5 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19 Quench not the Spirit.
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
25 Brethren, pray for us.
26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.
27 I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
Donald Trump and his party are gearing up for a hard-fought midterm election. But the president loves to campaign and he’s already started to raise lots of money and hold lots of big rallies for Republicans.
It’s part of a larger playbook that his advisers think can keep the GOP in power this fall, and they think so far it’s on track, despite the president’s tendency to go off script on Twitter or during political speeches.
The White House is also sending out warnings to congressional Republicans that, while they think the president is pulling his weight, folks on Capitol Hill need to take the political challenges they face this fall more seriously.
“This is what a midterm president looks like”
Donald Trump has famously discarded a lot of political traditions. But he’s approaching the November elections in a remarkably traditional way.
He raises money. He holds rallies to motivate his base. At a rally in Indiana recently he reminded his supporters that his entire agenda — “all of the great momentum we’re having on jobs on safety and security on our military… it’s all at stake in November.”
He bashes his Democratic opponents: “Nancy Pelosi and her gang, they’ve got to be voted out of office!”
In a recent interview, White House political director Bill Stepien was relaxed and upbeat.
“I saw a reporter tweet after the Indiana rally, in which they said, ‘This is what a midterm president looks like.’ And they’re right,” Stepien said. “This is what a midterm president looks like.”
He was pointing to a rally the president held in Indiana two weeks ago, a state Trump won by nearly 20 percent where Democrat Joe Donnelly is running to keep his Senate seat.
Stepien predicted that Trump would stick to the playbook: Raising money, holding rallies, making the contrast with Democrats and making the kind of argument that any president intent on winning a midterm election would — that he and his party have improved the economic and personal security of average Americans.
“The president is committed to his party as the party leader, to doing all he can to help fellow Republicans this fall,” Stepien said. “He’s doing all he can to do the things he was elected to do.”
Every midterm election is a referendum on the party that controls Congress and if that party also has the White House, then it’s a referendum on the president, too.
Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama all lost control of one or both houses of Congress in a midterm. This will be a tough year for Trump and his party, but Stepien pointed to some recent good news for the GOP: Trump’s approval rating is inching up, the big generic ballot advantage Democrats once had has shrunk and public opinion on the direction of the country is better than it’s been in years.
Close to 40 percent of Americans think the country is on the right track—not the kind of sentiment Stepien thinks signals a big anti-incumbent wave forming.
What does Trump think the election is about? Corey Lewandowski had an answer.
“It’s a very simple question,” said Lewandowski. “Are you and your family better off today than you were two years ago? And I think, by and large, you know, the answer is yes.”
Trump’s former campaign manager is now an adviser to Vice President Pence’s PAC, The Great America Committee, a strategic post. Unlike Lewandowski’s previous home at the President’s superPAC, the Great America Committee’s fundraising is restricted, so now Lewandowski can coordinate with the White House and congressional campaigns.
“The indicators say that if the midterm elections are about the direction of the country, Donald Trump wins,” Lewandowski added.
But that’s just it — Congress is on the ballot, not Donald Trump. Lewandowski framed the fall as a matter of victory for the president, indicating how Trump is taking this election personally, regardless.
And sometimes at rallies, Trump makes it all about him.
Recently in Michigan, he said this to a loud reaction from his supporters: “We have to keep the House. Because if you listen to [California Democratic Rep.] Maxine Waters, she goes around saying, ‘We will impeach him! We will impeach him!'”
A Republican House is the best defense against impeachment, even though the issue itself is something Democratic leaders are working very hard NOT to run on.
The DOJ Russia probe might help Trump
Trump brings it up on the campaign trail and he tweets incessantly about it. The Russia investigation, or as he calls it: “WITCH HUNT!” “Hoax!” Now there’s a new, Trump-branded conspiracy theory: “SPYGATE”
Although many Republicans consider anything other than the economy and the Republican tax cuts to be off message, there’s some polling that suggests playing up the threat of impeachment could help the president energize his core supporters.
Polls show voters souring on the Russia investigation. A few months ago, special counsel Robert Mueller had the support of a majority of Americans who thought his investigation should proceed unimpeded.
It now appears the president’s relentless effort to undermine Mueller’s credibility is bearing fruit. A majority of Republicans and a growing number of independents say the investigation should wrap up.
Impeachment is also unpopular outside the core Democratic base. As Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Andersen said, “There’s a reason why Republicans are much more eager to talk about the specter of impeachment. And it’s because those voters in the middle, even if they are not in love with everything the president says or tweets, they don’t want to see him obstructed. They don’t want to see him thrown out of office.”
Luck of the draw
They might be inching up, but Trump still has historically low approval ratings. The number of Americans who strongly disapprove of him is much bigger than the number of voters who strongly approve of him — a sign of Democratic intensity.
But the president has a few things going for him this year. He’s able to raise tremendous amounts of money, and he has the most favorable Senate landscape Republicans have had since direct elections of senators began in 1914 — in other words, ever.
The Senate battleground map is Trump country. There are 10 Democratic Senate incumbents running for re-election in states Trump won in 2016, and five of those states are deep red states he won by 20 points or more: Indiana, West Virginia, North Dakota, Missouri and Montana.
So far, Trump hasn’t held a campaign rally in a state he didn’t win. And to help Republicans increase their majority in the Senate he won’t have to.
He’s been to Missouri, Indiana and West Virginia recently, happily bashing Democratic Sens. Claire McCaskill, Joe Donnelly and Joe Manchin, respectively, for voting against his agenda.
The House battleground is more problematic for the president. The Republicans are defending districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016, in states like California, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It remains to be seen if Trump will dare travel outside his red state comfort zone this fall.
The wild card: Donald J. Trump
Republicans want him to talk about tax cuts and the economy. Corry Bliss heads the Congressional Leadership Fund, the superPAC aligned with House Republican leaders, and he said it’s fine for Trump to energize the base with talk of impeachment or illegal immigration.
But Bliss added, “The most important issue is always going to be jobs and the economy. So anything he can do to sell that is helpful.”
But sometimes the president doesn’t want to talk about tax cuts. In fact, at a recent event in West Virginia, he literally threw his talking points up in the air. “I’m reading off the first paragraph, I said this is boring, come on,” he told the crowd, and Trump got a laugh.
He also got a laugh this week speaking at a fundraiser for abortion rights opponents, but GOP leaders might not have found it so funny when Trump joked, “So, your vote in 2018 is every bit important as your vote in 2016, although I’m not sure I really believe that, but you know. I don’t know who the hell wrote that line!”
Even though it was in jest, it reminded Republicans of their nightmare scenario — that Trump undercuts the core message about how important it is to turn out in November, even though Trump is not on the ballot.
“Donald Trump makes things more complicated for Republicans because they want to focus on the economy, they want to focus on the extent to which people have seen personal benefits from tax reform,” said Soltis Anderson. “The latest tweet that drives the news cycle inevitably takes the conversation away from that, and so it’s tough for some of these candidates to cut through the noise.”
But if Republican candidates want the president to focus on the economy, the president’s advisers want Republican candidates to focus on their races.
There is a sense among some White House aides that Republican House candidates don’t really understand what they’re facing this year.
Political director Bill Stepien says the president plans to work his heart out raising money and campaigning for his party, and he wants to make sure Republican members of Congress understand they should be running as if their political lives depend on it.
“The president does, and he hopes others in his party do,” said Stepien,”You really don’t understand how hard a midterm election is until you’ve been through one before, and a good many Republicans were elected in 2010 and 2014 when the opposite challenges were facing the party — when, in fact, there weren’t challenges at all.”
In fact, 77 percent of Republicans in the House today were elected in years when former President Obama was in the White House and the wind was at their backs. This year, Republicans are facing headwinds. The question is how much President Trump will be able to do to shield them.
BY: MARA LIASSON
May 24, 2018
After 14 years and 27 deaths while being constructed, the Brooklyn Bridgeover the East River is opened, connecting the great cities of New York and Brooklyn for the first time in history. Thousands of residents of Brooklyn and Manhattan Island turned out to witness the dedication ceremony, which was presided over by President Chester A. Arthur and New York Governor Grover Cleveland. Designed by the late John A. Roebling, the Brooklyn Bridge was the largest suspension bridge ever built to that date.
John Roebling, born in Germany in 1806, was a great pioneer in the design of steel suspension bridges. He studied industrial engineering in Berlin and at the age of 25 immigrated to western Pennsylvania, where he attempted, unsuccessfully, to make his living as a farmer. He later moved to the state capital in Harrisburg, where he found work as a civil engineer. He promoted the use of wire cable and established a successful wire-cable factory.
Meanwhile, he earned a reputation as a designer of suspension bridges, which at the time were widely used but known to fail under strong winds or heavy loads. Roebling is credited with a major breakthrough in suspension-bridge technology: a web truss added to either side of the bridge roadway that greatly stabilized the structure. Using this model, Roebling successfully bridged the Niagara Gorge at Niagara Falls, New York, and the Ohio River at Cincinnati, Ohio. On the basis of these achievements, New York State accepted Roebling’s design for a bridge connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan–with a span of 1,595 feet–and appointed him chief engineer. It was to be the world’s first steel suspension bridge.
Just before construction began in 1869, Roebling was fatally injured while taking a few final compass readings across the East River. A boat smashed the toes on one of his feet, and three weeks later he died of tetanus. He was the first of more than two dozen people who would die building his bridge. His 32-year-old son, Washington A. Roebling, took over as chief engineer. Roebling had worked with his father on several bridges and had helped design the Brooklyn Bridge.
The two granite foundations of the Brooklyn Bridge were built in timber caissons, or watertight chambers, sunk to depths of 44 feet on the Brooklyn side and 78 feet on the New York side. Compressed air pressurized the caissons, allowing underwater construction. At that time, little was known of the risks of working under such conditions, and more than a hundred workers suffered from cases of compression sickness. Compression sickness, or the “bends,” is caused by the appearance of nitrogen bubbles in the bloodstream that result from rapid decompression. Several died, and Washington Roebling himself became bedridden from the condition in 1872. Other workers died as a result of more conventional construction accidents, such as collapses and a fire.
Roebling continued to direct construction operations from his home, and his wife, Emily, carried his instructions to the workers. In 1877, Washington and Emily moved into a home with a view of the bridge. Roebling’s health gradually improved, but he remained partially paralyzed for the rest of his life. On May 24, 1883, Emily Roebling was given the first ride over the completed bridge, with a rooster, a symbol of victory, in her lap. Within 24 hours, an estimated 250,000 people walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, using a broad promenade above the roadway that John Roebling designed solely for the enjoyment of pedestrians.
The Brooklyn Bridge, with its unprecedented length and two stately towers, was dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world.” The connection it provided between the massive population centers of Brooklyn and Manhattan changed the course of New York City forever. In 1898, the city of Brooklyn formally merged with New York City, Staten Island, and a few farm towns, forming Greater New York.
North Korea closed its nuclear test site in spectacular fashion Thursday, blasting the site in what one observer described as a “huge explosion.”
“You could feel it. Dust came at you, the heat came at you,” reported Sky News’ Asia Correspondent Tom Chesire, a British broadcaster who was invited to the demolition.
International media were assembled in view of the Punggye-ri test site, about 500 meters (1,640 feet) away, according to Sky. North Korea claims it tested six underground nuclear devices at the facility.
But longtime watchers of North Korea’s nuclear program say the closing of the site will have little impact on the nation’s capabilities.
“What does it actually mean in the long term? Probably not that much, unfortunately,” says Melissa Hanham, a senior researcher with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, Calif.
North Korea has already conducted six nuclear tests at the site, the last of which was considered highly successful. Hanham says at this stage, it’s not clear that North Korea needs to continue testing its weapons at Punggye-ri. By destroying it, “They’re giving away the least useful part of their nuclear program,” she says.
Punggye-ri is located in the remote, mountainous northeastern section of the country. The test site is believed to have been established in the early 2000s, and became widely known following the North’s first nuclear test in 2006. The smattering of journalists from the U.S., U.K., South Korea, China and Russia took a reported 20-hour journey by train and bus from Wonsan, on North Korea’s east coast, to get to Punggye-ri for the nuclear site dismantlement.
In addition to being remote, experts say Punggye-ri is an ideal test site. “From a geologic perspective, it’s a really good choice,” says Frank Pabian, an imagery analyst at 38 North with a long background in studying nuclear testing. Most of the test tunnels lie under Mount Mantap, a granite mountain that is perfect for containing powerful nuclear explosions.
North Korea’s most recent test, in September of last year, was so large that experts have speculated it may have collapsed part of the primary tunnel at Punggye-ri. Some analysts think that the explosion might have rendered the entire site unusable, but Pabian doubts that’s the case.
Immediately after the test, he notes, satellite images revealed the North stepped up digging in another tunnel, the so-called West Portal.
“They were going gangbusters,” Pabian says, until work stopped abruptly this spring.
Scientists recently estimated that last fall’s test produced a yield between 120 and 304 kilotons of TNT equivalent — on a par with many weapons in the current U.S. nuclear arsenal.
“That’s pretty impressive,” Pabian says. “You don’t need to do a whole lot more if you can do that — at least, not anytime soon.”
And Hanham says North Korea could probably get the test site working quickly again, if it needed to. In 2008, it demolished the cooling tower for its main reactor at a nuclear complex known as Yongbyon. But a few years later, when disarmament talks broke down, it restarted the reactor, using cooling water from a nearby river.
While demolishing the Punggye-ri test tunnels may not be much of a setback for the North’s nuclear program, it does send a clear message to the world. North Korea committed to this gesture following the April 27 inter-Korean summit, where the leaders of the two Koreas signed a joint agreement calling for a “nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.”
“If we maintain frequent meetings and build trust with the United States and receive promises for an end to the war and a non-aggression treaty, then why would we need to live in difficulty by keeping our nuclear weapons?” North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un said during the summit to South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in. That quote was relayed to the press by Yoon Young-chan, a spokesman for Moon.
The weekend after the summit, it was the Blue House in South Korea that announced North Korea would invite foreign observers to Punggye-ri.
“There are multiple audiences they are targeting,” says Lisa Collins, a Korea expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “I think one is the United States, the other is probably China. I’m sure they’re also hoping to convince South Korea that they’re serious about creating conditions for peace on the Korean Peninsula.”
President Trump is scheduled to meet with Kim in Singapore on June 12, and Hanham says this destruction increases the momentum in favor of that meeting.
“I think it’s a really visible, evocative, theatrical way to convey that [Kim] is cooperating to achieve the summit,” Hanham says.
However, letting in a smattering of foreign journalists is different from North Korea’s original pledge following the April 27 summit, in which Pyongyang announced it would let in international journalists as well as nuclear experts to observe the dismantling of its test site. Journalists on this week’s trip report no such experts joined them for the visible gesture put on by Kim.
“It would have been a greater indicator of their intention to dismantle their program if they had invited nuclear experts,” Collins says.
She adds that although both sides agree that the Korean Peninsula should become “denuclearized,” they remain far apart on what that word actually means. The U.S. wants North Korea to unilaterally hand over its nuclear weapons. But North Korea likely has a laundry list of prerequisites, including the drawing down of U.S. troop levels on the Korean Peninsula, a cessation of joint military exercises and delivery of foreign aid.
In the run-up to the summit, Collins warns, “There’s a lot of things that could go wrong in the next couple of weeks.”
BY: GEOFF BRUMFIEL
May 24, 2018
Se Eun Gong contributed to this story.
“One of the hardest lessons in life is letting go. Whether it’s guilt, anger, love, loss or betrayal. Change is never easy. We fight to hold on and we fight to let go.”