Ted’s Remarks About Stuff
April thru June, 2017


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June 22, 2017

U.S. Senate Republicans have released a draft of their version of a “repeal and replace” health care plan.  This is 7 weeks after the House of Representatives voted on their “American Health Care Act” on May 4, when it was sent to the Senate.

The official title of the Senate’s version is the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017,” and it eliminates many of the provisions of the so-called “Affordable Care Act” or ObamaCare.  The 142-page draft—which will be discussed by Senate members before being voted on—can be read here: Discussion Draft.

However, Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ron Johnson (R-WI), have said that they would not vote for the Senate Republican plan in its current form.  In a collective statement, they said this:

Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor.  There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system but it does not appear this draft, as written, will accomplish the most important promise that we made to Americans: to repeal ObamaCare and lower their health care costs.

There are 50 votes required to pass the bill and send it back to the House.  In a 50-50 tie, Vice President Pence would serve as the tie-breaking vote.


June 21, 2017

Professor Johnny Eric Williams, Trinity CollegeExactly a week ago, the attempted assassination of House Republicans took place at a baseball field in Alexandria, VA.  Majority Whip Steve Scalise was critically wounded by the shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, and remains in serious condition.

Since then, Professor Johnny Eric Williams at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, has posted very inflammatory, anti-white messages on social media.  One entry pointed to an essay with a reprehensible title, featuring a picture of Steve Scalise.

Today, the college was shut down for the day.  This was because of the large number of threats against the college due to the inappropriate and racist comments by Professor Williams.

Trinity College Professor Goes
On Racist Facebook Rant

June 20, 2017

The summer solstice begins tonight at 9:24 p.m. PDT and tomorrow at 12:34 a.m. EDT.  So in most of the world, summer begins tomorrow, June 21, which will have the longest daylight hours of the year.

Just as a year ago on June 20, 2016, the American southwest is having another major heat wave.  It should continue for at least the next couple of days.  I like it

Extreme Heat Searing the Southwest This Week;
All-Time Record-High Temperatures
May Threaten Las Vegas and Phoenix


Karen Handel
Karen Handel
Jon Ossoff
Jon Ossoff
In other news, the special election in the sixth congressional district in Georgia took place today.  The election was to replace Representative Tom Price, who became the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in February.

Republican Karen Handel (52%), former Secretary of State in Georgia, defeated Democrat Jon Ossoff (48%).  This was the most expensive House race in U.S. history, with $31 million going into Ossoff’s campaign and $23 million into Handel’s campaign.

GOP’s Karen Handel Beats
Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia

The loss was a disappointing setback for Democrats, who had hoped to capitalize on President Trump’s declining approval ratings to win the long-standing Republican seat in Georgia.  Out of five special House elections this year, Republicans have won four of them:

Kansas
Montana
California
South Carolina
Georgia
   April 11
May 25
June 6
June 20
June 20
   Ron Estes (R) 53%
Greg Gianforte (R) 50%
Jimmy Gomez (D) 60%
Ralph Norman (R) 51%
Karen Handel (R) 52%
   James Thompson (D) 46%
Rob Quist (D) 44%
Robert Ahn (R) 40%
Archie Parnell (D) 48%
Jon Ossoff (D) 48%

June 19, 2017

In another record high, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed not only above 21,400 but even above 21,500 for the first time.  The Dow was up 0.68% to 21,528.99, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was up 0.83% to 2,453.46.

Dow Jones Industrial Average record high: 21,528.99   Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index record high: 2,453.46

June 17, 2017

A good friend, who happens to be Catholic, is going through a very difficult time.  She always loved Mother Teresa and the wonderful things she did for others.  She also loves the stars at night.  So I found these 3 banners online and emailed them to her:

   
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June 14, 2017

Happy Flag Day, fellow Americans!  Proudly display a flag on your house or on your desk at work today.

Flag Day USA

Here are places where the U.S. flag can be flown 24 hours a day, every day of the year:

  • Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
    Baltimore, Maryland (Presidential Proclamation No.2795, July 2, 1948)
  • Flag House Square (Mary Pickersgill's "Star Spangled" House)
    Baltimore Maryland (Public Law 83-319, approved March 26, 1954)
  • United States Marine Corp Memorial (Iwo Jima)
    Arlington, Virginia (Presidential Proclamation No.3418, June 12, 1961)
  • On the Green of the Town of Lexington
    Massachusetts (Public Law 89-335, approved November 8, 1965)
  • The White House
    Washington, DC. (Presidential Proclamation No.4000, September 4. 1970)
  • Washington Monument
    Washington, DC. (Presidential Proclamation No.4064, July 6,1971, effective July 4, 1971)
  • United States Customs Ports of Entry
    which are continually open (Presidential Proclamation No.4131, May 5, 1972)
  • Grounds of the National Memorial Arch in Valley Forge State Park
    Valley Forge, Pennsylvania (Public Law 94-53, approved July 4, 1975)


Steve Scalise, United States House of Representatives Majority Whip and representative for Louisiana's 1st congressional districtThis Flag Day has been tainted by a shooting this morning at a baseball field in Alexandria, VA, near Washington, D.C.  James T. Hodgkinson, 66—a fringe, lunatic kook from Belleville, IL—opened fire at Republican members of Congress.  It was their final practice before a scheduled charity game tomorrow night between Republicans and Democrats at Nationals Park.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (LA) was wounded, along with two police officers, a congressional aide and a lobbyist.  Two bullets penetrated windows in a nearby YMCA.  Fortunately, Hodgkinson was shot dead before he could injure or kill anyone else.

Entries on Hodgkinson’s social media reveal that he was a vehement hater of Donald Trump and Republicans.  Pertaining to a 2015 cartoon that was critical of Steve Scalise, Hodgkinson commented, “Here’s a Republican that should Lose His Job, but they Gave Him a Raise.”

Lawmaker Steve Scalise injured
in GOP baseball shooting; suspect
James T. Hodgkinson dies after shootout

June 13, 2017

In another record high, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed above 21,300 for the first time.  The Dow was up 0.44% to 21,328.47, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was up 0.45% to 2,440.35.

Dow Jones Industrial Average record high: 21,328.47   Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index record high: 2,440.35

June 11, 2017

It rained quite a bit here in Marin County late this afternoon.  Fortunately, my friend and I were able to walk his dog before that happened.

We could hear thunder during the walk, but the first drops of rain didn’t fall until a few seconds before we got to his front porch: perfect timing.  It’s pretty unusual for it to rain here this time of year; yet it rained for about an hour.

He already had prepared some salmon and eggplant, topped with very tasty spices, to place on the grill out on the deck.  However, we had to put the grilling on hold until the rain had stopped.

The first sign that this had happened was seeing a hummingbird coming to eat at the feeder.  Then it took maybe another half hour for him to heat up the grill and cook the food.

Everything was outstanding, as he is a great cook.  Salmon is one of my most favorite foods, and grilled eggplant is way up there.  Best of all, there was enough to have leftovers.

         

         
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Comparatively speaking, this was a quickly prepared meal.  On the contrary, when I was last here, the huge amount of tasty pasta sauce that he prepared on Oct. 14, 2016, took a few hours.  I’ve never tasted anything my friend has made that I didn’t like.


