For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”
(Hebrews 8:12)
Remember No More

CARM

Are you a Christian woman who has had an abortion?

by Matt Slick

Are you a Christian woman who is still dealing with guilt from having an abortion? If so, then you might need to know you are forgiven, so you can receive full healing, forgiveness, and release. Maybe you were a Christian when you had your abortion, knew it was wrong at the time, have since confessed and repented, and yet still have feelings of guilt and remorse. Then again, maybe you are a Christian now but were not when you went through with an abortion, and you have guilt that saps your Christian joy. Whatever your situation, whether you know you have been forgiven in Christ and are healed and are released or if you are still fighting the seeds of guilt and remorse, abortion is a difficult emotional experience for any woman to go through.

Can you be forgiven? Yes, you can. Of course you can. More importantly, the question is are you forgiven right now? If you are in Christ, if you are born again, then you have already been forgiven.

Your abortion was a sin, but no sin is so big that the Lord Jesus cannot forgive it. He saved you knowing exactly what you did, are doing, and will do . . . and He still loves you. He loves you not because of who you are but because of who He is.

If you've had an abortion, you're not evil. You are not someone who hates babies or can't be a good mother, and you certainly don't need to be called names by anyone or be stigmatized by people--especially Christians. What you are is a sinner--just like everyone else. We all have our weaknesses and failures, and we must all face Jesus with them. The place we need to go is to the cross where He took all our sins and paid the penalty for them.

Punishing yourself with guilt

There is an important lesson you need to learn about forgiveness that begins with understanding two things: justification and sanctification. Justification is God's legal declaration upon a sinner in which the sinner is declared righteous in God's sight. This is also known as salvation. Sanctification is God working in the Christian, through the Holy Spirit, to make the Christian more like Christ. Justification is instantaneous. Sanctification lasts a lifetime. Justification is easy because we receive it by faith (Rom. 5:1, Eph. 2:8). Sanctification is difficult because it is something we do in cooperation with God as He works in our hearts daily. If we are not very sanctified in our actions, thoughts, and words, we are still justified--we are still saved because of Jesus. Justification does not depend upon our sanctification. In other words, our salvation is not dependent on our works in any way. Justification (salvation) is based upon what Jesus did. Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24). Jesus paid for our sins--all of them. They are gone because He removed them. It is all because of Jesus and what He did and not because of what we have done. Praise be to Him.

Now, I have a question for you. Can you earn your salvation or do anything at all to merit forgiveness from God? No, of course not. That is why salvation is by faith and not by works or faith and works. If you did not get your salvation by your works, then you do not keep it by your works either. In other words, you do not keep your salvation by doing good or by suffering for your sins so that you might somehow be made good enough to be with God. It can never happen!

Finally, here is the point. Some Christians, after they have committed a sin, punish themselves by retaining the guilt of their sin and do not receive the full forgiveness of Christ until they have put themselves through enough suffering that they have then "earned" the right to be forgiven. Of course, this isn't the intention of holding on to guilt, but sometimes it's the underlying reason. It is a danger because it is nothing more than trying to earn the forgiveness of God through our works, in this case, through suffering. This is an insult to the cross of Christ.

Now, I am not saying that we should never feel guilty for doing something wrong. I am saying that you should confess your sins and be forgiven (1 John 1:9). Once confessed and forgiven, it is wrong to harbor the feelings of guilt as a way to punish yourself so that afterwards you might feel you've done enough to "feel" good enough to have fellowship with God. That is what's wrong, and it is sin. If that is what you are doing, then you need to realize that God does not require you to pay for your sins through feeling guilty. He has already paid the full price. Your part is to humbly and truly confess your sin to the Lord, turn from it, and leave it. By looking to Jesus and what He has done, you can let the guilt and the guilty feelings fall away from you. Put your eyes on Jesus. Praise Him for His great love and forgiveness and continue in your walk of sanctification. Lay it all before the cross.

"I will remember their sins no more"

God says, "For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more," (Heb. 8:12). If God chooses not to remember your sins anymore, why should you? Why should you harbor the guilt of a sin that has been forgiven and washed away by the blood of Christ? That is what He means when He says that He will not remember it anymore. He simply will not bring it up again once it is confessed and forgiven. So, if He has forgiven you and will not bring up the sin of abortion again, then from where does your guilt come? It isn't from God. It is from you. You are punishing yourself.

Let it go. Receive the full forgiveness of Christ that comes from a loving and holy God who has saved you knowing exactly who you are and what you have done.

Three scenarios

If you were an unbeliever when you had your abortion but have been beating yourself up with guilt, confess your sin and let it go. Let the forgiveness of Christ wash over you and be released. You are forgiven and set free in Christ. If you were a Christian when you had your abortion and feel even more guilt because you knew better, confess your sin and let it go. Let the forgiveness of Christ wash over you and be released. You are forgiven and set free in Christ. If you are a Christian woman who had an abortion and you have found release and freedom from guilt, then glory be to God who has worked His wondrous grace in you.

"For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more," (Heb. 8:12).

______________________________

Scripture References:

  • Rom. 5:1, "Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

  • Eph. 2:8, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."

  • Heb. 8:12, "For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more."

  • 1 Pet. 2:24, "And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed."

  • 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

***

WND

AMERICAN MINUTE

THE 1 SENTENCE THAT STOPPED ROMAN GLADIATOR BATTLES

Bill Federer recounts early martyr's phrase just as powerful then as today

BILL FEDERER

May 1, 2016

Gladiators in Rome

There were ten major persecutions of Christians in the first three centuries:
Nero A.D. 54-68
Domition A.D. 81- 96
Trajan A.D. 98-117br> Antoninus Pius & Marcus Aurelius Antoninus A.D. 138-180
Severus A.D. 193 – 211
Maximus A.D. 235-238
Decius A.D. 249-251
Valerian A.D. 253-260
Aurelian A.D. 274-287
Diocletian A.D. 292-304

Emperor Diocletian’s persecution was the worst. When Diocletian had lost battles in Persia, his generals told him it was because they had neglected the Roman gods. Diocletian ordered all military personnel to worship the Roman gods, thus forcing Christians either into the closet or out of the army.

After purging Christians from the military, Diocletian surrounded himself with public opponents of Christianity. He revoked the tolerance issued a previous Emperor Gallienus in 260 A.D., and then used the military to force all of Rome to worship pagan gods.

In 303 A.D., Diocletian consulted the Oracle Temple of Apollo at Didyma, which told him to initiate a great empire-wide persecution of the Christian church. What followed was an intolerant, hateful and severe persecution of Christians.

Diocletian had his military go systematically province by province arresting church leaders, burning scriptures, destroying churches, cutting out tongues, boiling Christians alive and decapitating them. From Europe to North Africa, thousands were martyred. The faithful cried out in fervent prayer.

Then Diocletian was struck with a painful intestinal disease and resigned on May 1, 305 A.D. Emperor Gelarius continued the persecution, but he too was struck with the intestinal disease and died.

Commenting on Roman persecutions was Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, who was the Democrat Party’s candidate for president in 1896, 1900 and 1908. William Jennings Bryan stated in his speech, “The Prince of Peace,” (New York Times, Sept. 7, 1913): “I can imagine that the early Christians who were carried into the Coliseum to make a spectacle for those more savage than the beasts, were entreated by their doubting companions not to endanger their lives. But, kneeling in the center of the arena, they prayed and sang until they were devoured. …”

William Jennings Bryan continued: “How helpless they seemed, and, measured by every human rule, how hopeless was their cause! And yet within a few decades the power which they invoked proved mightier than the legions of the Emperor, and the faith in which they died was triumphant o’er all the land. … They were greater conquerors in their death than they could have been had they purchased life.”

