Current Events

Europe Sends Weapons to Iraq

Deutsche Welle reported on August 15:

“The European Union agreed on Friday to back the arming of the Pashmerga – Kurdish Iraqis who are fighting against IS militants. Individual EU governments now have the go-ahead to send weapons as long as they have the consent of national authorities…

“Britain and France have already begun plans to provide weapons to Iraqi forces… Most surprising was the support from EU member states who are historically less inclined to supply military arms abroad, such as Germany…”

The Local added on August 20:

“Germany is ready to send weapons to support Iraqi Kurds in their battle against the “barbaric” jihadist militants of the Islamic State, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Wednesday… He called the onslaught of the IS ‘barbaric’, the suffering of refugees ‘unimaginable’…

“Sending military hardware is unusual for Germany which, burdened by its past aggression in two world wars, shies from foreign military engagements and as a rule does not export weapons into live conflict zones. Critics oppose the idea of sending weapons to a war zone where fighters and arms can quickly change sides…

“The change of position is politically difficult in Germany, where recent polls have shown more than 70 percent of respondents reject the idea of German arms shipments to Iraq…”

Der Spiegel Online reported on August 20 that the Kurds are terribly divided among themselves, and at least one of the groups fighting ISIS (the “PPK”) has formerly been classified as a terrorist group by the USA, EU und Turkey.

Pope Endorses Use of Force

The Associated Press reported on August 18:

“Pope Francis… was asked if he approved of the unilateral U.S. airstrikes on militants of the Islamic State who have captured swaths of northern and western Iraq and northeastern Syria and have forced minority Christians and others to either convert to Islam or flee their homes.

“‘In these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor,’ Francis said. ‘I underscore the verb “stop.” I’m not saying “bomb” or “make war,” just “stop.”’… But, he said, in history, such ‘excuses’ to stop an unjust aggression have been used by world powers to justify a ‘war of conquest’ in which an entire people have been taken over.

“‘One nation alone cannot judge how you stop this, how you stop an unjust aggressor,’ he said, apparently referring to the United States…

“… the Vatican has been increasingly showing support for military intervention in Iraq, given that Christians are being directly targeted because of their faith and that Christian communities which have existed for 2,000 years have been emptied as a result of the extremists’ onslaught…

“Church teaching allows for ‘just wars,’ when military force can be justified under certain circumstances. And in recent days, a few Vatican officials have edged increasingly toward acknowledging the Iraq situation fits the bill… The Vatican’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi [said]… ‘Maybe military action is necessary at this moment.’”

The Catholic Church’s teaching on “just wars” is not in accordance with the Bible. In the past, it has caused much injustice and terrible atrocities. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Should YOU Fight in War?”    

Pope Francis Only Three More Years to Live… May Retire Sooner?

AFP reported on August 18 that “Pope Francis (77) on Monday publicly broached the prospect of his own death for the first time, giving himself ‘two or three years’ but not ruling out retirement before then.”

The article went on to cite Pope Francis as saying: “I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, not to become proud. Because I know it will last only a short time. Two or three years and then I’ll be off…”

The article also stated that “a Vatican source said he had previously told those close to him that he thought he only had a few years left,” and that “Pope Francis also mentioned the possibility of retiring from the Papacy, as his predecessor Benedict XVI did last year, if he felt he could no longer adequately perform his duties… Resigning the papacy was a possibility ‘even if it does not appeal to some theologians’, he told reporters. He added that 60 years ago it was practically unheard of for Catholic bishops to retire, but nowadays it was common. ‘Benedict XVI opened a door,’ he said.”

Are the IS Terrorists Unstoppable?

Der Spiegel Online wrote on August 18:

“Last week, thousands of Yazidis were evacuated from the Sinjar Mountains in Iraq, where they had fled due to marauding fighters from the Islamic State. Kurdish fighters from the PKK helped them escape, but it remains unclear if anyone can stop the IS jihadists…

“[There have been] stories of neighbors who suddenly became turned into their enemies, becoming accomplices to the IS… First, a discrete network of informants was established over a long period of time, including Arabs from surrounding villages, Turkmens and even some Kurds. The informants then directed the Islamist fighters to the houses full of valuables and showed them where Sunnis, Christians and Yazidis lived. The result was that the IS knew how strong their opponent was and who they should kill first. It’s the same blueprint the group followed in their attacks on cities and villages in northern Syria and on the Iraqi city of Mosul at the beginning of June…

“… the precision air strikes launched by American F-18 fighter jets have not stopped the IS… assault weapons and rocket-propelled grenades have proven ineffective in stopping the jihadist fighters, equipped as they are with armored Humvees, rocket launchers and artillery captured from the Iraqi army. It is weaponry that was initially delivered to the Iraqi military by the United States…”

This might remind us of end-time events when, on a grand scale, “friends” and “neighbors” will betray true Christians to dictatorial governments.

