Daily Archives: September 22, 2019

September 22 Come as You Are

Scripture Reading: Romans 5:12–21

Key Verse: Romans 5:17

For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Imagine being approached with this inquiry: “I don’t know anything about God. Would you describe Him to me?” How would you explain to that person what God is like? When the conversation was over, how would the person walk away? Would he or she be discouraged about ever having a relationship with the Lord, or confident and assured about being able to have a permanent, personal relationship with God?

There is a lot of confusion, even among believers, about who God is. Some, thinking He’s a God of judgment and vengeance, live in fear of Him. That belief can leave us doubting and afraid, wondering exactly what would cause God to stop loving us.

Scripture reveals the truth: He is the God of grace. Grace is God’s goodness and kindness that is lavishly shown toward us, and it has two amazing qualities.

First, it is given to us regardless of whether we deserve it. Our good works or stellar personal qualities cannot bring us God’s grace, nor can our failures cause God to withdraw it. We look at grades, scorecards, and performance appraisals in determining who receives what, but God does not look at merit. Amazing, but true.

Second, grace is given freely to us. There is no cost. Our world does not operate this way, but our God does. Not only at the point of salvation but throughout our Christian life, we are invited to come as we are, acknowledge our sinfulness, and receive forgiveness and God’s grace.

Lord, I come just as I am with assurance that You will receive me, forgive me, and bestow Your grace upon me.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2006). Pathways to his presence (p. 277). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Casting Our Cares on God — Lighthouse Trails Inc

By Maria Kneas

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)

The parable of the sower in Scripture reveals a condition (the third kind of soil) that can be especially problematic for the Christian who is trying to serve the Lord and be fruitful for the Kingdom—namely that of seed sown among thorns (weeds) that would choke out one’s effectiveness. In explaining this part of the parable, Jesus said:

And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. (Mark 4:18-19, emphasis added)

It is obvious that things like lust for money and power, and sexual immorality would prevent Christians from bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God. But Jesus also included “the cares of this world” in the list of “weeds” that are deadly enough to prevent the plant from bearing fruit. Therefore, we cannot afford to be overcome by “cares” (fear, anxiety, worry, etc.). Jesus expects us to bear fruit for His Kingdom. And we want to be fruitful for Him.

Peter implies that if we fail to cast our cares on God, then we open ourselves up to spiritual warfare. I’ll repeat the opening Scripture of this article, and add the two verses that come immediately after it. Peter says:

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (1 Peter 5:6-9)

What happens when we become anxious, worried, and full of cares? Our emotions take over. We act impulsively. We lose sleep, and lose our tempers, and so on. We get so focused on our worries we fail to notice, or take care of, important things in our lives. Well, that is the exact opposite of being “sober” and “alert.” And therefore, we are not in good shape to resist the attacks of the devil.

James said something that relates to part of what Peter said in the quote above:

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:6-7)

How do we submit to God? One important way is by taking His Word seriously and trying to live the way the Bible tells us to live. And that includes not being anxious. Paul said:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6)

In the King James, the word “careful” means “full of care.” In other words, “anxious.” So Paul’s point is that we should be praying instead of worrying. We need to give our cares to God. That includes fears for ourselves and for those we love. For example, parents whose children are soldiers fighting overseas have valid reasons to fear for the safety of their children.

We all become afraid at times. The problem occurs when we allow that fear to take over. Going back to the parable of the sower and the four kinds of soil, when weeds first begin to grow, if you pull them up by the roots, they won’t cause any significant harm to the plant. However, if you let them keep growing, then the weeds can choke the plant and prevent it from bearing fruit. In some cases, weeds can even kill the plant. I had some beautiful azaleas that were killed by ivy.

The principle is similar to avoiding long-term anger. God understands that at times, we will become angry, but the point is we cannot afford to remain angry. Otherwise, we may give the devil a beachhead (“place”) in which to attack us.

Similarly, we can’t help getting anxious at times. However, we cannot afford to remain anxious. We need to remind ourselves that God is faithful, and He loves us, and He will take good care of us. His grace is sufficient for us. And He will make everything work out for our long-term, eternal good if we love Him. No exceptions (Romans 8:28).

Praise and worship are a good way to remind ourselves that God is good, that He loves us, and that we can trust Him. David said:

O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. (Psalm 34:3)

The term “magnify” can’t mean making God any bigger than He already is, because that is impossible since God is already infinite. Therefore, it must mean making ourselves become more aware of how great God really is. In other words, as we focus on God and on His greatness, His goodness, His mercy, and His lovingkindness, then He appears greater in our eyes. And because of that, our problems seem so much smaller.

So what we are really doing is seeing things in proper proportion. In reality, any problem we could face is so small compared to God and His great love for us. For God, even death is small by comparison (1 Corinthians 15:53-55). He raised Jesus from the dead; and some day He will raise all believers from the dead.

We need to get our focus off our problems and on to God. On a practical note, we need to be aware of the problems and do whatever we can in practical terms to deal with them. However, when it comes to our emotions and our thoughts, our primary focus needs to be on the Lord God Almighty. The apostle Paul told us:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

True, honest, just, pure, lovely (beautiful), good, virtuous, and worthy of praise are all attributes of God. So although we need to be aware of the bad stuff in our lives and do whatever we can to deal with it, our primary focus should be on God Himself. The Bible says it is the life of Christ in us that gives us the power and strength we need. When we are born again, He lives in us (abides in us), and it is His life that changes and transforms us.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. (Galatians 2:20)

. . . to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27, emphasis added)

When you drive your car, you look at the road ahead of you. You quickly check the mirrors, and you see sideways with your peripheral vision, but your primary focus has to be on the road that is directly ahead of you. Likewise, we can focus on God and look at the bad stuff with our peripheral vision. That will make it easier to cast our cares (concerns about the bad stuff) on God and leave them in His hands, trusting that He will take care of things in the right way—and in the right timing.

