“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” – Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard
For more information about the impact Jesus and His followers had on science, read Person of Interest: Why Jesus Still Matters in a World That Rejects the Bible. This unique and innovative book makes a case for the historicity and Deity of Jesus from history alone, without relying on the New Testament manuscripts. It contains over 400 illustrations and is accompanied by a ten-session Person of Interest DVD Set (and Investigator’s Guide) to help individuals or small groups examine the evidence and make the case.
For churches that take the Bible seriously, doctrine can be dangerous. Where theology is appreciated and taught, the hazard is not vagueness, compromise, or fellowship based on the lowest common denominator; it’s just the opposite. When people begin to take doctrine seriously (which we all ought to), they may also become rigid and demand too much of others—and sometimes even of themselves. In other words, we risk making essential what is actually nonessential.
We must state plainly up front that even though doctrinal rigidness is a danger, doctrinal indifference is a mistake. Paul says clearly to Titus that an elder in Christ’s church “must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9). Healthy, biblical doctrine ought to permeate a local church and its leaders. Likewise, Paul instructs Timothy that the doctrine taught in churches must “agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness” (1 Tim. 6:3). Indeed, doctrine matters!
The church does not possess an authority of itself; rather, the church is under the authority of Scripture, and we ought only to go as far as the Bible in determining what is essential to the Gospel.
At the same time, it is essential to affirm that Scripture is the only full, final, and sole authority. The church does not possess an authority of itself; rather, the church is under the authority of Scripture, and we ought only to go as far as the Bible in determining what is essential to the Gospel. Even a theologian as doctrinally rigorous as John Calvin believed in charity over nonessentials. Commenting on Philippians 3:15, he says,
Does this not sufficiently indicate that a difference of opinion over these nonessential matters should in no wise be the basis of schism among Christians? First and foremost, we should agree on all points. But since all men are somewhat beclouded with ignorance, either we must leave no church remaining, or we must condone delusion in those matters which can go unknown without harm to the sum of religion and without loss of salvation.1
We may all be right about some things, but none of us is right about everything. Nonessentials, then, should not be cause for division.
Five Nonessentials of the Faith
When we say that something is a nonessential, we’re not saying that it is irrelevant or unimportant. What we are affirming is that certain things, or a particular perspective on certain things, are not necessary to salvation. A list of such matters could be endless, but let us consider five nonessentials (drawn from Martin Lloyd-Jones’s What Is an Evangelical?) that come up regularly in some of our church contexts.
1. Election and Predestination
The utter sovereignty of God over the salvation of His people is a precious truth that, when understood properly, cuts down our pride and in turn causes us to be more gracious to others. Nevertheless, the doctrines of grace can stir up contention with respect to both how we talk about them and how others receive them.
It is not my knowledge of the great and mysterious electing purposes of God that is the ground of my salvation, but it is the very grace of God at work in my life—whether I am able to articulate it or not.
The fundamental issue for us is that we are not saved on account of our understanding of saving grace; rather, God saves us by His grace. It is not my knowledge of the great and mysterious electing purposes of God that is the ground of my salvation, but it is the very grace of God at work in my life—whether I am able to articulate it or not.
The mode of and age for baptism must also be regarded as a nonessential. The ordinance of baptism itself is essential within the life of every local church, but the particular way in which it is practiced is not nearly as important as that it is practiced.
Every pastor and every church must retain firm convictions as to how and when it will administer this sacrament that Christ Himself ordained. And yet one’s convictions on baptism are not sufficient cause to disavow fellowship with those with whom we disagree.
3. Church Polity
The structure of leadership in a church is another nonessential. People hold strong views on governance, but it cannot be the basis for fellowship or for distinguishing ourselves from fellowship.
A church absolutely must have Christlike, capable leaders to succeed. But how those leaders and their congregation choose to structure their polity is not essential to having a thriving Gospel ministry.
The question of when Jesus is coming back—particularly whether He’s coming before the millennium or after the millennium or in the middle of the millennium—must also be regarded as a nonessential. We can’t even agree if it’s a literal millennium!
Some choose to grasp their eschatology very tightly, and practically, they make their position a mark of Christian orthodoxy—a fundamental of the faith. We may have historic reasons for hanging on to one position on the end times while distancing ourselves from another. But what is essential here is that when Jesus says, “Surely I am coming soon,” we say in response, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20).
5. Spiritual Gifts
The use and application of spiritual gifts today is a subject that evangelical Christians often put at the center of their church life, making it a touchstone of orthodoxy. Surely, abuses of the gifts exist, and we should call out evident malpractice as we see it.
Provided our unity is in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, we need not feel that we have to press people to our own conclusions.
Still, the mere possibility of recklessness or neglect on either side does not require that we separate ourselves from those who hold a different position than we on the spiritual gifts. Provided our unity is in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, we need not feel that we have to press people to our own conclusions.
The Main Things
On nonessential matters, we should agree to disagree without being disagreeable, making sure that none of these issues robs us of the genuine joy that is ours in the Gospel. Those things that are foundational to what it means to be a Gospel church bring us into fellowship with people from all places and backgrounds. We should expect and even celebrate that glorious reality.
For healthy Christians and churches, the main things are the plain things, and the plain things are the main things. Genuine brothers and sisters in Christ may operate very differently from us and hold different views from us on a host of nonessentials. Yet this is a cause not for disunity but for rejoicing in the diversity of Christ’s body, the true members of which are united forever in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus.
Jesus Died to Save Us from the Sin We Make Light Of Isaiah 53:5; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:22–24
When we look upon sin through Satan’s spectacles, and the cloud of our own passions and carnal affections, we make nothing of it; but in the agonies of Christ, and the sorrows and sufferings of his cross, we see the odiousness of it, that it may become more hateful to us. No less remedy would serve the turn than the agonies, bloodshed, and accursed death of the Son of God, to procure the pardon and destruction of sin. By this sin-offering and ransom for souls we may see what sin is.… We make light of sin, but Christ found it not so light a matter to expiate it.
Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Better Not to See in the Things of God Job 29:3; Psalm 56:13; Isaiah 9:2; 50:10–11; John 12:35
Outward light enables us to see that we may not fall; it is otherwise in the things of God, for there it is better not to see, and the soul, not seeing, is in greater security.
JOHN OF THE CROSS
Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
One of the most well-known statements of the Christian faith is the Lord’s Prayer, which begins with the words “Our Father which art in heaven.” This is part of the universal treasury of Christendom. When I hear Christians in a private gathering praying individually, almost every single person begins their prayer by addressing God as Father. There’s nothing more common among us than to address God as our Father. So central is this to our Christian experience that in the nineteenth century, there were some who said the basic essence of the whole Christian religion can be reduced to two points: the universal brotherhood of man and the universal fatherhood of God. In that context I am afraid we have missed one of the most radical teachings of Jesus.
