Daily Archives: February 3, 2019

February 3 Confession and Forgiveness

Scripture Reading: 1 John 1:5–2:2

Key Verses: Colossians 2:13–14

You, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

What role does confession of sin play in the life of a believer?

The answer to this question often swings to one of two extremes. Some say since Jesus is sufficient atonement for all our sin when we accept Him as Savior, confession of specific sins isn’t necessary at all. Others believe a detailed confession is needed each time we sin in order for God to be motivated to continue to forgive us.

Neither idea views forgiveness from God’s perspective. Colossians 2:13–14 (nasb) explains an essential truth: “When you were dead in your transgressions … He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions … and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

Jesus’ blood covers all of your sins—past, present, and future. The purpose of confession is not to catalog your sins or to gloss over sin with vague or general terms. In confession, you agree with God that what you have done is sin, that it is absolutely wrong and not in accord with His plans.

He wants you to tell Him straightforwardly what you’ve done so that you can experience the power of His forgiveness. To restore your sense of fellowship with the Lord, confess the things that strain your relationship with Him. One by one, lay your sins at His feet and you will feel the burden lift from your heart.

Father, thank You that the blood of Your Son, Jesus, covers all my sins—past, present, and future. One by one, I bring my sins to You. Lift their heavy burden from my heart.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 36). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Sunday Talks: Jim Jordan Part 2 – The Mueller Report, Bruce Ohr, and FBI/DOJ Corruption… — The Last Refuge

In the second segment of the Jim Jordan interview with Maria Bartiromo the discussion turns to the issues surrounding the corrupt FBI/DOJ investigation; how DOJ deputy Bruce Ohr remained at the center of activity; and the ongoing purpose of the Mueller probe: to hide all the previous corrupt activity and continue investigating Trump.

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Within the discussion Jim Jordan talks about the importance of Bruce Ohr as a bridge between Fusion-GPS/Glenn Simpson/Nellie Ohr/Chris Steele to the corrupt elements within the FBI headed by Andrew McCabe.

Last year we noted a letter between Senator Chuck Grassley and DAG Rod Rosenstein (Page 5, footnote #5) that outlines the FBI interviews of twice demoted DOJ Deputy Bruce Ohr:

Ohr FD-302 12/19/16 (interview date 11/22/16);
Ohr FD-302 12/19/16 (interview date 12/05/16);
Ohr FD-302 12/19/16 (interview date 12/12/16);
Ohr FD-302 12/27/16 (interview date 12/20/16);
Ohr FD-302 01/27/17 (interview date 01/27/17);
Ohr FD-302 01/31/17 (interview date 01/23/17);
Ohr FD-302 01/27/17 (interview date 01/25/17);
Ohr FD-302 02/08/17 (interview date 02/06/17);
Ohr FD-302 02/15/17 (interview date 02/14/17);
Ohr FD-302 05/10/17 (interview date 05/08/17);
Ohr FD-302 05/12/17 (interview date 05/12/17);
Ohr FD-302 05/16/17 (interview date 05/15/17).

(Page #5, Footnote #5)

However, we now know that Nellie Ohr began working for Fusion around the end of December 2015, and that Bruce Ohr met with Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson prior to the FISA application (October 21st, 2016); including a briefing by Bruce Ohr for Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

Bruce and Nellie Ohr met for a breakfast with Steele on July 30, 2016.  Sometime in early August 2016, following closely on the July 30 breakfast meeting with Steele, Ohr reached out to McCabe in order to set up a meeting to detail the information he had been given by Steele. The meeting took place in McCabe’s office:

Q: “Shortly after you met with Christopher Steele on July 30, you had a meeting with Andy McCabe and Lisa Page?”

Ohr: “Yes.”

Q: “You said that meeting was at main Justice?”

Ohr: “No, that meeting was in Andrew McCabe’s office.”

Q: “It was in Andrew McCabe’s office.”

Ohr: “Yes.”

Q: “And it was sometime, you believe, in August, because it was shortly after the meeting with Christopher Steele?”

Ohr: “Probably, yes.”

Q: “And that was because, at that point in time, you wanted the FBI to have that information and be aware of your contact with Christopher Steele?”

Ohr: “Yes.”

Q: “Did anyone prompt that call to Andy McCabe?”

Ohr: “No, I don’t think so I think that was me. Just me.”

Q: “Sally Yates—she was your boss, right?”

Ohr: “Yes.”

Q: “You said she didn’t know that you were talking to Steele or Simpson?”

Ohr: “Correct.”

Q: “How do you know she didn’t know?”

Ohr: “Well, I didn’t tell her.”

Q: “Okay. So she may have known from some other source.”

Ohr: “Possible.”

Q: “Well, you would think she would, because over at the FBI, Andy McCabe knew that you were talking to Steele and Simpson as early as August of 2016.”

Ohr: “Right. But I don’t know what, if anything, was conveyed to Sally Yates.”

Q: “Andy McCabe knew. Did Jim Comey know in August of 2016 that you were talking to Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson?”

Ohr: “I don’t know.”

Q: “Was Joe Pientka your go-between in December when you got additional information from either Christopher Steele or Glenn Simpson in getting it to the FBI?”

Ohr: “Joe Pientka, I believe, was my contact at that time, yeah.”

Q: “You immediately go to Joe Pientka, who immediately goes to Peter Strzok. Are you aware of that?”

Ohr: “No.”

Ohr: “So they [Strzok & Page] understood that I had received information, and they said they would get me an agent to talk to who would write the stuff down and do whatever—well, I don’t know if write it down, but that they would give me an agent to speak with and provide the information.”

Q: “Is that why there are 302s of you in the file?”

Ohr: “I believe so.”

Q: “That is the agent interviewing you?”

Q: “On page 2 of the letter it lists 12 separate dates and 302s where the FBI interviewed you indicating the first interview took place on November 22, 2016, and the last one on May 15, 2017. Is this list of interviews and dates generally consistent with your recollection?”

Ohr: “Yes. The caveat I would say is, I continued to have some conversations with Christopher Steele after May 15, 2017. I’ve reported all of those to the FBI, but I do not see any 302s relating to those conversations.”

Q: “Do you know anything different about those interviews or about those 302s as to why they wouldn’t have been produced in response to a request by Members of Congress?”

Ohr: “I don’t know if they did 302s later on. A lot of these conversations seemed less substantive, but I don’t know. I didn’t know about the original 302s either.”

Q: “Did you continue to meet with the FBI to discuss your conversations with Mr. Steele all the way up through late November of 2017?

Ohr: “Correct.”

Q: “And who at the Washington field office conducted an interview?”

Ohr: “I cannot remember the names.”

Q: “But it wasn’t Pientka?”

Ohr: “Right.”

Q: “So it was somebody, another agent, or agents, at the FBI’s Washington field office?”

Ohr: “My recollection is at least on two occasions, I was handed onto a new agent.”

(source)

2017?

Question: where are the investigative documents pertaining to those meetings?

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via Sunday Talks: Jim Jordan Part 2 – The Mueller Report, Bruce Ohr, and FBI/DOJ Corruption… — The Last Refuge

Sunday Talks: Jim Jordan Part 1 – The Fraudulent Border Security Negotiations… — The Last Refuge

 

Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer are pushing the border conflict/government shutdown deadline (Feb 15th) to align with pre-planned public congressional committee testimony that is intended to undermine the White House.

Once we accept that no actual negotiations are taking place; and once we accept that congress (Pelosi/Schumer) have already pre-planned the calendar of resistance narratives to undermine the office of the president; things start to make more sense. Cue Representative Jim Jordan for the first part of his interview today:

via Sunday Talks: Jim Jordan Part 1 – The Fraudulent Border Security Negotiations… — The Last Refuge

February 3 The Helmet of the Word

Scripture reading: Psalm 119:97–104

Key verse: Proverbs 13:13

He who despises the word will be destroyed,

But he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.

In The Tender Commandments, pastor Ron Mehl uses a word picture to remind us of the importance of obeying God’s Word:

My friend Larry told me about one of the first bike rides (sans training wheels) he attempted with his young son Matthew. Going down a hill near their home … little Matt lost control of his bike. When the bike crashed, Matt went over the handlebars, landed on his head, and scooted along the asphalt for several feet … on the top of his helmet.

When Matthew got up off the ground okay, just a little shaken, Larry looked at the helmet and saw that its top—and not the top of his little son’s head—had been badly scraped and scored by the rough asphalt.

How do you think Larry felt about that helmet? He loved that helmet. He kissed that helmet. He valued and honored that helmet, and used it as an object lesson for his boy.

Proverbs 13:13 says: “He who despises the word will be destroyed, but he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.”

A person who resists, scorns, and rejects God’s Word will meet with destruction. I wish I could say it in a nicer way, but I know it to be true and no overstatement … That person’s life will come to disaster in one way or another, and God’s Word is not shy about saying so.

Protect me with the “helmet” of Your Word, O Lord. I honor, respect, and value the truths it contains. Help me apply it to my life today.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 36). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Sunday Talks – The “Resistance” Narrative Surfaces Within the Democrat Strategy of the Illusion Border Security Negotiations… — The Last Refuge

Within this segment of Fox News narrative UniParty engineering the evidence of the delay tactic surfacing.   The claim is that a bipartisan congressional group is working on a compromise deal for border security in advance of the February 15th deadline.  However, there is no actual negotiation taking place; merely one-round of low level talks for optics.

The reality is Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have positioned the appearance of congressional talks (in name only) to give the illusion that some form of negotiation is actually taking place…. it isn’t.  This is a pantomime; a ruse; a Machiavellian fraud.

Cue democrat congressman Henry Cuellar and republican senator John Hoeven:

There is no plan to come to an agreement because that would disrupt the pre-planned resistance narrative that also includes the impeachment plan.  Instead, Pelosi is pushing the border conflict/government shutdown deadline to align with pre-planned public congressional committee testimony that is intended to undermine the White House.

Once you understand that no actual negotiations are taking place; and once you accept that congress (Pelosi/Schumer) have already planned a phase of resistance to undermine the office of the president; things start to make more sense.

via Sunday Talks – The “Resistance” Narrative Surfaces Within the Democrat Strategy of the Illusion Border Security Negotiations… — The Last Refuge

List of Documented Dishonesty and Fake News From CNN

Following is a list of notable examples of abuse, extreme bias, misinformation, and outright lies from CNN. If anyone can compile a list from any other US mainstream news source that comes close to this level of abuse and dishonesty, please post a link in the comment section. The company that produces more fake news stories and lies more than any others also censors out any discussion of Jesus Christ. Coincidence? There’s a lot of underlying hatred against Christian values in CNN news. The first example is the extremely rude cutoff of Christian NFL player Benjamin Watson. Lies and hate go hand in hand with MSM fake news. They both come from the same evil source (John 8:44).

For entertainment value, there are a few epic CNN green-screen video failures with fake backgrounds, for example, when Andersen Cooper pretends to be at Sandy Hook and his nose disappears and when a CNN reporter pretends to be on a boat.

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

CNN rudely cut off Benjamin Watson’s mic in mid-sentence while he was discussing the gospel:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4YQ6n9_y8E&feature=youtu.be
Jim Acosta on 11/7/18 with “Anderson Cooper 360” said of an intern pushing incident, “I didn’t put my hands on her or touch her as they’re alleging.” This is false. First, Sarah Sanders said “hand” (singular) and video angles show Acosta pushing down with the bottom of his hand in a slow ‘karate chop’ type motion pushing the intern’s arm away. https://dailycaller.com/2018/11/07/acosta-white-house-credentials-revoked/

CNN’s Don Lemon on 10/29/18 made a racist and false claim that white men are the biggest terror threat in the US: “So, we have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right.” The fact is, there is no reason to discount the Islamic attacks of 9/11 killing approximately 3,000 because increasing radical Islamic terror is a part of a global trend, of which the US is a subset. Even if this is discounted, 106 people have been killed by far-right extremists while 119 have been killed by radical Muslims since 9/11/01. To double-down on a false claim after multiple sources show it is false is essentially to lie.

https://www.jihadwatch.org/2018/11/cnns-don-lemon-doubles-down-on-false-claim-that-white-men-are-biggest-terror-threat-in-this-country

CNN’s Ana Cabrera on 10//14/18 added racism into the president’s quote, telling CNN viewers that Trump had said: “President Trump and his son Don Jr. said this week white men have a lot to fear right now,” -when they both spoke merely of concerns for men.
https://www.dailywire.com/news/37112/watch-cnn-anchor-lies-about-remarks-made-trump-ryan-saavedra
CNN’s Jim Sciutto on 8/24/18 had two big scoops debunked as very fake news in just one week.
https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2018/08/24/nolte-cnns-jim-sciutto-busted-for-two-fake-news-scoops-in-one-week/
CNN’s own source, Lanny Davis, says Michael Cohen story is fake news, but network stands by it – documented 8/19/18
https://www.rt.com/usa/437101-cnn-michael-cohen-fake-news/
Jim Acosta on 6/29/18 yelled repeatedly at a press conference: “Mr. President, will you stop calling the press the enemy of the people?” This is a false and defamatory comment because Trump has always clarified that he was referring to “fake news” such as CNN, not the press in general.
https://dailycaller.com/2018/11/07/acosta-white-house-credentials-revoked/
CNN’s April Ryan falsely claimed that President Donald Trump was booed during the White House’s “Celebration for America” event 6/5/18:
http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2018/06/05/april-ryan-spreads-fake-news-about-trump-being-booed-at-celebration-for-america/

CNN host Brian Stelter admits he let David Hogg tell lies during an interview.
https://www.theblaze.com/news/2018/03/27/cnn-host-admits-he-let-david-hogg-tell-lies-during-interview-just-wait-until-you-hear-his-reason
CNN denied school survivor and hero Colton Haab right to ask his own questions about school shooting incident and then lied about offering their scripted questions.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5422367/Shooting-survivor-claims-CNN-gave-scripted-question.html
CNN’s Don Lemon defended two false statements on guns: “I was able to go and buy an automatic weapon … Most people can go out and buy an automatic weapon.”
https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/don-lemon-automatic-guns 
CNN cuts feed when Wikileaks is mentioned as a possible check for Hillary Clinton’s lies.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbA5RE9eK08
CNN (falsely) claims that reading Wikileaks is illegal:
https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/787749893649600512?lang=en
CNN contributor Donna Brazile gave Hillary Clinton debate questions in advance, which is plainly dishonest in a live debate:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/10/31/new-email-shows-dnc-boss-giving-clinton-camp-debate-question-in-advance.html
CNN cuts live feed after focus group picks Trump.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alSd_iKFkKs
CNN’s Pamela Brown caught on a hot mic rehearsing “live” discussion group on answers to questions so as to praise Hillary Clinton:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrdFD-SdpiM
CNN audience member is seen with a piece of paper titled “your questions”
http://imgur.com/dKfrMpt
CNN turns off their cameras at a huge political rally as Trump calls out the dishonesty of their focus groups.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPjuk6VO_qs
CNN misrepresented Trump’s comments on gun control:
https://www.dailywire.com/news/23258/cnns-john-berman-misrepresents-trumps-comments-james-barrett
A CNN panel in December 2014 consisting of Margaret Hoover, Sally Kohn, Sunny Hostin, and Mel Robbins all put their hands up and supported the false Ferguson narrative that Michael Brown had his hands up before being shot. This lie helped to incite riots. Obama’s Justice Department investigated the shooting and concluded that Brown charged at Officer Darren Wilson before being shot. Sally Kohn repeated the lie on Twitter: “Mike Brown was unarmed and fleeing with hands up.”
https://truepundit.com/here-are-five-fake-stories-cnn-pushed/
CNN fakes reporter Charles Jaco being in the Middle East during Gulf War:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTWY14eyMFg
CNN fakes Anderson Cooper being at Sandy Hook and his nose disappears in a green screen failure:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcG5hnYQjPA
CNN presents a fake story to make BLM look good, ignores the call to violence:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SxHOLWiUnA
CNN fakes satellite feed when two reporters are in the same parking lot:
http://www.ebaumsworld.com/videos/the-daily-show-calls-out-cnn/83283367/
Hospital CEO wins major court victory after CNN fakes statistics http://lawnewz.com/uncategorized/hospital-ceo-wins-major-court-ruling-after-accusing-cnn-of-false-reporting/
CNN green screen fail, reporter pretends to be on a boat:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wn5pIkEHPf0
CNN fakes popularity numbers:
http://www.businessinsider.com/cnn-fox-news-inauguration-ratings-2017-1
CNN fakes crowd sizes:
http://i.magaimg.net/img/36l.png
CNN lying about use of a Sinatra song.
http://i.magaimg.net/img/48l.jpg
CNN fakes interview and interviews own cameraman:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdCk6gJqmoc
CNN Claims missing airplane disappeared into a black hole:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpVd7k1Uw6A
CNN blurs out “Donald Trump” T-shirt of man that saved a baby.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUAI9Ce9RL0
CNN says Illegal immigration isn’t illegal:
http://imgur.com/C03VH2m
CNN ignores poison gas attack story in order to criticize how Trump eats fried chicken:
http://i.imgur.com/LEtescq.jpg
CNN misrepresented Trump’s comments on the MS-13 gang as “animals” to imply racism.
https://www.thewrap.com/cnn-took-trumps-animals-remark-immigrants-context-network-admits/
CNN race baiting article claims Trump election was based on race: “This is what ‘whitelash’ looks like”

http://archive.is/kh46i
CNN describes race only when anti-white media manipulation is desired
http://i.magaimg.net/img/48i.jpg
CNN journalists Thomas Frank, Eric Lichtblau, and Lex Haris, resigned from CNN over a false story, later retracted, that connected Anthony Scaramucci to a $10 billion Russian investment fund:
http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-cnn-resignation-20170626-story.html
CNN repeats unfounded story that “Russia’s hack” determined election:
http://imgur.com/trMDL87
CNN feeding into unfounded Russia conspiracies, claims Russia hacking without evidence:
http://i.magaimg.net/img/2si.jpg
CNN misleads about Trump campaign contact with “Russian officials”
https://imgur.com/5eX6xgT
CNN falsely claimed it tied Fox in election news ratings when, overall, Fox clearly won first place for the entire day:
http://www.businessinsider.com/cnn-fox-news-inauguration-ratings-2017-1?dg
CNN re-posts same protest photos as fake news:
https://imgur.com/jl1cAKP
CNN Cuts Bernie Sander’s mic connection when he calls them fake news https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqrX8HxcWDE
CNN’s “Dr. Drew” was canceled eight days after Dr. Drew Pinsky asked valid questions on Hillary Clinton’s health: https://pagesix.com/2016/09/04/dr-drew-loses-show-after-discussing-hillarys-health/?_ga=1.33153086.1667858589.1472997909
CNN repeatedly lied and slandered Donald Trump with the claim he advocated racial profiling on Fox news when in fact he did not: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/296753-cnn-falsely-adds-racial-to-trump-vetting-comments

I took a poll on Twitter and of about 100 people Don Lemon was voted the biggest liar on CNN for 2018. As shown at Wikipedia, “in September 2010, Lemon said that he was a victim of sexual abuse as a child”. This helps to explain Lemon’s behavior.

