HOW TO PRAY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP NOW

An epic rebuke to CNN and Obama and Hillary: When asked to condemn Trump’s travel ban after we hit Assad’s airbase, a Syrian victim instead says, “Thank you President Trump!”  “you are all hypocrites. We don’t want to be refugees. For seven years, you did nothing!  Finally, Trump has punished Assad!”

HOW TO PRAY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP NOW

By Mario Murillo

An epic rebuke to CNN and Obama and Hillary: When asked to condemn Trump’s travel ban after we hit Assad’s airbase, a Syrian victim instead says, “Thank you President Trump!”  “You are all hypocrites. We don’t want to be refugees. For seven years, you did nothing!  Finally, Trump has punished Assad!”

In a moment only God could have orchestrated, President Trump has triumphed and the lies of the Obama years have been exposed.  In one fell swoop—and even as the prime minister of China was present—Our president told North Korea, Iran, Assad, Russian and the world that we are back and the free world has a leader.

Here is an amazing result:

“What we are seeing right now, in the wake of Donald Trump launching retaliatory airstrikes against Syria, is a rally-round-the-president effect.

As the media shift to war footing, the tone of the coverage has dramatically changed, from whether Trump is a bumbling leader to how decisive he was in responding to Bashir al-Assad’s horrifying chemical attack.

And the natural instinct to support the commander-in-chief when he orders military action is a good thing—as long as it doesn’t go too far.

Trump is benefiting from two factors. One is the stark contrast with Barack Obama, who declared a red line against Syria and failed to enforce it in 2013, settling instead for a deal on chemical weapons that obviously didn’t remove all of them from the country.

The other is Hillary Clinton, earlier in the day, saying that the U.S. should bomb Syrian airfields—thus making it harder to argue that no cruise missiles would have been launched if the election had gone the other way.” -Fox News

From out of nowhere a Syrian said what our entire government could not say.  “We do not want to be refugees.  We want safe zones here until we can get our nation back.”

Here is the common-sense solution to the Syrian crisis delivered like a Tomahawk missile into the fake news capitol of the world.

CNN’s unvarnished hatred for Trump will continuously set them up for these embarrassing backfires.

Once again, the left celebrated Trump’s demise too soon.  Once again it all boomerangs in their face.  God’s hand is strong on our Commander in Chief.  Today I am speaking Psalm 41: 10 and 11 over our president.  “But You, O Lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up, That I may repay them. 11 By this I know that You are well pleased with me, Because my enemy does not triumph over me.

How do we pray for President Trump?

-Pray for wisdom beyond human wisdom for him to know what to do next in a highly volatile and complicated world situation.

-Pray protection on him from his enemies in the media and traitors embedded in the deep state rogue government set up by Obama.

-Pray for his health, his emotions, his family and his staff to be protected.

While you are at it, pray for the leaders of the American Church to be convicted by the example of a brave and decisive leader so we will stop delaying revival with carnal and impotent church services.

 

 

 

THE COMING PERSECUTION AND THE COMING POWER

 turth

Editor’s note:   In case you missed it we are reposting it.  If you read it, reread it now in the light of what is happening.

THE COMING PERSECUTION AND THE COMING POWER

By Mario Murillo

As I prayed, I experienced colliding emotions of dread and excitement.  The Holy Spirit made it clear that persecution against Christians is going to spike in the United States in the next few months.  He also made it clear that this would touch off a towering flow of miracles of healing.

I was led to a specific moment recorded in the Book of Acts: Acts 12:1-3, “Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. 2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also.”

That mood, the one that pleases people when Christians are harassed and blamed, is upon us.  I am warning you that it will start within weeks, and the mindless ferocity of it will surprise you.

mood

Satan wants America destroyed.   It is the grand prize.  With America gone, the devil can unleash worldwide devastation.   But the global tyranny that he craves cannot happen until the American firewall is removed.

He also knows that he can only destroy America from within.  Somehow, he must pit us against each other. 

The only deterrent to civil war at this point is Christianity. Notice that I do not say the church, I say Christianity.  The church is sidelined by equal parts division and denial.  The Christianity that seeps out despite religion is the only thing protecting us.

The only reason there was no rioting, looting, or arson in Charleston was Christians.  Individual believers, under the impulse of faith and forgiveness, won the day.