President Ronald Reagan commented on the Roman Coliseum at the national prayer breakfast, Feb. 2, 1984: “This power of prayer can be illustrated by the story that goes back to the fourth century – the monk (Telemachus) living in a little remote village, spending most of his time in prayer. … One day he thought he heard the voice of God telling him to go to Rome. … Weeks and weeks later, he arrived … at a time of a festival in Rome. … He followed a crowd into the Coliseum, and then, there in the midst of this great crowd, he saw the gladiators come forth, stand before the Emperor, and say, ‘We who are about to die salute you.’ And he realized they were going to fight to the death for the entertainment of the crowds. He cried out, ‘In the Name of Christ, stop!’ And his voice was lost in the tumult there in the great Colosseum. …”

Reagan continued: “And as the games began, he made his way down through the crowd and climbed over the wall and dropped to the floor of the arena. Suddenly the crowds saw this scrawny little figure making his way out to the gladiators and saying, over and over again, ‘In the Name of Christ, stop!’ And they thought it was part of the entertainment, and at first they were amused. But then, when they realized it wasn’t, they grew belligerent and angry. …”

Reagan added: “And as he was pleading with the gladiators, ‘In the Name of Christ, stop!’ one of them plunged his sword into his body. And as he fell to the sand of the arena in death, his last words were, ‘In the Name of Christ, stop!’ And suddenly, a strange thing happened. The gladiators stood looking at this tiny form lying in the sand. A silence fell over the Colosseum. And then, someplace up in the upper tiers, an individual made his way to an exit and left, and the others began to follow. And in the dead silence, everyone left the Colosseum. That was the last battle to the death between gladiators in the Roman Colosseum. Never again did anyone kill or did men kill each other for the entertainment of the crowd. …”

Reagan ended: “One tiny voice that could hardly be heard above the tumult. ‘In the Name of Christ, stop!’ It is something we could be saying to each other throughout the world today.”

***

FOX NEWS

The spark of life: Science and the Bible meet again

By Michael Guillen Ph.D. Published May 01, 2016

For me, images released recently by Northwestern University scientists of tiny light flashes signaling the moment of human conception are evocative of a larger, cosmic-sized truth espoused by both science and the Bible. Namely, the creation of the universe itself – the mother of all moments of conception – was likewise marked by an explosion of light.

According to their article in Scientific Reports, the Northwestern researchers collected immature human eggs from willing female patients at the Fertility Center of Illinois – eggs that would have been discarded in the normal course of the patients’ fertility treatments. The researchers used special chemicals to mimic the moments of conception – the law forbidding them to use actual sperm. In each case, they discovered, the decisive moment was accompanied by a small burst of zinc atoms. The eruptions appeared as flashes of light because of fluorescing agents used by the scientists.

According to science – at precisely a moment of conception known as recombination & decoupling – an incomprehensible outburst of light accompanied the creation of hydrogen and helium, the first atoms of the embryonic cosmos. To this day, the dim afterglow of that seminal light – the so-called cosmic microwave background – is visible to certain kinds of powerful telescopes.

According to inflation and big bang theories, it didn’t end there. Hydrogen atoms eventually began to fuse, the way they do in a hydrogen bomb, and – voila! – once again, in a flash of light, the first stars came into being. They, in turn – like colossal stoves – cooked up the heavier elements known to us today. Including the zinc atoms that explode, like fireworks, every time a human being is conceived.

I find it notable that the Bible agrees with science that the universe was conceived in a paroxysm of illumination – I imagine, unlike anything we’ve ever seen. According to Genesis 1:3, that event happened at exactly the moment God uttered the immortal words, “Let there be light.”

The Bible’s explanation of things goes even further, by actually assigning a sacred status to light. In 1 John 1:5, light is identified with the Creator himself: “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”

Scientists don’t use that sort of language, of course, but amazingly, they do agree that light very definitely has a transcendent status. It wasn’t always the case, though: scientists made that discovery only relatively recently.

The momentous change of heart began in 1905, when an unknown outsider named Albert Einstein published his heretical theory of special relativity. According to Einstein, contrary to what scientists had always believed, light experiences a reality wholly unlike the one you and I do – inhabits an otherworldly realm where, among other things, the commonplace laws of space and time are not obeyed. Like God, if you will, light transcends the restrictions of the ordinary, physical world.

Scientists were slow in coming around to believe Einstein’s heterodoxy. But today, it is a key component of the modern scientific catechism.

Like the Bible, therefore, science now agrees that whenever we interact with light, we interact with something that is at once in this world, but not of this world. Chief among these divine-like encounters are those instances when light makes abrupt, attention-getting appearances. Like a moment of creation when something truly special suddenly comes into existence that wasn’t there before – be it a human embryo, a star, or an entire universe.

***

The Telegraph

Dead could be brought 'back to life' in groundbreaking project

Scientists believe that a combination of therapies could stimulate regeneration CREDIT: GETTY

Sarah Knapton, science editor

3 MAY 2016 • 12:15PM

Agroundbreaking trial to see if it is possible to regenerate the brains of dead people, has won approval from health watchdogs.

A biotech company in the US has been granted ethical permission to recruit 20 patients who have been declared clinically dead from a traumatic brain injury, to test whether parts of their central nervous system can be brought back to life.

Scientists will use a combination of therapies, which include injecting the brain with stem cells and a cocktail of peptides, as well as deploying lasers and nerve stimulation techniques which have been shown to bring patients out of comas.

The trial participants will have been certified dead and only kept alive through life support. They will be monitored for several months using brain imaging equipment to look for signs of regeneration, particularly in the upper spinal cord - the lowest region of the brain stem which controls independent breathing and heartbeat.

The team believes that the brain stem cells may be able to erase their history and re-start life again, based on their surrounding tissue – a process seen in the animal kingdom in creatures like salamanders who can regrow entire limbs.

Dr Ira Pastor, the CEO of Bioquark Inc. said: “This represents the first trial of its kind and another step towards the eventual reversal of death in our lifetime.

“We just received approval for our first 20 subjects and we hope to start recruiting patients immediately from this first site – we are working with the hospital now to identify families where there may be a religious or medical barrier to organ donation.

"To undertake such a complex initiative, we are combining biologic regenerative medicine tools with other existing medical devices typically used for stimulation of the central nervous system, in patients with other severe disorders of consciousness.

“We hope to see results within the first two to three months."
(“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: And he (the false prophet) had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast.” Revelation 13:3, 15)

THE SPECTATOR

The return of eugenics

Researchers don’t like the word – but they're running ahead with the idea, and Britain is at the forefront

Fraser Nelson

2 April 2016 9:00 AM

The only way of cutting off the constant stream of idiots and imbeciles and feeble-minded persons who help to fill our prisons and workhouses, reformatories, and asylums is to prevent those who are known to be mentally defective from producing offspring. Undoubtedly the best way of doing this is to place these defectives under control. Even if this were a hardship to the individual it would be necessary for the sake of protecting the race.

The Spectator, 25 May 1912

It’s comforting now to think of eugenics as an evil that sprang from the blackness of Nazi hearts. We’re familiar with the argument: some men are born great, some as weaklings, and both pass the traits on to their children. So to improve society, the logic goes, we must encourage the best to breed and do what we can to stop the stupid, sick and malign from passing on their defective genes. This was taken to a genocidal extreme by Hitler, but the intellectual foundations were laid in England. And the idea is now making a startling comeback.

A hundred years ago the eugenic mission involved a handful of crude tools: bribing the ‘right’ people to have larger families, sterilising the weakest. Now stunning advances in science are creating options early eugenicists could only dream about. Today’s IVF technology already allows us to screen embryos for inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis. But soon parents will be able to check for all manner of traits, from hair colour to character, and choose their ‘perfect’ child.

The era of designer babies, long portrayed by dystopian novelists and screenwriters, is fast arriving. According to Hank Greely, a Stanford professor in law and biosciences, the next couple of generations may be the last to accept pot luck with procreation. Doing so, he adds, may soon be seen as downright irresponsible. In his forthcoming book The End of Sex, he explains a brave new world in which mothers will be given a menu with various biological options. But even he shies away from the word that sums all this up. For Professor Greely, and almost all of those in the new bioscience, eugenics is never mentioned, as if to avoid admitting that history has swung full circle.

The word ‘eugenics’ was coined in 1883 by Francis Galton, a polymath who invented fingerprinting and many of the techniques of modern statistical research. He started with a hunch: that so many great men come from the same families because genius is hereditary. Fascinated by the evolutionary arguments of his cousin Charles Darwin, he wondered whether advances in health care and welfare had sullied the national gene pool because they allowed more of the sick and disabled not just to survive but to lead normal family lives. He went off to collect data, and came back with his theory of eugenics.

This was hailed not as a theory but as a discovery — a new science of human life, with laws as immutable as Newton’s. A race of gifted men could be created, he said, ‘as surely as we can propagate idiots by mating cretins’

Some of the most revered names in British history lapped this up. As Home Secretary, Churchill wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to do more to stop the “multiplication of the unfit”. Darwin himself would come tofear that “if the prudent avoid marriage whilst the reckless marry, inferior members tend to supplant the better members of society”.

