Current Events

Germany Concerned About Rumors from the East

Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 16:

“The German government is concerned about Russia’s politics of power regarding the Balkans. President Putin is apparently trying to disassociate the countries from the EU.”

The Local wrote on November 16:

“A German embassy worker has been expelled from Moscow in what Berlin sees as a ‘retaliatory’ move, a German foreign ministry source said Saturday… According to Spiegel, the move comes after Berlin expelled a Russian diplomat from the consulate general in the western city of Bonn ‘in total discretion’. ‘In similar cases in the past, there was no reaction from the Russians, this time it’s different,’ the weekly wrote, citing a source within the German foreign ministry.”

Die Zeit wrote on November 16:

“The signs between Russia and the West show a new ice age.”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 17:

“From the perspective of Berlin, Russia has gone from being a difficult partner to being an adversary within just one year…”

Putin Under Attack

BBC News reported on November 16:

“Much of the [G20] summit focused on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s position on the crisis in Ukraine. Mr Putin faced fierce criticism and left the meeting before it ended, but said the summit was ‘constructive’. Mr Putin said he was leaving before the release of the official communique, citing the long flight to home to Russia and the need for sleep…

“Mr Obama told reporters Mr Putin was ‘violating international law, providing heavy arms to the separatists in Ukraine’ and violating the Minsk agreement. He said the ‘economic isolation’ of Russia would continue unless Mr Putin changed course… During the summit, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and British Prime Minister David Cameron also sharply criticised Mr Putin…”

The Times of Israel wrote on November 15:

“British Prime Minister David Cameron went so far as to allude to Nazi Germany when referring to Russian actions… Widely reported in the British press as an allusion to Adolf Hitler’s regime, Cameron added that the world had in the past seen the terrible results of a major power meddling in the affairs of a weaker European country… The West this week accused Russia of sending fresh military hardware into eastern Ukraine, fueling fears of a return to all-out conflict.”

Germany to the Rescue?

On November 18, the Local published an article with the following headline: Steinmeier rushes to Moscow as Ukraine boils.” The article continued:

“Germany’s Foreign Minister jetted to Kiev and Moscow on Tuesday in a bid to revive a failing peace plan in eastern Ukraine, where intense fighting has pushed EU-Russia relations to [a] breaking point…

“Ahead of Steinmeier’s visit, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said Moscow hoped ‘that the ‘point of no return’ has not yet been crossed’ in its relations with Europe. Lavrov cautioned there would not be a major breakthrough at the talks with his counterpart from Germany…

“Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko on Monday wrote on Twitter that while Kiev wants to avoid all-out conflict, it is ‘prepared for a scenario of total war’.”

Henry Kissinger Speaks Out

In November, Der Spiegel Online conducted a revealing interview with Henry Kissinger. We are bringing you the following excerpts:

“SPIEGEL: Dr. Kissinger, when we look at the world today, it seems to be messier than ever — with wars, catastrophes and chaos everywhere. Is the world really in greater disorder than ever before?

“Kissinger: It seems that it is. There is chaos threatening us, through the spread of weapons of mass destruction and cross-border terrorism. There is now a phenomenon of ungoverned territories, and we have seen in Libya, for example, that an ungoverned territory can have an enormous impact on disorder in the world. The state as a unit is under attack, not in every part of the world, but in many parts of it…

“SPIEGEL: … How should the West react to the Russian annexation of Crimea? Do you fear this might mean that borders in the future are no longer incontrovertible?

“Kissinger: Crimea is a symptom, not a cause. Furthermore, Crimea is a special case. Ukraine was part of Russia for a long time. You can’t accept the principle that any country can just change the borders and take a province of another country. But if the West is honest with itself, it has to admit that there were mistakes on its side. The annexation of Crimea was not a move toward global conquest. It was not Hitler moving into Czechoslovakia… Europe and America did not understand the impact of these events, starting with the negotiations about Ukraine’s economic relations with the European Union and culminating in the demonstrations in Kiev. All these, and their impact, should have been the subject of a dialogue with Russia. This does not mean the Russian response was appropriate…

“SPIEGEL: Relations between the West and Russia are tenser now than they have been in decades. Should we be concerned about the prospects of a new Cold War?

“Kissinger: There clearly is this danger, and we must not ignore it. I think a resumption of the Cold War would be a historic tragedy. If a conflict is avoidable, on a basis reflecting morality and security, one should try to avoid it… the West could not accept the annexation; some countermeasures were necessary. But nobody in the West has offered a concrete program to restore Crimea. Nobody is willing to fight over eastern Ukraine…  There’s no question that it was morally justified to overthrow Muammar Gadhafi, but we were not willing to fill the vacuum afterwards. Therefore we have militias fighting against each other today. You get an ungoverned territory and an arms depot for Africa…

“SPIEGEL: Are you in favor of a more assertive role for Europe, especially for Germany?

“Kissinger: Yes, certainly… Germany is the most significant European country and, yes, it should be much more active. I do have very high regard of Ms. Merkel, and I think she is the right person for leading Germany into this role…”

As can be expected, Henry Kissinger’s viewpoints reflect truth and error. His statements about Germany are remarkable.

Austria—What You Might Not Have Known About it!

The Local (Austrian edition) wrote on November 6:

“When Vladimir Putin visited Vienna in June 2014, the long-serving head of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber said it was already the third time he had received the Russian president. Putin, jokingly criticizing his host’s longevity, cried out in German: ‘Dictatorship! But good dictatorship.’ Austrian and Russian entrepreneurs in the audience burst out laughing. So did Austria’s president, Heinz Fischer, who amicably patted Putin on the back.

“In summer 2014, while EU-Russian relations were sinking toward Cold War levels, refocusing NATO’s attention on its Eastern flank, Austria was giving the Russian president the red-carpet treatment. Officially, Vienna supports EU sanctions against Russia, but most Austrians are unhappy with the measures, even after much fighting in eastern Ukraine.

“Austria is also moving ahead with the South Stream pipeline, a venture that will bring more Russian gas to Europe but that Brussels has criticized for its noncompliance with EU rules.

“It is not just Vienna’s stances on the Ukraine crisis and Russian energy that set it apart from many other European capitals. Austria’s entire European discourse is different. Few Austrians care about the euro crisis or the new European commissioners who entered office in November 2014. The country has its back to Brussels and looks toward Eastern and Southeastern Europe, where it earns most of its money…

“Austrians see themselves as ultra-pragmatists who never take a stand except when it comes to promoting their business interests. Muddling through is second nature to them… The Ukrainian border is closer to Vienna than the Swiss border is. Bratislava is a 50 minute drive away, and Budapest can be reached in a few hours… The Habsburg Empire once stretched from Italy’s Lombardy to Ukraine’s Lviv. Despite having been cut off from this hinterland during the Cold War, Austrians feel close to Central and Eastern Europe. There are family ties; the mentality is similar.

“Austria is also the second-biggest investor in Central and Eastern, in terms of GDP, after Germany. Austrians’ stability and prosperity depend on the region’s well-being…

“Austria has a different relationship with Russia from that of Poland or the Baltic states: those countries were ‘freed’ after the Cold War ended, while Austria’s understanding with Moscow continues. Vienna applied for EU membership only after an explicit go-ahead by then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989. Austria joined the EU in 1995, along with Sweden and Finland. It doesn’t dare join NATO.

“Austria… is the second-richest EU member state after Luxembourg. Government debt and the budget deficit are modest by eurozone standards, at 80.3 percent and 2.8 percent of GDP respectively in 2014…

“In the 1930s, Austrians fought Austrians in a civil war. Then came Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria in 1938, with big Austrian crowds cheering Hitler. After the Second World War, Germany went through a painful soul-searching process. Austria did not. It still portrays itself as a victim of the Germans…

“Thanks to Austrian neutrality, Vienna became the UN’s third headquarters after New York and Geneva… It is no coincidence that the US agents who were caught spying on German trade policy in July 2014 received their instructions and payment from the US embassy in the Austrian capital…

“In July 1989, Austria submitted a request for EU membership… Later that year, the Berlin Wall came down. That this event coincided with Austria’s move toward EU membership was an unbelievable piece of luck for Vienna. The fall of Communism meant that Eastern European countries would eventually join the union, shifting Europe’s heart eastward. Austria would sit right in the middle of this ‘new Europe’. This transition gave the Austrian economy a tremendous boost. The country’s entrepreneurs travelled all over Eastern Europe, buying up banks and companies and starting businesses…

“Vienna… has the second-biggest Serbian population after Belgrade… In Vienna, there is irritation about past and present EU policies toward Moscow and Kiev. Most Austrians agree the EU has made a mistake by getting closer to Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, and not to Russia…

“Austria was the first European country to receive Russian gas, in the late 1960s. A big storage facility, co-owned by Russia, lies close to Vienna. Austrians, who insist that this gas has always arrived on time, see no need to reduce their dependency on Russian energy…

“In the future, Austria will keep walking a tightrope in Europe. Itself a product of tension between East and West, the country will abide by EU rules and will be careful not to burn bridges… Austrians believe they are at the centre of the new Europe. Whatever this means, they must somehow make it work. And that is precisely what Austrians have always been doing: trying to reconcile irreconcilable viewpoints, and doing well out of it.”

Austria might very well play a major role in Europe. Another European country sympathetic to Russia would be Bulgaria.

Ethnic German First Romanian President

The EUObserver wrote on November 17:

“On Sunday night (16 November), thousands of people gathered again in University Square, waving Romanian flags with a round hole in the middle, just as they did in 1989, when they cut out the Communist coat of arms. This time, it was to celebrate the unexpected victory of Klaus Iohannis, the first Romanian president to come from an ethnic minority…
“55-year old Iohannis belongs to a small German ethnic minority in Transylvania which settled there in the 12th century and was as numerous as 700,000 before the Second World War… As a centre-right politician of German ethnicity, Iohannis is also likely to become an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.”

