Thursday, April 26, 2018

Rebuffing Trump's nationalism, France's Emmanuel Macron calls for a 'new breed of multilateralism'


President Donald Trump and President Emmanuel Macron of France have toasted to continued warm relations between their countries. (April 24)

WASHINGTON — Without directly rebuking President Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday called on American politicians to reject the president’s America first policies and construct a “new breed of multilateralism” equipped to confront urgent global threats — from climate change to terrorism.

In adroitly crafted remarks that leaned on emotional appeals and shared history to challenge the Republican-led Congress, Macron said the United States and France had a “unique taste for freedom” and were therefore obligated to join together to fight extremism, racism, inequality and environmental degradation across the globe.

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses Congress during a joint meeting on April 25, 2018 in Washington. Vice President Mike Pence, left, and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) appear behind Macron.

“Both in the United States and in Europe, we are living in a time of anger and fear because of these current global threats,” Macron told a joint session of Congress. “You can play with fears and angers for a time. But they do not construct anything. Anger only freezes and weakens us.”

Macron credited the United States with inventing multilateralism, and said: “You are the one now who has to help to preserve and reinvent it ... We can build the 21st century world order based on a new breed multilateralism, based on a more effective, accountable, and results-oriented multilateralism."

The Ultimate Surveillance State: Preparation For The Time Of Trouble

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

French President Macron addresses joint session of congress | ABC News

Billy Graham Death "A SIGN"? - False Prophets, False Revival and a FALSE...

Samson: the Movie vs. Samson: the Bible Truth

Shaun Willcock

Samson the Movie, PDF format

In 2018 Samson, the latest screen version of the biblical hero and judge of Israel, was released. It purports to bring the story of Samson to life for the big screen. But it fails miserably, because it does not stick to the biblical account. In typical filmmaking tradition, those who made this movie felt that they could improve on the Bible. Essentially this was saying, “The account in God’s Word is good, but we can do better. We can flesh it out, add lies to the truth, and basically re-tell the story in a more exciting and believable way.” Of course the filmmakers did not actually utter these very words or anything like them, but in essence this is what they did.

Pure Flix Entertainment was the production company which released the film. This has become a well-known and very popular professedly Christian filmmaking company – or rather, as so many prefer to say these days, a “faith-based” company. Not strongly, uncompromisingly Christian. Not outright Evangelical. Certainly not Protestant. Not Bible-based either. Just “faith-based.” It could mean anything.

There is no need to see the film to know that it is an inaccurate portrayal of the life and times of Samson. The website, and the trailer on the website, provide sufficient information to be able to judge.

Welcome to the robo-bank

March 16, 2018  

Photo by @Bank of America

After swiping my debit card to gain entry to Bank of America's newest branch downtown, I stepped inside, triggering a sensor that alerted a banker 1,000 miles away. The voice of Jackie Otto greeted me. Past a bank of three ATMs and two soundproof videoconferencing rooms stood a flat-screen television, beaming Otto's image from her office in Tampa, Fla.

"Welcome to Bank of America. How can I help you today?" she asks. It can be disorienting, a voice beckoning from across a long, narrow corridor. I assumed Otto was another of the automated voices that have grown ubiquitous, greeting us everywhere from Metra trains and airports to our own kitchens, on devices such as Amazon's Echo.

But there was Otto on the screen, an actual live human wearing a blazer, headset and a smile. She was looking right at me. Just off a video chat with a customer at a branch in Boston, Otto explained she can help customers secure a small-business loan, open a banking account, apply for a mortgage or sketch out a retirement plan. Should ​ I need help with any of those things, she'd send me into one of the branch's two cushy private videoconferencing rooms and connect me with the right specialist, piped in from Tampa or Dallas-Fort Worth.

This tellerless Bank of America branch, which opened March 9, is the company's first in Chicago and one of about 15 nationwide. It's part of the banking titan's campaign to modernize its banks, its real estate footprint and the way it interacts with its increasingly digitally inclined customers. The Charlotte, N.C., company plans to open more than 500 branches over the next four years and redesign 1,500 others to add new technology and alter furnishings and layouts.

Not all of them will look like the location at Jackson Boulevard and Wacker Drive, which company officials describe as a pilot, but Bank of America wants to leverage technology to make branches more efficient, both to help it snip unnecessary costs and better connect with a changing customer. "This is not necessarily the banking center of the future; it's part of an overall strategy," says Sandy Pierce, a Bank of America senior vice president. "We view this as an additional channel where we're making ourselves more available to our customers and being able to reach them in ways that matter most to them."

While most customers who use Bank of America's new high-tech branch conduct their business at its increasingly capable ATMs and don't need to speak with a teller, the ability to connect with a person is a perk, Pierce says. "There's usually no waiting. You can literally walk right in, talk with our virtual concierge, swipe into a conferencing room and meet with a specialist on demand."

But it's also a benefit for Bank of America, which instead of staffing, say, 20 4,000-square-foot branches with 60 bankers, can operate 20 branches a third of that size spread across 20 cities with 20 bankers operating out of central offices somewhere else. The bank points out it is not doing away with its full-service financial centers and in fact plans to hire more than 5,000 employees within the next four years as part of an expansion.

Bank of America's new branches echo a trend happening across the country. Banks of all sizes are unveiling their own branches of the future. BMO Harris Bank opened its pilot version of a tellerless bank in Rogers Park that also uses video tellers. PNC Bank is tinkering with its branch model, axing teller lines and leveraging technology to cut costs. Chase has retrofitted a few dozen of its Chicago-area banks, which boast next-generation ATMs and bankers roaming the floor with tablets. Capital One's branch of the future involves creating co-working spaces where customers can sip espresso and use free Wi-Fi while bankers mingle and pitch the bank's products and services.

"Most big banks have their own 'bank of the future' model, and they're all trying it for the same reasons," says Christian Beaudoin, managing director of research at real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle in Chicago. "Customers still need some sort of in-person interaction, but you can still leverage a lot of technology to cut down on staff size and branch real estate costs."

India Implements Biometric ID Program for all of it...

Armenia marks Remembrance Day following Sargsyan's resignation

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Digital Identity Makes Headway Around the World


10:30 AM

Dan Puterbaugh

The US is lagging behind the digital ID leaders.

As our real lives and online lives become increasingly intertwined, the old ways of authenticating identity are failing us. An alarming trend of identity theft with government transactions has been gaining steam in recent years; tax fraud jumped as much 50% in one year, for example. Aiming to streamline government services and improve security, many countries are taking steps to implement digital identities. India, Japan, and the EU are all at the forefront of these efforts, but cultural differences might be standing in the way of the US catching up. Let's take a closer look at the progress these countries have made.

Identity in India

India's relatively new Aadhaar program verifies each citizen's identity with a unique random number, only recording demographic and basic biometric data. Aadhaar is meant to support public sector delivery reforms and help manage fiscal budgets, as well as increase access to government services, particularly for the underprivileged. Technically, Aadhaar is optional, but recent laws have made possession of an Aadhaar number a requirement to open a bank account and make large transactions. India has a population of 1.311 billion, and no other government has yet rolled out a digital identity program on the scale of Aadhaar.

Centralizing Services in Japan

My Number, Japan's digital identity program, automatically assigns citizens a number whether they want one or not. The number is necessary to get public healthcare and other benefits, and employers are required to collect workers' numbers.

While India's Aadhaar does not record income and other personal information, the goal of My Number is to "ascertain people's income more accurately, leaving no room for wrongdoing such as tax evasion and illicit receipt of social benefits." Whether medical information will be tied to My Number IDs is, according to the Cabinet Office, "under review."

With My Number, government agencies can quickly share information about individuals without having to reach out to multiple sources, which comes across as more intrusive than Aadhaar's stated purpose of providing citizens with convenience and supporting the disenfranchised. However, the My Number website does claim the program promotes a "fairer and more just society" and enables government to provide "fine-tuned assistance to those who really need it." The departure from the old decentralized ID system still promises to make life simpler for citizens.

Estonia Leads the EU
Estonia's national ID program is considered by some to be the most comprehensive in the world. A mandatory chip card is embedded with files that are encrypted with a 2,048-bit public key, allowing the cards to serve as definitive proofs of identity online. The card gives online access to government and private services like healthcare and banking and can even be used to pay for public transportation and vote in elections. You don't have to be a citizen to receive an identity card, either, which helps encourage foreigners to bring business to Estonia.

While Estonia has taken the concept of digital identity further than any other country, the conditions are unique: it's a small nation with only 1.3 million residents and a highly homogeneous population. Further, Estonia rebuilt its infrastructure from the ground up after regaining independence in 1991 and has since been a technology leader in the EU.

In addition, Estonia has proven to be an ideal laboratory for both the benefits and potential pitfalls of digital IDs. In 2017, it found that the most recent update of its ID cards presented serious security vulnerabilities. And although no identities were apparently stolen, the incident emphasized that when one relies so completely on digital IDs, security needs to be bulletproof.

The Skeptical States
Founded on the very basis of a freer government, the notion of a national verification system in the US goes against our moral fabric. Then again, our culture today prizes convenience.

We've already seen that people are willing to trade their privacy for free email addresses and data storage, without considering what the provider gains from giving away a service that is costly to operate. While convenience often trumps hidden costs for Americans, the leap from free email in exchange for browsing history to federal ID associated with real-life activities may be too broad. When federal ID cards have been suggested in recent years, the outcry around federal intrusion into privacy has quickly squashed any movement in that direction. Ironically, this is the same citizenry that has readily handed over its email accounts, social media pages, and banking information to Google, Facebook, and Apple.

People who receive government benefits, such as SNAP, WIC, or disability payments, can easily be prompted into accepting a federal digital identity; recipients won't really have a choice if their payments are tied to their digital identities. Those who do not receive federal or state monies may refuse to participate in any federal identity programs, but upcoming generations are unlikely to have the same objection.

"Digital natives" expect free services and understand that their data is tracked but view the exchange as either benign or unavoidable. In a world of CCTV and doxing, privacy can seem like a pipedream. While today's graying Americans may not like the idea of digital identities, generational attitudes are opening the door for them in the future.

Balancing Privacy and Security Won't Be Easy
Digital identities aren't going to be optional or novel for long. What remains unseen is how governments will toe the fine line between making us safer and creating a surveillance state, and each country's decisions will hinge on its culture. As individuals with voting power, we should remain informed about efforts around digital identity and consider how much of our privacy we're willing to trade for the promise of security. Achieving a balanced solution is necessary for managing the digitized lives we're already living.

Babylon is fallen: Hillsong exposed

Hector Torres Part 3: Prepare

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Midnight Cry - William Miller and the End of the World

A Cassandra Cry Against Pope Francis

Remo Casilli / Reuters

Ross Douthat's views on the pope are intensely unpopular. But has he identified a fundamental tension in the Church?

APR 22, 2018

Across every continent, in every country, Catholics “find themselves divided against one another,” writes the New York Times columnist Ross Douthat in his new book, To Change the Church. On one side stand the orthodox, who see doctrine and tradition as the best antidote to a changing world. On the other stand the liberals, who yearn for a Church that focuses on pastoring rather than enforcing rigid rules. This “widening theological and moral gulf,” Douthat argues, is potentially “wider than the chasm that separated Catholicism from Orthodoxy, and later from Lutheranism and Calvinism.”

That’s a bold claim to make. After all, the schisms of East and West, Catholic and Protestant, were world-shaking, often bloody events. But in today’s Church—and specifically in this pope—Douthat sees the possibility that the Roman Catholic Church will once again break apart.

Ostensibly, his beef is with Pope Francis, whom Douthat paints as an unyielding and stubborn manager who has spent his five years in Rome failing to clean up the Vatican’s messes, hurling insults at conservative clerics, and pushing radical doctrinal changes without buy-in from major wings of the Catholic hierarchy. He writes skeptically about Francis’s imagery and rhetoric of mercy, from pictures of the pontiff kissing a man covered in boils to his controversial declaration, “Who am I to judge?” about gay men searching for God. But at its core, Douthat’s book is about a vast, premodern institution’s halting evolution into modern times, and whether it can sufficiently adapt to maintain unified influence over 1.3 billion adherents spanning Africa to Asia to the Americas. “This is a hinge moment in the history of Catholicism,” Douthat writes. While he is unlikely to change many minds about controversial Catholic issues or reshape people’s opinions of the pope, Douthat is digging at a question present in every aspect of contemporary culture and politics: How can those who primarily wish to preserve their culture live in community with those who cheer for inexorable change?

History of Apostasy in the SDA Church Part 1

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Everything Is Falling Into Place

Athletes say vegan diets help improve performance while benefiting environment

April 20, 2018; 10:18 AM

When most people think of veganism, they tend to think it is only for an animal rights activist or someone who is a bit of a hippie at heart. However, as vegan diets become more popular, many people, including athletes, are learning the health and environmental benefits.

Usually we associate athletes, football players and bodybuilders with diets consisting of a lot of meat and animal products to get protein. What most don't know, however, is that all protein originates from plants.

Cows get their protein from plants, then the cow, which is later turned into steak, is consumed for protein.

It all comes down to the fact that we can either feed the animals the food we could have eaten or we can eat that food directly, which saves resources and reduces emissions during production.

An assessment by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations indicated the contribution of the livestock sector to global greenhouse gas emissions exceeds that of transportation.

A recent report's results suggest that livestock methane emissions, while not the dominant overall source of global methane emissions, may be a major contributor to the observed annual emissions increases over the 2000s to 2010s.

Football players and other athletes are going vegan not only for health and recovery reasons, but for environmental reasons too.

Earth Day has embraced hysteria and abandoned science

By Henry I. Miller, Jeff Stier | Fox News


Sunday is Earth Day, a celebration conceived by then-U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson and first held in 1970 as a “symbol of environmental responsibility and stewardship.” In the spirit of the time, it was a touchy-feely, consciousness-raising, New Age experience. Most activities were organized at the grassroots level.

In recent years, however, Earth Day has devolved into an occasion for professional environmental activists and alarmists to warn of apocalypse, dish anti-technology dirt, and proselytize.

Even though it doesn’t feel much like spring, we’re ready to sport these stellar new eyewear styles.

Passion and zeal now trump science, and provability takes a back seat to plausibility. The Earth Day Network, which organizes Earth Day events and advocacy, regularly distorts science and exaggerates fears in order to advance its Big Government agenda.

With a theme of “End Plastic Pollution,” this year’s event is no exception.

The Earth Day organizers have produced a “Plastic Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit,” which enumerates all the scary warnings that activists should use to “empower journalists” to frighten the public and spur politicians to drastic regulatory action.

The Net

Chapter 10

The Net

This chapter is based on the following verses:
Matt. 13:47-50

THE kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind; which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

The casting of the net is the preaching of the gospel. This gathers both good and evil into the church. When the mission of the gospel is completed, the judgment will accomplish the work of separation. Christ saw how the existence of false brethren in the church would cause the way of truth to be evil spoken of. The world would revile the gospel because of the inconsistent lives of false professors. Even Christians would be caused to stumble as they saw that many who bore Christ's name were not controlled by His Spirit. Because these sinners were in the church, men would be in danger of thinking that God excused their sins. Therefore Christ lifts the veil from the future and bids all to behold that it is character, not position, which decides man's destiny.

Both the parable of the tares and that of the net plainly teach that there is no time when all the wicked will turn to God. The wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest. The good and the bad fish are together drawn ashore for a final separation.

Again, these parables teach that there is to be no probation after the judgment. When the work of the gospel is completed, there immediately follows the separation between the good and the evil, and the destiny of each class is forever fixed.

God does not desire the destruction of any. "As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?" Eze. 33:11. Throughout the period of probationary time His Spirit is entreating men to accept the gift of life. It is only those who reject His pleading that will be left to perish. God has declared that sin must be destroyed as an evil ruinous to the universe. Those who cling to sin will perish in its destruction.

Christ's Object Lessons, pp.122,123.

Evangelicals and Catholics Together


Aug 18, 2016

Adapted from: Master's Seminary Journal Volume 6 (6:7-37).

A recent document entitled “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium,” signed by a number of prominent evangelicals, has neglected the wide doctrinal breach that separates evangelicalism and Roman Catholicism. It declares the unity of the two participating groups, emphasizes their common faith, allows for doctrinal differences, but states that the two nevertheless have a common mission. A fatal flaw in the document is its assumption that a common mission is possible in spite of the doctrinal differences. The alleged common mission is in effect a contradiction of the truths treasured among evangelicals. Reasons given by evangelical signers of the agreement are hollow and unconvincing. The statement in effect reverses what the Protestant Reformation advocated regarding sola Scriptura and sola fide. The position of the Reformers regarding justification, which was quite biblical, was pronounced as anathema by the Roman Catholic Council of Trent in 1547. Other essential biblical doctrines have been denied by Roman Catholic pronouncements, even recent ones. Unity with Roman Catholicism is not a worthy goal if it means sacrificing the truth.

March 29, 1994 saw a development that some have touted as the most significant development in Protestant-Catholic relations since the dawn of the Reformation. A document titled “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium” was published with a list of more than thirty signatories—including well-known evangelicals Pat Robertson, J. I. Packer, Os Guinness, and Bill Bright. They were joined by leading Catholics such as John Cardinal O’Connor, Bishop Carlos A. Sevilla, and Catholic scholar Peter Kreeft.

A team of fifteen participants led by Richard John Neuhaus and Charles Colson drafted the twenty-five-page document. Neuhaus is a former Lutheran minister who converted to Catholicism in 1990 and has since been ordained to the priesthood. Like Colson, he is an influential author and speaker.

Colson explained that “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” resulted from a series of meetings sponsored by Neuhaus a few years ago in New York. The original purpose of the meetings was to discuss tensions in Latin America between Protestant missionaries and Catholic officials. “In some countries the Catholic Church was using political power to suppress Protestant evangelistic efforts; Protestant missionaries were being persecuted for their faith,” Colson said. “On the other side, some evangelicals were promoting the gospel by calling the Catholic Church the ‘whore of Babylon;’ the Pope, the ‘antichrist,’ and the like.” 2

Colson says he and others at the meetings “were moved by the words of our Lord, calling us to be one with one another as He is one with us and with the Father, in order that the world might know, as Jesus prayed, that ‘Thou didst send me.’“ Colson added, “We were agreed that the Scripture makes the unity of true Christians an essential—a prerequisite for Christian evangelism.” 3

The lengthy statement of accord that resulted has been praised in both the secular and Christian press as a landmark ecumenical agreement. Especially notable is the fact that the Catholics who signed are not from the liberal wing of Catholicism. Signatories on both sides are conservatives, many of whom are active in the pro-life movement and other right-wing political causes. Historically, evangelicals and conservative Catholics have opposed ecumenical efforts.

An article in Christianity Today praised the accord for bringing conservatives into the ecumenical movement: “For too long, ecumenism has been left to Left-leaning Catholics and mainline Protestants. For that reason alone, evangelicals should applaud this effort and rejoice in the progress it represents.” 4

But does this new accord really represent progress, or are the essentials of the gospel being relegated to secondary status? Is the spirit of the Reformation quite dead? Should we now rejoice to see conservative evangelicals pursuing ecumenical union with Roman Catholicism?

The list of Protestant signatories to the document is certainly impressive. Some of these are men who have given their lives to proclaiming and defending Reformation theology. J. I. Packer’s work is well known through his many valuable books. His book Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, in print for several decades, has introduced multiplied thousands to the Reformed emphasis on divine sovereignty. He has capably defended the key Reformation doctrine of justification by faith in several of his books. His book Fundamentalism and the Word of God is an able defense of the authority of Scripture. Few in our generation have been more effective advocates of Reformation theology than Packer.

History of Apostasy in the SDA Church - Ron Spear witn Colin and Russell Standish.