The devil’s weapon of choice is hate.  He must foment hate.  Today, that hate is coming from secular progressives who seek social justice. The things that were once loving, moral and trustworthy, including marriage, manhood, military service, freedom of speech, witnessing, the Bible and, yes, freedom itself, are now hateful.

Don’t let them fool you with the term “new normal.”  Their new normal is nothing but the old abnormal.

Hitler fueled a frenzy of hatred by blaming anything and everything bad on the Jews. He created a new form of right and wrong that made it your duty to hate Jews.

Today, as it was in Nazi Germany, only one side of the story is allowed in the media.  Only one narrative is legal.  That narrative redefines every element of our daily lives.  Even Tylenol has a commercial meant to brainwash you about gay marriage.

Why on earth would Tylenol feel the need to weigh in on gay marriage?  The answer is chilling: it is economics.   This is an early version of the mark of the beast.  The beast will bankrupt any business that stands against gay marriage.  You are not allowed an opinion on this or any other pet peeve of the social justice movement.

My great heartache is in the fact that God has been lovingly warning the American Church.  He has repeatedly ordered the church to stand as one against immorality, but she has flatly refused.  God reserves the right to allow persecution if it will wake up the church and spare the nation.

lovingly

Look at these verses: Isaiah 8:5-8, “The Lord also spoke to me again, saying: 6 “Inasmuch as these people refused the waters of Shiloah that flow softly, and rejoice in Rezin and in Remaliah’s son; 7 Now therefore, behold, the Lord brings up over them the waters of the River, strong and mighty—The king of Assyria and all his glory; He will go up over all his channels and go over all his banks. 8 He will pass through Judah, He will overflow and pass over, He will reach up to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings will fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel.”  Why would God side with Israel’s enemy?  They had rejected the countless gentle tugs and warnings.

Is there any good news in this?  There is much good news, but only for a certain group.  A core of Christians who refuse to side with the compromised church, and who are seeking Jesus, will be protected and used mightily. 

After this, Herod arrested Peter, but an angel appeared and brought him out.  This miracle ignited the church.  I am telling you what the Holy Spirit has told me.  Every vessel that seeks God right now will receive greater power and greater miracles.

vessel

Call it legend, call me crazy, but I know that this wave of persecution is here.  We can turn it all around.  We can regain lost ground.  Those who disobey God cannot escape this misery and those who obey God will not be denied special grace and increased supernatural power.

Do not remain silent! The dire warning to American Pastors from voices of the past.

 Do not remain silent!   The dire warning to American Pastors from voices of the past.

By Mario Murillo

 

Mordecai said to Esther, “for if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14.

Businessman with Tape over Mouth

It is with a broken heart and deep reverence that I beg you my fellow ministers, do not remain silent about Obama and the Democratic Party.  I know that for me to remain silent will put blood on my hands and perhaps judgment in my future.  You may ask me how do you dare make such a claim?  That is when I will ask you, what more must Obama and Hillary Clinton do before you admit that he is a grave threat to everything that we hold dear as men and women of God?

I beg you!  Quit hiding behind myth of separation of church and state!  You have the right, yea the duty to speak out now before it is too late.

Listen to Matt Barber vice president of Liberty Counsel Action, “In recent years there’s been an epidemic of cultural inaction exhibited by far too many ministers of the gospel. It’s fear-based. “Oh, I don’t talk about political issues,” they say. “You know, ‘separation of Church and State’ and all that.”

Baloney.

If this is you — and only you and our Lord knows for sure — you’ve been deceived by the enemies of God. You’ve chosen the easy way out — the path of least resistance. This is something Christ, whom all Christians are called to emulate, never did — not once.

So, respectfully, man-up, Padre! Be the “salt and light of the world,” as Christ so admonished.

Did you get that? Despite hundreds of thousands of threatening letters sent by hard-left groups like the ACLU and Barry Lynn’s Americans United, not a single church has lost tax exemption for socio-political activity — zip, zero, nada. Not even for endorsing candidates from the pulpit.”

Obama and the Democratic Party’s agenda cannot win without the Christian vote and I believe that  if Pastors remain silent, we are headed for another defeat in 2014!

Are they afraid of losing tithers?  I am trying to wrap my brain around the idea of  a man of God who would rather lose a nation than a tither.

dietrich-bonhoffer

Perhaps you have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this?  Maybe God gave you that pulpit for such a time as this?  What if you are here to speak up at the precise time that socialism is about to swallow of American exceptionalism?  We have to rise up in the name of God and stop  this plan for the dismantling of everything good and right about America.

Are you still hiding behind the excuse that we are to be “loving and not speak out ”?  What if Esther had hidden behind that excuse?  Does love keep silent?

Maybe you believe that we need a big government ruling our lives. Just remember, when they start to control healthcare they will come and control your church.   They will do it in the name of good.

Here’s what C.S. Lewis said about the nanny state:  “Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

 Maybe you believe that the grievance industry fomented by Jesse  Jackson, Al Sharpton and the NAACP  is a part of the civil rights movement.  It is not, listen to Dr. King’s own words:

“There was a time when the church was very powerful in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and outside agitators. But the Christians pressed on in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven” called to obey God rather than man. Small in number they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide.”

protesting evil

You can cave into pressure, remain silent and let this moment bring irreversible damage.  However, do not fool yourself.  I say this with tears of love and I am quaking with conviction.  I believe we are fairly warned!  The next time you pray for growth, miracles, blessing or finances, consider the broken heart of God who will remember your silence, and that silence, I believe, will be screaming at God a lot louder than your prayers.

Henninger: Obama’s Credibility Is Melting

Henninger: Obama’s Credibility Is Melting

Here and abroad, Obama’s partners are concluding they cannot trust him.

By

DANIEL HENNINGER
Oct. 23, 2013 7:14 p.m. ET
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The collapse of ObamaCare is the tip of the iceberg for the magical Obama presidency.From the moment he emerged in the public eye with his 2004 speech at the Democratic Convention and through his astonishing defeat of the Clintons in 2008, Barack Obama’s calling card has been credibility. He speaks, and enough of the world believes to keep his presidency afloat. Or used to.All of a sudden, from Washington to Riyadh, Barack Obama’s credibility is melting.Amid the predictable collapse the past week of HealthCare.gov’s too-complex technology, not enough notice was given to Sen. Marco Rubio‘s statement that the chances for success on immigration reform are about dead. Why? Because, said Sen. Rubio, there is “a lack of trust” in the president’s commitments.

“This notion that they’re going to get in a room and negotiate a deal with the president on immigration,” Sen. Rubio said Sunday on Fox News, “is much more difficult to do” after the shutdown negotiations of the past three weeks.

Sen. Rubio said he and other reform participants, such as Idaho’s Rep. Raul Labrador, are afraid that if they cut an immigration deal with the White House—say, offering a path to citizenship in return for strong enforcement of any new law—Mr. Obama will desert them by reneging on the enforcement.

When belief in the average politician’s word diminishes, the political world marks him down and moves away. With the president of the United States, especially one in his second term, the costs of the credibility markdown become immeasurably greater. Ask the Saudis.

Last weekend the diplomatic world was agog at the refusal of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to accept a seat on the U.N. Security Council. Global disbelief gave way fast to clear understanding: The Saudis have decided that the United States is no longer a reliable partner in Middle Eastern affairs.

The Saudi king, who supported Syria’s anti-Assad rebels early, before Islamic jihadists polluted the coalition, watched Mr. Obama’s red line over Assad’s use of chemical weapons disappear into an about-face deal with Vladimir Putin. The next time King Abdullah looked up, Mr. Obama was hanging the Saudis out to dry yet again by phoning up Iran’s President Hasan Rouhani, Assad’s primary banker and armorer, to chase a deal on nuclear weapons. Within days, Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief, Prince Bandar, let it be known that the Saudis intend to distance themselves from the U.S.

What is at issue here is not some sacred moral value, such as “In God We Trust.” Domestic politics or the affairs of nations are not an avocation for angels. But the coin of this imperfect realm is credibility. Sydney Greenstreet’s Kasper Gutman explained the terms of trade in “The Maltese Falcon”: “I must tell you what I know, but you won’t tell me what you know. That is hardly equitable, sir. I don’t think we can do business along those lines.”

Bluntly, Mr. Obama’s partners are concluding that they cannot do business with him. They don’t trust him. Whether it’s the Saudis, the Syrian rebels, the French, the Iraqis, the unpivoted Asians or the congressional Republicans, they’ve all had their fill of coming up on the short end with so mercurial a U.S. president. And when that happens, the world’s important business doesn’t get done. It sits in a dangerous and volatile vacuum.

