"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"
Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Dirty scenario realized to split Islamic world
– Erdogan lashes out at West
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan © Kayhan Ozer / Reuters
The West is exporting the worst elements to Islamic countries in an attempt to ensure its own future, the Turkish president has said.
Say what? Don't you have that backwards? Jihadists, terrorists, Muslim extremists, criminals, child rapists are flooding into Europe from the Middle East, south Asia and Africa.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims that Islamophobia, neo-Nazism and racism are replacing values such as democracy and human rights in the West.
He makes that claim as he Islamifies what was once a fiercely secular government in Turkey.
“Unresponsiveness to the violence that has been going on in Syria for seven years, to the inhumane treatment refugees are subjected to at border gates, and to the genocide of the Rohingya have revealed the true face of the West,” Erdogan said as cited by Anadolu.
“Islamophobia, neo-Nazism, and racism [are] beginning to replace values such as democracy, human rights and freedoms more and more” in the West, he added.
I'm sorry, how many millions of refugees has Europe taken in, virtually without any vetting? How much money is Turkey receiving from Germany to care for those refugees in Turkey? Did you notice that the Gulf States have not taken a single refugee, even though they are Islamic brothers? Also Myanmar is not a 'western' country.
“The West has exported all kinds of sick elements to Islamic nations (astonishing) in an attempt to ensure its own future,” the Turkish leader said. He specifically mentioned Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Kurdish YPG and the supporters of exiled Turkish cleric Fetullah Gullen – whom Ankara blames for a failed coup attempt last summer – saying that those groups have “transformed our entire region into a large blood bath.”
“The West has exported"!!! Seriously!? Exported would mean that they originated in the West and were transported to the east. It would deny that Islamic State and Al-Qaeda began in Iraq, Boko Haram began in Nigeria, the Kurdish YPG are actually Kurds, and Fetullah Gullen is actually a Turk.
I wonder if Erdogan has got his east & west confused - perhaps he is standing on his head and it all appears backward to him.
Erdogan warned that “a scenario is being realized of splitting the Islamic world, Muslims, of destroying their values and, most dangerously, their future.” And the Islamic world, according to Erdogan, has been going through a period of hardship in recent years, “literally an era of instigation."
The splitting of the Islamic world began with the death of Mohammed when they could not agree on who should succeed him. It has continued ever since. Of the nearly 600 wars Islam has been involved in in the last 1400 years, many of them have been within Islam as hard-liners refuse to accept a more moderate Islamic culture. Peace and tolerance are not Islamic virtues.
Despite being a NATO member and a strong Western ally for decades, Turkey has had tense relations with both the US and the EU in recent years. Among a host of issues, the rift with Washington is mainly characterized by Washington’s unwillingness to extradite Gullen to Turkey, in addition to its support of the Kurdish YPG, which Ankara considers to be an extension of the banned Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK).
Turkish ties with Europe have been compromised by the refugee crisis and the stalled talks on visa free travel for Turks to the EU, which Brussels put on hold, citing Ankara’s refusal to amend its harsh anti-terror laws. Heated words were also exchanged after some European countries, notably, Germany, banned the public appearances of Turkish ministers in the run up to Turkey’s April referendum on constitutional reforms which significantly expanded Erdogan’s powers.
Last week, Turkey blamed NATO for smearing its leaders – past and present – and withdrew its troops from the Trident Javelin drills in Norway after Turkey’s founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Erdogan were listed as enemies during a computer-assisted exercise. NATO apologized for the incident, which it blamed on a Norwegian civilian contractor who was fired for his anti-Turkish stunt.
Colorado Springs Gazette
Last week marked the fifth anniversary of Colorado's decision to sanction the world's first anything-goes commercial pot trade.
Five years later, we remain an embarrassing cautionary tale.
Visitors to Colorado remark about a new agricultural smell, the wafting odor of pot as they drive near warehouse grow operations along Denver freeways. Residential neighborhoods throughout Colorado Springs reek of marijuana, as producers fill rental homes with plants.
Five years of retail pot coincide with five years of a homelessness growth rate that ranks among the highest rates in the country. Directors of homeless shelters, and people who live on the streets, tell us homeless substance abusers migrate here for easy access to pot.