I don’t want to give the impression that other mainstream media sources are perfect. The fact is, Fox news has had its own notorious scandal. However, the level of deception does not seem to compare to CNN and in contrast to CNN cutting off Benjamin Watson for mentioning Jesus Christ, Fox news allowed Watson to elaborate on sin and the gospel live on their newscast.

Regarding Fox, they fired two journalists that did not want to cover up the apparent health hazards of Monsanto’s genetically modified milk products. In an astounding precedent verdict, a U.S. court held that Fox News had no obligation to report truthfully, and the First Amendment protects a “right” for news companies deceive the public, even on health issues. For this reason, I would tend to believe alternative news sources that are less likely to be bought off and manipulated by large corporations.

Political theorist Hannah Arendt, the author of the book, The Origins of Totalitarianism, said in an interview: “A people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act, but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people, you can then do what you please.”

Note: Credit to the following link for the initial source of listed items that was edited and added to:
https://www.taskade.com/v/ByzMWWQkql

Source: List of Documented Dishonesty and Fake News From CNN

Hitler’s rise to power: Eerie echo of today’s left

Hitler greeting a child

Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) stated: “Socialized medicine is a keystone to the establishment of a socialist state.”

“Nazi” is the abbreviation of National Socialist Workers’ Party. Its leader was Adolph Hitler, who became Chancellor of Germany on Jan. 30, 1933. Hitler began implementing a plan of universal healthcare, with no regard for conscience.

The New York Times reported Oct. 10, 1933: “Nazi Plan to Kill Incurables to End Pain; German Religious Groups Oppose Move … The Ministry of Justice … explaining the Nazi aims regarding the German penal code, today announced its intentions to authorize physicians to end the sufferings of the incurable patient … in the interest of true humanity. …”

The New York Times continued: “The Catholic newspaper Germania hastened to observe: ‘The Catholic faith binds the conscience of its followers not to accept this method.’ … In Lutheran circles, too, life is regarded as something that God alone can take. … Euthanasia … has become a widely discussed word in the Reich. … No life still valuable to the state will be wantonly destroyed.”

When Germany’s economy suffered, expenses had to be cut from the national healthcare plan, such as keeping alive handicapped, insane, chronically ill, elderly and those with dementia. They were considered “lebensunwertes leben” – life unworthy of life. Then criminals, convicts, street bums, beggars and gypsies, considered “leeches” on society, met a similar fate.

Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger had been the editor of the Birth Control Review, a magazine that published in April of 1933 an article by Ernst Rudin, one of the “fathers of racial hygiene.”

Ernst Rudin advised the Nazi Socialist Workers Party to prevent hereditary defective genes from being passed on to future generations by people considered by the state to be inferior mankind – “untermensch.”

The National Socialist Workers Party labeled the Aryan race as “ubermensch” (super mankind). The etymology of Aryan is Iran, from where the Indo-Iranian people descended.

The National Socialist Workers Party enacted horrific plans to purge the human gene pool of what they considered “inferior” races, resulting in 6 million Jews and millions of others dying in gas chambers and ovens. Nazis anatomists harvested human body parts of prisoners for scientific research and laboratory experimentation.

U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop stated in 1977: “When the first 273,000 German aged, infirm and retarded were killed in gas chambers there was no outcry from that medical profession … and it was not far from there to Auschwitz.”

British Journalist Malcolm Muggeridge explained: “We have … for those that have eyes to see, an object lesson in what the quest for ‘quality of life’ without reference to ‘sanctity of life’ can involve. … The origins of the Holocaust lay, not in Nazi terrorism … but in … Germany’s acceptance of euthanasia and mercy-killing as humane and estimable.”

Suddenly, there was a crisis.

Germany’s capitol building – the Reichstag – was set on fire in 1933, under suspicious conditions, which some historians claim Hitler’s supporters were implicated. Hitler immediately declared a national emergency and suspended basic rights. He quickly arrested his political opponents and had them shot without a trial.

Hitler rose to power with the help of violent homosexual activists called Brownshirts, who organized boycotts of Jewish businesses, and stormed in and disrupted meetings of opposing parties. Hitler forced old traditional military generals to retire, thus purging his administration of any still retaining a remnant of “archaic” Judeo-Christian values who might resist him.

Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels confided in “The Goebbels Diaries 1939-41” that in reality Hitler “hates Christianity, because it has crippled all that is noble in humanity.”

Hitler swayed the public with mesmerizing speeches. Nazis confiscated weapons.

An SA Oberführer warned of an ordinance by the provisional Bavarian Minister of the Interior: “The deadline set … for the surrender of weapons will expire on March 31, 1933. I therefore request the immediate surrender of all arms. … Whoever does not belong to one of these named units (SA, SS, and Stahlhelm) and … keeps his weapon without authorization or even hides it, must be viewed as an enemy of the national government and will be held responsible without hesitation and with the utmost severity.”

Heinrich Himmler, head of Nazi S.S. (“Schutzstaffel” – Protection Squadron), stated: “Germans who wish to use firearms should join the S.S. or the S.A. Ordinary citizens don’t need guns, as their having guns doesn’t serve the state.”

Disarming the civilian population was a necessary step in state control, as Vladimir Lenin explained: “One man with a gun can control 100 without one. ”

When a suspected homosexual youth shot a Nazi diplomat in Paris, it was used as an excuse to confiscate all firearms from Jews.

German newspapers printed, Nov. 10, 1938: “Jews Forbidden to Possess Weapons By Order of SS Reichsführer Himmler, Munich … ‘Persons who, according to the Nürnberg law, are regarded as Jews, are forbidden to possess any weapon. Violators will be condemned to a concentration camp and imprisoned for a period of up to 20 years.’”

The New York Times, Nov. 9, 1938, reported: “The Berlin Police … announced that … the entire Jewish population of Berlin had been ‘disarmed’ with the confiscation of 2,569 hand weapons, 1,702 firearms and 20,000 rounds of ammunition. Any Jews still found in possession of weapons without valid licenses are threatened with the severest punishment.”

Of the Waffengesetz (Nazi Weapons Law), March 18, 1938, Hitler stated at a dinner talk, April 11, 1942 (“Hitler’s Table Talk 1941-44: His Private Conversations,” 2nd Edition, 1973, p. 425-6, translated by Norman Cameron and R. H. Stevens): “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. … So let’s not have any native militia or native police. German troops alone will bear the sole responsibility for the maintenance of law and order.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt stated of Hitler, Dec. 15, 1941: “Government to him is not the servant … of the people but their absolute master and the dictator of their every act. … The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness which seemed to the Founders of the Republic inalienable, were, to Hitler and his fellows, empty words. …”

FDR continued: “Hitler advanced: That the individual human being has no rights whatsoever in himself … no right to a soul of his own, or a mind of his own, or a tongue of his own, or a trade of his own; or even to live where he pleases or to marry the woman he loves; That his only duty is the duty of obedience, not to his God, not to his conscience, but to Adolf Hitler. … His only value is his value, not as a man, but as a unit of the Nazi state.”

FDR stated in his State of the Union Address, Jan. 6, 1942: “The world is too small … for both Hitler and God. … Nazis have now announced their plan for enforcing their … pagan religion all over the world … by which the Holy Bible and the Cross of Mercy would be displaced by Mein Kampf and the swastika.”

Churchill, in “From War to War” (Second World War, Vol. 1, ch. 4, p. 50), described Hitler’s Mein Kampf as: “… the new Koran of faith and war: turgid, verbose, shapeless, but pregnant with its message.”

Hitler was initially going to allow Jews to be deported to Palestine, but the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammad Amin al-Husseini, who met with Hitler, also held anti-Jewish views. Beginning in 1931, al-Husseini attempted to follow Hitler’s example by expelling Jews from Palestine, as the Muslim Brotherhood would also do in Egypt. Mufti al-Husseini recruited 30,000 Bosnian Muslims to join Hitler’s Waffen-SS. Hitler gave al-Husseini financial assistance, and then asylum in 1941, with the honorary rank of an SS Major-General.

During the final battle in Berlin in April of 1945, as allied forces closed in on Hitler’s bunker, they confronted a hundred Muslims of the Mufti’s Arab Legion making their last suicidal stand.

Hitler’s view was the Nazis had the right solution but the wrong religion, stating: “Had Charles Martel not been victorious at Poitiers (732 AD) … then we should in all probability have been converted to Mohammedanism, that cult which glorifies the heroism and which opens up the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world.”

Hitler stated of the Nazis: “The peoples of Islam will always be closer to us than, for example, France.”

According to Albert Speer, Third Reich’s Minister of Armaments and War Production, Hitler stated in private: “The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity … with its meekness and flabbiness?”

Though early in his career Hitler pretended to be sympathetic to Christianity in order to get elected, once he got in power he revealed his nazified social Darwinism and open hostility toward Christianity.

Franklin D. Roosevelt stated Dec. 15, 1941: “To Hitler, the church … is a monstrosity to be destroyed by every means.”

Ministers who resisted Hitler’s attempt to “nazify” the German Protestant Church were imprisoned, such a founder of the Confessing Church, Rev. Martin Niemöller, who wrote: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me-and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Another Confessing Church leader who resisted Hitler was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born Feb. 4, 1906. He studied in New York in 1930, where he met Frank Fisher, an African-American seminarian who introduced him to Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church. He was inspired by African-American spirituals and the preaching of Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., who helped Bonhoeffer turn “from phraseology to reality,” motivating him to stand up against injustice. Bonhoeffer helped found the Confessing Church in Germany, which refused to be intimidated by Hitler into silence.

He stated: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless.”

In his book, “The Cost of Discipleship,” Bonhoeffer rebuked nominal Christians: “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”

Bonhoeffer stated in a 1932 sermon: “The blood of martyrs might once again be demanded, but this blood, if we really have the courage and loyalty to shed it, will not be innocent, shining like that of the first witnesses for the faith. On our blood lies heavy guilt, the guilt of the unprofitable servant.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer warned Germans not to slip into the cult of Führer (leader) worship, as he could turn out to be a Verführer (mis-leader, seducer).

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Jimmy Carter wrote in his book “Sources of Strength,” 1997: “Rev. Niebuhr urged Dietrich Bonhoeffer to remain in America for his own safety. Bonhoeffer refused. He felt he had to be among the other Christians persecuted in Germany. So he returned home, and … in resistance to Hitler … preached publicly against Nazism, racism, and anti-semitism. … Bonhoeffer was finally arrested and imprisoned.”

Of his return to Germany, Bonhoeffer wrote: “Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him. On the cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers. For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God. So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes.”

Jimmy Carter continued: “Dietrich Bonhoeffer died April 9, 1945, just a few days before the allied armies liberated Germany. He was executed on orders of Heinrich Himmler. He died a disciple and a martyr. …”

Carter added: “The same Holy Spirit … that gave Bonhoeffer the strength to stand up against Nazi tyranny is available to us today.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer challenged: “To endure the cross is not tragedy; it is the suffering which is the fruit of an exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ.”

On Feb. 16, 2002, Dr. James Dobson told the National Religious Broadcasters: “Those of you who feel that the church has no responsibility in the cultural area. … What if it were 1943 and you were in Nazi Germany and you knew what Hitler was doing to the Jews. … Would you say, ‘We’re not political-that’s somebody else’s problem’?”

Dobson concluded: “I thank God Dietrich Bonhoeffer did not give that answer, and he was arrested by the Nazis and hanged in 1945, naked and alone because he said, ‘This is not right.’”

Brought to you by AmericanMinute.com.

Source: Hitler’s rise to power: Eerie echo of today’s left

President Trump Superbowl Sunday Interview With CBS Margaret Brennan…. — The Last Refuge

It has become somewhat of a tradition for the President to sit down for a wide-ranging interview with a member of the U.S. media on Superbowl Sunday.

This year President Trump sits down with Margaret Brennan of CBS’s “Face the Nation” for a wide-ranging interview where he point-by-point deconstructs the left-wing talking points. Topics include foreign policy, cabinet changes, the economy, the Mueller investigation, the 2020 Democrat candidates and football.  [Transcript included]

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MARGARET BRENNAN: Would you shut down the government again?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, we’re going to have to see what happens on February 15th and I- I think–

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re not taking it off the table?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I don’t- I don’t take anything off the table. I don’t like to take things off the table. It’s that alternative. It’s national emergency, it’s other things and you know there have been plenty national emergencies called. And this really is an invasion of our country by human traffickers. These are people that are horrible people bringing in women mostly, but bringing in women and children into our country. Human trafficking. And we’re going to have a strong border. And the only way you have a strong border is you need a physical barrier. You need a wall. And anybody that says you don’t, they’re just playing games.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You had quite the showdown with Speaker Pelosi. What did you learn about negotiating with her?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I think that she was very rigid – which I would expect – but I think she is very bad for our country. She knows that you need a barrier. She knows that we need border security. She wanted to win a political point. I happen to think it’s very bad politics because basically she wants open borders. She doesn’t mind human trafficking or she wouldn’t do this because you know–

MARGARET BRENNAN: She offered you over a billion dollars for border security.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me?

MARGARET BRENNAN: She offered over a billion dollars for border security. She doesn’t want the wall.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: She’s- she’s costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars because what’s happening is when you have a porous border, and when you have drugs pouring in, and when you have people dying all over the country because of people like Nancy Pelosi who don’t want to give proper border security for political reasons, she’s doing a terrible disservice to our country. And on the 15th we have now set the table beautifully because everybody knows what’s going on because of the shutdown. People that didn’t have any idea- they didn’t have a clue as to what was happening, they now know exactly what’s happening. They see human trafficking. They see drugs and gangs and criminals pouring in. Now, we catch them because we’re doing a great job. But if we had proper border security we wouldn’t have to work so hard and we could do an even better job, and I think Nancy Pelosi is doing a terrible disservice to the people of our country. But she can–

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re still going to have to deal with her now.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, she can keep playing her games, but we will win. Because we have a much better issue. On a political basis, what she’s doing is- I actually think it’s bad politics, but much more importantly it’s very bad for our country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about your intelligence leaders who were testifying on Capitol Hill this week. Did you read the report that they presented?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I did.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And did you – there was some conversation you had because you went on Twitter and you called them naive and told them to go back to school.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I think–

MARGARET BRENNAN: What specifically was wrong about what they said?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think- let me just say it wasn’t so much a report. It was the questions and answers as the report was submitted and they were asked questions and answers. We’ve done an incredible job with Syria. When I took over Syria it was infested with ISIS. It was all over the place. And now you have very little ISIS and you have the caliphate almost knocked out. We will be announcing in the not too distant future 100 percent of the caliphate which is the area- the land- the area- 100. We’re at 99 percent right now, we’ll be at 100. When I took it over it was a disaster. I think we’ve done a great job with that. At the same time, at a certain point, we want to bring our people back home. If you look at Afghanistan we’re going in very soon we’ll be going into our 19th year spending 50 billion dollars a year. Now if you go back and look at any of my campaign speeches or rallies, I talked about it all the time.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You did. You’ve been talking about- and that–

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: –I want to bring people home.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But that’s one of the questions here. Is because you have these strongly held convictions and people ask, “Well, why don’t the facts influence those opinions, if those facts change?” And- and your director of national intelligence said ISIS still has strongholds in Iraq and Syria–

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: By the way–

MARGARET BRENNAN: –and will launch attacks from there.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You’re going to always have pockets of something. What– you’re going to have people, like the one armed man who blew up a restaurant. You’re going to have pockets. But you’re not going to keep armies there because you have a few people. Or you even have fairly reasonable numbers of people. We’ve been there for many, many years. We were supposed to be in Syria for four months. We’ve been there for years. We have been in Afghanistan for 19 years. And by the way, I’ve been hitting very hard in Afghanistan and now we’re negotiating with the Taliban. We’ll see what happens, who knows–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Can you trust the Taliban? Can you actually broker a deal?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Look, whether we should have been there in the first place, that’s first question. Second question–

MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s where 9/11 was launched from.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: –we’ve been there for 19 years, almost, we are fighting very well. We’re fighting harder than ever before. And I think that they will- I think they’re tired and, I think everybody’s tired. We got to get out of these endless wars and bring our folks back home. Now, that doesn’t mean we’re not going to be watching with intelligence. We’re going to be watching, and watching closely. North Korea–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Isn’t that harder when you don’t have troops on the ground?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, everything’s harder. But, you know you pay a big price for troops on the ground. We’re spending hundreds of billions of dollars on military. We’re the policemen of the world and we don’t–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because the concern in here by your intelligence chiefs, though, is that you could in that vacuum see a resurgence of ISIS.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Sure.

MARGARET BRENNAN: See a resurgence of terror groups like Al-Qaeda–

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And you know what we’ll do? We’ll come back if we have to. We have very fast airplanes, we have very good cargo planes. We can come back very quickly, and I’m not leaving. We have a base in Iraq and the base is a fantastic edifice. I mean I was there recently, and I couldn’t believe the money that was spent on these massive runways. And these- I’ve rarely seen anything like it. And it’s there. And we’ll be there. And frankly, we’re hitting the caliphate from Iraq and as we slowly withdraw from Syria. Now the other thing–

MARGARET BRENNAN: How many troops are still in Syria? When are they coming home?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: 2,000 troops.

MARGARET BRENNAN: When are they coming home?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They’re starting to, as we gain the remainder, the final remainder of the caliphate of the area, they’ll be going to our base in Iraq, and ultimately some will be coming home. But we’re going to be there and we’re going to be staying–

MARGARET BRENNAN: So that’s a matter of months?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We have to protect Israel. We have to protect other things that we have. But we’re- yeah, they’ll be coming back in a matter of time. Look, we’re protecting the world. We’re spending more money than anybody’s ever spent in history, by a lot. We spent, over the last five years, close to 50 billion dollars a year in Afghanistan. That’s more than most countries spend for everything including education, medical, and everything else, other than a few countries.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is there a scenario where you would keep troops in Afghanistan? A smaller number?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Yes. And I’ll leave intelligence there. Real intelligence, by the way. I’ll leave intelligence there and if I see nests forming, I’ll do something about it. But for us to be spending 51 billion dollars, like last year, or if you average the cost it’s- I mean you’re talking about numbers that nobody’s ever heard of before.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The Senate Republicans voted, the vast majority of them said that they don’t support what you’re doing. That what you’re doing risks national intelligence by a precipitous withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan. Doesn’t that concern you?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I ran against 17 Republicans. This was a big part of what I was saying, and I won very easily. I think the people out in the world- I think people in our country agree. We’ve been fighting for 19 years. Somebody said you were precipitously bringing to- precipitously? We’ve been there for 19 years. I want to fight. I want to win, and we want to bring our great troops back home. I’ve seen the people. I go to Walter Reed Hospital. I see what happens to people. I see with no legs and no arm- arms. And I’ve seen also what happens to them up here because they’re in this situation, and they come back and they are totally different people– where the wives and the fathers and the mothers say, “What has happened to my son? What has happened in some cases to my daughter?” It’s a terrible thing. We’ve been there close to 19 years. And it’s time. And we’ll see what happens with the Taliban. They want peace. They’re tired. Everybody’s tired. We’d like to have- I don’t like endless wars. This war. What we’re doing is got to stop at some point.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you- but you also campaigned saying that, you know, President Obama made a big mistake by telegraphing his military moves. You’re telegraphing your retreat.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I’m not telegraphing anything. No, no, no. There’s a difference. When President Obama pulled out of Iraq in theory we had Iraq. In other words, we had Iraq. We never had Syria because President Obama never wanted to violate the red line in the sand. So we never had Syria. I was the one that actually violated the red line when I hit Syria with 59 Tomahawk missiles, if you remember. But President Obama chose not to do that. When he chose not to do that, he showed tremendous weakness. But we didn’t have Syria whereas we had Iraq. So when he did what he did in Iraq, which was a mistake. Being in Iraq was a mistake. Okay. Being in Iraq- it was a big mistake to go- one of the greatest mistakes going into the Middle East that our country has ever made. One of the greatest mistakes that we’ve ever made–

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you want to keep troops there now?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: –but when it was chosen– well, we spent a fortune on building this incredible base. We might as well keep it. And one of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Whoa, that’s news. You’re keeping troops in Iraq because you want to be able to strike in Iran?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, because I want to be able to watch Iran. All I want to do is be able to watch. We have an unbelievable and expensive military base built in Iraq. It’s perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up. And this is what a lot of people don’t understand. We’re going to keep watching and we’re going to keep seeing and if there’s trouble, if somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we’re going to know it before they do.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you’re going to trust the intelligence that you receive?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I am going to trust the intelligence that I’m putting there, but I will say this: my intelligence people, if they said in fact that Iran is a wonderful kindergarten, I disagree with them 100 percent. It is a vicious country that kills many people. When you talk about torture and so many other things. And- maybe they’ll come back. The country is getting absolutely- when I ended the horrible Iran nuclear deal- it was a horrible deal done by President Obama and John Kerry that didn’t know what the hell he was doing. When I ended that deal, Margaret, all of a sudden Iran became a different country. They became- very rapidly- right now they’re a country that’s in big financial trouble. Let’s see what happens.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to move on here but I should say your intel chiefs do say Iran’s abiding by that nuclear deal. I know you think it’s a bad deal, but–

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I disagree with them. I’m- I’m- by the way–

MARGARET BRENNAN: You disagree with that assessment?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: –I have intel people, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree. President Bush had intel people that said Saddam Hussein–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Sure.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: –in Iraq had nuclear weapons- had all sorts of weapons of mass destruction. Guess what? Those intel people didn’t know what the hell they were doing, and they got us tied up in a war that we should have never been in. And we’ve spent seven trillion dollars in the Middle East and we have lost lives–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you trust your national security adviser John Bolton because he worked in the Bush administration?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I do, and I respect John and John is not one of the people that happened to be testifying or on.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Got it.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And you know what I tell people- you can testify any way you want. I’m not going to stop them from testifying. They said they were mischaracterized– maybe they were maybe they weren’t, I don’t really know– but I can tell you this, I want them to have their own opinion and I want them to give me their opinion. But, when I look at Iran, I look at Iran as a nation that has caused tremendous problems.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: When I came in as president of the United States, my first year, I went to the Pentagon two weeks after I came in, a short time after, and I was given a- because I wanted to know what’s going on with Iran.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We were in many many locations in the Middle East in huge difficulty. Every single one of them was caused by the number one terrorist nation in the world which is Iran. So when my intelligence people tell me how wonderful Iran is- if you don’t mind, I’m going to just go by my own counsel.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’ve had a lot of change up in you administration recently too. Are you satisfied with the cabinet and the staff you have now?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: So we have a great cabinet. I have great people. I think now we have a really great cabinet. I think Bill Barr will be a fantastic attorney general, and I think that we have- Mike Pompeo’s been doing a fantastic job. We have–

MARGARET BRENNAN: He’s not leaving?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, I don’t- I mean he tells me he wouldn’t want to leave. I think that was–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because McConnell was talking to him–

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: That was fake news.

MARGARET BRENNAN: –about running for the Senate. He said McConnell had spoken to him about running for the Senate.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, he may have spoken to him, but I think he loves being secretary of state. He’s doing a fantastic job. And I asked him the question the other day, he says he’s absolutely not leaving. I don’t think he’d do that. And he doesn’t want to be lame duck. And he’s doing a fantastic job as our secretary of state. Great energy and great- a great, smart gentleman.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Cause you have an acting AG until you get Barr confirmed–

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Yes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: An acting defense secretary. An acting chief of staff. An acting interior secretary.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP. It’s OK. It’s easier to make moves when they’re acting.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you are going to shake up–

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Some, and some not.

MARGARET BRENNAN: –positions.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Some are doing a fantastic job. Really- I like acting because I can move so quickly. It gives me more flexibility. But- but actually, some of the names you mentioned, they’re doing a fantastic job.

MARGARET BRENNAN: How do you know when to fire someone?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: When it’s not happening. When–

MARGARET BRENNAN: What do you mean?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: When it doesn’t get done. Like with General Mattis, I wasn’t happy with his service. I told him give me a letter.

MARGARET BRENNAN: He resigned.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: He resigned because I asked him to resign. He resigned because I was very nice to him. But I gave him big budgets and he didn’t do well in Afghanistan. I was not happy with the job he was doing in Afghanistan. And if you look at Syria what’s happened, I went to Iraq recently, if you look at Syria, what’s happened in Syria in the last few weeks, you would see that things are going down that were not going down. That things are happening that are very good. So I was not happy with him, but I wish him well.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about your relationship with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Have- have you put your differences aside?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think so. I mean I- I was just one that felt very important, you can’t be kneeling for the national anthem. You have to respect our flag and our country. I want that as president and I’d want that as a citizen. And I have a very good relationship. I did them a big favor in negotiating the USMCA, which is basically the replacement to NAFTA, which is one of the worst trade deals ever made. And I said to Canada, look we have a great American company known as the NFL, and they were being hurt and treated unfairly, the NFL, by Canada for a long time. And I said to Prime Minister Trudeau, who was very nice about it and really understood it, I hope you can settle the difference immediately and fast. And they did. So I did the NFL a big favor, as a great American company and they appreciated it. And Roger Goodell, this is a dispute that has gone on for years. Roger Goodell called me and he thanked me. And I appreciated that. But they haven’t been kneeling and they have been respecting the flag and their ratings have been terrific ever since. And a lot of good things happened.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Talking about the- the kneeling position you’ve taken and the controversy around it. Do you think that the players who did kneel had a point? I mean did you- are you sensitive at all to players like Colin Kaepernick, who- who point out that the majority of victims of police violence are black?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, you know, I’m the one that had passed judicial reform. And if you look at what I did, criminal judicial reform, and what I’ve done- President Obama tried. They all tried. Everybody wanted to do it. And I got it done and I’ve been, you know, really- a lot of people in the NFL have been calling and thanking me for it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Really?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They have been calling and thanking, you know, that people have been trying to get that taken care of and it’s now signed into law and affects tremendous numbers of people, and very good people. I think that when you want to protest I think that’s great. But I don’t think you do it at the sake of our flag, at the sake of our national anthem. Absolutely.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you are- do I understand you saying there though, that you still are sensitive though? I mean you- you understand the motivation for the protest–

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well I do–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Though you don’t like the form of it.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: A lot of it is having to do with reform from what I understand. Whether it’s criminal justice or whatever it may be and they have different versions and everybody seemed to have a different version of it. But a lot of it had to do with that, and I took care of that. I think that people have to, at all times, respect our flag and at all times respect our net- our- our national anthem and our country. And I think there are plenty of places and times you can protest and you can do a lot. But you can’t do that. That’s my opinion.

MARGARET BRENNAN: In a CBS poll we just took, 63 percent of Americans say they disapprove about how you’re handling issues of race in the US.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well–

MARGARET BRENNAN: What do you think of that?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: What has happened is very interesting. The economy is so good right now. You saw the jobs report just came out. Three hundred and four thousand added jobs, which is a shocker, for the month. A shocker to a lot of people. They thought it was going to be half that number. The African-Americans have the best employment numbers in the history of our country. Hispanic Americans have the best employment numbers in the history of our country. Asian-Americans the best in the history of our country. You look at women, the best in 61 years. And our employment numbers are phenomenal, the best in over 50 years. So I think I’ve been given a lot of credit for that. And in terms of race, a lot of people are saying well this is something very special what’s happening.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So- because when colleagues of yours, even like Republican Senator Tim Scott. He said Donald Trump is not racist. But he said you’re racially insensitive.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I have a great relationship with Tim and certainly with his state, South Carolina, and- where we do very well. And I think if you look at the numbers for African-American unemployment, best numbers they’ve had- literally the best numbers they’ve had in history. And I think they like me a lot and I like them a lot.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Would you let your son Barron play football?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It’s very, it’s very tough question. It’s a very good question. If he wanted to? Yes. Would I steer him that way? No, I wouldn’t.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I wouldn’t. And he actually plays a lot of soccer. He’s liking soccer. And a lot of people, including me, thought soccer would probably never make it in this country, but it really is moving forward rapidly. I- I just don’t like the reports that I see coming out having to do with football—I mean, it’s a dangerous sport and I think it’s- I- it’s- really tough, I thought the equipment would get better, and it has. The helmets have gotten far better but it hasn’t solved the problem. So, you know I- I hate to say it because I love to watch football. I think the NFL is a great product, but I really think that as far as my son- well I’ve heard NFL players saying they wouldn’t let their sons play football. So. It’s not totally unique, but I- I would have a hard time with it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What surprised you about some of the questions that Robert Mueller asked you?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, look the Russia thing is a hoax. I have been tougher on Russia than any president, maybe ever. But than any president.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But when it comes to the investigation that the special counsel’s conducting- I mean 34 people have been charged here. Seven guilty pleas —

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me. Ok, you ready? Ok, you ready? Of the 34 people, many of them were bloggers from Moscow or they were people that had nothing to do with me, had nothing to do with what they’re talking about or there were people that got caught telling a fib or telling a lie. I think it’s a terrible thing that’s happened to this country because this investigation is a witch hunt. It’s a terrible witch hunt and it’s a disgrace–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think it should be made public?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: –when you look at General Flynn where the FBI said he wasn’t lying, but Robert Mueller said he was, and they took a man and destroyed his life. When you look at so many of the things that have happened- why didn’t they go after Hillary Clinton for her emails? She had thirty three thousand emails that were deleted after receiving a subpoena from Congress–

MARGARET BRENNAN: And according to the special counsel–

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me, but Margaret, why–

MARGARET BRENNAN: –they were posted on WikiLeaks and your friend Roger Stone was just indicted for his involvement there and for lying.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: First of all, Roger Stone didn’t work on the campaign, except way way at the beginning long before we’re talking about. Roger is somebody that I’ve always liked, but a lot of people like Roger some people probably don’t like Roger, but Roger Stone’s somebody I’ve always liked. I mean Roger’s a character but Roger was not- I don’t know if you know this or not- Roger wasn’t on my campaign except way at the beginning–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: So, it’s all- and- and yet you will ask me a question like that, wasn’t involved in my campaign.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Would you pardon him?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I have not thought about it. It looks like he’s defending himself very well. But you have to get rid of the Russia witch hunt because it is indeed. And remember–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because you think–

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Remember this. Remember this. There’s been no president that has been tougher on Russia than Donald Trump.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Would you make the Mueller report public because you say there’s nothing in there? Congress can subpoena it anyway, though.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Totally up to to the Attorney General.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But what do you want them to do?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Even the Mueller report said it had nothing to do with the campaign. When you look at some of the people and the events it had nothing to do–

MARGARET BRENNAN: You wouldn’t have a problem–

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: –if it became public?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Excuse me. That’s up to the attorney general. I don’t know. It depends. I have no idea what it’s going to say.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: So far this thing’s been a total witch hunt. And it doesn’t implicate me in any way. There was no collusion. There was no obstruction. There was no nothing. Doesn’t implicate me in any way but I think it’s a disgrace.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What would make you use the U.S. military in Venezuela? What’s the national security interest?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well I don’t want to say that. But certainly it’s something that’s on the- it’s an option.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Would you personally negotiate with Nicolás Maduro to convince him to exit?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well he is requested a meeting and I’ve turned it down because we’re very far along in the process. You have a young and energetic gentleman but you have other people within that same group that have been very very – if you talk about democracy – it’s really democracy in action.

MARGARET BRENNAN: When did he request a meeting?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We’re going to see what happened. A number of months ago he wanted to meet.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But now because you’re at that crisis point–

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well now we’d have to see.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Would you negotiate that?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I would say this. I decided at the time, “no” because so many really horrible things have been happening in Venezuela when you look at that country. That was the wealthiest country of all in that part of the world which is a very important part of the world. And now you look at the poverty and you look at the anguish and you look at the crime and you look at all of the things happening. So, I think the process is playing out – very very big tremendous protests.

MARGARET BRENNAN: North Korea. When and where are you going to meet Kim Jong Un?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I won’t tell you yet, but you’ll be finding out probably State of the Union or shortly before. But the meeting is set. He’s looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to it. We’ve made tremendous progress. If you remember, before I became president, it looked like we were going to war with North Korea. Now we have a very good relationship. The hostages are back. Okay, the remains are starting to come back. The remains of our Korean War veterans–

MARGARET BRENNAN: But your intelligence chief testified this week that Kim Jong Un is still very unlikely to give up his nuclear–

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well that’s what–

MARGARET BRENNAN: –weapons program.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: That’s what the intelligence chief thinks, and I think–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why is he wrong?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: –there’s a good possibility of that too. But there’s also a very good chance that we will make a deal. I think he’s also tired of going through what he’s going through. He has a chance to have North Korea be a tremendous economic behemoth. It has a chance to be one of the great economic countries in the world. He can’t do that with nuclear weapons and he can’t do that on the path they’re on now. I like him. I get along with him great. We have a fantastic chemistry. We have had tremendous correspondence that some people have seen and can’t even believe it. They think it’s historic. And we’ll see what happens. Now that doesn’t mean we’re going to make a deal. But certainly I think we have a very good chance of making a deal. And one of the reasons is because North Korea has a chance being located between Russia, China, and South Korea. What a location- I’m in the real estate business- what a location. They have a chance to be an economic powerhouse.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re going to keep U.S. troops there, in South Korea?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Yeah, I mean we haven’t talked about anything else. Maybe someday. I mean who knows. But you know it’s very expensive to keep troops there. You do know that. We have 40,000 troops in South Korea, it’s very expensive. But I have no plans, I’ve never even discussed removing them.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to quickly get to China. The last time you spoke with FACE THE NATION you were one hundred days into office and you said you would accept a less than perfect trade deal with China, if it meant they’d be helpful with North Korea. Do you stand by that?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, yes but I think we’re in a different position now.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What do you mean?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We’ve put very massive tariffs on China. China is paying a big price and it’s hurt China’s economy very badly. I want them to make a fair deal.They have been very helpful, especially at the beginning when I first came in with North Korea. They have stopped goods from going in. They have stopped a lot of things from going in through the border. Because as you know they have a border just like we have a border with Mexico, where crime is way up by the way, way up, and you have to remember that. But we have a border with- they have a border with North Korea.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They have been very vigilant. Are they the same now? Probably a little bit less so. But North Korea is absolutely talking. And I think North Korea wants to make a deal. We are making a deal. It looks like we’re doing very well with making a deal with China. I can tell you this, no two leaders of this country and China have ever been closer than I am with President Xi. We have a good chance to make a deal. I don’t know that we’re going to make one, but we have a good chance. And if it is a deal it’s going to be a real deal. It’s not going to be a stopgap.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Sir, I hear your helicopters. I’m being told to wrap. I appreciate you being generous with your time.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Thank you very much, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Thank you.

[Transcript Link]

via President Trump Superbowl Sunday Interview With CBS Margaret Brennan…. — The Last Refuge

Russian Foreign Ministry on Syria, Venezuela and Sanctions – Stephen Lendman

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Infested with US/NATO/Turkish supported terrorists, Idlib province a festering sore in Syria.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova (MZ below) admitted that the province, including its so-called demilitarized zone, is used as a platform for launching attacks on government forces and civilians – weapons and other material support provided by Washington and its imperial partners.

Shelling and other attacks continue daily, MZ saying “(w)e are alarmed by the reports that the terrorists continue to stage sham chemical weapons attacks against civilians.”

“According to the information available to us, active members of the pseudo-humanitarian White Helmets group have accumulated equipment for shooting footage of such provocations in several Idlib hospitals.”

