attorney General Jeff ‘Sleepy’ Sessions?

Sleepy will be leaving soon, probably early in 2018.

His immediate recusal from this probe, because it was connected with the Trump campaign and he was part of the campaign, caused a lot of grief for a lot of people, including the spring-summer campaign manager Paul Manafort, whom the Mueller team treated terribly — including a middle-of-the-night FBI raid on his and his wife’s home while they were asleep.

What Manafort has been indicted for isn’t even related to the Trump campaign but to work he did in Ukraine years before.

See how justly Manafort has been treated:

Obama still acts as if he’s in office

But wait, there’s more.

Never has there been a US president who hasn’t let his successor be in charge.

But not Obama:

Even if he was only referring to climate change, he should do the decent thing.

On December 2, the Washington Examiner reported:

While speaking to a group of business leaders in Paris, former President Barack Obama said there is a “temporary absence of American leadership” when it comes to tackling climate change.

“I grant you that at the moment we have a temporary absence of American leadership on the issue,” the former president noted, which was met with laughter from the room full of French former ministers and CEOs at the invite-only event, according to Reuters.

Obama also recently visited China:

Swamp tries to trap CIA director Pompeo

On December 2, the CIA director Mike Pompeo — a Trump appointee — was a guest at the Reagan National Defense Forum.

TrumpSoldier has a detailed Twitter thread on Pompeo’s appearance, video clips and still photos included. A summary with most of the tweets follows. I corrected a few original typos below.

The Reagan National Defense Forum (RNDF) sounds conservative until one looks at who is on the steering committee (see point 4), including the CEO/Publisher of the Washington Post, a few Obama appointees, anti-Trump Republican senator John McCain and former Clinton adviser and CIA director Leon Panetta. Fox News’s Bret Baier conducted an interview on stage with Pompeo and Panetta (emphases mine below):

5) Mike Pompeo was going into swamp territory and now everything makes sense to me as you will soon see.

6) The slogan for the RNDF is “Investing in Peace Through Strength” I like Peace through Strength but the “investing” part sets off alarm bells. I am not going to investigate who funds them but I imagine it’s not pretty.

7) The RNDF is an organization that is run by active and retired swamp creatures whose main purpose is influencing and shaping policy.

8) Mike sat down with Panetta and his lackey Bret Baier for an hour and they discussed world events from a security perspective. It was light hearted and fun and that is all part of the set up.

9) Mike Pompeo is relaxed, joking and having fun. Panetta even tries to connect with him as “two Italians”. Bret’s ambush questions are strategically placed for maximum effect.

10) The Triggering!
Baier asks Mike Pompeo about Saudi Arabia: Panetta and decades of swamp failure are brought face to face with the dramatic sudden success of Trump Administration Foreign Policy.

11) Everything was jovial up to this point (at about 30 minutes in) Panetta’s reactions became really serious and concerned and his responses became lectures. An old swamp thing cut off from power flailing for relevance.

12) The Soft Ball
Baer asks Mike Pompeo how he shares intelligence with Trump.

No real answer, by the way. Good.

14) The Ambush!
Mike Pompeo asked about #FakeNews stores regarding the mental state of President Trump: “It’s Absurd” (watch and listen closely)

15) Remember everyone is laughing and having a good time up to this point and on cue as the question is asked Panetta laughs. It was the perfect set up!

16) You can see the moment when Mike senses the trap he licks his lips and smiles ever so slightly. He is ready!

17) Mike breaks character, reveals his power level, and suddenly kills the room! Panetta nervously begins laughing some more to try to lighten the mood. I would have loved to see Baier’s face as he absorbed this stare. I guarantee he looked down and away.

18) The next order of business to to try to get Pompeo to listen to the wisdom of a “very concerned” Panetta regarding the danger of #TrumpTweets

19) #TrumpTweets are Dangerous!
Mike Pompeo doesn’t think so. He uses them strategically.

In fact, The Hill reported on this interview:

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said on Saturday that President Trump’s Twitter habits have actually helped his agency gather and understand intelligence

 “I’ve actually seen it help us,” he said. “I have seen things the president has put on his Twitter account actually have a real-world impact on our capacity to understand what’s going on in other places in the world.”

“That is, our adversaries responded to those tweets in ways that were helpful to us to understand command and control issues, who’s listening to what messages, how those messages are resonating around the world.”

Back now to the Twitter thread. Baier was eager to pursue this line of questioning, even though Pompeo wanted to move on to other topics. Panetta also pressed Pompeo on Trump’s tweets, expressing ‘concern’.

22) Note Mike’s body language and comments he really is trying to politely end the conversation but they keep pushing

23) THE KILL
CIA Director Mike Pompeo reminds old swamp creature (Leon Panetta) that he is a failure and irrelevant.

24) After you are done laughing consider how deadly serious this was. It was a carefully orchestrated trap completely scripted and gamed out in advance and Mike came up aces!

25) Pompeo’s ruthless defense of Donald Trump speaks volumes about his loyalty and dedication to the cause. His defense of #TrumpTweets confirms that they are highly strategic and coordinated with the CIA. This frightens everyone… but us.

No doubt this week’s narrative will be about Trump’s mental health again.

The Left’s dirty game

For over a year, the media and other Democrats have been saying that it was wrong for the Trump team to speak to the Russians prior to the inauguration.

It is legal and something that every president-elect’s transition team does.

As for contact with Russia during the campaign, to date, Mueller’s team has found nothing, except for the abortive meeting with the Russian lawyer. Donald Trump Jr, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner left soon after it started. President Trump was unaware of it at the time.

My post yesterday listed three meetings that campaign advisers to then-candidate Obama had with Hamas and FARC. When he was still president-elect in January 2009, he met with the president of Mexico.

The Democrats — including the media — are being very dishonest with this anti-Trump narrative which is dividing the country.

In January 2017, Obama’s press secretary Mark Toner said there was no problem with the Trump team speaking with the Russian ambassador:

That text comes from the transcript of January 13. This is what precedes it:

QUESTION: — reports starting yesterday, but then more of them this morning, about contact between the incoming national security advisor and the Russian ambassador. I’m just wondering, from the State Department’s point of view, is this something that’s of concern at all? Or – I’ll just leave it there and then follow up.

