Current Events

How Close to a New Depression?

CNBC wrote on July 16:

“The risk of a new depression — a sustained, severe recession — has struck fear into the heart of markets and driven monetary policy in developed economies since the current financial crisis began. ‘We’re in a very unfortunate position to be here,’ Richard Duncan, author of The New Depression, warned on CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box Europe’ Monday… ‘[The] explosion of credit created the world we live in, but it now seems that credit cannot expand any further because the private sector is incapable of repaying the debt it has already, and if credit begins to contract, there’s a very real danger that we will collapse into a new Great Depression,’ he argued. ‘If this credit bubble pops, the depression could be so severe that I don’t think our civilization could survive it… You can defer, but not prevent.’”

The Wall Street Journal added on July 17:

“Fed Chairman Bernanke delivered a bleak assessment of the U.S. economy to lawmakers on Tuesday, citing a slowdown in economic activity this year and a stubbornly high rate of unemployment.”

These are frightening warnings—but how many take them to heart?

Executive Order Gives Control of Internet to Homeland Security wrote on July 13:

“The White House has finally responded to criticism over US President Barack Obama’s hushed signing last week of an Executive Order that allows the government to command privately-owned communication systems and acknowledges its implications.

“When President Obama inked his name to the Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions Executive Order on July 6, he authorized the US Department of Homeland Security to take control of the country’s wired and wireless communications — including the Internet — in instances of emergency. The signing was accompanied with little to no acknowledgment outside of the White House, but initial reports on the order quickly caused the public to speak out over what some equated to creating an Oval Office kill switch for the Web.

“Now the Obama administration is addressing those complaints by calling the Executive Order a necessary implement for America’s national security. ‘The [order] recognizes the creation of DHS and provides the Secretary the flexibility to organize the communications systems and functions that reside within the department as [Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano] believes will be most effective,’ White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden tells the Washington Post. Hayden insists that ‘The [order] does not transfer authorities between or among departments,’ but the order does indeed allow the DHS to establish and implement control over even the privately owned communication systems in the country, including Internet Service Providers such as Time Warner, Verizon and Comcast, if the administration agrees that it is warranted for security’s sake.

“Immediately after last week’s signing, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) said the order allowed the DHS ‘the authority to seize private facilities when necessary, effectively shutting down or limiting civilian communications.’ Following up with the Post this week, EPIC attorney Amie Stephanovich stands by that initial explanation, agreeing that the DHS can now ‘seize control of telecommunications facilities, including telephone, cellular and wireless networks, in order to prioritize government communications over private ones in an emergency.’…

“According to the order, the DHS can take charge of ‘commercial, government, and privately owned communications resources’ to satisfy what is described as ‘priority communication requirements.’ With little insight from outside the White House, though, what constitutes such an emergency may very well be decided on by Washington, where the country’s elected leaders are still split on all things involving the Internet.”

As we have been reporting in previous Updates as well, do we realize that the USA is becoming a country with less and less individual freedoms and more and more governmental control? Do we really think that this is what the founding fathers had in mind when they were desirous of distancing themselves from British rule? When America celebrates the 4th of July, it should remember that freedom from governmental oppression must be an ongoing endeavor. As Paul said: “Don’t become a slave of men.”

President Obama: Let the State Do It for You!

What has been described as the single-most telling comment by President Obama over the weekend, his approach to the American Way of Life has been met with outright condemnation by small businesses and entrepreneurs, while the left-liberal media is quick and anxious to sugarcoat the President’s ill-advised remarks, which seem, however, to reveal his vision of the USA.

Mail Online reported on July 16:

“America’s leading small business association has slammed Barack Obama for showing ‘an utter lack of understanding’ of the country’s entrepreneurs when he told them: ‘If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.’ In a hard-hitting statement to Mail Online, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) president Dan Danne said: ‘What a disappointment to hear President Obama’s revealing comments challenging the significance of America’s entrepreneurs… His unfortunate remarks over the weekend show an utter lack of understanding and appreciation for the people who take a huge personal risk and work endless hours to start a business and create jobs.’…

“The inflammatory campaign speech comments underline the extent to which Obama believes that the state rather than ordinary citizens create jobs and wealth. They highlight a key contrast with Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, who is preaching a message of wealth creation by individuals and reinvigorating the private sector.