A few years ago, a German scholar was doing research in New Testament literature and discovered that in the entire history of Judaism—in all existing books of the Old Testament and all existing books of extrabiblical Jewish writings dating from the beginning of Judaism until the tenth century A.D. in Italy—there is not a single reference of a Jewish person addressing God directly in the first person as Father.
There were appropriate forms of address that were used by Jewish people in the Old Testament, and the children were trained to address God in proper phrases of respect. All these titles were memorized, and the term Father was not among them. The first Jewish rabbi to call God “Father” directly was Jesus of Nazareth. It was a radical departure from tradition, and in fact, in every recorded prayer we have from the lips of Jesus save one, He calls God “Father.” It was for that reason that many of Jesus’ enemies sought to destroy Him; He assumed to have this intimate, personal relationship with the sovereign God of heaven and the creator of all things, and He dared to speak in such intimate terms with God. What’s even more radical is that Jesus says to His people, “When you pray, you say, ‘Our Father.'” He has given to us the right and privilege to come into the presence of the majesty of God and address Him as Father because indeed He is our Father. He has adopted us into His family and made us coheirs with His only begotten Son (Rom. 8:17).
106:1 Hallelujah! occurs twenty-three times in the OT. It means “praise Yahweh!” The rest of the verse is found also in 107:1; 118:1, 29; 136:1; 1Ch 16:34.
106:1 Praise the Lord. In Hebrew Hallu yah, “You (plural) praise Yah.”
for he is good. Though the writer is concerned about Israel’s suffering, he knows that its source is in Israel’s sin and not in God’s character.
106:1Praise Yah The psalm opens and closes with the Hebrew phrase hallu-yah (v. 48). See note on 104:35; note on 105:45.
Give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good, for his loyal love is forever In the Hebrew text, this phrase is repeated verbatim in 107:1, creating a connection between Psa 106 and 107.
106:1Give thanks to the Lord … endures forever. See 107:1; 118:1, 29; and 136:1 for the same words; and cf. 100:5.
106:1 good … lovingkindness. These attributes of God are especially praiseworthy to the psalmist in light of Israel’s historical sin pattern (cf. 106:6–46).
106:1 In his approach to God, he begins with worship; he enters the divine gates with thanksgiving, and the sacred courts with praise. “Praise the Lord,” the translation of the Hebrew word “Hallelujah,” is the first and last note of the song.
Ceaseless thanksgiving should arise to the Lord, because He has been so good to every one of us. His mercy endures forever—our continued survival is proof of that. If we received what we deserve, we would be lost forever.
1. “Praise ye the Lord.” Hallelujah. Praise ye Jah. This song is for the assembled people, and they are all exhorted to join in praise to Jehovah. It is not meet for a few to praise and the rest to be silent; but all should join. If David were present in churches where quartettes and choirs carry on all the singing, he would turn to the congregation and say, “Praise ye the Lord.” Our meditation dwells upon human sin; but on all occasions and in all occupations it is seasonable and profitable to praise the Lord. “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good.” To us needy creatures the goodness of God is the first attribute which excites praise. and that praise takes the form of gratitude. We praise the Lord truly when we give him thanks for what we have received from his goodness. Let us never be slow to return unto the Lord our praise; to thank him is the least we can do—let us not neglect it. “For his mercy endureth for ever.” Goodness towards sinners assumes the form of mercy, mercy should therefore be a leading note in our song. Since man ceases not to be sinful, it is a great blessing that Jehovah ceases not to be merciful. From age to age the Lord deals graciously with his church, and to every individual in it he is constant and faithful in his grace, even for evermore. In a short space we have here two arguments for praise, “for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever;” and these two arguments are themselves praises. The very best language of adoration is that which adoringly in the plainest words sets forth the simple truth with regard to our great Lord. No rhetorical flourishes or poetical hyperboles are needed, the bare facts are sublime poetry, and the narration of them with reverence is the essence of adoration. This first verse is the text of all that which follows; we are now to see how from generation to generation the mercy of God endured to his chosen people.
Ver. 1.—Praise ye the Lord (comp. Pss. 104:35; 105:45). O give thanks unto the Lord (so in Ps. 105:1). Even in their greatest afflictions, the Israelites were bound to give God thanks. His mercies always exceeded his punishments. For he is good (see the comment on Ps. 100:5). For his mercy endureth for ever. According to Chronicles, this phrase was used at the dedication of David’s tabernacle (1 Chron. 16:34, 41), and again at the dedication of the temple (2 Chron. 5:13). It here first occurs in the Psalms.
106:1 Praise the Lord. Literally “Hallelujah.” See table 2, “Pattern of the Hallelujahs in Psalms 104–50,” in the unit on Psalm 104.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. This leads the reader to think this psalm may be a psalm of thanksgiving (see the comments at the beginning of “Understanding the Text”), and as was the practice of this category of psalms, the congregation celebrated together the reasons for giving thanks. The plural imperative address (halelu; NIV: “praise”) suggests just such an occasion, especially since “his love endures forever” is, elsewhere in the Psalter, a congregational response (e.g., Ps. 136). This observation is reinforced by the fact that the psalm also ends with a congregational response, “Let all the people say, ‘Amen!’ ” (106:48). The two key words “good” and “love” come from Yahweh’s own self-description in Exodus 33:19 (“goodness”) and 34:6–7 (“love,” hesed), setting this poem in the context of Yahweh’s covenant.
1 The formal, inclusionary call to praise (“Praise the Lord,” or “Hallelujah”) frames the psalm (vv. 1, 48). The doctrine of God shines through significantly even in the complaint, prayer, and history of rebellion. The doxology (“praise the Lord”; cf. 104:35; 105:45) and invocation (vv. 1b–2) extol the Lord for his being “good” and for his enduring “love” (cf. 23:6). For the liturgical formula (“give thanks … forever”), see 100:5 (cf. 107:1; 118:1; 136:1; Ezr 3:10–11; Jer 33:11).
 Warstler, K. R. (2017). Psalms. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 911). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days. (Daniel 12:13)
We cannot understand all the prophecies, but yet we regard them with pleasure and not with dismay. There can be nothing in the Father’s decree which should justly alarm His child. Though the abomination of desolation be set up, yet the true believer shall not be defiled; rather shall he be purified, and made white, and tried. Though the earth be burned up, no smell of fire shall come upon the chosen. Amid the crash of matter and the wreck of worlds, the Lord Jehovah will preserve His own.
Calmly resolute in duty, brave in conflict, patient in suffering, let us go our way, keeping to our road, and neither swerving from it nor loitering in it. The end will come; let us go our way till it does.
