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The US witch population has seen an astronomical rise

By Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz & Dan KopfOctober 4, 2018

Spirituality is now firmly placed in mainstream culture. The growing interest in astrology driven by millennials, as well as the popularity of crystals and tarot cards via the ballooning wellness industry, have brought mysticism from the fringes, and right into your Instagram feed.

However, as the cosmetics giant Sephora recently found out, mysticism and its more formal manifestation, witch culture, are not topics to be taken lightly. When the company tried to commodify and condense witch-related practices into a “Starter Witch Kit,” they managed to piss off a bunch of actual witches, forcing the kit’s manufacturer to apologize and pull the product.

The kit was clearly aimed at dabblers in witchcraft, rather than those who actually practice it, which was perhaps part of the miscalculation. Data on the existing population of self-identified practicing witches suggests that a robust—and growing—witch community exists.

By the numbers: witches, Wiccans, and Pagans

Though the data is sparse, what we do know is that the practice of witchcraft has seen major growth in recent decades. As the witch aesthetic has risen, so has the number of people who identify as witches.

The best source of data on the number of witches in the US comes from assessments of the Wicca population. Not all people who practice witchcraft consider themselves Wicca, but the religion makes up a significant subset, as Alden Wicker noted for Quartz in 2016.

Wicca is a largely Western religious movement that dates back to the mid-20th century in the US and UK. According to the site wicca.com, it’s a belief system informed by “pre-Christian traditions originating in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales,” that promotes “free thought and will of the individual, and encourages learning and an understanding of the earth and nature.

Birgitte Necessary, who describes herself as a Green Witch from Washington State, defines the religion similarly, explaining it as “a deep adherence to nature and natural law, an attention to the cycles of the earth and the lives within it.” As a Green Witch, Necessary adds that her practices mostly revolve around the plant kingdom and herbal healing.

While the US government does not regularly collect detailed religious data, because of concerns that it may violate the separation of church and state, several organizations have tried to fill the data gap. From 1990 to 2008, Trinity College in Connecticut ran three large, detailed religion surveys. Those have shown that Wicca grew tremendously over this period. From an estimated 8,000 Wiccans in 1990, they found there were about 340,000 practitioners in 2008. They also estimated there were around 340,000 Pagans (pdf) in 2008.

Although Trinity College hasn’t run a survey since 2008, the Pew Research Center picked up the baton in 2014. It found that 0.4% of Americans, or around 1 to 1.5 million people, identify as Wicca or Pagan—which suggests continued robust growth for the communities.

Data on Wicca identification is ever sparser in the UK, the other country with a significant Wicca population. A 2011 government census found that there are 12,000 Wiccans in England and Wales, but previous surveys didn’t collect data on the group.

The rise of witchcraft

“Witch Hill” is an 1869 painting depicting a girl found guilty of witchcraft on her way to the gallows in Salem.

Witchcraft had a long and complicated history before the wellness and beauty industries became recently obsessed with it. Witches have been a fixture in the popular imagination for centuries: And from Snow White to The Crucible to Melisandre in Game of Thrones, beauty, sexuality, and the quest for eternal youth have been baked into our perception of witches.

That perception is also, of course, tied to a bloody history of persecution of witchcraft’s practitioners, and the term “witch” itself has been used as a multipurpose misogynist slur. It’s perhaps that centuries-long perception that has led modern-day witches to reclaim the term, and even coalesce into a political movement.

Some modern witches, such as Courtney Brooke, place themselves in a subset of witches that adhere to a feminist dogma and identify specifically as “feminist witches”:

The mainstreaming of mysticism makes sense when you consider how it overlaps with the interests of the millennial women. As Wicker noted, witchcraft is the perfect religion for liberal millennials who are already involved in yoga and meditation, mindfulness, and new-age spirituality. With that foundation, they might show up for pagan holidays or new moon gatherings, or begin to explore the more serious spiritual concepts at the root of these practices.

This is all aided by the rise of witches on social media (just check out the extremely popular #witchesofinstagram hashtag on Instagram), and a certain kind of Instagrammable witchiness has been identified by market trend-spotters as “mysticore.”

The Hoodwitch, for example, is a bona fide witch influencer, with 329K Instagram followers, who practices “everyday magic for the modern mystic,” and appears at events like LA’s BeautyCon to do tarot readings:

The numbers on Wicca and Paganism may well undercount the total number of witches. Indeed, as Necessary notes, some witches reject Wicca in its current form as “a new age less-than-perfect reinvention of witchcraft.”