MR TONER: Again, not necessarily – I’ve seen the reports. I don’t think they’ve been confirmed or corroborated yet. But that’s – as he’s part of the transition team, that’s really for them to speak to in how they are engaging. I mean —

QUESTION: Right, but —

MR TONER: — the president-elect is also engaged on his own with many world leaders.

 

Lt Gen Michael Flynn

Now a word about the embattled Lt General Michael Flynn.

On Saturday, December 2, Trump tweeted:

And:

The Conservative Treehouse has a good analysis and timeline of Flynn and the Russian ambassador, including Flynn’s dismissal. Excerpts follow (emphases in the original):

Many people have asked the question why would Michael Flynn have lied about talking to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the first place?

It’s a great question.

The Occam’s Razor answer is the toxic political environment that existed in January 2017, where the administration was being hammered by a tsunami of media narratives and political opposition claiming that any scintilla of contact with anything Russian meant that Putin and Trump were “colluding” BFFs,…. and Flynn didn’t want to fuel that nonsense.

That’s really the only reason to mislead about Russian contacts.

And/or once Vice-President Mike Pence made the statement that Flynn had no contact with anyone from Russia etc. any contradictory statement from Flynn would make Pence appear compromised; so Flynn had to stick to it without clarification.

Sunday January 15th – VP-elect Mike Pence appears on Face The Nation. [Transcript Here] …

[*NOTE* Notice the narrative questioning at the time (early Jan) was framed that ‘any contact’ with Russians was evidence of meddling/election-collusion with Russians.]

Friday January 20th – Inauguration

Tuesday January 24th – Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn was interviewed at the WH by the FBI.  [Either Flynn contradicts Pence, or he tells a lie, those were his options.]

Afterwards, having received a report of the interview, Department of Justice (DOJ) employee, Sally Yates — since fired — had discussions about Flynn with other senior Obama holdovers still working there. This was what brought about the charge that Flynn lied to the FBI.

Another part of this story is that Flynn had talked to the Russian ambassador in December 2016 about the sanctions that Obama had imposed on Russia.

The following comes from The Last Refuge, the founder and author of The Conservative Treehouse (emphases mine below):

11. So on December 29th, sanctions day, Flynn spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak… Essentially, saying ‘chill out, we’ll get through this’ etc.

14. We arrive at Sunday January 15th. VP-Elect Mike Pence appears on Sunday talks to discuss political stuff and the Trump administration.

15. On that Sunday 1/15/17 Pence appeared on CBS Face the nation (John Dickerson)

16. What does Dickerson start off with? Of course – The Vast Russian Hacking Election conspiracy: “did any advisor or anybody in the Trump campaign have any contact with the Russians who were trying to meddle in the election?”

17. Amid the questioning, there is no distinction between *BEFORE* the election, and during the President-Elect transition period (ie. *AFTER* the election). It’s just one long framed question about “contact” and “collusion” etc.

18. And with that framework VP-Elect Pence says: “Of course not. And I think to suggest that is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy.”

19. VP-Pence says “of course not”, ie NO CONTACT. In doing so, and without pointing out the transition team would have ordinary and customary contact, Pence has now painted Flynn into a corner.

20. Flynn has had contact (ordinary and appropriate contact), but VP-Elect Pence gave an emphatic: “Of course not.”

22. The January 24th [FBI] interview is where the “Flynn Lied” to the FBI came from.

23. At the time of the interview the media cycle was filled with intelligence leaks. During that interview Flynn had two options: Option #1) tell investigators he did have conversations with Kislyak in December – and as a consequence contradict VP Pence.

24. Option #2) tell investigators he did not have conversations with the Russians (Kislyak) and align with VP Pence statement a week prior.

Option #1 puts the criticism and Russia story on VP Pence for lying to CBS. (He didn’t, because the question was vague on timing but that didn’t matter amid the frenzy) and as an outcome weaken the incoming administration 4 days after inauguration.

26. Option #2 puts himself at risk; but protects VP Pence and avoids the immediacy of a narrative against the White House and new administration.

27. Likely Flynn knew the FBI was up to no good because they probably already knew the answer to the question (wiretapping). But these decisions were about politics amid the frenzied media swarm. The downstream sh[*]t-storm on Pence would have been brutal.

28. The very next day, Wed Jan 25th, Sally Yates (DOJ) gets an after action report on the FBI questioning of Flynn.

37. Note the presumption here is that Flynn had lied to VP Pence. However, there is nothing to indicate that angle/aspect is or was actually correct. Specifically, there is ample evidence the ‘lie to Pence’, evolved from a storyline -driven by necessity- to save face for Pence.

38. The administration was now boxed in. Flynn lied to protect Pence’s political posture/integrity/position, (ie. Military Leadership Training 101: never compromise your leadership), but was now confronted by Sally Yates. FUBAR!!

Conclusion — thus far

It seems this past weekend served, in part, as a watershed moment.

As I write, Trump’s Twitter account has over 43m subscribers. Imagine factoring in millions of others, e.g. yours truly, who don’t subscribe but check it at least once a day.

Tens of millions of people are reading and passing his tweets along to millions more every day.

Over time, that’s a lot of red pills being handed out.

Trump is taking this time to get the American people psychologically prepared for The Storm / the Silent War.

I have read several online commenters saying that they never realised how corrupt America is until they read about the Strzok dismissal and the crookedness of this Mueller investigation which, so far, has cost around $5m in taxpayer money.

Meanwhile, actual criminals who served at federal level are on the loose. Where’s the DOJ? Where’s the justice?

On Friday, December 1, 2017, Lt General Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Powerline has a simple explanation of the story, excerpted below (emphases mine):

News media are breathlessly reporting that Gen. Michael Flynn has agreed to plead guilty to lying to the FBI. You can read the Statement of the Offense here. The false statements alleged by the government seem rather pathetic: 1) Flynn falsely told an FBI agent that he didn’t ask the Russian ambassador to “refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions” the U.S. had just imposed, and 2) that he didn’t recall the ambassador subsequently telling him that the Russians had moderated their response per his request; 3) Flynn falsely said that he didn’t ask the Russian ambassador to delay or defeat a pending U.N. Security Council resolution, and 4) that the ambassador never subsequently described his country’s response to that request. (Flynn tried, unsuccessfully, to convince several members of the Security Council, including Russia, not to proceed with an anti-Israel resolution. This is to his, and President Trump’s, credit.)

