Tag Archives: Compact

RETIRE AND ENJOY THE GRANDKIDS

The picture above was taken last Sunday in Indianapolis.  It was the first time all ten of our grandchildren were together.  The picture was posted to FaceBook before I had an opportunity to see it.  I was asked a couple of days later why I wasn’t smiling.  The simple truth is that, moments before, I had been trying to get the boys (aged 2 through 6) to sit still, look at the camera and smile.  I was exhausted and remember collapsing on to the couch!

It’s great being a grandfather.   And Diane loves being a grandmother.

Our advice to others in our age group – don’t work until it’s too late to enjoy the grandchildren.   You will find the time you spend with them rewarding – and they will remember you until they are old and have their own grandchildren.

Retire and enjoy the grandkids!

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ARMISTICE DAY – ONE HUNDRED YEARS ON

World War One came to an end exactly 100 years ago, on November 11th, 1918.   The following article shows that many in Germany want to resurrect the German Empire that collapsed at the end of the Great War.   The article is taken from France24, a French television website.

100 years later: Germany’s far right is trying to resurrect the German Empire  

Berlin (AFP) – 26 Oct 2018

Germany’s far right is trying to rehabilitate the German Empire and its role in World War I, resuming a decades-old debate ahead of the centenary of the armistice.

The magazine Compact, which is close to the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), is publishing a special November issue dedicated to the 1919 Treaty of Versailles which held the Reich responsible for the Great War and compelled the country to make colossal reparations.  The title recalls the rhetoric used in the 1920s by those nostalgic for Imperial Germany and the Nazis: “The shame of Versailles:   how the victorious powers enslaved Germany.”  Its online story is headlined “Germany in chains.”

The aim is to reevaluate the German Empire (1871-1918) which for decades has been seen in the collective consciousness as the first of the destructive powers of the 20th century.

‘Bid for world power’

Hamburg University historian Fritz Fischer in the early 1960s confronted the German public with the then controversial thesis that Imperial Germany carried the sole responsibility for the war and the horrors of the Somme, Verdun and Gallipoli.   In his work “Griff nach der Weltmacht” (Bid for World Power), Fischer argued that the Germany of William II, dominated by a racist and imperialist elite, had deliberately instigated World War I in a bid to become a world power.  Fischer argued that Berlin used the crisis sparked by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to go to war with France and Russia to create a German-dominated Europe and Africa — and that this unfulfilled ambition paved the way for the Nazi regime to follow.  This overturned the then entrenched national belief that Germany had fought a defensive war.

 

Joern Leonhard of Freiburg University said Fischer’s views — at heart a “virulent criticism of the German Empire, militarism and imperialism” — are “still broadly shared today by the left.”  By contrast, the AfD wants to “glorify the Empire” as a state that “was modern, had strong industrial development and was very conservative,” said historian Klaus-Peter Sick.  Representatives of the extreme right in their speeches praise the former Imperial Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) and the era of “Prussian Palaces.”  Sick said that “the values of the German Reich correspond” to those of the AFD, “discipline and order.”  AfD leader Alexander Gauland went so far as to describe the Hitler regime as a “mere speck of bird [dung]” relative to “1,000 years of glorious German history.”  Sick said that the goal of the far right, at a time when the last eye-witnesses are disappearing, is to ensure “that the Germans are proud of their history and the German nation and stop seeing the spectre of Nazism everywhere.”

Old wounds

Public interest in the origins of the First World War was revived with the 2013 release of the bestseller “The Sleepwalkers:  How Europe went to war in 1914” by Australian historian Christopher Clark of Cambridge University.   Rather than just blame Germany and the Austro-Hungarian empire, Clark argues that other European powers shared an imperialist paranoia and, without intending to, sleepwalked into the first industrial-scale war.  The success of the book among German readers “betrayed a deep-rooted need to free themselves from blame and guilt,” said the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.  The AfD’s Bavaria chapter has promoted Clark’s tome on its website.