Rest will be ours, All other things swing to and fro, but our foundation standeth sure. God rests in His love, and, therefore, we rest in it. Our peace is, and ever shall be, like a river. A lot in the heavenly Canaan is ours, and we shall stand in it, come what may. The God of Daniel will give a worthy portion to all who dare to be decided for truth and holiness as Daniel was. No den of lions shall deprive us of our sure inheritance.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20 (NAS)
If I have to admit to hating something, I would say I hate suffering. I recently visited a relative who seemed apathetic to my husband’s cancer and all that we are going through. They proceeded to say that they don’t believe in the same God we do. Their reasons for this were actually unbiblical and contrary to my own opinions. However, instead of trying to defend my faith or refute their arguments, I listened. I prayed, “God, help them see that the Bible presents your absolute truth and not our culture’s relativistic truth.”
The challenge of reaching others for Christ can be painful at times. This situation felt like suffering.
In the verse above, after Joseph had suffered 23 years unjustly, he talks of his faith in God to the very brothers who had betrayed him. Only God could give Joseph that type of total forgiveness to relatives who had intended him harm and enable him to offer them grace.
People are drawn to others who keep short accounts, extend forgiveness, and give grace when mistakes happen — whether intended or not. When we are yielded to him, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to do what our own abilities can’t do or even want to do. Imagine having relationships and outreaches to others filled with grace!
Lord God, only you can give the supernatural forgiveness and grace to extend to others who increase suffering. May we look to you to accomplish the saving of spiritual lives as a result.
Seek to offer God’s amazing love and grace to everyone you meet, no matter what they do or say.
We Can Only Know Ourselves by Jesus Christ Jeremiah 17:9; Luke 24:27; John 5:39; Galatians 4:9
Not only do we know God by Jesus Christ alone, but we know ourselves only by Jesus Christ. We know life and death only through Jesus Christ. Apart from Jesus Christ, we do not know what is our life, nor our death, nor God, nor ourselves. Thus without the Scripture, which has Jesus Christ alone for its object, we know nothing, and see only darkness and confusion in the nature of God, and in our own nature.
Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Discussing Problems Rather Than Uprooting Vices Matthew 12:36–37; 1 Corinthians 4:20; 1 Peter 2:15
If men used as much care in uprooting vices and implanting virtues as they do in discussing problems, there would not be so much evil and scandal in the world, or such laxity in religious organizations.
THOMAS À KEMPIS*
Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
…you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 2:5
Scripture reading: 1 Peter 2:1-8
We have been hearing wonderful things about Jesus the living stone, chosen and precious. He is the rock of our salvation, but He is not a dead, inanimate object. He is a living stone, the resurrected Saviour. The blessing we get to consider now is that, as we come to Christ and find our life in union with Him, all of the things that are said about Jesus can also be said of us. In Christ, we are also chosen and precious to God. In Christ, we are also being built up as living stones. We who once had hearts of stone are made alive together with Christ!
Christ, the master church builder is at work, building us into a living, thriving, spiritual house. Peter is not talking about the church in terms of bricks and mortar, but as a people, an exciting and dynamic building project of mutual love and devotion. Do you see the church that way?
Thank God if you were encouraged in this hope in worship yesterday. Christ is building you up in your faith, building us up together and doing this in us and with us so that we too may be involved in the work of building.
Through Jesus, we can now offer spiritual sacrifices. He offered the once-for-all atoning sacrifice for our sins, but now, through Him we can offer ourselves in sacrificial service, as living stones, for the building of His spiritual house. How are you involved in Christ’s church building work? Are you a living, active member of His church?
Suggestions for prayer
Thank God for how He uses the church to build you up in your faith. Ask Him to help you be a living, active, sacrificial builder of the church. Bring Him the sacrifice of praise!
Rev. John A. Bouwers is pastor of the Hope Reformed Church (URCNA) in Brampton, ON, where he has served since December 2017. He is married to Julie and they have been blessed with six children and twelve grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.
“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” —Thomas Jefferson (1820)
After decades of tyranny and poverty, the Cuban people are signaling they’ve had enough.
In 2009, the first year of Barack Obama’s presidency, Iranian freedom fighters rose up and took to the streets to protest a rigged presidential election. This pro-democracy “Green Revolution” was ultimately crushed by Iran’s tyrannical Islamist theocracy, but not before the freedom fighters had implored the Obama administration for help.
Instead of lending the voice and the moral might of the free world to these revolutionaries, Barack Obama did what he would ultimately do time and again during moments that called for moral courage: He chose cowardice. When faced with backing either the nascent pro-democracy forces or the “Death to America” mullahs, Obama voted “present.”
And today, we wonder: Is history about to repeat itself with Joe Biden and Cuba? As Fox News reports:
Anti-government protests broke out Sunday in Cuba demanding freedom and calling on the disbandment of the country’s communist dictatorship, all while some of the U.S.‘s most outspoken, self-professed Democratic socialists appear to be in lockstep by not acknowledging the historic events unfolding on the island about 90 miles from Florida.
Fox News has emailed Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Sen. Bernie Sanders and has yet to receive a response from any of them. As of early Monday, none have even mentioned the protest on social media.
Thousands of Cubans marched on Havana’s Malecon promenade and elsewhere to protest food shortages, high prices and the coronavirus outbreak in one of the biggest anti-government demonstrations in the country ever.
The silence from the Biden administration had been both deafening and predictable until mid-morning today, when the administration issued a statement that, however brief, expressed strong solidarity with the protesters:
We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime. The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights. Those rights, including the right of peaceful protest and the right to freely determine their own future, must be respected. The United States calls on the Cuban regime to hear their people and serve their needs at this vital moment rather than enriching themselves.
Was the statement anything more than a shrewd political calculation? We’ll soon find out. At this point, it’s a sternly worded memo. But the Democrats, with their decades-long appeasement of the island nation’s communist regime, have routinely lost the votes of Florida’s highly influential Cuban expat community. A strong statement here was thus all but essential, but time will tell whether the Biden administration backs it up with something stronger than words.
To no one’s surprise, Texas Senator Ted Cruz beat the Biden administration to the punch. Early Sunday evening, Cruz, himself the son of a Cuban immigrant father, tweeted: “The Communist Cuban regime will be consigned to the dustbin of history. It has brutalized and denied freedom to generations of Cubans, and forced my family and so many others to flee. The American people stand squarely with the men and women of Cuba and their noble fight for liberty.”
Stirring words. For the sake of the Cuban people, let’s hope he’s right.
As for Bernie Sanders, AOC, Ilhan Omar, and their fellow Democrat socialists: crickets and tumbleweeds.
