Tag Archives: Jerusalem

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.”

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)

 

 

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)

 

 

 

BRITAIN AND AMERICA LEAD WITH CORONA VIRUS

Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer has taken draconian steps to stop the spread of the corona virus. The restrictions she has imposed on Michigan are unprecedented. Cartoons like this one illustrate the public’s distrust of government, though most people seem to support the measures she has taken. At the same time, North Korea’s leader was missing, presumed dead.

In the US, there have been over 70,000 corona virus deaths; in the UK over 32,000 (proportionately the UK is worse than the US).   What this could mean remains to be seen.

Two months ago, Britain looked on in horror as deaths from Covid-19 skyrocketed in Italy.   Now, the UK’s own death toll from the disease has eclipsed its continental neighbor to become the worst in Europe.

Yet with the true figure likely to be significantly higher due to missed cases and a lag in reporting, the country is braced for worse news to come.  (The Week, 5/6/2020)

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RATE OF UNEMPLOYMENT

The latest unemployment figures came out this morning (Thursday).  An additional 3.2 million people filed for unemployment benefit last week.   That brings the total number of Americans without a job to 33.5 million.

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RESISTANCE MOUNTS

From Maine to California, Americans are defying government officials and reclaiming their First Amendment rights to assemble and protest.  They are opening up their businesses in open defiance of the authoritarian political leaders.   The resistance is building and thankfully remains (mostly) peaceful.  How long until the dam breaks and the lockdown regime comes crashing down?(https://patriotpowerednews.com/resistance-to-lockdown-builds-coronavirus-tyrants-losing-their-grip/)

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BRITISH ECONOMY HITS ROCK BOTTOM

In recent weeks economic data have forced statisticians to change the scale on their charts by hitting new lows.  This week they showed a record drop in construction activity, and the car industry’s trade body reported that new registrations fell by 97% year-on-year in April.   The good news is that the last month probably represented the bottom for Britain’s economy, with lockdown restrictions likely to ease in coming weeks.   The bad news is that the shape of the recovery remains uncertain.   Today’s Bank of England announcements did not include new policy changes—interest rates are already at record lows, quantitative easing has restarted, and new schemes have been put in place to support business lending — but they did update their forecasts.   The bank’s economists now expect the economy to contract by 14% in 2020, the largest annual fall since the early 1700s, followed by a 15% bounce in 2021.   The worry though is that while the scale of the decline looks pretty clear, the speed of the recovery is subject to much more uncertainty.   (The Economist, 5/7/2020)

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FEARS PANDEMIC MAY HASTEN WEST’S DECLINE 

The corona crisis could accelerate Germany and the western powers’ economic and political decline, according to recent economic projections by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and analyses by US foreign policy experts.   As the US magazine Foreign Policy writes, Trump’s handling of the crisis has been an “embarrassing debacle” that tarnished the United States’ reputation as a country “that knows how to do things effectively.”  Other states are more willing to orient themselves on countries which are “past the peak of infection,” such as China, concludes the president of the Council on Foreign Relations.   The EU has also failed in the crisis. According to the IMF, China will economically suffer less under the pandemic than western countries: its economic performance will bypass that of the eurozone quicker than expected and will approach that of the United States.   In the West, this emerging shift in power is being accompanied by aggressive anti-Chinese propaganda.  (German Foreign Policy, 4/16/2020)

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TEST OF AMERICAN LEADERSHIP, POST-VIRUS

You can see why china might sniff an opportunity in this crisis. Coronavirus has targeted America’s weaknesses, while making many of its strengths temporarily irrelevant.   The world’s most powerful military machine is not much use against a virus.   But a lack of universal healthcare coverage is suddenly a threat not just to the poor but to the whole of US society.

Question one is:   what currency in the world do you most trust? Question two:   where, outside your home country, would you most like your children to go to university or to work?  For a majority of the global middle-class, the answers to those questions have been, respectively, the dollar and the us.  If that continues to be the case after the pandemic, then American primacy will continue.

(Gideon Rachman, FT, 5/6)

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FEARS GROW BREXIT TALKS COULD COLLAPSE IN JUNE

Brexit talks with the European Union could collapse in June unless Brussels abandons its demands for a common fisheries policy and a level playing field, says a source close to the UK’s negotiating team.

The source told The Guardian that only “limited progress in bridging the gaps between us” had been made at last week’s talks, but there was “confidence that progress can be made quite quickly.”

He added that he was “quite positive” over the chances of a trade deal before the end of the year, when the UK’s transition period ends.  Boris Johnson is expected to take a more active role in trying to help unblock talks if there is no breakthrough in the months ahead.   (The Week, 5/1/2020)

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Britain’s new aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth sets sail
30 April 2020, Defense News

LONDON — Britain’s new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth departed its Portsmouth base April 29 for training, but only after its crew was tested for the new coronavirus, the Royal Navy announced.   The 65,000-ton warship is currently in an isolation period at sea ahead of training off the south coast of England.  The ship’s departure from the Portsmouth naval base was delayed by a few days to enable the entire crew of about 800 to be tested for COVID-19.   The warship is expected to be at sea for up to eight weeks conducting the Flag Officer Sea Training assessment required to certify that HMS Queen Elizabeth is competent to join the fleet for operational tasking.  Britain is targeting next year for the ship’s first operational deployment, and the FOST assessment is a key element in achieving that plan.  Training with F-35 fighter jets, simulated battle damage, fires and flood training, and mission rehearsals will be part of the process, the Royal Navy said in a statement.  “This will prepare the ship for further training later in the year with other Royal Navy ships to ensure they are ready to deploy as a task group next year,” the service said.(https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2020/04/30/britains-new-carrier-queen-elizabeth-sets-sail-prepared-to-train-amid-pandemic/)

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EUROZONE ECONOMY SHRINKS AT RECORD RATE

The eurozone economy shrank at its sharpest rate on record in the first quarter of the year, with the continent set to enter a deep recession triggered by the coronavirus lockdown.

Eurostat data published yesterday showed that eurozone GDP shrank by 3.8% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the final quarter of last year.   The contraction is worse than that experienced by the US over the same period and deeper than the financial crisis over a decade ago.   Market Watch says it means “three years of the eurozone’s economic activity have been wiped away, and it is likely going to get worse.”  (The Week, 5/1/2020)

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COULD ISRAEL AND IRAN GO TO WAR?

The undeclared war between Iran and Israel has reached new heights.

Or more specifically, a height of 270 miles, which is the altitude of Iran’s first spy satellite.   It’s more than a nice vantage point for Iran to keep an eye on its arch-enemy Israel.   Lacking advanced reconnaissance aircraft and drones to penetrate Israeli air defenses, a satellite may be the only way for Tehran to gather real-time intelligence on Israel.

