Monday, June 30, 2014

Season’s first tropical storm close to forming off Central Florida

Posted on Monday, 06.30.14



A slow-moving swirl of rain and thunderstorms ambling south along the coast of Central Florida is likely to become the first tropical depression of the 2014 hurricane season, National Hurricane Center forecasters said Monday.

The storm, which was moving at about 5 mph with a radius of about 222 miles, is expected to miss South Florida, but could dump rain on the area Monday and Tuesday before pivoting north Wednesday and then heading northeast on Thursday. The hurricane center sent a reconnaissance plane Monday afternoon that found that the storm is well-defined but it had not yet intensified into a tropical storm.

“If this thing does become a tropical cyclone — and it’s got a high chance — it will within 48 hours. Then a tropical storm watch could be required for Central and North Florida,” said hurricane center spokesman Dennis Feltgen. “It’s close, so only a slight increase in organization would result in this being a tropical depression.”

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasters have predicted a slow season this year, controlled in part by an El Niño weather pattern warming Pacific waters. They expect just eight to 13 tropical storms. Three to six could become hurricanes, but no more than two are predicted to become major storms. No hurricanes have struck Florida in eight years.

Seeing a storm form along the U.S. coast this early in the season is not unusual, Feltgen said, since waters are warm. As the season progresses, storms tend to form in the east Atlantic.

“This time last year, we’d already had two named storms, Andrea and Barry,” Feltgen said. “And Andrea was the only storm to make landfall [in the U.S.] all of last year when it went into the Panhandle.”

Andrea formed in the Gulf of Mexico and took a direct path east, coming ashore in the Florida Panhandle before heading east and north along the coast. Barry, a tropical depression, formed off the coast of Nicaragua, then headed west to Central Mexico. In July, the east Atlantic churned up two more storms, Chantal and Dorian. But only Dorian threatened the U.S., making a beeline for Florida, which is hit more than any other state, before making a turn and falling apart off the coast of South Carolina.

*Map (Courtesy)

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Blackwater manager reportedly threatened to kill State Department investigator

Published June 30, 2014

In this Feb. 20, 2004 file photo, signs welcome visitors to the private North Carolina-based security company Blackwater USA's headquarters near Moyock, N.C. (AP).

A manager with the security contractor formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide reportedly threatened to kill a State Department investigator in 2007 -- shortly before the investigator was pressured to abandon his probe despite finding serious problems with Blackwater's work.

The New York Times reported Sunday that Jean C. Richter wrote in an Aug. 31, 2007 memo to State Department officials that Blackwater contractors "saw themselves as above the law" and described a situation in Baghdad where "the contractors, instead of Department officials, are in command and control."

The investigator reportedly warned his superiors that lax oversight of the firm had created "an environment of liability and negligence," just weeks before a group of guards allegedly opened fire on Iraqi civilians at a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007.

The Times report claims that Richter's inquiry, though, was abandoned after Blackwater's project manager in Iraq, Daniel Carroll, warned Richter that "he could kill me ... and no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq," according to a memo sent by Richter to senior State Department officials. According to the Times, the American Embassy sided with Blackwater and ordered the investigators out of the country.

Before the investigation was halted, the paper reports, Richter found evidence that Blackwater was overcharging the State Department for its work by falsifying staff data, understaffing security details, allowing contractors to carry weapons that they were not authorized to use, and housing non-American workers in squalid conditions.

Sixteen days after the date of Richter's report, Blackwater guards allegedly opened fire in Baghdad's Nisoor Square. Seventeen Iraqi civilians died in the violence, including women and children. The shooting inflamed anti-American sentiment in Iraq in the midst of growing insurgent violence Blackwater's license to operate in Iraq was revoked by the Baghdad government the following day.

Four Blackwater guards are facing trial on manslaughter charges in connection with the Nisoor Square shooting, which prosecutors argue was unprovoked. Attorneys for the men say they had come under attack by insurgents.

In 2009, Blackwater changed its name to Xe Services after founder Erik Prince resigned as CEO. The following year, a group of investors purchased the company and renamed it again, to Academi.


Obama to BYPASS Congress AGAIN to enact immigration reform measures


PUBLISHED: 14:46 EST, 30 June 2014 | UPDATED: 16:02 EST, 30 June 2014

President Barack Obama announced today that he would again go around Congress to enact immigration reform measures.

In a hastily scheduled statement this afternoon from the White House Rose Garden, Obama said he would 'greatly prefer' Congress pass its own legislation, rather than having to take matters into his own hands, but House Republicans have given him no choice.

'I don’t prefer taking administrative action,' he said. 'I take executive action only when we have a serious problem, a serious issue, and Congress chooses to do nothing.'

The president said he had directed his administration to 'refocus' is efforts on border security and said it would use its 'existing legal authorities' to do 'what Congress refuses to do' and fix the broken immigration system.

My way or the highway: President Barack Obama said today that in the absence of Congressional legislation addressing the U.S.'s broken immigration system, he would use his 'existing legal authority' enact his own reforms

The President said he expected recommendations from his administration on what he can do without Congress by the end of the summer.

It will still taken an act of Congress, however, Obama said, to truly reform the system, and Obama indicated that he had recently told House Speaker John Boehner as much.

'I’m going to continue to reach out to House Republicans in the hope that they deliver a more permanent solution with a comprehensive bill,' Obama said.

'Maybe it will be after the midterms, when they’re less worried about politics. Maybe it will be next year. Whenever it is, they will find me a willing partner.'

Obama said he'd be willing to look at legislation other than the version he supports that is stalled in the Senate.

'The only thing I can’t do,' Obama said, 'is stand by and do nothing while waiting for [House Republicans] to get their act together.'

'I believe Speaker Boehner when he says he wants to pass an immigration bill. I think he genuinely wants to get something done,' Obama said at another point in his remarks.

After Obama's announcement Boehner released a statement saying 'it is sad and disappointing' that the president 'won't work with us, but is instead intent on going it alone with executive orders that can't and won't fix these problems.

'In our conversation last week, I told the president what I have been telling him for months: the American people and their elected officials don't trust him to enforce the law as written.

'Until that changes, it is going to be difficult to make progress on this issue,' Boehner said.

The president's announcement comes two years after he went around Congress to change administration policy as it regards to how it treats young people who have lived in the United States since they were children.

The president's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order instructed immigration officials to stop deporting young people who had lived in the U.S. continuously since 2007 and had no criminal record.

That policy, Republicans claim, led to the current humanitarian crisis on America's border with Mexico.

Unaccompanied minors have poured into the border since DACA went into effect.

Many are coming from Mexico, but the majority are coming from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The Customs and Border Protection agency expects 100,000 children to illegally immigrate to the Unite States by the end of the year.

Neither Obama's DACA directive nor his immigration reform legislation that is currently stalled in the Senate would apply to them, but more than 200 a day are coming to the U.S. anyway under the false assumption they will receive amnesty when they arrive.
Border enforcement officials have been overwhelmed by the flood of children, and detention facilities in the Rio Grande area in Texas are overflowing with teens and small kids awaiting deportation or other government action.

'The White House claims it will move to return these children to their families in their home countries, yet additional executive action from this president isn't going to stem the tide of illegal crossings, it’s only going to make them worse,' Boehner said today.

Boehner accused the president was 'giving false hope to children and their families that if they enter the country illegally they will be allowed to stay.'

In his remarks Obama said today that crisis on the border 'underscores' the need for immigration reform and called on House Republicans saying otherwise to stop coming up with excuses not to pass reforms.

'It makes no sense. It's not on the level. It's just politics, plain and simple,' he said of their refusal to pass reform legislation.

Obama denied that his past actions had provided encouragement for the mass migration of children, saying, 'I've sent a clear message to parents in these countries, not to put their kids through this.'

'The problem is our immigration system is so broken, so unclear,' Obama said, Central Americans don't know what the rules are.

The president said said 'maybe' Republicans will pass reform after the Midterm elections this November when they're less worried about politics, or maybe they will pass them next year.

In the meantime, Obama said would act on his own.

If Congress doesn't like it, he said, it should pass it's own legislation instead of trying to sue him, he said, referring to Boehner's announcement last week that the House would bring a lawsuit against Obama for repeatedly going around Congress to amend the law as he sees fit.

'Pass a bill; solve a problem. Don't just say no on something that everybody agrees needs to be done,' the president said.

'With the House of Representatives filing a lawsuit to curb Obama’s presidential overreach, you'd think this administration would get the message,' Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement harshly rebuking the president.

'Our Constitution is not a list of suggestions. Our Founders were not mistaken when they created three separate branches of government,'
Priebus argued, citing recent Supreme Court decisions rolling back Democratic-supported legislation.

'[The president] wants a comprehensive immigration overhaul that's his way or the highway. But that doesn't give him the power to rewrite the Constitution or the law.'


Red Cross: How We Spent Sandy Money Is a ‘Trade Secret’

The charity is fighting our public records request for information on how it raised and spent money after the superstorm.

by Justin Elliott

(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Just how badly does the American Red Cross want to keep secret how it raised and spent over $300 million after Hurricane Sandy?

The charity has hired a fancy law firm to fight a public request we filed with New York state, arguing that information about its Sandy activities is a "trade secret."

The Red Cross' "trade secret" argument has persuaded the state to redact some material, though it's not clear yet how much since the documents haven't yet been released.

As we've reported, the Red Cross releases few details about how it spends money after big disasters. That makes it difficult to figure out whether donor dollars are well spent.

The Red Cross did give some information about Sandy spending to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who had been investigating the charity. But the Red Cross declined our request to disclose the details.

So we filed a public records request for the information the Red Cross provided to the attorney general's office.

That's where the law firm Gibson Dunn comes in.

An attorney from the firm's New York office appealed to the attorney general to block disclosure of some of the Sandy information, citing the state Freedom of Information Law's trade secret exemption.

The documents include "internal and proprietary methodology and procedures for fundraising, confidential information about its internal operations, and confidential financial information," wrote Gabrielle Levin of Gibson Dunn in a letter to the attorney general's office.

If those details were disclosed, "the American Red Cross would suffer competitive harm because its competitors would be able to mimic the American Red Cross's business model for an increased competitive advantage," Levin wrote.

The letter doesn't specify who the Red Cross' "competitors" are.

The Red Cross is a public charity and occupies a unique place responding to disasters alongside the federal government.

Among the sections of the documents the Red Cross wanted redacted was "a two-line title" at the top of a page, one line of which was "American Red Cross."

The attorney general's office denied that redaction, writing that it "can not find disclosure of this two line title will cause the Red Cross any economic injury."

Asked about the effort to have Sandy materials kept secret, Red Cross spokeswoman Anne Marie Borrego told ProPublica: "We sought to keep confidential a small part of the letter [sent to the AG] that provided proprietary information important to maintaining our ability to raise funds and fulfill our mission."

Doug White, a nonprofit expert who directs the fundraising management program at Columbia University, said that it's possible for nonprofits to have trade interests — the logo of a university, for example — but it's not clear what a "trade secret" would be in the case of the Red Cross. He called the lawyer's letter an apparent "delaying tactic."

Ben Smilowitz of the Disaster Accountability Project, a watchdog group, said,

"Invoking a 'trade secret' exemption is not something you would expect from an organization that purports to be 'transparent and accountable.'"

In agreeing to withhold some details, the attorney general's office found that portions of the documents the charity wanted to redact "describe business strategies, internal operational procedures and decisions, and the internal deliberations and decision-making processes that affect fundraising and the allocation of donations."

The attorney general's office also found "that this information is proprietary and constitutes trade secrets, and that its disclosure would cause the Red Cross economic injury and put the Red Cross at an economic disadvantage."

Another section the Red Cross wanted redacted was a paragraph that noted the charity's "willingness to meet with the [Office of the Attorney General.]" The attorney general's office denied that part of the request

Borrego, the Red Cross spokeswoman, declined to say how much the charity is paying Gibson Dunn but said, "we do not use funds restricted to Superstorm Sandy to cover those expenses."

We'll let you know when we get the documents we asked for — at least the parts that aren't trade secrets.

If you have experience with or information about the American Red Cross, including its operations after Sandy, email

Related articles: Read our other coverage about how the Red Cross' post-storm spending on Sandy is a black box.

Justin Elliott

Justin Elliott is a ProPublica reporter covering politics and government accountability. Previously, he was a reporter at and TPMmuckraker and news editor at Talking Points Memo.


Drinking Causes 1 in 10 Deaths of Working-Age Adults, CDC Says


4 days


A stunning one in 10 deaths in working-age adults may be due to excessive alcohol consumption, a new government study shows.

That adds up to 88,000 deaths per year from 2006 to 2010, according to the report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Put another way, that means that binge drinking and heavy regular drinking cut 30 years off the lives of those who died.

Some of those deaths were due to the long-range effects of chronic alcohol consumption at a rate of 15 or more drinks a week for men and 8 or more drinks a week for women. Those included mortality from breast cancer, liver disease and heart disease, CDC researchers reported.

Other deaths were associated with binge drinking—five or more drinks in a single bout for men and 4 or more for women. The top three causes of death included motor vehicle crashes (25 percent), homicides (16 percent) and falls (15 percent)....


