Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

Slavery In Our American Prisons and Jails: Judges need to be held  Accountable for Human Trafficking

https://delanaforsyth.blogspot.com/2022/10/slavery-in-our-american-prisons-and.html

Prison Labor: Three Strikes and You’re Hired                                Prisoners do a great deal of work, especially in producing equipment for US military contractors. All prison working conditions are often unsafe and that prisoners are frequently coerced into working. I will argue that prison labor is forced labor and slavery and that reform is needed.     

As you read, consider the following questions:                              1. What is UNICOR, according to the author?                                         2. What are economic incentives for corporations to use prison labor?                                                                                             #. How many prisoners are there in the United States?                      First, two facts:                                                                                                                                     I have a son who proudly served in the United States Army and was over seas. The United States imprisons more people per capita than any other country in the world. What’s the connection? Prisoners. Not prisoners of war but the people locked up in our own domestic prisons and jails – and, more specifically, their labor. Surprised? I sure was.

Prison Labor is Way More than making License Plates        Whenever I think about prison labor, the first thing that comes to mind is license plates. Turns out, that prison labor is a long away from just printing license plates and lines. While these industries aew still part of the work in our prisons and jails they are not the big breadwinner. The industry that takes the cake when it comes to prison labor is military supplies. It is estimated that the federal prison industry produces 100% of the military helmets, ID tags, bulletbroof vests, shirts, bags and pants. And what company is there to oversee production of these items? UNICOR!                 UNICOR was previously known as the Federal Prison Industries, which is a non-profit organization, and the 39th largest US contractor.                                                                             UNICOR operates 110 factories at 79 federal penitentiaries and the Department of Defense is one of their largest contracts. In 2001, UNICOR sales were $583.5 milliom – about $388 million of which was DOD, or 66.5% of all business.

Prison Labor Offers “Economic Incentives” for Corporations                                                                                                                      The prisoners wages are only $0.23 an hour and no unions, safety regulations, pension, Soical Security, sick leave nor overtime, prisoners are made to work under poor conditions and prison labor is growing and economically competitive sector. And the United States government is allowing this to happen. Prison labor is competitive with sweatshop labor prices and, since production is domestic, incurs lower shipping coasts. Plus, overhead is pretty much paid for by the US taxpayers! With all these economic incentives, it’s no surprise that 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations who bring their operations inside the prison walls.                              While UNICOR is among the leaders in using prison labor, other companies are taking advantage of the contract opportunities, including Nordstrom, Eddie Bauer, Mpotorola, Microsoft, Victoria’s Secret, Compaq, IBM, Boeing, AT&T, Texas Instrumemts, Revlon, Macy’s, Target, Nortel, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Honeywell, Pierre Carin, 3com, and Lucent Technologies, among others.

The One Place Where Slavery is Still Legal in the 13th Amendment in the US                                                                          Atrocious working conditions: As mentioned above, there are no workers’ right/protection. All the business are looking to cut costs and maximizing the porfit. They do that by promotting human trafficking of our prisoners. I would like to ask what is the human cost of this co-called “smart investment?” In this case, the situation is clear: Prison labor and rape is the new slave labor. This is true under the 13th Amendment is still legal in prisons. There are clear parallels between the new and old:                    with toxic materials and are not given the proper protective clothing. Workdays often run past eight hours, with no breaks.                                                                                         Coercion: Prisoners frequently lose “good-time” and canteen privileges if they refuse to work. Georgia had one of hte largest inmate protests in US history after prisoners were forced to work seven days in a row without pay and were beaten if they did not comply.                                                                                            Exporting of Inmates: With the high incarceration rate in the US and overcrowding considered cruel and unusual punishment, the private prison industry has flurished, offering states and counties “rent-a-cell” services, in which the county makes $1.50 per bed. That is a lie. The county jails make over $100 per bed.                                                                             Racial  and Sex Offenders Inequality: The US has more than 2.3 million prisoners. People of color make up just 30% of total US population, but account for 60% of those locked up. There are now more black men and sex offenders, parole or probation than there were enslaved in the 1850s.      

Prisons in Service to Profit, Not Public Safety                          The reality in the US today is that prison is not for rehabilitation, it is for profit. With that kind of mentality, we are living up to our nickname of the United States of Incarceration.                                                                                                 The idea of working while in prison could be a tool for rehabilitation and, ultimately, greater public safety, but as usual the execution of the idea is most important. Humans have rights and prisoners are human, therefore, prisoners have rights and those rights need to be implemented and protected. Yes it is an uphill battle. Working for the rights of prisoners is the right thing to do. More people are arrested because law enforcement lie and judges listen to those lies for a bigger pay day.  

Prison Labor and Union Busting What’s so attractive about using prison labor is precisely that it undoes everything that union members – and their parents and grandparents before them – have fought so hard to achieve. At times, prisoners have been used directly as a strike-breaking workforce; TWA’s [Trans World Airlines’] reservations system was set up during a flight attendant strike, and according to the union involved, the prisoner program was a significant part of the company’s strategy to undermine the strike. In other cases, prisons have allowed employers to avoid unions even in well-organized industries; thus, the owners of an Arizona slaughterhouse shut down their unionized operation only to reopen in a joint venture with the state’s Department of Correction. Even where it is not directly related tom anti-union strategies, however, prison labor provides employers a means of avoiding or undoing virtually all of the gains won by working people over the past hundred years – creating islands of time in which, in terms of labor relations, it’s still the late nineteenth century. Prison labor is, of course, much cheaper than free labor for employers. In Ohio, for example, a Honda supplier paid auto workers $2.00 an hour for the same work that union workers got paid $50 to $100 an hour for the same work. Prisoners sometimes worked longer hours than union workers because the unions only pay for so many hours no matter how much a union worker, works.

US Prisons Are Not a Center of Slave Labor                                                                        

JOIN TAC, HELP US STAND FOR THE CONSTITUTION AND LIBERTY
visit site for details and to join today

Today is “Bill of Rights Day” – commemorating ratification on Dec. 15, 1791.

But what the government-run schools – and supporters of the monster state – “teach” about the Bill of Rights has almost nothing to do with the foundational principles which motivated the people who supported – and demanded it.

They want us to focus on inane trivia – and they definitely present things as if the Bill of Rights “granted” our rights, or were meant to create a nationwide liberty enforcement squad in the federal government.

No, it was – you guessed it – about the principles behind what was ratified as the 10th Amendment. Drawing a line in the sand, as Samuel Adams put it, “between the federal Powers vested in Congress, and the sovereign Authority belonging to the several States.”

Richard Henry Lee – who on Sept 27, 1787 in the Confederation Congress proposed adding a Bill of Rights to the Constitution drafted by the Philadelphia Convention – BEFORE sending it to the states for ratification, agreed. He said that drawing that clear line between expressly delegated power – and those reserved is “the great use of a bill of rights.”

The same thing happened in a number of state ratification documents, starting with Massachusetts, then South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia – and New York.

I covered this in some detail in an episode of Path to Liberty, here:
https://blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2021/12/bill-of-rights-the-untold-story-of-why-it-exists/

In early 1788, ratification of the Constitution was almost certain to fail in Massachusetts – home of Samuel and John Adams, Theophilus Parsons, John Hancock – and so many others. A loss there – Federalists understood – would send them reeling in states where it was expected to be a very close call at best – like New York and Virginia. In other words, the entire proposal was close to being doomed.

But – as advised by Richard Henry Lee months earlier, Samuel Adams and John Hancock went along with a plan to ratify, but only with the option of including recommended amendments as well. On Feb 6, 1788 – they did just that, and the very first recommended amendment from the Sons of Liberty will probably look familiar to any reader of the Tenth Amendment Center:

First. That it be explicitly declared, that all powers not expressly delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several states, to be by them exercised.

South Carolina followed their lead with this:

This Convention doth also declare that no Section or paragraph of the said Constitution warrants a Construction that the states do not retain every power not expressly relinquished by them and vested in the General Government of the Union.

And on June 21, 1788 – New Hampshire sealed the deal on ratification by also including as their first recommended amendment the same precursor to the 10th Amendment from Massachusetts.

But even after New York and Virginia followed with similar proposals, Federalists in the First Congress stonewalled – and did everything they could to prevent amendments from being considered and sent to the states for ratification.

Samuel Adams, however, didn’t let up – pushing friends like Elbridge Gerry and Richard Henry Lee to get the Bill of Rights done. To Adams, adding these amendments was solely about having a “a Line drawn as clearly as may be, between the federal Powers vested in Congress and the distinct Sovereignty of the several States.”

James Madison – who was initially opposed to including a Bill of Rights – and even voted against Richard Henry Lee’s proposal in the Confederation Congress, slowly came on board – maybe for just political strategy. But his dogged persistence pushed it through the congress.

With that history in mind, it makes even more sense why Thomas Jefferson, on Feb 15, 1791 – 10 months to the day before ratification – made this essential point about the structure of the constitution:

I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That ” all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.”

Why don’t they teach this history?  We can only guess, but I personally think it has plenty to do with the fact that the bill of rights wasn’t about granting rights to people – or having a central government to protect us – but instead – it was about opposition to centralized power.Please do check out this episode of the Path to Liberty Podcast for a deeper dive into this essential history. There, you’ll find both video and audio versions of the show – and if you prefer reading – there’s a bunch of original source documents so you can read and learn more – in context – on your own time.

This is the kind of information we work to get out to more and more people every single day of the year. Nothing – absolutely nothing – helps us roll up our sleeves and get the job done more than the financial faith and support of our members. 

Free Speach

https://delanaforsyth.blogspot.com/2022/09/free-speach.html

The Law Concerning Slavery! The Law Lackawanna County Ignores!

https://delanaforsyth.blogspot.com/2022/08/the-law-concerning-slavery-law.html

Investigators filed simple assault and harassment charges against a Lackawanna County prison guard accused of spraying an inmate’s genitals with pepper spray.

Sgt. Scott Blume, 46, of Dunmore, was arraigned Wednesday in connection with an altercation with Damian Kellogg on Sept. 24. The incident did not come to light until Oct. 18, after Mr. Kellogg wrote to Judge Vito Geroulo to complain, according to members of the inmate’s family. Sgt. Blume is on paid administrative leave from the prison.

According to an arrest affidavit, the sergeant escorted Mr. Kellogg, who appeared to be intoxicated, to the restricted housing unit after he issued him a misconduct for having “hooch,” an alcoholic liquid made from fruit, inside the cell he shared with another inmate.

The incident, which was captured by a prison camera, began after Mr. Kellogg was placed in a holding cage and ordered to disrobe and change into a different prison uniform designated for restricted housing unit inmates. The affidavit says Mr. Kellogg began arguing with Sgt. Blume, which prompted the sergeant to enter the cage and grab Mr. Kellogg’s throat and pull his hair.

Sgt. Blume then left the cage. Mr. Kellogg refused to put on the new uniform and continued to argue with Sgt. Blume. That led Sgt. Blume to twice spray Mr. Kellogg through the “wicket,” a slot in the cell door used to pass food and other items to inmates, to get him to comply. Mr. Kellogg was then handcuffed and escorted to the restricted unit without further incident.

The affidavit does not identify the part of Mr. Kellogg’s body that was sprayed. In his letter to Judge Geroulo, a copy of which was obtained by The Times-Tribune, Mr. Kellogg said he was sprayed in the groin area while naked, causing him extreme pain.

Lackawanna County District Attorney Shane Scanlon said the prison contacted his office and requested an investigation. The incident was initially investigated under the prison rape elimination act based on Mr. Kellogg’s statement that he felt he had been “sexually violated.” After reviewing all evidence, detectives did not believe it rose to the level of a sex crime, Mr. Scanlon said.

“It appears as though the force used wasn’t necessary based on what we were able to review,” Mr. Scanlon said. “We felt, based on the evidence before us, it rose to the level of simple assault and harassment.”

Sgt. Blume, who has been employed at the prison since 2002, faces a disciplinary hearing that will determine whether he will remain on paid leave or be fired, said Donald Frederickson, general counsel for the county.

“It depends on what happens at the disciplinary hearing. If they feel they have enough evidence, they can dismiss him,” he said.

The Most Common Types or Categories of Corruption, Grand Verus Petty Corruption Conventional and Government Corruption. District Attorney Mark Powell from Lackawanna County; Scranton Pennsylvania             August 24th, 2022 – August 26th, 2022

Spring 2001 / 107th Congress – The Local LAw Enforement Hate Crime Prevention Act in introduces in the House and Local Law Enforement Enhancement Act introduced in the Senate. The legislation would provide federal assistance to state and local jurisdictions to prosecute hate crimes. Pennsylvania Civil Rights and laws to protect Sex Offenders: Any Person who uses the information contained Here in to threaten, intimidate, or Harass the registrant or their families, or who other wise misuses this information, may be subject to criminal prosecution and Civil Liability. This is despite the facts that people convicted of sex offenses are satistically unlikely to reoffend. Many prosecutors, police officers, corrections professionals, and criminal justice reformers are also aware that it is nonsensical to irreparably stigmatize a broad swath of offenders in the same exact way. 1990’s The General Assembly made it illegal to misuae the registry to harass sex offenders. But, Lackawanna County is using the Sex Offenders to buy bigger cars. More inmates the more federal funds they get. That’s Human Trafficking. Too many voices in America today sound the wrong headed belief that these truths are no longer so self-evident. Most of these voices are from Washinngton and Lackawanna County Pennsyvania, but many more come from our universities, our high school text books even our churches. Theseskeptics think we have over grown our founding principles, that even the wisest men and women in 1776 and 1787 counldn’t possibly have been wise enough to create an effective government for America in the twenty-first century.                                                Some find the words of the Founders too limiting for their bloated vision government. After all, government that is true to the ideals of our Charters of Liberty is government that is limited. If government exists to protect our God-given rights – and not to bail ut banks, buy car companies, take over our health care, and tell us which light blub we can use – thee the government does few things, out of the way in order to realize their potential. Remember the 2001 interview aboutthe Constitution by then – Illionois state Senator Barak Obama complained as he captured perfectly the constraints on government created by the Constitution. Speaking about the Supreme Court in the 1950’s and 60’s during the Civil Right’s movement, Obama expressed regret that the High Court.                                Our future president called the civil rights’ subsequent failure to break free of the constraints imposed by the Constitution – a “tragedy.” But a lot of us call it basice fairness and adherence to our founding principles. We beleive it’s a good thing that we came so far in achieving racial justice while keeping faith in God to protect our Constitution. Some like to dismiss all this talk about staying true to our founding documents as the ideological rants of the people who are obessed constitutional theory. But whether we remain true to God’s Constitution or not has practical, real-world consequence for all of us. The Supreme COurt, along with therest of the federal judiciary, has tremndous power over our lives today. Their ruling means the difference between free political speech and censored political speech, property rights that are protected by government and property rights that are routinely violated by government, and the survival of innocent life and the state – sanctioned killing the innocent life. The reason this is thecase is because so many of the people who appoint and approve our judges and justices erroneously believe the court’s duty isn’t to interpret the law but to make the law. In cases where their agenda can’t prevail among the people representatives in COngress, they have turned to the courts to make policy. That means having judges and justices who are no longer guided by the Constitution and the law, but by their personal opinions. We need to remember judges and justices are human and they do have feelings, but they have no right to ignore this great American Constitution men and women have died to protect. I believe has blessed this country greatly, but this ignorance of thinking people control the law is wrong. God gave the law to Moses and it belongs to Him not us. The former President Obama gave the wrong advice when he said, “That in the really difficult, consequential cases, justices shouldn’t go with the law but with their hearts.” “That last mile can only be determined on the basis of one’s deepest values, one’s core concern’s, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy the president said. Lackawanna County Scranton Pennsylvania is just as guilty of breaking the Constitution and The District Attorney Mark Powell is just a guilty if Human Trafficking. He uses the inmates to get paid. (I call it a movement no one listens to not even the government. The governments make laws to break them). Today I come to You, Father God through Jesus and thank You in Jesus name for a blessed day. Thank You, Father God for Yor sacrifice of Your Son Jesus, Who die for our sins in Jesus name, Amen       1 Corinthians 15:54 – So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortaclity, then shall be brought to pasws the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. But if you look at the Supreme Court Justice oath takes, you will see that it commits them to a very differernt standared. They pledge not to pick winners and losers basied on their hearts or “empathy.” When they take that oath. Their job is to protect the United States Constitution. City, County, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Lackawanna County break more laws then anyone other state. The Distict Attorney’s take an oath to protect the United States Constitution and the Commonwealth. But, when we have a D.A. getting rich and allowing the constitution to be ignored its time for the people to stand up and not be scared. When we have a government that is breaking the law we the PEOPLE are in trouble. I am going by personal experience with Lackawanna County. The government here is abusive to their voters. They abuse their power. The police break the law by lying and judges allow that. The day our bodies and immortal, it will be a fulfillment of Scriptures where we are told that Death will be swallowed up. Imagine that a life with no death. We will be surrounded with our loved ones, in the LORD, and we will never have to worry about losing them again. We will spend eternity together, Forever! PRAYER: Dear God, I thank You that in the times things may not make sense, you know more than I do. In times of pain, where I lose the people closest to me, I take comfort in knowing that as long as they are of you, we will meet again. A time will come where we will all be reunited without worrying about death and sorrow. I praise You in Jesus’ name Amen.

Most of us will not have to be blinded like Paul in order to come to know Jesus. For most of us it will be a gradual realization of him and his promise of eternal life as well as a better understanding of just who God is. For Paul, it was dramatic, for the rest of us it’s pretty tame. But regardless of the way we come to know Jesus, we have to have a conversion of heart and a willingness to grow in faith. Paul needed to be open to growth and taking instruction from someone with more knowledge than he had – and he considered himself well versed in the Scriptures. No matter how long we have followed Christ and how much we have studied the Bible, we will never know and understand everything that God has for us to learn. We need to continue to study and learn until the day we die and where all will be revealed to us. Whether we study alone or with a group, or take a course, it is important to continue our journey. It is also important to put our faith into action. Once Paul understood the importance of Jesus’ message, he felt compelled to share it. And it’s a good thing for us that he did! If Paul had not been rejected by the Jews for his past persecution of those who had become Christian, he would not have reached out to the Gentiles. Christianity may have become a Jewish sect rather than a religion on its own. It is our place to be available to others who may come to know Jesus by being willing to be Christ in our world and to share our reasons for believing. We too have been called to follow Jesus and to become “fishers of men.” Peter and Andrew left their nets immediately and followed Jesus. We probably weren’t asked to quit our jobs, or leave our families behind but we were called to be disciples. There’s a saying that says, “Bloom where you’re planted.” I believe that this tells us to let Jesus come with us into our families, into our workplaces, into our neighborhoods and be examples of Jesus to others. If we are to be examples of Jesus’ love, we must be loving. If we are to bring God’s peace, we must have peace within us. To bring the hope that we have based on Jesus’ gaining for us our salvation, we must be people of hope. If we want others to believe in a forgiving, accepting God, we must be forgiving and accepting in our own lives. Peter, Andrew, James and John were followed by another eight to become apostles, the twelve men closest to Jesus. One, Judas, would be tempted by greed, and possibly by fear and would turn away and betray him. Peter would deny him and the others run away out of fear, but these would have a change of heart and then would remain faithful to their deaths. We will have to decide for ourselves if we will answer Jesus’ call, and we will also have to face the consequences of that decision. Being a disciple will never be an easy task. We might face rejection or ridicule from even our closest family members or friends. But the peace in our hearts that comes from staying close to Jesus cannot be replaced by anything the world has to offer.

In the book of Titus, there are many instructions for how people should behave and carry themselves. Here we see that older men are to be patient. That certainly contrasts the newspaper cartoon image of a grumpy old man yelling at kids. The instructions are not so you have more rules. It is how we believers set ourselves apart from the world and how they see Jesus in us.

Lord, help me live in a way that others see You in me. Make me sound minded, having solid faith, and patient. Let me be giving and generous with my possessions and time. I pray for the older men in my church. Conform them to Your character. Keep growing and maturing them until they walk their last day with You. Thank You for Your instruction and wisdom You have given us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Prayer is the Only Way Out!!!!

The World—Everything Is Different, but Nothing Has Changed

And the times are changing quickly. No one has any idea what the world will look like in ten years, let alone twenty or thirty. The rapid development of technology is more than we can take in. Those of us over the age of forty were born before the digital revolution really started. We’ve learned to use laptops, cameras, the Internet, and our personal electronic products, but it’s like learning a foreign language. But those under the age of forty have grown up with the digital revolution, and to them it’s their mother tongue. This has created the biggest generational gap since rock and roll.

Even greater is the moral generational gap. Those over forty in the western world grew up in a culture that still retained a semblance of its historic Judeo-Christian heritage. Our worldview contained some remaining vestiges of biblical truth. But our children are growing in an increasingly secular society.

But don’t despair. The things that matter most haven’t changed one iota. The little Book in my suit pocket is as unchanging as Him who is from everlasting to everlasting. That strengthens us whatever change may come.

Learn More

The World—Everything Is Different, but Nothing Has Changed
Where Do We Go From Here

Intercession: the action of Intervening on Behalf of Others: Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

When we try to rush ahead of God’s timing and His guidance, we will end up making a lot of mistakes. We need to humble ourselves under God’s guidance, realizing that He truly knows best. When we do so, we will reach the right points in our life at the right time. It’s all about trusting Him.

Doubt is normal. It was there in Paul’s time and it exists today. Maybe it is more prevalent today than it was in Paul’s time because there are so many people trying to discourage people from belief in God. The pagans of Paul’s time believed in gods, they just didn’t all know God. Today many claim that there is no God. They believe that scientists will soon be able to explain everything about how the world was created and answer any other question we might have. See, no need for God! And if there is no God then no heaven and no resurrection. If this is true then why bother depriving ourselves of all the pleasures we can get just because Christianity says love of God and of others should come first. But, there were too many people who witnessed Jesus after his resurrection. Too many people who were willing to die for the sake of Jesus and his teaching. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t die for a lie. And I doubt that they would either. So, as Paul says, since Jesus rose from the dead, we need to pay attention to what he said and to the promise that one day we too would rise if only we remain faithful. Doubt? Okay, but in the end, trust and belief.

According to Lionel Swain, of St. Edmund’s College, Ware, St. Paul believed intercession to be one of the most important aspects of faith and praying life, as praying for others is a recurring theme in his works. Prayer acts as a way for St. Paul to acknowledge God’s power. Intercessory prayer also acts as a way for the Apostle to “share in … the Father’s redemptive love”. Paul believed that prayer transformed the person doing the praying, as much as the one being prayed for, which creates a stronger bond between him and God.

Prof. Dr Johannes van Oort, Professor Extraordinarius in the Department of Church History and Church Polity of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, adds that, in addition to praying for wisdom, the early church was very much involved with different charismas, one of which being healing. Praying for other people’s illnesses was another way that intercessory prayer was important in the early church, as healing was a sign of “the power of God’s Kingdom”. This gift of healing is specifically mentioned, among the other charismata, as a sign of being a true Christian by Irenaeus of Lyons in his text, Against Heresies.

Saints[edit source]

Intercession of the saints is a doctrine held by the Eastern OrthodoxOriental Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches that saints may be asked to intercede (or pray) for others. The doctrine of requesting intercession from saints can be found in Christian writings from the 3rd century AD, such as from Origen and Clement of Alexandria.

Main article: Prayer for the dead

The dead

In addition to praying for each other in life, early Christians would pray for those who had died. There is no unequivocal evidence that Christians began to pray for the dead before the third century AD. G. F. Hamilton argues that the earliest example of Church prayer on behalf of dead Christians are found in the Sacramentary of Serapion of Thmuis (350 AD). Rather than pray for the departed in regular church services on Sunday, these early Christians would hold special commemorative occasions during the week. There was a sharp distinction drawn between remembering and praying on behalf of the dead, and those who were the “‘faithfully’ departed”, where Christians would only pray for those who had died as believers. The First Epistle of Clement (95 AD) contains a prayer which, while mainly for protection for the living, also includes the dead. Even quite early, a distinction was drawn between those who had died as Christians, and those who had died as unbelievers. In the Martyrdom of Polycarp (155 AD), Polycarp is killed and his bones are taken by fellow Christians and a shrine is set up to him, where they may remember his martyrdom. In contrast, the “Apology of Aristides” shows how those who were not Christians were grieved for, while the dead faithful were rejoiced over.  

