Current Events

German President Speaks Up

The Local wrote on July 26:

“German President Joachim Gauck said on Friday he had been so deeply troubled by the NSA spying revelations that he had wondered whether it was still safe to send emails and talk openly on the phone. ‘I never thought that the fear that secure communication was no longer possible could ever arise in Germany again,’ he told the paper. But he said this was exactly what had happened in the past weeks. ‘The scandal has really troubled me,’ President Gauck told the Passauer Neue Presse regional newspaper on Friday… The state had a duty to protect citizens from the threat of terrorism, which Gauck conceded means sometimes limiting their freedom in order to keep them safe. But this must always be done with respect for the right to private communication guaranteed in Germany’s constitution, he said…

“It was up to Germany, he said, where strict data protection and privacy rules developed as a bullwark against the abuses of the Stasi and Gestapo secret services, to pass on these lessons to the rest of the world. ‘It could be that the Americans and the Germans have different perceptions of data protection. But we Germans have had to live through abuse of state power with secret services twice in our history,’ said Gauck, who himself came to prominence as an anti-communist civil rights activist in East Germany. ‘That’s why we’re particularly sensitive on this issue, and that’s something our American friends, among others, are going to have to put up with.’

“The president also subtly sent a message of support to fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden, whose revelations over the past weeks had brought the scandal to light. ‘Whoever brings [information] to the public and acts on grounds of conscience deserves respect,’ he said. In a further rare intervention into politics, Gauck demanded Angela Merkel’s government enter into binding agreements with Germany’s allies to secure these freedoms. ‘We have to make sure that even our allies’ secret services respect the boundaries we find necessary here,’ said the president…”

Understandably, many German are concerned. The position of Governor Christie (see below) would be met with consternation, and views from Libertarians such as Rand Paul or Thomas Mullen (see below) would accurately reflect how most Germans feel.

Unconcerned… Esoteric or Reckless?

Breitbart wrote on July 26:

“Sen. Rand Paul’s office shot back at criticism from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over the government’s sweeping surveillance operations. Christie had said Paul’s concerns over NSA spying and the government’s use of drones was ‘esoteric’…

“‘If Governor Christie believes the constitutional rights and the privacy of all Americans is “esoteric”, he either needs a new dictionary, or he needs to talk to more Americans because a great number of them are concerned about the dramatic overreach of our government in recent years,’ Doug Stafford, Senior Advisor to Sen. Paul said in a statement provided to Breitbart News. ‘Defending America and fighting terrorism is the concern of all Americans, especially Senator Paul,’ Stafford continued. ‘But it can and must be done in keeping with our constitution and while protecting the freedoms that make America exceptional.’… 

“Christie recklessly said that those who oppose the government’s broad surveillance of all Americans should talk to widows and orphans from the 9-11 attacks. Christie’s implication is that keeping track of every cell phone call and every internet interaction by average citizens would prevent another tragedy like 9-11. Maybe it would. With the steep cost of our privacy, though, what would be the point?”

Government Security Measures Did Not Prevent One Single Terrorist Attack

On July 27, Thomas Mullen wrote the following in the Washington Times:

“Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) introduced an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill [which did not pass] that would have defunded the NSA’s blanket collection of metadata and limited the government’s collection of records to those ‘relevant to a national security investigation.’ It terrified New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who lashed out at those who supported the bill and libertarianism in general…

“[Libertarianism] is dangerous to the bloated national security state, which tramples the liberty and dignity of every American under the pretense of protecting them from what Charles Kenny recently called the ‘vastly exaggerated’ threat of terrorism. Chris Christie shamelessly invoked the image of ‘widows and orphans’ of 9/11 in an attempt to discredit any resistance to the federal government’s complete disregard for the Bill of Rights…

“The Fourth Amendment forbids the federal government from running programs like the NSA’s. Only an amendment that revises or repeals it can change that… Let’s not forget that none of the… security measures established since 9/11 have prevented a single terrorist attack… Flight 93 on 9/11, the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber were all foiled by private citizens, the latter two after the perpetrator walked right past the government’s garish security apparatus.

