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Los Angeles Leaders Want Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom To Declare A State Of Emergency As Homeless Camps Threaten To Overtake The Golden State

Facing a deepening quagmire over homeless encampments, Los Angeles elected officials are increasingly looking to sweeping statewide initiatives to shake loose solutions. The latest proposal from Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and City Councilman Joe Buscaino would have the governor declare a state of emergency on homelessness in California. Gov. Gavin Newsom has not taken a stand on the current request for a state of emergency declaration.

by Geoffrey Grider September 30, 2019

 “We have a tacit public policy it’s OK to live outdoors,” Steinberg said. “I am strongly pushing for a clear public policy that says as a matter of right people should be living under a roof.”

What happens when you have a state that wants to live without rules and laws, and declare everything to be a ‘right’? You have lawlessness, chaos, and a broken system that creates of dependent entitlement class of sick people instead of instead of a healthy working class of healthy people. This is the real price to pay for having a ‘sanctuary city’ in California, New York City and in other places around the country.

The 2020 Democrats say that health care is a ‘human right’, and that all Americans are entitled to it. They also say that all illegal immigrants are entitled to it as well. Democrats also say that college should be free for anyone who want s to go. Who pays for all these things?  Taxpayers, that’s who. But when you are funding the ‘rights’ of people who are not contributing to the funding, you very quickly run out of money and solutions as more and more people stop working and opt for all the ‘free stuff’ you told them they are entitled to.

Take a long, hard look at California right now, look at the teeming homeless camps that line block after block of Los Angeles, and then watch as those camps spread all the way 7-hours up towards San Francisco. This is what Democratic leadership is offering you in 2020, this is what you will get on a national level if you elect them.

There are so many homeless camps, LA area leaders want Newsom to issue a state of emergency

FROM HERALD MEDIA: Facing a deepening quagmire over homeless encampments, Los Angeles elected officials are increasingly looking to sweeping statewide initiatives to shake loose solutions. The latest proposal from Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and City Councilman Joe Buscaino would have the governor declare a state of emergency on homelessness in California.

Supporters view such a declaration as a novel strategy to free up state and federal funding typically reserved for natural disasters, such as earthquakes or wildfires, and to suspend or streamline the regulatory hurdles that often slow down shelter and housing development.

It also could block NIMBY opponents from using environmental reviews to sue and delay or block homeless facilities from opening. But some question whether an emergency declaration would be merely symbolic, given President Donald Trump’s rejections of more federal funding and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s commitment of $1 billion for local homeless programs and support for more regulatory relief.

Last week, Newsom signed a package of legislation that, among other things, exempts from environmental review supportive housing and shelter projects in the city of L.A. that receive funding from certain public sources, including the $1.2 billion Proposition HHH housing bond that voters approved in 2016.

Another new law allows cities in Alameda and Orange counties, in addition to the city of San Jose, to declare a shelter crisis so those local governments can eventually bypass some planning and zoning regulations to expedite construction.

“The governor should not sign a declaration of emergency until the proponents identify the specific laws and regulations they want to get around, and the resources they believe the declaration would free up,” said Gary Blasi, a retired law professor who specializes in homelessness issues. “The state statutes regarding emergencies were not designed to respond to long-standing political, leadership and moral disasters.”

Newsom has not taken a stand on the current request for a state of emergency declaration. Alex Comisar, spokesman for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, said it was “a choice for the governor to make.”

“There are more questions that need to be worked through before he could support something like that,” Newsom spokesman Nathan Click said. In 2015, City Council members and Garcetti announced that they would declare an emergency locally, but then dropped the idea as the mayor sought a statewide declaration from then-Gov. Jerry Brown, who turned him down.

Then in 2018, Los Angeles declared a shelter crisis, which, along with a legislative change, triggered streamlining of red tape around developing emergency beds on public land. Many in L.A. have been frustrated by the sluggish pace of construction of new shelters and housing for the estimated 44,000 residents in the county, including 27,000 in the city, who live outdoors in tents, cars or lean-tos, as opposed to shelters or other temporary housing.

Only 477 emergency shelter beds have been added in the last 2 1/2 years for households without children, which form the bulk of the homeless population, according to an inventory released in September. Buscaino said he has grown particularly frustrated that even temporary tent shelters on public land have become bogged down in approval processes.

“We’re stopping for every red light, instead of treating this like an emergency,” Buscaino said. Before a meeting Friday of the governor’s task force on homelessness, headed by Ridley-Thomas and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Newsom, in a letter, asked members to prioritize getting people off the streets.

He underscored that local communities must “fully enforce” public safety and health laws, touching on the controversial issue of sanitation sweeps of encampments and other police enforcement. He also asked the task force for proposals to break down barriers to building housing and to get more homeless people into treatment.

Steinberg and Ridley-Thomas are championing a legal right to shelter for California, which would require local governments to provide a bed to every homeless person who wants to move indoors. Steinberg also wants to require homeless people to accept shelter if offered, although how that would be enforced is a question mark.

Separately, local governments — including the city and county of L.A. — and business groups also are petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a challenge to a federal appeals court ruling out of Boise, Idaho, that has stopped authorities in Western states from arresting homeless people for sleeping in public when shelter space is unavailable.

“We have a tacit public policy it’s OK to live outdoors,” Steinberg said. “I am strongly pushing for a clear public policy that says as a matter of right people should be living under a roof.” Newsom has said he is not ready to endorse a legal right to shelter. “What the governor has said is it’s urgent, let’s get started,” Ridley-Thomas said. “I don’t think anything is dead.”

Before the meeting in Los Angeles County’s Willowbrook section on Friday, Ridley-Thomas and Steinberg insisted they were not backing off. But Steinberg repeatedly emphasized that he preferred that people be placed in permanent housing, not a vast shelter system, which critics say could blow the state’s budget without ending homelessness.

“The hard reality is that the governor has already done most of what would be done if a state of emergency was to be called,” said Philip Mangano, the former federal homelessness czar in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations and a member of the governor’s task force. “The governor is the homelessness czar in California, and the task force’s job is to give him big ideas to make a difference.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10099

Pope Francis Endorses Essay Trashing U.S. Conservative Christians

Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.

27 Sep 20197,175

ROME — Pope Francis has publicly endorsed an essay that appeared in 2017 criticizing relations between Evangelicals and Catholics in the United States as an “ecumenism of hate.”

On Thursday, La Civiltà Cattolica journal released the transcript of a meeting between Pope Francis and a group of 24 Jesuits on September 5, 2019, during his recent trip to Mozambique in which the pope suggested that certain Evangelical Protestants in the United States “cannot really be defined as Christian.”

“Two important articles in Civiltà Cattolica have been published in this regard. I recommend them to you. They were written by Father Spadaro and the Argentinean Presbyterian pastor, Marcelo Figueroa. The first article spoke of the ‘ecumenism of hatred.’ The second was on the ‘theology of prosperity,’” the pontiff said.

“Reading them you will see that there are sects that cannot really be defined as Christian. They preach Christ, yes, but their message is not Christian,” the pope said. “It has nothing to do with the preaching of a Lutheran or any other serious evangelical Christianity.”

In the first essay recommended by the pope, the authors, who are both friends of Francis, slammed conservative Christians in the U.S. as ignorant, theocratic, Manichean, war-mongering fanatics.

For the “Evangelical right,” the authors proposed, the panorama of threats to the American way of life “have included modernist spirits, the black civil rights movement, the hippy movement, communism, feminist movements and so on. And now in our day there are the migrants and the Muslims.”

The authors did not hesitate to suggest that many Evangelicals are southern racists who reject climate change.

“Another interesting aspect is the relationship with creation of these religious groups that are composed mainly of whites from the deep American South,” the article stated. “There is a sort of ‘anesthetic’ with regard to ecological disasters and problems generated by climate change. They profess ‘dominionism’ and consider ecologists as people who are against the Christian faith.”

Throughout the essay, the authors criticize a string of exclusively Republican presidents as being tainted by the teachings of Evangelical Protestantism. The list of those mentioned includes Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and, of course, Donald Trump.

One of the most serious evils of American Evangelical Christians, the article stated, is “the defense of religious liberty,’” which takes the form of “a direct virtual challenge to the secularity of the state.”

The authors went on to denounce the ecumenical alliance between conservative Catholics and Evangelical Christians who align behind certain moral issues in the public square.

“Some who profess themselves to be Catholic express themselves in ways that until recently were unknown in their tradition and using tones much closer to Evangelicals. They are defined as value voters as far as attracting electoral mass support is concerned,” the article asserted.

This poisonous alliance over shared objectives “happens around such themes as abortion, same-sex marriage, religious education in schools and other matters generally considered moral or tied to values,” the essay claimed, which unite Catholics and Evangelicals in “the nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state.”

At the time of its publication, the article triggered an avalanche of critical responses denouncing the ignorance and political ill-will underlying the essay.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, for instance, wrote a sharp criticism of the essay, saying that the authors were guilty of “dumbing down and inadequately presenting the nature of Catholic/evangelical cooperation on religious freedom and other key issues.”

“Dismissing today’s attacks on religious liberty as a ‘narrative of fear,’” as the La Civiltà Cattolica article does, Chaput said, “sounds willfully ignorant.”

In his critique of the article, Dr. Samuel Gregg called the article “disturbing,” while lamenting the tacit anti-Americanism and “distinctly amateur grasp of American religious history.”

As Dr. Gregg noted, to describe “Marxism-Leninism, Islamist jihadism, or National Socialism” as evil is not evidence of a Manichaean worldview. “It is simply recognition that some ideas are indeed wicked and lead to many people, even nations, engaging in gravely evil acts.”

Moreover, Gregg wrote, if one looks at statements put together by various scholars and intellectuals involved in movements such as Evangelicals and Catholics Together, “they contain not a shred of theocratic aspiration.”

“The ecumenical discussion between those involved in these endeavors have led over time to genuine fruit in terms of clarification of points in common, removing misconceptions, identifying real doctrinal road-blocks, and identifying areas where practical work to promote the common good can be pursued together,” Gregg observed.

It is not a theocratic nostalgia that leads Evangelical and Catholic Christians in America to make the argument that “unborn human beings are entitled to the same protections from the unjust use of lethal force as any other human being, or that religious liberty is more than just freedom of worship, or that parents are entitled to insist that their children not be subjected to the nonsense of ‘gender theory’ at school,” Gregg added.

