The Week in the News
We begin reporting on the rising tidal waves and tsunamis of Anti-Americanism smashing through the countries of Germany and South America, following the continuous earthquakes of ongoing revelations about the atrocious behavior of US worldwide spying activities—coupled with the realization, especially by German citizens, that their German government is unwilling to confront the US—perhaps because of passive or even quite active participation. We also report about Hungary’s warning against German leadership in Europe.
We continue reporting on the trial and acquittal of George Zimmerman, following the untimely death of Trayvon Martin. We are focusing on the fabricated story of the mass media and radical commentators pertaining to the myth of racial profiling, while most are ignoring the real, but uncomfortable crux of the matter.
We point out America’s apparent repeated and ongoing unwillingness to obey its own laws prohibiting military aid to Egypt (notwithstanding that America CLAIMS to be a nation of laws); speak of European anti-Semitism; Israel’s repeated announcements that it might attack Iran militarily; Israel’s desire to build a Third Temple; and a possible collaboration between Iran and North Korea.
We report on gay marriages in Britain and Wales; and conclude with France’s celebration of its Bastille Day on July 14, 2013, showing that the French people might be in error regarding the origin and nature of their national holiday.
Anti-Americanism on the Rise…
The Financial Times wrote on July 12:
“Outside the US, [Snowden’s] revelations have revived a narrative about the dangers of a world dominated by an untrustworthy superpower that had been dormant as debate raged instead about American decline. Already criticised for its extensive use of drones, the international image of the administration has taken another heavy hit by the documents about extensive US surveillance.
“Many Latin American governments were angered when the plane carrying Evo Morales, Bolivia’s president, was diverted to Vienna airport on suspicion that Mr Snowden was on board – a tip that Spanish officials said this week came from the US. The disclosures about US surveillance in Brazil have prompted a new round of indignation in a region with a strong anti-US sentiment…”
Anti-Americanism is prophesied to increase—some, if not much of it, is due to America’s own conduct.
A Flop and Total Disaster
Deutsche Welle reported on July 13:
“German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich says he is satisfied with US assurances about spying activities. Weeks ahead of a federal election though, the opposition are not about to let the issue go.
“Neither of Germany’s main opposition parties was satisfied with the assurances Friedrich… said he received during his meetings with senior US officials in Washington on Friday. Thomas Opperman, the parliamentary floor leader of the Social Democrats, said Friedrich’s trip had not achieved much. ‘Minister Friedrich is returning empty-handed,’ Oppermann said in an interview published in the Saturday edition of the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper: ‘We have not moved a single step forward on any of the key points.’ Konstantin von Notz, the Green Party’s interior affairs spokesman described Friedrich’s trip as a complete flop…”
In a related article, dated July 13, Deutsche Welle quoted opinions and statements from German politicians and newscasters, as follows:
“The election campaign has officially begun, and the NSA surveillance scandal is emerging as a key issue along the way. Now… it will fall to the opposition parties to come up with clear proposals on how they intend to treat the matter. Furthermore… the federal government has not yet comprehended what is at stake with respect to the data scandal… the governing coalition has put too much emphasis on the fact that official German delegations were potentially the victims of surveillance, whereas the core of the issue… is that 80 million German people’s communication was being monitored.
“… what’s at stake in the NSA affair is the balance of political power between the US and Germany… Germany is letting itself be lulled by ‘security nonsense’ – a reference to claims that the NSA’s surveillance activities have been able to stop terrorist attacks… Although German media have featured much discussion and criticism of the NSA’s activities, there have yet to be any major public demonstrations in response to the disclosures in recent weeks… this ‘lethargy’ [is blamed] on the fact that, due to the nature of the intelligence agencies’ surveillance, people remain unaware of the act as it is occurring…”
Friedrich’s “results” won’t satisfy the German people. Their distrust of America and their own governmental leaders is growing. And if the “lethargy” of the Germans in this matter is criticized, what word should be used to describe the deafening silence and the appalling lack of interest of a majority of the American people? One is reminded of ancient Rome before its fall—as long as the government provides some bread and a lot of games or distractions to the people, they can be kept in ignorance and a fragile state of “happiness.”