IS’ Brutal Murder of an American Journalist

BBC News reported on August 20:

“Prime Minister David Cameron has said the… beheading of a US journalist by an Islamic State militant with an English accent is ‘shocking and depraved’. James Foley, 40, has been missing since he was seized in Syria in 2012… The Metropolitan Police… warned that ‘viewing, downloading or disseminating’ the video may be an offence under terrorism legislation…

“Earlier Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told BBC Breakfast the government was aware of ‘significant numbers’ of British nationals involved with extremist organisations overseas… ‘We’re absolutely aware that there are significant numbers of British nationals involved in terrible crimes, probably in the commission of atrocities, making jihad with Isil [now known as IS—“Islamic State”] and other extremist organisations,’ he said… It is estimated that IS, which has seized large parts of northern Iraq and Syria, has up to 400 recruits from the UK in its ranks.”

The New York Times wrote on August 20:

“President Obama declared that the entire world was ‘appalled’ by the beheading of an American journalist by militants in Syria… The president called ISIS a ‘cancer’ in the region and accused them of having ‘rampaged across cities and villages, killing unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence.’ He said it had committed torture and rape against innocent women and children and continued to enslave those they did not kill…

“Mr. Obama gave no indication that the gruesome video would change United States strategy in Iraq, although he vowed to protect Americans from the militants and bring those responsible to justice. He made no mention of Mr. Sotloff, who was shown in a similar orange outfit to the one Mr. Foley was wearing. Mr. Sotloff’s life depends on Mr. Obama’s ‘next move,’ a masked militant in the video says…

“But the killing of Mr. Foley and the subsequent threat of another slaying if the United States continues to target militants in Syria and Iraq creates a searing and personal dilemma for the president: he cannot give in to demands from terrorists, but continuing the bombing of militants in Iraq could lead directly to another gruesome death of an American.

“The video could intensify pressure on Mr. Obama to broaden the American military offensive against ISIS… Republican lawmakers who have been pressing for a more aggressive American response against ISIS seized on the beheading as evidence that Mr. Obama had not done enough to confront the Sunni militants and to acknowledge them as a direct threat to Americans…”

Did Syria’s Assad Turn James Foley Over to ISIS?

Business Insider wrote on August 20:

“Following the grisly murder of an American journalist by extremist militants, one key question remains: How did ISIS abduct James Foley, who was widely considered to be in the custody of groups loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad?…

“Bashar al-Assad helped create ISIS by releasing many of its original members from Syria’s notorious Sednaya prison on May 31, 2011. He then let the group metastasize over three years to build a narrative that if the U.S. wants to choose sides in the Syrian war, it has to choose between the regime and ISIS…

“… it is well within Assad’s means and motives to give Western captors to the extremists that he helped make strong. ‘This is now the key question: Was Foley taken by the Assad regime?’ Middle East analyst Kyle Orton writes. If he was, then those who believe that Bashar al-Assad is a bulwark against [extremist jihadists] have yet another question to answer about their thesis.’” 

EU Offers to Take Charge of Gaza’s Border Crossings

The Associated Press reported on August 16:

“The European Union offered Friday to take charge of Gaza’s border crossings and work to prevent illegal arms flows, insisting on a durable truce and saying a return to the status quo before the latest war ‘is not an option.’…

“The EU is prepared ‘to play a strong role’ in managing the crossings while assuring that Israel’s security is guaranteed, said the 28-nation bloc’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton… The EU foreign ministers said the bloc is also prepared to prevent arms smuggling and launch a training program for Palestinian Authority police and customs officers to be deployed in Gaza…

“Israel… has demanded that Hamas be disarmed — a non-starter for the militant group — or at the very least be prevented from re-arming. Hamas… has an arsenal of several thousand rockets, some of which can reach major Israeli cities.”