That’s it, after a year of huffing and puffing. Nothing about the election, nothing about the long-awaited “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia. I have no idea why Flynn apparently lied to an FBI agent, assuming that he did. But the communications described in the information are exactly the sorts of contacts that a national security advisor to an incoming president should be having with foreign powers.

In short, the allegations against Flynn suggest that Robert Mueller has nothing significant against President Trump or other members of his administration.

The following statement is from President Donald Trump’s lawyer:

This happened after the election, when the president-elect’s transition team initially contacts foreign governments. Obama also did this in speaking with then-Mexican president Felipe Calderon on January 12, 2009, just days before his first inauguration.

In fact, it is alleged that Obama’s campaign team met with Hamas and Iranian contacts in 2008, during his campaign. In March 2008 — also during the primary campaign — it emerged they were in touch with Colombia’s FARC.

ABC’s Brian Ross reported on the Flynn guilty plea, saying that the general was in touch with the Russians when Trump was a ‘candidate’. As Ross’s faulty story broke, the markets fell slightly for an hour on Friday. Ross did not issue a retraction until hours later:

This is what Rush Limbaugh had to say about Brian Ross, who has twisted the truth before:

Later on Friday, The Hill reported that CNN’s Jim Acosta — another questionable reporter — said White House sources told him the Obama administration approved Flynn’s communications before they took place. Also note that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner is also mentioned:

The White House said on Friday that it was the Obama administration that authorized former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during President Trump’s transition, according to CNN.

Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Kislyak in the month before Trump took office, the first current or former Trump White House official brought down by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling.

Court records indicate that his communications with Kislyak were directed by a Trump transition official, with multiple news outlets reporting that official was Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.

“They are saying here at the White House that Flynn’s conversations with Sergey Kisylak were quote ‘authorized’ by the Obama administration,” CNN correspondent Jim Acosta said.

“We should point out, that is something that we have not heard before in terms of a defense from this White House,” he said.

The White House did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.

Of course, James Clapper, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence — and no friend of the Trump administration — said the White House claim was ‘absurd’.

Regardless, Flynn’s conversations happened after the election — not before, as some of the Obama campaign’s did.

Acosta also filed a CNN story wherein a ‘senior White House official’ told him:

“There is no anxiety with Flynn and about what he might say.”

The President “feels sorry for Flynn… I think he likes Flynn,” this official said, adding the Trump is “thinking about Flynn and his family.”

As I write on Saturday (GMT), it seems likely that this story will run and run all weekend long. Trump detractors worldwide will enjoy this, such as ex-FBI director James Comey:

He was quickly rebuked by former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino:

More reports emerged from ABC, NBC (and other news outlets). From ZeroHedge (emphases in the original):

ABC news takes it a step further, reporting from an anonymous source that “Donald Trump directed him to make contact with the Russians, initially as a way to work together to fight ISIS in Syria.” – though NBC News reports it was Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner.

I have already gone into the major points of the story thus far, but two of ZeroHedge‘s ‘observations and takeaways’ are worth noting:

  • If Flynn’s contact with Russia was related to “collusion” in regards to election meddling, he would be pleading guilty to an espionage conspiracy, not the “process crime” of lying to the FBI..
  • If Flynn were to now drop some new bombshell about greater Russian collusion, he would have lied to the FBI twice.

The article asks why Flynn would have lied and offers these possibilities:

Why would Flynn lie about his contact with the Russians in late January, five days after the Inauguration? Was it because the nation had been whipped into an anti-Russia frenzy? Or, as some have suggested, does the rabbit hole go much deeper and there are aspects of the Trump-Russia story that haven’t been made public yet? Again, if that were known, Flynn would be pleading guilty to a much more serious crime.

Ultimately:

That said, Flynn is facing a whopping six months in prison and a fine of up to $9,500 for lying to the Special Counsel.

The article concludes:

So – unless there’s more than meets the eye, it appears that the coverup is far greater than the crime in regards to Flynn’s decision to lie to the FBI. And whatever the outcome, the hard bounce in the S&P 500 would seem to suggest this is perhaps another nothingburger and not quite the end of Drumpf.

What follows is part of Imperator_Rex’s analysis (two name corrections are at the bottom of his thread, but I have just used ‘Obama/Said officials’). Emphases mine below:

5. The plea offenses are known as ‘process crimes’, in other words non-compliance with the technicalities of being in an incoming administration.

6. In return for the plea, Flynn will FULLY CO-OPERATE with Mueller’s SC. That’s what this is all about. And it’s not heading in the direction of the Clinton/DNC Trump-Russia lie, that much is certain.

7. To recap : in January 1017, General Flynn didn’t tell the truth to Jim Comey & Andrew McCabe’s clownshow of an FBI, about meeting the Russian ambassador.

Thank God he didn’t.

8. To clarify, an incumbent administration communicating with foreign states, while a lame duck POTUS runs out his or her term, is commonplace & happens all the time. As you’d expect it to be.

9. However, the FBI under Comey & McCabe was a corrupted organization, which Flynn knew well. IMO he did the RIGHT thing not telling them about the communications with the Russian ambassador. It would have been leaked, with the intent of bringing down Trump.

11. [Obama officials] used unmasked intel under a FISA warrant (probably based on the Fusion GPS dossier) to ID Flynn and then leaked it to WaPo, a crime.

[Said officials] also tried to ambush Trump by saying they warned him about Flynn.

It didn’t work. Trump was inaugurated.

12. Trump likely became fully aware of what they did in February, but definitely by at least May 8, 2017 …

13. After his ‘resignation’, Flynn offered to tell his ‘story’ in a public Congressional hearing, in exchange for immunity. This was denied. The last thing those snakes wanted was for Flynn to reveal all on live television.

14. General Flynn knows everything about Obama & Clinton. That’s because he was the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, serving from July 2012 to his retirement from the military in August 2014.

18. This plea deal allows Flynn to provide testimony under oath, as well as 24/7 ‘assistance’, to Mueller about EVERYTHING he knows. But it won’t be about the Drumpf-Russia lie. It will be about other things

20. Ignore the crowing of the hysterical MSM today. They have been consistently wrong about everything, because they are basing it all on the Trump-Russia lie.

