FBI’s fractured fairy tale

If the FBI’s real goal — in this fractured fairytale — was to frame one individual and all his employees, its actions makes sense.

The FBI’s fractured fairy tale

Once upon a time, the FBI said some thugs planned to rob a bank in town. Thugs are always looking to rob banks. They try all the time. But at this particular time, the FBI was hyper-focused on potential bank robberies in this particular town.

The best way to prevent the robbery – which is the goal, after all – would be for the FBI to alert all the banks in town. “Be on high alert for suspicious activity,” the FBI could tell the banks. “Report anything suspicious to us. We don’t want you to get robbed.”

Instead, in this fractured fairytale, the FBI followed an oddly less effective, more time-consuming, costlier approach. It focused on just one bank. And, strangely, it picked the bank that was least likely to be robbed because nobody thought it would ever get elected president – excuse me, I mean, because it had almost no cash on hand. (Why would robbers want to rob the bank with no cash?)

Stranger still, this specially-selected bank the FBI wanted to protect above all others happened to be owned by a man who was hated inside and outside the FBI.

So, to protect this bank owned by the guy the FBI hated, the FBI secretly examined a list of bank employees and identified a few it claimed would be likely to help robbers – or, at least, would not stop a robbery. How did it select these targets? By profiling them based on their pasts.

These particular bank employees, the FBI said, were chosen because they worked long ago with customers who might have known bank robbers in the past – maybe not the particular robbers planning a bank robbery this time, but different people who knew people who were thought to have robbed banks in the past … or, perhaps, people who thought of robbing banks at some point but never got around to it.

So the FBI decided these particular bank employees, who may have known or met with suspicious people in the past, might be capable of committing a future crime.

Mind you, these targeted bank employees had never served time in prison, never been convicted of anything, never even been charged with a crime. If the FBI had just gone to them and said, “Hey, we think some people are going to rob this bank and we’ve got our eye on you, too,” the bank robbery probably would be avoided. Everybody would be watching out for the robbers.

Instead, the FBI secretly sent at least one spy – er, “informant” – to commingle with the bank employees and get info. Yes, you are thinking, it would seem to make a lot more sense to spy on the would-be robbers than their intended victims. But the FBI chose to spy on the victims. You know, for their own good.

At least one of the FBI informants/spies met with the targeted bank employees, pretending to be interested in them, and asked questions like “If you could have a million dollars tomorrow, what would you buy?” and “Would the owner of this bank be happy for you if you came across a sudden inheritance?” The FBI informant/spy then reported back to FBI headquarters that the bank employees were clearly thinking about robbing the bank, and that the owner of the bank was part of the scheme.

Next, because the FBI claimed these employees were clearly acting suspiciously and had criminal minds, the FBI unleashed the most intrusive, sensitive intel tools on them, tools that are rarely to be used against U.S. citizens – surveillance and wiretapping. FBI officials also leaked information about their investigation to the local press – not information that disparaged the robbers so much as cast suspicion on the bank’s owner and employees. In fact, it almost seemed like the FBI had forgotten all about the robbers.

And so, while all this was going on, the robbers robbed the bank.

Despite all the media innuendo, the secret surveillance and the spies/informants, the FBI said the robbers made off with a lot of cash. Even though the bank didn’t have much cash.

Afterward, the FBI stepped up its investigation of the bank employees. It couldn’t find solid proof the employees had anything to do with any bank robbery but claimed they were present a couple of times when the robbers cased the joint, so they must have known a robbery was going to happen. The owner must have known, too, the FBI concluded.

After digging deeply into the bank employees’ background, the FBI found other things: One bank employee hadn’t paid proper taxes six years before; another had been briefly accused of embezzling from a previous employer years ago but was never charged; a third said things in an FBI interview that the FBI concluded were untrue. The FBI charged them all with crimes and pressured them to become witnesses – not against the robbers, but against the bank owner.

In the end, the FBI held out hope that the townsfolk wouldn’t focus on the idea that all the FBI’s hard work and planning to supposedly protect the town’s banks only resulted in the utter failure of its stated mission: The bank got robbed, the cash would never be recovered, and the robbers would never serve time. Yet, some of the bank employees might – not for the robbery but for that other stuff.

The moral of the story: It’s a weird way to prevent a bank robbery.

On the other hand, if the FBI’s real goal – in this fractured fairytale – was to frame the hated owner of the bank and his employees, it all makes sense.

 

Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) is an Emmy-award winning investigative journalist, author of the New York Times bestsellers “The Smear” and “Stonewalled,” and host of Sinclair’s Sunday TV program, “Full Measure.”

Source: The FBI’s fractured fairytale | TheHill

Charles Stanley – No Longer I, But Christ

 

Galatians 2:20

Hudson Taylor was a missionary in China during the mid-1800s. At one point, he felt overwhelmed with financial concerns, the responsibilities of running a mission, and the ever-increasing pile of mail awaiting his attention. All the letters he wrote to friends and family were filled with defeat and discouragement.

Seeing his need, a missionary friend wrote back to him, asking, “Hudson, when you think about Jesus, does He have a furrowed brow? Is He worried and anxious because He doesn’t know what’s going to happen next or if there will be enough money?” Then he added, “When your life becomes Jesus’ life, there’s no need to worry, because it will no longer be Hudson who bears the burdens but Jesus, and He’ll never be swamped by problems.”

God changed Hudson Taylor in that moment. His circumstances were the same; in fact, the problems became greater, but there was a difference in Taylor’s response. Whereas before he was fretting and wrestling, now he was resting in the Lord and trusting with a calm, quiet, and peaceful spirit. Those who knew him could discern the dramatic change.

Sometimes we think that being crucified with Christ is all about what we give up—practicing self-denial and saying no to sin, temptations, and worldly pleasures. But it also includes living in the power of His resurrected life. Jesus Christ makes His abode in us, empowering us to overcome sin and live righteously. But He also carries our burdens and encourages our spirits to trust Him. Just as we are saved by faith, so also we live by faith, trusting the Lord day by day with all our needs and concerns.

Bible in One Year: Psalm 1-7

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Advice from My Father

 

Read: Proverbs 3:1–7 | Bible in a Year: Ezra 1–2; John 19:23–42

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

After being laid off from an editorial job, I prayed, asking for God to help me find a new one. But when weeks went by and nothing came of my attempts at networking and filling out applications, I began to pout. “Don’t You know how important it is that I have a job?” I asked God, my arms folded in protest at my seemingly unanswered prayer.

When I talked to my father, who had often reminded me about believing God’s promises, about my job situation, he said, “I want you to get to the point where you trust what God says.”

My father’s advice reminds me of Proverbs 3, which includes wise advice from a parent to a beloved child. This familiar passage was especially applicable to my situation: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5–6). To “make . . . paths straight” means God will guide us toward His goals for our growth. His ultimate goal is that I become more like Him.

This does not mean that the paths He chooses will be easy. But I can choose to trust that His direction and timing are ultimately for my good.

Are you waiting on God for an answer? Choose to draw near to Him and trust that He will guide you.

Lord, thank You for guiding and caring for us every step of the way. Help us to trust in You daily.

Your Father in heaven knows what’s best for you.

By Linda Washington

INSIGHT

The first nine chapters of Proverbs don’t follow the same format (pithy sayings; poetry couplets) that the rest of the book follows. The beginning chapters are a father’s encouragement to his son. The father tells his son of the benefits of wisdom, of its ability to make life more pleasant and fulfilling. Wisdom and folly are personified and invite the young man to pursue them. But why is this important? It seems obvious that wisdom is better than folly, so why go to such lengths to convince a child of the need to pursue wisdom?

The answer is experiential. You see, folly is the easier of the two, the more natural. As we read chapters 10–31, we see what the better choice is. But folly is far simpler to choose—it seems hardwired into us. Whether it’s a harsh word, a selfish action, or self-indulgence, folly is always ready to embrace us. That’s why the father takes such time to encourage his son to pursue wisdom. Wisdom isn’t restricted to big decisions, however; we need it for every action we take and every word we speak.

How can we pursue wisdom today?

J.R. Hudberg

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – A Better Imagination

 

Whether compelling the visions of a child or inspiring music or architecture, the power of the imagination is often clear:

O hark, O hear! How thin and clear,

And thinner, clearer, farther going!

O sweet and far from cliff and scar

The horns of Elfland faintly blowing.(1)

But what of the mere presence of the imagination? “I do not think the resemblance between the Christian and the merely imaginative experience is accidental,” wrote Lewis. “I think that all things, in their way, reflect heavenly truth, the imagination not least.”(2) Certainly, this taste of a richer fare was sensed in the formative imaginations at which Lewis supped long before he knew he was starving for their Host. Writes Lewis:

“Chesterton had more sense than all the other moderns put together; bating, of course, his Christianity. Johnson was one of the few authors whom I felt I could trust utterly; curiously enough, he had the same kink. Spenser and Milton by a strange coincidence had it too. Even among ancient authors the same paradox was to be found. The most religious (Plato, Aeschylus, Virgil) were clearly those on whom I could really feed. On the other hand, those writers who did not suffer from religion and with whom in theory my sympathy ought to have been complete—Shaw and Wells and Mill and Gibbon and Voltaire—all seemed a little thin; what as boys we called ‘tinny.’ It wasn’t that I didn’t like them. They were all (especially Gibbon) entertaining; but hardly more. There seemed to be no depth in them. They were too simple. The roughness and density of life did not appear in their books.”(3)

And while Lewis would come to see that this “lower life of the imagination is not a beginning of, nor a step toward, the higher life of the spirit,” he is equally certain that God in God’s mercy can profoundly make it such a beginning.(4) My own encounter of the great imagination of C.S. Lewis is similar to a testimony given at his funeral, namely, that “his real power was not proof; it was depiction. There lived in his writings a Christian universe that could be both thought and felt, in which he was at home and in which he made his reader at home.”(5) I believe I probably first loved God as an untame Lion, not because the God I wished for was kinder than the God who is, but because I did not yet see that my deficient vision of God was the vision that needed a better imagination. As Lewis later wrote of his intense love of all Norse mythology, “[A]t the time, Asgard and the Valkyries seemed to me incomparably more important than anything else in my experience…More shockingly, they seemed much more important than my steadily growing doubts about Christianity. This may have been—in part, no doubt was—penal blindness; yet that might not be the whole story. If the Northernness seemed then a bigger thing than my religion, that may partly have been because my attitude toward it contained elements which my religion ought to have contained and did not.”(6)

Even so, in moments of moral crisis, we do not pause to ask what Jane Erye would do, I once heard a writer say. She had referenced the Brian Nichol’s story—the gunman who went on a shooting spree in Atlanta and ended up holding a woman hostage in her apartment where she read to him from The Purpose Driven Life and eventually convinced him to turn himself in. She then asked if this story would have turned out the same if the young girl had read to him from Moby Dick or War and Peace or any of the great classics of history. Her point was clear: the influence of art and imagination is usually not in the thick of things, but on the margins of culture; nor it is always clear and obvious, but often dense and unsettling. And yet there are quite arguably characters and stories that indeed become of moral significance, pulling us into worlds that call for attention, compassion, and consideration. Long before I had any idea about the word “allegory” or the concept of good or bad literature, Narnian kings, talking beavers, and the Queen of Glome began appearing in my dreams, beckoning me to another place. In the aftermath of death and subsequent disappointment over the miracle we did not get, it was Aslan’s empathetic tear for the grieving Digory that came to mind when all seemed lost. For Lewis, it was the bright shadow coming out of a George MacDonald book that found him mercifully in the margins. “In the depth of my disgraces, in the then invincible ignorance of my intellect, all this was given me without asking, even without consent. That night my imagination was, in a certain sense, baptized; the rest of me, not unnaturally, took longer. I had not the faintest notion what I had let myself in for by buying Phantastes.”(6) But the Spirit no doubt mercifully did.

It is quite true that a young materialist or pessimist, atheist or agnostic who wishes to stay this way cannot be too careful in choosing what to read. God is unscrupulous, as Lewis attests, willing to use our own imaginations against us, our own pens to probe the wounds. If imagination is not the property of materialism, but the playground of heaven, it is nonetheless not the thing itself. But the hopeful signs of God’s own compelling imagination are everywhere—beautiful and terrible, inviting and transforming. It is the encounter with the Gate, not the signs along the way, that transforms the entire journey. It is said that Lewis became more like himself when he finally kneeled and admitted that God was God—”as though the key to his own hidden and locked-away personality was given to him.”(7) Everything is intensified—his loves, his responses, Jack himself—as the one brought in kicking and screaming discovered in Christ and his kingdom the world of Joy he had only before heard feebly. The faint horns of Elfland give way to the resounding glory of the creator and wonders beyond our imagining.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Lewis, C. S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life (Orlando: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1955), 167.