Ultimately, Europe will play a major political role in the Middle East, claiming that military invasion and occupation may be necessary to establish “peace” in the region.

Gaza Fighting Continues…

Deutsche Welle reported on August 20:

“Israel is continuing strikes on the Gaza Strip. A ceasefire broke down Tuesday amid rocket fire, air attacks and the failure by negotiators to agree on a longer-term truce.

“The most recent airstrikes took place Wednesday, when Israeli media reported the military had killed Hamas leader Mohamed Deif. A woman and child were killed in a Gaza City airstrike on Tuesday night, with speculation circulating through the media that they were Deif’s wife and child. [This was confirmed by the New York Times, on August 20.]… Hamas officials say Deif was not killed…

“In Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called together his security Cabinet to discuss Israel’s next steps. Hard-liners in the prime minister’s government have called on him to launch a broad military operation against Hamas, the Palestinian political faction that runs Gaza.

“Israel’s government has faced international criticism over its military offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The war has destroyed thousands of homes and buildings in Gaza and seriously damaged its infrastructure, including water systems and the only power plant. More than 10,000 people have been left homeless in Gaza.”

More Terrorist Groups in Gaza

In addition to Hamas, JTA wrote on August 15 about additional terrorist organizations in Gaza which are determined to destroy Israel:

“Palestinian Islamic Jihad — Sometimes known in Israel simply as Jihad, this is the second-biggest terrorist group in Gaza after Hamas. Founded in 1979 as a break-away from the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad resembles Hamas in many ways. It’s a Palestinian national movement, it receives funding from Iran and has a small social service wing that includes schools, hospitals and family mediation services… It is also party to the negotiations taking place in Cairo…

“The Popular Resistance Committees, or PRC, is a break-away from the Palestinian Fatah Party, which governs the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. The PRC was founded in 2000 and opposes Fatah’s peace process with Israel. Unlike many groups operating in Gaza, the PRC is not Islamist. In 2012, Yediot Aharonot estimated that it was the third-strongest militia in Gaza and that it receives much of its funding from the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which is also backed by Iran…

“There are a number of jihadi groups reported to be active in Gaza and allied with, or supportive of, the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda agenda of reestablishing an international Islamic caliphate. Among them [is] the Army of Islam…

“[Other terrorist groups are] Tawhid wal’Jihad [and] Jund Ansar Allah…”

Truly, Israel is surrounded by enemies…

Did Ukraine Destroy Russian Military Vehicles?

AFP wrote on August 15:

“Ukraine said on Friday it had destroyed part of a Russian armoured column that entered onto its territory in an incursion that has sent cross-border tensions rocketing. NATO accused Russia of active involvement in the ‘destabilisation’ of eastern Ukraine, where pro-Kremlin separatists have been fighting against Kiev for four months…

“Fears that the border clash could spill into all-out war between Kiev and Moscow sent major share markets tumbling across Europe and the United States…

“The European Union demanded that Russia ‘put an immediate stop to any form of border hostilities, in particular to the flow of arms, military advisers and armed personnel into the conflict region, and to withdraw its forces from the border.’…

“NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen backed reports of the ‘Russian incursion’ after British media said it had seen the column of some 20 military vehicles cross the border on Thursday.”

Steinmeier Warns of War

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 17:

“German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the conflict should not turn into ‘a direct confrontation between Ukrainian and Russian armed forces.’… The separatists shot down another Ukrainian warplane overnight. A military spokesman confirmed the downing of the Mig-29 fighter in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, saying the pilot had ejected and been found after a search.

“Separatists have brought down some 10 Ukrainian aircraft since June. They also stand accused of having shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, killing 298 people…”

Europe is very concerned that Russia might intervene in Ukraine, and they should be. Based on Scripture, a collaboration between Russia and Ukraine will occur, which will ultimately be directed against Europe. Then, a powerful political and military European leader, the beast or the king of the North, will try to stop Russia and other Far Eastern nations militarily, but he will not succeed.