They are 100% wrong on this, too.

22. Remember these words from General Flynn’s lawyers in March, 2017:

‘General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit’.

The circumstances now permit.

The end.

Some evidence that Imperator_Rex could be right comes from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief John Podesta’s answers to questions from an audience at Duke University on Wednesday, November 29:

The Duke Chronicle reported his answer to a student who asked about Pizzagate and his ties to Russia:

“This is how the alt-right does fake news,” Podesta said. “It’s personally painful because a lot of this is really total bullsh*t. My family and I have been put through this Pizzagate bullsh*t now for a year—which has totally been debunked, by the way.”

“My relationship with the company that you talked about, that was based in Boston, an American innovative company—I totally disclosed [my relationship with it]. Fox [News] has had to correct that twice,” he added in response to Kiprilov’s question. “I could go down the rest of your list. I have no relationship to the Podesta Group and haven’t for 15 years. You can stick with it. The one thing I will tell you is you have a lot of company on Twitter and on the internet, so have at it.”

The student told the Duke Chronicle (emphases mine):

“Pizzagate was a conspiracy theory, but the other allegations, I don’t know,” Kiprilov said. “If he had been a bit calmer and more mature in answering the questions, I would have been satisfied. I was disappointed that he got so angered and triggered by my question.”

A self-identified Republican who says she is not part of the alt-right, Kiprilov said she felt that Podesta misunderstood the nature of her question.

“I did not imply that I believed any of this,” she said. “I think he immediately assumed I did, so he lumped me with the alt-right crowd, which was very unfortunate that he jumped to that conclusion.”

iBankCoin reported (emphases in the original):

In response to the next question from an audience member about how John feels about his brother Tony Podesta of the Podesta Group being under FBI investigation, John Podesta made sure to distance himself from Tony as he stammered through his response:

“Look I think my brother, uh, uh, A) I’m not my brother. Does it worry me? You know, I, I, It’s, it’s painful. I mean his firm, uh, uh, after many years in business, uh, uh, un-unraveled as a result of, I think of the fact that it was under investigation,” adding that he thinks Tony’s involvement with [Paul] Manafort’s partner Rick Gates and Congressman Vin Weber (R-MN) was ill advised.

Just to be clear, Paul Manafort’s indictment has nothing to do with the Trump campaign, but for Ukraine-related work during his time with the now-defunct Podesta Group.

Podesta then answered a question about Hillary’s defeat in 2016. This is an amazing answer:

Before the night was over, Podesta answered questions about Russia’s effect of the election, stating that while he didn’t think Russia’s efforts to interfere with voting on election day succeeded, bots and Facebook ads spreading fake news did.

Wow.

iBankCoin rightly concludes:

Or, maybe Russian internet bots, Pokémon Go and Facebook ads promoting liberal activism are perhaps the lamest possible excuses for why Hillary Clinton lost the election.

If Mueller finds nothing after his investigation, it will then be up to Attorney General Jeff ‘Sleepy’ Sessions to act like an Attorney General — tough. That is unlikely to happen, however. The Gateway Pundit has a scathing article on Sleepy, saying that he is actually bringing down the Trump administration through his recusal from campaign investigations — which enabled Robert Mueller’s appointment as Special Counsel — and ineffectiveness with regard to the Swamp.

Technically, Sessions probably did have to recuse. If so, he never should have accepted the post. Trump, apparently, did not know until after the fact.

More articles like that and Trump’s base will clamour for Sessions to resign. He never should have taken the job if he planned on recusing almost immediately, then getting a Democrat to be his deputy.

Trump will have to think quickly and carefully about resolving that situation soon.

UPDATE — On December 2, Fox News reported that ABC’s Brian Ross was suspended for four weeks without pay for his story on Flynn:

ABC News announced Saturday that Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross would be suspended for four weeks without pay over a botched “exclusive” about former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

During a live “special report” Friday morning, Ross reported that Flynn would testify that Donald Trump had ordered him to make contact with Russians about foreign policy while he was still a candidate. The report raised the specter of Trump’s impeachment and sent the stock market plummeting.

Later in the day, ABC issued a “clarification” to Ross’s report, saying that Trump’s alleged directive came after he’d been elected president. Ross himself appeared on “World News Tonight,” several hours after the initial report, to clarify his error.

To be continued tomorrow.

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 13:8-12

But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

—————————————————————————————-

Last week’s post introduced this dramatic scene. Barnabas, Saul and John Mark (Mark of the Gospel) sailed from the port of Seleucia, not far from Antioch where they had been teaching, and sailed to Cyprus, a short distance away. They ministered from Salamis on the east coast across the island to Paphos, the port on the west coast and the seat of Roman government. The wise proconsul Sergius Paulus wanted to hear what Barnabas and Saul had to say.

The magician — sorcerer — who inserted himself in Sergius Paulus’s court was named Bar-Jesus. He was anything but a ‘son of salvation’ but, in fact, a son of Satan. In verse 8, we see that Bar-Jesus was also known as Elymas, which means magician — sorcerer — an accurate name for this evildoer.

John MacArthur explains that Elymas is an Arabic name of two words:

One of them means wise and one of them means powerful and perhaps he was both.

Elymas actively tried to dissuade Sergius Paulus from the faith (verse 8).

Matthew Henry’s commentary explains how he might have done that (emphases mine below):

He set up himself to be a messenger from heaven, and denied that they were. And thus he sought to turn away the deputy from the faith (Acts 13:8), to keep him from receiving the gospel, which he saw him inclined to do. Note, Satan is in a special manner busy with great men and men of power, to keep them from being religious; because he knows that their example, whether good or bad, will have an influence upon many. And those who are in any way instrumental to prejudice people against the truths and ways of Christ are doing the devil’s work.

MacArthur refers to II Timothy 3, particularly verse 13, which talks about ‘seducers’ — sorcerers, nothing to do with carnal knowledge:

Now goes to verse 13 and I’ll really show you something. “But evil men and seducers shall become worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” I want you to look at the word seducers, goates in the Greek, from the Greek verb goaol. You know what that verb means? It means to utter low mystical tones. You say, “What is that?” It was a word used of a class of magicians who chanted magical formulas in guttural languages.

