Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Tue Oct 11th Todays News

Working on local council campaign and a few observations. 
I am receiving mail from people desperate for change, but not addressing local council activity. Clearly they are used to being ignored or rejected. That is dysfunctional. One K Wright who self identifies as leftist asked to give a yes or no response on the issue of greyhounds. Music Victoria sent me survey results I have no recollection of participating in. An advocacy group opposing Lyndhurst Tip asked for my support. I also went on my 4km walk which took me to Council and Dandenong Markets and Plaza. 
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K Wright was very upset with my response on Greyhound racing. He wanted a 'yes or no' reply but did not like mine. 
David can you please give us a Yes or No ...
Do you support Greyhound Racing ..
I liked Baird's response to NSW Greyhound racing when the authorities said they could not police it he began to close it. He apparently has decided to not close it after the authorities said they could police it. I won't tolerate corruption. But I like sport. Does that answer your question. Yes or no.
Typical wanna be counselor Poli MP wishy washy crap MATE ....So you do not support Greyhound Racing ......Was the question that hard ...YES OR NO.....You miss out on hundreds of Greyhound supporters VOTES .....Your loss bud and maybe get out and see the World before you think you can help the World ...Get out and get your hands dirty and stop your diatribe rantings because no one is interested in you and your page clearly tells a tail .....lol .....Good luck ....and you cannot even give us a decent picture of yourself on your page so that suggest ...WHAT to u ....
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Music Victoria wrote 
Music Victoria was heartened by the overwhelming support for music from candidates, which included:

77% said they would undertake a music audit of their local music community
85% said they supported a music strategy in their municipality
51% said there was NOT adequate funding for music in their municipality
97% of the above candidates said they would support an increase in funding
98% said they would support the increased use of council facilities and buildings for musicians to rehearse, record music and hold all ages events
“Every municipality has a music industry – whether it’s bands, a community choir, teachers or a music store,’’ said Music Victoria CEO Patrick Donovan.

Greater Dandenong has many schools and venues, including Drum Theatre. Music is the lifeblood of culture and community. I fully intend to cut direct funding to non essential services, but I would promote commercial enterprise using facilities and local community developing cultural venues. I think related issues such as public transport vectors and parking are essential to keeping a visit to our local community an enjoyable one. Also waste collection needs to be efficient and cheap.

One pet project of mine is the development of a digital cultural museum. I want council to provide facilities where the local community can create and develop digital media of cultural significance to our diverse peoples. From classical music to contemporary, and in different languages. So that a school child can create a message that could be seen in a home town anywhere in the world.

Communities need facilities. It is an essential service.

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From an advocacy group

Dear candidates for REDGUM WARD.
The Lyndhurst tip has been a serious issue for Greater Dandenong residents for many years.
As a candidate in the 2016 local council elections would you please reply your responses by Wednesday 12th October. Your comments may then be included in next weeks local paper.

The Lyndhurst Hazardous Waste landfill is close to many thousands of residents and workers. Greater Dandenong has a well documented position on the landfill.

Q. 1 Do you support the Councils position on the tip?
Q. 4. What priority do you place on implementing the councils current policy?
Q 2. Are you committed to this tips earliest possible closure?
Q. 3. How will you go about assisting the community so they no longer live so close to this facility?

T Wakelam
on behalf of
Residents Against Toxic waste in the South East Inc RATWISE

I am currently unaware of council's position on the tip. However, there needs to be a tip. It needs to be safe. It should be as cheap as possible. As the tip apparently meets EPO guidelines, what changes need to be made to the EPO to satisfy your constituents? This is not a local government matter, but a state government one. However, if you can find or point to local government matters in Greater Dandenong I am keen to work with your community to make sure you have not only what every Australian deserves, but the best of what we can offer.
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I daily visit the voting booth at Dandenong Council and see the others handing out how to vote cards and so on. It is an essential part of the democratic backbone of our nation. I am happy if they are happy. I don't feel the concerns expressed by some are realistic. People want my view on Same Sex marriage or Greyhounds. I am happy to discuss the matters. But there are serious issues that need to be addressed, that can be addressed, and that aren't being addressed. Local Council are involved with planning and they frequently hinder business rather than helping it. I want local business to prosper. I want local business to hire young people and help clean Dandenong streets of crime. To that end, I want businesses to be able to trade when they want to. I want them to have appropriate facilities and public access. It is outrageous that it takes two hours to get to work on Saturday going from Dandenong to Hallam, but a council licensed to operate venue in Hallam, on Abbott st, takes that long using public transport. The venue is open to children and members of the public, but there is no side walk access for kilometres. There is no direct bus. The busses that go past have stops more than a kilometre away. So a teacher going to work might spend four hours going to and from the venue, but maybe only work two hours at the venue. 

Another bus route in Keysborough takes a bus through narrow back streets instead of an adjacent main road. The locals have petitioned for change, and contacted the bus company, as have I, but Ventura do not reply. Local businesses have opened but they don't get many clients because there is no parking. It is a planning failure. Crime has increased 30% under the current council. 

Yet Green council members campaign against over development. 

I suggest Red Gum ward vote for David Daniel Ball. And, after asking your local councillor about their views on Trump, Same Sex Marriage and Greyhounds, try and find out what it is they will do to make garbage collection cheaper and more efficient. Ask how they will make business more profitable. Ask what they will do to help address crime. Ask what they will do to improve public transport issues locally. 
=== from 2015 ===
AGW hysterics claim they are not treated with respect by people they label deniers. So The Conservative Voice will fairly and impartially state the AGW position so it can be objectively evaluated. AGW hysterics believe that the world will become unsustainably hot because of plant food. They propose to bankrupt industry in a desperate attempt to eliminate plant food or everyone will die from the world heating like Venus. 

It is worth noting that there are no plants on Venus. So, possibly, AGW hysterics have perpetrated this hoax before. And look what happened. Meanwhile, Volkswagen has profited from exploiting a loophole in AGW alarmism. Nobody has been hurt or died, but the alarmists want $billions. Meanwhile, it is known Turnbull agrees with the hysterics, but has agreed to vacillate on the issue for the time being.

For some, at the moment, the Sex Party has more credibility.
From 2014
What is the cost of free speech? 18c has not curbed Hizb Ut-Tahir but has prosecuted Andrew Bolt for good journalism. Yet some say we need 18c to do exactly what it has failed to do. And yet speech is not free for normal people. It has become a rule for bigots opposing reason. But the most egregious abuse of 18c from the point of view of the Conservative Voice is that the refusal to report on newsworthy items by the mainstream press which have not required freedom of speech legislation .. they just choose to report only on what they feel protects their narrative. Hamidur Rahman is dead from such abuse. And his blood is on their hands too. We need free speech. But 18c is only an impediment. We don't have free speech even without 18c. 

Oakes attacks Hockey. Apparently Oakes feels that that is the best way to prosecute an ALP agenda, and it has nothing to do with current issues. Hockey was right to say Shorten can't support Liberal security policy if he refuses to allow the government the funds to pay for it. Meanwhile Shorten claims today that there would never be a carbon tax under a government he leads. But even after the change of senate, ALP clung to the tax to the bitter end .. even after Rudd claimed to have ended it. Shorten promises a carbon trade, which would replace a carbon tax and function like one. Mr Abbott has to protect and foster the economy. ALP are holding up $28 billion in savings. 

The constipated air warriors are not effective without ground forces. Obama has made the wrong call and many people are dying because of it. The Algerian migrant Benbrika is converting others to Jihadism from jail. There are many such examples around the world. Benbrika's sentence is pathetically short for his crime which put him there. Probably just as Pistorius' one will be too. 

In the interests of free speech I include some of the correspondence received from yesterday's post. 


Otto Mellar Antarctic ice MASS is decreasing, despite thin sea ice covering a larger area.
Suggest checking the scientific facts before taking the words of an unqualified blogger....See More

POLETOPOLECAMPAIGN.ORG

David Daniel Ball .. I suggest you look at the references before embarrassing yourself by spreading lies.

Otto Mellar If you have scientific evidence that ice MASS is increasing or staying the same, then please present it.

In the meantime, new from NASA this week:

http://phys.org/.../2014-09-goce-reveals-gravity-dip-ice...

GOCE reveals gravity dip from ice loss (w/ Video)
Although not designed to map changes in Earth's gravity...
PHYS.ORG

David Daniel Ball (Although not designed ..)

David Daniel Ball .. anyway .. one of your glorious leaders has said the increase was as expected ..

Otto Mellar "glorious leaders" = one of the highly qualified scientists?
Yes, sea ice may well be widely spread, but it's much thinner and formed from the lowered salinity sea water. The salinity in the Antarctic is dropping due to increased ice from the land entering the ocean.
And as I have said twice, the total mass of ice has decreased.

But if evidence is not your thing, I won't trouble you with any more of it.

Bruu Swayn Otto, put those facts away. They ruin the rhetoric.

David Daniel Ball .. which is the fact, Bruu? the scientist contradicting themselves proudly? The observations based on materials not designed for it? Or the measurements you don't want to believe?

Robert Hayes Negatory according to ICESAT http://wattsupwiththat.com/.../icesat-data-shows-mass.../ to paraphrase Bruu "Robert, put those facts away. They ruin the rhetoric."

ICESAT Data Shows Mass Gains of the Antarctic Ice Sheet Exceed Losses
The results of ICEsat measurements are in for Antarctica,...
WATTSUPWITHTHAT.COM

Bruu Swayn Did you read the links, David?

Bruu Swayn Robert, you're linking Anthony Watts again.

Robert Hayes Who's linking to a peer paper.

Robert Hayes Are you not the least bit skeptical Bruu of record southern sea ice? And the prescribed warming causes ice counter intuitive claim. Is the dog ate it also a plausible explanation?