(2) Lewis, 213-214.

(3) Lewis, 167.

(4) Alan Jacobs, The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis (San Francisco: Harper, 2005), 312.

(5) Lewis, 76.

(6) Lewis, 181.

(7) Jacobs, 131.

 

http://www.rzim.org/

Joyce Meyer – It’s Time to Stretch

 

For we walk by faith…not by sight…. — 2 Corinthians 5:7

Adapted from the resource Wake Up To The Word Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Stretch means “extended; exerted to the utmost.” When you follow God into something new in your life, you may feel stretched.

Perhaps you receive a job promotion, and you know you don’t have all the natural skills and knowledge you need to do the new job well. Then you become worried because you think you’re in over your head. The job may be over your head, but it’s not bigger than God. If He leads you into it, He will help you fulfill the responsibilities that go with it. God’s power and presence enable us to do things we can’t do on our own.

It’s important to remember God is on your side as you go into new situations, because fear and doubt will always be lying in wait to try to keep you from following Him. Don’t let those things hold you back. Remember that God is with you and He’s bigger than any problem you may face. Don’t be afraid to stretch your faith because it will give you greater capacity to fulfill your God-given potential.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to lean on You and walk forward with faith when I feel “over my head.” Help me to stretch and be all that I can be in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – How to Save Your Life

 

“And He said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it” (Luke 9:23,24, KJV).

Martin Luther once told the maidens and housewives of Germany that in scrubbing floors and going about their household duties they were accomplishing just as great a work in the sight of heaven as the monks and priests with their penances and holy offices.

In the 15th century, a woman – Margery Baxter – had said the same thing couched in different terms.

“If ye desire to see the true cross of Christ,” she said, “I will show it to you at home in your own house.”

Stretching out her arms, she continued, “This is the true cross of Christ, thou mightest and mayest behold and worship in thine own house. Therefore, it is but vain to run to the church to worship dead crosses.”

Her message was plain: holiness is in our daily service.

Your life and mine are worshiping Christ today to the degree that we practice the presence of God in every minute detail of our lives throughout the day. We are taking up our cross when we shine for Jesus just where we are, obediently serving Him and sharing His good news with others.

If you and I want to save our lives, we do well to lose them in obedient service to the Lord Jesus Christ, allowing His indwelling Holy Spirit to work in us and through us.

Bible Reading:John 12:23-26

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will take up my cross today – shining just where He puts me at this point in my life.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – The Child is Father of the Man

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

“The child is the father of the man,” wrote William Wordsworth. Want direction for the future? Then read your life backward.

Job placement experts asked over seventy thousand people this question: “What things have you done in life that you enjoyed doing and believe you did well?” In every case people reverted to the same pattern of functioning. Or to put it succinctly, our past presents our future.

The Bible says,  “it is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others” (Ephesians 2:10). You are heaven’s custom design. What God said about Jeremiah, he said about you: “Before you were born, I set you apart for a special work!” (Jeremiah 1:5 NCV).

Read more Cure for the Common Life

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

http://www.maxlucado.com

Denison Forum – The Trump–Kim summit: 2 biblical imperatives

The much-anticipated summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un is dominating global headlines this morning. The summit will be the first meeting between a sitting US president and a head of North Korea.

Their meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET, which is 9 a.m. Tuesday in Singapore. It will take place at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, off Singapore’s southern coast. More than a thousand journalists from around the world have converged on Singapore.

What will happen at the summit?

BBC News reports this morning that Mr. Kim wants to focus on rebuilding the North Korean economy and thus seeks sanctions relief and international investment. The Trump administration has made clear its focus on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, with a timeline and technical details for dismantling weapons and weapons-making capabilities.

The two leaders could announce an agreement to work toward the “common goal” of removing nuclear weapons, mirroring the announcement that followed Mr. Kim’s meeting with South Korea’s president in April. It is also possible that they will sign documents officially ending the Korean War, which ceased in 1953 with an armistice but no peace treaty.

Continue reading Denison Forum – The Trump–Kim summit: 2 biblical imperatives