BACK TO REALITY

The November 2, 1917 declaration by then British foreign minister Arthur Balfour said his government viewed “with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”. Photograph: (AFP)

We’re back from Indianapolis after delivering one of our cats to our daughter and family.   We stayed three nights, to see the family and for the cat to get adjusted to her new situation.

I offered to go get some cat food, but our daughter and granddaughters would not allow me near the pet food aisle after my last blog!

I don’t know what it is but whenever I visit them I go into “vacation mode” – I don’t feel like doing anything. I just want to relax.  This is not fair to them.   We help take care of three (sometimes, five) grandchildren in Lansing; then have four when we visit Indy.

Our family Sunday ended up being a day in front of the television with our granddaughters who introduced us to the British series “Father Brown,” available on Netflix. It was actually quite good, though some things did irritate me.   For example, whenever the priest prayed in Latin, the closed-caption subtitles simply said: “Prays in a foreign language.”   Don’t most people know that Latin has been the lingua franca of the Catholic church for almost 2,000 years?

Family members are all trying to be healthier, which meant no junk in the house.   If I had remembered that, I would have taken some goodies to nibble between meals.  I was so hungry, at one point I called our daughter in Lansing and said:   “Can you come down immediately and bring some food?” I was just being humorous – it’s a 4+ hour drive; and I could have gone to a local grocery store if I thought I might expire.

Mike, our son-in-law, is a very good cook and the food was excellent.   I decided to join the healthy eating and then continue it at home, which is what I’m now doing.   I feel better already.   I’ve had no indigestion for a week and feel more energetic.  The dog food last week probably helped.

It was really nice to have a break from everything, including world news.

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BACK TO MORE REALITY

The terror attack in New York on Tuesday is a reminder of the constant threat to our lives that emanates from radical Islam.   It’s also a constant reminder of how hopeless our governments are – they keep letting in Muslims en masse, trying to claim that “Islam is a peaceful religion that has been hijacked by extremists.”

Trump called immediately for Congress to abolish the Diversity Visa Waiver program.  This is a lottery that enables 50,000 people a year from usually poor and backward countries to enter the United States.  They may then sponsor their relatives and friends to enter the US.   Tuesday’s murderer brought in 23 over 15 years.   Most of these people go straight to the bottom of our economic ladder, competing for jobs with low income Americans.

(Do the math. If one man brought in 23, multiply 50,000 x 23 = 1, 150,000 people per year.   That’s in addition to the one million plus who get a visa the normal way.)

President Trump immediately called on Congress to change the law.   That’s commendable.   The law needs to be changed.   But, then, why didn’t he react the same after the Las Vegas mass shooting?   Changes to the law are desperately needed.

It’s been over twenty years since the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, Australia.   35 people were killed in a little over half an hour.   The conservative prime minister, John Howard, immediately called on parliament to pass tough controls on assault weapons.

“Twelve days after the Port Arthur massacre, the Australian prime minister, John Howard, announced a sweeping package of gun reforms in a country where firearms had long been considered an essential prop in the national mythology of life in the bush.

“At that stage the gun lobby was the ruling lobby in Australia,” says Philip Alpers, associate professor at the University of Sydney.  “What happened at Port Arthur is that they were outpaced, outflanked and outwitted by a man who had the power to move in 12 remarkable days.”

“Tim Fischer was leader of the National party and Howard’s deputy prime minister in the Coalition government, charged with persuading skeptical country voters to support, or at least accept, reforms.  “Port Arthur was our Sandy Hook,” he says.   “Port Arthur we acted on.  The USA is not prepared to act on their tragedies.”   (The Guardian 14th March 2016).

The Sandy Hook massacre of kindergarten children took place on December 14th, 2012.   Congress did not pass any laws following the deaths of 26 people, including 19 children.   If the country could not make any changes after the deaths of so many young children, it’s doubtful they will ever come.

President Trump and others reacted to the Las Vegas shootings by saying, “Now is not the time to discuss gun control.”

Then, when will it be the time?   Immigration policies make the situation worse – the killer at Virginia Tech ten years ago was from South Korea.   The Boston Marathon killings were also the work of new arrivals.

