Saturday, August 03, 2013

Sat Aug 3rd Todays News

Happy birthday and many happy returns Christine Madelene and David Ba. Born on the same day, across the years, as Alfred Deakin (1856), Rupert Brooke (1887), P. D. James (1920), Tony Bennett (1926), Martin Sheen (1940), Martha Stewart (1941), Isaiah Washington (1963), Sonny Bill Williams (1985) and Kim Hyung-jun (1987). On your day Independence Day in Niger (1960); Flag Day in Venezuela
1492 – Christopher Columbus sets sail from Palos de la Frontera, Spain.
1527 – The first known letter from North America is sent by John Rut while at St. John's, Newfoundland.
1913 – A strike by agricultural workers in Wheatland, California, US, degenerated into a riot, one of the first major farm labor confrontations in California.
1914 – World War I: Germany declares war against France.
1916 – Irish nationalist Sir Roger Casement was hanged at London's Pentonville Prison for treason for his role in the Easter Rising, a rebellion to win Irish independence from Britain.
1949 – The Basketball Association of America agreed to merge with the National Basketball League to form the National Basketball Association.
2005 – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former Mayor of Tehran, began his term as the sixth President of Iran.
2007 – Former Deputy Director of the Chilean secret police Raúl Iturriaga was captured after having been on the run following a conviction for kidnapping. I'm sure you have nothing to do with kidnapping and torture. But that Iranian madman might have been an opportunity. Basketball is all very well, if you like cheering in crowds. A foreigner was hanged for treason .. go figure. Germany disputed France .. always going to be futile. Like that strike by agricultural workers .. things ground to a halt. This is a letter to you .. your ship sails.



Tim Blair – Saturday, August 03, 2013 (2:26pm)

A perfect small-town newspaper headline – Whitstable mum in custard shortage – inspires a collection of similar regional masterpieces, including: 
• Oven removed from home
• No flood warnings for North Somerset
• Smug swans attack Dalmatian
• Mystery of wheelchair left in Shoreham pub
• Road stays open
• Man Found Nailed To Bench
• Elderly terrified by food fight
• Woman found in Germany
• Guides delighted with their rubbish award
• Goldfish catch sparks debate
• Youth Found In Phone Box With Fork
• Cat hops into delivery van 
(Via the Spectator.)



Tim Blair – Saturday, August 03, 2013 (11:53am)

It’s a warm day in Sydney, so I guess I’ll beat someone up
Shifts in climate are strongly linked to increases in violence around the world, a study suggests.
US scientists found that even small changes in temperature or rainfall correlated with a rise in assaults, rapes and murders, as well as group conflicts and war.
The team says with the current projected levels of climate change, the world is likely to become a more violent place …
They estimate that a 2C (3.6F) rise in global temperature could see personal crimes increase by about 15%, and group conflicts rise by more than 50% in some regions. 
Then again, perhaps one or two other factors may be involved. Consider El Paso and Juarez, which share the same weather patterns on account of being next to each other, but offer slightly different crime rates.
(Via Mark Morano)



Tim Blair – Saturday, August 03, 2013 (2:46am)

Name-dropping through the ages: compare Mike Nichols and Elaine May in the 1960s with Barack Obama and NYT reporter Michael Shear in 2013.
UPDATE. Further from Nichols and May, heard here during an ingenious improvisation. The duo were reunited earlier in 2013.


Two more boats

Andrew Bolt August 03 2013 (8:24pm)

And still the boats keep coming:
TWO groups including sixteen Sri Lankan asylum seekers reached Christmas Island today after a long journey at sea…
The second group of about 120 appeared to be mainly adult males. They were being taken into detention at about 4pm local time (7pm AEST).
That’s three times more people arriving in a day than have so far been sent to PNG under Kevin Rudd’s now arrangement. 


Nauru agrees to settle a handful of boat people

Andrew Bolt August 03 2013 (3:21pm)

Kevin Rudd offers $29 million in aid to get Nauru to agree today to “resettle” refugees that we send there.
Nauru’s population: 9400.
How many refugees will it take? A hundred?
Why this smokescreen?
Maybe this is one reason:

Opposition Leader Belden Namah has resurrected his court challenge on the Government’s decision on Australia’s detention centre on Manus Island.
The Opposition’s court challenge was filed yesterday as the first group of asylum seekers numbering 40 arrived on the island with the new resettlement policy agreed between Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and Australia’s Kevin Rudd coming in to play…
In the application that was filed yesterday, the Opposition leader is requesting the Court to declare that the proper interpretation or application of Section 42 of the Constitution is that transferees brought to Papua New Guinea by Australian Government and detained at the relocation centre on Manus Island is contrary to the constitutional rights of the transferees to personal liberty guaranteed by Section 42 of the Constitution; and that Section 42(i)(g) of the Constitution does not apply to transferees under the MoU.
Maybe this is another - given there are fewer than 500 places in PNG at the moment, and three times that many boat people have already arrived since Rudd vowed they’d all be sent there:
3 August 2013 
HMAS Albany, operating under the coordination of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre, rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel north-north-west of Christmas Island yesterday.
Initial indications suggest there were 44 passengers and three crew on board.
2 August 2013

HMAS Pirie, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel north-north-west of Ashmore Islands today.
Initial indications suggests there are two passengers and two crew on board.
1 August 2013

HMAS Maitland, operating under the control of Border Protection Command, intercepted a suspected irregular entry vessel north-north-west of Ashmore Islands today.
Initial indications suggest there are 70 passengers and five crew on board.
31 July 2013

HMAS Maryborough, operating in support of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia), has rendered assistance to a suspected irregular entry vessel north of Christmas Island yesterday.
Initial indications suggest there are 102 passengers and two crew on board. 


The best mad criticism I’ve ever had

Andrew Bolt August 03 2013 (10:06am)

I love the idea of me having been a passable drummer, now plotting vengeance against an industry that denied me the fame of a Ringo Starr:

I am asked:
How could it be then, that someone who recalls live music so fondly could have such an issue with it receiving a modicum of government funding? Was he not attempting to work as a musician at the time?
Hey, I never expected the government to pay me for playing the drums. Nor do I expect government to take my money to pay any drummers today that I’m not prepared to pay for with my own hard-earned cash.
As for the particular grant I criticised, judge for yourself its merit
The abuse you get as a drummer is even worse than what you get as a conservative.
Reader IfsAndBute:

Has anyone ever paid you NOT to play the drums?
Reader Menai Pete:

What is a well balanced drummer? One who drools from both sides of his mouth at the same time.
How I remember the band:

May 26, 2004:

WHEN I was 16 I formed a band, which was silly since I couldn’t play a thing.
I still can’t, as you may have noticed yesterday when 3AW’s breakfast show got the four of us together as a joke, for charity.
For charity? Gosh, it was the people we once played for in dances around Murray Bridge in the 1970s that showed the real charity. Fancy them actually paying a few teenagers in red vests, grey shirts,
polka dot bow-ties and black trousers to torture tunes like Swinging Safari, Pearly Shells and—when we were really daring—Beautiful Sunday.
So I always knew yesterday would be embarrassing. What I didn’t count on was to be reminded so vividly how much my love of this country comes from what I saw of it playing in that band in all those country dances nearly 30 years ago.
As you may know if you read these columns, I’m puzzled why so many artists and academics insist Australia is twisted with racism, stinking with xenophobia.
``Australia at its heart is so racist that I don’t think we can stomach it,’’ director George Miller put it.
Our country towns particularly seem to be loathed and feared. Wake In Fright is one writer’s typical nightmare of waking up in a bush town like one of the several I’ve lived in, from Tarcoola in the Nullarbor to Tailem Bend. Hicks, ferals and rednecks live out in the bush, don’t they? It’s nasty Hanson territory out there.
All this astonishes me. This isn’t the Australia I knew then or see now.
I didn’t even know the word racism when I was a boy, growing up alongside Aborigines. Danny was my best mate and school captain in Tarcoola Primary, and was, purely incidentally, Aboriginal. His father was a foreman in our railway town.
Nor do I ever recall my parents, with their Dutch accents and my mother’s weird dishes for community suppers, being treated like aliens. Just pitching in gets you anywhere here.
It is true I grew up knowing a few more eccentrics than many children might today. They were in your face in the bush, not hidden as they are here in the city. 


