.. googling Global Thermonuclear War…

SHALL WE PLAY A GAME?

… 34 years ago, in 1983, a movie came out starring Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, and Ally Sheedy, called Wargames about a young computer hacker named David Lightman (Broderick) who wants to hack into a video game manufacturers computer to play a video game before it is released to the public.  using an old-style acoustic coupler modem to access the internet, young David finds a computer hooked to the internet in Sunnyvale, California which seems to have some games in it that he wants to play.  he finds out that the computer he hacks into is actually the WOPR (War Operation Plan Response), a United States military supercomputer originally programmed to predict possible outcomes of nuclear war.

… i was a senior in High School then and many, many things have changed since that time.  at that time the governments of the Eastern Bloc and the governments of the Western Bloc were in a state of geopolitical tension called the Cold War. even though we had ‘duck and cover nuclear bomb drills‘ in school, we felt relatively secure because of the doctrine of mutually assured destruction – basically, ‘if you throw bombs at me, i will throw bombs at you, and neither one of us will survive.’

Stephen Falken: The whole point was to find a way to practice nuclear war without destroying ourselves. To get the computers to learn from mistakes we couldn’t afford to make. Except, I never could get Joshua to learn the most important lesson.
David Lightman: What’s that?
Stephen Falken: Futility. That there’s a time when you should just give up.
Jennifer: What kind of a lesson is that?
Stephen Falken: Did you ever play tic-tac-toe?
Jennifer: Yeah, of course.
Stephen Falken: But you don’t anymore.
Jennifer: No.
Stephen Falken: Why?
Jennifer: Because it’s a boring game. It’s always a tie.
Stephen Falken: Exactly. There’s no way to win. The game itself is pointless! But back at the war room, they believe you can win a nuclear war. That there can be “acceptable losses.”

… we started the drills after this country dropped atomic bombs on Japan, ending World War II where this country killed 90,000146,000 people in Hiroshima and 39,000–80,000 in Nagasaki.  we were taught that as long as we were the only country evil enough to drop an atomic bomb, then the world would stay relatively secure from the threat of nuclear annihilation.

… the Cold War ended in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union.

… the recent news has caused me to Google things i would prefer not to.  things like;

  • how many nuclear weapons does North Korea have?
  • how many nuclear weapons does Russia have?
  • what is global thermonuclear war?
  • what is a tomahawk missile?
  • how many tomahawk missiles did the US drop on Syria?
  • how much stock does the US President have in the company that builds tomahawk missiles?
  • why is the US Government spending more than the next 8 nations combined on it’s military?
  • how many continents does the US have military bases on?
  • do polls in Russia really say that Russia should retaliate against the US for bombing Syria unprovoked?
  • what is a MOAB bomb, and is it really the largest weapon on the planet that is NOT a nuclear weapon?
  • was the US President really golfing when he ordered the destruction of Afghanistan with the MOAB bomb?

  • did the Vice President of the USA really go to the DMZ and threaten North Korea?
  • how long will it take for an atomic bomb to reach the US mainland once it is deployed from North Korea? Russia? China?
  • has the US really killed over 30,000,000 people on earth since WWII?
  • did the US really start wars in Iraq and Afghanistan based on lies?
  • how many did the US kill because of those lies?
  • does the US have any real friends left in the world that President Trump has not insulted or just plain pissed off?

… so many questions.  but the biggest question in my mind is;

do people in the United States of America know that their nation is the nation in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ that is known as Babylon and that their destruction will take place ‘in a day’ unless they ‘change their minds’?

And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.” Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed. As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’ For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”” (Revelation 18:2–8, ESV)

“how about a nice game of chess?”

A War on Homelessness, or a War on the Homeless?

A War on Homelessness, or a War on the Homeless?

by Nick Cooper, nick@nickcooper.com •  originally printed in Free Press Houston (freepresshouston.com), April, 2012

On March 2, Hank Rush, the CEO of Star of Hope Mission, who makes a quarter-million dollar salary for his work with the poor, joined several other homeless service leaders in signing a commentary in the Houston Chronicle.  They gave their support to a new law that would impose a $2,000 fine on unpaid volunteers for sharing home-cooked food with the needy in public.

Going so far as to criminalize bringing a box of fruit into one’s house, to keep it out of a hot car for a few hours before going to share it, the law would have been laughable if it weren’t a threat to the food supply of a vulnerable population.

Wondering why homeless service providers might consider supporting a law that was so potentially devastating to Houston’s homeless population, activists began researching Star of Hope.  The first news item that came up, was that Mayor Annise Parker had announced a massive public / private partnership with the Star of Hope, just four days before the commentary was published.  $3 million initially, and $1.5 million per year thereafter, was planned for a “Sobering Center” for people found drunk in public.  Touted as a cheaper and less punitive alternative to incarceration, the project would benefit Rush and other signatories to the commentary.

    The Mayor, ‘Balance,’ and Her ‘Emergency’

    The Mayor and Council Member James Rodriguez began promoting the new ’emergency’ law, though the nature of the emergency seemed to be constantly in flux.  First, council members were told there was a crisis of food poisoning of the homeless, but the Mayor dropped that argument after being forced in open session to admit that there was no info to back up her claims.  Next, they switched to talking about trash being left by organizations feeding the homeless, but apparently there was no study of that either.  Eventually, Parker and Rodriguez seemed to settle on the main issue at stake here: the property rights of downtown business owners.