The clearest English translation of goates [–] seducers [–] is sorcerers. That’s the best translation.

Sorcerers feature in the Bible, unsuccessfully trying to stop God’s will:

“Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses.” … The two magicians of Pharaoh who tried to stop the progress of God with Israel. Remember what happened? They were demon-possessed mediums in Pharaoh’s court and when Moses came in and wanted to do what God wanted they withstood him. They were just what Simon [Magus, from Acts 8 (here and here)], the sorcerer was; they were just exactly what Bar-Jesus was … They were demon-possessed people to withstand the purposes of God. But you know who won that contest? Moses.

St Luke, the author of Acts, referred to Saul as Paul for the first time in verse 9.

A few theories abound about this name change. Henry presents two of them. This is the first, which we know better:

Saul was his name as he was a Hebrew, and of the tribe of Benjamin; Paul was his name as he was a citizen of Rome. Hitherto we have had him mostly conversant among the Jews, and therefore called by his Jewish name; but now, when he is sent forth among the Gentiles, he is called by his Roman name, to put somewhat of a reputation upon him in the Roman cities, Paulus being a very common name among them.

Here is the second, which is rather interesting:

But some think he was never called Paul till now that he was instrumental in the conversion of Sergius Paulus to the faith of Christ, and that he took the name Paulus as a memorial of this victory obtained by the gospel of Christ, as among the Romans he that had conquered a country took his denomination from it, as Germanicus, Britannicus, Africanus; or rather, Sergius Paulus himself gave him the name Paulus in token of his favour and respect to him, as Vespasian gave his name Flavius to Josephus the Jew.

Josephus the Jew was the learned historian whose works corroborate the timeline of events in the New Testament.

MacArthur tells us:

He was probably called Paul from his birth, a Gentile name meaning little. You start studying Paul and he doesn’t come out very handsome. He’s little and sort of blind. One historian says, short, fat and bald. I don’t know whether that’s true, but nevertheless perhaps if you can think of him in that term you can get a little visual picture. But anyway, Saul called Paul, that means little, and it was his Gentile name. It says he was now beginning his ministry as apostle to the Gentiles. He’d begun to be called Paul from now on. So this is a transition and we’ll know him as Paul.

Verse 9 says that Paul looked at Elymas ‘intently’, from which we can infer eye-to-eye, eyes being the window to the soul. The Holy Spirit was welling up in Paul. Henry describes what was happening at that moment:

[1.] That he was filled with the Holy Ghost upon this occasion, filled with a holy zeal against a professed enemy of Christ, which was one of the graces of the Holy Ghosta spirit of burning; filled with power to denounce the wrath of God against him, which was one of the gifts of the Holy Ghost–a spirit of judgment. He felt a more than ordinary fervour in his mind, as the prophet did when he was full of power by the Spirit of the Lord (Micah 3:8), and another prophet when his face was made harder than flint (Ezekiel 3:9), and another when his mouth was made like a sharp sword, Isaiah 49:2. What Paul said did not come from any personal resentment, but from the strong impressions which the Holy Ghost made upon his spirit.

[2.] He set his eyes upon him, to face him down, and to show a holy boldness, in opposition to his wicked impudence. He set his eyes upon him, as an indication that the eye of the heart-searching God was upon him, and saw through and through him; nay, that the face of the Lord was against him, Psalms 34:16. He fixed his eyes upon him, to see if he could discern in his countenance any marks of remorse for what he had done; for, if he could have discerned the least sign of this, it would have prevented the ensuing doom.

Then, Paul referred to Elymas as ‘son of the devil’, ‘enemy of all righteousness’, filled with ‘all deceit and villainy’. He asked the sorcerer if he would stop what he was doing:

will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?

MacArthur draws us back to the name Bar-Jesus:

His name was son of salvation. He says, “You’re no son of salvation, you’re son of the devil Bar-Jesus, Bar-Satan, bar meaning son. Then he calls him an enemy of all righteousness. He feigned that he was righteous, prophet, Jew, all that. He says, “You’re an enemy of all righteousness. You’re an enemy of God. Everybody in that stuff is an enemy of God. You get that? They’re deceitful, they’re wicked and you and I have nothing to do with them whatever. “Will you,” he says, “Will you not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?” Apparently this guy had twisted the truth about God around for satanic purposes. And that’s exactly what false prophets always do.

But there was no sign of remorse from Elymas, Bar-Jesus — in reality, not wise at all nor son of salvation, but rather the spawn of Satan.

So the Holy Spirit worked through Paul to blind the sorcerer, but only for a certain amount of time (verse 11). Paul told Elymas that the hand of the Lord was upon the sorcerer, therefore, this was a divine judgement.

Elymas could have been struck dead, but Henry posits that the blindness might have been a way of bringing Elymas to repentance:

if he will repent, and give glory to God, by making confession, his sight shall be restored; nay, it should seem, though he do not, yet his sight shall be restored, to try if he will be led to repentance either by the judgments of God or by his mercies.

MacArthur compared this blindness to Saul’s three-day blindness of his conversion and thinks it might have worked similarly on the magician:

I don’t know this and I don’t have much information other than just that little statement, “for a season,” but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised when I get to heaven to find Bar-Jesus up there because this was not a permanent judgment. But it was for the moment victory. Do you know something? Do you know the demons can’t handle you in the power of the Spirit? They cannot handle you at all. Mastery!

The seemingly invincible sorcerer was helpless with the ‘mist and darkness’ upon him. Everyone who was there saw what had happened to him. He had to reach out for people to lead him by the hand.

Henry has this analysis:

This silenced him presently, filled him with confusion, and was an effectual confutation of all he said against the doctrine of Christ. Let not him any more pretend to be a guide to the deputy’s conscience who is himself struck blind. It was also an earnest to him of a much sorer punishment if he repent not; for he is one of those wandering stars to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever, Jude 1:13. Elymas did himself proclaim the truth of the miracle, when he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand; and where now is all his skill in sorcery, upon which he had so much valued himself, when he can neither find his way nor find a friend that will be so kind as to lead him!

One wonders how many people witnessing that believed. Whatever the case, Sergius Paulus, as a witness to that miracle, believed and was ‘astonished at the teaching of the Lord’ (verse 12).