There will be no surplus under a government Rudd leads

Andrew Bolt August 03 2013 (9:50am)

The Budget delivered just 11 weeks ago has already blown out to a $30 billion deficit this year alone.  The surplus Labor claimed it would finally deliver in 2015 is now tipped to be a $4.7 billion deficit. The $4 billion surplus it now promises in 2016 is based on ludicrous assumption of a sudden recovery.
Yet still Labor can’t stop spending.
Judith Sloan:
Expenditure will increase by nearly 6 per cent this year. Who said this was not an election budget?
The return to budget balance has effectively been put off for a year. Mind you, no one will be betting the house that there will actually be a budget surplus in 2016-17. After all, we were guaranteed one last financial year.
Let’s face it: neither the government nor Treasury has a clue…
This economic statement continues to make ridiculously optimistic assumptions about future receipts. We are expected to believe that total receipts as a percentage of GDP will be 24.8 per cent in 2016-17. (They were only 23.2 per cent last financial year, when the economy was growing around trend.)
Receipts are expected to grow by 8.5 per cent in 2015-16 and by another 6.5 per cent in 2016-17. Pull the other one, I say.
David Uren doesn’t believe Labor’s claim that it will give us a surplus in three years. It’s based on a fantasy:
THE absurdity of the government’s claim to be returning the budget to surplus leaps out from the first page of its economic statement, in the table that shows the jobless rate suddenly dropping from 6.25 per cent next year to 5 per cent in each of the following two years.
The same table shows a similarly inexplicable leap in the measure of nominal GDP (from 4.5 per cent to 5.25 per cent) which governs how much taxable income the economy generates.
These numbers do not show Treasury taking leave of its senses. It is just that Treasury compiles detailed economic forecasts for this year and next but no further. The fog of uncertainty is too thick to foretell what the economy will be doing beyond that.
Instead, Treasury simply makes a technical assumption that economic growth will resume its long-term trend rate and that the labour market will return to full employment.
However, these flaky assumptions are then used to calculate how much tax revenue the government will raise and provide the base for its confident assertions that it is returning the budget to surplus. They are also justifying its claims that we can afford new multi-billion-dollar spending on disability insurance and school funding.
There will be no surplus under a government Rudd leads:
The head of consultancy Macroeconomics, Stephen Anthony, rejects Labor’s new $4bn return-to-surplus forecast in 2016-17, saying his modelling points to an estimated $19bn deficit that year.


It’s got to be kidding

Andrew Bolt August 03 2013 (9:41am)

Labor yesterday admitted unemployment will jump, the economy slow and the Budget blow out yet again. It hiked taxes, looted bank savings and now asks: can we have your vote?
Paul Kelly:
It is extraordinary and embarrassing that just four weeks into the new 2013-14 year, Labor has been forced to significantly recast its May budget, its core forecasts and its return-to-surplus timetable.
The figures constitute a humiliation: the May budget forecast an $18 billion deficit for this year but the revised figure is $30bn.
The political optics for Rudd and Bowen are high-risk. Labor is campaigning on jobs, yet the unemployment rate is revised upwards from 5.75 per cent to 6.25 per cent for two years. Labor is campaigning on growth, yet the growth rate is revised down from 2.75 per cent to 2.5 per cent. Labor is campaigning on better ties with business, yet these decisions have provoked bitter critiques from business and finance. Finally, Labor is campaigning on its economic record, yet the return to surplus has now been deferred by another year to 2016-17, having been deferred for a further three years in the May budget after the failure to hit surplus in 2012-13. Just as bad, the new timetable is hardly credible.


Bolt Report tomorrow

Andrew Bolt August 03 2013 (9:31am)

On The Bolt Report tomorrow at 10am and 4pm:
Labor’s election pitch: it’s blown the Budget again and hiked taxes as growth slows and unemployment climbs.  Can it have your vote now? The damn cheek. Let’s hope business leaders, for one, realise they simply cannot afford three more years of this rabble.
With Innes Willox, former Labor president Warren Mundine and former Liberal Finance Minister Nick Minchin.

The twitter feed.
The place the videos appear


Labor broke 457 law to hire McTernan

Andrew Bolt August 03 2013 (8:37am)

Labor flouts the law it demands business follows:
THEY have searched high and low. There have been exhaustive checks of Julia Gillard’s office and questioning of staff. Now, after four months and a curt reminder from the Office of the Information Commissioner, the truth about the hiring of Scottish spin doctor John McTernan by the former prime minister is both obvious and elusive.
It fell to Fergus Smith, a senior adviser (legal and governance) in the Office of the Prime Minister, to report late yesterday that there is not a shred of documentary evidence to show Ms Gillard’s office tried to find a suitable person in Australia before appointing Mr McTernan, on a 457 visa for foreigners, as her communications guru.


Why is Rudd building detention centres in Australia if he’s sending all boat people to PNG?

Andrew Bolt August 03 2013 (8:27am)

Kevin Rudd’s promise:

As of today, asylum seekers who come here by boat without a visa will never be settled in Australia.
If that were true, then why is Rudd building new detention centres in Australia?
The Federal Government has set aside tens of millions of dollars for a new immigration detention centre in the Hunter region of New South Wales.
The Government used yesterday’s budget update to allocate $43 million for a new detention centre at Singleton. It says the plan is to potentially house more than 1,000 asylum seekers at the Defence Force base there.
It has also allocated almost $90 million to eventually accommodate up to 1,000 people at Blaydin Point near Darwin.
If the people smugglers don’t believe Rudd, and Rudd doesn’t believe Rudd, why should voters believe Rudd?
You see, it’s busy at Christmas Island this weekend:
FM RCC AUSTRALIA 021158Z AUG 2013 AUSSAR 2013/5206

FM RCC AUSTRALIA 021826Z AUG 2013 AUSSAR 2013/5213
Reader Jeff of FNQ:

First vessel is approx. 340 kms from Christmas Island whilst second vessel is 120 kms. ACV Triton appears to be heading to the second vessel.
Meanwhile Rudd tries to paper over the damage from an earlier decision by spending more borrowed money:
THE Rudd Government has come up with a $200 million rescue package to be shared with all three local car makers - Toyota, Holden and Ford - to make up for the damage caused by changes to Fringe Benefits Tax.
But industry experts have already slammed the offer - $100 million a year over two years - saying it will cover only a fraction of the increase in FBT on company cars…
(Thanks to readers Peter of Bellevue Hill, Jeff, happy little debunker and Smallville.) 


Panic! Seas are rising 6cms a century!

Andrew Bolt August 03 2013 (8:13am)

Reader Jamie meets the global warming cult:

Watching ABC news after the footy tonight (the only AU news for me in Bali.. grrr) and saw clip on the Youth Climate Conference in Melbourne. The most hysterical clips were of ‘youths’ being interviewed about Sea Level Rise. When i saw ‘adult’ Flannery interviewed, I too got hysterical and thought I’d check out the sea level rise data for myself.
As I thought, no acceleration in Australian SLR for 130 years (like everywhere in the world, except Pacific island nations where there’s been no SLR since records began). Surely ideology doesn’t overrule science or data? 


