“Billions Could Starve…”
NBC News reported on July 6:
“The once bounteous quantities of water that flowed under his farmland in the Texas Panhandle are a distant memory–pumped to the last drop. Now there is only one source of water… the sky above…
“The scope of this mounting crisis is difficult to overstate: The High Plains of Texas are swiftly running out of groundwater supplied by one of the world’s largest aquifers – the Ogallala. A study by Texas Tech University has predicted that if groundwater production goes unabated, vast portions of several counties in the southern High Plains will soon have little water left in the aquifer to be of any practical value.
“The Ogallala Aquifer spreads across eight states, from Texas to South Dakota, covering 111.8 million acres and 175,000 square miles. It’s the fountain of life not only for much of the Texas Panhandle, but also for the entire American Breadbasket of the Great Plains, a highly-sophisticated, amazingly-productive agricultural region that literally helps feed the world…
“‘This country became what it became largely because we had water security,’ says Venki Uddameri, Ph.D., director of the Water Resources Center at Texas Tech…
“With the world population increasing, and other critical global aquifers suffering equally dramatic declines, scientists acknowledge that if the American Breadbasket cannot help supply ever-growing food demands, billions could starve. ‘The depletion of the Ogallala is an internationally important crisis,’ says Burke Griggs, Ph.D., consulting professor at the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University…”
Sadly, terrible famine and drought are exactly what the Bible has pronounced thousands of years ago, especially for the USA. For more information, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”
Pope Francis—“Sunday Day of Rest for ALL”!
The Associated Press wrote on July 5:
“Pope Francis has lamented the abandoning of the traditionally Christian practice of not working on Sundays, saying it has a negative impact on families and friendships. Francis on Saturday traveled to Molise, an agricultural region in the heart of southern Italy where unemployment is chronically high. While he said poor people need jobs to have dignity, he indicated that opening stores and other businesses on Sundays as a way to create jobs wasn’t beneficial for society… He added: ‘Maybe it’s time to ask ourselves if working on Sundays is true freedom.’
“He said that spending Sundays with family and friends is an ‘ethical choice’ for faithful and non-faithful alike. Francis, 77, appeared to have bounced back from a spate of illnesses which have caused him to cancel several appointments recently. He flew by helicopter to Molise for a full day of activity, including a lunch appointment with poor people and a visit to a prison.”
Sunday is the day of worship for pagans and Gentiles—NOT for true Christians. But Sunday worship is also part of the mark of the beast which will be inflicted on most people. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”
While the US Retreats, Russia Takes Over
Yahoo News reported on July 9:
“As the crisis [in Iraq] has deepened, U.S. contractors, U.S. Embassy personnel and most of the U.S. service members from the embassy’s Office of Security Cooperation have abandoned the threatened capital. The exodus has coincided with Russian contractors and support personnel pouring into BIAP to help launch the 25 Russian SU-25 warplanes that Moscow is rushing to Iraq in its hour of need…
“Thus in June U.S. contractors employed by Bell Helicopter, Beechcraft and General Dynamics Land Systems have all pulled their support personnel out of Iraq, depriving Iraqis of maintenance and repair for their U.S.-manufactured Bell ARH-407 armed reconnaissance helicopters, Beechcraft T-6 military trainer aircraft and M-1 tanks. Given the deteriorating security situation, a knowledgeable source says that virtually all U.S. contractor personnel have left Iraq…
“Making matters worse, that Iraqi arsenal notably does not yet include a single one of the 34 F-16 fighters that Iraq has had on order since 2010; nor the 24 Apache helicopter gunships on order that were held up by Congress until last January and still have not flown; nor the 24 Beechcraft AT-6 Texan II armed turboprop planes that the State Department approved for sale to Iraq back in May.
“The retreat of U.S. contractor and embassy personnel, and failure to follow through in a timely fashion on U.S. promises of military equipment for Iraq, is feeding a widespread narrative of declining American influence and commitment to the Middle East. The perceived power vacuum as the U.S. military presence wanes has been noted by adversaries and allies alike.
“The perception of a U.S. retreat from the region was reinforced by the Obama administration’s failure to follow through on promised military strikes against Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria after it used chemical weapons last year, emboldening Assad’s security forces and badly demoralizing the more moderate Syrian rebel factions. Those secular Syrian rebel groups last week threatened to lay down their weapons altogether if more military equipment and support was not forthcoming.
“Against U.S. wishes, Massoud Barzani, the president of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, declared that he will soon hold a referendum on Kurdish independence, reportedly with a green light from NATO ally Turkey. Saudi Arabia has repeatedly distanced itself from Washington in disagreements over U.S. nuclear talks with Iran, inaction in Syria and opposition to the military coup in Egypt. Critics say a pattern is developing of once staunch allies going their own way out of frustration with U.S. inaction.