June 10, 2017

Protests against Islamic Sharia law were held in cities across the U.S. today.  The rallies were organized by the ACT for America organization.  In a number of places, protestors were outnumbered by counter-protestors.

Rallies against Islamic law


June 9, 2017

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) hit another record high today.  It did go over 21,300 briefly (for the first time) but then dropped below that level before closing.  The Dow was up 0.42% to 21,271.97, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was down 0.08% to 2,431.77, a bit below its high of 2,439.07.

Dow Jones Industrial Average record high: 21,271.97   Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index closing: 2,431.77

June 8, 2017

Former FBI Director James Comey responded to questions today by the Senate Intelligence Committee.  His opening statment can be read here:

James Comey's Prepared Testimony

The hearing took about 2 hours 40 minutes.  They were Comey’s first public comments following his firing by President Trump on May 9.

Comey testimony: Ex-FBI boss says Trump
team lied, but stops short of obstruction charge

Both Republicans and Democrats will voice many talking points in statements made by Comey today.  For instance, the right will point out how Comey said that Attorney General Loretta Lynch pressured him to not refer to the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails as an email “investigation” but, rather, as an email “matter.”  The left will focus on how Comey said that Trump tried to influence the FBI’s investigation into Michael Flynn and that he (Comey) was fired because he refused to drop that investigation.

I suspect that, overall, Comey’s testimony will turn out not to be good for Trump.  By firing Comey almost a month ago, Trump probably has created a more complicated and future path for himself.  Too late now.


June 7, 2017

Terrorist attacks by radical Islamists, such as the ones recently in London and Paris, are tragic and reprehensible.  Furthermore, Islamic State (ISIS) attacks against other Muslims continue in Iraq and Syria.  However, now those attacks seem to have escalated a step.

Today, ISIS gunmen and suicide bombers attacked Iran’s parliament and the nearby shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran.  At least 12 were killed, and dozens were wounded; the numbers can be expected to increase.  All four attackers are dead.  This is the first time the ISIS Sunni extremists have taken responsibility for an assault in Shi’ite-majority Iran.

Iran Attack: ISIS claims responsibility
for pair of assaults in Tehran

It may be puzzling to some why there is such friction between Shia Islam and Sunni Islam.  Basically, Shi’ites believe that Islamic leaders should be blood relatives of their Prophet, Muhammad; while Sunnis believe that Allah chooses Islamic leaders who do not have to be related to Muhammad.  A bit more information can be found in my branches and sects subsection.

Personally, I feel that tensions between sects of Islam will mushroom as the end of the age approaches.  This will include the intensification of attacks of Muslims not only on each other but also on non-Muslims or infidels—those who do not submit to Allah.


June 6, 2017

Border wall with solar panelsOne of President Trump’s main issues during his campaign was insisting that a border wall would be built along the southern U.S. border with Mexico.  Everytime he brought up the topic, I always had strong doubts that it would happen.  I still do.

In a meeting with congressional leaders at the White House today, Trump floated the idea that a border wall could be covered with solar panels.  The idea is that the panels would generate electricity to help pay for the wall.

Trump suggests border
wall with solar panels

There is virtually unanimous opposition by Democrats to a border wall.  They also do not like the term “illegal aliens,” preferring to call them “undocumented immigrants” instead.  Generally, they even are against blocking immigrants from entering the country by any means, even if they are coming in illegally.

In light of this, it makes me wonder what they think about President Clinton’s staunch opposition to the entrance of illegal aliens into this country in his 1995 State of the Union Address.  He sounded much more like Trump on this topic than he did his own wife, Hillary, who ran against Trump.  Click here to read the text of this 1½-minute video.


June 4, 2017

Happy ShavuotToday is the Christian celebration of Pentecost, exactly seven weeks following Resurrection Day (Easter).  At the first Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), Jesus’ disciples were filled, supernaturally, with the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) and spoke in other “tongues.”  Other God-fearing Jews, who had gathered there from many other nations, heard these men declaring the wonders of God in their own languages (2:5,6,11).

The first Pentecost corresponded to the Jewish celebration of Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks (Leviticus 23:15-22).  On this day, a firstfruits of the wheat harvest was offered to God.  Most calendars usually list Shavuot a few days before Pentecost due to the way the fifty days are counted from Passover week, referred to as the “counting of the omer.”

I believe the fifty-day calculation is made erroneously by most, as explained in this email response:

On the day of Pentecost, Jews “from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5) had returned to Jerusalem (following the commandment of Deuteronomy 16:16), indicating that they already had been widely dispersed among the nations by that time.  Today the dispersion is even greater.

After Pentecost, the apostles performed many wonders and miraculous signs (Acts 2:43).  They were the “firstfruits” of all who would receive many of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Anyone who is filled by the Spirit of God can receive some of these gifts from God as well.  Each of us is nothing, but God can make something out of nothing with the Power of His Holy Spirit.


June 2, 2017

In another record high, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) topped 21,200 for the first time.  The Dow was up 0.29% to 21,206.29, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was up 0.37% to 2,439.07.

Dow Jones Industrial Average record high: 21,206.29   Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index record high: 2,439.07

June 1, 2017

In a speech outside of the White House today, President Trump announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.  He said that the accord is unfair, at the highest level, to the United States.

There are 195 nations that have signed onto the agreement.  Trump did say that he is open to renegotiating aspects of the agreement.  His 27½-minute speech is here:

Commerce Sec'y on Climate Pact: US Was
Only Country Making Economic Sacrifice


In other news, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was up 135.53 points today.  It hit another record high, going over the previous high of 21,115.55 on Mar. 1.  The Dow was up 0.65% to 21,144.18, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was up 0.76% to 2,430.06.

Dow Jones Industrial Average record high: 21,144.18   Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index record high: 2,430.06

May 30, 2017

Kathy Griffin calls herself a “comedian.”  Personally, I never have related to her “humor” at all and have felt that she is extremely UNfunny.  In my opinion, she’s always been very desperate for attention.

Today, a video of her was released in which she held a replica of Donald Trump’s decapitated, bloody head.  This was during a photo session with Tyler Shields, who defended it as “art.”  Beware of graphic image in this article:

Kathy Griffin sparks outrage with gory
photo holding Trump's decapitated head

In a video that was shot of the graphic photo session, she is heard to joke with Shields that they would need to move to Mexico once it was released for fear that they would go to federal prison.  That appears to indicate that she was aware of the severely reprehensible nature of what she was doing.  Here is a portion of that photo session, along with an apology by Griffin:

Griffin received severe criticism from both the political right and left.  Even Bill and Hillary Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, condemned what Griffin had done.  She tweeted, “This is vile and wrong.  It is never funny to joke about killing a President.”

So after hours of a highly negative public reaction, Griffin said that she was sorry for what she had done.  But since she originally had indicated to Shields that they should expect very negative feedback, it makes me wonder how sincere her apology really was.  Perhaps the ultimate goal was to put herself in the public limelight, no matter what the consequences.


May 29, 2017

Happy Memorial Day!  I have a great deal of respect and appreciation for all of those who have fought for our freedom in the U.S.