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Premier Kathleen Wynne Feature Interview


Published on Jun 26, 2014

Premier Kathleen Wynne, Ontario's first female and openly gay elected premier talks about what her win means and what she plans to do about LGBT rights.

Homeless Valedictorian Earns Scholarship to Georgetown

By Zachary Kiesch | Thursday, Jun 12, 2014 | Updated 7:02 AM EDT

A D.C. high school student who spent the past two years living in a homeless shelter has graduated high school as a valedictorian and will head to Georgetown University with a full scholarship. News4's Erika Gonzalez reports.


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A D.C. high school student who spent the past two years living in a homeless shelter has graduated high school as a valedictorian and will head to Georgetown University with a full scholarship.

Rashema Melson, 18, gave the valedictory speech at Anacostia High School's commencement ceremony, telling her fellow classmates to never give up -- because she didn't.

"Never be afraid to go after your dreams," she told her classmates. "Regardless of the negative forecast that has been predicted upon us, beat the odds and let the sun shine."

WATCH: Rashema's Valedictory Speech

Her message is also her approach toward life.

"Life is not fair. You must keep striving for success," Rashema said.

Rashema will head off to Georgetown University on a full college scholarship this summer, and hopes to attend medical school after that. But first, she'll get to revel in her accomplishments.

"You have options and you decide which one you want to take, and I took education because it takes you for the long run," she said. "It's not just a temporary thing or won't just last for five years. Education will take me far."

Rashema's father was killed before her first birthday, and she has moved from home to home, from Maryland to Ohio to Florida to Tennessee. She spent her junior and senior years of high school at the D.C. General homeless shelter, where she lives with her mother and three of her six siblings.

She said she doesn't consider the shelter to be a home.

"There's no furniture... There's no refrigerator," she said. "It's just a place to be content with until you get to where you want to be."

Rashema said she knows that where she lives doesn't have a good reputation, but she used that as a catalyst to propel herself forward.

Her principal at Anacostia High School, Ivan Roberts, had high praise for her.

"Her story and her resilience, just her character and personality traits will impact the lives of a lot of people because she’s always optimistic," Roberts said.

After Rashema's education is complete, she plans to become a forensic pathologist. She knows the road ahead will be long, but isn't afraid of the hard work ahead.

"I [won't] become a certified forensic pathologist until I'm about 31, because I have to do a residency after med school," Rashema said. "So it's a long time to me because I'm young, but I see it, and when I get there, it's going to be the best feeling ever."

Rashema also ran track and cross-country, and said her favorite music artists are Beyonce and Nikki Minaj. She describes herself as outgoing and talkative.

"I like to have fun, but I like to get my work done," she said. "...I've always tried to get the job done. If I say I'm going to do it, [then] it's my task."

She advises others to follow their dreams, and work hard to get what they want.

"Don't do the easy route and just settle for what you have," Rashema said. "Never settle for less."


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Caravan To Midnight - Episode 84 Tosh Plumlee

CTM Shows

Published on Jun 25, 2014

Benghazi: Is Middle East Chaos coming to US mainland?

God’s Purpose for His Church

Chapter 1—God’s Purpose for His Church

The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency. The members of the church, those whom He has called out of darkness into His marvelous light, are to show forth His glory. The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to “the principalities and powers in heavenly places,” the final and full display of the love of God.Ephesians 3:10.

Many and wonderful are the promises recorded in the Scriptures regarding the church. “Mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.”Isaiah 56:7. “I will make them and the places round about My hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.” “And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. Thus shall they know that I the Lord their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are My people, saith the Lord God. And ye My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God.” Ezekiel 34:26, 29-31. 

“Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no Saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have showed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are My witnesses.” “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” Isaiah 43:10-12; 42:6, 7.

“In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them. And I will make all My mountains a way, and My highways shall be exalted.... 

“Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted His people, and will have mercy upon His afflicted. But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually before Me.” Isaiah 49:8-16.

The church is God’s fortress, His city of refuge, which He holds in a revolted world. Any betrayal of the church is treachery to Him who has bought mankind with the blood of His only-begotten Son. From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth. In every age the Lord has had His watchmen, who have borne a faithful testimony to the generation in which they lived. These sentinels gave the message of warning; and when they were called to lay off their armor, others took up the work. God brought these witnesses into covenant relation with Himself, uniting the church on earth with the church in heaven. He has sent forth His angels to minister to His church, and the gates of hell have not been able to prevail against His people.

Through centuries of persecution, conflict, and darkness, God has sustained His church. Not one cloud has fallen upon it that He has not prepared for; not one opposing force has risen to counterwork His work, that He has not foreseen. All has taken place as He predicted. He has not left His church forsaken, but has traced in prophetic declarations what would occur, and that which His Spirit inspired the prophets to foretell has been brought about. All His purposes will be fulfilled. His law is linked with His throne, and no power of evil can destroy it. Truth is inspired and guarded by God; and it will triumph over all opposition. {AA 11.3}
During ages of spiritual darkness the church of God has been as a city set on a hill. From age to age, through successive generations, the pure doctrines of heaven have been unfolding within its borders. Enfeebled and defective as it may appear, the church is the one object upon which God bestows in a special sense His supreme regard. It is the theater of His grace, in which He delights to reveal His power to transform hearts.

“Whereunto,” asked Christ, “shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?” Mark 4:30. He could not employ the kingdoms of the world as a similitude. In society He found nothing with which to compare it. Earthly kingdoms rule by the ascendancy of physical power; but from Christ’s kingdom every carnal weapon, every instrument of coercion, is banished. This kingdom is to uplift and ennoble humanity. God’s church is the court of holy life, filled with varied gifts and endowed with the Holy Spirit. The members are to find their happiness in the happiness of those whom they help and bless.

Wonderful is the work which the Lord designs to accomplish through His church, that His name may be glorified. A picture of this work is given in Ezekiel’s vision of the river of healing: “These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that everything that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live:... and by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.” Ezekiel 47:8-12.

From the beginning God has wrought through His people to bring blessing to the world. To the ancient Egyptian nation God made Joseph a fountain of life. Through the integrity of Joseph the life of that whole people was preserved. Through Daniel God saved the life of all the wise men of Babylon. And these deliverances are as object lessons; they illustrate the spiritual blessings offered to the world through connection with the God whom Joseph and Daniel worshiped. Everyone in whose heart Christ abides, everyone who will show forth His love to the world, is a worker together with God for the blessing of humanity. As he receives from the Saviour grace to impart to others, from his whole being flows forth the tide of spiritual life.

