This Week in the News

The Fragile Middle East Deal

JTA wrote on August 14:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his plan to annex part of the West Bank ‘remains on the table,’ despite agreeing to suspend the move as part of an agreement to establish formal ties with the United Arab Emirates on Thursday. ‘There is no change in my plan to apply sovereignty, our sovereignty, in Judea and Samaria, in full coordination with the U.S. I’m committed to it, this hasn’t changed. I was the one who put sovereignty in Judea and Samaria on the table. This issue remains on the table,’ Netanyahu said at a news conference in Jerusalem after the agreement was announced. He did note that President Donald Trump asked that ‘Israel wait temporarily’ to move ahead with annexation, Netanyahu said, adding he intends to comply.

“Hours later, Trump said at a news conference in Washington that the plan is ‘off the table.’… David Friedman, his administration’s ambassador to Israel [said:] ‘Yes, the word “suspend” was chosen carefully by all the parties,’ Friedman said. ‘“Suspend,’ by definition, look it up, means temporary halt, it’s off the table now but it’s not off the table permanently.’”

Kushner: We Will Not Allow Israel to Annex West Bank Territory

The Times of Israel wrote on August 17:

“Senior White House official Jared Kushner said Monday that US President Donald Trump would not allow Israel to reverse its pledge to hold off on annexing West Bank territory in exchange for normalizing ties with the United Arab Emirates. ‘President Trump is committed to holding them accountable to it, and Israel has agreed with us that they will not move forward without our consent,’ Kushner told reporters during a briefing. ‘We do not plan to give our consent for some time…’

“Trump referred to the suspension of those plans several times at a press briefing last week, including by saying it was ‘more than just off the table.’”

However, that is apparently not Netanyahu’s understanding. Even between the USA and Israel, there seems to be some friction on the issue. This deal will not bring peace, but it will cause more turmoil and violence.

US Embassy in Jerusalem “for the Evangelicals”

JTA reported on August 18:

“President Donald Trump said he moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem ‘for the evangelicals.’… He was referring to his decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, and the move of the U.S. Embassy there the following May. While Israel considers Jerusalem its capital, most countries do not recognize the claim and keep their embassies in Tel Aviv.

“‘And the Golan Heights, don’t forget that, we did the Golan Heights. So we’ve done a lot,’ Trump added, referring to his recognition in March 2019 of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed…

“Gallup… says evangelicals have for decades comprised just over 40% of the population. And a 2017 poll commissioned by pro-Israel evangelicals found that the percentage of evangelicals who believe that the establishment of Israel was a fulfillment of prophecy was 80%.”

When the peace deal falls apart—as it will—then Israel might be given a green light to annex West Bank territory.

Israel’s Right Objects

The Times of Israel wrote on August 14:

“Criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the right continued to grow Friday over his agreement to suspend plans to annex West Bank land… Sensing the rising discontent among their settler base, many Likud ministers on Thursday and Friday said it was imperative not to give up on annexation.

“On Friday, Settlement Affairs Minister Tzachi Hanegbi told Army Radio Israel had not given up on its sovereignty bid, saying ‘Of course it will take place’ and repeating Netanyahu’s assertion that the shelving of the plan was only temporary. Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said annexation ‘is no less important to the people of Israel’ than the accord with the UAE. Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Kan Bet he understood the disappointment felt by some, but argued annexation ‘is not off the table’

“Smotrich, who until recently was transportation minister under Netanyahu, acknowledged in a Facebook post that the prime minister is ‘a magician’ — a moniker many of the premier’s supporters, as well as political analysts, have attached to him over the years. But, he added, the main talent of magicians is ‘deception,’ and Netanyahu had repeatedly hoodwinked the country’s right wing. ‘Netanyahu has deceived right-wing voters for years with great success…’ Smotrich argued…

“Former MK Aryeh Eldad, who was one of the founders of what eventually became far-right party Otzma Yehudit, said Netanyahu ‘has sold out the Land of Israel… for “peace” with the UAE, as if there were ever war between us.’…”

These are harsh words, and Netanyahu knows that he needs the support of the right.

Over 600,000 Settlers Say Netanyahu Betrayed Them

 Reuters wrote on August 19:

 “Israel’s settler leaders say Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defrauded them of their long-held dream of annexing the occupied West Bank as part of the country’s normalisation deal with the United Arab Emirates. Their anger could be a problem for right-wing Netanyahu, whom they accuse of repeatedly floating the idea of annexation only to cave in to international pressure when the terms of the UAE deal required him to walk back his promises…

 “Around 450,000 Jewish settlers now live among 3 million Palestinians in the West Bank, with a further 200,000 settlers in East Jerusalem… the ideological settler leadership has significant political clout, and has long been a bastion of Netanyahu’s support. Aware that he might lose their backing to parties even more hawkish than his own, Netanyahu sought to keep settler hopes alive. But many settler leaders are unconvinced.