The next major political event in Washington is the negotiation over spending, entitlements and taxes between House budget chairman Paul Ryan and his Senate partner, Patty Murray. The bad air over this effort is the same as that Marco Rubio says is choking immigration reform: the fear that Mr. Obama will urge the process forward in public and then blow up any Ryan-Murray agreement at the 11th hour with deal-killing demands for greater tax revenue.

Then there is Mr. Obama’s bond with the American people, which is diminishing with the failed rollout of the Affordable Care ActObamaCare is the central processing unit of the Obama presidency’s belief system. Now the believers are wondering why the administration suppressed knowledge of the huge program’s problems when hundreds of tech workers for the project had to know this mess would happen Oct. 1.

Rather than level with the public, the government’s most senior health-care official, Kathleen Sebelius, spent days spewing ludicrous and incredible happy talk about the failure, while refusing to provide basic information about its cause.

Voters don’t normally accord politicians unworldly levels of belief, but it has been Barack Obama’s gift to transform mere support into victorious credulousness. Now that is crumbling, at great cost. If here and abroad, politicians, the public and the press conclude that Mr. Obama can’t play it straight, his second-term accomplishments will lie only in doing business with the world’s most cynical, untrustworthy partners. The American people are the ones who will end up on the short end of those deals.

Saudi Arabia severs diplomatic ties with US over response to conflict in Syria

Saudi Arabia severs diplomatic ties with US over response to conflict in Syria

PUBLISHED: 19:27 EST, 22 October 2013 | UPDATED: 19:27 EST, 22 October 2013

Upset at President Barack Obama’s policies on Iran and Syria, members of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family are threatening a rift with the United States that could take the alliance between Washington and the kingdom to its lowest point in years.

Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief is vowing that the kingdom will make a ‘major shift’ in relations with the United States to protest perceived American inaction over Syria’s civil war as well as recent U.S. overtures to Iran, a source close to Saudi policy said on Tuesday.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan told European diplomats that the United States had failed to act effectively against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was growing closer to Tehran, and had failed to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed an anti-government revolt in 2011, the source said.

'Major change': Prince Bandar Bin Sultan said the kingdom will make a ‘Major change’: Prince Bandar Bin Sultan said the kingdom will make a “major shift” in relations with the United States

‘The shift away from the U.S. is a major one,’ the source close to Saudi policy said. ‘Saudi doesn’t want to find itself any longer in a situation where it is dependent.’

It was not immediately clear whether the reported statements by Prince Bandar, who was the Saudi ambassador to Washington for 22 years, had the full backing of King Abdullah.

The growing breach between the United States and Saudi Arabia was also on display in Washington, where another senior Saudi prince criticized Obama’s Middle East policies, accusing him of ‘dithering’ on Syria and Israeli-Palestinian peace.

In unusually blunt public remarks, Prince Turki al-Faisal called Obama’s policies in Syria ‘lamentable’ and ridiculed a U.S.-Russian deal to eliminate Assad’s chemical weapons. He suggested it was a ruse to let Obama avoid military action in Syria.

‘The current charade of international control over Bashar’s chemical arsenal would be funny if it were not so blatantly perfidious. And designed not only to give Mr. Obama an opportunity to back down (from military strikes), but also to help Assad to butcher his people,’ said Prince Turki, a member of the Saudi royal family and former director of Saudi intelligence.

Inaction: The Saudis say they are getting upset by President Obama's inaction in dealing with the conflict in SyriaInaction: The Saudis say they are getting upset by President Obama’s inaction in dealing with the conflict in Syria

The United States and Saudi Arabia have been allies since the kingdom was declared in 1932, giving Riyadh a powerful military protector and Washington secure oil supplies.

The Saudi criticism came days after the 40th anniversary of the October 1973 Arab oil embargo imposed to punish the West for supporting Israel in the Yom Kippur war.

That was one of the low points in U.S.-Saudi ties, which were also badly shaken by the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

Saudi Arabia gave a clear sign of its displeasure over Obama’s foreign policy last week when it rejected a coveted two-year term on the U.N. Security Council in a display of anger over the failure of the international community to end the war in Syria and act on other Middle East issues.