       
13-second slideshow

May 28, 2017

I rarely drink alcohol, but my friend Barry is a wine connoisseur.  With such an abundant selection of wine at his house, I do enjoy a little red wine some evenings during and after dinner.

This afternoon, he and another friend and I went wine tasting.  Since Barry has a membership at several wineries, he can bring friends to taste for free.

We went to St. Anne’s Crossing Winery and had several samples.  I thought all of them were good; of course, anything that’s free tastes good to me. 

Next, we went up the road to Jacuzzi Winery and Olive Press.  The wine tasting room was full of people, which was fine because I’d had enough wine.  Instead, we tasted numerous olive oils, which I liked very much.  Yummy.

       

       
25-second slideshow

Barry is an avid scuba diver and has gone diving at various places all over the world.  With his underwater camera, he has taken countless photos of sea animals and plants.  Here is a page I’ve made for him showing 116 of his photos:

Barry’s Scuba-Diving Photos

May 27, 2017

At Olive Tree Ministries today, Jan Markell and Eric Barger interviewed British journalist, broadcaster and author Melanie Phillips.  She used to have strong liberal views but now is very conservative.

In this interview, she gives a warning to the world.  She talks about how multi-culturalism is ruining Europe, and same will happen to the U.S. if warnings are not heeded.  The audio program, lasting less than an hour, can be heard here:

A Warning to the World: Audio

May 24, 2017

I took a flight up to San Francisco this morning.  Some areas were cloudy and hazy, while other areas were sunny and clear.

From what I heard, No. CA was extremely green after the winter rains.  It still is greener than it was during the severe drought over the past several years.  But I’m also hearing that it is it is not as green now as it was a couple of months ago.

There were two windows next to me on the plane.  One of them was kind of streaked and smudged, so the photos I shot through it are not as distinct as those shot through the other window.

       

       

       

       
50-second slideshow

I brought with me my little Bible with tiny print.  That is what I read most of the way after unscrambling the words on the Southwest Airlines napkin below.  You can try it, too.  Go here to see the answers: Unscramble the words.

Unscramble the words below to find your next international gateway.

May 23, 2017

After many years of severe drought in Southern California, there has been plenty of needed rain this Winter and Spring.  One nice result of this is the numerous Jacaranda trees with all of their purple blooms.

While heading west on Wardlow Street in Long Beach, we saw tons of awesome Jacaranda trees on both sides of the street.  Naturally, I had my camera and snapped some shots, since I was not driving.

       

       
25-second slideshow

May 22, 2017

President Trump is visiting Israel today.  It is his second stop abroad after visiting Saudi Arabia over the weekend.

Trump is the first acting U.S. president to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem.  He also visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Trump had a joint news conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  One thing they addressed was U.S.-Israeli relations and the fight against terrorism.  Trump also addressed the potential for a peace process in Israel.


May 21, 2017

We discovered a new Thai restaurant, simply named “Real Thai Food.”  It is at 9522 Chapman Avenue in Garden Grove.  The waitress said they had been there since last summer.  I’m surprised we only recently noticed it.  It is sort of small, but the food is excellent.

I had my usual red curry chicken with soup, salad and wontons.  I ordered the curry ped mak mak, which means very hot and spicy.  I know it is hot enough when the hair on the back of my head gets damp.  It was plenty hot enough.

       

       
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We’ll definitely be going there again, probably soon.  They also have free delivery to locations within 3 miles.


May 20, 2017

President Trump flew to Saudi Arabia and was formally greeted by King Salman.  There was an elaborate ceremony and a military flyover.

Tomorrow, Trump will give a speech at the Arab-Islamic-American summit in Riyadh.  The event will be attended by more than 50 Arab and Muslim leaders.

     
10-second slideshow

This is part of a nine-day overseas tour.  Trump also will visit Israel, meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican, meet with allies at a NATO summit in Brussels and also meet with the Group of 7 nations in Sicily.


May 17, 2017

Robert Mueller, former FBI DirectorLate this afternoon, Robert Mueller was appointed as a special counsel to investigate possible Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.  Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, rather than by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, since Sessions previously had recused himself from all matters related to the presidential campaign.

Robert Mueller, 72, was the former FBI Director from 2001 to 2013.  He preceded James Comey who was fired on May. 9.  Republicans and Democrats alike have praised Mueller as someone widely respected for his integrity and independence.

After hearing about Muller’s appointment, President Trump said, “As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know—there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity.  I look forward to this matter concluding quickly.  In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.”

Robert Mueller to oversee Russia
election probe as special counsel

May 16, 2017

WannaCry ransomwareThe recent global ransomware attack, which has been going on for four days, appears to be getting worse.  It is escalating from being a nuisance to being a serious threat.  Some experts are calling it the largest cyber attack in history.

Initially, it attacked hospitals and other medical institutions in at least 74 nations.  Now, it has crippled computers in at least 150 nations.  It is becoming a threat to the personal computers of millions of people.

Evidently, the ransomware was created from software stolen from the American National Security Agency (NSA).  Presently, there are over 50 different ransomware variants in circulation, and the malware is becoming increasingly powerful.

The malware being used is called “WannaCry.”  The attackers are demanding bitcoins in exchange for unlocking users’ files.

Global ransomware attacks—
the impact and the response

Investigations appear to have revealed the possibility that the attack may be being perpetrated by North Korean hackers.  Cybersecurity firms have discovered similarities to previous attacks linked to the Lazarus Group, a hacking team tied to North Korea.

North Korea could be behind
ransomware attack, say experts

May 14, 2017

For all of you moms out there:  HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, and God bless you for doing all the great and wonderful things that you do for your families. 

       
15-second slideshow

My mom is in heaven, and I look forward with great anticipation to seeing her again one day.  There could not have been a better mom for me than the one I had.


May 11, 2017

A whole lot of Californians are furious about the recent passage of a gas-and-car tax.  Senate Bill 1 was passed by a 2/3 super-majority vote in the State Legislature (which is controlled by Democrats) and signed into law on Apr. 28 by Governor Jerry Brown. 

California drivers will see their gas prices rise in November and will pay more to register their vehicles come January.  Gas taxes will be raised by 12¢ per gallon in November and up to 19.5¢ more per gallon by 2020.  Drivers will pay an increased vehicle registration fee ranging from $25 to $175 more, depending on the value of their vehicles.

Josh Newman campaigning on a street corner in a bear suitSince the vote took place, three of my favorite radio talk show hosts in Los Angeles and San Diego have been announcing an event for today to launch a recall campaign against State Senator Josh Newman (D-Orange County)—who stood on a street corner in a bear suit while campaigning for his election.  He represents California State Senate District 29 in the CA State Legislature.  His was the vote that enabled Senate Bill 1 to barely pass.

Enraged Californians rebel against Gov.
Brown's massive tax hike on cars and gas

The event today took place at an Arco AM/PM station on Harbor Blvd. in Fullerton, CA.  I lived in Fullerton four decades ago while attending the Southern California College of Optometry.  I decided to drive up to the Arco station this afternoon to check things out.