The NYT turned truth on its head, claiming al-Nusra jihadists are “running the province almost liberally,” said MZ, adding:

“A leading American newspaper (the NYT) is presenting the terrorists as a constructive force, allegedly capable of restoring order and reducing the level of violence in Idlib.”

“(T)he author of the article does not mention the regular shelling of the Syrian government positions. We provided the relevant figures at last week’s briefing, but I am willing to repeat them.”

“Over the past five months (since the Putin/Erdogan agreed on demilitarized zone in Idlib), the terrorists…violated the ceasefire over 1,000 times. I would like to remind American journalists and their audiences that the HTS (al Nusra) is on the UN Security Council’s list of terrorist organizations and that it has been also recognized as such in the United States.”

In various parts of Syria, US supported terrorists continue to kill government forces and civilians, aided by daily Pentagon terror-bombing, responsible for mass slaughter and destruction on the phony pretext of combating ISIS the US supports, along with al-Nusra and other terrorist groups.

Humanitarian conditions in Syria have improved but are still dire in many areas. Thousands of refugees are trapped in the US controlled Rukban camp near the Iraqi and Jordanian borders.

The Pentagon’s military base in the area is used to train ISIS and other jihadists, along with using the base as a platform for continuing US aggression in southern Syria.

Commenting on the Trump regime’s coup attempt in Venezuela, MZ called conditions “tense.”

US-designated puppet interim president Guiado’s calls for turnouts at rallies opposing President Maduro are drawing dwindling numbers.

MZ: “The New York Times opened its pages to the current leader of the Venezuelan opposition with his calls to overthrow the legitimate government. He is openly inciting the Venezuelan armed forces to carry out a government coup.”

“We see Western sponsors publicly encourage this destructive stance by all possible means. It seems that there are no boundaries for Washington anymore, neither national, nor economic, nor moral…(T)he threat of a large-scale military conflict” is real.

MZ urged Russian allies in the region and elsewhere to oppose the threat of transforming Venezuela into another Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen or Ukraine.

Horrors in these countries can repeat in Venezuela “if the scenario backed by the US” is pushed to the extreme.

Maduro is Venezuela’s legitimate president, not usurper Guaido, used by the Trump regime to serve its interests.

Because of veto power by the US, Britain and France, along with pressuring six other countries to back its imperial agenda, the Security Council failed to condemn what’s going on.

Instead, the January 26 session amounted to “a rigged trial against the legitimate government of Nicolas Maduro,” said MZ – orchestrated by the Trump regime.

MZ called US actions against sovereign Venezuela “intimidation against (its) free people…who have chosen their own path of development and faced political and economic aggression for doing so.”

The Trump regime is pulling out all the stops for another imperial trophy by deposing Maduro – short of military intervention so far, retaining it as an option if other tactics fail.

Russian Foreign Ministry “call(ing) on all reasonable forces both within and outside Venezuela to use their efforts to promote de-escalation” falls on deaf ears in Washington and other Western capitals.

The Kremlin needs to step up to the plate with China to help Maduro preserve and protect the hemisphere’s most free and open democratic state from Washington’s dirty hands.

According to MZ, at least since 1974, “there has not been a single day when some kind of US restrictions weren’t imposed on our country” – through sanctions, legislation and other means, flagrantly violating international law.

Yet Vladimir Putin continues to call the US Russia’s “partner.” MZ referred to “our US colleagues.” Republicans and undemocratic Dems consider Russia their top enemy, wanting its government toppled, its resources looted and people exploited.

Diplomatic outreach to Washington is a waste of time and effort. In response to US hostility, Russia should respond with toughness, giving the US a taste of its own medicine, no longer tolerating its actions, the only message it’ll understand.

Source: Russian Foreign Ministry on Syria, Venezuela and Sanctions

How to get your child to just say no to socialism

Many parents who support the traditional American values of self-responsibility, individual liberty and free markets, have been left to wonder how they can teach their children the truth about collectivism. Here are some tips.

Despite mountains of historical evidence revealing the dangers associated with socialism, support for Karl Marx’s collectivist ideas is steadily increasing.

In an August 2018 Gallup Poll, 51 percent of young people aged 18-29 said they have a favorable opinion of socialism, compared to just 45 percent who said they view capitalism positively. Compare that to 2010, when 68 percent of young people said they view capitalism favorably. That’s a remarkable 33 percent decline in just eight years.

Many parents who support the traditional American values of self-responsibility, individual liberty and free markets, have been left to wonder how they can teach their children the truth about collectivism and resist the rise of socialism.

Below are strategies for talking to young people about the dangers of communism, socialism and other progressive ideas.

DEMOCRATS NOW PUSHING MANY OF THE SAME SOCIALIST POLICIES THAT DESTROYED VENEZUELA

Explain the meaning of socialism and why it’s immoral

Every conversation about socialism should begin with a discussion about what it actually entails. Survey data show most Americans have no clue what socialism is, despite the fact that it’s regularly discussed in the media.

Socialism is the collective ownership and management of property. In a purely socialist society – an idea Karl Marx called “communism” – all or nearly all property is owned and managed by the collective.

Under such a scheme, people have very little power over their own lives. Even their homes are owned collectively. In the case of democratic socialism, this means that people are forced to live according to the desires of the majority. In many situations, a small group of people is given power by the majority, and that group typically ends up becoming tyrannical, as we’ve seen in China, North Korea and Venezuela.

With this model in place, minorities don’t really have any rights. If the majority thinks people should live or work in a certain way, everyone is required to obey, even if it violates their deeply held beliefs. For example, in a socialist country, vegetarians would be required to be part owners in a slaughterhouse.

In socialism, individual “rights” are mere illusions. Even free-speech rights are limited if they are deemed “harmful” to the rest of society – which means these “rights” don’t really exist at all. This is why human rights abuses are so common in countries that try to enact socialism.

Emphasize charity, not government coercion

For most young Americans, socialist ideas are appealing because they genuinely want to help those who are suffering. They believe single-payer health care, a “Green New Deal,” and other similar policies are compassionate. Conservatives have a tendency to dismiss these ideas without providing alternatives. This leaves younger people feeling frustrated.

“Government social programs might not be perfect,” young liberals and socialists often tell me, “but at least liberals and socialists are trying to fix difficult problems like poverty. Conservatives and libertarians don’t care what happens to people who are suffering.”

Whenever parents discuss socialism, they should always explain that it’s important to engage in charitable activities. Advocates of freedom do support helping others, they just don’t believe the government is best equipped to do it.

This idea is best reinforced when families engage in charitable activities together. Parents must show their kids that motivated, compassionate conservatives care for those most in need and make the world a better place.

This conversation allows parents to make a very important moral argument: Charity is morally positive, because it means people are voluntarily helping those in need, but government welfare programs – however well-intentioned they might be – are not forms of charity. They require the government to use force and coercion. Those who don’t want to pay for a government program because they think it isn’t helpful – or perhaps believe it’s harmful – are forced to pay their taxes and participate anyway. Those who refuse can end up in prison.

Or, put simply, conservatives support people freely helping others, while those on the left advocate for forcing, manipulating and controlling people to accomplish their goals.

Explain that there’s never been a successful socialist nation in world history

Here’s a startling fact about socialism that every child should hear: During the past century, tens of millions of people have been killed, exiled or imprisoned by socialist and communist parties, and no country has ever successfully enacted a system that matches Marx’s vision for the world – a reality even the staunchest Marxist will admit.

Kids often respond to this fact by saying that there are many examples of socialism working successfully. Like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., they point to Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

The idea that Nordic nations are little socialist utopias is a gigantic myth. Denmark, Norway and Sweden are absolutely not “socialist” nations. Some parts of their economies have been socialized, like health care and higher education, but they are still market-based economies, and in many respects, their citizens are freer than Americans.

For example, in the Heritage Foundation’s “2019 Index of Economic Freedom,” Denmark, Norway and Sweden all score higher than the United States in numerous categories, including “property rights” and “business freedom.”

Furthermore, history has repeatedly shown that government can’t fix many of our most complex societal issues, even when it socializes just one part of the economy. For example, since the ObamaCare health insurance exchanges first opened, insurance premiums have doubled and deductibles have skyrocketed.

Talking about the dangers of socialism with kids isn’t easy. Children are constantly being bombarded with pro-socialist messages from Hollywood, the music industry, professional sports and, most importantly, their teachers and professors.

But if parents aren’t willing to put in the time to address these important ideas, who will?

Source: How to get your child to just say no to socialism

“I Oppose Intervention, But…” – But Nothing! Don’t Be A Pro Bono CIA Propagandist

Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

In a recent interview with The Corbett Report, the Ron Paul Institute’s Daniel McAdams spoke disdainfully of those ostensibly anti-interventionist libertarians who picked this moment of all times to loudly and aggressively condemn Venezuela’s president Maduro, just as the US power establishment is ramping up its campaign to topple the Venezuelan government.

“All of a sudden now there are millions of Venezuela experts in America, and many of them could not point Venezuela out on a map five days ago,” McAdams said.

“And everyone has to have this disclaimer, ‘Well, I know it’s probably worse than North Korea, but the US government shouldn’t get involved.’ It’s cowardice, because once the war starts, they can say ‘Hey I never called for US intervention!’ No, but you’re a conveyor belt for propaganda. You’re a conveyor belt to get the machine ginned up for war. And so you’ve got to stand up and take responsibility.”

McAdams has for years consistently operated in the hub of one of America’s most forceful and effective branches of opposition to US interventionism, and he is absolutely correct here. On both sides of America’s political divide, the primary objections you will see to this administration’s campaign to delegitimize and topple the Venezuelan government are prefaced with a strong condemnation of Maduro followed by some feeble equivocations voicing vague objections to Trump’s actions, if that.

Even more often, what you will see is excuses made for the US government’s aggressive attempts to control who runs Venezuela, followed by some mumbling along the lines of “I don’t want us to go to war, though” dribbling out of the corner of their mouths. Some silly, arbitrary line in the sand saying that Trump’s current ongoing starvation sanctionsCIA covert ops and premeditated campaign to delegitimize and overthrow Venezuela’s government is fine, and hey, maybe arming some right-wing militias via Columbia would be fine too, but don’t send American troops to do the killing or we’ll be a tad upset.

All these wimpy, wishy washy “I oppose US interventionism sorta kinda but not really P.S. fuck Maduro” mouth noises are infuriatingly obnoxious, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, someone who claims to be antiwar or anti-interventionist but reserves their objections solely for the most overt forms of warfare is not really antiwar or anti-interventionist, because warfare in modern times is designed to take many less overt forms in order to prevent the kind of attention-grabbing public objections seen over Vietnam and Iraq. A look at what the US empire did to Libya and Syria shows that hundreds of thousands can be killed, millions can be displaced, and humanitarian disasters beyond our ability to imagine can be unleashed without any overt conventional invasion.

Secondly, by wrapping your resistance to US warmongering in loud criticisms of the Venezuelan government and “Go people’s rebellion!” cheerleading, you are functioning as a pro bono propagandist for the CIA and the US State Department, and thereby helping to advance the warmongering agendas of those depraved agencies.

A common refrain is “It’s possible to be opposed to US interventionism while also opposing these tyrannical governments, you know.” But it isn’t. Not really. It’s impossible to oppose US interventionism while also helping to advance its propaganda narratives against targeted governments.

All US-led military agendas begin with propaganda. If the public were allowed to see the reality of war with fresh eyes, they would all instantly recoil in horror and adamantly demand its immediate end. The only reason the US-centralized empire is able to sow death and destruction around the world without this happening is because of propaganda, which is why Americans are the most aggressively propagandized people in the world: the violent agendas of the most powerful military force ever assembled are far too important to be left up to the will of the citizenry.

So before they can launch missiles, planes, and ships, they launch propaganda. They launch mass media psyops. They launch narrative control campaigns to make sure that Americans hate the leader of Targeted Nation X and want the people of Targeted Nation X to have Freedom and Democracy™. Day after day after day, they seed the idea that Targeted Leader X “must go”, until the story has become so thoroughly indoctrinated that it almost looks like the US and its allies have no choice but to intervene with increasingly violent measures.

When you help advance those propaganda narratives, you are actively facilitating the first steps of war in a very real way. It’s the same as if you personally picked up a rifle and began picking people off; the only difference is that you’re participating in an earlier stage of the bloodshed rather than a later one. The people are just as dead in the end as if you personally had killed them with your own hands, you just helped with an earlier part of the mechanizations of war rather than a later one. Hell, the one firing the bullets is arguably in a more moral position, because at least they’re putting something on the line and reckoning sincerely with the reality of what they’re doing. The one hiding behind a keyboard and acting as a pro bono war propagandist while inserting “…but I oppose direct interventionism” at the end is vastly more cowardly and dishonest. In the end, the one with the gun is just delivering the bullet that was put in the mail by the propagandist.

Over and over and over I run into this stupid herd mentality while arguing about this stuff online where people (seemingly deliberately) conflate the notion of Venezuelans sorting out Venezuelan affairs with US interventionism. I’ll be clearly and explicitly condemning US interventionism, and some foam-brained Trump supporter will come up to me saying “I don’t understand, Caitlin! Why don’t you support the Venezuelan people??”

That phrase, “the Venezuelan people,” incidentally, is exclusively used in propaganda articles to refer to those who support regime change in Venezuela, as documented here by Fair.org’s Alan MacLeod. Like the people who support their government aren’t Venezuelan people.

And I don’t mean to just single out Trump supporters here; they’re just the ones who are more vocally gung-ho for this particular intervention. For the last two years I’ve had Democrats up in my face all the time calling me a “genocide denier” and an “Assad apologist” for opposing the Syrian war propaganda and demanding to know why I hate the Syrian people. The rest of the time I’m being asked why I don’t support the Iranian people by Republicans and why I love Putin by Democrats. This mind virus is totally bipartisan.

It is unlikely that the US war machine is gearing up for an all-out invasion of Venezuela as its Plan A. That’s not its MO. First we’re likely to see continually tightening starvation sanctions, more narrative control, more CIA covert operations, and the arming of oppositional militias within Venezuela. If that doesn’t work we can perhaps expect to see some drone warfare and a coalition being formed, with ground troops sent in only if these other measures fail to rip the country apart by themselves, and only if our rulers can manufacture consent for it. The time to begin disrupting that consent-manufacturing apparatus is now, not later.

The only thing keeping the public from using its numbers to force an end to imperialist warmongering is that most people lack a deep understanding of how horrific and widespread it is, and the only thing preventing them from developing that understanding is propaganda. By regurgitating the propaganda narratives being spouted by neoconservative death cultists like Mike Pompeo, John Bolton and Elliott Abrams, you are helping them pave the road to acts of mass slaughter as sure as if you were perpetrating it yourself.

If you wouldn’t go to a country and start killing everyone between you and its leader personally, stop helping to construct the narrative framework that is being set up to accomplish exactly that. The most powerful thing in our society is narrative. Please treat it with an appropriate level of respect.

Source: “I Oppose Intervention, But…” – But Nothing! Don’t Be A Pro Bono CIA Propagandist

Boom! Rep. Jim Jordan: Bruce Ohr Met with Chris Steele and Glenn Simpson 13 Times and Immediately Went to Debrief Comey FBI (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Rep. Jim Jordan, the ranking Republican member of the House Oversight Committee joined Maria Bartiromo on Sunday Morning Futures this morning.

Jim Jordan told Maria Bartiromo that former Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr met with Fusion GPS and

Rep. Jim Jordan: When we desposed Bruce Ohr he shared three key facts with the FBI that I think disprove Schiff’s memo:

— He said first of all Fusion was connected to the Clinton Campaign, Fusion GPS that put together the dossier.
— He said my wife Nellie Ohr worked for Fusion GPS.
— And the person Fusion hired, Christopher Steele has deep bias against the president.

Jim Jordan continued:

Bruce Ohr met and talked with Chris Steele and Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, multiple times. and after each and every encounter he had with Christopher Steele he went directly to the FBI and briefed them on what that conversation was about. At least 13 times he did that.

Comey and his cabal are crooks.
The fact that they hid this from the FISA court and Congress is criminal conduct.

Via Sunday Morning Futures:

via Boom! Rep. Jim Jordan: Bruce Ohr Met with Chris Steele and Glenn Simpson 13 Times and Immediately Went to Debrief Comey FBI (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

February 3, 2019 Afternoon Verse Of The Day

“I Am the True Vine”

John 15:1–5

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

There have been many guesses about what may have occasioned Christ’s parable of the vine and its branches, which extends over the first half of John 15, but it is impossible to be certain of the cause. Since the preceding chapter concludes with the words, “Come now; let us leave,” it would seem that the Lord and his disciples left the upper room at this point and began that quiet walk across the city of Jerusalem down into the Kidron Valley that brought them to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. If that is the case, they may have passed the great golden vine that decorated the door to the Holy Place of the temple or else the vines that grew close to the great walls of the city and stretched along it. This is not certain, however, for the party may have lingered in the upper room even after Christ’s statement. Some, who have felt this way for other reasons, have suggested that the vine on the temple may have been visible through a window of the room or that a real vine may have been nearby.

As I say, we do not know the occasion for this parable. We only know that vines were visible everywhere in Judea and that the image of the vine had already been widely used in reference to Israel. “I am the true vine,” Jesus said. He then went on to teach about the nature of the church and its fruitfulness, which was to be the result, not of any human achievement, but of its spiritual union with himself. “In me … in me … in me!” That is the theme of this parable and of the great “I am” saying with which it is launched.

The True Vine

The first point of this parable is the “I am” saying itself, and the obvious emphasis is upon the word “true.” “I am the true vine,” says Jesus. This does not mean that he is true as opposed to that which is false but, rather, that he is the one, perfect, essential and enduring vine before which all other vines are but shadows. The word is used in precisely this sense elsewhere where Jesus is declared to be the “true light” (1:9), the “true bread” (6:32), and the “true tabernacle” (Heb. 8:2).

