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Our Russian Brothers Always Knew it Was a Long Shot

 “For a fact, the king to whom I am speaking so freely well knows about these things; I am convinced that not one of these things escapes his notice, for none of this has been done in a corner,” says the apostle Paul at Acts 26:26. So it is with the Russian ban on true religion. It has not been done in a corner. The Governing Body did not permit it to be done that way. Nobody who knows anything cannot have failed to hear of this.

The entire affair, which our Russian brothers always thought was a long shot, is publicized so that as few as possible can say they were unaware. Let them declare themselves on one side or the other of Christianity. Let the American Dream Church and the Independence Day Church, always intricately involved with the world, continue to pretend that they represent Jesus. All know who are truly following his command to ‘put down the sword.’ All know who are truly proclaiming ‘this good news of the Kingdom’ and living by its requirements even today.

Someone worries that other nations, far from being outraged, may take this as a template for banning Witnesses in their country, too. If it should happen, let it happen with maximum publicity, as this is receiving. How literally is Psalm 2:2 to be fulfilled? Let all publicly take their stand. Let it become clear before all who are God’s loyal ones and who are those who would fight against him. At some point the experiment of human self-rule must end. Has it not proven itself an obscene failure?

Our Russian brothers always thought it was a long shot. Rarely does the judicial branch in that country stand up to the executive branch, regardless of the evidence. It is the witness given that is most important. All have come to know that there is a nation in which every citizen cares personally about every other citizen. Our Russian brothers will forever know that their courageous stand, which they are prepared to continue, triggers massive traffic to jw.org – how could it be otherwise? as heretofore uninterested persons check to see if it is truly extremist. Of course, they will see that it is not. How will they respond to that?

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

We Cannot Stop Speaking About the Things We Have Seen and Heard

Many times in the repressive days in both Germany and the United States our brothers blitzed areas with preaching campaigns both thorough and quick. Suppose that our Russian brothers were suddenly to intensify their service to God? Either separately or on cue. There are 175,000 of them, after all, and for the time being, they have the sympathy of the world behind them. (how often does that happen?)

It is not for us to say what they will do. It is their neck on the line, not ours. But they have been dealing with police harassment for some time, they did not expect to win this trial, and they know such harassment will intensify. 'Might as well supply a reason for it to intensify,' perhaps they will reason.

Many of our people in Russia, perhaps all of them, will be reflecting on Peter's words to the religious leaders of his day: 

"Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, judge for yourselves. But as for us, we cannot stop speaking about the things we have seen and heard.”  (Acts 4:19)

It's not that they would not. It is that they could not.

......

Persecution against Jehovah's Witnesses always originates in the religious realm. That realm, in turn, may stir up other elements, such as the politicians. One can't go wrong considering how matters went down soon after Jesus' death. Acts 4 makes for good reading. Read it all. (and the rest of the Bible while you are at it) Here are a few excerpts from chapter 4:

Now when they saw the outspokenness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and ordinary men they were astonished. And they began to realize that they had been with Jesus..."So that this does not spread any further among the people, let us threaten them and tell them not to speak to anyone anymore on the basis of this name.” With that they called them and ordered them not to say anything at all or to teach on the basis of the name of Jesus. But in reply Peter and John said to them: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, judge for yourselves. But as for us, we cannot stop speaking about the things we have seen and heard.”

...After being released, they went to their own people and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. On hearing this, they raised their voices with one accord to God and said: “Sovereign Lord, you are the One who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all the things in them, and who said through holy spirit by the mouth of our forefather David, your servant: ‘Why did nations become agitated and peoples meditate on empty things? The kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers gathered together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one....And now, Jehovah, give attention to their threats, and grant to your slaves to keep speaking your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand for healing and while signs and wonders occur through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 

And when they had made supplication, the place where they were gathered together was shaken, and they were one and all filled with the holy spirit and were speaking the word of God with boldness.

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Possibly He Did Not Want, Even for an Hour, to be Chief Spokesman for the Devil

On day 2, the Russian Presiding Judge became surprisingly active, Mark Sanderson of the Governing Body said. He questioned closely the Ministry of Justice on just what might happen if Russian Witnesses were to continue reading their extremist publications. Virtually everything Jehovah's Witnesses publishes is on the government's list of extremism literature, even the children's book. The Ministry of Justice assured him there could be dire consequences. What of the rights of 175,000 Russian citizens? the judge wanted to know. 

It was not the only time he was to do his job. On Day 5, he questioned the Ministry of Justice as to the legal basis for shutting down Jehovah's Witnesses and confiscating their property. The Ministry of Justice declined to identify one. Other times, too, he was quite proactive and often was it observed that he was surprisingly impartial. Russian brothers were not surprised at the outcome. They had never expected to win. We here are are used to judges acting independently of the executive branch. They are not. It doesn't happen there. Nor are the brothers there unaccustomed to dealing with police harassment, which they expect to intensify.

Several said that the judge appeared sad as he granted the Ministry of Justice's petition to ban Jehovah's Witnesses, after reviewing 43 volumes of submitted evidence in a single hour. He knew what he had to do. But possibly he was a man with a conscience.

Possibly he did not want to, even for a single hour, be chief spokesperson for the Devil.

Still, he did a lot. He was very bold. Not many are ready for their 15 minutes of negative fame. Even Peter chickened out. By pointed questions throughout the trial, which the MOJ was totally unprepared for, likely expecting to be unchallenged, he exposed them for not having a leg to stand on. In this he aids future appeals as well as  present worldwide review. He did a lot, even if he ultimately declined to throw himself under the bus. Not many persons would.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

What is an Extremist Organization

The special broadcast from the world headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses, in the aftermath of the verdict, built everyone up. Mark Sanderson, of the GB, present throughout the trial, summarized the atmosphere even more so than the actual proceedings.

Early indications that the trial would be little more than a sham to rubberstamp a decision already made were spotlighted - 18 of the defense teams's motions instantly denied, for example, letting all know that videotaped evidence exonerating us would not be seen by the court. Embassy officials of other nations were able to see it, of course, as is everyone else, since it has been displayed for some time at jw.org. Their turn was to come, as the court also denied to hear testimony from them on the JW record.

The brothers were pleased, nonetheless, for the witness given, that six of our people provided clear, cogent testimony reflecting the true nature of our worship and work.

Toward the end, our people were able to remind the court that it was not really them before the Russian authorities. Rather, it was everyone, defense and prosecution alike, arguing before the Supreme Court of the universe.

Russian brothers gave assurance of their intentions to serve Jehovah steadfastly regardless of their new circumstances, and to do it with the Christian trademark of never returning evil for evil.

Moved by this broadcast, ISIS world headquarters rehearsed their own special broadcast to be made in the event they, too, should ever get into hot water with the Russians. They, too, tried to line up interviewees to upbuild their crew. They were thwarted in this, however, because any person that stepped forward was instantly blown full of holes by ISIS members with AK-47s.

This happened because ISIS is an extremist group.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Look For the People Individually Praised but Collectively Maligned

To follow Christ is now illegal in Russia. The government has given their verdict. Surely it has been played out as at Acts 26:26: ‘this thing has not been done in a corner.’ It has been played out so that all know and can take a stand.

It is Jesus at John 15:20: ‘Keep in mind the word I said to you: A slave is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you.”

It is the Acts 28:22 words applied to first century Christians: ‘truly as regards this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.’

Who among the many faiths inherit the mantle of Acts 28:22? Look for the people individually praised but collectively maligned.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Can Putin Withdraw Himself from the Headlock of the Church?

From Jeremiah 26:7-16:

 "And the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of Jehovah.

 "So when Jeremiah had finished speaking all that Jehovah had commanded him to speak to all the people, then the priests and the prophets and all the people seized him and said: “You will surely die…

 "The priests and the prophets said to the princes and to all the people: “This man deserves the death penalty, because he has prophesied against this city just as you have heard with your own ears.”…

 "Then the princes and all the people said to the priests and the prophets: “This man does not deserve the death penalty, for he spoke to us in the name of Jehovah our God.”   
……….


It is always this way. The princes have no problem with it. It is the priests and the prophets that oppose religious truth.


Perhaps it will be that way with Putin, if he can withdraw himself from the headlock of the Church.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

We've Lined Up Vertically All of Tom Harley's Field Service Reports

“We’ve lined up vertically all of Tom Harley’s field service reports. Let’s see how fast you can read them off!”

Donna: “Twelve hours, four magazines, eight return visits, three videos.”

Connor: “Ten hours, six magazines, seven return visits, two videos.”

Blitzen: Fifteen hours, nine magazines, nine return visits, six videos.”

Prancer: “Fourteen hours, pix fagazines, seven veturn risits …..wow, that’s a lot of hours! What an amazing publisher Tom Harley is!”
…….
A little ditty inspired by watching the latest Chevy commercial.

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Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Will Trump Bring in Socialized Healthcare, Beat Dems to the Punch?

I will be very bold and predict that Trump will bring in socialized medicine, though it will not be called that. Even I do not think this likely, but most do not think it possible, so I still come off as being bold, though some will say insane.

Trump is pragmatic and has shown he is not bound by ideologies. I can't imagine how healthcare could work via competition among insurance companies when healthy persons can opt out. Obamacare, though it will surely crash of its own weight, has planted the notion, accepted everywhere else, that everyone deserves access to healthcare. Trump himself seems to embrace the idea. He may take the bull by the horns, figure he can craft a system that incorporates the private sector better than any Democrat can, for they distrust the private sector, and charge ahead.

It will be a very hard sell. He will lose many of his own people, but may gain from the other side. Even then it may be doomed. Americans are used to Cadillac treatment, and while universal health care is universal, its quality goes down. Pharma too, may scream, because they are used to soaking Americans to offset the modest profits they must take elsewhere. They will carry on about 'choking innovation,' and so forth. As it is, they don't bother innovating unless they see a substantial buck in it; that's why there is MRSA with no new antibiotics to fight it. It's hard to be overconfident here, but I can imagine Trump may try tackling it.

Maybe he can still sell it. Overall healthcare quality in America is well above that of any third world country. But among the developed countries, it comes in dead last. I'm tired of playing Russian Roulette with my modest net worth for every sliver I have removed. Perhaps other people are, too.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Trump and the Populist Homeowner

For several months I have subscribed to The Week Magazine. I like the short synopsis of news stories from around the world. It also has good obituaries. It is as sneeringly liberal as anything I have seen, routinely calling the President an ignoramus, an egomaniac, and a liar, but I figure that's just politics and let it go.

But some things are just too much. Like the Trump/Putin romance meme. See, we've been conditioned, rightly or wrongly, to not like Putin. Therefore, if Putin and Trump can be portrayed as bosom buddies, we will not like Trump either, which has been the object of portraying him that way ever since the election. Usually if you run a thread which consists solely of allegations, with conclusions heralded though no evidence is provided, admin will take down the thread. However, it doesn't work that way in journalism, where the mission, from Day 1, has been to take out Trump.

At any rate, when he carries on as he did in Syria, it clearly shows he is a lover from hell, and more likely, he was never a lover at all. The story line of the past few months that he and Putin were in cahoots was pure fiction, written for the purpose of Trump's elimination. The Week has been foremost in spinning this line.

In light of Syria, do they repent of the rubbish they're written? Not a bit of it. "Blowing up a Bromance" says the cover of the most recent issue, with Trump and Putin portrayed with backs to each other, each holding wilted roses.They are indeed lovers who have just suffered a little lover's spat, that's all.

Therefore, I tend to not like The Week simply for their lack of humility, and their bending the facts to fit their story, rather than the reverse. The reason they do this is that they despise the 'populist' candidate. I'm not sure what is so perjorative about 'populist,' Doesn't following the populist course mean you are doing what is popular with the majority? Isn't this the very purpose of democracy? But there is another view.

Career politicians like to think of themselves as plumbers. (my example, not theirs, theirs will be more pretentious, but the idea is captured with plumbers) When you hire a plumber, you don't tell him how to fix the problem. You hired him because you do not know how to fix the problem. You trust his expertise to figure it out and do what he thinks best. He is not expected to report his every step to you. Career politicians love to see things this way. They are the experts, elected by the dumbbells, to do whatever they want. 

These days, what they want is to push toward a world government. That aspect, in itself is also what we want, but theirs is run by humans, not God, so it is not necessarily an improvement over the 'carved up earth' model. Six to one, half dozen to the other.

This is not the only scenario under which you might hire a plumber - because you have no idea what to do. Some homeowners know exactly what to do, and simply want or need someone else to do the labor. These are the populist homeowners.

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Trump Strikes Syria - How to Read This

Trump bombed Syria and made a lot of people mad. How can you not make them mad when you’ve killed 15 people? He broke a lot of things, too, but he can always say: “Look, Vlad, what’s the big deal? I’m a billionaire. You’re a billionaire. But them some new planes out of your own pocket if it takes that to placate them.” The people are a different matter. But even that is mitigated by pointing out they were all (or almost all?) military people who have signed on to the program.

For some inexplicable reason, I feel I have a read on this guy. I long have. It surprises me to think so few do. Even that is hard to know for sure because in this scenario, as in all others, liars spin the facts this way and that for their own purposes. In the case of a President, the motivation to do so is high.

