Monday, February 29, 2016

Lawsuit: Controversial Pastor Ran Mars Hill Megachurch Like A Crime Syndicate

Scott Cohen/AP


02.29.166:00 PM ET

A new lawsuit seeks to find out what controversial pastor Mark Driscoll did with millions in tithes to Seattle’s now-shuttered Mars Hill megachurch.

Just when controversial pastor Mark Driscoll was hoping to make a new start, former members of his old stomping grounds at Seattle’s Mars Hill Church have filed a lawsuit alleging Driscoll and his chief elder ran the now-shuttered megachurch like an organized crime syndicate, in which church members became unwitting participants.

The lawsuit was filed on Monday in the Western District of Washington U.S. District Court in Seattle under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a law originally created for prosecution of Mafia figures.

Former members have beenthreatening to file such a lawsuit for months to find out just where the members’ tithes—some $30 million yearly, according to church reports—actually went.

Mars Hill closed its doors in 2014, following a number of scandals involving allegations of Driscoll’s bullying and spiritual abuse of members and church leaders, misogyny, and homophobia espoused on a church message board, plagiarism, and misuse of church funds—which this lawsuit seeks to redress. Since its closure, the details of the organization’s dissolution have been opaque, with little public accounting, and a group of remaining leaders who have refused to comment on who gets what from the failed enterprise that not so long ago passed the collection plate around to more than 12,000 visitors every week at 15 satellite campuses.

According to the complaint, ex-pastor Mark Driscoll, and general manager and then-executive elder John Sutton Turner, allegedly defrauded Washington churchgoers Brian and Connie Jacobsen and Ryan and Arica Kildea, along with thousands of other individuals who tithed at Mars Hill, by soliciting donations for one purpose, then using them for unauthorized ones. The Jacobsens say they gave over $90,000 to the church from 2008 to 2014 while the Kildeas report over $2,700 from 2011-2013.

The plaintiff’s attorney, Brian Fahling, declined to comment, but emailed a statement that read in part, “Driscoll and Turner engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity so deeply embedded, pervasive and continuous, that it was effectively institutionalized as a business practice, thereby corrupting the very mission Plaintiffs and other donors believed they were supporting.”

Elder Dave Bruskas, Mars Hill CFO Kerry Dodd, several corporations believed to hold some profits from Driscoll’s book Real Marriage, and a supposed financial standards watchdog—the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability—are all named as co-conspirators in the complaint.

Among the fraudulent spending alleged in the complaint—which includes accusations of mail and wire fraud—is the $210,000 the church supposedly spent to buy a place for Driscoll’s 2012 book on The New York Times’ and other best-sellers’ lists by using a list-fixing company calledResult Source. (These allegations were first reported by World Magazine.) It’s unclear where the money from book sales went, though Driscoll has saidhe put 100 percent of the profits back into Mars Hill.

“This scheme has been fairly described as a ‘scam,’ and resulted in personal inurement to Driscoll and Turner,” the complaint states.

Also at issue are millions donated by church members who were told offerings went to missions in Ethiopia and India through the church’s “Global Fund.” In reality, those tithes appear to have stayed right at home. To “woo new donors,” the complaints says, Driscoll “intentionally deceived all potential donors by marketing Global Fund as a fund for international missions, when, in fact, they intended to use the majority of the donations for domestic expansion of MHC.”

The complaint cites an internal memo in which Mars Hill allegedly outlines the benefits of the Global Fund, from which a percentage would be designated for “highly visible, marketable projects.”

“Besides the obvious gain of increased funding,” the memo states, according to the complaint, “for a relatively low cost (e.g. $10K/month), supporting a few missionaries and benevolence projects would serve to deflect criticism, increase goodwill, and create opportunities to influence and learn from other ministries.”

Church leaders have previously apologized for the “confusion” over the Global Fund, a repository that by 2014 was taking in a self-reported $300,000 a month, some $10 million total, according to the complaint. At the time the allegations over the funds surfaced, the leaders said they never meant to mislead the church’s followers about where the money was going.

Additionally, nearly $3 million for an outdoor “Jesus Festival”—a revival with outdoor baptisms—never came to be and funds allocated to specific campuses allegedly ended up in the general fund.

“The Jacobsens were astonished at the lack of transparency and the lack of a sense of accountability,” the complaint states.

“Because of those concerns, they came to the conclusion they were unable, in good conscience, to continue to donate to MHC, or to continue to serve in the church.” And so they quit the church.

Driscoll followed their lead, resigning in October 2014, andtwo weeks later, the church was no more. Driscoll now lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and plans to start a new church there.

An email to Driscoll requesting comment was not returned.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the year that Mars Hill Church closed. In fact, its final service was on December 28, 2014.

More on Why Weaponized Cell Phone Towers Are Popping Up Everywhere (Video)

Sunday, February 28, 2016 11:55

(Before It's News)



Since my first post on this subject titled, Why Are Weaponized Cell Phone Towers Being Constructed Everywhere, there has been several new articles surfacing with valuable information, so it seemed like a good time to put out an all inclusive update on what is known so far. What you’re about to read is going to shock you.

First, you may have already seen the video below in the last few weeks on almost any alternative news site, because it certainly has been making the rounds, however one thing I noticed after watching the video, was even after spending a great deal of time looking, not one of the big sites that had the video posted also had anything accompanying the video to either give legitimacy to it, or to debunk it, so I set out to do just that.

Weaponized Cell Towers

The most recent article I’ve found by Alexandra Bruce from earlier this month says:

I’m not crazy about the language that this guy uses but I do find the information that he shares here to be worthy of your consideration. It’s hyper-paranoid to the point of being humorous, yet the facts are correct.

He gets into the meat of the matter by explaining that a communications satellite uses 2,400 watts of power (about the same as used by 2 hair dryers). A microwave oven uses 1,000 watts (1 kilowatt) of energy. The satellite gets the energy from solar panels and the microwave gets it from your electric utility (the electrical power grid).

A microwave oven’s internal magnetron, which is virtually the same as that of a radar- or cell phone tower, transforms that electrical energy into microwaves. The magnetron inside a microwave oven an be easily adapted into a very lethal ray gun – which is demonstrated, quite impressively, here, I might add.

Then, he shows us the cables leading into a typical cell phone tower, which he describes as “A giant microwave oven on a stick,” capable of releasing 3,000,000 watts (3 megawatts) of output power to the tower’s magnetron – or even more megawatts, if there is an amplifier at the top.

To put this into perspective, one (1) watt from your cell phone can go 25 miles to the nearest cell phone tower, to relay your call’s signal to the person on the other end of the line. The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) limits the amount of energy that a cell phone tower can release to 400 watts.

These megawatts of extra power are NOT for data transfer – nothing close to that amount of energy is required for data transfer – which is an important point, because this suggests to him that cell phone towers are easily capable of being switched to Weaponized Mode.

That cell phone towers are wired with the capability to release millions of watts of microwave radiation makes them veritable of “towers of death”, the perfect weapons against an “invasion” – or the mega-slaughter of the domestic population.

Virtually all towns, all over the world have the amount of towers necessary to fry the populations in their vicinity. All that needs to happen is for an Artificial Intelligence program from Google – or an action by “The real people who brought us 9/11” – or if whoever we elect “…turns out to be so crazy, batsh-t evil, that they could fake a reason to turn on the ‘Last Line of Defense,’ the ‘Anti-Foreign Invasion’, ‘Anti-Zombie Apocalypse Network’…to cook the entire population within the city limits within an hour, in the middle of the night,” with robot armies to mop up the people living in the countryside…”All these contingencies are out there, ladies and gentlemen…”

Why? The clip’s creator believes that whoever is behind this wants to exterminate the majority of humans, in order to have the Earth all to themselves, in the incredibly shallow belief that they can upload their minds into robotic avatars and live in a Virtual Reality “Matrix”, happily ever after – forever, in a post-human future.