“Meanwhile, U.S. tentativeness before and during the Iraq crisis is in marked contrast to the approach of Russia and Iran, which rapidly sent military advisers and support personnel to bolster the regime of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The first of the SU-25s began arriving in Baghdad aboard Russian military transports last week. Speaking to the BBC, Al-Maliki complained that if Iraqi Security Forces had the necessary airpower represented by the F-16s, they could have turned back the juggernaut offensive launched by the Islamist militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) and allies among the Sunni tribes…”
The Failure of US Middle East Policy
Deutsche Welle reported on July 10:
“US dithering in the Middle East threatens years of peace work – and is destroying the country’s influence in the region. Many are blaming the president, calling him weak and indecisive…
“Over just a few years, the Middle East has been transformed into a region overcome by a single highly dangerous crisis. Conflict in Libya, Egypt, Iran and Syria, the bloody fighting tearing apart Iraq and the dramatically re-inflamed Palestinian-Israeli confrontation are back at the focus of world attention…
“Following Palestinian rocket attacks and Israeli reprisals, the conflict threatens to reach a new level of escalation with a possible large-scale Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip. After the peace initiative promoted by US Secretary of State John Kerry went nowhere, the Americans are now seemingly powerless, their efforts in tatters.
“The liberal Washington Post [says] the fighting in Iraq is a particularly dramatic example of the failure of current US Middle East policy. The paper’s Jackson Diehl writes ‘the Obama administration’s strategy of re-creating a unified Iraq under a strong central government will, like its previous Middle East schemes, prove a mirage.’…
“The administration’s indecisiveness has badly wounded US standing in the region. It is weaker than it has been in a long time. The Obama administration threatened the Egyptian generals with an end to the billions in military aid if they continued human rights violations, only for Secretary of State John Kerry to travel to Cairo a short time later to sheepishly announce the resumption of military aid – only a few days after supporters of former President Morsi were sentenced to death en masse…
“Ultimately, the region needs an outside power to serve as mediator…”
Such a “mediator” will arise on the world scene, but it will not be the United States.
Barack Obama–Incompetency or Conspiracy?
The Washington Times wrote on July 6:
“Maybe we’ve been conned. There’s a growing recognition that Barack Obama is an incompetent poser, working out of his depth, and his administration is the gang that can’t shoot straight. There’s a lot of evidence to support that belief.
“Everything he touches becomes a bloody mess, like crushed bones and bits of flesh caught in the tracks of a tank slicing through a rank of soldiers (or civilians). Iraq, Syria, Egypt — all gone, as prospects for countries with a prosperous and democratic future. The ‘reset’ with Russia, meant to ensure that America and the replacement republic of the old Soviet Union can be friends, is a reset, sure enough. The new Russia looks more like a reset to the Cold War, more adversary than friend, transformed by a feckless American president and an ambitious Russian leader eager to take advantage of weak and incompetent American leadership.
“The ‘humanitarian crisis’ on the southern border is the most persuasive evidence of all that America is adrift in a sea of incompetence, blown about by every ill wind that blows. The mighty ship of state is bereft of a rudder, traveling in endless circles with the captain stumbling on the bridge, trying to make sense of navigation charts he can’t read.
“However, this may be ascribing to incompetence what is better explained by conspiracy. Mr. Obama promised in 2008 that he intended to transform America, and he is well on his way. Anyone who looked closely at the man and the influences that shaped who he would become risked being called a racist, a nativist, a bigot and a redneck yahoo. He was the messiah everyone was waiting for.
“The ruins of American foreign policy are not likely to catch the attention of a culture drunk on the entertainment of the trivial, the trifling and the unimportant. But everybody begins to notice when the chaos comes close, when those responsible for monitoring the border begin to tremble and sag under the weight of a tsunami of illegal immigration. The scary implications for the future of the exceptional nation begins to weigh on Congress.
“This week, a Texas congressman who does not have the luxury of looking the other way because he sees trouble in every direction he looks, said what the nice people think must never be said. The tsunami will change everything. ‘Either we’re going to enforce our laws and remain strong, economically or otherwise, or we ignore the rule of law and go to being a Third World country,’ Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican, told Fox News. ‘You’ve got to follow the law. You cannot bring hundreds of thousands of people in this country without destroying the country. Then there’s no place that people can dream about coming.’
