Signs of the Times Update: August 22, 2022

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.  (Romans 8:16-17)

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 temporarily halted the discharge of hundreds of Marines who were denied religious exemptions from the military’s requirement that they receive the experimental COVID-19 vaccine shots, which have not prevented infection and the spread of the virus as promised. U.S. District Judge Steve Merryday, a George. H.W. Bush appointee, ruled Thursday that the Marines have failed to adhere to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Epoch Times reported. And significantly, he ruled a class action for any Marine affirmed by a chaplain as having a sincere religious objection who filed for an exemption on time and was denied.

U.S. companies are bringing jobs back to America at a record pace, according to estimates from the Reshoring Initiative, a nonprofit that tracks the number of reshoring announcements and foreign direct investments in U.S. jobs, reported The Wall Street Journal. American companies are on pace to reshore nearly 350,000 jobs this year, the highest number on record since the Reshoring Initiative started tracking the data in 2010. The COVID-19 pandemic made painfully clear how dependent the U.S. was on global supply chains — a problem that pushed many executives to change their approach and manufacturing location.

Texas school districts have begun receiving donated posters and framed copies of the national motto, “In God We Trust,” that they will now be required to display in accordance with a new state law. The law says a public elementary or secondary school, or an institution of higher education “must” display a durable poster or framed copy of the motto in a “conspicuous place” in each building. State Sen. Bryan Hughes, a Republican co-author of the law, tweeted last week, “The national motto, In God We Trust, asserts our collective trust in a sovereign God.” The people and organizations behind the donations wasted no time in sending them out to schools.

Last Monday, a California appeals court ruled that a San Jose church does not have to pay the more than $200,000 in fines it accrued for violating COVID-19 restrictions. The ruling, which was issued by a three-judge panel in California’s 6th District Court of Appeal, reverses several lower court decisions against Calvary Chapel San Jose, which was fined for continuing to hold large, in-person gatherings in violation of state and local COVID-19 restrictions. Despite making exceptions for other public institutions, including schools, train stations, airports, medical facilities, stores and restaurants, the county placed restrictions on churches.

Conservative advocacy group CatholicVote launched a $1 million ad campaign on Wednesday criticizing President Joe Biden’s “notable silence” on attacks on dozens of churches following the Supreme Court’s ruling reversing Roe v. Wade. CatholicVote’s new advertisement that reminds us that President John F. Kennedy issued the following statement in response to an outbreak of cathedral burnings in the early 1960s: “To destroy churches, I think both cowardly as well as offensive.” “Churches are being burnt again because they protect unborn infants and mothers in need,“ the ad says. The ad comes after CatholicVote and many other activist organizations had requested Biden to speak out against the often violent protests that are taking place against churches and birth centers

Deputies arrested a Washington man who may have had plans to commit a mass shooting during a concert at the Gorge Amphitheater Friday night. People attending the “Bass Canyon Festival” reported a suspicious man in the parking lot to security officers. Witnesses say they saw the man, later identified as 31-year-old Jonathan R. Moody, inhale an unknown gas from a balloon, load two 9mm pistols from the trunk of his car and tuck both weapons inside his waistband. Moody then asked people what time the concert ended and where people would be exiting the venue. Security staff detained Moody outside the venue gates and disarmed him of the two loaded 9mm pistols.

Pseudo Christianity: These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. (Matthew 15:8) They claim to know God, but they deny him by what they do. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit to do anything good. (Titus 1:16)

As church membership declines, the number of Americans who give to religious causes has decreased. Between 2000 and 2004, 46% of households gave to religious causes, but that percentage fell to 29% in 2018, according to the Lilly School study. About three in 10 U.S. adults are religiously unaffiliated, also known as religious “nones” – people who self-describe as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular” when asked about their religious identity, according to the Pew Research Center.

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)

The United Nations recruited 110,000 “digital first responders” during the pandemic to battle “misinformation” on social media platforms and internet forums, according to the global body’s communications director. The U.N.’s Melissa Fleming made the disclosure in an October 2020 episode of a World Economic Forum podcast called “Seeking a Cure for the Infodemic.” But Fleming’s remarks resurfaced Thursday on Twitter. “So far, we’ve recruited 110,000 information volunteers, and we equip these information volunteers with the kind of knowledge about how misinformation spreads and ask them to serve as kind of ‘digital first-responders’ in those spaces where misinformation travels,” she said.

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)

The Aug. 8 search of former President Donald Trump’s home and the unprecedented criminal investigation into his possession of White House documents all began with David Ferriero, the now-retired national archivist who alerted the Justice Department after finding classified information in boxes he retrieved from Mar-a-Lago. Critics say Mr. Ferriero is a liberal partisan who changed the rules to help excuse Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she was under scrutiny for mishandling classified documents on her private, unsecured email server.

  • Judge Bruce Reinhart on Monday admitted the FBI’s raid on former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home was “unprecedented” and formally rejected the Justice Department’s argument to keep the affidavit leading to the search under seal, citing the “intense public and historical interest.” Reinhart said he rejects “the Government’s argument that the present record justifies keeping the entire Affidavit under seal.”
  • Following the FBI raid of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, a 46-year-old Pennsylvania man allegedly posted violent threats against the bureau and has now been arrested. Adam Bies is accused of threatening to kill FBI agents, whom he compared to Nazi and KGB officers, in posts he made on far-right social media app Gab. Last week, authorities shot and killed an armed man who attacked the FBI Field Office in Cincinnati. An account believed to belong to the shooter, Ricky Shiffer, had posted on the social media site Truth Social that he was ready to join in a civil war if it broke out. On the day of the Mar-a-Lago search, he wrote, “People, this is it. … This is your call to arms from me.”

As soon as next week, Florida pension fund managers could be barred from considering the social impact of their financial decisions as Gov. Ron DeSantis opens a new front in his anti-“woke” crusade, this time focused on Wall Street and corporate CEOs. In new draft rules posted Monday on the website of the agency that oversees Florida’s pension fund, state investment managers can weigh only the risk or return of an investment when directing the state’s $200 billion in assets. The directive is DeSantis’ initial salvo against what he has called “ideological corporate power,” and it follows efforts by other GOP state leaders that are targeting companies that venture into the political arena.

Dr. Anthony Fauci announced Monday that he will step down from his post as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and as the President Biden’s chief medical adviser in December to “pursue the next chapter” of his career, stressing that he is “not retiring.”

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

Moms for Liberty’s national profile is rising fast since the group launched 18 months ago. It now boasts more than 200 chapters with 100,000 members in 40 states. Born of frustrations over mask and vaccine mandates, the group has tapped concerns about “parental rights” and “indoctrination” of kids to gain influence while inspiring armies of moms nationwide to take up its crusade. “It’s about putting parents back in the driver’s seat of public education,” said Descovich, a former Brevard County school board member. “What we saw was parents being ignored and their concerns not being taken seriously. We thought, let’s start something to help parents organize and use the tools we’ve learned from serving on school boards.”