God chose Israel to reveal His character to men. He desired them to be as wells of salvation in the world. To them were committed the oracles of heaven, the revelation of God’s will. In the early days of Israel the nations of the world, through corrupt practices, had lost the knowledge of God. They had once known Him; but because “they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, ... their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:21. Yet in His mercy God did not blot them out of existence. He purposed to give them an opportunity of again becoming acquainted with Him through His chosen people. Through the teachings of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before all nations, and all who would look to Him should live. Christ was the foundation of the Jewish economy. The whole system of types and symbols was a compacted prophecy of the gospel, a presentation in which were bound up the promises of redemption.

But the people of Israel lost sight of their high privileges as God’s representatives. They forgot God and failed to fulfill their holy mission. The blessings they received brought no blessing to the world. All their advantages they appropriated for their own glorification. They shut themselves away from the world in order to escape temptation. The restrictions that God had placed upon their association with idolaters as a means of preventing them from conforming to the practices of the heathen, they used to build up a wall of separation between themselves and all other nations. They robbed God of the service He required of them, and they robbed their fellow men of religious guidance and a holy example.

Priests and rulers became fixed in a rut of ceremonialism. They were satisfied with a legal religion, and it was impossible for them to give to others the living truths of heaven. They thought their own righteousness all-sufficient, and did not desire that a new element should be brought into their religion. The good will of God to men they did not accept as something apart from themselves, but connected it with their own merit because of their good works. The faith that works by love and purifies the soul could find no place for union with the religion of the Pharisees, made up of ceremonies and the injunctions of men.

Of Israel God declared: “I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto Me?” Jeremiah 2:21. “Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself.” Hosea 10:1. “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt Me and My vineyard. What could have been done more to My vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?

“And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to My vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: and I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah His pleasant plant: and He looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.” Isaiah 5:3-7. “The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.” Ezekiel 34:4. 

The Jewish leaders thought themselves too wise to need instruction, too righteous to need salvation, too highly honored to need the honor that comes from Christ. The Saviour turned from them to entrust to others the privileges they had abused and the work they had slighted. God’s glory must be revealed, His word established. Christ’s kingdom must be set up in the world. The salvation of God must be made known in the cities of the wilderness; and the disciples were called to do the work that the Jewish leaders had failed to do.

The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 9-16.

Facebook secretly experimented on its users

Mandie Sami reported this story on Monday, June 30, 2014 08:15:00

Listen to MP3 of this story (minutes)


CHRIS UHLMANN: If you're one of Facebook's more than 1 billion users you might have been part of a social experiment without knowing it.

A new study has revealed that Facebook intentionally manipulated the news feeds of almost 700,000 users in order to change their emotional state.

And it claims it was done for research.

Facebook insists the study was legal, but as Mandie Sami reports, privacy experts say the experiment was dangerous and unethical.

MANDIE SAMI: When users sign up to Facebook, most know the social network will use their information for marketing purposes.

But many don't think that Facebook will use them as guinea pigs in an experiment they're not told about.

FACEBOOK USER: Facebook conducting these experiments without telling people is not okay.

FACEBOOK USER 2: Yeah I don't think it's really okay either; I think informed consent is always really important whenever an experiment is being conducted.

FACEBOOK USER 3: Keep it transparent if you're going to manipulate us.

MANDIE SAMI: A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has revealed that's exactly what Facebook did.

The researchers who carried out the study are affiliated with Facebook, Cornell, and the University of California-San Francisco.

For one week in January 2012, they manipulated what almost 700,000 Facebook users saw in their news feeds when they logged in.

Some people were shown content with only happy and positive words, while others were shown posts that contained sad and angry content.

The point of the experiment was to find out whether emotional states were contagious.

DAVID VAILE: The conclusion was, we can actually manipulate people's feelings by manipulating their news feed on Facebook.

MANDIE SAMI: That's David Vaile, the Co-convenor of the Cyberspace Law and Policy Community at the UNSW Law Faculty.

The study found more negative news feeds did lead to more negative status updates and conversely more positive news feeds resulted in more positive status updates.

David Vaile says, while not illegal, the experiment was unethical.

DAVID VAILE: Any sort of university or established researcher would typically have to take this to an ethics panel and get ethics clearance and first thing they'd ask is, where's the informed individual consent?

So, the issue here as well as not being informed consent for the individuals, is also the question of research ethics that you know they're messing with real people's lives and let's not forget that some you know negative experience online have real consequences for people.

At worst, case people get desperate or get… ending up feeling depressed, people have committed suicide from terrible things that have happened to them online.

MANDIE SAMI: AM contacted Mia Garlick, Facebook's head of Policy for Australia and New Zealand, to ask about the ethical concerns surrounding this experiment and whether informed consent was obtained.

She declined to comment and instead referred AM to Facebook's media enquiries line.

A spokesperson from Facebook is yet to respond.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Mandie Sami reporting.

AP PHOTOS: Gay pride celebrations around the world

By The Associated Press | June 29, 2014 | Updated: June 29, 2014 7:11pm

Photo By Oded Balilty/AP 

FILE - In this Friday, June 13, 2014 file photo, Israeli dancers kiss each other during the annual Gay Pride Parade on a street of Tel Aviv, Israel. Shirtless Israeli men, colorfully dressed drag queens and others partied Friday through central Tel Aviv as it celebrates the week-long event that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, also known as the LGBT community.

1 of 27

Charlotte Pride Parade

Scene at Charlotte Pride, the Queen City’s annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride celebration.

For gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their supporters, June is a month of pride and celebration.

Around the globe, LGBT Pride Month has been marked with parades and marches, festivals and dances, and in some cases, protests and counter-protests. In the United States, much of the celebrations have focused on a string of victories in states where gay marriage bans were overturned.

The month's events culminate this weekend with some of the nation's biggest parades in cities including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle and Houston. Humbler celebrations are being held in smaller towns and cities around the country, such as Augusta, Georgia, and Floyd, Virginia.

Here's a look at some of the celebrations that have taken place around the world during June, including this weekend.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pope Francis’ new clothes: Why his progressive image is white smoke and mirrors

SUNDAY, JUN 22, 2014 12:00 PM EDT

Don't buy his populist rhetoric. The new pope is every bit the sexist homophobe as his predecessors


Pope Francis (Credit: AP/Alessandra Tarantino)
This article originally appeared on The Weeklings.

THE IMAGE OF Pope Francis is that he is a breath of fresh air, more progressive on social issues than his predecessor and a kinder, gentler pope. But when the facts are examined, you see that he is none of these things. There is an enormous disconnect between who the pope really is in terms of his policies and his public relations image, as crafted by the Vatican’s PR man, previously with Fox News. The current PR mission is all about reversing the incredible decline in fundraising under the last pope from the U.S. Catholic Church in particular. Pope Francis has made any number of statements that seem to indicate change and progress that are not reflected in policy. In fact, in the wake of such comments from Pope Francis, the Vatican often makes a point to explicitly state that no church policy has changed.

