Current Events

Catholic Church Condemns Israel

The US Daily and Reuters wrote on October 23:

“Israel cannot use the biblical concept of a promised land or a chosen people to justify new settlements in Jerusalem or territorial claims, a Vatican synod on the Middle East said Saturday. In its concluding message after two weeks of meetings, bishops from the Middle East also said they hoped a two-state solution for peace between Israel and the Palestinians could be made a reality and called for peaceful conditions that would stop a Christian exodus from the region.

“… the synod fathers took issue with Jews who use the Bible to justify settlements in the West Bank, which Israel captured in 1967… Many Jewish settlers and right-wing Israelis claim a biblical birthright to the occupied West Bank, which they call Judea and Samaria and regard as a part of historical, ancient Israel given to the Jews by God…

“Asked about the passage at a news conference, Greek-Melchite Archbishop Cyrille Salim Bustros, said: ‘We Christians cannot speak about the promised land for the Jewish people. There is no longer a chosen people. All men and women of all countries have become the chosen people. The concept of the promised land cannot be used as a base for the justification of the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of Palestinians,’ he added. ‘The justification of Israel’s occupation of the land of Palestine cannot be based on sacred scriptures’…

“The synod’s concluding message repeated a Vatican call for Jerusalem to have a special status ‘which respects its particular character’ as a city sacred to the three great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Jerusalem remains a key issue of dispute. Palestinians want East Jerusalem for the capital of a future state. Israel has annexed the area, a move never recognized internationally, and has declared Jerusalem to be its ‘united and eternal’ capital…

“[The document] urged Christians in the region not to sell their homes and properties. ‘It is a vital aspect of the lives of those who remain there and for those who one day will return there.'”

The Catholic Church’s involvement in this issue is quite revealing. The Bible predicts that united Europe and the Catholic Church will intervene in the Middle East and that Jerusalem will become headquarters for both entities.

Israel Condemns Catholic Church

AFP wrote on October 24:

“Israel on Sunday slammed critical remarks made by Middle East Catholic bishops after a meeting chaired by Pope Benedict XVI as ‘political attacks’ on the Jewish state.

“‘We express our disappointment that this important synod has become a forum for political attacks on Israel in the best history of Arab propaganda,’ Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in a statement…

“‘For Christians, one can no longer talk of the land promised to the Jewish people,’ the Lebanese-born head of the Greek Melkite Church in the United States said, because the ‘promise’ was ‘abolished by the presence of Christ.’

“Ayalon said he was ‘especially appalled’ at those remarks.”

This article and the next show that this kind of confrontation between the Catholic Church and Israel will continue, as it addresses major substantive issues and goes to the core of the arguments and counter-arguments for Israel’s very existence in the Middle East.

High-Ranking Jewish Italian Politician Condemns Catholic Church

A-7 News reported on October 22:

“Jewish Italian MP Fiamma Nirenstein was reconfirmed this week as Vice President of Italy’s Foreign Affairs Committee. In addition, she was also appointed an official consultant on Israel and the international Jewish communities by Italian Foreign Minister Frattini.

“Earlier this week, Nirenstein commented on Christian leaders who criticize Israel yet ignore violence by Arabs. She pointed out that ‘Islam does not like Eastern Christians: it has forced them to flee and now they account for only 6% of the population in the Mideast’, and added that the only country where the number of Christians has grown is Israel, where 163,000 Christians live today…

“Commenting on the Vatican Synod about Middle East taking place in Rome these days, Nirenstein pointed out a document ‘written in a tone of theological excommunication towards the State of Israel,’ which was signed by the Custodian of the Holy Land, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who later denied involvement, saying that ‘no church in the Holy Land had signed the document.’ Nirenstein pointed out, however, that the names of top-level signers are clearly visible on the document which is available on the internet. The document speaks in the name of ‘us Christian Palestinians,’ and says that ‘the military occupation is a sin against God and against man’. It excommunicates Christian supporters of Israel, takes sides against the very presence of Israel, likens the defensive barrier that has blocked 98% of terrorism to apartheid, attacks the communities in Judea and Samaria and essentially cancels the existence of the Jewish state. The document goes so far as to legitimize terrorism…”

Israel Among Most Corrupt Countries

Haaretz reported on October 26:

“Israel ranks among the most corrupt countries in the Western world, according to a study released by the International Transparency Organization on Tuesday. Out of 178 countries – 1 being least corrupt – Israel was listed at number 30. But when compared to other member states of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Israel fared much worse. The least corrupt countries were listed as Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore.”

Islamists Unwilling to Integrate

In the above-quoted article, A-7 News also reports the following:

“Other comments made by Nirenstein this past week addressed remarks made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said that Germany’s multicultural approach to immigration ‘has failed, utterly failed’… ‘The point is that certain cultures very often have no intention of mixing in with ours, despite our actions and best intentions,’ said Nirenstein in response. ‘Paris has become a city in which more than 200,000 people live in families where polygamy is common practice. In Italy 30,000 women have been subjected to genital mutilation and Islamic courts—ninety-odd in London alone—inflict sentences that are inconceivable.’

“She pointed out that despite the fact that immigrants should have freedom of rights because of democracy, ‘they have other rules, not the ones of democracy. In Germany, Chancellor Merkel’s homeland, a Berlin lawyer was beaten along with her Muslim client who wanted a divorce; she was also attacked in the subway and was forced to close her practice. Again in Germany, Mozart’s opera, Idomeneo, was cancelled following Islamic threats. By pure luck, the editor-in-chief of Die Welt, Roger Köppel, blocked the hand of a young Muslim who was about to stab him in his office. In Germany, England and France, it is no longer possible to trace the “missing girls” who become slaves following arranged marriages…'”

Controversial New Mayor of London–Britain’s Islamic Republic

In addition to the previous article, The Telegraph sheds more light on some of the reasons why Islamists are not liked that much in Europe, including in England. Reporting on the election of the mayor in London, the paper wrote on October 22:

“Outside the Wellington Way polling station in Tower Hamlets yesterday, as at many other polling stations in the borough, people had to run a gauntlet of Lutfur Rahman supporters to reach the ballot box. As one Bengali woman voter went past them, we heard one of the Rahman army scolding her for her ‘immodest dress.’

“That incident is perhaps a tiny taste of the future for Britain’s poorest borough now it has elected Mr Rahman as its first executive mayor, with almost total power over its £1 billion budget. At the count last night, one very senior figure in the Tower Hamlets Labour Party said: ‘It really is Britain’s Islamic republic now.’

“For the last eight months – without complaint or challenge from Mr Rahman – this blog and newspaper have laid out his close links with a group of powerful local businessmen and with a Muslim supremacist body, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) – which believes, in its own words, in transforming the ‘very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed… from ignorance to Islam.’ Mr Rahman has refused to deny these claims…

“Now… Mr Rahman has won as an independent… As mayor, he will have far more power than he had as a council leader. And unlike a council leader, no-one can sack him, except the voters in four years’ time…

“Some of my commenters are fond of saying that the borough is an example of “Third World” politics in the UK. There are indeed similarities – but actually the claim is an insult to the Third World. Bangladesh has got to grips with Islamism; the IFE’s Bangladeshi parent, Jamaat-e-Islami, gets about two per cent of the vote in elections there. No Islamist sympathiser in Bangladesh has unfettered control over a £1 billion budget. Bangladesh, in short, has less of a problem with Islamic radicals than Tower Hamlets.”

How Much Church Should There Be in the State?

Deutsche Welle reported on October 21:

“The German constitution declares that there shall be no state church, but the government gives the main churches money and clerics give sermons on public television…

“The consumer affairs minister, Ilse Aigner, and her secretary of state, Julia Kloeckner, both Christian Democrats, had a crucifix put up Wednesday in the conference center of their ministry. Clerics of the two main churches were there to bless the cross. Kloeckner said, ‘It is good to be supported by the hand of God, and one can show that through making a clear statement.’…

“Alois Glueck, president of the Central Committee of German Catholics, says that Germany is a Christian country. ‘Of course our entire value system is linked to Christianity,’ he said in a radio interview. “That’s also what has put its stamp on our culture and our values. The values of our constitution are essentially Christian values’…

“With the arrival of Islam on the scene, the question of how far religion should have an influence on public life has been given a new dimension. The constitution may have been influenced by Christianity, but it was also influenced by a secular tradition of republican values which… often had to fight the churches for such achievements as the rights of women or freedom of religious practice for non-Christians…

“Commentators have noted that the adoption of a line critical of the church could cost the party votes in important elections in the traditionalist state of Baden-Wuerttemberg next March.”

The question is, what kind of culture is the “Christianity” in Germany promoting? To bless a crucifix may be in line with “orthodox Christianity,” but it is not in line with Biblical teaching. Many other “traditions” and “practices” could be named, and the increasing vigor of “Christian” politicians to openly embrace such customs in their public lives may have quite a continuing negative impact for those in Germany who do not conform with a kind of Christianity which they believe originates with paganism and anti-Semitism, and not with the Bible.

Still Haunting Germany Today–Germany’s Nazi Past

The Local reported on October 24:

“Nazi Germany’s Foreign Ministry was a ‘criminal organization’ that was much more involved in the killing of millions of Jews during World War II than previously thought, a German historian said. ‘The Foreign Ministry actively supported all measures of persecution, rights deprivation, expulsions and the Holocaust,’ Eckart Conze, one of four historians asked to shed light on the ministry’s role in the Holocaust, told the weekly Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung…

“The American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants hailed the report as shedding light on a chapter that had remained shrouded in secrecy more than six decades on… Elan Steinberg, vice president of the New York-based organisation, said [:] ‘Previous efforts to whitewash the role of the Foreign Ministry and its personnel in the crimes of the Holocaust are now categorically refuted. This report is a pointed reminder of the broad cross-section of German society and institutions which were implicated in the Holocaust and the brutalities of the Nazi regime’…

“The research found that post-war chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who also served as foreign minister from 1951 to 1955, kept many of the Nazi diplomats involved in the Holocaust on staff. Der Spiegel said the envoys were often sent to Arab countries or Latin America, where public protest over their past was less likely.

“In 1966, Social Democratic Foreign Minister Willy Brandt, who would later become chancellor, maintained Ernst Achenbach as a top diplomat despite his involvement in the Holocaust. Achenbach had been a high-ranking staff member at the German embassy in Paris and was ‘actively involved in deportations’, the historians said. He managed to block until 1974 an agreement with Paris allowing Nazis who had committed crimes in France to be prosecuted.”

These revelations, especially the cover-up after the war, are alarming–but they could not have happened without– at the very least–the indifference or even tacit approval of vast portions of the German society.

Network of European Right-Wing Parties

The Local reported on October 24:

“The far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) is reportedly planning to open an office in Germany to help build a similarly populist party with nationwide appeal… The FPÖ is planning to work together with the populist right-wing group Pro Deutschland… Their aim is to establish ‘a patriotic movement on a national level’… FPÖ state party secretary Hans-Jörg Jenewein confirmed that his party intended to “significantly expand’ its activities in Germany…

“The FPÖ has cooperated with the regional sections of Pro Deutschland since 2007, but the FPÖ’s recent success in local elections in Vienna – where it won 27 percent of the vote and became the second strongest party in October – have significantly increased its resources and ability to help its German counterparts.

“It is thought that Europe’s populist right-wing parties are building a network in preparation for the 2014 European elections. Established right-wing political parties like the FPÖ, the Vlaams Belang of Belgium and the Dansk Folkeparti of Denmark need a similarly strong populist party in Germany in order to build a faction that can challenge in the European parliament… Jenewein said [:] ‘The “Pro” movement should achieve in Germany what we have achieved in Austria.'”

This article is also interesting in light of the next one.

Sarkozy’s Approval Ratings At All-Time Low

Deutsche Welle reported on October 24:

“President Nicolas Sarkozy’s approval rating has dropped to an all-time low, dashing hopes that the legislative achievement [of raising the retirement age from 60 to 62] could bring him a political comeback.

“The poll, conducted by the IFOP institute and published in the Journal du Dimanche newspaper on Sunday, showed only 29 percent of respondents were satisfied with Sarkozy’s job performance.

Sarkozy and his allies are hoping that the ongoing protest and strike movement in opposition to the pension reform… will die down as families leave their homes for the mid-term school holiday this week. But unions have already called for two more days of strikes, and university students are planning nationwide marches on Tuesday…

“Strikes in the country’s oil industry and blockades of fuel depots have left 35 percent of gas stations in the Paris area completely dry or out of one kind of fuel… About a third of gas stations in western France were in ‘real difficulty’ and 10 to 15 percent in the rest of the country were empty…

“Polls suggest a majority of French voters support or sympathize with the strikers… Sarkozy’s government insists that the pension reform is ‘inevitable,’ the only way to fill an expected pension budget gap and reduce the country’s growing deficit. But the opposition Socialists say if they win presidential elections in 2012, their candidate will restore the retirement age to 60.

“While Sarkozy’s popularity sits at a record low, analysts believe he may try to appease centrist and far-right voters before his term is over.”

If true, then it will be interesting to see how exactly Mr. Sarkozy is going to appease far-right voters.

A New Treaty For Europe?

The Economist wrote on October 21:

“It was supposed to be a final act. The Lisbon treaty, successor to the ill-fated European Union constitution, which in turn followed the Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice treaties, would create a permanent club rulebook. ‘We expect no change in the foreseeable future,’ European leaders declared in December 2007. Freed from its internal wrangling, the EU would be able to turn outward and face the real world. Instead, the real world threw up the euro-zone debt crisis. And less than a year after the Lisbon treaty came into force, the EU is talking of a new treaty.

“Brussels’s favourite game has been restarted by President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. At their summit in the French resort of Deauville (where they also met Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev) this week, they declared that, in order to deal with future debt crises, ‘it is necessary to revise the treaty’…

“The European Parliament will want more power. Ireland will almost certainly have to put any new treaty to a referendum… Eurosceptics in Britain may seize the moment to call for a repatriation of powers from Brussels. Britain wants a stable euro zone, but is torn. It does not want to be bound by the EU’s fiscal rules, but nor does it want a more tightly integrated euro zone leading to a two-speed Europe…

“A new text would best be negotiated before the 2012 French presidential election, and ratified before Germany’s 2013 election… The EU’s members are part-integrated and part-sovereign, and the contradictions cause inevitable upheavals. Brussels’s instinctive response to the threat of disintegration is further integration.”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on October 27:

“Tensions are mounting ahead of a crucial meeting of European leaders this week, with Germany and France at loggerheads with both the EU executive and many other member states over their calls for further changes to the European Treaty… Speaking to the German lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, on Wednesday Merkel reiterated her position. She said that a ‘new, robust crisis mechanism for emergencies’ was required to secure stability in the euro zone. ‘That will only succeed with a change to the European Treaty.’ The chancellor also defended her pact with Sarkozy ahead of this week’s summit. ‘It is true that a German- French agreement is not everything in Europe,’ she told the Bundestag. ‘However, it is also true that without German-French agreement a lot of things don’t happen’…

“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘Even if the rest of Europe cries out in indignation, the chancellor will get her treaty change, because there is no other choice. It is unavoidable, and in the coming days presumably the EU foreign minister and members of the European Parliament will recognize the fact. While the arguments are difficult to deny, what about the political style? There is a perception in the majority of EU states that the Franco-German directorate is striking once again. Or that Germany is acting here almost as a European hegemonic power, the export champion, the giant of growth, one that is far too powerful’…

“The Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘… It is possible that the creation of a European rescue fund has already broken the rules. What is certain is that a long-term solution requires a change to the European Treaty.'”

The EUObserver reported on October 28:

“European Union leaders appear to have come to a consensus that the bloc’s treaty must be changed, although only in a limited fashion, in order to allow for the creation of a permanent bail-out fund for member states and a series of procedures for countries to unwind their debt positions in ‘an orderly fashion.'”

“Germany’s Role in the World”

The Economist wrote on October 21:

“In France workers angry about pension reforms have blockaded fuel refineries, causing 4,000 petrol stations to run dry. The Netherlands’ recently elected minority government depends for survival on support from a Muslim-baiting populist. Economies across Europe are struggling to cope with sluggish growth, lacerating budget cuts and the after-effects of borrowing binges. But there is an exception to the gloomy European rule.

“No big developed country has come out of the global recession looking stronger than Germany has… Its sharp-elbowed behaviour during the near-collapse of the euro earlier this year heightened concerns about Germany’s role in the world that have been stirring ever since unification 20 years ago… Even a pacific and prosperous Germany causes international angst… Germany… will shape Europe, and therefore the world…

“A third of Germans think the country is overrun by foreigners, according to a newly published poll; a majority favour “sharply restricting” Muslim religious practice. Over a tenth would even welcome a Führer who would govern with “a strong hand”—a sign that the embers of extremism still glow…

“Despite their economic strength, Germans fear the worst… This pessimism shapes Germany’s dealings with the rest of the world…

“Germany, with its high-competitiveness, low-debt economy, is on top. The rest are having to adjust, including France, traditionally a joint leader of the European project. This is unsettling… Even during the golden age of European integration Germany was an awkward partner, too big to be first among equals but too small to dominate, as Helmut Kohl, the chancellor who unified Germany, put it. It never lost sight of its own interests…

“Germany’s overall direction is obscure… The EU needs Germany’s leadership more than ever, but fears its pre-eminence. Europe also needs consensus, but will not get it unless the Germans foster it. Matters will be even worse if Germany’s economic self-confidence comes across as political arrogance.”

Germany will become the leading and most powerful nation in Europe. For proof, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

“Unalienable Rights” No Gift from God?

WorldNetDaily reported on October 21:

“…for the third time in a little over a month, President Obama has censored a reference in the Declaration of Independence to people being endowed ‘by their Creator’ with rights. He just says that people ‘are endowed.’… The actual quote from the Declaration is:

“‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’

“But according to the transcript of Obama’s remarks to a Democrat fundraiser in Rockville, Md., just days ago, he was talking about the greatness of America, and said:

“‘As wonderful as the land is here in the United States, as much as we have been blessed by the bounty of this magnificent continent that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, what makes this place special is not something physical,’ he said. ‘It has to do with this idea that was started by 13 colonies that decided to throw off the yoke of an empire, and said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that each of us are endowed with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

“Don Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association, picked up on the dropped words immediately. ‘Repeatedly now the president has simply said Americans are endowed with certain rights, but persistently refuses to acknowledge with the Founders that these rights are a gift from God,’ he wrote his constituents. ‘He stripped God from our founding document on September 15 when speaking to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. He did it again on September 23 at a fundraiser in New York City. And he did it a third time … in Rockville, Md., when speaking to Democratic Senate candidate donors.

“This can no longer by any stretch of the imagination be considered unintentional or accidental… If our rights do not come to us from God, they come to us from government. And what government gives, government can take away…”

This IS telling. Maybe President Obama–a law professor–did not correctly remember the Declaration of Independence? Or, did he omit the reference to a Creator because he did not want to antagonize democratic and independent Atheist voters? Or, did he indeed plan to create the notion that those rights are granted by the government, which can take them away in due time? In each scenario, the answer is troublesome, to say the least.

US War Crimes in Iraq?

ABC News reported on October 22:

“In what is being described as the largest release of secret U.S. military documents ever, whistle-blowing web site WikiLeaks has released a trove of classified reports about the war in Iraq…

“Among the highlights… are claims that the death toll reached 285,000, and that 63 percent of them were civilians… [It is also claimed that] the documents state that 681 Iraqi civilians were killed at U.S. checkpoints, 180,000 Iraqis were arrested during the war, and that 15,000 Iraqis were buried without being identified.

“U.S. officials knew that the Iraqi government was engaged in torture and recorded incidents in which government interrogators electrocuted, stabbed and sodomized detainees, according to the documents.”

Whether true or not, the release of these documents constitutes a further nail in the coffin of a dying giant–the USA. Europe will hate the USA even more because of these allegations, and anti-Americanism will spread and become even larger. In addition, as the next report shows, the documents seem to portray an American army which was helpless in Iraq for years, fueling ideas to the effect that America could be beaten in a war.

The American Giant–A Humbled Nation

Der Spiegel Online reported on October 22:

“The field reports from soldiers cast a new light on the war — documenting in a unique way how the highly armed American military was helpless in the conflict for years… The brief, matter-of-fact incident reports offer an unusual perspective on a war that lasted longer than World War II.

“They show the everyday aspects of the campaign as US soldiers experienced it. The thousands of threat analyses, attack reports and arrest records allow a very precise reconstruction of the escalation of the sectarian battle between the Shiites and Sunnis, how it brutalized Iraqi society and how kidnappings, executions and the torture of prisoners became routine practices. The reports also provide some evidence that neighboring countries including Syria and Iran were involved in the war.

“… they have the cumulative effect of painting a precise picture of an asymmetrical war, one in which a superpower equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry often stands helpless on the battlefield against individual fighting units, as brutal as they are nimble. The material shows how the constant state of fear paralyzed the world’s last remaining superpower…

“George W. Bush, the US president and commander in chief at the time, declared on May 1, 2003 on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln that ‘major combat operations in Iraq have ended.’ The field reports show that his statement proved to be untrue for years to come…

“As tensions mount within the Iraqi population starting in 2004, acts of the greatest cruelty take place… The documents show hundreds of thousands of times what can happen to a society at war — how it gradually slips to the point of self-destruction and the verge of breakdown…

“Recently, Bush’s successor, Barack Obama, also officially declared the end of combat operations. On September 1, Operation Iraqi Freedom was replaced by Operation New Dawn. But aside from the excessively optimistic terminology, there were no signs of triumph to be seen. There were no flag-bedecked aircraft carriers or returning veterans being cheered as they marched up Broadway in New York…

“According to official figures, 3,884 US soldiers died between 2004 and 2009, an additional 224 soldiers from allied nations, well over 8,000 members of the Iraqi security forces… and 92,003 Iraqi civilians… Together, this makes more than 104,111 deaths, a figure that approximates the number of victims reported dead in these documents, namely 109,032. And although this war wasn’t nearly as devastating in terms of the sheer number of casualties as the Vietnam War, with its 3 million deaths, its effects on the standing of the United States in the world have been no less devastating.

“One month before the beginning of the invasion, Bush had blustered that the overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein and ‘a new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region.’ But the military that withdrew after seven years of war was a demoralized force that had long since ceased to believe in the noble goals of the campaign.

“The documents faithfully reflect this change. In the roughly 400,000 documents, the word ‘democracy’ appears only eight times. The ‘improvised explosive devices’ which instilled fear in the hearts of American soldiers, however, are mentioned 146,895 times.”

EU Complains About American Intrusive Travel “Security” Measures

ABC News reported on October 27:

“European air officials accused the United States of imposing useless and overly intrusive travel security measures, calling Wednesday for the Obama administration to reexamine policies ranging from online security checks to X-raying shoes.

“British Airways’ chairman made the first in a wave of complaints, saying in a speech to airport operators that removing shoes and taking laptops out of bags were ‘completely redundant’ measures demanded by the U.S.

“He was joined less than 24 hours later by British pilots, the owner of Heathrow airport, other European airlines, and the European Union. The EU submitted formal objections to a program that requires U.S.-bound travelers from 35 nations to complete online security clearance before departure. It called the system burdensome and said it could violate travelers’ privacy… The program applies to Europeans who don’t need visas to travel to the U.S…”

“British Airways chairman Martin Broughton told the annual conference of the U.K. Airport Operators Association that measures like separate examinations of shoes and laptops appeared to be unnecessary and were inconsistently applied in different airports. ‘America does not do internally a lot of the things they demand that we do,’ Broughton said, calling on British authorities not to ‘kowtow to the Americans every time they wanted something done’…”

Some of the American travel security measures appear indeed to be overly intrusive, redundant and plainly ridiculous. This is another example showing how America’s perceived arrogant politics antagonize even allies and friends.

Iran at Odds With Syria?

The American Spectator published the following article on October 22:

“There has been considerable speculation behind the visit to Lebanon of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The generally accepted theory is the egocentric desire of the Iranian leader to bask in the Lebanese sunshine of acceptance as a ‘protector’ against Israel…

“Behind the scenes, however, is the fact that Syria is increasingly unhappy with the growth of Iranian influence in Lebanese politics. The deal among Hezbollah, Iran, and other Moslem political groups in Beirut always was supposed to be that Damascus would exercise the lead role in Lebanese political life. Recently Syrian intelligence is reported to have substantially infiltrated Hezbollah, aided by a considerable increase in military supplies from Damascus. Ahmadinejad’s presence in Lebanon was supposed to counter this and be a reminder to certain Hezbollah leaders of where their original training and support had come.

“Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s heralded visit was as much a regional statement as it was for local Lebanese consumption. The Iranians have a three-pronged offensive in progress: Shia alignment in Iraq, Hamas allegiance in Gaza, and Hezbollah’s ruling desires in Lebanon. The Syrians see this as the first steps in an attempt by Tehran’s clerical leadership’s plan for a Greater Persia — and Damascus doesn’t like what it sees.

“Parades in Beirut and speeches in a village overlooking the Israeli border serve the purpose of the clerical leadership in Iran in terms of flexing their regional muscle. They want to keep Damascus alert to Tehran’s outreach and international status. It also reminds the United States, and the West in general, that they have more than Persian nuclear development to worry about while they are pressing ahead with sanctions.

“Greater Persia may seem a dream to some outside of Iran. But in Iran and the region it seeks to dominate, it’s real enough…”

The Bee and the Myth of Evolution

The Guardian wrote on October 24:

“Bees can solve complex mathematical problems which keep computers busy for days, research has shown. The insects learn to fly the shortest route between flowers discovered in random order, effectively solving the ‘travelling salesman problem’, said scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London.

“The conundrum involves finding the shortest route that allows a travelling salesman to call at all the locations he has to visit. Computers solve the problem by comparing the length of all possible routes and choosing the one that is shortest. Bees manage to reach the same solution using a brain the size of a grass seed…

“Using computer-controlled artificial flowers to test bee behaviour, [the scientist] wanted to know whether the insects would follow a simple route defined by the order in which they found the flowers, or look for the shortest route. After exploring the location of the flowers, the bees quickly learned to fly the best route for saving time and energy.”

Scientists want us to believe that something like this remarkable conduct evolved through random chance. Or using Stephen Hawking’s rationale, the bee could have created itself and its brain capacity, as, according to him, the universe created itself as well. We would say, however, that the bee puts those concepts to shame.

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