But there is an even more immediate reference, which almost certainly would not have escaped the disciples. The vine is the preeminent symbol of Israel. Thus, over and over again in the Old Testament Israel is portrayed as God’s choice vine or God’s vineyard. Isaiah had written, “I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. … The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress” (Isa. 5:1–2, 7). In a similar vein, Jeremiah recorded, “I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?” (Jer. 2:21). Ezekiel 15 compares Israel to a vine also, as does Ezekiel 19, “Your mother was like a vine … : it was fruitful and full of branches” (v. 10). Hosea wrote, “Israel was a spreading vine; he brought forth fruit for himself” (10:1). One of the best-known passages is from the Psalms: “You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land. The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches” (Ps. 80:8–10).

The vine was well known, then, as a symbol of Israel. Indeed, a bunch of grapes from the vine is a symbol seen in Israel even today. But the truly extraordinary thing about the use of this image in the Old Testament is that it is always brought forward as a symbol of Israel’s degeneration, rather than her fruitfulness. The point of Isaiah’s reference is that the vine has run wild, producing sour grapes. “What could have been done more to my vineyard, than I have not done in it?” God asks. Yet it brought forth “wild grapes” (v. 4). Jeremiah terms Israel a “degenerate” and “strange” vine. Hosea calls her “empty,” that is, run to leaves. The eightieth psalm is set in the context of a plea for God’s renewed favor after the vine has been burned and the hedges broken down.

So here is a vine planted by God to be fruitful but which is not fruitful. And here also, by contrast, is the Lord Jesus Christ who is the true vine. He came from dry ground, but still he grew up before the Lord as “a tender plant” (Isa. 53:2). He was despised of men, but he was perfect and beloved of the Father who, indeed, declared him to be his “beloved Son” in whom he was “well pleased” (Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35). Jesus is the One who, by his very nature as the true vine, brings forth fruit unto the Father.

The Gardener

There are two things that the Father is said to do in his care of the vine. First, he is said to “cut off” every branch that does not bear fruit. Generally this has been understood to be a purging away of dead branches in precisely the same sense that branches are said to be “thrown into the fire” and “burned” in verse 6, but I am convinced that most translators have missed the true meaning of the term “cut off” in this instance. Undoubtedly, their translation has been made to conform to what they know or believe is coming in verse 6, but the translation is not the best or even the most general meaning of the Greek word airo which lies behind it. The word airo has four basic meanings, which are, proceeding from the most fundamental to the most figurative: (1) to lift up or pick up, (2) to lift up figuratively, as in lifting up one’s eyes or voice, (3) to lift up with the added thought of lifting up in order to carry away, and (4) to remove. In translating this word by the verb “cut off” the majority of translators have obviously chosen the fourth of these meanings, for the reason suggested above. But the verse makes better sense and the sequence of verbs is better if the first and primary meaning of the word is taken. In that case the sentence would read, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he lifts up,” that is, to keep it from trailing on the ground.

This translation makes better sense of the passage in every way, and in addition it is much better theology. First, the emphasis of this opening section of the parable is, quite rightly, upon the care of the vine by the Father. It would be strange, granting this emphasis, if the first thing mentioned is the carrying away of unproductive branches. But it is not at all strange to emphasize that the gardener first lifts the branches up so that they may be better exposed to the sun and so the fruit will develop properly.

Second, this lifting up is precisely what is first done with vines, as any one who has watched them being cared for knows. Grapes are not like squash or pumpkins that develop quite well while lying on the ground. They must hang free. Consequently, any branch that trails on the ground is unproductive. It would be a strange gardener who immediately cuts off such a branch without even giving it a chance to develop properly. But it would be wise and customary for him to stretch the vine on an arbor or use some other means of raising it to the air and sun. This is, of course, precisely what vineyards look like, for the vines are always strung from pole to pole on wires.

Third, to translate the word airo by “lifts up” gives a proper sequence to the Father’s care of the vineyard, indicated by the verb that follows. Thus, he first of all lifts the vines up. Then he cuts off the unproductive elements, carefully cleansing the vine of insects, moss, or parasites that otherwise would hinder the growth of the plant. This last item would have been the ancient equivalent of using insecticides, as is done today.

For these reasons the translation “lifts up” should be preferred. And if this is the case, then the first thing the Father is said to do is to lift the Christian closer to himself. To translate that into spiritual terms, it means that the Father first creates a sense of true devotion in the Christian.

Pruning

The second thing the Father is said to do in his care of the vine is to purge it or prune it. In Greek this word is katharizo, which means to cleanse, make clean, or purify. It has given us our English word catharsis. Normally this word would indicate the act of cleansing the vine of anything harmful to it—insects, moss, and so on. But since it is being used of a vine and its branches, it is hard to escape the feeling that pruning is probably also in view. At all events, here the Father is said to be doing a work of removal, removing everything that would prove detrimental to the most fruitful harvest.

In spiritual terms this obviously refers to God’s work in removing that which is spiritually detrimental from a given Christian’s life. It means to have our bad habits stripped away. It means to have our priorities reordered, our values changed. At times it may mean the removal of friends who are hindering rather than advancing our spiritual growth.

The order of these two activities of the Father are most important, because the reverse only produces hypocrisy. What happens when we go about lopping off so-called unspiritual practices without first being drawn closer to God in true devotion is that we imagine ourselves to be quite saintly, when actually we are not. We begin to look down on others who have not made the same denials. We consider them to be worldly and ourselves spiritual. Moreover, having eliminated these elements ourselves without first having our lives filled with Christ, we discover that we have a vacuum within and that it is easy for something else not at all Christian to fill it. We are like the man in Christ’s story who threw one demon out of his house but then suffered greater loss when that demon and seven of his friends returned to repossess him.

What should happen is that we first of all draw near to God and become productive. After that, as the harmful things begin to be cut away, we hardly feel their going. It is a case of maturing, similar to a girl’s giving up dolls. No one ever asks a girl to give up playing with dolls. When she is young she plays with them. But as she grows older she becomes interested in a young man, and after this the dolls are just “kid’s stuff.” The girl does not “give up” dolls. The dolls give her up, because she has grown into a higher sphere of experience. In the same way, as we grow close to the Lord Jesus Christ the dead wood and parasites fall away.

There is one more point connected with the matter of cleansing. It concerns the means by which we are cleansed—the Word of God. Unless we see that the Word must cleanse us, our ideas of purity are man-made and not of God’s origin at all. What is more, they are ineffective. David asked the question, “How can a young man keep his way pure?” He answered, “By living according to your word” (Ps. 119:9). Similarly, Jesus says to his disciples, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). Nothing will keep sin from us but a careful attention to and application of God’s Word. Nothing else will cleanse us.

Remain in Me

The third point in Christ’s parable of the vine and the branches is the secret of fruitfulness, which is abiding in Christ. Here Jesus says, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (vv. 4–5).

The key sentence in these two verses can mean one of three things. It can be a simple declarative, with the sense, “You must remain in me, and I must remain in you.” It can be a promise: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” Or it can be a command meaning, “ Remain in me and, thus, see to it that I for my part also remain in you.” Probably, as Leon Morris points out, it is the third of these that should be preferred. “Jesus means that the disciples should live such lives that He will continue to abide in them. The two ‘abidings’ cannot be separated, and ‘abiding’ is the necessary prerequisite of fruitfulness. No branch bears fruit in isolation. It must have vital connection with the vine. So to abide in Christ is the necessary prerequisite of fruitfulness for the Christian.”

I am not a horticulturist, but I am told by those who know such things that a vine needs to be cultivated at least three years before being allowed to produce fruit at all. That is, it must be trimmed and allowed to grow, then be trimmed and allowed to grow again, and so on for a considerable length of time. Only after this does it become useful for bearing fruit. Similarly, there are times in our lives when we seem to go on for considerable periods, undergoing rather radical treatment at the hands of the Father and seeing little fruit come from it. In such times we doubt if there will ever be fruit. But that is only because we cannot see as God sees. We do not have his perspective. Do not get discouraged if that has happened to you. Instead, remember that Jesus promises fruit in due time if we truly remain in him in a close way. We can give our witness, live the Christian life, and, in a sense, refuse to be concerned about the outcome; for, ultimately, God is the One responsible for the vineyard.

You Can Do Nothing

The last sentence of this section introduces a warning, lest in our budding enthusiasm for bearing fruit for God we forget that it cannot be done without him. “Apart from me you can do nothing,” says Jesus.

This statement may be applied in two ways. On the one hand, it may be applied to Christians; and if that is done, we have the following: (1) great work to be done, (2) the possibility of attempting to do it, but without Christ, and (3) the inevitable failure that must result from such effort. Spurgeon, who preached a marvelous sermon on just these words, observed, “Without Jesus you can talk any quantity; but without him you can do nothing. The most eloquent discourse without him will be all a bottle of smoke. You shall lay your plans, and arrange your machinery, and start your schemes; but without the Lord you will do nothing. Immeasurable cloudland of proposals and not a spot of solid doing large enough for a dove’s foot to rest on—such shall be the end of all!” It is good that it is so, for if it were not so, I am afraid that we would try to do it all without him. Nothing is what shall come of our efforts, if it is not Christ working.

On the other hand, there is also encouragement in this verse when we realize that it may be applied to those who are yet Christ’s enemies. “Without Christ we can do nothing.” That is humbling. But if that is true for those who are united to Christ by faith, in whom he nevertheless dwells, how much truer it is of those who are not at all united to him. They may try to do something against the gospel. They may try to destroy Christ’s work. But all their efforts will come to nothing, for only the hand of man (and not that of God) is in them.[1]


the blessings of abiding branches

every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.… If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (15:2b–5, 7–11)

Three distinguishing marks of the true branches stand out in this analogy. First, they bear fruit (vv. 2, 4, 5, 8). That characteristic most clearly sets them apart from the false branches (cf. vv. 2, 8). Second, they also abide (remain; continue) in Christ’s love (v. 9). Finally, they operate in full cooperation with the source of life, keeping His commandments by following the perfect example of the Lord Jesus Christ, who always obeyed the Father (v. 10). As Jesus had earlier told those who professed faith in Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31). Obedience proves that a person’s love for Christ is genuine (John 14:15, 21, 23), a point John makes clear in his first epistle: believers confess their sins (1:9), unbelievers deny them (1:8, 10); believers obey God’s commandments (2:3), unbelievers do not (2:4); believers demonstrate love for others (2:10), unbelievers do not (2:9, 11); believers live in patterns of righteous (3:6), unbelievers do not (3:9).

But that does not mean that those who love Christ will always obey perfectly; there are times when we lapse into disobedience and fail to abide fully in Christ. Paul admonished the Corinthians,

I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? (1 Cor. 3:1–3)

Jesus rebuked the Ephesian church for its diminished devotion to Him: “I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Rev. 2:4). John, after making the absolute statement “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin,” immediately added “If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1 John 2:1–2). Therefore the Lord’s exhortation to abide in Him is appropriate not only for unbelievers, but also to remind and warn believers who are not abiding in Him in the fullest sense.

Because He wants them to be spiritually productive, the Father takes every branch that bears fruit and prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. Pruning

was … an essential part of first-century viticultural practice, as it is today. The first pruning occurred in spring when vines were in flowering stage. This involved four operations: (1) the removal of the growing tips of vigorous shoots so that they would not grow too rapidly; (2) cutting off one or two feet from the end of growing shoots to prevent entire shoots being snapped off by the wind; (3) the removal of some flower or grape clusters so that those left could produce more and better-quality fruit; and (4) the removal of suckers that arose from below the ground or from the trunk and main branches so that the strength of the vine was not tapped by the suckers. (Colin Kruse, The Gospel According to John, The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003], 315)

The Father prunes the true branches by removing anything that would sap their spiritual energy and hinder them from fruitful results. His pruning involves cutting away anything that limits righteousness, including the discipline that comes from trials, suffering, and persecution. The knowledge that the Father uses the pain that Christians endure for their ultimate good should eliminate all fear, self-pity, and complaining. The classic text in Hebrews reminds those undergoing God’s painful, pruning chastening,

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Heb. 12:7–11; cf. 1 Cor. 11:32)

In the Father’s infinite wisdom and absolute, sovereign control of all of life’s circumstances, He “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28; cf. 5:3–5; Gen. 50:20; Deut. 8:16; 2 Cor. 4:16–18; James 1:2–4).

But suffering is merely the handle of the Father’s knife; the blade is the Word of God. You are already clean, Jesus told the eleven true disciples, because of the word which I have spoken to you. Because they had embraced the gospel through Christ’s teaching, the eleven had been regenerated by the Holy Spirit (cf. John 3:3–8; Titus 3:4–7). That same gospel is found today in the Scriptures, the “word of Christ” (Col. 3:16). The Word is instrumental in believers’ initial cleansing at salvation (cf. Rom. 1:16), and it also continually purges, prunes, and cleanses them.

God uses His Word as the pruning knife, because it “is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12), but He uses affliction to prepare His people for the Word’s pruning. The psalmist affirmed the connection between affliction and the Word’s work in his life when he wrote, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.… It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes” (Ps. 119:67, 71). Psalm 94:12 also makes that connection: “Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O Lord, and whom You teach out of Your law.”

The Lord’s words emphasize two important truths regarding spiritual conduct: Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. First, since all true believers, those who abide in Christ and He in them, will bear spiritual fruit, there is no such thing as a fruitless Christian. John the Baptist challenged his hearers to “bear fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matt. 3:8), and warned that “every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (v. 10). Contrasting true and false teachers, Jesus said, “Every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:17–20). In Luke 6:43 He added, “There is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.”

Second, believers cannot bear fruit on their own, because as He plainly stated, As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing (cf. Hos. 14:8). There may be times when believers have lapses, when they fail to be faithful to their life in Christ. But true branches, through whom the life of the vine flows, cannot ultimately fail to produce fruit (cf. Pss. 1:1–3; 92:12–14; Prov. 11:30; 12:12; Jer. 17:7–8; Matt. 13:23; Rom. 7:4; Gal. 5:22–23; Eph. 5:9; Phil 1:11; Col. 1:10; James 3:17).

A popular misconception equates fruit with outward success. By that common standard, external religion, superficial righteousness, having a large church, a popular ministry, or a successful program are considered fruitful. But the Bible nowhere equates fruit with superficial, external behavior or results, which deceivers and hypocrites, as well as non-Christian cults and religions can duplicate. Instead, Scripture defines fruit in terms of spiritual qualities. “The fruit of the Spirit,” Paul reminded the Galatians, “is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23). Those Christlike traits mark those through whom His life flows.

Praise offered to God is also fruit. The writer of Hebrews exhorts his readers, “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” (Heb. 13:15; cf. Isa. 57:19; Hos. 14:2).

The Bible also identifies sacrificial love in meeting the needs of others as fruit. Referring to the monetary gift he was collecting for the needy believers at Jerusalem, Paul wrote to the Romans, “Therefore, when I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain” (Rom. 15:28). Acknowledging the Philippians’ financial support of his ministry, Paul told them, “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account” (Phil. 4:17 nkjv). Supporting others who are in need is a tangible expression of love, which is one of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).

Fruit may also be defined as holy, righteous, God-honoring behavior in general. Such conduct is “fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matt. 3:8); the fruit produced by the good soil (Matt. 13:23) of a transformed life; the “fruit of the Light [that] consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth” (Eph. 5:9); the “fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:11); the “peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Heb. 12:11). Paul prayed that the Colossians would be continually “bearing fruit in every good work” (Col. 1:10), because Christians were “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

Finally, the Bible defines fruit as converts to the gospel—not the artificial fruit of superficial “believers,” but genuine disciples who abide in the true vine. Referring to the Samaritans who were coming out to Him from the village of Sychar, many of whom would believe savingly in Him (John 4:39, 41), Jesus said, “Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together” (v. 36). He declared of His sacrificial death, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). Paul expressed his desire to the Christians in Rome to win converts in the imperial capital: “I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented so far) so that I may obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles” (Rom. 1:13). At the close of his letter, Paul greeted “Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ” (16:5 nkjv). In 1 Corinthians 16:15 the apostle referred to “the household of Stephanas,” as “the first fruits of Achaia,” while in Colossians 1:6 he rejoiced that “in all the world also it [the gospel; v. 5] is constantly bearing fruit and increasing.” John wrote of the 144,000 evangelists, who will be redeemed during the tribulation, “These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb” (Rev. 14:4).

Another blessing comes in Jesus’ promise If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. That sweeping, all-encompassing promise presupposes that three conditions are met. First, the prayer Jesus promises to answer must be offered in His name; that is, consistent with His person and will, and so that He might display His glory in answering it (cf. the exposition of 14:13–14 in chapter 9 of this volume).

Second, the promise is only to those who abide in (have a permanent union with) Jesus Christ. God does not obligate Himself to answer the prayers of unbelievers, though He may choose to do so if it suits His sovereign purposes.

The final condition is that Christ’s words abide in the person making the request. Words translates the plural form of the noun rhēma, and refers to the individual utterances of Christ. The promise of answered prayer comes only to those whose lives are controlled by the specific commands of God’s Word (cf. Ps. 37:4). On the other hand, both Psalm 66:18 and James 4:3 warn that those controlled by sinful, selfish desires will not have their prayers answered.

The true branches also have the privilege of living lives that glorify God. My Father is glorified by this, Jesus told the disciples, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. The greatest theme in the universe is the glory of God, and to live a life that brings God glory is the believer’s highest privilege and duty. Only those who are in union with Christ can glorify God. Paul wrote, “I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me” (Rom. 15:18; cf. 1 Cor. 15:10; Gal. 2:20; Col. 1:29).

Jesus further promised that those who abide in Him will experience His love. Just as the Father has loved Me, He said, I have also loved you; abide in My love. The way to do that is to keep His commandments, just as He kept His Father’s commandments and abides in His love. Righteous obedience is the key to experiencing God’s blessing.

The crowning blessing, to which all the rest contribute, is full and complete joy. The Lord promised to impart to believers His joy—the joy that He shares in intimate fellowship with the Father. These things I have spoken to you, Jesus said to the eleven, so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. The Lord promised that His own joy will permeate and control the lives of those who walk in communion with Him. Just a short time later, Jesus reiterated this promise in His High Priestly Prayer to the Father: “But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves” (John 17:13). Such joy comes only to the obedient, as David learned to his sorrow. After his terrible sin with Bathsheba, he cried out, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation” (Ps. 51:12). But the obedient receive “joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).[2]


I Am the True Vine

John 15:1–5

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:1–2)

John 15 begins a new phase of Jesus’ farewell teaching, signaled by Jesus’ departure from the upper room with the disciples. In John 14, Jesus sought to comfort the disciples’ fears in light of his imminent departure. Now Jesus gives the corresponding teaching regarding the disciples’ duty and obligation during his absence. Jesus did this by means of the seventh and last “I am” statement in the Gospel of John: “I am the true vine” (John 15:1).

The True Vine

The route from Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives, east of the city, would have afforded Jesus and the disciples the sight of the great temple atop Mount Zion. One of the temple’s notable features was the large decorative vine affixed above the entryway into the Holy Place. Over the years, wealthy Jews had brought gifts of gold and jewels to add tendrils, grapes, and leaves to this gigantic piece of art. According to Josephus, some of the grape clusters were the height of a man. We do not know for certain, but it is possible that this sight prompted Jesus’ use of the vine to make his last “I am” statement. Having led his disciples out toward the Mount of Olives, Jesus began teaching them again, saying, “I am the true vine” (John 15:1).

The vine was the symbol of Israel, which is why the temple was adorned with this image. Psalm 80 is one of many Old Testament passages employing this symbol: “You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land” (Ps. 80:8–9). The idea of the vineyard expresses God’s labor and care in planting his people in the Promised Land. The vine was the Lord’s people, from which he desired a rich harvest of fruit.

The problem was that Israel never produced the fruit that the Lord had desired. This is the point of most of the biblical references to Israel as a vine. Isaiah’s famous Song of the Vineyard makes this point: “For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, an outcry!” (Isa. 5:7). In Jeremiah 2:21, God complained, “I planted you a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have you turned degenerate and become a wild vine?”

It was in comparison to Israel’s failure that Jesus declared himself the “true vine.” Israel became a false and wild vine through idolatry and wickedness. In contrast, how pleasing was the life of Jesus to God the Father! As Isaiah foretold, Jesus “grew up before him like a young plant” (Isa. 53:2), and out of his humble circumstances he brought delight to the Father through perfect obedience. Thus God praised Jesus at his baptism: “a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’ ” (Matt. 3:17). The fruit that God desired from Israel but did not find, he gained for himself by sending his own Son to be the true vine, from which his new and righteous people would live and bear good fruit.

When we consider the life of Jesus, we can see in how many ways “the true vine” is an apt emblem for our Lord. The vine grows from a modest beginning to display great beauty with its leaves and grapes. So also does Jesus overflow with a beautiful character and love. Just as the vine is the source of life for its branches, Jesus is the true vine, the source of true and everlasting life for those who believe. Jesus taught, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Just as the fruit of the vine brings joy and refreshment to the hearts of men (Ps. 104:15), Jesus came to give true joy and spiritual rest to heavy-laden hearts (Matt. 11:28). Moreover, the wine that comes from the vine was the emblem that Jesus used that evening for the blood he would shed to cleanse us from our sins. As the true vine, he provides his blood as the source of the new life for believers.

This passage is unique among the “I am” sayings of Jesus in that it forms the basis for an extended metaphor or parable. Jesus said that he is the true vine, the Father is the vinedresser, and the disciples are the branches. Believers are the tendrils or branches that are to bear good fruit from Jesus the true vine. Paul thus writes that Christians were saved “in order that [we] may bear fruit for God” (Rom. 7:4). Jesus here emphasized the good fruit that believers are to bear for the Lord, along with the Father’s loving activity in pruning the branches, and his own life as the source of believers’ fruitfulness.

The contrast with idolatrous Israel and the context of Jesus’ teaching in chapters 14–16 show that our fruit is to consist mainly in devotion to God and obedience to his commands. It was because of idolatry and injustice that God promised to remove Israel’s hedge, break down its wall, trample down the vineyard, and make it a waste (Isa. 5:5–6). In addition to praise (Heb. 13:15) and righteousness (Phil. 1:11; Heb. 12:11), the New Testament adds the fruit of good works (Col. 1:10) and the fruit of the Spirit in our inward character (Gal. 5:22–23). Not only does the Lord desire such fruit from us, but Jesus depicts how determined God is to gain it from our lives.

Fruitless Branches Taken Away

Anyone who knows about vineyards can tell you that they require a great deal of tending, lest they grow wild and become fruitless. Here, Jesus depicts the Father’s personal activity in tending his cherished vine. This description emphasizes the Father’s protective care, watchfulness over the daily condition of each branch, and faithfulness in not permitting any true branch to go to ruin. A. W. Pink comments, “He does not allot to others the task of caring for the vine and its branches, and this assures us of the widest, most tender and most faithful care of it.”

Jesus description requires us to distinguish between two kinds of branches: “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2). There are branches in Christ, the true vine, that flow with life and bear fruit. But there are other branches connected to Jesus that do not bear fruit. What are these other branches “in me” that do not bear fruit?

John 15:2, which depicts the removal of fruitless branches from the vine, is a favorite verse of Arminians, who cite this verse as proof that true believers who are savingly joined to Christ may yet fall away and be lost. It must be agreed that these fruitless branches are lost: verse 6 says that they “are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” Arminians teach that this verse describes true believers who lose their salvation by ceasing to bear fruit.

The first problem with this interpretation is the Bible’s clear teaching of the eternal security of genuine believers in Christ. For instance, in Jesus’ teaching on himself as the Good Shepherd, he said of his true sheep: “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28). This is in keeping with Jesus’ teaching in John 6:39 that “this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.” These, and many other clear Bible passages, directly refute the Arminian doctrine.

The second problem with the Arminian view is seen in the functioning of this very parable, which presumes that branches containing the life of the vine will certainly go on to bear good fruit: “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit” (John 15:5). The problem with dead branches is that they do not possess the sap of the vine. Vinedressers remove these dead branches to preserve the vine’s strength for the fruitful branches. Thus, Jesus said, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away” (15:2).

So what kind of branches are connected to Christ without possessing his saving life? The answer is nominal Christians: that is, those who call themselves Christians, attend church with Christians, and engage in many actions that Christians do, but who nonetheless do not possess the life of Christ through true and saving faith.

This teaching makes a vitally important point for us. According to Jesus here, and throughout the Gospels, the true mark of those who belong to him and are saved is the bearing of good fruit. We are saved not by good fruit or any other work of our own, but by faith in Christ alone. The good fruit, however, is the only proof that our profession of faith is true and saving. Being present in the church, receiving the rite of baptism, having membership on the church rolls, and being part of a godly family are not proofs of salvation and new life. Moreover, it is possible for a person to affirm the basic truths of Christian belief, yet to possess none of Christ’s life. The true and only proof of salvation is fruit. This is the sole distinction between the two kinds of branches that Jesus mentions. Both are connected to him in some sense. But one does not bear fruit, and it is taken away while the fruitful branch is tended. “You will recognize them by their fruits,” Jesus taught elsewhere (Matt. 7:20), and so will God.

It follows that we should never encourage a person to have assurance of salvation through a bare profession of faith, until that faith has proved itself by bearing fruit. The best Christians are imperfect and flawed in many ways, but all true Christians bear some true fruit in the form of obedience to God’s commands, faithfulness to Christ before the world, and the cultivating of inward spiritual grace.

I once met with a woman, a longtime church member and the wife of an elder, who was nonetheless worldly in her speech and conduct. I asked her how she was doing and she answered, as was her custom, “I am ornery.” I pointed out that orneriness is not among the fruit of the Spirit listed by Paul in Galatians 5:22–23. “Read me the list,” she asked, “and see if I possess any of those qualities.” I therefore read, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23). “Which of these do you see in yourself?” I asked. She had to reply, “I see none of them in myself.” I pointed out that this indicated the possibility that she was not truly joined to Jesus Christ and began discussing her need to trust in Christ’s blood for forgiveness and new life. Taking offense at my reply, the woman demanded that we change the subject.

Do you see any of the fruit of the Spirit in your life? If you are a Christian, the honest answer should be Yes. You should be able to identify an increasing righteousness, peace, and joy (Rom. 14:17), with a growing love for God and his people. No doubt there is a mixed report in these areas, but a true Christian will be able to see some fruit of inward change, to go along with obedience to God’s Word, fidelity to Christ before the world, and good works. Christians who know the fruit of Christ in their lives should thus be assured that their profession of faith is real, since the life of the vine is bearing fruit in the branch.

The question may be raised as to how God “takes away” the fruitless branches. Charles Spurgeon suggests that in some cases the Lord might allow a false professor to become rich so as to no longer feel his need for religion. In other cases, a dead branch might fall into open sin that leads to pride and rejection of Christ. Others will be drawn by the world into unbelief and will “discover” that Christianity is not true after all, particularly after such activities as golfing on Sundays and travel have slowly turned their heart to the world. Though Christians may plead with God over such persons, Spurgeon delivers the Father’s answer: “Take them away …: if they had through saving faith been made to bear the fruit of the Spirit, they should have been saved; but as there was not fruit, take them away.” God does this for the good of the vine and for the life of the true branches, so that each will bear more and better fruit.

Fruitful Branches Pruned

While Jesus mentions the fruitless branches that are removed, he emphasizes God’s pruning activity on the fruitful branches. Jesus said, “Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2). It might seem surprising that God prunes the fruitful branches, since pruning sounds painful, until we realize that the purpose of pruning is to gain the maximum amount of fruit from the vine.

Grapevines require aggressive pruning. After each year’s harvest, the fruitful branches are cut back significantly. The idea in pruning is to remove whatever inhibits growth, and Jesus applies this principle to the Father’s pruning of our spiritual lives. He strips away things that are spiritually detrimental, even if they are otherwise good things. He takes the knife to our bad habits and assails our prayerlessness by giving us things to pray about. The Father applies the pruning knife to our priorities and values, and strips away relationships that would hinder our faith. It is important to note that this is not punishment, but vinedressing. The writer of Hebrews said: “He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness” (Heb. 12:10).

This pruning might take place by means of God’s providential arrangement of our circumstances: we might suffer loss, face a temptation, or experience a reproof. The purpose of all these is to make us fruitful through an increased faith. Peter wrote that his readers had “been grieved by various trials,” the purpose of which was “that the tested genuineness of your faith … may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6–7). James reminds us how much better off Christians are because of the trials we have endured: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:2–3). In his years of dark suffering in Pharaoh’s prison, Joseph was having his character prepared for his reign over Egypt. More recently, the severe afflictions suffered by Christians in China under the Communists have borne fruit in a remarkable explosion of spiritual power and gospel success. It is true that the Father’s pruning involves afflictions known only to Christians, the like of which the world knows nothing. But neither does the world know the joy of the harvest in the fruit of eternal life.

This tells us that when we endure trials in life—when we find biblical parenting to be overwhelming, when loving our spouse is difficult, when integrity in the workplace is hard, and when we experience the more severe trials involved with sickness, grief, joblessness, or persecution—we should lift our faces to the Lord and ask him to do his work in our life, that we might bear the fruit that he desires. Mark Johnston comments that while “the process may be painful …, it will always be worthwhile as it leads to a better and more profitable life in Christ.” Thus, the saintly and much-afflicted Elizabeth Prentiss wrote to a friend who was suffering under grief: “My dear friend, don’t let this tragedy of sorrow fail to do everything for you.”5 David similarly sang, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word” (Ps. 119:67).

Cleansed by the Word

We rightly think of God’s pruning in terms of outward trials, but it seems that Jesus refers also to the ministry of God’s Word. He continued, “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). The word for clean is the noun form of the same word he used in verse 2 for prunes. The basic idea of the word (verb, kathairo; noun, katharos) is “cleansing,” but with the idea of pruning, it means the removal of unwanted materials. It is primarily the Word of God, Jesus said, that produces this cleansing. Therefore, when he speaks of the Father’s pruning, he refers to the Scriptures as the agent of our spiritual change and growth. His meaning is similar to that of Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” God intends for his Word to penetrate our hearts, unmask our true thoughts and desires, and cut away all that hinders our growth. It was with this in mind that Paul said that the Bible is not only “breathed out by God” but also “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

This means that we must come to God’s Word not merely to learn spiritual facts but to bring our hearts under the pruning knife of our loving Father, the vinedresser. The saying is true that “soft preaching creates hard hearts, but hard preaching creates soft hearts.” Therefore, we should not seek only comforting and uplifting messages when we attend to preaching in the church or when we read our Bibles. Rather, we should seek the truth that will cut away our sin and the challenging teaching on holiness that will stimulate spiritual growth. Most significantly, we should seek in God’s Word to see the glory of the Lord in the face of his Son, Jesus, so that God’s grace would teach us “to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12–13).

The One Principle of Fruitfulness

So far, Jesus has used the symbolism of the vine to describe himself and the vinedresser to depict God’s pruning activity for our growth in holiness. He concludes the metaphor by referring to his disciples as the branches, and he provides a single key principle for our fruitfulness: “Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4). This saying was likely meant as a command: believers are commanded to abide in Christ in order to bear our fruit.

What does it mean, then, to abide in Christ? To abide is to dwell in, with close communion and fellowship. The basic idea, Gordon Keddie writes, is “the active cultivation by every professing Christian of a living spiritual relationship to Christ.” As Paul put it, “For to me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21). He explained, “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

Abiding in Christ means that we draw near to Christ spiritually and hold fast to his teaching. Jesus earlier taught, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32). Abiding in Christ’s Word involves more than a bare adherence to Christian doctrine and the discipline of Bible reading; it also involves a yearning trust in its promises and a serious application of its lessons to our lives. Abiding in Christ likewise involves a fervent communion with the Lord in prayer. It includes a devoted participation in the worship and work of Christ’s church, joining together with other members of the body of Christ for communion with and service to the Lord.

Jesus makes two vital statements connecting our fruitfulness to our abiding in Christ. The first is that by abiding in him we will bear fruit, for the same reason that a living branch bears the fruit of the vine. When we abide in Christ, he abides in us and his Spirit works in us with power. This means that the Christian life is not a calling to self-improvement. Our calling is to abide in Christ, following him through his Word, prayer, worship, and service, and he will bear his fruit in us. The solution to many of our problems is thus simply to walk with Christ over many years. He will lead us, change us, and transform us by the power of his Spirit. This does not mean that Christians are not to strive against sin and labor for holiness. What it means is that the way that we seek our own holiness and fight sin is by trusting Christ, drawing from his strength, and living in loving, personal obedience to him. “Whoever abides in me and I in him,” Jesus said, “he it is that bears much fruit” (John 15:5).

A vital corollary to this principle is that apart from abiding in Christ, we can bear no fruit: “As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.… Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4–5). By this Jesus did not mean that we literally do nothing: apart from Christ, we can do many things! We can recruit large numbers, raise huge sums of money, erect glorious buildings, and secure worldly power. On a personal level, we can accomplish many things for ourselves and for others apart from Christ. The problem is that apart from Jesus, all that we accomplish is nothing. Only by the means that God has ordained—chief among them God’s Word and prayer—and through a conscious dependence on Christ do we accomplish anything of real spiritual value. However glorious it might be to our own eyes and to the world, all that we do apart from Christ, and all that the church accomplishes by worldly means, is really chaff and dead branches, fit only in the end to be gathered up and burned (cf. 1 Cor. 3:13–15).

Much Fruit

In the upper room, Jesus told the disciples of all that he would do to provide for them in his absence. Now, as they walked to the Mount of Olives, Jesus stressed the disciples’ duty. As Jesus is the true vine, God seeks and demands true spiritual fruit from his disciples. If we will abide in Christ, his life will accomplish wonders of spiritual power in and through us, and the Father will tend us with his pruning knife to bring forth our fruit.

Does this sound intimidating? Do you doubt that someone like you, with all your weakness and sin, could really bear fruit for the Lord? The good news is the promise essential to this teaching. If you will but abide in Jesus, he will bear great fruit through you. If you doubt yourself, do not doubt our Savior and Lord. In one of his earlier parables, Jesus spoke of those to whom his Word came so that they believed and were saved. Jesus admitted that some of these bore more fruit than others, saying of the believer, “He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty” (Matt. 13:23). There is a difference between a very fruitful Christian and a less fruitful Christian, but both have this in common: they bear much fruit, some a hundredfold and some thirtyfold. If you will abide in Christ and live with him and for him, out of your life, your witness, and your prayers you will make a godly difference in a great many lives and in you God will grow much spiritual fruit, to his own glory. Jesus said as a simple statement of fact: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit” (John 15:5).[3]


4. Abide in me. He again exhorts them to be earnest and careful in keeping the grace which they had received, for the carelessness of the flesh can never be sufficiently aroused. And, indeed, Christ has no other object in view than to keep us as a hen keepeth her chickens under her wings, (Matth. 23:37,) lest our indifference should carry us away, and make us fly to our destruction. In order to prove that he did not begin the work of our salvation for the purpose of leaving it imperfect in the middle of the course, he promises that his Spirit will always be efficacious in us, if we do not prevent him. Abide in me, says he; for I am ready to abide in you. And again, He who abideth in me beareth much fruit. By these words he declares that all who have a living root in him are fruit-bearing branches.[4]


4 The central focus of Jesus’ teaching in this opening paragraph is found here: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” Since a verb must be supplied in the Greek text for the second clause, the NIV adds, “will remain.” Moffatt has, “as I remain in you.” Morris, 670, favors taking the second clause as a continuation of the command in the first clause and translates, “and see that I abide in you.” A more satisfactory approach is to allow the ambiguous relationship between the clauses to remain and to see in the sentence as a whole the dual condition that we as believers are to bring into being. Jesus is setting before us the prospect of the mutual indwelling of Jesus and those who will abide in him. So central is this mutual indwelling to what it means to be a Christian that Temple, 2:258, can say, “Whatever leads to this is good; whatever hinders this is bad; whatever does not bear on this is futile.”

The verb “remain” occurs ten times in the first eleven verses of ch. 15. For a branch to bear fruit it must share the life of the vine. Likewise, for believers to bear fruit they must remain in Christ. All spiritual power for living out the Christian life comes from God. There is only one way for a believer to receive this power, namely, to remain in unbroken fellowship with the source of power. Paul pictures the relationship in terms of a spiritual death and resurrection: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20).[5]


[1] Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John: an expositional commentary (pp. 1159–1164). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2008). John 12–21 (pp. 146–151). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[3] Phillips, R. D. (2014). John. (R. D. Phillips, P. G. Ryken, & D. M. Doriani, Eds.) (1st ed., Vol. 2, pp. 281–290). Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing.

[4] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Gospel according to John (Vol. 2, p. 109). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[5] Mounce, R. H. (2007). John. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Luke–Acts (Revised Edition) (Vol. 10, p. 574). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

MAGA: Make America Godly Again

Despite our many national problems and flaws and sins, America is still an amazing country. That’s why our universities are filled with the smartest students from the nations. That’s why our businesses and technologies help improve the quality of life around the globe. We remain the land of endless opportunity and we are a people of endless optimism.

But we have certainly seen better days in the past, especially in terms of national unity and national morality.

Especially national morality.

Without a doubt, America in the past has been godlier, and that has been the key to our greatness.

That means that, if we are to make America great again, we must make America godly again. Otherwise, we will continue to decline.

It is true that America has never been a totally Christian (or, perfectly Christian) nation. Far from it.

But there is no denying our strong, biblical roots.

There is no denying the Christian principles that infused our nation in its earliest days, beginning with the colonies, and these laid the foundation for our greatness. As Proverbs states, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov 14:34).

I was struck deeply by this when doing research for my book Saving a Sick America.

In the opening chapters of the book, I traced our deeply Christian roots from the 1600s through the early 1900s, beginning with the “Old Deluder Act,” passed in 1647. The act called for schools to be established in each community when it grew to a certain size to ensure that the children would be able to read – so they would be able to read the Bible!

The colonists were not about to allow that old deluder, Satan, to keep the Word from them.

As I noted in Saving a Sick America, “Similar sentiments were expressed in the New Haven Code of 1655, which stated that the purpose of education was to equip children to be ‘able duly to read the Scriptures … and in some competent measure to understand the main grounds and principles of Christian Religion necessary to salvation.'”

It was the same with the founding of our greatest universities, beginning with Harvard and Yale. They were Bible-based, Christian-based, mission-based schools.

And it was the same with children’s schooling from their very first lessons in the alphabet, where each letter corresponded to a scriptural truth. Textbooks like this were commonly used right through the 1800s.

Our Founding Fathers were quite aware of the importance of having a biblically-literate, morally-grounded populace. That’s why Samuel Adams said, “A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they can not be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.”

What wise and prophetic words. When we lose our virtues, we lose our liberties.

Now, there is a quote widely attributed to the French historian and philosopher Alexis De Tocqueville, who famously visited America in the 1830s. Even if the quote doesn’t originate with him, it does reflect his overall observations. And it is certainly true.

It says this: “I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors…; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.

“Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.”

Read more from “MAGA: Make America Godly Again” on The Christian Post.

Source: MAGA: Make America Godly Again

The Trump Regime Wants Maduro Eliminated by Coup or Assassination

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Coups and assassinations are  longstanding US policies. The late William Blum wrote about successful and unsuccessful US plots.

Below is a list he compiled of prominent foreign leaders US regimes targeted for elimination by assassination post-WW II through 2011, including successes and failures – besides plots carried out by anti-Castro Cubans employed by the CIA.

Fidel miraculously survived hundreds of US attempts to kill him. He warned Hugo Chavez to be careful, Chavez saying:

“Fi­del al­ways told me,

Chavez take care. These peo­ple have de­vel­oped tech­nol­o­gy. You are very care­less. Take care what you eat, what they give you to eat…a lit­tle nee­dle and they in­ject you with I don’t know what.”

Here’s the assassination plot list Blum compiled:

“1949 – Kim Koo, Korean opposition leader

1950s – CIA/neo-Nazi hit list of more than 200 political figures in West Germany to be ‘put out of the way’ in the event of a Soviet invasion

1950s – Chou En-lai, Prime minister of China, several attempts on his life

1950s, 1962 – Sukarno, President of Indonesia

1951 – Kim Il Sung, Premier of North Korea

1953 – Mohammed Mossadegh, Prime Minister of Iran

1950s (mid) – Claro M. Recto, Philippines opposition leader

1955 – Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India

1957 – Gamal Abdul Nasser, President of Egypt

1959, 1963, 1969 – Norodom Sihanouk, leader of Cambodia

1960 – Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Kassem, leader of Iraq

1950s-70s – Jose Figueres, President of Costa Rica, two attempts on his life

1961 – Francois ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier, leader of Haiti

1961 – Patrice Lumumba, Prime Minister of the Congo (Zaire)

1961 – Gen. Rafael Trujillo, leader of Dominican Republic

1963 – Ngo Dinh Diem, President of South Vietnam

1960s-70s – Fidel Castro, President of Cuba, many attempts on his life

1960s – Raul Castro, high official in government of Cuba

1965 – Francisco Caamano, Dominican Republic opposition leader

1965-6 – Charles de Gaulle, President of France

1967 – Che Guevara, Cuban leader

1970 – Salvador Allende, President of Chile

1970 – Gen. Rene Schneider, Commander-in-Chief of Army, Chile

1970s, 1981 – General Omar Torrijos, leader of Panama

1972 – General Manuel Noriega, Chief of Panama Intelligence

1975 – Mobutu Sese Seko, President of Zaire

1976 – Michael Manley, Prime Minister of Jamaica

1980-1986 – Muammar Qaddafi, leader of Libya, several plots and attempts upon his life

1982 – Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of Iran

1983 – Gen. Ahmed Dlimi, Moroccan Army commander

1983 – Miguel d’Escoto, Foreign Minister of Nicaragua

1984 – The nine comandantes of the Sandinista National Directorate

1985 – Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanese Shiite leader (80 people killed in the attempt)

1991 – Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq

1993 – Mohamed Farah Aideed, prominent clan leader of Somalia

1998, 2001-2 – Osama bin Laden

My note: He died of natural causes in December 2001, reported by the NYT, the BBC, Fox News, and other major media at the time or months later when word spread. Obama DID NOT kill Osama!

1999 – Slobodan Milosevic, President of Yugoslavia

2002 – Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Afghan Islamic leader and warlord

2003 – Saddam Hussein and his two sons

2011 – Muammar Qaddafi, leader of Libya

After Blum compiled his list, Obama had Hugo Chavez killed. He died in March 2013. He was either poisoned or infected with cancer causing substances.

Four major cancer surgeries in 18 couldn’t save him. Chavez knew the US marked him for death, saying it numerous times.

Maduro at the time said he believed Chavez was “injected by imperialist forces…poisoned by dark forces in order to hit at the Venezuelan people and Latin America.”

His cancer didn’t correspond with any of the normal behaviors of the illness. He received (lots) of death threats. Maybe they didn’t manage to it through a direct attempt” on his life.

“Everything seems to indicate that they managed to affect his health using the most advanced techniques.”

Blum believed “Chavez was murdered by the United States,” saying it’s “well known that during the Cold War, the CIA worked diligently to develop substances that could kill without leaving a trace.”

Investigative journalist Wayne Madsen said Langley “pioneered” cancer-causing agent experiments. Focus was on infecting victims multiple ways. They include “injection, inhalation, (and) skin contact through contaminated clothing, especially underwear.”

Chavez’s aggressive cancer raised red flags. The illness is curable most often if caught in time and treated expertly. Chavez had world class care. It wasn’t enough. He may have been poisoned by contaminated food, drink, toothpaste, or another substance.

The US wants all leaders like Chavez and Maduro eliminated by one means or another. It wants Bolivarian social democracy eliminated, puppet governance replacing it, along with control over Venezuela’s vast oil reserves.

The US Department of Energy once estimated the country’s heavy and extra-heavy oil resources at up to 1.36 trillion barrels – a prize Washington covets.

America’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED), National Democratic Institute (NDI), International Republican Institute (IRI), US Agency for International Development (USAID), Development Alternatives, CIA, NSA, and FBI actively wage economic and political war on Venezuela – along with sanctions war by US regimes.

Maduro said “(w)ithout a doubt, Donald Trump gave the order to kill me, told the Colombian government, the Colombian mafia, to kill me. If something happens to me, Donald Trump and Colombian President Ivan Duque will be responsible.”

He’s either right or the CIA, acting on its own like many times before, wants him dead. Maduro believes Venezuelan security will protect him.

It didn’t help Chavez. He was a marked man. So is Maduro. If what’s going on to remove him fails, the US will try another way to eliminate him – by military intervention, assassination, or other tactics.

That’s how imperialism works. The US has been at it from inception.

Source: The Trump Regime Wants Maduro Eliminated by Coup or Assassination

Flagrant Illegality of Interfering in Affairs of Other Nations – Stephen Lendman

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

International law is clear and unequivocal. International laws, treaties, conventions, and agreements are automatically US law under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2).

No nation may legally interfere in the internal affairs of others except in self-defense if attacked – provided Security Council member states authorize military action. Acting otherwise is flagrantly illegal.

Non-intervention is a cardinal principle of international law. It prohibits using force or other means against the territorial integrity and sovereign independence of any nation.

The principle of non-intervention protects the sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity of all nations, including the rights of their people.

The US uses NATO as an imperial tool for illegal intervention against targeted nations.

The International Court of Justice ruled that the “element of coercion” by one state against another in any form is “the very essence of prohibited intervention.”

The UN Charter Article 2 states “(a)ll Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…”

Article 15 of the Covenant of the League of Nations prohibited intervention by one country against others.

Article 8 of the 1933 Montevideo Convention of Rights and Duties states: “No state has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another.”

Under Article 10, differences between states “should be settled by recognized pacific methods.”

Article 11 calls sovereign state territory “inviolable…” Other charters and agreements affirm non-intervention, including:

the Organization of American States;

Organization of African Unity;

League of Arab States;

the 1936 Buenos Aires Conference;

the Chapultepec Peace Agreement;

First Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries in Belgrade; and

the 1965 UN Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of Their Independence and Sovereignty, among others.

A 1915 definition states that non-intervention is the absence of “interference by a state or states in the external affairs of another state without its consent, or in its internal affairs with or without its consent.”

In his farewell address, George Washington called for avoiding entangling foreign alliances.

Thomas Jefferson called for “(p)eace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations —entangling alliances with none.”

Except for Panama, Washington pursued treaty and other alliances with no other nations until post-WW II, part of its strategy to dominate them, notably Europe with the creation of the EU by the CIA.

The 1823 Monroe Doctrine was non-interventionist, stating: “In the wars of the European powers, in matters relating to themselves, we have never taken part, nor does it comport with our policy, so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded, or seriously menaced that we resent injuries, or make preparations for our defense.”

In the mid-19th century, Secretary of State William Seward defended “our policy of non-intervention — straight, absolute, and peculiar as it may seem to other nations,” adding:

“(T)he American people must be content to recommend the cause of human progress by the wisdom with which they should exercise the powers of self-government, forbearing at all times, and in every way, from foreign alliances, intervention, and interference.”

From inception, US authorities meddled in the internal affairs of Native Americans, in the name of “progress,” stealing their land, massacring their people to expand the country “from sea to shining sea.”

Throughout its history, the US interfered in the lives and welfare of its ordinary people, exploiting them to benefit the privileged few – Native and Black Americans harmed most of all, African Americans commodified as property, transformed from chattel to wage slavery today, from Jim Crow to its modern-day version, from freedom to mass incarceration.

President Grant failed to get congressional support to annex the Dominican Republic. The principle of non-intervention was ignored during the 1899 – 1902 Spanish American War.

The US colonized Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. Expressing outrage in 1900, Mark Twain said “I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines.”

“We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem…And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land…We have pacified some thousands of the islanders and buried them; destroyed their fields, burned their villages, turned their widows and orphans out-of-doors, (and) subjugated the remaining ten million by Benevolent Assimilation, which is the pious new name of the musket…”

He proposed a new American flag “with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones” — appalled that General Jacob Smith ordered his troops to:

“Kill and burn…this is no time to take prisoners…the more you kill and burn, the better. Kill all above the age of ten…turn (the country into) a howling wilderness.”

Half of Mexico was seized in the mid-19th century. In the early 20th century, the US colonized Central American countries, the hemisphere considered America’s backyard for the past 200 years.

Ordinary Americans opposed US involvement in both world wars. The power of propaganda turned them into raging German haters in 1917, letting Woodrow Wilson get the war he wanted after campaigning against involvement.

Franklin Roosevelt got the war he wanted by forcing the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor by waging economic war on the country, nothing surprising about what happened.

US intelligence broke Japan’s codes, knew what was coming. The Japanese fleet was tracked across the Pacific. Pearl Harbor’s Admiral HE Kimmel wasn’t warned.

Waging war then demanded mass casualties to transform a pacifist Congress and public into raging Japan haters. WW II followed. Inventing nonexistent threats work the same way today.

WW I waged to end all future ones made the second global war inevitable. There was nothing good about the misnamed “good war,” the scourge of fascism relocated from Berlin and Tokyo to Washington.

The rest as they say is history. Beginning in June 1950, endless US wars on humanity were waged, along with color revolutions and old-fashioned coup d’etats – aiming to colonize planet earth, control its resources and exploit its people.

Venezuela is in the eye of the storm. Since establishment of social democracy in the country 20 years ago, Republicans and undemocratic Dems aimed to replace it with fascist tyranny, wanting sovereign independent governance eliminated, the US gaining control over the country’s oil reserves, the world’s largest, and its other valued resources.

That is what’s in play now, the fate of the nation at stake – to remain free and independent or controlled by the scourge of Washington’s aim to rule the world.

Non-interventionism is a well-established principle of international law. Time and again, the US flouts it unaccountably, operating by its own rules alone, humanity paying the price at home and abroad.

Intervening on the pretext of democracy building, humanitarian intervention or responsibility to protect have no legal standing in international or US constitutional law.

The stakes are huge: freedom or fascism, democracy or rule by monied interests, war or peace, social justice or eliminating it altogether, governance of, by, and for everyone equitably or just for the privileged few – in America, Venezuela and everywhere else.

Source: https://stephenlendman.org/2019/02/flagrant-illegality-in-interfering-in-affairs-of-other-nations/

Coup-Supporting US Media – Stephen Lendman

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Major US media never met a US war of aggression or state-sponsored coup d’etat attempt against a sovereign independent government they didn’t wholeheartedly endorse.

Operating as mouthpieces for the imperial state and monied interests, their mission is to provide propaganda services – reporting the official narrative, suppressing vital truths, prohibiting what journalism is supposed to be.

Writer Adam Johnson explained a dozen largely successful US coup attempts in Latin and Central America post-WW II the NYT either supported or failed to condemn.

The same goes for virtually all US establishment media, supporting wealth, power, and privilege over rule of law principles and democratic governance, notions they abhor.

Johnson covered two Venezuelan coup attempts, the Bush/Cheney regime’s failed April 2002 aim to crush its social democracy and what’s now ongoing.

He omitted others in the country against Bolivarian rule, including:

  • the 2002 – 03 general strike and oil management lockout, causing severe economic disruption and billions of dollars in losses;
  • the August 2004 national recall referendum, Hugo Chavez winning overwhelmingly with a 59% majority, thwarting the US-orchestrated attempt to remove him;
  • the Obama regime’s responsibility for killing Chavez, by poisoning or infection with deadly cancer causing substances, a coup by other means;
  • intermittent violent street protests earlier and now, responsible for scores of deaths and hundreds of injuries, US-orchestrated color revolution attempts for regime change;
  • the August 2017 CIA-orchestrated terrorist attack on Fort Paramacay in Carabobo state, another foiled coup attempt; and
  • the August 2018 attack on Maduro by drones armed with C-4 explosives, attempt to kill him.

He was rushed from the scene unharmed, seven national guard soldiers reportedly injured. Maduro called the incident “an attack to kill me.”

“They tried to assassinate me…I have no doubt that (fascist narco-terrorist, human rights abuser with close ties to Washington’s imperial agenda, former Colombian president) Juan Manuel Santos (was) behind this attack.”

CIA coup plotters surely orchestrated what assassins were hired to carry out, Langley’s dirty hands were involved in scores of US plots to replace independent governments with ones Washington controls.

Chavez knew he was a marked man. So does Maduro. He’s vulnerable to US efforts to remove him by the ongoing coup attempt or assassination – the NYT and other US major media cheerleading the scheme.

On Saturday, the Times and other US media reported on orchestrated Venezuelan rallies for US-designated puppet interim president Guaido, inflating the crowd size in Caracas, largely ignoring tens of thousands out in force for Maduro.

Headlines are attention-grabbers. Below is a sampling of anti-Maduro Saturday ones:

The NYT: “Venezuelans Opposed to Maduro Pour Into Streets for Day of Protests”

The neocon/CIA-connected Washington Post: “Venezuela’s opposition leader calls movement against Maduro ‘unstoppable’ ”

Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal: “Venezuelans Take to the Streets to Protest Maduro”

AP News: “Venezuela’s Guaido urges military defections amid protests”

Reuters: “Mass protests in Venezuela as Maduro flexes political muscle”

Bloomberg News: “Venezuelan General Breaks With Maduro Ahead of Street Protests”

CNN: “Military defection, protests embolden opposition”

Fox News: “Large anti-Maduro protests fill the streets in Venezuela”

NBC News: “Venezuelans take to the streets worldwide calling for an end to Maduro’s presidency”

Voice of America reports US propaganda globally. Surprisingly, its February 2 headline was more measured than the above one-sided ones, saying “Rival Throngs Protest in Venezuela as General Defects,” indicating dueling protests occurred on Saturday.

VOA quoted Maduro saying “ ‘I am very ashamed to see this group of opposition coup perpetrators’ take orders from Washington.”

According to RT, Twitter (in cahoots with the Trump regime) deleted about 2,000 Venezuelan accounts – 1,196 for “appear(ing) to be engaged in a state-backed influence campaign targeting domestic audiences.”

Another 764 were taken down, Twitter saying “(w)e are unable to definitively tie the accounts located in Venezuela to information operations of a foreign government against another country.”

Twitter wants accurate information on what’s going on eliminated, backing the Trump regime’s coup attempt against Maduro’s legitimacy and democratic governance, serving as an agent of tyranny.

Russian lower house State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin blasted Facebook (and its Instagram platform) for “playing to the tune of Washington,” saying the social media giant gave the account of coup plotter Guaido “a blue verification badge” of trustworthiness, denying it to President Maduro.

The fate of the Venezuelan nation and its people hang in the balance – to remain free from Washington’s diabolical plot to kill its social democracy, wanting it transformed in another US colony.

Source: https://stephenlendman.org/2019/02/coup-supporting-us-media/

Venezuela: Eurasia Teams Up Against American Hegemony

Venezuela: Let’s Cut to the Chase

Cold War 2.0 has hit South America with a bang – pitting the US and expected minions against the four key pillars of in-progress Eurasia integration: Russia, China, Iran and Turkey.

It’s the oil, stupid. But there’s way more than meets the (oily) eye.

Caracas has committed the ultimate cardinal sin in the eyes of Exceptionalistan; oil trading bypassing the US dollar or US-controlled exchanges.

Remember Iraq. Remember Libya. Yet Iran is also doing it. Turkey is doing it. Russia is – partially – on the way. And China will eventually trade all its energy in petroyuan.

With Venezuela adopting the petro crypto-currency and the sovereign bolivar, already last year the Trump administration had sanctioned Caracas off the international financial system.

No wonder Caracas is supported by China, Russia and Iran. They are the real hardcore troika – not psycho-killer John Bolton’s cartoonish “troika of tyranny” – fighting against the Trump administration’s energy dominance strategy, which consists essentially in aiming at the total lock down of oil trading in petrodollars, forever.

Venezuela is a key cog in the machine. Psycho killer Bolton admitted it on the record; “It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.” It’s not a matter of just letting ExxonMobil take over Venezuela’s massive oil reserves – the largest on the planet. The key is to monopolize their exploitation in US dollars, benefitting a few Big Oil billionaires.

Once again, the curse of natural resources is in play. Venezuela must not be allowed to profit from its wealth on its own terms; thus, Exceptionalistan has ruled that the Venezuelan state must be shattered.

In the end, this is all about economic war. Cue to the US Treasury Department imposing new sanctions on PDVSA that amount to a de facto oil embargo against Venezuela.

Economic war redux

By now it’s firmly established what happened in Caracas was not a color revolution but an old-school US-promoted regime change coup using local comprador elites, installing as “interim president” an unknown quantity, Juan Guaido, with his Obama choirboy looks masking extreme right-wing credentials.

Everyone remembers “Assad must go”. The first stage in the Syrian color revolution was the instigation of civil war, followed by a war by proxy via multinational jihadi mercenaries. As Thierry Meyssan has noted, the role of the Arab League then is performed by the OAS now. And the role of Friends of Syria – now lying in the dustbin of history – is now performed by the Lima group, the club of Washington’s vassals. Instead of al-Nusra “moderate rebels”, we may have Colombian – or assorted Emirati-trained – “moderate rebel” mercenaries.

Contrary to Western corporate media fake news, the latest elections in Venezuela were absolutely legitimate. There was no way to tamper with the made in Taiwan electronic voting machines. The ruling Socialist Party got 70 percent of the votes; the opposition, with many parties boycotting it, got 30 percent. A serious delegation of the Latin American Council of Electoral Experts (CEELA) was adamant; the election reflected “peacefully and without problems, the will of Venezuelan citizens”.

The American embargo may be vicious. In parallel, Maduro’s government may have been supremely incompetent in not diversifying the economy and investing in food self-sufficiency. Major food importers, speculating like there’s no tomorrow, are making a killing. Still, reliable sources in Caracas tell that the barrios – the popular neighborhoods – remain largely peaceful.

In a country where a full tank of gas still costs less than a can of Coke, there’s no question the chronic shortages of food and medicines in local clinics have forced at least two million people to leave Venezuela. But the key enforcing factor is the US embargo.

The UN rapporteur to Venezuela, expert on international law, and former secretary of the UN Human Rights Council, Alfred de Zayas, goes straight to the point; much more than engaging in the proverbial demonization of Maduro, Washington is waging “economic war” against a whole nation.

It’s enlightening to see how the “Venezuelan people” see the charade. In a poll conducted by Hinterlaces even before the Trump administration coup/regime change wet dream, 86% of Venezuelans said they were against any sort of US intervention, military or not,

And 81% of Venezuelans said they were against US sanctions. So much for “benign” foreign interference on behalf of “democracy” and “human rights”.

The Russia-China factor

Analyses by informed observers such as Eva Golinger and most of all, the Mision Verdad collective are extremely helpful. What’s certain, in true Empire of Chaos mode, is that the American playbook, beyond the embargo and sabotage, is to foment civil war.

Dodgy “armed groups” have been active in the Caracas barrios, acting in the dead of night and amplifying “social unrest” on social media. Still, Guaido holds absolutely no power inside the country. His only chance of success is if he manages to install a parallel government – cashing in on the oil revenue and having Washington arrest government members on trumped-up charges.

Irrespective of neocon wet dreams, adults at the Pentagon should know that an invasion of Venezuela may indeed metastasize into a tropical Vietnam quagmire. The Brazilian strongman in waiting, vice-president and retired general Hamilton Mourao, already said there will be no military intervention.

Psycho killer Bolton’s by now infamous notepad stunt about “5,000 troops to Colombia”, is a joke; these would have no chance against the arguably 15,000 Cubans who are in charge of security for the Maduro government; Cubans have demonstrated historically they are not in the business of handing over power.

It all comes back to what China and Russia may do. China is Venezuela’s largest creditor. Maduro was received by Xi Jinping last year in Beijing, getting an extra $5 billion in loans and signing at least 20 bilateral agreements.

President Putin offered his full support to Maduro over the phone, diplomatically stressing that “destructive interference from abroad blatantly violates basic norms of international law.”

By January 2016, oil was as low as $35 a barrel; a disaster to Venezuela’s coffers. Maduro then decided to transfer 49.9% of the state ownership in PDVSA’s US subsidiary, Citgo, to Russian Rosneft for a mere $1.5 billion loan. This had to send a wave of red lights across the Beltway; those “evil” Russians were now part owners of Venezuela’s prime asset.

Late last year, still in need of more funds, Maduro opened gold mining in Venezuela to Russian mining companies. And there’s more; nickel, diamonds, iron ore, aluminum, bauxite, all coveted by Russia, China – and the US. As for $1.3 billion of Venezuela’s own gold, forget about repatriating it from the Bank of England.

And then, last December, came the straw that broke the Deep State’s back; the friendship flight of two Russian nuclear-capable Tu-160 bombers. How dare they? In our own backyard?

The Trump administration’s energy masterplan may be indeed to annex Venezuela to a parallel “North American-South American Petroleum Exporting Countries” (NASAPEC) cartel, capable of rivaling the OPEC+ love story between Russia and the House of Saud.

But even if that came to fruition, and adding a possible, joint US-Qatar LNG alliance, there’s no guarantee that would be enough to assure petrodollar – and petrogas – preeminence in the long run.

Eurasia energy integration will mostly bypass the petrodollar; this is at the very heart of both the BRICS and SCO strategy. From Nord Stream 2 to Turk Stream, Russia is locking down a long-term energy partnership with Europe. And petroyuan dominance is just a matter of time. Moscow knows it. Tehran knows it. Ankara knows it. Riyadh knows it.

So what about plan B, neocons? Ready for your tropical Vietnam?

Source: Venezuela: Eurasia Teams Up Against American Hegemony

Propagandized Americans Support War Crimes

Americans Being the Most Propagandized and Brainwashed People in History Support the Destruction of Peoples and Their Countries

Caitlain Johnstone Reports:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51033.htm

February 02, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –     In a recent interview with The Corbett Report, the Ron Paul Institute’s Daniel McAdams spoke disdainfully of those ostensibly anti-interventionist libertarians who picked this moment of all times to loudly and aggressively condemn Venezuela’s president Maduro, just as the US power establishment is ramping up its campaign to topple the Venezuelan government.

“All of a sudden now there are millions of Venezuela experts in America, and many of them could not point Venezuela out on a map five days ago,” McAdams said. “And everyone has to have this disclaimer, ‘Well, I know it’s probably worse than North Korea, but the US government shouldn’t get involved.’ It’s cowardice, because once the war starts, they can say ‘Hey I never called for US intervention!’ No, but you’re a conveyor belt for propaganda. You’re a conveyor belt to get the machine ginned up for war. And so you’ve got to stand up and take responsibility.”

 

McAdams has for years consistently operated in the hub of one of America’s most forceful and effective branches of opposition to US interventionism, and he is absolutely correct here. On both sides of America’s political divide, the primary objections you will see to this administration’s campaign to delegitimize and topple the Venezuelan government are prefaced with a strong condemnation of Maduro followed by some feeble equivocations voicing vague objections to Trump’s actions, if that.

Even more often, what you will see is excuses made for the US government’s aggressive attempts to control who runs Venezuela, followed by some mumbling along the lines of “I don’t want us to go to war, though” dribbling out of the corner of their mouths. Some silly, arbitrary line in the sand saying that Trump’s current ongoing starvation sanctions, CIA covert ops and premeditated campaign to delegitimize and overthrow Venezuela’s government is fine, and hey, maybe arming some right-wing militias via Columbia would be fine too, but don’t send American troops to do the killing or we’ll be a tad upset.

All these wimpy, wishy washy “I oppose US interventionism sorta kinda but not really P.S. fuck Maduro” mouth noises are infuriatingly obnoxious, for a number of reasons. Firstly, someone who claims to be antiwar or anti-interventionist but reserves their objections solely for the most overt forms of warfare is not really antiwar or anti-interventionist, because warfare in modern times is designed to take many less overt forms in order to prevent the kind of attention-grabbing public objections seen over Vietnam and Iraq. A look at what the US empire did to Libya and Syria shows that hundreds of thousands can be killed, millions can be displaced, and humanitarian disasters beyond our ability to imagine can be unleashed without any overt conventional invasion.

Secondly, by wrapping your resistance to US warmongering in loud criticisms of the Venezuelan government and “Go people’s rebellion!” cheerleading, you are functioning as a pro bono propagandist for the CIA and the US State Department, and thereby helping to advance the warmongering agendas of those depraved agencies.

Before they launch missiles, they launch narratives. Before they drop bombs, they drop ideas. Before they invade, they propagandize. Before the killing, there is manipulation. The front line of any antiwar movement is a fight against mass media psyops. What you’re doing matters.

— @caitoz

A common refrain is “It’s possible to be opposed to US interventionism while also opposing these tyrannical governments, you know.” But it isn’t. Not realy. It’s impossible to oppose US interventionism while also helping to advance its propaganda narratives against targeted governments.

All US-led military agendas begin with propaganda. If the public were allowed to see the reality of war with fresh eyes, they would all instantly recoil in horror and adamantly demand its immediate end. The only reason the US-centralized empire is able to sow death and destruction around the world without this happening is because of propaganda, which is why Americans are the most aggressively propagandized people in the world: the violent agendas of the most powerful military force ever assembled are far too important to be left up to the will of the citizenry.

So before they can launch missiles, planes, and ships, they launch propaganda. They launch mass media psyops. They launch narrative control campaigns to make sure that Americans hate the leader of Targeted Nation X and want the people of Targeted Nation X to have Freedom and Democracy™. Day after day after day, they seed the idea that Targeted Leader X “must go”, until the story has become so thoroughly indoctrinated that it almost looks like the US and its allies have no choice but to intervene with increasingly violent measures.

When you help advance those propaganda narratives, you are actively facilitating the first steps of war in a very real way. It’s the same as if you personally picked up a rifle and began picking people off; the only difference is that you’re participating in an earlier stage of the bloodshed rather than a later one. The people are just as dead in the end as if you personally had killed them with your own hands, you just helped with an earlier part of the mechanizations of war rather than a later one. Hell, the one firing the bullets is arguably in a more moral position, because at least they’re putting something on the line and reckoning sincerely with the reality of what they’re doing. The one hiding behind a keyboard and acting as a pro bono war propagandist while inserting “…but I oppose direct interventionism” at the end is vastly more cowardly and dishonest. In the end, the one with the gun is just delivering the bullet that was put in the mail by the propagandist.

Life pro tip: If you find yourself cheering for the same “people’s uprising” in a foreign nation that the US State Department says you should cheer for, it’s because you’ve been propagandized. Please revise your media consumption habits and critical thinking skills accordingly.

— @caitoz

Over and over and over I run into this stupid herd mentality while arguing about this stuff online where people (seemingly deliberately) conflate the notion of Venezuelans sorting out Venezuelan affairs with US interventionism. I’ll be clearly and explicitly condemning US interventionism, and some foam-brained Trump supporter will come up to me saying “I don’t understand, Caitlin! Why don’t you support the Venezuelan people??”

That phrase, “the Venezuelan people,” incidentally, is exclusively used in propaganda articles to refer to those who support regime change in Venezuela, as documented here by Fair.org’s Alan MacLeod. Like the people who support their government aren’t Venezuelan people.

And I don’t mean to just single out Trump supporters here; they’re just the ones who are more vocally gung-ho for this particular intervention. For the last two years I’ve had Democrats up in my face all the time calling me a “genocide denier” and an “Assad apologist” for opposing the Syrian war propaganda and demanding to know why I hate the Syrian people. The rest of the time I’m being asked why I don’t support the Iranian people by Republicans and why I love Putin by Democrats. This mind virus is totally bipartisan.

I oppose interventionism, but I like to act as a pro bono CIA propagandist and regurgitate US State Department talking points at every opportunity.” ~ Old partisan hack proverb

— @caitoz

It is unlikely that the US war machine is gearing up for an all-out invasion of Venezuela as its Plan A. That’s not its MO. First we’re likely to see continually tightening starvation sanctions, more narrative control, more CIA covert operations, and the arming of oppositional militias within Venezuela. If that doesn’t work we can perhaps expect to see some drone warfare and a coalition being formed, with ground troops sent in only if these other measures fail to rip the country apart by themselves, and only if our rulers can manufacture consent for it. The time to begin disrupting that consent-manufacturing apparatus is now, not later.

The only thing keeping the public from using its numbers to force an end to imperialist warmongering is that most people lack a deep understanding of how horrific and widespread it is, and the only thing preventing them from developing that understanding is propaganda. By regurgitating the propaganda narratives being spouted by neoconservative death cultists like Mike Pompeo, John Bolton and Elliott Abrams, you are helping them pave the road to acts of mass slaughter as sure as if you were perpetrating it yourself.

If you wouldn’t go to a country and start killing everyone between you and its leader personally, stop helping to construct the narrative framework that is being set up to accomplish exactly that. The most powerful thing in our society is narrative. Please treat it with an appropriate level of respect.

Source: Propagandized Americans Support War Crimes

THEY LIED! FBI Hid Proof that Hillary’s Emails Were Attacked Multiple Times As Far Back as 2011 — But Used A 2016 DNC Incident As their Case for Mueller Probe — The Gateway Pundit

The fairy tale that the Russians hacked the DNC’s emails in 2016 in an effort to help candidate Trump win the Presidency led to the corrupt Mueller investigation.

Per a review of  evidence provided by the FBI we know that Hillary’s emails were hacked as early as 2011 and  Hillary was warned about these attacks.

Overall, Hillary and the FBI appear to be covering up the facts.

The Mueller sham is unconstitutional and a crime on numerous counts.  The mainstream media (MSM) won’t tell the American people and the world that the entire scam was built on and runs on numerous lies.  A recent review of events related to Hillary Clinton’s emails further indicate that the entire Mueller sham was built on a series of lies covered up by the FBI.

Hillary wasn’t suddenly hacked by Russians in 2016.  We don’t really even know if Hillary’s emails or the DNC’s emails were hacked by the Russians at all.  We don’t even know if the DNC’s emails were hacked.  What we do know is that the information surrounding Hillary’s emails and the DNC emails is sketchy and conflicting – like the Mueller investigation is as a whole.

One of the first known reports about DNC or Hillary emails comes from the FBI in its report related to the Hillary email investigation.  The FBI reported that Hillary and her close associate Huma Abedin were hit by phishing emails.  Hillary replied to the email even though it contained a potentially malicious link.  Then Abedin was involved in a separate incident.

The date isn’t provided by the FBI but we can infer from an email sent directly to Hillary that there was an increase of phishing emails after January 2011 where State employees’ personal email accounts were attacked.

So based on this it appears these events occurred in 2011.

The FBI also quotes a New York Times article and states in its report about Hillary’s emails that Hillary’s private email server received an increased number of login attempts after the NYT’s March 2015 article, but none of these attempts were successful.  It’s not exactly clear what events the FBI is referring to.

The FBI went on to say that the New York Times article did not reveal Hillary’s email address but that those who wanted to find it could have obtained it from other news sources from 2013.  But the FBI ignores here that Hillary and Huma were both attacked by phishing schemes in 2011.

One Hillary gang member, Sydney Blumenthal for example, was reportedly hacked in 2013.  The FBI again used the NYT for their source of this information –   According to the far left Washington Post in an article at the same time –

In March 2013, an adviser to Clinton, Sidney Blumenthal, had his e-mail hacked by “Guccifer” — the Romanian hacker perhaps best known for revealing George W. Bush’s paintings to the world. At the time, Gawker reported that Blumenthal was communicating with an account that appeared to belong to Clinton at the “clintonemail.com” domain.

Overall, it appears that Hillary and her team were subject to numerous email attacks.  The FBI appears to be intentionally confusing dates and events through its reporting.  Did outsiders obtain access to Hillary’s emails in 2011?  Did the FBI know she was using a personal email account for business in 2011?  Why did the FBI ignore the 2011 phishing exercises in their reporting of events in 2013?  Why did the FBI ignore the fact that actors had obtained her email in 2011 when noting actors having knowledge of her account after reporting in 2013?  Did Hillary or Huma do the same thing that Hillary’s campaign manager John Podesta did, when they acted upon the phishing emails in 2011?

But there is one big question – with the knowledge that the FBI had of years of attacks on personal emails related to Hillary, why would the FBI omit this information and suggest that the so-called email hacks by Russians (still not proven even by the FBI) were an anomaly and related to Donald Trump?

President Trump hadn’t even announced his candidacy for President when Hillary’s emails were first attacked.  This fact alone should shut the Mueller investigation down.

Hat tip D. Manny

via THEY LIED! FBI Hid Proof that Hillary’s Emails Were Attacked Multiple Times As Far Back as 2011 — But Used A 2016 DNC Incident As their Case for Mueller Probe — The Gateway Pundit