“America Is Sick”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 16:
“America is sick. September 11 left it wounded and unsettled — that’s been obvious for nearly 12 years — but we are only now finding out just how grave the illness really is… The global spying scandal shows that the US has become manic, that it is behaving pathologically, invasively. Its actions are entirely out of proportion to the danger…
“An American government that gives its blessing to a program like Prism respects nothing and no one. It acts out its omnipotence, considers itself above international law — certainly on its own territory and even on foreign ground… Did Obama, the Harvard Law student, even believe what he was saying in his speeches about the return of civil liberties? Can someone be so cynical that they promise to heal the world, then act in such a way all the while giving the xenophobic explanation that only foreigners would be monitored?…
“The German government has shown devastating weakness. Merkel should say, ‘You are manic, and what you are doing is sick’… Instead she weighs every word to avoid annoying the Americans…”
In an accompanying article, Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 16:
“The United States has massively and systematically violated the civil rights of people who have no possibility of voting against its practices in elections. After all, the NSA and CIA and whatever the other organizations are called aren’t operating under German laws when they’re supposedly protecting the security of the free world… Europe and Germany aren’t powerless against American encroachments. The European Union’s data protection directive includes provisions to force US firms to adhere to our rules…”
The expression, “America is sick,” is quite interesting in light of an end-time prophecy about the modern house of Israel—including the USA—in Isaiah 1:5-6.
America’s Worst Nightmare
Reuters reported on July 12:
“Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who first published the documents Snowden leaked, said in a newspaper interview published on Saturday that the U.S. government should be careful in its pursuit of the former computer analyst. ‘Snowden has enough information to cause [more] harm to the U.S. government in a single minute than any other person has ever had,’ Greenwald said…
“‘The U.S. government should be on its knees every day begging that nothing happen[s] to Snowden, because if something does happen to him, all the information will be revealed and it could be its worst nightmare.’… Greenwald said… that documents Snowden has tucked away in different parts of the world detail which U.S. spy programs capture transmissions in Latin America and how they work. ‘One way of intercepting communications is through a telephone company in the United States that has contracts with telecommunications companies in most Latin American countries,’ Greenwald said, without specifying which company.”
Did German Government Know?
Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 17:
“The German government has so far claimed that it knew nothing of the United States’ Prism spying program, revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden last month. But parts of a confidential NATO document published by daily Bild on Wednesday show that the German military, the Bundeswehr, was probably already aware of the National Security Agency’s operations in 2011.
“The document, reportedly sent on Sept. 1, 2011 to all regional commands by the joint NATO headquarters in Afghanistan, gives specific instructions on working together with the foreign data surveillance program. According to Bild, the document was also sent to the regional command in northern Afghanistan, for which Germany was responsible at the time under General Major Markus Kneip. Should the media report be confirmed, Berlin’s claims of ignorance will prove to have been false… if it turns out that Berlin knowingly tolerated and participated in the NSA activities, many would see it as a betrayal by the government.”
The Local wrote on July 17:
“The news reports add to pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of September 22 elections because she has said she only learnt through the media of the US online and telecom surveillance programme. Many Germans are angry that their emails, phone calls, web searches and other data have been captured and stored under the NSA programme, details of which were leaked by fugitive intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.”
Hungary Warns Against German Leadership in Europe
Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 17:
“The latest remarks by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán are unlikely to improve his fractured relations with Germany or the EU. Speaking on Tuesday, he invoked the memory of World War II to warn against German leadership of the European Union. ‘When a person reads about a rapprochement between Russia and an EU led by Germany, he looks out to see whether his children are still in the yard,’ Orbán said…
“Many people in Central and Eastern Europe are wary of any signs of closer ties between Moscow and Berlin because they remember the Hitler-Stalin non-aggression pact which carved up much of Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence… In May, Orbán had made a remark about Nazi tanks in the context of Germany’s policy towards Hungary, drawing an unusually sharp rebuke from German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.”
Our Lying Media on “Racial Profiling”—The “Trial” of George Zimmerman
On July 13, the jury of six mostly white women found Hispanic George Zimmerman not guilty of murder or manslaughter of black 17-year old teenager Trayvon Martin. The mainstream media and radical proponents had created a nationwide circus and resorted to falsehoods and lies in order to invent and create a case of racial profiling to be able to convict Zimmerman in the eyes of the public. Sadly, the real crux of the matter—whether we should have laws allowing us to have and use guns to shoot and kill others who are unarmed, when we are not in fact threatened, but feel that we might be (“Stand Your Ground” law)– took back stage in view of the hype and hysteria of unsupported allegations of racial discrimination and profiling.