The costliest prime minister in our history

Andrew Bolt August 03 2013 (8:06am)

Henry Ergas and Judith Sloan on Kevin Rudd’s record: the 935 days between becoming prime minister on December 3, 2007, and Julia Gillard’s coup of June 24, 2010, Rudd left Australians with at least $153 billion in unfunded fiscal burdens while wasting $100bn of the community’s resources....
By far the most visible component of the costs was ...  the commonwealth’s balance sheet shifting from $44.8bn in net assets when Rudd took office to $161.6bn in net debt this year.
Clearly, part of that $206bn deterioration in Australia’s fiscal position reflected the global financial crisis… [but] the response was anything but careful and deliberate. Instead, Rudd unleashed a torrent of public spending that ... locked in outlays that were not reversed even when the economy returned to trend growth ...  In short, out of accumulated budget deficits of $172.3bn attributable to Rudd, between $98bn and $157bn reflected profligacy rather than adverse circumstances…
[It] is beyond dispute that there was far-reaching waste in programs such as school halls and pink batts… Nor is there much argument that the dismantling of Howard’s Pacific Solution… has left a trail of high costs… And the fiasco associated with the carbon tax… To those errors, Rudd added the mistake of thundering into areas that traditionally have been the preserve of the states. Childcare is a striking case in point…
On a plausible estimate, the overall waste thus caused amounts to between $74bn and $88bn. But even that number ... excludes ... Rudd’s brainchild, the National Broadband Network… [Losses] the NBN is likely to incur to 2027 have climbed to more than $30bn…
But Rudd ...also slashed the economy’s capacity to bear the burdens ... [by] introducing the Fair Work Act… [and] forcing 1.25 per cent of the labour force into needless unemployment ...
At least $120bn in needlessly accumulated debt; about $100bn in waste from poor quality spending and taxing; $30bn in losses from the NBN alone; and an industrial relations system that reduces national income by at least $6bn a year and creates an adversarial climate in the workplace: all that makes Rudd the costliest prime minister in Australian history.
Terry McCrann:
If we got to 2016-17 under a re-elected Rudd government, it will have been more than quarter of a century since the last Labor budget surplus, way back in 1989-90.
Since then we would have had budget deficits every year of the way that Labor was in government. With those deficits adding up to the staggering, damning, sum of $350 billion.... Iterrupted by around $100bn of budget surpluses from the Coalition Howard-Costello period....
The core truth of six years of Rudd-Gillard governments, and which would remain the core truth if we ended up with nine years of Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governments, is that Labor can’t help its high-spending, high-taxing self.
By 2016-17, spending would have increased by a massive 63 per cent—or nearly 6 per cent a year every year since the Coalition lost office. Total revenues would have leapt by more than 50 per cent.
Most tellingly, the personal tax take would have increased by nearly 75 per cent since the Costello years… Even the company tax take, which Swan used to bleat about plunging, would be up by nearly a third, to $80 billion. by 2016-17 over the last Costello budget.

Kevin Rudd, June 28, 2013:
If I was to define a good working relationship with business with ticking the box of everything that business community asks for, let me tell you the Commonwealth would’ve been bankrupt about 10 years ago.
Reader Baldrick:

Actually, Labor’s doing a fine job of that all by itself without the help of business in only a matter of six years.
(Thanks to reader Peter.) 


A losing bet on green

Andrew Bolt August 03 2013 (7:58am)

Green bull meets big dollars - and loses:

James Packer wants energy-intensive VIP gaming rooms at his luxury Sydney casino exempted from standard measures of green performance, casting doubt on claims Barangaroo will be a ‘’world leader in sustainability’’.
Mr Packer’s company Crown says methods used to assess the environmental ratings of other buildings at Barangaroo should not apply to the high-roller gaming areas, because the lighting and special air conditioning in smoking areas will require a huge amount of power.
A government panel that assessed Crown’s bid, headed by former banker David Murray, recommended the exemption be granted… A spokeswoman for Premier Barry O’Farrell said existing methods for measuring green performance were ‘’not designed for casinos’’ and the Crown proposal would likely be subject to a different method…
Barangaroo’s eco-credentials have been heavily touted and the area is signatory to the Clinton Climate initiative. This means it has committed to becoming “climate positive”, including generating more renewable energy than it uses… [But] to maintain air quality, the casino would install filtration systems that exchange the air 30 times an hour, using enormous amounts of electricity.


US black teen unemployment now 41.6 per cent

Andrew Bolt August 03 2013 (7:41am)

Culture counts, and President Barack Obama has not yet converted symbolic hope into practical change - grievance into striving and high expectations, not least at school:

Friday’s jobs report was disappointing, but it also contained a truly heartbreaking statistic. Black teen unemployment is a shocking 41.6%. In July last year, the unemployment was considerably lower, at 36%. That almost half of black teens who want to work can’t find jobs is a stain on Obama’s economic policies.
This isn’t a numbers trick. This isn’t a rate based on the whole black teen population in the country. This is the proportion of the black teen population that is looking for work but can’t find a job. Just in March, the number was eight points lower at 33%. The white teen unemployment rate is half the black rate, although still high at 20%.
True, cultures take a very long time to change, and this unemployment tragedy is also caused in part by minimum wage restrictions that price the poorly qualified out of work.
Thomas Sowell also blames poor teaching of poor children:
For those who are interested in schools that produce academic success for minority students, there is no lack of examples., past and present.  Tragically, there is a lack of interest by the public school establishment in such examples.  Again, I think this goes back to the politics of education.
Put bluntly, failure attracts more money than success. Politically, failure becomes a reason to demand more money, smaller classes, and more trendy courses and programs, ranging from “black English” to bilingualism and “self-esteem.” Politicians who want to look compassionate and concerned know that voting money for such projects accomplishes that purpose for them and voting against such programs risks charges of mean-spiritedness, if not implications of racism.
But as Sowell has so famously argued:

Many among the intelligentsia portray the black redneck culture today as the only “authentic” black culture and even glamorize it. They denounce any criticism of the ghetto lifestyle or any attempt to change it.
Teachers are not supposed to correct black youngsters who speak “black English” and no one is supposed to be judgmental about the whole lifestyle of black rednecks. In that culture, belligerence is considered being manly and crudity is considered cool, while being civilized is regarded as “acting white.”
These are devastating, self-imposed handicaps that prevent many young ghetto blacks from getting a decent education or an opportunity to rise to higher levels. 


September 7 poll is the buzz

Andrew Bolt August 03 2013 (6:58am)

I’m surprised Kevin Rudd would want to go now, still trailing in the polls and with a dog’s breakfast of a Budget rewrite just announced:

Kevin Rudd plans to visit the Governor-General on Sunday or Monday to seek approval for an election on September 7.
Sources have told Fairfax Media that Mr Rudd has now settled on the date and will fire the starter’s gun on what promises to be one of the most intense political contests in memory.
The Tony Abbott pitch:

Rehearsing a campaign pitch, Abbott said on Friday: “From Labor you’ve had an absolute cavalcade of division and dysfunction. We’ve had, in a little over three years, we’ve had six small business ministers, five assistant treasurers, four immigration ministers and we’ve had two changes of prime minister and all of the things that Mr Rudd has pretended to do since returning to the prime ministership prove that everything that the Coalition has been saying about this government is true.
“They’ve got it wrong over boats. They’ve got it wrong over internal party management. They’ve got it wrong on economic management. They’ve got it wrong when it comes to cost of living and the damage that the carbon tax is doing to job security and family budgets. This is a government which has got it wrong at every turn on their own admission so why on earth would anyone reward them with three more years like the last six?”
Is this the NSW Right again trying to stampede Rudd into an election earlier than he would like? 


I love you, social media.> well said, Jason J-Fo - ed

=== > J John

Pastor Rick Warren
If you only consider how your actions will affect you, life will be bitter and miserable.


My new series "GETTING THROUGH WHAT YOU'RE GOING THROUGH" begins this weekend with "When Your World Collapses." Join us online or at one of our 10 campuses.




4 her

Poor Natalie Wood .. - ed===

Kitchen Whiz
So Kitchen Whiz fans, we have a BRAND NEW game show coming to Channel GO! If you are aged 11 or 12, want to be on TV and WIN PRIZES look here for more information!! AWESOME!!!!



Click to see what Democrat Charlie Rangel is calling Tea Partiers...>



Pay, or be euthanised? - ed
38 years old .. but not mature enough to discuss things? - ed
I won't fly on that airline. I have standards too. - ed
Alix Townsend wearing what she wore to go on holiday to Majorca,Spain

The front page of today's Herald Sun pretty much sums it up...Tony Abbott
I think the risk of invasion is ridiculously low and the issue is only raised by the Age to misdirect from the fact that the ALP is gutting defence and that is bad even if we aren't going to be invaded. When Hawke asked then Chinese Premier Deng Xiaopeng if instead of executing his people he could send some of the more militant democracy advocates to Australia Deng asked him "How many million do you want?" The issue of defence is more than mere risk of invasion. Our ability to be able to support law and order in the Pacific and work with allies is diminished by the ALP cuts. - ed
.. sounds like bored federal agents performed overkill .. ed
“I’m furious,” said Cindy Schultz, president of the Society of St. Francis in Kenosha, Wis. “We are a no-kill shelter. And they killed her. They killed Giggles. I’m furious – furious.”



