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Is Christianity a ‘box’ used to control people or is it a ‘box’ which will set you free?

April 22, 2018

  Christianity's BoxDuring a very large two part treatise I wrote a few months ago I talked about the notion that some people believe Christianity is a box which is used to control people but I had a different take on it. Because this treatise was so long I think people might have missed this part of it so I thought I would would isolate this one portion and discuss it briefly because I think it is important.

  Here is what I wrote: Many people consider Christianity to be a box which stifles free will and thought, a box which is used to control people, but I would argue the opposite. If you accept the Word you will be set free from the box which men use to bind you in the chains of this world.  Then, and only then, will you be truly free. 

  Let us continue:

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Sunday, April 22nd open thread: Revelation (Mother Earth)

April 22, 2018

 open-thread Here is the open thread for Sunday, April 22nd. Please feel free to post links to interesting articles and to discuss whatever issues arise during the course of the day. Nothing is off-topic here.

  Last week we discussed 6 stories, did you miss any of them? If so there is an easy way to make sure it does not happen again. I understand that all of you are busy and cannot always find the time to check the blog for updates so why not subscribe to America’s Watchtower and receive email updates whenever I write a new post? That is the easiest way to follow the blog to ensure you never miss another post.

  In addition to subscribing you can also follow America’s Watchtower on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the links on the right. But you will get more than that for I often post links to articles probably will not be writing about so it is a great way to keep up with what is happening.

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  Today is “Earth Day” and I think I found an interesting song to post today. It is by Ozzy and it is entitled Revelation (Mother Earth.) There are some interesting lyrics in this song, as well as the song title: Ozzy uses a couple of Bible references but sings about the mother (being the earth, or the creation) while calling on the Father of creation, lamenting what the people are doing to the creation.

  Here is Ozzy performing the song (in full ’80’s mode) live in 1984:

frui diem

Kim Jong Un suspends missile testing

April 21, 2018

  Despite all of the rhetoric coming from the left about Donald Trump getting the United States into WWIII because of the way he was dealing with Kim Jong Un the situation in North Korea seems to be improving.

  With new sanctions in place combined with Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un agreeing to meet sometime in June the North Korea dictator has announced he is suspending missile testing. Here is more:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced Friday that his country will be suspending missile testing and closing a nuclear test site, several reports said.

“From April 21, North Korea will stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the Korean Central News Agency said, according to Yonhap News. “The North will shut down a nuclear test site in the country’s northern side to prove the vow to suspend nuclear test.”

Here is Donald Trump’s response:

And here is more news the mainstream media would rather ignore:

  This is a major foreign policy win for the President if it all holds up. Of course Kim Jong Un cannot be trusted to uphold his end of the bargain so he much be watched closely but it appears as if the sanctions are working and they have forced the dictator to the negotiating table.

  Not a bad turnabout considering we were told the United States was on the brink of a nuclear WWIII because of the words of the President.

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Inspector General investigating James Comey for leaking classified information

April 20, 2018

  There has been debate over the Comey memos which have finally been released to the Congress about whether they were personal memos or government property. It would seem to me that because James Comey was talking to the President of the United States while still in the employ of the Federal Government these memos would belong to the government but I am admittedly no expert on the subject.

  I do know that James Comey leaked these memos hoping they would lead to a special counsel to investigate Donald Trump so there was a political motive behind leaking the memos even if they were personal and I think that alone is enough to investigate James Comey.

  We have since learned that at least two of these memos contained classified information and now the FBI’s Inspector General is investigating James Comey for leaking the information. Here is more:

At least two of the memos that former FBI Director James Comey gave to a friend outside of the government contained information that officials now consider classified, according to people familiar with the matter, prompting a review by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog.

Of those two memos, Mr. Comey himself redacted elements of one that he knew to be classified to protect secrets before he handed the documents over to his friend. He determined at the time that another memo contained no classified information, but after he left the Federal Bureau of Investigation, bureau officials upgraded it to “confidential,” the lowest level of classification.

The Justice Department inspector general is now conducting an investigation into classification issues related to the Comey memos, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

  Unlike the Inspector General’s investigation into Andrew McCabe I am not sure this investigation is going to go anywhere because it appears as if James Comey redacted all the material that was classified at the time and what is now in question is information which was not considered classified at the time. There is a caveat however:

As FBI director, Mr. Comey had the legal authority to determine what bureau information was classified and what wasn’t. Once he left government, however, the determination fell to other officials. The FBI deemed the memos classified sometime during 2017.

  Once he became a private citizen it was no longer up to James Comey to determine which information was classified so it is possible this could be his downfall. It looks like we have come back around to the argument of who owns the memos and I will reiterate what I said above: James Comey was acting in his official capacity as head of the FBI when he interviewed Donald Trump and so it does not matter if he thought they were personal memos when he leaked them because he should not have been in possession of them in the first place.

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Inspector General recommends criminal investigation into Andrew McCabe

April 19, 2018

  It has been a rough week or so for Andrew McCabe: last week the FBI’s Inspector General released a report which found that he had lied under oath on more than one occasion and yesterday 11 House Republicans sent a letter to Jeff Sessions recommending criminal charges against Andrew McCabe and several other Obama administration officials.