Breitbart wrote on July 13, before the verdict had come in:
“As we await the verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, the Florida man who claims to have shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin in self-defense, this seems the perfect time to reflect on the media’s cynical and dishonest role in turning a local crime into a national obsession… the mainstream media did everything in its still-potent power to not only push for the prosecution of Mr. Zimmerman (the police originally chose not to charge him) but also to gin up racial tensions where none needed to exist.
“It all started with the [black] anchor of a major television network (Al Sharpton) inserting himself in the story to spread division and hate; it continued straight through to the closing days of the trial when another major news network, desperate to keep a fabricated racial narrative alive, propagated the portrayal of Zimmerman as part of a racial group that doesn’t exist — the ‘white Hispanic.’ In-between, there has been an astonishing amount of malicious fraud and lies, all in an effort to serve a president, stir racial hatred, and influence the justice system… A small detail that the Obama administration and the media apparently missed was that the white versus black racial narrative they were preparing to invest so much into was missing just one thing: a white person…
“In their venomous zeal, the media and Democrats likely assumed that someone with the last name Zimmerman had to be white. But they were wrong, as Zimmerman is Hispanic. Never [once] to back off a good narrative, rather than use this revelation to tamp down tensions or correct their reporting, the media simply made up out of whole cloth a new racial category: the ‘white Hispanic.’… [On March 19] CNN went to extraordinary lengths to claim Zimmerman had uttered the racial slur ‘coon’ when he had not… CNN wouldn’t officially retract their defamation until April 5th, long after it was too late…
“President Obama made huge news when he stepped before the cameras, demanded action in the Zimmerman case, and famously said, ‘If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.’ In just two days, a network news anchor [Sharpton] and an American president had blasted the Zimmerman case into the nation’s top story and did so based on a racial narrative without a shred of evidence to support it. Almost every other major news outlet would now commit every journalistic sin imaginable to fabricate evidence… By late March it was widely known that George Zimmerman was Hispanic. This did not stop the Boston Globe from using its pages to describe him as ‘a white neighborhood watch captain’…
“Even though Zimmerman is Hispanic and there was no evidence of any racial motivation behind his actions, the media’s racial-hysteria was, at this point, in full bloom… Desperate to keep a non-existent racial narrative alive, during a broadcast of the PBS Newshour Gwen Ifill falsely stated: ‘Martin, who was black, was on his way to a convenience store in a mostly white gated community when George Zimmerman, who is white, shot and killed him after a disputed altercation…’ After the arrest, and as the trial date neared the following year, NBC would allow Al Sharpton to turn his primetime MSNBC show into a platform dedicated to convicting Zimmerman…”
The myths of “racial profiling” in this case continues. As Fox News reported on July 13, 2013: “‘Today, justice failed Trayvon Martin and his family,’ said Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP in a statement. ‘We call immediately for the Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the civil rights violations committed against Trayvon Martin. This case has re-energized the movement to end racial profiling in the United States.’ ‘We are outraged and heartbroken over today’s verdict,’ said Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP, in another statement… ‘we will not rest until racial profiling in all its forms is outlawed.’”
Al Maurer of The Washington Times agreed with the sentiments expressed in the article of Breitbart, quoted above, and stated on July 14:
“From the beginning the media sought to play the story as white-on-black violence. It fits the narrative of the white man oppressing the black man. The only problem is that Zimmerman isn’t ‘white’; he’s Hispanic. Alter the facts… The media creates a new racial category, ‘White Hispanic.’
“For the story to work, however, the black man as victim must be innocent. Trayvon Martin was pictured as an innocent young teen. Youthful pictures of him were released; more recent ones suppressed. To fill the role of oppressor, Zimmerman had to be made to look like one. While flattering pictures of Martin were used, the most unflattering ones of Zimmerman accompanied them. Zimmerman was portrayed in the popular press as a vengeful vigilante just looking for the opportunity to shoot someone.
“As time wore on, Zimmerman didn’t appear so menacing. Martin didn’t appear so innocent… In contemporary America it is not just the media who push the narrative. The president himself commented on the case well before all the facts were known. But facts don’t matter, after all. The narrative does. Recent press reporting indicates that the Justice Department has been involved as well.