But whatever the exact number is, it’s clear that witches are among us—and the current trajectory suggests that their population will continue to grow.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9426

Chinese official finds Trump ‘very confusing,’ says US warships at China’s doorstep building tension

By Gregg Re | Fox News

President Trump’s inner circle is “very confusing” for foreign diplomatic officials in Washington to navigate, China’s U.S. ambassador Cui Tiankai told “Fox News Sunday” in an exclusive wide-ranging interview.

Cui added that U.S. warships are “on the offensive” near China, days after a U.S. destroyer nearly collided with a Chinese military vessel in the South China Sea. The Pentagon said the Chinese ship came within 45 yards of the U.S. destroyer, in an intentionally “unsafe” maneuver.

Cui’s comments come as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump prepare for a possible meeting at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, next month, amid a rapidly escalating trade conflict between the two nations that some have called a new cold war.

Asked by host Chris Wallace whether Trump listens primarily to hardliners like trade director Peter Navarro — who has characterized China as the economic “parasite of the world” — or moderates like chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Cui responded simply, “You tell me.”

The envoy added that other ambassadors seemingly have the same issue. President Trump has repeatedly said he tries to avoid “telegraphing” his moves to foreign adversaries.

“Honestly, I’ve been talking to ambassadors of other countries in Washington, D.C., and this is also part of their problem,” Cui said. “They don’t know who is the final decision-maker. Of course, presumably, the president will take the final decision, but who is playing what role? Sometimes it could be very confusing.”

Trump, citing widespread intellectual property theft in China that cuts into the profits of U.S. companies doing business there, placed tariffs on approximately $200 billion of Chinese imports in September, following his imposition of significant tariffs on nearly $35 billion in Chinese goods in July. China quickly retaliated with $60 billion in tariffs of its own.

The White House has bipartisan support for hitting back at Chinese intellectual property theft. In an interview in June, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., ordinarily a fierce Trump critic, agreed with the administration’s China policy and said that the country “takes total advantage” of the U.S.

“Not only do they steal our intellectual property, they keep our good companies out, and say the only way you’re going to be able to sell your American products in China … is if you come to China, make them there, and give us the techniques and intellectual property,” Schumer said.

And the president has insisted his tariffs are already having a major impact.

“Their economy has gone down very substantially, and I have a lot more to do if I want to do it,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” last week. “They lived too well for too long and, frankly, I guess they think the Americans are stupid people. Americans are not stupid people. We were led badly when it came to trade.”

But in his interview with Fox News, Cui denied that China permits or engages in widespread intellectual property theft, and said even the suggestion was an affront to the country’s population.

“I think all of these accusations about how China has developed are groundless and not fair to the Chinese people,” he told Wallace. “You see, China has 1.4 billion people. It would be hard to imagine that one-fifth of the global population could develop and prosper not by relying mainly on their own efforts, but by stealing or forcing some transfer of technology from others — that’s impossible.”

“It’s important to notice who started this trade war. We never want to have a trade war.”

— China’s U.S. ambassador Cui Tiankai

He added: “It’s important to notice who started this trade war. We never want to have a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests.”

Concerns have been raised that China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasurys, might start dumping its holdings as a way to pressure the United States in the trade dispute. But Mnuchin said this possibility didn’t concern him because it would be contrary to Beijing’s economic interests to start dumping its Treasury holdings, and would be “very costly” to China.

Top U.S. officials have warned that the ongoing conflict with China extends beyond trade. In Senate testimony on Wednesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that “China, in many ways, represents the broadest, most complicated, most long-term counterintelligence threat we face.”

He added that “Russia is … fighting to stay relevant after the fall of the Soviet Union,” while “China is fighting tomorrow’s fight…and it affects every sector of our economy.”

Vice President Pence, meanwhile, has accused China of trying to interfere with U.S. elections, including by targeting tariffs toward industries that support Trump and even spreading propaganda in U.S. media outlets.

In response, Cui effectively called the U.S. the aggressor in several spheres of influence. Chinese state-run media companies have recently bought newspaper inserts in U.S. newspapers to influence local opinion in favor of China.

“You see, Chinese media, they are just learning from America media to use all these means, to buy commercial pages from newspapers, to make their views known or to cover what is happening here,” Cui said. “This is normal practice for all the media.” (China does not generally permit foreign-owned media companies to buy such political inserts in its own domestic papers.)

The envoy also said that Chinese warships, which harassed and nearly collided with a U.S. destroyer recently in the disputed South China Sea, had responded appropriately to an intervention on their “doorstep.” Beijing has built up military fortifications on two contested Chinese man-made islands there despite pledging not to do so.

“Where the incident took place, you were right to say it was in South China Sea. So it’s at China’s doorstep,” Cui told Wallace. “It’s not Chinese warships that are going to the coast of California, or to the Gulf of Mexico. It’s so close to the Chinese islands and it’s so close to the Chinese coast. So who is on the offensive? Who is on the defensive? This is very clear.”

Cui said, however, that China would continue to “faithfully” implement sanctions against its longtime ally, North Korea, in order to restore stability to the region. He  said a “coordinated, phased, and step-by-step approach” to North Korean denuclearization is the best approach, mirroring the position of that country’s leader, Kim Jong Un.

“How can you convince him to give up all the nuclear weapons without any hope that the U.S. would be following a more friendly policy towards him?” Cui asked.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Beijing last week, where top Chinese officials vowed to take “all necessary measures” to safeguard their country. They have since said that high-level communications continue between the two countries.

Still, there were signs tensions between China and the U.S. have eased somewhat in recent days. Global stock market indexes bounced back sharply Friday after their recent plunges, on word of the possible presidential meeting.

And reports have emerged that Mnuchin has advised against labeling China a currency manipulator — a status that could trigger penalties. The Chinese currency has been falling in value against the dollar in recent months, raising concerns that Beijing is devaluing its currency to make Chinese goods more competitive against U.S. products.

Mnuchin did not say this weekend what the forthcoming Treasury report, set to come out next week, will conclude about China’s currency practices. In the past, Treasury has placed China on a watch-list but found that Beijing did not meet the threshold to be labeled a currency manipulator.

The Treasury secretary met Thursday with Yi Gang, head of China’s central bank. “I expressed my concerns about the weakness of the currency.” Mnuchin said.

Cui told Wallace that China, despite its ongoing spat with the U.S. on a variety of fronts, remains optimistic about November’s planned meeting between Trump and Jinping. Kudlow, the chief White House economic adviser, said on “Fox News Sunday” that the one-on-one between the two leaders will “probably” happen.

“There’s a good mutual understanding and good working relationship between the two,” Cui said. “I hope and I’m sure this will continue.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9424

Putin-Rouhani cut deal to ensure Iran evades US sanctions, Israel said to warn

Agreement sealed in Tehran last month provides for Iran to export crude oil to Russia, where it will be refined and sold worldwide, Foreign Ministry document reportedly specifies

By TOI staff and Agencies 14 October 2018, 9:09 pm 3

Russia and Iran have agreed on a mechanism to spare Iran the impact of what are intended by the US to be crippling sanctions on its oil industry from next month, an Israeli Foreign Ministry document reportedly warns.

The mechanism provides for Iran to export crude oil to Russia across the Caspian Sea. The oil will then be refined at Russian refineries, and from there it will be exported worldwide, the “secret” Israeli document states, according to a report on Hadashot TV news on Sunday.

In return, Moscow will provide Iran with unspecified trade and service benefits.

The goal of the mechanism, the reported Israeli document makes clear, is to enable Iran to bypass the US sanctions on its oil industry that are set to come into force on November 4.

The US administration, which has withdrawn from the 2015 P5+1 world powers nuclear deal with Iran, is hoping that escalated sanctions will cripple the Iranian economy and force Tehran to come back to the negotiating table, where US President Donald Trump would aim to reach a new deal that would more stringently deny Iran any means of attaining nuclear weapons.

The Russian-Iranian deal was reportedly reached last month in Tehran, where Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held summit talks.

A handout picture taken and released on September 7, 2018, by the Turkish Presidential Press service shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) , Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (C) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) joining hands during a trilateral summit in Tehran. (AFP/Turkish Presidency Press Office)

The Israeli document also reportedly warns that European states, which remain supportive of the 2015 deal, are ready to tacitly agree to let Iran continue to sell oil to various states in Asia.

The general aim of the Russian-Iranian mechanism, and of the European tacit agreement to other Iranian oil exports, is “to avert the collapse of the Iranian economy” when the US sanctions take effect, and thus “to prevent Iran from withdrawing” from the 2015 nuclear deal, according to the TV report. Maintaining the accord, the report said, is deemed by Moscow and the EU to be in their interest.

The Israeli document reportedly warns that the Putin-Rouhani agreement is “a very significant” one — a means “to breach the US sanctions wall” that will start with oil, but could also have further implications, the TV report said.

The report did not say whether the conclusions in the document have been shared by Israel with the US — whose leaderships are allied in their bitter opposition to the 2015 deal, and utterly mistrust Iran’s insistence that it is not seeking nuclear weapons.

