Signs of the Times Update: July 18, 2022

I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)

Praise Reports: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

A federal judge has blocked a Title IX directive from President Joe Biden’s administration that allowed transgender workers and students to use school restrooms matching their gender identities. It also allowed transgender athletes to join sports teams corresponding with their chosen genders. The directive was blocked by Judge Charles Atchley Jr. of the Eastern District of Tennessee, a Trump appointee, after a coalition of 20 Republican attorneys general sued last year, Reuters reported. The plaintiffs argued the federal directive clashed with state laws and prevented states from enforcing their own laws that banned transgender school bathroom use.

A federal district court in Ohio has temporarily blocked the Biden administration from enforcing the COVID-19 vaccine mandate on thousands of U.S. Air Force service members who remain unvaccinated after having opposed the shot on religious grounds but have had their religious exemption applications denied. U.S. District Court Judge Matthew McFarland, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump in late 2019, issued a temporary restraining order filed on Thursday preventing the Biden administration from taking any action for at least 14 days against any Air Force member who opted not to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • The judge’s ruling also grants the case “class status,” which means the temporary restraining order will grant relief to all 12,000 members of the Air Force who submitted a religious accommodation request from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate but had their requests denied or not yet acted upon. 

A New York Supreme Court judge this month ruled that regulations mandating that people infected with or exposed to highly contagious communicable diseases be quarantined are a violation of state law, declaring them null and void. The Isolation and Quarantine procedures, known as Rule 2.13, were enacted in February

The margins of support for Florida’s new legal provisions protecting children from being sexualized in school at a very young age are quite large, reports the Republican Daily on 7/16. Poll results show respondents favoring the new law by a margin of 27 points, saying that schools should be banned from teaching sexual orientation and gender identity to kids in kindergarten through third grade. By 28 points, they said transgender athletes should be banned from competing in girls’ sports.

A Virginia school district accused of covering up “transgender” student rape failed this week to convince a judge to impose an injunction against the state’s Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares investigating the matter. The school board members are accused of covering up the rape of a female student by a “transgender” student in the girls’ bathroom. That situation, along with another student sexual assault claim, intensified protests against the district’s leadership, including a student walkout and contributing to Democrats losing the Virginia governorship and House of Delegates. The 15-year-old perpetrator of the first rape was sentenced to probation at a residential treatment facility and placed on the sex offender registry, but serious questions remain as to LCPS’s handling of the case, prompting Miyares to launch an investigation..

A federal jury in Texas has awarded a former Southwest flight attendant more than $5 million after the airline fired her over her stance on abortion in a lawsuit dating back to 2017. The reward in combined compensatory and punitive damages comes after the Transportation Workers Union of America (TWU) Local 556 union and Southwest fired Charlene Carter for her religious stance on abortion, which she publicized on social media. “Today is a victory for freedom of speech and religious beliefs. Flight attendants should have a voice, and nobody should be able to retaliate against a flight attendant for engaging in protected speech.”

Satanic Deception: He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44) The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where[a] the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is directing teens to an online chat platform run in part by Planned Parenthood that discusses sex-change operations, polyamorous relationships, the occult and other topics. Significantly, the site – called Q Chat Space – is designed so that users can quickly hide it from parents, reports Breitbart News. Among the topics are “Drag Culture 101,” “Sex and Relationships,” “Having Multiple Genders” and “Gender Affirmation Surgeries.” And there are chats on “self-discovery in astrology” and “Queering Tarot,” which is about the tarot cards used in occult practices.

New World Order – One-World Government: It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:7-8) The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces. (Daniel 7:23)

A new poll done by Rasmussen Reports in conjunction with the Heartland Institute reveals that Democrats not only want to expand the Supreme Court so that President Biden can appoint more liberal members (53%), but 39% of Democrats said they would also like to give the United Nations veto power over Supreme Court decisions. Fifty-six percent of Democrats say the Supreme Court now “is a fundamentally racist institution.” And 67% of Democrats say the court “is a fundamentally sexist institution that favors men over women.” There are currently 3 women and 4 men serving on the Court, with one Black and one Hispanic, much more diverse than it used to be.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) on Monday released a position paper that said lowering fossil fuel use with higher prices is necessary to reduce carbon emissions was necessary as the world faces two global crises — “climate change and the decline of democracy.” The WEF’s paper said democracy can be saved as long as consumers stop burning coal, oil, and gas in exchange for green renewables. “For the past 15 years, democracy has been in decline worldwide. To protect and promote freedom, leading democracies must strengthen their economies and safeguard liberty.

  • This is a specious argument. Globalists run the WEF and what they call ‘democracy’ has nothing to do with freedom or individual rights or the will of the people. To them, a democracy is when all the masses are cajoled or coerced to line up with their agenda for climate change, sustainability, LGBYQ+, abortion, etc.

The Demise of America: The first was like a lion (Britain) and had eagle’s wings (America). I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. (Daniel 7:4)

 Oberlin College, a liberal bastion in higher education, is racking up $4,300 a day in debt for a libel judgment delivered by a jury, approved by a district court judge, and endorsed by an appeals court. The school has accumulated more than $4 million in interest charges for delaying payment of the judgment awarded to the owners of Gibson’s Baker, which the school falsely accused of being racist. It’s because the school wants the Ohio Supreme Court to cancel the debt, a move being opposed by the lawyers for the bakery. No date has been announced for the court to hear the case.

  • What business is it for a university to be labeling a bakery anything? Stick to education instead of political engagement. But most colleges and universities have become higher-level indoctrination centers for the religion of secular humanism, continuing the training process begun in our public-school system.

Politics: Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. (Romans 13:1-2)

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, on Thursday dealt a devastating blow to Democrats’ hopes for sweeping legislative action this year, telling Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and his staff “unequivocally” that he won’t support the climate or tax provisions of a Democratic economic package, two sources familiar with the talks tell CNN. The two had been negotiating for months, and Schumer, a New York Democrat, had made a number of concessions to pare back the climate provisions to appease Manchin, whose support is critical in an evenly decided Senate.

Surveillance State: So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor. (Luke 20:20)

Amazon has provided Ring doorbell footage to law enforcement 11 times this year without the user’s permission, a revelation that’s bound to raise more privacy and civil liberty concerns about its video-sharing agreements with police departments across the country. The disclosure came in a letter from the company that was made public Wednesday by US Sen. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat. Ring has said before it will not share customer information with police without consent, a warrant, or due to “an exigent or emergency” circumstance. The 11 videos shared this year fell under the emergency provision, Amazon’s letter said, the first time the company publicly shared such information.

Civic/Religious Freedom: Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:36)

A report from Lifeway Research shows that more than half of all Americans say religious tolerance for Christians is on the decline, yet more than a third also believe Christians complain too much about how they are treated in society. The survey of a thousand Americans showed that nearly 60% agreed that “Christians increasingly are confronted by intolerance in America today.” Those who attend a worship service at least four times per month are more likely (64%) to believe religious liberty is on the decline in the U.S. than those who attend less than once per month (53%). The religiously unaffiliated, or “nones,” were the least likely (40%) to agree religious liberty is on the decline.

