This Week in the News

Rule from Above… Central Power not a Trivial Matter in Germany

Deutsche Welle wrote on April 10:

“… the federal and state governments have agreed on an amendment to Germany’s Infection Protection Act, which governs control of the pandemic. Under the amendment, the federal government will now be able to unilaterally impose restrictions on regions with high infection rates.

“Imposing a central power over state responsibilities is no trifling matter in Germany. After lessons learned from the last time the country was ruled by a single central power — the Nazi party… the postwar constitution granted federalized states wide-reaching powers.

“This has become increasingly relevant in measures to fight the pandemic. The result is a jumble of measures, complicated by competition among states seeking the best anti-coronavirus policies. While some states have relaxed measures, others have tightened them further. Differences between states include such major points as whether schools are open or not, and details on if hardware stores may open; whether a curfew is in place or not; or even a testing requirement to shop at certain stores… Citizens are confused, finding many measures illogical and losing track of what is allowed where. Calls for a uniform approach have become ever louder.

“Shortly before Easter, German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized some states on the German TV program Anne Will for not implementing the agreed resolutions to combat the virus. If they didn’t come into line ‘in the foreseeable future,’ Merkel hinted, the federal government might act to amend the Infection Protection Act… That the federal government would take more power was, perhaps surprisingly, welcomed by some state leaders. Armin Laschet and Markus Söder, respective premiers of the two powerful states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria, both backed the idea, agreeing to curtail their own powers.

“But both men likely have other ambitions in mind. After Merkel steps down this fall, both will seek to become their parties’ candidate to succeed her as chancellor. Laschet is the head of Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats; Söder of their Bavarian sister party, the CSU. This is then somehow an audition for the most important office in the federal government…

“The latest agreement was preceded by sometimes heated arguments. Carsten Schneider, parliamentary director of the center-left Social Democrats — who rule in coalition with the CDU/CSU in the German federal parliament — called the move by the CDU/CSU members an attempt to disempower the states… the greatest support for the new rules came from the Greens, currently in an opposition position….”

Deutsche Welle wrote on April 9 that “Merkel and other leading lawmakers, such as Health Minister Jens Spahn, have called for a short, hard lockdown in Germany… Spahn on Friday suggested implementing curfews,  as is already the case in the capital Berlin… Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s infectious disease authority, suggested implementing a two-to-four week lockdown…”

Merkel’s plans are coming increasingly under attack. Bild Online wrote on April 12 that they are “Murks” (“botched-up”, “bungled” or “a mess.”). The conservative mass tabloid warned especially about the powers Merkel wants to acquire for the federal government to enforce new prohibitions without the consent of the states. In a commentary, the paper wrote: “Nobody in Germany is helped… One has to say it bluntly: Nothing is correct regarding the lockdown plan of the chancellor.” (“Niemandem in Deutschland ist geholfen… Man muss es so hart sagen: Am Lockdown-Plan der Bundeskanzlerin stimmt gar nichts.“)

Germany is playing with fire for sure… But Germans have been known for willingly giving up their freedoms and liberties and sheepishly approving and following dictatorial measures for the propagated alleged “greater good.”

Prince Philip Dies at 99

JTA wrote on April 9:

“Prince Philip, perhaps the closest member of the British royal family to Jews and Jewish causes, has died at 99 [on Friday]. Philip, who had been married to Queen Elizabeth II for 74 years, since five years before she ascended to the throne, had been in declining health for some time.

“Also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, Philip’s support for Jewish and pro-Israel causes ran deep. His mother, Princess Alice of Greece, sheltered a Jewish family during the Holocaust and is recognized as one of fewer than 30,000 ‘righteous among the nations’ by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum. [The Gestapo was suspicious of Alice, even questioning her, but the princess, who was deaf, pretended not to understand their questions. Alice later became a nun.]

“Philip’s four sisters each married German nobles, at least three of whom became Nazis. But Philip, educated in Britain, joined the allied war effort. As an adult, he showed little patience for Nazi collaborators; he was instrumental in making a pariah of his wife’s uncle Edward, who after abdicating the throne dallied with Nazi Germany…

“Philip… came under attack in the 1960s for speaking to pro-Israel groups, and, famously impervious to criticism, ignored the attacks. In 1994, Philip was the first British royal to visit Israel, when he accepted Yad Vashem’s recognition of his mother and visited her burial site at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem… “

Those who have been and are sitting on the British throne, are descendants of the house of Judah and the house of David.

