Trump Is Distorting Statistics to Demonize Immigrants

Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images

The administration’s new report on international terrorism is full of misleading numbers and glaring omissions.

When President Donald Trump kicked off his campaign in the summer of 2015 by smearing Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug traffickers, he had only his own celebrity to spread dubious theories about immigrants and crime. Now he has the machinery of the federal government to provide flawed evidence for more restrictive immigration policies.

A report released Tuesday by the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security represents the Trump administration?s latest effort to conflate immigrants and criminality. It tabulates the number of foreign nationals linked to international terrorism, gender violence and honor killings, and other major crimes since September 11, 2001. The government intends it to be the first report of a series mandated by executive order?a rolling, state-run litany of sins committed by foreigners against the American homeland.

?This report reveals an indisputable sobering reality?our immigration system has undermined our national security and public safety,? Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. He cited the report?s figures to support the administration?s push for ?a merit-based immigration system that ends the use of diversity visas and chain migration.?

The Diversity Visa Program and chain migration are perennial targets of scorn from immigration hardliners like Sessions. The former offers eligible immigrants from underrepresented countries the chance to obtain residency, while the latter refers to federal immigration laws that allow U.S. immigrants to sponsor family members for visas. Republicans in Congress have proposed nixing both programs in recent weeks in exchange for an agreement with Democrats on preserving Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era program that grants temporary legal status to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.

Tuesday?s joint report, titled ?Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,? was mandated by Trump?s March 6 executive order that re-established a travel ban targeting six Muslim-majority countries. The order requires the secretary of homeland security and attorney general to publicly release data on crimes committed by immigrants since 9/11, and asked questions that betrayed the underlying purpose: How many foreign nationals have been convicted of international terrorism-related crimes by U.S. courts? How many foreign nationals were radicalized after entering the United States  What?s the immigration status of people convicted of major crimes? How many honor killings are committed in the United States?

In attempting to address those questions, Tuesday?s report presents a slurry of data on arrests and convictions for crimes committed by foreign nationals and immigrants, but provides virtually no context or analysis to the numbers it puts forward.

The report states, for example, that U.S. federal courts have convicted 549 defendants on international terrorism-related charges since 9/11; 402 of those defendants were born outside the U.S., while 147 were U.S. citizens by birth. The resulting figure fits into the Trump administration?s narrative: Approximately 73 percent of people with international terrorism convictions in U.S. courts are foreign-born.

On closer inspection, however, the figure doesn?t support the administration?s criticism of family-based immigration and diversity visas. Some of the defendants entered the United States through those programs, but the report can?t identify how many actually did. The figure includes an unknown number of defendants who were extradited to the U.S. from overseas, and thus hardly count as immigrants in any practical sense. And it excludes defendants who were convicted of domestic terrorism during the same timespan, for example. (This is by design, since the order explicitly limited its focus to international terrorism, which refers to acts committed on behalf of a foreign group.)

The domestic terrorism omission is particularly glaring. Take the recent case of Taylor Michael Wilson, a 26-year-old white nationalist from Missouri who had expressed an interest in ?killing black people.? Federal prosecutors unsealed terrorism-related charges against him earlier this month after he allegedly tried to stop an Amtrak train in a remote part of Nebraska last October while armed with a handgun. The Huffington Post?s Ryan Reilly noted that Wilson?s arrest and indictment went unannounced by the Justice Department for a variety of factors, including that federal law considers domestic terrorism to be a ?second-class threat? and doesn?t criminalize all forms of politically motivated violence. (Wilson?s alleged acts still fall under federal terrorism laws because they occurred aboard a train.)

Some of the data also appears to be outright misleading. One section is devoted to ?honor killings,? which occur in some Mediterranean and South Asian cultures?usually against women who refuse to marry someone or are accused of committing adultery. Obtaining accurate figures for domestic and gender-based violence is notoriously difficult in general, and the report notes that the federal government does not currently attempt to track the number of honor killings committed in the United States.

Nonetheless, the report cites a 2014 Bureau of Justice Statistics study that it said had ?estimated an average of 23-27 honor killings occur every year in the United States.? (Sessions, when he was an Alabama senator, similarly claimed during a 2016 congressional hearing that the U.S. ?had 27 honor killings last year in the United States according to DOJ.?) That statistic, however, was drawn from a separate, unpublished analysis that had simply applied rates of honor killings in foreign countries to U.S. demographics, without modification?a dubious method ?based on several untested assumptions,? according to the BJS study?s authors. When those authors conducted their own search for honor killings in public records, they only found 14 recorded incidents since 1990?a far cry from the 25 incidents per year suggested by Monday?s report.

Tuesday?s report isn?t the first time that the Trump administration has used federal resources to encourage hostility toward immigrants. In April 2017, the Department of Homeland Security created a hotline within the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency called Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement, or VOICE. Then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly touted the program as a specialized victim-assistance service for those who suffered at the hands of immigrants. ?All crimes are terrible, but these victims are unique?and all too often ignored,? Kelly said at the time.

At first, the hotline functioned as something of a joke, as callers flooded it with complaints about ?criminal alien? activity by UFOs and extraterrestrials. But something more insidious also took place. A Splinter News review of VOICE call logs in October found that hundreds of Americans used the hotline to make secret accusations about their immigrant neighbors, coworkers, and ex-friends, which ?call to mind the efforts of closed societies like East Germany or Cuba to cultivate vast networks of informants and an atmosphere of fear and suspicion.?

Tuesday?s report will offer a similar outlet to those nativist tendencies. By lending the imprimatur of federal law enforcement to flawed and misleading statistics, the report gives credence to some Americans? worst fears and claims about immigrants. But that?s what it was intended to do, which explains why the man responsible for its creation was so pleased with the result?and why, in praising the report, he conspicuously dropped the ?international? qualifier from its description of terrorism-related offenses.

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Angela Merkel to come to Bulgaria on Saturday

The acting Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Angela Merkel, will visit Bulgaria this coming weekend. In Sofia, she will meet Bulgaria?s Prime Minister Boiko Borissov on Saturday.

With his guest from Berlin, Borissov will talk about the priorities of his country?s EU Council Presidency, the press service of his Cabinet announced, and about other political subjects.

During the first two and a half weeks of the Presidency, many high-ranking guests have already visited Sofia, including Japan?s Prime Minister Shinz? Abe, as well as Antonio Tajani, Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission.

The government of Angela Merkel, a grand coalition between her conservative Christian-Democratic Union (CDU), along with its ultra-conservative sister party CSU from Bavaria, and the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), is an acting government only, at this stage.

Since Germany?s parliamentary elections on September 24, 2017, no new government has been formed. Merkel?s attempt to agree to a coalition with the Liberals (FDP) and the Green Party failed when the FDP suddenly walked out of the preliminary negotiations.

Recently, Merkel has been trying to get back into a grand coalition. At this stage, she has to wait for the SPD?s party congress this coming Sunday, during which the delegates will decide whether actual coalition talks can go ahead or not.

In case the delegates do not support another coalition of this kind, and new elections turn out to be the only way, Angela Merkel might not be Chancellor anymore. Because of the political crisis in Berlin, she has lost some power, also within the European Union.

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Das älteste Sexmusem der Welt besuchen ? Amsterdam lädt dazu ein

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Sex, Drugs und hippe Musik. So präsentiert sich Amsterdam. Hier leben die Einheimischen noch in den urigen Hausbooten und wer sich vor Ort fortbewegen möchte, der nutzt kurzerhand die Grachten. Statt auf der Straße, geht es auf den schön angelegten Wasserwegen weiter. Ja ? Amsterdam zeigt sich facettenreich und Amsterdam ist anders!

Amsterdam Erotikmuseum

Das Sexmuseum befindet sich im berühmt berüchtigten Red Light District.

Amsterdam ist anders ? Die Sehenswürdigkeiten hier auch!

Nicht nur in seinem gut ausgebauten Grachten-System zeigt sich die Hauptstadt der Niederlande einzigartig. Auch das Treiben in den einzelnen Stadtvierteln hat seinen ganz eigenen Charme und ein bestimmtes Museum sticht hervor ? der Venustempel! Hier handelt es sich um das älteste Sexmuseum der Welt. Dieses Museum zeigt die Offenheit der Niederländer.

Was hat der Venustempel zu bieten?

Allerhand! Das sei vorab schon verraten. Auf 3 Ebenen wird alles Wissenswerte über die schönste Nebenbeschäftigung der Welt erzählt. Auch die sexuellen Entwicklungen in den verschiedenen Jahrzehnten werden im Venustempel offengelegt. Erotik und Sinnlichkeit hat viele Gesichter, die in diesem einzigartigen Museum in Amsterdam aufgezeigt werden. Ein Besuch lohnt sich für alle Jene, die mit der Freizügigkeit des Lebens viel anfangen können.

Hereinspaziert!

Heißt es für alle Neugierigen ab 16 Jahren. Das Sexmuseum befindet sich direkt im Herzen von Amsterdam und ist vom Hauptbahnhof zu Fuß gut erreichbar. Ein Fußmarsch von etwa 10 bis 15 Minuten ist dafür einzuplanen.