“I perceive this ordinance as trying to balance the rights and the needs of different groups of people,” said the Mayor.  Apparently, for her, the homeless are the ones holding the upper-hand in this imbalance, and the victims, the downtown business owners, require the City’s emergency help.  The ‘need’ of property owners is being trampled by the need of the homeless to eat, sleep, and excrete.

She compelled city council to act urgently to control trash and excrement, not by putting out more receptacles and toilets, but by policing the food supply.

“While the Mayor professes to try to help the homeless,” said civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen, “she’s done nothing to put in sanitary facilities that the homeless might be able to use.”

After years of ‘civility’ ordinances which criminalize homeless people for lying down, Houston City Council moved quickly towards enacting this new level of oppression.

The open secret here is that the only urgent matter is the opening of the new Dynamo soccer stadium.  With homeless sleeping nearby, the Mayor wanted one more tool to evict the homeless encampments.  As if to confirm this, City Council passed another urgent measure in March: drinking alcohol in public would be legalized in lots owned by, and at times set by sports venues.  Without even an acknowledgement of the irony and scandalous timing of these two amendments, the City granted sports fans an exemption to an anti-homeless law that had been on the books for almost 20 years.

While of course, ‘property rights’ doesn’t seem like an ’emergency’ issue, the Mayor didn’t let that slow her down. She ramped up pressure on the council to pass this law to force volunteers to show police specific prior written permission to share food.  Coalition for the Homeless President / CEO Marilyn Brown supported the law as “a good first step,” despite the fact that she had just personally conducted a Faith Initiative focus group in which every single participant opposed mandatory requirements for those sharing food in public.  Any council member considering voting for the law had to ignore the opinions of the hundreds of homeless and others who came to speak against the law over three sessions of City Council.

The public pressure forced the Mayor to change the law, stripping it of the important details.  It no longer explicitly criminalized things like the sharing of home made food, but since the process for obtaining permission was never disclosed, it was anyone’s guess what the criteria she or subsequent Mayors might choose to use for granting permission.  Home made food might be illegal, it might not, it just depended on the unwritten criteria of whatever agency has the job of granting permission.  The new version of the law temporarily hid the most egregious details, and the Mayor falsely and unilaterally declared that a compromise had been struck.

Some of the most important voices against the law were those of the homeless themselves who arrived to speak to City Council on April 3, the day before the vote.  The Mayor and the majority of City Council instead favored a small group of downtown business representatives, bumping them to the front of the queue to speak.  A few Council Members lobbed soft-ball questions to their powerful friends, filibustering until the news cameras and many City Council members had left the room.  One homeless man waiting for his turn to speak was so frustrated that he yelled out and was escorted from the chambers.

When it was finally their turn to speak, the homeless opened up their hearts to a City Council that had probably already made up their minds.

“If it weren’t for these truly gracious people, I would not eat,” 58 year old James Lira told City Council.

“I’ve been homeless 15 years due to my mental illness… If they make it more difficult for me to get food, then I would be starving,” were the words sent to City Council via the Voice of the Homeless Awareness Project from Alfred White, 51.

“I would like to see you in our shoes for one week and not have anything,” said Michael Horn.

“When has America stopped being the land of the free and the home of the brave, and become the land of the oppressed, and the home of the economic slave?” asked Maurice Samuel O’Neal, who identified as being on and off the streets for the last 40 years.  Many in the audience were affected, hearing the comparison to slavery by an older Southern African American man.

The most devastating critiques of the Mayor’s proposed law came from the kids.

“If I see one, or five, or twenty people in need, I should be able to help them without fearing punishment,” said an 11 year old girl, Makota Ashé.

Next, the Mayor’s entire argument was deflated in two short questions by 13 year old Dylan Cash.

“Mayor Parker, did you eat breakfast this morning?” he asked.  “Did you have to get permission from the City?”

    Why Don’t you Just Shut Up and Get a Permit, It’s Easy!

    Requiring permission for groups to serve has precedent. In San Francisco in 1988, the permit requirement was used to criminalize and arrest hundreds of food sharing volunteers. The Mayor then, like Annise Parker now, described the process as easy, but that was not the experience of volunteers in San Francisco.

“It was clear that the purpose of the permit process was to make it impossible for Food Not Bombs to share food and information in public,” said Keith McHenry, the co-founder of the Food Not Bombs movement.

In November of 2011, a U.S. District Judge denied the city of Dallas’ motion for summary judgment and ruled that a lawsuit can proceed against a similar law there.  On the basis that spontaneous and unregulated feeding is part of their religious freedom, a church has a good chance to demonstrate that these permitting laws violate the Texas Religious Freedom Act.

“There are also Constitutional concerns about not requiring property owners to give notice by posting “no-trespassing” signs,” said Daphne Silverman with National Lawyers Guild.   “It’s my position that this law also violates other first amendment rights of expression, religion, and assembly.”