Five years of Big Marijuana ushered in a doubling in the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana, based on research by the pro-legalization Denver Post.
Five years of commercial pot have been five years of more marijuana in schools than teachers and administrators ever feared.
"An investigation by Education News Colorado, Solutions and the I-News Network shows drug violations reported by Colorado's K-12 schools have increased 45 percent in the past four years, even as the combined number of all other violations has fallen," explains an expose on escalating pot use in schools by Rocky Mountain PBS in late 2016.
The investigation found an increase in high school drug violations of 71 percent since legalization. School suspensions for drugs increased 45 percent.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found Colorado ranks first in the country for marijuana use among teens, scoring well above the national average.
The only good news to celebrate on this anniversary is the dawn of another organization to push back against Big Marijuana's threat to kids, teens and young adults.
The Marijuana Accountability Coalition formed Nov. 6 in Denver and will establish satellites throughout the state. It resulted from discussions among recovery professionals, parents, physicians and others concerned with the long-term effects of a commercial industry profiteering off of substance abuse.
"It's one thing to decriminalize marijuana, it's an entirely different thing to legalize an industry that has commercialized a drug that is devastating our kids and devastating whole communities," said coalition founder Justin Luke Riley. "Coloradans need to know, other states need to know, that Colorado is suffering from massive normalization and commercialization of this drug which has resulted in Colorado being the number one state for youth drug use in the country. Kids are being expelled at higher rates, and more road deaths tied to pot have resulted since legalization."
Commercial pot's five-year anniversary is an odious occasion for those who want safer streets, healthier kids and less suffering associated with substance abuse. Experts say the worst effects of widespread pot use will culminate over decades. If so, we can only imagine the somber nature of Big Marijuana's 25th birthday.
— Colorado Springs Gazette
The reference to decades here probably has to do with mental health. I've shown several times on this blog that there is a connection between teen use of pot and the development of schizophrenia, paranoia and other mental health issues. This should begin to show up in statistics in the next 5 to 10 years and get worse for decades. This is cultural suicide.
The commercialization of marijuana will result in major players supporting programs that normalize pot, convincing people that it is a good thing. Just as the 'wild west' commercialization of guns has resulted in Americans being convinced that making automatic and semi-automatic assault weapons available to every lunatic in the country is somehow a good thing.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Repent And Believe In The Gospel!
The Boston Declaration, condemning the abuse of the Christian faith by many conservatives today, was just written, signed and released by over 300 hundred Christian theologians attending the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature, an annual meeting of nearly 10,000 professionals in religion.
In a dramatic press conference at Boston’s famous Old South Church, where many dressed in sackcloth and ashes to call for repentance and change in Christianity in the United States, the presenters were clear that white American Evangelicalism is in a crisis, a crisis of its own making. It has abandoned the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Is Roy Moore a hill on which Evangelicals are prepared to die? As for me and my house, ‘Hell no, we won’t go,’” said Evangelical theologian Rev. Dr. Peter Heltzel, Associate Professor of Theology at New York Theological Seminary, asking the crisis question and answering it. “During difficult days in our nation, The Boston Declaration calls Christians to follow the Jesus Way, bearing prophetic witness to Christ through fight racism, sexism, poverty and all forms of oppression.”
One of the key organizers of The Boston Declaration, Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey, Associate Dean at Boston University School of Theology, contrasted the Gospel teachings with what is being peddled as Christianity today in some conservative circles, both religious and political. She said:
We are here because Jesus taught us to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” We are here because we take the parable of the Good Samaritan to heart. We are here because we refuse to allow Christianity to be co-opted by the likes of people who support abuse of women, the closing of our nation to the immigrant in need and the normalizing of lie after lie after lie.
Finally, we are here because we believe our nation yearns to hear from us this day and to watch for how our commitment as Christian theologians continues into the election season of next year.
Rev. Dr. David Wilhite, professor of theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University, said with great intensity that “Evangelical is a category I can’t use any more. Evangelicals have come to misrepresent Christianity. The heart of Evangelicalism is keeping the Gospel call at the heart of all we do.”
Dr. Wilhite noted that Evangelicals “are supposed to have a come to Jesus moment.” And this time in American life, he argued, is clearly such a moment. “Evangelical Christianity has become white, male Christianity. And for this we need to repent.”