Furthermore, the TV report noted, the mechanism underlines the alliance of interests between Moscow and Tehran, and is therefore of relevance, as Israel seeks to prevent Iran deepening its military presence in Syria. That Israeli effort has seen relentless Israeli airstrikes on Iranian and Iran-linked targets in Syria; last month, Syrian anti-aircraft missiles accidentally downed a Russian military spy plane in the course of an Israeli airstrike, plunging Israeli-Russian ties into crisis.

Rouhani has insisted several times in recent weeks that Iran will continue exporting crude oil despite the US efforts to stop it through sanctions. “We will continue by all means to both produce and export” oil, Rouhani said in remarks broadcast on state TV on September 5, for instance, two days before the summit with Putin and Erdogan. “Oil is in the frontline of confrontation and resistance.”

Three weeks ago, Rouhani ridiculed the Trump administration’s sanctions efforts, calling the threat to prevent Iranian oil exports an “empty promise” that would not work. “The United States is not capable of bringing our oil exports to zero,” he declared.

The US wants to reduce Iran’s oil exports effectively to zero with the renewed sanctions from November 4, after pulling out of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in May.

Russia, however, has vowed to try to salvage the 2015 deal, and to protect its economic relations with Tehran.

It has been unclear, however, how much other countries will cut back on Iranian oil imports — despite the threat of their trading with Iran impacting their trading relationships with the US. Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China, which also signed the nuclear deal, opposed the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from it. European countries are trying to salvage the landmark accord.

Iran said late last month that it expected the European Union to establish a legal framework by November 4 to bypass the American sanctions and to allow the continuation of trade between Tehran and EU member states.

The European Union, for its part, said its members would set up a payment system to allow oil companies and businesses to continue trading with Iran.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9422

Why Was The Papal Audience Hall Building At The Vatican Constructed In The Shape Of A Giant Reptile?

Commissioned by Pope Paul VI in 1963, the Papal Audience Hall in Vatican City was inaugurated in 1971. But it doesn’t take you long to realize the whole thing, inside and outside, is a giant reptile. When the pope stands and addresses his audience, he speaks from the snake’s mouth. How is that for symbolism?

by Geoffrey Grider October 10, 2018

The Pope’s Audience Hall building at the Vatican was designed to look exactly like a giant reptile inside and out. When the pope addresses an audience there the effect is that he is speaking from the mouth of a giant reptile. Why on earth would he want to do that?

Let me just start this by saying that, no, I am not signed off on just about any of the various reptilian incursion conspiracy theories floating around the Internet. Most of them are quite silly, though usually amusing. But if you want to talk Bible, where there is a real reptile that presents itself as a dragon with 7 heads and 10 horns, now I’m interested.

“So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Revelation 17:3-5 (KJV)

And as fate would have it, that dragon, that ‘scarlet coloured beast’ of Bible prophecy is 100% connected with the Vatican, the pope and the Catholic Church. With that in mind, the fact that the Vatican created a building in the shaped of a giant reptile and the pope gives speeches from the beast’s mouth is off-the-charts interesting.

Let’s start with the history and construction of the Papal Audience Hall

FROM ARCVISION PRIZE: Commissioned by Pope Paul VI in 1963, the Papal Audience Hall in Vatican City was inaugurated in 1971. Shortly thereafter both the hall and the architect achieved such a worldwide fame that the auditorium came to be called familiarly Aula Nervi. It is one of the last great works of Pier Luigi Nervi, an engineer by training as well as a skilled entrepreneur and unsurpassed interpreter of cement as form and structure for architectural and infrastructural works where it is impossible to distinguish the design project from structural computation.

The complex is located near St. Peter’s Basilica in an area between Italy and Vatican City. The large auditorium, which can accommodate up to twelve thousands people is covered by a double curving parabolic vault that, thanks to its slender bearing structures, makes the big vault as suspended in air and powered by invisible anti-gravity forces.

In order to facilitate the view of the papal throne, even the floor has a double convex curvature. A refined and innovative system for air circulation was installed, consisting of nine channels and placed under the floor, to dissipate the intense heat output of the communication equipment like the lighting systems of TV cameras. The auditorium was built with extensive use of reinforced concrete and a special concrete mix with white marble dust and grit provided by Italcementi. It is characterized by special brightness, both for the ellipsoidal glass wall (built by John Hajnal) and for the vault consisting of variable length corrugated structures and large openings creating an extraordinary luminescent plot. READ MORE

Now let’s look at how dark and sinister the whole thing is

Have a look at the image below and compare its shape to the image of a snake beside it. Note the overall shape — wide back, narrow, rounded front, eyes in the middle, nostril at the front, and curved top. So even from the outside and viewed from the sky, the entire building is a dead-ringer for a snake’s head.