“The race-baiters Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have been prominent in pushing the narrative too. Ominous warnings of riots in case of an unfavorable (i.e., ‘not guilty’) verdict were sounded… Six women had the courage to decide ‘not guilty’ when the mob screamed ‘guilty.’”
If one repeats a lie often enough, it will finally be believed as being the truth. So be careful when you are confronted with statements which are not based on proven evidence, and if you want to receive fair and objective accurate news reports from our mainstream media. In all likelihood, you will not get it.
Jury Duty and Questionable Law the Real Issue
According to the New York Post of July 14, 2013, Donald Trump made these statements: “Zimmerman is no angel but the lack of evidence and the concept of self-defense, especially in Florida law, gave the jury little other choice.” Similar sentiments were expressed by Piers Morgan, according to Beitbart, dated July 14: “I don’t critisize the jury—I critize the law that enabled them to find George Zimmerman not guilty of anything.” He added: “If George Zimmerman had not had a gun, he’d never got out of his car that night, and Trayvon Martin would still be alive.”
Maybe. But here we are getting to the crux of the matter: While the focus is detracted from the essentials and placed on concocted non-existing issues of race and racial profiling, we are really dealing here with questionable laws and the jury’s duty under the legal system to uphold these laws during their deliberations and decision-making. That is one of the many reasons why true Christians should not sit on a jury under any circumstances.
Why It Is Unlawful to Give Military Aid to Egypt
On July 12, The Washington Post published the following editorial by Senator Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Homeland Security committees:
“Egypt has undergone a coup, deposed its leader and the military has installed a new president. The situation is unpredictable, unstable and volatile. The country remains in a state of unrest… U.S. law states that we can’t send military and other types of aid to any country whose duly elected head of state is deposed by a coup. U.S. law clearly says that we cannot send such aid where the military plays a decisive role in the coup. This law allows no presidential waiver. Aid cannot be reconsidered or restored until a democratically elected government is elected.
“Yet, as President Obama has so often done with other laws and even the Constitution, he ignores it. The Obama administration has refused to acknowledge that the military takeover in Egypt is a coup. When asked directly to spell out the State Department’s definition of a coup, spokeswoman Jen Psaki refused… we have a president who denies a coup has taken place in Egypt when, by any conventional definition, it most certainly has. The president of Egypt was placed under house arrest. The military took over the television stations. The military took control of local police and all forms of local and national government.
“Still, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN, ‘If this were to be seen as a coup, then it would limit our ability to have the kind of relationship we think we need with the Egyptian armed forces.’ Thursday morning, it was reported that this relationship included delivering four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt in the next few weeks in addition to the eight we sent in January. Another eight are scheduled to ship later this year… In January 2011, some of the jets we gave to President Hosni Mubarak were used to intimidate protesters — the same people whose protests helped to overthrow Mr. Mubarak and replace him with Mohammed Morsi. Not surprisingly, Gallup reported in February 2012 that 71 percent of Egyptians opposed U.S. foreign aid to their country. When both Mr. Mubarak and Mr. Morsi were overthrown, protesters held signs criticizing U.S. aid to ‘dictators.’
“It should also be noted that when the Egyptian military helped oust Mr. Mubarak — the classic definition of a coup d’etat — the Obama administration also declined to acknowledge even then that a coup had taken place. When we continued giving F-16s to Mr. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood after Mr. Mubarak, I offered an amendment to stop military aid to Egypt. It was defeated 79-19.
“The United States has cut off weapons aid in the past after military officers overthrew civilian governments in the Ivory Coast, the Central African Republic, Fiji, Honduras and Mali. In Egypt, however, where the regimes are constantly changing, our foreign-aid policy never does. This week, I introduced legislation again that would cut off foreign aid to Egypt. We either have a nation of laws, or we don’t. If we are a nation of laws, foreign aid to Egypt should immediately end. If instead, we are now just governed by popular prejudice and unlimited executive ability to contravene the law, then perhaps we should be looking at Washington to determine whether or not a coup has occurred.”