“The truth is that no security measures will ever be able to make Americans 100% safe from harm. There is absolutely nothing the U.S. government could do right now to prevent Russia or China from launching a nuclear attack on the United States… the government can’t stop the next terrorist attack any more than it has stopped any previously. What it can do is continue to erode American liberty. This country is already unrecognizable as the same one that ratified the Bill of Rights…”

How Our Willingly Ignorant Mainstream Media Lost

The Guardian wrote on July 27

“Edward Snowden is not the story. The story is what he has revealed about the hidden wiring of our networked world. This insight seems to have escaped most of the world’s mainstream media, for reasons that escape me… The obvious explanations are: incorrigible ignorance; the imperative to personalise stories; or gullibility in swallowing US government spin, which brands Snowden as a spy rather than a whistleblower… Without him, we would not know how the National Security Agency (NSA) had been able to access the emails, Facebook accounts and videos of citizens across the world; or how it had secretly acquired the phone records of millions of Americans; or how, through a secret court, it has been able to bend nine US internet companies to its demands for access to their users’ data.

“Similarly, without Snowden, we would not be debating whether the US government should have turned surveillance into a huge, privatised business, offering data-mining contracts to private contractors such as Booz Allen Hamilton and, in the process, high-level security clearance to thousands of people who shouldn’t have it. Nor would there be – finally – a serious debate between Europe (excluding the UK, which in these matters is just an overseas franchise of the US) and the United States about where the proper balance between freedom and security lies…

“It was always a possibility that the system would eventually be Balkanised, ie divided into a number of geographical or jurisdiction-determined subnets as societies such as China, Russia, Iran and other Islamic states decided that they needed to control how their citizens communicated. Now, Balkanisation is a certainty… no US-based internet company can be trusted to protect our privacy or data…”

US influence in the world is bound to diminish in just about every aspect of human life…

Senators Accuse NSA and Obama Administration of Breaking the Law

The Huffington Post wrote on July 31:

“The National Security Agency’s massive collection of all Americans’ phone records breaks laws without making the country safer, two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee argued Tuesday night, saying the practices must be reformed. Taking to the Senate floor, Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) called on the White House to act on its own to rein in the programs. The senators criticized the administration’s intelligence leaders for ‘misleading’ the public on the controversial NSA programs and accused the administration of breaking the law.”

The Manning Conviction—a Dangerous Precedent

Der Spiegel Online reported on July 30:

“The first and most serious charge against Manning was that of aiding the enemy. In theory, the death penalty can be applied in such convictions, but the government only demanded life imprisonment for Manning, without the possibility of parole. Just life imprisonment… In the end… Manning [was convicted] on a total of 20 out of 22 charges. Guilty of espionage, guilty of theft, guilty of computer fraud…

“Responding to the conviction, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said, ‘This is the first ever espionage conviction against a whistleblower. It is a dangerous precedent and an example of national security extremism. It is a short sighted judgment that cannot be tolerated and must be reversed. It can never be that conveying true information to the public is “espionage”’…

“The messages the judge in this trial of the largest betrayal of secrets in American history is seeking to send are already clear though. The first is that no mercy will be shown for whistleblowers. The United States is pursuing and treating whistleblowers as traitors… The second is that [the judge] stopped short of creating a precedent for the erosion of press freedom in the US.  If the court had convicted Manning on charges of aiding the enemy, it would have equated publishing stories about the documents in the media with aiding the enemy…

“Still, the fact that Manning wasn’t convicted of aiding the enemy in no way diminishes the massive pressure that US President Barack Obama has applied on the media and potential future whistleblowers…”

In the past, left-liberal German magazines like Der Spiegel spoke very highly about President Obama. Such “sympathy” and “admiration” have been considerably reversed.

Newsmax and Reuters added on July 30:

“‘This is a historic verdict,’ said Elizabeth Goitein, a security specialist at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. ‘Manning is one of very few people ever charged under the Espionage Act prosecutions for leaks to the media. … Despite the lack of any evidence that he intended any harm to the United States, Manning faces decades in prison. That’s a very scary precedent,’ she added.”

Banning Exposed Obama

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 31:

“For journalist James Bamford, well known for his books on the recently heavily criticized National Security Agency, Manning’s actions did not amount to aiding the enemy. Bamford said Manning may have released many, many documents, but they were not very sensitive. Indeed, most of the documents should not have been classified as secret by the government in the first place, he said.

