The fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, which began on Monday night, has had one beneficial effect – it has united France after months of yellow vest demonstrations and riots. This may only be temporary.
Long term, there may be other long lasting effects.
Prior to the conflagration, just one day earlier, a fascinating article appeared on the Gatestone website: “European churches: Vandalized, defecated on and torched “every day”.” In fact, twice a day churches are desecrated, just in France.
“In virtually every instance of church attacks, authorities and media obfuscate the identity of the vandals. In those rare instances when the Muslim (or “migrant”) identity of the destroyers is leaked, the desecraters are then presented as suffering from mental health issues.
“Hardly anyone writes and speaks about the increasing attacks on Christian symbols. There is an eloquent silence in both France and Germany about the scandal of the desecrations and the origin of the perpetrators , , , Not a word, not even the slightest hint that could in anyway lead to the suspicion of migrants . . . It is not the perpetrators who are in danger of being ostracized, but those who dare to associate the desecration of Christian symbols with immigrant imports. They are accused of hatred, hate speech and racism.” — PI News, March 24, 2019
(Gatestone, April 14th.)
All Christians should be very concerned about these attacks. Many may not like these ancient churches, full of idols that defy the second commandment (Ex.20:4), but attacks on them reflect a growing intolerance to all forms of Christianity. While the loss of relics (the crown of thorns worn by Christ at the crucifixion; and a piece of the actual cross on which He died), may not mean anything to non-Catholics, the world’s biggest religion attaches a great deal of importance to them. David Muir, of ABC News and a Catholic, described these relics as if they are real, beyond question. This is the way that many feel.
It is not known, yet, whether the fire was started deliberately, but after two attacks on French churches a day it seems quite likely. Also, the timing is indicative of a deliberate attack, coming on the second day of Holy Week, the most sacred week of the year in the Catholic calendar.
We can only speculate on what caused the fire, but what is known is that jihadists, worldwide, celebrated when news of the fire reached them.
“Jihadis celebrated the destruction of large parts of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in a devastating fire on April 15, 2019. Reactions by jihadis on social media refer to the cathedral as a symbol of Christianity and a major point of origin for the Crusades. Several describe the fire as punishment for various crimes attributed to France or to Christians in general, such as France’s military intervention in Muslim countries or the mosque massacres in New Zealand. Some jihadis, including leading figures, view the incident as a good omen heralding calamities for the West and the global order.” (MEMRI, 4/16)
At the very least, the presence of millions of Muslims in the West is complicating National security. One day after the fire, Shemima Begum, an ISIS fighter originally from Britain, was granted tax-payer funded legal aid to fight the British government’s ban on her returning. With so many anti-British “liberals” in England, it is becoming impossible to do anything about these security threats.
It’s likely that Shemima will return to the UK and live off British welfare while espousing her hatred and contempt for all things British! She remains loyal to ISIS.
COULD THE FIRE REVIVE THE CHURCH?
Rachel Donadio, a Paris based staff writer for the Atlantic, writes:
“Commentators were seeing the fire as a symbol of how the Catholic Church needs to be restored as an institution as much as a building. Like so many of Europe’s great churches and places of pilgrimage, Notre-Dame is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. This is the Church as mother and protector, an aspect the institution has not excelled at in the years since the sexual-abuse crisis erupted.
“It’s hard to convey just how significant Notre Dame is for France. Listening to the newscasters wrestle with their formulations about the crown of thorns, it became clear that the devastation of the cathedral had laid bare all the paradoxes of the country. Here is a secular republic, dedicated to the principle of laïcité, or the absence of religion in public life, that has as its national symbol a cathedral. Here is a country that deposed its king in a revolution, yet now sees its embattled president as a new monarch—one that some of its “yellow vest” protesters want to depose again.” (“France’s Paradoxes, embodied in a cathedral”, 4/16.)
Mr. Macron, France’s president, has pledged to rebuild the cathedral within five years, in time for Paris to host the 2024 Olympics.
EU-US TRADE WAR
Brussels has warned that US products from hazelnuts to tractors could face punitive tariffs in retaliation for state support to Boeing, as Washington and Brussels gear up for the next stage of their long-running transatlantic dispute over aircraft subsidies. The European Commission on Wednesday published a draft list of products that could be targeted for additional duties. The move follows a victory for the EU at the World Trade Organization, which ruled last month that Washington had failed to end an illegal tax break to Boeing. The list’s publication comes only days after the US announced similar plans to target up to $11bn of EU products in response to WTO rulings against subsidies for Airbus. (“Brussels sets out 420 billion list of US goods facing tariffs; http://www.ft.com, 4/17)
Former Peruvian president Alan García shot himself dead on Wednesday after police arrived at his house to arrest him as part of a corruption investigation. The government said that when officers arrived at his home, García withdrew to a closed room to phone his lawyer. They heard a gunshot minutes later, broke down the door and found the former president with a wound to the head. They rushed him to hospital where he underwent surgery. He died a few hours later. President Martin Vizcarra confirmed the news on Twitter, sending his condolences to García’s family and loved ones. (Financial Times, 4/17)
GERMANY BRINGS BREXIT TO A CLOSE
Germany’s foreign minister has warned London that there will be no Brexit extension beyond October, sending out the strongest signal yet that Berlin’s patience with the UK’s deadlocked political system is starting to wear out. “They will have to decide what they want by October,” Heiko Maas told the Financial Times in an interview. “You cannot drag out Brexit for a decade.” (Tobias Buck, Financial Times, 4/17)
PELOSI DICTATES ON BREXIT
LONDON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading a congressional delegation to Britain and Ireland this week. What’s being discussed? “Brexit, Brexit, Brexit,” she said.
In the old days, bilateral U.S.-U.K. talks would be all about counterterrorism, intelligence sharing, NATO, Russia and China – and the special relationship.
Today, Brexit dominates. And on one particular point, Pelosi is emphatic: Don’t mess with the Irish peace accord.
The speaker said Tuesday that she had warned Prime Minister Theresa May, Conservative pro-Brexit hard-liners and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn that if the churn of Britain’s messy break with the European Union in any way weakens the Northern Ireland peace pact known as the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement, the U.S. Congress will block any trade deals Britain might seek with the United States.
“Don’t even think about that,” Pelosi said she had warned. “We made it clear to all that if there were any harm to Good Friday accords, no treaty.”
Pelosi did not have to remind her hosts that the Trump administration can negotiate treaties and trade deals. But she emphasized that Congress has to approve them. (William Booth, Washington Post, 4/16).
Mrs Pelosi is a Catholic, and is siding with the Irish Republic on this issue.
WHAT’S THAT NOISE?
Sunday morning, while listening to a CD of Rachmaninov, our seven-year-old grandson looked up from his train and asked: “What’s that noise?” He clearly is not a fan.
Two of the most prominent prime ministers of the western world are being accused of corruption. The removal of one could make a big difference in regional security.
According to the Guardian yesterday:
“Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is facing the biggest political scandal of his administration. The affair centers around allegations that his former attorney general, Jody-Wilson Raybould, was improperly pressured by some of his closest advisers to prevent the prosecution of a large Canadian engineering firm over accusations of fraud and bribery. Thus far, the scandal has been politically costly; Gerald Butts, a longtime friend of Trudeau’s, and his closest adviser, resigned two weeks ago. Wilson-Raybould has resigned, too. A handful of polls are showing the scandal is politically unpopular for the governing Liberals – which is worrying for them, given there is a federal election in October.”
And, in Israel:
Israel’s attorney general intends to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges.
Mr. Netanyahu faces possible charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in connection with three cases. The prime minister is alleged to have accepted gifts from wealthy businessmen and dispensed favors to try to get more positive press coverage.
Mr. Netanyahu, who faces an election, said in a TV address that the case would “collapse like a house of cards.” In a defiant broadcast, he repeated his assertion that he is the victim of a left-wing “witch-hunt” intended to topple him ahead of the closely contested election on 9th April. (BBC, 3/1)
Mr Netanyahu has made Israel a lot stronger in recent years. His departure could weaken the country
“A nasty brew — anti-semitic, anti-black, anti-elite – is bubbling in France”.
“A climate of hate is emerging in France. The targets are varied, apparently unconnected and shifting: Jews, journalists, the rich, policemen, members of parliament, the president.
“When the yellow vest movement emerged last November, it was broadly a social protest and fiscal revolt. But the infiltration of ultra-left and extreme right agitators, and the determination of a radical core to seek the overthrow of Mr. Macron, has hardened the movement’s edge. Weekly scenes of violent clashes with riot police fill French television screens and plumes of tear gas fill the air on the streets of Paris and other cities. This relentless backdrop seems to have legitimized a form of violent hate. What was once confined to the unhinged ramblings of social media groups has erupted into public.” (‘Spreading like poison,” The Economist, February 23rd.)
CHINA/SAUDI ARABIA GET CLOSER
“It is, in its way, the most shocking spectacle in world politics since the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union: Even as Beijing is stepping up its persecution of Muslim Uighurs, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia cozied up to Chinese President Xi Jinping on his trip to China last week.
“More than a million Uighur Muslims are said to be held in Chinese concentration and “reeducation” camps, where beatings and mass rapes are reliably reported to be perpetrated against detainees. Yet the Crown Prince of the leading Sunni Islamic state signed almost $30 billion in trade agreements with China, hailed the long problem-free relationship between the two countries, pledged support for the Belt and Road initiative, and announced that Saudi Arabia respected China’s need to protect its domestic security in its own way.
“Saudi Arabia is not the only Muslim power kowtowing to China. Pakistan has also fallen strangely silent when it comes to the concentration camps now dotting the landscape in Xinjiang. A country that regularly whips itself into fits of murderous rage over the supposed plight of Muslims in Indian-controlled Kashmir remains rigorously calm about the massive religious repression by its more powerful neighbor.
“Another sign of the strange new brotherhood between Islam and its persecutors: Saudi Arabia has pledged $10 billion to help build a refinery in the Pakistani port of Gwadar to speed Gulf oil across Eurasia. Among other things, the refinery will make it easier for China to fuel the vehicles transporting Muslim detainees to concentration camps.” (“The Saudis hedge their American bets,” WSJ, 2/26).
PAKISTANI JIHADISTS KILL 40 INDIANS
A terror attack by a Pakistani jihadist group could lead to war between India and Pakistan, two nuclear powers, after the Pakistani group attacked and killed 40 Indian troops in Kashmir.
The responsible party was Jaish-e-Mohammed (Army of Mohammed).
US WANTS TO ARREST BIN LADEN’S SON
“A son of Osama bin Laden is emerging as a leader in al Qaeda, the US State Department says, and it’s willing to pay up to $1 million for information on his whereabouts. Hamza bin Laden, whose father was killed by US Navy Seals in Pakistan in 2011, is taking the reins of the terror group, the State Department said late Thursday.
“The State Department wants information on Hamza bin Laden.
“Hamza bin Laden . . . is emerging as a leader” in the al Qaeda franchise, the department said in a statement. “He has released audio and video messages on the Internet, calling on his followers to launch attacks against the United States and its Western allies, and he has threatened attacks against the United States in revenge for the May 2011 killing of his father by US military forces.” (CNN, 3/1)
QT ANGER OVER BREXIT
The BBC’s Question Time is one of the most popular programs on British television. It gives a live audience (supposedly representing all viewpoints) the opportunity to express themselves on important topics. Last Night’s QT was no exception. The subject of Brexit was being discussed.
With only four weeks to go until the date of Britain’s departure from the EU, one member of the audience accused Britain’s three main political parties of betraying the British people.
“A furious Question Time audience member ripped into MPs on the BBC panel insisting all parties had “betrayed” Britons’ Brexit vote. The audience member pointed out Theresa May’s commitment to leaving the EU on March 29, amid fears of a delay, and Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto pledge to deliver Brexit, with the party moving towards backing People’s Vote (a second referendum). The audience member said: “I actually think all three parties have betrayed every single one of us.
“Theresa May, 52 times, said we will leave on March 29, she is now extending. Well, probably will.
“Corbyn said we won’t have a second referendum, now he is going to entertain that.
“Liberals, Nick Clegg ,said there won’t be a European army.”
There’s been a lot of lying over Brexit. Could this be the end of British democracy, as we have known it?
EU BACKS SPANISH CLAIM TO GIBRALTAR
The British government has complained about language in EU contingency plans over a no-deal Brexit. Under the legislation, direct flights between the EU and the UK will continue for nine months in the event of a no-deal Brexit. But Gibraltar International Airport isn’t included in Brussels’ plan, which refers to Spain’s claim on the 800-metre section of land.
The attack on a synagogue on the Sabbath of October 27th was the worst anti-semitic incident in American history. Similar incidents have taken place throughout history in many countries.
When I was a child growing up in England, I remember going on a school field trip to the city of York. At the time, I must have been 9 or 10 years of age.
The old Roman city of York is one of the most interesting cities in England. It was here that Constantine was proclaimed Emperor in 306 AD. Constantine later converted to Catholicism, turning away from worship of the pagan gods. The writer, James Carroll, a former Catholic priest, traced anti-Semitism back to Constantine in his book “Constantine’s Sword.” It was all quite simple – the Jews killed Christ, so they should be persecuted forever. This has been the teaching of the church down through the centuries.
Four years after William the Conqueror successfully invaded England in 1066, he invited Jews from France to come over. He believed that their commercial skills and capital would help develop the English economy. The Jews were not allowed to purchase land (most English people could not, either), but they were allowed to practice medicine and money-lending, the latter breeding resentment against the Jews.
In 1189, following a rumor that the newly crowned King Richard I had ordered a massacre of Jews, mobs in a number of cities across the country attacked and killed Jews. The worst incident was in the city of York the following year, just before the Passover.
“A significant loss of life occurred at York on the night of March 16 (Shabbat HaGadol, the Shabbat before Passover) and 17 March 1190. As crusaders prepared to leave on the Third Crusade, religious fervor resulted in several anti-Jewish violences. Josce, the leader of the Jews in York, asked the warden of York Castle to receive them with their wives and children, and they were accepted into Clifford’s Tower. However, the tower was besieged by the mob of crusaders, demanding that the Jews convert to Christianity and be baptized. Trapped in the castle, the Jews were advised by their religious leader, Rabbi Yomtov of Joigney, to kill themselves rather than convert; Josce began by slaying his wife Anna and his two children, and then was killed by Yomtov. The father of each family killed his wife and children, before Yomtov and Josce set fire to the wooden keep, killing themselves. The handful of Jews who did not kill themselves died in the fire, or were murdered by rioters.” (Wikipedia: History of the Jews in England 1066-1290).
Clearly, upon hearing a rumor, the crowds were ready to turn against the Jews. It should be realized that many of those in the crowd would likely have owed money to the Jewish money-lenders and this was an opportunity to cancel the debts. Debts to Jewish money-lenders continued to be an issue and not just in England.
“As early as 1198, Pope Innocent III had written to all Christian princes, including Richard of England, calling upon them to compel the remission of all usury demanded by Jews from Christians. This would render the Jewish community’s very existence impossible.”
“On 15 July 1205, the pope laid down the principle that Jews were doomed to perpetual servitude because they had crucified Jesus.I n England the secular power soon followed the initiative of the Church. John, having become indebted to the Jewish community while in Ireland, at first treated Jews with a show of forbearance. He confirmed the charter of Rabbi Josce and his sons, and made it apply to all the Jews of England; he wrote a sharp remonstrance to the mayor of London against the attacks that were continually being made upon the Jews of that city, alone of all the cities of England. He reappointed one Jacob archpriest of all the English Jews (12 July,1199).
OTHER REASONS FOR ANTI-SEMITISM
In 1492 Queen Isabella of Spain desired to make her country completely Catholic. This followed the expulsion of the Muslims who had dominated the country for centuries. The new law meant that Jews had to convert, emigrate or be burned to death. Many fled to Poland, which was then the most liberal country in Europe.
During a tour of Krakow some years ago, we were able to see a number of synagogues in the old Jewish Quarter of the medieval city. Our tour guide related the persecution of Jews in Spain and how many moved to Krakow. Two years later, the local people turned against them. I asked our Polish guide why. His response was interesting. “The Jews were different. They had different customs. They went to church on a different day….” Sabbath observance has always made religious Jews more noticeable wherever they have settled.
Polish persecution of Jews had started prior to the arrival of the Spanish Jews. It continued on and off into modern times, with a pogrom immediately after the defeat of the Nazis and the arrival of the Soviets in 1945.
This article only touches the surface where anti-semitism is concerned. The incidents I related from England are what I learned as a child; I mention Krakow as my visit there was a great learning experience.
Auschwitz is close to Krakow. A visit there was truly traumatic for me personally. It was bad enough standing in the gas chambers and looking up at the holes in the ceiling that enabled Zykon B to be dropped down amongst those taking a “shower.” I felt like throwing up when I saw the “accommodations” for inmates – bunk-beds three levels high – people would fight to get the top bunk, so that they would not get “showered on” during the night when those above had to relieve themselves. (Inmates had permanent diarrhoea because the scarce food was so bad.) But, what made me “lose it” was the exhibit behind a glass screen, of the hair of little girls taken (after being gassed) from Jewish children and then used to make wigs and other things. All I could think of was our little girls, our grandchildren when they were 3 or 4. I had to leave the room. I had planned on giving a sermon on anti-semitism when I returned to Michigan, but I could not bring myself to give it. I knew I could not get through the sermon without, once again, losing it.
On another occasion, following a visit to Anne Frank’s House, I wanted to speak on it but couldn’t. When I looked out the back window of the house at the backyard below, it reminded me so much of my grandparents’ home. If it could happen here, it might have happened in England; or anywhere else, for that matter. We are naïve if we think it can never happen here.
As if the Holocaust wasn’t bad enough, hundreds of millions of people around the world have learned nothing from it. They still hate Jews. They still blame Jewish bankers when they can’t repay a loan. Many still think they deserve what they get because they killed Christ when the scriptures make it clear that every single one of us killed Christ. Note I John 2:2: “And Christ himself is the means by which our sins are forgiven, and not our sins only, but also the sins of everyone.” (Good News Translation). The Contemporary English Version translates the verse this way: “Christ is the sacrifice that takes away our sins and the sins of all the world’s people.” He had to die so that each of us, individually, may receive eternal life.
Jesus Christ Himself was a Jew; so was the Apostle John who wrote those words.
Complicating the issue of anti-Semitism today is the existence of the modern state of Israel, a nation that came into being exactly 70 years ago. The Palestinians lost their land and have hated Israel ever since. Many Muslims also hate Israel in sympathy with the Palestinians.
This hatred of Israel has infected others, partly because of television newsreels showing the suffering of the Palestinian people. The British Labor Party, under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, has a bad record of anti-Semitism. Fifty years ago, there were fifty Jewish members of parliament, 48 of whom were members of the Labor Party. Clearly, attitudes have changed.
Modern Israel is, without a doubt, the most successful country in the Middle East. It is the only western-style democracy. This Jewish country allows freedom of religion in a region where non-Muslims are suffering from great persecution. The nation can teach its neighbors lots of lessons, about economic development, freedom and democracy. I had the privilege of being able to spend a summer in the country in 1973 and was greatly impressed at the development that had taken place in just 25 years. I would love to go back and see how much further the country has progressed, in spite of wars and internal conflict.
People should remember what God said to Abraham thousands of years ago.
“Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
No country benefits from anti-Semitism.
The attack on a synagogue last week was the work of one man, an ignorant, hate-filled individual who likely spent too much time looking at websites that blame Jews for everything. (The internet is also a modern contributor to anti-Semitism.)
Let’s hope and pray it remains an isolated incident in American history.
The Wall St Journal on Wednesday highlighted the growing divergence amongst American voters on just about every issue. The divide, the paper showed, is largely between “white women with college degrees and white men without.” They “are on rapidly diverging tracks.”
In a report on BBC World News America, polls showed the divide was between “big cities and suburbs” and those living in rural areas, which includes small-town America.
Reports on the election are usually quite superficial. Not realized is that the white blue-collar workers are the primary producers of the nation’s wealth; the people with college degrees are in non-productive jobs.
CESAR CHAVEZ REMEMBERED
Left-wing protestors across the country are chanting “Yes, we can” in opposition to the president’s stance on illegal immigration.