Changes can be made without encroaching on the Second Amendment, which says:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Today, the US definitely has a “well regulated militia,” so America’s needs have changed.   At the same time, people do have a right to defend themselves.   There’s a balance. It’s time for a national debate.

On the highly successful Australian TV show, “Janet King,” Janet, a senior employee of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS; sometimes referred to as “Crownies”), is appointed by the country’s Governor-General to head a royal commission into gun violence.   It’s time the United States had a presidential commission to look into mass casualty gun violence, with the remit that it report back to the president and the public within twelve months, making recommendations to effectively reduce gun violence.

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NEW ZEALAND MAKES THE NEWS

Before we leave the Antipodes, New Zealand has a new, radical prime minister.

Jacinda Ardern is only 37 and the third female leader of the country. She wants to restrict immigration into New Zealand – one of her first acts was to ban the sale of homes to people living outside of the country.   She is a left-wing republican, meaning she would like to end NZ’s relationship with the Crown thereby giving greater power to the politicians, of which she is the chief!   Interestingly, she is also a former Mormon who has strong views on churches that encourage families to shun former believers like herself; she left the church over its anti-homosexual stance.

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QUOTE: “President Xi (of China) believes that America is in steep decline and China rising in a power game that will define our century” (Carrie Gracie, China Editor, BBC News, 11/2).   President Trump is about to visit China.

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CENTENARIES

Today, November 2nd, is the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.   Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in London to commemorate the celebration, boycotted by the anti-semitic socialist Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn.

The famous Balfour Declaration was announced in the middle of World War I by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, at a time when Great Britain was the dominant power in the world. It committed His Majesty’s Government to establish in Palestine a home for the Jewish people.   It was one of the most important documents of the twentieth century and a major fulfillment of Bible prophecy. It led directly to the establishment of a Jewish nation in the Middle East, the country now called Israel.

An independent Jewish nation had not been in existence since Roman times.   The Roman Jewish province of Judea rebelled against Rome in 66 AD. The Romans crushed the Jewish Revolt in 70 AD, destroying much of Jerusalem in the process.   The Jews rebelled again from 132 AD-135 AD.   Once again, the Romans crushed the revolt.   This time, the Jews dispersed to other parts of the Roman Empire and beyond.   For almost two millennia, they did not have their own country.   But scriptures made it clear that the Jews would be back in their homeland, called Judah in the Bible (the Jews were only one of the twelve tribes of Israel).

Zechariah was a prophet 2,500 years ago.   His Old Testament book is a Millennial prophecy about the Second Coming of the Messiah. Judah figures quite prominently in events at the time immediately prior to Christ’s Return.

Note Zechariah 12:2-3 – “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.  And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.”

And Zechariah 14:2-4 – “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

“Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.

“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”

The last verse is clearly still in the future.   Jerusalem, Judah, revived after almost 2,000 years is once again a central point of geographical contention, with neighboring nations and tribes wanting to destroy the country.   As if perpetually drunk, they desperately try to destroy her, so far not succeeding.

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RUSSIAN REVOLUTION

Five days after the Balfour Declaration, Russia had a second revolution.   Earlier in the year, the Czarist regime had fallen and was replaced by a parliamentary system.   Elections were scheduled for later in the year.   Two weeks before the election, the Bolsheviks (communists) staged a coup on November 7th that overthrew the interim government of Alexander Kerensky.   They proclaimed the world’s first communist state.   It brought seven decades of misery to the country, with despotic leaders that made the czars look like Sunday school teachers.   Communism has gone, but the country remains a dictatorship, though claiming to be a democracy.

The Bolshevik Revolution was the second revolution of 1917; there was an earlier revolution in 1905, which led to the establishment of the Duma (parliament) but still left the czar with ultimate power and authority.   Russia’s parliament today is also called the Duma and is the people’s assembly.   However, some would say that Vladimir Putin is a new Czar, with all the power and authority.

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500th ANNIVERSARY OF PROTESTANT REFORMATION

Tuesday was the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg church in Germany.   We should all be thankful to Martin Luther.   He had the courage to stand up to the Church of Rome, ending the monopoly the Church had in western Europe.   All churches today owe their freedom to Luther.

I watched a two-hour documentary on PBS recently about Martin Luther and the Reformation.   He is considered the greatest theologian of all time, due to the fact that he wrote more books and articles on the Bible than anybody else. He also translated the scriptures into German.

Later in life, asked to sum up his writings, he replied: “God forgives.” That was of paramount importance to Luther, who struggled all his life with sin, as we all do.   Hearing that, I thought about all the churches that have come out of Luther, directly or indirectly.   Many have one thing in common – they can’t forgive.   How ironic.

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VISIT TO NOAH’S ARK

Earlier in the month, we were in Cincinnati, Ohio.   A group of us, including four of our grandchildren, took the opportunity to visit Noah’s Ark, which is just over the state line in Kentucky.   It’s well worth a visit, if only to get a better idea of the size of the original ark. This replica is built according to biblical specifications.

I’m very thankful that the enterprising Australian behind this project was inspired to build the Ark (and the Creation Museum nearby). More and more people are biblically illiterate, so it’s good that somebody has kept the story alive.   I found the wall plaques explaining everything interesting, but I do not agree with his theory that the earth is only 6,000 years old.

We had been told to allow three hours for our visit. With two 5-year-old twin boys, we went through quite quickly, in exactly two hours.  We left early — because it was raining!!!

The following evening we had a group of Barbadians over for dinner. Wonderful people.   They had actually come from Barbados to visit the Ark.   They are also Young Earthers, believing in the 6,000 years.   We agreed to disagree and still remain friends.  That’s the way it should be.

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FINALLY

I’ve been asked why I quote so often from the Daily Express and Daily Mail newspapers, two Conservative British tabloids.

The answer is quite simple: they have the best web sites.   Check them out sometime.

The Guardian and Independent, more intellectual papers, are constantly asking for money whenever I check their sites; whereas the Times, the Telegraph and the Financial Times make very little available.

The biggest problem with the two papers I use is that they often sensationalize news items.

I will try to find alternative sources, but, realistically I will have to use them occasionally as I don’t have the funds to pay for subscriptions to the more highbrow papers; and they have to request money as they have smaller circulations.

(This blog is a fully independent blog that has no connection to any church or secular organization. It was started to keep people informed on international affairs in light of the scriptures.   Financial support comes from myself and readers who graciously donate to help cover costs.) 

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4 thoughts on “BACK TO REALITY”

  1. America will never implement the sort of gun control you speak of because we believe in principle, not myopic pragmatism. We don’t punish a person for the crimes of another, which is all that gun bans amount to. To take away one man’s things because another used similar things to commit a crime is to punish the first man for the crimes of the second man. It is ungodly to do so.

    Another reason it will never happen– can you define what an “assault weapon” is in legal terms? Most people who propose these sorts of laws haven’t a clue what they’re talking about.

    America’s biggest mass shooting still had fewer casualties than the truck terror attack in France (which by the way, could have easily been stopped by one person on the scene armed with a pistol) and far and away fewer than the mass murder at the Paris theater.

    The US has nothing like a well regulated militia. We have a very large, effective standing army, but the militia is ignored. N.B. the national guard is not a militia. It is a part of the standing army.

  2. I’m in full agreement in relation to finding good news sources. They are far and few these days. I also suggest putting Zerohedge in your favorites along with earthquaketrack.com

    The 500th anniversary of the 95 thesis was certainly an interesting event to be alive to observe. I’m in the process of reading a new book on Martin Luther, the movie Luther is extremely good and well worth the time. It is both accurate and the casting choices were excellent. He certainly turned dark during the end of his life, his booklet on the Jews and their Lies is worth reading and is readily available online. When you read it you quickly recognize that it was the foundation for Germany’s plan for the “Jewish Problem” centuries later.

    When it comes to guns……the way I feel about it is that a gun is just and object, a thing. I own several and my neighbors are perfectly safe because I don’t have a spirit of murder in my mind. Down in Africa they do a pretty good job hacking each other apart with simple machetes.

