Anyone watching the nightly news in America these days has surely seen some of those in-your-worst-nightmare videos showing hair-raising images of the fire-breathing minions of ISIS as they invade Syria and Iraq — blazing across bone-dry deserts in brand new Toyota trucks, brandishing AK-47s and looking like something out of a Hounds of Hell horror movie. And we all shudder involuntarily, imagining the chaos and terror being spread by these horrible men-in-black, waving pirate flags and screaming for blood.
And we can also probably imagine, far back in the most primitive lobes of our brains, what it would be like to see these very same nightmarish denizens screaming down Route 66, heading toward us too, driving straight for our own town, positively drooling over the thought of beheading us in our sleep and raping our sons and daughters.
But then we come to our senses and realize that this sort of thing can never happen here in America. This sort of nightmare only plays out in the Middle East (hopefully).
But forget about all that. Instead, let’s just focus in on the ISIS terrorists and pirates themselves, now safely out there in the Iraqi desert, aka “those terrible rough beasts, their hour come round at last, slouching toward Baghdad to be born, their gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,” to paraphrase William Butler Yeats.
And then let’s ask ourselves next, “While happily out there terrorizing and raping the countryside, just what the freak do these guys eat and drink? And where in the freak do they find a 7-11 or a Raley’s way out there in the desert? And when the freak do they even have time to cook and do dishes or pee?” And don’t even tell me that they are the Devil’s minions and thus live only on air. And where are their burn barrels and port-a-potties? And where are their grab-and-go bins full of “Meal, Ready-to-Eat,” menu number 15, beef enchilada, made by the Ameriqual Packaging Company, Evansville, Indiana 47710?
Surely even these devilish super-fiends must have an occasional craving for toilet paper? Or even perhaps the occasional shower?
So exactly who is providing ISIS with its supply line?
Don’t even dare tell me that ISIS doesn’t have one.
These aren’t ghosts or krakens or the mythological First Beasts referred to in the Book of Revelations. These are just ordinary human schmucks like the rest of us, who still put on their terrorist Halloween costumes one leg at a time. The Devil’s minions still have to eat. And pee. And they still have to get their shiny new Toyota trucks from an automobile showroom somewhere — one obviously not located in Hell. And they still have to use earthly rocket-launchers, not ones supplied by Lucifer himself.
Plus sacking and looting can only get these pirates so far before they run out of booty. And even if they now have billions of $$$ in plundered oil, they still have to sell it to someone. OPEC they are not.
So where do all these tons and tons of food and weapons and terrorist-chic outfits and port-a-potties all come from? Your guess is as good as mine. And I am guessing, based on all that I have read and seen lately, that all these goodies are being supplied by American, Israeli and Saudi oligarchs and neo-cons. And probably at us taxpayers’ expense too. http://www.globalresearch.ca/
These terrible terrorist ISIS operations appear to be all a part of the American, Israeli and Saudi neo-con oligarchs’ continuing (and very successful) “Land for Blood” program — wherein neo-cons get all the land and the men, women and children of the Middle East get to bleed. http://www.globalresearch.ca/
Of course I can’t prove most of this without breaking and entering NASDAQ and CIA vaults. Hoping for transparency is like flogging a dead horse. Just ask Edward Snowden about that one. But there still is a pattern here, one that started in Vietnam, worked its way through East Timor, Kuwait, Iraq and Guatemala, and is now surfacing again in Ukraine, Syria, Libya and Gazahttp://write2rest.blogspot.
“What the devil…” you might say at this point. And you would be right.
PS: And speaking of tracking supply lines, what about all those other supply lines — all those abundant supply lines that should have been pouring out goodies all this time, streaming them out to the average American, Israeli/Palestinian and Saudi citizen like you and me? What happened to those?
Those supply lines are all pretty much toast.
Just think of all the trillions of dollars that have been spent on all these damned, useless, murderous and unnecessary “wars” that the oligarchs ruling our countries in the past 15-odd years have indulged themselves in — enough dollars to fix all of our infrastructures, pave all of our roads, create jobs for all of us like there was no tomorrow, educate all of our children for free up to a doctoral degree, make sure we all have top-notch healthcare, and dress every single man, woman and child in America, Arabia and Israel/Palestine with at least one pair of Jimmy Choo shoes!
Just because we don’t dress up like Freddy Kruger, don’t play at being the Devil’s disciples and don’t eat live human hearts on national TV doesn’t mean that we don’t need supply lines too.
All these amazing opportunities for you and me have been wasted. All that money is now gone with the wind, lost, wasted, never to return. That ship has sailed.
“But Jane,” you might ask next, “does this mean that America, Israel/Palestine and Saudi Arabia are currently being ruled by selfish, immoral and blood-thirsty idiots?” Well, yeah.
And here’s another hard truth: American, Israeli and Saudi neo-con supply lines are also limited too. They just can’t keep goosing us for our life-blood forever. Eventually the oligarchs will run out of MREs, cruise missiles and port-a-potties too. Theirs is not an endless supply line either.
Sooner or later, we average Americans, Israelis and Saudi Arabians are going to be empty and broken like the victims of so many vampires. What then? How will the neo-cons keep their war machines supplied once We the People are drained of our life’s blood?
How much money can these three countries spend on weapons and Iron Domes that don’t work and drones and bullets and missiles that cost a half-million dollars each (Israeli neo-cons just fired off 1,500 of them at the poor trapped citizens of Gaza) before the economies of these three countries are broken like rag dolls? Oops, too late. We are almost already there.
PPS: And here’s another supply line to track: Whoever is supplying the United Nations has also clearly purchased its soul as well — lock, stock and barrel. For instance, this whole devastation of the civilian population of Gaza? Women and children being slaughtered for their land — and not a peep from the UN in their defense. Not even one word. That’s just shameful.
According to journalist Robert Fisk, “The people who lived in Sederot in early 1948 were not Israelis, but Palestinian Arabs. Their village was called Huj. Nor were they enemies of Israel. Two years earlier, these same Arabs had actually hidden Jewish Haganah fighters from the British Army. But when the Israeli army turned up at Huj on 31 May 1948, they expelled all the Arab villagers – to the Gaza Strip! Refugees, they became. David Ben Gurion (Israel’s first Prime Minister) called it an ‘unjust and unjustified action’. Too bad. The Palestinians of Huj were never allowed back. And today, well over 6,000 descendants of the Palestinians from Huj – now Sederot – live in the squalor of Gaza….” http://www.independent.co.uk/
The UN is currently as incapable of stopping wars now as the old League of Nations had been back in the day — because the UN’s very reason for being has been bought off by American and Israeli oligarchs. It is now as dead as the old League of Nations. The only real difference is that the UN has yet to lie down.
Culprits Include The City Of Chicago, Big Retailers, The Media, And Churches…
Proponents of the Nanny State have been trying to take away man’s Natural right of self-defense ever since the United Nations was created back in 1945. Of course, the Natural right of self-defense is totally unknown in communist and socialist countries; and big-government toadies in several so-called “democratic” countries have also succeeded in turning citizens into subjects by removing or severely restricting the Natural right of self-defense. Obviously, I’m talking about countries such as Great Britain, France, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada.
By self-defense, I am talking about a man’s right to carry a Personal Defense Weapon (PDW)–which, in modern times, mostly requires a firearm–anywhere and everywhere he goes. A state that does not allow a man to be personally armed in his day-to-day activities is literally stripping him of his right of self-defense. To require a citizen to keep his or her PDW in their home or vehicle is to deny the citizen’s Natural right of self-defense. To say a citizen may lawfully protect himself in only limited and duly-prescribed locations is to make the citizen a subject of the state. Furthermore, it removes from him the most fundamental of all the Natural rights that were granted to him by his Creator: the right of self-defense.
Four-legged predators are constantly on the prowl for animals that are defenseless. Two-legged predators do the same thing. These human predators do not respect “gun-free” zones. Like all predators, they are opportunistic beasts. They prey on the weak and vulnerable. When the state takes away a person’s right to be always armed, it makes the entire citizenry weak and vulnerable. As I have said many times, guns don’t kill people; gun-free zones kill people.
Gun control laws are among the most egregious violations of Natural Law. Men and women who are truly free are allowed to carry a PDW everywhere they go. Banks, schools, government buildings, churches, etc., should be no exceptions. It is no coincidence that just about every single mass-shooting in recent memory has taken place in a so-called “gun-free” zone, where the only people who were armed were the perpetrators. Gun-free zones turn free men into human prey.
For all intents and purposes, several states and major cities within the United States have become “gun-free” zones, in that they mostly deny their citizens the right to carry a PDW on their person. Whether the people of these cities and states realize it or not, they have lost the right to be called free men and have been turned into human prey by their own State and municipal governments. There is no greater example of this tyranny than the city of Chicago, Illinois.
Chicago has some of the strictest and most stringent gun-control laws in the entire nation. The government of Chicago has, in effect, turned the town into a giant killing-field where ravenous two-legged beasts are allowed to feast on the millions of defenseless prey that inhabit our country’s third largest city. For example, over the past Independence Day weekend, 82 people were shot and 14 people were killed in Chicago violence. Breitbart.com covered the story:
“Breitbart reported that the violence was high on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning, but when Thursday, the final hours of Sunday, and the first few hours of Monday morning were added to the accounting, the rate of violence proved to be even more appalling.
“On Monday morning, July 7, the Chicago Tribune shocked the city with the list of weekend violence reporting that between Thursday, as the holiday weekend began, to the early hours of Monday morning, Chicago experienced 82 shootings with 14 killed.”
Included in the Breitbart report is the fact that one man’s life was actually saved by virtue of the fact that he had a concealed carry permit (no small feat in the City of Chicago) and used his PDW to protect himself against three violent miscreants. In this case, one of the dead was a violent predator. Had the innocent citizen not been armed, he would have been the statistic. In addition, the report states that eight of the dead were at the hands of Chicago police officers in the line of duty, proving, once again, that policemen carry guns, not for the protection of the citizenry, but for their own protection.
Predictably, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel blamed the increased violence on “weak” gun laws in the neighboring states of Indiana and Wisconsin.
See the Breitbart.com report here:
Of course, what Emanuel won’t tell you is that the violent crime rates of those states where the right to keep AND BEAR arms is less infringed are far less–far less! For example, there are 11 states in the country that allow their citizens to carry firearms freely and openly with no permit or license required. Those states are Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, South Dakota, Vermont, Kentucky, and Virginia. So, using Emanuel’s logic, one could expect that there should have been hundreds of shootings in those states last weekend–what with their “weak” gun laws and all, right? You know that’s not true.
Check the incidents of shootings in the above-listed states and we might even discover that the City of Chicago may have had more shootings over this past Independence Day weekend than those 11 states COMBINED. Think of it: the City of Chicago (with some of the strictest gun control laws in the country) may have had more shootings than the combined shootings of the 11 states that recognize their citizens’ Natural right of self-defense by allowing them to freely and openly carry a PDW.
Of course, it’s not only various and sundry governments (though they are the most egregious usurpers of the Natural right of self-defense) that want to deny people the right to bear arms; many large retailers are adding their weight to the anti-self-defense hysteria.
Just a few days ago, the giant retailer, Target, announced a corporate policy that asks its patrons to leave their firearms at home. Once again, Breitbart.com covers the story.
“On July 2nd, Target ‘respectfully’ asked law-abiding citizens to ‘not bring firearms’ in their stores.
“The department store chain did this via an announcement posted on its website and shared by interim CEO John Mulligan.
“The announcement says:
“‘As you’ve likely seen in the media, there’s been a debate about whether guests in communities that permit “open carry” should be allowed to bring firearms into Target stores. Our approach has always been to follow local laws, and of course, we will continue to do so. But starting today we will respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target–even in communities where it is permitted by law.’
“By taking this step, Target joins Chipotle, Jack in the Box, Sonic, and Chili’s in asking law-abiding citizens not to carry guns in their businesses.”
The author of the report, AWR Hawkins, notes, “Within two weeks of asking law-abiding customers to come unarmed, two Jack in the Box stores were robbed, and a shooting took place at a third. Patrons were robbed at gunpoint in one of the robberies, as well.”
See the report at:
But the war against your Natural right to self-defense doesn’t stop with the City of Chicago or the Target chain-stores. The mainstream media seem absolutely determined to take away your right to defend yourself and your loved ones.
After CNN sacked Piers Morgan due to his immense unpopularity, which was mostly due to his arrogant attacks against America’s Second Amendment, the cable network recently announced that it was replacing Morgan with former America’s Most Wanted host, John Walsh, who immediately proclaimed that his show would continue Morgan’s attacks against the Second Amendment.
Once more, Breitbart.com covers the story:
“Former America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh is hosting a new show on CNN on which he vows to keep the push for gun control and the war on the NRA alive.
“According to The Wrap, Walsh said:
“‘I’m the father of a murdered child. I’ve done nothing but track violence in America since my son was murdered. We have a serious problem with guns in this country… and the NRA solution to arm every grammar-school 80-year-old teacher with a gun is absolutely ludicrous.’
“He claims the NRA has gotten so big and financially powerful through relationships with gun manufacturers that ‘they’re not a lobbyist on Capitol Hill, they’re a gun manufacturer rep.’
“Walsh’s new show, The Hunt, premieres July 13. Walsh says he did not initially realize ‘how much his gun control efforts would be a part of his new show.’”
See the report at:
Obviously, CNN is hoping that it’s continued anti-Second Amendment agenda will be more palatable to the American people if it comes from a fellow American–especially one with whom everyone can truly sympathize with by virtue of his losing a child to an act of violence (although Adam Walsh’s murder did not involve the use of a firearm)–than from the arrogant and pompous British elitist, Piers Morgan. But make no mistake about it: the anti-Second Amendment message is the same. Only the messenger has changed.
And most sadly, churches, too, are often at the forefront of the anti-self-defense fanaticism. Christian leaders from denominations across the board are often the ones who promote gun control (even gun confiscation) among their congregations and who deny their parishioners the right to be armed on church property.
For example, back in 2004, the president of the LDS church issued a declaration to all Mormon churches in Utah that gave “public notice that firearms are prohibited in the church’s houses of worship, including temples, meetinghouses, the Assembly Hall, the Salt Lake Tabernacle, and the Conference Center.”
The declaration went on to say, “Once such public notice is given, persons who bring firearms into a church house of worship should be informed of the church’s position and politely asked to take their firearms to another safe location. Persons who refuse to take their firearms from the house of worship or repeatedly ignore the church’s prohibition should be referred to local law enforcement officers for possible criminal prosecution.”
See the church statement here:
But if you think the LDS church is the only church in the country that has taken such a position, you are sadly misinformed. My educated guess is that the vast majority of denominations and churches in America have a very similar position.
But instead of denying the Christian people of America from exercising their God-given right of self-defense on church property, church leaders should be boldly teaching the Biblical Natural Law principles of self-defense and encouraging their people to jealously guard this most fundamental liberty. By demanding that Christian people not be armed on church property, church leaders are no better than Rahm Emanuel–who insists that Chicago’s residents not be allowed to protect themselves–and are opening up their churches to those two-legged wolves who would seek to devour the sheep.
There are only a small handful of countries today that recognize the Natural right of self-defense. The advent of the United Nations has facilitated the demise of this right in country after country. The United States is the last major power that yet somewhat protects this most precious Natural right.
Obviously, several State and local governments within the United States (not to mention the worst offender of all: the federal government in Washington, D.C.) have themselves assisted the dismantlement of the right of self-defense. Several giant retailers are assisting the attacks against our Natural right of self-defense. The mainstream media is incessant in its attacks against the Second Amendment. And even many of America’s churches have set themselves against the right to BEAR arms. The war against our Natural right of self-defense continues.
However, I need to point out that the architects of the Nanny State have been trying to disarm the American people since even before the United Nations was created. And while the right to keep and bear arms has been severely restricted by myriads of federal, State, and local laws, the American people continue to be the most heavily armed people in the world. Not only is the American citizenry an armed citizenry, it is an absolutely determined citizenry. The message to any and all potential tyrants who would attempt to remove our Natural right of self-defense is the same–whether they are from King George’s London, Mao’s Beijing, Stalin’s Moscow, Emanuel’s Chicago, Obama’s Washington, D.C., or the U.N.’s New York City: MOLON LABE, COME AND TAKE THEM!
“Just exactly how many articles on Syria and Iraq can you actually churn out?” a friend of mine asked me recently. “You were only over in Damascus for five freaking days. And you haven’t been to Iraq since 2008. So what makes YOU such an expert on these two countries?”
Even after less than a week spent in Damascus and after only having been to Iraq four-and-a-half times, I apparently already know more about Syria and Baghdad and Al Ambar than all those dingbats in the U.S. State Department, the Pentagon and the CIA combined. Unfortunately.
Washington neo-cons and their neo-con counterparts in Tel Aviv have really gotten the Arab world totally wrong.
So, even though I would really rather be writing about almost anything else right now, it is still my civic duty to set these fools straight. Sorry about that.
What I really want to be writing about this week is the exciting new Freedom Summer 50th-anniversary conference in Jackson, Mississippi, where a bunch of folks are getting together to celebrate having survived the heroic summer of 1964 when so many civil rights workers poured their hearts out in an attempt to finally bring justice to the Ol’ South — and some of them lost their lives while doing it too .
But apparently justice in the Ol’ South will have to wait a bit longer. Right now we need to talk about justice in the Middle East first.
After the fall of the U.S.S.R., Washington neo-cons needed a new boogeyman to scare Americans into handing over our hard-earned tax dollars to the military-industrial complex. And so the military-industrial complex came up with the idea of making Islam the bad guy. But then apparently Washington neo-cons actually began to believe their own hype — and even went so far as to actually start creating and financing “Islamic Militants” where none had existed so far.
According to journalist Fenian Cunningham, “The biggest recruitment office for such groups [as ISIS] is the British government and its criminal militaristic foreign policy, which has been destroying countries for years, overtly and covertly. That same destructive British state-sponsored terrorism, alongside that of its American and other NATO allies, is also why millions of Syrians and Iraqis are living in tents, unable to feed their families.”
The thumbscrews were not only put onto various Islamic countries until “militants” actually did start to emerge, but then Wall Street and War Street — bound and determined to sell as many weapons as possible — actually started creating “Islamic Militants” themselves (and of course all the while praying for another “Pearl Harbor”)
According to an article in Information Clearinghouse, “Key members of ISIS it now emerges were trained by US CIA and Special Forces command at a secret camp in Jordan in 2012, according to informed Jordanian officials…Former US State Department official Andrew Doran wrote in the conservative National Review magazine that some ISIS warriors also hold US passports.”
Neo-cons began manufacturing these Frankenstein monsters left and right, actually paying thousands of poor unfortunate souls in the Middle East to go on “jihad”. http://veracityvoice.com/?p=20684
Even way back in the 1970s I could have warned the military-industrial complex that these acts of folly would eventually start leading to blow-back — not to mention the sky-rocketing cost of gasoline as a result of all this footsie-playing in the Middle East.
According to journalist Juan Cole, “During the past ten years, American drivers have seen their gasoline bill go up tremendously – though not as much as it by all rights should have – and stay there.” http://readersupportednews.
Apparently, The M-IC’s money-making scheme in the Middle East was that various U.S. and Israeli neo-cons would be constantly stirring up the pot there, turning Arab against Arab until they all freaking started to butcher each other like so many crabs in a barrel. And then the U.S. and Israeli neo-cons would steal everything that wasn’t nailed down while no one over there was looking. It sounded like a good plan. Until the rest of us Americans and Israelis finally began to realize that there was nothing in this witches’ brew for the rest of us except danger to ourselves.
According to me, ISIS is nothing but a bunch of pirates, the Taliban are murdering wife-beaters, the idiots in charge of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Iraq are dictators and Libya is overrun by barbarians. And who created all these proto-zombies? Neo-cons in Israel and the U.S. Of course.
According to Franklin Lamb, who seems to be legendary in Damascus for fabricating stories and mooching off of the Syrian government, ISIS, Syria’s arch enemy, is practically a freaking benevolent organization who succors the poor, has nukes of its own and whose goal is to unite all the downtrodden Arabs in the Middle East into one coherent version of the freaking Red Cross and then liberate Palestine and wash Israel into the sea. http://veracityvoice.com/?p=20664 .
However, Palestinians in Syria did not support ISIS’s brutality and refused to be drawn in — so ISIS bombed the crap out of them instead. And the Palestinians in Israel already have neo-cons killing their kids — and don’t need any more neo-con-backed pirates adding even more “creative chaos” to the mix.
Huh? No. Forget about the sparkling clean Red Cross wannabe image. These ISIS guys are down and dirty pirates. And that’s “all she wrote” about that. And apparently we American taxpayers are paying for all of ISIS’s new Toyotas, rocket-launchers and Nikes as well.
“You talk as though the military-industrial complex may finally be starting to get its comeuppance for generating such a devious plot — but, frankly, it is not,” you might comment at this point.
No, it is not. Not yet. But if Wall Street and War Street continue to play their cutesy little “Divide and Conquer” games in the Middle East, keep on messing with its political eco-system, breaking down its civil society in this bad way, and creating and financing even more Al Qaedas, Talibans and ISISs and driving world gas prices sky-high, then eventually it will suck to be you! http://www.veteranstoday.com/
Even against all odds and proof, I still have faith that the rest of us Americans, us average decent salt-of-the-earth types, will finally put a stop to all these nefarious neo-con schemes and finally start bringing our money and our troops home from the Middle East instead — and stop picking on all these poor Arabs before they end up going completely freaking nuts as they see their parents, wives and children constantly being blown to bits before their very eyes by these neo-con monsters.
Not sure why I keep holding out hope that this will happen. But do I really have any other choice?
Now that I’m back here in America after personally observing Syria’s recent presidential elections, I’ve been totally amazed at some of the fabrications, gross exaggerations and out-right lies that my country’s mainstream media has come up with regarding these vote results.
“Election fraud in Syria!” the newspapers cry over and over again. “Assad forces Syrians to vote for him! The elections were coerced!” plus many many other words to that effect. And even President Obama jumped on the band wagon — after even he himself has committed election fraud of a sort, having run on a ticket of peace and more jobs and then giving us war and no jobs instead. To say nothing of when G.W. Bush stole the Florida and Ohio elections. Twice!
Well. I am here to tell you that what they are saying about the Syrian elections is just so much bull dookie. And how do I know? I was there. In Syria. They weren’t. Eye-witness accounts always trump outsourced fabrications. Hopefully.
And so in the name of setting the record straight, I’ve decided to type up all of my various 50 pages of notes that I took over there in order to show you, step by step, minute by minute, what actually happened over in Syria — to me personally.
This eye-witness account is going to be a long read — but an accurate one. Some good stuff happened. And some bad stuff. And some fun stuff too (fun stuff in a war zone? Huh?) But I dare you to read it. And if you do, I’m sure you will find that it will be just like you came along to Syria with me.
Here is the link.
PS: How much do you know about America’s new “Army of One”? It’s just not your father’s Army any more. Or even your son’s (or your daughter’s). The new U.S. Army appears to have gone totally mercenary — and its new source of recruits goes way far beyond just hiring some Blackwater guys sporting AK-47s or a Bangladeshi kitchen crew.
Under America’s new rules of war, recruiters don’t have offices on Main Street USA any more. Instead they have offices in poverty-stricken countries like Chechnya, Afghanistan, Somalia and South Sudan — any godforsaken hell-hole where there is over 50% employment. “Wanna interesting job with good pay,” American recruiters whisper into future soldiers’ ears. But the good pay these recruiters are offering is this: When these new soldiers come home in a box, their families might possibly be given burial expenses.
And, trust me, these new recruits are a whole different breed from your traditional G.I. Joe. They are angry. They are far from home. They have had a grueling hand-to-mouth childhood. Many of them are wingnut religious fanatics who think that the Bible and the Koran are all about slaughter and vengeance, not compassion and justice. And they truly do not care who they kill.
And did I already mention that these new recruits work for cheap? No need for pensions plans or VA hospitals or none of that other slacker stuff for them. These guys are the ultimate outsourcing/cheap labor Republican wet dream.
Too bad that the neo-Nazi blood-thirsty recruits that Wall Street and War Street have hired in Ukraine are refusing to work as cheaply as the ones that they send to Syria.
However, thanks to this new recruiting policy, no one back home in America whines and bellyaches any more because their sons and daughters have been killed while defending America’s military-industrial complex’s oil either. This is a win-win situation for American war mongers. The Bush dynasty and Mr. Cheney must be ecstatic right now. But Eisenhower must be rolling over in his grave.
In addition, these new fanatical terrorist jihadi wingnut recruits are actually really really good at doing what they have come to love best: Killing and looting. They just took over Mosul and Tikrit in Iraq, no small feat. And they have been driving Syria bananas over the last three years, like so many psychotic bedbugs. Forget the Marines! These new recruits are always Semper Fi — to whoever pays them peanuts to behead civilians and rape women. And Americans like you and me are paying billions to keep these wannabe butchers in the field.
Welcome to the new “Army of One”.
PPS: Perhaps I may be wrong about all those crazy-eyed jihadis and wingnut foreign fighters earning almost nothing in their American paychecks. I just read an article about how ISIS (the main jihadi gang of thugs operating in Syria) has pretty much sacked a lot of Syria’s wealth.
Basically ISIS has just swooped in and looted Syria like so many pirates — and now, with American and Saudi help, it is also looting Iraq too. Let me make one thing clear: These barbarians do not want to start an Islamic civil society in the Middle East. They just want to plunder. “Argh.”
According to Alakbar English, “ISIS currently controls many [oil] fields and is battling for control for more fields still. According to al-Nusra sources, one oil well south of Raqqa brings in up to $1.3 million per day, while other fields in and around Raqqa like Zamla, al-Tabaqa, and Kuniko bring in $500,000 per day, in addition to unknown revenues from the Jazal and Shaer oil fields, and al-Jafra (oil and gas)
“ISIS also profits from thousands of kidnappings and ransoms involving locals and foreigners, including journalists, as well as robbery and looting, including of archaeological sites and factories. For example, ISIS seized control of large factories in Aleppo, including the government-owned railway and cables factory, a batteries factory, and a tractor factory. In some cases, ISIS dismantled and sold their equipment and machinery. Al-Nusra sources put the resulting revenues at $1 million per month.
“In addition, ISIS has taken control of grains and cotton production in the eastern regions. For instance, al-Nusra accuses Amer al-Rafdan, one of the most prominent figures in ISIS, of stealing $5 million worth of cotton in Deir al-Zour alone. Meanwhile, al-Nusra sources say that ISIS has earned more than $25 million from al-Alia grain silos in Al-Hasakah.
“The conflict in Syria has also allowed ISIS to put its hands on a large arsenal of weaponry, consisting of both weapons seized in combat and weapons purchased directly from arms dealers, who are always willing to sell weapons to just about everyone.”
This is just plain scary. This is just like when the barbarians sacked and burned ancient Rome. And now the same Middle Eastern jihadi wingnuts who tried to sack and burn Syria have gone on to sack and burn Mosul and Tikrit too (not to mention Benghazi et al.) And Baghdad is next.
And one election observer I met in Damascus also brought up another good point. “Something about this advance does not add up. How could 1,500 fighters hold a town or a province? How come American satellites did not see this coming? Major advances like that are not easily done.” Not unless America and Saudi Arabia are offering up the technology and footing the bill. Duh.
Wall Street and War Street should be ashamed for supporting these kinds of hoodlums. And what if they come over here to sack and burn us next? “Sorry, I plan to be out of town that weekend,” just isn’t gonna wash. But, oops, too late now. The FBI has already claimed that Saudi and Chechen barbarians have already been active in Boston and New York.
These pirating wingnuts in ISIS are psychotic. The American military-industrial complex may think that their pirate crews in the Middle East are controllable — but, guys, this is not Halloween. You are playing with fire.
While staying here in Damascus, I have heard the same thing said again and again from a whole array of sources, including foreign journalists, Syrian citizens and even Christian nuns. “This war on Syria is being fought by Al Qaeda operatives, fanatic Islamist jihadis, foreign fighters, terrorists and mercenaries for hire. And they are being financed by American money and given American weapons.” Yikes!
What this means to me personally is that my very own head (which I have actually become quite attached to) could possibly be blown off at any minute by fanatics and/or weapons bought and paid for by my very own tax dollars. Now that is a really confusing thought.
“War by proxy” is becoming a more and more frequently-used phrase here in Syria. The American military-industrial complex is now out-sourcing their war.
But, hey, that’s better than having American soldiers over here fighting and dying for Wall Street and War Street like they did in Iraq. Our soldiers’ jobs are being shipped overseas? That’s one example of outsourcing that is just fine by me.
Except, in the words of one local college professor I interviewed the other day, “We Syrians are fighting dirty enemies. This is a dirty war. The jihadists attack hospitals, power plants and schools. But the Syrian people are fighting back.” The professor also mentioned the discovery of vast new oil fields off the Syrian coast. And he found it ironic that the very first place that the jihadis, inquisionists, Taliban wannabes and Al Qaeda death squads attacked was in this oil-rich region. The original peaceful protests by Syrians themselves — before the Taliban wannabes arrived in force from overseas and turned Syria into a slaughterhouse — took place in Daraa, not in the oil fields. Hmmm.
“I also find it ironic that Americans are citing democracy as their primary reason for attacking Syria — while their biggest ally in this region is Saudi Arabia, a known dictatorship.” Not to mention the doubts that everyone has about American elections. Take Diebold for instance. And Florida and Ohio and that weird Supreme Court ruling that forced GWB down our throats. And voter ID cards and 92-year-old women turned away from the polls. But, hey, America is famous for exporting hypocrisy. Get over it, prof.
In Sweida, I talked with a young woman who spoke English and she said, “Living in Syria is like living in one of those Hollywood horror movies.” Slasher flicks. “These terrorists come here and they bomb our hospitals and schools, kill and rape women and children and even eat our flesh like cannibals. We Syrians just want this horror movie to stop.” And she was proud of Bashar Assad for standing up to these wannabe Freddy Kruegers. And most of the Syrians I have talked with feel the same way. “And you would too — if it happened to you.”
And it did happen to me too — sort of. I can hear the shelling outside Damascus going on night and day. Nerve-racking. I almost felt like a heroic citizen of London during the Blitz.
Syria’s president, Bashar Assad, has been playing the Great Game of political chess in this region like he is a grand master — and perhaps that’s why the American military-industrial complex hates him so much. But Syrians love him. They just do. It’s a Syrian thing. Remember what Maya Angelou said in “I know Why the Caged Bird Sings”? How she was being raped as a child and prayed for the Green Lantern to save her? Well President Assad, like it or not, is Syria’s Green Lantern.
Assad might have been a bit to enthusiastic in the past about suppressing dissidence. But please be aware that the inquisionist crazies and Al Qaeda freaks that have tried to invade Syria are so very much worse. Syrians weren’t totally behind Assad before the invasion — but they certainly are now, thanks to America’s military-industrial complex. Eisenhower warned us about the complex. He shoulda warned the Syrians too.
The only thing that I can truly fault Assad on presently are all those all-pervasive giant posters of him that you see everywhere — on buildings, in shops, on cars and buses, on T-shirts and even in elevators. Everywhere. He should stop doing that. He’s not just some Ken doll or even the next Brad Pitt. He’s a political genius who is trying save Syria from the bad guys. He should have understood by now that he has found a place in the hearts of the Syrians and just leave it at that.
PS: Observing the elections was fun. It was like attending a country-wide block party. Or, as Mother Agnes-Mariam said to me in an interview at the Dama Rose Hotel, “It would be impossible to coerce that many Syrians to vote out of fear. People actually went out from rebel-held territory to vote. Even the rebels voted.” So. Who are you going to believe about the authenticity of the Syrian elections? Mother Agnes-Mariam who said that they were valid — or Wall Street and War Street, who claim they were a fraud?
Are you going to believe the same people who lied to us about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction – or a mother-superior Christian nun?
PPS: In Homs, those nasty American-sponsored jihadists blew up a historic old Christian church — only to find an even older church lay buried under the newer church’s foundations. Built in 59 AD, this older church might actually been visited by the Apostles and Saint Paul himself. And these Taliban wannabes were happily trying to blow this older church up too. But apparently they got distracted by trying to break up the bones of some nearby Christian saints’ relics — and the old church was saved!
PPPS: I never did get to meet President Assad. “Apparently he has to keep his eye out for being assassinated by drones,” one journalist explained to me as to why Assad hadn’t come to the Dama Rose hotel. But still…I could have worn my cool “Berkeley High Water Polo Team” T-shirt that I had swiped from my daughter Ashley. I’m sure Assad would have been quite impressed.
Turkey seems fond of so-called ‘false flag’ operations. In 1955, for example, the Turkish government covertly bombed its own consulate in Thessaloniki, Greece and blamed it on Greeks. The following day, Turkey stage-managed massive anti-Greek riots in Istanbul that killed over a dozen Christians and caused hundreds of millions in damage.
Fast forward to March 2014. A leaked audiotape caught Turkish officials plotting to stage ‘false flag’ military attacks on their own territory and blame them on Syrians. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, General Yaşar Gürel, and Intelligence chief Hakan Fidan planned to use the attacks as an excuse to invade Syria. The title of this article could easily apply to that plot.
To close observers of the Caucasus, however, it could also describe a failed covert Turkish plan to attack Armenia two decades ago and turn the geopolitics of the region upside down.
In October 1993, two years after the USSR had splintered, an ethnic Chechen Muslim named Ruslan Khasbulatov – the Speaker, believe it or not, of the Russian Parliament – led a coup against beleaguered Russian President Boris Yeltsin. According to American, French, and Greek officials, Khasbulatov and Muslim Turkey had a secret agreement.
If his coup succeeded, Khasbulatov would order Russian troops to withdraw from Armenia, where they helped guard the latter’s border with Turkey. That would pave the way for Turkey to invade the landlocked Christian nation of just three million inhabitants.
History tells us that Turkey has always wanted to overrun Armenia. Doing so would create a path to Turkic-speaking Muslim Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea, and, eventually, Central Asia. It’s called pan-Turkism.
In 1993, of course, Azerbaijan was losing its war with Armenians over the ancient, majority-Armenian province of Karabagh. Azerbaijan was, therefore, eager for Turkey to attack Armenia, and Turkey was ready to help Azerbaijan turn the tide.
The Plot Fails
Harkening back to the Armenian genocide, Turkish President Turgut Özal had threatened to teach Armenia “the lessons of 1915.” Tansu Çiller, Turkey’s prime minister, warned Armenia that she wouldn’t “sit back and do nothing.” Turkey was massing forces on Armenia’s western border and supplying Azerbaijan with weapons, military advisors, and paramilitary forces. Chechen militants and Afghan Mujahideen were already fighting alongside Azeris.
A successful Turkish attack on Armenia – Russia’s only military partner in the Caucasus – would have all but destroyed Russian influence in the region. That, in turn, would have increased the likelihood that Chechnya, and much of the Muslim North Caucasus, would eventually escape the Russian Bear’s grip. For a native-born Chechen like Khasbulatov, it would all be a dream-come-true.
But bombarded by Russian tanks, Speaker Khasbulatov, V.P. Alexander Rutskoi, and hundreds of rebel parliamentarians and supporters surrendered the Parliament building on October 4, 1993. The coup and the plot to invade Armenia had failed.
The Secret Pact
The Khasbulatov-Turkish pact was first revealed by Leonidas T. Chrysanthopoulos in his book Caucasus Chronicles (London: Gomidas, 2002). He was Greece’s ambassador to Armenia from July 1993 to February 1994. Chrysanthopoulos, now 68, has served as ambassador to Canada and Poland, and was recently Secretary General of the 12-country, Istanbul-based Black Sea Economic Cooperation organization.
France’s ambassador to Armenia, Mme. France de Harthing, told him that “French intelligence sources” confirmed that “the Turkish incursion into Armenia would take place immediately after Khasbulatov would have withdrawn the Russian troops from Armenia.” “This information,” wrote Chrysanthopoulos, “was later confirmed to me by my United States colleague,” Ambassador Harry J. Gilmore.
As a “pretext,” Turkey would claim to be targeting Kurdish PKK militant bases, which in fact have never existed, in Armenia. Such a “pretext” is similar, though not identical, to a ‘false flag.’
The Turkish strike would be “incursions of a limited nature,” though it’s unclear what “limited” meant. More likely, as Turkey wouldn’t find any PKK, the aim was to forge a permanent corridor across Armenia, link up with Azeri forces, and cleanse Karabagh of Armenians.
The U.S. and France have never, as far as is known, publicly denied the existence of the Khasbulatov-Turkish plot. Moreover, Chrysanthopoulos gives no indication that any country tried to talk Turkey out of its deal with Khasbulatov.
Is any of this relevant today?
Yes, because current Turkish, American, and NATO policies in the Caucasus strongly echo the 1993 Khasbulatov-Turkish plot. For two decades, the West has been trying to penetrate and dominate the Caucasus – Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia –and eventually cross the Caspian Sea into energy-rich Central Asia.
One piece of the plan has already been partially implemented: constructing oil and gas pipelines from Azerbaijan through Georgia and Turkey.
NATO’s remaining goal: absorb the entire Caucasus. NATO would thereby threaten Russia from the south, just as it now pressures Russia from the west with its absorption of much of Eastern Europe (and, NATO hopes, Ukraine).
Georgia and Azerbaijan are inclined to eventually join NATO. Armenia, however, is not, though it has excellent relations with NATO and the West. Armenia has little choice but to ally itself with Russia because the former faces an ongoing existential threat from NATO member Turkey, the 1993 plot being one example.
Armenia is the Caucasus’s linchpin. Had the Khasbulatov – Turkish quasi-‘false flag’ operation against Armenia succeeded, Russia would probably have lost, and NATO would have gained, the entire Caucasus. New provocations, including ‘false flags,’ by Turkey and NATO cannot, therefore, be ruled out.
Turkish, American, and NATO leaders must also be interrogated as to whether their policies in the Caucasus are leading to peace or war.
When Will Evangelical Christians Start To See Through This Charade?
Ever since the George W. Bush administration, evangelical pastors and churches have been America’s loudest cheerleaders for virtually every act of war the U.S. has waged against foreign countries. For pastors such as John Hagee, wars of aggression in the Middle East are predicated upon the notion of protecting Israel–even though military meddling by the United States has only served to make life more dangerous for Israel. But leaving Israel out of the equation, evangelicals are the first to trumpet U.S. wars of aggression. I would even suggest that the favorite hymn of most evangelical churches these days is no longer John Newton’s “Amazing Grace,” but John McCain’s “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran.”
I would go even further to say that evangelical churches have become the very best friend that the military/industrial complex has ever had. It is congressmen and senators from districts and states heavily-laden with evangelical churches that continue to pump unlimited tax-dollars into the Warfare State. One could even make the argument that in most evangelical churches, Jesus’ adage “Blessed are the peacemakers” has been changed to “Blessed are the warmongers.”
Let’s set the record straight: perpetual war is a tool of elitists and globalists to enslave the U.S. citizenry. While we are killing thousands of people abroad (most of whom are innocents)–all in the name of “liberating” them–we are tightening the tyrannical noose around the necks of the American people. In the name of the “War on Terror,” the most sophisticated surveillance society in the history of mankind has been created right here in the continental United States. With the advent of the Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under G.W. Bush, Washington, D.C., has constructed (and is continuing to construct) a burgeoning police state the likes of which Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, and Adolf Hitler could have only dreamed about. And for the most part, evangelicals are fine with it.
But what is really happening in those countries that these endless wars are supposedly “liberating?” And specifically, what is happening to the thousands and millions of Christians within those countries after having been “liberated” by Uncle Sam? After all, America’s evangelical churches of every denomination spend millions of dollars every year sending missionaries around the globe to evangelize folks. How many missionary slides have we seen? How many passionate, tearful sermons have we heard imploring us to get a burden for missions? One of the most sacred elements of any Christian church is its missions program.
So, on the one hand, evangelicals are weeping, praying, and giving millions of dollars to make Christians out of the peoples of the world and on the other hand, they are leading the charge for America’s efforts to rain death and destruction down upon those same people.
Aside from the utter inconsistency of the above, what are all of these endless wars accomplishing for the Christians who live inside the countries that we are “liberating?” What is all of these Christian-endorsed wars doing to the people of God around the world? The answer will shock most believers.
According to an Infowars.com report, “In areas where we spent hundreds of billions of dollars and where thousands of precious American lives were sacrificed, churches are regularly being bombed, Christians are being brutally beheaded, and laws have been passed to make it illegal for a Muslim to convert to Christianity. If we were not even able to provide the most basic of liberties and freedoms to the people living in those nations, what in the world did we actually accomplish by ‘liberating’ them?
“Just look at what has happened in Afghanistan. We have been at war in Afghanistan for more than a dozen years, and yet things are so bad for Christians in that country at this point that there is not a single church left . . .”
The report goes on to say, “We find a similar story in Iraq. It is estimated that before the invasion, there were up to 2 million Christians living in Iraq. Now that number is down to less than 450,000, and it is falling fast.
“In fact, things are so dire for Iraq’s Christian community that some Iraqi Christian leaders are warning that Christians may soon become ‘extinct’ in that nation…”
The report continues, “In Syria, the Obama administration is shamelessly allying with radical al-Qaeda jihadists in a desperate attempt to overthrow the Assad regime.
“As these jihadists torture, behead and even crucify Christian believers, the mainstream media in the United States is virtually silent about it.
“Why is the media being so quiet?
“Well, because exposing what is going on would make the Obama administration look bad.
Those carrying out this persecution of Christians in Syria are being directly funded and aided by the governments of the United States and Saudi Arabia.”
See the report at:
The same could be said for Christians in the country of Libya.
But remember that these wars of aggression began in earnest under the “Christian” George W. Bush administration and have been ongoing throughout the Barack Obama administration. In fact, Obama’s continuation of the Bush preemptive war policy is the one thing about the Obama administration that most evangelical Christians actually support.
And please understand that what has happened to Christians in Middle Eastern countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria has happened in every other country that U.S. government has chosen to pressure–either by military intervention or economic sanction–including Nigeria and The Sudan.
A report in National Review Online states, “Prominent indicators confirm that the U.S. is the chief facilitator of the persecution of Christians around the world today.
“According to the recently released 2014 World Watch List, which ranks the 50 nations where Christians are most persecuted, Syria is the third worst nation in the world in which to be Christian, Iraq is fourth, Afghanistan fifth, and Libya 13th. All four countries receive the strongest designation, ‘extreme persecution’ (other designations are ‘severe,’ ‘moderate,’ and ‘sparse’ persecution).
“Aside from being so closely and harshly ranked, these four nations have something else in common: heavy U.S. involvement. Three–Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya–were ‘liberated’ thanks to U.S. forces, while in the fourth, Syria, the U.S. is actively sponsoring ‘freedom fighters’ against the regime, many of whom would be better labeled ‘terrorists.’”
The author of this report, Raymond Ibrahim, concludes by saying, “I am often asked, ‘How can we help persecuted Christians?’ At this point, one must respond: ‘How about starting with getting the U.S. government to stop being the chief facilitator of Christian persecution?’ Altruism aside, it would be in the interests of all freedom-loving people–and especially their descendants.”
See the report at:
I wonder what the vast majority of evangelical Christians would think if they realized that their support for all of these preemptive wars around the world–especially in the Middle East–are actually the major cause of much of the persecutions against their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I shudder to think what America’s Christians will say to their fellow-believers in Heaven who were savagely martyred due to the wars of aggression that they, America’s Christians, so enthusiastically supported.
America’s Warfare State, complete with the military/industrial complex, is facilitating the most egregious persecution of Christians since the days of Stalin, Hitler, and Chairman Mao and is turning the land of the free into a giant police state. When will the American people start to see through this charade? When will America’s pastors and Christians start to see through this charade?
If America’s evangelical pastors and churches would end their constant support for all of these foreign wars, if they would recognize the danger–globally and domestically–that the military/industrial complex poses, and if they would start putting the interests of this country above their parochial preoccupations with favored foreign states and personal eschatological opinions and interpretations, the Warfare State would collapse.
The Church has always been the compass of the country; and right now, the compass is broken, and the ship of state is way off course.
One Archeological Site At A Time…
Krac des Chevaliers, Between Homs and the Lebanese border.
Visiting archeological sites in Syria can arouse within one a rather sharp and distinct feeling of trekking along the same paths traveled a century ago by the field archaeologist, and later colonel in the British Army, T.E. Lawrence. Indeed there are a number of still-visible “Lawrence of Arabia” footprints to be found here—both in Damascus as well as deep in the Syrian countryside.
In Damascus, for instance, one may marvel at the Khan As’ad Pasha, the majestic 18th century residence of the Ottoman governor of Damascus—As’ad Pasha al-Azem—whose palatial domicile today houses the Museum of Arts and Popular Traditions. Most foreigners like to spend time at Azem, and Lawrence was frequently there as a guest of Emir Faisal, a son of Sharif Hussein, of Mecca. It was Faisal’s irregular troops that Lawrence fought alongside while sabotaging the railway lines of the overstretched Ottoman forces and significantly contributing to their defeat.
As Ottoman domination crumbled, in no small measure due to the Arab revolt around Damascus, Lawrence tried in vain to salvage something for the Arabs, whom he loved and admired even if he sometimes expressed his affection for them in an elitist English orientalist turn of phrase. By the summer of 1917, it had become clear to both Lawrence and Faisal that the four-century rule over Arabia by the Ottoman Turks was about to collapse, thanks in no small part to the revolt and the bravery and sacrifices of those who joined it. Also clear to Lawrence, if not to his friend Faisal, who was a bit naïve on the subject of Western history, was that his country, England, a pillar of the “Big Four” at the Versailles Peace Conference, conference which included the President Woodrow Wilson, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, France’s Georges Clemenceau and the Prime Minister of Italy, Vittorio Orlando was planning once again, and not for the last time, to stab the Arabs in the back and renege on the very promises that Lawrence had been commanded to deliver.
Photos of Lawrence and Faisal hang today on the walls of what was Lawrence’s bedroom and office at the Azem Palace—and it is clear from his facial expressions that Lawrence sensed what was coming to Syria and Palestine. Before he died, in a motorcycle accident shortly after his return to England at the age of 46, Lawrence increasingly discussed what he regarded as his personal failure, during the closing years of the war, when he told friends and family that he had failed to convince his superiors in the British government that Arab independence was in their interests. The secret Sykes-Picot Agreement between France and Britain, according to Lawrence, was an abject betrayal of the promises of independence he had made to the Arabs and for which he felt personally responsible.
This observer crossed paths with Lawrence, in a manner of speaking, once again a few weeks ago, at Palmyra, the archeological and UNESCO World Heritage site which lies across the Syrian desert to the northeast of Damascus. The area was recently liberated from Islamist jihadists, and it was here I came across the words of Lawrence himself, inscribed on a plaque: “Nothing in this scorching, desolate land could look so refreshing…Moslem story-tellers ascribe the building of Palmyra to the Jinn commandeered by Soloman…”
Frankly, this observer is reluctant to demure from Lawrence’s description, but in the many years since he spoke those words, it has become clear that the “Tadmor” (Arabic and Hebrew name for Palmyra) referred to in the Torah is not the Tadmor of Syria, but rather refers to a different site, one now lost to the sands of Palestine, if it ever existed at all. Lawrence in fact would probably be sorely vexed to learn that his words linking Palmyra to Soloman are today being misused by cheap, tawdry, Zionist land seekers prowling to assert a bogus claim over Palmyra in Syria as part of God’s putative philanthropy, with the expectation, undoubtedly, of swallowing more Arab land for the ever-expanding Eretz Israel. But the misuse of Lawrence’s quote at Palmyra for political purposes is a subject for another Syrian update.
Lawrence and Lamb also crossed paths (again in a manner of speaking that is) on 5/15/14 in the course of this observer’s six-hour excursion up and around the medieval fortress known as Krak des Chevaliers (Castle of the Kurds—who reportedly first inhabited the area in the 11th century). The Syrian Arab Army recaptured the castle and the nearby village of al-Hosn from rebel forces on March 20, 2014. Both the castle as well as the village of 10,000 had been seized by rebels (aka ‘takfiri terrorists’), with the “Krak” sustaining extensive damage from especially violent clashes in 2012 and again in July and August of 2013. My excellent companion and government guide during my day at the Krak was “Mohammad,” a Syrian army security commander with 40 troops under his command. The detachment has been stationed inside the fortress, this so as to keep anyone from attempting to retake it “by a nighttime sneak attack,” I was told.
Krac des Chevaliers..liberated from rebels on 3/20/14
Apparently a history buff, Mohammad’s first comment, as we began to ascend the steep three floors of medieval steps, was to quote—who else?—T.E. Lawrence.
“We are walking in the footsteps of Lawrence,” he informed me as we made our way, gazing from time to time at the marvelous, gothic ceilings. “He called this fortress—” then, to my surprise, reciting from memory: ‘perhaps the best preserved and most wholly admirable castle in the world, and a castle which forms a fitting commentary on any account of the Crusading buildings of Syria.”
Many historians have agreed with that assessment by Lawrence, including Hugh Kennedy, who wrote that “the defenses of the outer wall were the most elaborate and developed anywhere in the Latin east…the whole structure is a brilliantly-designed and superbly-built fighting machine.”
Indeed, Krak des Chevaliers is considered one of the greatest and best preserved castles in the world due to its unique architecture in terms of its defense facilities, building materials and decorations. In 2006, the castle was inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage sites along with its “sister fort,” the Citadel of Saladin, further north in Lattakia.
Among the approximately 400 damaged or destroyed antiquity sites that are now back under government control, Krak des Chevaliers is viewed by locals as a sort of “success story” because, for sure, it is still standing! A major restoration project was begun in April, and is now well underway, with the effort being directed by fifteen fulltime restoration specialists, who in turn are assisted by volunteers. Government officials, including the Ministers of Culture and of Tourism, drop by from time to time and praise their work, and a “Krak des Chevaliers reopens to the public” event is scheduled for 6/1/14. Whether many foreign tourists (or any at all) will be able to attend the gala happening is dubitable.
But hopefully conditions will allow for the return of tourists to the country at some point soon. One of my traveling companions the day I feasted my eyes on the Krak was a Syrian tour operator who pronounces himself more than willing to pitch in and help rebuild the tourist industry, Syria’s second largest foreign-exchange earner, which in 2010, prior to the outbreak of the conflict, brought in more than $1.5 billion.
Less fortunate than the castle is the formerly picturesque village of al-Hosn, which too was packed with rebels, and where current conditions now rival those in some parts of the cities of Aleppo and Homs for complete and total destruction. This observer did not see one bird, one feral cat, or even a fly in what locals call “the village of death.” Two weeks ago, a four man unit from Mohammed’s battalion at Krak did discover two hold-over rebels hiding out in the rubble. They killed them on the spot.
After 12 centuries of invaders trying to conquer this land, and a number succeeding—such as when the Muslims took it from the Christians in the seventh century employing the time tested ‘surrender or starve’ tactic—things have a way of getting rebuilt and repaired. And this time will likely be no different.
This observer’s purpose in visiting Krak was to detail the damage caused by 18 months of fighting over the fortress. The notes I made on my trip on 5/15/14 include the following:
- Complete destruction of the staircase and halls in front of the internal building of the fort.
- Partial damage in the façade of the Hall of the Knights, including some damage to the decorations and arches inside the Hall.
- Traces of fire behind the church and damage to the library hall, opposite the leader’s tower, and a part of the staircase leading to the roof of the library hall.
- Damage in the façade of the King’s Daughter’s Tower and partial destruction in the wall between the tower and the roof of the church.
- Partial destruction in the entrance to the stairs in front of Qalawun Tower; damage and destruction in some parts of the tower itself.
- Damage to one wall of the warehouse adjacent to the main offices of the castles overlooking the courtyard.
- Destruction of a part of the pillar supporting the ceiling of the library tower opposite the tower of the knights.
- Severe damage in the office of the Ottoman House, as well as the administration offices.
- Partial damage and destruction of some walls in several places of the castle, including minor damage in the outer wall of the castle.
- Surface damage caused by domestic fires built by rebels for heating and cooking, this by the dozens of rebel families that occupied different areas of the vast fortress.
To this observer it is clear that the Syrian public and their officials, in all 14 of the country’s governorates, are committed to the complete restoration of their nation’s peerless and incomparable archeological heritage sites as soon as security conditions permit.
With the FCC policy to allow a two-speed internet, the die is cast that corporate favoritism is the focus of government, as Internet 2 accelerates to replace the network that has served the public so well for decades. Internet 2 turns 15, asks. Has it delivered on its promise?
“Internet 2 was created by 34 university research institutions in 1996, when the commercial and non-commercial branches of the Internet’s evolutionary tree split off and went their separate ways. The mission of Internet 2 was to provide reliable, dedicated bandwidth to support the ever-growing demands of the research and educational communities, and in doing so, to develop technologies that would advance the state of the ‘commodity’ Internet.”
As major ventures like the 16 Major Technology Companies Announce Cloud Service Partnerships to Benefit the Nation’s Universities, collaborate to control and store the data stream certainly benefits the corporatist economy, but significantly reduces if not eliminates the independence of personal choices on the web. Make no mistake about it, the big tech giants are so deep in bed with government dominance freaks, that advancing opportunities for constructive commerce would be a mere byproduct to the new system.
Can two different internet platform steams coexist? Do not confuse the rise of the “Social Internet” with the higher speed gateway IN2 interconnect. Intra academic connect-ability is poised to include the next generation of corporate affiliations. With this association, the quaint notion of academic freedom will never pass the algorithm test.
The recent EU Court Decision in Google Search Info Removal Case Appalls Analysts article is a warning of restrictions to come.
“A court decision in the European Union that could force Google to remove offensive information in searches at the request of individuals is receiving harsh criticism from IT analysts who say that such a policy could ultimately diffuse the credibility of the Internet itself.”
In an Internet 2 environment, the influence of government lawmakers, agencies and courts will be far more prevalent then the experience that seldom blocked “Politically Incorrect” results. Any surfer of the search engines knows that restricting, and even eliminating, content once freely accessed, has become routine. Today a Google search (both text and images) provides sites that restrict outcomes that were once available. Imagine the greater degree of limitations under a supervised bureaucratic culture that relegates critical conclusions of the governance society under Internet 2.
Whenever the corporatists see the prospects to carve out, more efficient monopolies, they seize the opportunity. The deist’s that idolize the synergism partnership of the corporate-state, play into the hands of the non-compete economy.
Townhall the NeoCon publication maintains a political partisan position in the article, Neutrality Nuts Won’t Be Happy Until Government Controls the Internet. Author Phil Kerpen criticizes the Free Press opposition to the FCC endorsement of a paid priority internet.
“Together we’ll dance, drum and shout that the agency must throw out its destructive plan and reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service. This is the only way to restore real Net Neutrality.”
“Restore” is an odd word choice, because the reclassification of broadband Internet as a Title II telecommunications service, also known, ironically, as POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service), would bring about total government economic control on the Internet that has never previously existed.”
Now where do you suppose the corporatist will come down on greater regulation? Yep, you guessed it! When you write the legislation and dominate the lobbying of regulators, squeezing out the upstarts or free market entrepreneurs, is right up your alley.
Assigning utility status to the Internet, especially when the U.S. is on the path to turn over administration of the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), to international control, is another step to total global Corporatocracy.The introduction of an Internet 2 connection will foster requirements for playing in the sandbox of the tech titans. Opine all you want, the need for speed comes at a great price, far more than just financial changes. A mobile world of ads and trivia breeds functional illiterates. Texting is not a skill, but a curse.
Burying an uncensored internet is the goal that corporate governance wants. Their draconian design for an OpenID Connect may usher in a new era of federated online identity, is part of the Internet 2 wish list.
“Here’s the nut of this issue: governments need ways to authenticate the growing numbers of citizens going online to access digital services. Around the globe, hundreds of millions of people want digital services, increasingly provided through connected mobile devices. For instance, just think about renewing a driver’s license or passport, reserving space in public parks, or accessing records.Driven by policy needs and political realities, the Obama administration put forward a National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) in 2011 that adopted a federated approach to online identity, enabling people to use a validated identity from a private entity to identify themselves to government. Governments verify and validate identity providers under trust frameworks. After years of development, NSTIC pilots for federated identity are now being tested in Michigan and Pennsylvania, along with other locales and agencies.”
After inducing the public into accepting the promises of anytime video steaming, the Internet 2 future will suck in the instant gratification set, while relegating the cost conscience consumer into a second-class existence. Once critical mass is established, and the package of greater government regulation is in place, the plug is ready for pulling free expressive content at will. When DAPRA funded the research that developed the crucial internet protocols, and CERN contributed to making information exchange more efficient, the world was not able to demand a digital identity for every inhabitant.So much of world commerce, now conducted on the internet, necessitates that the corporate elites want their government agents to safeguard their financial interests, often at the sacrifice of personal liberty. Hence, the overwhelming need for balance at every stage of transition in the Internet, so that individual rights are as protected for the public as for business.
Imagine: you are dressed up for a night on Broadway, but your neighbours are involved in a vicious quarrel, and you have to gun up and deal with the trouble instead of enjoying a show, and a dinner, and perhaps a date. This was Putin’s position regarding the Ukrainian turmoil.
The Russians have readjusted their sights, but they do not intend to bring their troops into the two rebel republics, unless dramatic developments should force them.
It is not much fun to be in Kiev these days. The revolutionary excitement is over, and hopes for new faces, the end of corruption and economic improvement have withered. The Maidan street revolt and the subsequent coup just reshuffled the same marked deck of cards, forever rotating in power.
The new acting President has been an acting prime minister, and a KGB (called “SBU” in Ukrainian) supremo. The new acting prime minister has been a foreign minister. The oligarch most likely to be “elected” President in a few days has been a foreign minister, the head of the state bank, and personal treasurer of two coups, in 2004 (installing Yushchenko) and in 2014 (installing himself). His main competitor, Mme Timoshenko, served as a prime minister for years, until electoral defeat in 2010.
These people had brought Ukraine to its present abject state. In 1991, the Ukraine was richer than Russia, today it is three times poorer because of these people’s mismanagement and theft. Now they plan an old trick: to take loans in Ukraine’s name, pocket the cash and leave the country indebted. They sell state assets to Western companies and ask for NATO to come in and protect the investment.
They play a hard game, brass knuckles and all. The Black Guard, a new SS-like armed force of the neo-nazi Right Sector, prowls the land. They arrest or kill dissidents, activists, journalists. Hundreds of American soldiers, belonging to the “private” company Academi (formerly Blackwater) are spread out in Novorossia, the pro-Russian provinces in the East and South-East. IMF–dictated reforms slashed pensions by half and doubled the housing rents. In the market, US Army rations took the place of local food.
The new Kiev regime had dropped the last pretence of democracy by expelling the Communists from the parliament. This should endear them to the US even more. Expel Communists, apply for NATO, condemn Russia, arrange a gay parade and you may do anything at all, even fry dozens of citizens alive. And so they did.
The harshest repressions were unleashed on industrial Novorossia, as its working class loathes the whole lot of oligarchs and ultra-nationalists. After the blazing inferno of Odessa and a wanton shooting on the streets of Melitopol the two rebellious provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk took up arms and declared their independence from the Kiev regime. They came under fire, but did not surrender. The other six Russian-speaking industrial provinces of Novorossia were quickly cowed. Dnepropetrovsk and Odessa were terrorised by personal army of Mr Kolomoysky; Kharkov was misled by its tricky governor.
Russia did not interfere and did not support the rebellion, to the great distress of Russian nationalists in Ukraine and Russia who mutter about “betrayal”. So much for the warlike rhetoric of McCain and Brzezinski.
Putin’s respect for others’ sovereignty is exasperating. I understand this sounds like a joke, — you hear so much about Putin as a “new Hitler”. As a matter of fact, Putin had legal training before joining the Secret Service. He is a stickler for international law. His Russia has interfered with other states much less than France or England, let alone the US. I asked his senior adviser, Mr Alexei Pushkov, why Russia did not try to influence Ukrainian minds while Kiev buzzed with American and European officials. “We think it is wrong to interfere”, he replied like a good Sunday schoolboy. It is rather likely Putin’s advisors misjudged public sentiment. « The majority of Novorossia’s population does not like the new Kiev regime, but being politically passive and conservative, will submit to its rule”, they estimated. “The rebels are a small bunch of firebrands without mass support, and they can’t be relied upon”, was their view. Accordingly, Putin advised the rebels to postpone the referendum indefinitely, a polite way of saying “drop it”.
They disregarded his request with considerable sang froid and convincingly voted en masse for secession from a collapsing Ukraine. The turnout was much higher than expected, the support for the move near total. As I was told by a Kremlin insider, this development was not foreseen by Putin’s advisers.
Perhaps the advisors had read it right, but three developments had changed the voters’ minds and had sent this placid people to the barricades and the voting booths:
1. The first one was the fiery holocaust of Odessa, where the peaceful and carelessly unarmed demonstrating workers were suddenly attacked by regime’s thugs (the Ukrainian equivalent of Mubarak’s shabab) and corralled into the Trade Unions Headquarters. The building was set on fire, and the far-right pro-regime Black Guard positioned snipers to efficiently pick off would-be escapees. Some fifty, mainly elderly, Russian-speaking workers were burned alive or shot as they rushed for the windows and the doors. This dreadful event was turned into an occasion of merriment and joy by Ukrainian nationalists who referred to their slain compatriots as “fried beetles”. (It is being said that this auto-da-fé was organised by the shock troops of Jewish oligarch and strongman Kolomoysky, who coveted the port of Odessa. Despite his cuddly bear appearance, he is pugnacious and violent person, who offered ten thousand dollars for a captive Russian, dead or alive, and proposed a cool million dollars for the head of Mr Tsarev, a Member of Parliament from Donetsk.)
2. The second was the Mariupol attack on May 9, 2014. This day is commemorated as V-day in Russia and Ukraine (while the West celebrates it on May 8). The Kiev regime forbade all V-day celebrations. In Mariupol, the Black Guard attacked the peaceful and weaponless town, burning down the police headquarters and killing local policemen who had refused to suppress the festive march. Afterwards, Black Guard thugs unleashed armoured vehicles on the streets, killing citizens and destroying property.
The West did not voice any protest; Nuland and Merkel weren’t horrified by this mass murder, as they were by Yanukovich’s timid attempts to control crowds.
The people of these two provinces felt abandoned; they understood that nobody was going to protect and save them but themselves, and went off to vote.
3. The third development was, bizarrely, the Eurovision jury choice of Austrian transvestite Conchita Wurst for a winner of its song contest.
The sound-minded Novorossians decided they want no part of such a Europe.
Actually, the people of Europe do not want it either:
It transpired that the majority of British viewers preferred a Polish duo, Donatan & Cleo, with its We Are Slavic. Donatan is half Russian, and has courted controversy in the past extolling the virtues of pan-Slavism and the achievements of the Red Army, says the Independent.
The politically correct judges of the jury preferred to “celebrate tolerance”, the dominant paradigm imposed upon Europe.
This is the second transvestite to win this very political contest; the first one was Israeli singer Dana International.
Such obsession with re-gendering did not go down well with Russians and/or Ukrainians.
The Russians have readjusted their sights, but they do not intend to bring their troops into the two rebel republics, unless dramatic developments should force them.
Imagine: you are dressed up for a night on Broadway, but your neighbours are involved in a vicious quarrel, and you have to gun up and deal with the trouble instead of enjoying a show, and a dinner, and perhaps a date. This was Putin’s position regarding the Ukrainian turmoil.
A few months ago, Russia had made a huge effort to become, and to be seen as, a very civilized European state of the first magnitude. This was the message of the Sochi Olympic games: to re-brand, even re-invent Russia, just as Peter the Great once had, as part of the First World; an amazing country of strong European tradition, of Leo Tolstoy and Malevich, of Tchaikovsky and Diaghilev, the land of arts, of daring social reform, of technical achievements, of modernity and beyond — the Russia of Natasha Rostova riding a Sikorsky ‘copter. Putin spent $60 billion to broadcast this image.
The old fox Henry Kissinger wisely said:
Putin spent $60 billion on the Olympics. They had opening and closing ceremonies, trying to show Russia as a normal progressive state. So it isn’t possible that he, three days later, would voluntarily start an assault on Ukraine. There is no doubt that… at all times he wanted Ukraine in a subordinate position. And at all times, every senior Russian that I’ve ever met, including dissidents like Solzhenitsyn and Brodsky, looked at Ukraine as part of the Russian heritage. But I don’t think he had planned to bring it to a head now.
However, Washington hawks decided to do whatever it takes to keep Russia out in the cold. They were afraid of this image of “a normal progressive state” as such Russia would render NATO irrelevant and undermine European dependence on the US. They were adamant about retaining their hegemony, shattered as it was by the Syrian confrontation. They attacked Russian positions in the Ukraine and arranged a violent coup, installing a viciously anti-Russian regime supported by football fans and neo-Nazis, paid for by Jewish oligarchs and American taxpayers. The victors banned the Russian language and prepared to void treaties with Russia regarding its Crimean naval base at Sebastopol on the Black Sea. This base was to become a great new NATO base, controlling the Black Sea and threatening Russia.
Putin had to deal quickly and so he did, by accepting the Crimean people’s request to join Russian Federation. This dealt with the immediate problem of the base, but the problem of Ukraine remained.
The Ukraine is not a foreign entity to Russians, it is the western half of Russia. It was artificially separated from the rest in 1991, at the collapse of the USSR. The people of the two parts are interconnected by family, culture and blood ties; their economies are intricately connected. While a separate viable Ukrainian state is a possibility, an “independent” Ukrainian state hostile to Russia is not viable and can’t be tolerated by any Russian ruler. And this for military as well as for cultural reasons: if Hitler had begun the war against Russia from its present border, he would have taken Stalingrad in two days and would have destroyed Russia in a week.
A more pro-active Russian ruler would have sent troops to Kiev a long time ago. Thus did Czar Alexis when the Poles, Cossacks and Tatars argued for it in 17th century. So also did Czar Peter the Great, when the Swedes occupied it in the 18th century. So did Lenin, when the Germans set up the Protectorate of Ukraine (he called its establishment “the obscene peace”). So did Stalin, when the Germans occupied the Ukraine in 1941.
Putin still hopes to settle the problem by peaceful means, relying upon the popular support of the Ukrainian people. Actually, before the Crimean takeover, the majority of Ukrainians (and near all Novorossians) overwhelmingly supported some sort of union with Russia. Otherwise, the Kiev coup would not have been necessary. The forced Crimean takeover seriously undermined Russian appeal. The people of Ukraine did not like it. This was foreseen by the Kremlin, but they had to accept Crimea for a few reasons. Firstly, a loss of Sevastopol naval base to NATO was a too horrible of an alternative to contemplate. Secondly, the Russian people would not understand if Putin were to refuse the suit of the Crimeans.
The Washington hawks still hope to force Putin to intervene militarily, as it would give them the opportunity to isolate Russia, turn it into a monster pariah state, beef up defence spending and set Europe and Russia against each other. They do not care about Ukraine and Ukrainians, but use them as pretext to attain geopolitical goals.
The Europeans would like to fleece Ukraine; to import its men as “illegal” workers and its women as prostitutes, to strip assets, to colonise. They did it with Moldova, a little sister of Ukraine, the most miserable ex-Soviet Republic. As for Russia, the EU would not mind taking it down a notch, so they would not act so grandly. But the EU is not fervent about it. Hence, the difference in attitudes.
Putin would prefer to continue with his modernisation of Russia. The country needs it badly. The infrastructure lags twenty or thirty years behind the West. Tired by this backwardness, young Russians often prefer to move to the West, and this brain drain causes much damage to Russia while enriching the West. Even Google is a result of this brain drain, for Sergey Brin is a Russian immigrant as well. So are hundreds of thousands of Russian scientists and artists manning every Western lab, theatre and orchestra. Political liberalisation is not enough: the young people want good roads, good schools and a quality of life comparable to the West. This is what Putin intends to deliver.
He is doing a fine job of it. Moscow now has free bikes and Wi-Fi in the parks like every Western European city. Trains have been upgraded. Hundreds of thousands of apartments are being built, even more than during the Soviet era. Salaries and pensions have increased seven-to-tenfold in the past decade. Russia is still shabby, but it is on the right track. Putin wants to continue this modernisation.
As for the Ukraine and other ex-Soviet states, Putin would prefer they retain their independence, be friendly and work at a leisurely pace towards integration a la the European Union.
He does not dream of a new empire. He would reject such a proposal, as it would delay his modernisation plans.
If the beastly neocons would not have forced his hand by expelling the legitimate president of Ukraine and installing their puppets, the world might have enjoyed a long spell of peace.
But then the western military alliance under the US leadership would fall into abeyance, US military industries would lose out, and US hegemony would evaporate. Peace is not good for the US military and hegemony-creating media machine. So dreams of peace in our lifetime are likely to remain just dreams.
What will Putin do?
Putin will try to avoid sending in troops as long as possible. He will have to protect the two splinter provinces, but this can be done with remote support, the way the US supports the rebels in Syria, without ‘boots on the ground’. Unless serious bloodshed on a large scale should occur, Russian troops will just stand by, staring down the Black Guard and other pro-regime forces.
Putin will try to find an arrangement with the West for sharing authority, influence and economic involvement in the failed state. This can be done through federalisation, or by means of coalition government, or even partition. The Russian-speaking provinces of Novorossia are those of Kharkov (industry), Nikolayev (ship-building), Odessa (harbour), Donetsk and Lugansk (mines and industry), Dnepropetrovsk (missiles and high-tech), Zaporozhe (steel), Kherson (water for Crimea and ship-building), all of them established, built and populated by Russians. They could secede from Ukraine and form an independent Novorossia, a mid-sized state, but still bigger than some neighbouring states. This state could join the Union State of Russia and Belarus, and/or the Customs Union led by Russia. The rump Ukraine could manage as it sees fit until it decides whether or not to join its Slavic sisters in the East. Such a set up would produce two rather cohesive and homogeneous states.
Another possibility (much less likely at this moment) is a three-way division of the failed Ukraine: Novorossia, Ukraine proper, and Galicia&Volyn. In such a case, Novorossia would be strongly pro-Russian, Ukraine would be neutral, and Galicia strongly pro-Western.
The EU could accept this, but the US probably would not agree to any power-sharing in the Ukraine. In the ensuing tug-of-war, one of two winners will emerge. If Europe and the US drift apart, Russia wins. If Russia accepts a pro-Western positioning of practically all of Ukraine, the US wins. The tug-of-war could snap and cause all-out war, with many participants and a possible use of nuclear weapons. This is a game of chicken; the one with stronger nerves and less imagination will remain on the track.
Pro and Contra
It is too early to predict who will win in the forthcoming confrontation. For the Russian president, it is extremely tempting to take all of Ukraine or at least Novorossia, but it is not an easy task, and one likely to cause much hostility from the Western powers. With Ukraine incorporated, Russian recovery from 1991 would be completed, its strength doubled, its security ensured and a grave danger removed. Russia would become great again. People would venerate Putin as Gatherer of Russian Lands.
However, Russian efforts to appear as a modern peaceful progressive state would have been wasted; it would be seen as an aggressor and expelled from international bodies. Sanctions will bite; high tech imports may be banned, as in the Soviet days. The Russian elites are reluctant to jeopardize their good life. The Russian military just recently began its modernization and is not keen to fight yet, perhaps not for another ten years.
But if they feel cornered, if NATO moves into Eastern Ukraine, they will fight all the same.
Some Russian politicians and observers believe that Ukraine is a basket case; its problems would be too expensive to fix. This assessment has a ‘sour grapes’ aftertaste, but it is widespread. An interesting new voice on the web, The Saker, promotes this view. “Let the EU and the US provide for the Ukrainians, they will come back to Mother Russia when hungry”, he says. The problem is, they will not be allowed to reconsider. The junta did not seize power violently in order to lose it at the ballot box.
Besides, Ukraine is not in such bad shape as some people claim. Yes, it would cost trillions to turn it into a Germany or France, but that’s not necessary. Ukraine can reach the Russian level of development very quickly –- in union with Russia. Under the EC-IMF-NATO, Ukraine will become a basket case, if it’s not already. The same is true for all East European ex-Soviet states: they can modestly prosper with Russia, as Belarus and Finland do, or suffer depopulation, unemployment, poverty with Europe and NATO and against Russia, vide Latvia, Hungary, Moldova, Georgia. It is in Ukrainian interests to join Russia in some framework; Ukrainians understand that; for this reason they will not be allowed to have democratic elections.
Simmering Novorossia has a potential to change the game. If Russian troops don’t come in, Novorossian rebels may beat off the Kiev offensive and embark on a counter-offensive to regain the whole of the country, despite Putin’s pacifying entreaties. Then, in a full-blown civil war, the Ukraine will hammer out its destiny.
On a personal level, Putin faces a hard choice. Russian nationalists will not forgive him if he surrenders Ukraine without a fight. The US and EU threaten the very life of the Russian president, as their sanctions are hurting Putin’s close associates, encouraging them to get rid of or even assassinate the President and improve their relations with the mighty West. War may come at any time, as it came twice during the last century – though Russia tried to avoid it both times. Putin wants to postpone it, at the very least, but not at any price.
His is not an easy choice. As Russia procrastinates, as the US doubles the risks, the world draws nearer to the nuclear abyss. Who will chicken out?
(Language editing by Ken Freeland)
What does the United States have in common with Japan’s economy? Demographics of an aging population have consequences for both countries. As Japan News reports, National debt hits record high.
“Japan’s national debt totaled a record-high ¥1.02 quadrillion as of the end of March, up ¥33.36 trillion from a year earlier, the Finance Ministry said.
The central government debt, which increased ¥7.01 trillion from the end of December last year, kept rising mainly due to ballooning social security costs in line with the aging of the population.”
Last year Forbes viewed their debt crisis as staggering. “Currently at 240% of GDP, the International Monetary Fund estimates that it will get to 250% by year-end. Why is this an issue? Well, when you have government debt at 24x government revenue and interest expenses taking up 25% of government revenue, it becomes a very big issue.”
Around the same time, Matt Phillips wrote that with a quadrillion in debt, there’s only one way out for Japan, jumpstart growth.
“So, yes, while Japan does have a ton of debt, the outright level is not the best way to keep track of it. The more important gauge is debt as a percentage of the country’s annual economic output, or GDP. And at more than 200%, Japan’s debt load is the highest among all developed nations.
But still, how will Japan ever manage to pay it off it’s debt? Well, actually, it won’t.
The goal for countries isn’t paying off debt, it’s getting its debt-to-GDP ratio in better shape.”
There is a huge problem with growing a GDP when the international economy is still suffering from the global financial meltdown, when your own nation has fewer spending consumers as the population ages. OECD warns Japan’s economy may suffer inflation without wage growth. “The Paris-based club of 34 advanced nations said in its biannual report that the world’s third-biggest economy would expand 1.2 percent this year, downgraded from its November forecast of 1.5 percent in terms of inflation-adjusted gross domestic product growth.”
Added to this sluggish and lackluster forecast, the WSJ article that Japan Current Account Surplus Smallest on Record, indicates a serious downward trend in foreign trade earnings.
“The ¥789.9 billion ($7.76 billion) surplus in the broadest measure of a nation’s trade with the rest of the world was sharply lower than the ¥4.2 trillion surplus registered a year earlier, data from the Ministry of Finance showed Monday. Until recently, the country routinely produced a surplus in excess of ¥10 trillion a year.”
Is the day on the horizon when Japan will mirror the trade deficits that have so long plagued the American economy? Just look to the practice that many Japanese manufacturers are shifting their production offshore. Besides, the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster has the country consuming more imported fossil fuels to meet energy needs.
If you are looking for answers, you better read the essay by Alan Gula in Wall Street Daily, Japan’s Most Valuable Resource is Vanishing. “Through quantitative easing and large budget deficits, Abenomics has produced currency weakness and higher stock prices… but it’s failed to generate real wage growth.Currency weakness has contributed to soaring energy prices, and the recent sales tax increase will effectively exacerbate inflation and crimp consumer spending. So despite an escape from the jaws of deflation, problems persist in Japan.
In fact, it’s likely that Japan has stagnated because of 15 years of zero interest rate policy (ZIRP), not in spite of ZIRP.”
Finally, Mr. Gula’s points to the fact that, “children under 15 make up just 12.8% of the Japanese population, the lowest ratio among nations with populations of at least 40 million people.” When you factor in that Japan ranks number eight among developed economies in household debt, the persistent legend that Japanese are the world’s savers, is rapidly vanishing.
Over ten years ago Research at Shorenstein APARC, Stanford addressed theCauses of Japan’s Economic Stagnation. However, the global economy has changed dramatically after 2008. In many ways, Japan has experienced several major setbacks.
“If Japan’s current account surplus turns into a current account deficit, the country will have to attract money into its financial markets in order to pay its bills. That may be difficult given that Japan has some of the lowest interest rates and highest debt in the world. Interest rates would probably have to rise substantially, which would worsen the government’s finances and could cause a crisis – causing the yen to weaken even further.
To make matters worse, if the government is successful in its drive to raise the inflation rate, that will only further reduce the real interest rate on Japanese bonds, which is already the lowest of the major bond markets. That’s going to be a hard sell and that’s why I expect the yen to trend lower over the next several years.”
The global financial system, based upon debt fiat money, affects industrial countries the most. Japan was once an island nation, immune from international intervention. The Princeton Press published a paper, Why Study Japanese Political Economy?Most analysis of economic developments in foreign countries only glosses over the political factor that influence and often shape economic policy.
Looking at Japan may well be a valuable mirror on the future of American society. The Japanese tragedy, very easily can turn into the lost decades for our own marketplace. The notion that domestic business or for that matter, the global economy can continue to operate on ever rising debt obligations is paternally absurd. Better, learn this lesson now, before it is too late.
“The introduction of genetically modified foods (GMO) tampers with the essence of life in an experiment with an unknown outcome and no real way to undue the damage. The FDA purposely does not require labeling of GMO food, since no one who understands the issue would ever purchase it. This makes it all the more difficult to locate healthful food.” Byron J. Richards, The Leptin Diet: How Fit Is Your Fat?
This series exposes the outright fraud against peoples’ lives and the contempt for American citizens (and citizens of the world who eat our grains) with the injection of Genetically Modified Organism foods by the highest representatives in our U.S. Congress.
Call it a “financial cartel” that allows GMOs to be fed to our citizenry, but worse, for the love of money, those power elites accelerate the destruction of our Natural World.
We humans grow too clever and too arrogant to understand the long-term penalties we heap on Mother Nature until she finds no other answers but to claw back at us, i.e., cancers, disease and more aberrant environmental disasters to come.
Every crop in America, Canada, Australia and much of the third world where GMO advocates like ADM and Monsanto can force their “Frankensteinization” on farmers—they push it.
Even with all the evidence piling up, those same elites hammer any opposition into the ground. They “bribe” the FDA officials to not label any GMO foods so you don’t know what you’re eating.
We destroy our own bodies by our actions, but we also obliterate the Natural World and its inhabitants.
Today around the world, trillions of bees suffer “colony collapse” via GMO crops. Nature cannot figure out how to deal with plants that suffer genetic modification or DNA change-ups.
GMO foods represent a pitcher throwing an orange to the catcher in a Major League Baseball game. Within several pitches, the orange wouldn’t hold its form from the violent treatment. If the batter connected with the orange, it would splatter all over the field. Result: the game couldn’t continue. The players could not play and the spectators would go home.
But in GMO production, the consequences cannot be seen as quickly, however those “errors” against Mother Nature will surface well into the future.
Ethan Huff, science writer for Natural News said, “A pair of studies recently published in the journal Science raises dire warnings about the continued decline of crop-pollinating insects all over the world, and what this means for the future of the world’s food supply. Both studies highlight the fact that wild pollinators like bumblebees, butterflies, and beetles are basically disappearing, and that industrial agriculture, which includes genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), are a major factor causing this insect genocide.
“At least half a dozen other studies published in the last couple of years have arrived at similarly disturbing findings. They do, however, shed further light on how the situation has progressed throughout the decades, pointing to corporate monoculture practices, shrinking forests and wild lands, and general changes in physical landscapes as some of the primary culprits in promoting this ruinous trend.”
We not only change the DNA of our fellow planetary travelers, but we destroy their habitat. We seem to think no consequences will befall us.
“The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”
― Chief Seattle
Last week, I interviewed with Ross Kaminsky at www.KOA.com in Denver, Colorado. Mind you, this young man, about 30, sounded brilliant and highly articulate. I liked him. I spoke about America adding 100 million immigrants and a total of 138 million people by 2050—a scant 36 years from now. I brought facts and compelling information to the show. I attempted to show him and the public the ramifications of adding 138 million people—and that, we could not sustain such numbers and our environment.
He sat across from me saying, “We don’t have a population problem. We have plenty of water and oil. The oceans can absorb all our carbon footprint.”
I said, “You’re speaking with assumptions as if they were facts. You make statements based on belief where I make them based on facts from my research.”
He dumbfounded me with his arrogance that we can keep adding endless people with no consequences. He wanted everyone to live a free life. I countered with the fact that as our population numbers rise, our freedoms decline along with balance in our Natural World. That fact cannot be disputed.
I explained how our oceans suffer acidification and that reefs die with carbon footprint and how marine life cannot endure the onslaught.
He wouldn’t hear of it. Mind you, this young man, traveled on six continents like I have traveled. He lives in denial and defends it. Along with him, the majority of the American public feels the same.
We see the same denial with our leaders who advocate for GMOs in plants and fish—in the face of facts.
“In one of the studies, researchers from Montana State University (MSU) compared insect data collected in the late 1800s to similar data collected in the same test location in the 1970s,” said Huff. “They then compiled current data from the same area to compare to both of these other two data sets, upon which they discovered that the number of unique wild bee species had dropped by nearly half.
“What is perhaps more disturbing, however, is the fact that researchers observed modern bees to be generally interacting less with plants than they used to in previous generations. According to the data, the overall number of interactions between bees and plants has also dropped by roughly half, indicating a serious problem as far as the general food supply is concerned, as about 75 percent of global food crops rely on pollination by animals.”
Managed honeybees do not pollinate crops as well as wild honeybees
The second study troubles me further: having found that pollinating insects in general, which include a wide range of insects and other animals, continue vanishing from their normal habitats and foraging areas.
“Based on field trials conducted in 20 different countries, wild insects are clearly on the decline everywhere, and managed honeybee colonies established to replace them in many areas are failing to pick up where the wild honeybees left off,” said Huff.
“In landscapes with lower diversity and lower abundance of wild insects, the crops had less fruits,” explains Lucas Garibaldi, author of the second study. “Wild insects pollinated way more efficiently: Flowers produced twice as many fruits after being visited by wild insects and were more consistent in their production than when visited by honeybees.”
“Some “leaders” blame climate destabilization and other outside factors for this mysterious decline in crop pollinators,” said Huff. “But the major elephant in the room, and the one that the mainstream media is desperately trying to avoid, is GMOs and the chemical-based technologies used to grow them. As we have covered time and time again, neonicotinoids and other pesticide and herbicide products are responsible for weakening and killing off bees and other crop pollinators, particularly in North America where GMOs are most widely cultivated.”
“The proof is obvious that one of the major reasons of the bees’ decline is by the ingestion of GMO proteins,” explains a report by Brit Amos from Global Research about the decline of bee colonies. “The truth is that organic farming is relatively untouched as the bee crisis is concerned. Organic farming maintains the diversity of the eco-system and preserves the quality of the foods produced.”
The more I research into what we and our children face with our “disfiguring” the Natural World with our poisons and GMO assault, the more sickened I am in my mind and heart. Since I lack any power or influence, someone like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet needs to fund campaigns to stop GMO production. After all, it’s their kids, too, who must live in this world.
All of this GMO nightmare stems from too many people needing food for survival with too many elites willing to sacrifice the Natural World in order to make endless billions of dollars to live in big homes, drive expensive cars and fly Lear Jets.
You can learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/039582_pollinators_gmos_food_supply.html#ixzz2zSIQSIhn
Go to www.responsibletechnology.org to get involved and learn how to avoid GMOs. Look for Non-GMO Shopping Guide.
Start buying non-GMO today.
Help stop the genetic engineering of our food supply.
You may become involved:
Read the book—Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risk of Genetically Engineered Foods by Jeffrey M. Smith.
I wrote about the controversy swirling around the so-called Christian organization World Vision here. For those who are unaware of what occurred on March 24, WV announced that they had plans to hire “married” homosexuals.
The backlash was fast and furious. Christian leaders, Roman Catholics, the pro-family movement and others in the faith community made it abundantly clear that they opposed WV’s decision to hire people in counterfeit marriages on the grounds that the Bible teaches that homosexuality’s a sin. It’s no secret that Bible-believers hold to the teaching that God established the marriagesacrament for the purpose of bringing Him glory; thus marriage other than that which He designed does not bring glory and honor to Him. One would assume that WV’s president and board members had an understanding of what the Bible teaches on marriage – but maybe not.
They learn fast, though. The board noticed a storm brewing when donors began to withdraw their financial support and they quickly changed course. The public’s reaction was so strong that they reversed their decision faster than greased lightning.
In part 2 we will examine whether or not World Vision’s truly a Christian organization. I mean, that’s the burning question, isn’t it? One way to find out is to take a look at its website. On the homepage they make the claim that they are a,
Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
Perhaps because I’ve spent a number of years exposing false teaching in the Church, likewise the cults and the occult, when I read the phrase “full potential” Anthony Robbins immediately came to mind. Robbins is one of many Human Potential magnets. He has taken on the trendy title “life coach.” The life coach’s aim is to get you to a place where you can tap into your full potential. Robbins’ beliefs are rooted in the New Thought movement. (Those who wish to know more about New Thought can do so here.) In essence “Syncretism between Christianity and early New Thought was a hallmark of this movement,” says cult expert Marcia Montenegro.
So – why would a “Christian humanitarian organization” choose to define itself using anti-Christian language inspired by New Thought rubbish?
Any organization that calls itself Christian should have as its main goal reaching families and communities around the globe with the gospel of Christ. And if that’s not its stated goal then how is it any different from other secular organizations such as the American Red Cross or the World Food Programme. What sets Christian relief organizations apart from all the others is that they have a biblical mandate to evangelize the lost. Jesus commanded His followers to:
Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16)
For many years my husband and I sponsored children through WV. Because it calls itself a Christian organization we just assumed that those in the field would be about the business of providing relief as well as evangelizing lost souls bound for hell. When it became apparent to us that WV was moving more toward what is deemed a “social justice” organization, we wrote to express our concerns. No response was forthcoming. Eventually we stopped sponsoring children through WV and chose another organization.
The social gospel is a false gospel. (Discover more about social justice here.) What does Scripture tell us about spreading a false gospel?
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9)
I fully expect WV’s supporters will want me to demonstrate that WF prohibits proselytizing (sharing the gospel of Christ.) In the process of researching for this piece I discovered all the proof doubters will need — and it comes right from the horse’s mouth. I visited the homepage…clicked on Our-Impact…clicked on Faith-in-action and unearthed their goals and accomplishments:
Our faith in Jesus is central to who we are, and we follow His example in working alongside the poor and oppressed. We serve every child in need that we possibly can, of any faith, or none. We partner with churches throughout the world, equipping them to meet the needs of their communities.
Scroll down the page to Our Approach and here’s what you’ll find:
Do You Talk To People About Jesus?
In all ways appropriate for a local context, we seek to witness to Christ — through our deeds of love and mercy, the character and conduct of our staff, and through our words of testimony. As we demonstrate the unconditional love of God to others, we are ready to give the reason for the hope within us, but expect people to evaluate the truth of our message by our actions.
God created men and women in His image, giving each of us a free will. Therefore, we respect individuals — including their culture, faith, and beliefs. We respect the dignity and the right of all people to maintain and change their religious beliefs. We seek in every instance to be faithful ambassadors of the good news of Jesus through our actions (2 Corinthians 5:20) and hope that our lives will reflect God’s generous love for people, ultimately bringing glory and praise to Him.
Do you expect the people you help to share your beliefs?
We serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. We do not proselytize, and we pledge never to exploit vulnerability to obtain a profession of faith. We do not feed the hungry as a means to an end. We feed the hungry because God cares about people who are hungry, and He wants them to be fed (Psalm 145:13-17).
Insisting that people hear a certain message or affirm a specific belief as a prerequisite to receiving our assistance violates codes of conduct established for disaster, relief, and humanitarian groups of which we are a member. However, our hope is that our work and lives would contribute to people becoming followers of Christ.
How does being a Christian organization impact your work?
Our faith in Jesus Christ is core to who we are. As an expression of God’s unconditional love for all people, especially vulnerable children, we serve alongside the poor and oppressed. We hope to live as followers of Christ by being active, visible bearers of God’s love.
Relying on God’s grace and Spirit, we affirm the truth of the gospel and our hope in Christ through our character, speech, actions, and in the signs of God’s power at work in individual lives, in the communities where we work, and in all creation. (emphasis added — Source)
By its very words WV is a Christian organization that professes a belief in the gospel. On its website it states that “Jesus is core of who we are.” Yet its policy is not to proselytize?
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Instead of sharing the good news with those who are perishing, WV is all about doing “good works.” Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Christians shouldn’t do good deeds and be “active, visible bearers of God’s love.” But good works and sharing Christ with the lost go hand in hand. Romans 10:17 tells us that “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
In Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, the meaning of “hearing” is explained:
When it is said that faith cometh by hearing, it is not meant that all who hear actually believe, for that is not true; but that faith does not exist unless there is a message, or report, to be heard or believed. It cannot come otherwise than by such a message; in other words, unless there is something made known to be believed. And this shows us at once the importance of the message, and the fact that people are converted by the instrumentality of truth, and of truth only. (Source)
Just prior to WV doing an about face, Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, slammed the organization over its plans to hire unrepentant homosexuals. Perhaps his, and articles like it, is the reason Richard Stearns and the board reversed their decision and decided to repent. The question many people are asking at this juncture is how do we know that the leadership has sincerely repented of their willingness to mollify the radical homosexual lobby’s demand for them to hire gay people? Time will tell. However, it’s evident that at least for the time being, board members have decided it’s not in WV’s best interest to go against Bible believers and faith groups because they’re the ones who pay the bills!
I’m out of room so I’ll end with an excerpt from Albert Mohler’s stinging rebuke – before WV repented:
Writing to the Corinthian Christians, the Apostle Paul stated: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” [1 Corinthians 6:9-10]
The leader of World Vision U.S. now claims that the Bible is not sufficiently clear on the sinfulness of same-sex sexuality and relationships, but he also claims a “mission of building the kingdom.” The Apostle Paul makes homosexuality a kingdom issue, and he does so in the clearest of terms.
Of course, Paul’s point is not that homosexuals are uniquely sinful, but that all of us are sinners in need of the grace and mercy of God that come to us in the gift of salvation. Thanks be to God, Paul follows those words with these: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” [1 Corinthians 6:11]
The worst aspect of the World Vision U.S. policy shift is the fact that it will mislead the world about the reality of sin and the urgent need of salvation. Willingly recognizing same-sex marriage and validating openly homosexual employees in their homosexuality is a grave and tragic act that confirms sinners in their sin — and that is an act that violates the gospel of Christ. (Source)
Short list of Christian Leaders who have rebuked World Vision:
The dust has settled a bit since Christian humanitarian aid organization World Vision’s March 24 announcement that it would hire gay couples who are legally married in the state in which they reside. Since “World Vision-gate” remains a hot topic, it’s time for some introspection; likewise to do some digging to find out if WV truly is a Christian organization, as it claims.
When WV announced its decision to hire gay people, not surprisingly Bible believing Christians found the decision unsettling. Clearly WV’s Board of Directors chose to ignore the plain teaching of Scripture regarding homosexuality. As a result, a large number of believers, including some high-profile evangelical leaders, took to the blogosphere in protest and thousands stormed WV’s website. Board members hadn’t counted on the huge uproar their unbiblical decision would cause. Certainly they expected WV’s financial support to take a minor hit from unhappy sponsors. But evidently no one anticipated just how big the hit would be. According one source 10,000 sponsors pulled out. (More on this in a moment.)
Within 2 days the board reversed its decision. Immediately Richard Stearns, president of World Vision issued a public apology. The following is an excerpt of his apology from Christianity Today:
“The last couple of days have been very painful,” organization president Rich Stearns told reporters this evening. “We feel pain and a broken heart for the confusion we caused for many friends who saw this policy change as a strong reversal of World Vision’s commitment to biblical authority, which it was not intended to be.”
“Rather than creating more unity [among Christians], we created more division, and that was not the intent. … Our board acknowledged that the policy change we made was a mistake … and we believe that [World Vision supporters] helped us to see that with more clarity … and we’re asking you to forgive us for that mistake.”
“We listened to [our] friends, we listened to their counsel. They tried to point out in loving ways that the conduct policy change was simply not consistent … with the authority of Scripture and how we apply Scripture to our lives. … We did inadequate consultation with our supporters. If I could have a do-over on one thing, I would have done much more consultation with Christian leaders.”
“What we are affirming today is there are certain beliefs that are so core to our Trinitarian faith that we must take a strong stand on those beliefs. … We cannot defer to a small minority of churches and denominations that have taken a different position.”
“Yes, we will certainly defer on many issues that are not so central to our understanding of the Christian faith. … But on the authority of Scripture in our organization’s work [and employee conduct] … and on marriage as an institution ordained by God between a man and a woman—those are age-old and fundamental Christian beliefs. We cannot defer on things that are that central to the faith.”
Here’s what Stearns said about the large number of child sponsorships that were cancelled:
“That grieves us, because the children we serve will suffer because of that. … But our choice is not about money or income. It’s a sincere desire for us to do the right thing. To be consistent with our core values and to respond to the legitimate feedback and counsel we have received from supporters and friends of World Vision.” (Source)
Doing the right thing meant WV had to throw gay people under the bus.
Stearns now wants us to believe that the organization needed feedback and counsel from supporters and friends to help them realize that homosexuality is a sin and as such practicing homosexuals must repent and turn to God.
As previously stated, it was alleged that10,000 kids lost their sponsorship in those 2 short days after the original announcement. Who made this claim? Far left blogger Matthew Paul Turner. And who did Turner blame for the loss of support? “So-called born again Christians.” In a blog post Turner grumbled:
Last Monday, the day of the announcement, World Vision’s call center received 7000 calls and a loss of 2000 child sponsorships. That’s just in 12 hours on Monday! The following day those numbers swelled. And then on Wednesday, within minutes of World Vision announcing that it was reversing its decision, the calls stopped and, according to Stearns, “the bleeding stopped.” … It took several days to count the total loss of sponsorships, a number that eventually rose to “just about 10,000 children,” according to Stearns. A handful of people did call back, hoping to start up their sponsorships again. But the majority did not.
Later in his piece Turner cuts lose on the born again believers who dared to withdraw their sponsorship:
There’s nothing “moral” about using a kid as a bargaining chip to punish a Christian organization for making a decision that you don’t agree with. There’s nothing honoring about using children to force an organization’s hand. There’s nothing “pro life” about that. There’s nothing remotely “Christlike” about that. It’s downright disgusting, manipulative, and sad. If I was a Pentecostal, I might even call it demonic. (Source)
Demonic? No! What really happened here is that Bible believing Christians sent a message to World Vision: We will not sponsor organizations that compromise biblical truth.
Amy Spreeman of Stand Up For the Truth who’s been closely following World Vision-gate isn’t buying Turner’s allegations. She brings to light two things we need to ask and consider:
1. Is there proof that 10,000 kids are now abandoned?
2. Do “sponsorship fees” really go to the kids?
Nope and nope. First, WV president Richard Stearns this week gave out this figure via phone conference to a small group of hand-picked bloggers who are pro-gay marriage. The blogger with the biggest audience is Matthew Paul Turner. He works for World Vision. ‘Nuff said. (emphasis added — Source)
When it comes to the Bible’s clear teaches on homosexuality and marriage, WV board member Jacqueline Fuller appears to be as biblically ignorant as Matthew Paul Turner is. On April 3 she resigned from the organization “because she disagreed with the agency backtracking on a policy that would have recognized employees’ same-sex spouses.” (Source)
Here’s the crux of the matter as stated by The Cripplegate’s Jesse Johnson:
The homosexual agenda continues to advance and Christians really ought to come to terms with the fact that it is only a matter of time when our view of marriage will be plainly illegal. As has been said elsewhere, as that agenda moves forward in our country at breakneck speed, ambivalence is not an option; you will be made to care. As World Vision’s recent announcements illustrates, it will soon not be practically possible to simply love others and preach the gospel, without having a clear explanation about what the Bible says about homosexuality. (emphasis and link in original — Source)
Spenser vs. World Vision
In 2007 WV found itself in Federal court defending its right to hire only those who shared in its Christian beliefs. The lawsuit went on for four years. Then in October 2011 the decision came down on the side of World Vision. The headline in Christian Headline News read:
VICTORY FOR RELIGIOUS HIRING IN WORLD VISION CASE
According to the report:
As a requirement for employment, Silvia Spencer, Ted Youngberg and Vicki Hulse had acknowledged their agreement and compliance with World Vision’s statement of faith upon being hired. In November 2006, however, the three were terminated by World Vision after an internal investigation determined Spencer, Youngberg and Hulse did not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ and denied the doctrine of the Trinity (“There is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and the Holy Spirit), a fundamental tenant of the organization’s core values.
Claiming discrimination, the disgruntled employees filed a complaint against the Federal Way-based humanitarian aid organization in 2007. The lower court granted World Vision a summary judgment and, in 2009, the plaintiffs appealed the district court’s decision.
Judges found the reason for firing was not in dispute. On August 23, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled 2-1 that World Vision was a “religious organization” and therefore exempt from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars religious discrimination in hiring.
From the same article:
“I am pleased, relieved and gratified with the court’s action,” said World Vision’s U.S. president, Richard Stearns, in a statement. “After four years of litigation, we at World Vision U.S. may now put this matter behind us, and continue our policy of hiring only Christians.” (Source)
Reading this statement from Sterns makes one wonder why, after battling for four years to have the right and freedom to hire only those who cling to WV’s supposed biblical views and values, would this professed Christian organization decide to hire “married” homosexuals?
Stay tuned for Part 2.
The freedom of the press and the freedom of religion are two of the most important elements of a free society. These were so important to America’s Founding Fathers that they were protected in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A free and independent press serves as watchdogs for liberty, while a free and independent church serves as watchmen for liberty. Sadly, both watchdog and watchman are, for the most part, missing in today’s America.
Just about everyone knows that the vast majority of the national press corps has a strong liberal bias. That’s a given. But, it’s actually worse than that. Instead of being watchdogs on the government, the mainstream media has become little more than lap dogs for the government. Instead of reporting the truth, most of the media is actually more concerned with covering up the truth. With precious few exceptions, investigative reporting is dead in the national news media.
Oh, sure. Republican administrations are depicted more negatively by the mainstream media than are Democrat administrations. No doubt about that. Can anyone recall the media hoopla over Vice President Dan Quayle’s misspelling of the word “potato”? The liberal media talked about that almost nonstop for months. But did you hear much of anything when President Barack Obama recently misspelled the word “respect”? I mean from media sources outside of FOX News? Nope. Nary a word.
But when it comes to investigating the truth behind what government spokesmen tell us, it doesn’t matter to a tinker’s dam whether it is a Republican or Democrat administration: about the only thing national newscasters know to do is to report whatever the official story of the government is. Once in a blue moon, a mainstream newspaper, such as the New York Times, will dare to print a report that questions an official government story, but not very often. And when such a report is printed, it digs only so deep. For the last several years, about the only major newspaper that has had the guts to actually do some real investigative reporting is the London Guardian. Even the Washington Times prints mostly milquetoast exposés.
CBS reporter, Sharly Attkisson, recently left the network due to its liberal bias and aversion to investigative reporting. Politico said this about Attkisson’s leaving: “Attkisson, who has been with CBS News for two decades, had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network’s liberal bias, an outsize influence by the network’s corporate partners and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said. She increasingly felt that her work was no longer supported and that it was a struggle to get her reporting on air.”
See the Politico report here:
In an interview with the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia, Chris Stigall reported, “Responding to comments regarding a Phoenix television reporter yesterday who initially claimed that the White House pre-screens questions from reporters, Attkisson said, ‘I wouldn’t [be] surprised if sometimes there is that level of cooperation with some questions. If I need something answered from the White House and they won’t tell me, I’ll call our White House Correspondent. They’re friendlier with the White House Correspondents in general. So the White House Correspondent may ask Jay Carney or one of his folks about an issue and they will be told “ask that at the briefing and we’ll answer it.” They want to answer it in front of everybody. They do know it’s coming and they’ll call on you. There’s that kind of coordination sometimes. I wouldn’t be shocked if there’s sometimes more coordination. I don’t think it’s everybody on every briefing, every day. I’m pretty sure it’s not. But I think people would be surprised at the level of cooperation reporters have in general with politicians.’”
See Stigall’s report here:
Attkisson was putting it very mildly. There is more than just coordination going on between the federal government and the national news media; it’s more like coziness and calculated manipulation.
Since when has the major media dared to investigate and report the truth regarding any of the major events that have transpired in this country? The last time there was even a semblance of genuine investigative reporting seen in the national press corps was during the Watergate scandal when Richard Nixon was President–and that was politically-motivated from start to finish.
The mainstream media didn’t bother to seriously investigate Ruby Ridge or Waco or the Oklahoma City bombing or TWA Flight 800 or the Sandy Hook shootings or (and especially) the attacks which occurred on 9/11/01. These events took place with both Republicans and Democrats at the helm: it didn’t matter. Government spokesmen gave the media the official story, and the media repeatedly regurgitated the official story until anyone who dared to question the official story was turned into a conspiracy nut. That’s not reporting the news, folks. That is manipulating the news to disseminate propaganda. Joseph Goebbels had nothing on the major media in America today.
Again, the modern American media are not watchdogs over government; they are lap dogs for government. Reporters who try to truly dig and investigate are seldom rewarded–just the opposite. Their stories are buried–if published at all. They are disinvited from interviewing notable dignitaries. They are passed over for promotions–or even dismissed. It doesn’t take people in the news business long to get the message that if they want to go anywhere, they must toe the line and become good little puppets. The First Amendment freedom of the press has been negated by the press itself.
Likewise, the First Amendment freedom of religion has also been negated. A free and independent clergy is essential to the maintenance of liberty. But, for the most part, America has not had a free and independent clergy in decades.
The IRS 501c3 designation for churches, along with State incorporation, has turned America’s watchmen into little more than glorified CEOs. The average pulpit is just as politically correct as the national news media. Plus, the average church is as much about the bottom line as news shows.
Did you know that there used to be a time when the major television networks expected that their news shows would not operate in the black financially? It’s true. Back then, it was more important that news shows reported and investigated the news than turn a profit. Therefore, corporate donations and government chagrin had little impact upon newscasters and reporters. Those days are long gone.
By the same token, did you know that there used to be a time in this country when most of our pastors and ministers (regardless of denomination) were more concerned about being Biblically correct than being politically correct? For example, so prominent was the role that Presbyterian pastors played in the American Revolution that as news of the rebellion spread throughout England, Horace Walpole told his fellow members of the British Parliament, “There is no use crying about it. Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson, and that is the end of it.” Of course, Presbyterians were not the only clergymen in Colonial America to champion the cause of liberty and independence from behind their pulpits.
In truth, if it wasn’t for clergymen such as John Leland (along with political statesmen such as Patrick Henry, of course), it is doubtful that there would even be a First Amendment–or the rest of the Bill of Rights, for that matter.
But, back then, pastors were not motivated by the desire to build big buildings or impress political potentates or climb ecclesiastical elevators. They were motivated by courage and commitment. And you could tell it every time you went to church. They didn’t mince words; and their sermons seldom concluded in less than an hour. They were watchmen.
Sadly, in the same manner in which the national news media have abandoned their responsibility as America’s watchdogs, so, too, the vast majority of pastors have abandoned their responsibility as America’s watchmen. The First Amendment protection of the freedom of the press and religion is not enough to protect the freedom of the press and religion from themselves.
To be sure, many of our pastors and ministers today are sincere, compassionate, and honorable men. But they have never been taught the Biblical principles of liberty; they have never been taught how to apply the liberty principles of Scripture to our everyday lives–including our political lives; they have never been taught the true meaning of Biblical submission in general and Romans 13 in particular. However, more and more of these men are coming awake to these things. Of course, others stubbornly refuse to even consider the truth of these matters.
But, listen up, folks! Truth will always find a way to reveal itself: the dear Lord will make sure of that. As the mainstream media became toadies of Big Government, along came independent radio talk shows, newspapers, and the Internet. And in all likelihood, more people are getting their news and information from online sources today than from network or cable news shows. As a result, more and more people are awakening to the truth every day.
And, by the same token, as many establishment churches and pastors have become toadies of the IRS and political correctness, new, independent, unorganized, non-501c3 churches and fellowships are sprouting up all over America. Some of these groups are led by ministers whom God has led out of the establishment church. Others are led by laymen who have likewise left the establishment church. I hear from these people every day. And, by the grace of God, I hope to be more personally involved in helping Christian people around the country form liberty-oriented churches. More on that soon.
The First Amendment was designed to protect America’s watchdogs and watchmen. And it is a truism that there can never be a revival of liberty in this land without a resurrection of our watchdogs and watchmen. The good news is that resurrection is already taking place.
What happens when an institution becomes more important than the cause for which the institution was formed? How long should people who believe in the cause remain loyal to such an institution? And at what point does loyalty to such an institution comprise an abandonment of the cause itself?
I’m afraid the majority of Americans have been institutionalized in a manner not unlike the way prisoners are institutionalized after a long period of confinement. After a point, a prisoner is so conditioned to accepting the circumstances of his confinement that, should he be released from confinement, he truly would be unable to cope. Such seems to be the mentality of a majority of us today.
Christians have been institutionalized. The reason and purpose of the church or Christian organization is no longer relevant. Generations have grown up reciting the same liturgies, regurgitating the same prayers, and rehearsing the same programs until the reason for it all doesn’t even matter. But take the institution away from them, and they would not be able to cope.
The Pharisees despised the Lord Jesus because He challenged the religious institutions that had come to govern people’s lives. I am convinced if Jesus came to America today, He would be just as despised by the vast majority of our religious leaders as He was by the Pharisees.
The Church that Jesus built in the Book of Acts owned no buildings, was indebted to no lenders, took no tax benefits from the civil government, had no denominational hierarchy, and identified itself with no ecclesiastical brand. And the Church was just as persecuted by the religious establishment as Christ was.
One of the reasons one may know that the modern church is so unlike Christ and the apostles is by the persecution that it never experiences. Just as the Pharisees were bosom buddies with the Roman Empire’s governing elite, so are our religious leaders today. Caesar was very generous in sharing the fruit of his tyrannically-extracted bounty with his allies in the Jewish Sanhedrin. And they were happy to return the favor by insisting that the Hebrew people submit to Caesar’s harsh rule over their lives.
The Pharisees also enjoyed a cozy relationship with the moneychangers. The moneychangers were descended from a long line of corrupt banking interests that dated all the way back to the Edomites. We are not talking about your friendly local banker here. These were highly organized, well-positioned money-manipulators. Jesus was so incensed with their manipulation and theft within in the Temple that he used physical violence to remove them from the property. He is recorded as doing this twice in the Gospel narratives. Note that after the second time in which it is recorded that He drove out the moneychangers (with a whip, no less), the Pharisees soon had Jesus crucified. There is no question that one of the reasons Pilate ordered Jesus to be scourged with a whip was in direct retaliation for the manner in which Jesus whipped the moneychangers. Remember, the moneychangers were from a very well-ensconced, elitist national (and even international) organization.
And lest you think all of this is irrelevant to today, the moneychangers are still very much with us. The Rothschilds, Rockefellers, and other members of the international banking elite, are the direct descendants of the moneychangers of Jesus’ day. And if you ever have an opportunity to ask one of them about it, they will proudly admit it.
Yes, the Pharisees institutionalized religion. This accomplished two things: 1) it helped enslave the people, 2) it helped make them rich. The institutionalized church is accomplishing much the same things today.
The establishment church is doing as much to enslave people as any other institution in the world. Our political institutions and educational institutions have nothing on the church for making good little subjects and serfs to the all-powerful state. And if you don’t think that a host of church leaders are not reaping the spoils from assisting our taskmasters, you’re not paying attention.
Many, if not most, of these big-name TV evangelists have as many houses and yachts and Swiss bank accounts as any big-name Hollywood actor or politician. In some cases, more. Most of these big-church pastors are bathing in luxury. Many of them take the kinds of vacations that only CEOs of the biggest corporations or presidents could afford. Do you really think that the IRS rules and regulations governing these non-profit corporations, called churches, really bother these church leaders? Get real!
No wonder all of these “successful” preachers are constantly teaching their congregations to always submit to the government. No wonder they have no interest in abandoning their 501c3 tax-exempt status. They are in the exact same position as were the Pharisees of old. And they are just as effective in helping to enslave people today as were the Pharisees.
The institution of the church–along with its programs, formalities, buildings, rituals, etc.,–has become more important than the purpose for which the church was created. Instead of preaching the liberating message of the Cross, which frees men from the fetters of sin–and that includes sinful political and financial fetters–the church is preaching a message of subjugation and enslavement. It is teaching people to submit to all kinds of oppression, including religious oppression.
Some of the most oppressed and subjugated people in the world are religious people. There are churches and Christian colleges that are every bit as tyrannical as anything coming out of East-bloc or Muslim countries. About the only thing missing is physical torture and execution. Spiritually, however, the oppression is the same.
How could real men who love the liberty they have in Christ allow themselves–and especially their wives–to be told how to dress, how to wear their hair, what kind of music to listen to, what kind of vacations to take, what restaurants they may or may not eat at, what forms of entertainment they may or may not participate in, etc., etc., ad infinitum?
I tell you the truth: many Christians in America are already slaves. To talk to them about freedom is a complete waste of time. The chains of tyranny are already clamped around their hearts. Why should it matter to them if chains are clamped around their necks? When they talk about “defending the faith,” they are talking about defending the institution. They are slaves to the institution. And the same is true for many unchurched Americans.
What is more important: liberty, or the government that is supposed to secure liberty? To a sizeable number of Americans today, it is more important to preserve the institution than the freedoms that the institution was created to protect.
Our Declaration of Independence states, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [the God-given rights of life, liberty, etc.], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Did you see that: “any form of government”? ANY FORM. The form of government is only as good as its ability to secure liberty.
I hear a lot of politicians and media personalities talking about “American exceptionalism.” This is a potentially dangerous mindset. If one means that America is exceptional in our history and the manner in which our Constitution and Bill of Rights were established to protect liberty, well and good. But if it means that America has carte-blanche to do anything it wants–no matter how unconstitutional or tyrannical–because it is “exceptional,” it is a bunch of hooey.
What difference does it make if we have a 50-State Union or not? There is a bill in the California legislature that would divide that State into six states. Five counties in Western Maryland are trying to secede from Baltimore. Ten northern counties in Colorado are trying to secede from Denver. If a State refuses to secure the liberties of the people of that State, they have every right under God to separate. The State is not nearly as important as the liberties of the people within the State.
The spirit of secession is actually growing like wildfire all over the world. In recent history, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Kosovo all separated from Yugoslavia. Transnistria broke free from Moldova. Abkhazia and South Ossetia fought free from Georgia. The Slovaks seceded from Czechoslovakia. And now Crimea is separating from Ukraine.
To be sure, not every country that secedes from another country is motivated purely by the love of liberty. But for those of us in America, the issue that has propelled the desire to separate from one country or one State has always been liberty. It was the love of liberty that created the United States and that created the free and independent states of Maine, Vermont, Kentucky, and West Virginia–all of which seceded from existing U.S. states.
Furthermore, what difference does it make if Washington, D.C., is our federal capital, or, if say, Helena, Montana, would become the federal capital of a mountain state confederation of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Northern Colorado, eastern Washington and Oregon, the Dakotas, Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, and Alaska? Or if Austin was the federal capital of an independent Republic of Texas? Preserving some sort of political union (especially if it is a forced and coerced union) is not nearly as important as preserving liberty.
Again, it is not the political institution that is important. What is important is the liberty that the political institution is supposed to secure.
Many great minds in this country are already philosophizing over the possibility that secession is an idea whose time has come–again. A few years ago, Walter Williams wrote, “Like a marriage that has gone bad, I believe there are enough irreconcilable differences between those who want to control and those want to be left alone that divorce is the only peaceable alternative. Just as in a marriage, where vows are broken, our human rights protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution have been grossly violated by a government instituted to protect them. Americans who are responsible for and support constitutional abrogation have no intention of mending their ways.
“Americans who wish to live free have two options: We can resist, fight and risk bloodshed to force America’s tyrants to respect our liberties and human rights, or we can seek a peaceful resolution of our irreconcilable differences by separating. That can be done by peopling several states, say Texas and Louisiana, control their legislatures and then issue a unilateral declaration of independence just as the Founders did in 1776. You say, ‘Williams, nobody has to go that far, just get involved in the political process and vote for the right person.’ That’s nonsense. Liberty shouldn’t require a vote. It’s a God-given or natural right.
“Some independence or secessionists movements, such as our 1776 war with England and our 1861 War Between the States, have been violent, but they need not be. In 1905, Norway seceded from Sweden, Panama seceded from Columbia (1903), and West Virginia from Virginia (1863). Nonetheless, violent secession can lead to great friendships. England is probably our greatest ally and we have fought three major wars together. There is no reason why Texiana (Texas and Louisiana) couldn’t peaceably secede, be an ally, and have strong economic ties with United States.
“The bottom line question for all of us is should we part company or continue trying to forcibly impose our wills on one another?”
See William’s column here:
In the eyes of God, marriage is the most sacred of all unions. It is far more sacred than any political union. If our Creator has authorized the separation of a husband and wife under certain circumstances in which one party violated the sacred terms of the holy contract (and He has), who among us has the audacity to say that political unions may not be abandoned when government commits political adultery by forsaking its oath to the people?
Again, are we more interested in preserving an institution or the liberty that the institution is supposed to secure?
As an institution, the Church at large is apostate. Yet, millions of Christians continue to prop up an institution that has abandoned the purpose for which it was created. They are more interested in preserving the forms and liturgies and tapestries and buildings of the institution. And, all the while, they are being spiritually enslaved by the very institution they are helping to prop up.
And as an institution, the U.S. federal government is apostate. Yet, millions of citizens continue to make excuses for it, justify it, and condone it. They are more interested in preserving the agencies and entities and power of the institution. Yet, all the while, they are being enslaved by the very institution they are helping to prop up.
What happens when an institution becomes more important than the cause for which the institution was formed? When the institution is civil government and the cause is liberty, tyranny is what happens.