Casting our cares on God is a skill we can learn and a habit we can develop. We can ask God to teach us how to do it. We can ask Him to make us willing and able to do it. And we can ask Him to teach us not to grab those cares and take them back again after we have given them to Him.

God told us to do it. He wants us to do it. And His grace is sufficient for us. Therefore, He is willing and able to teach us how to do it. God can enable us to make casting our cares on Him become a way of life for us.

It’s a process. It can take time. When we succeed in casting a care on Him, then we should thank Him for it. When we fail, then we should repent and ask Him to help us do it.

Human parents teach their children how to do what they expect of them. Would our Heavenly Father do any less for us? Of course not.

The more we cast our cares on God, the more we will learn to trust Him at a deeper level. In addition, we will experience a new degree of peace and joy. That will be a blessing for us and for those who are close to us.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)

Blessed Assurance
by Fanny Crosby
1873

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above,
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love…

(Maria Kneas is author of Strength for Tough Times and How to Prepare for Hard Times and Persecution.)

(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

via Casting Our Cares on God — Lighthouse Trails Inc

Devin Nunes: The Ukraine Issue “Could Be The End of Biden’s Campaign”… — The Last Refuge

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) ranking member Devin Nunes appears on Fox News with Maria Bartiromo to discuss the ongoing headline stories surrounding President Trump talking to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Rep. Nunes points out how the backstory of Ukraine (stimulated by a faux whistleblower complaint) highlights how former Vice-President Joe Biden was using his position to influence the Ukrainian government to withdraw investigation of his son Hunter Biden.

Additionally, Nunes discusses the upcoming FISA report by IG Michael Horowitz and the larger issues under investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham; and the information coming forth as an outcome of Michael Flynn’s ongoing case, in that the mysterious “western intelligence asset” Joseph Mifsud attending the RT event in Russia with Flynn.

via Devin Nunes: The Ukraine Issue “Could Be The End of Biden’s Campaign”… — The Last Refuge

Sunday Talks – Senator Lindsey Graham -vs- Maria Bartiromo…. — The Last Refuge

Fishy… Senator Lindsay Graham, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, appears on Fox News with Maria Bartiromo to discuss issues related to Iran, Ukraine and the ongoing DOJ/FBI investigation by IG Michael Horowitz.

Regarding the IG report, again Ms. Bartiromo noted congress doesn’t call Mr. Horowitz to ask questions about his report on James Comey… that specifically led to criminal referrals for the former Director of the FBI?

Skipping right past the 800lb gorilla beating him over the head with judicial bananas, Senator Graham -again, Chairman of the Senate Committee- offers no explanation for his own disinterest. …Instead, Graham states he will call for IG Horowitz to testify at some later date based on the FISA report outcome.

Just in case anyone missed it…. The DOJ Inspector General, carved out a report and specifically referred the former Director of the United States FBI, James Comey, for criminal prosecution; yet Graham is awaiting a FISA report.

 

via Sunday Talks – Senator Lindsey Graham -vs- Maria Bartiromo…. — The Last Refuge

SURPRISE! The Official Escort for 16-Year-Old Global Warming ‘Expert’ Greta Thunberg Is a Leftist Hack Funded by George Soros Org. — The Gateway Pundit

16-year-old Greta Thunberg traveled by boat to the US from Sweden to lecture Americans on Global Warming.

The 16-year-old is an expert we are told.

Greta Thunberg told Americans, “You’re not trying hard enough!”
Evidently Greta wants us to travel by boats to and from Europe.

Greta is a media-created phenomenon.
What the media does not tell you is who is behind this perky kid.

If you check out her photos young Greta is being escorted around the country by her handler – far left activist Luisa-Marie Neubauer.

Luisa-Marie Neubauer is a 23-year-old German climate protection activist. In Germany, she is one of the main organizers of the School strike for climate movement, inspired by Greta Thunberg. She supports the implementation of Agenda 2030 in Germany and a climate policy that is compatible with the Paris Agreement. Neubauer is a member of Alliance 90/The Greens and the Green Youth.

Luisa-Marie Neubauer belongs to a far left organization called “ONE” foundation.

According to Deutschland-Kurier Luisa Neubauer she is the “Youth Ambassador” of ONE, an international lobbying and campaigning organization.

She tweeted about it last year.

And “ONE” is financed by wealthy liberals including Bono, Bill and Melinda Gates and George Soros.

So there it is.

via SURPRISE! The Official Escort for 16-Year-Old Global Warming ‘Expert’ Greta Thunberg Is a Leftist Hack Funded by George Soros Org. — The Gateway Pundit

September 22 People in Process

Scripture Reading: Matthew 13:3–9, 18–23

Key Verse: Matthew 13:23

He who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

The seed and the soil are inseparably linked in nature’s cycle of growth. Good seed must lodge in good soil if there is to be a harvest.

Jesus’ parable of the soil and seed is familiar to most of us. His message is clear; it is the condition of the soil, not the content of the seed or the actions of the sower, that governs a person’s response to the gospel of Christ.

