Saturday, March 31, 2018

3-24-2018, Sheila Jackson Lee's speech at March For Our Lives Houston at...

Stores shut in Poland as Sunday trade ban takes effect

Last updated 05:00, April 1 2018

Czarek Sokolowski/AP

Polish shops will close on Sundays, having enjoyed more liberal trading laws since the 1990s.

A new Polish law banning almost all trade on Sundays has taken effect, with large supermarkets and most other retailers shut for the first time since liberal shopping laws were introduced in the 1990s after communism's collapse.

The law was introduced by leading trade union Solidarity which wants employees to be able to rest and spend time with their families, and was approved by the conservative and pro-Catholic ruling party.

Pro-business opposition parties have decried it as a blow to commercial freedom and warn that tens of thousands of workers could lose their jobs.

The new law at first bans trade two Sundays per month, but steps it up to three Sundays in 2019 and finally all Sundays in 2020, except before the Easter and Christmas holidays.

The change is stirring up a range of emotions in a country where many feel workers are exploited under the liberal regulations of the past years, but many Poles also see consumer freedom as one of the most tangible benefits of the free market era.

In Hungary, another ex-communist country, a ban on Sunday trade that was imposed in 2015 was so unpopular that authorities repealed it the next year.

Elsewhere in Europe, however, including Germany and Austria, people have long been accustomed to the day of commercial rest and appreciate the chance to escape the compulsion to shop.

Solidarity's push for the law change found the support of the conservative and pro-Catholic ruling party, Law and Justice. The influential Catholic church, to which more than 90 per cent of Poles belong, has also welcomed the change.

Seventy-six year-old Barbara Olszewska, saw it as a good think as she did some last-minute shopping Saturday evening in Warsaw.

``A family should be together on Sundays," she said..

Before she retired, Olszewska said, she sold cold cuts in a grocery store, and was grateful that she never had to work Sundays.

But pro-business opposition parties warn that the change will lead to a loss of jobs, and in particular hurt students who only have time to work to fund their studies on the weekends.

Even the All-Poland Alliance of Trade Unions opposes it, arguing that it will just push employees to work longer hours Fridays and Saturdays and that the work will be harder because there will be more customers.

Poles are among the hardest-working citizens in the European Union and some complain that Sundays are sometimes the only days they have free time to shop.

Another last-minute shopper on Saturday evening, Daniel Wycech, 26, saw more drawbacks than benefits.

``It's not really a problem to do more shopping a day ahead of time, but if something breaks in my kitchen or bathroom on a Sunday, there will be no way to go to the store and fix it," said Wycech, an accountant.

There are some exceptions to the ban. For instance, gas stations, cafes, ice cream parlours, pharmacies and some other businesses are allowed to keep operating Sundays.

Stores at airports and train stations will also be allowed to open, as will small mom-and-pop shops, but only on the condition that only the owners themselves work.

Anyone infringing the new rules faces a fine of up to 100,000 zlotys (NZ$40,063), while repeat offenders may face a prison sentence.

Mateusz Kica, a 29-year-old tram driver in Warsaw, did his weekly shopping early Saturday to avoid the huge crowds he expected later in the day. He complained that the new law only relieves shop employees, but that workers like himself will still have to keep working weekends.

``This law isn't really just," Kica said.

- AP

Unmasking the Lunar Serpent ~ Modern Day Lucifer Sun-Worship!

Thy People Shall Be Delivered (Part 2 of 3) Elder Bob Trefz

The Sower ("The Sower Went Forth to Sow")

Lesson 1 Sabbath, April 7, 2018

The Sower

“For thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns” (Jeremiah 4:3).

“The garden of the heart must be cultivated. The soil must be broken up by deep repentance for sin. Poisonous, Satanic plants must be uprooted. The soil once overgrown by thorns can be reclaimed only by diligent labor. So the evil tendencies of the natural heart can be overcome only by earnest effort in the name and strength of Jesus.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 56.

Suggested Reading: Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 33–61. Read text

Ambassador Brownback: World faces a 'critical moment' for religious minorities

Sam Brownback, US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. (public domain)

By Courtney Grogan

Washington D.C., Mar 26, 2018 / 04:11 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- “It is more dangerous now than any time in history to be a person of faith,” said Ambassador Sam Brownback at an event marking the second anniversary of U.S. recognition that the Islamic State committed genocide against religious minorities, including Christians, in Syria and Iraq.