 “… the Trump vision of limited Palestinian statehood has created strange bedfellows. The Palestinians say it gives them too little. But for the most hardline Israeli settlers it gives the Palestinians too much. For these settlers, any Palestinian state is anathema.”

 There is no way this peace deal will succeed, and Netanyahu begins to see it now. His political survival is on the line, and he realizes that he needs the support of the right and settlers.

Palestinians and Turkey Object

Breaking Israel News wrote on August 14:

“Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas… spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh called the deal ‘treason,’ saying it must be reversed… The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki announced that following the order of Abbas, its ambassador to the UAE would be recalled.”

The Times of Israel added on August 14:

“The Palestinian Authority issued a scathing statement in response to the move, calling it a ‘betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Palestinian cause,’ language clearly aimed at inflaming Arab and Muslim sentiment worldwide.”

Not surprisingly, Hamas and Iran objected to the deal as well. And so did Turkey; see the next article.

The Jerusalem Post wrote on August 14:

“President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey was considering closing its embassy in Abu Dhabi and suspending diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates over its accord to normalize ties with Israel. Erdogan was speaking to reporters in Istanbul after the Turkish Foreign Ministry said history will never forgive the ‘hypocritical behavior’ of the UAE… The Foreign Ministry said the  Palestinian people and administration were right to react strongly against the agreement…”

How to Deal with and Contain Erdogan…

The Guardian wrote on August 16:

“Europe’s harsh public criticism of Lukashenko [see article below] contrasts sharply with its reluctance to openly denounce the latest aggressive machinations in the eastern Mediterranean of another elective dictatorship, that of Turkey’s long-entrenched leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Turkey is a Nato member, key EU trade partner, border gatekeeper and influential actor in Syria and the Near East. Unlike Belarus, it has real strategic importance. Perhaps that explains the awkward silence of many governments, including the UK’s. It does not excuse it…

“Erdoğan hopes to insure Turkey’s position in the Aegean, eastern Mediterranean, Syria and Libya against a change of administration in Washington… Erdoğan maintains a constant state of friction with Israel, partly by supporting Hamas… If all this were not trouble enough, Erdoğan’s lurch to Russia, symbolised by Turkey’s purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missiles, has left Nato members asking whether he can be trusted. The fact that Trump, anxious as always to please Vladimir Putin, failed to insist on Turkey cancelling the deal will not prevent it becoming a major point of contention…

“Head-in-the-sand European leaders must surely realise their Erdoğan problem cannot be ignored, dodged, or downplayed indefinitely in the hope that he will eventually go away. Turkey turning rogue is a very real, immediate and dangerous prospect. Nobody seems to have an Erdoğan containment plan. One is increasingly required.”

US Utterly Fails in Fight against Iran

Zero Hedge wrote on August 15:

“The US bid to extend a UN Security Council total arms embargo on Iran which had been in effect for 13 years… has ended in utter failure late this week… Officially, the final tally was 11 abstentions, two yes and two no votes. After all of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s lobbying through the summer to essentially make permanent an international arms blockade on the Islamic Republic the US had only two votes in favor: its own and that of the Dominican Republic.

“All European members of the P5+1 nuclear deal as expected were abstentions… Just before the Friday evening Security Council announcement of the resolution’s results, Pompeo voiced frustration, saying the council ‘failed today’ in its mission. He previously said it was ‘nuts’ to allow Iran to purchase and import weapons…

“The Trump administration is still vowing that Iran will never be able to buy weapons again, but it will be fighting an uphill battle, relying on its own diplomatic pressures on other nations, including allies, to ensure that’s the case, also with threat of sanctions against international violators.”

Again, the USA stands pretty much alone in the world.

Europe’s “last Dictator” asks Putin for Help… Controversy on the Horizon with the EU?

The Guardian wrote on August 16:

“Tens of thousands of Belarusians have gathered in Minsk for the biggest protest in the country’s history, as an extraordinary week of rising sentiment comes to a close. Seven days after the country’s authoritarian ruler, Alexander Lukashenko, [who has been called the last dictator in Europe, but notice the article on Turkey above] claimed to have secured 80% of the vote in a presidential election, his legitimacy is in tatters and his regime faces its biggest crisis since he came to power 26 years ago. The mood at Sunday’s rally was stoked further by egregious police violence against thousands of protesters earlier in the week…

“The protest came as the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, told Lukashenko in a phone call on Sunday that Moscow stood ready to provide help in accordance with a collective military pact if necessary… Lukashenko addressed a crowd of several thousand supporters in front of the country’s parliament on Sunday. They waved Belarusian flags and cheered as he said he had no intention of giving up the country, and suggested Nato forces were preparing to invade…

“Russia and Belarus are technically part of a ‘union state’, but Lukashenko has resisted closer integration in recent years and proved a tricky partner for Moscow. Putin will, however, still be keen to keep Belarus as a strategic ally and for street protests not win out in yet another neighbouring state…

“Lukashenko’s appeal to Putin, and his threat that those who continue to come out on to the streets would be ‘cannon fodder’, suggest that he is considering a new crackdown. The police and army remain under his control…”

Deutsche Welle added on August 16:

“NATO said it was closely monitoring events in Belarus, but denied a military buildup was underway in eastern Europe… Lukashenko, who has led the former Soviet state for 26 years, denies election fraud. He says foreign interference is to blame for the unrest…

“The European Union says the presidential vote was neither free nor fair, and is preparing to impose sanctions… EU Commission Vice President Josep Borrell praised the protests… French President Emmanuel Macron said the EU should support the anti-government demonstrations in Belarus… German Finance Minister [and vice chancellor] Olaf Scholz described Lukashenko as a ‘dictator’ who had lost the support of his people…”

On August 19, the EU officially rejected the election results in Belarus.

Belarus—a Pro-Russian Country

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 18:

“Anti-government protesters have rallied in Minsk and other cities for more than a week — but they haven’t been waving EU flags. Experts point out that Belarus is a pro-Russia country, even without President Lukashenko. A glance at a map shows the unique geographical situation of Belarus. To the west, the country borders on NATO members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. To the south is neighbor Ukraine, and to the east is Russia. But Belarus is far from being a ‘buffer state,’ said Gustav Gressel of the European Council on Foreign Relations, a pan-European think tank. Belarus isn’t ‘neutral’ like Switzerland, Sweden or Finland, he said — it’s part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a six-country military alliance dominated by Russia. Created in 2002, the alliance… includes Armenia and three Central Asian republics, alongside Russia and Belarus…

“According to Gressel and other experts, Russia isn’t pinning its hopes on the weakened autocrat, but on the fact that Belarus is and remains a pro-Russia country. They believe the Kremlin wouldn’t mind a change in government, as long as it doesn’t involve an abrupt turn toward the West, the EU or NATO. That doesn’t appear to be the aim of this protest movement. The opposition hasn’t suggested that Belarus join the EU, for instance, making the sanctions that the EU now wants to impose on officials responsible for the post-election crackdown rather counterproductive, Belarus opposition politician Maria Kolesnikova told Germany’s Welt am Sonntag paper…”

There is an interesting connection between Belarus and Ukraine. As we have explained before, Ukrainians are to be viewed as part of the modern Medes who will ultimately be at war with Europe.

Belarus was formerly known as Belorussia or White Russia. Many theories exist as to why it was named this way. The term “White Russians” has also been applied to Ukrainians. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the term “White Russian” described ethnic Russians living in the area between Russia and Poland (today this includes Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia and Moldova).

Ethnic Belarusians make up about four-fifths of the population of Belarus. Being Slavic nations, both Belarus and Ukraine share closely related cultures and are predominantly inhabited by the East Slavic ethnic groups of Belarusians and Ukrainians respectively, along with a few Russians. Today, the two countries share an 891–km border. Belarusians in Ukraine are the second biggest minority after Russians. Unlike many other ethnic groups, Belarusians do not have any particular concentration in the country, but spread out more or less evenly across all regions. There are now Belarusian organizations in major cities like Lviv and Sevastopol in the Crimea.

A notable Ukrainian of Belarusian descent is Viktor Yanukovych, the fourth president of Ukraine. He was removed from office in the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. He currently lives in exile in Russia.

Russian Opposition Leader in Coma Due to Alleged Poisoning

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 20:

“Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was rushed to hospital after a suspected poisoning on Thursday. He was unconscious in intensive care after his airplane made an emergency landing… He later fell into a coma…. ‘We assume that Alexei was poisoned with something mixed with his tea,’ [his spokeswoman] said. ‘That’s the only thing he drank this morning.’… Medical authorities told Interfax news agency that tests had shown he was poisoned with an unidentified psychodysleptic (hallucinogen)… Navalny’s normal doctor told DW that the hospital was refusing to talk to her…

“Navalny spends his time exposing corruption among the Russian elite and has suffered a constant campaign of intimidation and threats. He suffered a similar incident last year where he was also suspected to have been poisoned while in police custody.”

In the past, other Kremlin and Putin critics have been poisoned or otherwise killed. 

The Final Days of Legal Immigration?

Forbes wrote on August 13:

“… since Congress has failed to reach a deal on a COVID-19 stimulus package, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will proceed with its furlough of about 13,400 employees, or about two-thirds of its workforce, on August 30th.

“… a shutdown of the immigration system would negatively impact: families, U.S. businesses, educational institutions, medical facilities, and churches. In addition, immigrants who are in the process of becoming naturalized U.S. citizens will not be able to complete the process in time to register to vote, DACA recipients will not be able to renew their benefits, asylum applicants will face increased delays, and businesses will be unable to hire or retain employees. In short, the full magnitude of a halt to immigration caused by budgetary problems has not yet been fully explored and could be quite shocking to America’s economy

“Danielle Spooner, President of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 119, which represents workers within the USCIS, said, ‘This isn’t only about the 13,400 American families to be laid off during a pandemic – this is yet another thinly veiled attack on the legal immigration system by Trump administration officials like Stephen Miller… By failing to fund this agency, the administration has managed to use the global pandemic to effectively shut down all immigration to the U.S. by the end of the month, hurting thousands of American families and businesses in the process.’

“According to an analysis from the National Foundation for American Policy, immigration policies under Trump have reduced legal immigration by 49 percent… ‘I don’t think I can emphasize enough how large an issue this will be – we’re looking at the final days of legal immigration as we know it in the United States,’ said Ruark Hotopp, a representative for USCIS workers in Nebraska who has spent years assisting American businesses in his role at the USCIS. ‘International students, scientists coming to America to study COVID-19, asylum seekers, workers recruited by American businesses, refugees – we’re talking about millions of people dealing with an immigration system running at 30 percent of the capacity it usually does. Our economy will lose billions in revenue, American businesses will lose access to the workforce they need, and hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants will be thrown into limbo.’”

Apart from the human tragedy of the uncertainty for legal immigrants, the loss of billions of dollars in revenue will only contribute to the economic downfall of the USA.

Trump’s Suggestions

Rolling Stone wrote on August 17:

“With the political world focused on the Democratic convention Monday night, President Trump looked to steal some of the limelight by saying that he will seek a third term if he wins re-election. During a rally in Wisconsin, the president [told] a cheering crowd… that he deserves eight additional years in office because… his campaign was spied on in 2016…”

Mediaite wrote on August 18:

“President Donald Trump claimed on Tuesday that the 2020 presidential election may have to be done again if universal mail-in voting is introduced… ‘You can’t take millions of ballots, send them haphazardly all over the country, or all over a state, and expect it to come out properly… [It is] going to be a disaster the likes of which our country has never seen… It’ll end up being a rigged election or they will never come out with an outcome. They’ll have to do it again, and nobody wants that,’ Trump concluded. ‘And I don’t want that.’”

The Week added on August 17:

“President Trump on Monday blasted his likely presidential challenger former Vice President Joe Biden during a speech in Manakato, Minnesota, saying he’d ‘abolish the American way of life’ en route to turning the U.S. into a ‘very boring socialist country that will go to hell.’ He then had a go at Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), for co-sponsoring a ‘socialist takeover of health care.’

“The president also joked the coronavirus pandemic was ‘God testing me’ to rebuild the U.S. economy a second time.’”

Even if it’s meant to be a joke, there are things you do not want to joke about.

Steve Bannon Indicted for Fraud

CBS News reported on August 20:

“Federal prosecutors in New York announced Thursday that Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former White House chief strategist, has been indicted along with three others for allegedly defrauding donors to a $25 million fundraising campaign to build a wall along the southern border… Mr. Trump distanced himself from Bannon on Thursday, telling reporters at the White House that ‘I haven’t been dealing with him for a very long period of time.’ The president also said he disliked the private effort to fund construction of the border wall and believed ‘it was being done for showboating reasons.’…

“Federal prosecutors said donors were repeatedly assured that 100% of the money raised would be used to build the wall, but those claims were false… the Justice Department said the men profited from the fundraising scheme. Bannon allegedly received more than $1 million… which was funneled through a non-profit he controlled and some of which was used to cover his personal expenses… To hide the payments from the fundraising campaign, federal prosecutors said the four men… concealed the money [by] using fake invoices and fraudulent vendor arrangements to ensure the scheme remained confidential… the men learned We Build the Wall was under federal criminal investigation in October 2019 and ‘thereafter took additional steps to conceal the fraudulent scheme.’ Each of the four are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, federal prosecutors said. Each carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.”

Biden and Harris Not Enough…

On August 17, 2020, Deutsche Welle wrote:

“Many US voters continue to hate Clinton, the Democrats’ 2016 presidential nominee, to this day… Many major groups within the Democratic Party remain profoundly dissatisfied with their… presidential nominee [On August 18, Biden and Harris were officially and formally nominated]… For many Black, Latino, female and other progressive voters, [Biden] is far from being the candidate they wanted to usher in political change, stand up to corporations and revive the idea of the American dream.

“Some hope Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris — though also seen as an establishment politician like the former vice president — will be enough to convince voters to come out en masse in November, to motivate those who are tired of politics and others who remain undecided. But will she be enough to convince those Democrats who voted Republican in 2016 to come back to the party, or even win over those Republicans who don’t want another four years of Trump?… Biden doesn’t have the necessary charisma… Without a doubt… it’s President Trump who has the larger stage. And if there’s one thing he’s good at, it’s knowing which strings to pull to draw the attention of the global media.”

While Michelle Obama’s speech on August 17 met with much approval from many Democrats, Bill Clinton’s speech on Thursday night (August 18) was not well received which was reflected by headlines such as, “Impeached President Slams Impeached President,” or comments by left-wing comedian Stephen Colbert who said: “I don’t think Bill Clinton gets to lecture anyone on what should happen in the Oval Office. Those in glass houses should not be allowed near the interns.” In addition, left-wing or “progressive” Democrats and Sanders’ supporters are not happy at all with Biden and Harris. As Deutsche Welle reported on August 19: “… when it was revealed that [extreme left-wing Congresswoman] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez… would only get one minute to speak, progressive Democrats were outraged,” adding, “The Democratic National Convention, which was supposed to unite the party, has become another point of contention.”

That Donald Trump will stay in power is preordained.

Harris Flopped

The Week published the following opinion piece by Damon Linker on August 20:

“Barack Obama delivered an incredible speech — a rhetorically accomplished, complexly argued case for defeating Donald Trump, and he delivered it impeccably… In that respect, Harris was in an impossible position. Originally Obama’s remarks were supposed to follow the speech of the vice-presidential nominee, but the former president reportedly suggested flipping the order once Harris’ name was announced. That inadvertently set Harris up for failure.

“But if she had gone first, her pedestrian, disjointed speech, delivered in a tone of phony overacting, would have been largely forgotten by the morning. Obama really was that good, and Harris really was that bad… Harris delivered her remarks on a large stage ringed with American flags before an auditorium empty of all but a handful of journalists, photographers, and producers. The vibe started at awkward and sank lower from there… no way it helped…”

We would agree with the analysis that Harris flopped big time, but we do not think that Obama’s speech was that incredible. He spent much time attacking Trump (nothing new, even though it breaks tradition which, until now, “prohibited” a former president from publicly attacking a sitting president), but he said little and nothing convincingly as to why voters should vote for Biden.

The Assassination of John F. Kennedy

On August 19, the Ron Paul Institute republished the following article by the “Future of Freedom Foundation”:

“Former Congressman Ron Paul and his colleague Dan McAdams recently conducted a fascinating interview with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., which focused in part on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who was Kennedy Jr.’s uncle [as well as the assassination of his father, Robert Kennedy] …. In the interview, Robert Kennedy Jr…. stated that the deep animosity that the CIA had for the Kennedy family actually stretched back to something the family patriarch, Joseph P. Kennedy, did in the 1950s that incurred the wrath of Allen Dulles, the head of the CIA.

“Kennedy Jr. stated that his father had served on a commission that was charged with examining and analyzing CIA covert activities, or ‘dirty tricks’ as Kennedy Jr. put them. As part of that commission, Kennedy Jr stated, Joseph P. Kennedy (Kennedy’s Jr.’s grandfather) had determined that the CIA had done bad things with its regime-change operations that were destroying democracies…  Consequently, Joseph Kennedy recommended that the CIA’s power to engage in covert activities be terminated and that the CIA be strictly limited to collecting intelligence and empowered to do nothing else.

“According to Kennedy Jr., ‘Allen Dulles never forgave him — never forgave my family — for that.’… consider what happened with the Bay of Pigs. The CIA’s plan for a regime-change invasion of Cuba, was conceived under President Eisenhower. Believing that Vice President Nixon would be elected president in 1960, the CIA was quite surprised that Kennedy was elected instead. To ensure that the invasion would go forth anyway, the CIA assured Kennedy that the invasion would succeed without US air support. It was a lie. The CIA assumed that once the invasion was going to go down in defeat at the hands of the communists, Kennedy would have to provide the air support in order to ‘save face.’

“… When the CIA’s army of Cuban exiles was going down in defeat, the CIA requested the air support, convinced that their plan to manipulate the new president would work. It didn’t. Kennedy refused to provide the air support… Knowing that the CIA had played him and double-crossed him, John Kennedy fired Allen Dulles as CIA director, along with his chief deputy, Charles Cabell. He then put his younger brother Bobby Kennedy in charge of monitoring the CIA, which infuriated the CIA.

“Now jump ahead to the Cuban Missile Crisis, which Kennedy resolved by promising that the United States would not invade Cuba for a regime-change operation. That necessarily would leave a permanent communist regime in Cuba, something that the CIA steadfastly maintained was a grave threat to ‘national security’— a much bigger threat, in fact, than the threats supposedly posed by the regimes in Iran in 1953 and Guatemala in 1954…

“In his famous Peace Speech at American University in June 1963, [Kennedy] declared an end to the entire Cold War and announced that the United States was going to establish friendly and peaceful relations with the communist world…. In the minds of former CIA Director Allen Dulles and the people still at the CIA, what Kennedy was doing was anathema and, even worse, the gravest threat to ‘national security’ the United States had ever faced… At that point, the CIA’s animosity toward President Kennedy far exceeded the animosity it had borne toward his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, several years before.”

Europe’s Insane Corona Requirements

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 14:

“Germany has declared nearly all of Spain, including the island of Mallorca, as risky areas following a spike of coronavirus cases in the south European country. Only the Canary Islands — which lie off the coast of North Africa — are exempted. Travelers returning from high-risk areas [will] be required to undergo testing and wait for the result in self-isolation… The decision was made in coordination between Germany’s interior, foreign, and health ministries… The foreign ministry later updated its travel advice to include the warning.

“… the move is likely to be an immense blow for tourism in Mallorca, Ibiza and other Balearic islands, which normally see millions of German visitors every season. Some 4.3 million Germans visited Mallorca alone in 2018…

“The United Kingdom said Thursday it will reimpose a mandatory two-week quarantine on travelers arriving in the country from France or the Netherlands. Monaco and Malta — as well as the Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos and Aruba — also join the travel quarantine list… More than 500,000 Britons are holidaying in France… France’s junior minister for European affairs, Clement Beaune, said it was ‘a British decision we regret and which will lead to a reciprocal measure.’”

These are ridiculous measures. In Britain, Boris Johnson becomes more and more unpredictable and controversial. (So is Netanyahu in Israel and, of course, Donald Trump in the USA). In Germany, the unconscionable decision regarding Spain was made by, inter alia, the health ministry under Health Minister Jens Spahn. Spahn, who is openly gay and just bought a luxurious villa in Berlin in the amount of 4.2 million Euros together with “his husband,” has proven to be a somewhat “low key” politician with highly controversial and devastating decisions.

Crazy Corona Requirements in German State for Students

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 12:

“It’s Christopher Niiaddysai’s first day at his new school. The 15-year-old is starting 11th grade. Teachers must now address him like an adult, and in two years, if all [is] going well, he can sit his school graduation exams. As he and his two friends stride purposefully through the gates of their school in Bonn, the sense of expectation is great… Like his fellow-students, he’ll be wearing [a mask] all day.  All secondary school students in the western state of North Rhine Westfalia – -about two million in total – have to cover their mouths and noses: in the schoolyard, in lessons, in the hallways…

“‘It’s annoying,’ says Niiaddysai… ‘I can’t breathe properly. That makes it hard to learn; it’s difficult to concentrate.’… The decision by the state authorities to make masks mandatory came just days ago. NRW is the only one of Germany’s 16 federal states to introduce the measure… The state education minister has called for harsh punishment of people who refuse to wear a mask: ranging as far as expulsion.”

This is totally insane. But it’s not limited to just one state in Germany. Note the next article.

Biden Wants Nationwide Mask Mandate

Deutsche Welle wrote on August 14:

“The presumptive US Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, has called for a nationwide mask mandate to curb the coronavirus outbreak.  ‘Let’s institute a mask mandate nationwide starting immediately and we will save lives, he said, adding that the plan could save more than 40,000 lives over the next three months.”

This is a political idea which is totally unsupported by the evidence, but which may sound good for certain voters.

Success Rate in South Dakota

Breitbart wrote on August 16:

“South Dakota turned down extra federal unemployment aid Friday due to the high rate of job recovery in the state. ‘Gov. Kristi Noem (R), a vocal ally of the White House, said South Dakota did not need the additional funds because workers in her state have been rehired and that its economy is rebounding after suffering economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic,’ according to The Hill.

“In a statement, Noem [stated:] ‘South Dakota’s economy, having never been shut down, has recovered nearly 80% of our job losses. South Dakota is the only state in the nation that didn’t have extended benefits kick in because our insured unemployment rate has been the lowest in the nation. We have the third best housing construction market in the country. And many, many businesses are looking to relocate to South Dakota because of the decisions we made during the pandemic. South Dakota is open for business — that applies to our business owners and their employees.’”

If other American states had done the same, we would not be in the devastating state we are in today as a country.

“Good News”—Fauci Is Out

On August 17, Dr. Ron Paul wrote in the Ron Paul Institute:

“These days it seems there is not much good news out there. People are still panicked over the coronavirus, governments are still trampling civil liberties in the name of fighting the virus, the economy –already teetering on the edge of collapse – has been kicked to the ground by what history may record as one of the worst man-made disasters of all time: shutting down the country to fight a cold virus.

“That’s why we’ll take good news wherever we can get it, and President Trump’s hiring of Dr. Scott Atlas to his coronavirus task force may just be that good news we need. As the media has reported, President Trump has sidelined headline-hogging Anthony Fauci in favor of Atlas, the former Stanford University Medical Center chief of neuroradiology…

“Fauci’s advice, forecasts, and assessments proved to be wildly wrong, contradictory, and just plain bizarre: Don’t wear a mask! You must wear a mask. Masks are important as symbols. Put on goggles. Stay home! Churches must be severely restricted but Black Lives Matter marches and encounters with strangers met over the Internet are perfectly fine.

“When Anthony Fauci demanded a lockdown of the economy for an indefinite period he actually seemed oblivious to the havoc it would wreak on the economy and on people’s lives. People like Fauci and others who demanded lockdowns and stay-at-home orders were still collecting their paychecks, so what did they care about anyone else?

