Monday, December 23, 2013

In The News

Another day and again we see the push for a border and general security plan for Israel, as we see the stage being set for Daniel 9:27 to be fulfilled:

American troops could guard the border between a Palestinian state and Jordan, US Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly proposed to Palestinian officials amid discussions of a security plan for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

The London-based pan-Arab daily A-Sharq al-Awsat on Monday quoted Palestinian sources to the effect that the Americans had changed their position, moving closer to Palestinian demands in the face of stiff Palestinian resistance to the idea of a continued IDF presence on the border.

Israel insists on retaining a military presence on the Jordanian border, giving the narrow country some strategic depth and early warning on its eastern frontier, and has rejected a previous American proposal to place an international force there

Israel must maintain a security presence in the Jordan Valley “precisely as Yitzhak Rabin insisted,” Netanyahu told the Knesset during a special session marking the 18th anniversary of the late prime minister’s assassination. “What was vital then is even more vital today, given the rise of Islamic extremism and Iran’s takeover of territory we relinquished in the [South Lebanon] security zone and Gaza.”

Police sappers early Monday morning collected the shards of a Kassam rocket that Palestinians earlier fired from the Gaza Strip at the Hof Ashkelon area.

The rocket was found several hours after it fell near a bus stop used by schoolchildren. There were no injuries in the attack, but the bus stop sustained light damage.

Late Sunday night the Code Red alert, which warns of incoming rockets or missiles from the Gaza Strip, was heard in several communities in the area to the east of the coastal city of Ashkelon.

Hamas's military wing in the Gaza Strip is making a concerted effort to increase the range of its rockets by tens of kilometers.

The extra range will let the terror organization pull off deeper attacks into Israel, even farther than the Gush Dan region achieved during Operation Pillar of Defense .

Despite Hamas' budget crisis in the last two years, its two main projects to make fighting against Israelmore efficient - increasing its rockets' range and digging more attack tunnels - have not been affected at all.

IDF representatives said that if Hamas can enhance its rockets, Israel will be forced to rethink its air defense system. The Iron Dome's effectiveness is naturally lessened as there are more and more rockets to intercept, and as rockets can reach regions that the battery is not protecting.

Senior Israeli officials on Sunday demanded an end to U.S. spying on Israel, following revelations that the National Security Agency intercepted emails from the offices of the country's top former leaders.
It was the first time that Israeli officials have expressed anger since details of U.S. spying on Israel began to trickle out in documents leaked by former NSAcontractor Edward Snowden. The scandal also spurred renewed calls for the release of Jonathan Pollard, a former American intelligence analyst who has been imprisoned in the U.S. for nearly three decades for spying on behalf of Israel.
"This thing is not legitimate," Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio. He called for both countries to enter an agreement regarding espionage.
"It's quite embarrassing between countries who are allies," Tourism Minister Uzi Landau said. "It's this moment more than any other moment that Jonathan Pollard (should) be released."
Documents leaked by Snowden and published in The Guardian, Der Spiegel and The New York Times last week revealed that British intelligence agency GCHQ worked with the NSA from 2008-2011 to target email addresses belonging to the offices of then-serving Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Israeli officials reacted with uncharacteristic anger toward the U.S., Israel's closest and most important ally.
Lawmaker Nachman Shai, a member of the parliamentary foreign affairs and defense committee, which deals with intelligence matters, called for an urgent intelligence briefing on the reported spying.
Shai called for a "full report about what we know, what we have done, and just to find out."
He added that he was "really surprised that my government, which is very easily responsive on any given issue, on this we keep silent, which is not the right policy and right behavior."

The Obama administration has filed papers to prevent a federal judge from issuing a ruling on whether the government's warrantless surveillance programs are constitutional.

The government argued, that despite recent leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, further revelation's about the NSA's surveillance and data collection programs could put the government's security at risk if they were divulged in court, he wrote.
"Disclosure of this still-classified information regarding the scope and operational details of N.S.A. intelligence activities implicated by plaintiffs' allegations could be expected to cause extremely grave damage to the national security of the United States," Clapper wrote.

"The government seems to be trying to reset the clock to before June 2013 or even December 2005," EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn said in a statement. "But the American people know that their communications are being swept up by the government under various NSA programs. The government's attempt to block true judicial review of its mass, untargeted collection of content and metada by pretending that the basic facts about how the spying affects the American people are still secret is both outrageous and disappointing."

The filing comes on the heels of another federal judge's ruling earlier this week that the NSA's data collection activities were likely unconstitutional. US District Judge Richard Leon ruled Monday that the government's bulk collection and querying of phone record metadata may violate the Fourth Amendment and "certainly does violate a reasonable expectation of privacy."

