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Tamar’s righteousness from generation to generation

About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been immoral. Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.  And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.” Then Judah identified them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her again.

Judah, as he is found here in Genesis 38, hardly seems like someone with trustworthy discernment about who is righteous or not. But through the generations Tamar’s righteousness was remembered by Judah’s descendents as an established fact.

“We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give you by this young woman.”

So far from forgetting what Tamar did, she is remembered as the one who heroically gave Perez to Judah despite Judah’s best efforts to destroy his own inheritance. Her struggles are like those of Rachel and Leah who themselves built up Jacob’s house in much distress.

It all brought about fruitfulness and prosperity and there is no sign that anyone feels ashamed. They invoke the whole story as one of triumph and blessing.

Further reflection on the Leithart trial: Why it is important to affirm that all in the church are God’s children? Because it bolsters the warnings against disinheritance and also encourages perseverance in the Faith.

Baptism is a sacrament of the new testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, …  for the solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible church

via Confession of Faith.

The visible church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.

via Confession of Faith.

Why is it important to affirm that all the baptized are thereby admitted into the Kingdom and Family of God and Christ? Because all should be encouraged to trust in their king and father for protection and forgiveness and all must be encouraged to never abandon those precious promises.

Thus, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews encourages readers to see that their tribulations are further proof of their identity as God’s children:

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons:

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

So they are all sons. Really, the author of Hebrew is just restating a point that he made early in chapter 3 and is then alluded to later in chapter 10:

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

In some circles, it seems the only confidence one is permitted to give people is a confidence that they need never fear any of God’s warnings. But that is far removed from the Bible. A confidence that leads you to no care about the Bible’s warnings, to insist they must be for someone else, is called unbelief.

Read what Presbyterian theologian Charles Hodge had to say:

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall (First Corinthians 10.12).

…There is perpetual danger of falling. No degree of progress we may have already made, no amount of privileges which we may have enjoyed, can justify the want of caution. Let him that thinketh he standeth, that is, let him who thinks himself secure. This may refer either to security of salvation, or against the power of temptation. The two are very different, and rest generally on different grounds. False security of salvation commonly rests on the ground of our belonging to a privileged body (the church), or to a privileged class (the elect). Both are equally fallacious. Neither the members of the church nor the elect can be saved unless they persevere in holiness; and they cannot persevere in holiness without continual watchfulness and effort. False security as to our power to resist temptation rests on an overweening self-confidence in our own strength. None are so liable to fall as they who, thinking themselves strong, heedlessly run into temptation (p. 181, Banner of Truth, emphasis added).

RELATED:

Can the unregenerate be part of the body of Christ? Can the unregenerate baptize?

Is faith always opposed to fear?

Jesus learning obedience as he suffers before our eyes

…and ringing Pavlov’s bell

The horror really starts creeping at 1:38

Jesse Schell @ DICE2010 (Part 3) – YouTube.

This was a real conference for real programmers (part one / part two). I am skeptical that the wifi/cpu economics will ever work like he thinks. But the ubiquity of smart phones could be enough to fuel this Skinnerian nightmare.

And here’s the song that inspired the post title.

Old world trying to come back, the Ugandan outbreak of child sacrifice

The villages and farming communities that surround Uganda’s capital, Kampala, are gripped by fear.

Schoolchildren are closely watched by teachers and parents as they make their way home from school. In playgrounds and on the roadside are posters warning of the danger of abduction by witch doctors for the purpose of child sacrifice.

Read the rest: BBC News – Where child sacrifice is a business.

I’ve stomached perusing some of these documents (some, thank God, not all) and am nothing short of appalled and embarrassed. How God’s people could use God’s money and God’s time to attack God’s man and on such comparatively inconsequential errors (if errors they be) is nothing short of ecclesial malpractice. I’m an acquaintance and not a close friend of Peter’s and I’m no partisan for his distinctive ecclesiology, sacramentolgy and liturgics.  I don’t have an axe to grind with anybody — except people who waste time on trivialities while Western civilization burns.

Note: Peter believes the Bible from cover to cover; believes historic Christian orthodoxy; believes in justification by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone; believes that the Faith should pervade all of culture; loves the church; loves his wife and children; lives a Christian life above reproach; preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Apparently, that’s insufficient for the “prosecutors.”