As I was driving to the event, I was listening on my radio to John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of KFI AM 640 Radio (Los Angeles) and Carl DeMaio of KOGO AM 600 Radio (San Diego).  They had been at the event for hours and were describing the purpose of the event, interviewing guests, and talking about the many hundreds of people who were coming and going.

When I got there, I was surprised to see the KFI Radio tent and the KOGO Radio tent adjacent to each other.  I don’t know how each one filtered out the voices of the talk show host(s) for the other station and of all the people swarming around.  It was pretty amazing.

       

       

       
38-second slideshow

For those who are interested in joining the recall campaign against Josh Newman and in the campaign to repeal the car tax, go here:

Join the Campaign to Repeal the Car Tax
http://www.stopthecartax.org

May 10, 2017

Following the firing of James Comey as Director of the FBI yesterday, he has an open invitation for another job.  Julian Assange of WikiLeaks has said that he “would be happy to consider hiring James Comey.”

Presumably, at WikiLeaks’ DC office, Comey would be investigating the U.S. government.  Hmmm...that would be interesting.

I doubt there’s any possibility that Comey would consider hopping on to WikiLeaks.  But in this crazy world, it seems that almost anything is possible.

James Comey Already Has
Potential Job Offer … at WikiLeaks

May 9, 2017

From 2004 to 2015, Donald Trump’s most famous line on his program The Apprentice was “You’re fired.”  Well today, he gave that same bombshell announcement to FBI director James Comey.

Rumors are that Comey’s dismissal is related to his handling of the investigation into Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s email server.  Whether or not that is the case, this ends the career of the man who was once seen as the unimpeachable and nonpartisan ideal of how a law enforcement officer should behave.

Trump fires FBI Director Comey

May 6, 2017

On Fortress of Faith this morning, I listened to Tom Wallace answering a few common questions that had been sent to him.  Here are five questions, with brief answers, that he addressed today:

• How many wives did Muhammad have?   He had at least 12 wives, but some suggest he may have had as many as 18.  Also, he had a high number of concubines.
• Where did the Qur´an come from?   Muhammad was known as the “unlettered prophet” because he could neither read nor write.  He recited the Qur´an (“qura” means “the recitings”).  Eventually, Caliph Uthman ordered that the recitings be written down as the Qur´an.
• What is the difference between the Sunni and the Shi´ite Muslims?   These are the two major groups within Islam.  Sunni Muslims believe that the caliph of Islam does not have to be in the royal line of Muhammad (that is, related to him).  Shi´ites believe that the caliph must be related to Muhammad.  Also, there are some teachings in the Hadith that Sunnis adhere to that Shi´ites do not.
• Why do you hate Muslims?   I do not hate Muslims.  I love them and want them to understand the truth about Islam and about Christianity.
• Why do women convert to Islam?   In non-Islamic countries, many women marry Islamic immigrants who are looking to get a green card and secure their visas.  Some marry Islamic men who do not actively practice their faith.  Some are full of rebellion, and they marry Muslim men and convert to Islam because of their rebellious nature.

The notes and 30-minute audio recording of today’s Fortress of Faith program are here:

Answers To Your Questions: PDF | Audio
May 5, 2017

Today is Cinco de Mayo, and it also is the middle of Spring.  I am watching a friend’s three doggies and kitty cat in Anaheim this week.  So I took a walk in and around Modjeska Park and snapped a few photos, including of some colorful blossoms.

One photo is of an orange tree, the fruit for which Orange County is named.  There used to be countless orange orchards throughout the county.  Unfortunately, most of them have been replaced by buildings, parking lots and other forms of cement.

         

         
30-second slideshow

I like Mexican food, as long as it is hot and spicy.  I ran across some recipes online, but I doubt that I’ll make any of them, although they do look good.

9 Cinco de Mayo party recipes
to please a hungry crowd

For dinner, I may go to one of the many Mexican restaurants around.  Or maybe Taco Bell will work.  It certainly is cheaper, and I really like their fiery hot Diablo sauce.

I changed my mind.  Instead, I went to El Pollo Loco (“the crazy chicken”).  I like their el carbon tacos, plus they have a salsa bar where you can add extra salsa, onions, cilantro and serrano peppers.  I ate two big tacos there and brought two home for tomorrow.  Yum. 

       
13-second slideshow

May 4, 2017

U.S. House of RepresentativesThe U.S. House of Representatives has begun the process of repealing the so-called “Affordable Care Act” or Obamacare.  As Vice President Pence has put it, “Welcome to the beginning of the end of ObamaCare.”

The narrow vote today in favor of the “American Health Care Act,” or HR 1628, was 217 for and 213 against.  All of the yes votes were by Republicans, although 20 Republicans did vote no.

Personally, I think that all the bill may do is to fix a few things in the disastrous Obamacare coverage rather than give it a needed overhaul.  Now this bill will head to the Senate.  I will be surprised if it passes there.  More likely, they will write their own version.

ObamaCare replacement
bill approved in House


In other news, today is the National Day of Prayer.  There are so many significant problems in the U.S. and in the world today that only God can help us with them.  Sincere and earnest prayer is the primary way for us to seek His guidance and action.

National Day of Prayer: Ten reasons
why prayer is the ultimate protest

This morning, President Trump and Vice President Pence participated in a National Day of Prayer event in the Rose Garden at the White House.  Furthermore, Trump signed an executive order promoting free speech and religious liberty.  All of this is included in the following 22-minute video:


May 3, 2017

This morning, President Trump and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas made public statements at the White House.  Here are some of the statements made by Trump, in reference to a peace initiative between Israel and the Palestinians:

I want to support you in being the Palestinian leader who signs his name to the final and most important peace agreement that brings safety, stability, prosperity to both peoples and to the region.  I’m committed to working with Israel and the Palestinians to reach an agreement, but any agreement cannot be imposed by the United States or by any other nation.  The Palestinians and Israelis must work together to reach an agreement that allows both peoples to live, worship, thrive and prosper in peace.  And I will do whatever is necessary to facilitate the agreement, to mediate and arbitrate anything they’s like to do.

Since Mr. Abbas spoke in Arabic, his statements had to be translated into English.  Here is some of what he said:

Mr. President, our strategic option, our strategic choice, is to bring about peace based on the vision of the two states: a Palestinian State with its capital of East Jerusalem that lives in peace and stability with the State of Israel based on the borders of 1967. ... Mr. President, it’s about time for Israel to end its occupation of our people and of our land.  After fifty years, we are the only remaining people in the world that still live under occupation.  We are aspiring and want to achieve our freedom, our dignity and our right to self-determination.  Ane we also want for Israel to recognize the Palestinian State, just as the Palestinian people recognize the State of Israel.

Mr. Trump indicated that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be included in some type of peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians.  Such attempts at peace have been tried before, to no avail.

Even if a “peace treaty” comes out of any future talks, I am convinced that there cannot be a lasting peace in Israel until their Messiah, Yeshua/Jesus, returns.  He will settle the peace matter permanently, once and for all.

The 14½-minute joint briefing can be watched here:


May 1, 2017

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas will be coming to Washington, DC, to meet with President Donald Trump.  Many wonder, though, whether Abbas is qualified to speak on behalf of all Palestinians pertaining to a potential peace agreement with Israel.