Gout is natures way of telling me to slow down .. 4th attack this year .. :( ed



Are American weapons being used by jihadists in the Sinai?

Read more:

Since the ouster of Mohammed Morsi from the presidency of Egypt on July 3, there has been a noticeable uptick in the number of attacks against security personnel and installations in the Sinai Peninsula. Eight army checkpoints were attacked on Monday alone, according to Ma'an News Agency.
New claims from Egypt's Interior Ministry suggest that in an attack over the weekend, a US-made missile may have been fired by militants at a security installation in el Arish.
Jihadists attacked the Egyptian security headquarters in northern Sinai ostensibly using an American-made ballistic missile, Egypt's interior ministry said early Monday morning.
In a statement posted on its official Facebook page, the ministry said the missile, which it said was made by the US, hit the third floor of the building in the city of el-Arish on Sunday evening, injuring three soldiers.
Along with its statement, the Interior Ministry released three photos of the alleged missile, which appears to be labeled as an AGM-114F.

Read more:


Social Television, a web channel sponsored by the New Israel Fund, has been encouraging its viewers to take part in protests against the Praver plan for legalizing Bedouin communities in the Negev. The pre-planned riots took place Thursday and had an extremely violent nature.
The riots were led by radical Arab MKs Hanin Zouabi and Jamal Zahalka (Balad) at Wadi Ara in Israel's north-central region, and also took place at Lehavim Junction in the Negev.
In Wadi Ara, 18 rioters were arrested because of violence. In the Negev, two Arabs were arrested after rocks were thrown.
Police expected rioters to try and block Highway 65, and prevented them from doing so by showing up in large forces. MK Zahalka was asked Thursday by a television reporter if the rioters intended to block the road. He smiled and said that “the youths will do what they want.” He is the same MK who told Jewish MKs, in a Knesset debatethat took place a few hours earlier, that the Arabs “were here before you and will be here after you are gone,” prompting a response from the prime minister.
The Social Television web news broadcast, which can be seen below (in Hebrew), directs its viewers to take part in the demonstrations and points them to the Facebook page that organizes them. It also includes footage from previous violent riots, including riots at Jerusalem's Damascus Gate that involved serious violence against Jewish motorists.
The Social Television broadcast includes an interview with a lawyer from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), another NIF-sponsored group, who backs the rioters and criticizes police for their alleged violence against the rioters.
At least one Jewish man was stabbed at or near the location of the Damascus Gate riots, and more or less simultaneously with them.
Riots by Israel's Arabs accompanied the outbreak of the terror war often referred to as “the Second Intifada” in September and October of 2000. Much of the rioting focused on Highway 65, which was blocked for several days. Riots of the type that took placeThursday can easily, therefore, turn into strategic threats on Israel's sovereignty within pre-1967 lines.
The newscast includes a report on leftists who have been summoned to “interviews” with the Shin Bet, and directs them to information on how to handle themselves. The ACRI lawyer, Sharona Elyahu-Hai, explains that ACRI has filed a High Court motion against these Shin Bet interviews.
The New Israel Fund is co-chaired by Martin Indyk, who has been chosen by U.S. President Barack Obama to be the mediator in “peace talks” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.


U.S. President Barack Obama gave a commitment to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, to take action “in the coming months” regarding theIranian nuclear threat, in exchange for Israel's agreement to renew “peace talks” with the Palestinian Authority (PA), a security source told Arutz Sheva.
The source said, however, that Obama did not reach a specific agreement with Netanyahu, but gave only a general commitment. The source added that it was not clear if the commitment was given in exchange for the very fact that Israel-PA negotiations are being held, or if it is conditional on their success.
Netanyahu's agreement to release terrorist murderers from Israeli jails appears to derive from the same agreement. Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon appears to have been hinting at this when he said Monday that “Perhaps, one day, the strategic considerations that stood behind the decision to free the Palestinian prisoners will be revealed.”
In recent months, Obama has been dragging out the process of reaching a decision on a strike in Iran that would damage its nuclear weapons program. This indecision has affected Israel, too, since even a unilateral Israeli strike requires full cooperation from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. 
The White House released a statement Friday in which it said: "President Obama called Prime Minister Netanyahu today to commend his leadership and courage in resuming final status negotiations with the Palestinians. The President underscored that while the parties have much work to do in the days and months ahead, the United States will support them fully in their efforts to achieve peace. The two leaders agreed to continue the close coordination between the United States and Israel on this and other regional issues."



4 her
I feel it is false advertising. Join the navy, they said. See the world they said. But my boat is nothing like this .. Painted grey! - ed


4 her



4 her


ALP have blown out the budget by more than $1.3 Billion a week since the budget was handed down ten weeks ago. Rudd had said he had learned from his first term. His first term he only spent $100 million a day. Now he is approaching $200 million a day. Just like Weiner, Rudd can't hide his talent. - ed

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Pastor Rick Warren
Governments just say what's legal. God says what's right. Laws change. Truth doesn't.


This patch-up job threatens Labor's chances

BY:PAUL KELLY, EDITOR-AT-LARGE From: The Australian August 03, 2013 

THIS is the ugly reality of governing today. Kevin Rudd's election campaign now confronts slower growth, higher unemployment, weaker terms of trade, fractured business confidence and more tax increases to repair the latest in a long line of Labor's misjudgments on the economy.

It is a bad way to start an election. The economy is in worse shape than Labor expected just 10 weeks ago in its May budget. The downside risks are greater. Labor has misread the economic trajectory yet again. Its economic credibility has taken a further hit.

This mini-budget is strictly an election eve patch-up job. It is a huge break for Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey. It makes Rudd's campaign challenge on the economy far more daunting. It has a deeper policy message: to be credible, Rudd needs a more far-reaching economic reform agenda than anything Labor has produced so far.

This statement reveals what private-sector think tanks have argued for several years: Australia's budget is in structural difficulty on both the revenue and spending side. How many patch-ups jobs before Labor confronts the magnitude of the problem?

New Treasurer Chris Bowen has been given a poisoned chalice. It is extraordinary and embarrassing that just four weeks into the new 2013-14 year, Labor has been forced to significantly recast its May budget, its core forecasts and its return-to-surplus timetable.

The figures constitute a humiliation: the May budget forecast an $18 billion deficit for this year but the revised figure is $30bn.

The political optics for Rudd and Bowen are high-risk. Labor is campaigning on jobs, yet the unemployment rate is revised upwards from 5.75 per cent to 6.25 per cent for two years. Labor is campaigning on growth, yet the growth rate is revised down from 2.75 per cent to 2.5 per cent. Labor is campaigning on better ties with business, yet these decisions have provoked bitter critiques from business and finance. Finally, Labor is campaigning on its economic record, yet the return to surplus has now been deferred by another year to 2016-17, having been deferred for a further three years in the May budget after the failure to hit surplus in 2012-13. Just as bad, the new timetable is hardly credible.

Abbott and Hockey now have documented evidence of Labor's failure. The forecasts point to a deteriorating economy that strikes at the heart of Labor's jobs mantra. Bowen said the mini-budget revealed "not a crisis but a transition". He's right. But the odds on crisis continue to shorten. The problem is that the statement from Bowen and Finance Minister Penny Wong merely reinforces the existing criticism about Labor despite the political shift from Julia Gillard to Rudd.

Labor is locked into chronic "catch-up" economic policy as the economy is shown to be in worse shape than it predicts. Its election game plan is obvious: it waits on the Reserve Bank to further cut interest rates while mobilising its failures - its ongoing budget deficits - as a virtue to run a scare against Abbott as the fiscal hardliner and recession specialist.

The risk is this document reinforces Labor's political vulnerability - its policy-on-the-run scramble, its addiction to tax increases, a tobacco excise that privileges healthy lifestyle over the hip-pocket concerns of working-class men, a levy on bank "savings" recruited to a fiscal fix, plus the announced fringe benefits tax changes.