“No one knows this better than Barack Obama. Making the United States over into a Third World country is exactly what this president is about. He is of the Third World. He spent his formative years in the Third World, and when his mother, obsessed with the Third World, brought him back to America, he sought out the company of those who dreamed of making America over into the world’s largest welfare state…”
The Bible prophesied that because of our national sins, the country will experience an unprecedented downfall due to incompetent and helpless leadership.
USA No Longer a Country?
Newsmax reported on July 8:
“Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan has slammed President Barack Obama’s ‘inaction’ on the immigration crisis while warning that a country that cannot control its borders is no longer a country… ‘As Ronald Reagan said, “A country that won’t or can’t control its borders is not a country anymore,”’ Buchanan said.
“‘What’s happening on our southern border and Europe is [that] the failed states of the Third World are driving people basically to try to seek to have what exists in the West and the United States. But the truth is, if you do not get control of folks pouring into your country from all over the world, they will alter the character and composition of your country and change it forever without the consent of the American people.’…
“Buchanan blamed former President George H.W. Bush for helping to create the current crisis by not securing the border back in the early 1990s when he said 5,000 illegal immigrants were crossing the border every weekend. ‘If the government had acted then we would be dealing not with 12 million or 20 million, but 3 million. Many of them would have been gone. But it’s a failure of both political parties, presidents of both parties…”
NSA Greatest Threat to American Society Since US Civil War
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 3:
“A former NSA technical chief has told Germany’s parliament that the US agency has become a ‘totalitarian’ mass collector of data… William Binney described the US National Security Agency in Berlin on Thursday as an entity that had abandoned every rule-of-law principle and breached the democratic freedoms of citizens.
“Testifying, Binney accused the NSA of having a ‘totalitarian mentality’ and wanting ‘total information control’ over citizens in breach of the US constitution. It was an approach that until now the public had only seen among dictators, he added. Mass collection was ‘senseless’ and did not help in counterterrorism, and actually hindered the agency’s capabilities, Binney said. The NSA represented the ‘greatest threat’ to American society since the US Civil War of the 19th century, Binney added.
“Binney left the NSA as its technical chief in 2001 shortly [after] it began mass scanning in the wake of 9/11 hijack attacks by al Qaeda terrorists on New York and Washington…
“Another former NSA staffer, Thomas Drake, who left the NSA after trying to use official complaint channels, told the inquiry that almost all data that transited Germany was accessed by the NSA and Germany’s BND foreign intelligence service — or the NSA alone. The US government was exercising the ultimate form of control, Drake said, adding that the German BND’s silence on the issue was ‘terrible.’… Drake said the United States would soon become a ‘real surveillance’ nation in which the private lives of individuals were becoming more and more the property of the state…”
German Government Powerless?
The Local wrote on July 4:
“… critics said the German government is looking increasingly powerless against the capabilities of the NSA and British GCHQ.
“The government’s only answer had been to tell citizens to keep themselves safe online by encrypting their data, said Konstantin von Notz, Green MP and chairman of the German parliamentary inquiry into the NSA affair. ‘And now we find out that the very ones who encrypt and use that are the ones being watched. That is perverse and insane,’ he told the broadcaster.
“… the German inquiry heard evidence from former NSA employees-turned-whistleblowers Thomas Drake and William Binney, who gave weight to serious allegations against the German intelligence service (BND). Drake said the BND had become a ‘vermiform appendix of the NSA,’ referring to accusations it had been passing data on German citizens on to the American service – an act forbidden under Germany’s constitution.”
German “Double Agent” Creating a Stir—“Huge Breach of Trust of Transatlantic Relationship”
Deutsche Welle wrote on July 7:
“The fallout from the arrest of a German ‘double agent,’ who was allegedly filtering information to the NSA, continues to create a stir… The [BND] employee was detained on suspicion of espionage…
“The suspect allegedly sold 218 documents to an unnamed US intelligence agency for 25,000 euros ($33,000)… The German daily tabloid newspaper Bild reported on Friday that three of the 218 documents were related to Germany’s parliamentary inquiry into NSA surveillance operations. The suspect allegedly received orders directly from the US embassy…
“German parliamentarians across the political spectrum… have already expressed outrage over the allegations. ‘If it turns out to be true that a BND employee worked for the US embassy for years, it would be a huge breach of trust in the transatlantic relationship,’ Stephan Mayer, the internal affairs spokesman for Merkel’s conservative parliamentary grouping, told Bild.”