He says our only defense is to stop them, now from creating this technology and from creating Borg armies or clone armies, etc. because as soon as they’ve succeeded in obtaining these, they will proceed with our extermination. This technology is about a decade away and its owned by people who are not our friends; people who control the food supply, our water supply, our air supply – and he says their endgame is the death of humanity.




NASA Finally Bows to the Name of Jesus After Censorship

3:00PM EST 2/29/2016

In June 2015, members of Johnson Space Center's Praise and Worship Club said attorneys for NASA's legal department told them they could not use the name Jesus in announcements appearing in the space agency's newsletters. (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Join us on our podcast each weekday for an interesting story, well told, from Charisma News. Listen at

In June 2015, members of Johnson Space Center's Praise and Worship Club said attorneys for NASA's legal department told them they could not use the name Jesus in announcements appearing in the space agency's newsletters. The club's leadership was also told that "NASA would be censoring all future club announcements that featured the name 'Jesus.'"

Consequently, until the AFA Action Alert in February 2016, the name "Jesus" was conspicuously absent from the Johnson Space Center newsletters containing announcements from the Praise and Worship Club.

Immediately after AFA launched an Action Alert, "NASA censors 'Jesus' from newsletter," NASA responded. It would not deny our claims, but simply stated it "does not prohibit the use of any specific religious names in employee newsletters or other internal communications."

You can see the club's newsletter announcements and timetable here.

This week, NASA, sent a copy of its latest newsletter to AFA. In the February 16 issue, one week after AFA's alert, NASA included the name "Jesus" in the Praise and Worship club's newsletter announcement!

Coincidence? We don't think so.

We believe it is a result of you taking action to ensure that religious liberties are protected wherever they are threatened.

Thanks to your efforts, and for standing with AFA. Together, and with God's help, we are making a difference!

Thank you in advance, and may God bless you!

Tim Wildmon is the president of the American Family Association.

NY to let undocumented workers become teachers


Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief

3 days ago

MaryEllen Elia speaks May 26 in Albany after the Board of Regents elected her as the new state education commissioner.

ALBANY -- Undocumented immigrants in New York will be able to apply for teacher certifications and professional licenses, the state Board of Regents said.

The board that oversee education policies in New York voted Wednesday to allow people who can't get legal residency because of their parents' immigration status to seek teacher certifications. They will also be able to apply for a license from among the 53 professions overseen by the state Education Department, including a variety of medical professions.

“These are young people who came to the U.S. as children,” state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said in a statement. “They are American in every way but immigration status. They’ve done everything right. They’ve worked hard in school, some have even served in the military, but when it’s time to apply for a license, they’re told ‘Stop. That’s far enough.’ We shouldn’t close the door on their dreams."

The Board of Regents pointed to a June 2012 policy by the Obama Administration called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that allows individuals who came to the U.S. as children and meet certain guidelines to request consideration of "deferred immigration action" for two years that can be renewed.

The federal policy, the board said, applies to young people who usually get their immigration status from their parents, many of whom are undocumented.

"As a result, most of these individuals have no current mechanism to obtain legal residency, even if they have lived most of their lives in the U.S." the Board of Regents said in a statement.

But people in the system are prohibited from obtaining teaching certification and licenses in certain professions, the board said, including pharmacy, dentistry and engineering.

The regulation by the Board of Regents will be finalized after a public-comment period.

Sen. Terrence Murphy, R-Yorktown, Westchester County, ripped the policy.

"Allowing lawbreakers to teach, or practice medicine, says a lot about how backwards our priorities truly are in New York," Murphy said in a statement. "This is another example of why rule-making by unelected bureaucrats is what is ruining New York state. Will they next unilaterally enact free college tuition for illegal immigrants?"

He said New York doesn't allow a military spouse with an equivalent license in another state to teach in New York, so "Elia should be focusing on reciprocity and interstate licensure for those who have earned it, instead of doing further harm to our already broken immigration system and rewarding lawbreakers."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he has yet to review the new education policy to determine its legality.

"It depends on how they write the policy, as to whether or not it’s legal and constitutional, and I haven’t seen anything," Cuomo said when asked about the policy Thursday by reporters in Albany.

Democratic lawmakers praised the action. Democrats have been pushing for the Dream Act in New York, which would allow immigrants in the country illegally to access state financial aid for college. Republicans have opposed the measure.

"This is a tremendous win for New York’s students,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, said in a statement. “The Assembly Majority has always led the charge to expand opportunities for every student and we have championed issues like the DREAM Act and greater investment in higher education to show our commitment to all of the families who have made New York their home."


Between Cuba and Crete: A Storm Ahead for the Russian Orthodox?

February 26, 2016

The politics behind the meeting of Kirill and Francis in Havana will only intensify as this summer’s Pan-Orthodox Council in Crete draws near.

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and Pope Francis meet at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana Feb. 12. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

It seems that Cuba and Crete, two islands as remote from each other as can be, both geographically and culturally, have recently become connected by an invisible thread. One hosted a surprise meeting between Pope Francis with Patriarch of Moscow Kirill. The other is to host the Pan-Orthodox Council in June, an event that has been in preparation since the 1960s. Apart from the common pioneering character of these two events, there are other connections between them.

It has been repeated several times that the meeting in Havana, in addition to its ecumenical appearance, had many non-theological and even non-ecclesial subtexts. Among other rationales, it was supposed to enhance the positions of the Russian delegation at the All-Orthodox meeting in Crete.

Indeed, it has become a commonplace notion that the relations of the local Orthodox Churches are framed by the antagonism of two of them, Constantinople and Moscow, which goes back to the period of the Cold War. Such antagonism is not unusual in the Christian world: in different historical periods it existed between Alexandria and Constantinople, Constantinople and Rome, and now Moscow and Constantinople. This last one, however, is not as old as the previous ones and, hopefully, will not lead to the same consequences: the great schisms between the Oriental, Byzantine, and Latin Churches.

Since then, the Orthodox Churches in their policies have often embarked on political patterns that are often poorly understood and clumsily implemented. The Churches may deny this and assure everyone that their policies stem exclusively from the divine Revelation, but history indicates otherwise. For instance, the modern idea of autocephaly (i.e., “self-government”) is closer to modern political theories of the sovereignty of states than to the original concept promulgated by the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431). The present dominant attitude of the Orthodox Churches to their “diaspora” Churches more closely resembles the principles of colonial thinking than it does with Orthodox canon law. Geopolitical rather than Gospel thinking makes the Orthodox Churches keep silent about the outrageous war in Ukraine, where the Orthodox kill other Orthodox.

In this vein one may understand the antagonism between Moscow and Constantinople today. Surprisingly, it is relatively new. It did not exist in the 19th century, when the Russian Church, for instance, supported the Church of Constantinople in its struggle over the independence of the Church of Greece. It was exacerbated, however, after World War II, when the Moscow Patriarchate allowed itself to be used by the Soviet state for pursuing post-Yalta politics in the freshly cut pieces of the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

The wrestling between the two Churches has not disappeared since the post-WWII era, and it has been accelerated by the policies of isolationism and anti-westernism on the part of the current Russian government. This geopolitical thinking inspires some Churches to imagine the Pan-Orthodox meeting as an opportunity for pursuing their political agendas. These agendas have already moved the location of the Council from Istanbul (the home of the Ecumenical Patriarch) to Crete, giving as a reason the downing of the Russian military airplane by Turkish air forces. The same political imagination made Cuba Moscow’s choice for the site of a meeting with Pope Francis. The Patriarchate of Constantinople, in the imagination of Moscow, not only stands for Turkey—even though, in reality, the Patriarchate and the Turkish government have a long record of harsh relations—but is also an ally and proxy of the United States.