Every way you look, it's a patch-up job. Bowen and Wong have done their best. But they are starting from the wrong place at the wrong time. It is hard to imagine a nastier setting. For Bowen, it is a ruthless initiation.

Rudd underestimates Labor's problems on the economic front. This week the Business Council of Australia released a 10-year action plan warning that "Australia is at a crossroads" and calling for policies to restore business confidence and competitiveness. The mini-budget suggests Labor just doesn't get it.

Labor's budget credibility is so damaged that even its revised forecasts are disbelieved. With growth now slowing, Labor forecasts a kick back to 3 per cent next year and another shallow (that means hardly credible) surplus in 2016-17.

The head of consultancy Macroeconomics, Stephen Anthony, rejects Labor's new $4bn return-to-surplus forecast in 2016-17, saying his modelling points to an estimated $19bn deficit that year.

"We think the situation is significantly worse than this document concedes," Anthony says. "We continue to look at serious structural problems with the budget."

But Anthony's most lethal remark concerns the May budget: "The message now is that the government and Treasury should have 'fessed up at budget time to the real situation.

"We have finished up where most of the private forecasters were in May."

The BCA is incredulous about the Bowen-Wong mini-budget. "Let's be clear, the government's fiscal strategy is not on track," its chief executive Jennifer Westacott says.

The business lobby didn't believe Swan's May budget surplus pledge by 2015-16 and, as Westacott says, that scepticism is now proven correct. Unsurprisingly, the BCA says a "credible and believable fiscal strategy" demands fundamental changes to the structure of government spending but "there is little or no evidence of this". In short, the statement is not believable.

"I do not believe these numbers," Hockey said. Why wouldn't he? The opposition Treasury spokesman said he didn't believe the May budget numbers and was proved right within 10 weeks. Many private forecasters won't believe these latest revisions either. This situation is extremely damaging for Labor, the Treasury and investment confidence.

Bowen and Wong faced a $33bn revenue writedown since May over the forward estimates. This should not have happened. Courtesy of the Treasury it has become Gillard's dagger into Rudd's hopes. The budget was too optimistic on both the terms of trade and nominal gross domestic product growth.

The Rudd cabinet, on Bowen's advice, decided it would be counterproductive to match the revenue shortfall with spending cuts to honour Swan's 2015-16 surplus pledge. That was the correct decision. However, it will not gainsay growing alarm about Labor policy. The problem is Labor's addiction to fiscal incrementalism and its inability in recent times to confront the scale and depth of the budget dilemma. This is not a one-off. It is a systemic problem that originates with the 2010 and 2011 budgets.

Labor has misread the nature of the post-global financial crisis economic recovery. It was too optimistic on the terms of trade, too optimistic on the revenue forecasts, it spent too much, it misjudged the budget bottom line and it failed to prioritise the policy settings for competitiveness.

The upshot on election eve is that Bowen and Wong made savings across the forward estimates of $17bn offset by spends worth $9bn for net savings of $8bn. Yet the saves are rear-end loaded, with $6.8bn coming in the final year 2016-17 of the forward estimates. By contrast, real spending leaps ahead a whopping 5.7 per cent in the current year, an election time quicksand.

The political and morality tale for Rudd is exquisite. Remember, for three years the Gillard loyalists have damned Rudd for the terrible 2010 inheritance he left Gillard: on climate change, the mining tax and boats.

You won't have to listen too hard for a new thunder: it is the Rudd loyalists damning Gillard and Swan for the 2013 inheritance they have left Rudd: a budget falling off a cliff and an economy slowing too fast. The budget, of course, should be in surplus now given that Australia has experienced a once-in-a-century terms-of-trade boom.

Rudd wants to paint an optimistic picture of Australia's economic transition beyond the resources boom. His problem, however, is the growing criticism of Labor's record and the electoral implications of the slowing economy, a reality impinging across most sectors of the economy.

The numbers in this economic statement on jobs, growth, deficits and debt will frame the Abbott-Hockey campaign. It is a gift to them.

Their message will be that Labor - Rudd or Gillard - cannot be trusted on the economy.

It is true there are doubts about Abbott and Hockey, yet the accumulated critique of Labor is assuming daunting dimensions. Rudd wants to build bridges with business. But listen to what business was saying yesterday: those bridges are burning.

"The economic statement has seen a continuation of the muddle-through approach characterised by ad hoc and rushed proposals that simply hasn't worked in the past," Westacott says on behalf of the BCA. "The measures announced will do little to rebuild confidence."

The Australian Industry Group's head Innes Willox says: "Today's announcements demonstrate once and for all that Australia's existing tax base and spending priorities are not sustainable."

These are damning attacks. They border on open declarations of no confidence in Labor. The chasm between Labor and business is only getting deeper.

Beyond this, Anthony warns that restoring the budget is a much tougher task than Labor recognises. He says the terms-of-trade projections remain too optimistic. He laments the absence of plans to address the structural problem on the spending side. Anthony says his modelling showed a cumulative budget deficit across the forward estimates (including 2012-13) of $106bn and a budget this year in a heavy structural deficit of $44bn.

The moral is obvious: both Rudd and Abbott can campaign only as fiscal conservatives.


Great to visit St Andrew's College in Wantirna South today. Margie and I did some reading with the prep class and I addressed the school assembly. I also announced our plan to provide funding certainty for our schools:


John Wayne talks about The Alamo
- Film Clip -

At this link:



‘We are truly screwed’: John Ondrasik sums up latest Benghazi bombshell ==>


united with israel alerts                              newsletter
Israel Alert Newsletter25 Av 5773August 2, 2013
While members of the international community focus on the establishment of a Palestinian state, believing it will bring about true peace and prosperity, the Palestinian leadership's own vision for peace is often ignored. But insiders say that a careful look at what Palestinian President Abbas envisions as peace makes it apparent that the Palestinian leadership is seeking Israel's destruction, instead of peaceful coexistence with the Jewish state.
"We have frankly said, and always will say: If there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won't agree to the presence of one Israeli in it," Abbas says.
Click here to
It is our great pleasure to introduce you to Tasigli. In Hebrew, "Tasigli" means "please get for me". Tasigli is an Israeli personal shopping agency, serving global customers looking to locate and purchase unique, high quality and even simple Israeli products. Tasigli was founded in 2012 by Jonathan Yuval and Ben Grinberg, two friends who are still serving as high ranking officers in the IDF reserve forces.
"We travel the world on business, and often find ourselves carrying loads of Israeli goods for our friends and family around the world" says Jonathan. "We love our friends and family abroad, but sometimes it's just too heavy to carry, the flight operator's rules became strict and it's not that simple to take heavy loads on board anymore. I knew I had to find a solution."
Click here to
Between January and June 2013, tourism reached a record high in Israel, as 1.7 million visitors came to the Holy Land. This figure was 1 percent higher than the same six month period in 2012.
Viewing the influx of foreign visitors as “an essential engine for economic growth that creates new jobs in the periphery,” Tourism Minister Uzi Landau added that he hopes the numbers will climb still higher and pledges to “continue our work in growing the number of visitors to Israel and realizing the tourism potential.”

Iran and Israel
Iranian Citizens Increasingly Support Peace with Israel
Contrary to mainstream media reports, momentum for peaceful relations with the State of Israel is building among the Iranian people. “I think there are many Iranians who live for the day that Iran has diplomatic relations with Israel,” says Mhyar Shams Ahmadi, who was born in Tehran 28 years ago but now lives in Toronto.
“In my view, if you just look at relations between Iran and Israel, it is clear that it is in fact the ruling regime in Iran that is preventing diplomatic relations.”
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Hi everyone! Here's the newsletter for August 2nd. Enjoy!