“Bamford told DW that in his view, Manning did a great service to the public at great personal risk. ‘The most important piece of information that I saw shows how the Obama administration, how Obama himself, lied to the American public numerous times about our attacks in Yemen…[where] the US fired cruise missiles that were loaded with cluster bombs. These cluster bombs killed many, many civilians,’ he said.

“Bamford said due to their devastating destructive force, cluster bombs are outlawed in 109 countries. ‘And when it was discovered that [the bombs] killed many women and children and destroyed a village, Obama actually denied that the US had anything to do with it,’ he added.”

“Reaffirming to the World Who We Really Are”

Michael Moore wrote the following comments in the Huffington Post, dated July 31:

“Today Bradley Manning was convicted on 20 of 22 counts, including violating the Espionage Act, releasing classified information and disobeying orders. That’s the bad news. The good news is he was found not guilty on the charge of ‘aiding the enemy.’ That’s ’cause who he was aiding was us, the American people. And we’re not the enemy. Right?…

“When you hear about how long Manning – now 25 years old – will be in prison, compare it to sentences received by other soldiers:

“Col. Thomas M. Pappas, the senior military intelligence officer at Abu Ghraib and the senior officer present the night of the murder of Iraqi prisoner Manadel al-Jamadi, received no jail time. But he was reprimanded and fined $8,000…

“Sgt. Sabrina Harman, the woman famously seen giving a thumbs-up next to al-Jamadi’s body and in another photo smiling next to naked, hooded Iraqis stacked on each other in Abu Ghraib, was sentenced to six months for maltreating detainees. Spec. Armin Cruz was sentenced to eight months for abusing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib and covering up the abuse.

“Spc. Steven Ribordy was sentenced to eight months for being accessory to the murder of four Iraqi prisoners who were ‘bound, blindfolded, shot and dumped in a canal’ in Baghdad in 2007. Spc. Belmor Ramos was sentenced to seven months for conspiracy to commit murder in the same case…

“Marine Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich received no jail time for negligent dereliction in the massacre of 24 unarmed men, women and children in 2005 in the Iraqi town of Haditha. Seven other members of his battalion were charged but none were punished in any way.

“Marine Lance Cpl. Jerry Shumate and Lance Cpl. Tyler Jackson were both sentenced to 21 months for the aggravated assault of Hashim Ibrahim Awad, 52, a father of 11 and grandfather of four, in Al Hamdania in 2006. Awad died after being shot during the assault…

“No soldiers received any punishment for the killing of five Iraqi children, four women and two men in one Ishaqi home in 2006. Among the U.S. diplomatic cables leaked by Bradley Manning was email from a UN official stating that U.S. soldiers had ‘executed all of them.’ When Wikileaks published the cable, the uproar in Iraq was so big that the Nouri al-Maliki government couldn’t grant any remaining U.S. troops immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts, thus forcing the Obama administration to abandon its plans to keep several thousand U.S. soldiers in Iraq permanently. All U.S. troops were removed at the end of 2011.

“My guess is Bradley Manning will spend more time in jail than all of the other soldiers in all of these cases put together. And thus, instead of redeeming ourselves and asking forgiveness for the crimes that Spc. Manning exposed, we will reaffirm to the world who we really are.”

The Bradley Manning conviction and sentencing will further decrease the world’s respect for America.

Communist Ho Chi Minh Inspired by US Constitution and Thomas Jefferson?

Canada Free Press wrote on July 26:

“Talking to reporters as he stood beside Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang yesterday, Obama [said], ‘we discussed the fact that Ho Chi Minh was actually inspired by the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and the words of Thomas Jefferson.’… Truth is Ho Chi Minh was about as inspired by the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and the words of Thomas Jefferson as Obama is…  Obama has about as much credibility in white washing Ho Chi Minh as he has in trying to portray Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS and NSA as ‘phony’ scandals…

“Following Ho Chi Minh’s death in 1969, over a million Viet Nam people, many of whose relatives were put to death as dissidents by the brutal dictator fled to North America and elsewhere becoming forever known as ‘The Boat People’.  The number of people who died at sea trying to find freedom is recorded somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000…

“Chris Stirewalt, of Fox News writes, ‘But his [Obama’s] connection between the American founders and Ho shows either a massive lack of historical knowledge on the part of the president or a remarkable degree of moral flexibility.’”

With ridiculous comments like these, America is becoming more and more a laughing stock in the world.

Aftermath of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Disaster

AFP wrote on July 26:

“Halliburton Energy Services has admitted destroying evidence relating to the devastating 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico… Halliburton — which constructed the cement casing of the well at the center of the disaster — had carried out its own internal investigations following the accident in April 2010. However, results of computer simulations carried out in May and June 2010 were ordered to be destroyed and were unable to be recovered, the Justice Department said.

“In addition to a guilty plea for destruction of evidence, Halliburton has agreed to pay the maximum statutory fine and also made a separate and voluntary $55 million payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Eleven people died and some 4.9 million barrels of oil were sent gushing into the Gulf over a three-month period after the explosion at the offshore oil rig. It was the largest offshore oil disaster in US history, wreaking havoc on the region’s environment and economy.”

Man-made catastrophes and subsequent “denials” or “justifications” will continue and increase.

Mysterious Death of Dolphins

On July 24, reported the following:

“At least 54 bottlenose dolphins have died mysteriously in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon since January… In a normal year, that number would be closer to 22. On July 24, NOAA declared the mass die-off an ‘Unusual Mortality Event’… It’s the lagoon’s worst dolphin die-off on record, and the cause is mysterious… It’s the second time this year that NOAA has declared an Unusual Mortality Event for marine mammals in the lagoon, a 156-mile-long estuary that runs along Florida’s Atlantic coast. In April, a mass manatee die-off received the same designation. This is the third time a UME has been declared for dolphins in the lagoon. What caused the others, in 2001 and 2008, is still a mystery…”

The Bible prophesied the demise of many animals in these last days.

Man Kills Bees through “Harmless” Pesticides and Fungicides

On July 24, Quartz wrote the following:

“… the mysterious mass die-off of honey bees that pollinate $30 billion worth of crops in the US has so decimated America’s apis mellifera population that one bad winter could leave fields fallow. Now, a new study has pinpointed some of the probable causes of bee deaths and the rather scary results show that averting beemageddon will be much more difficult than previously thought.

“Scientists had struggled to find the trigger for so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has wiped out an estimated 10 million beehives, worth $2 billion, over the past six years. Suspects have included pesticides, disease-bearing parasites and poor nutrition. But in a first-of-its-kind study… scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once.

“… bees that ate pollen contaminated with fungicides were three times as likely to be infected by the parasite. Widely used, fungicides had been thought to be harmless for bees as they’re designed to kill fungus, not insects, on crops like apples… Bee populations are so low in the US that it now takes 60% of the country’s surviving colonies just to pollinate one California crop, almonds. And that’s not just a west coast problem—California supplies 80% of the world’s almonds, a market worth $4 billion.

“In recent years, a class of chemicals called neonicotinoids has been linked to bee deaths and in April regulators banned the use of the pesticide for two years in Europe where bee populations have also plummeted. But… the new study shows that the interaction of multiple pesticides is affecting bee health… the solution does not lie in just banning one class of product…

“The study found another complication in efforts to save the bees: US honey bees, which are descendants of European bees, do not bring home pollen from native North American crops but collect bee chow from nearby weeds and wildflowers. That pollen, however, was also contaminated with pesticides even though those plants were not the target of spraying…”

Man’s ignorant and dangerous actions are causing the death of many animals and human beings.

Mysterious “Hum” in New Mexico, England and Scotland

Life Science wrote on July 26:

“It creeps in slowly in the dark of night, and once inside, it almost never goes away. It’s known as the Hum, a steady, droning sound that’s heard in places as disparate as Taos, N.M.; Bristol, England; and Largs, Scotland. But what causes the Hum, and why it only affects a small percentage of the population in certain areas, [remains] a mystery, despite a number of scientific investigations…

“Reports started trickling in during the 1950s from people who had never heard anything unusual before; suddenly, they were bedeviled by an annoying, low-frequency humming, throbbing or rumbling sound. The cases seem to have several factors in common: Generally, the Hum is only heard indoors, and it’s louder at night than during the day. It’s also more common in rural or suburban environments…”

“Bedevilled” is an interesting choice of words.

Europe’s Rise or Fall?

On July 26, Der Spiegel Online published an interview with British-American historian Walter Laqueur (92). Even though Laqueur incorrectly predicts the decline of Europe, he also makes some interesting, albeit contradictory comments with which we would agree. The following are some [correct] excerpts from the interview:

“Europe will likely remain influential in the future as an economic power and trading partner. But the continent still isn’t standing on its own feet politically and militarily today… the conflicts have not decreased… Keeping a low profile is easier for most Europeans than coming up with the political will to become a major political power once again… The Europeans haven’t quite understood that trying to stay out of the fray offers no protection against the consequences of global policy… I don’t think that the economic, political and military problems Europe faces are insurmountable by any means… Thanks to the short-sighted, arrogant and aggressive US foreign policy of those years, a European anti-Americanism flared up, which has remained latent on both the left and the right… 

“The collapse of the monetary union is not unavoidable. In fact, if one considers the consequential costs, I think it’s somewhat unlikely in the foreseeable future. Perhaps a rapid decline would be even better, because it would raise awareness of the need for a general overhaul of the European structure. Crises bring about solidarity, as Jean Monnet, one of Europe’s founding fathers, knew all too well… Europeans have lost the sense of clear and present danger. Once again, European leaders believe that they are out of the woods. Well, miracles happen… The rise and fall of empires are constants in history. Historians have been searching for explanations since antiquity…”

For a short time and in the not-too-distant future, Europeans will play a leading role in the entire world… and most people will be surprised when that happens. But Europe’s lead will have devastating consequences. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

Israel vs. Europe

Reuters reported on July 26:

“Israel has blocked the European Union from aiding tens of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank, in retaliation for an EU ban on financial assistance to Israeli organizations in the occupied territories. The EU imposed its restrictions last week, citing its frustration over the continued expansion of Jewish settlements in territory captured by Israeli forces in the 1967 Middle East War. The new guidelines render Israeli entities operating there ineligible for EU grants, prizes or loans, beginning next year…

“Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon had decided to suspend contacts with the EU in the West Bank… [He] has ‘frozen projects, canceled meetings, curtailed coordination and permits for Europe’s operations’ for Palestinians living in what is known as Area C, a West Bank area fully administered by Israel…  A Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that due to the Israeli measures, several European humanitarian aid staff had failed to receive permits to enter the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip.”

The relationship between Europe and Israel will deteriorate more and more.

Palestinian Vision of “Final Solution”

JTA wrote on July 30:

“Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Egyptian journalists that no Israelis, civilians or soldiers, will remain in a future Palestinian state. Reuters reported that Abbas made the statements on Monday night in Cairo, where he was meeting with interim Egyptian President Adli Mansour. ‘In a final solution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli — civilian or soldier — on our lands,’ Abbas said… The statements flew in the face of efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to keep the terms of the peace talks under wraps, according to Reuters.

“Abbas insisted that ‘East Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine’… Abbas also said that he would not approve of a settlement-building freeze in which Israel halted building in isolated settlements but continued to build in settlements in the blocs that likely will remain part of Israel under a peace agreement.”

These extreme and radical views only show that the idea that the USA could broker a “peace treaty” is just totally unrealistic.

Violence in Egypt

Reuters reported on July 27:

“Egyptian security forces shot dead dozens of supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi on Saturday, witnesses said, days after the army chief called for a popular mandate to wipe out ‘violence and terrorism’… The bloodshed, near the military parade ground where President Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981, has rocked a country already struggling with the transition to democracy two years after Hosni Mubarak was swept from power…

“Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians had poured onto the streets on Friday in response to a call by army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for nationwide demonstrations to give him backing to confront the weeks-long wave of violence. His appeal was seen as a challenge to the Brotherhood, which organized its own rallies on Friday calling for the return of Mursi…

“European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she ‘deeply deplores’ Saturday’s deaths and urged all sides to halt the violence. There was no immediate comment from the United States, which provides Egypt with some $1.5 billion dollars of aid a year, mainly military hardware. Washington has delayed delivery of four F-16 fighters because of the turmoil. However, officials have indicated they do not intend to cut off aid to a country…”

