Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Hamas Blames Israel for Hit on Palestinian Engineer: The War Has Shifted Abroad

April 21, 2018

According to Palestinians, Fadi al-Batash was ambushed at a mosque in Malaysia and shot by two unidentified motorcyclists ■ Victim’s family blames the Mossad ■ Malaysia: Foreign agents likely involved

.
More when we have it
.
https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/.premium-hamas-blames-israel-for-hit-on-palestinian-engineer-israel-assassinates-our-scientists-1.6013900
.
**********************************************
.

Hamas Engineer Murdered in Malaysia: Gov’t Accuses ‘Foreign Agents’

According to Palestinians, Fadi al-Batash was ambushed at a mosque and shot by two unidentified motorcyclists ■ Victim’s family blames the Mossad

.
Members of Hamas military wing, the Iz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, at memorial for engineer Fadi al-Batsh, who was killed in Malaysia this morning in Jebaliya, Gaza Strip, Saturday, April 21, 2018.
Members of Hamas military wing, the Iz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, at memorial for engineer Fadi al-Batsh, who was killed in Malaysia this morning in Jebaliya, Gaza Strip, Saturday, April 21, 2018. Adel Hana/AP

Malaysia said that “foreign agents” might be involved in the killing of a Palestinian engineer and member of Hamas at the entrance to a mosque in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday morning. The victim’s family and Palestinians blamed Israel’s Mossad for the assassination.

“There may be a connection to foreign secret services,” Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said, specifying that the two men who allegedly killed Fadi al-Batash were white.

Hamas announced that the Palestinian engineer was a member of the organization and Palestinian media reported accusations that the Mossad could be behind the assasination.

skip – From the shooting scene in Kuala Lumpur, April 21, 2018.

According to Palestinian news websites, Fadi al-Batash, 35, was ambushed at the entrance to a mosque and shot at close range by two unidentified motorcyclists. Palestinian sources in Malaysia quoted the police chief as saying the unidentified assailants waited about 20 minutes for Batash outside the mosque. They shot more than 10 bullets at Batash. He sustained wounds to the head and upper body. The shooters fled the scene.

Batash’s family, as well as an Islamic Jihad senior leader, Khaled al-Batash, accused Mossad of being behind the assassination, reported Palestinian news sources. They demanded that “Malaysian authorities conduct a comprehensive and rapid investigation to prevent the escape of the assassins.” The family said that Batash was supposed to fly to Turkey on Sunday for a science conference on energy. He is married and has three children.

According to the news agency SPA, which is affiliated with Hamas, Batash, a former resident of Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, worked in Malaysia in the past years as a lecturer at a private university and was the imam of a mosque in the city. Batash also involved with Islamic organizations, including MyCARE.

Batash was involved in energy field work and was a revered engineer in electrical engineering and energy production.

In December, aviation engineer and former Tunisair pilot Mohammed Zawahri was assassinated by highly skilled assassins in Sfax, Tunisia, reported local news outlets. Tunisian journalist Burhan Basis claimed on his Facebook page that the Mossad was behind the assassination.

According to Basis, Zawahri lived in several countries over the years and maintained close ties with Hamas. He added that Zawahri’s work on drones was what led the Mossad to pursue him.

In 2015, the Shin Bet security service revealed that Hamas was training Palestinian students in Malaysia. After their training, the operatives are sent to set up military networks in the West Bank, act as messengers between the territories and foreign countries, and carry out secret transfers of funds to meet Hamas’ needs.

Advertisements

India prescribes death penalty for child rape — “The conviction rate in rape cases in India was only 28 percent, implying that 72 out of 100 suspects are going unpunished.”

April 21, 2018

rime Minister Narendra Modi has reacted to criticism that he did not deal with the recent rape and murder of a girl swiftly enough. India is trying to crack down on violence against girls and women.

Placard reading 'save my dignity I am your daughter' (Reuters/)

The Indian government approved a new measure on Saturday that will prescribe capital punishment for anyone convicted of raping children under the age of 12. The move came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called an emergency Cabinet meeting in the wake of a series of cases that sparked outrage and protests across the country.

The recent rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Jammu-Kashmir state brought the matter of sexual violence against minors back into the national spotlight as locals accused the ruling Hindu nationalist party of siding with the perpetrator, as the victim was Muslim.

A similar incident occurred around the same time, when a girl was allegedly raped by a ruling party lawmaker in Uttar Pradesh state.

Nine suspects, including a politician and four police officials have been arrested in connection with the two cases.

Modi has been accused of failing to act quickly enough after the girls were attacked.

Children holding placards (Reuters/C. McNaughton)The rape of an 8-year-old sparked protests in India

Stricter laws

New Delhi is trying once again to crack down on rampant violence against girls and women, having already passed stricter laws in 2013. At that time, lawmakers were responding to the gang rape and murder of a young woman on a bus in the capital, which led to a global outcry.

The new laws included doubling the prison sentence for rape to 2 years and criminalizing voyeurism and stalking.

Lawyer Abha Singh welcomed Saturday’s measure, and said it would probably help deter men from attacking girls or women. However, she urged the government to do something about the notoriously backed-up Indian justice system, which currently has 30 million pending cases.

“The conviction rate in rape cases in India was only 28 percent, implying that 72 out of 100 suspects are going unpunished,” she was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

es/ng (AP, Reuters)

http://www.dw.com/en/india-prescribes-death-penalty-for-child-rape/a-43480914

*****************************************************

India Has Not Done Enough About Cromes Against Women and Children

Eight-year-old Asifa’s rape and murder was not an opportunist crime, but a result of the politics of hatred by Hindu supremacists that dehumanises Muslims

BY DIBYESH ANAND

In recent years, India has witnessed a disturbingly high volume of sex crimes – so much so that when the rape and murder of Asifa, an eight-year-old girl from a Muslim nomadic community in Kathua, in the restive Jammu and Kashmir province, came to light three months ago, it was not a major news story right away.

Asifa’s family was too poor to matter. The perpetrators belonged to the dominant Hindu community and had political and bureaucratic backing. Her being a Muslim in a region marked by ascendancy of Hindu nationalism meant justice would be a struggle, especially as the legal system is infamous for its sloth. But in recent days, the Justice for Asifa campaign has transformed into a countrywide movement. Painful details of the violence inflicted on the child have come to light and Indians have reacted with shock to efforts by the local Hindu community to shield the accused.

Indians hold photos of Asifa Bano during a march to protest against her rape and murder in Kathua. Protesters demanded justice for the victim and action against the accused. Photo: EPA

While sexual violence is not uncommon in India, what triggered outrage this time were the protests organised in support of the crime. It’s not every day that one sees people waving the national flag and chanting nationalist slogans trivialising the pain of the family of a rape victim and glorifying the perpetrators. Hindu politicians from different parties, including the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), joined in, openly threatening violence if the perpetrators were punished.

A demonstrator protests against the visit by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament Square, London. Photo: Reuters

Hindus in this region see themselves as an Indian nationalist bulwark against what they consider Pakistan-backed Muslim separatists. Asifa was kept hidden in a temple and repeatedly gang-raped there, and the key perpetrators spoke of themselves as custodians of the Hindu community. This pathology of imagining the dominant self as weak under threat from minorities, and hence engaging in violence against minorities is part and parcel of Hindu majoritarian chauvinist thinking. During my fieldwork for my book on Hindu nationalism, I often came across Hindu extremists who saw Muslims as posing an existential threat to the security of Hindu women, Hindu society and the Hindu nation. All kinds of conspiracies were ascribed to Muslims, with Hindu supremacist nationalism shown as the only way to secure Hindus. Hindu nationalism is thus presented as a legitimate reaction to aggressive Islam.

India’s killer ‘godmen’ and their sacrificial children

The imagination of the Muslim as the dangerous Other to the Hindu Self has a conspicuous, sexualised dimension. Muslim men are seen as seductive lovers or possible rapists of Hindu women and the response that this politics of imagination puts forward is for Hindu men to emulate and (re)masculinise themselves. Rape of Muslim women and murder of Muslim men are legitimised as “revenge” and securing the Hindu Self. Asifa’s rape and murder was not an opportunist crime, but a result of this politics of hatred that dehumanises Muslims.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has found political success thanks in part to support from a significant section of upwardly mobile caste Hindus. Photo: EPA

Prime Minister Narendra Modi maintained silence about the Asifa saga for a long time. To expect him to be disturbed by the Hindu nationalist backing for rape in the name of community solidarity would be to forget the history of his own rise to power. Modi burst into national politics in 2002 when there was a large-scale pogrom and violence, including rape, targeting Muslims in his state under his watch. He rode to power in Delhi as a section of upwardly mobile caste Hindus saw in him a strong man who would stand up to minorities and secularists weakening the nation. He has won all his elections since. In India, Islamophobia pays.

A chttp://www.scmp.com/week-asia/opinion/article/2142388/how-rape-exposes-conflict-between-two-visions-indiahild with a picture of Asifa Bano in Bhopal, India. Photo: EPA

Hindu nationalists will trivialise the rape of a Muslim by ignoring it or by representing it as a conspiracy to malign the Hindu community and nation. But that the lawyer for Asifa’s family as well as the main police official in charge of the investigation are themselves Hindus illustrates that this is not a Hindu versus Muslim struggle but one between Hindu supremacists and those who believe in the possibility of an India where human lives matter regardless of faith. 

Dibyesh Anand is a professor at the University of Westminster and author of ‘Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear’

 

Philippines: President Duterte “Out To Get” Catholic Nun — But Villagers Liken Her To Fr. Damien of the Lepers

April 21, 2018

Image result for sister pat, philippines, photos

 / 05:16 AM April 21, 2018
Editorial

For the arrest and detention early this week of Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox, President Duterte’s spokesperson Harry Roque offered some sort of appeasement. He said apologies were perhaps “in order” because the nun was released quickly by the Bureau of Immigration, which could also commit a mistake. As he put it: “Siguro apologies are in order kasi madalian naman siyang pinalabas din ng BI. Siguro nagkakamali rin naman ang BI.”

Roque was trying to fudge the facts. Fox was not immediately released by immigration officials. After her surprise arrest on Monday at her home in Quezon City for allegedly engaging in political activities against the government, she was taken to the BI head office in Intramuros, Manila, and detained for at least 22 hours. She was released only on Tuesday after the bureau established that her papers were in order—she is, in fact, a properly documented foreigner with a valid missionary visa, as she has maintained all along.

Fox is 71 years old, and has lived in the Philippines for 27 years. A member of the Notre Dame de Sion congregation, she has devoted her life to ministering to the poorest, most marginalized Filipinos, and has been in and out of the country without incident—until now. “How many Filipinos have spent that many years of their lives, as Sister Pat has, working with the last, the least and the lost of this woebegone country?” wrote Inquirer columnist Ma. Ceres Doyo. But, “for heeding the biblical imperative to walk with those who have been largely forgotten, she is suspected to be an enemy of the state.”

What could have gotten Fox into such a tangle with the government that all of a sudden she is now a person of interest facing deportation for being an “undesirable alien”? Apparently, she has been spotted joining rallies protesting human rights abuses against political prisoners and farmers, and speaking up on their behalf. The fact that her activities caught the eye of the authorities is perhaps not surprising in itself; what is surprising is how high up the case of this hitherto obscure missionary reached—all the way to the presidential sanctum in Malacañang. For Mr. Duterte would eventually reveal that it was he who had ordered the arrest and investigation of Fox, supposedly for “disorderly conduct” in joining political demonstrations and daring to criticize his administration. The nun had a foul mouth, according to the President. The statement in the vernacular is profoundly more startling: “Walang hiya ang bunganga ng madre na yan.”

The arrest and detention of Fox appear to be of a piece with the intensifying crackdown on critics of the administration, but, in this case, it has united members of the Catholic Church and other religious denominations in protesting Malacañang’s heavy hand. The Ecumenical Bishops Forum denounced the “absurd action” against the missionary, and highlighted the disturbing trend of church workers coming under “systematic state-sponsored attack,” such as Catholic priest Marcelito Paez getting killed after facilitating the release of a political prisoner, and Iglesia Filipina Independiente bishop and peace advocate Carlo Morales being arrested and detained for nearly a year.

Meanwhile, in a Facebook post, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo not only detailed Fox’s ordeal at the Bureau of Immigration (she suffers from “several ailments, what with her thin and frail stature,” he said) but also issued a grim warning: “The grip is getting tighter; getting hard on people who manifest dissent against the abuses of the government… The victim can even be a woman, an elderly, and a religious. Before, they were the poor, the young, and the gullible. Let us be wary. This government cannot take dissent. It uses the machineries of the state—and even the law—to bring down people, whoever and whatever their condition may be.”

Notwithstanding Roque’s attempt at an “apology,” Fox’s arrest was no mistake; it was meant, unmistakably, to be a warning.

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/112619/grip-getting-tighter#ixzz5DKFRHEe0
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

In a phone conversation with people in the Philippines who are served by Sister Pat, one man said she reminded him of “Fr. Damien of the lepers in Hawaii.”

John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom

Image result

Father Damien

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father_Damien

Related:

Image result for duterte with rifle, photo, april 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte — Big Game Hunter

U.S. Chief Complaints With The Philippines Remain: Extrajudicial Killings, Impunity, Rule of Law, Human Rights Abuses

April 21, 2018
.
Image may contain: one or more people, shoes and outdoor
.
Photo: Journalists and photograpphers have documented thousands of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines during the Duterte administration. AP/Bullit Marquez, File photo
State Department report: EJKs still ‘chief’ human rights concern in Philippines

Ian Nicolas Cigaral (philstar.com) – April 21, 2018 – 11:21am

MANILA, Philippines — The alleged cases of summary execution in President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody drug war remains a major human rights concern in the Philippines, amid rising impunity following a dramatic surge in police killings, the US State Department said in its global rights report for 2017.

“Extrajudicial killings have been the chief human rights concern in the country for many years and, after a sharp rise with the onset of the antidrug campaign in 2016, they continued in 2017,” read the report released Friday (Washington time).

Duterte, who is notorious for his defiance of international pressure and rejection of criticisms on his rights record, easily won the race to Malacañang on a brutal law and order platform.

Human rights monitors say most of the fatalities in the government’s anti-narcotic drive are extrajudicial killings committed by cops taking a frontline role in the lethal campaign and unknown assailants.

But the force had vehemently denied executing suspected drug traffickers in cold blood, saying deaths in police shootings were done in self-defense.

Amid the mounting death toll, critics say Duterte is waging a “war on poor,” making him liable for crimes against humanity for giving cops the “license to kill.”

Citing the 900 drug-related deaths reported by media from January to September last year, the State Department said concerns about police impunity “increased significantly.”

The US government also expressed doubt over the accuracy and legitimacy of Duterte’s list of alleged drug personalities.

“Police claimed to have begun investigations of all reports of extrajudicial killings,” the report read in part.

“Some civil society organizations accused police of planting evidence, tampering with crime scenes, unlawfully disposing of the bodies of drug suspects, and other actions to cover up extrajudicial killings,” it added.

Aside from the drug war, the report likewise flagged other “most significant” human rights issues in the country, including life threatening prison conditions, warrantless arrests, the state’s “disregard” for due process, violence against the free press and rights activists, and forced labor, among others.

Duterte-Trump

The report’s release comes at a time of improving Manila-Washington ties, as US President Donald Trump cozies up to Duterte, whom the American leader said was doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem.”

In a departure from previous policy of past American leaders to call out human rights violators, Trump had also reportedly said that “Filipinos don’t have drug problem [because] they just kill them.”

Asked how the State Department report is consistent with the human rights policies of Trump—who has been criticized for his apparent affinity for leaders accused of being authoritarian like Duterte—senior State Department official Michael Kozak maintained that the report is “factual.”

“Now, does that mean that the President should never speak to these people? We’re trying to keep the report as the factual baseline for what we’re going to do in policy terms or sanctions as the secretary was mentioning. So we can learn a lot from this, and we can use it to formulate a policy,” Kozak, who helped oversee the report, said in a press conference.

“But usually part of your policy is engaging with the people whose behavior you’re trying to change at some level. And I don’t think those two things are in distinction,” he added.

“The fact is, these other governments and their populations do read the report… And when the President speaks to their leader, often he’s talking about these issues, so it’s – it’s complementary, it’s not a – two things that are in conflict.”

DRUG WARHUMAN RIGHTSRODRIGO DUTERTEUS STATE DEPARTMENT

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/04/21/1808082/state-department-report-ejks-still-chief-human-rights-concern-philippines#088lxvjd7z7D8Etu.99

Related:

 (Includes FT Op-Ed)

.

China carries out aircraft carrier drills in Pacific in attempts to intimidate Tawain, and perhaps the U.S.

April 21, 2018

AFP

© AFP/File | China’s sole aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, took part in military drills Friday, the Chinese navy said, ramping up tensions with Taiwan

BEIJING (AFP) – China has carried out aircraft carrier drills in the Pacific, its navy said Saturday, ramping up tensions with Taiwan over its military exercises in the sensitive region.Beijing’s sole aircraft carrier and two destroyer ships carried out “offensive and defensive drills to test their combat muscle” on Friday, China’s navy said on its official microblog site on Weibo.

The exercises took place in an area east of the Bashi Channel, which runs between Taiwan and the Philippines, it said.

China sees democratically-governed Taiwan as a renegade part of its territory to be brought back into the fold and has not ruled out reunification by force.

In Beijing’s latest military drills, photos showed J-15 fighters waiting to take off from the Liaoning aircraft carrier.

The Jinan and Changchun destroyer ships also participated in the training.

Image result for Changchun, china, destroyer, navy, photos

Taiwan has accused China of “saber rattling” after Chinese bombers and spy planes flew around Taiwan Thursday, and the Chinese navy conducted live-fire drills off the Taiwan Strait a day earlier.

“China has deliberately manipulated (the exercise) to pressure and harass Taiwan in an attempt to spark tensions between the two sides and in the region,” Chiu Chui-cheng of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council told a regular briefing Thursday.

“(We) will never bow down to any military threat and incentive.”

Image may contain: sky and airplane

Beijing has stepped up military patrols around Taiwan and used diplomatic pressure to isolate it internationally since pro-independence President Tsai Ing-wen took office.

Chinese President Xi Jinping observed the navy’s largest-ever military display this month in the South China Sea, which involved 76 fighter jets and a flotilla of 48 warships and submarines.

Beijing has also been angered by Washington’s arms sales to Taipei, and China protested last month after President Donald Trump signed a bill allowing top-level US officials to travel to Taiwan.

Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979 but maintains trade relations with the island.

Related:

Image may contain: nature

Prayer and Meditation for Sunday, April 22, 2018 — “That we may be called the children of God.”

April 21, 2018

Fourth Sunday of Easter
Lectionary: 50

Image result for A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep, bible, art, photos

Reading 1 ACTS 4:8-12

Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said:
“Leaders of the people and elders:
If we are being examined today
about a good deed done to a cripple,
namely, by what means he was saved,
then all of you and all the people of Israel should know
that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean
whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead;
in his name this man stands before you healed.
He is the stone rejected by you, the builders,
which has become the cornerstone.

There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven
given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”
.
Photo of Cornerstone Church - Portland, OR, United States

Responsorial Psalm  PS 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28, 29

R. (22) The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
we bless you from the house of the LORD.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his kindness endures forever.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia. 

Reading 2  1 JN 3:1-2

Beloved:
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us
is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.

Alleluia  JN 10:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

.
Related image
.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep

Gospel JN 10:11-18

Jesus said:
“I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father.”
.
********************************************
.
Image result for church in the desert
Monastery of Christ in the Desert,
.
Reflection by The Abbot
.

My sisters and brothers in the Lord,

Saint John gives us these words of Jesus:  “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me.”  God is seeking us out, just as a shepherd seeks out his sheep.  God wants us to be with him, just as the shepherd wants his sheep with him.  This Sunday we are invited and challenged to give our lives completely to the Lord.

The first reading today is from the Acts of the Apostles.  We could pay attention to just this one sentence:  “There is no salvation through anyone else.”  So often we want to work our own salvation.  Too often we have an idea of what our salvation might mean.  Today we are invited to recognize that God saves us in many, many ways.  God always invites us to share His life.  We are invited to let God be Saviour rather than constantly seeking to save ourselves.

Once we come to recognize Jesus as true Savior, we cannot stop talking about Him to others.  We want to share His presence in our lives.  We want others to recognize that there is nothing worthwhile in this whole world other than the presence of Jesus.  And, for many of us, we do not want to appear to be fanatics in the process.  Nevertheless, like the early disciples of Jesus, we will look fanatic whenever we speak about our belief in the Lord Jesus.

The second reading is from the First Letter of Saint John.  Saint John tells us:  “When it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”  We shall see HIM as HE is.  This life is about seeking God and seeing only glimpses of the Lord Jesus.  Some seem to have more glimpses than others, but God always gives each of us what we need to continue in the seeking of God.  In the life of the world to come, we shall see Him as He is.

More importantly, Jesus will also see us as we are, with all of our brokenness, our sinfulness, our failures, our sins and all that we might want to hide from Him.  He will still say to us:  Come, you blessed of my Father.  Enter the Kingdom.

We come back to the Gospel of John.  Jesus lays down His life for us.  Jesus gives His live over to death in order that we can life forever.  We are invited to accept that salvation.  Even if we do not fully understand the Lord Jesus or His salvation, we are invited to accept Him and ask Him to save us.

Lord Jesus, risen from the dead, save us and draw us to yourself.  Be our shepherd and guide us in this life so that we may all be with you forever in the life of the world to come.

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip

****************************************************

.
The Cornerstone by Ray Pritchard
.

“The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone” (Psalm 118:22).

The image comes from the ancient quarries where highly-trained stonemasons carefully chose the stones used in construction. No stone was more important than the cornerstone because the integrity of the whole structure depended on the cornerstone containing exactly the right lines. If the cornerstone was not exactly right, the entire building would be out of line. For that reason, builders inspected many stones, rejecting each one until they found the one they wanted. Rejected stones might be used in other parts of the building, but they would never become the cornerstone or the capstone (the first and last stones put in place).

When Peter preached to the Jewish leaders in Acts 4:8–12, he quoted Psalm 118:22 to show that Jesus is the rejected stone whom God made to be the cornerstone of salvation. They (the Jewish leaders) rejected him, but God not only accepted him but put him in the position of highest honor.

Peter pressed the point home with this powerful conclusion: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). These words are utterly exclusive. There is no other hope, no other way, and no other name than the name of Jesus. If we would be saved, we must come God’s way or we won’t come at all.

Do not be like the builders who rejected God’s Stone of salvation! Do not reject Jesus Christ. Do not stumble over this rejected stone. The very stone the builders rejected has become the head of the corner. May God open your eyes to see Jesus as he really is—the Cornerstone of eternal salvation.

Taken from “Rejected Stone” by Keep Believing Ministries (used by permission).

http://www.jesus.org/is-jesus-god/old-testament-prophecies/the-stone-that-the-builders-rejected-became-the-cornerstone.html

*****************************************

First Thoughts from Peace and Freedom

Today’s readings always remind me of, “Unless you CHANGE and become like little children.” ( Matthew 18:3 )

Indeed: we are the sheep of the Good Shepherd story. We must be docile, humble, teachable.

But most of us are proud, ego-centric, money grubbers. Even more reason God tells us to CHANGE and become better followers….

Unless You Become Like Little Children — God wants us to plunge into the unknown joyfully — reliant upon Him for strength and power and salvation.

Instead many people today are filled with fear and anxiety.

But there’s no need for that if we TRULY BELIEVE  in an all loving, all forgiving Father waiting to give us eternal life.

He tells us: “Do not e afraid.” He says this to the apostles while he is walking on water. He says it to Mary when she come to the tomb three days after the crucifixion. In fact, “Do not be afraid” is one of the more oft repeated lines in scripture.

So why are we afraid? Because we refuse to belive.

Finally, if we live long enough, most of us get to be both the stone rejected and the cornerstone! You get to my age you’ll know what I mean…

John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom

.

**************************************************

.

Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
.
22 APRIL, 2018, Sunday, 4th Week of Easter
EXAMINING THE CAUSE FOR FAILURE IN LEADERSHIP

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ ACTS 4:8-121 JOHN 3:1-2JOHN 10:11-18 ]

Today is Good Shepherd Sunday.  All of us are called to be shepherds after the heart of Christ.  We exercise the office of shepherd as civil leaders, corporate leaders, teachers, priests, church leaders or even as parents.  Regardless how old or young we are, we will always be exercising some form of leadership.  We are not just being led but we also lead according to our capacity.

We all know how it is to be in leadership.   We can never please everyone.  It is extremely challenging to unite people with different personalities, interests, views and perspectives to work together.  No matter what we do, there will be people who oppose us, slander us and resist whatever we try to do for the greater good of the community.   But this is the trial and test of leadership as well.   Jesus as our cornerstone has been rejected by His own people as well.  Both the Acts of the Apostles and the responsorial psalm reiterate the same thing about the stone rejected by the builders.  So leaders should not be surprised when they are rejected as well.   But it is also important to examine the reasons why there are people who oppose us in leadership.

We can of course blame the sheep.  Most of us are into this blame game whenever things go wrong.  Instead of looking at the issues objectively, we look for scapegoats to blame for our failures, unhappiness and frustrations.  Instead of looking into ourselves, our tendency is to assign the fault to other people or the structures.  This could be the case for us as leaders.  We conclude that our failures and disappointments are all because they did not listen to our voice.  Instead they chose their own way.  They are self-willed and they chose to go astray.  The problem is with them and not with us.  We feel that they do not know us and cannot feel with us in our struggles. Most of all, they do not appreciate how much we have done for them.

But adopting the blame game will not solve the pain and frustrations we face as leaders!  We will only become more bitter and resentful.  So instead of picking at the faults of those sheep under our care, it would be more worthwhile that we look into ourselves and understand why our sheep are not hearing our voice and therefore not following us.  At the end of the day, there is a communication breakdown.  It might not just be at the information level, but at the level of the heart.  Can we truly say with Jesus when He said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep”?  I think it would be fair to say that we do not really know our sheep and they do not know us.  This is the reason for the miscommunication and lack of communication between leaders and the led.

Why don’t our sheep have confidence in us?  The reason is simply because they do not trust that we can lead them to greener pastures, or worse still, that we do not have their interests at heart.  So trust and confidence is not just a matter of competency and ability in leadership, but more than that, whether we really care for them.  In fact, our sheep can forgive us for the lack of leadership skills, but they cannot forgive us if we are self-serving, putting our interests and convenience before theirs.

What could cause the lack of trust and confidence?  It could be due to the lack of transparency.  They do not know what we are doing.  We do not take time to explain to them our vision, mission, our plans and concerns.  They are just receiving commands and orders from us.  They feel that we are making use of them like pawns for our ambition.  This is true even for parents.  Our children do not do what we tell them because they do not understand our concerns, our struggles, and our constraints, especially when they ask for favors or money. They are afraid to tell us the truth or share their problems and struggles for fear of rejection or being marginalized and falling out of favour with us.  They don’t see us as caring for them and that we are laying down our lives for them.

They do not know us perhaps because we do not let them know us.  We do not spend time with the sheep, like the shepherd who lives with them.  They feel that we regard them as a flock of sheep, as a mass rather than as individuals with different strengths and weaknesses, needs and difficulties.  We do not really know our sheep because we live in our ivory tower.  In a word, we are not in touch with their pains and dreams and aspirations.  We do not know them by name, that is, personally, and therefore cannot share their sufferings, hopes and expectations.

Accordingly, for effectiveness in leadership, the leader must take pains to explain to their members and share with them his vision and challenges so that they can better appreciate the limitations and the anxieties of their leaders.  Indeed, this was the case of Jesus the Good Shepherd.  The bible tells us that the shepherd always lives among his sheep, day and night.  He is often alone with his sheep.  He will talk to them, play with them, always leading and protecting them.  That is how the sheep come to recognize the voice of their shepherd.  Jesus always takes pains to share with His apostles and disciples His vision of life, God and creation.  He even prepared them for His eventual death and resurrection.  If there is a lack of trust, it boils down to the lack of communication and sharing.

Secondly, the lack of trust in leaders has to do with the way we exercise leadership.  Quite often, we exercise our leadership using an authoritarian style, where we rely heavily on the exercise of institutional authority, a style of command that is top down.  As a consequence, those under our charge see us as dictatorial, uncompromising, ambitious, insensitive and arrogant.  They feel we are judgmental and exacting, especially when they make mistakes. We lack compassion and understanding.  Instead of being forgiving and encouraging, we put them down. Such an approach will only hurt our sheep.  Instead of using the staff to guide them, to lead and correct them, we use the staff as a rod to beat them and punish them.  Without gentleness and meekness in leadership, we will destroy and wound them further and deeper.  Harshness and arrogance are not the ways Jesus dealt with His disciples.  It is always one of humble servanthood.  Compassionate leadership is the only way to gain trust and respect from our sheep.

Thirdly, they do not feel that we genuinely care for them as persons with feelings and needs.  We care more for our projects and ambitions.  Like the bad shepherds of Israel in Ezekiel 34, we only use them for our interests and to achieve our goals.  We take their wool to receive honour, recognition and respect for what we do.  We drink their milk, making use of them for our benefit.  So they feel used by us.  They do not see that we are more interested in their well-being and their happiness than the success of our projects.  Some of them are lost, but we do not take the trouble to seek them out.  Others are wounded but we do not have time to heal them.  Some are sick but we do not take the trouble to nurse them.  Some are hungry, overworked and tired but we do not feed them, give them formation and love.

Once we treat them like workers instead of brothers and sisters, we begin to regard them as our propertyto do as we like with them.  But that is against the truth that we share the same Heavenly Father, as St John tells us in the second reading.  We are all children of God. Indeed, although I have been using the term “our sheep” I must qualify this, for strictly speaking, those under our care, whether our children, employees or members, do not belong to us and they are not our sheep!  But they are the sheep of God since Jesus is the only Good Shepherd.  They are our sheep insofar as we are exercising shepherding on behalf of God.  If they were our sheep in the narrow sense, then we can do with them as we will, since they are our property.   But precisely as St John says, we are all children of God; we as leaders are accountable to God our Good Shepherd in the way we manage His sheep.

To gain confidence from those we lead, leaders are expected to walk the talk.  We are called to lead.  This means we must be ahead of our sheep.  To walk ahead is to show the way and walk the way.  We are called to be exemplars of the values that we hold.  In the final analysis, it is the lack of of integrity and fidelity to our calling that cause leaders to lose their credibility and hence, the distrust of our followers.  So long as we do not practice what we preach, do what we tell them to do, we cannot expect to command their respect and trust.  Using our office to coerce them to do what we want will only breed anger and resentment and even hatred.  If Jesus is our Good Shepherd, it is because He lived what He preached.  It was His fidelity to His Father unto death that earns Him our trust.  He walked before us before He asked us to follow after Him.  That is why He said, ‘The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will.”

In the light of our failure as leaders, or even when we, like Jesus, have truly been grossly misunderstood and rejected, let us come to the Good Shepherd for healing.  Not only do members need healing, but even more so leaders, because we bear the burdens of those under our care.   Unless we seek healing, we will only allow our wounds to hurt others, for indirectly and often unconsciously, our pain, anger, resentment, the sense of betrayal and injustice will lead us to be negative towards them, regard them as our enemies and even take revenge on them subtly.  Leaders are wounded healers.  This presupposes that they are healed before they can tend to the wounds of others.  Otherwise, we only expose our raw wounds, turning them away.  We cannot heal others unless we ourselves are constantly seeking healing from the Lord.  As parents and leaders, we need to turn to the Good Shepherd for healing.

.
Written by The Most Rev William Goh
.
****************************************
.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Threaten Israel: ‘Finger’s on the Trigger, Missiles Ready for Launch’ — “The United States has been defeated.”

April 21, 2018

Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami says ‘Israel is surrounded and you have nowhere to escape to except to fall into the sea’

.Iran's President Hassan Rohani reviews a military parade during the 37th anniversary of Iraq's 1980 invasion of Iran, September 22, 2017.
Iran’s President Hassan Rohani reviews a military parade during the 37th anniversary of Iraq’s 1980 invasion of Iran, September 22, 2017.Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

A senior commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guardsthreatened Israel with destruction on Friday. “The finger is on the trigger and the missiles are ready at any given moment that the enemy conducts something against us, and we will launch them,” said Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards, before Friday prayers in Tehran.

Image may contain: 1 person

Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami,

As for the American presence in Syria, “We have learned the formula of how to overcome the enemy and can harm his strategic interests anywhere,” added Salami. “The United States has been defeated in Syria because the Americans did not have a clear strategy and policy, and every action they take makes them look ridiculous, like the operation they did a few days ago, because they have no strategy. Today we are much stronger than ever before in all areas.”

>> Why Israel needs to escalate its threats against Iran – right now | Opinion >>

Concerning Israel, Salami added: “We know you very well, you are exposed to great harm because you have no depth, you are surrounded from every direction and you have nowhere to flee except to fall into the sea. Don’t put faith in your military bases because they are in firing range and we can attack them and prevent them [from operating].”

“You are living from the mouth of the snake and the resistance today is much stronger that what it was in the past. Don’t think that the new wars will be like the Second Lebanon War. You saw what the axis of resistance did to the heretic groups [in Syria] and how we succeeded in uprooting them. Don’t place you hope in the United States and Britain, when they arrive you will already have disappeared and so don’t make incorrect calculations,” said Salami.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the treats from Iran saying, “We are certain of our capabilities to protect ourselves with our own power.” Netanyahu made his remarks at a special cabinet meeting held in honor of Israel’s 70th anniversary at Independence Hall in Tel Aviv.

“Israel’s soldiers are prepared for any development and we will fight anyone who tries to harm us,” said Netanyahu. “We will not be deterred by the price, and those who want to kill us will pay the price. The IDF is ready for its mission, and the people will rise up to it.”

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Israel targeted an advanced Iranian air-defense system at the T4 base in Syria the week before in addition to attack drone deployment. Haaretz previously reported that the strike apparently targeted armaments aside from the drones, which could have reduced the Israel Air Force’s freedom of operation in Syrian airspace.

Earlier in the week, a senior Israeli military official admitted to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman that Israel targeted T4, adding that “it was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets – both facilities and people.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Iran began bolstering air defenses following an escalation triggered by Iran sending an armed drone into Israeli airspace. Israel shot down the drone and retaliated with strikes in Syria, during which an Israeli F-16 war plane was downed.

The Israeli official told the New York Times that the incident “opened a new period,” adding that “this is the first time we saw Iran do something against Israel – not by proxy.”

Avicii’s music will “live forever” — But I’d rather he was still alive…

April 21, 2018

I knew Avicii. I was drawn to him. His music spoke to me. The half-crazed glint in his eye made me sure we were simpático. We were brothers separated by DNA, the breath of oceans and 40 years of life. It was no surprise at all for me when I learned he drank so much. Too much.

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

Avicii, who has just died aged 28, pictured in 2013 when his fame became global (Picture: Getty)

He drank himself to death. It just took his young body a little time to seek the grave after a physician told him his pancreas was ruined by massive amounts of alcohol.

Now he is just another statistic. He is a loser. Not a winner. Not a hero. Because we know today how to treat and cure addiction. And just about everyone in the Western world knows the dangers of drug and alcohol addiction.

So we’ll mourn again another “great one.” Another entertainer we were drawn toward.

Every person in society today needs to be prepared to stop a loved one from killing him (or her) self. It is as simple as that. We should not idolize the dead, that by all rights, should still be alive.

We all love to party. Anybody can do it. But we have to look out for each other to protect the most precious thing in our lives: and that is life itself.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
Commentary

Related:

Advertisements

Occasionally, some of your visitors may see an advertisemen

******************************************************

BBC News

Avicii’s music ‘will live forever’: Tributes paid to the Swedish DJ

AviciiImage copyright  REUTERS

Artists have been paying tribute to Avicii, who has died suddenly in Oman.

It’s not yet known how the Swedish DJ died, but two years ago he announced his retirement after suffering from health problems.

Rita Ora, who he recently collaborated with on the track Lonely Together, tweeted that she had “no words” after hearing the news.

Diplo posted that Avicii’s music will “live forever”, writing that he “set the precedent” for other producers.

The DJ will be remembered for club hits like Levels, Wake Me Up and Hey Brother

Media captionThe DJ will be remembered for club hits like Levels, Wake Me Up and Hey Brother

Radio 1 presenter Annie Mac began her Friday evening show paying tribute to Avicii, saying it’s a “massive loss for dance music” and that it was “absolutely devastating news”.

It’s known that the 28-year-old has been suffering from pancreatitis, reportedly caused by heavy drinking.

He once said in an interview: “Drinking became routine for me, but it’s impossible to keep up touring and drinking at the same time, because you are going to crash.”

Presentational white space
Presentational white space

The electronic dance music (EDM) star reportedly made $250,000 (£180,000) a night on tour.

DJ Maitrai Joshi (left) and Avicii (centre) at the Muscat Hills Resort in OmanImage copyrightMUSCAT HILLS RESORT
Image captionOne of the last pictures of Avicii (centre), at a tourist resort near Muscat

It was after Avicii’s, real name Tim Bergling, 2011 hit Levels that he achieved worldwide acclaim.

During his career he notched up 11 billion streams on Spotify and was the first EDM DJ to stage a worldwide arena tour, as nominated for two Grammy Awards and had nine UK top 10 singles, including two number ones.

American musician Skrillex remixed that song and posted online that he was “a genius and an innovator, yet sensitive and humble”.

Presentational white space
Presentational white space

Other artists posting messages online include Martin Garrix, Liam Payne, Madonna, Dua Lipa, Calvin Harris and Deadmau5.

In 2016 Avicii announced he was retiring from touring, after health complications, but it’s thought it’s something he didn’t really enjoy.

Nicky Romero, who collaborated with Avicii on I Could Be The One, said: “He was more of the musician in the studio than the guy that wants to be on stage, tour the world.

“I never really thought that he was super enjoying his DJ sets. It felt like he wanted to do it but he didn’t want to feel the pressure of it or be the guy that’s in the spotlight in front of thousands and thousands of people.”

Presentational white space

Radio 1 presenter Danny Howard said it was a “great loss to music”.

Presentational white space
Presentational white space

Pete Tong said he was “a major influence in opening up mainstream USA to electronic dance music”.

Follow Newsbeat on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra – if you miss us you can listen back here.

http://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-43849544

Hillary Clinton: ‘They Were Never Going to Let Me Be President’ — New Book Is “Chasing Hillary”

April 21, 2018

By Michael Sykes

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton making her concession speech. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

Amy Chozik’s new book “Chasing Hillary” is already making news around town with new details about Hillary Clinton’s campaign falling under the microscope in the days before its release.

“I knew it. I knew this would happen to me … They were never going to let me be president.”
— Hillary Clinton, per a quote from the book.
Show less

Basket of deplorable tiers: Clinton commonly referred to Trump supporters as deplorables in three tiers, Chozik writes:

    • Basket #1: The Republicans who hated her and would vote Republican no matter who the nominee.”
    • Basket #2: Voters whose jobs and livelihoods had disappeared…”
    • Basket #3: The Deplorables. This basket includes ‘the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it.” (Daily Beast)

Joe Biden wanted to run for president but feared the Clintons would try and “destroy” him. Chozik writes “he added something like ‘You guys don’t understand these people.'” (Daily Beast)

Chozik blamed Clinton for ignoring media and not recognizing how Trump used journalists: “Trump understood our gluttonous short attention span better than anyone,” she wrote, “but especially better than Hillary.” (Washington Post)

Hillary Clinton, flanked by Bill Clinton, left, and Tim Kaine, giving her concession speech in Manhattan the day after Election Day in 2016. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Clinton knew she had a likability problem but Chozik said she “cut off” staff members who brought it to her attention. “You know, I am getting pretty tired of hearing about how nobody likes me.” (Daily Beast)

“I Became an Unwitting Agent of Russian Intelligence” is the title of one of the chapters in the book where Chozik details her sympathy about the Clinton e-mail scandal story. (Washington Post)

What’s next: The book detailing Clinton’s campaign, her strategies and what happened after she lost the election will hit shelves on April 24.

https://www.axios.com/generation-z-battleground-lowering-voting-age-b81554a2-0692-4c84-bfa5-313346b95d1d.html

See also:

Read part of the book:

‘They Were Never Going to Let Me Be President’

NYT:https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/20/sunday-review/hillary-clinton-chasing-hillary.html

Facebook and Apple Embody New Tech Divide

April 21, 2018

Facebook and Apple Embody the New Divide in Tech Between Ad-driven data businesses and direct-to-consumer companies.

No automatic alt text available.

Apple became the largest public company in the world the old-fashioned way: charging lots of consumers lots of money. So it’s not surprising that its CEO, Tim Cook, would chafe as Facebook grew to challenge Apple’s supremacy without charging its users a dime.

In recent weeks, that tension has grown, as Cook and Apple (ticker: AAPL) sought to distance themselves from Facebook (FB) and the uproar over user data. In a television interview, Cook, hardly a rabble-rouser, accused Facebook of building a business based on an “invasion of privacy.”

“The truth is, we could make a ton of money if we monetized our customer—if our customer was our product,” Cook told MSNBC. “We’ve elected not to do that.”

Added Cook: “We’ve never believed that these detailed profiles of people, that have incredibly deep personal information that is patched together from several sources, should exist.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who proved his composure during two days of congressional grilling, was less patient when it came to Cook’s criticism. We’re “not just serving rich people…you need to have something that people can afford,” Zuckerberg said about Apple. He called Cook’s comments “extremely glib and not at all aligned with the truth.”

Welcome to tech’s great divide. For several years now, investors have talked about FANG—Facebook, Amazon.com (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX), and Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL)—or FAANG (adding Apple) as a unified trade, a way to play the latest tech trends.

The companies are all similar in that they use technology in disruptive ways, but investors have generally overlooked substantial differences in their business models. As changes loom, ignoring those differences is a risky bet.

It’s not just personal sniping between rival CEOs. There are real differences between direct-to-consumer revenue models and ad-driven data models. Or, in a nutshell: Apple versus Facebook.

The divide has been amplified by the Facebook controversy, but the fault lines have been widening for years, as tech firms turned to advertising revenue to scale their businesses. Silicon Valley never got fully comfortable with that deal.

“The odd thing to me—as someone who has worked on Madison Avenue—is that most of Silicon Valley has always brushed under the rug the fact that Madison Avenue is the center of its commercial activity,” says Brian Wieser, an analyst with Pivotal Research Group, who spent eight years forecasting the global advertising economy at Magna Global, and currently has one of the few Facebook Sell ratings on Wall Street.

But after the outcry over Cambridge Analytica’s harvesting of personal data, the reality can no longer be ignored. Facebook and Google are advertising companies that don’t sell to consumers, while Apple, Amazon, and Netflix have spent years building direct connections to customers. The free frontier of Silicon Valley is now vulnerable to regulation, while the subscription model may be more stable and attractive.

To highlight the divide, we looked at how much revenue Big Tech players receive from advertising. Earlier this month, Zuckerberg repeatedly reminded his congressional questioners that Facebook doesn’t sell data to advertisers. The well-honed response is technically accurate, but Facebook is set to sell over $50 billion in ads this year, specifically because of its user data.

The same applies to Google. Data—and the ability to target viewers—is the main ingredient separating Big Tech from the traditional publishing and media companies.

As the risk of regulation mounts, advertising exposure should be a good proxy for which companies are most vulnerable among big tech. At the top of the list is Facebook. Last year, 98% of its revenue came from advertising. Snap (SNAP) came in at 97%, with Google-parent Alphabet and Twitter (TWTR), both at 86%.

We pulled the data with the help of Sentieo, a financial data platform. Not all tech firms break out their ad revenue as a separate segment, but the companies routinely disclose their ad dependence in the risk-factor section of annual reports. Those risk factors, while often full of worst-case scenarios, hold valuable data for investors.

Apple, Netflix, and Dropbox (DBX) have minimal, if any, ad exposure, and they don’t mention ad revenue in their risk section. Amazon is one to watch, given its growing ad business. So far, the company doesn’t address the ad risk, either.

Ad-free Netflix is the best performing stock in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index this year. After a banner earnings report last week, Netflix shares are up 71% in 2018. Strong subscriptions are the cause, but it doesn’t hurt that Netflix has skated worry-free as Facebook got dragged through the mud. Facebook shares are down 5.8% on the year.

Last week, during Netflix’s quarterly conference call, CEO Reed Hastings took a victory lap for the company’s ad-free model: “I’m very glad that we built this business to not be advertising supported, but to be subscription. We’re very different from an ad-supported business….So I think we’re substantially inoculated from the other issues that are happening in the industry, and that’s great.”

That line is unlikely to go over well at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Hastings sits on Facebook’s board of directors; the great tech divide may soon play out live in Facebook’s boardroom.

Even oft-troubled Uber has found the moral high ground in Facebook’s struggles.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told the Today show, “The fact is, human beings are sometimes good and sometimes not. I think Silicon Valley is understanding that with building these platforms comes the responsibility to make sure that those platforms are being used for good.” But “we don’t try to monetize it,” he added.

We contacted the companies cited in this article. Some declined to comment, while others didn’t want to speak on the record.

It makes no sense that Apple and Facebook would emerge as the primary adversaries in the privacy debate.

Facebook is a social-media behemoth built on accumulating as many members as possible—and it has done a phenomenal job, with 2.13 billion monthly active users. It’s a scale play built on the lowest possible barriers to entry for its users. The trade-off is an ad-heavy business that generated $40.65 billion last year and a projected $55 billion this year. Altogether, Facebook generates just $26 per year per user.

Apple is on the opposite side of the spectrum. There are no specific user metrics for the company, but Barron’s recently estimated that the company has 900 million customers. Based on an estimated $262 billion in revenue this year, we get Apple per user revenue of $291, or roughly 11 times Facebook’s average.

More than 60% of Apple’s sales come from sales of the iPhone, which had an average selling price of $796 last year.

Perhaps partially to justify its high prices, Apple has made privacy a sales pitch for its products. In a letter to customers in 2014, Cook hailed the efficacy of creating a “great customer experience” but not at the “expense of privacy.”

And before his death, Apple CEO Steve Jobs directed his animus at Facebook and Google. “Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for, in plain English and repeatedly,” Jobs told tech journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher in 2010. “Ask them. Ask them every time. Make them tell you to stop asking them if they get tired of your asking them. Let them know precisely what you’re going to do with their data.”

Given lawmakers’ recent questions to Zuckerberg about Facebook’s complicated terms of service, Jobs—no surprise— sounded prescient.

Now, amid the Facebook controversy, Cook & Co. see an opportunity to gain leverage against a competitor, says Scott Brazina, chief marketing officer of Impact Radius, a digital marketing firm.

“Apple is in a uniquely powerful position to take the high road on this”—especially in the current news cycle, Brazina says. “Consumers are getting desensitized to hacks and breaches, yes, but the pendulum is swinging back to the Apple model. Security is job one.”

Zuckerberg and Facebook didn’t take us up on our request to discuss the topic, but Zuckerberg hasn’t hidden his disdain for Apple’s mission. “I think it’s important that we don’t all get Stockholm Syndrome and let the companies that work hard to charge you more convince you that they actually care more about you,” Zuckerberg said in his recent Cook response. “Because that sounds ridiculous to me.”

And in 2014, Zuckerberg told Time magazine, “A frustration I have is that a lot of people increasingly seem to equate an advertising business model with somehow being out of alignment with your customers. I think it’s the most ridiculous concept. What, you think because you’re paying Apple that you’re somehow in alignment with them? If you were in alignment with them, then they’d make their products a lot cheaper.”

Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg have both hinted at the possibility of a paid version of Facebook, potentially free of ads. On the surface, it wouldn’t cost consumers much. If Facebook makes $26 a year per user, that could theoretically be more than offset by a monthly payment of $3.

But that has not been the model for Zuckerberg, who has made worldwide access a company mission. And globally, plenty of people can’t afford $3 a month.

Early on, as Facebook became an ad behemoth, few blinked at privacy concerns.

“Facebook is locked into Web 2.0 (circa 2008), thinking that advertising is the only way,” says Joel Vincent, chief marketing officer at cloud start-up Zededa. “Their systems are locked and optimized for that business model.”

The problem is that the model now looks outdated: Consumer trust in Facebook’s ability to protect privacy and safeguard data has plunged from 79% in 2017 to a recent 27%, according to a survey of 3,000 people by the Ponemon Institute, a research firm.

When Zuckerberg was pressed by members of Congress this month on whether he would consider changing Facebook’s business model, he refused to answer the question. “Congressman, this is a complex issue that I think deserves more than a one-word answer,” Zuckerberg said.

Apple, Netflix, and others are happy to talk up their ad-free business models now, but some of this has come about by accident. In 2010—the same year that Jobs praised privacy to Mossberg and Swisher—Apple began a mobile advertising network called iAd, touting $60 million in commitments from “leading global brands.” In the announcement, Jobs sounded almost envious of Facebook’s growing success: “iAds will reach millions of iPhone and iPod touch users—a highly desirable demographic for advertisers.”

Apple shut down the network in 2016. A company representative declined to discuss the reason.

It’s possible that Apple’s product culture got in the way. “They were trying to bend advertising to Apple’s will, and it didn’t work,” Pivotal’s Wieser says.

To be sure, digital advertising remains a powerful business, and few on Wall Street seem worried about Facebook’s prospects. In fact, analyst estimates for Facebook’s revenue have actually headed higher since the start of the year.

Ultimately, consumers will decide this debate. And there, too, Facebook’s problems might be exaggerated. The #deleteFacebook movement has faded on Twitter, and in terms of number of tweets, it never reached the peak of #deleteUber, despite Facebook’s far larger user base.

But the boardroom debates over Silicon Valley’s business models are just getting started. At the earliest stages, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in the Valley are assessing the new climate.

“It is a question that every VC asks: What are you going to do about privacy?” says Prashant Fonseka, a principal at CrunchFund, a venture-capital firm in San Francisco.

“From 2013 to 2016, the tech community assumed consumers didn’t care about privacy anymore,” he says. “We thought all data would eventually be in the public sphere.”

That utopian notion has been undone by the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Now, tech companies are scrambling to adapt. Exuberant tech investors will have to adjust alongside them.

Follow @eulelog

https://www.barrons.com/articles/facebook-and-apple-embody-new-tech-divide-1524273880