While Germany has gone to great lengths to remember and atone for World War II, Nazi atrocities and the Holocaust, remembrance of the First World War is far more low-key.   Even in this centenary year, commemorations remain minimal.  The foreign ministry hosted a conference entitled “Winning peace” in mid-October, but it was not open to the general public.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel will only participate in one ceremony, alongside French President Emmanuel Macron, on November 10 in Rethondes, the site of the signing of the Armistice.  “German politicians attach great importance to not opening old wounds,” said Leonhard.

https://www.france24.com/en/20181026-100-years-german-far-right-seeks-rehabilitate-empire

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Merkel urged to make ‘Germany a NUCLEAR SUPERPOWER for Europe’ over US-exit fears 

GERMANY should become a nuclear superpower and spearhead European efforts to acquire weapons, according to leading politicians.   Berlin is under pressure to obtain nuclear weapons for the EU over fears the United States will leave NATO.

Head of Poland’s ruling party Jaroslaw Kaczynski told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, he would “welcome an EU nuclear superpower” shortly before meeting Angela Merkel in Warsaw.

It is thought he may have pressed the German Chancellor on the issue during the visit.

Angela Merkel has been urged to make Germany a nuclear superpower

(“Merkel urged to make ‘Germany a nuclear super-power for Europe’ over US exit fears,” Daily Express, 10/23)

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MORE EUROPEAN NEWS

*   Poland is going through a major battle between Left and Right, with Jewish issues always in the background.   Is it condemned to carry this baggage or can it focus on the new threat?

*   Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán aspires to push Angela Merkel aside and become the new leader of Europe. Is this crazy or does he have a chance?

*   Austria is the first European country outside the Soviet bloc to have a government coalition of a legacy conservative party and what the media calls a far-right party.   Is this a model or an exception?   (Daniel Pipes, promoting an educational tour of the three countries, all threatened by the growing Islamic threat; 10/26)

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UNITED STATES

“The (US) midterm elections are all about the man who’s not on the ballot.” — referring to President Trump.   (USA Today 10/26)

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ISLAM PERSECUTING CHRISTIANS IN NIGERIA

“Nigerian Christianity is under siege from radical Islam. The country’s importance to Africa, and to Christianity as a whole, makes this siege particularly noteworthy.   With a population of nearly 200 million – about 50% Christian, 40% Muslim and 10% animist (traditional pagan religion) – by 2050 Nigeria will become the third most populous country in the world, the United Nations estimates. No wonder Nigeria has been a strategic target for radical Islamists for several decades.

“Boko Haram, a radical Islamic movement whose name roughly translates to “Western education is forbidden,” has ramped up attacks on Christians this year. Since 2009 when Boko Haram began its rampage, about 20,000 Nigerians have been hacked with machetes or shot.  Two million have been displaced. Pastors and their families have been specifically targeted for death.

“Pastors in northern and central Nigeria face daunting pressures. Some conduct funerals almost every week for victims, often in mass burials.   They struggle to answer their parishioners’ questions about God’s love and justice.   They hear powerful voices dismiss this as an ethnic clash, but they understand it is a strategic scorched earth war, a jihad against Christianity.”   (“Boko Haram put a bounty on my head,” by Hassan John, an Anglican priest and journalist; Wall Street Journal, 10/26).

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CHRISTIANITY vs ISLAM

In Western Germany, 42% of children under the age of six now come from a migrant background, according to Germany’s Federal Statistical Office, as reported by Die Welt.  (Gatestone, 10/26)

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FACEBOOK AND IRAN DISINFORMATION

SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook has uncovered a covert Iranian disinformation campaign which attempted to sow political discord in the U.S. over such hot-button issues as race, immigration, police brutality and President Trump ahead of the November midterm elections.

The social media giant said Friday it detected the activity coming from dozens of pages, accounts and groups on Facebook and Instagram late last week.  Facebook removed  82 Facebook pages, groups and accounts for “coordinated inauthentic behavior” that originated in Iran and targeted people in the U.S. and U.K. over the course of the last year, the company said.”  (USA Today, 10/26)

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CHINA vs AMERICA

“East Asian countries increasingly are joining the US in believing that a triumphant China will “treat us like dogs,” as one Asian diplomat remarked to me recently.   (“How to win a Cold War with Beijing,” by Seth Cropsey, WSJ, 10/26)

“For the past quarter century America’s approach to China has been founded on a belief in convergence.   Political and economic integration would not just make China wealthier, they would also make it more liberal, pluralistic and democratic . . .

“Today convergence is dead.   America has come to see China as a strategic rival – a malevolent actor and a rule-breaker.   The Trump administration accuses it of interfering in America’s culture and politics, of stealing intellectual property and trading unfairly, and of seeking not just leadership in Asia, but also global dominance.  It condemns China’s record on human rights at home and an aggressive expansion abroad.   This month, Mike Pence, the vice-president, warned that China was engaged in a “whole of government” offensive.   His speech sounded ominously like an early bugle-call in a new cold war.

“Do not presume that Mr. Pence and his boss, President Donald Trump, are alone.   Democrats and Republicans are vying to outdo each other in bashing China.   Not since the 1940’s has the mood among American businessfolk, diplomats and the armed forces swung so rapidly behind the idea that the United States faces a new ideological and strategic rival.”   (“China v America,” The Economist, 10/20).

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CHINA CATCHING UP

Right now, the US has more billionaires than China, but China is adding two per week.   (Deutsche Welle News, 10/26)

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THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

Two new churches have recently opened their doors in our neighborhood.

One is called “Impact” and meets in the Lansing Mall at 10.30am every Sunday.   It is hoped that it will save the mall.   Like malls everywhere nowadays, it has a lot of empty stores and a declining number of visitors.

In keeping with the times (and the needs of the mall), the church is encouraging people to come to church, then stay to shop (from 12 noon on).   They can also stay for a movie at the cinema in the mall; or have lunch or a beer at a bar in the facility.

The other church is more interesting.  It’s a one-theme church, focusing on forgiveness.  They have billboards on the way into Lansing encouraging people to be forgiven; and to forgive others.

Most Christians are very aware that they need forgiveness.   Not so many are able to show forgiveness toward others.  Yet, if we can’t show forgiveness, our own eternal life is at stake.

The Lord’s Prayer reminds us of the need for us to receive forgiveness and to show it to others.

“and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,”   (Matthew 6:15)

Jesus Christ also said the following on this subject:   “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses (sins)” (Mark 11:26)

These are sobering words, particularly as we get older. We don’t want to miss out on eternal life because we’ve not shown forgiveness to others!

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ISLAMIZATION CONTINUES

Prisons pork

They were hardly major items of news, but they illustrate a disturbing trend, with profound implications for the United States and other western nations.

I’m referring to the Administration’s decision two days ago that federal prisons will no longer serve prisoners pork or pork products.   Apparently, prisoners have been complaining when they are offered pork.

The same day this announcement was made I got into a conversation with a small group of policemen in a restaurant in Indianapolis.  I hastily add our conversation was not prompted by any act on my part!  I had commented on how the best place to find policemen in Michigan was at Dunkin Donuts or some comparable fast food outlet; yet, here in Indianapolis, they were at Chick Fil A, which offers a healthier alternative.  One policeman responded with a comment about “the other white meat,” which led to the conversation on the pork decision announced earlier that day.

This particular policeman said it’s because so many people in prison are converting to Islam.

Now, I’m not a pork eater myself so, on one level, I support the decision.   However, there is a troubling aspect to this decision, a decision that comes just a few weeks after another executive decision to change the wording of the “Oath of Allegiance” that immigrants must repeat before being granted citizenship.   Under the old wording, new citizens had to promise to be ready to take up arms in defense of the country should it become necessary.   The change, introduced late in July, no longer requires them to pledge to do so.

It’s now been changed to accommodate Muslim sensitivities.  And that goes for the prison decision also.

A further example of this trend is that city councils have allowed muezzins to call people to prayer.   The Muslim muezzin historically has woken people up early with a loud call to prayer.   With a modern microphone it’s easy to wake up the whole neighborhood, Christian, Muslim or Jewish, whether they appreciate it or not.

At the same time, it has also been revealed that Arabic is the fastest growing language in the US.

America’s gradual embrace of Islam continues.

In Europe, however, a backlash has become apparent.   This is because of the unexpected decision on the part of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to allow Muslims from Syria to resettle in Germany.   They have been arriving in their tens of thousands.   Over a million are expected this year alone.

Demonstrations against the immigrants and physical acts of destruction against immigrant shelters have become common.   A lengthy article in the latest issue of Der Spiegel is titled:  “Deep concern over return of anti-Muslim Pegida protests.”   Pegida stands for:  “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the Occident.” It operates in a number of countries.   Weekly demonstrations directed against Muslims take place on Monday evenings.   The numbers demonstrating is once again on the rise, following Mrs. Merkel’s decision to let in so many migrants.

From Der Spiegel:  “In the right-wing magazine Compact, Jürgen Elsässer, a writer who speaks at Pegida events, issued a call to arms to Germany’s armed forces to resist the government.  “In this situation, it is up to you, soldiers of the Bundeswehr:   Fulfill your oath and protect the German people and the liberal and democratic order!  Occupy the border stations, above all the border train stations, and close all possible crossings, particularly from the South.  Don’t wait for orders from above!”

“At the very least, the movement is conducting “discursive arson,” warns political scientist Vorländer, adding that Pegida is “paving the way” for more radical behavior. In a current situation report, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), Germany’s answer to the FBI, writes that agitation from the right is having a “catalyzing effect.”   During the first nine months of this year, the BKA registered more than 400 attacks on asylum-seeker hostels.  For all of 2014, there were only around 200 such attacks.

“The path from words to actions appears to be getting shorter and shorter, as illustrated by Pegida’s “We’ll help build the border” initiative. Announced for the first time in early October in the Saxon town of Sebnitz – a place that is also the site of anti-refugee protests – the action is expected to continue in Bavaria.   Hundreds of “wire mesh fence” enthusiasts have set up an event using Facebook for Nov. 8 to seal off the German border on their own.  One of the ringleaders is Michael Viehmann, a former supermarket worker from the western city of Kassel, who was also involved in the protests in Sebnitz. November 8, it should be noted, was the date that Adolf Hitler launched his failed “Beer Hall Putsch” in 1923.

“Last year, Viehmann established a Pegida offshoot in a western German state.   He is also known to have participated in “Hooligans against Salafists” events in the past and became the subject of a criminal complaint after posting hate speech on the web.  He allegedly incited against Jews on Facebook and blustered that, hopefully, “soon a revolution will break out and the whole pack of German politicians will have their skulls bashed in.”

Those with knowledge of German history will see similarities here between what is happening now and what happened in the 1920’s and 30’s.   Events then led to Hitler’s coming to power in 1933. Certainly, Mrs. Merkel’s decision to take a million migrants this year is boosting the cause of right wing groups like Pegida.

This is not just happening in Germany.   Other European countries that have taken in substantial numbers of Muslims are seeing the same development. In some Swedish cities, migrants are now the majority, totally transforming the country.   A report on Focus on Europe, a weekly newsmagazine program shown on PBS but produced by German public television, showed similar problems developing in neighboring Norway.

Bible prophecy shows that there will soon be rapid change in Europe, as ten nations come together to face urgent threats.

“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast.   These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.  These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Revelation 17:12-14).

The whole chapter is about the Roman Empire and successive attempts throughout history to revive the empire.   The latest one was the revival of the Roman Empire proclaimed by Benito Mussolini in 1922, which led to the alliance with Germany’s Third Reich.  It is clear from the last verse that this event takes place immediately prior to Christ’s Second Coming.   So there is another attempt at European unity prophesied to take place.  Once again, it will be led by Germany, the dominant economic power in Europe.

A horn is symbolic of royal authority, but it does not have to be royal.

What this passage of scripture shows is that a sudden change is going to take place in Europe, similar to events in 1848 and 1989, when a number of European governments were overthrown and replaced by something quite different.

A perceived threat, like the one now facing European nations, could easily be the catalyst that leads to a major change in the social order.   Germany’s constitution requires the country to provide refuge to refugees.   If nothing can be done legally to change that, then public pressure is likely to mount, putting increased pressure on the Federal Republic itself.   This will only increase if the new arrivals do not assimilate and even threaten the social order.

The German Chancellor was seen until recently as a solid and stable leader in a time of profound change.   Many no longer feel this to be the case.

When viewed from the perspective of history, recognizing that Islam has often threatened the West, what is happening now is the latest attempt to spread Islam into the very heart of the West.

With better historical memory than most western leaders display, the leaders of Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic are cooperating to try to keep the migrants out, while others, including Germany, are encouraging them to enter. These four countries either suffered under the Ottoman Empire or fought against it when it tried to conquer central Europe.

As the European Union allows for the free movement of peoples within its borders, once any migrants receive citizenship, they will be able to go anywhere.

It remains to be seen what anti-migrant countries will do once the new arrivals can freely move around – but British voters will be more likely to vote to leave the EU, giving them greater freedom to stop the massive migration now taking place.

It’s a time of profound change in Europe, change that could spur the continent toward the formation of the union of ten nations.