Bruu Swayn " While the interior of East Antarctica is gaining land ice, overall Antarctica has been losing land ice at an accelerating rate. Antarctic sea ice is growing despite a strongly warming Southern Ocean."

http://www.skepticalscience.com/antarctica-gaining-ice...

Is Antarctica losing or gaining ice?
While the interior of East Antarctica is gaining land ice, overall Antarctica is losing land ice at an accelerating...
SKEPTICALSCIENCE.COM

Jules Lees David Daniel Ball your silence is pretty weak chief.

Robert Hayes Are you doing this to me because I linked Watts? That's not a fair trade.

Bruu Swayn That links to more papers, which put perspective on the land ice, and it's important to relate the Arctic losses

Robert Hayes At all.

Bruu Swayn Yes it is

Robert Hayes HADCRUT says no warming

Robert Hayes RSS for slightly different lats shows the same thing

Otto Mellar No warming? And the mechanism for ice moving off the continent is ...?

Robert Hayes Is the snowfall just meant to mound there year after year?

Bruu Swayn HadCRUT for instance has a cool bias

http://www.skepticalscience.com/first-look-at-hadcrut4.html

First Look at HadCRUT4
The UK Met Office Hadley Centre has just released HadCRUT4, which is an update to HadCRUT3 which, as...
SKEPTICALSCIENCE.COM

Bruu Swayn

Bruu Swayn Cherry picking is a wonderful thing

Robert Hayes How is that cherry picking? At least you don't have a cool bias Bruu.

Bruu Swayn Because look at my graph - same data sources. Clear warming, isn't there?

Otto Mellar And so you are really convinced that the gravity measurer did not measure a gravity reduction?
Care to back up that claim with evidence?

Robert Hayes Go on link to GISTEMP, their record goes all the way to 11.

David Daniel Ball My silence, Jules? I just post the facts ..

Jules Lees 23 post since your last one. Lots of questions and evidence that proves you are wrong or have not explained something correctly - going to address them?

David Daniel Ball I've looked, and no point seems extant .. care to list them for me? You might be the better reader

Sandra Maiden What a load of old horse feathers.
David Daniel Ball .. all the statements are backed up by articles .. feel free to challenge them if you work out what it is that you disagree with.

Paul Corrigan Work out!Anyone?

Bob Lawson Your a blogger David Daniel Ball. Your facts don't even tally with the statement the other day from the federal weather people saying that an enormous chunk of the Antarctic ice sheet has recently broken off and is slowly heading north. Please mate before you put this nonsense in print at least try to refute the weather science first. While some of modelling I think is the worst possible scenario there is no doubt that the earth's climate is warming and greenhouse gases not just CO2 that are man made are the major cause.

Bob Lawson Before you challenge me on academic grounds David Daniel Ball. I have three degrees. One in biology, another in industrial chemisty and third a masters degree in medicine. So I know what I am talking about where as you obviously don't.

David Daniel Ball Bob, The reason for the large chunk breaking off .. because there is so much ice .. the weight .. can't support it.

Bob Lawson Your understanding of physics is as flawed as your climate change sceptic blog mate. Here are the facts mate; the strengh of frozen H2O is reliant on temperature and temperature only. The warmer it gets the less ordered and therefore the less cohesive the water molecules become. The ice event I quoted has been completely stable for all of recorded history mate. Now all of a sudden it isn't. This is nothing to do weight Daniel just temperature. There you go you have eve learned some first year Uni physics.

David Daniel Ball lol .. and yet the AGW alarmist I quoted admitted it was building up and claimed the models predicted that .. argue with them ..

Bob Lawson You can find any looney to back up any point of view. The ice chunk that broke off is as big as some European countries. No I chose to argue with you and your no nothing and do nothing blog. My science is based on the properties of physics David Daniel Ball. They are not open to spin or selective interpretation by you or any other ratbag climate change sceptic. Thank god you people are in an ever decreasing minority.

David Daniel Ball dream on, Bob .. know nothing ..

David Daniel Ball .. thing is .. that guy you call looney is one of yours .. but a leader of yours .. and credentials that exceed your first year science. I'm not arguing my observations. Were I to do so I would point out that the Weather guy who is AGW alarmist is also on average 10 degrees off every single night .. always predicting more than I experience .. just an observation.
From 2013
Abbott is showing many signs of early success. He is stopping the boats. The ALP are begging him to break his promise on Industrial Relations and break Fair Work. Clearly industry failed when ALP butchered Work Choices. Another failed group are the ABC Fact Checkers. A buffoon in Palmer is threatening effective government .. if he carried out his threats he will not be thanked, or be able to buy, the electorate again. Speaking of buffoons, Obama is President of the US in name, but he is not competent. Debt figure shared with Clinton and Bush, compared with Obama, include for Bush a stimulus payment at the end of his Presidency .. so Bush certainly spent it, but not as part of his administration (only at the end) but as a gift to Obama, approved by Pelosi Democrats. 

I'm against censorship. If you want a video made for a wedding or a function, there is an article I have posted about a very rude bigot who ruined one for a couple. Don't ever do business with them. If they come begging, don't feed them. You know who they are. 
Historical perspective on this day
Not done
=== Publishing News ===
This column welcomes feedback and criticism. The column is not made up but based on the days events and articles which are then placed in the feed. So they may not have an apparent cohesion they would have had were they made up.
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Thanks to Warren for this advice on watching Bolt
Warren Catton Get this for your PC or MAC https://www.foxtel.com.au/foxtelplay/how-it-works/pc-mac.html Once you have installed it start it up and press Live TV you don't need a login to watch Sky News!
===
I am publishing a book called Bread of Life: January. 

Bread of Life is a daily bible quote with a layman's understanding of the meaning. I give one quote for each day, and also a series of personal stories illustrating key concepts eg Who is God? What is a miracle? Why is there tragedy?

January is the first of the anticipated year-long work of thirteen books. One for each month and the whole year. It costs to publish. It (Kindle version) should retail at about $2US online, but the paperback version would cost more, according to production cost.
If you have a heart for giving, I fundraise at gofund.me/27tkwuc
===
Editorials will appear in the "History in a Year by the Conservative Voice" series, starting with AugustSeptemberOctober, or at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/1482020262/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_dVHPub0MQKDZ4  The kindle version is cheaper, but the soft back version allows a free kindle version.

List of available items at Create Space
Happy birthday and many happy returns Hanh LeStephen Woodward, Quoc Ta and Kylie Phillips. Born on the same day, across the years, along with
1335 – Taejo of Joseon (d. 1408)
1738 – Arthur Phillip, English admiral and politician, 1st Governor of New South Wales (d. 1814)
1739 – Grigory Potemkin, Russian military leader and politician (d. 1791)
1809 – Orson Squire Fowler, American phrenologist (d. 1887)
1821 – George Williams, English founder of the YMCA (d. 1905)
1844 – Henry J. Heinz, American businessman, founded the H. J. Heinz Company (d. 1916)
1919 – Art Blakey, American drummer and bandleader (d. 1990)
1937 – Bobby Charlton, English footballer
1947 – Thomas Boswell, American columnist
1957 – Dawn French, Welsh actress and screenwriter
1965 – Luke Perry, American actor
1976 – Emily Deschanel, American actress
1993 – Josip Čalušić, Croatian footballer
Pope John XXIII
Your treaty ends in song. You make water rise. You have Dutch courage. The insurgents are armed. The council is convened. Lets party. 
Deaths
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Tim Blair



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Andrew Bolt



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Merkel’s open invite to ragbag of fanatics

Piers Akerman – Saturday, October 10, 2015 (9:16pm)

THE bookies are backing ­German Chancellor Angela Merkel for this year’s Nobel Peace prize for welcoming the Islamic invasion of Europe.

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'Merkel’s open invite to ragbag of fanatics'
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The biggest threat is in pandering to Islam

Miranda Devine – Saturday, October 10, 2015 (9:18pm)

MALCOLM Turnbull was at it again on Friday, patronising ­ordinary Australians. After a week refusing to talk about the terrorist attack on NSW police HQ in Parramatta, the Prime Minister held a press conference in which at least he called the murder of police accountant Curtis Cheng by a 15-year-old Muslim gunman “religiously motivated” — though he couldn’t bring himself to specify a particular religion.