From the Blog

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August 3Independence Day in Niger (1960); Flag Day in Venezuela
Roger Casement


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“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”James 1:22 NIV
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon


"Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."
Ephesians 1:11
Our belief in God's wisdom supposes and necessitates that he has a settled purpose and plan in the work of salvation. What would creation have been without his design? Is there a fish in the sea, or a fowl in the air, which was left to chance for its formation? Nay, in every bone, joint, and muscle, sinew, gland, and blood-vessel, you mark the presence of a God working everything according to the design of infinite wisdom. And shall God be present in creation, ruling over all, and not in grace? Shall the new creation have the fickle genius of free will to preside over it when divine counsel rules the old creation? Look at Providence! Who knoweth not that not a sparrow falleth to the ground without your Father? Even the hairs of your head are all numbered. God weighs the mountains of our grief in scales, and the hills of our tribulation in balances. And shall there be a God in providence and not in grace? Shall the shell be ordained by wisdom and the kernel be left to blind chance? No; he knows the end from the beginning. He sees in its appointed place, not merely the corner-stone which he has laid in fair colours, in the blood of his dear Son, but he beholds in their ordained position each of the chosen stones taken out of the quarry of nature, and polished by his grace; he sees the whole from corner to cornice, from base to roof, from foundation to pinnacle. He hath in his mind a clear knowledge of every stone which shall be laid in its prepared space, and how vast the edifice shall be, and when the top-stone shall be brought forth with shoutings of "Grace! Grace! unto it." At the last it shall be clearly seen that in every chosen vessel of mercy, Jehovah did as he willed with his own; and that in every part of the work of grace he accomplished his purpose, and glorified his own name.


"So she gleaned in the field until even."
Ruth 2:17
Let me learn from Ruth, the gleaner. As she went out to gather the ears of corn, so must I go forth into the fields of prayer, meditation, the ordinances, and hearing the word to gather spiritual food. The gleaner gathers her portion ear by ear; her gains are little by little: so must I be content to search for single truths, if there be no greater plenty of them. Every ear helps to make a bundle, and every gospel lesson assists in making us wise unto salvation. The gleaner keeps her eyes open: if she stumbled among the stubble in a dream, she would have no load to carry home rejoicingly at eventide. I must be watchful in religious exercises lest they become unprofitable to me; I fear I have lost much already--O that I may rightly estimate my opportunities, and glean with greater diligence. The gleaner stoops for all she finds, and so must I. High spirits criticize and object, but lowly minds glean and receive benefit. A humble heart is a great help towards profitably hearing the gospel. The engrafted soul-saving word is not received except with meekness. A stiff back makes a bad gleaner; down, master pride, thou art a vile robber, not to be endured for a moment. What the gleaner gathers she holds: if she dropped one ear to find another, the result of her day's work would be but scant; she is as careful to retain as to obtain, and so at last her gains are great. How often do I forget all that I hear; the second truth pushes the first out of my head, and so my reading and hearing end in much ado about nothing! Do I feel duly the importance of storing up the truth? A hungry belly makes the gleaner wise; if there be no corn in her hand, there will be no bread on her table; she labours under the sense of necessity, and hence her tread is nimble and her grasp is firm; I have even a greater necessity, Lord, help me to feel it, that it may urge me onward to glean in fields which yield so plenteous a reward to diligence.

Today's reading: Psalm 60-62, Romans 5 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 60-62

For the director of music. To the tune of "The Lily of the Covenant." A miktam of David. For teaching. When he fought Aram Naharaim and Aram Zobah, and when Joab returned and struck down twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

1 You have rejected us, God, and burst upon us;
you have been angry-now restore us!
2 You have shaken the land and torn it open;
mend its fractures, for it is quaking.
3 You have shown your people desperate times;
you have given us wine that makes us stagger.
4 But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner
to be unfurled against the bow....

Today's New Testament reading: Romans 5

Peace and Hope
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us....

[Jāmez] - supplanter.
1. The son of Zebedee, and the elder brother of John, and one of the Twelve (Matt. 4:21; 10:2; 17:1; Mark 1:19, 29; 3:17; 5:37; 9:2; 10:35; 41; 13:3; 14:33; Luke 5:10; 6:14; 8:51; 9:28, 54; Acts 1:13; 12:2). From the foregoing references several facts emerge:
James'father Zebedee, was a Galilean fisherman and prosperous, since he employed servants to assist in the management of his boats.
Zebedee had a house in Jerusalem and was known as a friend of the High Priest, Caiaphas, and his household. This would mark Him as a man of social position.
His mother's name was Salome, whom tradition says was a sister of the Virgin Mary, which may help to throw light upon the relation of her sons to the Master. This would also make James a cousin to Jesus after the flesh.
James worked in partnership with his father and brothers and was busy with his boats and nets when the call of Christ reached him.
His name is coupled with his brother John in the lists of the apostles, which could mean that when they were sent forth two by two, James and John would be paired. Evidently they were men of like spirit and disposition and received from Jesus the title "Sons of Thunder."
He was on terms of special intimacy with Christ, although he never attained the distinction of his brother John.
His life came to an untimely end when he was martyred by Herod Agrippa. The cup and the baptism of pain and death were his. Seventeen years passed between his call to service and his death. He was the second of the martyrs and the first of the apostles to give his life for Christ.
We have no word from his pen nor word he spoke unless Acts 4:24-30 be an exception, but James was content to be a disciple. He never sought fame, power, a great name. He had no ambition to be first.
2. The son of Alphaeus (Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). We know little of this James apart from his own name and his father's name, coming to us under the double form of Alphaeus and Clopas (John 19:25 R. V.). Evidently he did nothing that needed any record. We do know that this son of Alphaeus was called the Little (not the Less ). Perhaps he was short of stature and to distinguish him from others of the same name he was known as "James the Little."
His mother was one of the devoted women who stood by the cross and visited the tomb.
He had a brother Joses, who was also a believer (Mark 15:40; 16:1; John 19:25).
Tradition says that he had been a tax-gatherer. It may be his father Alphaeus was the same Alphaeus who was the father of Levi the tax-gatherer, who became Matthew the Apostle.
3. The Lord's brother ( Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3; Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18; 1 Cor. 15:7; Gal. 1:19; 2:9, 12; Jas. 1:1). Acute controversy has raged around whether this James was an actual brother of Christ and also one of the Twelve.

