Weekend Reading: August 27, 2016

Good morning, and welcome to the weekend!  I read many interesting items this week, but as I combed over the stories and posts as a whole, I noticed a specific trend: MANY of them came from the Wall Street Journal, and many were NOT financial in topic. What that means is that while most people see WSJ as a source for financial/market information, they’ve done a great job diversifying into other topics. It also means that not every one of the stories I link to will be accessible for people on this list. For that I make zero apologies – it costs hardly anything to have access, and if you want to be informed, you won’t mind paying, right?

Now that disclaimer is behind us, in the words of Monty Python, let’s “get on with it”!

Let’s start with an opinion piece by Kimberley Strassel on the ever evolving Clinton email saga.  This was a big week (as WaPo details here), and Strassel makes the argument that the media have missed the point of the purpose of this private email server – it wasn’t intended to discuss classified intelligence offline, that was just a consequence. It was intended to allow Clinton to run a global pay to play operation. Though many of the stories I read this week from Politico and WaPo emphasize how donors to the Clinton Foundation never got much more than “access” to HRC, that also misses the point, and the essential confluence between the Clinton Foundation and HRC’s role as Secretary of State. As Strassel explains:

Mostly, we learned this week that Mrs. Clinton’s foundation issue goes far beyond the “appearance” of a conflict of interest. This is straight-up pay to play. When Mr. Band sends an email demanding a Hillary meeting with the crown prince of Bahrain and notes that he’s a “good friend of ours,” what Mr. Band means is that the crown prince had contributed millions to a Clinton Global Initiative scholarship program, and therefore has bought face time. It doesn’t get more clear-cut, folks.

The AP has a big story on this as well, and how the State Department refuses to release more details of HRC’s calendar until after the election. I can’t be alone in thinking that the American people deserve to know if their next President is going to sell access to the Oval Office the way that she did during her tenure at State.  Then again, this is nothing new for the Clintons – anyone remember the Lincoln Bedroom scandal? Anyone? I guess even liberal internet rag Slate still does. 

How does she wriggle out of it? One way might be to blame someone else: Colin Powell Says Hillary Clinton’s ‘People Have Been Trying to Pin’ Email Scandal on Him

Strassel sums this whole thing up nicely: 

What we discovered this week is that one of the nation’s top officials created a private server that housed proof that she continued a secret, ongoing entwinement with her family foundation—despite ethics agreements—and that she destroyed public records. If that alone doesn’t disqualify her for the presidency, it’s hard to know what would.

Along similar lines, from the National Review’s Editorial Board: Mrs. Clinton and Her Fixer. They start off with an intriguing sentence, “Huma Abedin must be a remarkable woman: She has held down four of the worst jobs in politics, several of them simultaneously: right hand to Hillary Rodham Clinton, fixer and patron-patronizer for the Clinton Foundation, an editor of a journal spawned by a major al-Qaeda financier, and wife to Anthony Weiner.”

This one falls in the “I never thought about that” category: This Alabamian owes the government a bunch of money because he won Gold in Rio.

More Olympicshere’s the medal count (U.S. DOMINANCE). AND – this was really funny: Katie Ledecky Is Dominant Everywhere Except the Little Falls Swimming Club.

Technology: I can’t think of any reason I’d ever NEED this per se, but its super cool! (if not a little dangerous)  Maybe Joel Osteen could use it in one of his “sermons” as part of the show?

Heartbreaking: At least 50 in Turkey killed at wedding in likely Islamic State attack.  Along similar lines: Kayla Mueller in Captivity: Courage, Selflessness as She Defended Christian Faith to ISIS Executioner ‘Jihadi John’

In case you missed it: New details show how ‘swinger’ Army general’s double life cost him his career.  Stories like this remind us of how important integrity is for leadership in positions of power.  Often people forget that their personal lives open them up to blackmail or worse, and put many other people and classified secrets at risk. Along similar lined: Fox News faces another sexual harassment lawsuit.

From my friend Rod who spotted this: Good Lord! Cop says Red Cross told him not to pray with flood victims.

When you read stories like the ones I just posted, you shake your head. Some folks respond that we need to shake up the government, replace everyone with someone new (no matter how crazy they sound), strip organizations like the Red Cross of government grants etc etc. Certainly some change is needed, and we ought to fight to make changes and push for reforms (this isn’t the first time I’ve seen ridiculous stories about the Red Cross BTW). But, for those of us who are Christians, I was reminded this week that Paul’s first solution wasn’t to “throw the bums out” it was this:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:1-6 ESV)

This assumes a belief that prayer actually changes things – that it is God’s first and most prominently prescribed method of overhauling tyranny, and promoting peace.  I have caught an attitude of anarchy among many of my friends who claim to follow Christ. They seek a (sometimes violent) political solution alone for what is obviously a moral failing among our country’s elite leaders – and they do so preparing for (even wishing) the collapse of the economy and our government “if that’s what is needed.”  This last sentiment is contrary to what Paul is saying. It’s not an either/or situation, its BOTH prayer and active engagement in our world – including politics. But for many, prayer and the desire/heart for a peaceful life has been replaced by anger and impatience and an attitude of (quasi?) anarchy that I believe is antithetical to the message of Scripture.

Similarly, this week’s Piper (except he takes it a step further): Do You Pray Like a Nonbeliever?

How then do they pray? Generally, they do not ask God to do bad things. They ask him to do good things without asking him to do the best thing. They pray as though God were the giver but not the gift. They pray for protection, and shelter, and food, and clothing, and health, and peace, and prosperity, and social justice, and comfort, and happiness. All of these good things are things the world wants. You don’t have to be born again to want these or love these. And you don’t have to be a Christian to pray for them — for yourself or for others. Every religion prays for them, more or less. So do the non-religious, when things get scary enough.

Moving on…here’s a wacky story from this week: Citing terrorism, the French mayor of Cannes has banned Muslim women from wearing “burkini” swimwear.  I take Quartz stories with a grain of salt in that they are pretty liberal in their worldview, but getting past that, I honestly haven’t seen a cogent argument that tells me why Muslim women must be stripped down to fit the profile of all the other beach-goers.  Of course the irony of the FRENCH claiming any sort of conscience when it comes to beach attire (national security or not) is pretty amusing. To me, this stuff falls into the overreacting category…am I wrong?

And along similar lines: 8 in 10 Germans Want to Ban Burqas From Public Spaces

Switching gears a bit here…if you’ve ever been up North to Michigan’s Mackinac Island, then you’ll enjoy this write up (and the pictures!): The Mansions of Mackinac Island.

Commerce story to watch: Mobile Bank Heist: Hackers Target Your Phone

The malware typically gets onto a phone when a user clicks on a text message from an unknown source or taps an advertisement on a website. Once installed, it often lies dormant until the user opens a banking app.

The malware then creates a customized overlay on the authentic banking app. This allows criminals to follow a user’s movements on the phone and eventually grab credentials to the account.

Oh Boy! Spotted: A Self-Driving Uber in Pittsburgh!

Culture and Fashion: The Strange Journey of Cary Grant’s Suits

New Planet Discovery: Scientists just discovered humanity’s best shot at seeing life outside our solar system.

Speculation: Hillary Clinton Has Parkinson’s Disease, Physician Confirms.  MORE (from the left this time): Rudy Giuliani Told People To Ignore The Media And Google Conspiracy Theories

Fascinating: Can the Devil Read My Mind?

Technology: The Robots Are Coming. Welcome Them

MORE: The Magician Behind R2-D2…the Magician’s book: Cinema Alchemist

Sports (from a politico): U.S. Men’s Basketball Was the Best In 2016, But Not Greatest Of All Time.  I think he’s onto something here.  I mean, there will never be another “dream team” like the 1992 team.

More Sports: TIGER AND THE RYDER CUP VICE CAPTAINS AND just FYI: NBA moves all-star game from Charlotte to New Orleans over anti-trans bill

And then there’s this: Hero museum employee keeps using a fake news exhibit to make harrowing golf videos.  HAHAHAHA!  (h/t Adam J)

Oh so sad: Target Dims Outlook as Sales Struggle

Keep an eye on this one: More of Kremlin’s Opponents Are Ending Up Dead

Used extensively in the Soviet era, political murders are again playing a prominent role in the Kremlin’s foreign policy, the most brutal instrument in an expanding repertoire of intimidation tactics intended to silence or otherwise intimidate critics at home and abroad.

Secretive Speeches: As Clinton asks for cash, campaign pitch remains a mystery

Into the Weeds: Hope for Trump: GOP winning registration race in key states

YES!  Jared Wilson strikes again: TOP 10 THINGS I WISH WORSHIP LEADERS WOULD STOP SAYING

I didn’t get to check this out but Challies posted it this week and it looks SUPER cool: The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks.

I think I’ll have to end it there…there’s actually more (crazy right?!) but this is probably plenty.  Pick what you like, scroll through it, sip your coffee and enjoy the day that God provided for you and yours!

Have a wonderful weekend!

PJW

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