Useless Talks

Deutsche Welle reported on august 18:

“The Ukrainian military and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine on Monday traded accusations after unconfirmed reports that rocket fire had hit a convoy of buses carrying refugees from the city of Luhansk… [A Ukrainian] spokesman said rebels were responsible for the strike and that the death toll was still unknown. However, rebel sources claimed that the government had carried out the attack on the convoy.

“Around 500 people a day have been leaving the city, a rebel stronghold that has been under siege from government forces and left almost without water or electricity for more than two weeks…

“The reports come after crisis talks in Berlin on Sunday between the foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France aimed at bringing peace to the region. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that the talks had brought no progress toward resolving the conflict in Ukraine…

“However, Lavrov said that ‘all questions’ regarding a Russian humanitarian convoy to Ukraine had been resolved with Kyiv and the Red Cross. The convoy has been parked at the border between Russia and Ukraine for days amid objections from Kyiv…

“The conflict in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking east is in a critical phase, with Kyiv and Western governments fearing a possible Russian military intervention in support of the pro-Moscow insurgents, in view of a build-up of troops on Ukraine’s border…”

Now It’s Germany Spying on Clinton, Kerry and Turkey

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 18:

“A few months ago, following revelations about the NSA tapping her cell phone, Merkel famously stated, ‘Spying between friends is simply unacceptable.’ This quote is now being used in nearly every report about the alleged espionage carried out by Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND).

“A major humiliation for the German government could be in the works. After all, it was only recently that German politicians were harshly criticizing the US for spying on Germany. And Germany also expelled the top CIA official in the country after the activities of two US spies came to light.

“Now it has been revealed that the BND intercepted at least one call made by Hillary Clinton during her time as US secretary of state in 2012. The German government has responded by saying that the call was picked up ‘by accident’ as part of an intelligence-gathering focus on the Middle East. And in 2013 the agency allegedly recorded a call made by Clinton’s successor John Kerry…

“But while it seems that the Clinton and Kerry calls intercepted by the BND were indeed just a by-catch, the agency has been accused of not deleting one of them as it claims to do.

“Meanwhile, the German government has indirectly confirmed media reports that the BND has been spying on fellow NATO country Turkey for years… Turkey belongs to the core target countries under observation by the German intelligence service…

“The German government has defended this line of practice vehemently, saying that Turkey cannot be compared to the US or European countries like France and Great Britain. What happens in Turkey has a direct influence on domestic security in Germany, government sources told FAS. This includes the activities of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, left- and right-wing Turkish groups in Germany, drug smugglers and people smugglers… According to Christian Democratic Union faction deputy chairman Andreas Schockenhoff, all of this justifies systematic spying on Turkey – a NATO member and EU accession candidate.”

Deutsche Welle added on August 18:

“Turkey on Monday summoned the German ambassador in Ankara, Eberhard Pohl… after news magazine Der Spiegel reported on the weekend that Germany’s intelligence services had been spying on its NATO ally since 2009.  In a statement, Turkey’s foreign ministry said such spying would be ‘a serious matter’ if the report were true…”

These are embarrassing developments for Germany, and they will not help to better the relationship between Germany and the USA… or Turkey.

Racial Tension and Police Misconduct in Missouri

Deutsche Welle reported on August 15:

“Information released by police was met with skepticism after the shooting of an unarmed black teenager [Michael Brown] by a white police officer [Officer Wilson], which sparked outrage and put the spotlight on racial tension and police conduct…

“According to information released by authorities on Friday, the young black man had been a suspect in a ‘strong-arm robbery’ of nearly 50 dollars’ worth of cigarillos at a convenience store with a friend before he was shot dead around noon time… the family’s lawyers [were] claiming the link with the robbery was a ‘devious attempt’ to smear the teenager. ‘There is nothing based on the facts that have been placed before us that can justify the execution-style murder of their child by this police officer as he held his hands up, which is the universal sign of surrender,’ the lawyers added.

“Officer Wilson had not known that Brown had been a suspect in a robbery at the time of the shooting, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said. He declined to comment on why the officer had stopped the two teens…”

The Associated Press reported on August 18:

“An unarmed black teenager killed by a white officer in Missouri was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, a preliminary private autopsy has found… The autopsy by Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York City chief medical examiner, found that one of the bullets entered the top of Michael Brown’s skull… Witnesses say the teenager had his hands in the air as the officer fired multiple rounds.