The House majority whip says Democrats can “kiss the majority goodbye” if they don’t eliminate the filibuster.
Over the weekend, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) confirmed that the Democrats’ real intention behind their ill-fated HR 1/S 1 voting legislation was a purely partisan gambit for securing power. Clyburn, the man most responsible for saving Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, called on Biden to demand that Senate Democrats end the filibuster or “kiss the majority goodbye.”
Clyburn further stated that Biden should “pick up the phone and tell [mercurial filibuster supporter] Joe Manchin, ‘Hey, we should do a carve out.’” Sounding like a desperate man, he added, “I don’t care whether [Biden] does it in a microphone or on the telephone — just do it.”
In effect, Clyburn has declared that Democrats will lose elections and their House majority unless they can legislatively impose their bulk-mail ballot fraud strategy nationwide. Clearly, Clyburn knows that if voter integrity laws are allowed to stand, the Democrats’ ability to essentially stuff ballot boxes will be severely diminished. Suddenly, they’ll be forced to play by the same rules as Republicans — rules that ensure fairness, equality, and voter integrity. The primary issue is voter ID, which the vast majority of Americans support and which the Democrats and their dubious “voter reform” legislation seek explicitly to eliminate.
Clyburn lamely attempted to justify his concern by saying that if Biden doesn’t act, “I can see in a state like Georgia — where people stepped up in January in a way nobody thought they ever would — I can see the disappointment in the voters to the extent that [Senator Rafael] Warnock would not be back.” In fact, Georgia’s new election integrity law in no way prevents voters from casting a ballot for Warnock if that’s who they prefer. In fact, should Warnock win reelection in 2022, it would come with the added benefit that his victory came by verified and legitimate Georgia voters.
But it’s not just Biden who Clyburn has been working on. It’s Manchin, too, whom he challenged by stating: “I’m not asking you to eliminate the filibuster … But what I’m saying to you is that nobody ought to have the right to filibuster my constitutional rights.” The irony is that it’s Democrats who are seeking to step all over the Constitution and its federalist structure by telling the states how to hold their elections.
Democrats continue to spin the false and indeed absurd narrative that Republicans, by seeking to shore up the democratic process with voter integrity laws, are endangering democracy. In fact, just the opposite is true.
A police force answerable to no one but Congress is getting the go-ahead to expand its operations beyond the Capitol.
A curious thing happened last week. After a bloody 4th of July weekend during which 104 people were shot and 19 were killed, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked President Joe Biden to send federal troops to her city. This is the same Lori Lightfoot who rejected Trump’s offer of same, and the one who apparently dismisses the idea that Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker, a fellow Democrat, could send the National Guard to her aid. In short, Lightfoot appears to be advocating for the nationalization of local law enforcement. She’s not alone. Last Tuesday the Capitol Police (USCP) announced it would be opening field offices in California and Florida to investigate threats against members of Congress, using the riot that took place on January 6 as a rationale for doing so.
“It has been six months since rioters attacked the United States Capitol and our brave police officers and law enforcement partners who fought valiantly to protect elected leaders and the democratic process,” Acting USCP Chief Yogananda Pittman said in a statement.
Make that some officers. As too few American are aware, videos taken by people at the Capitol show some USCP officers ushering protesters toward the building and others allowing them to enter.
Moreover, the media’s ongoing insistence that the Capitol riots were an “armed insurrection” worse than 9/11 and/or Pearl Harbor is rather selective. When Democrat protesters occupied the Hart Senate Office Building, or when Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer led a mob on the steps of the Supreme Court while a case was being heard and warned Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh they “have released the whirlwind” and “will pay the price,” no such comparisons were made. And in stark contrast, no investigations remotely resembling the intensity of the one currently conducted by the DOJ were undertaken. As for media assertions about a “deadly” riot, the only person killed by a firearm was an unarmed protester, U.S. Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt.
Who killed Ms. Babbitt? Remarkably, the very same Democrats and their media allies who have spent more than a year demonizing police remain utterly sanguine about the USCP’s refusal to name the officer involved — and wholly satisfied with the clandestine investigation that exonerated him.
Investigative reporter Paul Sperry explains the most troubling aspect of expanding the scope of the USCP’s enforcement capabilities. “Most police departments — including Washington, D.C.‘s Metropolitan Police — are required to release an officer’s name within days of a fatal shooting,” he writes. “Not the U.S. Capitol Police, which is controlled by Congress and answers only to Congress. It can keep the public in the dark about the identity and investigation of an officer involved in a shooting indefinitely.”
Nonetheless, the USCP’s field offices in California and Florida are only the beginning, as the plan involves opening “several additional regional offices” as well.
Columnist Nick Arama sounds the alarm. “So basically there’s going to be a police force, controlled by the Democrats, without any ability to demand transparency from it that’s going to investigate ‘threats’ to members of Congress and provide ‘security’ for them,” he writes. “Who will be determining what a ‘threat’ is and who do you think they will be investigating with this? Three guesses. It wouldn’t be BLM or Antifa which has presented a continuing threat to governmental entities. It’s basically going to be investigating people they think are ‘extremists’ (translation: right-wing in their minds). Does anyone else see a potential problem here?”
Very much so, especially when the USCP and the U.S. Department of Justice remain adamantly against releasing all of the more than 14,000 hours of footage captured by video between noon and 8 p.m. on January 6. Tellingly, Capitol Police did produce selective clips of that video for Democrat House impeachment managers to use in the trial against Donald Trump, but they insist that releasing all of the tapes to either defense attorneys or the American public would precipitate further violence.
“The Department has significant concerns with the release of any of its footage to defendants in the Capitol attack cases unless there are safeguards in place to prevent its copying and dissemination,” Thomas DiBiase, the Capitol Police Department’s general counsel, wrote on March 17. “Our concern is that providing unfettered access to hours of extremely sensitive information to defendants who already have shown a desire to interfere with the democratic process will … [be] passed on to those who might wish to attack the Capitol again.”
USCP’s desire to protect Congress from those who “interfere with the democratic process” rings exceedingly hollow. As Sperry points out, the USCP had more than 700 complaints lodged against its officers between 2017 and 2019, “but brass won’t say what the alleged violations were or how the department resolved them. They also won’t disclose how many complaints are in any individual officer’s file.”
Moreover, unlike other police forces around the nation, the USCP is not required to disclose records on police misconduct. And in stark contrast to other government agencies, the force’s inspector general is also not required to make his reports public.
Senator Tom Cotton isn’t buying it. After expressing his “deepest admiration and gratitude for the frontline Capitol police officers, who keep us safe every single day,” he focused on the real issue. “The Capitol Police need to be focused on our Capitol,” he added. “I think Nancy Pelosi needs to explain why these offices should be opened up.”
