Tag Archives: Seth Frantzman

“PEACE AND SAFETY”  (I Thess. 5:3)

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

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UAE / ISRAEL DEAL A ‘WIN WIN’ FOR PEACE

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

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

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

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IRANIAN OPPOSITION TO DEAL

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

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

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

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PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP ANTI-AGREEMENT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who are they, and what do they want?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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US ELECTION

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

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

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

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GERMANY-US RELATIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But nothing comes close to the current situation.

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

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

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GUN VIOLENCE UP IN US

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

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

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

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CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED IN NIGERIA

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

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

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DISQUIET ABOUT PHILADELPHIA AIRPORT’S “QUIET ROOM”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NEW ZEALAND CONTRADICTIONS

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

COMMENT FROM FACEBOOK, SAME DAY —

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

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

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ANOTHER CHINESE-AMERICAN CHARGED WITH SPYING

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

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

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

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KARL MARX, NOT A MAN TO FOLLOW

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

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IMPERIAL REDUX

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

From the Imperial War Museum, London (edited):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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WHITE LIVES DON’T MATTER

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

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

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

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TO THE POINT

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MORE ON CORONA

AMERICA AHEAD

Good morning.   “The US has more confirmed cases of the coronavirus than any other nation on Earth.  Yet Donald Trump has fallen back on his favorite solution to any problem, announcing an executive order that would temporarily suspend all immigration from other countries.   Democrats slammed the move, with one congressman calling it no more than “xenophobic scapegoating.”

Meanwhile, epidemiologists have warned that the greater threat is from within, saying recent anti-lockdown rallies across the country could lead to a surge in new infections.   In Georgia, governor Brian Kemp announced businesses including gyms, cinemas and restaurants would reopen in the state over the coming days, despite the objections of public heath experts.   (Tim Walker, The Guardian, 4/21/2020)

This is a typical Guardian piece from across the water.   It seems to me that the president made a very sensible decision, to halt immigration to help save American jobs.  It’s only for two months.  When things get back to normal, if unemployment persists, there should be no going back to open borders.

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CHINA’S ECONOMY DOWN

 That the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic will be immense is obvious.  Just how bad?  And when can countries start to heal?  China offered a preliminary answer today when it announced that its first-quarter GDP fell by 6.8%, compared with last year.  The last time China’s economy shrank was 1976, the year the Cultural Revolution ended.  It was a foregone conclusion that growth had suffered after lockdowns were imposed nationwide in late January. More notable therefore were indicators for March.   Encouragingly, industrial production fell just 1% year-on-year, a reflection of progress made in restarting factories.   Discouragingly, retail sales were down 16% over the same period, with stores and restaurants open but few visiting them.   Having drastically reduced new infections, China’s economy is creaking back to life.   But people remain anxious and movement is restricted.   In such an inhospitable environment, familiar now around the world, the recovery is likely to be tepid at best.  (The Economist, 4/17/2020)

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GERMAN FOREIGN POLICY

The German government is joining the US campaign of allegations against China regarding the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.  Last weekend, US President Donald Trump warned the People’s Republic that it should face consequences if it was “knowingly responsible” for the spread of the pandemic.  Washington is simultaneously spreading deliberate rumors that the virus could have originated in a Chinese laboratory.   Whereas, scientists vehemently refute the allegations, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas declared, he “does not want to exclude” that the WHO will have to deal with these issues.   On Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Beijing to show “transparency” on the issue.   Senior German military officials have recently been demanding that the EU adopt “a joint political-strategic response” to China’s growing strength, because in the Corona crisis, Beijing is gaining considerable influence.   According to a recent poll, more than half of the Italian population sees China as a “friend,” while nearly half see Germany as an “enemy.”  (German Foreign Policy, 4/21)

ANTI-CHINESE FEELING HIGH IN GERMANY

In view of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the German media are stepping up their blame on China by moving to openly ask for compensation.  The People’s Republic “has caused the pandemic,” this is what the mainstream media repeatedly say.   And the Springer press insists on “compensation” by headlining “What China already owes us.”   The agitation began when it became apparent that the People’s Republic of China was able to overcome the crisis more lightly than the Western powers and their global rise are likely to continue, while the transatlantic states are in danger of being thrown back by their totally inadequate preparation for the pandemic.   The claims are accompanied by a massive anti-Chinese sentiment; just to make an example, it is currently stated that Peking follows a “strategy of unrestricted warfare, already formulated by the Chinese military a good two decades ago.   The statement is not correct, but it is similar to claims based on lies used against Russia for years.   (German Foreign Policy, 4/17/2020)

BERLIN – The editor-in-chief of Germany’s largest paper Bild on Thursday launched a full frontal attack on China’s communist President Xi Jinping for his regime’s failure to come clean about the coronavirus outbreak and the massive human rights violations carried out by the Communist Party.   Julian Reichelt, the prominent editor-in-chief of the Bild, wrote to Jinping that  “Your embassy in Berlin has addressed me in an open letter because we asked in our newspaper Bild whether China should pay for the massive economic damage the coronavirus is inflicting worldwide.”

He wrote that, “You [Jinping], your government and your scientists had to know long ago that coronavirus is highly infectious, but you left the world in the dark about it.  Your top experts didn’t respond when Western researchers asked to know what was going on in Wuhan.   You were too proud and too nationalistic to tell the truth, which you felt was a national disgrace.”

Reichelt said that, “You rule by surveillance.  You wouldn’t be president without surveillance.  You monitor everything, every citizen, but you refuse to monitor the diseased wet markets in your country.  You shut down every newspaper and website that is critical of your rule, but not the stalls where bat soup is sold.   You are not only monitoring your people, you are endangering them – and with them, the rest of the world.”

He continued with his bill of particulars, noting that “surveillance is a denial of freedom.   And a nation that is not free, is not creative.   A nation that is not innovative, does not invent anything.   This is why you have made your country the world champion in intellectual property theft.

“China enriches itself with the inventions of others, instead of inventing on its own,” Reichelt wrote.   “The reason China does not innovate and invent is that you don’t let the young people in your country think freely.   China’s greatest export hit (that nobody wanted to have, but which has nevertheless gone around the world) is coronavirus.”

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ISRAEL FINALLY GETS A NEW GOVERNMENT

Israel will soon have a new coalition government after an agreement was signed on Monday evening between Likud and Blue and White, putting an end to a 17-month political stalemate that resulted in three elections.

As part of the deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has served as caretaker prime minister since December 2018, will remain prime minister for another 18 months and then will be replaced in October 2021 by Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, who will serve as vice prime minister in the meantime.   Netanyahu will be vice prime minister under Gantz after that, but if Netanyahu leaves the Prime Minister’s Office sooner, Gantz would already take over

“I promised the State of Israel a national emergency government that will work to save lives and livelihoods of Israeli citizens,” Netanyahu said.   Gantz expressed his relief that an election that would have been held on August 4 if a deal was not reached by May 7 had been averted.   “We prevented a fourth election,” Gantz said. “We will protect our democracy and fight against the coronavirus.”

US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, including its clauses enabling Israel to apply sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, will be able to be implemented in July, when maps are set to be finalized.   In a controversial clause, both Netanyahu and Gantz will have the right to an official residence fully funded by the state.   In another, the so-called Norwegian law will be changed to allow ministers to quit and new MKs to enter the Knesset, including in Blue and White, skipping over MKs from the Yesh Atid and Telem parties that will remain in the opposition.

The Movement for Quality Government and other watchdog groups petitioned the High Court of Justice late Monday, demanding that the court prevent Netanyahu from forming a government, due to his criminal indictments.

(MORE:  https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/a-joint-meeting-between-netanyahu-and-gantz-to-start-soon-625241)

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South Africa deploys over 70,000 troops to enforce lockdown

More than 70,000 extra troops will be deployed in South Africa to help enforce a lockdown intended to stop the spread of coronavirus, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced.  South Africa has had 3,465 confirmed coronavirus cases – second only to Egypt in Africa – and 58 deaths.  The country has some of the most stringent coronavirus lockdown restrictions in the world.  But security forces have struggled to enforce them.  Since 27 March only essential service providers, such as health workers, financial services providers, journalists and retail workers, are allowed to continue going to work.  Businesses that provide essential services have been applying for a special permit from the government that allows their members of staff to go outside.  The restrictions include no jogging outside, no sales of alcohol or cigarettes, no dog-walking, no leaving home except for essential trips and prison or heavy fines for law-breaking.

President Ramaphosa said he had decided to deploy an extra 73,180 soldiers in a letter addressed to parliament on Tuesday.

The lockdown restrictions currently apply until Thursday 30 April.

Economic relief package:   He also announced an economic relief package worth $26bn (£21bn) intended to protect companies and three million workers during the coronavirus pandemic. I  n a televised address, he said the assistance amounted to 10% of South Africa’s entire GDP.    Mr. Ramaphosa said the measures included tax relief, wage support through the unemployment insurance fund and funding to small businesses. (4/22/2020)   (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-52387962  

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AUSTRALIA’S REPUBLICANS AT IT AGAIN

The Australian Republican movement bears no resemblance to Republicans in the United States.  They are not a conservative force at all.   Their sole aim is to end Australia’s constitutional monarchy, which has helped the country achieve unparalleled stability and prosperity.  They have now stooped to attacking Queen Elizabeth’s faith, claiming it discriminates against other religions.  The fact is the Queen’s Protestantism and that of her ancestors laid a foundation of religious tolerance for the country.   The Queen, who turned 94 on Tuesday, is highly respected by most Australians.

PRO-republicans are engaged in a heartless waiting game as they plot to overturn Australia’s constitutional monarchy.

Realizing a vast majority of Australians retain a deep admiration for their 93-year-old Queen, republicans are counting down her demise before launching an emotion-charged assault on Australia’s constitution.

By taking this tack they hope to muddy the debate around the nation’s most important foundational document.

Their aim is to shift the conversation from one of constitutional protections and reason into an emotion-charged hysteria about the “un-likability” of Queen Elizabeth’s heirs.

If you think the Queen is nice, their argument goes, then we should remain a constitutional monarchy. But if her successor doesn’t do it for you, then we must change.

They believe time is on their side.   (Sean Burke, Politicom, 3/13/2020)

Politicom is a conservative Australian newsletter.

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US DEFEAT IN AFGHANISTAN

On February 29, 2020 – after 18 months of talks sponsored by Qatar in Doha – the U.S. and the jihadi group Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Taliban organization) signed an agreement in the Qatari capital on the future of Afghanistan.  The democratically elected government of Afghanistan, headed by Ashraf Ghani, was excluded from the talks and from the agreement, and, despite the fact that the Taliban rejected any ceasefire as a precondition for the talks, the U.S. capitulated and agreed to a one-week “Reduction In Violence” on the part of the Taliban.

The agreement was hailed as victory and as an American surrender by Al-Qaeda and by the Taliban leaders at celebratory events across Afghanistan.   The agreement was titled “Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan Between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Which is Not Recognized by the United States as a State And is Known as the Taliban, And the United States of America,” but the Islamic Emirate issued a statement in which it dubbed the pact the “Termination of Occupation Agreement Between the Islamic Emirate and U.S.”

A month after the Doha agreement, the democratically elected government of President Ashraf Ghani is being badgered by both the U.S. and the Taliban to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners.   (MEMRI,  4/21/2020)

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DOES EUROPE HAVE ANY CONSERVATIVES?

Does Europe have any conservatives?   That is, believers in individual responsibility, national independence, free markets, a single law for all, the traditional family, and maximum freedom of speech and religion.

Seemingly not. Politicians called conservative – such as Angela Merkel of Germany Jacques Chirac of France, and Fredrik Reinfeldt of Sweden – are often in reality mild leftists, as are their parties.  One might conclude that conservatism is defunct in its homeland.

One would be wrong.   A substantial conservative movement exists and is growing in Europe.  It is hiding in plain sight, obscured by being tarred as populists, nationalists, extreme-right, or even Neo‑Nazis.   I call this group by another name:   civilizationists, acknowledging that (1) they focus on preserving Western civilization and (2) they forward some distinctly un-conservative policies (such as increased welfare and pension payments).

Civilizationists’ top concern is not battling climate change, building the European Union, nor 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.   Already, indigenous Europeans complain of feeling like strangers in their hometowns, of pensioners too scared to leave their houses, and of a school’s few Christian and Jewish students beat up by immigrant bullies.   Imagine how things will look as the proportions change.

The civilizationists’ anxiety contains four main 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).   (“Finding Europe’s hidden conservatives,” Daniel Pipes, 4/21/2020)

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AFRICAN LEADERS ENJOY FIRST CLASS MEDICAL CARE WHILE THEIR PEOPLE GO WITHOUT

When Muhammadu Buhari was elected president of Nigeria in 2015 — amid a wave of disgust towards the corruption that plagues his giant nation — he promised to put a stop to politicians flying abroad for medical treatment.   It was a popular pledge, especially after revelations that the state spent $1bn a year on health tourism for rich elites while offering dire services for almost everyone else.   He underlined his stance soon after taking office, telling a doctors’ conference he did not want “hard-earned resources” frittered away on officials seeking care abroad when it could be delivered at home.

Such fine and righteous words.   So there was fury the following year when this leader in his seventies flew to London for treatment of an ear infection.   This was “a tragic blot” on Nigeria’s image, thundered Dr. Osahon Enabulele, a former head of its medical association.  The new president, he added, should have used his minor ailment to focus people on the urgent need for domestic health reform.

But Buhari was not listening.   He went off on several more trips and, by the end of his first term last year, had spent at least 170 days in Britain on health grounds.

Buhari is far from the only African leader to display such lack of faith in his own nation.  Robert Mugabe died last year aged 95 in a Singaporean hospital, having so wrecked Zimbabwe and its medical system that life expectancy plummeted by 26 years at one point. “It is very symbolic the former president who presided over the system for three decades can’t trust the health system,” said one doctor after his death.  Other physicians complained of carrying out surgery without even putting on protective gloves.

Meles Zenawi ruled Ethiopia for 21 years, suckering Western admirers who overlooked his savage repression as they fell for his talk of development — yet this wily despot died in a Belgian hospital. Omar Bongo ran Gabon for 42 years, then died in Barcelona having plundered his country’s wealth obscenely while leaving his tiny 2.2m population trapped in poverty.

Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled and ripped off Angola for almost as long, travelled to the same Catalan city for treatment. Algeria’s former president went to a Swiss hospital after running his nation for 20 years, then suffering a stroke.   Benin’s president went to France for surgery.   Two Zambian leaders died abroad while receiving medical attention.   (“Covid-19 will expose Africa’s tyrants”, Ian Birrell, Unherd, 4/20/2020)

Due to the pandemic,  Africa’s leaders can no longer travel abroad for medical treatment.

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IRAN’S DRONES CAN HIT ISRAEL

Iran’s Defense Ministry unveiled a mass of new drones [unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs] over the weekend for the Islamic Republic’s army and air force.   According to Tehran the drones have new capabilities, and can fly more than 1,000 km, which means they could reach Israel from Iran.

Iran has been producing drones since the 1980s and is an innovator in drone warfare.   It used 25 drones and cruise missiles to attack Saudi Arabia last September, and has flown drones into Israeli airspace.

Iran’s Defense Minister Brig.-Gen. Amir Hatami showed off the drones on Saturday.   He said that one jet-powered UAV could fly at speeds of 900 km per hour at an altitude of 12,000 meters.  This would rival the best drones that the US and other countries are now using.   These drones have a range of up to 1,500 km, he said, and can fly for several hours.   It is a message to Israel, the US and their allies: We can reach you.  (Iran’s drones can reach Israel, Seth Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, 4/19/2020)

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TO THE POINT

  • A UNIQUE RAMADAN BEGINS – The Islamic holy month of Ramadan will begin worldwide around April 23.   Because the month typically involves daily social gatherings and communal prayer in mosques, it will present yet more security and economic challenges to local and national governments in Muslim-majority countries already struggling to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.   With some countries like Egypt shutting down traditional Ramadan charity tents for fear of the virus spreading within them, the month could see an exacerbation of existing socioeconomic strain, and with it some disruption to stability over time.   In Indonesia, the annual Mudik pilgrimage could see an estimated 1.3 million people leave the Jakarta area for rural destinations across the archipelago — a potential vector to spread COVID-19 outside its current epicenter in the nation, and one the government has hesitated to crack down on.  (Stratfor, 4/18/2020)
  • With half the world in lockdown, with little else to do but Netflix-and-try-to-chill, the streaming giant unsurprisingly unveiled a bumper set of first-quarter results.   Netflix said it had added nearly 16m new subscribers in the quarter, 23% more than during the same period last year.   Net income, meanwhile, more than doubled to $709m over the same period.   (The Economist, 4/22/2020)
  • 24NYT, a Danish news service, reported on Sunday that the Danish Bible Society just published a revised translation of the New Testament.   The new edition has many surprises, including a new name:   the New Agreement.   But even more shocking is that the “New Agreement has all but removed any references to Israel, whether it describes the land or the people”.
  • Washington:   A day after laying out a roadmap for reviving economic activity, US President Donald Trump has urged his supporters to “liberate” three Democrat-led states, effectively calling for protests against stay-at-home orders aimed at containing the coronavirus.   In a series of tweets, the President urged people in Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia to rise up and “liberate” themselves from restrictions.  He also hit out at New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo for criticising the federal response.  Cuomo “should spend more time ‘doing’ and less time ‘complaining,”‘ he said, adding: “Less talk and more action!”  (AP, 4/18/2020)
  • Corona and the Rise of the German Police State by Thomas Klikauer (author), Jeffrey St. Clair, Editor of Counterpunch (California).       The current crisis is used to prevent protests and to impose measures in a highly authoritarian way.  Currently, there is not much resistance against police measures.   Currently, signs are that Germany is moving [toward] more restrictions issued every day.  There might not be a fully developed police state in Germany but democracy is suffering in Germany and elsewhere.   https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/17/corona-and-the-rise-of-the-german-police-state/)

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AFTER THOUGHT

Scientists (including medical experts) are highly respected right now.

It hasn’t always been that way.  There was a time when science had to bow to religion.  All new theories had to fit with the teachings of the established church.

The theory of evolution in 1859 changed all that.

A lot of good has been achieved, but it should also be remembered that there’s been a negative side to science:  abortion, euthanasia, nuclear weapons to name just three.

We must be careful not to elevate scientists and health care professionals, which we are in danger of doing right now.   Scientists likely caused the corona virus through experiments in Wuhan.

We must also be concerned that a victory over corona does not extend to a carte blanche on all things to do with the environment.   A highly respected profession may take us in a direction that could cause all kinds of problems.

All Christians should remember to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matt 6:33).   A British news program said earlier this week that:  “the NHS is the closest thing Britain has to a national religion.”   Comments like this one are disturbing.

Worshipping science or the health services would be unwise.  That way, we set ourselves up for a fall.

MR     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE ENEMY WITHIN

Noor Rabah, vice president of Muslim Community Patrol & Services, outside the Police Department’s 72nd Precinct, with a car the group intends to use to patrol neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Credit…James Keivom for The New York Times

Media tends not to link terrorist attacks, seeing each one in isolation.   But to understand what is happening, attacks need to be linked for us to see the complete picture.

Two recent terrorist attacks are clearly linked, even though the media has not brought it out.   London and Pensacola, Florida.

In London, two young people were knifed to death near London Bridge.   Their assailant, Usman Khan, had been freed from prison, less that 50% of the way through his sentence for terrorist activities. In Florida, a few days later, a Saudi Arabian pilot in the US for training suddenly turned on other young people, killing three, one of whom was a fellow Muslim.   In both cases, sadly, young people were brutally murdered.   None of these people was equipped to see the Muslims in their midst as a threat.

But they were.   And I wonder how many others are, too.

In the same week, we saw Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, visit Auschwitz.   There is a connection here, too.   She was there to show the horrors of anti-Semitism, at a time when anti-Semitic acts are on the increase, including a synagogue attack on Yom Kippur, which left two dead.   She wasn’t only highlighting anti-Semitism.   She was also defending her decision to allow into the country more than a million refugees, many of whom were from the Middle East. Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are often linked.   They should not be.

There was and is no justification for anti-Semitism.   Islamophobia, on the other hand, is a perfectly rational response to violent acts perpetrated by Muslims (London and Florida being the latest).   The Islamic Conference of 57 Muslims countries recently asked the United Nations to ban Islamophobia.   This could give countries an excuse to favor Muslims over others.

The only way to overcome Islamophobia, a fear of Muslims, is for Muslims to stop committing violent acts.   Unless and until that happens, there will always be Islamophobia.

The latest anti-semitic incident took place on Tuesday in Jersey City, NJ.  Two people, both members of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, entered a kosher store and shot three Jews dead.   In a seven-hour gun battle with police, one policeman was shot dead, a father with five children.  The two perpetrators were also killed.

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NYC MUSLIM PATROLS 

“Bullying” and “gangster-like” tactics have been reported by locals in New York areas where the Muslim Community Patrol & Services operates.   These tactics are beginning to create a backlash against the self-described “civilian patrol organization” among local residents.

The Muslim patrol gained international attention in the fall of 2018 after several of its patrol cars, which look like New York Police Department (NYPD) cars, were spotted in Brooklyn and Staten Island.

The patrol originally said its purpose was to serve as a liaison between Muslims and the NYPD.   But after two consecutive mosque shootings in New Zealand last March, where a gunman live-streamed his murder of 51 Muslims on Facebook, the patrol publicly altered its purpose.

It now describes itself as a law enforcement organization, claiming its goal is to “protect members of the local community from escalating quality-of-life nuisance crimes.”   It’s precisely that “law enforcement” definition that is now landing the Muslim patrol into hot water with New York City residents, particularly those living in the Brooklyn area of Bedford-Stuyvesant.

“They are bullying people and getting out of their patrol cars looking like gangsters,” said one resident, who asked to remain anonymous. “The people in Bed-Stuy don’t want them there.”

The Muslim patrol originally had a force of three patrol cars when it first formed in November 2018, but it now has seven cars on the streets of New York with the intention of purchasing 23 more cars in the near future.   The Muslim patrol’s cars are nearly identical to NYPD patrol cars.   Both use Ford Taurus’ and have similar decal schemes, colors and emblems. Though the Muslim patrol cars do not have lights on their hoods, they do have emergency flashing lights in the front and back windshields.

“A lot of people can’t tell them apart,” said the resident.  “In fact, most people think they are NYPD detective cars, especially if they are driving behind you.”

Significantly, some Muslim patrol “officers” have been driving their patrol cars with their emergency lights in continuous flash mode, even when not responding to an emergency.

“They never turn them off and people are seeing these lights and thinking [they are] NYPD,” the resident said.   The cars also have sirens, which another neighborhood resident says is being used to intimidate people.   “They turn on their sirens when they see non-Muslims park next to a mosque during Friday prayer services,” said another resident.   (Clarion Project, 12/9)

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NEED FOR EUROPEAN ARMY TO REPLACE US

An EU Army – Former German finance minister Joschka Fischer calls on the EU to develop defense autonomy before Donald Trump pulls the plug on Europe’s security blanket:  “Macron understands that the rupture in Europe’s defense following a withdrawal of US troops would be far more severe than many seem to expect.   It would unfold not as some gradual, barely noticeable transition, but as a sudden break.

If Europe wants to prevent or at least delay that outcome, it must make substantial investments in its military and expand its own capabilities on a massive scale.   In other words, it must act as if the break has already happened.”   (The Financial Times, 12/5/2019)

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NATO ANNIVERSARY SUMMIT

In spite of fierce internal conflicts, NATO is enhancing its operational readiness, is preparing its next expansion, and is setting its sights on China as a new “challenge.”   These are the main results of the war alliance’s anniversary summit, which ended in London yesterday, with the participation of the heads of states and governments of the member countries.   As early as next year, NATO will be able to deploy 30 army, air force and naval units in a war within a 30-day maximum.   At the London summit, North Macedonia, which is about to join the Alliance, was represented for the first time. In the future, NATO will extensively concern itself with China, however, not exclusively confrontational, as Washington would have wanted.   The conflict with Turkey did not escalate, even though the dissentions between Ankara and various other allied states, by no means, had been resolved.   In fact, the Turkish government has implicitly been given a blank check for its heavily criticized activities in the occupation of Northern Syria.   (German foreign policy, 12/6/2019)

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FRANCE TO FILL VOID LEFT BY US

France laid out a new posture for itself in discussions in the Gulf this week, chiding the Americans for not standing up to Iran’s threats against Saudi Arabia and other countries.   Paris now wants to play a more robust role in maritime security as Washington’s influence declines across the region.

French Defense Minister Florence Parly condemned America for leaving the Iran deal and also condemned Iran at the Manama Dialogue confab in Bahrain over the weekend.   The conference is organized by the International Institute of Strategic Studies and has foreign ministers and leaders from the region, as well as security and defense officials, in attendance.

“We’ve seen deliberate, gradual US disengagement,” she said.   She also slammed former president Barack Obama for leaving the “fighter jets on the tarmac,” according to France24, a reference to the US decision in 2013 not to punish Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria for chemical weapons attacks. (Seth Frantzman, MEF, 11/26/2019; from Jerusalem Post)

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 Crusaders ‘terror plot’:Another man arrested in Cape Town after explosives, devices found
  – 6 Dec 2019, News24 Jenna Etheridge

Hawks arrest ‘Crusaders terrorist movement’ leader, discover suspected explosives factory.   Another suspected member of the National Christian Resistance Movement (NCRM),
also known as the “Crusaders,” has been arrested – this time in Cape Town, the Hawks said on Friday.

A team descended on the man’s business premises in Kuils River on Thursday and arrested him for the illegal possession of a firearm, explosives and explosive devices, said Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.  “The suspect is believed to have links with the other four suspects who have already been arrested and charged for alleged terrorist activities,” he said.  The 46-year-old man was expected to appear in the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court later on Friday.   Harry Knoesen, the self-professed leader of the NCRM, was arrested at his Mpumalanga home on terrorism-related charges last week.
  Possible explosives factory:   This followed a two-year Hawks investigation into an alleged terrorist plot “apparently co-ordinated by the group to target national key points, shopping malls and informal settlements,” Mulaudzi said.   Knoesen, 60, is a former national defense force member and retired pastor.   He was apprehended and charged for terrorism-related activities in contravention of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorism and Related Activities Act as well as the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.   A search at his other residence in the Eastern Cape, according to the Hawks, uncovered a possible explosives factory, electronic devices and documents as well an unlicensed firearm and ammunition that were seized for further analysis.  His arrest was soon followed by three others, including that of Riana Heymans, in Kliprivier, Johannesburg.  “Various firearms and ammunition, documents and other items were confiscated by the Criminal Record Centre (CRC) for further probing,” Mulaudzi said.

Heyman, 54, together with brothers Eric Abrams, 55, and Errol Abrams, 49, appeared briefly with Knoesen in the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday.   They will remain in police custody until their next court appearance on January 12, 2020.  Mulaudzi said their investigation continued.

(https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/crusaders-terror-plot-another-man-arrested-in-cape-town-after-explosives-devices-found-20191206
)

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POPE ADVOCATES ONE WORLD RELIGION

Rabbi Daniel Asore, a member of the nascent Sanhedrin, noted that the Pope’s intentions were precisely as presented, with no subterfuge at all.

“The Pope wants to unify all religions and all governments under one world order,” Rabbi Asore said.   “What is the big surprise?   He is not hiding anything.   Just listen to what he says and who he is and his plans are right there for all to see.”

The rabbi noted that Pope Francis was unique in several respects; he is the first pope from the southern hemisphere and, most significantly, he is the first Jesuit to be appointed to the position. Though established by papal order in 1540 to stop the spread of Protestantism and convert the indigenous peoples of Africa and the Americas, the Jesuit order has historically been treated with suspicion by the Catholic Church for being power-hungry.

“Brotherhood is a wonderful thing but one religion is only good if it is worshipping the true God,” Rabbi Asore said.  “The pope’s vision of brotherhood does not prevent him from sitting in front of a gold idol or uniting with Ishmael.   If he wants one religion, we know what God he is not worshipping.”

Pope Francis has come under fire before for connecting the Catholic Church with the children of Ishmael. In 2015, 71 elders of the Sanhedrin tried the Pope in absentia for recognizing a “State of Palestine” with an official treaty.  By doing so, the Sanhedrin claimed, the Pope was denying the covenant as described in the Bible in which God gives the land of Israel to the descendants of Jacob.

Pope Francis has also made displays similar to his sitting barefoot in front of the  Golden idol of Buddha in Bangkok that showed a shocking level of tolerance for idolatry.   In October, a video emerged of what appears to be Pope Francis blessing a Pachama Goddess statue.

Pope Francis has also taken on a policy in which homosexuals are welcomed into the church so much so that the American LGBT magazine The Advocate named Pope Francis their Person of the Year for 2013.

(https://drive.google.com/u/0/settings/storage?hl=en&utm_medium=web&utm_source=gmail&utm_campaign=manage_storage)

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TO THE POINT

  • Palestinian Preacher Yusuf Al-Makharze:   Allah Wants Girls To Be Married Off   When They Start Menstruating;   Our Leaders Have No Right To Prevent This From Happening  (MEMRI, 12/8)
  • “Israel has always embraced this path [of liberty] in a Middle East that has long rejected it.   In a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted, Israel stands out.   It is different.” – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to the U.S. Senate, 2011.
  • The WorldBank’s board approved a plan to extend up to $1.5bn per year in low-interest loans to China over the next five years, despite American objections.   Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, said it was time the bank stopped giving financial support to China.   For China the amount is piddling; what it values is the World Bank’s advice on policy. (The Economist, 12/6/2019)
  • Germany’s industrial output in October fell 1.7% year-on-year. The figures were worse than expected, affected by uncertainty over the US-China trade war and Brexit, and by problems in the auto industry.   Germany may not technically be in recession, after a third-quarter expansion of 0.1%, but the gloom shows no sign of lifting.   (The Economist, 12/6/2019)
  • “The five English speaking democracies have heaps in common. All are free-talking, free enterprise loving places (though they often fall short of these ideals).   They are attractive places, too. Between them, they draw in two-thirds of the world’s highly skilled immigrants.   By contrast, of the 750 million people who Gallup reports would like to migrate, only 1% want to move to the People’s Republic.   Sydney alone has more foreign-born residents than mainland China.”   (Anglosphere v Sinosphere, The World in 2020, The Economist).
  • Namibia wants to follow Zimbabwe into starvation.  Namibia wants to get rid of its white farmers.   Twenty years ago, Zimbabwe did the same and millions of people have starved since. Recently, there were calls to allow the white farmers to return. South Africa is also forcing white farmers off their land.  Expect the entire region of southern Africa to face endless food shortages in the years to come.   The white farmers are commercial farmers, farming on a big scale.   African farmers are subsistence farmers, producing only enough to feed their own families.
  • Nancy Pelosi, on the defensive, was asked if she hates Donald Trump.   She actually said that, as a Catholic, she does not hate anybody as if no Catholic ever hated anybody.   Perhaps the Inquisition never happened.   At times, the Impeachment hearings have resembled the self-righteous ecclesiastical court.   No hatred?   No inquisition?   No wonder we’re doomed to repeat history!

 

QUESTION TIME

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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LONDON KILLINGS

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

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

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

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FOUR MORE MONTHS = 40

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

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

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

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

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

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

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REPARATIONS FOR SLAVERY

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

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

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

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

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A WORLD WITHOUT THE US

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

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

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

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

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G20 SET TO DISCUSS TRADE

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

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A SIGN OF THE TIMES

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

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EU DIVISIONS OVER ARMAMENTS

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

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

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ANGELA MERKEL’S HEALTH

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

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

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

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

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

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SARCASM GETS POINT ACROSS ON TRUMP AND HITLER

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

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

Fortunately, I can’t hear it.