American Presidents Give Tribute

BBC wrote on April 10:

The current President Joe Biden… issued a statement in which he praised the Duke of Edinburgh’s ‘lifetime of service to the United Kingdom’…

“Donald Trump, who last visited the Royal Family in 2019, described Prince Philip as ‘a man who embodied the noble soul and proud spirit of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.’ He described Prince Philip’s death as an ‘irreplaceable loss for Great Britain, and for all who hold dear our civilisation… Prince Philip defined British dignity and grace… He personified the quiet reserve, stern fortitude, and unbending integrity of the United Kingdom… We saw first hand how the monarchy epitomises and carries on the virtues of the British people – and no-one did so more than Prince Philip…’

“Barack Obama and his wife Michelle said Prince Philip and the Queen had ‘already been on the world stage for more than half a century’ at the time of the group’s first meeting. ‘As two Americans unaccustomed to palaces and pomp, we didn’t know what to expect. We shouldn’t have worried,’ they said. ‘The Queen and Prince Philip immediately put us at ease with their grace and generosity, turning a ceremonial occasion into something far more natural, even comfortable…’

“George W Bush praised the duke’s devotion to public service… ‘He represented the United Kingdom with dignity and brought boundless strength and support to the sovereign,’ he said.

“Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said they joined people ‘from all around the world in giving thanks for his remarkable life of service’.

“The oldest living US president, Jimmy Carter, dined with Prince Philip and the Queen in 1977. A tweet issued from the 96-year-old’s presidential library account read: ‘We are sorry to hear that Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has passed away.’”

As commentators pointed out, Trump’s statement was the most meaningful.

World Leaders Give Tribute

BBC wrote on April 10:

Prince Philip had blood ties with a number of former or current European royal households, and many of their members sent condolences. The telegram from King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain was particularly poignant, sending ‘all our love and affection’ to Aunt Lilibet (the affectionate name used by the duke for his wife) and Dear Uncle Philip. ‘We shall never forget the moments that we shared with him,’ they told the Queen…

Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf said the duke had been ‘a great friend of our family for many years, a relation we have deeply valued’… The Dutch royal family said they remembered Prince Philip with great respect, adding: ‘His lively personality made an indelible impression.’ Belgium’s King Philippe said he and Queen Mathilde would ‘always cherish the memories of our warm encounters’…

“Tributes came in too from the Commonwealth – 54 nations, most with roots in the British Empire and home to 2.4 billion people. ‘He embodied a generation that we will never see again,’ Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. ‘He was a man who was steadfast, who could be relied upon, always standing by his Queen.’ New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern noted that thousands of young people had ‘completed life-changing challenges’ through the duke’s Hillary Award… Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the duke had ‘contributed so much to the social fabric of our country – and the world’… Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said Philip had been a ‘wise leader’ and his ‘role in promoting Pakistan-UK relations will always be remembered.’ And Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was another to praise a lifetime of dedication to ‘many community service initiatives.’ Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said the duke had been a ‘towering symbol of family values and the unity of the British people as well as the entire global community’…

“Other tributes came from nations deeply linked to the duke and his family… In a telegram to the Queen, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the duke had ‘rightfully enjoyed respect’ both at home and internationally. And Chancellor Angela Merkel said the duke’s ‘friendship with Germany, his straightforward nature and his sense of duty’ would be remembered. France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the duke a man of ‘great style’, saying: ‘France joins in the sorrow of its friends across the Channel and salutes the life, at once European and British, of a man who was a witness to a century of trials and hopes for our continent.’ Italian President Sergio Mattarella said he would ‘cherish’ the memories of Prince Philip’s ‘deep admiration for Italy’s artistic and cultural heritage’…”

It is interesting how many influential royals are still living in Europe, and how many nations are still part of the Commonwealth.

Little Chance that Queen Elizabeth Will Abdicate

Reuters wrote on April 10:

“Despite the death of her husband Prince Philip, her partner and confidante during a record-breaking reign, there is little chance that 94-year-old Queen Elizabeth will abdicate, royal watchers believe… Despite the huge hole in her life that Philip’s death leaves, aides and royal experts have long said it would not lead to the queen, the world’s oldest and longest-reigning living monarch, relinquishing the throne in favour of her son and heir Prince Charles…

“When she was born in 1926, it was not expected she would ever become the monarch. But her uncle Edward VIII abdicated because of his love for American divorcee Wallis Simpson, which the British establishment deemed an unacceptable union, prompting a constitutional crisis which saw the crown passed to her father George VI when she was 10 years old. ‘It is a job for life,’ Elizabeth once said, echoing a promise she made on her 21st birthday in 1947… It was a commitment she repeated on the 60th anniversary of her accession, and when senior Buckingham Palace aides are asked whether abdication is possible, they have the same answer: ‘Life means life’.

“That means she would not follow the leads of other European monarchs such as King Juan Carlos of Spain who abdicated in 2014, King Albert of Belgium who quit in 2013 and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands who stepped down the same year. As a deeply religious figure and titular head of the Church of England, Elizabeth sees the vows she took on her coronation day when she was anointed queen as unbreakable, according to royal commentators and those who know her well.

“However, she might pass on even more official duties to Charles, 72, and other members of the Windsor family who have taken over much of her workload… If the queen follows in the footsteps of her mother – who was known as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and was still appearing in public almost up until her death aged 101 in 2002 – Elizabeth might yet be at the forefront of British public life for some time.”