This should bring a sigh of relief to many fervent evangelicals who wonder why people don’t instantly and enthusiastically embrace Christ as Savior when the gospel is presented. There is no need to burden yourself with thoughts such as, If only I had remembered that fourth point. Nor should you run out and enlist in yet another study course in evangelism.

The seed, God’s Word, is always good. It is the soil—the person’s heart, personality, will, and emotions—that must be prepared to receive Christ.

God works by His Spirit through people and circumstances to attract men and women to faith in Christ. Evangelism is a process, and sharing your faith is part of the equation. But don’t despair when the feedback is negative. When the conditions are right, faith will blossom.

Precious Lord, work by Your Spirit to attract those around me to Christ. When the timing is right, help me share the gospel in a way that faith will blossom.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (1999). On holy ground (p. 277). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

HOUSTON STADIUM ERUPTS After President Trump Tells Indian-American Audience: “India Has Never Had a Better Friend Than Trump” (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

President Trump is holding a joint rally at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas with Indian Prime Minister Modi.

President Trump used the opportunity to celebrate India, its workers and its leader Prime Minister Modi.

During his speech to the packed stadium President Trump told the massive crowd,

“In my campaign for president I promised all of that. If I were elected India would have a true and great friend in the White House On this day I am happy to report the relationship between the United States and India is closer than ever before. And I can tell you, you’ve never had a better friend as President as President Donald Trump. The ties between our two nations are grounded in our common values… “

The packed stadium roared in agreement!

via HOUSTON STADIUM ERUPTS After President Trump Tells Indian-American Audience: “India Has Never Had a Better Friend Than Trump” (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

STANDING OVATION FOR TRUMP AT PACKED HOUSTON STADIUM — Indian Americans ROAR FOR TRUMP at ‘Howdy Modi’ Rally (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

STANDING OVATION FOR TRUMP AT HOUSTON STADIUM — INDIAN AMERICANS CHEER TRUMP AT MODI RALLY

President Trump spoke to a packed house at NRG Stadium in Houston.

The CROWD ROARED and JUMPED TO THEIR FEET when President Trump told the stadium crowd,

“We stand proudly in the defense of liberty and we are committed to protecting innocent civilians from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.

via STANDING OVATION FOR TRUMP AT PACKED HOUSTON STADIUM — Indian Americans ROAR FOR TRUMP at ‘Howdy Modi’ Rally (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

President Trump Delivers Impromptu Remarks Departing White House – (Video and Transcript)… — The Last Refuge

Chopper pressers are the best pressers. As President Trump departs the White House traveling to Houston, Texas, the President stops to answer questions from the assembled press pool.  [Video and Transcript Below]

[Transcript]

via President Trump Delivers Impromptu Remarks Departing White House – (Video and Transcript)… — The Last Refuge

Here We Go: Adam Schiff Says Trump Call with Ukrainian President Could Justify Impeachment (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schitt Schiff (D-CA) on Sunday appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union,” and told host Jake Tapper that if reports of Trump’s conversations with the Ukrainian president are true, impeachment may be the only “remedy.”

“If the president is essentially withholding military aid at the same time that he is trying to browbeat a foreign leader to do something illicit, to provide dirt on his opponent during a presidential campaign, then that may be the only remedy that is co-equal to the evil that conduct represents,” Schiff said ironically describing what Biden did to protect his son Hunter from being investigated by Ukraine for his questionable involvement with a Ukrainian natural gas company.

Hunter Biden was making $50,000 a month sitting on the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company, despite the fact that he has virtually no knowledge or experience in the field.

Joe Biden strong-armed the Ukrainian government and threatened to withhold over $1 billion in loan guarantees if they didn’t fire Viktor Shokin, the prosecutor investigating his son Hunter — and Biden bragged about it during a 2018 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations.

So now the Democrats and their stenographers in the media are trying to make Joe and Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian scandal Trump’s scandal!

WATCH:

This new Deep State hit began effervescing last week when House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) subpoenaed Acting DNI Joseph Maguire and accused him of illegally withholding a whistleblower complaint from Congress that could potentially be ‘covering up the president’s misconduct’ over a phone call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The individual in the intel community who penned the so-called ‘whistleblower complaint’ against Trump didn’t have direct knowledge of the president’s call with Zelensky, instead the information was obtained by someone outside of the intel community.

Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett said Friday in a Fox op-ed that the Deep State whistleblower who penned a complaint against Trump doesn’t even qualify to be a whistleblower  — it appears he/she is an American spy in our Intel Agency spying on President Trump.

Gregg Jarrett argued that Article ll of the Constitution gives the president sweeping power to conduct foreign affairs, negotiate with leaders of other nations, make demands or offer promises.  The Constitution does not grant the power of review, approval or disapproval to spies or other unelected officials in the executive branch.

Furthermore, the ICWPA law defines the parameters of an “urgent concern” complaint as an abuse or violation of law “relating to the funding, administration, or operations of an intelligence activity involving classified information, but does not include differences of opinions concerning public policy matters.”  The president’s conversation with a foreign leader does not seem to fall under this whistleblower definition.

Schiff and the Democrats are desperate to spin another Trump scandal as we head into the 2020 election because their “insurance policy” which included the Russian collusion canard and Mueller’s abusive investigation, failed to remove Trump from office.

via Here We Go: Adam Schiff Says Trump Call with Ukrainian President Could Justify Impeachment (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

September 22 Discerning Godly Counsel

Scripture reading: 1 Kings 12:1–19

Key verse: Proverbs 19:20

Listen to counsel and receive instruction,

That you may be wise in your latter days.