Indeed, the meeting in Cuba will make the positions of Moscow at the Pan-Orthodox gathering in Crete even stronger. If Rome had insisted that the meeting should take place after, not before, Crete, this have would minimized the embarrassment for Constantinople and would not have insulted the relations between the Holy See and the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Since the historic meeting of Pope Paul VI with Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in 1965, the relations between the two Churches have been cordial and intense. Constantinople, however, had to pay for them. This Church was often criticized by conservative and ultra-conservatives of the Greek and other Orthodox Churches for its special relations with Rome. Good relations with Rome demanded Constantinople to sacrifice a lot. Rome, in the way it was led to the meeting in Havana, struck a blow to those good relations. It also struck a painful blow to Ukrainian Greek Catholics, who both officially and unofficially objected to the highly political paragraph on the Ukrainian conflict in the Joint Declaration of Francis and Kirill. Ukraine and Constantinople became victims of the way in which the Havana meeting was handled.

It seems that Rome is not the only one who will have to pay for the Havana meeting; it will be expensive for Moscow, too. For many years, Moscow’s excuse not to meet the pope was the argument that such a meeting would be opposed by the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, still angered by the reemergence in the early 1990s of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, which is in union with Rome.

As it turns out, there are no such objections recorded so far. There are, however, voices among the Orthodox objecting to the participation of the top hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) in the meeting, which produced a declaration that is deemed anti-Ukrainian by many. What this means is that the “existence of the Greek Catholic Church” argument against a meeting with the pope was merely an instrument of propaganda and not a genuine reason for refusing to meet. Moscow’s real fear was that radical conservative groups within the Russian Church would object to any encounter of the Russian Orthodox Primate with the pope.

This fear turned out to be well founded. Immediately after the Havana meeting, the fundamentalist voices against it rose loudly. All sorts of conservatives, from mild to hard, started expressing their dissatisfaction. Here are only three examples. A lecturer at the prestigious Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Olga Chetverikova, called the Patriarch “a heretic” and urged the Christians to choose between him and Christ. A priest of the Moscow Patriarchate, Dmitri Nenarokov, has called the meeting in Havana a “new milestone in the history of the apocalyptic processes.” Twelve priests and two monasteries from the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate in Moldova have ceased commemorating the Patriarch because of the Havana meeting.

The same kind of objections have been uttered against the upcoming Pan-Orthodox Council in Crete, for the same reason: an alleged compromise regarding the purity of the Orthodox faith. Thus, the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate), Metropolitan Onufry, openly criticized the Council, which he called “a temptation.” Later on, after he attended the January 2016 Synaxis of the Orthodox Primates in Chambésy, he changed his mind. Many of his followers, however, did not. The two “compromising” events, the meeting in Cuba and the Council in Crete, will have a cumulative effect of further angering radical conservatives.

Every Church has such folks. However, some Churches try to tackle radical conservatism, and some yield to it. Patriarch Kirill, who never sincerely sympathized with this phenomenon, decided to instrumentalize it. In Russia (and not only there), the radical conservatives are in favor of Mr. Putin. In Ukraine, they are against independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and against Ukraine as an independent state. They thus became useful for the Church in Russia to pursue two tasks: legitimization of the current political regime in the Kremlin, and undermining the independence and pro-western orientation of Ukraine. For these purposes, the Russian Church decided to support the radical conservative movement and effectively lead it.

In Ukraine, this support led to a conflict situation. While the Ukrainian Church (Moscow Patriarchate) under the previous primate, the late Metropolitan Volodymyr, tried to tackle radical conservatism and condemned it at the Council of Bishops in 2007, Moscow supported it in various ways, including financial and ideological. With the beginning of the war in the east of Ukraine, many Orthodox radicals took guns into their hands and began fighting on the separatist side. They have been largely inspired by the ideology of “Russkiy Mir” (the “Russian world”), which the Russian Church produced and fed to them. This ideology was designed to fit the agenda of the radical religious groups and created Frankenstein’s-monsters like the “Russian Orthodox Army.”Now, after the Havana meeting and leading up to the Crete council, the radical conservatives seem to be firing back. Some of the subscribers to the “Russian world” concept, who had fought in the east of Ukraine, inspired by the idea of a holy mission, seem to be dissatisfied with the recent ecumenical initiatives of the Russian Primate. They are like a genie released from the bottle, and are now turning against Aladdin.

‘The Club’ takes a cynical look at the sins of the Catholic Church


By Michael O'Sullivan

February 18

Father García (Marcelo Alonso), center, a Jesuit crisis counselor, arrives at a home in a Chilean coastal town to investigate an incident that occurred there in “The Club.” (Music Box Films)

If you watched the movie “Spotlight,” you’ll remember that one of the Boston Globe reporters working on an exposé of child sexual abuse in the Catholic priesthood discovers that he lives uncomfortably close to one of the “retreat” houses used by church hierarchy to domicile pedophiles who have been removed from the ministry. “Stay away from this house,” he writes, on a note to his kids scrawled across a photograph stuck to the refrigerator.

[“Spotlight” celebrates a vanishing form of journalism and of filmmaking]

A similarly haunted group home is the setting of “The Club,” a darkly sardonic film from Chilean director Pablo Larraín (“No”). Set in a small fishing village on the coast of Chile, the movie centers on four graying, disgraced priests who live under a form of home detention with their Pollyanna-ish caretaker, a young nun named Sister Monica (Antonia Zegers, the director’s wife).

One man is a weaselly, unrepentant pederast (Alfredo Castro, a regular in Larraín’s film’s); another is a former military chaplain complicit in war crimes (Jaime Vadell); one (Alejandro Goic) has been accused of abducting babies from unwed mothers, a real-life scandal that came to light in 2014; the fourth (Alejandro Sieveking) is too senile to even recall why he is there. As for Sister Monica, she’s not there simply to cook and keep house; she also has a history of child abuse.

All five spend their days in a regimen of activities consisting of meals, prayer, television and racing their greyhound, though not in that order. The dog — along with its training and prize money — seems to be the central focus of their existence.

Into this surreal retirement community come, in rapid succession, two uninvited guests. The first is another pedophile priest (José Soza), who has been pursued there by one of his now-grown victims (Roberto Farías), a deeply troubled man whose graphic public recitation of the priest’s crimes, shouted at the home’s front steps, precipitates an act of shocking violence. The second arrival is Father García (Marcelo Alonso), a Jesuit crisis counselor sent by the church to investigate the incident, and possibly — as the house’s residents fear — to shut the place down. Much of the film consists of one-on-one interviews between García and the often self-justifying occupants, whose evasive and occasionally downright deceptive answers make “The Club” feel like a psychological horror story at times.

Larraín is clearly critical of the church. “The Club’s” tone is cynical, bordering on the satirical, but it’s never very funny. Not that it should be. Toward the end, the film veers a bit out of control, as the residents engage in behavior that is incomprehensible, even given their previous transgressions.

More plausible is García’s response. True to the defensive nature of some of the church’s actions in the aftermath of recent abuse scandals, he comes up with a strange solution that keeps the newest problems of this “club” under wraps, while simultaneously arranging for a punishment in which the line between perpetrator and victim is blurred. García loves the church too much to ever want to hurt it, he says, in a line that echoes some of the rationalizations we heard from church apologists in “Spotlight.”

In both movies, the church is shown closing ranks around its own, protecting its reputation more than those it has harmed. At least in “Spotlight,” healing seemed possible. In “The Club,” both the aggressors and the aggrieved keep pouring salt in their own wounds, like the open sores of a flagellant.

Unrated. At Landmark’s E Street Cinema. Contains obscenity, graphic description of sex acts, violence, sex, nudity and other mature thematic material. In Spanish with subtitles. 97 minutes.