On the other hand, some experience has sadly shown that if one long-time mate dies, the surviving mate might not live that much longer, either. But this does not have to be the case, as other examples show.

The Inevitable Biden-Israel Showdown

The Jerusalem Post wrote on April 9:

“The Trump era was unique in US-Israeli politics in that the two governments were almost completely synchronized in their global policy outlooks, particularly on Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Biden might not bring with him an immediate cold blast of Obama-era politics, but for Israelis who know the man famous for disagreeing with Netanyahu, their showdown is not a question of if, but when

“Those on the Left will of course feel that Biden has not gone far enough, fast enough, and hope that he holds Israel to account. Those on the Right are concerned that these last months have simply been a short honeymoon period. It is hard to match the drama over the pending US-Israeli diplomatic conflict over Iran, with the Biden administration holding talks to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, while Israel allegedly attacked an Iranian ship in the Red Sea [and while Israel appears to confirm it carried out a cyberattack on the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran on Sunday, just five days after the alleged attack on the Iranian ship, according to the Guardian, dated April 11]. Secondary to the Iran drama, the pending Biden-Israel showdown began in earnest over the last 10 days, with a series of small steps that might seem like a few small stones rolling down a hill, but which could ultimately become an avalanche

“As a first step, Biden immediately returned to the Obama-era language of speaking of settlement activity as a stumbling block to peace, whereas the Trump administration had legitimized settlement activity and focused on Palestinian terrorism as one of the main issues…  Last week Biden’s administration reintroduced the word ‘occupation’ to describe the West Bank, all of the West Bank, including the settlements. This week, the administration agreed to relaunch a system of providing financial assistance to the Palestinians, including to its security services, eliminated by Trump, even though the PA has not ended its monthly stipends for terrorists. To date the administration has spoken of a financial package of $290 million.”

Netanyahu has said that he will do everything in his power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb, even if he has to do it all alone. It appears he has begun doing just that.

Governor Cuomo’s Hatred of the Feast of Tabernacles

Israel News wrote on April 14:

“Just as allegations of misreporting COVD deaths were evaporating amid sexual abuse allegations (which also seem to be mysteriously evaporating with no repercussions), a new scandal concerning New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has appeared. Cuomo hates the Jewish celebration of the Biblical feast of Sukkoth… The New York Times reported on Tuesday a disturbing comment by Cuomo. When he was running for the position of New York Attorney General in 2006, Cuomo was frustrated that his campaigning to Jewish groups was hampered by the observance of the Biblical holiday of Sukkoth (Feast of Tabernacles). ‘These people and their f***ing tree houses,’ Cuomo said to his team, according to The Times

“If this scandal sticks, it could seriously hurt the governor in any future attempts at reelection. Overall, in his bid for governor in 2014, Cuomo received about 67% of the vote in New York City but in predominantly Orthodox Jewish sections, he garnered over 80% of the vote. To reinforce this, he traveled to Israel and a photo from the trip taken at the Western Wall with Cuomo wearing a yarmulke was featured in his campaign.

“Cuomo’s relationship with his Orthodox constituency has clearly suffered… Like President Biden, Cuomo is a Roman Catholic whose political positions on issues like abortion, homosexual marriage, and divorce, stand in stark contrast to the tenets of his faith.”

JTA added on April 13:

 “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has long prided himself on his strong relationship with the Jewish community… But that love for the Jewish community apparently does not extend to the Jewish holiday of Sukkot… Sukkot is marked by eating, and sometimes sleeping, in a sukkah, a temporary hut often built from wood and covered in tree branches.

“Cuomo’s… ties with the Orthodox Jewish community hit a rough patch in the fall when Cuomo ordered tightened [COVID-19] restrictions on a number of Orthodox neighborhood… Coincidentally or not, those restrictions were announced during  Sukkot.”

Worldwide Debt Crisis at Worst Possible Time

America Magazine wrote on April 9:

“Pope Francis has highlighted a global crisis that has been obscured by the inescapable Covid-19 catastrophe but has the potential to lead to comparable human suffering. In a letter on April 8 to the participants in the spring 2021 virtual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund… Pope Francis urged world leaders to support a significant reduction in the debt burden of the world’s poorest nations. “Relieving the burden of debt of so many countries and communities today is a profoundly human gesture that can help people to develop, to have access to vaccines, health, education and jobs,” he said…

“‘We’re approaching the greatest wave of debt crises and debt restructurings the world has ever seen,’ [Eric LeCompte of Jubilee USA Network] said in an interview… ‘Fifty-six percent of all countries in the world are either [already in a] debt crisis or on the verge of [a] debt crisis’…

“Accepting higher levels of debt proved irresistible to many governments because of the historically low interest rates that followed the 2008-09 global economic collapse and the creation of new borrowing instruments… Payments on those novel debts are coming due at the absolute worst possible time, Mr. LeCompte pointed out, as Covid-19 shuts down economies around the world… ‘It’s a global economic shock, the worst crisis that we have faced since the Great Depression, and developing countries don’t have the revenues or the tools to be able to face the crisis.’”