READ THE WHOLE POST

Upcoming? (feel free to bug me if you don’t see some new stuff)

I don’t mean to be so lazy on this blog, but I simply don’t have much time in which to write…

But just so you know, I have three posts “under construction.” In no particular order:

  • I want to address the question Ron Paul was asked about the healthy guy who doesn’t buy health insurance and then requires major medical care. Do “we” just let him die?
  • I am trying to collate and write a coherent piece about all the mainstream or reliable info we have about the illegal drug trade and the complicity of the Intelligence and military services as well as mainstream corporations, especially banks.
  • I think it might be good to list “My favorite five audio podcasts.”

So that is what I have planned at the moment. Feel free to remind me if you don’t see something soon.

NeoPuritans push Public School on “Ritualists”

From Murray Rothbard, “The Progressive Era and the Family,” Joseph R. Peden and Fred R. Glahe (eds.), The American Family and the State (San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute, 1986).:

In the last two decades, the advent of the “new political history” has transformed our understanding of the political party system and the basis of political conflict in nineteenth century America. In contrast to the party systems of the twentieth century (the “fourth” party system, 1896–1932, of Republican supremacy; the “fifth” party system, 1932–? of Democratic supremacy), the nineteenth century political parties were not bland coalitions of interests with virtually the same amorphous ideology, with each party blurring what is left of its image during campaigns to appeal to the large independent center. In the nineteenth century, each party offered a fiercely contrasting ideology, and political parties performed the function of imposing a common ideology on diverse sectional and economic interests. During campaigns, the ideology and the partisanship became fiercer and even more clearly demarcated, since the object was not to appeal to independent moderates—there were virtually none—but to bring out the vote of one’s own partisans. Such partisanship and sharp alternatives marked the “second” American party system (Whig versus Democrat, approximately 1830 to the mid-1850s) and the “third” party system (closely fought Republican versus Democrat, mid-1850s to 1896).

Another important insight of the new political history is that the partisan passion devoted by rank-and-file Democrats and Republicans to national economic issues, stemmed from a similar passion devoted at the local and state level to what would now be called “social” issues. Furthermore, that political conflict, from the 1830s on, stemmed from a radical transformation that took place in American Protestantism as a result of the revival movement of the 1830s.

The new revival movement swept the Protestant churches, particularly in the North, like wildfire. In contrast to the old creedal Calvinist churches that stressed the importance of obeying God’s law as expressed in the church creed, the new “pietism” was very different. The pietist doctrine was essentially as follows: Specific creeds of various churches or sects do not matter. Neither does obedience to the rituals or liturgies of the particular church. What counts for salvation is only each individual being “born again”—a direct confrontation between the individual and God, a mystical and emotional conversion in which the individual achieves salvation. The rite of baptism, to the pietist, therefore becomes secondary; of primary importance is his or her personal moment of conversion.

But if the specific church or creed becomes submerged in a vague Christian interdenominationalism, then the individual Christian is left on his own to grapple with the problems of salvation. Pietism, as it swept American Protestantism in the 1830s, took two very different forms in North and South, with very different political implications. The Southerners, at least until the 1890s, became “salvationist pietists,” that is, they believed that the emotional experience of individual regeneration, of being born again, was enough to ensure salvation. Religion was a separate compartment of life, a vertical individual-God relation carrying no imperative to transform man-made culture and interhuman relations.

In contrast, the Northerners, particularly in the areas inhabited by “Yankees,” adopted a far different form of pietism, “evangelical pietism.” The evangelical pietists believed that man could achieve salvation by an act of free will. More particularly, they also believed that it was necessary to a person’s own salvation—and not just a good idea—to try his best to ensure the salvation of everyone else in society:

“To spread holiness,” to create that Christian commonwealth by bringing all men to Christ, was the divinely ordered duty of the “saved.” Their mandate was “to transform the world into the image of Christ.”1

Since each individual is alone to wrestle with problems of sin and salvation, without creed or ritual of the church to sustain him, the evangelical duty must therefore be to use the state, the social arm of the integrated Christian community, to stamp out temptation and occasions for sin. Only in this way could one perform one’s divinely mandated duty to maximize the salvation of others. 2   And to the evangelical pietist, sin took on an extremely broad definition, placing the requirements for holiness far beyond that of other Christian groups. As one antipietist Christian put it, “They saw sin where God did not.” In particular, sin was any and all forms of contact with liquor, and doing anything except praying and going to church on Sunday. Any forms of gambling, dancing, theater, reading of novels—in short, secular enjoyment of any kind—were considered sinful.

The forms of sin that particularly agitated the evangelicals were those they held to interfere with the theological free will of individuals, making them unable to achieve salvation. Liquor was sinful because, they alleged, it crippled the free will of the imbibers. Another particular source of sin was Roman Catholicism, in which priests and bishops, arms of the Pope (whom they identified as the Antichrist), ruled the minds and therefore crippled the theological freedom of will of members of the church.

Evangelical pietism particularly appealed to, and therefore took root among, the “Yankees,” i.e., that cultural group that originated in (especially rural) New England and emigrated widely to populate northern and western New York, northern Ohio, northern Indiana, and northern Illinois. The Yankees were natural “cultural imperialists,” people who were wont to impose their values and morality on other groups; as such, they took quite naturally to imposing their form of pietism through whatever means were available, including the use of the coercive power of the state.

In contrast to evangelical pietists were, in addition to small groups of old-fashioned Calvinists, two great Christian groups, the Catholics and the Lutherans (or at least, the high-church variety of Lutheran), who were “liturgicals” (or “ritualists”) rather than pietists. The liturgicals saw the road to salvation in joining the particular church, obeying its rituals, and making use of its sacraments; the individual was not alone with only his emotions and the state to protect him. There was no particular need, then, for the state to take on the functions of the church. Furthermore, the liturgicals had a much more relaxed and rational view of what sin really was; for instance, excessive drinking might be sinful, but liquor per se surely was not.

The evangelical pietists, from the 1830s on, were the northern Protestants of British descent, as well as the Lutherans from Scandinavia and a minority of pietist German synods; the liturgicals were the Roman Catholics and the high-church Lutherans, largely German.

Very rapidly, the political parties reflected a virtually one-to-one correlation of this ethnoreligious division: the Whig, and later the Republican, party consisting chiefly of the pietists, and the Democratic party encompassing almost all the liturgicals. And for almost a century, on a state and local level, the Whig/Republican pietists tried desperately and determinedly to stamp out liquor and all Sunday activities except church (of course, drinking liquor on Sunday was a heinous double sin). As to the Catholic church, the pietists tried to restrict or abolish immigration, since people coming from Germany and Ireland, liturgicals, were outnumbering people from Britain and Scandinavia. Failing that and despairing of doing anything about adult Catholics poisoned by agents of the Vatican, the evangelical pietists decided to concentrate on saving Catholic and Lutheran youth by trying to eliminate the parochial schools, through which both religious groups transmitted their precious religious and social values to the young. The object, as many pietists put it, was to “Christianize the Catholics,” to force Catholic and Lutheran children into public schools, which could then be used as an instrument of pietist Protestantization. Since the Yankees had early taken to the idea of imposing communal civic virtue and obedience through the public schools, they were particularly receptive to this new reason for aggrandizing public education.

To all of these continuing aggressions by what they termed “those fanatics,” the liturgicals fought back with equal fervor. Particularly bewildered were the Germans who, Lutheran and Catholic alike, were accustomed to the entire family happily attending beer gardens together on Sundays after church and who now found the “fanatic” pietists trying desperately to outlaw this pleasurable and seemingly innocent activity. The pietist Protestant attacks on private and parochial schools fatally threatened the preservation and maintenance of the liturgicals’ cultural and religious values; and since large numbers of the Catholics and Lutherans were immigrants, parochial schools also served to maintain group affinities in a new and often hostile world—especially the world of Anglo-Saxon pietism. In the case of the Germans, it also meant, for several decades, preserving parochial teaching in the beloved German language, as against fierce pressures for Anglicization.

In the last three decades of the nineteenth century, as Catholic immigration grew and the Democratic party moved slowly but surely toward a majority status, the Republican, and—more broadly—pietist pressures became more intense. The purpose of the public school, to the pietists, was “to unify and make homogeneous the society.” There was no twentieth century concern for separating religion and the public school system. To the contrary, in most northern jurisdictions only pietist-Protestant church members were allowed to be teachers in the public schools. Daily reading of the Protestant Bible, daily Protestant prayers and Protestant hymns were common in the public schools, and school textbooks were rife with anti-Catholic propaganda. Thus, New York City school textbooks spoke broadly of “the deceitful Catholics,” and pounded into their children, Catholic and Protestant alike, the message that “Catholics are necessarily, morally, intellectually, infallibly, a stupid race.”3

Teachers delivered homilies on the evils of Popery, and also on deeply felt pietist theological values: the wickedness of alcohol (the “demon rum”) and the importance of keeping the Sabbath. In the 1880s and 1890s, zealous pietists began working ardently for antialcohol instruction as a required part of the public-school curriculum; by 1901, every state in the Union required instruction in temperance.

Since most Catholic children went to public rather than parochial schools, the Catholic authorities were understandably anxious to purge the schools of Protestant requirements and ceremonies, and of anti-Catholic textbooks. To the pietists, these attempts to de-Protestantize the public schools were intolerable “Romish aggression.” The whole point of the public schools was moral and religious homogenization, and here the Catholics were disrupting the attempt to make American society holy—to produce, through the public school and the Protestant gospel, “a morally and politically homogeneous people.” As Kleppner writes:

When they [the pietists] spoke of “moral education,” they had in mind principles of morality shared in common by the adherents of gospel religion, for in the public school all children, even those whose parents were enslaved by “Lutheran formalism or Romish supersitition,” would be exposed to the Bible. That alone was cause for righteous optimism, for they believed the Bible to be “the agent in converting the soul,” “the volume that makes human beings men.”4

In this way, “America [would] be Saved Through the Children.”5

The pietists were therefore incensed that the Catholics were attempting to block the salvation of America’s children—and eventually of America itself—all at the orders of a “foreign potentate.” Thus, the New Jersey Methodist Conference of 1870 lashed out with their deepest feelings against this Romish obstructionism:

Resolved, That we greatly deprecate the effort which is being made by “Haters of Light,” and especially by an arrogant priesthood, to exclude the Bible from the Public Schools of our land; and that we will do all in our power to defeat the well-defined and wicked design of this “Mother of Harlots.”6

Throughout the nineteenth century, “nativist” attacks on “foreigners” and the foreign-born were really attacks on liturgical immigrants. Immigrants from Britain or Scandinavia, pietists all, were “good Americans” as soon as they got off the boat. It was the diverse culture of the other immigrants that had to be homogenized and molded into that of pietist America. Thus, the New England Methodist Conference of 1889 declared:

We are a nation of remnants, ravellings from the Old World. . . . The public school is one of the remedial agencies which work in our society to diminish this . . . and to hasten the compacting of these heterogeneous materials into a solid nature. 7

Or, as a leading citizen of Boston declared, “the only way to elevate the foreign population was to make Protestants of their children.”8

Since the cities of the North, in the late nineteenth century, were becoming increasingly filled with Catholic immigrants, pietist attacks on sinful cities and on immigrants both became aspects of the anti-liturgical struggle for a homogeneous Anglo-Saxon pietist culture. The Irish were particular butts of pietist scorn; a New York City textbook bitterly warned that continued immigration could make America “the common sewer of Ireland,” filled with drunken and depraved Irishmen.9

The growing influx of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe toward the end of the nineteenth century seemed to pose even greater problems for the pietist progressives, but they did not shrink from the task. As Elwood P. Cubberley of Stanford University, the nation’s outstanding progressive historian of education, declared, southern and eastern Europeans have served to dilute tremendously our national stock, and to corrupt our civil life. . . . Everywhere these people tend to settle in groups or settlements, and to set up here their national manners, customs, and observances. Our task is to break up these groups or settlements, to assimilate and amalgamate these people as a part of our American race and to implant in their children. . . the Anglo-Saxon conception of rightousness, law and order, and popular government. . . . 10

Read the whole article

I don’t even know what country I live in, anymore

WXIX 19 (CIN) Ben Swann on Anwar Al-Awlaki and the Constitution – YouTube.