America Magazine Sells Offices, Moves Jesuit Residence to St. Paul’s Church


Feb 26, 2016

The old America House has been sold to prepare for the future of America Media (ANDRONIKA ZIMMERMAN/THE OBSERVER)

News Co-Editor/Asst. Literary Editor

America Media, the Jesuit magazine and media company with close ties to Fordham University, announced that it had sold its former headquarters at 106 W. 56th St.

This move will split the former America House into two residencies: offices at a yet to be determined location in Midtown West and a Jesuit residency at 120 W. 60th St., a former convent attached to St. Paul’s Church, one block from Fordham Lincoln Center.

According to Matt Malone, S.J., president and editor-in-chief of America Media, “This move represents a shift into the 21st century, shifting away from a 20th-century idea of a magazine.”

“The old building was purchased in 1962 and it’s more designed for a mid-20th century magazine, and we’ll be moving into a building that represents a 21st-century magazine,” Malone said. He explained that this change will also lead to infrastructure upgrades to increase the online presence of America Media. Alongside the magazine, America Media also produces podcasts, film and other multimedia ventures.

The sale of the old headquarters will be put into an investment fund that will subsidize the organization’s current operations and future expansion. According to Malone, this achieves three goals, including creating a new modern production facility, expanding the multimedia platforms America Media operates on and creating baseline financial security.

“The old building housed about 20 Jesuits who will be moving to St. Paul’s, and while there is still a core group of Jesuits working at America [Media] including myself, the face of the company is changing,” Malone said.

He also acknowledged that having the Jesuits in closer proximity could affect Fordham Lincoln Center. “Although it is ultimately up to the provincial of the Jesuits and Father McShane if they would teach or work at Fordham, the proximity will definitely have an impact, and our move does create a lot of opportunities for students to interact as well.” Malone also noted that McShane has been very welcoming and supportive in helping with the logistics of the move.

Fordham students, rising seniors specifically, would have an opportunity to interact in one way through the newly-established Joseph O’Hare Fellowship, a postgraduate journalism fellowship that will be inaugurated this August.

“The fellows will be living at [Fordham] Lincoln Center and working with us closely, and it will help us engage with younger audiences and our journey as a 21st-century media ministry,” Malone said.

The fellowship is limited to graduates of Fordham University, 27 other American Jesuit universities and Campion College at the University of Regina, Canada. It was established through a donation from William J. Loschert, Fordham College of Business Administration ’61 and namesake of the Rose Hill campus’s Loschert Hall.

“Bill deserves a lot of the credit for this; we could not have established the fellowship without him,” Malone said. The fellowship itself is named for Joseph O’Hare, S.J., a former editor-in-chief of America Magazine and the former president of Fordham University. O’Hare himself was succeeded by McShane, in 2003.



1780s Clause at Center of Menendez Corruption Case Battle

Photo (Courtesy Washington Post)


NEWARK, N.J. — Feb 29, 2016, 1:09 AM ET


When three federal appellate judges settle into their seats Monday to hear arguments in the corruption case against New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, they will be asked to delve deeply into an idea that, though little known outside legal circles, is as deeply embedded in the American DNA as the right to free speech.

How the court — and a jury, if the case goes to trial — places Menendez's actions in the context of the Constitution's "speech or debate" clause will play a significant role in whether the three-term Democratic senator is convicted on any or all of a dozen counts against him that include bribery, conspiracy and honest services fraud. Menendez has pleaded not guilty.The clause dates to the 1780s and was written into the Constitution to fortify the separation of powers between the three branches of government: It protected members of Congress from having their legislative acts subjected to scrutiny by the other two branches, "in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace."

The clause has been invoked to shield members of Congress from testifying in court, and to exclude evidence from criminal trials.

To Menendez and his legal team, the indictment unsealed last spring against him and longtime friend Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor charged with bribing Menendez for political favors, was an egregious example of the Justice Department's over-reaching into the legitimate affairs of a sitting lawmaker.

Prosecutors, on the other hand, have characterized Menendez as hiding behind the speech or debate clause to obscure the fact he was lobbying on behalf of his wealthy benefactor.
"The challenge is going to be showing that Menendez was doing something different or out of the ordinary for this particular constituent as opposed to what a senator or congressman does generally," said Lee Vartan, a former assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey currently in private practice.The trial was scheduled to begin last year, but the appeals process could push that to late this year.

Meetings Menendez arranged with four officials form the heart of the government's case, and the context and circumstances of those meetings have been parsed endlessly in voluminous court filings.

It boils down to this: Was Menendez lobbying for Melgen in a Medicare dispute or, as he argues, engaging in general legislative activity when he met with then-Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Sen. Tom Harkin and acting Medicare administrator Marilyn Tavenner?
Similarly, was he seeking to gain an advantage for Melgen's contract for port cargo screening equipment in the Dominican Republic when he met with an assistant secretary of state and later requested that U.S. Customs and Border Protection not donate security equipment to the Dominican government?

Over the years, courts have expanded the definition of what constitutes protected legislative acts beyond what takes place on the floor of the House or Senate, but there are limits. Without a wealth of Supreme Court cases that are directly on point, the appeals court judges could see fit to expand or shrink those limits, Vartan said.

"I think he has a shot, given the fact there's not a lot of case law," Vartan said. "It's uncharted territory to some degree."

The legal back-and-forth reflects the complicated issues surrounding the clause.

Both sides have used emails between the officials and their staffers to buttress their positions. Both also cited a 1994 ruling in the corruption case of former Rep. Joseph McDade, R-Pa., to justify whether Menendez's intentions for setting up the meetings can be explored.

The McDade judges also wrote, "acceptance of the bribe is the violation of the statute, not performance of the illegal promise," which could play a key role in Menendez's defense.
In a brief this month, Lowell argued the government "seeks to turn decades of precedent on its head by relying solely upon proof of the Senator's motive and legislative acts to prove bribery, without any evidence of an unlawful agreement between the Senator and his close personal friend, Dr. Melgen."
Prosecutors contend the constitutional clause doesn't cover efforts by members of Congress to influence the Executive Branch.

"Every act the indictment alleges Appellant and his 13 staffers took was designed and intended to influence the Executive Branch in Melgen's favor," prosecutors wrote this month. "The Speech or Debate Clause cannot save Appellant from its charges."
Follow David Porter on Twitter:—AP



A short history of how Cuba's "revolutionaries" respond to American diplomacy.

February 29, 2016

Humberto Fontova

I trust that anyone that even glances at the fruits of Obama’s 16-month engagement with the Castro-Family-Crime-Syndicate (euphemized as “Cuba” by the media and the Obama administration) marvels.

Because never in the course of U.S. diplomacy has so much been surrendered by so many to so few for so little.

Not a penny of the $7 billion Castro stole at gunpoint from Americans (while torturing and murdering a few Americans who resisted) has been compensatedor even acknowledged. Some of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists still live like celebrities in Cuba. All this after Castro promptly got his murdering (of Americans) terrorists back as a bonus to an economic lifeline from Obama—in the nick of time and much of it at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer.

Oh, and by the way: repression in Cuba--involving everything from thousands, upon thousands of arbitrary arrests by KGB-trained secret police to machete attacks by regime-paid mobs against peaceful women dissidents—has cranked up to a recent record, which is really saying something.

In fact, since Obama began his “opening” to Cuba (which actually commenced the minute he took office in 2009) 6 peaceful Cuban dissident have “mysteriously died” (i.e. been murdered by the KGB-founded and mentored regime.) As usual, the world took no notice of these blatant murders.

This is the same “world,” by the way, that wailed in horror and indignation every time Nelson Mandela complained of a lumpy mattress in his country club prison cell in Apartheid South Africa. Sounds “insensitive,” I know. So have a look at his cell. By Cuban standards, Nelson Mandela’s cell looked like a suite at Motel 6. Naturally President Obama is prominent among those who honor Mandela and demonize his jailers.

