The Danger of Misdirection

Nov 21, 2023


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Sometimes an opportunity will seem like a good thing, but it is actually misdirection. Some Sunday thoughts.

Timestamps, Links, & Resources

0:00- Intro

3:50- The Dangers of Misdirection

The Account of Abraham, Sarah, & Abimelech: Genesis 20

Now Abraham moved on from there into the region of the Negev and lived between Kadesh and Shur. For a while he stayed in Gerar, 2 and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.” Then Abimelek king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.

3 But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, “You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman.”

4 Now Abimelek had not gone near her, so he said, “Lord, will you destroy an innocent nation? 5 Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.”

6 Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. 7 Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all who belong to you will die.”

8 Early the next morning Abimelek summoned all his officials, and when he told them all that had happened, they were very much afraid. 9 Then Abimelek called Abraham in and said, “What have you done to us? How have I wronged you that you have brought such great guilt upon me and my kingdom? You have done things to me that should never be done.” 10 And Abimelek asked Abraham, “What was your reason for doing this?”

11 Abraham replied, “I said to myself, ‘There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not of my mother; and she became my wife. 13 And when God had me wander from my father’s household, I said to her, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”’”

14 Then Abimelek brought sheep and cattle and male and female slaves and gave them to Abraham, and he returned Sarah his wife to him. 15 And Abimelek said, “My land is before you; live wherever you like.”

16 To Sarah he said, “I am giving your brother a thousand shekels[a] of silver. This is to cover the offense against you before all who are with you; you are completely vindicated.”

17 Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelek, his wife and his female slaves so they could have children again, 18 for the Lord had kept all the women in Abimelek’s household from conceiving because of Abraham’s wife Sarah.

From a commentary on this chapter:

When Abimelech takes Sarah with Abraham’s permission, God abruptly enters into the situation to protect her, speaking to Abimelech in a dream (20:6-7). After God informs him that Sarah is really Abraham’s wife, Abimelech confronts Abraham, (20:9-10). In response, Abraham seeks to justify his actions, with an elaborate series of reasons, which may or may not be true (20:11-13). He even blames God (20:13)! But, even given Abraham’s intricate rationalization of his behavior, Abimelech refuses to respond in kind. He maximizes Sarah’s welfare, restores her honor, and loads them up with gifts.

Perhaps uncomfortably to us, this text shows that God is present and active among such outsiders to the faith. God engages “non-Christians” in dialogue and uses them to be teachers of the community of faith. We are invited to see that many of the good things in our daily life have been generated by the wisdom and common sense of the Abimelechs of this world. They can even become our confessors, speaking a sharp prophetic word to us.


10:30- Watching out for snakes

Watching Out for Snakes

On Manipulation

15:00- When God answers prayers

Multicultural Saints with Theresa Pihl

20:40- Update on Afghans in Pakistan

@SIGARHQ IG Sopko: We believe many of the Afghans SIGAR referred are currently at risk of deportation and being handed over to Taliban officials, who have issued arrest warrants for them, ransacked their homes, and threatened their lives

@afghanevac Big news: #Afghans in Pakistan can now reach the emergency hotline for those being detained or deported via phone or WhatsApp text!

The hours are Mon-Sat, 8AM through midnight ISL time.

WhatsApp (text only): +1(956) 291-4571
Phone: +1 757-916-4100

@shawnjvandiver This is a massive win for Afghans and a direct result of feedback from the @afghanevac team.

An unqualified win. Thank you @StateDept
== Great news, @StateDept has launched a form for Afghans seeking family reunification to get status updates!

We don’t yet know what turnaround times will be but at the very least there is now a way for Afghans to get answers themselves. Thank you CARE!

Family Reunification for Afghans

Afghanistan Family Reunification

@RaisedtoWalk Forms are great … what are they going to do with them? Has the @statedept The sibling with two families sitting at risk in Pakistan that have family reunification visas/SIV & HP apps filed was just told by
that they had to provide EVIDENCE of Pakistani police harassment!
== Nevermind the 1,000 plus page HP application documenting the murder of their youngest brother bc their sister became a Christian, or the beating they took after the Taliban takeover just because they didn’t have their phones w/them at a checkpoint.
== Nevermind the 1,000 plus page HP application documenting the murder of their youngest brother bc their sister became a Christian, or the beating they took after the Taliban takeover just because they didn’t have their phones w/them at a checkpoint.
== .. they aren’t at risk UNTIL they follow all that up with brutalization by Pakistani police. But there’s a form! Wonderful! With inane responses from @uscis like the sibling received, it sounds like it’s not going to be any better than that VA “helpline” for 🇦🇫s in 🇵🇰
==Is it any wonder that the @StateDept hasn’t managed to secure the release of an 🇺🇸held hostage by the Taliban for OVER A YR when it can’t even communicate to its OWN staff what is going on. Either that, or the @StateDept & @USCIS are callous & sadistic
== It would have been nice if it didn’t take a lawsuit for @USCIS @StateDept to actually DO something
== The @StateDept drags its feet & puts on a show of concern while Afghans, & people trying to help them, are bled dry by Pakistani vultures.

September 5, 2021: State Dept blocking private rescue flights from leaving Afghanistan, organizers say: ‘Blood is on their hands’
Americans involved in private evacuation efforts tell Fox News the State Department is only reason their planes haven’t left Afghanistan

FOIA: USCIS processing of Afghan humanitarian parole

FOIA: USCIS processing of Afghan humanitarian parole

After the United States’ military withdrawal from Afghanistan, tens of thousands of Afghans applied for humanitarian parole to the United States as a path to escape conditions in their Taliban-led country. Most of those applications remain pending, with little public information as to what the U.S. government is doing to process them. This lawsuit seeks to improve transparency around the Afghan humanitarian parole application process and ensure applications are adjudicated in a fair and timely manner.

Council Sues USCIS To Obtain Records About Humanitarian Parole Applications of Afghan Nationals

March 16, 2023: Advocates Release FOIA Data, Seek Transparency for Thousands of Afghans Seeking Humanitarian Parole and the Extensive Delays They Are Facing

March 16, 2023: Agency Failures Make Obtaining Humanitarian Parole Almost Impossible for Afghans
USCIS records show how the agency’s response to the high volume of humanitarian parole applications contributed to the massive delays faced by Afghans

However, Afghan nationals began to see massive delays in the adjudication of their humanitarian parole applications. Government statistics show that from January 1, 2020 to April 6, 2022, USCIS—the agency in charge of adjudicating humanitarian parole applications—received 44,785 applications where the applicant’s country of citizenship was Afghanistan, and only approved 114 of those applications, or less than 0.3%. This bottleneck of applications essentially foreclosed this benefit as a potential option for those Afghans who could not reach the United States, many of whom remained in Afghanistan.

@Larkabroad On Tuesday, the wife of an American aid worker (Ryan Corbett) testified before the US Congress and revealed that he had been taken prisoner by the Taliban over 15 months ago

@RaisedtoWalk So much for the Taliban being our “partners in counterterrorism”
== Ryan and other Americans are being held over baseless nonsense. The Taliban are effectively holding them as hostages in pursuit of concessions. They are being held in poor conditions and it is affecting their health and well being

@skotrds Seeing this become public is an enormous step-forward for Ryan Corbett. The Taliban dissuade families and foreign diplomatic services from going public, but it is the only thing that works, as Afghanistan is hyper-aid dependent and pressure is not always negative pressure can induce change that the IEA itself would need to become the least bit functional.

November 14, 2023: REVEALED: American aid worker Ryan Corbett has been held hostage in Afghanistan for 15 months – as Taliban demands ‘unrealistic’ swap for Osama bin Laden aide held in Gitmo Ryan Corbett, 40, was revealed on Tuesday as a Taliban hostage for over a year The longtime NGO worker was detained on a visit to Afghanistan last year Taliban is reportedly demanding impossible swap for former aide to bin Laden

November 15, 2023: WNY woman describes ‘living nightmare’ of husband’s detention in Afghanistan

November 17, 2023: Families of Americans detained in Afghanistan hope to increase pressure to bring their loved ones home

@RaisedtoWalk Literally, HOW many times have we gone over this? #NoJoke So what are you going to do about it Here’s a start: pass the Afghan Adjustment Act, follow through on our promise to 🇦🇫 allies & GET THEM OUt, & quit FUNDING the Taliban!
== CHM @RepMcCaul at today’s full committee hearing examining the Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan: “The Taliban, who now control Afghanistan, are terrorists… They abuse women and steal humanitarian aid from starving Afghans.”

·November 14, 2023: Turkey Joins Pakistan and Iran in Deporting Afghan Refugees

Turkey Joins Pakistan and Iran in Deporting Afghan Refugees

Afghans at Risk in Pakistan

My happy Monday morning message. One of the Afghan Christians was told that even though they have a valid visa to be in Pakistan, they won’t be allowed to pick up a @MoneyGram transfer. The location did it this time, they are stopping transfers for Afghans. ⁉️‼️😡

And more Monday news: I was told that there are news reports that Afghans, regardless of visa or residency status, will be deported after the end of the year

In retaliation, the Taliban are arresting and deporting Pakistanis from Afghanistan

== I asked, “Why would a Pakistani want to go to Afghanistan.”

I was told since the Taliban are illiterate, Pakistanis are there to help run the government.

It would be really nice if we had a functional @statedept that could mediate this spitting match between a bunch of bounders

@Punk319 Is it a wonder why Afghans are approaching foreigners on social media for help? They’re not getting it from NGOs or from the Taliban, so they have to go to the next-best thing: foreign civilians who wear their hearts on their sleeves.
== Taliban benefiting from donor-funded education assistance in #Afghanistan through nefarious methods. For example, establishing fraudulent NGOs and extorting and infiltrating existing NGOs to obtain/direct international donor aid

@Moni_Kakar The Sultanabad Detention Center in Karachi is set to deport two Afghan POR card holders۔This is contradictory to what state claims. They are deporting POR card holders through the courts despite of their recognized refugee status. This is inhumane.

@Punk319 Example of what happens when you return to Afghanistan below: Saifullah Sharifi, who had just returned from Iran and was on his way to his hometown in Badakhshan, was killed in Kabul last night by the Taliban

@Punk319 An official of the Ministry of Interior of the previous government of Afghanistan told Independent Farsi that the Taliban arrests former soldiers who return to the country from abroad.

Arrest of former soldiers by Taliban group at Kabul airport

An official of the Ministry of Interior of the previous government of Afghanistan told Independent Farsi that the intelligence of the Taliban group arrests former soldiers who return to the country from abroad.

This source added that by scanning the passports of the former soldiers at the Kabul airport, the intelligence forces of the Taliban group gain access to their background in the previous government and put some of the former soldiers under investigation and prosecution at the same place and others after their arrival.

Meanwhile, reports have been published about the arrest of a former soldier who returned to the country after being expelled from Pakistan.

This is not the first time that reports of the arrest of former soldiers have been published, but in the past two years, despite the general amnesty of the Taliban leader, this group of former soldiers has been arrested, tortured and even killed in some cases.

@Moni_Kakar Mamiyat, a 59-year-old Pakistani Pashtun, unfairly detained in Sultanabad, Karachi, on alleged Afghan ties. Unjust profiling undermines individual rights. Members of his family have now gathered outside the detention center to demand his release.

@StephanAJensen 🇵🇰Pakistan is actively working with the Taliban have tens of thousands of Afghans arrested by the extremist terrorist organisation.

Most will be tortured, and many killed.

Because they were our allies.

And we are doing absolutely nothing about it.

40:47-  Taliban in Afghanistan

@StephanAJensen Hundreds of thousands of Afghans fought against this barbarity for two decades -arms in hand- and about 70.000 gave their lives in that fight.

They relied on our support in doing so, and believed in our promises that we were committed to maintain it.

The, at the behest of two American presidents, against the advice of everyone who knew what they were talking about, we betrayed them. First in Doha in 2020, then on the ground in Afghanistan in 2021.

And when the brave soldiers fighting the Taliban literally ran out of bullets, we stood by and did nothing.

And this is the result.
== Taliban Continues Brutal Acts: Woman Publicly Whipped in Farah Province ;

In a distressing incident that highlights the ongoing human rights violations in Afghanistan, the Taliban has once again demonstrated their brutal and oppressive tactics. Reports have emerged from Farah province, where a woman was subjected to a public whipping by Taliban militants.
The incident, which took place in broad daylight, Witnesses described the horrifying scene as the woman was mercilessly lashed, while a crowd of onlookers stood in fear and helplessness.
This act of violence against women is a stark reminder of the Taliban’s oppressive regime, which seeks to suppress basic human rights and freedoms. Despite promises of change, the group’s actions continue to perpetuate a culture of fear and subjugation, particularly for women and marginalized communities.
As the world closely watches the situation in Afghanistan, incidents like these serve as a reminder of the urgent need for sustained efforts to promote peace, stability, and respect for human rights in the country. The international community must stand united in supporting the Afghan people in their pursuit of a just and inclusive society, free from violence and oppression. Purple Saturdays movement will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as more information becomes available.

@Mariamistan Today, I stand in admiration and respect for General @SayedSamiSadat, who spoke before the HFAC congressional committee about the repercussions of President Biden’s withdrawal orders. His words shed light on the reality post-withdrawal, marking the Taliban’s takeover—a narrative of thousands of former soldiers facing imprisonment, death, or torture. This reality is stark, with women being oppressed, effectively erasing Afghanistan’s national identity to be replaced by an extremist ideology made by Pakistans ISI. It’s undeniable that Afghanistan’s plight has been a catalyst for global events we see today. My heart and prayers are with those yearning for a truly peaceful and free Afghanistan—where raising your voice doesn’t result in disappearance or death. The Afghan nation deserves freedom, not a facade of peace under a tyrannical, proxy government. Godspeed to the ANDSF and to all striving for a future where the Afghan spirit is celebrated, not suppressed. #FreeAfghanistan

@skotrds Radicalization is a feature not a bug for the Taliban, it’s like asking a fish not to swim.
== Another blow to Afghanistan’s higher education sector, as Taliban deny Afghan students the opportunity to utilize foreign scholarships. Mass radicalization of Afghan youth in extremist factories carries far-reaching implications for regional stability and international peace.

@Punk319 @SR_Afghanistan @SIGARHQ Under Taliban rule, the people are living in constant fear. Not even children are free of the Taliban’s talons.
== Detention of Ten Individuals in Parwan Province: Two Residents of Dara-e Ghorband Lost Their Lives Under Taliban Torture

November 16, 2023: Detention of Ten Individuals in Parwan Province: Two Residents of Dara-e Ghorband Lost Their Lives Under Taliban Torture

Detention of Ten Individuals in Parwan Province: Two Residents of Dara-e Ghorband Lost Their Lives Under Taliban Torture

·@SIGARHQ (1/2) IG Sopko: SIGAR has found that Taliban officials routinely pressure U.S. partners to hire Taliban allies, insist that U.S. partners contract with Taliban-affiliated companies, dictate which Afghans should receive U.S. aid,

@SIGARHQ (2/2)…demand payoffs from U.S. partners before a project can begin, divert U.S. food aid to Taliban soldiers, and tax recipients of aid once it is delivered. This interference in and diversion of U.S. assistance is worrying and presents multiple risks

@NasimiShabnam BREAKING – The Taliban have shutdown educational centres in Herat province of Afghanistan, where girls were studying English and computer courses.

793 days ago, the Taliban BANNED girls from school.

When will this nightmare end?

November 14, 2023: Taliban Shuts Down Educational Centers for Girls In Herat, Say Local Sources

@RaisedtoWalk And if they don’t give or sell their daughters willingly, the girls can be stolen. A Christian family asked for help, the husband’s missing, the mother is struggling to survive & has to lock her daughter in a room at night to keep a 60-yr-old Talib from stealing her
== This horrific slavery is happening today. Its cruelty is made possible by the Taliban’s barbaric laws and terrible poverty.

@skotrds hese figures are correct.

=== – Now around 16.000 Al-Qaeda fighters in 🇦🇫*
– AQ leaders are back in 🇦🇫
– Kandahar airbase is a training camp for AQ
– 800.000 boys are in radical madrassas

* In 2021 it was around 12.000, so 4.000+ foreign jihadi’s went to #Afghanistan in the past 2 years!

@skotrds This is meaningful, in the political and legal sense, (a) UN member state has said as such and (b) SIGAR reports on that.
== According to reports from a UN member state, Taliban committed campaigns of ethnic cleansing by forcefully evicting thousands of ethnic Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, and Turkmen from their homes, beating or killing them, and burning their home

@SIGARHQ (1/2) IG Sopko: To a large degree, our research confirms that those who control the guns control the aid. It would appear that the only way to ensure that no aid money reaches the Taliban would be to eliminate all aid to #AFG. Yet this would invite the kind of economic freefall,

@SIGARHQ UN Secretary-General report: #AFG faced “unprecedented levels of humanitarian need.” Report warns number of Afghans in need of lifesaving assistance had risen from previously predicted 28.3 million to 29.2 million, nearly 70% of Afghanistan’s population

@Punk319 As always, the Taliban denies reports and refuses to accept accountability.
== The Ministry of Economy rejected SIGAR’s recent report about the involvement of the Islamic Emirate in the aid distribution process.
The ministry said in a statement that the publication of such reports is not constructive and shows the opposite of the objective developments in Afghanistan, and the Islamic Emirate has always tried to ensure that aid reaches the needy and deserving people in a transparent manner.
The statement added that the Islamic Emirate never follows an interventionist approach to the aid distribution process or puts pressure on international institutions.

@Larkabroad The Minister of Higher Education, Neda Mohammad Nadeem, has ordered a review of foreign scholarships awarded to Afghan students to study abroad.

@HodaKhamosh Parisa Azadeh,a female protester who has been protesting against the misogynist laws,violation of human rights and gender apartheid of the Taliban for two years,was arrested yesterday by the intelligence of the Taliban and transferred to an unknown place.

And no, this is not a joke. This is the Taliban’s idea of positive PR.

@RaisedtoWalk The Taliban can’t read or write
Can’t run a government
Can’t keep hospitals open
Can’t feed their people
Are afraid of women

But they CAN do a remake of Rollerboys

41:20- How to help Afghans

If you would like to help Afghans in need, here are a few ways: Phones are the AFghans’ lifeline to the outside world. All you need is an Afghan’s phone number and carrier to add time and data to their phone at for as little as $6 for an Afghanistan or Paksitan phone number

The Aseel App: There are two parts to Aseel: “buy good” and “do good.” “Buy Good” allows  you to support Afghan artisans by purchasing handmade items from individual stores facilitated by Aseel. It is like an Etsy for Afghans. On the  “Do Good” side of the app, you can purchase humanitarian packages which will be delivered to Afghans in need. You can designate someone you know as a recipient, or you can buy a package and Aseel will deliver it to someone on their list of people in need. As of November 2023, the aid packages available are: emergency package for child relief ($86), emergency food package ($99), emergency baby care package ($54), emergency earthquake relief package ($200), large family food package ($141), emergency small food package ($40), welcome kit for Afghan returnees from Pakistan ($175), life package for Afghan returnees from Pakistan ($197), welcome kit cash package ($60), and emergency winter large package with heater and wood ($200).

Help Build Tomorrow: Khalyla Harito is a humanitarian providing food and aid in Afghanistan in partnership with Help Build Tomorrow. You can follow their efforts on Twitter and donate at their site.

Our Culture is Giving: As I mention in the video, this organization headed by Leslie Merriman provides medical treatment and food to SIV families that have members who have been victims of sexual abuse by the Taliban. In addition to their normal efforts, they are currently raising money for wood for heating during the winter months. It costs approximately $75 per month per family and the cold weather lasts four months, so a total of about $300 per family. If you would like to donate for this particular purpose, please put a note in the comments when you donate.

The Afghanistan Project Podcast Episode 4: Leslie Merriman with Our Culture is Giving

January 26, 2023: More than 160 Afghans die in bitterly cold weather

January 24, 2023: Extreme cold kills more than 150 people in Afghanistan, Taliban says

January 17, 2023: Afghans braving severe cold face stark choice: Food or warmth
Many provinces in Afghanistan have seen an exceptionally cold winter, with temperatures dropping to as low as -21 degrees Celsius.

February 2, 2023: Families struggle for survival during Afghanistan’s coldest winter in a decade
For families living on the brink, cash and other support from UNHCR are a lifeline this winter.

48:25- Know Nothings and TikTok

@LucBernard I decided to see for myself if the Bin Laden letter was blowing up that much on TikTok.

And yep 🤪.

Just what the hell people lol. And some are even endorsing the Taliban and the Iranian regime.

Is anyone aware what the Taliban has done to their own people?

@RaisedtoWalk This is true. But both things can also be true: that it was initiated as a psyop & jumped on by low-information, imitative attention whores. 👈 Just like Qanon
== Skepticism is always appropriate for viral trends like the “Letter to America” rehab. But it’s also common for conspiracy believers to evangelize material they haven’t read or understood. Many also just might be hopping on the trend for viral clout.

@StephanAJensen I’m shocked but shouldn’t be by how fast mad know-nothings have gone from vaguely conspiratorial anti-westernism, to actively sympathising with Hamas, to openly praising Osama bin Laden and framing 9/11 as “an act of resistance”

Madness, evil, and idiocy dance in the darkness

@RaisedtoWalk Yes, exactly. TikTok = Chinese Communist Party.

The response is the tell

“WaPo should get some reporters who do their own research instead of just publishing whatever spin the CCP-connected app provides them.”
== I refuse to link to WaPo because of their lack of editorial standards, but this is dishonest spin that clearly came directly from Tik Tok.

They are only counting the views under one hashtag, but many of the biggest videos that promoted this nonsense weren’t using that hashtag. The idea that this only became a story because someone highlighted it on X is obviously nonsense. Especially since the X post they are blaming was after Guardian already acted to remove the letter.

WaPo should get some reporters who do their own research instead of just publishing whatever spin the CCP-connected app provides them.

November 17, 2023: The story behind the Osama bin Laden videos on TikTok

November 17, 2023: Did a letter written by Osama bin Laden really go viral on TikTok this week?

November 16, 2023: TikTok removes hashtag for Osama bin Laden’s ‘Letter to America’ after viral videos circulate
The Guardian also pulled the text of the Al Qaeda founder’s letter from its website after people cited it on TikTok and X.










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