20 January 2017

Varieties of Christian America

http://michaeljkruger.com/taking-back-christianese-7-america-is-a-christian-nation/

While I cannot fully agree with all his conclusions, Kruger is certainly on the right track and once again displays considerable wisdom in how he addresses the issue. He gets the answer right even if he's unwilling to put it as strongly as I would. In the final analysis, America is not a Christian nation.

Health Insurance: Risk or Access?

As it would seem Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA) also known as ObamaCare is under attack and faces repeal, I've noticed a certain way of speaking is starting to crop up once again.

Insurance is being referred to as a question of calculated risk and this definition is being used to discredit concepts like comprehensive coverage and even the idea of access.

And yet it must be remembered that the latter is actually the key issue. For the working class and the poor, health insurance is not a question of calculated risk. This is how the upper class and some of the middle class approach the question.

17 January 2017

Obama's Gesture and Bradley Manning

Obama's commutation of Bradley Manning's prison sentence will probably be the one gesture that is genuinely appreciated by the Left, not the DNC-style Left, but the actual Left that has been mostly opposed to Obama and his many betrayals. Obama the president that has more than any other crushed whistleblowers, leakers and investigative journalists, the president who has empowered the NSA and accentuated the domestic spying apparatus, has in his final hours shown a degree of magnanimity.

16 January 2017

Christopher Steele, the US Deep State, the UNSG and Bulgaria

https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/the-uk-spy-behind-trumps-kompromat-also-investigated-eus-georgieva/

Anyone following international news in the latter half of 2016 would have known something about the disturbance with regard to the selection of a new UN General Secretary. At the time Bulgarian Kristalina Georgieva was in the running and yet it was a candidacy born in controversy as Sophia had switched gears and disavowed a former candidate due to perceived controversies.

11 January 2017

Slovakia: Right-Wing Paramilitaries and the EU

https://apnews.com/cd66f0f8a51b416b93460e37368b42f7

America has been dealing with such paramilitary movements since at least the 1990s but it's startling to see them beginning to appear in Europe as well. Needless to say Europe's history with such groups cannot help but remind one of the Fascist era.

08 January 2017

Franklin Graham and Trump's List of Heretics

http://www.economist.com/blogs/erasmus/2017/01/religious-wild-cards

Some Evangelicals will be disappointed by Franklin Graham but after spending twenty years learning that Billy Graham (and by extension Franklin) doesn't represent what I was raised to think he did... nothing surprises me anymore.

07 January 2017

Michael Horton on Trump, Paula White and the Prosperity Gospel

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/01/03/evangelicals-should-be-deeply-troubled-by-donald-trumps-attempt-to-mainstream-heresy/?utm_term=.387655a782a6

I must say I was surprised to find this in the Washington Post. As I've made clear in recent posts on both websites as a Two-Kingdom adherent I take exception to the Westminster California variety of Two Kingdom theology of which Horton is a part if not a representative. That said, there is much they stand for and express that is to be appreciated.

Horton presents a helpful summary and analysis of Trump, White and the context of Christian theology and values that have led these people to the 2017 presidential inauguration.

A Vision of China's Future Crisis

This is a link to a somewhat heartbreaking 25 minute video about the children in China that are left behind in the villages while their parents go off to the city for work.


The United States has been in the process of destroying the family and thus the foundation of the social fabric for more than fifty years. China has unintentionally embarked on the same project since the 1980s and yet with far greater zeal. In both the United States and China, the quest for money has played no small part in this unintended consequence and China has yet to really reckon with the fruit of this awful and immoral mistake.

03 January 2017

India's Coal Monopoly

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-coal-modi-idUSKBN13Q45W?il=0

It is important to understand that while breaking up monopolies is perceived as anti-market and an imposition of the regulatory state, it can just as easily prove a boon to the corporate Establishment.

Breaking up a nationalised public-private monopoly is a means of extending privatisation. Union contracts are negated and can be dismantled. It's yet another application of divide and conquer.

01 January 2017

The Church in Central Asia: Caught in the Middle of Islamic Struggle

http://evangelicalfocus.com/blogs/2106/The_Secret_church_in_Central_Asia

While the 1990s brought an era of cultural libertarianism and market economics, the sudden onslaught of Capitalism, its values and effects, led to a degree of social reaction.

One unforeseen aspect of the collapse of the USSR for Central Asia was a revival of Islam, and this was in no small part affected by the jihadist fervour just to the south of the Soviet border. Though the Afghan War ended for the United States in 1989, it did not end for Central Asia. The United States had funded numerous groups, some of which agitated even within the borders of the USSR, something largely forgotten today. The spread of Salafi, Deobandi and Wahhabi forms of Islam greatly affected the region and there was something of a revivalist spirit in the air.

31 December 2016

M5S Leader Calls for Mass Deportations

Beppe Grillo is the leader of the 5-Star Movement, a rising power in Italian politics. While not technically part of the European Far Right Grillo is also calling for the mass deportation of refugees.

M5S represents a new type of political model. It's populist and yet in many ways defies the Left-Right divide. It's pulling from all sides of the spectrum and while this particular position sounds reminiscent of Donald Trump, many of M5S positions would strike a chord with Bernie Sanders followers.

29 December 2016

The Labyrinth of Drugs and Weapons Smuggling: The Balkans, Latin America and the Strategy of Tension

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/30/did-the-dea-nab-an-international-weapons-dealer-or-a-cia-asset-hung-out-to-dry/?comments=1#comments

Due to the inconclusive nature of the story I'm not sure why The Intercept chose to publish it. Perhaps it's for the same reasons that I'm passing it on. It provides an opportunity to expose readers to the confusing mess and double-dealing that's going on in government agencies and in the back alleys. I think we all know these things go on, but sometimes it's helpful to read something like this that fleshes it out a bit.

28 December 2016

Apple, Ireland and the EU

Apple has formally appealed its €13billion tax bill which was levied when it was determined that Ireland had given the Silicon Valley giant illegal tax breaks. Apple employs thousands within the Irish Republic and has invested millions of dollars into its economy. And Apple is by no means the only American company to do so. Altogether American firms employ over 100,000 people in Ireland and have invested close to $200 billion.

Ireland wants to retain this investment and in particular wants to keep Apple on their shores. The fact that they're using the Republic as a tax shelter and means of asset protection is well known in Dublin. But they're happy to forego the revenue to keep the jobs and investment.

27 December 2016

Peeling Back the Curtain on Recent Israeli Machinations

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/26/inquiry-launched-palestinian-fugitive-omar-zayed-death-embassy-bulgaria


This story is from earlier this year and involves a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) fugitive who was murdered while hiding out in the Palestinian embassy in Bulgaria.

Conformity and the German Judiciary

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/07/german-court-rules-against-muslim-girl-in-burkini-case

Disgusting.

As Christians we should support religious freedom for all. It only benefits us as well. Germany has grown hostile to homeschooling and other educational alternatives. Some of this is due to hostility to Biblical Christianity but unfortunately a lot of the grief is something of a side-effect, a result of Berlin's policy with regard to the Muslim community.

It's long past time for Christian families to get out of Germany.

26 December 2016

Right-Wing Crises and Setbacks within Europe

Poland continues to struggle with Brussels and the conflict is reaching a point of crisis. Neither side is willing to back down.



The Right-wing PiS currently controls the Polish parliament (Sejm) and has come into conflict with the EU over its politicisation of judicial appointments and its moves toward censorship and restrictive pro-Catholic social policies.

25 December 2016

Underground Catholics in China

The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) is Beijing's answer to Papal authority and its parallel to the Protestant Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM). These are the state-sanctioned organisations that govern both the Roman Catholic and Protestant denominations within the People's Republic of China.

The Underground Church rejects Beijing's jurisdiction and forms what the government considers to be illegal worship cells. Usually the news if it focuses on the Underground Church tends to report on the Protestant side of things.

24 December 2016

UN Sanctions and Israeli Settlements

Obama finally did it. He stood up to Israel's Likud Party.


Nothing has happened as of yet. The UN condemnation is symbolic at this point but you can be sure Netanyahu and the Israeli Establishment are somewhat shocked and certainly livid.

Obama, frustrated and angered by his dealings with Netanyahu fired something of a Parthian shot as his administration fades into the sunset.

He didn't 'do' anything. It's what he didn't do.

Geopolitical Chess: The Language of War

I have sometimes referred to as the 1991 Gulf War as something of a 'signal' to other nations. The timing of both the 1989 Panama Invasion and the 1990-1991 Gulf War are essential to understanding the 'meaning' they communicated in geopolitical terms. One might even speak of a geopolitical language.

23 December 2016

Protestant Rosaries are Next

http://www.fln.org/news/features/detail/inside-out-celebrate-all-of-christmas/

How do you beat the post-Christmas blues? Recover the ancient tradition of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Of course the author neglected to mention that they culminate in Epiphany. That might be a little too much for some Evangelicals.

But I don't know why? At this point they've embraced Advent and many have also embraced Lent. Why not embrace it all then?

21 December 2016

Real World Elements in Jason Bourne (2016)

For those already initiated into the world of Jason Bourne and the re-booted movies of the 2000's, the story elements reflecting the MK-ULTRA revelations and many other aspects of the US Deep State are nothing new.

However I noticed several elements woven into the plot of the 2016 Jason Bourne film that were of interest and thus far I have not detected a great deal of online comment with regard to these points.

These themes grabbed my attention even though I must confess the movie was something of a disappointment. It had a lot of potential but failed to deliver in several areas. My intention here is not to write a review but simply highlight a few points that were of particular interest to me and my readers.

For those interested in the film, consider the following...

19 December 2016

The Russian Hack or Leak... and Why it Matters

These articles are must reads for anyone who is wrestling with the Russian Hack narrative promoted by the Mainstream Media. This line is being utilised to promote a new wave of legislation, possible censorship, a culture of Red Baiting and possibly an escalation in US foreign policy aggression toward Russia.

Federalist Author's Lies about Santa Claus Facilitated by LPR's Issues Etc.

http://issuesetc.org/2016/12/06/3415-incorporating-the-real-santa-claus-into-the-celebration-of-christs-birth-holly-scheer-12616/

This 14 minute piece was completely misleading on multiple fronts. Contrary to Scheer, Santa Claus is not merely a secularised version of the Roman Catholic St. Nicholas and thus in today's context a bankrupt and hollow form of virtue-appeal minus the theological substance. It's a convenient narrative but one that is less than accurate.

18 December 2016

Wikileaks: Greenwald v. Klein

I listened to this friendly debate when it was first released back in October. The argument is essentially between the Naomi Klein approach to activist journalism vs. the Julian Assange approach of what can be almost described as indiscriminate leaking of information.

Inbox: How do you protect yourself from Fake News?

or: How to respond to the Fake News hysteria and protect yourself from being brainwashed by the Establishment or manipulated by activists or those with other than truth-seeking agendas?

I hope to offer some practical points. I'm not going to shroud this discussion in the facade of so-called Christian Worldview which all too often promotes false understandings of both the news and history.

17 December 2016

14 December 2016

Fake News out of Aleppo

The Western Mainstream media continues to rely on the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the White Helmets as primary sources for news coming out of Syria and Aleppo in particular.

11 December 2016

Western Media Clampdown and the Cyber-Power Grab

https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/german-spy-agency-warns-of-rise-in-russian-propaganda-and-cyber-attacks/

The media is filled with calls for investigations into Russian hacking but no evidence is produced. Instead we're provided with 'secret assessments' and calls to trust the intelligence apparatus, despite the fact they have a long and proven track record of lying and attempting to manipulate the public.

Like the many narratives strung together in the wake of 9/11, this present attempt at spin is false and patently so on many levels.

09 December 2016

The CIA and Ivory Coast

This Wikileaks file dates from 2012 but it's instructive with regard to Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). What is sometimes referred to as the 2nd Civil War took place only the year before in 2011. France was the official backer of current president Alassane Ouattara and helped to track down and capture former president Laurent Gbagbo who is now being held by the ICC.

