Angela Merkel told supporters they had achieved “something fantastic” (AFP)
First Brexit, then Trump, now the AfD (Alternative for Deutschland). Sunday’s German election was the third electoral upheaval in a western country since June last year when the Brexit vote showed a majority of Brits wanted to leave the EU.
Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union received 33% of the vote, which still puts her ahead to form a coalition government with two smaller parties. Her party received one million votes less than last time. The Social Democrats got half a million less votes. These have been the two dominant parties through Germany’s postwar history. The CDU’s more conservative sister party in Bavaria, the Christian Social Union, saw a drop of over 10% in support since the 2013 election.
The third biggest party, with 13.2% of the vote, was the AfD, giving them seats in the Bundestag for the first time. The party is considered extreme right-wing and has even been described as a “neo-Nazi” party. It’s anti-Islam, anti-immigrant and anti-euro. It could grow in power and influence as Germany is increasingly threatened by Islamic extremists, let in by Mrs. Merkel two years ago. She will be blamed for terrorist attacks and every other problem created by the Muslims. Mrs. Merkel stands by her decision, yet also says the CDU will win back the voters they lost to the AfD.
The CSU’s late leader, Franz Josef Strauss, once warned that Germany must never have a party to the right of his. It’s now happened. The CSU is expected to quickly move to the right politically before the state election a year from now.
If she can put together a coalition with the Free Democrats (liberals) and the Greens (left-of-center), she will command a majority of seats in parliament. If she is able to continue the coalition with the Social Democrats (socialists), the AfD will be the opposition party in parliament, giving them greater public exposure, enabling them to pose a greater threat next time there’s a general election.
Mrs. Merkel is the world’s most powerful woman and the leader of Europe’s most powerful country. This election is going to have a ripple effect throughout the EU and even the rest of the world, as the EU is the world’s biggest trading bloc.
It’s certainly going to impact Brexit negotiations with the United Kingdom, partly because the British lack the self-confidence to truly go-it-alone. Mrs. May addressed EU leaders in Florence a few days ago and was bending over backwards to accommodate their demands. One of her proposals was for a two year transition period, which would mean that the UK would not fully leave the EU until 2021. That’s not what voters had in mind when they voted on Brexit.
The pro-Brexit leader Nigel Farage described Mrs. May’s proposal as a victory for Goldman Sachs and other international corporations – certainly not one for the British people.
Monday’s Daily Express warned: “FEARS of a new Franco-German plot to sabotage Brexit and keep Britain tied to Brussels for ever have emerged.” President Macron of France has proposed some revisions to the EU treaties to keep Britain in and stop others from leaving.
Just as the people in the UK are not going to get what they want, Americans find themselves in a similar situation. President Trump seems unable to deliver on his promises – to end Muslim immigration, to build a wall on the southern border, to abolish Obamacare, to withdraw from Afghanistan.
The people voted in support of these, just as the British people voted for Brexit.
If they cannot get their countries back through the ballot box, they may take more desperate measures.
Mrs. Merkel has promised to address the concerns of the German people, including those who voted AfD, whom she wants back in the CDU by the next election. But again, it’s doubtful anything will be done about immigration. It seems to be an issue western leaders cannot handle.
Bible prophecy shows that the Middle East and Europe will be central to the fulfillment of the final end-time events. Right now, Europe is at the forefront, with developments that will lead to a continental upheaval resulting in the revived Roman Empire, a new arrangement that will up-end the Treaty of Rome, which was itself an attempt at a European revival based on the Roman Empire.
But the man who led the Brexit campaign sees clearly the growing threat from the German dominated EU, just as Churchill warned of the growing threat from Hitler’s Germany. Most British people remain clueless. In fact, almost 50% of the electorate would gladly be subservient to Berlin, including former prime ministers, Tony Blair and John Major.
Earlier this week the President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, gave his State of the Union speech to the European parliament. Amongst other things, he called for a strong European president with extensive powers, a strong finance minister with dictatorial powers over all 27-member nations, a stronger united military and a more aggressive foreign policy; all of this to begin immediately after Brexit is completed in March, 2019.
This, remember, is a man who is at the head of the world’s most powerful economic system. It has a population roughly one and a half times that of the United States and a currency that is used by more people around the world than the US dollar. While the dollar keeps falling in value, the euro is rising, now at $1.20. This reflects growing confidence in the euro and declining confidence in the greenback.
Note the following from the London Daily Express:
“After listening to more than an hour of Jean-Claude Juncker’s self-agrandising State of the Union speech Farage’s laser-guided attack took just seconds to dismantle almost every plan, proposal and pontification made by the former Luxembourg politician turned European Commission President.
He called Jean-Claude Juncker’s plans to hugely expand the powers of the EU without a vote “extremely worrying” and shouted: “Thank *** we’re leaving! You’ve learned nothing from Brexit!”
“The former UKIP boss, and champion of Brexit, added that Juncker and his colleagues were appointing powerful unelected people in positions of huge power including “a finance minister who intervenes when he feels it necessary” and plans for “a European army with a more aggressive foreign policy.”
“And all this to be done without the consent of the people.”
“Mr. Farage was clearly appalled by Junker’s earlier claim that the EU could appoint pan-European ministers with unprecedented powers WITHOUT any form of electoral process.” (“Nigel Farage TERRIFIED at Juncker’s plan for UNDEMOCRATIC EU”, Daily Express, 9/13/17).
Mr. Juncker’s speech does not mean that all is well in the Union, or that there is perfect harmony between member countries. Some of the former communist countries of Eastern Europe are at odds with Brussels over a number of issues, including migration.
Note the following from Bloomberg Politics:
“European leaders are declaring the continent’s financial crisis to be over, but now a political one is fermenting.
“A battle between European Union regulators and the Polish government over its plans to weaken the judiciary’s independence is splitting eastern and western Europe……
“The government in Warsaw is at the sharp end of a campaign to rein in errant states. Populist leaders in Poland and Hungary have been emboldened by Donald Trump’s U.S. presidency and Britain’s decision to quit the EU. Yet the continent’s center has held together. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is now joined by French President Emmanuel Macron in an active defense of Europe against those centrifugal forces. Opponents in the east face the prospect of being marginalized politically and even economically. (“Europe’s Eastern Rebels expose next fault line for EU leaders”, Jonathan Stearns, Bloomberg, July 29th, 2017)”
Europe has come a long way since the European Coal and Steel Community was formed 66 years ago, in 1951. Six years later, six countries signed the Treaty of Rome, which laid the foundation for the European Union. Those six countries eventually became 28. Following Brexit they are now at 27. A few more could leave over various issues. Perhaps they will get down to the biblical number ten, forming the final union of ten European nations that will be a future superpower. You can read about this revival of the Roman Empire in Revelation chapter 17. 66 years ago, only serious Bible students would have foreseen the EU becoming as powerful as it is.
500 YEARS AFTER MARTIN LUTHER
Turkey controls 900 mosques in Germany and feels free to say that a “liberal mosque” in Germany is “incompatible” with Islam.
Can you imagine Germany offering Iraq, Syria and Egypt to build “200 new churches” to reconstruct the derelict and dispossessed Christian communities there? No, because in the Middle East, Christians have been eradicated in a forced de-Christianization.
Christians in Germany will become a minority in the next 20 years, according to Die Welt.
We risk losing not only our churches, but more importantly, our cultural strength and even confidence in the values of our own civilization.
(Germany: the rise of Islam, Giulio Meotti , Gatestone Institute, September 12th, 2017.)
“Why do millions of Muslims risk everything to reach a civilization they blame for all the world’s evils?” (Burak Bekdil, a Muslim, “What’s on the Mind of a Muslim refugee?” Middle East Forum, September 10th.)
LONDON TERROR ATTACK
There was another terror attack on the London Underground (subway) this morning, during the rush hour. It injured 22 people. There would have been many more casualties, including deaths, if the IED had exploded properly as intended. The train had dozens of school children on board, likely the intended target. (The Manchester Arena target in May was also children.)
Theresa May called an emergency Cabinet meeting following this morning’s attack.
It’s rather pointless. No western leader will do anything about the immigration policies that have led to the current situation. Even President Trump is backing away from the promises he made before the election.
Was the British Empire a good or bad thing for the world? To put it another way, is freedom a good or bad thing for the world? Historian and author H.W. Crocker III explains why we may want to rethink the British Empire’s bad rap.
Americans are starting to pile up more credit card debt than ever before.
According to a new study released Monday, U.S. consumers added $33 billion in credit card debt during the second quarter of 2017, making it the second-highest point of debt since the end of 2008.
Personal Finance website WalletHub.com — who conducted the study—projects that by the end of 2017, Americans will pile more than $60 billion in new credit card debt, which means overall the U.S. is headed towards well over $1 trillion in credit card debt. (Fox Business News, 9/11)
Stuart Varney on Fox Business News remarked this morning, that “it rattles the nerves. First, Hurricane Harvey, then Irma, now the earthquake in Mexico.” His companion added: ‘Will we see a plague of locusts next?”
Jennifer Lawrence had her own interpretation, blaming it all, perhaps predictably, on Donald Trump. What’s happening, she claimed, is that these disasters are “nature’s wrath on Americans for voting for Trump.” Clearly, it’s not her intellect that has made her the world’s best-paid actress!
According to the Conservative Tribune, actress Alyssa Milano (“Who’s the Boss?” “Melrose Place”) joined the ranks of liberals mocking Trump’s response to Harvey in a tweet that mocked the President’s call for a National Day of Prayer on Sunday.
One thing is certain – these disasters are going to cost the United States, and other countries affected, billions of dollars. The Caribbean island of Barbuda has seen 95% of its buildings destroyed. The actor, Robert DeNiro, has promised to rebuild the island, describing the devastation as “literally rubble.” Mr. DeNiro has a major property investment on the island. The Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, describes the island as “barely habitable.”
This morning it became clear that FEMA, the government agency that oversees disaster relief, does not have the funds to help Florida after the second hurricane hits this weekend; it was only yesterday that Congress voted aid for Texas after Hurricane Harvey. Meanwhile, Islamic Relief Worldwide has been given over $700, 000 by Congress and is expected to receive more. There’s also the 800,000 young people who entered the US illegally during the last administration – the cost of housing, schooling, and feeding them, in addition to providing them with free healthcare, must be astronomical. Add to all of this the cost of the ongoing wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan. And, following the devastating earthquake south of the border this morning, Mexico is not going to be contributing one peso to the cost of building that wall.
The fact is that the US is broke. It has been for as long as anybody can remember. The national debt is over $20 trillion. One TV news report today warned that flood insurance may not pay out for a while, if at all.
Scott Shellady (FBN) warned this morning that with “bonds going up in price, and interest rates” low, the economy is in trouble. He added that: “Something is fundamentally wrong” and something has to give. Stuart Varney added that something may give by Monday morning! The price of gold is also going up again while the dollar is falling, two more signs of worries in financial markets.
The three hurricanes (Harvey, Irma and Jose, now forming) have certainly made financial markets jittery, although companies like Lowe’s and Home Depot are expected to do well in the recovery. There’s even a fourth hurricane, Hurricane Katia, forming over Mexico.
Meanwhile, the BBC’s website reports that the Netherlands is sending more troops to St. Martin to deal with serious post-hurricane looting and a total breakdown in law and order.
Although the death toll could be high this weekend, the greater long-term threat is to the economies of the countries concerned. Many smaller businesses are not likely to reopen and millions of people may move out of the affected areas, as they did in the aftermath of Katrina twelve years ago.
Interestingly, Monday is the 16th anniversary of 9-11, arguably the biggest disaster of all. The country is on high alert for another possible terror attack (there have been many in Europe in recent months). A serious attack equaling 9-11 would have a further negative effect on the economy and on the morale of the people.
Another historical anniversary is today – it’s exactly 117 years since the worst hurricane in American history made landfall in Galveston, killing 12,000 people.
America and its neighbors need time to recuperate from the current disasters.
The National Day of Prayer may help, but Americans are not inclined to repent, a prerequisite for answered prayer.
“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14)
The country needs to think about this passage this weekend as it observes the National Day of Prayer.
European Court Orders EU Countries to Take Migrants “Politics has raped European law and values.” by Soeren Kern • September 7, 2017 at 5:00 am
The September 6 ruling, which has been hailed as a victory for European federalism, highlights the degree to which the European Union has usurped decision-making powers from its 28 member states. The ruling also showcases how the EU’s organs of jurisprudence have become politicized.
Many so-called asylum seekers have refused to relocate to Central and Eastern Europe because the financial benefits there are not as generous as in France, Germany or Scandinavia.
“Let us not forget that those arriving have been raised in another religion, and represent a radically different culture. Most of them are not Christians, but Muslims. This is an important question, because Europe and European identity is rooted in Christianity. Is it not worrying in itself that European Christianity is now barely able to keep Europe Christian? If we lose sight of this, the idea of Europe could become a minority interest in its own continent.” — Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
Germany Heading for Four More Years of Pro-EU, Open-Door Migration Policies by Soeren Kern • September 8, 2017 at 5:00 am
The policy positions of Merkel and Schulz on key issues are virtually identical: Both candidates are committed to strengthening the European Union, maintaining open-door immigration policies, pursuing multiculturalism and quashing dissent from the so-called far right.
Merkel and Schulz both agree that there should be no upper limit on the number of migrants entering Germany.
Merkel’s grand coalition backed a law that would penalize social media giants, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, with fines of €50 million ($60 million) if they fail to remove offending content from their platforms within 24 hours. Observers say the law is aimed at silencing critics of Merkel’s open-door migration policy. (Gatestone Institute)
Pauline Hanson is an Australian Member of Parliament. She has her own political party, “Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party,” and often speaks out on immigration and related issues.
This week she spoke out on autism. Specifically, she is calling for autistic children to be separated from other children, so that the others are not held back in their education.
Our eldest grandson, Aubren, who is five, is autistic. I drive him to school most days and collect him from school seven hours later. Because of this, I interact with his teachers a great deal.
All are aware of his autism. Their approach is very different to Ms. Hanson’s.
About half of the pupils in his pre-kindergarten class do not have special needs. Those who do have special needs participate in everything. In addition, they have private sessions with speech therapists and others to help them keep up with the other children. From what I have seen, this works very well.
There could be a case for separating autistic children if it is found that they will benefit. What Ms. Hanson is suggesting is that autistic children be educated separately as their presence in the classroom is having a negative effect on non-autistic children. Again, I’ve not seen any evidence for this. And with so many children with autism, normal children need exposure to this to understand it, handle it, and see these children as potential friends, not objects of scorn and derision.
Nobody knows for sure what causes autism. There are plenty of theories. Some of these are put forward quite volubly by their adherents, but it remains the case that nobody knows for sure what causes the problem. What is known is that the number of autistic children is increasing. It is now one in 68.
The correct name for autism is Autism Spectral Disorder. There is a wide spectrum when it comes to autism. Many autistic children function well in different areas; but there are others, at the other end of the spectrum, who find it difficult to carry on a conversation, or indeed, speak at all. Communication is a major challenge for autistic children. So are emotions and affection. In addition, many autistic people need “sameness” – they do not adjust well to a different environment or any change to their routine. We are anxious about Aubren’s first day at kindergarten in August – new school, new teacher, new environment; he may bolt, trying to escape from it as it could be overwhelming for him. His teacher, Miss Sue, from the last school year has volunteered to regularly take him to his new school and new playground to familiarize him with his future environment. The right teachers make all the difference!
Aubren is a delightful boy. Everybody loves him. He plays well with other children. He’s affectionate and loving. I for one am very much against the idea that autistic children should be separated from other children of the same age. After all, when they finish school at 18, they are going to have to mix with others in the working world. Why not start now?
The news from England can be quite discouraging, with terrorism and Brexit dominating everything. Britain’s position on just about everything reminds me of a verse in the Old Testament about Ephraim. In Hosea 7:8 we read: “Ephraim compromises with the nations; he’s a half-baked cake.” (International Standard Version.) A half-baked cake is of no use to anybody.
Julius Caesar put it somewhat differently, when he described Britain as “perfidious Albion.” England is no longer ruled by those ancient Britons, having been taken over by Angles and Saxons shortly after the Romans left the country. Perhaps it’s the weather, which is very unpredictable.
Whatever the reason, Mrs. May is perfecting “compromise.” It’s been the British way all my lifetime.
Consider the following:
After a “terror” attack outside of a leading London mosque, she had the opportunity to boldly speak some badly needed truths. The attack was by a “lone wolf,” a man from Cardiff in Wales who was obviously upset about recent terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists. He drove his car into a crowd outside of the mosque. Nothing can excuse this, but it provided Mrs. May with an opportunity to say that people are understandably scared after the recent terror attacks. Instead, she condemned “Islamophobia” and said the government was going to stamp it out. Islamophobia is a natural and reasonable response to Islamic terror – the only way to defeat Islamophobia is by Muslims themselves doing something about terrorism.
Also, was the driver of the car really a terrorist? He had no links to any terror organization, domestic or foreign. Describing him as a “terrorist” puts his act on a par with the real terror attacks that have taken place, when they are very different. His was motivated by a fear of Muslims.
Thirdly, Mrs. May is promising more security for mosques. There is no such protection for churches. What the prime minister is doing is inadvertently giving Islam a special status.
Today, there was yet more compromise, this time with the European Union, as Britain negotiates itself out of the 27-member organization.
Mrs. May announced this morning that 3 million people from other EU countries can remain in Britain after Brexit. Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, responded with: “It’s not sufficient.” Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, was equally dismissive. Neither man was elected by the people. They are professional bureaucrats — with all the arrogance that comes with it.
The UK is going to find that compromise doesn’t work with the EU – or with Islam! Britain will keep on compromising with both, until another Winston Churchill arises – if there is one.
It’s surely a depressing time for the Queen. The multicultural dream she has spent decades developing seems to be crumbling. It’s not just Islamic terrorism. Even the fire at the 24-storey apartment block in London brought it out. Most of the residents were from other cultures with no understanding of the way Britain works. After an incident like this, there’s usually a government inquiry and then changes are made based on recommendations received.
On this occasion, residents were quick to protest and even riot, storming the local county offices who are responsible for building safety. Mrs. May had to quickly promise new accommodation in a luxury apartment block. The taxpayer will have to foot the bill.
It turned out the fire was started by a faulty fridge. It spread quickly because of the insulation used.
In view of all these problems, it’s not surprising that nobody in the royal family wants to be king, according to Prince Harry in an interview this week.
MEDIA BEWILDERED BY VOTE
I don’t know if the Queen has ever been to Georgia, a colony (now a state) named after her ancestor, George II, who reigned from 1727-1760.
Georgia was the center of attention this week due to a by-election in the 6th Congressional district.
As the election got nearer, TV news people were ecstatic at the prospect of a Democratic victory. It had to happen as Donald Trump is so unpopular! The election was even described as “a referendum on Trump.”
The party that represents the wealthy elite, the Democrats, spent more than eight times as much money contesting this seat, as the Republicans, now the party of the working man. In spite of this massive outlay of cash, the Democrats lost. If this truly was a referendum on Trump, he must be doing ok.
The BBC was totally discombobulated. Commentators kept repeating that the president has less than a 40% approval rating, so how could this possibly be the result? It won’t happen again when the mid-term elections take place in November next year, they assured viewers.
Haven’t they learned yet that polls are not reliable?
ISRAEL’S TICKING TIME BOMB
“The southern neighborhoods of Tel Aviv have been overrun in recent years. The number of African asylum-seekers and economic migrants now living there is approaching 100,000.
Some have been repatriated. But most remain in the country illegally.
Israel finds itself in a conundrum – how can it turn away or deport those in need considering the Jews’ own history? At the same time, how can the tiny nation of Israel absorb such numbers without taking a serious hit to its economy?
And time’s running out to find a solution.
According to Oved Hugi, a social activist from southern Tel Aviv, the “infiltrators’ birthrate stands at 10,000 per year. That means 50,000 children in five years, and that should cause the Prime Minister to lose sleep. South Tel Aviv is a ticking time bomb.” (Israel Today)
SAUDIS BETRAY REAL FEELINGS
On June 8, 2017, the Saudi national football team met the Australian national team for a match in Adelaide as part of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The match began with a minute of silence for the victims of the London Bridge terror attack on June 3, among whom were two Australians. However, while the members of the Australian team observed the minute of silence, the Saudi players appeared to ignore it and continued moving around the pitch. (MEMRI 6-21)
Why are people surprised, when Wahhabism is the official religion of Saudi Arabia? Wahhabis support violence against infidels (non-believers) and believe violence is justified to spread Islam.
Canadian sniper makes record kill shot A sniper with Canada’s elite special forces has shot and killed an Isis fighter in Iraq from a distance of 2.1 miles, shattering the world record for the longest confirmed kill shot previously held by a British sniper. The shot took 10 seconds to reach its target and the sniper would have had to consider distance, wind and the curvature of the earth when taking aim. (Globe and Mail)
Refugees in Germany to be jobless for years Up to three-quarters of Germany’s refugees will still be unemployed in five years’ time, according to Aydan Özoğuz, the country’s commissioner for immigration, refugees and integration. The stark admission of the challenges Germany faces in integrating its huge migrant population comes as Angela Merkel seeks a fourth term as chancellor in elections in September. (FT)
I stayed up late a week ago to watch the British election results, broadcast live on BBC World’s television channel. It soon became clear that Theresa May’s ruling Conservatives were not doing well. Mrs. May had called an early election to strengthen her position prior to the start of Brexit talks with the European Union. Her gamble failed – she now finds herself leading a party that does not control over 50% of parliament. To stay in office, she has had to enter a coalition with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the pro-British faction from Northern Ireland.
This is already being misinterpreted by Sinn Fein, the anti-British, pro-republican faction from Northern Ireland; it could easily lead to further violence in the province.
There’s another threat to the coalition. Mrs. May also relies on the Scottish Conservatives, who did extremely well in the election, increasing their parliamentary representation from one to thirteen seats. Their leader, Ruth Davidson, who is married to her female partner, is a fervent supporter of same-sex marriage; while the Northern Irish conservatives are socially very traditional.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this all works out.
At the very least, it has weakened the government at a crucial time, as negotiations begin on Monday, with the most efficient and uncompromising bureaucracy on the face of the earth – the European Union.
An additional threat comes from the opposition Labour Party. A prominent voice in the party is calling for one million people to take to the streets to bring down Mrs. May. Sound familiar?
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” (Mark 3:25.)
EUROPEAN LEADERS CHILDLESS
Talking of Europe, note the following, sent by a friend in New Zealand:
• Emmanuel Macron, the newly elected French president, has no children.
• German chancellor Angela Merkel has no children.
• British prime minister Theresa May has no children.
• Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni has no children.
• Holland’s Mark Rutte, has no children.
• Sweden’s Stefan Löfven, has no children.
• Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel, has no children.
• Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon has no children.
• Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, has no children.
So a grossly disproportionate number of the people making decisions about Europe’s future have no direct personal stake in that future.
Additionally, in the last few days, the Irish Republic has a new prime minister. He also has no children. The press has been full of the fact that he is the youngest prime minister ever. He is also half-Indian and gay, neither of which is an issue. (Serbia’s new prime minister is also gay, as is Luxembourg’s PM.)
At the very least, all the above are thinking short-term, wanting to win the next election. When Europe was dominated by kings, at the very least the leaders wanted to preserve their thrones for their descendants; this also meant ensuring the continuation of the nation-state. Both of these factors no longer apply.
THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS
Talking of kings, King Henry II got a mention in the US Congress a week ago. Henry died long before the United States ever existed as a nation – even before America was “discovered” by Christopher Columbus. He reigned from 1154-1189.
Note the following from Vanity Fair:
“The James Comey hearing has officially gone medieval. A little less than two hours into the former FBI director’s highly watched testimony, Comey dropped a reference to Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury who was killed at the casual request of King Henry II in the year 1170. The reference popped up when Senator Angus King was questioning Comey, asking him about Donald Trump’s seemingly casual but firm request to have Comey drop the FBI’s Michael Flynn investigation. Though Trump did not demand outright that Comey drop the investigation, even his slightest requests come with an air of seriousness, King suggested.
“Do you take that as a directive?” King asked Comey of Trump’s question.
“Yes, yes,” Comey replied. “It rings in my ears as kind of ‘Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?’”
Henry II was a very significant monarch. James Comey learned a lesson from his reign. Today’s British people, who have experienced three terrorist attacks in less than three months, could learn something else. Note the following:
“Henry II, who is considered the father of the common law, promulgated the Assize of Arms in 1181. This required all (male) British citizens between 15 and 40 to purchase and keep arms. The type of arms required varied with wealth; the wealthiest had to provide themselves with full armor, sword, dagger, and war horse, while even the poorest citizens, “the whole community of freemen,” must have leather armor, helmet and a lance. Twice a year all citizens were to be inspected by the king’s officials to insure that they possessed the necessary arms. Conversely, the English made it quite clear that the king was to be expected to depend exclusively upon his armed freemen. When rebellious barons forced John I to sign the Magna Carta in 1215, they inserted in its prohibitions a requirement that he “expel from the kingdom all foreign knights, crossbowmen, sergeants, and mercenaries, who have come with horses and weapons to the harm of the realm.” (Historical Basis of the Right to keep and bear arms, by David P. Hardy, 1982)
During the recent terror attacks in England, on each occasion, one armed citizen could have made a significant difference and saved lives. Medieval monarchs were very concerned that the people should be able to defend themselves against the French; today, the threat is Islamic extremists, but the principle remains the same.
Also note, in the quote above, that Henry’s second son, John, one of the worst monarchs in English history, was required by the people to “expel from the kingdom all foreign knights, crossbowmen, sergeants and mercenaries, who have come with horses and weapons to the harm of the realm.”
No prizes for guessing who should be expelled today!
It should be noted that King Henry did not introduce the right to bear arms; he simply restored an ancient right that went back to at least the reign of Alfred the Great, in the 9th century. The Vikings were one of the problems at that time. The threat changes, but a threat is always there.