To predict the outcome, U.S. military aid to Egypt will most likely continue… even though a coup has CLEARLY occurred WITHOUT ANY DOUBT… which, with the words of Senator Paul, would mean that ours is not (any longer) a nation of laws. This is almost ironic as, following the verdict in the Zimmerman case, President Obama issued the following statement, according to CNN, dated July 14:
“The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy. Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken…”
Egypt Might Become Even More Radical
Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 16:
“After the massacre last Monday of more than 50 Muslim Brotherhood supporters, Egypt has become all but ungovernable. The new unity government in Cairo is already crumbling, and now it’s the ultra-conservative Salafists who stand to benefit… Muslim Brotherhood supporters have been filled with anger and frustration. The bloody clash between Brotherhood supporters and the military destroyed any hope that a peaceful settlement could be reached…
“In this overheated mood, precisely what the military sought to prevent with its coup could in fact happen: The Islamists could become radicalized. Last week, Egyptians experienced a taste of what that could mean, when a 60-year-old Coptic Christian was beheaded and a priest was shot on the Sinai Peninsula. In a village in Upper Egypt, a mob beat a Christian supporter of the Tamarud movement to death, while other Copts were stabbed to death and about 20 houses owned by members of the religious minorities were torched…”
Europe’s Anti-Israeli Wares and America’s Silence
Al Jazeera wrote on July 16:
“Guidelines revealed on Tuesday make clear that, from next year, Israeli ‘entities’ operating in the territories will not be eligible for EU grants, prizes or loans. The measure will apply to Israeli companies, universities or other bodies operating in areas occupied by Israel since the 1967 war, including the Golan Heights, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. ‘The EU has made it clear that it will not recognise any changes to pre-1967 borders, other than those agreed by the parties to the Middle East peace process,’ a copy of the guidelines seen by the Reuters news agency said… The guildelines say that all Israeli groups applying for financial assistance, scholarships and funding must prove they do not operate in the occupied territories.”
The Washington Post wrote on July 16:
“Europe… never miss[es] the [chance] to display their anti-Israeli wares. The Wall Street Journal reports: ‘Israel reacted angrily Tuesday to an effort by the European Union to keep EU funds from flowing to Israeli organizations operating in the occupied territories, the latest bump in the sometimes-rocky relationship between Israel and Europe.’… Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the EU should focus on the ‘more pressing’ issues of Syria’s civil war and Iran’s nuclear program rather than Israeli settlement activity… The EU already charges customs duties on Israeli imports that originate in the occupied territories that would otherwise enjoy free-trade exemptions…
“The EU has long sought to play a role in Middle East peace talks… This is an old story for the European Union — it strives for relevance but its anti-Israeli tendencies make it particularly unsuited to play any constructive role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict… If the United States made clear that such behavior is entirely unacceptable, some of the Israel bashing might stop. Whether at the United Nations or in direct conversations with our European ‘friends,’ this should be a topic of conversation. It is evidently not…”
The global influence of the USA is diminishing. Even when America speaks, not too many listen any more. It will indeed be Europe which will speak loudly, and nations will listen and heed. It is prophesied that Europe will play a decisive role in Middle Eastern politics.
Israel May Have to Address Iran Before USA Does…
Bloomberg wrote on July 14:
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran is moving ahead toward nuclear weapons capability and warned that his country would act by itself if necessary to prevent that from happening. ‘We’re closer than the United States,’ Netanyahu said Sunday… ‘We’re more vulnerable. And therefore, we’ll have to address this question of how to stop Iran, perhaps before the United States does.’…
“Netanyahu has said Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons that would pose an ‘existential threat’ to Israel and ‘all options are on the table’ to stop it, including a military strike… Netanyahu dismissed speculation that [Iran’s new political leader] Rohani’s victory last month signals a possible change in Iranian nuclear policy… Rohani’s strategy ‘is [to] be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Smile and build a bomb,’ the Israeli leader said…”
Building the Third Temple
JTA wrote on July 9:
“No praying. No kneeling. No bowing. No prostrating. No dancing. No singing. No ripping clothes.These are the rules that Jews must abide by when visiting the Temple Mount, the site where the First and Second Holy Temples once stood, located above and behind the Western Wall in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City.
“Although the area is under Israeli sovereignty, the mount — known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif — is controlled by the Islamic Wakf, a joint Palestinian-Jordanian religious body. As the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, whose golden dome overlooks the city, the Temple Mount attracts daily crowds of Muslim worshipers…
“Rabbi Chaim Richman… is the international director of the Temple Institute, an organization based in the Old City with a singular goal: to rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem… Following the Second Temple’s destruction in 70 C.E., most rabbis adopted the position that Jewish law prohibits reconstructing the Holy Temple prior to the age of messianic redemption, or that the law is too ambiguous and that the messiah must come first.