Even a cursory glance at this file makes it pretty clear that Ouattara is a creature of Washington. His biography reveals significant Western connections (Ivy League and IMF) and it's clear that both France and the United States wanted Gbagbo out of office. His time of usefulness had come to an end and from the West's perspective, a leader looking West rather than toward China was desirable.

06 December 2016

R Scott Clark's Obfuscations and Westminster West's GOP-friendly Two Kingdom Theology

https://heidelblog.net/2016/11/the-media-flyover-country-betsy-devos-the-new-yorker-and-the-truth/

There are two reasons I wish to respond to this piece by R Scott Clark. One is I think it provides an example of Westminster West's Two Kingdom Theology in action and demonstrates that its views (especially in application) are a far cry from 'radical' or 'Anabaptist'. This is to correct the false assertions of both Lutheran and Theonomist theologians.

Second, I think his piece is misleading on several points and deserves a response.

04 December 2016

Italy: Shaken by Earthquakes both geological and political

2016: It's a year of earthquakes in Italy. Earlier this year, several villages crumbled into the dust, broken by the force of the earth. Today, Italy's political order has been shaken and its Establishment finds itself under a cloud of uncertainty and threat.

Inbox: How will Trump's presidency affect the progress of Dominionism within the American Church?

A good question.

As of December 2016, I don't really know. On the one hand the Christian Right turning to Trump seems like a defeat of their principles and thus to some extent a self-inflicted death-wound to their movement.

European Nationalism and NATO

https://www.euractiv.com/section/security/news/divided-austria-unites-in-opposition-to-eu-army/

The issue of creating an EU Army command is dividing the nationalists of Europe. On the one hand it affords an opportunity to break free of NATO and US dominance, or more properly can initiate a process toward that end. No one is suggesting that NATO is going to just go away. It is already becoming apparent through the Trump's cabinet picks that an Anti-NATO or Anti-Atlanticist doctrine is not going to govern his administration.

02 December 2016

The Sacralist Two Kingdom Theology of Westminster West (Escondido)

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1131692171

I include this as a supplement to the Lutheran Two Kingdom piece which extensively referenced and interacted with the Two Kingdom theology advocated by Westminster Theological Seminary (West) in Escondido California.


I rather enjoyed this 45 minute talk. Though I did not agree with everything said, I appreciated the reflections and found it worthwhile.

29 November 2016

The Re-Alignment of India

India's geopolitical shift involves a complicated dance in order to maintain a network of relationships. On the one hand India has moved toward a military alliance with the United States and the establishment of closer economic ties with the West. At the same time India is still entangled in historic alliances with Russia which involve joint military projects as well as a commitment to BRICS, the international banking order meant to counter and check the dominance of Western organisations such as the World Bank and IMF.

27 November 2016

The Latest on Cold War II in the Balkans and Caucasus

The series of proxy battles and posturing continues. One thing is clear the lines are becoming more distinct and increasingly turning to battle lines.

26 November 2016

Pivot Collapse: Thailand's Junta Moves Toward Moscow and Beijing

There are so many aspects of the US election that have been covered and yet American mainstream media has largely failed to report on the international effects.

The collapse of TPP and the movement of the EU toward autonomy in light of Brexit are perhaps somewhat known but there have also been some interesting developments in Asia. While the Philippine's Duterte has made the news for cursing Obama and cozying up to Beijing there are other stories that point to the American 'Pivot' being in jeopardy.

25 November 2016

Parenting, Values and Culture

http://www.rosemond.com/September-2016.html

I don't really know much about the author but his columns often appear in the local newspaper. Sometimes the advice is good and I admit this despite my general hostility to the theological and philosophical underpinnings of psychology and much of the counseling movement.

20 November 2016

Elections and Establishment: The 2016 US Presidential Drama and the French Centre-Right Primaries

The numbers aren't fully in yet but it would appear that Francois Fillon has won the first round of the French Centre-Right primary and will face Alain Juppe in the second round. Juppe will likely win the primaries and has a very good chance of being the next president of France. This represents a stunning defeat of former president Nicholas Sarkozy. Sarkozy was the obvious favourite of the US Establishment and his defeat will be disappointing to some within the US power structure. This isn't to say they can't work with Juppe as well, but Sarkozy in particular was beloved in Washington for moving Paris solidly into the US and NATO orbit.