   Cashing In

    On April 4, the amendment passed 11 – 6.  Council Member Bradford joined the five Republican-leaning Council Members (Brown, Pennington, Sullivan, Christie, and Hoang) to oppose the hastily written, vague, punitive, and repressive law.  Not only did the ‘progressive’ Council Members vote with the Mayor, but even Wanda Adams joined in.  Though Adams repeats often that homelessness is an extremely personal issue for her, she is in need of support for her candidacy in the race for Texas House District 131.

“Mayor Parker is very well connected and supported in the local Democratic party scene,” explains local political activist and Democratic state delegate Benjamin Franklin.  “Wanda Adams’ chances of advancing to the State House require many of the same institutional supporters, and thus she needs to demonstrate that she’s a team player.  She can work to mitigate or soften the impact of a policy she disagrees with, but can’t openly defy and vote ‘no’ to what’s apparently a core priority for the Mayor.”

Adams was taken aside for several arm-twisting sessions to vote for the anti-homeless law.  Though unable to stop the law from passing, and apparently incapable of standing up to even vote against it herself, she was able to pass an amendment to give volunteers a three month reprieve before the law went into effect.

Council Members need money to be re-elected, and non-profits need grants.  Star of Hope wasn’t the only agency to benefit from new funding, and wasn’t the only organization whose leader signed onto the Houston Chronicle commentary to support the original extremely draconian version of the law.  The Coalition for the Homeless is at the center of an influx of cash to Houston that is so big that it makes the millions involved in the Sobering Center look like chump change.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) channels 1.5 billion dollars a year into programs and non-profits.  This month, Houston and eight other cities with large homeless populations begin getting big Obama dollars for the express purpose of “ending homelessness” in a few years through “Rapid Rehousing.”

Sam Tsemberis, CEO and Founder to Pathways to Housing, who helped to create the Housing First model, which is similar to Rapid Rehousing, points out that “Housing First is not really about housing.  It’s about listening to the person who is homeless.  The way we invented HF was by listening to people in the street.  When you ask what do you want most urgently, people say ‘housing first.’  It’s not about buildings or structures, it’s about listening to people.”

Nick Flynn, U of H professor, and author of the book which inspired the film “Being Flynn” starring Robert De Niro, has been a long time supporter of the Housing First model, but questions the nature of the program coming to Houston, asking, “is it driven by listening to the homeless, or listening to the powerful interests downtown?”

To kick off this program, the Coalition for the Homeless, launched a series of breakfasts for Houston’s homeless providers.  Titled “Take Your Seat at the Table,” the participants were welcomed to carve their pieces of the pie of all this funding coming to Houston.  Participants in the breakfasts were told that along with the money comes an entirely new system.  Houston’s homeless services are being rapidly transformed into a system with centralized intake for all homeless, a new authority that links funding with performance evaluations, and a constantly expanding database called the Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS).

    Just Follow the Bacon and Eggs

    “The Coalition for the Homeless has friendly political ties to the agencies who will end up with the HUD money,” said Jeff Lyons from Houston Solutions for Housing.  “It’s all political. The City founded Coalition for the Homeless, and appoints the people to the Board.  As the designated agent for the national programs like HMIS, they decide where HUD money goes when it comes to Houston.”

Shockingly, the underwriter for the first of the two Coalition for the Homeless breakfasts was Brookfield Office Properties, which, owns twelve skyscrapers downtown.  Paul Layne, the regional head for Brookfield Properties’ Houston operations also sits on the Board of Directors of the Coalition for the Homeless.  As the largest commercial real estate owner in Houston’s downtown, Brookfield is notorious for its central role in perpetuating the below poverty wages among downtown custodial workers, who make an average of $8,600 a year.

“It’s ironic,” said Laura Perez-Boston, director of the Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center.  “Instead of investing their money in promoting a breakfast, they should be investing in ensuring that human rights are upheld for the janitors in their buildings…”

Brookfield also happens to own Zuccotti Park, where Occupy Wall Street activists were encamped for months (the park is named for Brookfield co-chairman John E. Zuccotti).  In October, Brookfield wrote to New York Police Commissioner Kelly demanding the eviction of the activists.  This connection seemed to confirm the suspicions of many involved with Occupy Houston that the law was intended to target them.

“This whole issue may have never been about ‘feeding the homeless’,” said longtime community activist and Democratic State Rep. candidate Ray Hill.  “It may have been about shutting down the Occupy movement that has done more than anything else to put a light on the injustice and excesses of big business greed.”

Many Houston activists who assume that Brookfield doesn’t value the needs of the homeless any more than the custodians working in their own buildings, are outraged to discover their participation in Coalition for the Homeless programs.

“Now it comes to light that there are big bucks in the pipeline from the federal government around homelessness,” Hill continued.  “The poor and the powerless are not players in the passing out of public funds into the private hands of the real players.”

    And Meanwhile… What About the Volunteers About to Be Criminalized?

    Food sharing volunteers like myself sit in these meetings a bit baffled.  On July 1, the volunteer work of dozens of organizations in the streets of Houston will become a crime.  We don’t have salaries, budgets, or pieces of the pie.  We don’t need money, bureaucracy, and we certainly don’t need to be permitted.  We do want to see homelessness eliminated, but not by punitive measures.

We found ourselves sitting at the Coalition for the Homeless breakfast table with others who were urging us to get iPads so that we could log all of the homeless, every time we serve, into the HMIS database in order to increase funding for the groups that need it.  Long time friends and allies within the homeless services sector seem to have been convinced by the power structure of absurd scenarios — people we had trusted explained to us their sincere belief that the homeless downtown are practically drowning in healthy food and need less not more.

My group, Food Not Bombs was the first group sharing food with the homeless after Ike, Rita, and Katrina.  FEMA referred people to us.  If this law is enacted in July, and by late August a hurricane comes through, even under emergency conditions, it will still be a crime for us to go out and share food.  Even if police were willing to look the other way during a hurricane aftermath, we might no longer have the intact relationships, food supply, and internal structure to resume our operations after months of being criminalized.  We rely on an influx of new high school volunteers, and parents might think twice about having their children participate in a group that might be illegal.  Making volunteerism a crime will damage Houston’s infrastructure.  Volunteers are a vital part of a system that helps nourish a vulnerable population, that without our efforts, would turn to increasingly to shoplifting, dumpster diving, and panhandling.

There are over sixty local groups speaking out against these laws. From the conservative Houston Area Pastors Council to the Catholic Worker Movement, from Occupy Houston to the Tea Party, from the Harris County Republican Party to the Green Party, from the Nation of Islam to the Hare Krishnas, the diversity of this loose coalition may well be unprecedented.

… politics disguised as prayer..

.. this morning, another ‘good christian friend’ on Facebook ‘copied and pasted” a post about a ‘prayer’ given in the Kansas State Senate,on January 23rd, 1996.  this ‘prayer’ has been shared over and over again by many, many people who are terribly deceived.  this was political posturing disguised as prayer and is biblically inaccurate.

… we only need to read what has been recorded that the Christ said to see that the original intent was not prayer at all, but a demonstration of pure hypocrisy.

“And when you pray, YOU MUST NOT be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. – Jesus (Matthew 6:5–8, ESV)

… if we do something that Jesus specifically said “you must not” do, then we ARE what He said we are “hypocrites.”

… and then Jesus spoke about judging when it is recorded that He said,

How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. (Luke 6:42, ESV)

… even if we ignore what the Bible specifically says that Jesus said, what about the content itself?

… of course, the political rhetoric is disguised as a plea for God to forgive us.  pastor Joe wasn’t actually seeking forgiveness but was going through a list of items with the intent of shaming anyone who voted for the things he is against.   when he says “We have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it Pluralism.” he does not mean we but they, unless he is blaming himself for ridiculing the Bible, which i am pretty sure he is not doing.

“We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.”

… Pastor Joe thinks things like food stamps and medicaid are ‘rewarding’ people for being lazy, regardless of the fact that 70% of SNAP households have children, and MOST people on any type of ‘welfare’ already have jobs.

… and then there is what Jesus said again,

Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. – Jesus (Luke 6:30–31, ESV)

… i am writing this on a Sunday morning when thousand upon thousands of ‘good christians’ will put on their diamonds and gold decorations, adorn their designer suits and dresses and jump in their luxury automobiles to go listen to pastors, many who are on their second or third marriages, who live in mansions tell them what the Bible says.

… what does the Apostle Paul say?

It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church

When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”” (1 Corinthians 5:9–13, NLT)

.. this wasn’t a prayer it was an attempt to publicly shame people into doing what the pastor wanted.  it wasn’t a cry for forgiveness, but an attempt to intimidate people into supporting a political agenda and is shameful, at the least…

… one-thousand eight-hundred ten …

1,810

.. in March of 2016, Forbes published ‘The World’s Billionaires, a list of the wealthiest people on the planet, with an article entitled, ‘Forbes 2016 World’s Billionaires: Meet The Richest People On The Planet.

“For our 30th annual guide to the world’s richest people we found a total of 1,810 billionaires, down from a record 1,826 a year ago. Their aggregate net worth: $6.5 trillion, $570 million less than last year.” – Forbes

… the article says that these are ‘the world’s richest people’, and indeed they are certainly most of the world’s richest people, but the list does not include the majority of the Rothschild Family (estimated net worth: $350 billion – $2 trillion), the House of Saud (estimated net worth: $1.4 trillion), Vladimir Putin (estimated net worth: $70 billion), Paul Kagame (estimated net worth: $1 billion), and a number of others that are known or not known.

… on the Forbes website, you can click on a tab that changes the list from it’s publication date to a ‘Real Time’ look at today’s list.  for instance, with a click of the mouse, i can see that Mr Bill Gates, Mr #1 on the list, i can see that from March of 2016 till January of 2017, ten months, Mr Gates has increased his personal wealth from $75 billion to $84.1 billion.  for those of you without a calculator, that would be an estimated increase of  $9,100,000,000 or $910,000,000 per month, $30,333,333 per day, a mere $1,263,888 per hour- 24hrs per day.