While the pope transmits a populist vibe—particularly about the economy— he is an old-school conservative who, despite his great PR, maintains nearly all of the socialpolicies of his predecessors and keeps up a hardline Vatican “cabinet.” He has done virtually nothing to change the policies of the church to match his more compassionate rhetoric. People excuse the pope, claiming that he doesn’t have much power to make changes, but this simply isn’t true. Further, it is ludicrous to suggest that a man who denies comprehensive reproductive health care (including all forms of birth control including condoms and abortion) and comprehensive family planning is a man who cares about the poor of this world. The bigotry of homophobia and sexism cloaked in religion are still bigotry and sexism. By giving to the church, American Catholics aren’t supporting “progress,” they are supporting oppression and in this way are complicit in the bigotry, sexism, and oppression of the church.

Pope Francis to the rescue of a church in financial crisis

People in the U.S. have fallen hard for Pope Francis. According to polls conducted byThe Washington Post/ABC and CNN, his approval ratings with Americans are sky high. “Seven-in-ten U.S. Catholics also now say Francis represents a major change in direction for the church,” according to a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center. In truth, while he is a PR darling, the new pope aligns closely on social issues with his predecessor, the wildly unpopular Pope Benedict XVI.

The wheels were set in motion to change the perception of the church before Pope Francis was elected. In March of 2010, Pope Benedict XVI had only a 40 percent favorable rating in the United States. By June of that year, the U.S. Bishops were planning a PR campaign to soften their image and attract the younger generation. Shortly thereafter, the Vatican hired Greg Burke, a former Fox News correspondent, as a senior communications adviser reporting directly to the Vatican’s third-ranking official, Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu. The New York Times points out that Mr. Burke had previously met Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, and “did not rule out that being known by the cardinal might have helped him get hired.” Clearly, the American cardinals have a great deal of influence over Vatican PR, given how much Vatican funding comes from the U.S. Burke is a traditionalist, a celibate, a member of the conservative catholic alliance Opus-Dei, and his spiritual practices reportedly include self-flagellation, in keeping with Opus Dei traditionalists.

In addition to Burke, the Vatican has also hired the consulting firm of McKinsey & Company. (as in Rajat Gupta and Anil Kumar The consulting firm was engaged to “study the Holy See’s communications, with an eye to creating a more effective media operation.” The goal was that this hire, along with that of Burke the year before, would reverse the declining view of the Church caused, in part, by public relations miscues.

A poll of U.S. Catholics conducted at the end of February 2013, just before Pope Francis was elected, indicated that most felt the church was out of touch. Pope Benedict’s favorable ratings were still only at 40 percent. Clearly, Pope Benedict was not the man to implement the PR vision of the church. The New York Times article from March 5, 2013, by Laurie Goodstein and Megan Thee-Brenan, which details the polling results, includes a telling quote from Eric O’Leary, a funeral director from Des Moines, Iowa. He says, “I would like them not to be so quick to condemn people because of their sexual preference or because of abortion, or to refuse priests the right to get married or women to be priests. I don’t think the church should get involved in whether or not people use birth control.” This sentiment typifies that of a majority of Catholics in America.

Greg Burke told reporters when he was hired that he “know[s] what journalists are looking for and what they need,” and “I know how things will play out in the media.” Pope Francis has played the part nearly perfectly and Burke’s strategies have certainly paid dividends for the Church. By going on the offensive and promoting positive stories instead of waiting to react to negative ones, Burke helped to turn around the Catholic Church’s image in the United States. And improving American’s image of the Catholic Church is of critical importance. According to The Economist, “The American church may account for as much as 60 percent of the global institution’s wealth. Little surprise, then, that it is the biggest contributor to head office (ahead of Germany, Italy and France). Everything from renovations to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to the Pontifical Gregorian University, the church’s version of West Point, is largely paid for with American money.” The National Catholic Reporter points out that American Catholics put more than $150 million a week into the collection plate, totaling $8 billion annually. Even if, as they assert, ninety percent of those donations never leave their parish, that means that about $800 million a year donated by American Catholics is being used to fund the Catholic Church around the world.

Forbes points out that U.S. Catholics are responsible for almost a third of the charitable contributions that directly fund the Holy See, contributions that were down from $82 million in 2009 to 70 million in 2011. This time period overlaps the decline in Pope Benedict’s favorable numbers among U.S. Catholics and is widely attributed to Benedict’s lack of PR finesse, handling of the church’s sexual abuse scandal, and launching of an investigation into the practices of the American nuns. The same piece in Forbes points out that “as of the last Vatican financial report from mid-2012, the Holy See is in the red. The Church may be growing more rapidly in Africa and South America, but both the faithful and religious institutions in those nations simply do not have access to significant resources.” The U.S. Catholics are an imperative center of the funding picture for the church worldwide.
And these already staggering figures only account for money collected directly by the Catholic Church. Including the money raised by Catholic Charities paints an even more impressive picture of just how much money American Catholics are pouring into the coffers of the Church and Church-related organizations. According to Forbes, in FY 2012, Catholic Charities USA raised $4.39 billion dollars for its charitable and social service programs. Combine the facts that U.S. Catholics fund the majority of the Church’s activities worldwide, the decline in donations from U.S. Catholics, and how the drop in donations correlates with the decline in reputation of the Catholic Church in America over the same time period and the need for a serious PR campaign becomes clear: Improve the Church’s image with U.S. Catholics in order to improve the cash flow.

The new sexist, nun-hating, poverty-perpetuating, pedophile-protecting homophobe is the same as the old sexist, nun-hating, poverty-perpetuating, pedophile-protecting homophobe, but gosh how the media loves him

In late October and early November 2013, reports were beginning to circulate that Pope Francis may appoint the first female Cardinal. However, the Vatican quickly crushed that notion, calling it “not remotely realistic.” Francis himself said “…it is a line that has come from who knows where…” However, the impression stuck that Pope Francis is progressive about women in the church.

Likewise, it has been widely reported that Pope Francis has struck, as The New York Times called it, “a more compassionate tone than his predecessors” regarding homosexuality. Where Pope Benedict XVI wrote in 2005 that homosexuality is “a strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil,” Pope Francis said in 2013, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” In fact, he has judged plenty. Salon compiled his 5 worst quotes on homosexuality. Again, though, the media widely circulated the story about his seemingly revolutionary comments about gays, and the pope’s reputation as progressive on gays in the church was set.