Both our commentators put the emphasis on doctrine first, then the miracle, in converting the proconsul. Possibly, in his wisdom, Sergius Paulus wanted to understand the doctrine and saw it, rightly, as being primary.

What happened to him afterwards we are not told, however, Henry’s commentary says:

When he became a Christian, he neither laid down his government, nor was turned out of it, but we may suppose, as a Christian magistrate, by his influence helped very much to propagate Christianity in that island.

MacArthur says likewise:

Satan lost the battle, and now the whole of the island of Cyprus is going to come under the control of the Holy Spirit. What a victory. Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, what’s the next word, believed! You say oh it doesn’t say he was saved. You can believe and not be saved. That’s right. You could. But it doesn’t say he believed and wasn’t saved either. So how are you going to qualify the word believe?

Well, look at the next statement. “Being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.” … It wasn’t the miracle that got to Sergius Paulus; it was the doctrine of the Lord. How is a man saved? If he confesses with his mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes. I believe that he was astonished at the doctrine. How would they know that unless he verbalized that, which means he believed and confessed with his mouth the doctrine of the Lordship of Christ? I believe he was saved. In fact there may be a wonderful companionship in heaven between Bar-Jesus and Sergius Paulus on a whole different basis going on right now. I hope I find them both there. That’s somewhat speculative, but that’s my opinion.

To wrap up on Sergius Paulus, during the Middle Ages, the Gauls (Gaul — present-day France) circulated legends to tie their cities to the Apostles. One legend posits that Sergius Paulus became the Bishop of Narbonne — Paul of Narbonne. However, that is unlikely because Sergius Paulus lived in the 1st century AD and served under the Emperor Claudius. Paul of Narbonne lived during the 3rd century.

Wikipedia states that Sergius Paulus probably fulfilled his three-year assignment in Cyprus then returned to Rome:

where he was appointed curator.[2] As he is not greeted in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, it is possible he died before it was written.[3]

The rest of Acts 13 discusses Paul’s and Barnabas’s ongoing ministry. Verse 13 tells us that they sailed from Cyprus to Perga in Pamphylia then onto Antioch in Pisidia (not Syria). From Cyprus, John Mark returned to Jerusalem.

MacArthur explains what probably happened:

And here’s the sad note. “And John departing from them returned to Jerusalem. You say, “What’s so sad about that?” Paul was very upset about that, very very upset. S[o] why did John Mark leave? There’s several possibilities. Some say that he had resentment over Paul becoming the leader over Barnabas. Some say Mark was more attached to Barnabas and Paul, by his very nature, became the leader he was angry with Paul and didn’t want to work under him. Others say he was afraid because they were having to go over the Taurus mountains and the Taurus mountains were noted for being perilous. They were terribly fast torrents that was spanned by very weak bridges, and there were also robbers that lurked and the Roman government had tried to get the robbers out of the Taurus mountains but there was so many cracks and crevices and caves they couldn’t get them, and so it was a terribly perilous thing to even be in the Taurus mountains. It’s interesting, too, that in II Corinthians Paul says, “In my life I’ve been in the peril of robbers and in the peril of rivers,” and it may have been just that when he was talking about when he went to the Taurus mountains on his way.

And so perhaps Mark had a little chicken in him. There’s a third possibility and that is that the romance of mission work had worn off. Like so many missionaries who go out the first time around, the romance is going and they come back and that’s it. But whatever it was Paul was upset and it caused friction. Over in Chapter 15, verse 38, it had a terrible effect. They were going to go on a second missionary journey Paul and Barnabas, and this is, we’ll get to this and ooh you’ll learn some things there. Look at the difference between this and verse 36, “Let us go again.” Um Paul you’re running ahead, right? The last time the Spirit of God said, “Separate Me Paul and Barnabas.” Paul said, “Let us go.” You know what happened? They didn’t go. Paul wound up taking Silas and Barnabas wound up going somewhere else.

But you know what happened? Barnabas determined to take John, verse 37, “But Paul thought it not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia and went not with him to the work and so the contention was so sharp that they departed asunder one from the other.” You know that leaving of John Mark actually fractured the relationship between Paul and Barnabas? There’s a beautiful ending to the story II Timothy 4:11, Paul is closing out his life and he writes and he says, “Only Luke is here. Could you send Mark? He could be profitable to me.” Somewhere in the years he and Mark got back together.

It is good to know they put their differences behind them — a good example to follow.

Next time — Acts 13:40-43

It is amazing to still read — and hear — that President Donald Trump is stupid.

My late mother used to say of people who came off a bit dim but always won in the end:

Dumb like a fox.

Trump has honed this persona for years:

As you can see, that photo is several years old. Time has moved on, but imagine how much information President Trump has on a lot of people — and, since he declared himself a candidate for the presidency in 2015, on geopolitical situations.

One of the people who informed him on the latter is likely to be General Michael Flynn, who was part of Trump’s campaign team in 2016 and, post-inauguration, served the shortest tenure of any National Security Advisor — 24 days. He has been under investigation since April 2017.

From Wikipedia:

Flynn was forced to resign as Trump’s National Security Advisor after information surfaced that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature and content of his communications with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak.[8][9] … On April 27, 2017, the Pentagon inspector general announced an investigation into whether Flynn had accepted money from foreign governments without the required approval.[12]

Imperator_Rex explains why Flynn matters. Excerpts from his thread follow:

1. People forget that General Flynn is not just any ordinary spook, he’s a MASTER spook, patriot and #MAGA supporter. He knows EVERYTHING about Obama & Clinton.

2. Master spooks like Flynn DON’T make careless mistakes. They think very carefully about each move and they’re incredibly tough, which is why they can thrive in dangerous environments.

3. Flynn, a Democrat, had an incredible military career, lasting 33 years. His honesty about Obama’s bungling and lies over ISIS made him many enemies.

4. Flynn formally joined the Trump campaign in February 2016. However, they’d met early in the campaign (June/July 2015). Trump was an admirer of Flynn, particularly his book ‘Field of Fight’:
amazon.com/Field-Fight-Gl…

Trump endorsed the book on Twitter.

5. Trump is an extremely astute judge of character. He trusts very few people. The fact that he let Flynn into his inner circle tells you everything you need to know – about Flynn.

6. Sometime between June 2015 & Nov 8, 2016, I’m convinced Flynn shared with Trump everything he knew about the crimes that has taken place under Obama. These would have matched or added to the trove Trump had amassed over the years.

