MALARIA, DEATH AND BABIES

    

We lost another friend this week.  She was 95.  A few days later, on the same day as her funeral, our youngest daughter gave birth to our tenth grandchild.   Grayson Gabriel, weighing in at 8 lbs 13 oz.   Because we are both sick, neither of us has seen him yet. (Diane has a head cold, which she could pass on to the baby.  A hospital is the last place you want to go when you’re sick!)

I’ve got malaria back again.

It often re-occurs at this time of the year when the weather is changing.  It’s also a problem when winter is moving into spring. These two periods of time coincide with the biblical holy days, which makes the problem very inconvenient.

Malaria remains the world’s number one killer.

The World Health Organization states:  “Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria.  In 2015, there were roughly 212 million malaria cases and an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths.”

It is not contagious. You can only get it when you are bitten by an infected mosquito, always, as it happens, a female.  So be sure to check the sex of the mosquito if you get bitten!

I used to have a “Far Side” cartoon I cut out and inserted into my Bible.  It showed one of Noah’s sons asking his father a question: “Should I kill the two mosquitoes now while we’re ahead?” If only . . .

Malaria and I go back forty years.

My wife, Diane, got it first when we moved to Ghana in 1978.  She spent the Feast of Tabernacles that year in a hotel room in Kumasi, very sick with a mysterious sickness, until a doctor identified it. It was our introduction to Africa’s major illness.  It’s not so long since West Africa was described as “the white man’s grave,” as half of all the whites who went there died within two years from the mosquito borne disease.   Modern drugs make it easier to handle now, but it really is best to avoid getting bitten, an impossibility really.   You can’t spend all day under a mosquito net.

A couple of years later, Diane ended up in a hospital in Accra with the same disease.  And I still vividly remember carrying our four-year-old son into a clinic in the nation’s capital, when he was in a really bad way. Even now, I don’t want to think about it.

On one occasion I was in Cameroon when I came down with malaria. I was in bed in a hotel room for days.   A Cameroonian we knew went to find an anti-malarial drug I requested, but the names in French are different.  It was here, too, that I first heard the comment that “when you get malaria, in the first 24 hours, you’re afraid you’re going to die; in the second 24 hours, you’re afraid you’re going to live!” There’s great deal of truth to this!  In that second 24 hours you just WANT to die.

A few years ago, we were in Zimbabwe and spent a few days at Victoria Falls, the most magnificent site in the world.   We took a “sundowner cruise” one evening.  Our tour guide pointed out the hippos (hippopotamus is Greek for “river horse”) and told us that “the hippo is the most dangerous animal in Africa” and added “except for the mosquito.”

Sometime later, I remember staying with friends in Kariba.  I wanted to go for a walk, but could not as I saw a hippo at the end of their driveway!

Almost thirty years after leaving Africa, I can say that I no longer have a fear of hippos; but I still don’t like mosquitoes!   In Michigan, the bigger problem is West Nile virus.  Mosquitoes are a problem everywhere.

I do have a little annoyance over malaria.   A couple of times I’ve had to go to the hospital for a shot.  But they never believe me when I say I have malaria.  They always want to put me through a series of tests, costing one thousand dollars or more.  Then they come and say, “You have malaria.”  “Well, I told you that when I arrived here four hours ago!  All I wanted was a shot of chloroquine.”

I now have a doctor who prescribes me an anti-malarial drug, which I can use anytime.  It saves me a lot of time (and money) in ER.

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DIVERSITY NOT A STRENGTH

Pat Buchanan has written an excellent article showing how diversity does not work anywhere else in the world, so why do we expect it to work here in the United States?

His article was inspired by Tucker Carlson who asked the same question on his TV show last week.

“Ethnic diversity, after all, tore apart our mighty Cold War rival, splintering the Soviet Union into 15 nations, three of which — Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia — have since split further along ethnic lines.

Russia had to fight two wars to hold onto Chechnya and prevent the diverse peoples of the North Caucasus from splitting off on ethnic grounds, as Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan had done.

Ethnic diversity then shattered Yugoslavia into seven separate nations.

And even as we proclaim diversity to be our greatest strength, nations everywhere are recoiling from it.” (“The Unpardonable heresy of Tucker Carlson,” PJB, 9/13).

Mr. Buchanan continues:  “The rise of populism and nationalism across Europe is a reaction to the new diversity represented by the Arab, Asian and African millions who have lately come, and the tens of millions desperate to enter.”

He points out that Japan has not encouraged diversity and does not have the ethnic conflicts that are afflicting other western nations.

Israel has passed a law that enshrines Jewish identity into the state itself; while China is taking active measures against Muslims in the country. Burma did the same and has been condemned for it.

Cleary, diversity doesn’t work and we will come to see that more clearly in the years ahead.

When Jesus Christ was asked by His disciples what would be the signs of His coming,   He replied: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:7).   The word “nation” is from the Greek “ethnos” and refers to ethnic groups; a kingdom is a political entity.

Expect more ethnic conflict in the coming years, including western nations.

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A GAY THOMAS?

THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE’ INTRODUCES INCLUSIVE GENDER-BALANCED, MULTICULTURAL CHARACTERS IN MAJOR REVAMP OF CHILDREN’S CLASSIC

–headline in Huffington Post 9/1/18

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SYRIAN END GAME

The Syrian province of Idlib is about to go through what most of the country has already experienced.   It could be Syria’s end game.

Bashir al Assad, backed by Russia, Iran and Turkey, needs to defeat the rebels in Idlib province to regain full control of his country. As the West, including the United States, has made it clear it is not willing to fight for Syria, a victory on the part of the Syrian government could actually end the six-year-old civil war, with a victory for Assad, Iran, Turkey and Russia.

But now Turkey is in disagreement with its allies. Whereas Putin wants to go in for a quick kill, Erdogan fears another flood of refugees crossing into Turkey.

Europeans have the same concern. Refugees and the problems they cause are giving populist parties a real boost in popularity.   It is expected that liberal Sweden may see the Swedish Democrats make significant gains in Sunday’s election.

The Swedish Democrats are frequently labeled “extreme right-wing” by western media, but this is very misleading.   They simply want to preserve Sweden for Swedes. They do not want the Kingdom of Sweden to become the Islamic Republic of Sweden.

Again, it’s not so simple, as a significant number of Swedes welcome refugees and other immigrants, for one reason or another.

RESISTING THE INVASION

While the Islamization of western Europe continues unabated, nations in central and eastern Europe are resisting the invasion. In the process they have to also resist the European Commission, which demands they take in more refugees.

If there are more populist victories in other European countries, it’s difficult to see how the European Union can survive as it is. Something has to give.

Americans may smugly look across the ocean and think, “It can’t happen here!” But this is not the case.

Gradually, an Islamization is taking place here. Quite literally here, in my own backyard.