Icon Arrow Continue reading 'The biggest threat is in pandering to Islam'
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NO PEPPER FOR BABY MICHAEL

Tim Blair – Sunday, October 11, 2015 (3:12am)

Tony Abbott’s responses to terrorism were much too sharp for Mike Seccombe’s delicate tastes. Seccombe is grateful that the latest terrorist attack was followed by Malcolm Turnbull’s milksop mildness rather than Abbott’s awful accuracy:  
Turnbull is considering, not provoking. Journalists seeking comment from his office are being politely told he does not want to play politics with the issue. It’s a stark difference. 
Read the whole column and you’ll be reminded of a fussy white toddler demanding that all unfamiliar flavours be removed from her first post-infancy meal. Strange thing, though. Turnbull himself has defined Islamic terrorism as political. According to Seccombe’s analysis, our Prime Minister must be the only politician in history who won’t politicise politics.
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HE MAKES A GOOD CASE

Tim Blair – Sunday, October 11, 2015 (3:06am)

“Let’s ban them,” writes Jack Baruth. “Let’s wipe the diesel-powered passenger car from the earth.
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PRIME SIMPSON

Tim Blair – Sunday, October 11, 2015 (2:16am)

Homer Simpson defines “political” in 1994: 
Homer: But Marge, I was a political prisoner!
Marge: How were you a political prisoner?
Homer: I kicked a giant mouse in the butt! Do I have to draw you a diagram? 
Twenty-one years later, Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop are using a similar definition of “political” to explain Islamic terrorist Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar. As Homer might have put it: “He picked up a gun at a mosque and shot an accountant in the back of the head! Do I have to draw you a diagram?”
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GAZA TO GOSFORD

Tim Blair – Sunday, October 11, 2015 (2:02am)

Our Grand Mufti’s mates include Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher, Hamas and … Gosford’s holier-than-thou Father Rod Bower, who might find inspiration in the Hamas charter for his famous suckworthy signs. Try these on for size, Rod: 
Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.
Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people. “May the cowards never sleep.”
Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. 
The angled Anglican need only apply a little editing and those lines will be Gosford-ready.
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NEW IS OLD

Tim Blair – Sunday, October 11, 2015 (12:58am)

ABC boss Mark Scott claims his tax-funded operation has “played a key role in changing the definition of news”
The Checkout, Triple J’s Hack, Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell and The Weekly with Charlie Pickering have contributed to the idea news is not just something delivered across a desk with reporters doing pieces to camera. It can be open to interpretation and can deliver key information in new and entertaining ways. 
“New”? Hardly. Jon Stewart began “changing the definition of news” – that is to say, using it as a delivery system for smug leftism – way back in 1999. Scott’s network merely imported a US trend and made it even less funny.
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THESE PEOPLE ARE TREATING IT LIKE A COSTUME

Tim Blair – Sunday, October 11, 2015 (12:53am)

An exchange between commentators during Saturday’s rain-hit Dunlop series race at Bathurst: 
Riana Crehan: There is no rain in pit lane at the moment but I look across to the grandstand and the fans are starting to put their ponchos on ...
Neil Crompton: Have you got yourself a little poncho?
Riana: No, I don’t have a poncho! 
Presumably both Riana and Neil will now be fined $25,000 for breaking Australian motorsport niceness rules with their terrible poncho insensitivity.
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Shorten a gift to the ethnic union movement

Andrew Bolt October 11 2015 (8:06am)

There is something very shabby about the sources of Bill Shorten’s power:
Anonymous gift cards were used to pay the dues of hundreds of ALP members at the core of Bill Shorten’s local power base in one of the biggest-ever branch-stacking scams to hit the Victorian Labor party. 
Insiders close to it say the operation has run for years and is closely linked to the plumbers union and suburban Labor warlords loyal to Mr Shorten and fellow federal frontbencher, Stephen Conroy.
Documents obtained by Fairfax Media reveal that in 2013, gift cards worth thousands of dollars were used to pay Labor memberships of plumbers union officials and suburban branch members.
Among them is Plumbing Trades Employees Union organiser and Whittlesea councillor Norm Kelly. He denied any knowledge of the gift cards and insisted he always paid his own membership.
Many of the members involved appear to be of Lebanese background and linked to northern suburban powerbroker David Asmar, the husband of Diana Asmar, the Victorian secretary of the trouble-plagued Health Services Union No.1 branch.
Note how useful Labor finds unassimilated and tribal migrant communities? Think it can be trusted to run an immigration program that puts your security first?
UPDATE
I am told I am unfair to include the Asmars in my general observation. Further, David has been most active in the Lebanese Christian community, which cannot fairly be called unassimilated.  
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No, the threat is not “us”

Andrew Bolt October 11 2015 (7:48am)

Miranda Devine on the demonisation of non-Muslim Australians:

MALCOLM Turnbull was at it again on Friday, patronising ­ordinary Australians. After a week refusing to talk about the terrorist attack on NSW police HQ in Parramatta, the Prime Minister held a press conference in which at least he called the murder of police accountant Curtis Cheng by a 15-year-old Muslim gunman “religiously motivated” — though he couldn’t bring himself to specify a particular religion. 
But then he was back to lecturing us about tolerance, commanding us to engage in “mutual respect”. Presumably he still has in mind the fabled ­Islamophobia backlash that never seems to materialise.
We’ve had three terrorist ­attacks on home soil in the last year, resulting in the deaths of three innocent Australians and serious injury to two police officers, not to mention the curtailment of our freedoms and a sense of foreboding that is now the backdrop of any public event.
Police and military personnel are under such threat they have been told not to wear their uniforms in public…
Journalists have had to move house or beef-up security due to Islamist intimidation…
Despite this assault on our way of life, there are no Islamophobic rampages. That is all a fantasy of moral poseurs, who reveal their own bigotry against ordinary Australians… 
They keep predicting anti-Muslim backlashes and the good sense of Australians keeps proving them wrong. Take Friday afternoon. Despite all the hype, the protest outside Parramatta mosque was a fizzer.
Chris Kenny:

Islamist extremist terrorism is so serious that politicians, authorities and media should be honest and forthright in how they discuss it. But they are too often hesitant about confronting the issue, and patronising towards the public. 
Last weekend, after the random shooting of police accountant Curtis Cheng in Parramatta, our political leaders seemed to lose perspective…
Malcolm Turnbull ... rushed to demand that Australians refrain from blaming or vilifying all Muslims for this brutal act.
Here was an innocent, law-abiding citizen who had been killed in an act of jihadist terrorism and our political leaders were lecturing innocent law-abiding citizens.
It is not the innocent law-abiding citizens who are the problem here; it is the lawless Islamist extremist terrorists.
Why hasn’t there been a backlash? Clearly, because Australians, on the whole, are sensible, wise and tolerant; they don’t need condescending lectures from politicians and the media....
A few years ago after some horrific attacks overseas, former Liberal minister Amanda Vanstone said we should respond by taking a Muslim friend to dinner. It is that silly. 
Of course, if you can persuade Australians that the greatest danger lies in a backlash from non-Muslims, it takes the pressure off Muslim clerics to reform their faith and drive out the extremists.  And it ends any discussion about whether Islam can in fact be reformed to fit a society such as ours.
No wonder the clerics prefer the Turnbull narrative.
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 
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ISIS grows in our jails

Andrew Bolt October 11 2015 (7:34am)

The Islamist threat seems greater than we are usually told, and politicians give us little cause to believe they are frank:
ISIS is now a powerful Australian prison gang with the international terror outfit threatening to behead NSW Department of Corrective Services staff and inmates who do not convert to radical Islam. 
Infamous Darwiche gang member Adnan ‘‘Eddie’’ Darwiche was stabbed eight times last month in a religiously motivated gang war ­between inmates linked with ISIS and former Sydney street gang the Assyrian Kings.
A terror plot that involved the kidnapping and beheading of prison guards was also uncovered by jail intelligence and the growing group is threatening to murder jail ‘‘infidel’’ who will not convert.
There are believed to be at least 30 members of the growing ISIS gang in Goulburn jail alone and all non-Muslims were last month removed from the ‘‘Lebanese’’ yard to make one section of the prison an exclusively ­Islamic prison pod…
The drastic action to separate inmates by religion and race came after double murderer Darwiche was attacked by two Christian prisoners with links to the Assyrian Kings gang in a brutal stabbing.
Darwiche, who waged a murderous war against some of the Razzak family in ­Sydney from 2001 to 2009, was stabbed eight times by men wielding prison shivs made from a toilet brush and a sandwich toaster handle.
Although Darwiche was the victim of the stabbing, which arose out of conflict between radical Islamists and Christians, there’s no evidence he is a proponent of ISIS. 

(Thanks to reader RightWingNuclearArmedDeathRabbit.) 
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EHBROLA OUTBREAK

Tim Blair – Saturday, October 11, 2014 (12:39pm)

During an otherwise wonderful New Zealand visit, I appear to have caught Ehbrola – the Kiwi version of Ebola. Symptoms are much like those associated with a severe common cold, except they’re far worse, because they’re happening to me.
Regular posting may resume in coming days, once I recover.
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Mates rates on free speech

Andrew Bolt October 11 2014 (8:33am)

Boy, can I spot the hypocrites suddenly crusading for free speech. Once again we see that for many on the Left it’s not the principle that counts but the side.
Chris Kenny:
… after promising to bolster free speech by weakening or revoking racial vilification laws, the Coalition is now proposing to ban speakers and organisations (such as Hizb ut-Tahrir) that have long freely expressed their views on our shores… 
On the green Left the contortions are decidedly more convoluted. Politicians and commentators who just a year or so ago supported de facto regulation of all print media content — on the spurious grounds of perceived political bias — now stridently object to narrowly focused legislative restrictions on the reporting of intelligence operations.
Take the uncritical view of media regulation from former Ten Network bureau chief Paul Bongiorno. “They are giving the citizens of this country greater redress against their treatment in the media,” Bongiorno told ABC radio in March last year, “that’s actually all these reforms are doing.”
Yet in recent weeks, seeing bipartisan support of the much more specific national security provisions, Bongiorno tweeted: “Labor’s support of the latest batch of terror laws is frightening. At least Abbott pretended in opposition to believe in our freedom.”
Hypocrisy is not his alone; the same wildly divergent approach has been evident across much of the ABC and even from the journalists union, which was “disappointed” by the proposed media regulation but says the anti-terror provisions are an “outrageous attack” on press freedom.
News organisations and commentators that have been eagerly prosecutorial of the Christian ­churches for many years now baulk at any criticism of Islam, even on related issues. 
The same people, for instance, who condemn the Catholic Church for not allowing gay marriage or female priests not only fail to make the same criticism of ­Islamic tradition but actively defend the right of Muslim communities to shroud their women in burkas or niqabs...
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Oakes says Hockey is making colleagues nervous

Andrew Bolt October 11 2014 (8:27am)

Laurie Oakes on Treasurer Joe Hockey asking Labor to also back the savings needed to back for the war it supports:
To quote Abbott’s close friend, Greg Sheridan, foreign editor of The Australian: “The most sure-fire way for a government to make a mess of the politics and, incidentally, the national security issues themselves, is to look as if it is milking national security for party-political advantage."… 
Hockey, a very experienced politician and would-be leader, should know all that. Small wonder that even some Liberals once close to him are starting to talk about Abbott’s “Hockey problem"…
There is plenty of discussion within the Government about Hockey’s prolonged period of poor form…
“People know he’s capable of doing a lot better,” says a Coalition adviser. But a former minister claims: “He was never regarded as part of the A team under Howard....
According to a senior figure in the Liberal organisation: “Tony needs to address this. The Treasurer is the second-most important person in the Government. It can’t go on.” 
He is not suggesting Hockey be moved from the portfolio. Rather, he says, the Prime Minister “should perhaps involve himself more with Joe” so that he can “keep an eye on things”.
Yet Hockey’s point is correct. Labor cannot keep proposing or backing expensive ends without also backing the means to pay for them.  Life just isn’t like that. Budgets, neither.
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 
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Who are we fighting for? And what are we actually doing?

Andrew Bolt October 11 2014 (7:52am)

If Australia can drop only two bombs in a week of trying to find targets, it is clear we’re in a war that cannot be won from the air.
And indeed:
The Pentagon on Tuesday said that airstrikes alone won’t be enough to halt ISIS’ advances on the crucial Syrian town of Kobani, which lies along the border between Syria and Turkey. It also admitted a central flaw in its plan: It has no effective partners on the ground at this point — and it won’t, perhaps, for more than a year. 
“We don’t have a willing, capable, effective partner on the ground inside Syria. It’s just a fact. I can’t change that,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters Wednesday. The administration has been providing limited assistance to various rebel groups on the ground, but has not coordinated airstrikes with them…
White House press secretary Josh Earnest acknowledged that the lack of partners on the ground limits the US’ ability to intervene in Kobani and hampers America’s broader goals…
As part of his strategy, Obama requested and was granted the authority to train and equip moderate elements of the Syrian opposition. But there’s been “no vetting started yet and no recruiting at this point” of those Syrian forces, Kirby said Wednesday.  US officials have said it will likely take up to a year to properly train the Syrian rebels under a program in coordination with Saudi Arabia, and possibly longer… 
US officials put the blame for Kobani’s seemingly impending fall squarely at the feet of Turkey. “There’s growing angst about Turkey dragging its feet to act to prevent a massacre less than a mile from its border,” a senior administration official told The New York Times...
But Turkey knows very well that in Kobani the struggle is between Islamist terrorists and Stalinist terrorists - or at least allies of terrorists:
In response to the growing ISIS threat, the PKK, the Peshmerga, and the People’s Protection Unit (the PKK-linked Kurdish militia group fighting in Syria), have established a united Kurdish front, with the PKK militants coming to the aid of Peshmerga fighters and halting the jihadi group’s advance into the autonomous region of northern Iraq. The People’s Protection Unit was the main force battling ISIS… The PKK has effectively become the West’s best hope for on-the-ground troops. The PKK has effectively become the West’s best hope for on-the-ground troops, winning the group positive reviews in Western media. 
So which of the 19 terrorist groups currently listed by the Australian Government do we want to help win?
The PKK’s professed aims:
True socialism cannot be established without a strong democracy. This has become clearer than ever before. The leaders of socialism such as Marx, Engels and Lenin have often stated this. It is well known that this was also the belief of Mao. However, an insufficient analysis of the state and a lack of a realisation of the state as being a tool for the eradication of democracy have ensured that the followers of these symbolic leaders have often fallen short in the struggle for socialism. The comprehension of the impossibility of socialism without democracy has been an important victory for socialist theory. Through history we can see that to be communal is to be democratic and to be democratic is to be communal. In fact, this is a fundamental law of sociality.
Who are we helping? 
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Abbott’s real war is with the economy

Andrew Bolt October 11 2014 (7:49am)

In the end it’s still the economy, stupid.
Paul Kelly:
The government is taking solace from a second-order recovery. But political recovery through ­national security issues cannot suffice. It helps Tony Abbott’s standing and deepens his confidence as Prime Minister, but ­national security performance cannot substitute for lack of pro­gress on the economic front… 
The International Monetary Fund has cut global growth forecast to 3.3 per cent this year, far below pre-global financial crisis levels, warning recovery is “fragile and uneven”. Growth in Australia looks below trend and doubts mount about China, while Senate sabotage of the budget remains entrenched. It is an outlook heavy with risk…
Abbott and Hockey must eventually persuade the public on their budget initiatives and the need for budget repair. Their aim is to confront and destroy Labor on the budget repair task. But that requires a better, tighter, more persuasive effort than anything so far seen from the government…
Hockey ... estimates the measures Labor is holding up in the Senate constitute about $28 billion of savings. You don’t need a calculator to know Bill Shorten has largely ­ruined Abbott’s budget with the most aggressive assault seen since Malcolm Fraser’s 1975 orgy of ­destruction....
What the Senate opposition implies ...  is that the nation’s budget repair task can be accomplished without much imposition or pain on the general community or change in core policies. This is a big-picture fantasy. 
Living standards growth is already going into decline. It is a scandal that after greatest surge in the terms of trade post-2003 the budget deficit sits at 3 per cent of gross domestic product.  
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 
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The Bolt Report tomorrow, October 12

Andrew Bolt October 11 2014 (7:26am)

On The Bolt Report on Channel 10 tomorrow at 10am and 4pm.
Editorial:  The true danger of Hizb ut-Tahrir.
My guest: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
The panel: Cassandra Wilkinson and Michael Kroger.

NewsWatch:  The Daily Telegraph’s Miranda Devine.
Plus - submit your nomination for a video clip we should run for the education or amusement of all. If we get enough good ideas, we may make this a regular feature.

The videos of the shows appear here.
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No warming, but here comes Shorten promising another form of carbon tax

Andrew Bolt October 11 2014 (6:46am)

Global warming - general

The atmosphere hasn’t warmed for at least 16 years. The deep ocean  hasn’t warmed for nine years.  Ice around Antarctica is at record levels unpredicted by climate scientists.
And here comes Labor, crying “kick me”:
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has raised the prospect of reviving one of Labor’s most politically damaging policy areas – a carbon price – as part of his bid to make Tony Abbott a one-term prime minister… 
Labor doesn’t support a carbon tax, but in terms of real and effective action on climate change I do support a market-based system to set a price and that’s where the rest of the world’s going,” Mr Shorten said.
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Benbrika still a hero to some in this land of mass immigration

Andrew Bolt October 11 2014 (6:19am)

That we let him in from Algeria in the first place is troubling. That he still has followers here is alarming:
THE nation’s worst convicted terrori­st, Abdul Nacer Benbrika, has been influencing jihadist recrui­ts from prison in a quest to become the spiritual leader of a new generation of Australian extremis­ts, following the rise of the Islamic State terror group. 
The growth in Benbrika’s influence in recent months has alarmed authorities, who have been forced to move him to a different Victorian prison after several of his followers travelled to Syria to fight with Islamic State after visiting him in jail…
A self-proclaimed Islamic cleric, Algerian-born Benbrika is serving a 15-year jail term for leading a terrorist group in 2005 that talked of attacking Melbourne’s Crown casino and bombing the MCG…
Officials are concerned about the number and type of visitors Benbrika is receiving in jail, including new followers who were too young to have associated with him during his terror plot in 2005. 
“He has had a lot of people come and visit him (in prison), young people, and some of them before they’ve gone overseas,” a source said.
UPDATE
Cassandra Wilkinson rightly demands a conversation - but the conclusion may be exactly what she does not desire:
In this context, debates have arisen in The Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Germany and Britain about whether certain elements of national culture need to be preserved from the diluting effects of immigration. The Dutch and Germans have framed it as preservation of social democratic values, the French as preservation of secularism, in Britain as Britishness. 
If we are to continue welcoming new migrants, as I think we should, and if we are to receive them in large numbers, as I think we should, Australia needs to pre-empt this national discussion before we find ourselves knee deep in cultural problems of the kinds causing social disharmony in Europe…
There are no doubt only tiny elements of the Muslim community who support a caliphate. However, there are undeniably somewhat larger elements of the community whose views are illiberal, sexist, homophobic and racist.
It’s been a while since we heard a clanger like the “unwrapped meat that attracts the cats” comments made after the western Sydney gang rapes, but Muslim community leaders have made it clear too often that they do not embrace our modern progressive culture.
If we are content to insist these concerns are only racism, the long-term response will be lower rates of immigration. 
If we can’t have a frank conversation about the standards of integration we expect from new migrants and the values we expect them to share, then voters will pursue the silent solution of electing politicians who don’t support immigration.
UPDATE
But how do we have a “discussion” with the head of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Australia, who says the goal of all Muslims is to spread the Islamist “revolution” in Syria to the rest of the world (from 28:54)?:
Wherever you are, you are soldiers of Islam, it is the man in your neck (?) to stand up and push the mujahid (jihadists) to be united, to walk in Islam, and not to kill each other, and to carry a very clear vision: we work for Islam (there is no god but God...) establish an Islamic state, build a caliphate, start in Syria, go around the world, to be against the enemies of Islam, the kuffar (unbelievers), all kuffar, without any exception.
(Can any readers understand what is said in the parts of the transcript marked “indistinct” and “Arabic”? Thanks very much indeed to reader Simple Simon for improving the transcription, and for translating.) 
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"Die gelebte und geförderte Mehrsprachigkeit ist Voraussetzung für interkulturellen Dialog, kulturelle Vielfalt und damit für ein gelungenes Zusammenwachsen Europas." (Goethe-Institut)
"The lived and promoted multilingualism is a prerequisite for intercultural dialogue, cultural diversity and hence for the successful integration of Europe." (Goethe-Institut)
Successful integration? ed
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Pizza Spaghetti Casserole !!

We've been making this for almost 20 years, and every time it gets better & better 

Ingredients 

1 lb. Ground meat (I like turkey)
1 16 oz. box uncooked spaghetti noodles
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Oregano
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ Cup Milk
1 Egg
2 ounces sliced pepperoni (I like Turkey)
1 (26 ounce) jar pasta sauce
1 16 oz. can diced Italian style tomatoes
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 (8 ounce) package shredded Italian cheese blend
Any other pizza toppings, you can add like Black olives, sausage, onions, green peppers, etc...

Directions:

Boil water & salt for Spaghetti noodles, once it starts boiling, add noodles. Brown meat in a separate frying pan. Once noodles are cooked, drain and put in a casserole dish. In a separate bowl, combine milk & egg & whisk. Poor over pasta & add jar of sauce, can of tomatoes, garlic powder, & oregano. Mix all together well. On top of pasta mixture, layer the ground meat, then add a layer of pepperoni's. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese, & Italian cheese. And layer more pepperoni. Bake in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes.

Feel free to LIKE AND SHARE !!

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Israel’s violation of basic civil rights stems from “emergency laws” enacted during the British Mandate.
    “No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.”
Written 800 years ago in the Magna Carta, this is one of foundations of English common law and the US Bill of Rights. Prohibiting arbitrary arrest and punishment is a fundamental aspect of every democracy.
Israel, however, seems to be an exception. The expulsion of Boaz Albert and his family from Yitzhar is a good example.

He was never told of what crime he was accused, or why he was being expelled; there was no trial.
Since the expulsion was ordered by the military administration, an appeal to those who gave and approved the order is an exercise in futility. Although the High Court has ruled that the Basic Law applies to every citizen, regardless of where he lives, it offers no remedy, since the order is legal according to Israeli law.
A legal absurdity, it recalls Franz Kafka’s novel, The Trial, about a man who is arrested and imprisoned, with the nature of his crime never being revealed to him, or to the reader.
Albert’s case seems to be punishment without a crime.
(Albert wrote “Why I decided to violate the administrative expulsion order,” Jerusalem Post Magazine, September 13, 2013.) Expelling Jewish citizens and heads of families from their homes and prohibiting them from living in Judea and Samaria for up to a year, or be imprisoned – without just cause or due process – violates civil and humanitarian law. Such politically motivated actions defy all democratic and judicial norms.
Since the reason for Albert’s expulsion is “confidential,” there is no way he can refute it, or defend himself in court.
This seems to violate Israel’s Basic Law, especially section 5: “There shall be no deprivation or restriction of the liberty of a person by imprisonment, arrest, extradition or otherwise.”
If there is evidence of criminal activity, the accused should be arrested and tried.
Expelling people from their homes and avoiding normal legal procedures either because evidence is weak, or non-existent challenges the entire legal system.
Israel’s violation of basic civil rights stems from “emergency laws” enacted during the British Mandate.
But “emergency laws” are unnecessary when proper civil laws are available.
Although the Edmund Levy commission proposed a remedy, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein refuses to pass it on to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – who hasn’t objected.
Depriving citizens of their rights and punishing them without charging them in court, without the ability to confront the accusations against them, without a fair and impartial trial, and without a chance to defend themselves, is undemocratic and unjust.
That is why Albert refuses to accept the expulsion order. His courageous act of civil disobedience seeks to expose a legal injustice.
The jurisdictional problem is complicated because “Area C” of Judea and Samaria is under Israeli military administration and Israel has not extended civilian law over this area. Yet, all other Israeli laws are enforced there, such as taxes, traffic violations, national service, etc. Why are expulsions an exception? That some Basic Laws don’t apply to Israelis who are accused of being a “danger to public safety” – without demonstrative proof – because they live in Judea and Samaria undermines the very idea of fair and impartial rule of law.
Carrying out punishments which are questionable and certainly legally compromising puts the credibility of the state itself at risk. When the state abuses its power, it becomes a weapon against its own legitimacy.
In 1948 we overcame British occupation; in 1967 we liberated Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation and Golan from Syria. But we are still chained to their anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist laws. Does that make sense?
The author is a PhD historian, writer and journalist living in Jerusalem.

The problem being that the UN endorses apartheid. UN endorses corruption. It would be better for Israeli law to apply equally throughout that land. - ed
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What has been happening in Fatah lately is more than differences of opinion among the faction's top brass.
A series of incidents over the past few weeks indicate that the Palestinian Fatah faction, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, is witnessing a sharp power struggle between some of its top leaders.
The infighting in Fatah is a sign of the growing challenges facing Abbas as he continues to conduct peace talks with Israel.
Moreover, the internal squabbling raises questions about Abbas's ability to reach any agreement with Israel that would be acceptable to most Palestinians.
What has been happening in Fatah lately is more than differences of opinion among the faction's top brass.
Some Palestinians have gone as far as saying that the infighting marks the beginning of a revolt against Abbas's leadership.
Fatah gunmen have returned to the streets of some West Bank cities and refugee camps are openly challenging Abbas's leadership.
The tensions inside Fatah reached their peak this week with the faction's decision to dismiss Mahmoud Abdel Hamid Issa, a top Palestinian security commander in Lebanon.
The Fatah Central Committee decided to dismiss Issa under the pretext that he had disobeyed orders issued to him by the Fatah leadership in the West Bank.
Issa was also suspected of forging an alliance with Abbas's political foe, Mohammed Dahlan.
Dahlan himself was expelled from Fatah two years after falling out with Abbas.
Abbas and the Fatah leadership suspect that Dahlan, who is based in the United Arab Emirates, is now working to rally Fatah members around him. They are convinced that Dahlan's ultimate goal is to replace Abbas as president of the Palestinian Authority.
The decision to expel Issa and strip him of his military rank drew strong condemnations from Fatah leaders and members in Lebanon. Last week, angry Palestinians in a refugee camp in Lebanon removed Abbas's photo from the streets and public squares in protest against the dismissal of Issa.
Since then, Abbas has been working hard to prevent an all-out mutiny against his leadership. In the context of his efforts, Abbas dispatched one of his top aides, Azzam al-Ahmed, to Lebanon for urgent discussions with Issa and other Fatah officials and activists.
Following the visit, al-Ahmed declared that the many crises plaguing Fatah have weakened it significantly.
"Fatah is in need of a cleansing campaign," he said. "We have given those who committed mistakes dozens of chances, but to no avail."
But as Abbas was busy trying to put down the fire inside Fatah in Lebanon, another dispute erupted between two senior Fatah officials in the West Bank.
The latest dispute began when bodyguards escorting Jibril Rajoub, a former security commander, beat Fatah legislator Jamal Abu al-Rub.
The incident took place during a heated debate over the responsibility of Fatah thugs and gunmen for scenes of anarchy and lawlessness in Jenin.
Abu al-Rub, who is a Fatah leader from Jenin, is nicknamed "Hitler" because of his ruthless and violent attacks on Palestinians suspected of "collaboration" with Israel.
After al-Rub was beaten, Fatah gunmen issued a leaflet warning Rajoub against entering Jenin. Now Abbas is busy trying to achieve a sulha [reconciliation] between the two senior Fatah leaders-warlords.
Palestinians familiar with Fatah said that the recent tensions inside the faction were nothing compared to other and more serious rivalries that have not been made public. According to the Palestinians, these tensions may also be linked to a war of succession that has begun inside Fatah.
Several Fatah leaders, including Rajoub and Dahlan, see themselves as potential successors to the 78-year-old Abbas.
The turmoil in Fatah is likely to have a negative impact on the peace talks with Israel, especially as Abbas faces growing criticism over his decision to return to the peace talks by many Palestinians.
Until recently, Abbas's critics used to insist that he does not have a mandate from his people to sign any peace agreement with Israel. The infighting inside Fatah shows that Abbas is also beginning to lose control over his own ruling faction.

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Former MK Aryeh Eldad, head of the Professors for a Strong Israel Forum, responded with sarcasm to the EuropeanCouncil’s decision torecommend the banning of circumcision as a violation of human rights.
"The Council of Europe has found at last the greatest threat to kids in the world,” Eldad said declared. “No, it’s not Assad and his chemical weapons. It’s not Khamenei and his nuclear weapons. They are already considered to be ‘the good guys’ and must’ve already been invited for a party at Catherine Ashton’s place.”
“It’s not even settlements this week,” he continued. “Now what is in their sites – unabashedly – are the foreskins of the Jews in Europe, who insist on circumcising their sons.”
Eldad expressed surprise at the Council’s decision, “What happened? Was this week Antiochus’ birthday? Was it Hadrian’s yartzheit [day of death – ed.]?”
Antiochus was the Greek ruler whose oppression of Jews in the land of Israel led to the Maccabean revolt known from the story of Hanukkah; according to the book of Maccabees, one of his decrees was to make circumcision of male infants a death penalty offense. Roman ruler Hadrian outlawed circumcision as well, along with many other Jewish practices; his repression sparked the unsuccessful Bar Kokhba revolt.
Anti-Semitism alone cannot explain the European Council’s decision, Eldad said. “The fact that they are anti-Semitic isn’t a new thing,” he said.
Eldad called on European Jews to avoid the ramifications of the Council’s decision by coming to live in Israel. “Keep in mind that most of the Jews in Israel didn’t come because of Zionism, but because of persecution… As a Zionist I condemn European anti-Semitism, but instead of begging them to cancel the decree, I call on Jews to make aliyah [immigrate],” he urged.
“For us, our word is our word,” said Eldad – a play on words, using the Hebrew word “mila” which can mean both “word” or “circumcision.”
While Eldad attacked the European Council’s decision, MK Ronen Hoffman (Yesh Atid), one of Israel’s representatives to the council, toldArutz Sheva that he believes that diplomacy and public relations efforts can stem European campaigns against circumcision.
The council’s decision should not be taken as a genuine attempt to protect babies’ rights, Hoffman added. Those who have first-hand experience withEuropean politics and the agendas at play know that human rights are not the issue, he said.

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It’s funny how the American Jewish community has a way of getting all breathless and excited when a new study comes out, as is happening right now with the new Pew survey.
As if we needed all this sophisticated evidence to remind us that Judaism in America is in trouble, and that we must find ways to make it more attractive and relevant if we want a healthy, pluralistic Judaism to survive over the next century.
When it comes to the decline of Judaism in America, we have this habit of getting bogged down with research specifics and losing the big picture.
As I see it, here is the big picture: What Judaism needs more than anything is great ideas and leadership, not more research.
We didn’t need research, for example, to tell us that the best way to connect with Israel is to visit Israel, and that young people love things that are free. The Birthright Israel program was a great idea, not a great study.
The most successful Jewish organization in history — Chabad — didn’t need pollsters to tell them that showing unconditional love for their fellow Jews is a really compelling idea.
Imagine if Chabad had done focus groups asking secular Jewish men if they were interested in having black-hatted rabbis with beards accost them on the street and urge them to put on tefillin
As advertising legend Bill Bernbach once put it, “We’re so busy measuring public opinion that we forget we can mold it.”
What will drive the success of future Jewish initiatives is not a sexy finding from a research study, but common sense, creativity and brilliant execution.
We don’t need research to tell us that people generally love to laugh, hate to be bored, want meaning in their lives, want to be successful, have happy relationships, feel a sense of belonging, fall in love, eat good food, listen to good music and so on.
The challenge for the Jewish community is to take these fundamental human truths and creatively and organically marry them to the Jewish tradition so that more people will be interested in Judaism.
Piece of cake.
Let’s take one simple truth: It’s better to have a restaurant with 20 items on the menu than two or three items.
The problem is that most Jewish “restaurants” of today — the synagogues — feature too few menu items, which usually revolve around religion (prayer and Torah) and holiday events.
Religious practice is an essential component of Jewish identity, which I love, but it is not the only one. And let’s face it, not everyone loves “religion.” Thank God, we’re lucky that the Jewish buffet is so rich. If we want to succeed with the new generation, we’ll need to tap into these riches. 
I’d love to see synagogues transform themselves into centers of Jewish celebration that serve up the whole Jewish buffet in all its glory: culture, history, music, philosophy, art, literature, poetry, comedy, Jewish meditation, mysticism, self-improvement, social justice, etc., in addition to prayer, Torah study and everything else they offer now.
If the goal is to build Jewish identity, shouldn’t we put the odds on our side by creating as many connections to Judaism as possible?
Let’s look at just one item on this buffet that consistently gets ignored: telling the stories of our people.
When is the last time any synagogue did an event on the history of the Persian Jews, or the Moroccan Jews, or the Polish Jews, or even the Chinese Jews?

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Ready for Compromise Peace But Concluded Correctly It Wasn't Possible (Ovadia Yosef)

 "The evil that men do is remembered after their deaths, but the good is often buried with them." -- William Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar"
******

It is amazing how much Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (ZTL) has been slandered or obviously misrepresented after he died at the age of 93 in Jerusalem a few days ago. It is symbolic of the demeaning and libeling of Judaism —not just Zionism—by others nowadays; it also illustrates the media misrepresentations due either to partisanship or ignorance among many who know they will not be caught or corrected .
But it is also amazing how many Jews, particularly outside Israel, try to use Ovadia Yosef in their suicidal naivete.
Let me briefly explain.
Born in Baghdad in 1920 (how long ago and what a distant world that was!)  Rabbi Yosef was recognized as a genius from an early age. He was a great teacher and jurisprudent. But he was far more than that.
I will summarize his achievements in five points.
First, Yosef gave peace a chance. At a certain point, he was really willing to take a dovish stance politically. But then, when it was clear that the Palestinian Arabs didn’t want peace, Yosef, like the majority of others in Israel—including Sephardic Jews as well as myself and many of my friends-- realized it wasn’t going to work.
This is the most interesting point seen by many Israelis--though the Western media keep it a big secret so that there is not sympathy or understanding for their position.
In 2003 Rabbi Yosef wrote:
"I want to clarify my position with regard to Yesha [the West Bank settlements]. Not once have I thought that the Halachic [Jewish religious law]  ruling which I issued at the time regarding 'territories in exchange for peace' is not valid and does not apply to the current situation. I had intended only a true peace, one in which Jerusalem and its surrounding neighborhoods would rest secure, in peace and harmony. But now we see that on the contrary handing over territory from our holy land endangers lives.  We never intended such a peace. Therefore the Oslo agreement is null and void. For I am for peace and they are for war [Quote from Psalm 120] and we have no one to rely on but our Father in Heaven...."
"With much love, and one who seeks your well being with all my heart and soul; Ovadia Yosef."
That is the obvious experience that changed millions of Israeli minds, making them sure that peace isn't going to happen: the realization that handing over territory will not bring peace, that Arab states (and Iran or Turkey) will not accept Israel. The concept of 'territories in exchange for peace' is not valid and does not apply to the current situation; or at least it can and will be reversed by Islamists.
Second, he developed a Sephardic (or Mizrahi) Jewish (Middle East) pride, identity and community and political institutions.
Third, toward the nation as a whole, he did much to integrate Sephardim into a successful national identity to produce a united people. In the 1980s, there was a really potentially explosive conflict between Jews of Eastern and Western origins such that you cannot conceive of something like it today.
Fourth, Yosef was very successful in preventing a wall from developing between more and less pious Sephardic Jews, particularly compared to Jews of European origin. It was a huge achievement that many take for granted.
A Jew with European origins will usually be either secular, Modern Orthodox, or Haredi (“ultra-Orthodox,” which is a meaningless term). Most Sephardic Jews are probably far more open. My son compares them to a spectrum like Conservative (Masorti, traditional) and “ConservOdox (Conservative-Orthodox blend).
Fifth, Yosef integrated the Sephardim into the country rather than keeping them in isolation. Most of the Haredim try to avoid army service and paid jobs. This is unthinkable for the Sephardim.
Now, what are the negatives? The first was that the political party he created,  Shas, was very corrupt. Yosef trusted bad people to lead it.  The defense was that the Sephardim, the last historically to get that chance, were just getting their fair share. The result was that there was a lot of corruption.
The second was that in his late 80s, Rabbi Yosef became impatient and angrier. He made statements that were intemperate at times toward his Israeli opponents and the Arabs. I might point out, without excusing those words, that the Arabs deliberately murdered thousands of Jewish children, women, and men in terrorism (with fewer than ten reciprocations?); yet Israel was ready to agree to a two-state solution in 2000. Jewish terrorists, very few in numbers, were punished by law; Palestinian terrorists were never punished by their groups or their government; indeed, they were not even delegitimized.  On the contrary, they were held up as positive role models, as heroes.
Yosef never endorsed violence or terrorism. And also, as I said, he was just verbally tough against his Jewish opponents at times.
Now, the punch-line. What characteristic did the Western and Israeli media highlight after 93 years of a near-saintly life?
Of course, "anti-Arab racism!" (He also championed the immigration of Ethiopian Jews.) 
And what does the mass media say about another famous religious leader, Shaykh Yosef Qaradawi, who has praised Hitler, advocated terrorism, genocide, violence, and revolution? He is often described as a moderate.
And what do the left-wing parts of the Israeli media do?
They pretend that Yosef never learned the lessons he voiced in his 2003 letter when he and many other Israelis realized that while they had wanted "true peace," handing over land for peace didn't work.
That, dear readers, is unfortunately why Israeli voters must act as they do. And that is why they are, unfortunately correct.
Israel was ready for a compromise peace but concluded correctly that it wasn't possible because of the other side.  It is the biggest secret in the Middle East -- something the left tells lies about; the Arabs reject; and well-intentioned doves cannot admit.

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The Israeli economy is expected to grow by 3.8 percent in 2013 and 3.3% in 2014, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday. The fund’s economists pointed out that Israel’s economy was strong, stable and diverse.
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NO ONE knew the name of the dead toddler whose body was found stuffed in an esky on the side of a New York City Highway. Until today.
Investigators first began hunting for answers 22 years ago in what became known as the mystery of Baby Hope. Now they know her real name was Angelica Ramirez.
The trail of Angelica’s killer was cold by the time road workers opened up the foul-smelling blue picnic esky in July 1991 to discover the child’s dead body.
She was naked, tied up and had been sexually abused.
The identity of the child, aged between three and five, was unknown and no relatives came forward to claim her. Police had no suspects.
Detectives, haunted by her death, claimed her as family and buried her in a moving public memorial service in 1993.
But now the mystery that has plagued detectives for close to two decades is close to being solved.

He was her dad .. but not her father .. Grieve for her - ed
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WHEN newlyweds Stan and Claudia Gocman settled down to watch a video of their big day they hoped to relive precious memories.
Instead they were greeted with a vile anti-Semitic rant about the bride and their guests after the cameraman accidentally recorded his racist commentary and then forgot to edit it from the tape.
As he filmed the happy couple dancing at the reception, Anthony Aurelius could be heard saying: “I don’t think I blame Hitler.”
He also told his unnamed assistant: “Some of the Jewish women are very beautiful to look at. But I can tell you, they’d be right f****** cows. Very f****** snooty, they’d be a pain in the a***. Not a very attractive bride at all.”
Mr Gocman, 28, a senior recruiter at accountancy firm KPMG, said the video had ruined their memories of the wedding.
His wife, a 27-year-old fashion buyer for Ralph Lauren, said: “It’s completely anti-Semitic and ignorant. Even the assistant, who is Asian, was racist. I just don’t understand it.
“At first, I was really upset but then I was furious. I think he’s a disgusting little man.
“I can’t even stand to watch the video, it makes me so angry.”

Bigotry is ugly .. don't buy from that video maker .. ed
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Breaking news .. Sydney temps down over 13 degrees centigrade from the previous day. AGW scientists cannot explain this global cooling phenomena, but think it is somehow related to plant food. If we send ourselves broke by eliminating plant food, the problem would be solved. - ed
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Holly Sarah Nguyen
When you believe and are confident that God loves you, no matter what’s going on, you can say, “I'm going to be alright, because God loves me. Because God loves me, I'm healed. I don’t care what the doctor has said. Because God loves me, these bills are going to be paid. God loves me, and He meets all my needs.” The peace that passes all understanding shows up when you know how much God loves you. 
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“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:20-21 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning


"Faultless before the presence of his glory."
Jude 24

Revolve in your mind that wondrous word, "faultless!" We are far off from it now; but as our Lord never stops short of perfection in his work of love, we shall reach it one day. The Saviour who will keep his people to the end, will also present them at last to himself, as "a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but holy and without blemish." All the jewels in the Saviour's crown are of the first water and without a single flaw. All the maids of honour who attend the Lamb's wife are pure virgins without spot or stain. But how will Jesus make us faultless? He will wash us from our sins in his own blood until we are white and fair as God's purest angel; and we shall be clothed in his righteousness, that righteousness which makes the saint who wears it positively faultless; yea, perfect in the sight of God. We shall be unblameable and unreproveable even in his eyes. His law will not only have no charge against us, but it will be magnified in us. Moreover, the work of the Holy Spirit within us will be altogether complete. He will make us so perfectly holy, that we shall have no lingering tendency to sin. Judgment, memory, will--every power and passion shall be emancipated from the thraldom of evil. We shall be holy even as God is holy, and in his presence we shall dwell forever. Saints will not be out of place in heaven, their beauty will be as great as that of the place prepared for them. Oh the rapture of that hour when the everlasting doors shall be lifted up, and we, being made meet for the inheritance, shall dwell with the saints in light. Sin gone, Satan shut out, temptation past forever, and ourselves "faultless" before God, this will be heaven indeed! Let us be joyful now as we rehearse the song of eternal praise so soon to roll forth in full chorus from all the blood-washed host; let us copy David's exultings before the ark as a prelude to our ecstasies before the throne.

Evening


"And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible."
Jeremiah 15:21

Note the glorious personality of the promise. I will, I will. The Lord Jehovah himself interposes to deliver and redeem his people. He pledges himself personally to rescue them. His own arm shall do it, that he may have the glory. Here is not a word said of any effort of our own which may be needed to assist the Lord. Neither our strength nor our weakness is taken into the account, but the lone I, like the sun in the heavens, shines out resplendent in all-sufficience. Why then do we calculate our forces, and consult with flesh and blood to our grievous wounding? Jehovah has power enough without borrowing from our puny arm. Peace, ye unbelieving thoughts, be still, and know that the Lord reigneth. Nor is there a hint concerning secondary means and causes. The Lord says nothing of friends and helpers: he undertakes the work alone, and feels no need of human arms to aid him. Vain are all our lookings around to companions and relatives; they are broken reeds if we lean upon them--often unwilling when able, and unable when they are willing. Since the promise comes alone from God, it would be well to wait only upon him; and when we do so, our expectation never fails us. Who are the wicked that we should fear them? The Lord will utterly consume them; they are to be pitied rather than feared. As for terrible ones, they are only terrors to those who have no God to fly to, for when the Lord is on our side, whom shall we fear? If we run into sin to please the wicked, we have cause to be alarmed, but if we hold fast our integrity, the rage of tyrants shall be overruled for our good. When the fish swallowed Jonah, he found him a morsel which he could not digest; and when the world devours the church, it is glad to be rid of it again. In all times of fiery trial, in patience let us possess our souls.
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Today's reading: Isaiah 34-36, Colossians 2 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway

Today's Old Testament reading: Isaiah 34-36



Judgment Against the Nations

1 Come near, you nations, and listen;
pay attention, you peoples!
Let the earth hear, and all that is in it,
the world, and all that comes out of it!
2 The LORD is angry with all nations;
his wrath is on all their armies.
He will totally destroy them,
he will give them over to slaughter.
3 Their slain will be thrown out,
their dead bodies will stink;
the mountains will be soaked with their blood.
4 All the stars in the sky will be dissolved
and the heavens rolled up like a scroll;
all the starry host will fall
like withered leaves from the vine,
like shriveled figs from the fig tree....

Today's New Testament reading: Colossians 2

I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
Spiritual Fullness in Christ
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ....
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Mary Magdalene


The Woman Who Had Seven Devils

Scripture References - Matthew 27:566128:1Mark 15:404716:1-19Luke 8:224:10John 19:25;20:1-18.

Name Meaning - The present Mary is distinguished from all others of the same name as "The Magdalene," which identifies her with her place of birth, just as Jesus was called "The Nazarene" because of His association with Nazareth. Magdala means "tower" or "castle," and in the time of Christ was a thriving, populous town on the coast of Galilee about three miles from Capernaum. Dye works and primitive textile factories added to the wealth of the community. It may be that "The Magdalene" was connected with the industry of the town for it would seem as if she was not without means, enabling her to serve the Lord with her substance.

Family Connections - We have no record of Mary's parentage, her marital status or her age. That she was free to follow Jesus in His journeyings would suggest that she had no home obligations.

Before we outline Mary's life and character, we deem it necessary to disassociate ourselves from those who connect her with the unnamed woman "which was a sinner." Luke, who knew her, wrote about this woman (Luke 7:37). The JewishTalmud affirms that Magdala had an unsavory reputation, and because of the harlotry practiced there was destroyed. Doubtless it was from this tradition, and from the fact that Luke's first reference to her follows the story of the sinful woman, that the idea developed that Mary was a prostitute, but there is not an iota of genuine evidence to suggest such a bad reputation. Those theologians who describe her as a profligate do her an injustice, just as calling institutions for the care of fallen women "Magdalen Homes" does. One writer defines Magdalen as "the inmate of a female penitentiary," but the Bible depicts Mary as a pure, though deeply afflicted woman before she met Jesus. To suggest that she was dissolute because she was possessed by seven devils, is to affirm that every insane person is depraved. There is no word whatever in the writings of the Christian Fathers, whose authority stands next to the apostles, as to Mary having a foul reputation.
The name of the woman taken in adultery was graciously withheld, but with every reference to "The Magdalen" her name is given, and after her liberation from demonic influence appears as one of the most faithful and beautiful characters of the Bible. The wide acceptance of the tradition that she was a reformed prostitute is utterly baseless. Mary was only a sinner in the sense that we all are, having been born in sin and shapen in iniquity. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Having sought to relieve Mary's name of the foul stigma attached to it, let us now outline her career.
She is mentioned fourteen times in the gospels, and from references to her we can see clearly what she did and how she did it. A striking feature in eight of the fourteen passages is that Mary is named in connection with other women, but she always heads the list, implying that she occupied the place at the front in service rendered by godly females. In the five times where she is mentioned alone, the connection is with the death and Resurrection of Christ (Mark 16:9John 20:1 111618). In one instance her name comes after that of the mother and the aunt of Jesus. She stood close by the cross with these women, but because of their relation to Jesus it would not have been fitting to put her name before theirs (John 19:25 ). No woman, however, superseded Mary in her utter devotion to the Master.
In Demonic Bondage
Although Mary was a woman of high standing and comfortable circumstances, she suffered from the malady of periodic insanity. For "the seven devils" we should read seven demons . There is only one devil - and one is more than enough - but there are legions of demons, or roaming fallen angels, who possessed men and women - and still do! Seven is a mystic number suggesting "completeness," implying that when the evil spirits dominated Mary the suffering was extremely severe. Afflicted with nervousness, she may have been the victim of violent epilepsy, and when Jesus saw her with her peace of mind and control of will destroyed she must have been a revolting object to look at with her disheveled hair, glaring eyes and sunken cheeks. Her demonic possession did not affect her morals, only her mind. Badness of character did not ensue, only the derangement of her mental faculties. Sometimes "love - misplaced and guilty love - has destroyed many women, first leading to insanity, and then to suicide.... Sometimes, too, women become victims of insanity by inheritance." What weakness Mary may have had, making it easy for demons to enter her, we are not told. This we do know, they met their Master in Him who came to destroy the works of the devil.
A Liberated Soul
Luke links Mary with Joanna and Susanna and "many others" as those healed of evil spirits and infirmities by Jesus. As Mary is referred to as having "seven demons" her condition must have been worse than the rest. But the moment Jesus' compassionate eyes saw the wild-eyed and cringing woman of Magdala, He saw in her the ministering angel who would be a blessing to His own heart and to others. In His authoritative voice He commanded the tormenting demons to come out - and stay out - of her. "Back! back! to your native hell, ye foul spirits of the pit," and the miracle happened. Her deranged and nerve-racked mind became as tranquil as the troubled lake Jesus calmed. Sanity returned, the rosy tint was restored to her cheeks, and she was made whole. Now, "clothed and in her right mind," she was ready to become one of the most devoted woman disciples of Him to whom she owed so much. That she was deeply grateful for physical and mental healing is shown by what she endeavored to do for her Deliverer and His cause. Saved from the terrible power of hell, she gave of her best to Him who had fully emancipated her from demonic possession. When Christ saved her, He liberated the highest virtues of sacrifice, fortitude and courage.
In Journeyings Oft
Delivered, Mary became a disciple. Freed from satanic bondage she became harnessed to the chariot of the Lord, and her personal ministrations, along with those of other women who had been healed, greatly aided Jesus in His missionary activities as He went from place to place preaching and teaching His message. Grateful, these women became generous, ministering unto Him of their substance. Mary left her home in Magdala to follow Jesus. Constantly on the move as Jesus and His disciples were, there were many details in connection with their personal comfort and well-being requiring attention to which these women could see. Quietly and effectively Mary would do what she knew needed to be done. Further, money was necessary for the Master's campaign work. We never read of Him or His disciples asking for money, yet funds were necessary. Much of it came from Mary and other women like her who had been so richly blessed of the Lord. Alas, not all who have benefited are grateful! Christ once healed ten lepers, but only one came back to thank Him for His grace and power. Emancipated, Mary helped Jesus to evangelize as she willing gave of her substance to help meet His needs. How much her personal presence and service must have meant to Jesus.
At the Cross
Mary went with her Lord into the shadows, and is thus represented as being among those who followed Jesus on His last sad journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. And as they followed, they still "ministered unto Him." Mary was present with the other holy women at the mock trial of Jesus. No longer is He on the road with crowds gathering and hanging on His words. Fearless in His declaration and denunciations, He is arrested and tried for His life. Some of His intimate friends had deserted Him, but Mary and her band did not forsake Him. The poet reminds us -
Not she with traitorous kiss her Master stung,
Not she denied Him with unfaithful tongue;
She, when Apostles fled, could dangers brave,
Last at the Cross, and earliest at the grave.
Mary was present in Pilate's Hall and saw and heard the religious leaders clamoring for the blood of Him who was so precious to her heart. She listened as Pontius Pilate pronounced His death sentence of crucifixion although he had found no fault in Him. She witnessed and wept as Jesus left the hall to be spat upon and ill-treated by the crowd thirsting for His blood. Then she saw Him led out to Calvary's fatal mount to be nailed to a tree.
Mary was one of the sorrowing group of holy women who stood as near as they could to comfort Jesus by their presence in the closing agonies of the crucifixion (Luke 23:49 ). Mary listened with a broken heart to His bitter cries and watched through those dread hours until at last the Roman soldier thrust his spear into the Saviour's side and declared Him dead. In the renowned picture gallery in the Louvre, there is a painting of desolation, despair and love. The artist has depicted the night of the crucifixion. "The world is wrapped in shadow; the stars are dead; and yet in the darkness is seen a kneeling form. It is Mary Magdalene with loving lips and hands pressing against the bleeding feet of Christ." Yes, she was there when they crucified her Lord.
No sooner had Jesus dismissed His spirit than the question arose among the Marys at the cross, "How could they secure that blood-stained body, and prepare it for burial?" Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus, to the relief of the sorrowful mourners, had come for that very purpose. The artist Rubens, in his masterpiece, The Descent of the Cross represents Mary Magdalene, and Mary the wife of Cleophas, assisting Joseph and Nicodemus in receiving the battered body from the tree, preparing it for burial, then placing the precious remains in the new tomb in the garden. Mary Magdalene remained "sitting over against the sepulchre" and "beholding" until Joseph had laid the Lord's body away (Matthew 27:61Mark 15:47Luke 23:55).
In the Garden
Last at the cross, where Jesus died as the Lamb of God, Mary Magdalene was also the first at the garden tomb to witness the most important event in world history and the pivotal truth of Christianity, namely the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. What a great honor God conferred upon the faithful Mary Magdalene in permitting her to be the first witness of that Resurrection! She was at the tomb early on that first Easter morning, and as the light of earliest day filtered across Jerusalem, she peered into the cave. Seeing it was empty, she wept. Then John, the inspired genius who wrote in unusually terse Greek, describes what happened in a way unparalleled in narrative literature. Finding the grave empty Mary rushed to Peter and John, and most excitedly said, "They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre and we know not where they have laid him." These disciples returned with Mary Magdalene to the tomb and found that what she had told them was true, then departed "to their own homes." But not Mary! She stood at the door of the sepulcher weeping, and as she wept two angels appeared, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Seeing her distressed and afraid, they tenderly asked, "Woman, why weepest thou?" Tremblingly she replied, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him."
What pathos is in the word "my Lord" - my very own Lord, the One who did so much for me, and whom I loved to serve. Turning away she saw a figure, and thinking He was the gardener answered in reply to the question: "Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?" - in words most courageous - "Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away."
Mary, so full of her Lord, felt that all others must know Him whose body was missing from the tomb. Then one word from the Voice she now recognized uttered her name, "Mary"! That old familiar tone gripped her heart, and instantly she cried "Rabboni!" which was her strongest expression of reverent love. Casting herself before the risen Lord, she would have clasped His feet, but He said, "Do not cling to me!" Thrilled at having Jesus alive again, Mary's love was of a nature which leaned upon the human presence of Jesus. Along with the other disciples, Mary, too, had to learn how "to rise to a higher and at the same time a nearer, but spiritual communion with Him.... Her earthly affection needed to be elevated into a heavenly love" (John 20:25-29).
Then Jesus commissioned Mary to become the first herald of His Resurrection. She had to go and announce the greatest good news ever proclaimed, "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God and your God." We can imagine with what speed Mary ran back through the gates of Jerusalem to tell the disciples that their Lord who had died was alive forevermore. Mary had stayed near to Christ in His journeyings, and had cared for many of His human needs until His corpse was laid in the tomb. He now rewarded her with a closer knowledge of things divine, and she was given an honor that cannot be taken away from her, namely, that of being the first among men or women to see the Risen Lord, and to receive the first message from His lips (John 20:18). Although this is the last glimpse we have of Mary Magdalene, we have no hesitation in assuming that she was present with the women (Acts 1:14 ) who assembled with the apostles in the upper chamber for prayer and supplication, and to await the coming of the promised Spirit. Upon that historic day, Pentecost, when a bequeathed Guide and Comforter came, Mary must have been caught up by His power and made an effective witness of her risen and now ascended Lord.
There are one or two important lessons we can learn from Mary of Magdala. First of all, in her we see what Christ is able to do for a woman. When He first met her she was an afflicted, tormented soul, but Jesus healed her of her insanity and also of the maladies of her soul, and made her His loyal and sacrificial follower. Have we been cleansed of demon-like sins? This is the application Alexander Whyte makes in his study of this Mary: "We do not know just what Mary Magdalene's seven scars were. But for our learning, Dante's own seven scars are written all over his superb autobiographical book" -
Seven times
The letter that denotes the inward stain,
He on my forehead, with the truthful point
Of his drawn sword inscribed. And "Look," he cried,
When enter'd, "that thou wash these scars away."
John Bunyan has the same number at the end of his Grace Abounding -
I find to this day these seven abominations in my heart. Pride, envy, anger, intemperance, lasciviousness, covetousness, spiritual sloth - these were Dante's seven scars on his sanctified head.... It is better to enter into Heaven with seven devils excavated out of our hearts as with a knife, than to have them gnawing in our hearts to all Eternity.
A further lesson is that of what a woman can do for the One who has done so much for her. Once Mary was healed and saved, she practiced her faith in following Jesus and ministering to Him and His disciples of her substance and witnessing to His death and Resurrection to others. Are there not a thousand ways in which converted and consecrated women can serve the Master acceptably. Mary's gratitude and love manifested itself in devotion to Christ. She owed much, gave much, loved much, served much. Has He expelled Satan from our lives? If so, are we loving and serving Him to the limit of our capacity, daily witnessing to the power of His Resurrection?
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Thomas

[Thŏm'as] - twinOne of the twelve apostles of Christ, and called also Didymus (Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; John 11:16; 14:5; 20:24-29; 21-2; Acts 1:13).

The Man Who Doubted


Thomas, we are told, was not really a name but an epithet, meaning, like its Greek equivalent Didymus, "the twin." David Smith suggests that the apostle's name was Judas, but that he was named "the twin" to distinguish him from Judas, the son of James, and Judas Iscariot. Tradition credits him with the authorship of a gospel which is included in apocryphal literature.

Zealous, inquisitive and incredulous, he earned the title of "Thomas the Doubter." Because of his hesitancy in accepting the disciples'story of the Resurrection of Christ, Thomas has come down through the centuries as a typical pessimist and sceptic. But was he an habitual doubter? Some authorities suppose that the name Didymus alluded to his doubting propensities, since some versions render it as "doubleminded."

Had we only the record of the first three gospels, Thomas would be to us simply a name, but John rescued him from oblivion, made him a reality to us and surrounded him with an undying interest. Tradition has it that he died a martyr.

Three traits seem to stand out in John's cameo of Thomas:
I. When he saw what he ought to do, nothing kept him back. When Jesus expressed his intention of going into Judea again, Thomas urged the disciples to accompany Christ even though it might mean death (John 11:16).
II. When he saw what he ought to do, he only wanted to see how he was to do it. At the Last Supper he acknowledged his ignorance of the place the Lord was going to and asked how he could know the way (John 14:5).
III. When he saw what it was he had to believe, he only wanted to see that it was right, and then to him there was no help for it. After our Lord's resurrection Thomas refused to believe in its reality except upon conditions which he himself laid down. How stirring was his confession of faith once convinced of the Resurrection (John 20:28; 21:2).
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