767,000,000

… also in 2016, the World Bank came out with it’s report titled ‘Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2016‘, which tells us that on this planet that we live on, there are 767,000,000 people who live on less than $1.90 a day.  again, for those of you without a calculator, that is <$693.50 per year, <$57.79 per month, a whopping <$0.08 per hour – 24hrs per day.

… the purpose of this report is to show the world how successful the World Bank programs are at bringing people out of extreme poverty.  the ‘magical’ PPP or purchasing power parity of USD$1.90 a day, is the mark to rise above.  in 1990 there were 1,850,000,000 people or 35% of the world population in extreme poverty, but thanks to the World Bank, now only 10.7% of the world lives on less than $1.90 per day.

… except for the percentage of people who have died, the vast majority of the people who have ‘been raised’ out of extreme poverty are now part of the 3,000,000,000 people who live on less than $2.50 per day, <$912.50 per year, <$76.04 per month, an incredible <$0.11 per hour.

5

… this week the leadership of the country with the worlds most powerful military, with it’s own annual GDP of $16 trillion (>twice the size of China’s entire GDP), are meeting for confirmation hearings for President-elect Trump’s picks for his cabinet.  of the positions that he has chosen people, 4 of those picks are billionaires like the President-elect, bringing the total to 5 billionaires who are planned to run this country, with a total annual budget >$3,800,000,000,000, about $12,000 per US citizen.

… President-elect Trump has a net worth somewhere between $3.7 billion (Forbes) and >$10 billion (Trump).  the President-elect has filed bankruptcy on six different occasions;

1) Trump Taj Mahal (1991) $3 billion where the President-elect had to give up 50% share and the courts agreed on a bank-set personal spending limit for the President-elect.

2)&3) Trump’s Castle and Trump Plaza Casinos (1992) $550 million & $338 million respectively where the President-elect had to give up 50% share.

4) Trump Plaza Hotel (1992) >$550 million where the President-elect had to give up 49% share.

5) Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts (2004) $1.8 billion where the courts reduced his share from 47% to 27% and

6) Trump Entertainment Resorts (2009) $1.2 billion where the President-elect reduced his share to 10% and resignation as chairman of the board.

… Mr. Todd Ricketts, the pick for deputy commerce secretary, has an estimated net worth of $5.3 billion primarily from the brokerage service, Ameritrade, founded by Todd’s father.  Todd is the co-owner of the Chicago Cubs and is CEO of Ending Spending, an organization “dedicated to educating and engaging American taxpayers about wasteful and excessive government spending,” according to its site.

… Mrs. Betsy DeVos, the pick for education secretary, is the sister of Erik Prince, founder of the security firm Blackwater with >$1 billion in government contracts as of 2006, has an estimated net worth of $5.1 billion primarily from an organization many call a ‘pyramid-scheme’ the Amway Corporation with $9.5 billion in 2015 revenues, is an advocate for charter schools, an independently operated public school started by citizens and for-profit companies financed by tax dollars and private tax deductible donations.

… Mr. Wilbur Ross, the pick for commerce secretary, is chairman and chief strategist of WL Ross & Co. LLC, a company “founded in 1997 by professionals then at Rothschild, Inc., who were among the leaders in advising various constituencies in bankruptcies and workouts around the world, assisting in restructuring more than $200 billion of liabilities,” a wholly owned subsidiary of Invesco Ltd.  Wilbur has an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion and is best known as the owner of the WV Sago coal Mine, where a dozen miners lost their lives in a 2006 explosion.

… and finally, Mrs. Linda McMahon, the pick for Small Business Administration, who is the former CEO of WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., and is the wife of promoter Vince McMahon.  Linda has an estimated $1.16 billion and donated $7 million earlier this year to a pro-Trump super PAC.

43,215,557

… on January 6th of this year, the USDA released it’s latest SNAP numbers which showed that 43,215,557 people received some form of government assistance to purchase food.  in order to qualify for food assistance, you must have an gross income of less than $26,000 a year for a family of 3.  so before they will even consider whether or not you can receive any assistance, a two-parent, one-child family can not make more than $2,166.67 per month, $500 per week, $12.50 per hour for a 40 hour work week for both adults combined.

… as we are talking about Gross income, so to figure out what Net income is you have to take out taxes.  for our purposes, let’s use this online calculator.  i currently reside in Virginia, so to qualify in my state, as a married father of 1 child making $26,000 per year, my take-home Net pay per week can be no more than $431.27 if i wish to even be considered for government food assistance.

  27

… in March of 2016, USA Today published an article called 27 giant profitable companies paid no taxesthis report shows that GM received a tax credit of $1,897,000,000 in 2015 even though they made >$7,718,000,000 in earnings over the same period.

… this list includes household names such as; United Continental $4.2 billion earnings, American Airlines $4.6 billion earnings, Hewlett-Packard $1.5 billion earnings, E*Trade $91 million earnings, Xerox $547 millions earnings, to name a few.

1,360,747

… in September of 2015 (the most current i could find), the government released a report that shows a reported 1,360,747 children in the public school system that are were “legally” homeless in this country in the 2013-2014 school year.