The Papal Audience Hall in Vatican City as viewed from the sky and compared with a reptile.

When the building is viewed from the inside, the unmistakable resemblance to a reptile hits you like a ton of bricks. A ton of dark, evil and very sinister bricks.

The Papal Audience Hall in Vatican City as viewed from the inside and compared to a reptile.

Just when you thought it couldn’t possible get much worse, it does. Way worse. Right behind the pope’s throne, they installed a statue created by Pericle Fazzini in 1977 that purports to show Jesus Christ rising up from an ‘atomic apocalypse’, and looking for all the world like a scene from ‘Night Of The Living Dead’ zombie movie. And if you look closely at the top of the “Jesus” head, you will see something quite interesting indeed.

The demonic and massive statue of Jesus turning into a reptile by Pericle Fazzini

You will notice that the “head of Jesus” has his hair blowing in the breeze or some such thing, but if you look closer it is more than that. The head of Jesus is turning into…(anyone care to hazard a guess here?)…a reptile. What is the importance of that? Well, you read this verse and then you tell me what it means.

“And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:14,15 (KJV)

In the Bible, Satan is pictured as a reptile who will have a coming war with King Jesus at the Battle of Armageddon at the Second Coming. Revelation shows us that the Genesis serpent had an ‘upgrade’ along the way and now is a giant, red-headed multi-headed dragon, though still a reptile.

The disgusting statue by Fazzini, mocking entitled ‘The Resurrection‘, actually shows Jesus Christ becoming a reptile, and thus re-writing the biblical prophecy made by God that Satan loses to Jesus at the Second Coming. And just to further drive the point home, the exact height of the abomination is exactly 66 feet.

Pope Francis In Poland Tells World Famous Photographer ‘I Am The Devil’ Then Laughs It Off

This is where Satan’s seat is

Take a good look at this video and all these photos, and really meditate on what you are seeing. You are seeing a building called the Papal Audience Hall, in the undeniable shape of a serpent, from which the pope addresses his followers from a ‘throne’ place in front of a demonic imaging of Jesus turning into a reptile.

“I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.” Revelation 2:13 (KJV)

Congratulations! Now you’ve figured out where Satan’s Seat is, who it is that sits on that seat, and what organization he is the leader of. Readers and believers of the King James Bible have had this ‘newsflash’ well in hand since 1611.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9419

Earliest Known Stone Carving Of Hebrew Word ‘Jerusalem’ From Second Temple Period Found Near City Entrance Stuns Archaeologists

“I was picturing red spray paint in my mind and couldn’t understand how that happened because the latest dating could only be 2,000 years ago or earlier,” said Levi. But when she saw the professionally chiseled Hebrew lettering inscribed into the stone column, she realized it was something unusual. Brushing off the dirt, she began to read what was written. “My heart started to pound and I was sure everyone could hear it. My hands were trembling so badly I couldn’t properly take a picture,” said Levi, who dates the column and its inscription to 100 BC.

by Geoffrey Grider October 10, 2018

The earliest stone inscription bearing the full spelling of the modern Hebrew word for Jerusalem was unveiled on Tuesday at the Israel Museum, in the capital.

This earliest known engraving of the word ‘Jerusalem’ in Hebrew is a stunning discovery that has archaeologists in Israel weeping for joy. Jerusalem, the City of David, is the capital city of the only land on earth known as God’s Land.

“The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.” Psalm 147:2 (KJV)

FROM THE TIMES OF ISRAEL: While any inscription dating from the Second Temple period is of note, the 2,000-year-old three-line inscription on a waist-high column — reading “Hananiah son of Dodalos of Jerusalem” — is exceptional, as it is the first known stone carving of the word “Yerushalayim,” which is how the Israeli capital’s name is pronounced in Hebrew today.

The stone column was discovered earlier this year at a salvage excavation of a massive Hasmonean Period Jewish artisans’ village near the Jerusalem International Convention Center, at what is now the entrance to the modern city, by an Israel Antiquities Authority team headed by archaeologist Danit Levi.

“A worker came to me in the office towards the end of the day and excitedly told me to grab my camera and writing materials because he’d found something written,’” Levi told The Times of Israel, ahead of the column’s unveiling Tuesday.

At first, the excited worker could not clearly explain what he had found, and Levi thought it was graffiti.