Brownback, who was sworn-in as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom last month, said that religious freedom should be advanced in U.S. national security policy, assistance programs, and economic strategies.

“I would like to see religious freedom be for this administration what climate change was for the last,” said Brownback at the March 23 event hosted by the Heritage Foundation.

ISIS’ Genocide of Christians: The Past, Present and Future of Christians in the Middle East” brought together human rights experts, academics, and religious freedom advocates to examine how best to address the threats posed to religious minorities by extremist groups such as the Islamic State.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously “that the atrocities perpetrated by ISIL against religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria include war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide” in March 2016. Shortly after, Secretary of State John Kerry named Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims as victims of genocide in the region.

While the panel discussions focused on Christians in the Middle East, Brownback also spoke of threats to religious liberty throughout the world. He highlighted the plight of the Rohingya Muslims in Burma, Tibetan Buddhists and Uyghur Muslims in China, and Catholic leaders in Venezuela, who came under fire from President Nicolas Maduro for speaking out about the country’s current crisis.

Brownback called for alliances between the political left and right in working towards greater religious freedom abroad urging, “We are at a critical moment for the future of religious minorities globally.”

He also asked for prayers for the persecuted and for those involved in religious freedom causes.

"By God's grace, life always triumphs over death, freedom overcomes oppression, and faith extinguishes fear. This is the source of our hope and our confidence in the future,” said Brownback.

Get Ready! Get Ready! Get Ready! - [03-31] Maranatha (1976) Ellen G. White

Rulers of Evil by F. Tupper Saussy in HTML Web Format

James Japan

Useful Knowledge About Governing Bodies


“The worst thing you can do in life is underestimate your adversary.” —PRESIDENT WILLIAM J. CLINTON, CBS News, March 31, 1999

THE ONLY PEOPLE in the world, it seems, who believe in the onspiracy theory of history are those of us who have studied it. While Franklin D. Roosevelt might have exaggerated when he said “Nothing happens in politics by accident; if it happens, it was planned that way,” Carroll Quigley – Bill Clinton’s favorite professor at Georgetown University – boldly admitted in his Tragedy & Hope (1966) that (a) the multitudes were already under the control of a small but powerful group bent on world domination and (b) Quigley himself was a part of that group.

Internet conspiracy sites strive to identify the conspiratorial factions. We get pieces here and pieces there. The world is run by Freemasons, some say. Other say Skull & Bones, and a loose confederation of secret societies. CIA gets lots of votes, along with Mossad (though I suspect these factions are merely tools) and, of course, “the British.” A major frontrunner is the International Banking Cartel. When Victor Marsden published The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in 1906, which purported to be a Jewish plan to take over the world, Jewish writers denied responsibility, charging a Catholic plot to defame Jewry. Whose side was Marsden on? You can get so deep into conspiracies that the suspects start canceling each other out. It can become frustrating.

I’m happy to report that F. Tupper Saussy has come to our emotional rescue. During his ten years as a fugitive from the Department of Justice (convicted of a crime that cannot be found in the lawbooks), Saussy occupied himself with an investigation into the powers that be. It was an investigation the likes of which, as far as I know, has never before been undertaken. The fruit of his amazing legwork is Rulers of Evil, a powerful book that in less loving hands might have been angry and judgmental.

Saussy’s thesis: There is indeed a small group that runs the world, but we can’t call it a conspiracy because it identifies itself with signs, mottoes, and monuments. Signs, mottoes, and monuments? you ask. Quick: what occupies the highest point on the U.S. Capitol building? It’s probably the most oft-published statue on earth, and you can’t name it? As long as you don’t know whose feet are firmly planted atop your country’s legislative center, or how she got there, or whence she came, the group that controls America remains invisible. Once you know these things, the fog begins lifting.

Saussy has analyzed hundreds of signatory clues left by the true rulers of the world, clues that we have perhaps been trained to ignore. He’s traced them to their origins, and matched them to facts of history going back six thousand years – all balanced against the most reliable human reference work there is, the Bible. The result: an unavoidable touchstone for all future works on the subject.