The published criticisms of the original article by serious scholars, both Christian and secular, ended up being so numerous they could fill a book. The article was eventually dismissed as simply an embarrassing attempt at political propaganda by overly zealous Italian and Argentinian clerics who were completely out of their depth.

Which could lead one to wonder what Pope Francis could possibly be thinking when he dredges up this ill-begotten essay out of the swamp of oblivion to recommend it as a useful aid for understanding America’s complex religious landscape.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10096

The Invincible Sultan: Is Erdoğan Losing His Populist Charm?

By Burak Bekdil September 26, 2019

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,300, September 26, 2019

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: At testing times, Turkey’s Islamist strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has always sought refuge at home, taking pleasure in his massive popularity. But after 17 consecutive years in power, having won every election in which he ran, Turkey’s self-declared Sultan is showing signs of fatigue – and his popularity may be wearing thin.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan behaves like a cornered cat when it comes to regional politics: he acts savagely and erratically, lashing out at both real and imagined enemies. His adversaries are the EU (Italy, France, Cyprus, and Greece in particular, due to a row over hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean), the US, and Israel. In neighboring Syria he is threatening a bloody military assault on the Kurds. He is explicitly unwanted in fellow Muslim countries like Egypt, Lebanon, and the UAE due to his rigid support for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. In Libya he is waging a proxy war against secular Muslims who want to oust an Islamist government in Tripoli.

At times like these, Erdoğan has always sought refuge at home, taking pleasure in his massive popularity. But after 17 consecutive years in power, having won every election, Turkey’s Islamist strongman is showing signs of fatigue. And as the country continues to fail both economically and politically, Erdoğan may no longer be invincible.

“He who wins Istanbul wins Turkey” is Erdoğan’s own dictum. He may be right: Istanbul is home to nearly 15% of Turkey’s 57 million voters and accounts for 31% of its GDP. Erdoğan launched his political journey by being elected mayor of Istanbul in 1994.

On March 31, a little-known opposition candidate, Ekrem Imamoğlu, won Istanbul (where more than 11 million voters are registered) by a margin of 13,000 votes. Erdoğan challenged the result and demanded a new vote – only to lose, the second time, by a margin of 800,000. He lost both Istanbul and Ankara after 25 years of Islamist rule.

Erdoğan’s bitter defeat came at a time of a rise in anti-government protests, mostly focused on environmental issues. “The wave of peaceful demonstrations – the country’s largest since the 2013 Gezi Park rallies – suggests a newfound vitality among the opposition, with potentially deep implications for Turkey’s democracy,” wrote Soner Cağaptay and Deniz Yüksel for the Washington Institute. “This consolidation of power, coupled with frequent crackdowns on protestors, left many in the opposition disheartened.”

With 4.7 million jobless and unemployment continuing to soar, 15% inflation, and high borrowing rates, Turkey’s economy is not functioning well. The national currency, the lira, has been volatile ever since a serious crisis last year.

Erdoğan is at war with Turkey’s 15 million or so Kurds. He recently appointed government trustees to three overwhelmingly Kurdish provinces in southern Turkey, escalating tensions between Ankara and the Kurdish southeast and further undermining Turkey’s already problematic democratic outlook.

It would be ironic if Erdoğan were to lose power after his long stretch of Islamist rule. Necmettin Erbakan, whom Erdoğan often referred to as “master,” became Turkey’s first Islamist PM in 1995 when he won 21% of the national vote and signed a coalition agreement with a center-right party. Erbakan’s political vision featured a rigid Islamism based on an anti-Western, anti-EU isolationist rhetoric known as “the National View” – a bizarre policy blend deeply hated by the (then) strong military top brass. Wisely, Erdoğan parted ways with his “master” and burst onto the political stage with a less rigid Islamist policy calculus. His Islamism was to be compatible with Western democratic culture and capitalism, or so he claimed. In a 2000 interview he said “he had thrown away the shirt called “National View.”

Erdoğan and his top brass – whom Erbakan called “our naughty boys” for their departure from the straight and narrow – held that a more pro-Western rhetoric had to be showcased if Islamists wanted to come to power. This was a political struggle between the Islamist conservative and reformist wings.

Erdoğan’s second-in-command was his long-time comrade Abdullah Gül. Through a controversial parliamentary vote in 2007, Gül became president with Erdoğan, who was PM at the time. Erdoğan and Gül thus ran the show together, à la Putin and Medvedev. In 2009, Erdoğan appointed Ahmet Davutoğlu, a Gül confidante, as FM, and, in 2014, as PM. The third man in Erdoğan’s hall of fame was brilliant economist Ali Babacan, who became finance minister.

All three men grew disillusioned with Erdoğan’s increasingly despotic one-man approach to governance. Now in political exile, they are showing signs of making a comeback. Last year, this prospect was just another tidbit on the Ankara political grapevine, but it has gone beyond mere speculation. Gül, Davutoğlu, and Babacan are working day and night to formally launch their version of a market-friendly, pro-Western, pro-democracy political party (or two parties).

Erdoğan has threatened that they will pay a high price for their “treason” and claimed that a new party (or parties) would mean “dividing the umma.” If launched, this would be the sixth Islamist party in Turkey’s political history, with Erdoğan’s emerging as the only successful experiment.