Rev. Dr. Reggie Williams, professor of ethics at McCormick Theological Seminary, talked of the heavy hearts carried by himself and other African-Americans in this current moment. “These are sinister times, but they are not new. As a black person educated in Evangelical Christian institutions, I am familiar with a Christianity that has a history of ignoring my being, and providing theological justification for my non-being.”
But, he emphasized, what is “new in my lifetime to have such an over embrace of it.” How can people say it is Christianity to “proclaim good news to the rich or push the differently embodied person to the margins? Now is the time to follow Jesus the poor Jewish prophet whose teaching of the Kingdom was the inspiration for the Boston Declaration.”
I spoke as well. I am a Professor of Theology and President Emerita of Chicago Theological Seminary.
When we have torch carrying right-wing radicals marching around in Charlottesville, Virginia yelling “blood and soil!” and “Jews will not replace us!” it is time to confront this kind of Nazism with the historical courage of those who confronted the Nazis in the 1930s in Germany.
German Christian theologians and pastors spoke out against the corruptions of the Nazi regime that was using every possible deception to wrap itself in the sacred. It was a travesty. Some of them paid for that courage with their lives.
We need that kind of courage today. I said:
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Christian pastor who was arrested and ultimately executed by the Nazis for his opposition to Hitler, contrasted what he called “cheap grace” with the costly grace of the Gospel. “Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits.”
The Christianity Bonhoeffer denounced is the Christianity we denounce today. It is a Christianity that literally enables hate, hate for people of color, for immigrants, for those of other religions, for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender human beings, for women and girls, for the poor and the most vulnerable among us.
And why do these so-called Christians do this? Not out of obedience to the teachings of Jesus, because Jesus taught the exact opposite of their hate-mongering. No, they do it for power, for political gain.
Jesus asks, “What does it profit you to gain the whole world and lose your soul?” Mark 8:36
We are not here merely to denounce, however. The most important thing we can do as Christian theologians is announce the good news of the Gospel. The good news is the radical inclusivity of God, for God so loved the world. Not just some in the world who are white, or rich, or male or heterosexual. God loved the whole world of animals and plants and the entire ecosystem that is a victim of this same rapaciousness and nearly mindless drive for political domination.
The good news, and it is very good news, is an invitation to turn away from greed and turn toward love of neighbor.
Turn away from hate and turn towards love. It’s actually more fun here in the circles of radical hospitality.
Jesus said, “Love one another.” And we say, “Amen.”
Monday, November 20, 2017
Hungary is facing a frontal assault from US financier George Soros, the vice-chairman of the ruling Fidesz party has said, after the billionaire released a statement accusing the Hungarian government of “lying” about his agenda.
Fidesz vice-chairman Gergely Gulyas pushed back against Soros’ claims that his government was spreading disinformation, and denied that it was stoking anti-Muslim sentiments and embracing anti-Semitic stereotypes. Instead, Gulyas accused Soros of attacking his country through his NGOs and EU bureaucrats, and using them to push a pro-migrant agenda.
“What Soros writes about immigration, in general, is a pro-immigration stance that is open about its disdain for the nation state,” Reuters quoted Gulyas as telling news conference on Monday. “Decisions made in Brussels echo that in the field of immigration policy.”
“Days before a recent immigration decision in the European Parliament, Soros was meeting with the rapporteur on the subject as well as five different EU commissioners. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but this holds some clues.”
On Monday, George Soros released a statement in response to seven allegations the Hungarian government made against him in their National Consultation survey on the “Soros plan.” The statement attempted to offer a rebuttal to those claims, for example that Soros wants to resettle 1 million refugees throughout Europe each year. The statement countered that in 2016, Soros acknowledged that circumstances had changed and that instead, the EU should make a “commitment to admit even a mere 300,000 refugees annually.”
The statement also dismissed claims that Soros wants to undermine European culture, launch attacks on countries which oppose immigration and called for migrants to receive reduced sentences for their crimes, as lies.
The conservative Hungarian government, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has made no secret of its disdain for George Soros and his political activities, accusing him of undermining European borders and values by helping facilitate the flow of refugees and asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa. In May, Soros accused Hungary of being a “mafia state,” words that Orban considered a “declaration of war.”
Orthodox Patriarch warns of approaching end times,
asks not to push for revolutionary change
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia © Sergey Pyatakov / Sputnik
In a public speech in the main Moscow cathedral, Patriarch Kirill said the signs from the Book of Revelation are now apparent. He also called on politicians and ordinary citizens to unite and stop the movement towards the abyss.
“All people who love the Motherland must be together because we are entering a critical period in the course of human civilization. This can already be seen with the naked eye. You have to be blind not to notice the approaching awe-inspiring moments in history that the apostle and evangelist John was talking about in the Book of Revelation,” the patriarch was quoted as saying by Interfax.
Patriarch Kirill added, however, that the exact time of the end times depends on everyone’s actions. He called on people to understand their responsibility regarding Russia and the whole of mankind, and to stop “the movement towards the end of history’s abyss.”
He emphasized that many representatives of the modern Russian intelligentsia are repeating the mistakes made by their predecessors, who led the country into the ruinous revolutionary events of the early 20th century.
“Today is the wrong time to rock the boat of human passions because there is already too much negative influence on people’s spiritual lives,” Kirill said.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia turned 71 on Monday. After holding mass in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, the Holy Synod presented the head of the Russian Orthodox Church with a copy of ceremonial headwear worn by Patriarch Tikhon – the man who was elected head of the Church 100 years ago.
Unfortunately, this brief report is a little cryptic as to what Patriarch Kirill was referring to with regard to 'rocking the boat of human passions'. However, over the previous few weeks he was more explicit in his concerns. He seems to be worried about a revolution that might take Russia back into communism, - a very dark period for Russia and the Russian church, or perhaps he is referring specifically to Ukraine.
Here is a very interesting report from MEMRI dated 13 Nov -
At The Opening Of Russia's Wall Of Grief, Patriarch Kirill Criticizes The Bolshevik Revolution On Its 100th Anniversary And Warns Against Fomenting New Revolutions
Vladimir Putin has tried to straddle the issue of the Bolshevik Revolution in an effort to forge a consensus between supporters and opponents of the revolution. He has described the fall of the Soviet Union as a tragedy and brought back the anthem used during Soviet times. On the other hand with the exception of the Communist Party that tried to launch commemoratives of the centennial anniversary of the revolution throughout the country and have the anniversary declared an official holiday, the event was officially played down. Lately Putin has become more outspoken against the revolution. In downtown Moscow, on October 30, the Russian President attended the opening of the Wall of Grief (known in English also as the Wall of Sorrow) memorial to victims of political repression during the Soviet-era government. The ceremony was held as part of the official Day Of Remembrance For Victims Of Political Repression. During the event, Putin stated: "It is very important that we all and future generations – this is of great significance – know about, and remember this tragic period in our history when entire social groups and entire peoples were cruelly persecuted… This terrifying past cannot be deleted from national memory or, all the more so, be justified by any references to the so-called best interests of the people."
Patriarch Kirill and the Russian President Vladimir Putin at the opening of the Wall of Grief memorial. (Source: Kremlin.ru)
A major participant in the solemn ceremony was Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, who took the opportunity to express his views on the centenary of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. The Patriarch stated that the events that ensued during the Bolshevik Revolution could explain the 20th century repressions that came later. However, the Patriarch's speech, was less an analysis of the Bolshevik Revolution and more an apparent warning against future color revolutions against the Kremlin. Indeed, he warned the new generations against repeating historic errors.
On November 1, in a lengthy address before the 21st World Russian People’s Council in Moscow, the Patriarch reiterated that Russian society should learn from its "mistakes" and remain united, avoiding the trap of fomenting new political revolutions as in 1917. The Patriarch further openly warned against color revolutions, which have become a "technological concept", defining the "forceful change of power" and justifying the "violation of the Constitution" and "norms of international law." Here he was very much on the same page as Putin and his surrogates.
Recently, on November 7, the head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion channeled Patriach Kirill's views when interviewed on the Rossiya-24 TV channel. "Russia could have achieved much more, if it had developed in an evolutionary, not revolutionary way," said the hierarch.
Patriarch Kirill and the Russian President Vladimir Putin at the opening of the Wall of Grief memorial. (Source: Kremlin.ru)
Below are excerpts of the Patriarch's recent speeches on the Bolshevik revolution:
Patriarch Kirill: 'The Dream Grew Over Into A Nightmare'; 'The Current Generation Does Not Have The Right To Repeat The Mistakes Of History'
During the ceremony, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill I said:
"The year of centenary of the Russian revolution offers an important occasion for understanding [repressions of the 20th century]. As we look into this tragedy, we’re asking ourselves how it could happen that children of the same country, neighbors, fellow-workers persecuted and killed one another, how the momentous idea of building a world of freedom and fairness led up to bloodletting and lawlessness? At that time, people dreamed of a world without exploitation, poverty or war, about a world of peace where science would resolve the problems and cure all the illnesses but the dream grew over into a nightmare for many, many people."
He then added: "Where did the error lurk? Was it because people were seeking to build a humane and fair society upon denial of spiritual fundamentals of human life and subjugating morality to ideology, which led to justification of acts of cruelty on the way to building the radiant future. Departure from the standards of morality always breeds crisis."
The prelate warned Russia's new generations against succumbing to the same historic mistakes, i.e. starting new color revolution: "The current generation does not have the right to repeat the mistakes of history. Hatred should not lead us in our quest to build a peaceful, just, and prosperous life." He then added: "The tragic pages of our history should not serve as pretexts for fanning animosity or for a buildup of tensions. And condemnation of terror should not turn from an act of morality into a political ritual."
Patriarch Kirill: 'Color Revolutions Have Become A Technological Concept… Justifying The Violation Of The Constitution'
A few days later, on November 1, Patriarch Kirill returned to the topic when he delivered a speech at the 21st World Russian People’s Council in Moscow. In his speech, the Patriarch stressed that with the passage of years Russian society distanced itself from the Bolshevik revolution. Contemporary Russian society should cherish its national unity and steer clear of the "political radicalism" that could lead to color revolutions.
The Patriarch said: "During the last 100 years our society reached a certain maturity and distanced itself historically enough from 1917 - this enables us to speak in a more balanced and meaningful manner without avoiding some judgment and without politicizing the issue superfluously."
"It is hard to deny that the revolution was a tragedy: a civil war, when one brother killed another, the death and expulsion of millions of people, huge spiritual and material losses. The most horrifying thing is that, during the revolutionary struggle, the seeds of hatred and evil were sown in human souls. Currently, we can only painfully observe how the same hatred is resurrecting itself in other regions of the contemporary world – both in faraway countries as well as amongst the most kindred peoples, amongst our brothers" [apparently referring to Ukraine].
"But this hatred has a different ideological garb today and is connecting with drawing new and intensifying the old dividing lines on the planet, with the growth of global inequality and justifying it, by cultivating artificial differences in the societies. These processes are already unconnected to the ideas of the original revolution - they have different ideological roots.
"Despite the rapid growth in the number of conflicts, wars and revolutions in the world, Russia retains enough strength to be an island of stability in this dangerous stream and to continue along its historical path."
"Today, our society is consolidated and there is no tragic civil gap, which [back then] divided the people in two. On the contrary, today we learn again to cheer the national unity and reconciliation.
"This unity and reconciliation ensure us that the country and the society won't stumble and won't rupture into the historical divide as happened back in 1917. Russian history does not go round in circles. We learn from our mistakes. We received immunity to all forms of political radicalism – for us as never before, consensus, is important shared values are important. What unites us - is important rather than what divides us. By cultivating and building the internal peace Russia may serve as an example and moral support for anyone who wants to survive the current crisis.
"The international community is very close today to the historical features, defining the beginning of a new epoch – an age of a great change in peoples' lives, especially the change of the worldview. The new age is coming inevitably, because the limits of globalization have been reached, thus the crisis in its unifying criteria has already emerged. This does not mean that the values of democracy, humanism, and human rights will totally disappear from our lives, but they will cease depending on some abstract, global standards. Every cultural – historical subject will have to seek internal support in its own traditions, a support, necessary for development and progress and will have to seek its own model of modernization, roots of its social institutes system.
"The same thing that applies to the life of a private individual applies to the life of a nation – the belief in social institutions and legal mechanism is dead without moral praxis, without an ability to do the right thing. In this case, this belief leads only to chasing the chimers, the elusive mirages of happiness and freedom. And it leads to uncountable human victims.
"We witness eloquent examples of faith without deeds and deeds without faith - both in the history of Europe and in our Russian history. These are world wars, and revolutions unleashed by the world's powerful. It begins with the French Revolution, which solidified new values in the minds of European peoples, and ends with a series of revolutions of the 20th century. This topic is all the more important because revolutions are currently being mass produced. The so-called 'color revolutions' have become a technological concept, defining the change of power by force and justifying the violation of the Constitution and norms of international law.
"However, despite the fact that the revolution has become just a common technique, its ideologues still rely on quasi-religious rhetoric, they try to justify the revolution as a spiritually lofty, and morally justified act. At the same time, modern revolutionaries, like their predecessors, always sacrifice a part of their own people - through the very logic of the revolutionary process - for the sake of achieving abstract benefits.
"The selective approach of such revolutionaries and their handlers to international norms shows that behind the beautiful facade of legal justifications there are in fact double standards, the desire not to subordinate to the power of laws but, on the contrary, to subordinate others to the right of the strongest, to interfere in internal matters of the sovereign states.
"Revolutions are generally conducted 'from above' – by the elites, which are driving and intoxicating people with their destructive energy. It may be the people's "own elite", uprooted from the traditions, and it may be a foreign elite, driven by colonial interests. The common people are organically disinclined to conductions revolutions – on the contrary the common people are the guardian of traditions without this hindering their desire to attain social justice…
"So, here the question arises regarding the quality of the elite that must be faithful to their own people and be replenished by talented people 'from below', without being constrained by the interests of external global players.
Today Russia looks for the 'shape of the future'. I think the shape of the future is a shape of people and elites which are mutually complimentary. The elites are not above the people. The elites are individuals who take the responsibility for the fates of the country, who equate their own interests with the interests of the state. The elites and the people should be a single undivided whole.
"Thus, it's impossible to 'appoint elites artificially. We need a base from which the current elite is drawn. In order to nurture the elite we need to nurture the people, to nurture society, to invest resources in it. If we don't nurture our own people – others will [he refers apparently to foreign/external forces]…
"Revolutions pretend to create a 'new man' – they strive to break the traditional, Christian core inside a man, to 'reforge him. The struggle of the revolutionaries with traditions and culture stem from this very logic. But this is a dead end, it leads to denial and fragmentation…
"If in the 21st century we want to be a flourishing country, respected by other states and which has a future, if we want to avoid revolutionary catastrophes and civil confrontation – we should not forget our historical experience, we should not renounce our historical fate."
Patriarch Kirill: It All Began 'When People Lost Their Internal Sovereignty'
On November 4, after Saturday's liturgy in the Kremlin, the Patriarch went on speaking about the revolution. He stated that the cause of the Bolshevik revolution had its roots in events that took place 200 years earlier, when people began denying the sovereignty of states and governments.
The Patriarch said: "If we sweep aside the entire political environment connected with the events of a century ago, if we detach ourselves from this ideological view, then by this impartial view we will see a great deal, and we will understand that the beginning of our national illnesses, which led to the catastrophe a century ago, began not a year, not five years, not ten years, but at least 200 years, and perhaps even more, beforehand, when they began to destroy the spiritual foundations of the life of our enlightened society, of the so-called elite."
According to the Patriarch, it all began "when people lost their internal sovereignty, giving their minds and souls to that which came from outside, receiving these signals from outside uncritically, exposing their faith, worldview, and view on life to these ideas."
Patriarch Kirill: 'If There's Liberty, Then There Can Be No Equality'
During his Pastor's Word television program, the Patriarch also commented on the slogan of the French revolution "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" (Liberté, égalité, fraternité). The slogan, as mentioned by the Russian news agency Interfax, became "rooted in the psyche" of the Russian intelligentsia.
The Patriarch said: "If there's liberty, then there can be no equality. Because liberty is just a meadow upon which flowers and grass grow, with each blade rising to the best of its ability. There is no equality: one is stronger, the other is weaker, and there is no sign of the third at all. But equality, it is a mown lawn, everyone is equal but there is no freedom…
"If our unfortunate intellectuals had thought of it earlier, if this kind of comparison had occurred to them, if this kind of comparison could have been disseminated in mass consciousness, then maybe one would have paid closer attention to this seductive motto - equality, fraternity, liberty - because then the revolution would have been carried out primarily for the sake of liberty."
 The monument depicts faceless victims of the Soviet-era. The monument was realized by sculptor Georgy Frangulyan, who designed the monument.
 Kremlin.ru, October 30, 2017.
 Interfax-religion.com, November 7, 2017.
 Tass.com, October 31, 2017.
 See Putin and Patriarch Kirill Open "Wall of Sorrow" In Memory of Victims of Bolshevik Repression
 Tass.com, October 31, 2017.
 Patriarchia.ru, November 1, 2017.
 Orthochristian.com, November 7, 2017; Interfax.ru, November 4, 2017.
 Interfax.ru, October 30, 2017; Interfax-religion.com, October 31, 2017.
After Greeks started painting 'Der Fuhrer' mustaches on Angela Merkel because of her hard-line on their utterly irresponsible finances, she saw the migrant crisis as a way to boost her image to one of compassion. The gambit worked, for awhile, and then the reality of the consequences of inviting a million Muslims into Germany with no vetting began to set in. After 2 years, some politicians are overcoming their political correctness and beginning to realize that Germany is on the road to cultural suicide.
Migrants take selfies with German Chancellor Angela Merkel © Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing an unprecedented political crisis that could upend her image as the “new leader of the west” after the Free Democrats (FDP) abruptly pulled out of negotiations with Merkel’s conservative bloc and the Greens.
Responses to the failed negotiations were immediate. The euro plunged to a 2-month low against the yen, and a planned meeting between Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte was cancelled “in view of the political development last night,” according to German government spokesman Steffen Seibert.
Merkel won a fourth term as chancellor in September’s national Bundestag election, but her own party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), and its Bavarian ally the Christian Social Union (CSU), lost 65 seats between them — their worst showing in decades.
With her own conservative bloc unable to command a majority in parliament, Merkel attempted to forge a so-called ‘Jamaica’ coalition with the pro-business FDP and the progressive Green Party.
But after more than four weeks of negotiations, FDP leader Christian Lindner announced on Sunday that his party was withdrawing from the proposed political alliance, citing irreconcilable differences between the would-be coalition partners.
Migrant crisis lays waste to Merkel’s coalition
Disagreements over climate, energy, and monetary policy required difficult compromises — but “the elephant in the room” that made the Jamaica coalition untenable is Germany’s migrant crisis, Maximilian Krah, a former CDU politician, told RT.
“The migrant issue is the main issue in the whole of Germany,” Krah insisted. “Whenever you go into private discussions, that’s the issue. But political correctness prevents the German public from debating it openly,” he said.
“If you read the declaration of the liberals when they broke up the coalition talks yesterday night, the migrant crisis was just one word among a lot of others but no one believes that they broke up because [of] the debate on ‘Industry 4.0’ or digital industry.”
Since 2015, over 1 million refugees have flooded into Germany from the Middle East and North Africa. Merkel’s uncompromising open door policy towards migrants galvanized Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which scooped up 13 percent of the vote in September’s election.
Frank Hansel, a member of German parliament from AfD, told RT that Merkel’s unwillingness to change course led to the downfall of her proposed majority coalition — and ushers in the “end of the Merkel era.”
“She was not able or capable or willing to change her policies regarding the euro crisis which still divides Europe", Hansel said of Merkel. “She was not willing to change her policy regarding the illegal mass migration. So this really had to come to an end. The Jamaica government will never come into existence.”
A political system in crisis
Merkel’s options are limited as she attempts to navigate what is essentially unchartered territory in German politics.
The creation of a new majority coalition is unlikely, as it would require the staunchly anti-Merkel Social Democrats (SPD) to join forces with the conservatives. Hours after the Jamaica coalition talks failed on Sunday night, SPD deputy leader Thorsten Schäfer-Gumbel stated unequivocally that his party was “not the spare wheel on Angela Merkel’s careening car,” as cited by Deutsche Welle.
Forming a minority government, while possible, is a “long and humiliating procedure,” Dr. Rainer Rothfuss, a geopolitical analyst and consultant, told RT. “The German political system is in crisis. This has been clear already when we saw the election results in November,” he added.
According to Germany’s constitution, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has the option of nominating someone for the office of chancellor. In this scenario, Steinmeier would likely nominate Merkel, but if she failed to win an absolute majority in the Bundestag, it could trigger a new election within 60 days.
The end of Merkel?
Journalists, pundits, and politicians alike have now called into question the popular mantra that, in the wake of Trump’s presidential election victory, Merkel is the “new leader of the West.” The failed coalition will also likely hurt Germany’s standing within Europe, which has looked to Berlin for political and economic leadership, Rothfuss told RT.
“Germany, at the moment, has lost influence inside the EU, and I think that this reflects also the misguided policies of Germany in the past two or three years which started most of all with the 2015 refugee crisis which led to an influx of over 1 million refugees from the Middle East, and which also led, in consequence, to the Brexit vote,” said Rothfuss.
While Merkel’s fate is uncertain, experts argue that it is clear we are witnessing the “final stage” of her chancellorship.
“We’ve reached the final stage of Merkel’s chancellorship, but I can’t tell you how long this stage will last,” said Krah. “It can last 3 months or 3 years. But you can be sure you won’t see Merkel in charge by the year 2020.”
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Corruption is Everywhere - Chicago Police
Allegations of corruption in the Chicago police force
probably go back about a hundred years
A Chicago police officer attends a news conference. © Jim Young / Reuters
Fifteen men who were framed by a corrupt team of cops in Chicago have had their convictions thrown out en masse, leading to calls for hundreds of other cases linked to the team led by disgraced former officer Ronald Watts to be investigated.
The 15 had their convictions quashed Thursday, and hours later, seven cops allegedly part of Watts’ team that “terrorized the Ida B. Wells housing projects in Chicago for over a decade” were removed from street duties while their conduct is under investigation, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Following the mass exonerations, believed to be the first of its kind in the history of the Windy City, Joshua Tepfer, lead attorney for the 15 vowed to review as many as 500 other convictions linked to the crooked squad.
“It needs to be investigated and vetted about how many of those are appropriate to overturn,” Tepler said. “We are very much in the process of doing that.”
In addition, five other Watts-related convictions had already been thrown out earlier, bringing the total number, so far, to 20.
Further to these, two other men walked free both having served lengthy sentences and both for double murders they had not committed. These were not linked to Watts and his crew but because of alleged misconduct by the force.
Sixty-six-year-old Arthur Brown was released on Tuesday, having served 29 years, while on Wednesday, Jose Maysonet, 49, was released after serving 27 years.
Watts and his team acted with impunity for years despite being repeatedly accused of forcing residents and drug dealers to pay a protection tax. If anyone refused, Watt simply framed them.
As Leonard Gipson, one of the men stitched up by Watts recounts to the Tribune, he filed a complaint with Chicago Police in 2003, alleging that Watts had framed him on a drugs charge for failing to pay protection money. His complaint went unheeded.
When Gipson came across Watts again, four months later with his drug charge pending, the then sergeant said: “Let me see if you can bond off on this,” before slapping the cuffs on and planting 28 grams of heroin on him.
On the advice of his attorney, who said it was his word against the cops, Gipson pleaded guilty to the charge. On Thursday he had three convictions thrown out. “Watts always told me, ‘If you’re not going to pay me, I’m going to get you,’” Gipson said. “And every time I ran into him, he’d put drugs on me. Every time.”
In 2007, Chicago officers Shannon Spalding and Daniel Echeverria were allegedly told by their superiors to ignore evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Sergeant Ronald Watts, but the two reported it to the FBI all the same.
What the officers thought would end in a simple meeting turned into “Operation Brass Tacks.” Their involvement in the FBI’s investigation into Watts eventually became a full-time job, so they were forced to inform CPD internal affairs.
The whistleblowers ended up spending two years on the case, resulting in a 22-month prison term being handed down to Watts in October 2013.
What about his superiors? When do they pay the piper? There's no way he could operate for that long without his superiors knowing.