Monday, November 11, 2019

Syria: ISIS Attack on Armenian Christians Leaves Two Priests Dead

The following is an unedited press release from International Christian Concern (ICC). Please check out their website at www.persecution.org for more on the persecution and genocide of Christians around the world.

ISIS Takes Credit for Violent Attack Against Armenian Church Leaders
 
11/11/19 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on November 11, 2019, gunmen affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS) attacked a car known to be carrying Armenian Christian leaders who were traveling from the Syrian city of Qamishli to Deir ez-Zor. The attack left two priests murdered, and wounded a deacon. ISIS has officially claimed responsibility for the incident.

The attack on the vehicle took place as three nearly simultaneous car bombings occurred in the city of Qamishli, which is well known for its religious and ethnic diversity. One of the explosions occurred near a Chaldean church.

The Armenian church leaders were traveling to Deir ez-Zor to inspect an Armenian Catholic Church which has suffered damage because of the Syrian conflict. Father Hanna Bidu, also known as Father Abrahim Petoyan, was killed instantly during the attack. His son, known as Father Hovsep Petoyan, reportedly succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. The deacon, Fati Sano from the Armenian al-Hassakeh Church, was wounded.

“(An) armed group at the entrance of the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor was targeting a car that was carrying the father,” reported the Assyrian Monitor for Human Rights. “This armed group targeted and killed the priest and his father, while the third person was injured. Father and his companions were headed to Deir ez-Zor city this Monday morning on a mission to follow the status of waqf of the Armenian Catholic Church.” 

The incident was confirmed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Video footage obtained by Hawar News shows that the car used by the priests had a special tag in its front window which acknowledged that it was traveling for business with the Armenian Catholic Church. The video shows significant frontal damage to the vehicle, placing the two front seat occupants within a direct line of fire.

“Pastor of the Armenian Catholic Community of Qamishli, Priest Hovsep Petoyan, and his father, Priest Abraham Petoyan, were traveling in a vehicle en route to Deir ez-Zor when terrorists opened gunfire on their car and killed them,” stated the Armenian Press. “The Armenian Catholic priests were heading to inspect the condition of the Catholic Church.” 

ISIS’s official Amaq media outlet claimed responsibility, saying, “Two Christian priests were killed today, ISIS shot them down.”

ISIS was officially declared militarily defeated in Syria this past March. However, reprisal attacks following the October death of ISIS leader al-Baghdadi in Syria were expected. Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria also prompted fears that it would allow opportunities for ISIS militants to take advantage of the resulting chaos. This is the first deadly incident since its military defeat in which ISIS has successfully targeted church leaders in the Levant.

Claire Evans, ICC’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “Today’s violence in northern Syria and the targeting of Armenian leadership is a tragedy that deeply wounds the region’s entire Christian community. Christians have long warned that ISIS will seek every opportunity to continue its genocide against religious minorities. Meanwhile, Turkey’s actions in the area have generated an environment of instability. Armenian Christians, whose ancestors were killed by Turkey’s genocide, find themselves caught between violent actors across all of Syria. We must keep the Christian community of Syria in our prayers, and urge for an end to this senseless conflict.” 
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A brief essay on the proper relationship between the Citizen and Politics.


A brief essay on the proper relationship between the Citizen and Politics.

By Tim Gamble

This essay isn't about which candidate or party to support with your vote, money, or time. In that sense, this is a non-partisan essay. Rather, this essay concerns itself with how a prepper, survivalist, Christian, or any other American for that matter, should approach politics.

First, let's get one thing straight: politics affects everyone. You can ignore it, but you can't hide from it. Politics affects everything from the health of the economy, to whether or not government respects your rights (government doesn't give you rights - those come from God - but government often tries to deny you those rights). From zoning laws to EPA regulations, sales taxes to the education system, directly or indirectly we all are affected by politics. For better or for worse, and it seems too often to be for worse, politics affects your life everyday, and in many ways.

Therefore, you must deal with politics. But how? There are many ways: One response is to simply try to ignore politics as best you can (but you will still have to deal with consequences of politics). Another response is to try to manipulate politics to your advantage (the elites in big business and the political class are masters of this manipulation). Most people today choose one of those responses, at least to some degree. I suggest a third - respond as a true Citizen of the Republic.