How popular the “new party” will be (to use the phrase of Turkish observers) is anyone guess. Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party, supported by the ultra-nationalist Nationalist Movement Party, appears to be able to give him the 50% plus one vote he needs to be reelected in the presidential elections of 2023. The “new party” will try to challenge him directly, with the aim of winning a share of his conservative voter base. Observers rightly think the “new party” will appeal more to “intellectual conservatives” whereas Erdoğan’s party will continue to target less educated Islamists.

“Even if the ‘new party’ won [only] a couple of percentage points from Erdoğan, it may be the beginning of the end for him,” an Erdoğan confidante admitted.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10093

State media in Iran, Russia indicate growing Russia-Iran-Turkey alliance

It’s in media coverage in these countries, particularly the narratives of Press TV, RT and Sputnik that we can see the alliance emerge.

By Seth J. Frantzman

September 26, 2019 04:53

Iran’s Press TV tweeted in English on Wednesday with a quote from Turkey’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan: “Nuclear power should be forbidden for all or permissible for all.” Press TV included an image of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appearing to be sweating.

Iran’s message wasn’t a secret: the account tagged Erdogan and included the hashtag “#IsraelisExempt”. What is more secretive is the Iran-Turkey-Russia alliance that is emerging and illustrated via state-controlled media.

RT, a Russian television network, similarly highlights the greatness of Turkey and Iran as part of a campaign that clearly indicates Moscow’s support for the two. On Wednesday, it tweeted about Iran showcasing its drone expertise amid tensions in the Gulf. It also shared images from Erdogan’s speech in which he slammed Israel. Russian news agency Sputnik similarly highlighted comments by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday morning. “Turkey will probably never buy American aircraft again,” Sputnik noted as well.

A quick look at TRT and Al Jazeera, which reflect the views of governments in Ankara and Doha, did not reveal such strong praise for Russia and Iran. This means that in general, Tehran and Moscow appear to be using their media arms to curry favor with Turkey as part of a regional strategy aimed at a Turkey-Russia-Iran triumvirate or alliance. This alliance is positioned to upset the regional balance of power and has already been cemented through the Astana process to discuss Syria and the post-Syrian civil war era.

Initially, Russia and Iran were on one side of the Syrian civil war and Turkey on the other side, to the extent that in 2015, there were theories that they might come into conflict over Syria. But over time, things changed.

Turkey became closer to Russia – seeing a potential dealmaker that could be trusted, and finding a warm ear in Moscow when Turkey broached the subject of taking over parts of northern Syria, including Afrin. Moscow gave the green light over time, allowing Turkey to use Syria’s airspace and making sure the Syrian regime – a key ally of Russia – did not intervene. Turkey is now poised to seek to control a swath of Syria that could result in Turkish control of more than 30% of the country if Ankara gets everything it wants in eastern and northern Syria.

Meanwhile, Turkey and Iran grew closer economically, with Turkey seeking ways around US sanctions and seeking to boost trade to $30 billion from $10 billion in 2017. Turkey, Russia and Iran bond over Syria because they all oppose the US’s role. Turkey accuses the US of training terrorists in eastern Syria. Turkey, once opposed to Iran’s growing role in Iraq, has found accommodations with Tehran after an Iranian-backed Iraqi offensive into Kirkuk in the wake of the Kurdistan Regional Government referendum. Most importantly, Turkey is getting Russia’s S-400 – a deal that originated in 2017 and resulted in delivery of the system in the summer of 2019. It may go online in April 2020.

Turkey and Russia also work closely on TurkStream, the pipeline under the Black Sea that is linked to more muscular Turkish policies in the Mediterranean.

It’s in the media coverage by agencies and stations in these countries – particularly the narratives of Press TV, RT and Sputnik – that we can see the alliance emerge. These media share some basic features: criticism of the US and Israel, a clear editorial line towards praising Turkey and highlighting, with some glee, the growing divergence between Washington and Ankara.

Of course, Moscow and Tehran have different motives. Tehran wants Turkey as a market amid sanctions. It wants to use southern Syria as part of its land-bridge strategy to threaten Israel, necessitating some abeyance from Turkey. Russia wants Turkey to also smooth the way for things in northern Syria. That means that it doesn’t mind if Turkey re-settles refugees in eastern Syria, where the US and mostly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces are present.

This will kill two birds with one stone: it will weaken the SDF-US partnership while also moving the refugees away from Idlib. Russia’s goal is to break down the last extremist groups in Idlib. Turkey will be glad to see them go, because both Russia and Turkey want the last independent Syrian factions to evaporate, and that means defeating the SDF in the East and HTS in Idlib. It means neutralizing the last Syrian rebels by getting them to fight the SDF. Everyone gets something in this equation, except those Syrians who dared to join opposition groups.

From the Syrian regime’s perspective, this may be all a bit too much – watching its country partitioned and Moscow, Tehran and Ankara decide what is best for it. However, Syria doesn’t have much of a choice. For its part, the Syrian regime has been talking tough on the SDF more than in the past. But it must wonder if a growing Turkey-Russia-Iran alliance means permanent division of Syria into situation mirroring northern Cyprus while southern Syria is used by Iran to fight a clandestine war against Israel.

Walid Muallem, Syria’s foreign minister, says there won’t be foreign interference in Syria’s constitutional committee. Bashar al Assad met with Iran’s Ali Asghar Khaji, senior aid to Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, and told him that the US was losing in Syria. Assad asked for some details about the recent tripartite meeting of Iran, Turkey and Russia regarding Syria. He wondered what they had decided about the country he claims to be president of.