America’s Border Crisis

Fox News wrote on April 11:

Vice President Kamala Harris’ relative silence regarding the topics of – immigration and border security — since taking on an oversight role on those issues — continued to draw more media scrutiny Saturday. It was the 18th day that Harris went without holding a news conference regarding her duties on the issues, since receiving the assignment from President Biden. On Saturday, the Washington Examiner… quoted White House press secretary Jen Psaki, reacting Wednesday to questions about when Harris would be visiting the border region. ‘I’m sure it will be soon,’ Psaki said…

“Also Saturday, NBC News published an article titled, ‘Confusion clouds Harris immigration role.’ The NBC story argued that the White House helped create confusion by not clarifying what Harris’ specific duties would be regarding the migrant crisis. It went on to quote White House aides, mostly anonymously, who asserted that Harris’ focus was on addressing the root causes of migration that exist in the so-called ‘Northern Triangle’ countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – and not on the border region itself.”

It was also reported that Harris claimed she was not in charge of the border crisis, thereby contracting Biden’s conflicting remarks.

 The Associated Press wrote on April 5:

More Americans disapprove than approve of how President Joe Biden is handling waves of unaccompanied migrant children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border…  59% say providing safe treatment of unaccompanied children when they are apprehended should be a high priority, and 65% say the same about reuniting families separated at the border… Overall, 40% of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of children reaching the nation’s southern border without their parents, compared with just 24% who approve. Thirty-five percent don’t have an opinion either way.”

The Baltimore Sun added on April 8:

“The U.S. government picked up nearly 19,000 children traveling alone across the Mexican border in March, authorities said Thursday, the largest monthly number ever recorded and a major test for President Joe Biden as he reverses many of his predecessor’s hardline immigration tactics… March’s count was roughly double the number of unaccompanied children encountered by the Border Patrol in February and more than five times the number in March 2020.

“The huge increase in children traveling alone — some as young as 3 — and families has severely strained border holding facilities, which aren’t allowed to hold people for more than three days but often do. It’s left the government scrambling to find space and hire staff to care for children longer term until they can be placed with sponsors.

“Amid the growing numbers, more than 4,000 people at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection holding facility have been jammed into a space designed for 250 at a tent complex in Donna, Texas. They lay inches apart on mats on the floor with foil blankets…”

Withdrawing from Afghanistan—a Gift to the Taliban?

Deutsche Welle wrote on April 14:

“After almost two decades since the United States invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban regime, Washington is set to exit the country. President Joe Biden has decided to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by September 11.  The military withdrawal will not depend on the situation on the ground — despite fears that the Taliban could make major gains, many say… Germany will match US plans for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan [and so will the UK].

“Former US President Donald Trump’s administration had set the pullout date for May 1, but Biden’s decision will delay the withdrawal by another five months. Biden’s complete and unconditional decision to withdraw comes as a surprise for many experts, who had hoped that his administration would reverse Trump’s policies, which many believe have emboldened Islamist militants in Afghanistan.

“Violent attacks in Afghanistan have spiked since the signing of the US-Taliban agreement in Doha, Qatar, in February 2020 to end the protracted war. The Taliban deny involvement in these attacks, but their refusal to agree to a nationwide ceasefire has raised doubts about their intentions. The Islamist group, which feels more powerful than ever, also says it would not attend a planned summit in Turkey until all foreign troops leave the country…

“The Taliban are not the only threat to Afghan forces; other militant groups, such as ‘Islamic State’ (IS), have also gained a foothold in the war-ravaged country…”

CNN added on April 14:

“Biden said Wednesday that the withdrawal will begin on May 1, in line with an agreement President Donald Trump’s administration made with the Taliban. He said the complete withdrawal will be done by September 11. Some US troops will remain to protect American diplomats, though officials declined to provide a precise number.”

The New York Times wrote on April 14:

“President Biden formally announced his decision to end the 20-year, largely unsuccessful American effort to remake Afghanistan… For the United States, Mr. Biden’s announcement was a humbling moment. The Afghan war was not only the longest in American history, it was one of the costliest — more than $2 trillion. Nearly 2,400 American service members were killed, and more than 20,000 were wounded.”

America has not won a war since World War II.

Afghanistan–a Tortured Wasteland

The Ron Paul Institute published the following article by Scott Ritter on April 15, which originally appeared in RT—the outlet controlled by the Russian government:

“President Joe Biden, in a departure from a policy embraced by four successive US presidential administrations which placed stringent conditions on determining the conditions under which the US might leave Afghanistan, has announced that he is ordering all US military forces out of Afghanistan by September 11, 2021 – the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks which propelled the US Afghan intervention to begin with.