Before I define how a Citizen  of the Republic responds, let me say this: Politics will not save us. What is wrong with America goes well beyond politics and economics. It is a spiritual sickness which infects the USA. No politician, no election, no piece of legislation, will cure spiritual sickness. We must appeal to a Higher Authority for that kind of healing. 

The United States of America is a Republic, NOT a Democracy

The first thing a Citizen of the Republic should realize is that the United States is NOT a democracy. It is a Republic, and that is a very good thing. Democracy is Evil. It is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for dinner. In a democracy, rights come from government, and therefore are subject to change with the passing whims of the times. The rights of individuals, even basic rights such as the rights to life, free speech, free exercise of religion, and even self-defense, can be ignored or even taken away by the government or a simple majority vote of the people.

In a Republic, Rights are external from government. Rights come from a Higher Authority (God, the Creator, Natural Law, Nature and Nature's God, or whatever one wishes to call that Higher Authority). Since Rights don't come from the government, government cannot take away or change those Rights. Not even by majority vote. 

Those Rights from God (or whatever you wish to call the Higher Authority) are therefore "unalienable," literally un-a-lien-able. A "lien" being a legal claim on something belonging to another (a lien on a house, for example, where someone other than the owner, typically the government or a bank, claims an interest over the house, typically over money owed). Something being unalienable means that no one can claim an interest over it other than the owner. In the case of unalienable Rights, no one - not even government, not even a majority of voters - can make any claim against those Rights. Well, they can and do try, but those efforts are immoral, unjust, and not valid under a Republic.

The United States was intentionally created by our Founders as a Republic, not a democracy. They knew and feared the dangers of democracy, and wanted to protect themselves and their fellow Citizens from it. Sadly, since the early days of our founding, the United States has slowly been slipping away from a Republic, and into a democracy. In recent decades, and even more so in recent years, this process has been greatly accelerated. Today, we stand on the brink of becoming a full-fledged democracy, with the last remnants of the old Republic slipping away. This is the source of most of our nation's political problems, and has made the people little more than slaves of a government which demands ever-increasing control over our lives, rights, money, and property.

Note: The word "democracy" does not appear anywhere in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights. Nor does it appear in any of the fifty state constitutions. We were never intended to be a democracy. 

Limited Government

The way our Founding Fathers protected the Citizens of the Republic from democracy was through the concept of Limited Government. They created a government limited in both size and power by the Constitution, with our unalienable Rights guaranteed (not granted)  in the Bill of Rights. 


The Constitution establishes and limits the scope of the federal government. It sets up a system of checks-and-balances intended to keep government and politicians from exceeding their limits of power as set forth in the Constitution. The Bill of Rights specifically guarantees that government will respect the unalienable Rights of the people. In other words, the Constitution and Bill of Rights intend that the Citizens of the Republic be more powerful than the government that represents them.

It has taken more than 100 years for the elites in the political class to successfully re-interpret our Founding documents to subvert the Republic into a democracy, and to successfully dumb-down the American people to accept, and even applaud, the evils of democracy. 

Amendment X of the Constitution: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Respond as a Citizen of the Republic

Democracy is mob-rule. It is divisive, and based in emotion, selfishness, and greed. It is easy to manipulate. Reason and logic, and an unwavering belief in the Higher Authority, are the cure to democracy. Think; don't react emotionally. Consider the consequences, both intentional and unintentional, of your words, actions, and votes. 

To enable you to think with reason, not emotion, you need to learn real history, real economics, and real civics, rather than the pro-democracy and pro-collectivist propaganda taught in public schools over the last several generations.

Be independent of government. Do not look to government for hand-outs, freebies, or special favors. Be self-reliant. The less dependent on government you are, the less power government will be able to exert over you.

Don't look to government to "make life fair" or to "get even" with people who may be richer or more successful than you. One of the most successful tactics of the collectivists is to convince people that they are "victims" and need government to protect them and make things right. Don't ever think of yourself as a victim.