I notice the difference at my grandchildren’s schools, where an increasing number of women dressed in Islamic attire drop their children off each morning. I also notice it at Aldi, the first stop for immigrants when it comes to shopping. I always feel like I’m in a linguistic minority when I go there. Costco is not that different, now that it’s selling halal meat.   I notice it, too, when I go to our public library. They have a number of small rooms at the side, which people can request for private study. They have always allowed Bible study groups. But now they are allowing Islamic public prayer, as Muslims have started using the side rooms to bow to Mecca at various times of the day. How will it go down if Christians want to publicly pray in these rooms?

FOURTEEN CENTURIES OF CONFLICT

I requested a book through the same library, which came in this week. It’s called “Sword and Scimitar,” which gives an overview of “fourteen centuries of war between Islam and the West.” The book is by Raymond Ibrahim, a “scholar of the Middle East and Islam.”

Note the following quote from the cover: “The majority of these landmark battles – including the battles of Yarmuk, Tours, Manzikert, the sieges of Constantinople and Vienna, and the crusades in Syria and Spain – are now forgotten or considered inconsequential.   Yet today, as the West faces a resurgence of this enduring Islamic jihad, Sword and Scimitar provides the needed historical context to understand the current relationship between the West and the Islamic world – and why the Islamic State is merely the latest chapter of an old history.”

(The book looks promising and I will read it as soon as I’ve finished “Rome – a history in seven sackings,” by Matthew Kneale. This contains fascinating historical detail on papal Rome. I do not want to hurry with it. More next week.)

The biblical Book of Daniel prophesies a coming clash between the King of the North and the King of the South (read Daniel 11:40-44). After the fall of the Seleucid dynasty in the first century BCE, the area was absorbed into the Roman Empire. The European Union, founded in Rome, is another attempt at reviving the Roman Empire, making it a successor to the old “King of the North.”   The EU is going through a great deal of turmoil right now, partly because of the current Islamic invasion, the constant “push” by the King of the South, the religion of Islam. “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him” (Daniel 11:40 KJV).

The King of the South in ancient times was the Ptolomaic Empire ruled from Alexandria, Egypt. Cleopatra was the last of the Ptolemys, after whom the empire fell into Rome’s hands. The area was conquered in the seventh century by the forces of Islam and is likely going to be a part of the caliphate that forms the King of the South.

It’s becoming clear that the King of the North and the King of the South are heading toward a major clash of civilizations, between the West and Islam.

The West starts off in a position of weakness, as millions of Muslims have made their homes in western countries.   The reverse is not the case, as Islamic countries do not tolerate Christians in the same way western countries tolerate Islam. Immigration is strictly one-way traffic, with the West continually having to dilute its heritage to accommodate new arrivals! Quite often, liberally minded Christians are at the forefront of those supporting this historic invasion.

Some parts of England are now so Islamic, visiting them jolts foreign visitors.

“My first visit was to Tower Hamlets, an East London borough that is about 38% Muslim, among the highest in the UK. As I walked down Whitechapel Road, the adhan, or call to prayer, echoed through the neighborhood. Muslims walked in one direction for jumu-ah, Friday prayer, while non-Muslims went the opposite way. Each group kept its distance and avoided eye contact with the other. A sign was posted on a pole: “Alcohol restricted zone.”

“Women and girls were dressed in hijabs, niqabs and abayas (robes). Some of the males wore skullcaps and thawbs, Arabic tunics, with their trousers tailored just above the ankles as per Muhammed’s example. The scene could have been lifted out of Riyadh, a testament to the Arabization of Britain’s South Asian Muslims.” (“A visit to Islamic England,” by Andy Ngo, Wall St Journal, August 30th).

I can still remember my first visit to London sixty years ago. I don’t remember seeing any Muslims, or any other non-white English people on our visit. Now, London is over 50% non-white, many of whom are Muslims. A few years ago, I walked a few miles through London with a group of friends. When we got thirsty, we looked for a pub to sit down and have a drink. For a considerable distance, all the pubs were permanently closed down, a direct consequence of the Islamic invasion.

How long will it be before America goes the same way?

Katie Hopkins, a conservative English journalist, was in the US recently and spoke to a group in California, warning them not to follow down England’s path. (You can still find her 25-minute speech on Youtube.)

Mark Steyn, a conservative Canadian journalist, now resident in New Hampshire, has written a number of times on how immigration / multiculturalism is now the only issue that matters, as western countries are in danger of ceasing to exist.

Yet our television news is devoted to nothing of any consequence. TV news programs seem more dedicated to bringing down the president than to giving a warning about the threats to America’s existence.   It’s the same in other western nations where laws restrict people from being able to express themselves on the issue of multiculturalism.

Yet there is some hope. Brexit showed that people are still very attached to their own country and to preserving their own culture.   A few months after Brexit, Americans voted similarly in sending Trump to the White House.   Liberals blame just about anybody for this phenomenon, but they only have themselves to blame – the more they push multiculturalism and the liberal leftist agenda, the greater the reaction is going to be.   A backlash is changing governments across Europe.   That backlash is also likely in the UK and the US. Interestingly, all the negativity surrounding Trump does not seem to dent his approval rating — the public no longer has any trust in the media or the liberal, leftist elite that drives the multicultural agenda.

Impending events in Idlib may be the catalyst for a further populist wave. Will Europeans accept millions more refugees? Or will they vote to oust the weak, compromising governments of Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Theresa May and Justin Trudeau and say “enough’s enough!”?

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SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN

Respect is certainly due Senator John McCain’s war record and his time in public service. However, there was a contradiction in the Senator which has great relevancy on the subject discussed above.

Far from being a conservative, John McCain was quite liberal on immigration.   He was also a fully paid up member of America’s War Party, those who want the US to intervene globally, solving all the world’s problems. These stances have both weakened America; they even compromise America’s future existence.

There is a commonality in both positions. That commonality maybe goes back to the words “All men are created equal.” It’s a misinterpretation of the Declaration of Independence, when the wealthy landowners who wrote the words were rejecting the King of England. They were not saying that anybody from anywhere in the world, regardless of religion and culture, is welcome here, that all can become Americans.

George Washington, in his final address to Congress and the American people, warned Americans to “avoid foreign entanglements.” He should have been heeded by Senator McCain, President George W. Bush and others who were eager to invade Afghanistan and Iraq after September 11th.

America’s role in Afghanistan is still not over, even as the conflict enters its eighteenth year. The US could still follow England and the Soviet Union in “the graveyard of empires.”

The invasion of Iraq is arguably even worse.   Iraq led to the chaos in Syria. The two countries are a major source of refugees who are destabilizing many western nations.

Neither war is over. And there are those who agitate for military action against Iran, a nation with three times Iraq’s population.

