Jan 24, 2015

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Sleepwalking Through Iran

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150004 01/24/2015 Sleepwalking Through Iran

A controversy erupted recently when terrorism expert Stephen Emerson mistakenly referred to “all” of Birmingham, England as being a Muslim “no-go zone” on a FoxNews report. This caused a bit of an uproar amidst the politically correct

In this week’s boralogue, John examines the truth behind these No-Go Zones in certain European cities and asserts that as politically correct talking heads muddy the waters by carelessly discrediting what people are saying, we need to be able to freely and openly debate these issues.

First up, Reza Kahlili (www.atimetobetray.com), former CIA operative inside the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, discusses the current capabilities of Iran’s nuclear program, the regime’s plans once the program reaches its completion, and what, if anything, can ultimately be done about it.

Conservative radio talk show host Josh Bernstein (www.joshbernsteinpoliticalwriter.com), rejoins us this week to explain the emerging Trans-Pacific Partnership and show us the dangers of giving President Obama fast-track trade authority that would implement international rules and bypass the U.S. Constitution.

Joseph Meyer (www.straightmoneyanalysis.com), founder of management consultant firm Meyer & Associates, pulls on his four decades of financial experience to predict the future in different sectors of both the U.S. and global economies for 2015 and beyond.

John finishes out this week’s program with a brief commentary on the faithfulness and commitment of a Christian warrior in today’s church.

Join us as we continue our weekly intelligence news briefing, Section 6, which features comments by John on important stories making news around the world.

Follow us on the Steel on Steel Facebook page and remember to join Praying for Persecuted Christians on Facebook for the latest information concerning persecuted Christians around the world.

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Jan 17, 2015

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Rogue Events

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150003 01/17/2015 Rogue Events

In this week’s boralogue, John recalls the ups and downs of the financial markets in the past decade and looks at the impending currency crisis coming in 2016-2020. The first rumblings of this disaster can be seen in this week’s decision by Switzerland to pull their currency from the swiftly collapsing Euro market.

Josh Bernstein (www.joshbernsteinpoliticalwriter.com), published writer and host of a popular conservative radio talk show, kicks off the program by examining the potential slippery slope of the UN Small Arms Treaty and shows how it could likely supersede the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Next up, Giulio Meotti (www.giuliomeotti.com), Italian author and journalist, discusses the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre and how it involves not only violence and Islamism but also an attack on free speech.

In the wake of the new Republican Congress taking office, Dan Kish (www.instituteforenergyresearch.org), Senior Vice President for Policy at the Institute for Energy Research, pulls back the curtain on the Keystone Pipeline debate to find global warming activists fighting against the measure.

After a brief background on Church Reformation, John speaks with Ryan Houck (www.freemarketamerica.org), executive director of watchdog group Free Market America, who discusses his new book: Will America Fail, which analyzes the mindset of the millennial generation and the future of politics in America.

Join us as we continue our weekly intelligence news briefing, Section 6, which features comments by John on important stories making news around the world.

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Jan 16, 2015

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Temple Mount, Episode 2: The Farthest

By Steve Schiller

 

What do the following have in common: a donkey named Lightning with the face of a woman, a middle of the night trip into heaven and back, a valuation of only five percent, and rival political leaders? The answer is the story behind how and why the Temple Mount transitioned from Jewish control to Muslim.

Last week, we traveled back three millennia to David’s purchase of the farm that would become the Temple Mount; the building of the magnificent First Temple by Solomon; the delayed construction of the smaller Second Temple in 516BC; Herod the Great’s remodel and expansion in 19BC; and the war between Jewish Zealots and the eventual destruction of the Temple in AD 70.   For a great majority of the Mount’s first thousand years, regardless of what empire ruled the region, the Temple Mount belonged to the Jews.

The next 568 years featured rule first by the Romans and then by the Byzantines. Roman Emperor Julian in AD 363 granted the Jews permission to rebuild the Temple. As with most decisions by leaders, this one was a political one. By this time, the split between Christianity and Judaism was beyond repair and thus the Christians viewed the demolished Temple as a representation of their faith as greater than Judaism. Julian had turned his back on the Christian faith, thereby politically and personally he favored the rebuilding of the Temple by the Jews.