At any rate, his actions clearly turn a lot of memes on their head. Clearly, he is not a pawn of Putin, as U.S. media has insisted for months. Clearly, he does not hate Muslims, as they have also insisted. It is now spun that he is impulsive and acts from the heart. “Trump said he would not do Syria! No way! No how! Then he saw a picture,” I have heard.

Or perhaps it is all spin. The trouble with conspiracy theories is that, once a few of them prove to be true, you readily swallow the next one coming down the pipe. There are cabals hanging about and they do try to skew things. But these cabals have hated Trump from the beginning. I think it is because he is not one of them and they don’t feel able to control him. We all know that Trump is not a Republican. He took over the Republican party. It might just as well have been the Democratic party. He simply read the tea leaves and saw that, at the moment, the Republican party was easier to commandeer. When he says ‘drain the swamp,’ he is not referring to one party or the other.

Anyone in small business, which I have been, can easily conceive of a businessman who loves his country but thinks the slippery boobs have ruined it, saying: “There!  I built my business. Now let’s see if I can fix the country.” A BIG businessman can easily miss this because he is primarily worried about Trump’s effect on the stock market, but a small businessman doesn’t care, or at least it is not his chief concern. If your experience is something else entirely, you heard the ‘grab them by the you-know-what’ and concluded life around him was a 24/7 brothel. I always thought It was nonsense. I always agreed with him that it was ‘locker room’ talk. I did this because I have been in the locker room and they do not read Plato in there.

He can spin this as I believe it really is. There are some things so barbarous that you cannot go there. Chemical weapons are among them. They are not good, especially when you have just had photos of the victims thrust under your nose.  He did what he did impulsively, from the heart. Yet even that cannot be determined with certainty. Insiders said he leaned on and took options from the military people. He didn’t hastily tell them what to do. He let them tell him, and chose from the choices they presented.

It is easy to conclude that they, however, are swayed by the business model. When BigDefence gets too big, it must keep the profits rolling in. If it does not, the stockholders will bolt for some noble competitor – say, BigPharma. So if the world threatens to get too peaceful, they must stir up the pot. It is the United States, not Russia, that is bombing many countries. It will never be fixed because money drives everything here. You solve nothing by taking out a bad guy. Another bad guy simply sees a fine new career opening. It is the play that must be changed, not the actors in the play, who simply follow the script given them – sometimes begrudgingly, sometimes with gusto. Human reformers can change the actors, but they cannot change the play. Only God’s Kingdom will do that.

In a world where barbarities are commonplace, it is tough to know where to draw the line. “What’s one more slaughter in the greater scheme of things?” is easy to say. Is it preferred for Trump to say: “Ah, well – shit happens?” Obama drew a line in the sand and it was instantly crossed. Perhaps leaders should keep their mouths shut over such things, and not make grandiose remarks about slaughter being ‘unacceptable’ (duh) and how people will ‘be held accountable.’ They won’t be, usually. Why carry on as though they will, except so as not to look like a helpless fool. And don’t carry on about people being ‘cowardly.’ They may be despicable, but surely it is not cowardly to be willing to die for a cause – any cause, from Boy Scout to Barbarians-R-Us. Also, don’t whine on about how the terrorists are trying to change our way of life, but we won’t let that happen. If anything, they want us to maintain our way of life and thereby be easier targets to kill. And even the terrorists will say: “Look, they elect their leaders over there, and the leaders come over and kill all our loved ones. That makes them not so innocent after all.” Victims of massive suffering and evil, many turn into unreasoning animals that must be taken out, like putting down a vicious dog. But that doesn’t mean you must judge them for it; many in the West become unreasoning animals with far less provocation.

A man that recoils at the use of chemical weapons and reacts immediately can be spun as not such a bad thing. He can say to Putin: “Sorry. I lost it. but nothing has changed in the big picture. Let’s work together when it is expedient to fix the world.”

It’s not my cause. I am a neutral Jehovah’s Witness, interested in these things only as ‘current history.’ All human governments will drop the ball; the only question to be answered is upon which toe will if fall. The Kingdom arrangement, as detailed in the Bible, is the only permanent answer. So if you have read these words and said: “Harley is an idiot! I’ll write to tell him so,” please don’t. I will respond by saying: “you forgot to mention that I am also a moron.”

(See the Foreword of No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash - it is in the 30% free preview section)

 

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)