Don't look to government to redistribute the wealth of others. Holding a gun to someones head and demanding they give you money is theft. Having the government hold a gun to someones head, demanding their money, and then giving their money to you, is also theft. Don't ever think you are entitled to anything without having to earn it first, other than your God-given Rights.

Realize the sole legitimate purpose to government is to protect the unalienable Rights of its Citizens; to protect Life, Liberty, and Property. The role of government is not to protect individuals from their own mistakes and bad choices. 

But what about helping the poor, widows, orphans, and others who cannot help themselves? Shouldn't we help them? Isn't that what Jesus' taught? Yes, He did.  The role of government is to protect the Life, Liberty, and Property of all, especially those who cannot help themselves. But, help beyond that is the proper role of the Church, charities, and individuals. When Jesus, and later the Apostles, taught us to help others, it was always a command to us as individuals and as His followers (the Church). Never did Jesus or the Apostles teach that such help was the role of the government. On the contrary, we are expected to help each other. 

Work hard to elect candidates to public office who realize that we are a Republic, not a democracy, and who understand the difference. Look for candidates who are pro-Constitution, pro-Bill of Rights (all of them), pro-Free Market Capitalism, and pro-Liberty. This is important on the federal level, but also and especially on the state and local levels.

In considering politicians, character matters, especially integrity. If a politician or candidate is dishonest, you cannot trust them to keep their word to respect the Constitution and our unalienable Rights. Liars rarely keep their word.

Pay attention to what your elected officials actually do, and hold them accountable. Not just in DC, but in your state and hometown, too.

Beware of politicians using a crisis to enact laws taking away our liberty, even "temporarily." Realize that temporary laws, such as the income tax was supposed to be, are never temporary. Once government successful takes on an expanded power, it never willing lets it go. Government doesn't care about you as an individual, or about your rights. Government only cares about expanding and protecting its power.

Politicians and government officials often use crises, real or imagined, as the excuse to expand government power. By definition, government power can only be expanded at the loss of individual liberty.

"We must pass this law (or this tax) in order to stop terrorism, stop crime, stop climate change, win the war on drugs, and protect the children. If you are against this law or this tax, then you must be a potential terrorist, or a criminal, or hate children." -- any politician, anytime, wanting to pass a new law or tax

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Monday, November 4, 2019

Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children younger than 15 years old (the leading cause is accidents). The good news is that, detected early, the overall survival rate for childhood cancers now exceeds 80%. The problem is in early detection. How do you distinguish the normal bumps, bruises, and illnesses of childhood from more serious illnesses such as cancer? This is made especially difficult in young children, who may not be able to properly identify and explain their symptoms to adults. 

Regular medical checkups for children are especially important for that reason. Although no one, young or old, enjoys going to the doctor, and it can be both costly and time-consuming, delaying or even skipping checkups can be dangerous. 

In addition to regular checkups, parents and guardians should be aware of the warning signs of childhood cancer. Although these symptoms can occur for reasons other than cancer, seek medical advice if any of the following are persistent and/or otherwise unexplainable. (This list comes from materials provided by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital,)
  • Persistent/unexplainable fever
  • Fatigue and paleness
  • Swelling or lumps anywhere on the body, especially in the neck, armpit, or groin
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Change of disposition, e.g. whining or crying spells, unusual irritability
  • Regression of toilet habits
  • Stumbling or falling
  • Double vision or other eye problems
  • Easy and frequent bruising
  • Nosebleeds or bleeding from any part of the body
Other possible symptoms include (additional symptoms from information provided by the American Cancer Society):
  • Persistent/unexplainable weight loss
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Frequent headaches or dizziness
  • Ongoing pain in a specific area
  • Limping or difficulty walking
Again, these symptoms may occur for reasons other than cancer. What you are looking for are symptoms that are persistent and/or otherwise unexplainable.

If your child frequently exhibits any of these symptoms, seemingly without cause, seek medical advice as soon as possible. Early detection is absolutely key to the successful treatment for childhood cancers. 