“The Temple Institute takes a different position. ‘There are no Jewish legal barriers’ to rebuilding the temple, Richman says, only political ones. The institute isn’t shy about advocating what many see as a radical goal: replacing the mosque at the Dome of the Rock with a new Jewish Holy Temple… The organization has formulated a program for where the temple will stand and what its vessels will look like, aided by 20 men who study Temple law full-time. The products of this research — 40 ritual objects — are on display in Plexiglas cases at the institute’s headquarters in the Old City.
“Silver trumpets to be blown by priests and a wooden lyre are perched next to two deep pans with long handles — one for collecting blood from small sacrificial offerings and another for large sacrifices like the Passover lamb. In another room, mannequins with beards wear the respective vestments for deputy priests and the high priest. The high priest’s outfit, with azure weaves, gold thread and a breastplate with 12 precious stones, took 11 years of research and $150,000 to complete…
“The institute’s crowning achievement — the Temple’s golden, 200-pound, seven-branch menorah — stands outside in a case overlooking the Western Wall. Unlike art or history museums, the institute’s goal is to remove the objects from their cases and bring them to the mount for use as soon as possible… Though observant Jews pray thrice daily in the Amidah prayer for the Temple to be rebuilt, few do anything about it…
“Richman says support for the institute’s goals is growing. For him, the issue involves far more than politics, archaeology or even Jewish legal research. The Temple Institute, he says, is doing God’s work. ‘The point is that we can’t live without the Temple,’ Richman says…”
In regard to Tisha B’Av, a Jewish fast day in memory of the destruction of the Second Temple, Times of Israel wrote on July 15:
“The Talmud in Sukkah tells of the beauty of the Second Temple that Herod rebuilt. It is hard to imagine such beauty when we see the above ground Western Wall today. Erosion and time have taken its physical beauty. But underground the stones are a pristine white and appear good as new… What we see of the Wall today, is a fraction of the size of the original Wall… There is a section of floor from the Second Temple era that has been excavated… walking and sitting on the floor where our grandparents sat 2000 years ago is very powerful…
“On this Tisha B’Av, remember that we are not crying over a dead Temple. If it were so, we would have stopped crying eons ago. The stones are alive. They are kept alive by the promise that we will see a Third Temple. They are kept alive by the souls of the Jewish people yearning for their Temple to be rebuild. And they are kept alive by the tears we cry on Tisha B’Av every single year.”
North Korea’s and Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Programs
Reuters wrote on July 17:
“Stanford University’s Siegfried Hecker… said the North had ‘everything in place’ for what would be the fourth [nuclear] explosion since 2006. The impoverished country conducted its third nuclear test in February, prompting stiffer U.N. sanctions against it… Hecker said North Korea ‘needed additional tests in my opinion to miniaturize’, referring to the effort to develop a bomb small and robust enough to fit onto a delivery vehicle such as a missile…
“But China’s displeasure was an important reason ‘why I think they are hesitating now…’ China is North Korea’s most important economic and political backer, but the two are uneasy allies and tensions have grown. Some Chinese banks have frozen out North Korea’s main foreign exchange bank amid frustration in Beijing over the North’s continued pushing of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs…
“Hecker… said he was concerned about the possibility of cooperation between North Korea and Iran… Any sharing of the North’s test data would be dangerous, he said, adding: ‘That would be very, very troublesome and indeed could give the Iranian program a significant boost’… Hecker said he believed Iran had developed a nuclear weapon option. ‘Iran … has put all the things in place to be able to develop the bomb should it decide to do so,’ he said.”
“Gay Marriage” Legal in Britain and Wales
Salon.com reported on July 16:
“Britain’s lower house of parliament voted Tuesday to pass a measure legalizing gay marriage in England and Wales… ‘It’s impossible to express how much joy this historic step will bring to tens of thousands of gay people and their families and friends,’ Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, a gay rights group, said in a statement. ‘The bill’s progress through Parliament shows that, at last, the majority of politicians in both Houses understand the public’s support for equality, though it’s also reminded us that gay people still have powerful opponents.’”