By 1908, a Royal Commission conveyed the grave news that there were 150,000 ‘feeble-minded’ people in Britain. So what was to be done with them? As one reformer put it: “They must be acknowledged dependents of the State…but with complete and permanent loss of all civil rights – including not only the franchise but civil freedom and fatherhood”. This was William Beveridge, founder of the welfare state.

A report in The Times conveyed, matter-of-factly, the substance of a lecture given to the Eugenics Society following survey of the people of Devon by a Dr Grunby.

As to imbeciles, he said there was only one thing to do with them: exterminate them as they arose. He put forward the suggestion on purely humanitarian grounds.

Eugenics came to stand for modernity: to believe in it was to declare one’s belief in science and rationalism, to be liberated from religious qualms. Some of the most revered names in English history lapped all of this up. The Bishop of Birmingham called for sterilisation. Bertrand Russell looked forward to a eugenic era driven by science, not religion. ‘We may perhaps assume that, if people grow less superstitious, government will acquire the right to sterilise those who are not considered desirable as parents,’ he argued in 1924.

When a Sterilisation Bill was brought before Parliament in 1931 it had the backing of social workers, dozens of local authorities and the medical and scientific establishment. It was defeated, but the agenda continued. The Nuremberg Trials established that the Nazis (latecomers to all this) carried out some 400,000 compulsory sterilisations — a figure so horrific it has eclipsed the 60,000 in Sweden and a similar number in the United States. The idea of a biological divide between the fit and the unfit was no Nazi invention. It was the conventional wisdom of the developed world.

And this is the problem. Because we forget how badly Britain fell for eugenics, we fail to recognise the basic arguments of eugenics when they reappear — which they are now doing with remarkable regularity.

Consider Adam Perkins, a lecturer at King’s College London, who has published a study echoing the Royal Commission’s attempt to quantify the feeble-minded. The group he aims to study are the ‘employment-resistant’: those disposed to a life on welfare as a result of genetic predispositions and having grown up in workless homes. With Galtonesque precision, he estimates some 98,040 ‘extra’ people were ‘created by the welfare state’ over 15 years due to a rise in welfare spending. They represent an ‘ever-greater burden on the more functional citizens’.

In 1938, Germans were shown a poster of a cripple and invited to be angry about the costs of caring for him (60,000 Reichmarks). Dr Perkins tries a softer version of this general idea, calculating the £12,000-a-head annual cost of the new British untermensch — not just in welfare, but the crimes they will probably commit. His remedy? That Cameron’s government restricts welfare, so that claimants have fewer children. A perfect eugenic solution.

There is nothing monstrous about Dr Perkins, himself a former welfare claimant, nor anything very original about his book. He simply joins the dots of recent academic research and spells out what others won’t. His footnotes show the growing academic pedigree of the new eugenics: work has been done to identify genes relating to alcoholism, criminality, sporting success, even premature ejaculation. Extrapolations are now made about how far the quality of human stock worldwide has been eroded by health care and welfare.

In academia, the word ‘eugenics’ may be controversial but the idea is not. To Professor Julian Savulescu, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, the ability to apply ‘rational design’ to humanity, through gene editing, offers a chance to improve the human stock — one baby at a time. ‘When it comes to screening out personality flaws such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence,’ he said a while ago, ‘you could argue that people have a moral obligation to select ethically better children’.

Meanwhile, the scientific pursuit of ‘ethically better children’ is advancing rapidly. Since Louise Brown was conceived in a laboratory 38 years ago — the world’s first IVF baby — the treatment has become mainstream, sought by 100 women a day in Britain. Developments in IVF mean that, today, several embryos can be fertilised and screened for diseases, with the winner implanted in the uterus. The next step was taken last year, when Chinese scientists succeeded in modifying the genes of a fertilised embryo. It was rather messy: they attempted to treat 86 non-viable embryos, and failed in most cases. So they abandoned the experiment, saying a 100 per cent success rate is needed when dealing in human life.

This — the genetic modification of human embryos — is what causes the concern. But here, and at each point in the new eugenics, you can argue: where is the moral problem? There are no deaths, no sterilisations, no abortions: just a scientifically guided conception. The potential avoidance of disease, to the betterment of humanity. So who could complain?

One answer came four months ago, when 150 scientists and academics called for a complete shutdown of human gene editing. In a letter released before a summit in Washington DC, they argued that the technology would ‘open the door to an era of high-tech consumer eugenics’, with affluent parents choosing the best qualities and creating a new form of genetically modified human. To these scientists, the complex issue boils down to a simple point: ‘We must not engineer the genes we pass on to our descendants.’

Such concerns cannot be heard from the British government, which recently helped to build the Francis Crick Institute, a new nerve centre for biomedical research. A few weeks ago, the institute was given authorisation to begin a new, controversial gene-editing technique known as CRISPR-Cas9. To supporters, this is proof of Britain’s position at the cutting edge of research. To critics, it is proof that Britain (one of the few countries that does not ban the use of fertilised human embryos in experiments) is again rushing headlong into eugenic science with minimal debate.

On the rare occasions the matter is raised in Parliament, ministers say that they do not support eugenics. But, as Chris Patten has pointed out in the Lords, that is a meaningless statement if there is no attempt to define the term. To David Galton, who has written more about the subject than any British academic, the definition is simple. If you use science to make the best of genes handed down to the next generation, that’s eugenics: ‘Sweeping the word under the carpet or sanitising it with another name merely conceals the appalling abuses that have occurred in the past and may lull people into a false sense of security.’

The idea of consumer eugenics is no futurist fantasy. Already, sperm banks boast about screening for everything from autism to red hair. £12,000 buys you the chance to choose which embryo to implant. And £400 buys sperm-sorting, the better to conceive a boy (or a girl). And even in the slums of India, women desperate for a boy will pay for ante-natal screening to identify — and abort — girls. It doesn’t take government to pursue eugenics: parents will do it themselves.

The Francis Crick Institute says its gene-editing research has nothing to do with eugenics; even British law prohibits pregnancies from gene-edited embryos, and its researchers plan to destroy them after seven days. Instead, it aims to learn about the role of genes in miscarriage. But if its research improves gene-editing technology, less scrupulous scientists can make use of that. This is why scholars like Robert Pollack, a professor at Columbia University, want a moratorium on of germ-line DNA modification. ‘Imagine that, many years hence, there are two sorts of people: those who carry the messy inheritance of their ancestors, and those whose ancestors had the resources to clean up their germ cells before IVF.’ So you end up with two types of humans: the genetically tidy rich and everyone else.

The experiments being carried out in London are worrying, he says, precisely because the British have such a good success rate. ‘It is not failure, but success, that concerns me,’ says Professor Pollack. ‘And for that concern, there are few venues more troubling than the Crick Institute — it is as likely as any place in the world to do this without making any distracting, avoidable mistakes.’

So some 130 years after Britain gave the world the idea of perfecting humanity, we are once again at the cutting edge of this troubled science. For good or ill, eugenics is back.

AMERICAN MINUTE (Edited from a longer article.)

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A DICTATOR MEETS GOD

BILL FEDERER

April 29, 2016

Napoleon, defeated

A few years before dying at the age of 52, Napoleon commented to General H.G. Bertrand, as recorded in “On St. Helena,” 1816: “The Gospel possesses a secret virtue, a mysterious efficacy, a warmth which penetrates and soothes the heart. One finds in meditating upon it that which one experiences in contemplating the heavens. The Gospel is not a book; it is a living being, with an action, a power, which invades everything that opposes its extension. Behold it upon this table, this book surpassing all others (here the Emperor solemnly placed his hand upon it): I never omit to read it, and every day with new pleasure. Nowhere is to be found such a series of beautiful ideas, and admirable moral maxims, which pass before us like the battalions of a celestial army. … The soul can never go astray with this book for its guide. …”

Napoleon continued: “Everything in Christ astonishes me. His spirit overawes me, and His will confounds me. Between Him and whoever else in the world there is no possible term of comparison; He is truly a Being by Himself. His ideas and His sentiments, the truth which He announces, His manner of convincing, are not explained either by human organization or by the nature of things. Truth should embrace the universe. Such is Christianity, the only religion which destroys sectional prejudices, the only one which proclaims the unity and the absolute brotherhood of the whole human family, the only one which is purely spiritual; in fine, the only one which assigns to all, without distinction, for a true country, the bosom of the Creator, God.”