Never mind that on Obama’s visit to Cuba next month he’ll be honoring and (helping fund) the Stalinist/Apartheid regime that jailed and tortured the most and longest-suffering political prisoners in the modern history of the Western hemisphere—many more than Apartheid South Africa, in fact.

In fact, U.S. engagement with the Castro brothers began before they were even in office. "Me and my staff were all Fidelistas." (Robert Reynolds, the CIA's "Caribbean Desk's specialist on the Cuban Revolution" from 1957-1960.)

"Everyone in the CIA and everyone at State was pro-Castro, except [Republican] ambassador Earl Smith." (CIA operative in Santiago Cuba, Robert Weicha.)

Their advice was taken, and January 7, 1959, thus marks a milestone in U.S. diplomatic history. Never before had the State Department extended diplomatic recognition to a Latin American government as quickly as they bestowed this benediction on Fidel Castro's that day.

Nothing so frantically fast had been bestowed upon "U.S.-backed" Fulgencio Batista seven years earlier. Batista had in fact been punished by a U.S. arms embargo and heavy diplomatic pressure to resign for a year. Batista was subsequently denied exile in the U.S. and not even allowed to set foot in the country that “backed" him.

In fact, during Castro's first sixteen months in power, the U.S. State Dept. made over ten back-channel diplomatic attempts to ascertain the cause of Castro's tantrums and further "engage" him. Argentine President Arturo Frondizi was the conduit for many of these and recounts their utter futility in his memoirs.

Result: In July 1960, Castro's KGB-trained security forces stormed into 5,911 U.S.-owned businesses in Cuba and stole them all at Soviet gunpoint -- $2 billion was heisted from outraged U.S. businessmen and stockholders. Not that all Americans surrendered their legal and hard-earned property peacefully. Among some who resisted where Bobby Fuller, whose family farm would contribute to a Soviet-style Kolkhoze, and Howard Anderson, whose profitable Jeep dealership was coveted by Castro's henchmen. Both U.S. citizens were murdered by Castro and Che's firing squads, after torture.

In July 1961, JFK's special counsel Richard Goodwin met with Che Guevara in Uruguay and reported back to Kennedy: "Che says that Cuba wants an understanding with the U.S.; the Cubans have no intention of making an alliance with the Soviets. So we should make it clear to Castro that we want to help Cuba." (How Che managed a straight face during this conversation requires an article of its own.)

Result: Soviet Nuclear missiles, locked and loaded, in Cuba a year later -- and pointed at Goodwin's and Kennedy's very homes.

In 1975, President Gerald Ford (under Kissinger's influence) allowed foreign branches and subsidiaries of U.S. companies to trade freely with Cuba and persuaded the Organization of American States to lift its sanctions.

Result: Castro started his African invasion and tried to assassinate Ford. You read that right. On March 19, the Los Angeles Times ran the headline "Cuban Link to Death Plot Probed." Both Republican candidates of the day, President Ford and Ronald Reagan, were to be taken out during the Republican National Convention. The Emiliano Zapata Unit, a Bay Area radical group linked to the Weather Underground, would make the hits.

Jimmy Carter, in a good-will gesture, lifted U.S. travel sanctions against Cuba and was poised to open full diplomatic relations with Castro.

Result: More thousands of Cuban troops spreading Soviet terror (and poison gas) in Africa, more internal repression, and hundreds of psychopaths, killers, and perverts infiltrated the boats and shoved their way on the Mariel Boatlift.

Ronald Reagan sent Alexander Haig to meet personally in Mexico City with Cuba's "Vice President" Carlos Raphael Rodriguez to feel him out. Then he sent diplomatic whiz Gen. Vernon Walters to Havana for a meeting with the Maximum Leader himself.

Result: Cubans practically take over Grenada, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. (But unlike the aforementioned Democrats, Reagan responded to Castro's response -- and with pretty dramatic results.)

President Clinton tried playing nice again in the '90s, removing travel restrictions, etc.

Result: Three U.S. citizens and one resident who flew humanitarian flights over Florida straits (Brothers to the Rescue) murdered in cold blood by Castro’s MIGS. Castro agent Ana Belen Montes moles her way to head of the Defense Intelligence Agency's Cuba division, resulting in the deepest and most damaging penetration of the U.S. Defense Department by an enemy agent in modern history.

Now Obama is outdoing all of the above. Instead, it’s high time to embargo Castro’s Cuba, both economically and diplomatically.


Longtime black San Francisco church St. John Coltrane faces eviction amid gentrification

27 FEB 2016 AT 04:14 ET

A long-standing and unconventional African American church in what was once the heart of San Francisco’s thriving black population is just days from eviction, marking the latest example of the region’s ongoing renting crisis and the city’s decades-long black exodus.

The St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church faces eviction next week from its home in the Fillmore District, a neighborhood best known for its jazz roots that in its heyday was dubbed “the Harlem of the West.”

“It’s the most urgent example of the push-out of the African American population right now during our housing crisis and our affordability crisis,” said San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, who is advocating for the church in its eviction fight.

The church, founded by Archbishop Franzo King and his wife Reverend Marina King in 1971, is well known throughout the city as a place where worshippers play instruments and sing along as well as a leader in social justice movements for decades.

The Kings were inspired after watching the legendary jazz musician John Coltrane perform. The church, effectively a one-room storefront, is adorned with paintings of Coltrane as well as images in which Jesus and Mary are black.
The West Bay Conference Center, which owns the property, said church leaders have failed to pay rent for the space for a year.

“You can’t run a facility on promises, on prayers, and on saying you are a historical institution,” said Amos Brown, a Center board member and NAACP official in San Francisco.

Negotiations with the center about back rent abruptly ended in December, said King, who is going to court on Tuesday to try to stop the eviction. The church has the money to pay the outstanding rent, but the center will not accept it, he said.

The church’s struggles are part of a broader exodus of African-Americans from San Francisco. The shift started amid 1960s-era urban renewal programs that targeted low-income, often minority neighborhoods for redevelopment, and continues in today’s tech-boom.

The city’s share of black residents has dropped by more than a half since the 1970s, according to census figures, to 6.1 percent in 2010 from 13.4 in 1970.

If the eviction goes through on Wednesday, King said he would likely not be able to find a new location in ever-more expensive San Francisco.

“We can probably find places to hold a service,” he said. “But to put a chapel together or a sanctuary […] I don’t think that’s going to be the easiest thing to do.”

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Lisa Shumaker).


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mysterious death of Pope Francis aide alarms Vatican

By Lindsay Putnam

February 27, 2016 | 9:56pm

Pope Francis during the visit to the body of Miriam Wuolou, a receptionist at Santa Marta residence.
Photo: EPA

Pope Francis’s secretary, 34-year-old Miriam Wuolou of Eritrea, was found dead earlier this week — and the Vatican is calling foul.

Wuolou’s body was discovered in her Rome apartment by police after her brother raised concern that she wasn’t answering her phone. She was seven months pregnant and suffered from diabetes, which can prove dangerous — even fatal — during pregnancy.

The Vatican, however, has called for an investigation into the woman’s death. Police have interviewed her brother, her ex-husband and her most recent boyfriend, who is believed to be a policeman employed by the Vatican, the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero reports.

Investigators will also perform a DNA test on Wuolou’s fetus to determine the paternity of the unborn child.

Wuolou’s apartment has been sealed off; forensic teams have combed it for evidence and have even removed several personal effects for further examination, neighbors told The Daily Beast.

A funeral service for Wuolou was held on Saturday. Pope Francis visited her body prior to the memorial, laying a dozen white roses next to her casket and sprinkling the coffin with holy water before beginning a 20-minute prayer.

