Daily Devotionals added every day. Click on DAILY DEVOTIONS – MAIN POST Link above or on a DATE of the Calendar to the Left. The World’s most interesting news links added by Bro Bo in Hawaii
WEB Articles – April 18, 2014
Military-style units from government agencies are wreaking havoc on non-violent citizens. NRO – John Fund, April 18, 2014 Regardless of how people feel about Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s standoff with the federal Bureau of Land Management over his cattle’s grazing rights, a lot of Americans were surprised to see TV images of an armed-to-the-teeth paramilitary wing of the BLM deployed around Bundy’s ranch. They shouldn’t have been. Dozens of federal agencies now have Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams to further an expanding definition of their missions. It’s not controversial that the Secret Service and the Bureau of Prisons have them. But what about the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? All of these have their own SWAT units and are part of a worrying trend towards the militarization of federal agencies — not to mention local police forces.
Infowars – Paul Joseph Watson, April 17, 2014 Senator Harry Reid has escalated the war of words over the Cliven Bundy dispute, sensationally labeling the Nevada cattle rancher’s supporters “domestic terrorists” during an event in Las Vegas today. During a ‘Hashtags & Headlines’ event at the Paris Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Reid referred to Bundy supporters as “Nothing more than domestic terrorists,” adding, “I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.” Reid was referring to the stand off on Saturday in Bunkerville where Bundy supporters, some of whom were armed, forced Bureau of Land Management agents to back down and release around 380 head of cattle belonging to Bundy that had been seized over the course of the previous week.
TIME – Alex Altman, April 15, 2014 The Feds may have set a troubling precedent by allowing a Nevada rancher and his band of armed followers to win a standoff with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The rancher refused to pay more than $1 million in fines for letting his cows graze on government land It could have been a catastrophe. For several days last week, hundreds of angry protesters faced off with federal workers on an arid ranch near Bunkerville, Nev. Militiamen squatted among the sagebrush and crouched on a highway overpass, cradling guns and issuing barely veiled threats at the government officials massed behind makeshift barricades. The specter of a violent standoff hung over the high desert.
America’s police have become too militarized The Economist / ATLANTA, Mar 22nd 2014 FROM the way police entered the house—helmeted and masked, guns drawn and shields in front, knocking down the door with a battering ram and rushing inside—you might think they were raiding a den of armed criminals. In fact they were looking for $1,000-worth of clothes and electronics allegedly bought with a stolen credit card. They found none of these things, but arrested two people in the house on unrelated charges. They narrowly avoided tragedy. On hearing intruders break in, the homeowner’s son, a disabled ex-serviceman, reached for his (legal) gun. Luckily, he heard the police announce themselves and holstered it; otherwise, “they probably would have shot me,” he says. His mother, Sally Prince, says she is now traumatized. -
Wizbang – Warner Todd Huston , April 16, 2014 “Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty.”–John Basil Barnhill, 1914 If liberals want to get rid of guns in society, apparently the first place they should start is the federal government. For some unexplainable reason, nearly every federal agency has its own armed, para-military police force. From the Post Office, to the Bureau of Land Management, to even the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration they are all armed to the teeth! Why do these agencies need their own police forces? They don’t… except for the fact that they want to force their will on the American people and it’s easier to do that when you can kill anyone in your way.
He cites a severe violation of U.S. Code — 43 U.S.C. Section 1733, Subsection C WJ – B. CHRISTOPHER AGEE — APRIL 18, 2014 After the federal Bureau of Land Management agents backed down from their intimidating stance at the Bundy Ranch last weekend, ample evidence has surfaced indicating the standoff between the government and the Nevada ranching family is far from over. Throughout the weeklong stalemate, members of the Bundy family were physically assaulted by armed officers, numerous cows were shot dead, and protesters faced threats of gunfire for merely expressing their outrage. Immediately after what many considered a victory against a tyrannical federal agency, a number of leftist voices – most notably, Sen. Harry Reid – indicated the action against this family will continue. In response, Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman sent a letter to Barack Obama, Department of the Interior Sec. Sally Jewell, and BLM Director Neil Kornze, laying out his position that any such action by the agency would violate the U.S. Constitution.