Censorship: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth. (Romans 1:18)

Twitter suspended the group responsible for publishing the home addresses of several conservative Supreme Court justices on Thursday. The group, Ruth Sent Us, published the addresses of the six conservative Supreme Court justices in May following leaks indicating the court would soon overturn Roe v. Wade.

Persecution: Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. (Matthew 24:9) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)

Another Christian in Pakistan has been handed a death sentence for alleged “blasphemy” against Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, reports Barnabas Aid. This latest case is particularly troubling, as Ashfaq Masih made no reference to Muhammad or to the Islamic religion. Ashfaq’s alleged crime was to say that he believes Jesus Christ to be the only true prophet. Last month two brothers, both Christians, Qasir and Amoon Ayub, saw their death sentence for “blasphemy” upheld by an appeal court in Rawalpindi. In January this year Zafar Bhatti, a Christian appealing against a sentence of life imprisonment for “blasphemy”, received a death sentence. In each of these cases, Christians have been the victims of spurious accusations from Muslim neighbors.

Troops affiliated with Myanmar’s military junta have burned down at least 132 religious buildings since the military coup began in February last year, according to residents and rights groups. The list includes 28 Buddhist monasteries targeted in Sagaing state, while troops destroyed at least 66 churches in Chin state alone. At least 20 churches and one mosque were destroyed in Kayah state. Religious leaders have said the attacks are deliberate. Aung Myo Min, minister for human rights for the shadow National Unity Government, called on residents to document the destruction for future prosecution.

Outraged over the newly received formal legal recognition of a church in Egypt, Muslims in large crowds attacked and damaged the homes, shops and vehicles of many area Coptic Christians, according to a persecution watchdog, the U.S.-based International Christian Concern. The local Christians had been waiting for years for the legal approval of the church, which was originally built in 2003. Throughout the process, Muslims in the area have rejected the legitimacy of the new church, asserting that the construction or restoration of a church contradicts Islamic law. The Conditions of Omar, thought to have been written by Caliph Omar I, is one Islamic text that they refer to, which dictates that no churches should ever be built or repaired, and that Christians must make do with pre-existing churches only, ICC said.

Abortion: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. (Jeremiah 1:5)

A new Fox News survey of registered voters about the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade was released Sunday, and found that 61% oppose the demise of Roe. That includes majorities of Democrats (83%) and independents (67%). However, just 36% of Republicans oppose overturning the case. Overall, only 35% of voters support the reversal of Roe.

  • The Rasmussen Reports survey found that 64% of likely U.S. voters want abortion providers to be required to notify parents before performing abortions on girls under age 18. About 25% opposed parental notification and 11% were unsure.

Three words in the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade redefined the battle over abortion. “Unborn human being” is the term Associate Justice Samuel Alito used, supplanting the phrase ‘potential life’ in the Roe ruling. Legal experts are declaring that a ‘game-changer.’ Critics claim that this “erases whole groups of people who have different religious beliefs.”

The U.S. House on Friday passed two bills pushing abortion access to women in conservative states and protecting out-of-state abortion providers. These new bills (HR 8296 and HR 8297) are now headed to the Senate where it seems unlikely they will be able to bypass the 60-vote filibuster rule. Earlier this year, Democrat Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) said they oppose abolishing the filibuster rule. So did Republican Senators Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK). But all four have said they want to codify Roe v. Wade as federal law, so pray hard against these two bills and the upcoming votes.

In a June 7 letter to President Joe Biden, before Roe was overturned, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and 24 other Democratic senators suggested placing abortion services on federal lands. Warren also suggested to the Washington Post that the Biden administration could establish Planned Parenthood stations on the outskirts of national parks. Federal lands, or federal enclaves, refer to buildings or land within a state that are under the federal government’s control. In many cases, federal enclaves are subject to federal jurisdiction exclusively, meaning that state governments can’t prosecute crimes on that land. In theory, clinics within federal enclaves could provide a loophole for abortion access in states with restrictive abortion laws in place. But in practice, legal experts say placing and operating abortion services on federal lands is complicated.

A southern California school board will consider an agreement Monday for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles to open a clinic at a local high school. The seven-member school board of the Norwalk-LaMirada Unified School District will vote during a meeting Monday evening on allowing Planned Parenthood to open and operate a clinic for reproductive health care at John Glenn High School in Norwalk. Abortions and gender-affirming hormone therapy are not listed as services that will be provided at the on-campus site, but clinic staff will be permitted to make referrals to other Planned Parenthood centers “for services not offered” at the school, according to the proposal.

  • Parents are protesting loudly. “Families and taxpayers should be horrified that the Norwalk-La Mirada USD is considering a partnership with Planned Parenthood,” Nicole Neily, the president and founder of Parents Defending Education said.

Dozens of pro-life centers have been targeted across the country since a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion signaled Roe V. Wade would be overturned in May, followed by the nation’s highest court ultimately ruling as such in June. For one pro-life organization in Ohio, it has been targeted twice since last month. A pro-life women’s medical clinic in California has spent $150,000 to boost its security in the face of overwhelming violence. Threatened by violence, the clinic has been forced to hire 24-hour on-site security.

It is not only domestic terrorist groups like Jane’s Revenge which are declaring war on pregnancy crisis centers. It is also senior elected officials who are trying to shut down these life-giving clinics. In the words of Senator Elizabeth Warren, “With Roe gone, it’s more important than ever to crack down on so-called ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ that mislead and deceive patients seeking abortion care.”

  • “Crack down” on these centers? “Stop” their “harmful practices”? Unlike killing unborn babies, pro-life pregnancy centers do nothing but affirm life. Warren is stirring up even more violence.

The same surgical procedure that is used to treat a miscarriage is also used for terminating pregnancies. New Texas anti-abortion laws have doctors nervous to perform procedures for miscarriages, forcing a woman to carry her dead fetus in her womb for two weeks. Law of ‘unintended consequences’ at work here.

The Department of Health and Human Services sent a guidance on Wednesday to 60,000 pharmacies nationwide, warning their employees of stiff, legal “corrective action” against anyone who refuses to comply, including filling orders for abortion drugs. The guidelines say, for instance, that if a pharmacist refuses to fill an order for mifepristone or misoprostol “because these medications can also be used to terminate a pregnancy – the pharmacy may be discriminating on the basis of sex.”

A man was charged with impregnating a 10-year-old Ohio girl whose travel to Indiana to seek an abortion led to international attention and became a flashpoint in the national furor over the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Nearly all abortions after the detection of fetal cardiac activity became illegal in Ohio last month after the high court’s ruling. The story of a young girl traveling across state lines to receive an abortion went viral. Gerson Fuentes, 27, an illegal immigrant whose last known address was an apartment in Columbus, was arrested Tuesday after police said he confessed to raping the child on at least two occasions. He’s charged with rape, a felony of the first degree in Ohio, and is being held in jail on a $2 million bond.

A federal judge in Phoenix on Monday blocked a 2021 state “personhood” law that gives all legal rights to unborn children and that abortion rights groups said put providers at risk of prosecution for a variety of crimes. U.S. District Judge Douglas Rayes said in his written ruling that the groups that sued to block the law are right – it is “anyone’s guess,” as the state acknowledged, what criminal laws abortion providers may be breaking if they perform otherwise-legal abortions. “And that is the problem,” Rayes wrote. “When the punitive and regulatory weight of the entire Arizona code is involved, Plaintiffs should not have to guess at whether their conduct is on the right or the wrong side of the law.”

  • It is unclear if abortions – that have been halted in Arizona since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that women do not have a constitutional right to abortion – would restart.

Pestilence (Covid and other diseases): For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Matthew 24:7)

New Covid-19 cases in the U.S. are up 15% over the past two weeks, with hospitalizations up 20% and deaths up 10%. Cases are rising in more than 40 states. With home-testing, this is definitely an undercount, but no one knows by how much. These increases come as the BA.5 variant, believed to be the most transmissible variant yet of the coronavirus, is emerging as the country’s dominant virus strain. Hospitalizations are rising at a rate similar to hospitalization surges seen earlier this summer in countries where BA.5 first began to circulate. The proportion of total hospital admissions into ICUs is lower than in previous surges.

  • The BA.5 variant is threatening a fresh wave of infections even among those who have recovered from the virus fairly recently.

Dr. Ashish Jha, President Biden’s COVID-19 coordinator, voiced support on Sunday for Los Angeles County preparing to bring back its mask mandate, as the area has seen a surge in coronavirus cases driven by the BA.5 variant of the omicron strain. Los Angeles is on pace to bring back its universal indoor mask mandate on July 29, unless the county drops below the CDC’s “high” transmission threshold by that point. The CDC has also recommended that people in states like Arizona, where cases are rising rapidly, should start wearing masks indoors once again.

  • Many studies have shown that most masks offer little to no protection. When will the CDC start following the science?

The culprit this time in another Covid surge is yet another Omicron offshoot, BA.5. It has three key mutations in its spike protein that make it both better at infecting our cells and more adept at slipping past our immune defenses. In just over two months, BA.5 outcompeted its predecessors to become the dominant cause of Covid-19 in the United States. Last week, this subvariant caused almost 2 out of every 3 new Covid-19 infections in this country. “We do not know about the clinical severity of BA.4 and BA.5 in comparison to our other Omicron subvariants,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said last Thursday.

Long-Covid is the new pandemic. Long-Covid has affected many millions of people regardless of whether they were asymptomatic, very ill, young or old, vaccinated or not. Victims usually have a large number of debilitating symptoms affecting their behavior, organs and cognitive capabilities. All the medical world is doing is sending victims to many specialists who only try to address their symptoms. But there are no cures. In many ways the new pandemic is worse than the original one because victims have little reason to be hopeful of regaining their normal lives. They may suffer for years.

Another super contagious omicron variant has been detected in the U.S. Dubbed “Centaurus,” the BA.2.75 variant was first detected in India in early May and is now spreading rapidly there. “It’s still really early on for us to draw too many conclusions” but “it does look like, especially in India, the rates of transmission are showing kind of that exponential increase,” Matthew Binnicker, the Mayo Clinic’s director of clinical virology says. In India, BA.2.75 is quickly overtaking BA.4 and BA.5, which are said to be as transmissible as measles and together make up more than 70% of COVID cases in the U.S.

Other Pestilence:

Dangerous superbug infections and deaths rose during the pandemic, according to a new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of antibiotic resistant infections rose by 15 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, undoing years of progress in combating one of the most worrisome public health challenges in modern medicine. Sicker patients and antibiotic overuse early in the pandemic, along with staffing and supply shortages, fueled the rise in superbug infections, the CDC said. 

Health care and LGBTQ leaders are warning monkeypox will continue to spread among gay men and other Americans if more isn’t done to address vaccine shortages and help health professionals combat the virus. They are demanding more testing kits, vaccines and additional health workers to limit the outbreak. Some LGBTQ critics have accused government officials of being slow to tackle the outbreak because it is primarily affecting LGBTQ men, a community that has long faced discrimination and limited care when it comes to health crises. They also worry non-LGBTQ people who might be vulnerable to monkeypox will not get adequate information about the virus if it is only seen as an LGBTQ illness.

International:

The Chinese territory city of Macau shut down all its casinos and other businesses on Monday for the first time in two years. Macau, also known as the world’s gambling hub, is battling COVID-19. The territory of 700,000 has recorded more than 1,500 infections in the latest outbreak. Residents are ordered to stay indoors unless they are buying essential items. Authorities marked more than 30 zones in the city as high risk and placed them under lockdown.

Vaccines – Harbinger of the Mark of the Beast: He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:16-17)

White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci conceded that COVID-19 vaccines do not protect “overly well” against infection, he said Tuesday in an interview, but they do help prevent hospitalization and death. “One of the things that’s clear from the data [is] that even though vaccines – because of the high degree of transmissibility of this virus – don’t protect overly well, as it were, against infection, they protect quite well against severe disease leading to hospitalization and death. And I believe that’s the reason, Neil, why at my age, being vaccinated and boosted, even though it didn’t protect me against infection, I feel confident that it made a major role in protecting me from progressing to severe disease.”

Just when things were getting back to normal, for the most part, President Biden’s director of the Centers for Disease Control, Rochelle Walensky, has unleashed a new demand – for seniors to get their second booster shot against COVID-19 “right away.” “Many Americans are under vaccinated, meaning they are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines. Not all people over the age of 50 have received their first booster dose.” she said. Of those over 50 only 28% have gotten their second booster after lining up to take their first, she said. Those over 65 are even worse. “So my message right now is very simple: It is essential that these Americans … get their second booster shot right away.”

The effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses dropped well under 50 percent after four months against subvariants of the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 2-dose Moderna and Pfizer vaccines provided just 51 percent protection against emergency department visits, urgent care encounters, and hospitalizations related to COVID-19 during the time BA.2 and BA.2.12.1, subvariants were predominant in the United States. After 150-plus days, the effectiveness dropped to just 12 percent. A first booster upped the protection to 56 percent, but the effectiveness went down to 26 percent after four months, according to the study.

The first hospital in America to mandate a COVID-19 vaccine for all employees is now facing a staffing shortage from infections. Houston’s Methodist Hospital has hundreds of employees out of work because they tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. At the same hospital in 2021, 153 staff members who refused to get vaccinated quit or were fired. Now Methodist leadership is trying to avert a crisis.

The U.S. is getting another COVID-19 vaccine choice after the Food and Drug Administration cleared Novavax shots for adults. Novavax makes a more traditional type of shot than the three other COVID-19 vaccines available for use in the U.S. – and one that’s already available in Europe and multiple other countries. For now, the FDA authorized Novavax’s initial two-dose series for people 18 and older. The Maryland company hopes its shots can become a top booster choice in the U.S. and beyond. Tens of millions of Americans still need boosters that some experts call crucial for the best possible protection as the coronavirus continues to mutate.

Violence/Murder: When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (Revelation 6:3-4)

Violent crime in Portland, Oregon, has drastically risen over the last three years since 2020 and the George Floyd protests. “This report confirms the unfortunate reality of what we already knew – that gun violence is on the rise in Portland and that it is being driven by a very small percentage of our population,” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said in a statement Saturday following the release of the crime data. Researchers for the California Partnership for Safe Communities compiled crime data from the city, specifically examining homicides and non-fatal shootings from 2019 to 2021. The data found that there was a 144% increase in homicides from January 2019 to June 2021 while non-fatal shootings increase by 241% from January 2019 to December 2021. 

Also in Portland, an 82-year-old Portland man died Thursday of injuries he suffered last month when he was brutally beaten during an unprovoked attack at a bus stop, authorities said. Pierce and a second elderly victim, described as an 88-year-old man, were at a bus stop in downtown Portland just before 8:30 p.m. on June 25 when a man attacked them without provocation. Officers spotted the assault in progress while on another call in the area. The suspect, identified as 29-year-old Keffer J. White, was immediately arrested at the scene.

New York City witnessed 11 separate shooting and stabbing incidents within a six-hour time frame after Democratic Mayor Eric Adams promised Sunday to “turn this crime thing around” in the Big Apple. In spates of violence stretching across all five boroughs, at least 12 people were shot, and two people were stabbed Sunday night. Two people died as a result of the violence.

Tragedy: In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

A 5-year-old child in Jefferson County, Arkansas, accidentally shot and killed his 8-year-old brother with an unprotected firearm. The 8-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say they believe the shooting was an accident. “This is a tragic incident that could have been avoided.  I can’t emphasize strongly enough that guns need to be well secured and kept out of the hands and away from children at all times,” said Sheriff Lafayette Woods. 

A newborn baby boy died tragically on Friday, when a pack of monkeys stole him from his parents and threw him off a roof. Nirdesh Upadhyay of Bareilly, India, was standing on his third-floor roof terrace with his wife and the child when the animals landed and surrounded them. Nirdesh reportedly tried to run away from them with the 4-month-old, when the baby fell out of his hands to the ground and one of the monkeys grabbed him before he could pick him back up and threw him over the side. The child died immediately.

A second shark attack was reported off the coast of New York on Wednesday – the fifth such attack off of Long Island in two weeks. In a news conference, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone stressed the importance of swimming near lifeguards and called these attacks the new normal. While shark attacks are usually rare, more sharks are being spotted off Long Island. Scientists cite warming ocean temperatures and a resurgence of bunker fish for the shift in frequency of sightings and attacks.

Protests: Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

A series of farmer-led demonstrations against a government climate rule in the Netherlands could be the beginning of a global movement. The Dutch government issued a plan in June laying out nitrogen emission reductions, largely targeting the nation’s agriculture industry which produces an outsized shared of such emissions. The government acknowledged that “there is not a future for all” farmers to continue their business under the proposal. Dairy farmer Martin Neppelenbroek says that the new environmental regulations will require him to slash his livestock numbers by 95 percent. He thinks he will have to sell his family farm. In response to the new regulations, farmers throughout the country have taken to the streets in recent weeks, blocking roads to airports and deliveries to food distribution depots.

  • Farmers in Italy, Spain and Poland have joined Dutch farmers in protest of ‘green’ government regulations that will decimate the industry by forcing them to reduce their use of nitrogen fertilizer compounds. “We are not slaves, we are farmers,” said Italian farmers, who drove tractors through the streets of Milan and blocked city traffic. In Spain, farmers in Badajoz, Granada and Albacete paraded their tractors down the street in solidarity with the foreign farmers. And in Poland, farmers came to Warsaw last weekend to protest against inflation and other government actions.

The president of Sri Lanka fled the country early Wednesday, days after protesters stormed his home and office and the official residence of his prime minister amid a three-month economic crisis that triggered severe shortages of food and fuel. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, his wife, and two bodyguards left aboard a Sri Lankan Air Force plane bound for the city of Male, the capital of the Maldives and then onward to Singapore. Rajapaksa tendered his resignation in a letter sent by email Thursday.

  • Sri Lanka, a country in Asia, an island off the southern tip of India that is technically known as the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is now a case study in the failure of socialism and Big Government planning. Senator Rand Paul said: “It tells you that we should be very wary of central planning, of allowing any kind of central government to make the decisions for the entire economy.”

Gun Control: When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. (Luke 11:21-22,ESV)

Authorities are expressing their gratitude to an armed bystander after he shot and killed a gunman who opened fire in a shopping mall food court in Indiana. The mass shooting took place Sunday evening at Greenwood Park Mall in Greenwood, leaving three dead and two injured, including a 12-year-old girl who suffered a minor injury. Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers credited the man with saving several lives by killing the shooter, saying they were grateful for his “quick action and heroism.”

  • Critics, however, are lashing out, arguing the man should not be called a “Good Samaritan” as a justification for killing someone.

A survey, conducted by the Trafalgar Group on behalf of Convention of States Action, asked likely voters across the country about their confidence in local law enforcement and government officials’ ability to prevent mass shootings, as well as what group they think would best protect them in the event of one. Respondents were asked, “What do you believe would best protect you and your family in the event of a mass shooting?” The results: 41.8% said armed citizens offered the best protection; 25.1% said local police; 10.3% said federal agents; 22.8% said none of the above.

Justice (or lack thereof): Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. (Jeremiah 23:5)

Muhammad Aziz spent 20 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of the 1965 assassination of Black civil rights leader Malcolm X. Now, Aziz is suing New York City and the officials involved in the investigation for $40 million. The suit comes just months after Aziz and the late Khalil Islam, another man who was also wrongfully branded as one of Malcolm X’s killers, were exonerated in November 2021 – more than half a century after their 1966 murder convictions. The now 84-year-old Aziz is suing for the violation of his constitutional rights, including the denial of his due process rights, malicious prosecution and law enforcement negligence.

A former CIA programmer was convicted Wednesday of federal charges in connection to the massive Vault 7 theft of secret information provided to WikiLeaks in what the Justice Department describes as “one of the most brazen and damaging acts of espionage in American history.” Joshua Adam Schulte was once a CIA programmer “with access to some of the country’s most valuable intelligence-gathering cyber tools. When Schulte “began to harbor resentment toward the CIA, he covertly collected those tools and provided them to WikiLeaks, making some of our most critical intelligence tools known to the public – and therefore, our adversaries.

Law Enforcement: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)

Law enforcement experts who viewed a newly released video showing the delayed law enforcement response to the Uvalde school shooting called police action “disastrous” and “inexcusable.” The video shows in excruciating detail what police were doing as they waited to take action and stop the shooter: checking their cellphones, texting, looking at a building map, pacing, aiming their weapons and then putting them down, bringing ballistic shields. Former Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said the hallway video suggests that police were more concerned about themselves than the safety of children and teachers inside the classroom. “There are cops that had vests, had helmets on, and shields, and they waited for an hour and 17 minutes to assault those classrooms. That has to be the most incompetent response that I’ve ever seen. It’s not defensible,” Acevedo said.

Jayland Walker, who was killed by Akron police last month, had 46 gunshot wounds or graze injuries on his body, according to a “summary of findings” from the autopsy released by Summit County Medical Examiner Lisa Kohler on Friday. Twenty-six bullets were recovered from Walker’s body. Walker, a 25-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by police on June 27 as he ran away from a traffic stop. Walker’s funeral on Wednesday followed two weeks of protests and unrest in downtown Akron as demonstrators demand justice and accountability for the eight officers involved in his death.  

Lawlessness: For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. (2Thessalonians 2;7)

  • As God’s hand of restraint is gradually lifting, spirits of lawlessness are stirring up lawlessness which will increase all the more as the end-times ramp up.

Starbucks is planning to close 16 locations across various cities, citing safety concerns. “After careful consideration, we are closing some stores in locations that have experienced a high volume of challenging incidents that make it unsafe to continue to operate,” a spokesperson told CNN Business in an email. The stores are in Seattle; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; Washington, DC, and Portland, Oregon. They will be closed by the end of July. Employees are “seeing firsthand the challenges facing our communities — personal safety, racism, lack of access to healthcare, a growing mental health crisis, rising drug use, and more,” Starbucks said.

  • These are all ultra-liberal cities who sought to defund the police, but they’ve wrought lawlessness instead.

Two people were killed during a string of armed robberies at southern California 7-Eleven stores on Monday, July 11, the day on which the convenience store chain gives out free Slurpees to mark the “7/11” date. The robberies took place in at least six locations in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino counties in the early morning hours, and police are searching for the same suspect in three of those: Santa Ana, where a man was found fatally shot in the parking lot after a 3:23am robbery; Brea, where a store clerk was fatally shot during a robbery around 4:18am; and La Habra, where an employee and a customer were shot during a robbery around 4:55am.

Fraud: “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? (Acts 13:10)

Nancy Pelosi’s office responded to her husband’s controversial $1 million computer chip stock trades ahead of Congress’ coming vote on the semiconductor industry. “The Speaker does not own any stocks.  As you can see from the required disclosures, with which the Speaker fully cooperates, these transactions are marked ‘SP’ for Spouse. The Speaker has no prior knowledge or subsequent involvement in any transactions,” Nancy Pelosi’s spokesman, Drew Hammill, said in a statement.

  • And Nancy didn’t tell him about the upcoming vote? Not likely.

Federal officials sentenced the former mayor of a Georgia city to almost five years in prison Wednesday, on charges that he used pandemic relief funds to pay multiple personal expenses, including his lakefront home’s mortgage and an associate’s political advertising costs.

Science: The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. (Psalm 19:1) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

Amid low morale fostered by “bad science,” frustrated and alarmed experts with the NIH, CDC and FDA are quitting, creating serious staffing shortages, reports Johns Hopkins University professor Dr. Marty Makary. Leadership of the agencies is being questioned, with the authorization, for example, of COVID-19 vaccines for children 4 years old and younger. Pfizer’s trial data found no statistically significant evidence that the shots provide benefit for young children. Other decisions by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration that have hurt morale among employees include support for masking in schools and the closing of schools during the pandemic. “It’s like a horror movie I’m being forced to watch, and I can’t close my eyes,” a senior FDA official told Common Sense. “People are getting bad advice and we can’t say anything.”

Technology: But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase. (Daniel 12:4)

The most advanced category of mass-produced semiconductors — used in smartphones, military technology and much more — is known as 5 nm. A single company in Taiwan, known as TSMC, makes about 90 percent of them. U.S. factories make none. The situation has the potential to cause a national security crisis: If China were to invade Taiwan and cut off exports of semiconductors, the American military would be at risk of being overmatched by its main rival for global supremacy. For these reasons, a bipartisan group of senators and the Biden administration negotiated a bill last summer that included $52 billion to jump-start the domestic semiconductor industry, as well as other measures to help the U.S. compete economically with China.

A lawsuit filed Wednesday against Uber includes 550 women passengers alleging sexual assault, kidnapping and other attacks at the hands of drivers from the company’s ride-hailing service, a law firm announced. The civil action suit – filed in San Francisco County Superior Court – includes claims from women in multiple states. An additional 150 claims against the company are being actively investigated. Attorney Adam Slater alleges Uber’s business model prioritized company growth over customer safety.

A serious dilemma is coming for thousands of mechanics across the country whose livelihoods have been built around cars powered by gasoline and diesel fuel. Muffler repairs, spark plug replacements and oil changes were some of the jobs that kept almost 704,000 automotive service technicians and mechanics working in the United States in 2020, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. But many of those staple tasks of grease-stained garages won’t be needed in an EV future where cars rely on electric motors rather than internal combustion engines. EVs don’t use pistons or many of the other parts seen in a gas-powered car, and they don’t have tailpipes.

Racism/Discrimination: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

Police are looking for three Black suspects accused of beating a White woman on public transport in what is being described as a racially-motivated attack. New York City investigators say the three suspects, all women, got into an argument with a 57-year-old MTA bus passenger. The interaction escalated, and the three suspects allegedly began hitting the unnamed victim over the head with an unidentified object. The assailants reportedly made aggressive racial remarks to the victim, and said that they “hate white people” and “hate the way they talk.”

A Seattle man has been arrested after allegedly threatening to kill Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal. The 48-year-old, Brett Forsell, lives half a mile from the congresswoman, is in jail with a bail of $500,000 after being arrested for suspicion of a hate crime outside Jayapal’s residence with a revolver in his possession. A neighbor told police that Forsell yelled, “Go back to India, I’m going to kill you.” He had been driving past the house several times shouting obscenities.

Critical Race Theory: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

A Tennessee parents group filed a lawsuit challenging curriculum it says teaches age inappropriate critical race theory to elementary students, a violation of state law. Tennessee in May banned K-12 public schools from teaching ideas linked to CRT, although the bill did not cite the theory by name. Material taught to students works to “promote a skewed and racist view of history,” said Patricia Lucente, one of the parents who started the group. “You’ve got our smallest littlest children seeing the most violent parts of what was slavery,” she said. “Obviously, that’s a part of our nation’s history, and they do learn that, and they will learn that at some point, maintaining that the material age-inappropriate.

Health: A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22) Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3John 1:2)

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the COVID-19 pandemic may have reversed years of progress combatting antimicrobial resistant in the U.S. While deaths from antimicrobial resistance decreased nearly 27% from 2012 to 2017, they increased at least 15% in 2020, the report shows. One particular “superbug” – carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter – saw a 78% increase in infections. During the first year of the pandemic, more than 29,400 people died from antimicrobial-resistant infections commonly associated with health care. Nearly 40% of those patients became infected while in the hospital.

American roads are being plagued with a perplexing uptick in deaths, including increasing pedestrian fatalities. But new data shows those deaths are disproportionally affecting Black and Hispanic American pedestrians and bikers. Published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine on June 7, a recent study found that mile-for-mile, walking and biking are drastically more deadly activities for Black and Hispanic Americans compared to white Americans. Cycling is 4.5 times more deadly and walking is 2.2 times for Black people on American streets as compared to white people, the data says. The study did not probe the causes behind this disparity.

Drugs: And they did not repent of their murders, nor of their sorceries [Greek: pharmakeia, i.e. pharmacy, drugs].

Researchers from the Coalition for Applied Modeling for Prevention (CAMP) used a combination of federal surveillance data and published research that calculated the rate of overdoses among people who injected drugs. The study estimated nearly 3.7 million people in the U.S. injected drugs at one point during 2018 – a fivefold increase from the most recent estimate in 2011.

Education: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

A Democratic polling firm found that more voters trust Republicans than Democrats to handle the issue of education, a sea change in public opinion. In 2017, Democrats enjoyed a 19-point lead over the GOP on education. Hart Research Associates — which polled registered voters in seven swing states on behalf of the American Federation of Teachers — also found 60% of voters were dissatisfied with the way schools taught racial issues, and 58% opposed the schools’ focus on sexual orientation and transgender ideology. In all, 86% believe America’s educational system needs changes, with 39% calling for “major reforms” or “a complete overhaul.”

Family:  Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12) But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1Timothy 5:8)

About 18 percent of Americans live in multigenerational households, according to a study from Pew Research Center. Such arrangements have quadrupled in the United States since the 1970s.

Gender Confusion: Male and female He created them. (Genesis 5:2)

  • Gender confusion is being promoted because it undermines God’s ordained family structure, giving secular government more control over people, particularly our youth.

A transgender woman incarcerated at a women’s only prison in New Jersey has been moved to another facility after impregnating two female inmates earlier this year, according to a local report. Demi Minor, 27, was moved after the local paper reported in April that Sperrazza said it appeared two women at Edna Mahan became pregnant after “consensual sexual relationships with another incarcerated person.”

As abortions dwindle, Planned Parenthood is also working to give minors transgender hormone treatment, reports the Intercessors for America. Planned Parenthood is providing transgender hormone therapy across the country, with certain locations even serving minors who are attempting to change their sex.

The Church of England has now gone on record saying it has “no official definition” of a woman.

“Increasingly, detransitioners are coming forward to tell their stories and warn of the physical and psychological dangers of so-called gender transitioning,” said Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., president of the Ruth Institute. Chloe Cole, a California teen who formerly identified as “transgender,” recently testified at a Florida hearing on a rule that would allow the state to restrict Medicaid funding for drugs and procedures that interfere with the natural functioning of the body. Now 17, Cole, who decided she was “transgender” at 12 and underwent a double mastectomy at 15, told the hearing, “I was unknowingly physically cutting off my true self from my body, irreversibly and painfully.” “I don’t know if I’ll be able to fully carry a child, and I might be at increased risk for certain cancers, mainly cervical cancer,” Cole testified. “And because I do not have breasts… I’m not able to breastfeed whatever future children I have.”

  • Follow the science. Biology shows that there are vast differences between women and men – brain, musculature, bone structure, hormones, with and without a uterus, different genitalia, etc. Chopping off body parts and taking hormones does not change many of the other compositional differences. A trans can call themselves the opposite sex all they want, but science proves they are still the same sex they were born into.

Immigration: He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:18-19)

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Monthly Operational Report shows high levels of border crossings continued in June, including a record-setting number of terrorist sightings and an increased number of unaccompanied children and illegal drugs found at the U.S.-Mexico border. The CBP said there were more than 207,416 encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border for the month of June. While the overall number of border interactions is down from May’s all-time high of 239,000, it is the fourth month in a row of more than 200,000 encounters. Of those total encounters, 26% were seeking to enter the U.S. after having “at least one prior encounter in the previous 12 months,” the CBP said. Also, 68% were single adults, without children or accompanied family members.

  • Border Patrol agents arrested six terrorism suspects as well as multiple child sex offenders, gang members, and other criminal aliens after they illegally crossed from Mexico into the U.S. Rio Grande Valley Sector agents arrested five criminal aliens and four gang members over a five-day period ending on July 11, according to Border Patrol officials.

Population Growth: After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying… “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” (Genesis 15:1,5)

The United Nations Population Division forecasts that the global population will grow to 8.5 billion by 2030, 9.7 billion by 2050, and 10.4 billion in the 2080s. India is projected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country by next year. The report says most of that growth will be concentrated in India, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Tanzania.

Travel: The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalm 121:8)

A staffing shortage that has caused a service meltdown at Heathrow in recent weeks has now been dubbed “airmageddon.” Airport authorities have responded to the canceled flights and massive lost baggage complaints by telling airlines they must cap the number of passengers at one of the world’s busiest airports to 100,000 a day.

Energy Supplies: He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. (Isaiah 44:14-15)

OPEC expects to increase oil output in 2023 by nearly 1 million barrels per day due to rising global demand. Year over year, world oil demand is anticipated to rise by 2.7 million barrels per day (bpd), and overall demand is projected to reach 103 million bpd, OPEC said in its report. Non-OPEC supply is expected to increase by 1.76 million bpd in 2023, with OPEC having to chip in an additional 940,000 barrels daily. In total, OPEC production is expected to be at 30.1 million barrels per day in 2023, up from 29.2 million barrels in 2022.

Oil prices extended gains on Monday, boosted by mounting concerns over gas supply from Russia and a lower dollar, offsetting demand fears brought on by a possible recession and China lockdowns. Brent crude futures for September settlement were up $4.37, or 4.3%, to $105.53 a barrel by 12:30 p.m. EDT Monday, having gained 2.1% last Friday.

Clean energy proponents have touted the use of solar and wind power in oil-rich Texas, but a summer heat wave is showing the limits of renewables in sustaining a major power grid. Temperatures have climbed into the 100’s this month and Texas energy companies are sending urgent messages to customers to warn of rolling blackouts. They also are asking customers to conserve by raising thermostats, cutting back on using dishwashers and washing machines and limiting electric vehicle charging. Despite producing more oil than almost anywhere else in the world, the Lone Star State falls far behind many parts of the country when it comes to the reliability of its energy grid. Critics blame a system rigged around the inconsistent performance of renewables — mainly wind — which have been increasingly woven into the Texas grid.

Poverty: Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. (Proverbs 19:17) Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:16) Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you.” (Matthew 26:11)

Shelters across the U.S. are reporting a surge in people looking for help, with wait lists doubling or tripling in recent months. The number of homeless people outside of shelters is also probably rising, experts say. Some of them live in encampments, which have popped up in parks and other public spaces in major cities from Washington, D.C., to Seattle since the pandemic began. Inflation is compounding the problem: Rent has increased at its fastest rate since 1986, putting houses and apartments out of reach for more Americans.

Business: Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. (Proverbs 16:8)

Google plans to slow its pace of hiring for the remainder of the year in the latest sign of tech companies rethinking staffing amid a market downturn that has hit Silicon Valley particularly hard. Spiking inflation levels, rising interest rates and fears of a looming recession have led a slew of tech companies to recently announce that they are slowing hiring or cutting staff.

Economy – Depression/Shortages: When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come and see.” So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5-6)

The U.S. annual inflation rate climbed to 9.1% in June, topping May’s year-over-year rate of 8.6%. This is the highest level since November 1981. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.3% month-over-month. The core inflation rate, which removes the volatile food and energy sectors, eased to an annual rate of 5.9%. On a monthly basis, the core inflation rose at a higher-than-expected pace of 0.7%. Food prices rose 10.4%, while the energy index soared 41.6% Gasoline surged 59.9%.

Inflation at the wholesale level climbed 11.3% in June compared with a year earlier. Wholesale prices precede consumer prices, as they are generally passed on to consumers a month or so later.. Last month’s jump in wholesale inflation was led by energy prices, which soared 54% from a year earlier. But even excluding food and energy prices, which can swing wildly from month to month, producer prices in June jumped 8.2% from June 2021.

The average new vehicle price hit a record $48,043 in June, Kelley Blue Book reported, up 12.7% from the same month a year ago. Monthly car payments exceeded $1,000 for 12.7% of consumers who financed a new vehicle bought in June, Edmunds.com said. It was the highest level ever recorded, having risen from 7.3% in the same month last year. For some, car payments are now exceeding their mortgage.

U.S. employers say they expect the average raise to be 4.1% in 2023, which would be the largest hike in 15 years, according to a survey of more than 1,400 organizations from advisory firm Willis Towers Watson. But that extra money won’t go far. In fact, it won’t even keep up. That 4.1% is less than half the rate of inflation.

Mortgage rates are on the rise again after a dramatic drop last week. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.51% in the week ending July 14, up from 5.3% the week before, according to Freddie Mac. That is significantly higher than this time last year when it was 2.88%. Rates rose sharply at the start of the year, hitting a high of 5.81% in mid-June. Mortgage rates continue to be volatile as the U.S. economy slows and the Federal Reserve raises interest rates in order to cool inflation, said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist.

Confidence among builders in the U.S. housing market plunged more than expected in July to the lowest level since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as scorching inflation and rising borrowing costs forced buyers to pull back. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, which measures the pulse of the single-family housing market, fell for the seventh consecutive month to 55, the lowest level since May 2020. It is the second-biggest, one-month decline in the survey’s 37-year history. 

U.S. gasoline prices have dropped for over 33 consecutive days as of Monday, 7/18, helping out drivers at the pump after prices reached averages of more than $5 per gallon last month. The average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. hit $4.52 on Monday, according to AAA. Although current gas prices have dropped from last month, they are still up from the national average a year ago – $3.15.

The median monthly rent paid by a tenant for a condo or coop in Manhattan climbed to $4,050 in June, up nearly 25% from a year ago and setting a new record high for the fifth month in a row. The overall average monthly rent for all domiciles was even higher at $5,058 in June.

While the private sector has quickly rebounded in attracting workers and recouping losses linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, the public sector is still struggling at the local level. Hundreds of thousands of state and municipal government workers who were furloughed early in the pandemic didn’t come back because they retired early or found better private-sector jobs. Since then, others have left due to COVID concerns, burnout and other factors.

The 100 largest public pension funds in the United States had been funded at just 78.6% of their total obligations at the close of the second quarter, down from 85.5% at the end of 2021 according to analysis by Milliman, an actuarial and consulting firm. The funds lost a whopping $220 billion between March and April alone as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine roiled markets.

The U.S. dollar is worth the same as the euro for the first time in two decades. The dollar has strengthened markedly this year as the Federal Reserve has launched an aggressive campaign to raise interest rates. The shift, which is good for U.S. importers but bad for exporters, could have major ripple effects around the globe. The euro is the common currency in 19 European Union member countries.

Israel: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you. (Psalm 122:6)

A Presbyterian Church (USA) committee passed resolutions this week calling Israel an “apartheid” state and designating May 15 as “Palestinian Nakba Remembrance Day” – a day on which Presbyterians can state their “solidarity” with Palestinians “suffering under occupation.” The apartheid resolution passed the PCUSA’s Committee on International Engagement in a 28-3 vote and says Israel’s laws and practices “regarding the Palestinian people fulfill the international legal definition of apartheid… Apartheid is legally defined as inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them,” the resolution says.

The Israeli defense establishment and Finance Ministry are operating a secret, extra-budgetary fund, through which money is transferred to the Palestinian Authority. The fund’s existence was revealed in the state’s response to a petition filed with the High Court of Justice by the Kohelet Policy Forum. An extra-budgetary fund is not a common tool used by the government and that creating and managing one requires special approval from the Finance Ministry’s Accountant General. Although aid agreements between Israel and the PA are supposedly strictly economic in nature, the state insists on not revealing them to the public.

Middle East: When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. (Luke 21:20-22)

Just hours after President Biden concluded his three-day visit to the region, the Israeli military carried out airstrikes on what it said was a Hamas-run Palestine enclave, made in response to a pair of rocket attacks. The Israel Defense Forces said on Twitter it targeted a Hamas underground facility used for the production of rocket materials after two rockets were launched at the Israeli city of Ashkelon around 1:00 a.m.

President Biden sought to use his first Middle East tour in office to reassert Washington’s influence but emerged without a single diplomatic breakthrough. On issues ranging from energy prices to human rights and Israel’s role in the region, Biden could point only to small — if any — gains after four whirlwind days of meetings and speeches. The Saudis would not commit to an increase in oil production to help alleviate gas prices.

President Biden’s meetings with Israeli leaders on Thursday delved into divisions over how to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power. The president acknowledged that he and Lapid discussed his administration’s desire to revive a nuclear deal with Iran, brokered by the U.S. and other world powers in 2015. “There will be no nuclear Iran. This is not only a threat to Israel, but to the world,” Biden said. But at a news conference later, Lapid lectured Biden on the issue. Lapid said no amount of words or diplomacy would stop Iran from further developing its nuclear program. “The only way to stop them is to put a credible military threat on the table,” Lapid told Biden.

President Biden on Friday restated his continued support for “two states for two peoples” but acknowledged that the “ground is not ripe” for reviving stalled talks aimed at achieving an elusive peace between Israelis and Palestinians. His comments came during a joint appearance in Bethlehem with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, where he announced $201 million for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees. However, Palestinian Authority officials were furious at Biden’s remark that negotiations for a Palestinian state will not happen any time soon, calling it a “self-defeating” approach.

President Biden left Saudi Arabia without a deal to increase oil supply, despite a hard push to get the oil-rich country to pump more crude amid record high gas prices. The only progress was Saudi Arabia’s offer to open their airspace to Israeli flights which Biden labeled a “big deal.” However, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister denied that the decision was a step towards normalization with the Jewish state. “No, this has nothing to do with diplomatic ties with Israel,” said Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan at a press conference on Saturday. “The issue of overflights is a decision we took… in the interest [of] providing connectivity between countries in the world, and we hope that it will make some travelers’ lives easier.

Biden said he raised the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the beginning of his meeting with Crown Prince Mohammad, who U.S. intelligence officials say orchestrated his death. The president also said that the crown prince denied any personal responsibility for the death of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was an outspoken critic of the Saudi government. Crown Prince Mohammad said he took action against those responsible for Khashoggi’s death. The Saudi foreign minister said he did not hear Biden raise the issue at all. Biden says he’s a liar. Biden has been caught lying so many times in the past, hard to believe him now.

Nine European Union countries said they would continue funding six Palestinian organizations that Israel designated as terror groups last year, saying Tuesday that there was a lack of evidence to back up the claim. The six groups – Addameer, al-Haq, Defense for Children Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Bisan Center for Research and Development, and the Union of Palestinian Women Committee – funneled donation monies to terrorists and were bent on the “liberation of ‘Palestine’ and the destruction of Israel,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said last October. After Gantz’s announcement, watchdog group NGO Monitor said that the six groups were “deeply involved in political warfare against Israel.” The statement sparked a backlash from the U.S., UN and several rights groups, as well as from the Palestinian Authority, which said it constituted an “unprecedented assault” on Palestinian society.

Wars & Rumors of Wars: And you will hear ofwars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; forall these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.Fornation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. (Matthew 24:6-7a)

Ukraine’s spirited defense, aided by NATO weaponry, has set back Russian plans for swift victory. About 50,000 Russian soldiers that have either died or been injured in this conflict, Britain’s top military official said Sunday. Still, Putin’s regime is viewed as stable and the Russian president continues to easily quash opposition, said Admiral Sir Tony Radakin.

Russia is preparing for the next stage of its offensive in Ukraine, a Ukrainian military official said, after Moscow said its forces would step up military operations in “all operational areas.” As Western deliveries of long-range arms begin to help Ukraine on the battlefield, Russian rockets and missiles have pounded cities in strikes that Kyiv says have killed dozens in recent days. The Ukrainian military said Russia appeared to be regrouping units for an offensive toward Sloviansk, a symbolically important city held by Ukraine in the eastern region of Donetsk.

Russian missiles struck civilian structures in the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia far behind the frontlines last week in an attack which Ukrainian officials called a war crime and said had killed at least 23 people, including three children. The strike, which Ukraine said had been carried out with Kalibr cruise missiles launched from a Russian submarine in the Black Sea. The Russian defense ministry denies deliberately targeting civilians.

As Russian troops pressed their offensive in Ukraine’s east, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fired his state security chief and prosecutor general on Sunday, citing more than 651 criminal proceedings into treason and collaboration by people within their departments and other law enforcement agencies. “In particular, more than 60 employees of the prosecutor’s office and the SBU (state security service) have remained in the occupied territory and work against our state,” Zelensky said.

The U.S. provided another $1.7 billion to ensure the Ukrainian government can continue to provide essential services such as health care. The U.S. contribution was made possible by “generous bipartisan support” from Congress, the U.S. Agency for International Development said. To date, USAID has provided $4 billion in direct budgetary support to the Ukraine government for core functions such as keeping electricity on for hospitals, schools and other critical infrastructure, as well as paying for humanitarian supplies and the salaries of health care workers, civil servants and teachers.

Terrorism: My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me… But You, O God,  shall bring them down to the pit of destruction; bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in You. (Psalm 55:4-5.23)

The U.S. and Iraq agreed on Saturday to increase security ties in order to eliminate a potential ISIS comeback. The agreement was announced in a joint statement issued after talks between US President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi in Jeddah, where Saudi Arabia is hosting a summit that brings together leaders of the U.S., GCC states, Iraq, Egypt and Jordan.

Iran is technically capable of manufacturing a nuclear bomb, a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei told the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network on Sunday, adding that Tehran is undecided about whether to follow through. “Iran has the technical means to produce a nuclear bomb but there has been no decision by Iran to build it,” Kamal Kharrazi said, according to a translation of his remarks by the Reuters news agency. “In a few days we were able to enrich uranium up to 60% and we can easily produce 90% enriched uranium,” Kharrazi, who is the head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations.

Famine:Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it. (Ezekiel 14:13)

A growing malnutrition crisis in northwestern Nigeria is still receiving insufficient attention from humanitarian workers and local authorities, Doctors Without Borders said last week. The aid group said it has treated more than 50,000 children with acute malnutrition, including 7,000 who were hospitalized across the region’s five states since January. Militias and bandits have intensified killings and kidnappings in recent years, leaving many in the region unable to farm.

Wildfires: The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. (Revelation 8:7)

Four people were killed after a sheriff’s helicopter crashed in New Mexico on Saturday night, authorities said. The helicopter was being used to help fire officials with the East Mesa Fire by providing bucket drops and other air logistics needs to fire crews on the ground.

Wildfires are scorching parts of France and Portugal and temperatures in the U.K. could top 102 degrees for the first time on record as extreme heat takes over much of Europe. Two wildfires in the Bordeaux region of Southwest France had chewed through more than 27 square miles and forced the evacuation of more than 10,000 people as of Friday afternoon. Some 1,000 firefighters battled the flames. Fires are also burning in Portugal where 160 people have been hurt by the wildfires and hundreds have been forced to evacuate. Spain is also battling several wildfires, including two that have burned about 18,200 acres and caused around 3,000 people to be evacuated..

End-Time Weather Will Continue to Grow More Severe: (Daniel 9:26b, Ezekiel 38:22, Luke 21:25, Revelation 8:7, 11:19, 16:8,11)

Nine weather disasters with at least $1 billion in damage have hit the U.S. so far this year, from drought to derecho to hail to tornadoes. The past two years saw record numbers of billion-dollar disasters, thanks largely to drought plus devastating wildfires and hurricanes in the second half of the year.

Globally, 188 all-time heat records have been broken so far in 2022 (with more than 50 of those occurring in the past week), compared with just 18 cold records, according to data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

A “flash drought” has occurred in parts of the South and Northeast, according to the US Drought Monitor, in states including Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Massachusetts. Flash drought is defined by the rapid onset or intensification brought on by abnormally high temperatures, sunny conditions and wind, which together can dramatically alter the local climate in a matter of days. Flash droughts can quickly cause extensive damage to agriculture, economies and ecosystems, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Residents from the mid-Atlantic to the Northeast will likely be cleaning up for days after severe storms knocked over trees, damaged homes and left thousands without power last Tuesday. A cold front moving through the region helped trigger the storms which caused wind gusts greater than 80 mph. The winds were responsible for damage from West Virginia to Maine, with areas around the nation’s capital appearing to be the hardest hit.

Devastating flooding in Virginia’s Buchanan County destroyed or damaged over 100 homes. Heavy rainfall started last Tuesday, causing flash floods, landslides, power outages, and other issues that lasted into early Wednesday in the far western part of the state. Significant damage was estimated in about 10 miles worth of the county, leaving roads, bridges, and infrastructure damaged or destroyed. There were currently no confirmed deaths.

Six people have died after a dust storm fueled by wind gusts topping 60 miles per hour caused a 21-car pileup Friday evening on Interstate 90 in Montana.

Central Chile’s Peñuelas Lake has nearly vanished after a winter of below-average snowfall and 13 years of ongoing drought. It is the main water supply for the area.

Temperatures in the UK are expected to soar to all-time highs early this week, prompting the British government to issue a “red” heat warning for the first time and note the dangerous health impacts the weather could have. The warnings, in place for Monday and Tuesday, cover much of southern England, where temperatures could reach 40 degrees Celsius – or about 104 degrees. “Nobody alive has seen a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius in the U.K.” weather.com senior meteorologist Jonathan Erdman pointed out. The current record high temperature for the U.K. is 38.7 degrees Celsius – about 102 degrees Fahrenheit – set on July 25, 2019. Similar highs are expected across parts of France. In Spain, 237 deaths have occurred due to high temperatures this month.

  • Ireland on Monday recorded 33 degrees Celsius (91.4 degrees Fahrenheit) at Phoenix Park in Dublin, the country’s highest-ever recorded temperature in over a century and a new record for the month of July, the Irish Meteorological Service said. Air conditioning, while more common in hotter parts of the world, is exceedingly rare in UK homes since temperatures there are typically cool in the summer.

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