  It is now being reported by CNN that the Inspector General has referred the case to the United States attorney’s office in Washington DC for a possible criminal investigation. Here is more:

The Justice Department’s inspector general referred its findings on former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to the US attorney’s office in Washington for possible criminal charges associated with lying to internal investigators, according to a source familiar with the matter.

  Here is more on the Inspector General’s report in case you missed it, and you probably did if you still rely on the mainstream media for your news:

Last week, the IG issued a report finding that McCabe “lacked candor” on four occasions with internal investigators when discussing a Wall Street Journal article about the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation, according to a copy of the report obtained by CNN.

In addition, the inspector general determined that McCabe was not authorized to disclose the existence of the investigation because it was not within the department’s “public interest” exception for disclosing ongoing investigations.
The disclosure to the Journal was made “in a manner designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of department leadership,” the report said.
  While I do not put any stock in the fact 11 Republicans sent Jeff Sessions a letter calling for a criminal investigation into Andrew McCabe because it can easily be written off as a partisan attack this could be a different story. 
  The reason I feel this is a different story is because Jeff Sessions already took the Inspector General’s recommendation to fire Andrew McCabe before he could retire so how can he ignore this recommendation by the same Inspector General?
  If this recommendation is acted on it will be interesting to see if Andrew McCabe strikes a deal with the court and turns on those who are higher up. The House of cards might be starting to fall down, this is getting interesting indeed.
malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Republican lawmakers send criminal referrals to Jeff Sessions for Hillary Clinton, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, and Loretta Lynch

April 18, 2018

  House Republicans have reportedly sent criminal referrals to Jeff Sessions for Hillary Clinton, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Loretta Lynch, Peter Strzok, and Lisa Page. Here is more: 

Republican lawmakers on Wednesday sent a slew of criminal referrals to Attorney General Jeff Sessions for a number of Obama administration officials and senior FBI employees for violations of the law in connection to the Clinton email and Trump-Russia investigations.

Specifically, they sent criminal referrals to Sessions for: former FBI Director James Comey, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, as well as FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, for separate violations.

“Because we believe that those in positions of high authority should be treated the same as every other American, we want to be sure that the potential violations of law outlined below are vetted appropriately,” said the letter.

They said Comey potentially broke the law when he chose not to seek charges against Clinton, for leaking classified memos of his conversations to President Trump to his friend Daniel Richman to give to the press, and for lying to lawmakers.

They said Clinton potentially broke the law when disguising payments to Fusion GPS, the firm that produced the Trump dossier, despite mandatory disclosures to the Federal Election Commission.

Lynch, they said, potentially broke the law when she threatened a former FBI informant, William Douglas Campbell, who had tried to come forward in 2016 with information related to the Uranium One deal that was approved in 2010.

McCabe potentially broke the law when he lied to investigators four times when questioned about a leak that he had arranged, they said.

Strzok and Page potentially violated the law by interfering in the investigation of Clinton’s private email server, they said. The letter cites a Wall Street Journal report that said their text messages to one another revealed FBI officials tried to eliminate evidence that Clinton had compromised high-level communications with then-President Obama.

  I agree, these people should be held to the same standard as ordinary Americans, but does anybody really believe anything is going to come from this? Jeff Sessions has probably already sent these recommendations to the circular file.

  The one possible exception could be Andrew McCabe after an FBI Inspector General report found he lied multiple times while under oath. This report will be hard to ignore by an honest Attorney General but we have Jeff Sessions so, as in the case with the others, I would not hold my breath waiting for justice.

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

The Supreme Court rules against immigration law designed to crack down on violent illegal immigrants

April 17, 2018

  In a 5-4 decision, with Neil Gorsuch casting the deciding vote, the Supreme Court ruled against part of a Federal immigration law (The Immigration and Nationality Act) which made it easier to deport illegal immigrants who are convicted of a violent crime. Here is more:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday invalidated a provision of federal law that requires the mandatory deportation of immigrants who have been convicted of some “crimes of violence,” holding that the law is unconstitutionally vague.

  From what I have read the law lists specific violent crimes but then includes the provision which is in question, it was argued this provision was too vague and gave the Federal government too much power to expand the definitions of violent crimes.

  Here is what Neil Gorsuch had to say:

“What does that mean?” Gorsuch asked in a concurring opinion. “Just take the crime at issue in this case, California burglary, which applies to everyone from armed home intruders to door-to-door salesmen peddling shady products. How, on that vast spectrum, is anyone supposed to locate the ordinary case and say whether it includes a substantial risk of physical force? The truth is, no one knows.”

“The law’s silence leaves judges to their intuitions and the people to their fate. In my judgment, the Constitution demands more,” Gorsuch added.

  I have a bit of a problem with him saying it leaves people up to their fate. It does not take into account the fate of the potential victims and it lessens the role the criminals play in determining their own fate. If they were not caught committing a crime they would not be fated for deportation.

I expected Donald Trump to attack Neil Gorsuch but he took the high road, calling on the Congress to strengthen the law:

President Donald Trump reacted to the ruling on Twitter on Tuesday evening, writing, “Today’s Court decision means that Congress must close loopholes that block the removal of dangerous criminal aliens, including aggravated felons. This is a public safety crisis that can only be fixed by Congress — House and Senate must quickly pass a legislative fix to ensure violent criminal aliens can be removed from our society. Keep America Safe!”

  I would not expect the Congress to act quickly on this. In fact I would be surprised if they did anything.

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium