Tag Archives: Ankara

ALL I KNOW IS . . .

Michigan is one of those states where the election result is being challenged, with allegations that dead people were voting as well as other irregularities.

I’ve spent quite some time in rural areas lately, taking my grandson to see trains and related sights.   Wherever we have gone, yard signs were overwhelmingly for Trump/Pence.  Occasionally, signs were for Biden/Harris, surprising me when I saw them.   They were at least 75% for Trump and may have been as much as 90% for him.

The only exception was East Lansing, where 52% of residents work for Michigan State University and know who butters their bread.  I didn’t visit Ann Arbor in the weeks before the election, but, as the home of the University of Michigan, I can safely declare that the majority of signs were for Biden/Harris. Some call it the Socialist Republic of Ann Arbor!

Because of this, I expected a landslide for Trump in Michigan (I can’t speak for other states).  Instead, the final result was a victory for Biden.  When we went to bed late on Tuesday, Trump was winning by quite a number; when we turned on the TV on Wednesday it was Biden.   Rumors of ballots arriving at 4am, turning the tide, encouraged speculation that something inappropriate was going on.

I’d like to think that everything was above board.  If not, it was a brilliant coup.

Except for the fact that some saw through it!

Melvin Rhodes

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“President Donald Trump, given all he has endured for five years from those piously pleading now for a “time of healing,” cannot be faulted for his defiant resolve to unearth any and all high crimes or misdemeanors committed in the counting of ballots in the election of Tuesday last. Trump owes his people this, and he owes the establishment nothing.”   (Pat Buchanan, 11/10/2020)

If the shoe was on the other foot, you can guarantee that the Democrats would be contesting every single vote that went against them; and the expected riots would have taken place.   The media spent three years after Trump’s victory claiming the Russians were behind it, but won’t allow Trump three days to challenge their “victory.”  Prior to the election the Dems also said that Trump would not leave office peacefully.   Could mean they were expecting this.  (Pat Buchanan, 11/10/2020)

“If Democrats can kill the filibuster and pack the Supreme Court, if they can add four new senators from Puerto Rico and D.C., and if they can pack the electorate by turning millions of migrants, legal and illegal, into U.S. citizens and regular voters, then you don’t need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.”  (Pat Buchanan, 11/13/2020)

“We’re fixing to overturn the results of the elections in multiple states. President Trump won by not hundreds of thousands of votes but by millions of votes that were shifted by this software that was designed expressly for that purpose. We have sworn witness testimony of why the software was designed — it was designed to rig elections.” — Sidney Powell, a former federal prosecutor and a member of President Trump’s legal team.  (Gatestone, 11/17/2020)

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REACTION FROM AMERICA’S ENEMIES

Nobody is enjoying the messy results process more than Washington’s adversaries abroad, with enemies and rivals lining up to mock the delays and claims of election fraud, in barely veiled references to US scrutiny of their own elections:

“What a spectacle!” said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran. “One says this is the most fraudulent election in US history. Who says that? The president who is currently in office.”

Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro – whose overthrow Trump has encouraged – raised an eyebrow at America’s “surprising electoral process” but insisted:  “The United States. I don’t stick my nose in.”  (The Guardian, 11/6/2020)

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TRUMP WILL PUSH ISRAELI ANNEXATION BEFORE JAN 20 – and Israel Might Grab ‘Once In A Lifetime’ Chance

Trump will push annexation of West Bank and, if Netanyahu sees it as in his political interest to be antagonistic to Biden, he will accede, say two prominent Israel lobbyists.

Michael Koplow of the Israel Policy Forum said he is “very confident” that Trump will push Israeli annexation. 

Aaron Weinberg, government relations director of Israel Policy Forum, echoed the view that the Trump administration would push annexation in the next few weeks. by Philip Weiss, Mondoweis, 11 Nov 2020 (https://mondoweiss.net/2020/11/trump-wi)

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GERMANY

Foreign policy experts consider the ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to be a success for Russia and a strategic defeat for the West.  The mediation of a cease-fire was a “spectacular diplomatic move” by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the Carnegie Moscow Center. “The West” has “once again yielded the floor to Putin,” criticizes the government-financed Deutsche Welle. In fact, Moscow has once again successfully ended an armed conflict in close cooperation with Ankara – like previously, for example, in Syria. The OSCE’s “Minsk Group” (USA, France and Russia), which had dealt with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, has failed, just as Berlin and the EU’s attempts failed to end that war. Russian troops will now monitor the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh. Russian armed forces are deployed in all three South Caucasian countries – for the first time since the early 1990s.  (German Foreign Policy, 11/12/2020)

The German government plans to send a frigate for patrol in the Indian Ocean and to deploy German naval officers on Australian warships, announced German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on the occasion of her talks with her Australian counterpart. A training expedition of the frigate “Hamburg” to the Indian Ocean was originally planned for this year but had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.  According to Kramp-Karrenbauer, the Indo-Pacific has become an arena of “global challenges” and “Germany needs to mark its position in the region.” At the same time, Kramp-Karrenbauer is quoted saying that Germany wants to maintain business with China, which is currently helping the German industry through the Corona crisis. According to an article in the foreign policy magazine “Internationale Politik,” Germany should rearm Taiwan’s armed forces and conduct joint military exercises with them. This would amount to a profound breach in relations with Beijing.  (German Foreign Policy, 11/10/2020)

Little more can be said about the course of the US presidential elections and Germany’s foreign policy reaction. All that has been said about the incumbent US president, his nightly intention to stop counting the votes, his self-proclamation as winner, and the upcoming battle in US courts because of alleged electoral fraud – all that is innocuous, because it does not correspond to the actual developments. It reduces the extent of abuse inflicted on the ideals of bourgeois democracy in the purported homeland of its reign, as if all this is just a rude interlude, a perilous performance, which can still avert the end of the drama in the next act, with a better kind of protagonist, with another script and a German prompter. However, it is too late for that.  (German Foreign Policy, 11/6/2020)

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ISLAM 

Pakistani Politician And Islamic Scholar Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi Calls On Pakistani Government To Use The Atom Bomb, In The Wake Of The Charlie Hebdo Cartoons Affair  (MEMRI, 11/2/2020)

Canadian Imam Younus Kathrada: Samuel Paty Was A Cursed, Evil-Spirited, Filthy Excuse For A Human-Being  (11/3/2020)

Samuel Paty was the French schoolteacher beheaded in the street for teaching a class on freedom of speech.

“Political Islamic organizations are the reason for perpetuating terrorism and hatred. These organizations are banned in most of the Islamic countries, while Europe, especially Britain, embraces them and allows them to operate freely.  Europeans can only blame themselves.” — Mohammed al-Sheikh, Saudi writer, Twitter, October 29, 2020.  (Gatestone, 11/13/2020)

Australian Preacher Urges Muslims To Boycott France, Stresses Death Is The Only Punishment For Offense To Prophet Muhammad (MEMRI, 11/13/2020)

POST-ATTACK COMMENTS

“I expect an end to the misconceived tolerance, and for all the nations of Europe to finally realize how dangerous the ideology of political Islam is for our freedom and the European way of life.” — Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Die Welt, November 3, 2020

“We see very clearly that terrorist actions can actually be led by some people who use migratory flows to threaten our territory.” — French President Emmanuel Macron, Politico, November 5, 2020.

For once, the sudden upsurge in terror attacks appears to have prompted European leaders to acknowledge the glaring deficiencies in their ability to protect Europe against Islamist-inspired acts of terrorism.   (Con Coughlin, Gatestone, 11/16/2020)

Senior Journalist Eggert:  Russian Leaders From The Tsars To Boris Yeltsin Kept The Turks At Bay, Now Under Putin, The Turks Have Entered The Caucasus And The Dreams Of The Turkish Sultans Have Come True

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RECONSIDERING ISLAM?

“I expect an end to the misconceived tolerance, and for all the nations of Europe to finally realize how dangerous the ideology of political Islam is for our freedom and the European way of life.” — Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Die Welt, November 3, 2020.

“We see very clearly that terrorist actions can actually be led by some people who use migratory flows to threaten our territory.” — French President Emmanuel Macron, Politico, November 5, 2020.

For once, the sudden upsurge in terror attacks appears to have prompted European leaders to acknowledge the glaring deficiencies in their ability to protect Europe against Islamist-inspired acts of terrorism.   (Con Coughlin, Gatestone, 11/16/2020)

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DENYING THE PAST

JOHANNESBURG – Government is set to begin a comprehensive national audit of all the statues and monuments in the country to decide which of them are heritage symbols and which should be removed. The process is expected to be completed by March, with a team of over 260 people carrying out the audit. The debate on whether or not to continue displaying symbols related to the apartheid regime has long been a heated issue in the country, with some saying the symbols promote constitutional post-colonial” and “post-apartheid” values. Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has suggested that the statues and other relics of apartheid be relocated to a historical theme park, if there’s public support for such a thing His spokesperson Masechaba Khumalo: “The South African Heritage Resources Agency will be championing this project and the budget allocated is R10 million. The targeted number of employees is 260 and they will be spread across all of the nine provinces.” 

(https://ewn.co.za/2020/11/16/govt-audit-of-nation-s-statues-and-monuments-to-decide-on-removal)

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CRUSADERS REACH ANTIOCH

The Crusaders arrived at the gates of Antioch in 1097.

“The sight of the city, however, daunted them; apart from their brief glimpse of Constantintople, none of them had ever seen a city like Antioch.  It had been founded in 300 BC by one of Alexander’s generals, Seleucus, and named after his father Antiochus. For centuries it had rivaled Alexandria, both cities claiming to be the second city of the Roman world, and in one respect at least it had literally outshone its rival; for Antioch had been the first city in the world to be lit by streetlamps at night.  To Christians it was remarkable as the place where they had first received the name of Christian, and although earthquakes and wars had somewhat diminished its former glory, it was still one of the great cities of the world and immensely strong.” (The Crusades, page 87, Antony Bridge, 1980)

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IMPERIAL REDUX
“His descendants will become a multitude of nations.”  (Genesis 48:19)

“Phil Percival had a wonderful farm at Machakos (in colonial Kenya) and I envied him his life.  Off into the bush on safaris with some rich American or titled European to earn money, and in between relaxing in his comfortable house, waited on hand and foot by his native servants, who obviously adored him.  His wife was a sweet woman who was addressed by one and all on the farm as ‘Mama.’  She, too, was adored and was doctor, nurse, and midwife to the hundreds who worked there.  I saw only smiling faces when I visited the little huts with their allotted shambas where they grew corn to make pombe (strong African beer).  I get so tired of hearing form the media, who usually know nothing about Africa, how the African has been exploited and enslaved by the British.  I’m not referring to the Dutch, German, Belgian and French colonists – I’m not an authority on their methods – I can only talk from my own experiences.  The farmers and planters of Kenya, Tanganyika, and Uganda that I met looked after their workers, saw to their health and comfort and the education of their children.  Are they faring any better now?”   (Sparks Fly Upward, page 174, Stewart Granger, 1981)

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TO THE POINT

  • The psychological illnesses triggered by Covid – Almost 20% of coronavirus patients are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder or mental health issue within three months of testing positive for Covid-19, a new study has found.  The research, outlined in a paper in The Lancet, adds to the growing list of “long Covid” symptoms being reported.  Experts have warned that “action is needed to mitigate the mental health toll” of the global pandemic, says The Guardian.  (The Week, 11/16/2020)
  • Obama says Queen ‘didn’t mind’ hand on shoulder – Barack Obama has dismissed the controversy about whether his wife Michelle breached royal protocol by placing a hand on the Queen’s shoulder. The former US president insists in his new memoir, A Promised Land, that Her Majesty “didn’t seem to mind.”  Writing of the incident that took place in 2009, he said the Queen even “slipped her arm around Michelle in return.”  (The Week, 11/17/2020)
  • Man behind The Crown defends invented scenes – The lead writer of The Crown has defended creating scenes in which Lord Mountbatten reprimands Prince Charles for his affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles. Peter Morgan, creator of the Netflix saga, admitted he “made up in my head” details of the conversations between the men, but believes they accurately “represent [Mountbatten’s] view.”  (The Week, 11/17/2020)
  • “Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.”  Napoleon Bonaparte
  • “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”  Winston Churchill
  • The modern Left aren’t even clever enough to realise that wealth has to be created before it can be redistributed.  They think the Government just ‘has’ all this wealth that it’s hoarding and refusing to spend on good causes aka free stuff for them.  (Tweet by @TheAliceSmith, retweeted by Matt Maddock, Republican State Representative in Michigan)
  • “Biden repudiates an “America First” foreign policy that puts U.S. security, sovereignty, liberty and vital interests above the interests of any other nation. But what is it, then, that Biden puts first? Globalism. A New World Order. A Crusade for Global Democracy.” (Pat Buchanan, 11/17/2020)

ERDOGAN RELAUNCHES CRUSADES

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his ruling party lawmakers at the parliament, in Ankara,...

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his ruling party lawmakers at the parliament, in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020.  (Associated Press)

While most are busy watching the US election, let’s remember the other serious issue confronting the world at this time.   President Erdogan of Turkey used the word “crusade” last week, referring to growing conflict between France and the Muslim world, precursor to the coming clash of civilizations talked about by Samuel Huntington and predicted in the scriptures (Daniel 11:40-44). It should be remembered that the first Crusade was launched in France in 1095.  There is also a long-term problem developing.  Germany is calling for a different alliance with America, a development that will ultimately lead to a Europe dominated by the Beast power. (Revelation 17:12-14)

A Turkish point of view

After all these years they want to relaunch a crusade against Islam, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Wednesday regarding the latest Islamophobic moves in European countries, particularly France.

“I don’t even need to say anything about these ‘dishonorable’ people who dare to mock our prophet through so-called caricatures,” the president said during the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) parliamentary group meeting in Ankara.

“We are a nation that respects not only our own religion but also the values of other religions as well. It is our values that are being targeted,” he added.

Erdoğan highlighted that freedom of speech has nothing to do with insulting the Prophet Muhammad. “No matter what they do, we will not give up on defending the rightful cause,” he continued.

The president emphasized that Europe’s latest moves go against the values they claim to purport.  “European countries do not even feel the need to cover up their hatred toward Islam anymore,” he added.  “France and Europe, in general, do not deserve the vicious, provocative, hateful policies of (French President Emmanuel) Macron and those who follow the same mentality,” Erdoğan continued.

Macron last week said he won’t prevent the publication of cartoons insulting the Prophet Muhammad under the pretext of freedom of expression, a statement that sparked outrage in the Arab and Muslim world.

Macron this month also described Islam as a religion “in crisis” worldwide and said the government would present a bill in December to strengthen a 1905 law that officially separated church and state in France.

He announced stricter oversight on schooling and better control over foreign funding of mosques. But the debate over the role of Islam in France reached new intensity after the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty, which prosecutors say was carried out by an 18-year-old Chechen who had contact with a terrorist in Syria.  (Daily Sabah, Istanbul, 11/3/2020)

France has a long and less than harmonious history with Islam – as well as a president who doesn’t mind picking fights.  His latest began with a call for French Muslims to cast off foreign influence and build an “Islam of light” – which provoked a furious diplomatic response in Turkey and Iran, as well as street protests in the Middle East and Bangladesh.  (The Week, 10/28/2020)

Three weeks ago, Emmanuel Macron was coming under fire from French conservatives after suggesting that teaching Arabic in schools could help combat radical Islam. Less than a month later, the French president is embroiled in a diplomatic stand-off with Muslim countries angry about a crackdown on Islam in his avowedly secular republic.

Macron’s about-turn follows the beheading of teacher Samuel Paty, who was murdered after presenting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to pupils during a class about freedom of speech. 

But the dispute runs deeper than the killing, laying bare France’s complex relationship with Islam and triggering calls for a boycott of French products in a string of Muslim-majority countries.  (The Week, 10/28/2020)

Turkish President Erdogan: Macron Needs Mental Treatment; Jordanian Islamic Scholar: Macron Has Declared War On Islam; France-Based Int’l Law Expert: Macron Insists On Offending Islam, Muhammad Because He Was Brought To Power By The Rothschilds  (MEMRI 10/29/2020)

Canadian Imam Younus Kathrada: Samuel Paty was a Cursed, Evil-Spirited, Filthy Excuse for a Human-Being. (MEMRI 10/30/2020)

Al-Qaeda says killing anyone who insults Prophet Mohammed ‘is the right of every Muslim’ and threatens President Macron over his vow to defend freedom of speech  (Daily Mail 11/2/2020)

Al-Qaeda has announced that killing anyone who insults Prophet Mohammed ‘is the right of every Muslim’ before threatening French President Emmanuel Macron over his vow to defend freedom of speech.  Last month Macron defended the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed on the grounds of freedom of speech, launching a campaign against Islamic radicalism and sparking fury across the Muslim world.

‘Killing anyone who insults the prophet is the right of each and every Muslim,’ the jihadist group, known by its French acronym AQMI, said in a statement.  (Daily Mail, 11/2/2020)

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GERMANY

Germany wants ‘new deal’ after U.S. Election

Berlin will seek a diplomatic “new deal” with Washington after the US elections, said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Multilateralism, not nationalism, is needed when it comes to trans-Atlantic relations.  “We had to listen to Trump describing China, Russia and the EU in one breath as the USA’s greatest enemies.  This has to come to an end.” 

As US presidential campaigning neared its close, Trump claimed Saturday that various nations, including Germany, hoped he would lose Tuesday’s election.  “China wants me out. Iran wants me out. Germany wants me out,” Trump told his supporters.   (Deutsche Welle, 1 Nov 2020, https://www.dw.com/en/us-election-germany-wants-new-deal-after-vote/a-55463459)

Germany’s Difficult Ally – the USA 
German-Foreign-Policy newsletter: 28 Oct 2020
For the aftermath of the US presidential elections, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is calling for a “new beginning in the transatlantic partnership.” However, “partnership” should not equate “blind allegiance,” Maas declared. “Distinct perspectives” of “Europe” and the USA should be recognized and foreign policy “closer coordinated.”   For months, several influential foreign policy think tanks on both sides of the Atlantic have been exploring options for coordinating transatlantic interests, with the aim of overcoming the fierce controversies of the past four years and to “move closer together,” in view of the escalating crises and conflicts, as former Foreign Minister and current Chairman of the Atlantik-Brücke, Sigmar Gabriel, explained. 

According to the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), one of the reasons why the United States would remain “a difficult ally” – even with a possible President Joe Biden – is the growing inequality and massive polarization within the United States.
(German Foreign Policy, 10/27/2020)

Berlin is calling on the incoming administration in Washington to take carefully concerted action against Beijing by taking Germany’s particular interests into account. “Americans and Europeans” have many common demands on the People’s Republic of China, particularly those concerning trade and investments in China, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas declared, and side by side, they must raise them now. A “Transatlantic Working Group” could coordinate a transatlantic policy toward China, which should, for example, include the US vice president, relevant EU representatives and foreign, defense and other ministers of EU member states, according to a proposal drawn up under the co-authorship of German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger. High significance is attached to the competition for global technological leadership. At the same time, Berlin is rejecting some of the US aggressions, including the plans to decouple China from the West: “We do not support every stance and every advance by the government in Washington,” the German Defense Minister declared.  (German Foreign Policy, 11/2/2020)

Lithium and the Putsch German-Foreign-Policy newsletter, 28 Oct 2020

Following the presidential elections in Bolivia, the German government and business circles hope to have direct access to what are presumably the world’s largest lithium reserves. Already at the end of 2018, the German company, ACI Systems had concluded a joint venture with the state-owned Bolivian YLB to extract lithium in the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt lake, situated in Bolivia’s highlands. Lithium is indispensable for the production of batteries, such as those used in electric cars and is of particular importance for Germany’s automotive industry. However, during the major upheavals, in early November of last year, the German-Bolivian joint venture was put on ice. It has not been revived since the November 10, 2019 putsch in La Paz, despite the German government’s support for the putschist regime. Following the putschists’ unambiguous electoral defeat, Berlin is hoping to obtain concessions from Luis Arce, the winner of the elections – even though the German government had approved of the violent overthrow of his fellow party member Evo Morales in 2019.

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MIDEAST PEACE

PA official names five countries set to establish ties with Israel (https://worldisraelnews.com/pa-official-names-five-countries-set-to-establish-ties-with-israel/)

Following the success of Abraham Accords, talks are apparently underway with Oman, Sudan, the Comoros, Djibouti and Mauritania.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the accords signal the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East.  “This is a turning point in history in that the Palestinian veto has been broken that for a quarter of a century prevented us from achieving peace. Now the dam has been broken,” Netanyahu said in a Channel 20 interview.   (10/28/2020)

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US ELECTION

In 2016, with Trump loudly vowing to make Mexico pay for a border wall, it was almost inconceivable that anyone in Mexico would back his presidential bid. But in 2020, he is unusually popular among supporters of the country’s leftist president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is commonly referred to by his initials.

In fact, the two populist leaders have forged a surprisingly close relationship. “We want President Trump to stay in office. Why? Because there’s good communication between him and President López Obrador,” one Amlo supporter in Mexico City tells David Agren. “They understand each other perfectly because they’re nationalists. They’re nationalist presidents.”  (The Guardian, 10/30/2020)

“Given the cards he has been dealt in 2020, and the hatred of the media he daily confronts, it is astonishing that Trump retains his energy and enthusiasm for the battle. Most presidents would have long ago been broken . . . Should Joe Biden win, he would be, on Jan. 20, 2021, the oldest and most visibly enfeebled leader to win the presidency in the history of the republic . . . ”   (Pat Buchanan, 10/30/2020)

The result of the US election might not be known until nine days after the polls shut after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing counting to continue after election day.

Despite attempts by Republicans to block late postal ballots, Democrats won the right for delayed postal votes to be counted for nine days after the polls close in the marginal state of North Carolina, and for three days in Pennsylvania, a state seen by both sides as pivotal to victory.

Only three of the six key swing states that will most likely determine the election – Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona – are “in a good place to count most of their votes on election night or soon afterward,” Vox reports.  (The Week, 10/30/2020)

On Telegram, Neo-Nazis Celebrate Second Anniversary Of Pittsburgh Synagogue Attack, Call It ‘Saint Bowers Day’ In Honor Of Attacker Robert Bowers (MEMRI 10/27/2020)

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AFRICA

ZAMBIA ON THE PATH TO ZIMBABWE-LIKE RUIN

Despite the example of neighbouring Zimbabwe’s economic collapse over the last 25 years, Zambian President Edgar Lungu is apparently intent on his country relearning this maths lesson. And it will inevitably do so, at great economic and social cost, the responsibility for which Lungu’s government will habitually try to wriggle out of.  Lungu needs a central bank governor who will not hesitate to print money.  SoThe diplomatic brouhaha over SA Finance Minister’s Tito Mboweni’s comments about Zambian President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s firing of Reserve Bank Governor Denny Kalyalya obscures a bigger issue.

For the record, Mboweni took to Twitter to say: “Presidents in Africa must stop this nonsense of waking up in the morning and fire a Central Bank Governor! You cannot do that. This is not some fiefdom of yours! Your personal property?! No!” He has since been reprimanded for going too far by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa. The bigger issue is that you can’t change the rules of arithmetic. (Greg Mills, Daily Maverick (SA), 8/27/2020).

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Roman Catholic Church

Italian archbishop Pizzaballa appointed new Latin patriarch of Jerusalem This office has been vacant since resignation of Fouad Twal in 2016. Times of Israel, 25 Oct 2020  

Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the most senior Roman Catholic official in the Middle East, has been appointed by Pope Francis as the new Latin patriarch of Jerusalem.  The office had remained vacant since 2016, with Pizzaballa holding the position of the apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem since then. The Italian Pizzaballa, 55, formerly a Franciscan friar, was a pastor for Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel and a member of a commission for relations with Judaism. He speaks fluent Hebrew and has lived in Israel since 1990. The last two Latin patriarchs of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal and Palestinian Michel Sabbah – like the vast majority of local Catholics –  were native Arabic speakers.

Other new cardinals include an Italian who is the long-time papal preacher at the Vatican, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, a Franciscan friar; the Kigali, Rwanda, Archbishop Antoine Kambanda; the Capiz, Philippines, Archbishop Jose Feurte Advincula, and the Santiago, Chile, Archbishop Celestino Aos Braco.
(Times of Israel, 10/25/2020)

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AUSTRALIA

Australia’s domestic spy agency has foiled a plot by foreign intelligence operatives to recruit senior Australian government staffers to provide them classified information about Australia’s counterespionage activities.

A foreign national based in Australia was working with a team of spies overseas to penetrate senior levels of the Australian government.  The primary goal was to covertly acquire classified information about Australian intelligence agencies’ operations and capabilities – especially those directed at their country.

The concerning plot is revealed in the annual report of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation which was tabled in parliament on Thursday.

If the plot was successful, ASIO believes it could have granted the foreign government significant strategic advantage over Australia.

The domestic intelligence agency says it conducted “overt activity “against the Australia-based foreign national and the network of foreign spies, which “thwarted the foreign intelligence operation and prevented the passage of classified information” to the foreign government.

ASIO director-general Mike Burgess said his organisation discovered and disrupted the plot this year.”   (Anthony Galloway, SMH, 10/15/2020)

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TO THE POINT

  • Johnson to address MPs as lockdown rebellion grows – Boris Johnson will tell the House of Commons there is “no alternative” to a nationwide lockdown as he faces growing fury from Conservative MPs over the suggestion that the new “stay at home” order could be extended beyond 2 December and into the new year. The Times says up to 40 backbenchers are prepared to vote against the measures on Wednesday.
  • Opinion poll ‘giving Joe Biden anxiety’ on election eve – CNN says a new opinion poll is “giving Trump backers hope and Democrats anxiety” on the eve of election day. The survey of likely voters in Iowa has Trump leading Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden by a 48% to 41% margin. This suggests the US president is in a far stronger position than assumed, particularly it if is reflected in crucial battlegrounds such as Michigan and Wisconsin. Overall, however, Biden has had a commanding and consistent poll lead.
  • Farage announces launch of anti-lockdown party – Nigel Farage is to relaunch the Brexit Party as an anti-lockdown party called Reform UK. Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Farage and former Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice argue that “lockdowns don’t work” and say their party will back “focused protection” from Covid-19 only for the most vulnerable, to allow the rest of the population to develop herd immunity.
  • Tommy Robinson arrested at anti-lockdown rally in London – The former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson was arrested during a rally in London yesterday. Footage shared on social media shows the 37-year-old, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, being led away by police officers. The Guardian says the right-winger was arrested for breaking coronavirus restrictions.
  • Food banks report influx of middle-class families – Charities say the Covid-19 pandemic has brought a new demographic of middle-income families into food banks. Often self-employed or business owners, the so-called “newly-hungry” have mortgages and cars but have been plunged into crisis by pandemic-related job losses and gaps in the social security system.  (The Week, 11/2/2020)
  • The looming lockdown for England will undo the economic progress made over the summer and push Britain into a double-dip recession, according to revised forecasts from leading economists.  Back in April, the first full month of the first lockdown, the UK economy shrank by a record 20.4%. Now, experts are warning that the tighter restrictions announced by Boris Johnson on Saturday will “obliterate the country’s fragile economic recovery,” The Times reports.
  • Many are predicting that the final-quarter GDP will shrink by as much as 8%. And Gerard Lyons, an economic adviser to Johnson when he was London mayor, told The Guardian that the contraction could be as high as 10%.  (The Week, 11/2/2020)
  • The Daily Star reports on a “great escape,” alongside a mocked-up image of Dominic Cummings riding Steve McQueen’s famous motorbike. The tabloid says that “fed-up Brits” are “forming huge queues at airports” to flee the country as lockdown looms.  (The Week, 11/3/2020)
  • National lockdown ‘a matter of time’ say experts – Scientists have told the BBC it is “only a matter of time” before the UK faces a new national lockdown to tackle the second wave of Covid-19. Sir Jeremy Farrar, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, says any delay will mean later restrictions will be “harder and longer.” Meanwhile, a new UK campaign group, Recovery, has criticised the government’s willingness to impose lockdowns, claiming that “rushed legislation” prioritises quantity of life over the quality of life.  (The Week, 10/30/2020)
  • Multilateralism, the core ideology of the UN, is failing. Countries are bypassing the UN because they realize it cannot provide security. Countries are defending themselves.  (Gatestone, 10/30/2020)
  • The (UK) government received some flack in July when tourists returning from Spain were abruptly required to quarantine for two weeks.  Today it has been criticised for failing to act sooner. The reason is a study which says 80% of the UK’s coronavirus cases can be traced back to an outbreak among Spanish farm workers in June.  (The Week, 10/30/2020)
  • SPANISH MUTATION BLAMED FOR EUROPE’S SECOND WAVE – Europe’s second wave of coronavirus was accelerated by a new viral mutation that emerged from a cluster of farms in northern Spain, according to research published today by a Swiss university.  The new variant, first detected in June, “has spread rapidly through much of Europe,” the Financial Times reports,” and now accounts for the majority of new Covid-19 cases in several countries – and more than 80% in the UK.”   The study’s lead author, University of Basel evolutionary geneticist Emma Hodcroft, said a “super-spreading event among agricultural workers” transmitted the 20A.EU1 mutation of the virus into the local population, where it was picked up by visitors from across the continent.  (The Week, 10/30/2020)


MICHIGAN MILITIA PLOT TO KIDNAP GOVERNOR

The above signs are popping up all over Michigan. “Pure Michigan” is the state’s promotional slogan.

I am not a member of a Michigan militia. Nor do I know anybody who is.

But I think I understand their frustration.

So-called “white supremacists” are mostly people who want to preserve their identity and culture, something people don’t have to be concerned about in most other countries. The Governor seems to spend more time at Hindu Dewali and Muslim festivals than she does at Christian ones. They see their state in economic decline as jobs have moved overseas. Employed in the private sector, from which all wealth comes, they do not have the benefit of pay increases every year, like those in government jobs. They lose a few thousand a year to tax, while billionaires pay next to nothing; while their standard of living keeps falling. The Governor taking extraordinary and unconstitutional powers to impose restrictions on them for Covid-19 was the last straw. They simply broke and wanted to hit back. Not a wise choice, admittedly.

Perhaps a reading of I Samuel 8 is wise here. When Israel wanted a king, God warned the people that government would take more and more from them, until they would cry out in pain. That’s exactly what is happening today in America and other western nations.

“And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. 16 And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest [a]young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. 18 And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day.” (I Samuel 8:14-18)

If the Democrats gain power next month, taxes are set to rise by an estimated 15%. Governor Gretchen Whitmer is fond of reminding people of her oath of office taken on the Bible. I suggest she reads I Samuel 8 (and beyond) and learns from the history of the kings of Israel the dire consequences of high taxation. These included the division of the kingdom. It’s not beyond the realm of probability that this “kingdom” could be divided between those fiscally responsible states and those that don’t pay their way.

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THE WEST’S DEMOGRAPHIC SUICIDE

First, “the demographic weight of the West in the world” has been declining. The percentage of the global population comprised by the U.S. and Canada has shrunk from 6.8% to 4.7% since 1950. Europe has declined from close to 22% of the global population to less than 10% today.

This will adversely affect the economic power of the West relative to the rest of the world. Although higher productivity has enabled the West to maintain its economic dominance in years past, the rest of the world is developing rapidly and narrowing the productivity gap. In a quarter of a century, China is expected to have approximately four times the GDP of the U.S. India will likely surpass China, due to its much higher fertility rate. The geopolitical ramifications of this shift will be far-reaching.

First, “the demographic weight of the West in the world” has been declining. The percentage of the global population comprised by the U.S. and Canada has shrunk from 6.8% to 4.7% since 1950. Europe has declined from close to 22% of the global population to less than 10% today.

Second, Western countries are experiencing a steadily aging population and workforce. GDP and tax revenue growth won’t keep pace with spending on pensions and healthcare. If there is too much transfer of wealth via taxes from the rest of society to pay for the needs of an aging population, the imbalance will drain the economy. Democracy will become “gerontocracy” because older voters dominate at the polls, advancing their interests.

Finally, low fertility rates will continue to create pressure for mass immigration into Western countries to meet the demands of labor markets, which can have deleterious cultural and political consequences. Immigration into the U.S., with its large number of Hispanics, is more assimilable to its prevailing culture than immigration into Europe, which has experienced in recent years a large influx of Muslims, who often choose not to integrate culturally. Europe’s native population, which has traditionally been more homogeneous than that of the U.S., has undergone a very sudden change with the immigrants. Macarrón estimates that 25% of babies born in France are from first-or second-generation Muslim immigrants; in Germany 15%, in Austria 14%, and in Spain, approximately 10%. If these increasingly “varied and complex” societies do not manage foreign immigration carefully, there could be severe “social clashes” in the future. (“The West’s demographic suicide,” Marilyn Stern, MEF, 9/29/2020).

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WHITE PRIVILEGE THEORY ‘HURTS WORKING-CLASS BOYS’

Pressure to apologise for “white privilege” is pushing white working-class boys even further “behind everyone else,” MPs have been warned.

Professor Matthew Goodwin, a politics professor at the University of Kent, told the Commons Education Select Committee yesterday that “over the last ten years our national conversation has become more consumed about other groups in society.”

White working-class boys, who are among the worst educational performers, are landed with “a status deficit” and made “to feel as though they are not being given as much recognition and esteem as others,” Goodwin said.

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TOWARDS SOCIALISM IN THE US

One party is effectively saying it will pack the courts, including the Supreme Court, with politically friendly judges, so that the judiciary will be an extension of one political party rather than part of a system of checks and balances, the separation of powers or a co-equal branch of government. One party is openly saying it will remove the electoral college, so that sparsely populated, rural states would be totally outvoted by cities. One party is openly saying that it would add more states, such as Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, to provide it with more Senators to create a permanent one-party rule. And one party is openly saying it would reverse core parts of our Bill of Rights so we could be jailed for free speech, or for owning a gun to defend ourselves, as the minutemen did, against “enemies foreign and domestic.” (“Slouching towards the Socialist States of America,” Chris Farrell, Gatestone, 10/13/2020)

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CHRISTIANS AGAINST TRUMP

A group of prominent Christians from both sides of the aisle, including a past faith adviser to former President Barack Obama, is forming a political action committee designed to chip away at Christian support for President Donald Trump in the final weeks of the 2020 campaign.

Dubbed Not Our Faith, the new super PAC plans to roll out six-figure TV and digital ads focused on Christian voters — particularly the evangelical and Catholic voters who helped power Trump to victory in 2016. Its first digital ad, set to run in Michigan and Pennsylvania, takes sharp aim at Trump’s claim to a foothold with Christians.

The ad, shared with The Associated Press in advance of its release, says Trump “has used Christianity for his own purposes,” invoking imagery of the Republican president’s photo op outside a historic Washington church amid this summer’s racial justice demonstrations. Urging Christians to break from Trump, the ad states that they “don’t need Trump to save them. The truth is that Trump needs Christians to save his flailing campaign.”

That sharp critique of Trump’s standing with Christian voters comes as the president looks to evangelicals in particular to help him muscle to reelection over Democratic nominee Joe Biden. While Biden’s campaign is mounting a well-organized faith outreach effort, that work largely focuses on an affirmative case for the former vice president rather than the overtly anti-Trump case that the new PAC is making. (“Bipartisan Christian group forms super PAC to oppose Trump,” Elana Schor, AP, 10/13/2020)

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DOUBLE STANDARDS

President Obama received a Nobel peace prize months after he was sworn in, before he had done anything to deserve it. President Trump has broken through decades of antagonism between Israel and some Arab countries, with a peace deal that alters the balance of power in the Mideast. The Nobel committee gave the prize to an organization fighting hunger. Double standard, anyone?

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HUNTER BIDEN SCANDAL

Another double standard is the following. Why isn’t this in the American papers?

Hunter Biden pursued deals with a major Chinese energy company including one that would be ‘interesting for me and my family’, new secret emails said to be from the presidential candidate’s son claim.

He also struck a deal for $30 million plus bonuses ‘based on introductions alone’ over three years after his father left office, then was offered a ‘much more lasting and lucrative arrangement.’

The son of the Democratic presidential nominee communicated with China’s largest private energy company, CEFC, according to the latest trove of messages unearthed by the New York Post from what is said to be Hunter’s personal laptop. (Daily Mail 10/15/2020)

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BLACK APPRAISALS OF BLACK LIVES MATTER

“I have no objection to the statement ‘black lives matter.’ But the movement that uses that name has a sinister hostility to serious, fact-driven discussion of the problem it purports to care about. Even more sinister is the haste with which academic, media and business leaders abase themselves before it. There will be no resolution of America’s many social problems if free thought and free speech are no longer upheld in our public sphere.” — Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

“All of these corporations… that give a dollar or millions of dollars to the BLM agenda, they are destroying black lives.” — Niger Innis.

“Little Yummy was an eleven-year-old murderer. He got murdered at eleven by a 14-year-old who is doing life in prison now . . . Where was his father? . . . It starts in the home. My three closest friends did 15-25 years in prison… I was the only one who had a father in my life. I had a father who was a gentle man and a good example — they didn’t.” — Denzel Washington.

“Police don’t wake up and think, ‘I’m going to kill a n*gger today or kill a white man.’ They’re just trying to make it back home to their family in one piece.” — Muhammad Ali Jr.

(“Black Appraisals of Black Lives Matter,” Soeren Kern, Gatestone, 10/7/2020)

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HEALTH INEQUITIES

Our youngest daughter is a nurse. In one of her college textbooks, the following appears, a classic example of revisionist history. I hadn’t realized that healthcare was such a major issue in 1619!

“Systematic differences in health that occur between and within countries and are avoidable and unfair. United States has a long history – starting with colonist’s treatment of American Indians and enslavement of people from Africa. “

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German Imperialism & European Ambitions Beyond NATO
by Franziska Kleiner, 12 Oct 2020, News Click.

At a conference, “Contradictions within imperialist countries and the danger of war,” journalist Jörg Kronauer gave a presentation on German imperialism and its military ambitions. This is an excerpt of the presentation.

In this excerpt, we bring you his views on how German imperialism operates within the NATO alliance and within Europe.

He also talks about PESCO or the Permanent Structured Cooperation.

The ongoing conflict is the fight over who exerts influence in eastern Europe: the Germans or the Russians. This power struggle led to the escalation of the Ukraine conflict and it has not been decided unequivocally for the German/European or Western side, which increases the desire to expand the military pressure on Russia. It manifests itself in the leading role the German army is playing in building the NATO spearhead and stationing NATO troops in Eastern Europe. In this conflict with Russia, NATO is the ideal ally for the German establishment, because it gains access to the military weight of the United States.

(https://www.newsclick.in/german-imperialism-european-ambitions-beyond-NATO)

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GERMANS TRAIN TO DROP US NUCLEAR BOMBS

According to reports, the Bundeswehr has started this year’s “Steadfast Noon” nuclear combat exercise. Within the framework of the so-called Nuclear Sharing, the German Air Force is practicing the various stages German pilots need to go through to drop US nuclear bombs. “Steadfast Noon” takes place every fall. This year’s exercise also includes the near Cologne, which is intended to serve as an alternative site for the 20 nuclear bombs stored at the Büchel Air Base (Eifel). At the same time a second maneuver is taking place in Büchel, aimed at “protecting important infrastructure against airborne threats.” The nuclear bombs in Büchel, as well as the fighter jets capable of dropping them, are to be modernized costing billions of euros. The new B61-12 nuclear bombs can also be deployed with low-yield warheads, lowering the threshold to nuclear war. According to reports, NATO documents mention “nuclear first strikes.” (German Foreign Policy, 10/14/2020)

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EU URGES CEASEFIRE IN ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN DISPUTE

With clumsy pleas, the EU is urging Armenia and Azerbaijan to agree to a ceasefire. The hostilities over Nagorno-Karabakh must be ended immediately, was the call sent out by the EU foreign ministers at their meeting yesterday, albeit without any mention of concrete measures. According to German experts in foreign policy, Germany’s lack of influence on the parties to the conflict must be compensated for through coordinated EU activities and agreements with Russia. In a similar situation earlier this year, Berlin had been able to make progress in its efforts to reach a ceasefire in Libya with Moscow’s help. This option is nowhere in sight in the current case. On Franco-German insistence, EU foreign ministers agreed to impose sanctions on Russia yesterday. Experts estimate that now, Moscow will no longer “expect anything from Europe,” and feels “no longer obliged to take its opinion or interests into account.” The EU is unable to exert influence on Turkey, which supports Azerbaijan: Ankara is playing off Berlin and Paris against one another. (German Foreign Policy, 10/13/2020)

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TO THE POINT

• Marx actively rebelled against the divine. He wrote, “I long to take vengeance on the One Who rules from above. The idea of God is the keynote of a perverted civilization. It must be destroyed.” (Epoch Times, 10/14/2020)

• Hard-pressed Brits forced to pay £9 BILLION to fund migrant invasion of Britain (10/9/2020)

• NOT JUST TRUMP: Cover on The Economist, 9/26/2020. “Why are so many governments getting it wrong?” (The subject was Covid.)

• In today’s Daily Telegraph online: Big Tech is hiding the truth about lockdowns – Doctors and the WHO are turning against lockdowns, but you wouldn’t know it from Google and the other tech giants who are trying to keep this news quiet, writes James Morrow. (10/12/2020)

• SAUDI ARABIA AND RUSSIA IN UN HUMAN RIGHTS BODY: A string of countries accused of perpetrating human rights abuses are on course to win election to the United Nations Human Rights Council, despite protests from activists and political dissidents. China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Cuba and Pakistan are expected to secure places on the governing board of the organisation in a vote today – a move described by Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch as “like making a gang of arsonists into the fire brigade.” Each country must win 97 votes in the UN General Assembly to be appointed as one of the council’s 14 member states, “meaning a concerted campaign among democracies could still stand a chance of blocking their election,” The Times reports. (The Week, 10/13/2020)

• Xi Jinping tells China’s troops to prepare for war – Chinese President Xi Jinping has told troops to “put all their minds and energy on preparing for war.” During a visit to a military base in the southern province of Guangdong, Xi told the soldiers to “maintain a state of high alert” and be “absolutely loyal, absolutely pure and absolutely reliable”. Tensions between China and the US remain high, while it has also seen skirmishes on its Himalayan border with India. (The Week, 10/15/2020)

IS TURKEY ABOUT TO LAUNCH  A RELIGIOUS WAR AGAINST ISRAEL?