“I was picturing red spray paint in my mind and couldn’t understand how that happened because the latest dating could only be 2,000 years ago or earlier,” said Levi. But when she saw the professionally chiseled Hebrew lettering inscribed into the stone column, she realized it was something unusual. Brushing off the dirt, she began to read what was written.

“My heart started to pound and I was sure everyone could hear it. My hands were trembling so badly I couldn’t properly take a picture,” said Levi, who dates the column and its inscription to 100 BC.

The 80 cm. high column has a diameter of 47.5 cm, said Levi, and would have originally been used in a Jewish craftsman’s building. It presumably belonged to or was built with money from Hananiah son of Dodalos.

While inscribed in a Jewish village — Levi said there is evidence of ritual baths as well as other finds bearing Hebrew lettering at the site — the column was eventually reused in a plastered wall, found in a ceramic construction workshop in use by the Tenth Roman Legion, that would eventually destroy Jerusalem in 70 AD

During an interview on Tuesday, Clinton said that Democrats can be civil toward Republicans when they take back the House, Senate or both.

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” the former secretary of state said.

Clinton would rather see the country thrown into chaos, Ingraham said, than admit Trump’s policies are succeeding.

“This is all about foisting a liberal construct on America,” she said.

Democrats are actually resentful that the country is prospering, Ingraham added, and they’re displaying Antifa-like resistance.

“The Democrats have decided to run on just a platform of demonization.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9416

The US military is planning a serious showdown with China that would be a significant show of force on tense tides and involve American warships and aircraft

Ryan Pickrell

Oct. 3, 2018, 8:12 PM

US Navy guided-missile destroyers and guided-missile cruisers. U.S. Navy photo by Lt.j.g. Caleb Swigart

  • The US military is reportedly planning to send US warships, combat aircraft, and troops through the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait in November in a series of exercises designed to send a message to Beijing.
  • The proposal, which comes at a time of heightened tensions between the US and China, has yet to be approved.
  • In recent weeks, Washington and Beijing have quarreled over trade, sanctions, Taiwan, repeated bomber flights over disputed seas, and a confrontation between US and Chinese warships.

The US military is reportedly planning to put on a serious show of force in contested waters from the South China Sea to the Taiwan Strait as a warning to China and a reminder of the United States’ ability to rapidly confront and counter any potential adversaries.

The US Pacific Fleet has proposed a series of exercises for November that would see American warships and aircraft demonstrating US military might in disputed waterways in a message to Beijing, CNN reported Wednesday afternoon, citing several defense officials.

While one official reportedly characterized the plans as “just an idea,” others indicated that the proposal, which already has an operational name, is being circulated at various levels of the military.

Assuming the plan is approved, the operations would be carried out over the course of a week. The plan, derived from the National Defense Strategy and assertions that the US is once again in an age of great power competition with Russia and China, is still under consideration and will require input from the intelligence community on possible reactions from Beijing and other international actors.

News of this plan comes on the heels of serious incidents in the East and South China Seas.

Twice last week, the US sent B-52H Stratofortress heavy long-range bombers tearing through the South China Sea. Those flights were immediately followed by a joint military exercise in which a US B-52 bomber joined forces with Japanese fighter jets over the East China Sea and Sea of Japan.

China called the flights “provocative,” warning the US that it would take “necessary measures” to defend Chinese national interests. Several days later, the Chinese military conducted “live-fire shooting drills” in the South China Sea.

On Sunday, the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer conducted a freedom-of-navigation operation near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. During the routine operation, a Chinese Luyang II-class guided-missile destroyer confronted the US warship.

The Chinese vessel, according to the Pacific Fleet, engaged in “increasingly aggressive” behavior. The Chinese ship nearly collided with the US destroyer during the exchange, which was described as “unsafe and unprofessional.”

These incidents came amid other deteriorations in the US-China bilateral relationship, specifically issues pertaining to sanctions, trade, and Taiwan.

In the past two weeks, the US and China have canceled several high-level military-to-military meetings intended to defuse tensions. While some observers have expressed concern, noting that the situation is escalating to dangerous levels, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said the US and China simply need to learn to sort out their differences.

“We’re just going to have to learn how to manage this relationship,” he said Tuesday, adding, “We’ll do that. We’ll sort this out.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9413

Cardinal raises question: Is Pope Francis part of Church’s ‘final trial’?

UTRECHT, Netherlands, May 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A Dutch cardinal has said that Pope Francis’ failure to uphold the Church’s authentic faith makes him think of the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s prophecy of a “final trial” for the Church before the second coming of Christ.