Cotton’s statement also rings hollow, as the same Democrats and Republicans who have called for overhauling law enforcement practices following the police killing of George Floyd — practices that would include the creation of a national DOJ-maintained police misconduct registry that would be made public, and require state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data divided by race, sex, disability, religion, and age — remain mute about holding the USPC to any similar standard.
Jonathan M. Smith, executive director of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, expressed his concern. “They operate not only on the Capitol grounds but they have a cooperation agreement with the city that permits them to make arrests off the Capitol grounds,” Smith said. “For them to be an agency operating in the District without the same kind of transparency that the District government has is really not a good thing, and Congress should address it and fix it.”
And when they operate far beyond the boundaries of the district? Every sentient American knows state and local law enforcement officers are fully capable of protecting their congressional representatives.
Thus, this is all about an unconscionable expansion of federal power. After four years of Democrats and their media allies routinely warning us Donald Trump was a constitutional threat to the republic, a police force answerable to no one but Congress, even if it kills someone, is getting the go-ahead to expand its operations — nationwide.
The GOP? Evil prospers when cowards stay silent. With apologies to Shakespeare, here’s your choice, Republicans:
When it comes to the vaccine, Democrats think the collective good trumps your individual liberty.
Maybe the Left thinks bullying folks into getting the COVID-19 vaccine will reduce their hesitancy about it. Maybe they think, Just because these vaccines aren’t FDA-approved doesn’t mean they’re not safe.
Maybe. But maybe not. We’re about to find out.
Last week, a CNN medical analyst said it’s time to turn up the heat on those of us who, for one reason or another, haven’t yet gone in for the stick. As Breitbart reports:
Dr. Jonathan Reiner, who teaches at Georgetown University, said that all students and staff will be required to be vaccinated in order to return to his campus and the standard also should be enforced at private organizations. “I do think it’s time to start mandating vaccines,” Reiner said on CNN. “And I think that private industry and private organizations will do that. … Now, we can’t force you to take a jab in the arm. But there are many jobs, perhaps, that can prevent you from working if you decide not to get vaccinated. So I think we need to be more proactive, and we will see industry take the lead in this.‘”
Like we always never say, When college professors speak, private industry listens.
But it wasn’t just one CNN medical analyst. As CNN medical contributor and former Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen said Saturday, “It needs to be hard for people to remain unvaccinated. Right now, it’s kind of the opposite.” Even a CNN political analyst got into the act. “Easy, accessible, and attractive are important,” said CNN’s Julian Zelizer, remarking on the gimmickry — such as million-dollar lotteries and free college tuition — that a number of states have resorted to in order to entice their citizenry. “Nobody should face barriers toward receiving vaccines. But citizens must also not see this as an optional inoculation.”
If we didn’t know better, we’d say vaccine compliance is more important to CNN than its tanking ratings.
At this point, 75 million American adults have chosen not to get the vaccine. This, of course, is a matter of individual liberty — a matter of whether we’re free to decide what substances will and won’t be injected into our body. And given that the vaccine is available free of charge to everyone, and given that everyone who’s worried about contracting the coronavirus has had plenty of time to get the vaccine, we’re not sure why the Left is freaking out about it.
Maybe we should ask Joe Biden. Last week, after all, he fanned the flames when he said this: “Our administration is going to devote the remainder of the summer to a special focus on five ways to make gains and getting those of you who are unvaccinated vaccinated. We need to go to community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and oftentimes door to door, literally knocking on doors to get help to the remaining people, protected from the virus.”
“Literally knocking on doors,” he said. The president had better hope his jab-happy Red Guards have thick skin and short noses, because a lot of doors are gonna get slammed in a lot of faces.
What’s remarkable here is that 86% of Democrats have received at least one shot of a vaccine, while just 45% of Republicans have — if we’re to believe a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll. Why is this remarkable? Because, as our Nate Jackson put it last week, “The people that suffer Trump Derangement Syndrome, the people to whom you must not even whisper the word ‘hydroxychloroquine’ because Trump once talked about it, are the ones lining up to get Trump’s vaccine. Meanwhile, Trump’s voters are rejecting it en masse.”
And why shouldn’t they? The Democrats have politicized every element of COVID-19, including whether we’ve gotten the vaccine. As HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said last week on — where else? — CNN, “It’s absolutely the government’s business to know Americans’ vaccination status.”
Think about it: A face diaper and a vaccine card have become their side’s equivalent of a MAGA hat and an American flag. And Joe Biden has become The Fuller Brush Man for Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed vaccine.
Lynne Chandler Garcia claims CRT should be mandated curriculum at all academies.
House Armed Services Committee member Mark Green (R-TN) is calling for the firing of Air Force Academy professor of political science Lynne Chandler Garcia after she penned a Washington Post op-ed promoting the installment of racist Critical Race Theory curricula at our nation’s military service academies. Garcia, in an apparent long-distance suck-up to Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark A. Milley after his recent defense of CRT, noted that Milley’s promotion of CRT “shows that it is not unpatriotic to understand a fuller version of American history, nor does it promote division among our military members.”
Garcia, who has never served a day in uniform, apparently has such a high opinion of herself that she knows what’s best for the next generation of military officers.
Her CRT promotion drew a strong and well-deserved rebuke from my friend Mark Green, who, prior to being elected to Congress, was a West Point graduate and a decorated combat Special Operations Flight Surgeon who had a key role with Operation Red Dawn and the capture of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Below is his letter to Acting Secretary of the Air Force John P. Roth:
The Honorable John P. Roth Acting Secretary of the Air Force 1670 Air Force Pentagon Washington, D.C. 20330-1670
Dear Acting Secretary Roth: Professor
Lynne Chandler García’s full-throttled attack on our country and her support for Critical Race Theory render her unqualified to teach in one of our prestigious military academies. How are our future Air Force leaders supposed to take an oath to defend the Constitution if they are being taught that it is racist and promotes inequality?
As a graduate of West Point and Army veteran, I know firsthand what is taught at these service academies leaves a lasting impact. It was at West Point where I first raised my right hand and took the oath to defend our Constitution. My professors there taught me the importance of serving our nation—both in uniform and in public office. And it was at West Point where I was first inspired to run for office.
Teaching our next generation that our country is fundamentally racist is not only propagandizing lies about our great nation, it will also undoubtedly leave an impact on our nation’s Armed Forces and national security. If we want servicemembers who are proud to defend this country, we must not denigrate the very principles upon which it was founded. Making them ashamed of their country will only decrease morale, retention, and unit cohesion.