In April of 2014, Pope Francis announced his plan for a fall meeting of senior clerics to discuss topics including contraception and gay marriage. In his piece in The Los Angeles Times, Henry Chu pointed out that, “Hardly anyone expects the pope to propose sweeping changes to Catholic doctrine at the synod in October despite widespread criticism that the modern world has left the church behind. Indeed, Francis has unequivocally upheld heterosexual marriage and procreation as God’s established, sanctified ideal.” Nonetheless, the perception remains that Pope Francis is better about social issues than his predecessor.

On January 17, 2014, Politico pointed out that in an interview given by the pope in August 2013, and published in September of that year, “Pope Francis said the church did not have to talk about gay marriage and abortion all the time.” And yet, “the very next day [after the interview was published] Francis condemned abortion as ‘unjust.’” Furthermore, after the interview was given, a week before its publication, the pope excommunicated a priest from Melbourne, Australia, Greg Reynolds, for advocating for female clergy and gay marriage. Pope Francis’s seemingly understanding words about gay marriage and abortion were sandwiched in between two events that completely undermined that message. Pope Francis is wise, though, to grab headlines that make him seem less homophobic than his predecessors, because in the United States, home of the church’s funding base, most Catholics support marriage equality.

Among Pope Francis’s most publicized and well-received moves have been to forgo living in the papal apartment. Instead he has chosen to live in a three-room suite in the Domus Santa Martha hotel. This decision has been widely interpreted as a sign of his humility and his effort to refocus the church on the plight of the poor. Seven months after moving into Domus Santa Martha, Pope Francis said, “The Church, all of us should divest ourselves of worldliness. Worldliness is a murderer because it kills souls, kills people, kills the Church.” This apparently does not apply to the Pope’s lavish apartment in the Apostolic Palace. According to NBC News Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi, “…the pope will be using the offices in the Apostolic Palace and its grand, frescoed reception rooms to meet heads of state and delegations, and will continue to appear each Sunday to deliver a blessing from the window of the papal apartments overlooking St. Peter’s Square.”

It is ludicrous to take either Pope Francis or the Catholic Church seriously on their commitment to end poverty. Even the National Catholic Reporter calls out the hypocrisy of the Vatican on this issue. Lack of access to birth control and comprehensive family planning traps people in a cycle of poverty. According to theUNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund,

“Family planning is a powerful tool in combating poverty. However, universal access to family planning is not yet a reality, particularly not among the poorest. Worldwide, 200 million women would like to delay or prevent pregnancy, but are not using effective contraception.” Nicholas Kristof wrote in The New York Times, “We should all be able to agree on voluntary family planning as a cost-effective strategy to reduce poverty, conflict and environmental damage.”

But Pope Francis and the Catholic Church could care less about these tools to combat poverty. It is not merely that the church tells its faithful that they’re committing a mortal sin by using birth control and decrees that a woman who has an abortion isautomatically excommunicated. The Catholic Church is also the single largest non-government provider of health care services in the world. That such an entity does not provide these basic services and actively lobbies against them in predominately catholic countries, such as the Philippines, and keeps them unavailable for all but affluent women is an abomination. American Catholics, who have the easy ability to simply ignore the church’s teachings on these directives, and do as a matter of course, are willing to support a church that denies poor women in numerous parts of the world access to the same services they can—and do —utilize.

Most of us are happy that we have more freedoms than our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did in these areas. According to Reuters, “Some 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women have used contraceptive methods banned by the church …A new report from the Guttmacher Institute, the nonprofit sexual health research organization, shows that only 2 percent of Catholic women, even those who regularly attend church, rely on natural family planning.” In 2010, 28 percent of women obtaining abortions in the United States were Catholic. It is a moral failing to at once reject the church’s teaching on these matters and simultaneously support the strong implementation of these practices in other countries—which is exactly what funding by the American Catholic Church does.

In addition, a full 82 percent of Catholics (women and men) think birth control is morally acceptable. And 63 percent of Catholics (women and men) support a woman’s right to choose and don’t favor overturning Roe v. Wade. As stated in the NCR, “Pope Francis has been highly touted for his criticism of institutional evils that create poverty. But there is something deeply troubling about a church leadership that rails against poverty and institutional sin while using its resources to defeat civil laws aimed at alleviating the suffering of the poorest.” Amen. As highlighted in theNational Catholic Reporter and on the religion website Patheos, “One sharp example is the Philippines, which still suffers from poverty to a greater degree than many of its neighbors, thanks in part to a Catholic-dominated culture that’s ferociously resisted any effort to make family planning more available. A landmark reproductive health law that passed the legislature last year after decades of delay is still tied up in court, thanks to Catholic opposition.”

No surprise then that Pope Francis would not only continue an investigation and grip tightening on U.S. nuns but would elevate the man leading the investigation, Gerhard Müller, to cardinal. The investigation of and harsh critique about the nuns launched by Pope Benedict has been widely criticized by American Catholics. According to theNCR, “in 2012, the doctrinal congregation criticized LCWR for exhibiting ‘radical feminist themes’ and for failing to promote the church’s teachings on women, contraception and same-sex marriage.” Many had hoped that Pope Francis would remove Muller and end the investigation. Quite the contrary. As Amanda Marcotte wisely pointed out in Slate last month, “The thing is that the LCWR is not advocating for gay marriage or birth control. They simply don’t discuss issues of contraception and homosexuality, preferring instead to focus on issues like climate change, immigration, and assisting refugees in need of aid. Despite doing what Pope Francis supposedly wants his flock to do, however, the nuns continue to be punished and castigated by the Vatican, suggesting that the new pope is the same as the old.” Indeed.

Another critical area where Pope Francis has continued in the tradition of his predecessor Pope Benedict is the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. In addition to praising Pope Benedict’s handling of the scandal, Pope Francis also said in March of this year, “The Catholic Church is perhaps the only public institution that has moved with transparency and responsibility. No one has done more. And yet the church is the only one that has been attacked.” According to an AP report immediately after the Pope made those statements, the Vatican “still has no blanket policy telling bishops to report abusers to police or risk being sanctioned themselves, and to date no bishop has been punished for a cover up. In addition, the harshest penalty the church hands out to abusers is the ecclesial equivalent of firing the priest.” Pope Francis continues to engage in “…. more of what we’ve seen for decades — more gestures, promises, symbolism and public relations,” according to Joelle Casteix of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.