“Dr. Scott Atlas is not only a former top physician and hospital administrator: as a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution he also understands the policy implications of locking a country down. On April 22, Dr. Atlas wrote an op-ed in The Hill… In the article he made five main points that are as true today as when he wrote them: an overwhelming majority of people are at no risk of dying from Covid; protecting older people prevents hospital overcrowding; locking down a population actually prevents the herd immunity necessary to defeat the virus; people are dying because they are not being treated for non-Covid illnesses; we know what part of the population is at risk and we can protect them.

“Imagine how many thousands of lives could have been saved had the Administration listened to Dr. Atlas back in April. CDC Director Robert Redfield admitted last month that lockdowns were killing more Americans than Covid… We very much hope that Dr. Atlas will not ‘moderate’ his message to please the blob in Washington. Trump’s Covid policies to this point have caused more harm than good. With Fauci out of the driver’s seat we finally have a chance of turning things around.”

We are afraid that in light of the politics involving the upcoming elections, Atlas might either change his message, or his moderate voice will not be heard.

Church Wins against Los Angeles County

California Globe wrote on August 15:

“A California superior court ruled in favor of the First Amendment and Pastor John MacArthur and Grace Community Church this week, while smacking down Los Angeles County officials… LA County tried to enforce a limit of 100 on church service attendees – a tiny fraction of the megachurch congregation…

“Judge James Chalfant denied almost all of the county’s requests at the August 14 Los Angeles Superior Court hearing, agreeing with [Pastor] MacArthur and the church that it is the county’s burden to show why they should be permitted to infringe on the constitutionally protected rights of churches to freely exercise religion.

“Attorneys for Grace Community Church explained that Los Angeles County was being unreasonable in its demands, and offered to have the congregation comply with face mask wearing and social distancing indoors until the matter could be fully heard. This was stipulated as a more reasonable action than that of the county’s rush to shut down church services. The judge agreed and set the full hearing for September 4, 2020, ordering the church to have congregants wear masks and social distance between family groups indoors…”

Still not that good, but better than prohibiting church services altogether.

Breitbart added on August 16:

Christian evangelical leader Rev. Franklin Graham posted to Facebook:

“‘It’s an important win for freedom of worship and for our Constitutional right to assemble and worship. Today a California judge ruled that Grace Community Church has every right to have indoor worship services and does not have to adhere to any attendance cap or ban on singing. This was the right call. I’m thankful for Pastor John MacArthur’s stand against the progressive leftist bullies in his state, and for Thomas More Society Attorney Jenna Ellis who is helping the church …in this legal battle. The First Amendment ensures the rights and freedoms of people of faith are protected. I hope this sends a message to those who would like nothing better than to keep churches shut down or limited…’

“Ellis also serves as an attorney to President Donald Trump.”

At least it’s a start. But we are not confident at all that other courts will follow the example.

Wildfires in California

The LA Times newsletter reported on August 20:

It’s been an apocalyptic few days, even by California standards. Fueled by extraordinary weather conditions (officially 10,849 lightning strikes in a 72-hour period, record-breaking heat), fires have exploded across the state. Tens of thousands of Californians have had to evacuate… ‘We are experiencing fires, the likes of which we haven’t seen in many, many years,’ Gov. Gavin Newsom told Californians during a press conference Wednesday… According to the governor, the state has already seen 6,754 fires this year — a 68% increase from the same time last year… more than 300,000 acres have already burned statewide in 2020, which is more than the total acreage burned last year…

 “The sheer number of new fires is straining resources, particularly because fires are also burning in other nearby states amid a historic heat wave scorching the West Coast. Newsom said that this has complicated the call for mutual aid… the cascade of compounding crises continues to mount. The fires have also created serious air quality issues in several parts of the state. The San Francisco Bay Area has been blanketed by ash and smoke as fires burn in eight of its nine counties… the biggest fires, many of which are believed to have been sparked by an unusually active sequence of largely dry lightning strikes, are in Northern and Central California. The two largest active fires — the SCU Lightning Complex fire and the LNU Lightning Complex fire — are actually both clusters of many smaller fires…”

 Is California cursed?

The Lucrative Business with Coronavirus Vaccines

CNN Business wrote on August 14:

“The race for a successful coronavirus vaccine is heating up in labs around the world — and on Wall Street. Germany’s CureVac, a biotech with the backing of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, more than tripled in its first day of trading Friday. CureVac priced its initial public offering at $16 a share. The stock soared nearly 250%, to just below $56, by the end of the day…

“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the charitable arm of the multibillionaire Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder and his wife, invested $40 million in the company in 2015. CureVac recently received approval from the governments of Germany and Belgium to start clinical tests for one of its vaccines for Covid-19…

“CureVac also has another big name in its roster of partners: the firm is working on technology with Elon Musk’s electric car giant Tesla (TSLA)…”

But haven’t we been told time and time again that the development of a vaccine is for the good of the people without any financial benefits for the companies? We are joking, of course.

Mandatory Coronavirus Vaccines in Australia?

AFP wrote on August 18:

“Australia should make any coronavirus vaccine compulsory for its 25 million citizens bar medical exemptions, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday, wading into a heated ethical debate… Anticipating a backlash from vocal anti-vaccine activists, Morrison said the stakes were too high to allow the disease to continue unchecked… The Australian government estimates that up to 95 percent of the population would need to be immune to the virus for it to be eradicated…

“… kids have to receive vaccines for diseases including polio and tetanus to enrol in kindergarten or school.”

Many doctors feel that the figure of 95% is totally overblown. Australia’s governmental measures and restrictions become more and more radical and dictatorial. For instance, in Melbourne, one cannot travel more than 5 km from home without a valid reason. Anyone who works at night needs a government-issued permit to travel during curfew.

Processing Diseased and Sick Chicken for “Food”?

Bloomberg wrote on August 11:

“Consider the decision last month by the agriculture department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to allow poultry plants to process diseased chickens for human consumption. In July the FSIS approved a petition from the National Chicken Council requesting that slaughterhouses be allowed to process broilers infected with Avian Leukosis — a virus that causes chickens to develop cancerous lesions and tumors. Inspectors would no longer be required to examine the first 300 birds of each flock for signs of the disease, and processors would be able to cut off tumors and lesions and then process the rest of the bird…

“Here’s what we know about Avian Leukosis: A small percentage of birds (less than 1%) are diagnosed with the virus each year, but it spreads quickly through flocks and tens of thousands of chickens are condemned annually due to exposure. While it’s unlikely that the virus could transfer from chickens to humans, it’s not impossible. There is some evidence that workers exposed to birds infected with the disease in the U.K. have developed antibodies, indicating a transfer of the virus from animal to human

“The CDC reports that ‘more than six out of every 10 known infectious diseases in people can be spread from animals, and 3 out of every 4 new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals.’”

To process diseased chicken for food is clearly unbiblical. To process chicken with a virus for food is just plain stupid.

North Korea Confiscates Pet Dogs for Food?

The New York Post wrote on August 17:

“North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has ordered [pet] dogs to be confiscated in the country’s capital, saying the pooches represent Western ‘decadence’… Kim issued the directive in July to round up the pets, claiming they were part of ‘a “tainted” trend by bourgeouis ideology’…  ‘Ordinary people raise pigs and livestock on their porches, but high-ranking officials and the wealthy own pet dogs, which stoked some resentment’ among the lower classes, the source said. ‘Authorities have identified households with pet dogs and are forcing them to give them up or forcefully confiscating them and putting them down.’’

“But while the oppressive regime says the move is to clamp down on capitalist extravagance in Pyongyang, the dog owners are fearful that given North Korea’s food shortage — and propensity for eating dog meat—the directive has only come about to feed the masses. The dog owners are ‘cursing Kim Jong Un behind his back,’ but otherwise, their hands are tied, the source lamented.”


More Nonsense from Germany

Fox News wrote on August 16:

“A popular spicy dressing in Germany is getting rebranded because of the racist connotations of its name. Food company Knorr will change the name of its ‘Zigeunersauce,’ or ‘gypsy sauce’ to ‘Paprika Sauce Hungarian Style,’ Bild am Sonntag reported Sunday. ‘Since “gypsy sauce” can be interpreted in a negative way, we have decided to give our Knorr sauce a new name,’ said Unilever, the company that owns Knorr…

“The renaming of the brand follows recent international debates over racism, especially in the United States, where big national companies have also renamed traditional brands in response to concerns about racial stereotyping…”

Stupidity galore.

“Germans Must Walk their Dogs twice a Day…”

The Guardian wrote on August 19:

“Germany’s agriculture minister, Julia Klöckner, has said she is introducing the new law based on evidence that many of the nation’s 9.4 million dogs are not getting the exercise or stimuli they need. Under the new regulations in the Hundeverordnung, or Dog’s Act, owners will not get away with a quick jog round the block, but will be required to take their dogs out for at least one hour [a day]… The tethering of dogs on a chain or a lead for long periods also faces an all-out ban. Dogs may not be left alone at home all day, and a person will be required to take care of their dog ‘several times a day’….

“News of the law, which is due to be introduced next year and was made widely known for the first time this week, has prompted a lively debate in Germany. The main question is how it will be possible to check up on the 19% of German households that own dogs, which as pets are second in popularity only to cats. A spokeswoman for the agricultural ministry has said the authorities in each of Germany’s 16 states will be responsible for enforcing the law.”

An opinion piece in the Bild newspaper was titled: “Compulsory Walkies for Dog Owners? Rubbish!” Indeed it is. Germany, a country known for its bureaucracy, has imposed many unreasonable restrictions on the German population to “combat” the coronavirus pandemic. But if that were not enough, now another silly proposal is made to tell dog owners how to raise their dogs. 

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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