Deutsche Welle added on November 17:

“It’s a surprise of historic dimensions. For the first time since the political turn of events 25 years ago, Romanians have demonstrated cross-party solidarity… Klaus Iohannis has shown quite formidably that a Protestant ethnic German politician can be a good Romanian, too…

“Before the Iron Curtain fell, Romanians had to stand in line for nights on end to get a stick of butter or two bananas for their children. This time, they lined up to give democracy in their country a new chance. Against their own government’s wishes. And they persevered! Now it’s up to Iohannis to show that he deserves voters’ trust while at the same time providing for balance and reconciliation as the president of all Romanians.”

Most Migrants Obtain EU Citizenship Through the UK

The Times wrote on November 18:

“The UK granted almost a quarter of all new citizenships granted within the EU, according to official figures published today. Migrants from India topped the list of people being given a UK passport, followed by those from Pakistan, Nigeria and the Philippines in 2012, the statistics showed.

“The UK granted citizenship to the highest number of migrants of any of the 28 EU states in 2012, giving passports to 193,900 people.”

No Limit to Construction in East Jerusalem

Deutsche Welle reported on November 16:

“Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman… voiced in unequivocal fashion his nation’s right to housing construction in the annexed eastern section of Jerusalem, saying Israel would ‘never agree to limit its activity.’… German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier… urged Lieberman and the Israeli government to pursue all possible avenues for peace and, in particular, to ‘refrain from all activity’ that could potentially be a stumbling block to peace negotiations with Palestinians…

“Israel refers to the entire city of Jerusalem as its ‘united, undivided capital.’ The Palestinians demand that the city’s eastern sector be made capital of their promised state, and are vehemently against any Israeli attempt to expand construction. Liebermann’s remarks came four days after Israel approved plans to build 200 homes in Ramot in occupied East Jerusalem despite months of almost daily clashes and tensions there with Palestinians, triggered in part by settlement expansion.

“That announcement prompted a rebuke from Washington, which reiterated its ‘unequivocal’ opposition to such construction in East Jerusalem, warning it could ‘exacerbate this difficult situation on the ground and … will not contribute to efforts to reduce the tension.’… Recent disputes between Israelis and Palestinians also concern access to the flashpoint site known to Jews as Temple Mount and Muslims as the Al-Aqsa Mosque – part of a compound supervised by neighboring Jordan.”

Serious Upheaval in Israel

The Guardian wrote on November 18:

“Five Israelis were killed and eight more wounded in a frenzied assault by two Palestinian men [cousins] on Jewish worshippers praying at a Jerusalem synagogue in the most lethal incident in the city in years. The two assailants who launched their attack with meat cleavers and a gun during early morning prayers were then killed by police officers in the ensuing gun battle at the scene of the attack… Three of the victims held dual US-Israeli citizenship, and one was a British-Israeli citizen…

“The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a militant group, said the cousins were its members. A PFLP statement did not specify whether the group instructed the cousins to carry out the attack. Hamas, the militant Palestinian group that runs the Gaza Strip, also praised the attack. Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, vowed that Israel would ‘respond harshly’ to the attack, describing it as a ‘cruel murder of Jews who came to pray and were killed by despicable murderers’.

“The US secretary of state, John Kerry, said he spoke to Netanyahu after the assault and denounced it as an ‘act of pure terror and senseless brutality and violence. Innocent people who had come to worship died in the sanctuary of a synagogue,’ Kerry said, his voice quavering. They were hatcheted, hacked and murdered in that holy place in an act of pure terror and senseless brutality and murder. I call on Palestinians at every single level of leadership to condemn this in the most powerful terms. This violence has no place anywhere, particularly after the discussion that we just had the other day in Amman.’…

“The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the attack, the first time he has done so since a recent spike in deadly violence against Israelis began. He also called for an end to Israeli ‘provocations’ surrounding the sacred site… The statement called for an end to the ‘invasion’ of the mosque at the holy site and a halt to ‘incitement’ by Israeli ministers…

“Tuesday’s attack was the latest in a series of deadly assaults. Five Israelis and a foreign visitor have been deliberately run over and killed or stabbed to death by Palestinians while about a dozen Palestinians have also been killed, including those accused of carrying out those attacks. Residents trace the violence in Jerusalem to July, when a Palestinian teenager was burned to death by Jewish assailants, an alleged revenge attack for the abduction and killing of three Jewish teens by Palestinian militants in the occupied West Bank…”

Deutsche Welle added on November 18:

“The armed wing of the militant group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine… praised [the two murderers] as ‘heroic comrades’ and ‘martyrs, and called for an escalation of ‘confrontations with (Israeli) occupiers and settlers who have no place on our land.’…

“Netanyahu blamed the attack on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. ‘This is the direct result of the incitement being led by [Islamist militant group] Hamas and Abu Mazen (Abbas), incitement which the international community is irresponsibly ignoring,’ Netanyahu said…

“Incidents of violence in Jerusalem, other parts of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories has surged in the past month, fuelled in part by a dispute over a Jerusalem holy site referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.”