“Andrea Saul, spokeswoman for Romney, told Fox News that the remarks ‘reflect just how unqualified he is to lead us to a real economic recovery’ and were ‘ insulting to the hardworking entrepreneurs, small-business owners, and job creators who are the backbone of our economy.’”

In an accompanying article, Mail Online wrote:

“As President Obama comes under scrutiny for remarks that he made about entrepreneurs over the weekend, it’s not surprising to many that the president has never served in a leadership level at any private sector job. The president has held a number of jobs since the late 1980s, including editor, writer and professor before getting into politics.

“But questions have been raised about Obama’s lack of business experience as the U.S. struggles with a high joblessness rate and a frail economy. It was a point that Obama’s political foes were quick to exploit in their attacks on Monday. Louisiana Gov Bobby Jindal, appearing alongside Mitt Romney today, said: ‘We have a president who hadn’t run anything before he was in the White House.’ He added: ‘[Obama is the] most liberal and incompetent president since Jimmy Carter. No offense to Jimmy Carter.’”

It is of course correct that whatever abilities we may have and whatever success we might achieve in this life is not to be attributed to ourselves, but to God Almighty who has given us all things to enjoy. But sadly, this is not what President Obama had made reference to.

Mitt Romney’s Unsolvable Bain Problem

While President Obama has been coming under attacks because of his remarks and politics, his challenger Mitt Romney is dealing—or not dealing—with problems of his own. His inconsistent position regarding health care is well-known (advocating it in his state, but rejecting it on a federal level), but another ongoing problem is the controversy regarding his position as CEO in the Bain Capital company, which outsourced jobs to companies overseas, while Mitt Romney is now strongly advocating the opposite policy.

The Washington Post wrote on July 16:

“Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney continues to struggle to get out from under questions regarding just when he departed from his job at Bain Capital. And there’s reason to believe that he won’t be able to solve his Bain problem anytime soon… Politics 101 says that when your campaign is bleeding — and Romney’s camp is bleeding right now — the best way to stop it is to get as many facts out as quickly as possible and then insist that it’s a dead issue and refuse to answer questions on it moving forward.

“That won’t likely work for Romney because of the seeming contradictions about when he left the company — and the exotic nature of his financial life. While most independent fact checkers agree that Romney had no involvement in Bain’s day-to-day operations after 1999, the fact that he was listed on Securities and Exchange Commission documents as chairman and president of Bain creates a fuzziness that allows President Obama’s campaign to continue to hammer away on the issue. That fuzziness was furthered over the weekend by Romney campaign senior adviser Ed Gillespie who said that the former Massachusetts governor had ‘retroactively’ retired in 1999.

“That phrasing might work in the business world but it points to the political problem Romney has with Bain. Regular people who aren’t CEOs don’t retroactively retire after three years in which they are listed as the head — whether titular or not — of a major company. Therefore, trying to explain that while he remained — at least on paper or in name — the chairman and president of Bain to people is no easy task…”

The Washington Times added on July 16:

“Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Monday defended his campaign amidst cries from fellow Republicans that he needs to quit playing defense in his challenge to President Obama after a week in which the topic dominating the headlines was Mr. Romney’s record at Bain Capital and exactly when he left the firm. ‘I think when people have accused you of a crime, you have every reason to go after them pretty hard,’ he said, referring to allegations that he may have committed a felony by stating in Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure forms that he stayed on at Bain as a managing director past 1999, contrary to what he previously claimed. ‘What does it say about a president whose record is so poor that all he can do in his campaign is attack me? … A campaign that’s based on falsehood and dishonesty does not have long legs… if we want to talk about transparency, the real issue is why has this president used his presidential power and executive privilege to keep the information about the “Fast and Furious” program from being explained to the American people?’ he said, referring to the botched gunrunning scheme to Mexico by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives…”

ABC News reported on July 16:

“Last week, Romney demanded in five interviews with the main TV networks that President Obama apologize for his campaign’s implication that Romney broke the law by misstating his role at Bain Capital on documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Obama said he would not be apologizing.

“The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, revived the accusation on MSNBC today. Democrats have been helped by a Boston Globe report that said Romney was listed as the head of Bain Capital for three years after he had said he left, in 1999. Romney’s maintaining that he had left Bain that year let him escape blame for the outsourcing of jobs that happened at Bain-backed companies after 1999. ‘Either Mitt Romney was lying on SEC forms and misrepresenting to his investors — which could be a felony — that he was the sole owner, president, CEO of Bain Capital from 1999 until almost the end of 2001, or he wasn’t and represented that he was,’ Wasserman Schultz said. ‘It can’t be both. And so if he was sole owner, president, CEO, then he is to be held accountable for the decisions that were made for the outsourcing of jobs that took place during that time.’… The Democratic-aligned Huffington Post also reloaded the Bain gun by publishing a new document that shows Romney was listed as a managing member of Bain in late 2002.

“Romney said in his interviews last week that he had ‘no responsibility whatsoever’ for what happened at Bain after 1999, even if he was ‘the owner of the general partnership’ that managed Bain. Then on Sunday, one of Romney’s advisers, Ed Gillespie, claimed that Romney had stayed at Bain part-time at first, then took a leave of absence, and finally ‘retired retroactively to 1999.’…

“What’s clear is that the Obama campaign is directing the media narrative, and it’s more about taxes and Bain than the economy… Even Romney’s campaign, which would like the news to be focused on the unemployment rate, has spent a good deal of time responding to the attacks… Is that what the public wants to hear about the most? Hard to say…”

The Guardian wrote on July 17:

“With a host of pundits inside and outside the Republican party speculating about Mitt Romney’s handling of his Bain Capital tenure, outsourcing controversy and tax returns, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Joshua Green wonders about ‘Mitt Romney’s Wimp Factor,’ as his article is headlined: ‘The danger for Romney is that voters won’t parse these episodes but will instead conclude, based on their overall impression of his squealing and inability to get results, that Romney is a wimp.

“This is a charge that famously dogged another establishment Republican,’ Green notes – beneath a shot of the famous 1987 Newsweek cover entitled ‘George Bush—fighting the wimp factor’ which is said to have damaged Bush senior’s image – and continues: ‘It’s not clear Romney can do much to prove he wasn’t running Bain between 99 and 02. An article in today’s New York Times notes that 142 documents have surfaced tying Romney to the ownership of the firm during this period…”

And so, the mud-slinging contest of American politics, which both sides label as false, dishonest and destructive, is bound to continue and to get even more dirty in the ensuing months… proving again why true Christians should have absolutely nothing to do with any of it…

Germany’s Harvests in Danger Due to Weather and Mice

Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 11:

“Millions of field mice are overrunning the central German states of Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt, much to the concern of local farmers. The rodents are devastating food crops, cutting yields by up to 50 percent. Getting birds of prey to hunt the critters didn’t help, and now farmers want to be allowed to use a banned rat poison… The furry rodents are currently wreaking havoc in the states, which are suffering the worst field mouse plague in over 30 years… Farmers estimate that they may have to write off an average of 10 percent of their crops as a result of mouse damage, and up to 50 percent in extreme cases.”

The Local added on July 15:

“Current harvesting work has been interrupted by the rain recently, while harvests were already expected to have been hit by the spring frosts which damaged many fields. Lower Saxony’s state farmers’ association said it was expecting a ten percent drop in grain harvest this year compared to last, which itself was a disappointing one. ‘With 5.1 million tonnes of harvested grain, that was already an abysmal year,’ said a spokeswoman. Farmers in Brandenburg, Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein said it had been too wet recently to expect a good result.

“And in Thuringia the wet weather was compounded by a mouse plague. ‘Where the weather was not so awful, the mice came,’ said Reinhard Kopp from the Thuringia farmers’ association… Farmers in the more southern states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland Palatinate and Hesse say their grain suffered badly from the frost, while the spring was too dry…

“There are fears in Bavaria that the dry May could result in a smaller harvest…”

German Court Decision Prohibiting Circumcision Under Further Attack

Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 13:

“A controversial German court ruling on circumcision has outraged Muslim and Jewish groups in Germany and abroad. German commentators say the decision was misguided and could have devastating consequences.

“The ruling came nearly two weeks ago, but the reaction is getting increasingly vocal… In addition to Jewish and Muslim groups in Germany, the ruling has also drawn strong condemnation from the state of Israel… In recent days, the ruling has drawn nearly universal criticism in the press. On editorial pages on Friday, most newspapers writing on the topic call for the German government to move to provide clarity for religious groups that their freedoms will be protected.

“Center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘It is understandable when religious leaders protest because they feel their faith and their rituals are being ridiculed… circumcision is an act of recognition: It makes the child the member of a faith and represents entry into a community. Some Christians and atheists may smirk over that, but Christians also don’t have to celebrate the ‘Feast of the Circumcision of Christ’ on Jan. 1 if they don’t want to. … The Cologne court’s ruling was rash and the loud outcry is justified.”

“The regional Saarbrücker Zeitung writes: ‘Under no circumstances can the circumcision ritual … of Judaism be reduced to an inherited, archaic religious law. To an overwhelming majority of secular Jews, it is viewed as much more of a foundation that is indispensable for establishing identity. Viewed in this context, there is no exaggeration in the objection that this legal decision makes Jewish — as well as Muslim — life in Germany impossible. … Another court, presumably (the Federal Constitutional Court) in Karlsruhe, will have to re-weigh the issues. If it affirms the (lower court’s) ban, it would be unique in the entire world. It would do so in the full awareness that it risks triggering an exodus of Jews and Muslims (from Germany). One can’t imagine what the consequences of this would be for Germany.’

“Conservative Die Welt writes: ‘The circumcision of Jewish boys on the eighth day after their birth is a foundation of the Jewish religion. If it is suspended through disregard for freedom of religion, then Jewish life in Germany will no longer be possible. For the first time since the end of the Third Reich, Jews would be forced to leave the country in order to be able to adhere to this mandate of the scriptures. If that happens, it would send out a message with disastrous political consequences. There are also other reasons that legal certainty in the interests of freedom of religion and faith under Article 4 of the German constitution be created. A ban on circumcision, be it Muslim or Jewish, is a manifestation of the increasing intolerance shown towards religious groups in the world… Intolerance can swell like a flood: If you don’t dam it up, it will continue… The Cologne judges…  issued a ruling that is unprecedented in the Western world. It is a shameful farce for Germany.’

“The left-leaning Frankfurter Rundschau writes: ‘The rabbis’ worries are justified. As long as German jurisprudence is concerned with finding a balance between the legally protected right of religious freedom and the right of physical integrity, religious Jews and Muslims will see themselves as confronted by a climate of defamation…’”

The Local wrote on July 14:

“The German government on Friday pledged quick action to protect the right of Jews and Muslims to circumcise baby boys on religious grounds, after a court ruling that prompted international outcry… German diplomats admit that the ruling has proved ‘disastrous’ to the country’s image abroad…

“Legal experts… note that drafting legislation could prove tricky in balancing religious freedom on the one hand against ‘physical integrity’ on the other. Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger noted this week that even with a new law, a federal court would likely have the last word on the issue. The Cologne judges’ ruling is final and cannot be appealed to the Federal Constitutional Court… attorneys say that doctors and parents run the risk of prosecution under the status quo.”

In an article by Der Stern of July 14, the Minister for Health, Daniel Bahr (FDP), questioned in an interview with Die Welt whether legislation could even be passed in such a case.

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 17:

“Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has told her party that it risked becoming a ‘laughing stock’ after a court in Cologne ruled that religious circumcision was a criminal act. ‘I do not want Germany to be the only country in the world in which Jews cannot practice their rites,’ Merkel was quoted as saying this week…

“The regional court ruling came at the end of June, but it’s only now that reactions are coming in from various groups around the world, especially from the US, where male circumcision is more common… The ruling… may mean that families will have to wait until their sons are over the age of consent before they can be circumcised.

“This is something that’s worrying Dr. Aaron Tobian, assistant professor of pathology, medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. ‘There are multiple advantages of neonatal male circumcision compared to adult circumcision,’ Tobian told DW…

“Whilst male circumcision is relatively uncommon in Europe, the practice saw a dramatic increase in North America during the 20th century… Neonatal and childhood male circumcision rates in the US rose to about 80 percent in the 1960s, and remain relatively high today, although they have fallen somewhat in recent years…

“Unsurprisingly, Jewish and Muslim groups have responded angrily to the ruling, saying it poses a threat to religious freedom. Britain’s Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, wrote in the Jerusalem Post earlier this month: ‘It is hard to think of a more appalling decision…’ In the United States, Charles Lane of the Washington Post wrote a blog post on the subject entitled ‘The stink of Cologne’ – in which he took issue with what he called a ‘blatant affront to the Muslim and Jewish peoples’… The European Union, meanwhile, seems reluctant to get involved in the debate. A spokesman for the European Commissioner for Health told DW that this was a ‘national issue.’”

The Local wrote on July 19:

“[A new German] survey published on Thursday shows 45 percent supported a ban on circumcision, in line with a recent court ruling which said the conducting the operation was inflicting bodily harm. But 42 percent said they disagreed, telling pollsters from the YouGov firm they thought the ritual carried out by Muslims and Jews on young boys and babies should be allowed.

“Parliament is set to vote for a resolution on Thursday which would call on the government to lay out a law which would explicitly legalise circumcision. It is expected to be supported by all the major parties… The resolution will call on the government to legalise, ‘a medically professional circumcision of boys without unnecessary pain.’ The legal rights of the child must be considered, as should their physical integrity, but also freedom of religion and the right of parents to raise their children as they see fit. The resolution was adopted on Thursday by the German parliament. The Greens and the Left did not participate in the vote. Even though an overwhelming majority of the major parties—CDU/CSU, SPD and FDP—voted for the resolution, there were numerous abstentions and opposing views in all parties. The resolution has only symbolic value, without any binding legal effect.

“The survey also suggested that 83 percent of Germans feel religions should move with the times and not cling to old traditions at all price. Only nine percent of those asked said they did not think modernisation of religious practices were necessary. Global anger at the Cologne district court’s decision from last month has damaged Germany’s standing in the world, said 33 percent of those questioned, while 55 percent disagreed.”

The positon by the EU Commission regarding lack of protection of religious minorities is highly hypocritical, as the next article shows, which addresses the proclaimed need for protection of sexual minorities.

Gay Rights Legal Criterion for EU Accession

The EUObserver wrote on July 13:

“The European Commission has said in a written note that respect for gay rights is a legal criterion for EU accession.  It cited the 1993 so-called Copenhagen criteria for EU eligibility and article 2 of the EU Treaty, which prohibit discrimination against ‘minorities.’  It also cited articles 10 and 19 of the EU Treaty and article 21 of the European Charter on Fundamental Rights, which explicitly forbid discrimination on grounds of ‘sexual orientation.’ ‘Rights of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people thus form an integral part of both the Copenhagen political criteria for accession and the EU legal framework on combatting discrimination. They are closely monitored by the EU commission, which reports annually on the progress made by enlargement countries with regard to the situation of the LGBT community,’ it said.

“The commission note was sent to EUobserver in response to a question born of an interview with an Armenian cleric. Armenia, a deeply Christian country where church teaching has more authority than in many EU states with Christian roots, is keen to become an EU member. Homosexuality is not against the law. But according to a recent study by the Brussels-based rights group Ilga-Europe, it scores better only than Moldova and Russia in terms of legal protection of LGBT people in Europe.

“Armenian law does not prohibit discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. It does not recognise any form of same-sex partnership and has no provision for legally changing one’s gender, the study says. Its legal edifice is reflected in popular feeling… Three priests came to speak to media, one of whom recalled the Biblical story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah to justify anti-gay views…

“Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, an ecumenical officer at the Armenian catholic church, made no bones about the situation. ‘It’s not in our culture to accept homosexuals. I mean, we don’t reject the person, but we reject the sin and this is our freedom as Armenians. Our culture does not accept this,’ he told EUobserver in a recent interview in Etchmiadzin, the official seat of the Armenian church. He said Armenia upholds basic human rights, but gay rights are a ‘secondary’ issue where difference of opinion should be permitted…

“But for Ulrike Lunacek, an openly lesbian Austrian Green MEP who co-chairs a European Parliament gay rights group, this does not mean countries can choose which values they adopt. ‘Accession of a country will not be possible if certain LGBTI [the I stands for ‘intersex’] rights are not put into law and into practice… ‘Protection of Pride marches has become a recurrent monitoring theme in the commission’s progress reports on enlargement countries,’ she added.”

What a joke. While “gay rights” are to be enforced under the cloak of protection of sexual minorities, religious persecution of minorities is running rampant in the EU and labeled as “national issues.”

French City Petitions for British Crown Jewels

The Christian Post wrote on July 17:

“A French city that once produced generations of English kings has created a petition insisting that the British Crown jewels be given to the city as compensation for ending the Plantagenet line, once heirs to the English throne, in the 15th century. The city of Angers was the capital of the Anjou province and home to the Plantagenets, rulers of England from 1154 until 1485. It was during this time that some of the most famous monarchs ruled, including Richard the Lionheart and Henry V.

“The mayor of Angers will send the signed petition to Queen Elizabeth II, which calls the execution of Edward Plantagenet a ‘state crime’ that brought to an end more than three centuries of rule… Edward Plantagenet, the Earl of Warwick, was executed for treason in the Tower of London in 1499. His death brought the legitimate male line to an abrupt end.

“While there might be a shred of merit to the claims, the French petition disregards the fact that most of the crown jewels came after the date of execution. During the time of Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century there was a serious financial crisis in which many of the royal jewels were sold. The jewels were eventually replaced over the centuries either for a succession of monarchs or created for a specific person. The petition was started in the spring and refers to the people of Angers as ‘moral heirs’ of the Plantagenets. The petition received little attention initially, but since the story has made the rounds on British media officials are hoping that more people will support the cause.”

Will this development cause further antagonism between France and Great Britain?

“Pope: Do Not Preach What the Powerful Wish to Hear”

Zenit wrote on July 16:

“The Pope… spoke of the courage to announce the truth despite being rejected by men, as was seen in the first reading from the prophet Amos, who preached against the abuses of the power of the king. ‘And this remains the mandate of the Church: do not preach what the powerful wish to hear. The criterion of prophets is the truth and justice even if this goes against human applause and human power,’ he said.”

Good advice—and so very true. One could also think of Jeremiah’s preaching, or the challenges of John the Baptist towards Herod.

Terror Attack Against Jews in Bulgaria

Deutsche Welle reported on July 19:

“Wednesday’s bombing of the bus containing Israeli tourists in the Bulgarian coastal town of Burgas, in which at least seven people were killed, should not come as a surprise. There have been several indications in recent months that such an attack would occur. In January, Israeli security forces warned their Bulgarian counterparts of the possibility of Islamist terrorist operations against Israeli tourists…

“Bulgarian Middle East expert Vladimir Chukov suspects the Islamic Hezbollah militia of being behind the attack, and diplomatic sources in Sofia indicate that Bulgarian authorities agree with him… Solomon Passy, former Bulgarian Foreign Minister and national security specialist, is convinced that Bulgaria is now dependent on the support of NATO and the European Union. Bulgaria’s European Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva has also called for intensive cooperation with the EU and Europol to investigate Wednesday’s attack.”

Der Spiegel Online added on July 19:

“Investigators believe that the attackers specifically targeted Israelis traveling abroad, following a pattern similar to several other terror attacks and attempted bombings in previous months. The date of the attack has also aroused suspicion. Wednesday was the 18th anniversary of the attack on a Jewish cultural center in the Argentinean capital of Buenos Aires in which 85 people were killed. Argentina believes that Iran and Hezbollah were behind that assault and has issued an international arrest warrant for Iran’s former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani…

“Intelligence officials in both Israel and abroad believe that recent months have seen an increase in attempts to stage terror attacks targeting Israelis traveling overseas. Evidence indicates that most of those attempts were steered from Iran or from the southern suburbs of Beirut, where Hezbollah is based.”

Fighting in Syria Escalates

The Associated Press reported on July 17:

“Syrian government forces backed by helicopter gunships battled rebels in heavy clashes in Damascus, a clear escalation in the most serious fighting in the capital since the country’s conflict began last year… The fierce clashes, which have raged over the past three days in at least four neighborhoods across the city, were the latest sign that Syria’s civil war is moving ever closer to the heart of President Bashar Assad’s regime. Government forces already have thrown tanks and armored personnel carriers into the battle in the capital, but the use of air power reflected the intensity and seriousness of the fighting…

“The clashes are the most sustained and widespread in the capital since the start of the uprising against Mr. Assad in March last year and a crackdown that activists say has claimed the lives of more than 17,000 people. In the past, clashes happened at night in the capital. Now, the fighting rages during the day — a sign of the growing strength and boldness of the rebels. That increased fighting has brought bloodshed to the heart of Damascus — and Syria’s largest city, Aleppo…

“As the violence across the country has spiraled out of control, diplomatic efforts to halt the bloodshed have seemingly come to a dead end. Much of the international community has condemned Mr. Assad’s crackdown, but world powers remain deeply divided over who is responsible and how to stop the fighting. The U.S. and many Western nations have called on Mr. Assad to leave power, while Russia, China and Iran have stood by the regime.”

Deutsche Welle added on July 19:

“China and Russia on Thursday vetoed a United Nations’ resolution that would have imposed sanctions against the regime of President Bashar Assad in Syria.