Rulers of Evil is an indispensable study book that you’ll probably deface from cover to cover with highlighting. By all means keep it on your lower library shelf, within close reach of inquisitive children. — Pat Shannon Journalist-at-Large, MEDIA BYPASS

Continue: FOREWORD

The Pagan Origins of Lent and Easter

Mark of the beast: Vatican's Sunday law will be enforced soon! (28)

Adventist Students Join National Walkout Day

14 March 2018 | Jared Wright

Today students across the United States walked out of their classrooms at 10:00 a.m. in voluntary demonstrations against gun violence in America. The walkouts came one month after the Parkland, Florida shooting of students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Seventeen were killed in the shooting and seventeen more were injured.

At least ten* Seventh-day Adventist schools participated in National Walkout Day events, including La Sierra Academy, Loma Linda Academy, Portland Adventist Academy, Redwood Adventist Academy, Rogers Adventist School, Spencerville Adventist Academy, Takoma Adventist Academy, Walla Walla Valley Academy, Andrews University, Walla Walla University and Washington Adventist University.

I spoke with several students, parents, and faculty members about the events to find out how Adventist schools took part.

High School Walkouts

Ivanna Vargas, the student organizer of Loma Linda Academy’s walkout event and school newspaper editor, said that her concern over mass shooting events began with the 2015 San Bernardino shooting.

“My mom had been working only a block away from where the shooting took place,” Vargas said. “When we found out about the shooting, I was not able to contact her.” Vargas said she felt out of control and angry. Then a month ago while watching a broadcast of the Parkland Shooting, Vargas realized something had to be done to bring about change.

She found out about the National Walkout Day through Instagram and proposed to her communication class that they take part. After her proposal failed to take hold, she again suggested participating to her College English classmates who took charge of the event.

Vargas’s College English teacher Danelle Taylor said that the whole class chose to participate by leading discussions and praying with the students who walked out. “After Ivanna started the event, she explained they would get in small groups to make sure everyone understand why they were walking out today,” Taylor said. “In small groups students talked about their positions on gun control and school safety with each other.”

Taylor estimated that at least 200 students—about half the students in grades 8-12—participated in the event. Student leader Kenda Ukiru closed the event by asking everyone to form a large circle and by praying for victims of school shootings. She also prayed that the walkouts would spur positive change.

The Result of Beholding Christ - RH 3/31/1904 - Escuela de Profecía Bíblica

Friday, March 30, 2018

Happy Sabbath

Pope Francis - A Man of His Word - Trailer 1 (Universal Pictures) HD

Watch: Russia test launches new intercontinental ballistic missile

Did Pope Francis say there is no hell? Not quite, the Vatican insists

4:14 p.m. EDT Mar. 29, 2018

Pope gives boy with down's syndrome gleeful ride
At the beginning of the audience, the Pope's security guards lifted a young boy with Down's Syndrome from the crowd and gave him a spot in the back of the Popemobile. (March 28)

Hell hath no fury like a misquoted pope — especially when it comes to, well, hell.

Three days before Easter, the Vatican tried to tamp down a firestorm over a comment attributed to Pope Francis that hell "does not exist," which would mark a historic break with teachings of the Catholic Church.

Pope Francis washes the feet of inmates during his visit to the Regina Coeli detention center where he celebrated Mass in Rome on March 29, …


The Vatican on Thursday rebuked Eugenio Scalfari, 93, a well-known Italian journalist who is the founder of Italy’s La Repubblicanewspaper.

When asked where "bad souls" end up, according to the article in Thursday’s La Repubblica, Francis reportedly said that those who repent can be forgiven, but those who don't repent simply "disappear." 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Pope Rejects Call for Apology to Canada’s Indigenous People

MARCH 28, 2018

Pope Francis, above in Rome this week, will not apologize for the church’s role in a Canadian system that forced generations of Indigenous children into boarding schools. Credit Franco Origlia/Getty Images

OTTAWA — Despite a personal appeal from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Roman Catholic Church has said that Pope Francis will not apologize for its role in a Canadian system that forced generations of Indigenous children into boarding schools.

The residential school system, as it is commonly known in Canada, was described as a form of “cultural genocide” by a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015 that also concluded that many students were physically and emotionally abused.

