This Week in the News

Storm Clouds in Munich, Germany

 Politico wrote on February 18:

“While it’s hardly a secret that the world has become increasingly unstable of late, the high-level weekend exchange between political leaders and security officials from all points of the compass put the danger from the innumerable flashpoints into stark relief. Whether discussing the reemergence of nuclear tensions between the U.S. and Russia or the dispute between longtime allies Washington and Turkey, about the only thing this year’s participants could agree on was the intensified risk of a broad conflict in a world losing its moorings… this year’s event at times veered toward outright provocation and insult…

“U.S. Senator James Risch shocked many in the crowd when he said any U.S. response to the North Korean nuclear threat would be ‘biblical’ in nature

“In addition to the known security threats — the smoldering conflict in Ukraine, widening instability in the Middle East or the nuclear threat posed by North Korea — there was growing unease over unknown, amorphous ones such as cyber and biological warfare. The eroding position of the U.S. under President Donald Trump as the bulwark of the Western bloc has complicated efforts within the transatlantic alliance to find answers about how (and in some cases whether) to confront such challenges.

“It was clear that Trump’s repeated rhetorical swipes at partners like Germany has taken a toll… The U.S. delegation took pains to reassure their European counterparts of Washington’s enduring commitment to the region’s security.  But such reassurances proved a hard sell… European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker spoke grandly of making Europe ‘weltpolitikfähig,’ coining a German word for making the EU a true global political player…”

And so, continental Europe will indeed become a true global political player.

Germany Slams USA

The Daily Mail wrote on February 17:

Germany’s foreign minister slammed the ‘America first’ approach of President Donald Trump’s administration… Sigmar Gabriel… told world leaders and defense officials at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday that the United States was no longer the only indisputable superpower.

“Instead, he said Washington needed to count on traditional partners in Europe for help… He recommends the US to keep a good relationship with the European Union in order to thrive…

“Herbert Raymond McMaster, US National Security Advisor… added that, following Russian aggression in recent years against Georgia and Ukraine, Europe needs ‘more steel tanks and not only think tanks.’…

“[Gabriel said:] ‘… we Germans in particular are so perturbed when we look across the Atlantic – because we no longer recognize our America’… He urged a return to greater joint cooperation, saying now is not the time for ‘just pursuing individual national interests.’ Gabriel suggested the US was going in the opposite direction, drifting toward approaches taken from powers like China and Russia who are ‘constantly trying to test or undermine’ the EU.

“’It is one thing from possible rivals or competitors, but from our friends and partners we expect that they will respect the unity of the EU,’ he said. ‘No one should try to divide the EU, not Russia, not China, but also not the United States.’… He said that while Europe can’t rest simply on a military strategy, it also can’t ignore military and defense spending. ‘As the only vegetarian, we would have a problem in the world of carnivores,’ he said.”

Germany placed the world on notice as to their intentions and expectations regarding Europe… and their misgivings towards the USA.

EU Can’t Make USA Happy

Express wrote on February 17:

“The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said nothing Brussels did in relation to security kept Donald Trump’s administration happy… Mr Juncker said people in the USA fear the EU is becoming too independent on security… ‘Over many years we have been accused by Americans that we weren’t doing enough for our own defence, but now we do make efforts, we do more and now they’re not happy with that either…”

Europe’s disgust and disappointment with the USA is more and more obvious.

Wrong War? US Attacks EU Defense Policy…

Politico wrote on February 16:

“… it is only matter of time before the U.S. and its allies end up in a pointless fight over EU defense.

“A Pentagon official this week criticized the EU’s ‘common security and defense policy’ (CSDP) for pulling forces away from NATO, and the U.S. ambassador to the alliance warned against its provisions to protect European defense companies… The U.S. is right to suspect that Europe’s decision to build up a robust defense policy is not all good news for NATO. But it’s making its point the wrong way. Attacking Europe’s push for greater security cooperation won’t make it reverse course, and could do damage to an already frayed transatlantic relationship

“An outright opposition from Washington is doomed to fail… the U.S. would be foolish to keep attacking Europe’s defense integration… The policy is already a reality, whether the U.S. likes it or not. Enough European members of NATO are willing to stand up for it to make it pointless for Washington to try to thwart it.”

Washington will continue to antagonize Europe, and vice versa. The relationship between these two powers will deteriorate more and more.

Europe Must Take Care of Themselves

Handelsblatt Global wrote on February 16:

“Germany and Europe must get real: Soft power is no longer sufficient in today’s troubled, Trumpian world

“The strategic shocks of recent years have left deep and lasting wounds, and pushed Europe into new and uncharted waters. A decade ago, EU leaders talked confidently about projecting stability abroad. Today, their priority is to prevent instability from spilling over into Europe… Europe is surrounded by ongoing conflicts. Tensions are increasing from the Indus to the Nile and across North Africa, where any turmoil will have an immediate impact on European security. As Europeans well know, there is no way to build a wall in the Mediterranean.

“Moreover, it is worrying that the Trump administration hardly ever talks about upholding the post-war, liberal international order. Instead, it views the world as a zero-sum strategic competition in which the US should look out only for itself. Unfortunately, in a world without common institutions to restrain sovereign states from escalating conflicts with one another, the risks of all-out war will increase substantially

Europeans can no longer avoid taking responsibility for their own defense…”

And so, Europe will proceed with building their own army. Humanly speaking, they have no other choice.

Head of German Central Bank to Become President of European Central Bank (ECB)?

Handelsblatt Global wrote on February 19:

“… officials in Berlin are more optimistic than ever before that… a German banker will be seated as the head of the ECB for the first time.

“The main cause for such optimism was the decision disclosed on Monday that EU countries have coalesced around the Spanish economy minister, Luis de Guindos, to become vice president of the ECB… The complex process works like this: when the richer northern part of the EU supports a single candidate from the EU’s southern states for the vice president’s job at the ECB, the top job at the central bank is supposed to go to a candidate from a northern country. But filling that job also depends on who becomes the next head of the European Commission, a post now held by Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker, and the European Council president, a post now occupied by Poland’s Donald Tusk…

“German officials now hope that the stage has been set for Jens Weidmann, the current head of the German central bank, the Bundesbank, to succeed ECB president Mario Draghi, whose term ends in October 2019. One reason for the optimism is that even though Germany has the largest economy in Europe, a German has never been chosen as ECB president… there was a reluctance to give Germans so much power after World War II… If Mr. Draghi is a classic dove on monetary policy, then Mr. Weidmann is a hawk.

“… Officials in Brussels believe the final decision on ECB chief may depend on French President Emmanuel Macron. He is said to be keen for France to get the commission president’s job when Mr. Juncker steps down. For that to happen, Germany would have to go along, so there may be a deal in the making to enable Germany’s choice at the ECB and France’s position at the commission.”

It would be interesting to see a German banker leading the European Central Bank.

German “Rasputin of Brussels” to Become EU’s Commission Secretary-General

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 21:

“Martin Selmayr has been the shadowy figure beside EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker since 2014. His promotion to Commission secretary-general could cement his power in EU politics for years to come. Martin Selmayr, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s chief of staff, will be the Commission’s next secretary-general, Juncker said on Wednesday.

“Selmayr, an ardently pro-EU German, has been called the ‘the Rasputin of Brussels’ for his behind-the-scenes influence in European Union politics… The 47-year-old lawyer from the western German city of Bonn has been Juncker’s chief of staff since 2014. He previously worked as Juncker’s campaign manager and as a Commission spokesman. Selmayr is considered a power-broker and enforcer of Juncker’s top-down management at the Commission. Juncker has affectionately called Selmayr a ‘monster‘ for his ability to work long hours…

“Selmayr’s appointment could also renew fears among some EU countries that Germany is gaining too much influence in EU institutions. Germany is the largest and richest member state… Selmayr is set to take over as secretary-general on March 1… Spaniard Clara Martinez will replace Selmayr as Juncker’s new chief of staff.”

New German Scandal

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 15:

“The German military is under-equipped to take on its upcoming role as leader of NATO’s anti-Russian defense force… at the start of next year, but doesn’t have enough tanks…

“Mark Galeotti, senior researcher and head of the Prague-based Center for European Security [said:] ‘We must remember that European NATO, even without the Americans and the Canadians, has more ground troops than the Russians do.’”

Deutsche Welle added on February 19:

“Germany’s Defense Ministry said that combat readiness of German troops would be ensured… The authorities are set to complete the process by the end of 2018, at the latest… [It was also] said that ‘Bundeswehr is ready and able to fulfill its commitments,’ and that the missing items ‘are being procured.’…

“German parliamentarians reacted with outrage to news of the latest deficiencies. ‘We cannot and will not accept’ such supply gaps, said defense expert Fritz Felgentreu from the Social Democratic Party (SPD). The Free Democrat (FDP) politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann found even stronger words. ‘The fact that even basic equipment such as protective vests and winter clothing is in short supply shows what a miserable state the Bundeswehr is in as a result of cutting costs,’ she said…”

We can be certain that Germany will rectify these shortcomings very soon.

Germany’s AfD More Popular than SPD

The Local wrote on February 19:

“A poll published on Monday by the newspaper Bild put the Alternative for Germany (AfD) on 16 percent… just ahead of the SPD on 15.5 percent. The poll marks the lowest support ever achieved by the SPD, traditionally one of the two major parties of German politics.

“According to the poll Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats are the most popular party in the country and would secure 32 percent of the vote were elections to be held tomorrow… Germany‘s oldest party [the SPD] – around since the late 19th century – scored their worst post-war result in 2017 at 20.5 percent and have only haemorrhaged support since then.”

