2019
April
12
Friday

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Richard Cole was America’s last connection to a renowned exploit of World War II. He was also an example of the power of camaraderie.

Lieutenant Colonel Cole, who died Tuesday, was one of Doolittle’s Raiders; volunteers who flew a bombing raid against Japanese cities after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was co-pilot for mission commander Jimmy Doolittle.

On April 18, 1942, when they rolled down the deck of the USS Hornet in loaded B-25s, the Raiders weren’t sure they would make it off the deck. They knew they were too far from their targets to likely make it to safe landings in China. They went anyway.

The raid inflicted minimal damage. Most Raiders either bailed out or crash-landed short of the Chinese coast. But it was a huge boost to U.S. morale. That part of the story is well known.

Less well known is the group legacy. Doolittle and his men began a tradition – they held a reunion every year, with some exceptions. Richard Cole was the Raiders’ last survivor.

Years ago I interviewed a few Raiders. They said they looked forward to the reunion with real anticipation. They could be raucous, sure. But they remembered the solemnity of gathering with brothers. The final toast was a ritual for them only. Even waiters left the room.

The last reunion took place in 2013. Cole gave the toast. “To those we lost on the mission and those who have passed away since,” he said.

Now on to our five stories for today, which include a look at why hardliner Stephen Miller is winning White House immigration battles, and how flooded Nebraskans have found time to organize and extend compassion to flooded animals.

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1. In helping Netanyahu, Trump adds new twist to US meddling

Alleged foreign meddling in U.S. elections has been a rather hot topic. What about U.S. meddling abroad? The concept isn’t new, but President Donald Trump’s actions in Israel may have broken new ground.

Peter
Ammar Awad/Reuters
A man walks past a Likud election campaign billboard depicting U.S. President Donald Trump shaking hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem. U.S. presidents have backed foreign leaders' campaigns before, but some observers wonder if Mr. Trump went too far in his support of Mr. Netanyahu.

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U.S. intervention in other countries’ affairs is nothing new, from covert CIA involvement in elections in Latin America and Southeast Asia, to more subtle support for favored candidates or pro-democracy movements in Eastern Europe. But those efforts, from the most overt to the least conspicuous, were generally justified as being undertaken on behalf of U.S. national security interests or values, experts note.

For many international affairs experts, President Donald Trump's support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's winning campaign in Israeli elections this week was not very subtle: election-eve policy shifts on the Golan Heights and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. It also may have broken new ground, by using that endorsement to bolster his own support at home among key elements of his political base.

“We meddle in other countries’ affairs all the time, we’ve meddled in elections and have overthrown governments. But this is completely different,” says Aaron David Miller, a former State Department adviser on Middle East affairs, now at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. “It’s peculiar to the U.S.-Israel relationship and is an overt pro-Netanyahu approach that is tied up with Mr. Trump’s own political interests.”

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In helping Netanyahu, Trump adds new twist to US meddling

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped to the stage in Tel Aviv early Wednesday morning to claim victory in this week’s national elections, not all of the banners greeting him from the sea of supporters were about him.

Some of them carried the name of a foreign leader: “TRUMP.”

Those conspicuously waving flags underscored the outsize role President Donald Trump and his administration played in Israeli elections that ended up delivering Mr. Netanyahu an unprecedented fifth term, his fourth consecutive, as prime minister.

Just as remarkable, many international affairs experts say, was the very unsubtle manner in which an American president threw his weight behind a personal favorite in another country’s election.

“Trump never said ‘Vote Bibi’ … [but] as far as I can remember this is unprecedented – [a U.S. president] not speaking, but acting in a way that signaled involvement on behalf of one of the candidates,” says Yossi Alpher, a former senior Israeli intelligence official who is now an independent national security analyst in Israel.

Noting that over the course of the campaign he never once heard any misgivings in Israel about the heavy involvement of a foreign leader on the prime minister’s behalf, Mr. Alpher adds, “Trump is very popular here. ... Israelis don’t tend to think about the things that Americans who don’t like Trump think about.”

U.S. interests

Of course, U.S. intervention in other countries’ affairs is nothing new. From covert CIA involvement in elections in Latin America and Southeast Asia, to more subtle support for favored candidates or pro-democracy movements in Eastern Europe, the United States has acted to sway election outcomes and install or remove governments it liked or didn’t like – especially since emerging from World War II as a global superpower.

But those efforts, from the most overt to the least conspicuous, were generally justified at the time as being undertaken on behalf of U.S. national security interests, experts note, or in the name of American and universal values such as democracy and human rights.

What separates Mr. Trump’s intervention in Israel’s elections is both the support an American president bestowed on another leader, and the manner in which the president used that active endorsement to bolster his own support at home among key elements of his political base.

“Rarely if ever in my 25 years of experience in Republican and Democratic administrations did I ever see a president more determined to boost a favorite in an Israeli election,” says Aaron David Miller, a former State Department adviser on Middle East affairs who is now vice-president for new initiatives at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington.

“We meddle in other countries’ affairs all the time, we’ve meddled in elections and have overthrown governments. But this is completely different,” he adds. “It’s peculiar to the U.S.-Israel relationship and is an overt pro-Netanyahu approach that is tied up with Mr. Trump’s own political interests.”

Timing of policy shifts

Indeed, many say there is no other explanation than political favoritism for the timing of two Trump administration decisions that came in recent weeks, as polls showed Mr. Netanyahu trailing his chief political rival in the election, political newcomer Benny Gantz of the centrist Blue and White party.

First was Mr. Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, a move that past presidents, Republican and Democrat, have rejected as unilateralist and contrary to international law.

Then just last week came the State Department’s designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization – a first-ever such designation of a military division of a foreign state (as opposed to a non-state group) and one Mr. Netanyahu had unsuccessfully sought for years over the objections of the U.S. intelligence community and the Pentagon.

Both decisions were wildly popular with Mr. Trump’s base.

Mr. Trump’s heavy placement of his thumb on the scale of Israel’s elections is all the more striking in that it comes at a time of heightened sensitivity in the U.S. to the issue of foreign intervention in elections. Congress continues to take up the case of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election, which U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was carried out with the aim of damaging Hillary Clinton and boosting Mr. Trump’s prospects.

For some analysts, the glaring difference between the Russian intervention of 2016 and Mr. Trump’s pro-Netanyahu actions is that while Russia acted covertly through social media and other means to manipulate American voters, Mr. Trump has acted openly – taking steps that it could be argued (as administration officials repeatedly did) were taken in support of Israel and not of a leader or candidate.

What others have done

Still, Mr. Trump is widely seen as moving well beyond bounds set by previous administrations – which have taken steps to enhance the chances of favored Israeli prime minister candidates.

Mr. Miller cites three instances in which presidents acted to influence Israeli election outcomes – one under George H. W. Bush, two under Bill Clinton. But all three actions – for example, President Clinton invited Prime Minister Shimon Peres to the White House to talk Middle East peace just weeks before he would lose to the right-wing Mr. Netanyahu – were intended to further prospects for reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, not to boost a personal favorite. 

Some close observers of Israeli politics note that Mr. Trump was not alone in acting to give Mr. Netanyahu a leg up. Look no farther than Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Mr. Alpher says.

The Israeli analyst says Mr. Putin did Mr. Netanyahu a significant political favor by arranging for the remains of an Israeli soldier who went missing in the 1982 Lebanon war to be returned to Israel. At a Kremlin meeting with Mr. Netanyahu less than a week before the April 9 elections, Mr. Putin said that “most importantly” the soldier’s “close relatives will be able to bring flowers to his grave.”

That message and the evidence of Mr. Netanyahu “using his connections” to finally bring the soldier’s remains home played very well with right-wing voters who ended up coming out for the prime minister and helping him eke out a win, Mr. Alpher says.

Mr. Putin’s gesture was no doubt designed in part to enhance Russia’s standing in Israel and indeed in the Middle East, but it’s hard to see it providing him with a big political boost at home.

2020 vision

What makes Mr. Trump’s pro-Netanyahu actions unique, Mr. Miller says, is how they are designed as much for U.S. domestic impact as to further U.S. goals in the Middle East. Indeed, some analysts say the all-in stance with Mr. Netanyahu could end up jarring Mr. Trump’s other big dream of being the U.S. president who delivers a Middle East peace deal.

But Mr. Trump clearly has his eye on 2020 as he handles the U.S.-Israel relationship with key constituencies of his base in mind, Mr. Miller says. In that sense, probably the closest comparison to Israel’s place in U.S. politics would be the case of Cuba, he adds, and the way Cuban-Americans have been courted for their outsize political impact – for example in a presidential-election swing state like Florida.

Mr. Netanyahu is revered among segments of the American electorate – including conservative evangelicals and Republican Jews – who have lionized him for standing up to President Barack Obama and undermining the Iran nuclear deal. Those same populations make up key elements of the Trump base.

“As we move toward 2020, this focus on Mr. Trump’s political interests is only going to intensify,” Mr. Miller says. Already the president is moving to exploit fissures developing in a reliably pro-Israel Congress over the president’s brand of favoritism, even as divisions deepen in the U.S. Jewish community over Mr. Trump’s combination of Netanyahu favoritism and antagonism toward Palestinians.

“Jews voted 80 percent Democratic in 2016, and that won’t change much no matter what” Mr. Trump does, Mr. Miller says. “But in close elections in a few key states, we all know that even a little movement can make a very big difference.”

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2. Is Stephen Miller winning the battle over US immigration policy?

The Trump aide is often portrayed as a puppet master pulling strings. That’s an exaggeration, but his convictions run deep, going back to his time as a conservative outlier at liberal Santa Monica High.

Peter

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At California’s liberal Santa Monica High, Stephen Miller was known for his outspoken conservative views. He went around saying “everyone and their parents should speak English – or get out of the country,” says Kesha Ram, who has known Mr. Miller, a top adviser to President Donald Trump, since middle school.

Today, Mr. Miller’s far-right views lie at the center of controversy amid a surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and upheaval at the Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Miller has been portrayed as the one controlling White House immigration policy from behind the scenes.

But the story is more complex. Jared Kushner, the president’s more moderate son-in-law, also has a piece of the portfolio, working on legislation that would boost legal immigration. Alongside Mr. Miller’s efforts, it looks like a “good cop, bad cop” routine. Ultimately, Mr. Trump is the boss.

While Mr. Miller’s deeply held vision on immigration doesn’t always carry the day, his proximity to Mr. Trump makes him extraordinarily influential. “He’s always said very publicly, and to people’s faces, how he felt about things,” says Ms. Ram. “And that makes him powerful in his conviction.”

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Is Stephen Miller winning the battle over US immigration policy?

Stephen Miller was a sophomore in high school, back in the early 2000s, when he began drawing attention for his outspoken conservative views. 

At California’s Santa Monica High, a big, diverse public school with many immigrants and children of immigrants, Mr. Miller went around campus saying “everyone and their parents should speak English – or get out of the country,” says Kesha Ram, a Santa Monica alum whose father immigrated from India.

“He’d walk up to you, and hit you with a barrage of dubious statements that would leave you breathless,” says Ms. Ram, a former Democratic state legislator in Vermont who has known Mr. Miller, a top adviser to President Donald Trump, since middle school. “Like, how much carbon dioxide volcanoes emit into the atmosphere, versus a car.”

Today, Mr. Miller’s style is no less provocative – and his far-right views lie at the center of controversy amid a surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and upheaval at the Department of Homeland Security. With a singular, hawkish focus on immigration, Mr. Miller has been portrayed as the puppet master behind the scenes, pulling the strings on immigration and border policy.

His fingerprints are everywhere. As White House director of speech writing, he’s had a hand in shaping Mr. Trump’s most memorable public addresses – from the Inauguration Day promise to end “American carnage” to the Oval Office speech in January that depicted violence by “illegal aliens” as “a crisis of the soul.”

Mr. Miller was reportedly behind the abrupt withdrawal last week of Ron Vitiello as Mr. Trump’s nominee to become director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement after Mr. Miller told the president that Mr. Vitiello did not support the idea of closing the Southern border, as Mr. Trump has threatened to do. And according to The Washington Post, Mr. Miller was involved in a White House proposal to move detained immigrants to sanctuary cities as a form of political retribution against Democrats. Mr. Trump tweeted on Friday that the White House was considering the idea.

Mr. Miller’s few public appearances as a White House official have been fiery. Early in Mr. Trump’s tenure, soon after the announcement of the so-called travel ban that Mr. Miller helped craft, he asserted on TV that the president’s national security decisions “will not be questioned.” In August 2017, Mr. Miller appeared in the White House briefing room to discuss his plan to cut legal immigration in half, and got into a smackdown with CNN’s Jim Acosta over the meaning of the Statue of Liberty.

Yet as one of Mr. Trump’s longest-lasting aides, he has generally kept a low profile, seeming to understand that in Mr. Trump’s orbit, it’s never good to eclipse the president.

Indeed, when Mr. Trump was asked by a reporter this week if he might put Mr. Miller in charge of the Department of Homeland Security – since, the reporter said, he’s basically already running it – the president replied: “Stephen is an excellent guy,” but “there’s only one person that’s running it. … It’s me.”

This assertion points to a core truth of this presidency: On the issues Mr. Trump cares deeply about, such as immigration, he’s really the boss. Mr. Trump’s dire talk of Mexican drug dealers and rapists on day one of his 2016 campaign was all him.

But the young, ambitious Mr. Miller has the president’s ear, and knows how to play to his worldview. He also knows how to work the bureaucracy. Mr. Miller’s deeply held vision on immigration doesn’t always carry the day, but his proximity to Mr. Trump makes him extraordinarily powerful all the same.

Good cop, bad cop

While Mr. Miller may appear ascendant these days, he is not the sole power center in the White House on immigration policy.  

Jared Kushner, another top Trump aide and the president’s son-in-law, is also deeply involved in immigration, working for months on a separate, legislative track on Capitol Hill, centered on legal immigration and border security. Like Mr. Miller, the more genteel Mr. Kushner also tends to operate behind the scenes, and of late has been working with Vice President Mike Pence on an immigration reform package in Congress – including an increase in some legal forms of immigration. Mr. Miller’s modus operandi, by contrast, is unilateral presidential action over the painstaking work of legislating.  

This apparent “good-cop, bad-cop” routine is classic Trump management style. The president has long been known to enjoy watching aides duke it out over policy. And the January arrival of budget chief Mick Mulvaney as acting chief of staff – whose more open approach to Oval Office access contrasts sharply with that of Gen. John Kelly, his predecessor – has only added to the freewheeling atmosphere at the White House.

Yet the apparently disparate approaches on immigration aren’t as contradictory as they may seem, says Dan Stein, president of the conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), who attends White House meetings on immigration. Mr. Kushner is working the legislative track, while Mr. Miller is working on execution of current policies, he says.

Mr. Trump asked Mr. Kushner to work on immigration legislation following the son-in-law’s success on criminal justice reform. White House officials portray a good working relationship between Mr. Miller and Mr. Kushner, who are both Jewish and in their 30s. Last weekend, after the two traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border with the president, Mr. Miller attended a dinner at the home of Mr. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, an official said.

In fact, getting along with Mr. Kushner and Ms. Trump is essential for job security in this White House. “That’s the deal, you just can’t have them mad at you,” says a source connected to the Trump White House.

Mr. Miller has also had to learn that the boss can be rhetorically unpredictable. In the State of the Union address in February, Mr. Trump spoke of how immigration enriches the country, then said, “I want people to come into our country, in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally.” The phrase “in the largest numbers ever” was ad-libbed, the president confirmed the next day.

Yet this week, Mr. Trump’s message to migrants arriving on the border was blunt: “Our country is full.” He made the comment both to border patrol agents, and then in remarks in Las Vegas to the Republican Jewish Coalition. To some Jewish observers, the timing of Mr. Trump’s comment could not go unremarked. Next month is the 80th anniversary of the voyage of the St. Louis, a ship full of Jewish refugees fleeing Germany who were denied entry to the U.S.

Mr. Trump’s own good-cop, bad-cop routine also appears intentional.

“His statement in the State of the Union was an aspiration, a sweetener to bring Democrats to the table and rebut the idea that he’s motivated by an anti-immigration animus per se,” says Mr. Stein of FAIR. “But what he’s ultimately saying is, he’s a reasonable guy, as long as the immigration flow responds to the consent of the governed.” 

That’s a key message to Mr. Trump’s political base as the 2020 campaign ramps up: The president who ran on immigration as a marquee issue doesn’t want to run for reelection with people streaming across the border.

‘Cerebral’ and data driven

Among Republicans on Capitol Hill, Mr. Miller has his fans.

“He’s very thoughtful; he’s data driven,” says Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., who just reintroduced a bill that would reduce legal immigration by switching to a skills-based point system.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who like Mr. Miller has faced accusations of racism and worse, praises the Trump aide as “cerebral.”

“He’s intellectually competitive, and I think that’s something that the president respects,” says Mr. King.

There’s no doubt Mr. Miller has brain power. He went to Duke University, where, as in high school, he carved out a strongly conservative profile. After college, he went to Capitol Hill, winding up as communications director for then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. – the first senator to endorse Mr. Trump for president, and the eventual attorney general.

More important, though, was the ideology – a “movement for nation-state populism” – that Mr. Miller developed during his time with Mr. Sessions. Soon, the barely 30-year-old Mr. Miller had joined the Trump campaign as a senior policy adviser and a regular warm-up act at Trump rallies.

But outside the embrace of Mr. Trump’s world, some people who have known Mr. Miller far longer are dismayed. In a piece last year in Politico magazine, Mr. Miller’s uncle called him an “immigration hypocrite” – reviewing their own family history, and the chain migration out of what is now Belarus that saved Mr. Miller’s Jewish forebears from pogroms.

Ms. Ram, the progressive Democrat who knew Mr. Miller in high school, can only marvel at where he has landed – although it was clear early on he was working toward a highly ambitious end.

“When he was starting a white male alliance on campus, he was trying to change the political conversation in the country,” Ms. Ram says. “He wasn’t just trying to get girls to notice him.”

She remembers his campaign speech for student government, in which he told his fellow students not to bother picking up their trash, because janitors are “paid to do it for us.”

Mr. Miller soon found a platform wider than the school, appearing on conservative talk radio.

Ms. Ram also calls him “an early pioneer” in the politics of conservative victimization by the left. If he got made fun of in the April Fool’s issue of the school paper, or he didn’t think a teacher was giving him enough of a platform to share his views, he would assert that the overwhelmingly liberal school was trying to silence him, she says.

If there’s one positive thing Ms. Ram can say about Mr. Miller, it’s this: He owns his views. He’s not hiding behind a computer screen.

“He’s always said very publicly, and to people’s faces, how he felt about things,” she says. “And that makes him powerful in his conviction.”

Staff writer Francine Kiefer contributed to this report.

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3. Bashir out, military in. But for Sudan’s protesters, the story’s not over.

As a young correspondent, nearly 30 years ago, Scott Peterson watched Omar al-Bashir cement his control of Sudan. This week, that regime came to an end – opening another unpredictable chapter of its history.

Peter
Reuters
A Sudanese demonstrator flashes a two-finger salute as he arrives to protest against the army's announcement that President Omar al-Bashir would be replaced by a military-led transitional council, outside the Defense Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan, April 12.

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Since Thursday, Sudanese protesters have been absorbing the news that the military removed President Omar al-Bashir from power, ending a nearly 30-year regime. But with the temporary military council declaring a state of emergency, and a two-year transition period, the lessons of the 2011 Arab Spring loom large.

Crowds are dismissing what they call the “clone” of renewed military rule, as they saw in Egypt. They also want to avoid the chaos that has shaken post-uprising Libya, Syria, and Yemen. But the Arab Spring has more than cautionary tales. In Tunisia, for example, continued street pressure for weeks after the president fell helped bring about the kind of democratic outcome Sudanese protesters want to see, says Jean-Baptiste Gallopin, an expert on the Tunisian Revolution.

“Democratization doesn’t just happen when a leader is pushed out of power,” he says. It takes “a show of strength on the street.” 

Many protesters hoping to steer their revolution toward civilian control are staying where they've been for months: in the streets. Their first step Thursday night was to defy a new curfew, continuing a sit-in, but with a changed chant: no longer “Fall, that’s all!” but “Fall, again!”

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Bashir out, military in. But for Sudan’s protesters, the story’s not over.

With long swords and 1,000 spears glinting in hard sunlight, the Sudanese Arab warriors rode camels toward the airstrip, cracking hide whips to honor Sudan’s military ruler Omar al-Bashir.

It was a scene meant to exude power, and it largely did in 1992, at a rally on the southern edge of the Sahara, 500 miles southwest of Sudan's capital, Khartoum. The stocky president, who had seized control in a military coup less than three years before, was triumphant amid the swirling clouds of dust.

General Bashir roused the mob with promises of victory over rebels in the south and held aloft the dual badges of his junta: a copy of the Quran and an AK-47 assault rifle – the proverbial book and sword.

“Whoever thinks of subjugating us, they will find a nation that loves martyrdom!” Mr. Bashir declared. 

Yet amid the trappings of military bravado, a bright paper clip held the tongue of the president’s belt to the uniform covering his belly – a small sign, perhaps, of the pragmatism that enabled Mr. Bashir to reign for nearly 30 years.

But the paper clip was also an early indication, perhaps, of only transitory control by a presidency that came to an end on Thursday – tainted by multiple wars, indictment for crimes against humanity in Sudan’s western Darfur region, and street protests against tripling bread prices last December that grew to topple the dictator. 

On Friday, as Sudanese protesters absorbed the news that the military had finally removed Mr. Bashir the day before and declared a state of emergency and two-year transition period, the lessons of the 2011 Arab Spring loomed large.

Crowds are dismissing what they call the “clone” of renewed military rule, as they saw in Egypt. But at the same time, they want to avoid the chaos and civil war that has shaken post-uprising Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

It’s a high-risk moment in a society already riven by decades of war and violence, with multiple armed groups and a military apparently determined so far to cling to its own levers of power.

Many protesters hoping to steer their revolution toward civilian control are staying where they've been for months: in the streets. Their first step Thursday was to defy a new curfew, with thousands continuing their sit-in overnight in front of the army headquarters in Khartoum. They changed their chant – with many lower-ranking soldiers joining in – from “Fall, that’s all!” to “Fall, again!”

“We’ve reached a tipping point where this is beyond breaking the fear barrier; people are just very angry right now,” says Isma’il Kushkush, a Sudanese American journalist contacted in Virginia.

“No one wants to see a repetition of the failures of the Arab Spring, whether it be establishment of an authoritarian system like we see in Egypt or a civil war in Libya,” says Mr. Kushkush. “And I would say for a long time the Sudanese government was able to manipulate fears that Sudanese had of falling into that kind of scenario. They would point to Egypt or Libya or Yemen if people took to the street.”

Eight years of examples

With two long-reigning north African autocrats deposed in the space of nine days, in Algeria and Sudan, the successful fervor of current street protests does resemble the heady, regime-toppling days of the Arab Spring.

Popular uprisings that started back then ousted despots in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, but with decidedly mixed results. And in Syria, protests led to a devastating civil war, with the autocrat the victor.

With those recent examples as cautionary tales, Sudan’s opposition has challenged the military council’s announcements, demanding a civilian government.

“What happened was that the masks merely changed, it is the same regime that people revolted against, seeking to remove it from its roots,” the Sudanese Professionals Association, which has spearheaded the protests, said in a statement Friday. “We are still in the path of true revolution ... our martyrs have shed their blood in pursuit of freedom and justice.”

Hussein Malla/AP/File
Abdelaziz Bouteflika (l.), then president of Algeria, speaks with Omar al-Bashir (c.), then president of Sudan, and former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi (r.) during the opening session of the Arab Summit in Damascus, Syria, March 29, 2008. Mr. Bouteflika and Mr. Bashir have been deposed within nine days of each other.

One lesson protesters look to – which may herald a much longer showdown on the streets – is that of Tunisia, where continued street pressure for weeks after the toppling of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, after 23 years in power, finally resulted in the kind of civilian-run, democratic outcome that Sudanese activists want to achieve. 

The normal narrative is that Tunisia’s strong civil society made that possible – a characteristic shared by Sudan. But in fact it had more to do with continued street pressure on “old elites” weeks after Mr. Ben Ali fled, says Jean-Baptiste Gallopin, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Yale and an expert on the collective dynamics of revolutions.

“This idea that the balance of power only exists when it’s shown on the street is really well understood by Sudanese opposition parties,” says Mr. Gallopin, contacted in Berlin.

“Democratization doesn’t just happen when a leader is pushed out of power. It happens when the opposition remains mobilized in the aftermath of authoritarian breakdown and makes a show of strength on the street,” adds Mr. Gallopin, citing the Tunisia model.

Military concerns

In his first statement announcing that Mr. Bashir had been arrested, chairman of the military council Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf – the deposed president’s deputy and former defense minister, who is sanctioned by the U.S. for his role in the Darfur war – acknowledged Thursday that Sudan had been afflicted by “poor management, corruption, and an absence of justice,” and apologized for the “killing and violence.” 

But his moves were rejected by the opposition, which has seen at least 35 people killed in the past week, and dozens more deaths since December. In January, pro-regime paramilitaries opened fire as they chased protesters inside a hospital, according to reporting from Khartoum by Britain’s Channel 4 news. 

Sudan TV/ReutersTV
Sudan's Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf and the military's chief of staff, Lieutenant General Kamal Abdul Murof Al-mahi, salute after being sworn as leaders of Military Transitional Council in Sudan in this still image taken from video on April 11, 2019.

The top brass took a more conciliatory tone on Friday, saying the army had “no ambition to hold the reins of power” and that it was “for the demands of the people.” Omar Zein al-Abideen, head of the council’s political committee, also called for dialogue with the opposition. 

The military was “ready to step down as early as a month” if a civilian-led government could be created, Mr. al-Abideen said.

“The tone is positive, because it signals the military council really lacks the confidence to crack down heavily,” says Mr. Gallopin. “It signifies that the street pressure that we’ve seen continuing in the past 24 hours is working, and it’s really compelling the military council to – at least for now – take a posture of conciliation.”

Some observers have raised concern over the potential for Sudan’s multiple security forces to fracture, however, sparking further conflict if some remain loyal to the previous regime and some do not. Earlier this week, soldiers reportedly intervened to prevent security forces from breaking up protests.

The commander of the Rapid Support Forces, Mohammed Hamdan Dalgo, has said the paramilitary group opposes solutions that don’t satisfy popular demands and called on opposition leaders for dialogue. On Friday he also reportedly announced that the RSF would not join the military council.

‘We take out the trash, and you bring us more?’

Protest organizers are determined to keep up the pressure, Hajooj Kuka, a film director and member of Girifna, a nonviolent resistance movement in Sudan, told Al Jazeera English.

“We’re not going to negotiate with this government, we don’t hold this government as our government, and we’re going to fight against it. It has to fall,” said Mr. Kuka. 

“This is not a government that wants to negotiate,” he said. “The way they started, the way they took over power, and the way they didn’t negotiate – they didn’t talk to us – it means we can’t deal with them.”

While some chanted on the streets of Khartoum that the “revolution has only just begun,” other Sudanese activists voiced their rejection of military rule online, with rhyming couplets. 

Wrote one activist on Twitter:

“We take out the trash, and you bring us more?

Hell we’ll take it all out, like we’ve done before

Peace, justice, freedom for Sudan

Not just the fall of one wicked man

We want it all, and bring it we will

If not for our kids, then for the innocent you kill” 

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4. For animals stranded by flood or fire, a network of strangers to the rescue

After disaster, good deeds inspire more of them: From Nebraska floods to California fires, horse owners, ranchers, and farmers pitch in to save animals and keep the rescues fed.

Noelle

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Last month as Bill Waters jumped into a frigid Nebraska flood to save a pony that was not his, he became another link in a chain of volunteer animal rescuers. Just as they did for people, Nebraskans banded together to save livestock and pets after record-breaking floods.

Today, the Waters farm is a distribution point for feed and supplies, because one California horse owner – who was helped by Nebraskans during the California wildfires – wanted a place to donate some hay. Donations have also come from Wyoming and Texas and elsewhere.

In Dallas, Mr. Waters met another volunteer, Kathy Williams. For Hurricane Harvey in 2017 she organized delivery of aid to a flooded Houston. And last summer, after Jill Pierre and Justin Jones helped a couple with a horse trailer change a tire in California, they started a Facebook page called Cowboy 911. In November, the ad hoc group gathered people to rescue an estimated 5,000 animals from areas affected by the destructive Camp fire. “I really think that God was calling us to start this,” says Mr. Jones. “I think he did it more for me than for the people we’ve helped.”

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For animals stranded by flood or fire, a network of strangers to the rescue

In Nebraska, where cows outnumber residents 4 to 1, it didn’t take long after the floods hit last month for a huge animal rescue to take shape.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture began aerial surveillance to locate stranded and dead cattle. The state’s Army National Guard pitched in with a transport helicopter to drop bales of hay to straying cows.

And just as they did for human rescues, Nebraskans banded together to save livestock and pets. In Gretna some 40 people reportedly pitched in to save the world’s largest herd of rare San Clemente Island goats – some 250 of them – from rising waters.

For Bill and Stephanie Waters in Hooper it was horses. The couple already had taken four horses from the local fairgrounds, which was in danger of flooding, when the call came that a horse and a pony were stranded nearby and without food for three days. With the help of an acquaintance, Ryan Jacobi, Mr. Waters got through flooded roads to reach the horses. The palomino, named Sonny, followed Mr. Jacobi’s horse, but the pony strayed in swollen waters and its head went under.

Mr. Jacobi managed to rope the pony and Mr. Waters, a retired Army paratrooper, pulled it to safety. The Waterses took the animals to their farm and began the long slow process of recovery. (They can’t be warmed up too fast or fed too much at first, Ms. Waters says.)

Mr. Waters remembers when the owner, a single mother, arrived with her daughter to visit the animals they’d been forced to abandon when floodwaters threatened their home. “She hugged me,” he recalls of the little girl. “She saw her Mom relax and she relaxed.”

With the waters receding, just Sonny and the pony, Cookie, remained. The Waters thought they had done their good deeds. In fact, it was just the beginning.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
The Waterses on April 2 with Sonny (l.) and Cookie, animals they helped rescue from rising floodwaters in March, in Hooper, Nebraska. Bill jumped in frigid water to help Cookie get to dry land. Many parts of the state flooded after heavy rains hit frozen, saturated ground.

‘A life changing moment’

A horse owner in California, who had gotten help from Nebraskans and others when his horses had been threatened by California wildfires, wanted a place to deliver bales of hay and other food. Soon, the Waters home became a donation distribution point as horse owners from Texas and Wyoming and elsewhere began to arrive with trailer-loads of feed and other supplies like wheelbarrows, fence posts, and halters and lead ropes – the kinds of things necessary for flooded-out horse owners to get back on their feet.

Mr. Waters himself drove to Texas, where he met Kathy Williams, owner of a fine jewelry store in Dallas and volunteer dispatcher and emergency supply organizer for the Arabian Horsemens Distress Fund (AHDF). Formed in 2004 to help individuals, the group got into emergency response in a big way with Hurricane Harvey, which inundated Houston in 2017. “That was a life-changing moment,” says Ms. Williams.  

Knowing the hurricane was coming, Ms. Williams had organized volunteer farms to take the horses. But after the storm made landfall on Aug. 25, she waited and waited and no horses came. She realized the horses weren’t coming because the owners couldn’t get out. Worse, semitrailer trucks, which might have brought in feed and supplies, couldn’t get in because Houston was terribly short of gas and the truck drivers were prohibited from carrying gasoline.

But horse owners’ trailers, which faced no such restriction, could get in and out. “We were it,” recalls Ms. Williams. The group started receiving donations from around the country, which she used to buy supplies. She then found volunteers to truck them to horse owners in the Houston area. They delivered three loads a day – nearly 50 trailer-loads in all – until the situation began to stabilize. “It’s very rewarding,” she says. “And it’s very faith-based in a lot of ways because you’ve got to trust that [the aid] will get there. And it does.”

Cowboy 911

For Jill Pierre and Justin Jones, the eureka moment came last July when, on the way back from Costco in Northern California, they drove past an older couple with a horse trailer and a blown-out tire. They turned around and asked if they could help. The couple, from out of town, didn’t have the tools to fix the tire and AAA said it would take two hours to reach them – not a good thing for the horses in the trailer with temperatures hovering around 110 degrees.

Mr. Jones fixed the tire and the couple were on their way. On the way back home, he and Ms. Pierre talked about starting a Facebook page where horse owners could be made aware of others in need. Cowboy 911 was born.

Cowboy 911’s first big test came with the Carr fire later that same month in California’s nearby Shasta and Trinity counties. With Ms. Pierre logging the appeals for help from her restaurant, Mr. Jones put out a call for people with trailers to meet at a store in Happy Valley. (It’s such a remote area, everyone knew the store). Within an hour, he says, volunteers with some 150 trailers showed up. “We got hundreds and hundreds of animals out,” says Ms. Pierre, not just farm animals but pets as well.

When the Camp wildfire, California’s most destructive, hit in November, Cowboy 911 was initially shut out by emergency agencies, until local politicians intervened. Three days later, the group had volunteers with 500 trucks and trailers from all over the state arrive to help, many sleeping in their trucks at night. “We pulled 5,000 animals out with our people,” Ms. Pierre estimates.

“I really think that God was calling us to start this,” says Mr. Jones. “I think he did it more for me than for the people we’ve helped. I was at a point where I was losing faith in humanity.”

“It’s interesting to me how a little makes a difference in situations like this,” says Mary Trowbridge, founder and president of AHDF. There are fewer than 5,000 owners of Arabian horses in the United States, but they come from all walks of life. She receives donations of $5 and $5,000 when members hear of a disaster that affects horse owners. “There’s a level playing field that I don’t think exists in other [equine] sports.”

Back in Hooper, Mr. Waters is hauling donated hay from the Nebraska-Wyoming line. And Ms. Waters still shakes her head at how they have suddenly become a part of a nationwide network of volunteer horse owners. “We’ll do this as long as there’s a need,” she says.

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5. What ain’t country about ‘Old Town Road’?

What is a country song? “Old Town Road,” the No. 1 song in America, blends two music genres that in some ways couldn’t be further apart, but which are both based on sense of place, truth-telling, and outsider status.

Peter
Eric Lagg/Columbia Records/AP
Rapper Lil Nas X’s viral hit ‘Old Town Road’ was removed from Billboard's country charts because the publication said it wasn’t country enough. It is expected to reach 80 million streams this week.

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Before he recorded his 9/11 anthem, Toby Keith became the first country artist to rap on a record. Today, artists like Sam Hunt and Luke Bryan experiment with booming hip-hop beats, interspersed with banjo. Truth be told, much country radio fare is nearly indistinguishable from pop.

Enter “Old Town Road,” the “country trap” song that is the No. 1 song in America, but has been banished from Billboard’s country charts.

A lot of artists rushed to Lil Nas X’s defense, including Billy Ray Cyrus, who noted country’s long “outlaw tradition” in which it is a badge of honor to be rejected by Nashville – and, by extension, country radio. (Other famous outlaws include now-revered names like Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson.)

Mr. Cyrus called the song “honest,” “humble,” and “infectious,” qualities that for him define country music on an emotional level. He worked with Lil Nas X to create a remix.

“Creatively, I think it’s always a good idea when there’s a hybridization of genres, with cross-cultural conversations going on,” says recording veteran Tom Willett, president of Dark Horse Institute. “It makes for some real interesting new music sometimes.”

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What ain’t country about ‘Old Town Road’?

Broke, living at his sister’s house, fighting with his parents after quitting college, 19-year-old Montero Hill of Atlanta put his angst into a song.

The result, “Old Town Road,” is a head-bopping mashup of banjo twangs and cowhand motifs, clocking in at under two minutes. There’s a real sense of longing and comeuppance, but with some meme-ready lines – like “horse” rhymed with “Porsche.”

Known now to the world as Lil Nas X, Mr. Hill wrote what he called “both” a country song and a hip-hop – “country trap,” as his label, Columbia, put it. Goosed by his media savvy on platforms like TikTok, the song broke onto the Billboard country chart at No. 19.

The song shot to No. 1 on the Hot 100 this week. Only two country songs have topped that chart in the past 30 years. “Old Country Road” would have been No. 3, if Billboard had recognized the track as a country tune.

A week before, citing a lack of “modern country elements,” Billboard yanked it from country charts under pressure from the industry. “Get in line,” the Brothers Osborne fumed.

The rejection raised, for some, new questions about race, culture, and a Nashville-based studio and marketing system that plays on specific references to rural white culture – even as country has grown to play on urban stations from Boston to San Francisco.

For many other music fans – and industry experts – the song also provided a touchstone moment for two music genres that in some ways couldn’t be further apart. But for all of their differences, both are based on sense of place, truth-telling, outsider status, and a shared fascination with the mystery of a good hook.

“This is about commerce – what people want – even more than a controversy about genre and race,” says James Elliott, the legendary songwriting coach at Belmont University, on Nashville’s Music Row. “But is it a country song? [long pause] Well, it’s hard to say what is country anymore.”

Yanking “Old Town Road” may have been a business decision for Billboard, feeling pressure from the $10 billion country music industry in Nashville.

To traditionalists like Mr. Elliott, the song was just too much of a “novelty” and failed to reflect country’s adherence to stringed instruments like the dobro and the banjo. 

Yet a lot of artists rushed to Mr. Hill’s defense, including Billy Ray Cyrus, who noted country’s long “outlaw tradition” in which it is a badge of honor to be rejected by Nashville – and, by extension, country radio. (Other famous outlaws include now-revered names like Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson.)

Mr. Cyrus called the song “honest,” “humble,” and “infectious,” qualities that for him define country music on an emotional level. He worked with Lil Nas X to create a remix.

“Creatively, I think it’s always a good idea when there’s a hybridization of genres, with cross-cultural conversations going on,” says recording veteran Tom Willett, president of Dark Horse Institute on Music Row. “It makes for some real interesting new music sometimes.”

Boundaries are falling all over the place.

Despite receiving no airplay, the songwriter Kacey Musgraves won the 2019 Country Music Association Album of the Year, as well as Best Country Song and Best Country Album at the Grammys. She’s part of a populist push by industry people to increase airplay of women artists in Nashville. And multiracial singer Kane Brown fought his way back from Nashville rejection by building a YouTube audience so large that it basically forced the industry to sign him. Mr. Brown has become a breakout country artist with hits such as “Lose It.”

“Billboard welcomes the excitement created by genre-blending tracks such as Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ and will continue to monitor how it is marketed and how fans respond,” Billboard wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. “Our initial decision to remove ‘Old Town Road’ from the Hot Country Songs chart could be revisited as these factors evolve.”

This week Country Airplay listed “Old Town Road” at No. 53. Billboard says that chart is based solely on what is playing on country stations – indicating that ”Old Town Road” is picking up some radio time, after all.

Honky-tonk DJs have been spiking the line dancing with hip-hop tracks for a decade. “Hick-hop” artists like Upchurch and Jelly Roll are straight-up hardcore rap – just with Mossy Oak caps and mud-slathered pick-up trucks.

Before he recorded his 9/11 anthem, Toby Keith became the first country artist to rap on a record. Today, artists like Sam Hunt and Luke Bryan experiment with booming hip-hop beats, interspersed with banjo. Truth be told, much country radio fare is nearly indistinguishable from pop.

In that way, Nashville is changing from the inside. Kris Kristofferson, remember, started as a Music Row janitor. New crops of songwriters graduating from the city’s music programs are cross-referencing a variety of styles as they put their mark on country music.

“Right here in Nashville we have a blend of musical styles – pop people and rock people, Kings of Leon, Jack White – and it’s a fun time to be here,” says Mr. Elliott. “But it’s all still about trying to write great songs and melodies and lyrics that move people.”

Indeed, to at least one hip-hop executive, the rejection of Lil Nas X wasn’t as much about race as control – of power, but also musical integrity. Country music has been far more adept than hip-hop in protecting its brand, he says.

“[Lil Nas X] uploaded a song and called it country, and [the industry] said it’s not, and the rest of the world backed off – I think that’s admirable,” says Atlanta-based kingmaker Ray Daniels, the Epic Records executive who helped sign Future in 2016. “They are preserving their culture. They say it’s the good old boy system. I don’t have a problem with that. What I have a problem with is that we [in hip-hop] don’t have our own good old boy system.”

Bob Lefsetz, author of the influential industry newsletter Lefsetz Letter, noted this week that “times changed, the future is here, why can’t the industry and its chart catch up with it? Because radio and labels don’t want it to. ... [In truth,] it’s all about the Benjamins and building careers.”

Of course, the controversy has only helped the song, except perhaps on some country stations. But in the streaming era, that doesn’t mean not being heard. This week “Old Town Road” is on track to reach 80 million streams.

“These kids are growing up today without a genre; streaming is no genre,” says Mr. Daniels of Epic Records in Atlanta. “It’s the new boys. And Lil Nas X is new country.”

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The Monitor's View

Why Sudan rejects hate-baiting dictators

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One liberating moment in a democratic revolution occurs when enough people reject a dictator’s frequent attempts to convince them they have enemies. In recent weeks, protests in Sudan have provided a prime example of this. Its revolution is only half complete after Thursday’s ouster of strongman Omar al-Bashir. The military that sidelined him still clings to power. Yet the Sudanese have revealed a mental freedom from a dictatorship’s pattern of manufacturing hate.

Mr. Bashir was able to hold power for 30 years by finding many foes in any of Sudan’s tribal, social, or religious groups. For him, war and division were tools to keep power. Again and again, however, the protests have shown a new desire for inclusion, not exclusion.

If Sudan has an enemy, it may not have been Mr. Bashir or, now in his place, the military top brass. Rather the Sudanese know the problem was their willingness to believe in enemies. They have chosen instead to find unity around a hope for peace and democracy. The regime itself, even without Mr. Bashir, is proving that it is its own worst enemy. It too shall fall.

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Why Sudan rejects hate-baiting dictators

One liberating moment in a democratic revolution occurs when enough people reject a dictator’s frequent attempts to convince them they have enemies. In recent weeks, protests in Sudan have provided a prime example of this. Its revolution is only half complete after Thursday’s ouster of strongman Omar al-Bashir. The military that sidelined him still clings to power. Yet the Sudanese have revealed a mental freedom from a dictatorship’s pattern of manufacturing hate.

Mr. Bashir was able to hold power for 30 years by finding many foes, whether they were non-Arabs in Darfur or Christians in the south or any of Sudan’s tribal, social, or religious groups. For him, war and division were tools to keep power, persuading enough Sudanese that he alone was the protector of Africa’s third-largest country by area.

Again and again, however, the protests that began in December have shown a new desire for inclusion, not exclusion. When a Sudanese security official claimed a Darfur rebel was behind the violence of one protest, the protesters responded by saying, “The entire country is Darfur.”

When a young woman stood atop a car and sang to a crowd about Sudan being for all Sudanese of any race or tribe, they sang along with her. The crowd itself was unlike any protests of previous decades in Sudan. It was unusually large and included a cross-section of society, notably women. A video of Alaa Salah singing has since gone viral.

Just as significant is how most of the country’s rival opposition groups have ceased seeing each other as enemies. In January, they joined in unity by drafting a Charter of Freedom and Change, a document similar to Charter 77 that was the basis for Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution three decades ago. 

The charter for Sudan calls for a civilian-led transition to democracy, a plan rejected so far by the military’s leaders. Yet just as lower ranks of the military began to side with the protesters – a reason for the coup against Mr. Bashir – the unity of opposition remains a powerful force against the regime’s divide-and-conquer tactics. “Young Sudanese seem to have understood that when citizens do not publicly oppose the use of ethnicity, religion, or regionalism by politicians, the entire country pays the price,” states Nasredeen Abdulbari of the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington.

If Sudan has an enemy, it may not have been Mr. Bashir or, now in his place, the military top brass. Rather the Sudanese know the problem was their willingness to believe in enemies. They have chosen instead to find unity around a collective hope for peace and democracy. The regime itself, even without Bashir, is proving that it is its own worst enemy. It too shall fall.

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A Christian Science Perspective

About this feature

Each weekday, the Monitor includes one clearly labeled religious article offering spiritual insight on contemporary issues, including the news. The publication – in its various forms – is produced for anyone who cares about the progress of the human endeavor around the world and seeks news reported with compassion, intelligence, and an essentially constructive lens. For many, that caring has religious roots. For many, it does not. The Monitor has always embraced both audiences. The Monitor is owned by a church – The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston – whose founder was concerned with both the state of the world and the quality of available news.

God’s goodness is unlimited

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When today’s contributor didn’t have enough funds to both pay her tax bill and register her car, the idea that God’s goodness is endless lifted her fear and brought peace. And in short order, unexpected income came in that was just the amount she needed to pay each bill on time.

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God’s goodness is unlimited

Today's Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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Recently, my husband and I were discussing the use of a financial services computer application we have used over the past few years to regularly track our finances. We realized that for a variety of reasons, the advice the app was suggesting was no longer relevant or helpful. We found the situation both amusing and a reason to question our continued use of the app.

It was a good reminder that while such apps can be useful and have their place, they’re not all-knowing. By contrast, I’ve found that turning to God, Spirit, always provides solutions in all areas of life, including with financial issues.

Thinking about this reminded me of an experience I had in graduate school. During the first year of the program, I was confronted with two bills of equal amounts. One was my federal tax bill. The other was the state registration for my car. I had enough funds to pay one bill, but not both. It looked as though I would have to choose between delaying payment of the tax bill and incurring a penalty, or driving my car illegally.

I did what I have always found helpful in times of needs of any kind: I prayed.

My prayer wasn’t a petition to God for more money, but rather an affirmation of what the Bible teaches about the allness and goodness of God. In my study of Christian Science, I have learned that God is not an arbitrary source of good, but is infinite good itself. And as God’s spiritual offspring, created in His likeness, we are the complete and entire manifestation of His goodness, without lack or imbalance. There is never a void in God or His creation.

Understanding something of this divine law brings tangible help, as Christ Jesus illustrated when he fed a multitude in the wilderness (see Matthew 14:15-21). Looking at the assets at hand (five loaves of bread and two fish), it didn’t seem that this could possibly feed more than 5,000 people. But it did – with 12 full baskets left over!

I also found inspiration and comfort in what Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science and founder of this newspaper, wrote about the provision that comes from God’s love in her book “Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896”: “God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies. Never ask for to-morrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment” (p. 307).

This helped me see that we can trust that God, the infinitely good divine Mind, meets our needs, even if this isn’t obvious based on the evidence at hand. And God does not take from one individual to give to another. His resources aren’t limited, and He doesn’t need to ration out His goodness. God is always bestowing on His creation endless love and care. No one is left out of this.

As I prayed with these ideas, the fear of not being able to pay my bills disappeared. A growing awareness of God’s goodness had met the root of my need: to feel God’s love for me, and to feel His peace. I felt confident that a solution would present itself.

A couple of days later, my boss at my part-time job called me into his office. He explained that an innocent mistake had been made: In the past few days he had realized that I was owed back pay. The amount was exactly the amount I needed to be able to pay both bills on time.

This experience was evidence to me that the spiritual ideas I had been applying to this situation had revealed a solution.

God is providing to all of us, at each moment, the truth about His love and care for us and His infinite, ever-present goodness. Embracing this truth brings about practical outcomes.

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Viewfinder

A treasure find, confirmed

Ann Hermes/Staff
The Garcés family listens as Carl Mehling, senior museum specialist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, examines a specimen they’ve brought him. Mr. Mehling has seen some surprises during his 18 years sifting through fossils and fakes brought by visitors on the museum’s Identification Day. This time, he happily informs a young Samuel Garcés that his rock contains a mosasaur tooth and fish vertebra from Morocco. And Mr. Mehling lets visitors down gently if they’ve only imagined the imprint of a fossilized leaf embedded into a rock. 'I like being able to show them the real stuff and allow them to touch it,' he tells the Monitor’s Ann Hermes. 'It’s a really good way to teach.' For more images, click on the blue button below.
( The illustrations in today's Monitor Daily are by Karen Norris and Jacob Turcotte. )
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In Our Next Issue

( April 15th, 2019 )

Thanks for joining us today. We hope you’ll join us next week. In commemoration of Earth Day, the Monitor has teamed up with Sparknews and 18 of the world’s leading news media to highlight local initiatives addressing global issues of waste and pollution. For the Monitor’s first installment of “Earth Beats,” staff writer Eva Botkin-Kowacki looks at a nascent movement to eliminate grocery packaging.

Monitor Daily Podcast

April 12, 2019
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