Which raises the question: will Israel be tempted to destroy Iran’s eye in the sky?   (Michael Peck, Middle East Forum, 5/5/2020)

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DISENGAGEMENT FROM CHINA

The United States and transatlantic oriented circles in Germany are increasing pressure on Berlin to participate in the West’s “disengagement” from China.   “The alliance question” is “ripe for decision,” declared Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the Axel Springer SE media group.  Germany must cease the “aberration” of economic cooperation with the People’s Republic of China and formally position itself in opposition to Beijing.  This is the result of the global shift in power that is becoming apparent through the Corona crisis. Whereas China has obviously overcome the low-point of this crisis and is already headed back to economic growth, an improvement of the situation in the USA and Europe is not yet on the horizon. Observers are speculating that the western powers’ “influence and significance” will probably “continue to dwindle.”   Whereas Washington is mulling whether to lift China’s sovereign immunity, to permit damage lawsuits, powerful forces in the German economy are seeing their crisis exit in business with China.   (German Foreign Policy, 5/4/2020)

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SCOTTISH COMMENT ON CHINESE BEHAVIOR

“No country with a skerrick of self-respect can allow this behavior to go unpunished.  I have already suggested some punitive measures designed to wound the regime’s pride without harming the Chinese people:   cancel the Huawei deal; pass a Magnitsky-style Act targeting senior CPC figures; champion the Uyghurs at every opportunity (e.g. rename the London street that houses the Chinese embassy after a Uyghur political prisoner); and recognize Taiwan as an independent nation.   All I would add, upon reflection, is this: grant British citizenship to Hong Kongers born before 1 July 1997, their children and grandchildren.” — Scottish political commentator Stephen Daisley.   (Gatestone, 5/7)

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CORONA ECONOMIC GAP

Foreign policy experts in Germany and the EU’s Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrell are warning that Brussels’ corona relief measures could widen the EU’s economic gap.   So far, the EU’s reaction to the Corona crisis has led to companies in economically stronger countries receiving more relief assistance than their competitors in more heavily indebted countries, according to a proximate analysis by the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP).   After the crisis, German companies will probably be in a stronger position than, for example, their Italian competitors.  “The north-south divide that was already in place before the crisis, could become even more pronounced afterwards,” Borrell predicts.   The growing inequality could threaten the EU’s “political project” in the foreseeable future, the DGAP writes.   In the competition within the EU, German companies are benefiting from the fact that, by fostering a bottom-to-top redistribution, national corona relief measures are already to their advantage – a development that exacerbates the crisis.  (German Foreign Policy, 5/6/2020)

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POPE PIUS XII KNEW OF HOLOCAUST                                          Researchers say Vatican archives show Pope Pius XII knew of WWII killing of Jews  

German scholars exploring newly opened trove of documents find letter indicating pope was aware of massacre of Jews in Warsaw and Lviv from own sources, but denied it to Americans.

Researchers studying the newly opened Vatican archives of pope Pius XII have already found evidence that the World War II-era pope knew about the mass killing of Jews from his own sources but kept it from the US government, the Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing interviews with German scholars.   The archives were opened March 2, but closed soon after due to the coronavirus crisis.   Many of the 200 scholars who had applied for access delayed their trips. However, a German team lead by award-winning religious historian Hubert Wolf from the University of Münster made a start and has already found some damning discoveries.   (Times of Israel, 30 April 2020).

(MORE:  https://www.timesofisrael.com/researchers-say-vatican-archives-show-pope-pius-xii-knew-of-wwii-killing-of-jews/)

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POLYGAMY CAUSE OF CONFLICT IN AFRICA

Polygamy is a major social problem in Africa and other parts of the world.  In Africa, it plays a major role in the wars fought in some areas.   Where men have to provide 30 or more cows as the bride price to buy a wife, cattle raids on neighboring tribes and villages have become a regular occurrence.  As some men have multiple wives, so others have none.  This leads to desperation, to violence and the taking of wives from other tribes.

“Overall, polygamy is in retreat.  However, its supporters are fighting to preserve or even extend it.  Two-fifths of Khazakhstanis want to re-legalize the practice  (it was banned by the Bolsheviks).   In 2008 they were thwarted, at least temporarily, when a female MP amended a pro-polygamy bill to say that polyandry – the taking of multiple husbands – would be allowed as well; Muslim greybeards balked at that.”  (“The Perils of Polygamy,” The Economist, 12/23/17).

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TO THE POINT

  • ISRAEL ALLOWS CHRISTIAN TV CHANNEL – A new evangelical Christian channel whose mission is to “take the message of Yeshua our Messiah to all of Israel 24/7, 365 days a year” began broadcasting in Israel in Hebrew last week, after signing a seven-year contract with Israeli cable provider HOT.   The Shelanu (Hebrew for “Ours”) TV channel is a branch of GOD TV, which broadcasts missionary programming in 200 countries around the world.   The new deal will give the channel access to over 700,000 Israeli households. GOD TV CEO Ward Simpson said in a video announcing the launch that his network had received permission from the Israeli government to “broadcast the gospel of Jesus Christ – Yeshua the Messiah – in Israel on cable TV in the Hebrew language.   Never before, as far as we know in the history of the world, has this ever been done.” (jns. 5/5/2020)
  • The leaders of the European Union and dozens of states and donors pledged €7.4bn ($8.1bn) to fund the fight against covid-19.   Most of the money will go towards developing a vaccine, the rest to finding a cure and better testing.   More cash could be forthcoming.   America declined to take part (or say why).   “A pity,” said Norway’s prime minister.   (The Economist, 5/5/2020)
  • CHINA WARNS OF WAR WITH THE US – An internal report presented to Chinese President Xi Jinping and other top leaders concludes that global anti-China sentiment is at a level not seen since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, and recommends preparing for a worst-case scenario of armed conflict with the United States, according to Reuters, citing people familiar with the content of the document.
  • Eleven European ambassadors to Israel on Thursday warned Jerusalem of severe consequences if it moves ahead with plans to annex parts of the West Bank as part of a government coalition deal.  The envoys from the UK, Germany, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Finland and the EU issued a formal objection to the Foreign Ministry against the move, Channel 13 reported. (Times of Israel, 5/1/2020)
  • Kuwaiti economist Saeed Tawfiqi said in a March 30, 2020 interview on Diwan Al-Mulla Internet TV (Kuwait) that in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. and Europe will enter a sharp decline, and China will become stronger.   He advised people in the Gulf states to start learning Chinese instead of English and using yuans instead of dollars. (MEMRI 7921)

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AFTER THOUGHT

America has held the pre-eminent position in the world for seventy years.  History shows us that it will not always be the case.   Indeed, the corona virus could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

The first recorded recognition that the British Empire no longer ranked at number one was in 1948.   But it wasn’t until 1956, with the Suez Canal crisis, that it was fully realized.   Decline (and fall) is not always overnight as in the fall of Babylon – it can be longer and protracted.

The outcome of the virus and the economic reality of its aftermath, remain to be seen.   But the article by Gideon Rachman, of the Financial Times, quoted elsewhere in this blog, gives us a simple test.   After it’s all over, will the US dollar still be the currency of choice for the world’s nations?  And will people around the world still send their children to US colleges?

We should know the answer to the first question soon; the second may take longer.

Over-spending by the US government has always been a problem.  The late President DeGaulle of France dismissively referred to the “Anglo-Saxon debtor countries”, whose economic systems relied on deficit spending.  But that over-spending has been a big factor in ensuring the prosperity of both the British and the Americans for the last 50 years.

That will likely change.    Borrowing for the stimulus will run into the trillions of dollars.   In the UK, we see the same thing happening with massive spending to help the people in a time of trouble.

This must weaken the dollar (and the pound), against other currencies.   We may even have reached the full extent of our capacity to borrow, that no more borrowing is possible.  At the very least, our children and grandchildren will be buried in debt for generations.

Other nations may decide that the two currencies are not reliable, that they will not hold their value.  In which case, they will have to find an alternative (the euro?  The Chinese yuan?  Gold?).   If that’s the case, the US will lose its global leadership position overnight.

Daniel 2:21 says:   “He removes kings and raises up kings” (Daniel 2:21).  God is behind the rise and fall of nations.  Seventy years is about the average for any nation to stay at the top.  It was longer for the British, but not the French or the Spanish, who held the ascendant position earlier.  Seventy years is about the average lifespan, by which time people have forgotten the lessons of the past, which includes the need to balance the books and stabilize the currency.

Whether this is the time for a major global change is not clear yet.   But it soon will be.

Let’s remember God is in charge and not despair.   The same chapter of Daniel assures us of the greatest event in history, the establishment of the Kingdom of God.

“And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”  (Daniel 2:44)

The kingdoms (and republics) of this world must end for God to establish His Kingdom.

MR     

VIRUS COULD BREAK UP EU

Demonstration at Capital Building in Lansing, MI.  (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty)

For disobedience to the laws of God, ancient Israelites were told that He would “break the pride of their power” (Leviticus 26:19).   Hebrews 13:8 states that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.”  Disobedience to God’s Laws carries the same penalties it did centuries ago.

The pride of America’s power rests in two areas:  the economy (and, with it, the status of the “Almighty Dollar”) and the military, which is dependent on a vibrant economy.

The economy is going to take a big hit this summer.   (In the UK they are predicting the biggest slump in three centuries!)   Along with the virus itself, this must also have an effect on military preparedness.

Could we see a fulfillment of Lev. 26:19?

MR   

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Anti-Governor Demo in Michigan

It’s not very often Lansing, MI, where we live makes headline news:

Lansing, MI — It’s a wild scene in Lansing today.  Hundreds, if not thousands of demonstrators showed up to the Capitol, protesting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay home order intended to fight the coronavirus pandemic.   Police watched as horns honked and vehicles from around the state jammed the nearby roads.   Crowds even gathered in front of the Capitol, out of their cars, some ignoring social distancing orders.  (Detroit Free Press, 4/15/2020)

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VIRUS COULD BREAK UP EU

BERLIN – The coronavirus pandemic, with its simultaneous health and economic crises, is deepening fault lines within Europe in a way some leaders fear could prove to be a final reckoning.   The cohesion of the European Union had been battered by Brexit, bruised by the political fallout from the 2015 migration surge and the 2008 financial crisis, and challenged by rising autocracy in the east that runs contrary to the professed ideals of the European project.

Now, if Europe’s leaders cannot chart a more united course, the project lies in what one of its architects described this week as “mortal danger.”

In the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, the response among European Union member states showed that national interests trump more-altruistic European ideals.   Border restrictions were reimposed haphazardly, and Germany and France threw up export bans on medical equipment such as masks and ventilators, even as Italy clamored for assistance.

Quick to capitalize were the propaganda machines of Russia and China. Moscow and Beijing have swept in with much-trumpeted — if sometimes defective — medical aid, pushing a savior narrative and providing fodder for the region’s Euroskeptics.   (Drudge Report, 4/3/2020)

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GERMANY BLOCKS CORONABONDS

At the euro finance minister’s video conference, the German government blocked the introduction of “coronabonds,” in spite of massive pressure from other EU nations and recently even from within Germany.   Whereas mainly Italy, Spain and France had insisted that this measure be taken, voices are now being raised from within the German establishment warning that the German government should stop blocking its implementation.   The reason, as leading Green Party politicians are explaining, is that should Italy and Spain suffer economic collapse, Germany’s export industry would be seriously damaged by the loss of these important markets, and – should German assistance be refused – both countries could turn to China.  This must be prevented. The “coronabonds” will cost Germany, however, specialists estimated years ago that the costs would be in the lower double-digit billions, while Germany is simultaneously reaping triple-digit billions in profits – annually.   (German Foreign Policy, 4/9/2020)

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GERMANY’S WAY OUT

The German government has announced plans to gradually lift Covid-19 containment measures, beginning with the partial opening of schools from May 4.   Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday said the country had achieved “fragile intermediate success” in managing the pandemic but said that social distancing would remain in place until at least May 3.  (BBC)   Shops smaller than 800 square metres will be permitted to reopen from next week but must comply with strict hygiene rules.  Der Spiegel reports on how an 11-page tentative exit plan was thrashed out between leaders of the federal government and regional prime ministers using a mix of social distancing and videoconferencing for over four hours.

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Berlin lets mask slip on feelings for Trump’s America                           The crisis has convinced Germans that Trump puts other countries at risk.

BERLIN — Late last week in Bangkok, a shipping container holding thousands of masks destined for the German capital was redirected at the last minute.   As far as Berlin’s city elders are concerned, there wasn’t any doubt about who was to blame:   the “Amis.”   And not just any Amis (German slang for Americans, not to be confused with French ami, or friend), but the commander-in-chief variety.   “The actions of the U.S. president do not just betray a lack of solidarity, they are inhumane and irresponsible,” Berlin Mayor Michael Müller, a Social Democrat, thundered on Twitter.   Andreas Geisel, Berlin’s interior minister, went even further, accusing the U.S. of “confiscating” the masks in Thailand.   If Germans didn’t trust President Donald Trump before the coronavirus outbreak, the crisis has convinced them that his unyielding “America First” instinct puts other countries and their citizens at risk.   That such accusations should emanate from Berlin, a city the U.S. saved from Soviet domination during the Berlin Airlift, underscores the depth of distrust for the American president.

(https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/06/germany-trump-america-170905)

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Larry Elliot in The Guardian on where the buck stops post-pandemic

“One of the problems a party faces when it is in power for a long time is that blaming the opposition for the mess it allegedly left behind no longer cuts it.   The Conservatives have been in power for a decade.   They will eventually be held to account over how prepared the UK was for this crisis . . .   For the right, this is the second major economic crisis in little more than a decade.  It’s the second time the state has needed to come to the rescue of an economic system where the gap between rich and poor has widened, corporations pay as little tax as they can get way with, too little attention is paid to the climate emergency, and a large proportion of the workforce is one paycheck from penury.   For the left, it should be an open goal.”   (The Week, 4/3/2020)

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GERMAN FOREIGN POLICY–Establishment voices in Berlin warn that the EU could disintegrate in the corona crisis and call for economic concessions to Italy and Spain.   Both countries would “never forget in a hundred years, if Europe and we, in particular, would forsake them now,” former foreign ministers Joseph Fischer and Sigmar Gabriel wrote in an appeal published yesterday.   This should not happen because it would endanger the EU.   But “our country” is the Union’s “biggest economic and financial winner.”   Studies show, in fact, that with €86 billion annually, Germany profits more from the EU’s single market than any other EU member.    Since its introduction up until 2017, the single currency has provided Germany nearly €1.9 trillion, whereas it has cost France €3.6 and Italy even €4.3 trillion.   Fischer and Gabriel are pushing for an urgent EU aid program to dampen the rapidly growing EU criticism in Rome and Madrid.   According to a recent opinion poll, 67 percent of Italy’s population thinks that the EU harms their interests.  (German Foreign Policy, 4/6/2020)

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Brazilian minister says Covid-19 part of China ‘plan for world domination’

China is furious after a minister in Brazil suggested Covid-19 is part of a plan in Beijing for “world domination.”

Abraham Weintraub, the far-right government’s education minister, wrote on Twitter:   “Geopolitically, who will come out stronger from this global crisis?    Who in Brazil is allied with this infallible plan for world domination?  (The Week, 4/6/2020)

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COVID WORSENS IN SINGAPORE

As the world shut its doors, Singapore remained open for business. Its measured yet effective approach to containing covid-19, which won praise from the World Health Organization, permitted shops, restaurants and schools to stay open.  No longer.   Confronted with a sudden surge in new cases, almost all of them contracted locally, the government has decided to adopt much more stringent measures to slow the spread of the virus.   On April 7th all but essential businesses closed, with Singaporeans allowed out of their homes only to buy food and medicine, to exercise and get their hair cut.  The “circuit-breaker,” as the government calls it, will remain in place for at least a month.   Those who violate a new law banning public and private gatherings risk a $7,000 fine, a six-month stint in prison or both.   Even Singapore is no longer able to preserve a semblance of normality.  (The Economist, 4/9/2020)

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FOX SLAMMED

Fox News viewers are at particular risk from coronavirus due to their age, yet they have been regularly subjected to misleading recommendations and misinformation downplaying its prevalence, write dozens of journalists led by Prof Todd Gitlin from Columbia Journalism School.

Fox News does not clearly distinguish between the authority that should accrue to trained experts on the one hand, and the authority viewers grant to pundits and politicians for reasons of ideological loyalty.  (The Guardian, 4/10/2020

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TO THE POINT

  • Economic turn-around — Six weeks ago, Trump was boasting, and justifiably so, of having the greatest economy of any president in recent memory.   Now, the possibility exists that he could go into the fall election with the worst economy since Hoover and the Great Depression of 1932.   (Pat Buchanan, 4/10/2020)
  • The Israeli government closed off ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in Jerusalem to stem the spread of covid-19.   Israel has so far reported 11,235 confirmed cases of the disease and 110 deaths.  The ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has become the centre of the country’s outbreak.  Meanwhile, talks to establish a new governing coalition were ended, making another election in the summer likely.
  • “If there was ever a time to close the gap between groups of people across New Zealand in different positions, it is now.” Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, announces she will take a 20% pay cut for six months.  (The Week, 4/15/2020)
  • Donald Trump has announced that the US has “passed the peak” of new Covid-19 cases, suggesting the nation is successfully flattening the curve of the outbreak.   But there is another plateau that might be playing on his mind: a new comparison of approval ratings for world leaders shows several lines, including Boris Johnson’s, rising – while Trump’s remains relatively flat.   (The Week, 4/16/2020)
  • Plane fares “to double” after coronavirus crisis – Airlines may be forced to increase passenger fares dramatically once foreign travel is allowed again, experts have warned.   With many countries banning international flights to try to stem the spread of coronavirus, airlines have been hit particularly hard by the crisis.   Many of them have cut staff, reduced fares and cancelled many flights altogether.   As a result, analysts fear that in an effort to recoup some of their losses – and to cancel out lower plane capacity caused by social distancing rules – prices could skyrocket once travel restrictions are lifted.    (The Week, 4/14/2020)

DEATH OF QUEEN VICTORIA

No, I’m not late bringing you the news!

Rather, I’ve just read “Last Days of Glory,” by Tony Rennell (published in 2000).

The book answers any questions you might have about the death of Queen Victoria, in January 1901.   To my knowledge, hers was the biggest funeral service in history, befitting a woman who was the “Grandmama of Europe” and the most powerful woman in the world. If she had lived, World War One might have been avoided. The German Kaiser was her grandson and was present at her death and subsequent funeral.   By all accounts, he was on his best behavior and was well received by his Uncle Edward, Victoria’s son and successor, who also died before 1914.

 

She wasn’t England’s greatest monarch (that description belongs to Queen Elizabeth I), but she was by far the most influential, giving her name to an age. The Victorian Era carries connotations to this day.

 

Interestingly, President McKinley ordered the flag atop the White House (then known as the Executive Mansion), to fly at half-staff when he heard the news of her death, the first time this had been done for a foreign leader. He also attended a memorial service for her in Washington DC.

In reading of her life, I was reminded of a scripture in the Book of Proverbs, that “Righteousness exalts a nation” (Prov. 14:34).   Britain was exalted during the Victorian era, above all the other nations on earth.   Her empire was the greatest in history, ruling over one quarter of the peoples on earth.   She had the greatest navy in the world, giving her command of the seas.

Contributory factors were the abolition of slavery (in 1833).   There was a four-year transition period, at the end of which Victoria became Queen.   She was seen as a Liberator throughout her life.   Another contributing factor was her exemplary married life – during her short marriage to Prince Albert, they had nine children and were known to be a very happy couple.   This was in stark contrast to her two predecessors on the throne.

There’s no wonder more cities and towns around the world are named Victoria.   She reigned almost 64 years.   She left behind a country that has, sadly, rejected all the values she held dear.

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BRITISH EMPIRE FACTOID

“On the eve of the Second World War, Britain’s Colonial Empire was made up of 45 territories, 2 million square miles and 50 million inhabitants.   All but 300,000 square miles of the Empire was in tropical Africa, where there were no less than 14 territories, all of them staffed by members of the Colonial Service.” (Introduction, “Tales from the Dark Continent,” edited by Charles Allen, 1979)

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TRUMP’S UPSETTING WORDS

When President Trump told four congresswomen to “go back where you came from” and accused them of having anti-American ideas, he had a point.   First and second generation immigrants bring in alien ideas, which can be upsetting.

When I worked for an African government, my wife and I lived quite comfortably on one salary.   When a native African took over, he could not.   The reason is the extended family.   Whereas I only had to support my wife and I, plus our baby daughter, he had 300 members of his extended family to support – brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles.

No wonder the first generation of African leaders asked for bribes to do their jobs, it was the only way they could support all those people.

In Ghana, my wife had a friend from the UK who had married a Ghanaian man.   She used to get very frustrated and angry at all the hangers on, family members who would turn up at all hours of the day and night to ask for money.   Her husband no doubt had to supplement his income in order to survive.

The extended family system is very much a part of African culture.  It is similar to socialism, whereby the guy at the top distributes largesse to everybody according to his will.   As Mrs. Margaret Thatcher put it so well:   “The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other peoples’ money.”   Whether it’s your own money or the tax-payers, eventually the funds will be exhausted.

Far better for each person to take care of himself and his own family. This was the foundation of Anglo-Saxon supremacy,

“If a man doesn’t work, neither should he eat” (II Thess 3:10).   I Timothy 5:8 adds:   “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

But the root of the “squad’s” thinking is the extended family system, correctly described by the president as “an un-American idea.”

With immigration (and even the second and third generation) the idea will grow in numbers, changing America significantly.

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WAR WITHOUT END

“For nation (Greek “ethnos” = ethnic group) shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Matthew 24:7)

“When he slipped out of consciousness, Batsi Lokana watched the militiamen who had attacked him slice off his mother’s head.   When he came to, her body was gone.  “Either they ate her, or they threw her into the river,” he surmises from his hospital bed in Bunia, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri province.   Given Ituri’s history of gore, it is not a far-fetched conclusion.   The past two decades have seen civil war, mass killings, systematic gang rape and a vile scramble for loot.   For some militias, cannibalism is just another way to terrify one’s enemies.