Photo: EPA



Spotlight on the Catholic Church’s unfinished business


23 hours ago

AP file

Rachel McAdams, from left, Mark Ruffalo and Brian d’Arcy James in a scene from the film "Spotlight."

The following editorial was published by USA Today on Feb. 25.

You can’t expect a movie, even one as riveting as “Spotlight,” to change the culture of a centuries-old institution like the Catholic Church. But perhaps the film, up for six Academy Awards on Sunday, can remind the church of its unfinished business in confronting a decades-long coverup of rampant child molestation.

The movie depicts an investigation by the Spotlight reporting team at The Boston Globe, which broke the news in January 2002 and brought international attention to a sickening scandal in Boston that has since engulfed the church around the world. In the United States alone, more than 17,000 victims have reported sexual abuse, going back as far as 1950, involving about 6,400 priests in 100 cities.

Yet, not once in the past 14 years has a single U.S. bishop, let alone a cardinal, been removed from ministry for a role in the scandal. Perhaps the church could not have prevented child molesters from entering the priesthood, but bishops and cardinals could have stopped the crimes of serial predators. Many children would have been spared had religious leaders done what you’d expect any decent person to do: Report alleged crimes to authorities and, at the very least, keep molesters away from children. Often, they did neither.

Reports of abuse were ignored. Predator priests were sent for “treatment,” then shuffled off to other parishes, often to molest again. When lawsuits threatened to blow the church’s cover, the cases were settled secretly.

Over the past decade, as the role of the enablers came out, some were allowed to slip quietly into retirement. Cardinal Roger Mahony — former archbishop of Los Angeles, who plotted in the 1980s with an adviser to conceal child-molesting priests from law enforcement — retired in 2011. While he was later rebuked by his successor, he kept his cardinal’s robes and faced no harsh words from then-Pope Benedict XVI.

No better example exists than Boston’s own Cardinal Bernard Law, who was at the center of that city’s scandal. He resigned his post under public pressure in 2002 but landed a cushy Vatican job. There, among other duties, he helped pick new bishops.

Even when two bishops resigned under fire in separate cases last year — a rare occurrence that might have signaled a move toward greater accountability — neither faced a public reprimand from Pope Francis. Minneapolis-St.Paul Archbishop John Nienstedt, for instance, had presided over an archdiocese that prosecutors indicted for allegedly failing to protect children. The charges are still pending.

Under Pope Francis, known for his humility and humanity, survivors of abuse had hoped for something better. Last June, when the Vatican announced plans to create a tribunal for bishop accountability, Phil Saviano, now 63, who was molested for three years starting at age 11 in Worcester, Mass., thought maybe times were changing. “So many years have gone by, and nothing has happened,” he says.

Eight months later, there has been no news about tribunal members, staff, rules or a timetable for when it might take cases. Catholic Whistleblowers, an advocacy group for victims, has filed four petitions against church leaders with the Vatican, hoping to get to the tribunal. The response? Silence.

Holding bishops and cardinals accountable is one of the best ways to impress young men coming into the priesthood, or priests rising in the ranks, with the notion that there are consequences for enabling abuse.

Members of a commission, created by Pope Francis to come up with advice on how to deal with the continuing scandal, attended a special showing of “Spotlight” at the Vatican this month. The pope, according to news reports, was not in the audience. Perhaps he, too, should watch.

The Globe’s reporting should have marked the beginning of the end of a horrific chapter for the Catholic Church. A just ending can be written only when those who enabled and hid sexual abuse of children are finally held to account.


Pastor Redefines 'Church' For Transgender Youth

Updated February 28, 20167:57 AM ET

Published February 21, 20166:00 AM ET



Audio for this story fromWeekend Edition Sunday will be available at approximately 12:00 p.m. ET.

Jesse Valles (from right,) Isaac Apodaca, Lamar Kellam and Sydney Harrison get in line for the free Sunday dinners offered at the Rebel and Divine church, a congregation in Phoenix that aims to help at-risk youth, many of whom are homeless and transgender.
Stina Sieg/KJZZ

Some churches have become inclusive of gays and lesbians, but for transgender people, church can still feel extremely unwelcoming. A congregation in Phoenix is working to change that by focusing on the everyday needs of its members — many of whom are homeless trans youth.

It starts with a free dinner every Sunday night with donated homemade and store-bought dishes.

"There's no shame. There's no judgment. It's here to help. We're about health and wholeness," says the founding pastor, Jeffrey Dirrim, as he points to countless toilet paper rolls on the table for anyone to take. It was toilet paper week. "And you need toilet paper, we've got toilet paper."

There's no shame. There's no judgment. It's here to help. We're about health and wholeness.

Jeffrey Dirrim, founding pastor of Rebel and Divine

The congregation, called Rebel and Divine, has a mission: To reach at-risk youth. It grew out of a Christmas shoe drive years ago and it now serves about 200 attendees a month under the umbrella of the United Church of Christ. The attendees are people in their midteens and mid-20s, gay and lesbian kids, homeless kids, and especially transgender kids — people often unwelcome at other congregations.

Katrinna Alexandros says until she started attending, she didn't know she could be friends with Christians.

"My whole life, it's just been Christians are the ones who hurt everyone
, and here it's not," Alexandros says.

She was raised a strict Southern Baptist and a boy in a conservative, religious town in rural Kentucky. At the age of 9, she realized she was trans. Although she never officially told her late mother, she says her mom always knew. But Alexandros felt it was religion that kept her mother from fully embracing who Alexandros was. Now, as a 23-year-old Wiccan, Rebel and Divine is the only church she can imagine herself attending.

"There's no other place like it. It is a place that you can be yourself and get help and help others," she says.

Katrinna Alexandros was raised in rural Kentucky as a boy and a strict Southern Baptist. Now, as a trans woman and a Wiccan, she says she can't imagine feeling comfortable in a church other than Rebel and Divine.Stina Sieg /KJZZ

There may not be readings from the Bible or the mention of the name Jesus, but there is a reliable, consistent togetherness. Sydney Harrison doesn't identify as male or female, and uses the pronoun "they." Harrison says Rebel and Divine gives them something in their lives they can always count on. Harrison comes here both for basic supplies like toothpaste and for human connection.

"Just coming in and getting hugs from everyone does a big difference for me," Harrison says.

The 24-year-old is very connected to their mom, but says many here aren't so lucky. Some of the young people here ran away from home. Others were kicked out.

"We're there for each other, and we love each other," Harrison says. "Even as unconventional as we might be or as crazy or as hectic as it might be, we're still family, at the end of the day."

Rebel and Divine is a family these young people are choosing and where they support each other. Dirrim hopes they will always feel safe.

In 'Transparent', Transgender Issues Are A Family Affair

Activist Janet Mock: Please Respect Transgender Teens


"Know that you are blessed, that you are loved, and that you are never, ever alone," he says to the attendees after the meal. He reminds them that no matter what, they are worthy. "And if anyone has told you otherwise, they were wrong. You are. And if you question that, come talk to me."

New LGBT Issues Enter Spotlight After Same-Sex Marriage Ruling


With that, the congregation heads out, many of the kids with heaping plates of leftovers.

"We broke the bread, we shared the cup tonight. We had community that came together with a family of choice, and we talked about hope and love and joy," Dirrim says. "Many who came in here wounded still walked out of here today with smiles on their faces. And that is church to me. "

It's an ancient pattern of Christian worship. People gathered, shared a word of grace, and a meal — and then Dirrim sent them back out into the world, with a blessing.



Rick Wiles: Mr. Pope, tear down that wall!


Published on Feb 18, 2016


This is Trunews. Uncensored news, views, and commentary. Welcome to the program. I’m Rick Wiles.
Mena Lee Grebin will join us in the second half of today’s program.
In historic, unprecedented twin actions, the Roman Catholic Pope intervened in American politics.
Pope Francis held a Roman Catholic Mass on the US/Mexico border on Wednesday. He used the religious event to make a political statement in support of the mass migration of illegal immigrants into the USA. Today, the Roman Pontiff crossed the line again by denouncing Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Seventy thousand Roman Catholics gathered yesterday in an open air mass in the Mexican border city of (Soo-dad Guar-ez) Ciudad Juarez across the Rio Grande River from El Paso Texas.
Prior to starting Mass, Pope Francis stood atop a ramp that overlooks the Rio Grande. The site is a famous access point for people seeking illegal entry into the United States of America. Thousands of American Catholics also stood on the Texas side of the river to watch the Pope.
While addressing the crowd, Pope Francis describe mass migration as a human tragedy because people are forced to leave their homelands unwillingly. He denounced what he called the “globalization of indifference” toward migrants. The Catholic leader also railed against US immigration policies.
The Roman Catholic leader ventured again into American politics today with scathing remarks about Donald Trump’s support for a wall along the US -Mexico border. Speaking with news reporters on his flight back to Rome, Pope Francis accused the billionaire businessman of not being a Christian.
When asked about Mr. Trump’s vow to build a wall to block illegal immigrants, the Pope said, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian,"
Mr. Trump responded to the Pope’s political attack by saying the Pope would have a different attitude if ISIS attacks Vatican City. Here is Mr. Trump’s comments….


I have a message for the Jesuit Pope: Keep your nose out of America’s elections. As a religious leader, you had no business encouraging people to break the immigration laws of our nation. Instead of denouncing America’s efforts to protect her borders, you should have lectured the people about their obligation to obey the laws. Second, Mr. Pope, you have no business interfering in American politics. You have the audacity to say that Donald Trump is not a Christian because he has vowed to enforce our nation’s immigration laws, yet you encouraged people to break our laws by illegally entering America. Perhaps you are the one is isn’t acting like a Christian. Christians don’t encourage others to commit criminal acts. Both your actions and words in (Soo-dad Guar-ez) Cuidad Juarez were meant to embolden tens of thousands of people to break America’s immigration laws. Shame on you Mr. Pope. You also spoke about mass migration as a human tragedy because people are forced to leave their homelands unwillingly. Sorry, Pope Francis, you are wrong. There are no wars in Central America. There is no religious persecution in Central America. All the Central American and South American nations are Roman Catholic. Nobody is torturing Catholics in Latin America. They are willingly traveling by their own free will to the Mexican border to illegally enter the USA. Nobody is forcing them to migrate to the Mexican border. They are doing it so they may illegally enter America. America’s immigration laws won’t prevent them from entering the nation legally. Law abiding immigrants have always been welcome in America. My daughter-in-law is an immigrant. She came to America the legal way. She filed the forms and waited for approval. She did not break the law to get into the USA. Why can’t your Roman Catholic followers in Central America do the same thing? Why don’t you teach them to obey the law? You’re the Pope. They’ll listen to you.

I have one more thing to say to you Mr. Pope. I looked at photographs of Vatican City in Rome. Vatican City is surrounded by massive walls. The 110 acre city state that you rule as a sovereign king is a walled enclave within the city of Rome. It looks like a medieval fortress.

Furthermore, Vatican City – as the world’s tiniest nation state – has the world’s most restrictive immigration laws. 800 people live in Vatican City, but only 450 have citizenship. Most of them are cardinals. Others are members of your army- the Swiss Guards. Few Vatican City citizens are women. Isn’t it time you reform the Vatican City immigration laws? Open the gates and let the huddled masses in!


Pastor Devon Franklin defends his (Meagan Good) wife's appearance

Pastor DeVon Franklin Shut Down Hater Who Comes for his wife Meagan Good

Published on Feb 17, 2016

Meagan Good is one of the sexiest actresses in the game and is also a child of God. For some, those two don't go together, but her husband, DeVon Franklin, a pastor and film producer, is here to tell you that cleavage and Christ aren't mutually exclusive.


Saturday, February 27, 2016

An Escalating War On Cash Threatens The Stability & Tranquility Of Developed Societies

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/25/2016 19:25 -0500

Submitted by John Browne via Euro Pacific Capital,

On February 16th, The Washington Post printed the article, “It’s time to kill the $100 bill.” This came on the heels of a CNNMoney item, the day before, entitled “Death of the 500 euro bill getting closer.” The former cited a recent Harvard Kennedy School working paper, No. 52 by Senior Fellow Peter Sands, concluding that the abolition of high denomination notes would help deter “tax evasion, financial crime, terrorist finance and corruption.” In recent days, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, ECB President Mario Draghi, and even the editorial board of the New York Times, came out in support of the elimination of large currency notes. Apart from the question as to why these calls are being raised now with such frequency, the larger issue is whether these moves are actually needed or if they merely a subterfuge for more complex economic manipulations by central banks to extend control over private wealth.

In early 2015, it was reported that Spain had already limited private cash transactions to 2,500 euros. Italy and France set limits of 1,000 euros. In France, all cash withdrawals in excess of 10,000 euros in a single month must be reported to government agencies. In the U.S., such limits are $10,000 per withdrawal. China, India and Sweden are among those with plans under way to eradicate cash.

On April 20, 2015, the Mises Institute reported that Chase, a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase and a bailout recipient of some $25 billion (ProPublica, 2/22/16), had announced restrictions on its customers’ ability to use cash in the payment of credit cards, mortgages, equity lines and auto loans. Before that, on April 1, 2015, Chase, in concert with JPMorgan, updated its safe deposit box lease agreement to provide, “You agree not to store any cash or coins [including gold and silver] other than those found to have a collectible value.”

The war on cash unquestionably has extended from government into the private banking sector. But the public is predominantly unaware of the ever-increasing encroachment into individual privacy and freedom.

On February 5, 2016, The New York Times reported, “the United States could face a new recession in 2016 due to a ‘perfect storm’ of economic conditions.” Ten days later, in an introductory statement, Draghi told a European Parliamentary Committee that, “In recent weeks, we have witnessed increasing concerns about the prospects for the global economy.”

When consumers worry about the economy, unemployment and their own finances, spending on non-essentials diminishes. Caution results also in paying down loans and hoarding cash.

When economic growth falters, central banks lower interest rates and inject funds into the economy. But if consumer confidence falls further, cash hoarding causes a fall in the velocity of money. This stimulates central banks to discourage the hoarding of cash by introducing negative interest rates to force deposits out of banks. On February 10th, during her congressional testimony, Fed Chair Janet Yellen admitted that there had been a discussion but never fully researched “the legal issues”. However, her Vice-Chair, Stanley Fischer, already had told the Council on Foreign Relations, nine days earlier, that the Fed had discussed negative rate policy all the way back in 2012.

Should negative rates fail to force funds out of banks, governments may look to limit, and even forbid, the use of cash in large transactions. This is tantamount to a war on cash as part of an effort to eliminate citizens’ control over their wealth.

Furthermore, a war on cash could extend even to seizure of cash deposits under certain circumstances. The confiscation of bank deposits may seem remote to Americans. However, the 2013 Cypriot banking crisis exposed the new central bank stance of ‘bail-ins’ whereby deposits could now be frozen and even confiscated to rescue a bank!

Most of the great economic growth and apparent prosperity of the past 45 years, since the U.S. broke its dollar’s last link to gold, has been financed by credit-unimaginable trillions of dollars of credit. At the heart of this massive credit system are the banks.