The Man with Camel's Knees

Because of his relationship to Christ we deem it necessary to devote a little more attention to this honorable James. How exactly was he related to the Lord? There are some writers who affirm that there are only two persons by the name of James in the New Testament and that the one we are presently considering was the son of Alphaeus and Mary the sister of our Lord's mother, that is, the James under No. 2. Various explanations have been given of this third James.
He was a child of Joseph by a former marriage. Those like the Roman Catholics, who argue for the perpetual virginity of Mary, are against our Lord having any natural relatives apart from His mother.
The word "brother" or "kinsman" is used loosely, and means "cousin," according to Jewish usage. If he was a son of the virgin Mary's sister, then he would be our Lord's cousin, or "cousin-brother," as the Indians express it.
He, being the natural son of Joseph and Mary after their marriage, was actually our Lord's half-brother. The language of the passages cited under this James indicates that he had a relationship with Christ within rather than without the immediate family of Joseph and Mary. In the remonstration with Christ concerning His preaching, the whole circumstance points to James as being one of Mary's sons ( Matt. 12:46-50). The facts are these:
I. He is spoken of as being among the sisters and brothers of Christ (Matt. 13:55, 56; John 2:12; 7:3, 10).
II. He was not a believer during our Lord's life. Along with the other children of Joseph and Mary, James did not accept the Messiah-ship of Jesus (Matt. 13:57; Luke 7:20, 21; John 7:5 ). There can be no doubt, however, that he did not remain unmoved by the goodness, unselfishness and example of Christ. Living with Him for almost thirty years must have left its impact upon James.
III. He was a witness of Christ's resurrection (1 Cor. 15:7). It would seem as if James was won to faith by a special manifestation of the risen Lord. Seen of James! Paul would only know of one "James," the one often alluded to in the Acts of the Apostles. The result of that glorious sight and conversation transformed James into a disciple and a believer. It is after this experience that we find "the brethren of the Lord" joined with "the apostles" and "the women" assembled together in the upper chamber (Acts 1:14).
IV. He became a pillar of the Church at Jerusalem, rising to eminence (Acts 12:17; 15:4-34; 21:18, 19; Gal. 2:1-10).
V. He became known for his piety and was named "James the Just." Tradition has it that he was a Nazarite from his mother's womb, abstaining from strong drink and animal food and wearing linen. We are told of his strict adherence to the law (Acts 21:17-26; Gal. 2:12).
VI. He was the writer of the epistle bearing his name, which has always been attributed to "James the Just." But such was his character that he styled himself not as the brother, but only theservant or "slave" of the Lord Jesus Christ. His epistle gives us an admirable summary of practical duties incumbent upon all believers.
VII. He was a man who believed in the power of prayer, as evidenced by the space he devotes to it in his epistle. Because of his habit of always kneeling in intercession for the saints, his knees became calloused like a camel's; thus he became known as "The Man with Camel's Knees."
VIII. He was cruelly martyred by the Scribes and Pharisees, who cast him from the pinnacle of the Temple. As the fall did not kill him, his enemies stoned him, finally dispatching him with a fuller's club (see Matt. 4:5; Luke 4:9). Across from the Valley of Jehoshaphat, there is a sepulcher called "The Tomb of St. James."
4. James , the father of the Apostle Judas (Luke 6:16 RV). We have no further record of this James. Hastings states that, "the A.V. 'Judas the brother of James' is an impossible identification of the Apostle Judas with the author of the Epistle (Jude 1)."
August 2, 2011
Whose Voice Do You Hear?
Today's Truth
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me(John 10:27, NIV).
Friend To Friend
Dan and I had been married one year when we moved to Fort Worth, Texas, so Dan could attend seminary. I desperately wanted a teaching job, but none was available. Instead I was hired as a secretary in an insurance office. It was definitely not my idea of a dream job, but I had a plan. Every day, on my lunch hour, I call the school district's personnel office to ask, "Do you have a job or me yet?" After several weeks, a frustrated voice finally responded with the words I had been longing to hear. "Mary, will you teach anything anywhere?" she asked. Finally! I jumped at the job offer and made an appointment to visit my new classroom that afternoon. The principal escorted me up a flight of stairs, pointed to a door, and said, "That's your classroom. Good luck!" With a knowing smile, he turned and walked away...quickly.
Stepping into the classroom, I froze at the astonishing sight before me. Some children were jumping on desks while others crawled under tables, all screaming and yelling at the top of their lungs. Paper and food littered the floor. In the corner sat an obviously frazzled substitute teacher, who was desperately trying to gain control of her students...uh, make that mystudents. The classroom was in total chaos. My first thought was, "What have I gotten myself into?" The next few weeks certainly answered that question.
Each classroom was arranged in learning centers instead of desks. The students moved from center to center as they completed assignments, a plan that naturally invited noise. I learned that because of overcrowding, each teacher had been asked to select two children to form a new classroom...and of course, each teacher had chosen his or her two most difficult students.
The first few weeks were a nightmarish battle for control. After losing my voice twice, my sister, Betty, a veteran first grade teacher, gave me some great advice. "The louder you are, the louder the children will be. If you want to get their attention, speak softly so they will have to be quiet in order to hear your voice." I put her advice into action the very next day. As the children entered the classroom, I greeted each one with a silent smile. In my hands was a brightly wrapped box. Curious, they asked, "What is that, Mrs. Southerland?" I merely smiled and said nothing until every student was quietly seated. "I have a new plan," I began. "Sometime during the day, I will call your name once. If you hear my voice, you may choose one prize from our new prize box. If you don't hear my voice, you will miss the opportunity to select a prize and I will call another student's name." It worked like a charm! In a matter of days, my students learned to listen for my voice above all others.
Stress comes when we allow the many voices in life to drown out the only voice that really matters, the voice of God. We can't obey every voice we hear. If we try, we will end up in total failure, carrying a heavy load we were never created to carry. Obedience to God is not a heavy load because we don't have to carry it alone. God's strength and power bear the burden of our obedience to Him. The more time we spend in God's Word and in prayer, the easier it will be to recognize His voice.
Let's Pray
Father, I come to You today, wanting and needing to hear Your voice. I am drowning in the expectations of others and am so confused about the next step I need to take. Please give me Your direction and the strength to follow Your plan for my life.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
Read Psalm 32:8 (NLT) "The LORD says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you." What comfort does this verse give you about God's plan for your life as opposed to your plans or the plans of others?
Read John 10:4 (NLT) "After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they recognize his voice." Notice that the shepherd walks ahead of his sheep, gently calling them to follow. What change do you need to make in your life so that you can look for God's hand at work and listen for His voice alone?
By faith, accept the truth that God is always at work in your life and thank Him for His steadfast provision. Look back over the last few days, weeks and months of your life. Now praise Him for the things He has done. Identify the "voices" that you tend to listen to instead of listening for the voice of God.
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Looking for a Bible Study that is both practical and powerful? Check out Mary's E-Book Bible Studies. Each one includes a study guide that you can download for your personal use or for a small group study.
Be sure to check out Mary's weekly Online Bible Study: Stress Management 101. Enroll now and have access to all 2011 lessons. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.
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A Child-like Faith

LeeheadshotWhen I make evangelism too complicated, I think about Jack - and suddenly I gain clarity again.

For a long time, I wondered whether Jack really understood what he was hearing as he sat in our services week after week.

Jack lives in a residential facility for the developmentally disabled in suburban Chicago, and a volunteer from our ministry to mentally challenged adults would bring him to our church each Sunday morning.

Jack would always sit near the front. When the service was over, he would amble over to the pastor who had taught that day and begin talking in a low mumble. His brown hair would be tousled, his clothes disheveled, his tie askew. His face would have stubble and his thick glasses would be smudged.

I don't know the diagnosis of Jack's condition, but for the most part his thinking is unfocused and much of the time his speech is a string of disconnected thoughts. Although he's an adult, talking with him is similar to communicating with a child.

Then one Sunday, when Jack came over to me after the service, I saw that his right arm was in a cast and sling. I pointed to the injury. "Did that hurt?" I asked.

Jack glanced at his arm and then at me. He replied in his halting voice: "I come here...and hear...about Jesus...and I think about...all the pain...he went through...for me...and I think...this was nothing!"

That's when I knew that he understood. "Jack," I said as I reached out to hug him, "that's the most profound thing anyone has said to me for a long time."

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Questions from readers:
  • Did Christianity copy mythology?
  • Can people be good without God?

Q. I have heard that the story of Jesus is just a copy of Mithras, "The Sun God" who was worshipped centuries before Christ was born. Is this true? Is there a relationship between the two? From what I have read, Christianity and Mithraism are very similar. - Tami

A. Thanks for your great question, Tami. Actually, I've received several in this same vein, so I want to give you a pretty detailed answer.

This claim about Mithras was popularized by Dan Brown in his novel The Da Vinci Code. Says one of his fictional characters: "Nothing in Christianity is original. The pre-Christian God Mithras...was born on December 25, died, was buried in a rock tomb, and then resurrected in three days."

That can sound pretty challenging at first. Did Christianity merely steal its claims about Jesus from this earlier mystery religion?

I deal with this issue in my book The Case for the Real Jesus through my interview with a leading expert in this area: Dr. Edwin M. Yamauchi, whose doctorate from Brandeis University is in Mediterranean studies. He was a professor at Miami University of Ohio for more than 35 years until his retirement.

Read the rest of this answer!

Have a question? Drop me a line We'll answer the ones with the broadest interest in upcoming newsletters. Thanks to Sam Wall, former chief researcher for the Bible Answer Man radio show, who heads the "Ask Lee" response team.
Lee's Notes

• "A heck of a story" is how the Chicago Tribune capped its half-page review of my first novel, The Ambition, which is now #7 on the Christian fiction bestsellers list. I was thrilled at the very positive piece by writer Heidi Stevens . By the way, she speculates whether the fictional megachurch leader in my book is really Willow Creek senior pastor Bill Hybels - but that's certainly not the case! The pretend pastor has lost his faith in prayer and in the church, turning instead to politics as the answer - certainly the opposite of my friend Bill! As I say in the book, my story of organized crime, judicial corruption, politics and religion is merely "a creation of my imagination."

• Why not seize the tenth anniversary of 9/11 to clarify for your church or small group what Islam is really about and how we can bring the Good News to Muslims we encounter in our workplace and neighborhoods? There's still time to register for our national simulcast Unpacking Islam on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 11. Mark Mittelberg and I will be joined by Georges Houssney, who has forty years of experience in reaching Muslims for Christ; Abdu Murray, a Muslim-turned-Christian lawyer; and N.A. Qureshi, a medical doctor who grew up Muslim and later received Christ. For more details or to sign up, please visitIncastevents, which is producing the simulcast.