18 November 2016

Finance Capital and the Shopping Mall

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-property-cmbs-idUSKCN12L0XB

The destructive and wasteful nature of Finance Capitalism is on display. Profit margins must always increase and this imperative produces its much celebrated dynamism.

But how destructive it is! Resources are wasted, communities are in constant upheaval and what is the price that is paid by individuals and families as this system generates, nay is founded on a constant game of instability?

17 November 2016

Rwandan Secrets and the Ethics of Dominion

Rwanda's Paul Kagame has been in the news recently as questions have re-emerged regarding his possible role in the shoot-down of President Habyarimana's plane in 1994, the event which triggered the Rwandan Genocide. The slaughter perpetrated by Hutu Interahamwe militias was ended when Kagame and his Tutsi fighters, backed by Uganda and the United States entered Rwanda and drove the Hutu militias into Zaire/Congo. This later contributed to the breakup of Zaire and the subsequent Congo Wars.


Kagame has always denied playing any part in the shoot-down and he has counter-charged France with complicity in the genocide through aiding the Hutu government and providing training and assistance to those who committed the genocide. France had been backing the Hutu government and had opposed Kagame as a tool of American imperialism.

13 November 2016

An EU Military Union in the Works?

https://euobserver.com/foreign/135877


As mentioned in previous articles, the Brexit kicked open the door for France and Germany to pursue a degree of autonomy and begin to establish themselves as the permanent leaders of the EU. Through various mechanisms Europe has been largely controlled by the United States since the end of World War II. The EU project while ostensibly designed to balance power and common interests, it has instead consolidated them in the hands of the most powerful factions. The British exit has further concentrated the power in Paris and Berlin and now there is a strong push for the creation of a unified European military command that would operate outside US control.

12 November 2016

Providence at Work in the European Immigrant Crisis

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/thousands.of.muslim.refugees.in.switzerland.germany.converting.to.christianity.amid.disillusionment/94634.htm

Amidst the horrors of war and social collapse, God's Providence works in mysterious ways. Immigrants fleeing for their lives and hoping for a better tomorrow are in some cases finding not just a new life in Europe but a new life in Christ.

A New Black Sea Front within Cold War II

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nato-russia-idUSKCN12P31W

The tension increases as both sides continue a process of escalation. This build-up is reminiscent of what occurred in 1983 as US exercises, rhetoric and posturing pushed the USSR to a point of paranoid frenzy. This culminated with the shoot-down of Korean Air Lines flight 007 near Sakhalin.

10 November 2016

The Domestic Consequences of German Militarism (Part 2)

Once again German militarism comes with a cost to domestic society, privacy and free speech. Don't think for a moment this won't affect the press and a host of other issues.

Militarism drives the state into the mode of fear... fear of enemies and fear as a tool to keep the populace in line.


Notice the quote... the BND must be active in detecting 'early threats to the domestic and external security of Germany'.

07 November 2016

Homeschooled Stormtroopers

Homeschooled young men joining the military...

It seems like it's been happening a lot lately and it grieves me to no end.

I have witnessed several incidents of homeschooling families who have laboured for years to raise their children 'different' who have separated from family, churches and friends in order to maintain the standards and ideals they believed were right...

Only to hand over their sons to the US military.

06 November 2016

The Silver Lining of the Trump Fiasco

Maybe there's a silver lining to this whole Trump episode. The Libertarian-Tea Party wing and now the Trumpites have smashed the GOP both in terms of a consensus and as a unified institution.

We don't know yet what the fallout will be after November 2016. If the movement perpetuates, the GOP will probably fail to recover. This may be the effectual end of the Two-Party duopoly.

04 November 2016

Culture Warriors: Form Without Substance

Recently I was poking around on Facebook and encountered someone I knew from a couple of years ago. I've thought about this guy quite often. He grew up in Reformed circles but admitted that he knew very little in the way of doctrine. This came up during a conversation after services in which I tried to engage him a bit on some issues that had come up in the sermon. He didn't have the vocabulary, familiarity with the doctrine... or with the text for that matter.

What did his parents teach him?

02 November 2016

Trump and the Semblance of Dignity

I've mentioned this before but I wanted to put it into a brief post.

In the 1990s so many lamented the lack of dignity and gravitas that the Clintons brought to the White House. Many, myself included, all but wretched watching the Clinton's dance to Fleetwood Mac on Inauguration night. The bearing and sobriety of the World War II generation was gone and it was clear that the Boomers had arrived.

31 October 2016

Halloween Compromise

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/christians-this-is-our-night

This article is making the rounds. It's the same argument Evangelicals have been making for years.

Evangelicalism and its 'desire' to be relevant is a creature and vehicle of worldly compromise. This article represents scripture manipulation at its finest but somehow manages to ignore the point... what is the argument against Halloween? The article never bothers to interact with the notion. It instead assumes the Dominionist line about conquering and redeeming the culture and it hides its cowardly compromise by pretending to have a robust theology.

30 October 2016

The Citibank Revelation

For all the coverage the Clinton email leaks are receiving 'the' story is not getting that much attention.

The real revelation came with the Citibank emails. This wasn't even so much about the corruptions of the Clintons as it was the compromised nature of the system itself.

Bearing the Cross in Southern Chile

http://evangelicalfocus.com/blogs/1705/Why_are_churches_burning_in_Chile

This article is interesting for many reasons but I post it here because of a line near the end...

Christianity, they argue, has brought many to leave the defence of their social rights.

The Mapuche people are angry because of their social situation and view Evangelical converts as traitors.

27 October 2016

The Cambridge Spy Ring: Unfinished Tales

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/name-of-seventh-cambridge-spy-cannot-be-revealed-says-judge/story-29733173-detail/story.html

For anyone who is an espionage buff, this article references a still unfinished chapter from one of the great stories of the Cold War. The story contains so many layers it's hard to take it all in.

Mainstream Media, the Yemen Conflict and Social Consensus

This article provides an excellent summation (with numerous examples) of how the Mainstream media protects the Establishment. The Right-Left divide is largely fictitious. The differences are located within the pro-Wall Street, pro-Pentagon, pro-Imperial consensus. This is true from FOX to MSNBC and everything else in-between.

Also exposed is the rank hypocrisy on the part of US media and US officials regarding civilian casualties, weaponisation of conflicts etc...

24 October 2016

Russian State Persecution, Western Money and the Heritage Foundation

There are a growing number of reports regarding Russian state harassment of Evangelical groups. They're being bullied about property, registration and in some cases fund raising. The state is making it clear that they're not particularly welcome and they're being watched.

These actions are starting to garner attention from Evangelical leaders and ministries. Of course this also dovetails nicely with the US Establishment's propaganda campaign directed at Moscow and the march to war.

John McCain's Concern for the Indiscriminate Bombing of Civilians

John McCain was recently in the news again calling for US intervention in Syria. Never one to shy away from warmongering and ever the champion of American militarism, McCain decried Assad's 'indiscriminate bombing' of civilians and blamed him for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians.

I was left spluttering.

22 October 2016

The Investiture Controversy in China

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-vatican-china-deal-idUSKCN12L031

I have no stake or real interest in Catholic ecclesiology or geopolitics but this move by Francis should rightly be decried as a sell-out. In seeking peace for Roman Catholics in China he has all but capitulated to Beijing's demands. This will not earn him many friends among Catholics in China and certainly not among them in the United States.

A Candid Admission Regarding the Christian Right

http://www.christianpost.com/news/trump-meeting-evangelical-leaders-end-of-the-christian-right-165473/

I'm not an admirer of Michael Farris, HSLDA or Patrick Henry College but this short article is worth a few minutes of your time. It contains a very candid and compelling admission. While I reject much of what Farris stands and fights for I appreciate his honesty on this point and his admission that the Christian Right has lost its way.