Among its 94 recommendations was an a call for an apology from the pope. The Catholic Church, along with several Protestant denominations, operated most of the schools for the government.

“The Holy Father is aware of the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which he takes seriously,” Bishop Lionel Gendron, who is president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote in an open letter to Canada’s Indigenous people released on Tuesday. “After carefully considering the request and extensive dialogue with the Bishops of Canada, he felt that he could not personally respond.”

The pope and others before him have issued apologies in other situations. The Vatican did not respond to an email seeking comment late Wednesday night. Continue reading the main story

Worried about what Facebook knows about you? Check out Google

It's more than just Googling Ben Popken / Mar.28.2018 / 6:45 PM ET / Updated 7:22 PM ET

Google's New York office in lower Manhattan this month.Spencer Platt / Getty Images file

Upset about how much of your data Facebook has? Wait until you see what Google has got on you.

Dylan Curran, an information technology consultant, took a look at just what Google knew about him. Even with his experience as a web developer, he was shocked.

"I was really like: 'Oh, my God. This is preposterous,'" Curran said.

Personal data often collected when you download apps 01:58

When he requested his data from Google, he found that it was constantly tracking his location in the background, including calculating how long it took to travel between different points, along with his hobbies, interests, possible weight and income, data on his apps and records of files he had deleted. And that's just for starters.

He said he didn't think Google was doing anything malicious. He just felt newly uncomfortable with being so closely tracked.

"It's wrong to trust any entity that big with so much information," he said. "They're just trying to make money," and at some point, "someone is going to make a mistake."

His posts hit a nerve, with the thread racking up almost 150,000 retweets.

What Curran found is the reality that Google's millions of users face every day, said Scott J. Shackelford, an associate business professor at Indiana University focusing on cybersecurity law and policy.

Whatever Is Going on at Willow Creek (?)

March 28, 2018 by D. G. Hart

Is not good.

According to the story at Christianity Today, reports have surfaced that Bill Hybels has acted inappropriately with women:

Nancy Beach, a former teaching pastor, told the Tribune that she traveled to Europe with Hybels in 1999 and that he asked her to stay a few extra days. She declined. But during the trip, he allegedly said his marriage was unhappy. Instead of work, Hybels wanted to have long dinners and walks on the beach.

One night, he allegedly asked her to his room for a glass of wine, then gave her a long, lingering hug.

“He would always say, ‘You don’t know how to hug,’” she told the Tribune. “‘That’s not a real hug.’ So it was like a lingering hug that made me feel uncomfortable. But again, I’m trying to prove that I’m this open person.”

Hybels also allegedly asked Beach to hang out at his house after midweek services, when his wife was not at home. She did at first and then stopped.

Vonda Dyer, a former Willow Creek employee, told the Tribune that Hybels told a joke about oral sex while they were out on his boat with another staff woman—a claim Hybels denies. She also says he repeatedly asked her to come to his hotel room.

One occasion he allegedly started caressing and kissing her.

Like many of the recent allegations against celebrity pastors, Hollywood figures, and politicians, the truth is hard to discern since such cases involve on person’s word against another’s, and courts need more than someone’s word. They need evidence and witnesses.

As insensitive as it may seem, the bigger issue at Willow Creek is the seemingly large animosity that exists between Hybels and the church’s governing body on the one side, and an array of former pastors and current members on the other.

Bill Hybels is having none of it, though:

“This has been a calculated and continual attack on our elders and on me for four long years. It’s time that gets identified,” he told the Tribune. “I want to speak to all the people around the country that have been misled … for the past four years and tell them in my voice, in as strong a voice as you’ll allow me to tell it, that the charges against me are false. There still to this day is not evidence of misconduct on my part.”

“The lies you read about in the Tribune article are the tools this group is using to try to keep me from ending my tenure here at Willow with my reputation intact,” Hybels told his congregation in a statement Thursday evening. “Many of these alleged incidents purportedly took place more than [20] years ago. The fact that they have been dredged up now and assembled in a calculated way demonstrates the determination of this group to do as much damage as they possibly can.”

Both accounts are plausible, in a way. If some sexual misconduct happened, the reports are obviously plausible and the outrage understandable.

But if nothing happened, then the best explanation for such allegations is some sort of personal vendetta.

