Jerusalem is described in the biblical Book of Zechariah as “ a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples” (12:2). The book is a Millennial prophecy about events now and in the future.
When people are drunk, they don’t think straight. And we see that happening now, following President Trump’s announced intention to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, thereby recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab state. It was not the capital under the Ottomans, who ruled over the city for four centuries. When East Jerusalem was a part of the Kingdom of Jordan, it was not the capital. The US will be moving its embassy to West Jerusalem, which is the Jewish part of the city, not East Jerusalem, where the Muslim population lives. One third of the city’s people are Muslim.
It should also be noted that Jerusalem has not been of historic importance to the Palestinians, Arabs or Muslims. Only in recent years has it been turned into a political football in the never-ending negotiations known as the “peace process.”
It was Yasser Arafat’s uncle, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who claimed that the Muslim prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven from the Dome of the Rock. He also declared the Rock sacred, as the site where Abraham went to sacrifice Ishmael (not Isaac). The intent behind these declarations was to stop the growing Jewish community from taking control of the city.
However, facts will not be allowed to interfere with anything from riots to war. Any excuse to focus attention on the Palestinians and against Israel, supposedly the occupying power and supporters of apartheid.
“Peace talks” have gotten nowhere. By recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Mr. Trump may be trying to force the Palestinians into real peace talks, which will require compromise on both sides. Fear of losing Jerusalem may provoke them into concessions, though this is not likely historically. As Abba Eban, former Israeli diplomat and politician, said of Yasser Arafat: “he never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” There’s no sign of this changing.
So, what might be the next step? War?
Undoubtedly, there will be trouble on the West Bank and in Gaza. A “day of rage” has been called for Friday, the Muslim day of prayer. Some are calling for a new intifada, a popular uprising that will go on indefinitely, tying down Israeli troops for months or years to come.
Right now, Israel is faced with war on three fronts. Once the Syrian conflict is over, Hezbollah in Lebanon can turn its attention to Israel. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank could be another two fronts, making it very difficult for Israel to cope.
The following verse, Zachariah 12:3 says that Jerusalem will become “a very heavy stone for all peoples.” The marginal note in my NKJV Study Bible says on this verse: “ Jerusalem is compared to a heavy stone that brings injury to anyone who tries to remove it from its place.” Nobody could ever physically move Jerusalem, but its status can theoretically be changed, as President Trump has done. This verse may be saying that attempts to reverse the decision will only bring hurt to those advocating the change.
Israel Today asked the question this morning: “Is this a fulfillment of prophecy?”
One thing does seem likely following Mr. Trump’s decision. It is not likely that the US can continue to orchestrate peace talks now that the country has come out openly in favor of Israel. The EU may claim to be the new honest broker in the peace process, though the German News channel DW is showing a definite anti-Israel / pro-Palestinian slant in its news coverage of the announcement. (DW news is shown on many PBS channels across the United States. Times vary.)
The announcement made by President Trump is likely to be the most significant decision made by the new president in his first year in office.
We’re back from Indianapolis after delivering one of our cats to our daughter and family. We stayed three nights, to see the family and for the cat to get adjusted to her new situation.
I offered to go get some cat food, but our daughter and granddaughters would not allow me near the pet food aisle after my last blog!
I don’t know what it is but whenever I visit them I go into “vacation mode” – I don’t feel like doing anything. I just want to relax. This is not fair to them. We help take care of three (sometimes, five) grandchildren in Lansing; then have four when we visit Indy.
Our family Sunday ended up being a day in front of the television with our granddaughters who introduced us to the British series “Father Brown,” available on Netflix. It was actually quite good, though some things did irritate me. For example, whenever the priest prayed in Latin, the closed-caption subtitles simply said: “Prays in a foreign language.” Don’t most people know that Latin has been the lingua franca of the Catholic church for almost 2,000 years?
Family members are all trying to be healthier, which meant no junk in the house. If I had remembered that, I would have taken some goodies to nibble between meals. I was so hungry, at one point I called our daughter in Lansing and said: “Can you come down immediately and bring some food?” I was just being humorous – it’s a 4+ hour drive; and I could have gone to a local grocery store if I thought I might expire.
Mike, our son-in-law, is a very good cook and the food was excellent. I decided to join the healthy eating and then continue it at home, which is what I’m now doing. I feel better already. I’ve had no indigestion for a week and feel more energetic. The dog food last week probably helped.
It was really nice to have a break from everything, including world news.
BACK TO MORE REALITY
The terror attack in New York on Tuesday is a reminder of the constant threat to our lives that emanates from radical Islam. It’s also a constant reminder of how hopeless our governments are – they keep letting in Muslims en masse, trying to claim that “Islam is a peaceful religion that has been hijacked by extremists.”
Trump called immediately for Congress to abolish the Diversity Visa Waiver program. This is a lottery that enables 50,000 people a year from usually poor and backward countries to enter the United States. They may then sponsor their relatives and friends to enter the US. Tuesday’s murderer brought in 23 over 15 years. Most of these people go straight to the bottom of our economic ladder, competing for jobs with low income Americans.
(Do the math. If one man brought in 23, multiply 50,000 x 23 = 1, 150,000 people per year. That’s in addition to the one million plus who get a visa the normal way.)
President Trump immediately called on Congress to change the law. That’s commendable. The law needs to be changed. But, then, why didn’t he react the same after the Las Vegas mass shooting? Changes to the law are desperately needed.
It’s been over twenty years since the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, Australia. 35 people were killed in a little over half an hour. The conservative prime minister, John Howard, immediately called on parliament to pass tough controls on assault weapons.
“Twelve days after the Port Arthur massacre, the Australian prime minister, John Howard, announced a sweeping package of gun reforms in a country where firearms had long been considered an essential prop in the national mythology of life in the bush.
“At that stage the gun lobby was the ruling lobby in Australia,” says Philip Alpers, associate professor at the University of Sydney. “What happened at Port Arthur is that they were outpaced, outflanked and outwitted by a man who had the power to move in 12 remarkable days.”
“Tim Fischer was leader of the National party and Howard’s deputy prime minister in the Coalition government, charged with persuading skeptical country voters to support, or at least accept, reforms. “Port Arthur was our Sandy Hook,” he says. “Port Arthur we acted on. The USA is not prepared to act on their tragedies.” (The Guardian 14th March 2016).
The Sandy Hook massacre of kindergarten children took place on December 14th, 2012. Congress did not pass any laws following the deaths of 26 people, including 19 children. If the country could not make any changes after the deaths of so many young children, it’s doubtful they will ever come.
President Trump and others reacted to the Las Vegas shootings by saying, “Now is not the time to discuss gun control.”
Then, when will it be the time? Immigration policies make the situation worse – the killer at Virginia Tech ten years ago was from South Korea. The Boston Marathon killings were also the work of new arrivals.
Changes can be made without encroaching on the Second Amendment, which says:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Today, the US definitely has a “well regulated militia,” so America’s needs have changed. At the same time, people do have a right to defend themselves. There’s a balance. It’s time for a national debate.
On the highly successful Australian TV show, “Janet King,” Janet, a senior employee of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS; sometimes referred to as “Crownies”), is appointed by the country’s Governor-General to head a royal commission into gun violence. It’s time the United States had a presidential commission to look into mass casualty gun violence, with the remit that it report back to the president and the public within twelve months, making recommendations to effectively reduce gun violence.
NEW ZEALAND MAKES THE NEWS
Before we leave the Antipodes, New Zealand has a new, radical prime minister.
Jacinda Ardern is only 37 and the third female leader of the country. She wants to restrict immigration into New Zealand – one of her first acts was to ban the sale of homes to people living outside of the country. She is a left-wing republican, meaning she would like to end NZ’s relationship with the Crown thereby giving greater power to the politicians, of which she is the chief! Interestingly, she is also a former Mormon who has strong views on churches that encourage families to shun former believers like herself; she left the church over its anti-homosexual stance.
QUOTE: “President Xi (of China) believes that America is in steep decline and China rising in a power game that will define our century” (Carrie Gracie, China Editor, BBC News, 11/2). President Trump is about to visit China.
Today, November 2nd, is the centenary of the Balfour Declaration. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in London to commemorate the celebration, boycotted by the anti-semitic socialist Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn.
The famous Balfour Declaration was announced in the middle of World War I by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, at a time when Great Britain was the dominant power in the world. It committed His Majesty’s Government to establish in Palestine a home for the Jewish people. It was one of the most important documents of the twentieth century and a major fulfillment of Bible prophecy. It led directly to the establishment of a Jewish nation in the Middle East, the country now called Israel.
An independent Jewish nation had not been in existence since Roman times. The Roman Jewish province of Judea rebelled against Rome in 66 AD. The Romans crushed the Jewish Revolt in 70 AD, destroying much of Jerusalem in the process. The Jews rebelled again from 132 AD-135 AD. Once again, the Romans crushed the revolt. This time, the Jews dispersed to other parts of the Roman Empire and beyond. For almost two millennia, they did not have their own country. But scriptures made it clear that the Jews would be back in their homeland, called Judah in the Bible (the Jews were only one of the twelve tribes of Israel).
Zechariah was a prophet 2,500 years ago. His Old Testament book is a Millennial prophecy about the Second Coming of the Messiah. Judah figures quite prominently in events at the time immediately prior to Christ’s Return.
Note Zechariah 12:2-3 – “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.”
And Zechariah 14:2-4 – “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
“Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”
The last verse is clearly still in the future. Jerusalem, Judah, revived after almost 2,000 years is once again a central point of geographical contention, with neighboring nations and tribes wanting to destroy the country. As if perpetually drunk, they desperately try to destroy her, so far not succeeding.
Five days after the Balfour Declaration, Russia had a second revolution. Earlier in the year, the Czarist regime had fallen and was replaced by a parliamentary system. Elections were scheduled for later in the year. Two weeks before the election, the Bolsheviks (communists) staged a coup on November 7th that overthrew the interim government of Alexander Kerensky. They proclaimed the world’s first communist state. It brought seven decades of misery to the country, with despotic leaders that made the czars look like Sunday school teachers. Communism has gone, but the country remains a dictatorship, though claiming to be a democracy.
The Bolshevik Revolution was the second revolution of 1917; there was an earlier revolution in 1905, which led to the establishment of the Duma (parliament) but still left the czar with ultimate power and authority. Russia’s parliament today is also called the Duma and is the people’s assembly. However, some would say that Vladimir Putin is a new Czar, with all the power and authority.
500th ANNIVERSARY OF PROTESTANT REFORMATION
Tuesday was the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg church in Germany. We should all be thankful to Martin Luther. He had the courage to stand up to the Church of Rome, ending the monopoly the Church had in western Europe. All churches today owe their freedom to Luther.
I watched a two-hour documentary on PBS recently about Martin Luther and the Reformation. He is considered the greatest theologian of all time, due to the fact that he wrote more books and articles on the Bible than anybody else. He also translated the scriptures into German.
Later in life, asked to sum up his writings, he replied: “God forgives.” That was of paramount importance to Luther, who struggled all his life with sin, as we all do. Hearing that, I thought about all the churches that have come out of Luther, directly or indirectly. Many have one thing in common – they can’t forgive. How ironic.
VISIT TO NOAH’S ARK
Earlier in the month, we were in Cincinnati, Ohio. A group of us, including four of our grandchildren, took the opportunity to visit Noah’s Ark, which is just over the state line in Kentucky. It’s well worth a visit, if only to get a better idea of the size of the original ark. This replica is built according to biblical specifications.
I’m very thankful that the enterprising Australian behind this project was inspired to build the Ark (and the Creation Museum nearby). More and more people are biblically illiterate, so it’s good that somebody has kept the story alive. I found the wall plaques explaining everything interesting, but I do not agree with his theory that the earth is only 6,000 years old.
We had been told to allow three hours for our visit. With two 5-year-old twin boys, we went through quite quickly, in exactly two hours. We left early — because it was raining!!!
The following evening we had a group of Barbadians over for dinner. Wonderful people. They had actually come from Barbados to visit the Ark. They are also Young Earthers, believing in the 6,000 years. We agreed to disagree and still remain friends. That’s the way it should be.
I’ve been asked why I quote so often from the Daily Express and Daily Mail newspapers, two Conservative British tabloids.
The answer is quite simple: they have the best web sites. Check them out sometime.
The Guardian and Independent, more intellectual papers, are constantly asking for money whenever I check their sites; whereas the Times, the Telegraph and the Financial Times make very little available.
The biggest problem with the two papers I use is that they often sensationalize news items.
I will try to find alternative sources, but, realistically I will have to use them occasionally as I don’t have the funds to pay for subscriptions to the more highbrow papers; and they have to request money as they have smaller circulations.
(This blog is a fully independent blog that has no connection to any church or secular organization. It was started to keep people informed on international affairs in light of the scriptures. Financial support comes from myself and readers who graciously donate to help cover costs.)
Stuart Varney on Fox Business News remarked this morning, that “it rattles the nerves. First, Hurricane Harvey, then Irma, now the earthquake in Mexico.” His companion added: ‘Will we see a plague of locusts next?”
Jennifer Lawrence had her own interpretation, blaming it all, perhaps predictably, on Donald Trump. What’s happening, she claimed, is that these disasters are “nature’s wrath on Americans for voting for Trump.” Clearly, it’s not her intellect that has made her the world’s best-paid actress!
According to the Conservative Tribune, actress Alyssa Milano (“Who’s the Boss?” “Melrose Place”) joined the ranks of liberals mocking Trump’s response to Harvey in a tweet that mocked the President’s call for a National Day of Prayer on Sunday.
One thing is certain – these disasters are going to cost the United States, and other countries affected, billions of dollars. The Caribbean island of Barbuda has seen 95% of its buildings destroyed. The actor, Robert DeNiro, has promised to rebuild the island, describing the devastation as “literally rubble.” Mr. DeNiro has a major property investment on the island. The Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, describes the island as “barely habitable.”
This morning it became clear that FEMA, the government agency that oversees disaster relief, does not have the funds to help Florida after the second hurricane hits this weekend; it was only yesterday that Congress voted aid for Texas after Hurricane Harvey. Meanwhile, Islamic Relief Worldwide has been given over $700, 000 by Congress and is expected to receive more. There’s also the 800,000 young people who entered the US illegally during the last administration – the cost of housing, schooling, and feeding them, in addition to providing them with free healthcare, must be astronomical. Add to all of this the cost of the ongoing wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan. And, following the devastating earthquake south of the border this morning, Mexico is not going to be contributing one peso to the cost of building that wall.
The fact is that the US is broke. It has been for as long as anybody can remember. The national debt is over $20 trillion. One TV news report today warned that flood insurance may not pay out for a while, if at all.
Scott Shellady (FBN) warned this morning that with “bonds going up in price, and interest rates” low, the economy is in trouble. He added that: “Something is fundamentally wrong” and something has to give. Stuart Varney added that something may give by Monday morning! The price of gold is also going up again while the dollar is falling, two more signs of worries in financial markets.
The three hurricanes (Harvey, Irma and Jose, now forming) have certainly made financial markets jittery, although companies like Lowe’s and Home Depot are expected to do well in the recovery. There’s even a fourth hurricane, Hurricane Katia, forming over Mexico.
Meanwhile, the BBC’s website reports that the Netherlands is sending more troops to St. Martin to deal with serious post-hurricane looting and a total breakdown in law and order.
Although the death toll could be high this weekend, the greater long-term threat is to the economies of the countries concerned. Many smaller businesses are not likely to reopen and millions of people may move out of the affected areas, as they did in the aftermath of Katrina twelve years ago.
Interestingly, Monday is the 16th anniversary of 9-11, arguably the biggest disaster of all. The country is on high alert for another possible terror attack (there have been many in Europe in recent months). A serious attack equaling 9-11 would have a further negative effect on the economy and on the morale of the people.
Another historical anniversary is today – it’s exactly 117 years since the worst hurricane in American history made landfall in Galveston, killing 12,000 people.
America and its neighbors need time to recuperate from the current disasters.
The National Day of Prayer may help, but Americans are not inclined to repent, a prerequisite for answered prayer.
“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14)
The country needs to think about this passage this weekend as it observes the National Day of Prayer.
European Court Orders EU Countries to Take Migrants “Politics has raped European law and values.” by Soeren Kern • September 7, 2017 at 5:00 am
The September 6 ruling, which has been hailed as a victory for European federalism, highlights the degree to which the European Union has usurped decision-making powers from its 28 member states. The ruling also showcases how the EU’s organs of jurisprudence have become politicized.
Many so-called asylum seekers have refused to relocate to Central and Eastern Europe because the financial benefits there are not as generous as in France, Germany or Scandinavia.
“Let us not forget that those arriving have been raised in another religion, and represent a radically different culture. Most of them are not Christians, but Muslims. This is an important question, because Europe and European identity is rooted in Christianity. Is it not worrying in itself that European Christianity is now barely able to keep Europe Christian? If we lose sight of this, the idea of Europe could become a minority interest in its own continent.” — Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
Germany Heading for Four More Years of Pro-EU, Open-Door Migration Policies by Soeren Kern • September 8, 2017 at 5:00 am
The policy positions of Merkel and Schulz on key issues are virtually identical: Both candidates are committed to strengthening the European Union, maintaining open-door immigration policies, pursuing multiculturalism and quashing dissent from the so-called far right.
Merkel and Schulz both agree that there should be no upper limit on the number of migrants entering Germany.
Merkel’s grand coalition backed a law that would penalize social media giants, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, with fines of €50 million ($60 million) if they fail to remove offending content from their platforms within 24 hours. Observers say the law is aimed at silencing critics of Merkel’s open-door migration policy. (Gatestone Institute)
Pauline Hanson is an Australian Member of Parliament. She has her own political party, “Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party,” and often speaks out on immigration and related issues.
This week she spoke out on autism. Specifically, she is calling for autistic children to be separated from other children, so that the others are not held back in their education.
Our eldest grandson, Aubren, who is five, is autistic. I drive him to school most days and collect him from school seven hours later. Because of this, I interact with his teachers a great deal.
All are aware of his autism. Their approach is very different to Ms. Hanson’s.
About half of the pupils in his pre-kindergarten class do not have special needs. Those who do have special needs participate in everything. In addition, they have private sessions with speech therapists and others to help them keep up with the other children. From what I have seen, this works very well.
There could be a case for separating autistic children if it is found that they will benefit. What Ms. Hanson is suggesting is that autistic children be educated separately as their presence in the classroom is having a negative effect on non-autistic children. Again, I’ve not seen any evidence for this. And with so many children with autism, normal children need exposure to this to understand it, handle it, and see these children as potential friends, not objects of scorn and derision.
Nobody knows for sure what causes autism. There are plenty of theories. Some of these are put forward quite volubly by their adherents, but it remains the case that nobody knows for sure what causes the problem. What is known is that the number of autistic children is increasing. It is now one in 68.
The correct name for autism is Autism Spectral Disorder. There is a wide spectrum when it comes to autism. Many autistic children function well in different areas; but there are others, at the other end of the spectrum, who find it difficult to carry on a conversation, or indeed, speak at all. Communication is a major challenge for autistic children. So are emotions and affection. In addition, many autistic people need “sameness” – they do not adjust well to a different environment or any change to their routine. We are anxious about Aubren’s first day at kindergarten in August – new school, new teacher, new environment; he may bolt, trying to escape from it as it could be overwhelming for him. His teacher, Miss Sue, from the last school year has volunteered to regularly take him to his new school and new playground to familiarize him with his future environment. The right teachers make all the difference!
Aubren is a delightful boy. Everybody loves him. He plays well with other children. He’s affectionate and loving. I for one am very much against the idea that autistic children should be separated from other children of the same age. After all, when they finish school at 18, they are going to have to mix with others in the working world. Why not start now?
The news from England can be quite discouraging, with terrorism and Brexit dominating everything. Britain’s position on just about everything reminds me of a verse in the Old Testament about Ephraim. In Hosea 7:8 we read: “Ephraim compromises with the nations; he’s a half-baked cake.” (International Standard Version.) A half-baked cake is of no use to anybody.
Julius Caesar put it somewhat differently, when he described Britain as “perfidious Albion.” England is no longer ruled by those ancient Britons, having been taken over by Angles and Saxons shortly after the Romans left the country. Perhaps it’s the weather, which is very unpredictable.
Whatever the reason, Mrs. May is perfecting “compromise.” It’s been the British way all my lifetime.
Consider the following:
After a “terror” attack outside of a leading London mosque, she had the opportunity to boldly speak some badly needed truths. The attack was by a “lone wolf,” a man from Cardiff in Wales who was obviously upset about recent terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists. He drove his car into a crowd outside of the mosque. Nothing can excuse this, but it provided Mrs. May with an opportunity to say that people are understandably scared after the recent terror attacks. Instead, she condemned “Islamophobia” and said the government was going to stamp it out. Islamophobia is a natural and reasonable response to Islamic terror – the only way to defeat Islamophobia is by Muslims themselves doing something about terrorism.
Also, was the driver of the car really a terrorist? He had no links to any terror organization, domestic or foreign. Describing him as a “terrorist” puts his act on a par with the real terror attacks that have taken place, when they are very different. His was motivated by a fear of Muslims.
Thirdly, Mrs. May is promising more security for mosques. There is no such protection for churches. What the prime minister is doing is inadvertently giving Islam a special status.
Today, there was yet more compromise, this time with the European Union, as Britain negotiates itself out of the 27-member organization.
Mrs. May announced this morning that 3 million people from other EU countries can remain in Britain after Brexit. Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, responded with: “It’s not sufficient.” Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, was equally dismissive. Neither man was elected by the people. They are professional bureaucrats — with all the arrogance that comes with it.
The UK is going to find that compromise doesn’t work with the EU – or with Islam! Britain will keep on compromising with both, until another Winston Churchill arises – if there is one.
It’s surely a depressing time for the Queen. The multicultural dream she has spent decades developing seems to be crumbling. It’s not just Islamic terrorism. Even the fire at the 24-storey apartment block in London brought it out. Most of the residents were from other cultures with no understanding of the way Britain works. After an incident like this, there’s usually a government inquiry and then changes are made based on recommendations received.
On this occasion, residents were quick to protest and even riot, storming the local county offices who are responsible for building safety. Mrs. May had to quickly promise new accommodation in a luxury apartment block. The taxpayer will have to foot the bill.
It turned out the fire was started by a faulty fridge. It spread quickly because of the insulation used.
In view of all these problems, it’s not surprising that nobody in the royal family wants to be king, according to Prince Harry in an interview this week.
MEDIA BEWILDERED BY VOTE
I don’t know if the Queen has ever been to Georgia, a colony (now a state) named after her ancestor, George II, who reigned from 1727-1760.
Georgia was the center of attention this week due to a by-election in the 6th Congressional district.
As the election got nearer, TV news people were ecstatic at the prospect of a Democratic victory. It had to happen as Donald Trump is so unpopular! The election was even described as “a referendum on Trump.”
The party that represents the wealthy elite, the Democrats, spent more than eight times as much money contesting this seat, as the Republicans, now the party of the working man. In spite of this massive outlay of cash, the Democrats lost. If this truly was a referendum on Trump, he must be doing ok.
The BBC was totally discombobulated. Commentators kept repeating that the president has less than a 40% approval rating, so how could this possibly be the result? It won’t happen again when the mid-term elections take place in November next year, they assured viewers.
Haven’t they learned yet that polls are not reliable?
ISRAEL’S TICKING TIME BOMB
“The southern neighborhoods of Tel Aviv have been overrun in recent years. The number of African asylum-seekers and economic migrants now living there is approaching 100,000.
Some have been repatriated. But most remain in the country illegally.
Israel finds itself in a conundrum – how can it turn away or deport those in need considering the Jews’ own history? At the same time, how can the tiny nation of Israel absorb such numbers without taking a serious hit to its economy?
And time’s running out to find a solution.
According to Oved Hugi, a social activist from southern Tel Aviv, the “infiltrators’ birthrate stands at 10,000 per year. That means 50,000 children in five years, and that should cause the Prime Minister to lose sleep. South Tel Aviv is a ticking time bomb.” (Israel Today)
SAUDIS BETRAY REAL FEELINGS
On June 8, 2017, the Saudi national football team met the Australian national team for a match in Adelaide as part of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. The match began with a minute of silence for the victims of the London Bridge terror attack on June 3, among whom were two Australians. However, while the members of the Australian team observed the minute of silence, the Saudi players appeared to ignore it and continued moving around the pitch. (MEMRI 6-21)
Why are people surprised, when Wahhabism is the official religion of Saudi Arabia? Wahhabis support violence against infidels (non-believers) and believe violence is justified to spread Islam.
Canadian sniper makes record kill shot A sniper with Canada’s elite special forces has shot and killed an Isis fighter in Iraq from a distance of 2.1 miles, shattering the world record for the longest confirmed kill shot previously held by a British sniper. The shot took 10 seconds to reach its target and the sniper would have had to consider distance, wind and the curvature of the earth when taking aim. (Globe and Mail)
Refugees in Germany to be jobless for years Up to three-quarters of Germany’s refugees will still be unemployed in five years’ time, according to Aydan Özoğuz, the country’s commissioner for immigration, refugees and integration. The stark admission of the challenges Germany faces in integrating its huge migrant population comes as Angela Merkel seeks a fourth term as chancellor in elections in September. (FT)
Tuesday February 21st marks a special anniversary that will most probably be overlooked.
It happens to be the 70th anniversary of the United States replacing Great Britain as the world’s number one power.
After fighting two world wars, Britain was faced with three major international crises all at once.
The new British Labour government had already announced plans to give independence to India, after two centuries of British rule. This led to turmoil on the sub-continent between Hindus and Muslims. British troops tried to keep the peace.
At the same time Palestine exploded. In 1946 Jewish nationalists blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, British military headquarters in the mandated territory, killing 91 people.
The first two problems occurred on British territories; the third was in Greece, where communists were trying to take over the country.
At the same time, Britain was broke, following the two major global conflicts of the first half of the twentieth century. Early in 1947, economic problems at home meant that Britain could no longer allocate funds to the conflict in Greece. They decided to inform Washington to see if America wanted to take over.
“On Friday, February 21st” the Secretary of State General George C. Marshall, left the State Department early to attend the bicentennial celebrations of Princeton University and receive an honorary degree. Then the British Embassy telephoned to say it had two urgent notes.” As these notes were urgent, Dean Acheson, the Under-Secretary of State, asked the Embassy’s first secretary to deliver them rather than wait until the Monday. “Recalling this episode in later years, Acheson wrote, “They were shockers”.”
“It was not being asked to provide aid to Greece that was shocking. The State Department was already preparing a plan for aid. It was the fact that Britain was pulling out and proposing to hand over responsibility. After all, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff had advised the previous year: ‘The defeat or disintegration of the British Empire would eliminate from Eurasia the last bulwark of resistance between the US and Soviet expansion . . . Our present position as a world power is of necessity closely interwoven with that of Britain , , ,
“This was a momentous change. For two centuries Britain had been the dominant power in the eastern Mediterranean. Now it seemed to be surrendering that role in two key countries. It is often said that Americans lack a historical sense that Europeans have, but on this occasion it was the Americans who saw the historical significance of that moment. To British ministers, battling from day to day to keep the country’s head above water, this seemed to be just a temporary retrenchment in one area. None of them appeared to see any larger implications in the decision. The American view was put in grandiloquent terms by Joseph M. Jones, who was in the State Department at the time: ‘Reading the messages, Hickerson realized, as had Henderson before him, that Great Britain had within the hour handed the job of world leadership, with all its burdens and all its glory, to the United States.” (“Picking up the reins,” Norman Moss, 2008, page 64, italics mine).
The whole world did not recognize the change immediately, It was to be another ten years before it became clear to all. At the end of 1956 the Suez Canal crisis showed that London could not do anything without American support. Soon afterward, the US was encouraging Britain to dismantle its empire and then to join the European Union (then the European Economic Community).
US vs EU
It’s ironic then that, over the weekend, at the Munich Security Conference, “leading German foreign policy experts” called “on the EU to reposition itself on the world stage, replacing the United States as the West’s ‘torchbearer.’ Since Washington’s change of government, the United States no longer ‘qualifies as the symbol of the West’s political and moral leadership, according to Wolfgang Ischinger, Chair of the Munich Security Conference. It is therefore up to Europe ‘to make up for this loss.’” (GermanForeignPolicy.com)
That’s easier said than done. But the EU could be the world’s dominant military power for the simple reason that it is the world’s biggest trading power. That’s the main reason why the US took over from Great Britain. Economic power = military power. The US is struggling economically which is one reason why President Trump is demanding the Europeans pay more for NATO. Of course, the Europeans have their own financial problems, but they have an urgent need to protect themselves from both Russia and Islamic terrorism. If they are going to have to pay more for defense, why not go-it-alone? Especially when they no longer have confidence in American leadership.
One of the first superpowers, Babylon, was predicted to last “seventy years” (Jeremiah 25:12 & 29:10), illustrating how seventy is a significant number. In Psalm 90:10, Moses was inspired to write that “our days may come to seventy years,” the lifespan of many human beings. Perhaps more significantly in the rise and fall of nations is the fact that, after seven decades, most people have forgotten everything. Few today remember World War II. Few remember that Baron Ismay, Secretary General of NATO from 1952-55, described the alliance as intended to “keep the Russians out, the Americans in and the Germans down.” In the current debate on the future of the alliance, this has been completely forgotten.
Dismantle the alliance and two things will happen: 1) the American president will no longer be “the Leader of the Free World;” and 2) Germany will become the undisputed Leader of Europe (she already is economically). On the 70th anniversary of America’s ascendancy, the Munich conference saw nations actively discussing the end of America’s pre-eminence.
President Trump in Washington and Vice-President Mike Pence, who addressed the conference, may see themselves as being in the lead, calling the shots, insisting on changes within the alliance; but the other member nations have the choice of forming their own military alliance, which will not be led by the United States.
As with the change seventy years ago, it may take a while to fully emerge, but this is the direction we are heading in. On Sunday, Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, announced she is seeking closer ties with Russia to bring about the defeat of ISIS.
It might be good for Washington’s new leaders to take a lesson from the great nineteenth century German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, who once observed that a great power, to survive, must be “one of three” in a world governed by “five.” Note the following:
“Of the five original great powers recognized at the Congress of Vienna, only France and the United Kingdom have maintained that status continuously to the present day, although France was defeated in the Franco-Prussian War and occupied during World War II. After the Congress of Vienna, the British Empire emerged as the pre-eminent power, due to its navy and the extent of its territories, which signaled the beginning of the Pax Britannica and of the Great Game between the UK and Russia. The balance of power between the Great Powers became a major influence in European politics, prompting Otto von Bismarck to say “All politics reduces itself to this formula: try to be one of three, as long as the world is governed by the unstable equilibrium of five great powers.” (“Great Power,” Wikipedia)
In 1914, the German and Austrian empires went to war with the British, French and Russian empires. Germany was one of two in a world governed by five. The Germans lost. They repeated the same mistake in World War II, when Germany and Japan were the two, in a world still governed by five. The three opposing powers were Britain, America and Russia. Again, the Germans lost.
The five major powers right now are the EU, China, the United States, Japan and Russia (a great military power, but not so great economically). The US remains in alliance with the countries of the EU and Japan, making it one of three in a world governed by five. If the EU separates from the US, that will reduce America to being one of two.
This all may seem incredible with almost daily news of set-backs in the EU. France and Holland may leave after elections early this year; Greece and Italy have serious financial problems, which may affect the euro. But the fact remains that Germany dominates the continent and Germany is putting together a European military force to rival America’s. The Munich security conference showed the will is there, boosted considerably by the change of administration in Washington.
Daniel 2:21 says that God is behind the rise and fall of nations. “And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings.” It could be, that after seventy years, the American Era is coming to an end. Munich this weekend showed that many want to see that happen.
Something to think about as the US passes its seventieth anniversary!
Keith Keogh was a friend of mine. He died in November, aged 80.
Keith was a member of the church my wife and I attended when we first got married. At the time, we lived in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Keith’s farm was in the middle of nowhere, in a place called Tjolotjo, in Matabeleland. If I remember correctly, Keith had 9,000 hectares, over 22,000 acres. His farm was about 60 miles one side of Bulawayo, while we lived 30 miles in the opposite direction. We met with others for a monthly church Bible Study in Bulawayo, the country’s second biggest city.
I went out to his farm on one occasion to join a small group of people hunting on his land. I wasn’t too successful but I have one lasting memory of that day. Keith’s employees had just killed an elephant. Elephants were royal game, protected by law. Farm hands could only kill one if it was a “rogue elephant” – in other words, if it was destroying crops or homes or killing people. This was one that had been a problem for some time.
I remember watching them cut up the elephant after it was killed. The meat from the huge animal would keep them all fed for some time. They even cut open the stomach and turned its contents into some sort of stew. The elephant’s feet were to be sold to make tables for foreign tourists, the tusks for ivory artifacts. It’s hide likely ended up making purses and briefcases. When we left Rhodesia in May 1978 for Ghana, the local church presented me with an elephant skin briefcase, an item I still have as a memento of the country and the Salisbury church (we lived in the capital for over a year after moving from the Bulawayo area).
At the time we visited Keith’s farm, the country was in the midst of a civil war and Tjolotjo was in the thick of it. In fact, Ian Fyffe, who had taught me my job in Essexvale where I worked for the District Commissioner, was transferred there after I took over his job in Umzingwane. Ian was younger than me. He was attacked by terrorists and seriously injured. After two months in the hospital, he was back at work, only to be killed some time later by terrorists. His wife Linda remarried a farmer who, in turn, was also murdered by terrorists.
At about the same time, Keith gave refuge to a couple we remember well and loved dearly – Martin and Cobi Visser. The Vissers had left Holland after World War II to farm in Africa. They were dairy farmers. We often visited them and loved the raw milk they gave us on each visit. I’ve forgotten why, but they lost their farm and were then invited to live and work on Keith’s farm. Mrs. Visser looked after the farm store, which sold food and other essential items to the workers there. On one occasion the farm was raided by terrorists and Cobi, together with Keith’s wife Winnie, scared them off with a loud car horn.
After seven years, the war ended in December 1979. The whites, under incredible pressure from liberals and socialists in the US, UK and South Africa, lost and saw their country become Zimbabwe. As the last white leader, Ian Smith, had predicted, Zimbabwe would have “one man, one vote,” meaning that the new leader Robert Mugabe had the only vote that mattered. Theoretically, there’s universal suffrage, but President Mugabe has had dictatorial power for 37 years.
One of the worst things he did was expel the white farmers. Keith lost his farm with no compensation in 2002. He left everything behind him and moved to Botswana, a neighboring country with better race relations and better government. I lost touch with him at about this time, but I have learned since that he was very successful there in helping local people to improve their farms and build for the future.
A few years ago, we returned to Zimbabwe and visited Essexvale, where we went to see the farm of a friend, Colin Martin, who had lived there. He fled the country with his wife and dogs and nothing else about the same time Keith left. A brief visit to his farm was heart-breaking – it lay in ruins. It was not being used to produce food. Africans are subsistence farmers, not commercial farmers like Keith and Colin.
Keith, Colin and others like them are part of central Africa’s story. They helped make Rhodesia the breadbasket of Africa and gave it the second most developed economy on the continent. Since independence, the country they loved has become the basket-case of Africa.
The white liberals in the West who helped destroy the country are now silent. Zimbabwe has created thousands of jobs for western aid agencies who try to feed the people with hand-outs. In hindsight, it would have been better to keep the white farmers and ensure there would be enough food for everybody. Neighboring countries, like Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia have taken in some of the farmers, who have boosted food production in their countries.
Instead of forking out endless aid to help peoples in Africa, it would be better to send in just one highly productive white farmer. Given 99-year leases, as in Zambia, they can make the land very productive.
Sadly, South Africa seems likely to follow Zimbabwe. Militant voices are calling for the confiscation of white-owned farms. A friend of mine related to me on Friday how his cousin and wife were murdered on their farm by African militants, members of the governing ANC’s “youth wing.” Julius Melema, their leader, is one voice wanting all the land seized. South Africa’s commercial farmers have helped feed Zimbabweans and others; if the farmers lose their land, where will the food come from?
It was the great Scottish missionary, David Livingstone, who first opened up the interior of Africa in his zeal to end the slave trade on the continent and to bring light into darkness, preaching the gospel to people who had never heard it. Muslims were raiding central Africa and taking slaves back to the Middle East.
Others from Britain went out to central Africa and farmed. They did not steal the land as is popularly believed today – the land they farmed was mostly un-used. They saw themselves as bringing civilization into the area. Some believed they were fulfilling Old Testament prophecies about the modern descendants of Israel being a blessing to the world (Genesis 12:3); the colonies they settled were forming the “multitude of nations” promised in Genesis 48:19. The Victorians had a mission to save the Africans from ignorance, poverty and slavery.
Sadly, the end of the British Empire in Africa has seen slavery returning in every single country in Africa. It is estimated there are more slaves today than there ever were at the height of the 18th century slave trade. This is a direct consequence of today’s white liberals who succeeded in destroying the empire.
This can also be said about Africa’s food problems. Again, it’s western liberals who have set back African food production.
Keith Keogh was one of the men who helped boost food production on the continent during the colonial era. Right up until he died, he remained dedicated to helping improve farms and the lives of farmers.
It’s time to honor the work of men like Keith and to speak out about the African leaders who have done so much harm to the continent.
Footnote: African countries are planning a mass exodus from the International Criminal Court (ICC). They claim bias by the court, which has highlighted atrocities committed by African leaders, including genocide perpetrated by some presidents against tribes other than their own. Rather than risk prosecution by an international court, they are withdrawing from the jurisdiction of the court. This decision is not unexpected – South Africa, Burundi and the Gambia withdrew last year.
AMERICA FIRST – PHONE CALL TO AUSTRALIA
I was saddened and troubled this morning upon hearing the news that the new American President, Donald Trump, yelled at the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, during a phone call that reportedly lasted 25 minutes. The US president apparently was so angry he slammed the phone down, cutting off the prime minister. The PM has since denied this.
The issue they were discussing was an agreement between the Obama Administration and the Australian government, whereby the US promised to take in 1,250 Muslim migrants that Australia did not want to accept.
The real problem here is the migrants themselves. This situation has been going on for years and has led to extreme violence by Muslim immigrants in both the US and Australia. Why is it governments still have not come up with a solution?
Why is it that thousands of migrants cross dozens of countries to get to Australia, the US, Canada and the nations of Western Europe when they could quite easily go to a neighboring Muslim country?
Just as disturbing is the question: why did President Trump get so angry with a vital American ally? Australia has done a great deal to help the United States in recent decades, in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. It works both ways – the US is pledged to defend Australia in times of war. But Australia has fought in American wars that were not in their own interests.
Additionally, the US has a large trade imbalance with Australia, to America’s advantage. Aussies buy far more American products than the other way round. (I do my bit to buy goods from Australia, but one can only eat so many Tim Tams!) Australians are already disappointed at the US backing out of the TPP.
Hopefully, the president will learn quickly who America’s friends are, friends who themselves have often put “America First.”
IS AMERICA UNRAVELLING?
Frank Luntz, a Republican strategist and regular CBS contributor, expressed grave concern this morning following the riot at the University of Southern California, Berkeley. The riot was intended to stop a conservative speaker who had been invited to speak on the campus. As so often happens nowadays, whenever a conservative is asked to speak, a “rent-a-mob” turns up to stop them. Whether or not these were all university students is a matter of speculation. But what’s going on threatens the historic freedom of speech that has been a hall-mark of American democracy going right back to colonial times.
Mr. Luntz said he feels the country is unraveling, adding that “we have 1968 all over again.” Prior to the latest election, 1968 witnessed the most tumultuous election in recent times, with riots and assassinations against a backdrop of war.
Mr. Luntz is correct when he notes that there is “nothing that binds Republicans and Democrats together” any more.
He also observed that Donald Trump is keeping his promises, that people had plenty of warning of what he intended to do in America.
On the same day as the Inaugural in Washington, The Gambia was in the midst of a major constitutional crisis. Gambia is a slither of a country in west Africa. Until the weekend, it was ruled by the same dictator for over twenty years.
A recent election gave victory to Mr. Adama Barrow, but President Yahya Jammeh refused to step down.
Neighboring countries in the region invaded to remove the former president and replace him with the new one. Mr. Jammeh has now gone.
It’s different in America. No coups or counter-coups were needed to remove President Obama. Canadian and Mexican troops were not needed, either.
America has had smooth transfers of government for a very long time. That is to America’s credit.
But some commentators, including some religious ones, are doing a disservice to the United States when they describe America as “unique” in this regard. They also overlook an area of grave concern, deeply rooted in American history.
America’s peaceful changes of government are not unique. England has had peaceful transfers of power since 1689, to name just one country. Ed Morrow, CBS’s American wartime correspondent during World War II, marveled that, when faced with foreign invasion and possible extinction, the United Kingdom maintained a democratic system of government and people were free to criticize Winston Churchill. He did not think America would fare so well when faced with similar threats.
It can truthfully be said that America is unique in one respect – it is the only presidential system in the world that always has peaceful transfers of power. Others, like Gambia, have a bad history in this regard. It has taken over 50 years of independence for The Gambia to get a new elected Head of State – and the change was not peaceful. Zimbabwe has had the same president for 38 years following its independence – there is no sign of change in the country, though people talk increasingly of “nature taking its course” – the president is well over 90 years of age.
So, credit to America.
But not so fast.
In 1860, the election was peaceful, but a few weeks later, fourteen southern states seceded from the Union. Four years of civil war followed. 2% of the people were killed.
Go back even further, to 1775, and we see another civil war that claimed 6% of the people’s lives. (The population was less then so the total number was less, but the impact was, arguably, greater.) This war is known as the Revolutionary War or the American War of Independence. It lasted seven years.
Both wars saw incredible divisions in America. Both saw “brother against brother.” Both were truly civil wars of the worst kind. Is another civil war possible? It is not out of the question.
Again, we are seeing great division in American society. Roughly half the voters supported Donald Trump, while the other half supported Hillary Clinton. The latter seem no more inclined to accept the result than voters in 1860. That is not to say there will be another civil war, but there could be a great deal of civil unrest; and, eventually, another civil conflict, this time between conservatives and liberals, with race as a contributory factor.
Hundreds of thousands, some would say millions, of angry women were out on the streets of a number of cities, demonstrating over threats to women’s rights; an issue that did not even exist in 1860. The term “women’s rights” is a euphemism for abortion, the murder of babies. There was no support for abortion in 1860 – that’s a new phenomenon that is directly due to the nation’s gradual rejection of Christianity. Over 60 million abortions have been performed since legalization in 1973 – those children, who would now be adults, have been replaced by over 60 million immigrants, some from countries that are hostile to the United States. It really doesn’t make any sense.
Many of those immigrants are now with the demonstrators against the new Administration. This adds an ethnic dimension that did not exist in the two previous civil wars. Some of the most outspoken critics of the new administration in Washington are Muslims. Liberals come quickly to their defense. I even heard one prominent liberal on CNN yesterday extolling the virtue of an Islamic female leader who “is pro-gray, pro-LGBT.” Do they really believe that? The gay lifestyle is totally at variance with Islam. Gays have no civil rights in any Muslim country.
These divisions in America, primarily over abortion (sorry, women’s rights) and race, will continue to worsen during the Trump presidency. They have already resulted in some violence. In time, they could explode into greater conflict.
Americans can pride themselves on being part of a presidential republic that has seen many peaceful changes of government, but America is not unique where peaceful change is concerned. The challenge now is to make sure peaceful transfers of power continue. This is not likely to happen in a period of increasing diversity. Tribalism was a big factor in Gambia’s electoral disaster – tribalism is now a growing threat in America.
Diversity is just another word for “tribalism.”
We should not become complacent. Jesus Christ warned that: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” (Matthew 12:25).
"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened." — Sir Winston Churchill