“Baden told the [New York] Times that Brown was also shot four times in the right arm and that all the bullets were fired into his front. The newspaper said the bullets did not appear to have come from very close range because there was no gunpowder on his body.”

Racial and ethnic strife and misconduct by an increasingly “militarized” police force are major problems in the USA.

Missouri Keeps Arresting German Journalists

“‘To be arrested and yelled at and be rudely treated by police I had to travel to Ferguson and St. Louis in the United States of America,’ writes [a German] veteran reporter of his ordeal. Ansgar Graw and Frank Hermann were cuffed and jailed for three hours the day after arriving in the beleaguered suburb of St. Louis. Graw and Hermann were there to cover the town of Ferguson, whose African-American population has clashed fiercely with local police since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer on August 9.

“The journalists had wanted to take pictures of a burned out gas station on Florissant Avenue, the street at the centre of the week-long protest. The building was looted and burned the night of Brown’s death. ‘The street was empty at the time, there was no hint of violence or riotous assembly,’ Graw wrote for Die Welt of his ordeal… Graw took the pictures… but was then cuffed in zip ties… The [young] officer gave his name as Donald Duck.

“This was Graw’s first arrest. ‘This was a very new experience. I’ve been in several conflict zones: I was in the civil war regions in Georgia, the Gaza strip, illegally visited the Kaliningrad region when travel to the Soviet Union was still strictly prohibited for westerners, I’ve been in Iraq, Vietnam and in China, I’ve met Cuba dissidents. But to be arrested and yelled at and be rudely treated by police? For that I had to travel to Ferguson and St. Louis in the United States of America.’

“[A] Tabloid paper also wrote on Tuesday that one of their reporters had also been arrested by police in Ferguson. Lukas Hermsmeier spent the night in St. Louis County Jail in Clayton, Missouri.”

The tabloid paper was Bild, the most influential and popular tabloid in Germany, and normally very supportive of and friendly towards the USA. Bild has been reporting ever since on a daily basis about their journalist’s ordeal, expressing their outrage and consternation with American injustice and incompetency.  Apart from the militarization of police forces in America, it seems that many (young) police officers are simply not up to the task and due to their feelings of power and superiority, they act in a (perceived or real) conflict situation in a manner which is outside the bounds of propriety and sound reasoning.

A Feeling of Being Left Behind

The Washington Post wrote on August 18:

“Our society expects the police to keep unemployed, poorly educated African American men out of sight and out of mind. When they suddenly take center stage, illuminated by the flash and flicker of Molotov cocktails, we feign surprise…

“Millions of African Americans took advantage of the opportunities created by the civil rights movement to climb into the middle class — and in some cases far beyond, as exemplified by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.

“Yet millions of other black Americans did not reach the middle class. This group, mired in poverty and dysfunction, finds the paths others took are blocked. They live in neighborhoods with failing schools that cannot prepare them for today’s economy. Secure, high-paying blue-collar jobs are a thing of the past. Racial bias in policing means African Americans are much more likely to be arrested and jailed for minor nonviolent offenses, such as drug possession, than whites who commit the same crimes.

“Increasingly, these African Americans who were left behind are invisible… What happens in poor black neighborhoods has less and less to do with the everyday lives of middle-class Americans, white or black.

“Yet in Ferguson and other such pockets across the nation, millions of young black men and women grow up knowing that the deck is stacked against them. Did Michael Brown have a chip on his shoulder? Not according to his friends and family, although the convenience store video suggests otherwise…

“Brown had no police record. He had graduated from high school. He was about to enter a technical college. Given where he came from, it’s hard to do a whole lot better — and easy to do a whole lot worse.

“Now that the streets are filled with incoherent rage — and the rioting must be strongly condemned — we can see Brown’s struggle. Momentarily, at least. After the smoke clears, we will be blind once again.”

Shocking! America—the Richest Nation on Earth—One of the POOREST? reported on August 20:

“109,631,000 Americans lived in households that received benefits from one or more federally funded ‘means-tested programs”’— also known as welfare — as of the fourth quarter of 2012, according to data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau. The Census Bureau has not yet reported how many were on welfare in 2013 or the first two quarters of 2014.

“But the 109,631,000 living in households taking federal welfare benefits as of the end of 2012, according to the Census Bureau, equaled 35.4 percent of all 309,467,000 people living in the United States at that time.