So far, Hybels seems to be telling the truth and his former associates appear to be willing to believe unflattering depictions:

Jim Mellado, who helped launch Willow Creek’s Global Leadership Summit, had just taken the job as president of Compassion, and he and his wife were about to move to Colorado. At a goodbye party, a friend and former Willow Creek staffer told Leanne Mellado that she had had a long-term romantic relationship with Bill Hybels.

Mellado learned the alleged relationship had lasted more than a decade. At first, she supported this friend and talked through what had happened. Then Leanne Mellado felt she needed to tell the elders at Willow Creek what she had learned.

Her friend balked—afraid that the revelations might harm the church—and said she’d deny having a relationship with Bill Hybels if the elders asked.

“I hope you understand. But if it comes to forcing me, I will be silent,” the woman wrote in an email reviewed by the Tribune. “I feel I should not have trusted you.” The woman did not respond to Tribune requests for comment. She later told Mellado there was flirting and insinuations but no relationship.

Willow Creek says when elders interviewed the woman, she “apologized forthrightly for making a false statement and wrote a full retraction,” noting that she was “very angry at Willow” at the time. Willow also said the woman apologized personally to Lynne Hybels for lying.

Is it still too early to tell? Unless someone brings charges to civil authorities, will the church or persons conduct other forms of investigation?

Either way, imagining Willow Creek will emerge unscathed is hard. So much of church life depends on trust, good will, voluntarism, hoping the best of officers and members. What seems to have occurred in this case is not simply a tug on the thread of that tapestry of congregational trust, but an indication of deep levels of antagonism among certain elements in the Willow Creek family. Whether Hybels is exonerated or found culpable, it is hard to see how Willow Creek goes on from here.



Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh

Matthew 24 

And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.

And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.

11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Shadow Government is Collapsing

The Scriptures Our Safeguard

March 28

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? Hebrews 1:14.

So long as the people of God preserve their fidelity to Him, so long as they cling by living faith to Jesus, they are under the protection of heavenly angels, and Satan will not be permitted to exercise his hellish arts upon them to their destruction. But those who separate themselves from Christ by sin are in great peril....

Satan is now more earnestly engaged in playing the game of life for souls than at any previous time; and unless we are constantly on our guard, he will establish in our hearts, pride, love of self, love of the world, and many other evil traits. He will also use every possible device to unsettle our faith in God and in the truths of His Word. If we have not a deep experience in the things of God, if we have not a thorough knowledge of His Word, we shall be beguiled to our ruin by the errors and sophistries of the enemy. False doctrines will sap the foundations of many, because they have not learned to discern truth from error. Our only safeguard against the wiles of Satan is to study the Scriptures diligently, to have an intelligent understanding of the reasons of our faith, and faithfully to perform every known duty. The indulgence of one known sin will cause weakness and darkness, and subject us to fierce temptation....

Are we opening the door of the heart to Jesus, and closing every means of entrance to Satan? Are we daily obtaining clearer light, and greater strength, that we may stand in Christ's righteousness? Are we emptying our hearts of all selfishness, and cleansing them, preparatory to receiving the latter rain from heaven? ...

The work of overcoming is a great work. Shall we take hold of it with energy and perseverance? Unless we do, our “filthy garments” will not be taken from us. We need never expect that these will be torn from us violently; we must first show a desire to rid ourselves of them. We must seek to separate sin from us, relying upon the merits of the blood of Christ; and then in the day of affliction, when the enemy presses us, we shall walk among the angels.
Maranatha, p.95.

Britain's highest ranking transgender army officer marries actor fiance ...

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Christian Colleges Are Tangled In Their Own LGBT Policies

March 27, 20187:26 AM ET
Heard on Morning Edition


Calvin College in Michigan is affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church, which holds that "homosexual practice ... is incompatible with obedience to the will of God as revealed in Scripture."Noah PreFontaine/Calvin College

Conservative Christian colleges, once relatively insulated from the culture war, are increasingly entangled in the same battles over LGBT rights and related social issues that have divided other institutions in America.

Students and faculty at many religious institutions are asked to accept a "faith statement" outlining the school's views on such matters as evangelical doctrine, scriptural interpretation and human sexuality. Those statements often include a rejection of homosexual activity and a definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Changing attitudes on sexual ethics and civil rights, however, are making it difficult for some schools, even conservative ones, to ensure broad compliance with their strict positions.

"Millennials are looking at the issue of gay marriage, and more and more they are saying, 'OK, we know the Bible talks about this, but we just don't see this as an essential of the faith,' " says Brad Harper, a professor of theology and religious history at Multnomah University, an evangelical Christian institution in Portland, Ore.

LGBT students at Christian schools are also increasingly likely to be open about their own sexual orientation or gender identity.

Repeal the Second Amendment



The Editors

February 12, 2013

Plagued by rising levels of violent crime, in the autumn of 1976 the District of Columbia enacted one of the nation’s toughest gun control laws. The law effectively banned handguns, automatic firearms and high-capacity semiautomatic weapons. Police officers were exempt from the provisions of the law, as were guns registered before 1976. Over the following decade, the murder rate in Washington, D.C., declined, then increased, shadowing a national trend. Overall, however, the new law helped to prevent nearly 50 deaths per year, according to one study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. “We knew there were problems we couldn’t wipe out,” said Sterling Tucker, chair of the district council at the time, as he reflected on the law 22 years later. “But we had a little more control over it.”

On June 26, 2008, in a closely watched, far-reaching decision, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the D.C. law, ruling that it violated the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” In the court’s majority opinion, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia wrote: “We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country, and we take seriously the concerns raised by the many amici who believe that the prohibition of handgun ownership is a solution.... But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.”

Justice Scalia was right. Even those who subscribe to methods of constitutional interpretation other than Mr. Scalia’s brand of modified originalism must concede the basic point: The Second Amendment impedes the power of the government to regulate the sale or possession of firearms. Unfortunately, the grim consequence of this constitutional restriction is measured in body counts. The murder of 20 elementary school children and six adults in Newtown, Conn., in December was merely the latest in a string of mass shootings: Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek. In the last 30 years, there have been 62 mass shootings (each leaving at least four people dead) in the United States. Since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colo., there have been 130 shootings at schools; nearly half involved multiple deaths or injuries.

John Paul Stevens: Repeal the Second Amendment


A musket from the 18th century, when the Second Amendment was written, and an assault rifle of today.
CreditTop, MPI, via Getty Images, bottom, Joe Raedle/Getty Images .

By John Paul Stevens

March 27, 2018

Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement schoolchildren and their supporters demonstrated in Washington and other major cities throughout the country this past Saturday. These demonstrations demand our respect. They reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren and others in our society.

That support is a clear sign to lawmakers to enact legislation prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons, increasing the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years old, and establishing more comprehensive background checks on all purchasers of firearms. But the demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.

Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment, which provides that “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century.

For over 200 years after the adoption of the Second Amendment, it was uniformly understood as not placing any limit on either federal or state authority to enact gun control legislation. In 1939 the Supreme Court unanimously held that Congress could prohibit the possession of a sawed-off shotgun because that weapon had no reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a “well regulated militia.”

During the years when Warren Burger was our chief justice, from 1969 to 1986, no judge, federal or state, as far as I am aware, expressed any doubt as to the limited coverage of that amendment. When organizations like the National Rifle Association disagreed with that position and began their campaign claiming that federal regulation of firearms curtailed Second Amendment rights, Chief Justice Burger publicly characterized the N.R.A. as perpetrating “one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”

In 2008, the Supreme Court overturned Chief Justice Burger’s and others’ long-settled understanding of the Second Amendment’s limited reach by ruling, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that there was an individual right to bear arms. I was among the four dissenters.

Monday, March 26, 2018

AP Interview: UN food agency boss warns of migrant crisis

World Food Program executive director David Beasley talks during an interview at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, Australia, Monday, March 26, 2018. Beasley says the collapse of the Islamic State movement’s self-described caliphate across Syria and Iraq has led to extremists mounting a recruitment drive in sub-Sahara Africa which threatens to trigger a new European migrant crisis. Rod McGuirk AP Photo

By ROD McGUIRK Associated Press

March 26, 2018 03:30 AM

Updated 1 minute ago
CANBERRA, Australia

The collapse of the Islamic State group's self-described caliphate in Syria and Iraq has led to extremists mounting a recruitment drive in sub-Sahara Africa that threatens to trigger a new European migrant crisis, the head of the United Nations food agency said Monday.