4

… according to Christianity Today, there will be 6 people of faith providing prayers for President-elect Trump’s inauguration.  in no particular order, they are;

Rabbi Marvin Hier is the dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center which has net assets of $58,678,280 according to Charity Navigator.

… the owner and operator of the Impact Network is Bishop Wayne Jackson who reportedly lives in a 9.68-acre estate with 6-bedrooms, 10.5 bathrooms, 1 par-3 golf hole, 1 bowling alley, and 1 wine tasting room.  the not-for-profit Impact Network reported $1,590,000 in revenues but $2,600,000 in expenditures during 2014 after reporting $1,600,000 in revenues but $2,030,000 in expenditures during 2013 – for a net loss of $1,400,000 for just those two years alone.

… Televangelist Paula White who is on her 3rd marriage to Jonathan Cain, the keyboard player for the rock band Journey, who is on his 4th marriage, has an estimated net worth of $5,000,000.

… son of famed evangelist, Billy Graham who has an estimated net worth in excess of $25,000,000, the Reverend Franklin Graham was reported to have received annual compensation of $880,000 in August of 2015, is the President and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, a not-for-profit corporation with $304,563,557 in net assets.

… New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan with an estimated net worth of $5,000,000, lives in a 15,000 square foot mansion on Madison Avenue in Manhattan valued at $30,000,000.

… and the Reverend Dr. Samuel Rodriguez is the executive director of the Sacramento-based National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC)  which the NHCLC website brags it is “”America’s largest Hispanic Evangelical organization.” CNN and Fox News named Rodriguez, “The leader of the Hispanic Evangelical movement” and  NBC/Telemundo called him “America’s most influential Latino Evangelical leader

243,301,460

… according to a Gallup poll released in December of 2015, 75% of all 324,401,947 Americans identify themselves as “Christian.”

1

… the number of children who die every 4 seconds, 14 per minute, 21,000 per day, 7,600,000 every year …

… what are we doing?

 

.. separation of Church and State – or – day of prayer for oil industry?

… so this morning across my Twitter feed, there was a story titled ‘Oklahoma Governor Declares Day of Prayer for Oil Industry.‘  as someone who claims to be a follower of the teachings of Jesus, i am always curious about what a public official would say in their public prayer.

Whereas, Oklahoma is blessed with an abundance of oil and natural gas, allowing the state to be a prosperous producer of these valuable resources; and

Whereas Christians acknowledge such natural resources are created by God; and

Whereas the oil and gas industry continues to produce countless opportunities for wealth generation for Oklahoma families; and

Whereas Oklahoma recognizes the incredible economic, community and faith-based impacts demonstrated across the state by oil and natural gas companies; and

Whereas Christians are invited to thank God for the blessing created by the oil and natural gas industry and to seek His wisdom and ask for protection; now, therefore, I, Mary Fallin, Governor, do hereby proclaim October 13, 2016, as “Oilfield Prayer Day” in the state of Oklahoma.

churchandstate

… according to the Talk Poverty website, Oklahoma has 610,828 people living in poverty of it’s total 3,795,764 which is a total of 16.1% of the people in the state live below the poverty line of $24,250 for a family of four and makes Oklahoma 38th in the nation giving it the 12th highest poverty rate in the nation.

… Oklahoma is also home to 7 billionaires while 21.8% of the children live in poverty.

“…Whereas the oil and gas industry continues to produce countless opportunities for wealth generation for Oklahoma families … “

… wealth generation…

… the idea that the LORD is responsible for who becomes rich and who doesn’t comes from a book written in 1776 by a man named Adam Smith called The Wealth of Nations, where he coins the phrase the “invisible hand” of the marketplace.  Paul Samuelson, in his 1948 book called, Economics, is quoted as saying,

“Even Adam Smith, the canny Scot whose monumental book, “The Wealth of Nations” (1776) , represents the beginning of modern economics or political economy-even he was so thrilled by the recognition of an order in the economic system that he proclaimed the mystical principle of the “invisible hand”: that each individual in pursuing his own selfish good was led, as if by an invisible hand, to achieve the best good of all, so that any interference with free competition by government was almost certain to be injurious. This unguarded conclusion has done almost as much harm as good in the past century and a half, especially since too often it is all that some of our leading citizens remember, 30 years later, of their college course in economics.”

… the ‘invisible hand’ that leads “each individual in pursuing his own selfish good” is NOT the God that the Bible speaks of.  Jesus taught to freely give and that to follow Him you have to give up your life, not selfishly pursue your own good.

Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?” (Mark 8:35–36, The Message)

… so as a follower of the teachings of Jesus, i have a real problem with an elected official proclaims to be a ‘Christian’ and does what she does and says what she says.

… the separation of Church and state is something that we should all stand behind.  i should not be forced to serve the god of Oklahoma, a god that is an impostor, and Governor Fallin is deceived, in her worship of money and prosperity.

… in fact, another biblical writer had something to say about that too,

… Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.” (Colossians 3:5, NLT)

… it should also be noted that one month before the prayers for the oil industry, state regulators orders 37 fracking wells shut down because of the earthquakes they were causing, after a 5.6 magnitude earthquake left at least 6 buildings on the Pawnee Nation reservation ‘uninhabitable.’  article 

… so why would the governor suddenly want the state to thank her god for the oil industry?  quite simply, her god is money, and we know what the Bible says about money.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10, NKJV)

.. and as to the frackers who are destroying this planet for the sake of profit, the Bible addresses them in the end too ..