Cardinal Willem Eijk, 64, the Archbishop of Utrecht, made the startling comment in an article published today at the National Catholic Register.

Eijk, who was created a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, got his medical degree before ordination to the priesthood and went on to complete three PhDs in medicine, philosophy and theology.

In the article, the Cardinal laments Pope Francis’ failure to bring clarity on the question of intercommunion with Protestants during last week’s meeting at the Vatican with German bishops. The Pope told the German bishops to obtain unanimous approval on the issue, but, says Cardinal Eijk, he should have simply reminded them of the Church’s clear doctrine and practice.

“By failing to create clarity, great confusion is created among the faithful and the unity of the Church is endangered,” he said.

“Observing that the bishops and, above all, the Successor of Peter fail to maintain and transmit faithfully and in unity the deposit of faith contained in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, I cannot help but think of Article 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church,” he wrote.

That article of the Catechism, which he quoted in full, warns of a trial that will “shake the faith of many believers.” It prophesies a persecution that will “unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.”

Cardinal Eijk warned publicly last year that by failing to clarify Church teaching over divorce and remarriage, Pope Francis was “fracturing” the Church.

He is not the first Cardinal to recognize the confusion in the Church caused by Pope Francis as a sign of the end times. At the Rome Life Forum last year, the late Cardinal Carlo Caffarra spoke of the confusion in the Church around marriage and the family as the fulfillment of a prophecy he received.

In a letter Cardinal Caffarra received from Sr. Lucia, the Fatima visionary wrote that the “final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Do not be afraid, (she added), because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.”

That final battle, he said at the Rome Life Forum, “is being fulfilled today.”

Cardinal Burke too has identified the confusion and error in the Catholic Church under Pope Francis with the end times. “One may have the feeling that the Church gives the appearance of being unwilling to obey the mandates of Our Lord,” Cardinal Burke said in an interview with the Catholic Herald in November. “Then perhaps we have arrived at the End Times.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9411

In Bold Marketing Move, The Mormon Church Will No Longer Be Using The Name ‘Mormon’ In Effort To Rebrand Cult Image

Church President Russell M. Nelson announced guidelines in August requesting that people stop using “Mormon” or “LDS” as substitutes for the church’s full name. He said “Latter-day Saints” was acceptable shorthand. The term Mormon comes from the church’s signature scripture, the Book of Mormon, which followers believe is based on the record keeping of an ancient prophet named Mormon.

by Geoffrey Grider October 5, 2018

The term Mormon comes from the church’s signature scripture, the Book of Mormon, which followers believe is based on the record keeping of an ancient prophet named Mormon.

When someone says the word ‘Mormon’, what’s the first image that comes to mind? If you’re honest, you think of two young men on bicycles, wearing white shirts and ties, with backpacks, going from door to door to ‘spread the word’ about the religion of Joseph Smith. You may also think of Mitt Romney and the ‘magic underwear‘, the ‘magic stone‘ and cans of Coke with a red line through them. And that whole ‘Satan and Jesus are brothers‘ thing can really be off putting to some people.

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8 (KJV)

So the powers that be at Mormon Inc decided that a name change might just be the thing to make them appear less like a cult and more like a legitimate denomination of Christianity.

FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: The world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be singing the same tune but under a new name. The choir was renamed Friday to strip out the word Mormon in a move aimed at ending shorthand names for the religion that have been used for generations by church members and others.

The singers will now be called the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a statement . It’s a nod to the home of the choir for the last 150 years, the Tabernacle, located on church grounds known as Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City.

The group had been known as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir since 1929, when it began broadcasting a weekly radio program to a wide audience.

What the Mormon Church does not want  you to know…until after you join

Like all cults, the Mormon Church has a lot of wacky doctrine not found anywhere in the Bible, and they do their very best to keep it from prospective new members until they can “ease them” into it. This video will get you up to speed on what Mormons really teach and actually believe.

Church President Russell M. Nelson announced guidelines in August requesting that people stop using “Mormon” or “LDS” as substitutes for the church’s full name. He said “Latter-day Saints” was acceptable shorthand. The faith holds that the full church name was given by revelation from God to founder Joseph Smith in 1838.

The term Mormon comes from the church’s signature scripture, the Book of Mormon, which followers believe is based on the record keeping of an ancient prophet named Mormon. A church webpage that was up before Nelson’s announcement described the term Mormon as an “unofficial but inoffensive nickname for members.

But Nelson in his August statement urged people not to use Mormon or LDS. The “Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name he has revealed for his church,” he said.