Morality and the problem of Evil
Picture 44

Dr. Michael Kruger responds to the issues of morality and evil in agnostic Bart Ehrman's book Jesus, Interrupted. Kruger is an associate professor of New Testament and academic dean at Reformed Theological Seminary. Check out this website for more responses to Ehrman's various critiques.

Lee's Links: Suggested articles from the web
Dealing with AIDS crisis
The church is the best institution to fight HIV worldwide; here's Rock Warren's plan to engage the problem.
Fading of faith in U.K.
This Jerusalem Post piece links the decline of faith in Britain to its declining influence in the world.
Science and seeking truth
Is science the only way to determine truth? Here's a response to this absurd claim - by a scientist.
God in the public square
Is America becoming an atheocracy, moving from God in the public square and endangering democracy?
Mary DeMuth
August 2, 2011
Mary DeMuth
She Reads Featured Author
"We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler's snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD who made heaven and earth."Psalm 124:7-8 (NIV 1984)
As women of faith and joy, we're all birds of paradise, meant to freely soar, to live so fully engaged in the present that most folks wouldn't be able to tell that we've had difficult pasts.
That's how big God is compared to our past trials. He has already uncaged us, and He longs for us to spread our wings.
But I don't always live that way. Much like the main character Willa, in my recent novel, The Muir House, I've been stranded in my past, believing if I could discern all the devastation, I'd finally be free. Unfortunately, secrets in families don't always present themselves all bright and shiny. In their aftermath, I'm left with the question, "If I don't know everything, can I still be free?"
As I examine what the Lord has wrought in my heart, I know He has uncaged me. This is something I couldn't do on my own; it's His sheer gift of grace. Nor is it that I'm a Pollyanna now, rejoicing when bad things happen. It's that my perspective on my life is shifting from introspective pessimism to Jesusy optimism.
Why? I learned this truth: I no longer need to be defined by the trials in the past. I am not Mary who suffered (though it is part of my story). I am Mary who has been set free. Uncaged. Because of Jesus' radical, freeing act on the cross and His mind-boggling resurrection, I don't need to wallow back there; I can rejoice here, now.
We women sometimes live caged lives. Our cages (usually created from our painful past) have become comfortable. We've made our nest in them, letting them become our normal. Soaring is too scary, too new. We'd rather live trapped in our strange comfort zone.
Recently God directed me to fowler verses like Psalm 124:7-8. A fowler is someone who catches a bird in a trap. He is a hunter who observes the behavior of birds to predict what they'll do next. Then he snares the bird based on what it typically does. In like manner, Satan is our fowler. He knows our cages. He convinces us that the door to our cage is locked, that we can't flee. The truth? The door is open, but we're too afraid to fly.
Charles Spurgeon, in his commentary on fowlers, wrote this freeing sentence: "No bird of paradise shall die in the fowler's net."
My heart for you is that you'll experience uncaged, joyful freedom. That you'll be wily enough to silence the enemy's lies that holler, "Your cage is locked." That you'll take one step away from the comfortable cage and flex your wings a little. Dare to be brave today and trust that when you extend your wings, you will fly.
Jesus, please show me if I've made my past a comfort zone or an excuse not to grow. Help me picture the cage of my life as wide open. Give me the courage to step outside, to live uncaged. Oh how I want to fly, fly, fly. I trust You right now to help me soar. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Related Resources:
Thin Places: A Memoir by Mary DeMuth
This month's She Reads book club selection is The Muir House by Mary DeMuth. The Muir House is a novel that explores trauma, healing, love new and old, and the life-changing choices people make to keep their reputations intact. Please stop by the She Reads blog and enter to win a copy of Mary's novel, a Kindle, a Nook, or a Starbucks gift pack!
Application Steps:
Ask your spouse or a close friend this question (and be willing to hear the answer): "How have I been afraid to live freely today? How am I living caged?"
Journal about one thing that you keep rehashing from the past that you can't move beyond. At the end of your entry, write a prayer to Jesus, asking Him to shed light on the issue, then be brave and pray, "Jesus, please set me free from this pain."
Who in my life lives uncaged? What is it about him or her that inspires me?
What would my life look like today if I truly believed Jesus has uncaged me? How would I act? Think? What prevents me from being uncaged today?
Power Verses:
Isaiah 43:18-19, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." (NIV)
Psalm 107:14-16, "He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron." (ESV)
Psalm 94:17, "If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence" (ESV).
© 2011 by Mary DeMuth. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Everything New - A Weeekly Devotional


Why do bad things happen to innocent people? Is there any purpose in it all?
Here is where the issue stings. If I have to suffer, is it all for nothing? Must I pay such a high price for no apparent benefit? How can God expect me to lose-just lose?
The Bible teaches that there is indeed a higher purpose above and beyond suffering. But the way we get there is not by calling a bad thing good. We don't have to do the mental gymnastics that somehow calls a car crash that decapitates a teenager a good thing; or cancer cells, which violate all the rules of how healthy cells are supposed to behave; or soldiers who wipe out the women and children of a village. If we don't keep the moral and spiritual acuity that sees evil for evil and good for good, then we've entered a confusing fog.God is almighty, and good is what it is, just as evil is what it is. But here is the hope: God works through the bad, bringing us inexorably to a better place. How could it be any other way? He is a God of construction and repair, of putting pieces together and putting pieces back together.
We should never blithely tell someone who is in the middle of the agony of their suffering that "it is all for the good." But when the time is right, we can say with sensitivity that the God who is always good is never absent or indifferent. He holds all the pieces of our lives together into a whole that can never be calculated as a negative, but always a positive.
I have lived fifty-one of my fifty-six years years so far without a father. I can count dozens of times when I thought it would have been so good to have a father-to watch a football game I was in, to show me how to shave, to meet my fiancée, to introduce me to his friends at the shop, to ride with me as I learned how to drive. I had thought that grieving the loss of my father would have occurred in the first few years after his death, when in fact every new phase of life brings an awareness of the missing element in the equation, the falling short, the empty space. Yet the loss somehow does not tally out as a negative.
In reality there are no set equations in life; God works a different kind of algebra. If one seemingly essential part of life is torn out, life does not collapse.
My father's death meant that I grew up in Wisconsin instead of Illinois, and with an extended family who came around me like a safety net. I saw life from the perspective of a town of two hundred instead of a city of five million, enjoying regular exploratory trips to the town dump and twice-a-day swims in Lake Michigan. Later we moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, and lived two miles from the stadium during the days of coach Vince Lombardi, when professional football players were the town's heroes and friends you saw at the department store. I figured out how to shave, and how to have a styptic pencil close at hand. The empty space was never very empty-only empty of one specific person.
It is that promise we hold onto: "In all things God works for the good of those who love him" (Romans 8:28). Not that all things are good (they're not). Not that all things add up to a positive sum (life is not about accounting). Not that all things become good things (that's just not true). Rather, God is at work amid "all things," which means all days and every chapter of life, even the dark ones. He is at work. He doesn't sleep, and he doesn't leave. Any work that God does is good, because he is God.
That is why "the Spirit helps us in our weakness" (Rom. 8:26), why we can believe "our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us" (8:18), why we can live knowing that "if God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (8:31-32).
Why do bad things happen to innocent people? There really are no innocent people. We're all good creations twisted, and we live in a spectacular world that also twists and turns and breaks into pieces every day. We use our freedom for good, and we choose to use our freedom in ways that spin us out of control. When there is order, when we are receptive and obedient, then we see great things happen. When there is chaos people get hurt.
But through it all, God remains the creator of Good Things, and Lord and Master over all humanity, even when we so often choose the Bad Things.


About The Author - Mel Lawrenz serves as minister at large for Elmbrook Church and leads The Brook Network. Having been in pastoral ministry for thirty years, the last decade as senior pastor of Elmbrook, Mel seeks to help Christian leaders engage with each other. Mel is the author of eleven books, the most recent for church leaders, Whole Church: Leading from Fragmentation to Engagement.


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