Despite his go-ahead, the construction never got off the ground. Historians argue over the cause of this, attributing either an earthquake in Galilee or the ascension of a new pro-Christian emperor in Rome – both occurring in the summer of AD 363. The Sassanid Empire took over in AD 610 and gave control to the Jews, albeit for a short time. A partial Jewish Temple began to rise on the Mount, but five years later, the Byzantines regained control, the unfinished sanctuary was razed and the area used as a garbage dump.

Enter the Muslims. Caliph Omar took the city in AD 638. Right away he looked for a site to establish the masjid (mosque) of al-Aqsa. Al-Aqsa in Arabic means “the furthest,” thus Omar was looking to set up the famous Furthest Mosque, referenced in the Koran. The 7th surah (or chapter) of the Koran mentions the furthest mosque: “Exalted is he who took his servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings we have blessed, to show him of our signs.” This verse is speaking of Muhammad and his famous “night journey,” which I will explain in a moment. The mosque of Haram was located in Mecca and the location of the mosque of al-Aqsa was unknown – no reference is actually made as to its location.

Muslim tradition holds that al-Aqsa, the destination of Muhammad’s night journey, was located in Jerusalem, more specifically the Temple Mount. This would fit since Jerusalem was far from Mecca, especially at that time. The story has Muhammad, the “prophet,” being called in the middle of the night to take a journey. He rode to Jerusalem astride his heavenly donkey, al-Buraq, which translates to “lightning.” This donkey is purported to have the face of a woman and wings protruding from his thighs. Once the night journey stopped in Jerusalem, Muhammad was taken into heaven via a light ladder where he was given special instructions from Allah, and then he came back down.

But right away we encounter a problem related to Al-Aqsa and the location of Jerusalem. The problem stems from the fact that nowhere in the Koran does it mention that Jerusalem was the actual destination of Muhammad on his night journey. In the 21st century, the traditions have it fixed there and no one questions it. So how did a vague reference to a “furthest mosque” in the Koran – written 20 years after Muhammad’s death – solidify into Jerusalem becoming a new site? The answer lies partly in the Hadith, a collection of oral Islamic histories separate from the Koran.

The Hadith gives a much more detailed account of Muhammad’s night journey, including the anthropomorphic donkey and its name. Jerusalem is mentioned in there as well, and this time it is fixed as the location of the furthest mosque. The Hadith, it’s important to note, wasn’t made available in written form until the ninth century, 200 years after Muhammad died. I have to wonder, though, if the night journey surah in the Koran denotes Muhammad traveling from one mosque in Mecca to another in Jerusalem, where was the mosque on the Temple Mount he traveled to? There wasn’t one. A mosque was later built in AD 715 by Caliph Waleed – 83 years after Muhammad’s death. It was named al-Aqsa Mosque, but at no time during Muhammad’s life – and certainly not during his night journey – was there a mosque on the Temple Mount.

Prior to Caliph Waleed and the building of al-Aqsa, another Caliph named Abd el-Malik began construction in AD 691 on the Dome of the Rock, to be located in the middle of the Mount on the famed foundation stone of the original temple. It is perhaps the erecting of this shrine that further popularized the Jerusalem as destination myth of the night journey. Why did el-Malik build the Dome? Politics.

Jerusalem was not a city thought highly of by Muslim leaders – in fact, it was one of the last cities conquered during by Muslim armies after the death of Muhammad. Menashe Har-El, in his 1977 book This is Jerusalem, published a Muslim proverbs that reads, in part, “One prayer in Mecca is valued as ten thousand prayers; a prayer in Medina is valued at one thousand prayers; and a prayer in Jerusalem at five hundred prayers.” For those of you math whizzes, Jerusalem comes in at 5% of Mecca. It doesn’t seem that Jerusalem is high on the priority list.

A caliph in Mecca and Medina, the two holiest cities in Islam, controlled the mosques there and, according to records, was a rival of Caliph el-Malik. In order to compete against this political contender, el-Malik built the Dome of the Rock. Later al-Aqsa was built and Jerusalem transitioned from an obscure city unimportant to the Muslims, valued at 5% of Mecca, to that of the third holiest site in all of Islam.

Muslims controlled the Mount for another 400 years, until Christians took the city in 1099 during the First Crusade. A new order called the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon set up shop in al-Aqsa – an order that would become the Knights Templar.

Tenancy on the Mount began with Jews, transitioned to Muslims, then shifted to Christians – all in the first 2500 years! No wonder there is such contention today as to who has rightful ownership of one of the holiest sites in the world.

Next article will wrap up the three-part series on the Temple Mount by examining the last 500 years, bringing full-circle the tale of the Jews in Jerusalem. Well, sort of.

 

Steve Schiller is a producer with the Steel on Steel radio show, a weekly newsmagazine that gives you 90 minutes of solid news and commentary, much of which you will not hear elsewhere.

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Jan 10, 2015

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Sharia-ism is Here

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150002 01/10/2015 Sharia-ism is Here

In the wake of the tragedy in Paris this week, John takes a look in his boralogue at islamaphobia and how hate speech laws are a farce and an impediment to freedom of speech. He also addresses the need for Islam to modernize and whether the rest of us can survive the violence until then.

First up on the program is Joy Brighton (www.joybrighton.com), former Wall Street trader and author of the book Sharia-ism is Here. She will examine the slow stealthy growth of radical Islam in the United States, and how that growth is being fueled both by political correctness and a general ignorance that there’s a problem.

Switching topics, we visit with Ed Smart (www.ourrescue.org), project leader at Operation Underground Railroad (OUR). He recalls the abduction of his daughter Elizabeth in 2002, the need for education among children regarding bullying, abuse and internet predators, and the processes of OUR to rescue children from traffickers and abusers.

For our paid subscribers, our weekly intelligence news briefing, Section 6, is back from holiday hiatus. John is back with comments on important stories making news around the world.

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Jan 9, 2015

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Temple Mount, Episode 1: Backstory

By Steve Schiller

 

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem has been a flashpoint of conflict between Jews and Muslims for more than 1300 years. Scarcely a holiday goes by without the Mount being at the center of violence. There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

In the West, when stories like these are broken, we listen, we shake our head, and we go about watching football or surfing online for cute cat videos. OK, I don’t partake of that last part, but I’m guilty of the rest. In fact, many of us might think (because it’s too politically incorrect to say aloud), ‘another day, another bombing.’

Part of the problem is that it’s human nature for us to care more about our own lives and ignore the rest of the world. We could spend months debating that issue, and maybe we will at another time. But for now, let’s focus on another other issue –the media seem to focus on the violence only; they don’t typically give us the reasons behind it. In this day and age of blockbuster movies and their superhero backstories, maybe it would interest us to know how we got here.

I should mention the obvious: it’s impossible to chronicle the entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the amount of space I have, so I’m going to focus on one particular aspect – the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. When I hear reports of the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque, I ask myself if they’re all the same or if they are completely different structures. And why, if the Jews had built a temple and deem the area holy, do the Muslims consider the Mount to be the third holiest place in Islam? What drove them there in the first place?

To see how it all began, we must go back nearly 3,000 years. We will see how the Temple Mount first belonged to the Jews.

2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21 recount the story of King David and his encounter with a Jebusite farmer named Araunah. Araunah owned land on Mount Moriah where he grew wheat and barley and his threshing floor dominated the summit. I can picture the encounter: farmer Araunah working his fields, minding his own business, and along came David accompanied by angels. After gulping a few times and bowing to the ground, he began a conversation with David. The Lord had directed David to build an altar to Him there. After rejecting Araunah’s offer to give him the land, David insisted on paying the farmer for it, and gave him 600 shekels (15 pounds) of gold.

On that threshing floor, David’s son Solomon built the First Temple circa 957 BC, which stood for 371 years. To put this timeframe in perspective, the United States has been a country for only 238 years, so it was well established. Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed Solomon’s masterpiece in 586 BC. Persian ruler Cyrus the Great commissioned the building of a new temple in 538 BC and decreed that the exiled Jews should travel back to their homeland and begin construction.

The foundation for this second temple was laid on Mount Moriah two years later by God’s chosen foreman Zerubbabel, but interestingly a work stoppage dragged on for 16 years. Why the delay? The answer lies in a very early example of non-Jews frustrating Jewish authority at the Temple Mount. Natives who had been living in the area for years while the Jews were in captivity approached Zerubbabel and offered to help in the rebuilding project. They claimed to worship and offer sacrifices to the same God. Zerubbabel, with a decree from Cyrus and more importantly God’s blessing, told the natives that the remnant would build the Temple and that God was Israel’s God (Ezra 4:2-3). Thus began a campaign by the natives to halt building on two fronts: terror and politics. Sound familiar? (There goes my political incorrectness again.)

Materials to construct the Temple would have had to be imported from neighboring areas and native counselors, who had long administered the area, interfered. The new Jews on the block didn’t stand a chance of winning that battle. If red tape existed in 536 BC, the Jewish leaders would have struggled to dig themselves out from it.

Having just arrived in Jerusalem, the Jews had not yet built homes for themselves and therefore lived in the open country, vulnerable to attack. Based on the account in Ezra 4, the native rivals troubled and terrified the people of Judah, presumably harassing them on their way into town.   Suddenly, building a home and defending your family took precedence over erecting a Temple with non-existent materials. After weeks and months, the “rebuilding fervor” waned and the Temple Project ground to a halt.

Cooler heads would prevail however (a decade and a half later), and in 516 BC construction was completed and the new Temple dedicated. Not as grand as Solomon’s shrine, this Second Temple stood virtually untouched for another five centuries. Many empires ruled Jerusalem and surrounding environs during that stretch, but the bottom line is: the Temple Mount once again belonged to the Jews.

Herod the Great remodeled and expanded the Mount in 19 BC, doubling the size of the complex to more than 35 acres. In AD 66, Jews protested and eventually attacked Roman citizens over – what else – too many taxes – a more violent Jerusalem tea party of sorts. The Romans retaliated by looting the Temple and killing thousands of Jews, which precipitated a full-blown uprising by the people. The resulting war lasted several years, but the devastating blow came in AD 70 when Roman general Titus laid siege to Jerusalem, destroying the Temple and burning most of the town.

At the beginning of this article I asked the question: what drove the Muslims to the Temple Mount in the first place? In Episode 2 next week, we’ll explore the mysterious beginnings of Islam outside of Saudi Arabia, which includes a donkey with the face of a woman, a ride up to and back down from heaven, and an interesting interpretation of the term “al Aqsa.”

 

Steve Schiller is a producer with the Steel on Steel radio show, a weekly news magazine that gives you 90 minutes of solid news and commentary, much of which you will not hear elsewhere.

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Jan 3, 2015

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If It Feels Good, Sign Here

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150001 01/03/2015 If It Feels Good, Sign Here

Welcome to 2015! We are skipping the boralogue this week. Opening up the show is Cal State Fresno professor and Hoover Institute member Bruce Thornton (www.hoover.org). He tackles the politics of feminism and shows how it has come full circle from the “if it feels good, do it” philosophy of the 1960s to the regulatory thinking of today.

Next up, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin (www.amchainitiative.org), lecturer at the UC Santa Cruz and director of the AMCHA Initiative, discusses the BDS movement (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel and how it has spawned antisemitism on U.S. campuses.

Finally, we visit with Tom Gallagher (blogs.telegraph.co.uk), professor at the University of Bradford in the UK and author of the new book Europe’s Path to Crisis, who discusses the history of the flawed Euro and the likely economic downfall of Europe.

Section 6, our weekly intelligence news briefing, continues its break, but rest assured, John will return in next week with his unique comments on news stories from around the world.

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Dec 27, 2014

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Once Upon a Climate Clear

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140052 12/27/2014 Once Upon a Climate Clear

Last show of 2014 – Happy New Year everyone. We are skipping the boralogue this week and launching into the program. First up, Brad Dacus (www.pacificjustice.org), President of the Pacific Justice Institute, discusses the case of a senior at an Everett, WA high school who has been suspended several times for handing out Christian literature. For the school to do that is illegal under law. He also covers other cases that PJI is handling.

We then move on to Dr. Tim Ball (www.drtimball.com), environmentalist, public speaker, and author. In a detailed conversation, he chronologues the history of the anthropogenic warming movement, how it became politicized with the UNCED Conference in 1992, and wound up distorting real science. Dr. Ball chops through the mire of bureaucracy to get at the truth of climate change and the IPCC report.

Finally, we are joined by Rich Noyes (www.mrc.org), Senior Editor at the Media Research Center, who examines the lack of research that went into a Rolling Stones story about an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity and how that relates to bias in the media.

Section 6, our weekly intelligence news briefing, is taking a break until the new year, but rest assured, John will return in 2015 with his unique comments on news stories from around the world.

Like us on the Steel on Steel Facebook page and remember to join Praying for Persecuted Christians on Facebook for the latest information concerning persecuted Christians around the world.

 

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