  • While Moms for Liberty has promoted itself as nonpartisan, its inaugural “Joyful Warriors Summit,” held last month in Tampa featured prominent Republican speakers including DeSantis, Florida Sen. Rick Scott, former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and former U.S. Housing Secretary Ben Carson.

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

Pro-life leader Lila Rose is slamming TikTok for banning advertisements from her pro-life organization Live Action while continuing to permit ads from groups that support legalized abortion, including Planned Parenthood. Rose’s personal TikTok account – which she uses to defend the unborn – also has been banned. Live Action called it “yet another attempt to silence pro-life speech,” with “Big Tech” siding with the “abortion industry.” The organization said it is the only pro-life group with a large following on the platform. Its account has more than 500,000 followers and 17 million likes.

On Wednesday, the Facebook and Instagram accounts of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Children’s Health Defense Fund (CHD) were shut down, the Gateway Pundit reported. CHD has filed a lawsuit against the parent company Meta that charges Facebook has colluded with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to censor COVID “misinformation.” With nearly a half-million followers for the two pages combined, Kennedy’s organization has been a leading critic of the experimental COVID-19 vaccines. CHD noted that the deplatforming came after the CDC “quietly walked back many of their previous COVID-19 policies that CHD has criticized since the beginning of the pandemic.”

A Texas school district is pulling all 42 books from library shelves and classrooms that were challenged by parents, lawmakers and other community members in the last year — including the Bible. The day before students started back at the Keller Independent School District, which serves students in the Fort Worth suburbs, Jennifer Price, the executive director of curriculum and instruction, told principals and librarians to remove 41 books while they undergo a review. Some of the books included, in addition to the Bible, are a graphic novel adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary, “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison and “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” by Maia Kobabe, the Tribune reported. Kobabe’s book tops the American Library Association’s list for most banned books in 2021.

The former chaplain of Austin’s fire department says the liberal city dismissed him from his position over a blog that said it is unfair for men to compete against women in sports events – basing its views in the Bible. Now, he’s suing the department.

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)

An 80-year-old woman in Port Townsend, Washington, has been permanently banned from the local YMCA for objecting to a man in a woman’s swimsuit in the ladies shower and changing rooms. “This is an outrage,” said Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. “An 80-year-old woman who has used the pool for decades gets banned from the facility while the male employee who calls himself Clementine is allowed to be in the women’s locker room with little girls.”

Two Jewish students at the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz say they were booted from a support group for sexual assault victims and harassed by members of the group due to their Jewish identity, according to a complaint filed with the Education Department. One of the victims, student Cassandra Blotner, says members of the support group threatened to spit on her in public for proudly being Jewish, while others called her a “dumb bitch” who supports “mass genocide” due to her support for Israel. The complaint alleges the university was “fully aware of the situation,” yet did nothing to protect the students from the anti-Semitic hate campaign.

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

Following the Supreme Court’s decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, pro-life groups are focused on creating laws that grant fetuses the same legal rights and protections as any person. “So-called fetal personhood laws would make abortion murder, ruling out all or most of the exceptions for abortion allowed in states that already ban it,” The New York Times reported Sunday. Pro-life groups hope that going that route will establish a federal ban on abortion through legislation or another Supreme Court decision.

Idaho state laws banning abortion have begun to take effect. The heartbeat law began to be enforced on August 19, 2022, and the trigger law banning abortion in nearly every case, will take effect August 25, 2022, barring interference by the federal government. The Idaho Supreme Court released its opinion Friday, denying a request from Planned Parenthood to block the state laws from taking effect as multiple lawsuits move forward.

North Carolina can enforce its 20-week abortion ban, a federal judge ruled last Wednesday. An injunction against the law had been in place since 2019, but Judge William Osteen, a federal district court judge, removed it due to the Dobbs v. Jackson June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court which returned the issue of abortion to the states. Osteen is the same judge who had placed the original injunction on the law’s enforcement.

A Michigan judge has blocked county prosecutors from enforcing a pre-Roe abortion ban that would have allowed providers to be charged with a felony.

Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, is expanding travel and abortion coverage for its US employees effective immediately. The company’s healthcare plans will now cover abortion under certain circumstances: when there is a health risk to the mother, rape or incest, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or lack of fetal viability, according to an internal memo sent Friday by Donna Morris, Walmart’s Chief People Officer.

Vandals painted pro-abortion messages early Thursday at a pro-life pregnancy center in Massachusetts. The vandals splattered red paint across the white exterior of Bethlehem House Inc. Pregnancy Care Center in Easthampton, 99 miles west of Boston.

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)

Covid-19:

New daily Covid-19 cases in the U.S. are down 19% over the past two weeks. Hospitalizations are down 7% and deaths are also down 7%. But about half of U.S. states are still seeing increasing or flat hospitalization numbers, meaning they may not yet have turned the corner. Case numbers are definitely lower because of home testing, but how much lower is completely unknown.

Leaders at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged that the agency fell short in its response to the coronavirus pandemic after an internal review called for its employees to be more nimble and better trained. “For 75 years, CDC and public health have been preparing for COVID-19, and in our big moment, our performance did not reliably meet expectations,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky in a statement. Walensky vowed to revamp the agency, with an emphasis on accountability, releasing research faster and issuing easier-to-understand guidance to the public.

Two drugs touted as potential COVID-19 treatments, ivermectin and fluvoxamine, don’t do a thing to improve patients’ oxygen levels and keep them out of the hospital or the morgue, a new clinical trial has shown. Neither of the two repurposed drugs proved effective against COVID among overweight or obese patients who received them within seven days of symptom onset, according to results published Aug. 18 in the New England Journal of Medicine. A third drug, metformin, did not meet the primary objective of improving oxygen levels, but it did slightly lower the odds that a patient would develop severe COVID, said lead researcher Dr. Carolyn Bramante, an assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Monkeypox:

A CDC analysis shows that 94% of monkeypox cases were among men who had recent sexual or close intimate contact with another man. Further, 54% of cases were among Black Americans and Latinos. As the monkeypox outbreak continues to spread worldwide, cases across the U.S. are climbing. The U.S. had reported 14,115 confirmed monkeypox/orthopoxvirus cases as of Friday, per the CDC. Highly populated states are leading the numbers, with 2,744 confirmed cases in New York and 2,668 confirmed cases in California. Confirmed cases of monkeypox have reached more than 41,300 worldwide, according to Friday numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The outbreak, first spotted in Europe in late April, has reached 94 countries – the vast majority in nations that hadn’t previously had significant caseloads of the rare, viral infection.