The Times of Israel commented on November 18:

“This was no case of ‘spontaneous terrorism’… the two terrorists… cousins from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, were apparently familiar with the synagogue where they staged their attack. They may have worked in the area; plainly, they gathered intelligence on it prior to the attack.

“The relatively high body count also sets Tuesday’s attack apart from the recent attacks — which include the attempted murder of Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehudah Glick — and creates more potential for escalation. An indiscriminate massacre of worshipers in a synagogue, wrapped in their prayer shawls, strikes at the most basic symbols of the Jewish people, and could result in acts of revenge against Palestinians…

“Jerusalem refuses to return to normal… The decision-makers and the security establishment cannot solve the security nightmare that has enveloped Jerusalem…

“The prime beneficiaries of the grim new reality are the terror groups, led by Hamas. The Islamist terror organization is doing everything it can to inflame tensions and encourage more attacks. Its spokespeople praised the murderers in Tuesday’s attack, just as they did the previous killers. Joining Hamas are other terror groups…”

Israel Upset with Spanish Parliamentary Vote

Deutsche Welle wrote on November 19:

“Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday decried the Spanish parliament’s overwhelming vote in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state, which came hours after a deadly attack in a Jerusalem synagogue. ‘The declaration of the Spanish parliament only distances the chance of reaching an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians because it encourages the Palestinians to become more extreme in their positions,’ the Foreign Ministry statement said.

“The overwhelming but symbolic Spanish vote- 319 in favor, two against, one abstention – appealed to the government in Madrid to recognize Palestine in conjunction with any similar move from the European Union. French parliamentarians will also vote on the matter on November 28; Sweden formally recognized Palestine last month.

“‘It would have been better if the Spanish parliament had instead chosen to do the right thing by condemning the abominable slaughter carried out by inflamed Palestinians in a synagogue in Jerusalem,’ the Foreign Ministry said. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said late on Tuesday that some countries were guilty of ignoring the bloodshed in the region and were instead seeking to reward the Palestinians, in reference to the vote in Spain.”

What’s Next for Saudi Arabia?

BBC News wrote on November 18:

“With the Middle East in an unprecedented state of turmoil, the need for smooth and orderly transfers of power in Saudi Arabia – ruled by a 90-year-old infirm monarch – has become more crucial than ever – but who will inherit the kingdom in the coming years is a thorny issue yet to be resolved.

“Saudi Arabia is a large and influential country. Guardian of the two most holy sites in Islam, it regards itself as leader of the Sunni community worldwide. The kingdom is a key player in Sunni attempts to block Shia Iranian influence in the Middle East – and is the world’s leading oil producer.

“On the face of it, the immediate succession process is arranged and agreed upon by the senior princes of the Al Saud royal family.

“King Abdullah will be succeeded by Crown Prince Salman, an event which in turn should make Prince Muqrin (at present deputy crown prince) the next heir to the throne… Today, the assumption – but no more than that – is that Prince Muqrin’s elevation to deputy crown prince means that in time he will be the last son of the founding monarch to sit on the throne. But Prince Ahmed [another one of King Abdullah’s sons] might still assert his seniority by age… King Abdullah is old and frail, while, according to unconfirmed reports, Crown Prince Salman (78) suffers health problems – something strongly denied by the Saudi authorities…

“A meeting of the Allegiance Council, a body consisting of sons and grandsons of Ibn Saud to resolve succession issues, was held in March 2014 and endorsed King Abdullah’s elevation of Prince Muqrin – with the proviso that this appointment could not be overturned. But not all princes present at that Allegiance Council meeting voted in favour of Prince Muqrin’s promotion. Differences of opinion are likely to manifest themselves still more when he, as the youngest of Ibn Saud’s sons, moves up the succession ladder…

“Saudi Arabia faces many internal challenges, ranging from rising youth unemployment, the return of jihadists from Iraq and Syria, to growing criticism of Al Saud on domestic social media and simmering restiveness in the Shia-dominated Eastern Province.”

Obama Ignorant About Climate Change?

On November 19, The Washington Times published an article by  Bob Carter and Tom Harris, stating that “Bob Carter is former professor and head of the School of Earth Sciences at James Cook University in Australia. Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa-based International Climate Science Coalition.” The article stated the following:

“The focus of the 2014 Group of 20 summit meeting in Brisbane, Australia, was on stimulating economic growth across the industrialized world. Thanks, though, to President Obama’s grandstanding and attempted sabotage of the agenda as laid out by the host country, climate change also came to prominence.

“For several months prior to the G-20, and despite strong Australian resistance, radical environmental groups had been lobbying for inclusion of global-warming issues on the meeting’s agenda. Mr. Obama was happy to oblige them. His endorsement of the U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change just before the G-20 was a signal that he would also use the Australian meeting to highlight his campaign to stop ‘global warming.’