Theological perspective: In an article in Theological Studies, Catholic theologian Patricia A. Sullivan warns that saints should not be built up in a way that brings down God. Saint Augustine had famously said that we pray not to instruct God but to get our will in line with God’s. Sullivan warns away from the dictionary meanings of “intercession” as “intervention, mediation, arbitration, negotiation”, all of which sound like we are dealing with a hostile or unfriendly God, whom we need to manipulate to get what we need. Such is not the meaning of the hapax legomenon in the New Testament of the word for intercession. Sullivan goes on:

When we ask a saint to intercede for us, what is happening at a deeper level is that we are taking refuge in the all-enfolding community of the redeemed, approaching God thru saintly symbols of Christ’s victory and of our hope. Saints want always what God wants, what is best for us whether we pray for it or not. They are in a perpetual attitude of praise for God’s love and care, to which we join ourselves, praying, more precisely, with them rather than to them. The value of our petitions is that they turn us in confidence toward the God who loves us, allowing God’s work to be more effective in us, and thru us in others.

It would be anathema to ask God to try any harder to do good. By invocation of a saint “we take refuge in faith in the all-enfolding community of all the redeemed,” where “each is responsible for all”. They are “creative models of holiness”.

Islam

Main articles: Shafa’ah and Tawassul

Although the idea of intercession or mediation (Arabic: s̲h̲afāʿa) has historically played a very prominent role in Islamic thought, it is not universally accepted by all Muslims in the present day.

The Quran says that the pre-Islamic Arab pagan gods will not be able to intercede with God on behalf of humankind, and that “the guilty” (al-mujrimīn,) will not benefit from any intercession on the Day of Judgment. Other passages that deny the efficacy intercession include. Still others say that God is the only intercessor.

However, “intercession is mentioned in the Qurʾān with respect to angels praying for the believers and the Prophet praying for erring but repentant Muslims.” Furthermore, it became an orthodox Islamic doctrine or “cardinal belief” that “Muḥammad will intercede for all Muslims on the Day of Resurrection.” While this particular tenet practically remained unchallenged throughout Islamic history, the widespread Sunni and Shia practice of asking deceased prophets and saints for intercession by praying at their tombs have become contentious issues in the modern Islamic world, with all these different types of intercession often being labelled by Salafi/Wahhabi Muslims as a type of polytheism, in a manner akin to the attitude of many Protestants towards the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox practice of saint-intercession. In prophetic sayings there is intercession of martyrs for “seventy relatives” in the Hereafter.

Some religions claim that praying for somebody who is sick can have positive effects on the health of the person being prayed for.

Meta-studies of the literature in the field have been performed showing evidence only for no effect or a potentially small effect. For instance, a 2006 meta analysis on 14 studies concluded that there is “no discernible effect” while a 2007 systemic review of intercessory prayer reported inconclusive results, noting that 7 of 17 studies had “small, but significant, effect sizes” but the review noted that the most methodologically rigorous studies failed to produce significant findings.

icon

Does Jesus really want us to believe that our enemies are our parents, children, family or friends? Somehow, I don’t think so! It is really about priorities. Have you ever chosen to watch a sports program when your child wanted to talk to you? What about not sitting at the table for meals because a special game is on? We are called on to make choices all the time. We can choose God, or we can choose other. Is that late night party worth missing church? We can talk all we want about being too busy, but the truth is that we find the time for what we want to do. I love to read, knit, spend time with my friends and I hate doing the laundry, dishes, vacuuming, but it all needs to be done. I would rather pick up a good book than exercise. I can say that I am “too busy” to do the things I don’t enjoy doing, but the truth is, I choose to spend my time in other ways. The same is true about putting God first. A friend that is always put last doesn’t remain a friend for long. When it comes to God, we know he will never desert us, but what about our turning our backs on him? We know what we must do – put God first and then everything else falls into place. Even carrying the crosses each of us must bear in life is easier because we know we don’t have to do it alone. Sometimes we may have to disappoint a child or friend because we choose to do the right thing, but that is the price of being a disciple of Jesus.

United States Supreme Court

Several recent decisions by the Supreme Court have helped restore the foundational freedoms that made the United States, though far from perfect, the greatest nation on earth. Yet we must realize that there is no real freedom apart from God and the acceptance of personal responsibility. There can be no effective government without responsible citizens living under moral order. If we do not live under control with the freedom Jesus offered to all captives, we can never hope for our society to support and maintain the principles that enable freedom. 

With an understanding of the importance of personal freedom, we may rightly ask the question, “What about national freedom?” It is my firm opinion we are in danger of losing it, along with the opportunity it offers. It is my prayer that all believers will learn that we must live to protect what others died to provide

We are in the process of forfeiting the freedom our founders established – a freedom built on moral absolutes and a strong, but limited, government. Enemies of faith and true freedom don’t even want to acknowledge the supernatural power that influenced America’s birth or the importance of God, faith, family, and the principles necessary for freedom. They stand hell-bent in opposition to undeniable, absolute, transforming truth.

It’s time for people who understand the value of faith and freedom and its foundation to stand together like a mighty army – an undeniable spiritual force. We must reclaim the land of promise birthed through faith, prayer, and personal sacrifice to bless the American people and the nations of the world. Our freedom can only be preserved with the same determination, diligence, and supernatural unity Jesus prayed for and freedom’s champions understand.

The framers of the Constitution knew that the true liberty they offered demanded responsible citizens. Benjamin Franklin was asked if the meeting in Philadelphia had created a monarchy or a republic. Franklin answered, “A republic – if you can keep it.” Franklin, along with the other founders, knew that in order for liberty to be maintained, it would have to be supported by principled statesmen who were actively engaged in the task of governing themselves, encouraging all citizens to hold fast to truths espoused in the Declaration of Independence.

John Adams, our second president, said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

We are on the verge of losing freedom’s blessings as morality is under assault. Sadly, the church has not fully understood the importance of living under the control of God with the powerful spirit of God providing the strength for us to not only enjoy the privileges and possibilities of freedom, but also to protect them.

Jesus commissioned His followers to share the truth that sets people free and keeps them free. He said, “When the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.”

Ronald Reagan observed, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We don’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on to them to do the same or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.”

I do not want to be found among those who will be asked what we were doing when freedom died. By the grace of God, with His help and the help of those who share common concerns and with Christians of conviction, I will not be indifferent and allow freedom to die on my watch. I will continue to pray, preach, and openly call for a return to God-given principles.

America’s founders believed they were on a journey similar to that of Israel’s exodus from Egypt to God’s Promised Land. Moses was their hero. His farewell address delivered on Mount Nebo references the choices God offers those desiring true freedom. Martin Luther King, Jr. invoked these words the night before he was assassinated in 1968, and Ronald Reagan repeated them while standing at the base of the Statue of Liberty celebrating our nation’s birthday in 1986:

“See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and adversity. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God to walk in His ways and to keep his commandments. But if you turn away, you will certainly perish. You shall not long endure on the soil that you are crossing the Jordan to enter. I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse, choose life that you and your offspring shall live.” (Deuteronomy 30:15-19)

The life being offered was a life of freedom, fullness and fruitfulness. God has granted us both the privilege and responsibility of being overseers, good stewards of all that He had entrusted to our care. You can be the guardians, the gate keepers, the restorers of the foundation and the wall builders maintaining our precious liberty. Let not your hearts be troubled. Keep the faith. Fight the fight as a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ with the whole armor of God and the sword of the Spirit, don’t bend and don’t bow before the godless influences of this world and you will not be crushed and enslaved by the powers in this present world!

When God rules in individual lives, sound principles will prevail in our land.  Leaders will no longer be chosen because of personality, party affiliation, or skillful communication. They will be chosen because of their commitment to God-given principles necessary for the survival of true freedom.

I am praying to God and appealing to caring people to help restore America and freedom. It will not be easy, but together, and with God’s help, it can be done. This is the greatest hour for people of faith to become a guiding light.