Polio:

Polio, a deadly disease that used to paralyze tens of thousands of children every year, is spreading in London, New York and Jerusalem for the first time in decades, spurring catch-up vaccination campaigns. Affecting mainly children under five, it is often asymptomatic but can also cause symptoms including fever and vomiting. Around one in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis, and among those patients, up to 10% die. There is no cure, but since a vaccine was found in the 1950s, polio is entirely preventable. Afghanistan and Pakistan are now the only countries where the highly infectious disease, spread mainly through contact with fecal matter, remains endemic. But this year, imported cases were also found in Malawi and Mozambique, the first in those countries since the 1990s.

  • There are two main forms of poliovirus. Alongside the wild-type outlined above, there are also rare cases of what is known as vaccine-derived polio. It is this second form detected in wastewater in the British capital, London, and in New York in the United States, with one case of paralysis reported in New York state. While vaccine-derived polio is almost unheard of in the above locations, it is a known – albeit rare – threat in other countries, causing outbreaks every year, including 415 cases in Nigeria in 2021.
  • Health experts don’t think there will be a countrywide outbreak akin to COVID-19 or monkeypox, as over 90% of the country’s young children are vaccinated against polio. However, pockets of unvaccinated people across the country may be at risk.

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)

Pfizer and German partner BioNTech have submitted their new COVID-19 booster – that targets the omicron subvariant BA.5 – to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization, the companies announced Monday.

Pfizer knew that people were dying in their study but hid this from the public, reports Liberty Counsel. “A recent release of documents details that people died after the shots during a study dating back to 2020. But Pfizer classified each one as “withdrawn” … not dead. Blood clotting and heart issues are one of the leading causes of death associated with these shots. This was known and covered up by Pfizer back in 2020! And Pfizer even went to court in an attempt to cover up these facts for 75 years. Thankfully, the court ordered the documents released. More than 35,000 people are dead, and more than 1.3 million people have been injured from the shots. And these startling numbers represent a fraction of the actual deaths and injuries.”

An analysis of internal Pfizer documents found 44% of the pregnant women who participated in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trials suffered miscarriages. The documents obtained by court order after the FDA tried to keep them hidden, showed that of the 50 pregnant women who took part, 22 lost their babies.

As of 8/22/22, President Biden’s Department of Defense has received at least 3,733 Marine Corps religious accommodation requests from the abortion-linked, mandated COVID mRNA shots. Yet the Marine Corps granted only 11 accommodations, and only to Marines who were already scheduled for retirement and prompt separation.

Dr. Robert Malone, a leading critic of the COVID-19 vaccines and an inventor of the mRNA technology platform on which they are based, filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post on Friday for accusing him of spreading “dangerous lies” and “leading his followers on a journey to illness, suffering and possible death.” After receiving a cease-and-desist letter from his lawyer, Malone said, the Post “put out another attack article in which they repeated the same defamatory statements.” “So that appears to show malice,” he said. Post staff writer Timothy Bella labeled as “misinformation” Malone’s statement that the vaccines “are not working,” citing studies in the CDC’s sponsored journal as a counterpoint. WND, seeking comment from Bella, received an automatic reply from his email account explaining he is on parental leave until mid-December.

  • Now that the CDC has admitted its mistakes, Malone has a good chance of winning this lawsuit, since the vaccines did not perform as well as they were heavily advertised to work.

Last Monday, British drug regulators became the first to authorize a combination, or “bivalent,” COVID-19 vaccine—one that combats both the initial coronavirus strain and the omicron BA.1 variant. The vaccine, which is an update to the Moderna shot, will be offered to individuals over the age of 50 in the fall. Side effects to the updated vaccine have been deemed “mild and self-resolving,” according to the British drug regulators.

Monkeypox:

Demand for the monkeypox vaccine has been rising as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say more than 11,000 people in the U.S. have been infected by the virus this year. But the New York Times says vaccine distribution has been terribly botched. “The U.S. seemed ready for the monkeypox outbreak. It had vaccines and treatments that are effective, and experts had studied the virus for decades. Yet the U.S. response has fallen short. The country cannot use millions of vaccine doses it owns because they were not bottled for distribution. The available vaccines and medications remain out of reach for a vast majority of Americans — a result of poor communication by federal officials and of other bureaucratic barriers. Monkeypox is not very deadly, so this is not a Covid-level catastrophe. But the flawed response suggests that, nearly three years after Covid first appeared, the U.S. is still unprepared for the next deadly pandemic.”

  • The only people who need the vaccine are male homosexuals and bisexuals.

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)

Shocking new video shows a senior citizen fatally beaten in broad daylight in Seattle by a suspect who had been released from jail just days before for allegedly threatening to kill a police officer. Aaron Justin Fulk, 48, remains held at King County Jail on $2.5 million bond as of Monday. Fulk, who has prior assault convictions in Idaho, was released from Pierce County Jail – located just about an hour’s drive south of Seattle – just eight days before the deadly unprovoked attack. 

Five people were hurt when nearly 100 shots were fired near a playground in Philadelphia Tuesday night. Five people between the ages of 17 and 25 suffered gunshot wounds. Three people are in custody and multiple weapons were located on the scene, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw tweeted. The shooting reportedly started when two shooters in a white SUV fired multiple rounds and sped off from the scene.

A 6-year-old girl was injured after being shot in Chicago’s West Englewood neighborhood on Saturday. She is at least the eighth child younger than 16 to be shot in the city last week. Just days before, four teenagers were shot while standing on the front porch of a house in Chicago.

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

An 88-year-old South Carolina woman was killed by an alligator Monday in the country’s fourth confirmed fatal gator attack this year. The woman was found after an alligator was spotted “guarding what was believed to be a person” near the edge of a pond in a gated 55-and-over community in Hilton Head.

Last year in the U.S., rip currents – invisible to the untrained eye – claimed a record number of lives (but the National Weather Service has only tracked it since 2010). At least 98 people died, 24 more than in 2020. Together with waves and high surf, surf-zone fatalities last year were the third-leading cause of weather-related deaths, behind heat and flooding. 

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)

Firearms became the leading cause of death among children and teenagers in the United States in 2020, according to new research using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers from the University of Michigan noted that an alarming number of the deaths, 10,186 (22.5%), were of people ages 1 to 19. For more than 60 years, motor vehicle accidents had been the leading cause of deaths of young people, but since 2001, the number of those deaths has dramatically decreased. There were about 3,900 deaths in 2020. Meanwhile, firearm-related deaths have been on the rise since 2013; there was a 29.5% increase from 2019 to 2020.

A report was published by Everytown For Gun Safety, a nonpartisan group advocating against gun violence, shows that during the last school year, between Aug. 1, 2021 and May 31, 2022, there were 193 incidents of gunfire in schools, more than doubling the total of the previous year of only 62.The recent low was in 2014-15 with just 30 incidents. The authors of the report found that most shootings are perpetrated by a student or former student at a school. Because of this, most shootings can be prevented just by keeping guns out of the hands of students, the authors said – easier said than done.