…. It is time to destroy all who have caused destruction on the earth.”” (Revelation 11:18, NLT)

… among you it will be different …

… a few weeks ago i read a disturbing article on Right Wing Watch. org titled; David Barton: Christians Who Refuse To Vote For Donald Trump Will Have To Answer To God.  the article was in reference to a discussion with evangelical Christian political activist, author, and founder of the apostate pseudo-Christian corporation WallBuilders, LLC, Mr. David Barton, on a Live Teleforum™ Town Hall Event for MyFaith Votes™ on Tuesday, Aug 9th.

… the first point of interest to me, is that the MyFaithVotes™ website starts with the statement “a nonpartisan movement inspiring Christians to vote.”  Mr. Barton, on June 2nd spoke on AFA’s “Today’s Issues”, where he specifically endorsed Mr. Trump for President, based on his list of nominees for the Supreme Court.

… which brings us back to a call that Mr. Barton received on the show. the caller starts with,  “I’m out here in California, and I am very involved in Christianity, i really believe really a lot in it.”

… what in the world?

… the caller starts by making Christianity an activist social club, that she is very involved in and really believes in.  the Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines Christianity as, “the religion based on the person and teachings of the Man called Christ.”

different

… according to the Bible, the Man called Christ taught that His followers would “be different.”  this phrase is recorded in Matthew 20:26, Mark 10:43 and again in Luke 22:26 so it was an essential teaching of the Man called Christ.

“Voting is not a right, it is a responsibility,” Barton said. “God wants you to be locked in that room with a ballot box and don’t come out until you vote. And if you have that approach, then you’re going to have to find the best you can of what is there and vote for it.”

“We will stand before God one day and answer for everything we’ve said and thought and done,” he continued. “[God will say,] ‘I gave you your country, what did you do that with?’ ‘Well, I didn’t do anything because I didn’t like any of the candidates.’ Really? You think God is going to buy that? In Matthew 25 and Luke 19, the guy who was given something to do and didn’t do anything with it, he’s the one who got in trouble with the master. He’s going to say, ‘I gave you a vote. What did you do with that vote I gave you?’ ‘Well, I couldn’t use it for anybody.’ And again, we’re back to Matthew 25 and Luke 19 where Jesus turned to him and said, ‘Wait a minute, you didn’t do anything with what I gave you, at all?’ And that is the one who got thrown into outer darkness.”

“That mentality that this is my choice is the wrong choice,” Barton said. “It should be this is my accountability; I will account to God and I have to vote because He put that ballot in my hand and I’m going to have to account to Him for what I did with it. And I can’t use the false standard of I have to have somebody perfect because there is nobody perfect except for Jesus and, by the way, when He was on earth, they didn’t think He was perfect; we only think He’s perfect now. Back then, they called him a winebibber and a glutton; he had all sorts of campaign ads run against him. So nobody is going to fit the criteria, so let’s get God’s mind on this thing instead of finding excuses … [because] you will answer to God for what you do with that ballot and what you do with this country.”

… here is the whole call,

… so then you look around the internet and you find lots of people who call themselves “teachers, pastors, priests and prophets” who, regardless of the Johnson Amendment of 1954, which prohibits ministries from supporting or opposing candidates under their 501(c)3 non-profit status, they are using their tax free money to not only endorse certain candidates, but slander others.

… in this clip, convicted con-man Jim Bakker says that Trump is a “master builder” just like Jesus was.

… and yet it was the Man Jesus called the Christ Who said,

“What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now. What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now, for a time of awful hunger awaits you. What sorrow awaits you who laugh now, for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow. What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds, for their ancestors also praised false prophets. – Jesus called Christ
(Luke 6:24–26, NLT)

… these people have nothing in common with the teachings of the Man called Christ, although the Bible does talk about them.

But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13, NLT)

… these people are a shining example of what it means to have no faith.  according to the Prophet Daniel, it is the LORD Who determines who will be the leaders of the world.

For this has been decreed by the messengers; it is commanded by the holy ones, so that everyone may know that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world. He gives them to anyone he chooses— even to the lowliest of people.”” (Daniel 4:17, NLT)

dan4-17

… when Jesus was standing before Pilate, it is recorded that Pilate asked Jesus if He knew that he had the authority to release Jesus or crucify Him.

Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”” (John 19:11, NLT)

… Jesus acknowledged that Pilate had power and authority over Him around 30CE/AD BECAUSE the LORD gave it to him.  the man who represented the power and authority of the entire evil Roman Empire, which had been terrorizing and abusing the Jewish people since at least 40BCE, was given their authority by the LORD Himself.

… living under the same evil empire, the Apostle Paul, while the Roman Empire had started throwing Christians to the lions, wrote to the church that was in Rome,

Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.” (Romans 13:1–7, NLT)

… so don’t listen to the false teachers and prophets who make their living on getting people to send them donations. they preach a message of fear which convinces their followers, the sheeple, to actually vote for evil.

evil

 

.. the rise of a beast – Trump and the Evangelicals ..