Napoleon concluded: “Christ proved that He was the Son of the Eternal by His disregard of time. All His doctrines signify one only and the same thing-eternity. What a proof of the divinity of Christ! With an empire so absolute, he has but one single end – the spiritual melioration of individuals, the purity of the conscience, the union to that which is true, the holiness of the soul. … Not only is our mind absorbed, it is controlled; and the soul can never go astray with this book for its guide. Once master of our spirit, the faithful Gospel loves us. God even is our friend, our father, and truly our God. The mother has no greater care for the infant whom she nurses. …”

Napoleon ended by telling General H.G. Bertrand: “If you do not perceive that Jesus Christ is God, very well: then I did wrong to make you a general.”

***

***

LIFESITE

Pope’s exhortation is a ‘breach’ with Catholic Tradition: leading German philosopher

April 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A prominent Catholic philosopher and close friend of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said Thursday that Pope Francis’s exhortation Amoris Laetitia is a “breach” with Catholic tradition and directly contradicts the teachings of Pope St. John Paul II in his exhortation Familiaris Consortio.

"If the pope is not willing to make a correction, it is up to another pontificate to officially put things back into order."

Professor Robert Spaemann told the Catholic News Agency’s German branch that changing the Church’s sacramental practice would be “a breach with its essential anthropological and theological teaching on human marriage and sexuality.”

“It is clear to every thinking person who knows the texts that are important in this context that [with Amoris Laetitia] there is a breach” with the Church’s Tradition, Spaemann said.

The professor’s remarks were translated by Dr. Maike Hickson in an article at OnePeterFive.

In Familiaris Consortio, Pope St. John Paul II upheld the Church’s longstanding approach to the question of admitting to the Sacraments remarried divorcees, by writing:

…the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church's teaching about the indissolubility of marriage.

Footnote 351 of Amoris Laetitia seemingly contradicts the above passage by asserting that in certain cases, integrating back into the Church the divorced and remarried and others in “irregular” situations “can include the help of the sacraments.” The footnote then mentions both Confession and the Eucharist.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Maria Santissima in Astana, Kazakhstan criticized Amoris Laetitia for its lack of clarity on the subject. “Analyzing some of the affirmations of AL with an honest understanding, as they are in their own context, one finds that there is a difficulty in interpreting them according to the traditional doctrine of the Church,” wrote Schneider.

Spaemann also condemned the exhortation’s seeming embrace of “situation ethics” as opposed to universal norms and its call to not judge people’s actions that directly contradict the Church’s sexual ethics.

“When it comes to sexual relations which are in objective contradiction to the Christian order of life, I would like to know from the pope after which time period and under which conditions such an objectively sinful behavior becomes a conduct which is pleasing to God,” said Spaemann.

By turning “chaos into principle” with “one stroke of a pen,” Pope Francis is leading the Church “into the direction of schism,” Spaemann said—and he warned that such a schism would not be “at the periphery, but in the middle of the Church.”

Spaemann also warned that Amoris Laetitia may be used to bully faithful priests. He wrote:

Each individual cardinal, as well as each bishop and each priest is now called to preserve in his field of authority the Catholic Sacramental Order and to confess it publicly. If the pope is not willing to make a correction, it is up to another pontificate to officially put things back into order.

***

THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

Man seeks restraining order against God

Haifa resident asks court to keep the Almighty away, claiming He is being mean to him

BY STUART WINER May 4, 2016, 2:54


Illustration of God either present or not in a magistrate's courtroom, January 18, 2016. (Nati Shohat/FLASH90)

A protocol of the hearing noted that God did not turn up for the session, although it did not specify how the court determined the Omnipresent was not in fact there, as opposed to merely exercising the right to remain silent.

The petitioner, who was not named in the report, noted that he had tried to obtain the restraining order from police for the past three years but that police had merely sent a patrol car to his home on 10 occasions.

He argued that over a three-year period God, had exhibited a seriously negative attitude toward him, although details of just what divine mischief he had borne the brunt of were not mentioned in the report.

Presiding Judge Ahsan Canaan denied the request, which he said was ludicrous, asserting the applicant needed help not from the court but rather from other sources.

The report did not include a response on the outcome from any of the multitude of available spokespeople on behalf of the Lord.

HERITAGE

The mystery of the Cairo Codex

Nadine Epstein

April 29, 2016

A few years ago, my friend J. Zel Lurie, a Delray Beach resident and founding editor of Hadassah magazine, decided he wanted to do something special to mark his 100th birthday. He decided to publish the illuminated pages of an ancient manuscript he had photographed in 1978 in Cairo at the synagogue of a Jewish sect known as the Karaites.

The manuscript was the legendary Cairo Codex, originally known as the Codex of the Prophets, which had been in possession of the Karaites-a group that rebelled against Jewish rabbinical authority in the years following the Roman sacking of Jerusalem and the Second Temple-for nearly 1,000 years. Lurie, then in his 60s, was transfixed by the Codex, with its 554 gazelle-hide parchment pages inscribed with three columns of gracefully handwritten Hebrew. He was especially taken with its 13 illuminated pages, decorated with meticulous micrography-delicate lines of tiny Hebrew letters that formed complex geometric patterns, interlaced with color and gold leaf. Though not a sentimental man, Lurie was moved by their beauty.

The Codex had a storied past told in part by its colophons-statements at the end of codices explaining their origins. According to its first colophon, it was commissioned by a Karaite, written by a Karaite scribe in 894 CE and given to the Karaites in Jerusalem to keep in their synagogue. But after it was seized by the Crusaders when they plundered Jerusalem in 1099, a wealthy Cairo Karaite paid a vast sum to ransom it and gave it to the Karaite community in Old Cairo, where both the Karaites and their Codex survived centuries of Fatimid, Ayyubid, Mamluk, Ottoman, French and British rule. The colophons also contained a warning: "Nobody shall be permitted to bring it out of the synagogue except if it is done-may God prevent it-by compulsion. One shall return it at the time of tranquility. Whoever changes this condition and this holiness shall be cursed by the Lord and all curses shall come upon him."

The era of the Karaites in Egypt began to come to an end with the anti-Zionist riots that occurred when the State of Israel was established in 1948. By the time Lurie visited in 1978, only a few dozen Karaites remained in Cairo; they, too, would soon depart-largely for Israel, but also to Europe and the United States. The last left in the mid-1980s, around which time the Cairo Codex vanished. Lurie hadn't noticed this development-most people hadn't- until he visited the only American Karaite synagogue in Daley City, California in 2012. It was there that Lurie made up his mind to have the illuminated pages professionally photographed and printed in a book-and learned that the manuscript was missing.

The retired journalist decided to track the Cairo Codex down. Though he spoke with many Karaites during his search-who all told him the Codex was most likely in Egypt-Lurie was convinced they weren't telling the truth. Just one, a physician and scholar who died in 2014, told Lurie a different story: The Codex had been smuggled out of Cairo to Israel, and was being kept in a climate-controlled sub-basement room in the National Library.

In May 2014, Lurie, then 100, flew to Israel to pursue this theory. Despite statements implying otherwise from a Karaite leader and a National Library curator, Lurie came away certain that the Codex was, in fact, at the library. But no one would admit it. By this time, Lurie's sight and hearing were failing, and he could no longer keep searching. And so I traveled to Israel last fall to follow up on Lurie's hunch. Despite denials from both the library and the official Karaite community, I was able to confirm that it is indeed in Israel-and, in fact, in the library. At the same time, it was revealed that the manuscript, which shares much in common the famed Aleppo Codex-now ensconced at the Shrine of the Book in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem-has not been seriously restored. In the process, I received warnings that the Codex was better left unfound. Some of these warnings included the concern that its reappearance could spark a diplomatic crisis between Israel and Egypt, which I determined to be highly unlikely. A more likely reason for the secrecy was that the disclosure of its location could spark ownership tensions between the library and Israel's Karaite community, most of whom immigrated from Egypt.

Today, Lurie is 102, and he still hopes to publish a book with new color reproductions of the illuminated pages. Israel's National Library has not, however, yet made the codex accessible. Lurie wants the Codex to be shared with the world and believes it is a tragedy that a high-quality edition of the entire Codex is not available online. "It is," he says, "time to liberate the Cairo Codex from the shackles of fear that have kept it hidden."

HUFFPOST

Bono Wants Christian Music To Get More Honest

The U2 musician said that he sees a “lot of dishonesty” in modern Christian music.

04/27/2016 05:51 pm ET

Carol Kuruvilla


Associate Religion Editor 


When U2 musician Bono reads the Psalms, a book of the Bible filled with ancient hymns, he sees the full range of human emotions: anger, irritation, sadness, bliss. While the Psalms have been a source of spiritual inspiration for him throughout his life, Bono has much harsher words for contemporary Christian music.