He stressed the importance of Syrian-Iranian-Russian cooperation, according to Syrian state media SANA. Khaji smiled in return.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10090

Turkey’s Erdogan: Israel was originally mostly Palestinian

“All actors of the international community and in particular the UN should provide complete support to the Palestinian people beyond more promises,” Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

By Tovah Lazaroff

September 24, 2019 21:41

3 minute read.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds up a map as he addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 24, 2019. (photo credit: REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI)

“Israel, which was almost non-existent in 1947, has continued until this day to seize Palestinian land with the aim of eliminating the state and the Deal of the Century will support those territorial ambitions,” Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

“Where are the borders of the State of Israel? Is it the 1947 borders, the 1967 borders or is there another border that we need to know of?” Erdogan asked, alluding to Netanyahu’s plan to expand Israeli sovereignty to West Bank settlements.

Erdogan held up four maps to illustrate his point, with the Palestinians in green and Israel in white, to demonstrate Israel’s changing border from 1947 to today.

Erdogan also spoke against the US recognition of Israel’s 1981 annexation of the Golan Heights.

“How can the Golan Heights and the West Bank settlements be seized just like other occupied Palestinian territories before the eyes of the world?” Erdogan asked.

He accused the Trump administration of wanting to destroy Palestinian statehood with its unpublished plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Is the aim of the initiative to promote, as the ‘Deal of the Century,’ to entirely eliminate the presence of the state and the people of Palestine? Do you want another bloodshed?” Erdogan asked. “All actors of the international community, and in particular, the UN, should provide complete support to the Palestinian people beyond more promises.”


Erdogan did not speak of the refusal of the Arab countries to accept UN General Assembly Resolution 181, the 1947 partition plan that would have created both Jewish and Palestinian states. Nor did he speak of Jordan’s attack against Israel during the Six Day War – despite Israeli pleas to King Hussein to stay out of the fighting – in response to which Israel wrestled control of the West Bank.

“I am quite curious, what about this map of Israel? Where is Israel? Where does the land of Israel begin and end? Look at this map, where was Israel in 1947 and where is Israel now, especially between the years between 1949 and 1967?” Erdogan said.

The Turkish President then pointed to the map and said, “Look, this is 1947. The land of Palestine. There is seemingly almost no Israeli presence on this lands, the entire territory belongs to the Palestinians.”

He said that 1947 was the year that the “Palestinian land starts shrinking and Israel starts expanding” and added that “Israel is still expanding and Palestine is still shrinking.”

He called on the UN to take action and enforce its many resolutions against Israel, as “Israel is still willing to take over the remainder of the land,” according to Erdogan.

“Under this roof, we are producing resolutions without any effect, so when do you think – or where do you think – justice can prevail?” he asked.

Israel and the US, he said, were busy “intervening and attacking the historical and legal status of Jerusalem, and holy sacred lands and artifacts,” Erdogan said.

The Turkish President said he supported a two-state solution on the pre-1967 line and warned the US that any other resolution would not work.

“Any other peace plan other than this will never have a chance of being fair

[and]

just, and it will never be implemented,” Erdogan said. “Today, the Palestinian territory under Israeli occupation has become one of the most striking places of injustice.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10086

The Equinox Marked at Dawn in the Wheel of the Giants of the Bashan

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz September 22, 2019 , 2:17 pm

Only King Og of Bashan was left of the remaining Rephaim. His bedstead, an iron bedstead, is now in Rabbah of the Ammonites; it is nine amot long and four amot wide, by the standard amah! Deuteronomy 3:11 (The Israel Bible™)

On Sunday morning, a biannual astronomical event was marked on an ancient structure in a remote section of northern Israel. The structure remains an enigma to archaeologists but some link it to Biblical giants.

Stonehenge in the Golan

After the Six-Day War in 1967, archaeologists studying an aerial map of Israel discovered a strange formation of five concentric rings of loose rock located some ten miles east of the coast of the Sea of Galilee, in the middle of a large plateau covered with hundreds of single-chamber megalithic tombs called dolmens. The formation is not recognizable from the ground, appearing as random piles of rocks, but from above it is quite impressive, with an outer ring more than nearly 520 feet wide and eight feet high. It is called Rujm el-Hiri in Arabic, meaning the “stone heap of the wild cat”, and in Hebrew as Gilgal Refaim, or Wheel of the Giants.

At its center is a mound of loose stones over 65 feet in diameter and over 16 feet tall, covering a burial chamber almost 20 feet long. The entire formation is composed of over 40,000 tons of loose basalt rocks. It was estimated that the transportation and building of the massive monument would have required more than 25,000 working days

Estimates as to when it was built vary widely but the site is believed to be between 5,000-6,000 years old. In comparison, the Egyptian Pyramids were built some 4,500 years ago and Stonehenge in England was built some 3,500 years ago. 

Og: the Giant King of the Bashan

It is interesting to note that the region is known as the Bashan, where Og the king of came out against the Israelites at the time of their entrance into the Promised Land but was vanquished in battle.  Og was an Amorite king, the ruler of Bashan, which contained sixty walled cities and many unwalled towns, with his capital at Ashtaroth. Biblical scholars believe that the Prophet Amos was referring to Og when he referred to a giant Amorite.

Yet I destroyed the Amorite before them, Whose stature was like the cedar’s And who was stout as the oak, Destroying his boughs above And his trunk below! Amos 2:9

In Deuteronomy and later in the book of Numbers and Joshua, Og is called the last of the Rephaim, a Hebrew word that is sometimes interpreted as meaning ‘giants.’ The Hebrew name of the site, Gilgal Rephaim, hints at an ancient link to these giants. 

Only King Og of Bashan was left of the remaining Rephaim. His bedstead, an iron bedstead, is now in Rabbah of the Ammonites; it is nine amot long and four amot wide, by the standard amah! Deuteronomy 3:11

The Biblical measurement of an amah, literally the length of a forearm, is generally considered to be 19.2 inches, which would mean that Og’s bed was over fourteen feet long and over six feet wide.

Midrash explains that the “fugitive” who warned Abraham that Lot had been captured was Og. Og had escaped the flood in the generation of Noah by clinging to the side of the Ark. 

If Og had been the leader of a nation of pre-Abrahamic giants in the region of the Golan it would certainly explain the existence of the mammoth stone structures. 

An Archaeological Enigma

There is no consensus regarding its function. Since excavations have yielded very few material remains, archaeologists theorize that the site was not a defensive position or a residential quarter but most likely a ritual center.

In 2007, the site was excavated by Yosef Garfinkel and Michael Freikman of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Freikman returned in the summer of 2010 for further investigation of the site’s date and function. Freikman believes that the center area was built at the same time as the rings. 

“I wouldn’t call it a religious center,” Dr. Freikman told Breaking Israel News. “It was more of a gathering place for rituals, though not for burials.”

Dr. Freikman noted that by the time of the Bible and the Patriarchs, the site was already abandoned for several hundred years.

“They probably would have known of it as a prominent geographic feature but they would not have known what it was used for,” he said. “There are at least five other similar sites, albeit smaller, with outer circles about 60 meters in diameter and also surrounded dolmans.” 

Circles in the Ground Measuring the Sun and Stars

Dr. Freikman wrote about Gilgal Refaim in the Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University in 2017, noting the astronomical aspects of the site:

“Certain architectural elements of Rujm el-Hiri are aligned with celestial phenomena, namely with the azimuth of sunrise on specific days of the year. For instance, it was claimed that at both equinoxes a spectator standing in the geometrical centre of the complex would see the sun rising exactly in the east through the ‘gunsight’ created by two exceptionally large boulders installed in the outermost wall. Due to the precession of the earth, which gradually changes the azimuth of the sunrise, this phenomenon cannot be observed from the same spot today. However, as this is a very slow process, the spectator must move aside only slightly to witness the sunrise as the architect of Rujm el-Hiri intended.”

Archaeologists Yonathan Mizrachi and Anthony Aveni, studying the structure since the late 1980s, believe the site was used as a celestial observatory.  The entrance way to the center opens on the sunrise of the summer solstice.

The equinox, the instant of time when the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the Sun, will be taking place on Monday morning. Notches in the walls indicate the precise locations of the sunrise for both the spring and fall equinoxes. 

The walls at Rujm el-Hiri seem to have pointed to star-risings for the period, and may have been predictors of the rainy season, a crucial bit of information for the sheepherders of the Bashan plain.

Remote and Neglected

The rings of Gilgal Refaim contain more questions than answers. The site is difficult to get to and neglected by the antiquities authorities but Dr. Freikman prefers it that way. 

“If it became part of pop culture and easily accessible to the general public, it would become like Stonehenge or the Pyramids,” Dr. Freikman said. “Fast food restaurants and souvenir shops would be built around it and the crowds would destroy or steal anything worth studying. For the time being, it is good that the general public doesn’t come in droves.”

But in addition to being a science, archaelogy in Israel has political and religious connotations.

“I would like to return and study the site,” Dr. Freikman said. “There is so much to learn. But it is difficult to raise funds for sites in the Golan. Even after President Trump recognizing Israeli sovereignty in the Golan, many people are still reluctant to archaeological research in the area.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10082

Iran Threatens to Turn Israel into ‘dust in half a day’

By JNS September 23, 2019 , 3:40 pm

and Hashem your God delivers them to you and you defeat them, you must doom them to destruction: grant them no terms and give them no quarter. Deuteronomy 7:2 (The Israel Bible™)

Iran is no longer limited by its geographic borders, and has the ability to destroy Israel in “half a day,” said Iranian Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda on Friday.

Alamolhoda, the representative of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Khorasan Razavi province, said during a televised sermon on Friday that the Islamic Republic was no longer defined by its borders, as the Popular Mobilization Units in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, the national front in Syria and Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza “are Iran.”

He went on to state that if Iran’s borders were trespassed, Israel would be “turned to dust in half a day,” and confirmed that Iran played a role in the Sept. 14 drone and missile attack on the Abqaiq and Khurais oil fields in Saudi Arabia.

Alamolhoda: Today’s Iran is not just Iran. It is not limited by geographical borders. Today, the PMU in Iraq is Iran. Hezbollah in Lebanon is Iran. Ansar Allah [the Houthis] in Yemen is Iran. The national front in Syria is Iran. The Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Palestine are Iran. They have all become Iran. Iran is no longer just us. The sayyed of the Resistance [Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah] has announced that the resistance in the region has one imam and that this imam is the honorable leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

Today, Iran is the resistance in the region. This means that if you trespass our border, Israel will turn into dust in half a day.

Audience: Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar! Khamenei is the leader! Death to those who oppose the rule of the jurisprudent! Salutations upon the warriors of Islam! Peace be upon the martyrs! Death to America! Death to England! Death to the hypocrites and the infidels! Death to Israel!

Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda: Do you even understand where Iran is? Do you look to see where it is? Isn’t south Lebanon Iran? Isn’t Hezbollah Iran? The Yemeni-sent drones that caused such damage to Saudi Arabia—wasn’t Iran there? You say that [the drones] came from the north and not from the south. South or north—what difference does it make? Iran is both to your south and to your north.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10079

President Trump At United Nations Tells Gathered World Leaders That Human Rights ‘Come From God’ And Not From World Governments

“The United States is founded on the principle that our rights do not come from government they come from God,” President Donald Trump said. “This immortal truth is proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence and enshrined in the first amendment to our Constitution’s Bill of Rights.” Trump noted that 80 percent of the world’s population live in countries where religious freedom is in danger or outright banned, and called for the world to end religious persecution and release prisoners held for professing their belief.

by Geoffrey Grider September 23, 2019

President Donald Trump led a United Nations event promoting religious freedom on Monday, reminding world leaders that all rights came from God.

President Trump today had the attention of nearly all the leaders of the free world, and he had a message for each and every one of them. In a stunning rebuke, President Trump reminded his listeners, many of them leaders on nations that persecute Christians, that human rights ‘come from God’ and as such cannot be taken away. Trump went on to say protecting religious freedom was one of his highest priorities. What an incredible polar opposite from the previous president’s constant promotion of Islam and Sharia Law.

“Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.” Zephaniah 3:8 (KJV)

The fact that the United Nations exists, as the end times gathering of all the nations of the world, leaps off the pages of Bible prophecy where God say that His desire is to ‘gather the nations’ and to ‘assemble the kingdoms’, so that He may judge them for their rejection of Him. Think about that the next time you read any story about the UN. They exist as a unified body because God says in the last days all the nations of the world will be ‘gathered together’. Yet another end times prophecy in the ‘completed’ column.

Donald Trump at the United Nations: Human Rights Come from God, Not Government

FROM BREITBART NEWS: “The United States is founded on the principle that our rights do not come from government they come from God,” he said. “This immortal truth is proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence and enshrined in the first amendment to our Constitution’s Bill of Rights.”

Trump noted that 80 percent of the world’s population live in countries where religious freedom is in danger or outright banned, and called for the world to end religious persecution and release prisoners held for professing their belief.

“As president, protecting religious freedom is one of my highest priorities and always has been,” Trump said.

The president noted sadly that an estimated 11 Christians are killed every day around the world for following their faith.

“Our Founders understood that no right is more fundamental to a peaceful, prosperous, and virtuous society than the right to follow one’s religious convictions,” he said.

Trump vowed that the United States would always stand for religious freedom, and urged all governments to do the same.

“We ask the governments of the world to honor the eternal right of every person to follow their conscience, live by their faith, and give glory to God,” he said.

Trump was introduced at the event by Vice President Mike Pence, who thanked the president for being the first United States president to lead an event on the United Nations on religious freedom.

Pence specifically called out ISIS terrorists, and countries such as Iran, China, Nicaragua, and Venezuela for their abuses against people of different faiths.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10076

Iran Warns United States And Saudi Arabia To ‘Stay Away’ As They Display Their Khordad-3 Air Defense Missile System In Annual Military Parade

At the parade, the Islamic republic displayed the Khordad-3 air defence system that shot down a US drone in June. It also showcased the long-range, surface-to-air Bavar 373 missile that can travel more than 1,250 miles, bringing it in range of US bases in the region and arch-foe Israel. Saudi Arabia and the US accuse Iran of attacking Saudi oil facilities on September 14, the biggest such assault on the world’s top oil exporter.

by Geoffrey Grider September 22, 2019

Iran’s president has warned American and other foreign forces to “stay away” from the region, as Tehran paraded their Khordad-3 air defense long-range missile system capable of reaching American bases.

On one hand, the global community is long-used to hearing empty threats of war from Iran that almost never actually materialize, I get that. But to dismiss them as a ‘ mickey mouse’ country that we should just laugh off is foolish. No one was laughing back in June when Iran was able to successfully shoot from the sky a US RQ-4 Global Hawk spy drone that cost $125 million dollars. President Trump threatened Iran with ‘very severe consequences‘ but called off the attack at the last minute. And despite those very harsh sanctions, Iran has only grown bolder as evidenced in the recent proxy attack on the Saudi Aramco oil refinery.

“…and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” Genesis 16:11,12 (KJV)

Obviously, Iran is no match for the might of the United States military in head-on conflict, but look at Afghanistan. We have been fighting them for 20 years without victory, Iran looks at that and figures they’ll continue to run their mouth and roll the dice. So far it’s been a pretty good strategy for them. Iran has been quietly building their Khordad-3 air defense missile system, and to be quite honest, that’s no joke, either. The United States needs to take all threats from Tehran seriously. Because if we don’t, we’re going to get clipped.

Iran’s president warns America to ‘stay away’ as it unveils long range missiles that could strike US bases

FROM YAHOO NEWS: Hassan Rouhani said the presence of such troops in the Gulf has always brought “pain and misery”, in a speech made at an annual military parade to commemorate the war with Iraq. Mr. Rouhani spoke in response to an announcement made by the US on Friday that it was sending more troops to Saudi Arabia after an attack on Saudi oil facilities both nations blame on Iran.

“Wherever the Americans or our enemies have gone, there has been insecurity afterward,” the Iranian president said. “The farther you keep yourselves from our region and our nations, the more security there will be.”

At the parade, the Islamic republic displayed the Khordad-3 air defence system that shot down a US drone in June. It also showcased the long-range, surface-to-air Bavar 373 missile that can travel more than 1,250 miles, bringing it in range of US bases in the region and arch-foe Israel.

Saudi Arabia and the US accuse Iran of attacking Saudi oil facilities on September 14, the biggest such assault on the world’s top oil exporter.

Iran denies involvement in the attack, which was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi movement, a group aligned with Iran and currently fighting a Saudi-led alliance in the civil war. US President Donald Trump had said it would step up to protect Saudi but would take its cue from Saudi. Riyadh has said it has evidence Iranian missiles were used in last weekend’s attack and that they were launched from the north, but did not go so far as to say they came from Iranian territory.

Should the accusation be proven, it would mark such a serious escalation in the long-running conflict between Saudi and Iran that the former could be forced to retaliate.

“We hold Iran responsible because the missiles and the drones that were fired at Saudi Arabia were Iranian-built and Iranian-delivered,” Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said on Sunday. “But to launch an attack from your territory, if that is the case, puts us in a different category… this would be considered an act of war,” he told CNN.

Both sides are holding their nerve, hoping to make their case to the United Nations General Assembly later this week. Mr Rouhani, along with US sanctioned Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, will travel to New York on Monday, to present what he called a security plan for the Gulf.

“In this sensitive and important historical moment, we announce to our neighbours that we extend the hand of friendship and brotherhood to them,” he said. It is unclear what this would look like, with the president saying only that peace in the Strait of Hormuz could be achieved “in co-operation with various countries.”

The US has already formed its own maritime coalition in the Gulf to secure one of the world’s most vital oil trade routes with the UK, Saudi, Bahrain and even the UAE, which has tried to keep good relations with Tehran since the most recent tensions began

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10073

The Catholic-Muslim Interfaith Council Created By Pope Francis Announces New Chrislam Headquarters Opening In 2022 That Combines A Mosque And Church According To Signed Covenant

The announcement of the Abrahamic Family House, on the Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, follows a visit by Pope Francis to the UAE in February, the first by a pope to the Arabian Peninsula. During the trip, the pope signed a joint declaration with the grand imam of al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb, that called for religious tolerance and dialogue. An interfaith council to oversee projects advancing tolerance was formed as a result of the declaration, and named the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity. The Abrahamic Family House is its first initiative.

by Geoffrey Grider September 22, 2019

The United Arab Emirates will build a new synagogue as part of an Chrislam interfaith compound that will also house a mosque and church and is reportedly set to open in 2022.

As far as advancing the end times timeline goes, 2019 has been a banner year for Pope Francis and the coming One World Religion. We told you back in February that the pope has travelled to Abu Dhabi where he met with Sunni Muslim leader Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb. There the two men signed a global peace covenant called the Document On Human Fraternity For World Peace.  From that covenant, the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity was created to implement this end times religious peace treaty. Now that committee has announced that there will be a fancy new headquarters for this endeavor. The shiny, new center of global Chrislam opening in 2022.

“Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” Isaiah 28:15,16 (KJV)

The end times are unfolding before our very eyes, people, things are speeding up very quickly, if you blink you’ll miss it. This is Chrislam, it will be the foundation of the coming One World Religion the Bible says will assemble in the last days. The Catholic Church will call the shots, and Islam will provide the muscle with their tens of millions of jihad warriors, now they will be martyrs for Chrislam under the command of a Roman king. Don’t believe it? You’re watching it.

UAE To Open Chrislam Interfaith Headquarters In 2022

FROM THE TIMES OF ISRAEL: The announcement of the Abrahamic Family House, on the Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, follows a visit by Pope Francis to the UAE in February, the first by a pope to the Arabian Peninsula. During the trip, the pope signed a joint declaration with the grand imam of al-Azhar, Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb, that called for religious tolerance and dialogue.

An interfaith council to oversee projects advancing tolerance was formed as a result of the declaration, and named the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity. The Abrahamic Family House is its first initiative.

 “This is an important opportunity for all who believe in the power of faith and humanity. It will help build bridges between religious leaders and communities as well as foster peace and harmony in an era that is too often defined by difference,” said Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig, senior rabbi at Washington Hebrew Congregation, and a Jewish representative of the committee.

The design for the Abrahamic Family House, by the renowned architect David Adjaye, was unveiled during a meeting in New York this week, the second for the committee. According to Gulf News, it will take three years to complete.

The UAE is already home to a synagogue, in Dubai, formed in 2008. Though it receives quiet support from the Emirati authorities, its members have largely kept a low profile. The new state-sanctioned synagogue would mark a significant step forward for public worship of Judaism in the Gulf state.

In May, Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, the chaplain at New York University, became the first chief rabbi of the Jewish community of the United Arab Emirates.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=10070