Over the past decade, USA TODAY, along with Northeastern University and The Associated Press, has been tracking all mass killings in the United States. It includes every mass killing since 2006 from all weapons in which four or more people, excluding the offender, were killed within a 24-hour time frame. The number of mass killings in 2022 is about average compared with previous years despite recent shootings that captured public attention. The number of victims is somewhat higher than average but still below previous highs.

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)

A court has ordered two disgraced judges – convicted and jailed for taking kickbacks for sending kids to a certain private jail – to pay some $200 million to their victims. CBS said the order for compensation comes from U.S. District Judge Christopher Conner and went against Mark Ciavarella and Mark Conahan. In what became known as a “kids-for-cash” scandal, they “shut down a county-run juvenile detention center and accepted $2.8 million in illegal payments from the building and co-owner of two for-profit lockups,” the network reported. Conner awarded $106 million in compensatory damages and $100 million in punitive damages to nearly 300 plaintiffs from the ex-judges.

One of the ISIS “Beatles,” so described because the Muslim terrorists spoke with British accents, has been sentenced to multiple life terms in prison for his role in the deaths of several Americans. The Department of Justice said in a statement that El Shafee Elsheikh was sentenced after being convicted on charges relating to the deaths of James Foley, Kayla Mueller, Steven Sotloff and Peter Kassig as well as several British and Japanese citizens. Federal authorities identified Elsheikh as “the highest-ranking fighter for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham,” to have faced a jury trial in the United States.

Military: Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me. (Psalm 144:1-2)

The U.S. government left behind more than $7 billion in military equipment when it pulled out of Afghanistan during a chaotic and deadly withdrawal last year, an inspector general confirmed Tuesday. A Defense Department inspector general report explained that the majority of the $7 billion left behind in equipment in the country consisted of tactical ground vehicles such as Humvees and mine-resistant MRAPS. In addition to the ground vehicles, the U.S. military lost $923.3 million worth of military aircraft and $294.6 million in aircraft munitions.

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

As part of the “defund the police” movement, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced on 7/31/20 that the city would take $120 million from law enforcement budgets to fund initiatives for Black Americans in the Golden City. San Francisco was among cities across the country that saw some crimes increase in 2020 compared to 2019. Homicides increased by 20% that year compared to 2019, and by 17% in 2021 compared to 2020. While crimes such as rape and robbery decreased in 2020, burglaries increased by 47% in 2020 when compared to the three previous years, data compiled by SFGate shows. Breed then reversed course on defunding and announced an emergency request to the city Board of Supervisors for more money to bolster the police department and address crime.  The San Francisco police union president said Breed’s announcement in December was evidence that the defund the police movement had been a “mistake.” 

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.

Chicago carjackings are on pace to rise again in 2022 after already dramatic increases in 2020 and 2021, trending towards a number that would be six times higher than just eight years ago. Chicago is on pace for 1,960 carjackings in 2022, according to data compiled by Wirepoints, blowing through the 1,848 record set just last year. The number would represent an over sixfold increase from 2014, when the city recorded 303 carjackings. Fifty-seven percent of the carjackings are perpetrated by juveniles.

Chicago police have arrested the fewest number of suspects in at least 20 years amid a crime wave that has continued raging in the city since 2020 due to lack of support and funding from Mayor Lightfoot and her administration. Homicides skyrocketed in the city in 2020, following a drop in violence for the three previous years. The Windy City recorded nearly 770 homicides in 2020, up 50% compared to 2019. Last year, the city broke a 25-year record when it surpassed 800 homicides. There were 2,151 shootings in the city in 2019, which increased to over 3,200 in 2020 and 3,561 shooting incidents in 2021. 

  • The decline in arrests comes after sweeping changes were made to how the Chicago P.D. patrols the streets, including restricting their vehicle pursuit policy, ending foot pursuits if a suspect runs from an officer or if someone commits a minor offense.

Cyber Security: He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. (Psalm 40:2)

Crypto hackers have already stolen $1.9 billion worth of cryptocurrency during the first seven months of 2022, a 37% increase from the same time period last year, whereas July 2021 saw just under $1.2 billion stolen. The first week of August had several hacks already, like a $190 million hack of Nomad, a cross-chain bridge, and a hack of $5 million from several Solana wallets. So far this year, much of the value stolen has been linked to hackers from North Korea-affiliated groups, which have stolen around $1 billion of crypto from DeFi.

  • The push toward digital currency and cryptocurrency is not safe.

Apple disclosed serious security vulnerabilities for iPhones, iPads and Macs that could potentially allow attackers to take complete control of these devices, the AP reports. Apple released two security reports about the issue on Wednesday, although they didn’t receive wide attention outside of tech publications.

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)

A Maryland couple has sued a local real estate appraiser and an online mortgage loan provider, alleging that the housing appraisal they received was unfairly low due to their race, in violation of the Fair Housing Act, after a second “whitewashed” appraisal returned a result $278,000 higher. Nathan Connolly and Shani Mott are Black professors at Johns Hopkins University. Connolly and Mott later re-applied with another lender, and “whitewashed” their home, according to the lawsuit. This included removing photos of their Black family from the home, and having a White colleague present the property to the appraiser. The suit claims this valuation came back at $750,000, more than a quarter of a million dollars higher than 20/20 Valuations’ appraisal of $472,000.

Nurses of color say they are looking forward to action following an official apology from the nation’s largest nursing association for its history of racist practices that disenfranchised nurses of color. In a recent statement, the American Nurses Association apologized to nurses of color, saying in the coming months it will launch a multiphase project of “accountability, healing, and reconciliation.” The “racial reckoning” statement is a “starting point for an overdue journey toward the future. “ANA intends to take full accountability for its actions,” the association wrote, promising “historic action.”

A new teachers’ contract has been adopted in Minneapolis that builds “racism” into the process, allowing the district to fire, during cutbacks, white teachers with more seniority and retain minorities with lower seniority. Alpha News confirmed the contract specifies that minority teachers “may be exempted from district-wide layoff(s) outside seniority order.” The Minneapolis teachers union defended the controversial policy regarding race-based layoffs after fierce backlash, arguing that the criticism is being ginned up by the “right wing.”

Health Care:  Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored? (Jeremiah 8:22)

After almost three years of contending with vaccine hesitancy, politics and a global pandemic, the nation’s public health workers are frayed and leaving their posts. More than 1 in 4 health department leaders quit their jobs during the pandemic, some after harassment and death threats. The nation’s vaccinators say they are struggling. “Overwhelmed is an understatement,” said Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers. Hannan said her members have not received any funding to carry out a vaccination campaign against monkeypox.