Modern Christian worship music has often been critiqued for its mediocrity — the repetition of the same four chords, the same set of reliably inspirational words, and theological jargon that leaves outsiders bewildered.

Bono, who has become more outspoken about his Christian faith in recent years, is advocating for a return to the raw and honest emotion of the Psalms.

“The psalmist is brutally honest about the explosive joy that he’s feeling and the deep sorrow or confusion,” the singer said in Fuller Studio‘s newly released documentary “The Psalms.” “And I often think, ‘Gosh, well, why isn’t church music more like that?’”

The singer’s comments in the film were part of a wide-ranging conversation he had with Eugene Peterson, a pastor and scholar who is best known for “The Message,” a translation of the Bible into contemporary language. The film documents the friendship between the unlikely pair, who were drawn together by their common interest in this ancient book of the Bible.

Peterson talked about how his translation of the Psalms are as close as he could get to the original meaning of the text.

“It’s not smooth, it’s not nice, it’s not pretty, but it’s honest,” Peterson said. “I think we’re trying for honesty, which is very, very hard in our culture.”

Bono agreed that honesty was hard to find in modern Christian culture. In fact, he said that he found “a lot of dishonesty” in modern Christian art.

“I would love if this conversation would inspire people who are writing these beautiful… gospel songs, write a song about their bad marriage. Write a song about how they’re pissed off at the government. Because that’s what God wants from you, the truth,” Bono said. “And that truthfulness .... will blow things apart.”

“Why I am suspicious of Christians is because of this lack of realism,” he continued. “And I’d love to see more of that — in art and in life and in music.”

***

THE TIMES OF ISRAEL

Iranian commander threatens to close Strait of Hormuz to US

Hossein Salami also says in speech aired on state TV that ‘Americans cannot make safe any part of the world’

BY AP May 4, 2016, 1:22 pm 214

A member of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards chants slogans after attacking a naval vessel during a military drill in the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran, February 25, 2015. (photo credit: Hamed Jafarnejad/AFP/Fars News)

TEHRAN, Iran — The deputy commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said Iranian forces will close the strategic Strait of Hormuz to the United States and its allies if they “threaten” the Islamic Republic, Iranian state media reported on Wednesday.

The comments by Gen. Hossein Salami, carried on state television, follow a long history of both rhetoric and confrontation between Iran and the US over the narrow strait, through which nearly a third of all oil traded by sea passes.

The remarks by the acting commander of the Guard also follow those of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who on Monday criticized US activities in the Persian Gulf. It’s unclear whether that signals any new Iranian concern over the strait or possible confrontation with the US following its nuclear deal with world powers.

The US Navy’s 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In his remarks, Salami said that “Americans should learn from recent historical truths,” likely referring to the January capture of 10 US sailors who entered Iranian waters. The sailors were released less than a day later, though state TV aired footage of the sailors on their knees with their hands on their heads.

“If the Americans and their regional allies want to pass through the Strait of Hormuz and threaten us, we will not allow any entry,” Salami said, without elaborating on what he and other leaders would consider a threat.

He added: “Americans cannot make safe any part of the world.”

The US and Iran have a long history of confrontations in the Persian Gulf. They even fought a one-day naval battle on April 18, 1988, after the near-sinking of the missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts by an Iranian mine. That day, US forces attacked two Iranian oil rigs and sank or damaged six Iranian vessels.

US Navy 5th Fleet (photo credit: Seaman Chad R. Erdmann/US Navy)

A few months later, in July 1988, the USS Vincennes in the strait mistook an Iran Air flight heading to Dubai for an attacking fighter jet, shooting down the plane and killing all 290 people aboard.

US Navy officials say they face near-daily encounters with Iranian naval vessels. In January, an unarmed Iranian drone flew over a US aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, the first since 2014, according to Navy records obtained by The Associated Press.

The US has also criticized what it called a “highly provocative” Iranian rocket test in December near its warships and commercial traffic. Iran said it has the right to conduct tests in the strait and elsewhere in Gulf.

Iran also sank a replica of a US aircraft carrier near the strait in February 2015 and has said it is testing “suicide drones” that could attack ships.

***

Global Research

Breaking: Baghdad State of Emergency, Green Zone Stormed

By Felicity Arbuthnot

Global Research, April 30, 2016 Supporters of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr have stormed Baghdad’s highly fortified, US established Green Zone, also home to the US Embassy, uninvited, the biggest in the world.

All staff of the Japanese, French, British, Australian, Jordanian, Emirates and Saudi Arabia Embassies have moved into the American Embassy, it is being reported.

Entrances have been reported sealed and tight security imposed to protect the Iraq Central Bank and other government banks, says an unconfirmed report. However, the Guardian contradicts stating that: “A guard at a checkpoint said the protesters had not been searched before entering. About ten members of the armed group loyal to Sadr were checking protesters cursorily while government security forces who usually conduct careful searches with bomb-sniffing dogs stood by the side.” (1)

U.S. Embassy, Baghdad

Moreover: “Rudaw TV showed protesters chanting and taking selfies inside the parliament chamber where moments earlier MPs had been meeting.”

As Al Jazeera explains: “It is the climax of weeks of political turmoil in Iraq that has seen MPs hold a sit-in, brawl in the parliament chamber and seek to sack the speaker, stalling Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s efforts to replace party-affiliated ministers with technocrats.”

The further chaos comes just two days after US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Baghdad in a situation so chaotic for the US’ puppet government that as the New York Times described it (28th April 2016) “ … the political situation in Iraq has become so fluid that Mr. Biden’s team has sometimes been unsure whether officials he planned to meet with would still be in office when he arrived.”

America’s fortress Green Zone has been breached with thousands of protestors breaking in, with one shouting: “You are not staying here! This is your last day in the Green Zone”, according to Al Jazeera (2) who reported that in Parliament: “ … some rioters rampaged through the building and broke into offices, while other protesters shouted: “peacefully, peacefully” and tried to contain the destruction …”

Barbed wire was pulled across the road leading to the Green Zone exits: “preventing some scared lawmakers from fleeing the chaos.”

The hated US imposed and fortified Zone – which was simply central Baghdad for all to wander under Saddam Hussein has finally been breached after thirteen years. Where another period of chaos will end, who knows, but meanwhile diplomats cower in the US Embassy, as factions Iraqis patience finally runs out over the tragedy and disaster that is the US and UK’s illegally imposed “New Iraq.”

“Iraq’s are very quick to revolt”, former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Tareq Aziz, told me in an interview before the invasion, listing the years and the fate of those the uprisings had been against. The decimation since has delayed a further one, but it seems it’s time has arrived.

As for the outcome, updates follow. As we have wondered before in these columns, Embassy roof time for the residents and guests of the US Ambassador – again? Vietnam’s spectre hovers?

Notes

1.http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/30/moqtada-al-sadr-supporters-enter-baghdad-parliament-building-green-zone

2.http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/04/protesters-storm-baghdad-green-zone-parliament-160430120004964.html

***

Mail Online

Think the EU’s bad now? Wait until Albania joins: With piercing logic and passionate eloquence, MICHAEL GOVE warns that EU expansion will open our borders to 88million from Europe's poorest countries

By MICHAEL GOVE FOR THE DAILY MAIL

PUBLISHED: 00:28, 30 April 2016 | UPDATED: 09:40, 30 April 2016

The Albanian Option. It sounds like a John le Carré novel. You imagine a story with political intrigue, huge sums of money going astray, criminality and double-dealing. And you’d be right.

But the Albanian Option isn’t holiday reading fiction — it’s diplomatic fact.

Albania is on course to join the European Union — alongside four other countries, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. The already unwieldy group of 28 is due to become a throng of 33.

And Britain isn’t just backing this move. We’re paying for it.

Every week we send £350 million to the EU. And now millions of your hard-earned taxes are being directed to these five prospective members.

Desperate: Albanian refugees arrive in Italy in 1991, after the collapse of communism. How many more will come if Albania joins the EU?

Between now and 2020 the United Kingdom will pay almost £2 billion to help these nations prepare for membership of the EU — that’s more than we will spend on the NHS Cancer Drugs Fund over the same period.

This bounty will be our greatest gift to Albania since the comic talent of the late Sir Norman Wisdom, that country’s improbable national hero, lit up the dark days of Stalinist dictatorship.