“This decision, which is not linked to any preconditions or other policy contingencies, means the US will finally extricate itself from the two-decade long nightmare in Afghanistan that had become known as ‘the forever war.’… This decision flew in the face of the advice Biden was receiving from the military, which argued that any condition-free withdrawal would doom the Afghan government and military to a Vietnam-like collapse…

“In short, the 20-year conflict in Afghanistan accomplished nothing other than killing more than 2,000 Americans, wasting trillions of dollars of American treasure, and slaughtering hundreds of thousands of Afghans while leaving their country little more than a tortured wasteland.”

Trump at it Again

Politico wrote on April 11 (The Washington Post and The Week contributed to the report):

 “Former President Donald Trump ripped into Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell before a Republican National Committee donor retreat Saturday evening… Trump veered off his prepared text during a roughly 50-minute speech before several hundred well-heeled GOP donors at his Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida… The former president spent several minutes tearing into [Senate Minority Leader Mitch] McConnell, [calling him a “dumb” S.O.B. and a “stone cold loser” and ] saying that he didn’t do enough to defend him during the February impeachment trial…

“The latest verbal broadside against McConnell, the most powerful Republican still in elected office, comes as Trump reemerges as a dominant force in GOP politics. The former president… is issuing a steady stream of endorsements for the 2022 midterm elections…

“Several attendees said there was little response to Trump’s insult. Much of Trump’s Saturday night speech was aimed at relitigating the election results, on which the former president has remained fixated. At one point he said he remained disappointed with Pence for not doing more to stop the certification of the election, which he called ‘rigged’ (and ‘bulls…’)… The former president also savaged Fauci, saying that he gave him bad advice [and asking whether ‘you have ever seen anybody that is so full of c…’]… Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who spoke before Trump, also went after Fauci…”

The Associated Press added:

“…the location of the event suggests that the GOP, at least for now, is not ready to replace Trump as its undisputed leader and chief fundraiser.”

Fox News wrote:

Trump didn’t say whether he plans to run for president again but assured donors ‘in 2024, a Republican candidate is going to win the White House.’ He said any potential announcements of his own candidacy would likely come after the 2022 midterms…”

Rubio: “No One in GOP Beats Trump in 2024”

Newsmax wrote on April 15:

“Despite a competitive (if not contentious) 2016 GOP primary battle against former President Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has Trump’s endorsement in his bid for reelection next year… Indeed, Rubio says, he won’t even challenge Trump, whom he called ‘the most popular and most influential Republican in America,’ should the former president make another run for the White House in 2024. ‘If he decides to run for the president and the nomination, he’s going to be the party’s nominee,’ Rubio [said]… ‘almost everyone that I’ve talked to would agree with that.’

“Rubio is not the first potential rival for the Republican presidential nomination to signal he’d defer to Trump. Onetime ambassador Nikki Haley said this week she wouldn’t run against Trump and would support his presidential bid, should he run.”

Defender-Europe 21… Preparing for War against Russia and China?

Workers World wrote on April 9:

“Defender-Europe 21… is mobilizing 28,000 troops from the United States and 25 NATO allies and partners. In over 30 training areas in 12 countries, these troops will conduct operations including live fire and missile exercises. The U.S. Air Force and Navy will also participate.

“In March, the U.S. began to transfer thousands of soldiers and 1,200 armored vehicles and other heavy equipment from the United States to Europe. They are landing in 13 airports and four European seaports, including some in Italy. In April, over 1,000 heavy equipment pieces will be transferred from three pre-positioned U.S. Army depots in Italy (probably Camp Darby), Germany and the Netherlands — to various training areas in Europe; they will be transported by trucks, trains and ships.

“…In one of the war games, more than 5,000 soldiers from 11 countries will spread across Europe for live fire exercises…

“While… European citizens will still be prohibited from freely moving for ‘security’ reasons, this prohibition does not apply to the thousands of soldiers who will move from one European country to another freely. They will have the ‘COVID passport,’ provided not by the EU but by the U.S. Army… Defender-Europe 21… utilizes key ground and maritime routes bridging Europe, Asia and Africa… In June… it will ‘defend’ Tunisia, Morocco and Senegal with a vast military operation from North Africa to West Africa, from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. It will be directed by the U.S. Army through the Southern Europe Task Force with its headquarters in Vicenza (North Italy).

“The official statement explains: ‘African Lion exercise is designed to counter malign activity in North Africa and Southern Europe and to defend the theater from adversary military aggression.’ It does not specify who the ‘bad actors’ are, but the reference to Russia and China is evident

“The U.S. Army V Corps participates in Defender-Europe 21. The V Corps, after being reactivated at Fort Knox, Ky., has established its advanced headquarters in Poznan (Poland), from where it will command operations along NATO’s Eastern flank… citizens of the participating countries know [they] will pay the cost with… public money, while… resources to face the pandemic crisis are scarce. Italian military spending rose this year to the equivalent of $32.5 billion, that is, $89 million a day. However, Italy has the satisfaction of participating in Defender-Europe 21, not only with its own armed forces but as a host country. It will therefore have the honor of hosting the final exercise of the U.S. Command in June, with the participation of the U.S. Army V Corps from Fort Knox.”