… on Friday, September 9th presidential candidate, Mr. Donald Trump, addressed the “Values Voter Summit©” at the Omni Hotel in Washington, DC.  to go to this event, you must pay $119 to register for the event, and then there are many add-ons, like the $40 Luncheon with Tim Wilmon of AFR (American Family Radio) or $250 for the VIP Reception on Saturday night.  on their website, it says, “Values Voter Summit was created in 2006 to provide a forum to help inform and mobilize citizens across America to preserve the bedrock values of traditional marriage, religious liberty, sanctity of life and limited government that make our nation strong. It has drawn over 3,000 plus attendees from around the nation and foreign countries. Garnering national and international media attention, CNN named it “one of the conservative movement’s marquee annual events” and Sean Hannity called it “the premier conservative event now in the country.””

.. the Value Voters Summit was created by the Family Research Council which says of itself, “Family Research Council is a Christian public policy ministry in Washington D.C. defending religious liberty, the unborn & families.” in other words, it is an American Conservative Christian group and lobbying organization.  it was born out of psychologist Dr. James Dobson’s  Focus on the Family, another Conservative Christian organization that spends it’s $95M annual income on opposing abortion, gambling, LGBT rights, etc.

… it IS the religious right.

… it is also referred to as ‘the evangelicals’ …

“A lot of people said: I wonder if Donald will get the evangelicals. I got the evangelicals. I’m going to make it up to you too, you watch.” Donald Trump

…. as someone who considers himself a follower of the teachings of Jesus, called Christ, i find myself somewhat surprised at what we are witnessing.  the people with the loudest voices (and the most money) of the “American Christian Conservative’ group, the evangelicals, actually stand in support of a Trump Presidency.

“So let me say this right up front: A Trump administration, our Christian heritage will be cherished, protected, defended, like you’ve never seen before. Believe me. I believe it. And you believe it. And you know it. You know it. And that includes religious liberty – remember, remember.” Donald Trump

… and he gives them what they want.  what part of the ‘Christian heritage’ are we talking about here?  the Salem Witch Trials?

… what exactly are you going to do to ‘protect and defend’ it?

and the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God.” – Jesus  (John 16:2, NLT)

… these people freely twist scriptures for their own success and profit.  Dr. Dobson’s Focus on the Family, has long been a voice promoting conservative values while at the same time, slandering and demoralizing people like President Obama.

… “for the Scriptures say, ‘You must not speak evil of any of your rulers.’””- Apostle Paul (Acts 23:5, NLT)

… as it stands now, if you are a ‘church’ you can receive an immediate 501(c)(3) tax exempt status from the US Govt which will allow you to take in huge sums of money while giving your contributors tax deductions.  you can pretty much do or say whatever you want with this status, except for the ‘limitations’ of the Johnson amendment which says,

“Organizations recognized under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. tax code are subject to limits or absolute prohibitions on engaging in political activities and risk loss of tax exempt status if violated. Specifically, they are prohibited from conducting political campaign activities to intervene in elections to public office.” wikipedia

… in other words, you can do anything but use your money to push your political agenda.  if you want to do that, there are other 501(c) designations that you can apply for, and each has it’s limitations of what you can do.  501(c)(4) status is what most PAC‘s have received.  also tax exempt – just not a religious institution.

“The first thing we have to do is give our churches their voice back. It’s been taken away. The Johnson amendment has blocked our pastors and ministers and others from speaking their minds from their own pulpits. If they want to talk about Christianity, if they want to preach, if they want to talk about politics, they’re unable to do so. If they want to do it, they take a tremendous risk that they lose their tax-exempt status.

All religious leaders should be able to freely express their thoughts and feelings on religious matters. And I will repeal the Johnson amendment if I am elected your president, I promise. So important.” – Donald Trump

… Mr. Trump just isn’t speaking the truth.  the Johnson amendment has NOT “blocked our pastors and ministers and others from speaking their minds from their own pulpits. If they want to talk about Christianity, if they want to preach, if they want to talk about politics, they’re unable to do so.” – not in the least bit.  it ONLY prohibits pushing politics from the pulpit.

.. for instance, the nonprofit school, Liberty University, with over $1Billion, that’s ‘B’ – billion, in assets, had Mr. Trump speak to the students during a mandatory assembly.  shortly afterwords, the Chancellor and President of Liberty University, Mr. Jerry Falwell Jr, openly endorsed Mr. Trump for President – and they still keep their nonprofit status.

.. not to mention Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse who receives a $622,252(2014) annual salary from the organization with over $280,800,000 in assets (2011), was not forbidden from his endorsement of Mr. Trump.

… this group says that they want a smaller government, but then they want to pass more laws to put more people in jail.

thingsyoucantdo

… what the Johnson amendment does, is prevents something like ISIS from developing with a tax exempt status.  the religious right wants you to go to jail for smoking pot, having gay sexual relations, ending an unwanted pregnancy, etc.

… and all the while, the words of the man they called Christ, cry out,

.. “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.”” (Mark 10:42–45, The Message)

full text of Mr. Trump’s speech.