Presumably, Abbas will tell Trump that the PA leadership seeks a "just and comprehensive" peace with Israel.  One stipulation of this would be the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

Yet, there are deep divisions among the Palestinian.  Practically speaking, there are two small Palestinian “states”: Gaza and the West Bank, with Israel right in the middle.

Furthermore, Mahmoud Abbas has an arch-rival, Mohamed Dahlan, the ousted Fatah leader who has called publicly for the removal of Abbas from power.  Israel is blamed for much of the turmoil among Palestinians; however, the chaos amongst them is of their own doing.

Palestinians: Embattled, Weak
Abbas Comes to White House

Apr. 29, 2017

I last organized my vitamins and supplements into individual compartments on Dec. 3, 2016.  Each day, I have taken the following: a daily multiple; vitamins A, B complex, C and E; magnesium, selenium, zinc, fish oil, saw palmetto and glucosamine/chondroitin.  Now I have added vitamin D, iron and turmeric curcumin.

168 days of vitamins Individual vitamins

I have added 2 weeks of vitamins in the new batch, so this supply will last for 24 weeks (168 days).  Keeping them in the refrigerator prevents them from losing their potency.

I began taking my last supply of vitamins on Dec. 4, 2016.  Over the past few months, I skipped taking my vitamins for a total of 7 days, for various reasons.  So my new regular supply of vitamins, which I will begin taking tomorrow (Apr. 30), will last me until Oct. 14 (unless there are days that I skip taking them).


On Fortress of Faith this morning, I listened to Tom Wallace talking about “The Two Islams.”  There is a real Islam and a fake Islam.  Like any counterfeit, the fake one must be made to look as much as possible like the real one to get people to follow it instead of the real one.

The real, literal, fundamental Islam follows the prophet Muhammad’s teachings.  These are found in the Sunnah (the teachings, deeds and sayings of Muhammad) and in the Qur’an (the words of Allah, the god of Islam).  Salafism is a return to the fundamental and foundational traditions and tenets of Islam.  The media will refer to the fundamentalists as “radicals” or “extremists.”

On the other hand, those who follow the other (fake) form of Islam are “moderates” or “reformists.”  These are about 80% of the Muslims in the world today.  They are making up an Allah of their own imagination.

Islamic reformers want a “peaceful” and a “pluralistic” Islam.  They pick and choose good and pleasant aspects of Islam and reject the real, true, fundamental aspects of Islam.  Just as many Christians have not carefully studied their Bible scriptures, most Muslims have not carefully studied all the historical precepts of Islam.

The notes and 30-minute audio recording of today’s Fortress of Faith program are here:

The Two Islams: PDF | Audio
Apr. 27, 2017

A weapons supply hub near Damascus airport was struck by missiles today.  The hub was operated by Hezbollah from Lebanon.

Israel is being accused of making the strike.  Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said, “The incident in Syria corresponds completely with Israel’s policy to act to prevent Iran’s smuggling of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah.”

Israel strikes arms depot
near Damascus airport


Apr. 26, 2017

Recently, our men’s group at church had 6 weeks of Wednesday evening discussions after watching a video series.  Each session would begin with a "Christian Atheist" video (about 34 to 36½ minutes) by Craig Groeschel (and, in the fourth video, Chris Beall) of Life.Church in Oklahoma City.

After watching each video, we all would have a discussion about what we had heard.  I found it to be a good, thought-provoking series called “Believing in God but Living as If He Doesn’t Exist.”  The videos may more appealing to guys than to gals.

Of the 6 videos in the series, I was able to find 4 of them at YouTube here:

• Video #1: Believing in God but Not Knowing Him
• Video #2: Believing in God but Not Fearing Him
• Video #3: Believing in God but Not Wanting to Go Overboard
• Video #4: Believing in God but Not Trusting Him Fully
  (36:06)
(34:04)
(35:30)
(36:24)

It looks like the remaining 2 videos are part of a 6-video bundle that can be purchased at Christianbook.com for $17.94 here:

The Christian Atheist Six Sessions
Video Downloads Bundle

Apr. 25, 2017

The stock market has been declining since Mar. 1, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) reached its all-time high of 21,115.55 points.  However, yesterday and today it shot back up again.

The Dow was up 232.23 points or 1.12% today.  It did go over 21,000 briefly but then dropped a little below that level, to 20,996.12, before closing.  The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was up 14.46 or 0.61% to 2,388.61, a little less than its record high of 2,395.96.

Dow Jones Industrial Average: 20,996.12   Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index record high: 2,388.61

Presumably, the increase a reaction to the hope that Congress will vote in tax cuts before the end of the week.  I am skeptical, but we’ll see.


Apr. 24, 2017

There are a number of Holocaust Memorial Days commemorations during the year.  In Israel, it is being observed from sunset last night to sunset tonight.  The President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, delivered a speech on Jewish identity.

Israeli president's advice
on Holocaust remembrance

Apr. 22, 2017

March for Science | Earth Day } April 22, 2017Today, Earth Day coincided with March for Science day.  It was set to take place in more than 500 U.S. cities, anchored in Washington, D.C.

Dozens of scientific societies turned out to combine political and “how-to science” demonstrations.  Basically, it was a protest in defense of of scientific methods.

Unicorns aren't real?On the mall in Washington, D.C., one sign said, “Unicorns aren’t real, but climate change is.”  I have my doubts—not that unicorns aren’t real but that climate change is.

This article sums up my views pretty well:

Climate Marches Aren't About
Science — They're About Trump

Ira Einhorn, 'the Unicorn Killer'Incidentally, speaking of unicorns...Ira Einhorn was on stage hosting the very first Earth Day event in Philadelphia on April 22, 1970.  His nickname for himself was “the Unicorn” because his German-Jewish last name, Einhorn, translates to one horn.

Einhorn was an environmental activist who advocated “flower power, peace and free love.”  He claimed to have been one of the main creators of Earth Day.  However, other event organizers said that he did little to no organizing of the event.

Indeed, he is much more famous for something else: being “the Unicorn Killer.”  On September 9, 1977, he murdered his girlfriend Holly Maddux.  Her remains were kept inside a closet in his apartment for 18 months until he was arrested.

Somehow, Einhorn was able to jump bail and flee to Europe for 23 years before being extradited back to the U.S.  Now this idealistic fanticizing murderer is serving a life sentence in prison.  Unfortunately, some unicorns are real.

Earth Day co-founder
killed, composted girlfriend

Apr. 21, 2017

Stopped traffic in San Francisco during widespread power outageA widespread power outage in San Francisco today left thousands of homes and businesses without electricity.  This included the Financial District, Cow Hollow, the Presidio and all of the cable car lines.  Shuttles were operating to provide service while the power was out.

Power gradually was restored to about 88,000 customers during a 7-hour period.  The outage was caused by a big fire at the Larkin substation, which is located at 600 Larkin Street.  The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Power restored in SF after blackout
shuts businesses, cable cars

I go up to San Francisco every few months.  I’m glad that I wasn’t there today, though.  What a big hassle to be in sluggish traffic with the traffic lights out.