PITTSBURGH – Scott W. Brady, United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro today warned against hacking teleconferences during the coronavirus pandemic. The Western Pennsylvania COVID-19 Task Force will investigate, disrupt and prosecute such hacking.

Many Pennsylvania residents have turned to video-teleconferencing platforms, such as Zoom, to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, as the FBI has reported, there has been a rise in so-called “Zoom-bombing,” or video hacking across the United States, where uninvited hackers disrupt conferences and online classrooms with pornographic images, hate images and/or threatening language. These attacks have also targeted religious communities, minority groups, and vulnerable populations, such as Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Some hackers have planned coordinated attacks through websites and social media, including Discord and Instagram, in violation of the terms of use. Pennsylvanians have seen several instances of such hacking within the past week.

Western Pennsylvania’s chief federal, state, and local law enforcement officials are joining together to warn that anyone who hacks into a teleconference can be charged with state or federal crimes. Charges may include: disrupting a public meeting, computer intrusion, using a computer to commit a crime, hate crimes, fraud, or transmitting threatening communications. When hackers work together on coordinated attacks, they can also be charged with conspiracy. All of these charges are punishable by fines and imprisonment.

U.S. Attorney Brady said, “Hackers are disrupting business and community meetings for sport and targeting specific groups, including addiction recovery meetings, in order to mock, harass and interfere with treatment. This is another low point in this crisis. We are better than this. DOJ will use all of our resources to find, expose and prosecute these low-lifes.”

“At a time when people need internet conferencing technology to do essential business or to connect with loved ones, it’s vital that we make these platforms safe from hackers,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “People need confidence in the services they are relying upon during

this emergency. Through my Office’s partnership with the Western Pennsylvania COVID-19 Fraud Task Force, we will be able to investigate and prosecute hackers.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a spike in businesses and employees teleworking to communicate and share information over the internet,” said Acting FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel. “Cyber criminals see this as an easy way to take advantage of vulnerable members of our community and to exploit telework software vulnerabilities to obtain sensitive information. The FBI encourages users to safeguard their user information and prevent these malicious cyber actors from eavesdropping or stealing sensitive information. We ask anyone with information about criminal activities, especially those exploiting the disruptions caused by the Coronavirus, to contact us.”

“Over the course of the next several weeks, the United States Secret Service’s primary investigative priorities will be to mitigate any efforts by criminals that target citizens for cyber-enabled crimes and identity theft as it relates to COVID-19 scams,” said Tim Burke, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service Pittsburgh Field Office. “In doing so, we at the Secret Service are grateful to be joining our fellow law enforcement partners on the COVID-19 Fraud Task Force. Together, the COVID-19 Task Force will enable us to focus our resources to uncover, investigate, and prevent these crimes more effectively in a unified front.”

“Every community and their leadership are appreciative of the efforts that all of the Federal agencies are putting forth in addressing the issues of Zoom-bombing,” added Bruce A. Fromlak, West View Borough Chief of Police and President of the Western Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association. “As we conduct business each and every day we are presented with new challenges. This is clearly a new challenge however this too will be dealt with in cooperation with all of our law enforcement partners and professional law enforcement organizations. We will approach and address all malicious attacks in an expeditious and professional manner in order to bring any and all unscrupulous individuals to justice.”

As individuals continue the transition to online lessons and meetings, law enforcement recommends exercising due diligence and caution in your cybersecurity efforts. The following steps can be taken to mitigate teleconferencing threats:

  • Do not make the meeting or classroom public. In Zoom, there are two options to make a meeting private: require a meeting password or use the waiting room feature and control which guests are admitted.
  • Do not share a link to a teleconference or classroom on an unrestricted publicly available social media post. Provide the link directly to specific people.
  • Manage screen sharing options. In Zoom, change screen sharing to “Host Only.”
  • Ensure users are using the updated version of remote access/meeting applications. In January 2020, Zoom updated their software. In their security update, the teleconference software provider added passwords by default for meetings and disabled the ability to randomly scan for meetings to join.
  • Understand the features of your specific teleconference platform, including how to close a conference call in the middle and how to kick out people who are disrupting. Zoom has posted these steps on their blog.
  • Lastly, ensure that your organization’s telework policy or guide addresses requirements for physical and information security.

If you were a victim of a teleconference hijacking, or any cyber-crime for that matter, report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx. Click here for more information regarding teleconference hijacking: https://www.ic3.gov/media/2020/200401.aspx.

Additionally, if you receive a specific threat during a teleconference, please report it to the FBI at https://tips.fbi.gov/ or call the FBI Pittsburgh Division at (412) 432-4000.

To contact Secret Service directly call (412) 281-7825.

21 AGS FILE LEGAL ACTION SUPPORTING ATTORNEY GENERAL JOSH SHAPIRO’S LAWSUIT PROTECTING CONTRACEPTIVE RIGHTS OF WOMEN

August 22, 2022

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced today that a coalition of 21 state Attorneys General have filed an amicus brief in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in support of a lawsuit brought by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey asking the courts to stop the Trump Administration from rolling back the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers provide contraceptive care coverage in their health insurance plans. 

The Attorneys General brief asks the court to issue a nationwide preliminary injunction stopping the federal government from implementing new regulations that authorize employers with a religious or moral objection to block their employees and their employees’ dependents from receiving insurance coverage for contraceptive care and services.  The new federal regulations are otherwise set to take effect this month.

“Despite previous court orders barring the Trump Administration from implementing rules which threaten the health care and independence of women in Pennsylvania and across America, the federal government continues to seek ways to enact these harsh measures,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “Women need contraception for their health because contraception is medicine, pure and simple. Families rely on the Affordable Care Act’s guarantee of affordable healthcare, and my fellow Attorneys General recognize the impact this has on family budgets in their states and across the country. I welcome my colleagues’ support. Congress hasn’t changed the law, and the President can’t simply ignore it with an illegal rule.”

In December 2017, Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit to challenge the interim version of the regulations and won a nationwide injunction from U.S. District Court Judge Wendy Beetlestone of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. That decision stopped the Trump Administration’s interim rules from undermining the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers provide their employees with contraceptive coverage. 

Last month, Attorney General Shapiro announced that he had filed an amended complaint against Trump Administration seeking to block the federal government’s final religious and moral exemption rules from taking effect, and that New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal had joined Pennsylvania in filing the amended complaint.

Federal government estimates for the number of American women who will be immediately impacted by the final rules are more than double the number which were potentially impacted by the interim rules. Government estimates do not account for women who will be entering the workforce in the future.

Since the ACA was enacted in 2010, most employers who provide health insurance coverage to their employees have been required to include coverage for contraception, at no cost to the employee. As a result of the ACA, more than 55 million women in the United States, including 2.5 million in Pennsylvania and their families, have access to a range of FDA-approved methods of contraceptive care, including the longest-acting and most effective ones, with no out-of-pocket costs.

In the amicus brief, the state attorneys general argue that the new regulations threaten the health, well-being, and economic stability of hundreds of thousands of their residents by depriving them of contraception coverage. As a result, the attorneys general contend their states will be forced to spend millions of dollars to provide their residents with state-funded replacement contraceptive care and services. The states further argue that the expanded religious exemption included in the final regulations will cause women in every single state to lose contraception coverage and therefore agree that the court should impose a nationwide preliminary injunction.

“Access to contraception advances educational opportunity, workplace equality, and financial empowerment for women; improves the health of women and children; and reduces healthcare-related costs for individuals, families, and States,” the state attorneys general write in the brief.

Joining Massachusetts Attorney General Healey in filing the amicus brief in support of Attorney General Shapiro’s lawsuit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, as well as the District of Columbia.  

Contact the Press Office

Mailing Address:
PA Office of Attorney General / Press Office
16th Floor, Strawberry Square
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Phone:
717-787-5211
Fax:
717-787-8242
Email:
press@attorneygeneral.govNews Topics

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is one of the most significant, esteemed judicial bodies in the history of the United States, and, indeed, in the civilized world. There has been some debate, however, about whether Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court—often dubbed “the oldest court in North America”—can legitimately claim that distinction. One renowned legal historian, writing in 1972 to mark the 250th anniversary of the act that formally established the The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is one of the most significant, esteemed judicial bodies in the history of the United States, and, indeed, in the civilized world. There has been some debate, however, about whether Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court—often dubbed “the oldest court in North America”—can legitimately claim that distinction. One renowned legal historian, writing in 1972 to mark the 250th anniversary of the act that formally established the

I am sharing ‘The God’s Testament with you: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

God’s miraculous deliverance of Daniel from the lions in the lions’ den where he had been cast for worshipping the true God opened Nebuchadnezzar’s eyes to whose God was God. And he even issued a decree that all men in his vast kingdom give homage to the God of Daniel. Daniel’s faith and refusal to cease his regular daily devotions had resulted in the knowledge of God being spread throughout the land.

This verse tells us that “all things work together for the good of those who love God.” If we love God, then we live in obedience. The “all things” refers to the providence of God and all the things that relate to Him: His Holy Spirit, His love and mercy, His truths, etc. All of these things come together for our good if we love God and show that we do by our behavior. But it’s not only required that we love God, but that we are called according to His purpose. This refers to the purpose that God has set before us. He calls us to a specific purpose in this life. As long as we are obedient to this purpose, to His call, then all of His resources come together for our good. This is a very encouraging scripture to let us know that, if we follow the will of God, everything will be okay with us. More than okay, actually. They will be “good,” because God is on our side.

Jesus tells us that the golden rule sums up the law and the prophets. Jesus is also telling us that we shouldn’t try to take the easy way out. From the time a two or three year old figures out that disobeying mom or dad brings punishment, he also figures out ways of trying to get away with it. The child will lie or hide or blame a sibling or the family pet! Unless this behavior is caught and the children learn that they can’t get away with it, they will continue this pattern. It can be very tempting to take the easy way out. This is not what we are called to do. We are called to take the narrow path, doing the right thing. We all get upset when we hear about hit and run accidents, but it’s hard to own up to something if you think you won’t be caught, especially when it could be expensive We choose the easy or the narrow path just about every day. Some decisions are easy, some are not. Do you waste time on the phone or on a computer searching websites or playing games when you should be working? See, what I mean? Students today are told they need computers for research that will enhance their learning, but some take advantage and their research trying to find papers that they can claim as their own. Jesus knew us well, and has given us fair warning. We should listen.

We need to be on the lookout for those who would lead people away from God by pretending that they are leading them to God. We have seen this happen several times in very public and tragic ways, but it can happen in less public ways as well. The world was horrified when they learned of the mass murder/suicide of over 900 people, one third of them minors in Guyana in 1978, and again of the destruction of the compound in Waco, Texas where over 70 people died. Both of these tragedies occurred because the leaders of the cult claimed to either be a god or be God’s messenger or Messiah. There have been many other cults operating with less destructive results. Preying on loners or immigrants, the leaders promise security here and eternal life if only you follow them. They don’t say that you are following God, but you are following them because they are the only ones who know the way! By their fruits you will know them. These people ask blind obedience, work to separate people from their families and friends, and often demand a certain percentage of income. This doesn’t sound like Jesus to me. Paul never demanded obedience to himself, in fact, he said just the opposite to the Corinthians. John the Baptist said that he wasn’t the one and pointed to Jesus. We have been warned by Jesus to look at those who claim to be prophets carefully and judge by their fruits. If they are more interested in leading us to themselves instead of to Jesus, we must beware.

Again we have a prophet spreading God’s message of love, begging the people to admit their wrongdoing, and sincerely repent and turn back to him. When you read the Old Testament, you start to wonder if they will ever learn. I wonder what historians one hundred years from now will say about us and our behavior. Will they read the New Testament and find remnants of Christian groups and compare their behavior with the Bible, and find us worthy of the name? I’m not so sure. Not only is there a lot of what I consider very un-Christian behavior by individuals but also by Christian groups towards one another. Perhaps we should reread Joel and the messages given by some of the other prophets and take these messages to heart. God wants us to turn to him. He wants us to take responsibility for our actions, and ask forgiveness so that he can forgive and renew us. God isn’t looking for grandiose exhibitions of repentance, but a sincerity of heart. It’s how much we are willing to change our behavior. It’s how welcoming we will be to the stranger, how much we are willing to help others to grow in their faith as well as how willing we are to grow in our own.

Let us not, O Lord, underestimate what you can do in us and through us. We do not know all of your purposes for us, but we know that nothing is too hard for you to do. We pray for the steadfastness of soul to continue to pursue knowing you even in the face of resistance and the faith to believe that your Word planted deep in us can strengthen us for even the most difficult tasks. Amen.

Father, thank You for protecting me from the deep water and the burning flames. You fight my battles so that I am not overcome. With You by my side, I am never alone. Amen.

In this passage, God gives us several examples of how he protects us: both in fire and flood. These are two of the most destructive elements on earth, yet God promises to keep us safe from the harm of both the “sweeping waters” and the “flame.” He promises that we will not be overcome, even in the midst of danger. What a mighty God we serve! What a Savior is this!

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.

This is one of my favorite Gospel Passages. It’s a question that I have often used for meditation both for myself and for classes I have taught to both teens and adults. It’s a question that I think we need to reflect upon often as we can lose sight of the importance of Jesus in our lives. And the answer can change. He might be friend, brother, Lord, Savior, shepherd, leader, companion – or just someone we have heard about. One teen answered the question by saying that Jesus was a nice man. Is that all he is? What about the Son of God – Divine? Does it make a difference in my life if I believe that Jesus is God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity who came to save me from eternal death by his dying on a cross? Does it make a difference in how I live if I believe that this is not the end? This is a time for getting to know him better so that I can also live eternally in heaven with the Father. I know this because of the resurrection. Yes, Jesus can be my friend and companion, but he is so much more than that. By his life, I know how to live. By his dying and rising, I can face my own death and the death of those I love because he has shown me that this is not the end. In this today’s gospel, Jesus tell us that we must pick up our cross and follow him. Are we willing to deny ourselves in order to follow Jesus? What am I being asked to change in my life, right now? I am so glad that we are reminded each we read this question that Jesus asks – not just the disciples – but us as well. Who do I say that Jesus is for me, today?

This is my favorite Proverb. It talks about two things that are so important to following God’s will. Honesty is so necessary in life. The person who lies has two things going against him. The first is kind of obvious. Once you know a person lies or is dishonest in business, how can you trust him or her? Even when the person is telling the truth, you don’t believe it. You wonder if you’re being cheated in business dealings. But there’s another problem for the person himself. The dishonest person can’t trust anyone else either because he or she figures everyone else lies or has an agenda that is out to get him or her. The second half of the proverb concerns balance. How much does any person need? I’m not asking how much a person might want, but need. It’s hard for the rich to realize their dependence on God. This is why Jesus said it was easier for a camel to walk through the eye of the needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. And the very poor can be tempted to steal in order to take care of their families, and thereby break the commandments and offend the God they love. When we think of the early Christian church, they seemed to understand this and they made sure that their goods were distributed so that all had enough, and no one had an excess.

Ecclesiastes is a fun book to read. About the only thing people recognize is in chapter three where we read about a season for everything – a time to live, a time to die, etc. – but we have much to learn from this book. I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This brief passage expresses the same idea. Just like the Israelites made the same mistakes over and over again, so do we. Yes, there are inventions today that we take for granted today that would never have entered into the imagination of peoples of earlier times, but they repeated the cycle of obeying God, enjoying prosperity, forgetting about God, doing their own thing, falling into the hands of the enemy, begging God for forgiveness, promising to do better, being forgiven by God and obeying – for a while, and so it went. How many times do we promise God that we will do better, we will treat people better, we will be more honest in our dealings with others, work better with our communities for justice – if God will just give us what we need now. How long did the promise last once our prayers were answered? We fall into the same cycle as the Israelites, we do the right thing or say the promised prayers, or whatever we promised for a while and then fall into bad habits and wonder what went wrong. Ecclesiastes is a short book, take some time and read it through. There’s a lot to learn here.

Many people do good things. The question here is, why? One summer I worked in the office of a major university where I recorded the donations that came in on cards with the name of the donor on them. I came across many names of prominent people who were quite familiar to me, but there was a notation on the top of many of those cards that said “anonymous.” Many of these people actually had two cards, one for the public and the other not. The public one was for far less money. They wanted to support the college, but didn’t want credit for their generosity. Obviously, people will be rewarded here for a generosity of spirit, they will be known for performing acts of heroism. We know the names of people who have worked to spread the gospel message and those who work tirelessly for justice. This does not take away from their sacrifice. But, there also are people who want to be known for their good acts and it is these that Jesus warns about. It is one thing for people to come to know the goodness of others; it is another for that person to call attention to what they are doing for their own glory. Do we act because as followers of Christ we are called to do what we do? Or, do we want attention?

1 Kings 6:7 – He built the throne hall the Hall of Justice, where he was to judge, and he covered it with cedar from floor to ceiling.                                                                               PostProverbs 25:26 – Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked. 28 – Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.                                         Lackawanna County Government Profits OFF of Inmates in the County Jail! Even though the criminal cases against eight former or current prison employees charged with sexually abusing inmates concluded, the county’s costs are mounting as it deals with the aftermath of a 2018 raid and guards still on paid leave.Even though the criminal cases against eight former or current prison employees charged with sexually abusing inmates concluded, the county’s costs are mounting as it deals with the aftermath of a 2018 raid and guards still on paid leave. Lackawanna County paid these men for raping inmates

Position of the Parties Zechariah 3:6 > The Angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: 7 – “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “If you (I) will walk in my ways and keep My requirements then you will govern My House and have change of My Courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.

Psalm 33:12 – “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.”

America was founded on godly principles rooted in God’s eternal Word. Freedom is God’s idea, and implanted within every human heart by the Creator who made them is the yearning to be free. Leviticus 25:10, inscribed on our Liberty Bell says, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all inhabitants thereof.”

The golden, majestic appearance of our Declaration of Independence – the parchment papaer, the resolute signatures of those who represented the voice of a new nation, and the rich content of this anointed document, bear testimony to the powerful faith which underscored the conviction on which our independence is based: “… the Laws of Nature and Nature’s of God that all men are created equal, and they are endowed by thier Creator with vertain unalienable Rights… appealing to the Supreme Court of the world. …”

faith of our earliset leaders can be seen in the content of their state constitutions, penned by some of these men who wrote the Declaration of Independence. The Delaware document, for example, written by Thomas McKean, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, and George Read, also a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution ofthe United States, says, “Every person who shall be chosen a memeber either house, or appointed to any office or place of trust, before taking his seat, or entering upon the execution of his office, shall take the following oath: “I…do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Spirit, one God, blessed for ever more; and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.” 1

Authors of the State Constitution of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Rush and James Wilson, shared a like conviction. They wrote: “Each memeber of the Legislature, before he takes his set, shall make and subscribe the following declaration: I do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of the good and the Punisher of the wicked. And I doacknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.”

The North Carolina Constitution bears witness to a desire that believers shape the governing process: “No person who sahll deny the being of God or the truth  of the Christian religion, or the divine authority, either of the Old and New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedoms and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or palce of trust or profit in the civil department within this State.”In 1892, the Supreme Court noted that each of the 44 states then in the Union had some kind of God-cnetered declaration in its constitution. Indeed, the writings and governing documents of our Founding Fathers attest to their belief that a central faith in the Almighty was essential, and that ths new America could only move forward as “One Nation Under God.”

God raised up America for His own special purpose: to be a witness to His great goodness, to carry out the Great Commission and to be a light to the world. His drea from the beginning was to build a nation through whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed. It is being accomplished everywhere born-again, Spirit-filled believers are standing in faith, boldly releasing His covenant promises for the fullfillment of His purpose. As you read this post, get to know and appreciate these God-anointed, founding documents of America that are based on Hos eternal Word, and the other historical documents included in this post. Set your hearts to pray for the great experiment in freedom, dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ. Allow God’s Word to flow from your mouth in faith as we partner with Him in intercession for the manifestation of His plans, purpose and pursuits for One Nation Under God – the United States of America in Jesus name Amen.

Here is a prayer that Kenneth Copeland wrote for the United States Government: James 5:16 – “The earnest (heartfelt, continue) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous pwoer available [dynamic in its working].”

Following are Scripture-based prayers that will help connect your heart with the heart of the Father for our nation. 1st Timothy 2:1-3 says we are to pray, intercede and give thanks for kings and all who are in authority. This is God’s command to every believer. Praying for godly leaders is productive toward God’s plan and purpose for our nation.

Proverbs 21:1 tells us, “THe king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” God will turn the hearts of our leaders as we heed His instructions to pray for them.J

Jeremiah 1:12 – Pray this paryer in faith, believing you receive, and remember God watches over His Word to perfrom it!

Father, I pray according to 1 Timothy 2:1-3 > which says, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of god our Saviour.”

First, I ask for righteousness to prevail in our nation. I ask for godly counsel and wisdom for our cheif justice of the Supreme court, associate justice and all judges across this land. Isaiah 1:26 says, “And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, the city of righteousness, the faithful city.” Thank You, Lord, for restoring to our nation righteous judges who hear Your voice and adhere to Your Word.

I pray for our president, his cabinet, the vice president, the secretary of state, and the State Department; secretary of the treasury and the Department of Defense; intelligence agencies, law enforcement and the Department of Justice; secretarty of education and the Department of Education; governors and state governments; mayors, city councils and all others in authority at every level government. I pray they receive the wisdom of God, act in obedience to that wisdom, and for the power of God to flow in ther lives. Show them Your plan for the reversal for every evil way, and give them the courage to execute it. I declare that they hear and obey Your voice, Lord, and sho9w honor and respect for Your Word and your people.

Heavenly Father, and Lord God Almighty, I pray forthe members of Congress: our Senate and House of Representatives. I pray they find Your peace and direction, and they act and lead according to Your Word A house divided against itself cannot stand. Therefore, Father, I ask that You unify them in righteousness be manifest in the hearts of all in authority, and that they seek after You with all their hearts, souls, minds and strength.

In Jesus name I speak a hedge of protection over all men and women in law enforcement and the military. According to Romans 13:4, they are minsters of God, Your servants, for our good. Thank You, Lord, that Your angels surround them and keep them, that no evil befalls them, neither does any playue or calamity come near them. I declare that your hand is on them, and that yor deliver them from who lie in wait to harm them. Thank You for helping them discharge their duties with great wisdom and anointing, and walk in truth, integrity and honor. Wherever they go, they carry the anointing and light of freedom as representatives of a covenant nation.

According to Matthew 18:19 and @Now Father, you Corinthians 10:4, I bind the principalities and powers and rulers of the darkness of hte world ranged against this nation and pull them down. In the Name of Jesus, I bind every evil spirit of strife and division, and I break your power to divide this nation. I speak unity, harmony and peace over America. I declare that Jesus is Lord over the United States of America!

Now Father, Your Word says to pray for the peace of Jerusalem because those who love Jerusalem shall prosper. Because You love Jerusalem and all of Israel receives th Shalom of God, which brings wholeness – nothing missing, nothing broken. I pray no leader of our nation will make any decision that will harm Israel in any way, and that Yo make Youraself known and reveal Your perfect will to Israel and its leaders.

Thank You, Father God for hearing my prayers, in Jesus name, thank You for answering John and my prayers in Your Son Jesus name, I love You Father God in Jesus name, I love John very much. Forgive me for douhting You. Thank You Father God for lovong me in Jesus name, I thank You for softening the District Attorney in Jesus name. I am asking You for bring John back to us, To You first Father God in Jesus name Amen.

Genesis 6:11-12 > Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and full of violence God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their way.

Local government are encourging arrests to line their pockets. While Lackawanna County holds innocent people 

There is big money in county jails in America, and Lackawanna County in Scranton Pennsylvania is no different. I believe the county should be charged with Capital Kidnapping. I know their corruption all to well. I was held three weeks longer then I should of been.

The first signal of the new wave of possible wrongdoing happened in September 2017, when agents from the state police and attorney general’s office raided the county’s Administration Building, jail and work release center. Five months later, in February 2018, the attorney general’s office charged seven current and former prison guards with sexually abusing female inmates or having inappropriate contact with them.

InfoThis is archived material from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) website. It may contain outdated information and links may no longer function.

Former Lackawanna County Commissioners Robert C. Cordaro and Anthony J. Munchak Sentenced Today on Corruption Charges in Federal Court

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJanuary 30, 2012

  • Middle District of Pennsylvania(717) 221-4482

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that former Lackawanna County Commissioners Robert C. Cordaro and Anthony J. Munchak were sentenced in federal court in Scranton today by United States District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo.

Cordaro and Munchak were sentenced today to serve 132 months (11 years) and 84 months (seven years), respectively, in federal prison following their convictions after a jury trial in June 2011 on multiple felony counts to corruption during their tenure as County Commissioners. In addition, Cordaro was ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $98,856, a $1,800 special assessment and serve a three-year term of supervised release. Cordaro had previously agreed to forfeit $355,000 to the United States which represents proceeds from the criminal offenses. Munchak was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, a $800 special assessment and also serve a three-year term of supervised release.

Cordaro was ordered to surrender immediately, Munchak will report on April 3, 2012 to commence service.

Judge Caputo said in imposing the sentences today that the defendants violated the public trust and the oath they took as public officials. He noted that these are the fundamental foundations of our system and that the defendants turned that system “upside down.”

At the sentencing hearing today the government contended that Cordaro and Munchak’s criminal activities were “serious, extended and extremely damaging.” The Government stated that Cordaro and Munchak used their positions as majority County Commissioners to “engage in a pay-for-play scheme by accepting money in exchange for their official actions,” and violated the trust placed in them by the citizens of Lackawanna County.

“People have the right to expect that their elected leaders will honor the oath they swore to. The federal justice system must and will stand up to protect that expectation,” said Peter J. Smith, United States Attorney.

The Government was represented in the Cordaro and Munchak case by Assistant United States Attorneys Lorna N. Graham, Bruce Brandler and William S. Houser. The investigation was conducted jointly by the FBI and the Criminal Investigations Office of the IRS.

History of This Case

Cordaro and Munchak were originally charged in a 40-count indictment in March 2010 with racketeering and related charges in connection with alleged improper actions of the former Majority Commissioners in accepting payments and other benefits from individuals and entities doing business with Lackawanna County.

In October 2010 a superseding indictment was filed on substantially the same charges. The superseding indictment was presented due to changes in the application of the Federal Honest Services mail fraud statute resulting from a Supreme Court ruling.

In June 2011, following the 12-day trial, a federal jury in Scranton returned guilty verdicts against Cordaro and Munchak on charges of racketeering, bribery, conspiracy and tax fraud charges as described below.

Robert Cordaro

  • Conspiracy to Commit Theft or Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds (1 count);
  • Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds (2 counts);
  • Conspiracy to Commit Extortion Under Color of Official Right (1 count);
  • Extortion Under Color of Official Right (2 counts);
  • Money Laundering Conspiracy (1 count);
  • Money Laundering (3 counts);
  • Racketeering (1 count);
  • -Racketeering Conspiracy (1 count);
  • Conspiracy to Defraud the United States(1 count);
  • Subscribing and Filing a Materially False Tax Return (3 counts); and
  • Income Tax Evasion (2 counts)

Anthony Munchak

  • Conspiracy to Commit Theft or Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds (1 count);
  • Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds (2 counts);
  • Conspiracy to Commit Extortion Under Color of Official Right (1 count);
  • Extortion Under Color of Official Right (2 counts);
  • Subscribing and Filing a Materially False Tax Return (1 count); and
  • Income Tax Evasion (1 count)

SCRANTON — Seven current and former Lackawanna County Prison guards arrested this afternoon on charges of sexual abuse at the jail are free on bail. Troopers arrested former prison guard John J. Shnipes Jr., 42, of 115 Simpson St., Archbald, at his home. Shnipes is a former Archbald councilman who lost his seat in 2017. He didn’t say anything as troopers led him by his arms to their vehicle and declined comment later when he was escorted out of the state police barracks in Dunmore. Charges against Shnipes, 16 in total, include involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and institutional sexual assault. State police arrested George T. McHale, 50, of 513 Florin St., Scranton, and Jeff Staff, 42, address unknown, at the jail. Both were taken away in handcuffs and escorted to marked state police vehicles. Correctional officers James J. Walsh, 51, Paul J. Voglino, 45,Mark Johnson, 53, and George R. Efthimiou, 50, also were arrested. Walsh has been on paid administrative leave. He is charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion and by threat of forcible compulsion, according to a court docket made public late this afternoon. Voglino is charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion and threat of forcible compulsion. McHale is charged with institutional sexual assault, indecent assault without consent and indecent assault by threat of forcible compulsion. Johnson is charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion and threat of forcible compulsion, institutional sexual assault, indecent assault and harassment. Efthimiou and Staff are both charged only with institutional sexual assault. The dates the offenses are alleged to have occurred range from January 1999 through 2011, according to publicly available dockets. State police arrived at the jail after 2 p.m., not long before shift change, and acted with silent efficiency. Both McHale and Staff were visibly surprised. McHale’s eyes stared forward. His face was a pale mask of shock. Staff wanted a Times-Tribune photographer to stop taking pictures. The state police didn’t react. The camera kept clicking. Warden Tim Betti said no warning of the arrests was given but he could “surmise” what the arrests were about. He stood in the parking lot of the jail as the state troopers put the two under arrest. He planned to address his staff after and was sure that morale would be low. “It affects my morale,” Betti said. “It’s a little dour…it matches the sky right now.” The arrests come six months after agents from the state Attorney General’s Office and state police raided the jail, the county work release center, 911 center and county administration building related to a grand jury investigation into alleged sexual abuse of inmates. County Judge James Gibbons, who is chairman of the county prison board, said Wednesday afternoon he did not know any details of the arrests. He said he was not notified in advance that the arrests would happen. Bernie Brown, a lawyer representing Staff, Voglino and Johnson called the charges “trumped up” and claim the guards’ accusers went to the attorney general and are telling stories to increase their chances for settlements in their lawsuits. The investigation arose from a civil lawsuit filed by a woman who alleged she was sexually abused by six guards from 2007 to 2016. Three additional women later joined the lawsuit and implicated other officers going back to 1998. The lawsuit, which is pending in federal court, contained allegations against prison guards the women said committed the abuse, as well as fellow guards who witnessed it but did nothing to stop it. It also alleges prison and county officials knew about the abuse and tried to cover it up. The accused guards coerced the incarcerated women into the sex acts by giving them extra privileges or threatening to take away privileges or place them restricted housing, the suit said. When they were free, the guards manipulated them into having sex by threatening to have their probation revoked. Two of the women alleged they tried to report the abuse to other guards and prison officials. Rather than help them, the guards harassed and berated them and actively helped the abusive guards conceal the assaults, the complaint said. The suit alleged most of the abuse happened between 1998 and 2013, but some as recently as last year. All seven arrested were taken to the state police barracks in Dunmore for interviews and then were arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Paul J. Ware at his office on West Pine Street. Their preliminary hearings are scheduled for 11:15 a.m. on Feb. 23. A press conference is slated for some time tomorrow, Trooper Mark Keyes, a spokesman at the Dunmore barracks, said. Walsh and McHale are free on $50,000 unsecured bail and Voglino, Efthimiou and Staff walked on $25,000 unsecured bail. Johnson posted a bail bond for $25,000. Shnipes posted a bond for $100,000. An attorney representing Shnipes said he is looking forward to his day in court. JEFF HORVATH, STAFF WRITER, CONTRIBUTED TO THE REPORT Check back for updates.

The day after the guards’ arrests, Attorney General Josh Shapiro called it “the opening chapter” in trying to end abusive prison culture. The grand jury presentment charging the guards mentions others who knew about abuse but may have done nothing about it, though Shapiro declined to speculate then about charging them.

None of the cases of the guards arrested — John Shnipes, George T. McHale, Jeffrey T. Staff, James J. Walsh, Paul J. Voglino, Mark A. Johnson and George R. Efthimiou — have reached the trial stage. I just wander if these men are requiered to regieser with the State police as Sex Offenders. I just heard that the county government paid $700,000 to these C.O.’s who raped the women in jail. I seen male C.O.’s go into female inmates cells. We were told of we said anything we would never see our kids agasin. Because the C.O.’s could pin charges on us for telling on them.

%d bloggers like this: