Weekly Update by Mark Armstrong – 2 May 2014

Greetings from Tyler,

Have you ever seen the media display such glee as they did in the discovery of a rich, white, old guy caught in embarrassing comments by his mistress! Never mind that he was about to receive an award from a civil rights organization for his generous donations, even though he’d had to settle discrimination law suits out of court. That was only a demonstration of corrupt motives an both accounts.

Surely this guy, the basketball team owner, had whatever happened coming to him. But something more important about our devolving culture has been illustrated. That is that anything, uttered even in private and recorded under questionable legal circumstances, can generate a huge media circus. And this one plays right into the mainstream media’s and the current administration’s favorite turf. Everybody wanted this guy destroyed not because of his racist tendencies, which were already well established in the public record. But because of things he said privately as he was baited, and recorded by his immoral mistress.

You wouldn’t want to begin to research the petty and more serious crimes that have been committed by team members of the NBA. But by this standard, there probably wouldn’t be enough to field two teams. No murder, rape, robbery or kidnapping has generated anywhere near the media frenzy touched off by the charge of RACISM. Under these circumstances, you better not tell the one about the Priest, the Rabbi and the Mullah on the airplane, even to a close friend!

The racism story led every radio and TV news break. It kicked Ukraine, the Middle East, several U.S. administration scandals and even the pope out of the headlines for nearly a week, in a feeding frenzy of vast proportions.

But Ukraine is back in the headlines with a vengeance and rightly so, as cities in the east have been plunged into near compete anarchy as Russian separatists continue to attack official buildings. Ukrainian forces are doing battle with Putin’s proxies, and now Putin is threatening to use that fact as a pretext for calling in the big guns and troops standing at the ready. In the chess game of threat, and counter-threat between the U.S. and Russia, this one carries substantially more weight than the bland warnings of “consequences” uttered over recent weeks by U.S. leadership.

As we’ve said before, the nations of Europe must be more than a little interested in these developments that are moving in their direction. That expectation is borne out by the coincidental visit to the White House by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. With the threat of a full scale war in Ukraine, it surely must have been an item of important discussion at these top level meetings. But you wouldn’t know it from the coverage. As near as we can tell, the main topic was Germans’ distrust (not to mention our own) since the revelation that the NSA has been collecting everybody’s private communications and storing them just in case. There has been no resolution of that situation, and consequently it is still a thorny issue between the United States and Germany.

Despite all kinds of reassurances, most of which are probably untrue, nobody can quite wrap their mind around the fact that the U.S. has constructed a “big brother” apparatus, a drag net that removes any expectation of privacy from phone calls or any other form of electronic communications. The claim that such a program was necessary to combat terrorism makes about as much sense as what’s going on with the TSA at all our airports.

Terrorism is a major threat, and we all want it tracked down and the planners and perpetrators punished. Instead, it has been used as an excuse to create abusive agencies with unlimited power and authority over ordinary citizens. Meanwhile, we’re treated to misinformation (some are beginning to call it LIES) about what their doing and why. But above all, American citizens have no recourse. There are apologists for every one of these violations of the American philosophy all across the political spectrum.

We Americans, bogged down as we are with our daily concerns, are taking these unbelievable abuses lying down. But the Germans are ticked off that their expectations of privacy have been shattered by this U.S. policy. And according to the reports, that is what Angela Merkel and our president are discussing during her visit to Washington D.C. Well, that’s one of the things. Surely Putin’s designs on former Soviet possessions and Russia’s slide back toward the old Soviet posture against the West is something of tremendous concern.

For more reasons than we can count the U.S. is just about played out economically and militarily, and the whole world including Germany, knows it. Besides, the White House Merkel is visiting is in a heap of trouble, whether or not the mainstream media has seen fit to recognize it. Don’t be surprised if Putin’s aggressive actions lead to calls for Germany to re-arm itself, it’s NAZI past notwithstanding. U.S. leadership, if you can still call it that, will probably go along.

We are looking forward to a visit in Novi, MI next Sabbath, arranged by Mr. Gary Johnson for the Detroit area. I’ll be there along with Michael and Melody, my Son and Daughter in law, as will Dr. James Ricks who will have the main message. If you’re within range and would like to join us, we’ll see you there!

Mark Armstrong

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