The US, a country notorious for forgetting the lessons of history, needs more historians.   President George W. Bush, in his eulogy at McCain’s funeral, described America’s military as a first in world history, “a force for good.-”   What does he think the British military was doing in saving the West (including America) from French despotism under Louis XIV, during the French and Indian Wars and, again, against Napoleon?   A century later, the forces of the British Empire, which included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Rhodesia and India, all fought for freedom against despotism in both world wars, while America remained on the sidelines. Weren’t these forces also doing “good”?

Nobody should expect all presidents to know their history, but others in the Administration and the State department should know these things and warn against making false claims in speeches.

There was also another major historical fault of the Bush Administration.   When the invasion was planned, the rift between Sunni and Shia was not taken into account. At least one cabinet member claimed it was not mentioned. The US- led invasion upended the roles of the two branches of Islam, which led directly to all the subsequent upheaval, Islamic State and millions of refugees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BREXIT TURNS NASTY

British fishermen plan 40-strong flotilla back into French waters as ‘scallop wars’ threaten to erupt again (article by Henry Samuel, Paris Cara McGoogan, Brixham
30 AUGUST 2018 • 7:49PM)

BREXIT TURNS NASTY

Clashes between French and English fishermen took place this week.   The incident was over fishing for scallops just off the north coast of France.

But Brexit was blamed.   It’s as if the old animosities and rivalries are resurfacing with the coming of Brexit.   March 29th is D-Day when Britain departs from the EU.

Mrs. May, the British Prime Minister, was in Africa this week, on a three day tour to prepare for a trade deal with three of Africa’s biggest economies.   South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya were all British territories not so long ago.   Britain is looking to Commonwealth countries as well as the US to replace the European trade when it exits the European Union.

It should be noted that all three countries are very corrupt, a factor that adds considerable challenge to business in the private sector.

I’m currently reading “a novel of Africa,” The Old Order and the New by Wilfred Fowler (1963), who worked for the British Colonial Service in Nigeria, during the period immediately prior to independence in 1960.   He shows quite clearly that from the day a date was chosen for independence, corruption became a major problem in the country.   Politicians saw that, with the British gone, there were great opportunities to make lots of money without actually doing any work!

Germany’s Angela Merkel was also in Africa this week.   In West Africa, to be precise, visiting Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria.   All three countries are a major source of migrants to Germany and other nations of the EU.   Mrs. Merkel wants to try and cut the numbers moving to Europe through increased business and investment.

Note the following from Germanforeignpolicy.com:

“ In opinion polls, nearly half of the Senegalese, and around three-fourths of the Ghanaian and Nigerian respondents, signaled their wish to leave their country, because of dire poverty and a dramatically high youth unemployment rate.”

At least one report on TV news described the two women visiting Africa as a new “Scramble for Africa,” a term often used to describe European colonization and rivalry in Africa towards the end of the nineteenth century.   It’s not just the UK and Germany that are fighting for business in Africa – China is their biggest rival on the continent.   They have to move fast to thwart China taking over the continent, which is Europe’s backyard.

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TRIBALISM MAJOR CAUSE OF CRIME IN UK

A Sky News investigation of crime in London and other major UK cities has revealed that over half of all the violent crime is committed by young, black males.   A lot of it is gang rivalry.

I find this very interesting.

A major problem in Africa is tribalism, which goes back centuries.   People identify with their tribe first and foremost.   This now seems to be the case in the United Kingdom.

The problem hasn’t been solved in Africa.   It won’t be solved in the UK, either, no matter how much money the government spends on social programs.

London and other major cities have seen a dramatic increase in violent crime in recent years.

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POPULIST GAINS PREDICTED IN SWEDISH IDENTITY CRISIS   From the Brussels Briefing, Financial Times, Richard Milne, 8/31.

“Sweden, long known as a bastion of political stability, is gearing up for a step into the unknown.   Elections on September 9 have sparked a fierce debate about the future of the country with Swedes appearing as divided as many Europeans, leading many to fear messy and lengthy talks to form a government . . .

“The current centre-left government is widely thought to be the weakest in decades with the Social Democrats set to post their worst score in more than a century.   But the centre-right opposition seem incapable of capitalising on that. Instead, the main winners next weekend are set to be the populist, anti-immigration Sweden Democrats who could come in second place with about 20 per cent of the vote.”

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HUNGARY AND ITALY ATTACK MACRON OVER MIGRANTS    From Brietbart, 8/31

“Conservative Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and populist Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini have attacked globalist French President Emmanuel Macron as “the leader of pro-migration parties in Europe today.”

“At a joint press conference in Milan, Italy, on Tuesday, the two pro-sovereignty politicians singled out former Socialist party member Macron as their political enemy when they announced they are forming an anti-mass migration front ahead of European Parliament elections to challenge his vision for the European Union.

“He leads the European force that backs migration, he’s the leader of those parties who back migration to Europe, and on the other side there’s us who want to stop illegal migration,” said Prime Minister Orbán, according to Politico.”

——————————————————————————-ANTI-IMMIGRANT PROTESTS ROCK GERMAN CITY

The German city of Chemnitz has been seeing anti-immigrant protests all week, following the murder of a local man by two men, one from Syria and one from Iraq.

“The demonstrations, which turned violent at times, have shocked the country and are the latest manifestation of the divisions caused by the influx of close to two million asylum seekers since 2015.”  (WSJ, 8/31).

“On Monday, a demonstration registered by a local anti-immigration group drew around 6,000 protesters, some performing the banned Nazi salute.”

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DAY OUT WITH THOMAS

 

I’ve spent all week listening to songs from Thomas and Friends.

For those with no children or grandchildren, Thomas is one of the most successful children’s TV programs ever.   The series is based on books written by an Anglican vicar, the Reverend W. Audrey, who died over twenty years ago.

Last Sunday, I took our 6-year-old grandson for a “Day Out with Thomas” at Crossroads Village in Flint, Michigan.   They have four of these days each year.   This was the last one, though our grandson remains unconvinced and keeps asking me to take him back there.   I keep telling him that Thomas is hibernating through the winter (he has far more sense than people!) and we can go back and see him next summer.   Tell that to your six year old!

During our five-hour visit, Thomas songs were playing constantly. They have stayed in my head since then.

When I looked at Wikipedia’s write-up of the author and books, I was surprised to see that Thomas owes his origin to measles.   When the author’s son, Christopher, was sick with measles, his father told him stories of Thomas and his friends.   This was in 1943.   It wasn’t long before his wife suggested he publish his stories.   The first book came out in 1946.  The first TV series did not begin until 1984.

Thomas isn’t the only train our grandson Aubren has been on.   In six months, I’ve been able to take him on Amtrak to Battle Creek; a small railway in Coldwater, Michigan; the Pere Marquette (Polar Express); and Thomas.   Next year, I will have to top that – perhaps a journey on the Orient Express?

This has helped him greatly in his knowledge of geography – this morning he was playing with his train set and I heard him saying: “Thomas lives in Flint, but he has to go to Chicago!”   He’s also been telling his teachers everything he knows about trains.   He was able to have his picture taken on Sunday with a rather portly Sir Topham Hatt; and with Bob the Builder, who was also appearing.

I take seriously the scriptural admonition to “train up a child”! (Proverbs 22:6)

 

 

 

DOMESTIC TURMOIL

It’s getting personal!

Our grandchildren have a weakness for Cadbury’s chocolate fingers.   Not wanting them to develop any addictions, they have only been an occasional treat.

A few months ago, I bought them for less than $3.   When I looked for them again a few days ago, they had gone up to $6.75.

The only reason I can think of to explain that jump is an increased tariff on imported chocolate (they are produced in the United Kingdom).   The dispute is between the US and the EU, of which the UK remains a member for another seven months. Hopefully, after Brexit the price will come down.

Yesterday, I checked at WalMart, where I got them for less than $3 earlier this year.   They are no longer selling them.   They have also stopped selling Tim Tams from Australia.

Armageddon must be close – that’s all I can say!

Request: if anybody lives in the Cincinnati area, could they please check availability and price next time they visit Jungle Jim’s?

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207 DAYS LEFT UNTIL BREXIT

Talking of Brexit (and food), you would think the British didn’t eat before they joined the European Union.

Those opposed to leaving the 27-nation EU are attempting to scare the general population, saying that there will be food shortages and their prescriptions may no longer be available.

For the record, the United Kingdom was the world’s most successful trading nation in Victorian times.   They continued as a major trader right up until they entered the EU in 1973.

Prior to that ill-informed decision, major trading partners included the Commonwealth (former British territories), the United States and EFTA (European countries that were not a part of the EU).   Food was a lot cheaper than it is now.   The UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa had a preferential trading agreement, which ensured cheap food for the mother country and gave preference for British exports.   Withdrawing from this agreement was one of the biggest mistakes Britain ever made.

The UK cannot sign any new trading agreements until after leaving the EU. When they do, expect food prices to drop.     It is, of course, possible that the cost of French cheeses and German wines may rise, but, believe it or not, you can live without them! (My grandchildren, deprived of Cadbury’s fingers, are surviving!)

From the WSJ yesterday:

WSJ Brexit Beyond

Britain Ramps Up Preparations for No-Deal Brexit:    The U.K. government on Thursday published advice for British businesses on how to prepare for an abrupt and messy break with the European Union, a move aimed at underscoring to Brussels that it is serious about walking away from talks if it doesn’t get a satisfactory deal.

Of note:   The Wall Street Journal has a regular “Brexit and Beyond” column.  They have now added a sub-title:  “Europe in Flux.”

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POLITICAL TURMOIL AFFLICTS ANGLO COUNTRIES

Thanks to Brexit, there’s a great deal of political instability in the UK right now.   Theresa May seems unlikely to be able to deliver a “deal” with the EU, while satisfying those who want to leave.   Attempting to do so is really a contradiction!

According to one paper earlier this week, over 100 Conservative MPs are ready to rebel over this.   That could mean a coup against Mrs. May, replacing her with somebody more to their liking.   Boris Johnson is still the favorite.   Mr. Johnson is more conservative than Mrs. May and does not want to compromise with the EU.

Don’t assume this won’t happen.   I woke up this morning to find a similar “coup” took place in Australia on Friday (the day is already over in the Antipodes).    Malcolm Turnbull, leader of the governing Liberal Party (the Conservative Party of Australia) has been ousted and replaced with Scott Morrison.   The latter is more conservative than the former.

Canada is also going through some political turmoil, as Maxime Bernier is quitting the Conservative Party and forming his own party dedicated to “more freedom, less government.”   In recent weeks, he has launched Twitter attacks against PM Justin Trudeau’s “extreme multiculturalism” and immigration policy, according to the BBC’s website this morning.

Mr. Trudeau, the country’s prime minister, is a Liberal who has welcomed thousands of Muslim refugees from the Middle East.   The Conservatives remain in opposition, with an election expected late next year.

The UK, Canada and Australia all share a common heritage and remain members of the Commonwealth.   With a very different political system, the United States is also going through a great deal of internal turmoil after two of President Trump’s former political associates were found to be breaking the law.   The implication is that the president did likewise.   Calls for his impeachment are growing. I don’t think this will happen as the Republicans control both houses in Congress and President Trump has a very loyal support base.

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GERMANY’S CONTINUED RISE TO WORLD PROMINENCE

“The Lord says:   I am furious!  And I will use the King of Assyria as a club.”  (Isa. 10:5; Contemporary English Version).

From Time magazine:

Europe should scale up military spending in order to act as a counterpoint to an unpredictable and unreliable United States, the German foreign minister said in an op-ed Wednesday, an unusually forthright criticism of U.S. foreign policy by a senior political figure in Europe.

In the German newspaper Handelsblatt entitled “A New World Order,” Heiko Maas said that Europe and the U.S. have been drifting apart for years.   Instead of waiting for Trump’s presidency to end, he argued, Europe should take an “equal share of responsibility” globally.

Yet Maas joined in agreement with Trump in demanding NATO members increase their defense spending.   “It is in our own interest to strengthen the European part of the North Atlantic Alliance,” he wrote.   However, he continued, this was “not because Donald Trump is always setting new percentage targets, but because we can no longer rely on Washington to the same extent.”   (Germany’s Foreign Minister: when the US ‘crosses the line,” Europe must act,” by Billy Perrigo.)

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From Deutsche Welle:

Germany on track for world’s largest trade surplus for third consecutive year.    Deutsche Welle * 21 Aug 2018

The country’s $299 billion surplus is poised to attract criticism, however, both at home and internationally.

Germany is expected to set a €264 billion ($299 billion) trade surplus this year, far more than its closest export rivals Japan and the Netherlands, according to research published Monday by Munich-based economic research institute Ifo.

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GERMANY BLAMES TRUMP TARIFFS FOR DESTROYING ECONOMY — MINISTER IN FURIOUS RANT                                (headline in Daily Express; article by Paul Withers, 8/20)

“The US President has triggered a bitter trade war with the likes of Europe, China and Canada by imposing huge import tariffs on a number of goods, including steel and aluminum.

Trade war

He has accused them of unfair trade practices and insists the tariffs are aimed at protecting American jobs.

“Speaking to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier took aim at the US President, claiming consumers were taking the brunt of his import tariffs because they are driving up prices.

He said:   “This trade war is slowing down and destroying economic growth – and it creates new uncertainties.”

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A NUCLEAR GERMANY?

German bomb debate goes nuclear

The security community has become unnerved in the face of Donald Trump’s threats, and some are thinking the unthinkable.