Das Sexmuseum befindet sich in der Damrak 18 in 1012 LH Amsterdam. Der Eintrittspreis beläuft sich auf 4 Euro. Öffnungszeiten sind täglich von 9:30 bis 23:30 Uhr.


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Shopsysteme aus der Cloud – Eine gute Lösung

Shopsysteme aus der Cloud bieten den Betreibern von Onlineshops viele Vorteile.

Shopsysteme aus der Cloud bieten den Betreibern von Onlineshops viele Vorteile.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) bietet Shopbetreibern ein paar wesentliche Vorteile. Statt eine teure Softwarelizenz zu kaufen, mieten sie sich auf einem Server ein und nutzen dort die Shop-Software des Anbieters gegen ein monatliches Entgelt. Gerade für internationale Shops bietet diese Lösung viele Vorteile wie etwa hohe Verfügbarkeit. Bei der Auswahl sind bestimmte Aspekte besonders wichtig.

Software-as-a-Service zählt zum Cloud-Computing. Dabei basiert dieses Modell darauf, dass der Anbieter der Software dem User sowohl die Software selbst wie auch die IT-Infrastruktur als Dienstleistung zur Verfügung stellt. Für die Nutzung sind lediglich eine Internetverbindung, ein internetfähiger Computer und die Internetverbindung zum Dienstleister notwendig. Für diesen Service zahlt der Kunde eine Gebühr. Er spart damit einen Teil der Anschaffungs- und Betriebskosten, denn der Anbieter übernimmt

  • alle Wartungsarbeiten,
  • die IT-Administration,
  • die Konfiguration und
  • Updates.

Der Servicenehmer muss sich um auftretende Probleme nicht selbst kümmern, sondern kann sich auf sein eigentliches Geschäft ? seinen Shop ? konzentrieren. Die auf dem Markt angebotenen Lösungen können sich in wesentlichen Punkten stark unterscheiden. Daher ist es sinnvoll, die verschiedenen Angebote auf einige ausschlaggebende Aspekte hin zu vergleichen, um das individuell passende Modell auszuwählen.

Software-as-a-Service ? was bei der Auswahl des Anbieters zu beachten ist

Shopsoftware als SaaS-Lösung ist auch für Geschäfte interessant, nicht nur für Onlineshops.

Shopsoftware als SaaS-Lösung ist auch für Geschäfte interessant, nicht nur für Onlineshops.

SaaS-Lösungen kommen typischerweise in Bereichen wie Finanzbuchhaltung, Auftrags- oder Contentmanagement, Shop-Software oder bei der Personalplanung zum Einsatz. Gerade bei Onlineshops sind einige Punkte sehr wichtig. Dabei gibt es Anbieter, die neben der reinen Shopsoftware noch weitere Leistungen für ihre Kunden bereitstellen. So bietet beispielsweise Salesforce Commerce Cloud (vormals demandware) seinen Kunden Branchenberichte, wie hier ein Bericht zur Entwicklung in der Modebranche. Der Dienstleister unterstützt seine Kunden nicht nur mit rein technischen Lösungen, sondern liefert gezielt zusätzlichen Mehrwert, der z. B. der Umsatz steigern und nicht zuletzt den Erfolg des Kunden erhöhen soll. Darüber hinaus bieten SaaS Anbieter neben der Software für den Onlineshop, auch Lösungen für das Ladengeschäft oder die Lagerhaltung an.

Updates ohne Ausfallzeiten

Shop-Software ist in der Regel sehr komplex, was Funktionsumfang und Schnittstellen anbelangt. Installiert der Anbieter Updates in der Cloud, kann es mitunter zu Ausfallzeiten kommen. Das passiert insbesondere dann, wenn nach dem Update nicht mehr alle Funktionen wie gewohnt zur Verfügung stehen. Kommt es zu Ausfallzeiten, kann das für den Shopbetreiber teuer werden, da er dann mit Umsatzeinbußen rechnen muss. Für die Auswahl der richtigen Software-as-a-Service ist es von großer Bedeutung, dass der Anbieter regelmäßig Updates an Betriebssystem und Anwendungssoftware durchführt. Im Idealfall ist diese Leistung bereits in der regelmäßig zu zahlenden Kostenpauschale enthalten. Für Shopbetreiber ist es wichtig, dass der Funktionsumfang auch bei Wartungsarbeiten erhalten bleibt.

Zentraler Ansprechpartner für alle Fragen

Durch die Verwendung einer SaaS-Lösung hat der Kunde mehr Zeit, sich auf das Kerngeschäft, also seinen Shop, zu konzentrieren. Kommt es einmal zu Schwierigkeiten, muss der Shopbetreiber sich mit dem Anbieter in Verbindung setzen. Dabei kommt es häufig vor, dass der Anbieter beispielsweise nur das Hosting selbst durchführt und ein anderes Unternehmen für den Rest zuständig ist. Dadurch hat der Kunde dann für Software und Serverbetrieb verschiedene Anlaufstellen. Das kann zu Ärger führen, weil es umständlich ist. Es ist am kundenfreundlichsten, wenn der Anbieter für einen zentralen Ansprechpartner sorgt. Das kann ein Mitarbeiter des Anbieters oder eine vom Anbieter eingebundene Agentur sein, die sich um die Kundenanrufe kümmert. Besonders effizient ist es, wenn wirklich alle Fragen, auch die zum Design oder der Funktionssteuerung und -aktivierung, über diese eine zentrale Stelle laufen.

Transparentes Abrechnungsmodell

Für die Abrechnung des Nutzungsentgeltes für einen SaaS-Shop gibt es verschiedene Modelle.

  • Anteil am Shopumsatz
  • Monatspauschale
  • Entgelt pro Transaktion, zum Beispiel pro Bestellung
  • leistungsbezogenes Entgelt nach gentutzter Rechnerleistung

Grundsätzlich sollten die Kunden Bezahlmodelle bevorzugen, die sich an den technischen Leistungen des Anbieters orientieren und nicht am getätigten Umsatz. Schließlich besteht die Leistung des Anbieters letztendlich in der Bereitstellung des Shops und nicht im Verkaufen.

Flexibel anpassbar

Software-as-a-Service-Lösungen haben den großen Vorteil, dass sie sich in einer Cloud-Umgebung befinden. Das bietet eine größere Flexibilität in Bezug auf die Rechnerleistung. Ist ein Shop sehr erfolgreich und die Zugriffszahlen wachsen schnell, kann der Anbieter in der Cloud meist kurzfristig die dafür notwendige Rechnerleistung zur Verfügung stellen. Im Rahmen eines eigenen Hostingvertrages sind die Serverleistungen oft begrenzt, eine Umstellung braucht Zeit. Im Kleingedruckten finden Kunden dazu die entsprechenden Angaben. 

Größere Sprünge bei der Serverauslastung sollten ohne Leistungseinbußen oder Ausfälle möglich sein. Das ist insbesondere in Zeiten von Spitzenlasten wichtig, wie beispielsweise nach intensiven Marketingaktionen oder im Weihnachtsgeschäft. Eine zeitweilig notwendige Mehrleistung sollte ohne weiteres jederzeit möglich sein. Die Rechenleistung ?on demand? ist ein großer Vorteil, wenn der Kunde nur gelegentlich Spitzen zu bewältigen hat. Dabei erfolgt dann die Abrechnung nach dem tatsächlichen Bedarf.

Die zwei Seiten der Sicherheit

Die Sicherheit der Software und des Servers ist ein wesentlicher Faktor bei der Auswahl des Anbieters.

Die Sicherheit der Software und des Servers ist ein wesentlicher Faktor bei der Auswahl des Anbieters.

Beim Thema SaaS-Sicherheit geht es einerseits darum, wie sicher der Server des Dienstleisters gegenüber Angriffen von außen ist. Spezielle Schutzmaßnahmen sollten sowohl als Hard- wie auch als Software zum Funktionsumfang gehören. Es sollte gewährleistet sein, dass nicht der ganze Server lahmliegt, wenn ein einziger Shop von einem Hackerangriff betroffen ist. Steht der Server des Anbieters in einem Land außerhalb der EU, ist es unwahrscheinlich, dass der Anbieter tatsächlich deutsche oder europäische Datenschutzrichtlinien einhält. Händler in Deutschland sollten den Shopanbieter vertraglich daran binden, den Betrieb auf deutschen Servern durchzuführen. Darüber hinaus muss sich der Shopanbieter dazu verpflichten, als Auftragsdatenverarbeiter gemäß § 11 Bundesdatenschutzgesetz zu agieren. Für das notwendige Sicherheitsniveau können folgende Zertifizierungen wichtige Hinweise sein:

  • PCI-Zertifizierung für die Kreditkartenauszahlung
  • TÜV-Zertifizierung

Andererseits muss der Kunde auf seiner Seite mit entsprechender Software auf den eigenen Rechnern für Sicherheit sorgen.

Aufwand bei der Installation

Bei einer SaaS-Lösung sind keine aufwendigen Installationen erforderlich. Normalerweise kann der Shopbetreiber sofort starten. Bei den meisten Systemen hilft ein digitaler Assistent bei der anfänglichen Konfiguration. Das Design lässt sich einfach anpassen, da die Anbieter Vorlagen zur Verfügung stellen. Zusätzlich buchbare Design-Services sind eine große Hilfe für all jene Kunden, die nur wenig Know-how haben.

Pixabay @ Tumisu (CCO public domain)
Pixabay @
TheDigitalArtist (CCO public domain)
Pixabay @
Free-Photos (CCO public domain)

 

 

News Redaktion am Dienstag, 14.11.2017 17:12 Uhr

Tags: internet online software cloud service cloud computing shop online-service onlineshop shopping

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EU-Urheberrechtsreform: Abmahnungen treffen “nur die Dummen”

Sollen alle Internetportale mit nutzergenerierten Inhalten vorab sämtliche Beiträge auf Urheberrechtsverletzungen prüfen? Vor den Folgen dieser Pläne warnt unter anderem der Verein Wikimedia Deutschland, der eine gefilterte Wikimedia und hohe Kosten für die Bereitstellung der Filtersysteme befürchtetet. Auf einer Diskussionsveranstaltung in der vergangenen Woche (Video) verteidigte lediglich Jan Scharringhausen von der Gesellschaft zur Verfolgung von Urheberrechtsverletzungen (GVU) das Konzept. “Wir müssen den Leuten mal beibringen, dass sie sich Gedanken machen und gegebenenfalls sich die Rechte besorgen”, sagte der GVU-Geschäftsführer.

Die EU-Kommission schlägt in ihrem Entwurf zur Urheberrechtsreform vor, dass große Plattformen Maßnahmen wie “wirksame Inhaltserkennungstechniken” ergreifen, um beispielsweise das unzulässige Hochladen von geschützten Werken zu verhindern. Solche Upload-Filter nutzt schon Google bei der Videoplattform YouTube, um damit auch die lukrative Verwertung der Inhalte zu ermöglichen. Kritiker befürchten jedoch, dass eine Filterpflicht das Hochladen von erlaubtem Material verhindern könnte und die Nutzer dadurch in ihrer Meinungsfreiheit eingeschränkt würden.

Sogar weißes Rauschen wird geblockt

Diese Position vertrat nicht nur der Wikimedia-Referent John Weitzmann, sondern auch Lina Ehrig vom Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VZBV), Judith Steinbrecher vom IT-Branchenverband Bitkom und die von Brüssel aus zugeschaltete Europaabgeordnete Julia Reda. Steinbrecher warnte, dass die neue Pflicht nicht nur für große Plattformen wie Youtube, Flickr, Pinterest oder Instagram gelten würde, sondern auch für reine Hostanbieter wie Clouddienste, E-Mail-Dienste oder sogar Serviceprovider. “Die Liste ist sehr lang”, sagte Steinbrecher.

Diese Inhalteerkennung müsse nicht nur bei Musik, sondern auch bei Videos, Texten, Fotos, Gemälden und Architektur funktionieren. Dabei müsse jeder Dienst mit Referenzdaten von Rechteinhabern operieren, sagte die Bitkom-Vertreterin. Daher seien beim Content-ID-System von Google schon rund 8.000 Rechteinhaber registriert. Eine kleine Plattform könne das jedoch nicht leisten. Zudem seien selbst die Google-Systeme sehr fehleranfällig und würden sogar weißes Rauschen als urheberrechtlich geschützt erkennen. Es gebe dazu vermutlich “eine unendliche Liste an Beispielen” und das Resultat wäre: In dubio pro blocking.”

Upload-Filter als Geschäftsmodell

Nach Ansicht von Reda könnte die geplante Regelung daher dazu führen, dass aus der Filterpflicht ein Geschäftsmodell für große Firmen wie Google wird, die solche Systeme bereits entwickelt haben. “Wenn unser Problem ist, dass Firmen wie Youtube und Facebook zu viel Macht haben und dass Algorithmen zu stark über das entscheiden, was im Internet passiert, dann kann doch die Lösung nicht sein, dass wir noch mehr Algorithmen einsetzen”, sagte die Europaabgeordnete. Das eigentlich richtig wahrgenommene Problem, dass die großen Plattformen inzwischen zu viel Einfluss und Macht hätten, werde durch die Upload-Filter noch schlimmer gemacht.

Nach Ansicht des VZBV trägt der Vorschlag der EU-Kommission auch nicht dazu bei, das eigentliche Problem, die sogenannte Wertschöpfungslücke (Value Gap) zwischen Rechteinhabern und Plattformen, zu lösen. Ehrig fragte stattdessen, ob das “Verteilungsproblem” nicht eher zwischen Rechteverwertern und den eigentlichen Urhebern bestehe. Daher sei es fraglich, ob der Vorschlag tatsächlich das Problem löse. Zudem werde eine Blockade beim Hochladen von Inhalten nicht dazu führen, dass die Rechteinhaber mehr Einnahmen erzielten.

dieser wundervolle Text mehr Infos

North Korea, EU-Japanese relations on agenda as Abe meets Borissov in Sofia

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, has categorically condemned North Korea?s launching of nuclear missiles and that country?s nuclear programme, following talks in Sofia with visiting Japanese counterpart Shinz? Abe.

Japanese prime minister Shinz? Abe was on an unprecedented visit to Sofia, the first to the Bulgarian capital by a Japanese head of government.

?We believe firmly that all problems should be resolved at the negotiating table,? Borissov said in reference to the Korea issue, after talks with Abe.

In the context of Bulgaria?s Presidency of the Council of the EU, to last throughout the first half of 2018, Borissov said that his country would spare no effort to accelerate negotiations between the EU and see them completed. This was very important for business in Bulgaria, Borissov said.

Abe, who is accompanied on his visit to Bulgaria by a Japanese business delegation representing more than 30 companies from his country, called for stronger economic relations between the two countries.

The Japanese head of government said that he would seek the approval of Borissov and the business delegation to go ahead with a Japanese business forum to explore further Japanese investment in Bulgaria.

According to Borissov, a meeting between business representatives from the two countries had discussed the possibilities for bilateral co-operation in the electronics, motor vehicle, tourism, culture and agricultural industries.

Borissov noted that, in addition to Bulgaria?s EU Presidency, in 2018 Bulgaria would host the 16 + 1 initiative on co-operation between Central and Eastern Europe and China.

Abe told the news conference that he and Borissov had agreed on the importance of close co-operation regarding Korea and an expeditious solution to the problem of the abductions of Japanese citizens.

The Japanese prime minister emphasised to his Bulgaria counterpart that Tokyo is a keen supporter of a highly cohesive Europe.

Abe said that Japan was focusing on the of the Balkan region and ?with this visit we have created a co-operation initiative for the Western Balkans. We hope that with the help of Bulgaria we will continue our contacts with the whole region?.

He expressed hope that this first visit would amount to a new opportunity to develop relations between the two countries and lead to a deepening of the links between them in politics, economy, culture and sport.

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Mission Network News

Mission Network NewsInternational Day of PeaceInternational Women?s DayWill ISIS go nuclear?Background check: Rohingya boat peopleCommentary: What?s the cure for ISIS? I have an ideaThe MISSION in Missionaries: An Opportunity You May Not Have ConsideredA God bigger than numbersWhat Muslim extremists have taught me#GiveHope15 to be a voice for the voicelessWhat happens when you #GiveHope15?

https://www.mnnonline.org Mission Network News Tue, 16 Jan 2018 05:02:33 -0500 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 https://www.mnnonline.org/2016/09/21/international-day-peace-no-peace/ https://www.mnnonline.org/2016/09/21/international-day-peace-no-peace/#respond Wed, 21 Sep 2016 17:45:04 +0000 https://www.mnnonline.org/?p=149614   ?And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.? (Matthew 24:6…

The post International Day of Peace appeared first on Mission Network News.

]]> A photo by Nitish Meena. unsplash.com/photos/RbbdzZBKRDY

?And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.? (Matthew 24:6 ESV)

It certainly sounds like we?re in that season, doesn?t it?

This morning, we read of violent protests that took place in North Carolina overnight after a black man was killed by police. Meanwhile, the story behind the NYC bombings continues to unfold. That?s just in the United States where things are relatively quiet compared to countries where terror attacks remain commonplace. In Syria the shaky truce has been beaten down.  We could go on and on.

Today is the International Day of Peace, and yet many people have started to avoid the news so they don?t have to hear about stories like these. The violence around us is insurmountable and overwhelming.

Facebook announces International Day of Peace saying, ?peace begins with love.?  It?s true,  lasting peace does begin with Love.  God?s Love which was presented to us through his Son who paid the wages of our sin. We were once his greatest enemy and carried violence towards him in our hearts. Because of his sacrifice, there is peace between us now.  Additionally, we know that an eternity of absolute peace awaits us.