In this Scripture, King Rehoboam refused to listen to the godly advice of at least half his council. He chose, instead, to do what his younger advisors suggested, and the result was a rebellion that swept through the nation of Israel.

What causes a person to listen to ungodly advice? Crucial mistakes often come as a result of selfish ambitions. We weigh our options and choose the ones that appeal to our personal self-interest.

Leaders often surround themselves with people who will agree with their plans, even if those plans ultimately lead to destruction. This may sound unbelievable to some, but it happens. In fact, that was exactly what happened to Rehoboam.

Before he could go through the motions of his coronation as king, the people rebelled against his use of intimidation and misguided power. The Bible tells us, “Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day” (1 Kings 12:19).

Make sure the counsel you receive is from God. Don’t be quick to react to the words of others. Instead, spend time in prayer asking the Lord to confirm, guide, and provide the wisdom you need. Had the king listened to his godly advisors, the nation, at least for the time, would have remained united. Instead, Rehoboam’s decision led to a costly mistake from which Israel never recovered.

Lord, give me the ability to discern godly counsel. Teach me to wait in prayer for You to confirm, guide, and provide the wisdom I need.[1]


[1] Stanley, C. F. (2000). Into His presence (p. 277). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

ABC, NBC Edit Out Biden Telling Press How to Cover Trump ‘Whistleblower’ Story | MRC News Busters

Despite that there were still few facts known and a whole lot of speculation about the allegations made by the anonymous and so-called “Trump whistleblower,” ABC and NBC were more than willing to throw their weight behind the effort. Their Sunday coverage seemed to come at the behest of former Vice President Joe Biden, who on Saturday yelled at Fox News reporter Peter Doocy and demanded the press “ask the right questions” about President Trump.

Biden’s demand came during a media scrum at the Iowa Steak Fry after Doocy asked the former VP about allegations Trump had made about his son, Hunter Biden, and his business dealings with Ukraine. The soundbite was shared by Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield on Twitter (click “expand”):

Here’s what I know. Trump deserves to be investigated. He is violating basic norm of a president. You should be asking him the question: “why is he on the phone with a foreign leader trying to intimidate a foreign leader?” If that’s what happened. That’s appears what happened. You should be looking at Trump. Trump’s doing this because he knows I’ll beat him like a drum. And he’s using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to do something to smear me. Everybody looked at this, and everybody whose looked at this has said there’s nothing there. Ask the right questions!”

During their Sunday morning broadcasts, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Sunday Today shared Biden’s strong words against the President and asked what the VP would probably consider as the right questions. Except, they edited out his instructions to the press.

ABC reporter Rachel Scott blatantly cut around Biden’s directions to the press while pushing the claims about President Trump (click “expand”):

SCOTT: The Wall Street Journal reports President Trump repeatedly pressed the Ukrainian president to investigate Biden’s son who served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company when his father was vice president.

BIDEN: Trump’s doing this because he knows I’ll beat him like a drum. And he’s using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to do something to smear me.

SCOTT: Biden pointing to a call between President Trump and the leader of Ukraine reportedly at the center of a whistleblower complaint from an intelligence official.

https://www.mrctv.org/videos/abc-nbc-edit-out-biden-telling-press-how-cover-trump-whistleblower-story

Her next soundbite of Biden was his line about Trump deserving to be investigated. She also included a hard to believe bit about Biden claiming he had “never” talked to his son about his “overseas affairs”. Meanwhile, the liberal media claimed it was impossible that Donald Trump Jr. didn’t tell his father about the infamous Trump Tower meeting.

Over on NBC, White House correspondent Kelly O’Donnell sounded almost robotic as she was seemingly doing Biden’s biding:

The President’s cascade of social media on this has been all about taking attention off his own conduct and whether he crossed a line with a foreign leader. And instead, he’s trying to drive attention toward Joe Biden, who’s been drawn into the fight and is calling the President of a serial abuser of power.

In another clip from that press scrum, shared on ABC, Biden suggested Trump would “do whatever he has to do, but this crosses the line.” Interesting how O’Donnell was using his phrasing.

O’Donnell also cut around Biden’s instructions to the press (click “expand”):

But she did admit that “NBC News did not confirm the reporting” against President Trump. O’Donnell also had the nerve to whine that Trump tweeted out an “edited video” of his allegations against Biden when it was a compilation of media reports and reactions on the story.

The transcripts are below, click “expand” to read:

Source: ABC, NBC Edit Out Biden Telling Press How to Cover Trump ‘Whistleblower’ Story

Secretary of State Pompeo said he approves of Giuliani’s push for Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden | Business Insider

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that he supports Rudy Guiliani’s push for the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
  • Pompeo was pressed on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on if it was “appropriate” for Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, to be pushing for the investigation into one of Trump’s political rivals.
  • Pompeo said the American people “deserve to know” if there was election interference by the vice president, echoing claims by Trump and Giuliani that Biden was acting in self-interest when he pushed for a top Ukrainian prosecutor to be removed from office.
  • Since the bombshell report that revealed Biden successfully got a Ukrainian prosecutor removed in the midst of an investigation into a company connected to his son, Ukrainian officials have said there was not an active investigation into the younger Biden and there was no evidence of wrongdoing against either Biden.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that he supports President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Guiliani’s push for the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden’s son.