Indeed, I wonder if the Albanian people are now convinced that Britain’s Foreign Office is full of Norman Wisdom characters, lovable chumps whose generosity and good-heartedness make them easily gulled into accepting all sorts of bad advice.

How else could they explain their good fortune in being on the receiving end of a £2 billion Balkan bonanza?

Many British people will ask why, if we have billions to spare, it isn’t being spent on UK schools and hospitals rather than Albania and Montenegro.

But what makes this expenditure particularly difficult to defend is the fact that we are not just paying to help Albanians and Montenegrins in their own country.

When Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey join the EU, another 88 million people will be eligible for NHS care and school places for their children. Pictured are migrants at the Greek-Macedonian border

We are actually paying to give the people of Albania and Montenegro unfettered access to the UK’s public services.

EU citizens enjoy the right to live and work in any member state — it’s a freedom the EU’s elites consider essential to the working of their union. We saw in the Prime Minister’s recent attempts to renegotiate our EU membership the absolute determination of other EU leaders to protect this right.

But while it suits the EU establishment to allow so many millions to move to the UK, that freedom for others means problems for our own citizens.

What’s interesting is that it has been thinkers on the Left — people whose whole lives have been devoted to supporting the most disadvantaged in our society — who have been ringing the alarm bell this week about the consequences of unfettered free movement.

***

RT

Put up or pay up: EC wants to fine EU members €250,000 per refused refugee

Published time: 4 May, 2016 05:12

Edited time: 4 May, 2016 12:11

EU member states could soon be charged hundreds of millions of euros for denying asylum to refugees if the European Commission has its way.

Trends

The scheme is considered one of the most contentious parts of the revision to the so-called Dublin asylum regulation, which allows northern EU countries to deport refugees to their port of first entry.

The €250,000 fine per refugee ($289,659) was reportedly agreed upon during Monday’s meeting.

However, the fine is not yet set in stone and could be subject to negotiation. “The size of the contribution may change, but the idea is to make it appear like a sanction,” an official familiar with the proposal told the Financial Times.

The commission’s goal is to redistribute the weight of the refugee crisis from countries such as Greece by introducing automatic asylum quotas for each EU member state.

So far, the commission’s scheme to relocate 160,000 asylum-seekers has reportedly not even reached one percent of its target.

Some of the countries opposed to the draft plan include Poland, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary.

Under the new proposal, a country such as Poland, which has an existing quota of 6,500, would have to pay over 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) if it were to refuse to accept any refugees, according to Financial Times.

Another example is Hungary, which has a quota of 1,294 but has offered no places to asylum seekers so far. Under the new plan, the country would be forced to pay a fine of 323 million euros ($3.7 million).

Following news of the proposal, Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák said the quota plan does not “respect reality.”

The worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II is ongoing, with most asylum seekers arriving on the continent from the Middle East and particularly Syria, where around 250,000 people have been killed and more than 12 million displaced since a civil war began there in 2011, according to the latest UN figures.

Over one million refugees reached Europe’s shores in 2015. More recent figures from a February report compiled by the International Organization for Migration reveal that more than 100,000 people arrived in Greece and another 7,507 entered Italy since the beginning of 2016.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Commission backed a visa-free travel agreement with Turkey after Ankara threatened to back out of a landmark migration deal.

Under the agreement, all illegal migrants reaching Greece from Turkey's shores are to be returned. In exchange, the EU agreed to take thousands of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey.

‘Counting refugees’

While the European Commission considers imposing stricter refugee laws, EU countries seem more concerned with assessing the number of refugees using their services.

For example, bus drivers in northern France were reportedly told to count the number of migrants using the Twisto transport company based out of Caen, according to the France Bleu channel.

The company’s bus service has a route that runs from the center of Caen to the Ouistréham ferry terminal, which has become a hot spot for refugees who want to eventually cross over to the UK.

Forms have reportedly been distributed that require Twisto drivers to fill in boxes asking for information such as: “Number of migrants inspected” and “Number of migrants booked.” Another document asks the drivers to record where the migrants got off the bus.

France Bleu channel suggested that the order to keep track of refugees came from police, but local police chief Laurent Fiscus denied the allegations. However, he added that acquiring such information could be very useful.

“Public transport drivers and conductors can provide information whether it’s about migrants or other problems,” Fiscus told the channel. “The national and municipal police need this kind of information.”

***

RT

'Blackmail': Eastern European govts lash out at EC's quota penalty proposal

Published time: 4 May, 2016 15:04

Edited time: 4 May, 2016 18:34

Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia have lashed out at the European Commission's proposal to fine countries that refuse to implement a quota plan for the distribution of refugees. Brussels says the plan is aimed at easing pressure faced by frontline nations.

The plan, announced Wednesday, envisages mandatory payments imposed on countries that refuse to accommodate asylum seekers – a move which Hungary says is “blackmail.”

"Regarding the fines proposed by the European Commission, it is blackmailing," Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said after a meeting with his counterparts from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland in Prague, Reuters reported.

He went on to call the quota concept a “dead-end street” and asked the Commission not to follow through with it.

Those thoughts were echoed by Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak, who said the quota system is “a bad system...it makes no sense.”

Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak said the timing of the Commission's proposal was difficult, given efforts to reach consensus on closing migrant routes and reaching a deal on refugees with Turkey.

"In the middle of these very sensitive talks, a proposal is put on the table that sets us back nine months and does not reflect reality in some aspects," he said.

The three countries, along with the Czech Republic, have consistently voiced their opposition to the quota plan which was agreed to by other EU member states in September. Hungary and Slovakia are contesting the plan in EU courts.

Under the Commission's newest proposal, a “fairness mechanism” would exist under which each of the 28 member states would be assigned a percentage quota of all asylum seekers within the bloc.

A country's quota would depend on its national population and wealth. If a nation found itself handling more than 50 percent more than its share, it would be permitted to relocate people elsewhere within the bloc.

Those states could refuse to take people for a year, but would be required to pay €250,000 ($287,000) to another country to accommodate the refugees.

The Commission says the plan is aimed at providing relief to countries bearing the brunt of the refugee crisis, particularly Italy and Greece. According to a February report compiled by the International Organization for Migration, more than 100,000 people have arrived in Greece and 7,507 in Italy since the beginning of the year.

Germany, which has been a leading destination for asylum seekers, has pushed hard for a structure that would provide more equality among member states, and has criticized the opposition voiced by eastern countries.

Meanwhile, the EU continues to face the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Most of the asylum seekers are arriving from war-torn Syria, where around 250,000 people have been killed and more than 12 million displaced since 2011, according to UN figures.

Earlier Wednesday, the Commission backed a visa-free travel agreement with Turkey after Ankara threatened to back out of a landmark migration deal. Under the agreement, all illegal migrants reaching Greece from Turkey's shores are to be returned. In exchange, the EU agreed to take thousands of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey.

***

New American

EU Secretly Building Transnational Military

Written by Alex Newman

Friday, 22 April 2016

Officials with the European Union and its formerly sovereign member states are conspiring to usurp control over national militaries, with a goal of eventually building a transnational EU military loyal only to the unelected regime ruling Europe from Brussels. Outrage surrounding the plot, however, is growing.

The process, taking place without a shed of democratic legitimacy, is already well underway. German and Dutch forces, for example, are being “merged” into a unified command — the “nucleus” of the future EU force that will be beyond the reach of voters and their elected parliaments. Under the guise of dealing with the orchestrated “refugee crisis,” the EU is also imposing a transnational armed force with power to intervene in members states, even against their will. EU military missions in Africa are also picking up steam. And the EU's extremism is only growing.

Critics of the EU's military ambitions, though, are already speaking out forcefully. Among other responses, opponents of the agenda said the dangerous machinations offer even more reason for nations to urgently secede from the totalitarian-minded super-state in Brussels. The “British Exit” campaign, or “Brexit” as the prospect of U.K. secession is known casually, received a major boost from the news, with multiple media outlets noting that the EU military scheme would eventually ensnare the United Kingdom if voters do not vote to secede from Brussels' rule.

In an article headlined “SECRET PLOT EXPOSED: EU in stealth plan to set up ARMY by merging German and Dutch forces,” the U.K. Daily Express newspaper noted that the plan to give Brussels its own military was being advanced “by stealth.” The plan was reportedly outlined last year by the increasingly radical and unpopular German government, which has been flooding Germany with Middle Eastern and African migrants while showering German tax dollars on the EU and its poorer member governments.