The American Cancer Society provides the following information about seeing the doctor (links are to pages on their website):

"The doctor will ask about the child's medical history and symptoms, and will then examine your child. If cancer might be causing the symptoms, the doctor might order imaging tests (such as x-rays) or other tests. Sometimes if an abnormal lump or tumor is found, the doctor might need to remove some or all of it so that it can be looked at under a microscope for cancer cells. This is known as a biopsy.

If your child is found to have cancer, you can learn about coping and moving forward after the diagnosis is made in If Your Child Is Diagnosed With Cancer."

Sources: Information in this article comes from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the American Cancer Society. Please visit their websites for more information.
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Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Prepper Stockpile: Baking Soda and Vinager

The Prepper Stockpile is a new occasional feature on this website. Each article will highlight items preppers and survivalists might want to include in their stockpile of supplies due to their usefulness. This week's edition feature two household chemicals, baking soda and vinegar, both with many multiple uses. (For last week's Prepper Stockpile, featuring Borax and Epsom Salt, click here.)

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Baking Soda - Where to even begin? Baking soda is useful for almost everything - cooking & baking, cleaning, odor control, personal hygiene, first aid, and pool maintenance, among many other uses.

It makes a great substitute for toothpaste, can be applied under the arms in place of deodorant, can be mixed with warm water for an antacid, or used as a gargle to help ease coughs and sore throats. Baking soda mixed with water to form a paste and applied to the skin can help sooth insect stings, sunburn, and itching due to poison ivy/oak.  There's even some evidence that baking soda may be useful in the prevention and treatment of cancer and kidney disease. 

Baking soda can be used to kill cockroaches (fill a shallow dish with equal parts baking soda and granular sugar, place near where you suspect the roaches are) and other insect pests (as a plant spray, combine 2 gallons of water with three tablespoons of baking soda and three tablespoons of cooking oil - spray on plants once a week). 

In cleaning, it helps cut through grease, can be used to kill mold and mildew, removes coffee and tea stains, and can freshen the smell of upholstery, carpet, and even pet beds. Got some oil stains on cement or concrete? Sprinkle on some baking soda and scrub with a wet brush to reduce or even eliminate the stain.  It can even be used to clean silver and jewelry.

Baking soda can be used as a safe way to extinguish grease and electrical fires. Baking soda mixed with vinegar can help unclog drains and toilets. The uses of baking soda go on and on and on. Just google "uses of baking soda" for many dozens of other ideas.

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Vinegar Vinegar has lots of uses relating to cooking, canning, and food preservation. Its also useful in cleaning, unclogging and deodorizing drains and toilets, disinfecting cutting boards and counter-tops, eliminating mold & mildew, and polishing silver, brass & copper objects. 

Vinegar can be used to clean and sanitize canteens, water bottles, thermoses, jars, and other containers.  Vinegar can be used to help remove the glue residue of bumper stickers, price tags, and decals. Pouring some vinegar on a rusty screw or hinge can help unstick it.  Some folks even use vinegar soaked rags staked in and around their garden to keep out deer, dogs, rabbits, and raccoons, which can't stand the smell even after the vinegar has dried (I've never tried this method myself, so can't vouch for its effectiveness - comment below if you have).  

A number of medical studies have shown many health benefits of vinegar, especially apple-cider vinegar, including improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing blood sugar levels (both fasting and post-meal) for folks with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. My own experience as a type-2 diabetic has convinced me that consuming vinegar with a meal lowers my after-meal blood sugar spike by 25-40%.  

As with baking soda, the list of possible uses goes on and on and on. Just google "uses of vinegar" for lots more ideas. 
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Saturday, November 2, 2019

News Brief: Social Security Changes for 2020

Here's a quick roundup of the major changes for Social Security coming in 2020:
  • Monthly benefits will increase by 1.6%
  • Maximum monthly benefit will rise to $3,011 per month (currently $2,861 per month)
  • Annual social security tax cap (the maximum amount of earnings subject to social security tax) will rise to $137,700 (currently $132,900)
  • Earnings limit on retirees receiving social security before full retirement will rise to $18, 240, after which the deductions of $1 for every $2 earned will go into effect
  • Earnings limit on retirees receiving social security after full retirement will rise to $48,600, after which the deductions of $1 for every $3 earned will go into effect
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