American Conduct Either “Stupid” or “Shameless”—Whoever Is Responsible “Must Go”—Obama Either “Lied” or “Not in Control”
The New York Times wrote on July 6:
“With mystery enveloping a German intelligence service employee accused of spying — reportedly for the United States — German officials and commentators on Sunday angrily demanded a response from Washington, warning that an already troubled relationship was at risk of deteriorating to a new low…
“President Joachim Gauck, whose role is largely ceremonial but who increasingly speaks out on daily matters, told German television that if it turned out that the United States had been spying on Germany, ‘then that is really a gamble with friendship, with a close alliance.’ ‘Then we really have to say, Enough,’ Mr. Gauck added…
“Perhaps the most striking sign of the strained relationship was Germany’s decision to summon the American ambassador, John B. Emerson, to the Foreign Ministry on the Fourth of July, just before the American Embassy’s holiday party for hundreds of guests. The newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported that the ambassador had smiled and greeted guests, but that the tension was noticeable: ‘It was as it has so often been recently when official America meets official Germany. The facade was perfect, but behind it there was little accord.’…
“Over decades of friendship since 1945, sharp language like that of recent months has been rare in German-American dealings. Those ties have been strained since last summer, when documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, suggested that the N.S.A. had monitored the electronic data of millions of Germans. The German government then appeared to receive assurances from Washington that nothing illegal had occurred. But the subsequent revelation that Ms. Merkel’s own cellphone had been monitored stirred new anger in a nation that remembers the role played by a snooping state under the Nazis and the Communists.
“The German government tried reaching a ‘no spy’ accord with Washington, but the Obama administration rejected the idea. Months of attempts to restore relations have yielded the beginnings of a dialogue about how to deal with electronic data, cybersecurity and privacy. Those talks, and much else, would be jeopardized if the Americans recruited an agent, German commentators warned.
“Stefan Kornelius, the foreign editor of the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and usually a pronounced Atlanticist, wrote a blistering commentary on Saturday, saying it was hard even to summon words to describe the potential damage. If United States intelligence agencies acted as suggested, he wrote, that would be ‘either stupid or shameless.’ Either way, relations would turn icy, because confirmation of the espionage accusations would mean either that President Obama does not have the intelligence services under control, or that he lied when trying to smooth things over in recent months, Mr. Kornelius said. ‘The United States must now make plain publicly in whose name, and why, the German partner service was infiltrated,’ Mr. Kornelius added. ‘Whoever is responsible for this damage must go — in Washington just as in Berlin.’”
Der Spiegel Online commented that the USA underestimates the gravity and severity of the problem, ignoring the underlying Anti-Americanism of a growing minority of the German people.
German Spying on US?
The Independent wrote on July 8:
“Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is planning to scrap a no-spy agreement Germany has held with Britain and the United States since 1945 in response to an embarrassing US-German intelligence service scandal which has deeply soured relations between Berlin and Washington. The unprecedented change to Berlin’s counter-espionage policy was announced by Ms Merkel’s Interior Minister, Thomas de Maizière. He said that Berlin wanted ‘360‑degree surveillance’ of all intelligence-gathering operations in Germany.
“The intelligence services of the Allied victors, the United States, Britain and France, have hitherto been regarded as ‘friendly’ to Germany. Their diplomatic and information-gathering activities were exempted from surveillance by Berlin’s equivalent of M15 – the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). But Mr de Maizière told Bild that he was now not ruling out permanent German counter-espionage surveillance of US, British and French intelligence operations. His remarks were echoed by Stephan Mayer, a domestic security spokesman for Ms Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats. ‘We must focus more strongly on our so-called allies,’ he said.”
“Enough Is Enough!”
The Local wrote on July 7:
“Following a spate of scandals where US agencies including the NSA targeted subjects in Germany – including the illegal tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone – the new case was one apparent double-cross too many, national and regional media said. ‘Enough grumbling,’ Zeit Online commented on Monday. ‘The Federal Republic is not some kind of tin-pot state where hostile or allied intelligence services can do whatever they like. If – or rather because – the US government and its machinery are making a laughing stock of all notions of German-US friendship, then it’s time to get tough,’ the paper wrote…
“In a Spiegel magazine survey conducted amid the latest revelations, 57 percent of respondents now favoured ‘greater independence from the United States.’ And 69 percent said their trust in the US had recently plummeted… Another 60 percent of respondents in the Spiegel survey, however, said they wanted ‘greater independence’ in German relations with Russia, with another 40 percent calling for active closer cooperation.
“Meanwhile, the Stuttgarter Zeitung on Sunday commented that the paltry sum of €25,000 that was supposedly paid for the 218 documents showed how casually the United States was prepared to gamble with its relations with Germany. The latest spy scandal clearly showed US ‘disdain for democratic institutions and contempt for the smaller partner,’ the paper wrote.
“‘We now have the next confirmation that we are not such good friends as people would have us believe,’ agreed Tagesspiegel.”
A Second Spy Case?