“It’s crucial for Germany and Europe that we have a strategic debate”   — Ulrike Franke, analyst with the European Council on Foreign Relations

BERLIN — Imagine a nuclear-armed Germany (first line of article – (Matthew Karnitschnig, 8/6, Politico)

Headline in the Singapore Straits Times:  “Can Germany and Japan replace the United States?”

MEMORIES OF GHANA

Kumasi has been on my mind a great deal this week.

Ghana’s second city was called “the garden city” before independence in 1957.   It’s not very green now, but the city still has the biggest open air-market in west Africa and a number of attractions for visitors.   It remains the home of the Asantahene, the King of the Ashanti, one of the most powerful men in the Republic of Ghana.

Exactly forty years ago, my wife and I were visiting the city once a month. We pastored a church there, as well as one in Accra, the capital, where we lived.   One of the joys of visiting Kumasi was spending time with Charles and Comfort Akowuah.   At the time, Charles was the deacon of the local church. He had a huge chicken farm outside of Kumasi.   The Akowuahs had two children, Loma and Richard (also known as Yaw).   Our children and theirs would play together.

We first arrived in Ghana on May 27, 1978.   At the time, the country was going through some major problems.   The economy had collapsed with an inflation rate of 600%, the military was in power, a “palace coup” took place just a few weeks after we arrived, and a revolution took place a few months later.   It was difficult to buy anything in the stores.   We were in culture shock for a while after arriving.   Charles and Comfort were a great help.

At some point during our first five-year stay in Ghana, Charles was ordained an elder of the church.   We worked very closely in serving the Ghanaian people.   During that five years, the church grew considerably.

We maintained our friendship even after a split in the church in 1995, which affected just about every country in the world.   We had dinner with them on our last visit to Ghana.   Whenever we visited Kumasi, we would visit the restaurant they started over twenty years ago, “Friends Garden,” a popular, open-air meeting place right in the heart of Kumasi.   Conversations would always last late into the night.

Sadly, Charles died of cancer on Sunday.

Charles’ funeral will not take place until 20th October.   This will enable friends and relatives in the Ghanaian diaspora to get back to Kumasi for the traditional funeral rites.  Ghanaians have the best funerals in the world.   If I could be there, I would be, joining in the celebration of Charles’ life.   His son, Richard, will be there from the United States; sadly, their daughter died some years ago, from complications that arose from sickle cell anemia, the end of a life-long struggle.

Thank you, Charles, for some wonderful memories.   Comfort, keep the business going – we hope to pass through Kumasi again someday. Will red-red or fufu be on the menu?

Damfira due, dear friend . . .

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LONDON TERROR – INCIDENT OR ACCIDENT?

The road to Kumasi was always a challenge. It was exactly 168 miles from our home to the center of the city.   The journey could take anything from 4 to 6 hours, depending on traffic and weather, as well as the state of the road, which varied.   There were well-paved stretches of road, but there were also considerable distances of mud, where you could easily get bogged down, especially if it was raining.   The rain was always a tropical storm, a. positive deluge, which could quickly wash the road away.   There was no shelter, just thick rain forest on either side of the highway.

Sometime in 1982, during the rainy season, my American colleague and I, together with our son Kurt, who was only three, were driving back to Accra from Kumasi, after dark.   We had four church members in the back of our Landrover (jeep).   In the middle of a heavy storm, we had a major accident with a bus, full of passengers heading to the capital.   We were all under a deadline, as there was a curfew at 10pm.

Our vehicle was hit by the bus and completely turned around, as it spun into a stone wall, demolishing it, before coming to a halt.   I had grabbed hold of our son (there were no seat belts in those days).   He and I did not have any serious injuries; my colleague, Steve, had a cut on his head and at least one of our passengers was thrown out of the back of the vehicle.

Making things worse was the endless, heavy rain.

A vehicle stopped to help.   The driver, an Ethiopian working for an NGO, gave Kurt and I a ride to our home, about two hours away.   We arrived just before the curfew.   My colleague was not far behind.   Days later, I tried to find the driver of our rescue vehicle.   I had no success. To this day,   I wonder if we were rescued by “an angel unawares.”   (Hebrews 13:2)

In the weeks that followed, we had no vehicle.

It turned out that the bus driver was drunk and had been dancing in the aisle while driving in a heavy storm.   Theoretically, we could have gone to court and received compensation from the bus driver’s company to buy a new vehicle.   But it wasn’t that simple.

Our lawyer, a prominent Ghanaian, said it would be pointless going to court.   The local police were not co-operating and the judge and jury wouldn’t either. One reason was tribal affiliation.   People in Africa identify with their tribe, first and foremost.   As the people on the jury would be of the same tribe as the accused, who came from that area, the man would be found not guilty; so what was the point of going to court?

That’s how it was explained to me.

I was reminded of this a couple of days ago when watching Sky News.   There was a report about a terrorist attack in London, when a 29-year-old Muslim man from South Sudan deliberately ran his vehicle into a group of cyclists riding past London’s iconic parliament building.   The man was in London to obtain a British passport, having just been granted British citizenship.

Sky News questioned some of the man’s friends, all Muslims.   They were all in agreement, that the incident was just an accident, not a terrorist incident, that Muslims are always blamed for terrorist attacks, when no Muslim would ever do anything like that.

It reminded me of that accident almost 40 years ago.   Again, tribal affiliation makes policing virtually impossible.

Thanks to Acorn, a streaming service similar to Netflix, offering shows from the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, we have been able to watch a number of shows from England.   Crime shows, especially, portray the complexities caused by the reality of multicultural Britain, where everyday policing is made virtually impossible for the same reason it was pointless trying to have the drunk driver of the bus prosecuted following our near-death experience.

If the man is still alive, he is probably still driving buses in the pouring rain on difficult roads, dancing in the aisle while consuming lots of beer!

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AUSTRALIA AT 25

Sometime this week Australia’s population reached 25 million. Nobody knows exactly who is number 25 million – it’s more likely to be an immigrant arriving in the country than a new born baby; but 25 million is now the number.   Australia, in recent years, has been taking in 240,000 immigrants a year, compared to an average of 70,000 per annum in the twentieth century.

Prior to Gough Whitlam’s Labor administration (1972-75), Australia had a “white Australia” policy, in an attempt at preserving the country’s European culture.   At the time, most people were descended from the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples of the British Isles. Today, with declining birthrates in western Europe, most immigrants come from Asia and the Middle East, peoples of very different cultural backgrounds.

Eighty years ago, the big fear was of a Japanese invasion.   After World War II, there was great concern about the Chinese.   Neither invasion took place.   But a new generation of Australians is permitting a different invasion of their country.   The end result is likely to be that Australia will become an Asian republic, with all that implies.

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TRAINS AND REPTILES

This has been the last week before our grandchildren in Lansing return to school.   (The grandchildren in Indiana have been back for two weeks.)

I took Aubren on Wednesday for a day in Durand, a small town east of Lansing that has a railroad museum and remains a fairly busy train terminal, almost all freight.   This means you can sit and watch trains while eating lunch.   Aubren loves it and likes to play with the model train in the museum.   We were there for a few hours.   The man in charge at the museum said that they get many autistic children visiting.   For some reason, they love trains. He certainly felt at home there.

On Thursday, it was Leeson’s turn.   I took him to a big pet store to see all the snakes, lizards and spiders.   At first, he wanted me to buy a tarantula. He was inspired by a young lady who was standing next to us, checking out all the creepy-crawlies before buying one.   I saw no evidence that she was married, which is just as well.   I would also caution all single males to check out the girlfriend’s hobbies before contemplating marriage!

But, Leeson wasn’t so interested in tarantulas as he was in snakes. We ended up in the snake section (yes, there is one), where he asked the manager if he could hold a snake.   Yes, he could.   He chose the candy cane corn snake.

He held it for some time, offering me the opportunity to do so.   I declined, saying I needed to keep my hands free to take pictures for his mother.   My excuse worked!

Leeson is only five and asked the store manager, Jason, lots of very intelligent questions about snakes and how to take care of them.   He revealed that he already has a garter snake, which is hiding in the woodpile in our back yard.

In conversation, I told Jason I was watching PBS’ ‘The Outback,” on the previous evening.   Australia has more dangerous creatures than anywhere else on earth (and they still have 240,000 people settle there each year!).

Jason told me he had seen a documentary on Australia, where the American presenter commented on all these dangerous creatures and asked the Australian animal expert if there was anywhere in Australia that was safe.   The Australian responded with: “Yes, the classroom!”   Good point!

Through these two boys I’ve learned a lot about both trains and reptiles, far more than I ever wanted to know, in the case of the latter.

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COLORADO TRAGEDY

A young father in Colorado murdered his pregnant wife and two young daughters on Monday.   We’ve had similar tragedies in Michigan in recent years.

It seems that, today, parents (particularly the father or step-father) are the greatest danger children have to face.

It’s a national tragedy.   Why does this keep on happening?

Apparently, the couple was having financial problems and had had an argument that morning.   TV news reported from outside their home, which was a modern mansion.

Coincidentally, I checked a new book out of the library this week. The title is “Squeezed:   why our families can’t afford America,” by Alissa Quart.   According to a recent newspaper article, 70% of Americans are struggling financially.   They live paycheck to paycheck and are heavily in debt.   It starts with student loans, then a car loan and a mortgage and progresses downhill from there.

But, why does a small family like the one in Colorado, need such a big house?   A PBS documentary over twenty years ago showed that the average family home in the 50’s and 60s was 1,100 square feet, with a garage for one car.   Forty years later, the average new home was 2,000 square feet, with a 2½ car garage, usually used for storage.     Now, it’s even worse.   The title of the documentary was “Affluenza,” highlighting a disease that too many people suffer from.   We need bigger and bigger homes to store more and more things!   And it’s all built on debt.   Where’s the sense in it?

The stress that it all leads to is causing irreparable damage to families, including divorce and violence.

We don’t know yet why the man in Colorado flipped and killed those he, at one time, loved.

There’s never been a greater need than there is now for God to fulfill the last two verses of the Old Testament, a promise to “turn the hearts of the fathers to their children,” prior to Christ’s Second Coming.

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.”   (Malachi 4:5-6)

I find it unfathomable that a husband and father can do what this young man did in Colorado.   A father’s role includes protecting his wife and children. Instead, today, too often the husband and father represent the greatest threat to the safety and security of everybody in the household.

Of course, we have, in the last few decades destroyed the family in many ways, including totally upending God’s financial system.   In the past, parents had to have children, partly so they could take over the family farm as they got older and could then provide for them in old age. Now we have social security.   It’s taken away the “need” for children, who are now disposable.

How much worse is it going to get?

RESTORE FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Ed Murrow, the famous CBS reporter who broadcast nightly to the US from the London Blitz, wrote that the most remarkable fact of the war was that Britain kept its basic freedoms even in the face of defeat.   This included freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Both have been increasingly restricted in recent decades, not just in the United Kingdom, but in other western democracies.  Political correctness, together with new laws, have made it difficult for people to express themselves on issues that did not exist before the era of mass immigration and multiculturalism.

Boris Johnson’s comment this week about the burqa being like a “letter box” led to a round of condemnation, until an opinion poll showed he had the support of 60% of the British people, who support a ban on burqas.   At least half a dozen European countries have already imposed a ban on wearing a burqa in public.

The BBC’s John Simpson, reported from Afghanistan shortly after 9-11.   At the time the country was ruled by the Taliban.   The only way he and a colleague could get into the country was by wearing a burqa.   As deeply religious “women”, soldiers and police would not touch them.   They safely returned with excellent coverage on the state of the country, immediately prior to the US led invasion.

Mr. Simpson, without realizing it, showed the security risk posed by people in burqas.   It’s no wonder that 60% of British people want them banned.   And it’s not just security that is compromised by the wearing of the burqa.   Wearing the garment is a constant statement that the wearer has no intention of ever being assimilated into western society, any western society.

It’s likely that Mr. Johnson’s comment was not an error on his part.   He knew what he was saying.   Mr Johnson, a populist, is now leading the charge in defending traditional British values (freedom of speech) against the dictatorship of political correctness, enforced on the population by the liberal-leftist elite.

The liberal elite have only themselves to blame.   They are the ones who have forced multiculturalism on the English English, those who have lived in the country for generations, even centuries; it was forced on them against their will and without any vote by the people, who have seen their country hijacked since World War II.

The liberal elite are not going to give up easily, as we have seen by their under-handed efforts to stop Brexit, eager to overturn the will of the majority to pursue their own globalist dream, which would, in time, wipe out England and all its traditional values.   But their role, similar to that of the “thought police” in George Orwell’s “1984”, needs to end.   The British people need to be free to express themselves on any issue, without the fear of punishment or denigration.

Other prominent people, leaders in the community, need to show support for Mr. Johnson.   One famous person did, today.   His name is Rowan Atkinson, but he’s better known around the world as Mr. Bean or Black Adder.   He’s been making fun of religious beliefs, without prejudice, for decades.   He clearly sees the threat if you can’t describe the burqa as a “letter box.”   Good for you, Mr. Bean!

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Viktor Orban:   The new EU leadership should punish those who let millions of migrants into Europe, by VOICE OF EUROPE, 28 July 2018

“Viktor Orban, Hungary’s Prime Minister, says a new European Commission is needed with a new approach to migration policy, stating that the days of the current EU executive are “numbered” with its mandate expiring next May, Reuters reports.

“He made the comments Friday to state radio and said the next Commission should not punish countries that protect their borders from migrants.   Orban added that the new EU leadership should punish those who let millions of migrants into Europe in violation of the EU’s rules.

“The Hungarian Prime Minister is one of the strongest opponents of the EU’s migration policy.   The European Commission has stepped up a legal battle with Hungary over EU migration rules, claiming a new Hungarian law, criminalising support for asylum seekers, is illegal.

“Orban’s response is that the Commission’s decision was insignificant as its mandate is running out:   “We need a new Commission … with a new approach.”

“European Parliamentary elections will be in May 2019.   Orban’s nationalist Fidesz party polls strongly in the lead after a landslide win in the national election in April, re-elected for a third consecutive term.”

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CANADA’S AMBASSADOR TO SAUDI ARABIA EXPELLED

“Saudi Arabia has given the Canadian ambassador to the kingdom 24 hours to leave after Ottawa criticised the arrest of women’s rights activists in the ultra-conservative country.   The Saudi foreign ministry also said it was freezing “all new business” between the two states.”  (Independent, 8/6) 

Note the following from today’s MEMRI (“The Middle East Media Research Institute”) (#7617):

“Canada’s crude stance on social issues in the [Saudi] kingdom is not new – rather, it has been ongoing for years, despite Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic attempts to act flexibly towards [this stance].   Canada’s actions are nothing but systematic and planned aggression that goes far beyond support for human rights or freedoms and constitutes an attempt to take over and to impose the values of the Canadian left.

“As the racist Canadian government sheds leftist crocodile tears over freedoms, it disregards the true suppression that it [itself] implements against Canada’s original inhabitants.”

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IRAN:   “It’s Trump, Netanyahu and Saudi prince who are ‘isolated,’ not us”

“Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday that the leaders of the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel were isolated in their hostility to Iran.

“Today, the entire world has declared they are not in line with US policies against Iran,” Zarif said in a speech, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency. (“The times of Israel”, 8/6)

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HAMAS CONTINUES DESTRUCTION OF LAND IN ISRAEL

Hamas Counts Rewards for Successful anti-Israel Terror Campaign, DEBKAfile Exclusive Report (8/10)

Hamas has burned to a cinder more than 35,000 dunams of flourishing Israeli land – half the area of Tel Aviv, the whole of Beersheba – since March 31.   But if the Palestinian terrorist rulers of Gaza walk off with the $650m aid package the UN, Egypt and Qatar are offering for a long-range truce accord with Israel – with applause from Washington – they will win the biggest prize ever awarded a serial arsonist.   Only a fraction of the billions of dollars of aid poured into Gaza since Hamas seized power 11 years ago ever reached the population; the lion’s share was grabbed by Hamas’ terrorist wing for funding for “resistance, i.e. violence against Israel.   Its arson campaign of incendiary kites and exploding balloons has been so successful that Hamas is being showered with perks, including the lifting of the Israeli and Egyptian blockades on Gaza, without having to reciprocate by, for example, dismantling its military (terror) arm and rocket arsenal, or even handing over the remains of the Israeli soldiers and hostages.

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Hamas launched multiple assault on Gaza-Israeli border amid truce talks

Friday saw a record 30 fires caused by Palestinian balloons from the Gaza Strip and mass riots pushing against the fence, while hurling fire bombs at Israeli troops.   A gang broke through and sabotaged IDF equipment before fleeing back.   The outbreak was quelled only after Israeli forces used tear gas, which left 80 rioters injured and one dead and a tank gun fired at a Hamas position.   Read DEBKA file’s Exclusive Analysis.

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Africans take Germany to court in New York over ‘forgotten genocide’  – July 31, 2018 * USA Today

After people from the Herero and Nama tribes launched a rebellion in 1904 against German colonial settlers in South West Africa, German General Lothar von Trotha issued a written extermination order, saying:  “Within the German borders, every Herero, with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot.”

For the last six decades, Germany has atoned and compensated for its historical role in the Holocaust of World War II, paying out an estimated $70 billion to survivors since 1952.   However, a group of determined activists from Namibia has been fighting for recognition of the extermination of their ancestors by the German government in what has been termed the first genocide of the 20th century.

Though often overshadowed by the subsequent Nazi crimes of World War II, Germany’s colonial-era atrocities have recently been put under the spotlight.   Between the 19th and 20th centuries, Imperial Germany administered several parts of Africa including modern-day Togo, Cameroon and Tanzania.   What was then known as German South West Africa (today’s Namibia) is where some of the darkest chapters of Germany’s colonial rule unfolded.   In October 1904, after people from the Herero and Nama tribes launched a rebellion against German colonial settlers in South West Africa, German General Lothar von Trotha issued a written extermination order, saying: “Within the German borders, every Herero, with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot.”  The edict goes on to clarify that women and children would not be spared.  Tens of thousands of Herero and Nama were starved to death in concentration camps in the desert or were massacred between the years of 1904-1908.   It has been estimated that 80 percent of the Herero and Nama people were wiped out in the atrocities.

On July 31, representatives of the Nama and Herero people will descend on New York Southern District Court to see if their quest for retrospective justice will be successful.   In pursuing their case, the Namibians have invoked the Alien Tort Statute, which allows for non-US residents to make a claim in a US court for international law violations.

They call for a full, formal apology from the German government, and reparations that could stretch into the billions.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/07/31/africans-take-germany-court-new-york-over-forgotten-genocide/877191002/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAMILY REUNIONS

We had all nine grandchildren in the house last week, Monday through Friday.   Hence, the lack of a blog post a week ago.   Visits to the grocery store were frequent, as was taking them places.   There was no time to write, or even watch the news.

After our mini-family reunion, I really hope they will want to see each other after my wife and I are no longer around to host the gathering.   I’m sure they will!

I was struck (again) by how much louder the five younger ones, all boys, were, than their four older female sisters and cousins.   Noise, noise, noise!   Can’t boys do anything quietly?   Clearly not.

I found myself walking through the daily debris silently reminding myself that “children are a blessing!”  They certainly are and I’m already looking forward to when we can all be together again.

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THEN AND NOW

When everybody was gone, I started reading Boris Johnson’s “The Churchill Factor:   How one man made history.”

You may have heard of Boris Johnson.   He’s sometimes been described as “Britain’s Donald Trump.”   On his recent visit to England, Trump expressed the opinion that Boris would make “a great prime minister.”   A poll earlier this week showed him to be the favorite to succeed Theresa May.   Donald Trump and Boris Johnson have known each other for some time and are good friends.

Boris served two terms as a very successful Mayor of London.   More recently, he was Britain’s Foreign Secretary, the equivalent of Secretary of State.

He resigned a few weeks ago over Brexit.   His objection, supported by many, is that Mrs. May, the Prime Minister, seems to want to compromise with the European Union.   This would not deliver the Brexit (total independence) from the EU that was promised after the referendum over two years ago.   There is still no agreement between the UK and the EU over future trade.   Boris Johnson’s point is that the United Kingdom doesn’t need one – that new trade deals can be signed after breaking away from Brussels.   Have faith – it will all work out.

I must admit to sympathy with his stance.   Get out quick.   Don’t hesitate.

His book on Churchill was written a few years ago and published in 2014.   I’m now reading chapter 17 (there are 23 chapters).   The chapter is titled “The Wooing of America” and details Churchill’s relationship with Franklin Roosevelt.   His single-minded mission was to bring the United States into the war against Hitler.   At their first wartime meeting, the two leaders were concerned that Hitler had recently invaded Russia.   But Churchill knew that after Russia, he would come after Britain; and that if Britain fell and Hitler sank the Royal Navy, America would be next.   The whole world would very quickly descend into the barbarism of fascism.

A lot was at stake when they met in Newfoundland on August 10th, 1941.   This was the handshake that was to change the history of the twentieth century.

“As he stretches out that elegant white hand he knows he is reaching for his only lifeline; and yet there is nothing about him to convey the gloom of his position.   On the contrary, his face is suddenly wreathed in smiles, babyish, irresistible.

“Roosevelt smiles back; they grip hands, for ages, each reluctant to be the first to let go, and for the next two days Churchill maintains his schmoozathon.   We don’t know exactly what they say to each other at the first such Atlantic conference — the direct ancestor of NATO; but we know that Churchill lays it on thick.   His mission is to build up a sense of common destiny; to work with the grain of Roosevelt’s natural instincts, and to turn the USA from distant sympathizers into full-blown allies in bloodshed.” (page 235)

This was a family reunion, only the second time a President of the United States had shaken the hand of a British prime minister in office.   160 years after Yorktown.   160 years after the United States had separated itself from the rest of the English speaking world.   Now the two branches of the Anglo-Saxon world (the two sons of Joseph) were to be united in a common purpose.  They met in Canada, the oldest Dominion of the  British Empire, a nation founded by Loyalists at the end of the Revolutionary War.  The alliance that was forming  has remained the foundation of global peace and order for 77 years.

As I read Johnson’s book, I could see parallels with today.   There’s no fighting this time (not yet, anyway), but once again Britain is trying to free itself from European despotism, as it has so often in history.   There are those, like the current prime minister, who want to compromise; but others, like Boris Johnson, who are in a Churchillian mood, wanting to raise two fingers to the German-dominated EU (the two fingers were “V for Victory” in WWII, but, reversed, they have another meaning in England, which you will have to Google!)

History may repeat itself.

Confidence in Mrs. May is waning.  The Opposition Labour Party is scandalizing Britain with its anti-semitism.   The smaller parties are not credible.   An internal coup in the Conservative Party could replace Mrs. May with Boris Johnson, just as Chamberlain was replaced with Winston Churchill.

There’s another analogy.

Mr. Trump repeated a commitment to Mrs. May that the US will offer a free trade deal to the United Kingdom when Britain leaves the EU.   (EU rules mean that no deal can be signed until D-Day on 29th March next year; D for Departure!)    American farmers, losing markets in the current trade dispute with the EU, will benefit from a new trade deal with the UK; Britain will benefit with plentiful supplies of cheap food.

Once again, the New World may come to the aid of the Old.

Once again, a family reunion could make a big difference in the world.

There’s another lesson from Churchill’s meeting with FDR.   After the historic meeting of president and prime minister, there was a “divine service” on the Sunday morning.   Sailors of the two nations sang hymns together – “chosen by Churchill – that express that single heritage:   two broadly Protestant nations bound together against a vile and above all a pagan regime.”   (pages 235-6)

This was just a few weeks after the National Day of Prayer called by King George VI during Dunkirk.

At such a critical time, today’s leaders should follow the example of their predecessors and ask God for divine help through a very challenging time.

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BEWARE OF CHINESE TIES

Britain is keen for a sweet deal with China after Brexit – but watch out for Beijing’s ‘debt-trap diplomacy’, says Michael Auslin.   For decades we’ve heard dire warnings about China’s growing military power, but these doom-mongers have missed the point.   China isn’t on the war path.   Where old empires would start by invading, it starts by trading.   Only when an economy has become dependent on trade does Beijing begin to demand more, with the aim of creating an ever-expanding ‘Greater China’ in its near abroad.   (Freddy Gray, The Spectator, 8/2)

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FARMERS IN CRISIS

There’s increasing talk of land redistribution in South Africa, the wealthiest nation on the African continent.   It’s been almost a quarter of a century since the end of apartheid, a period in which few black South Africans have seen any benefits.   A wealthy elite has been created through corruption at the highest level, but little has been done to help the average person.

Neighboring Zimbabwe confiscated land from white farmers at the turn of this century.   The result was mass starvation, the collapse of the currency and economic chaos.

The European farmers who colonized southern Africa in the nineteenth century brought a great deal of development to the region.   Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) was the ‘breadbasket of Africa;” now, after almost forty years of independence, it’s the “basket case of Africa.”   The white farmers who once dominated Rhodesia were “commercial farmers,” similar to their American and Canadian counter-parts. African farmers are “subsistence” farmers, who just grow enough food for their own families.   This is a major cultural difference the world does not understand.   Confiscating white farmland can only have one consequence – a dramatic drop in food production (Zimbabwe saw a 90% drop, with a consequent famine).

Farmers in South Africa are being murdered at an alarming rate.   Many have chosen to leave the country.   Western Australia is one area that is attracting them.   Other parts of Africa are offering the farmers 99-year leases to boost their own agricultural production. Even Russia is encouraging them to relocate.

Other farmers from Europe moved to North America, Australia and New Zealand in the nineteenth century.   These commercial farmers produce a disproportionate percentage of the world’s food.   Higher tariffs on agricultural produce could affect this, along with changes in the weather and massive fires that seem to be a permanent fixture of our landscape.   All of these threaten today’s farmers.

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AFRICAN ELECTION

Zimbabwe’s woes never seem to end.   The “first free election” held at the weekend, has been followed by riots and violence as the losing party claims to have won.   It’s not possible to determine who really won, but after 38 years, ZANU-PF is still in power.   Most people will not be surprised.

Prior to Zimbabwe, Rhodesia had elections for decades without any violence.   Zimbabwe has not been able to achieve that.   As is the case elsewhere in Africa, tribalism and corruption have led to democracy being compromised.   Zimbabwe’s first leader, Robert Mugabe, was in power for almost 38 years, leading a very corrupt regime.

It’s doubtful there will be any significant change.

 

"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened." — Sir Winston Churchill