Tag Archives: Mike Pompeo

MEDIA BIAS GREATER THAN EVER

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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.”

IS A LASTING PEACE POSSIBLE?

President Donald Trump walks to the Abraham Accords signing ceremony at the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Washington with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)AP

It’s not just the giddying signs that other Arab states may now follow suit and thus transform the prospects of a durable peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.  Even Saudi Arabia, the epicentre of the Sunni Muslim world and without whose approval the agreement would never have happened, may also openly “normalize” its relationship with Israel.

The Palestinian cause, supposedly the sticking point for the Arab rejection of Israel, is now receiving merely lip-service from Arab moderates, if that.  Saudi writers are being allowed to write openly against the Palestinians.  Hitherto suppressed truths are now being told in the Arab world in a way that was previously unthinkable.

Arab writers are saying they were wrong to believe that Israel was the aggressor in the region since it’s clearly Iran and Turkey that are guilty of aggressive expansionism.  These writers are saying that peace and co-operation with Israel will bring them great benefits in terms of modernity and development.

A Bahraini activist wrote:  “There is growing awareness among many in the Arab world that the Jewish people are not foreign colonialists in the Land of Israel, they are part of this land, and part of our region . . .”  (“Healing the ancient fracture,” Melanie Phillips, 9/18/2020)

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ISRAEL INDISPENSIBLE TO STAND AGAINST IRAN

“Recognition of Israel by the UAE and Bahrain will, it is predicted, be followed by recognition of Israel by Oman and other Gulf states, perhaps even Saudi Arabia.  But the idea that peace is at hand appears to be, as Mark Twain said of reports of his death, premature.

“Indeed, the Gulf Arabs could be signing up to recognize Israel because they see the Jewish state as an indispensable ally in the Arab Sunni clash with the larger and more powerful Shiite Iran.”   (PB, 9/18/2020)

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WHAT PUTIN FEARS

“Nothing is as inspiring as seeing people take to the streets to demand their freedoms – and nothing is as terrifying for the dictators they are defying.  In Belarus, among scenes that recall the revolts of 1989, people are turning out in their hundreds of thousands after a blatantly rigged election, heedless of the threat of state violence.  In the Russian city of Khabarovsk tens of thousands march week after week to protest against the arrest of the local governor and the imposition of Moscow’s rules.   Vladimir Putin is rattled.   Why else is Alexei Navalny, an anti-curruption crusader and Mr. Putin’s greatest popular rival for the Russian presidency, lying poisoned in a Berlin hospital bed?

“Regimes that rule by fear live in fear.    They fear that one day the people will no longer tolerate their lies, thieving and brutality.   They try to hang on with propaganda, persecution and patronage.  But it looks increasingly as if Mr. Putin is running out of tricks, and as if Alexander Lukashenko, his troublesome ally in Minsk, is running out of road.  That is why, despite the Kremlin’s denials, they are falling back on the truncheon and the syringe.   And it is why, as the protests roll on, they must be wondering whether state violence can secure their regimes.”    (“What Putin fears,” The Economist, 8/29/2020)

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AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE CONCERNS

THE head of Australia’s powerful Intelligence & Security Joint Committee has called for the reinstatement of National Service as Australia’s strategic position continues to deteriorate.  With rising concerns about a “strategic miscalculation” within the region, Committee chairman Andrew Hastie warned the risk of conflict was also increasing.   And rebuilding Australia’s Reserves was vital.  (Politico, 9/22/2020)

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DEMOCRATS ARE THE PARTY OF THE WEALTHY INTELLECTUAL ELITES

The Democrats are currently spending ten times as much money as the Republicans on advertising.  Their support comes mainly from the intellectual elite who are on high incomes, plus celebrities.  Yet many people still believe the Dems represent the common man.   Joe Biden was shaking his head at a town hall meeting when a medical worker said he is paid less than $15 an hour.   (In comparison, Mr. Biden could have reminded people that his son Hunter, was paid $50,000 a month when he sat on the board of a Ukrainian company.)   In an interview with Harvard professor Michael Sandel, Mr. Sandel explains how the Democrats lost the support of the working class. — editor

They (the Democrats) should have shown more humility.  Think of Hillary Clinton’s use of the word “deplorables.”  She used it in the last election campaign in reference to Trump voters, blue-collar workers. It showed an arrogance toward the less educated.  Obama spoke of people who “cling to guns or religion.”   The liberals emphasize rising based on merit.   But we don’t live up to the meritocratic principles we proclaim.   Of course, you have to pass difficult entrance exams to get into Harvard, but some people are groomed for it throughout their childhood and youth, with hockey lessons, piano lessons, foreign language classes, and their parents pay for it.  Other parents can’t afford it at all.   So, good performance depends heavily on family background and a good deal of luck.   By realizing this, we can develop a sense of humility and identify more easily with those less fortunate than ourselves.   (Der Spiegel interview with Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel, interviewed by Susanne Beyer, 9/18/2020)

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PELOSI AND BIDEN – NO FRIENDS OF UK

Biden warns the UK over Northern Ireland and Brexit — 
Democratic nominee Joe Biden says he will not allow peace in Northern Ireland to become a “casualty of Brexit” if he becomes US president.   He said any UK-US trade deal had to be “contingent” on respect for the Good Friday Agreement in final Brexit arrangements. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also applied pressure on the issue, saying he trusted the UK to “get this right.”  (The Week, 9/17/2020)

Both Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi are Catholic and sympathetic to Irish republicanism.   It should be noted that they are not very good Catholics, supporting US abortion laws.   –– editor

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 ON ABORTION

It’s difficult to understand Christians saying anything positive about Ruth Bader Ginsburg (see following):

“RIP to the more than 30 million innocent babies that have been murdered during the decades that Ruth Bader Ginsburg defended pro-abortion laws,” Collins tweeted.  “With @realDonaldTrump nominating a replacement that values human life, generations of unborn children have a chance to live.”   (GOP Rep Doug Collins)

The numbers of COVID-19 related deaths are announced each day.   They are now up to 200,000 in the US alone (which is disputed).   During the same six months that people have been allegedly dying from the coronavirus, 650,000 babies in the US have been aborted.  That’s three times as many deaths, most of which were solely for convenience. — editor

BBC SHOWS CLEAR BIAS – Katty Kay, BBC’s anchor on Monday evening, wore a very formal black outfit.  I’ve never seen her in black before.  One can only assume she was mourning the death of RBG. — editor

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ARABS ARE LEARNING THEY NEED THE JEWS

Emirati writer Salam Hamid, founder and head of the Al-Mezmaah Studies and Research Center in Dubai, published an article titled “The Cost of the Expulsion of the Arab Jews” in the UAE daily Al-Ittihad, in which he lamented the expulsion of the Jews from the Arab countries following the establishment of Israel in 1948.  This expulsion, he said, was a grave mistake, since the Arab countries thereby “lost an elite population with significant wealth, property, influence, knowledge, and culture,” which could have helped them, including against Israel, and lost the potential contribution of the Jews in many spheres, especially in the financial sphere.   The Arabs, he added, should have learned a lesson from the expulsion of the Jews of Spain in 1492, and from Hitler’s expulsion of the Jews of Europe, which eventually harmed the countries that lost their Jews. He stated further that antisemitism, which is deeply entrenched in Arab societies, stems from the books that teach Islamic heritage, studied in schools throughout the Arab world, and therefore called for an overhaul of the curricula in order to strengthen tolerance and banish extremism.  (MEMRI # 8939)

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EU-CHINA TRADE TALKS

The EU and China intend to reach an accord on a bilateral investment agreement before the end of the year.   This is the main result of yesterday’s video conference between the European Union’s leaders and China’s President Xi Jinping.   The bilateral negotiations, therefore, have been making significant progress and their conclusion before the end of the year seems realistic.   German enterprises, in particular, are very interested in the treaty.   Unlike media reports to the contrary, the majority of these enterprises are not leaving the People’s Republic of China due to current political tensions, but in many cases are even “strengthening” their presence, as the European Chamber of Commerce in China notes.   Whereas EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrell warns against “Chinese expansionism” and demands that the EU close ranks against Beijing, the Minister of State in the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Niels Annen, pleads for “maintaining dialog” with China:  independence from the USA should be preserved in the conflict with Beijing.   (German Foreign Policy, 9/17/2020)

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US DEBT EXCEEDS GNP

The federal government is about to hit a regrettable post-World War II milestone, as government debt will meet, or exceed, the size of the entire U.S. economy.  The last time U.S. government debt was bigger than U.S. GDP was 1946, as the nation wrapped up its war-time spending surge.

This time around, the rapid debt rise is due to three main factors: a massive economic contraction resulted in falling tax receipts.  But government spending reached unprecedented levels to avoid even more economic pain.     (http://forliberty.news/2020/09/03/federal-government-reaches-ugly-post-ww2-milestone-debt-bigger-gdp-rs-nl/)

“As of July, the public debt of the United States was $26.48 trillion, up $4.45 trillion from the previous year.  Americans credit card debt is nearly $1 trillion, a record high.  Some 43 million adult Americans carry a combined student debt of $1.5 trillion.”  (“Thrift and Simplicity:  a Pathway to Happiness,” The Epoch Times, 9/9/2020).

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IMPERIAL REDUX

BEST ARTICLE ON SLAVERY – “The Real reason our statues are under attack”, by Richard Palmer.  (9/20).  “The slave trade was incredibly profitable.  A slave in the Americas would sell for about eight times the price he cost in Africa.  And in 1805, Britain became the undisputed master of the world’s oceans after winning the Battle of Trafalgar.  The stage seemed set for Britain to profit more than ever from this evil trade.

“Instead. The opposite happened.   In March 1807, Britain outlawed the slave trade.  In his book “Empire” Niall Ferguson called it an “astonishing volte-face.”    “Towards the end of the 18th century, something changed dramatically,” he writes, “it was almost as if a switch was flicked in the British psyche.”

“It is not easy to explain so profound a change in the ethics of a people,” he continues.   “It used to be argued that slavery was abolished simply because it had ceased to be profitable, but all the evidence points the other way:  In fact, it was abolished despite the fact that it was still profitable. “Instead, Britain had a “collective change of heart.”

“But Britain did more than simply stop participating in this trade. It used its diplomatic clout to ensure other nations ended slavery . . .  No other nation was going around the world cajoling other nations to end the slave trade . . .

“But abolishing the slave trade didn’t free the slaves already at work.  Thus, Britain’s anti-slavery campaigners pushed on.  In 1833, the United Kingdom passed the Slavery Abolition Act, outlawing the practice within British colonies.  When this law came into effect, 800,000 slaves were freed.

“To pass this law through Parliament, it had to be “compensated emancipation,” meaning slave owners were paid for the slaves they had to free.  Many on the left criticize this today.   But the fact is, uncompensated emancipation would have taken much longer.  The reformers chose to be pragmatic and freed the slaves as soon as they could.  Britain had to take out a loan so massive that it only finished paying it off in 2015.

“The UK, alone in all nations of the world, put forth a huge effort to shut this trade down.  In 1808, during the Napoleonic War, with the nation still fighting for survival, Britain set up the West Africa Squadron.  It patrolled the sea of Africa’s west coast looking for slave ships.

“Britain’s naval dominance was now assured, and so “for the first 30 years of Victoria’s reign, the Royal Navy’s chief task was the interception of slavers.”  (Heaven’s Command, Jan Morris)

“In theory, Britain was leading a multinational effort; but in practice, no one else made any significant contributions.”  (The Philadelphia Trumpet)

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BARBADOS TO BECOME A REPUBLIC

Not a US style republic, but an Irish one, where the Queen is simply replaced as Head of State by an appointed president.   The people will not have a say in this.  They have been talking about a republic for twenty years.   When my wife and I visited the country in the year 2000 local radio was discussing the issue.  One young, black Barbadian, told us she was very concerned about a potential loss of freedom when the Queen is removed.  The Barbadian Labour Party controls all but one seat in parliament.   A simple two thirds majority is required to approve the change.  This  makes dictatorship much easier.  A republic always gives more power to politicians.

There is also speculation that China is behind the move, as its ties to Barbados are growing.

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German Development Bank earmark R96 million for Cape Town     by Marvin Charles, Cape Town

The Republic of Germany and the German Development Bank announced they would give the City €5 million (R96 million) for relief aid, for identified communities within the metro.  The German Development Bank, KfW, has sent a written request to mayor Dan Plato, outlining the offer to support communities within the City.

The City said the funds would not be disbursed to the City, and will not be incorporated into the City’s budget, in the conditions laid out as part of the agreement signed by the City and the German ambassador.  KfW’s Silke Stadtmann and Peter Weinert said in a letter to Plato:   “Through these emergency measures, about 25000 families and pregnant women in need could be supported with a digital food voucher worth about R600 per month, for about three months.

”The focus of the aid would be families and single parents with children under the age of seven “as well as foreign families who do not qualify to receive government support grants.”

The areas that would be receiving relief include Khayelitsha, Hanover Park, Manenberg, Gugulethu and Nyanga and, if funds are still available, Bonteheuwel.  KfW said some of the money would be used to support informal businesses, such as urban vegetable gardens and early childhood development centres.  In a report that was tabled by the mayoral committee, the City said the relief was the latest development in a successful relationship with the German Development Bank, which had seen 15.5m contributed since 2007.  The money went into a programme called Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading, which aims to prevent crime through environmental design, as well as social programmes.

Further comment was sought from the City but they were unable to respond to questions by the time of publication.

* €1 is equivalent to R19.34 as of 19 September 2020. (by Marvin Charles, IOL, Cape Town)

(https://www.iol.co.za/capeargus/news/germany-german-development-bank-earmark-r96-million-for-city-of-cape-town-f632ca19-3835-46d8-a8b6-b3cc1564bfca)

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TO THE POINT

  • EU SUMMIT CANCELLED – as President Charles Michel has to self-isolate.
  • Pubs in England face 10pm closing time:   Pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues in England will have to close at 10pm from Thursday, as the UK’s Covid-19 alert level moved to four.  The upgrade in severity means the risk of transmission is now “high or rising exponentially,” with Boris Johnson set to announce the new measures in the House of Commons before addressing the nation in a live broadcast at 8pm this evening.  (The Week, 9/22/2020)
  • STRENGTHENING TIES BETWEEN CHINA, RUSSIA AND IRAN: China’s defense ministry announced Friday it would conduct the “Caucus 2020” military drills alongside Russia and Iran.  According to China’s state-run The Global Times, Beijing hopes to use the joint drills with Russia as a way to strengthen diplomatic and strategic co-operation between Moscow and Beijing.   The military drills that are causing anxiety in the West will run throughout next week.  (Daily Express, 9/20/2020)
  • LOSS OF FREEDOM:   PETER HITCHENS:  “Most people have far too readily accepted limits to their lives which the world’s tyrannies would once have hesitated to impose on their citizens. Well, have you had enough yet? ”  (Peter Hitchens, Daily Mail, 9/20/2020)
  • LANSING POLICE MORE LIKELY TO ARREST BLACK KIDS – a front page headline in the Lansing State Journal on Sunday.  ‘Blacks are about 28% of youth, but 70% of arrests.”   Not mentioned in the article is the comment made by African-American writer Shelby Steele last week, that 75% of black children do not have a father living with them.   Could that be the reason African-American teens are more likely to get into crime?   And consequently more likely to be arrested?
  • TWISTED THINKING — Iranian Preacher Condemns Charlie Hebdo:  The West Spreads Islamophobia, Westerners Will Be Annihilated; Iranian Ayatollah:  Why Is Insulting The Prophet Considered Free Speech While Europe Executes People For Investigating The False Holocaust?  (Memri #8288)    It should be noted that no western country executes people for “investigating the false Holocaust.”  Except for some states in the US, the death penalty has been abolished in every western nation. — editor

 

SINGAPORE MAN SPIES FOR CHINA

Jun Wei Yeo, an ambitious and freshly enrolled Singaporean PhD student, was no doubt delighted when he was invited to give a presentation to Chinese academics in Beijing in 2015.

America is not an ethnically based nation.  Most nations remain that way.  This shows that even Singapore, which is ethnically Chinese, may be producing spies for China.   Will a clash between the US and China see large numbers of Chinese supporting their ancestral homeland?

Jun Wei Yeo was charged with using his political consultancy in America as a front to collect information for Chinese intelligence, US officials say.  Separately, the US said a Chinese researcher accused of hiding her ties to China’s military was detained.

China earlier ordered the closure of the US consulate in Chengdu.

The move to shut down the diplomatic mission in the south-western city was in response to the US closing China’s consulate in Houston.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the decision was taken because China was “stealing” intellectual property.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin responded by saying that the US move was based on “a hodgepodge of anti-Chinese lies.”  (BBC7/25/2020)

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PHILIPPINES ASKS CHINA FOR HELP

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he has asked China for help in getting access to a coronavirus vaccine as governments around the world make arrangements to secure supply for their citizens ahead of what is expected to be a global scramble for the much-awaited shots.

In an address Monday, Mr. Duterte, who has favored close ties with Beijing, said he had made a plea to Chinese President Xi Jinping that the Philippines be one of the first to receive the doses if China has them.  He also asked Mr. Xi to grant Manila credit . . .

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AUSSIE PM FIT FOR WAR

ONE of Australia’s most experienced military Generals has backed Prime Minister Scott Morrison as capable of running – and winning – a “serious war.”

Retired Australian Army General Jim Molan AO DSC said this week the Australian Prime Minister displayed the type of leadership you’d expect in war time.

Molan, who now serves in the Australian Senate, shared his observations during a Northern Forum address on Tuesday evening.

Speaking at the online event, Senator Molan said Australia’s defense capabilities were the best he’d seen during his 40 years of service.

“I would suggest to you with this government we could run a serious war,” he said.   “We have a Prime Minister who shows the type of leadership you would expect in war time.

“We have a bunch of ministers and bureaucrats now who have been tested through the fires, tested through COVID – they are extraordinarily experienced from my observation and know what to do.”

Senator Molan retired from the Australian Army in 2008 after having served, among other postings, as Chief of Operations of the multi-national forces in Iraq, where he oversaw 170,000 allied troops.  (Politicom, 7/28/2020)

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IRAN’S MULLAHS LOOKING FORWARD TO A BIDEN VICTORY

The ruling mullahs of Iran are excited.  They are convinced that a new US president, like his previous boss, former President Barack Obama, will throw them the lifeline so badly needed for their survival, their hold on power, and their ability to advance their nuclear and other imperialist plans — both in Venezuela against the United States, and in the Middle East.

Iran’s economic conditions have become so dire that even some officials are warning of possible revolt and the collapse of the Islamic Republic.

It is important to note that without Iran’s financial and military assistance, many militia and terror groups could not survive. As Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, admitted, “… Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

(Iran:  the mullahs are excited, Majid Rafizadeh, Gatestone, 7/28/2020)

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Israel sends reinforcements to north, bracing for imminent attack    IDF deploys additional firepower, intel-gathering tools and special forces  a day after alleged attempted Hezbollah assault.  (Times of Israel, 28 July, 2020)

The Israel Defense Forces deployed additional reinforcements to the country’s Lebanese and Syrian borders on Tuesday, indicating it was bracing for more violence along the frontiers after an alleged attempted attack by the Hezbollah terror group the day before.  Israeli officials expected an attack on Israeli troops by the Lebanese terror group within the next 48 hours, before the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha on Thursday night, according to an unattributed Channel 12 report on Tuesday.  Over the past week, Hezbollah has threatened some form of retaliation for the death of one of its fighters last week in Syria in an airstrike that it attributed to Israel, but which the Jewish state has not officially acknowledged conducting.     (https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-sends-reinforcements-to-north-bracing-for-imminent-attack/)

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Latinos are the largest group of Californians admitted to University of California for the first time    (LA Times, 16 July, 2020)

Latinos represent the highest number of prospective freshmen accepted into the University of California for fall 2020, part of the most diverse first-year class ever admitted, according to preliminary UC data.   Latinos slightly eclipsed Asian Americans, making up 36% of the 79,953 California students offered admission. Asians made up 35%, white students 21% and Black students 5%.

(https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-07-16/latinos-uc-berkeley-diverse-class-history)

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The lost boys:   the white working class is being left behind           These children are the forgotten demographic  (The Spectator UK, 18 July 2020, by Christopher Snowdon)

You can argue about the merits of pulling down statues, but it’s hard to make the case that mass protests serve no useful purpose.  At the very least, they provoke debate and draw attention to uncomfortable topics that it might otherwise be easier to ignore. The recent protests have forced everyone to have difficult discussions about race, class, poverty and attainment.   Any serious examination of the statistics shows that we’re pretty far from equal, but what the figures also show is that it’s wrong-headed and damaging to lump very different groups together. In these discussions politicians often lazily assume that all BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) people are the same, and that all white groups are equally privileged.   But a proper look at the data shows not just that there are striking differences within BAME groups, but that the very worst-performing group of all are white working-class boys — the forgotten demographic.

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BLAMING THE VICTIMS

An increasingly popular idea is that  . . . only minorities can be victims.   The notion is hardly limited to the recent riots in America. Elements of such thinking often appear in other contexts.

British women, for instance, including rape victims who draw attention to “Asian” (Pakistani and South Asian) sex grooming gangs, are being attacked by the “woke” establishment.

Earlier this month in the UK, Sarah Champion, a Labor politician and MP for Rotherham (the epicenter of sex grooming), was accused of “fanning the flames of racial hatred” and “acting like a neo-fascist murderer.”   Her crime?   She had dared to assert that “Britain has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls.”

(“Blaming the Victims of Muslim Rapists,” Raymond Ibrahim, MEF 7/11 – Raymond Ibrahim is a Judith Friedman Rosen Fellow at the Middle East Forum)

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POWERFUL SERMON OPENS HAGIA SOPHIA TO MUSLIMS

In a July 10, 2020 decree, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan converted the Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque and placed it under the authority of the country’s Ministry of Religious Affairs.   On July 24, Friday prayers were held for the first time in 86 years in the Hagia Sophia Mosque’s main space.   Before the prayers were performed, President Erdoğan recited verses from the Quran. Diyanet minister Ali Erbaş went to the minbar (“pulpit”) bearing a sword and gave a sermon that, among other things, praised several Turkish conquerors, including Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, who conquered Istanbul in 1453, and Sultan Alparslan, who won the 1071 Battle of Manzikert, which opened Asia Minor to Turkish settlement. (MEMRI 7/29/2020)

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US to withdraw or relocate more troops in Germany than previously thought

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has outlined proposals that foresee bringing about 6,400 troops back to the US and relocating another 5,400 within Europe.   That entails reducing the presence in Germany by roughly one third.  (Deusche Welle 7/29/2020)

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US PRESSURE ON GERMAN BUSINESS

In individual talks with German and EU companies, the Trump administration is threatening repercussions, if they do not withdraw from the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.   According to reports, up to twelve representatives of three US ministries have held separate video conferences with European companies, to coerce them into withdrawing from the Nord Stream 2 project.   The latest US sanctions against the gas pipeline affect 120 enterprises from 12 EU countries.   Should the construction of Nord Stream 2 remain unfinished, the direct damage could reach twelve billion euros. German business associations are calling on Berlin and Brussels to take harsh retaliatory measures, otherwise US reprisals could set a “dangerous precedent” that could be repeated at any time.   Business representatives draw attention to the fact that the USA had tried to torpedo German-Russian energy relations, beginning already with those between West Germany and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1980s, but ultimately had to yield each time.  (German Foreign Policy, 7/27/2020)

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THINKING THRU A CIVIL WAR

If Trump wins in November, it is foreseeable that his many enemies will ratchet up their hatred for him to even more destructive extremes.   A bloody civil war would become likely, escalating an already violent cultural battle to a new threshold.   How this might impact our schools, workplaces and neighborhoods is unpredictable even if the tactical outcome is not.   The red states, wide-open spaces where politically conservative Americans tend to live and work, have superior firepower, to put it mildly, and their geographical vastness has rendered them invulnerable to attack.

They also provide most of the food consumed by blue-zone denizens, implying red partisans could lay siege to blue, bringing the color war to a relatively quick end. Political liberals have taken to boycotting the wares of nearly everyone perceived as unfriendly to their cause.   It remains to be seen whether conservatives can get sufficiently aroused to return fire, not only by boycotting every product or service associated with liberal ownership, but by disrupting the flow of essentials into the big cities where they live.   (The Morning Line, 7/26/2020)

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TO THE POINT

  • Europe bracing for second wave of Covid-19 Europe is preparing for a second wave of Covid-19 amid continuing outbreaks.  The Belgian government has warned that the country could be put into a second “complete lockdown” and Catalonia says it may also have to reintroduce lockdown measures. Germany’s public health advisory body has said it is “deeply concerned” about the rise in cases and France has called for greater vigilance.  (The Week, 7/28/2020)
  • Study finds men are performing more domestic tasks Men are performing more domestic duties than ever, according to new research.  The study found that men are spending an extra five-and-a-half hours a week on childcare and housework compared to 40 years ago, while women do nearly three hours less of domestic work.   However, women still do 80% more cooking, cleaning and caring than men.  (The Week, 7/28/2020)
  • Israel Aircraft Industries is known as a world leader in drone technology and was recently tapped by the German Air Force to develop a special Heron drone for the Luftwaffe.  The German model of the Heron TP UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) completed its first flight in Israel’s skies to test modifications designed for the German Ministry of Defense.   The EU company Airbus DS Airborne Solutions, a subsidiary of the well-known passenger plane maker, is collaborating with IAI on the project.   The Germans will lease a number of UAVs with maintenance services, with Luftwaffe personnel currently training in Israel with Israeli counterparts at an IAF base in central Israel.  (Yakir Benzion, United with Israel, 7/27/2020)
  • Over-55’s main losers from Covid – Workers over the age of 50 have suffered larger cuts to their earnings than any other age group during the economic downturn triggered by coronavirus, a new report reveals. Britain’s oldest workers have seen their pay fall by an average of 23%, while millennials and middle-aged workers have been hit by salary cuts of 19% and 17% respectively, according to the Financial Conduct Authority.  (The Week, 7/29/2020)
  • A Christian teenager was sexually assaulted by his Muslim employer in early June.   The boy’s father and brother were then beaten for trying to seek justice for him.  (Persecution.org, June 19, 2020, Pakistan)

 

 

DON’T RUN WITH THE HERD

WEIMAR PRECEEDED HITLER

When we lived in Africa, I used to advise people that, if they wanted to live a long life, they should stay out of politics.   I’ve now started to do the same in the United States.

Demonstrations and riots all too often end in violence.  Rise to prominence and there’s always the prospect of assassination.   Play it low key and you might live to old age.

I’ve never been one to run with the herd.   The fate of the herd is too likely to be that of the gadarene swine.   In the biblical account, two demon-possessed men have the demons cast out of them by Jesus Christ.  The demons then ask to enter a group of pigs.  The pigs then head straight for a cliff and instant death.

Politics is a bit like that.  Certainly, it is right now.

Most people, companies, even churches, are tripping over themselves trying to distance themselves from the wrongs of the past; asserting how they are not racist and proclaiming their love for Black Lives Matter.   Past American leaders are out of favor.  Even the British Empire has come under attack (would they rather be goose-stepping?   The British Empire was the only force standing up to Hitler while the US and Russia continued to sleep.  Historians have shown that, if Britain had fallen, the US would have followed and we would now all be speaking German.)

When we consider the tenor of the times, people need to remember that Weimar preceded Hitler, with a Depression in between; that a very liberal and decadent brief period of history was quickly followed by an administration of the extreme right.  Economists are already talking about another Depression, with our economies in a collapsed state through the corona virus.  Could history repeat itself?  Of course it could.  In America?  Of course.  As fascism consumed many countries in Europe, the US saw a big expansion of government power during the same period.

When people are hungry and have no jobs, they look for alternatives.

The Bible talks about an end-time combination of ten nations.  These have the hallmarks of a fascist conglomeration, embarking on world conquest.  You can read about it in Revelation 17:12-14.  (Incidentally, when European nations in the past went down a similar path, it was the British Empire that defeated them.   It will be different next time as the British Empire is no more.)

So, avoid the herd.  You never know where the herd will be a few months from now.  Robespierre or Napoleon (another “nut job”  who was defeated by the British Empire!)?   Liberal or Very Conservative?  It doesn’t depend on an election.   The herd is emotional.   Like those pigs, there’s very little thought, just an instinct that drives them toward the cliff.  Today, it’s liberal socialism.  Tomorrow?  Who knows?

Remember the pigs in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”?   They started out liberal.  But after over 100 pages, they were very different!

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ANOTHER TERROR ATTACK IN UK

Three men were killed (and three injured) in Reading, outside of London, when a Libyan asylum seeker stabbed them.

The British government said they will learn from this.   The most important lesson is the risk in allowing asylum seekers into the country.  Once again, this asylum seeker is a follower of the “Religion of Peace”.

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AMERICA IS SOCIALIST, DUMMY

“Every American state decrees that all its children shall be educated at state expense, no matter how rich or poor.  The idea began with Horace Mann in Massachusetts back in the 1830’s and eventually caught on nationwide.”

“Second, the entire American highway system is built, paid for, and maintained by the state and federal governments.

“Third, estate taxes were introduced in 1916, in the name of equality and to prevent the children of successful parents from becoming a parasitic leisure class.

“Fourth, in the 1930s Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal established the principle that the federal government should intervene on behalf of distressed citizens everywhere.  It introduced Social Security (old-age pensions) and a growing array of farm subsidies to prevent rural depopulation.   In the 1960’s Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs went further, introducing healthcare for the poor (Medicaid) and for the elderly (Medicare).  Poor citizens in every city gained access to public housing complexes and were offered food subsidies and welfare benefits.

“During wartime emergencies in 1917 and 1942, the major industries were organized and run by central government departments in the name of efficiency and to prevent wasteful duplication.”  (“America is socialist, dummy,” Patrick Allitt, Spectator US edition, April 2020)

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WHITE LIVES MATTER

Burnley Football Club bosses have vowed to slap lifetime bans on supporters who flew a “White Lives Matter” banner over the Etihad Stadium on Monday.

A light aircraft towing the banner appeared in the skies shortly after players from Burnley and Manchester City had kneeled in support of Black Lives Matter (BLM) ahead of kick-off.

Speaking to reporters after the game, which ended in a 5-0 defeat for his side, Burnley captain Ben Mee said that he and his teammates “were embarrassed, disappointed, upset” about the stunt.  (The Week, 6/23/2020)

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NEXT PHASE FOR COVID-19

Covid-19 has thus far taken its most serious toll on rich, peaceful countries.  America, Britain, Italy, France and Spain, five of the six worst-affected, have collectively borne over half of recorded deaths from the virus worldwide.  But the disease is now rippling through less stable places.  What will happen as it does?  There are reasons to fear not only that conflict will help the virus to spread, but also that its’ spread may worsen wars.  The two could feed upon each other, creating a cycle of misery it is difficult to arrest.

At the outset of the Peloponnesian war with Sparta, which raged from 431bc to 404bc, Athens was ravaged by a plague that swept through the city for three years, killing thousands of soldiers and a third of its inhabitants.  “Such was the nature of the calamity, and heavily did it weigh on the Athenians; death raging within the city and devastation without,” recalled Thucydides, a Greek historian and general.  The Spanish flu of 1918, another world-shaping pandemic, festered in the trenches and barracks of the first world war and killed more people than the conflict itself.  Over 36,000 American soldiers died before ever reaching France, with 12,000 dying on troop transports.  In total, more American soldiers, sailors and Marines died of flu and pneumonia than bullets and bombs.  (“Covid 19 raises the risk of global violence,” The Economist, 6/23/2020)

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ISRAELI SOVEREIGNTY OVER WEST BANK                                             TV:   Trump, top aides to decide this week whether to back Netanyahu’s annexation ‘Decisive’ White House meeting, to be attended by Pompeo, Kushner, Friedman, said set to determine whether US okays PM’s July 1 plan for sovereignty over settlements, Jordan Valley.  (Times of Israel, 20 June 2020)

The White House will this week hold a “decisive” meeting on whether to approve Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s declared plan to start from July 1 annexing the 132 West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley — the 30 percent of the territory allocated to Israel under the Trump administration’s Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, Israel’s Channel 13 reported Saturday night.

Citing unnamed American and Israeli sources, the report said US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman is to fly home on Sunday for the pivotal meeting, which is scheduled for Monday or Tuesday, and which is also to be attended by Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; and National Security Adviser Richard O’Brien.  Friedman may meet with Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz before he leaves.

Trump himself is “likely” to join the session, the report said, since “he’s the one who will ultimately decide” on whether to approve Israeli annexation, and if so on what scale.

A central issue in the White House meeting is likely to be the internal disagreement in the Israeli coalition over annexation now, which Netanyahu is vigorously championing, while Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi have said the Trump plan should be implemented in coordination with Jordan and the Palestinians.

A joint US-Israel committee has been mapping out the West Bank areas set to come under Israeli rule, and has not yet completed its work, having been delayed in part by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Times of Israel was told earlier this month that the committee was weeks away from finishing the job, and that the US was “highly unlikely” to green-light annexation by Netanyahu’s July 1 target date.

Netanyahu’s vows to push ahead with unilateral annexation have been condemned internationally, with European and Arab states, as well as senior members of the US Democratic Party, warning the Israeli government against doing so.

(https://www.timesofisrael.com/tv-trump-top-aides-this-week-to-decide-whether-to-back-netanyahus-annexation/)

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Worst of crisis now behind us, says Germany’s chief banker
Germany has turned the corner on the worst of an economic crisis sparked by the coronavirus pandemic and is now on the path to recovery, the central bank chief of Europe’s biggest economy said Sunday.  (AFPnews, thelocal.de, Germany, 21 June 2020)

“We experienced in the last months the deepest economic slump in Germany’s (post-war) history,” Jens Weidmann told Sunday’s edition of the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.  “The good news is:  the trough should be behind us by now, and things are looking up again. But the deep slump is being followed only by a comparatively gradual recovery.  “Weidmann, who has never minced his words against expansionary policies ramped through in the past by the European Central Bank, on Sunday also voiced support for the unprecedented economic rescue and stimulus packages unleashed by Berlin to shield German companies and jobs.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government had stunned observers in March when it unveiled a rescue package worth 1.1 trillion euros, smashing through a long-held no new debt dogma to fund the measures.  Earlier this month, it said it would plough another 130 billion euros into various schemes, including a cut in VAT, to stimulate the economy.  Reacting to comments that Germany, once known as a “frugal” nation, was now dramatically loosening its purse strings, Weidmann said:   “The image of the Swabish housewife is often wrongly portrayed.  “She is not saving for the sake of saving, but so that there is money that can be spent sensibly and in case there are difficult times.  And that is precisely the case here.

“Like nations across Europe, Germany shut schools, shops and sent workers home from mid-March to halt transmission of the coronavirus.  The impact of the health crisis has pushed the economy into a deep recession believed to be the worst since World War II.  After the rate of new infections dropped sharply, Europe’s biggest economy began easing restrictions in early May although social distancing rules are still in place and huge events banned.  Nevertheless, the improved health situation and the huge government support have helped lift sentiment, with a closely-watched survey showing confidence among investors surging to its highest level since before the financial crisis.”

(https://www.thelocal.de/20200621/worst-of-crisis-now-behind-us-says-germanys-chief-banker)

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NATO EXPANDS INTO ASIA

NATO should systematically expand its military exercises and operations into the Asia-Pacific region, an expert of Washington’s Atlantic Council think tank proposes in the intensifying debate on the posture the western war alliance should assume in relationship to the People’s Republic of China.  China’s “presence in the Arctic, in Africa and in the Mediterranean” calls for a response, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.  Think tanks suggest that NATO should more closely monitor Chinese investments in the European infrastructure, because “civilian roads, ports and rails” under construction with Chinese participation “are an integral part of NATO’s plans for military mobilization.”  NATO is also strengthening its relations with “global partners” such as Japan, South Korea and Australia.  For the first time, Australia’s defense minister participated at the meeting of the NATO Ministers of Defense that ended yesterday.  The Atlantic Council is also suggesting the establishment of a NATO military headquarters in the Asia-Pacific region.   (German Foreign Policy, 6/21/2020)

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WHEN EVERYONE KNEELS, WHO WILL STAND UP FOR THE WEST?

“We are afraid that anything we do is colonial. There’s plenty of countries willing to step into that global governance gap: China, Iran, Russia, Turkey.” — Bruce Gilley, The Times, May 10, 2018.

British post-colonial guilt is, however, having repercussions far larger than statues.  There is, for instance, still total silence about persecuted Christians, according to a UK bishop leading a government review into their suffering.

Western history is seemingly being remade to portray all of Western civilization as just one big apartheid.  It is as if we should not only pull down statues but also pull down ourselves.  A successful democracy, however, cannot be built on just erasing the past.

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”  (George Orwell, 1984)

(“When Everyone kneels, who will stand up for Western history and culture?” Guilio Meotti, Gatestone, 6/21/2020)

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US military in Germany:   What you need to know

A decision to move US troops out of Germany would mark a major change in the defense relationship between the two countries and reshape the basis of American military presence in Europe since World War II.  (Deutsche Welle, 16 June  2020, by Ben Knight)

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UK DEBT EXCEEDS SIZE OF ECONOMY

The UK’s debt is now worth more than its economy after the government borrowed a record amount in May.

The £55.2bn figure was nine times higher than in May last year and the highest since records began in 1993.  The borrowing splurge sent total government debt surging to £1.95trn, exceeding the size of the economy for the first time in more than 50 years.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the figures confirmed the severe impact the virus was having on public finances.

“The best way to restore our public finances to a more sustainable footing is to safely reopen our economy so people can return to work.

“We’ve set out our plan to do this in a gradual and safe fashion, including reopening high streets across the country this week, as we kickstart our economic recovery,” he added.

Income from tax, National Insurance and VAT all dived in May amid the coronavirus lockdown as spending on support measures soared.

This is the first time debt has been larger than the size of the economy since 1963, but it is not as high as the post-war peak of 258% in 1946-47.  (BBC 6/19/2020)

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STATUES AND RHODES

“I come from a country with no statues.

“It is not that Morocco never had statues.  Not that long ago it had statues of French officials – of which only one remains, hidden in a consulate garden.  It had, a bit earlier, statues of Christian saints and Roman dignitaries, of which there is no trace. Before that, it must have had statues of Phoenician deities.  All have been destroyed, and with them visible proof of the complex history of North Africa.

“There is nothing new about submitting statues to the trial that their subjects escaped.  In the Roman Empire, when a Caesar fell out of public grace and was murdered, his successor’s first thought was about statues.  Faces were erased, then redrawn in the new emperor’s image.  Tearing down statues is not new, either.  People re-evaluate the past, but when it comes to re-evaluating individuals, things get trickier.  How much did a person’s representation owe to its own time?  Frankly, almost everything.

Cecil Rhodes was not particularly loved in his own day; his wealth was admired, but not his half-avowed homosexuality.   He might have been too forward-thinking, for what business of his was it to create a scholarship that could be awarded regardless of race or creed?  The language of his will is clear and obvious:   “no student shall be qualified or disqualified for election to a Scholarship on account of his race or religious opinions.”

If Rhodes was the racist we assume he was, then surely he knew what “race” meant?  Five years after Rhodes’s death, in 1907, in the wake of the election of the first black Rhodes Scholar, Alain LeRoy Locke, the Rhodes Trustees argued that when Rhodes used the term “race” he might have meant “Dutch, English, Jew, and the rest.”  Perhaps Rhodes was simply more progressive than his trustees, and than most people of his time.

Rhodes endowed my college at Oxford, Oriel, with the means to further its work and fulfill its vocation as “The Provost and Scholars of the House of the Blessed Mary the Virgin in Oxford, commonly called Oriel College, of the Foundation of Edward the Second of famous memory, sometime King of England.”  Rhodes is included in the daily college prayer said after dinner in hall, and in the yearly benefactors’ service.  Does that mean that we, as a community, condone the horrors he engaged in?

It is alright for hands to be dirty.  No hands are clean in history.

The first colonizers of North Africa wiped out all its Christian and Jewish heritage, and thrived on the slave-trade.  They had black slaves as well as white slaves.  Any neutral view of history tells us that oppression is a matter of military power, and not of race.  (6/19/2020)

(Marie Daouda is a stipendiary lecturer in French at Oriel College, Oxford)

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TO THE POINT

  • Sajid Javid warns against a return to austerity
    Former chancellor Sajid Javid has warned against a return to austerity.  With the government grappling with the effects of the coronavirus crisis, Javid has called for low taxes on business to aid the UK’s recovery.  He said “early hopes of a V-shaped recovery” had “proved optimistic.”  Javid also predicted that “some long-term damage to the economy” had become “unavoidable.”  (The Week, 6/23/2020)
  • Pulling U.S. troops from Europe won’t save any money but it will make America less safe.  (Bloomberg 6/22/2020)
  • At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a fight with Chinese troops on a disputed border, though no shots were fired.  The incident took place during what India had described as a “de-escalation process,” more than a month into a series of punch-ups in Ladakh, a Himalayan region over which the two countries fought a war in 1962.  Today both armies are nuclear-tipped; senior Indian and Chinese officials met to discuss the situation.  (The Economist, 6/17/2020)
  • “The British relied on Indians to carry out the heavy lifting of imperial occupation and governance.  As late as 1921, there were only 156,000 British citizens living in India, one for every 1,500 Indians (Copland 3).”    (How can one oppress 1500? MR)
  • “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”   (Leo Tolstoy)
  • Vera Lynn, the singer who entertained British soldiers during the second world war, has died at the age of 103.   Known as the “Forces’ Sweetheart,” she made the white cliffs of Dover a symbol of home in a popular song.   The Queen referenced another, “We’ll Meet Again,” in an address to the country during the covid-19 lockdown.  (The Economist, 6/18/2020)
  • For his first foreign trip since France went into lockdown, President Emmanuel Macron will head to London today, where he will be welcomed by Prince Charles.   The official purpose is to mark the 80th anniversary of Charles de Gaulle’s “appeal from London,” a BBC broadcast in which the general urged the French to resist Nazi occupation, as well as to award the British capital the Légion d’honneur.   But Mr. Macron will also squeeze in a meeting with Boris Johnson, the prime minister, at a time of tension over unresolved Brexit negotiations.  The French president was keen to keep this trip in the diary, even though Britain is still largely under lockdown and had to exempt him from its 14-day quarantine rule.   Macron hopes the visit will remind the French of the resistance spirit embodied by de Gaulle, even if historical figures—le général included—have recently become objects of conflict rather than conciliation.

CORONA DEVELOPMENTS

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health Anthony Fauci, left, and White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, attend President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force briefing in the Brady press briefing room of the White House, Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

“In a stroke, and without a single constitutional shot fired, the country was given over to two unelected doctors named Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, the Democrats suddenly discovered the virtues of federalism, and the economy slammed into the brick wall of the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus,  as governors across the country trashed the Constitution and began ordering their residents around like serfs.”  (“The Rule of doctors threatens Trump’s reelection,” Michael Walsh, Epoch Times, May 7-13)

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“In California’s Alameda Country, a Chinese American man was screamed at while moving his lawn.   The local prosecutor said the man was told to get out of America.

“In neighboring Santa Clara County, a Vietnamese couple were threatened in a grocery store.  Officials said the man turned his hand into the shape of a gun.

“In New York City, people of Asian descent were assaulted, kicked, pushed and accosted on subway trains.

“The theme:   This virus is your fault.”   (“Hate crimes and biases against Asians on rise,” Kristine Phillips, USA Today, 5/21/2020)

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Coronavirus may kill the strangest beast of all — Donald Trump’s re-election prospects.   And yet . . . and yet …

Right now the virus is proving particularly deadly for the prospects of populists and authoritarians.  Trump is no authoritarian but he is the world’s No 1 populist.

His fellow populists look pretty messy.  Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil, makes Trump look a model of dull consistency, a desiccated calculating machine, with his wild and crazy talk.   Coronavirus, the Brazilian says, is only “the little flu.”   One by one his senior cabinet
ministers resign or get the sack as the President opposes his own government’s health regulations.

But local and provincial authorities widely ignore their President. The coronavirus caseload is nonetheless exploding in Brazil.   The death rate is still relatively modest.

Trump’s closest political friend internationally, Britain’s Boris Johnson, also leads an ineffective government response.   Johnson won immense personal sympathy and respect for the characteristically cheerful, generous way he endured his near-death virus episode.

But Britain has one of the worst COVID-19 death rates in the world. Johnson’s government responded too late and especially didn’t cut down travel from China.   It failed to take the warnings seriously in January and February and didn’t increase its stockpiles of personal
protective equipment for healthcare workers.   Nor did it sufficiently increase its beds.  (Greg Sheridan, The Australian, 5/16/2020)

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EU PLANS FOR RECOVERY

The European Commission on Wednesday proposed a €750 billion ($821 billion) aid package to help Europe’s economic recovery from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 350,000 people globally.

In a statement on its website, the EU governing body proposed the creation of a new recovery instrument, dubbed Next Generation EU, to address the economic damage caused by the outbreak.

“The recovery plan turns the immense challenge we face into an opportunity, not only by supporting the recovery but also by investing in our future: the European Green Deal and digitalization will boost jobs and growth, the resilience of our societies and the health of our environment,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in the statement.

“This is Europe’s moment.   Our willingness to act must live up to the challenges we are all facing. With Next Generation EU we are providing an ambitious answer.”

Such an aid package requires all 27 member states to agree for the plan to take effect.   (DW News, 5/27/2020)

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UK EPIDEMIC OF GROOMING

“Almost 19,000 children have been sexually groomed in England in the past year, according to official figures that have prompted warnings of an ‘epidemic.’  Campaigners say the true figure is far higher. . . ” — The Independent, December 2019.

“The government’s repeated failure to acknowledge the role of racism and religious bigotry in grooming gang crime has led to inadequate investigation, protection and prosecution,” one survivor, who wanted to remain anonymous, told The Independent in December 2019.   (Judith Bergman, Gatestone, 5/16/2020)

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CIVILIZATIONISTS TRYING TO SAVE WESTERN CIV

Civilizationists’ top concern is not battling climate change, building the European Union, or staving off Russian and Chinese aggression; rather, they focus on preserving Europe’s historic civilization of the past two millennia.   They worry about Europe becoming an extension of the Middle East or Africa.

That anxiety contains four elements:   demography, immigration, multiculturalism, and Islamization (or DIMI, recalling the Arabic word dhimmi, the status of Jews and Christians who submit to the rule of Muslims).

Civilizationists . . . are already a powerful force, having advanced from a marginal position twenty years ago to a central role in many countries. They are the key opposition force in Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden. They have been or are part of the government in Austria, Estonia, Italy, Norway, and Switzerland. They govern in a coalition in Poland and on their own in Hungary.(Daniel Pipes, Gatestone, 4/20/2020)

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ARE THE GERMANS EDGING CLOSER TO TRUE FISCAL UNION?

For the second time in the last three years, France and Germany have teamed up on an ambitious plan to rescue Europe—but this time their big road map looks likely to actually go someplace.  The Franco-German declaration this week, “A French-German Initiative for European Recovery From the Coronavirus Crisis,” comes as the European Union finds itself immersed in a political and economic crisis in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and just a week before the European Commission is set to unveil its own blueprint for recovery.

The headline part of the Franco-German plan is a bold, 500 billion-euro fund (about $550 billion) to help out ailing economies that are struggling to rebuild after the economic carnage from months of near-total shutdowns. The big question is whether naysayers like Austria and the Netherlands, which have long opposed picking up the tab for what they see as profligate Southern Europeans, will be persuaded to go along with such an ambitious, pan-European rescue.

And an even bigger question is whether the powerful endorsement of Germany, along with France, could edge the EU closer to the sort of fiscal integration that the more frugal Northern European countries, led by Berlin, have resisted in the past.   The Franco-German proposal for the European Commission to issue debt and then give grants where needed isn’t quite the straight-up debt-sharing that southern countries had asked for, dubbed “coronabonds” – but it’s a step in that direction, marking a turnabout for Germany.  And proposing to offer troubled regions grants rather than loans is a way to make the recovery less painful – another important departure that brings Europe a little bit closer to fiscal transfers, another taboo subject.

“You can call it what you want, but it’s large-scale mutualized debt, it’s a different form of coronabonds,” said J.H.H. Weiler, an expert on the European Union at New York University Law School.   “It crosses a certain line.”     (Keith Johnson, Foreign Policy, 5/20/2020)

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HOME TOWN HOPE

It’s hard to think of a place more deserving of a post-Brexit boom than Grimsby.   In the 1950s it had the largest trawler fleet in the world, brought in hundreds of tonnes of cod a day, and you could cross its harbour by walking over ships in the dock.   But the Cod Wars were lost and the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy began to bite. Now Grimsby is one of the most deprived areas in the country, and its long road down to the docks is littered with shuttered shops.

Simply put, it’s exactly the kind of place the Tories are hoping to ‘level up’ and win over before the next election.  In 2016, along with Hull and much of the rest of the Humber, it voted to leave the EU and it elected its first Tory MP in 75 years in December.   (Spectator, 3/14/2020)

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NEW ZEALAND HEADING FOR ECONOMIC CRISIS

No national leader has been as feted as Jacinda Ardern during this pandemic.  Young and progressive, New Zealand’s Prime Minister was popular before the crisis.   Since she imposed the favored pandemic solution of the left — a hard lockdown, shutting practically all business and no socializing with anyone outside your home — her star has only risen.

“Laughing in the face of seismic shakes, she has calmly steered her country in the face of a massacre, an eruption and a pandemic,”   The Guardian cooed on Tuesday.   Steering it into an economic abyss, perhaps.

New Zealand’s economy is in strife.  Without major change, our constitutional cousin is in decline.  Its public finances are in tatters, its biggest export, tourism, has been obliterated — Air New Zealand announced 4000 job losses this week — and New Zealand police now can enter people’s homes without a warrant.

“New Zealand is going backwards, falling behind the vast ­majority of our OECD partners in virtually every social and economic measure that matters,” said Roger Douglas, a former New Zealand Labour treasurer and the famed architect of Rogernomics.

New Zealand ranks fourth last in the OECD for labor productivity growth, and last for multi-factor productivity growth, according to economist Michael Reddell, based on OECD data. Health and education are gobbling up more of the budget as the population ages, with less and less to show for it.

The country’s Massey University reckons economic activity will tank 16 per cent in the second quarter, while government forecasts pencil in a 4.6 per cent decline this year ahead of an 8.2 per cent rebound in 2022.

“I doubt the economy will bounce back as the government hopes; and the Treasury forecasts, as bad as they are, will prove optimistic,” former NZ Treasury secretary Graham Scott said.

In one year, New Zealand has blown 30 years of hard-fought ­fiscal rectitude. Its public debt will explode from the equivalent of 19 per cent of gross domestic product last year to 54 per cent by 2022, on the government’s own figures.

“The real problem with the Ardern government is they have no idea whatsoever apart from how to throw money at things,” Douglas told The Australian.  The targeted “investment” approach to welfare pioneered when previous prime minister Bill English was treasurer has been junked in favor of open slather.   “Our $12bn wage subsidy, for instance; about a third was a ­donation to people who don’t need it,” he said, explaining how well-off lawyers and accountants had obtained the payments.

New Zealand’s international investment position was negative $171bn at the end of last year, more than half its GDP.   “To keep international investors’ trust, we must remain squeaky clean in our fundamental economic institutions,” New Zealand Initiative chief executive Oliver Hartwich said.   “Even Mexico, Nigeria and Venezuela are not as indebted to the rest of the world as New Zealand.”

(“Flightless economy to land with a thud,” Adam Creighton, The Australian, 5/27,2020)

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US ALTERS STATUS OF HONG KONG

WASHINGTON—The State Department has officially determined that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Wednesday that holds implications for the future of economic ties and could lead to sanctions against China.

The State Department is required by the Hong Kong Policy Act to assess the autonomy of the territory from China.     It certified to Congress on Thursday that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous.

“This decision gives me no pleasure. But sound policy-making requires a recognition of reality,” Mr. Pompeo said in the statement. “It is now clear that China is modeling Hong Kong after itself.”

U.S. endorsement of Hong Kong’s special status has served as a seal of approval of the city’s role as a global financial center with Western-style rule of law.   The new assessment is likely to diminish confidence among U.S. and other foreign businesses in Hong Kong.

Among the practical outcomes of the special status, the U.S. has permitted exports of advanced technology equipment to Hong Kong that isn’t allowed to be sold elsewhere in China.  It also has provided U.S. support for Hong Kong’s separate representation on global bodies from the World Health Organization to the Asian Development Bank.

(“US officially declares that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous,” Jessica Donati, Wall Street Journal, 5/27/2020)

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Five Eyes is the nickname of the intelligence services of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  These five countries share their intelligence.   The EU’s new intelligence service will rival Five Eyes.

FIVE EYES RIVAL

A DANE, A Swede, a German and a Dutchman walk into a bar.  It is 1979 and spooks from the four countries are conferring in Munich over dark and malty lagers.   For years, they had co-operated in the business of signals intelligence, or SIGINT – intercepting  messages and cracking codes – and wanted a name for their budding spy pact. “They looked at their glasses, filled with Doppelbock beer of the local brand Maximator,” writes Bart Jacobs, a Dutch computer-science professor, “and reached a decision.”

In a paper published last month, Mr. Jacobs publicly revealed the existence of the Maximator alliance for the first time, to the considerable irritation of those who had kept it under wraps for decades.   The group was formed in 1976, when Denmark joined forces with Germany and Sweden to intercept and decipher messages sent by satellites, a burgeoning method of communication. The Netherlands joined two years later, bringing its intercept stations in the Caribbean to the table, and France in 1985.   The group is alive and well today.   (The Economist, 5/27/2020)

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OBAMAGATE TREASON

Perhaps the most troubling – and dangerous – aspect of the current political conversation is the unwillingness of virtually every elected official and every media pundit to confront what “Obamagate” is obviously about, which is treason.   Specifically, treason committed by the Obama White House in attempting to block and then overthrow the Trump presidency.   Obamagate is about the failed attempt by President Obama and his appointees to use government intelligence agencies to spy on the Trump campaign and White House, to concoct a phony accusation of collusion with Russia against the president and then to obstruct his administration and overthrow him.  (David Horowitz, Frontpage, 5/19/2020)

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TO THE POINT

  • Mike Pompeo, America’s secretary of state, declared that Hong Kong is no longer meaningfully autonomous from China.   The territory currently enjoys special trading status with America—it may soon face sanctions instead, which would threaten its position as Asia’s main financial hub.   The move comes as China is set to impose new national-security laws on the territory (see main stories).   Yesterday hundreds of Hong Kongers were arrested as they protested against a bill that would ban insult to China’s national anthem.  (The Economist, 5/28/2020)
  • The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, proposed a new €750bn ($825bn) fund to help European economies recover from the pandemic.   Together with an earlier rescue package and its €1.1trn budget for 2021-27, the commission will have €2.4trn at its disposal, she said. Some EU member-states welcomed the proposal, but the more frugal, such as the Netherlands, sounded relatively cautious.  (The Economist, 5/28/2020)
  • The number of coronavirus deaths in America surpassed 100,000, by far the highest number recorded by any single country (though not the worst on a cases-per-person basis).  The dreaded milestone was reached even as many of the states have begun to ease their lockdowns, prompting fears that the overall rate of infection will soon accelerate again.  (The Economist, 5/28/2020)

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AFTERTHOUGHT

The murder of a nine-year-old autistic boy by his mother less than a week ago is particularly disturbing.

It has become commonplace for children to be killed by one parent or the other, for various reasons.  But this boy was very vulnerable as he was non-verbal.

After initially trying to drown him, the boy was able to run to some passing adults.  But he could not say what he had been through.  As soon as they were gone, she succeeded on a second attempt, taking his life.   The last few moments of the boy’s life must have been terrifying.

We have an 8-year-old grandson who is autistic.   He’s a really good-natured boy and gives us very little trouble (unlike one or two of his brothers!).

It can be difficult raising a special needs child.  Perhaps the coronavirus has made it more challenging for some.   But autistic children have the same potential as others in our society.  Verbal or non-verbal there are jobs that they can do, stores that will give them a job knowing they have “special needs.”

What should the punishment be in this case?

The Bible tells us to do no murder (Exodus 20:13).   When murder was committed, the death penalty was enforced.   It also says that the sentence should be carried out speedily.   (Ezra 7:26)

Something must be done to help our children.   This is even more the case when those children are mentally handicapped in some way.   No sympathy should be given this mother.

One question:   where was the father in all of this?

MR     

ASSASSINATION OF DONALD TRUMP

The death of Qasem Soleimani has put Trump on an Islamic hit list.

The Iranian Fars News Agency aired a short video on January 10, 2020, titled “Severe Revenge,” dramatizing an Iranian assassination of U.S. President Donald Trump.   In the video, Iranian officials are seen planning their revenge for the killing of Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani.  They study a board with a diagram of possible targets, U.S. President Trump is at the head and Israeli PM Netanyahu, Secretary of State Pompeo, Saudi Crown Prince Bin , and Masoud Rajavi, former leader of Mujahedeen-e-Khalq are at the bottom.  The Iranian officials say they are “going for the big fish,” and one of them says:   “We should target their head.”   In the video, the U.S. Capitol Building is blown up and then the Iranian forces storm the White House, shooting anyone in their sight.   President Trump, Secretary of State Pompeo and PM Netanyahu, (among others) lie dead on the White House floor.   The voice of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is heard in the background, saying: “Severe revenge awaits the criminals whose dirty hands are soiled with his blood.”  (MEMRI 1/14)

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EUROPEANS STILL HOPE FOR IRAN DEAL

The decision by France, Germany and the UK to trigger the dispute resolution mechanism in the landmark Iran nuclear deal is a high-risk move driven by a lack of better options.   It underscores the tough spot the Europeans are in as they vie to save an accord that has been under siege ever since the US pulled out of it 20 months ago and slapped harsh sanctions on Tehran.

The launch of the dispute procedure yesterday crystallises the threat of the nuclear agreement’s demise and the reimposition of UN sanctions on Iran, but the so-called “E3” European powers want neither.   Instead, they hope to force Iran to back down from an escalating series of breaches of the accord launched to retaliate against the US “maximum pressure” economic squeeze.   (Michael Peel, Brussels Briefing, Financial Times, 1/15/2020)

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PLANS FOR ISLAMIC SUPERPOWER

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief advisor, retired Turkish general Adnan Tanrıverdi, has been articulating a vision of a unified Islamic superpower through conferences and documents published by his organizations.   This vision is reflected in President Erdoğan’s foreign policy.

The Justice Defenders Strategic Studies Center (ASSAM), of which Tanrıverdi is chairman of the board, has scheduled seven annual “congresses,” of which three have taken place, to work through the technical problems in the formation and governance of an “Islamic union.”   At a recent ASSAM Congress, Tanrıverdi called for the coordination of the joint manufacturing of weapons and military equipment among Islamic countries, saying:   “States cannot stand tall against the countries whose weapons they use.”   ASSAM has also published a 69-page draft of a constitution for a planned shari’a-based confederation of 61 Islamic countries.   This constitution declares that “sovereignty belongs to shariah,” that Istanbul is to be the capital of the confederation, that the Arabic language would be taught in all of its schools, and that its name will be “Asrica,” which is formed from a combination of Asia and Africa.   (MEMRI, 1/14)

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Dutch and German Shipyards to Build Warships for Germany Worth 6 Billion                                                                                                                  by Reuters, 14 Jan 2020, © New York Times Company

BERLINGermany has awarded Dutch shipyard Damen a contract to construct at least four new multi-role warships worth nearly 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) in an alliance with its Bremen-based partner Luerssen, the armed forces and budget lawmakers said on Tuesday.   The ship tender is one of Germany’s biggest arms projects, along with a contract for the MEADS missile defense system and the new Franco-German fighter jet (FCAS), underlining Berlin’s efforts to increase its military capabilities.   The first warship is expected to be delivered in 2027, the Bundeswehr armed forces said in a statement, confirming a Reuters report from Monday.   The contract includes an option to build two additional MKS 180 warships.  Lawmakers told Reuters that about two-thirds of the production will take place at Luerssen’s shipyards and other sites in northern Germany.   “The decision for the MKS 180 to be mainly built by the Luerssen Group and thus in Germany is a good decision which strengthens Germany as a marine and shipyard location,” said Eckhardt Rehberg, chief budget lawmaker from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.   Germany’s new warships will be able to attack targets on land and under water, and provide air cover for other vessels.   Other companies interested in the MKS 180 warship tender were ThyssenKrupp and German Naval Yards.   Damen said in a statement that its alliance also included Hamburg-based Blohm+Voss shipyard and France’s Thales.   It estimated that about 80% of the tender’s net investment would remain in Germany.
(https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/01/14/world/europe/14reuters-germany-warship.html)

Germany to invest €62 billion to modernize rail network .               The German government on Tuesday agreed to pump €62 billion into biggest modernization ever in Germany,” said Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer.

The German government on Tuesday agreed to pump €62 billion into modernizing its rail network system, as part of a wider plan to incite commuters to opt for greener public transport options. “We’ve just signed the most important programme of modernization ever in Germany,” said Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer, adding that “this is the decade for railway.”   Besides the massive sum stumped up by the state German rail operator Deutsche Bahn will also plow an additional €24 billion into the renewal programme.   The investments will go towards “replacing obsolete installations,” improving access to disabled passengers as well as renovating rail bridges, said Scheuer.   (The Local Germany )(https://www.thelocal.de/20200114/germany-to-invest-62-bn-euros-by-2030-to-modernise-rail-network)

Germany posts record-breaking budget surplus
Germany ended 2019 with a budget surplus of €13.5 billion.  The government wants to spend on infrastructure and other projects, but critics say the money isn’t getting where it needs to go.  (Deutsche Welle, 13 Jan 2020)       (https://www.dw.com/en/germany-posts-record-breaking-budget-surplus/a-51991140)

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AN AMERICAN VIEW OF BRITISH ROYALS

Long ago the British royals ceded all direct power to Parliament. Precisely in being freed from politics — in leaving its dirty work to politicians — the Queen now serves as a brake on democratic excess, just as democracy acts as a brake on the crown.   In a 2010 article for First Things, David Bentley Hart noted the delicate balance:

“The ideal king,” he wrote, “would be rather like the king in chess:  the most useless piece on the board, which occupies its square simply to prevent any other piece from doing so, but which is somehow still the whole game.”

In this sense Elizabeth has been the perfect constitutional monarch. She keeps above the political fray.   She puts on a good British face to the world, even to foreign representatives she might despise, because that is what her nation needs.   She happily attends local events in the smallest part of her realm.

A woke queen could not do this.   Elizabeth may at times be mocked for her restraint and dowdiness, but those qualities are both reassuring and dignified.   Indeed, even though the British elect their politicians, almost always they seem to feel more affection for their monarch than for their prime minister.   And Elizabeth has done it without interruption since 1952, notwithstanding the private heartache and public embarrassment she has had to endure, including Charles’s disastrous first marriage and Prince Andrew’s association with Jeffrey Epstein.

The Queen’s service might also inform today’s debate about liberal democracy.   Plainly monarchy is not suited for the US, given our history.   But liberalism is not one-size-fits-all.   And against those who argue that modernity has overtaken the monarchy, in Britain the crown is one of those enduring institutions — along with church and family — to which liberalism must look for the social cohesion and cultural capital it needs to thrive but cannot itself create.

As British society fragments and Merry Old England gives way to a far more religiously and racially diverse United Kingdom, the Crown offers something to unify people.   Some defenders of the Duchess of Sussex now suggest that it was British racism that did her in.   The truth is that the diversity Meghan Markle brought the royal family by marrying into it was cheered and celebrated.   (William McGurn, The Australian, 1/14, reproduced from the WSJ)

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A LEFT-WING NATIONALIST PARTY

Swedish Communists Wake Up — Just days ago, Sputnik reported on the fact that almost half of the members of the Communist Party in Malmö, Sweden, are resigning.   They plan to establish a new workers’ party that no longer features multiculturalism, LGBT interests, and climate change as key policy goals.  Nils Littorin, one of the defectors, told a local newspaper that today’s Left has become part of the elite and has come to “dismiss the views of the working class as alien and problematic.”   Littorin suggested that the Left “is going through a prolonged identity crisis” and that his group, instead, intends to stick to the original values, such as class politics.  Littorin adds:   “[The Left] don’t understand why so many workers don’t think that multiculturalism, the LGBT movement and Greta Thunberg are something fantastic, but instead believe we are in the 1930s’ Germany and that workers who vote [right-wing] Sweden Democrats have been infected by some Nazi sickness.”   In a piece of simple insight previously rare on the Left, he argues that the rise in right-wing votes for people like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are in fact due to “widespread dissatisfaction with liberal economic migration that leads to low-wage competition and the ghetto-isation of communities, a development that only benefits major companies.”  Rather than being beneficial to working class Whites, Littorin condemns a “chaotic” immigration policy that has led to “cultural clashes, segregation and exclusion due to an uncontrolled influx from parts of the world characterised by honour culture and clan mentalities.”

Littorin continues to talk sense when it comes to the LGBT agenda. He explains that LGBT issues and the climate movement are merely “state ideologies” that are “rammed down people’s throats.”   Littorin adds that phenomena like these happen at the expense of real issues, such as poverty, homelessness, and income equality:  “Pride, for instance, has been reduced to dealing with sexual orientation. We believe that human dignity is primarily about having a job and having pension insurance that means that you are not forced to live on crumbs when you are old.”

On immigration, Galloway argues that there is “nothing left-wing about unlimited mass immigration.   It decapitates the countries from which the immigrants leave, and drives down wages in those where they arrive.   The wealthy benefit from it, as they can afford cheap labor for their companies, or cheap au-pairs, cheap baristas, cheap plumbers.   But the working class suffers.”   (Andrew Joyce, 12/29/19)

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TO THE POINT

  • WORLD’S OLDEST CONTINENT – With its low birth rate and fast-ageing population, Europe is facing a demographic crisis, one that economists fear could hit growth and public finances. While the global population overall is getting older, Europe is an extreme example of this trend, particularly in the continent’s south and east, which have been hit by record-low fertility rates and emigration.   An analysis of the main demographic trends highlights the challenge faced by policymakers.  Europe has had higher longevity and lower fertility rates than the rest of the world over the past few decades.   It is now the region with the world’s oldest population.   The median age in Europe is 43, 12 years older than the rest of the world.    (Valentina Romel, Financial Times, 1/14/2020)
  • ECONOMIST COMMENT ON TRUMP AND IRAN – He may have deterred conventional attacks, but goaded Iran to build a bomb faster.  (Leaders, Jan 9th 2020 edition, Economist)
  • TWO POPES DISAGREE – There’s a dispute between Pope Francis and his predecessor, Pope Benedict, on, of all issues, celibacy.   There’s no biblical basis for celibacy, but conservatives in the church say that priests cannot serve the church properly if their loyalties are divided.   Pope Francis is more liberal on the issue, wanting to resolve the shortage of priests, particularly in South America.   Pope Benedict takes a conservative view that priests should not be allowed to marry.
  • AMERICAN REVOLUTION — “The conflict that rent the United States in 1861-65 was not America’s first civil war — the American Revolution was.  The fight for independence pitted neighbor against neighbor and family member against family member, exemplified by the split between Founding Father Benjamin Franklin and Tory son William, the final royal governor of New Jersey.   Violence arising from these and countless other pesonal breaks rendered expanses of the former colonies ‘danger land.’  as one historian has called the impact of the internecine warfare that raged between loyalists and patriots. ”  (“That Time General Washington Proposed to Execute  An Innocent Man,” by Peter R. Henriques, American History, February 2020)

 

 

IRAN USING ISLAMIC JIHAD TO STRIKE ISRAEL

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voiced strong support for protesters again and called on Iran’s leaders to stop their crackdown. (ABC News)

Pompeo:   Iran uses Islamic Jihad to strike Israel

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday accused Iran of using its terrorist proxy Palestinian Islamic Jihad to strike our great ally Israel.   In two tweets, Pompeo also wrote:   “Iran does not want peace in the region.  It does not want the Palestinian people to prosper.   It wants more conflict. Until we address Iran’s threats, the cycle of violence will continue.”   Pompeo went on to say:   “The way forward is clear:  continued pressure until Iran negotiates a comprehensive agreement that includes halting its support to terror groups like PIJ.   Nations around the world can no longer claim to want peace in the region yet allow Iran’s threats to go unchallenged.” (Debka 11/16/2019)

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LEGACY OF FASCISM IN CROATIA

Serious accusations are being made concerning racist attacks, official commemorations honoring Nazi collaborators and excessive police brutality against refugees, are accompanying Croatia’s preparations for taking over the Presidency of the EU Council on January 1, 2020. Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Zagreb, yesterday, for consultations with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković about the duties he must assume in the context of Croatia’s council presidency.   The Croat government will also seek to ward off refugees more efficiently.   For years, Croatia’s border police have been using brute force to deport large numbers of refugees to Bosnia Herzegovina, in violation of international law.   In addition, the Council of Europe has certified that the country is experiencing an increase in racism and glorification of the fascist Ustaša regime. One of the popular commemoration ceremonies honoring Croat Nazi collaborators is celebrated under the “patronage” of Croatia’s parliament in Zagreb.   (German Foreign Policy, 11/22/2019)

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TOTAL COST OF WARS

Since terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center and killed thousands upon thousands of innocent American citizens, U.S. taxpayers have spent $6.4 trillion on wars and military action in the Middle East and Asia, according to a new report by the Watson Institute at Brown University.

. . . The study also shows that as a result of the fighting, 801,000 people have died, including 335,000 civilians, and another 21 million people have been displaced to get away from the violence. (https://moneyandmarkets.com/war-on-terror-cost-us-6-4-trillion/)

. . . The report notes that after 9/11, wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria have grown to include more than 80 countries, making it “a truly global war on terror.”

And the longer the war on terror drags on, the more service members will lose their lives while others will ultimately claim benefits and disability payments.

“Even if the United States withdraws completely from the major war zones by the end of FY2020 and halts its other Global War on Terror operations, in the Philippines and Africa for example, the total budgetary burden of the post-9/11 wars will continue to rise as the U.S. pays the on-going costs of veterans’ care and for interest on borrowing to pay for the wars,” the study notes.

The Pentagon said in March that wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have cost each U.S. taxpayer $7,623 through fiscal 2018.

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“Britain is in a dangerous mess” says former Prime Minister Tony Blair                                                                                                                                      Blair said on Monday that  neither his own Labor Party nor Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives deserved to win a Dec. 12 election.
by Guy Faulconbridge & William James, Reuters, 25 Nov 2019

“We’re a mess,” Blair said at a Reuters Newsmaker event.  “The buoyancy of the world economy has kept us going up to now, but should that falter, we will be in deep trouble.”   Blair, the only Labour leader to win three elections, said his party was now controlled by its “Marxist-Leninist wing” and that its leader Jeremy Corbyn was promising a revolution.

“The problem with revolutions is never how they begin but how they end,” said Blair.   “The problem with revolutions is that they always end badly.”   “The truth is:  the public aren’t convinced either main party deserves to win this election outright.”   The Dec. 12 vote presents a stark choice between a socialist-run state under Labour, which is offering a second referendum on leaving the EU, and the free-market Conservatives, who want to “get Brexit done” by the end of January.

Johnson has pledged to take Britain out of the EU by Jan. 31 if he wins a parliamentary majority and then to negotiate a comprehensive deal with the bloc covering trade and future relations during a transition period due to end next December.  Blair cast doubt on that timetable and said there was still a risk that Britain could exit the EU in a year’s time without having struck a deal with its biggest trading partner.   “No-deal Brexit is not off the table,” Blair said. “This negotiation (on the future relationship) has no chance of being concluded in that transition period.”  Blair said he did not know whether Labour, which has tacked sharply to the left under Corbyn, would ever return to the center ground of British politics, but added:   “We must set about the urgent task of reconstructing the sensible mainstream of British politics.”

“Otherwise, this laboratory experiment in populism running riot, will end very badly for our nation.”
(http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/topNews/~3/70roENoQAOI/britain-is-a-dangerous-mess-former-pm-blair-says-idUSKBN1XZ0WT)

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ISLAM AND THE LGBT

British Sheikh Asrar Rashid said in a class that was uploaded to the Internet on August 3, 2019, that the LGBT movement is one of the signs of the end of days because it is a manifestation of people forgetting basic principles, like male-female relations.   During the lecture, which took place against the backdrop of protests by the U.K.’s Muslim community against public school curricula that teach about same-sex relationships, Sheikh Rashid criticized the LGBT movement for having “concocted” over 70 different genders, and he said that Islam’s prohibition of homosexual acts is not tantamount to hatred of homosexuals.   Sheikh Rashid said that children who are confronted with education about LGBT issues in schools should vocally question what they are taught and that such questions should not be “blotted out in classrooms or treated in an Orwellian fashion.”   He said that the “Chinese-communist-Mao-Zedong-style brainwashing program” taught in schools should also teach children about the harms that can be caused by homosexual lifestyles in order to discourage such behaviors.

Sheikh Rashid said, for example, that the schools should teach that men who engage in homosexual acts sometimes have to use “male Tampax” diapers at night to prevent their bowels from leaking.   He also said that children should be taught about STDs.   Sheikh Asrar Rashid, who is based in the Birmingham area, was born in the U.K. in 1983 and has reportedly studied in Syria and India.   The video, which was titled “The New Age of Jahiliyah,” was uploaded to the Ahl-us-Sunnah Wal Jama’ah YouTube channel.   For more from Sheikh Asrar Rashid, see MEMRI TV Clip No. 6370.                    (MEMRI, 11/26)

From September next year, “relationships” are to be taught in British primary (elementary) schools, including same-sex relationships.   This has led to protests outside schools.   Most protestors appear to be Muslims.  Muslim opposition to anything LGBTQ is leading to a clash between the two groups.

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GERMAN SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA

With today’s Africa Conference in Berlin, the German government is seeking to induce German companies to make investments on the African continent.   The conference is taking place within the framework of the “Compact with Africa” project, launched more than two years ago during the G20 Summit in Hamburg.   Hailed as a breakthrough for Africa’s economic development at the time, the heralded expansion of investments has, so far, fallen short of expectations, according to experts.   Berlin’s efforts must be seen in the context of the growing global competition for a share in the African market that is no longer limited to China.   Whereas the People’s Republic of China is already Africa’s leading trading partner and is catching up on investments, India has also been expanding its activities on the continent and has surpassed Germany.   Meanwhile, Russia has also succeeded in reinforcing its influence in Africa.   Like the other western powers, Germany is steadily losing ground.   (German Foreign Policy, 11/19/2019)

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The Militarization of the North Sea

Alongside the militarization of the Baltic Sea region, NATO is beginning to reestablish military structures around the English Channel and the North Sea.   At the annual meeting within the framework of the NATO Channel Committee (CHANCOM) recently held in Hamburg, the five riparian states signed a declaration on the further enhancement of their naval cooperation.   According to the German Navy, which participated at the meeting, the establishment of a regional NATO command for the North Sea region, analogous to the war alliance’s Baltic Maritime Component Command (BMCC) in Rostock, was also in discussion.   The maritime route from the Atlantic through the English Channel to the Baltic Sea, via the North Sea is the main route for US troops coming to Europe.   This is why the region has regained strategic importance, since NATO has intensified its confrontation against Russia.   Civilian ports along the transatlantic route are also to be integrated, including Hamburg and Bremerhaven.    (German Foreign Policy, 11/26/2019)

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TO THE POINT

  • The three conservative leaders of three prominent western democracies are all under intense pressure now.   The US, UK and Israel are the three nations threatened.   There is no such pressure upon liberal-socialist leaders. Is this just a coincidence?
  • “Following the 2016 coup attempt, (Turkey’s) Erdogan has purged scores of thousands from his army and regime, jailed more journalists than any other authoritarian, purchased Vladimir Putin’s S-400 missile system as Turkey’s air defense, and ordered the U.S. forces out of his way as he invaded northern Syria, killing Kurdish fighters who did the bleeding and dying in the U.S.-led campaign to crush the ISIS caliphate.” (Pat Buchanan, 11/22/2019)
  • Italian former prime minister and MEP Silvio Berlusconi said on Thursday that Europe needs to become a global military power “to have a seat at the table where decision are made” with America and China.   “We also need military capacity to defend ourselves in case of a massive invasion phenomenon,” Berlusconi added, saying his party will return to government soon as the current Italian government is “unprepared, unqualified and inexperienced.”   (EU Observer, 11/21)
  • A report on TV earlier this week highlighted the fact that Italy has a very low birthrate, with some communities seeing no babies for years.   A proposed solution is immigrants from Africa.   But if the Italian peninsular was full of Africans, would it still be Italy?
  • It has been suggested that Britain’s Prince Andrew should visit the US to be interviewed by the FBI.   A month ago, an American woman was asked to return to the UK to stand trial for the death of a motorcyclist, something she admits.   But she won’t return and claims diplomatic immunity, which she does not qualify for. The US cannot have it both ways.   Perhaps Prince Andrew can be interviewed about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein on British soil?
  • “Corbyn refuses to say sorry” for anti-semitism in the Labor Party (headline in a British newspaper November 27th)
  • “A passionate cohort of campaigners, including former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and opposition leader Anthony Albanese have renewed their push for Australia to become an independent republic more than 20 years since the failed referendum.”   (Sky News, 11/27/2019)
  • As with the referendum on Scottish independence, or Brexit, groups refuse to accept a “No” verdict and simply ask for a second referendum.

THE EU IS BUILDING AN EMPIRE

Farage:   The EU Is ‘Building an Empire. Why Deny It?’

12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Revelation 17:12-14)

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has criticized senior Eurocrat Guy Verhofstadt for praising the new “world order” of “empires,” but said it was time to be straight about Brussels’ intentions to build a new European Empire.  The Brexit Party leader condemned the remarks of Verhofstadt, who said during the Liberal Democrat conference on Saturday:   “The world order of tomorrow is not a world order based on nation-states, on countries — it’s a world order that is based on empires.”  “The world of tomorrow is a world of empires, in which we Europeans, and you British, can only defend your interests, your way of life, by doing it together, in a European framework, and in European union,” he added.   The Belgian politician, leader of the left-progressive Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE) in the European Parliament, had called in May for the European Union to become an empire “capable of defending our interests,” but is not the first EU politician to do so.  In 2007, former President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso had praised the EU “empire,” saying:   “Sometimes I like to compare the EU as a creation to the organization of empire.   We have the dimension of empire.”

Mr. Farage evoked the former Commission chief’s words while criticizing Verhofstadt on his LBC radio show on Monday, saying an EU empire “is where they are going.”   “That is what they want because Barroso, one of the previous bosses of the European Commission, he said:   ‘We’re building the first ever non-militaristic empire.’   “They’re building an empire.  Why deny it?”  Mr. Farage asked.

To go with this empire, the EU is also building its own military, after the majority of its member states signed the Permanent Structured Cooperation process, or PESCO, in November 2017, which is key to the European Defense Union plans set out by outgoing President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, who called for a “fully fledged” EU army by 2025.

And while Verhofstadt had called for an empire “capable of defending our interests,” French President Emmanuel Macron made the extraordinary claim in November 2018 that the bloc needs a “real European army” in order to “protect our interests.”

The French progressive politician’s call for a “real European army” was backed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr. Verhofstadt, and the most powerful of the Brussels bodies, the European Commission.   Two month later, Germany’s then-defense minister Ursula von der Leyen said that “Europe’s army is already taking shape.”

Mr. Farage criticized Mrs. von der Leyen, now President-Elect of the European Commission, in July as a “fanatic for building a European army” and accused her of readying to lead a European Union that seeks to “take control of every single aspect of our lives.”   “She wants to build a centralized, undemocratic, updated form of Communism where nation state parliaments will cease to have any relevance at all,” he warned.   (Breibart, 9/17)

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GERMANY’S SEARCH FOR A NEW DIPLOMATIC MAP

Being in charge of German foreign policy is a tough assignment these days — not just in Warsaw but in countries around the world.

Over the past few years, Berlin has watched with growing despair as friends have turned into foes and old certainties have dissolved into doubt.   A new breed of nationalist leader holds sway in capitals from Budapest and Warsaw to Rome and Washington, sounding a note of hostility and antagonism towards Berlin.   For reasons both economic and political, Germany’s relationships with key powers such as China, Russia and Turkey are marked by growing tensions.

At the same time, the dense web of alliances that has characterized German foreign policy for decades — and that underpinned the country’s postwar success — is under strain as never before:   NATO has descended into bitter recriminations over burden-sharing, leading many Germans to wonder how much longer the US will remain committed to the defense of Europe.   The EU itself, meanwhile, is riven by splits between north and south and east and west, and exhausted from the never-ending struggle over Brexit. The UK no longer counts as a reliable ally, and the relationship with France is going through a phase of barely-concealed irritation.  One by one, the fixed stars that have guided German foreign policy for generations have started to dim.   (Tobias Buck, Financial Times, 23rd April)

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GERMAN “LUST FOR POWER”

The future EU Commission should play a “geopolitical” role and provide the Union with a leading position in global policy, confirmed Commission President Elect Ursula von der Leyen, whose team, according to observers, shows a newfound “lust for power.”   Von der Leyen’s plans for the coming five years are very much in line with Berlin’s plans to position the Union as an independent global power between the USA and China.   French President Emmanuel Macron shares this project and – in view of the escalating conflict between Washington and Beijing – cautions that, if it fails, all influence on global policy would be lost.   Influential German business circles opine that a German-European intermediate position cannot be avoided.   Otherwise they would lose business with China and suffer severe setbacks.   According to transatlantic circles, however, sooner or later, Berlin and Brussels will not be able to avoid siding with Washington.  (German Foreign Policy, 9/17)

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GERMAN SUPPORT FOR HK DEMO

Monday evening, activist Joshua Wong arrived in Berlin from Hong Kong for talks with German politicians, including Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.   Wong represents an opposition party that calls for a referendum, including a vote on Hong Kong’s future secession from China.   Just before his trip to Berlin, demonstrators rallied on Sunday in front of the US consulate in Hong Kong calling on US President Trump to intervene in their favor with the city authorities. Already since March, high-ranking members of Hong Kong’s opposition have repeatedly visited Washington for talks with US Vice President Mike Pence and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Berlin is now following suit and receiving leaders of the Hong Kong protests for talks with top government officials.   Washington is preparing new legislation for sanctions providing for punitive measures against Chinese officials and putting Hong Kong’s special economic status into question.   Billions in German business transactions are also at risk.   (German Foreign Policy)

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With its professionally choreographed reception of Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong, Berlin is presenting itself to the international public as the Chinese opposition’s foreign hub.   Wong was personally welcomed in Berlin by the Foreign Minister, and he demanded at the Federal Press Conference that action be taken against China.   Germany has already granted asylum to two other dissidents from Hong Kong, who had been calling for the city’s secession from China and have been indicted for their participation in riots.   For decades, Uighur separatist associations have had their foreign operational base in the Federal Republic of Germany, including one accused of participating in preparations of the pogrom-like riots, which claimed the lives of nearly 200 people. German politicians are supporting Tibetan separatists as well – seeing them as a point of leverage for weakening the People’s Republic of China.   A Chinese writer, who called China a “pile of garbage,” was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. (German Foreign Policy)

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FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN RETREAT

On June 22nd there was an alleged coup attempt in Ethiopia.   The army chief of staff was murdered, as was the president of Amhara, one of the country’s nine regions.   Ordinary Ethiopians were desperate to find out what was going on.   And then the government shut down the internet.   By midnight some 98% of Ethiopia was offline.

“People were getting distorted news and were getting very confused about what was happening . . . at that very moment there was no information at all,” recalls Gashaw Fentahun, a journalist at the Amhara Mass Media Agency, a state-owned outlet.   He and his colleagues were trying to file a report.   Rather than uploading audio and video files digitally, they had to send them to head office by plane, causing a huge delay.

Last year 25 governments imposed internet blackouts.   Choking off connectivity infuriates people and kneecaps economies.   Yet autocrats think it worthwhile, usually to stop information from circulating during a crisis.

This month the Indian government shut down the internet in disputed Kashmir – for the 51st time this year.   “There is no news, nothing,” says Aadil Ganie, a Kashmiri stuck in Delhi, adding that he does not even know where his family is because phones are blocked, too.   In recent months Sudan shut down social media to prevent protesters from organising; Congo’s regime switched off mobile networks so it could rig an election in the dark; and Chad nobbled social media to silence protests against the president’s plan to stay in power until 2033.

“Free speech is hard won and easily lost. Only a year ago it flowered in Ethiopia, under a supposedly liberal new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed.   All the journalists in jail were released, and hundreds of websites, blogs and satellite TV channels were unblocked.   But now the regime is having second thoughts.   Without a dictatorship to suppress it, ethnic violence has flared.   Bigots have incited ethnic cleansing on newly free social media.   Nearly 3m Ethiopians have been driven from their homes.

Ethiopia faces a genuine emergency, and many Ethiopians think it reasonable for the government to silence those who advocate violence.   But during the alleged coup it did far more than that – in effect it silenced everyone.   As Befekadu Haile, a journalist and activist, put it:   “In the darkness, the government told all the stories.” (The Economist, 8/17)

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CANADIAN THREAT TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH

In a three-pronged blow to freedom of speech, Canada’s Trudeau government in May signed the “Christchurch Call to Action” – a government-led drive for more censorship; then launched a “Digital Charter,” much of it dealing with “hate speech and disinformation;” and in June, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights issued recommendations to the government for the fight against “online hatred,” increasing funding for law enforcement, crown attorneys and judges, and to “educate the population.”   (Nina Rosenwald, Gatestone, 8/15)

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THE LOST ART OF AMERICAN DIPLOMACY

The neglect and distortion of American diplomacy is not a purely Trumpian invention.   It has been an episodic feature of the United States’ approach to the world since the end of the Cold War.   The Trump administration, however, has made the problem infinitely worse.   There is never a good time for diplomatic malpractice, but the administration’s unilateral diplomatic disarmament is spectacularly mistimed, unfolding precisely at a moment when American diplomacy matters more than ever to American interests. The United States is no longer the only big kid on the geopolitical block, and no longer able get everything it wants on its own, or by force alone.

Although the era of singular U.S. dominance on the world stage is over, the United States still has a better hand to play than any of its rivals.   The country has a window of opportunity to lock in its role as the world’s pivotal power, the one best placed to shape a changing international landscape before others shape it first.   If the United States is to seize that opportunity and safeguard its interests and values, it will have to rebuild American diplomacy and make it the tool of first resort, backed up by economic and military leverage and the power of example. (William J. Burns, “The lost art of American diplomacy,” Foreign Policy, May-June issue)

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STRAIT OF HORMUZ – STILL WORLD’S MOST IMPORTANT SEA-GATE

The Strait of Hormuz links the majority of the world’s people who live along the shores of Asia and East Africa to the heart of the Middle East.   Long before the discovery of oil, it was the world’s carotid artery.   Cut off the blood supply almost anywhere else and the world would adapt. Here, however, an interruption could be fatal:    90 percent of oil exported from the Gulf, about 20 percent of the world’s supply, passes through Hormuz. Shipping through the strait, which is a mere 21 nautical miles wide at its narrowest point, is concentrated and hazardous.   In Musandam, the Omani exclave on the strait’s southern side, you can hear Persian radio from Iran as often as Arabic.   Along the rocky shorelines, islets and peninsulas thrust precipitously into the sky.   Heat, humidity, and a scorching wind make the climate inhospitable; many mountain ranges and valleys near Hormuz remain sparsely inhabited.   (“Why the Strait if Hormuz is still the world’s most important chokepoint,” Allen James Fromherz, Foreign Affairs, 7/17)

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SAUDI ARABIA AND IRAN HEADING FOR WAR

Less than 24 hours after a major attack by at least 10 drones or cruise missiles on key Saudi oil facilities, the rhetoric in the Middle East is heating up, and the region appears to be on the brink of conflict.

After US President Donald Trump spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was “no evidence” the large attack came from Yemen.

This now means that Saudi Arabia, which is investigating how the attack happened, is positioned to defend itself, but must choose wisely how.

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POPE APPOINTS LIBERAL CARDINALS

Pope Francis’ unexpected announcement this past Sunday that he would appoint 13 new cardinals to the College of Cardinals strengthens his grip on the Catholic Church and solidifies a liberal majority to select the next pope.

Since assuming the seat of St. Peter in 2013, Francis has been assiduously stacking the College of Cardinals with supporters, ones that will not only back his revisions to Church teachings, but choose his successor.

With his Sunday pronouncement, Francis will have picked 67 new members of the College of Cardinals, giving his backers a clear majority for the first time. Of the remaining members, 42 were selected by Benedict and 19 by John Paul II.

Francis’ new majority will also set a new tone, one in keeping with Francis’ desire that the Church move its focus away from tradition to one that is more active in secular politics, advocating such positions as socialist economic policies, environmental responsibility, immigrant rights, and diplomacy toward Islam.

On matters of doctrine, the Pope has sought to move the faith to one that accepts alternative lifestyles, including gays and lesbians, and eases restrictions of Catholics who have been divorced.   (Newsmax, 9/14)

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Pope Francis invites religious, political leaders to sign ‘Global Pact’ for ‘new humanism’

ROME, September 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In a renewed and enthusiastic endorsement of globalism, Pope Francis has announced he is hosting an initiative for a “Global Pact” to create a “new humanism.”    The global event, set to take place at the Vatican on May 14, 2020, is themed Reinventing the Global Educational Alliance.   According to a Vatican statement issued on Thursday, Sept. 12, the Pope is inviting representatives of the main religions, international organizations and various humanitarian institutions, as well as key figures from the world of politics, economics and academia, and prominent athletes, scientists and sociologists to sign a “Global Pact on Education” so as to “hand on to younger generations a united and fraternal common home.”   “A global educational pact is needed to educate us in universal solidarity and a new humanism,” Francis said in a video message to launch the initiative.   In a strikingly secular message containing only one throw-away reference to the Lord, Pope Francis called on people to “capitalize on our best energies” and to be “proactive” in “opening education to a long-term vision unfettered by the status quo.”

Referencing the “Document on Human Fraternity and World Peace for Living Together,” which he signed with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Abu Dhabi last February, Francis explained that, in this new global village, “the ground must be cleared of discrimination and fraternity must be allowed to flourish.”   The Abu Dhabi document aroused controversy for stating that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God.”   (https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pope-francis-global-education-pact)

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AIM TO END CHINESE ROLE IN DARWIN

In 2015, the Northern Territory Government announced Chinese company Landbridge had been awarded a 99-year lease of Darwin port in a $500 million deal.   Concerns over Beijing’s steady military build-up in the Indo-Pacific region have since prompted renewed concerns about the foreign ownership of Australia’s northern-most port.

At top-level talks in Sydney over the weekend, the Australian Government again joined the United States in expressing alarm over reports China is moving to establish a new military base in a Cambodian port.

Mr. Champion, who is the deputy chair of Federal Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, believes the Commonwealth should now consider buying Darwin Port back.

“It’s a very important port because we have significant defence facilities in the Northern Territory and that’s the part of the world I guess we have to pay a great deal of attention to,” he said.

“We should look pretty clearly at making sure that that port is in government hands, and it’s for those reasons I think it should be nationalised.” (Andrew Greene, 8/4, ABC Australian Broadcasting Company)

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INTERNATIONAL PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS

“Christian persecution ‘at near genocide levels,'” the title of a May 3 BBC report, cites a lengthy interim study ordered by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and led by Rev. Philip Mounstephen, the Bishop of Truro.

According to the BBC report, one in three people around the world suffer from religious persecution, with Christians being “the most persecuted religious group.”   “Religion ‘is at risk of disappearing’ in some parts of the world,” it noted, and “in some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN.”

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is also quoted on why Western governments have been “asleep” — his word — concerning this growing epidemic:

“I think there is a misplaced worry that it is somehow colonialist to talk about a religion [Christianity] that was associated with colonial powers rather than the countries that we marched into as colonisers.   That has perhaps created an awkwardness in talking about this issue – the role of missionaries was always a controversial one and that has, I think, also led some people to shy away from this topic.”

Whatever the merits of such thinking, the fact is that many of the world’s most persecuted Christians have nothing whatsoever to do with colonialism or missionaries.   Those most faced with the threat of genocide – including Syria’s and Iraq’s Assyrians or Egypt’s Copts – were Christian several centuries before the ancestors of Europe’s colonizers became Christian and went missionizing.

The BBC report highlights “political correctness” as being especially responsible for the West’s indifference, and quotes Hunt again in this regard:   “What we have forgotten in that atmosphere of political correctness is actually the Christians that are being persecuted are some of the poorest people on the planet.” (“Genocide of Christians reaches ‘alarming stage,’” Gatestone)

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TO THE POINT

  • I’m amazed at the patience of the British people in waiting for Brexit. The majority voted for it over three years ago and it still hasn’t happened.   Maybe they should learn a lesson from their former colony of Hong Kong.   Massive demonstrations over the last three months got the HK government (and China) to back down on proposed legislation that would have given China greater control over the judicial process in the former colony.
  • It’s very interesting seeing the demonstrations in Hong Kong.   The demonstrators have been singing “God save the Queen.”   Clearly, being a colony wasn’t all bad.
  • A significant number of doctors and other medical personnel come from overseas, from countries much poorer than ours.   We are, in effect, stealing doctors from poor countries, leaving them with inadequate medical attention.   It’s time for a rethink.
  • ‘Exit polls suggested that Israel’s general election was too close to call, with Binyamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party taking 30-33 of 120 parliamentary seats and the centrist Blue and White Party, led by Benny Gantz, with 32-34.   That could make Avigdor Lieberman, a former defence minister, the kingmaker, with his far-right Yisrael Beitenu crucial to the formation of a coalition.’   (The Economist, 9/19)
  • Condoleeza Rice has called for the restoration of freedom of speech. Pointing out on CBS’s Face the Nation that half the people deny the other half the freedom to express themselves, she added that “as soon as the word ‘racist’ is used, that’s the end of the discussion.”   It’s more sensible to let people have their say.    Let everybody express themselves.   We used to be proud of our tradition of freedom of speech – let’s return to it.

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has finally died, age 95.   As a Catholic, Mr Mugabe believes he is now in purgatory.   This is highly appropriate because that’s exactly where he’s put the people of Zimbabwe!

 

US AND UK OUT OF COMMISSION

“In the United States and the United Kingdom – two of the world’s oldest democracies – national governments are at a standstill.   This, for better or worse, could be the future of politics.   It will be a system in which things have to get worse before they can get … worse.    Perpetual political gridlock: it won’t be pretty, and for many it may be painful.

“Both the US government’s shutdown and the UK’s Brexit have become problems with no exit.   Every strategy offered fails for lack of legislative support or national leadership.   The American and British political classes look intellectually exhausted and clueless about a path forward.”  (Gridlock is the new normal,” by Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal, 1/17/19)

The above about sums it up.   The two nations that have dominated the world for as long as anybody can remember are essentially out of commission.

What will this mean?

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AMERICAN WITHDRAWAL FROM MIDDLE EAST

Middle East Chaos Will Escalate Following the Departure of the Americans:   If America departs the Middle East, then the region will become a free-for-all for others.    

The National Interest * January 17, 2019, by Tanya Goudsouzian: a Canadian journalist who has covered Iraq and Afghanistan for over fifteen years.  She is former Opinion editor of Al Jazeera English Online.

The inexorable direction of the U.S. administration is towards less intervention, less engagement, and fewer “dumb wars in the Middle East.”   Although Pompeo may trumpet steadfastness, the U.S. president can pivot on a dime.

The smart money is on disengagement from the region and anyone who thinks subsequent administrations will rush back in will probably be disappointed.

In filling that vacuum in Syria, expect the Russians, the Iranians and the Turks to rush in or stay in.  They have kept their eyes on the prize; to them, it’s not just about Syria but the whole region.

. . . Europe must also understand the consequences of yielding significant Western influence in the region.

. . . More Russian territorial influence means less European territorial influence.   More Chinese trade crowds out European trade.   Iranian ideological expansion displaces Arab cultural norms. All mean “less Europe,” and certainly more instability.

. . . America’s departure will not be leaving the region to itself, but to a free-for-all for others.   And to put it bluntly, the others may not (and probably do not) share the vision or values of the European experiment.    If Europe is unwilling to “up its game” when the Americans withdraw, then it may find the only thing worse than U.S. hegemony is everything else

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TRUMP THREAT TO ISRAEL

“The strategic reality facing the new chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, will depend largely on one factor – the political situation in the United States.   More precisely, it will depend on the vagaries of U.S. President Donald Trump.    At the outset of 2019, the Trump administration continues to convey uncertainty and instability.   The amount of news generated by the president in one week, like this past one, is equivalent to several months’ worth with previous presidents.

“Trump hunkered down in the White House, telling interviewers that he hadn’t emerged in months, forgetting for a moment his frequent trips.   He’s up to his neck in the crisis resulting from the government shutdown, continuing with his promises to build his wall on the Mexican border.   But the latest crisis is only a symptom.   The deluge of headlines in recent days included the following.

“The FBI investigation into Trump began right after he was sworn in two years ago, on suspicions he was a spy or acting on Russia’s behalf.   There was a report he was considering an American withdrawal from NATO, an idea whose very mention sends shivers down the spines of strategic experts, Democrats and Republicans alike.   There was also news of a secret plan initiated by the national security adviser, John Bolton, for attacking targets in Iran.”  (“A wild card thousands of miles away,” by Amos Harel, Haaretz, January 18)

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US-EUROPEAN TRADE WAR

“Transatlantic trump trading” was the title of today’s Brussels Briefing, by Jim Brunsden.

“Ideally trade negotiations between countries should begin on a note of hope:   the desire to deepen economic ties, nurturing prosperity and friendship among their peoples.

But optimism and positivity are not the words that first come to mind when thinking about the talks about to start between the EU and US.

Brussels is expected today to publish its plans for negotiations with Washington that were conceived last year as a way to divert Donald Trump from initiating a full blown transatlantic trade war.”

Things aren’t looking good.   Expect a full-blown trade war between the two trading superpowers.

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BREXIT

The PM has pulled out of a scheduled appearance at Davos next weekend to handle her crisis at home.   (Politico)

Mrs. May has ruled out any further delays on Brexit.   Speaking with Holland’s PM, Mark Rutte, she convinced the PM that there would be no attempt to prolong Brexit beyond March 29th.

The Labour Party’s leader, Jeremy Corbin, gave a strong anti-EU speech, finally making it clear where he stands on the issue.

Leo Varadkar, Irish Prime Minister, is a major obstacle to Brexit.   Brexiteer Lord Lamont says that his refusal to amend the “Irish backstop” makes it impossible to reach agreement on other issues.

From Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail, 1/19/19:

“Current events in Britain’s Parliament are making politics in both Israel and America look positively sane and tranquil by comparison.

Around the world, jaws are dropping at the UK’s convulsions over leaving the European Union.   This resembles not so much a divorce as an amputation without anesthetic using blunt knives and a broken saw, with the surgeons throwing punches across the operating table.

“This week, the deal struck between Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU over the Brexit terms was thrown out by an enormous majority in the House of Commons.

Although this was the largest prime ministerial defeat in British history, Mrs. May survived a motion of no-confidence the following evening.”

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LA PUBLIC SCHOOLS STRIKE

LA teachers are on strike, demanding more pay and smaller classes. Sometimes, there are up to 35 pupils per class.

That’s definitely too many.   By comparison, there are 26 in one of my grandchildren’s schools.   The others are in the mid-twenties.  Private schools keep theirs down to 20, which is why their children receive more attention.

One reason for the mess in Los Angeles is that the schools are overwhelmed by immigrants.   One school reported on this week is 70% Hispanic, only 10% white.

It’s impossible for schools to keep up with the demand on their services.

Immigration is a major focus of Brexit – most people voted for Brexit because they wanted less European immigrants in the country.   It’s the same thing here in the US – most people want to keep the country as it is, and not allow other cultures to dominate.   Those at the bottom have to compete with new immigrants who are willing to work for less.

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And finally . . .

 

TRADE WAR WITH ALLIES BEGINS

TRADE WAR WITH ALLIES BEGINS

At midnight Thursday night the US imposed tariffs on goods from Europe, Canada and Mexico.   The countries of the EU and Canada have been allies of the United States since World War II.

Verbal reaction was swift, with condemnation from Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and threats of retaliation from EU leaders.  The President of France declared them “illegal”.  The European response is:  Retaliate, don’t escalate!

It’s not just bad feeling that will result from the decision by President Trump to impose the tariffs.   The tariffs will lead to higher prices on imported goods, both in the US and the EU; unemployment will also increase, over all, though there may be short-term gains in this area.

Although nobody is left alive from the last trade war that afflicted the western world, many leaders are aware that trade conflicts were a contributory factor to World War II.

The trade war is also coming at a bad time, fresh on the heels of the US tearing up the nuclear deal with Iran.   The Europeans did not agree with the US and are continuing to honor the agreement.

There’s bad feeling all round.

After seventy years of the NATO alliance, member nations outside of the US increasingly feel they are not in an alliance with Washington; rather, they are being dictated to as America changes direction on a number of levels.

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Newsletter – Dispute Among Friends

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas ended his first official visit to Washington yesterday, without reaching a compromise in the transatlantic dispute over policy on Iran.   “We’re pursuing two completely different paths,” Maas declared following his talks with his counterpart Mike Pompeo and the National Security Advisor John Bolton.  The EU remains unified in their policy approach, which is diametrically opposed to that of the Trump administration. Berlin’s attempts to achieve an independent German-EU policy on Iran opposing Washington’s is particularly applauded by Germany’s strategists in the establishment’s foreign policy sectors. Recommendations of submission to the Trump administration’s threats to use force against Teheran, so as not to jeopardize German companies’ highly profitable business relations with the US, are coming from business circles.   Meanwhile, foreign policy experts recommend developing the euro into an alternative global reserve currency.   This could reduce the USA’s potential to apply pressure on Germany’s economy.   (German Foreign Policy, 5/24)

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BELGIUM ATTACKED AGAIN

On Tuesday, a terrorist attacked and killed two policewomen in the Belgian city of Liege.  One of the policewomen was a single mother with twin daughters, aged 13.   A passerby was also killed.   The attacker shouted “Alahu Akhbar” as he stabbed the women repeatedly, then seized one of their guns before shooting at others.

The incident itself was horrific.   But the reaction of the authorities and the media showed how little understanding there is in official circles of the reality of Islamic terrorism.   There was a great deal of speculation as to what “radicalized” the perpetrator of the crime. Was he “radicalized” in prison or on the internet, or what?

After centuries of Islamic conquest and ongoing conflict between Islam and the West, today’s western leaders remain out of touch with reality.   They believe that Islam is a peaceful religion and that only a very small minority of Muslims turn to violence.

What if they are wrong?

Before political correctness, Winston Churchill once said that: ”Islam is more dangerous in a man than rabies in a dog.”

He also observed that:  “A nation that forgets its past has no future.”

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IS IRELAND SET TO ABORT ITSELF?

Last week, Irish voters decided to legalize abortion, bringing Ireland into line with every other EU country except Poland and Malta, two very Catholic countries.

In the last few years, Ireland, also a Catholic country, has also embraced divorce and gay rights.  Its current prime minister is gay and of Indian descent, two radical departures for the Irish.

But, with a small population, Is it really in the country’s interest to make abortion readily available?

Ireland is simply following other European countries, nations with low birth rates due to abortion and other forms of birth control.

To fill the gap left by those missing babies, the nations of western Europe are importing people from other parts of the world, resulting in serious social problems and terror attacks.

Wouldn’t it be better to simply keep the ban on abortion?

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DEATH OF DEMOCRACY

What’s happening in Italy is yet further proof that the EU has a democracy problem.   An entire nation has gone to the polls, yet the vote has been overridden because it delivered the ‘wrong’ result. Europe’s leaders insist they know they must listen to voters, but don’t seem very keen to hear what is being said.  (Freddy Gray, The Spectator, 5/31)