“When those receiving benefits from non-means-tested federal programs — such as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment and veterans benefits — were added to those taking welfare benefits, it turned out that 153,323,000 people were getting federal benefits of some type at the end of 2012.

“Subtract the 3,297,000 who were receiving veterans’ benefits from the total, and that leaves 150,026,000 people receiving non-veterans’ benefits.

“The 153,323,000 total benefit-takers at the end of 2012, said the Census Bureau, equaled 49.5 percent of the population. The 150,026,000 taking benefits other than veterans’ benefits equaled about 48.5 percent of the population.

“When America re-elected President Barack Obama in 2012, we had not quite reached the point where more than half the country was taking benefits from the federal government. It is a reasonable bet, however, that with the implementation of Obamacare — with its provisions expanding Medicaid and providing health-insurance subsidies to people earning up to 400 percent of poverty — that if we have not already surpassed that point (not counting those getting veterans benefits) we soon will.

“… the CIA World Factbook says there are 142,470,272 people in Russia. So, the 150,026,000 people getting non-veterans federal benefits in the United States at the end of 2012 outnumbered all the people in Russia.

“63,742,977 people live in the United Kingdom and 44,291,413 live in the Ukraine, says the CIA. So, the combined 108,034,390 people in these two nations was about 1,596,610 less than 109,631,000 collecting welfare in the United States.

“It may be more telling, however, to compare the 109,631,000 Americans taking federal welfare benefits at the end of 2012 to Americans categorized by other characteristics.

“In 2012, according to the Census Bureau, there were 103,087,000 full-time year-round workers in the United States (including 16,606,000 full-time year-round government workers). Thus, the welfare-takers outnumbered full-time year-round workers by 6,544,000.

“California, the nation’s most-populated state, contained an estimated 38,332,521 people in 2013, says the Census Bureau. Texas had 26,448,193 people, New York had 19,651,127, and Florida had 19,552,860. But the combined 103,984,701 people in these four massive states still fell about 5,646,299 short of the 109,631,000 people on welfare.

“In the fourth quarter of 2008, when President Obama was elected, there were 96,197,000 people living in households taking benefits from one or more federal welfare programs. After four years, by the fourth quarter of 2012, that had grown by 13,434,000…”

These numbers do not point at a success story under President Obama’s leadership. But they also show the incredible decline of America’s prosperity, which can only be explained by the fact that God has been withdrawing His blessings, as it was prophesied to occur, due to our national and individual sins. 

Oregon to Pay for Transgender Surgeries

The Associated Press reported on August 14:

“Oregon’s Medicaid program will soon pay for gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy and other treatments for transgender patients, becoming… the third state besides the District of Columbia to extend coverage to gender dysphoria treatments…  ‘This is an historic step forward toward fairness and equality for transgender Oregonians,’ said Danielle Askini, policy director for the advocacy group Basic Rights Oregon. Oregon joins California, Vermont and Washington, D.C., in covering gender dysphoria treatments under Medicaid, Askini said.

“The coverage for gender dysphoria, previously known as gender identity disorder, is set to begin Jan. 1. The Oregon Health Authority still must formally change its rules to eliminate a prohibition against covering gender reassignment surgery…  Oregon insurance regulators in 2012 ordered private insurance companies to cover treatments for gender dysphoria. A lawsuit forced the state to cover treatments for public employees.

“With Medicaid patients gaining coverage, the last segment of Oregon’s health insurance market not required to cover gender dysphoria treatments is the Oregon Educators Benefit Board, which covers school district employees, Askini said.”

This is truly a terrible testimony against a country claiming to uphold Christian and biblical values. By no stretch of the imagination could it ever be said that the true God of the Bible would remotely support transgender operations. He calls this kind of conduct a blatant abomination.

Rick Perry Indicted

Newsmax reported on August 17:

“Texas Gov. Rick Perry, indicted late Friday [by a grand jury] on abuse of power charges, said he would make the same decision if the situation repeated itself. Perry is accused of threatening to withhold funding from the Travis County District Attorney’s Office after D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg, who was arrested for driving while intoxicated and seen in a police station video kicking a door and demanding to see the sheriff. ‘This is not the way we settle differences —  political differences —  in this country,’ Perry said of the indictment in an appearance on ‘Fox News Sunday.’ ‘You don’t do it with indictments. We settle our political differences at the ballot box.’

“The two felony counts of abuse of power against Perry could result in up to 99 years in prison if he is convicted. Perry told Fox News he takes the rule of law seriously, but doesn’t believe he has broken any laws. Instead, he said, he had done the same thing governors have done for decades…

“The indictment does not deal with Perry’s veto of $7.5 million in funding for the D.A. office’s public integrity unit. He is legally entitled to veto any law passed by the Texas Legislature. Instead, the charges are based on Perry’s public statements threatening to withhold the funds if Lehmberg refused to resign. That action constituted using his official capacity to coerce a public servant, the indictment claims.

“But Perry pointed out that liberals such as David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton, and Alan Dershowitz, noted Harvard Law professor, have called the Perry indictment politically questionable.”

Dershowitz “Outraged” Over Perry’s “Political” Indictment

Newsmax wrote in an accompanying article, dated August 17:

“Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz calls himself a ‘liberal Democrat who would never vote for Rick Perry,’ but he’s still ‘outraged’ over the Texas governor’s indictment Friday on charges of abuse of power and coercion. The charges are politically motivated and an example of a ‘dangerous’ trend of courts being used to affect the ballot box and politics, he told Newsmax on Saturday.

“‘Everybody, liberal or conservative, should stand against this indictment,’ Dershowitz said… ‘This is another example of the criminalization of party differences…  This idea of an indictment is an extremely dangerous trend in America, whether directed at [former House Majority Leader] Tom DeLay or [former President] Bill Clinton.’ Further, Dershowitz said, such indictments are something that’s done in totalitarian countries and should not be done in the United States…

“Dershowitz also told Newsmax Perry was well within his rights when he vetoed the money for Lehmberg’s office, as he ‘saw a drunk serving as DA’ who ‘shouldn’t be enforcing criminal law.’ Dershowitz believes Perry will be acquitted, and the indictment will become an embarrassment to those involved.

“Perry is often named as a potential candidate for the GOP nomination in 2016, and has opted not to seek a fourth term as governor of Texas…”

Some Republicans Partly Responsible?

Breitbart added on August 18:

“In light of the malicious prosecution of Governor Rick Perry, Republican lawmakers are rushing to jump on the bandwagon opposing the Democrats politically motivated action. But several House Republicans loyal to liberal House Speaker, Joe Straus, bear responsibility for setting the stage leading to the indictments.

“In fact, 18 Republicans joined with the chamber’s Democrats in stopping Gov. Perry’s 2013 initiative to move the Public Integrity Unit out from under convicted drunk driver Rosemary Lehmberg, Travis county’s Democrat district attorney.”

Politics IS such a dirty business!

Ebola Out of Control

The Sidney Morning Herald wrote on August 16:

“The Ebola crisis in west Africa is outstripping the ability of aid organisations to stem the epidemic, the head of international medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said Friday, likening it to a war. ‘It’s moving, and advancing, but we have no clue how it’s going. Like in a war time, we have a total collapse of infrastructure,’ she added. The outbreak started at the beginning of this year in the forested border zone between Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and has also spread to Nigeria.”

The Mirror wrote on August 17:

“Here in the hellish Ebola zone of West Africa, the victims’ remains have to be cremated quickly as even the dead are contagious. This is the heart-breaking drudgery of life in disease-racked Liberia, where the worst outbreak of this violent disease in history claims fresh lives daily. The World Health Organisation admitted that the official death toll of 1,145 in the region ‘vastly underestimates the magnitude of the outbreak’…

“Survival rates are less than 40%, and there is no vaccine or treatment… That is why the capital Monrovia is currently gripped by paranoia and ­suspicion over the spread of the disease… Yet in the filthy slums, many seem to be going about their… business as normal. Torrential rain [turns]  the shanty town tracks into a putrid quagmire. It must be the ideal breeding ground for a virus so contagious a quick touch on the arm from a sufferer is apparently enough to spread it. By the time you know you should have been more careful, it might already be too late… Incubation can take up to 21 days…”

The Bible prophesies that worldwide diseases and pandemics will increase in these last days, just prior to the return of Jesus Christ. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Biblical Prophecy—From Now Until Forever.”

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