“Both German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and British Prime Minister David Cameron had called on Russia to abandon its opposition to sanctions at the UN Security Council… The veto comes as the Syrian capital, Damascus, is seeing ongoing bloody clashes between government forces and rebels calling for the ouster of President Bashar Assad.

“The situation was exacerbated by a rebel bomb attack on Wednesday that killed three top Syrian officials, including Defense Minister General Daoud Rajha and Assef Shawkat, President Assad’s brother-in-law. General Hassan Turkmani, the head of the crisis cell, also died in the attack.”

That the big villains and violators of individual freedoms, Russia, China and Iran, are supporting Bashad Assad is no surprise. The sad part is, they are indirectly supported by the inconsistent position of the USA due to political and highly hypocritical considerations, as the next article shows.

USA Won’t Help Syrian Rebels for Now

The Telegraph wrote on July 16:

“Despite mounting fury from the Syrian rebels, who are seeking assistance for their efforts to overthrow the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, the White House has refused all requests for heavy weapons and intelligence support. Syrian lobby groups in Washington, who only a few weeks ago were expressing hope that the Obama administration might give a green light to the supply of anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, said they had now been forced to ‘take a reality pill’ by the US government…

“The Obama administration has also made clear to its allies that it will not intervene…The American position means there is little hope of any swift resolution to the Syrian crisis, with the stage set instead for a protracted civil war. Russia repeated yesterday that it was ‘unrealistic’ of the West to expect the country to convince Mr Assad to step down…

“Abdulbaset Sieda, chairman of the official Syrian National Council… called on the US not to abandon the rebels for the sake of domestic political calculations… ‘We want for America and the Western countries to carry out their responsibilities,’ he said. ‘With regard to America, specifically, we would like to say to President Obama that waiting for election day to make the right decision on Syria is unacceptable for the Syrians. We cannot understand that a superpower ignores the killing of tens of thousands of Syrian civilians because of an election campaign that a president may win or lose…’

“Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think-tank in Washington… said division among Republicans had also helped to give the Obama administration a ‘free pass’ politically. ‘The Right is split between those who say the US has a moral imperative to intervene and those who say Syria is an enemy of the US and there is no national interest in intervening. The result is that no one [wants] to touch this. The reality is that the US appears to have no coherent foreign policy since the Arab Spring. It is not clear why we helped topple Gaddafi and we let Mubarak fall but we let Assad stay in power.”

We are not commenting on the advisability of direct US involvement in the matter. We are opposed to human violence in any manner, shape or form. But we are quoting the article above to show American inconsistencies in the dealings with the “Arab Spring” movement, which reveal mere egoistic motives and the desire for political advantage. God is most certainly not pleased by such objectionable strategies.

New Dictatorial Measures in Putin’s Russia

The Los Angeles Times wrote on July 14:

“Russian lawmakers this week passed three measures to increase government control over the Internet, media and foreign-funded activist groups, despite widespread protests from Web professionals, journalists and human rights advocates.

“A bill that criminalizes libel and imposes fines of up to $153,400 on violators, and a measure that requires nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, that receive foreign funding to register as ‘foreign agents,’ were approved by the lower house of the parliament Friday, the last day of the legislative session. On Wednesday, the lower house unanimously approved a bill that provides for a federal registry of websites that could face being shut down for carrying prohibited material. The bills are the latest in what is seen as an attempt to crack down on resistance to the rule of President Vladimir Putin, dissent that became more pronounced with mass opposition rallies in December, when Putin was still prime minister. The measures must still be approved by the upper house and signed by Putin, who in May began his third presidential term, but both moves are expected by the end of the month…

“The bills follow other government moves to encumber its critics. A recently adopted law sharply increased fines for organizers of unsanctioned rallies and participants. A bill initiated by the ruling United Russia party this week and under consideration in the lower house would crack down on independent volunteers. It would require contracts and official approval for any donated resources or labor to any cause or event… Devastating floods last weekend in southern Russia brought an unprecedented number of volunteers to the region, which only highlighted the failures of the government amid popular mistrust.”

Russia is bound to become again a dictatorship, and it will clash with Europe. Ultimately, two dictatorial power blocs (a United States of Europe under Germany and a United Confederation of Asian countries under Russia and China) will be engaged in a terrible and all-encompassing world war, which will be fought with nuclear and biological weapons.

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