A bombshell New York Times story published on May 1 revealed that the former vice president had successfully gotten a Ukrainian prosecutor removed from office, which raised questions about a possible conflict of interest and if Biden was trying to shield his son from an investigation into a business he sat on the board of.

Trump and Giuliani have pushed claims for months that the former vice president bribed government officials in Ukraine to stifle investigations into Burisma, the gas company for which Hunter served on the board.

Margaret Brennan pressed Pompeo on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” asking if it was “appropriate” for Giuliani to be pushing for the investigation into Biden, a 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful and one of Trump’s political rivals.

“The president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is publicly calling for an investigation by the Ukrainian government into Joe Biden, who is obviously a political opponent of the president,” Brennan said. “Is it appropriate for the president’s personal attorney to be inserting himself in foreign affairs like this?”

Pompeo said the American people “deserve to know” if there was election interference by the vice president, likening the allegations against Biden to the election interference that investigators detected in the 2016 presidential election. The claim appeared to be a suggestion that Biden attempted to kill the investigation into Burisma in anticipation of his 2020 run. There is no evidence to substantiate that theory.

“If there was election interference that took place by the vice president, I think the American people deserve to know,” Pompeo said. “We know there was interference in the 2016 election and if it’s the case that there was something going on with the president or his family that caused a conflict of interest and Vice President Biden behaved in a way that was inconsistent with the way leaders ought to operate, I think the American people deserve to know that.”

Read more: The Joe and Hunter Biden Ukraine investigation, explained

Joe Biden was part of a larger push coming from former President Obama’s administration for the Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin to be removed over concerns of corruption in his office. Biden acted as a vocal opponent of Shokin and has publicly detailed his threat to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees from the country if Shokin wasn’t fired.

Since the initial report, Ukrainian officials have said there was not an active investigation into Hunter when the former vice president made the push for Shokin’s firing, and Yuriy Lutsenko, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, later said that he had no evidence of wrongdoing against either Biden.

Pompeo added that the Trump administration has “consistently worked to support the Ukrainian people.” Trump is set to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this week at the UN General Assembly and Pompeo said he has spoken with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko “a couple of times.”

“We talk about the important relationship between our two countries and how we can make Ukraine stronger and have great economic commerce between our two great nations,” Pompeo said.

Source: Secretary of State Pompeo said he approves of Giuliani’s push for Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden

Iran Says It Will Hold Naval Drill With Russia & China ‘Soon’ — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

In this Sept. 21, 2008 file photo, Iranian Revolutionary Guard members march during a parade ceremony, marking the 28th anniversary of the onset of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), just outside Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Iran said it will stage a naval drill with Russia and China in international waters after the U.S. announced plans to send troops to the Middle East, according to Tasnim, a semi-official news agency.

“The joint drill will be held in the north of the Indian Ocean and the Sea of Oman,” Tasnim said, citing Ghadir Nezami, head of international affairs and defense diplomacy at Iran’s General Staff of the Armed Forces. “We have made no plan whatsoever to hold such a drill in the Persian Gulf.”

The joint exercise will be the first by Iran, China and Russia in the Indian Ocean, Tasnim reported.

The announcement comes less than 24 hours after the U.S. said it would send a “moderate” number of American troops to the region and additional missile defense capabilities to Saudi Arabia in response to last week’s strikes on the kingdom’s oil facilities.

Tensions in the Persian Gulf skyrocketed after the attack, with the U.S. blaming Iran for the assault, and Iran insisting it wasn’t responsible and warning that retaliatory strikes on its soil would lead to “all-out war.” The U.S. on Friday slapped “the highest sanctions ever imposed” on Iran’s central bank and sovereign wealth fund.

Click here to read more.
Source: Yahoo News

via Iran Says It Will Hold Naval Drill With Russia & China ‘Soon’ — BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

Pompeo Accuses Biden of Covering Up Son’s Corruption Amid Calls for Ukraine Probe | Sputnik International

Earlier, President Trump accused the Democrats of seeking to stay clear of discussing former Vice President Joe Biden’s alleged pressure on Kiev to fire a prosecutor investigating his son Hunter Biden, who has been accused of engaging in illegal activity while serving on the board of directors of an energy firm doing business in Ukraine.

Source: Pompeo Accuses Biden of Covering Up Son’s Corruption Amid Calls for Ukraine Probe

Hong Kong protesters desecrate China flag & ransack Sha Tin shopping mall | RT (uploads) on YouTube

Thousands of masked #protesters descended on a #HongKong satellite town, vandalizing a mall and rail stations. Clashes with police ensued in nearby streets where police used tear gas and activists set barricades on fire. The action in #ShaTin, a neighborhood in Hong Kong’s New Territories, on Sunday followed the template set on the previous day in Tuen Mun, another satellite town.

Hong Kong protesters ransack mall, clash in street battles with police (VIDEOS) | RT World News

Thousands of masked protesters descended on a Hong Kong satellite town, vandalizing a mall and rail stations. Clashes with police ensued in nearby streets where police used tear gas and activists set barricades on fire.

The action in Sha Tin, a neighborhood in Hong Kong’s New Territories, on Sunday followed the template set on the previous day in Tuen Mun, another satellite town. Most of the heat was in the streets, where the activists, who have been waging a 16-week-long campaign against the government in Beijing, erected barricades and set them on fire. Hong Kong police responded with force, deploying tear gas and dispersing the crowds.