8. The idea of an independent SC, led by a swamp insider (Mueller) ostensibly focussing on Trump, but in reality taking down the Clintons, sounds like a masterplan from a master spook. That’s my opinion, anyway.

Points 9 through 12 go into how the media covered the allegations against Flynn somewhat inconsistently with regard to certain details:

How could they be so different?

13. Because that was Flynn’s objective. He & his extensive network were using different stories to identify leakers & their reporter proxies …

16. General Flynn’s ‘resignation’ allowed him to return to the shadows to his trusted network of patriotic spooks, where they’ve been advancing #MAGA ever since. Flynn’s never been charged with a crime, nor will he be.

17. Main point – we need to question EVERYTHING the MSM tell us about @GenFlynn. Leftist reporters believe they are intellectual giants, but they don’t realize how much more intelligent master spooks are, not how their deranged anti-Trump rage makes them suckers.

18. ‘All warfare is based on deception’ : Sun Tzu. An insight Flynn & Trump know well & are executing brilliantly.

The end.

Many are waiting with baited breath for an indictment of Hillary Clinton. Why has it not yet been handed down?

The American public — particularly Hillary supporters — must be psychologically ready for it first. They must be in the thought process of waiting for it to happen. Otherwise, there will be deep discord.

Trump is also trying to dismantle other parts of the Swamp first so that they stop functioning for good. Then he can go for Hillary and the other big fish.

By then, the public — even Hillary supporters — will realise she did something very wrong and must be brought to justice.

Imperator_Rex has another thread, excerpted below:

2. Trump is carefully laying the terrain for Clinton’s indictment, as well as the indictments of many others involved in her & Bill’s crimes.

3. ‘Be before the enemy in occupying the raised and sunny spots, and carefully guard your line of supplies. Then you will be able to fight with advantage.’ – Sun Tzu

4. The key point – the terrain he is preparing is PSYCHOLOGICAL.

5. This requires removing all possible resistance points in Congress, the media, the IC and in Hollywood.

7. It requires the extremely well planned distribution of evidence demonstrating Clinton’s criminality. The intention is to ramp up the volume, speed and intensity until it creates a torrent.

8. NOTHING we are seeing is coincidental or random. It is a pre-planned campaign to soften a population that’s been lied to – with TRUTH.

Imperator_Rex then discusses someone whose interview appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight (Fox News) on Monday, November 27, 2017, someone who discussed Hillary’s emails. I’ll get to that later in this post, but this is what Trump tweeted:

The replies to Trump’s threads say that he is stupid. He is the president. Surely, he is in charge. He can make them do it.

Yet, my mother would have said Trump is:

dumb like a fox.

There must be a reason why McCullough felt safe enough to appear on national television at this time.

I use the word ‘safe’, because another inspector general, Gerald Walpin, was most unlucky. Not only did the Obama administration ask him to leave or be fired, but he was fatally hit by a car in June 2016 in Manhattan, where traffic does not move that quickly.

The Washington Examiner has the story, written by veteran journalist Byron York (emphases mine throughout):

Gerald Walpin, the inspector general who was at the center of controversy in 2009 when he was fired by the White House amid an investigation of an Obama friend, died today. He was 84.

Walpin’s son-in-law, Allan Tananbaum, said Walpin was struck by a car while crossing a street in Manhattan.

Walpin was fired in June 2009 for his investigation of the misuse of money in AmeriCorps, the service organization that was part of the Corporation for National and Community Service, where Walpin served as inspector general. The investigation focused on Kevin Johnson, the former NBA star who became mayor of Sacramento, Calif., and was a prominent Obama supporter.

Johnson founded a school called St. Hope, which received about $850,000 in AmeriCorps grants. Walpin discovered that Johnson and St. Hope had failed to use the federal dollars they received for the purposes specified in the grant

Walpin recommended that Johnson and St. Hope be barred from receiving future federal funds.

It turned out to be an enormously controversial recommendation. As Walpin finished his probe, Johnson was elected mayor of Sacramento. If Johnson had been barred from receiving federal grant money, the city might not have been able to receive a share of the billions of dollars in federal stimulus money being handed out by the Obama administration.

There was enormous pressure on Walpin to back off. He didn’t. On June 10, Walpin received a call from a White House lawyer. “He said, ‘Mr. Walpin, the president wants me to tell you that he really appreciates your service, but it’s time to move on,'” Walpin recalled to me later. “[He] said, ‘You can either resign, or I’ll tell you that we’ll have to terminate you.'”

Walpin declined to resign and was fired on the spot. His firing was a violation of rules regarding the dismissal of inspectors general.

Charles Grassley, a Republican senator, requested information on Walpin’s dismissal from the White House, but none came. Even Democrats agreed that Walpin’s dismissal was outside of the rules, but:

the White House defended its decision and claimed Walpin, who was then 78, was too “confused” to handle his duties.

Byron York, wrote the article for the Examiner, disagrees:

He never seemed confused to me. I reported at length on the Walpin case, and spoke to him many times. Walpin was an extraordinarily determined man, and he placed enormous value on integrity in government. If he found wrongdoing, he was going to pursue it until it was made right. That became a problem when the wrongdoer was a White House friend.

Now on to Charles McCullough III, former inspector general for the intelligence agencies, and to Imperator_Rex’s analysis of Trump’s brilliance:

9. That’s why the McCullough revelations are so important. The man is an Obama Bro with an unimpeachable record. Many Democrats will believe him.

10. Hence Trump’s tweet using words such as ‘respected’ , ‘public was misled’ & linking to Carlson & Hannity. Again, just so clever.

11. Will millions of Obama & Sanders supporters, who despise Clinton, go and have a look to learn more? You bet they will. See, this is a case where they can admit Clinton’s corruption without having to side with Trump.

12. And Trump knows that once he can open that door in their psychology and get them to let some light in, it becomes far easier to get THEM to keep opening the door further.

14. The actual strike against the Clinton crime cartel will happen quickly and surprise everyone. But it will happen. When it does, most Americans will be psychologically prepared.

15. What did Sun Tzu say again? Oh yeah, that’s right: ‘Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.’ The end.

So what did McCullough tell Catherine Herridge in the interview broadcast on Tucker Carlson Tonight?