And from Reuters:

Secret panel can put Americans on “kill list’

Wed, Oct 5 2011

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials.

There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House’s National Security Council, several current and former officials said. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate.

The panel was behind the decision to add Awlaki, a U.S.-born militant preacher with alleged al Qaeda connections, to the target list. He was killed by a CIA drone strike in Yemen late last month.

The role of the president in ordering or ratifying a decision to target a citizen is fuzzy. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor declined to discuss anything about the process.

Current and former officials said that to the best of their knowledge, Awlaki, who the White House said was a key figure in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al Qaeda’s Yemen-based affiliate, had been the only American put on a government list targeting people for capture or death due to their alleged involvement with militants.

The White House is portraying the killing of Awlaki as a demonstration of President Barack Obama’s toughness toward militants who threaten the United States. But the process that led to Awlaki’s killing has drawn fierce criticism from both the political left and right.

In an ironic turn, Obama, who ran for president denouncing predecessor George W. Bush’s expansive use of executive power in his “war on terrorism,” is being attacked in some quarters for using similar tactics. They include secret legal justifications and undisclosed intelligence assessments.

Liberals criticized the drone attack on an American citizen as extra-judicial murder.

Conservatives criticized Obama for refusing to release a Justice Department legal opinion that reportedly justified killing Awlaki. They accuse Obama of hypocrisy, noting his administration insisted on publishing Bush-era administration legal memos justifying the use of interrogation techniques many equate with torture, but refused to make public its rationale for killing a citizen without due process.

Some details about how the administration went about targeting Awlaki emerged on Tuesday when the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Dutch Ruppersberger, was asked by reporters about the killing.

The process involves “going through the National Security Council, then it eventually goes to the president, but the National Security Council does the investigation, they have lawyers, they review, they look at the situation, you have input from the military, and also, we make sure that we follow international law,” Ruppersberger said.

LAWYERS CONSULTED

Other officials said the role of the president in the process was murkier than what Ruppersberger described.

They said targeting recommendations are drawn up by a committee of mid-level National Security Council and agency officials. Their recommendations are then sent to the panel of NSC “principals,” meaning Cabinet secretaries and intelligence unit chiefs, for approval. The panel of principals could have different memberships when considering different operational issues, they said.

The officials insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive information.

They confirmed that lawyers, including those in the Justice Department, were consulted before Awlaki’s name was added to the target list.

Two principal legal theories were advanced, an official said: first, that the actions were permitted by Congress when it authorized the use of military forces against militants in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001; and they are permitted under international law if a country is defending itself.

Several officials said that when Awlaki became the first American put on the target list, Obama was not required personally to approve the targeting of a person. But one official said Obama would be notified of the principals’ decision. If he objected, the decision would be nullified, the official said.

A former official said one of the reasons for making senior officials principally responsible for nominating Americans for the target list was to “protect” the president.

Officials confirmed that a second American, Samir Khan, was killed in the drone attack that killed Awlaki. Khan had served as editor of Inspire, a glossy English-language magazine used by AQAP as a propaganda and recruitment vehicle.

But rather than being specifically targeted by drone operators, Khan was in the wrong place at the wrong time, officials said. Ruppersberger appeared to confirm that, saying Khan’s death was “collateral,” meaning he was not an intentional target of the drone strike.

When the name of a foreign, rather than American, militant is added to targeting lists, the decision is made within the intelligence community and normally does not require approval by high-level NSC officials.

‘FROM INSPIRATIONAL TO OPERATIONAL’

Officials said Awlaki, whose fierce sermons were widely circulated on English-language militant websites, was targeted because Washington accumulated information his role in AQAP had gone “from inspirational to operational.” That meant that instead of just propagandizing in favor of al Qaeda objectives, Awlaki allegedly began to participate directly in plots against American targets.

“Let me underscore, Awlaki is no mere messenger but someone integrally involved in lethal terrorist activities,” Daniel Benjamin, top counterterrorism official at the State Department, warned last spring.