Meanwhile Religion Dispatches reported later that month: “What should the new pope’s priorities be, for American Catholics? According to Pew, a top priority is dealing with the sex abuse scandal. Seven-in-ten Catholics say that addressing the sex abuse scandal should be ‘a top priority’ for Francis.” The article went on to say, “This news coincides with an extensive report in the Washington Post on Pope Francis’ reaction (as Archbishop Bergoglio) to the sex abuse scandal in Argentina, which won’t inspire much confidence or optimism about his possible global response to the scandal as pope: Father Julio Cesar Grassi was a celebrity in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. The young, dynamic, media-savvy priest networked with wealthy Argentines to fund an array of schools, orphanages and job training programs for poor and abandoned youths, winning praise from Argentine politicians and his superior, Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Grassi called his foundation Felices los Niños, Happy Children. Yet in the years after Grassi’s conviction, Bergoglio—now Pope Francis—has declined to meet with the victim of the priest’s crimes or the victims of other predations by clergy under his leadership. He did not offer personal apologies or financial restitution, even in cases in which the crimes were denounced by other members of the church and the offending priests were sent to jail.” Grassi was reportedly close to Bergoglio, according to the Post, and “was not expelled from the priesthood after the guilty verdict. Instead, church officials led by Bergoglio commissioned a lengthy private report arguing that Grassi was innocent.” Prosecutors maintain Grassi has avoided jail time owing to the report, despite being charged with molesting three boys as young as nine years old, and being convicted of abusing one boy, the Post reports. Families who charged their children—one three years old—were abused by another priest, Father Mario Napoleon Sasso, say that Archbishop Bergoglio did not respond to their requests to see him about the abuse. Sasso was later convicted, sentenced to seventeen years in prison, but has since been paroled.

Meanwhile, late last month, a UN Panel sharply denounced the Vatican’s handling of the sexual abuse scandal. “The U.N. Committee Against Torture concluded that Vatican officials failed to report sex abuse charges properly, had moved priests rather than discipline them, and had failed to pay adequate compensation to victims. Although the panel did not explicitly say that the Holy See had violated any of its obligations under the anti-torture treaty, which it ratified in 2002, panel members said that was implicit in the criticism.”

Truth and fiction about the pope’s powers

Defenders of Pope Francis argue that the vast gap between his words and the actions of the church are easily explained by how difficult it is for a pope to make any large-scale change to the church. In fact, it isn’t difficult for the pope to act swiftly and unilaterally to effect sweeping change. For instance, in January of 2014 he fired four of the five cardinals that oversaw the Vatican Bank. In March of 2014 the Religious News services reported that “Pope Francis fired—or ‘accepted the resignation of’—the German churchman known as ‘Bishop Bling’ because of his big-spending ways.” The pope can—and has—made enormous leadership changes within the church, yet he has not removed anyone for their handling of social issues. Instead, he has kept the old guard on the job.

Beyond the fact that Pope Francis has already fired or forced the resignation of several senior church officials, and appointed nineteen new cardinals to lead the church around the globe—empirical evidence of his ability to create change—it’s important to remember his vast powers according to the canon law of the Catholic Church and his ability to overhaul the entirety of canon law, as Pope John Paul II did in 1983. According t

o the church’s canon law, “By virtue of his [the pope’s] office he possesses supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely.” While there are ecclesiastical limits to what the pope can do and change—he can’t alter the dogma of faith—he can rewrite canon law. He can more or less overrule, ignore, or reorganize the roman curia. He can replace it and issue directives to it. It is sometimes mistakenly argued that the roman curia run the show and Pope Francis is stuck with that they say, but that’s a ridiculous notion. He can issue orders directly—and has—and can order the curia to follow his orders.

Instead, the church has the same focus on dogma over helping the poor, the same oppressive views on women and homosexuals, and the same abhorrent behavior in response to the sex abuse scandals. There is zero flexibility on contraception, abortion, gay rights, women’s role in the church. Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI were at least honest salesmen; they told you exactly what you were getting. Pope Francis is much craftier than that. He uses his charm and humility (and a strong public relations strategy) to achieve the same goal as a used car salesman: to separate you from your money. American Catholics must put their faith and money where their mouth is if they want to see real change in the church. The idea that one can remain an active member of the church and expect ideological change only encourages the current pope to continue the practice of saying one thing and doing another. And why not? His numbers are up. The Catholic Church’s numbers are up. And it stands to reason that donations from American Catholics follow his favorability numbers and rise dramatically.

The church has a right to promote its beliefs and Pope Francis has a right to wage the best, smartest PR campaign he can—even if it is smoke and mirrors. But it’s wrong for a lazy media to tout Pope Francis as a reformer when he’s nothing of the sort. I hope the media will stop promoting Pope Francis as a liberal.

We should not allow comforting rhetoric to distract us from the actions of a church that continues to enact and enforce policies that hurt women, homosexuals, and the poor. We should look at the ways in which our dollars in the collection plate are used. For many years the prominent writer Anna Quindlen, a liberal feminist, remained a Catholic while publicly and vehemently disagreeing with the church on social issues. But in 2012 Quindlen was quoted as saying, “Enough … every time I sit in this pew I ratify this behavior, and I’m not going to ratify it anymore.” The great Catholic activist Dorothy Day said of people, “It is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions.” Catholics would be wise to take her advice.

Anna March's novel "The Diary of Suzanne Frank" is forthcoming. Her essays, reviews, fiction, playlists and poetry have appeared in a wide variety of publications and she has been nominated for a Pushcart. She is currently at work on a memoir. Read more at Email her at, and follow her on Twitter

面具後面的人 (Chinese) / Total Onslaught - Walter Veith [The Man Behind the Mask]

205CN - 面具後面的人 (Chinese) / Total Onslaught - Walter Veith

Amazing Discoveries

Published on Mar 20, 2014

For more please Visit:

Disclaimer: The following translation has been provided courtesy of uncommissioned translators. Amazing Discoveries has not overseen or verified the translation of this video or article due to our limited resources, and is therefore not responsible for any errors in the translation. We are simply providing these translations on our website as a courtesy to those who speak the language and would like to access this information.


Вопросы и ответы . Билл Хьюз ( Bill Hughes) Questions and answers

Total Onslaught

Published on Feb 7, 2014

Пастор Билл Хьюз в Лома Линда ( Калифорния, США ) отвечает на вопросы.

[Pastor Bill Hughes in Loma Linda (CA, USA) answers the questions.]

Elder Moses Mason 6-28-2014

Mentone Church Audio

Started on Jun 28, 2014

Mentone Seventh-day Adventist Church
1230 Olivine Ave, Mentone, CA 92359

Seattle archdiocese settles sexual abuse claims

Last updated at 15:12 ET

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The Vatican's child abuse responsePope sets up child abuse committee

The Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle has settled 30 sexual abuse claims by men who attended two religious schools as long ago as six decades.

The abuse is said to have occurred at O'Dea High School and Briscoe School, run by the Christian Brothers religious order, 30-60 years ago.

The plaintiffs, ages 42-68, said the Church failed to protect them.

The settlement involves the payment of $12.1m (£7.1m), which will be paid by archdiocese insurance.

'The first step'

"I deeply regret the pain suffered by these victims," Archbishop J Peter Sartain wrote in a statement.

The plaintiffs' lawyer Michael Pfau wrote in a statement that the settlement represents "the first step in allowing all parties to focus on the future".

The lawsuits filed in King County Superior Court allege both the Christian Brothers and archdiocese failed to protect children from abusers.

Eleven men say they were sexually abused by a former teacher at O'Dea High School, while five said they were abused by a different teacher at the school.

Roughly half of the plaintiffs said they suffered abuse at Briscoe School, which closed in the late 1960s.

The plaintiffs will also receive settlement money from 2011 bankruptcy proceedings against the Christian Brothers.

Two groups holding the religious order's assets sought federal bankruptcy protection following hundreds of abuse claims.


Michael McGivney, the 'people's priest' who founded the Knights of Columbus


Published on Jun 26, 2014 Life wasn't easy for Catholics immigrants in the United States back in the XIX century. In the State of Connecticut, for example, they didn't have the right to buy land.


The Protestant churches are in great darkness, or they would discern the signs of the times


The papal church will never relinquish her claim to infallibility. All that she has done in her persecution of those who reject her dogmas she holds to be right; and would she not repeat the same acts, should the opportunity be presented? Let the restraints now imposed by secular governments be removed and Rome be reinstated in her former power, and there would speedily be a revival of her tyranny and persecution.

A well-known writer speaks thus of the attitude of the papal hierarchy as regards freedom of conscience, and of the perils which especially threaten the United States from the success of her policy:
“There are many who are disposed to attribute any fear of Roman Catholicism in the United States to bigotry or childishness. Such see nothing in the character and attitude of Romanism that is hostile to our free institutions, or find nothing portentous in its growth. Let us, then, first compare some of the fundamental principles of our government with those of the Catholic Church.
The Constitution of the United States guarantees liberty of conscience. Nothing is dearer or more fundamental. Pope Pius IX, in his Encyclical Letter of August 15, 1854, said: `The absurd and erroneous doctrines or ravings in defense of liberty of conscience are a most pestilential error—a pest, of all others, most to be dreaded in a state.’ The same pope, in his Encyclical Letter of December 8, 1864, anathematized `those who assert the liberty of conscience and of religious worship,’ also ‘all such as maintain that the church may not employ force.’

“The pacific tone of Rome in the United States does not imply a change of heart. She is tolerant where she is helpless. Says Bishop O’Connor: ‘Religious liberty is merely endured until the opposite can be carried into effect without peril to the Catholic world.’... The archbishop of St. Louis once said: ‘Heresy and unbelief are crimes; and in Christian countries, as in Italy and Spain, for instance, where all the people are Catholics, and where the Catholic religion is an essential part of the law of the land, they are punished as other crimes.’...

“Every cardinal, archbishop, and bishop in the Catholic Church takes an oath of allegiance to the pope, in which occur the following words: ‘Heretics, schismatics, and rebels to our said lord (the pope), or his aforesaid successors, I will to my utmost persecute and oppose.’”—Josiah Strong, Our Country, ch. 5, pars. 2-4. [See Appendix for Corrected References.]

It is true that there are real Christians in the Roman Catholic communion. Thousands in that church are serving God according to the best light they have. They are not allowed access to His word, and therefore they do not discern the truth. [Published in 1888 and 1911. See Appendix.] They have never seen the contrast between a living heart service and a round of mere forms and ceremonies. God looks with pitying tenderness upon these souls, educated as they are in a faith that is delusive and unsatisfying. He will cause rays of light to penetrate the dense darkness that surrounds them. He will reveal to them the truth as it is in Jesus, and many will yet take their position with His people.

But Romanism as a system is no more in harmony with the gospel of Christ now than at any former period in her history. The Protestant churches are in great darkness, or they would discern the signs of the times. The Roman Church is far-reaching in her plans and modes of operation. She is employing every device to extend her influence and increase her power in preparation for a fierce and determined conflict to regain control of the world, to re-establish persecution, and to undo all that Protestantism has done. Catholicism is gaining ground upon every side. See the increasing number of her churches and chapels in Protestant countries. Look at the popularity of her colleges and seminaries in America, so widely patronized by Protestants. Look at the growth of ritualism in England and the frequent defections to the ranks of the Catholics. These things should awaken the anxiety of all who prize the pure principles of the gospel.

Protestants have tampered with and patronized popery; they have made compromises and concessions which papists themselves are surprised to see and fail to understand. Men are closing their eyes to the real character of Romanism and the dangers to be apprehended from her supremacy. The people need to be aroused to resist the advances of this most dangerous foe to civil and religious liberty.

Many Protestants suppose that the Catholic religion is unattractive and that its worship is a dull, meaningless round of ceremony. Here they mistake. While Romanism is based upon deception, it is not a coarse and clumsy imposture. The religious service of the Roman Church is a most impressive ceremonial. Its gorgeous display and solemn rites fascinate the senses of the people and silence the voice of reason and of conscience. The eye is charmed. Magnificent churches, imposing processions, golden altars, jeweled shrines, choice paintings, and exquisite sculpture appeal to the love of beauty. The ear also is captivated. The music is unsurpassed. The rich notes of the deep-toned organ, blending with the melody of many voices as it swells through the lofty domes and pillared aisles of her grand cathedrals, cannot fail to impress the mind with awe and reverence.

This outward splendor, pomp, and ceremony, that only mocks the longings of the sin-sick soul, is an evidence of inward corruption. The religion of Christ needs not such attractions to recommend it. In the light shining from the cross, true Christianity appears so pure and lovely that no external decorations can enhance its true worth. It is the beauty of holiness, a meek and quiet spirit, which is of value with God.

Brilliancy of style is not necessarily an index of pure, elevated thought. High conceptions of art, delicate refinement of taste, often exist in minds that are earthly and sensual. They are often employed by Satan to lead men to forget the necessities of the soul, to lose sight of the future, immortal life, to turn away from their infinite Helper, and to live for this world alone.

A religion of externals is attractive to the unrenewed heart. The pomp and ceremony of the Catholic worship has a seductive, bewitching power, by which many are deceived; and they come to look upon the Roman Church as the very gate of heaven. None but those who have planted their feet firmly upon the foundation of truth, and whose hearts are renewed by the Spirit of God, are proof against her influence. Thousands who have not an experimental knowledge of Christ will be led to accept the forms of godliness without the power. Such a religion is just what the multitudes desire.

The Great Controversy, p. 564-567.