The Associated Press reported on July 9:
“German authorities are investigating a second spy case reportedly involving the U.S., a week after the arrest of a German intelligence employee cast a new shadow over relations between the two countries. Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that police raided properties in the Berlin area on ‘initial suspicion of activity for an intelligence agency.’… ‘We have investigations in two cases of suspected espionage, a very serious suspicion,’ government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin…
“The daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported, without naming sources, that the man being investigated worked at Germany’s Defense Ministry and is suspected of spying for the United States. Die Welt newspaper reported, also without naming sources, the man was a soldier in the German army who had aroused the suspicion of Germany’s military counter-intelligence agency because of his close contacts to alleged U.S. spies.”
The Local added on July 9:
“The Attorney General’s Office confirmed on Wednesday they were investigating a further case of espionage in Germany, allegedly involving a US agent who was reportedly an army officer at Germany’s Ministry of Defence.”
This latest case will further strain transatlantic relations.
Tensions Mount in the Middle East
Deutsche Welle reported on July 8:
“Israel has launched an aerial offensive, targeting Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip… At least nine people were injured in the Gaza Strip early Tuesday morning in an air raid by the Israeli military. Warplanes targeting Hamas militants struck more than 30 sites as part of Israel’s ‘Operation Protective Edge.’…
“On Monday, air sirens were sounded across southern Israel as militant group Hamas stepped up its attacks, which have been occurring frequently in recent days. The Israeli army reported that the Gaza Strip-based group had launched dozens of rockets in quick succession… Meanwhile on Monday, three of the six men arrested for the murder of the 16-year-old Palestinian, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, admitted their guilt.”
Breitbart wrote on July 8:
“Photos have surfaced… showing Israeli tanks and armored vehicles stationed on the border with the Gaza Strip.”
BBC News added on July 9:
“Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Wednesday that the campaign against Hamas would expand in the next few days and ‘exact a huge price’. Israel has warned it may send ground troops into Gaza. It has authorised the call-up of up to 40,000 military reservists. Hundreds of reservists have already been drafted.”
JTA wrote on July 9:
“Hamas claimed responsibility for three rockets fired at Dimona in southern Israel, saying the terror group was aiming for the city’s nuclear reactor.”
Again—EU Condemns Israel
The EUObserver reported on July 8:
“EU countries have urged Palestinian militants to stop firing at Israel, while ‘deploring’ Israel’s killing of civilians. They said in a statement on Tuesday (8 July) the EU ‘strongly condemns the indiscriminate fire into Israel’ from the Gaza strip, while adding it ‘deplores the growing number of civilian casualties, reportedly among them children, caused by Israeli retaliatory fire’…
“For its part, the US on Tuesday urged both sides to ‘de-escalate’. A US State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, added that Palestinian ‘terrorists’ are ‘deliberately targeting’ Israeli civilians. ‘No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians, and we certainly support Israel’s right to defend itself’”.
ISIS Becomes IS
Newsmax wrote on July 7:
“The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has shortened its name to Islamic State (IS) because the militant insurgent group is looking to establish a ‘universal kingdom’ of believers, said Lt. Col. Ralph Peters. ‘Now that they’ve dropped to just IS, Islamic State, it tells you that they’re looking far beyond Iraq and Syria,’ Peters, a retired Army Lt. Col., told Fox News…
“Peters said the IS fighters are so dedicated to their beliefs that they are ‘willing, and even anxious, to die for their beliefs.’ This stands in opposition to the Iraqi army, which saw many of its members retreat as the ISIS threat advanced…”
It has also emerged that ISIS is in possession of chemical weapons and nuclear material.
ISIS Destroys Presumed Tombstone of Jonah
Mail On Line reported on July 9:
“This is the shocking moment ISIS militants took sledgehammers to Iraqi tombstones – smashing them to pieces.
“The rebels, who are members of the Islamic State terror group, were filmed attacking centuries-old graves in the north-west city of Mosul in Ninevah province…One of the devastated tombstones belonged to the Prophet Jonah (Younis in Arabic) and was revered by Muslims and Christians alike, according to Iraqi authorities.
“The prophet, who is the central figure in the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Jonah, is best known for being swallowed by a fish or a whale, depending on translation… The attack is the latest in the ISIS’s violent rampage across Iraq.
“Earlier this week, a series of images emerged showing the destruction of almost a dozen Shia and Sunni religious shrines in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and the town of Tal Afar, which is also currently under ISIS control… ISIS militants believe giving special veneration to tombs and relics is against the teachings of Islam…”
Final Showdown in Eastern Ukraine?