However, the focus of the protest was in Sha Tin’s New Town Plaza, a shopping mall, which was occupied by thousands of protesters on Sunday.

Some of their actions were peaceful. They chanted anti-government slogans, played protest songs, and built an art object from paper cranes with a politically loaded name.

Others were clear attempts to intimidate business owners they see as allied with the central government in Beijing.

Protesters also expressed their disdain for China by targeting the national flag in a sort of merry-go-round game. The flag was snatched earlier from the Shia Tin town hall.

There was also vandalism, as the more radical activists smashed CCTV cameras, painted anti-government graffiti, and tore down metal barriers and wall panels they wanted to take out and use for barricades.

Suffice it to say, when the demonstration was over, plenty of work was left behind for janitors.

Another Sha Tin mall, the luxurious Elements, saw a smaller invasion later on Sunday. In addition, three stations of the Hong Kong light rail system in the neighborhood were vandalized, while trains had to be stopped on one of the two lines passing through Sha Tin after demonstrators reportedly put an emergency ramp on the railway.

The protesters see the operator of the transit system, MTP Corporation, as collaborating with Beijing.

The protests in Hong Kong, a former British colony, erupted over a draft extradition bill, which the protesters saw as an infringement on the “one country, two systems” arrangement that gives the city extensive autonomy under Chinese sovereignty. The bill has since been scrapped, but it did little to satisfy the protesters, who came up with more demands and called on the former colonial ruler, as well as the US, to intervene on their behalf.

Source: Hong Kong protesters ransack mall, clash in street battles with police (VIDEOS)

Russia Absolutely Pwn3d The FBI During Obama Years: Report | Zero Hedge News

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Shortly before the Obama administration approved a deal granting Russia 20% of America’s uranium, US intelligence agencies discovered that the Kremlin had “dramatically improved their ability to decrypt certain types of secure communications and had successfully tracked devices used by elite FBI surveillance teams,” according to Yahoo News, which interviewed 50 current and former intelligence and national security officials.

Part of the Russian Federation’s riverfront compound on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

In September 2011, Vladimir Putin announced the launch of his third presidential campaign, only to be confronted during the following months by tens of thousands of protesters accusing him of electoral fraud. Putin, a former intelligence officer, publicly accused then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of fomenting the unrest.

It was around this time that Putin’s spies in the United States, operating under diplomatic cover, achieved what a former senior intelligence official called a “stunning” technical breakthrough, demonstrating their relentless focus on the country they’ve long considered their primary adversary. –Yahoo News

Here are the core claims:

  • Around 2012, US officials realized that Russians had massively breached the FBI’s communications – including “hacking into computers not connected to the internet,” and compromising the FBI teams’ “cellphones outfitted with “push-to-talk” walkie-talkie capabilities” used as backup communications devices.
  • “Russians were able to intercept, record and eventually crack the codes to FBI radio communications.”
  • The intelligence allowed Russian spies in American cities “including Washington, New York and San Francisco” key insights into how FBI surveillance teams were operating.
  • The intercepted communications likely contained the “actual substance of FBI communications,” and “opportunities to potentially shake off FBI surveillance and communicate with sensitive human sources, check on remote recording devices and even gather intelligence on their FBI pursuers.
  • “Mobile listening posts” were deployed in which “Some Russian intelligence officers, carrying signals intelligence gear, would walk near FBI surveillance teams. Others drove vans full of listening equipment aimed at intercepting FBI teams’ communications.”
  • The Russians could only crack “moderately encrypted communications,” not the strongest types of encryption employed by the US government for sensitive transmissions.
  • After the breach was discovered, the FBI switched back to encrypted radios – and “expensive venture” according to one former counterintelligence official.
  • The revelations caused the CIA to curtail certain types of communications with overseas sources, and “had to resort to a whole series of steps” to prevent Russian eavesdropping.
  • The Russians primarily operated out of government compounds in Maryland and New York – both shuttered by the Obama administration in response to 2016 election hacking allegations – played a central role in the espionage. They were “basically being used as signals intelligence facilities,” according to the report – citing a former senior national security official.

How did this happen?

According to the report: “A former senior counterintelligence official blamed the compromises on a “hodgepodge of systems” ineffective beyond the line of sight. “The infrastructure that was supposed to be built, they never followed up, or gave us the money for it,” said the former official. “The intelligence community has never gotten an integrated system.”

The limitations of the radio technology, said the former senior officials, led the FBI’s surveillance personnel to communicate on the backup systems.

Eventually they switched to push-to-talk cellphones,” said a former counterintelligence executive. “The tech guys would get upset by that, because if they could intercept radio, they might be able to intercept telephones.”

That is indeed what happened. Those devices were then identified and compromised by Russian intelligence operatives. (A number of other countries’ surveillance teams — including those from hostile services — also transitioned from using radios to cellphones during this time, noted another former official.)”

Fallout and damage control

In addition to embarking on sweeping and expensive technology upgrades, ‘unnerved’ US officials scrambled to shore up holes in our security – switching back to encrypted radios – an “expensive venture.”

Once the compromises of FBI communications devices were confirmed, U.S. officials scrambled to minimize the exposure of mobile surveillance team operations, quickly putting countermeasures in place, according to former senior officials. There was a “huge concern” about protecting the identities of the individuals on the teams — an elite, secret group — said the former senior counterintelligence official. U.S. officials also conducted a damage assessment and repeatedly briefed select White House officials and members of Congress about the compromise. –Yahoo News

“Anytime you find out that an adversary has these capabilities, it sets off a ripple effect,” said one former senior national security official. “The Russians are able to extract every capability from any given technology. … They are singularly dangerous in this area.”

