Gene Therapy, ‘Medical Chips’ Top Advances Predicted for 2018

computer-chip-world

This will be the year of the “medical chip.” That’s the prediction of leading health expert Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic and a regular Newsmax Health contributor.

“We will be using more computer chip technology or silicon chips to improve health whether internally to communicate with an insulin pump or externally like the new sleep apnea device,” he says.

“We will be seeing vast improvement and efficiency in emergency rooms and clinics all over the world using chips to monitor patients’ vital statistics instead of poking and prodding them. A team of physicals in one central monitoring area, like a ‘command central,’ will be able to evaluate hundreds of patients at a time in hospitals — even around the world — using chip technology.”

Chip advances are just one of several up-and-coming technologies and advances in the medical field predicted by the Cleveland clinic for 2018. Each year, the clinic convenes a panel of physicians and scientists — led by Roizen — to identify the next big things in medicine.

Here are some of the panel’s top picks for 2018, along with other medical innovations we can expect.

Gene therapy: This year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve a new gene therapy treatment that targets cells in the body through viral “vectors” to provide visual function in some patients with forms of retinitis pigmentosa and Leber Congenital amaurosis.

The advance marks the latest in a series of breakthoughs in gene therapy that have emerged in recent years, from new medications that target gene defects to diagnostic tests for heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Genetics are expected to be a major focus of medical research in the year ahead.

Immunotherapy for cancer: Several critical recent developments in using immunotherapy techniques that enlist the body’s own natural defenses to fight cancer are expected to make greater strides in 2018.

“Treatments are being developed using antibodies to disrupt the tumor’s shield, so that your own immune system can attack,” says Dr. Joanne Weidhaas, director, Division of Molecular and Cellular Oncology at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.

“We are also working on treatments where we take cells out of your immune system, reengineer them and return them to fight the cancer.”

Hybrid insulin delivery system: Hailed as the first artificial pancreas, the hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery system helps make Type 1 diabetes more manageable. It was approved by the FDA in 2016 and the market for the product is expected to be officially launched in 2018 as more patients demand the technology.

The new technology replaces the “open loop” system that requires diabetics to use the information from their continuous glucose monitor to determine how much insulin to inject. A chip allows direct communication between the glucose monitoring device and the insulin pump to ensure stabile blood glucose at an unprecedented level, says Roizen.

Wearable patch for apnea: Sleep apnea, the most common sleep disturbance in the country, impacts 21 million Americans and can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. While continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices are the gold standard of treatment, it is estimated that almost half sleep apnea patient refuse to wear them.

Companies are now marketing an implant that delivers direct stimulation to open key airways during sleep. It is controlled by a wearable patch that works like a pacemaker and has had positive results in clinical testing.

“These neuromodulation systems are predicted to help deliver a better night’s sleep to more patients and spouses nationwide,” says Roizen.

Telemedicine: Roizen heralds the emergency of telemedicine technology as one of the greatest life-saving advances.

“Removing geographic barriers to health care can result in timelier, more efficient and more optimal outcomes as well as significant cost savings,” he says.

Telemedicine, also known as “distant health technology,” can enable care for both the physically challenged and those most vulnerable to infection. It’s predicted that over 7 million patients will use telemedicine technologies in 2018 — a 19-fold increase from 2013.

Pointer study for Alzheimer’s disease: The Alzheimer’s Association will launch a $20 million U.S. two-year clinical trial to test the ability of a multi-dimensional lifestyle intervention to prevent cognitive decline and dementia in2, 500 older adults at risk for cognitive decline.

This important study comes on the wake of the breakthrough Alzheimer’s Association International Conference held in 2017 pinpointing the important of lifestyle changes in preventing and delaying Alzheimer’s disease.

Surgical advance: In 2018, the MasSpec pen will undergo clinical trials that may allow surgeons to analyze tissue during surgery to determine on-the-spot whether tissue is healthy or cancerous, increasing the success of such operations. (Click to Source)

Flu season is shaping up as one of the worst in years, officials say

Flu Season

The entire continental United States is experiencing widespread flu right now, the first time in the 13 years of the current tracking system that that has happened, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Officials said that this flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst in recent years.

The rate of flu hospitalizations — the number of people hospitalized with flu per 100,000 — nearly doubled last week compared with the previous week. Last week it was 22.7 per 100,000 people; the week before that rate was 13.7.

At the peak of the 2014-15 season, one of the two most severe seasons in the last 15 years or so, 29.9 people out of every 100,000 were hospitalized for flu.

The latest data — for the week ending Jan. 6 — suggest the season may be peaking right now, the CDC’s director, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, told reporters Friday. But she warned that many more people will be infected before the season is over.

There’s a difference between an active flu season — when a large number of people get sick — and a severe season, when the numbers of people hospitalized for flu or who die from the infection are unusually high.

It can be hard to tell in real time where a flu season will fall on the severity scale, because sometimes reports of influenza hospitalization and deaths — especially deaths among children — lag.

That said, this year is starting to look like a severe season, and maybe more severe than last year, which was also bad, said Dr. Dan Jernigan, head of CDC’s influenza division.

“There’s lots of flu in lots of places,” he said.

So far, Jernigan said, this year’s season doesn’t appear to be quite as bad as 2014-15.

The influenza A virus H3N2 has caused the lion’s share of the illness in most parts of the country this year.

But recently there’s been an uptick in activity by another influenza A virus, H1N1, Jernigan said, warning that even if the season appears to have peaked, flu viruses will circulate for weeks to come and people should continue to take precautions against getting infected.

Jernigan said that people over the age of 65 are being hospitalized for flu this season more than any other population. Even people age 50 to 64 are being hospitalized in high numbers.

Flu often hits the ends of the age spectrum more than the middle, and that’s the case this year as well. The CDC reported seven more children have died from flu, bringing the season total to 20 so far. While tragic, that number is low in comparison with other years — 110 last year, 92 in 2015-2016. But if other seasons are a gauge, that grim tally may continue to rise in coming weeks.

Officials feared that the flu vaccine may not work particularly well this season, but it appears to be faring slightly better than expected.

Preliminary testing by the CDC suggests the vaccine is probably more protective than it was in Australia during its 2017 winter. The Australian interim estimate suggested the H3N2 component of the vaccine — and H3N2 was the main virus there during their most recent winter — was only about 10 percent effective.

That means if 100 people got the flu shot and all were exposed to H3N2 viruses, only 10 would have been protected.

Jernigan said it looks more like the H3N2 portion of the vaccine is performing here like it did last year, when it was 34 percent effective at preventing infection. Unfortunately, that’s about on par for the flu shot’s H3N2 component, which is the weak link of flu vaccine.

The CDC should have interim data on the question of the vaccine’s effectiveness in the second half of February. (Click to Source)

Lindsey Graham to Americans: Your Country Belongs to the World

lindsay-graham-ap-640x480

America is not owned by Americans and their children but is instead held by people all over the globe, according to a statement from amnesty advocate Sen. Lindsey Graham.

“I’ve always believed that America is an idea [which is] not defined by its people but by its ideals,” Graham said in a press statement January 12 which sought to criticise President Donald Trump for describing some foreign countries as less pleasant than America, or as “shitholes.”