McCullough, with a career of over two decades of service, received:

personal blowback… to my family [and] my office.

Another Fox News article has more about the interview:

A government watchdog who played a central role in the Hillary Clinton email investigation during the Obama administration told Fox News that he, his family and his staffers faced an intense backlash at the time from Clinton allies – and that the campaign even put out word that it planned to fire him if the Democratic presidential nominee won the 2016 election

McCullough – who came to the inspector general position with more than two decades of experience at the FBI, Treasury and intelligence community – shed light on how quickly the probe was politicized and his office was marginalized by Democrats.

In January 2016, after McCullough told the Republican leadership on the Senate intelligence and foreign affairs committees that emails beyond the “Top Secret” level passed through the former secretary of state’s unsecured personal server, the backlash intensified.

All of a sudden I became a shill of the right,” McCullough recalled. “And I was told by members of Congress, ‘Be careful. You’re losing your credibility. You need to be careful. There are people out to get you.

But the former inspector general, with responsibility for the 17 intelligence agencies, said the executive who recommended him to the Obama administration for the job – then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper – was also disturbed by the independent Clinton email findings.

“[Clapper] said, ‘This is extremely reckless.’ And he mentioned something about — the campaign … will have heartburn about that,” McCullough said.

Then:

After the Clapper meeting, McCullough said his team was marginalized. “I was told by senior officials to keep [Clapper] out of it,” he said, while acknowledging he tried to keep his boss in the loop.

There are 22 highly classified emails that only McCullough and a handful of individuals with high security clearance have seen:

Some of those email exchanges contained Special Access Program (SAP) information characterized by intel experts as “above top secret.”  

The WikiLeaks dumps revealed that this was the case:

WikiLeaks documents show the campaign was formulating talking points as the review of 30,000 Clinton emails was ongoing. 

The campaign team wrote in August 2015 that “Clinton only used her account for unclassified email. When information is reviewed for public release, it is common for information previously unclassified to be upgraded to classified.”

Hmm.

McCullough said:

There was an effort … certainly on the part of the campaign, to mislead people into thinking that there was nothing to see here.

In March 2016:

seven senior Democrats sent a letter to McCullough and his State Department counterpart, saying they had serious questions about the impartiality of the Clinton email review. However, McCullough was not making the decisions on what material in Clinton’s emails was classified — he was passing along the findings of the individual agencies who got the intelligence and have final say on classification.

“I think there was certainly a coordinated strategy,” McCullough said.

McCullough did not respond to the letter, even though Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-California) office pressured him to do so:

I thought that any response to that letter would just hyper-politicize the situation,” McCullough said. “I recall even offering to resign, to the staff director. I said, ‘Tell [Feinstein] I’ll resign tonight. I’d be happy to go. I’m not going to respond to that letter. It’s just that simple.”

As election day neared, McCullough said he was told that if Hillary won, he and another senior government investigator would be fired:

McCullough said he was just trying to do his job, which requires independence. “I was, in this context, a whistleblower. I was explaining to Congress — I was doing exactly what they had expected me to do. Exactly what I promised them I would do during my confirmation hearing,” he said. “… This was a political matter, and all of a sudden I was the enemy.”

Hillary’s former colleagues at the State Department also pressured McCullough:

especially top official Patrick Kennedy.

State Department management didn’t want us there,” McCullough said. “We knew we had had a security problem at this point. We had a possible compromise.”

McCullough said that if he had classified emails on a personal server, he would be in a federal penitentiary:

I’d be sitting in Leavenworth right now.

Fox contacted Dianne Feinstein’s and James Clapper’s offices for comment, but there was none.

You can find a full — and detailed — timeline of the email investigation and McCullough at Thompson Timeline.

Rising_Serpent watched the interview and wrote a thread about it, excerpted below:

1. Charles McCullogh on Tucker: now: He explained to Hillary that it didn’t matter if the documents were “marked classified” it’s the character of the information. “She didn’t understand, its maddening” “From minute one, it was nothing but contention from Clinton campaign”

3. Inspector general pointed out these concerns to the congress but nobody was looking. McCullogh said “Who does that”?
Well Hillary does, and people who go against Hillary are punished & risk losing jobs. If this doesn’t convince people of Hillarys corruption, nothing will

4. So why is Hillary not in prison. Remember, she is as high profile as anyone could ever get. If she were to be jailed previously Antifa and other Soros paid stooges would’ve rioted and caused mayhem at a moments notice.

5. Now you have Donna Brazile, a lifelong democrat and McCullough the IG, with no political affiliation (possibly Dem friendly) both coming out describing Hillary’s moral decrepitude. As this information becomes accepted, even hardcore Clinton supporters faith is eroding.

6. Once Hillary’s culpability is firmly entrenched in collective American psyche, not many will bat an eyelid when the indictment comes “We knew it was coming”
Trump/Sessions have taken advantage of “You can get used to anything, if you give it enough time” property of humans

This brings me to Q. The timeline of the first half of November was optimistic. One wonders if decisions changed to delay events between Q’s first messages and the later ones. Later ones were supposedly written by different security operatives posting as Q.

It’s also possible that the Q messages were a strategy designed to impress urgency, so that those of us reading them would circulate them far and wide within a short space of time. They reached far beyond 4chan.org/pol/ to those whom 4chan readers refer to as ‘normies’. Q wanted all of us to get the word out. I read anecdotally online that some people’s elderly relatives asked them about the veracity of Q and how much they learned from the questions in the messages.

This could all have been part of a strategy to get Americans psychologically prepared for The Storm or the Silent War, however it unfolds.

Regardless of The Storm or Silent War, Trump is dumb like a fox.

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? If you wish to borrow, 1) please use the link from the post, 2) give credit to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 3) copy only selected paragraphs from the post -- not all of it.
PLAGIARISERS will be named and shamed.
First case: June 2-3, 2011 -- resolved

Creative Commons License
Churchmouse Campanologist by Churchmouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://churchmousec.wordpress.com/.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,049 other followers

Archive

Calendar of posts

December 2017
S M T W T F S
« Nov    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

http://martinscriblerus.com/

Bloglisting.net - The internets fastest growing blog directory
Powered by WebRing.
This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.

Blog Stats

  • 1,195,060 hits