According to the report, Dutch military brigades have already come under German command, including the 43rd Mechanized Brigade last month and the 11th Airmobile Brigade last year. “As things stand the Dutch Army has been reduced to its 13th Mechanized Brigade along with special forces, support and headquarters staff but there are plans to merge these with the German Army too,” the Express reported, adding that the two governments' naval forces were in the process of being merged as well.

The agenda to impose an EU military on Europe was all outlined last year by German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leye. “The European Army is our long-term goal, but first we have to strengthen the European Defense Union,” she was quoted as saying. “To achieve this, some nations with concrete military cooperation must come to the fore — and the Germans and the Dutch are doing this.” Controversial German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been bullying her foreign counterparts to join the bandwagon. And the Czech Republic's government, among others, is also reportedly preparing to surrender its armed forces to the emerging EU military.

Critics were fuming about the developments. United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) Defense Spokesman Mike Hookem, for example, said the military centralization plot would eventually engulf Britain if the nation does not secede from the EU. He also said the German and Dutch governments were “creating an EU army by stealth,” trying to bypass the EU Council of Ministers and other official organs by quietly building the nucleus of the EU military and then adding other nations' militaries to it. However, the official with the UKIP, which opposes EU membership and is seeking a “Brexit,” vowed to ask questions of the EU and fight against the plan.

“The EU was supposed to be about corralling Germany military dominance in Europe,” explained Hookem, whose party has long warned of the EU's agenda to crush liberty, self-government, and national sovereignty. “That aspiration has clearly died and just as Germany now politically dominates the EU, this latest move with the Dutch army shows that in time Germany wants to expand and control as much as it can militarily.”

In addition to the ongoing merger of national militaries, the EU is also scheming to impose what it calls a “European Border and Coast Guard.” The controversial military and law enforcement outfit is set to have the power to militarily interfere inside and outside of the EU, whether national authorities agreed or not, under the guise of everything from “crime” and “terror” to “migration.” An EU “fact sheet” explains that the new armed EU force will be able to “ensure that action is taken on the ground even where there is no request for assistance from the Member State concerned or where that Member State considers that there is no need for additional intervention.”

The pretext for imposing the radical agenda is dealing with the so-called “refugee crisis” and defending the EU's external borders. However, as this magazine has documented extensively, the EU and its members not only played a key role in creating the migrant tsunami by helping destroy foreign nations such as Libya and Syria, they also have no intention of actually sealing the border. When Hungarian authorities tried to seal the border, they were chastised by Brussels. Hungary's prime minister has warned that Brussels-based globalists involved in a “treasonous conspiracy” were using the “refugee” tsunami to destroy nation-states and Judeo-Christian Western civilization.

Of course, the EU is hardly the only illegitimate regional government attempting to usurp control over national militaries and build up unaccountable transnational forces on the road to what the architects of the “regional orders” often refer to publicly as the “New World Order.” In Africa, the EU- and Beijing-funded African Union, almost a caricature of itself, already has “AU troops” deployed on various missions across the continent. Indeed, the EU just approved an EU military “training mission” for the regime in the Central African Republic, a mission dubbed EUTM RCA, that will last for two years. In South America, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR or UNASUL) is similarly working on a regional military beyond the reach of voters or national governments.

Ironically, while the Kremlin cites the EU as a key reason for imposing Vladimir Putin's “Eurasian Union” on former victims of Soviet terror across five nations, EU bosses have pointed to Putin's machinations to justify an EU military. “You would not create a European army to use it immediately,” declared self-styled EU “President” Jean Claude Juncker, who recently admitted that extreme EU meddling in every aspect of European life had driven surging opposition to the Soviet-style super-state. “But a common army among the Europeans would convey to Russia that we are serious about defending the values of the European Union.”

It was not clear what the “values” of the EU, dubbed the “New European Soviet” by former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev, might be. However, the EU has become infamous for, among other “values,” lying to the public for decades about its real agenda, ignoring European voters when they overwhelmingly reject the EU agenda in public referendums, using public money to support extremist groups with links to the promotion of pedophilia, censoring the Internet under the guise of “extremism,” dictating the speech of journalists under threat of possible imprisonment, secretly stealing liberty and sovereignty from people, and more. In fact, the “values of the European Union” would appear to be rather similar to those supposedly held by Putin, against whom the EU military will supposedly defend.

The peoples of Europe are facing a full-blown assault on their liberties, their cultures, their nations, and their heritage. That assault is being orchestrated by unelected globalists and bureaucrats in Brussels and beyond, and it is extraordinarily dangerous. For the sake of freedom and Western civilization, the British should lead the way in peacefully seceding from the EU super-state while it remains possible. And the rest of the world should pay close attention to what is happening in Europe, because the plan is to subjugate humanity using essentially the same process across the globe. At least that is the plan if the public does not rise up and stop it.

**

InvestmentWatch

The coming financial collapse of PENSION programs across America

Submitted by IWB, on May 2nd, 2016

Pension programs across America are under-funded by $3.4 trillion.

* The strategy for pension programs is to cook the books and then, when they can no longer cover up the financial facts, claim to be “too big to fail” and demand a bailout.

* Pensions all across America are going into default. How many pension plans can the federal government bail out?

* Most of these pensions provide monthly retirement incomes to former government workers.

* The government repeatedly LIES to you about all economic numbers and debt numbers.

* Government is in the business of making promises they can’t keep! This includes pension promises.

* If you are relying on a government pension for your retirement, you may need to rethink how reliable that is.

* Consider ways to increase your income or lower your cost of living.

* How much is your pension worth if the dollar collapses?

* You need some REAL assets as a backup.

* What’s real? Gold, silver, land, ammo…

* Can you cash out your pension and invest it in something that’s REAL?

* It is a mathematical fact that most people who are owed pension money will never receive it.

* Only a few will be able to ever collect what they are owed: An underfunded pension is a Ponzi scheme.

* All Ponzi schemes collapse. It is a mathematical certainty.

* Count on the system failing now, and you may avoid being victimized by it.

***

Science alert

Alessio Romeo/La Venta/Theraphosa

Explorers just got their first glimpse inside the Amazon's mysterious tepui mountains

A real-life Lost World.

DAVID NIELD

29 APR 2016

For all our insanely accurate mapping technologies and unquenchable desire to see everything on Earth, huge areas of our planet remain mostly unexplored, cut off from civilisation by inhospitable climate or impossible terrain.

And while that was once a perfect description of the Amazon's tepui mountains, explorers have finally figured out how to get inside its incredible forests and caves.

For the unfamiliar, tepuis are table-top mountains that are difficult to access because of the sheer cliffs that surround them - sometimes 3,000 metres (or 10,000 feet) high. Across their summits and deep within their caverns, lush habitats have been evolving in isolation, which makes them prime areas for study.

One such high-rise, the Amazonian Mount Roraima, was the setting for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel The Lost World, where it plays home to an undiscovered tribe of ape-men and several species of living dinosaurs. Today's adventurers haven't come across any dinosaurs or ape-like men (yet), but their findings are fascinating nevertheless.

Speleologist Francesco Sauro from the University of Bologna in Italy is leading the expedition, after recently finishing a 40-day research trip through the Imawarì Yeuta tepui in Venezuela, where there are more than 22 kilometres (14 miles) of caves and tunnels.

The full results of the trip won't be published until November, but Stephen Ornes from New Scientist has reported on some of the findings.

Alessio Romeo/La Venta/Theraphosa

Sauro himself describes the caves as "a completely different world" and "like islands in time." Two mountain environments can develop very differently because they evolve in isolation, which means expert explorers are never quite sure what to expect until they get there.

Of course, there are no detailed maps in existence for the area, so the team relies on high-resolution satellite imagery and reconnaissance missions where the most promising locations are scouted out in advance.

Inside the quartz sandstone caves - which are likely to have taken tens of millions of years to form - the team expects to uncover minerals and unique species of animals that have never been seen before. The caves are filled with peculiarly shaped speleothems (stalactites and stalagmites) carved out by colonies of microorganisms, and Sauro and his colleagues are hoping to finally figure out how they form.

"[The caves] safeguard material from the outside," said one of the team, geographer and cartographer Jo de Waele. "There's no wind, no surface erosion. It's incredible."

The Amazon explorers want to understand more about how life exists and evolves in these mysterious environments, and more trips are already planned. Previously unclassified types of bacteria have already been spotted in preliminary studies of the data from Venezuela, though we'll have to wait for the full report to see how useful they might be to the world of science.

"Every expedition reveals new geological and biological environments hidden underground," Sauro wrote for The Guardian back in 2014. "In effect, it's like exploring a new world, your next step visible thanks only to your lamp."