The Associated Press reported on July 17:
“The French like to make fun of the British, joking about their repressed ways in matters of the heart. But when it came time to debate same-sex marriage, it was France that betrayed a deep conservative streak in sometimes violent protests — while the British showed themselves to be modern and tolerant. With little fanfare or controversy, Britain announced Wednesday that Queen Elizabeth II — hardly a social radical — had signed into law a bill legalizing same-sex marriages in England and Wales. France has also legalized gay marriages, but only after a series of gigantic protests attracting families from the traditional heartland that revealed a deeply split society.
“Official word that the queen had approved the bill drew cheers in the usually sedate House of Commons. ‘This is a historic moment that will resonate in many people’s lives,’ Equalities Minister Maria Miller said in a statement. ‘I am proud that we have made it happen and I look forward to the first same sex wedding by next summer.’ There were British political figures and religious leaders vehemently opposed to gay marriage but the opposition never reached a fever pitch, in part because the same-sex marriage bill had broad public support and the backing of the leaders of the three major political parties. In fact, it was Prime Minister David Cameron, leader of the tradition-minded Conservatives, who proposed the legislation in the first place.
“The public seemed to take it for granted that gay marriage should be a part of British life… The law was also written in a way that allowed the Church of England — which is opposed — to sidestep the controversy since it is explicitly barred from conducting same-sex marriages.”
The French Bastille Day—Truth And Error?
BBC wrote on July 13:
“When the French parade on Sunday [July 14] for their national day, they will be marking the fall of the Bastille prison-fortress on 14 July 1789. Everyone knows that. Or do they? In fact there is a surprising twist in the story of this proud Republican anniversary. Without realising it, what the French may technically be celebrating is not the storming of the Bastille but an event that took [place] exactly one year later, on 14 July 1790: the Fete de la Federation…
“There was Napoleon; then the restored Bourbons after Waterloo; then King Louis-Philippe; a brief republican interlude starting in 1848; and then the second empire under Napoleon III. Not until 1870, after defeat in the Franco-Prussian war, did France establish a lasting republican system. And even then, in the Third Republic’s first elected Assembly, there was a clear majority of members who actually favoured a return to monarchy. The forces of anti-revolutionary conservatism remained strong…
“By the end of the 1870s, the situation had moved. Most monarchists had become reconciled to the Republic; there was a Republican majority in the Assembly; so now was the time to anchor the new order with a set of national symbols. And one of the first questions was the choice of national day. After looking at various options, the left settled on 14 July. They reasoned that the taking of the Bastille was what triggered the French Revolution – the moment an angry people began to throw off its chains. But the trouble was that 14 July was also a day of bloodshed. The governor of Paris had his head cut off with a pen-knife…
“For the ex-monarchists – now late converts to the Republic – this was all too much. A national day should be a day of reconciliation, they argued, not a celebration of class hatred. And so eyes turned to the Fete de la Federation… And to mark it, the authorities organised an extraordinary outdoor event on the Champs de Mars – where the Eiffel Tower now stands… On 14 July 1790, it poured with rain. But delegations of the newly-created national guard from across France paraded through the city, led by the Marquis de Lafayette… On the Champs de Mars there was military music; oaths were made to the King, who in turn swore to uphold the decrees of the National Assembly; Mass was celebrated. And in a scene straight out of today’s celebrity culture, there was a roar of excitement as Queen Marie-Antoinette held up the baby dauphin – heir to the throne – to the crowd.
“In the words of historian Georges-Henri Soutou, it was a moment when ‘it was still possible to imagine that a new regime could be established – one that did not offend the religious sensitivities of the majority and had the support of the King.’ It did not last, of course. Within a year, the revolution was on course towards its bloody conclusion. But a century later, the Fete de la Federation had the huge distinction of being an occasion on which just about everyone – from Bourbon loyalists to proto-Socialists – could agree. For the Senator Henri Martin – who drew up the National Day law – ‘14 July 1790 is the most beautiful day in the history of France, possibly in the history of mankind. It was on that day that national unity was finally accomplished.’ Passed in 1880, the law was deliberately ambiguous. It did not say which 14 July was being celebrated. And today, of course, everyone thinks of it as Bastille Day.”
As it is so often the case with human traditions and the celebration of humanly devised holidays, we see in the observation of the “Bastille Day” a mixture between perhaps some truth and a lot of error and misconceptions.