    Andy

  3. I’ve been a fan of Father Brown since it first aired on television four years ago now. It was a regular Saturday night ritual I looked forward to sharing with my mother figuring out whodunit whilst indulging in a snack or two. Light fare, true, but for me, the hopeless nostalgic that I am, it harks back to my carefree childhood and romantic notions of what I conceive was a more idyllic time when life moved at a slower pace and there was more of a consensus within our society and culture, and represented by our media and entertainment, that was firmly rooted in the Christian ethos. Incidentally, I rarely watch a TV show or movie without subtitles nowadays to avoid the risk of mishearing what was said or who was spoken about and thus miss something crucial to the plot. And, by coincidence, having recorded the latest season of this series direct from TV a while ago I watched an episode (S05E10) just the other night. But, unlike your dissatisfactory experience, I was pleasantly surprised the closed captions clearly noted the words Father Brown, in one scene, whispered over a dead student: “Requiescat in pace. In nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti. Amen.” Perhaps, therefore, it’s more a reflection of the quality of the captioning company used by the streaming service, in this case Netflix, that the transcription was mediocre in summarily describing he was praying in a foreign language and failing, at least, to even note what language he was praying in.

    Also, if I may point out a mathematical error in your post concerning the number of people that migrate to the US via the Diversity Visa Waiver program. You stated the DVW “is a lottery that enables 50,000 people a year…to enter the United States. They may then sponsor their relatives and friends to enter the US. Tuesday’s murderer brought in 23 over 15 years…(Do the math. If one man brought in 23, multiply 50,000 x 23 = 1,150,000 people per year. That’s in addition to the one million plus who get a visa the normal way.)” Now math has never been my forte, Melvin, and I might be proving the point with my calculations. But, if I’m not wrong the figure of 1,150,000 people per year is incorrect. To make it easy, I looked at a fifteen year period. Each year over this period 50,000 immigrants would arrive through the DVW program. Each of these immigrants would in turn sponsor the arrival of just one person each year since the year of their entrance into the US. Thus, in the first year 50,000 would enter the US. The second year 100,000. In the third year 150,000. This sum would continue to increase by 50,000 each year until by the fifteenth year 750,000 people would enter the country through the DVW program and its sponsored immigrants. In total over the fifteen year period 6 million would have entered the country, which means an average of 400,000 people entering the country per year not 1,150,000 per year. Please do correct me if my figures are way off-base, however.

    Finally, I must concur with Rob and Andy’s sentiments concerning the never-ending debate over gun control in the US. With the recent church shooting in Texas it’s positive to note that the deranged killer was confronted, shot and injured by Stephen Willeford who, having been told by his daughter she saw “a man clad in black opening fire at the First Baptist Church,” was prompted to pick up his rifle and investigate the shots. He definitely proved true the saying, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” At present, I hold the view that either everyone should have the right and freedom to own a gun or no one should. And since we don’t live in a utopia it’s unrealistic, unfair and undemocratic to limit this right to only a select few in society, such as law enforcement, while depriving the vast majority of law-abiding citizens of the same. The issue always has been and always will be, in my opinion, the character of the person holding the weapon be it a gun, knife, rock or stick. If the nature of the person, especially if they profess to be a Christ-follower, is to resort to violence rather than peaceful means to solve a problem then, I’m sorry, but that person has a skewered moral compass. And to assert it’s the weapon used that is at fault is to argue from a fallacy not unlike American journalist, L.J. Steffens’ oft-quoted argument that the blame for “original sin” lay not with Adam, Eve or the devil, but with the apple! This doctrine is a denial of personal responsibility and absolves the guilty actions of the offender by shifting the blame from the culprit responsible to the instrument wielded in the execution of his crime, and by extension, his environment. It’s akin to blaming God for the situation and all the world’s evils.

  4. A brief comment concerning the gun control issue. From my perspective, it should be ?? “common”?? sense that citizens should not be allowed to own machine guns (which I believe is already the case), automatic, semi-automatic, or assault weapons.

    A law should be passed that anyone found owning such should be SEVERELY punished and probably put in prison.

    I understand the reality of how some rifles can be modified and be made to be automatic. Again, anyone doing this should be imprisoned.

    There will always be “nuts”, mentally disturbed, evil people. Society can do a much better job in handling them. The gun control issue should be, how do we keep evil, mentally disturbed people from having assault weapons where they can kill 50 people in 5 minutes or less.

    In other words, how do we REDUCE the frequency of such acts. This side of Christ’s coming, we will never eliminate this.

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