Prince Turki indicated that Saudi Arabia will not reverse that decision, which he said was a result of the Security Council’s failure to stop Assad and implement its own decision on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Picking sides: Russian President Vladimir Putin, seen here with bin Sultan, has sided with the Syrian government in the conflictPicking sides: Russian President Vladimir Putin, seen here with bin Sultan, has sided with the Syrian government in the conflict

‘There is nothing whimsical about the decision to forego membership of the Security Council. It is based on the ineffectual experience of that body,’ he said in a speech to the Washington-based National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.

In London, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he discussed Riyadh’s concerns when he met Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal in Paris on Monday.

Kerry said he told the Saudi minister no deal with Iran was better than a bad deal. ‘I have great confidence that the United States and Saudi Arabia will continue to be the close and important friends and allies that we have been,’ Kerry told reporters.

Prince Bandar is seen as a foreign policy hawk, especially on Iran. The Sunni Muslim kingdom’s rivalry with Shi’ite Iran, an ally of Syria, has amplified sectarian tensions across the Middle East.

A son of the late defense minister and crown prince, Prince Sultan, and a protégé of the late King Fahd, he fell from favor with King Abdullah after clashing on foreign policy in 2005.

But he was called in from the cold last year with a mandate to bring down Assad, diplomats in the Gulf say. Over the past year, he has led Saudi efforts to bring arms and other aid to Syrian rebels.

‘Prince Bandar told diplomats that he plans to limit interaction with the U.S.,’ the source close to Saudi policy said.

Secretary of State John Kerry says he's confident the U.S. will continue to have a good relationship with Saudi ArabiaSecretary of State John Kerry says he’s confident the U.S. will continue to have a good relationship with Saudi Arabia

This happens after the U.S. failed to take any effective action on Syria and Palestine. Relations with the U.S. have been deteriorating for a while, as Saudi feels that the U.S. is growing closer with Iran and the U.S. also failed to support Saudi during the Bahrain uprising,” the source said.

The source declined to provide more details of Bandar’s talks with the diplomats, which took place in the past few days.

But he suggested that the planned change in ties between the energy superpower and the United States would have wide-ranging consequences, including on arms purchases and oil sales.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, ploughs much of its earnings back into U.S. assets. Most of the Saudi central bank’s net foreign assets of $690 billion are thought to be denominated in dollars, much of them in U.S. Treasury bonds.

‘All options are on the table now, and for sure there will be some impact,’ the Saudi source said.

He said there would be no further coordination with the United States over the war in Syria, where the Saudis have armed and financed rebel groups fighting Assad.

The kingdom has informed the United States of its actions in Syria, and diplomats say it has respected U.S. requests not to supply the groups with advanced weaponry that the West fears could fall into the hands of al Qaeda-aligned groups.

Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki Al Faisal also is outraged the international community has let the war continue in SyriaSaudi intelligence chief Prince Turki Al Faisal also is outraged the international community has let the war continue in Syria

Saudi anger boiled over after Washington refrained from military strikes in response to a poison gas attack in Damascus in August when Assad agreed to give up his chemical weapons arsenal.

Representative Chris Van Hollen, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Democratic leadership, told Reuters’ Washington Summit on Tuesday that the Saudi moves were intended to pressure Obama to take action in Syria.

‘We know their game. They’re trying to send a signal that we should all get involved militarily in Syria, and I think that would be a big mistake to get in the middle of the Syrian civil war,’ Van Hollen said.

‘And the Saudis should start by stopping their funding of the al Qaeda-related groups in Syria. In addition to the fact that it’s a country that doesn’t allow women to drive,’ said Van Hollen, who is close to Obama on domestic issues in Congress but is less influential on foreign policy.

Saudi Arabia is concerned about signs of a tentative reconciliation between Washington and Tehran, something Riyadh fears may lead to a ‘grand bargain’ on the Iranian nuclear program that would leave Riyadh at a disadvantage.

Prince Turki expressed doubt that Obama would succeed in what he called an ‘open arms approach’ to Iran, which he accused of meddling in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Bahrain.

‘We Saudis observe President Obama’s efforts in this regard. The road ahead is arduous,’ he said. ‘Whether (Iranian President Hassan) Rouhani will succeed in steering Iran toward sensible policies is already contested in Iran. The forces of darkness in Qom and Tehran are well entrenched.’

The U.N. Security Council has been paralyzed over the 31-month-old Syria conflict, with permanent members Russia and China repeatedly blocking measures to condemn Assad.

Saudi Arabia backs Assad’s mostly Sunni rebel foes. The Syrian leader, whose Alawite sect is derived from Shi’ite Islam, has support from Iran and the armed Lebanese Shi’ite movement Hezbollah. The Syrian leader denounces the insurgents as al Qaeda-linked groups backed by Sunni-ruled states.

In Bahrain, home of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, a simmering pro-democracy revolt by its Shi’ite majority has prompted calls by some in Washington for U.S. ships to be based elsewhere.

Many U.S. economic interests in Saudi Arabia involve government contracts in defense, other security sectors, health care, education, information technology and construction.

The fruits of epic incompetence.

obama epic incompetence

The fruits of epic incompetence

By , Published: September 12.

The president of the United States takes to the airwaves to urgently persuade the nation to pause before doing something it has no desire to do in the first place.Strange. And it gets stranger still. That “strike Syria, maybe” speech begins with a heart-rending account of children consigned to a terrible death by a monster dropping poison gas. It proceeds to explain why such behavior must be punished. It culminates with the argument that the proper response — the most effective way to uphold fundamental norms, indeed human decency — is a flea bite: something “limited,” “targeted” or, as so memorably described by Secretary of State John Kerry, “unbelievably small.”

Charles Krauthammer

The mind reels, but there’s more. We must respond — but not yet. This “Munich moment” (Kerry again) demands first a pause to find accommodation with that very same toxin-wielding monster, by way of negotiations with his equally cynical, often shirtless, Kremlin patron bearing promises.

The promise is to rid Syria of its chemical weapons. The negotiations are open-ended. Not a word from President Obama about any deadline or ultimatum. And utter passivity: Kerry said hours earlier that he awaited the Russian proposal.

Why? The administration claims (preposterously, but no matter) that Obama has been working on this idea with Putin at previous meetings. Moreover, the idea was first publicly enunciated by Kerry, even though his own State Department immediately walked it back as a slip of the tongue.

Take at face value Obama’s claim of authorship. Then why isn’t he taking ownership? Why isn’t he calling it the “U.S. proposal” and defining it? Why not issue a U.S. plan containing the precise demands, detailed timeline and threat of action should these conditions fail to be met?

Putin doesn’t care one way or the other about chemical weapons. Nor about dead Syrian children. Nor about international norms, parchment treaties and the other niceties of the liberal imagination.

He cares about power and he cares about keeping Bashar al-Assad in power. Assad is the key link in the anti-Western Shiite crescent stretching from Tehran through Damascus and Beirut to the Mediterranean — on which sits Tartus, Russia’s only military base outside the former Soviet Union. This axis frontally challenges the pro-American Sunni Arab Middle East (Jordan, Yemen, the Gulf Arabs, even the North African states), already terrified at the imminent emergence of a nuclear Iran.

At which point the Iran axis and its Russian patron would achieve dominance over the moderate Arab states, allowing Russia to supplant America as regional hegemon for the first time since Egypt switched to our side in the Cold War in 1972.

The hinge of the entire Russian strategy is saving the Assad regime. That’s the very purpose of the “Russian proposal.” Imagine that some supposed arms-control protocol is worked out. The inspectors have to be vetted by Assad, protected by Assad, convoyed by Assad, directed by Assad to every destination. Negotiation, inspection, identification, accounting, transport and safety would require constant cooperation with the regime, and thus acknowledgment of its sovereignty and legitimacy.

So much for Obama’s repeated insistence that Assad must go. Indeed, Putin has openly demandedthat any negotiation be conditioned on a U.S. commitment to forswear the use of force against Assad. On Thursday, Assad repeated that demand, warning that without an American pledge not to attack and not to arm the rebels, his government would agree to nothing.

This would abolish the very possibility of America tilting the order of battle in a Syrian war that Assad is now winning thanks to Russian arms, Iranian advisers and Lebanese Hezbollah shock troops. Putin thus assures the survival of his Syrian client and the continued ascendancy of the anti-Western Iranian bloc.

And what does America get? Obama saves face.

Some deal.

As for the peace process, it has about zero chance of disarming Damascus. We’ve spent nine years disarming an infinitely smaller arsenal in Libya — in conditions of peace — and we’re still finding undeclared stockpiles.

Yet consider what’s happened over the last month. Assad uses poison gas on civilians and is branded, by the United States above all, a war criminal. Putin, covering for the war criminal, is exposed, isolated, courting pariah status.

And now? Assad, far from receiving punishment of any kind, goes from monster to peace partner. Putin bestrides the world stage, playing dealmaker. He’s welcomed by America as a constructive partner. Now a world statesman, he takes to the New York Times to blame American interventionist arrogance — a.k.a. “American exceptionalism” — for inducing small states to acquire WMDs in the first place.

And Obama gets to slink away from a Syrian debacle of his own making. Such are the fruits of a diplomacy of epic incompetence.

NSA disguised itself as Google to spy, say reports

NSA disguised itself as Google to spy, say reports

If a recently leaked document is any indication, the US National Security Agency — or its UK counterpart — appears to have put on a Google suit to gather intelligence.

Edward Moyer

September 12, 2013 2:19 PM PDT

The flag of the NSA.

Here’s one of the latest tidbits on the NSA surveillance scandal (which seems to be generating nearly as many blog items as there are phone numbers in the spy agency’s data banks).

Earlier this week, Techdirt picked up on a passing mention in a Brazilian news story and a Slate article to point out that the US National Security Agency had apparently impersonated Google on at least one occasion to gather data on people. (Mother Jones subsequently pointed outTechdirt’s point-out.)

Brazilian site Fantastico obtained and published a document leaked by Edward Snowden, which diagrams how a “man in the middle attack” involving Google was apparently carried out.

A technique commonly used by hackers, a MITM attack involves using a fake security certificate to pose as a legitimate Web service, bypass browser security settings, and then intercept data that an unsuspecting person is sending to that service. Hackers could, for example, pose as a banking Web site and steal passwords.

The article by Brazil’s Fantastico mentions a hitherto unknown GCHQ spy program called “Flying Pig.” This prompted a Twitter quip from Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Kurt Opsahl: “PRISM, Flying Pig. Someone in the surveillance state has a thing for Pink Floyd album covers.”(Credit: Pig: Musiclipse.com; prism: Harvest, Capitol.)

The technique is particularly sly because the hackers then use the password to log in to the real banking site and then serve as a “man in the middle,” receiving requests from the banking customer, passing them on to the bank site, and then returning requested info to the customer — all the while collecting data for themselves, with neither the customer nor the bank realizing what’s happening. Such attacks can be used against e-mail providers too.

It’s not clear if the supposed attack in the Fantastico document was handled by the NSA or by its UK counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The article by the Brazilian news agency says, “In this case, data is rerouted to the NSA central, and then relayed to its destination, without either end noticing.”

“There have been rumors of the NSA and others using those kinds of MITM attacks,” Mike Masnick writes on Techdirt, “but to have it confirmed that they’re doing them against the likes of Google… is a big deal — and something I would imagine does not make [Google] particularly happy.”

Google provided a short statement to Mother Jones reporter Josh Harkinson in response to his questions on the matter: “As for recent reports that the US government has found ways to circumvent our security systems, we have no evidence of any such thing ever occurring. We provide our user data to governments only in accordance with the law.” (The company is also trying to win the right toprovide more transparency regarding government requests for data on Google users.)

CNET got a “no comment” from the NSA in response to our request for more information.

As TechDirt suggests, an MITM attack on the part of the NSA or GCHQ would hardly be a complete shock. The New York Times reported last week that the NSA has sidestepped common Net encryption methods in a number of ways, including hacking into the servers of private companies to steal encryption keys, collaborating with tech companies to build in back doors, and covertly introducing weaknesses into encryption standards.

It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to obtain a fake security certificate to foil the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) cryptographic protocol that’s designed to verify the authenticity of Web sites and ensure secure Net communications.

Indeed, such attacks have been aimed at Google before, including in 2011, when a hacker broke into the systems of DigiNotar — a Dutch company that issued Web security certificates — and created more than 500 SSL certificates used to authenticate Web sites.

In any case, the purported NSA/GCHG impersonation of Google inspired a rather clever graphic by Mother Jones, one that might even impress the rather clever Doodlers at Google: