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Commentary

Eyes & Ears of Moreno Valley

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Juanita Barnes
I recently read what Bishop Walter S. Thomas wrote about “God’s Love” (Romans 5:8 ) NIV. But God demonstrates His own love for us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God does not just talk love, God demonstrates it; God shows it. It is so easy to talk about love when it is a noun, the subject of a sentence but God shows love as a verb. He acts

upon what He says. It is so strange to accept the fact that God could love us.  We are prone to mistakes. We are also given to mischievous behavior. Pied Pipers of this world often lead us into sin. Yet in spite of all that, God loves us with an everlasting love. He has declared that nothing can or will separate us from the love He has for us. I must admit I shutter every time I think about so great a love. How do you feel?

HELLO MORENO VALLEY

Moreno Valley have you spent this powerful past week “LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE?” Deborah Keenan said, This path, this road that is one perfect straight line even if it goes around the world through heat and fog and rain and snow and it’s my life I keep thinking its my life. As we go through this life it is ours, and we must live it so not only can we learn from it but that we may help someone else live a better life. That is who we are, we are our brother’s keeper.

MORENO VALLEY AND THE INLAND EMPIRE: “The Inland Empire Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Association” will be unveiling the plans for the Buffalo Soldiers

Memorial for the Riverside National Cemetery at the First Annual Black Tie Event. The theme “HEART OF A BUFFALO SOLDIER” Saturday February 14, 2009, 6:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at Hap Arnold Club March Air Reserve Base. Entertainment “One Plus One” featuring Richard Mooring. Donation: $ 75.00 per person, $125.00 per couple, or $500 to

sponsor a table. All proceeds are for the memorial. You must present a valid driver’s license, registration and insurance. Contact numbers (951) 697 – 0577, (909) 957 – 3982, (951) 353 – 2367 or (951) 657 – 7088. You will be served “Delicious” food. Please come out and celebrate this wonderful event.

Ladies and Gents February has been set a side for a lot of events “Black History, Valentine’s Day and President’s Day. History is so important to the ones coming behind us to know who they are and where they come from. We just witnessed a great day in history, let us keep it up by doing everything we can do to make it work. We have a president and first lady that have shown us the way to “LOVE” from all angles. How about showing its not only for “VALENTINE’S DAY” but all year long?

If I could sum up this month in one word it would be “LOVE.”

Be Blessed
JB

Affinity Fraud Against the Black Church: The Miracle Cars Scam -- Part 3 of 3

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Richard O. Jones
One of the largest affinity frauds perpetrated through the Black church was the Miracle Cars scam that ran from 1997 to 2002. In its run of just over four years, over 4,000 church members of various churches bought 7,000 cars that did not actually exist, losing over $21 million.

Just before Christmas 1997, 23-year-old a con man, after being introduced to the pastor by a longtime and faithful church-member was invited to address the congregation, stepped into the “discipleship pulpit” of Christ Christian Home Missionary Baptist Church in Compton. He introduced himself as the adopted son of a recently deceased food tycoon who had left an estate valued at $411 million. The con man announced that his father, a devout Christian, had instructed his estate to sell 16 cars valued at $1,000 to $1,100--the price of taxes and licensing—to his fellow believers.

However, they could not actually be delivered until his father’s estate cleared probate.

Later that day, church-members rushed forward with checkbooks in hand. One of them called the cars “Miracle Cars,” since the deceased tycoon (by the way, who never existed) had intended them to be miracles for people who had led dreary lives.

The name stuck. Almost overnight word spread and $30,000 worth of cars were sold to relatives and friends of fellow church members. The good news traveled like wild fire. Before long, the proceeds reached $1 million.  In a short while, the two men were so overwhelmed with customers that they sought other people to help them collect money from the many desperate people seeking a “miracle car.” The probate time was continuously being extended to another date, and the amount of cars available (which never existed) continued to increase.

Later in 1998, the cons received a call from a female opportunist in Memphis, Tennessee. She’d heard about the Miracle Cars through her nondenominational charismatic church in Memphis—and wanted to sell them for a commission. She flew to Los Angeles to meet the alleged heir who immediately hired her as a “National Finder”—a professional sales manager who could also set up a central office for operations. She opened an office in Memphis. She worked primarily through pastors of other churches in the Southeast who told their flocks about the cars. By early 2000, two other “National Finders” had joined up—also an ordained minister in Missouri and a pastor in Philadelphia. When the “Affinity Fraud” was discovered there were arrests and convictions of the two primary operators and a few others; although charges were dropped on some innocent but naive and/or greedy pastors and other participants.

Email: richardojones1@verizon.net

Eyes & Ears of Moreno Valley

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Juanita Barnes
“A Dream Fulfilled” written by Milan Ford. On yesterday, America made history.  History that at one time was only a dream.  So like millions around the world, with a renewed mind and spirit that what others had once said was impossible, or perhaps always needing to be deferred has now become a reality… I woke up today pondering the question: What happens to a dream… fulfilled? Does it rise up like a rye or a wheat stalk? Or dangle low like a sloth and then walk? Does it smell like a garden rose? Or freeze in time just to strike a pose? Does it compare what is now to what was then? Or maybe it is just free now to dream yet again?

HELLO MORENO VALLEY

Moreno Valley what an awesome past week we have seen. In this life we have seen something that so many of us never in our wildest dreams thought could happen.  As I look back over my life it was not in vain, to God be the glory. Now we must recommit to what this is all about, reach one, teach one and so on. What ever you can do to rebuild our America let us join hands and do it. The greatest thing we can do is to love one another right where we are and then build.

“The Inland Empire Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Association” will have its “1st Annual Black Tie Event.” This event will feature the unveiling of the plans for Buffalo Soldier’s status to be placed at the Riverside National Cemetery. Proceeds to be used so build the status. Your help is needed to join us at the Hap Arnold Club Saturday February 14, 2009, 6: 30 P. M. –

11:00 P. M. March Air Reserve Base, for your entertainment “One Plus One” featuring Richard Mooring. Tickets $ 75.00 per person $125.00 per couple or $ 500.00 per table of (eight). You must have a valid drivers license / registration and insurance.  RSVP for information at (951) 979 – 0577, (909 ) 957 – 3982, (951) 353 – 2367, (951) 657 – 9585. Hurry and get your tickets.  This is a little about one of the Buffalo Soldiers, that is not known by some. There was one female Buffalo Soldier her name was “Cathay Williams.” Because she wanted to be independent, she turned her name around, cut her hair, and became “WILLIAM CATHEY.” Cathay was also born a slave in Independence, Missouri.  Cathay join the Army in November 1866, I will write more at a later time about the Buffalo Soldiers.

Paula Gilbert lived most of her life here, now lives in Bellevue, Nebraska. She funeralized her husband Ret. MSGT and USAF MSGT. Marvin Lamar Walker on January 6, 2009. We are asking that you remember Paula and the children in your prayers.

Let me leave this with you as in this year of 2009. Live your best life and remember, “Happiness keeps you sweet. Trials keep you strong. Sorrows keep you human.

Failures keep you humble. Success keeps you glowing. But only God keeps you going.

Be Blessed
JB

Affinity Fraud: Pastors Must Stop Bringing Wolves Amount The Sheep -- Part 2 of 3

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Richard O. Jones
Affinity fraud includes investment frauds that prey upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, the elderly, or professional groups. It is called affinity fraud because the definition of affinity is: a similarity or likeness that connects persons or things.  The fraudsters who promote affinity scams frequently are - or pretend to be - members of the group. They often enlist respected community or religious leaders from within the group to spread the word about the scheme, by convincing those people that a fraudulent investment is legitimate and worthwhile. Many times, those leaders become unwitting victims of the fraudster’s ruse.

These scams exploit the trust and friendship that exist in groups of people who have something in common. Because of the tight-knit structure of many groups, it can be difficult for regulators or law enforcement officials to detect an affinity scam.

Victims often fail to notify authorities or pursue their legal remedies, and instead try to work things out within the group. This is particularly true where the fraudsters have used respected community or religious leaders to convince others to join the investment.

Prime targets of such scams are church groups of various denominations. For example: If it’s a Korean church being targeted then it would most likely be a Korean church leader used to introduce the scammer as a person of trustworthiness.

Regardless of the race of the group, to gain the trust of the congregation the con artist would first befriend a church leader as a means to his or her vulnerable church members.  I have observed over the years that many scams are perpetrated upon the Black church by way of the affinity fraud.  A red flag of alertness should go up anytime a church leader introduces a business opportunity to his or her church that was brought to them by an outsider of the church. Often the opportunities come in the way of investments, or multi-level marketing.  The main attraction is money. They usually tell you of the many people that are making a lot of money. Some of these people you or your church leader may even know. That’s because the people that got in early on are used as the bait to lure others.  Churches are such easy targets because the members are taught to be faithful and expect miracles from God and therefore anything that resembles a miracle will be accepted on faith. The affinity fraud works best among the most faithful because they’re less likely to smell a fraud or call the police if the miracle does not come to fruition. Next week you will read about a recent affinity fraud upon many Black churches and thousands of Black church members across America called the “Miracle Car Scam.” The fraud netted the scammers millions.

Historically, African-American preachers have been misused to mislead their church members for many years. It was the Black church that the white doctors turned to in Macon County, Alabama in the 1930s when they sought human guinea pigs for the syphilis experiment now known as “The Tuskegee Experiment.” It is the pastor’s duty to protect his sheep and not lead them to slaughter. Every time your religious leader endorses an outsider or new member that is the deliverer of an ambiguous miracle, a red flag should go up.

Email: richardojones1@verizon.net

Eyes & Ears of Moreno Valley

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Juanita Barnes
HELLO MORENO VALLEY

Moreno Valley what a special and wonderful time to be among the living, ”History, History.” As I look back over my life and remember all that we have gone through to get where we are today, We made it by standing on a lot of shoulders. Even though I marched and have helped to be in a lot of first time things myself, this for me is the ultimate.  Lord I’m thankful. I have a lot to but I chose to hear from others. The first one is my 32-year-old niece from Fontana, Deaquinita Hill: For me President Obama is a step into the future, a positive, bright, hopeful future for this Country and the world. Not only do I have great pride in our president but my pride in this country has grown.  As a Black woman it has always saddened my heart to see a Black man put in the public eye, then stripped and humiliated due to bad decisions. I think President Obama will be a positive role model for all men, but especially for Black men.  President Obama’s strength, honesty and know how have shined through time and time again. I hope this rubs off on the youth of the world. When confronted with tough issues and tough times, he does not beat around the bush nor does he act like he has the answers to everything. He wants the people of this country to take responsibility and to be more hands on with regenerating and pushing toward the continuous growth of this country to ensure we have a future. I appreciate his honesty and the openness.

Mr. William Barr and his wife Lilly of Moreno Valley are civic leaders of our city. Mr. Barr said:

“DARE TO DREAM AND HELP CHANGE THE WORLD.” Here we are in 2009, witnessing the greatest change America have ever seen, the Inauguration of the 44th president of the United States. Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech should have been an inspiration to all Americans, but especially for African Americans. However, many of us dare to dream and act on them. Doctor Robert Schuller wrote: ”whatever the mind perceives and believes one can achieve.”

The scripture tells us that we must have faith but first we must believe and through faith we can achieve. The stage has been set and reset, the most honorable position in America will now be occupied by an African American. Everything should be fine in two thousand nine. How many of us (Americans) above the age of 35 or better yet, how many of us thought we would see an African American president in our lifetime? Praise GOD for America and our president Barack Obama.

Now that we have elected him, we must remain diligent in our support to help bring about a change for a better America.

My granddaughter Lillian Ingram spent most of her life in the Moreno Valley area and now lives and works in Phoenix, Arizona. She had this to say: For eight years we have lost. It is time for peace in America and I have faith in what GOD will do with the Obama family. I never paid attention to the political race, because honestly since the beginning of my life 33 years ago nothing ever changed. If not, change got worse and worse with every election. This time we made the right choice. Change and hope are closer in our reach.  My prayer for tomorrow is that JESUS lead and guide president Obama in the right direction, I pray that he gives him wisdom, knowledge and understanding on the issues he will face. I ask that He help him make right decisions during the most difficult times and crisis. I also pray that He lead and guide all of his cabinet members and members in his administration in the right direction. All these things and more I ask in JESUS name. I also ask for love, peace, joy, health, hugs, and hope!

Last but not least, President Obama following Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. and his dream. He
was a man who saw a dream upon a mountaintop he had to walk so others wouldn’t forget. His is a voice of truth that can never be silenced. As our renewed Spirit and our dream has brought us to the mountaintop, we all can say: “YES WE CAN.”

Be Blessed
JB

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