Just before Jesus went to the cross, he said to his disciples,

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27 ESV)

The peace given to us through relationship with Jesus is like no peace we can find in this world because it is not from this world.

Jesus said there will be more signs of the end of the age to come, painful and violent things. But his words also remind us that God has a plan. He is not surprised by the events taking place in our world today.

As Christians, the most powerful action we can take to advance peace is to introduce the Author of peace to those around us.

Start with your neighbors, your coworkers, your friends, your family. Consider how you can be an influence of peace globally. We hope you?ll take advantage of the resources we provide to pray, give, or go to send forth the Gospel, all to God?s glory.

The post International Day of Peace appeared first on Mission Network News.

]]> https://www.mnnonline.org/2016/09/21/international-day-peace-no-peace/feed/ 0 https://www.mnnonline.org/2016/03/08/international-womens-day/ https://www.mnnonline.org/2016/03/08/international-womens-day/#comments Tue, 08 Mar 2016 14:26:09 +0000 https://www.mnnonline.org/?p=143703 It is International Women?s Day. A friend of mine blogged a beautiful story at the encouragement other women who believe in the power of story.   She, in her reflection, celebrates…

The post International Women?s Day appeared first on Mission Network News.

]]> RuthIt is International Women?s Day. A friend of mine blogged a beautiful story at the encouragement other women who believe in the power of story.   She, in her reflection, celebrates the Girl She Is and The Girl She Once Was.

Sharing her story took guts, but reveals the raw beauty she was born with as God paints her face with His fingers. What she?s encouraging women to do is share their stories?and through it, we reveal the ?otherness? we are created for?and that gives me courage.

My story:

I was the little Chinese kid with teeth that grew out of every available space in my mouth?glasses. Hair that refused to cooperate with any amount of wrangling?I had tomboy tendencies that would shred lacy anklet socks in 10 minutes flat.

The problem was, my mom wanted me to be a princess. I wanted to be a princess, but really, when you looked at pictures of the princess, she was tall, slender, graceful, blonde and really, really, really, NOT Chinese.

The closest I could come to ?princess? was ?Amazon Warrior??and so, my princess was Wonder Woman. Her story played fast and loose with Greek and Roman mythology which frustrated me, but as she had strength and played for justice, I could live with a confused identity.

(Photo courtesy Wikipedia/CC)

(Photo courtesy Wikipedia/CC)

I had dark hair, she had dark hair. I was athletic, she could stop cars. Seriously.

Being Wonder Woman was fantasy. She had respect. She could stop the bullets fired her way. That was where the reality crashed into make-believe. I had no one?s respect. Hurtful words hit and sank deep, creating emotional scars I carry to this day. I grew up believing I was ugly and stupid because that?s all I ever heard in connection with who I was, and the disappointment I was to any and all who cared to notice me.

When I noticed myself, I hated looking in the mirror because I didn?t like what I was seeing?I WAS ugly and I believed I deserved the disdain I lived with.

Here?s the thing: I?m also created by God?created for purpose, for beauty, and in His creation, it is good?therefore I am good. I am redeemable?and redeemed.  At 16, I decided to stop obsessing about my outer appearance since I could do nothing about it, and focus on my inner appearance?because that?s what would last. I wanted to be God?s grace when I grew up.

I had seen gracious women in my life and they were towers of strength. They were gentle. They were unstoppable. They were nurturing. They were forces to reckon with if you messed with their families. They were prayer warriors.  They are the beautiful women we see described in every facet of the Bible.

They are the Esther?s of this world, the Deborah?s, the Doris?, the Mary?s and the Martha?s. They are worthy of note because they are beautiful as they reflect God?s character.   They are the women that wear purple, care for their families, run the household and are the ?grace to do??part of the royal priesthood.

beautifulwomen

(Photo courtesy Ronne Rock, Orphan Outreach)

Understanding that freed me from the yoke of wanting to be blonde, tall, willowy, not Chinese. I could finally celebrate who I was created to be?and on this International Women?s Day, that is the following:

  • God is who He says He is
  • God can do what He says He can do
  • I am who God says I am
  • I can do all things through Christ
  • God?s Word is alive and living in me.*

Today is about celebrating who we are created to be. Be strong. Be real. Be free, because it?s beautiful.

*From Believing God, by Beth Moore

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]]> https://www.mnnonline.org/2016/03/08/international-womens-day/feed/ 1 https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/10/08/will-isis-go-nuclear/ https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/10/08/will-isis-go-nuclear/#respond Thu, 08 Oct 2015 04:00:16 +0000 https://www.mnnonline.org/?p=137491 Debate continues over the probability and likelihood of a nuclear ISIS. While reportedly improbable, Central Asia could be a starting point for the Islamic State?s nuclear ambitions. ISIS in Central…

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]]> Debate continues over the probability and likelihood of a nuclear ISIS. While reportedly improbable, Central Asia could be a starting point for the Islamic State?s nuclear ambitions.

ISIS in Central Asia

(Wikipedia)

(Wikipedia)

In March, terrorists handed out hundreds of notices on official ISIS letterhead before and after the bombing of a Shi?ite mosque.

Though officials continue to deny an Islamic State presence in Pakistan, ?they?re operating there,? says Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI).

?Their recruiting pamphlets are there across Pakistan; brick-and-mortar office buildings.?

Yet, a bigger concern is the growth of ISIS in neighboring Afghanistan.

Earlier this week, the top commander of U.S. forces in the region called for more troops because ISIS and al-Qaeda were increasing in strength.

?The ISIS influence is stronger in Afghanistan than in Pakistan,? claims this security analyst.

?However, Pakistan would not be able to counter the threat alone if he conflict in Afghanistan worsens and Pakistani and Afghani militants inspired by the ISIS try to capture territory along the Pak-Afghan border for establishing a ?caliphate.??

(Photo cred: FMI)

(Photo cred: FMI)

While clearly present in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Islamic State?s ?hold? on Central Asia as a whole is arguable.

?No Central Asian government has produced much by way of proof that Islamic State is operating in any substantial fashion within the region,? said a blogger on Eurasianet.org.

Meanwhile, indigenous missionaries supported by FMI are pressing forward without fear.

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]]> https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/10/08/will-isis-go-nuclear/feed/ 0 https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/05/20/background-check-rohingya-boat-people/ https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/05/20/background-check-rohingya-boat-people/#respond Wed, 20 May 2015 04:00:32 +0000 https://www.mnnonline.org/?p=131678 Most Rohingya refugees currently adrift in the Andaman Ocean fled persecution in Myanmar months ago with the help of traffickers. They were stuck between a rock and a hard place,…

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]]> Rohingya starvation

Many Rohingya are facing starvation since foreign aid workers were forced to leave the region by the government.
(Image, caption courtesy Partners)

Most Rohingya refugees currently adrift in the Andaman Ocean fled persecution in Myanmar months ago with the help of traffickers. They were stuck between a rock and a hard place, and had to make a decision.

Myanmar?s government doesn?t allow the Rohingya to move beyond highly-monitored zones resembling concentration camps. Since beginning their work in Rakhine state three years ago, Partners Relief and Development has helped improve daily life in the camps for many Rohingya refugees.

But as time went on, many saw the writing on the wall and took to the sea.

?Two years ago, [the situation] seemed like it was temporary, and that they were going to be able to go back to their homes eventually,? says Partners co-founder Oddny Gumaer.

?Now, it?s looking like this is where they will be for the rest of their lives.?

For most Rohingya, the desperate escape from Myanmar has turned into an unimaginable trap. Boat people keep getting pushed back to sea as nations throughout Southeast Asia continually deny them entrance.

Why are countries turning a ?cold shoulder? to the Rohingya?

As government talks drag on, it doesn?t look like the Rohingya crisis will end any time soon. In this article, Gumaer shares what YOU can do about it.

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]]> https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/05/20/background-check-rohingya-boat-people/feed/ 0 https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/03/13/commentary-whats-the-cure-for-isis-i-have-an-idea/ https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/03/13/commentary-whats-the-cure-for-isis-i-have-an-idea/#respond Fri, 13 Mar 2015 17:33:16 +0000 https://www.mnnonline.org/?p=128367 USA (MNN) ? Islamic State is taking lives in the most barbaric ways. Beheading Christians, burning people alive, selling the organs of those they capture, and selling young girls to…

The post Commentary: What?s the cure for ISIS? I have an idea appeared first on Mission Network News.

]]> USA (MNN) ? Islamic State is taking lives in the most barbaric ways. Beheading Christians, burning people alive, selling the organs of those they capture, and selling young girls to the highest bidder. Why are they doing this? It?s not because these individuals have offended them, have attacked them, or threatened them. They?re being attacked because members of these terrorist groups want everyone in the world to bow to them and their god.

I?ve heard some pretty outlandish things. First, a U-S State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf  told one news network that the west needs to go after the root causes that leads people to join groups like ISIS and Boko Haram. She says if we could improve the governance of their countries, improve the grievance process, and provide job opportunities that would address the problem.