The New York Times wrote on July 8:
“Rebel fighters in eastern Ukraine may be on the defensive, but they are not melting away, at least not here in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine’s regional capital. Over the weekend, hundreds of them poured into this city after the Ukrainian military forced them out of Slovyansk, a stronghold north of here. Now they are preparing for a final showdown with the Ukrainian military that they say is coming soon.
“Whether it does is an open question. Moscow, whose support the rebels say they cannot live without, has called for a negotiated truce and seems to be unwilling to come to their aid, at least openly. But negotiations have faltered. Ukraine recently called off a cease-fire, worrying that it was playing into the rebels’ hands. On Tuesday, hopes for talks seemed to flicker again. On a surprise visit to Slovyansk, Ukraine’s president, Petro O. Poroshenko, emphasized that he was prepared to negotiate with those ready ‘to lay down their arms’ and opt for ‘a future amnesty’… Mr. Poroshenko has refused to deal directly with the leaders of the armed separatist rebellion.
“It was far from clear that such an offer would suit any of the rebels, who are far from defeated. In the neighboring city of Luhansk, which, like Donetsk, was also occupied this spring, a rebel leader said his forces had actually pushed back government troops in recent days, according to the Russian news agency Interfax. On Tuesday, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, reiterated the Kremlin’s demand for a cease-fire in the Ukrainian conflict, and said Mr. Poroshenko was being counterproductive by demanding that insurgents surrender before engaging in any peace talks…
“The government in Kiev also warned that it was prepared to take the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk by force… Moscow’s role remains a mystery. But rebels seem to be growing increasingly disenchanted with what they call meager support…”
Domestic Backlash Against Putin Over Ukraine?
The Christian Science Monitor wrote on July 7:
“Russia’s leading ultranationalist philosopher, sometimes labeled ‘Putin’s Brain,’ says that Kremlin ‘hesitations’ over extending military support to east Ukraine’s embattled pro-Russian rebels could lead to a domestic political backlash against Vladimir Putin.
“Alexander Dugin, whose extreme right-wing ‘Eurasianist’ ideology has often seemed to foreshadow Kremlin actions, says that war between Russia and Ukraine is inevitable. Mr. Putin’s apparent decision to abandon retreating east Ukrainian rebels to their fate risks turning into outright betrayal, which could split Putin from his key electoral base of ‘patriotic’ Russians, he says. ‘Putin started this by signaling that Russia should defend east Ukraine from attacks by Kiev military forces,’ Mr. Dugin told the Monitor in a phone interview Monday. ‘He declared the unity of the Russian World, and this was understood by leaders in east Ukraine that Russia would help them. But after a difficult struggle inside the Kremlin, the decision to help has been delayed. This is seen as a sign of betrayal by the patriots…. I wouldn’t call it betrayal yet. But Putin has changed the timing, and this has created a very critical situation,’ he says.
“Dugin is widely viewed as chief ideologist for the hawkish wing of Russia’s ruling elite, and his persistent influence inside the Kremlin has been widely documented. A good deal of Western commentary portrays him in somewhat hyperbolic terms as ‘Putin’s Rasputin,’ or the guiding mind behind Kremlin geo-strategy…
“Russians are almost evenly split on extending military aid to east Ukraine’s insurrection, though most oppose direct Russian intervention in the conflict… 64 percent support Russian volunteers participating in the conflict on the rebel side, and majorities consistently say Moscow should do more to back the rebels. But 68 percent also say they fear the local conflict could develop into full-blown war between Russia and Ukraine, while 54 percent worry it could grow into ‘World War III.’… On [the] one hand, people want Russia to give more backing [to the Ukrainian rebels]. On the other hand, they deeply fear [a] catastrophic development of the situation…
“Russians have grown increasingly alarmed and pessimistic about the drift of events in next-door Ukraine, and more than three-quarters now believe things are going to get ‘markedly worse’ in the near future.
“Dugin, who is in regular contact with east Ukrainian rebel leaders, says that without more Russian aid they probably can’t hold out more than a few weeks against the full-scale Ukrainian military operation now arrayed against them. He says that Putin’s ‘hesitations’ will come back to haunt him if he fails to come to east Ukraine’s assistance. ‘When Kiev finishes with the revolt in Donetsk and Luhansk, the next target will be Crimea,’ which was annexed by Russia in March, he says. ‘War is inevitable. Either we start to fight now, or we shall have to fight later.’
“Dugin alleges that Putin is holding back from taking this fateful step out of fear of Western sanctions and hopes that he can work with European leaders to fashion a negotiated peace settlement. ‘Putin’s dilemma is that he could lose the momentum of the Russian Spring, while no matter what he does he will never win any understanding from the West,’ he says. ‘The US uncritically supports Kiev’s military operation against east Ukraine, and it will support them if they attack Crimea. There is nothing to gain by waiting,’ he adds…
“‘Putin has realized that it was easier to start these events than to end them,’ says Nikolai Petrov, a professor at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics. ‘We can see that Putin is not interested in more direct involvement in Ukraine’s civil strife. But there are influential forces in Russia who are clamoring for action, and Putin cannot ignore them,’ he adds.”
New Scottish Law—Reminiscent of Hitler, Stalin and Communist East Germany
The website of reason.com wrote on June 30:
“Scotland wants to treat all families as potentially abusive and appoint a ‘named person’ (that is, a guardian) as soon as the child is born and up through age 18 to oversee the parenting. This ‘shadow parent’ would be empowered by the government under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, which will take effect in 2016… in substance, the role of the named person is not actually to supplant the family, to state-raise children, but rather to insert a surveying, coercive authority – a spy – in the midst of every family…
“This idea grows out of the conviction that… all children are in danger at all times, and hence need constant oversight. Sometimes it’s the police arresting a dad for letting his kids play outside, sometimes it’s the police arresting a mom for letting her children walk to the pizza shop, and sometimes it’s even the local library reporting a mom who let her kids, 12 and 15, walk home without coats on a night the authorities deemed too cold.
“True danger lies in the notion that the state should decide if you are parenting your kids correctly. The care of your own children is not up to you.”
Another Example—Don’t Serve on a Jury!
The Huffington Post wrote on July 8:
“An Iowa terminal cancer patient showed up to court Tuesday wrapped in a blanket, still wearing hospital identification wristbands, to testify at his trial on felony marijuana charges. He’s been barred from a defense that explains the marijuana was to relieve his aggressive and rare cancer of the blood vessels.
“Benton Mackenzie, 48, faces up to five years in prison if he’s convicted of marijuana manufacturing and conspiracy for growing plants he says he used to make canabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, to treat his tumors…
“Mackenzie was rushed out of Scott County District Court on Monday to a hospital after complaining of extreme pain and hallucinations. He suffers from severe angiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer of the blood vessels that produces large skin lesions. His family said he was treated for anemia and other symptoms overnight…
“District Judge Henry Latham in May barred Mackenzie from using his condition as a defense for growing marijuana… Mackenzie has said he’s been threatened with jail if he discloses his medical condition in court. Mackenzie on Tuesday filed a motion arguing that a law that Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) signed in May that legalize the use of CBD oil to treat epilepsy should protect his use of the oil. The new law, however, focuses narrowly on treatment for ‘intractable epilepsy’ and does not apply to Mackenzie, Latham ruled Tuesday.
“‘The change in law benefits only a small group of Iowans with the most organized lobbying efforts,’ Des Moines Register editorial board wrote over the weekend. ‘Other sick Iowans should have legal access to marijuana extracts, too. These include people with painful and debilitating conditions like cancer, spinal cord injuries and severe arthritis, who may benefit from the drug. But if these people obtain cannabis oil, they will still be considered criminals in this state.’”
Judge Latham’s decision makes a fair trial virtually impossible. This is another example why true Christians must NOT serve on a jury. Sadly, far too many members in the broader Church of God community miss this point entirely and become complicit in and responsible for the rendering of false judgments and unjust guilty verdicts.
The Future World of Lying Robots
Business Insider wrote on July 5:
“‘Today there’s no legislation regarding how much intelligence a machine can have, how interconnected it can be… [You are] going to see that the top species will no longer be humans, but machines.’
“These are the words of Louis Del Monte, physicist, entrepreneur, and author of ‘The Artificial Intelligence Revolution.’ Del Monte spoke to us over the phone about his thoughts surrounding artificial intelligence and the singularity, an indeterminate point in the future when machine intelligence will outmatch not only your own intelligence, but the world’s combined human intelligence too.
“The average estimate for when this will happen is 2040, though Del Monte says it might be as late as 2045. Either way, it’s a timeframe of within three decades. ‘It won’t be the “Terminator” scenario, not a war,’ said Del Monte. ‘In the early part of the post-singularity world, one scenario is that the machines will seek to turn humans into cyborgs. This is nearly happening now, replacing faulty limbs with artificial parts. We’ll see the machines as a useful tool. Productivity in business based on automation will be increased dramatically in various countries. In China it doubled, just based on GDP per employee due to use of machines.’
“‘By the end of this century,’ he continued, ‘most of the human race will have become cyborgs [part human, part tech or machine]. The allure will be immortality… The concern I’m raising is that the machines will view us as an unpredictable and dangerous species.’
“Del Monte believes machines will become self-conscious and have the capabilities to protect themselves. They ‘might view us the same way we view harmful insects.’ Humans are a species that ‘is unstable, creates wars, has weapons to wipe out the world twice over, and makes computer viruses.’ …
“A 2009 experiment showed that robots can develop the ability to lie to each other. Run at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems in the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne, Switzerland, the experiment had robots designed to cooperate in finding beneficial resources like energy and avoiding the hazardous ones. Shockingly, the robots learned to lie to each other in an attempt to hoard the beneficial resources for themselves. ‘The implication is that they’re also learning self-preservation,’ Del Monte told us…”
Kenya’s Bull Elephants at Brink of Extinction
The Times Magazine wrote on July 5:
“There are a dozen tuskers left in Kenya: the spectacular bull elephants, whose tusks fetch poachers $1 million each, are on the brink of extinction. And five weeks ago, the most iconic of them all, 45-year-old Satao, was killed.”
God will destroy those who destroy the earth and wipe out animals for pecuniary gain.
The Elephant Cried
Huffington Post reported on July 7:
“For 50 years, Raju the elephant was abused, held shackled in spiked chains and forced to live off scraps from passing tourists. All that changed when he was rescued last weekend by wildlife conservationists who said the animal cried when he was finally set free.
“Wildlife SOS, a group established in 1995 to protect endangered wildlife in India, set out to rescue Raju on the night of July 2. Raju is around 50 years old and was likely captured as a baby and bought and sold many times over the course of his life. He was forced to work as a begging elephant in Allahabad. His legs were bound in spiked chains that made walking difficult and left him with chronic wounds. He was also beaten…
“Raju was in chains 24 hours a day, an act of intolerable cruelty. The team were astounded to see tears roll down his face during the rescue,’ Pooja Binepal, a spokesman for Wildlife SOS, said, per the Mirror. ‘It was incredibly emotional. We knew in our hearts he realized he was being freed. Elephants are majestic and highly intelligent animals. We can only imagine what torture the past half a century has been for him.’
“[Nikki Sharp, the executive director of Wildlife SOS-USA]… echoed Binepal’s statement while speaking with HuffPost. ‘[The rescue team] went in to rescue him and [his captors] had bound him up so tightly that he was in a lot of pain,’ she said. ‘The vet and our team came with fruits and just started speaking softly to him and to reassure him that we were there to help, and it was at that time that tears flooded down his face. The founder of Wildlife SOS, who was there are the time of the rescue, said …. that really caught him off guard. They’ve done a lot of elephant rescues and the fact the tears were just coming down … he was weeping. It was an emotional moment and everyone was more motivated to get him on the truck and to safety.’…”
“These Creatures Are More Fact Than Fiction”
The Huffington Post published an interesting article on July 7 about mystical creatures which are believed in existence today. While excluding the obvious incredibility of some legends, we are bringing you excerpts about two samples which have the benefit of at least some credibility—the “Loch Ness” monster and “Mokole Mbembe”:
“… while believing in… sea serpents or the like might throw someone’s credibility into question, consider that people who believed in the giant squid, the platypus and the Komodo dragon were ultimately proven correct. These three very real creatures were long considered the stuff of myth and make-believe.
“Is it really so far-fetched to imagine that other fabled beasts could also occupy the realms of reality? We’ll leave the formal investigations to the cryptozoologists and for now take a look at some of the more interesting creatures that cultures around the world believe in…
“The legend of the Loch Ness monster stretches back to the sixth century, when it was first referenced in the biography of St. Columba. The Irish missionary reportedly stumbled upon a funeral for a man who had been killed by a loch (the Scottish word for ‘lake’) serpent. People’s beliefs about the monster were reinvigorated in the 1930s when a couple reported the first modern-day sighting of it…
“Many early explorers of the Congo Basin wrote about an other-worldly beast they observed or heard tales of during their travels. With a long neck and an elephantine body, the creature has been described as a water-dwelling monster that looks like a sauropaud dinosaur, according to National Geographic. It is known as Mokole Mbembe in the Likouala region of the Congo, which is said to be its home.
“To date, there have been more than 50 expeditions to try and figure out whether the creature is the last living species of the dinosaur. Thus far, researchers have come up empty-handed. However, according to BBC, 80 percent of the Likouala region of the Congo has yet to be charted. That’s 66,000 square kilometers of unexplored terrain. ‘I’d put Mokele-mbembe in the same category as the Loch Ness Monster,’ Bill Laurance, a professor at James Cook University in Australia, told the BBC. ‘My gut sense is that the likelihood of the creature actually existing today is small. However, one thing you learn early on in science is never say never. We are still discovering new species all the time.’”
For more information, please read our Q&A on the existence of sea monsters.