Critical Race Theory teaches that the only way to right past racial discrimination is with present racial discrimination. This teaching is utterly incompatible with the principles in the Declaration of Independence and the Civil Rights Movement—not to mention illegal. Our country already lived through a horrific era when people were judged by the color of their skin rather than by the content of their character—we must never go back to this way of thinking.
Lastly, the Constitution has brought freedom and self-governance, not only to the United States of America, but to nations around the globe. Our men and women in uniform have been fighting for the ideals of democracy, freedom, and equality throughout the world ever since. To suggest that these causes and wars were birthed out of racism disrespects those who died fighting against the Nazis in Europe, communists in Asia, or terrorists in the Middle East.
If we allow this destructive ideology to be taught in our Military Service Academies, we will be responsible for this nation’s demise. Professor García must be removed from her teaching position, and for the sake of our national security: Stop Critical Race Theory from being taught in our military service academies.
As key decision-makers in the home, women wield tremendous influence on our future.
It’s been estimated that women impact up to $20 trillion in consumer spending annually in U.S. households. Females make up to 80% of the purchasing decisions in the home — from houses to healthcare to Hondas — and that greatly impacts America’s current cultural and political directions.
Yet women have moved from the Chief Operating Officer of the home, working to raise children, to having full-time jobs outside the home with the need for support services such as child care, housekeeping, personal shopping, and other extensions of adult supervision and decision-making. This need for either dual income families or single moms with careers has shifted a great deal of influence over our children to other adults in the community and institutions that, in days past, held our trust.
Nevertheless, women play a critical role.
Whether it’s been information about vaccines for students or the influence of a set of values and rewriting of history labeled Critical Race Theory (CRT), the last year has provided an awakening to the fact that too many of these adults trusted to impact the lives of our children no longer stick to the defined roles as academic teachers, healthcare providers, or faith leaders. In key institutions where these adults operate — our K-12 schools, colleges and universities, nonprofits, and, yes, even churches that now make the Gospel of the grace of Jesus all about the social justice gospel to fit the culture — there is information and activity influencing our children that should be first taught in the home and, if taught in schools and other organizations, first approved by parents.
After a conversation this week with a Tennessee parent whose child attends one of the most prestigious private preparatory schools in the nation, with yearly tuition close to $30,000 per student, it became clear that even private schools are equipping our children with political activism first and academics second.
This parent explained conversations with her high schooler that revealed all sorts of information about Black Lives Matter, gender and human development, and safe sex practices, yet the student struggled to articulate the role of the Volunteer State in the victory for women’s suffrage in the United States, was only able to recognize the name Winston Churchill but not what he had done, and didn’t comprehend the need for fossil fuels to charge the electric car demanded for the teen’s upcoming 16th birthday. This mom explained that her child was confident in all the culturally popular information, but was sadly and worrisomely weak in knowledge that helps adult compete, succeed, and excel. That parent was about to make other arrangements for education.
Another mom is now planning a local run for school board — arguably the most impactful elected position today in these United States. After her daughter snapped a photo of her teacher’s door decorated to reflect the Black Lives Matter closed fist to match the class discussion, this parent was moved to influence a county school curriculum so that nothing that resembles CRT is taught to her child and thousands of others.
Then, there are efforts to indoctrinate our kids on gender “fluidity,” abortion as contraception, and a right to healthcare. As First Teachers and decision-makers of the family, women are often left to untangle pieces of information placed in their children’s minds and practices that they would never teach in the home or approve of in the classroom.
Women, the political Left has assumed the role of speaking with one voice for the female gender. That has to end! As key influencers in our homes, our schools, and our communities, we must stand as the First Teachers as well as the gatekeepers to our child’s learning, health, cultural understanding, and faith. The political Left wrongfully stereotypes women as a homogenous voting bloc, and the Left is complicit in deconstructing the power and value of the family, which directly corresponds with the invasive growth of socialism.
Women, you can save this constitutional Republic by saving your own family first. Be ready for the fight ahead.
Rising Republican star J.D. Vance hopes to win the GOP primary to replace retiring Ohio Senator Rob Portman.
Who is J.D. Vance? To put it briefly, he’s a venture capitalist and author of the best-selling book (and Netflix movie) Hillbilly Elegy, and he recently threw his hat in the ring to fill the seat of retiring Republican Ohio Senator Rob Portman. Many see Vance as a young (he’s 36) rising populist and conservative star, and a formidable Senate candidate.
In announcing his candidacy last week, Vance explained his reason for running: “I think we need people in Washington who are fighters — and not just fighters, but smart fighters. There are a lot of fighters in Washington, DC. They just fight for the wrong things.” He further offered himself as one “who knows how the system works, who knows how to reform that system, and who can make this country better.”
In a recent interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, Vance sought to explain why not all of the Republican establishment is on board with his candidacy. “I think so far a lot of them are frustrated and a little upset with me because I actually say what’s true,” he said, “which is many of these people don’t care about their own voters. They think they’re either bigoted or they think they’re stupid. They don’t understand their job in this country is to protect their own voters, to serve their best interests. So a lot of established Republicans, just like a lot of mainstream press and corporate media, they’re against me … and it’s fine.”
Vance is most famous for having understood why Donald Trump won the 2016 election when so many of the Washington elites were left befuddled. He knows middle America because he is middle America. His book Hillbilly Elegy was based on his memories of growing up in Appalachian Kentucky. “If you look at every issue in this country,” Vance observed, “every issue I believe traces back to this fact: On the one hand, the elites in the ruling class in this country are robbing us blind, and on the other, if you dare complain about it, you are a bad person.”
As Trump showed, there’s plenty of room for this populist message within the Republican Party, and the GOP ultimately benefits from maintaining that connection with the people.
Biden targets Big Tech in sweeping new executive order cracking down on anti-competitive practices (Fox Business) | However, the EO has a major giveaway for tech giants via net neutrality (Free Beacon)
Hot air: White House attempts to pin inflation on summer (Townhall)
Belly laugh of the week: Intelligence agency busted for blatant Photoshop job on cover of diversity report (NY Post)
Biden tells his puppeteer, Vladimir Putin, that Russia must crack down on cybercriminals (AP)
Capitol Police to use Army surveillance system on Americans to “identify emerging threats” (Washington Times)
U.S. Pacific intel chief: Coming Chinese attack on Taiwan could target other nations (Washington Times)
China vows retaliation after Commerce Department blacklists companies (AP)
ICE opens border exemptions to pregnant moms more anchor babies (PM)
FBI to assist investigation of Haitian president’s assassination; U.S. has no plans to send troops (CNBC)
Around the Nation
CDC says schools should open in fall, recommends masks for unvaccinated (Fox News) | California will require face masks in schools this fall despite new CDC guidance (Washington Times)
A remarkable expansion of cancel culture: Statue of Lewis & Clark and Sacagawea toppled in Charlottesville (NY Post)
Thousands of teachers indoctrinators vow to defy state bans on Critical Race Theory (Free Beacon)
Intersectionality Wars: Boston Pride shutting down amid criticism over lack of inclusion (Axios)
Woman accused of running over George Floyd protester in Denver found not guilty of assault (Fox News)
Upright: “Don’t be bullied by those seeking to intimidate you with false charges of racism from standing up for your children, for accurate history and for promoting the laudatory goal of seeing and treating people of all races as individuals made in God’s image.” —David Limbaugh
Observations: “Approximately 400 Americans were shot over the July 4th weekend. Of those 400, 150 were killed. That’s approximately the same number of U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan during the entirety of 2008. Of course, we are currently withdrawing from Afghanistan, and as a nation we’re also withdrawing from large swaths of Chicago, Minneapolis, New York City, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle.” —Gary Bauer
The bottom line: “Just as confronting the Chinese Communist Party is our most pressing foreign issue, so, too, has securing law and order become our most pressing domestic issue. If the median American is afraid to step outside his or her house, little else in our politics matters.” —Josh Hammer
For the record: “Some will say Jan. 6 is uniquely bad. It was really bad and condemnable. But also, Jan. 6 probably never would have happened had the media and Democrats together not spent so many years defending violent protestors disrupting democratic institutions and burning down businesses when the protestors were progressive.” —Erick Erickson
Re: The Left: “Kamala Harris declared, ‘We’re not going to let anybody stop you from making your voice heard at the ballot box.’ Actually, when Demos collect votes without voter ID, they mute legitimate voters’ voices at the ballot box.” —Mark Alexander
Gaslighting: “The thing that is a bit frustrating to us is that when people are critical of these [vaccination coercion] tactics, it’s really a disservice to the country and to the doctors, faith leaders, community leaders, and others who are working to get people vaccinated.” —White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki
Non compos mentis: “You’ve gotta ask: What is the problem? Get over it. Get over this political statement [of not getting vaccinated]. Just get over it and try and save the lives of yourself and your family.” —Dr. Anthony Fauci
Grand delusions: “The 1/6 attack … [was a] profoundly more dangerous event than the 9/11 attacks. And in the end, the 1/6 attacks are likely to kill a lot more Americans than were killed in the 9/11 attacks, which will include the casualties of the wars that lasted 20 years following it.” —Lincoln Project cofounder Steve Schmidt
Race bait: “The only thing that I can compare this recent wave of what is happening in our school districts, what’s happening in our school districts, what’s happening in our communities, is it really reminds me of the reaction and the response to the Brown v. Board of Education decision.” —Ibram X. Kendi
And last… “The cultural provocations that are currently tearing us apart do, certainly and obviously, come from progressives. And the left seems to have no prudent fear of backlash. They don’t seem to believe public opinion counts for much anymore.” —Peggy Noonan
Iran will not remain silent for long The cyberattacks on Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guard-run transit system are an open act of war designed to make the Iranians vulnerable, but Tehran has already proven that it is very much capable of retaliating; how it chooses to do so remains to be see … , the cyberattacks that Iran’s Transportation Ministry reported over the weekend were not only an open act of war meant to damage the IRGC’s military and economic infrastructure, but also a symbolic act against the regime in Tehran.
Iran and Russia express concern over US leaving Afghanistan In a bizarre irony and twist of fate it appears Russia and Iran are concerned about the US leaving Afghanistan and the rapid rise of the Taliban in parts of the country. If Afghanistan collapses it appears that the Taliban could end up in Kabul and perhaps sign some kind of deal with Turkey, Qatar, Pakistan and other countries that could see their interests served in a Taliban-led Afghanistan. “The US exit from Afghanistan is a headache for Moscow which fears spiraling fighting may push refugees into its Central Asian backyard,
Planetary duo to glow together after sunset this week At the start of the week, Venus will have a visitor as Mars appears incredibly close in an astronomical event known as a conjunction. Monday, July 12, will bring the first opportunity to see the conjunction with the two planets appearing just a finger’s width apart in the sky. However, Mars will be much dimmer than Venus, making it more difficult to spot without the help of binoculars or a telescope. A thin crescent moon will also be visible in the western sky above the pair, a celestial trio that will be visible around an hour after sunset, local time.
Catch The Bright, Newly-Discovered Neowise Comet Streaking In The Sky Above Idaho This Week On July 3, Comet NEOWISE passed the point where it would be closest to the sun, just about 26.7 million miles away from the sun itself. Now it continues moving away from the sun and will begin to fade, but don’t worry. That fade should be slow since it is now coming toward Earth. In fact, the Comet NEOWISE has surprised many observers with just how bright it appears.
Monsoonal storms to light up Southwest Following days of unseasonably hot conditions and dry weather, a more widespread portion of the parched Southwest can look forward to an uptick in thunderstorm activity this week. While an increase in precipitation will be welcome in any portion of the drought-ridden Southwest, other hazards may leave a sour taste in residents’ mouths.
Deadly Elsa completes trek from Caribbean to Canada Elsa was no fairytale. The first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season left a trail of destruction across the Caribbean, killing three people as it swept through with breakneck speed. The storm then made its way to Cuba, where it caused mudslides, and Florida, where it made landfall in Taylor County as a Tropical Storm on Wednesday, July 7.
Bootleg Fire in Southern Oregon doubles in size again, growing to nearly 144,000 acres For the third time, the Bootleg Fire in Klamath County doubled in size. It went from 76,897 acres Saturday, to 143,607 acres on Sunday. The fire is burning in the Fremont-Winema National Forest and on private land. “The fire behavior we are seeing on the Bootleg Fire is among the most extreme you can find and firefighters are seeing conditions they have never seen before,” said Incident Commander Al Lawson.
The sight and smell of dead fish around Tampa Bay is hard to miss High concentrations of red tide in Tampa Bay are causing massive amounts of fish kills, and experts say it’s still early in the rainy season to see fish kills at this magnitude. “It sucks for the people who do fish, the business of fishing in this area is also big and it’s taking a beating, it’s terrible man,” said James Van Dyke, who likes to fish as a hobby.
Temps forecast to approach 130 F again in Death Valley An abundance of excessive heat watches have spilled across the Southwest as residents continue to bake under record heat. Most notably, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Death Valley, California, can break all-time records over the weekend. On Friday, the temperature at Death Valley soared to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking the previous daily record high of 129 set back in 1913 on July 9, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). On Saturday, Las Vegas soared to a high of 117
DARPA program seeks to develop camera tech that mimics the human brain DARPA has announced the start of the Fast Event-based Neuromorphic Camera and Electronics (FENCE) program, which is designed to make computer vision cameras more efficient by mimicking how the human brain processes information. Three teams of scientists led by Raytheon, BAE Systems, and Northrop Grumman, are tasked with developing an infrared (IR) camera system that needs to process less data, operates faster, and uses less power.
IDF thwarts Gaza infiltration attempt, illegal arms shipment from Lebanon Israeli forces arrested three Palestinians on Saturday who had been attempting to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza, according to the Israeli military. The suspects were carrying a number of knives and were interrogated at the scene. The incident comes a day after Israel thwarted a major arms smuggling attempt through its border with Lebanon. Israeli forces seized 43 handguns and a quantity of ammunition in the bust, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars,
Israel seizes cryptocurrency wallets used by Hamas Israel’s security establishment has begun to seize cryptocurrency wallets belonging to the Hamas terror organization, according to Israeli media reports. The move comes after Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed an administrative order authorizing the seizures on June 30.
Israel calls on world to mobilize against Iran Isaac Herzog, Israel’s newly appointed president, responded to congratulations from world leaders by calling on them to join in a universal effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. “Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear capability constitute a threat to our security and regional stability. I know that together we can prevent its attempts,” Herzog said,
Billionaire Richard Branson reaches space in his own ship The nearly 71-year-old Branson and five crewmates from his Virgin Galactic space-tourism company reached an altitude of about 53 miles (88 kilometers) over the New Mexico desert — enough to experience three to four minutes of weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth — and then safely glided to a runway landing. Branson became the first person to blast off in his own spaceship, beating Bezos by nine days. He also became only the second septuagenarian to go into space. (Astronaut John Glenn flew on the shuttle at age 77 in 1998.)
MK Miri Regev: ‘Writing is on the wall’ for Temple Mount bridge collapse Likud MK Miri Regev appealed for urgent construction work to be carried out on Mughrabi Bridge, the crossing which connects the Western Wall to the Temple Mount…in an urgent proposal she submitted to the Knesset on Sunday. The Mughrabi Bridge is a wooden structure originally built as a temporary crossing after the earthen ramp, which had previously allowed access to the Temple Mount for non-Muslim visitors, collapsed…
Six Palestinian rioters injured in clashes with Border Police in Jenin Six Palestinians who opened fire at Israeli Border Police were shot during clashes with the security forces who were operating in the West Bank city of Jenin on Sunday night. The Border Police entered the city to arrest five Palestinians on suspicion of conducting terrorist activities. As the forces prepared to leave the city, Palestinian rioters opened fire and threw a large number of explosive charges towards them…
FBI tells Americans to monitor family members for signs of ‘extremism’ and snitch on them The FBI has recently made posts on various social media, recommending that “family members and peers” turn people in to the FBI if they suspect them of “homegrown violent extremism”. “Family members and peers are often best positioned to witness signs of mobilization to violence. Help prevent homegrown violent extremism…report them to the #FBI. #NatSec”
Egyptian FM to Lapid: Need to resolve current stalemate between Israel, Palestinians Foreign Minister Yair Lapid meets with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Brussels for their first bilateral talks since Israel’s new government took office last month. Shoukry “stresse[d] the need to resolve the current stalemate between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, leading to just and comprehensive peace negotiations,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said on Twitter…
Biden won’t send US troops to Haiti despite interim leader’s request The Biden administration has declined the request of Haiti’s Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph for U.S. troops as the impoverished nation struggles in the social and political aftermath of the assassination of President Jouvenal Moïse. The U.S. will only send security officials to assess the situation, with agents from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security arriving in Haiti on Sunday.
Poll: Brits Hate It When Companies Preach About ‘Social Issues’ Britons would prefer that companies focus on profits rather than discuss “social issues.” The United Kingdom’s Centre for Policy Studies gave survey respondents ten possible ways that British business can be “good corporate citizens.” Only 9% of voters indicated that they want companies to “speak out on important social issues that matter in Britain today.”
Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) is calling for the National Security Agency to investigate allegations that it spied on Tucker Carlson, saying past abuses necessitate evidence to refute the Fox News host’s claims.
“The NSA must do more than tweet a carefully worded denial to be trusted,” Paul said on Twitter on Monday. The tweet followed a letter that Paul sent to NSA Director General Paul Nakasone last Friday, demanding that the agency investigate Carlson’s allegations.
Carlson late last month accused the NSA of spying on him – citing a “whistleblower” who had evidence that the Biden administration was monitoring his communications – and said the agency was leaking his messages to media outlets to fuel hit pieces and intimidate him.
Paul said he is “open-minded enough” to believe that the agency is telling the truth, if given “convincing evidence,” but he added that “when a long train of abuses conducted by the NSA evinces a consistent design to evade the law and violate the constitutionally protected liberties of the people, the NSA must do more than tweet a carefully worded denial to be trusted.”
Paul was referring to a rare public denial that the NSA posted on social media on June 29, saying “Tucker Carlson has never been an intelligence target of the agency, and the NSA has never had any plans to try to take his program off the air.”
But as Carlson himself said that same night on his popular show, the NSA’s tweet didn’t address his claim that the agency read his private messages. “The question remains, did the Biden administration read my personal emails?” he said. Carlson added that, when asked the same question over the telephone, NSA officials repeatedly refused to answer and declined to say why they wouldn’t respond.
“The message was clear: ‘We can do whatever we want. We can read your personal texts, we can read your personal emails, we can send veiled threats your way to brush you back if we don’t like your politics. We can do anything. We’re our own country, and there’s literally nothing you can do about it. We’re in charge; you’re not.’”
The emails that were allegedly leaked to reporters concerned Carlson’s efforts to secure an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin. With rare exceptions, the NSA is legally limited to gathering intelligence on foreign threats, precluding the agency from spying on US citizens without a court order.
Paul said Nakasone can help restore the NSA’s credibility by being honest with the American people and explaining in detail whether it tapped Carlson’s emails, unmasked his identity, and leaked his private messages to members of the press.
Also on rt.com
“Only an investigation into the alleged surveillance and leak will determine the truth of the matter, and I demand that the NSA conduct such an investigation,” the senator said. He asked Nakasone to inform him of whether the probe will be done and, if the allegations prove true, whether he will pledge to bring the leakers to justice.
A federal appellate court found last year that the NSA’s mass surveillance of Americans’ telephone records – as revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 – was unlawful, and that US intelligence officials who publicly defended the program were lying. The mass spying violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and may have been unconstitutional, the US Court of Appeals in San Francisco said.
As the American foreign policy blob struggles to come to terms with Washington’s defeat in Afghanistan, others are thinking about the future. How will this country interact with the world and the region? Also, an update on Julian Assange – this travesty and crime against humanity continues.