“That global warming stopped 18 years ago and the warming of a few tenths of a degree between 1979 and 1997 shows no sign of being other than of natural origin is apparently unknown to the president. Taking action on climate change is to be a cornerstone of his presidential legacy. Bankrupting the domestic coal-mining companies is just an added bonus in Mr. Obama’s eyes…

“New scientific papers appear nearly every week that show that the claimed link between carbon-dioxide emissions and dangerous global warming is imaginary. Accordingly, the link between climate-change policy and energy policy is thereby invalidated, but this persistently escapes global-warming pundits…”

No Keystone XL Pipeline

The Washington Times wrote on November 18:

“Senate Democrats filibustered the Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday, in a vote that reverberated from Louisiana, where a key senator’s career is now likely doomed, to the broader national Democratic Party, where environmentalists have emerged triumphant in a divisive internal battle with labor unions.

“The Keystone vote took on symbolism far beyond the small impact on American crude supplies and the slight effect expected on gas prices. Environmentalists drew lines and dared moderate and conservative Democrats to cross it. In the end, most were unwilling to defy the ascendant movement…

“The vote fell one shy of the 60 needed to overcome the filibuster, with 14 Democrats joining all 45 Republicans in backing the project. In the near term, the vote means President Obama gets to avoid a difficult decision on whether to veto the bill. But Senate Republicans said he shouldn’t get too comfortable because they will pass a new version as soon as they take control of the chamber next year. Based on Tuesday’s vote and Senate balance next year, Republicans should have enough support to overcome a Democratic filibuster but not enough to override a presidential veto…

“State Department officials have been delaying a decision for years, trying to decide whether to approve the final permit that would allow the pipeline to cross the international boundary between Canada and the U.S., bringing crude from the oil deposits in the tar sands of Alberta to refineries in the U.S….”

The Immigration Debate: Amnesty—Yes or No?

On November 20, The Washington Times published an article with the following headline: “Obama Offers Amnesty to 5 Million Illegal Immigrants.”

The article continued:

“Brushing aside warnings from Republicans, President Obama announced Thursday night that he is granting legal status and work permits for nearly 5 million illegal immigrants, igniting a constitutional furor that amounted to a declaration of war against the incoming GOP majorities in Congress.

“In a prime-time address from the White House, Mr. Obama said his action is ‘lawful,’ and he dared Republican critics in Congress to counter him by passing a comprehensive legislation, which he said would be a permanent fix…

“Specifically, the president’s executive action will:

“–Create a new deferred deportation program for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent resident children, if they have been in the country for more than five years. It will grant them work permits for three years if they pass background checks and pay back taxes and fees. In nearly all states, the people who are granted legal status will be entitled to driver’s licenses.

“–Expand protection from deportation to more ‘Dreamers,’ or people who came to the U.S. illegally as children, and grant more work permits to high-skilled workers.

“–Establish a new priority system for deporting illegal immigrants, requiring the Department of Homeland Security to focus on people serving jail time for criminal offenses.

“–Add more immigration judges to the border region so illegal immigrants who are deemed low-priority can be released more quickly, and recent border crossers and those with serious criminal records can be deported…

“The president said his executive action was ‘common sense,’ and rejected the characterization that he is granting amnesty… ‘Mass amnesty would be unfair,’ Mr. Obama said. ‘Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character. What I’m describing is accountability — a commonsense, middle ground approach: If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported. If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.’

“Mr. Obama asserted that his action is similar to ‘the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican president and every Democratic president for the past half century.’

“Mr. Obama had resisted this type of executive action for years, and had repeatedly told immigrant-rights activists he didn’t have the authority to issue such a broad exemption from deportations. The White House has struggled to explain his new legal analysis, though they have assured reporters that Homeland Security and Justice Department lawyers have approved his decisions.”

Newsmax had reported on November 19: 

“A move by President Obama granting ‘amnesty’ to some illegal immigrants would ruin the chances of Congress acting on immigration and other issues, a spokesman for U.S. House Speaker John Boehner warned on Wednesday. ‘If “Emperor Obama” ignores the American people and announces an amnesty plan that he himself has said over and over again exceeds his constitutional authority, he will cement his legacy of lawlessness and ruin the chances for congressional action on this issue – and many others,’ Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement emailed to reporters.”

President Obama did announce what Republicans have termed as “amnesty,” even though the President rejected that characterization. It remains to be seen what Republicans will do now… if anything.

The Mormon Church—What You Might Not Have Known About It!

The New York Times wrote on November 10:

“Mormon leaders have acknowledged for the first time that the church’s founder and prophet, Joseph Smith, portrayed in church materials as a loyal partner to his loving spouse Emma, took as many as 40 wives, some already married and one only 14 years old… Many Mormons, especially those with polygamous ancestors, say they were well aware that Smith’s successor, Brigham Young, practiced polygamy when he led the flock in Salt Lake City. But they did not know the full truth about Smith…

“Smith probably did not have sexual relations with all of his wives, because some were ‘sealed’ to him only for the next life… The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Mormon Church is formally known, has quietly posted 12 essays on its website over the last year on contentious topics such as the ban on blacks in the priesthood, which was lifted in 1978, and accounts of how Smith translated the Book of Mormon, the church’s sacred scripture.

“In 1890, under pressure by the American government, the church issued a manifesto formally ending polygamy. The church’s essay on this phase admits that some members and even leaders did not abandon the practice for years. But the church did renounce polygamy, and Mormons who refused to do the same eventually broke away and formed splinter churches, some that still exist…

“There remains one way in which polygamy is still a part of Mormon belief: The church teaches that a man who was “sealed” in marriage to his wife in a temple ritual, then loses his wife to death or divorce, can be sealed to a second wife and would be married to both wives in the afterlife…”

How the Book of Mormon Came Into Being

The following can be found on the official website of the Mormon Church, pertaining to the translation of the Book of Mormon:

“Joseph Smith reported that on the evening of September 21, 1823, while he prayed in the upper room of his parents’ small log home in Palmyra, New York, an angel who called himself Moroni appeared and told Joseph that ‘God had a work for [you] to do.’ He informed Joseph that ‘there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang.’ The book could be found in a hill not far from the Smith family farm. This was no ordinary history, for it contained ‘the fullness of the everlasting Gospel as delivered by the Savior.’

“The angel charged Joseph Smith to translate the book from the ancient language in which it was written. The young man, however, had very little formal education and was incapable of writing a book on his own, let alone translating an ancient book written from an unknown language, known in the Book of Mormon as ‘reformed Egyptian’ Joseph’s wife Emma insisted that, at the time of translation, Joseph ‘could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictat[e] a book like the Book of Mormon.’

“Joseph received the plates in September 1827 and the following spring, in Harmony, Pennsylvania, began translating them in earnest, with Emma and his friend Martin Harris serving as his main scribes. The resulting English transcription, known as the Book of Lehi and referred to by Joseph Smith as written on 116 pages, was subsequently lost or stolen. As a result, Joseph Smith was rebuked by the Lord and lost the ability to translate for a short time.

“Joseph began translating again in 1829, and almost all of the present Book of Mormon text was translated during a three-month period between April and June of that year. His chief scribe during these months was Oliver Cowdery, a schoolteacher from Vermont who learned about the Book of Mormon while boarding with Joseph’s parents in Palmyra. Called by God in a vision, Cowdery traveled to Harmony to meet Joseph Smith and investigate further. Of his experience as scribe, Cowdery wrote, ‘These were days never to be forgotten—to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven.’

“The manuscript that Joseph Smith dictated to Oliver Cowdery and others is known today as the original manuscript, about 28 percent of which still survives. This manuscript corroborates Joseph Smith’s statements that the manuscript was written within a short time frame and that it was dictated from another language. For example, it includes errors that suggest the scribe heard words incorrectly rather than misread words copied from another manuscript. In addition, some grammatical constructions that are more characteristic of Near Eastern languages than English appear in the original manuscript, suggesting that the base language of the translation was not English…

“Joseph Smith and his scribes wrote of two instruments used in translating the Book of Mormon. According to witnesses of the translation, when Joseph looked into the instruments, the words of scripture appeared in English. One instrument, called in the Book of Mormon the ‘interpreters,’ is better known to Latter-day Saints today as the ‘Urim and Thummim.’ Joseph found the interpreters buried in the hill with the plates. Those who saw the interpreters described them as a clear pair of stones bound together with a metal rim. The Book of Mormon referred to this instrument, together with its breastplate, as a device ‘kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord’ and ‘handed down from generation to generation, for the purpose of interpreting languages.’

“The other instrument, which Joseph Smith discovered in the ground years before he retrieved the gold plates, was a small oval stone, or ‘seer stone.’ As a young man during the 1820s, Joseph Smith, like others in his day, used a seer stone to look for lost objects and buried treasure. As Joseph grew to understand his prophetic calling, he learned that he could use this stone for the higher purpose of translating scripture.

“Apparently for convenience, Joseph often translated with the single seer stone rather than the two stones bound together to form the interpreters. These two instruments—the interpreters and the seer stone—were apparently interchangeable and worked in much the same way such that, in the course of time, Joseph Smith and his associates often used the term ‘Urim and Thummim’ to refer to the single stone as well as the interpreters…

“Joseph placed either the interpreters or the seer stone in a hat, pressed his face into the hat to block out extraneous light, and read aloud the English words that appeared on the instrument…

“Another scribe, Martin Harris sat across the table from Joseph Smith and wrote down the words Joseph dictated. Harris later related that as Joseph used the seer stone to translate, sentences appeared. Joseph read those sentences aloud, and after penning the words, Harris would say, ‘Written.’

“The principal scribe, Oliver Cowdery, testified under oath in 1831 that Joseph Smith ‘found with the plates, from which he translated his book, two transparent stones, resembling glass, set in silver bows. That by looking through these, he was able to read in English, the reformed Egyptian characters, which were engraven on the plates…’”

All of this, if true, sounds rather spooky and dangerously demonic. Inasmuch as the Book of Mormon, as it is known today, contains many Scriptural errors and false doctrinal teachings, contradicting the Bible, we know that it was not of godly origin. The narrative above, if accurate, seems to confirm even more clearly what its true origin has been. Insofar as the real Urim and Thummim are concerned, they had nothing to do with the gift of translating languages. Please read our Q&A titled, “What is known about the biblical ‘Urim and Thummim?’”

Al Sharpton’s Shaky History

The New York Times wrote on November 17:

“Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo hailed him as a civil rights icon. President Obama sent an aide to read a message commending Mr. Sharpton’s ‘dedication to the righteous cause of perfecting our union.’ Major corporations sponsored the lavish affair. It was billed as a ‘party for a cause,’ in honor of Mr. Sharpton’s 60th birthday…

“Mr. Sharpton’s influence and visibility have reached new heights this year, fueled by his close relationships with the mayor and the president. Obscured in his ascent, however, has been his troubling financial past, which continues to shadow his present.

“Mr. Sharpton has regularly sidestepped the sorts of obligations most people see as inevitable, like taxes, rent and other bills. Records reviewed by The New York Times show more than $4.5 million in current state and federal tax liens against him and his for-profit businesses. And though he said in recent interviews that he was paying both down, his balance with the state, at least, has actually grown in recent years. His National Action Network appears to have been sustained for years by not paying federal payroll taxes on its employees.

“With the tax liability outstanding, Mr. Sharpton traveled first class and collected a sizable salary, the kind of practice by nonprofit groups that the United States Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration recently characterized as ‘abusive’ or ‘potentially criminal’ if the failure to turn over or collect taxes is willful.

“Mr. Sharpton and the National Action Network have repeatedly failed to pay travel agencies, hotels and landlords. He has leaned on the generosity of friends and sometimes even the organization, intermingling its finances with his own to cover his daughters’ private school tuition…

“He was among a small group at the White House when Mr. Obama announced his nomination of Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, to become the next attorney general…

“Mr. Sharpton separated from his wife, Kathy, in 2004 and moved to an apartment in Manhattan. She stayed in the Brooklyn house owned by the Jordans. Once again, even though the landlord was a friend, problems arose paying the rent…”

Problems with Undercover Operations

The New York Times reported on November 15:

“The federal government has significantly expanded undercover operations in recent years, with officers from at least 40 agencies posing as business people, welfare recipients, political protesters and even doctors or ministers to ferret out wrongdoing, records and interviews show…

“But the broadened scope of undercover work, which can target specific individuals or categories of possible suspects, also raises concerns about civil liberties abuses and entrapment of unwitting targets. It has also resulted in hidden problems, with money gone missing, investigations compromised and agents sometimes left largely on their own for months… And in what became a major political scandal for the Obama administration, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed guns to slip into Mexico in 2011 in an operation known as Fast and Furious that involved undercover operations [resulting in the murder of innocent victims]…

“I.R.S. rules say that, with prior approval, ‘an undercover employee or cooperating private individual may pose as an attorney, physician, clergyman or member of the news media.’… Across the federal government, undercover work has become common enough that undercover agents sometimes find themselves investigating a supposed criminal who turns out to be someone from a different agency, law enforcement officials said. In a few situations, agents have even drawn their weapons on each other before realizing that both worked for the federal government…”

It was also stated in the article that the undercover activities of the government have to be, by necessity, “deceptive.”

Incompetent Child “Protective” Services

The website of published the following article on November 15, referring to such actions as “legal kidnapping”:

“The safe place for Alex Hill, a 2-year-old from Cameron, Texas, turned out to be anything but that, when she was killed by her foster mother. After her father, Joshua Hill, admitted to using marijuana, Alex Hill was placed into foster care in early 2013. Her father told child welfare investigators that he smoked after the child was in bed at night. Her mother also has a medical condition that causes frequent seizures, so because of that, the toddler was removed from the house, despite appearing healthy and happy with her parents. Her foster mother, Sherill Small, was sentenced to life in prison for the July 2013 death of the girl. The girl’s parents, Hill and Mary Sweeny, reported bruises on their child during visitations.

“According to Fox 43, four months before Hill was set to regain custody he received a call that Alex was in the hospital.  Small admitted to police that she had slammed the child onto the floor, saying it was an accident. Alex’s autopsy revealed several bruises all around her body, and a medical examiner stated her head hit the floor so violently that she had ‘subdural hemorrhaging, subarachnoid hemorrhaging, and retinal hemorrhaging in both eyes,’ according to court testimony. Another disgusting part of this case, the foster parent’s husband, who lived in home while Alex was there, is a recovering crack cocaine addict and had multiple drug charges.”

How History Can Be “Modified”

AFP wrote on November 15:

“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that the Americas were discovered by Muslims in the 12th century, nearly three centuries before Christopher Columbus set foot there… ‘Muslim sailors arrived in America from 1178. Columbus mentioned the existence of a mosque on a hill on the Cuban coast,’ Erdogan said. Erdogan said that Ankara was even prepared to build a mosque at the site mentioned by the Genoese explorer…

“History books say that Columbus set foot on the American continent in 1492 as he was seeking a new maritime route to India. A tiny minority of Muslim scholars have recently suggested a prior Muslim presence in the Americas, although no pre-Columbian ruin of an Islamic structure has ever been found. In a controversial article published in 1996, historian Youssef Mroueh refers to a diary entry from Columbus that mentions a mosque in Cuba. But the passage is widely understood to be a metaphorical reference to the shape of the landscape.”

There is really no evidence that Muslims set foot on American soil prior to Columbus. At the same time, it seems to be fairly established that long before Columbus, Swedish explorers and Vikings (descendants from the ancient Israelite tribes of Benjamin and Napthali) “discovered” America, including Norseman Leif Eriksson.

Muslim Prayers in the National Cathedral—Sacred Muslim Land Forever

Breitbart wrote on November 14:

“100 years ago today, the last Caliph, or emperor of Islam, declared the last Jihad against the infidel– and today is the first time ever that the National Cathedral in the nation’s capital will host Muslim prayers. Most American’s will have no idea that, as part of World War I, the then-Caliph of the Ottoman empire declared a Holy War against infidels, as was his right within sharia law and Islamic theology…  That statement by the last sitting head of what was the theocratic empire of Islam was the catalyst which led to religiously-fueled genocide against Christian Armenians and Assyrians…

“It is, of course, no accident that the 9/11 attacks, the worst terror attacks in world history, occurred exactly to the day in 1683 when the Islamic Ottoman forces were defeated outside the city walls of Vienna, the deepest the Islamic Caliphate’s forces made it into the heart of the Christian West… The fact that this event is occurring just as ancient Christian communities are being destroyed in the Middle East and ‘non-believers’ are being actually crucified by ISIS jihadists makes it all the more egregious.

“We know that the Episcopal church is in trouble with more conservative believers leaving in great numbers and the remaining adherents not exactly outdoing their Catholic cousins in terms of reproducing the next generation of believers. But I doubt they also understand the finer points of jihadist doctrine, one of which is that if a place of worship is used by Muslims for their prayers, that territory subsequently becomes part of Dar al Islam, sacred Muslim land. Forever.”

Newsmax added on November 17:

“Franklin Graham, son of ‘America’s Preacher’… Billy Graham, has slammed the Washington National Cathedral for allowing Muslims to hold their first prayer service there Friday…

“The Muslim prayer service, called a ‘Jummah’ or Friday call to prayer, was hosted by Ebrahim Rasool, the South African ambassador to the U.S., who is Muslim, and… Canon Gina Campbell, pastor of the cathedral, in cooperation with the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Public Affairs Council and The Nation’s Mosque…”

Church of England’s Women Bishops

BBC News reported on November 17:

“The Church of England will break with centuries of tradition on Monday when the general synod amends Church law to allow the appointment of female bishops…

“It was in July this year that the historic vote at the general synod in York took place – allowing women to wield real power in the Church after an earlier setback two years before when the synod voted no. After the change to canon law is made, the first female bishop in the Church of England can finally be appointed…”

Spend Time, Discipline, Set Right Examples, Pray and Read Bible With Your Children

CNS News wrote on November 19:

“World renowned evangelist… Billy Graham… said that our children are growing up in a ‘lawless and wicked age,’ infused with the ‘philosophy of the Devil, who says, “Do as you please.”’

“Further, rearing children in this culture is difficult because ‘we have taken God out of our educational systems and thought we could get away with it,’ said [Billy] Graham. ‘We have sown the wind, and we are now reaping the whirlwind. We have laughed at God, religion and the Bible.… Many Christian parents are becoming fearful that they cannot properly train their children in this lawless and wicked age… Many of our educational leaders sneer at the old-fashioned idea of God and a moral code. Movies feature sex, sin, crime and alcohol. Teenagers see these things portrayed alluringly on the screen and decide to go and try them. Newspapers have played up crime and sex until they seem glamorous to our young people’…

“One of the fundamental problems, according to [Billy] Graham, is the failure of parents to fight ‘the Devil in the home’ through discipline and, as a result, ‘children are allowed to go wild.’ Parents must spend time with their children, set a good example for them, discipline them, and teach them to ‘know God,’ said the pastor, who has five children and 19 grandchildren. ‘If you fail to discipline your children, you are breaking the laws, commandments and statutes of God,’ said [Billy] Graham.  ‘You are guilty not only of injuring the moral, spiritual and physical lives of your children, but of sinning against God. The Bible says that if you fail to discipline your children, you actually hate them.’

“The best way to influence your children, he added, is to set a good example because ‘the majority of children acquire the characteristics and habits of their parents.’ As for teaching your children to know God, [Billy] Graham said, ‘Very seldom do parents have trouble with children when the Bible is read regularly in the home, grace is said at the table and family prayers take place daily. Most trouble with teenagers comes from children reared in homes where prayer is neglected, the Bible is never opened and church attendance is spasmodic. Christ gives the moral stability, understanding, wisdom and patience needed to rear children.’”

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