While the AfD is certainly a thorn in the flesh of the established parties, it will not play a major role in Germany to the extent that it will jeopardize the European unification process. However, the German government will be forced to act and react to the demands of the AfD. In addition, we must realize that the AfD is NOT a “Nazi” party, even though parts of the media would like to mischaracterize it as such.

Europe Rewrites History

The Washington Post wrote on February 19:

“In Poland, the president signs a law criminalizing anyone who dares suggest that the country’s citizens helped perpetrate crimes of the Holocaust. In Italy, a Mussolini-admiring neo-fascist goes on a shooting rampage targeting people with dark skin…

“… events across the continent have served as a potent reminder that Europe’s grip on its history is far from assured. In particular, the 20th century’s dark detours into Nazism, fascism and state-sponsored anti-Semitism are again being subjected to revision…

“In Poland in particular, as in much of Eastern Europe, historical revisionism is far from a new phenomenon. During decades of postwar communist rule, history was distorted freely for any number of political ends. For some, the new ‘Holocaust law’ harks back to those times, when ideology often dictated history. But the facts are the facts. Historians have documented anti-Semitic atrocities carried out by Polish citizens…”

Poland Antagonizes Israel

MSN wrote on February 19:

“Poland’s government refused to apologize on Monday for Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s comments about ‘Jewish perpetrators’ during World War II, escalating a row that’s upended the country’s relations with Israel and is alarming the U.S.

“When confronted during a conference in Munich on Saturday over Poland’s new law that criminalizes suggestions that the Polish nation bore any responsibility for the Holocaust, Morawiecki listed Jews among nations that along with Germans were ‘perpetrators’ of Nazi-era crimes. His list included Ukrainians, Russians and Poles. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the comments were ‘outrageous,’ while Yair Lapid, an opposition politician, called on Israel to recall its ambassador from Poland.

“Morawiecki’s intention was to list nations that collaborated with the Germans, Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said on Monday, adding that use of the word ‘perpetrators’ was a ‘linguistic mistake’ for which there’s no need to apologize…’”

Schizophrenic Approach—UK Wants Defense Treaty with EU?

Euractiv wrote on February 17:

“Britain wants… a defence and security treaty with the EU before its leaves the bloc in March 2019, Theresa May told the Munich Security Conference on Saturday… But she also ruled out a second referendum on Britain’s EU membership.

“… the UK is yet to set out exactly what it would like to be included in a defence treaty, but it would be likely to cover military, intelligence and counter-terrorism cooperation. That would include provisions on common EU military missions, the continued contribution of UK troops to them, and defence capability. The UK also wants to retain close links with Europol, which coordinates police intelligence across the EU, and remain part of the European Arrest Warrant.

“The extent of this co-operation could, however, pose problems for ‘hard Brexiteers’ in May’s Conservative party. EAW membership would mean oversight by the European Court of Justice, a self-imposed red-line by the UK government. Meanwhile, the government’s negotiating paper on defence and security talks of the need to include a proposal to stay in the European Defence Fund and defence industrial programme, the core pillars of the agreements. This is likely to mean conceding defence decision-making to the EU as the structures are governed by EU institutions. That could also cause friction with Brexiteers.

“The UK’s defence industry is also anxious to remain part of the European ecosystem. On Friday, Robert Hannigan, the former head of the UK intelligence service, warned that UK defence firms would fall into a ‘steady decline’ if they lost the ability to collaborate on research and innovation with the EU defence sector…

“The UK is taking a ‘schizophrenic approach’, a Westminster defence source told EURACTIV, pointing out that its ministers publicly opposed plans for an EU ‘defence union’ in late 2016… In December, 25 member states – except Denmark, Malta and Britain – agreed to join a new ‘permanent structured cooperation’ on defence, or PESCO.”

Such a defense treaty will not happen. The opposition in Britain to such an endeavor is too overwhelming.

Israel Prepared to Attack Iran

Reuters and Allgemeiner wrote on February 18:

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel could act against Iran itself, not just its allies in the Middle East, after border incidents in Syria brought the Middle East foes closer to direct confrontation. In response, Iran mocked Netanyahu’s tough words, saying Israel’s reputation for ‘invincibility’ had crumbled after one of its jets was shot down following a bombing run in Syria. In his first address to the annual Munich Security Conference… Netanyahu held up a piece of what he said was an Iranian drone that flew into Israeli airspace this month.

“‘Israel will not allow the regime to put a noose of terror around our neck,’ he said. ‘We will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies but against Iran itself.’… Among Israel’s main concerns is Lebanon, where the heavily armed Iran-backed Shi’ite militia Hezbollah is part of a coalition government… Israel… has accused Tehran of planning to build missile factories in Lebanon. Lebanon’s Defense Minister… warned against intervention: ‘Watch out, we will defend ourselves … we also have friends.’”

Israel will be involved in another war in the Middle East, but this time, it will not win. The Bible speaks of a “wound” which it will receive.

Flagrant War Crimes in Syria

The Guardian wrote on February 20:

“Almost 200 civilians have been killed in dozens of airstrikes and shelling by forces loyal to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in eastern Ghouta over two days of ‘hysterical violence’, which has led to warnings of a humanitarian catastrophe that could eclipse past atrocities in the seven-year war.

“The surge in the killing in the besieged region came amid reports of an impending regime incursion into the area outside Damascus, which is home to 400,000 civilians. More than 700 people have been killed in three months, according to local counts, not including the deaths in the last week.

“Amnesty International said ‘flagrant war crimes’ were being committed in eastern Ghouta on an ‘epic scale’Seven hospitals have also been bombed since Monday morning in eastern Ghouta, which was once the breadbasket of Damascus…

“Elsewhere in Syria on Tuesday, pro-government fighters started entering the northern Kurdish enclave of Afrin, where Turkish troops have been on the offensive for a month. The development came a day after Turkey said it would hit back at the troops if their goal was to protect the Kurdish fighters. Syrian state media said Turkish troops fired on the pro-government militiamen, a development that risks widening an already complicated war.”

Nuclear War By Accident?

CBC wrote on February 18:

“An insistent alarm is being raised over the rising probability the world will trip into its next major conflict rather than deliberately march into it… experts believe accidents and missteps… are far more dangerous than they might have been in the past.

“Take the risk of nuclear war. It has ‘never been higher since the Cuban missile crisis,’ Ernest Moniz, former U.S. secretary of energy and now head of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, said during this weekend’s Munich Security Conference. But ‘the principal risk right now as we see it is not some planned-out, intentional initiation of nuclear use, but rather accident, miscalculation, blunder and that’s why the probability is higher.’…

Inevitably accidents are also likely to emerge in existing battlegrounds with multiple players who complicate the picture…”

Reactions to Indictment of 13 Russians

The Associated Press and Newsmax wrote on February 18:

President Donald Trump is undercutting a top aide again – this time national security adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster. McMaster told an international audience that the evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 American election is beyond dispute. Trump tweeted late Saturday that McMaster left out some details. ‘General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!’ Trump was continuing his efforts to pin Russian collusion on the Democrats and their nominee Hillary Clinton.

“McMaster was answering a question from a Russian delegate at a Munich Security Conference on Saturday. Referring to the indictment of 13 Russians announced Friday, McMaster says ‘with the FBI indictment, the evidence is now incontrovertible’ of Russia cyber-meddling. ‘As you can see with the FBI indictment, the evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain,’ McMaster told a Russian delegate to the conference.

“The detailed document presented the most compelling public evidence to date that the Russian operation was elaborate, expensive and real. Citing emails and conversations by the perpetrators of the plot, it also demonstrated that the ongoing probe may have access to explosive intelligence material gathered on the Russian operations…

“Just minutes before, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had dismissed the indictment as ‘just blabber’… But Lavrov did not say what he specifically disputed in the indictment…  McMaster also scoffed at the suggestion that the U.S. would work with Russia on cyber security issues… Lavrov argued that U.S. officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, have said no country influenced the U.S. election results…”

“Trump: ‘I Never Said Russia Did Not Meddle in the Election’”

The Week wrote on February 18:

“‘I never said Russia did not meddle in the election,’ President Trump tweeted early Sunday. ‘I said “it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer,”’ he continued. ‘The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia – it never did!’ Trump was referring to comments he made in the first general election debate…

“Trump also said in November of 2017 he ‘really believes’ Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denial of election meddling.”

School Shooting in Florida—the Aftermath

In an astonishingly strong article by British journalist and moderator Piers Morgan, who is (was) considered otherwise to be quite sympathetic to Donald Trump, the following was published by the Daily Mail, dated February 15 (Of course, Morgan’s objection to America’s gun hysteria had been well known and documented):

“I’ll tell you what’s ‘sicko’, Mr Trump – it’s a cowardly president who turns a blind eye to children getting blown to pieces at school. Three weeks ago, I asked President Trump why he’d done nothing to stop another mass shooting after the recent horrendous massacre in Las Vegas. ‘He was a sicko,’ he replied, ‘I mean that’s the big problem – they’re sick people.’…

“Five years ago, a deranged, angry young 20-year-old man used an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and high capacity bullet magazines to murder 26 people including 20 kids at a school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Yesterday, a deranged, angry young 19-year-old man used an AR-15 and high capacity magazines to murder at least 17 people including many kids at a school in Parkland, Florida.

“As the US slips once more into its familiar Groundhog Day post-gun-massacre pattern of feigned shock, hand-wringing thoughts and prayers, insincere cable news blather, and pathetic inaction, I’d like to explore President Trump’s ‘sicko’ premise… Remember when a 9-year-old girl accidentally shot dead this instructor, Charles Vacca, at a range… while firing an Uzi, and it was all entirely legal? She had fired – and lost control of – an UZI sub-machine gun, one of the most dangerous high-powered weapons in the world… I mean, no rational human being could possibly think that putting such a hideous killing machine in the hands of a little girl is anything other than complete madness? Wrong. A lot of Americans, tens of millions of them in fact, think that’s perfectly OK.

“… The shooter [in Florida], former student Nikolas Cruz, was too young to be allowed to buy a beer in a state that like many in the US has ‘zero tolerance alcohol laws’. But he was legally able to buy a semi-automatic military style rifle… [To add to this, young men and woman who just turned 18 are allowed to vote. At that age, very few have a correct understanding of the complexities of human life; the seriousness of the manifold issues plaguing us;  and the deviousness of lying politicians running for office.]

“Cruz apparently passed a background check when purchasing his gun. This despite the fact he had been treated for ‘mental issues’, expelled from the school he attacked (among many concerning acts of behaviour, he sold knives out of his lunchbox and was found with bullets in his backpack), banned from returning to the school after threatening teachers, and accused of abusing a girlfriend… and despite the fact he had posted endless photos of himself on social media brandishing guns and regularly threatening to shoot people including students at the school…

“He was a monster waiting to explode, and all who knew him were very aware of exactly where he might execute that explosion… The teachers all knew, which is why an email was sent out warning them all to keep an eye out for Cruz after he was expelled, especially if he had a backpack with him…

“When I interviewed President Trump, in Davos at the World Economic Forum, I told him: ‘Only eight people were killed in America last year by Islamist terrorism. By comparison, domestic gun violence killed at least 32,000. Two of the worst mass shootings in American history have now happened on your watch in Las Vegas and at a church in Texas. People will be saying, you’re very tough on security, you want to keep Americans safe, but if you don’t do anything about gun violence at all that seems an irrational position for somebody who wants to keep Americans safe?’

“Trump then tried to deflect my question by talking about another country. ‘Take a look at Paris,’ he said, ‘where you have very tough guns controls. Take a look at that terrible slaughter where so many people were killed… by thugs with guns. So the bad guys have the guns and if you would have had somebody with a gun when they walked in so you could have bullets going in the other direction, you wouldn’t have hundreds of people killed.’ This, of course, is the same warped logic spewed so often by Trump’s paymasters at the NRA… [that] only good guys with guns can stop bad guys with guns. So the only answer to mass shootings is for everyone else to be armed too.

“What Trump didn’t say is that 130 people were killed in Paris that night; a terrible toll, but around a quarter of the number of people killed by guns in America EVERY WEEK. When I pointed out that countries like Britain, which also has very tough gun laws, average just 32 gun deaths a year, he deflected again: ‘But you have a lot of terrorism.’ Yes, it’s true Britain had a number of Islamist terror attacks in 2017. But the total death total was smaller (35) than the number murdered by guns in America EVERY DAY.

“I asked Trump specifically why he had done nothing to stop even bump stocks (an attachment that allows semi-automatic guns to fire like fully automatic guns) being sold, after it emerged the Vegas shooter had converted a dozen AR-15s by using them. I asked Trump about the Las Vegas shooter’s massive arsenal.  ‘If he didn’t have a gun, he would have had a bomb, or would have something else,’ the President answered…

“Current US gun laws are so lax even terror suspects on the no-fly list are allowed to buy firearms… Trump sighed. ‘I’m a Second Amendment person. I think you need it (guns) for security…’ In other words, he intends to do absolutely nothing to stop these massacres happening again. Well, I’m sorry Mr President, but this just isn’t acceptable. You can’t pretend to be tough on security but turn a blind eye when yet another US school (there have been over 280 school shootings since Sandy Hook) is turned into a human slaughterhouse. It’s spineless and cowardly, and you know it.

“Imagine your son Barron had been in that school yesterday – and then decide what is the right thing to do. ‘No child, teacher or anyone else should feel unsafe in an American school,’ you tweeted yesterday. Yet the tragic truth is no child, teacher or anyone else now feels SAFE in an American school. The Florida attack was the ninth biggest gun atrocity in American history. That means three of the country’s worst ever mass shootings have now happened on your watch – in just five months.

“Yet one of the only things you’ve done about guns as President was to roll back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illness to get guns. That’s ‘sicko’, Mr President. And anyone who thinks the only answer to this carnage is even more guns is also ‘sicko’.”

Nothing more needs to be added to this, really—except to say that Piers Morgan’s viewpoint makes a lot of sense.

Breitbart wrote on February 16:

“Barack Obama’s Social Security gun ban [which was repealed under Trump]… covered Social Security beneficiaries on [mental] disability who needed help managing their finances. On the basis of requiring help with their finances, such beneficiaries were prohibited from gun possession. That is no way applicable to the heinous attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.”

It might not have been, but to repeal such a law is still very disturbing, and no spin by the gun lobby makes it right.

Improving Gun Background Checks?

Deutsche Welle wrote on February 19:

The White House has said US President Donald Trump would back efforts to improve gun background checks. A bi-partisan bill would ensure states and agencies accurately report criminal information to the FBI… The legislation does not add new restrictions on gun purchases

“Trump has largely tried to avoid the politically divisive gun debate, instead blaming mass shootings such as the one from last week on mental-health issues… Past efforts to advance comprehensive gun control reform have failed to move anywhere in Congress.”

Politicians avoid dealing with this controversial issue because they want and need the votes and the financial support from either side. Another reason WHY politics is such a dirty business.

Arming Teachers? – A BAD Idea!

Breitbart reported on February 22:

“President Trump suggested bonuses for [trained] teachers who carry guns to defend themselves and their students as part of his push to address school safety.”

Deutsche Welle added on February 22:

NRA leader LaPierre backed the president on arming teachers at schools and installing armed guards, saying it was the only way to ensure students’ safety… The NRA chief described Democrat lawmakers calling for gun control as ‘European-style socialists’ and accused them of exploiting last week’s school shooting in Florida.”

To find out what is the only way to ensure students’ safety, please view our new StandingWatch program, “Will Horrific Mass Shootings Ever Stop?”

“Demon Voices”

The Daily Mail wrote on February 17:

“School gunman Nikolas Cruz, 19, faces 17 counts of premeditated murder… He told authorities that voices in his head told him how to carry out the shooting. According to his legal team he suffers from autism, depression and has other significant psychological problems.

“Police were called to his family’s home in Parkland, Florida 39 times since 2010. Calls were for a range of reasons including ‘mentally ill person,’ ‘child/elderly abuse,’ ‘domestic disturbance’ and several others.”

The media might talk about “mental problems,” but it fails to realize that Satan and his demons are behind these horrendous acts of mass murder.  

“Donald Trump, a Playboy Model, and a System for Concealing Infidelity”

The New Yorker wrote on February 16:

“In June, 2006, Donald Trump taped an episode of his reality-television show, ‘The Apprentice,’ at the Playboy Mansion, in Los Angeles. Hugh Hefner, Playboy’s publisher, threw a pool party for the show’s contestants with dozens of current and former Playmates, including Karen McDougal… At the time of the party, Trump had been married to the Slovenian model Melania Knauss for less than two years; their son, Barron, was a few months old

“Trump and McDougal began an affair, which McDougal later memorialized in an eight-page, handwritten document… The interactions that McDougal outlines in the document share striking similarities with the stories of other women who claim to have had sexual relationships with Trump, or who have accused him of propositioning them for sex or sexually harassing them. McDougal describes their affair as entirely consensual. But her account provides a detailed look at how Trump and his allies used clandestine hotel-room meetings, payoffs, and complex legal agreements to keep affairs—sometimes multiple affairs he carried out simultaneously—out of the press.

“On November 4, 2016, four days before the election, the Wall Street Journal reported that American Media, Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, had paid a hundred and fifty thousand dollars for exclusive rights to McDougal’s story, which it never ran. Purchasing a story in order to bury it is a practice that many in the tabloid industry call ‘catch and kill.’ This is a favorite tactic of the C.E.O. and chairman of A.M.I., David Pecker, who describes the President as ‘a personal friend’… [Allegedly] Pecker routinely makes catch-and-kill arrangements like the one reached with McDougal… [and nothing is] printed… about Trump without his approval.”

The “shocking” news is not that Donald Trump might have had another affair with a Playboy model, but how manipulative and dishonest the media can be in suppressing reports for political reasons.

Billy Graham Died

JTA wrote on February 21, 2018:

“Billy Graham (99), the giant of American evangelism who was exalted by Jews for his championing of Israel at its hour of need and then condemned when a nasty anti-Semitic streak was revealed [saying, among other things, that Jews were responsible for pornography], has died.

“His son, Franklin, is one of President Donald Trump’s highest-profile religious supporters… In 2002, Graham apologized for the remarks, and Jewish community leaders accepted his apology — but the relationship would never again be the same. ‘We knew that Nixon was an anti-Semite,’ Abraham Foxman, then the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, told JTA at the time, whereas Graham is ‘a guy we all felt comfortable with … And he was so infected with this virulent anti-Semitism.’”

The New York Times added on February 21:

Recognizing his influence, presidents made a point of seeking friendly relations with Mr. Graham; Lyndon B. Johnson did so assiduously. Mr. Graham was a frequent guest of Ronald Reagan, and in January 1991, George H. W. Bush invited him to spend the night at the White House the day before American-led forces began bombing Iraq. Mr. Clinton asked Mr. Graham to offer prayers at his inauguration in 1993.

President George W. Bush said that it was after a walk with Mr. Graham at the Bush family’s compound in Kennebunkport, Me., that Mr. Bush, as a younger man, decided to become more serious about his faith and quit drinking. President Barack Obama visited Mr. Graham at his North Carolina home in 2010.

Former President Jimmy Carter released a statement on Wednesday saying that he had counted Mr. Graham among his advisers and friends, adding that the minister had ‘had an enormous influence on my own spiritual life.’ And President Trump tweeted: ‘The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man.’

“Of the presidents, Mr. Graham was most closely associated with Nixon… In the 1960 presidential campaign, Mr. Graham, a registered Democrat, was strongly sympathetic to Nixon, a Republican, and offered him advice in his campaign against Senator John F. Kennedy, a Roman Catholic. At one point, concerned that a Kennedy administration would be influenced by the Vatican, Mr. Graham invited more than two dozen Protestant leaders to a meeting to discuss ways to defeat him. He went on to endorse Nixon in the 1968 presidential race and allowed that endorsement to be used in television commercials. He gave the invocation at Nixon’s 1969 inauguration and came to be described as Nixon’s unofficial White House chaplain.

“Mr. Graham said he had been ‘innocently unaware’ of the storm gathering over Watergate. But when the extent of the scandal became known — disclosures of the break-in and the subsequent cover-up orchestrated by the White House — Mr. Graham tended to look the other way, his critics said… In 1982, Mr. Graham displeased the Reagan administration when, after a visit to the Soviet Union, he spoke in favor of universal nuclear disarmament. He also visited Russian churches, and his comment that he had seen no evidence of religious repression by the Soviet authorities created a furor among conservative church members in the United States.”

Breitbart wrote on February 21:

“… former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) reacted to Christian evangelist Billy Graham’s passing early today. According to Huckabee, Graham’s ‘death’ was ‘fake news’ given the belief his life extends beyond his earthly one. ‘When I heard this morning that Billy Graham had died, I said, “That’s fake news. Billy Graham’s not dead. He’s more alive right now than he’s ever been,”‘ Huckabee said.

“‘And the fact is, that’s what he preached – is [sic] that there is life beyond this one because of Jesus Christ. His message never wavered from that. If somehow Billy Graham did not inherit eternal life, and if he’s not alive right now in a life that will never end, then [sic] he stood for, everything he said is null and void. I don’t believe that’s so.'”

Even though Billy Graham was clearly a very controversial figure, people called him “the Pope to the Protestants” and “America’s Pastor.” Also, commentators keep referring to the idea that he is now in heaven with his wife and Jesus. At one time, Billy Graham called Herbert W. Armstrong and expressed to him: “Brother Herbert, you are doing a great job in preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, while I am doing a great job in preaching the gospel of salvation.” Sadly, however, true salvation has nothing to do with getting involved with the politics of this world or going to heaven when we die.

Yellowstone’s Supervolcano—Ready To Erupt?

Express wrote on February 19:

“Fears for a Yellowstone supervolcano eruption have been sparked after a swarm of 10 earthquakes struck the seismically volatile US national park yesterday following another quake the day before… While all the quakes were relatively small, it does point to an increasingly volatile geological landscape at the park…

“Yesterday’s earthquake roughly 20 miles from the supervolcano [beneath the surface of the park] will add to concerns of an imminent – and devastating – eruption… If the Wyoming volcano were to erupt an estimated 87,000 people would be killed immediately and two-thirds of the USA would immediately be made uninhabitable due to a huge ash cloud sparking rapid climate change. The large spew of ash into the atmosphere would block out sunlight and directly affect life beneath it creating a ‘nuclear winter’ for huge parts of Earth – not simply the American West.

“The massive eruption could be a staggering 6,000 times as powerful as the one from Washington’s Mount St Helens in 1980…”

The Bible does predict the occurrence of terrible natural catastrophes in our time, and it does not exclude the United States. Therefore, an eruption, as described above, is entirely possible.

Huge Earthquake in Mexico

“A 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the Pacific coast of Mexico Friday, leaving about one million homes and businesses without power. No one was killed by the initial quake, but [thirteen] people died… when a military helicopter crashed while surveying the damage. The earthquake was unusually long, and it was followed by 225 aftershocks.

“This comes less than half a year after a September quake killed more than 300 people in Mexico City and surrounding areas…”

“Unusually Large” Earthquake Hits Wales

The Daily Mail wrote on February 17:

“An unusually large earthquake has hit Wales and south-west England. The tremor, which measured 4.4 on the Richter scale, was centered eight miles north-east Swansea in South Wales… It is the biggest earthquake to hit the UK in 10 years after a 5.2 quake was recorded in Market Rasen, Lincolnshire on February 27, 2008.

“As well as residents in Newport, Cardiff and Swansea reporting that they were affected by the earthquake, tremors were felt in Bristol and Cornwall.”

The Bible speaks of increasing earthquake activities in “diverse places.”

Sexual Travesties by Aid Workers in Africa and Haiti

Daily Mail wrote on February 19:

“Aid workers traded wheat and life-saving medicines for sex with children in crisis zones, it has emerged. Humanitarians traded ‘oil, bulgur wheat, tarpaulin or plastic sheeting, medicines, transport, ration cards, loans, education courses and skills training’ with girls aged 13 to 18. The report, written in 2001, shows officials knew of the alleged abuse in Africa a decade before the Oxfam sex scandal, where chiefs were accused of concealing findings of an inquiry into claims staff paid for prostitutes in disaster-struck Haiti in 2011.

“It added in some cases that parents encouraged their daughters to be sexually exploited by aid workers, government officials, UN peacekeepers, refugee leaders and teachers to bring income into the family. It comes as a British-funded charity supported by Meghan Markle admitted its workers traded food and cash for sex with survivors of the devastating 2010 earthquake on Haiti. World Vision, which Prince Harry’s fiancée was an ambassador for until last year, admitted that paid employees forced desperate survivors of the disaster to have sex… for World Food Programme aid…

“The investigation also found that sometimes younger girls were befriended so aid workers could gain access to their mothers or older sisters, and some teenage boys were also exploited by older women… A female agency worker in Guinea said ‘No girl will get a job without having sex with NGO workers. The girls see it as competition. It is survival of the fittest’. The study of more than 1,500 people revealed that senior staff often allowed agency workers to ‘behave with impunity’ and that aid workers were ‘most frequent sex exploiters of children, often using the very humanitarian aid and services intended to benefit the refugee population as a tool of exploitation’

“The newly resurfaced report comes in the wake of the Oxfam sex scandal, where it has emerged prominent figures in the charity slept with prostitutes while on humanitarian missions. The report adds: ‘Peacekeepers are alleged to have sexually exploited children in exchange for money and food.’”

This is a horrible example of human degradation. Aid workers who are supposed to help people become offenders of the worst possible kind.

Parents Lose Custody over Teen’s Transgender Wish

Life Site News wrote on February 14:

“Ohio government authorities forced parents to give up legal custody of their daughter (17) after the mother and father said they opposed the girl’s decision to identify as a ‘boy’ and transition to being ‘male’…

“The minor was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and gender dysphoria after being hospitalized in 2016. Doctors decided that because she wants to identify as a male, she should be given testosterone and sex ‘change’ drugs. But the girl’s parents objected, arguing that they did not think that such ‘treatment’ was in their daughter’s best interest.”

The “land of the free” protects the “freedom” of confused children to change their sex, while it violates the freedom of parents to prevent this. Woe to those who call good evil and evil good.

Switzerland Outlaws Cruel Treatment of Lobsters

USA Today wrote on February 18:

“A [Swiss] law goes into effect March 1 that bans the common cooking method of tossing a live lobster into a big pot of boiling water… killing the…  crustacean. That practice is being outlawed because the Swiss say it’s cruel and lobsters can sense pain. The first national legislation of its kind in the world calls for a more humane death for lobsters…

“The measure is part of the broad principle of ‘animal dignity’ enshrined in Switzerland’s constitution, the only country to have such a provision…

“The new lobster legislation that boils down to a pain-free death was driven by research, including a study by Queen’s University in Belfast that found crustaceans are sentient creatures. ‘These studies show that lobsters, like other animals, experience pain and distress,’ said… a spokesman for the Federal Office of Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs.”

We have stated many years ago that lobsters can sense pain (even though many denied this at that time). To boil a live lobster until it dies IS cruel and inhumane. It is also totally unnecessary and wrong for the additional reason that the Bible PROHIBITS the human consumption of lobsters.

First Sheep-Human Hybrid—In the Name of “Science”

Science Alert wrote on February 19:

“… scientists have created the first interspecies sheep-human chimera, introducing human stem cells into sheep embryos, resulting in a hybrid creature… the human portion of the embryos created in the experiment – before they were destroyed after 28 days – is exceedingly small, but the fact it exists at all is what generates considerable controversy… The research builds on previous experiments by some of the same team that saw scientists successfully grow human cells inside early-stage pig embryos in the lab, creating pig-human hybrids that the researchers described as interspecies chimeras.”

The Daily Mail wrote on February 17:

“[The] Stanford’s team… has already successfully transplanted pancreases into mice… Researchers have previously developed human-pig hybrids but have not yet been able to use the process to grow human organs. To create their ‘chimera’ – as hybrid animal-humans are called – the team grew embryos containing sheep and human cells, and kept the surrogate animal carrying them alive for three weeks. The team now plans to implant human stem cells into sheep embryos and hope that human DNA will be able to grow organs such as a pancreas. It would be a world first if a human organ could be grown inside a sheep.”

It seems there are no limits to science’s attempts to engage in experiments which are totally against nature. There are of course always “reasons” given why such experiments are needful, but the thought of a human-animal hybrid should wake all of us up.

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer

These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.

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