With this in mind, I found the following interesting while studying this morning: “The story of David and Goliath is helpful since “five smooth stones” and a “sling” are the closest equivalent to a handgun we can find in the Bible. David seems to have been armed with his sling at all times. There was no way he could run home to get his sling when a lion or a bear was about to attack his flock. (1 Sam. 17:31-37, 41-54)
It’s possible that Jesus had the Old Testament case law in mind when He offered this injunction to His disciples: “But be sure of this, if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.” (Matt 24:43) (“Jesus, Guns and Self-defence – what does the Bible say?”)
Christians should, of course, strive to live peaceably with all men. (Romans 12:18) Jesus Christ said: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matt 5:9) He also told us to “turn the other cheek.” (vs. 38-39)
With terrorism, we are dealing with a totally different mind-set from Jesus Christ, a religious belief system that encourages and celebrates killing en masse. People have to be able to defend themselves. King Henry understood this. Today’s leaders in countries like the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada need to address the issue, enabling people to defend themselves from acts of barbarism. In contrast, Australia has just announced an amnesty calling on citizens to hand over illegal weapons.
THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON, 2017
The tragic apartment block fire in London dominated the news on Wednesday. 30 deaths have been confirmed, but scores of people are still missing. There were also over sixty injured. What started the fire is not known at this time, but a material used in construction appears to have helped the fire to quickly spread. The Daily Express said Thursday that EU environmental directives could be the cause.
Most of the people in the apartment block seemed to have been from other countries in Africa and Asia. Looking at the high-rise (24-storey) block of flats, as they are called in England, I wondered why people would leave their own countries to live in such an awful place.
My wife and I have spent many happy days in African villages. I can truthfully say that I would rather live in one of those than in a high-rise apartment block in London, or any other major city. Isaiah 5:8 warns against living too close to each other. “Woe unto them that join house to house.”
What attracts people to move to the West varies for each individual. One of the established reasons in the UK is the generous welfare benefits. Perhaps some of that money could be diverted to African villages to bring water and electricity to communities to improve their quality of life. Together with the abolition of welfare for new arrivals, this would go some way to help solve the immigration crisis.
On BBC World this morning, interviews with survivors of the fire revealed a lot of understandable anger. It’s also clear that many have an “entitlement mentality,” demanding that the government re-house them immediately, claiming that hotels are not good enough; they also dismissed Theresa May’s call for an independent inquiry – they want those responsible punished NOW.
Since writing the above, some residents and neighbors have stormed the local town hall, chanting their demands, blaming the fire on the Conservative government. There was no logic – just a mob mentality. Scary and a sign of things to come.
At the moment, the bar for taking extremists out of circulation is set ridiculously high. People known for their own extremism that reaches pre-terrorist levels should not be walking the streets when they have expressed support for Islamic State (ISIS) or tried to head to Syria or called for the destruction of Britain and other democracies or allied themselves to people already in prison. Their demand for free speech or freedom of belief must never be elevated above the rights of citizens to live safely in their own towns and cities. It is essential for parliament to lower the bar.
Is this to be the political landscape for the future, where groups of people demanding death and destruction are given the freedom of the streets whilst those wishing to hold a peaceful celebration are prevented from doing so?
To see extremist Islam as a “perversion” of Islam misses an important point. The politically correct insistence that radical versions of Islam somehow pervert an essentially peaceful and tolerant faith forces policy-makers and legislators, church leaders, rabbis, interfaith workers and the public at large to leave to one side an important reality. Flatly, Islam in its original and classic forms has everything to do with today’s radicals and the violence they commit. The Qur’an is explicit in its hatred for pagans, Jews and Christians. It calls for the fighting of holy war (jihad) to conquer the non-Muslim world, subdue it, and gradually bring it into the fold of Islam. Islam has been at war with Europe since the seventh century.
(“No tolerance for extremism, “ by Denis McMacEion, Gatestone Institute, 6/16).
An historic upheaval is taking place around the world as the US and UK, the two leading Anglo-Saxon powers, inadvertently separate from other nations.
It started a year ago with the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom. One year later, the country is about to enter dialog with other EU nations, a divorce settlement that is going to have a lasting effect on both the UK and the EU.
The historic upheaval continued last week when President Trump ended an international trip with a NATO meeting in Sicily that made it clear the US will no longer guarantee the security and independence of other NATO countries if they are invaded by Russia. This effectively ends Clause 5 of the NATO Treaty that required all member nations to come to the aid of another member if attacked.
The only time Clause 5 has been invoked was on September 11th, 2001, in defense of the United States. Alliance members came to America’s aid.
A third development could end America’s leadership role in the world.
I posted a few weeks ago an article on the 70th anniversary of America’s replacing Britain as the world’s chief superpower and international policeman. The question I asked was: “Could 70 be it for the US?” (February 19th).
It looks increasingly likely that, indeed, 70 could be it!
I say this following President Trump’s announcement yesterday that the US is withdrawing from the Paris climate deal.
Climate change has certainly become politicized. It’s also true that it has cost jobs, in the US and other countries. But the fact is that 195 countries in the world signed the deal – the only two that didn’t were Syria and Nicaragua.
More is at stake than a simple climate deal to reduce carbon emissions.
What’s at stake here is America’s global leadership.
Next time the US goes to other nations and asks for help (Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003 are two examples, the fight against ISIS more recently), it’s likely the country will be rebuffed.
The dispute within NATO also risks the US president losing the accolade “Leader of the Free World.” In recent days, Angela Merkel seems to be filling that role.
Jacob Hellbrunn, editor of the American magazine National Interest, asked in the May 28th issue, Is Trump Pushing Merkel to Create A German Superpower?
“Donald Trump entered office hoping that he could splinter the European Union. But what if his presidency has the effect of further unifying it —against America?
“. . . Until now, the core relationship in American foreign policy in Europe has been with Germany. That tie appears not simply to be fraying but on the verge of snapping. It will be no small irony if Trump has impelled Europe to transform itself into a unified great power.”
Two days later, the National Interest, in a separate article by Salvatore Babones, once again addressed the issue of Germany:
“Germany is not among America’s “closest and oldest allies.” That honor surely goes to the United Kingdom. And second, Merkel didn’t single out just the United States. She said that Europe can no longer rely on the United States or the UK for its security. In other words, Merkel wasn’t just declaring her independence from Donald Trump. She was declaring independence from Theresa May, too. But can Germany defend Europe itself? And even if it could, would Europe want it to? The most likely answer to both questions is “no.” (“Can Germany defend Europe on its own?”)
The last question and answer overlooks the possibility that the US may push the Europeans into standing on their own; and the only leader, in such a situation, is Germany. This likely development has been made more likely by Brexit, even though London says it is not turning its back on Europe. The outcome of Thursday’s election in the UK could be decisive here – a change of government, even a hung parliament where no party has enough votes to govern effectively, would seriously weaken Britain’s role relative to the EU.
Yesterday, it was France’s turn. Emmanuel Macron, the new President of France, took the unprecedented step of announcing France’s “disappointment” at Mr. Trump’s decision and inviting scientists from around the world to fight climate change from France. Paris was where the deal to fight climate change was signed in December 2015. The new French prime minister described Trump’s decision as “calamitous.” (It should be noted that this was the first time ever that a French president addressed the world in English from the Elysee Palace. It was clear to whom it was addressed.)
CBS’ Ben Tracy put it well this morning when he said: “The president (Trump) is fundamentally shifting alliances around the world” (CBS This Morning).
Note the following from a British newspaper Friday morning:
“One senior European NATO diplomat said: “Trump showed that we have fundamental differences about what NATO is for. NATO is designed to defend the territory of its members, not stop terrorism or immigration. We are heading in opposite directions.” (NATO joins forces in fight against ISIS – but it’s branded as POINTLESS in Germany” (Katie Mansfield, Daily Express, June 2nd).
Many Bible students know that another superpower will soon replace the United States as the world’s global leader. Some have felt that Donald Trump would reverse America’s fortunes by putting “America First” and strengthening America’s role in the world. At this point in time it seems more likely that he will speed up the rise of an alternative global power that will rival the United States of America. Revelation 13, 17 & 18, together with Daniel 2 & 7 describe this new superpower.
Fifty years ago, I became friends with a Muslim immigrant who had moved to the UK from India. At the time, there were very few Muslims in the area where I lived. I asked him what he could do as a Muslim in such a remote location. He said it was the duty of every Muslim to help spread Islam wherever he goes.
Salman Rushdie, the writer persecuted for his book “Satanic Verses” and a former Muslim, speaking in New York over ten years ago (and broadcast on C-Span), said: ‘When a Muslim moves from the Middle East to Detroit, he is not looking to take advantage of America’s freedoms to better himself; rather, he sees himself as part of the advance guard to spread Islam to America.”
When you hear a Muslim spokesperson on a television news program, keep the above in mind.
Yesterday, Wednesday, approximately 36 hours after the Manchester suicide bombing and following press reports that the perpetrator worshipped at the local Didsbury mosque, a trustee of the mosque addressed the press, distancing his mosque from the bombing, while at the same time inviting members of the public to come and join them, taking the opportunity to proselityze.
“The doors of the centre are open to all – they are open to all. “Some media reports have reported that the bomber worked at the Manchester Islamic Centre – this is not true, he has never worked in this centre. “We are concerned about anti-Muslim acts ranging from verbal abuse to acts of criminal damage to mosques in the area and outside the area.”
As you can tell from the last sentence, he also took the opportunity to halt any anti-Muslim backlash that could follow the bombing that killed mostly young white girls attending a concert in the Manchester Arena.
The youngest was 8 years old. As this is unlikely to be the last suicide bombing, we need to ask why we can no longer protect our children.
The suicide bomber was the son of Libyan refugees who fled to England in the 1990’s.
An Australian Muslim psychiatrist born in Bangladesh, writing about the Manchester terror incident, called Wednesday for restrictions on Muslim immigrants into the West. His article appeared in The Spectator Australia. “Refugees have trouble integrating,” said Tanveer Ahmed.
The only solution to the problem of Islamic terror in western countries is to change immigration policies that have allowed this dangerous situation to develop over the last five decades.
The best commentary on the bombing was on the Gatestone Institute’s website. Note the following three paragraphs.
“After hearing of the Manchester terrorist attack, politicians once more communicated their by now old-routine of “shock” and “grief” at the predictable outcome of their own policies.
“Most dumbfounding of all, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she was watching the developments in Manchester “with grief and horror” and that she found the attack “incomprehensible.”
