Tag Archives: Donald Trump

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)


MEDIA BIAS GREATER THAN EVER

Home - Media Bias - Library at Shippensburg University

NPR’S REFUSAL TO BROADCAST BAD NEWS ON BIDEN

(https://americantruthtoday.com/politics/2020/10/23/taxpayer-funded-npr-refuses-to-report-on-growing-biden-scandal-we-don-t-want-to-waste-listeners-time/?utm_source=sprklst&utm_campaign=allamerican-tax-10_23-pm)

A tweet from the National Public Radio (NPR) Public Editor on Thursday — on the day of the presidential debate — explained why the taxpayer-funded news outlet has been ignoring the growing scandal surrounding former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, and the family’s business dealings in China.

“Why haven’t you seen any stories from NPR about the NY Post’s Hunter Biden story,” the tweet said. “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want to waste listeners’ and readers’ time on that stories that are just pure distractions.”

“Major media are either denouncing the allegations as unproven or ignoring the story, the motive for which is apparent. Journalistic duty be damned. We have to get rid of Trump. And anything that jeopardizes that highest of goals should be buried until after Election Day.”  (Pat Buchanan, 10/27/2020)

Texas prepares to send 1,000 troops to five major cities, DC boards up its stores and Washington state puts the National Guard on alert as the US braces for post-election violence.  (Daily Mail, 10/26/2020)

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One view on a Biden win:

If Joe Biden defeats Donald Trump next week, he will take office during a global pandemic and America’s most serious economic crisis for a century. And when he’s dealt with those, he will still have to rebuild US relationships abroad, grapple with the nation’s increasingly dysfunctional democratic institutions – and face the existential threat of climate change.  (The Guardian 10/28/2020)

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INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT ASSERTING RIGHT TO LIFE

On Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Health & Human Services Alex Azar co-hosted the virtual signing of the Geneva Consensus Declaration along with the governments of Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uganda.

The declaration serves as a rebuke to the pro-abortion rights U.N. and World Health Organization (WHO).

It states the nations join to promote women’s health as well as the “strength of the family and of a successful and flourishing society.”   The governments also affirm “the essential priority of protecting the right to life.”

The nations that signed onto the declaration, which represent 1.6 billion people, also “reaffirm ‘all are equal before the law,’” and that “human rights of women are an inalienable, integral, and indivisible part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The governments declare “the inherent ‘dignity and worth of the human person,’ that ‘every human being has the inherent right to life,’ and the commitment ‘to enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant.’”

The declaration emphasizes that “in no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning,” and that “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”  (Dr. Susan Berry, Breitbart, 10/23/2020)

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THE US – AN INSPIRATIONAL LEADER IN MID EAST

  • By taking a robust approach to some of the region’s more intractable issues… such as relocating the American embassy to Jerusalem, the US has produced a number of profound changes to the regional landscape, the consequences of which are likely to be felt for many years to come.
  • The breakthrough in the peace process, moreover, has resulted in the region being clearly divided between moderate, peace-loving countries that are prepared to engage in the peace process, and rejectionist regimes, such as Turkey and Iran, that are only interested in causing further bloodshed.
  • It is these countries, as well as China, Russia, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela that have most to fear in next month’s presidential election if a strong and successful America returns again.  (Con Coughlin, Gatestone, 10/24/2020)

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THE END OF AMERICAN ILLUSION

Since the end of the Cold War, most U.S. policymakers have been beguiled by a set of illusions about the world order.  On critical issues, they have seen the world as they wish it were and not how it really is. President Donald Trump, who is not a product of the American foreign policy community, does not labor under these illusions.  Trump has been a disrupter, and his policies, informed by his heterodox perspective, have set in motion a series of long-overdue corrections.  Many of these necessary adjustments have been misrepresented or misunderstood in today’s vitriolic, partisan debates.  But the changes Trump has initiated will help ensure that the international order remains favorable to U.S. interests and values and to those of other free and open societies.   (Nadia Schladlow, Sept-Oct issue, Foreign Affairs)

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THE US NAVY IS SHORT ALMOST 100 FIGHTER PILOTS

The US Navy is battling to get its fighter pilot training program back on track. by David B Larter, Sept 17,2020

The Navy has seen a slew of issues, including problems with the oxygen flow to the pilots causing negative and unsafe physiological responses in pilots and trainees, as well as readiness and engine trouble with aircraft. All of this has extended the time it takes to create a fighter pilot from three to four years, and the issues have created a gap in the number of pilots in the fleet, naval air training chief Rear Adm. Robert Westendorff said at a virtual Tailhook symposium on Saturday. “We can’t just snap our fingers and produce those immediately. The time to train of a strike fighter pilot is about three years; due to the bottlenecks we’ve had, its getting closer to four years,” Westendorff said.

(https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2020/09/17/the-us-navy-is-short-almost-100-fighter-pilots/)

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US & CHINA – INCREASED TENSIONS:  Tang Hong, a Chinese expert for Middle Eastern affairs, said in a September 3, 2020 interview on CGTN Arabic TV (China) that tensions are increasing between China and the United States because some American politicians still hold on to a Cold War ideology and believe that America can be the only superpower in the world. He said that U.S. and China can either cooperate or engage in competition that may involve armed conflict, and he criticized the U.S. for choosing the “wrong” path. Hong said that today’s China is not the China of the past, that it has a clear position regarding how it would respond to any military provocations and that it does not fear escalation. 

Tang Hong:  “In my view, the main reason for the escalating tensions between [the U.S. and China] is that some American politicians hold on to the ideology of the Cold War.  They delude themselves that they can maintain the status of being the single superpower in the world.  They believe that competition is the only way to resolve this problem and to preserve their status as the world’s only superpower.  But the truth is that they were wrong in thinking this.   (MEMRI, 9/16/2020)

Official Chinese TV Criticizes U.S. Capitalism, Trump’s Economic Policies: The Government Should Redistribute Wealth; Fundamental Reforms Are The Only Solution; Trump Does Not Care About Making America Great Again   (MEMRI 10/26/2020)

As Europe locks down again, there’s only one major country in the world that will fully recover from the pandemic. In his cover story, Rana Mitter looks at China’s incredible escape act and how the virus has reordered the world to Xi Jinping’s benefit.  (The Spectator, 10/22/2020)

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SOUTH ASIAN MUSLIM EXPERIENCE

The presence of South Asian Muslims in America began with a “trickle” of immigration in the early 1900s, but the “real flow” started after the independence of Pakistan and India in the 1940s. The South Asian Muslim diaspora grew rapidly in the U.S. during the 1970s and 1980s, when the U.S. sought to alleviate a shortage of doctors at home by opening its doors to foreigners with a medical degree. Attracted by the opportunity for greater income and freedom in America, these immigrants agreed to be placed in rural communities. Today there are some 52,800 American physicians from India and Pakistan, and 98% of the Pakistani doctors are Muslim.  (“South Asian Muslims and the American Experience,” Marilyn Stern, MEF, 10/26/2020)

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59% of American women with college degrees are trending toward Biden.   (CBS Face the Nation, 10/25/2020)

“Record high campaign contributions from women helped Democrats take the House in 2016, and now women have their sights set on the Senate.  In the 15 most competitive Senate races, an average 43% of the large dollar donors to Democratic candidates are women, compared to 28% of donors to Republicans.”  (USA Today, 10/26/2020)

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) told Axios in an interview that aired Monday that she expects a liberal turn if Democratic nominee Joe Biden is elected president, adding that she wants all Cabinet positions filled with progressives.

Biden’s transition team has reportedly vetted a handful of Republicans for potential Cabinet positions. While this may reinforce Biden’s image as a unity candidate, it has fueled a backlash among the Democratic Party’s leftmost wing.

“I would say all of the Cabinet positions should be filled by progressive Democrats,” Omar told Axios. “We know that the policies we advocate for are most popular with the American people,” she added.  (Tom Ozimek, Epoch Times, 10/27/2020)

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GERMANY / EU

We are facing very, very difficult months ahead.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel says German’s should brace themselves after a sharp spike in coronavirus cases. The country recorded its 10,000th Covid death on Saturday.  (The Week, 10/26/2020)

Germany tries to forge a deal on who can play ball in Europe Defense News, 21 Sept 2020 

COLOGNE, Germany — Time is ticking for Germany to find a compromise on letting American, British and other non-European Union countries tap into the bloc’s emerging defense cooperation scheme.  The government of Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken on the task of sorting out the issue by the end of the year, when Germany’s six-month term at the helm of the European Council concludes.  “It is an important issue to solve, particularly for close NATO partners,” Karl-Heinz Kamp, special envoy of the political director at the German Ministry of Defence, said during a panel discussion at the annual Defense News Conference this month.  The challenge is to find common ground between two camps within the EU: member states seeking ties with outsiders, and those countries who prefer treating the nascent defense agenda as a members-only affair.  Poland, Sweden and the Netherlands are leading a group of nations advocating for openness. But France, for example, is pursuing a more restrictive stance, especially toward Turkey and the United States.



From the beginning, the Trump administration has eyed the EU’s creation of a defense cooperation mechanism, dubbed PESCO, and the proposed multibillion-dollar European Defence Fund with a degree of mistrust. The efforts run the risk of undermining NATO if America and its powerful defense companies are kept out, Washington claims.  The tone has softened more recently, however, as officials on both sides of the Atlantic try to broker a compromise.  “One of the things that COVID-19 has really brought into sharp focus is the significance of our integrated defense industrial base,” said Gregory Kausner, executive director for international cooperation, who works in the Pentagon for acquisition chief Ellen Lord.  (Defense News, 9/21/2020)

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Hungary’s PM Orbán:  George Soros wants to create mixed-ethnic societies, dismantle nationalism, and hand power to the global elite  (9/22/2020)

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ISLAM

DOUBLE STANDARD IN ISLAM

France recalled its ambassador to Turkey after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said French President Emmanuel Macron needed a mental health evaluation amid a government crackdown on Islamic extremism.

“What is the problem of this person called Macron with Islam and Muslims?”  Erdogan asked rhetorically during his Justice and Development Party meeting in the central Anatolian city of Kayseri.

“Macron needs treatment on a mental level,” he added, according to the BBC.  “What else can be said to a head of state who does not understand freedom of belief and who behaves in this way to millions of people living in his country who are members of a different faith?”

The French crackdown comes in response to the beheading of a history teacher near Paris by an alleged extremist.  (Danielle Wallace, Fox News 10/25/2020)

Grand Mufti Of Egypt Shawki Allam:  According To Our Research, 50% Of Second- And Third-Generation Muslims In Europe Support ISIS  (MEMRI, 10/25/2020)

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AUSTRALIA

QUEEN INNOCENT OVER DISMISSAL, KERR MISLED PALACE:  KEATING

The architect of Australia’s push for a republic, Paul Keating, repudiates as “tilting at shadows” the revisionist history that claims the Queen was implicated in the 1975 dismissal of the Whitlam government.

Rejecting conspiracy theories about the Queen’s complicity that have attracted support in recent years, the former prime minister said the Queen had “never contrived, on this occasion or others, over the long course of her reign, to undermine governments.”

Mr. Keating said claims that she engaged with governor-general John Kerr to terminate the Whitlam government were “given the lie” by his own knowledge of the Queen, notably her immediate acceptance of his advice as prime minister that Australia should become a republic, delivered in 1993 during their meeting at Balmoral.

He said it was the governor-general who misled Buckingham Palace in 1975. “Kerr usurped the kingly powers reserved to a monarch, unused for centuries, and made the palace hostage to his plans,” Mr. Keating said.

While he is a committed republican, Mr. Keating made clear his respect for the Queen, saying she sought always to do her duty by Australia. He warned republicans that accusing the Queen of complicity in Whitlam’s dismissal would only undermine their cause.   (The Australian, 10/26/2020)

AUSTRALIAN PROBLEM WITH JIHADISTS

In 2013, MEMRI reported on the activity at the Al-Risalah Islamic bookstore in Sydney, Australia, which also served as a community center for local Muslims. The report showed that the bookstore, located in the Bankstown area of West Sydney, was a hub from which radical Islamists spread extremist and militant Islamic views. The center was owned by Australian preacher and community leader Wissam Haddad, and many of the individuals who operated and preached there later joined Al-Qaeda (AQ) or the Islamic State (ISIS), or were involved terror activity inside Australia. Haddad closed the Al-Risalah center in September 2014 after media reports about the activity there aroused public outrage.

The present report, based on research conducted in 2019-2020, shows that, eight years later, despite arrests and the banning of their activity, Haddad and other members of the Bankstown jihadi network are still preaching extremist views and possibly also recruiting for terror organizations.  (MEMRI 9/24/2020)

COULD JOHNSON MAKE UP WITH A PRESIDENT BIDEN?

As the self-styled “Mr. Brexit”, Donald Trump’s residence in the White House seemed perfectly aligned with Boris Johnson’s aims of striking a lucrative US trade deal as Britain quits the EU.

But Trump’s opponent in the imminent US presidential election is a different prospect entirely. Having vocally opposed the Brexit project, Joe Biden may prove less eager to strengthen ties with Downing Street if he secures the White House.

And with polls pointing towards victory at the polls for the Democrat, concerns are growing inside Downing Street about a changing of the guard in Washington that could “leave Johnson scrambling to rebuild the ‘special relationship,’” according to the Financial Times.    (The Week, 10/26/2020)

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TO THE POINT

  • BRITS FORCED TO PAY £4BILLION FOR IMMIGRANT 5-STAR HOTELS        (BNP newsletter, 10/23/2020)
  • Pope Francis will elevate Washington DC archbishop Wilton Gregory to cardinal making him the first black prelate in the US to hold the rank.  (Daily Mail, 10/25/2020)
  • ARRESTS AFTER SPECIAL FORCES END SUSPECTED TANKER HIJACKING — Seven stowaways have been arrested after the Special Boat Service stormed a tanker off the Isle of Wight.  About 16 commandos boarded the Nave Andromeda last night, following a suspected hijacking. Two Royal Navy Merlin helicopters were involved, along with two Royal Navy Wildcat helicopters. “Initial reports confirm the crew are safe and well,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.  (The Week, 10/26/2020)
  • The Economist provided sympathetic coverage of a Chinese tech giant widely considered a national security risk without disclosing the publication’s lucrative business relationship with the firm that spanned nearly a decade.  (Washington Free Beacon, 10/26/2020)
  • While critics of President Trump’s redeployment of U.S. troops in Europe continue to bash the moves, Poland is showing how a real ally behaves. While already fulfilling its NATO required 2% of GDP for defense spending, it has now also agreed to pay the majority of costs associated with stationing 5,500 U.S. troops at bases in Poland.  (American Defense News, 10/25/2020) 
  • “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money,” Margaret Thatcher.

Keep in mind on election day Daniel 2:21 — “And he changes the times and the seasons: he removes kings and sets up kings.”

FRENCH TEACHER BEHEADED IN STREET

Flowers outside the Collège du Bois d’Aulne middle school as part of a memorial to the teacher who was killed in Eragny, a suburb of Paris, on Friday.
Flowers outside the Collège du Bois d’Aulne middle school as part of a memorial to the teacher who was killed in Eragny, a suburb of Paris, on Friday.Credit…Siegfried Modola/Getty Images

In an attack that sent France reeling, on Friday afternoon, October 16, in broad daylight, a French schoolteacher was beheaded on a suburban street for teaching his students a required lesson about free speech. Samuel Paty, 47, was murdered close to the school where he taught by an 18-year-old Chechen immigrant (identified only as Abdoulakh A.) who had come to France as a child refugee.

Abdoulakh then posted images of Paty’s severed head on his Twitter account along with insults aimed at French President Emmanuel Macron and French “infidels” and “dogs.” 

Witnesses reported hearing Abdoulakh shout “Allahu Akbar (God is Greatest)!” during the attack. Abdoulakh had been waiting for Paty before attacking him with a knife and inflicting him with multiple head wounds.

The attacker was killed by police after firing at them with an air gun.

Paty was a history and geography teacher, who had been threatened many times after educating his students in light of the ongoing Charlie Hebdo trial and showing them cartoons from the satirical magazine depicting Islam’s prophet Mohammed (he advised Muslim students to look away if they were offended).  (Clarion Project, 10/18/2020)

An entire community of immigrants, who enjoyed all the freedoms we had granted them, ambushed him . . . It is a racism condoned by imams who had called [the beheaded teacher] Paty “delinquent.”

“[T]here is the continuity of our submission. I am convinced that if we had known how to say no, we would not be here. They all bowed their heads out of fear of appearing racist or out of patronage.” — Élisabeth Badinter, author, Le Point, October 16, 2020.

If the French authorities do not take the many warnings to heart, even after a schoolteacher was beheaded in broad daylight by a terrorist shouting “Allahu Akbar,” it means that the fight is over and they might as well raise a white flag over the Eiffel Tower.   (Giulio Meotti, Gatestone, 10/20/2020)

Sheikh Ali Al-Yousuf Of The International Union Of Muslim Scholars: Killing Of French Teacher Paty Was In Keeping With The Ruling Of The Shari’a But It Should Have Been Done By The Islamic State, Not By Just Any Individual  (MEMRI, 10/20/2020)

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GERMANY

[BREXIT]:  In the Interest of German Industry

The German government breaks ranks with the EU consensus on the negotiations of a Brexit free trade agreement and demands that concessions be made to Great Britain. On Thursday, the EU heads of states and governments – with Germany’s endorsement – had unanimously increased pressure on the British government to unilaterally concede in the dispute over the agreement, however, Chancellor Merkel is now strongly pleading for “a compromise.” This change of course was triggered by London’s reiteration that it would rather settle for a no-deal Brexit, if the EU insists on its maximalist positions. A hard Brexit would bring serious disadvantages particularly for German industry, because, well ahead of China, the UK is its second largest investment site and its business on the British Isles has already been seriously affected by Brexit uncertainties. Confronted with the impact of the Corona crisis and economic risks due to the power struggle between the USA and China, Germany seeks to avoid further slumps. 19 Oct 2020, German-Foreign-Policy newsletter. (https://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/news/detail/8415/)

Secret NATO Drills: German Air Force trains in the event of nuclear war?
The German air force is currently working with NATO partners to work out the defense of the alliance’s territory using nuclear weapons
19 October 2020 (From German newspaper) Bild.de

If the situation would follow the most appalling scenario, and it comes to a nuclear war, we must be ready for this. 

The German air force is currently working with NATO partners to work out the defense of the alliance’s territory using nuclear weapons.

According to the DPA news agency, a secret Alliance exercise called Steadfast Noon began this week. At the same time, the operations of fighter-bombers, capable of carrying nuclear weapons are being practiced. The venue for the maneuvers this year was the Nørvenich airbase in North Rhine-Westphalia. Presumably, it is there that the American tactical atomic bombs B61 will be placed, according to unofficial data, stored at the base in Büchel (Rhineland-Palatinate)

At the same time, the Resilient Guard exercise continues in Büchel, where the Air Force is practicing defense of the airbase there. According to the Bundeswehr, operations with the use of Patriot missile systems are also being practiced there.

The B61 hydrogen bombs located in Büchel, if necessary, can take on board, in particular, the German Tornado aircraft, in order to take hostile forces out of the game. American nuclear weapons are also stored in Belgium, Turkey, and the Netherlands. Combat aircraft of the Air Forces of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy are also participating in the current exercises.

According to military experts, during the Persistent Noon maneuvers, which traditionally take place in October, the safe delivery of American nuclear weapons from underground storage facilities to aircraft and their placement there is being worked out. However, during the exercise, flights will be carried out without bombs. Information on a specific exercise scenario has not yet been released.

Today, the danger of war, during which nuclear weapons may be used, has grown significantly in comparison with the past 30 years. The reason is the termination of the INF Treaty. The United States, with the approval of NATO partners, withdrew from it in the summer of 2019, arguing that Russia has been developing medium-range missiles called 9M729 (NATO classification: SSC-8) for several years, thereby violating the agreement.

Will a new arms race start?

Military experts do not rule out that the world is on the verge of a new arms race. The United States is already working on a new mobile ground-based missile system, which was illegal during the INF Treaty. According to current plans, they should be equipped exclusively with conventional (that is, non-nuclear) warheads. But it is possible that the plans will be further adjusted.

In addition, the last major nuclear arms control agreement between the United States and Russia, the START III Treaty, expires on February 5, 2021. The parties are now negotiating its extension, but Moscow has recently made it clear that it will hardly be possible to reach an agreement with Washington under President Donald Trump.(https://112.international/politics/secret-nato-drills-german-air-force-trains-in-the-event-of-nuclear-war-55714.html)

A GERMAN PERSPECTIVE

What If Trump Won’t Go?

Europe Preparing for the Worst in Washington; Concern is growing in the European Union that Donald Trump might refuse to recognize the election results if he loses.  Preparations are underway for the worst-case scenario.  by Markus Becker, Christiane Hoffmann und Peter Müller 16.Oct.2020, Der Spiegel, Germany

A horror scenario is making the rounds these days in both Berlin and Brussels:  Should the outcome of the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3 be close, incumbent Donald Trump could declare himself the winner when polls close, even if he is behind in the vote count. He could prematurely and unlawfully claim the presidency. (DS)

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USA

AFGHANISTAN DILEMMA

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, US President George W. Bush demanded that Afghanistan’s Taliban government surrender Osama bin Laden and end support for al-Qaeda. The Taliban refused.

On October 7, US bombs began falling on Taliban forces. NATO allies quickly pledged support for the US, and US boots hit the ground in Afghanistan two weeks later.

Thus began a war, now the longest in US history, that has killed more than 3,500 coalition soldiers and 110,000 Afghans. It has cost the American taxpayer nearly $3 trillion. US allies have also made human and material sacrifices.

Though the Taliban government quickly crumbled, its fighters kept fighting. A Taliban insurgency continues, and its forces are now believed to control nearly 20 percent of Afghan territory. Almost half of Afghan land is “contested.”

The Taliban is militarily stronger today than at any time since the start of the war, and there are now US soldiers serving in Afghanistan who were not yet born on September 11, 2001.

The dilemma remains

A large-scale US effort to defeat the Taliban everywhere in Afghanistan would prove costlier than the American public, and therefore any US president, is willing to bear.   (Gzero Signal, 10/22/2020)

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THREAT FROM AMERICAN EXTREME RIGHT — On October 19, 2020, the National Socialist Order (NSO), which was created by members of the international neo-Nazi network, AtomWaffen Division, released a one-minute video on its Telegram channel urging supporters to take action such as running-over protesters, or murdering politicians, to bring about a “new world.” The video, titled “National Socialist Order – A Step by Step Guide to Victory,” is a slick production in a retro television style, with black and white animated sequences and titles, and is narrated in a male voice.  (MEMRI 10/21/2020)

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FRANKLIN GRAHAM ON POLITICS 

Regarding the recent Democratic and Republican national conventions, Graham asserted that the Democratic Party is “opposed to faith.”

“The Democrats are really, if anything, they are opposed to faith.” Graham asserted.

Graham acknowledged that while his father, the late evangelist Billy Graham, was a lifelong democrat, even he saw the significant transformation within the Democratic Party as it became “a party of the left.”

“It’s a socialist party. They want socialism for this country,” Graham argued, according to CBN News.   (CBN, 9/3/2020)

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New Data Analysis Finds 353 Counties With 1.8 Million More Registered Voters Than Eligible Citizens by Mark Tapscott (Epoch Times, 10/18/2020)

Nope, no chance of voter fraud here, folks.

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THREAT FROM CCP

We are at risk of losing a war today because too few of us know that we are engaged with an enemy, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), that means to destroy us. The forces of globalism that have dominated our government (until recently) and our media for the better part of half a century have blinded too many Americans to the threat we face. If we do not wake up to the danger soon, we will find ourselves helpless.(Imprimis, 9/20/2020)

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VIOLENCE AHEAD?

As Election Day nears, voters are on edge.

In fact, almost three in four voters, 72 per cent, describe themselves as very or quite concerned about post-election violence, according to a poll conducted by JL Partners and The Independent.

Republicans in Washington are concerned far-left groups will stir up trouble after the election should Mr. Trump win – or say he won as a court battle begins. Democrats say it is the president who has been stoking trouble.   (The Independent, 10/22/2020)

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queen elizabeth canadian portrait
Chris Jackson / Canada Government

CANADA’S NEW OFFICIAL PORTRAIT OF THE QUEEN

A new portrait of the Queen has been commissioned by the Canadian government. It will hang in schools, government buildings and embassies.

Even after resuming socially-distanced in-person engagements, and reopening Buckingham Palace for audiences, the royals haven’t had occasion to flaunt their stunning jewelry collection in some time – and may not for a while yet. This makes the reveal of Queen Elizabeth’s new official Canadian portrait, which features the monarch bedecked in precious stones from the King George VI Victorian Suite, all the more special.

Photographer Chris Jackson unveiled the portrait on Instagram, saying, “It was an incredible honor to have the opportunity to photograph HM Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the Canadian Government.”

He then went on to explain the significance of the jewelry and royal honors the Queen wears in the portrait, starting with the two badges affixed to her dress. These are the Canadian insignia as Sovereign of the Order of Canada and the Order of Military Merit (per Canadian Heritage’s Instagram, the Order of Canada is the country’s highest civilian honor, instituted by the Queen herself in 1967). More interesting, perhaps, to those interested in royal history are the jewels: a tiara, necklace, earrings, and bracelet, all from the diamond and sapphire King George VI Victorian Suite.

The suite – then composed only of the necklace and earrings, made circa 1850 – was given to the Queen by her father, King George VI, as a wedding present in 1947. A matching tiara and bracelet were fashioned in 1963, and in 1990, the Queen took the whole suite with her for a royal tour of Canada – making it a particularly meaningful choice for this portrait.

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POPE ENDORSES SAME SEX CIVIL UNIONS

ROME — Pope Francis expressed support for same-sex civil unions in remarks revealed in a documentary film that premiered on Wednesday, a significant break from his predecessors that staked out new ground for the church in its recognition of gay people.

The remarks, coming from the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, had the potential to shift debates about the legal status of same-sex couples in nations around the globe and unsettle bishops worried that the unions threaten what the church considers traditional marriage — between one man and one woman.

“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” Francis said in the documentary, “Francesco,” which debuted at the Rome Film Festival, reiterating his view that gay people are children of God. “I stood up for that.”

Many gay Catholics and their allies outside the church welcomed the pope’s remarks, though Francis’ opposition to gay marriage within the church remained absolute.

His conservative critics within the church hierarchy, and especially in the conservative wing of the church in the United States, who have for years accused him of diluting church doctrine, saw the remarks as a reversal of church teaching.

“The pope’s statement clearly contradicts what has been the longstanding teaching of the church about same-sex unions,” said Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, R.I., adding that the remarks needed to be clarified.   (NYT, 10/22/2020)

Matthew 23:9 – “And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.”

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HOW ISIS RESPONDED TO COVID:  In early March, as coronavirus swept across Europe, Isis issued a surprising message to its members.   Adopting a safety-first approach, the terror group’s al-Naba magazine stopped encouraging attacks on western nations, instead advising its members not to travel to Europe, which it described as “the land of the epidemic.”

The group also told its followers to “put trust in God and seek refuge in Him from illnesses,” but to also “cover the mouth when yawning and sneezing” and to wash their hands frequently, Politico reports. Terror groups traditionally thrive in areas undergoing disruption and chaos. So how has Isis handled the past eight months? (The Week, 10/21/2020)

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The goal of socialism is communism.   Vladimir Lenin

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)

DICTATORIAL POWERS TAKEN BY GOVERNMENTS

Daniel Andrews giving an update on Victoria’s lockdown. Covid-19 restrictions in his state remain the country’s tightest Photograph: James Ross/AAP

COVID-19 – VICTORIA PREMIER ACCUSED OF GRABBING DICTATORIAL POWERS

‘It’s diabolical, he’s a megalomaniac’: Dan Andrews is accused of ‘grabbing dictatorial power’ as he tries to extend Victoria’s state of emergency by a YEAR in a move that ‘will kill Melbourne’.  (Daily Mail 8/24/2020)

“One of the greatest blessings of living in a Commonwealth country — former British colonies like Canada, Australia and New Zealand — is our inheritance of the rule of law, neutral courts, policing with the consent of the community, and freedom of the press.”   (Avi Yemini, Rebel News, 9/13/2020)

NEW RESTRICTIONS IN UK

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said “we must act” to avoid another lockdown as virus cases rise in England.  He set out a new “rule of six,” restricting gatherings to a maximum of six people, enforced by police able to issue fines or make arrests.

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Drastic measures to curb alarming rise in Coronavirus cases  (Euronews, 9/9/2020)

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New York City’s Day of Reckoning Is at Hand

“Despite New York’s success in containing the coronavirus, unprecedented numbers of New Yorkers are unemployed, facing homelessness, or otherwise at risk,” they noted in a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio.  “There is widespread anxiety over public safety, cleanliness and other quality of life issues that are contributing to deteriorating conditions in commercial districts and neighborhoods across the five boroughs.”    (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/york-city-day-reckoning-hand-103054768.html)

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SOUTH AFRICA:   Steep slump in GDP as COVID-19 takes its toll on the economy  (Official Govt stats)

The punch in the gut was severe.  Perhaps the second quarter of 2020 will become known as the pandemic quarter.  South Africa’s economy suffered a significant contraction during April, May and June, when the country operated under widespread lockdown restrictions in response to COVID-19.

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by just over 16% between the first and second quarters of 2020, giving an annualized growth rate of ‑51%.  (SA Government, 9/9/2020)

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GERMANY — GERMANY HAUNTED BY COLONIAL PAST

Today, 120 years ago, in the small city of Liangxiang, German troops committed the most savage massacre in the colonial war in China. Under the pretext of fighting insurgents, soldiers from two battalions of marine infantry opened fire on residential areas in the small city of Liangxiang southwest of Beijing and, after conquering the town, summarily executed all its male residents.  The number of inhabitants was estimated at between 3,000 and 4,000.  The Liangxiang massacre was followed by many more in the course of suppressing the “Boxer Rebellion.”   In Berlin’s opinion, the norms of the laws of war apply only to “civilized” nations, since China and its population were not considered as such, they were not binding in the German colonial war.  The German troops’ murder-by-arson in China bears clear resemblance to the German Empire’s colonial warfare in Africa.  In view of Berlin’s new “Indo-Pacific” offensive, german-foreign-policy.com reminds of Germany’s murderous colonial past at the Pacific.   (German Foreign Policy, 9/13/2020)

Germany Calling Shots in Europe and Merkel Isn’t Sorry…

“Everybody has been asking Germany to spend more and now Germany is spending,” Vestager said at an event in Berlin Sept. 7.  “So I think we should make the best of it.”  It’s a telling example of how Germany has become far more explicit, and unapologetic about calling the shots in Europe.  It’s on display in its tightening of foreign-investment rules, its efforts to coordinate the response to an increasingly powerful China, and its willingness to challenge Russia over the poisoning of opposition leader Alexey Navalny.  “The EU has to define its own interests, has to be strong and independent — from both China and the U.S.,” Le Maire told a German newspaper in comments published Sunday.  “This is crucial to be successful in the 21st century.”   The next plank of their strategy is to target the competition rules, the touchstone of the single market. The Germans aim to make progress toward bringing down the barriers to would-be European champions by the beginning of next year.    (Unaccredited news item sent to me.) 

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CIA:  Iran seeks to assassinate US Ambassador to South Africa – report — An assassination of a US ambassador could undermine Trump in his re-election campaign or pull him into a new standoff.  (Jerusalem Post, 14 Sept 2020)

Citing multiple US intelligence sources and a CIA global threats document, the report said it would be the Islamic Republic’s preferred method of retaliating against US President Donald Trump’s assassination of Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Soleimani in January.

Politico said that US officials have been aware of a general threat against Ambassador Lana Marks (66) since the spring but it added that details had become more specific in recent weeks, noting that the Iranian embassy in Pretoria was involved, although Tehran was also considering other options for retaliation.

Iran has operated clandestine networks in South Africa for decades and Al Jazeera and The Guardian reported on them in 2015.

(https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/iran-news/cia-iran-seeks-to-assassinate-us-ambassador-to-south-africa-report-642195)

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POST-BREXIT TRADE DEALS

The former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, has been asked to help Britain in seeking new international trade deals, based on his experience in doing the same for Australia.   Here are two Australian letters supporting Mr Abbott.  The second letter reflects growing support for a revival of British Commonwealth trade ties, torn up when Britain joined the European project.

Abbott will be a wonderful addition to the UK team.  He’s always been a good friend of the UK, was not a ‘failed’ PM at all, has a great respect for traditional values, knows what he’s talking about and will get the job done.”  (Politico.com)  (Hugh Eveleigh, 9/10/2020)

People obviously don’t understand how Australia will benefit from having a cutting edge trade operative like Abbott secure great free trade deals for Britain.  Firstly, we have now learned that China is no longer a reliable trading partner so we need to find alternate markets in a hurry.  One of the biggest prospective markets for Australia would be from a re-vamped British Commonwealth free trade zone, (especially including growing India) which Abbott could build, and he would assumedly help facilitate a great individual FTA with Britain to both countries benefit.  Covid has really hurt working families in Australia, and we need all the help that we can get recovery wise.  Woke type objectors to Abbott’s appointment mainly derive their incomes from social security, or else soft low or nonproductive type government jobs, (i.e. the ABC) funded by the sweat of the Australian worker.   If they want their privileged lifestyles to continue to be funded, then they must accept that the money has to be earned somewhere.  Their clear choice is not to oppose productivity and remain funded, or to oppose the capitalist system and enter poverty, as there’d then be no money left to support them.

We live in a democracy, most people want to be able to live decently and support their families, and no minority has a right to take their living standards away from them.  (Nick Bury, 9/9/2020)

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HANDEL HAD (ANONYMOUS) HELP WITH THE MESSIAH

Without Handel’s Messiah we would not know who Charles Jennens was.  And without Charles Jennens we would not have Handel’s Messiah.  You see, it was Jennens who put together the text upon which the music is based.

Charles Jennens (1700-1773) was a wealthy English landowner, an amateur musician and an avid supporter of the arts.  In fact, when he was 70 years old he began an arduous task of writing extensive critical editions of Shakespeare’s plays complete with editorial footnotes.  This type of annotated edition had never been done before with Shakespeare.  He completed five of them before he died.

But it was his friendship with George Handel where Jennens made his mark.  He helped fund nearly every one of Handel’s compositions (operas and oratorios) beginning in 1725 until Handel’s death in 1759.   Their friendship is well documented through their letters and it is known that Handel visited Jennens’ estate many times.  In a video, Jennens is described as a “Handel nut.”   He owned the largest single collection of the works of Handel in the world.

One thing Jennens liked to do was create librettos to be later set to music.  The definition of a libretto is “the text or words of an opera or similar extended musical composition.”  In other words, he wrote lyrics and asked Handel to write the music.  The first one he did with Handel was the oratorio Saul first performed in 1735 to great success.

This led to other collaborations but none as famous as Messiah. Apparently Jennens’ libretto had been in Handel’s possession for a few years but other projects, including another collaboration with Jennens took precedence.  But in 1741 Jennens would convince Handel to begin work on this special libretto.  In July of that year Jennens wrote to a friend saying, “Handel says he will do nothing next Winter, but I hope I shall persuade him to set another Scripture Collection I have made for him, and perform it for his own Benefit in Passion Week.  I hope he will lay out his whole genius and skill upon it, that the composition may excel all his former compositions, as the subject excels every other subject. The subject is Messiah.”

The next month George Handel began writing the music for the oratorio in what has been described as a “white heat.”   The first 100 pages were done in six days and the complete oratorio (250+ pages) in only 23 days.  He then set about preparing it to be debuted in Dublin, Ireland in April 1742.

Some may argue that Charles Jennens didn’t really write anything because the entire text is from scripture, so he technically wasn’t the “author.”   But he did arrange the various texts in the order we now hear them performed.  He drew from the King James Bible and also from the Book of Common Prayer for the text.  This is not a light task nor one to be summarily dismissed as uncreative.  In fact, he pulled verses from 14 different books of the Bible, as diverse as Job and Revelation.  Forty-three verses from the Old Testament and thirty from the New Testament.  Technically you could say that Jennens compiled and Handel composed.

To top it off, Jennens gave his work to Handel freely without compensation and desired anonymity . . . that the author of the libretto be anonymous in all of their collaborations.   (Steve Laube, 12/8/14)

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BREAKDOWN OF FAMILY LIFE RESPONSIBLE

“Our families have fallen to pieces: 75% of all black children are born out of wedlock, without a father.   I don’t care how many social programs you have.   You’re not going to overcome that.   That’s where we, as black Americans, have to begin to take our fate back into our own hands and move it — stop crying racism.”  – Shelby Steele, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution.  (Shelby Steele is an African-American and author of “White Guilt.”)   9/15/2020

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PORTLAND FIRES DUE TO ARSON

And now local Portland media is reporting that a 45-year old man has been arrested for starting at least seven brush fires near a major highway:   “A man arrested Sunday afternoon for allegedly starting a small brush fire along Interstate 205 was arrested again hours after he was released from jail after he allegedly started six more small fires,” according to a Portland Police statement.

So, a single individual responsible for no less than seven brush fires – six of which he reportedly started after already being arrested and released … but somehow the media is demanding that the public consider it inconceivable that Antifa could be engaged in a campaign of arson in many of these fires.

The suspect, identified as Domingo Lopez Jr., reportedly had a molotov with him upon the second arrest.  (Americantruthtoday 9/14/2020)

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TRUMP BROKERS END TO SERBIA-KOSOVO CONFLICT

As a demonstration of good faith from the two parties toward the U.S., Serbia and Kosovo also committed Friday to cooperate with certain key U.S. policy priorities in the region.  Both parties pledged to protect and promote freedom of religion, including renewed interfaith communication, protection of religious sites, and continued restitution of Holocaust-era heirless and unclaimed Jewish property.   Both agreed to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization and fully implement measures to restrict Hezbollah’s operations and financial activities in their jurisdictions. Both agreed to work with the U.S. government to decriminalize homosexuality in the 69 countries where it is currently illegal.  And, perhaps most importantly of all, Serbia has pledged to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, while Kosovo has agreed to mutual recognition with Israel.

Following on the heels of the Aug. 13 peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Friday’s agreement between Kosovo and Serbia to take steps toward economic normalization and an eventual peaceful coexistence demonstrates the achievements of President Trump and his administration’s sound engagement throughout the world.  When the U.S. government prioritizes diplomacy over force, and understanding over threats, the world stands to benefit.   (The Hill, 9/04/2020)

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EMOTION DOMINATING THINKING

One of the many paradoxes about our frightening culture wars is that western society, which constantly congratulates itself on being the acme of rationality and freedom, has in fact abandoned reason for emotion and freedom for coercion.

We can see this on display all around us.  It’s in the baleful grip of identity politics, based on the dogma that people’s feelings trump objective truth.  It’s in the witch-hunts against ideas or opinions which dissent from approved left-wing positions.  It’s in the widespread following for loopy conspiracy theories, whether against the Jews or politicians said to be inflating the dangers of Covid-19 purely to seize control of people’s lives.

It’s in the widespread support for Black Lives Matter as an “anti-racist” cause, whereas it is in fact an anti-white, anti-west revolutionary movement.  It’s in the widespread support for Extinction Rebellion as a campaign to “save the planet” from man-made global warming, whereas in fact there’s no reputable scientific evidence that anything is happening to the climate that diverges from warming and cooling patterns over the millennia while Extinction Rebellion is an anti-west, anti-capitalist revolutionary movement.   And so on, and so on.   (“Right but repulsive, or wrong but romantic?” Melanie Phillips, 9/15/2020)

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WHITE LIVES DON’T MATTER

“They say that what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right; that black is white and white is black; bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.”  (Isa 5:20)

Thanks to the UK’s liberal immigration laws, white lives are being lost.   Jacob Billington, aged 23, is the latest victim.    Meanwhile, the trial just ended of a man partially responsible for the Manchester bombing which resulted in the deaths of 22 white people.  The perpetrators were Muslims.  No attempt is being made to change the immigration laws which have led to ethnic tensions throughout the UK.

Jacob Billington, 23, was fatally stabbed in Birmingham, England on September 6, 2020.

The victim bears a resemblance to
actor Jim Cashman noted for
Progressive Insurance commercials.

Billington was one of eight victims of a stabbing spree that occurred in the early morning and lasted for about two hours.  The other seven victims survived.  Accused of murder and attempted murder is Zephaniah McLeod, 27.

“Three people arrested on suspicion of assisting the suspect were released earlier on Tuesday pending investigation,” according to skynews.com.

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IMPERIAL REDUX

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

“Even before the Football Association was established in England in 1863, wherever the Brits went in the world the beautiful game went with them.  British railway engineers took the sport to Argentina; Scottish textile workers taught the Swedes; the Russians learned it from English cotton-mill managers.  And one day George Scott strode on to the bumpy grass field next to St John’s College with his curious students, punted a football through a blue afternoon sky, and the Burmese game was born.

“The first organized football match ever played in Burma took place at St. John’s College around 1879.”  (The Trouser People, Andrew Marshall, 2002).

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TO THE POINT

  • Yoshihide Suga is one step closer to becoming Japan’s next prime minister after being elected president of the country’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Monday.  Suga, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s chief Cabinet secretary, said he wants to create a government that people can trust and vowed to push ahead with Abe’s economic policies, according to Nikkei Asian Review.  He is almost certain to be elected on Wednesday in both houses of parliament, in which the ruling coalition holds majorities.  (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/yoshihide-suga-on-path-to-become-next-prime-minister-of-japan/ar-BB191KTQ)
  • BATTLE OF BRITAIN REMEMBERED 80 YEARS LATER: Tomorrow [15 Sept 2020] is Battle of Britain Day, marking 80 years since the most intense 24 hours of that critical conflict.
  • MENTAL HEALTH VIOLENT DEATHS – According to data compiled and regularly updated by the Washington Post, 1,254 people with a mental illness have been shot dead by US police since the beginning of 2015.  This represents 22% of all people shot and killed by police across the country over that period.   (“Autistic teenager in Utah shot by police,” BBC News, 9/9/2020)
  • TRANSEXUAL SATANIST ANARCHIST WINS PRIMARY FOR SHERIFF IN NH  – Aria DiMezzo is a self-described transexual, satanist, and anarchist Libertarian.  She ran for Sheriff of Cheshire County in the primary on the platform “F*** the Police.”  She claims the system is totally broken … and since she won the primary nomination for Sheriff, she is correct. She says people whose IQ is lower than a rock voted for her.  She also describes herself as a “She/Male.”  (Faye Higbee 9/12/2020)

 

 

CROSSING THE LINE

We Just Crossed the Line Debt Hawks Warned Us About for Decades

21 Aug 2020, DNYUZ – At the end of last year, the United States was about $17 trillion in debt — roughly 80 percent of the gross domestic product.  In January, government analysts predicted that debt would approach 100 percent of the G.D.P. around 2030.  But by the end of June, the debt stood at $20.53 trillion, or roughly 106 percent of G.D.P., which shrank amid widespread stay-at-home orders.  (These numbers don’t count trillions more the government owes itself in bonds held by the Social Security and Medicare trust funds.)  That more than 25 percentage-point surge would represent the largest annual leap in American indebtedness since Alexander Hamilton founded the nation’s credit in the 1790s, outpacing even the debt growth at the peak of World War II, according to data from the Congressional Budget Office.  And it’s not over yet.  (https://dnyuz.com/2020/08/21/we-just-crossed-the-line-debt-hawks-warnedusaboutfordecades)

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Allister Heath in The Daily Telegraph on a vicious circle of higher taxes — Britain is about to be sucked into a catastrophic economic doom loop

“For the first time in years, I’m turning bearish on Britain.   Our economy, trashed by Covid and the lockdown, is about to be sucked into a catastrophic doom loop, with no escape hatch.   Forget about a V-shaped recovery:   the future is a truncated square root, with years of stagnant growth to follow a partial rebound next year.   We are leaving the EU, but are set for Eurozone-style semi-stagnation. It’s a tragedy.   Why such negativity?   Savage tax increases of a kind ordinarily associated with Left-wing governments now seem almost inevitable, and I fear that one entire plank of what should have been the Johnsonian renewal agenda – supply-side, pro-growth tax relief – will never materialize.  Remember how Boris Johnson talked about raising the threshold for the higher income tax rate to £80,000 during his leadership campaign (though it was omitted from his manifesto)?

Or the inspirational way in which he cited Ibn Khaldun, the true father of supply-side economics?

. . .  All of this now sounds like ancient history, pledges from a world that has disappeared forever.”  (Daily Telegraph, 8/20/2020)

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COVID-19 HAS IMMOBILIZED THE WORLD

“Planes are grounded, borders are closed, people are hunkered down at home.   Every country has restricted travel because of the coronavirus – issuing more than 65,000 rules in total.   Some countries are starting to open up but it will be a long time before people can globetrot as freely as before.

“For tourists who have to take a domestic holiday instead of a glamorous foreign one, global immobility is annoying.   For would-be migrants, it can be life-shattering.   Millions who would have set off to start a new life this year cannot.   Workers who might have quadrupled their wages will remain poor.   Students who might have stretched their minds on foreign campuses will stay at home.

“Ten of millions of migrants who have already moved now face deportation, having lost their job, according to the International Labor Organization.   Millions have gone home to places like the Philippines, India and Ukraine.  Millions more are stranded, sometimes in crowded conditions that foster the spread of the virus.

“Locals are not always sympathetic.  Malaysia, which used to welcome Muslim Rohingya refugees, has started pushing their vessels back into the sea.  Italy has stepped up efforts to turn back boatloads of Africans.   A Kuwaiti actress suggested that migrant workers, who are 70% of the labor force in Kuwait, be thrown into the dessert to free up space in hospitals.”  (“Tearing up the welcome mat,” The Economist, 8/1/2020)

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POST-COVID IN THE US

  • “Television viewing has increased to 41 hours/week on average (up almost 30%).
  • Americans spend twice as much money online shopping since the pandemic began.
  • For eight consecutive weeks, beer sales have topped $1billion – the highest ever.
  • Cigarette smoking has made a comeback during the pandemic.
  • Video game usage has increased 50%.
  • Unhealthy sleep patterns have emerged for 67% of Americans.
  • And 76% of Americans have gained weight from mid-March – up to 16 pounds so far.”

(“A loving Nudge toward healthier habits,” The Epoch Times, 8/12/2020)

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Virginia to Issue Statewide Mandate for COVID-19 Vaccine

For some time now, Americans have maintained concerns about forced “mandatory” vaccination.  This is one reason why face mask mandates have been met with so much resistance. It turns out that these concerns have merit.  A new report confirms that Dr. Norman Oliver, the Virginia Commissioner of Health, will be imposing a statewide mandate for all Virginia residents to take the coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available.

Oliver also maintained that he’s opposed to possible legislation that would allow Virginians to opt-out of the vaccination for religious reasons.

However, others, like Dr. Fauci, have stated that the government cannot force the general public to take a vaccine.   Many Americans have called mandatory vaccinations unconstitutional, stating that people in this country have the right to decline the vaccine for religious reasons.

Last month, doctors penned a USA Today op-ed calling for compulsory vaccination for all Americans, stating that those who refuse should face “severe penalties” and be denied access to tax benefits, services, transportation, employment, etc.   The op-ed was later edited to soften some of the language, yet the overall message remains the same.

(https://www.rightwingheadlines.com/virginia-to-issue-statewide-mandate-for-covid-19-vaccine/)

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TV NEWS OVERWHELMINGLY ONE-SIDED

“Evening news has aired a plethora of negative stories against President Donald Trump while virtually ignoring presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, a study found.

“NewsBusters, a project of watchdog Media Research Center, analyzed ABC, CBS, and NBC evening newscasts from June 1st through July 31st.   Analysts found that the shows spent 512 minutes of airtime on Trump, nine times more than the 58 minutes they allotted to Biden.

“But that extra airtime was almost entirely negative toward Trump.

“Analysts at the center found 634 of 668 evaluative statements about the president were negative, compared to 4 of 12 for Biden.”

(“Broadcasters air 150 times more negative news on Trump than Biden:   Study,” Zachary Stieber, Epoch Times, 8/19/2020).

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Europe’s Geopolitical Awakening — The Pandemic Rouses a Sleeping Giant                                                                                                                   by Max Bergmann, August 20, 2020, Foreign Affairs (https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/europe/2020-08-20/europes-geopolitical-awakening)

 Europe has been a geopolitical nonentity since the 1990s.  With the largest economy in the world, 450 million people, and defense spending comparable to Russia’s, the continent could be a colossus. Yet Europe has never come close to equaling the combined clout of its constituent countries.  Beset by chronic economic, political, and institutional limitations and crises, the European Union has for the last three decades exerted remarkably little influence on global affairs.   Europe’s most powerful member states, meanwhile, have either seen their sway diminish, as France has, or, like Germany, resisted taking up the mantle of international leadership.

(Now, suddenly, Europe is stirring . . .   Introduction to article in Foreign Affairs)

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JAPAN MAY CHANGE CONSTITUTION

Tokyo:  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is facing some of the toughest challenges of his record-setting tenure, with persistent flare-ups of the coronavirus, an economy mired in recession and a public fed up with his government’s handling of the crises.

Yet his administration is focusing on a different threat, one that lines up with a long-running preoccupation: the prospect of ballistic missile attacks by North Korea or China.

This month, Abe’s political party began publicly considering whether the country should acquire weapons capable of striking missile launch sites in enemy territory if an attack appeared imminent.

Such a capacity would be unremarkable for most world powers. But for Japan, which on Saturday commemorated the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II — and 75 years of renouncing combat — the proposal is fraught. In considering loosening restrictions on the ability to attack targets in other countries, the party has revived a protracted and politically sensitive debate.

The discussion is taking place as Japan finds itself caught between China, whose rising military aggression has reverberated across Asia, and the US, whose once-ironclad commitment to guaranteeing the region’s security has come into question.

(“A missile proposal is challenging Japan’s vow to renounce war,” Motoko Rich, Sydney Morning Herald, 8/20/2020)

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VIOLENT CRIME SET TO RISE WITH DEFUNDING

“After the Lansing Police Department lost 36 officers in the summer of 2011 due to city budget cuts, reports of vehicle thefts, violent crime and rape significantly increased.   From 2012 to 2013, both rapes and vehicle thefts rose 38%, according to 2013 FBI data.   Violent crime rose 12%.   In fact, 2012 and 2013 saw the biggest increase in violent crime, rape, motor vehicle theft and robbery since at least 2008.

“Although 2011 crime levels were down overall, violent crime jumped the next year.

“Lansing Police Chief (African-American) Daryl Green said that data is a sign of what’s to come if the Lansing City Council moves forward on a proposal that, if passed, could cut funding to the department by 50% over the next five years.

“It’s extremely reckless to use a national cookie-cutter strategy to abolish the police department.   To think reducing the police department budget by 50% will improve public safety in the city of Lansing is fundamentally flawed,” Green said.   “(In 2012) . . . we paid for it dearly.”

City Council Member Brandon Betz’s defunding proposal came after calls from protesters, activists and Black Lives Matter Lansing to defund the police department and reinvest in resources that support communities of color.”   (“Violent crime rose after ’11 budge cuts”, Kara Berg, Lansing State Journal, 8/24/2020).

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WHO ARE NEW GUN BUYERS?

“Those working in the gun industry and gun owners themselves say the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is spurring increased interest in gun ownership.   Some firearm owners believe the upcoming presidential election and the need to assert gun rights contribute, too.

“In the midst of these changes, gun owners are becoming more diverse.   Nearly 15% of those who bought guns during the first six months of the year are Black, an increase of more than 50%, according to a survey from the trade organization National Shooting Sports Foundation.

“The survey of the foundation’s members also found that between mid-March and May, women accounted for over 40% of their customers.

“Gun sales are up around the country.   Gun retailers saw a 95% increase in firearm sales and a 139% increase in ammunition sales in the first six months of this year compared with the same period in 2019, according to National Shooting Sports Foundation.”   (Grand Ledge Independent, 8/23/2020)

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TRUMP HIGHLIGHTS PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS

According to President Donald Trump, Christians in the Middle East are being treated in a manner that is “beyond disgraceful;” Christianity is being “treated horribly and very unfairly, and it’s criminal.”

He said this during his August 13 news conference, in response to the question, “How does the accord today between Israel and the UAE help struggling and persecuted Christians in the Middle East?”   (Raymond Ibrahim, MEF, 8/20/2020)

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MODERN SLAVERY

The protesters of historical slavery could well be wearing clothes produced by the marginalized, victimized modern slaves who have no access to the justice and equality for which the protesters claim to be fighting.

It is telling that both public and private resources, as well as endless media coverage, are being dedicated to the issue of “racist statues” and historical slavery, while the plight of living, suffering modern slaves — an issue that needs tremendous effort to be tackled to even some degree — barely interests anyone.  (Judith Bergman, Gatestone, 8/20/2020)

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SIGNIFICANCE OF COUP IN MALI

Who’s watching outside Mali?  France sees its former colony as a key battleground in its “Forever War” against Islamist armed groups in the region.   Other EU countries and the US are concerned about further deterioration of security in the region, which could stoke a fresh refugee crisis that might affect Europe.

Regional organizations like the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States are also worried about further regional instability, but lack the tools to do much about it.   And although there is no word (yet) from either al-Qaeda or ISIS, both stand to benefit from any uncertainty to make further inroads in Mali.

The thing is, we’ve been here before.   Eight years ago, a similar coup created a power vacuum for jihadis to take control of most of northern Mali . . . until they were expelled by French soldiers.   Could it happen again now, or will the military and the protesters restore political stability before Islamic militants exploit the situation to wreak further havoc?   (Gzero Signal, 8/20/2020)

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LETTER FROM MOZAMBIQUE (where ISIS briefly took control of Mocímboa da Praia)

Life in Mozambique is still fine except for the pandemic and as you mentioned, the threat of ISIS in the north of the country.   I am about 200km south of the districts being attacked and I believe we are still safe,   i.e.   Pemba is a bigger city and well protected.   So far the attacks were targeted at the most north districts of Mocimboa de Praia.  We all hope that the situation can be controlled before spreading to the rest of the province.

We had at least 3 months of “state of emergency” restrictions but the government has now decided to open up the economy.  Churches and schools meeting the Covid recommended hygiene and social distancing are now being allowed to reopen.   I am however still working from home because the company I work for is taking additional precautions before allowing the office to re-open.   (IM)

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IMPERIAL REDUX

“And his descendants will become a multitude of nations.”  Genesis 48:19

“As someone who grew up in India, I often hear people ask, ‘What have the British done for us?’   Until I read this book, I didn’t have the full answer.   And here is Crocker’s answer:   ‘Apart from roads, railways, ports, schools, a parliamentary system of government, rights, separation of powers, checks and balances, the rule of law, and the English language . . . nothing!’”

— Dinesh D’Souza, President of the King’s College and best- selling author of The Roots of Obama’s Rage   (Mr. D’Souza was born and raised in India.  He now lives in the US.)

(The Politically Incorrect Guide to the British Empire, by HW Crocker, 10/2008)

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TO THE POINT

  • “Somalis generally believe all Somalis are Muslims by birth and that any Somali who becomes a Christian can be charged with apostasy, punishable by death.” — Morningstar News,July 9, 2020 (Gatestone, 8/23/2020)
  • HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS INFLATED  –  The number of patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19 was over-reported at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, an investigation for the government’s Science Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has revealed.  (The Week, 8/21/2020)
  • Afghan Taliban Mark Afghanistan’s 101st Independence Day: ‘The Time Is Not Far When The Pride Of America Like That Of The British Colonialists Shall Be Shattered’ (MEMRI 8/23)
  • At the Democratic convention it was firmly stated that Joe Biden has the solutions to all this country’s problems.  If that’s the case, how come he didn’t share them with Obama when he was VP?

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HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

“The Man who couldn’t be killed” is the true story of “Mr. Wong,” a Chinese convert to the Seventh Day Adventist Church.   Mr. Wong endured never-ending persecution for his religious beliefs, especially the Sabbath.  He often spoke to fellow inmates about the Sabbath command (Ex 20:8) and “The Ten Regulations.”

The cover reads:  “The Man who couldn’t be killed” is an unforgettable story of faith and miraculous deliverance in Communist China at the height of the Cultural Revolution.   Mr. Wong’s unflinching courage for the Savior and the miracles that saved his life will inspire you to believe in a God who is greater than any problem or circumstance.”

The book is by Stanley Maxwell and is published by Pacific Press.   It was purchased from Amazon.

In these trying times, the book is a positive inspiration.   It makes all our problems and challenges seem very superficial.

 

“PEACE AND SAFETY”  (I Thess. 5:3)

This cartoon from Australia shows the great gulf between government workers (still fully employed) and workers in the private sector (in lifesavers, desperate to be rescued).  The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is reminding all those in the water that “we’re all in this together,” with government workers safely on the boat.

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UAE / ISRAEL DEAL A ‘WIN WIN’ FOR PEACE

The United Arab Emirates will derive many benefits from closer relationships with the Middle East’s most stable and advanced country.  These include economic and technological partnerships, military and intelligence sharing, mutual tourism and better relationships with the US and much of the rest of the world.

The deal also demonstrates how quickly changes occur in this volatile part of the globe.  It was only a few decades ago when Israel’s strongest allies were Iran and Turkey, and its most intractable enemies were Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf states.  Now the reverse is true.  The only constant constructive element in the region is a democratic Israel, with its close ties to the United States.

The other constant – but a destructive one – has been the Palestinian leadership.  They constantly say no to everything that involves normalization with Israel.  This stance goes back to the 1930s when they rejected the Peel Commission recommendation that would have given them a state in the vast majority of the British Mandate.  But because it would also have given the Jews a tiny, non-contiguous state, the Palestinians said no.   They wanted there not to be a Jewish state more than they wanted there to be a Palestinian state.  This naysaying . . . continues today with their refusal even to negotiate over the Trump peace plan.  (Alan Dershowitz, Gatestone, 8/16/2020)

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IRANIAN OPPOSITION TO DEAL

Iran’s regime has led the charge in opposing bilateral peaceful relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.  It has been joined by Turkey, which threatened to sever relations with Abu Dhabi, and a few other voices, such as former deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes, who played a role in the Obama administration.

The paucity of voices opposing the agreement have brought together an increasingly small chorus that is obsessively critical of Israel or which is aligned with the increasing extremism of Ankara and the regime in Tehran.

Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s head of the judiciary, slammed the UAE deal on Saturday.  He said US influence in the region was weakening in the face of the power of Iran’s “Islamic system” and that “the UAE has got in touch with the child killers,” a reference to Israel.  “We do not consider the link between UAE and Israel as a link with the people of the UAE, only the ignorant rulers of the country.”  (Seth Frantzman, Middle East Forum, 8/15/2020)

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PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP ANTI-AGREEMENT

By holding a political protest at the compound of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Palestinians are not only desecrating the sanctity of the site, but also sending a warning to citizens of UAE not to visit Jerusalem or the mosque, as many apparently hoped to do.

The Joint Statement of the United States, Israel, and the UAE on August 13 points out that according to President Donald J. Trump’s Vision for Peace, “all Muslims who come in peace may visit and pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Jerusalem’s other holy sites should remain open for peaceful worshippers of all faiths.”

This warning shows that the Palestinians believe they have exclusive control over Islam’s third-holiest site and are free to decide who can visit the site and who cannot.  It is therefore the right time for Arabs and Muslims to step in to demand an end to Palestinian hegemony over the Al-Aqsa Mosque and other holy sites in Jerusalem.

By declaring war on the UAE, the Palestinian leadership has chosen to align itself with those who seek the elimination of Israel:   Iran, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.  The Palestinian leadership has again demonstrated its determination to act against the interests of its own people, who could have benefited from the UAE-Israel deal by seeking financial aid from the Arab countries and jobs in the Gulf states.   (Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone, 8/18/2020)

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RIVLIN INVITES UAE CROWN PRINCE TO JERUSALEM FOR OFFICIAL VISIT                                                                                                                  In letter to Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president expresses hope diplomatic ties will ‘march region forward’; Netanyahu says direct flights over Saudi Arabia coming.

President Reuven Rivlin on Monday extended an invitation to the de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates to visit Israel, after the two countries agreed on normalization.  Rivlin’s invitation to the crown prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was sent in Arabic and came days after the announcement of a landmark deal between Israel and the UAE on forging diplomatic ties.   The invitation was to visit “Israel and Jerusalem and be our honored guest.”   Whereas Israel considers the entire city its capital, the Arab world sees East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state.   The president expressed hope that the new peace deal “will help build and strengthen the trust between us and the peoples of the region, a trust that will promote understanding between us all.   Rivlin met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later in the day at the President’s Residence and praised the premier for the UAE normalization deal.

Netanyahu thanked him, saying:  “I greatly appreciate your support. This is an historic agreement that will benefit not only Israelis and the UAE.”

Rivlin met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later in the day at the President’s Residence and praised the premier for the UAE normalization deal.

Netanyahu said, “I think it brings closer Arab-Israeli peace that will, in the end, advance peace in general.”

(https://www.timesofisrael.com/rivlin-invites-uae-crown-prince-to-jerusalem-for-official-visit/)

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BELARUS  — WHAT HAPPENS IN MINSK DOESN’T STAY IN MINSK

The political turmoil in Belarus continues. Popular protests against President Alexander Lukashenko are growing, but the longtime strongman refuses to budge, just a week after winning reelection — in a vote that the opposition and most international observers say was rigged.   On Monday, Lukashenko grudgingly agreed to go the polls again . . . after a constitutional referendum process that he can draw out as long as he wants (and which will likely be rejected by the protesters).

Beyond its borders, the post-election drama in Belarus is being closely watched by outside players with a keen interest in the outcome of the crisis.

Who are they, and what do they want?

The European Union.  Brussels is concerned about real political instability brewing on European borders, but the EU’s response has so far been mixed. While Eastern European member states have been leading the charge for EU sanctions, Europe in general is worried about chaos disrupting Belarus’ role as a transit nation for Russian oil exports.   And of course, there’s the risk of tangling again with a Kremlin that has shown — as in 2014 in Ukraine — what it’s willing to do to preserve Russia’s sphere of influence.

As a whole, the EU would probably be delighted to see “Europe’s last dictator” fall but would want Belarus’ next leader to be friendlier towards European values and businesses.

Russia.  Minsk is firmly within Moscow’s orbit, and it is (like Ukraine) a major strategic buffer between Russia and NATO. But relations between Lukashenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin have soured in recent years over economic issues and Lukashenko’s periodic (and largely fruitless) flirtations with the EU.

Putin is in a bind.   He has offered to help restore order in Belarus but is wary of angering the many Belarusians who hate Lukashenko but have no axe to grind with Moscow.   The ideal outcome for Russia would be for Lukashenko to be replaced with a more “democratic” yet solidly pro-Russia leader it can groom to keep Minsk on its side.  The worst-case scenario is that popular uprising grows and spills over into Russia, threatening Putin’s own 20-year grip on power.

Other players. Belarus borders four NATO countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland) that fear the current instability could trigger a potential Russian incursion similar to the one that in 2014 ended in Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.   NATO military planners are closely monitoring the situation, although the odds of Russian “little green men” creeping over the border are quite low.

Belarus doesn’t have a large ethnic Russian minority who wants to be annexed by Moscow, nor does the country hold the same cultural and historical importance for Russia as Ukraine always has.   What’s more, Moscow has no territorial grudges there (as it did with Crimea), and Belarus is also not at risk of immediately falling into the “Western camp” as Ukraine was six years ago, when ethnic Ukrainians protesting against the pro-Russia government in Kiev were overwhelmingly in favor of closer ties with Europe and joining the EU.

Finally, the US and China (surprise!) also have a stake.  Washington has been moving closer to Minsk in part to explore peeling the country away from Russia’s influence, while Beijing would ideally like Lukashenko to stay in power (even in a weakened state) to secure Chinese business interests.   However, neither seems likely to take major action soon.    (Carlos Santamaria, Gzero Signal, 8/18/2020)

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US ELECTION

Everyone thinks Trump will lose – except the stock market             The S&P 500 has a remarkable ability to predict the winner of US elections   (Matthew Lynn, Telegraph UK, 15 August 2020)  

The record shows that if the bull market stays as strong as it has been, Trump will pull off an unexpected victory.  People might or might not like that – but there is no point in ignoring it.   With the Covid-19 crisis getting worse and worse, with economies plunging into deep recessions, and with a wave of job losses on the horizon, the markets have not focused on November’s presidential election as much as they usually would.   There is simply too much other stuff to worry about.

That said, as Nov 3 draws closer investors will start to focus on the contest for the White House and its likely impact on the global economy.

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GERMANY-US RELATIONS

The following article is not complimentary toward the US president.  However, it does reflect considerable European opinion,  With a Growing rift between Europe and America, it’s important that Americans understand what’s happening.  — Editor’s comment

Why Germany would be especially happy to see the back of Trump The competence embodied in Merkel provokes loathing from the US president     by John Kampfner @johnkampfner, 15 Aug 2020

In a manner of speaking. Europe’s most important country, potentially America’s most valuable partner, has in the mind of the president become an adversary.  Of all Trump’s many foreign policy disasters, this is perhaps his most significant.

From the outset, Trump loathed Merkel.   She represents everything he is not.   On the international stage, she respects interlocutors who do their preparation and don’t spring surprises.   She disdains his visceral vulgarity.   The leader who let in a million of the world’s most destitute in 2015 refuses to be cowed by a bigot and bully.

She couldn’t be accused of not trying to get along.   In March 2017, two months into his administration, she flew to Washington for their first meeting.   She prepped assiduously.   She studied a 1990 Playboy interview that had become a set text on Trumpism for policymakers.   She read his 1987 book, The Art of the Deal.   She even watched episodes of his TV show, The Apprentice.

It started badly.   She offered him a handshake in the Oval Office in front of the cameras.   He didn’t take it.   Her studied lack of emotion and her deeply analytical mind were anathema to him.   Her aides say she learned to explain complicated problems to him by reducing them to bite-size chunks.   He read this as high-handedness.

Trump has a track record of misogyny and some cite this as the reason for his dislike.   Others put it down to a narcissistic resentment of praise conferred on others.   When she was chosen as Time magazine’s person of the year in 2015, he said: “They picked the person who is ruining Germany.”   What particularly upset him was the magazine calling her chancellor of the free world.   “What Merkel did to Germany, it’s a sad, sad shame.”

Yet this same woman, who from a young age dreamed of driving across the American plains and adored Ronald Reagan for freeing the world (and her native GDR) from communism, is by instinct a staunch Atlanticist.

She has found the setbacks hard to take.   Arguably the single worst incident came before Trump.   It was the revelation in 2013, courtesy of Edward Snowden, that the National Security Agency had been bugging Merkel’s personal mobile phone for years.   She was incandescent when told, for once losing her famous impulse control. In an angry phone exchange with President Barack Obama, deliberately shared with the media, she told him: “This is like the Stasi.”

This relationship has always been complicated.   Germans remember with fondness the liberation of their country, the airlift that ended the Russians’ blockade of Berlin.   They devoured American culture. They fell in love with John F Kennedy, his 1963 trip to divided Berlin indelibly etched in the history books.  But the left fought tooth and nail against nuclear deployments under Reagan.   George Bush’s Iraq misadventure drove a terrible wedge, not least his attempts to divide the continent into New and Old Europe.   Even with the more centrist and amenable Bill Clinton and Obama there were bad moments.

Successive US administrations have expressed frustration.   The Nord Stream gas pipeline, chaired by former chancellor Gerhard Schröder, has underlined Germany’s dangerous energy dependency on Russia.   It contradicts Merkel’s otherwise consistently tough approach towards Vladimir Putin.   She was instrumental in ensuring that the EU imposed sanctions after the annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine.   Berlin no longer praises China as the gift that keeps on giving and belatedly sees it as a strategic competitor, but Merkel balks at strong criticism of it.   As for defence, the failure of Germany to meet the agreed Nato target of spending 2% of GDP on defence has been a source of irritation.

But nothing comes close to the current situation.

The German foreign policy establishment is clinging to the hope that Trump will be defeated in November.   A Biden presidency would not remove all the tensions, but it would signal that the US was moving back towards the diplomatic mainstream.   The country that personifies the mainstream would have reason to celebrate.

John Kampfner’s latest book is Why The Germans Do It Better:  Notes From a Grown-Up Country.

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GUN VIOLENCE UP IN US

While the US coronavirus pandemic is far from over, many American cities are also facing another major threat – a surge in violent crime.

According to new data from the Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ) think tank, recorded rates of aggravated assault and gun assault have rocketed in recent months.   And “from May to June 2020, homicides in 20 major US cities increased by 37%” year-on-year, reports CNN.

Gun crime, in particular, has proved a major scourge across the country:   according to NBC New York, shooting incidents in the city over the past four weeks have been nearly three times higher than during the same period last year.   (The Week, 8/17/2020)

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CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED IN NIGERIA

Earlier this year . . . [Boko Haram] released a video of a masked Muslim child holding a pistol behind a bound and kneeling Christian hostage, a 22-year-old biology student who was earlier abducted while traveling to his university.  After chanting in Arabic and launching into an anti-Christian diatribe, the Muslim child shot the Christian several times in the back of the head.

The reason formerly simple Fulani herdsmen have, since 2015, managed to kill nearly twice as many Christians as the “professional” terrorists of Boko Haram . . . is, to quote Nigerian bishop Matthew Ishaya Audu, “because President Buhari is also of the Fulani ethnic group.”  (Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone, 8/16/2020)

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DISQUIET ABOUT PHILADELPHIA AIRPORT’S “QUIET ROOM”

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) opened a heavily promoted “Quiet Room” in August 2018.  Accessible 365/24/7, it’s an excellent addition to a frenetic travel hub.  But it also presents a disquieting problem.

The 315-square-foot space with two chambers is located after security controls, between the D and E terminals.   A PHL press release touts the room as “a place of silence which all passengers may use regardless of their worldview, culture and religious affiliation,” an area suitable for “those who desire a place for solitude or prayer.”  What could be wrong with that?

Well, it’s the same problem that has turned up in schools, hospitals, at airport security, and more broadly:   Islam enjoys a favored status. The Quiet Room privileges it in four ways:

First, the room’s name, announced in five languages, presents a problem:

  • Quiet Room (English)
  • Meditation Room (Spanish)
  • Quiet Room (Hebrew)
  • Prayer Room (Arabic)
  • Quiet Thought (Chinese)

For Arabic readers, ghurfat as-salat, غرفة ‏‏الصلاة, turns the room from the airport’s ostensible “place of silence” into a place of religion for the Arabic name implies a place exclusively for Muslim prayer; no Christian prays in a room called ghurfat as-salat.  The sign dog-whistles Arabophones about an Islamic prayer space at PHL.

Second, the room contains many Islamic artifacts, some with official-looking markings (e.g., prayer rugs marked with “PHL Airport”).

The PHL footbath is “provided mainly for Muslim users.” © Daniel Pipes

Third, the room contains exclusively built-in Islamic amenities.  For starters, the airport announces that “The Quiet Room contains a footbath for those passengers who require cleansing before prayer.” The room’s designers, Roya Taheri and Massoud Mohadjeri of Taheri Architects, explicitly acknowledge that “A Foot Bath is provided mainly for Muslim users to perform ablution prior to prayer.”  (Daniel Pipes, 8/17/2020)

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NEW ZEALAND CONTRADICTIONS

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, postponed the country’s general election, scheduled for September 19th, by four weeks.   Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, is back in lockdown following a mini-resurgence of covid-19 infections.   After three months without a new case, 78 have recently been recorded in the country.    Ms. Ardern said she does not intend to allow a further postponement.  (The Economist 8/17/2020)

COMMENT FROM FACEBOOK, SAME DAY —

“Just heard Jacinda Ardern say, “Covid is the new normal.”   Assuming she is speaking about NZ only, what exactly is she saying? Intervention doesn’t work?  Intervention does work to some degree, but only partially?  Not sure exactly what she meant, but whatever it is, her comment amounts to an admission of the failure of her draconian lockdown measures to “keep everybody safe.”   Whatever the benefits may be of her lockdown measures so far, can those measures be justified when you take into account the cost to the economy and mental health of the nation?

“It’s too early to be able to answer these questions with any confidence, but it’s not too early to ask the questions.”    (ARM, Tasmania, 8/17/2020)

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ANOTHER CHINESE-AMERICAN CHARGED WITH SPYING

The Justice Department charged a former CIA officer with selling top-secret information to the Chinese regime.

Alexander Yuk Chung Ma had worked for the CIA since 1982 but, according to the DOJ, changed his allegiance in 2001 when he met with officers of China’s Ministry of State Security.

Ma allegedly revealed national defense information as well as the identities of CIA officers and other assets.  (Epoch Times, 8/18/2020)

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KARL MARX, NOT A MAN TO FOLLOW

“In his own personal life, Marx was a total failure.  He was a leech who lived off other people: it is doubtful if he ever did an honest day’s work in his life.  His marriage resulted in six children.  Marx, however, was so busy formulating theories to “uplift the downtrodden” that he never found time to support his own family.  Three of his children died of starvation in infancy.  Two others committed suicide.   Only one lived to maturity. When he died in 1883, six people attended his funeral!”  (Missing Dimension in World Affairs, Michael J. Goy, 1976, page 82)

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IMPERIAL REDUX

Saturday saw commemorative events around the world for VJ Day, Victory over Japan, exactly 75 years ago.   The “Forgotten Army” that fought the Japanese did so in conditions that were far worse than for those who fought in Europe.   There were troops from India, Australia, New Zealand and west Africa, fighting as part of Britain’s imperial war forces.    India alone contributed 2.5 million, the biggest volunteer army in history.  — Editor’s comment.

From the Imperial War Museum, London (edited):

In 1941, Britain was an imperial power with colonies across south and south-east Asia.   In December 1941, Japan attacked British territories in Hong Kong, Malaya (now Malaysia), Singapore and Burma (now also known as Myanmar).

Japanese forces invaded Malaya on 8 December 1941. Their commander, General Yamashita, launched an aggressive offensive that quickly demoralized and defeated Malaya’s garrison of British, Indian and Australian troops.

By February 1942, Japanese forces had occupied Malaya.  They then launched a new attack against the strategic island of Singapore, at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula.   On 15 February 1942, British forces in Singapore surrendered to the Japanese.   Prime Minister Winston Churchill would later call the surrender ‘the worst disaster . . . in British history.’

Japan’s invasion of Burma prompted many from Burma’s Indian, Anglo-Indian and British communities to flee to the safety of India. While some, particularly wealthier people, were able to leave by air or sea, hundreds of thousands were forced to make their way on foot across Burma’s mountainous border with India.   Thousands died along the way from disease, exhaustion, malnutrition, or through drowning while trying to cross Burma’s many rivers.

By June 1942 the Japanese had driven British, Indian and Chinese forces out of Burma.   In February 1943 3,000 British and Nepalese Gurkha troops mounted a long-distance raid behind Japanese lines. These troops, known as ‘Chindits’, were commanded by the deeply eccentric Brigadier Orde Wingate.

After the surrender of Singapore, thousands of Allied servicemen became prisoners of the Japanese.   They were subjected to a brutal regime of violence, callous neglect and forced labour.   From 1942 prisoners were forced to build the Burma-Thailand railway, which became known as the ‘Death Railway’ for its high mortality rate, among both prisoners of war and civilian forced laborers.

British troops fighting the Japanese were threatened by deadly and unfamiliar tropical diseases.   In 1943, for every soldier evacuated due to battle wounds, 120 soldiers were evacuated due to sickness. Malaria was a key problem, but other diseases included dysentery, skin conditions and typhus.

In spring 1944 Japan launched an invasion of India.   It aimed to capture Imphal, a garrison town in the Indian border province of Manipur, and so prevent a British return to Burma.   In order to isolate Imphal from a large supply base at Dimapur, Japanese troops attacked the small village of Kohima, which became the scene of ferocious fighting.

The war in Burma drew in troops from across the British Empire. The (West Africa) division recruited from British colonies including Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Gambia, and fought mostly in the coastal Arakan region of southern Burma during 1944 and 1945.

In the days following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and later of Nagasaki, the Japanese government debated whether to surrender. American aircraft could destroy Japanese cities at will, the Soviet Union had invaded Japanese-occupied Manchuria, and the Japanese home islands were also threatened with invasion.   On 15 August, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender.

On 2 September 1945, a surrender document was signed aboard an American battleship moored in Tokyo Bay.   A series of further surrender ceremonies followed in areas still occupied by the Japanese.   This pen (shown) was used by Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia, to countersign the Japanese surrender at Singapore on 12 September.

Though the war between Japan and the Allies ended in August 1945, other conflicts in Asia and the Pacific continued.   Days after Japan’s surrender, Indonesian nationalists declared independence from the Netherlands.   In September, British troops arrived in Java to take the surrender of Japanese forces and to recover prisoners of war and internees.   Relations between British and Indonesian forces soon broke down, with a major battle erupting in Surabaya.

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WHITE LIVES DON’T MATTER

This section of my blog highlights murders of white people that do not receive much attention, if any, in the American media.

A five-year-old boy was shot dead while riding his bike in Wilson,  North Carolina.   The shooter was a 25-year-old African-American male neighbor.   There was no motive for the killing.   The boy’s father had the neighbor over for dinner the night before.

A news item on NPR’s All Things Considered discussed reparations for slavery.   There was no mention of the million plus white slaves held at the same time.  Nor was any mention made of the 400,000 white Americans who died to free the slaves.   NPR is clearly one-sided on this issue, as on many issues.

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TO THE POINT

  • The Battle of Britain air war known as “The Hardest Day”         The Hardest Day is a Second World War air battle fought on 18  August 1940 during the Battle of Britain between the German Luftwaffe and British Royal Air Force (RAF)On that day, the Luftwaffe made an all-out effort to destroy RAF Fighter Command.  Luftwaffe lost approximately 69 aircraft.  RAF lost 68 in one of the largest ever air battles.
  • NSW One Nation Leader Mark Latham has described Christianity as a punching bag for “sneering bigots” as long-promised religious freedom laws were shelved by the Australian parliament.   In response to Canberra’s anti-religion posture, Mr. Latham has introduced similar legislation into the NSW Parliament and is working furiously with MPs across Party lines to ensure it passes. (Politicom 8/18/2020)
  • Putin Gung Ho On New Covid-19 Vaccine, His Countrymen Are More Skeptical (MEMRI, 8/18/2020)
  • Insurgents affiliated to Islamic State once again took control of the strategic port town of Mocimboa da Praia in northern Mozambique after heavy fighting this week, inflicting heavy casualties and forcing Mozambique government troops to flee the town by boat.   (Peter Fabricius, 8/12/2020)
  • Presidential candidate Joe Biden promises to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, an increase of over 50%.   At the same time, he would reverse President Trump’s decisions on limiting the number of immigrants.  Biden would restore immigration to its Obama level — 1.3 million legals plus an unlimited number of illegals.   This will inevitably put pressure on wages at the lower end,  effectively cancelling out any gains Biden may propose on raising the minimum wage.   It’s no surprise that immigration has not been raised during the Democratic convention.
  • Former First Lady Michelle Obama was described by one commentator of the convention as “the most popular politician in the country.”  Aside from the fact that the ex-First Lady is not a politician, is she being built up for any reason?  Joe Biden is kept hidden as much as possible.  Rumor has it he’s in the early stages of dementia.   Could Michelle be used to fill a gap?
  • Thanks to my eight-year-old grandson I’ve taken up railfanning. We regularly visit Durand railway station 46 miles from our home and sit and watch trains.  He loves it and has made a lot of friends there.   In England this is known as train spotting.   I doubt there is anybody who reads this blog who knows as much about trains as Aubren.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

US V CHINA:  WHO’S WINNING?

(Photo credit: (The Sunday Guardian Live)

Anyone with a pulse and a smartphone probably knows by now that the US-China rivalry is heating up these days, and fast.  (If you know anyone who doesn’t, get them a Signal subscription.)

Let’s recap the latest drama between the world’s two largest economies.  In tech, after squeezing Huawei over 5G, US President Donald Trump now wants to ban TikTok and WeChat. Harsh words — backed up by sanctions — are still flying over China’s crackdown on Hong Kong and its repression of the Uighurs.   The US has also waded into the South China Sea dispute, closed China’s consulate in Houston, and stirred up a hornet’s nest by dispatching the highest-ranking official to visit Taiwan in more than 40 years.

Why is this all happening?   Because each side, in its own mind, is winning.

Trump’s big swipes at China are good electoral politics:   Americans’ distrust of China is at an all-time high, and one of the (very) few things that Democrats and Republicans agree on these days.  What’s more, Democrats can’t really push back on Trump’s China approach now that the US intelligence community has said it believes Beijing prefers a Biden victory in November.

For Beijing, the US undermining Chinese tech companies and slapping sanctions on Chinese officials over “internal” matters feeds President Xi Jinping’s nationalist narrative that Washington is preventing China from taking its rightful place as a rising global power.   It also explains why Beijing wants to break the (US-dominated) internet, and assert its dominance over all territories where China’s rule is contested — including Taiwan.

However, there’s one area they seem unlikely to mess with for now.  Phase I of the US-China trade deal signed in January was hardly a big win for either side, but enough to pause a rapidly escalating trade war that was hurting both US and Chinese businesses (and consumers).  (Signal, 8/11/2020)

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NOT SO UNITED KINGDOM

Post-Brexit, United Kingdom is not so united
,  Six months after Britain broke away from the European Union, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is trying to stop the breakaway of restive parts of the U.K.
  On Friday, Mr. Johnson sent his popular Treasury chief, Rishi Sunak, to Scotland, to tamp down nationalist sentiment.  There, Mr. Sunak noted that Scottish firms would get 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) in loans to survive the lockdown.  Another top minister, Michael Gove, visited Northern Ireland with nearly $500 million in aid to help frustrated companies deal with new checks on shipped goods.  Experts have long predicted that Brexit would strengthen the forces pulling apart the U.K.   But in Scotland, in particular, the pandemic has accelerated those forces.  In an average of recent polls, 52.5 percent of people said they would vote for Scottish independence — a swing from the 2014 referendum, when 55.3 percent of Scots voted to stay in the U.K.   What it means:   This is the first time the polls have consistently shown a majority for breaking away, one polling expert said.  Pro-independence feelings have hardened in Scotland during the pandemic because many people there believe that Scotland has done a better job managing the crisis than neighboring England has.  Case study:   The implications of leaving the bloc are dawning on some of those in Mersham, an area close to Britain’s busiest port where support for Brexit was strong.   A 27-acre parking lot is being built to handle trucks amid fears that new trade rules will slow freight movement.  (New York Times, 10 Aug 2020)

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ZIMBABWE’S CONTINUING ECONOMIC CHAOS

Forgive Zimbabweans for not celebrating “Heroes’ Day” today.  The annual commemoration of those who died fighting against white rule comes at a time of great suffering.  The value of the local currency has plummeted against the American dollar.   Inflation is running at more than 700%.   The World Food Programme reckons that 60% of Zimbabweans will soon struggle to get enough to eat. The ruling party, Zanu-PF, blames covid-19.   The truth is that it has run the country into the ground.   After toppling Robert Mugabe in a coup in late 2017, Emmerson Mnangagwa and his backers in the military have behaved much as he did, manipulating the currency and responding to unrest with repression.   In recent weeks journalists and opposition figures have been arrested and allegedly tortured.   But as the economy spirals out of control, how long can Mr. Mnangagwa hold on?   The veteran of the independence wars may see himself as a hero. Zimbabweans disagree.   (The Economist,  8/10/2020)

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Banks braced as pandemic poses biggest test since financial crisis | Provisions for loan losses are at the highest in a decade as lenders prepare for large-scale company bankruptcies             
(© Financial Times UK, 10 Aug 2020)                                                                    by Stephen Morris and Owen Walker in London and Laura Noonan in Dublin

During the depths of the coronavirus crisis in Europe in late March, Sergio Ermotti remembers sitting in his home study in Lugano, reflecting on the latest financial meltdown to engulf his career as a banker.  “If I go through my last eight years, we had a lot of mini-earthquakes, but never of the magnitude of what we are seeing now,” the 60-year-old UBS chief executive says.  “This is a crisis that is driven by fear in a different way . . . this time it’s not just about people losing their assets or savings, it’s about their life, it’s about their families.  It’s so profound, so different.”   Switzerland’s largest bank is weathering the crisis relatively well, considering its share price is down only 10 per cent this year, a more modest fall than any other global lender apart from Wall Street’s Morgan Stanley.

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 BARR ON URBAN GUERILLA WARFARE

  • Attorney General William Barr revealed that the United States is under attack, facing a new form of “urban guerilla warfare.”
  • Barr on Fox News’ “Life, Liberty & Levin” on Sunday said that the left’s “lust for power” was the driving force behind this new anti-American assault.
  • He added that the media’s false characterization of the “Black Lives Matter” organization as a fed-up activist group was misleading the American people and leaving them vulnerable to what is actually a group of “Bolsheviks” focused on taking over the country and turning it into a communist run country.
  • Barr tore into the media for selling a “lie” to the American people in their horrifically biased coverage of the civil unrest caused by these two dangerous groups. (Lifeandlibertynews)

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FROM FRANCE:

  • “We only love what hates us, anything that destroys us is seen as great.  There is a desire to destroy truth, history . . .  We no longer teach the history of France and we no longer say what our civilization has accomplished.   We only talk about our civilization to disparage it.” — Michel Onfray, Le Salon Beige, July 30, 2020 and YouTube, July 17, 2020.
  • “France is undergoing reverse colonization.   Populations coming mainly from countries formerly colonized by France have settled in France without any intention of integrating.  Most of them live in neighborhoods where the laws of Islam now reign and where imams spread hatred of France . . .   And in a gesture of submission, the French authorities say that hatred does not emanate from those who kill, but from those who want to react and say that we must put an end to assaults and murders. It is a suicidal attitude.”   — Éric Zemmour, YouTube, November 22, 2016   (Guy Milliere, Gatestone, 8/9)

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THE NEED FOR A MUTUAL DEFENSE TREATY FOR ISRAEL

“Although the relationship between Israel and the United States has many of the characteristics of a formal alliance – intelligence sharing, regular joint exercises, prepositioned weapons and so forth – the two countries have opted not to sign a traditional mutual defense pact because of Israel’s determination to defend itself by itself and maintain freedom of action in conducting military operations, and because of American reluctance to be dragged into Middle East conflicts.”

However, according to Makovsky, the revival of Iran’s nuclear program and the growing capabilities of its proxies mean Israeli deterrence alone may be insufficient to stave off a regional military conflagration, particularly given “the trend in America towards a retrenchment in the Middle East.”   Hezbollah’s arsenal of an estimated 130,000 rockets and missiles is vastly superior quantitatively and qualitatively to its stockpile the last time it fought an all-out war with Israel in 2006.  “Unless there’s a regime collapse in Iran, I think we’re heading at some point to a major war between Israel and Iran and Hezbollah.”   (Gary C. Gambill, Middle East Forum, 8/10/2020)

Iran Has 125 Outposts and Bases in Syria – Dean Shmuel Elmas (Israel Hayom) —  Iran has 125 outposts of its Revolutionary Guards Corps and pro-Iranian militias in Syria, the Turkish research institute Jusoor has revealed.

The Iranians have set up 37 military locations in the Deraa governorate in southwestern Syria, not far from Israel.

There are another 22 Iranian outposts in and around Damascus, 15 in Aleppo, and another 5 each in the Quneitra and al-Suwayda governorates in southwestern Syria.

***

Fatah, PLO Are Planning a Third Intifada – Nan Jacques Zilberdik (Palestinian Media Watch)  —  “A popular uprising that will result in a comprehensive intifada” is being planned by Fatah, the PLO, and other Palestinian groups, according to a statement they issued on July 28.  Asked by the PA TV host if this would be a “peaceful” and “non-violent intifada,” PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusuf answered in the negative.

Former Israeli Defense Minister:  Hizbullah Responsible for Beirut Blast – Neta Bar (Israel Hayom) —  A Hizbullah weapons depot that caught fire led to the explosion of the ammonium nitrate stored in Beirut port, former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told the Saudi outlet Elaph on Friday.

Pro-ISIS Media Center Urges Muslim In The West To Set Forests, Factories, Agricultural Fields, And Buildings On Fire  (MEMRI, August 2020)

Friday Sermon In Bojnurd, Iran By Abolghasem Yaghoubi:   Pork Contains A Microbe That Weakens One’s Zeal; Just Look At The Westerners – There Is No Difference Between Men And Women There  (MEMRI 8/9/2020)

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EMPIRE REDUX

Rhodesia had contributed, per head of population, more in both world wars than any part of the British Empire, including the United Kingdom itself.   (“The Rhodesia Syndrome,” Tiberiu Dianu, December 11, 2016)

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TO THE POINT

  • FAILING DEMOCRACIES – Both Lebanon and Belarus claim to be democracies.  The former is very corrupt, as evidenced last week by the massive blast that hit Beirut.  Belarus, the last dictatorship in Europe, had an election at the weekend.  Their president Alexander Lukashenko was returned with 80% of the vote after 26 years in office.   That stretches credulity too far.
  • We’ve just finished watching the new Perry Mason on HBO.   Any resemblance to the old TV series with Raymond Burr is largely coincidental, but not entirely.   The new Perry Mason shows how the “crew” came together:   Perry and Della Street (now a lesbian), Drake (now black), thanks to PC and the intervening 60 years!  There is some nudity in the new series but there is a lot of swearing.  I don’t remember any of either in the earlier 271 episodes.   All eight episodes are just one story, but a very good one with lots of twists.
  • A promising TV series called “Wild Bill” is being shown on TV.   I’m curious.  The series is based around a US police chief who is sent to Lincolnshire, on the east coast of England, where I come from.  Why the English force would need the help of a US cop is beyond me!  (The show is being streamed on Britbox.)
  • The Epoch Times contains some really good movie reviews by Tiffany Brannan, of movies that are quite old.   These words appeared at the end of last week’s article.  “Tiffany Brannan is an 18-year-old opera singer, Hollywood historian, travel writer, film blogger, vintage fashion expert, and ballet writer.  In 2016, she and her sister founded the Pure Entertainment Preservation Society, an organization dedicated to reforming the arts by reinstating the Motion Picture Production Code.”
  • Australians too divided for sustained conflict – Former PM Tony Abbott has raised concerns about Australia’s deteriorating strategic situation saying the nation’s economy is not as strong as it should be nor its citizens as united as they need to be. (Politicom 8/10/2020)
  • Qatari Press:   Reconversion Of Hagia Sophia Into Mosque Is A Historic Step; We Hope To See Prayers At Great Mosque Of Cordoba (Spain)  (MEMRI, 8/8/2020)
  • Britain in recession as PM warns of ‘bumpy months –
    Boris Johnson has said the British economy faces “bumpy months” ahead and has a “long, long way to go” until it sees a return to “economic vitality and health”.   GDP figures announced this morning confirmed that the UK has officially fallen into recession for the first time since the 2008 financial crash.   The Office for National Statistics has announced earlier this week that about 730,000 jobs have been lost since March.
  • Biden names Kamala Harris as running mate — Senator Kamala Harris, the former presidential candidate, has been picked by Joe Biden to be his running mate, making her the first black woman and Asian-American to be selected as vice-presidential nominee. Writing on Twitter, Harris said she was “honored” to join Biden on the Democratic ticket and pledged to “do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”   Biden will face President Donald Trump in the election on 3 November.  (The Week, 8/12/2020)
  • The Economist Is Sick — Our local library lets me read  The Economist before anyone else.   Now, in the midst of the virus, there’s a delay of a week as the magazine has to go through quarantine.  If I had my own subscription (about $200) I could read it right away.   Not only that, but I have to pick up my magazine  in the parking lot, without getting out of my car.   I have to have the trunk open so library staff can put it in there without any contact with me.

 

 

 

 

 

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)