The Times of Israel wrote on July 27:

“It’s not a civil war yet, but Friday night’s events underline the level of strife in Egypt between the Muslim Brotherhood’s supporters and the military. For now, the army still enjoys the backing of many secular groups… But as the body count rises, that impressive support will slowly, inevitably erode… The Egyptian divide is bitter…

“…it is apparent that Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi cares little about the honor of Egypt’s citizens. Unlike former president Hosni Mubarak, who could not order the army to fire on protesters, el-Sissi not only can, but is more than willing to do so. The order came down and, on Friday, we could see a change in the army’s attitude towards the protesters. The government, the new president Adly Mansour, everyone, has decided to take off the gloves and put an end to the protests in favor of ousted president Mohammed Morsi…

“The Islamist movement is determined to flood the streets of Egypt with its people, and gradually turn all those who supported the second revolution against the military… The battle is far from over. ‘Iron Man’ el-Sissi is out to crush the Muslim Brotherhood, while the Islamists are convinced that they can topple the general. If Egypt doesn’t get back on track — economically and administratively — in the next few weeks, even the army’s strong-handed policy toward the Brotherhood will not produce stability. Tensions will rise further, and the danger of full-fledged civil war will draw ever closer.”

Egypt’s future is prophesied in Scripture. Please read our free booklet, “Middle Eastern and African Nations in Bible Prophecy.”

Senate Supports Ongoing Further Assistance to Egypt

The Washington Times wrote on July 31:

“The Senate on Wednesday… rejected Sen. Rand Paul’s push to temporarily halt foreign assistance to Egypt and his argument that the nation no longer qualifies for aid in the wake of the military takeover earlier this month. Mr. Paul, a likely 2016 presidential contender, said President Obama and his congressional allies are openly flouting the law by continuing to send money to the Middle Eastern power and said those taxpayer funds should be redirected to the nation’s crumbling infrastructure until Egypt holds new elections. ‘When there is a military coup, the aid must end,’ the Kentucky Republican said, citing the Foreign Assistance Act…

“A bipartisan group of lawmakers… defended the Obama administration’s decision to keep sending roughly $1.5 billion in annual assistance to Egypt after the July 3 military ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, the leader of the Muslim brotherhood who had been democratically elected in June 2012.”

This was to be expected. Politics reigns, while the law is being ignored, re-interpreted or circumvented.

Merkel’s Re-Election in Jeopardy?

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 31:

“The failed Euro Hawk drone project has cost German taxpayers tons of money, and the Defense Ministry sympathy – but the biggest loser could be Chancellor Merkel, who may lose re-election…

“The opposition has been calling for Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere to step down for a long time… [He] admitted that [the government] had invested more than half a million euros into the project, only to realize after 10 years of research and development that there are ‘problems that can’t be solved.’ … The political responsibility for this surely lies with the minister himself – who should therefore step down together with his close aides.

“A few gently critical words about his poor handling of the situation and his crisis management are not enough for a scandal of such scope… Moreover, stepping down would also do Angela Merkel a favor. The general election is looming on September 22 and Merkel hopes to win her third term in office. Thomas de Maiziere clinging to his job could easily turn into a dangerous risk for that ambition.”

Duke of Bavaria Entitled to British Throne?

The Local wrote on July 25:

“All eyes were on the British royals this week, while in Bavaria a direct descendant of Stuart King Charles I turned 80 in relative privacy. Yet our German of the week Franz Herzog von Bayern’s blood runs as blue as little Prince George’s… Franz is the elder brother of Prince Max of Bavaria and inherited the title of Duke as head of the Wittelsbach family– once rulers of the Kingdom of Bavaria – when his father died in 1996.

“What is still hotly-contested in some quarters of Britain is whether the Duke’s direct blood line connection to 17th-century Stuart monarch King James II of England means he has a legitimate claim to the British throne. Franz is James II’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson. The Duke’s branch of the royal family lost the throne after the Catholic James II was deposed by William of Orange in England’s Glorious Revolution. James’s elder son, also a Catholic, was passed over for the succession in favour of his daughters, Mary II and Queen Anne…

“The… aristocrat was born in Munich in 1933 to Duke Albrecht of Bavaria and his wife, the Croatian Countess Maria Draskovich, as Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria Prinz von Bayern. His parents disapproved of the Nazi regime and left Germany in 1939 for the relative safety of Hungary. They lived in Budapest until Hitler invaded in 1944 and had the family arrested – along with 11-year-old Franz, forcing them to spend the rest of the war in concentration camps – until they were liberated by US troops in 1945…

“The aristocrat never married and lives alone in the large Nymphenburg palace. Around 2,500 of Bavaria’s richest, most powerful and influential guests [were] on hand to pay tribute to the Duke at his birthday party at Schleißheim palace outside Munich on Monday, an event surpassed only in pomp by the royal birth taking place in Britain.”

Pope at War with Vatican

Newsmax reported on July 29:

“The pope’s recent visit to Rio de Janeiro underscores how wildly popular he is among the faithful. But an inside Vatican source says Francis will face a continuation of his war with the Holy See’s curia — and he has ambitious plans to expose corruption and dramatically change the Church’s image.”

Pope Won’t Judge Homosexuals…

Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 30:

“‘If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?’ Pope Francis asked during an unexpectedly candid in-flight news conference on Monday. ‘We shouldn’t marginalize people for this. They must be integrated into society.’ ‘Pope Francis used a different and more benign tone than his German predecessor when he was talking about homosexual people,’ said Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of the LGBT program at Human Rights Watch. ‘I read his view … as a call to Roman Catholic clergy in many countries to speak up and protest when gay men or lesbian women are arrested or discriminated against by the authorities in their countries.’…

“The German wing of the international Catholic reform movement ‘We are Church’ also praised the pope’s remarks. ‘This is a major coup for gay priests who have had to cover up their sexual orientation,’ said spokesman Christian Weisner…

“By contrast, Francis’ predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, signed a document in 2005 that said men who had deep-rooted homosexual tendencies should not be priests. Francis distanced himself from this position in his first news conference as pope, when he said that gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten. But Francis still stopped short of rejecting the Catholic Church’s principle that homosexual acts are a sin. ‘Basically, what he said was obvious,’ wrote Germany’s center-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. ‘In his press conference, the pope skillfully avoided the truly thorny issue of whether gays and lesbians can only be equal before God (as others) if they are celibate.’”

Pope Not as Liberal as He May Seem

Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 31:

“Pope Francis has sparked enthusiasm with his call for greater tolerance toward gays. But it’s too soon to celebrate, says [homosexual Catholic] theologian David Berger… ‘It is incredibly naïve to liken it to a dam bursting. What are gays or lesbians to think when someone tells them: I don’t want you to be discriminated against, but you are not allowed to live out your “tendency” anyway? According to doctrine, the homosexual act is still a sin…

“‘The notion that gays shouldn’t be discriminated against is already in the catechism… Take Francis’ categoric[al] rejection of the ordination of women. “This door is closed,” he said. This shows that when it comes to liberality, the pope is committed to the old gender roles… It is common knowledge in the Catholic Church that supervisors put pressure on gay priests in order to exploit them for their own interests…

“‘While John Paul II and Benedict XVI could be gauged, that’s not possible with Francis. His theology is rather a kind of folk Catholicism of Latin American origin. Much of what is currently fascinating believers is really the Catholic version of the rites of popular evangelical sects. For example, when he asks people at his discretion to bless him before he does it himself, he is acting out a blessing rite of the Pentecostals…

“‘Benedict XVI spoke as he would have written. Almost everything he said was well thought out in every detail. Francis’s statements often contradict each other. So he first said that atheists are devils, only to say shortly later that they are just as good as Christians. Then it was up to his spokesman to correct the statements and put them into perspective accordingly. From an intellectual perspective, the election of Francis is a fiasco for the Catholic Church. But the general public is presumably already won over by his charisma.’”

Archbishop Tutu Rejects God of the Bible

The Daily Mail wrote on July 27:

“The South African Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu says he will never worship a ‘homophobic God’ and would rather go to hell than find himself in a ‘homophobic heaven’. The retired archbishop said the fight against homophobia in South Africa was similar to the campaign waged against racial apartheid in South Africa.”

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