“Last month saw a reprise of the violence, as Ituri’s cattle-herding Hema and seed-sowing Lendu ethnic groups again turned on each other.   Armed men emptied villages, burned down houses, hacked bits off their occupants and ripped the fetus out of at least one woman.   A mass grave found in the village of Tche contained 161 bodies, babies and small children among them.”   (“Ituri’s injuries,” The Economist, July 13th)

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EUROPE ELECTS FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT

STRASBOURG — The European Parliament on Tuesday elected Ursula von der Leyen as the next president of the European Commission — the first woman to hold the EU’s top executive job.

Von der Leyen, from the center-right European People’s Party, served most recently as German defense minister and is a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel.  She will be the first German to lead the EU in more than a half-century, since Walter Hallstein served from 1958 to 1967.

Von der Leyen won 383 votes in a secret ballot, just slightly above the absolute majority of 374 she required to be elected — and far short of the 422 votes cast in favor of current Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in 2014.   There were 327 votes in opposition, 22 abstentions and one vote declared invalid.  (Politico.eu 7/16)

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“The Fourth Reich:   The Specter of Nazism from World War II to the Present

 Amazon books:

Ever since the collapse of the Third Reich, anxieties have persisted about Nazism’s revival in the form of a Fourth Reich.   Gavriel D. Rosenfeld reveals, for the first time, these postwar nightmares of a future that never happened and explains what they tell us about Western political, intellectual, and cultural life.  He shows how postwar German history might have been very different without the fear of the Fourth Reich as a mobilizing idea to combat the right-wing forces that genuinely threatened the country’s democratic order.   He then explores the universalization of the Fourth Reich by left-wing radicals in the 1960s, its transformation into a source of pop culture entertainment in the 1970s, and its embrace by authoritarian populists and neo-Nazis seeking to attack the European Union since the year 2000.   This is a timely analysis of a concept that is increasingly relevant in an era of surging right-wing politics.

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PLANS FOR THE [German Army] BUNDESWEHR
The relentlessly fighting AfD army
by VON PETER CARSTENS:  Political correspondent in Berlin,          10 July, 2019

The AfD* calls for a “strong military force” with “relentless” soldiers and a leadership role in Europe.    Their plans for the Bundeswehr are reminiscent of old times.  It would create a state in the state.  An analysis.

Some sympathizers of the AFD have come to the party because the Union has failed to take care of traditional conservatives.

They see themselves as patriotic people who love their country, respect the Basic Law and defend it if necessary with the weapon in hand.   This also applies to the Bundeswehr, which was neglected for years.

For a quarter of a century, from the Urals to the Atlantic, central European politics barely saw any territorial threat in the midst of its great peace project, which would have to be met militarily.  There remained peace operations and disaster relief to justify the existence of the Bundeswehr.

But times have changed.   Germany has been investing more in equipment, training and readiness for five years now.   It will, however, take time for the worst deficits to be balanced.   After all, it was possible in the late autumn to bring about 10,000 well-equipped soldiers and their vehicles and everything else for several weeks to Norway for the NATO maneuver “Trident Juncture” [Google machine translation].    (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 10th July)

* The AfD (Alternative for Deutschland) is the right wing opposition party in Germany.)

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COUNTER-MEASURES TO US SANCTIONS

(Own report) – Berlin and Brussels are weighing countermeasures to the Trump administration’s growing number of extraterritorial sanctions.   The US government is seeking to globally enforce its unilaterally imposed sanctions to bind other countries, including allies, to its foreign policy course.   The sanctions against Iran are the most prominent example.   They also made German business with Iran largely impossible.   Washington first implemented extraterritorial sanctions in the mid-1990s, but finally reached agreement with the EU not to enforce them against European companies.   This was changed during the Obama administration, when it amassed billions in fines from banks in the EU.   The Trump administration has expanded the extraterritorial sanctions to include Russia and Cuba.   Following the failure of the INSTEX financial vehicle, German government advisors are proposing that legal action be taken in US courts.   Now, “asymmetric countermeasures” are also being discussed.   (German Foreign Policy, July 11th)

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UNDOING THE PAST

PRUSSIAN MONARCHY HEIRS SEEK RESTITUTION OF ARTIFACTS FROM GERMAN STATE                                            Hohenzollerns want property and artworks lost after two world wars and Soviet occupation                                                                                        Guardian UK, 12 July 2019

Negotiations have been ongoing “for several years” between the Hohenzollern family, the federal government and the states of Berlin and Brandenburg over the aristocrats’ demand for restitution.  “The talks … are aimed at finding a lasting solution for different art and collection objects, which are valued differently by the public institutions on the one hand and the Hohenzollern House on the other hand,” said the culture ministry in a statement.   According to Der Spiegel, the Hohenzollerns are seeking the restitution of tens of thousands of paintings, sculptures, coins, books and furniture.  Further, they want a right to reside at one of several properties, including Cecilienhof Palace, where Allied powers met after second world war to decide on Germany’s future.

The restitution negotiations were spearheaded by Georg Friedrich Ferdinand, the great-great grandchild of Wilhelm II, the last emperor and king of Prussia, who was deposed and went into exile after Germany’s defeat in the first world war.   The Prussian royals were initially stripped of their properties without compensation after the monarchy was overthrown, but a deal on the monarchy’s assets was later brokered between the state and the Hohenzollerns under a 29 October 1926 law.    However, Soviet occupation following the second world war and the subsequent communist rule in half of Berlin and in the state of Brandenburg led to additional expropriations, further complicating things.

“The negotiations are about legal ambiguities in the agreement, but also with legal positions that have changed as a result of the subsequent historical events, in particular the measures of the Soviet occupying power and the government of the German Democratic Republic,” said the culture ministry.

As a first step, a list of concerned objects has been drawn up that concerns less than 0.1% of the collections in the Prussian Castles and Gardens Foundation in Berlin-Brandenburg, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation and the German Historical Museum.  Nevertheless, a rapid resolution of the talks is unlikely. “At the moment, the positions of the negotiating parties are still very far apart,” said the ministry.

(https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/12/prussian-monarchy-heirs-reclaim-historical-artefacts-from-german-state)

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DUTCH ROYAL FAMILY STEP IN TO SAVE FORMER HOME OF KAISER WILHELM II                                                                                                 Huis Doorn in the Netherlands struggles to attract visitors due to controversial legacy of last German emperor                                        Guardian UK 2018

The Kaiser bought Huis Doorn, his home until his death in June 1941 at the age of 82, from Baroness Ella van Heemstra, the mother of Audrey Hepburn.   Between September 1919 and February 1922, five trains pulling 59 carriages arrived at Zeist station filled with his possessions.

Today those possessions remain largely untouched.  On his deathbed lies a small bunch of snowdrops and a note from his mourning son, Adalbert, who was serving in Hitler’s Wehrmacht when his father died.   Wilhelm’s morning gown hangs in his bedroom, above his fur-trimmed slippers.   A framed postcard from his grandmother, Queen Victoria, takes pride of place.   His cigars sit by an ashtray.

(https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/18/dutch-royal-family-step-in-to-save-former-home-huis-doorn-kaiser-wilhelm-ii)

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MUSLIMS ADD TO INSECURITY

“The BfV has found that all Islamist organizations active in Germany harbor anti-Semitic ideas and disseminate them in various ways. These ideas represent a considerable challenge for peaceful and tolerant coexistence in Germany.” — Annual report of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV), 2019 (Gatestone, 7/17)

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Prominent California Islamists Praise Imam’s Call to Exterminate Jews     by Seth Westrop
Islamist Watch, July 9, 2019

While waiting at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, following a trip to the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, California imam Ahmed Billoo (also known as Ahmed Ibn Aslam), wrote on his private Facebook account that he was “feeling annoyed” about his location.   He offered a prayer to deal with the surfeit of Jews in the building: “Oh God, reduce their numbers, exterminate them, and don’t leave a single one alive.”   He added the hashtag “Zionists.”

Billoo seemed palpably relieved to arrive in Istanbul the next day, writing “So good to be in a Muslim country” and “#TiredofSeeingZionists.”

Billoo is a prominent cleric in California, and part of a prominent Islamist family.

He works as the religious director at the Islamic Center of Cypress, serves as a “professor” at California Islamic University, and is a teacher at the Institute of Knowledge, a seminary that offers religious advice to Muslim students and trains the next generation of imams.   Its faculty includes prominent clerics from the hardline Salafi and Deboandi strains of Islam. (Middle East Forum, July 9th)

(https://www.meforum.org/58906/california-islamists-praise-imams-call-to-exterminate-jews)

QUESTION TIME

I’m now able to watch BBC Question Time on a regular basis.  This is courtesy of Britbox, a streaming service.  The one-hour program is shown on British television on Thursday evening and I can see it Friday morning. We’ve come a long way in the last few years.

The program is not one I can say I enjoy.  It raises my blood pressure alarmingly!  But it’s a clear reminder of how far the British people have gone astray.  As it says in the Book of Hosea:   My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6).   There isn’t even a basic grasp of Biblical knowledge.

Typically, there are five panelists and a supposedly random audience, made up of members of the public.   Members of the public put questions to the panel, who then answer them.   Only two of the panelists gave reasonable answers.   One was a Ghanaian member of the British parliament, the other the head of Witherspoons’, the country’s biggest pub chain. In the audience, only one supported Brexit, whereas 51.7% did in the country as a whole.

One panelist was a raving leftist loonie.   She was the most vocal.

Fortunately, the panelists differ from week to week, but it’s doubtful they will ever have one made up of five conservatives.

Which brings me to the Democratic Party’s ten contenders last night and ten tonight.

Age is obviously a hindrance for me.  I can remember when the Democrats were simply a left of center party claiming to fight for better pay and conditions for working men.   That was 50 years ago. Now, they are the main party advocating infanticide, excessive spending that would wreck the economy, an alien invasion and a total transformation of the social lives of the people, replacing the norm with LGBTQ adherents.

I can’t help feeling that a backlash is coming, one way or the other. Perhaps it will come after national bankruptcy.   It’s not just that the party lacks ideological sense;  it also lacks common sense.

>>Mark Steyn, 6/27:   “Bernie comes up with an action plan for American student debt: PRINT MORE MONEY”.

>> A report in today’s USA Today shows that young people are turning against the LGBTQ community.   It’s another sign that liberalism has gone too far.

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LONDON KILLINGS

One question that came up on “Question Time” was the issue of London’s outbreak of stabbings.   All kinds of theories were brought up to explain why they have seen an increasing number of stabbings in recent years.

One theory that was not mentioned seems the most likely.  That’s the fact that London is the most multicultural city in the world.  With people from every country, and with 50% of the population made up of immigrants, many people have formed gangs along ethnic lines. These gangs are very territorial and constantly fight each other. Over drugs, too.

For generations, when the British had colonies all over the world, they kept hostile tribes apart.  Now they have to do the same at home.  They seem to be failing.

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FOUR MORE MONTHS = 40

The number 40 is of Biblical significance, separating one epoch from another. It can show God’s intervention in human affairs.

At the end of October, it will be forty months since the vote on Brexit.   October 31st is the day by which the UK is set to leave the European Union.

Knowing what is to come in Europe, this may be God’s way of delivering the modern Israelites from the prophesied European Beast power, which is to come.

This most likely means that Boris Johnson will be the next prime minister.   He has promised Brexit by the due date.

Alternatively, if it’s Jeremy Hunt, the Europeans will have to kick Britain out.   They have already made if clear there can be no more negotiations, so why bother?

>>Carrie Symonds, Boris’ girlfriend, turns out to be a feminist and an environmentalist.  No wonder they had a blowup last week!   Meanwhile, the liberal leftist neighbours who reported on this to The Guardian, are in hiding, after having received death threats. Brexit is nasty.

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REPARATIONS FOR SLAVERY

It’s not surprising that the Democrats are in favor of reparations for slavery.   As the party of slavery, they have a lot to atone for.

Of course, slavery was a long time ago.   But, even in my lifetime, the Democrats were instrumental in depriving African-Americans in the south of the vote and, therefore, their civil rights.

True to form, the welfare reforms brought in by LBJ, have destroyed the African-American family.

What will they do next to make life harder for the country’s second biggest minority?

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A WORLD WITHOUT THE US

“If one wanted to see what a world without US influence looks like, you could have been an observer at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Bishkek on Friday, and then gone to Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe the next day for the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).

Together, these summits include more than 30 member and observer states and provided a forum for an emerging alliance of Russia, China, Turkey and Iran to discuss regional and global issues without Western powers present.   This is important because all of these countries, for different reasons, have faced challenges from Washington in recent years.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jingping met on Friday with leaders of Central Asian states, as well as India and Pakistan, to discuss regional and global issues.   They adopted the Bishkek Declaration that sought to emphasize the need to fight “three forces of evil,” including separatism, terrorism and extremism. Russia’s Tass News Agency felt this was important to note. In addition, the countries are working to challenge “cross-border crime” and “build a multi-polar world order.”

(“Two central Asia summits challenge the United States,” Seth Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, 6/15 Middle East Forum).  (Original title: “The Central Asia summits that show Washington is losing its grip.”)

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G20 SET TO DISCUSS TRADE

President Trump and world leaders are meeting in Osaka, Japan.   World trade is certain to be discussed.   On Saturday, Mr. Trump meets with China’s President Xi.   Hopefully, they can resolve their trade dispute.   If they fail, the world seems headed for a full-scale trade war.

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A SIGN OF THE TIMES

“A lie can travel around the world quicker than the truth gets out of bed.” (Tony Dokoupil, CBS This Morning)

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EU DIVISIONS OVER ARMAMENTS

In the arms industry, tensions between Berlin and Paris are growing as new steps are made to develop the next-generation of EU aerial combat systems.   The signing of new agreements concerning the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) on Monday in Paris was overshadowed by warnings from the German Bundestag that companies from Germany must be granted at least 50 percent of the contracts for the development and construction of the FCAS.

At the same time, Berlin is seeking to shift the balance of forces involved in the development and construction of a new Franco-German battle tank to Germany’s advantage.   The battle tank is conceived to be part of the future Main Ground Combat Systems (MGCS), which – like the FCAS – should operate in close conjunction with other weapons including unmanned systems.   While the German government is aiming to establish the Franco-German combat systems as a standard within the EU, to channel as much profit as possible to Germany, Great Britain, excluded from the German – French project, is developing its own rival combat aircraft.   (German Foreign Policy, 6/20)

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ANGELA MERKEL’S HEALTH

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was seen trembling once again during a ceremony in Berlin on Thursday, eight days after a similar incident.

Video showed Mrs. Merkel, 64, gripping her arms as her body was shaking on Thursday.   After about two minutes, she looked steadier and shook hands with the new justice minister.

She was offered a glass of water, but did not drink it.   Mrs. Merkel had blamed the previous incident on dehydration.

She later set off for the G20 summit in Japan as planned at lunchtime.

“All is going ahead as planned.   The federal chancellor is fine,” spokesman Steffen Seibert said.   (BBC 6/27)

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SARCASM GETS POINT ACROSS ON TRUMP AND HITLER

Trump Derangement Syndrome:   Hitler Hitler Hitler!   Trump could be Hitler except he has a Jewish daughter, son-in-law and Jewish grandchildren.   He could totally be Hitler except for moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem.   And he could certainly be Hitler except for recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Worst anti-Semite ever.   (Mark Steyn, 6/27)

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I’m writing this while seated in a Tim Horton’s coffee and donut shop (I only had a drink!). On TV, Dr Phil’s subject of the day is “My husband’s face is used for catfish bait”!   TV doesn’t get any better. 

Fortunately, I can’t hear it.

JAMESTOWN AND IDENTITY

Bernard Lewis was a British American writer on international affairs.  He was an expert on oriental studies and Islam.  He died this year.

Mark Steyn wrote the following about him in his weekly column:

“Bernard Lewis, the west’s preeminent scholar of Islam, worked for British intelligence through the grimmest hours of the Second World War.   “In 1940, we knew who we were, we knew who the enemy was, we knew the dangers and the issues,” he told The Wall Street Journal.   “In our island, we knew we would prevail, that the Americans would be drawn into the fight.   It is different today.   We don’t know who we are, we don’t know the issues, and we still do not understand the nature of the enemy.”   All true.  (12/31)

Thanks to digital television, you can now see old TV shows from the 60’s.   That includes British TV shows, such as The Saint, Danger Man, the Avengers and Doctor Who.  I quite like the first two, but never enjoyed the last two.  I am one of the few people left alive who can remember seeing the premiere of the first episode of “Dr Who.”  I seem to remember it was made on a budget of about twenty pounds!   (Ok, so I exaggerate!  A little.)

Anyway, I occasionally watch “The Saint” and “Danger Man” if only to see the England I grew up in, the England that Bernard Lewis was writing about.   Back then, over fifty years ago, the Citizens of England were English.   Their ancestors had lived on the island for over one thousand years.   Now they come from anywhere and everywhere.   This has complicated life immensely.   Now we don’t know who we are, we don’t see the enemy clearly and we certainly do not understand the nature of the enemy.

Another thing strikes me – there was no obsession with Europe.   These programs were made 50 to 60 years ago, before Britain entered the EU.   Note for all those panicking over Brexit, nobody was starving and Britain played a major role internationally, as “Danger Man” showed.

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JAMESTOWN

“Jamestown,” on the surface, is a very good show.   It’s based on fact, though the individual stories are fictional.   The physical challenges are all there.   It’s set in 1619, the year that the first females landed in the colony, after twelve years.   It also happens to be the first year that slaves were imported into America.   Additionally, it was the year that the first democracy was established in the Americas.

People often forget that the American colonies were democracies, that they each had their own House of Burgesses, or whatever they chose to call it.   In colonial Williamsburg you can go into the House of Burgesses and see the colonial parliament as it was.   Now, there’s an attempt to denigrate this by claiming that the United States owes its origins and inspiration to the Iroquois Confederacy, the union of six (Native American) tribes that dominated the north east of the country.

It’s all a part of the ongoing denigration of the Anglo –Saxon – Celtic peoples who really did found the colony of Virginia and the other colonies. “Jamestown” will likely digress to show that the African slaves and the Native Americans contributed more than their fair share to the economic development of the colony.   History is being rewritten as we slide ever further into multiculturalism and political correctness!  The second series begins Monday on PBS.

The Bible says: “where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)   The people who founded Jamestown had a vision of establishing an English colony with representative government.   It was also dedicated to Protestantism.

It led, in time, to the establishment of the United States of America.

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BREXIT is yet another example of identity politics, the struggle of half the people to reclaim their national identity and birth right.

“In theory, Britain is leaving the EU on 29 March 2019.   But the legal small print, published by Brussels, shows what this means. Parliament will be asked to ratify a deal which clearly admits that ‘all references to ‘Member States’ and competent authorities of Member States . . . shall be read as including the United Kingdom.’ (Article 7)    So the UK will be bound by EU laws, at least during a transition period.   But this ‘transition period’ can be be made to last forever (Article 132).  And even if a successor deal is agreed, the UK will have signed away other rights for years to come.”   (“The top 40 horrors lurking in the small print of Theresa May’s Brexit deal,” The Spectator, 12.30 18.)

The title of this article says it all.  “The top 40- horrors” in the proposed agreement illustrate that Brexit is impossible if the UK pushes for a deal with the EU.   Better to go ahead with no deal on March 29th.

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A GOOD YEAR FOR ISRAEL

Israel’s identity is clearer – it’s the national home of the Jewish people.

Things have been going the country’s way, as highlighted by an article in “Israel Today.”    “Everything Israel Endured and achieved in 2018” (dated 1.1.19).

Firstly, there was President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.   This was followed recently by Australia.   Guatemala and Brazil are two other nations that have changed their stance.

Secondly, the US and some other western countries finally decided to act against the “pay for slay” policy of the Palestinians.   Under this policy, the Palestinians forked out $355 million annually to terrorists’ families, compensating them for the loss of a family member engaged in acts of terror.   The US decided to withhold $215 million annually to the PA under the Taylor Force Act, named after an American murdered in Israel by a Palestinian terrorist.

The Trump Administration also decided to stop funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), an organization that gives aid to Palestinians.

Thirdly, thanks largely to outgoing US Ambassador Nikki Haley, the UN voted to condemn Hamas, in a vote that was 87 for and 57 against.   (There are 57 Muslim nations in the Islamic Conference.)

Another very real sign of progress has been Israel’s reaching out to Sunni Arab states, finding areas of common interest with Saudi Arabia, Oman and other Gulf Arab states.   The Sunni Arab countries all share a common fear of Iran.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also visited Chad and Azerbaijan, two Muslim countries a long way from Israel.   Right now, he is in Brazil, a country whose new conservative government is going to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The like-minded Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, has been working on measures to stop anti-semitism from becoming a bigger problem in the EU.

Mr. Kurz, sometimes labeled a “Nazi” for his right wing views, has ironically turned out to be Israel’s best friend in the EU.

“On the security front, the year began with a huge Israeli success when a 100-man strong Mossad team succeeded in stealing a large part of the secret Iranian nuclear archive under the noses of the mullahs in Tehran.   The more than 11,000 documents and disks that the Mossad smuggled to Israel indicated that Iran has never abandoned its plan to obtain a nuclear weapon.”

So, 2018 was a good year for Israel.

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NEW US CONGRESS HAS A RECORD NUMBER OF WOMEN

The former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt may not be the first person you would think of when you ponder Isaiah 3:12:   “As for my people, children are their oppressors and women rule over them.”   But the late First Lady did inadvertently shed some light on the scripture.

In a 1951 radio program, which I heard on BBC Radio 4, she enthusiastically spoke about the role women had played in Congress.   At the time women had only had the vote for thirty years.

“All the great social reforms have taken place since women got the vote”, was the verdict of Mrs. Roosevelt.

If you overlook the first social reform, Prohibition, which was a disaster, others include social security.   Her husband, Franklin Roosevelt, was responsible for the three R’s, Relief, Recovery and Reform and set America on the road to socialism in the first five years of his presidency.

If you accept the claim that “all the great social reforms have taken place since women got the vote,” another way of putting this is that “the road to national bankruptcy began in the 1930’s with all the great social reforms,” for every social reform adds to the nation’s debts.

And this new Congress is set to increase them further.

While the media boasts of “diversity,” and much has been made of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ radical socialism, more social reforms are expected to follow.   Her top two priorities are Medicare for all and forgiveness of student debt.   Norah O’Donnell this morning announced enthusiastically, talking of the new entrants to Congress, that “Trump has met his match!”

Our national identity is being threatened, with all this talk of “diversity” and radical socialism.

 

 

 

SIGNIFICANT MIDTERMS

The US midterm elections do not normally get much attention, as the office of the presidency is not up for a vote.   This year has been quite different, with the election seen by many as a “referendum” on Donald Trump.   The country is very divided and there was a very high turnout.

The Irish Times, of all papers, got it right with the following comment on the midterm election.

“Many in the (US) had hoped that the first full electoral verdict on the presidency of Donald Trump would deliver a decisive repudiation of Trumpism.   The results do not bear this out.” — Irish Times.

In fact, Donald Trump’s legitimacy as president was confirmed by Tuesday’s election.   He emerged as a credible candidate for a second term in 2020.

This goes even further – populist parties around the world have received greater legitimacy.   Liberals and globalists will now have to accept that a significant percentage of the population does not want to continue in the same direction, but wants to put their own country first, over all others.

Brazil is the latest country to vote for a populist as president.   Brazil is the second most powerful nation in the Americas. President Jair Bolsonaro has said that he will follow Trump (and Guatemala) in recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.   He also plans a radical program similar to what the US president is trying to do at home.

At a press conference the morning after the election, an African-American reporter with PBS accused the president of advocating “white nationalism.”    Mr. Trump was quick to respond and point out that he is a “nationalist,” not a “white nationalist.”   He puts America first.   Most of the journalists present did not seem to understand the concept!

We are likely to see more evidence of this over the weekend when Mr. Trump joins European leaders for the centenary of the end of the First World War.   The celebrations are being held in France.   President Macron of France has already said that the war was a good example of how allies cooperating can achieve great things; he has also emphasized that the Europeans need to work together even more now that the US is less committed to Europe.

Another issue likely to arise is highlighted by this comment from the German newspaper Die Welt, following Tuesday’s election:

“. . . Trump is expected significantly to increase pressure on Europeans to invest the target of two percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on defense.   Above all, Berlin will face pressure to spend billions and billions of euros, because the federal government is far from achieving this goal.” — Die Welt

It’s easy to understand why the president of the United States is pressuring Germany on this issue, but many Europeans, including Germans, are not so keen on seeing a more militarized Germany.   Just because a nation has been a democracy for seventy years does not mean it will remain one.   Just look at history!

The press conference on the morning after the midterms was also significant and not just because the PBS and CNN reporters were  put down, for different reasons.

Nancy Pelosi was the Democratic Party spokesperson and, true to form, talked up her party’s gains on Tuesday, even though they were nowhere near as good as she herself had predicted.   She spoke of how the “monied power” had been defeated, a throw back to when the Republican Party was considered the enemy of the working man.

On the same day, I learned of a new book by Anthony Scaramucci, “Trump, the blue collar president.”   When I Googled the book, this blurb came up on “Google Books:”

“Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci tells the inside story of how Donald J. Trump, a billionaire living on Fifth Avenue, identified the struggle of blue-collar Americans, and won the Presidency.   TRUMP, THE BLUE-COLLAR PRESIDENT is the comeback story for America and Americans …”

It’s clearly not possible for Nancy Pelosi to claim the Democrats are the party of the working man when Donald Trump, a Republican, is the “blue collar president.”

The Dems’ enthusiasm for the “caravan” moving through Mexico, headed for the border, will only result in Americans at the bottom of the economic ladder losing their jobs, forcing down wages.   Trump’s promise to refuse them entry will help blue-collar workers far more.

Times have changed.   Populists across the world are the new parties of “blue collar” workers – they appeal to the grassroots.   But the liberal, intellectual parties fail to understand this.

Ms Pelosi, at 78, is out of touch with reality.

It was pointed out on the BBC the evening of the election that the average age of the three top Democrats in Congress is 75.   This contrasts with the average age of the three top Republicans in Congress, which is 48.   The new democrats entering Congress are not likely to want to be led by somebody who is so out of touch with the winds of change that are sweeping America.   The last election showed that the Dems are the wealthier party.   The Wall Street Journal last week said the midterms were a battle between college educated white women and non-college educated white blue-collar workers.   It’s all topsy-turvy!

A further change was also highlighted in the Wall Street Journal (and on TV), that 40% of African-Americans now support President Trump.   It’s not so long ago that only 4% voted for the Republicans!

Liberal news programs were enthused at the fact that the new House of Representatives is more diverse, with more women, including  the first two Muslim women.  But diversity is the opposite of unity and could do further damage to the political system.

One final thought comes from noted columnist Pat Buchanan who wrote this morning:   “The war in Washington will not end until the presidency of Donald Trump ends.   Everyone seems to sense that now.”  (“The War for the soul of America”)

Jesus Christ once said that If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”  (Mark 3:25).   A recent poll revealed that one third of Americans think the country is headed for a civil war.   This scripture was used by Abraham Lincoln on the eve of the last one, on June 16th, 1858.

The times, they are a-changing, indeed!

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BREXIT

Britain’s decision in a referendum to exit the European Union is getting more and more complicated.   Today, Jo Johnson, the brother of the former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, resigned declaring that leaving Europe is “a terrible mistake.”   This will make it even more difficult for Prime Minister Theresa May to steer the whole process through parliament.   Others may resign as the Brexit deadline of March 29th gets closer.

It’s a mess!

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ISLAM

1)   Pompano Beach, Florida, Friday Sermon By Imam Hasan Sabri: Palestine Must Be Liberated ‘Even If This Leads To The Martyrdom Of Tens Of Millions Of Muslims’.

2) Asia Bibi is a young Christian mother in Pakistan, who made the mistake of drinking out of a glass that had been used by Muslims.   For this, she was put on trial for blasphemy.   There were huge demonstrations calling for her death.

She was freed, but is going to have to leave the country as Muslim citizens still want her executed.   There have even been calls for other family members and her lawyers to be put to death.

Pakistan remains an ally of the United States.

3) Saudi Arabia is also an ally, in spite of the officially sanctioned murder of a US based journalist who worked for the Washington Post.

Jamal Khashoggi went to the Saudi Embassy in Turkey to get papers that would enable him to marry. He never left.   It seems that he was murdered in a gruesome manner, and then dismembered, his remains carried out in black plastic trash bags.

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GERMANY

Today is the centenary of the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.   His resignation ended 400 years of Hohenzollern rule over Prussia and, after 1871, Germany.   Wilhelm is often blamed for World War I, though it’s a lot more complicated than that.   Two days after he fled to neutral Holland, the war ended.   World War II started a little over twenty years later.

Today is also the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass.   On this night, November 9, 1938, almost 200 synagogues were destroyed, over 8,000 Jewish shops were attacked and dozens of Jews were killed in Germany under the Third Reich.