Debra Heine at PJ Media says that Pope Francis is trying to make the only begotten Son of the living God into a garden-variety glad-hander:
Streiff at Red State looks at John Brennan's chiming-in on Trump's ordering of the release of the FISA documents"
Here are some key points. First, Mueller is not conducting a criminal investigation of the “Russian collusion.” Mueller’s charter is for what is essentially a counterintelligence investigation, or fact-finding, with the ability to prosecute any crimes arising from that. It is very difficult to see how any documents released under the directive issued by Trump yesterday could reasonably effect any investigation. And releasing documents has to be the most counter-intuitive way of conducting a cover-up that has ever been conceived. Second, the comfort/discomfort of various DOJ and FBI functionaries isn’t all that relevant. They have the right to their opinion but their opinion doesn’t determine the outcome.
While one would expect Wray and Rosenstein, via DNI Coats, to contest some release, where Brennan goes off the rails and into full-blown stupidity is encouraging disobedience that leads to firing or resignations over a decision the president is legally empowered to make and about which reasonable people can disagree. What he seems to be doing is setting the stage for declaring Wray and Rosenstein puppets of Trump when the materials are released.
It is one thing to resign when you are given direction that is illegal, immoral, or unethical. It is simply childish to do the same when you don’t get your way.Pitch-perfect tweet from Sean Davis:
It wasn’t supposed to go this far. Senate Republicans were supposed to buckle. Trump was supposed to get wobbly. Kavanaugh was supposed to have dropped out by now. Senate Democrats had no contingency plan for a scenario in which people demanded evidence.Michael Brown at The Stream on how systematically the Chinese government has planned for the persecution of Christians:
Specifically, “By 2020, the Communist Party will attempt to monitor its citizens through a massive surveillance system called China Skynet.
“China’s Skynet combines mobile phone GPS tracking, text message collection, 170 million security cameras, to make sure everyone is harmonious to make sure no one does anything illegal.
“China also controls the media. There is the state-run media but private networks are censored. So, while China, today, barely resembles the Communist State of the 1950s and 1960s in terms of economic structure, it still retains almost all if the other aspects of Communism.: state control, censorship and mass surveillance.”
According to the detailed report sent to me, the government has implemented a three-phase, 14-year plan:
“During the first 2-year phase, 2012-2014, it further eased persecution of the underground church, enticing more of them to surface and be identified.” (This would correspond with the time I was in China at the invitation of Franklin Graham. See here for my reflections.)
“During the second 2-year phase, 2014-2016, it invited and then pressured the identified underground churches to register and become Three-Self government churches.
“In the current third, 10-year phase, the gloves have come off as both the remaining underground churches and even Three Self churches are being persecuted using Mao-era brute-force, as well as mass surveillance, artificial intelligence, and big data.”
What, exactly, has been taking place? According to the report:
- Over 2,000 crosses already have been burned or ripped down from church buildings.
- Many churches have been demolished.
- Thousands of pastors already have been arrested, beaten, tortured and/or sentenced to years in prison.
- By 2020, 600 million CCTV cameras – nearly one for every 2 Chinese citizens – will blanket China. They are being forcibly installed inside church buildings to record 24/7 the entrances, stairwells, offering boxes, and Bible counters to monitor who attends church, buys Bibles, and where those Bibles are taken.
- The Chinese government’s new “social credit system” has begun to assign social credit scores to its citizens for not loitering, not jaywalking and other compliant behaviors, which eventually will include not attending “illegal” underground churches.
- Chinese Christians will only be able to purchase the Communism-friendly version of the Bible that the Communist Party is presently translating.
- In February of 2018, the Chinese Communist Party also drastically increased its penalties and restrictions targeted against Christians. The government will also tighten up control over religious activities in schools, religious postings online, and trips overseas for religious training.
- Recently, the State Council endorsed the penalties, adding that anybody providing a venue for an “illegal religious event” will face a fine of between 20,000 yuan ($2,900.00 USD) and 200,000 yuan ($29,000.00 USD).
Also, in September of 2017, the Chinese government announced that: “Anyone who organizes an unapproved religious event will be fined 100,000 to 300,000 Yuan ($14,500 USD to $43,500 USD).” And, “Anyone who rents or provides the venue for such an event will be fined 20,000 to 200,000 Yuan ($2,900 to $29,000 USD).”North Korea says it's ready to denuclearize, if the US takes "corresponding measures" - whatever that means.