Following the three day White House Summit on Violent Extremism, President Barak Obama said the world needs to end the cycle of hate by expanding human rights, religious tolerance and peaceful dialogue. He also suggests that Western nations must show that they ?welcome people of all faiths,? at a time when ?extremists? are saying that Western nations are ?hostile to Muslims.

I do believe both of these individuals have a point, but not what you think.

First, let me address Marie Hart?s comments. She?s right, we need to address the root of the problem to fix the ISIS problem. But, the root problem isn?t the lack of jobs, or poverty. If that was the case India would be the home of great bands of terrorists and the homeless in the United States would be nothing more than urban terrorist thugs. The key to getting at the root cause is seeing what is at the heart of this issue ? evil hearts.

What do I mean? Man without Christ is evil. As we look at these world events, the only thing that can describe the problem is that it?s utter evil. Where does that come from? A person who is separated from Christ. Satan is the master of using evil to accomplish his purposes.

Secondly, I believe President Obama is correct also, but his assessment is a bit off. I believe we should do more than just bomb the Muslim terrorists and and leave. I think as Christians we have a responsibility to do something for these people. But the first thing we need to do is to tell them about Jesus.

When the Bible says, ?For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in high places,?  we now see what that?s like first hand. We?re seeing people who are blinded by the faith of ?another gospel.? We?re seeing people who are searching for truth, only being blinded by the lack of truth taught by a book that?s not God?s spoken Word.

So, what?s the answer? I believe the answer is to start praying for Muslims to see and understand who Jesus is. Many Muslims believe Jesus is a Holy Prophet. Because of that, Christians need to leverage that. If they believe He is holy, why don?t they know more about Him. How will they learn more about Him? By reading the Gospel. How will they read the Gospel if they don?t have access to it.

Today, Muslims can access Scripture in more ways than ever before. They can access it in text on websites in their own language (https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/). It?s also available to people who would rather listen to it (http://www.bible.is/).

What?s the bottom line? Only Christ can change the ISIS problem. Only God can limit the evil man does to each other. Only God changes hearts. Pray earnestly every day that God will do this in the hearts of Islamic State terrorists and others who don?t know they Savior.

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]]> https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/03/13/commentary-whats-the-cure-for-isis-i-have-an-idea/feed/ 0 https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/03/10/the-mission-in-missionaries/ https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/03/10/the-mission-in-missionaries/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 04:00:28 +0000 https://www.mnnonline.org/?p=128806 In an effort to share more ?everyday missions? stories, MNN is using social media to connect with fellow Christ-followers and hear what?s on their hearts. Today, it?s my pleasure to…

The post The MISSION in Missionaries: An Opportunity You May Not Have Considered appeared first on Mission Network News.

]]> In an effort to share more ?everyday missions? stories, MNN is using social media to connect with fellow Christ-followers and hear what?s on their hearts. Today, it?s my pleasure to introduce you to Rebecca Jefferson, our very first guest blogger.

You can connect with Rebecca and find more of her writings at https://gpluslighthouse.wordpress.com/

(Photo courtesy of Kevin Dooley via Flickr) cc2.0

(Photo courtesy of Kevin Dooley via Flickr) cc2.0

It is easy to think of missionaries and evangelists as ?super Christians? who never let anything get them down. However, like any Christian, missionaries experience emotional pain, rejection, health issues, financial shortfalls, spiritual warfare, and of course, their own daily sin with which they have to battle. These life issues are exacerbated by an Enemy who would rather see individuals destroyed than saved from their sins (John 10:9-10), and who will do all in his power to stall the progression of the Gospel message, including trying to eliminate the messenger.

There is an evident need to minister to those who are giving of their time, lives, and families to preach the Gospel. Some missions organizations provide counselors and medical personnel to aid mission workers in the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical aspects of their lives while in the field. Others offer housing and pastoral care to furloughed missionaries while they take some much-needed time off for refreshment.

But what about the rest of us, the laypeople? We have the privilege as blood-bought brothers and sisters in Christ of bearing one another?s burdens (Gal. 6:2). Does not the responsibility of loving and caring for each other depend on us, as the household of faith (Gal. 6:10), since we are all members of Christ?s body? If we don?t inquire about the needs, spiritual and physical, of fellow pilgrims on the narrow road who do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5), how can we help them?

Come alongside a missionary or evangelist and ask them what their needs are. Prayerfully consider supporting them with your money, your time, or both ? however God leads you. If there are none in your church you are aware of, pray that God would bring across your path a missionary whom you can bless- and learn from. Oswald Chambers, a missionary himself, wrote, ?When you meet a man or woman who puts Jesus Christ first, knit that one to your soul.?2

Woman praying in Cristo buen Viaje Church

Woman praying in Cristo buen Viaje Church

When asked, most missionaries will almost undoubtedly tell you their greatest need is prayer. The apostle Paul repeatedly urged those who received his letters to pray for him (Rom. 15:30-32; Eph. 6:18-20; 2 Thess. 3:1-2, etc.). Mission workers not only need prayer for provision of their physical and financial needs, but also their spiritual needs. They need our prayers, especially when they become deeply discouraged because of Satan?s onslaughts. You can encourage missionaries by asking them what prayer requests they have, and if possible, meeting with them in person for prayer and fellowship.

If you are considering becoming an evangelist (or going into any kind of ministry work), one of the best resources you can lay hold of ? next to personal Bible study and prayer ? is fellowship with other missionaries. Prepare for a learning curve! Preaching the Gospel and serving people in the name of Jesus is no cakewalk, and you will find it is no easier for those who fall into the category of missionaries or evangelists, as they will tell you. You will discover what a life on mission truly entails and, who knows, maybe even what God is asking of you.

Volunteering with missionaries is another great way to support them and boost their morale. God may provide you with the opportunity to intern for a missions board overseas. But even if you have never gone on an international missions trip, opportunities to share the Gospel abound here in the States. The need for domestic missions is just as urgent as the need for foreign missions, because no matter their income or cultural differences, all people everywhere are in need of the saving Gospel.

Good News Club

A Good News Club introduces children to Christ in Maryland.
(Photo courtesy of Chris Reick)

Domestic missionaries, just like their foreign counterparts, are in need of our prayer and support. One such organization is Open Air Campaigners, a street preaching group which makes it its mission to preach the Gospel in the public square, wherever people gather. Another is Child Evangelism Fellowship, which ministers to children via summer camps, neighborhood clubs, and after-school clubs. See the need in your own backyard and try volunteering for organizations like these on the home front so you can bless missionaries by helping them to reach the lost.

In our haste to get to the ?mission field,? we must not bypass the clear and present opportunities God gives us to serve locally. Serving missionaries right where we are is in itself a mission field.

Every Paul needs an Onesiphorus, a Luke, an Epaphroditus. Every Moses needs an Aaron and Hur to hold up his arms (Ex. 17:8-13). Every Jeremiah needs a Baruch (Jer. 36). Why can?t you be the one to stand in the gap, right here, right now?

Rebecca Jefferson is a 26-year old volunteer serving the Lord with Open Air Campaigners. She has applied to become a full-time missionary-evangelist with the group, and is currently working through the process. Jefferson is also serving as a part-time administrative assistant for her church, Tree of Life Fellowship in Bowie, MD.

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]]> https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/03/10/the-mission-in-missionaries/feed/ 1 https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/02/12/god-bigger-numbers/ https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/02/12/god-bigger-numbers/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 16:15:33 +0000 https://www.mnnonline.org/?p=128037 Most mornings, I start my day no different from any other college student. I push snooze too many times and wake up in a panic when I realize how late…

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]]> Photo courtesy of Lynne Hand via Flickr, creative commons (https://flic.kr/p/CdUSJ)

Photo courtesy of Lynne Hand via Flickr, creative commons (https://flic.kr/p/CdUSJ)

Most mornings, I start my day no different from any other college student. I push snooze too many times and wake up in a panic when I realize how late it is. I quickly get dressed, wait for my coffee, and then I?m on my way.

Like many college students, I have a job. I work here, at Mission Network News. But this is no typical college job. For a few hours a day, I?m pulled out of the inward-focused world of an oblivious student to learn and write about what on earth is going on.

If you?ve been keeping up on international news, you know that things aren?t so pretty around the world. The Islamic State continues to hog the headlines with new horror stories. They post on social media, glorifying their latest and most heinous deeds.

Meanwhile, isolated families in Africa are without access to resources that will protect them against the very diseases they?re being quarantined for. Millions of people in South Sudan are on the brink of famine, but the civil war continues.

Worldwide, countries struggle against the number of orphaned children living in the streets. Many of these children, caught in the harsh cycle of poverty, face a harrowing future.

Lebanon, Western Ukraine, and many other countries fight the financial and logistical challenges created by refugee and IDP camps. The camp residents themselves are freezing or starving to death but there is little they can do about it.

Meanwhile, one of our biggest annual events back at home, the Super Bowl, continues each year to walk hand-in-hand with the exploitation of human beings through sex-trafficking.

I could literally go on forever about the trials being faced all around the world: deceitful world leaders, abused children, decades-long attempts at genocide, church burnings, and more. I could even zero in on an often-overlooked hardship? missionaries who face rejection on a daily basis by people groups who have been a burden on their hearts for years and years.

Don?t get me wrong? we don?t just write tragedy and horror. We pass on wonderful stories of redemption, perseverance, forgiveness, and overcoming. Most inspiring are the stories of people turning to God and finding hope just when they thought there was none. And with each story we cover, we?re able to offer resources and access to people who want to help.

Even so, some days this typical college student is faced with the temptation to despair. Or perhaps even worse, I?m tempted to turn back inwardly again and focus on my own issues. They certainly seem friendlier than the face of terrorism, starvation, etc.

But to do so would be to miss something extremely important. Not only is it important for me to care and help anyway I can, but it?s important to remember that God does care and can do anything.

Journalists often use cold, hard, numerical facts to convey important information. These statistics have the potential to stun and shock. All too often they?re overwhelming. But I want to remind you, God is no stranger to statistics. He is not overcome by numbers.

"I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore."(Genesis 22:17a ESV) Photo by Julie Oosterhouse

?I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore.?(Genesis 22:17a ESV) Photo by Julie Oosterhouse

In fact, our perception of God?s glory is often magnified through numbers. For instance, a nation as numerous as the number of stars in the sky and grains of sand on the earth came from two people in their 90?s!

Time and time again God protected this nation when they were far outnumbered by their enemies? and he continues to do so. A God who can cover a land with innumerable locusts and frogs in a day and then remove them just as quickly can certainly lead his people out of the reach of the enemy.

God built his temple by numbers, and led 300 men into victory against the Midianites and Amalekites who were as numerous as sand.

God allowed three men to walk unscathed in a furnace that was heated seven times its normal temperature.

From a few loaves of bread and some fish, Jesus fed thousands? twice. His miracles and healings were so numerous they would fill a never-ending book.

Later on, Jesus allowed himself to be betrayed for just 30 pieces of silver. He allowed himself to be denied by a beloved disciple three times. He allowed the majority of the crowd to desire the life of a criminal more than his. Yet in three days, he rose again.

God does not operate within the bounds of numbers or quantity. His decisions aren?t based on probability, financial availability, or even ticking time. He is ruler over all these things. And through them, he is glorified.

When I?m tempted to turn away from the world?s number of horrors, and the horrors illustrated by numbers, I?m disallowing myself from seeing some of God?s glory. I am forgetting he will conquer all, that his plan is absolutely perfect, and that he is bigger and stronger than any plan according to man.

To be able to learn this as a college student and be challenged by it daily is just one of the many blessings that come with working at MNN.

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]]> https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/02/12/god-bigger-numbers/feed/ 1 https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/01/16/muslim-extremists-taught/ https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/01/16/muslim-extremists-taught/#respond Fri, 16 Jan 2015 20:34:11 +0000 https://www.mnnonline.org/?p=127041 USA (MNN) ? The last few weeks have been kind of frustrating both professionally and personally. Professionally as I have covered terror in the world. Personally as I have been…

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]]> USA (MNN) ? The last few weeks have been kind of frustrating both professionally and personally. Professionally as I have covered terror in the world. Personally as I have been the target of attacks simply for being a Christian.

Mission Network News continues to focus on what?s going on in the world as it relates to Muslim extremism. Islamic State gains and their tactics to gain control of the world have been shocking. ISIS fighters are kidnapping girls and using them for their own pleasure, attacking innocent people because they don?t agree with their faith, crucifying Christians, and forcing children to execute men and women. These things are horrifying.

Those things?coupled with Boko Haram using children as suicide bombers in Nigeria, plus the Muslims radicals who attacked a satire magazine/newspaper in France killing 12 people?leave me wondering, ?What?s next??

I actually find myself shaking my head in disbelief.  I find myself wondering, ?How could any human being be associated with this religion? Why don?t we just annihilate them? Why don?t we just shoot and ask questions later??

Personally, I received some attacks from a couple of people while I was tweeting. I was complaining about not having a particular news service that I believe is fair and balanced, when I was verbally assaulted. First, it was because I was a loyal viewer. Then, when they realized I was a Christian, they started saying things that would make a sailor blush. I was shocked.

At first, I was really angry. ?Why would people be saying something about me when they don?t even KNOW me? How could someone be so verbally vicious? How could someone really have those views of ALL Christians?? I wanted to jab back with insults and anger. I started to. I made a couple of comments that were ? um ? probably not so nice. Then, I realized something.

In both of these circumstances, they don?t know any better. How can we expect anyone who isn?t a Christ-follower to act like a Christ-follower?

In the first situation, I firmly believe the evil one is using radical Islam to attack those who are trying to reach them with the Gospel. Think about it. Today, we?re seeing more Muslims than ever before coming to Christ. Do you think Satan likes that? What better way to hamper that outreach than to encourage Christians to be afraid of, or hate Muslims. Many Christians are so afraid they won?t even talk to a Muslim. Some Christians are so full of hate toward Muslims they?re not much better than the radicals.

In the second situation, I believe Satan was trying to luring me into an argument that would do nothing but hurt my reputation and testimony and give the attackers even more fodder for their verbal assaults. So, rather than lobbing venomous insults at those attacking me, I simply asked questions. I tried to be kind (which is hard to perceive in a tweet that?s only 140 characters).  I asked them why they were swearing at me and lobbing sexual insults to me simply because I was a Christian. As I was able to get the tone ratcheted back in check, I asked the question of myself, ?What if I?m the only Christian these people have ever met??

I may have blown it. We may be blowing it together. When you?re attacked (physically or emotionally) by someone who?s a non-Christian, what?s your first response? I?m not saying it?s easy to love people like that. It?s hard. But, why aren?t we following in the steps of Jesus Himself who willingly gave the executioner His hand, only to have nails driven into them? Why aren?t we trying to ignore the insults and love our enemies ? even doing something kind for them, which is anti-everything we?re thinking about.

Mission Network News constantly tells incredible stories of Christian men and women who are suffering. They aren?t asking that we pray for their protection (even though we should do that). They?re not asking us to advocate for them to their local government (even though we should do that, too). They?re humbly receiving oppression, trusting that God is in control and that He as a plan for everything ? even their suffering.

The question that I have for you today is this: ?How are you responding to oppression by those who don?t know Christ??

I would like to hear your stories of how God is allowing you to be oppressed for your faith and how you?re responding to that. Many of you live in the West where it?s pretty easy to be a Christian. Others of you don?t. Please include your successes and your failures. Perhaps we can all learn from each other.

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]]> https://www.mnnonline.org/2015/01/16/muslim-extremists-taught/feed/ 0 https://www.mnnonline.org/2014/12/27/givehope15-voice-voiceless/ https://www.mnnonline.org/2014/12/27/givehope15-voice-voiceless/#respond Sat, 27 Dec 2014 05:00:34 +0000 https://www.mnnonline.org/?p=126341 MNN partners with 71 mission groups who are working to build God?s Kingdom globally. Their focus of ministry ranges from Bible translation to child evangelism. Meet our partners here. By…

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]]> #givehope15

(Graphic cred: MNN)

MNN partners with 71 mission groups who are working to build God?s Kingdom globally. Their focus of ministry ranges from Bible translation to child evangelism.

Meet our partners here.

By helping us #GiveHope15, you?re supporting the people who work on-the-ground. MNN gives these missionaries a voice they might not otherwise have. These partnerships allow us to relay news and needs to you, so you can make a difference by praying, giving going, or sharing.

That?s right ? by sharing MNN stories you?re becoming a ?voice for the voiceless?, too. Whether it?s clicking the ?Share? button on Facebook or forwarding one of our Daily Emails to a prayer warrior you know, you?re spreading the word and helping others get involved.

Will you help us continue sharing ?news you won?t get anywhere else? in 2015?

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]]> https://www.mnnonline.org/2014/12/27/givehope15-voice-voiceless/feed/ 0 https://www.mnnonline.org/2014/12/26/happens-givehope15/ https://www.mnnonline.org/2014/12/26/happens-givehope15/#respond Fri, 26 Dec 2014 05:00:54 +0000 https://www.mnnonline.org/?p=126339 If you?re following MNN on social (Facebook, Twitter, Google+), you?ve probably caught a glimpse or two of the hashtag #GiveHope15 with one of our posts. In case you?re wondering, there…

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]]> If you?re following MNN on social (Facebook, Twitter, Google+), you?ve probably caught a glimpse or two of the hashtag #GiveHope15 with one of our posts. In case you?re wondering, there IS a reason it?s there 🙂

For starters, ?hope? is a multipurpose theme?

  • Your encouraging feedback gives our team hope
  • Supporting projects & groups that meet physical needs worldwide gives tangible hope to people in need
  • By getting involved in the Great Commission, you?re giving others the ultimate source of hope: Jesus Christ

During the remaining days of 2014, we?ll explore how you can ?give hope? in each of these areas.