San Francisco is not without other troubles, including pollution.  According to the Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report, this city is #6 on the list of 10 U.S. cities with the worst air pollution.  Six of those ten cities are in California.

California again leads list with 6 of
the top 10 most polluted U.S. cities

Fortunately, my favorite city, San Diego, is not on the top-10 list.  Besides the fact that this awesome city contains all of my favorite things and the pollution usually is minimal, the year-round climate is virtually ideal.


Apr. 20, 2017

Late last night, a terrible accident occurred at one of my favorite places.  Two young adults fell down a cliff near the Torrey Pines Gliderport in La Jolla, San Diego.  Both of them probably were UC San Diego students.

The young lady was injured but was rescued after she called 911.  Unfortunately, the young man died from his injuries.  Poor guy; I hope he knew Jesus.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

Man dead, woman rescued
after cliff fall in Torrey Pines

The views from the tops of the cliffs at Torrey Pines or from the beach below are spectabular.  However, a great deal of caution must be taken walking along the paths down and up the cliffs, which I have done countless times over the decades.

I’ve never tried hang gliding, but many people do.  There usually is an updraft of wind that keeps the hang gliders in the air, as long as they remain near the cliffs.

However, I have seen some of them drift too far from the cliffs and gradually descend all the way down to the beach.  It is a big hassle walking a hang glider back up to the top.  In the fourth photo below, several hang gliders can be seen in the air near the cliffs.

         
15-second slideshow

Apr. 19, 2017

As tensions between North Korea and the United States grows, China has expressed a concern about North Korean nuclear development.  Regardless of warnings by the U.S., North Korea has said it will continue missile testing.  It also has threatened a pre-emptive nuclear strike if it feels that the U.S. is planning an attack.

The 'Mother of All Bombs' (MOAB) has been dropped
on Afghanistan. Here's what it does (and doesn't) mean.

In celebration of the 105th birthday of Kim Il-Sung—the late grandfather of North Korea’s current leader, Kim Jong-un—a musical spectacular was performed by the military.  It was accompanied by a mock-up video of nuclear missiles blowing up the USA, specifically San Francisco.  It also included an American flag burning in a cemetery.


Apr. 18, 2017

I am glad that armies have not surrounded or attacked Jerusalem, nor that people have had to evacuate the city.  This contingency plan has been in the works since Mar. 22, in the event that war erupts again in Israel.

One hypothesis in my End of the Age: 2020? commentary was that armies might invade Jerusalem and that people would flee or be evacuated from the city by yesteday or today.  Fortunately, it did not happen.  However, I will continue to look for the possibility that this could occur over the next few weeks.

Near the top of that commentary, I have added the following message:

Read this brief message before continuing:
Anticipated Prophetic Events Yet Unfulfilled


Kori Ali Muhammad, Islamic murderer in Fresno, CAIn other news, three men, ages 34 to 58, were shot dead this morning in Fresno, CA.  This follows the killing of a Motel 6 security guard, 25, last Thursday.

The admitted killer of all four white males is Cory Taylor, 39, who had changed his name to Kori Ali Muhammad.  As police tackled him to the ground, he shouted, “Allahu Akbar,” which means “Allah is great.”

On his Facebook page, he referred to white people as “white devils” and said that he wanted to kill as many white people as possible.  Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, “this is solely based on race.”

However, Dyer also said that the shootings are not connected to terrorism, even though the killer clearly had converted to Islam.  A great deal more information about the shooter can be found here:

Kori Ali Muhammad: 5 Fast
Facts You Need to Know

Apr. 17, 2017

I got a stash of 50%-off candy at WalMart this morning.  Most of it is Reese’s chocolate with peanut butter, my favorite combination.  I didn’t get too much, since I still have some left-over Valentine and Christmas candy.

Half-price Easter candy

There is a total of 57.80 ounces = 3.61 pounds.  Some of it will be given away.


Apr. 16, 2017

Here is not here. He has risen! Luke 24:6This is the Feast of Firstfruits or Resurrection Day.  It is the day that Jesus rose from the dead.  Eventually, all who believe in His blood atonement for their sins will do the same.

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.  But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)

The majority of these resurrections, I believe, will take place at the main Rapture event.  These glorified saints never will need to fear God’s severe judgment, and they will be exempt from His righteous wrath.

During the week of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, the Feast of Firstfruits fell on the date of Aviv 17 on the Hebraic calendar.  It was the same date that Noah’s ark landed and rested on Mount Ararat (Genesis 8:4).  On that day, Noah and his family were safe and secure from harm, with no further chance of sinking or drowning.

Someone looking at my Holy Week chart questioned me about this.  Here is my response:


Apr. 15, 2017

This morning, at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, NY, a mother giraffe gave birth to her new little son.  He doesn’t have a name yet, but his mom’s name is April and his dad’s name is Oliver.

Below is a 15-minute video of the event.  The baby’s front legs and head come out first.  At the 3min 15sec point, he drops to the ground.  After about 12 minutes, the calf is able to stand without falling over.  His dad can be seen walking around in the other room and looking over curiously at his new son.

More information can be found here:

IT'S A BOY! 'Perfect delivery' for April
the Giraffe at Animal Adventure Park

Apr. 14, 2017

Today is “Good Friday,” traditionally accepted as the day that Jesus was crucified and died.  I do not believe that myself.  Here are my email responses to two people convinced of a Friday crucifixion:

Personally, I am convinced that Jesus' crucifixion and death took place on Good Thursday.


The church I attend had a very nice Passover seder tonight.  It wasn’t on Passover (like the one I attended on Tue., Apr. 11).  But since most Christians commemorate Jesus’ crucifixion on “Good Friday,” that is why the seder was tonight (although I believe that the crucifixion was on Good Thursday).

Both the Jewish and the Messianic/Christian seders incorporate a “haggadah,” which is the text that sets forth the order of the seder.  The MessianisSeder.com site shows a haggadah that is representative of a Messianic Seder.  While Yeshua/Jesus is not mentioned in a traditional Jewish Passover seder, He is mentioned several times during the Messianic seder, such as here:

Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are.  For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. (1 Corinthians 5:7)

The cups of red wine or grape juice at the seder signify the blood Jesus shed for us.  The matzo or matzah (unleavened bread) is not made with yeast, which is a representation of sin in the Bible.  As believers, we are to get rid of the old sin (“yeast”) in our lives and be new “batches of bread” without yeast.  Our Messiah/Christ, who was sinless, was sacrificed as the ultimate Passover Lamb for us.

The matzo also has stripes and is pierced with holes.  Messianic Christians see this bread as representative of the body of Jesus, who was flogged (causing stripes) and nailed to a cross (creating holes in his wrists and feet).

He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

         

         

         

         

         
75-second slideshow

Indeed, Yeshua/Jesus our Passover Lamb was slain, and He lay in the tomb during the first few days and nights of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Fortunately for us, He did not remain there: He rose from the dead on the Feast of Firstfruits = Resurrection Day (Easter Sunday).

He is in heaven now waiting to return to earth, at which time He will sit on his throne in Jerusalem.  There, He will rule and reign as King over all the earth.  I can barely wait.


Apr. 13, 2017

Today is commonly called “Maundy Thursday,” a commemoration of the Last Supper at which Jesus washed the feet of His disciples.  “Maundy” is a reference to “foot washing.”

During Holy Week, at the end of Jesus’ earthly life, He entered Jerusalem, riding a donkey, on Aviv (or Nisan) 10, which was Palm Sunday.  This was the day that the Passover lambs, without any defects, were selected in Israel (Exodus 12:3).

For four days (from Aviv 10-14), the chief priests, elders, Pharisees, Sadducees, Pilate and Herod interrogated Jesus.  However, He always left them speechless, because they could find no fault with His impeccable logic and character (Matthew 21:23-27, 22:23-46, 26:59,60, 27:22,23; Luke 23:4; John 19:4,6).  Just as the Passover lambs were without any defect, Jesus was perfect and without defect.

The Passover lambs in Israel were to be slaughtered at “twilight” on Aviv 14 (Exodus 12:6).  Likewise, Jesus our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7b), was crucified at mid-afternoon on Pesach or Passover.

Four days after Sunday (from Aviv 10 to Aviv 14) is Thursday.  Thus, Jesus was crucified on Thursday (Yom Chamishi), not on Friday (Yom Shishi).  As such, the observation of Jesus’ washing His disciples’ feet should be on Maundy Wednesday, not on Maundy Thursday.  More details about all of this can be found in my Good Thursday commentary, especially in the parallels between Jesus and the Passover lamb section.

Jesus’ resurrection from the dead took place on the Feast of Firstfruits.  Of course, the notion that this event actually occurred is a topic of contention by people who do not believe it.

On the 700 Club this morning, a segment discussed this issue and explained why Jesus’ resurrection is quite plausible.  To see this 7 minute 10 second segment, go here, move your arrow along the time line, and click at the 11:43 point:

The 700 Club — April 13, 2017


Massive Ordnance Air Blast non-nuclear bombMassive Ordnance Air Blast non-nuclear bomb
In other news, today the U.S. dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in existence on Afghanistan.  Exactly one week ago, on Apr. 6, 59 tomahawk missiles were shot by the U.S. onto the Shayrat Air Base in Syria.

The Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB), commonly known as the “Mother of All Bombs,” was dropped from an MC-130 aircraft.  It struck an ISIS-K tunnel complex in the Achin district of Nangahar Province, near the border with Pakistan.  ISIS-K is the Afghan branch of ISIS.

The MOAB was developed in 2002 and first tested in 2003, but it never had been used in combat until today.  This bomb has the force of 11 tons of TNT.

The 'Mother of All Bombs' (MOAB) has been dropped
on Afghanistan. Here's what it does (and doesn't) mean.


Jewish settlers at Al-Aqsa MosqueAlso today, hundreds of Israeli Jews gathered at the Al-Buraq Wall in East Jerusalem, west of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.  This also is known as the Western Wall or Wailing Wall, where Jews go to offer prayers and supplications to God. This is part of a Passover week observance.

In addition, 385 Israeli settlers approached the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.  Palestinian officials said that this took place amid protests by Jerusalem-based Muslims.

Some settlers attempted to perform Talmudic rituals.  All of the settlers were guarded by Israeli police.  Additionally, there has been a deployment of thousands of Israeli troops to protect Jews at Western Wall.

385 Israeli settlers storm
Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque

In the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel captured East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza.  However, the Temple Mount remains one of the most contested religious sites in the world.  Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim sovereignty over it, and it will continue to be a major focal point of the Arab–Israeli conflict.  This 5½-minute video shows Israel’s critical security needs for a viable peace:


Apr. 12, 2017

At the mid-week church gathering tonight, we watched a 1½-hour movie called The Encounter.  It was filmed in 2010 and released in 2011.

I rarely ever watch movies; I don’t have the time or interest.  However, I am glad that I watched this movie.  All of the church members who watched it tonight thought it was very well done.

I think it answers a lot of questions that people have, such as these:

  • Why does God allow terrible things to happen in people’s lives?
  • Why doesn’t God seem to to care about us and the difficult situations we are experiencing or facing?

It also shows how one’s pride can cause a person to reject God, even if it means losing out on eternal joy, happiness, peace and fulfillment.  The movie, in its entirety, can be seen here:


Apr. 11, 2017

A friend and I attended a fantastic Passover Seder tonight, which was put on by the local Jewish community.  It is a commemoration of the Israelites in Egypt being led out of bondage by Moses, including crossing the Red Sea on dry land (Exodus 12-14).

It is possible that Passover may be my favorite night of the year.  For one thing, I love the account of the exodus of the tribes of Israel out of Egypt.  Also, the Seder feast always has an outstanding variety of kosher food, all of which is extremely tasty.

         

         

         

         
1-minute slideshow

Apr. 10, 2017

Passover full moonPesach or Passover begins after sunset this evening, and tonight there will be a full moon.  This day is a commemoration of the exodus of Israel out of Egypt, as described in Exodus 12:1-51.

Just as lambs were slain on the first and subsequent Passovers, the Lamb of God, Yeshua/Jesus, also died on Passover.  His shed blood atoned for the sins of all who will accept His unique sacrifice on their behalf.  According to John the Baptist and the apostle Paul,

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. (1 Corinthians 5:7b)

His death, of the righteous for the unrighteous, is the only thing that can bring us to God the Father.  According to the apostle Peter,

Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. (1 Peter 3:18)

There are clear links between the life, death, resurrection and future return of Yeshua/Jesus and the feasts and holy days of Israel.  (See more in Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 of my online book.)

An excellent 26½-minute video by Day of Discovery, showing connections between Jesus’ sacrifice and Passover, can be viewed here:

The Appointed Times: Jesus in the Feasts of Israel—Passover

More connections also can be found in my Good Thursday commentary.


Judge Neil Gorsuch sworn in as the 113th Supreme Court Justice by Justice Anthony Kennedy in a public ceremonyIn other news, Judge Neil Gorsuch was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Apr. 7.  Today, after signing the necessary papers, Gorsuch took the constitutional oath of office privately, administered by Supreme Court Justice John Roberts.  He now is the 113th Justice of the Supreme Court.

Later, in a public ceremony, Justice Gorsuch again took the oath of office, administered by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.  His wife, Louise, and President Trump stood nearby.

In historic moment, Neil Gorsuch
sworn in as Supreme Court justice

This diagram of the members of the Supreme Court (including Antonin Scalia, deceased) shows the spread from the least conservative (that is, most liberal) to the most conservative members:

Supreme Court Justices from least conservative to most conservative

Apr. 9, 2017

This is “Palm Sunday,” the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey.  This was prophesied to take place centuries before it happened:

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!  Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!  See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)

As Yeshua/Jesus, the Messiah/Christ, passed by, the people who had witnessed the countless miracles He had done shouted,

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”  “Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9)

A few days later on Passover, Jesus our Passover Lamb was sacrificed.  He was the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world (John 1:29).  See more details in parallels between Jesus and the Passover lamb.


Apr. 8, 2017

On Fortress of Faith this morning, I listened to Tom Wallace talking about “Islamophobia” in the USA.

A document put out by CAIR (the Council on American Islamic Relations) is called “Same Hate, New Target.”  Twice in the document, Islamophobia is defined as “close-minded prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims.”  I want it to be clear that I do not have a hatred of Muslims.  I even have a copy of the Qur´an at my site.

I encourage people, even Christians, to read this foundational book of Islam.  Although there are “peaceful” verses in the Qur´an, it has an abundance of passages teaching that Muslims are to come against “infidels,” who do not believe as they do and who do not submit to Allah.

I do have a problem with the ideology of Islam.  It oppresses those who follow its teachings, especially if they attempt to leave the Islamic faith.  It also uses fear to force Muslims to think the way they do, under penalty of death.  Christianity and Judaism do not do this.

Muslims definitely do have a right to practice their faith in the USA.  However, they do not have a right to attempt to force others to believe as they do, nor to attempt to cause their laws to be adopted by the cities and states in which they live.

There is an increasing persecution of non-Muslims who voice disagreement with Islam.  In the USA, where the right of freedom of speech is a fundamental aspect of the First Amendment to the Constitution, this is a deplorable travesty.

The notes and 14-minute audio recording of today’s Fortress of Faith program are here:

Islamophobia: PDF | Audio
Apr. 7, 2017

Responding to the missile strikes by the U.S. on Syria last night, Russia has called them a “flagrant violation of international law.”  They also have warned that this attack could have “serious consequences.”

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev charged that the strikes were one step away from clashing with Russia’s military.  No Russian planes or personnel were hit by any missiles.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is scheduled to visit Moscow next week.  A Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has said that Russia expects an explanation from Tillerson for the attack.

Russia warns of serious consequences
from U.S. strike in Syria


Judge Neil Gorsuch, the next associate justice of the U.S. Supreme CourtIn other news, Judge Neil Gorsuch received a 54-45 vote in the U.S. Senate to confirm him as the next justice on the Supreme Court.  After being sworn in on Apr. 10, he will fill the seat vacated by Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.

President Trump tweeted, “Congratulations to an exceptionally qualified and respected judge on his confirmation to the Supreme Court!”  Senate Majority Leader McConnell said, “He’s going to make the American people proud.”

Gorsuch confirmed to Supreme Court

Apr. 6, 2017

U.S. airstrike in SyriaPresident Trump has been very upset since Apr. 4, when there was a deadly nerve gas attack on innocent citizens in Syria, presumably by the Bashar al-Assad regime.  So today, Trump took retaliative action.

Two U.S. warships, carrying tomahawk missiles, moved into the eastern Mediterranean Sea.  Then they launched 59 missiles onto Shayrat Air Base northeast of Damascus.  The missiles destroyed up to 20 Syrian aircraft and damaged fuel sites and a surface-to-air missile system.

Tomahawk missiles: Explaining the
weapons the US used to strike Syria


2017 Shayrat missile strike

Here is a 30-second video of some of the missiles being launched:

This happened as Communist Chinese President Xi Jinping was having dinner with President Trump in Florida.  I wonder what Xi thinks about all of this.  In this 3-minute video, President Trump makes some statements after the tomahawk missile strikes on Syria:

U.S. enters World War I: April 6, 1917Interestingly, today is the 100th anniversary of the entry of the U.S. into World War I.  I’m hoping that today’s events do not mark the beginning of World War III.

Honestly, after what has happened in Syria and Iraq over the past 3 days, I am becoming increasingly concerned that Israel may become involved.  Israel itself made airstrikes in Syria last month, and Syria launched anti-aircraft missiles against Israeli warplanes in response on Mar. 17.

In case the hypothesis proposed in my End of the Age: 2020? commentary turns out to be correct, unpleasant and troublesome events will happen there in less than 2 weeks.  I hope I am wrong; but if not, it wouldn’t hurt to consider stocking up on some of the things on my Adversity Supplies Basic Check List, as well as dehydrated food from Wise Food Storage or Mountain House or other food site.


Judge Neil GorsuchIn other news, in the U.S. Senate today, a vote was taken on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch.  He is President Trump’s choice to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last year.

Approval would have required 60 votes to halt the ongoing Democratic process of filibustering of Gorsuch’s nomination.  However, the vote was 55-45, falling 5 votes short of halting the filibuster.  Prior to Gorsuch, there never had been a partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nomination.

In response, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for another vote to alter the long-standing practice of confirming Supreme Court justices.  In a 52-48 vote, the so-called “nuclear option” was passed.  This will enable the Senate to confirm Gorsuch’s nomination with a simple majority.  The Senate confirmation vote probably will take place tomorrow.

Senate Republicans vote to use
'nuclear option' to confirm Gorsuch

Apr. 5, 2017

A member of the Iraqi forces walks past a mural bearing the logo of the Islamic State (IS) group in a tunnel that was reportedly used as a training center by the jihadists, on March 1, 2017, in the village of Albu Sayf, on the southern outskirts of Mosul.ISIS is continuing its gruesome and brutal killing spree.  It is ISIS’s largest mass killing in 2017.

In eastern Syria, ISIS terrorists have murdered 33 civilians, all execution-style.  All were between ages 18 and 25.

On the same day, in an attack in Tikrit, Iraq, ISIS has slaughtered 22 civilians and police officers.  Tikrit was the birthplace of deceased Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

ISIS kills 33 execution-style in
Syria; 22 people in Iraq attack

Iraqi troops recaptured Tikrit from ISIS in the spring of 2015.  The terror group also has been losing ground and getting squeezed from its last big Iraqi stronghold, Mosul.

In response, its operatives are increasing their attacks across the country.  What I am wondering is if and when ISIS and/or other radical Islamists will move into Israel.


Apr. 4, 2017

A horrible nerve gas attack on Syrian citizens took place this morning.  It is the worst attack of its kind in Syria since August 2013.

Dozens are dead, including many children, and countless people are injured.  The deadly gas used probably was sarin gas.

The common consensus is that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ordered the attack.  Not surprisingly, he denies having done this.  Assad is an ophthalmologist, and most eye doctors do not put sarin gas in people’s eyes.

Evidence From Victims Points
to Nerve Gas in Syria Attack

Horrendous acts like this in the Middle East, especially against innocent citizens, are very upsetting.  I also am very apprehensive and uneasy that this has happened near Israel so close to the week of Passover, which begins in just a few days.


Susan Rice, former national security advisor to Barack ObamaIn other news, Susan Rice was Barack Obama’s national security advisor.  She also was one of his closest aides.

Multiple sources have named her as having “unmasked” officials of Donald Trump’s campaign or transition team.  Rice’s statements about this issue on March 22 seem to be inconsistent with what she is saying now.

What is 'unmasking?' Susan Rice allegedly sought
names of Trump associates under surveillance


Susan Rice claimed ignorance on Trump team
surveillance, before role in unmasking revealed

This is the same Susan Rice who was widely criticized for downplaying the September 12, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.  A few days after the attack, she appeared on five news shows, wrongly stating that it was a spontaneous response to an offensive anti-Islamic video.


Apr. 1, 2016

Happy April Fool’s Day.  Don’t play too many pranks unless you like to get pranked back. 

       
13-second slideshow

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