Mark Kelton, who served as the chief of counterintelligence at the CIA until he retired in 2015, declined to discuss specific Russian operations, but he told Yahoo News that “the Russians are a professionally proficient adversary who have historically penetrated every American institution worth penetrating.”

This remains a core worry for U.S. spy hunters. The number of ongoing espionage investigations into U.S. government personnel — at the CIA, the FBI and elsewhere — including those potentially recruited by Russia, “is not a little, it’s a lot,” said another former senior counterintelligence official. –Yahoo News

What’s more, FBI officials were concerned that some of its assets had been compromised – consequently cutting off contact with some of its Russian sources.

Meanwhile, some of the FBI’s Russian sources stopped cooperating with their American handlers. “There were a couple instances where a recruited person had said, ‘I can’t meet you anymore,” revealed a former senior intelligence official.

“We didn’t understand that they were at political war with us already in the second term once Putin was reelected and Obama himself was reelected,” said Obama’s former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, Evelyn Farkas (of “spilling the beans” Russiagate fame).

Read the rest of the report here.

Source

Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Crisis | Zero Hedge News

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Authored by Robert Hunziker via Counterpunch.org,

Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, which experienced three massive meltdowns in 2011, is running out of room to store radioactive water. No surprise! But now, what to do about phosphorescent water?

Addressing the issue, Japan’s environmental minister Yoshiaki Harada held a news conference (September 2019). Unfortunately, he proffered the following advice: “The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it.” (Source: Justin McCurry in Tokyo, Fukushima: Japan Will Have to Dump Radioactive Water Into Pacific, Minister Says, The Guardian, Sept. 10, 2019)

“The only option”… Really?

Over the past 8 years, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) has scrambled like a Mad Hatter to construct emergency storage tanks (1,000) to contain upwards of one million tonnes of contaminated radioactive water, you know, the kind of stuff that, over time, destroys human cells, alters DNA, causes cancer, or produces something like the horrific disfigured creature in John Carpenter’s The Thing! That’s the upshot of a triple nuclear meltdown that necessitates constant flow of water to prevent further melting of reactor cores that have been decimated and transfigured into corium or melted blobs. It’s the closest to a full-blown “china syndrome” in all of human history. Whew! Although, the truth is it’ll be a dicey situation for decades to come.

Ever since March 11, 2011, TEPCO has scrambled to build storage tanks to prevent massive amounts of radioactive water from pouring into the ocean (still, some lesser amounts pour into the ocean every day by day). Now the government is floating a trial balloon in public that, once the tanks are full, it’ll be okay to dump the radioactive water into the ocean. Their logic is bizarre, meaning, on the one hand, the meltdown happens, and they build storage tanks to contain the radioactive water, but on the other hand, once the storage tanks run out of space, it’s okay to dump radioactive water into the ocean. Seriously?

Meantime, the Fukushima meltdown brings the world community face to face with TEPCO and the government of Japan in an unprecedented grand experiment that, so far, has failed miserably. Of course, dumping radiation into the Pacific is like dumping radiation into everybody’s back yard. But, for starters, isn’t that a non-starter?

Along the way, deceit breeds duplicity, as the aforementioned Guardian article says the Japanese government claims only one (1) death has been associated with the Fukushima meltdown but keep that number in mind. Reliable sources in Japan claim otherwise, as explained in previous articles on the subject, for example, “Fukushima Darkness, Part Two” d/d November 24, 2017, and as highlighted further on in this article.

When it comes to nuclear accidents, cover-ups reign supreme; you can count on it.

As such, it is believed the Japanese government is lying and should be held accountable for hoodwinking the world about the ravages of Fukushima, especially with the Olympics scheduled for next year.

For example, the following explains how death by radiation is shamefully hidden from the public via newspeak: Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station worker deaths “that expire at home” are not officially counted. Accordingly, how many workers on a deathbed with radiation sickness leave home to go to work (where deaths are counted) just before they die? Oh, please!

Meanwhile, the last thing the world community needs in the face of an uncontrollable nuclear meltdown, like Fukushima, is deceptiveness and irresponsibility by the host government. Too much is at stake for that kind of childish nonsense. And just to think, the 2020 Olympics are scheduled with events held in Fukushima. Scandalously, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is A-Okay with that.

In contrast, a Greenpeace International March 8th 2019 article entitled: Japanese Government Misleading UN on Impact of Fukushima Fallout on Children, Decontamination Workers:

“The Japanese government is deliberately misleading United Nations human rights bodies and experts over the ongoing nuclear crisis in areas of Fukushima… In areas where some of these decontamination workers are operating, the radiation levels would be considered an emergency if they were inside a nuclear facility.” Enough said!

“In its reporting to the United Nations, the Japanese government deliberately misrepresents the scale, complexity, and radiation risks in areas of Fukushima, the working practice and conditions for workers, and its disregard for children’s health and wellbeing. This reality should shame the government to radically change its failing policies,” said Kazue Suzuki, Energy Campaigner of Greenpeace Japan.

As such, either Greenpeace or the IOC is “dead wrong” about the conditions at Fukushima. Take your pick.

After all, the trend of misrepresentation of nuclear accidents has been established for decades.