April 17, 2014
A suspicious email could confirm Lois Lerner’s culpability in recent IRS abuses. US News – Peter Roff April 16, 2014 The so-called “smoking gun” proving the Internal Revenue Service played politics with conservative groups seeking official non-profit, social welfare status over the last several years may finally have been found. In a rash of documents provided under the Freedom of Information Act to Judicial Watch, a non-partisan public interest law group, is an April 2013 email written by David Fish, acting manager of IRS Exempt Organizations Technical Guidance and Quality Assurance and sent to, among others, former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner. It was part of a thread discussing a recent U.S. Senate hearing on the potential for the abuse of the 501(c)(4) tax status by organizations intervening inappropriately or improperly in candidate elections. —–
PJ Media – J. Christian Adams, April 17th, 2014 Yesterday was a significant day in the IRS abuse scandal. The scandal evolved from being about pesky delays in IRS exemption applications to a government conniving with outside interests to put political opponents in prison. Emails obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act reveal Lois Lerner cooking up plans with Justice Department officials to talk about ways to criminally charge conservative groups that are insufficiently quiet. Larry Noble, a law professor now with the Soros-funded Campaign Legal Center, was cited in the emails as someone agitating to jail conservatives who “falsely” report on IRS forms that they are not engaged in political speech. Lerner talked about setting up meetings with Justice Department election lawyers who wanted to talk about making Noble’s dreams a reality — this after Senator Sheldon Whitehouse raised the idea of criminal charges for conservatives who are not sufficiently quiet, charges that they falsely completed an IRS tax exemption form. —–
In the California congressman’s world, requesting public information is evidence of a vast conspiracy against conservatives. Mother Jones – Dana Liebelson | Tue Apr. 15, 2014 It’s no secret that Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) don’t get along. Last month, Issa cut off Cummings’ microphone at a hearing on the IRS scandal. Their latest spat came last week, when Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter to Cummings, the senior Democrat on the committee, accusing him of secretly scheming with the IRS to target True the Vote, a conservative organization. But in his argument against Cummings, Issa’s grasping at straws. —–
NRO – Andrew Johnson, April 13, 2014 12:02 PM The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward knows a thing or two about investigating Washington scandals, and he believes the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups merits a deeper look. “We should dig in to it — there should be answers,” he said on Fox News Sunday. “For the president to take that position is very, very unusual and say there’s not a ’smidgen of evidence here.’” Woodward raised questions about the Republican House committees’ ability to properly and effectively carry out such an investigation. He laid out what his approach would be to dealing with stonewalling from Lois Lerner, as well as the administration, including speaking with others close to the situation rather than just the major players. But Woodward also warned of congressional Republicans’ crossing the line in their accusations of Lerner and others involved. —–
Top Dem. on House Committee Investigating IRS Scandal May Have Been Involved in Targeting of Conservative Group: Issa
The Blaze – Becket Adams, Apr. 9, 2014 6:44pm UPDATE 8:00 EST: True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht responded Wednesday to reports that Rep. Elijah Cummings’ office may have prompted the IRS to target her group for additional scrutiny. “Today’s committee action reveals what we knew all along. Partisan politics and the weaponization of government against opponents of this administration is real and continues,” Engelbrecht said in a statement. “Elijah Cummings has blocked the IRS abuse investigation all along. We now see clearly that two branches of government have colluded to target and silence private citizens.” “America has come to a tipping point,” she added. “No more lies. No more cover-ups. No more collusion. Enough is enough. Finally, we have a chance for the rule of law to be re-established, thanks to the bold efforts of Chairman Issa and Rep. Jordan.” —–
The Christian Science Monitor – Francine Kiefer, Staff writer / March 27, 2014 Ms. Lerner led the IRS division that considers applications for tax-exempt status when it disproportionately targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny in the 2010 and 2012 elections. (Some liberal groups also were flagged.) Lerner, who retired in September, has called the extra targeting of conservative groups “inappropriate,” but denied breaking any laws. The IRS said she was “neglectful” of her duty, but found no evidence of political bias. Last May, the Treasury inspector general found “inappropriate” criteria were used to screen tax-exempt groups. The IRS has since implemented all of the report’s recommendations. —–
April 12, 2014
KLAS TV – George Knapp, Lauren Rozyla, Apr 12, 2014 LAS VEGAS — The Bureau of Land Management has announced it will stop the roundup of cattle owned by rancher Cliven Bundy. The BLM says the animals have been illegally grazing on public lands for 20 years. The BLM made the announcement Saturday morning, a week after rangers started gathering the animals from land near Gold Butte.