The site is now one of Turkey’s most visited tourist attractions – GETTY IMAGES

The sixth century Christian church, the Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul, is about to be converted into a mosque.  Turkey’s religious government is increasingly hardline Islamist.  It compares the Hagia Sophia to the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and is a call to “liberate” Jerusalem from the Israelis.  “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. ” (Luke 21:20)

Has Erdogan Launched a New Age of Religious Wars?                             by Jonathan S. Tobin / JNS.org

 In a statement, Erdogan said that the reimposition of Muslim worship at the Hagia Sophia is “the harbinger of the liberation of Masjid al-Aqsa [the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount].”  That’s a call for throwing Israel out of Jerusalem and the spot holiest in Judaism. 

That this incendiary comment came during the period when religious Jews begin the period of mourning for the destruction of the ancient Temple culminating on Tisha B’Av [evening to evening 29-30 July 2020] is probably coincidental but still chilling.

(Tisha B’Av is an annual fast day in Judaism, on which a number of disasters in Jewish history occurred, primarily the destruction of both Solomon’s Temple by the Neo-Babylonian Empire and the Second Temple by the Roman Empire in Jerusalem. Wikipedia)

What happened in Constantinople was hardly unique.  Invading Muslims did the same thing everywhere that they triumphed during the period when they spread their faith by force of arms from India to Europe.  And, to be fair, Christian forces repaid the favor when they reconquered Spain and the Balkans by converting mosques into churches.

So when Erdogan echoes the Palestinian rhetoric of both the so-called moderates of Fatah and the extremists of Hamas about chasing the Jews from Jerusalem, he’s not just signaling his hostility to the Jewish state.  He’s also making it clear that he wishes to claim the title of the guardian of Islam from Saudi leaders that many Muslims think are now tainted by their under-the-table relations with Israel.

Unfortunately, the Hagia Sophia precedent is also helping shape the discussion about Jerusalem.

The point here is not only to bring attention to the revanchist Islamist spirit that Erdogan’s boasts represent.  Nor is it to highlight the fact that even Muslim liberals like Akyol are unable to be honest about the way Judaism’s holiest site was converted into a Muslim shrine that is inviolable in the view of world opinion.

Rather, it is to point out that the only way Jewish access to holy sites in Jerusalem, as well as that of other faiths, will be preserved is by ensuring that the city is not redivided as advocates of a two-state solution with the Palestinians insist must happen.  The only alternative to the status quo in Jerusalem is not a platonic utopia of two peoples living happily together in shared sovereignty, as envisaged by anti-Zionists like Peter Beinart, or by returning to the peace parameters embraced by the Obama administration that would split the city.   Erdogan’s revival of the brutal conqueror’s path is the only other choice.  Those who care about religious freedom and the preservation of the holy sites should draw the appropriate conclusions from events in Turkey, particularly the way it is discussed in the pages of the [New York] Times.

(https://www.algemeiner.com/2020/07/21/has-erdogan-launched-a-new-age-of-religious-wars/)

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CONFLICT INTENSIFIES IN LIBYA

The Libyan House of Representatives in Tobruk this week passed a motion approving Egyptian military intervention, should this prove necessary in the fight against the rival Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli. This latest move is set to sharply escalate tensions in the divided and strife-torn country.

The decision raises the still remote but no longer unthinkable possibility of a conventional clash between Egyptian and Turkish forces on the soil of Libya.   What began as a proxy war now threatens to escalate into a direct conflict.   For now, the fighting fronts remain static around the town of Sirte. The focus looks set to return to crisis diplomacy intended to avert a direct clash over the next period.   But the escalation is very real, and reflects a dangerous combination of geo-strategic rivalries and long-standing ideological differences between Ankara and Cairo.  (Jonathan Spyer, Jerusalem Post, 7/16/2020)

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DIVERSITY TO AFFECT ELECTION

Is her racial diversity America’s greatest strength?

So we are told.   Yet, even before America becomes a majority-minority nation, 25 years from now, recent changes in the composition of the country are going to impact both parties in 2020.

According to Brookings Institution demographer William Frey, between 2010 and 2020, while America’s population grew by 20 million, our white population fell for the first time since the 1790 census.

White Americans fell as a share of the population in all 50 states, in 358 of 364 metropolitan areas, in 3,012 of 3,141 counties.   During that same decade, our Black population grew by 3 million, our Asian population by 4 million and our Hispanic population by 10 million.

What’s the significance of those numbers?   In presidential elections, Hispanics and Asians vote 70% Democratic and African Americans vote 90%.

White folks, who made up 69% of the U.S. population in 2000 when George W. Bush was elected, have fallen today to 60%.

For children under 16, the white share has fallen to less than half.

Minority kids are now the majority in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi and Maryland.

Whites are also the oldest Americans, with a median age of 44.   For Asian Americans, it is 37, for Black Americans, it is 35, and for Latinos, it is 30.

(Rising diversity is Joe Biden’s problem, too.  Pat Buchanan,  7/21/2020)

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US NEEDS TO UPDATE GERIATRIC BOMBER FORCE

This 4th of July, Americans witnessed flyovers of our airpower.  It was a far cry from the airpower displays over Washington, D.C., that I viewed as a boy on national holidays in the late 1950s.  Then, dozens of B-47 bombers literally cast a shadow over the viewers.   On this Fourth, only three bombers were on display­­ – a B-52 built in the Kennedy years; a B-1B built during the Reagan administration; and our “newest” bomber, the B-2, over 30 years of age.

To put the current bomber deficit situation in historical context, in 1957 the Air Force had 2,334 bombers in its inventory; in 1990 it had 411; the 2021 budget plans for 140.   Yes, times have changed, but arguably the security challenges for the foreseeable future are much more complex and challenging than ever before.   Historically under resourced and now with the likely prospect of flat or declining defense budgets in the future, the U.S. Air Force is confronting the potential of painful tradeoffs between modernization, readiness, and capacity.   However, given the outsized mission value of bombers and the fact that the bomber force is significantly undersized, looking to it for near-term budget savings risks creating a major capacity and capability gap.   Instead, the Department of Defense should increase investment in this critical mission area, fully funding bomber readiness, sustaining the current force, and ramping up acquisition plans for the new B-21 bomber.  (forbes.com  7/18/2020)

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REBUILDING WARSAW 80 YEARS ON

Several hundred members of the German Bundestag are planning major construction projects in Warsaw.   The non-partisan group of German parliamentarians – ranging from right to left – is discussing transformation plans for the Polish capital, which had been destroyed in the 1940s, when war was raging everywhere.   Warsaw could finally be embellished with historical sensitivity and German money from a “Poland Fund.”   Berlin is discussing the reconstruction of Warsaw’s huge 18th century Baroque palace, the “Pałac Saski” in reminiscence of the Kingdom of Poland, when Poland was moaning under the reign of the Saxons (“Saxony Poland”) – a serious proposal from the portfolio of Germany’s Poland institutes.   Therefore, Warsaw’s museums and libraries must also expect wide-ranging construction measures.  They would be expanded, with means from the “Poland Fund,” to make room for cultural goods from Germany, where they have been stored in greater quantities – some already for several centuries.  They had unfortunately disappeared from Poland, when “Saxony Poland” had been succeeded by quite varying regimes under German domination.   Poland’s cultural heritage had been transferred to Berlin in a cloak-and-dagger operation, supposedly to safeguard it from theft and destruction.   The Polish artifacts would, however, remain German property and only loaned out to Warsaw’s museums, as was so caringly suggested in the German capital.   (German Foreign Policy, 7/21/2020)

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COVID DEATHS INFLATED IN UK

People living in England have become increasingly concerned in recent weeks, as Public Health England’s (PHE) figures demonstrate a relentless daily toll of more than a hundred Covid-associated deaths, several days a week.   This is in stark contrast to the more reassuring recovery in neighboring regions (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), where there are days with no Covid-associated deaths whatsoever.   One reason for this is due to a statistical flaw in the way that PHE compiles ‘out of hospital’ deaths data, rather than any genuine difference between the regions of the UK:

‘Linking data on confirmed positive cases (identified through testing by NHS and PHE laboratories and commercial partners) to the NHS Demographic Batch Service:   when a patient dies, the NHS central register of patients is notified (this is not limited to deaths in hospitals).   The list of all lab-confirmed cases is checked against the NHS central register each day, to check if any of the patients have died.’

It seems that PHE regularly looks for people on the NHS database who have ever tested positive for Covid, and simply checks to see if they are still alive or not. PHE does not appear to consider how long ago the Covid test result was, nor whether the person has been successfully treated in hospital and discharged to the community. Anyone who has tested Covid-positive but subsequently died at a later date of any cause will be included on the PHE Covid death figures.

By this PHE definition, no one with Covid in England is allowed to ever recover from their illness.   A patient who has tested positive, but successfully treated and discharged from hospital, will still be counted as a Covid death, even if they had a heart attack or were run over by a bus three months later.

This is why the PHE figures vary substantially from day to day.   For example, 16 new deaths were announced on 6 July, but the following day, 152 were reported – today’s figure is 66.

It’s time to fix this statistical flaw that leads to an over-exaggeration of Covid-associated deaths.   One reasonable approach would be to define community Covid-related deaths as those that occurred within 21 days of a Covid positive test result.

In summary, PHE’s definition of the daily death figures means that everyone who has ever had Covid at any time must die with Covid too.   So, the Covid death toll in Britain up to July 2020 will eventually exceed 290,000, if the follow-up of every test-positive patient is of long enough duration.

Prof. Yoon K Loke is Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia.  Carl Heneghan is Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine and Director of Studies for the Evidence-Based Health Care Programmes.  This article originally appeared on the CEBM website. 

(https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/why-no-one-can-ever-recover-from-covid-19-in-england)

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NIKE USING SLAVE LABOR IN CHINA

In March, the non-partisan Australian Strategic Policy Institute, in a report titled “Uyghurs for Sale,” accused Beijing of forcing more than 80,000 Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities to produce products for Nike and 82 other brands.

The report’s accusations against Nike are damning.   “A factory in eastern China that manufacturers shoes for U.S. company Nike is equipped with watchtowers, barbed-wire fences, and police guard boxes,” it noted . . .   There, people have been kept against their will in inhumane conditions.  This facility, a Nike supplier for more than three decades, produces approximately eight million pairs of shoes each year.

U.S. law provides that products made with forced labor can be seized, but those made in horrific conditions in China and elsewhere routinely are cleared through Customs and end up on the shelves of American retailers.   (Gordon G. Chang, Gatestone, 7/21/2020)

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GERMANY:  TOWARD THE COLLAPSE OF THE SEMINARIES

In 1962, the year the Second Vatican Council opened, Germany ordained 557 priests.   Almost 60 years later, in 2020, only 57 of those priests remain in the priesthood.   The German Church, stuck more than ever in the synodal swamp, is struggling to find solutions. 18 July 2020, FSSPX 

“This is an alarming trend,” worries Thomas Sternberg, president of the Central Committee of German Catholics (Zdk), who explains that “last year, there was one ordination for 11 priests who left for retirement.”   A fundamental trend which does not seem likely to be reversed given the situation of German seminaries:  “the number of candidates for the Catholic priesthood has decreased from 594 in 2011, to 211 currently,” explains Msgr. Heinrich Timmerevers, Bishop of Dresden-Meissen.   A figure that reveals the collapse of the number of seminarians in formation houses.  In view of such a catastrophic situation, the fruits of accelerated secularization and the silent apostasy of a large number, the only solution would be a return to Tradition, to the Mass of all times, to the philosophy and theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas, which would imply moving away from the novelties which have the Second Vatican Council as their poisoned source.  Alas!  The German prelates are not ready for such a rebuff and prefer to deny reality by further accelerating the revolution.  Having sown the wind and harvested the whirlwind, the time of reckoning has come.  (FSSPX.NEWS is the communication agency of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, Paris, France).

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IS LEBANON ABOUT TO COLLAPSE?

Lebanon, one of the world’s most indebted countries, is spiraling into poverty and political chaos after decades of economic mismanagement.   Its government is seeking a $10 billion bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but the IMF insists that Lebanon must first reform its bloated and corrupt public sector.   So far, Beirut’s power brokers have resisted. Is Lebanon about to implode?

A crisis decades in the making:   While coronavirus lockdowns have exacerbated Lebanon’s economic woes, the country’s financial crisis has been deepening for decades.   Lebanon’s byzantine sectarian power-sharing system has brought the government to a standstill, while years of pocket-lining by politicians has crashed the economy and sent standards of living into freefall.   (Even before the pandemic, the World Bank predicted that 50 percent of Lebanese could be living below the poverty line if economic trends continued.)  (Gzero Signal, 7/21/2020)

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TO THE POINT

  • Another white guy was shot dead by police in our community. This one likely just snapped.  He had gone into a convenience store early one morning and was told he had to wear a mask.   He refused and started stabbing the 73-year-old man who had told him to wear one.  He then fled.   The police caught up with him in our neighborhood.   He tried to attack a policewoman with the knife and she reacted by shooting him.  Once again, it was not covered on the national television news.   When it comes to the news, white lives don’t matter!
  • I’m a little uncomfortable with the extradition of Prince Andrew. I have no sympathy with the man and feel that he deserves what he gets.  Being a member of the royal family does not give him any special protection from the law.  But it bothers me that the US won’t even consider the extradition of Mrs. Anne Secoolas, the lady who killed a 19-year-old young man in England when she drove on the wrong side of the road.  Until she is extradited for trial, I see no reason to send Prince Andrew to face an American court.   Laws relating to extradition and diplomatic immunity need a complete overhaul.  The double standard here is making America look like a big bully.  It hardly helps America’s image in the world.
  • Joe Biden plans on big changes to the suburbs, making them at least 25% minority.  That means more violence and more tension.   Diversity doesn’t work.   Enforced mixing will only breed resentment.   And you can bet Joe Biden’s neighborhood will be exempt.
  • Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s court case continues.  Were there ever two more trashy people?    Why does anyone ever listen to celebrities?
  • What happens if Trump refuses to accept defeat? Donald Trump will be “fumigated out” of the Oval Office if he refuses to quit following his predicted defeat in November’s US presidential election, according to the top US Democrat.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the warning after the president failed to give a straight answer during a TV interview about whether he “might not accept” the results of the vote.   The idea of Trump attempting to cling to power may “seem far-fetched,” Politico says. “But the president’s comments have people chattering in the halls of Congress and throughout the Beltway.   (The Week, 7/21/2020)
  • 25 MILLION IRANIANS INFECTED WITH CORONAVIRUS – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said during a televised meeting of the country’s virus-fighting task force on Saturday:   “Up to now, 25 million Iranians have been infected with this virus.   We have to consider the possibility that 30 to 35 million more may face infection.” (Al-Jazeera)
  • Iranian Spies Accidentally Leaked Videos of Themselves Hacking, by Andy Greenberg – Researchers at IBM’s X-Force security team revealed Thursday that they’ve obtained five hours of video footage from hackers working for ITG18, one of the most active state-sponsored espionage teams linked to the government of Iran.  The videos appear to be training demonstrations made to show junior team members how to access compromised Gmail and Yahoo Mail accounts to download their contents, as well as exfiltrating other Google-hosted data from victims.  The videos represent a rare, first-hand view of state-sponsored cyberspying. Victims included U.S. military personnel and State Department staff.   “This kind of thing is a rare win for the defenders,” said former NSA staffer Emily Crose.   “It’s like playing poker and having your opponents lay their entire hand out flat on the table in the middle of the last” hand.  (Wired)
  • Lebanon’s Financial Collapse Accelerates – Most parts of Lebanon are receiving no more than two or three hours of electricity a day and the traffic signals in Beirut have stopped working.   These are among the latest symptoms of an economic implosion that is accelerating at an alarming pace in Lebanon – the result of decades of economic mismanagement, corruption and overspending.   Economists are now predicting a Venezuela-style collapse, with acute shortages of essential products and services, runaway inflation and rising lawlessness.   The Lebanese pound has lost over 60% of its value in just the past month. Bread is in short supply because the government can’t fund imports of wheat.  “Lebanon is no longer on the brink of collapse.  The economy of Lebanon has collapsed,” said Fawaz Gerges, professor of international relations at the London School of Economics. (Liz Sly, Washington Post)
  • 236 European Lawmakers Call for Total EU Ban on Hizbullah – 236 European lawmakers have urged the EU to ban Hizbullah in its entirety and “end this false distinction between [its] ‘military’ and ‘political’ arms – a distinction Hizbullah itself dismisses.”  (Laura Kelly, The Hill)

 

 

 

AMERICA CHANGING HANDS

A protester carries an Antifascist Action flag at a rally following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, in Boston, Massachusetts, US, May 31, 2020. (Reuters)

The Lessons of History

Empires rise and empires fall.  They usually don’t end with a bang. They end with a whimper.  Revolts become revolutions when those sent by the authorities to put them down instead join the revolt. Is that what we’re beginning to see as police and National Guard troops kneel in submission before BLM and ANTIFA?  Many who railed against those who kneeled for the playing of our national anthem now kneel before those who showed their contempt for America.  Are the reins of power about to slip from the limp hands of the descendants of the Minutemen, the Grand Army of the Republic, and all the heroes who won the wars and enforced the peace?  Are the cultural, financial, social, and political structures we’ve known all our lives about to be upended?   (Dr. Robert R. Owens, Canada free press, 7/5/2020)

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FRANCE AND GERMANY DIFFER

Serious conflicts between Berlin and Paris over foreign policy overshadow the beginning of the German EU Presidency.   French President Emmanuel Macron’s ongoing endeavors to cooperate more closely with Russia are being met with resentment in the German capital.  During a recent two-hour long video conference with his Russian counterpart. he agreed to soon visit Moscow.  In fact, the German government lays claim to leadership in determining the EU’s policy toward Russia.  There is also the conflict between France and Turkey, which had considerably escalated after a Turkish naval vessel carried out radar targeting of a French frigate in June. Paris therefore withdrew from a NATO operation and is demanding tougher EU sanctions being imposed on Ankara.  This runs counter to Berlin’s intention to seek the kind of cooperation with Turkey that can safeguard the refugee pact and serve its own geostrategic interests.  The dispute could escalate next week when the EU foreign ministers meet.  (German Foreign Policy, 7/6/2020)

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ILHAN OMAR CALLS FOR DISMANTLING US

In the most recent brazen ideological attack on the country that took her in from a war zone, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar called for the “dismantling” of the U.S. economic and political system.

Those who feared the Islamist threat to undermine the United States would come via “creeping sharia” can put that worry to rest. The threat is coming from a Marxist alliance, which includes the Far Left and its social justice rage mob paired with movements attaching itself to the George Floyd murder.

Of course, this political millieu is giving Islamists fertile ground to further destabilize and sow chaos in the American landscape.

In a press conference yesterday called by the Minnesota People of Color and Indigenous caucus, Omar said that the push for change can’t stop with criminal justice or policing reform.  “We are fighting to tear down systems of oppression that exist in housing, in education, in health care, in employment, in the air we breathe,” said Omar.

It’s a nod to dismantling the American system of government — the same government that gave Omar shelter as a refugee.  Notably, Omar’s statements also systematically called out the disparities between “white families” and black families, making her speech not just about oppression, but about white privilege as well.  (Clarion Project, 7/8/2020)

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CHURCHES SPREAD VIRUS

The virus has infiltrated Sunday sermons, meetings of ministers and Christian youth camps in Colorado and Missouri.  It has struck churches that reopened cautiously with face masks and social distancing in the pews, as well as some that defied lockdowns and refused to heed new limits on numbers of worshipers.

Pastors and their families have tested positive, as have church ushers, front-door greeters and hundreds of churchgoers.  In Texas, about 50 people contracted the virus after a pastor told congregants they could once again hug one another.  In Florida, a teenage girl died last month after attending a youth party at her church.

More than 650 coronavirus cases have been linked to nearly 40 churches and religious events across the United States since the beginning of the pandemic, with many of them erupting over the last month as Americans resumed their pre-pandemic activities, according to a New York Times database.    (NY Times, 7/8/2020)

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PLOT TO BLOW UP ST. PAUL’S

An unrepentant Muslim convert who was on course to become the UK’s first female homegrown suicide bomber has been jailed for a minimum of 14 years for plotting a terror attack at St Paul’s Cathedral.

But it is only good news for now, since Western leaders continue in their willful ignorance about jihad; jihadis go to jail and return to society unchanged or even more hardened in their violent beliefs than they were before.  Jihadis use the prison system to spread their messages of jihad and Islamic supremacy.   Anywhere they go, they view themselves as committed servants of Allah on the mission to expand and conquer, as per Islamic teachings.   British prisons are now grounds for radicalization; Muslim prison gangs have even been caught beating prisoners who won’t convert to Islam.  Female jihadis are no different from their male counterparts, although they are often presented in the media as victims.  The reality is that they victimize as much as the men do, and if they have children, they train them to be hardcore jihad fighters.  (Jihad Watch, 7/5/2020)

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The Implications of Withdrawing American Troops from Germanyby Alexander Luck: who received his MA in Political Science from the University of Leipzig.FPRI (Foreign Policy Research Institute) Philadelphia, June 2020, A nation must think before it acts.

. . . Whatever the cause of the decision, the proposal has led to renewed debate over the significance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), German contributions to the Alliance, and the security benefits that Berlin derives from being a member.  The potential reallocation of forces has also caused European national security observers to take a closer look at the relevance of American military assets for national foreign policy and the benefits—actual or perceived—to its European partners. . . . the current American effort appears to have significant flaws in the limited impact on Germany, should redistribution simply mean troops remain in Europe, and the near impossibility of expecting Bundeswehr to be funded to the tune of 2% GDP any time soon . . . any drastic reductions would appear to pose a significant problem for unilateral U.S. military operations in support of its sovereign foreign policy execution.(https://www.fpri.org/article/2020/06/the-implications-of-withdrawing-american-troops-from-germany/)   (6/30/2020)

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AUSTRALIA PLANS FOR ARMED CONFLICT

Australia must and will prepare for the real risk of armed conflict in its region: that was the bracing message of the new defense plan launched by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday.

The document is innocuously titled the Defence Strategic Update.  But that is a euphemism for something of profound significance to the nation’s future – a blueprint for a military capable of fighting major wars, and thus in principle helping to prevent them from breaking out.

At one level, this is simply about government executing its first duty: providing for the security of the nation, its interests and values.

What has changed is that the government now recognises a rapidly worsening horizon of risk and knows it can no longer defer hard choices about what the Australian Defence Force is for.

The landscape of strategic hazard is much to do with the way in which the People’s Republic of China has not only strengthened its armed forces, but projected power right across the region that Australia calls home – the Indo-Pacific.

Depressingly, the opportunity for co-operation that came with the COVID-19 pandemic – in theory, a shared challenge that should compel nations to suspend their rivalry – has been lost. The reality is that China has chosen this window to intensify its push for dominance, from Hong Kong to Taiwan, from Japan to the South China Sea, from the Indian border to economic leverage against Australia.

China is increasingly active as a military power in south-east Asia, the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific.   Much of the arc to Australia’s north is now a region of contestation and power plays, not only between China and America but increasingly between China and others such as Japan, India, Vietnam and Indonesia.

And Canberra has responded to this with the unequivocal statement that deterring threats to Australia’s interests in this arc – these northern, western, and eastern approaches – is the foremost priority for our forces’ sovereign capability that demonstrates an intent to allow Australian forces to operate more independently of our American ally is the new plan’s commitment to build a dedicated Australian satellite network and ground stations.

In other words, Australia is finally getting serious about being able to find and target potential adversaries without heavy reliance on the United States.

The government is also committing to stockpile much larger quantities of ammunition and fuel on Australian soil, so that in a future crisis this nation’s military would be able to sustain a long conflict or blockade.

The overall plan is a paradox of both less and more reliance on America.   Despite these steps towards more independent Australian deterrence and war-fighting capacity, the continued modernization of the force – longer-range missiles, more advanced aircraft, ships and unmanned systems – will depend fundamentally on US technology and supply.

And Morrison is certainly not writing off the future of the US alliance.   Despite all the awful vicissitudes of the Trump presidency, it is clear that the Australian strategic establishment remains convinced that the United States will remain engaged in our region.

After all, if the US is serious about competing with China – and there seems bipartisanship on this in Washington – then it is going to need to remain active in the Indo-Pacific and to sustain the alliances and partnerships that have been a unique American strength.  (Rory Medcalf, Sydney Morning Herald, 7/2/2020)

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BLACK LIVES MATTER IS A MARXIST ORGANIZATION

Black Lives Matter is a Marxist revolutionary movement aimed at transforming the United States into a communist dystopia.   BLM states that it wants to abolish the nuclear family, police, prisons and capitalism.   BLM leaders have threatened to “burn down the system” if their demands are not met.   They are also training militias.

“Cutting the LAPD budget means longer responses to 911 emergency calls, officers calling for backup won’t get it, and rape, murder and assault investigations won’t occur or will take forever to initiate, let alone complete.” — Los Angeles Police Protective League, the city’s police union.

“White people are so confused in America . . .   If there is systematic racism today it is a racism against white people, in the sense that white people are told that they are responsible for all the evils in the world . . . ”  (Dr. Carol M. Swain, university professor and advisory board member of Black Voices for Trump.  Gatestone, 7/2/2020)

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BLACK ON BLACK VIOLENCE ONLY GETS WORSE

Chicago has long struggled with violent crime, and Democratic leaders in the city haven’t been able to do anything about it.   Over the Independence Day weekend, that violence truly became out of control, with more than 70 people shot in the city, 14 of whom died.

It comes at a time when Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot faces increased scrutiny over her running of the city, and her constant pandering to the most far-left elements of the Democratic Party.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that some 74 people were shot over the weekend, 14 fatally, by 6:45 p.m. on Sunday, July 5.  If you believe the Chicago Tribune instead, the number was actually 80 people shot, and 17 people killed, by 5:29 p.m. on Sunday.

Whichever number is accurate, it’s too high.  (The Liberty Revolution, 7/8/2020)

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LATEST STATS ON MODERN SLAVERY

  • There are an estimated 136,000 people living in modern slavery just in Britain.  Slavery in the UK takes the form of forced labor, and domestic and sexual exploitation.   Albanians and Vietnamese are among the groups that constitute the majority of slaves. — Global Slavery Index, 2018.
  • There are currently an estimated 9.2 million black slaves in Africa.  Slavery, according to the index, includes forced labor, forced sexual exploitation and forced marriage. — Global Slavery Index, 2018.
  • “According to the U.N.’s International Labor Organization (ILO), there are more than three times as many people in forced servitude today as were captured and sold during the 350-year span of the transatlantic slave trade,” Time Magazine,March 14, 2019.

(Judith Bergman, Gatestone, 6/27/2020)

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TO THE POINT

  • Mauritanian Anti-Slavery Activist Maryam Bint Al-Sheikh: Slavery Still Exists in Mauritania; Slaves Can Be Bequeathed From Father To Son.  (MEMRI 7/5/2020)
  • South African Farm Murders are ‘National Emergency’ Says DA, Calls for Urgent Parliamentary Debate — The Democratic Alliance (DA) has requested a debate in the National Assembly on the “scourge” of farm attacks and murders across rural South Africa, many of which have been “particularly heinous in nature with brutal torture”.   These attacks, they say, are a “national emergency” which must be addressed as a matter of urgency.(https://www.sapeople.com/2020/06/25/sa-farm-murders-are-          national-emergency-says-da-and-calls-for-urgent-                                        parliamentary-)
  • South Africa To Borrow $7 Billion Globally as Debt Rises by SAPeople Staff Writer – Jun 24, 2020 — The government will need to borrow $7 billion from international finance institutions as one of the measures to cover the budget hole brought about by South Africa’s response to COVID-19,   Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said today during his supplementary budget.(https://www.sapeople.com/2020/06/24/south-africa-to-                         borrow-7-billion-globally-as-debt-rises/)
  • King Leopold’s legacy:   The lingering chaos in DR Congo60 years after independence, traces of the system of exploitation and violence that Leopold II and colonial-era Belgium created still remain in DR Congo.  The propensity for violence is inherited, experts say. — More than a century of looting and terror began in 1885 when King Leopold II and Belgium were granted then barely developed Congo Basin at the Berlin Conference.   The “Congo Free State” served solely to enrich the monarch.   Congolese labor oiled this machine.   Anyone who resisted or stood in their way was brutally punished — photographs and reports of hands chopped off bear testimony to the stories.   This is how it largely remained, until Congo was given independence on 30 June 1960.   Yet, even 60 years later —with the exception of a small elite —many children are still born into bitter poverty.              (https://www.dw.com/en/king-leopolds-legacy-the-lingering-chaos-in-dr-congo/a-53982357)
  • “RUNNING THE WORLD SINCE 1776” was the message on a Tee-shirt I saw this morning.   Are people really that ignorant?  The US did not become the leading power in the world until 1948!  A lot of people won’t even question it.

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AFTER THOUGHT

I finally got my malaria pills!

I ordered them over three months ago when I was given a new prescription.

I’ve been coming down with malaria for over 40 years.   It still comes back.   It was coming back once a year but it’s been three years since I’ve had it.  I was tempted to not bother buying the pills as they are quite expensive.  But there’s nothing worse than the shakes from malaria and I feel better knowing there’s a pill there I can take.  Just one and I’m usually ok.

But there was a complication this time.   Thanks to President Trump millions of people are taking chloroquine for Covid-19.   This led to a shortage and the price went up.   $132 for 24 pills.

Malaria remains the number one killer in the world.  Maybe Covid-19 has overtaken it temporarily.   But the pesky mosquito will be back, I’m sure of it.  All those aggressive females will be biting us wherever we go, taking every opportunity to suck the blood out of us.  (Only the females spread the disease.)

It used to be said that on the first day with malaria you’re afraid you are going to die.  On the second day, you’re afraid you’re going to live!

“O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.” (Psalm 38:9-10)

 

 

US-EU RIFT GETS WORSE

Hello everybody,

The election dominates US news.   There are many conflicting reports.

In Michigan, polls show Trump losing to every prominent Democratic candidate.   Yet, at the same time, his rallies (and those for VP Mike Pence) attract audiences too big to be accommodated.

And note the following report from the Munich Security Conference (read article “Munich Security Conference,” further down).  “Europeans widely expect Trump to be re-elected this fall.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic debate held last night in South Carolina, shows the party tearing itself apart.   Amy Klobuchar said it best:   “If we continue to tear each other apart over the next four months, we will see Trump continue to tear the country apart for the next four years.”  Another House Democrat described the seven Democrats on stage as a “circular firing squad.”   They should remember the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 12:25 — “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” words quoted by Abraham Lincoln on the eve of the Civil War.  With Trump so universally “hated,” it’s incredible the Democrats can’t come up with a winning candidate!

The second issue that dominates the news is the coronavirus.  Hopefully, this will not have the death toll of the various plagues that hit the world during the Middle Ages.   Justinian’s “flea” (probably bubonic plague) killed a manageable 5,000 a day in the first month; then 10,000 a day.   The population was greatly diminished.   As with the coronavirus, it was spread through trade and international travel.   It was the same in the 14th century, 800 years later, when the plague hit Europe again.  The death toll was a staggering 50% of the people.  Just over a century ago, the Spanish flu infected 500 million people worldwide, about one third of the world’s population.   It killed an estimated 20-50 million, including some 675,000 Americans.

We will get through it, but it may kill millions before it’s over.

One final thought on the election:   At least two of the candidates for the Democratic party claim to be Christians.   Voters, however, should be careful here.   All seven of the people appearing last night support a woman’s right to murder her baby!  (To be fair, so do some Republicans.)

Have a great week.

Melvin   

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Very early this morning, I came across a show on PBS World called “Gzero World”, with Ian Bremmer. Today they were reporting from the Munich Security Conference on world security issues.  The first four items come from their website.

US-EU RIFT GETS WORSE

The risk of a major technology blow-up between the US and Europe is growing.   A few weeks ago, we wrote about how the European Union wanted to boost its “technological sovereignty” by tightening its oversight of Big Tech and promoting its own alternatives to big US and Chinese firms in areas like cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and her top digital officials unveiled their first concrete proposals for regulating AI, and pledged to invest billions of euros to turn Europe into a data superpower.    (Gzero World, 2/25/2020)

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Communal violence in Delhi:   Over the past few days, India’s capital city has seen its deadliest communal violence in decades.  This week’s surge in mob violence began as a standoff between protesters against a new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against India’s Muslims and the law’s Hindu nationalist defenders.   Clashes between Hindu and Muslim mobs in majority-Muslim neighborhoods in northeast Delhi have killed at least 11 people, both Muslim and Hindu, since Sunday.   We’re watching to see how Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government responds – Delhi’s police force reports to federal, rather than local, officials.(Gzero World, 2/25/2020)

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Unlikely jihadist bedfellows:   For years, the jihadists of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have been at odds over territory and ideology. Bloody clashes between offshoots of the two groups have become commonplace in Yemen and Syria, further destabilizing those war-torn countries.   But now, strangely, ISIS and al-Qaeda linked groups appear to have joined forces in West Africa, recruiting locals and divvying up vast swathes of territory in the Sahel – a semi-arid area stretching across the southern edge of the Sahara Desert.  Motivated by mutual practical interests and common foes – Western forces and local governments – they’ve set aside their doctrinal differences and are gaining ground in states with weak central governments like Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, the US military recently said.  This all comes as the Trump administration is weighing a sizable drawdown of US troops in West Africa.  (Gzero World, 2/25/2020)

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US-China tit-for-tat retaliations:   The Trump administration is weighing up retribution against Chinese journalists and state-owned media – as well as Chinese intelligence agencies – after Beijing expelled three Wall Street Journal reporters last week over an opinion column that criticized Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus.  The Chinese Foreign Ministry, incensed by the “China is the Real Sick Man of Asia” headline, demanded an apology from the Journal before booting three of its reporters, none of whom had anything to do with the column.   If the US responds in kind, it could lead to a cycle of tit-for-tat retribution and animosity between Washington and Beijing just as a preliminary trade agreement appears to have eased mounting tensions between the world’s two largest economies.   We’re watching to see if the Trump administration follows through on its threat – or if it’s just bluster.  (Gzero World, 2/25/2020)

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MUNICH SECURITY CONFERENCE

The annual gathering of the Munich Security Conference provides a useful barometer for the health of the transatlantic relationship. Two years ago, Europeans were reeling from the first year of the Trump administration.   Last year, they were resigned to that reality and determined to press ahead.  This past weekend, everyone was searching for a savior to address critical challenges amid a lack of global leadership.

Europeans widely expect Trump to be re-elected this fall.   After their shock at his 2016 victory, they seem to be bracing for the worst, but remain unprepared for the consequences.   They inquired about Democratic presidential candidates, asking what Bernie Sanders would mean for Europe and whether Michael Bloomberg was a good compromise for moderates.  (Amanda Sloat, Brookings, 2/18/2020)

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TRUMP EMBRACED BY ENTHUSIASTIC INDIANS

“It was the Trumpiest of offers.

“A rally at one of the world’s largest stadiums.   A crowd of millions cheering him on.   A love fest during an election year.”   (Lansing State Journal, 2/24/2020).

The stadium is the world’s biggest cricket stadium.  I wonder if President Trump was aware that cricket was the preferred sport of fellow Republican, Abraham Lincoln?

An incredible welcome from the world’s second most populous nation.  President Trump is hoping for a trade deal with India.

Sadly, it coincided with massive demonstrations against a new Indian immigration bill, which discriminates against Muslims.  At least twenty people have been killed.

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ISRAEL NOW RECOGNIZED BY 161 COUNTRIES

161 countries now have diplomatic relations with Israel, which is the highest number that it has ever been for the Jewish state.  Increasingly, the community of nations cares less about Palestinian objections and more about what Israel has to offer.   (Israel National News, 2/24/2020)

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NEVER ENDING SYRIAN CONFLICT

At a four-way summit with the leaders of Russia, Turkey and France, Angela Merkel will seek to influence the future of the northern Syrian province Idlib.  The summit, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on the weekend is to be held next week.  It will explore options for ending the fighting in the province, where, over the past few weeks, Syrian troops have been advancing on militias.  Usually referred to as “rebels” in the German media, they are, in fact, dominated by an al Qaeda subsidiary.  The combat has deepened dissention between Russia and Turkey on how to go forward in Syria, raising new hopes among western powers for driving a wedge between Ankara and Moscow.   Prior to the summit, however, specialists are pointing out that Berlin hardly has any options for exerting influence in Syria.  The EU sees the overthrow of the government in Damascus as the precondition for granting desperately needed reconstruction aid.    (German Foreign Policy, 2/25/2020)

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MACRON VOWS CRACKDOWN ON POLITICAL ISLAM

“The problem is when, in the name of a religion, some people want to separate themselves from the Republic and therefore not respect its laws.” — French President Emmanuel Macron, February 18, 2020.   (Soeren Kern, Gatestone, 2/21/2020)

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SWEDISH MIGRANT CRISIS

“For the first time now, more crimes – in absolute terms – are committed by persons of foreign background than by persons of Swedish origin . . .   The most crime-prone population subgroup are people born [in Sweden] to two foreign-born parents.” — Report by Det Goda Samhället (“The Good Society”), summer of 2019. (Judith Bergman, Gatestone, 2/26)

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UK GROOMING GANGS TO REMAIN A SECRET

DAILYKENN.com — It’s a state secret.  No one is to know the ethnicity of grooming gang members.  The thugs are responsible for trafficking nearly 19,000 British girls in one year.

Who are these people?  No one knows because  Boris Johnson’s government won’t release statistics that reveal their ethnicity.

The truth is, of course, that the government doesn’t need to release the data because everyone knows the preponderance of the gang members are from non-white Islamic regions of the world.  Nearly all are ethnic Pakistanis.

It’s akin to the n-word.  No one dares say it, but everyone knows what it means.   Authorities said that releasing the data would not be in the public interest.

Survivors accused ministers of making “empty promises,” while a man who prosecuted abusers in Rochdale called for the Home Office to “show some courage and publish” its findings.

It comes after The Independent revealed that almost 19,000 suspected child sexual exploitation victims were identified by local authorities in just one year, sparking renewed calls for prevention efforts.   (Daily Kenn, 2/25/2020)

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GAY CONVERSION THERAPY BANNED IN MORE COUNTRIES

Global momentum is growing to ban so-called gay “conversion therapy,” with bills drawn up in nine countries, a rights group said on Wednesday.

The United States, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Germany are among countries seeking to outlaw the treatment, which includes practices from electric shocks to “praying away the gay” and is based on the belief that being gay or transgender is a mental illness that can be “cured,” Ilga, an LGBT+ advocacy group, said.

Worldwide, only Brazil, Ecuador and Malta have national bans on conversion therapy, condemned as ineffective and harmful to mental health by more than 60 associations of doctors, psychologists or counsellors globally, the Ilga study said.

“The main driving force [for reform] is survivors with their testimonies coming forwards,” Lucas Ramon Mendos, author of the Ilga report, which said 2020 could be a turning point in the fight against “therapies” that have ruined many lives.

“A lot of awareness is being created through their testimony,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.   (Rachel Savage, Independent, 2/26/2020)

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TO THE POINT

  • A headline in our local newspaper, the Lansing State Journal, appeared Monday.   It read: ‘White supremacy seeps into public, experts warn.”   It added:   “Incidents show startling jump over the past year.”   The article went on to show that violence emanating from “white supremacist groups” is increasing and is expected to grow further in the years ahead.   There is no excuse for violence.  But surely this is a reaction to the massive immigration of recent years and the constant emphasis on multiculturalism.   Until both change, there will be a constant threat from the political “right.”  It’s a reaction to the “extreme left.”
  • There’s a plan in Michigan to expand the options offered on payday loans.  These “short term, high cost financial products,” have trapped millions of families into a never ending “costly and potentially catastrophic cycle of debt.”  (David Snodgrass,  Lansing State Journal, 2/20/2020).   The bill “would allow lenders to charge a monthly service fee of 11% on the principal of a loan, equivalent to an APR of around 132%.   In practical terms, this means a borrower would end up paying more than $7,000 to pay off a $2,500 two-year loan.”   Heed the following biblical advice:  “If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you.  Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you.” (Lev. 25:35-36)
  • I went to a concert on Monday evening.   The Academy of St Martin in the Fields played Brahms Symphony Number 4, along with a violin concerto by Paganini and a short piece by Mozart.  It was a delightful and relaxing evening with good friends.
  • Also relaxing (and gripping) is my latest “read:”   “The Race to save the Romanovs” by Helen Rappaport was published in 2018.  After the Russian revolution in 1917 the Romanov family were under house arrest.   When the communists came to power later in the year, their situation deteriorated fast.   Many people wanted to save them and their five young children, but no attempt got very far; eventually, they were all brutally murdered.   The Bolsheviks were, if nothing else, thorough – killing all their opponents for over seventy years!   The deaths of the children were particularly reprehensible.   Today’s Russians have tried to make amends by canonizing each member of the Imperial Family.  28% of Russians polled said they would like to see the monarchy restored.   But how do you restore it when you killed everybody off?    (Interestingly, 28% is roughly the support US presidents get; when you consider that only 54.9% bothered to vote in the last election.)    Maurice Paleologue was the French Ambassador to Russia at the time of the revolution.   He said the only man who could have saved them was Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.   The Russians had been fighting the Germans, along with the British and the French.  The Kaiser helped Lenin get to Russia and, when he assumed power, entered into a peace deal with him, so that Russia could leave the war.    The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk of 1918 could have (should have) included a clause freeing the Czar and his family.   Wilhelm was related to the Russian Imperial Family.  He particularly loved the children.   Why didn’t he save them?

THE ENEMY WITHIN

Noor Rabah, vice president of Muslim Community Patrol & Services, outside the Police Department’s 72nd Precinct, with a car the group intends to use to patrol neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Credit…James Keivom for The New York Times

Media tends not to link terrorist attacks, seeing each one in isolation.   But to understand what is happening, attacks need to be linked for us to see the complete picture.

Two recent terrorist attacks are clearly linked, even though the media has not brought it out.   London and Pensacola, Florida.

In London, two young people were knifed to death near London Bridge.   Their assailant, Usman Khan, had been freed from prison, less that 50% of the way through his sentence for terrorist activities. In Florida, a few days later, a Saudi Arabian pilot in the US for training suddenly turned on other young people, killing three, one of whom was a fellow Muslim.   In both cases, sadly, young people were brutally murdered.   None of these people was equipped to see the Muslims in their midst as a threat.

But they were.   And I wonder how many others are, too.

In the same week, we saw Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, visit Auschwitz.   There is a connection here, too.   She was there to show the horrors of anti-Semitism, at a time when anti-Semitic acts are on the increase, including a synagogue attack on Yom Kippur, which left two dead.   She wasn’t only highlighting anti-Semitism.   She was also defending her decision to allow into the country more than a million refugees, many of whom were from the Middle East. Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are often linked.   They should not be.

There was and is no justification for anti-Semitism.   Islamophobia, on the other hand, is a perfectly rational response to violent acts perpetrated by Muslims (London and Florida being the latest).   The Islamic Conference of 57 Muslims countries recently asked the United Nations to ban Islamophobia.   This could give countries an excuse to favor Muslims over others.

The only way to overcome Islamophobia, a fear of Muslims, is for Muslims to stop committing violent acts.   Unless and until that happens, there will always be Islamophobia.

The latest anti-semitic incident took place on Tuesday in Jersey City, NJ.  Two people, both members of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, entered a kosher store and shot three Jews dead.   In a seven-hour gun battle with police, one policeman was shot dead, a father with five children.  The two perpetrators were also killed.

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NYC MUSLIM PATROLS 

“Bullying” and “gangster-like” tactics have been reported by locals in New York areas where the Muslim Community Patrol & Services operates.   These tactics are beginning to create a backlash against the self-described “civilian patrol organization” among local residents.

The Muslim patrol gained international attention in the fall of 2018 after several of its patrol cars, which look like New York Police Department (NYPD) cars, were spotted in Brooklyn and Staten Island.

The patrol originally said its purpose was to serve as a liaison between Muslims and the NYPD.   But after two consecutive mosque shootings in New Zealand last March, where a gunman live-streamed his murder of 51 Muslims on Facebook, the patrol publicly altered its purpose.

It now describes itself as a law enforcement organization, claiming its goal is to “protect members of the local community from escalating quality-of-life nuisance crimes.”   It’s precisely that “law enforcement” definition that is now landing the Muslim patrol into hot water with New York City residents, particularly those living in the Brooklyn area of Bedford-Stuyvesant.

“They are bullying people and getting out of their patrol cars looking like gangsters,” said one resident, who asked to remain anonymous. “The people in Bed-Stuy don’t want them there.”

The Muslim patrol originally had a force of three patrol cars when it first formed in November 2018, but it now has seven cars on the streets of New York with the intention of purchasing 23 more cars in the near future.   The Muslim patrol’s cars are nearly identical to NYPD patrol cars.   Both use Ford Taurus’ and have similar decal schemes, colors and emblems. Though the Muslim patrol cars do not have lights on their hoods, they do have emergency flashing lights in the front and back windshields.

“A lot of people can’t tell them apart,” said the resident.  “In fact, most people think they are NYPD detective cars, especially if they are driving behind you.”

Significantly, some Muslim patrol “officers” have been driving their patrol cars with their emergency lights in continuous flash mode, even when not responding to an emergency.

“They never turn them off and people are seeing these lights and thinking [they are] NYPD,” the resident said.   The cars also have sirens, which another neighborhood resident says is being used to intimidate people.   “They turn on their sirens when they see non-Muslims park next to a mosque during Friday prayer services,” said another resident.   (Clarion Project, 12/9)

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NEED FOR EUROPEAN ARMY TO REPLACE US

An EU Army – Former German finance minister Joschka Fischer calls on the EU to develop defense autonomy before Donald Trump pulls the plug on Europe’s security blanket:  “Macron understands that the rupture in Europe’s defense following a withdrawal of US troops would be far more severe than many seem to expect.   It would unfold not as some gradual, barely noticeable transition, but as a sudden break.

If Europe wants to prevent or at least delay that outcome, it must make substantial investments in its military and expand its own capabilities on a massive scale.   In other words, it must act as if the break has already happened.”   (The Financial Times, 12/5/2019)

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NATO ANNIVERSARY SUMMIT

In spite of fierce internal conflicts, NATO is enhancing its operational readiness, is preparing its next expansion, and is setting its sights on China as a new “challenge.”   These are the main results of the war alliance’s anniversary summit, which ended in London yesterday, with the participation of the heads of states and governments of the member countries.   As early as next year, NATO will be able to deploy 30 army, air force and naval units in a war within a 30-day maximum.   At the London summit, North Macedonia, which is about to join the Alliance, was represented for the first time. In the future, NATO will extensively concern itself with China, however, not exclusively confrontational, as Washington would have wanted.   The conflict with Turkey did not escalate, even though the dissentions between Ankara and various other allied states, by no means, had been resolved.   In fact, the Turkish government has implicitly been given a blank check for its heavily criticized activities in the occupation of Northern Syria.   (German foreign policy, 12/6/2019)

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FRANCE TO FILL VOID LEFT BY US

France laid out a new posture for itself in discussions in the Gulf this week, chiding the Americans for not standing up to Iran’s threats against Saudi Arabia and other countries.   Paris now wants to play a more robust role in maritime security as Washington’s influence declines across the region.

French Defense Minister Florence Parly condemned America for leaving the Iran deal and also condemned Iran at the Manama Dialogue confab in Bahrain over the weekend.   The conference is organized by the International Institute of Strategic Studies and has foreign ministers and leaders from the region, as well as security and defense officials, in attendance.

“We’ve seen deliberate, gradual US disengagement,” she said.   She also slammed former president Barack Obama for leaving the “fighter jets on the tarmac,” according to France24, a reference to the US decision in 2013 not to punish Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria for chemical weapons attacks. (Seth Frantzman, MEF, 11/26/2019; from Jerusalem Post)

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 Crusaders ‘terror plot’:Another man arrested in Cape Town after explosives, devices found
  – 6 Dec 2019, News24 Jenna Etheridge

Hawks arrest ‘Crusaders terrorist movement’ leader, discover suspected explosives factory.   Another suspected member of the National Christian Resistance Movement (NCRM),
also known as the “Crusaders,” has been arrested – this time in Cape Town, the Hawks said on Friday.

A team descended on the man’s business premises in Kuils River on Thursday and arrested him for the illegal possession of a firearm, explosives and explosive devices, said Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.  “The suspect is believed to have links with the other four suspects who have already been arrested and charged for alleged terrorist activities,” he said.  The 46-year-old man was expected to appear in the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court later on Friday.   Harry Knoesen, the self-professed leader of the NCRM, was arrested at his Mpumalanga home on terrorism-related charges last week.
  Possible explosives factory:   This followed a two-year Hawks investigation into an alleged terrorist plot “apparently co-ordinated by the group to target national key points, shopping malls and informal settlements,” Mulaudzi said.   Knoesen, 60, is a former national defense force member and retired pastor.   He was apprehended and charged for terrorism-related activities in contravention of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorism and Related Activities Act as well as the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.   A search at his other residence in the Eastern Cape, according to the Hawks, uncovered a possible explosives factory, electronic devices and documents as well an unlicensed firearm and ammunition that were seized for further analysis.  His arrest was soon followed by three others, including that of Riana Heymans, in Kliprivier, Johannesburg.  “Various firearms and ammunition, documents and other items were confiscated by the Criminal Record Centre (CRC) for further probing,” Mulaudzi said.

Heyman, 54, together with brothers Eric Abrams, 55, and Errol Abrams, 49, appeared briefly with Knoesen in the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday.   They will remain in police custody until their next court appearance on January 12, 2020.  Mulaudzi said their investigation continued.

(https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/crusaders-terror-plot-another-man-arrested-in-cape-town-after-explosives-devices-found-20191206
)

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POPE ADVOCATES ONE WORLD RELIGION

Rabbi Daniel Asore, a member of the nascent Sanhedrin, noted that the Pope’s intentions were precisely as presented, with no subterfuge at all.

“The Pope wants to unify all religions and all governments under one world order,” Rabbi Asore said.   “What is the big surprise?   He is not hiding anything.   Just listen to what he says and who he is and his plans are right there for all to see.”

The rabbi noted that Pope Francis was unique in several respects; he is the first pope from the southern hemisphere and, most significantly, he is the first Jesuit to be appointed to the position. Though established by papal order in 1540 to stop the spread of Protestantism and convert the indigenous peoples of Africa and the Americas, the Jesuit order has historically been treated with suspicion by the Catholic Church for being power-hungry.

“Brotherhood is a wonderful thing but one religion is only good if it is worshipping the true God,” Rabbi Asore said.  “The pope’s vision of brotherhood does not prevent him from sitting in front of a gold idol or uniting with Ishmael.   If he wants one religion, we know what God he is not worshipping.”

Pope Francis has come under fire before for connecting the Catholic Church with the children of Ishmael. In 2015, 71 elders of the Sanhedrin tried the Pope in absentia for recognizing a “State of Palestine” with an official treaty.  By doing so, the Sanhedrin claimed, the Pope was denying the covenant as described in the Bible in which God gives the land of Israel to the descendants of Jacob.

Pope Francis has also made displays similar to his sitting barefoot in front of the  Golden idol of Buddha in Bangkok that showed a shocking level of tolerance for idolatry.   In October, a video emerged of what appears to be Pope Francis blessing a Pachama Goddess statue.

Pope Francis has also taken on a policy in which homosexuals are welcomed into the church so much so that the American LGBT magazine The Advocate named Pope Francis their Person of the Year for 2013.

(https://drive.google.com/u/0/settings/storage?hl=en&utm_medium=web&utm_source=gmail&utm_campaign=manage_storage)

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TO THE POINT

  • Palestinian Preacher Yusuf Al-Makharze:   Allah Wants Girls To Be Married Off   When They Start Menstruating;   Our Leaders Have No Right To Prevent This From Happening  (MEMRI, 12/8)
  • “Israel has always embraced this path [of liberty] in a Middle East that has long rejected it.   In a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted, Israel stands out.   It is different.” – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to the U.S. Senate, 2011.
  • The WorldBank’s board approved a plan to extend up to $1.5bn per year in low-interest loans to China over the next five years, despite American objections.   Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, said it was time the bank stopped giving financial support to China.   For China the amount is piddling; what it values is the World Bank’s advice on policy. (The Economist, 12/6/2019)
  • Germany’s industrial output in October fell 1.7% year-on-year. The figures were worse than expected, affected by uncertainty over the US-China trade war and Brexit, and by problems in the auto industry.   Germany may not technically be in recession, after a third-quarter expansion of 0.1%, but the gloom shows no sign of lifting.   (The Economist, 12/6/2019)
  • “The five English speaking democracies have heaps in common. All are free-talking, free enterprise loving places (though they often fall short of these ideals).   They are attractive places, too. Between them, they draw in two-thirds of the world’s highly skilled immigrants.   By contrast, of the 750 million people who Gallup reports would like to migrate, only 1% want to move to the People’s Republic.   Sydney alone has more foreign-born residents than mainland China.”   (Anglosphere v Sinosphere, The World in 2020, The Economist).
  • Namibia wants to follow Zimbabwe into starvation.  Namibia wants to get rid of its white farmers.   Twenty years ago, Zimbabwe did the same and millions of people have starved since. Recently, there were calls to allow the white farmers to return. South Africa is also forcing white farmers off their land.  Expect the entire region of southern Africa to face endless food shortages in the years to come.   The white farmers are commercial farmers, farming on a big scale.   African farmers are subsistence farmers, producing only enough to feed their own families.
  • Nancy Pelosi, on the defensive, was asked if she hates Donald Trump.   She actually said that, as a Catholic, she does not hate anybody as if no Catholic ever hated anybody.   Perhaps the Inquisition never happened.   At times, the Impeachment hearings have resembled the self-righteous ecclesiastical court.   No hatred?   No inquisition?   No wonder we’re doomed to repeat history!

 

WHO CAN TRUST TRUMP’S AMERICA?

Gary Newman is a good friend of mine who attends the Milwaukee congregations of the United Church of God. Photography is his hobby, particularly taking pictures of birds in Wisconsin. The above picture is taken from his latest book of wildlife, a collection of his photographs.
Gary struggles with Parkinson’s and would appreciate your prayers.

“The pithiest summary of Donald Trump’s foreign policy comes from the president himself.   Referring to the mayhem he has uncorked in Syria, he tweeted:  “I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!”   Mr. Trump imagines he can abandon an ally in a dangerous region without serious consequences for the United States.   He is wrong.   The betrayal of the Kurds will lead friends and foes to doubt Mr. Trump’s America.   That is something both America and the world should lament . . .

“Mr. Trump campaigned on bringing troops home.   He has argued that America must rid itself of ‘endless wars.’   When he says Russia, Iran and Turkey can deal with the mess in Syria, many of his voters will agree.   After almost two decades at war, they have tired of America’s acting as the world’s policeman.   Some Democrats would like to pull troops out of the Middle East, too, including Elizabeth Warren, a leading contender to replace Mr. Trump.”   (“Who can trust Trump’s America?” – The Economist, 10/19)

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TURKEY MAY GO THE WAY OF VENEZUELA

Turkish citizens are wildly optimistic about the invasion of Syria that began Oct. 9.   President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s decision finds broad support within Turkey, including from all the major opposition parties except the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party.   The incursion is understood domestically not only as a measure to protect the country from the Kurdish forces Mr. Erdoğan calls “terrorists,” but also to affirm Turkey’s status as a power; Ankara no longer must bow to the wishes of Washington, Berlin or Moscow.

Then there’s the pessimistic view, the one I share.   The invasion damages Turkey internationally:    Western and Arab governments have condemned the military operation, as have the Russian, Iranian, Indian and Chinese governments.   Volkswagen paused a planned investment in Turkey, and other companies may follow suit. Congress is weighing economic sanctions.   Italy, France and Germany have suspended arms sales.   Tensions are heightening between Turks and Kurds in Germany, and will likely rise within Turkey as well.   (“Turkey may go the way of Venezuela,” Daniel Pipes from the Wall Sreet Journal, 10/24)

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CANADIAN ELECTION

The Canadian election has been held and leaves Justin Trudeau in charge, albeit with a minority government.   He will now have to negotiate with other parties to keep himself in power.   The following is an item from before the election.

In a Friday, October 11, 2019, sermon that was uploaded to the Muslim Youth Victoria YouTube channel, Canadian Sheikh Younus Kathrada reminded his audience that who they vote for in the upcoming Canadian elections, if they decide to vote, will be recorded by the two angels on their shoulders and that Allah will ask them on Judgment Day why they voted for “filthy non-Muslims” who approve of homosexuality.   Sheikh Kathrada said that all of the candidates are “evil and filthy” people who support the Zionists against Islam and who do not have Muslims’ best interests in mind. He added that this is consistent with the Quranic statement that the Jews and the Christians will never be pleased with the Muslims. (MEMRI 10/16)

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DRAGHI BOWS OUT AT ECB WITH WARNING ON EUROZONE WEAKNESS
Mario Draghi blames slowing global economy, Brexit uncertainty and recession fears in Germany

Speaking in Frankfurt after his final ECB policy meeting before stepping down, Draghi said the ECB was concerned that the economy of the 19-member currency bloc, which has slowed this year along with much of the global economy, faced “protracted weakness” going into 2020.

With consumer and business confidence low and trade with the US hit by Donald Trump’s latest raft of import tariffs, risks were all “to the downside,” said the Italian economist, who will be succeeded on 1 November by former International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde.

German companies were the worst affected, with employment in Europe’s largest economy falling for the first time in six years according to a closely watched business survey.   After 14 months of falling new orders from abroad and a steep drop in sales across the manufacturing sector in October, the German economy’s slide to the brink of recession appeared to be continuing unabated.   (Guardian * 24 Oct 2019)

(https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/24/germany-eurozone-stagnation-economy-output-recession)

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TO THE POINT

  • The search for the perfect impeachable offense against President Trump is reminiscent of overzealous prosecutors who target the defendant first and then search for the crime with which to charge him.   Or to paraphrase the former head of the Soviet secret police to Stalin:   show me the man and I will find you the crime.   (“Impeachers searching for new crimes,” Adam Dershowitz, Gatestone, 10/24)
  • If, according to Hamas, Turkey has the right to protect its border, why does Israel not have the same right?   (“Why Hamas supports Erdogan’s War,” Gatestone, 10/22)
  • With only a few days to go until Brexit, scheduled for October 31st, it seems doubtful it can go ahead.   The British parliament has made it virtually impossible for Boris Johnson to leave.   The EU, however, is clearly growing tired of this and has granted an extension of undetermined length (to be decided next week). Clearly, this is the last extension they will grant.   EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker described the whole Brexit process as “a waste of time and energy.”   What has become clear through the whole Brexit process is that the EU is in charge and Britain plays the subservient role.   This is Britain’s national humiliation.   It is also clear that it is impossible to negotiate a deal with the EU, as the former Greek finance minister warned, as they won’t budge an inch.   Donald Trump should remember this when negotiations begin for a new trade deal with Europe – it’s their way or no way!
  • The deaths of 39 people in a lorry (truck) just outside of London shows that people traffickers are still very active.   The people found inside were Orientals.   Only one has been identified, a young lady from Vietnam who was a human rights activist.   She had texted her mother from inside the truck saying she was finding it hard to breathe.   The Chinese government is blaming the British for this.   In one way, this is correct.   If Britain’s welfare system was not so generous, many people would be less inclined to go there.   An immediate solution that would improve the situation would be to deny welfare and healthcare to immigrants unless they have worked there for five years.     It’s an unlikely solution as neither branch of government (healthcare is government controlled) is set up to manage such a system.   So expect more people smugglers.   And, realize, for every truck found, there’s probably 20 or 30 get through and unload their passengers with no problems.   Revelation 18:13 warned that the end-time economic system would see a great trade in human beings:    “The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thy wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men.” (NKJV)
  • Human trafficking is now the world’s biggest trade, and is far more profitable than drugs.   People pay approximately 30,000 pounds ($39,000) to be “smuggled” from China through Belgium to England.   One other thing needs to be said:   these people cross at least a dozen countries to get to England.   Anti-Brexit propaganda says the British economy will collapse when the UK exits the EU.   Obviously, these people have far more confidence in the future of the British economy that the Remainers have!

Had a great time in the Dells.   My wife has a pain in her right leg (which has just been diagnosed as a Baker’s cyst), making it very difficult to walk.   And I’ve had the flu since we got back.

IMMINENT MISSILE ATTACK ON SYRIA

“Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, And it will be a ruinous heap. (Isaiah 17:1) 

By an amazing coincidence, I have been reading a book on “Munich” while the current crisis in Syria has been building up.

At Munich in 1938, Hitler and Chamberlain met to discuss Hitler’s claims on German Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia.   Chamberlain famously gave in to his demands. The former British PM described Nazi Germany’s annexation of the area of German-speaking Czechoslovakia in 1938 as “a quarrel in a faraway country between people of which we know nothing.”

Similar words could be spoken today about Syria.

At the time of writing this article, President Trump is deciding on how to react to Syria’s use of chemical weapons on its own people. If the US does nothing, nobody else will.   In 1938 Neville Chamberlain, as British Prime Minister, was the leader of the western world; today it’s President Trump.   Less than a year after Chamberlain’s famous appeasement toward Hitler, Britain and Germany were at war.   It had become all too clear, even to Chamberlain, that Hitler was intent on global conquest.

There’s been plenty of evidence that Russia has similar territorial designs.   The Russians took control of part of Georgia a few years ago; this was followed by the conquest of Crimea and of eastern Ukraine.   Domination of Syria makes them the most powerful voice in the Middle East.  This role is growing – last month, Putin met with the leaders of Iran and Turkey in Ankara.  These three are now in a de facto alliance while Turkey remains officially in NATO.

Geoffrey Wawro, a professor at the University of North Texas, wrote a book called “Quicksand” (2010), on “America’s pursuit of power in the Middle East.”   Reviewer Rick Atkinson sums the book up well, writing that Wawro reveals “how an extraordinary tale of idealism, politics, force and miscalculation began and unfolded over the last century.”

The more the US got involved, the more the US was sucked in; hence the title “Quicksand.”   Why should we expect any other outcome following action in Syria?   Could US intervention lead to war with Russia?

“There was no reason for war in 1914, beyond the murder of an archduke in Bosnia.   As AJP Taylor said of 1914:   “Nowhere was there a conscious determination to provoke a war.   Statesmen miscalculated [and] became prisoners of their own weapons.   The great armies, accumulated to provide security and preserve the peace, carried the nations to war by their own weight.”   I wonder what Taylor would have said of Trump’s “Get ready, Russia” tweet.” (“Look at Syria and you can see all the elements that have led to world wars,” Simon Jenkins, The Guardian, April 12th.)

A miscalculation now could be fatal for the US, Russia and Syria.

SYRIAN COMPLEXITIES

Syria is a perfect illustration of the complexity of modern warfare and the geopolitics that complicate everything.

Syria was established after World War One and the fall of the Ottoman Empire.   After “the war to end all wars,” the Treaty of Paris carved out a number of new countries from the ruins of the Turkish ruled empire.   The treaty was aptly described as “the peace to end all peace” by a British general who saw a future of never-ending conflict in the region.   A century later nothing has improved.

Before World War One, Mesopotamia was a sleepy backwater of no interest to anyone.   The same could be said of Syria.   Bible students know that this had to change to fulfill apocalyptic prophecies about Israel (the Jews) and its neighbors.   The prophesied Jewish national homeland was established exactly seventy years ago, in May 1948.

Syria was a Mandated territory of the League of Nations.   France was given the mandate; Britain was given Iraq and Jordan to administer, again under a Mandate from the League.   Palestine was also a League of Nations mandated territory, given to the British.

After World War Two, the French left Syria.   It soon fell under the Soviet sphere of influence.   From 1970 Syria has been the home of a Russian naval base, the only one Russia has on the Mediterranean. The Russians are not going to give it up.   And they will support President Assad as long as it is in their interest to do so.

The US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 helped Russia to gain further influence in the region.   By removing Saddam Hussein from power and arranging an election in Iraq, the majority Shi’ites came to power, altering the balance of religious and political power in the Middle East.   Iran is the leading nation of Shia Islam.   An arc of Shia Islam now exists, from Iran through Iraq to Syria and Lebanon, roughly the same territory of the ancient biblical King of the North. Russia is heavily involved with the Iranians and Syria.   Turkey is now also with them, wanting to stop its Kurdish minority from breaking away.   The Turks are not Arabs, so this does not present a conflict for them.

Syria is not majority Shia.   Assad’s support comes mostly from his Alawite clan, a branch of Shia Islam, which amounts to only 11% of the population.   The Sunnis do not want to be ruled by Assad. Neither do the Sunnis in Iraq want a Shia government over them.  This is why ISIS formed, to “protect” Sunnis from Shi’ites.

It’s all very complicated.

No wonder the president is taking his time.

If he does nothing, he will be seen as weak against Syria and the Russians.  If he does something, innocent lives will be lost, but Assad will remain in power and Russia will continue as its benefactor.

A further complication came today when the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, announced that Moscow has “evidence” the video of the gas attack was performed by actors.   How does the West prove the film was real?

It seems like a no-win situation for the United States.

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European Immigration:   Nuns Out, Terrorists In                                                          by Douglas Murray, April 13, 2018 (Gatestone Institute)

  • When the same Home Office that forbade Sister Ban even to enter the country discovered that the young male Iraqi was in Britain, he explained clearly that he had been trained by ISIS.  He told the Home Office officials that the group had trained him to kill.   The Home Office promptly found him a place to live and study, and treated him as the minor he said he was but most likely was not.   He subsequently told a teacher that he had “a duty to hate Britain.”
  • Last year the Institute of St. Anselm (a Catholic training institute for priests and nuns, based in Kent) closed its doors because of problems it had getting the Home Office to grant visa applications for foreign students.   One nun last year was apparently denied entry to the UK because she did not have a personal bank account.
  • So, those who flee ISIS are turned away, while those who are trained by ISIS are welcome.

 

 

NEW EUROPEAN ORDER TAKING SHAPE

Getty

The French election on Sunday went as expected, with a victory for Emmanuel Macron, a centrist with no real political experience.

A few days before the election, his opponent, the very conservative Marine LePen, said that one week later France would have a female leader, either Ms. LePen or Germany’s Angela Merkel.   As if to prove the point, Mr. Macron’s first promise, to issue joint Eurobonds, was quickly over-ruled by Germany’s leader.   Germans are far more frugal than most other nations – the idea of issuing joint bonds with France is not going to come to fruition.

Macron is a very successful investment banker, with considerable personal wealth.   He is likely to be successful in moving France’s economy forward.   He will certainly be an improvement over his socialist predecessor who is leaving office with a 4% approval rating. But he is not likely to solve France’s immigration problem or the connected problem of domestic terrorism. In fact, he doesn’t even seem to see these two problems.

The movement that brought him to power (En Marche – “On the move”) is only now starting to form a political party, with only a few days before the elections for the French parliament.   It is quite conceivable that Ms. LePen’s National Front could dominate parliament and give M. Macron a hard time.   M. Macron hasn’t started yet, while Ms. LePen certainly isn’t finished.

Macron has also been speaking out against Brexit, describing it as a “crime.”   That shows little respect for British democracy.   A French lawyer is also trying to get Brexit cancelled on the grounds that the referendum was “illegal” – in effect, both men are saying that no matter how bad Europe is, you have to stay in it!   The EU’s dictatorial nature is becoming more and more apparent.

It is also increasingly clear that every nation in Europe has to bow to Berlin.   Note the following:

Macron to hold talks with Merkel in Berlin on first day of new job  Oliver Gee * oliver.gee@thelocal.com , 12 May 2017,  The Local

Emmanuel Macron will head to Berlin on Monday – the day after he is inaugurated as the new president of France – to hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The German leader had welcomed Macron’s win in France, saying he “carries the hopes of millions of French people and also many in Germany and across Europe.”

The 39-year-old had stressed his “common ground” with the German chancellor on economic reform, fiscal discipline and Europe’s future.   The former economy minister had also wanted to strengthen ties with Germany.   The symbolism of Macron meeting Merkel on his first full day as president won’t be lost on the far right Marine Le Pen who had criticized Macron for being pro-EU and said if he won then France will remain under Merkel’s rule.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Thursday underlined common ground with Macron in Germany and France’s bid to bolster the European Union, which has been buffeted by Britain’s decision to quit the bloc.

Schaeuble said both he and Macron are in favor of creating a parliament for the 19-country eurozone.   “A eurozone parliament could be set up, made up of European parliamentarians, which would have consultative powers” for moving forward the European Stability Mechanism (ESM),” Schaeuble said.  (https://www.thelocal.de/20170512/macron-to-meet-merkel-in-berlin-on-first-day-of-new-job)

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Germany’s growing ties to Turkey are highlighted below.   It brings back memories of the alliance between Germany and Turkey forged immediately prior to World War One.   Germany seems to be replacing the US as Turkey’s chief ally – a situation that will receive a further boost now that the US is supplying arms to the Kurds in the war against ISIS.   Turkey has its own problem with the Kurds and does not want them to receive arms.

Germany is negotiating new arms deals with Turkey                    German-Foreign-Policy.com newsletter , 11 May 2017

BERLIN / ANKARA (Own report) – The German government is negotiating new German-Turkish arms deals, as was confirmed by the German Ministry of Economics.   Brigitte Zypries (SPD), Minister of the Economy, spoke with the CEO of Rheinmetall weapons manufacturer about upgrading the Turkish Leopard battle tank.  “In principle,” such deals with NATO partners “can not to be restricted,” according to Berlin.   The German government is also seeking to re-invigorate German-Turkish economic cooperation, to strengthen bilateral relations.  Germany does not want to lose Turkey as a “bridge” connecting Germany and the EU to the Middle East.   Under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Ankara is not only strengthening the country’s economy and, in the long run, making it one of the world’s top ten economies (“Vision 2023”), he is also planning to transform the country into an independent regional power, forming alliances as it chooses – no longer dependent on the western states.

The reorientation of its foreign policy is accompanied by the country’s transformation into a presidential dictatorship.

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AUSTRIAN ELECTION LIKELY

Following the resignation of the OVP party leader from the governing coalition, another election in Austria is likely.   This time, the right wing People’s Party is doing well in the polls, which show they have more than 30% of the population behind them.   The party, like other right-wing parties in Europe, is against Islamization and the arrival of millions of Muslim immigrants.

With the French and Dutch elections, we saw that European countries are out of line with the US and Britain.

We also see the remaining 27 countries of the EU sticking together – it’s increasingly unlikely that any other nations will break away, especially as the EU seems determined to punish the UK for leaving the organization.

Thirdly, a clearer picture is emerging of Berlin’s role as the leader in Europe.

Europe now is a German led super power, with a greater economic role than the US and with the potential to play a much bigger military role.