As a growing number of companies announce layoffs amid corporate concerns about a potential recession, the conundrum of American workers being largely dependent on their jobs for health benefits is once again in the spotlight. Half of the U.S. population had workplace-based coverage in 2020, the most recent year available, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In the first quarter of this year, just 8% of Americans did not have health insurance, a record low, according to an analysis by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Even so, some are calling for Medicare to be made available to everyone. Our mash-up of health care programs and payers makes the U.S. relatively unique among high-income western nations, many of which mandate coverage for all of their citizens. 

  • The Inflation Reduction Act, passed by the House last Friday and signed into law Tuesday by President Biden includes provisions that will enable Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and extend Affordable Care Act subsidies another three years.

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 study, published in The Lancet on Thursday, examined cancer cases from 2019 and found that 44% of cancer deaths were caused by preventable risk factors. The three leading risk factors were smoking, drinking large amounts of alcohol and having a high Body Mass Index (i.e. overweight).

The FDA will now allow over-the-counter hearing aids for millions of Americans, a long-sought after goal of consumers. President Biden in a statement Tuesday said that as early as mid-October, Americans could purchase more affordable hearing aids at pharmacies and stores. Consumers would not need a prescription.

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)

The Center Square reported that 96% of school districts (534 out of 554) in Illinois have opted out of the state’s proposed standards for sex education in public schools included in a bill authored, passed, and signed into law by Democrats, despite the fact that Illinois is considered one of the “big three” most liberal states in the nation.

Marriage/Family:  “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)

A research brief from the Institute for Family Studies suggests that students who live with their married biological parents perform better in school. The brief, which utilized data from the 1996 and 2019 National Household Education Surveys, were completed by parents whose children were enrolled in elementary and secondary schools nationwide. The research showed that, “Students from non-intact families continue to have nearly triple the risk of suspension and double the risk of grade repetition as students from intact, biological families.”

Homosexuality:  For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. (Romans 1:26-27)

The governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, has joined the push to censor Americans’ free speech, unleashing an executive order banning “conversion therapy. “While that term has been used by opponents derogatorily, in actuality it is talk therapy delivered by professionals to those who have unwanted same-sex attractions. The Washington Examiner said the Democrat has directed state agencies to discourage such therapy for anyone. He also ordered that state funds are not to be used for such therapy.

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.

The American College of Pediatrics has been accused of blocking debate on hormone drugs and puberty blockers as some member doctors have pushed back against a drug-first approach for children with gender dysphoria. In a document titled “In Support of a Rigorous Systematic Review of Evidence and Policy 4 Update for Management of Pediatric Gender Dysphoria” (Resolution 27), multiple AAP members voiced concerns about using hormones and surgeries as the first line of treatment for gender dysphoria instead of counseling or therapy, citing evidence for psychotherapy as a treatment option, including a systemic review conducted by the Finnish Health Authority.

A Democrat-appointed federal judge opened the door to allowing more males to be housed in women’s prisons Tuesday by ruling that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers people with gender dysphoria. “The relevant question then becomes, ‘Is access to opposite-sex spaces a reasonable accommodation for GD?’ There are many reasons to argue against that, because usually an accommodation can’t harm or violate the rights of others and still be considered reasonable,” said Candice Jackson, attorney and former assistant U.S. secretary of education for civil rights. “The more justifiable accommodation for GD would be private/separate accommodation.”

Transgender girls in Utah will be given the opportunity to participate in girls’ sports as the school year begins, after a judge on Friday reversed a ban pending legal challenges from parents. Instead of an outright ban, transgender girls will now be sent before a commission that will determine on a case-by-case basis if they can participate. Utah’s Republican lawmakers created the commission in a law passed earlier this year as a fallback plan to be implemented in case of an injunction against the law. Under the law, the panel will be allowed to ask for and assess the child’s height and weight in making decisions about whether a transgender girl would have an unfair advantage.

An elite all-girls school in Nashville has paused implementation of a policy allowing applications from anyone who identifies as female after backlash from the community. Last week, in an email to parents, Harpeth Hall School announced a new “Gender Diversity Philosophy,” explaining a new admissions policy that would allow “any student who identifies as a girl” to apply to the school. “Based on the response from our school and community, the Harpeth Hall Board of Trustees is choosing to pause the adoption of the philosophy in order to engage a wider audience in continued discussion,” the school announced Friday.

Election Integrity: He who walks with integrity walks securely, But he who perverts his ways will become knownThe integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them. (Proverbs 10:9,11:3)

Floridians will cast their primary ballots Tuesday under a new voting law. Florida is part of a group of states that have adopted new election restrictions fueled by claims of election fraud in the 2020 election, which saw unprecedented levels of voting by mail because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Voting rights advocates say the new rules make it harder to request and turn in absentee ballots and register voters as well as making it easier to challenge votes once cast. But supporters say the new rules are needed to combat voter fraud. The primary will not only serve as a preview of presidential elections in 2024, but it will also test ideas about who should be able to vote, and how easily, in what has become one of the most electorally important states in the country.

Some 5,000 Texans who used a P.O. box as a voter registration address will likely be able to cast a ballot in the state’s midterm elections after a federal judge blocked a 2021 state election law. Senate Bill 1111 attempted to tighten residency guidelines for Texas voters, but was struck down this month by U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel, an appointee under former president George W. Bush. Yeakel found in a summary judgement that the state used vague language in the election law and parts of it failed constitutional scrutiny. The bill required people registering to vote with a P.O. box to show proof of address such as a driver’s license or utility bill.

The U.S. Supreme Court has tentatively blocked a Georgia election integrity law on the grounds that it is purportedly ‘racially discriminatory.’ The SCOTUS justices’ order, however, left open the possibility that a lower court could restore it ahead of the November vote. The justices’ unsigned order came in response to an emergency request filed earlier this week by a group of Black voters in Georgia. “The request came as part of their challenge to the state’s ‘at-large’ method for selecting members to Georgia’s Public Service Commission, which oversees the price of electricity and other utilities. Under this approach, candidates for the Public Service Commission must reside in one of the five districts they are running to represent, yet voters from across Georgia may cast ballots for all five seats, a method that can make it more difficult for racial minorities to elect candidates of their choosing,” the Hill reported.

Refugees: Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. (Hebrews 13:2)

In the chaos of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the evacuation flights that took people to safety in what administration officials described as “the largest airlift in history” were a ray of hope for many. Translators, Afghan veterans, humanitarian workers, journalists, women’s rights activists and others who were allied with US military efforts in Afghanistan were among those onboard. But a year later, advocates say some Afghans who were brought to the United States are still struggling to find their footing. Housing is a major area of concern, as rents in the US have skyrocketed and a growing number of Afghans can’t find affordable places to live or find themselves living in substandard conditions.

  • Joseph Azam, who chairs the board of the Afghan-American Foundation, calls it a crisis. “People were brought here with the understanding that they’d be able to have a home here and live a life…and that’s not happened. Instead, they’ve been added to this juggernaut of trying to get affordable housing in the US, which is a big problem,” he says. “Really, they are being set up to fail.”

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)

Nearly 5 million illegal immigrants have crossed U.S. borders in the 18 months since President Joe Biden took office, according to a new report. A total of 4.9 million illegal aliens, including some 900,000 “gotaways” who evaded apprehension and have since disappeared into American communities, have entered the country by the end of July, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) said. “Roughly the equivalent of the entire population of Ireland has illegally entered the United States in the 18 months President Biden has been in office, with many being released into American communities,” FAIR President Dan Stein said.

A new report released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows that Border Patrol agents apprehended ten people on a U.S. terror watch list in the month of July. The report, detailing CBP enforcement statistics for Fiscal Year 2022, highlighted a number of details of CBP’s work, including more than 1.8 million total Border Patrol encounters. Those encounters included the apprehension of a total of 66 people who are on the Terrorist Screening Dataset. The 66 terror-list people caught at the border in Fiscal Year 2022 is more than twice the numbers from the previous five years combined. The sharp rise in apprehensions of terror suspects coincides with a significant rise in overall border encounters. Fiscal Year 2022 has already seen 1,822,160 encounters through July, with two months left in the year. This is more than 2021’s total of 1,662,167, which itself was more than four times 2020’s 405,036.

  • The real issue is how many terror-list immigrants crossed the border without being apprehended.

Supply Chain: He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. (2Corinthians 9:10)

A strike by dockworkers at the U.K.’s most important port is threatening to deal a blow to supply chains already reeling from pandemic disruptions. About 2,000 employees at the port, the country’s largest for containerized imports and exports, are set to strike for eight days, raising fears that the disruption could deal yet another large blow to an economy facing inflation woes and a possible recession. The port handles about a third of the country’s total container volume and is the most important hub for the country’s trade with Asia, and had made progress towards reversing dwell time issues that were brought on by the pandemic over the last two years.

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)

A permanent injunction has been issued by a judge in Louisiana against President Biden’s moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on federal land in 13 states. The Hill reported Judge Terry Doughty of the District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, a Donald Trump appointee, ordered the permanent injunction in a Thursday ruling. Thirteen states had sued over the moratorium issued in January 2021. His order does not apply to any states not involved in the lawsuit. Doughty ruled the moratorium is in violation of the Mineral Leasing Act and Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). “Both statutes require government defendants’ agencies to sell oil and gas leases,” he said in the order.

President Biden reinstated the largest oil and gas lease sale in U.S. history, essentially steamrolling the need for environmental review, by signing the Inflation Reduction Act into law on Tuesday. While the Inflation Reduction Act includes several green energy provisions opposed by the fossil fuel industry, the bill also orders the Department of the Interior (DOI) to take a series of steps to boost fossil fuel production on federal lands and waters. The legislation specifically requires the DOI to reinstate Lease Sale 257, a massive offshore oil and gas sale spanning 80.8 million acres across the Gulf of Mexico, within 30 days of enactment.

  • While liberals and the media touting the climate measures in the Inflation Reduction Act that reduce dependence on fossil fuels, tucked away deep inside is a policy to boost fossil fuel production, a contradiction in acknowledgment that reducing inflation requires keeping energy costs under control during the transition.

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)

Charities depend on donors’ generosity to fulfill their missions. But in the past years, the number of Americans who donate to charity has dropped. For the first time in nearly two decades, only half of U.S. households donated to charity in 2018, according to a 2021 study by Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Still, total charitable donations are reaching record highs, but the giving is being done by a smaller percentage of the population. Young Americans are less likely to give than older generations in part because the Great Recession made it hard for them to establish a habit of donating.

Work: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)

In May of 2020, over 60% of U.S workers did so remotely. Now, that has shrunk to 30%, still much higher than before the pandemic, and continuing to have major impacts in real estate and demographics, where many workers are abandoning the urban centers for a better lifestyle now that they don’t have to commute to work.

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

A recent survey from the National Federation of Independent Business found that about half of small-business owners said in July they still can’t fill open jobs, a near-record high in the survey’s roughly five-decade history. “Hiring has never been harder for small-business owners,” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist for the NFIB. Some small businesses have closed due to the inability to hire workers.

Companies across the country are planning to scale back their headcounts after a year of frenzied hiring. That’s according to a new survey published on Thursday by consultant PwC, which last month polled more than 700 U.S. executives and board members from various industries. About half of respondents said they are preparing to reduce headcount — or already have — while 52% have implemented hiring freezes. On top of that, roughly 46% of companies are either dropping or reducing signing bonuses, which became commonplace over the past year as businesses tried to lure in new workers amid an increasingly tight labor market. Another 44% are rescinding offers entirely, the survey showed.

Ford is cutting 3,000 white collar jobs as it prepares to shift from traditional internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. Two thousand of the jobs are salaried positions and another 1,000 are contractors. Ford aims to generate half of its global sales from fully electric vehicles by 2030.

Target reported profit plunged 90% in the second quarter, falling far short of expectations, as inflation-weary customers pulled back on spending on nonessential items. Retailers, including Target, have been forced to cut prices on general merchandise, such as clothing, electronics and home goods, because of excess inventory of goods. Consumers had to shift more of their spending to higher priced food and gasoline.

Restaurants in deep-blue (liberal) cities that faced both excessive COVID-19 restrictions plus violent protests in 2020 are starved for diners, according to Open Table. In contrast, establishments in red (conservative) states of Florida, Texas and Arizona are busier than ever and enjoying a massive surge in restaurant business this year. The number of daily diners in the city of Minneapolis was down an average of 54.3% in July. The state of Florida, meanwhile, has four of the top six surging cities in America, with the average number of people dining out in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Naples and Tampa up nearly 30% from July 2019 to July 2022.

More Republican-led states are refusing to do business with financial institutions that embrace a “woke” agenda on issues such as climate change, guns and other social issues. It is part of a growing pushback among conservative elected officials against banks and investment managers that base business decisions and investment choices not on maximizing profits but on progressive views about environmental, social and governance issues or what’s known as ESG principles. ESG stretches far beyond the environment to include fraught social issues like racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement, gun control and LGBTQ issues. It also involves corporate governance issues

  • West Virginia was the first state to give some of the world’s biggest banks the boot, barring five major Wall Street firms — Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and BlackRock, one of the globe’s largest asset managers — from doing business with the state. Citing the firms’ anti-coal policies or plans to divest from fossil fuels, the state will pull out tens of millions of dollars.