The current collapse of oil prices places pressure on the sovereign wealth funds of oil-rich nations to reduce deposits and to sell securities. Lower deposits reduce the banks’ ability to lend and generate profits. If, simultaneously, a shrinking economy leads to bankruptcies and non-performing loans, banks would appear not only less profitable, but increasingly risky. Currently, banks are experiencing many of these pressures, which threaten a credit shortage just when it is needed most to boost confidence. This helps to explain why the current downturn in markets is being led by the financial sector.

To help make sure that depositors’ money stays in banks despite the negative rates, governments have proposed measures to eradicate opportunities to pay in cash. These measures are camouflaged politically as ‘protective’ means against money laundering, especially by terrorists.

But perhaps the most insidious of government motivations to ban cash is to increase the capability of surveillance over all spending by citizens and corporations. Undoubtedly, this makes it harder for anyone to shield income from the taxman, but it also makes it more difficult to achieve any type of anonymity in the marketplace. Soon there may be no legal place to shield legitimate wealth or spending patterns from the eyes of politicians.

Negative interest rates combined with the eradication of cash appear as a desperate attempt to control global private wealth.

Jamie Dimon is one of the world’s most astute and powerful individual bankers. On February 11th, he invested some $26.6 million in the depressed stock of his bank, JPMorgan Chase. Reported as demonstrating confidence, it may be that Dimon sees the stock price recovering strongly when it is realized more widely just how much the banks might benefit from negative rates and the erosion of cash held privately outside the banks.

President Nixon’s decision to unilaterally abolish the last remnants of a gold standard in 1971 heralded a nuclear age for international trade in which nations looked to gain advantage through serial debasement of their currencies and make up the difference with massive debt creation, unfettered by any link to gold. Similar to the nuclear strategy of mutually assured destruction, it set international trade on a course of mutually assured economic destruction.

The size and scope of the political, economic and financial problems that now challenge the relative stability and tranquility of developed societies are unprecedented. Should the war on cash prove unsuccessful in its early stages, banks could be closed for long periods.

Investors should be aware of such possibilities and consider whether to hold cash and precious metals prudently outside the banking system. Better to be even months too early than a second too late should we be left facing a bank’s closed doors.


Christian College Student Fired from College Newspaper for Giving Street Preachers Food and Drink

Carrie Dedrick | Editor, | Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Christian college student claims she was fired from her position as editor-in-chief of the college newspaper for giving street preachers on campus food and drink. Nicole DeCriscio, a student at DePauw University in Indiana was dismissed from her leadership position after befriending the street pastors, who were with The Campus Ministry USA.

According to The Christian Post, the street preachers caused student protests for their signs that read “you deserve hell,” and their confrontation preaching methods. The DePauw University newspaper reported about them several times before they eventually left the campus.

DeCriscio wrote an opinion article forThe Odyssey Online explaining why she gave sandwiches and drinks the the street preachers, including their leader Jed Smock.

"I'm a Christian, and as such, I believe that God calls me and other Christians to universally show the love of Christ to others,” she wrote. “You don't just turn this outpouring of love on or off depending on who it's directed toward. It's not a light switch. Doing so is the very opposite of showing Christ's love because He showed love through corporal works of mercy to everyone, from the sinners to the pharisees and every possible person in between.”

DeCriscio told the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) that she believes she was fired because she offered a different perspective on the street preachers.

Newspaper advisor Meg Kissinger disagrees, claiming that DeCriscio violated the newspaper’s code of ethics.

"[The DePauw] knew this was an important story to get right and report on impressively, to ask tough questions of the police, the administration, the evangelists, the students. It became very clear, very soon that Nicole wasn't up to the task of gathering the diversity of opinions,” Kissinger told the SPJ.

Publication date: February 25, 2016


Spotlight: Top Vatican cardinal to testify about sex abuse

Yahoo News

Associated Press By NICOLE WINFIELD

5 hours ago

VATICAN CITY (AP) — One of the highest-ranking Vatican officials is being compelled to testify in public starting Sunday about clerical sex abuse, an unusual demonstration of holding even the most senior Catholic bishops accountable.

Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis' top financial adviser, will testify in a Rome hotel conference room for three nights running, answering questions via video link from Australia's Royal Commission with his accusers on hand to confront him.

The arrangements, including the 10 p.m.-2 a.m. testimony window to suit Australian time zones, were made after the 74-year-old Pell asked to be excused from traveling home to testify because of previously undisclosed heart conditions that made flying too risky.

The arrangement has had the unintended consequence of magnifying the event, which might otherwise have remained confined to a few news cycles in Australia. Now European and American media will be covering a story about pedophile priests, the rape of children and the church's botched cover-up — a story the Vatican wants absolutely nothing to do with.

Pell's testimony will begin just hours before "Spotlight," the drama of the Boston Globe's investigation into how the church systematically shielded pedophiles for years, vies for as many as six Academy Awards.

Pell has appeared twice before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Royal Commission, the highest form of investigation in Australia, is examining how the Catholic Church and other institutions dealt with decades of abuse across Australia. It cannot initiate criminal charges, but can recommend referring individual cases to police and prosecutors.

Pell, born and raised in the Catholic stronghold of Ballarat, has been dogged for years by allegations that he mishandled cases of abusive clergy when he was archbishop of Melbourne and later Sydney, where he led the Australian church until Pope Francis named him the Vatican's top finance manager in 2014.

Pell has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, and has apologized to victims for what he called the "profoundly evil" actions of priests who raped and molested children.

His defenders say he has been made the scapegoat for a problem that long predated him.

"He is a man of integrity who is committed to the truth and to helping others, particularly those who have been hurt or who are struggling," seven Australian archbishops wrote in a statement last year.

Previous Australian inquiries have concluded that Pell created a victims' compensation program mainly to limit the church's liability, and that he aggressively tried to discourage victims from pursuing lawsuits.

Pell's request to testify from Rome enraged Australian abuse survivors, who accuse him of cowardice and of doing whatever he could to shield church assets from their lawsuits.

More than a dozen survivors are traveling to Rome to be on hand for the testimony, thanks in part to an Australian crowdfunding initiative that raised more than 200,000 Australian dollars (about $145,000) in a few days, as well as proceeds from a viral YouTube video, "Come Home (Cardinal Pell)."

One survivor heading to Rome is Andrew Collins, who was repeatedly raped as a child in Ballarat by priests and religious brothers and has suffered depression and post-traumatic stress ever since. He told the commission that he tried to kill himself four times, in part because his staunchly Catholic family effectively disowned him after he went public with his tales of abuse.

"I have literally lost my whole family to this. Not just my sisters and parents, but aunts, uncles and cousins," he testified last year in demanding a more comprehensive compensation scheme so victims can get psychological help.

Dr. Cathy Kezelman, president of Adults Surviving Child Abuse, an Australian support group, said an enormous amount of anger is directed at Pell from victims who see him as representing all that was wrong with the Australian church.

"He is in a position of great power and a symbol of a hierarchy and a system of power which to many repeatedly failed them and continues to do so with perceived hollow apologies, lack of contrition but more so, no real accountability," she said in an email.

The commission's current hearings relate to abuse in Ballarat, where scores of children were abused by Catholic clergy from the 1960s to the 1980s. Many of the victims later died in a cluster of abuse-related suicides. The commission is also looking at how the Melbourne archdiocese responded to allegations of abuse, including when Pell was auxiliary bishop.

Pell has been accused of ignoring warnings about an abusive teacher, attempting to bribe a victim of one of Australia's most notorious pedophiles to stay silent and being part of a committee that shuffled the pedophile between parishes.

Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of, which tracks the global abuse scandal, praised the commission's work as "the purest example of holding bishops accountable that we've seen to date."

Transcripts of public hearings are published online, including documentation as confidential as email exchanges between attorneys and clients.

"It has not been Catholic Church-bashing,"
Doyle added. "They are looking at the response by all institutions."


Royal Commission is at


AP writers Kristen Gelineau in Sydney and Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia contributed.