The Obama administration has not made public an accounting of the classified evidence that Awlaki was operationally involved in planning terrorist attacks.

But officials acknowledged that some of the intelligence purporting to show Awlaki’s hands-on role in plotting attacks was patchy.

For instance, one plot in which authorities have said Awlaki was involved Nigerian-born Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound U.S. airliner on Christmas Day 2009 with a bomb hidden in his underpants.

There is no doubt Abdulmutallab was an admirer or follower of Awlaki, since he admitted that to U.S. investigators. When he appeared in a Detroit courtroom earlier this week for the start of his trial on bomb-plot charges, he proclaimed, “Anwar is alive.”

But at the time the White House was considering putting Awlaki on the U.S. target list, intelligence connecting Awlaki specifically to Abdulmutallab and his alleged bomb plot was partial. Officials said at the time the United States had voice intercepts involving a phone known to have been used by Awlaki and someone who they believed, but were not positive, was Abdulmutallab.

Awlaki was also implicated in a case in which a British Airways employee was imprisoned for plotting to blow up a U.S.-bound plane. E-mails retrieved by authorities from the employee’s computer showed what an investigator described as ” operational contact” between Britain and Yemen.

Authorities believe the contacts were mainly between the U.K.-based suspect and his brother. But there was a strong suspicion Awlaki was at the brother’s side when the messages were dispatched. British media reported that in one message, the person on the Yemeni end supposedly said, “Our highest priority is the US … With the people you have, is it possible to get a package or a person with a package on board a flight heading to the US?”

U.S. officials contrast intelligence suggesting Awlaki’s involvement in specific plots with the activities of Adam Gadahn, an American citizen who became a principal English-language propagandist for the core al Qaeda network formerly led by Osama bin Laden.

While Gadahn appeared in angry videos calling for attacks on the United States, officials said he had not been specifically targeted for capture or killing by U.S. forces because he was regarded as a loudmouth not directly involved in plotting attacks.

 

Writes, Greg Palast:

Each nation’s economy is individually analyzed, then, says Stiglitz, the Bank hands every minister the same exact four-step program.

Step One is Privatization – which Stiglitz said could more accurately be called, ‘Briberization.’ Rather than object to the sell-offs of state industries, he said national leaders – using the World Bank’s demands to silence local critics – happily flogged their electricity and water companies. “You could see their eyes widen” at the prospect of 10% commissions paid to Swiss bank accounts for simply shaving a few billion off the sale price of national assets.”

And the US government knew it, charges Stiglitz, at least in the case of the biggest ‘briberization’ of all, the 1995 Russian sell-off. “The US Treasury view was this was great as we wanted Yeltsin re-elected. We don’t care if it’s a corrupt election. We want the money to go to Yeltzin” via kick-backs for his campaign.

Stiglitz is no conspiracy nutter ranting about Black Helicopters. The man was inside the game, a member of Bill Clinton’s cabinet as Chairman of the President’s council of economic advisors.

Most ill-making for Stiglitz is that the US-backed oligarchs stripped Russia’s industrial assets, with the effect that the corruption scheme cut national output nearly in half causing depression and starvation.

After briberization, Step Two of the IMF/World Bank one-size-fits-all rescue-your-economy plan is ‘Capital Market Liberalization.’ In theory, capital market deregulation allows investment capital to flow in and out. Unfortunately, as in Indonesia and Brazil, the money simply flowed out and out. Stiglitz calls this the “Hot Money” cycle. Cash comes in for speculation in real estate and currency, then flees at the first whiff of trouble. A nation’s reserves can drain in days, hours. And when that happens, to seduce speculators into returning a nation’s own capital funds, the IMF demands these nations raise interest rates to 30%, 50% and 80%.

“The result was predictable,” said Stiglitz of the Hot Money tidal waves in Asia and Latin America. Higher interest rates demolished property values, savaged industrial production and drained national treasuries.

At this point, the IMF drags the gasping nation to Step Three: Market-Based Pricing, a fancy term for raising prices on food, water and cooking gas. This leads, predictably, to Step-Three-and-a-Half: what Stiglitz calls, “The IMF riot.”

The IMF riot is painfully predictable. When a nation is, “down and out, [the IMF] takes advantage and squeezes the last pound of blood out of them. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up,” as when the IMF eliminated food and fuel subsidies for the poor in Indonesia in 1998. Indonesia exploded into riots, but there are other examples – the Bolivian riots over water prices last year and this February, the riots in Ecuador over the rise in cooking gas prices imposed by the World Bank. You’d almost get the impression that the riot is written into the plan.

And it is. What Stiglitz did not know is that, while in the States, BBC and The Observer obtained several documents from inside the World Bank, stamped over with those pesky warnings, “confidential,” “restricted,” “not to be disclosed.” Let’s get back to one: the “Interim Country Assistance Strategy” for Ecuador, in it the Bank several times states – with cold accuracy – that they expected their plans to spark, “social unrest,” to use their bureaucratic term for a nation in flames.

That’s not surprising. The secret report notes that the plan to make the US dollar Ecuador’s currency has pushed 51% of the population below the poverty line. The World Bank “Assistance” plan simply calls for facing down civil strife and suffering with, “political resolve” – and still higher prices.

The IMF riots (and by riots I mean peaceful demonstrations dispersed by bullets, tanks and teargas) cause new panicked flights of capital and government bankruptcies. This economic arson has it’s bright side – for foreign corporations, who can then pick off remaining assets, such as the odd mining concession or port, at fire sale prices.

Stiglitz notes that the IMF and World Bank are not heartless adherents to market economics. At the same time the IMF stopped Indonesia ‘subsidizing’ food purchases, “when the banks need a bail-out, intervention (in the market) is welcome.” The IMF scrounged up tens of billions of dollars to save Indonesia’s financiers and, by extension, the US and European banks from which they had borrowed.

A pattern emerges. There are lots of losers in this system but one clear winner: the Western banks and US Treasury, making the big bucks off this crazy new international capital churn. Stiglitz told me about his unhappy meeting, early in his World Bank tenure, with Ethopia’s new president in the nation’s first democratic election. The World Bank and IMF had ordered Ethiopia to divert aid money to its reserve account at the US Treasury, which pays a pitiful 4% return, while the nation borrowed US dollars at 12% to feed its population. The new president begged Stiglitz to let him use the aid money to rebuild the nation. But no, the loot went straight off to the US Treasury’s vault in Washington.

Now we arrive at Step Four of what the IMF and World Bank call their “poverty reduction strategy”: Free Trade. This is free trade by the rules of the World Trade Organization and World Bank, Stiglitz the insider likens free trade WTO-style to the Opium Wars. “That too was about opening markets,” he said. As in the 19th century, Europeans and Americans today are kicking down the barriers to sales in Asia, Latin American and Africa, while barricading our own markets against Third World agriculture.

In the Opium Wars, the West used military blockades to force open markets for their unbalanced trade. Today, the World Bank can order a financial blockade just as effective – and sometimes just as deadly.

Stiglitz is particularly emotional over the WTO’s intellectual property rights treaty (it goes by the acronym TRIPS, more on that in the next chapters). It is here, says the economist, that the new global order has “condemned people to death” by imposing impossible tariffs and tributes to pay to pharmaceutical companies for branded medicines. “They don’t care,” said the professor of the corporations and bank loans he worked with, “if people live or die.”

Read the whole piece: The Globalizer who came out of the cold.

A CEO writes on six steps you should take when tempted to write an angry email

  1. Cool down
  2. Talk it out
  3. Write a[n unsent] response
  4. Do your homework
  5. Schedule a meeting
  6. Admit your mistakes

My favorite quotation from the post was attributed to John Eldredge as a paraphrase:

It’s easy to be brave when you are sitting in the safety of your own office. You can hurl digital spears at your adversaries without without the risk of a real, live encounter.

The post goes into a great deal of detail and explains each of the six steps. It was written by Michael Hyatt of Thomas Nelson Publishers under the title, “Stop: Don’t Send That Angry Email!

I’d like to think I’ve learned the lesson, but then I think a similar one could be posted as “Stop: Don’t Post That Angry Comment!” The main differences are that comments are public and they usually involve situations you don’t even need to face. We actually surf looking for provocation.