Current Events

German and American Patriotism–Right or Wrong?

On June 14, Der Spiegel Online published an article by American journalist Marc Young. In the article, Young discusses Germany’s and America’s patriotism and argues that America has become the “new Germany”:

“The World Cup has caused Germany to break out into a patriotic burst of black, red and gold not seen since reunification 16 years ago. Many Germans are confused. Some are even concerned… Sometimes it would be easier to just be Swedish. Aside from getting uncontrollably drunk on Baltic Sea ferries, the Swedes haven’t really annoyed anyone for over a century. The times when Scandinavian armies or hordes of pillaging Vikings descended upon Europe are far enough back that no one begrudges the friendly Swedes their orgy of yellow-and-blue-colored patriotism whenever their national soccer team steps onto the pitch…

“Of course, supporting the national soccer team has long been the most innocent way for Germans to feel good about their country. But it’s still easy to believe that what we might all be witness to this summer is nothing less than a watershed in attitudes towards patriotism and pride in Germany. Six decades after the horrors of World War II and 16 years after reunification, it’s okay to be German again. As an American, I can attest that’s a positive thing. There’s absolutely no reason why Germans shouldn’t be able to feel good about their modern and tolerant country. Germany is still far from perfect, as I have written here before, but the best way to cut neo-Nazis and other mutants off at the knees is to avoid abandoning love of country and patriotism to right-wing extremists…

“… while in Germany it’s becoming easier to wave the flag, unfortunately the situation is exactly the opposite for me and many of my American countrymen. When it comes to being disliked abroad, it sometimes feels like America has become the new Germany. When you’re from a large and mighty country, nobody likes to see you throw your weight around and then gloat about it. When Swedes revel in unabashed national euphoria it’s cute. But when your country invades another under false assumptions and is reviled by many around the globe as either the ‘Great Satan’ or the rotten source of imperialistic capitalism, flying the Stars and Stripes isn’t easy. The official bus transporting the US soccer team during the World Cup is the only one out of 32 that isn’t painted in the country’s national colors…

“So Germans should be happy they can freely cheer for Michael Ballack and team while swaddled in black, red and gold for the next three weeks. But before they get misty-eyed about the Fatherland, they should thank US President George W. Bush. Ironically enough, his decision to invade Iraq has helped many Germans feel proud — as well they should — about their country and its strong opposition to the war. Besides, patriotism isn’t about some misguided ‘my-country-right-or-wrong’ type of attitude. I can vehemently disagree with US apologists for embarrassments like Guantanamo Bay exactly because I believe the sort of legal limbo the prison camp creates goes against the very principles that actually make me proud of my country.”

It is remarkable that the United States of America has become so unpopular in the world. But there are reasons for this astonishing development. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

USA Unprepared!

AFP reported on June 16, 2006:

“The United States is not prepared to cope with a large-scale terrorist attack or a powerful hurricane, the US Department of Homeland Security has said in a report… The Nationwide Plan Review comes two weeks into the hurricane season, which started June 1. US weather experts are forecasting between eight to 10 hurricanes — as many as six of them major — would form in the Atlantic basin this year. The review was conducted in all 56 states and territories and 75 urban areas over six months. The emergency plans were compared to pre-Katrina standards by review teams that included former state and local homeland security and emergency management officials.

“‘The majority of the Nation’s current emergency operations plans and planning processes cannot be characterized as fully sufficient to manage catatrophic events,’ the report said. ‘Significant weaknesses in evacuation planning are an area of profound concern,’ it said, adding that the capabilities to receive and care for large numbers of evacuees were found to be ‘inadequate.'” added on June 16:

“Utah is only partially prepared to respond to a catastrophic event such as an earthquake along the Wasatch Front, a federal security analysis concluded Friday. ‘An earthquake along the Wasatch Front would be our Hurricane Katrina in magnitude and impact,” said Derek Jensen, spokesman for the Utah division of emergency services and homeland security… New Orleans is still woefully unprepared for catastrophes 10 months after Hurricane Katrina… New York and Washington, al-Qaida’s targets on Sept. 11, 2001, received lukewarm ratings. Seventy-one percent of New York’s emergency plans were described as only partially sufficient. In Washington, 67 percent of the plans were deemed partially sufficient and 2 percent insufficient.”

Europe’s Immigration Problems

Not only the USA is confronted with illegal immigration problems. Europe is facing similar issues. The EUObserver pointed out on June 16:

“EU leaders have agreed they must find some common principles on how to tackle immigration, with Austrian chancellor Wolfgang Schussel stressing that immigrants must accept some European values if they want to settle in the continent. ‘It is very important for somebody who is coming to our countries to learn the language and sign up to the values, the human rights, the position of women, the rule of law. There is no compromise on this,’ Mr Schussel told journalists on Thursday (15 June) at the EU summit in Brussels… Spain and Malta pointed to the increasing number of illegal immigrants ending up on their territory. French president Jacques Chirac indicated the EU must improve its cooperation with African states on the issue, and try to help them solve the roots of the illegal immigration… The European Commission is planning to table some fresh proposals on illegal immigration in July, including a plan for rapid border intervention teams and a list of safe countries–from which the EU will not accept asylum seekers.”

Cruelty to Animals

The Associated Press reported on June 15:

“Customers craving fresh crustaceans will have to look beyond Whole Foods Market Inc. after the natural-foods grocery chain decided Thursday to stop selling live lobsters and crabs on the grounds that it’s inhumane… Animal rights activities were thrilled with the decision, not just because of the way lobsters are harvested, shipped and stored but because of the fate that awaits many of them–being dropped alive into a pot of boiling water. ‘The ways that lobsters are treated would warrant felony cruelty to animals charges if they were dogs or cats,’ said Bruce Friedrich, a spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. In making its decision, Whole Foods pointed to a November report from the European Food Safety Authority Animal Health and Welfare panel that it said concluded all decapod crustaceans, including lobsters and crabs, appear to have some degree of awareness, feel pain and can learn. But other scientists and seafood industry officials said Thursday that lobsters have such primitive insect-like nervous systems they don’t even have brains and can’t experience pain the way animals and humans do.”

For more information, please make sure to view our new StandingWatch program, “Why So Much Cruelty?”

The Long-Term Effects of War

Der Spiegel Online reported on June 15, 2006:

“The German military is battling a new problem: As it prepares for a new foreign deployment in Congo, many soldiers are still suffering from traumatic experiences in Somalia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. A term most commonly associated with the Vietnam War — post-traumatic stress disorder — is now increasingly afflicting German soldiers returning from missions abroad… It is the most difficult of all human reactions to stress; it changes the personality and, if untreated, often leads to a permanent disability that renders the patient incapable of working. A good 30 years after Vietnam, one-third of all homeless men in the US are veterans. Drug abuse and rates of criminality, divorce and suicide are way above average in this population… Symptoms of the trauma are always the same: sleeplessness, aggression, depression. Then come problems with a spouse or a boss, and then, more often than not, total social dysfunction… Of the American soldiers who return today from Iraq, 17 percent suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder… ‘Kriegszitterer’ or ‘war-tremblers’ is what Germans called soldiers who fell apart during World War I — who suffered from hysterical crying or whose limbs shook despite the absence of visible injury. Doctors considered them malingerers and tortured them with electroshock therapy until they were ‘fit’ to return to the front.”

War is SO wrong. And war does not bring good results. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Should You Fight in War?”

Haider vs. Bush

The Jerusalem Post reported on June 16, that “Far-right Austrian leader Joerg Haider called US President George W. Bush a war criminal on Saturday. In an interview with the Austrian daily Die Presse, Haider claimed Bush ‘brought about the war against Iraq deliberately, with lies and falsehoods … The Iraqi population is suffering terribly. Bush took the risk of an enormous number of victims.’  Haider added in the interview that Bush’s actions have only served to strengthen international terrorism. Bush is expected to arrive in Vienna this coming week in order to participate in a summit meeting with European leaders.”

The Pope Head of All Christians?

On June 14, the “Indian Catholic” published an article by Cardinal Ivan Dias, the newly appointed head of the Vatican’s Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples. In the article, Dias took the position that the Pope has a God-given authority to speak for all Christians, and to all of mankind. He explained this bold assertion as follows:

“The moral and spiritual authority vested in the Pope is normally referred to as The Holy See: the term ‘see’ (which means seat) symbolically signifies the chair from which teaching is officially imparted, laws are promulgated and judgements pronounced, something akin to… the thrones of the kings in Europe…

“Strictly speaking, the Holy See or the Apostolic See is the ministry of the Pope who has a double sovereignty: as Pastor of the universal Church and as Head of the Vatican City-State… The Holy See is thus the central governing body of the Catholic Church, whose head is the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, and it is precisely in the exercise of this function that it enjoys international recognition. The Holy See is also the supreme authority of the Vatican City-State… The Holy See, not the Vatican City, maintains diplomatic relations with 174 nations and participates in various international organizations. Foreign embassies are accredited to the Holy See, not to the Vatican City, and it is the Holy See that establishes treaties and concordats with other sovereign entities and, when necessary, even on behalf of the Vatican City… The State of the Vatican City was… created with the signing of the Lateran Pact between the Holy See and the Italian Authorities on February 11, 1929 to ‘ensure the absolute and visible independence of the Holy See’ and ‘to guarantee to it an indisputable sovereignty in international affairs’… This permanent international recognition of the Holy See is proof enough that States and Governments looked at the Holy See, not primarily as a territorial entity, but as an international juridical reality, whose foundation was the spiritual sovereignty of the Church exercised through the ministry of the Pope… The Holy See has existed ever since Peter was mandated by Christ to take care of His flock, which is the whole human race.”

It should be clearly understood that Peter was not a pope or the “first pope”–even though the Catholic Church has falsely proclaimed this concept over the centuries. In fact, when reviewing the teachings of the apostle Peter with those of the Catholic Church, one has to conclude that any similarities might just be coincidental. But it is interesting that the Catholic Church restates its century-old claim that the Pope is ABOVE the State, and that he speaks for and to the State. This unfortunate alliance and interdependence of Church and State has caused much persecution for the true followers of Jesus Christ, as well as the entire world. And the Bible does show that it will bring much more trouble in the future. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

Son of Late Italian Emperor Arrested

AFP reported on June 16:

“Prince Victor Emmanuel, son of Italy’s last king [King Umberto II, who reigned briefly as Italy’s last king in 1946], was arrested on suspicion of links to criminals involved in corruption and prostitution…  Victor Emmanuel of Savoy made an official return to Italy in March 2003, after 56 years of exile imposed on the family of his grandfather King Victor Emmanuel III, who ruled from 1900 to 1946 and died in 1947, for its support of the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini. The constitutional ban on a return to Italy by male heirs of the kingdom of Savoy was lifted in July 2002 by the national parliament.”

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