April 10, 2014
FoxNews April 10, 2014 Two of Nevada’s top elected leaders are riding to the rescue of a rancher whose decades-long range war with the federal government has reached a boiling point in recent days. The federal Bureau of Land Management has surrounded the Clark County ranch of Cliven Bundy with armed officers, helicopters and four-wheel drive vehicles. Last week, they began seizing cattle found grazing on adjacent federal lands in violation of a law meant to protect an endangered desert tortoise. —–
RT – April 10, 2014 Cliven Bundy – the “last rancher in Clark County, Nevada” – has since 1993 refused to pay fees to the federal government for the right to raise cattle on land his family has ranched since the 1870s, according to the Washington Free Beacon. After years of legal wrangling, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) attained a federal court order to have Bundy’s nearly 1,000 head of cattle removed, according to the family. —–
CNN – Michael Martinez, April 10, 2014 A 20-year dispute between a Nevada rancher and federal rangers over illegal cattle grazing erupted into an Old West-style showdown on the open range this week, even prompting self-proclaimed members of militia groups from across the country to join the rancher in fighting what they say is U.S. “tyranny.” What began as a legal fight between longtime rancher Cliven Bundy and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has escalated as Bundy has refused to keep his cattle off the federal land, and the government has responded by beginning roundups of the cows. A confrontation teetered on violence Wednesday when Bundy family members and dozens of supporters angrily confronted a group of rangers holding Tasers and barking dogs on leashes near Bunkerville, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. —–
Town Hall – April 10, 2014 The tension between federal agents and the people defending Cliven Bundy’s ranch has broken into violence. One protester was tased multiple times, including once in the neck. Bundy also tearfully thanks his supporters: “I love you people, and I love this land, and I love freedom and liberty.” —–
Waco-style confrontation looms in Nevada WND – JACK MINOR, 4/9/14 Federal officials have now taken to killing the calves and cattle of a Nevada rancher as part of a standoff that his family says has the potential to become another Ruby Ridge, where, in 1992, federal agents shot an unarmed Idaho woman holding a newborn infant in her arms. “We have seen cows with tight bags but no calves on them, who are being moved by the BLM,” Ammon Bundy told WND. “This means they have separated the newborn calves from their mothers and they will eventually die.” —–
Twitchy Staff, April 10, 2014 The Barbi twins summed up the situation pretty well considering Twitter’s 140-character limit, but we’ll let the New York Daily News add some detail. A turf war has erupted in rural Nevada as a longtime rancher and hundreds of his supporters battle the federal government, which has moved to seize cattle that graze on thousands of acres of public land. Cliven Bundy, 68, has been embroiled in a two-decade-long dustup with the federal Bureau of Land Management, which finally sent in men armed with large guns to surround Bundy’s ranch in Bunkerville, west of the Arizona and Utah border, as contracted cowboys roundup the man’s 900 beef cattle during the next several days. Bundy’s cattle have been grazing on public land, but Bundy hasn’t paid grazing fees to the federal government. That makes his cattle “trespass cattle,” and agents are currently rounding them up. Environmentalists have an interest in the case as well: the area has been designated a critical habitat for the threatened desert tortoise. —–
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL – BEN BOTKIN and HENRY BREAN, April 9, 2014 BUNKERVILLE — From near and wide, armed men are trickling toward Cliven Bundy’s ranch, where the rancher’s fight with the federal government has become a rallying cry for militia groups across the United States. On Wednesday, that dispute teetered at the edge of deadly conflict, when Cliven Bundy’s family members and supporters scuffled with rangers from the Bureau of Land Management sent to protect the federal roundup of Bundy’s cattle on public land. One of Bundy’s seven sons was shot with a stun gun, and Bundy’s sister was knocked to the ground; but no one was seriously hurt, and no arrests were made. —–
April 6, 2014
Telegraph -Tom Phillips, 04 Apr 2014 Thousands of Chinese Christians have mounted an extraordinary, round-the-clock defence of a church in a city known as the ‘Jerusalem of the East’ after Communist Party officials threatened to bulldoze their place of worship. In an episode that underlines the fierce and long-standing friction between China’s officially atheist Communist Party and its rapidly growing Christian congregation, Bible-carrying believers this week flocked to the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou hoping to protect it from the bulldozers. —–
China Aid Association 3/03/2014 (Zhejiang—March 3, 2014) At least two Three-Self Patriotic Movement churches in China’s coastal Zhejiang province had the crosses that top their church buildings forcibly removed on Thursday because the Christian symbol was deemed “too conspicuous.” The cross topping a government-sanctioned church in the Yuhang Disctict of Hangzhou, the provincial capital, was forcibly removed on Thursday morning by more than 200 people from the local government. —–
Washington Post – XU YANGJINGJING, April 4 2014 BEIJING – Thousands of Chinese Christians have camped themselves in and around a church in the eastern part of China to prevent it from being demolished after several crosses have already been torn down under a provincial campaign to curb the spread of Christianity, local residents and religious leaders said Friday. Concerned that Christianity was growing too fast and in an “unsustainable” manner, local officials in the province of Zhejiang began a campaign in February to demolish any church buildings that violated local regulations, according to a government Web site. —–
Pekin times – Jeanette Kendall, Apr. 5, 2014 EAST PEORIA, ILL Cliff and Lynne Oliver want to inspire and encourage people, both here and especially in China. The East Peoria couple has been to China 10 times over the years andrecently wrote a book called “Two Cracked Pots in China.” As a child growing up in Peoria, Lynne, 66, had a Chinese neighbor. Lynne’s mother taught the woman English, and the Chinese woman told a young Lynne stories and taught her how to use chopsticks. This sparked a desire in her to go to China someday. —–
Fox News – Johnnie Moore, April 06, 2014 As priests are abducted in Crimea, churches burn in Sudan, and American pastors waste away in North Korean prisons, how long will it take this administration to name a new ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom? With the president visiting Saudi Arabia and the first lady visiting China earlier this month, April would have been a prime opportunity to send a message that America values religious freedom, even in the presence of necessary allies with dismal reputations in this regard. This isn’t a Democratic, Republican, liberal, or conservative issue; it’s a matter of common decency and of human rights. —–
Reuters – SUI-LEE WEE, SHANGHAI Tue Apr 2, 2014 It was shaping as a win in the Communist Party’s quest to contain a longtime nemesis, the Roman Catholic Church. In July 2012, a priest named Thaddeus Ma Daqin was to be ordained auxiliary bishop of Shanghai. The Communist body that has governed the church for six decades had angered the Holy See by appointing bishops without Vatican approval. Known as the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, it was now about to install Ma, one of its own officials, as deputy in China’s largest Catholic diocese. “The anticipation was he would be a yes man,” says Jim Mulroney, a priest and editor of the Hong Kong-based Sunday Examiner, a Catholic newspaper. —–
Blaze – Raymond Ibrahim, April 2014 The United Nations, Western governments, media, universities, and talking heads everywhere insist that Palestinians are suffering tremendous abuses from the state of Israel. Conversely, the greatest human rights tragedy of our time—radical Muslim persecution of Christians, including in Palestinian controlled areas—is devotedly ignored. The facts speak for themselves. Reliable estimates indicate that anywhere from 100-200 million Christians are persecuted every year; one Christian is martyred every five minutes. Approximately 85 percent of this persecution occurs in Muslim majority nations. In 1900, 20 percent of the Middle East was Christian. Today, less than 2 percent is. —–
CT – Published 06 April 2014 | ASSIST News Service A convert from Islam in Iran sentenced to serve almost four years in prison for Christian activities has gone on a hunger strike to protest the government’s refusal to grant his request for release, religious freedom advocates said. According to a story by Morning Star News, Vahid Hakkani began his hunger strike on March 20 after authorities denied him the conditional release that inmates are eligible to obtain after completing half their prison terms. A researcher and advocate for Middle East Concern said that the willingness of Hakkani to possibly starve himself to death is a reflection of the conditions religious prisoners in Iran face. —–
AIN – Mar Louis Raphael I Sako, 2014-04-03 The general situation of Christians in the Middle East Until 50 years ago, the Christians of the Middle East represented about 20 per cent of the total population. Today they are estimated to be just 3 per cent. When colonial powers set up these nations, they disregarded historical, geographical or ethnic factors. There was no uniformity nor any real project based on citizenship that would include everyone. The 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement did not take into account the borders of countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and others. —–
Mail Online, 5 April 2014 New research has shown a correlation between the rise of the Internet and the decline of Americans claiming religious affiliation. Other factors, such as an increase in higher education, are also implicated, but according to Allen Downey, a computer scientist at the Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts, the increase in Internet usage has a significant correlation. The MIT Technology Review reports that in 1990, eight per cent of Americans had no religious affiliation. In 2010, that figure stands at 18 per cent, or 25 million people. —–
Pew Research – Religion and Public Life Project – April 4, 2014 Half of the Most Religiously Diverse Countries are in Asia-Pacific Region Several years ago, the Pew Research Center produced estimates of the religious makeup of more than 200 countries and territories, which it published in the 2012 report “The Global Religious Landscape.” The effort was part of the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project, which analyzes religious change and its impact on societies around the world. As part of the next phase of this project, Pew Research has produced an index that ranks each country by its level of religious diversity. —–
CBS – April 4, 2014 JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill Thursday that supporters say will assure unfettered practice of religion without government interference but that opponents worry could lead to state-sanctioned discrimination against gays and lesbians. The bill, called the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, will become law July 1. It also will add “In God We Trust” to the state seal. An early version of the bill, considered weeks ago, was similar to one Arizona’s Republican governor, Jan Brewer, vetoed after business groups said it could hurt that state’s economy. Supporters say the final Mississippi bill bears little resemblance to the failed Arizona measure. —–
News Virginian Editorial Board: Sunday, April 6, 2014 Sometimes, knowing that you have rights isn’t enough. They need to be spelled out in writing. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe disagreed with that idea this week, when he vetoed Senate Bill 236, which clarified religious freedoms for students. The bill wasn’t needed, McAuliffe and members of the American Civil Liberties Union said, because religious students already had the rights the bill expressed and also other students had a right to be free from religion. With respect, we think Gov. McAuliffe missed the point. —–
Reuters – NEW DELHI Apr 4, 2014 The imam of India’s largest mosque endorsed the ruling Congress party on Friday ahead of a general election, a boost for the beleaguered party expected to be defeated by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in nationwide polls. Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari appealed to India’s Muslims, who at 13 percent of the population are the country’s largest religious minority, to vote for the Congress. “Today, I announce my support for the Congress in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections,” Bukhari, based at the Jama Masjid mosque in Delhi’s old quarter, told a news conference. —–
Would gay marriage be a symptom or a cause of its demise? PJ Media – PAULA BOLYARD, April 6, 2014 Rod Dreher at The American Conservative has a thoughtful analysis of the state of Christianity in the United States as we plunge forward into our brave, new cultural revolution. He explains that historically, the Christian views of sex and marriage were good for the culture and improved the lives of slaves and women: It is nearly impossible for contemporary Americans to grasp why sex was a central concern of early Christianity. Sarah Ruden, the Yale-trained classics translator, explains the culture into which Christianity appeared in her 2010 book Paul Among The People. Ruden contends that it’s profoundly ignorant to think of the Apostle Paul as a dour proto-Puritan descending upon happy-go-lucky pagan hippies, ordering them to stop having fun. —–
Doctor’s Real-Life Switch From Atheism to Christianity Inspired a Central Character in Major Hollywood Film
Blaze – Billy Hallowell Apr. 3, 2014 Martin Yip is one of the main characters in “God’s Not Dead,” the Christian movie that stunned observers with its impressive performance at the box office about a student who debates an atheist professor on the existence of God. Yip’s character, an atheist who converts to Christianity after meeting protagonist Josh Wheaton on campus, is actually based on a real-life doctor who went through a similar experience decades ago. Dr. Ming Wang, an eye surgeon in Nashville, Tenn., was studying in the U.S. when he became a follower of Jesus. —–
CHRISTIAN POST – MORGAN LEE, March 31, 2014 Nabeel Qureshi is the author of the recently released Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus and works as an apologist for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Quereshi was raised Muslim by parents who immigrated to the United States from Pakistan and came to Christianity over several years through intense conversations comparing the two faiths with a close college friend. In the interview, Qureshi shares why Ameircan Muslims need more American Christian friends, why South African pastors are converting to Islam, and why Mohammed’s teachings about God cause dreams to be highly valued by the Islamic community. —–