While the Japanese were celebrating the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, the mastermind of that attack, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, had a sobering message for his countrymen. "We have awakened a sleeping giant," he said.
Even before the war began, the admiral had warned his emperor that Japan would enjoy early victories in any war with the United States, but that winning streak would last only six months to a year, after which American industrial might would inevitably overwhelm the small island nation.
He was right. For the first few months of World War II, the Japanese war machine steamrolled over the Pacific, humiliating and defeating the best that the United States and its allies (British Commonwealth and Dutch) could throw against it, winning battle after battle. To some, it seemed hopeless to resist.
Then came the Battle of Midway, where the Japanese Navy suffered its first catastrophe, and the long, bloody road to Allied victory began.
For years now, the gay lobby has steamrolled over the Christian conservative movement, humiliating us and defeating us in battle after battle. Then came the battle of "Duck Dynasty," and the gay lobby suffered a major backlash. Have they finally met their Midway?
For many years now, the drill has become familiar. Someone speaks out in favor of maintaining the traditions of marriage, and instantly the gay rights organizations are up in arms, making threats, filing lawsuits, and mobilizing protests. Then, instead of Christians putting up a serious resistance, there is apathy, apology, and defeat. The script was repeated over and again, time after time.
This time was different. This time, millions of Christians and other Americans, even some enlightened gays, said, enough is enough. We've had it with your bullying. We're mad as hell, and we're not going to take it anymore. The left was stunned, reeling backward in defeat. For the first time in a long time, they are not reloading, they are retreating.

I cannot say exactly how much of this came about because of "Duck Dynasty." While it obviously played a major role, I suspect there was more than one factor at work. The efforts of gays and others on the left to intimidate and silence Americans is not the only thing that Christians have become exasperated with. A whole host of other attacks upon First Amendment rights has gradually, perhaps invisibly, built up pressure in the hearts of freedom-loving Americans. A long list of violations of our rights by the most leftist president we have ever had surely played a role in the impatience Americans are feeling. If not the "Duck Dynasty" controversy, then some other event was sure to eventually blow the top off the volcano.

"Duck Dynasty" was not, we should note, entirely an accidental target of the social left. Its immense popularity had become perceived by Progressives as the very real threat it is -- a threat to those who wield the power of the entertainment media. It had long been known that small-budget, Christian-oriented movies are making strong inroads into the monopoly that the left has long claimed as its exclusive entitlement. Hollywood is the platform from which humanists and secularists broadcast their propaganda. In the bowels of this darkness, not even a few flickering candles of truth could be allowed to shine, because against the faintest candle, even the mightiest darkness is driven into defeat.
Against the small, intrepid flotilla of truth, the mighty battle-fleet of leftist dogma sailed forth, expecting yet one more victory on its way to total domination of society, a society in which (they hope) even the merest mention of Biblical teachings will be quickly crushed and smothered. They expected that smashing the ducksters would be done almost without breaking stride. A simple complaint, an implied threat, should do the job. Against the gay juggernaut, the Christian majority was predicted to cower in fear.
We now know that matters turned out very differently.


Dutch Treat said...

THE INCONVENIENCE OF CHRISTMAS: Well another Christmas season is just about here, when busyness and inconveniences crop up like no other time of year. The increase in activities constantly keeps us on the go, as we run from various functions to and fro. At this time patience and serenity come to a minimum, while stress and budgets are stretched to the maximum. We work longer hours to fill the demands of the season, as we try to keep our Christmas debt within reason. We do extra baking which never seems to end, while thinking of all the parties which we have to attend. We run ourselves ragged getting our shopping out of the way, while running our kids back and forth to rehearse the Christmas play. We travel to be with loved ones as is the norm, only to get stranded due to a blinding snowstorm. All these activities leave us physically and emotionally drained, as we wonder what by doing this we've all gained. Before all of this causes us for ourselves to feel sorry, we need to remind ourselves of the real Christmas story. Reading about Mary and Joseph will give us a clue, of all the inconveniences they had to go through. For they were forced to travel far away from home, by order of Caesar Augustus, the Emperor of Rome. So rhey had to travel to Bethlehem without undo delay, and all this with a child shortly due on the way. When they arrived in Bethlehem for their stay to begin, they found that their was no room for them in the inn. There was nothing available for what it was worth, even while Mary was about to give birth. Finding a suitable place for the birth they were not able. So the Saviour of the world had to be born in a stable. Then they had to flee to Egypt in haste oh so dire. For Herod sought to kill the child, so as to escape his ire. Yet despite these inconveniences they never complained. For their faith and trust in God's guidance had never waned. So as you pursue your Christmas chores for whatever reason, try to focus on the real meaning of the season. For it is only then that we'll get a true sense of peace; and fretting over inconveniences will begin to cease. For if you accept Jesus and take Him into your heart, His peace which passes all understanding will never depart. Then He'll take you to a place where joy will forever last; and inconveniences will forever be a thing of the past. With love, Dutch.

Scott said...

Dutch - that was so so germane and meaningful right now (did you write that? If so, you should be a writer!). Thats such an important message at this time of year and certainly applies to most of the people I know (including me).

God bless brother - Next Christmas I'll see you in New Jerusalem :)

Unknown said...

I agree with Scott. That was so spot on. We need to focus on the real meaning of Christmas to make sense of some of the craziness of the holiday season. Thank you for your poem.

That would be so great, meeting at New Jerusalem next Christmas. I really hope so !!

Merry Christmas !!!!!

Dutch Treat said...

Scott, I wrote that about 10 years ago. I wrote one every Christmas for about 18 years until the well kind of ran dry; and would send out copies to all the friends I met while traveling. It served as a creative witnessing tool; and some of them passed it on to other friends. I,ve thought about writing one on the Marriage Supper of the Lamb; but so far nothing has clicked. Again, thanks for the kind words.

One fine day said...

Dutch, that was beautiful! Thank you for inspiring me today! The real meaning of Christmas!