Speaking later in Canada, Nelson acknowledged that it would be a “challenge to undo tradition of more than 100 years” but said the name of the faith is “not negotiable,” according to a video posted on a church website. He said church members need to use the proper name if they want outsiders to use it.

“We’re not changing names. We’re correcting a name,” Nelson said. “Some marketers change names hoping to be more successful — that’s not our point. We’re correcting an error that’s crept in over the ages.”

In a different video from the trip, Nelson said, “It’s not Mormon’s church, it’s not Moses’ church, it’s the church of Jesus Christ.”

Some Mormons do not realize that their temple Endowment ceremony was copied directly from occultic rites in Freemasonry.

The name change will be a big effort for the Utah-based faith that counts 16 million members worldwide. The renaming of the choir is the first step with many changes still to come. The church still uses Mormon in its Twitter handle.

The faith’s presidents are considered prophets who lead through revelations from God. Nelson, 94, ascended to the post in January after the previous president died.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9409

Chinese destroyer’s ‘unsafe’ interaction with USS Decatur in South China Sea seen in stunning photos

Fox News

This U.S. Navy photo, first obtained by gcaptain.com, shows the incident between the USS Decatur, left, and the Luoyang. (U.S. Navy)

A Chinese destroyer came a stone’s throw away from a U.S. Navy ship as the American vessel sailed near disputed islands in the South China Sea, stunning photos released Tuesday showed.

In the photos, first obtained by gcaptain.com, the People’s Republic of China destroyer Luoyang is seen within 45 yards of the USS Decatur before the U.S. ship is forced to veer away to avoid a collision near the Gaven Reefs on Sunday, U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman said.

The photos were deemed to be legitimate, but it wasn’t clear how they were obtained, a U.S. Navy official told Stars and Stripes.

The destroyer conducted an “an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver,” Gorman said. He added the Chinese ship conducted a series of increasingly aggressive maneuvers that were accompanied by warnings urging the Decatur to depart.

The USS Decatur, a guided-missile destroyer, was conducting a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea, a U.S. defense official told Fox News in a statement. The operation was conducted to “uphold the rights and freedoms of all states under international law. Decatur sailed within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands,” the official said.

China claims the rights to most of the strategic waterway and has built man-made islands on reefs and equipped them with airstrips, radar domes and missile systems.

China opposed the U.S. warship’s entry into the waters around the reefs, the Chinese defense ministry said in a statement Tuesday. Chinese officials confirmed it sent the Luoyang to drive the USS Decatur away and urged the U.S. to stop its “provocative” actions.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9407

US Starts Implementing 10-Year $38 Billion Israel Defense-Aid Plan

By JNS October 3, 2018 , 11:39 am

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. Malachi :10 (The Israel Bible™)

The U.S. State Department has announced that an MOU signed in 2016 between the United States and Israel to provide $38 billion in defense financing to Israel has become officially operational.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert released a statement announcing the implementation of the MOU, saying that “under the terms of the MOU, the United States will set funding for Israel at levels of $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing and $500 million for cooperative programs for missile defense over each of the next 10 years, a significant increase enabling Israel to acquire additional advanced military capabilities from the United States that will, over time, enhance Israel’s security and strengthen our bilateral relationship.”

The statement reiterates the United States’ longstanding bipartisan commitment to the safety and security of Israel.

“Our implementation of this historic MOU reflects the enduring and unshakable commitment of the President, this Administration, and the American people to Israel’s security,” Nauert stated, noting that “the MOU was negotiated under the previous Administration, reflecting the bipartisan nature of this commitment.”

“The United States unconditionally affirms Israel’s right to self-defense, and this MOU is a concrete demonstration of our commitment to Israel’s capacity to defend itself with a qualitative military edge over all potential regional adversaries,” she added.

While Israel receives among the largest annual aid packages from the United States, Israel provides the United States with significant value — both in terms of intelligence it provides, as well as operational feedback on equipment that can be later deployed by the United States or sold to other countries.

“Israel is a valuable and capable ally to the United States that today faces dangerously escalating regional threats, first and foremost from the Iranian regime’s sponsorship of terrorist groups seeking to attack not only Israel, but also American interests,” stated Nauert. “Israel is also threatened by the reckless proliferation of destabilizing weapons systems into the region that increase the possibility of an escalated conflict in an already dangerous and volatile theater.”

In response to the MOU becoming operational, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked the American administration and Congress for their commitment to Israel.

“Israel and the world face complex security challenges, especially Iranian aggression. The unreserved US support for Israel’s right to defend itself is among the pillars of the strong bond between the two countries,” he said.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9404