Not only Fukushima, Chernobyl (1986) is a nuclear disaster zone where the “official death count from radiation exposure” has been considerably discounted by various governmental agencies and NGOs. For inexplicable reasons (actually explicable but a long story), nuclear accidents are given Get Out Jail Free cards by the world’s press and associated governmental orgs and NGOs.

Yet, over time, the truth comes out, and when it does it’s dreadfully atrocious:

A BBC special report, The True Toll of the Chernobyl Disaster d/d July 26, 2019 says: “The official, internationally recognized death toll, just 31 people died as an immediate result of Chernobyl while the UN estimates that only 50 deaths can be directly attributed to the disaster.”

That’s the official tally. Ugh! It’s so far off the mark that, if it were a baseball pitch, it’d be in the dirt, and a prime example of the public not getting the truth about the ravages of nuclear power accidents.

Of course, it is important to take note of how “wordsmiths” describe the death numbers, i.e., “died as an immediate result of Chernobyl” can only include someone standing at the site when it happened, leaving out all cases of radiation exposure that kills and cripples over subsequent days, months, and years. Or, in the case of the UN statement, “only 50 deaths can be directly attributed.” Only those standing there when it happened… ahem!

According to the BBC article, the Russian Academy of Sciences said as many as 112,000-125,000 died by 2005. That’s 2,500xs more deaths than the official reports, which also never increase in number over time as radiation takes its merry ole time blasting, destroying, and/or altering human cell structure. Ukrainian authorities claim death rates of Chernobyl cleanup workers rose from 3.5 to 17.5 deaths per 1,000 between 1988 and 2012 on a database of 651,453 cleanup workers, which equates to 11,392 deaths. Additionally, Belarus had 99,693 cleanup workers, equating to 1,732 deaths. Not only that, disability among workers shows that approximately 5% are still healthy in 2012 (only 5%, meaning 95% unhealthy) with commonality of cardiovascular and circulatory diseases and nervous system problems.

By 2008 in Belarus alone 40,049 liquidators or cleanup workers of Chernobyl were registered with cancer.

Viktor Sushko, deputy director general of the National Research Centre for Radiation Medicine (NRCRM) based in Kiev, Ukraine, describes the Chernobyl disaster as: “The largest anthropogenic disaster in the history of humankind,” Ibid.

Thus begging the most obvious of questions re Fukushima victims in the years ahead; how many cases of cancer, and how many will die? Unfortunately, radioactive isotopes don’t stop once they’re activated in a nuclear meltdown. They’re pernicious over time destroying and/or grotesquely altering human cell structure. For proof, visit second-generation Chernobyl children locked up in orphanages in Belarus.

“As of January 2018, 1.8 million people in Ukraine, including 377,589 children, carried status of victims of the disaster, according to Sushko and his colleagues. Not only that, there has been a rapid increase in the number of people with disabilities, rising from 40,106 in 1995 to 107,115 in 2018,” Ibid.

According to a USA Today article – Chernobyl’s Legacy: Kids With Bodies Ravaged by Disaster, April 17, 2016: “There are 2,397,863 people registered with Ukraine’s health ministry to receive ongoing Chernobyl-related health care. Of these, 453,391 are children — none born at the time of the accident. Their parents were children in 1986. These children have a range of illnesses: respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal, eye diseases, blood diseases, cancer, congenital malformations, genetic abnormalities, trauma.” Many of the children are hidden away deep in the forested countryside in orphanages in Belarus.

Back to Fukushima, there are numerous instances of governmental meddling to hide the truth, starting with passage of the 2013 government secrecy act, The State Secrecy Law, aka: Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets (SDS), Act No. 108, which says that civil servants or others who “leak secrets” will face up to 10 years in prison, and those who “instigate leaks,” especially journalists, will be subject to a prison term of up to 5 years. Subsequently, Japan fell below Serbia and Botswana in the Reporters Without Borders 2014 World Press Freedom Index.

Horrifically, at the end of the day, when nuclear goes bad, it takes everyone along on a daunting trip for years and years and more years, outliving life spans but continuing generation after generation, like the 453,391 Chernobyl-radiated-influence children born after the nuclear blowout in 1986. Chernobyl altered their genes before they were born…. Imagine that!

Cliodhna Russell visited children’s orphanages in Belarus in 2014: “Children rocking back and forth for hours on end, hitting their heads against walls, grinding their teeth, scraping their faces and putting their hands down their throats.” (Source: How My Trip to a Children’s Mental Asylum in Belarus Made Me Proud to be Irish, the journal.ie, March 18, 2014.)

*  *  *

Postscript: “It’s a real shame that the authorities hide the truth from the whole world, from the UN. We need to admit that actually many people are dying. We are not allowed to say that, but TEPCO employees also are dying. But they keep mum about it,” Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of Futaba (Fukushima Prefecture) Fukushima Disaster: Tokyo Hides Truth as Children Die, Become Ill from Radiation – Ex-Mayor, RT News, April 21, 2014)

Post-Postscript: “The ashes of half a dozen unidentified laborers ended up at a Buddhist temple in a town just north of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. Some of the dead men had no papers; others left no emergency contacts. Their names could not be confirmed and no family members had been tracked down to claim their remains. They were simply labeled “decontamination troops” — unknown soldiers in Japan’s massive cleanup campaign to make Fukushima livable again five years after radiation poisoned the fertile countryside,” (Source: Mari Yamaguchi, Fukushima ‘Decontamination Troops’ Often Exploited, Shunned, AP & ABC News, Minamisona, Japan, March 10, 2016)

Source: Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Crisis