Today, we?d like to share some of your remarks that have helped ?give MNN hope? in 2014:

#givehope15

(Graphic cred: MNN)

?It?s my best source of news! I don?t know what I?d do without MNN!! Thank you SO much for all of the stories you send my way. I feel like I?m so much more informed about what is happening within the body of Christ worldwide. I have a heart to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters and MNN helps me pray with current information. It is the best news service I have ever found. So, so thankful.? ?Laura Guarnieri

?Thanks for the [work] being done, we are to be the light & lifeline to a dying world out there.? ?Henry Tavune

?I learned about you for the first time as I was on-air with Greg Bullen waiting to be interviewed this morning. All your information made me want to hang up and pray. Thank you.? ?Jeannie St. John Taylor

?I heard about you through Yes FM 89.3, Lima, Ohio, this morning?If the Church of Jesus would know more about what foreign Christians go through, it enables us to pray more specifically. [Thank] you for your voice :).? ?Bill Cheshire Jr.

?Want to use this opportunity to thank Mission Network News for the update about the religious crisis in my country Nigeria. Thanks to Greg and the entire crew. God bless and protect you all.? ?Name withheld for protection

?It helps me to know how to pray and I know the news I get is the truth!!! Thank you.? ? Lorraine Gardenier

We LOVE all of our friends and ?followers?, whether they?re on email, social media or radio. The encouragement we see on Facebook or website comments and the uplifting call-in?s we get from listeners remind us why we do what we do. Thank you all for reassuring our team of its purpose!!

Our team here at MNN can only accomplish our 2015 goals with your help. Would you consider partnering with us financially?

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Hamburg im Winter ? Geheimtipps aus dem Norden

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Es lässt sich nicht vermeiden ? Ende September, die Temperaturen kühlen stetig ab, und während sich die letzten Sonnenstrahlen langsam verabschieden, wird allmählich klar: der Winter rollt unaufhaltsam auf uns zu. Tourismus.com wird Ihnen in den nächsten Wochen ein paar Winter-Highlights nahelegen, die keine große Anreise erfordern. Heute beginnen wir mit Deutschlands Norden ? Hamburg.

In kaum einer deutschen Stadt gibt es wohl soviele Eisbahnen wie in Hamburg. Und auch wenn die Saison erst Ende Oktober beginnt, erinnert Tourismus.com Sie gerne daran, dass über mehrere Eisbahnen in Hamburg alles drinnen ist: von Kinderlaufkursen bis Eisstockschießen oder Eisdisco ? in mehreren Eis-Arenas gibt es unzählige großartige Winterangebote. Die bekanntesten und beliebtesten Eis-Arenas sind dabei wohl die Indoo Eisarena, die Eissporthalle Volksbank Arena, sowie die Eisbahn Stellingen und Farmsen.

Ausflugsziele en masse ? das weiße Hamburg weiß zu begeistern

Wem es draußen zu kalt ist, kann beispielsweise im Holthusenbad ein wärmendes, stärkendes Dampfbad nehmen oder sich in eine der beliebten Floating-Muscheln legen. Wer es romantisch mag ? ein Ausflug zum atmosphärischen, malerischen Bootssteg bei Zarrentin am Schaalsee ist da naheliegend. Ein besonderes sportliches Highlight und Vergnügen ist ganz klar das Snow Dome Bispringen, besonders unter jungen Sportbegeisterten, wo junge Leute ihr Kunstfertigkeiten auf Skiern oder Longboard in offenem Austausch vergleichen und konkurrieren. Und was in Hamburg immer wieder besucht werden will: das Miniatur-Wunderland, in dem Flughäfen, Stadtteile und Bahnhöfe mit größter Detailverliebtheit aufgebaut wurden. Auch Messen gibt es einige in Hamburg ab Oktober zu bestaunen, beispielsweise die Weinmesse in der Handelskammer oder die Hanseboot, wo Trends aus der Bootbranche aufgegriffen werden. Wer also zur Winterzeit eine Stadt auf dem Schirm haben möchte, deren Anreise nicht mehrere hundert Euro verschlingt, die ein breites kulturelles sowie sportliches Angebot zu bieten hat und quasi ?um die Ecke ist? ? die Hansestadt im Norden ist unser erster Tipp für sie.


ganz neue Nachrichten in DE Die deutsche Nachrichten im Netz

Facebook: Lass uns doch einfach wieder Freunde sein!

Inhalt

  1. Seite 1 ? Lass uns doch einfach wieder Freunde sein!
  2. Seite 2 ? Weniger Abhängigkeit kann auch eine Erlösung sein

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Mark Zuckerberg arbeitet schneller als die deutschen Handwerker. Vor einer Woche kündigte der Facebook-Gründer an, das soziale Netzwerk “reparieren” zu wollen. Jetzt verrät er, wie er das schaffen will: Der Newsfeed der Nutzer soll wieder persönlicher werden, private Unterhaltungen fördern und weniger öffentliche Inhalte von Medien und Unternehmen zeigen. Soll heißen: Weniger Nachrichten, weniger virale Inhalte und stattdessen wieder mehr Urlaubsfotos von Tante Sabine.

Gut so.

Wie kein anderes Unternehmen hat Facebook in den vergangenen Jahren bestimmt, wie wir Inhalte im Internet konsumieren. Mit inzwischen mehr als zwei Milliarden aktiven Nutzern hat es eine neue Öffentlichkeit im Netz geschaffen. Der Newsfeed, ursprünglich dafür gedacht, um mit Freunden und Verwandten in Kontakt zu bleiben, ist für viele Menschen zur Startseite des Internets geworden, ist heutzutage gleichermaßen Stammtisch, Marktplatz und Nachrichtenquelle.

Facebook trieb diese Entwicklung aktiv voran. Es köderte die Medien und Unternehmen mit dem Versprechen von mehr Reichweite und neuen Vermarktungsmöglichkeiten, von personalisierter Werbung und mehr Aufmerksamkeit ? und die folgten den Rufen nur zu gerne. Likes, Shares und Follower wurden zur Währung einer neuen Aufmerksamkeitsökonomie, aus Inhalten wurde Content, und Geschäftsmodelle stiegen und fielen mit den Entscheidungen des Netzwerks. Medien und Unternehmen wurden zur Laborratten des Newsfeed-Algorithmus.

© Jakob Börner

Eike Kühl Redakteur im Ressort Digital, ZEIT ONLINE

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Als Facebook seine Instant Articles vorstellte ? Nachrichtenartikel, die auf Facebook selbst veröffentlicht wurden ?, machten viele Medien (auch ZEIT ONLINE) mit. Wenn es hieß, kurze Videos würden künftig prominenter im Newsfeed auftauchen, wurden eben kürzere Videos produziert. Live-Videos und gesponserte Inhalte? Aber klar doch. Manche Verlage ließen sich sogar von Facebook für die Erstellung von exklusiven Inhalten bezahlen. Doch selbst als Umfragen ergaben, in Ländern wie den USA konsumierten mehr als die Hälfte der Menschen ihre Nachrichten über Facebook, sah sich das Netzwerk nicht als Medienangebot. Sondern lediglich als Werkzeug.

Die Ignoranz holt Facebook ein

Diese Ignoranz gegenüber der eigenen Verantwortung hat Facebook nun eingeholt. Seit der US-Wahl im Jahr 2016 und den Vorwürfen der Wählermanipulation sieht sich das Unternehmen mit den Auswirkungen seiner über Jahre hinweg geförderten Geschäftsmodelle konfrontiert: Fake News sind ein strukturelles Problem, Hasskommentare ebenfalls. Die zunehmend aggressiveren Werbeformen stören viele Nutzer, deren Timeline immer häufiger aus Drittinhalten und Werbung besteht. In Deutschland und möglicherweise auch bald in der ganzen EU erfährt Facebook zudem politischen Widerstand.

Die nun angekündigten Änderungen seien keine politische Reaktion, sagen die Verantwortlichen von Facebook zwar ? das kann man glauben oder nicht. Allerdings habe sich die Balance im Newsfeed verändert, gibt Mark Zuckerberg zu. Man habe erkannt, dass sich die Nutzer besser fühlen, wenn sie Inhalte von Menschen angezeigt bekommen, die ihnen etwas bedeuten. Anstatt passiv Nachrichten oder Videos zu konsumieren und Inhalte beiläufig zu liken, sollen sie deshalb künftig wieder mehr kommentieren und über persönliche Erlebnisse sprechen.

Zwischen den Zeilen gibt Facebook damit zu, dass die Strategie der vergangenen Jahre gescheitert ist. Deshalb will sich das Netzwerk wieder auf seine Ursprünge zurückbesinnen. Es soll wieder der Ort im Netz sein, in dem wir die Babyfotos unserer Freunde zur Kenntnis nehmen, uns über die jüngsten Bundesligaergebnisse aufregen und ehemaligen Kollegen, die wir seit fünf Jahren nicht mehr gesehen haben, zum Geburtstag gratulieren ? all das, was im Lärm des immer schnelleren und marktschreierischen Newsfeed zunehmend untergegangen ist. All das, was den Reiz von Facebook einst ausgemacht hat.

Deutsche Promi News Deutsche Blog – Nachrichten

The KKK?s Attempt to Define America

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Two new books explain how the Klan gained so much power in the 1920s.

Scholars and journalists who study the right walk a tightrope. Ignore the existence of white supremacy and rightwing populism in America, and you will fail to understand a significant portion of the voting population. But get too close up to the subject, and you risk painting too sympathetic a portrait of groups that promote hate. If you want to know how difficult it can be, just ask Richard Fausset, the New York Times reporter who, in November, faced intense blowback after writing a profile of a white supremacist that many readers felt ?normalized? the alt-right. 

THE SECOND COMING OF THE KKK: THE KU KLUX KLAN OF THE 1920S AND THE AMERICAN POLITICAL TRADITION by Linda Gordon Liveright, 288pp, $27.95

This is far from a new problem. In the 1920s, when the Ku Klux Klan re-emerged with as many as six million members nationwide, scholars and journalists at the time did not grasp its reach or scope. They tended to portray the average Klansman as an uneducated provincial. As the Dartmouth sociologist John Moffat Mecklin wrote in 1924, the average Klan supporter was a ?more or less ignorant? backwoodsman, ?prone to accept uncritically all forms of half-baked radicalism.? It was not until the 1960s that scholars began to trace how the Klan had won such a wide base of support among a much wider range of Americans. Two new books?Linda Gordon?s The Second Coming of the KKK and Felix Harcourt?s Ku Klux Kulture?emphasize that the Klan of the 1920s was not a ?fringe? group, but a popular, mainstream movement whose bigotry was so appealing precisely because its leaders recast it in a way many Americans found palatable. In their desire to condemn racism, earlier writers had failed to understand how it operates.            

Gordon, a professor at NYU and one of America?s most accomplished historians, has written The Second Coming of the KKK as an explicit political parable: Understanding the Klan of the 1920s can help us understand the rightwing populism of today. Unlike the original Klan that took root in the South shortly after the Civil War, the so-called ?second Klan? of the 1920s, she shows, deemphasized lynching and secrecy, and though they continued to be extremely racist, did not always put anti-black racism front and center. Instead, it hosted parades and picnics, and spoke to the fears of individual communities, particularly in the Midwest and West. In fast-growing cities like Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon and Muncie, Indiana, new immigrant groups?Eastern European Jews, Irish and Italian Catholics, Japanese?bore the brunt of the group?s racism. This was not because the Klan suddenly embraced black Americans, she argues, but because many of these cities lacked a sizable black population.

To varying degrees, Klan leaders blamed these new immigrants for problems that many Americans identified as the major problems of their time: immigration, political corruption, urban crime. Its leaders accused Jews of promoting socialism and polluting the nation?s morals with ?Jew Movies urging sex vice.? They blamed Catholics for widespread political corruption and blamed Japanese-Americans for stealing jobs. Through a sophisticated PR operation, they created a sense that the entire nation was under siege?a campaign Gordon likens to ?fake news.? But ultimately, she writes, the key to the second Klan?s appeal was to make its members feel that it was not motivated by racism, resentment or a false sense of victimhood. ?The core of the Klan myth lay in the notion,? she writes, ?that it represented the defense and manifestation of America?s true character.? Its members presented themselves not as bigots, but as patriots.

As women became more involved in politics, Klan leaders folded its racism into issues they thought women would be interested in.

Gordon does not claim that the second Klan got rid of its racism. Rather, in the 1920s it broadened its racism to include other groups it deemed ?un-American,? and adapted it to the particular historical moment. As women became more involved in politics?as many as one in six Klan members were women?Klan leaders folded its racism into issues they thought women would be interested in. Many women believed the group?s false allegations that Catholic priests were secretly treating nuns as sex slaves. Others saw the decade?s new ?flapper? woman, dancing in jazz halls and flirting with men?black men especially?as tantamount to prostitution.

Moreover, the group infused a broader women?s campaign with racism: birth control. Conservative women and men alike were unmoved by the notion that legalizing contraception would help women achieve greater control over their lives. The Klan argued instead that legalizing birth control could be used to prevent ?the enormous birth rate of the Negro population,? as one Klan campaign put it. Gordon does not credit the Klan with the legalization of contraception, but she does show how they enlarged its appeal by adding a racist argument in its favor, one that many privately agreed with even if few were so bold to admit publicly. More to the point, she deftly illustrates how racism seeped into a seemingly unrelated political issue, then became institutionalized.


If The Second Coming of the KKK is mainly a story of how the Klan rebranded itself to the public, then Harcourt?s Ku Klux Kulture is its opposite: a story of how the public responded to the Klan. It?s a superb piece of scholarship, and not least because it forces us to rethink how the Klan became so popular. Harcourt?s central claim is that the group?s appeal resulted not only from its own makeover, but from the sheer level of attention it was able to attract. Tabloids covered the group incessantly; pulp novelists made hooded Klansmen central characters in works of fiction; newspapers reported on its youth basketball and baseball teams. Its leader Hiram Evans appeared on the cover of Time. Even when the Klan was condemned, which was often, Harcourt argues that the public was forced to debate the group?s merits. More often than not, many found themselves denouncing the group while awkwardly defending its values. In the process, the Klan?s particular brand of racism became ?sanitized and normalized.?            

KU KLUX KULTURE: AMERICA AND THE KLAN IN THE 1920S by Felix HarcourtUniversity of Chicago Press, 272pp., $45.00

Harcourt, a professor of history at Austin College, is particularly good at showing how anti-Klan cultural productions helped legitimatize the Klan?s views. In 1924, Eugene O?Neill wrote a play about an interracial couple titled All God?s Chillun Got Wings, which in part attacked the Klan?s racism. It depicted a successful black lawyer married to an insecure white woman who, jealous of her husband?s success, slowly goes insane. The Klan drew attention to the play by publishing articles that denounced it as ?nauseating and disgusting.? The Long Island Klan threatened to bomb a theater about to stage it. National media coverage spread rapidly, and in no time it was clear that many Americans actually shared the Klan?s disgust. A Princeton professor, the Salvation Army, Klan members?all found themselves denouncing the play?s racial politics. (Meanwhile, O?Neill got some satisfaction from it all. He mailed back a death threat with a personal note on the letter: ?Go fuck yourself.?) 

O?Neill was high-brow, but more influential were the stories sold and consumed in middle-brow, mass culture. In 1923, the pulp magazine Black Mask boosted its sales with an entire series about the Klan. Yet none of the stories condemned the group, and most merely used them to add a ?touch of spice,? as one writer put it. The emerging film industry of the 1920s also used the Klan for entertainment value. Take the forgotten film The Face at Your Window (1920), partly financed by the government. The film?s chief villain was a Bolshevik labor organizer who tried to get factory workers to go on strike. Tensions were soothed only after the American Legion, a veteran?s group, was called in to broker a deal. It was a neat celebration of military service and capitalism, both working together to defeat ?foreign? socialism. But here was the thing: the American Legion appeared in uniforms strikingly similar to Klan regalia. The Klan had no part in making the film, but it quickly staged screenings across the country, writing that it was ?of wonderful value to us.?  The Klan and the broader culture were gleefully feeding off of each other.


Scholars have sometimes written the second Klan?s history as a rise-and-fall story. From a peak membership of perhaps six million in 1924, its numbers dropped to about 350,000 three years later. The immediate cause was a series of sex scandals, embezzlements, and murders orchestrated by its highest leaders. But Gordon and Harcourt both ask us to reconsider that narrative. Scandal didn?t thin the group?s ranks, they argue, so much as success did. The Klan so thoroughly baked its all-encompassing racism into mainstream society that it had nothing else to do. It played a pivotal role in the Immigration Act of 1924, which drastically cut the number of Jewish immigrants, and excluded Asian immigrants entirely. It?s lobbying on behalf of eugenics led to sterilization laws in thirty states, which disproportionately targeted poor and black women. And at the local level, the Klan got school districts throughout the country to prohibit any textbook that ?speaks slightly of the founders.? 

But perhaps most significantly, the Klan helped redefine what it meant to be patriotic. Supporting unions made you a shill for socialism. Defending the rights of immigrants or black people made you a sell-out. Meanwhile, fairly common symbols of patriotism, like honoring veterans and respecting the flag, took on unmistakably racist overtones. You could not critique the government?s military policy or refuse to sing the national anthem without being seen as ?un-American.?  It would be foolish to claim that the Klan entirely succeeded. Too many other Americans have fought too hard to make sure that patriotism could be embodied by another set of actions?not least the right to protest. But understanding the second Klan?s success at combining racism with the symbols of democracy helps explain why, when the ?Star Spangled Banner? blares before kick-off and the military jets fly overhead, so many Americans today would rather take a knee. 

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