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)

Men have recouped all 10.1 million of their lost jobs during the pandemic and topped their February 2020 level by 132,000 in July, Labor Department figures show. Yet women, who lost 11.9 million positions during the crisis, are still 100,000 short of their pre-COVID mark. That’s not a huge gap. But a separate survey of households – that determines the 3.5% unemployment rate — shows women even further behind. According to that poll, men are just 24,000 jobs below their pre-pandemic peak while women are 552,000 jobs short. “The industries that got hit hardest in the pandemic tend to employ more women,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.

In July, U.S. retail sales were flat compared to the previous month, the Census Bureau reported Wednesday. That marks a slowdown from June, when retail sales rose by a revised 0.8% over the month. Spending at gas stations fell by 1.8% month over month, reflecting the recent drop in gas prices, while spending at grocery stores rose 0.2% for the month.

Home sales declined for the sixth month in a row in July as higher mortgage rates and prices push prospective buyers out of the market. Meanwhile, sales of existing homes – which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – were down 20.2% from a year ago and down 5.9% from June.

There’s a strong consensus among U.S. homebuilders that we are in a “housing recession.” In August, U.S. homebuilder sentiment is seeing the market for single-family homes dip into negative territory a month after one of the most significant single-month drops in its 37-year history says the latest report from the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo. The index fell 6 points to 49 this month, the eighth straight month of low sentiment.

Mortgage rates ticked lower last week, falling back toward the 5% mark following economic reports that indicated inflation might have finally peaked. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 5.13% in the week ending August 18, down from 5.22% the week before, according to Freddie Mac. Despite the latest drop, rates are still significantly higher than this time last year, when the 30-year was 2.86%.

Since hitting a record of $5.02 a gallon on June 14, the national average price for regular gas is down $1.10, or 22%, to $3.92 as of Friday, 8/19, according to AAA. That average has now fallen for 67 consecutive days. Since the typical US household uses about 90 gallons of gas a month, the $1.10 drop in prices equals a savings of $98.82.

The overall average cost to own and operate a new car in 2022 is $10,728 on an annual basis, or $894 per month, marking a considerable increase from 2021 when owning a new car cost $9,666 annually, or $805.50 per month, according to AAA. That marks a nearly 11 percent increase from last year.

Multiple states will soon be sending out stimulus checks and other financial relief, a decision that some believe will make the 40-year-high inflation even worse, reports the Epoch Times. In California, individuals will get up to $1,050 between October 2022 and January 2023 as inflation relief checks based on their tax filing status and income. In Georgia, taxpayers can get anywhere from $250 to $500 in August, according to a refund law signed into law in March. In Florida, around 59,000 families will receive a one-time payment of $450. Maine will hand out $850 per single tax filer and $1,700 per couple. In Massachusetts, the local government plans to refund 7 percent of the 2021 taxes paid by citizens. Virginia residents can claim anywhere between $250 and $500 as tax rebates. Oregon has approved $600 in one-time assistance checks to low-income residents. In South Carolina, taxpayers can get up to $800 in income tax rebates. In Delaware, each adult was scheduled to receive $300 as a one-time payment under the Delaware Relief Rebate Program. New Mexico has announced $500 to married couples, while single filers and married people filing separately can receive up to $250.

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

Suspected Palestinian terrorists fired on a crowded Israeli bus in Judea and Samaria on Saturday night, according to the IDF, but there were no casualties. Shortly beforehand, three Arab women in possession of a submachine gun and a suicide note were arrested at a checkpoint.

The FIFA World Cup, which is set to take place in Qatar from Nov. 21 through Dec. 18, has a website that offers the public help in purchasing hospitality packages, but Israelis looking for their country were originally given the sole option of “Palestinian Territories, Occupied” rather than “Israel.” After multiple news reports drew attention to the omission, the option of “Palestinian Territories” was removed and replaced with “Palestine.” Israel is still not listed on the website.

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)

Two rockets were fired at a U.S. base in northeastern Syria that was the site of an attack from Iranian-backed forces earlier this year. “Multiple rounds of indirect fire landed in the vicinity of Green Village in northeastern Syria shortly after 9 p.m. Aug. 15, 2022, in the latest attempted attack on Coalition forces and our partners,” an Operation Inherent Resolve spokesperson said. The attack caused no injuries or damage to the base and surrounding areas, but noted that it did endanger the local civil population and infrastructure. Some rockets malfunctioned, with forces finding two rockets in four rocket tubes about three miles from the base.

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)

Russia/Ukraine:

The New York Times reports that the most recent phase of Russian’s invasion of Ukraine has gone better for Ukraine than many observers expected after Russia’s progress earlier this year. “The Ukrainians are doing well,” Helene Cooper, a Washington correspondent said. “The Russians are measuring progress in feet, not even miles, at this point.” As Anton Troianovski, The Times’s Moscow bureau chief, puts it: “The Russians appeared to have lost some of the momentum they had earlier in the summer. If you look closely, you see the Ukrainians gaining a bit of momentum, even though not that much is changing on the map.”

Massive explosions and fires ripped through Crimea on Tuesday in sabotage by Ukraine, forcing evacuation of 3,000 residents as the Ukraine war appears to be spreading to the peninsula occupied by Russia since 2014. The Russian Defense Ministry blamed “sabotage” for explosions at a military warehouse near Dzhankoya. Power lines, a power plant, a railway track and a number of residential buildings were damaged, the ministry said in a statement obtained by the Russian news outlet Kommersant. No serious injuries were reported. “We are in a state of emergency,” said Sergey Aksenov, the Russian leader of the Crimean administration.

Russia’s ministry of defense has said it is considering shutting down the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (NPP) in southern Ukraine, triggering a warning from Ukraine’s state nuclear agency that doing so would risk disaster. Energoatom, Ukraine’s state-run nuclear power company, said the prospect of shutting down the plant would bring “the scenario of a radiation disaster closer.” On Saturday, both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled support for international inspectors to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant after both nations claimed the other attacked it, striking fears of an impending nuclear disaster. 

Russian authorities said Sunday they had opened a murder investigation after the daughter of influential, ultra-nationalist philosopher Alexander Dugin was killed by a car bomb on the outskirts of Moscow while driving her father’s car. The Russian Investigative Committee said it believed someone planned and ordered the car explosion that killed Darya Dugina, based on evidence already collected from the blast. Dugina’s father is a Russian author and ideologue, credited with being the architect or “spiritual guide” to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s federal security service said Monday that Ukraine’s spy agency is responsible for the attack.

Russian billionaires have seen their superyachts seized around the world since the Ukraine invasion began. Now, for the first time, one is being sold at auction. On Tuesday, the government of Gibraltar will sell the 240-foot Axioma, owned by steel magnate and Vladimir Putin’s crony Dmitry Pumpyansky. The ship was seized after docking in Gibraltar in March, and banking giant JPMorgan Chase just won a court order clearing the way for the sale. Pumpyansky has a $20 million loan with the bank for the ship, but JPMorgan cannot legally accept payments because of sanctions imposed upon him in the wake of the war.

China/Taiwan:

China on Tuesday added sanctions including visa bans to Taiwanese politicians as it applies pressure to the self-governing island and the U.S. after two congressional visits to Taiwan. Chinese Defense Ministry announced last Monday new military exercises around Taiwan as a “deterrent against collusion” between the U.S. and Taiwan, but didn’t say when they would occur. China just finished a round of military drills last week in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. 

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 24-year-old man accused of stabbing author Salman Rushdie had been in direct contact with members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on social media, European and Middle Eastern intelligence officials told VICE World News. Hadi Matar has been charged with attempted murder after Rushdie, 75, was repeatedly stabbed on stage ahead of a speaking event in Chautauqua, New York, on Friday. On Sunday, Rushdie’s son Zafar Rushdie said that his father was in a critical condition and had sustained “life changing” injuries, but had been taken off a ventilator and had been able to speak.

A bombing Thursday at a mosque in the Afghan capital of Kabul during evening prayers killed at least 21 people, including a prominent cleric, and wounded at least 33 others. Eyewitnesses say it was caused by a suicide bomber. The Islamic State group’s local affiliate has stepped up attacks targeting the Taliban and civilians since the Taliban’s takeover last August as U.S. and NATO troops were in the final stages of their withdrawal from the country. Last week, the extremists claimed responsibility for killing a prominent Taliban cleric at his religious center in Kabul.

Somali terrorist group al-Shabab, which is aligned with al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for storming the Hayat Hotel in Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu Friday night. The Islamist insurgents blasted their way into the hotel with two car bombs before opening gunfire. The siege continued into Saturday morning as the militants holed themselves up in the hotel’s uppermost floor. It took Somali forces more than 30 hours to contain the fighters. A total of 21 people were killed and 117 injured, 15 critically. The attack is the first major terror incident in Mogadishu since Somalia’s new leader, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, took over in May.

A U.S. drone strike in Somalia on Sunday killed 13 members of the terrorist group al-Shabab, the military reported. U.S. Africa Command acknowledged the strike, noting that an initial assessment of the situation found that no civilians had been injured or killed. “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists that were actively attacking Somali National Army forces in a remote location near Teedaan, Somalia,” U.S. African Command Public Affairs said.

The last French troops left Mali for neighboring Niger, drawing to a formal close a near-decade-long mission in the sprawling West African nation of 21 million people. Their presence in Mali had begun in 2013 as part of an ambitious Paris-led effort to fight back an Islamist militant threat that was spreading across the vast region between desert and savanna known as the Sahel. But the mission ended incomplete despite billions of euros spent and thousands of Malian lives lost (as well as 59 French soldiers), leaving in its wake no shortage of geopolitical rancor and a worryingly deteriorating security situation. Militants from factions linked to both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have entrenched themselves on a widening battlefield across the African continent. The French departure from Mali had been telegraphed months in advance amid a rupture in relations between the government of French President Emmanuel Macron and a Malian junta that seized power in August 2020 and carried out “a coup within a coup” — as Macron himself put it — against civilian officials nine months later.”

The Biden administration on Monday ruled out releasing $3.5 billion in funds held in the United States back to Afghanistan’s central bank anytime soon, citing the discovery that Al Qaeda’s leader had taken refuge in the heart of Kabul apparently with the protection of the Taliban government.

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)

All over the globe, agricultural production is going to be below expectations in 2022, agricultural experts say. As a result, those who live in wealthy countries will pay much more for food in 2023, while many of those that live in poor countries will either deeply suffer or die.  In fact, children are already dropping dead from starvation in large numbers in some parts of Africa. In the U.S., the megadrought in the West, while easing somewhat recently, food production is down considerably leading to shortages in inflation in 20203.

Environment: And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth,for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Luke 21:25-26)

The Bureau of Reclamation gave states and tribes an Aug. 15 deadline to find ways to conserve 2 to 4 million more acre-feet of water to stabilize the drought-stricken river and its two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell. The deadline passed with no agreement in place. Now, Arizona will have to do with 21% less water than in previous years. Nevada lost 8% of its delivery and Mexico’s allocation was reduced by 7%. The only lower basin state to be spared cuts is California, which holds senior rights to the river. 

Grass is the single largest irrigated “crop” in America, surpassing corn and wheat, study from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found. It noted by the early 2000s, turfgrass, mostly in front lawns, spanned about 63,000 square miles, an area larger than the state of Georgia. Keeping front lawn grass alive requires up to 75% of just one household’s water consumption, according to the study, which is a luxury California is quickly becoming unable to afford as the megadrought pushes reservoirs to historic lows. The largest district in the state, the Metropolitan Water District serving 19 million people in Southern California, is paying water customers $2 per square foot of grass pulled out.

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)

Rain in the western U.S. is helping ease the megadrought in some states but not in others. Overall, the percent of the West in severe to exceptional drought declined from 73% three months ago to 50% as of last Thursday’s Drought Monitor. However, California increased from 95% to 97.5% as the rains largely passed it by. Nevada remained about the same at 99.5% while Utah remained at 99%. Other states showed major improvement. Colorado declined from 64% to 24%, while New Mexico declined from 97% to 62% and Arizona declined from 67% to 34%. In the Northwest, Oregon declined from 64% to 52% while Washington declined from 25% to 0% and Idaho declined from 50% to 16% and Montana declined from 61% to 16% with Wyoming declining from 47% to 21%.

A painful lack of rain and relentless heat waves are drying up rivers in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Many are shrinking in length and breadth. Patches of riverbed poking out above the water are a common sight. Some rivers are so desiccated, they have become virtually impassable. The Yangtze River in Asia is drying up at its banks and its bed is emerging in some areas. But it’s the Yangtze’s tributaries that are already intensely parched. The Rhine starts in the Swiss Alps, flows through Germany and the Netherlands and then flows all the way out to the North Sea. It’s a crucial channel for European shipping, but right now, it’s a nightmare to navigate. The Danube is Western Europe’s longest river and a crucial shipping channel that passes through 10 countries. In Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria, workers are dredging the Danube just to ensure vessels can still navigate it.

Authorities at Zion National Park are searching for a person who went missing after flash flooding Friday. Iconic sections of the park have been closed, including The Narrows — an imposing gorge carved by the Virgin River that has rock walls a thousand feet tall. Zion National Park is located about 20 miles north of the Utah-Arizona border and is known for its narrow canyons and massive sandstone cliffs.

Major flash flooding in the Dallas metro area Monday morning is leading to water rescues on numerous flooded roads, airport travel delays and warnings of “dangerous, life threatening” flooding. Nearly 10 inches of rain fell in eastern Dallas overnight. Flooding swamped part of Interstate 30 and forced water rescues. The heavy rain is slowly is slogging southward and eastward from north Texas into central and east Texas, Louisiana, southern Arkansas and Mississippi early this week.

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