One needs to ask the question as to what Defender-Europe 21 is really about. Surely, it’s more than just a routine military exercise.

Preparing for War in Ukraine?

At the same time, the situation at Ukraine’s border gets more and more serious.

The Sun reported on April 10:

“Putin’s troops boast they are primed for battle as terrifying new footage appears to show Russian tanks and missile launchers closing in on Ukraine… Kiev estimates there are now 85,000 Russian troops between six and 25 miles from its frontier and in Crimea. It warned today that Putin could very soon spark a war in the pro-Moscow rebel-held east of the country… Others also fear Moscow is on the point of a full-scale invasion, and believe the Ukrainian authorities… are already preparing for the worst…

“Moscow has already surrounded Ukraine’s border with tens of thousands of troops… Russia is massing huge military firepower on the border of the disputed Donbass region in eastern Ukraine as it threatens ‘full-scale combat operations’… And chilling satellite images show new Russian encampments and artillery batteries in the provinces of Voronezh and Krasnodar which lie to the east of Donbass.

“At least six 2S4 Tyulpan self-propelled mortars – capable of firing warheads 12 miles – were filmed on a flatbed train… Dubbed the ‘city destroyer’, it is the largest mortar system in the world and has been used to demolish fortifications from Chechnya to Afghanistan.

“On Friday, the Kremlin said it fears the return of full-scale fighting in eastern Ukraine and could take steps to protect Russian civilians there…”

It does not appear that Russia is only conducting routine military exercises.

The Daily Mail added on April 12:

“Russia is ‘one step from war’ with Ukraine, state TV has warned in the latest bout of sabre-rattling between Moscow and Kiev that has jangled nerves across Europe. Dmitry Kiselyov, a Russian news anchor who has been called a ‘Putin propagandist’ in the past, issued the warning during a primetime broadcast in Russia on Sunday. He branded Ukraine a ‘Nazi’ state, saying that Russia may be forced to ‘de-Nazify’ it by force

“Meanwhile Michael McFaul, who was America’s man in Moscow between 2012 and 2014 when Putin annexed Crimea, warned that Putin could invade Ukraine and bring war to Europe in a ‘worst-case scenario’. He said the current posturing in eastern Europe could easily spill over into all-out conflict if Russia decides to attack on the pretext of ‘liberating’ Russian-speakers in the east of the country who it considers citizens… Asked by BBC Radio 4 how concerned world leaders should be by the situation in Ukraine, Mr McFaul responded simply: ‘Very.’”

Russia Sanctioned  

Axios wrote on April 15:

“The Biden administration… will sanction dozens of Russian officials and entities, expel 10 diplomats from the U.S., and set new restrictions on buying Russian sovereign debt in response to the massive SolarWinds hack of federal agencies and interference in the 2020 election… The announcement comes two days after President Biden… warned Putin against further ‘cyber intrusions and election interference’ and raised concerns over Russia’s massing of forces on the border with eastern Ukraine… 

“‘We condemn any sanction aspirations. We believe they are illegal. In any case, the principle of reciprocity applies in this case…’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday… Despite the fact that the U.S. is itself highly active in cyber espionage, a senior administration official said it was appropriate to respond to the SolarWinds attack…”

COVID-19 Vaccines… not as Harmless as Portrayed?

Children’s Health Defense wrote on April 8:

“Over the past year, it would be all but impossible for Americans not to notice the media’s decision to make vaccines the dominant COVID narrative… A December preprint about SARS-CoV-2, by scientists at Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), produced findings about wild coronavirus that raise questions about how viral RNA operates. The scientists conducted the analysis because they were ‘puzzled by the fact that there is a respectable number of people who are testing positive for COVID-19 by PCR long after the infection was gone.’ Their key findings were as follows: SARS-CoV-2 RNAs ‘can be reverse transcribed in human cells,’ ‘these DNA sequences can be integrated into the cell genome and subsequently be transcribed’ (a phenomenon called ‘retro-integration’) — and there are viable cellular pathways to explain how this happens.

“According to Ph.D. biochemist and molecular biologist Dr. Doug Corrigan, these important findings (which run contrary to ‘current biological dogma’)… put the CDC’s assumptions about mRNA vaccines on shakier ground… Corrigan emphasized that the Harvard-MIT findings about coronavirus RNA have major implications for mRNA vaccines… While not claiming that vaccine RNA will necessarily behave in the same way as coronavirus RNA — that is, permanently altering genomic DNA — Corrigan believes that the possibility exists and deserves close scrutiny. In Corrigan’s view, the preprint’s contribution is that it ‘validates that this is at least plausible, and most likely probable’…

“The authors suggest that while the clinical consequences require further study, detrimental effects are a distinct possibility and… could include ‘a more severe immune response…’ …the preprint’s discussion of reverse transcription and genome integration elicited a maelstrom of negative comments from readers unwilling to rethink biological dogma, some of whom even advocated for retraction (though preprints are, by definition, unpublished) on the grounds that ‘conspiracy theorists … will take this paper to ‘proof’ that mRNA vaccines can in fact alter your genetic code.’ More thoughtful readers agreed with Corrigan that the paper raises important questions…

“Corrigan acknowledges that some people may dismiss his warnings… He has a ready and compelling response: ‘[T]here’s a big difference between the scenario where people randomly, and unwittingly, have their genetics monkeyed with because they were exposed to the coronavirus, and the scenario where we willfully vaccinate billions of people while telling them this isn’t happening.’

“In mid-November… the Jerusalem post told readers that ‘when the world begins inoculating itself with these completely new and revolutionary vaccines, it will know virtually nothing about their long-term effects’… In the U.S., enthusiasm for mRNA technology is similarly unfettered. Just a few days after the CDC released updated data showing that more than 2,200 deaths of individuals who had received either the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines had been reported as of Mar. 26 , The Atlantic praised the technology, suggesting that the ‘ingenious’ synthetic mRNA technology behind Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID vaccines represented a ‘breakthrough’ that could ‘change the world.’

“Rather than dismiss the prospect of retro-integration of foreign DNA as a ‘conspiracy theory,’ scientists should be conducting studies with the mRNA-vaccinated to assess actual risks… Judging by pharmaceutical company executives’ willingness to overlook mRNA vaccines’ long-term — and possibly multigenerational — risks, they must be… entranced by dollar-sign visions of a never-ending pipeline of ‘plug and play’ mRNA products.”

The New York Post reported on April 10:

“A Brooklyn woman who managed to avoid catching COVID-19 throughout 2020 went down with the bug this month — three weeks after being vaccinated… [with the] Johnson & Johnson vaccine… Even after [she] was vaccinated, she was careful to always mask up when outside and wash her hands frequently… ‘The vaccine does not necessarily prevent you from getting COVID. It prevents you from being hospitalized or dying from it,’ Dr. Kris Bungay, a Manhattan primary care physician, told The Post.”

That is not, of course, what we have been told so far.

It should make us think when we hear that nearly 40% of American Marines have declined to get vaccinated (CNN, April 10, 2021). They may know much more than the “ordinary” citizen, and it would be preposterous to assume they are all part of unfounded conspiracy theories. In addition, almost half of Republicans say they will never get the COVID-19 vaccine (Newsmax, April 14).

Reuters reported on April 14 :

“Denmark on Wednesday became the first country to stop using AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine altogether over a potential link to a rare but serious form of blood clot. The decision will push back the scheduled conclusion of Denmark’s vaccination scheme to early August from July 25, health authorities said. But that new timeline assumes it will start using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, whose rollout in Europe has been delayed over similar clotting concerns and the use of which Denmark has suspended. That shot comprises around a third of the country’s total contracted supply.”

CNBC added on April 14:

“A [US] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel on Wednesday decided to postpone a decision on Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine while it investigates cases of six women developing a rare but potentially life-threatening blood-clotting disorder that left one dead and one in critical condition. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met a day after the Food and Drug Administration asked states to temporarily halt using J&J’s vaccine ‘out of an abundance of caution.’”

Vaccine Passport of Limited “Value”

Breitbart wrote on April 15:

“A so-called ‘green pass’, or vaccine passport, will have limited scope, according to a new agreement by the 27 member-states of the European Union. EU members agreed that the vaccination certificate would not allow carte blanche travel across the European Union and stated that national governments would be allowed to restrict travel to stop the spread of the Chinese virus. The agreement states that ‘the use of the digital green certificate with a view to lifting restrictions should remain the responsibility of the member states’ and argues that the certificate should not be a travel document in order to ‘reinforce the principle of non-discrimination, in particular, towards unvaccinated persons’, newspaper El Paìs reports.

“The new proposal for the green pass would also introduce an expiration date for the green pass for 12 months from June 2021, when it is expected that the green pass will be approved… Previously, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen had expressed a desire to use the pass longer, or even change it to adapt to future pandemics…

“While the proposal has passed the Council of the European Union, it must now go to the European Parliament, where it will need to meet with approval. It comes as several other countries have reacted negatively to the idea of vaccination passports, including the United Kingdom… In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, owners of restaurants, nightclubs, and other venues stated that they would refuse to recognise the vaccine passports even if the government mandated them.”

US Supreme Court Rejects Newsom’s Limits on In-Home Religious Gatherings

Fox News reported on April 9:

“The U.S. Supreme Court in a divided decision late Friday ruled in favor of lifting restrictions on in-home religious gatherings [holding the state may not prevent people from gathering in homes for Bible study and prayer meetings], overturning a lower court ruling that upheld Gov. Gavin Newsom’s limits on people from different homes. The 5-4 unsigned ruling follows other similar decisions recently regarding churches and the coronavirus pandemic. The decision noted it was the fifth time the court has rejected the Ninth Circuit’s analysis of California coronavirus restrictions.