World Food Program executive director David Beasley said many of the militants who fled Syria had ended up in the greater Sahel region, a belt of semi-arid land spanning east-west across Africa and home to 500 million people.

Islamic State militants are collaborating with other extremist groups, including al-Qaida, al-Shabab and Boko Haram, to create "extraordinary difficulties" across the Sahel, Beasley said.

He has warned European leaders that they could face a far larger migrant crisis from the Sahel than the Syrian conflict generated if they do not help provide the region with food and stability.

"You're talking about the greater Sahel region of 500 million people, so the Syria crisis could be like a drop in the bucket compared to what's coming your way," Beasley told The Associated Press.

"What they're now doing is coming into an already fragile area, a very destabilized area because of climate impact and governance, and they're infiltrating, recruiting, using food as a weapon of recruitment to destabilize so that they can have mass migration into Europe," Beasley said.

"Mother after mother will tell you that 'My husband did not want to join ISIS or al-Qaida, but we had no food,' and if you haven't fed your little girl or little boy in two weeks and the alternative is signing up with ISIS, you sign up," Beasley added, referring to the group, also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The World Food Program wants to provide stability, economic growth and sustainable development as well as food to the region, said Beasley, who was in Australia for talks with the government on funding strategies.

The Sahel — which includes Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger, Mali and Mauritania — is vulnerable to droughts and floods and faces constant food insecurity.

Five nations have also been grappling with a growing menace from extremists, including groups linked to al-Qaida's North Africa branch.

In February 2017, the so-called "Group of Five" agreed to assemble a 5,000-strong force to combat extremist groups, organized crime and human trafficking.

What You Didn't Know about The 'March For Our Lives' Movement

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A fake photo of Emma González went viral on the far right, where Parkland teens are villains

The Washington Post
Alex Horton 3 hrs ago

© Noam Galai/WireImage Emma Gonzalez attends March For Our Lives on March 24, 2018 in Washington, DC. Having teenagers act as figureheads for a movement has a certain quality that has not gone unnoticed in the wake of the March for Our Lives rally on Saturday.

Judge too harshly, and you are attacking a kid who has balanced trauma with homework. Amplifying students such as Emma González has injected optimism among liberal activists in the grinding debate about the role of guns in society.

González, 18, has been at the flash point of this dynamic, appearing in newspapers, on magazine covers and in a prominent spot at the anchor rally in Washington, where her speech, which included a prolonged silence, lasted as long as the six minutes it took a gunman at her high school in Parkland, Fla., to kill 17 people on Valentine’s Day.

Gun-control advocates have held up González as a figurehead of the movement, splashing her trademark shaved head on T-shirts and viral images.

Then, there is another viewpoint of her activism.

A doctored animation of González tearing the U.S. Constitution in half circulated on social media during the rally, after it was lifted from a Teen Vogue story about teenage activists. In the real image, González is ripping apart a gun-range target.

The doctored image mushrooming across social media appeared to confirm the belief among Second Amendment absolutists that calls for stricter gun-control measures are sacrosanct, destroying the very foundation of the United States. The animation bounced around conservative Twitter before it received a signal boost Saturday from actor Adam Baldwin.

He tweeted to a quarter of a million followers with a hashtag reading “#Vorwärts!,” the German word for “forward” and an apparent reference to the Hitler Youth, whose march song included the word.

Pope Francis to Young People: Keep Shouting and Never Stay Quiet


Pope Francis appeared to offer his support to the young student activists fighting to stop gun violence a day after the streets of D.C. and other U.S. cities filled with March for Our Lives demonstrators. In his Palm Sunday mass in St. Peter’s Square, the pontiff said that it is the duty of the next generation to “cry out” even when the older generation wants to “sedate” them and “keep them from getting involved.” “There are many ways to silence young people and make them invisible. Many ways to anesthetize them, to make them keep quiet, ask nothing, question nothing. There are many ways to sedate them, to keep them from getting involved, to make their dreams flat and dreary, petty and plaintive,” he said. “It is up to you not to keep quiet. Even if others keep quiet, if we older people and leaders, some corrupt, keep quiet, if the whole world keeps quiet and loses its joy, I ask you: Will you cry out?”