Alessio Romeo/La Venta/Theraphosa

***

AP

STONES, DYLAN, MCCARTNEY PLAY COACHELLA SITE IN OCTOBER

By JOHN ROGERS

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES AP) — It could be Woodstock 47 years later, only the drug of choice might be antacid — a weekend concert event featuring some of the greatest musical acts of the 1960s.

Confirming weeks of rumors, Goldenvoice Entertainment announced Tuesday it is bringing together the top performers — really just from the 1960s — for a three-day blowout in California's Coachella Desert.

Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, The Who, Paul McCartney, Neil Young and Pink Floyd's Roger Waters, all on stage at the Empire Polo Club in Indio during an October weekend.

It's every Baby Boomer's fantasy. Except it's real.

"I think everybody has a sense that this is going to be something historic, and I really don't think that's overblowing it to say that," said Chris Sampson, founding director of the popular music program at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music.

Dubbed the Desert Trip, the three nights of music Oct. 7-9 will begin on a Friday with performances by Dylan and the Rolling Stones. They will be followed the next night by McCartney and Young, with Waters and The Who closing out the weekend on Sunday.

Each act will perform full, separate sets with the shows beginning at sunset.

It should be noted that the average age of the four core members of the Rolling Stones is 72. Dylan will be 75 by show time, McCartney is 73, Waters 72 and the event's youngest headliner (named, appropriately enough, Young) is 70.

That's led some, like Youth International co-founder Paul Krassner, who is 84 himself and watched The Who play at 1969's Woodstock Music and Art Fair (where people were warned not to take the "brown acid") to quip that this event should be called Geezerfest.

"I would love to be there except I now need a walker to get from one room to another," he said Tuesday.

Still, Sampson expects every act to deliver. As he notes, anyone who has seen Dylan or the Stones or any of the others knows, they pretty much still do. Every night. And on these nights their legacy will be on the line.

So why are they doing this anyway? Besides, of course, for the obvious reason: Money.

"I would imagine that this is going to be very lucrative for everybody," Sampson said, laughing. "But I'm also thinking they're motivated, at least in part, by being part of something special."

The next question is who will go to this.

It might draw comparisons to Woodstock, but it's unlikely any Baby Boomers will be sleeping in the mud this time, even if it does rain. And they'll be no need for any 401 (k) flush boomers to hitchhike for miles.

For a bit more than $5,000, people can purchase a three-night stay at a high-end hotel, passes to the shows, shuttle service to and from the venue, meals and other perks. There is reserve seating and bleacher seating for anyone whose days of standing up or dancing nonstop at a concert are over.

For those who want to camp, there are tents.

For those who just want to see the show, one-day passes are $199, with three-day passes costing $399. They go on sale Monday.

Although Sampson expects a good deal of the audience to skew older, he adds people shouldn't be surprised to see young people there.

Although the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is packed each year with younger indie bands, legacy acts like McCartney, AC/DC and Steely Dan have fared well there in recent years.

What's more, Sampson, who teaches music classes to people in their 20s, says Baby Boomers would be surprised at how much admiration Millennials have for songwriters like Dylan, McCartney, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and the others.

"People in their early 20s, they find it a really amazing experience," he said of hearing that music for the first time. Some, he said, react the same way they do when they hear Mozart for the first time.

"They have a reverence for it. It's new music to them in a lot of ways."

WND

3 RULES TO RESTORE LOST ETIQUETTE

Laura Hollis on today's 'approve of me!' demands: 'Keep your private life private'

Laura Hollis

April 29, 2016

When I was a child, my mother (traditional Southern woman that she was) enrolled me in an etiquette class for children called “White Gloves and Party Manners.” Bratty little Yankee know-it-all that I was (this being 1970 or so), I thought it was the most absurd waste of time I’d ever been forced to endure.

Etiquette got a bad rap then, and to a certain extent it still does. It is seen in many quarters as patrician, elitist, a vestige of a society based upon class distinctions and a mechanism for institutionalized snobbery.

As I have grown older, I have come to appreciate just how wrongheaded that perception is. We have lost much by chucking etiquette out the window, and what has taken its place is not an improvement.

It’s the absurd notion that the past has nothing to teach us that has gotten us where we are today. It’s popular to deride the millennial generation as coddled “special snowflakes.” But it’s the baby boomers who absolutely cannot admit that they were wrong.

And oh, were they wrong. Theirs was the generation that gave us “Don’t trust anyone over 30,” and their obsession with youth has produced 50 years of deliberate disregard of the wisdom that comes with age. Etiquette was one of the first casualties.

Nowhere is this clearer than with the “sexual revolution,” which has been an unmitigated disaster. Rampant divorce? Check. Fatherless children and impoverished families? Check. Spread of sexually transmitted diseases among young people? Check. Hyper-sexualization of children? Check. “Rape culture” on college campuses? Check. (Seriously – you cannot have a culture that treats sex like a spectator sport and then feign shock when young people treat it like a spectator sport.)

Even some of the most contentious issues of our day could have a significant amount of friction lessened with a little bit of etiquette and propriety: a young woman has too much to drink on a date? A young man raised to be a gentleman would not dream of taking advantage of her. A man is walking down the street wearing women’s clothing? Propriety would suggest a smile and a “Good morning” and not remarking any further upon it. Your gay nephew and his significant other announce their marriage, civil union or commitment ceremony? Good manners dictate a thoughtful gift and a handwritten card if you cannot – or prefer not to – attend.

A number of societal trends have rushed into the vacuum left by etiquette’s unceremonious expulsion, and none of them is good. The first of these is the adolescent insistence upon constant affirmation and public expressions of approval. This attitude has created nothing short of an ongoing national temper tantrum. For heaven’s sake, grow up. Everyone isn’t going to “approve” of you, and it is puerile to insist upon it.

And when approval becomes a civil right, how better to insist upon it than by using the law? In place of politesse (as the French so daintily put it), we have prosecution. Instead of a blotter, we now have a bludgeon. Thus, we move from “approve of me” to “approve of me or I will sue you.” Do you really think that you will bring people around to your view of homosexuality, contraception or abortion by using the law to force people to participate? It’s a prudish throwback to teach our sons to be chivalrous or our daughters to exercise good judgment – but it’s somehow “progress” for them to sleep around in a drunken stupor and then have their lives ruined by actual sexual assault, or false accusations of sexual assault, or academic “disciplinary” proceedings that utterly lack due process, or criminal prosecutions.

The third trend contributing to our collective misery is the apparently irresistible impulse to tell everyone what one thinks of them. This has only been exacerbated by social media and the anonymity of the Internet. We have become a nation of insufferable busybodies. Who made it your business?

As counterintuitive as it may sound, polite behavior based upon widely acknowledged social mores is vitally important to the smooth operation of a liberal society. In its absence, we do not have more freedom, but exhibitionism and offense and conflict and oppression.

I’m not suggesting that we obsess over “Downton Abbey”-esque intricacies of etiquette (“Which fork with fish?”). But we could improve things immeasurably by following just a few simple rules:

1. Don’t be vulgar in public.

2. Keep your private life private.

3. Keep your opinions to yourself.

And while we’re on the subject, “privacy” is not synonymous with “shame.” There are plenty of human activities – most of which involve some kind of bodily function – that we do in private, not because they are shameful, but because they are nobody’s business. Those who equate rudeness and exhibitionism with societal advancement have done little except make our culture insufferably crude.

I’ve made these observations before, and there are inevitably those who go into fits of apoplexy: “You’d take us back to the 1950s, when women and minorities were second-class citizens.”

What a load of rubbish. Time marches on. There are any number of ways in which society is far better than it was, we all know it, and no one (well, except perhaps ISIS) is going backward. But not everything contemporary is “better,” nor does progress preclude us from appreciating things in the past that actually have something to offer. Chaucer is still wickedly funny; Shakespeare’s plays and poetry are still genius; John Milton is still poignant and inspirational, and we still teach – and play – the works of Mozart and Beethoven. That’s not saying we want to live in the 14th, 16th or 18th centuries.

If we can appreciate Botticelli and Bach without a desire to live in their eras, so, too, can we look back and decide that the decorum associated with an earlier age still has a place today, notwithstanding – or perhaps because of – our modernity.

And we should.

***

Until next week...keep on believing.
Almondtree Productions

Now a certain woman, had a flow of blood for twelve years, And had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had, and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd, and touched His garment. For she said, If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well. Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.”
(Mark 5:25-29)


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