But few, if any, remember who first used this expression.
Tucker Carlson showed a few days ago that it was Cesar Chavez, the (Hispanic) United Farm Workers Union president who was very left-wing and, yes, against illegal immigration.
“Yes, we can SEAL THE BORDERS,” was the original chant.
Mr. Chavez, concerned for the members of his union, realized that illegals would only force down wages, making things harder for those at the lower end of the income spectrum. The last thing he wanted was more Mexicans in the country.
It’s ironic that the Democrats have ended up supporting illegals. It was not always thus. When the boat people started arriving from Vietnam 40 years ago, California’s Democratic Governor Jerry Brown did not want them in his state, which was already finding it difficult to cope with poverty and unemployment. Today, Jerry Brown encourages more immigration.
Why the change?
Because it’s now known that 90% of illegals vote for the Democrats once they become registered voters.
It’s all about power!
The Caravan to Nowhere – The march from Honduras echoes the 1980 Mariel boatlift, by The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 22, 2018, 7:27 p.m. ET
These columns favor generous immigration and asylum for refugees. But when migration becomes a political weapon to foment border chaos, leaders have no choice other than to step in and protect national security. Exhibit A are the 4,000 or so Central Americans moving on foot through Mexico to the U.S.
Waves of humanity marching in lock step don’t materialize spontaneously and neither has this “caravan.” This march is organized and not necessarily for the benefit of the migrants. Mr. Trump has good reason to turn it back.
One of the best books I’ve read recently was “Sword and Scimitar” by Raymond Ibrahim. It’s a new book that looks at the history of the 1,400-year-old struggle between Islam and the West, which continues to this day.
(Suggestion: do what I did. I requested the local library buy a copy. That way, dozens of people may wake up to what is happening!)
Love and Justice, Sin and Hell (Extracted from: Sword and Scimitar by Raymond Ibrahim, Page 130-131)
Having discussed the doctrine of jihad and its motivations at some length (see Introduction) here it is necessary to compare and contrast the motivations behind the crusades. Shocking as it may seem, love – not of the modern, sentimental variety, but a medieval, muscular one, characterized by Christian altruism, agape – was the primary driving force behind the crusade. As foremost crusade historian Jonathan Riley-Smith puts it, the crusaders, moved by love of God and their neighbor, renouncing wives, children, and earthly possessions, and adopting temporary poverty and chastity, were described as going into a voluntary exile.
Despite popular depictions of crusaders as prototypical Europeans imperialists cynically exploiting faith, recent scholarship has proven the opposite, that every crusader “risked his life, social status, and all his possessions when he took the cross.” Nor was it “those with the least to lose who took up the cross, but rather those with the most.” Great lords of vast estates – not dispossessed “second sons,” as once believed – parted with their wealth and possessions upon taking the cross.”
“It was a miraculous sight,” wrote one contemporary. “Everyone bought high and sold low; whatever could be used on the journey was expensive, since they were in a hurry; they sold cheaply whatever items of value they had piled up; what neither prison nor torture could have wrung from them just a short time before they now sold for a few paltry coins.” But it was worth it all for the “message was clear,” writes Thomas Madden: “Christ was crucified again in the persecution of his faithful and the defilement of his sanctuaries.” Both needed rescuing; both offered an opportunity to fulfill one of Christ’s two greatest commandments: “Love God with all your heart” and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).
GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS
The central banks of the UK and Australia have both raised red flags about the rapid expansion of so-called leveraged loans and associated products that have invited comparisons to the toxic debt vehicles that triggered the global financial crisis.
In documents published just days apart, both the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Bank of England have expressed clear concern at the growth in leveraged loans, which have doubled in issuance since the GFC and now stand at over $US1 trillion ($1.4 trillion).
The leveraged loans have invited comparisons to the toxic conditions that helped trigger the GFC. (The Age, AUSTRALIA, Paul Colgan, 19th October)
“The Los Angeles regional food bank distributed 300,000 meals a month, but that, says its director, Michael Flood, is only a fraction of what the hungry 1.4 million people in the county need. The bank resembles the vast warehouse operation of a supermarket chain, with apartment-sized refrigerators and fork-lift trucks processing millions of pounds of groceries. Every hour, a dozen or so of the 650 soup kitchens in the city arrive to collect sandwiches for the homeless (who cannot cook anything on the streets) or groceries for families.” (“Amid plenty, want; The Economist, October 27th.) “…the state with the largest share of people in poverty is California. As the most populous state, it also has by far the largest number of poor people, 7.4 million.” (And the Governor, Jerry Brown, is in favor of open borders.)
“Immerse yourself in the pro-immigration literature of Democratic Party thinkers, and you will notice a curious pattern of argument: High levels of immigration have awakened the racism and bigotry that have fueled the rise of right-wing populism, but it is nevertheless best to press forward with the policies that have ostensibly produced this fearsome reaction. Why? Because slowing the pace of immigration would be a callow surrender to bigotry. But also because, in the fullness of time, a unified coalition of college-educated white liberals, African Americans, and working class immigrants and their descendants will vanquish the aging rump of reactionary whites.” (“The next populist revolution,” by Reihan Salam, The Atlantic Monthly, September 2018).
We’re back from Indianapolis after delivering one of our cats to our daughter and family. We stayed three nights, to see the family and for the cat to get adjusted to her new situation.
I offered to go get some cat food, but our daughter and granddaughters would not allow me near the pet food aisle after my last blog!
I don’t know what it is but whenever I visit them I go into “vacation mode” – I don’t feel like doing anything. I just want to relax. This is not fair to them. We help take care of three (sometimes, five) grandchildren in Lansing; then have four when we visit Indy.
Our family Sunday ended up being a day in front of the television with our granddaughters who introduced us to the British series “Father Brown,” available on Netflix. It was actually quite good, though some things did irritate me. For example, whenever the priest prayed in Latin, the closed-caption subtitles simply said: “Prays in a foreign language.” Don’t most people know that Latin has been the lingua franca of the Catholic church for almost 2,000 years?
Family members are all trying to be healthier, which meant no junk in the house. If I had remembered that, I would have taken some goodies to nibble between meals. I was so hungry, at one point I called our daughter in Lansing and said: “Can you come down immediately and bring some food?” I was just being humorous – it’s a 4+ hour drive; and I could have gone to a local grocery store if I thought I might expire.
Mike, our son-in-law, is a very good cook and the food was excellent. I decided to join the healthy eating and then continue it at home, which is what I’m now doing. I feel better already. I’ve had no indigestion for a week and feel more energetic. The dog food last week probably helped.
It was really nice to have a break from everything, including world news.
BACK TO MORE REALITY
The terror attack in New York on Tuesday is a reminder of the constant threat to our lives that emanates from radical Islam. It’s also a constant reminder of how hopeless our governments are – they keep letting in Muslims en masse, trying to claim that “Islam is a peaceful religion that has been hijacked by extremists.”
Trump called immediately for Congress to abolish the Diversity Visa Waiver program. This is a lottery that enables 50,000 people a year from usually poor and backward countries to enter the United States. They may then sponsor their relatives and friends to enter the US. Tuesday’s murderer brought in 23 over 15 years. Most of these people go straight to the bottom of our economic ladder, competing for jobs with low income Americans.
(Do the math. If one man brought in 23, multiply 50,000 x 23 = 1, 150,000 people per year. That’s in addition to the one million plus who get a visa the normal way.)
President Trump immediately called on Congress to change the law. That’s commendable. The law needs to be changed. But, then, why didn’t he react the same after the Las Vegas mass shooting? Changes to the law are desperately needed.
It’s been over twenty years since the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, Australia. 35 people were killed in a little over half an hour. The conservative prime minister, John Howard, immediately called on parliament to pass tough controls on assault weapons.
“Twelve days after the Port Arthur massacre, the Australian prime minister, John Howard, announced a sweeping package of gun reforms in a country where firearms had long been considered an essential prop in the national mythology of life in the bush.
“At that stage the gun lobby was the ruling lobby in Australia,” says Philip Alpers, associate professor at the University of Sydney. “What happened at Port Arthur is that they were outpaced, outflanked and outwitted by a man who had the power to move in 12 remarkable days.”
“Tim Fischer was leader of the National party and Howard’s deputy prime minister in the Coalition government, charged with persuading skeptical country voters to support, or at least accept, reforms. “Port Arthur was our Sandy Hook,” he says. “Port Arthur we acted on. The USA is not prepared to act on their tragedies.” (The Guardian 14th March 2016).
The Sandy Hook massacre of kindergarten children took place on December 14th, 2012. Congress did not pass any laws following the deaths of 26 people, including 19 children. If the country could not make any changes after the deaths of so many young children, it’s doubtful they will ever come.
President Trump and others reacted to the Las Vegas shootings by saying, “Now is not the time to discuss gun control.”
Then, when will it be the time? Immigration policies make the situation worse – the killer at Virginia Tech ten years ago was from South Korea. The Boston Marathon killings were also the work of new arrivals.
Changes can be made without encroaching on the Second Amendment, which says:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Today, the US definitely has a “well regulated militia,” so America’s needs have changed. At the same time, people do have a right to defend themselves. There’s a balance. It’s time for a national debate.
On the highly successful Australian TV show, “Janet King,” Janet, a senior employee of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS; sometimes referred to as “Crownies”), is appointed by the country’s Governor-General to head a royal commission into gun violence. It’s time the United States had a presidential commission to look into mass casualty gun violence, with the remit that it report back to the president and the public within twelve months, making recommendations to effectively reduce gun violence.
NEW ZEALAND MAKES THE NEWS
Before we leave the Antipodes, New Zealand has a new, radical prime minister.
Jacinda Ardern is only 37 and the third female leader of the country. She wants to restrict immigration into New Zealand – one of her first acts was to ban the sale of homes to people living outside of the country. She is a left-wing republican, meaning she would like to end NZ’s relationship with the Crown thereby giving greater power to the politicians, of which she is the chief! Interestingly, she is also a former Mormon who has strong views on churches that encourage families to shun former believers like herself; she left the church over its anti-homosexual stance.
QUOTE: “President Xi (of China) believes that America is in steep decline and China rising in a power game that will define our century” (Carrie Gracie, China Editor, BBC News, 11/2). President Trump is about to visit China.
Today, November 2nd, is the centenary of the Balfour Declaration. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in London to commemorate the celebration, boycotted by the anti-semitic socialist Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn.
The famous Balfour Declaration was announced in the middle of World War I by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, at a time when Great Britain was the dominant power in the world. It committed His Majesty’s Government to establish in Palestine a home for the Jewish people. It was one of the most important documents of the twentieth century and a major fulfillment of Bible prophecy. It led directly to the establishment of a Jewish nation in the Middle East, the country now called Israel.
An independent Jewish nation had not been in existence since Roman times. The Roman Jewish province of Judea rebelled against Rome in 66 AD. The Romans crushed the Jewish Revolt in 70 AD, destroying much of Jerusalem in the process. The Jews rebelled again from 132 AD-135 AD. Once again, the Romans crushed the revolt. This time, the Jews dispersed to other parts of the Roman Empire and beyond. For almost two millennia, they did not have their own country. But scriptures made it clear that the Jews would be back in their homeland, called Judah in the Bible (the Jews were only one of the twelve tribes of Israel).
Zechariah was a prophet 2,500 years ago. His Old Testament book is a Millennial prophecy about the Second Coming of the Messiah. Judah figures quite prominently in events at the time immediately prior to Christ’s Return.
Note Zechariah 12:2-3 – “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.”
And Zechariah 14:2-4 – “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
“Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”
The last verse is clearly still in the future. Jerusalem, Judah, revived after almost 2,000 years is once again a central point of geographical contention, with neighboring nations and tribes wanting to destroy the country. As if perpetually drunk, they desperately try to destroy her, so far not succeeding.
Five days after the Balfour Declaration, Russia had a second revolution. Earlier in the year, the Czarist regime had fallen and was replaced by a parliamentary system. Elections were scheduled for later in the year. Two weeks before the election, the Bolsheviks (communists) staged a coup on November 7th that overthrew the interim government of Alexander Kerensky. They proclaimed the world’s first communist state. It brought seven decades of misery to the country, with despotic leaders that made the czars look like Sunday school teachers. Communism has gone, but the country remains a dictatorship, though claiming to be a democracy.
The Bolshevik Revolution was the second revolution of 1917; there was an earlier revolution in 1905, which led to the establishment of the Duma (parliament) but still left the czar with ultimate power and authority. Russia’s parliament today is also called the Duma and is the people’s assembly. However, some would say that Vladimir Putin is a new Czar, with all the power and authority.
500th ANNIVERSARY OF PROTESTANT REFORMATION
Tuesday was the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg church in Germany. We should all be thankful to Martin Luther. He had the courage to stand up to the Church of Rome, ending the monopoly the Church had in western Europe. All churches today owe their freedom to Luther.
I watched a two-hour documentary on PBS recently about Martin Luther and the Reformation. He is considered the greatest theologian of all time, due to the fact that he wrote more books and articles on the Bible than anybody else. He also translated the scriptures into German.
Later in life, asked to sum up his writings, he replied: “God forgives.” That was of paramount importance to Luther, who struggled all his life with sin, as we all do. Hearing that, I thought about all the churches that have come out of Luther, directly or indirectly. Many have one thing in common – they can’t forgive. How ironic.
VISIT TO NOAH’S ARK
Earlier in the month, we were in Cincinnati, Ohio. A group of us, including four of our grandchildren, took the opportunity to visit Noah’s Ark, which is just over the state line in Kentucky. It’s well worth a visit, if only to get a better idea of the size of the original ark. This replica is built according to biblical specifications.
I’m very thankful that the enterprising Australian behind this project was inspired to build the Ark (and the Creation Museum nearby). More and more people are biblically illiterate, so it’s good that somebody has kept the story alive. I found the wall plaques explaining everything interesting, but I do not agree with his theory that the earth is only 6,000 years old.
We had been told to allow three hours for our visit. With two 5-year-old twin boys, we went through quite quickly, in exactly two hours. We left early — because it was raining!!!
The following evening we had a group of Barbadians over for dinner. Wonderful people. They had actually come from Barbados to visit the Ark. They are also Young Earthers, believing in the 6,000 years. We agreed to disagree and still remain friends. That’s the way it should be.
I’ve been asked why I quote so often from the Daily Express and Daily Mail newspapers, two Conservative British tabloids.
The answer is quite simple: they have the best web sites. Check them out sometime.
The Guardian and Independent, more intellectual papers, are constantly asking for money whenever I check their sites; whereas the Times, the Telegraph and the Financial Times make very little available.
The biggest problem with the two papers I use is that they often sensationalize news items.
I will try to find alternative sources, but, realistically I will have to use them occasionally as I don’t have the funds to pay for subscriptions to the more highbrow papers; and they have to request money as they have smaller circulations.
(This blog is a fully independent blog that has no connection to any church or secular organization. It was started to keep people informed on international affairs in light of the scriptures. Financial support comes from myself and readers who graciously donate to help cover costs.)
Margaret Thatcher defined socialism as “equal shares of misery for all,” the best definition I’ve ever read of the economic theory and subsequent reality.
The following is a more matter-of-fact explanation that I got when I googled “socialism,” looking for the exact definition.
“a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole;……
(in Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism.”
Basically, what it’s saying is that government controls everything and it’s a stepping-stone to communism. Keep in mind that Marxists believe that, when communism is achieved, everybody lives in paradise – although, of course, they don’t actually believe in paradise, heaven or any other nirvana.
The reality, of course, is that people actually live in hell.
The best example of communism today is North Korea, where everything is controlled by the government, even thoughts.
Another example is Cuba, where almost everything is controlled by the government.
China is not a very good example. Not any more. Whereas the government still controls every thought, the economy is more of a free for all. So long as you keep your mouth shut, you can be a millionaire!
Until the latest British election, many people thought socialism was dead. Mrs. Thatcher herself had rolled back socialism in the UK and helped the nations of Eastern Europe send the communists packing. But the latest election in the United Kingdom showed that socialism is alive and kicking – and may even be the next government.
Why the appeal? Because when people feel the inequities of capitalism, they naturally favor the opposite, thinking everything will be put right by the firm hand of government.
Somebody once said that “conservatives believe in the exploitation of man by man; while socialists believe the exact opposite!” Think about it before moving on!
Venezuela has been in the news a great deal over the last few days. There, an incompetent socialist government has destroyed the nation’s economy. An attempt was made by a member of the country’s military to overthrow the government. The sight of the helicopter flying over the capital city of Caracas brought back memories of a similar situation in Ghana almost 40 years ago.
Ghana is a case study in the failings of socialism, well-meant but a disaster.
Ghana got its independence from Great Britain in 1957. It was the first black African country to receive independence, first because it was the most promising, with the greatest number of highly educated citizens and the most money in the bank. Within four years, it was bankrupt and a dictatorship. Eventually, the military had to take over to save the country.
A second attempt was made at democracy, which also failed; the military then took over again. Whereas the politicians were generally well educated, military men were not well-versed in running an economy. Soon, there was a high rate of inflation and serious shortages. These led to a coup on June 4th, 1979, a coup my wife and I experienced first-hand.
The helicopter flying overhead, filmed by somebody on a balcony, reminded me of how Diane watched a similar scene during Ghana’s coup. In Ghana, the helicopter opened fire and she quickly went indoors. At the time, I was trying to get back to the house using side roads to avoid the fighting. At one point, I was held up at gunpoint by rebel soldiers who wanted to take my car.
The coup was successful. A new government came to power led by Flight Lt. J.J. Rawlings, an avowed socialist who was enamored by the way things were done in Eastern Europe. The people said the “J.J.” stood for “Junior Jesus.”
He immediately started setting things right, freezing the price of eggs at 8 cedis a dozen and controlling the price of beer, two priorities! The problem was that farmers could not produce eggs to sell at that price as chicken feed was too expensive; with beer, there was a shortage of hops. I thought that a national shortage of beer would lead to revolution fairly quickly, but I was wrong. Ghana remains the only African nation I know of that did not experience civil unrest when the beer ran out!
Serious shortages became a major problem. Supermarkets had next to nothing on their shelves. Basic commodities could only be obtained through barter – I remember bartering shirts for gasoline and toilet paper for rice!
As the economy went into freefall, so the government was made more oppressive. Foreigners were blamed for just about everything – in August, we were told to leave the country.
Elections had been scheduled before Rawlings took over. Under pressure, he allowed them to go ahead and a new, still socialist, government came to power, led by a nice man who was also an alcoholic. At least beer was now available!
Eventually, he was overthrown and J.J. was back, followed by even greater economic disaster. It wasn’t until Rawlings started to reverse socialism and encourage free enterprise that things started to improve.
Government control of the economy = disaster. Mrs. T got it right!
So why is socialism “in vogue” again? The rising gap between rich and poor is one answer; another is the youth vote – most young people have no memory of when Europe was largely socialist. As Winston Churchill once said: “If you’re not a socialist at 20, you’ve got no heart; if you’re still a socialist at 30, you’ve got no head”.
In I Samuel 8 we read an account of how Israel wanted a human leader like all the other nations around them. God warned the people that it would mean greater financial hardship, as government would constantly expand and the people would have to pay for it. The warning was of 10% taxation. Today, taxes run much higher.
10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked him for a king. 11 And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 14 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 young men,[a] 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.”
Don’t just assume that this only applies to kings and kingdoms. In the last century, new nations have come into existence, most of them with a president rather than a king. It turns out the kings were cheaper. Note the following from Ecclesiastes 10:16-17:
“Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,
And your princes feast in the morning! 17 Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles,
And your princes feast at the proper time—
For strength and not for drunkenness!”
Elected politicians think they have an automatic right to take everybody else’s money and spend it how they want. Again, Margaret Thatcher put it well when she observed: “the trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money!”
That’s exactly what Jeremy Corbyn of Britain’s Labour (socialist) party is promising the people – more taxes to help government expand.
That’s what Venezuela got with Hugo Chavez, the socialist president who presided over the collapse of the country’s economy. His successor, Nicolas Maduro, has not been able to improve things.
The great lesson here is: there’s a lot of evils in capitalism, but don’t think government will make things better!
Just ask the Venezuelans….!
"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened." — Sir Winston Churchill