The First King of Israel

Chapter 59

The First King of Israel

[This chapter is based on 1 Samuel 8 to 12.]

THE government of Israel was administered in the name and by the authority of God. The work of Moses, of the seventy elders, of the rulers and judges, was simply to enforce the laws that God had given; they had no authority to legislate for the nation. This was, and continued to be, the condition of Israel's existence as a nation. From age to age men inspired by God were sent to instruct the people and to direct in the enforcement of the laws.

The Lord foresaw that Israel would desire a king, but He did not consent to a change in the principles upon which the state was founded. The king was to be the vicegerent of the Most High. God was to be recognized as the Head of the nation, and His law was to be enforced as the supreme law of the land.

When the Israelites first settled in Canaan they acknowledged the principles of the theocracy, and the nation prospered under the rule of Joshua. But increase of population and intercourse with other nations brought a change. The people adopted many of the customs of their heathen neighbors and thus sacrificed to a great degree their own peculiar, holy character. Gradually they lost their reverence for God and ceased to prize the honor of being His chosen people. Attracted by the pomp and display of heathen monarchs, they tired of their own simplicity. Jealousy and envy sprang up between the tribes. Internal dissensions made them weak; they were continually exposed to the invasion of their heathen foes, and the people were coming to believe that in order to maintain their standing among the nations, the tribes must be united under a strong central government. As they departed from obedience to God's law, they desired to be freed from the rule of their divine Sovereign; and thus the demand for a monarchy became widespread throughout Israel.

Since the days of Joshua the government had never been conducted with so great wisdom and success as under Samuel's administration invested with the threefold office of judge, prophet, and priest, he had labored with untiring and disinterested zeal for the welfare of his people, and the nation had prospered under his wise control. Order had been restored, and godliness promoted, and the spirit of discontent was checked for the time. But with advancing years the prophet was forced to share with others the cares of government, and he appointed his two sons to act as his assistants. While Samuel continued the duties of his office at Ramah, the young men were stationed at Beersheba, to administer justice among the people near the southern border of the land.

It was with the full assent of the nation that Samuel had appointed his sons to office, but they did not prove themselves worthy of their father's choice. The Lord had, through Moses, given special directions to His people that the rulers of Israel should judge righteously, deal justly with the widow and the fatherless, and receive no bribes. But the sons of Samuel "turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment." The sons of the prophet had not heeded the precepts which he had sought to impress upon their minds. They had not copied the pure, unselfish life of their father. The warning given to Eli had not exerted the influence upon the mind of Samuel that it should have done. He had been to some extent too indulgent with his sons, and the result was apparent in their character and life.

America's delayed backlash to globalization

Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping. Photo: Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

The backlash to globalization is coming "at exactly the wrong time," the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: President Trump's new tariffs, on steel and aluminumand most recently against China, are working to "re-set the terms of the global economy," the NYT reports. But the globalization the world is seeing today is not focused on goods and services, but "greater connectivity and communication."

Susan Land, partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, told the Times that global manufacturing "has already reconfigured itself. that change happened, and the horse is out of the barn."

Per the Times, although years ago globalization was viewed as "American workers...facing waves of more and more people willing to do the same job for lower wages," it now demonstrates that "everyone is both a competitor and a customer."

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Police raiding Saginaw diocese, bishop's home in priest sex abuse probe

Updated Mar 23, 7:38 PM; Posted Mar 22

Gallery: Police raid Saginaw diocese properties, Bishop's home

By Michael Kransz

SAGINAW COUNTY, MI -- Police are raiding two Catholic Diocese of Saginaw properties and the home of Bishop Joseph Cistone as part of an ongoing investigation into sexual abuse in the church.

Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Mark Gaertner said he can't say what officers are searching for and taking from the properties, but confirmed the search warrants executed Thursday, March 22, are related to the diocese's lack of cooperation.

"Contrary to the statements of the diocese and the bishop that they would fully cooperate with law enforcement, they did not," Gaertner said. "Therefore it was necessary for law enforcement to use other investigative tools, including search warrants."

Gaertner said search warrants were executed at the bishop's home on Corral Drive in Saginaw Township, the rectory at Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption, 615 Hoyt in Saginaw, and the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw offices in Saginaw Township.