“Chief Justice John Roberts dissented but did not sign the dissenting statement submitted by justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer. The ruling stated that before it can limit religious gatherings, the government must prove they pose a greater danger than secular activities that remain open, such as shopping or attending movies… adding that California ‘treats some comparable secular activities more favorably than at-home religious exercise, permitting hair salons, retail stores, personal care services, movie theaters, private suites at sporting events and concerts and indoor dining at restaurants to bring together more than three households at a time.’…”

No wonder that the Biden Administration wants to desperately “pack” the US Supreme Court by adding more liberal judges in order to uphold the Democrats’ political agenda. But who would have followed the state’s ridiculous prohibition on in-home Bible studies and prayer meetings anyhow?

Newsmax wrote on April 9:

“The Constitution doesn’t say how many justices the court must have, but Congress has left the number at nine since 1869. The idea of adding justices hasn’t been seriously discussed since President Franklin Roosevelt unsuccessfully pitched a court-packing plan to Congress in 1937.

According to reports, Congressional Democrats, under the leadership of House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, want to increase the number of judges on the US Supreme Court to 13. 

A superior court in Weimar, Germany, found on April 8 in a decision of 178 pages that all mask mandates for students in schools are unconstitutional, and the court prohibited the school in question to direct or compel  students to wear masks. It also prohibited the school officials to demand quick corona tests of their students. We wonder how long this decision will stand until it is overturned by higher courts.

Is Western U.S. Entering its Most Severe Drought in Modern History?

CBS News wrote on April 12:

“Extreme drought across the Western U.S. has become as reliable as a summer afternoon thunderstorm in Florida. And news headlines about drought in the West can seem a bit like a broken record, with some scientists saying the region is on the precipice of permanent drought. That’s because in 2000, the Western U.S. entered the beginning of what scientists call a megadrought— the second worst in 1,200 years… what is happening right now appears to be the beginning stages of something even more severe.

“And as we head into the summer dry season, the stage is set for an escalation of extreme dry conditions, with widespread water restrictions expected and yet another dangerous fire season ahead… there is little doubt that the drought in the West, especially the Southwest, this summer and fall will be the most intense in recent memory

“Right now, the U.S. Drought Monitor places 60% of the Western states under severe, extreme or exceptional drought… this past winter’s wet season was not very wet at all. In fact, it just added insult to injury, with only 25 to 50% of normal rainfall falling across much of the Southwest and California. This followed one of the driest and hottest summers in modern times, with two historic heat waves… and the worst fire season in modern times…”

The Associated Press added on April 14:

“Hundreds of farmers who rely on a massive irrigation project that spans the Oregon-California border learned Wednesday they will get a tiny fraction of the water they need amid the worst drought in decades…”

Thinking Monkeys and Living Dinosaurs?

Reuters wrote on April 9:

“Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s brain-chip startup released footage on Friday appearing to show a monkey playing a simple videogame after getting implants of the new technology… Neuralink works by recording and decoding electrical signals from the brain using more than 2,000 electrodes implanted in regions of the monkey’s motor cortex that coordinate hand and arm movements, the video’s voiceover said…

“Co-founded by Musk in 2016, San Francisco-based Neuralink aims to implant wireless brain computer chips to help cure neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia and spinal cord injuries and fuse…”

The Bible does speak of a spirit of animals, giving them the limited capacity of “thought processes.” Musk and his associates have other ideas, too.

Fox Business reported on April 8:

Elon Musk’s business partner says a real-life version of ‘Jurassic Park’ could ‘probably’ happen but only if the tech whizzes ‘wanted to.’ The co-founder of Musk’s Neuralink company, Max Hodak, hit send on a tweet that suggested that any featured dinosaurs at a metaphorical Jurassic Park ‘wouldn’t be genetically authentic dinosaurs.’ But, with about ‘15 years of breeding and engineering’ anything is possible ‘to get super exotic novel species,’ he added.”

The Independent added on April 8:

“Scientists have cloned a number of animals, including wolves, dogs, cats, monkeys and, famously, sheep [and a black-footed ferret]… but scientists have not managed to create an extinct animal yet… The challenge in creating genetically authentic dinosaurs is due to the fact that soft material which would contain DNA is hard to preserve…

“Breeding and engineering, as Hodak suggests, is a possibility… Scientists are attempting to bring back similar species that have gone extinct, such as cloning a ‘proxy’ species of mammoth from an Asian elephant where there is a large amount of DNA material available…”

If it were possible to “create” an extinct dinosaur, then we can be certain that power- and fame-hungry scientists would attempt to do so. But can you imagine dinosaurs coming back to life? And what kind? The peace-loving vegetable-eating ones, or the vicious meat-eating ones?  For scientists, that would only be an academic question, however.

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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