“Every time a European leader publicly endorses Islam as a great faith, a “religion of peace,” or claims that violence in Islam is a “perversion of a great faith,” despite massive evidence to the contrary, they signal in the strongest way possible that with every devastating attack, the West is ripe for the taking.” (5/22/17 ‘Manchester: Europe still “Shocked! Shocked!”’ by Judith Bergman)
Ms. Bergman is absolutely correct in writing that Monday’s horror was the result of political decisions taken in recent decades, particularly when it comes to immigration. It’s almost fifty years since a famous British politician denounced the country’s immigration policies, saying the nation was “building up its own funeral pyre.” Enoch Powell, MP, had to resign his position in the Conservative party for, as is now clear, speaking the truth.
Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, sensing the changing public mood on immigration, said Thursday that immigrants are vital for the UK economy. This is meant to scare people into accepting more immigrants, some of whom will, inevitably, be Muslims; and some of those extremists. What he should have called for is a ban on all abortions. This will mean a higher birthrate and, in time, will provide those extra people for the British economy.
Immigration policy must change. The fact remains, following the attack by Salman Abedi, a British born Libyan, that if his parents had not been allowed into the UK, 22 ethnic English (those whose ancestors have lived there for centuries) would still be alive; and over sixty others would not be dealing with potentially life-changing injuries.
It’s no good just increasing the numbers of police and army personnel on the streets, or spending more on intelligence gathering – until something is done about immigration it will all be fruitless.
And talking of intelligence, Mrs. May was correct in her response to US intelligence releasing information from England to the New York Times. Intelligence services need to be very careful about betraying one another’s confidences. The arrangement between the US and UK dates back 75 years, to 1942. Australia, Canada and New Zealand were included more recently. These Anglophone nations need to be able to trust each other. After a face-to-face discussion with Theresa May earlier today, President Trump has promised to find the source of the leaks and punish those responsible.
One final thought on Britain and terrorism: the British have a history of compromising with terrorism, starting with Ireland a century ago and continuing until the Good Friday Agreement twenty years ago. After World War II, Jewish terrorists blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, an act that led to Britain withdrawing from the mandated territory; even though the British defeated the Mau Mau in Kenya, they gave the terrorists what they wanted; the same in Cyprus; in the 70’s they handed over Rhodesia to terrorists led by Robert Mugabe; and then worked on South Africa to hand over to Nelson Mandela, a terrorist leader who was responsible for the deaths of 200 people. The lesson repeatedly learned is that terrorism works!
This time, the British are fighting for their homeland, the United Kingdom – will they once again compromise with the forces of evil?
SOLVING CENTURIES-OLD PROBLEMS
Prior to visiting Jerusalem, Mr. Trump was in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and home of one of its strictest sects, the Wahhabi sect of Islam. Wahhabis believe that all non-believers are infidels and enemies and they have a history of violence directed at non-Muslims. This includes September 11th, when 15 of the 19 hijackers had Saudi citizenship. Even the attack in Manchester has its origins in Wahhabism, by way of ISIS.
Saudis have helped finance terrorism around the world and continue to provide imams for taxpayer-funded chaplaincy programs in the US, as well as new mosques around the world. The “help” Saudi Arabia promised Germany when the latter took in over a million refugees, was to offer to build 200 new mosques.
But oil, as we all know, is very important and the Saudis happen to be one of the world’s biggest producers and the country that determines the price of the black gold.
Saudi Arabia is also of strategic importance and an avowed enemy of Iran. Their differences go back to the seventh century when Shia Islam broke away from the majority Sunni Islam. Today, Saudi Arabia backs Sunnis throughout the Middle East against Shia Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Some wealthy Saudis have even backed ISIS, an organization that supports Sunnis against the Shia.
With a visit to the world’s three main religious centers, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican, President Trump is working on achieving a comprehensive Middle East peace, hoping to succeed where all his predecessors have failed.
He should remember the words of the Apostle Paul. In his First Epistle to the Thessalonians, Paul looked ahead to the time prior to Christ’s Second Coming when there is much talk of world peace. “For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.” (I Thess. 5:3).
The US has the power and influence to impose a peace treaty on the Israelis and Palestinians – but it won’t last. The latter will ultimately not embrace peace until the country of Israel ceases to exist. How can you negotiate with people who are committed to your destruction?
LACK OF KNOWLEDGE
A news item a few days ago revealed that attendance at Church of England services in the United Kingdom is increasing, after decades of decline. This is attributed partly to the rise of English nationalism, as evidenced by Brexit.
Whatever the reasons, it might eventually help the BBC.
On Monday’s 9am broadcast on BBC World News, Lyse Doucet, a BBC journalist from Canada, was standing in front of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem awaiting the arrival of President Trump and his wife. As the president was delayed, Lyse Doucet recapped on Mr. & Mrs. Trump’s visit to what she described as the most important Christian religious site in the world, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which witnessed the “death, burial and reconstruction of Jesus Christ”.
I think she meant “resurrection.”
Which brings me to Little Emily, a 5-year-old girl featured in our local newspaper two or three years ago. Her Baptist pastor was giving a sermon on Easter Sunday and asked the children what they knew about the resurrection. 5-year-old Emily raised her hand and kept saying: “I know! I know!”
So the pastor asked her to tell the congregation what she knew about the resurrection. Her reply made it into the local paper. “If you experience a resurrection lasting more than four hours, you need to go to the doctor.”
Reportedly, the pastor was unable to finish his sermon.
Maybe one day Emily could work for the BBC, as their Religious Affairs Correspondent!
"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