Graham continued:

The American ideal is embraced by people all over the globe.  It was best said a long time ago, E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One. Diversity has always been our strength, not our weakness.  In reforming immigration we cannot lose these American Ideals.

Graham was a founding member of the 2013 “Gang of Eight” pro-amnesty group and has frequently urged the importation of more cheap labor for his home-state companies.

His view of Americans’ homeland as the shared property of the world is shared by many other pro-immigration advocates. For example, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is working with Graham to push the amnesty bill, said in December:

America is a land of immigrants — it is who we are … that is why I have consistently supported humane and comprehensive immigration law reform, and it is why I am a proud co-sponsor of the DREAM Act.

In 2014, President Barack Obama voiced a similar claim, telling his audience that Americans do not have the right to exclude migrants:

Sometimes we get attached to our particular tribe, our particular race, our particular religion, and then we start treating other folks differently.

And that, sometimes, has been a bottleneck to how we think about immigration.  If you look at the history of immigration in this country, each successive wave, there have been periods where the folks who were already here suddenly say, well, I don’t want those folks.  Even though the only people who have the right to say that are some Native Americans.

Business elites also use the ideal of immigration to shake off the civic demands from their fellow citizens — and also to cut payroll costs, increase sales, grow profits and spike the value of real-estate.

On January 12, for example, shortly after Democrats leaked Trump’s description of some foreign countries as “shitholes” — Goldman Sachs’s CEO used Twitter to declare that Americans’ prime directive is acceptance of foreign immigrants.

The D.C.-based head of Mark Zuckerberg’s cheap-labor lobby, FWD.us, also insists that America is home to anyone who gets through the border.

In contrast, President Donald Trump won the 2016 election because voters shared his frequently expressed favoritism towards his own country and his fellow citizens. In his inauguration speech, Trump declared:

This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country. What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before.

At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public.

In his pro-immigration statement, Graham also argued that government-imposed civic variety — “diversity” — is an American ideal that is ensured by mass-immigration.

But numerous studies have shown that diversity increases civic conflict and reduces citizens’ ability or willingness to control their government and elites, such as their home-state Senators. According to a 2007 article describing a multi-year study by Harvard University about the impact of diversity:

Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam — famous for “Bowling Alone,” his 2000 book on declining civic engagement — has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings …

Putnam writes that those in more diverse communities tend to “distrust their neighbors, regardless of the color of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television.”

“People living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’ — that is, to pull in like a turtle,” Putnam writes.

Polls show that Trump’s American-first immigration policy is very popular. For example, a December poll of likely 2018 voters shows two-to-one voter support for Trump’s pro-American immigration policies, and a lopsided four-to-one opposition against the cheap-labor, mass-immigration, economic policy pushed by bipartisan establishment-backed D.C. interest-groups.

Business groups and Democrats tout the misleading, industry-funded “Nation of Immigrants” polls which pressure Americans to say they welcome migrants, including the roughly 670,000 ‘DACA’ illegals and the roughly 3.25 million ‘dreamer’ illegals.

The alternative “priority or fairness” polls — plus the 2016 election — show that voters in the polling booth put a much higher priority on helping their families, neighbors, and fellow nationals get decent jobs in a high-tech, high-immigration, low-wage economy.

Four million Americans turn 18 each year and begin looking for good jobs in the free market.

But the federal government inflates the supply of new labor by annually accepting 1 million new legal immigrants, by providing work-permits to roughly 3 million resident foreigners, and by doing little to block the employment of roughly 8 million illegal immigrants.

The Washington-imposed economic policy of economic growth via mass-immigration floods the market with foreign labor, spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate prices, widens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions.

The cheap-labor policy has also reduced investment and job creation in many interior states because the coastal cities have a surplus of imported labor. For example, almost 27 percent of zip codes in Missouri had fewer jobs or businesses in 2015 than in 2000, according to a new report by the Economic Innovation Group. In Kansas, almost 29 percent of zip codes had fewer jobs and businesses in 2015 compared to 2000, which was a two-decade period of massive cheap-labor immigration.

Because of the successful cheap-labor strategy, wages for men have remained flat since 1973, and a large percentage of the nation’s annual income has shifted to investors and away from employees. (Click to Source)

V’eira – I appeared – “Appearance Promises Executed” – 7 January, 2018

V’eira

I appeared

jesus-in-the-synagogue

Exodus 6:2-9:35
Ezekiel 28:25-29:21

“Appearance Promises Executed”


by Mark Huey

This week’s parashah begins with a reminder that the Creator God appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and that He made—among many declarations—certain promises regarding their descendants’ eventual deliverance from bondage in Egypt. Hence, the narrative of the Book of Exodus now summarizes the first seven plagues, which resulted from a hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, after he would not adhere to Moses’ plea to release the Israelites. While these plagues and judgments are well known by those who annually commemorate the Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread, there are some profound spiritual principles revealed to those now indwelt by the presence of the Holy Spirit (Jeremiah 31:31-33; Ezekiel 36:26-27; John 14:16-17). Recognizing and acknowledging this understanding, is essential to maturing in one’s walk with the Messiah of Israel. After all, by faith, every child of God needs to believe that the Almighty Creator God not only appeared to the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in ancient days—but that He alone is committed to fulfill His promises, as recorded from Genesis to Revelation. Hopefully with this fuller appreciation in mind, the testimonial witness of what occurred millennia ago—coupled with an additional judgment on Egypt prophesied in the Ezekiel 28:25-29:21 Haftarah reading—Believers’ faith should soar, knowing that the Father will ultimately execute and accomplish all that He has declared.

As is God’s widescale pattern for the history of the world, He utilizes various nations, key figures, or normal individuals to rebuke, chastise, or ultimately judge His own. After all, the vocational calling upon Israel to be a light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6), has had serious repercussions down through the ages—especially when there has been a deviation into following the ways of the world, the flesh, and the Devil (1 John 2:5-18; Ephesians 2:3; 6:11-12; 1 Peter 2:11). Throughout Holy Scripture, Egypt will be remembered as the one power which subjugated the emerging nation of Israel, to the humble state of human bondage—and which was humiliated via the judgments and plagues of the Lord. So as our Torah reading commences, we see how God spoke to Moses and affirmed His promises, noting that He has heard the groans of His people, guaranteeing that He will set His people free:

“God spoke further to Moses and said to him, ‘I am the LORD; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them. I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned. Furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant. Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, “I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the LORD.”’ So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage” (Exodus 6:2-9).

Notice that despite this profound declaration by Moses, the Israelites were still not convinced, because of their despondency resulting from cruel bondage. Even though the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were well known and now reiterated by Moses’ statements—the reality of constant physical oppression was impeding belief in the words spoken. This is a reminder today—to even those indwelt with the Spirit of God—that even when belief in the Word of God is strong, the trials of life can be overwhelming, and bring doubt and despair into the mind. At such times, the plea for a “sign” to confirm that God is present in the trial or tribulation, can usher forth from the heart of still the most ardent Believer.

With further encouragement from the Lord, the text records some biographical information (Exodus 6:10-30) about the Israelites. Following this, we encounter that the task to speak to Pharaoh, and make demands for Pharaoh to release Israel from its slave status, is too much for the inarticulate Moses (Exodus 6:30). The Lord replied with a description of the roles that Moses and Aaron would have before Pharaoh, whose heart will harden intermittently throughout the judgments about to begin:

“They were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing out the sons of Israel from Egypt; it was the same Moses and Aaron. Now it came about on the day when the LORD spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, that the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘I am the LORD; speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I speak to you.’ But Moses said before the LORD, ‘Behold, I am unskilled in speech; how then will Pharaoh listen to me?’ Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall speak to Pharaoh that he let the sons of Israel go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart that I may multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. When Pharaoh does not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt and bring out My hosts, My people the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments. The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst.’ So Moses and Aaron did it; as the LORD commanded them, thus they did. Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three, when they spoke to Pharaoh” (Exodus 6:26-7:7).

Here is another reminder that the Holy One does not necessarily require those possessing mellifluous speaking ability, to communicate what is on His heart. Spiritually speaking, God has foreordained each individual to take on roles and responsibilities in His Kingdom’s work. The key to fulfilling these vocations is to be exactly what He has called a person to be, and not strive to focus attention on one’s mortal self to the people of the world, but to perform the assignments with His leading. Let God be God, and simply be thankful that He has, at the very least, called many into His chosen family for His purposes (Romans 8:28).

Our Torah reading continues, with some final instructions from the Lord on what Aaron was to do with his staff, when Pharaoh would ask for a sign. It is notable that what might appear to be a “miracle” by some, was indeed a counterfeit conjured up by the Egyptian sorcerers and magicians’ arts. In this instance, the magicians were able to turn their staffs into serpents, and with their secret arts were also able to turn water into blood:

“Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, ‘When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, “Work a miracle,” then you shall say to Aaron, “Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.”’ So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, and thus they did just as the LORD had commanded; and Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts. For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said. Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn; he refuses to let the people go. Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he is going out to the water, and station yourself to meet him on the bank of the Nile; and you shall take in your hand the staff that was turned into a serpent. You shall say to him, “The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness. But behold, you have not listened until now.’ Thus says the LORD, ‘By this you shall know that I am the LORD: behold, I will strike the water that is in the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it will be turned to blood. The fish that are in the Nile will die, and the Nile will become foul, and the Egyptians will find difficulty in drinking water from the Nile.’”’ Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron, “Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their reservoirs of water, that they may become blood; and there will be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.”’ So Moses and Aaron did even as the LORD had commanded. And he lifted up the staff and struck the water that was in the Nile, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood. The fish that were in the Nile died, and the Nile became foul, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. And the blood was through all the land of Egypt. But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts; and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.Then Pharaoh turned and went into his house with no concern even for this. So all the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink of the water of the Nile. Seven days passed after the LORD had struck the Nile” (Exodus 7:8-25).

For the children of God living today, a profound spiritual principle is revealed that needs to be taken seriously—because of the widely commonplace, carnal inclination, for people to demand a “sign” for verification of God’s hand upon a matter (cf. John 2:18; 6:30). There is one significant warning given by Yeshua the Messiah about what has and will be occurring, as the End of the Age approaches:

For false Messiahs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).

An even more explicit admonition is offered by the Apostle Paul, as he had to offer some words of clarity to the Thessalonicans, who were confused about the return of the Messiah:

“Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 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. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).

This sobering assessment definitely applies today, to those who are seeking truth and knowledge of the Holy One—because in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 is a certain warning that a great apostasy or falling away from the faith, is just a matter of time! All Messiah followers should be forewarned, and not let things that appear to be “miracles” or supernatural “signs” lead them astray to follow after the ones who appear to be orchestrating the signs. After all, a part of the Lord’s plan to test people with false prophets, is found in Deuteronomy ch. 13:

If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you” (Deuteronomy 13:1-5).

The people of God have been warned, as they will be tested, and they are to purge the evil from their midst. If we take the warning of Deuteronomy 13:1-5 seriously, perhaps much of the confusion, strife, division, and even despair that tends to disrupt today’s Messianic community, could be minimized. But lamentably, not enough people take this command seriously, and continue to seek signs, want their ears tickled (2 Timothy 4:3-4), or simply will not discontinue listening to false teachers and false prophets. This needs to change!

Returning to our Torah portion, we see that the Egyptian magicians were able to imitate the plague of frogs—and as is noted, despite the wretched stench—Pharaoh hardened his heart to the demands of Moses and Aaron:

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh and say to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me. But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite your whole territory with frogs. The Nile will swarm with frogs, which will come up and go into your house and into your bedroom and on your bed, and into the houses of your servants and on your people, and into your ovens and into your kneading bowls. So the frogs will come up on you and your people and all your servants.’”’ Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron, “Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the streams and over the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.”’ So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. The magicians did the same with their secret arts, making frogs come up on the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, ‘Entreat the LORD that He remove the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the LORD.’ Moses said to Pharaoh, ‘The honor is yours to tell me: when shall I entreat for you and your servants and your people, that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses, that they may be left only in the Nile?’ Then he said, ‘Tomorrow.’ So he said, ‘May it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God. The frogs will depart from you and your houses and your servants and your people; they will be left only in the Nile.’ Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the LORD concerning the frogs which He had inflicted upon Pharaoh. The LORD did according to the word of Moses, and the frogs died out of the houses, the courts, and the fields. So they piled them in heaps, and the land became foul. But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as the LORD had said” (Exodus 8:1-15).

Finally, however, the fourth plague consisting of a creative act, befuddled the Egyptian magicians. They proclaimed, in frustration, that even with their secret arts, they were unable to duplicate the plague of insects:

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Say to Aaron, “Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, that it may become gnats through all the land of Egypt.”’ They did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff, and struck the dust of the earth, and there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth became gnats through all the land of Egypt. The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, ‘This is the finger of God.’ But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said. Now the LORD said to Moses, ‘Rise early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, as he comes out to the water, and say to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For if you do not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of insects on you and on your servants and on your people and into your houses; and the houses of the Egyptians will be full of swarms of insects, and also the ground on which they dwellBut on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where My people are living, so that no swarms of insects will be there, in order that you may know that I, the LORD, am in the midst of the land. I will put a division between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign will occur.’”’ Then the LORD did so. And there came great swarms of insects into the house of Pharaoh and the houses of his servants and the land was laid waste because of the swarms of insects in all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, ‘Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.’ But Moses said, ‘It is not right to do so, for we will sacrifice to the LORD our God what is an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice what is an abomination to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not then stone us? We must go a three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD our God as He commands us.’ Pharaoh said, ‘I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Make supplication for me.’ Then Moses said, ‘Behold, I am going out from you, and I shall make supplication to the LORD that the swarms of insects may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people tomorrow; only do not let Pharaoh deal deceitfully again in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.’ So Moses went out from Pharaoh and made supplication to the LORD. The LORD did as Moses asked, and removed the swarms of insects from Pharaoh, from his servants and from his people; not one remained. But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go” (Exodus 8:16-32).

The plague of insects notably did not afflict the Israelites residing in Goshen. The great division between how the Lord separated His judgments between those who were directly opposed to Him, versus those who were His own, was witnessed. While this can be comforting to many who know that judgment is inevitable, it should prompt each of us to the place where we know—beyond a shadow of a doubt—that we are His children and His alone. Without the faithful realization and belief that the Lord can and will protect His people during times of trial and tribulation, a spirit of fear will predominate and have people return to various carnal patterns of relying upon their own machinations for survival—or worse, resort to following the advice of false teachers, false prophets, and other misguided souls.

V’eira concludes with Exodus 9 describing the plagues of pestilence killing the livestock, a pestilence that induced boils and sores on the Egyptians, and finally a raining of hail that utterly ruined the crops of the Egyptians. But through it all, note that God continued to prevent the judgments to directly affect the Israelites:

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh and speak to him, “Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For if you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them, behold, the hand of the LORD will come with a very severe pestilence on your livestock which are in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the herds, and on the flocks. But the LORD will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing will die of all that belongs to the sons of Israel.’”’ The LORD set a definite time, saying, ‘Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land.’ So the LORD did this thing on the next day, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the sons of Israel, not one died.Pharaoh sent, and behold, there was not even one of the livestock of Israel dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go. Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Take for yourselves handfuls of soot from a kiln, and let Moses throw it toward the sky in the sight of Pharaoh. It will become fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and will become boils breaking out with sores on man and beast through all the land of Egypt.’ So they took soot from a kiln, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses threw it toward the sky, and it became boils breaking out with sores on man and beast. The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians as well as on all the Egyptians. And the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses. Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and say to him, “Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth. For if by now I had put forth My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth. But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth. Still you exalt yourself against My people by not letting them go. Behold, about this time tomorrow, I will send a very heavy hail, such as has not been seen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. Now therefore send, bring your livestock and whatever you have in the field to safety. Every man and beast that is found in the field and is not brought home, when the hail comes down on them, will die.’”’ The one among the servants of Pharaoh who feared the word of the LORD made his servants and his livestock flee into the houses; but he who paid no regard to the word of the LORD left his servants and his livestock in the field. Now the LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that hail may fall on all the land of Egypt, on man and on beast and on every plant of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.’ Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail on the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very severe, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. The hail struck all that was in the field through all the land of Egypt, both man and beast; the hail also struck every plant of the field and shattered every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the sons of Israel were, there was no hail. Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, ‘I have sinned this time; the LORD is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked ones. Make supplication to the LORD, for there has been enough of God’s thunder and hail; and I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.’ Moses said to him, ‘As soon as I go out of the city, I will spread out my hands to the LORD; the thunder will cease and there will be hail no longer, that you may know that the earth is the LORD’s. But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the LORD God.’ (Now the flax and the barley were ruined, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud. But the wheat and the spelt were not ruined, for they ripen late.) So Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread out his hands to the LORD; and the thunder and the hail ceased, and rain no longer poured on the earth. But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not let the sons of Israel go, just as the LORD had spoken through Moses” (Exodus 9:1-35).

As this parashah concludes with the description of each of these plagues which harmed the Egyptians, but averted direct harm to Israel—there is the reminder that whenever the immediate damage was mitigated, the tendency for Pharaoh to harden his heart returned in full force. This is a reminder that those opposed to the Holy One of Israel will continually refuse to acquiesce and admit that there is a Creator God, who is ultimately in control of the affairs of humanity. Such is the hardness of heart by people, toward even the most vivid demonstrations of God’s involvement in the creative order. History will repeat itself. At some future time, when the Great Tribulation begins, there will be an horrific war raging against the saints, as more fully described in Revelation ch. 13:

“And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?’ There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints. Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six” (Revelation 13:1-18).

There is a solution for God’s people to overcome the inevitable “beast system”—whose arrival has been prophesied, and whose emergence is only a matter of time. The solution can be found in the emerging Messianic community of faith, among people who are ardently attempting to become and will persevere as the end-time saints, who will have a testimony of Yeshua and obey His commandments:

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Messiah have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.’ And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Yeshua” (Revelation 12:10-17; cf. 14:12).

While many are concerned about the future war against God’s people enacted by the antimessiah/antichrist—war against the saints is present and raging even now. The beginning stages of the grand apostasy against the Holy Scriptures, the gospel of salvation, and even the Creator Himself have already begun! We each need to make sure to employ the full armor of God, as Paul originally detailed to the Believers in Asia Minor:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH [Isaiah 11:5], and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS [Isaiah 59:17], and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE [Isaiah 52:7]; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION [Isaiah 59:17], and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:10-17).

Whether we look back to the example of the Ancient Israelites who were delivered from the oppression of slavery by the Lord’s hand using judgments upon their Egyptian overlords—or we look forward to the Great Tribulation and how to overcome the actions of the antimessiah and the beast system—it is personally most beneficial to remain in the here and now, and utilize the knowledge received from studying the Scriptures, to attain victory over the daily, evil influences. After all, each day has enough trouble of its own, and the command from Yeshua is very precise without equivocation:

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:33-34).

Inevitably, according to the Holy Scriptures, the Second Coming will take place, and Yeshua the Messiah will be present among us to fulfill all of the promises which have been spoken and written about down through the ages. We do not know if those living today, or their children or grandchildren or great-grandchildren, will be the end-time saints who must content with another set of plagues and judgments that are to befall the wicked. Only time will tell. So in the meanwhile, brothers and sisters, be about the Father’s business! (Click to Source)

Torah Commentary – Sh’mot (Names) – His Ways – January 6, 2017

Torah Commentary
Sh’mot (Names)
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Exodus 1:1-6:1
Isaiah 27:6-28:13; 29:22-23
Matthew 22:23-33; 41-46
Acts 3:12-15
Hebrew 11:23-26

His Ways

Just a few days ago we entered into the Gregorian year of 2018. The thought of that seems a bit strange. You may even be one who would say you never imagined how this world system could possibly have lasted this long. I can relate.
Truth is, we are here and with the new year a verse keeps being brought to my mind. Isaiah 55:8 says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.” That verse makes more sense to me with each passing day.
The Hebrews in Egypt must have had thoughts concerning this not yet recorded concept. For those who had been keeping up with history, they must have been shaking their heads with unbelief. How could they have gone from the great honor of their recent ancestors to slavery in exile? What happened through these short years?
Maybe a clue to this question is found in Exodus 1:23. In the verse it is recorded that the Hebrews cried out, but it does not say they cried out to HaShem. It just says they were crying. Is it possible they had given up on the promises they had been given through their ancestor Abraham so many years earlier? Is it in the forgetting of the promises they had forgotten who they were and Whom they belonged to? Had they been so long in exile they had given up? Are those words mirroring some of our thoughts today?
Truth is, whether His family is in Egypt or anywhere else called exile His thoughts and ways are not going to line up with ours. His thoughts and ways are to bring forth a greater work than ours would ever accomplish.
Now they may think they are forgotten, but we know they are not, because we have the benefit of being able to read the rest of the story and we know the outcome. With this we can sit back and be experts at telling them what they should have done while all the while dealing with the same faith failures they went through. Think of it this way. What if a book is being written about our exile which others will one day be able to read. They could be experts to!
Now they may have thought they were forgotten, but truth is there were great works being done which were way beyond their thoughts. The first work was being done in them. In Egypt Yah was growing His family to numbers Abraham would probably never imagined. In the growing of the family numerically, it does appear that they forgot to grow spiritually. Not pointing fingers, just a floating thought to ponder. The other work being done was about a shepherd being prepared to lead them. Without that shepherd they would not have even made it to the sea much less into the wilderness and for some the Promise Land.
In the past years there has been much talk and teaching about what is referred to as the Greater Exodus. Verses used for this teaching are in Jeremiah 23. Why have these verses not happened? Why are we still in exile? Why are we not in Israel? Is it possible that not only are we not ready, but the shepherds spoken of in the first of the chapter are still on their own backsides of deserts being prepared for the day.
What should we take away from this Torah portion? Let us not forget who we are. Not forgetting Whom we belong to. We need to remember the verse in Habakkuk 2:3 used to explain that every promise He has made will come to pass and though from our vantage point it may seem the promises are delayed, from His vantage point, they are right on time.
In the end, just as a remnant of Hebrews were able to grasp that His thoughts and ways would bring forth a greater work than their thoughts and ways could ever do, let us pray for and wait patiently in our day.  (Click to Source)

Calif. Megachurch Accused of Practicing Occult in Use of ‘Destiny Cards’

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Bethel Church, a controversial megachurch in Redding, California, is now under fire in Christian circles for allegedly promoting New Age occultism in the use of “Destiny Cards,” which critics have likened to tarot cards.

Leaders of the 9,000-member congregation have been accused of working with a Melbourne, Australia-based group known as Christ Alignment, a group that claims to have worked with many churches in that country to do readings.

Christ Alignment staff describe themselves as “trained spiritual consultants,” and say on their website that they “draw from the same divine energy of the Christ spirit.”

“We practice a form of supernatural healing that flows from the universal presence of the Christ. We draw from the same divine energy of the Christ spirit, as ancient followers did and operate only out of the third heaven realm to gain insight and revelation,” they say.

Marsha West of the Christian Research Network argues that the Destiny Cards are just another name for tarot cards which Christ Alignment uses to “practice the prophetic.”

(SCREENSHOT: FACEBOOK)

“Tarot cards are used to tell one’s future. Fortune telling is an occult practice. Occultists believe they are endued with magical or supernatural powers. These folks are into witchcraft, satanism, and other forms of psychic discernment (tarot cards, astrology, séances, Runes, palm reading, teacup reading, etc.). So it is clear that the Christ in Christ alignment is the New Age Christ, not the Christ of Holy Scripture, as God’s people are not to participate in occult practices such as Destiny Card reading. (Deut. 18:10),” CRN wrote.

Bethel staff initially denied any association with Christ Alignment and condemned the use of Destiny Cards, according to Church Watch Central.

“Someone told me there is an article stating that some Christians are now using ‘Christian Tarot Cards’ (apparently called ‘Destiny Cards’), and that some people associated with Bethel were doing so,” wrote Kris Vollotton, senior associate leader at Bethel Church and co-founder at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, in a deleted response on Facebook.

“This is insane! First of all, whoever is doing this needs to repent and stop the craziness in the ‘name of reaching people for Christ.’ Secondly, Bethel has graduated 10,000 students, has 9,000 people in their congregation and a couple million followers. For some reason when some ‘Christian’ does something crazy, the media often want to blame the church they go to or the podcast they listen to etc., guilt by association. Believers are called to love the broken so we are privileged to have them named among us. But broken people often act broken. Assigning their broken condition to the people loving on them is like blaming doctors for their patients’ sickness!” he continued.

The post was reportedly deleted after Ken and Jenny Hodge of Christ Alignment publicly wrote about the group’s connection to the megachurch and their school while challenging allegations that they are a cult.

“We are not a cult, we hate tarot with a passion, we have not joined ‘the world,’ we fully support everything Bethel believes in and we do not have to repent as our ministry has nothing to repent off. Jesus celebrates it. … We have had many Bethel students over the years come out on teams with us — some of your finest. They can attest to you that we have done nothing wrong, rather something right.

“We have developed a method of reaching new agers that is unique and enables us to pluck them out of darkness. We actually teach this method to churches in Australia and indeed shared it to some of your students when we were visiting Bethel,” the Hodges wrote. “It is ridiculous that Christians have judged us based on photos where cards appear, yet not one person has asked, ‘what exactly are those cards?'”

On Tuesday, Theresa Dedmon, pastoral staff member at Bethel who oversees the Creative Arts Department for the church and the School of Supernatural Ministry, denied in a blog post that the Destiny Cards are tarot cards, and explained what they are and defended their use in ministry.

“First, ‘Destiny Cards’ are not tarot cards. They do, however, have a similar look that attracts people who are searching for a ‘reading.’ What they get from Christ Alignment staff is a prophetic word about their destiny, which is to have a personal relationship with Father God through Jesus Christ, and encountered through the Holy Spirit,” she said. “Destiny Cards are simply images that help to communicate the message of the Good News to those who are searching for a hope and a future.”

She further went on to cite why they were biblically acceptable.

The Christian Post reached out to Bethel for further comment on Friday but was told Dedmon would not be able to respond until January 2018. (Click to Source)

Happy New Year, America! Are you really ready for 2018? Here’s a list of 20+ things that could erupt without warning…

Sunday, December 31, 2017 by: 

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(Natural News) Happy New Year, America! Somehow, we all survived 2017 and we’re still breathing. America hasn’t been shattered yet, North Korea hasn’t yet nuked us and Baltimore still has at least a few citizens who aren’t heroin addicts. The dollar hasn’t collapsed and neither has the stock market. Heck, even Bitcoin is still over $12,000 right now… at least for the moment.

So drink up and party down while you still can. You’ll want to sober up quickly so that you can face 2018 with a degree of seriousness, because a lot of the craziness that didn’t quite bubble to the surface is 2017 is now primed for a 2018 eruption.

Every conflict gets worse in 2018

2018 is looking like it will be a year of incredible global conflict. I’ve already posted a list of my top ten predictions for 2018, so I won’t repeat them all here, but the convergence of disturbing events in 2018 is shaping up to be nothing less than epic. Here’s a list of just some of the global conflicts that are accelerating toward uncontrolled eruptions in 2018:

  • Citizens’ revolution under way right now in Iran, which has huge implications for Middle East political stability and nuclear conflict.
  • Heightened threats against Israel over the USA’s Jerusalem embassy move.
  • Very high likelihood of a U.S. military assault on North Korea, which may result in the Norks unleashing artillery and short-range missiles onto South Korea and Japan, crippling shipping ports and manufacturing centers (with huge implications in the U.S. economy).
  • The possibility of North Korea launching a large-scale anthrax attack on South Korea, as Natural News recently reported.
  • The 2018 mid-term political elections in the USA, with enormous implications for President Trump depending on who controls the House and Senate afterwards. (If the Dems win a majority, they will immediately attempt to impeach Trump, possibly setting off an actual civil war across America.)
  • The acceleration of radical left-wing terrorism across America, involving Antifa, By Any Means Necessary, Austin’s Red Guards and other overtly communist groups who are plotting “kill zones” for conservatives, sabotaging trains (like Amtrak) and plotting an armed revolt.
  • The ramping up of California’s secession movement to try to separate from the United States, with the Eastern portion of the state possibly engaging in an armed separatist movement to reject Left Coast madness.
  • The exploding opioid and heroin epidemics, combined with the continued war on cops as those law enforcement officers desperately attempt to take back the streets from a runaway addiction culture in cities like Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, Houston and St. Louis.
  • The huge political battle surrounding DACA and U.S. border control, with the results of this fight likely determining the very future of this nation. (A nation without borders is not a nation at all.)
  • The fight to rein in America’s exploding welfare state, where an entire class of citizens contributes nothing at all to society, living as multi-generational welfare recipients collecting food stamps, rent subsidies and both state and federal payouts funded by money confiscated from the productive members of society.
  • The worsening of the legacy media’s fake news fakery, with the NYT, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC and other outlets now routinely fabricating completely false stories that unravel mere hours after they’re published.
  • The worsening national debt under President Trump, where government spending seems to be utterly out of control with no end in sight. Obama more than doubled our total national debt in just eight years… will this fiscal monstrosity continue?
  • The possible unveiling of a gold-backed money supply by China, or a government-backed globalist cryptocurrency by the central banks. Either one would be unimaginably disruptive to markets everywhere (many of which are currently running on vapor).
  • The increasing likelihood of nuclear terrorism targeting America, either with dirty bombs or nuclear detonations, perhaps staged just offshore (near high population cities and ports).
  • The exploding mass mental illness and delusional thinking of Leftists, who have abandoned all science and are now pushing for the complete destruction of meaningful language in the name of “tolerance.”
  • The exposing of the deep corruption of the FBI and its complicity with a highly illegal and sinister effort to interfere with the U.S. election by falsely accusing Trump of “collusion with the Russians.” Watch for some current or former FBI agents to go to jail as this unfolds.
  • The coming engineered Bitcoin collapse that will crater the cryptocurrency while setting the stage for world governments to ban all “anonymous” cryptos (while rolling out their own trackable cryptos).
  • The U.S. Supreme Court battles over Christian beliefs vs. gay couple demands, plus many other decisions on surveillance, gun rights, freedom of speech, warrantless searches and more.
  • The worsening of both private and government-run pension funds across the country, as that “day of reckoning” draws ever closer to the day America’s retirees will all realize they’ve been swindled.
  • The accelerating financial collapse of Illinois, California, Connecticut and other states that continue to spend their way into financial oblivion.

What’s going to break first? War, finance, politics, pensions, health care or law and order?

In essence, making it through 2018 largely intact becomes a guessing game of trying to figure out which system is going to break first. Although it’s just an educated guess, my sense is that war with North Korea is imminent and highly likely to take place in 2018.

The looming stock market crash, on the other hand, may have been kicked down the road a couple more years by the recent GOP tax cut that slashed corporate tax rates to 21% across the board. This will result in a huge influx of corporate capital that’s currently being offshored, resulting in a very strong domestic expansion of jobs, R&D, manufacturing facilities and small business growth.

Pensions will take several years to fully implode, so I don’t expect a “pension apocalypse” to strike home in 2018. Although some pension programs may begin to crater, this is really a longer term mathematical problem that will really be exposed when the stock market crash comes at some future date.

Political strife, however, seems highly likely to occur in 2018. I’ve even covered rumors of scenarios where “contractor” operators are hired to help quell the outbreak of riots across multiple U.S. cities. There are numerous scenarios that could set this off, including the collapse of the food stamp system, a staged false flag shooting of a minority person, or even Leftists waging an attempted nationwide revolt after losing badly in the 2018 mid-term elections. Some U.S. states (like California) are already nearly in a state of insurrection against the federal government, witnessed by Gov. Brown recently pardoning illegal aliens who committed violent crimes there, in order to prevent the feds from deporting them.

One scenario that I keep hearing a lot about is the possibility that Trump could wage mass arrests of deep state operatives across the bureaucracy. This act — which absolutely needs to be done to save America… and it needs to include Hillary Clinton, James Comey and Peter Strzok — would immediately set off insane outrage on the Left. But Trump likely realizes he has a nation of Second Amendment patriots — i.e. gun owners who will defend the Constitution — to back up any attempt to criminally prosecute deep state operatives who are destroying America. This is one scenario that could quickly escalate to an actual shooting civil war in some areas of the country. (There’s no question that the Clinton / Comey deep state is a dangerous criminal conspiracy that must be brought to an end if America is to survive as a Republic.)

Got your preps ready?

Considering all this, what should you prepare for in terms of prioritizing your preps for 2018 and beyond?

The answer, believe it or not, isn’t anything new:

  • Live within your means and don’t live on highly leveraged debt or risky investments.
  • Prepare for long-term disruptions in power, food, fuel and basic infrastructure.
  • Prepare to defend your life, your family and your property against looters or crazed mobs, and don’t count on police being able to help you.
  • Make sure you have cash and barter items on hand that don’t require a working infrastructure to use, potentially including gold and silver coins.
  • Get out of the cities! Many will become “death traps” under the wrong circumstances.
  • Practice self-reliance as much as possible, including home food production, food preservation, seed saving and homesteading skills.
  • Clean and lubricate your firearms. Get some range time and check all your sights and sight batteries. Make sure everything works. Also remember that if you have ammo sitting in loaded magazines for a long period of time, the mag springs will lose their resilience and you’ll have feed failures.
  • Have an off-grid way to filter water and boil water. Do you have a gravity water filter? Do you have a wood fueled camp stove? Do you have the tools to start a fire? Don’t skip these essentials.
  • Make a point to keep your vehicle(s) fueled up at all times. Don’t get caught with a quarter tank. If you have a safe way to store extra fuel, consider doing so. (I prefer diesel vehicles for this reason, because storing diesel is far safer than storing gasoline.)
  • Most of all, maintain a state of mental readiness. Be ready to adapt and overcome. 2018 may bring some extremely difficult circumstances to your door… you will need all your mental faculties working at their best in order to survive the challenges.

That brings in the importance of nutrition for brain performance. If you aren’t feeding your brain right, it’s not going to give you the performance you need when you’re under stress or panic. There are numerous superfoods and nutritional supplements that help protect and enhance cognitive function (such as turmeric). We offer dozens of them — all laboratory verified — at the Health Ranger Store.

Keep reading this website for more coverage of groundbreaking events through 2018 and beyond. (Click to Source)

 

An AI expert explains how robot-human offspring would work

We are coming to the Days of Noah. So what kind of monsters are sinful humans going to create? The Nephilim are coming back!

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Can robots and humans make babies together? This is a serious question inspired by some of the advances already achieved in the 21st century by researchers in cell biology and in a discipline variously known as biorobotics, synthetic biology, or bionanotechnology.

Although it had long been a truth universally acknowledged that sexual intercourse was an essential precursor to conception, it was only around 150 years ago that early studies of embryology revealed the reason why, according to the dogma of the time, intercourse was “essential” in human reproduction. The reason was that only an egg from a female, fertilized by a sperm from a male, can result in a live birth. But thanks to the Nobel prize winning work of researchers like embryologist John Gurdon and stem cell researcher Shinya Yamanaka, it has become possible during the past few years to create both sperm cells and eggs in the laboratory from skin cells, obviating the need for a human mother or father to kick off the reproductive process.

At the end of April 2016, Stanford University and the Valencia Infertility Institute announced the result of a collaboration project in which human sperm, with tails, were created from skin cells. Just five months later, testifying to the speed with which stem cell research is progressing, researchers at the University of Bath reported that they had discovered a method of creating offspringwithout the need for a female egg. This was heralded as a major breakthrough which rewrites 200 years of biology teaching, and could pave the way, for example, for a baby to be born from the DNA of two men.

In August 2017, researchers at Ohio State College of Engineering announced an exciting new technology. “Tissue nanotransfection” (TNT for short) which enables injured or aging tissue to be repaired or restored, including blood vessels, nerve cells and entire organs.

TNT technology has two major components: First is a nanotechnology-based chip designed to deliver cargo to adult cells in a live body. Second is the design of specific biological cargo for cell conversion. TNT doesn’t require any laboratory-based procedures and is also non-invasive.

“By using our novel nanochip technology, injured or compromised organs can be replaced. We have shown that skin is a fertile land where we can grow the elements of any organ that is declining,” writes the study’s co-lead, Dr. Chandan Sen, director of Ohio State’s Center for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Based Therapies. The next step for the Ohio researchers is clinical trials next year to test this technology in humans.

In fraction of a second, TNT injects genetic code into the skin, turning those cells into other types of cells required for treating diseased conditions, generating any cell type of interest for treatment within the patient’s own body. This is key to the concept of a human-robot baby whose genetic information comes from both “parents,” the robot as well as the human. The skin cells used to derive the sperm and egg which start the embryonic process, already contain genetic information from the human parent. But what of genetic information derived from the robot parent?

Robot genes

To answer this question, let us consider the research of a South Korean team lead by Jong-Hwan Kim, a pioneer in robotics. In 2005, Kim and his team at the Robot Intelligence Technology Lab in Korea’s Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) published a paper in which they describe an artificial creature called Rity, living in a virtual world. They used Rity to test the world’s first robotic chromosomes—a set of computerized DNA codes for creating artificial creatures that can have their own personality, and can ultimately reproduce their own kind or even evolve as a distinct species. The effectiveness of the Korean team’s artificial chromosomes was demonstrated by implanting genetic code into two Rity robots living in a virtual world, in order to specify their personality.

In 2007, the Korean team applied for a patent for their “genetic robot” invention. The patent describes in some detail how the research team model their software robot based on established biological inheritance laws, including those propounded by Gregor Mendel, who lived from 1822 to 1884, the founding father of the modern study of genetics.

When a sperm and egg meet, their respective DNAs combine so that half of our DNA comes from our mother and half from our father. We need to understand how the Korean model operates in order to understand how a human-robot baby can be created with genetic codes derived partly from a robot. The team define their “genetic robot” as an artificial creature, a software robot, or a general robot that has its own “genetic codes,” the genetic code of a robot being a single robot genome composed of multiple artificial chromosomes.

The genetic codes are classified into “personality genes” related to the internal state of the software robot, and “outward genes” related to its outward appearance. The outward genes provide pieces of outward genetic information that determine the outward appearance of the software robot, such as its face and its eyes. The personality genes provide fundamental genetic information, internal state genetic information, and behavior determination genetic information, and they dictate the robot’s personality by determining changes in its internal states, including changes in the robot’s motivations, its homeostasis, and its emotions, and changes in the corresponding behaviour manifestations as the robot interacts with its external environment.

The term “fundamental genetic information” refers to fundamental parameters, for example volatility, which have a great effect on changes to the robot’s internal states and external behaviours. The internal state genetic information comprises parameters that affect the internal state of the robot in relation to how it is affected by external inputs to the robot. The behavior determination genetic information refers to parameters that determine the robot’s external behaviours based on its current internal states.

So to summarize their invention, the multiple artificial chromosomes implanted in the Korean software robot dictate the individual personality characteristics peculiar to that robot, which in turn governs how the robot’s internal states change, including its motivation, homeostasis, emotion, and its behavior resulting from those changes while it is interacting with its external environment.

The Korean team’s patent application also summarizes their method for passing on genetic information from a robot “parent” to its robot “offspring.” The genetic codes of one or more software robots are used as the genetic codes of a pair of parent software robots, and new genetic information is created by combining genetic information from paired homologous chromosomes – information provided by the genetic codes of the parent software robots. The combining is conducted according to a predetermined gene crossover rule.

The Korean invention allows the user to design a genetic code for a software robot easily and intuitively and to design genetic codes for various software robots by crossover. It also enables a user to easily modify or construct a genetic code for a software robot by providing both a changing function for intuition traits and a software robot crossover function. This exercise in genetic engineering is used to create software robot offspring with the desired personality features.

It cannot be a huge step to translate the genetic code format generated by the Korean algorithm, into the genetic code format employed in the Ohio TNT chip, thereby allowing researchers to specify personality traits and physical characteristics to be passed from a robot parent to a human-robot baby.

Robot-human offspring

Suddenly the very real possibility has appeared on the horizon of the robots of the future manipulating human skin cells to create human sperm and human eggs, and from them, using the Ohio discovery of TNT as the basis, creating an entire human-robot baby whose embryo can be nurtured and carried through pregnancy by a mother surrogate. By injecting genetic code into skin cells à la TNT, the Ohio researchers have paved the way for the genetic code of a robot, containing some of the characteristics of the robot, to be passed on to its offspring along with human genetic code. This is how I believe it will be possible, within the foreseeable future, for humans and robots to make babies together.

Will this happen in my lifetime? Probably not, as I am 72. But given the phenomenal rate of discovery and progress in the fields of cell biology and nanotechnology, I think it is likely to happen before the end of this century.

There are all sorts of ethical questions relating to such a use of genetic engineering as part of the process to create babies.

These implications were put somewhat into perspective in a post on human genetic engineering by Renuka Sivapatham, a graduate student at the University of Southern Denmark. DNA editing techniques have been available for decades and are crucial tools for understanding gene functions and molecular pathways. Recently, genome editing has stepped back into the limelight because of newer technologies that can quickly and efficiently modify genomes by introducing or genetically correcting mutations in human cells and animal models.

Genome editing technologies have come a long way and have already advanced towards mammalian models and clinical trials in humans. These results force scientists to question the future and the implications of such powerful technology. Should we accept the genetic engineering of human embryos? If yes, when and in what capacity should we accept it?

Prominent scientists in the field have already initiated conversations regarding the ethical implications that arise when modifying the human genome. Preventing genetic diseases by human genetic engineering is inevitable. The slippery slope is if, and when, we start to use it for cosmetic changes such as eye color or for improving a desired athletic trait. A perfect example is surgery, which we have performed for hundred years for disease purposes and is now widely used as a cosmetic tool. Opening the doors for the genetic engineering of human embryos could, with time, lead to genetic manipulation for desirable traits, raising the fear of creating a eugenic driven human population.

Who are we to manipulate nature? For those who suffer from genetic diseases, the answer is not so simple. If we can safely prevent severe genetic diseases and create healthy humans, why not manipulate nature?

At this time the long-term effects of genome editing remain unknown, raising additional questions. As the field progresses, with appropriate regulations and guidelines, it will eventually co-exist alongside other major controversial topics like nuclear power and genetically modified organisms. Since ethics are different across the world, creating international guidelines will be a challenge, but a necessity. Strict regulations are in place for nuclear power, the same should be possible for the genetic engineering of human embryos. To outlaw genetic engineering entirely will be potentially declining a place at the discussion table, as the further utilization of such technologies is unlikely to be abandoned. (Click to Source)

Excerpted from “Can Robots and Humans Make Babies Together?”, keynote speech of the third International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots, delivered in London on Dec. 20.

Feds employ data-driven early warning system in opioid fight

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PITTSBURGH (AP) — The pain clinic tucked into the corner of a low-slung suburban strip mall was an open secret.

Patients would travel hundreds of miles to see Dr. Andrzej Zielke, eager for what authorities described as a steady flow of prescriptions for the kinds of powerful painkillers that ushered the nation into its worst drug crisis in history.

At least one of Zielke’s patients died of an overdose, and prosecutors say others became so dependent on oxycodone and other opioids they would crowd his office, sometimes sleeping in the waiting room. Some peddled their pills near tumble-down storefronts and on blighted street corners in addiction-plagued parts of Allegheny County, where deaths by drug overdose reached record levels last year.

But Robert Cessar, a longtime federal prosecutor, was unaware of Zielke until Justice Department officials handed him a binder of data that, he said, confirmed what pill-seekers from as far away as Ohio and Virginia already knew. The doctor who offered ozone therapy and herbal pain remedies was also prescribing highly addictive narcotics to patients who didn’t need them, according to an indictment charging him with conspiracy and unlawfully distributing controlled substances.

Zielke denied he was overprescribing, telling AP he practiced alternative medicine and many of his patients stopped seeing him when he cut down on pain pills.

His indictment in October was the first by a nationwide group of federal law enforcement officials that, armed with new access to a broader array of prescription drug databases, Medicaid and Medicare figures, coroners’ records and other numbers compiled by the Justice Department, aims to stop fraudulent doctors faster than before.

The department is providing a trove of data to the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit, which draws together authorities in 12 regions across the country, that shows which doctors are prescribing the most, how far patients will travel to see them and whether any have died within 60 days of receiving one of their prescriptions, among other information.

Authorities have been going after so-called “pill mills” for years, but the new approach brings additional federal resources to bear against the escalating epidemic. Where prosecutors would spend months or longer building a case by relying on erratic informants and only limited data, the number-crunching by analysts in Washington provides information they say lets them quickly zero in on a region’s top opioid prescribers.

“This data shines a light we’ve never had before,” Cessar said. “We don’t need to have confidential informants on the street to start a case. Now, we have someone behind a computer screen who is helping us. That has to put (doctors) on notice that we have new tools.”

And Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, told AP the Justice Department will consider going after any law-breaker, even a pharmaceutical company, as it seeks to bring more cases and reduce the number of unwarranted prescriptions.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been in lock-step with President Donald Trump about the need to combat the drug abuse problem that claimed more than 64,000 lives in 2016, a priority that resonates with Trump’s working-class supporters who have seen the ravages of drug abuse first-hand. The president called it a public health emergency, a declaration that allows the government to redirect resources in various ways to fight opioid abuse.

But he directed no new federal money to deal with a scourge that kills nearly 100 people a day, and critics say his efforts fall short of what is needed. The Republican-controlled Congress doesn’t seem eager to put extra money toward the problem.

While the effectiveness of the Trump administration’s broader strategy remains to be seen, the Justice Department’s data-driven effort is one small area where federal prosecutors say they can have an impact.

The data analysis provides clues about who may be breaking the law that are then corroborated with old-fashioned detective work — tips from informants or undercover office visits, said Shawn A. Brokos, a supervisory special agent in the FBI’s Pittsburgh division. Investigators can also get a sense for where displaced patients will turn next.

Authorities acknowledge there are legitimate reasons for some doctors to prescribe large quantities of opioids, and high prescribing alone doesn’t necessarily trigger extra scrutiny. What raises red flags for investigators are the dentists, psychiatrists and gynecologists who are prescribing at surprisingly high rates.

The effort operates on the long-held perception that drug addiction often starts with prescriptions from doctors and leads to abuse of more dangerous black market drugs like fentanyl, which, for the first time last year, contributed to more overdose deaths than any other legal or illegal drug, surpassing pain pills and heroin.

But that focus can cause law-abiding physicians to abandon disabled patients who rely on prescriptions, for fear of being shut down, said University of Alabama addiction researcher Stefan Kertesz. Those patients will turn to harder street drugs or even kill themselves, he said.

“The professional risk for physicians is so high that the natural tendency is to get out of the business of prescription opioids at all,” he said.

Another addiction expert, Dr. Andrew Kolodny, founder of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, said prosecutors’ emphasis on “drug-dealing doctors” is appropriate but inadequate on its own.

“It’s just not really going to have that much of an impact on an epidemic,” he said. The bigger change will come from a stronger push for prevention and treatment, he said. And, he added, “They should go after the bigger fish…. the legal narcotics distributors and wholesalers who have literally been getting away with mass manslaughter.”

Investigators said Zielke charged $250 a visit and made patients pay in cash. But Zielke said prosecutors unfairly targeted him. Instead of more prosecutions, he said, the government “should promote more alternative therapies,” he said. “And they should find out why so many people have pain.”

A second indictment by the anti-fraud unit involved a cardiologist in Elko, Nevada, accused of routinely providing patients fentanyl and other painkillers they did not need. Justice officials hope to expand the data-driven work nationwide.

Will it work? As Soo Song, who watched addiction warp communities while serving as acting U.S. attorney in western Pennyslvania, put it: “The best measure of success will be if fewer people die.” (Click to Source)

‘US mainland in our nuclear strike range’, Kim Jong-un warns in New Year’s speech

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has declared his county a nuclear power in possession of technology capable of striking the US mainland should there be a need.

“The US mainland is in our nuclear strike zone,” Kim said in his New Year’s message which was broadcast on Chosun Central TV. “The United States will never start a war with me and our country,” and Pyongyang has “completed the creation of North Korea’s nuclear forces,” he added.

Tensions between Washington and Pyongyang reached unprecedented levels last year, as the North continued to pursue its missile and nuclear programs. Washington said all options, including a military solution, are on the table to tame North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. While the US is still on course to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis, Pyongyang has so far refused to negotiate its nuclear status.

In 2018, Kim promised to focus his country’s efforts on the “operational deployment” of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles. At the same time, the North Korean leader said Washington“will never” be able to start a war of aggression against Pyongyang as long as the North remains a nuclear power.

Pyongyang had a busy time developing its nuclear and ballistic programs over the course of 2017, having staged 16 missile tests and conducting its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3.

In light of recent success in his nuclear endeavor, Kim called for the “mass-production” of nukes and missiles to be used as a deterrent against the US and its allies.

However, despite maintaining a belligerent posture towards the US, Kim said that the North is open to talks with S. Korea. North Korea, he said, is also willing to take part in Pyeong Chang Winter Olympics scheduled to begin in February 2018. (Click to Source)